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John Lounsbury  

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  • Rooftop Solar Will Prevail Against Utility Obstruction Efforts [View article]
    Tom - - -

    This is actually the way the utility industry is organized today. The generators and the distributors are separate companies in most cases and where they are combined all generators must be allowed access to any transmission lines that exist. This was established by Order 888 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued in 1996. So, in principle (and in many cases in practice), the suggestion you make already has the necessary framework provided. Some utility bills today will show separate delivery and generation charges. All that would be needed is to break the delivery charge into two parts: the fixed grid connection fee and the delivery charge per kwh used.
    Apr 16, 2015. 04:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • There Are Strange Data Points For Our Forward Looking Markets [View instapost]
    One of the factors that still has some flotation left to ride out this soft spot. But we will need something else to pick up in another six months.
    Apr 11, 2015. 01:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rooftop Solar Will Prevail Against Utility Obstruction Efforts [View article]
    Unless I missed it, no one has discussed solar farms. This is the way that utilities can fight back and actually win. A centralized solar photovoltaic facility can generally produce electricity at a significantly lower cost per watt than distributed rooftop systems. Where I live (North Carolina) numerous planning permits have been granted and now construction permits are being approved for solar farm facilities. I haven't seen the numbers of how much solar PV electricity will be coming on line in the next year or two here but it must be significant based on the zoning changes and construction permits approved. And building a solar farm power facility takes only a few months, not the years involved with other power generating plants.

    Why is this happening? Solar is cheap. Estimates I have seen are that distributed solar costs about $0.10 to $0.12 per kwh right now for rooftops and less for solar farms. Dubai will be producing solar electricity at less than $0.06 per kwh with facilities currently under construction.

    And just this week oil and gas rich United Arab Emirates has found that they can save billions by converting 25% of their electricity from gas powered generation to wind and oil. See

    The projections I have seen from sources such as the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the International Energy Agency are that distributed solar production cost will come below $0.06 per kwh by 2018-2020 and centralized solar costs will be down in the range $0.02 to $0.04. These are a fraction of current generation costs for all other generation technologies, all of which are rising in cost over time, not coming down.

    There is a limit to how much solar can be assimilated within a grid, or by local use where generated, because of storage needs. How storage technology develops will determine how much solar can be economically used. However, the most successful utilities will be those that optimize their centralized solar production at the various stages of energy storage development.

    The economics of rooftop solar is not yet clear. It may end up being a costly experience over the long haul if utilities develop their centralized solar facilities efficiently.
    Apr 10, 2015. 12:46 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Rooftop Solar Will Prevail Against Utility Obstruction Efforts [View article]
    Valuebug - - -

    The economics of small scale thermal conversions to create electricity is not attractive. But there is no reason to use grid electrical power for attic fans - solar cell powered fans are readily available and cheap. I replaced my line powered fans four years ago.
    Apr 10, 2015. 12:13 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Obamacare Retarding Economic Growth? [View article]
    Excellent discussion in the article and the comments. One aspect of Obamacare that has not been mentioned is the efficiency it introduces to the labor market. No longer are many employment decisions made with employer provided healthcare as a significant consideration. This improves labor market efficiency in at least three closely related ways:
    1. People no longer are "trapped" into keeping a job they don't like because of health insurance concerns.
    2. People can move to a job that they are enthusiastic about and maintain healthcare coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions or relative merits of insurance plans offered by the employers.
    3. Companies can make hiring and firing decisions free from consideration of the future cost commitments for company paid healthcare coverage.

    The productivity of a labor force thus freed from an artificial constraint will undoubtedly increase.

    Of course, there is another advantage of Obamacare (or any other universal coverage program which requires customer costs decisions to be made by the customer): Costs will be restrained by market forces. This was well discussed in the preceding comments.

    Now we can go back to arguing about how to increase the availability of healthcare coverage, be it ACA, ACA modified, single payer in some form (which I would argue does require customer cost control in some way or it will lead to rationing), or something else not mentioned.

    If Obamacare has a list of benefits, a major factor among them must be that there is now more widespread discussion of healthcare systems than before.
    Apr 4, 2015. 03:39 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Has Painted Themselves Into A Corner [View article]
    EK1949 - - -
    Mar 29, 2015. 02:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Has Painted Themselves Into A Corner [View article]
    Green Elmo - - -

    Yes, most of what I said is contentious and that is why I said it. Without contention where is a debate?

    What has been going on in this comment stream is a discussion on one level but at the highest level we are debating. Unfortunately there is more debating on Seeking Alpha than in Washington. :-(
    Mar 22, 2015. 02:47 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Has Painted Themselves Into A Corner [View article]
    Green Elmo - - -

    Your questions are all political and should be resolved politically. The way money is spent is a political decision and I was talking about how much money should be spent as a precondition to determine how it is spent.
    You can clearly start from your questions and work back to how much money.
    Bottom line, we are constrained to live within a political process and I feel that has been failing us.
    What Socialism is acceptable? As much as needed to provide basic safety nets but not so much as to suppress individual initiative, which is the driving force of economic advancement for any society.
    Unfortunately, I believe, the correct amount of Socialism at any time is not the right amount for many other times. So we are unlikely to be able to optimize "Socialism".
    Mar 21, 2015. 04:32 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Has Painted Themselves Into A Corner [View article]
    Logical Thought - - -

    We clearly have different definitions of money and different understanding of the differences between sovereign debt and non-sovereign debt. Since I expect you are confident in your understanding there is little we can discuss. My understanding is that the U.S. is not insolvent, can never be insolvent and all such discussion is done for political manipulation.

    You do not accept my understanding (based on your statement) so we have no common ground for discussion because I cannot endorse the concept of U.S. government debt as burden on our children. It is only a burden by political choice to subcontract the creation of money to private bankers.

    Private banking should be the business of the private sector and should not be a parasite on the public function. Get the government out of private finance and get private finance out of the government. That would be the end of TBTF and a return to more fundamental capitalism.
    Mar 21, 2015. 04:20 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Has Painted Themselves Into A Corner [View article]
    EK1949 - - -

    I probably did not express myself as clearly as I would wish. In the paragraph following the one you quoted (the one you said was wrong) I intended to make clear that the rest of the house was fiscal and that political incompetence by dragon fighters (in the age of mechanized weapons) were clueless.

    So I agree with your statement except for: "Good Fed policy with bad fiscal policy isn't a box for the Fed." I would argue that bad fiscal policy limits what the Fed can do effectively. Isn't that a "box"?
    Mar 21, 2015. 04:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Are Debt Levels Too High, Or Are Consumers Simply Not Feeling Rich? [View article]
    We will be discussing your linked article in the "What We Read Today" column at Global Economic Intersection within the next few days.

    Excellent analysis and should provoke some controversy. I will have to review the comments on your article on SA as well.
    Mar 4, 2015. 04:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Are Debt Levels Too High, Or Are Consumers Simply Not Feeling Rich? [View article]
    MudEngineer - - -

    You have a bargain. I know a "homeowner" who had a home just sold for $240,000 who paid over $11,000 in property taxes, mortgage interest ($140,000 balance, 28 years remaining on 30-year) and homeowners' insurance. That same individual moved to a $400,000 home and now has a $200,000 30-year mortgage with more than $17,000 for the same three categories.

    I know another party with a $450,000 market value home, $150,000 balance remaining on the mortgage with $19,000 annual expenses.

    The people are in a part of the country where I used to live and left more than 10 years ago. Couldn't afford it.
    Feb 28, 2015. 04:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Connecting The Dots - Oil And Accelerating Growth [View article]
    David - - -

    It's a great poker game.

    Major shale producers are claiming a steep learning curve and production costs coming down to $40 and even lower. The Saudis are claiming their production cost is $20. Both are likely bluffing. And the Saudis can only forego their large margin for a limited period of time - their sovereign wealth funds are not sufficient to carry their population support commitments for more than possibly a year.

    Either someone will fold or we will see all the cards - don't know which.
    Dec 28, 2014. 04:29 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nasty Storm Brewing In Trade [View instapost]
    Wouldn't we have to come up with a rationale for exports being affected more than imports to say work slowdowns impacted the numbers?
    Dec 20, 2014. 06:26 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Hav Existing Home Sales Volumes Finally Recovered? [View article]
    Peter - - -

    Great discussion of the sad state of financial corruption in the world. The U.S. may have led but the entire world had no problem following down the rabbit hole. We posted at Global Economic Intersection a couple of weeks ago the piece that you linked from FDL using the original manuscript provided to us by Prof. Galbraith. This is a great document describing what was understood over three years ago about the extent of financial fraud. Of course Bill Black is doing a great job of making sure we don't have an opportunity to forget.
    Dec 2, 2014. 02:00 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment