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Triple Crunch Log                                                                                                            

electricity bill. Homesun, ISIS Solar and A Shade Greener are three of the firms planning to do a deal with more than 120,000 homeowners by 2015, with Homesun promising to fit 2,000 homes in the next 12 months. But homeowners would almost certainly be better off paying for the solar panels themselves, even taking into account interest on a loan for the upfront cost of around £10,000 for a typical home.  … Under the "free solar" model, a homeowner would save in the region of £2,750 on energy bills over 25 years, the length of the tariff offer. By paying for their own panels with a loan at 7.7% interest repaid over 10 years and earning income from the feed-in tariff, they could save around £6,506 over the same period. … Since the tariff started on 1 April, 12.12 megawatt peak (MWp) of solar panels have been installed at 4,822 homes, up from 3.8MWp in 2007, 4.42 MWp in 2008 and 5 MWp in 2009. Solar panel makers are responding to the demand, with Sharp announcing it will double annual production at its UK plant to 500 MW in December. The Wrexham plant, which currently employs 750 people. … One UK solar energy company, SolarCentury, has seen its direct employees and network of installers rise from 200 staff in January to 350 now and predicts it will employ more than 500 by 2011. … The government predicts the cost will be around £8 on every energy bill by 2020.”689

Toxins levels are rising rapidly in tar sands tailings ponds: the volume of arsenic and lead has  26 per cent in last four years, and mercury and heavy metals are rising fast, Environment Canada says. FT: “The companies also released huge amounts of pollutants into the air last year, including 70,658 tonnes of volatile organic compounds, which can damage the function of human organs and nervous systems, and 111,661 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, a key contributor to acid rain. …. The numbers “are just ridiculously huge,” said Justin Duncan, a staff lawyer with Ecojustice who helped prosecute the 2007 court case that forced Environment Canada to release the data.690

Matthew Simmons, peak oil guru, dies in an accidental drowning at his home. On June 16, Simmons announced his retirement as chairman emeritus from Simmons & Co. so he could focus on the Ocean Energy Institute.691 NYT: “With the fate of the global economy hinging on a reliable energy supply, it is dangerous to blindly trust big oil producers’ own estimates of their reserves. Any transition away from oil, after all, would need to be planned for decades in advance. Mr. Simmons’ quest for more information should not die with him.”692

Skype I.P.O. could help Silicon Valley, where the average VC fund has made no money since 1998. NYT: “Skype’s initial public offering may add a dose of healthy hype to Silicon Valley. The Internet telephone group’s $100 million float should be red hot. … If its estimated 2011 revenue of $1 billion is valued on the same multiple as Google, the company might be worth more than $5 billion. That would be a huge gain for the private equity backers at Silver Lake who led Skype’s carve-out from eBay, clarified copyright issues with its founders and tweaked its software. They valued it at $2.75 billion at purchase in 2009. Valuing Skype in line with Google may sound optimistic. But there’s the issue of scarcity — the $100 million sale of stock is minuscule. This could set off a scramble for the available shares, sending them rocketing. The Valley needs a bit of this sort of ebullience. Venture capitalists are sitting on a huge backlog of companies that could go public, which is one reason the average fund established since 1998 hasn’t made any profits for investors.” 693

10.8.10. Fed downgrades recovery outlook, and shifts from tightening to easing. FT: “The US Federal Reserve on Tuesday took a first step toward extending its crisis-era monetary policy regime, as it downgraded its view of the economic outlook amid rising fears of a double-dip recession. Meeting in Washington, Fed monetary policymakers agreed to begin reinvesting more than $150bn (£95bn) in annual proceeds from maturing mortgage-backed and agency securities into Treasury debt, halting plans to allow a natural shrinkage of the $2,300bn balance sheet the US central bank built up during the recession. The move signals a significant shift in thinking at the Fed, which only a few months ago was tilting towards tightening monetary policy to fend off inflation as the economic recovery gathered strength.”694

How Britain's homes could make deep emissions cuts cost-free. British homeowners can green their properties using government loans – and visit one of 50 functioning 'superhomes' before committing. Guardian: “The government's “Green Deal” hopes to accelerate this push, offering householders loans of up to £10,000 for energy efficiency improvements and installation of domestic renewable energy sources. “pay as you save” loans, designed to overcome the upfront financial obstacles such as the average £12,000 price of solar panels, should start in late 2012. Under the scheme, the cost of the loan repayments – which are tied to the property, not the owner – should be outweighed by the savings on householders' energy bills.”695

Greenland ice sheet faces “tipping point in 10 years,” unleashing 23 ft sea-level rise over the century to follow, scientists tell Congress. Guardian: “The entire ice mass of Greenland will disappear from the world map if temperatures rise by as little as 2C, with severe consequences for the rest of the world, a panel of scientists told Congress today. Greenland shed its largest chunk of ice in nearly half a century last week (100 sq miles), and faces an even grimmer future, according to Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University. “Sometime in the next decade we may pass that tipping point which would put us warmer than temperatures that Greenland can survive," Alley told a briefing in Congress, adding that a rise in the range of 2C to 7C would mean the obliteration of Greenland's ice sheet. The fall-out would be felt thousands of miles away from the Arctic, unleashing a global sea level rise of 23ft (7 metres), Alley warned. Low-lying cities such as New Orleans would vanish.”696

Russian fires raise fears of radioactive smoke drifting towards Moscow. There is growing alarm in Moscow that the heatwave and choking fumes could augmented now by plumes of radioactive smoke from regions coated with fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster 24 years ago. NYT: “Russia has a history of whitewashing potentially embarrassing national disasters, a lingering legacy of the Soviet era. It took days for the Soviet government to inform its people of the Chernobyl explosion, leaving thousands unknowingly exposed to deadly radiation.”697

BP spill suits to be heard in New Orleans, the geographical and psychological heart of the disaster. A judicial panel orders scores of damages lawsuits launched against them to be heard in New Orleans, not Texas. FT: “The judicial panel ordered initial proceedings in the Gulf of Mexico cases to be heard by Judge Carl Barbier, who has come under pressure from some quarters to recuse himself because he once held bonds issued by Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon platform where an explosion first started the spill, and Halliburton, a contractor on the rig.”698

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