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Japanese windfarm survives earthquake and tsunami

Amidst all the bad news coming out of Japan I thought this was a nice piece of good news.

From CP:

Despite assertions by its detractors that wind energy would not survive an earthquake or tsunami the Japanese wind industry is still functioning and helping to keep the lights on during the Fuksuhima crisis.

Colleagues and I have been directly corresponding with Yoshinori Ueda leader of the International Committee of the Japan Wind Power Association & Japan Wind Energy Association, and according to Ueda there has been no wind facility damage reported by any association members, from either the earthquake or the tsunami. Even the Kamisu semi-offshore wind farm, located about 300km from the epicenter of the quake, survived. Its anti-earthquake “battle proof design” came through with flying colors.

Mr. Ueda confirms that most Japanese wind turbines are fully operational. Indeed, he says that electric companies have asked wind farm owners to step up operations as much as possible in order to make up for shortages in the eastern part of the country:

“Eurus Energy Japan says that 174.9MW with eight wind farms (64% of their total capacity with 11 wind farms in eastern part of Japan) are in operation now. The residual three wind farms (Kamaishi 42.9MW, Takinekoshirai 46MW, Satomi 10.02MW) are stopped due to the grid failure caused by the earthquake and Tsunami. Satomi is to re-start operations in a few days. Kamaishi is notorious for tsunami disaster, but this wind farm is safe because it is locate in the mountains about 900m high from sea level.” (more…)

By |2011-03-19T05:56:03-04:00March 19th, 2011|Environment|Comments Off on Japanese windfarm survives earthquake and tsunami

Friday Evening Grab Bag

  • There has been an attempt by Al Qaeda to ship explosives in cargo jets. The exact details of the plot have not been revealed. The exact variety of explosives has not been revealed. Exactly how the explosives were to be detonated has also not been revealed. Update: From LAT – “One of the packages was found aboard a cargo plane in Dubai, the other in England. Preliminary tests indicated the packages contained the powerful industrial explosive PETN, the same chemical used in the Christmas attack, U.S. officials said. The tests had not been confirmed.

  • The GDP did rise in the third quarter although the economy is still sluggish.
  • The Democratic candidate for Senate in Florida, Kendrick Meek, has made headlines because he staying in the race. Polling clearly shows that he’s about to get trounced in Tuesday’s election. Rumors began to fly that former president Bill Clinton asked him to drop out of the race. Both he and Clinton denied this. All I know is Kendrick Meek has not run a very good campaign. If he could solidify the Democratic base, he should be able to easily win as the moderate Republican, Charlie Crist and the ultraconservative, Marco Rubio, would split the conservative vote.
  • The owner of a McDonald’s franchise in Canton, Ohio, told his employees that unless the Republicans win, the employees can’t get raises.
  • Verizon has been ordered to pay an additional $25 million on top of a $52 million refund to its customers for overcharging. This is the largest fine in FCC’s history. Ripping off Americans seems to have become a sport to American big business.
  • It looks as if we’ve spent $18 billion to reconstruct Afghanistan. That’s the good news. The bad news is we really don’t have a good way to track reconstruction dollars and have no way of knowing whether the money went to pay off Afghan warlords or to build bridges and schools, according to a new report. (More on this here and full report here.)
By |2010-10-29T19:17:21-04:00October 29th, 2010|Al Qaeda|Comments Off on Friday Evening Grab Bag

Can Chris Dodd step to the plate and fix Wall Street before leaving the Senate?

From TP:

One question bouncing around news outlets today is what Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) retirement means for the regulatory reform effort. Does it make him more or less likely to compromise on key parts of the bill, including the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA)?

It’s hard to discern whether Dodd’s retirement will lead him to give in on a host of issues (as one “gleeful” financial services lobbyist told Politico it would) or compel him to put “it all on the line to get what he wants, bipartisanship be damned.”

But one thing is for certain: Dodd’s retirement means that the regulatory reform effort needs to wrap up this year, as Dodd’s likliest successor as chairman is Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), a very bank-friendly Democrat who would almost certainly produce a worse product. And this point hasn’t escaped Republicans, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out:

At the same time, [Dodd’s] decision gives Republicans the incentive to draw out the process until after next year’s elections when a more business-friendly Democrat could ascend to the banking panel’s chairmanship. Next in line on the committee is Sen. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.), generally seen as more receptive to industry concerns.

According to Roll Call, “Senate Democrats said that no palace intrigue is expected to take place with the Banking panel” and that Johnson will take the gavel. So Republicans and the financial industry have ample motivation to gum up the works until Dodd is all the way out.

This same concern arose when it looked like Dodd might take the helm of the Senate HELP committee following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. Back then, Tim Fernholz wrote that “it would be bad news for regulatory reform if Johnson took over the [banking] committee; he’s received nearly a million dollars from the financial industry in the last 20 years.”

Johnson was the only Senate Democrat to vote against a credit card reform bill last year, and the banking industry has focused on him as one of the Democrats most likely to torpedo the CFPA. “No one is pro-industry today but he’s been historically very receptive,” said a top financial services lobbyist of Johnson. “He’s been sensitive to the impact of legislation on the financial service industry given the large number of jobs he represents.”

Even if Dodd gets a regulatory reform bill passed, as the investment research firm Concept Capital pointed out, Johnson’s chairmanship would likely result in other efforts to rein in banks going by the wayside. “His elevation to chairman should put to restworries over interchange and interest rate caps,” the firm wrote.

There is one note of good news amidst all this, however: Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal will be running for Dodd’s seat, and he has been a strong advocate for consumer financial protection.

By |2010-01-06T20:20:19-04:00January 6th, 2010|Economy, Party Politics, Senate|Comments Off on Can Chris Dodd step to the plate and fix Wall Street before leaving the Senate?
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