Tag Archives: South Africa

Solar beats coal

This is what you call a paradigm shift: the energy source that made the industrial revolution take off 200 years ago, coal, is being beaten down in price by the energy source Thomas Edison recommended 80 years ago: the sun.

Sandra Enkhardt wrote for PV Magazine 24 April 2012, Germany: PV makes coal power unprofitable,

“Photovoltaics destroys the economics of coal power plants,” stated MD of the Association of Coal Importers, Erich Schmitz. Given the increasing amounts of green electricity from the wind and sun, it is questionable whether investment in new coal plants by energy companies Eon, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBW will pay off, since the plants must be turned off if there is enough green energy being fed into the grid.

Already back 9 February 2012 Lars Paulsson and Marek Strzelecki wrote for Bloomberg Europe Coal Loses to South Africa on Renewables: Energy Markets,

Germany’s biggest program of solar- and wind-power production has driven European coal prices below South Africa’s for the first time in 10 months….

Coal prices in Europe have fallen 7.5 percent this year as nations increase the amount of energy they get from alternative sources. Germany, the continent’s biggest power market, installed a record 3,000 megawatts of new solar panels in December, the Bonn-based Bundesnetzagentur, the network regulator, said. Coal stockpiles at the biggest storage site in the Netherlands are 6.7 percent above year-ago levels, according to Europees Massagoed-Overslagbedrijf BV, which operates the terminal.

So if solar is beating coal’s price down and Germany installed 3 gigawatts of solar PV in December while installing none of coal, which is the alternative now? Wouldn’t coal be the poor alternative while solar is the main act?


PS: Owed to Michael Noll.

Time to divest from private prison companies

It’s time to stop private prison profiteering by refusing to take their profit: divest private prison company stock from personal, pension, and church funds.

There’s no need to speculate that private prison companies have incentive to keep more people locked up: CCA says so. Kanya D’Almeida wrote for IPS 24 August 2011, ‘Profiteers of Misery’: The U.S. Private Prison Industrial Complex:

CCA’s 2010 annual report states categorically that, “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws — for instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

CCA continues, “Legislation has been proposed in numerous jurisdictions that could lower minimum sentences for some non-violent crimes and make more inmates eligible for early release based on good behaviour, (while) sentencing alternatives under consideration could put some offenders on probation who would otherwise be incarcerated. Similarly, reductions in crime rates or resources dedicated to prevent and enforce crime could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities.”

What’s this got to do with Georgia? Continue reading