Duke Energy hampering investments in NC Solar farms

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It's all about the duration of contracts:

One of the nation’s biggest solar developers is challenging Duke Energy’s purchases of solar energy in a case before the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The complaint by California-based Cypress Creek Renewables focuses on an arcane topic – the term of power-purchase contracts by Duke. But its outcome could affect the way the solar industry continues to grow in the nation’s second-largest solar state.

Cypress Creek approached Duke about power purchase agreements for six large solar farms, totaling 400 megawatts, before Duke had filed its competitive-bids proposal. But Duke offered only five-year contracts instead of the longer terms usual for big projects.

This article is dated (February), but a very recent piece in the paywall-protected Charlotte Business Journal reported that Solar farm connections are down some 75% due to this new approach by Duke Energy to manipulate Solar growth in NC. Cypress Creek is a Santa Monica-based company, and has been very successful in rounding up investment dollars for NC Solar farm projects. But that measly five year contract is a killer, seriously undermining the return on investment (ROI) formula that has been so successful here. Like always, being in control is at the top of Duke Energy's list of priorities:

Disabily Rights NC files lawsuit to push for home care

Breaking free from institutional roadblocks:

Advocates for people with disabilities are suing to force North Carolina officials to do more to keep thousands of people out of institutions. The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Disability Rights North Carolina says 10,000 people are waiting for services needed to let them live outside institutions.

The group says taxpayers now house disabled people in state-operated or privately run centers costing about $150,000 a year per resident, while providing needed services outside the institutions would be less than $60,000 per year.

Even if those cost numbers were around the break-even mark, "quality of life" issues alone should propel leaders to pursue the home care model. But to save the state $90,000 per-year per-person? That seems like a no-brainer, to me. Unless somebody's profiting from the institutional model and doesn't want that gravy train derailed. Wouldn't be the first time that factor was in play, especially when you take a step back and look at the for-profit prison formula plaguing our nation.

Thursday News: Folwell's Folly

TOP ADMINISTRATOR FOR STATE HEALTH PLAN RESIGNS, LEAVING HUGE EXPERIENCE GAP: Mona Moon, who has been the executive administrator in charge of day-to-day operations for the N.C. State Health Plan for the last four years, has abruptly resigned. “It’s a loss to the State Health Plan,” said John Hammond, a former member of the health plan’s board of trustees and a professor emeritus at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. “She knew the ins and outs of the healthcare system.” Folwell recently has overseen the hiring of two officials with no previous experience in health insurance or health care into director-level positions at the health plan. He has said that he hired people with “integrity, ability and passion” who could implement changes that are needed.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article152352622.html

Wednesday News: NC SNAP recipients in deep trouble

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TRUMP BUDGET COMPOUNDS NC SENATE'S CUTS TO FOOD STAMPS: North Carolina food stamp users, already at risk of having their eligibility limited, found Tuesday that the Trump administration agrees with the cutbacks. President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget, unveiled Tuesday, has $190 billion in cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which serves more than 40 million Americans. Some conservative Republicans expressed concern about the cuts. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., said, “What bothers me is that too many times some who don’t have as much as the average citizen, who’s looking out for them?” “Many people do need it,” Jones said of SNAP recipients. “If you’re talking about saving money, where’s the money going? Is it going to pay for tax cuts? That’s not fair, if it’s true.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article152219127.html

Tuesday News: Lock him up

FLYNN LIED ABOUT FOREIGN RELATIONSHIPS WHEN SEEKING SECURITY CLEARANCE: Former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn appears to have lied to federal investigators last year about who paid for his 2015 trip to Moscow during a Defense Department inquiry into the renewal of his top-secret security clearance, a leading Capitol Hill Democrat said Monday. Flynn has been implicated on several grounds, including that he lied in denying that he had discussed the U.S. sanctions against Russia during post-election phone calls and that he may have violated a federal law by failing to promptly register as a foreign agent last fall because his consulting firm had accepted more than $500,000 from a Dutch company with ties to Turkey.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article152018577.html

The NC GOP's intentional deception exposed by Supreme Court

Getting your lies tangled up will eventually bite you in the ass:

The State’s contrary story—that politics alone drove decisionmaking—came into the trial mostly through Hofeller’s testimony. Hofeller explained that Rucho and Lewis instructed him, first and
foremost, to make the map as a whole “more favorable to Republican candidates.”

The District Court, however, disbelieved Hofeller’s asserted indifference to the new district’s racial composition. The court recalled Hofeller’s contrary deposition testimony—his statement (repeated in only slightly different words in his expert report) that Rucho and Lewis “decided” to shift African-American voters into District 12 “in order to” ensure preclearance under §5. See 159 F. Supp. 3d, at 619–620; App. 558. And the court explained that even at trial, Hofeller had given testimony that undermined his “blame it on politics” claim.

Before you ask, I don't know. I've only read part of this decision, which upholds the lower court decision, so it appears the maps will need to be redrawn. Or the already re-drawn maps will now be used. Better minds than mine (easily found) need to be mined for an assessment. I'll try to follow-up with more info, but just to be clear: This decision only affects Congressional Districts, not Legislative. Districts 1 and 12, to be exact, but that also means surrounding Districts will be changed as well. Progress.

The legacy of Cherie Berry: Employers stealing from workers

And of course it's the bottom rung getting shafted the worst:

This report looks specifically at employers’ failure to pay the minimum wage to their employees at in the 10 most populous states, including North Carolina, and reveals the magnitude of the impact of wage theft on the low income workers who are least able to withstand it.

Workers in the food and drink industry suffer the highest rates of minimum wage violations, followed by agricultural workers (some of whom are not covered by minimum wage laws), leisure and hospitality, and retail workers. Unsurprisingly, women, young people, people of color, non-citizens, workers with lower levels of education, unmarried, workers, and workers without the protection of a union contract are disproportionately affected, though that is primarily because they are also more likely to be low wage workers.

For some reason, this reminds me of those cat videos, where the feline is perched on a counter top, steadily knocking items off onto the floor in contempt. Berry is that cat, knocking off various groups of workers whom she judges not worthy of her care or consideration. But this national report comes as no surprise to those who have been following her dereliction of duty for so many years:

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