Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bodypercussion Mix

Cranky Old Man by Mak Filiser

It seemed like a usual nursing home with usual patients. However, in that dull space somewhere there was a man who was beautifully scripting about his life during his last days in a form of heart-touching poem. Mak Filiser, 86, died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home and since he had no visitors, the nurses believed that he left nothing behind of any real value.
But the day a nurse came to clean out Mak’s room after he passed on, everything changed. One of the nurses noticed something. It was a poem that Mak had written. She proceeded to read it and was so floored by his words that she ended up making copies of it and sharing with every employee at the nursing home. 
In today's world when children are leaving their parents at old age homes, this should be an eye opener. Our parents and grandparents raise us, care for us, and love us and then one day we forget all about them. The poem is entitled; “Cranky Old Man” and it no doubt give us some very valuable lessons. Take a look… 
Cranky Old Man by Mak Filiser
What do you see nurses? What do you see? 
What are you thinking…when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man…not very wise,
Uncertain of habit…with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food…and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice…I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice…the things that you do. 
And forever is losing…A sock or shoe? 
Who, resisting or not…lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding…The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse…you’re not looking at me. 
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still, 
As I do at your bidding…as I eat at your will. 
I’m a small child of Ten…with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters…who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen…with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now…a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty…my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows…that I promised to keep 
At Twenty-Five, now…I have young of my own. 
Who need me to guide…And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty…My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other…With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons…have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me…to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more…Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children…My loved one and me. 
Dark days are upon me…My wife is now dead. 
I look at the future…I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing…young of their own.
And I think of the years…And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man…and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age…look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles…grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone…where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young man still dwells, 
And now and again…my battered heart swells 
I remember the joys…I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living…life over again.
I think of the years, all too few…gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact…that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people…open and see.
Not a cranky old man.
Look closer…see…ME!!

Geyserville, CA once a SolEd customer Buys Solar Instead and Save at least 50%

The Sonoma County Water agency,  once a customer of SolEd Benefit Corp,  realizes huge saving  by purchasing solar equipment outright. The 60kw system is similar in size to the Marinwood CSD Solar project.  Marinwood CSD approved the SolEd contract at rates approaching 7 times the cost of a similarly purchased system.  Danlin Solar is the same electrical contractor for both projects but purchasing the solar system instead of a Power Purchase Agreement with SolEd will save at least 50% of the cost.

From the staff report from County of Sonoma

This item recommends the Chair to execute an energy services contract (Agreement) with Danlin Corporation for $145,082 for the design, construction, and maintenance of the Geyserville Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Project, located at the Geyserville Sanitation Zone Wastewater Treatment Plant ($139,986 for design/construction and $5,096 for five years maintenance).. 

HISTORY OF ITEM/BACKGROUND: In February 2013, the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Water Agency executed a Memorandum of Understanding with Strategic Energy Innovations to support the development and evaluation of an aggregated solar procurement solicitation for public agency facilities and to allow those facilities to participate in the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Fund program. Using a grant from the California Solar Initiative, Strategic Energy Innovations created a program for public agencies to participate in a regional group purchase of municipal solar projects. The program leverages the grant funding to defer upfront funds for planning, site assessments, and procurement activities while providing technical expertise and best practice knowledge. A similar SEED program was developed by Strategic Energy Innovations in the Silicon Valley, where aggregating 14.4 megawatts of solar projects realized economies of scale resulting in an estimated 12% reduction in solar PV proposal pricing. On behalf of the Water Agency and other SEED program participants, as the program administer, the City of San Rafael issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) in July 2013 for design-build solar energy projects at numerous public facilities in Sonoma, Marin, and Napa counties. The intent of the RFP was to Revision No. 20140617-1 56 develop 6.7 megawatts of solar PV projects across 32 candidate sites, including a 46 kW solar PV system at the Geyserville Sanitation Zone Wastewater Treatment Plant. The proposals received in November 2013 all showed favorable pricing. The City of San Rafael and some of the participating public entities, including the Water Agency, reviewed the proposals and interviewed the top proposers. The winning proposal team was comprised of Sunetric and SolEd Benefit Corporation as the financing and project integration arm and Danlin Corporation as the construction arm. While most program participants entered or planned to enter into power purchase agreements with the Sunetric team, the Water Agency could realize additional savings by purchasing the system outright. Sunetric and SolEd Benefit Corporation offered to withdraw from the team and allow Danlin Corporation to be the lone entity with whom the Water Agency could enter into design/build agreement under the original proposal terms and pricing. Danlin provided additional project experience documentation and project references that proved that Danlin as a stand-alone entity met the RFP experience and qualification requirements. The Water Agency’s Power Resources Fund aggregates all power production and consumption across all Water Agency enterprises. Geyserville Sanitation Zone Wastewater Treatment Plant would host the solar PV system; the Water Agency’s Power Resources Fund would fund the project and the Water Agency would own and operate the solar PV system. 

FINANCIAL ANALYSIS Currently, the Geyserville Sanitation Zone Wastewater Treatment Plant consumes approximately 93,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), which costs approximately $14,000 per year. A small portion (less than 5%) of this power is offset by an existing small wind turbine constructed in 2012 that was partially funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission. This solar PV project would generate additional power on site and save an estimated $11,850 in the first year of operation based on current electricity rates. Based on a capital construction cost of $139,986, the payback period of the project is 10 years. Even if energy rates rise more slowly than historical averages or maintenance increases faster than expected, the payback period would not extend beyond 12-14 years. Given the project has an estimated useful life of 25 years, this project has financial benefit to the Water Agency. 

Marinwood CSD got burnt on the Solar PPA deal. It was voted on without considering alternatives methods of financing or competitive bids from qualified solar providers. Just changing our rates with PGE can save us 30%!

Controlling soft costs wins “the lowest price ever for a solar PPA for distributed generation.”

Anatomy of a Deal: 4-Cent-per-Kilowatt-Hour Solar in Palo Alto

Controlling soft costs wins “the lowest price ever for a solar PPA for distributed generation.”

by Eric Wesoff
March 20, 2014

Palo Alto, California's municipal utility already has low electricity prices -- local recreation center Oshman Family JCC reported paying about 9 cents per kilowatt-hourat certain rate tiers. But THiNKnrg, an energy project developer, was able to provide the center with a 50 percent discount and close a deal with a twenty-year solar PPA price at 4 cents per kilowatt-hour.

This is a relatively small project -- it comprises 398 kilowatts spread across twelve rooftops. And although that doesn't compare in scale to, say, Austin's 5-cent-per-kWh, 150-megawatt PPA, the JCC project distinguishes itself by creatively financing a small project while keeping soft costs down.

The JCC's solar installation is a 397.5-kilowatt system powered by 1,840 Trina PV panels that have been factory-integrated with Tigo power optimizers and connected to KACO inverters. Mark Holtzman, CFO of the Oshman Center, said the PPA would save about $30,000 per year in electricity bills and an estimated $1.5 million in energy savings over the twenty-year contract.

"This is one of the more innovative deals we have done," said Zach Rubin, CEO ofTHiNKnrg. The PPA takes advantage of the usual 30 percent investment tax credit, plus a generous five-year, 29-cent-per-kilowatt-hour performance-based incentive (PBI).

Rubin acknowledged that an aggressive PBI made the deal work at 4 cents -- but suggested that absent the PBI, this project could still compete with the fossil-fuel-based power from most utilities. (Austin Energy's net sub-five-cent price does not include any state PTC and works out to a non-subsidized price that still can compete with fossil fuels in the 13 or 14 cents per kWh range.)

Rubin said that Palo Alto had been "great with permitting" despite the city's self-described "reputation as being a very difficult place to get approval and pass inspections for solar panel installations." In fact, the city has overhauled its permitting process and driven down time to permit issuance from 122 days to three days. The utility also claims to have halved the frequency at which plans are returned with corrections. These are the kind of soft-cost savings that can make or break a project.

Another source of soft-cost savings, according to the project developer, was in the use of a standard template for the various tax appetite entities that "didn't require a lot of back-and-forth," according to the CEO, who added, "Closing costs and transaction costs can kill a deal." (Join the developer of this project, Zach Rubin -- along with Vikram Aggarwal, CEO of EnergySage, and Kristen Ardani, Solar Markets and Policy Analyst at NREL -- for "Cracking the Code on Soft Costs" at the Solar Summit in Phoenix next month. I will be moderating that panel and hope to see you there.)

A distinguishing financial feature of this project is the fact that Conergy, with its owner Kawa Capital Management, a private equity firm, accessed the tax equity appetites of a small pool of individuals, according to the CEO. Conergy "closed one of the first leveraged tax equity partnership structures with individual investors who could utilize the investment tax credits," said John Marciano, Partner at Chadbourne and Park and tax counsel for Conergy and Kawa, in a release about the project. He continued, “This is a landmark transaction, one of the first leveraged partnership structures to successfully close with individual investors."

Rubin revealed that the project sold for $2.87 per watt and had a sub-$2.50-per-watt installed cost. The developer makes a margin and "JCC gets a discount to their electric rate and a reduction in demand charges."

Technologically, the site stands out as Trina's largest installation using the integrated Tigo optimizers. Rubin said that Tigo optimizers were an easy decision to make on economic terms. "In a PBI-based system, you want to extract every kilowatt-hour."

Here are some vital statistics on the project:

Eduardo Manzur of THiNKnrg was kind enough to provide this flow chart of the moving parts that go into a project of this nature:

Palo Alto Mayor Nancy Shepherd noted the complexity of this public-private-nonprofit partnership and restated her goal for Palo Alto to be the greenest city in the world. Located in Northern California, Palo Alto is the home of Stanford University, Packard's garage, a high concentration of venture capitalists, and a crop of high-tech startups that occasionally build useful things. The city estimates that meeting its goal of being 100 percent carbon-neutral will cost the average ratepayer about $3 per year.

Does a 4-cent-per-kilowatt-hour PPA price accurately reflect the true cost of solar?

It does in this deal.

Every PPA, whether or not it is based on a renewable source, relies on its own ecosystem of subsidies, tax breaks and financial engineering to make it work -- which makes 4-cent-per-kilowatt-hour solar as real as this project in Palo Alto.

Editor's Note:  Marinwood got burnt with a 20 year contract that locks us into paying up to $.30 kwh  .  This is 7.5 times more expensive that Palo Alto!

Marinwood CSD is getting burnt by a bad solar deal at 30 cents kwH

Sacramento Municipal Utility District warns people not to pay more than 12.6 per Kilowatt Hour for Solar!

The Average Rate for Solar is $.08 cents to  $.12.6 cents per kilowatt Hour.  If you are quoted a higher price , shop around advises the Sacramento Municipal Utility District HERE  Marinwood CSD contracted with SolEd at an eye popping $.30 cents kwH. Ouch!

Marinwood CSD got burnt with a bad Solar deal at 30 cents kwH

Looking for solar answers?

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Most Important Election in Marin since the 1960s!

Marin is under massive pressure to redevelop into a high density urban corridor much like the East Bay. Gone forever will be our quiet suburban-rural lifestyle which will be replaced with apartment blocks, trains and buses.  Schools will be overcrowded and our taxes will increase to cover the burden for the huge non profit developments like the ones planned for Marinwood Lucas Valley.

Our most important election in decades is happening now.  

In Marinwood Lucas Valley, the county is our functional government and determines our zoning, housing allocations, road repair and future development.  To date all of the Supervisors have been using our weak political status to force development in our neighborhood.  Although we have elected a good friend in Supervisor Damon Connolly, he needs a majority to protect us from over development.

This is why I hope you will join me and other Marinwood Lucas Valley residents in support of these candidates:

Check out their websites.  They are all for local control and have been active in the local political scene standing up for the citizens against the over development of Marin. They are the our future.

We will Save Marin (again)! 

The Rebels with a Cause Saved us from Marincello in the 1960s

Santa Monica Residents take back their Development from Politicians.

See the webpage of the Residocracy HERE

The Residocracy Santa Monica LUVE Initiative will:

  • Give voters the right to decide how much development is right for Santa Monica.
  • Protect the existing low-rise character of the beach town that we LUVE.
  • Eliminate incentives given to developers in the new Zoning Ordinance to demolish existing buildings and replace them with larger, taller, denser developments.
  • Preserve our open skies, ocean breezes, and quality of life.
  • Protect renters by stopping the gentrification of neighborhoods and the demolition of existing rent-controlled apartments that are being replaced with non-rent-controlled buildings.
  • Prevent traffic from getting even worse.
  • Get special interests out of our City Hall.

The Residocracy Santa Monica LUVE Initiative will empower residents by requiring voter approval for:
  • Development Agreements
  • Development above the Tier 1 level  (2 to 3 stories across most of the city and 4 stories in downtown Santa Monica)
  • Major amendments to planning policy documents, such as the general plan, any specific plan, the Zoning Ordinance, and the official LUCE maps and zoning district maps

Thursday, March 17, 2016

ABAG-MTC - Merger Meeting - Mar 14, 2016 - Novato City Hall

Coming Soon to Marinwood CSD!

Marin’s pension liability grows as earnings miss mark

By Nels Johnson, Marin Independent Journal

The county pension board’s investment earnings assumption fell more than 30 percent short last year and the system’s unfunded liability is rising, but a preliminary analysis indicates contribution rates can be cut at the Civic Center and the Novato Fire Protection District.
San Rafael, however, faces a hike in contribution rates in light of growing debt.
Although pension investments yielded 5.01 percent, less than the pension board’s assumption of 7.25 percent growth, a “smoothing” program under which past gains exceeding assumption rates are allocated over five years enables a dip in payments next fiscal year.
Pension administrator Jeff Wickman said the system’s assumption that the stock market will enable pension investments to grow 7.25 percent a year “is one of the most conservative in the county systems.” He added that the Marin pension program performed “in the top 10 percent of public pension funds as measured by our investment consultant, Callan Associates.”
Wickman said that “although missing the target return increased the cost of the plan, deferred investment gains from prior years offset this increase.” He added that “the overall impact of all gains and losses produced a slight reduction in the preliminary net employer contribution rate for the plan and the projected employer contribution rates for Marin County and Novato Fire for the upcoming fiscal year.”  See the full Story in the Marin IJ

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Price of Solar Energy in the United States Has Fallen to 5¢/kWh on Average

Price of Solar Energy in the United States Has Fallen to 5¢/kWh on Average

Berkeley Lab study reveals 70% decline in PPA prices since 2009

Solar energy pricing is at an all-time low, according to a new report released by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Driven by lower installed costs, improved project performance, and a race to build projects ahead of a reduction in a key federal incentive, utility-scale solar project developers have been negotiating power sales agreements with utilities at prices averaging just 5¢/kWh. These prices reflect receipt of the 30% federal investment tax credit, which is scheduled to decline to 10% after 2016, and would be higher if not for that incentive. By comparison, average wholesale electricity prices across the United States ranged from 3 to 6 cents/kWh in 2014, depending on the region.
Solar report coverKey findings from Berkeley Lab’s latest “Utility-Scale Solar” report – which each year draws upon large volumes of empirical data to identify key trends in project costs, performance, and pricing among ground-mounted solar projects larger than 5 megawatts (MW) – include the following:
Installed project costs have fallen by more than 50% since 2009. Median up-front project costs have dropped from around $6.3/W in 2009 to $3.1/W for projects completed in 2014. Some projects built in 2014 were priced as low as $2/W, and the 20th percentile of the sample declined sharply from $3.2/W in 2013 to $2.3/W in 2014. (All numbers are reported in AC watts and 2014 dollars.)
Newer solar projects generate electricity more efficiently. Projects completed in 2013 performed at an average capacity factor of 29.4% (in AC terms) in 2014 – a notable improvement over the 26.3% and 24.5% average 2014 capacity factors realized by projects built in 2012 and 2011, respectively. This improvement among more-recent project vintages is due to a combination of several trends: newer projects have been sited in better solar resource areas on average, and have increasingly oversized the solar collector field and/or employed tracking technology to increase energy capture.
Solar power purchase agreement prices have fallen to new lows, making solar an increasingly cost-competitive option for utilities. The improvements in up-front installed costs and capacity factors mentioned above have helped to drive power purchase agreement (PPA) prices to new lows, with PPAs now regularly being signed at prices of 5 cents/kWh or less. Particularly in the Southwest where the solar resource is strongest, there appears to be a deep market at these low prices, as evidenced by several recent utility solicitations for solar energy that have been heavily oversubscribed, with many of the unsuccessful projects offering prices similar to the winning projects. Declining PPA prices have also made utility-scale solar increasingly competitive outside of the traditional stronghold of the Southwest, with recent contract announcements in states like Arkansas (at ~5 cents/kWh) and Alabama (at ~6 cents/kWh) that have not previously seen much solar development.
A strong pipeline of projects under development reflects utility-scale solar’s increasing competitiveness. There were nearly 45,000 MW of solar capacity making their way through various interconnection queues across the country at the end of 2014 – more than five times the installed capacity base at the time. In another sign of a broadening market, much of the new solar capacity that entered these queues in 2014 is located in regions outside of California and the Southwest, such as Texas and the Southeast. Though not all of the capacity in these queues will ultimately be built, presumably most of those projects that are able to proceed will try to reach commercial operation prior to 2017, when the 30% federal investment tax credit is scheduled to decline to 10%. This looming deadline suggests a frenzied pace of construction over the next 15 months – as well as a wealth of new data to analyze in future editions of this report.
This work was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
# # #

Editors Note:  The Marinwood CSD signed a deal with SolEd benefit corp on Feb 8, 2016 at an eyepopping $.30 cents per KW.  They may have violated the law in their bid process. Many citizens provided competitive information that could have saved us thousands.

The Marinwood CSD refused to listen to competitive offers on the Solar Project

Developers win with “smart growth” rule

Developers win with “smart growth” rule

New rules would make it harder to raise environmental challenges to projects that cause urban congestion

With a big assist from the state Legislature, the SF Planning Department opened a new front in the city’s density wars last week. On Thursday, staff asked the Planning Commission to eliminate “automobile delay,” measured by Level of Service (LOS), as a significant impact on the environment—that is, as a possible basis for a Environmental Impact Report—and to replace it with “vehicle miles traveled” (VMT).
That means that a proposed project could no longer be challenged on the basis of the traffic congestion it would generate.
Touted as an anti-sprawl policy, this change is really an aggressive pro-development maneuver that sacrifices on-the-ground quality of life to the dystopian fantasies of “smart” growth.
Unfortunately, for now the defenders of neighborhood livability have lost this battle. As planning staff observed, the switch is mandated by SB 743, which was passed by the California legislature in September 2013.
However, the state bureau that’s prepared the technical guidelines associated with the change, The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, has said that the new rules won’t be finalized until they’re certified by the California Natural Resources Agency in about a year.
Nevertheless, the Planning Commission voted 6-0 to adopt the replacement of LOS by VMT.
At the Planning and Conservation League’s annual conference at UC Davis on February 27, I asked OPR Senior Counsel Christopher Calfee how San Francisco could jump the gun. Nodding knowingly, Calfee said that because the city is also its own congestion-management agency, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, it has the authority to do this.
SFCTA — Not to be confused with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency — is the sub-regional transportation planning programming agency for the city. Pursuant to state law, the Transportation Authority is a separate legal entity from the City and County of San Francisco, with its own staff, budget, operating rules, policies, borrowing capacity, board, and committee structure. But the agency is deeply enmeshed in the politics and governance of the city: its board comprises the Board of Supervisors. (The SFMTA board, appointed by the mayor, is just as deeply enmeshed.)
At the Planning Commission’s March 3 meeting, staff from Planning, the SFCTA, and the SFMTA filed up to the podium to urge adoption of the LOS-to-VMT switch. Genuflecting to smart growth, they argued that designating traffic congestion as an environmental impact privileges automobility and thereby encourages sprawl and discourages walking and biking. Traffic engineers grade the movement of cars through intersections; a grade of E or F could trigger an EIR and result in widening a street and removing sidewalks and bike lanes, they said.
The smart growthers’ larger argument against LOS is that speeding up car traffic is likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions. By contrast, they contend, limiting the distances people drive—and judging proposed developments by the amount of driving they’re likely to induce—addresses air quality and climate change.
Moreover, the traffic congestion standard puts infill projects at a disadvantage. By its very nature, infill is a latecomer to a place. In an already congested area, the traffic generated by a new infill project can easily tip the LOS into E or F territory, rendering the development vulnerable to a challenge from opponents on CEQA grounds. VMT, by contrast, is hospitable to infill, because infill increases density and mixes uses (housing, shops, offices), making it easier for people to do what they need to do without a car.
In a January 20 op-ed published in the Chronicle, Sarah Bernstein Jones, the Planning Department’s director of environmental planning and the city’s environmental review officer, offered the example of “a new development in the dense South of Market neighborhood with 300 new housing units and local retail on the ground floor.”
While a relatively small number of cars would be added as a result of this project, they would be in an area with highly congested intersections. Under current guidelines, this could lead to a conclusion that the project might add to traffic congestion and require several years and millions of dollars spent [by the developer] to prepare an environmental impact report.
If the same development were assessed on the basis of the amount and distance of automobile it would generate, no EIR would be required.
See the full Article in 48 Hills  HERE
The Smart Growth Parade of Dunces.