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Pondering energy’s future

first_imgEvery day, the United States sends $1 billion offshore to finance its appetite for fossil fuels, a situation recognized for decades as a threat to national security and energy independence.In 1974, President Richard Nixon was the first in a long line of chief executives to promise reductions in energy from abroad. But the percentage of U.S. oil imports since then has nearly doubled.Meanwhile, fossil fuels are the source of the greenhouse gases blamed for global climate change, an ongoing problem that has engendered another round of presidential promises. The Obama White House recently pledged to reduce such gases 83 percent by 2050, with 2005 as a baseline year.Reducing dependence on foreign oil and reducing greenhouse gases are the two major challenges of U.S. energy systems, a visiting federal energy official told a Harvard audience Tuesday (Sept. 21). To meet these challenges, he said, the government’s best role is to mitigate risk in the energy industry and to leverage innovation.Theoretical physicist Steven Koonin, undersecretary for science at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), opened this year’s Future of Energy lecture series, sponsored by the Harvard University Center for the Environment.Koonin is a rare veteran of all three spheres in the energy puzzle: academe, business, and government. He has been a professor and provost (California Institute of Technology), an industry chief scientist (BP), and since last year a federal bureaucrat. At the DOE, Koonin is the science office’s chief research officer. If you count last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he has influence over $100 million in funding for energy-related research, loans, and loan guarantees.Koonin offered a broad perspective in his session opening the series. Center director and climate scientist Daniel Schrag said that the next lecture — coming Oct. 12 by an executive whose company makes tiny $2,000 cars — will get down to the details of managing Earth’s energy future.Koonin told a capacity crowd at Science Center D that the U.S. energy business is complex, operates by calculating risk and profit in the long term, and approaches innovation slowly and conservatively. After all, he said, any decision on technology will create infrastructures — and costs — that last for decades.“The energy business is not simple,” said Koonin, “and the people in it are not troglodytes.”Nor are they venture capitalists, said Koonin. In that economic sector, risk and innovation are king, but profits get taken fast. “Exit time” is measured in years, not decades. And average funding pools — at $150 million — are not enough to prompt scaled-up change in energy systems. “The energy business,” said Koonin, “is not the venture capital business.”He said government does not have sufficient capital of its own to scale up the needed changes in energy systems, which remain largely in private hands. Change only will happen if it is profitable or mandated, said Koonin. Government tax credits are powerful incentives for change, he said. Wind industry installations went up when the credits were in place, and slipped when the credits disappeared.Government can also play a big role in the essential steps that Koonin outlined to improve energy security and reduce greenhouse gases. Among them:Promote vehicle efficiency. The technology is in hand to increase the fuel efficiency of American cars by 30 percent, for about $2,000 a vehicle.Conserve. Koonin offered “a sense of what is possible” in one example. If all motorists in Texas simply drove at the speed limit, U.S. gas consumption would come down 12 percent.Gradually electrify the U.S. vehicle fleet.Pursue unconventional fuels.Decrease the energy intensity of buildings. Heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilating use 40 percent of U.S. energy.Develop “smart grids” for energy transmission and storage. That means adding digital sensing, measuring, and control devices to increase reliability and efficiency.Set a price for carbon, by cap-and-trade or other means.Explore emerging technologies such as concentrated solar power and carbon capture and storage.Changing energy systems is difficult and slow, said Koonin, who reviewed the historical record from 1850 onward. Industry favors change on “decadal time scales,” he said. The gas-scrubbing systems for coal plants, for instance, took 40 years to develop and perfect.But government can help industry to manage the capital risk of energy innovation, said Koonin, and is already accelerating invention in what he called “a new set of research structures.” These include a network of national labs, the federal “energy hub” concept, and, for short-term projects, the federal Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy.Koonin’s decades of research often involved large-scale rapid computing, so he sees another bright side to the energy innovation picture: big and fast computer simulations of the kind that in the 1990s were used to replace U.S. nuclear testing. That alone, he said, accelerated computer technology by a factor of 10,000.The same predictive simulation capability can be focused on U.S. energy issues, said Koonin. “We need to do more of this, faster.”last_img read more

COVID-19 cases in prioritized provinces decrease, but still high: Task force

first_img“Deaths in the prioritized provinces accounted for 77.6 percent of the national figure. The number had increased to 80.4 percent by Sept. 20 but has decreased to 80.1 percent as of Sunday,” Wiku said during a press briefing on Thursday.Read also: COVID-19: Aceh, Bali added to list of prioritized provincesMeanwhile, the number of recovered patients in prioritized regions had decreased from 80.1 percent of the nationwide figure on Sept. 13 to 79.3 percent on Sunday.Wiku added that active cases were declining in all prioritized provinces except South Sulawesi, where they had increased from 20.7 percent on Sept. 13 to 23.9 percent on Sunday, and Papua, where active cases rose from 22.7 percent to 35.7 percent in the corresponding period.The spokesperson reasserted the importance of adhering to strict health protocols, emphasizing that washing one’s hands with soap could reduce transmission risks to 35 percent. Meanwhile, wearing a cloth and surgical mask could lower the chance of getting infected by 45 and 70 percent, respectively.Maintaining a safe physical distance was also important and reduces the risk of infection by 85 percent, said Wiku.Topics : The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases have decreased in 10 prioritized provinces, but the figure remains high at 67.6 percent of the official nationwide tally, according to the national COVID-19 task force.Regions prioritized for COVID-19 handling are Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, North Sumatra, South Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Papua, Banten and Aceh.Task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said the number of confirmed cases in the 10 provinces had decreased from 71.8 percent of the total cases nationwide on Sept. 13 to 67.6 percent on Sunday.last_img read more

Thursday people roundup

first_imgGreater Manchester Pension Fund – Paddy Dowdall has moved over to the £12.6bn (€15.1bn) Greater Manchester Pension Fund from Merseyside Pension Fund, where he was senior investment manager, with particular responsibility for alternatives. In his new post, Dowdall will co-ordinate regional investments made by GMPF. Merseyside has just finished advertising for a replacement and will make an appointment in due course.Ancala Partners – Vincent Gerritsen has joined Ancala, an infrastructure investment firm, leaving his post as senior investment manager in the infrastructure team at PGGM. Gerritsen will start his new role at the start of June and becomes a partner at the firm. While at PGGM, Gerritsen worked on several infrastructure projects, including two where Ancala was involved.Neuberger Berman – Andrew Wilmont has joined the fund manager as lead for its European high yield portfolio, based from London. WIimont joins the firm from Alcentra, where he was head of European high yield investments. He will report to Ann Benjamin, CIO of non-investment grade strategies.BNP Paribas Investment Partners – Cynthia Sweeney Barnes has joined the French asset manager as head of global segments for the EMEA countries. She will also be responsible for corporate and endowment clients, insurance companies, pension funds and official institutions. She joins from HSBC Global Asset Management, where she led the sales for corporates and official institutions. She will begin her London-based role next month. Pioneer Investments – Isabelle Spitz has been appointed senior sales manager for Switzerland at the French asset manager. Spitz, from Zurich, will be responsible for wholesale clients such as banks, independent asset managers and family offices.Allfunds Bank – Chris Edge, former managing director of JP Morgan in Luxembourg, is to join the firm to head up its Grand Duchy business. He will be responsible for driving the firms international expansion after over 20 years with JP Morgan in a variety of roles.last_img read more

Linda Lou McDole

first_imgLinda Lou McDole, age 55, of Vevay, Indiana, entered this life on August 8, 1962, in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, the daughter of the late, Gilbert Douglas and Emma Lee (Hankins) McDole. She was raised in Bennington, Indiana and was a 1980 graduate of the Switzerland County High School. She attended Ivy Tech Community College in Madison, Indiana and received her Administrators License in Indianapolis, Indiana. Linda was employed as a registered nurse in the intensive care unit for Carroll County Memorial Hospital and Green Valley Nursing Home in Carrollton, Kentucky. She was also employed for Silver Bell Nursing Home in Versailles, Indiana and Jackson’s Senior Citizen Home in Vevay, Indiana. Linda was a member of the Vevay Tri Kappa and Christian Missionary Alliance in Aurora, Indiana. Linda resided in Aurora, Indiana and in the Vevay community since 1978. Linda enjoyed reading, crocheting and horseback riding. Linda passed away at 3:55 a.m., Thursday, April 5, 2018, at the Swiss Villa Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Vevay, Indiana.Linda will be deeply missed by her brothers, Robert McDole of Vevay, IN and Paul McDole of Vevay, IN; her sister, Debbie Bamberger of Aurora, IN and her nieces and nephews.She was preceded in death by her parents, Gilbert Douglas and Emma Lee (Hankins) McDole; her brother, David Luther McDole died April 4, 2011 and her sister-in-law, Linda Joyce (Hash) McDole, died June 22, 2012.Funeral services will be conducted Monday, April 9, 2018, at 1:00 pm, by Rev. Mike Jones at the Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home, 208 Ferry Street Vevay, Indiana 47043.Friends may call 11:00 am – 1:00 pm, Monday, April 9, 2018, at the Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home, 208 Ferry Street Vevay, Indiana 47043. Memorial contributions may be made to the Vevay Tri Kappa. Cards are available at the funeral home.last_img read more