source bloomberg

edited by kcontents

By Joe Ryan

2017년 10월 3일

President Donald Trump may soon have a chance to prove wrong the notion that economics will kill the U.S. coal industry and keep clean energy thriving.

Two initiatives pending in Washington -- one to prop up large traditional power plants and a second to impose tariffs on solar panels -- could let Trump upend wholesale electricity markets and tip the advantage away from renewables.

The moves, which both invoke laws that haven’t been used in a decade, come as Congress begins debating a White House tax plan that may undermine a key source of financing for clean energy. Together, they raise questions about whether falling costs will be enough to keep wind and solar thriving under a president intent on supporting fossil fuels.

“The general direction of travel seems pretty clear,” said Ethan Zindler, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst. “And if all of those things fall into place, they are not great news for renewables.”

source CNNMoney

edited by kcontents

‘Radical Proposal’

The most recent development came Friday, when U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to change its rules to help coal and nuclear plants compete in wholesale power markets. The request, citing an obscure, 30-year-old statute, is designed to promote national security by rewarding plants capable of storing 90 days of fuel on site.

The proposal may help coal and nuclear plants remain in operation even if they’re not economical to run, leaving fewer opportunities for developers to build new wind and solar farms, analysts said. It would be a significant shift from FERC’s largely free-market approach to governing, and it’s unclear if the three-member commission -- two of whom were nominated by Trump -- will adopt the rule.

“This is a very radical proposal,” said Miles Farmer, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “FERC doesn’t have to listen to the DOE -- at all.”

Trade groups representing the oil, gas, wind and solar industries are united in opposition to the plan, submitting a joint motion Monday calling on FERC to reject the Energy Department’s request.

Looming Tariffs

The push to impose tariffs on imported solar panels didn’t come from the White House, but the issue will soon be on the president’s desk.

Suniva Inc., a bankrupt panel manufacturer, filed a trade complaint in April under a law that hadn’t been successfully used since 2002. The company argued it was crippled by a flood of cheap panels imported into the U.S. from Asia and elsewhere. Now the U.S. International Trade Commission has until Nov. 13 to recommend the size, scope and duration of any tariffs to Trump, who has the final say.

Most of the U.S. solar industry opposes the effort, arguing that inexpensive foreign panels have driven a boom in clean energy projects and created tens of thousands of jobs. If panel prices rise, development will slow, companies say.

‘‘Tariffs at the level the petitioner has proposed would be devastating,” Solar Energy Industries Association Chief Executive Officer Abigail Ross Hopper said in a phone interview Monday.

Tax Implications 

Wind and solar accounted for more than half of the new capacity added to U.S. grids in the past two years, thanks to two economic trends. The first is low natural gas prices, which have driven down the price of electricity and forced record numbers of aging coal-fired generators to close. The second is that wind and solar farms have become much cheaper to build, making them an attractive replacement for shuttered fossil-fuel plants.

That trend could suffer collateral damage from Trump’s tax plan. Wind and solar companies depend backing on financing from large banks, insurers and other backers that take advantage of federal credits through tax-equity financing -- a financing mechanism that lets businesses buy from renewable-energy developers tax credits that they can apply to their own tax bills. If corporate rates fall, investors will have less need for write-offs, potentially damping demand for this type of investment.

Economics, however, are not the only drivers of wind and solar. State laws requiring utilities to source a portion of their electricity from renewables play an important role. So do dozens of large companies that have pledged to power their operations entirely with wind and solar, including Bank of America Corp., General Motors Co. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Those dynamics are unlikely to change, said Impax Asset Management Director Ken Locklin, whose firm has $9.4 billion under management. And in the long run, it’s unlikely Trump will slow wind and solar’s momentum, he said.

“Perhaps there will be temporary headwinds,” Locklin said. “But they are political delays against a fundamental economic argument that will win out.”

— With assistance by Brian Eckhouse


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Nobel prize in medicine winners: Award given to scientists who explained the mysteries of the biological clock

The researcher is a reminder of the importance of keeping regular sleep patterns

source The New Indian Express

The 2017 Nobel Prize winners in medicine, physics, chemistry, peace, economics, and literature

edited by kcontents

Andrew Griffin @_andrew_griffin 

The 2017 Nobel Prize in medicine has been given to three scientists “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”, or the biological clock. Their work helped illuminate one of the central mysteries of human life: why we need sleep, and how it happens.

Jeffrey C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W Young were given their award for understanding the mysteries of how life tracks time and changes itself according to the movement of the sun.

Circadian rhythms are the ways that the body keeps itself regulated with the passing of the day, and that the process can affect sleep, behaviour, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism. They show why disturbed sleep – like in the case of jet lag, or people with insomnia – can have terrifying knock-on consequences, like an increased risk of various diseases.

The researchers discovered that all types of life on Earth – from plants to humans – regulate their body clock using the sun, with special technologies inside the body. They showed how the body clock can disrupt the central ways the body works, including things like metabolism, and explained how if it is thrown off it can cause huge problems for people and other parts of life.

The researchers “were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings”, according to the Nobel committee’s citation for the more than $1m (£750m) prize. The discoveries “explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions”, it said.

The work didn’t reveal any tips for regulating our own circadian rhythm or improving sleep, said experts. But it was a reminder of the importance of doing so – and of keeping good sleep hygiene, by ensuring that people maintain good sleep patterns and keep themselves in sync with the sun, they said during the press


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Nobel Prizes 2017: Facts About the Secretive Process and Peculiar Past

These revered awards have a complicated history.

By Michelle Z. Donahue


The mere mention of the Nobel Prize conjures images of inspired scientists, exemplars of peace, and meditative writers. Though the prizes are well respected, a rich tangle of lore has grown around them during the 116 years they have been awarded, driven in part by the secrecy inherent in the selection process.

Intended to recognize scientists, artists, and diplomats who work to improve life for all humanity, the prizes were established in 1895 at the bequest of Swedish inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel. Though Nobel carried his rationale for each prize category into the grave, in life, he had a keen interest in physics, chemistry, medicine, and literature—four of the five original prize disciplines.

The fifth, for peace, is thought to have been inspired by his deep friendship with Austrian pacifist Bertha von Suttner. A sixth prize, for economics, was created by the Swedish National Bank in 1968 and named in Nobel’s honor. (Read about 10 huge discoveries that should've been Nobel Prize winners.)


The committees responsible for choosing prize recipients do so under strict rules of secrecy, and originally the proceedings were meant to be kept private forever, says Gustav Källstrand, curator of the Nobel Museum in Stockholm and a Nobel history expert. Now, details of the process for each round of consideration are kept secret for only 50 years.

Strict adherence to the official rules has created some tricky situations over the years. For instance, despite the Nobel Foundation’s requirement that prizes be awarded only to living recipients, Canadian immunologist Ralph M. Steinman was awarded a 2011 Nobel for medicine posthumously.

The selection committee had known he was dying of pancreatic cancer, but because the deliberations had to be kept secret, “they couldn’t keep calling to check in on how he was doing,” Källstrand clarifies.

The honor was announced on a Tuesday; unbeknownst to the committee, Steadman had died just three days prior. But because he had been alive when the prize was decided, the decision was allowed to stand.

View Full Text



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Details of Saudi's $3bn New Taif project revealed

by Neha Bhatia on Oct 2, 2017 

Details have been revealed about the New Taif development in Saudi Arabia, worth $3bn (SAR11bn).  

Saudi Arabia's New Taif project will cost $3bn [image: SPA].


edited by kcontents

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, inaugurated the project at Al Salam Palace.

New Taif comprises an airport, Souq Okaz city, a technology hub, a residential suburb (pictured), an industrial city, and an educational city. 

The King was briefed on the New Taif projects by Dr Saad Mohammad Mareq, Advisor to Governor of Makkah Region.

Mareq said New Taif is located north-east of the current city of Taif, and spans 1,250km2.

source eTurboNews

edited by kcontents

Saudi's General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) has signed a contract to support the development and operation of the new Taif airport with a consortium comprising Asiad, the Contractors Association Co, and Munich Airports.

Worth $826m (SAR3.1bn), the airport, spanning 480ha, will be completed in 2020, state news agency, SPA, reported.

Meanwhile, Souq Okaz city will span 100ha, and create 4,400 jobs in the kingdom. 

Project development will also be open to private sector participation.

The private sector will be offered 18 projects to develop, ranging from recreational parks and heritage shopping villages to environmental camps and shopping complexes, according to SPA.

Up to 1,250 hotel rooms, and 130 housing units, will be developed as part of the project, under the supervision of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.  



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ESA’s Jam Session & Moon Village Kick-off

Thursday 28 September 2017, 13:45 – 15:15

Location: Adelaide Convention Center – Hall C


Dietrich Woerner

edited by kcontents

By Moon Village we do not mean some development planned around a cluster of houses, some shops, a pub and a community centre. Rather, the term “village“, in this context, refers to the following key notions: a village community is what emerges when a group of people join forces in one place without any concrete plans for the future and without first sorting out every detail, instead simply come together with a view to sharing interests and capabilities. It is this principle that forms the basis for the Moon Village concept.

Moon Village is open to any and all interested parties, private or public – villagers of every nationality are more than welcome. There are no stipulations as to the form their participation might take: robotic and astronaut activities are equally sought after. One might envisage not only scientific and technological activities taking place there but also activities based on exploiting resources, and even tourism. It is precisely the open nature of the concept which would allow many nationalities to go to the Moon and take part while leaving behind them on Earth any differences of opinion they may have. But you would no longer have to worry about the need for a common docking port.

If you are interested in being part of the Moon Village community, please send us an e-mail ( explaining your ideas and possible contributions you wish or plan towards building the Moon Village. You’ll receive a “Declaration of Interest” to sign, which you can send us back beforehand or hand it over at the end our session in Adelaide. The event will be closed with a glass of Champagne.


Johann-Dietrich Woerner

Director General,

European Space Agency




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Engineering News-Record Top Lists

ENR attempts to bring structure to an otherwise huge and chaotic construction industry by performing annual surveys of its key segments, and ranking companies engaged in general contracting, specialty contracting, engineering, architecture and environmental services, among other specialties. The rankings, based on annual revenue at home and abroad, are further divided into specific market categories. ENR Sourcebooks take that market analysis to a more detailed level by ranking industry leaders in particular market subsets. NOTE: Analyses marked with a PDF icon require an annual ENR paid subscription to access.

Top Design Firms | Top Contractors | Top Environmental Firms | Top Green Design Firms | Top Green ContractorsTop International Design Firms | Top Global Design Firms | Top International Contractors | Top Global Contractors | Top Specialty Contractors | Top 100 Design-Build Firms | Top 100 CM-for-Fee Firms | Top 100 CM-at-Risk Firms | Top 50 Program Managers | Top Chinese Design Firms | Top Chinese Contractors




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Japan Starts Mining Hydrothermal Deposits

Japan has carried out the world’s first mining and lift test of hydrothermal deposits at about 1,600 meters depth in the ocean near Okinawa, the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) confirmed earlier this week.

The success of this test, which reportedly extracted zinc and other metals, should be a major step toward establishing the technologies required for ocean mineral resource development.

In addition to the results of this test, Japan plans to carry out economic evaluation such as resource amount assessment and environmental survey. According to the Ministry, the first test confirmed that there is no serious influence on the surrounding environment.

Large hydrothermal deposit found off coast 

of Iheya Island

edited by kcontents

“We are planning to comprehensively promote efforts towards commercialization of submarine hydrothermal deposits by promoting economic evaluation and environmental investigation,” the Ministry said in a statement.



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Contractors Hoist 28K Pound Scaffold to Top of Seattle Space Needle Ahead of Renovation

Scaffold being raised to top of Space Needle, via the Space Needle

September 28, 2017 Shane Hedmond


The Seattle Space Needle is not a normal building, which makes it a unique project to try to renovate. The iconic building is set to receive a $100 million renovation dubbed the Century Project that promises much better views thanks to new floor to ceiling exterior glazing. To prepare for the project, construction crews recently hoisted a 28.000 pound ring of scaffold to the tower’s Tophouse, around 400 feet in the air. 

According to Komo News, it took crews around a week to build the massive scaffold and will take another 2 weeks for them to enclose it to protect them against the upcoming weather. A spokesperson with the Space Needle told Komo that raising a scaffold to the top of the needle had never been done before and a great plan by the contractors, led by General Contractor Hoffman Construction Co., allowed them to stay open for business during the scaffold hoisting procedure.

The project is scheduled to be complete by June of 2018.



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Average Hourly Wage of Carpenters, By State

September 27, 2017 Shane Hedmond

In our weekly quest to analyze each individual construction profession by state, we’ll examine carpentry.  The two previous professions we examined were general construction laborers, followed by heavy equipment operators.  You can also see the full list of all past and future professions by clicking here.

source The Canadian Magazine of Immigration

edited by kcontents


Wood is one of the world’s oldest building materials and, since the time it was first used as a building material, carpenters have existed.  Carpentry can range from fine woodworking and cabinet making to rough framing and anything in between.  It’s interesting to note that carpentry is one of America’s most male-dominated professions, accounting for 97.9% of all carpenters as recently as 2016.


Rankings of Average Hourly Wage of a Carpenter, by State

51. Arkansas--  $16.74/hour

50. South Dakota--  $16.81/hour

49. North Carolina--  $17.10/hour

48. Mississippi--  $17.45/hour

47. Alabama--  $17.70/hour

46. Idaho--  $17.70/hour

45. Nebraska--  $17.71/hour

44. Tennessee--  $18.22/hour

43. Texas--  $18.27/hour

42. New Mexico--  $18.39/hour

41. Utah--  $18.66/hour

40. Louisiana--  $18.75/hour

39. Florida--  $18.84/hour

38. Oklahoma--  $19.00/hour

37. South Carolina--  $19.02/hour

36. Maine--  $19.03/hour

35. Montana--  $19.41/hour

34. Georgia--  $19.49/hour

33. Arizona--  $19.83/hour

32. North Dakota--  $20.05/hour

31. Kansas--  $20.11/hour

30. Virginia--  $20.20/hour

29. Iowa--  $20.26/hour

28. West Virginia--  $20.40/hour

27. Kentucky--  $20.59/hour

26. Indiana--  $20.81/hour

25. Colorado--  $20.95/hour

24. New Hampshire--  $21.47/hour

23. Vermont--  $21.48/hour

22. Michigan--  $21.80/hour

21. Ohio--  $22.20/hour

20. Delaware--  $22.23/hour

19. Wyoming--$22.60/hour

18. Oregon--  $22.91/hour

17. Pennsylvania--  $23.37/hour

16. Nevada--  $23.48/hour

15. Maryland--  $23.56/hour

14. Minnesota--  $23.73/hour

13. Wisconsin--  $24.08/hour

12. Rhode Island--  $24.16/hour

11. District of Columbia--  $24.43/hour

10. Missouri--  $25.34/hour

9. Connecticut--  $25.72/hour

8. California--  $26.82/hour

7. Washington--  $26.96/hour

6. Massachusetts--  $28.58/hour

5. New Jersey--  $29.03/hour

4. New York--  $29.76/hour

3. Illinois--  $29.99/hour

2. Hawaii--  $33.15/hour

1. Alaska--  $33.64/hour

Graph of Average Hourly Wage of a Carpenter - Adjusted for Cost of Living, by State

Cost of living in each state also has a large impact on the amount of money construction trades actually bring home, so the graph below shows each state's adjusted hourly wage based upon the cost of living index for that state.  All cost of living index data comes from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center and was last updated for the second quarter of 2017.  The cost of living index was based upon grocery, housing, utilities, transportation, health, and miscellaneous costs for each state.

Rankings of Average Hourly Wage of a Carpenter - Adjusted for Cost of Living, by State

51. Hawaii--  $11.14/hour

50. District of Columbia--  $11.38/hour

49. California--  $14.59/hour

48. Oregon--  $15.65/hour

47. Maine--  $16.80/hour

46. South Dakota--  $16.88/hour

45. Maryland--  $17.20/hour

44. North Carolina--  $18.02/hour

43. Rhode Island--  $18.77/hour

42. Arkansas--  $18.85/hour

41. New Hampshire--  $18.89/hour

40. Florida--  $19.12/hour

39. Nebraska--  $19.16/hour

38. Idaho--  $19.24/hour

37. Montana--  $19.27/hour

36. South Carolina--  $19.29/hour

35. Alabama--  $19.35/hour

34. New Mexico--  $19.48/hour

33. Utah--  $19.54/hour

32. Virginia--  $19.76/hour

31. Louisiana--  $19.76/hour

30. Massachusetts--  $19.86/hour

29. Mississippi--  $19.98/hour

28. Texas--  $19.99/hour

27. Tennessee--  $20.15/hour

26. North Dakota--  $20.27/hour

25. Colorado--  $20.34/hour

24. New York--  $20.36/hour

23. Arizona--  $20.52/hour

22. Vermont--  $20.86/hour

21. Oklahoma--  $20.94/hour

20. West Virginia--  $21.24/hour

19. Georgia--  $21.32/hour

18. Connecticut--  $21.48/hour

17. Delaware--  $21.74/hour

16. Iowa--  $21.90/hour

15. Kentucky--  $21.97/hour

14. Kansas--  $22.18/hour

13. Nevada--  $22.21/hour

12. New Jersey--  $22.50/hour

11. Indiana--  $22.72/hour

10. Pennsylvania--  $23.00/hour

9. Wyoming--$23.39/hour

8. Alaska--  $23.41/hour

7. Minnesota--  $23.78/hour

6. Ohio--  $23.91/hour

5. Michigan--  $23.91/hour

4. Wisconsin--  $24.71/hour

3. Washington--  $24.80/hour

2. Missouri--  $27.90/hour

1. Illinois--  $30.83/hour




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