Husky Injection to sell

first_imgHusky Injection to sellHusky Injection Molding Systems has announced it is putting itself up for sale. They have opened an auction for a Canadian global leader that ranks consistently among the country’s best places to work and the most environmentally conscious corporations.Husky has a factory in Milton, Vermont, which employs 350 people on a 700-acre campus. This facility is one of four plants in the world that makes equipment which is used in the plastic industry for Husky, stated Dirk Schlimm, Husky’s vice president of corporate affairs. The other facilities are located in Luxembourg, China and Ontario.Husky is the world’s largest brand-name supplier of factory machinery to make plastic products ranging anywhere from soda bottles to car bumpers. Husky has considered selling part or all of the company’s shares or coming up with a combination with another business. Founder and major shareholder Robert Schad, who owns 44 percent of the company, is considering selling his shares. The second-largest shareholder is AIM Funds, with 13 percent.Citigroup Global Markets has been hired by Husky as their financial adviser, but there is no certainty that the company will actually be sold.Schad believes that the current market valuation does not reflect their strong competitive position, which Husky has worked to improve over the past decade. Schad stated that over the past decade, Husky has worked to develop their leading technology platform, expand their markets and distribution network, improve their operations and build a strong management team.The company had a net loss of $7.7 million in its first quarter, which ended October 31. A year earlier the loss was recorded at $9.3 million, as sales increased to $191.5 million from $175.9 million.The Husky campus was founded in 1953 as a small machine shop by Schad after he immigrated from Germany. The production campuses are surrounded by pesticide-free landscaping and include perks such as exercise rooms and healthy-choices cafeterias.His first product, a snowmobile called the Huskymobile failed, before he found the company niche in specialized mold making. High-speed injection molding machines were added in the 1960’s.In the 1970’s, Husky began making systems to produce forms for polyethylene terphthalate. Husky now claims 70 percent of the global market for soda-bottle machinery. It has also spread into automotive, packaging and telecommunications applications.last_img read more

NATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED SPEAKERS DESCRIBE TOOLS FOR TRANSFORMING HEALTH CARE AT FREE CONFERENCE WEDNESDAY

first_imgFor Immediate Release Contact: Kathy Parry (802) 371-3205October 8, 2007NATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED SPEAKERS DESCRIBE TOOLS FOR TRANSFORMING HEALTH CARE AT FREE CONFERENCE WEDNESDAYBurlington — A free conference Wednesday featuring national and state authorities on health care will focus on the evolving impact of consumer choice and information technology on the delivery and cost of health care.The conference is the eighth in a highly-acclaimed series of health care symposiums sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont that are designed to advance the publics understanding of major issues facing the states health care system.The event is open to the public and will be held Wednesday, October 10, 2007 from 8:15 to 1:15PM at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in South Burlington. Interested members of the public may register at www.bcbsvt.com/symposium(link is external) or call BCBSVT for more information at (802)371-3205.Presenters include Dr. Regina Herzlinger, Harvard Business school professor and award-winning author of Who Killed Health Care? and other books on health care reform. Dr. Herzlinger will describe the role of consumer choice in health care.Dr. Scott Gottlieb is a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Gottlieb will address national trends surrounding technology and health care reform.Greg Farnum, president of Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL) will discuss VITLs vision for a health information exchange network to share real-time clinical information among health care providers across Vermont to improve patient outcomes while reducing service duplication and decreasing the rate of health care spending.Dr. Danielle Ofri, assistant professor of medicine at New York University and an attending physician at Bellevue Hospitals medical clinic and an award-winning author, will speak about maintaining focus on the patient as human being through the health care reform process.Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the state’s oldest and largest private health insurer, providing coverage for about 180,000 Vermonters. It employs over 350 Vermonters at its headquarters in Berlin and branch office in Williston, and offers group and individual health plans to Vermonters. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available on the Internet at www.bcbsvt.com(link is external). Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.(End)last_img read more

Marriott opens Fairfield Inn & Suites Hotel in White River Junction

first_imgMarriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR; http://www.marriott.com(link is external)) opened the 67-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in White River Junction, VT on Friday, June 4, 2010.  Located at 102 Ballardvale Drive, the Fairfield Inn & Suites White River will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned and managed by Butson Hotel Investments of Williston, VT.  Located with easy access to I-89, I-91, Route 4 and Route 5, the hotel offers guests convenient access to Dartmouth College, Upper Valley Aquatic Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the VA Medical Center.  Rates begin at $139 per night. We are pleased to introduce Fairfield Inn hotels in the White River Junction area, said Brian King, senior vice president, Select Service and Extended Stay Brand Management, Marriott International.  This hotel offers business and leisure travelers convenient, quality accommodations at an affordable price.  We look forward to welcoming guests and providing the friendly service that sets Fairfield Inn apart.The new Fairfield Inn & Suites public space features an innovative and contemporary design that is both flexible and functional. The open and bright new lobby welcomes guests with a vibrant color palette of greens, blues, and oranges. Thoughtfully designed suite rooms offer separate living, working and sleeping areas and include an additional television, microwave, and mini-fridge. The sleeping area features plush mattresses, downy blankets and crisp linens to create a truly revitalized bedroom experience. The bright, spacious living area provides a well-lit work area, ergonomic chair, and entertainment area with a second television and CD/stereo. Additional in-room amenities include an ergonomic desk chair, hair dryer and two phones with free local calls.A complimentary continental breakfast is available each morning in the lobby area.  Other hotel amenities include an exercise room, valet laundry service, free high-speed Internet and fax and copy service.  The hotel also offers 1,120 square feet of meeting space to accommodate small meetings and functions of up to 72 people.Launched in 1987, Fairfield Inn has become a leader in the moderate tier category.  With more than 580 properties throughout the United States, guests can rely on Fairfield Inn to meet their lodging needs wherever their travels take them.  Fairfield Inn participates in the company s award-winning Marriott Rewards® frequent guest program.  Members earn their choice of points toward free vacations or frequent flyer mileage for dollars spent at more than 3,100 Marriott hotels worldwide.Source: Marriott. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/lebfi(link is external)————————————-last_img read more

CVPS ranks third in JD Power customer satisfaction rankings

first_imgResidential customers of electric utility providers indicate that their monthly electric bill amounts have declined and power reliability has improved from 2009, resulting in a notable increase in overall satisfaction, according to the JD Power and Associates 2010 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study released today. Central Vermont Public Service ranked third in the East for mid-sized companies and PSNH ranked eighth.The study measures customer satisfaction with electric utility companies by examining six key factors: power quality and reliability; price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; and customer service.Residential customer satisfaction with utility companies averages 630 on a 1,000-point scale in 2010—increasing from 618 in 2009. In 2010, customer-reported bill amounts have decreased by 5 percent from 2009. Power reliability has also improved, with customer-reported service interruptions decreasing by 8 percent. Overall, 37 percent of customers indicate experiencing no power interruptions in 2010, compared with 33 percent in 2009.When outages do occur, utility companies are doing a better job of communicating with their customers about power restoration, as well as meeting estimated restoration times in 2010, compared with 2009.”Utility companies are continuing to improve when it comes to managing customer expectations around power outages and restoration of service,” said Jeff Conklin, senior director of the energy and utility practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Even though outages can have a negative impact on satisfaction, utility providers who manage these incidents properly—by providing sufficiently detailed information about the outage and restoring power when they say they will—may be able to mitigate declines, or even improve satisfaction.”The study finds that 11 percent of customers have contacted their utility company regarding an overdue bill amount. While overall satisfaction is particularly low among these customers (611, on average), efforts taken by utility companies to assist customers with their bills may substantially raise satisfaction. In particular, among customers whose utility companies waived their late payment fees, satisfaction averages 704—well above the industry average, and also higher than satisfaction among customers who didn’t have an overdue balance (634, on average).Fulfilling key performance indicators may have a substantial positive impact on customer satisfaction with electric utility companies. In particular, among customers who say that their utility delivered on five key performance indicators—such as making customers aware of community outreach activities and conservation programs—satisfaction averages nearly 275 points higher than satisfaction among customers whose utilities performed only one key indicator.The study also finds that fewer than one in six residential customers say they are aware of actions taken by their utility to implement smart grid and smart meter technology. While overall awareness of utility actions to implement smart grid technology is relatively low, awareness has increased slightly during the past year, from 12 percent in July and August 2009 to 16 percent in April and May 2010.However, when residential customers are aware of smart electricity technology and their utility’s actions around it, overall satisfaction with the utility company increases notably. This presents an important opportunity for utility companies seeking to increase customer satisfaction, which often has significant bearing on rate case decisions.The study ranks large and midsize utility companies in four geographic regions: East, Midwest, South and West. Companies in the midsize utility segments serve between 125,000 and 499,999 residential customers, while companies in the large utility segment serve 500,000 or more residential customers.East RegionAmong large utilities in the East region, Central Maine Power ranks highest for a third consecutive year. Following in the segment rankings are PPL Electric Utilities and Public Service Electric and Gas, respectively.In the East region midsize utility segment, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative ranks highest for a third consecutive year, followed by Rochester Gas & Electric and Central Vermont Public Service, respectively.Midwest RegionMidAmerican Energy ranks highest among large utility companies in the Midwest region for a third consecutive year. Xcel Energy—Midwest follows MidAmerican Energy, while KCP&L ranks third in the segment.Omaha Public Power District ranks highest among midsize utility companies in the Midwest region and receives an award in the study for a 10th consecutive year. Following Omaha Public Power District in the segment are Indianapolis Power and Light and Kentucky Utilities, in a tie.South RegionDuke Energy—Carolinas ranks highest among large utility companies in the South region. Following Duke Energy—Carolinas in the rankings are Oklahoma Gas and Electric and CPS Energy, respectively.Jackson EMC ranks highest among midsize utility companies in the South region, followed by NOVEC and Santee Cooper, respectively.West RegionSalt River Project ranks highest in the West region large utility segment and receives an award in the study for a ninth consecutive year. Following Salt River Project in the segment rankings are Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Portland General Electric, respectively.Clark Public Utilities ranks highest among midsize utility companies in the West region for a third consecutive year, followed by Tacoma Power and Intermountain Rural Electric Association, respectively.The 2010 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 85,000 online interviews conducted from July 2009 through May 2010 among residential customers of the 121 largest electric utility brands across the United States, which collectively represent more than 93 million households.Customer Satisfaction Index RankingEast Region: Large Segment(Based on a 1,000-point scale)Central Maine Power646PPL Electric Utilities630Public Service Electric and Gas620PECO Energy619Allegheny Power617Penelec612NSTAR609Jersey Central Power & Light607East Large Segment Average605Duquesne Light602New York State Electric & Gas602Baltimore Gas and Electric600Pepco600National Grid599Con Edison Company of New York595Appalachian Power584Long Island Power Authority581Connecticut Light & Power579East Region: Midsize SegmentSouthern Maryland Electric Cooperative662Rochester Gas & Electric635Central Vermont Public Service624Met-Ed612Penn Power611Atlantic City Electric608East Midsize Segment Average607Public Service of New Hampshire604Western Massachusetts Electric603Delmarva Power597Orange & Rockland591United Illuminating584Central Hudson Gas & Electric579Midwest Region: Large SegmentMidAmerican Energy687Xcel Energy—Midwest656KCP&L655We Energies653Alliant Energy646Duke Energy—Midwest632Indiana Michigan Power630Westar Energy625Midwest Large Segment Average624AmerenUE621Detroit Edison621Ohio Edison617Consumers Energy611AEP Ohio608ComEd605Ameren Illinois Utilities599The Illuminating Company599Midwest Region: Midsize SegmentOmaha Public Power District693Indianapolis Power & Light656Kentucky Utilities656Wisconsin Public Service646Louisville Gas & Electric638Midwest Midsize Segment Average629Dayton Power & Light608Toledo Edison601Empire District Electric587NIPSCO587Vectren586Kentucky Power584South Region: Large SegmentDuke Energy—Carolinas  656Oklahoma Gas and Electric655CPS Energy654Progress Energy Carolinas651Georgia Power650Alabama Power647Florida Power & Light645South Large Segment Average640Dominion Virginia Power636Entergy Louisiana634South Carolina Electric & Gas632Entergy Arkansas611Tampa Electric610Progress Energy Florida598South Region: Midsize SegmentJackson EMC707NOVEC690Santee Cooper688SECO Energy684Sawnee EMC682Clay Electric Cooperative676Southwestern Electric Power665Mississippi Power659Xcel Energy—South658EPB656Austin Energy650Pedernales Electric650Middle Tennessee EMC649Entergy Mississippi648Gulf Power647Huntsville Utilities645Orlando Utilities Commission645South Midsize Segment Average643Entergy Texas635Cobb EMC632Nashville Electric Service632Cleco Power630Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative630Knoxville Utilities Board627Public Service Co. of Oklahoma615JEA602Lee County Electric Cooperative602Memphis Light, Gas & Water599West Region: Large SegmentSalt River Project708Sacramento Municipal Utility District691Portland General Electric677APS661Southern California Edison658Rocky Mountain Power651West Large Segment Average648Pacific Power645Puget Sound Energy645San Diego Gas & Electric644Pacific Gas and Electric643Xcel Energy—West627L. A. Dept. of Water & Power609NV Energy607West Region: Midsize SegmentClark Public Utilities720Tacoma Power665Intermountain Rural Electric Assoc.664Colorado Springs Utilities663Seattle City Light662Snohomish County PUD657Idaho Power656Tucson Electric Power654West Midsize Segment Average652Avista648El Paso Electric646PNM634NorthWestern Energy615About J.D. Power and AssociatesHeadquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.About The McGraw-Hill CompaniesFounded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a global information and education company providing knowledge, insights and analysis in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading brands including Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2009 were $5.95 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/(link is external).  Source: JD Power. WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., July 14, 2010 /PRNewswire/ —last_img read more

Essex Junction woman wins Ralph Nading Hill writing contest

first_imgJane C Graiko of Essex Junction, Vermont, is the winner of the 2010 Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. Literary Prize awarded annually by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Life magazine.Graiko’s winning story, titled “Heart Sounds,” is a first person account of a woman in a coma, struggling to understand her situation through brief periods of perception. “My head throbs, neck aches, toes tingle. My fingers feel solid and unbending like lower branches on a 60-year-old oak. Bits and pieces of conversations float around me and I discern that I — builder of rock walls, planter of vegetable gardens, and gatherer of winter’s wood — have for days or weeks been considered touch and go. But what did I touch and where did I go?”The reader slowly learns what has happened through her confused memories of a car, a deer and walking in the woods, with a disastrous result.Mary Hegarty Nowlan, one of the judges and editor of Vermont Life, commented, “Ms. Graiko’s submission was selected as the winner because it was a very moving tale not only of a woman’s struggle to emerge from a coma, but ultimately of the love between a grandmother and granddaughter. Ms. Graiko’s creative approach to telling her story caught the attention of all the judges.”At the University of Vermont, where she has worked since 1986, Graiko coordinates an academic-based scholarship program for first generation college students with limited financial resources. She has been writing since age 10 and has extensive non-fiction credits, but this is her first published fiction. Graiko began her career as a reporter for the Syracuse Post Standard and also worked for Stone & Webster, writing newsletters and press releases. Graiko began her life in Rhode Island, but has lived in Vermont longer than any other place.”Heart Sounds” appears in the fall issue of Vermont Life, which is now available in bookstores and on newsstands.Graiko will receive a $1,500 prize for the short story. The literary prize is named for the late Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., a Vermont historian and writer and long-time member of Green Mountain Power’s Board of Directors.This is the 21st year that the Ralph Nading Hill Literary Prize has encouraged writers in Vermont and it is now considered by Vermont writers to be one of the state’s premier literary prizes. Entries may include essays, short stories and poetry.The selection was made by an independent panel of judges: Mary Hegarty Nowlan, editor of Vermont Life; Tom Slayton, past editor of Vermont Life; Tony Marro, retired executive editor of Newsday; Alison Freeland, a 1994 winner of the Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., award for her story, “Shadbush”; Brian Vachon, retired vice president of communications at National Life of Vermont and a former Vermont Life editor; and Steve Terry, retired Green Mountain Power senior executive.The deadline for entries for this year’s contest is November 15, 2010. The contest is open to all Vermont residents, including seasonal residents and college students enrolled in Vermont colleges. Entrants may be amateur or professional writers. The focus of the work must be “Vermont — Its People, the Place, Its History or Its Values.” Entries must be unpublished and less than 1,500 words long. Staff of Vermont Life or Green Mountain Power and previous winners are ineligible. Send entries to the Corporate Relations Department of Green Mountain Power, 163 Acorn Lane, Colchester, VT 05446.Source: GMP. 9.19.2010last_img read more

UVM wins $3 million for Interstate Fiber Optic Network, lake research

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,The new cyberinfrastructure will provide capacity that has not previously existed for sharing large data sets among the North East Cyberinfrastucture Consortium states: Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Delaware. Increasingly, advances in science rely on gigantic collections of data. And the analysis and sharing of these datasets rely on gigantic electronic pipelines–advanced fiber optic networks with far greater bandwidth than conventional internet services can provide — connecting many researchers and far-flung institutions.Which is why the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health have awarded more than $17 million to the North East Cyberinfrastucture Consortium (NECC), a coalition of universities and research institutions across five states, to build a high-speed fiber optic network.On October 31, a new leg in the network will connect the University of Vermont, the lead institution in the consortium, to Albany, NY.The new cyberinfrastructure will provide capacity that has not previously existed for sharing large data sets among the NECC states: Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Delaware.Capable of transmitting 60 gigabits per second, some 35 times faster than the current rate, the network will allow researchers to easily share the multi-terabyte files that have become the norm in biology, engineering, complex systems, medicine and many other research fields.Senator Patrick Leahy provided key leadership for the new fiber network by supporting research funding at the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. These two agencies provided multi-year competitive awards for the new fiber network, including $3 million to the University of Vermont.Leahy and UVM president Daniel Mark Fogel announced the awards on Thursday, October 28 at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain in Burlington.”This new fiber optic network will give students, researchers and faculty at the University of Vermont the ability to share vast amounts of research and data with other research institutions across the region and across the world at the speed of light,” said Leahy.Insight Into AlgaeThe first major project to take advantage of the new network will be a large genomic study of algal blooms in Lake Champlain and other lakes. This project will be a regional effort to determine the microbiomes, i.e., the identities and entire sequences of genomes of all the microorganisms in algal blooms in Champlain and four other lakes in the Northeast using cutting-edge, “next generation” genome sequencing.These data will provide insights into bloom-causing organisms that have never been available before and will help scientists to understand why some blooms form and why some turn toxic.Judith Van Houten, University Distinguished Professor and Vermont State EPSCoR and IDeA director, will lead the investigation with Kelvin Chu, UVM associate professor of physics and Vermont EPSCoR and Vermont Genetics Network associate director.”It is fitting that the first data sets to be shared on the network will be aimed at fighting algae blooms on Lake Champlain and in lakes across the Northeast,” said Senator Leahy, “This new network is the latest in Vermont’s effort to create an unparalleled broadband network that reaches every home, business, educational facility and health care institution across the state.”Leahy said the consortium project will complement the more than $171 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act broadband funding awarded to broadband providers and organizations earlier this year.”We salute Senator Leahy’s longstanding leadership for the well-being of Lake Champlain and commitment to keeping Vermont at the front edge of advanced cyber-enabled research technologies,” said UVM president Daniel Mark Fogel. “Thanks to his vision and effort, these important competitive awards will allow UVM, and all our partners in Vermont-EPSCoR and the Vermont Genetics Network, to reach new heights in science research, workforce development throughout the state, and research innovations for the next generation of scientists.”High-speed connections to the worldFollowing the completion of the Burlington to Albany leg of the fiber network, the consortium anticipates finishing the Burlington to Hanover, NH, leg in February 2011.These fiber reaches will provide 60 gigabits per second to Albany and Hanover, completing a redundant fiber optic ring across the Northeast. New Hampshire will connect from Hanover to Maine and Boston. The redundancy of the ring design will minimize disruption, allowing data transmission even if some portion of the network is off-line.”This very large bandwidth for interstate traffic is necessary if Vermont researchers and educators are to reach global resources and collaborators,” said Van Houten.The NECC project will not only build a dedicated fiber optic network linking UVM to research institutions in the Northeast; it will also be a portal into Internet2, an advanced high-speed networking consortium of more than 200 U.S. universities in cooperation with a group of leading corporations, government agencies, laboratories and international partner organizations.”The research projects will be the first of their kind in the Northeast corridor enabled by new fiber connecting huge datasets previously unable to be shared due to the lack of bandwidth,” Van Houten said, “The resulting collaborations and data under this holistic model will be innovative and set the stage for future scientists to build upon.””This new fiber will benefit research and education and also allow the fiber vendor to provide service to other customers, especially web-based technology companies,” Van Houten said.”The large-scale projects being pursued by the NECC consortium would be difficult to carry out at an individual institution,” she said, “Leveraging our skills and resources as a consortium produces a virtual research organization that is more than the sum of its parts.”The Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) was first funded in 1985 and works to improve the research competitiveness of Vermont scientists and engineers as well as bring National Science Foundation resources to the service of the whole state. There are EPSCoR programs in 29 smaller and rural states, funded by the NSF, Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy.Source: UVM. 10.29.2010last_img read more

Business View: Bush tax cuts present budget-balancing option

first_imgBy Paul Cillo. The extension of the Bush tax cuts passed recently by Congress gives Governor Shumlin and the Legislature another option for balancing the state budget in fiscal 2012 and 2013. A new analysis shows that the top 5 percent of Vermont taxpayers will save $190 million this year and a similar amount in 2012 as a result of the federal tax cut extension. Before the governor and the Legislature further undermine critical public services, they should look to these federal tax savings as a temporary source of additional state revenue.Vermont ‘ along with nearly every other state ‘ saw a sharp drop in tax revenue as a result of the recession. The decline in revenue came at the same time state government needed to step up to help Vermont families that were suffering as a result of the recession. Governor Douglas acted as though the recession was permanent and the economy was never going to recover. He argued that Vermont had to cut spending to match this new reality.The economy is starting to recover and state revenues are beginning to grow again, but the pace of that growth will remain slow until more Vermonters go back to work. In the meantime, Vermont needs to maintain its public services so that our people and infrastructure do not fall further behind. That was what Gov. Richard Snelling and the Legislature did when they temporarily raised taxes on the wealthiest Vermonters and ran up a budget deficit to get through the recession of the early 1990s.The Bush tax cuts were originally passed by Congress in 2001 and 2003. These bills reduced income tax rates, lowered taxes on capital gains, and cut the estate tax, among other provisions. The cuts were scheduled to expire at the end of 2010, but in a lame duck session in late December, Congress voted to extend the cuts for another two years.The analysis of the effects of extending the Bush tax cuts was prepared for Public Assets Institute by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in Washington, DC. According to the ITEP analysis, the top 1 percent of Vermont taxpayers will save a little more than $100 million in 2011, and a similar amount in 2012, thanks to the tax-cut extension. The average personal income for taxpayers in this group is about $940,000 a year. The savings for the next 4 percent of taxpayers will be about $88 million.Vermont, along with the other states, had federal stimulus funds to help maintain critical services during the first three years of this recession. Those stimulus funds run out this year, and without additional revenue or further spending cuts, Vermont’s projected budget deficit for fiscal 2012 will be about $150 million.What the ITEP analysis shows is that the extension of the Bush tax cuts gives Vermont additional capacity to balance the cuts already made by raising state revenue over the next two years in order to maintain critical public services for Vermonters.Paul Cillo is executive director of Public Assets Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan organization in Montpelier that analyzes state fiscal policy (www.publicassets.org(link is external)).last_img read more

Costs Continue to Mount at Kemper Coal-Gasification Project in Mississippi

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Steve Wilson for Watchdog.org:Mississippi Power announced Friday the Kemper Project coal gasification power plant will cost an additional $18 million and could be delayed even further. The total estimated cost of the plant now stands at $6.6 billion.More delays — which the company says will add up to $25 million to $35 million per month if the plant is delayed past Aug. 31 — could be possible as the company reported continuing problems with the two-part refractory coating on the inside of the gasifer, which converts lignite coal mined on site into a natural gas-like substance called synthesis gas. The refractory coating protects the metal shell of the gasifier from contact with the 1,800-degree temperatures inside the vessel, which could cause a breach and a possible explosion.The company says it “continued to conduct repairs and modifications to the refractory lining inside each of the gasifiers and to inspect and evaluate the need for additional refractory work, which could impact the projected in-service date and/or the related cost estimate.” The company said the status updates for the plant’s two gasifiers would be updated in a forthcoming 8-K statement due later this month.Last week, in a “work session” meeting, independent monitors hired by the Mississippi Public Service Commission detailed issues with the gasifier found during a cold fire test last March in which sand, rather than lignite coal, was circulated in one of the gasifiers while the burners were lit off. The refractory coating suffered damage during the test in two locations and had to be replaced. The sand and gas eroded the hard-faced layer of the refractory and tunneled through cracks into the softer, secondary layer, a phenomena known as rat holing.The company released the new cost estimate via an 8-K statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.Southern Company has to file progress reports with the PSC, and the February report marked the seventh consecutive month with a cost increase. The plant was originally supposed to open in May 2014 and will be more than two years behind schedule when it comes online.The company cannot seek further rate increases to generate revenue beyond a $2.88 billion cap that was part of an agreement reached with the PSC to limit the passage of costs to the utility’s 187,000 customers in south Mississippi.Kemper Project costs increase by $18 million Costs Continue to Mount at Kemper Coal-Gasification Project in Mississippilast_img read more

Export-Led Coal Uptick Is Not Going To Last

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Vox:President Donald Trump came into office making extravagant promises to coal miners. He would put them back to work and get coal-fired power plants humming again. How’s he doing so far?The research outfit Rhodium Group has just released a helpful snapshot, in the form of a research note on U.S. coal’s performance in 2017. To summarize: Coal production was up, barely, over 2016, but it had nothing to do with Trump or federal policy and produced few new jobs.Trump has done nothing to revive America’s dwindling appetite for coal. U.S. consumption continued its steady decline. The reasons are familiar by now: cheap natural gas, cheap renewables, stagnant electricity demand, and old coal plants getting outcompeted on the market.So why was production slightly up, 6 percent over 2016? The answer is exports. This year, Asian coal demand, especially for steel production, made something of a recovery, while China and Australia reduced export volumes. The result was a 70 percent jump in US coal exports over 2016:This has meant a temporary shot in the arm for the industry…but it is not a long-term plan. Asian coal demand has also entered an era of decline. More importantly, the bump in exports is unlikely to revive coal employment in the U.S., or reverse its long-term decline.More: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/1/4/16848650/trump-coal-industry-2017 Export-Led Coal Uptick Is Not Going To Lastlast_img read more

Dominion, Orsted begin producing power from 12MW offshore wind pilot in Virginia

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Offshore Engineer:Dominion Energy and Orsted have brought online two offshore wind turbines, which are part of the 12-megawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project, offshore Virginia Beach, USA. “We’re excited that the two CVOW wind turbines are officially generating power as electrical and reliability testing gets underway 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Together with Siemens and Ørsted, we are working hard to reach the finish line,” Dominion Energy said on Facebook on Tuesday.The 12-megawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project will pave way for the development of a much larger, 2.6 gigawatt, offshore wind farm project.Dominion Energy has said that it will apply the permitting, design, installation, and operations experience from the pilot project to its proposed 2,600-megawatt commercial project.The 2,600-megawatt project is the largest announced offshore wind project in North America, and is on track to start construction in 2024, and upon completion, will provide enough renewable electricity to power up to 650,000 homes. The two pilot turbines will produce enough electricity to power 3,000 Virginia homes.More: Power on at two coastal Virginia offshore wind turbines Dominion, Orsted begin producing power from 12MW offshore wind pilot in Virginialast_img read more