Xcel, Hewing to ‘Steel for Fuel’ Strategy, Presses Ahead With Wind Farms in Texas and New Mexico

first_imgXcel, Hewing to ‘Steel for Fuel’ Strategy, Presses Ahead With Wind Farms in Texas and New Mexico FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:The Texas Public Utilities Commission voted to approve two wind farm projects from Xcel Energy’s Southwestern Public Service — a 478 MW project in Hale County, Texas and a 522 MW wind project in Roosevelt County, New Mexico. New Mexico regulators had approved the proposal in March.The Commission also approved the power purchase agreement between the utility and NextEra’s Bonita Wind Energy, as part of Xcel’s acquisition of the Hale project. SPS will purchase an additional 230 MW of wind generation from two Texas-based wind farms.Combined, the two projects will require 500 turbines from Vestas-American Wind Technology. Xcel has close to 1.6 GW of wind energy available in its Texas-New Mexico generation mix and its proposal will nearly double that, adding 1.2 GW.The expansion had a false start in April, when the Commission gave a voice-vote approval for the $1.6 billion deal, but delayed a final order to allow the parties to file written responses regarding cost recovery and other concerns expressed by the regulators. Xcel’s subsidiary appeared before the Commission regarding their proposal four times, according to RTO Insider. Now construction can begin on the two wind farms.SPS told the commission that the power purchase agreement and the two wind projects will lead to net savings for customers.Announced in March 2017, the major wind energy expansion contributes to Xcel’s growing renewable energy footprint. The project is part of Xcel’s Steel-for-Fuel strategy, as defined by Xcel CEO Benjamin Fowke during the company’s Q1 earnings call in April.“Because of the strong wind resources in our service territories, we have the unique opportunity to invest in renewable generation in which the capital cost could be more than offset by fuel savings,” Fowke said during the call.Xcel is also pursuing regulatory approval for wind energy projects in Colorado and Minnesota. If the Minnesota Commission approves the company’s proposal, Xcel could become an industry leader in wind energy, with more than 10 GW of wind capacity.More: Xcel to add 1.2 GW of wind to Texas, New Mexico mix, as PUC gives formal OKlast_img read more

4 ways cash is being disrupted by digital

first_img 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The push toward a cashless economy is already well underway in some parts of the world. India’s prime minister issued a ban on the largest currency notes late last year, for example. The result of that action was an 86 percent reduction in paper money.Other countries have embraced their own cash-free campaigns. Cork, Ireland, launched a three-month pilot project to become the country’s first cashless city. Likewise, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark and Norway are on their way to becoming less cash-centric nations.Cutting cash means consumers must find another way to pay. Digital payments quickly become a go-to option. The “Cork Cashes Out” initiative boosted digital payments by 522 percent. On the other hand, card transactions only saw a 17 percent lift.While cash in the U.S. isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, digital is shaking up the payments landscape. Below are a few ways cash payments are being disrupted by digital. continue reading »last_img read more

Fighting fraud in the 2020s

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Payment fraud prevention is an increasingly complicated and constantly evolving business. Issuers and merchants everywhere are being challenged by a growing variety of payment methods, which are fuelling the rise of ever more sophisticated card fraud techniques. Despite awareness of the scale of the problem, and the proliferation of innovative new technologies, the volume of fraudulent transactions is continuing to grow across Europe[1]. To stem the tide, financial institutions need a new approach.Changing the rulesPart of the problem is that regulations do not stop payment fraud; they simply encourage it to migrate between departments and regions – writes Sune Gabelgård, Head of Digital Fraud, Intelligence & Research at Nets. The case for payments regulation like PSD2 goes like this: the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements mandated are so stringent that they will stop fraudsters in their tracks.Except…not quite. In reality, criminals will react to the EU legislation by changing their modus operandi. Fraudsters are very agile and used to adapting to new landscapes. For them this is not the end of the road, but merely a fork in it. In the long term, they will develop new, more advanced tactics that will enable them to resume targeting European consumers and merchants once more. In fact, as early as January 2018 we were seeing criminals preparing for and testing how they will commit fraud in a post-PSD2 world using shell companies and sophisticated social engineering. continue reading »last_img read more

Keep the focus on the member

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Guy Messick Guy A. Messick is General Counsel to the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) and principal in Messick & Lauer P.C. in Media, PA. www.CUSOLaw.com Web: www.cusolaw.com Details The path of innovation is not a straight line. As Ben Morales of Q-Cash says, you have to be nimble and willing to change. You start down one path and it may lead in directions you did not anticipate. Be ready to pivot to the opportunity if it will better serve the members. As a result of this journey, WSECU has used technology and data to provide unique and compelling benefits to their members.Let’s assume you have all the technology and data analysis tools you need to be competitive, why should a person choose to be a member of your credit union? Are there any value-adds of membership? Most credit unions have both consumer and business members. Connecting individual members to business members for discounted services is a win-win-win. Both sets of members will enjoy a tangible benefit of membership and the credit union will grow in membership.However, the most compelling member benefit is cold hard cash. Many credit unions declare an annual member dividend. That is an annual reminder of the credit union difference. For example, DFCU Financial pays a patronage dividend on loan and deposit balances. The more a member uses the credit union, the more value the member perceives and receives. In the first thirteen years that the program has been in place in a state where the population is declining, membership has grown 49% and the average deposit balance per member has grown over 105%. DFCU Financial has paid back almost $300 million to its members over thirteen years for an average of $23 million per year. The difference between DFCU Financial and other patronage paying credit unions is the dividend calculator on its website. Check it out for yourself. The total amount of the patronage dividend pot grows in front of your eyes and you can calculate your portion of it. It is a constant reminder that credit unions are different and the member benefits cannot be replicated at banks or fintechs.The first stage of solving a problem is understanding that you have a problem. Credit unions that do not see the problem or see the problem but do not respond, should be prepared to pick a credit union to merge into. You will not survive as an independent credit union. If surviving as an independent credit union is important to you and the credit union cannot afford the necessary resources on its own, I highly recommend collaboration as means to obtain the scale to afford the resources to compete in today’s world. But that is subject for another day. Ed Callahan used to say that the answer to all credit union strategic questions can be determined by first asking “What is best for the members?” It was excellent advice then and it is now. We, in the credit union world, often look at problems from the credit union’s perspective. How does the credit union make more net income? How do we grow the credit union? The answers to those questions are important but let’s start at the core question. What do our members want and how can the credit union deliver? In the past, this thinking led to credit unions introducing checking accounts, mortgage loans and business loans to meet member needs.Today, in my humble opinion, members are looking for four benefits. First, they are looking for financial products that are competitive on value and price. Second, they want to access the services quickly and conveniently. Third, they want the ability to access financial advice conveniently. Fourth, they want to receive unique value from their membership.Forget that you run a credit union. Put on your consumer hat and look at credit unions as one choice among many . . . one more cereal box on the shelf. Why would you choose a credit union over another credit union, bank or fintech? Credit unions are no longer the market disrupters. You can go online and find many competitors with more favorably priced services which are delivered more quickly and more conveniently than most credit unions can deliver. If you can apply and get a mortgage loan in the same day, why would you wait a week or two for an approval? Why go to grandpa’s credit union . . . nice people but they take so long to do anything.If credit unions are going to be competitive in the 21st Century, credit unions will require an innovative mind-set coupled with technology tools, data analysis tools, revised processes and the expertise to execute. How do credit unions deliver on consumer expectations in the 21st Century? Let’s look at the example of Q-Cash, wholly owned CUSO of Washington State Employees’ Credit Union (“WSECU”). The following is the series of questions and answers that led WSECU on its path of innovation.How can we help our members using payday lenders and paying enormous levels of interest for short term, small balance loans? WSECU developed an alternative payday loan program that complies with Washington State’s laws that has much lower interest rates. Members who use WSECU’s program, saved substantial interest costs. Currently, the maximum amount of their alternative payday loan is $4,000.How do we underwrite the loans more efficiently and effectively so we can continue to afford to provide the alternative payday loan program? WSECU analyzed their loan data to determine what factors were the most effective in predicting loan repayment and narrowed the underwriting criteria to just six questions. This simplified the process and reduced the cost of WSECU’s loan approval process. This underwriting and process change required good data that was expertly analyzed and the courage to be different.Some members that need payday loans go to storefront payday lenders because they are embarrassed to apply at credit union branches. How do we deliver the loans to members more discretely? How can we continue to lower the costs to provide the loan program? WSECU’s CUSO developed the Q-Cash App which permits a member to apply any time of the day and night for a loan with the six questions. If the underwriting criteria is met, the loan is funded immediately and automatically. Funding without human intervention is another significant process change.How do we extend the benefits of this technology to all members for other loan products and reduce our costs to serve them? The Q-Cash App was designed to permit WSECU to vary the terms of a loan offer. WSECU uses its member data to develop pre-approved terms for credit card loans and other unsecured loans which are customized for each member. If a member has a credit card loan with another provider, the member is provided a competitive offer to move the credit card loan to WSECU. The lesson here is that once you have the data, technology, and improved processes for one application, it is likely that there are other ways to leverage them.How do we help our members meet their financial goals and specifically how do we help our members who use payday alternative loans become financially stable? WSECU is developing a Financial Wellness App. The App has financial literacy tools, the ability of the member to set his or her goals and access to a live coach, but the secret sauce is the use of data and artificial intelligence. The App uses the member’s data at the credit union and the behavior of the member to coach and nudge the member to behave in a way that will accomplish the member’s financial goals. A nudge might be, “Going to a restaurant, once a week instead of three times a week will help you save enough money to meet your goals for your vacation fund.” If one method of coaching and nudging does not work, the App tries other methods until the member takes actions to meet his or her goals. The App learns what works to motivate the specific member. The methods used by the App uses similar technology and techniques developed to favorably influence behavior of diabetes patients. If the purpose of credit unions is to help members manage thrift, this App is the ultimate tool.How can we recover our costs of development to re-invest in other resources to benefit our members? Q-Cash is selling the Apps to other credit unions which will enable them to have similar tools to better serve their members.last_img read more

Americans represent a variety of races

first_imgThe 14th Amendment says that if you are born in the United States, you are an American. Period. You are not a German-American. You are an American of German descent. You are not an African-American; you are an American of African (name the country) descent.Suppose a court takes the first 50 people arrested at the next protest (preferably 25 from each side of the conflict). At arraignment, have the judge offer all of them all a “Get out of Jail Free” card. To get it, they must agree to a mouth swab. Then DNA testing will determine just how “pure” they really are. Also, they must agree, in writing, to allow the results to be published in their hometown newspapers, as well as a national one (say USA Today).Most will be surprised by the results. There might be some African in their Aryan blood. Perhaps, they are 20 percent Jewish. Or maybe some may have American Indian blood running through their veins.David Duke, are you reading this? Will you be the first to get swabbed? What about you, Al Sharpton. Did your grandparents really come from Africa? How about you, Donald Trump? Can we swab you, as the “First Birther?David LucierNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation I think I have a solution to the problem with those siding with Nazi sympathizers, the KKK or the so-called “skin heads,” claiming they are 100 percent of the Aryan race. The same may true with other believers in their racial purity. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

More than 60 survivors pulled from collapsed building in India

first_imgTopics : The building, which comprised of 47 flats, fell almost like a pack of cards, said a police official at the disaster site.Local residents and police combed through tin sheets, metal rods and other wreckage in a desperate search for survivors as ambulances rushed injured to nearby hospitals amid heavy monsoon rains and fears of Covid-19 infections.The cause of the accident was not clear. But building collapses are common in India, usually due to shoddy construction, substandard materials and disregard of regulations.Every year, heavy downpours during the June to September monsoon season bring down rain-sodden small and large structures deemed too dangerous to live in.More than 1,200 people were killed in 1,161 building collapses across India in 2017, according to latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau. Rescue workers pulled more than 60 people alive from the rubble of a collapsed building in an industrial town near India’s financial capital Mumbai, a senior official said on Tuesday, as rescue efforts continued.The five story building near a slum district in Mahad, which housed roughly 200 residents, caved in on Monday evening.”One resident was dead and at least 30 were still trapped,” said Bharatshet Maruti Gogawale, a local lawmaker in Mahad situated about 165 km (100 miles) south of Mumbai.last_img read more

Report: DSME Workers Occupy a Crane, Demand Pay Hike

first_imgSouth Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) has reportedly been faced with another worker protest, resulting in suspension of operations at a giant dock crane at one of its facilities.According to the reports from Korean media, two workers from DSME’s metal union mounted a 40-meter tall crane and launched a sit-down strike, demanding pay increase.Talks between the shipbuilder and the metal union have been underway for over nine months, however, no progress has been achieved. The union is said to be asking for a 4.11 pct wage rise on the back of improving business performance at DSME.The demand is contrary to DSME’s strategy, which envisages wage freezes and return of 10 pct of wages, as part of its cost cutting measures.Just this month, DSME secured a number of orders, including a contract from BW LPG for two LNG carriers including options for up to four more. The company has also won a deal to build an LNG carrier for the Greek shipowner Maran Gas Maritime, the 101st vessel for the company in total.So far this year, DSME’s orderbook is comprised of 43 vessels worth about USD 6.22 billion. These include 15 LNG carriers, 16 crude oil carriers, 7 ultra large containerships and 5 special purpose ships.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Rose keen to mirror McIlroy

first_imgJustin Rose will try to take a leaf out of Rory McIlroy’s book after kickstarting his season with his share of second place in the Masters. Rose arrived at Augusta National having missed the cut in three of his previous five tournaments on the PGA Tour, but left with renewed enthusiasm and a 14-under-par total which has only been bettered six times in Masters history. ” I’m really excited about the rest of the year now. It’s a good momentum starter for me,” said Rose, who was looking to become the first European player to win the US Open and Masters. “I tried to really tell myself that this year for me is going to be about April to September when the big tournaments come around and that’s when I want to play well. “You look at Rory’s year last year, it was all about how he played in the summer (winning the Open, Bridgestone Invitational and US PGA in the space of four weeks). I was trying to keep telling myself it’s a long year. Very happy it turned around this week in a major championship. “T he thing that was most important for me this week was the fact that I have not been in contention and I haven’t had a lot of experience this year or positive vibes on which to draw. “I was really pleased at how comfortable I felt in that situation, last group in the Masters on Sunday. I think that’s when you learn a lot about yourself and that makes me very hungry to get there again very soon.” Rose began the final round four shots behind Spieth and closed to within three on three separate occasions on the front nine, but was never able to get any closer. “There’s two ways to look at it. You can think that 14 under par, I’ll take that next year and I’ll take that the year after and I’ll take it the year after, so I have to take a lot of confidence from that,” he added. “But you’ve got to play it on the day, too. I felt like there were a few moments out there where I could have done better and I’ll learn on that and think about that. “Jordan didn’t really open the door and I didn’t really expect him to. Really the one time on the back nine where it got interesting for me was the 16th hole. I felt that if I make my birdie putt and Jordan misses for par, it’s a two‑shot swing and I’m two back with two to play. B ut my putt just slid by and he made a great eight- footer to there to keep his momentum as he did all day, really.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Ellsworth wins volleyball playoff

first_img Is this the kind of government we deserve? – July 10, 2017 Latest Posts Hugh BowdenExecutive EditorHugh writes editorials, covers Hancock County sports and helps out where needed in The American’s editorial department. When he’s not on the sidelines, he enjoys playing jazz and tennis. hbowden@ellsworthamerican.com Bio ELLSWORTH — With senior Sarah Shelton turning in a 19-kill performance, the seventh-ranked Ellsworth Eagles rolled to a 3-1 win over the number 10 Kennebunk Rams in a state Class A volleyball preliminary playoff on Thursday.The Eagles got off to a strong start in the first game, opening with seven consecutive points off serves by sophomore Samantha Mason. The Eagles extended the lead the rest of the way with a tip by Shelton proving the winning point of the 25-15 game.Kennebunk also fell behind early in the second game, then rallied to take a 13-12 lead. But the Eagles knotted the score at 13-all and junior Delaney Sargent then served three winners with a kill be Shelton putting the Eagles up 16-13. Ellsworth went on the claim a 25-17 win in the second game.But the Rams came alive in the third game and took the lead for good midway through the contest. With Kennebunk leading 23-20, the Eagles cut the lead to a single point on another kill by Shelton but the Rams held on for a 25-22 victory.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textIn the decisive fourth game, the Rams kept things close in the early going but a looping ace by senior Paxton Colley put the Eagles in front to stay 9-8. Ellsworth continued to extend the lead, but the Rams rallied from a 20-12 deficit to trail by just four points, 24-20, before a block at the net by Sargent gave the Eagles the final point — and the match.Shelton had 18 digs and three assists to go with her big offensive output. Mason contributed five assists and eight digs, senior Jenna Haslam had eight digs and 13 serve receptions and Colley had 11 digs and 12 serve receptions.“I thought they played great,” said coach Mike Kelley of his Eagles. “There was a little letdown a couple of times, but it was for a short period instead of for a half a game or a whole game. They kept themselves up and their defense was great. There weren’t many mistakes. That’s the best they’ve played all year.”The 8-6 Eagles now will face the second-seeded Mount Desert Island Trojans in quarterfinal action on Saturday.center_img Like he did in the ’60s, Noel Paul Stookey sings out in troubling times – December 27, 2017 Latest posts by Hugh Bowden (see all) GSA surges in 4th to win Northern Maine title – February 26, 2017last_img read more

Badminton News Saina, Ashwini-Satwik win; Srikanth loses in World Championship

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Badminton News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Nanjing (China): India’s star shuttler Saina Nehwal sailed into the women’s singles quarterfinals but another medal hope, Kidambi Srikanth, crashed out of the World Championships after suffering a straight-game loss on Thursday.Saina, who had clinched a silver and a bronze at the 2015 and 2017 editions, downed 2013 champion Ratchanok Inthanon of Thailand 21-16 21-19 to set up a meeting with Olympic champion and two-time world champion Carolina Marin of Spain.The Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa also stood one step away from a medal after pulling off a stunning 20-22 21-14 21-6 victory over the Malaysian world no.7 combination of Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai.However, fifth seed Srikanth’s dream of winning a medal came crashing after he was outwitted 18-21 18-21 by the experienced Malaysian Daren Liew in a 41-minute clash.“I had my chances but couldn’t keep the shuttle in. Too many smashes out, too many mistakes. I should have handled it much better,” said Srikanth.Also Read | Sindhu, Srikanth, Praneeth win; Prannoy ousted in World Championship Saina showed amazing retrieving skills against Inthanon, who is on a comeback trail after recovering from an injury.“It is a very good win. She is known for a deceptive game. Second game was going my way, but suddenly she played some difficult strokes, she was everywhere and made it 19-19. At that point, Gopi sir played a big role. He told me what to do and I followed that and the game turned in my favour,” Saina said.“Pressure is less on me now because the last few tournaments I haven’t been able to cross the quarterfinals but I have played well at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Championship. But I can see that the form sometimes goes here and there but I am happy it is coming back in important events.”Talking about her next match against Marin, Saina said: “I have played her at Denmark Open last, she is quick and aggressive and it would be a challenging match for me and I will just look to give my best.”Earlier, Ashwini and Satwik showed great composure as they recovered from a game down to prevail over their higher ranked opponents.It was an even battle in the opening game where the Malaysian pair managed an 11-8 lead at the break and though Ashwini and Satwik clawed back at 14-14 and even held a slender 18-16 lead at one stage, their rivals were more composed to pocket the game.Read More | Indian juniors bag six medals at Jordan TT meet In the second game, Goh and Shevon opened up a 5-2 lead but this time Ashwini and Satwik drew parity at 9-9 and then broke off to bounce back into the contest.In the decider, the Indian pair was brilliant as it aggressively dominated the proceedings. They led 11-4 at the interval and continued in the same vein after the breather to storm into the quarters. last_img read more