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The Value of Solar Tariff: Net Metering 2.0

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 14:17

Increasing numbers of customers are installing solar photovoltaic systems on their homes and businesses. As module and system costs decline, customer demand grows, and more businesses organize around the solar opportunity, it is time to revisit the tariff structure under which these systems integrate with and operate on the electric grid. This article details a novel approach to a distributed solar tariff, called the “Value of Solar” tariff (“VOST”), that addresses important utility and customer issues, and offers some significant improvements over traditional net metering approaches. There is a saying in the venture capital world to the effect that, “It is not enough to design a better mousetrap. You really, really must want to kill mice.” Sound execution inspired by a clear vision of an end result is essential for business success. So, too, in the quest to increase markets for distributed solar generation—you really, really must want to get more solar installed.

Categories: Books

The ‘Value Of Solar’ Rate: Designing an Improved Residential Solar Tariff

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 14:14

The most commonly adopted rate treatment for residential solar systems connected to the grid is net metering, or, as it is also known, net energy metering. The first net metering tariff was adopted in 1983, and the approach is part of utility policy in over 40 states in the U.S.

Categories: Books

The Effects of Demographics on the Real Estate Market in the United States and China

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 12:37

This paper focuses on the demographic and economic factors that affect the changes in prices of the housing market. The study focuses on the United States housing market after its recent collapse due to the US financial crisis of 2008. It also looks at the Chinese housing market based on the determinants that are observed in the United States. It will also examine the after effects of the One Child Policy enacted in 1979 on the housing prices. The study will look at the current situation with the Chinese housing market and its similarities to the United States housing market before the US financial crisis.

The study uses data from the United States Federal Bank of St. Louis’ Federal Reserve Economic Database (FRED) in a regression analysis to find the determinants of the National Composite Home Price Index for the United States, which tracks housing price fluctuation. The factors used are GDP, CPI, Supply of Homes, Real Median Income, Age Group “15-64”, Unemployment Rate, Mortgage Debt Outstanding, and Higher Education (Bachelor’s Degree or higher).

The results show that working age population of “15-64” is statistically significant in the change of housing prices. Using the model, we will forecast the housing prices in the year 2030 and 2050. The study will also explore the options for the United States and Chinese government to maintain a healthy and transparent housing market.

Categories: Books

Irish and German Immigrants of the Nineteenth Century: Hardships, Improvements, and Success

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 12:37

This paper examines the economic and social reasons that are attributed to the high emigration rate in Ireland and in Germany during the nineteenth century, and how the lives of these groups turned out in the United States. As a result of economic deterioration and social inequality, pessimism became prevalent in Ireland from the 1840s onward and in Germany from the 1830s onward. Because the United States was perceived as an optimistic avenue for advancement, thousands of Irish and Germans emigrated their homelands and fled to America in search of a better life. During the first few decades upon their arrival in America, these groups faced massive discrimination by nativists; cultural barriers propagated negative stereotyping, which in turn created a nativist environment that excluded anyone of foreign nationality. The Irish and German immigrants found themselves fighting hard to overcome their oppression in America. By creating a cohesive social network among people of their own kind, whether it was through politics, religion, or in business, these immigrants challenged the social stigmas that were attached to their status. They were able to develop themselves fruitfully through hard work and determination. As the Irish and German immigrants started to expand in the American labor market with their skills, and magnify the social climate of what it meant to be an American, they were steadily elevating up the social ladder. When these groups were increasingly assimilating into the United States, they were no longer being identified as outsiders. Instead, they and the future Irish and German generations have melted their immigrant status and molded their American-Irish and American-German identity. Though the Irish and Germans developed a more successful life in America than in their homelands, they simultaneously contributed to something bigger: They helped built America.

This paper seeks to prove that the Irish and German immigrants of the nineteenth century were able to live a better life in America than in their native lands. The two chief reasons that led a great number of Irish to emigrate Ireland, which are the Great Potato Famine of 1845-52 and religious persecution which occurred throughout the 1800s, is discussed first. To show how the potato crop contributed to drastic impoverishment, specific emphasis is given to the scientific procedure of how the blight unfolded. Emigration statistics exemplifies the high scale of suffering in Ireland, particularly from 1840 to the 1850s. A transition is then drawn to analyze the lives of the Irish in the United States. It is established how the Irish were presented with economic opportunities, but faced terrible discrimination based on their low social status as poor immigrants. Through their continuous spread of an unwanted religion (Catholicism), and utilization of Tammy Hall politics, the Irish acquired power. Their defensive reactions further enabled the Irish to advance socially. In examining the second group’s primary reasons for emigration, this paper focuses on the economic downturn in Germany, and how the influence of American advertisements impacted emigration altogether from the 1830s onward. The variation of German immigrants’ occupations in America is detailed as well as their success in the cultivation of land. Like with the Irish immigrants, obstacles that the Germans encountered, such as their language barrier and suspicions with their religion is addressed. The Germans’ persistence in their fierce antagonism of their involvement in organizations enabled them to counter the prejudices against them. Their assimilation and accomplishments in America stem mainly from major contributions that they have made that are well known today. With both groups, the common result boils down their success in America. The paper concludes that despite the hardships, the Irish and German immigrants not only achieve a better life here than in their homelands, but their incredible contribution to the American society serves as a success story both to their lives, and the foundation of the United States of America.

Categories: Books

Tourism in the Most Reclusive Country on Earth

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 12:14

Tourism In The Most Reclusive Country On Earth explores the tourism growth on the Korea Peninsula through qualitative data to analyze how tourism can be a vehicle in reuniting North and South Korea. Through an extensive literature review, the history of the Korean Peninsula was explored in order to grasp the understanding on why North and South Koreans are so similar yet differ in terms of what type of governance is present in the country. Current social issues in North and South Korea were also explored, along with the advancement of technology. These points were considered in order to show how Korea can become one again as tourism increases in both the North and South, and as the interactions between citizens from each country increases.

This study explores the opportunity for tourism in North Korea and how inbound tourism in the country can increase the interaction between South and North Korea through a two track system. It also considers present day technological, social, and political changes that are occurring in both countries, as these factors will escalate when the two countries will unite.

This paper is advantageous to the tourism industry as it assesses the potential for North Korean tourism which supports the thesis on how and when South and North Korea will reunite.

Categories: Books

Dental Anxiety: Personal and Media Influences on the Perception of Dentistry

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 12:14

Dental anxiety is a condition that plagues millions of individuals worldwide. The cause of anxiety can arise from an array of negative experiences related to dentistry. Additionally, the media’s persistent deleterious portrayal of dentistry affects the public’s fears and skews the people’s general perception of how dentists really are. Nevertheless, people continue to seek dental care for medial and cosmetic purposes, despite major challenges in the healthcare systems. This study aimed to understand whether negative images of dentists would influence how anxious a sample of undergraduate students felt about various dental procedures. The study also asked participants to express their beliefs about dentists and dentistry in general. Finally, it examined the frequency in which this sample visited the dentist and which factors may have influenced their fears, beliefs and activities related to dentistry. The results of the study confirmed the hypothesis that this sample would somewhat regularly visit the dentist despite dental-related anxiety. The hypothesis that people who were shown the negative clip of the dentist would perceive dentists in a more negative light was rejected, as nearly all participants in both groups had an overall positive opinion about dentists. This result showed us how we can screen the images we see in the media and we are desensitized, therefore the surface anxiety these images may provoke are negligible This study confirmed that hypothesis that freshmen would be more reliant on parents to make their dental appointments when compared to upperclassmen was also confirmed in this study. Limitations of this study included a small, similar sample size, a lengthy survey, as well as technical difficulties that may have impacted some of the results of the survey. Future studies on this topic would benefit from a longitudinal study about how dental fears and perceptions change as students become more independent.

Categories: Books

Least Cost Electricity for Texas

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 13:10

The effects of consuming fossil fuels have disproportionately elevated human importance by the collective impact made on the world environment. Even the most buoyant optimist can be depressed by adding the global climactic changes of the greenhouse effect to a list that already includes air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, health effects, balance of trade deficits, declining technological competitiveness, and vanishing natural resources. In Texas the primary source of electricity, and a major source of environmental problems, is the combustion of fossil fuels. This article introduces the reader to some of the environmental, economic, and regulatory challenges involved in responding to the greenhouse effect through regulation of electric utilities.

Categories: Books

The Effect of Restatements on Market Returns Following the Global Financial Crisis

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 13:04

This paper investigates whether stock markets react any differently to financial statement restatement information after the events of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. The research in this paper is trying to demonstrate that financial markets reacted negatively to restatement information following the passing of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, ascertain if markets reacted less negatively to post-financial crisis restatements than post-Sarbanes Oxley restatements, and determine whether markets reacted more negatively to restatements of core earnings following the financial crisis period. Little research surrounding the market effects of the financial crisis exist, and it was necessary to further study the effects of restatement information on financial markets, due to its continued importance and relevance. While the impact of restatement information has been studied over previous time periods, primarily surrounding the implementation of Sarbanes Oxley in 2002, it was important to see if the general public placed any additional emphasis on, or displayed any greater awareness of the implications of, a financial statement restatement after the events of the Financial Crisis of 2008.

To investigate this issue, stock price information was collected for a period of time surrounding restatement filing dates for a small sample of companies within two time periods: Post-SOX and Post-Dodd Frank. Analyzing differences in percent changes in stock price between the two samples would allow one to develop conclusions on whether a restatement elicited a stronger or weaker market reaction. A regression model was then used to analyze potential variables within the stock price movement that may have influenced the overall outcome. The primary goal was to determine a degree of correlation between various independent variables and percent changes in stock price surrounding restatement filings for the two samples.

The findings presented some expected results, but some less promising outcomes as well. The analysis of cumulative percentage change in stock price showed that markets reacted negatively to restatement filings after the events leading to the Financial Crisis. Additionally, markets reacted more strongly to restatement information in the Post-Dodd Frank sample, which is contrary to the initial hypothesis, but only by a small margin. Aside from the number of days covered within a restatement period, the regression model failed to provide any statistically significant variables, and the model overall did not achieve statistical significance. The variables selected accounted for roughly 39% of the movement in stock price within the 2005-2007 (Post-SOX) sample, and only about 8% for the 2011-2013 (Post-Dodd Frank) sample. This lack of correlation can be attributed to a number of potential factors; among them the small sample size, the lack of consideration for other variables, and the use of cumulative changes in a stock’s price instead of cumulative abnormal returns, which factors for changes in market prices relative to changes in individual security prices.

It’s difficult to conclude with certainty what the implications of the research are. While the data collected portrays a stronger market reaction to restatements in the post-financial crisis period, the regression model cannot accurately portray the reasoning behind this movement, and even contradicts conventional sequences of thought at times. In a perfect world, one would like to see financial markets displaying a greater understanding of restatement implications, and a stronger awareness of how such information can be identified. Future researchers expanding on this topic should drastically increase the sample size, take cumulative abnormal returns into account, and to account for more variables in the data.

Categories: Books

Challenges Against Jurors in Courts-Martial

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 13:04

This Note will summarize the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Manual for Courts-Martial as well as the decisions of the military appellate courts in order to assist counsel in preparing for the conduct of voir dire and the challenge procedure. The Note will also discuss pre-trial preparation for the voir dire. The goals are to help the military attorney make better use of his client's right to challenge members of the court; and to give the civilian attorney a better understanding of the challenge process in courts-martial so that he will be more inclined to accept the case of the military defendant. This Note will also discuss many of the skills and techniques regularly utilized in civilian courts that can be brought to the military justice system.

Categories: Books

What Comes Out Must Go In: Cooling Water Intakes and the Clean Water Act

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:55

It is time to measure progress under section 316 of the Clear Water Act, the one section of the Act that focuses not on discharges, but on intakes. Part II of this Article discusses the environmental hazards in more detail and explains how cooling water intakes produce them. Part III of this Article examines the history of regulation and nonregulation under section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act, describes the development of the "common law" concerning the regulation of cooling water intakes, and explores the effect of EPA's regulatory actions and omissions on state regulatory efforts. Part IV assesses the legal and environmental importance of regulating cooling water intakes. And Part V closes with recommendations for a regulatory agenda in the area.

Categories: Books

A Review of Barriers to Biofuel Market Development in the United States

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:51

In recent years, biofuel markets have begun a resurgence. At one time, biofuels were the only way humanity obtained useful energy, but they were almost totally displaced by fossil fuels during the last century. Now, due to a range of drivers, they have begun a small but seemingly solid comeback. This Article reviews the remaining barriers to full commercial success for biofuels in the United States with an emphasis on transportation fuels. While recent success has been impressive, markets for transportation biofuels are hardly “self-sustaining” in the purest sense of the concept. The author does not seek to disparage the opportunity for development of biofuel markets or for more significant penetration of biofuels into the overall transportation marketplace. Rather, the goal of this Article is to set the agenda for work remaining to be done. Additionally, this Article does not seek to conduct an evaluative comparison between emerging biofuel and fossil fuel markets and industries because they are so different that any such comparative rating would be both fruitless and misleading.

This Article starts by framing the elements, reminding the reader of the broad range of feedstocks, conversion technologies, fuels, and uses that make up the biofuel industry. A brief review of the drivers for biofuels follows. From there, the author describes nine distinct categories of market barriers facing biofuels. In conclusion, these barriers are mapped to a typical value-chain model to illustrate the breadth of the barriers across the potential biofuels enterprise. The Article then closes by offering a few closing ideas as food for further thought on the relationships between the key benefits of developing and using biofuels and the ultimate challenges that face market growth.

Categories: Books

Absolute Immunity for State-Law Torts Under Westfall v. Erwin: How Much Discretion Is Enough?

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:46

The plaintiff who seeks to maintain an action in tort against a federal employee has basically two choices. First, after complying with various procedural requirements, the plaintiff may initiate suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) against the United States. The act is a waiver of sovereign immunity and, in spite of the existence of exceptions to its coverage, has generally been interpreted broadly.

The other alternative available to the plaintiff is a suit against the employee in his individual capacity based upon either state-law or constitutional tort. One of the employee's first lines of defense against such actions is official immunity. Fairly distinct bodies of law have developed for immunity in suits alleging constitutional torts and those based in state-law. Courts generally recognize absolute immunity from tort actions for executive officials in quasi-judicial functions.

A federal employee sued in state-law tort will seek the protection of absolute immunity. The leading Supreme Court case in the area is Barr v. Matteo. The case had come to stand for the rule that a federal employee was entitled to absolute immunity against suit based in state-law tort when the actions giving rise to the suit were ‘within the outer perimeter of the employee's line of duty.’ The courts of appeals split on whether immunity also required conduct that was ‘discretionary’ in nature. The Supreme Court resolved this conflict in Westfall v. Erwin, by unanimously holding that discretion was indeed a prerequisite to absolute immunity. In spite of the Court's efforts to provide some guidance for a workable definition of ‘discretion,’ the case raises serious concerns over how federal officials should function and when they can be held individually responsible for damages resulting from the performance of their duties.

Categories: Books

A Strategy for Developing Stationary Biodiesel Generation

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:41

This paper discusses the drivers of change in the electricity system and the opportunities presented for biodiesel electric generation in this context. This paper also introduces the primary issues facing increased utilization of biodiesel—both those that challenge increased use of the fuel and those that support this use. Finally, the paper presents key elements of a strategy for realizing the potential of an electric generation infrastructure that incorporates more distributed biodiesel generation in the near term and even more distributed energy resources over the longer term.

Categories: Books

Information Edge - Library Newsletter - Spring 2013

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 15:30
Categories: Books