On the heels of recording its strongest pace of growth since 2007, there continues to be an increasing level of demand for design services signaled in the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI). As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI score was 53.0, down from a mark of 55.8 in July. This score reflects an increase in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 62.6, following a very strong mark of 66.0 the previous month.
The 9/14 issue of Home Channel News includes (see p37 of this online flipbook thing) an article with data on online purchasing — this graphic being the show-stopper:
Global warming may or may not be man-assisted, but it DOES seem to be happening. This Reuters piece is not about who is causing it, but the idiocy of plain folks (and politicians, esp. Mike Huckabee).
Instead of shunning the shore as a place to build a house . . . (bolding by EleBlog):
Between 1990 – when warnings were already being sounded on rising sea levels – and 2010, the United States added about 2.2 million new housing units to Census areas, known as block groups, with boundaries near the shore, a Reuters analysis found. The analysis did not include Louisiana, Hawaii or Alaska.
That 27 percent increase is in line with growth nationwide. But it occurred in block groups near some of the country’s most imperiled shores, sometimes at much higher rates. Florida’s 1,350 miles (2,173 km) of shoreline – the longest in the contiguous 48 states – accounted for a third of new coastal housing built. Huckabee’s house was one of 22,000 housing units added to block groups near Walton County’s shoreline since 1990, a 186 percent increase.
The number of people living near the Florida seashore has jumped by about 1.1 million since 1990, to 4.8 million – an increase more than four times greater than in Washington, the state with the next highest increase. And Florida’s increase doesn’t count part-time residents who spend their winters in the state.
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EleBlog comment: Perhaps it will take decades for Florida to be almost entirely under water. Almost certainly, if it happens soon, the 4.8 million people living on the water in that state are going to expect the national government to bail them out.
It’s almost enough to make one hope that the U.S. government declares bankruptcy . . . soon!
From National Geographic’s Energy Blog (9/2/14) —
Driven by large increases in the Northeast, U.S. residential electricity prices took their biggest leap in five years during the first six months of this year, the government said on Tuesday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said pinpointing all the factors behind the 3.2 percent increase in the nationwide average residential price of electricity, to 12.3 cents per kilowatt hour, can be difficult in such a big, complex market. However, cascading impacts from the “polar vortex” get a big share of the blame.
The record-breaking cold spell in a large swath of the country drove up demand and prices for natural gas, an increasingly important source of electricity generation. Even more significantly, inadequate gas pipeline capacity in the Northeast left that region especially vulnerable to price spikes; the EIA said that “in the first six months of 2014, the day-ahead wholesale power price in the ISO-New England control area averaged $93 per megawatt/hour” – a whopping 45 percent increase over 2013.
From a Financial Times article, US solar and wind start to outshine gas:
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway group has invested $15bn in renewable power, but Mr Buffett said earlier this year that the only reason to build wind farms was because of the production tax credit that expired at the end of last year. “They don’t make sense without the tax credit,” he added.
However, the economics of wind power have been improving sharply, with its lowest possible unsubsidised cost dropping from a minimum of $101 per megawatt hour in 2009 to a minimum of $37 per MWh today, according to Lazard calculations published on Thursday.
The decline in solar costs has been even more dramatic: since 2009 the lowest possible cost of generation from a large photovoltaic solar plant has plunged almost 80 per cent, from $323 per MWh to $72 per MWh. Technical progress and huge investment in solar module manufacturing capacity in China, which created a glut in the global market, sent the price of panels tumbling.
Low Wage Growth, High Long-Term Unemployment Recognized As International Problem — that’s the long headline on a NakedCapitalism.com piece worth reading. Below, one of the graphics — showing the “labor share” of Gross Domestic Product in several countries.
EleBlog comment: So workers around the world are NOT getting a share of the pie — it’s not just here in the U.S. You can interpret this as a prime result of the ongoing Global Economic Depression (masked by central bank money-printing and national government debt-selling) . . . or you can blame the Chinese. Either way, it’s not a good thing, is it?
1. The Securitization of Solar — see p45-46 of this online PDF of the Sept/Oct issue of EnergyBiz magazine.
Securitization is piquing the interest of solar develop- ers. It provides greater liquidity than utility equity and lower costs than project fiinancing while distributing risk or stratifying it in tranches. Concurrently, the increased cost-competitiveness and scale of the industry are enticing more capital investments.
The NREL expects the development of securities composed of residential, commercial or industrial-scale solar assets, with industrial projects most financially efficient. They expect commercial deals to tend toward collateralized loan obligations and residential assets to often be securitized into “esoteric” ABS markets — specialized markets with higher risk and yield, limited liquidity and lower credit ratings. Initial solar-backed issuances will be small, at $50 million to $100 million,
Notes: NREL = one of the DOE national labs. ABS = asset-backed securities.
2. GTM Reseach study, U.S. Residential Solar Financing, 2014-2018. Yours for a price. Here’s the free graphic shared online — headline: National Share of Third-Party vs. Customer-Owned Residential Solar
See this 3-page (PDF) DOE SSL group “Postings” article, which included the graphic below.
. . . by GTM Research. Article here.
Label for the graphic: U.S. Solar Carport Market Installations, 2010 to 2018E
This article claims the population of Planet Earth will be 11,000,000 in 2100 — with a 70% chance that it will keep going up from there. Here’s the graphic that goes with it:
For those who are childless, this means nothing. Few who are capable of accessing this blog will live into the year 2100.
For the rest of us . . . this is a really, really worrisome report.