TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran is warning the Biden administration that it will not have an indefinite time period to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. Iran says it also expects Washington to swiftly lift crippling economic sanctions that former President Donald Trump imposed on the country after pulling America out of the atomic accord in 2018 as part of what he called maximum pressure against Iran. Iran’s Cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Tuesday that the U.S. “will not have all the time in the world” to return to the nuclear deal. President Joe Biden has said pledged to return to the accord.
Agency Sees Solar and Battery-Storage Costs Falling 60% Over Next Decade FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Solar power costs will fall by another 60 percent over the next decade giving an already booming market another boost, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) said on Monday.Solar power is in the midst of boom because of sharp drops in costs and efficiency improvements, pushing global capacity from virtually zero at the start of the century to 300 gigawatt (GW) by the end of 2016, a figure expected to rise again by 2020.Irena expects 80 to 90 GW of new solar capacity, enough to power more than 8 billion LED light bulbs, to be added globally each year over the next 5 to 6 years, Adnan Amin, the director general of Irena told Reuters, exceeding a forecast of 73 GW from the International Energy Agency (IEA).“This could easily accelerate as costs decline in the future,” said Amin. “China alone can do 50 GW a year.”“In the next decade, the cost of (utility scale) solar could fall by 60 percent or more,” he said in Singapore on Monday.That growth will mark China as the world’s biggest and fastest growing solar market as Beijing relies on renewable power to cut air pollution from coal-fired power plants.While Amin said that India would also see sharp solar growth in coming years, he expected Southeast Asia to be more mixed.“There is a target of 23 percent (power generation) in ASEAN for renewables by 2025. We think it’s ambitious but it’s achievable,” he said.The solar power share of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) 10 members is currently negligible.Amin said improvements in solar technology were especially expected from thin films, which can be applied on windows. While this is already possible, it remains prohibitively expensive.Irena also expects the cost of batteries, key to back up a technology that relies on daytime, to fall by 60 percent to 70 percent in the next decade.Despite its boom, Amin said potential U.S. trade barriers would only make solar energy more costly for the world’s largest oil consumer.U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce by early next year whether to take measures to limit imports after the U.S. International Trade Commission found in September that domestic panel makers had been harmed by cheap imports.“It’s not always the best strategy to try to protect your industry and have high prices. Because in the long-term what you want to do is drive down the cost of energy,” Amin said.More: Solar costs to fall further, powering global demand – Irena
Dry bulker owner Safe Bulkers has so far completed detailed engineering studies for scrubber installation on five vessels as part of its IMO 2020 preparations.The studies are in the final stage of completion for another eight vessels and are on track to be completed within the first quarter of 2019, the company added.Safe Bulkers expects to install scrubbers in 19 vessels – close to a half of its fleet – this year, starting with four units in the second quarter. This will be followed by nine in the third quarter and six in the fourth quarter of 2019.The majority of installations will be concurrent with the ships’ dry-docking periods. The procedure will be carried out by Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry (Cosco) under an agreement announced in September 2018.An additional scrubber will be installed on one of the company’s Capesize bulkers after the IMO 2020 deadline, at the request of the charterer, the cost of which will be reimbursed by the charterer.The update was provided by the company as part of its 2018 financial report. Safe Bulkers closed a positive 2018 with a fourth quarter net income of USD 9.5 million compared to a net loss of USD 86.6 million during the same period in 2017. Revenues increased by 24% to USD 52.6 million, compared to USD 42.4 million for 4Q 2017.The company returned to profit in the first quarter of 2018 and staying afloat for the remainder of the year.Net revenues for 2018 increased by 31% to USD 193.2 million from USD 148 million during the same period in 2017. Net income was USD 27.7 million compared to a net loss of USD 84.7 million reported in 2017.“We closed 2018 profitably, having refinanced a large portion of our debt, targeting smooth debt profile for the next five years and gradual deleverage. We acquired one second-hand vessel and one resale newbuild for 2020 and bought back one vessel under sale and lease back agreement. We implement BWTS investments,” Loukas Barmparis, Safe Bulkers president, said.“In view of IMO 2020 sulphur cap regulation we are installing scrubbers in about half of our fleet during 2019, while we have selected to compete on the basis of vessels’ fuel consumption for the remaining part of our fleet.”Safe Bulkers’ operational fleet consists of 41 drybulk vessels, including 14 Panamax class vessels, 10 Kamsarmax class vessels, 13 post-Panamax class vessels and 4 Capesize class vessels.The company also has a post-Panamax newbuild vessel on order. The Japanese-built unit is expected to be delivered within the first half of 2020.
Download audioThe Legislature completed the first stage of its annual budget process today. House Finance Subcommittees recommended more than $120 million more in cuts on top of the 100 million that Governor Bill Walker proposed.Health and Social Services was the department that received the deepest cuts. They include eliminating $5.18 million in cash assistance to seniors, and three million in behavioral health grants.Representative David Guttenberg, a Fairbanks Democrat, opposes the cuts. He says reducing treatment of people with addictions will cost the state more in the long run.“These grants will clearly prevent increases in costs in other places, in the courts, in the Department of Law, in our prisons, in our various higher end costs,” said Guttenburg. “Dealing with folks that have issues and troubles at the most efficient place to touch them, is something that we need to do.”Overall recommended cuts to Health and Social Services total forty-one million dollars, roughly one-third of all cuts that finance subcommittees recommend.Representative Dan Saddler, an Eagle River Republican, compared the difficulties faced by those with addictions to the choices the Legislature faces.“There are many unfortunate and difficult challenges we face in life and running away from them in a bottle or a needle is not the way to solve them,” Saddler said. “The way to get through problems is to face the difficult choices and to make difficult choices. And I think that is what we’re doing in this budget, and that’s what we’re doing in this particular allocation. In addition to a heroin crisis in Alaska, we have a fiscal crisis in Alaska. And I think we are making the difficult, but responsible decisions to scale our resources to meet our needs the best way we can.”Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson says she’ll be working to inform legislators about the exact effects of the proposed cuts before the entire Legislature finishes its work on the budget this spring.“We’ll definitely continue to work with members of the Legislature,” said Davidson. “We realize that cuts have to be made. And our job is to make sure that everybody understands the implications of the cuts that are being made.”Economist Gunnar Knapp says that budget cuts will have broader impacts on Alaska’s economy, along with the direct effect on services.Knapp told the budget committee on Thursday that for every one-hundred million dollars in broad-based cuts to state government, the state will lose 1,260 jobs and $115 million in income.In comparison, introducing a similar amount in income taxes would impact fewer jobs, but could mean 20% more lost income.Knapp urged legislators to close the state’s$3.5 billion budget shortfall.The smoothest transition is to make a significant start on reducing the deficit this year. Not making major progress this year would have a big impact. The rating companies have promised that they would further downgrade our credit ratings and then there would be impacts due to a loss of business confidence and reduced private investment.The Legislature will hear public testimony on the budget Feb. 29 to March 3 at locations across the state.