The project in question is the Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm, which will begin operating in 2021. The farm will have a generating capacity of 300 megawatts, enough to power about 210,000 American homes. But it’s the price part that’s eye-popping. It will operate at a flat rate of $23.76 per megawatt-hour over the course of a 25-year power purchasing agreement (the term for a contract between an electricity generator and utility who buys it). On the surface, that price may not mean a lot to you if you’re not an energy nerd, but it’s a huge deal.
“On their face, they’re less than a third the price of building a new coal or natural gas power plant,” Ramez Naam, an energy expert and lecturer at Singularity University, told Earther in an email. “In fact, building these plants is cheaper than just operating an existing coal or natural gas plant.”
There’s a 30 percent federal investment tax credit for solar projects that helps drive down the cost of this and other solar projects. But Naam said even if you take away that credit, “these bids, un-subsidized, are still cheaper than any new coal or gas plants, and possibly cheaper than operating existing plants.”
If the modern version of Vice has a born-on date, it may have come in the spring of 2010, when the company landed a meeting with Intel, the computer-chip-maker, which wanted more young people to care about Pentium processors. Vice was still running on a shoestring, and Intel promised access to a $2 billion annual marketing budget. “Shane’s whole thing was, ‘We can’t let them think we’re these poor kids,’ ” says one former employee. (A number of current and former Vice employees, many of whom signed nondisclosure agreements, requested anonymity in order to talk about the company.) According to multiple employees who worked at Vice at the time, Smith went to the architecture firm across the hall from Vice’s Williamsburg office and asked how much it would cost to get them to move out ASAP. Vice’s 50 employees then worked around the clock for several days setting up the new space to look like it had been Vice’s all along. Vice constructed a glass-enclosed conference room to host the Intel meeting, and late one night, an employee answered a buzz at the door to find a plumber who’d come to install a fancy Japanese toilet.
On the morning of the Intel meeting, Vice employees were instructed to get to the office early, to bring friends with laptops to circulate in and out of the new space, and to “be yourselves, but 40 percent less yourselves,” which meant looking like the hip 20-somethings they were but in a way that wouldn’t scare off a marketing executive. A few employees put on a photo shoot in a ground-floor studio as the Intel executives walked by. “Shane’s strategy was, ‘I’m not gonna tell them we own the studio, but I’m not gonna tell them we don’t,’ ” one former employee says. That night, Smith took the marketers to dinner, then to a bar where Vice employees had been told to assemble for a party. When Smith arrived, just ahead of the Intel employees, he walked up behind multiple Vice employees and whispered into their ears, “Dance.”
What a story.
Make sure to read all of it. Vice has always been odd -how are they this successful with that content? for example-, and this explains a lot of why that is. (or was)
I maintain that Google is wrong for the way it presents in-the-works not-yet-ready features. I think like Microsoft of old (and Apple of ancient times), Google, institutionally, is only excited about things that are in the works, not the things it’s actually shipping. But unlike Microsoft of old, Google presents concept videos without labeling them as concept videos.
But I think the other problem is with the media, that, time after time, buys into Google’s demo claims unquestionably — and then never circles back to them when they don’t ship.
This is spot on.
Take Bright, for example. By almost all critical accounts, it’s a bad movie. But while this might matter if it were released in a traditional movie theater, it turns out that this doesn’t actually matter on Netflix. Well, to be fair, it probably does matter at least somewhat, but it matters far less. Because at the end of the day, critical response is still subjective, even in aggregate. As such, it’s not all-encompassing. There will always be people who disagree with an assessment and will enjoy a movie that others did not — or, at the very least, will want to see it. Netflix just lowered the barrier to make this happen.
Going to a movie theater is a complicated and increasingly expensive process. If you hear a movie sucks, you’re probably not going to bother. (And that’s even more true if the theater itself sucks.) But if it’s playing at home, on a service you’re already paying for… […]
Seven years ago (!), I offered up the idea of Netflix using its unique model to “save” cancelled cult hits. Arrested Development happened. Twin Peaks happened (though on Showtime). Firefly? Not yet. But many others have. Including Full House. Which is somehow a hit again.
But it’s not actually “somehow”, it was inevitable.
Next, what if Netflix convinces top-tier content to think outside the format? The Avengers movies are great, but given the sheer number of characters now involved, they’re getting too elaborate and convoluted for the two-hour film format. What if instead, they were five, 90 minute-long episodes? Who wouldn’t want to watch that? Who wouldn’t pay to watch that? Who wouldn’t pay a small premium on top of what we already pay Netflix to watch such content? No one. And Netflix has to know that. (Certainly Disney does!) The data is already there in the form of box office receipts.
The point is, it’s a combination of great content (or even less-than-great content), mixed with Netflix’s willingness to experiment with new formats and methods of distribution that is truly changing Hollywood’s game.
I am waiting for some while now for more experimentation in formats on Netflix. Right now, Netflix still does TV (seasons) and cinema (movies) with scripted content. It won’t be long until they stumble upon genuine on-demand streaming formats. Especially the shared universe comic book route screams for a more free flow approach to time length of installments.
The problem, Nohl points out, is worse than vendors merely neglecting to patch older devices, a common phenomenon. Instead, it’s that they tell users they install patches that they in fact don’t, creating a false sense of security. „We found several vendors that didn’t install a single patch but changed the patch date forward by several months,“ Nohl says. „That’s deliberate deception, and it’s not very common.“
Troubling, fascinating new aspect of the modularity of the Android platform.
it is one thing to sit on top of an existing industry and, well, be a media company/lead generation tool. There have been a whole host of businesses that did exactly that, and while there is plenty of money to be made, without some sort of integration into the value chain of the industry itself they simply aren’t transformative. To put it another way, aggregation doesn’t transform value chains; integration does.
Why aggregation matters is that it is the means by which new integrations are achieved:
Netflix leveraged its position as an aggregator of video content into the integration of the customer relationship and content creation, undoing the integration of linear channels and content creation
Airbnb/Uber and other similar services integrate the customer relationship with the driver/homeowner relationship, undoing the integration of cars/property with payment
Google and Facebook integrated content discovery with advertising, undoing the integration of editorial and advertising
More broadly — and this really gets at why Zillow is different — Aggregators that change industries (including Aggregator-like Amazon and Apple that deal with physical goods) integrate the customer relationship with however it is their industry generates revenue; Zillow, on the other hand, was completely divorced from the home selling-and-buying process.
Just being a tech layer vs. changing the industry one is in:
Zillow has long been a better bet than Redfin, which has admirably IPO’d with a business that basically adds a tech layer (and thus superior lead generation) to a traditional real estate agency; the reality is that simply adding a tech layer doesn’t change industries — that requires new business models.
What Zillow’s future will say about other tech companies in similar situations such as Spotify:
how Zillow fares will result in lessons that may be applicable broadly. Think of Spotify, for example: I was a bit bearish on the company last month because of the power of Spotify’s suppliers; the bull case is that Spotify’s ownership of the customer relationship will allows the company to build out the capability to sidestep the record labels even as the record labels can’t punish Spotify because they need them. That’s exactly what Zillow is testing right now: just how much power comes from being an Aggregator, and how much an industry can be transformed when that power is wielded.
German multinational Siemens is expanding its already sizeable Middle East presence by investing in the digital sphere, to the tune of $500 million over the next three years. […]
The company plans to build 20 MindSphere Application Centers in 17 countries, where hundreds of Siemens engineers and specialists will work with customers on projects in machine learning and data analysis.
The MindSphere center in Abu Dhabi will focus on developing operational efficiency for customers in areas like water, waste and oil and gas, while the other, to be located in Dubai, will work on solutions for airports, cargo and logistics.
Raj Kapoor thinks autonomous vehicles will save the Earth. With some caveats. “The big idea is actually making sure that we have all four together: autonomous, electric, shared rides with shared ownership,” explains the chief strategy officer at Lyft Inc. “Climate change is probably one of the world’s biggest challenges,” because one person acting alone can’t really make a difference. “Policy alone can’t change it. Technology alone can’t change it. So I felt like I had to do something.”
Consumer-owned cars, Kapoor says, spend most of their time parked, whereas a shared vehicle could almost always be in use. Electric engines have 20 moving parts, vs. many hundreds in gas-powered ones, so they require less maintenance. Thanks to the diminished cost of upkeep, cheaper fuel, and lack of operators, driverless EV rides should be cheap enough that the average person could take one every day, providing a key link between public transit and your front door. […]
Reducing carbon emissions will hinge on designing cities with efficient transportation—a massive business opportunity. Kapoor considered starting an investment fund focused on urban development, but he ultimately came back to Lyft and its potential to influence urban behavior. He wanted to work there, he told founders Logan Green and John Zimmer, but only if he could focus on environmentally responsible expansion. They accepted.
Kapoor’s work is cut out for him as he guides the company’s transition from a gig-economy model to a mostly driverless EV fleet. Lyft has teamed up with Ford Motor Co., Waymo LLC, and a few self-driving startups to develop technology, but the company is far from profitable and will have to build infrastructure to support a fleet.
Nice PR for Lyft.
BNEF’s latest report on the levelized costs of electricity, or LCOE, for all the leading technologies finds that fossil fuel power is facing an unprecedented challenge in all three roles it performs in the energy mix – the supply of ‘bulk generation,’ the supply of ‘dispatchable generation,’ and the provision of ‘flexibility.’ […]
Elena Giannakopoulou, head of energy economics at BNEF, said: “Our team has looked closely at the impact of the 79% decrease seen in lithium-ion battery costs since 2010 on the economics of this storage technology in different parts of the electricity system. The conclusions are chilling for the fossil fuel sector.
“Some existing coal and gas power stations, with sunk capital costs, will continue to have a role for many years, doing a combination of bulk generation and balancing, as wind and solar penetration increase. But the economic case for building new coal and gas capacity is crumbling, as batteries start to encroach on the flexibility and peaking revenues enjoyed by fossil fuel plants.”
This is awesome.
How hot is blockchain in China? “Even vendor aunties selling vegetables are talking about blockchain” is a saying spreading widely on social media—and it isn’t much of an exaggeration. Chinese companies, if not street hawkers, are racing to file patents tied to the technology that makes it hard to tamper with information.
Last year more than half of the world’s approximately 400 blockchain-related patent applications were from China, according to Thomson Reuters, which sourced data from the World Intellectual Patent Organization, a self-funding group under the United Nations. China nearly quadrupled its number of such filings in 2016. The US ranked second last year, with 91 filings compared to 21 in 2016. It’s all part of “land grab” underway as technology and financial firms around the world try to secure intellectual property centered around blockchain.