SPI to acquire 50 MW UK solar pipeline

first_imgSPI to acquire 50 MW UK solar pipelineChinese-headquartered solar group signs development rights agreement with project owner Global Renewable Construction Limited Group to acquire PV pipeline across U.K. April 14, 2015 Ian Clover Installations Legal Manufacturing Markets Markets & Policy Share Solar Power Inc. (SPI), a vertically integrated solar power company headquartered in China, has signed a non-binding heads of terms agreement with British EPC Global Renewable Construction Limited Group for the acquisition of 50 MW of solar PV projects. The pipeline includes a raft of solar plants that are currently under construction across Wales and parts of the Midlands, England, with completion dates penciled in for the third quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year. Commissioned to qualify for accreditation under the U.K.’s Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) at a rate of 1.3 ROC/MWh, each of the ground-mount solar projects is less than 5 MW in size. Some of the smaller projects are also eligible for the feed-in tariff (FIT), confirmed SPI. “This announcement marks another significant step forward in building SPI’s leading presence in the U.K., one of the most promising PV markets globally with highly attractive FIT and ROC 1.3 incentives,” said SPI chairman Xiaofeng Peng. “As our second recently announced agreement with a major U.K. developer, we are confident that our efforts to grow and diversify SPI’s global PV portfolio in the U.K. and Europe will continue to gain momentum.” SPI’s approach to the U.K.’s larger-scale solar market post the recent ROC changes that took effect on April 1 is expected to be mirrored by other solar companies keen on enjoying the benefits of the still-attractive British solar market available to projects under 5 MW, which qualify for the ROC at 1.3/MWh.Popular content Enabling aluminum in batteries Mark Hutchins 27 April 2021 pv-magazine.com Scientists in South Korea and the UK demonstrated a new cathode material for an aluminum-ion battery, which achieved impressive results in both speci… ITRPV: Large formats are here to stay Mark Hutchins 29 April 2021 pv-magazine.com The 2021 edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) was published today by German engineering association VDMA. 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Ian also reports on the UK solar market, having worked as a print and web journalist in Britain for various multimedia companies, covering topics ranging from renewable energy and sustainability to real estate, sport and film.More articles from Ian Clover clover[email protected] Related content ITRPV: Large formats are here to stay Mark Hutchins 29 April 2021 pv-magazine.com The 2021 edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) was published today by German enginee… The Hydrogen Stream: 20 MW green hydrogen plant in Finland, two Australian projects move forward Sergio Matalucci 20 April 2021 pv-magazine.com Storegga, Shell and Harbour Energy want to set up a 20 MW blue hydrogen production facility in the U.K. Australia’s Orig… Solar and wind could provide half of 2040 power mix across 22 African nations Max Hall 29 April 2021 pv-magazine.com The International Renewable Energy Agency has combined energy infrastructure commitments across a huge swathe of the con… We all trust the performance ratio test pv magazine 7 April 2021 pv-magazine.com The performance ratio test is at the core of the handover from EPC to owner. 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Cracking the case for solid state batteries pv magazine 29 April 2021 pv-magazine-australia.com Scientists in the UK used the latest imaging techniques to visualize and understand the process of dendrite formation an… 123456Leave a Reply Cancel replyPlease be mindful of our community standards.Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *CommentName * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. 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Expectations – Am I at Fault?

first_imgI was born to a middle class family; “family” for me has always been the values that I imbibed from the people around me. My family comprised of my great grandmother (late), grandfather (late), grandmother (late), my parents, my aunts and my brother alongwith other distant relatives and many helps around. Our living was totally dependent on agricultural outputs and with so many people to feed; it was obviously difficult to run a family. Each one of us had different needs and wants but we had sufficient to eat healthy and serve many others who visited us either for medical help or earning a livelihood. We were content as we had shelter, food and clothes. We lived a very happy life despite the few difficulties. I have grown seeing my Dadu (late grandfather), his attitude towards life, though he used to spend most of his times at our ancestral village and take care of agriculture but he was always available on weekends for his family. Both my brother and me with all our cousins had spent the best childhood listening to the stories recited by our Mama (great grandmother on her cot resting on her arms where we all could find ample space to fit in, especially five of us), treat that my Dadu offered from his small savings for us, halwa prepared by my Mai. It was so much fun I would always wait for the holidays when my cousins used to visit us, was very eager to do their holiday home work as I was always keen on what are they learning in Delhi schools (most of them lived in Delhi). We used to be very eager to meet our cousins and waited so anxiously, delicacies were prepared on their arrival day as the most important person i.e. our Fufaji’s also accompanied them. That was the day when my mother used to prepare delicious spread and it was made in small quantities as we had scarcity of funds but there was love and it was a way of welcoming. The moment our cousins arrived we used to have pillow fight, discussions, teasing each other and how time flew we could not even realised. On the day of their departure we were left with heavy heart but there was always a looking forward for their next visit. We were always together in almost every festivals, I loved the Holi, Diwali, Dussehra, Marriages and especially the summer holidays. We used to accommodate in whatever resources we had, it was so much fun sleeping together with all the gaddas lined on the terrace with mosquito nets. We used to play games dumb charades, antakshari and games that our cousins introduced to us, we used to fight also but that sleep was the best. We would wake up early to the rising sun and wait for other cousins to get up and then our fun used to spread the entire day.I would learn a lot from them and was very close to everyone, days passed and I was always in awe of the life that my cousins lived, whenever I visited them I was so much inspired by them, I saw them having discussions with their parents and wanted the same. But I never had discussions with my father, maybe because he never initiated or maybe I could never count on him. I always wanted to read books like one of my best cousin (one whom I was very close and still she is the one I miss always, I could talk to her whatever non sense and she always supported me, though we had an age gap of 4 years) but did not had the environment at home. My youngest Aunt was an avid reader but I always found her reading Mills and Boon and used to sneak and manage to read a few pages on my way to exchange it to her friend and neighbour. I always wanted to discuss with her, she sometimes cleared my doubts but when she had her lows she would say go and ask your parents. My mother was a graduate, but she was not much into studies, despite her shortcomings she made all her effort so that my brother and I must not compromise our studies. She also had heated discussions with my father at times regarding his attention towards our studies, that very day he used to sit with us but after that he always sounded so busy and was busy playing cards with relatives who used to stay at our place (much hated by my Dadu as he could also sense my desire of my father involved in my studies) or attending wedding in other towns or visiting different cities to find groom for our aunts or having unending discussion with my grandmother. I would be wrong to say he didn’t gave us quality time, he was always there for us if ever we wanted to play videogame or eat my favourite egg roll which was a luxury (his savings) as we didn’t wanted to waste money. Travelling to our mausi nani’s place was our outings on weekend where we used to be pampered and it was an off day for my mummy from the daily chores. My Dadu always insisted on my mother’s visit to my mausi nani’s place as he always gave one liners caring sentences for his dutiful and only daughter-in-law.It all went very well for many years and then all my aunts were married, we also grew up and started with our higher education. One day I very well recall my Dadu saying my father to carry forward and start on and that he will take some rest. My Dadu nick named me food tiger as he adored my eating habit as I used to arrange my every meal in plate as some scenery with right proportions and enjoyed my meal (whatever spread it was as simple as daal roti chokha karela). My brother and I always hanged with our Dadu and I served him all meals and tea twice a day. I so much miss him today and writing this piece of memory of his is wetting my eyes. I wish he could spend time with my children today he would be so happy to play with them. Though I was fortunate that my Mai (who passed last year) did spend some time with my children and that my children do remember her as Badi Nani and miss her every time they visit their grandparents place in Patna.I finished my graduation and now was the time to go out of Patna (which I so much wanted) and then I was allowed to go to Delhi and prepare for CAT and pursue MBA (path which was safe as my elder most cousin did the same and it was in trend and was safe for girls, being safety as the foremost priority). So I came to Delhi and lived in Kamala Nagar and prepared at IMS for six months and cleared the exams and took admission in Amity Business School (factors considered were safety as it was close to all my Bua’s place, it was in Delhi and the fees was also affordable and it had a brand value) so after all consultations among my family members I started studying there. I lived in a very protective environment and coming out of my comfort zone was challenging and coping with the so called “Delhi wala crowd” was not an easy task but I was always into studies as I had this deep desire to prove to the world that my parent’s daughter can achieve something. And I always wanted to stand to my mother’s expectations to work and be independent. It was recession and it was getting very difficult to earn a placement (the reason for doing MBA) but I managed to get a decent one but could not share it with my Dadu as I always wanted to gift him a watch from my first earning. Then after working as a management trainee for four months I quit my job and followed my dreams (which were always instilled in my mind by my mother that for a working wife and dutiful mother it was always better to be in academics as a Professor). It was 2010 when my parents started thinking of my marriage and it was the first proposal offered by a neighbour. It was approved by my parents after discussion with my relatives. But after the demise of my Dadu things began to change and there was this commotion going on in my mind and heart and so I went ahead and discussed with my relatives. But it didn’t get well with them may be I could not communicate with them properly. But I only initiated, as they were the ones whose approval really mattered to me and I was in big dilemma over marriage. My courtship period was four months and I had my dreams, my fantasies, my expectations (grown up watching romantic movies in cinema hall with my buas, image built in my mind by my mother, my ideals who were my uncles living in Delhi), expectations that my new would be family made me imagine. I had beautiful experience with my partner but at times he used to shout at me (it didn’t go well with me as most of the times I could not understand why it was so, I used to feel worthless, I wanted someone to discuss but could not find any help). To understand this new relationship better I tried to spend most of my weekends with him so that I could take a decision but as times passed there was anxiety, sleepless nights I always wanted someone to listen to me but seeing the excitement of my parents I just couldn’t. Then as the marriage dates neared there was lots of commotion inside and outside me. Till the day I was getting married I wanted someone to hold me to whom I wanted to share my feeling and the person who was most close to me distanced from me, she didn’t had time to attend my wedding but had all the time to go for a short vacation with other cousins just prior to my marriage, I just could not take it in. She turned just one day prior to my wedding and then discussing this had no point as rituals were going on. But my mind and my heart were not synchronizing, there was this fear which I could not think whether it was a normal fear or I was stressing out.There was some heated arguments back home on my wedding day something related to accommodation which I was not there so could not get the version, it was the version shared by my brother. But things turned bad from that very day there was drift in my family and I could sense that at my wedding reception which was never what I expected from my close and dear ones.(to be continued………..)last_img read more

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Economy TrumpsClimate Change

first_imgUtilities are quickly developing excellent solar programs on both sides of the meter. At a press conference during the Solar Power International conference in October, Duke Energy’s CTO David Mohler said, “Ultimately, we will get into [the installation business.] We can standardize it…. In eight years, utilities and other players will be able to sort out the value chain.” Twitter Mississippi Power cutting stakes in coal-fired, gas-fired stations to reduce excess MW, emissions Linkedin Economy TrumpsClimate Change U.S. lawmakers may take those sentiments as a cue to slow adopting rules that might hurt domestic industries. Some delay in building new baseload capacity seems likely, given the recent economic tremors. A drop in electricity demand growth in the coming months will ease pressure for at least some new baseload capacity. The first POWER-GEN International was held in Orlando in 1988 and this year the event marks its 20th anniversary. Those 20 years have seen the euphoria and caution of deregulation; the bursting of the combined cycle bubble then its re-emergence; a flurry of new coal plant construction; the promise of a nuclear renaissance; escalating construction costs and fuel prices; the entry of renewables into the mainstream; and what may turn out to be the worst economic downturn in at least 35 years. Meaningful climate change legislation in the U.S. Congress seems unlikely any time soon. Here’s why and why this may not be good news, especially for developers of baseload coal-fired power plants. Congress this past summer flirted with climate change legislation. This would be the much-anticipated set of federal rules limiting and controlling the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that power plants—among other fossil fuel users—could emit to the atmosphere. Actually, long-range forecasts of electric demand and supply have never been that helpful—or accurate. There’s a surprise around every technological corner. In the 1960s, demand growth caused by air conditioning was underestimated; today, data centers are gobbling up energy faster than anyone ever dreamed. Extrapolating from demand growth in the late ’60s and early ’70s led to big generation overbuilds. The cost to fuel a coal plant has declined since 1988. According to EIA data, the overall nominal cost of all kinds of U.S. coals in 1988 was $22.07 per short ton. That compares to $25.40 in 2007. But in real terms, the total price of all coal has fallen from $29.16 to $21.23. The cost of bituminous coal declined in real dollars, from $38.54 to $34.12. Comparing the cost of coal plants isn’t much easier. In 1988, the cost to build a 600 MW subcritical project was about $700/kW. Based on numbers from EIA, EPRI and other sources, a comparable plant today would probably be a 750 MW supercritical plant costing $2,000 to $3,000/kW. That would not include carbon capture, which could increase the cost by 30 percent. Factoring in sequestration, not yet proven to be commercially viable, could double the overall project cost. Second, the bailout and other budget constraints will limit the federal government’s ability to fund new energy programs. Incentives, tax breaks, demonstration projects and so on will be difficult to justify for some time. On the “revenue enhancement” side it likely will be difficult for Congress to tax industry for its fossil fuel consumption. “You want to do what in economic times like these?” seems the likely response to such a plan. Earlier this year, Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said, “Green is the new red, white and blue” and added that wind is the future of energy. Maybe not wind: Congress gave wind a one-year PTC, while solar got eight years of ITCs and significantly, allowed utilities to take direct advantage of the ITC through ownership of solar projects. Today, solar is the new green. Seen more broadly, the public’s concern with the environment is largely a luxury item. Good times and plentiful cash make it relatively easy to worry about all manner of environmental disaster. It’s also relatively easy to write a check to support environmental causes and organizations. When economic difficulty comes knocking at the door, or at the neighbor’s door, people’s eagerness to worry about the environment will cool. From a still broader perspective, international consensus still needs to be forced on climate change. Talks begin next year on post-Kyoto action. The European community hopes to have carbon change policies in place by the end of the year even as some countries threaten to block a deal, citing the economic slowdown. Poland and Italy argue they cannot afford to enforce emissions targets on their industrial sectors. So, we plan for the mid-term, include coal, worry less about legislating the capture and storage of CO2 and put our R&D dollars into technologies like solar that will revolutionize our electric grid. We imagine a new business model for utilities. Maybe the economic crisis will do more good than harm. TAGSConEdPE Volume 112 Issue 11 RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Facebook The current toxic economic atmosphere will probably choke federal global warming legislation, but we don’t have to give up on building a smarter, cleaner energy structure. We just have to take a more realistic look at all of our options—and that means coal, which has struggled under the weight of a “carbon-capture ready” requirement. Then and Now “People have made mistakes in terms of electricity demand predictions and price predictions, largely by underestimating the medium-term impact of markets,” said Dan Gabaldon, a principal in Booz Allen Hamilton’s energy practice, in a cap-ex report he and I worked on earlier this year for PennWell’s Electric Light & Power. But in the absence of legislation, coal-based generators remain uncertain over the potential rules related to climate change and carbon emissions. This is particularly problematic as the environmental community has played the climate change card quite effectively, either to halt or delay new baseload coal plants. Facebook Because it’s always interesting to compare how things were with how they are now, let’s look at changes for a few basic power industry costs since 1988. Of course that was before the economy fell on the floor. The extent of the recent economic turmoil suggests a couple of things. First, Congress and the new president will have their hands full restructuring financial markets and steering the economy out of the ditch. With gasoline prices easing through October the pressure to “do something” regarding energy is over for now. Never mind that gasoline prices have little to do with electricity generation. The public, the media and Congress lump energy all together in a broadly defined issue. Little wonder that coherent policy is such a rarity. At any rate, “energy” will slip down the priority list as gas pump prices improve. Earlier this year, the 545 MW Weston supercritical unit with SCR, dry FGD and advanced mercury reduction technology went commercial at $1,420/kW. The same unit today would probably cost “north of $3,000/kW,” said Tom O’Brien, Weston project manager. Energy Information Administration (EIA) numbers indicate that combined cycle plants intended for intermediate to baseload use built in the mid-1990s cost about $600/kW for a 500 MW plant. Today, the cost of a 550 MW CC plant would be about $1,200/kW. (One 550 MW plant was built earlier this year for less than $1,000/kW.) Coal plants built in the 1980s could capture 95 percent of the particulate matter they produced and remove 70 percent of sulfur dioxide. Today’s plants can capture 99.9 percent of the particulates and 95 percent of the sulfur dioxide. In the 1980s, no mercury emitted from coal plants was captured. Today’s technology removes 85 percent. Not a big surprise to those industry leaders and scientists who have repeatedly said the same thing. Not only is CCS not “ready,” but it’s expensive, uses a lot of power and creates a new tangle of legal issues. Public Power Weekly reported that DOE studies found that sequestering CO2 underground might double power plant water consumption, a precious resource that’s already in short suppy in many areas of the country. Left unresolved, however, will likely be a comprehensive national approach to climate change and carbon emissions. As has happened before when it comes to electric power generation, the approach may resemble a patchwork quilt of rules championed by some states and eschewed by others. (Of interest will be seeing if California can remain committed to its aggressive climate change goals. What looked difficult to achieve a few months ago may prove all but impossible under current economic conditions.) That’s a much more compelling and credible assessment of our electric health and a better way to plan for the future. If the economic meltdown forces us to do that, the result could be productive. According to B&V, an 850 MW greenfield with wet FGD came in at $1,230/kW 20 years ago. An 855 MW brownfield with wet FGD cost $725/kW. And a 1988-vintage 425 MW greenfield with wet FGD cost around $1,090/kW. But perhaps the biggest surprise was wrapped up in Congress’ financial bailout bill, where Production Tax Credits and Investment Tax Credits for clean energy were thrown in at the last minute. “[W]e need to be realistic about how well we can plan for the distant future…. (I)t is unrealistic to imagine that we can legislate today for the next 30 to 40 years and get it right,” said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in his 10 principles for climate legislation. Comparing the cost of wind then and now is no easier. In 1988, the typical wind turbine was much smaller than today (50 to 150 kW as compared with 1.5 MW), the technology less advanced and the market much smaller. A typical wind turbine in 1988 would have cost about $750/kW. A 1.5 to 3 MW wind turbine today costs about $2,000/kW. That’s certainly higher, but consider that the technology is far more efficient today than 20 years ago. One reason wind turbines have such better capacity factors today is their size and height. It requires a lot of steel and concrete to build a 300-foot-tall tower and more materials go into today’s wind turbines. Transmission represents another huge electric power infrastructure cost. Reliable figures don’t go back to 1988. But more recent numbers suggest the cost has risen in just the past seven years. According to “Transmission Planning for a Restructuring U.S. Electricity Industry,” by Eric Hirst and Brendan Kirby, published in June 2001, the cost of building one mile of 345 kV transmission line in 2001 was just under $1 million. The Edison Electric Institute currently places the cost at more than $2.7 million per mile. Looking at these numbers may not provide all the clues we’d like about the next 20 years, any more than the 1988 numbers would have provided any certainty in predicting today’s conditions. But this much is certain: Looking back is always interesting. And looking ahead is always challenging. Previous articlePE Volume 112 Issue 11Next articleDOE funds Midwest carbon sequestration partnership chloecox By David Wagman, Chief Editor Turmoil in the financial markets has injected the words “volatility” and “uncertainty” with steroids. Will the electric power sector feel the pinch? Of course, but frozen credit markets and belt-tightening could cause some surprising shifts in our industry. The congressional effort failed but it showed that writing any climate change legislation will be more challenging than many thought. Economic Shock Could be Therapeutic Twitter Solar is poised for rapid technological advances and should be as big a success story as wind. Plus solar provides other benefits: it’s both central station and distributed generation. It won’t take thousands of miles of expensive transmission lines to bring its clean energy to market. (Not only is new transmission expensive, but arguably, a large, interconnected transmission grid isn’t the most reliable way to run the system and make it more secure from cyber and physical attack. The Texas model might be preferable.) Closer to home, the Conservative Party defeated the Liberals in Canadian parliamentary elections after the Liberals based much of their campaign on a national carbon tax. Liberals proposed a carbon tax up to a C$40 ($34) a ton on energy consumption. Prime Minister Stephen Harper labeled the plan a “tax on everything.” Compare long-range projections with reserve capacity margin data. The first is assailable and prone to change; the second is immediate and meaningful. A recent NextGen Energy Council study found that U.S. baseload generation capacity reserve margins declined “precipitously to 17 percent in 2007, from 30 percent to 40 percent in the early 1990s.” The Council said 12 percent to 15 percent is the minimum required to ensure reliability and stability. And that brings us to global warming. Comparing other costs is more difficult. Take the cost of a gas-fired power plant. Combined cycle plants barely existed in 1988 and they didn’t hit their stride until the mid- to late 1990s. That makes cost comparisons tricky. Plus, the mainstay of the early combined cycle plants was the E-class combustion turbine. For more than 15 years, the F-class turbines have been favored. A U.S. Government Accountability Project report released in October said that carbon capture and sequestration technology isn’t ready now and might not be for a long time. The whole idea of burying CO2 is as fundamentally flawed as dumping garbage into the ocean or burying nuclear waste in a mountain. Haven’t we learned this lesson before? Yucca Mountain: 30 years and $85 billion. If the economic crisis forces us to question CCS, then good. By chloecox – Lawmakers will argue that what the economy needs now is a good shot in the arm. Higher energy costs, whether in the form of a tax or other penalty on fossil fuels, will be labeled as counterproductive to fostering economic recovery. Roosevelt Huggins, manager of business development for air quality control systems at Black & Veatch (B&V), estimated the cost of a wet flue gas desulfurization system in 1988 was about $175/kW. Today, the cost would be about $475/kW. “The difference in price reflects design changes that have made these systems far more efficient,” Huggins told me. Yet the prices rose only about 4 percent a year until 2004 when the cost of everything went up including concrete, steel and demand for engineering services and scrubbers. 11.1.2008 A news article last month quoted a Republican senator as saying that the green bubble has burst and environmental issues will take a back seat to economic issues for some time. Seen in a positive light, that sentiment could signify that low-cost, baseload coal-fired generation may be called upon to help power economic recovery. But that recovery may well take place without a nationwide, comprehensive set of rules for climate change regulation. Optimizing Plant Performance: The April POWERGEN+ series activates today We’ve been in wait-and-see mode when it comes to building new generation in this country for quite a while, even though all long-range forecasts called for additional power. The Energy Information Administration, for instance, projected that total U.S. electricity supply must rise at an average rate of 47 TWh a year from 2008 to 2030 to meet demand growth. Now the economic crisis has many questioning these forecasts. What if the economy slows down? Will we over-build? By Steve Blankinship, Associate Editor Take the cost of a residential kWh. According to the Edison Electric Institute, the nominal cost of a U.S. residential kWh in 1988 was 7.44 cents. The most current figures show a nominal cost of 10.63 cents. Adjusted for inflation, the numbers are 11.76 cents in 1988 and 10.63 cents now. So despite all the pressures on the power industry, the real cost of electricity has come down in the past 20 years. Linkedin “Everyone learned how complicated this issue is,” said Barry Worthington, executive director of the U.S. Energy Association. When I spoke with Worthington in early September he said legislation likely would not be passed before 2010. Support for a bill was not 100 percent, but he rated it a virtual certainty that some sort of climate change legislation would pass. “I think in all likelihood the moment (for climate change legislation) has yet to arrive,” he said. By Nancy Spring, Senior Editor Vietnam: scaling back coal-fired plans toward gas, renewables EmissionsAir Pollution Control Equipment ServicesCoal However, fuel represents a large percentage of the total cost of electricity from gas plants, making the cost of natural gas a number most people focus on. The average cost of natural gas in 1989 was $1.69/mmBtu. The average cost of natural gas last year was $8.97/mmBtu. No posts to displaylast_img read more

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Recognising the best in the industry

first_imgThe British Coach Tourism Awards (BCTAs) is set to return on 20 March 2019, with the deadline for entries fast approaching on 21 December.Recognising excellence in the coach tourism industry, the Awards recognise the hard work of some of the most talented coach tour operators, destinations, visitor attractions, hotels, and suppliers in the sector.New for the 2019 was the opportunity to nominate those who you believe go above and beyond the call of duty, providing an opportunity to find the undiscovered stars of the coaching world.All those nominated have now been contacted and entries are flooding in.Operators are encouraged to submit their entries before the fast-approaching deadline.Operators can enter into the following categories:Coach Tour Operator – Small Fleet (1-5 coaches) Coach Tour Operator – Medium Fleet (6-15 coaches)Coach Tour Operator – Large Fleet (more than 15 coaches).Christina Glenister, Group Marketing Manager for the Awards says “Entering the Awards is a really valuable exercise. It provides an opportunity to consider the progress that has been made over the last year and helps to form ideas and plans for the year ahead.“Everyone shortlisted benefits from the kudos of being associated with the only national awards scheme dedicated to coach tourism, while for the winners, there are an abundance of marketing and PR opportunities.“A British Coach Tourism Award sets you apart from your competition, and reassures your customers that you provide the highest quality of service”Details of how to enter can be found on the British Coach Tourism Awards website, where there is also a ‘handy hints’ guide of what to include in your entry.www.britishcoachawards.co.uklast_img read more

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Films improve ratings in popularity stakes

first_imgIts report shows that EU countries produced 669 films in 1996, compared to the 421 made in the US over the same period. France led the way with 134 films, of which over half were national productions rather than international co-productions.The UK came a close second with 128 films (including 53 national productions), followed by Italy and Spain with 99 and 91 films (including 77 and 66 national productions) respectively.While Union producers were busy making movies, cinema attendances also showed clear signs of a recovery, with overall EU box office receipts rising to 3.29 billion ecu in 1996 from 2.39 billion ecu in 1990. This was still only half of the US attendance figure. The Irish were the most avid movie-goers, averaging 3.2 cinema visits per person in 1996 compared with the EU average of 1.9. Total Union ticket sales reached 702 million in 1996, on a par with those in 1985, but well down on the 1.04 million tickets sold in 1980.last_img read more

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Why Putin hates Hillary

first_imgIt certainly provoked Putin, who soon accused his opponents of organizing with State Department money. One former State Department official who worked on Russia issues under Clinton suggests that Putin’s outrage over that statement might have been manufactured, a classic effort by a strongman to tarnish his domestic opposition as foreign puppets. McFaul says he is confident that Putin was genuinely angry.Since leaving government, Clinton has had almost exclusively tough words for Putin, especially following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.Whether Putin genuinely believed that Clinton was plotting his overthrow is another question. But he has repeatedly criticized the U.S. for “regime change” policies that have toppled authoritarians in other countries, including Iraq and Libya that Clinton supported. In the latter case, Putin was furious when a 2011 U.S. and European military operation billed as humanitarian—and advocated by Clinton—evolved into a de facto campaign against dictator Muammar Qadhafi.Putin reportedly obsessed over Qaddafi’s violent death in Kremlin meetings. The graphic video of the Libya ruler’s bloodied body being dragged by a mob is often replayed on Russian television, along with Clinton’s wisecrack about the executed strongman: “We came, we saw, he died.”Since leaving government, Clinton has had almost exclusively tough words for Putin, especially following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. At a March 2014 fundraiser, Clinton compared Putin’s action “to what Hitler did back in the ’30s.”But few would have guessed that Clinton herself might wind up wondering whether she herself had become a target of Putin’s aggression.“I think they expect her to win,” said one diplomat with extensive Russia experience, who believes the Kremlin directed the email hack. “But they’re sending her a message that they are a power to be reckoned with and can mess with her at will, so she had better take them seriously.” Behind the scenes, however, Clinton and Putin — who, it soon became clear, was still the real power in the Kremlin — had an uneasy dance. In March 2010, when Clinton visited Russia, Putin summoned her to his luxurious residence outside Moscow. Knowing her fondness for wildlife elephants, in particular — Putin invited Clinton to a basement trophy room filled with mounted animal heads. (A Clinton aide later described the gesture, though well meaning, as having a Bond villain feel.) Yet when the two emerged for a photo-op, Putin launched into a public scolding of Clinton. The slouching Russian rattled off a list of complaints, from a decline in U.S.-Russia trade in to the impact sanctions against Iran and North Korea were having on Russian companies.Putin has repeatedly criticized the U.S. for “regime change” policies that have toppled authoritarians in other countries, including Iraq and Libya.But Clinton knew how to play tough with the Russian officials, some of whom referred to her with both derision and respect as “a lady with balls.” When McFaul arrived in Moscow in January 2012, he faced harassment, including the reporter with a Kremlin-controlled TV channel who followed him everywhere and the Russian secret services who followed his children to school.One day, Clinton called an exasperated McFaul at the ambassador’s residence in Moscow to express her anger at the Russian violation of diplomatic protocol. McFaul was stunned that Clinton had called on an unsecure line, especially when the two had plans to meet soon anyway. “Oh, I want them to know that I know,” Clinton said, in McFaul’s recollection.In September 2012, Clinton was to meet with Lavrov on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia. Lavrov, a sophisticated member of the Soviet foreign policy aristocracy, took great pleasure in being gentlemanly toward Clinton. He personally picked out the flowers for her hotel room in Vladivostok. But when they met, Lavrov slammed her with some unexpected news: Russia was kicking out USAID and gave the Secretary of State 30 days to pack them up and move them out. Stunned, Clinton stood up and walked out. According to people with knowledge of the meeting, Lavrov tried to get her to stay and talk, but Clinton wasn’t having any of it. She dropped her notes and said he could read those if he wanted to talk, and walked out.But nothing angered Putin as much as Clinton’s statement about Russia’s December 2011 parliamentary elections, which produced widespread allegations of fraud and vote-rigging on behalf of Putin allies. At a conference in Lithuania, Clinton issued a biting statement saying that the Russian people “deserve to have their voices heard and their votes counted, and that means they deserve fair, free transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.” Some Obama officials felt the provocative statement went too far. While Donald Trump’s budding bromance with Vladimir Putin is well known— the two men have exchanged admiring words about one another, and called for improved relations between Washington and Moscow — Putin’s hostility towards Clinton draws less attention.Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton say that Putin was personally stung by Clinton’s December 2011 condemnation of Russia’s parliamentary elections, and had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama. They say Putin and his advisers are also keenly aware that, even as she executed Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia, Clinton took a harder line toward Moscow than others in the administration. And they say Putin sees Clinton as a forceful proponent of “regime change” policies that the Russian leader considers a grave threat to his own survival.While experts debate whether Putin would actually try to meddle in a U.S. election, there is consensus on the idea that Clinton is unloved within the Kremlin.“He was very upset [with Clinton] and continued to be for the rest of the time that I was in government,” said Michael McFaul, who served as the top Russia official in Obama’s national security council from 2009 to December 2011 and then was U.S. ambassador to Moscow until early 2014. “One could speculate that this is his moment for payback.”The notion of payback remains speculation. Some experts are unconvinced that Putin’s government engineered the DNC email hack or that it was meant to influence the election in Trump’s favor as opposed to embarrassing DNC officials for any number of reasons.But the Clinton campaign has embraced the theory, with campaign manager Robby Mook seeming to endorse the notion of Russian involvement on CNN Sunday. Clinton aides have been gratified to see the story leap onto television, which had previously given little coverage to Trump’s views about Russia, and noted that even Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer on Sunday called the allegation of Russian meddling “troubling” and “plausible.” When mass protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin erupted in Moscow in December 2011, Putin made clear who he thought was really behind them: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.With the protesters accusing Putin of having rigged recent elections, the Russian leader pointed an angry finger at Clinton, who had issued a statement sharply critical of the voting results. “She said they were dishonest and unfair,” Putin fumed in public remarks, saying that Clinton gave “a signal” to demonstrators working “with the support of the U.S. State Department” to undermine his power. “We need to safeguard ourselves from this interference in our internal affairs,” Putin declared.Five years later, Putin may be seeking revenge against Clinton. At least that’s the implication of the view among some cyber-security experts that Russia was behind the recent hack of the Democratic National Committee’s email server, which has sowed confusion and dissent at the Democratic convention and undercut Clinton’s goal of party unity.center_img And while Clintonites realize that few Americans typically pay close attention to the state of U.S.-Russia relations, there are two important caveats. One is the presence of large Polish, Ukrainian and other eastern European populations in Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin, where the Clinton campaign plans to flag stories about Trump and Putin for ethnic media outlets. The other is that voters of all stripes will surely pay attention to serious talk of foreign influence in the election.While experts debate whether Putin would actually try to meddle in a U.S. election, there is consensus on the idea that Clinton is unloved within the Kremlin. “I think there is good and credible evidence that there is no love lost in Moscow for Mrs. Clinton,” said Eugene Rumer, a former national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Clinton has never concealed her own disdain for Putin. As a senator in 2008 she joked about George W. Bush’s famous line that he’d gotten a sense of Putin’s “soul,” cracking that because Putin was a KGB agent, “by definition he doesn’t have a soul.”On arrival in the Obama administration in 2009, at a moment of U.S.-Russian tensions over Putin’s 2008 invasion of the Republic of Georgia, Clinton was tasked with implementing Obama’s “reset” of relations with Moscow, an attempt to collaborate on areas of common interest even while acknowledging unresolved differences on a range of issues. Though skeptical of the effort, Clinton felt that Dmitry Medvedev, a former prime minister who had swapped jobs with Putin to become president, might be easier to deal with than Putin.“Clinton was a more skeptical voice on the reset,” McFaul says. “She was tougher on the Russians. She pushed back. She was a difficult interlocutor with both [foreign minister Sergei] Lavrov and Putin — and I say that as a compliment.”The reset effort was troubled from the very start: Clinton arrived with a novelty button for a press conference with Lavrov. It was supposed to say “reset,” but instead said “overload” — which Lavrov didn’t fail to mention. Clinton became the butt of Russian jokes over this typo. Yet the reset had its successes, including a NATO transit point on Russian soil for troops headed to Afghanistan and a new nuclear arms reduction treaty. Also On POLITICO America 2016 Why can’t Hillary stop fudging the truth? By Todd S. Purdumlast_img read more

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Lockn’ Releases Unbelievable Initial Lineup For 2016 Festival

first_imgYou can catch many of these artists including Lettuce, Vulfpeck, and Chris Robinson’s Soul Revue (Supergroup) at the inaugural Fool’s Paradise in St. Augustine, FL April 1-2! Get tickets and more info here. The 2016 LOCKN’ Festival initial lineup is here, and what a lineup it is.Taking place at a brand new weekend, August 25-28, in Arrington, VA, the festival will see headlining performances from Phish (x2 – 4 sets), Ween (x2), and My Morning Jacket.The full lineup includes sets from Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (x2), Charles Bradley, Brandi Carlile, Gary Clark Jr., Galactic, Keller’s Grateful Gospel, Keller’s Grateful Grass, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Turkuaz, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lettuce, Vulfpeck, Twiddle, Umphrey’s McGee, and White Denim. Wow!Not only that, but the festival promises future artists to be announced in the coming weeks. Get ready for a great weekend of music. Tickets and more information can be found via the Lockn’ website.last_img read more

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Irish shut down Boilers

first_imgMany Notre Dame students made the drive to West Lafayette, Ind., this weekend to cheer the Irish to a 38-10 victory over in-state rival Purdue. Sophomore Michael Gills said he enjoyed the exciting atmosphere that an away game provides, even if it was a blowout victory. “It was not as spirited as a home game in the Notre Dame student section but there was a lot more bonding between students because we were at an away game,” Gills said. Sophomore Tom O’Brien also said he enjoyed the night game atmosphere at Purdue’s Ross-Ade Stadium. “At the start of the game, the Purdue fans were really into it, as it was the biggest game of the year for them,” O’Brien said. “However, after it was clear the Irish were going to win, Ross-Ade Stadium quickly turned into a home game for Notre Dame, as many of the Purdue fans left early.” Freshman Madeline Basil said she noticed the Purdue section was not as energetic and cohesive as Notre Dame’s student section. “The Purdue students did not have as many cheers as we do, and the ones they did have were quite inappropriate,” she said. “In fact, it reminded me more of a high school game than a college football one, as students could stand wherever they pleased and did not pay as much attention to the action going on the field.” O’Brien said many Purdue students he spoke with were not expecting a win. “Purdue had a black out promotion for the students, so they were really excited to be in that kind of atmosphere,” he said. “I talked to some Purdue students before the game and they were expecting an Irish victory, as even they recognized Notre Dame as the superior team.” Despite the chilly weather, Basil said she was pleased with her first Notre Dame away game experience. “I was happy to see a good mix of Purdue and Notre Dame fans, and everyone seemed really excited to be a part of a night game,” Basil said. Gills said the 150-mile trip to West Lafayette was worth watching the Irish play well. “It was a great game to go to because Purdue is relatively close and the high number of Notre Dame fans that came out and supported their team,” Gills said. “It was an overall great game to watch the Irish play in.”last_img read more

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Suzanne Vega Joins Off-Broadway’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Musical

first_img Star Files Suzanne Vega(Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images) Award-winning singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega has signed on to appear in the new off-Broadway musical Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice based on the Oscar-nominated 1970 film. Vega replaces the previously announced Tony winner Duncan Sheik, who is the composer of the musical’s score but will no longer appear in the cast.”I’m very excited for the upcoming production of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice with The New Group,” said Sheik. “It turns out that being in the cast on top of being composer and co-lyricist of a new musical is a lot to chew, so I have decided to focus on the latter. I’m thrilled that my friend and longtime collaborator Suzanne Vega will be stepping into the role. She joins an amazing cast and creative team and I hope as many people get to enjoy this show as possible.”Best known for her folk-inspired music, including the notable song “Tom’s Diner,” Vega’s career has spanned more than 30 years. Her prior stage work includes contributing music to Broadway’s Tupac musical Holler If Ya Hear Me and crafting music to the off-Broadway play Carson McCullers Talks About Love, which netted her a 2012 Drama Desk nomination. Vega’s popular music contributions have earned her Grammy and MTV Video Music Awards.Vega joins a previously announced company of stars that includes Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano as Carol, Michael Zegen as Ted, Joél Pérez as Bob and Ana Nogueira as Alice.With music/lyrics by Sheik, additional lyrics by Amanda Green and a book by Jonathan Marc Sherman, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is a bittersweet comic take on the sexual revolution in which the suavely conventional lives of two successful young couples, all friends, are both stirred and shaken when they open their minds to the changing attitudes around them.Scott Elliott will direct and Kelly Devine will choreograph the production, scheduled to run from January 16 through March 15 at the Pershing Square Signature Center. Related Shows Bob & Carol & Ted & Alicecenter_img Show Closed This production ended its run on March 22, 2020 View Comments Jennifer Damianolast_img read more

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