Google, Apple, Facebook Send Letter to NC Legislators

Google, Apple and Facebook sent a letter to North Carolina legislators urging them not to change the state’s renewable energy laws.  State representatives are considering a bill that green energy advocates say would negatively impact the renewable energy sector.

The tech giants’ letter urges legislators not to adopt House Bill 332. The proposed legislation would make significant changes to the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS).

The REPS requires utility companies to buy a certain percentage of their energy from renewable sources, such as solar or wind power. The REPS also requires utilities to increase the percentage of clean energy they buy over time. Allison Eckley of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) says the REPS has been key for the growth of green energy companies in North Carolina, and to keeping rates down for consumers.

“We’ve already seen the downward pressure on electric bills that these policies have had,” Eckley said.

House Bill 332 wouldn’t get rid of the REPS, but it would freeze the REPS requirement at its current 6 percent. Google, Apple and Facebook expressed concern in last week’s letter to legislators that limiting the REPS would hold back the growth of North Carolina’s renewable energy sector. The three companies employ 200 people in North Carolina and have invested $2.7 billion in the state. More than half of their investments are in the renewable energy sector, according to a statement from NCSEA.

“They’ve been following the policy developments here because they consider clean energy as a supplier to that power as a priority. And that’s part of the reason, as they say in the letter, that they selected North Carolina instead of other states in the Southeast that also have cheaper electricity,” Eckley said.

House Bill 332 is co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Hager, a former Duke Energy employee. He and other proponents of House Bill 332 say the REPS unfairly support the renewable energy industry over other sectors. Becki Gray, from the Raleigh-based conservative think-tank, the John Locke Foundation, agrees.

“This mandate, these special favors that are granted to the solar industry at the expense of taxpayers is not good policy. It doesn’t lead to good economic growth,” Gray said.

Gray argues the opposite of Google, Facebook and Apple when it comes to the REPS’ downward pressure on rates.

“The studies that we’ve seen show that that is not true, that the costs increase with the requirement that a certain percentage of your energy has to come from more expensive sources,” she said.

House Bill 332 is being debated in the Senate. For now, the one thing both sides can agree on is the need for more research on the REPS’ economic impact.

iPad 3rd Generation

Hi there! I’m Josh Leffler – the son of the person who writes the $avvy $pender column and the person who co-owns 1360/97.9 WCHL and I’m 10 years old and, at this time, am going into fifth grade. I love sushi, Apple Inc., and Chapel Hill.
I’m a big technology fan, so I’ll be writing about it a lot. But I’ll also be more general, for instance covering things like movies, books, events, etc. I’m also open for suggestions for topics, and you can post those in the comments, and I’ll consider them for a future topic.
But there are many people who write about those kinds of things, so why is my column any different? Well, most of those other people are writing from the perspective of, well, themselves, and so am I, but my perspective is from the eyes of a 10-year-old, unlike the other people, who are all writing from the point of view of an adult.
Now, I don’t have anything against those columns, I’m just trying to show you how I’m different. I’m hoping to:

  • Interest you with the same thing that others are writing about, but from a younger perspective.
  • Point things out to you that you may not have seen from an adult perspective.
  • Help you understand what younger people (at least this younger person) think(s) about a certain topic.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to accomplish that in most of my articles, and I hope that you will be interested enough to keep reading my posts. Anyway, that’s it for now, and I hope you enjoy my first article!
Oh, and thanks to KPO Photo for the photo of me that appears at the top of every post!

First off, let me say that I am a complete Apple geek. Most definitely. So when the new iPad was announced, I was really happy. But that was a while ago.  I would love to sit here and talk about it all day, but I am writing from “A Kid’s View”. So, from the point of view of a ten-year-old, here’s my view on the iPad.

My school is slowly integrating iPad 2 into the curriculum. Now, I own an original iPad, so this was really my first time using an iPad 2. (I had seen and briefly explored the iPad 2 before, but not like this.) So as I launched the app that we were using to create our presentation, I was startled by how fast it seemed. I thought, “Wow! I don’t know how anybody could top this!”

Well, Apple did.

I have also used a 3rd generation iPad, and I’m thinking that if I had been younger, it would have seemed almost as magical as the world of Harry Potter. I also know that, to many kids, the iPad is what they can use to gain understanding of the world around them. That, to me, is even more important than processing power or memory.

Now let me ask you a question: Have you ever seen anything so amazing that it seems unreal? Has (if you’re a parent) your young child ever been so amazed that they pointed their finger and said, “Mommy/Daddy, that’s magic!” to you? It always happens eventually, and whether you are witnessing the beauty of the Eiffel Tower or the magic of the iPad, it’s a rare and precious moment.

Now, I’d like to get to my favorite part – just talking about the new iPad and how it works. First off, the retina display really does make an impression on you. Viewing a picture on and off the high-resolution screen, there really is a noticeable difference. The new cameras are amazing, although the iPad still does make for an awkward camera. The front-facing camera and Photo Booth is terribly fun, though (especially with the silly effects, which will make your kid laugh). Dictation is really convenient sometimes, except it is weird to have to say, “Hello. Period. How are you? Question mark.”

I’m going to use a whole paragraph on the processor. That’s how geeky I am. The A5X chip inside the iPad makes it among the best gaming platforms out there. The graphics are just stunning. Part of that is the fact that the more powerful chip allows for breathtaking detail in the foreground and background, which allows you to delve deep into your game.

So that’s “A Kid’s View” on the new iPad. I’d love to hear your opinions of it. Just comment below.