‘Reformed UP’ Under Boakai?

first_imgIn what appeared to be a direct response to criticisms by former Unity Party Chairman Cllr. Varney Sherman that the party has been betrayed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her failure to implement major policies and decisions earmarked by the party at the 2011 Convention in Nimba County, UP’s newly elected political leader, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, says with his election the party has been reborn.Ambassador Boakai said he “is bringing hope to a dying and disintegrating UP” and told many disenchanted partisans that with his election as the Standard Bearer, he is “here to change the dynamics of things.” “This is a new Unity Party. This is not going to be the same UP that you know,” Boakai said, as he changed the name of the party from “The New Unity Party” to the “Reformed Unity Party,” which was greeted with roaring applause from the partisans.Tensions flared up at the opening of the UP Convention in Gbarnga, Bong County, last week Thursday after former Chairman Varney Sherman performed his last official duty – delivering a report on his six-year tenure. During the deliberation, an enraged Sherman was very vocal about the strained relationship between the government and the party during the larger part of his chairmanship.“There is gross dissatisfaction among partisans because our government has done little to satisfy our aspirations,” said a stern Cllr. Sherman, who didn’t crack a smile throughout the convention, adding, “This is because of government’s failure to adhere to the policies and agreements reached by party executives at the party’s last convention in Nimba.”He told the 425 delegates and several partisans and observers at the convention that the UP Government has let the party and its many stewards down. As such he is leaving the chairmanship an unhappy man because his promises to the people were never met due to betrayals within the rank and file of the party, especially at the higher-ups.“In May 2010, I was elected chairman of the new Unity Party. That election was done with much satisfaction, aspiration and ambition of our partisans and the Liberian people,” he said. “But if all that we agreed upon, both written and oral, at that convention had been implemented to the letter, I would have been resigning happily.” Sherman noted later, “I decided to make my report vague [not pinpointing issues or calling names] because these would have caused many pains and opened more wounds.”Meanwhile during the induction of other elected corps of officers, Vice President and standard bearer-elect Boakai said under his leadership, the Reformed UP will be a critical part of government’s agenda. The Vice President was earlier inducted by President Sirleaf, who said she has exclusive confidence in Veep Boakai to lead the party for a better Liberia.VP Boakai admitted that after the slew of exits and internal wrangling within Unity Party, the party was at its lowest ebb. This was when other nationalists began to rally and form organizations to boost the morale of the imminent political leader and the party. Some of these included the Boakai Movement; the Boakai Wings and others. The strain within the UP began to surface just over a year ago, after a President Sirleaf’s successful second term bid in 2011. At that time, some partisans said, many of them were not receiving what had been promised them. Many partisans complained on numerous occasions, at times through demonstrations, that they had been sidelined by the President for what they termed as “imported Liberians who knew nothing about how the UP was elected to power.”The “imported Liberians,” they said, “enjoyed the fruits of the party’s labor,” which caused a lot of disenchantment within and contributed to the mass exodus from the party. Key partisans, many of them, of late, executive members, said the party could no longer unite them.But Boakai said under his leadership those who work hard are the ones that will be rewarded in his government and frowned on what he termed as lip service, thus calling for total involvement and commitment to the cause of the party’s third term bid.He said the party needs to show its strength and maturity by the way it shares its power. “UP is not a Monrovia based party,” he said. He also noted that by his election, the party has chosen well. “Unity Party has chosen,” he said, noting that his experience and number of years in public service gives him leverage over many of his rivals, declaring that he would not be learning on the job.He noted that diversity and democracy are compatible and as such everyone should be encouraged to come on board to make the UP’s quest for a third term a reality.President Sirleaf had earlier called for reconciliation, noting that whatever had transpired within the party was meant to make it better. She apologized to those aggrieved and those disappointed by past events, adding that decisions taken were for the interest of the party and the Liberian state at large. She noted “let bygones be bygones” to a frowned Sherman, who was sitting at her immediate right. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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BREAKING NEWS: BRAVE McLAUGHLIN BOWS OUT OF EURO CHAMPIONSHIPS

first_imgDonegal welterweight Willie McLaughlin lost out in his quest to secure at least a bronze medal at the European Championships following a reversal to Zaal Kvachatadze of Georgia in Ankara, Turkey this afternoon.A cracking 69Kg duel saw Kvachatadze claim the first round 5-6 and take a 18-15 lead into the third en route to a 28-21 decision.Earlier, Belfast flyweight Michael Conlon lost out to 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Vincenzo Picardi. The experienced Italian, a bronze medal winner at the 2007 AIBA World Championships and 2010 European Championships, was handed a 26-20 decision over the 19-year-old, who was competing in just his 9th senior international in Ankara.“Michael was in against a very experienced opponent and he gave it 110% and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. This is his first major international tournament and he has a big future in the sport”, said IABA Director of Boxing Dominic O’Rourke.Ray Moylette and John Joe Nevin both experienced mixed fortunes versus Russian opponents – and both by one point margins.Moylette, a gold medal winner at the 2008 AIBA World Youth Championships in Mexico, guaranteed himself at least bronze after coming from behind to beat Maksim Ignatiev 14-13 in the light-welterweight class. But Nevin lost 13-12 to former European Junior champion Dmitry Polyanskiy at bantamweight.Irish team captain Darren O’Neill, a silver medal winner at the 2010 European Championships,  is also out after dropping a 17-10 decision to Dmytro Mytrofanov of the Ukraine in the middleweight category.Moylette, who boxes out of the St Anne’s BC in Westport,  was 6-3 and 10-9 down after the first two rounds but produced a fantastic third frame to seal victory.He’ll now meet Hajiliyev Heybatulla of Azerbaijan in Thursday’s 64Kg semi-final.BREAKING NEWS: BRAVE McLAUGHLIN BOWS OUT OF EURO CHAMPIONSHIPS was last modified: June 21st, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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The Supreme Court Saves the Smart Grid

first_imgMany smart grid details are still being worked outThe Supreme Court ruling enables the creation of new services, such as selling home battery power back to the grid. But the business models for many innovative smart grid technologies are still being worked out, and it still isn’t clear what a sustainable business model looks like. Prices in electricity markets, for example, have been in a slump for years thanks to cheap natural gas, which makes it more difficult to earn money selling electricity services.The ruling also does not mean the end of all tensions between state and federal regulations. States may still be able to prohibit or limit participation in demand response markets.Community solar, for example, may be able to sell into power markets in theory, but in practice much still depends on the rules governing how solar power is metered when connected to the grid. Those rules, still firmly in the hands of the states, have become more restrictive in some places in recent years.So by ruling for FERC, the Supreme Court did not kill the smart grid, as some people had feared. But it will take more than a single sweeping ruling to completely save it. Getting paid to save energyThe FERC rule allows homes and businesses to get paid for energy conservation when demand on the power grid is very high, a practice known in the electricity business as demand response. Demand response has been around for years even before the case was heard by the Supreme Court, and has been credited with keeping power costs down and even with avoiding blackouts. Microgrids and community solarWhile demand response has been controversial, it has (alongside the rest of the smart grid) undoubtedly paved the way for a burst of innovative technologies, practices and business models, the likes of which the electricity sector has not seen in many decades.Electric vehicles, the wi-fi connected thermostat, Tesla’s distributed battery system, and the automated response of household appliances in reaction to conditions on the grid are among the potentially game-changing solutions to the grid’s many challenges — and all have the potential to do the job better and more cheaply than large power plants or batteries.My home state of Pennsylvania is but one example. A number of companies that coordinate demand response have sprung up in southeastern Pennsylvania and neighboring New Jersey.For instance, the Philadelphia subway system is now capturing energy from braking and storing it in batteries for reuse or resale on the wholesale energy markets. The city’s electric utility, PECO, is looking into developing micro-grids for local power supply and distribution. (Full disclosure: I have been involved in a number of projects related to demand response, smart grids, and micro-grids through my university employer, Penn State, and the Microgrid Systems Laboratory.)So it would now seem to be all systems go for demand response, electric vehicles, rooftop solar, and Tesla’s home battery system. But the irony of the ruling is that it may actually have muddied the waters, even when the sweeping language in the ruling suggests the opposite. RELATED ARTICLES Will the Supreme Court Kill the Smart Grid?The New ‘Smart’ GridTesla Will Sell Home BatteriesThe Smart Meter: Friend or Foe?Older Americans and the Smart GridGet Ready for Smart AppliancesOntario to Yank Some Smart MetersIn Nevada, Calls for a Smart Meter ProbeWhen Customers Challenge the Wisdom of Smart MetersFinding the Smartest Use for Smart MetersSmart Meter SmackdownThe Smart Meter’s Contentious Opponents Awkward analogies in an effort to explainDuring oral arguments in October last year, the attorneys arguing on behalf of the FERC sometimes struggled to explain the workings of the power grid and the markets that have been created in the wake of electricity deregulation in the 1990s.A host of awkward analogies, from sports cars to hamburger stands, were used on all sides. At the end of arguments, it seemed that the FERC had won some points and opponents of demand response some others, but ultimately, that confusion had prevailed.Some months ago, I argued that this case has hugely broad implications for the electricity business, particularly for innovation, that go far beyond demand response. Indeed, the majority opinion, authored by Justice Kagan, seemed at times very sweeping.During arguments, power generators complained that FERC simply did not have the jurisdiction to set up a market for demand response. The Federal Power Act suggests that the portion of the grid that distributes power to homes and businesses, rather than high-voltage transmission lines that transport power long distances, is the jurisdiction of the states. On this point, the message from the court was pretty clear: FERC has the authority to make the rules for deregulated electricity markets, and it can be as permissive or restrictive as it sees fit in determining who gets to participate in those markets.As a result, the ruling seems to put the federal government in the driver’s seat over modernizing the power grid, at least in the 70 percent of the U.S. where deregulated regional electricity markets are now the norm and have been for nearly two decades.Get paid to reduce electricity demand? Use on-site generators to supplement the grid during hot summer days? Allow community solar and energy storage to earn the same market price as natural gas or nuclear power generators? The Supreme Court has now opened the door to all of this. A smarter grid, here we come!center_img Seth Blumsack is an associate professor at Pennsylvania State University. This post originally appeared at The Conversation. In a surprising 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court upheld a controversial energy conservation rule from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency that regulates interstate electricity sales.The rule was one of those arcane pieces of federal policy so complex that even attorneys arguing for and against had difficulty explaining it. Yet this particular decision by the court is one of the most important in the energy world for many years — not because it upheld a particular FERC rule but because the decision seems to tip the balance of power on electricity policy toward the federal government and away from the states.The breadth of this decision paves the way for a host of new technologies and business models that seem poised to disrupt the usually staid business of electric utilities and usher in a more technologically advanced power grid. At the same time, the ruling sidestepped a number of thorny questions at the heart of state versus federal control over the power grid. For example, on hot summer afternoons when the air conditioner load soars, consumers and businesses can sign up for utility programs to turn up thermostats for short periods and, in return, receive a rebate. By arranging to consume less power during those critical times, grid operators can avoid purchasing costly power from very polluting generators.Critics of the practice have complained that payments in the demand response market have been so lucrative as to amount to a major subsidy for electricity users, one that has eroded the profits of power plants to the point where (ironically) the reliability of the grid may eventually be threatened. The decision issued last month, and the margin by which FERC’s demand response rules were upheld, came therefore as something of a surprise.last_img read more

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