‘62% of Public School Teachers Not Qualified,’ World Bank Reports

first_imgWorld Bank representatives at the joint review. Over 5,000 teachers, which made up 62 percent of all teachers that are assigned in government-owned primary schools across the country, do not hold a grade “C” certificate, which is the minimum teaching qualification, the World Bank has disclosed.According to a World Bank report, at the secondary level, teacher quality is low, with only a third of secondary teachers having the minimum qualification for their position, which requires a university degree or “A” certificate as described in the education policy.The World Bank is also partnering with the Liberian government to strengthen or improve the country’s education system.At the end of the November 9 Joint Education Sector Review in Ganta, Nimba County, the Bank said: “A lack of qualified teachers and a low quality of teaching are driving low learning outcomes in the country.”Minister Kessely, Dep Min. for Planning, Research and DevelopmentIt was reported that the national Student to Teacher Ratio in senior high school is 13.1 but, according to the report, the low number of qualified teachers means a Pupil to Qualified Teachers Ratio of 48.1 for senior secondary schools.“Mathematics and science teachers are severely under–represented and those in schools have not received any professional development or continued education since entering the service,” the report said.It was also disclosed that schools in poor, rural and remote areas are less likely to have qualified teachers than schools in more wealthy or urban areas.The MoE and partners spent a week in Ganta to jointly review the education sector in the statistics presented by the Bank; it was revealed that limited access to and a lack of quality of Early Childhood Education (ECE) are bottlenecks to improving the country’s education sector.The World Bank also outlined some of the challenges hampering the education sector, such as lack of permanent structures for some or all classrooms for about 30 percent of public primary schools; lack of a comprehensive national monitoring system to track the progress of students; and resource allocation.It also observed that technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions struggle to prepare students in demand of jobs or self–employment.“Although Liberia’s higher education system absorbs 30 percent of the public education budget, it is poorly equipped to meet an increase in demand,” the report said. “The higher education institutions have significant academic staffing and financial autonomy, yet they lack any governance of quality assurance and accountability.”However, the ministry and its partners, shortly after the review, resolved to improve the gaps by making the education system the best.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

“I am made of steel” – Edghill

first_imgParliamentary suspension…feels honoured by suspension, thanks Govt for opening new opportunitiesBy Michael YoungeOpposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament Juan Edghill says he is “made of steel” and does not feel sanctioned in any way by the Government’s move to have him suspended from the National Assembly following a much-publicised incident which saw the Speaker describing him as “out of order”.Edghill, speaking with Guyana Times on Sunday, said the PPP/C knew that there was, what he described as, “a diabolical plan” afoot to have him silenced through coercion and bullyism, and he vowed to not be pressured or bullied by any political party or the Speaker of the National Assembly while representing theBishop Juan Edghillpeople of Guyana.“I don’t feel any way sanctioned so to speak by not being able to attend Parliament. If that is the intent of the Speaker and the Government, they have failed miserably. I feel honoured because my cause is a just cause and that just cause has been known by people locally, regionally and internationally. I have been unable to answer all the calls, emails and other forms of communication of support that have come from lawmakers, church leaders, social activists and ordinary citizens, because what led to my suspension was bringing to public notice the unwillingness of Government to allow for transparency and accountability,” he explained.Edghill said that while he believed in following established rules and parliamentary principles, standing up for what was just and right would always take precedence in his book. He recalled the ruling of the Speaker that he was “out of order” before disclosing that “he did not mind being out of order because he was advancing a just cause”.“I never contested the Speaker’s ruling…I will abide by the so-called punishment but look at it from this perspective, if Rosa Parks had given up her seat, you know what would have happen to blacks and the civil rights movement today?” Edghill contended.He said he was cognisant that the Government engineered the controversy so that his character may be maligned, but the incident has backfired on the political pundits in the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) camp.Addressing the issue of the apparent extension of his suspension which should have ended last month, the PPP/C parliamentarian said that the motive was clear. He relayed that the Speaker’s unilateral decision to interpret the motion moved by Government’s Chief Whip Amna Ally spoke volumes.Speaker Dr Barton Scotland and Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs wrote Edghill last week explaining that he could not attend Wednesday’s sitting of Parliament because there was some confusion as to when his suspension actually took effect. This is despite the fact that Ally’s motion was quite clear on the date when the suspension would end.But the letter said that the suspension took effect from the 80th sitting even though Edghill was barred from entering Parliament on the 79th sitting.Edghill believes that this was deliberately done because he would have to address Parliament when it would meet on Wednesday, as the first order of business on the order paper was a motion which he submitted on the fatal Camp Street Prison fire and fiasco. “This is an attempt to interfere with the motion being debated and silence me from speaking in the Parliament. However, I have since handed over the motion to our Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira,” Edghill revealed.Asked whether he had concerns about the Speaker’s impartiality in the future when it came to him, given the recent incident, Edghill responded in the negative, but not before explaining his reason for adopting such a stance.“The Speaker is not my political enemy. I am an elected representative of the people of this country. The Speaker cannot share those same sentiments. I will not be getting into a fight with the Speaker. He is a mere conduit of the wishes of the Government, so whether he can be described as impartial or not is for the citizenry to decide,” the Opposition MP explained.He said that the incident which was meant for evil has resulted in good for him.“People are more ready and willing to listen to me now and this includes their (APNU/AFC) supporters…they are the ones having to face the shame…I have been on radio and television and writing…I have continued my activism regardless of this so-called suspension,” Edghill posited.He said the incident had “opened up new opportunities and new alliances” for him, stating “I would like to thank the APNU and AFC for helping me in that regard….”.Edghill, a devout religious leader and former Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), warned the Government and Speaker of the National Assembly that the world was watching as he declared that no weapon or plan formed against a just man could bear fruit.last_img read more

Tottenham 2-1 Swansea: Spurs come from behind to stay right in the title hunt

first_img Harry Kane, wearing a protective mask, celebrates with Nacer Chadli This was a huge day for Tottenham in terms of their assault on the Premier League title and a bad one for Swansea in their bid to avoid relegation.Spurs’ 2-1 win came as Arsenal lost to Man United, meaning Mauricio Pochettino’s side pulled three points clear of their north London rivals and remain two behind leaders Leicester.Swansea, however, sit three points clear of the drop zone.But Tottenham were made to work for their victory as they found Lukasz Fabianski – a former Gunner – in excellent form and had to wait 70 minutes to finally beat the Swansea goalkeeper.Before Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose’s strikes, the Pole kept everything out as Tottenham looked for a way back into the game after Alberto Paloschi’s first goal in English football.A lively start at White Hart Lane saw Gylfi Sigurdsson and Erik Lamela go close and it seemed the game’s opener was not far away.Tottenham failed to defend Swansea’s short corner and when Angel Rangel’s shot from the edge of the area was deflected into Spurs’ penalty area, Paloschi pounced with 19 minutes on the clock.Spurs instantly ramped up the pressure, with Fabianski getting down to keep Christian Eriksen’s free-kick out and he had to be alert again to deny Heung-min Son when the forward found himself bearing down on the Swansea goal.Dele Alli’s appeals for a penalty were waved away, while Toby Alderweireld was on hand to block another Paloschi effort inside the 18-yard box and right at the end of the half Fabianski saved superbly to keep out Eric Dier’s goal-bound shot.Tottenham began the second 45 minutes as they ended the first and Eriksen tried his luck again only for Fabianski to stop him once more and he then prevented Harry Kane’s 30-yard drive from finding its target.With nothing working, Pochettino took off Lamela and sent Nacer Chadli on his place on the hour mark and it paid off shortly afterwards when the Belgian turned in Kyle Walker’s skewed shot.Sensing a winner was close, Tottenham continued to attack the Swansea area and were rewarded when Rose’s low drive from 18 yards flew into the net following a corner.However, the home fans’ nerves were on edge as Swansea searched for that valuable point.Paloschi forced a fine save from Lloris and then almost immediately, Walker thought he added a third after a swift counter, but it was judged to have been offside.Still Swansea came forward and Sigurdsson’s free-kick caused problems, but Spurs were able to deal with the resulting corner and saw out the five minutes of added time without anymore scares. 1last_img read more

AT LAST! AFTER YEARS OF BEING TURNED AWAY, TOURISTS WILL GET TO SEE FANAD LIGHTHOUSE

first_imgIT’S been a frustration for locals and tourists alike – making the journey to Fanad Lighthouse…only to find the gates padlocked.But now the Commissioners of Irish Lights have confirmed the historic Co Donegal building and another lighthouse at St John’s Point are to finally open to the public.They are to be included in a new Lighthouse Tourism Trail. And that could see 60,000 new visitors to the county.At Fanad the old coastguard cottages will be refurbished and offered as self-catering accommodation. AT LAST! AFTER YEARS OF BEING TURNED AWAY, TOURISTS WILL GET TO SEE FANAD LIGHTHOUSE was last modified: May 3rd, 2012 by BrendaShare 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) Tags:AT LAST! AFTER YEARS OF BEING TURNED AWAYdonegal tourismst john’s pointTOURISTS WILL GET TO SEE FANAD LIGHTHOUSElast_img read more

Star vehicle

first_imgPixar Animation Studios has brought toys, bugs, monsters, fish and superbeings to compelling and highly profitable life. The flopless outfit has been so successful that some view its recent merger with its feature film distribution partner, the venerable Walt Disney Co., as more of a takeover. Is there nothing that the computer-savvy, Bay Area upstart can’t do? A test of that will come Friday, when Disney/Pixar’s seventh full-length digital cartoon, “Cars,” roars into theaters. What makes “Cars” different from such previous hits as “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles” and the “Toy Story” films? Lotsa stuff. But one big thing in particular. “Unlike any Pixar film, much less any film you’ve seen, ‘Cars’ is about a world where there are no humans,” explains the company’s executive vice president and the movie’s director, John Lasseter. “We invented this world that on one level is very familiar — it looks like any modern, NASCAR racing environment as well as old Route 66 — but you look closely and you realize that it’s a world where only cars are alive.” Doesn’t sound all that daunting, until you think about it. In most animated films (and all previous Pixar ones), anthropomorphized characters were either people, animals, organic fantasy creatures or, in the “Toy Story” case, humanoid objects that everyone projected personalities onto during childhood. Even the denizens of last year’s non-Pixar “Robots” bore most of the expressive features that display human emotion. Though aided by a voice cast that includes Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy and a field of actual NASCAR drivers led by the legendary Richard Petty, making audiences believe that cars can think and feel for themselves was an immensely painstaking task. And it was made tougher by lifelong gearhead Lasseter, whose father managed a parts department at an L.A. Chevrolet dealership, and who insisted that every detail of every make of talking, self-motivated car in the movie look as authentic as feasibly possible. “There are several different levels of difficulty,” says Bob Pauley, one of the film’s two production designers. “There’s design. How to make the eyes read. The mouth, the range of expression. And the whole time, trying to be true to the cars. “We want that car to be a ’51 Hudson Hornet, and if we’ve got to change something, we want it to be true to the spirit of the vehicle. And in the acting, you have to really have performance and break through some of the limitation that a 2,500-pound car might give you. And then there’s the detail; it all has to be there.” And one more crucial quality: restraint. Yes, those 2,500-pound machines required more life than their real-world counterparts. But the animators had to be very careful about where those particular lines were drawn. “We were constantly having to pull back, actually,” says supervising animator Doug Sweetland. “First of all, cars are heavy, made of heavy materials. And when they’re all rendered with lighting reflection, the nature of the material is really obvious. It’s easy to overanimate something like that, to bend it too much in a way that it doesn’t resemble metal anymore — especially with the tendency of animators to want to go crazy, it was a constant fight with that impulse.” The voice talent, recording their tracks alone in soundbooth sessions over the several years it took to make “Cars,” were conversely encouraged to go as crazy as they wanted to. “Well, they told me about this, and I said I’d love to do it,” says redneck comedian Larry the Cable Guy, who plays the clunky old tow truck, Mater, that befriends the hot-shot race car Lightning McQueen (Wilson) when he’s stranded in the bypassed desert hamlet of Radiator Springs. “So I immediately put on 1,700 pounds. Then they told me it was a cartoon; I felt like an idiot.” That’s Larry’s way of saying that Lasseter encouraged him to improvise as many jokes as he could. But it was also vital for the actors to precisely nail the emotions that would turn the cars into … well, car-people. Even the countrified cutup found that a serious and rewarding acting challenge. “Mater’s pretty much the heart of the movie,” Larry notes. “You had to be sad, you had to bring that emotion to it. And my act, y’know, is all goofy one-liners, zip-zing-bang. But in this, not every line is funny. So I really had to concentrate on showing that, because I’d never done that before. It was fun to find that other part of what I do.” “To me, it’s the ultimate acting challenge because you really have to see it in your mind’s eye, and react and believe and behave as if it were there,” says Hunt, who in her third Pixar job voices Sally the Porsche, a burned-out L.A. lawyer who sees crumbling Radiator Springs as a simple paradise. “It’s definitely as rewarding as live action for me because I love the art of storytelling,” continues Hunt, who gushes about Pixar the way Sally idealizes the Springs. “That’s what made me want to get into show business, and at Pixar you really are there to be a collaborator in a storytelling process that has heart and soul, and on top of it has all of this technical savvy and artistry that you’re so awed by. And these Pixar movies are timeless. A lot of animated pictures now have a lot of trend-is-yourfriend references, pop-culture references. Pixar isn’t that way.” For one thing, Lasseter notes that the level of complexity of “Cars” is far beyond anything Pixar has done. “The amount of time it took to do the final rendering of each frame was far greater than in any of our films. How many objects you see in a scene, it’s just off the charts. Over 100,000 animated cars in the stands at a race. “But one of the things we discovered during our research traveling on Route 66 is the way these little towns look,” the director adds. “The decay of these buildings and old neon signs and everything was the most difficult thing to do visually. Computers want to make things look clean and perfect. This was the opposite of that. It needed to have cracks in the asphalt, dust everywhere, paint peeling off of brick walls. That kind of level of detail added to the complexity of the film. But it’s what makes it beautiful, it makes it believable. No one’s ever seen anything quite like this.” Hunt, for one, appreciates the beauty part. “It’s the best body I’ve ever had!” she says of Sally’s shiny, curvy chassis. “But to me, it wasn’t about the body of the car or the make of the car, it’s what was under the hood. It was about what the heart and soul of the character was trying to say.” If that works across the pack, Pixar should have another hit on its hands. According to (the understandably biased) production designer Pauley, that, more than anything technical, would be “Cars’ ” greatest achievement. “They look good, they look like cars,” he says of the cartoon’s characters. “But I can tell you what they’ve been doing, I know their personalities.” — Bob Strauss, (818) 713-3670 bob.strauss@dailynews.com AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

The story of Leeds manager Bielsa signing Pochettino in his sleep

first_img Pochettino played 20 times for Argentina under Bielsa, far right 2 Marcelo Bielsa and Mauricio Pochettino Marcelo ‘El Loco’ Bielsa is the new Leeds manager and, if his first meeting with Mauricio Pochettino is anything to go by, the players at Elland Road are in for a culture shock.Bielsa has a reputation as something of an eccentric figure and you will be hard-pressed to find a more bizarre story than the one involving the signing of the Tottenham Hotspur boss.In 1985, Bielsa was working in youth development for Newell’s Old Boys when he visited the Pochettino family household in the town of Murphy, Sante Fe accompanied by his colleague, Jorge Griffa. Seemingly nothing strange about that, scouts normally visit potential player’s families before signing them.However, this meeting was at 2am and the story goes that he asked Pochettino’s parents if he could see their 13-year-old sleeping son’s legs. “He looks like a footballer,” he declared, and they signed him on the spot. Bielsa had never seen the young Pochettino play.“Yes, that was the reality,” Pochettino told Sport Magazine in 2016.“I woke up in the morning and my mum explained the story. I said: ‘Yeah come on, it was in your dream. What did you drink before you went to sleep?’“Sometimes you need to take risks,” Pochettino explained. “In that moment, they trusted in a person who lived in the area. They believed, and they took a risk, and they travelled to my town.center_img 2 “And they were very brave, because at 2 o’clock in the morning to knock on the door of a house in the middle of nowhere, you risk yourself – some dog could come and bite you – they were very brave and it’s a special story.”The duo have a long history together and Bielsa’s influence has helped shape Pochettino’s career – he moved to Rosario at 14 to train with Newell’s, breaking into the first team when Bielsa became manager in 1990, before moving to Europe to play for Espanyol, Paris Saint-Germain and Bordeaux. All 20 of his Argentina caps – including a defeat to England at the 2002 World Cup, where he conceded a penalty for a foul on Michael Owen – came under Bielsa.Bielsa has a long and decorated history as a manager, but is no stranger to controversy.In July 2016, he walked out on the Lazio job just two days after accepting it – having walked out of the Marseille job the year before a few minutes after the final whistle of their first Ligue 1 game, while his last job ended in 2017 when Lille suspended him.last_img read more

Away match jinx haunts KCCA as CNaPS take it 2-1

first_img Tags: sport top KCCA team that started against CNaPS Sport yesterday.KCCA FC went down 2-1 against CNaPS Sport FC in the first round of the CAF Champions League preliminary round at Vontovorona stadium Madagascar.This was the Kasasiro Boys seventh successive loss away from home on the continent despite taking a second half lead thanks to in-form striker Derrick Nsibambi.KCCA conceded only seven minutes after taking the lead when Filbert Obenchan handled in the penalty area and Fenosoa Ratolojanahary converted the resulting penalty kick.With a minute to play in added time, Francis Rafaralahy headed CNaPS’ second goal from Lalaina Jacquot’s cross to give the hosts a 2-1 win.Mike Mutebi’s charges have to find a winning formula on their travels as it also was their undoing last season in both the CAF Champions league and Confederations cup.Against Mamelodi Sundowns in the Champions league first round, KCCA lost 2-1 in South Africa before drawing 1-1 at Lugogo and in the due course eliminated 3-2 on aggregate.When they reached the group stages of the Confederations cup, the Kasasiro Boys lost all three of their away games in group A including a 4-0 loss to Club Africain in the last game and they where eliminated on goal difference despite finishing level on points with Morocco’s FUS Rabbat.With at least a point in one of their away games during the CAF confederations cup, KCCA would have surely gone into the quarter finals.If they are to perform better this time round, they will need to work on their travels clearly.KCCA and CNaPS will tussle it out in the second leg on the 21st February 2018 at StartTimes stadium, Lugogo.KCCA Team that started.Charles Lukwago (GK), Habib Kavuma, Lawrence Bukenya, Awany Timothy ©, Derrick Nsibambi, Mustaffa Kizza, Shaban Muhammad, Poloto Julius, Allan Okello, Filbert Obenchan.Comments last_img read more

St. Bernard’s, Eureka advance in H-DNL tourney

first_imgBoth the St. Bernard’s girls soccer team and the Eureka boys soccer team advanced to the next round of the Humboldt-Del Norte soccer tournament after thrilling wins which saw both squads play well into overtime and then some before winning their matches Tuesday night.St. Bernard’s 3, McKinleyville 2St. Bernard’s needed all of two overtime periods to best McKinleyville on the road 3-2 Tuesday night, in McKinleyville. The No. 5 seeded Crusaders will now move on to face No. 1 Eureka tonight at 6 …last_img

Bali ash cloud; Insurance cost

first_imgPhoto: AP The ongoing eruption of Mount Ruang to the north-west of Bali has brought into sharp focus the importance of travel insurance and the problem airlines –particularly low cost – have in dealing with such events.According to Natalie Ball, Director of www.Comparetravelinsurance.com.au the insurance industry is expecting up to 20,000 claims from the ash cloud disruptions and the total bill put earlier at $20 million could now – after a reassessment – top $80 million.And that is just the insurance cost and does not include the burden to airlines or holiday makers who were not insured.There is considerable confusion about the level of cover and the cut-off date for liability.For instance if you purchased your travel insurance before July 2nd, consider yourself lucky says Ms Ball. “Most travel insurers will not accept claims related to the Bali ash cloud from customers who bought their policy after July 2, and in some cases, July 3”And it’s important to note that the type of cover you buy makes all the difference.“Unlike basic policies, comprehensive policies do provide cancellation cover for unforeseen circumstances. A basic travel insurance policy does not generally provide cover for travel delays or cancellation. They are often medical only policies and are priced accordingly. However, many standard or comprehensive policies do provide cancellation cover and additional travel expenses incurred as a result of natural disasters.”Ms Ball said that “depending upon your chosen insurer, most travellers can expect all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses to be reimbursed. The major insurers have set-up dedicated teams to work on the event claim phone lines in order to separate these calls from the ‘business as usual’ calls so that customer calls are responded to as quickly as possible.”It is also important to contact your insurer before committing to additional costs and then keep those expenses to a minimum and hang on to your receipts says Ms Ball.Airlines have come in for criticism for the handling of the situation but they have been working with a series of major challenges. Firstly airlines – particularly low cost – are not staffed for emergencies like this and if they were the fares would be far higher. Compounding that issue is the nature of the volcanic eruption and the fickle winds.Unlike most volcanic eruptions Mount Ruang continues to erupt – instead of the typical profile of just one major eruption. The wind direction also changed often blowing the cloud back over Bali and its airport with little notice to airline operations departments.This led to airlines telling passengers to go to the airport and then cancelling the flight at the last minute sending stress levels to the edge.Both Jetstar and Virgin Australia however moved extra staff to Bali to help and also rostered additional staff to handle the phone traffic.Some passengers were also critical of Australia’s airlines for not flying when all others were in the air but Jetstar and Virgin Australia make no apology for that conservative stand.The airline’s position was backed up by Australia’s safety watchdog the Civil Aviation safety Authority which reissued and Airworthiness Bulletin on Monday July 13th which warned airlines to stay well clear of the ash cloud.The CASA AB said: “Flying through an ash cloud must be avoided by all means due to the extreme hazard it presents. Volcanic ash can cause extreme abrasion to all forward facing parts of the aircraft, to the extent that visibility through the windshields may be totally impaired, aerofoil and control surface leading edges severely damaged, airspeed indications become unreliable through blocking of the Pitot heads/static ports, and engines may even shut-down rapidly or lose power gradually, often only being detected when catastrophic performance loss has occurred.”And it added; “In addition to volcanic ash, volcanic eruption columns also contain many gases including water vapour, sulphur dioxide, chlorine, hydrogen sulphide and oxides of nitrogen. Following the eruption, oxidation and hydration, the sulphur dioxide forms sulphuric acid droplets. The resulting ash/acid mix is highly corrosive and can cause further damage to jet engines and pitting of windscreens.”Last year a Jetstar flight from Perth to Jakarta flew through volcanic ash at night that was not forecast and the airline was left with a $20 million damages bill.The most famous encounter with volcanic ash was in 1982 when British Airways flight BA9 on route from Kuala Lumpur to Perth encountered an ash cloud from the sudden eruption of Mt Galunggung, 110km south of Jakarta.The Boeing’s 747’s four engines quit promoting the now famous address from captain Eric Moody; “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control. I trust you are not in too much distress.”The 260 passengers and cabin crew aboard then endured a 15 minute terrifying ride as the pilots and flight engineer battled to get the plane’s engines back to life. The 747 descended from 37,000ft to 14,000 feet before the engines came back to life. According to Captain Moody they had 10 minutes left before ditching.last_img read more

Market Forces Are Driving a Clean Energy Revolution

first_img RELATED ARTICLES Transforming energy marketsOver the past 24 years — under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — the United States has made substantial investments to promote research, development and deployment of clean energy technologies. Transforming U.S. energy systems away from coal and toward clean renewable energy was once a vision touted mainly by environmentalists. Now it is shared by market purists.Today, renewable energy resources like wind and solar power are so affordable that they’re driving coal production and coal-fired generation out of business. Lower-cost natural gas is helping, too.I direct Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy, which works with states to facilitate the transition toward a clean energy economy. In my view, today’s energy market reflects years of federal and state support for clean energy research, development, and deployment.And, despite the Trump administration’s support of coal, a recent survey of industry leaders shows that utilities are not changing their plans significantly. Integration and technology advances support renewablesThere are, of course, renewable energy skeptics. Detractors argue that wind and sun are intermittent sources — not reliable 24 hours a day as a resource that can be turned on and off in response to power market demands.Most new generating capacity added in recent years has been renewables and natural gas while most retired generation has been coal-fired. (Energy Information Administration)This is partially true: A single solar field only produces energy when the sun is shining, and a single wind farm only produces energy while the wind is blowing.But as these resources expand geographically, they create an integrated system of renewable generation that produces a consistent source of electricity.States in New England, mid-Atlantic and the Midwest have integrated electricity systems run by independent system operators that deliver power over large geographic areas, enabling them to balance energy output across their territories.Now the West, too, is starting to integrate into regional transmission systems powered largely by clean sources.For example, in Colorado, Xcel Energy recently submitted a plan to regulators to replace coal generation with renewables and natural gas. This shift will bring its Colorado mix of power up to 55% renewable by 2026 while reducing associated emissions 60% below 2005 levels — all without the EPA’s Clean Power Plan or a renewable mandate. Xcel also is finalizing plans to join the Southwest Power Pool, a transmission market that includes nine other states.Further, advances in energy storage are decreasing the intermittency of renewable generation and offering utilities a buffer between energy demand and energy supply.With storage, utilities can deliver energy when the system needs it. They also can meet spikes in demand with energy from batteries, which reduces the need to build expensive generation that is needed only to meet peak power demand.Innovation is also giving utilities and consumers new ways to manage their power needs. More energy-efficient buildings and appliances, and the ability to manage power requirements through an intelligent grid, will make it possible to do more with less electricity, lowering energy costs for everyone.I expect this dramatic transition to become more pronounced over the next 15 to 20 years. U.S. energy production and consumption will continue to evolve toward a cleaner, more stable, and more intelligent system.This is good news for U.S. energy consumers and for efforts to protect our climate, environment, and economy for future generations. Bill Ritter is the former governor of Colorado. After leaving the governor’s office, Ritter founded the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, which works with state and federal policy makers to create clean energy policy throughout the country. This post originally appeared at The Conversation.center_img Utilities care about cost and predictabilityA recent survey by the trade publication Utility Dive found that electric power industry leaders expect significant growth in solar, wind, natural gas, and energy storage. They also project significant decreases in coal- and oil-fired generation.Why is their outlook so divergent from what’s happening in Washington, D.C.? The answer is a result of multiple market dynamics within the energy industry.1) Markets favor low-cost energy. Currently natural gas, wind, and solar are the lowest-cost resources available to produce electricity and are pushing out coal as a source of power.2) Markets emphasize the long view. As utilities look at aging coal plants that are providing decreasing value to their systems, they are making multi-decade and multi-billion-dollar decisions on investments in power plants and infrastructure to replace coal.3) Markets loathe uncertainty. The Trump administration’s policy reversals and tweets are an unstable foundation upon which to build a corporate strategy.4) Wall Street is helping utilities finance billions of dollars of investment. To ensure access to low-cost capital, they want to cite low-risk investments. Coal represents a high-risk investment from both a pollution and a resource standpoint. In 2016, 44% percent of the U.S. coal supply came from companies that had declared bankruptcy. The resource is simply too risky for investment markets.5) Utilities earn returns on investments in capital infrastructure. Investments in renewable resources are nearly all capital investment and represent the best return for investors. White House Takes Aim at Renewable Energy ResearchCost of Renewable Energy Continues to FallAn Unlikely Bastion of Renewable EnergyDebating Our All-Renewable Future These Southern Cities Are Going 100 Percent Clean (Energy) Federal agencies provided funding for research and development as well as tax incentives. States used renewable portfolio standards, which typically require that power providers supply an increasing percentage of renewable energy to their customers, to promote deployment of green energy.This one-two punch led to innovations that have transformed U.S. energy markets. In the last eight years, utility-scale solar costs have declined by 86% and wind energy prices have fallen by 67%.Natural gas prices, which were highly volatile and often spiked in the early 2000s, have now stabilized at much more affordable levels. They are likely to remain so as production methods improve and sources expand.The Trump administration is resisting this trend, repealing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and proposing subsidies for coal-fired power plants. In doing so, it has also eliminated programs that were designed to help coal-dependent communities weather the energy transition.But these reversals can do little to change underlying market forces, which are driving innovation, closing coal plants, and promoting investment in clean technologies.last_img read more