Greed and Envy

I don’t normally blog about work, because people can be pretty sensitive to coworkers talking about things to do with work, online. Salaries and earnings are especially sensitive, as many people stake personal worth, and social standing on the figures.

It’s worth pointing out though that the University of Regina has made an effort to be more transparent about how much it is paying its top-earning staff and faculty. The figures had been public before, but now they are online for more immediate perusal.

http://www.uregina. ca/orp/statistics/faculty-staff.html

The list shows almost everyone at the University making $100,000/year or more, each July.

I expect highly educated people in a specialized field to be making a lot of money, but frankly some of the salaries shocked me. Considering most of my coworkers took a pay cut last contract negotiation this year, it would have been possible to get significant pay raises with a small <0.5% cut to the top-earning staff and faculty instead. Cost of living isn’t being kept up with, by many staff in the CUPE 5791 union. While students suffer from increasing tuition as the province fails to fund the university enough, it’s not fair to be asking front-line staff to take pay cuts while more than 400 other people make 3 to 10 times more than a typical student wage. It is income inequality beyond the pale.

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Regina Bitcoin Community meets at Tavern

About 40 people showed up to Vic’s Tavern on Tuesday to talk about cryptocurrencies. Among the hot topics:

“Is Bitcoin a bubble?”, and “What is Ethereum?”.

In my table before the group discussion, everyone said Bitcoin was a bubble, but with a big caveat, that it will burst into other newer cryptocurrencies, not mostly back into dollars. In the larger group, few were willing to say it was a bubble. I, and Mike S. were asked to speak for the group to the media that showed up with questions about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. One person, I think it was Kai, or was it Mike (safe bet, there were no fewer than 3 at my table), explained that there were many bubbles in cryptocurrencies, all percolating and popping frequently, faster than most notice.

I felt a little like a celebrity in the room, as several people recognized me from my Bitcoin Symposiums I helped put together 3 years ago when similar crowds came out for an evening of education and visiting.

3rd Regina Solar Co-op founding meeting

On Monday I was pleased to attend the 3rd meeting held in Regina with the objective of forming a solar power co-operative. By late November, there should be money in the bank, and a lot more research complete, which will assist interested Saskatchewanians with setting up solar power systems of their own.

Here’s a CBC radio interview with one of the organizers.

Check how much you could save, while paying off a warrantied solar array that will function long after you’ve made an important home improvement.

Regina Solar Co-op meeting at Artful Dodger on 11th Ave.

3rd? Yes, there’ve been 2 meetings this Winter, but I’m counting one meeting put together by Susan Birley last Winter as the first.

SaskPower Misinforming The Public About Solar Power

In honour of the solar eclipse on Monday, SaskPower shared what it’s been saying about solar power for many years. The problem with reusing years-old information about technology, is that sometimes you get things wrong due to advances in the technology. There should not be so many factual errors in SaskPower’s communications with the public. It’s a sore point for me, because it’s so critical that people understand the capabilities (and true limitations) of renewable energy technologies. Only by changing how we power our electrical grid and daily lives, can we quickly¬†leave fossil fuels in the past to reduce damaging climate changes, and health problems from emissions.

I’m one of those 400 #solar energy providers to the SaskPower grid. It’s known as Net Metering, because the net electricity used, at the end of a year is billed to me, but any generated above equality is kept in SaskPower’s favour.

Photons, not IR/heat is collected from light, & is converted into electrons (electricity). Heat causes additional resistance / lower output. Telling people otherwise could convince them that seasonally cold Regina isn’t a great place for solar, when it’s actually a top location in the world!

As you can see from my examples, SaskPower has some explaining to do, about the [mis]information they’re sharing on their Twitter feed. I worry what else they’re telling people, that’s as inaccurate.

ADDED: Sent this to SaskPower. I’ll let you know what they do to correct the record.

“SaskPower shared some inaccurate information on its series of tweets during the solar eclipse. Will SaskPower correct the record, and tweet correct information about solar power from this point forward?
https://johnkleinregina.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/saskpower-misinforming-the-public-about-solar-power/

Please let me know when SaskPower issues corrections, and I’ll update my article.

Thank-you,
John Klein”

“Thank you, your inquiry has been submitted.

A SaskPower representative will respond to your inquiry shortly.”

UPDATE: They replied yesterday:

Thank you for your email. Solar is an important part of a cleaner energy
future for Saskatchewan. We want customers to understand our plans for
solar, and as you note in your blog, the limitations of the technology, as
well. To ensure reliability for customers, intermittent generation sources
like wind and solar require back up baseload power that’s available 24/7.
We also aim to balance a mix of sources that offer reliability,
cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability. We are keenly paying
attention to the development of utility-scale battery storage technology as
you mention and will look forward to testing it once the technology
continues to evolve.

Okay, but what about correcting the mistakes in the information you shared with the public? e.g. equating heat with electricity production in PV cells. That’s not how it works.

Why are you not testing battery storage technology now?