Thursday, April 17, 2014
Apparently snowy days are good for getting business done — there's been a flurry of interesting business stories coming through during the storm. Here's a quick rundown:
The Boothbay Register last month reported that the town is considering installing a 117 kilowatt solar installation on its municipal buildings in a partnership with GridSolar and ReVision Energy.
The deal is almost too good to be true: the $350,000 solar array would essentially be paid for by the rest of the state's electric ratepayers, who save money on the deal because these solar panels would purportedly eliminate the need for Central Maine Power to build a much more expensive power line upgrade running down the Cape Newagen peninsula, from Edgecomb to Boothbay and Southport Island.
Instead of paying to have power delivered on bigger power lines, Boothbay will instead be generating more electricity right where it's being used, so (theoretically, anyhow) everyone saves.
Mainebiz's current issue has more details on the deal, why it ought to be a good deal for electric ratepayers inside and outside of the Cape Newagen peninsula, and how, if it's successful, it might be replicated in other power-line pinch points, including greater Portland.
Image: 2010 file photo of solar installers in California. Credit: The Associated Press
Quartz reports that Donald Thompson, the CEO of McDonald's, has been boasting about how his drive-thru lines are an economic indicator. Here's what he said an an investor's conference recently:
"This year you’ll see additional energy at breakfast as I mentioned. Also if the economy does improve, breakfast is one of those dayparts, breakfast or late night are the kind of dayparts where we typically will see it first. So, we’re optimistic once again that hopefully some of the trends that we are seeing will continue from an overall macroeconomic perspective."
I suppose this makes a certain amount of sense. As more people head back to work, you might well expect more of them to grab fast food at the drive-thru as they rush to their new jobs.
Image: A May 2, 2012, file photo shows a sign advertising job openings outside a McDonalds restaurant in Chesterland, Ohio. Credit: The Associated Press
Yesterday's business section ran an AP story about Cyprus, the Mediterranean island nation whose banks are in big trouble right now. But the semantics of this story are a bit misleading — this isn't your typical "bailout."
International financial agencies are refusing to cover the costs of the bad debt themselves. They're asking the troubled banks of Cyprus — or rather, their account holders — to pay a substantial amount of the $20 billion needed to fix the country's bad debt.
Usually, if you put your money in a risky bank, losing some of it is part of the risk (as Planet Money explains). So unlike most "bailouts," where investors were spared from the financial consequences of their bad decisions, this proposal actually would hold the banks and their depositors to account — at least in part.
Cypriots — and the many offshore tax-sheltering account holders who stash money in Cypriot banks — are very upset about this idea. Yesterday afternoon, the Cyprus parliament rejected the plan to hold bank account holders responsible.Tweet
Commercial Confidential tracks Maine's business leaders and economic indicators.
I'm an economics wonk and an online content producer for the Portland Press Herald.
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