Lanny Sinkin's time at Solar San Antonio, and in San Antonio all together, is coming to an end. From 2009 onward, Sinkin has been running the solar advocacy nonprofit his father started 15 years ago. His return to San Antonio from Hawaii was precipitated by his mother Faye passing away. His father, community organizer, William Sinkin, passed away this year.
Last week the city of Alamo Heights asked CPS Energy to delay installation of smart meters in its neighborhood for one year so that the city could evaluate citizen concerns over the devices.
A few days later they were told by CPS that the installation in their city was not until late spring of 2015, and that they would conduct outreach to better educate those concerned.
CPS is in the midst of upgrading its grid through a $290 million program intended to increase efficiency and reduce costs. By adding smart meters to hundreds of thousands of electric and gas meters across the city, they no longer need to travel to individual houses to read meters.
For years skeptics have questioned smart meter programs. Many claims have been made questioning the safety of the radio waves the devices emit, and a far right-wing element voiced by Glenn Beck has made claims that the devices are going to be used to collect data on customers for nefarious purposes.
I don't care what anyone says; the smart meters it is a controlling device. You know what it is? It's a search engine. It's Google as a search engine"
- Glenn Beck on The Glenn Beck Program 1.25.13
Several of these claims are addressed and refuted on CPS's website and in many published studies.
The Republican Party of Texas officially opposed smart meters in there 2014 convention platform:
We oppose the mandated use of Smart Meters, as well as the use of collected data to reduce freedoms of U.S. citizens. Our opposition is based upon security, property damage, energy inefficiencies, privacy, health issues, and the use of Smart Meters to ration electricity. Texans should be allowed to opt-out of or opt-in to the use of Smart Meters.
The utility obviously has a hard sell on its hands, but wants to clear things up for those on the fence about their smart meters.
University Hospital's new Sky Tower increased green space to cool the property, including healing gardens integrated into the building and landscapes designed to produce a lush tree canopy over 50 percent of the site within five years
University Health System Thursday accepted a check for half a million dollars in rebates for energy savings. It was the second large, commercial rebate announced this week.
George Hernandez, president and CEO of University Health System, said the new University Hospital Sky Tower is designed to use 20% less energy than a similar structure built to “normal” building codes.
OCI Solar Power thought of an idea that leaders there say is sheer genius. They've put sheep to work on the grounds of a solar farm on the far northeast side to keep the grass cut.
As solar panels soak up plenty of hot Texas sunshine, there's plenty landscaping work to do at the Alamo 2 Solar Farm off Binz-Engleman near North Foster Road. But instead of people, OCI Solar Power is employing lambscapers.
More than 12,000 CPS Energy customers lost power in early morning thunderstorms Friday that downed tree branches and power lines. Late Friday afternoon, some 3,000 customers were still without service.
A statement late Friday from the utility said equipment that normally could be repaired must be replaced. CPS Energy is bringing an average of 50-200 customers back on at a time, even though all available CPS Energy work crews, plus contractor crews, are working to restore power.
Investigators continued Monday to search for the cause of an explosive fire that destroyed a building at the CPS Energy's Deely Power Plant over the weekend.
Employees who were on duty at 1:30 Sunday morning reported hearing popping noises from the building at the South Bexar County power plant, which contained stores of chemicals such as denatured alcohol and corrosion inhibitors.
No one was injured, but CPS Energy said the 1970s-era corrugated metal barn is a total loss and estimates damage at $500,000.
CPS energy proposed new incentives and fees in May to be considered by city council.
Since then they have revised both fees they proposed downward. A one-time install fee went from $450 to $225 and the $1 per kilowatt charge went to $2.50 per 5 kilowatt hours. The utility also plans to give out $20 million in rebates to new solar.
CPS Energy told council yesterday that both fees were necessary to continue funding debt incurred for transmission lines, the cost of which the utility says is falling primarily on non-solar users.