BNEF: Unsubsidized wind now competitive with gas in Minnesota

first_imgBNEF: Unsubsidized wind now competitive with gas in Minnesota FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Minneapolis Star-Tribune:The cost of deploying wind and solar energy continued to decline significantly in Minnesota last year, and wind — even without federal tax subsidies — may be the state’s cheapest source of new electricity.Those conclusions were included in a report released Monday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which annually surveys the U.S. power generation sector for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, an industry-led group.The cost of new wind and solar power facilities in Minnesota fell by 16 percent and 23 percent respectively in 2018 over the previous year, the report found.The “levelized cost” of new, unsubsidized wind energy came in at $38 per megawatt hour (MWh), which takes into account the cost to build a power plant and its total power output, according to the Bloomberg analysis. Bloomberg didn’t have a state-by-state breakout of the levelized cost of natural gas. But wind in Minnesota is particularly cheap.“Minnesota has access to some of the best wind resources in the U.S.,” the Bloomberg report said. “As a result … new wind build in the state is likely already at parity with new combined-cycle natural gas plants even without incentives.”More: Cost of adding new wind, solar energy continues to fall in Minnesota, report sayslast_img read more

Your people and process make you stand out

first_imgOn three occasions recently I was reminded of the immense value of personalized and genuine sales and service efforts and wondered how often we miss out on similar opportunities presented every day at our credit unions.First, I heard a story told by a great speaker I’ve known for many years. Shep Hyken is a foremost presenter of customer satisfaction and service and is a real captivating speaker. He told a story of being in Dallas, TX during the hot summer and getting in a cab heading to the airport. Not only did the cab driver have the air conditioning on so it was nice and cool in the car but he also had a small cooler in the backseat with ice cold bottles of water and soda.If you’re like me, too many times I’ve hailed a cab on a hot day only to find the windows rolled down and the backseat full of litter and debris. This cabbie in Dallas went above and beyond to create a pleasurable and memorable experience for his customers. He didn’t stop there however – after finding out that Shep had some time to kill before his flight, the cab driver took a detour on the way to the airport (and turned off the meter!) to show Shep some of the local sights and restaurants.When they finally arrived at the airport, the cab driver presented his business card and told Shep to ask for him the next time he’s coming to Dallas. He’d have his favorite drink in the cooler waiting for him! Not only did the cab driver warrant a significant tip at the end of this transaction but also numerous referrals to future travelers to Dallas.For your credit union: Conducting banking transactions is usually a pretty mundane experience. There’s rarely anything different or extraordinary that occurs. Therefore, when a member does experience something outstanding – Shep calls these moments of magic” – they stand out in the member’s mind. That’s exactly what we want members to experience – moments that stand out in their mind for positive reasons. In turn, our credit union will stand out in their mind when they have a future need or talking to others who have financial needs.For this to happen, our staff needs to be willing and able to go above and beyond normal (mundane) service levels. They need to think about how they can stand out in the member’s mind because they make all the difference. They also need the autonomy to do those “little” things that will allow them and the credit union to stand out. Things like getting a member a soda on a hot day or recommending the restaurant next door when it’s close to lunch time.Frontline employees should recognize, like the cabbie in Dallas, that their future success depends on each member having a memorable experience with the credit union. Each employee, especially those directly responsible for those experiences, should identify specific little ways they can be outstanding with each and every member they serve.The second story is about a normally unpleasant experience that turned extraordinary. After much shopping, my wife and I recently purchased a new car from a dealer we had purchase from previously. The salesman was pleasant (which means he wasn’t overbearing) and fair (which means he didn’t use any obvious sales tricks to negotiate a better deal). In the course of conversation, my wife commented on a scented candle he had on his credenza and he mentioned that it was his wife’s favorite scent.We closed the deal that night and picked up our car a couple days later, happy with our addition to the family and relieved that the dreaded car-buying experience was over. However, two days later we receive a package at our front door from the salesman. It was the scented candle from his office with a handwritten note saying that we should remember our beautiful new car every time we burn it. He also made a funny comment about me not liking the scent but not having a choice in the matter since my wife managed the candle-buying duties in the house.For your credit union: Randy knew that buying a car was a normally dreadful experience and that most shoppers think negatively of the salespeople. He also recognized that we had chosen to come back to his dealer to buy a second car when there were lots of other places we could’ve gone – traditional and non-traditional car dealers. Further, he knew that if there was any chance of us buying a third car from them in the future, he’d better sure this experience was memorable in a positive way.This may be hard for some of you to hear but members don’t always enjoy coming into your branch. Whether it’s the people or the location or the building itself, there are many other places many members would rather go. Therefore, when they do come in (or call), we need to be sure to make it as absolutely pleasant and memorable as possible.Let’s recap what Randy did: he acknowledge and appreciated our repeat business. He engaged us in a pleasant and lighthearted conversation about something as innocuous as scented candles. And then he went out of his way to send a hand written, highly personalized note with a highly personalized gift.I see a lot of credit unions who say they’re going to send thank you notes but then run out of time and don’t. I see more who send a note but it’s a generic form letter and not personalized. And I see some others who just assume that their members are going to be loyal and don’t do anything. Every one of us should learn from this car salesman and personalize every member interaction and demonstrate in some fashion sincere gratitude for our members choosing us instead of the innumerable financial institutions in the market today.For the final story, my son is a high school senior and we are navigating the minefield also known as the college selection process. He has narrowed his list down to two schools and we visited both on consecutive days last week. The schools are very close in most categories we’ve considered but one stood out for a reason you don’t often associate with the process – the admissions counselor.Colleen was very professional yet personal from the moment we met her. Pleasant smile, eye contact, firm handshake, easy demeanor. She welcomed us sincerely and offered us each a drink before we went upstairs to her office. The admissions office is in a 100+ year old building that has been magnificently restored and Colleen took great pleasure in showing us the beautiful building. She could tell I loved old architecture and effuse sincere interest herself. Her pride in the building and acknowledgement of my interest was obvious – it was as if we she was welcoming us into her own home!As we progressed up the staircase to her office I mentioned that my father had attended this school over 60 years ago. She stopped in stride and said how happy she was that our son would be reconnecting the school to my family. Wow, what a great thing to say! It wasn’t said it a salesy, cheesy manner; it was genuine and sincere. Again, it was like she was welcoming us to her family!The meeting continued and Colleen continued to impress. Not because she or the school was giving us a sales pitch or a better deal (the schools are very even in all categories of choice) but because she was empathetic of the challenging process and truly appreciated us considering her school so ardently. Her passion for the school and for the decision we were making was palatable.For your credit union: There were two qualities that Colleen demonstrated in this experience that our frontline employees need to possess – passion and empathy. The passion should be for the credit union and their role in helping members find solutions to financial needs. The empathy should be for the difficult and frustrating road most members have to endure to satisfactorily resolve those challenges.I have some clients who don’t have employees in member-facing roles who genuinely and consistently demonstrate these two qualities. To these employees, this is just another job and they’re waiting on just another member. To the credit union, this interaction is just another transaction and the focus from the employee’s boss is doing that transaction without error, not as pleasantly and memorable as possible.Hiring and nurturing employees who possess personalities that exude these, and similar, qualities is a strategic focus of top-performing financial and retail institutions. They don’t hire a square peg for a round hole, as the saying goes. They go to great lengths, even if it takes extra time, to find employees like Colleen who will naturally and honestly welcome and appreciate each member.If you or your credit union would like to incorporate these and other similar qualities into your member experiences, my firm would be happy to help. Please contact me at or 636-578-3280. 18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Paul Robert Paul Robert has been helping financial institutions drive their retail growth strategies for over 20 years. Paul is the Chief Executive Officer for FI Strategies, LLC, a private consulting company … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Miller Place, Shirley Armed Home Invasions Probed

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County police are investigating two armed home invasions four days apart in Shirley and Miller Place last week, one of which resulted in an arrest, authorities said.In the most recent case, two men entered a Canal Road home in Miller Place, where they allegedly robbed a resident at gunpoint before they fled with cash and a rifle at 12:35 a.m. Thursday, April 30, police said.One of the two suspects, 24-year-old David Cruz of Medford, was charged with first-degree burglary, but police said there was no description of the second suspect. Suffolk County Judge Steven Lotto set bail for Cruz at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond. He is due back in court Tuesday.That case came less than a week after a man armed with a gun entered a Laurel Lane home in Shirley, where he stole cash and two cell phones at 10:15 p.m. Monday, April 27, police said. There was no description of the suspect, who remains at large.Detectives are continuing the investigation into both cases.last_img read more

Italy registers highest number of coronavirus cases since May

first_img“I don’t want to look like the one blaming young people, there are certain episodes that have struck me,” like nine young people who tested positive after returning from Croatia.”Every day we receive reports of this type,” Galli said.The highest number of cases were reported in the northern Veneto and Lombardy regions, with 159 and 154 and in Rome’s Lazio region with 115. “We are not in as bad a position as France and Spain, but the current situation is not satisfactory,” said Professor Massimo Galli, who heads the infectious diseases department at Milan’s prestigious Sacco hospital.”The end of confinement has resulted in an excessive feeling of false security,” he told the La Repubblica newspaper.Italy in May emerged from a severe lockdown after becoming one the first European countries to report cases of COVID-19.We have to be careful, otherwise we will find ourselves facing an extremely difficult situation,” Galli warned, pointing particularly to returning travellers over the summer vacation. Topics :center_img Italy has recorded its highest number of coronavirus infections since May 23, with 845 new cases reported over the last day, health ministry officials said Thursday.The new high comes after the health ministry on Wednesday counted 642 new cases, confirming an upward curve.Six people also died over the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 35,418 in a total of 256,118 cases, health officials added.last_img read more