Kansas City, Kansas - Pat Lucas received the notification last August: She would have to vacate the Armour Flats building in the 3400 block of Holmes Street in Kansas City — her home for more than 17 years — by November. The management company was going to renovate the property, causing her rent to shoot up, from a little over $500 a month to more than $1,000. She was priced out and had to move. Lucas shared her story Saturday as KC Tenants, a local organization advocating for housing rights, held a rally to announce it was creating a citywide tenant’s union. The organization will work with every local neighborhood association with a goal of getting 10,000 union members.
By Julia Pyper for GTM - It's official. The solar industry has met the 2020 utility-scale solar cost target set by the Energy Department's SunShot Initiative -- three years early. The DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released new research today that shows the average price of utility-scale solar is now under $1 per watt and below 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. That’s higher than the record-breaking project bids we’ve seen in the U.S. and abroad in recent years. But that’s because DOE calculations for levelized cost of energy (LCOE) do not include subsidies -- such as the federal Investment Tax Credit -- and are based on the average climate in Kansas City, Missouri. (Note: GTM documented the sub-$1 per watt milestone earlier this year, but the department is using its own metrics.) “Our mission is to make solar affordable for all Americans, and so our goals are defined for average U.S. climates. We use Kansas City as that example,” said Becca Jones-Albertus, acting deputy director of the SunShot Initiative. “Hitting a 6 cents per kilowatt-hour target for Kansas is a more significant metric than hitting 6 cents in sunnier parts of the country.” GTM Research reported that U.S. utility-scale fixed-tilt system pricing fell below $1.00 per watt earlier this year using a different methodology.
Kansas City, a metropolitan area of about 2 million that straddles the border between Kansas state and Missouri, seems an unlikely place to see what the future of internet connectivity could look like. But nearly three years after Google announced that this midwestern metropolis best known for jazz and barbecue would become the first place in the world to get the company’s experimental, ultra-high-speed broadband internet service — Google Fiber — Kansas City is looking more futuristic. Just not in the way Google or Kansas Citians originally anticipated. That’s because Kansas City is also home to another experimental broadband internet service effort that hasn’t received nearly as much international attention as Google Fiber. Just over a year ago, right around the same time Google actually began installing Fiber here, a ragtag alliance of affordable-internet advocates including a jazz club proprietor, a Pentecostal Christian minister and a former Occupy Wall Street protester began building their own nonprofit wireless internet service specifically designed for low-income households, a system they call the KC Freedom Network. Even though it can’t match Google Fiber in terms of raw speed, the KC Freedom Network offers something to users they say Google does not: truly affordable internet.