A decade of blogging: Making sense in the cyber highway

BLOGGING is currently the prevailing practice by individuals who have the passion to write and tell stories about places, people and events using advance technology as the fastest and most effective channel of communication.

Before technology dominates the cyber world, people had a hard time communicating. Even in relationships, one has to physically visit the person who is the love interest. It involves a lot of hard work because one has to court the whole family only to win their hearts and eventually the heart of the love interest.

People used to communicate either by letters or phone calls (landline), through friends and through mutual interactions. Those were the old days.

But now, with the advent of technology, everything is made easy even in courtship, business, and family relations.

Petty quarrels even occupy the interest of the cyber community, which is quite a downside. But people become more conscious about their looks, clothing, behaviors, and language and have all the reasons to celebrate in most if not all occasions.

But here comes blogging, few individuals put together their passion and formed a group named the Negrense Bloggers. Their group rings a bell in the corporate world. They just marked their 10th anniversary on May 25.

The Negros Bloggers started in May 30, 2009 with pioneers Ruby Caberte, May Castro and Glady Tomulto, who felt the need to professionalize their craft of blogging.

They held meetings and sponsored blogging seminars to gather and network with other bloggers based in Bacolod City.

Soon, through blog hopping, link exchange and social networking, the group grew by leaps and bounds, attracting many Negrense bloggers based in Bacolod as well from other parts of the country.

This has led to the creation of the Negrense Blogging Society, Inc., a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered, non-profit, non-stock association.

Negrense Blogging Society, Inc. is the juridical personality behind the Negros Bloggers.

Their mission is to promote, preserve, and develop the arts, culture, business, environment, tourism, and history of the Negrenses in the blogosphere.

They are also a community of bloggers who help one another develop and professionalize their craft, foster camaraderie and friendship, while at the same time gather other Negrense bloggers together through link parties, seminars and guest posts. They help each other look for new opportunities that may benefit their readers.

They are governed by the core values of honesty, integrity, excellence and ethics in our blogging. We build mutually beneficial linkages with other bloggers and blogging networks in other cities and provinces in the Philippines and around the world who share our values, passion, and philosophy.”

Ruby Caberte, founding President said, “It’s been ten years since we started Negrense Blogging Society, Inc. It makes me really happy and very proud that they have come a long way and have become one of the premier blogging organization in the country today. To my Negrense Bloggers family, keep on shining and growing! Cheers to the next 10 years and more!”

Glady Reyes said, “After 10 years of blogging, we want to give back to the community by mentoring the youth who want to go into blogging as platform for their advocacy and business.”

Couple bloggers Dennis and Sigrid Lo are grateful of their blogging and their organization.

Sigrid said, “I’m grateful to be part of the Negrense Blogging Society. While we may be called bloggers, we uphold blogging ethics and journalistic values by reporting only facts and sharing opinion based on facts. It has been our group’s goal to be a channel of change and positivism in the city, promoting Bacolod to the world through our websites.”

Dennis said, “We are against fake news and together we stand to share only information about our society and about life that is helpful and true.”

They even had influence on their kids Shawna Din and Dorothy Shane who also have their YouTube vlog channel: sistersactkidscantell.

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3 Blogging Secret Weapons (that are actually common sense)

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Blogging is a great way to share valuable information with current and potential clients. Blogging is also a way to improve your sites SEO ranking and humanize your brand.

Sometimes when I’m writing I may get the infamous writer’s block or I might want to publish a new post but am crunched for time. Luckily, I have a few secret weapons that help me in these predicaments and I’m going to share them with you today!

1. Leveraging Popular News 

If I ever get into a spot where I want to write a blog post but haven’t had anything inspire me for a post yet, I always check to see what news is already popular. I usually check Google News, LinkedIn’s What People Are Talking About or LinkedIn’s Daily Rundown. Not only is there always endless content to choose from but writing about popular news puts your article and thoughts in the middle of an already trending topic. This gives your post the opportunity to be seen by more people.

2. Learning from trends

While Popular News focuses more on “right now” learning from trends means making sure you know about general topics that have continued to stay relevant. Last week everyone one was talking about the Yanny Vs Laurelvideo. However, that’s already old news. Creating articles with timeless information will make posts relevant no matter what and you will always be able to re-post the content.

3. Leveraging found content

Another blogging secret weapon of mine is leveraging found content. If I’m browsing the web and see an article that piqued my interest I will create a new blog post, featuring that initial article while giving credit to the original author, and also include my own thoughts as well. Another term for this is News Jacking and a tool that makes this process extremely simple is PostHaste.

Here are some other blogging tips you might want to check out:

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Do you have any blogging secret weapons? If so, leave a comment about it!

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Solar is now cheaper than coal-based electricity in India, but the math makes no sense

Solar is now cheaper than coal-based electricity in India, but the math makes no sense

Solar energy prices are crashing through the floor in India.

In the last three months, solar tariffs have dropped by over 25%, with much of the recent action focused around Rajasthan’s Bhadla solar park, a 10,000-hectare facility on the edge of the Thar desert.

At an auction for 500 megawatts of capacity at the park on May 12, the state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India managed to discover a record-low tariff of Rs 2.4 per kilowatt-hour. The previous low was two days before that when tariffs hit Rs 2.6 per kilowatt-hour during auctions for another phase of the Bhadla solar park.

At such rock-bottom prices, solar power is even cheaper than India’s coal-based thermal power plants. The country’s largest power company, NTPC, sells electricity from its coal-based generation units at a princely Rs 3.2 per kilowatt-hour.

Moreover, India’s solar-generation capacity is expected to touch 8.8 gigawatts this year (a jump of 76% over 2016) to become the third-largest solar market in the world, according to renewable energy consultancy Bridge To India. And, on the back of prolific growth in non-conventional power, consulting giant Ernst & Young reckons that India is the world’s second best market for investing in renewable energy.

Source: BRIDGE TO INDIA, GTM research
Source: BRIDGE TO INDIA, GTM research

So, it really should be party time for India’s solar sector – except that it isn’t.

Instead, there is real fear that, with such low tariffs, many of the country’s solar projects could turn unviable.

Nuts and bolts

There are a bunch of factors behind the dramatic drop in solar prices in India.

First, the price of photovoltaic panels, which account for a major chunk of a solar power plant’s cost, have plunged by 30% in the last year. Developers are betting that the downward trend will continue, and factoring that into their overall cost estimates, which, in turn, is helping lower tariffs. “To that extent, they [developers] are taking a forward punt on this [drop],” said Anish De, a partner with infrastructure and government services at KPMG. “Whether they [the bets] are hedged or covered, we don’t know.”

Second, the Narendra Modi government has moved decisively to assure private renewables developers by backing a payment security mechanism. Last year, the Solar Energy Corporation of India, the country’s largest solar power purchaser, was included in a tripartite agreement between the Central government, state governments and the Reserve Bank of India, which safeguards it against payment defaults. India’s state government-owned power distribution companies are notorious for delayed payment to renewable energy producers, which are increasingly under pressure because of falling tariffs.

Who dares lose

But the main driver for this sharp reduction in tariffs is cut-throat competition, which is leading to overtly aggressive bidding. For an auction of 750 megawatts of capacity at the Bhadla solar park in April, some 33 developers are estimated to have lined up. Competition is rife, Bridge To India reckons, because a slowdown in new tenders is pushing global and domestic solar developers to fight harder for whatever is on the block.

Moreover, the reverse auction process – where sellers typically underbid each other to win business from a buyer – that has been employed for projects like Bhadla has helped push tariffs lower, according to KPMG’s De. “If you’re having a regular tender, you would’ve taken your final calls and given your bid,” he explained. “In a reverse auction… it’s a very, very visible competitive process, and makes you take even sharper calls egged on by competition.”

Solar arithmetic

The basic math for setting up a solar plant is that 1 megawatt costs around Rs 6 crores, according to Rupesh Sankhe, senior analyst at Reliance Securities, a brokerage. His estimate is that if a developer wants a return on investment of around 14%, then the tariff needs to be in the range of between Rs 4.5 per kilowatt-hour and Rs 5 per kilowatt-hour. “If they come below Rs 3 [per kilowatt-hour], then the return will be zero,” Sankhe said. “No matter what they do, they won’t make profits.”

KMPG’s De estimates that some players are settling for “very low returns” as a result of aggressive bidding. At the same time, these companies are not completely factoring in all the risks – including sticky issues like grid curtailment. Simply put, curtailment refers to incidents where a power-generating unit is not allowed to despatch electricity to the grid and ceases production for a certain period. This especially impacts renewable energy producers, like solar power plants, because they typically function only during certain hours, and there may not be enough demand on the grid at those times. Or, there may be cheaper power available elsewhere. Hence, the curtailment.

“In some projects, you’ll be paid if production is curtailed,” De said. In other cases, producers may not be compensated, which will hurt given how thin margins are likely to be on the back of such depressed tariffs. And as India pushes to create 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022, the danger of financial damage from curtailment will only get bigger. “…the future risk of curtailment of power due to grid congestion, especially in high renewable penetration areas, can upset project cash flows and return expectations,” Bridge To India said in a May 2016 report.

With such risks persisting, and tariffs dropping in an increasingly overheated Indian solar market, it’s only a matter of time till someone ends up burning their fingers.

This article first appeared on Quartz.

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