Solar power and net metering in Nevada

On Wednesday, August 5, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) will be meeting. Agenda 15-07021 item 3C is a continuation of the long debate held in the Assembly and the State Senate. NV Energy is currently estimating that 235 MW cap on net metering “net energy metering rules (NEM1)” will reached on or about August 24, 2015. I have been reading the new net energy metering rules (NEM2) proposal put forth by NV Energy on July 31, 2015. During Legislative debate, NV Energy had stated that the 235 mw compromise would not be met before Spring 2016. Acting under the information presented by NV Energy the legislature directed NV Energy to make a proposal to the PUC for NEM2 and to ensure a smooth transition from NEM1 to NEM2. Without going into the specifics of NEM2, I believe that with NV Energy now stating that NEM1 will meet its allocation at least 6-months sooner than what they lead the legislatures to believe and that they cannot guarantee applications being turned in if they will be part of NEM1 or NEM2, this is not keeping with the intent or application of SB374. As Senator Patricia Farley stated, it is important to not “disrupt the net metering market in Nevada during the transition period.”

SB374 Section 2.8 states that one of the purposes of enacting this legislation is to “encourage private investment in renewable energy resources”. Since consumers in the state of Nevada who file applications for net metering right now do not know if they will be approved under NEM1 or NEM2, nor has NEM2 been approved by the PUC, this transition period is causing unnecessary confusion which will prevent another purpose of the law as defined in Section 2.8, naming it will not “Stimulate the economic growth of this State” in the fast growing solar energy sector and its 6,000 employees.

I believe that the PUC should require NV Energy to continue accepting and approving under NEM1 until December 31, 2015. That will provide clarity and avoid confusion. During the next few months, the PUC, NV Energy, representatives of the Nevada solar industry, and other parties can work together on adopting, changing, or rewriting NEM2 as necessary to best serve the various stakeholders in Nevada and the new NEM2 rules will apply for all applications received after January 1, 2016.

Front Sight Reality Check

Front Sight Firearms Training Institute is a world-class gun training school on 550 acres near Las Vegas, NV. I’ve written about them before and have done various giveaways in the past to attend their phenomenal training.

Recently, Front Sight started a new video series called “Front Sight Reality Check”. In this series, they examine footage from shootings and give feedback on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Front Sight doesn’t do this in an attempt to be “Monday morning quarterbacks”, but to help the viewer thinking about the training they have received so that, should they find themselves in a similar situation, they would be better prepared. As of the date of this post, six episodes have been released. You can watch all 6 below and are each about 5 minutes long.

Continue reading

Forest Fires & Preparedness

Over the last 12-days, the Spring Mountain ranges west of Las Vegas have been on fire (“Carpenter 1 Fire”). Nearly 28,000 acres have been burned. Hundreds of families have been displaced as their neighborhoods have been under mandatory evacuation.  My company owns and operates The Resort on Mt Charleston, which is currently closed due to the fires and evacuation orders.  I can better speak of what happened at the Resort, but I assume similar facts happened all over the mountain.  At about 10:30 PM on Friday, July 5, 2013, as guests were winding down for the night, officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department arrived at the property and said the hotel needed to be evacuated due to the smoke and potential for the fire to the hotel.  Metro Police walked the hotel with hotel staff and knocked on each door, making sure that everyone left, with basically no notice.  The residents up in the area had a similar time frame.  There was some rain the last 2-days, which helped fire crews get the fire from 10% contained to 50% contained.  Without the help from the rain, crews might still have the fire at 10% containment. Continue reading

Front Sight Life Time Membership Giveaway

Front-Sight-Membership-Give-AwayI am giving away a Lifetime Membership to Front Sight Training Institute, about 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas. This membership will allow you to attend six classes as many times as you want, free of charge, for the rest of your life. Called the “Patriot Membership”, you can take two-day and four-day defensive handgun, two-day and four-day practice rifle, and two-day and four-day tactical shotgun. For more information on this membership, visit http://www.frontsight.com/patriot-membership.asp. Classes start most Fridays and most Mondays (except in July and August). This world class training is incredible. Enter by commenting below. Contest will close Saturday, May 18, 2013.

Fine print: The winner will have to pay a $100.00 membership transfer fee directly to Front Sight. Each calendar year that you take a class, Front Sight requires a $50.00 background check fee. No purchase necessary.  Winner can not be already be a Lifetime Member of Front Sight.  Front Sight Management, LLC is not a sponsor of this giveaway.

Front Sight Firearms Training Institute

A few weeks ago, I spent a week out near Pahrump, Nevada at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute.   I took two classes, their “4-Day Defensive Handgun course” and their “30-state Concealed Carry Class”.  Prior to this class, I had fired a few rounds, but, definitely did not know what I was doing.  Adam, who purchased Las Vegas Geeks from me several years ago, was in the same 4-day defensive handgun class.  It was my first trip, his second trip.

Training information
During the course, I learned just how much I didn’t know about handguns!  We learned trigger control, the importance of using the front sight on the gun, and the Weber stance.

I think the class was great.  After hours and hours of drills, malfunction clearings, and more, we got to go to a small live fire house.  We had to go into it and take everything we had learned and save our loved ones who we had to imagine were being held inside the house.  Its amazing how stressful and how much adrenalin you have doing that.

Another activity we got to do was to write the name of a loved one on a “hostage” target.  We then had to save our loved ones from a hostage taker. From the 5-yard line, we had to take a single head shot to the hostage on the left, ignoring the one on the right. We did a few drills and then came back and had to take a single head shot to the hostage on the right, ignoring the one of the left. I am happy to say that I saved my Wife both times. 🙂

The classes were awesome and the knowledge I gained is life changing. The class comes HIGHLY recommended.

The worst part of it was the heat in June, but the heat, of course, is not the fault of the  dedicated staff at Front Sight.

The facilities: The good
We spent the first two days on range 1A and the second two days on range 10.  There are a total of 15 hand gun ranges, if my memory serves me correct, and two rifle ranges.   The ranges themselves were great.  Plenty of room to work with and good targets.  They used to have rotating targets but in the entry classes (including the 2-day and 4-day defensive hand gun courses) they stopped using them.  There is also a rope and repel area for a different class.  Their long term plans calls for lots of other things, but we’ll see what happens.

The facilities: The bad
I think its crazy that, for example, each range doesn’t have its own bathroom and that the hotel is 30 minutes away.  There is a spot outside of the gate for “dry” camping, but even a RV park would be a nice touch.  There are no drinking fountains but rather a water cooler at each range.  There is an onsite trailer that sells food, but no real restaurant.  There is also no Internet for student use at Front Sight.  There internal roads and parking areas are gravel.  After having the car sit in the hot desert sun all day, the inside got pretty toasty.  I’d be willing to pay for a covered parking spot.  There is “Front Sight Road” that is paved to the facility.  They supposedly paid about $2 million dollars on building this road.  Someday all the interior roads are suppose to be paved also.

Hotel
Even though its only about 80-minutes from Front Sight to my house, the classes start early and run late and I did not want to have to drive back and forth each day, so Adam and I rented a hotel room from the Saddle West hotel in Pahrump.  They offer discounted rooms for Front Sight students and a larger discount to Front Sight “First Family” members.  Their standard room felt dated.  It had nothing too exciting or fancy about it.  There was free WiFi in selected rooms, which I did not try.  They had a consumer Linksys Wireless router hanging on the wall by the front desk when we got there.  Definitely not an ideal public wireless network to use.  I   had my iPad with a data connection that I used when needed.

Cell service
Front Sight has pretty bad cell service, although there is cell service.  They gave everyone a sheet of paper with their location and asked us to contact our cell phone providers to request better cell service.

Marketing
Front Sights’ marketing reminds me some what of the stereotypical used car salesman.  Ignore it.  Or, at least know that the training you receive more than makes up for any frustration you feel from the marketing.

Membership and cost of classes
If you go to Front Sights website, please ignore the prices listed on the individual classes.  Going back to the marketing I talked about earlier, the prices posted are way too high.  I purchased a “life time membership” that allows me to take as many classes as often as I’d like.

Return trip
I am planning a return trip to Front Sight in September to take a 2-day class.  Mikey, my 6-year old, will be taking a 2-day kid class out there.  And, I want to take more classes again after that!

Emergency Power for Amateur Radio

I published this article earlier today on the Southern Nevada MARA Website.  I am cross posting it here as well.

I recently added a battery backup for my ham radio station.  I am using a mobile rig as my base station.  On the right is a picture of my setup.  It features:

Any questions on my setup?
What kind of power backup do you have for your radio rig?