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The Economic Perspective 6/16/2023

The Latest Trending Economic, Environmental and Demographic News Curated for You By The Balmoral Group

The Balmoral Group provides practical, professional and precise Economics, Data Analytics, and Engineering Consulting services and is part of a globally integrated team.

Happy Friday, everyone!

This week we're bringing you some interesting stories on AI-driven boats, agricultural woes and achievements, tax credits, and more.

Florida's new budget is official: Gov DeSantis signed the Florida 2023 $116 billion Budget, along with a 9-page long veto list. Budget items that didn’t make the cut include $100 million for Conservation and Rural Land Protection Easements, $24 million in IIJA-funded Energy Programs, and $5 million in IRA funded Energy programs. The “Framework for Freedom” budget was accompanied by the veto letter; list is here.

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Lake Oroville at 100% Capacity

Lake Oroville, the second largest reservoir in California and largest storage facility in the State Water Project (SWP) has increased over 240 feet due to winter storms and melting of deep snowpack. This puts the lake at 100% of its capacity. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) will continue to make releases from Lake Oroville using the main spillway at Oroville Dam to ensure continued storage space in Lake Oroville for spring runoff from snowmelt. While unlikely, DWR will be monitoring for the potential of any wave runup that might splash over the crest of the emergency spillway. The new capacity brings relief to the region as the reservoir supports environmental and water delivery needs to 27 million Californians and reduces flood risks to downstream communities. Read more here.

Florida Citrus Growers Count on Federal Aid as Worst Growing Season in 100 Years Closes

According to estimates from the Department of Agriculture, Florida will produce 15.75 million boxes of oranges in 2022-23, down from 41.2 million boxes during the 2021-2022 season. Production of grapefruit and other specialty crops is expected to be significantly lower too. In total, the overall production of slightly more than 18 million boxes would represent the lowest production for Florida growers since the 1927-1928 season. Growers are waiting for federal assistance approved after damages caused by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, as DACS estimated damages to be up to $675 million. Florida Trend

Utah Dairy Farmers Advancing Conservation Practices

Utah dairy farmers are implementing innovative technologies and practices to preserve water resources while ensuring the viability of their farms. For example, the Holt family of Holt Dairy in Southern Utah have successfully reduced water usage by 15% annually over the past two years by implementing a Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA) system that minimizes evaporation. Dairy farmers across the state are also committed to improving water use, water quality, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, aiming to achieve a 0% emissions rate by 2050. These efforts, combined with sustainable practices in manure management and cow nutrition, are contributing to a more sustainable and efficient dairy industry in Utah. Read the full article here.

Feds Open the Door for Cities and Non-profits to get Inflation Reduction Act Tax Credits

On Wednesday, federal agencies released guidance on how tax-exempt entities can get access to climate credits. These credits will come from the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Services and will be handed out to state and local governments. Originally, states and local governments were not eligible for tax credits but this was changed by the Inflation Reduction Act. Schools will be able to purchase electric buses and retrofit with solar panels while receiving tax credits for these efforts. Rural and small electric cooperative will also be helped by these credits. Tax credits will also be sellable allowing for greater investment in climate technology replacement. Read More.

AI Controlled Electric Boats

As a California deadline for ferries of zero carbon emissions by December 31, 2025 approaches, the urgency to meet this deadline is well underway. A new grant obtained in April from San Francisco’s Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) of $13.8 million to electrify its ferry fleets is helping this progress. Companies such as Candela (Swedish electric boat manufacturer) is developing a 30-passenger, 40-foot catamaran that can reach speeds of 35 miles per hour and a range of 60 nautical miles with release in early 2024. CEO Gustav Hasselskog has explained how vital A.I. is in the boat’s smooth ride, as A.I. makes hundreds of adjustments every second depending on the oncoming waves to ensure the boat is stable and smooth. With their most recent boat a 30-foot recreational boat which can hold eight passengers at a speed of 40 miles per hour and range of 75 nautical miles. Read the full article and other interesting boat manufacturers and details here.

Data Visualization of the Week

Fishing Transponder Data Gap Sleuthing

A report on how illegal fishing is being identified from data gaps from Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders is explained by the maps and story from the Washington Post. Mapping data gaps globally and for individual vessels has helped fisheries regulators crack down on those who just switch of the transponders before entering fisheries exclusion areas. See the visuals and more on the methods from Washington Post.


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