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How cable-car systems are revolutionizing public transport in La Paz

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Located almost 12,000 feet above sea level, the Bolivian city of La Paz is a bustling place where the air is thin and the scenery dramatic.

Its Mi Teleferico – which literally translates as “my cable car” – transit system was launched in 2014. It soars above city streets and buildings to transport thousands of people to and from their homes, offices and everything else in between.

“Every day more than 230,000 people are … transported through this cable transportation system,” Cesar Dockweiler, the CEO of Mi Teleferico, told CNBC’s “Sustainable Energy.”

“We have managed to transport more than 150 million people in less than four years,” he added. “It is a transport system that has really transformed people’s lives.”

Mi Teleferico is not the only cable car system in Latin America. The Colombian city of Medellin opened its Metrocable system in 2004, for example.

Apart from the fact that a cable car’s route is both picturesque and uninterrupted, there are other benefits to using one.

The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, part of University College London, has stated that the “speed and comparatively low cost of construction, and low levels of particulate emissions of aerial cable-cars, are part of their appeal in dense and hilly urban areas.”

Back in La Paz, those involved with Mi Teleferico are keen to emphasize its sustainability credentials.

“The system is friendly to the environment because it does not use fossil fuels,” Miguel Arenas, Mi Teleferico’s maintenance manager, said.

“It uses electric power for its main drive, so this source is cleaner and doesn’t emit any kind of fossil pollutant or carbon dioxide,” Arenas added.

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ECB’s Coeure opens door to new cash boost for banks

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Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, Benoit Coeure

FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, Benoit Coeure

European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure said the ECB was discussing the idea of issuing new multi-year cheap loans to banks, which in some countries face a funding cliff-edge next year when previous loans must be repaid.

Banks in Italy and other southern European countries in particular could face funding problems as the ECB’s most recent Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operation (TLTRO) nears its repayment date in 2020.

Speaking in New York, Coeure said a new TLTRO was possible and there might be scope for it but such an operation should serve “a purpose”, likely meaning it should help the ECB achieve its inflation target rather than simply helping banks.

“It is possible, we are discussing it,” Coeure said. “But we want to be sure that it serves a…purpose.”

He later added: “There might be scope for another TLTRO.”

His were the clearest remarks to date on the subject. ECB President Mario Draghi was non-committal at his latest press conference, on Jan 24, simply saying the issue had been raised by some policymakers at that day’s meeting.

Coeure, seen as one of Draghi’s possible successors when the latter’s term runs out on Oct 31, added that the euro zone’s recent economic slowdown is more pronounced than earlier expected, suggesting that the path of inflation will also be more shallow.

The ECB will next meet on March 7 and policymakers are widely expected to slash growth and inflation projections as the euro zone is suffering its biggest slowdown in half a decade.

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Orsted’s huge offshore wind farm in UK produces first power

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The first turbine at Hornsea One, an offshore wind farm situated 120 kilometers off the coast of Yorkshire, has started to generate power.

In an announcement Friday, Danish renewable energy firm Orsted said that, when fully operational, the Hornsea One offshore wind farm would be almost double the size of Walney Extension, which is currently the world’s biggest.

The Hornsea One site will be made up of 174, 7-megawatt turbines from Siemens Gamesa. It is a joint venture between Orsted and Global Infrastructure Partners.

Turbine installation for Hornsea One is set to continue until “late summer 2019”, according to Orsted. The wind farm will have a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts and will be able to power more than one million homes in the U.K.

“Hornsea One is the first of a new generation of offshore power plants that now rival the capacity of traditional fossil fuel power stations,” Matthew Wright, Orsted’s U.K. Managing Director, said in a statement.

“The ability to generate clean electricity offshore at this scale is a globally significant milestone, at a time when urgent action needs to be taken to tackle climate change.”

In other wind energy news Friday, Norway’s Equinor announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Korea National Oil Corporation to jointly explore opportunities to “develop commercial floating offshore wind in South Korea.”

Equinor operates Hywind Scotland, the world’s “first full-scale commercial floating offshore wind farm.” Located off the coast of Scotland, the facility has a capacity of 30-megawatts and can produce enough power for around 20,000 homes.

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Apple’s biggest mistake has been not buying Netflix, strategist says

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Apple is reportedly planning to launch its own streaming service in April, which will feature free original content for device owners. The service is expected to include content from CBS and Viacom, among other production studios.

Last week, J.P. Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee said in a note that Apple should acquire Netflix to boost its position as a content creator.

“We think Netflix is best strategic fit on leading position in engagement level as well as original content, differentiating itself from pure aggregators of content,” he said. “We believe there is value to acquiring the most successful player in this space, which is hard to replicate with a smaller player in this market.”

However, Cathie Wood, CEO and CIO of ARK Invest, told CNBC last week that she disagreed with Chatterjee’s recommendation.

“They should be building – they definitely need to update their content in terms of video, (but) I don’t agree that Netflix is a good way to do it,” she said. “Netflix is horizontal in terms of platforms, it’s on Android, it’s on Samsung – what are they going to do, lose those customers? That doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Wood added that if Apple spent $50 billion on building its own library it could compete with existing streaming platforms without making an acquisition.

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