U.S. Power Companies Say They Will Continue Shift to Renewables Regardless of What Trump Wants

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal:Some of the biggest U.S. power companies said they are pushing ahead with investments in renewable and gas-fired electricity and are including climate change as a part of their corporate strategy, regardless of the Trump administration’s plans to roll back Obama-era environmental rules.Some sizable power companies, such as American Electric Power Co., NRG Energy Inc. and Southern Co., said Tuesday the move will have only a marginal effect on their planning. Cheap fuel, improving technology and consumer demand are creating a market for cleaner energy that is largely unaffected by what is happening in Washington.The Trump administration argues that the Obama rules weren’t allowed under the Clean Air Act—an issue that will likely be argued in court for years. A generational shift in the energy industry was happening long before that tug of war in federal government. Power plants cut their carbon dioxide by 25% between 2005 and 2016, a trend that is likely to continue, according to the Edison Electric Institute, an industry group.Cheap natural gas from the shale-drilling boom and more-efficient power plants have run coal-burning rivals out of business. Advancements in wind and solar power, with help from subsidies, have cut emissions, too. And confronted with the risks of climate change and how governments might deal with it, power companies now expect the cost of carbon emissions to rise and plan on ways to reduce them.“This will not change our planning process,” a spokesman at Southern Co. said of the EPA’s move on Tuesday.More: ($) Power Companies to Stick With Plans Despite EPA’s Emissions Repeal: Cheap fuel, technology and consumer preferences are driving demand for cleaner energy U.S. Power Companies Say They Will Continue Shift to Renewables Regardless of What Trump Wantslast_img read more

China Tops U.S. as Best Country for Renewable Energy Investment—Ernst & Young

first_imgChina Tops U.S. as Best Country for Renewable Energy Investment—Ernst & Young FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:LONDON—The United States moved up to second place in a ranking of the most attractive countries for renewables investment, after China, a report by U.K. accountancy firm Ernst & Young showed on Tuesday.In an annual ranking of the top 40 renewable energy markets worldwide, China was the top country for the third year running, followed by the United States, which had occupied third place last year due to a shift in U.S. energy policy under President Donald Trump.Even though the United States imposed tariffs on imports of solar photovoltaic and modules this year, the effects have been mostly absorbed by the market and wind projects are not subject to subsidy cuts under a recently passed U.S. tax reform bill.“Solar import tariffs imposed by the U.S. government in January are likely to have only a limited impact on solar energy development in the country but are likely to tip the scales toward wind projects at the utility scale,” the report said.Germany was the third most attractive country in the ranking, while India slipped from second to fourth position due to investor concerns about the threat of solar import tariffs, the report said.More: U.S. Moves Up To Second Most Attractive Renewables Market After China: Reportlast_img read more

Taiwan government moves to speed offshore wind projects

first_imgTaiwan government moves to speed offshore wind projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Taiwan News:The government is sparing no effort in advancing offshore wind farm development through such measures as streamlining approval processes, strengthening oversight of support infrastructure construction, and providing assistance with planning and building procedures, according to Premier Lai Ching-te Transition to renewables is central to achieving a nuclear-free homeland by 2025, Lai said. Wind will play a key role in the nation’s energy mix, with the Ministry of Economic Affairs selecting nine local and foreign companies to build 14 wind farms with a total capacity of 5.5 gigawatts off Taiwan’s western coast within the next seven years, he added.MOEA Bureau of Energy statistics reveal that in 2017, 46.8 percent of Taiwan’s energy was generated from coal, 34.7 percent from natural gas, 8.3 percent from nuclear power and 4.5 percent from renewable sources. By 2025, the government aims to change these numbers to 50 percent for natural gas, 30 percent for coal and 20 percent for renewables, with solar and wind expected to contribute the majority of the latter.According to the MOEA, two demonstration wind farms in the waters off Miaoli and Changhua counties in northern and central Taiwan, respectively, are forecast to come online in 2019. Financed partially through state subsidies, the sites, which have a combined capacity of 230 megawatts, underscore the government’s commitment to fostering renewables and related expertise, the ministry said.The 14 additional offshore wind farms are projected to generate 19.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, create 20,000 job opportunities, spur investment totaling NT$962.5 billion (US$31.56 billion) and reduce Taiwan’s carbon emissions by 10.47 million metric tons annually, the MOEA added.More: Cabinet accelerates offshore wind farm development in Taiwanlast_img read more

Australian government analysis warns that reliance on Indian coal imports poses ‘significant risk’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Thermal coal exporters face “significant risk” that demand from India will decline, a report by the Australian office of the chief economist says. It also warned of long-term uncertainties in the market considered a “great hope” by miners.The report, released on Friday, came as the resources minister, Matt Canavan, prepared to visit India to promote the Australian resources sector. He argued India has an “astonishing” appetite for Australian thermal coal that could support “three to four new Adani-sized coalmines.” But those comments appeared at odds with the conclusions of the government’s economic advisers: that while India and southeast Asia were seen by the resources industry as a “bright light” that could help sustain Australian thermal coalminers as industrialised nations pivot away from fossil fuels, the outlook in India was “finely balanced and uncertain.”“While India is one of the great hopes for thermal coal exporters, alongside southeast Asia, it also presents significant risk,” the first paragraph of the report said. “If India’s thermal coal imports decline, there could be substantial implications for seaborne markets.”The argument being pushed by advocates of the thermal coal sector, that growth in these new markets could support new mines – or a new coal basin – ignores the more dramatic shifts away from coal in developed economies, analysts said.Tim Buckley, the director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said: “The hope was that India and southeast Asia might provide something of a cushion [for the thermal coal industry] on the way down. But this isn’t a gentle slide to oblivion.”Buckley said solar power in India was three times cheaper than the assumptions used in the chief economist’s report, based on outdated IEA predictions. “They’re underestimating the importance of low-cost renewable energy,” he said. “Growth of thermal coal demand in India is financially challenged by the fact renewable energy is 30% cheaper, so what bank in their right mind would finance a new coal-fired power plant?”More: Australian thermal coal exporters warned of falling demand from India Australian government analysis warns that reliance on Indian coal imports poses ‘significant risk’last_img read more

U.K. company sees potential for 20MW offshore wind turbine within three years

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Rare-earth-free permanent magnet generators (PMG) for offshore wind turbines with nameplates of 20MW are expected to be a reality “within three years,” following trials of a new-generation concept at the UK Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult facility.A 250kW version of the axial-flux design being developed by GreenSpur Wind, which uses ferrites – an iron-rich ceramic – for its magnets, would be part of a four-module 1MW unit that is foreseen to be scalable to a power rating roughly twice that of the biggest PMGs in service today.“It was our intention from the outset to design a generator that could be scaled for the next generation of offshore wind turbines,” said Hugh-Peter Kelly, GreenSpur’s head of technology and the inventors of the design. “The feedback that we’ve received is that current designs have known limitations and new concepts will be needed to deliver next generation 20MW offshore wind turbines.”GreenSpur is now moving forward with modelling for “significantly bigger, multi-megawatt generators”, with the target of designing a 12MW-plus concept for offshore turbine created by “stacking” three 4MW units in parallel.Replacing high-price rare-earth materials with ferrites – a waste material produced in steel-making – would cut the cost of PMG magnets from £40/kg ($50/kg) to around £1/kg, according to GreenSpur calculations, meaning the design could carve around 33% out of the capital cost of direct-drive generator, and so almost 5% off the price of a turbine.More: Offshore wind turbine 20MW generator ready ‘within three years’ U.K. company sees potential for 20MW offshore wind turbine within three yearslast_img read more

Australia’s Origin says early retirement of 2,880MW Eraring coal plant is possible

first_imgAustralia’s Origin says early retirement of 2,880MW Eraring coal plant is possible FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Sydney Morning Herald:The closure of Australia’s largest coal-fired power plant could be brought forward as Origin Energy assesses a “range of scenarios”, including the impact of climate change and the influx of renewable energy, which could influence the timing.After pushing back against a move by shareholder activists last year to bring forward the 2032 shutdown of the Eraring black coal-fired generator in New South Wales by two years, Origin Energy on Thursday indicated it remained open to retiring the facility or winding it down in a staged approach sooner than 2032.Origin Energy chief executive Frank Calabria, when asked about the future of the 2880-megawatt plant, said the energy market was “moving rapidly” and the facility was subject to continual review.The company was considering “various scenarios” in assessing the plant’s future, he said, which factored in the economics of running the plant and the impact of global warming in the wake of this summer’s devastating bushfire season.“We look at lots of scenarios in the way we think about how Eraring should run over time, how we think about its trajectory between now and 2032,” Mr. Calabria said. “Bushfires are another reason why we just continue to assess those scenarios … we are certainly assessing a range of scenarios as to how Eraring runs and operates over the coming years.”Nationwide, there have been growing doubts about whether coal-fired generators will see out the length of their licenses as the transition to cleaner energy sources, including gas and renewable energy, gathers pace, despite the federal government’s insistence that coal is critical to ensuring reliable and cheap electricity.[Nick Toscano]More: Origin Energy says coal plant closure date open to reviewlast_img read more

Florida Power wants out of the biggest coal plant in the U.S.

first_imgFlorida Power wants out of the biggest coal plant in the U.S. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:Florida Power & Light Co. no longer wants to own part of the nation’s largest operating coal-fired power plant.FPL, the state’s largest electric company, told utility regulators in the Sunshine State last week that it plans to exit its ownership of one of four units at Plant Scherer, a massive coal plant near Juliette, Ga., that’s been in operation since the 1980s.FPL wants to abandon its ownership of Unit 4 of the plant by January 2022. The move is part of the utility’s plan to remove coal from its system, the majority of which already is natural gas, nuclear and a growing portfolio of utility-scale solar. The utility also plans to close a 330-megawatt coal plant on Florida’s Treasure Coast and two older natural gas steam units on the state’s west coast.FPL made its plans known in a 10-year site plan filed with the Florida Public Service Commission. FPL is owned by South Florida-based energy giant NextEra Energy Inc., which owns the world’s largest renewable energy developer, NextEra Energy Resources.FPL owns 76% of Unit 4 at Plant Scherer, and Jacksonville, Fla.’s electric company, JEA, owns the remaining share. JEA did not say in its 10-year site plan what it wants to do with its portion of Plant Scherer, and the utility did not respond to questions from E&E News by deadline.The owner of Plant Scherer, Atlanta-based Southern Co.’s Georgia Power, has routinely made headlines for its carbon emissions, as it’s the largest coal plant in the nation. The plant’s four units combined can produce up to 3,600 MW of electricity and power more than 2 million homes.[Kristi E. Swartz]Fla. utility to exit nation’s largest coal plantlast_img read more

Competition Day

first_imgIs there anything that can compare to competition day?I never get tired of it… I have been visualizing my lines and strategies all night, all week, or all month.  I wake up before my alarm, eat my lucky peanut butter bagel/egg/banana breakfast, and drink tons of water to stay hydrated.  Nervous energy pervades as I scan my body and gauge how everything feels the day-of.The car ride to registration generally consists of blasting loud music and fist pumping while my buddies and I exchange bouts of trash talk.  We each take the time to describe just how badly we are going to beat each other today, and refute the others’ lies.Once there, it’s time to calm down a bit.  I tell myself, “Don’t waste too much energy jumping around like you’re Rocky Balboa; better to save some of that fire for when the clock starts.”How long is it until the race?  Food and water needs to be carefully packed so as to not be hungry, but not be too full when it is game-time.  How are the other competitors looking?  Some are quiet but friendly, others antisocial, and others gregarious and outwardly excited… we all have our own method.Wow, only 30 minutes to go, it’s getting real.  Time to warm up, but not push too hard. Balance.  Balance.  Balance!  I feel ready to explode with excitement, but I need to back that throttle off just a bit… when that countdown ends, I visualize myself coming off that line like a cheetah.  Efficient, silent and powerful.Oh wow, there is the starting line and the timers.  Everyone warms up within view of each other.  The heavy hitters know what is at stake in their performance, and the first-timers are nervous about simply completing this challenging course.  It doesn’t matter if it is a kayaking extreme race, a DH mountain bike race, or a 5k… everyone is trying to channel their nervousness into focus and energy.Suddenly I find myself on the line, and the clock is counting down.  10…9…8.  Deep breaths to enrich my red blood cells with as much oxygen as possible before I push my physiological functions to their redlines.  7…6…5.  Quick visualizations of perfect completions of the most challenging portions of the course.  4…3…2.  Every muscle enters a heightened awareness, and my body puts itself into the starting position.  I am a human elastic that has been held back and is about to be let go.  It’s time.1… GO!!!!  I spring into the course in a state of pure joy.  That antelope is in front of me, in person or in my mind, and I am doing everything in my power to catch it.I think that everyone goes through life searching for their “ism.”  For those who aren’t familiar with this, it is an expression referring to each of us doing exactly what it is that we were put on this planet to do.To me, racing is as close as I have ever come to finding this.  I don’t even really care what kind of race it is… I love running, kayaking, sailing, SUP, swimming or mountain biking.  I am an impartial competition fanatic!  Just having the opportunity to get out there and find our own personal limits after a devoted preparation process is incredibly rewarding, and it is something that I hope that I can do forever.As spring wraps up and summer edges its way into the picture, I can’t wait to catch up with good people and live this competitive emotional rollercoaster over and over.  For those of you who make it out West this summer, I’d love to share a starting line with you at CKS PaddleFest and the Teva Mountain Games in Colorado, the North Fork Championships in Idaho, or the Red Bull Divide and Conquer in BC!Good Lines,ChrisFor more articles from Chris, check out The Flow!last_img read more

Best Beer In The Blue Ridge

first_imgRemember when the only beer you could get in town was an Anheuser Busch product? It wasn’t too long ago when our only choices on tap were Bud or Bud Light. It was a coup when Coors started distributing east of the Mississippi. Finally, options! More recently, many of us packed an extra suitcase on our ski trips so we could bring back a couple of cases of Fat Tire from New Belgium. Oh, how things have changed. Today, breweries line the Southern Appalachians and surrounding foothills. Why? Apparently, there’s something to those old Coors commercials.“There’s a lot that goes into making a great beer, but the first thing you need is good water,” says Win Bassett, executive director of the North Carolina’s Brewer’s Guild. “That’s one of the reasons you see so many breweries popping up in places like Asheville. The mountains have good water.”Forget the Rockies. Tap the Appalachians with this list of our favorite beers in the Blue Ridge.Best Field BeerBoxcar Pumpkin Porter • Starr HillCharlottesville, Va.You can smell the pumpkin in this dark-pouring English style brown porter, made with caramel and chocolate malts. The sweet malts help balance the subtle pumpkin spice we’ve all come to expect from a pumpkin beer. It’s a combination that screams fall. The low alcohol by volume makes this the perfect cold-weather session beer.Available in the fall, distributed widely in the bottle throughout Virginia and beyond. starrhill.com Best American Pale AleFull Nelson • Blue Mountain BreweryAfton, Va.This perfectly bitter pale ale uses a dose of Blue Mountain’s own farm-grown cascade hops in the mix for that floral aroma, but you’ll also notice the malty, rich taste that helps balance the ale. Full Nelson hits all the American pale high notes.Available year round, on draft at the brewery and in cans and bottles throughout Virginia and beyond. bluemountainbrewery.comBest India Pale Ale Sweetwater IPA • Sweetwater Brewing CompanyAtlanta, Ga.Intense is the only way you can describe the hop character of this India Pale Ale. The aroma is thick with pine and citrus, and the beer starts sweet but finishes hoppy, thanks largely to an extensive dry-hopping process. The beer is a multiple award winner on an international scale. Most recently, it won the Gold for IPA at the 2012 U.S. Open of Beer.Available in bottles year round throughout the Southeast. sweetwaterbrew.comBest Fruit Beer Pisgah Blueberry Wheat • Pisgah Brewing CompanyBlack Mountain, N.C. Hazy in color and light in body, the Blueberry Wheat is a thirst quencher on a hot summer day. A healthy dose of blueberry puree gives the beer its signature flavor, but it’s not too sweet for even the manliest of manly beer drinkers.Available in the summer on tap at the brewery and throughout the Asheville area. pisgahbrewing.comBest Amber Ale Almost Heaven • Mountain State BrewingThomas, W.Va. Amber ales are designed to be easy drinking brews, and Almost Heaven doesn’t disappoint. There’s nothing for hop-heads to get excited about, but the rest of us love the caramel finish. This is the beer that will get macro beer drinkers hooked on craft beer.Available year-round on draft at the brewery’s three locations (Thomas, Morgantown, and Deep Creek Lake, Md.) and select bars throughout the Mountain State. mountainstatebrewing.comBest LagerVienna Lager •  Devils Backbone Brewing CompanyRoseland, Va. This amber-colored beer looks a little like the beers of your youth, but has a smooth malty finish that’s light and balanced. We’re not the only ones who love this beer; it won the gold for Vienna style lagers in the 2012 World Beer Cup, the biggest brewing competition in the world.Available year round at the brewery and in bottles throughout Virginia and beyond. dbbrewingcompany.comBest Hefeweizen In Heat Wheat • Flying Dog BreweryFrederick, Md. Some beer drinkers steer clear of hefeweizens (too fruity!), but on a hot summer day, after a long run, you can’t beat the easy drinking goodness of In Heat Wheat. The golden-hued German-style hefe is way low on the bitter scale and has slight banana, orange, and lemon notes.Available year round in the bottle. flyingdogales.com  Best Stout Black Mocha Stout • Highland Brewing CompanyAsheville, N.C. Dark, rich, and sweet, you wouldn’t want to finish a six pack of Black Mocha solo, but taken singly, the stout’s chocolate and coffee flavor deliver the goods, particularly on a cold winter night. The beer has won silver medals at both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Festival in the past.Available year round and distributed widely on draft and in the bottle. highlandbrewing.comBest Porter People’s Porter • Foothills BrewingWinston-Salem, N.C. This tasty beer pours dark brown, the way an English-style porter should, and delivers hints of chocolate and toffee before finishing with espresso notes. It’s a moderately hoppy brew, but overall, beautifully balanced thanks to the deep malt character.Available year round at the brew pub and in bottles in North Carolina. foothillsbrewing.comBest Session BeerEasy Rider • Terrapin Beer CompanyAthens, Ga. Session beers are low in alcohol and easy drinking ales meant to sip for extended periods of time. Think, car camping. Easy Rider has a hoppier finish than you’d expect from a session beer, taking it firmly into the pale ale category and giving pale ale aficionados something they can drink all night long. The beer won the silver at this year’s U.S. Open of Beer.Available during the summer in bottles distributed throughout the Southeast. terrapinbeer.comlast_img read more

Trail Mix: The Willow Tree Turns One

first_imgTeri Dosher and her daughter, Zoe, at The Willow Tree Coffee House & Music Room.I have been involved with booking festivals and concerts for much of the last decade. One thing I have learned is that the music business can be amazingly fickle and money can be made – and lost – very quickly. That latter reality has had me working on a volunteer basis in all of my endeavors – sure, I don’t make any money, but I am able to feed my musical addiction and, at the same time, don’t risk losing money, either.Teri Dosher, proprietor of The Willow Tree in Johnson City, Tenn., shares my passion for live music. But, I admit, she is much braver than I. Teri was willing to mate her money with her vision and open a music room of her very own.Last week, The Willow Tree wrapped up a month long celebration of its first year in business. Teri and her crew brought some great bands to town for the festivities, including Sam Quinn & Taiwan Twin, Yarn, Possum Jenkins, Big Daddy Love, and Sam Lewis, who was featured in this blog last month.Other great bands that played The Willow Tree in its first year were Dangermuffin, Sol Driven Train, Ian Thomas & The Band of Drifters, Valley Young, The Howling Brothers, Woody Pines, Zach Deputy, among many others.Considering the plethora of talent that has already graced The Willow Tree’s stage, it is not a stretch to say that the room will soon be a serious player in the regional music scene. Fans – and bands – take notice when word begins to spread about a killer place to see live music. It’s my guess that Teri and The Willow Tree will not be lacking in crowds for some time.I recently caught up with Teri to chat about The Willow Tree turning one.BRO – What led you to open a music venue?TD – My passion for music and the appreciation I have for the people who make it. Music moves my soul every day. I wanted to have a place where those I love to listen to so much could come play and I could introduce them to other music lovers.BRO – Describe what you were feeling the night you opened the doors for the first show.TD – The same thing I have felt this whole past year. It’s very surreal, and I’m not really sure how I got here. But it’s always an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.BRO – Knowing what you know now, do you have one piece of advice you would offer aspiring music venue owners?TD – Not really. Chris Phelps, my friend who runs my other favorite music venue in Lexington, N.C., called High Rock Outfitters, had me read a book called A Rock And A Hard Place. It was written by the guy who opened The Handlebar in Greenville, S.C. It was his perspective on how hard it can be. That helped me see that everyone who is involved in music isn’t in it for the love of music. I think that it’s important to love it and appreciate those who make it. I think that’s been what has made us successful thus far. It also makes it all worth it when you aren’t making any money, which is all the time. My payment comes from the music and from making people happy.BRO – Cast any and all budgetary worries aside and book your dream show. Who would it be?TD – I have a vision board of all those bands I hope will play for us one day. Many have come true already. Sam Quinn played this week and sold out. Yarn and Big Daddy Love was our double header grand opening show and it also sold out. Having Elephant Revival was a huge show for us and a dream come true. Other dream shows are Gregory Alan Isakov, Joe Purdy, and The Black Lillies.For more information on The Willow Tree, including hours, location, and event calendar, surf over to their website. Already, there are some great shows on the horizon. Emi Sunshine will be there this Saturday, while Jalopy Junction and Megan Jean & The KFB hit the stage next weekend. If you feel like checking out a show at The Willow Tree, shoot me an email at dave@blueridgeoutdoors.com with THE WILLOW TREE in the subject line. Teri has offered up a couple tickets and a couple drinks – caffeinated or fermented, your call!! – to the show of your choice. A winner of this special offer will be chosen from all emails received by noon on Friday, February 6th.last_img read more