Op-Ed: Oregon Leads Way in U.S. Energy Transition FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mike Riley and Susan Brody for the Bend (Ore.) Bulletin:Oregon leads the way in more than beer, sneakers, and computer chips. We have long been out in front on key environmental issues. We are justly proud of our public beaches and of our recycling and land use planning innovations that have been emulated across the country.Our new Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act is another example of Oregon leadership. It will reduce our spending on dirty, coal-fired electricity and increase the amount of renewable, affordable energy in our state. National and international headlines following passage of our law used words like: “ambitious,” “landmark,” “historic” and “pioneering.” It was supported by a broad coalition of utilities, consumer advocates, environmental organizations and businesses. The law passed the Legislature with bipartisan support.Yet critics, including The Bulletin’s editorial board, continue to dismiss the new law with defeatist rhetoric and gloomy speculation about how it will affect our electric bills. Let’s be clear about how this law works and why it is a winner. The new law will help transition Oregon off coal-fired electricity no later than 2035 and double the renewable portfolio standard for the state’s two largest utilities to 50 percent by 2040. It also includes important provisions to keep prices affordable and ensure reliability for residential customers.Oregon is the first state to transition off coal-fired power by law. Does that mean we’re going to “build a wall” at our border to keep coal electricity out? No. Instead, Oregon ratepayers will no longer be financially responsible for out-of-date, polluting and risky coal power plants after 2030.The law will likely lead to the shutdown of polluting coal plants in other states. It’s true that Oregon cannot directly force coal plants in other states to close. But we can add our weight to the scales that are tipping more toward clean energy every day. It’s simply wrong to say coal plants will keep running, keep polluting and keep sending electricity to other states. With Oregon, California and now Washington moving away from coal, other states in the western grid won’t use enough electricity to make up the difference. Used less, coal plants are becoming a bad investment. Bad investments get closed down — that’s good business. Oregon’s largest utilities have admitted as much, saying “the writing’s on the wall for coal.”Getting off coal has already saved ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars in our state. PGE faced $500 million in upgrades to the coal-burning Boardman Power Plant to protect clean air. Instead, a plan was formed to close Boardman early, protect ratepayers, and eliminate the single largest source of climate pollution in Oregon. A win-win.According to utility modeling, our new clean energy law is expected to cut 30 million metric tons of climate pollution across the western electric grid, the equivalent of taking 6.4 million cars off the road. Those are real results for protecting the climate. When existing hydropower is combined with the new renewables being built, Oregon’s electricity will be some of the cleanest in the nation. And forget those outdated notions that clean energy is not affordable. Since 2009, the cost of wind and solar energy has fallen dramatically. Those continuing trends will save ratepayers money in the long run, especially compared to coal that is damaging our planet and communities.Utilities need to make new investments in renewable energy to meet growing demand and retire old equipment. Our new law affirms that fossil fuels are an outdated, polluting and risky energy source. That’s why there was such broad support for this new law: Renewable energy is a cleaner, safer and more affordable energy source for our future. With Oregon leading the way, more states will see the benefits of embracing this future.Clean energy law will reduce reliance on coal
Bullish on U.S. Wind FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Motley Fool:As companies like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), and renewable energy yieldcos look to expand their generation, we’ll see even more wind power plants built. With the booming demand for renewable energy and improving technology of wind turbines themselves, I think investors should be bullish on the future of wind energy.What’s interesting about wind power is that turbines aren’t actually getting cheaper on a cost-per-watt basis.What’s changed is that wind projects have a higher capacity factor, meaning each watt of wind generation installed is generating more electricity per year. Think of it like a new wind turbine spinning more often than it did in the past. From 1998 to 2001, capacity factor was 25.4%, and projects built in 2015 had a capacity factor of 42.6%. Each watt installed generated 67% more electricity.If wind turbine manufacturers can continue to cut costs and increase capacity factor, the industry will continue to grow. The companies with the most to gain are General Electric (NYSE:GE), Vestas (NASDAQOTH:VWSYF), and Siemens (NASDAQOTH:SIEGY), who are top three in market share in the U.S. With the booming demand for renewable energy and improving technology of wind turbines themselves, I think investors should be bullish on the future of wind energy.More: Why Wind Energy Is Booming in the U.S
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Hill:Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) shared a message for President Trump on Wednesday prodding him over his efforts to save the coal industry, likening it to bringing back “Blockbuster Video.”In a video posted to Facebook, the former governor and star of the “Terminator” franchise questioned why Trump’s administration would go “back in time” to help the struggling coal industry, which he called a threat to the future of humanity.“It is foolish to bring back laughable, outdated technology to suit your political agenda,” Schwarzenegger, a leading advocate for action to prevent climate change says in the video. “But your administration attempts to go back in time to rescue the coal industry, which is actually a threat to future generations,” he said. “I mean, what are you going to bring back next? Floppy disks? Fax machines? Beanie Babies? Beepers? Or Blockbuster?”“Coal is the Blockbuster Video of fuel sources,” Schwarzenegger added. “It is on the way out.”Schwarzenegger, a Republican and vocal supporter of the Obama-era Paris Climate Accord, has frequently attacked the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations and in particular the president’s plan to exit the multi-nation climate pact in 2020.His latest video message addresses the Trump administration’s plan currently under consideration that would force power grid operators to buy electricity from coal and nuclear plants considered to be at risk of shuttering due to the increased use of cheaper natural gas and renewable electricity.More: Schwarzenegger to Trump: Coal is the ‘Blockbuster Video of fuel sources’ Schwarzenegger: Trump coal bailout akin to bringing back Blockbuster Video
Leading Thai energy firm to boost investment in renewable energy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Thai energy conglomerate PTT Pcl is boosting investments in electricity generation, particularly renewables, given what it says is a “highly uncertain” outlook for oil over the next year.The country’s biggest company, which is involved in everything from oil exploration and power generation to gasoline and coffee retailing, revised its 2019 capital spending plan in late June, Chief Executive Officer Chansin Treenuchagron said in an email interview. Most of the 33.2 billion baht ($1.1 billion) of extra budget will be spent on electricity projects, he said.Buffeted by trade wars, geopolitical tension and the North American shale boom, oil faces an uncertain outlook over the next year, according to Chansin. PTT’s pivot toward renewables comes after a unit of the majority state-owned company spent $4.2 billion earlier this year buying electricity producer Glow Energy Pcl, which generates most of its power from gas and coal.“Under the volatile environment, PTT focuses more on clean energy as well as infrastructure,” Chansin said in the interview last week. “The plan aims to support the subsidiaries’ business expansion in electricity business and renewable energy.”Thailand is moving toward producing more electricity from renewable sources. The government has a target to have about 27% of its total power generating capacity from such sources by 2037. The country produced 8.7% of its power from non-hydro renewables last year, according to Ministry of Energy data.The economics of going green are competitive with other power sources. Producing electricity from solar in Thailand currently costs between $62 to $111 per megawatt-hour, compared with $69 to $88 for coal and $90 to $96 for natural gas, according to BloombergNEF research.More: Thai oil giant boosts renewables funding over ‘uncertain’ crude outlook
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):While all four major U.S. coal ports took a beating in terms of fourth-quarter 2019 tonnage year over year, producers in the Illinois Basin saw an enormous drop in exports. Coal from the region is primarily shipped through the port in New Orleans.The U.S. exported an aggregate 18.8 million tonnes of coal during the recent quarter, decreasing 28.1% from the comparable 2018 period, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Weaker international thermal and metallurgical coal prices hindered U.S. producers in 2019, with prices falling to a level at which many miners could no longer compete, experts said. While the year-over-year drop was significant, exports sank only 6.5% from the third to the fourth quarter of 2019.The Illinois Basin had an especially strong 2018 for exports amid solid international thermal coal demand, but exports through New Orleans fell from 5 million tonnes a year prior to nearly 2.1 million tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2019, a 58.7% drop year over year.While the fourth quarter of 2019 looked dismal for the port year over year, it was an improvement from the third quarter, with exports increasing about 9.4%. Some of the major players in the region have struggled financially, especially in the last few months. Murray Energy Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2019, while Foresight Energy LP, which Murray controls, faces financial difficulties and continues to negotiate with debt holders.The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis predicted in a December 2019 report that most of the basin’s coal industry will be gone in the next two decades amid coal plant retirements. “Just in the past year, producers have closed or idled mines that produced almost nine million tons of coal in 2018,” according to the report. “Further closures are likely, both in the near- and long-term. The Illinois Basin will clearly be hit hard economically by the structural decline of the region’s coal industry.”[Ellie Potter]More ($): U.S. coal exports fell 28.1% YOY in Q4’19; Illinois Basin sees 58.7% decline S&P: U.S. coal exports fell sharply in fourth quarter of 2019 from year-earlier level
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:The Strait of Sicily is set to become the home of a 250-MW floating wind park, the first of its kind in the Mediterranean, Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore reports.The power plant will be installed off the town of Marsala, in Trapani province, consisting of 25 floating turbines of 10 MW each and using the TetraSpar technology. Dubbed 7Seas Med, the project will require an investment of about EUR 741 million (USD 830.2m). It was put forward by Danish offshore wind project developer Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) in partnership with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and is currently under review by Italian authorities.The newspaper quotes project manager Luigi Severini as saying that construction is planned to start in 2023. According to the report, the wind farm will not be visible from the Sicilian coast as it will be installed in the direction of Tunisia.Copenhagen-based COP says on its website it is currently involved in projects in Germany, the UK, Canada, the US, Taiwan and Australia, providing project management services. The list includes the 402-MW Veja Mate offshore wind scheme in Germany and the Vineyard Wind project in the US.[Veselina Petrova]More: Floating wind farm of 250 MW to be built off Sicily – report Mediterranean’s first floating offshore wind farm to be located off Sicily
Along with Athens, Georgia, and our dual hometowns of Charlottesville and Asheville, New York City ranks as one of my favorite Southern musical cities. That’s right, I just dubbed The Big Apple as a Southern musical haven, if not by geography then by sound. New York City has long had a folk movement that has been distinctly Southern in flavor, an acousticana complete with banjos, mandolins, and high lonesome vocals more attuned to the Appalachian mountains than the concrete jungle.At the forefront of that movement right now is Yarn, a sextet that owes its sound as much to Bob Dylan and Neil Young as it does to Earl Scruggs and Ralph Stanley. Driven by the songwriting of lead singer/guitarist Blake Christiana and the frenetic mandolin work of Andrew Hendryx, Yarn has been a touring machine in recent years, reeling in fans across the South.Yarn returns to Charlottesville on Thursday, April 4th, with a show at The Southern Music Hall.Joining Yarn on the bill will be James Justin & Company, one of the best bands currently making music here in Virginia. JJ&Co. released Places last year and it quickly became one of my favorite records of 2012. Chronicling the band’s recent travels, the record is a sonic adventure, taking listeners on tour with the band as they ventured from South Carolina, through the Midwest, and back again.Rounding out the night is Driftwood, an up and coming roots band out of Binghamton, New York.This promises to be an excellent evening of music and I want to help you hear it all. Take a shot at the trivia question below and email your response to [email protected] One winner will be chosen from all of the correct responses received by noon on Thursday, April 4th. I’ll shoot you an email to let you know you have won and a pair of tickets to the show will be waiting on you at the door.Question . . . . . What noted singer/songwriter, New Bohemian – and wife of Paul Simon – sang harmony vocals on Empty Pockets, Yarn’s excellent 2008 release?Charlottesville music peeps, make your way to The Southern Music Hall on the Downtown Mall for Yarn, James Justin & Company, and Driftwood on Thursday, April 4th. Doors open at 7:00 and music starts at 8:00. For more info on shows at The Southern Music Hall, point your browser to www.thesoutherncville.com.
Although we like to acknowledge how awesome the Earth is everyday at BRO, this past Wednesday is the universal marker for how incredible our planet is. This week’s CLIPS OF THE WEEK features some pretty incredible cinematography and people who love to be outside as much as we do.CREATORS: Clark Little on Staring Down Shorebreak for The Perfect Shot from The Inertia on Vimeo.Famed photographer Clark Little shares his ethos on snapping pics of crashing waves.Some pretty incredible slow and stop motion camera work in this big wave edit.This is just really, really cool.
Coming up this weekend is the much anticipated Mountain Sports Fest in Asheville, N.C., May 23-25. The Festival is based out of Asheville’s Carrier Park and last year drew upwards of 20,000 people!The festival is now in its 14th year and features outdoors sports competitions and games, live music, food and more. There are several runs taking place, nearly 50 vendors, lots of craft beer, family friendly events, and more. Many great outdoor causes will benefit from your support!Visit http://mountainsportsfestival.com/ for more information and a complete schedule of events.Here’s a peak at the weekend music lineup…Friday:5:15-6:15 p.m. – Fritz Beer & The Crooked Beat6:30-7:30 p.m. – Get Right Band7:45-9:30 p.m. – ZansaSaturday:12:30-1:30 p.m. – Corey Bullman & Leigh Glass1:30-2:00 p.m. – Burning Houses – Kids Band –2:00-3:00 p.m. – Raising Caine3:30-4:45 p.m. – Plankeye Peggy5:15-6:45 p.m. – Earphunk7:30-9:30 p.m. – Robert Walter’s 20th CongressSunday:12:00-12:45 p.m. – Pam Jones Band1:00-2:00 p.m. – Blood Gypsies2:30-4:00 p.m. – Pierce Edens & The Dirty Work4:30-6:00 p.m. – Honey Island Swamp Band
To find out what the absolute essentials are for hiking the Appalachian Trail, we went straight to the source.Jennifer Pharr Davis holds the overall speed record for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. She is the founder of Blue Ridge Hiking Company in Asheville, N.C., and she travels and speaks to hikers and runners across the region and the country. Her strategy: everything she carries is important—nothing more, nothing less. Here are a few of her favorite gear and apparel picks for both day hikes and overnights.Day Hikes1. Zamberlan Shoes“People are constantly asking whether I prefer hiking in trail runners and boots. I respond, Both! Since the birth of backpacking, hikers have relied on boots. They protect and support feet on technical terrain, they provide great traction, and they are durable. A good pair of boots can last a couple of thousand miles. But trail runners are lightweight and breathable, less expensive and they don’t require the break-in miles boots demand. I went back and forth between trail runners and boots until I found Zamberlan Crossers. The Crossers are a “cross” or hybrid of a traditional boot made with lightweight, breathable materials. They last a really long time and they have great traction and support that’s especially important when I am carrying my 20-month-old daughter in a pack. But they are still comfortable and light enough to allow me to fastpack or put in high mileage days.” About $119, depending on model; zamberlanusa.com2. McHale Pack“Footwear and packs are extremely important to me because those are the items that I feel all day long. An ill-fitting pack will turn even a simple day hike into a miserable march. With a tall, slender frame and a disdain for too much weight on my shoulders, I was a tough match for traditional packs. For about 2,000 miles I actually thought that packs were supposed to hurt. I thought it was part of hiking and that I just needed to suck it up. But then I heard about Dan McHale. McHale started a cottage industry by hand making custom packs. He requires clients to send measurements and pictures and then go through a demo process to ensure that the pack is a perfect fit. It takes a couple of months to receive your pack, but it is worth the wait! Now when I load up with 40 pounds, it simply feels like a good friend is giving me a gentle hug around the waist.” Custom prices vary; mchalepacks.com3. Fits Socks“These became my go-to sock on the 2011 Appalachian Trail record. They are extremely durable but at the same time soft and cushioned. They never bunch up, and the socks only have one seam which helped cut down on blisters and rubbing. They also wick away moisture incredibly well. I only occasionally had to use Gold Bond powder, which is another amazing piece of backpacking gear!”$20.99 Medium Hiker Crew; fitssock.com4. Sawyer Mini“A water parasite is the most unpleasant trail souvenir that I can think of. When I started hiking I had to choose between using heavy pump filters or chemical treatments. I didn’t like the weight of the filter or the wait that the chemicals entailed. Today, I use the Sawyer Mini. It boasts the finest micron filter on the market and it only weighs two ounces. It is guaranteed to treat 100,000 gallons. You can screw it onto a water bottle or water bladder. Or you can use the straw attachment and drink directly from a water source.” $24.95; sawyer.comOvernighters“When it comes to solo overnight trips, I am a minimalist,” says Davis. “I like the focus to be on hiking rather than on camping. But anyone who knows me knows that I am a wimp in cold weather.”5. Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bag“I have used Western Mountaineering Bags for the past eight years. They are expensive, but the high quality goose down makes the bags lightweight, extremely packable, and super warm. I actually gave my husband a Western Mountaineering sleeping bag as his engagement gift. Back then I thought it was imperative that he had a left zip bag and I had a right zip bag so we could zip up together. Six years later, I look back and laugh.” $329 – $499; westernmountaineering.com6. Snow Peak Stove“I don’t like cooking on the trail and I will only cook when I am backpacking with someone else. But Snow Peak does make my life pretty easy. All I have to do is screw their lightweight stove onto a gas canister and press the igniter! It is easy to control the flame, which is good because I am paranoid about forest fires, and it usually gets the water boiling in less than five minutes.” $39.95 – $49.94; snowpeak.com7. Mountain House Meals“I don’t like to cook, but I really hate doing dishes on the trail. Mountain House dehydrated dinners are not only delicious, but they are self-contained in a re-sealable pack. No fuss. No mess. All I have to do is heat water, wait, eat my dinner, and then zip up the pouch when I am done. A lot of times, if I have leftovers, I will save them in the pouch and eat them for lunch the following day. But I rarely have leftovers because Mountain House is so tasty. My favorite meal is the Chili Beef Mac. Try adding cheese and Fritos. And yes, I have occasionally made Mountain House at home.” $6.99 – $9.29 per entree; mountainhouse.com