Utility Execs Press for Transition to Gas and Renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享SNL:Power generators are reiterating plans to move away from coalfired generation as coal producers continue to participate in a tight supply market.CMS Energy Corp. President and CEO Patricia Poppe noted the utility has reduced its carbon intensity by 30% since 2005, surpassing targets of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, at an event Sept. 25.According to SNL Energy fuel contract data, recent suppliers of CMS Energy coal plants include Peabody Energy Corp., Cloud Peak Energy Inc. and Arch Coal Inc.During a Sept. 26 presentation NextEra Energy Inc. CFO John Ketchum said that even when renewable tax incentives like the production tax credit and investment tax credit expire, the economics of renewables continue to suggest a healthy competition against other fuel sources. He noted that the production tax credit ratchets down to 40% by the end of 2023.“That gives us a lot of time for wind economics to continue to improve by the time we get to the middle of the next decade,” he said. And then with solar, the [investment tax credit] doesn’t go down to 10% until 2022. … So a lot of room there to continue to achieve economic efficiency and further cost declines in the sector, which match up very well against the other forms of generation.”More: Major suppliers of NextEra coal plants include Cloud Peak and Contura Energy Inc.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Ameren Missouri announced plans Monday for a 400 megawatt wind farm in rural northeast Missouri, creating enough power to serve 120,000 homes within two years. St. Louis-based Ameren said its High Prairie Wind Farm near Kirksville will be the largest in the state.Ajay Arora, vice president of power operations and energy management at Ameren Missouri, called it a significant step toward Ameren’s goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. “What’s most important for our customers is to have a balanced energy mix,” Arora said in an interview. “That would be a combination of hydro, nuclear, natural gas, coal, wind, solar. Our portfolio has it all. And that provides the affordability and reliability that our customers expect.”Plans call for 175 450-foot-tall wind turbines on land in Adair and Schuyler counties, near the Iowa border about 200 miles north of St. Louis. Groundbreaking is expected in summer of 2019, and the turbines are expected to be operational by 2020, Arora said.Arora said northern Missouri in general is a “good wind resource.” The state’s largest current wind farm, operated by Lenexa, Kansas-based Tradewind Energy Inc., opened last year in northwest Missouri and can generate 300 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 100,000 homes.Additional but smaller wind farms could follow. Arora said Ameren plans to spend around $1 billion by 2020 toward a goal of generating at least 700 megawatts of wind-generated energy. Ameren Missouri also plans to add 100 megawatts of solar-generated energy over the next decade, the company said.More: Ameren Plans 400-Megawatt Wind Farm, Missouri’s Largest Ameren Plans Missouri’s Largest Wind Farm
New Washington law requires state’s utilities to quit coal by 2025 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Seattle Times:Gov. Jay Inslee signed a package of bills Tuesday to combat climate change headlined by legislation to rid Washington’s electric grid of fossil-fuel-generated power by 2045, a move that makes the state a leader in the national clean-power movement.Other parts of the green agenda now embedded in state law create new conservation standards for energy use in large new buildings, require new efficiency standards for appliances and phase out “super pollutant” hydrofluorocarbons used as refrigerants.The law sets a 2025 deadline for utilities to end all reliance on coal, and a 2045 deadline to end use of natural-gas-generated electricity. The new energy standards will have a major impact on investor-owned utilities. Puget Sound Energy (PSE), which serves more than 1.1 million electric customers, got nearly 60 percent of its electricity from coal and natural gas in 2017.PSE leaders were involved in intense negotiations with legislators and environmentalists over the shape of the bill. In the final version, legislators yielded to utility concerns that an early House bill contained too harsh of a financial stick should the fossil-fuel-powered electricity not be phased out by 2045.For PSE, the clean-power law will add new urgency to the task of ending a decades long reliance on a major coal-fired plant in Colstrip, Montana, which the utility partially owns. Two of the plant’s four units will close by July 2022. PSE had forecast that it would stop drawing power from the other two units by the early 2030s, and hinted in planning documents that it could happen sooner.The new legislation means that within six years, PSE needs to be done with delivering Colstrip power to Washington.More: Clean power is now the law; Inslee signs bill for zero-carbon electricity by 2045
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy News Network:As Midwest utilities offer solar subscription plans, customers are sending a clear message: They want more.On May 4, the Omaha Public Power District sold the last available share for a utility-owned solar project under construction on a piece of degraded land a few miles from the utility’s shuttered nuclear plant. “We knew the demand was there, but I can say we were overwhelmingly surprised it sold out so quickly,” said Tricia McKnight, a product specialist with the Omaha Public Power District. “I think customers are a lot more environmentally sensitive than we expected.”The utility is among several in the region that is offering or preparing to offer subscription programs marketed as community solar. Critics say the offerings stretch the definition of community solar, but customers appear eager.The Omaha Public Power District had initially planned to make the program exclusive to residential customers for 90 days before opening it up to all customers, including commercial and industrial. That won’t happen anymore because of the strong demand from residential customers. In about five weeks, approximately 870 customers committed to all the power that the 5-megawatt array is expected to produce. Subscribers bought enough generation to offset, on average, about 90% of their electricity use. They will pay a premium of 79 cents per block of 100 kilowatt-hours. For a typical residential customer, that will be about $7 extra per month.And if the cost of solar energy falls — as McKnight expects it will — they could receive a credit on their bills. More than 100 customers have indicated they’d like a piece of a second array. Generation on the first one is likely to begin in August. Massive flooding in Nebraska in March delayed construction, McKnight said.Ameren Missouri also got a warm reception from customers when it opened up its first solar project for subscription last fall. Within 55 days, on Dec. 10, customers had spoken for all 1 MW of generation. Customers are continuing to queue up for solar power. Ameren’s project is “78% oversubscribed,” according to a company spokesman Brad Brown.More: Midwest utilities ‘overwhelmingly surprised’ by solar subscription demand Midwest utilities ‘surprised’ by customer interest in solar
India ups renewable energy target to 500GW by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:India plans to add 500 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy to its electricity grid by 2030 in a bid to clean up air in its cities and lessen the rapidly growing economy’s dependence on coal, the government said on Tuesday.“By 2030 India plans to establish 500 GW of Renewable Energy capacity,” Anand Kumar, senior official at India’s renewable energy ministry, said in a statement. “India would have installed 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 without taking into account large hydro and 225 GW including large hydro,” Kumar added.India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cut emissions and have clean energy account for at least 40 percent of its installed capacity by 2030, up from 21.4 percent now, while looking to manage its energy appetite as its population becomes more prosperous.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government changed rules for the awarding of renewable energy projects in 2017, leading to higher competition, lower prices and greater acceptance of renewable energy.But research analysts have been skeptical about India meeting its ambitious targets.More: India plans to add 500 GW renewable energy by 2030: government
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The combined output of wind and solar generation has beaten brown coal for the first time over a quarterly period in Australia’s main grid, according to new data from energy consultancy Energy Synapse.Wind and solar have beaten brown coal over weekly and monthly periods in recent times, but not previously over a whole quarter.“July to September 2019 was the first quarter ever where wind and solar (utility-scale plus rooftop) in the National Electricity Market generated more electricity than brown coal,” says Energy Synapse managing director Marija Petkovic. “This is a significant tipping point in the transition to clean energy.”According to the Energy Synapse data, utility-scale solar set a new record for electricity generation in the third quarter, despite the fact that it is not usually the best period for sunshine. The output for the last three months from utility scale solar generation was 1,300GWh – almost three times the generation in the same time last year, which reflected the growth from newly connected solar farms in Queensland such as the Clermont, Haughton, and Rugby Run installations, and despite the fact that many facilities were turned off on occasions due to negative pricing.Petkovic says wind power also set a new record for the highest ever electricity generation in the third quarter, in this case driven by new capacity coming online, particularly in Victoria, which now trails the long-term leader of wind generation – South Australia – by just two per cent.There have also been outages at units of the Loy Yang A and Yallourn, which have contributed to the dip in electricity generation from brown coal. But Petkovic pointed out that the electricity generated from variable renewables in the July-September quarter was higher than that of brown coal in any of the last five quarters.More: Wind and solar output beat brown coal in Australia for first time in September quarter Another first for Australian renewables, clean generation tops brown coal during third quarter
Bumps. Welts. Red splotches. Itchy spots.If this is your body after an outdoor outing, you need help. No matter what you do, you can’t completely eliminate the creeping, crawling, flying pests. However, the following tips will at least decrease the number of offenses you suffer and the amount of liquid refreshment you donate to the nasty little suckers.Get that woodsy smell as soon as possible. Bees and bugs are attracted to strong fragrances, so avoid using soaps, lotions, shampoos, and colognes. Forgo the deodorant before heading into the woods.Be aware of the colors you wear. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, especially blue. Pick beige or other neutral colors for hiking clothes.Learn to recognize places that are popular with bugs. Look before you sit down to make sure you’re not about to take a break on an anthill. Ticks gather on tall grasses and overhanging brush, yellow jackets nest in the ground, flies hover around animals, and mosquitoes like cool, moist places. (Ladies, you’ll be gratified to know studies show that mosquitoes prefer men. Bring along your boyfriend, husband, or other member of the opposite sex and watch the bugs go for him instead of you.)Be aware of the times of day bugs will be most active. Black flies are busiest in the morning, mosquitoes just after sunrise and before sunset, and deer flies during midday. (If you happen to be in a place where all of these are present at the same time—good luck!)Use clothing to cover your skin. Some authorities suggest wearing long sleeves and pants year-round. Of course, it can get mighty hot and humid wearing those clothes during a southern Appalachian summer, so if you hike in a T-shirt and shorts, bring along repellent. (I’ll be discussing various repellent options in a future posting.)Check yourself and your hiking partners for ticks and/or bites. In the case of deer ticks, which are the source of Lyme disease, the thing you are looking for could be as small as the period at the end of this sentence. Treat a bite with hydrogen peroxide and watch for a bulls-eye rash or flu-like symptoms. The presence of either should prompt a visit to your doctor.The long days of summer are made for outings in the woods. Just be prepared and don’t let the little buggers get to you.
Illustration by Scott DuBarNestled in a scenic valley carved by the Lehigh River, the town of just over 5,000 people is the gateway to the Pocono Mountains. With trails that run right through town, Jim Thorpe is a popular outdoor escape for city dwellers, located just an hour and a half from Philadelphia and two from New York City.“It’s a peaceful place to live with small-town values,” says lifelong resident Cheryl Bing, a guide for Blue Mountain Sports. “But on weekends we get visitors from around the world.”Once branded the “Switzerland of America,” Jim Thorpe features Victorian buildings, colorful shops and restaurants, and a lively music scene at venues like Penn’s Peak and the Mauch Chunk Opera House. But most folks come for the outdoor opportunities.“We vacation locally, because everything we want to do is right here. There’s no need to go anywhere else.”Best Outdoor PicksBest Mountain Bike Ride For a singletrack fix, try the 20-mile Twin Peaks loop or Mauch Chunk Ridge for a 10-mile rocky rollercoaster. Each offers a screeching downhill stint off of the Flagstaff Mountain ridge.Best Family Bike Ride The Lehigh Gorge Trail in Lehigh Gorge State Park is great for families that want to slowly pedal along the river. The 25-mile rail trail runs from White Haven to Jim Thorpe.Best Cross-Country Ski Trails People in the Poconos love to cross-country ski, and you can do it right from town on the Switchback Trail. Start at Flagstaff Road and ski up to Mauch Chunk Lake. When the ice is thick enough, ski out onto the lake and take in the 360-degree view.Best Day Hike Get a taste of the area’s steep gorge hiking with a hearty climb on the Glen Onoko Falls Trail. Reward comes when you reach the majestic 900-foot cascade on Broad Mountain.Best Camping Spot Mauch Chunk Lake Park has a beautiful, tree-canopied campground in the valley below Flagstaff Mountain.Best Paddle Spots If you’re looking for whitewater, drop your boat in the upper part of the Lehigh for a bouncy class III run. The slower section from Jim Thorpe to Bowmanstown is a great trip for beginners with class I-II rapids.Who?Jim Thorpe is named after the Olympic decathlete who won two gold medals in 1912 and also played professional football, baseball, and basketball.
Deer local brewers,First, let me say thanks. I like beer. You make beer. It’s like a Romeo and Juliet relationship, but without all the killing and family drama. Keep my deep appreciation of your efforts in mind when I say this: you’re dropping the ball. The super hoppy IPA’s are great, the seasonal brews with local fruit are great. I dig the hip brewery tasting rooms with obligatory corn hole in the parking lot just outside the garage doors. It’s all great. But for the love of hops, where are the brewery trucks? I don’t mean delivery trucks. I mean the brewery trucks. Like food trucks, but with beer. Picture this: you’re at your favorite food truck rodeo, and right there in the between the artisan grilled cheese truck and the Korean fries pedicab is a converted U-haul van with taps coming out of the bumper.Why the hell isn’t this a reality? It seems like a great way for home brewers and nano breweries to dip their toes in the market. Keep the overhead low, brew in small batches and show up on weekends at parks, food truck gatherings, popular trailheads, traffic jams in Atlanta—you know, the places I always wish I could get a beer. Picture a beer truck that runs through your neighborhood, playing a catchy tune like the ice cream trucks we grew up with, selling pints of frosty craft beer to dudes mowing their lawns and tinkering with their bikes and cars on weekends! If that’s not what our Founding Fathers meant when they wrote “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” into the Declaration of Independence, then I don’t know what is.There are probably some legal logistics to overcome regarding the sale of alcohol out of the back of a van, but if thousands of people willingly sign up for races where they get electrocuted and have to sign a “possibility of death” waiver, I’m sure some smart lawyers can make shilling beer out of a moving vehicle work. I found something close in San Francisco. The BrewTruc, a converted school bus that pours home, micro, and nano brews whipped up in the Bay Area. From what I can tell, they don’t brew their own beer, but their heart is in the right place: mobile beer. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before Southern brewers take a similar giant leap for mankind and mobilize their brewing efforts.Follow Graham Averill’s adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at daddy-drinks.com
Our favorite outdoor videos from around the web for the week that was:Behind the Line: Heli PilotTeton Gravity Research praises their Alaskan heli pilot Teeg (Teig? Tege? Teague?) in the latest episode of their Behind the Line series. Some serious sketchy heli drops here.ChurchFantastic footage of some fall mountain biking in WNC. Where do you worship?Church from ZfH Productions on Vimeo.Metlako FallsWinter paddling action: running PA’s Metlako Falls. Looks, um, cold.Metlako Falls, PA from ARMADA Media on Vimeo.PSA: Chesapeake Bay ConservationThis applies to all of us. Also: cute animal shots.PSA: What does it take to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay? (Presentation Version) from Chesapeake Bay Program on Vimeo.High FivesHuckers, shredders, and all humans love to high five. It’s in our bones. But sometimes it can go wrong, horribly wrong. Here are some awkward high fives from the world of sports.