FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Michael Forsythe for the New York Times:In guidelines released on Monday, China halted plans for new coal-fired power stations in many parts of the country, and construction of some approved plants will be postponed until at least 2018.The announcement, by the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration, means that about 200 planned coal-fired power generators — those seeking approval and those approved but not yet under construction — may not be completed, said Lauri Myllyvirta, who analyzes China’s energy production for Greenpeace.The total of 105 gigawatts of power those plants would have been able to produce is considerably more than the electricity-generating capacity of Britain from all sources.Full article: China Curbs Plans for More Coal-Fired Power Plants China Pulls the Plug on Buildout of Coal-Fired Generation
Month: December 2020
‘Best Scientists and Best Minds’ at Oil Companies Failed To Innovate When They Had the Chance FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Matt Smith for Vice News:Around the same time NASA was planning its moon missions, US oil companies were working on technologies that could have reduced greenhouse gas emissions.Scientists and engineers had submitted patents for techniques to peel carbon dioxide out of fossil fuel exhaust, boost engine efficiencies, and produce electricity from fuel cells, according to industry documents released Thursday. They also pondered ways of offsetting the expected effects of increased carbon dioxide levels by pouring sulfur particles into the air to reflect solar energy back into space, or manipulating the weather to control smog.But the industry ultimately settled on raising doubts about whether any effort to rein in carbon emissions was needed to head off the threat of global warming, according to the researchers who have collected those records.“Faced with the knowledge of climate change and climate risks, particularly by the latter part of the 1960s, the oil companies had a choice,” said Carroll Muffett, president of the Washington-based Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). “They could invest in responding to and reducing that risk, or they could invest and continue to exploit oil and to look for ways to explain away climate change and explain away climate risk. Our research strongly suggests they chose that second path.”…The CIEL documents could spell trouble for other companies, said Tom Sanzillo, finance director at the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).“There is a clear potential — I would say a high likelihood — of multiple levels of litigation against oil companies,” said Sanzillo, the former chief of the New York state pension fund. Those could include private lawsuits as well as government actions; there’s also the prospect of a revolt by stockholders who find the company facing unexpected liabilities or a congressional investigation.“This looks like it’s pretty serious, and it just seems to get worse,” he said.CIEL’s previous release revealed industry studies from the 1950s and ’60s that identified the burning of fossil fuels as a contributor to the rise of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. A 1968 study produced for the API warned that rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere “may be the cause of serious world-wide environmental changes.”But around the same time, oil companies began promoting alternative theories for climate change that scientists had discounted, such as changes in the sun’s intensity or the orbit of the Earth. A 1968 paper co-sponsored by Gulf Oil declared that cyclical changes in the Earth’s axis “must be recognized as the number-one contender in the climatic sweepstakes.”“They resurrected the theory of astronomical or solar-driven climate change that had been moribund for years,” Muffett said. “Industry-funded research resurrected it, and it’s become a go-to argument for climate denialists even to this day.”Sanzillo said the oil companies had “the best scientists and the best minds,” and may have been far more aware of the risks than the nascent environmental movement in the 1960s and ’70s. But that means they “bear a certain responsibility,” he added.“It’s a shame that many of the technological innovations that they were developing didn’t come to fruition,” he said. “The oil companies, as a research entity, are probably some of the best minds in the world on energy, and it’s unfortunate that they’ve not helped to develop real solutions over the decades. That’s what society was looking to them for.”Full article: https://news.vice.com/article/the-oil-industry-sought-patents-for-low-carbon-technologies-decades-ago-then-abandoned-them
ExxonMobil looks to join corporate ranks of green power buyers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Exxon Mobil Corp. has been looking to buy renewable energy for delivery in Texas, according to people familiar with the matter.The largest U.S. oil company sent out a request for proposals with a June 8 deadline, inviting solar or wind power suppliers to pitch contracts that would last 12, 15 or 20 years, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg and people with knowledge who asked not to be named discussing confidential matters. Exxon, based in Irving, Texas, is seeking at least 100 megawatts and would consider proposals for more than 250 megawatts.“I have never seen an oil and gas company doing a corporate PPA anywhere near that size,” said Kyle Harrison, a New York-based analyst at Bloomberg NEF, referring to the power-purchase agreements used to buy electricity. “If you’re seeing the biggest oil and gas companies going out and making investments in clean energy, it shows that renewables are cost-competitive. This can be a way for them to show a commitment to sustainability without suffering economically.”Exxon declined to comment. It’s not clear whether the company has reached an agreement with any supplier to buy this power, nor whether it was seeking the electricity for its own use.But as the price of renewable power declines, the company may see the value in consuming wind or solar, even if it eschews producing that kind of energy. Texas is the biggest wind-producing U.S. state, with power prices occasionally going negative on windy days, and solar power is cheaper than coal in many parts of the world.More: Exxon Seeks Wind, Solar Power Delivery in Texas
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Consolidated Edison Inc., or Con Edison, said Thursday it has entered into an agreement to acquire a unit of Sempra Energy that holds 981 MW of operating renewable power plants in the US.The transaction was agreed at a purchase price of USD 1.54 billion (EUR 1.31bn), which takes into consideration USD 576 million of existing project debt. It is expected to close near the end of 2018, subject to receiving certain nods, including from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the US Department of Energy.In addition to assets that are fully owned by Sempra, the deal involves its 379-MW share of projects that the company owns jointly with Con Edison subsidiaries. It also concerns some development rights for additional solar and energy storage projects. Together, these assets are seen to increase Con Edison’s own utility-scale renewables to about 2,600 MW.“With completion of this acquisition, we expect to be the second largest owner of solar electric production projects in North America,” commented John McAvoy, chairman and CEO of Con Edison.The newly-purchased assets are located in Nevada, Arizona, California and Nebraska — states in which Con Edison already has projects — and in some cases adjacent to existing Con Edison developments. This creates opportunities for value-enhancing synergies, noted Mark Noyes, president and CEO of Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses Inc.More: Con Edison strikes USD-1.54bn deal to buy renewables from Sempra Con Ed buys Sempra solar assets for $1.5 billion
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Houston Chronicle:A north Texas coal-fired power plant will shut down in 2020 after it couldn’t make money in the Texas power market.The nearly 700 megawatt Oklaunion plant near Vernon couldn’t compete in the market run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas or ERCOT said AEP Texas spokesman Greg Blair.“The owners voted to close the plant between April and Oct. of 2020. There’s a lot more approvals that need to be gotten before that happens, but really the plant was no longer competitive in the ERCOT market,” Blair said.He added that approximately 80 workers would be affected by the closure. AEP and its subsidiaries own a 70 percent stake in the plant, with the City of Brownsville and Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority owning 18 percent and 12 percent, respectively.It would grow a list of at least five coal-fired power plants that have either closed or announced their closure date. Three were shut down by Luminant in early 2018, which cited low prices as the reason for closing the plants. Another run by San Antonio’s city-owned utility, CPS Energy, will close by the end of the year instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on environmental controls.While there are no current deals to sell the power plant, Blair said the company is “always looking for opportunities.”More: Texas coal plant to shut down by 2020 AEP will close 680MW Texas coal plant in 2020
Falling wind, solar costs could strand billions of coal investment dollars, study finds FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Keep pouring money into coal-fired plants and it won’t be just the fuel that’s getting burned.As much as $60 billion of coal power assets may be stranded in the next decade across Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, according to a new study by Carbon Tracker, which cited tighter environmental policies and competition from cheaper renewable energy. That analysis is aimed to caution those contemplating new coal plants.The findings underscore how quickly advances in renewable energy are changing the power landscape. New wind and solar plants may become cheaper than coal in those countries, which are planning a combined $120 billion in coal investments, by the end of next decade. The analysis is also part of a growing type of advocacy that, instead of focusing on the dire outcomes of climate change, targets investors and financial institutions by forecasting economic risks.New coal plants require billions of dollars in upfront investments that will be paid back over years of selling electricity to homes and businesses. They helped fuel industrial revolutions in Europe and the U.S., and supply the vast majority of electricity in China. And now they’ll be powering Southeast Asia’s economic expansion. Coal is the fastest-growing energy source in the region through 2040, according to the International Energy Agency. That’s due to abundant resources in places like Indonesia, relatively low costs and government policies that prioritize access to reliable and affordable electricity over decarbonization.Falling renewable costs could unsettle that outlook, according to [Carbon Tracker’ Matt Gray]. New solar plants may become less costly than operating existing coal projects by 2027 in Vietnam, 2028 in Indonesia and 2029 in the Philippines. As more of that cheaper solar and wind generation is added in those countries, coal plants will go idle more often and struggle to generate revenue needed to repay their loans, Gray said.Companies are already heeding the warning signs, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd. Beyond the plants already under construction in Malaysia and Vietnam that will boost the region’s coal capacity from about 40 gigawatts to 70 gigawatts when they’re completed, only a handful will be built, coal analyst Pralabh Bhargava said by phone.More: Wind, sun to strand $60 billion of coal assets in Southeast Asia
Being a movie extra is an endurance event, a bit like running an ultra. For me, it all began with a simple conversation about books. My daughter is an avid reader and ever since catching her at age ten with a contraband copy of Twilight under her pillow, I’ve tried to stay on top of her reading selections. This time, she was into another questionable series. As she described the plot, which involved teenagers being forced to fight to the death for public entertainment, I became a bit concerned. Pondering the suitability of this theme for an eleven year old, I decided the only way to know for sure was to read the book myself. I picked up a copy for myself and the obsession began. The Hunger Games had entered our household, and things would never be the same. We had frequent debates over the virtues of Gale versus Peeta and argued over whether Effie Trinket was evil or just plain stupid.Our mania increased with the news that the big screen adaptation was to be filmed in Western North Carolina, practically our own backyard. In fact, the famous tree that served as shelter for Katniss during a critical scene was taken from our neighbor’s backyard. (Tree huggers, no need to worry – it was already dead.) Then the greatest news of all – casting agents were searching for local extras! Emma and I sent in our headshots and resumes, making sure to highlight my starring role as Dorothy in the 5th grade production of “The Wizard of Oz”, as well as my ultrarunning experience, figuring that the casting agents might want actors who are fit and possess endurance.The process of mailing in our applications was a little bit like registering for a race. There was the anticipation and the excitement of looking forward to a new adventure. Just like arriving at the start line of an event I haven’t run before, there was the uncertainty of whether it would go as I’d imagined and whether I’d be up for the challenge. And just as family members and friends quickly tire of hearing athletes go on and on about training sessions and upcoming events, my husband had to remind me that there were other things to talk about around the dinner table besides “the movie”.Little did I know how much my ultrarunning background would serve me in filming. The days were long and sweltering, requiring as many as twelve hours on our feet in bright sunlight. More than a few extras experienced symptoms of heat exhaustion and ended up in the medical tent. Crew members passed out cups of Gatorade, misted us with cool water, and handed out towels to mop our sweat. Getting up before dawn and finishing long after sunset, I actually felt as if I was in an endurance event. There were moments that I felt exhausted and just wanted the day to be over, yet I knew that I’d look back on the experience with fantastic memories.The film’s director’s role was similar to that of a race director, providing last minute instructions and encouragement, yet when the cameras rolled we were on our own, relying on our own talent and training. Yet just like in an ultra, I never felt truly alone. By the end of a long race, I always feel as if my competitors have morphed into friends, and this “ultra” was no different. Although Day 1 of filming consisted of a fair amount of jockeying for position in effort to get in front of the cameras, by the end of the process we were comrades with a “we’re all in this together” attitude.The film’s premiere in Asheville was our awards ceremony. All of the extras were there, psyched to be reunited and full of our individual stories about the experience. We compared costumes just as athletes check out each other’s digs. Some of us showed up in the final version of the film, others did not, but just like in a race, it’s really the experience that counts, not the outcome. We all knew that Jennifer Lawrence and her costars were the real celebrities, just as in competition there is only one official winner, but in our minds, we were all VIPs for that one day.
Get MuddyAs summer officially came to an end this week and the kids headed back to school for most of the country, one could easily assume playtime was over. WRONG! Hurricane Isaac has wrecked havoc on much of our southern Gulf Coast brethren, and it has dumped high humidity and high rainfall on the entire Southeast over the past week. For those outside the destructive zone, however, Isaac has given us one last gasp at the freedom of summer. Sure, you could use the weather as an excuse to spend your weekend inside watching a new batch of ski-movie trailers, but you don’t need a guide for that. Seize the last, fleeting straws of summer vacation and get outside.Nothing epitomizes the innocence of childhood like a baby slapping their palms in a puddle or sticking a fist-full of mud into their mouth – at least, we hope it’s mud. Recapture this exuberance, hit the trail, and get muddy. Bike tires can rip up the trail, but shoes are much more forgiving. Hit the Jacks River Trail in the Cohutta Wilderness for some wet weather action.View Larger Map
They may fly under the radar, but not for long. Get off the beaten path with these underground festivals:Rooster Walk Music and Arts FestivalMay 24-26Martinsville, Va.roosterwalk.com Basics: Organizers host this growing event at the Blue Mountain Festival Grounds to commemorate the lives of two lost friends. If you find huge crowds to be a drag, consider this low-key weekend that features an impressive line-up of roots music held in the scenic foothills of Martinsville—a former furniture mecca making a comeback through arts and outdoor rec.Bands: Every year Rooster Walk’s line-up has gradually improved, and this year is no exception with the addition of Colorado slamgrass heroes Leftover Salmon and high-energy New Orleans funk outfit Dumpstaphunk. Also catch Yarn, Larry Keel, and Dangermuffin.Set Break Escape: No need to leave the festival grounds to stretch your legs. On Sunday, the fest hosts the Tuff Strutter 5K—billed as one of the toughest trail runs on the East Coast.FIVE MORE…Briar Patch Music FestivalMay 30—June 1Damascus, Ga.The road to Damascus will lead you to a Southern jam rock orgy featuring American Aquarium, Col. Bruce Hampton, Rollin’ in the Hay, and many more.briarpatchpro.com Appalachian UprisingMay 30-June 1Scottown, OhioThis progressive bluegrass throwdown continually brings impressive line-ups to the Appalachians of Ohio. This year catch Del McCoury, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mountain Heart, and Larry Keel.appalachianuprising.netBlueberry Jam FestivalJune 21-22Wakefield, Va.Located on a blueberry farm in the rural stretch between Richmond and Hampton Roads, this growing fest features a range of tunes from jam to blues to bluegrass and a big focus on local food. This year’s fest is headlined by The Mantras and BIG Something Friday night, and Dopapod on Saturday night.drewryfarms.comThe Big What FestivalJuly 4-6Possum Holler, N.C.Head into the woods, just west of the Triangle, for three days of jams from Big Something, Zach Deputy, Dopapod, The Mantras, and Big Daddy Love. Bonus—onsite disc golf course.possumhollernc.com Front Porch FestAugust 30—September 1Stuart, Va.Created as a mellow campout between friends, Front Porch Fest has developed into a three-day roots music gala on the idyllic 130-acre Spirit Haven Farm in Patrick County—known as the front porch of the Blue Ridge Mountains.frontporchfest.comCheck out the rest of our Outdoor Festival Guide!
If Virginia is for Craft Beer Lovers, then the Brew Ridge Trail is the cradle for this craft civilization. The original beer destination of Virginia showcases a self-guided tour of six breweries crafting local libations in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Since 1999, founding member Starr Hill Brewery has helped to pioneer the state’s craft beer scene, playing a key role in its growth and impact.Born in a music hall, Starr Hill Brewery came together in Charlottesville out of a passion for bringing people together through great beer and live music. Working to establish the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild and pass the landmark bill allowing breweries to sell beer from their own Tap Rooms, Starr Hill helped open the door to the now 200 breweries operating in the Commonwealth, contributing nearly $10 billion in annual economic impact. Starr Hill is also the state’s largest independent craft brewery and shares the love for Virginia beer across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.Virginia Craft Beer Month is a celebration of the passion, creativity and local values that make the craft beer scene in the Commonwealth so unique and exciting. Starr Hill Brewery is hosting several events throughout the month of August at their Crozet Tap Room with a unique combination of beer, music and community outreach.National IPA Day kicks off Virginia Craft Beer Month at Starr Hill on Thursday, August 3rd. Known for their hoppy offerings and the IPA JamBEERee festival, the brewery will feature a diverse lineup of new and limited release India pale ales in an exclusive sample flight. Hop heads can try the dank, yet silky Resinate Imperial Red IPA, the hopped-up saison-style Debut Farmhouse IPA, or an exclusive cask IPA brewed just for the event.Music fans, don’t miss Starr Hill’s LOCKN’ Rewind events on Thursday nights in August beginning August 3rd. The Tap Room will screen past performances from some of the most exciting past LOCKN’ artists, including My Morning Jacket, Gov’t Mule and Phish. The LOCKN’ crew will be on-hand as attendees cast their votes on Starr Hill’s new official beer name for the festival as well as ticket giveaways.Starr Hill will also host Color Crozet on Sunday, August 6th. This community-focused event invites local residents to help paint a mural of the Blue Ridge Mountains both inside and outside the brewery. Volunteers will put their own personal touch on the walls of Starr Hill while supporting local non-profit, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative.As part of Starr Hill’s ongoing Cheers for Charity program, one dollar for every pint sold throughout the month of August in the Tap Room will support the Women’s Initiative and their work to provide vital mental health services to women regardless of ability to pay. Each month, the Cheers for Charity program partners with a different local non-profit organization to support the essential work they do in the community.For more information on Starr Hill Brewery and Virginia Craft Beer Month events, visit www.StarrHill.com.