231 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761 [email protected] 808.123.4567

Month: December 2020

On the Blogs: ‘Teenage’ Coal Plants Are Being Retired Too

first_imgOn the Blogs: ‘Teenage’ Coal Plants Are Being Retired Too FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Coal Wire:Whether in Italy, the US or the Netherlands, the trend to the retirement of teenaged coal plants — or even younger in the case of one of Luminant’s Sandow units — is something new. In the space of a month, three separate announcements have slated 6600 MW of young coal plants to be closed long before their technical life is over.Where once the life of a coal plant of 40 years or more was determined by what physical shape the plant was in, political and economic factors are fast emerging as the key determinants of how long they will run.Two of the key drivers for long plant life — a stable pro-coal political climate and favourable economics — are evaporating fast. The politics of climate change are shifting, often across the political spectrum, with support for phasing out coal plants growing rapidly. The plummeting cost of renewable generation is making running existing coal plants ever more marginal.A series of announcements over the last few weeks suggests that the storyline that only old coal power plants are being closed down is rapidly becoming redundant as plants that are barely teenagers are being targeted for closure.Last week the Italian Government announced it will close all 8980 megawatts (MW) of its coal power plant capacity by 2025. The government’s new energy strategy is not due to be publicly released until November 7, so it is still possible the devil may be in the detail. However, with nearly all of the plants reliant on imported coal, Italy’s decision is yet another hit for thermal coal exporters.While Italy’s announcement is big news in itself, even more remarkable is that the 1980 MW Torrevaldaliga Nord power station in Rome province, the three units of which were only commissioned in 2009 and 2010, will be closed before it has even been running for 16 years.Earlier this year Climate Analytics, a consultancy firm, put together a list of the top 20 plants in the European Union that would have to close to have a chance of meeting the Paris Agreement climate targets. Climate Analytics suggested that, at best, the Torrevaldaliga Nord power station might be closed by 2029 and, at worst — under a “business as usual” scenario — by 2061.Another plant on Climate Analytics’ high priority list for shutting down is Enel’s coal-fired 2640 MW Brindisi Sud power station, which was commissioned between 1991 and 1993. However, the consultancy expected that the plant would operate until sometime between 2028 and 2044. Now the plant will be closed before it makes it to 35 years old.While the life span of coal plants varies, well-maintained plants are commonly expected to last for at least 40 years and — with major upgrades — can even stagger on until they are well over 50 years old. The Hazelwood plant in Australia, which closed earlier this year, was 52 at the time it was shut down. According to CoalSwarm’s global coal plant database, the average age of US coal plants at the time of retirement is 53 years. In India, the Central Electricity Authority expects key coal plant components to last for just 25 to 30 years.While the norm may have been for coal plants to run for decades longer than their original design life, that may be changing rapidly.Two weeks ago, the Texas-based utility Luminant announced that it plans to close its 1182 MW Sandow plant in mid-January 2018, after Alcoa paid out the remainder of its power purchase agreement.The plant, which comprises two operating units, originally supplied electricity for Alcoa’s Rockdale aluminium smelter under a binding contract which was set to run until 2038. However, after the closure of the smelter in 2008, Alcoa sold power into the deregulated Texas market. When new renewable and gas generation came onstream, this became a losing strategy.Luminant stated rather euphemistically that the Sandow plant was “economically challenged.”To break its contract, Alcoa agreed to pay Luminant US$237 million and transfer 30,000 hectares of land to compensate the utility for lost income.Even so, it was a good deal for Alcoa. In announcing the settlement, Alcoa stated it would be US$60–70 million a year better-off after closing the plant.More: Rejected teenagers: the trend of closing young coal plantslast_img read more

Pennsylvania State Grants: $5,000 for Every New Solar Job

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Pittsburgh Business Times:The program is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Commonwealth Financing Authority.The program will now allow for grants of up to $5,000 or loans of up to $40,000 for each solar-manufacturing job created over three years for companies that make solar panels and equipment. It would also provide loans for companies that install solar energy projects for their own use. The funding is available to businesses, economic development organizations, cities, counties or school districts.“Developing new renewable energy sources including solar is critical to ensuring Pennsylvania has a balanced and diverse energy mix that maintains our position as a major energy-producing state,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement.More: State’s solar energy program adds back grants Pennsylvania State Grants: $5,000 for Every New Solar Joblast_img read more

EIA: Coal’s market share to fall to 26% of U.S. generation in 2019

first_imgEIA: Coal’s market share to fall to 26% of U.S. generation in 2019 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects electricity production in the U.S. will increase from an average of 11.05 million MWh/d in 2017 to 11.47 million MWh/d in 2018, before falling 2.1% in 2019 to 11.23 million MWh/d. That production forecast drop is steeper than the 1.7% decline forecast for 2019 in the October report.The federal agency, in its latest “Short-Term Energy Outlook” released Nov. 6, said natural gas-fired generation is expected to increase its share of the country’s utility-scale electricity mix from 32% in 2017 to 35% in 2018 and then to 36% in 2019. Coal-fired generation is expected to average 28% in 2018 and 26% in 2019, down from 30% in 2017. Nuclear power’s share will average about 19% in 2018 and in 2019, down from 20% in 2017.The EIA expects wind, solar and other non-hydropower renewables to provide more than 10% of the generation mix in 2018 and nearly 11% in 2019, in comparison to slightly less than 10% in 2017.“Solar electricity generation remains the fastest-growing renewable energy source,” EIA Administrator Linda Capuano said in an accompanying statement. “The data suggest that the solar industry is increasing its use of solar [photovoltaic] tracking systems because revenues from the tracking systems more than offset their increased costs, when compared to fixed-tilt panels.”Hydropower’s generation share in 2017 was 7%, and the EIA forecasts that the figure will remain about the same through 2019.More ($): EIA forecasts US generation to fall 2.1% in 2019last_img read more

Portugal to replace last coal plants in 2023 with hydro power complex

first_imgPortugal to replace last coal plants in 2023 with hydro power complex FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:A vast hydroelectric project under construction in northern Portugal will directly replace the power lost when the Iberian country closes its last coal plants, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Tuesday.Portugal was the first country in the world to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and last October, it brought forward a deadline for closing its last coal plants to 2023.The Sines plant owned by domestic utility EDP will close only when a hydroelectric complex with three dams, plants and pumped-storage station being built by Spanish wind giant Iberdrola in the Douro River basin begins operating. “We will only close the Sines plant in 2023, because it will only be in 2023 that we will be able to count on this system for the country’s energy supply,” Costa told reporters at a sub-station for the complex, named Tamega.Once completed, the Tamega complex will act as a “natural battery,” Costa said. It will have capacity to supply 2 million homes, through a process of collecting water, then storing and generating energy by moving it between reservoirs at a height difference of more than 650 meters (710 yards).Iberdrola Chief Executive Ignacio Galan said such storage technology was vital to achieve emissions-cutting targets. “If you don’t have these plants, you need fossil fuel plants,” he told Reuters. “To reach the zero-emissions target you need systems that emit zero.”[Isla Binnie, Catarina Demony]More: Huge hydroelectric project to help Portugal eliminate coal: PMlast_img read more

Wood Mackenzie: Recession could slow, or stop, up to 150GW of renewable projects in Asia Pacific region

first_imgWood Mackenzie: Recession could slow, or stop, up to 150GW of renewable projects in Asia Pacific region FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):A coronavirus-led recession beyond 2020 could result in the delay or cancellation of up to 150 GW of renewable projects in Asia Pacific from 2020 to 2024, according to a Wood Mackenzie analysis.An extended recession could heavily impact demand in the region, which accounted for three-quarters of global growth from 2015 to 2019, causing an overcapacity that would limit investments in the power sector.The consultancy projects 380 TWh of demand loss in a two- to three-month disruption with strong recovery. Markets going into recession, however, could result in the loss of 1,000 TWh by 2023, or about two years of growth in the region.“The coming months will be crucial to determine if the region is moving towards a rapid recovery or extended recession future,” Research Director Alex Whitworth said in an April 22 statement.An extended recession scenario is expected to reduce the competitiveness of renewables by making it harder to secure project funding. In such a scenario, lower fossil fuel prices would mean renewables wouldn’t be able to compete with coal-fired power plants until beyond 2025, according to WoodMac.“In our base case outlook, the impact on wind and solar installations in 2020 can be offset by stronger growth and support policies in 2021. But if the situation worsens, renewables projects in [India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia] could be heavily impacted by increased financing costs, as well as forex risk due to high capex share of costs,” Whitworth added.[Nephele Kirong]More ($): Virus-led recession risks 150 GW of renewable projects in Asia Pacific – WoodMaclast_img read more

Interactive Guide to the Appalachian Trail

first_imgIt is the most honored and storied footpath in the world. It stretches 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine, and some people hike it from end to end. Shelters along the trail allow you to sleep and commune with mice. But that’s about all that most people know about the Appalachian Trail.BRO’s Massive and Important Guide to the Appalachian Trail—the Southern Half—digs deeper into the country’s longest ribbon of dirt. Our guide includes interviews with thru-hikers, training tips, detailed descriptions of the best section hikes, and a mile-by-mile map of trail highlights.Click markers on the map below to get the details on the best places on the Appalachian Trail. View Appalachian Trail Guide in a larger maplast_img read more

The Steel Wheels: No More Rain

first_imgIn October of 2009, I had the pleasure of hosting Trent Wagler and Jay Lapp – one half of The Steel Wheels – during one of the concert series performances I promote here in my mountain town of Wise, Virginia.  It was one of those shows that seemed to conspire against itself from the very start; the night was rainy, cold, and dreary – one of those downright ugly nights where nobody wants to come out and hear music – and a nasty flu bug had laid low the campus of UVa-Wise, where the show was to take place.  To add insult to injury, my arrival for load in was met with an out of commission elevator and I was forced to carry the PA system up five flights of twisting stairs.Needless to say, when just a dozen or so folks – most of whom had been at an earlier dinner with the band – showed up to listen, I was under no illusion that anything memorable would take place.  Boy, was I wrong.Just prior to the show beginning, I was chatting with Jay and apologized for the meager crowd, explaining that I never really knew how many folks would turn out and that the rain and flu had definitely worked against us.  His response to my apology still rings in my ears.“Don’t worry about it, man.  We’ll have fun with the ones who came.”Jay was right.  The dozen people in attendance were treated to one of the most amazing nights of music I have ever had the luck to experience.  Jay and Trent eschewed the sound system – slightly twisting the knife already buried in my back after toting it up those damned steps – and pulled up a couple chairs within the now semi-circular crowd.  For the next ninety minutes or so, we were treated to a pure and complete acoustic experience, resplendent with tight picking and tighter harmonies.Despite my earlier misgivings, neither flu, rain, nor malfunctioning elevator could derail what was destined to be a fantastic evening of music.Since then, I have chronicled many of the band’s milestone events here at Blue Ridge Outdoors.  I chatted with Trent after he and Jay completed their first bluegrass bike tour, reviewed a number of their records, and caught up with the band prior to last year’s first Merle Fest performance.Each year brings more success and acclaim for this well deserving band, and the early months of 2013 signal that this year will be no different.The Steel Wheels – Wagler, Lapp, Brian Dickel, and Eric Brubaker – released No More Rain this month.  The new record, a collection of songs played by Wagler and his mates as the four wove in and out of various sonic configurations over the years, takes its title from a lyric in the one cover on the record, Tom Waits’ “Walk Away.”  I was thrilled to find that the record includes a new rendition of “Corrine,” a song that has enchanted me since my first listen of Adrienna Valentine, a record Trent and Jay released back in 2008.  Long time followers will revel in the revisiting of these early songs, while new fans will be treated to what these guys have been doing over the last eight years.This summer also brings the inaugural Red Wings Roots Music Festival, to be held in July at Natural Chimneys Park near Mt. Solon, Virginia.  Hosted by The Steel Wheels, this brand new festie – which features The Del McCoury Band, Tim O’Brien, Sam Bush, The Duhks, J.D. McPherson, Yarn, Scott Miller, and more -promises one of the hottest roots music line ups of the summer.If you haven’t been introduced yet to The Steel Wheels, make sure to check out their take on “No More Rain” on this month’s Trail Mix.  For more information on the band, the new record, or to score tickets to the Red Wings Roots Music Festival, surf over to www.thesteelwheels.com.last_img read more

Beer Blog: Last Gasp of Summer with Rocket Girl

first_imgOkay, I know what day it is. It’s like the end of September. October’s around the corner and soon we’ll all be picking out outrageously slutty Halloween costumes and drinking coffee porters and pumpkin ales. As much as I love Fall and all it entails (college football, guys wearing scarves, blazing fire pits), I’m not ready to let go of summer. And really, there’s no reason to.Not yet. Sure, we’ve passed the equinox and the days are getting shorter and the temps are dropping slightly, but it’s still plenty warm for one last gasp of summer fun. Flip flops, tank tops, and easy drinking beers.So I headed to Panthertown, a 10,000-acre tract of waterfalls and swimming holes in the corner of Nantahala National Forest. Yes, the water is cold, but the temps are still in the 70s for one last weekend and the beer is good. I grabbed a six pack of Asheville Brewing Company’s Rocket Girl, a low abv (3.2 percent) lager built for sessioning on a hot summer day. Drink this beer in the fall or winter, next to a porter or stout or even a pale, and it tastes like water. After a long hike in the sun and a quick dip at a make-shift beach like this sandbar in the middle of Panthertown Creek, and it tastes like summer in a can.There’s plenty of time to immerse ourselves in Fall. Next week, or maybe the week after, I’ll talk about my favorite pumpkin beers from local breweries. This weekend, it’s board shorts and swimming holes and easy-drinking lagers. One last time.Follow Graham Averill’s adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at daddy-drinks.comlast_img read more

Race Ahead: 2014 Trail Running Events

first_imgCruel Jewel 100-MilerBlue Ridge, Ga., May 16The name of this up-and-coming 100-miler certainly alludes to the nature of the course, but by no means is able to fully do it justice. Located in the stunning Chattahoochee National Forest of northern Georgia, this out-and-back route begins and ends in Blue Ridge, Ga., with Vogel State Park as the 50-miler finish and 100-miler halfway point (although in total, the 100-miler course is actually 104 miles). With 60,000 feet of elevation change, unpredictable weather patterns, suffocating humidity, technical singletrack, steep ascents, and steeper descents, the Cruel Jewel might seem more cruel than jewel. But if those technicalities don’t deter you from coming out, the race has already established a reputation for having a challenging yet rewarding course and quality organization with extremely dedicated volunteers. dumassevents.com/cruel-jewelStump Jump 50KChattanooga, Tenn., October 4Local running enthusiast Matt Sims started this 50K in 2002 with the intention of raising awareness and support for the Cumberland Trail Conference and the community’s running scene. Only 12 years later, this race has grown to become one of the Southeast’s classic ultras. The course mostly follows the singletrack on Chattanooga’s Signal Mountain, but runners will also come across everything from pristine trails to creek crossings and the infamous Rock Garden. rockcreek.com/stumpjumpNew River Trail 50KFries, Va., OctoberOne of the oldest rivers in the world, the New River runs for over 300 miles through three states, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The New River Trail parallels this historic river for 39 miles and serves as the route for the New River Trail 50K. For folks wanting to take that first step toward running ultras, this race is a great introductory event to the world of long-distance racing because of its even, flat, dirt terrain. ncnr.orgShut-In Ridge Trail RunAsheville, N.C., November 1More than a half, yet not quite a marathon, what this 17.8-miler lacks in distance it makes up for in difficulty. Held during peak fall weather, the course climbs 3,000 feet along leafy, rocky singletrack. Already in its 36th year, the Shut-In represents one of the oldest and toughest grassroots races in the region and attracts elite runners and amateurs alike. The course parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway for most of the race, making it easy for friends and family to stand by and cheer you on. jusrunning.comHellgate 100KFincastle, Va., December 13In 2003, ultrarunner David Horton created the Hellgate 100K, starting what would become one of the most respected and sought-after achievements among the ultrarunning community. Horton’s own passion for challenging both body and mind drove him to such accomplishments as setting a speed record for the Appalachian Trail in 1991 and, to this day, holding the third fastest time ever for the 2906-mile transcontinental crossing. His intimate relationship with challenge and, at times, utter despair helped him to mold the Hellgate 100K, a course that winds for over 60 miles through the Jefferson National Forest. With a start time of 12:01AM, more than 13,000 feet of climbing, an 18-hour time limit, and brutal winter weather, this race is a must-do for ultrarunners looking for a sizeable test. eco-xsports.com A Shut-In WinScott WilliamsScott WilliamsRegional runner Scott Williams grew up watching the annual 17.8-mile Shut-In Ridge Run and its runners. Stretching from the French Broad River to Mount Pisgah, this community-held event challenges some of the area’s top runners with its rocky terrain and steep climbing.“I’d always respected that race because it’s so hard,” Williams says. “The first time I ever ran the course I swore I was never going to race it.”Williams eventually changed his mind and joined the annual gathering of runners. In 2012, Williams won the Shut-In, a moment he says has truly been one of the highpoints of his running career.“Just trying to keep moving forward is a mind game,” says Williams. “You can be running really well but be going so slow. If you want to prepare to race Shut-In I’d suggest running a lot of uphill and downhill. Also be prepared to get beat up and switch gears a lot.”On Williams’ list of other top regional races are the 40-mile Mt. Mitchell Challenge, the DuPont Trail 12K, and the New River 50K.Best of the RestMount Mitchell 40M Challenge & Black Mountain MarathonBlack Mountain, N.C., February 22 • blackmountainmarathon.comThomas Jefferson 100KCharlottesville, Va., March 15 • tj100k.comTerrapin Mountain 50k & Half MarathonSedalia, Va., March 22 • eco-xsports.comVirginia Creeper MarathonAbingdon, Va., March 30 • runtricities.org/creepermarathonMountains-to-Sea 50K/12M Trail ChallengeRaleigh, N.C., March 30 • bullcityrunning.comDirty Kiln Half Marathon Trail RaceHolidaysburg, Penn., April 5 • alleghenytrailrunners.com/dirty-kiln-trail-raceSmoky Mountain RelayBrevard, N.C., April 25-26 • smokymountainrelay.comJackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon and 10KCovington, Va., June 28 • visitalleghanyhighlands.comXTERRA Beech Mountain 15K/5KBeech Mountain, N.C., July 26 • dirtyspokes.comSpringmaid Splash 10KSpruce Pine, N.C., August • mitchellraces.comThe North Face Endurance Challenge 50M/50KPine Mountain, Ga., September 27 • thenorthface.com/endurancechallengeGrindstone 100 MilerStaunton, Va., October 3-5 • eco-xsports.comBlue Ridge Burn 5k & 10kRoseland, Va., October 11 • blueridgeoutdoors.com/blueridgeburnMountain Masochist 50-MilerLynchburg, Va., November 1 • eco-xsports.comUpchuck 50KChattanooga, Tenn., November 1 • rockcreek.comDuncan Ridge Trail 50K/30KBlairsville, Ga., November 22 • duncanridgetrail50k.com_______________Check Out Our Other Race Ahead GuidesTrail RunningRoad RunningRoad BikingMountain BikingClimbingPaddlingMultisportsSnowsportslast_img read more

Mountain Mama: Pass Along the Need for Speed

first_imgDear Mountain Mama,Now that my son can walk, his favorite response to everything is “do it self.” My wife and I used to take him hiking all the time, but now he refuses to be carried. It’s cute watching him walk, but makes for an excruciatingly slow outing.Do you have any other ideas for toddler-friendly adventures?Thanks,Toddler DadDear Toddler Dad,I admire your commitment to explore the outdoors with your son. As parents, we strive to pass along the best parts of our world to our children, and often that’s our connection to the outdoors. With a little creativity, almost anything you enjoy doing can be adapted to include your family.Raise Kids to Go with the FlowWe’re lucky enough to live close to a mellow stretch of river and can often squeeze in a post-work float. There are days when I crave more action, so I’ve searched for a babysitter who doesn’t mine driving shuttle. I pack a dinner picnic, grab a paddling partner, and we all load into the truck. The sitter and my toddler son drop us off at the put-in and then play in the water or go for a hike at the take-out. An hour later we all enjoy the setting sun and eat together.For an overnight adventure, reserve one of the river-side campsites along the French Broad River and take your family on an overnight river trip. Last summer we paddled fifteen miles in two days down a mostly Class I section of the river. My son loved swimming breaks, holding the paddle, and dragging his fingers along the water’s surface.Divide and ConquerThere will be days when taking your kids on an adventure seems daunting. On these days, reach out to your childless friends. Too often we don’t call some of the people we most loved spending time with before we had kids just because they don’t also have children. My childless friends assure me they love being included on kid-friendly adventures.During this past winter’s big snow, two friends, my son, and I skied up Roan Mountain. The pickup was loaded with cross country skis and my play boat. We nestled my toddler in a Therma-rest and sleeping bag, and made a harness using kayak straps. We all took turns pulling him up the mountain while he napped. He woke up just in time to take in the spectacular view at the top and the downhill. My friends love getting their kid fix, my son soaks up the attention, and I got to share the parenting load. It’s truly a win-win when we all take turns.Pass Along the Need for SpeedInvesting in a bike trailer is the perfect way to get a work out in while spending time with your little guy. My son squeals in delight when he feels the wind on his face and shouts, “Faster mama.” Pulling the extra weight adds a strength training element to any ride. Consider a speed interval day, where you ride hard between toddler-friendly stops such as playgrounds of snack breaks.For a toddler-friendly bike vacation, combine forces with other families. A good friend spent a week cycling the parkway. The dads pedaled in the morning, while the moms took the kids on a short hike then caravanned to an agreed-upon hotel (always with a pool). When the dads arrived, the moms set out on an afternoon ride while the dads and kids played in the pool.Enjoy your time outside!Mountain Mamalast_img read more