FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:The biggest coal-fired power plant west of the Mississippi is up for sale, but market watchers say they’re not convinced anyone is serious about buying it.That skepticism comes despite statements from the Salt River Project, which co-owns the Navajo Generating Station in Page, Ariz., that they’ve signed 14 non-disclosure agreements with potential buyers. Some analysts aren’t convinced the 14 are serious bidders. Others, however, say President Donald Trump’s pro-coal policies could help the plant get sold.Fourteen potential buyers “is an extraordinary number,” Tom Sanzillo, finance director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told Bloomberg Environment. “Fourteen and 15 buyers is what you get when a solar company goes bankrupt, because there’s so much value there.”That’s not true of coal because power prices from natural gas and renewables are so low, said Jeremy Fisher, a principal associate with research firm Synapse Energy Economics Inc.“If you’re an investor thinking about picking up a plant on the cheap, you look at your long-term prospects for being able to make money,” Fisher told Bloomberg Environment. “Until we see something that fundamentally changes the market structures, I don’t think we’re seeing much of a change.”Seth Schwartz, president of consultancy Energy Ventures Analysis, said that moves such as Trump’s could inspire confidence among investors for coal. But he also said he doesn’t see that happening yet.“The market probably still views the new administration’s actions as preliminary, or at least unsettled,” Schwartz told Bloomberg Environment. “They’re still subject to litigation. So I’m not sure that investors are ready to act on those initiatives right now. But some individual investors may take a contrarian position, thinking their odds have improved.”Scott Harelson, an SRP spokesman, told Bloomberg Environment that the 14 interested parties are researching the plant and its economics, including its budgets, union contracts, and maintenance. SRP has no sense of the parties’ level of interest, Harelson said. The company did not say who the 14 parties were.Similarly, Beth Sutton, a Peabody Energy spokeswoman, told Bloomberg Environment earlier this month that “a number of private equity firms and power plant operators…have expressed interest in moving to the next phase in the process,” but that those parties are “understandably subject to confidentiality agreements.”More: Doubts Hover Over Sale of Massive Navajo Coal Plant Skepticism Persists Over Claims by Owners That They Have Buyers Lined Up for Failing Coal Plant in Arizona
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Denver Post:A plan by Xcel Energy Colorado to boost the share of power it gets from wind and solar and retire a third of its coal generation was green-lighted Monday by state regulators.The Colorado Public Utilities Commission voted 2-1 in support of what Xcel calls the Colorado Energy Plan, which the company says will cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 60 percent, increase renewable energy sources to 55 percent of its mix by 2026 and save customers about $213 million.As part of the plan, Xcel, Colorado’s largest electric utility, will phase out its Comanche 1 and 2 coal-fired plants in Pueblo about a decade earlier than the original target date of 2035. Xcel says the plan will invest $2.5 billion in eight counties and save customers about $213 million, thanks to the declining costs of renewable energy.The commission is expected to issue a written decision approving the plan in the first week of September.Xcel’s plan, filed in June, will significantly boost power from renewable energy sources and phase out 660 megawatts of coal power by retiring the two coal-fired units in Pueblo. The utility will add about 1,100 megawatts of wind, 700 megawatts of solar, 275 megawatts of battery storage and 380 megawatts from existing natural gas sources.More: Colorado regulators green-light Xcel’s plan boosting renewables, cutting coal Colorado regulators okay Xcel coal plant closure plan
Solar-wind hybrid project gets go-ahead in Minnesota FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享DL Online:After two unsuccessful tries, it’s full steam ahead for a solar-wind hybrid project in Otter Tail County.Juhl Energy will break ground this month in Trondhjem Township on what it called one of the first commercially integrated solar-wind hybrid power generation projects in the U.S. The project will use a single General Electric wind turbine, supported by .5 megawatt of photovoltaic solar panels. The wind and solar are combined through GE’s Wind Integrated Solar Energy technology platform.Lake Region Electric Cooperative of Pelican Rapids will purchase the electric output of the project, incurring no debt and with little risk in the construction or operation of the project. Juhl Energy will finance construct, operate, and maintain the facility.Energy produced will be distributed over local co-op power lines from a single rural substation and will go to Lake Region members. The energy, transmission and capacity cost savings from the project will help provide rate stability for the entire cooperative membership, [said Tim Thompson, CEO of Lake Region Electric Cooperative.]The project will be owned by a subsidiary of Juhl Energy that includes a number of investors from across Minnesota and the Midwest. The construction general contractor is Faith Technologies, a Wisconsin-based firm that has experience working on clean energy projects. The project’s renewable energy certificates are being sold separately to a third party helping to sponsor the project.More: Third time’s a charm for wind-solar project in Otter Tail County
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:President Donald Trump’s trade war won’t wreck the U.S. wind industry, but it will raise the cost of power.Tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports, as well as on metals from Europe and elsewhere, could raise the cost of wind power in the U.S. by as much as 10 percent, Tom Kiernan, chief executive officer of the American Wind Energy Association, said at a conference in New York. Executives from three of the world’s top turbine manufacturers agreed.“If you close the country to tariffs, prices will increase,” Jose Antonio Miranda Soto, CEO for Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA’s onshore business, said Tuesday at the Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference. “Tariffs equal higher prices.”Higher steel prices will be “a powerful driver,” said Josh Irwin, sales director for Vestas Wind Systems A/S’s Americas unit. “Those costs do have to manifest themselves someplace. There’s just no way around it.”Besides steel, the tariffs cover turbine blades, gearboxes, crank shafts and other internal components. Some of the impacts can be mitigated by seeking suppliers not covered by the levies, according to John Hensley, AWEA’s senior director for industry data and analysis. “Consumers probably lose out because they’re not getting that ultra-cheap form of energy,” Hensley said.More: Trump’s import tariffs will make U.S. wind power more expensive Trump tariffs are going to cost consumers, wind executives say
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Engie is on the lookout for more clean energy acquisitions in the U.S., where the company plans to ramp up its investments into grid-scale batteries, hybrid renewables projects and offshore wind, says North America chief Gwenaëlle Avice-Huet.With a long history in fossil fuels and nuclear energy, Engie has pivoted dramatically toward renewables over the past few years — a strategy that included the U.S. acquisitions of wind developer Infinity Renewables, solar installer SoCore Energy and battery storage company Green Charge Networks.“Do we want to continue with acquisitions? I would say yes because we want to be big in the U.S.,” said Avice-Huet, who moved from France to Texas a year ago to oversee Engie’s 6,300-person North America division. “This is a huge playground and a core geography for us strategically.”Engie was slower than some European peers like EDF and Iberdrola in pressing into the U.S. renewables market, but it’s taken up the strategy with vigor. Through its acquisitions, the company now holds a leading position in the corporate renewables market — a market Avice-Huet expects to sustain itself through the pandemic and any downturn. Last year Engie signed more U.S. corporate wind deals than any other developer, according to the American Wind Energy Association, with a list of renewables customers that includes Microsoft, Walmart and Target.Despite Henry Hub natural gas spot prices below $2 per MMBtu, Avice-Huet said Engie is not investing in new U.S. gas plants — no small thing for a company once known as Gaz de France (GDF). “My journey in the U.S. is very much focused on the acceleration of renewables,” she said in an interview.More and more corporate renewables deals will involve hybrid projects marrying wind, solar and batteries, Avice-Huet said. Last year Engie announced a deal with Microsoft that will pair the output from a wind farm and solar array in Texas, along with a “volume-firming” agreement that will see Engie supplying power on a 24/7 basis. “This is the future evolution of renewables in the U.S.,” Avice-Huet said.[Karl-Erik Stromsta]More: Engie looking for more U.S. clean energy acquisitions: North America CEO France’s Engie planning substantial investments in U.S. renewable energy, no new gas plants
Nevada’s NV Energy says transmission, solar-plus-storage to play key role in new resource plan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary NV Energy Inc. on July 20 released a plan to build more than 500 miles of transmission lines and three solar-plus-storage projects as a part of its upcoming integrated resource plan.As part of its “Greenlink Nevada” program, the company plans to build two transmission line segments, one a 235-mile, 525-kV line that cuts across the middle of the state from Ely to Yerington, and the second a 351-mile, 525-kV line from Las Vegas to Yerington. The project also includes three 345-kV lines from Yerington to Reno.Construction is slated to begin in 2020 and will be complete by 2031, the company said in an announcement. NV Energy said the project will generate up to $781 million in economic activity and support more than 4,000 jobs.The state of Nevada is betting on solar-plus-storage projects to reach its renewable portfolio standard, which requires 50% of electricity sales to come from renewable energy sources by 2030.“Greenlink Nevada is essential to unlocking Nevada’s clean energy potential and meeting Nevada’s renewable and de-carbonization goals by providing access to new in-state solar and geothermal resources and creating opportunities to maximize renewable resource opportunities across the west,” Doug Cannon, NV Energy president and CEO, said in the announcement.The company also announced three new solar-plus-storage projects. One is the 150-MW Dry Lake Solar Energy Center, paired with a 100-MW, four-hour battery storage system and located 20 miles northeast of Las Vegas in Clark County. Another is the Boulder Solar III Project, a 128-MW array paired with a 58-MW, four-hour battery storage system, also in Clark County. And the 200-MW Chuckwalla Solar Project in Clark County would include a 180-MW, four-hour battery storage system.[Justin Horwath]More ($): NV Energy announces transmission, solar-plus-storage projects
Dear EarthTalk: It is starting to get colder and I’m eager to try out the fireplace in our new home, but we don’t want to create health or environmental problems. Are there materials that would be more eco-friendly to burn in a fireplace than regular firewood? — Emily Eidenier, Durham, NC Burning wood may be humanity’s oldest way of generating heat—and in the home it definitely creates a nice ambience. But it has its downside. According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, wood smoke “contains toxic carbon monoxide, smog-causing nitrogen oxides, soot, fine particles, and a range of other chemicals and gases that can cause or worsen serious health problems, particularly among children, pregnant women, and people with breathing difficulties.” The Children’s Health Environmental Coalition (CHEC) concurs, citing a raft of studies that show how children living in wood-burning households experience “higher rates of lung inflammation, breathing difficulties, pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases.” For its part, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns that those with congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma should avoid wood smoke if possible. Wood smoke is also bad for the outdoors environment, contributing to smog, acid rain and other problems. One greener alternative to burning firewood in a fireplace is to burn wood pellets, which are made from sawdust and other lumber byproducts that would have otherwise been landfilled and gone to waste. These specially formulated tiny logs burn very efficiently and almost completely—largely because there is little moisture content—so there are fewer pollutants to escape into the air inside or out. You need a pellet stove to burn wood pellets, though, or a fireplace insert to handle them safely. (Such an insert employs an igniter to fire the pellets, a blower to fan the fire, and an augur that pours pellets into the flames. Together they obviate the need to open the stove doors—and let pollutants into your living room—to feed the fire.) Another way to reduce emissions from an existing fireplace is to go for a gas insert, which would burn either liquid propane (from a swappable tank) or piped-in natural gas. These inserts draw in air to oxygenate the fire and channel smoke outside, either up the chimney or through a vent. CHEC warns, though, that hearth fires, even with an insert, cannot heat large spaces as efficiently as free-standing wood, pellet or gas stoves. Given, then that fireplaces are typically of more value for aesthetic purposes than heating efficiency, it might not be worth investing time and money into an insert. Using the primary heat source for your home (your furnace) and burning a candle or three in your fireplace might be the most efficient way to stay warm but still enjoy the ambience of live flames in your fireplace. If none of these alternatives make sense for you, remember to get your fireplace checked regularly for backdrafts, leaks or cracks that could bring extra pollution into your home. Also, make sure to get a chimney sweep in every few years to make sure your chimney isn’t blocked up with creosote which could lead to increased indoor air pollution. And if you’re putting in a new fireplace—or an insert—make sure to get a qualified professional to do the work, as proper set-up could be the difference between sickness and health as you and your loved ones cozy up around the fire this holiday season. CONTACTS: Massachusetts DEP, www.mass.gov/dep/; Children’s Health Environmental Coalition (CHEC), www.checnet.org. GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: [email protected] Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.
I was reading It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong – a rather fascinating story about the cancer survivor and the seven-consecutive-time winner of the prestigious Tour de France. It had been a pleasant read until I read about Lance’s training on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Suddenly my mind went ZOOM. Here it was! Here was the glamorous and awe-striking description of one of the most magnificent places for road bicyclists on this planet – the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was it for me. After reading Lance’s description of the beautiful roads and scenery, I was immediately sold to the idea of cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway. End to end. All 469 miles. I wanted to become an end-to-ender on my beloved leg-driven two-wheeler. “I’m going to tackle the 469 miles of winding, up-and-down, scenic road through the Southern Appalachian mountains,” I ‘informed’ my wife, Sophia who smiled seeing the joy in my eyes.The only question remaining was: when?Setting a date for September 2011 was the first major step to bringing me closer to my desire. The effect of having a clear date is astonishing: it got me going and the stars and the universe immediately seemed to start conspiring in my favor. Things magically started falling into place. The first major shift for me that occurred was that I started to ride my bike and train my body regularly. Whenever possible, I’d include hills and mountains in my training loops. It was an average of three times a week that neighbors and mailmen found me pushing the pedals. The motivation to do that all came from declaring the date of my trip.More coincidences manifested. I started to talk to people about the adventure I had envisioned in my mind. In no time at all, my wife Sophia offered to take on the role of what later turned out to be the backbone and ‘MVP’ – most valuable player – of the trip. She’d drive the support vehicle, photograph and videotape the ride, and cheer the cyclists on the hearty uphills of the Blue Ridge Parkway. A short while later, my cycling buddy Phillip from Hamburg, Germany, subscribed to the idea of this challenging outing as well. On the very first phone conversation with him when I mentioned the trip to the Blue Ridge, he spontaneously and excitedly agreed to join in. “Great”, I thought. “I wouldn’t be alone while sitting in and out of the saddle during the upcoming 469 miles”. I can tell you, it was such a great push for my motivation when someone fully bought into my idea and trusted my plan.If you’re interested in pedaling the Blue Ridge Parkway, check out our guide.By June, my training was on course, I had a support vehicle driver and a cycling buddy to join me. Then, we decided that this 10 day ride would be a great way to raise funds for the neighboring Eliada Homes for Children in Asheville. Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause was now born. When this decision was made, even more people came to help. Our heartfelt big THANK YOU goes not only to the financial sponsors Angie Ensslin, management coach Führungspraxis as well as Dr. Sheela Sheth, but also to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. With a few weeks of preparation to go, I contacted them via e-mail informing them about our plan. You may find interesting to know that the Foundation issues certificates to all people who become ‘end-to-enders’ – be it as motorists, cyclists or otherwise. To my happy surprise, the kind women running the Foundation replied very excitedly in response to our plan of Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause. Just a couple of days later, we were stocked with beautiful Share the Journey T-Shirts, Kids in Parks pencils and other little items that create happiness when shared with kids and adults. The spontaneous reaching out of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation still fills my heart with plenty of joy.To really get this project working well, again my wife Sophia came to rescue. With the help of her guided Visualization Meditations that she offers at her Center for Meditation and Healing, Reflection Pond in Asheville, I developed a clear vision that I was able to turn into an ever-inspiring collage. This outward expression of my inner desire was no great piece of art admittedly, yet it was vital to keep and expand the vision in my mind. It helped me stay focused and excited about all the non-cycling activities that came with this undertaking. For, honestly, I do prefer spinning the cranks of my bike over planning the stages, creating to-do-lists and working the list down or writing press releases.By the way, if you feel so inclined, we do still accept and greatly appreciate your contribution to help us help the children of Eliada. To donate, contact us under [email protected] or visit us online on http://bit.ly/cycling4acause and click the yellow button that says “donate” in the right-hand side column of the page. Unless otherwise instructed, we split all donations 50-50 between covering our own costs and passing on to Eliada Homes for Children of Asheville Helping Children Succeed. As of now (beginning of October 2011) we are grateful to have raised 315 dollars for Eliada. 1 2
Dogs on the Trail from Blue Ridge Outdoors on Vimeo.In honor of our Dog Photo Contest, we put together this snappy little video of a couple of our office Mountain Dogs in action on the trails around town. Submit a photo of your mountain dog and you could win a prize pack from Granite Gear and your pic in the magazine!
I recently got to visit my alma mater, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and woke early one morning before my kids to take a nostalgic run through town and campus. It’s a beautiful town, flanked by the orange-hued sandstone Flatiron cliffs, and I set out excited to revisit some of my old haunts. But with every mile, I was filled with an ever-growing sense of regret. I just didn’t do much in graduate school other than go to school, eat cheap Chinese ($1 a scoop!) and drink Natural Light. As I ran through town, I passed restaurants I never graced, bike trails I never cruised. After looking at a map of the city and surrounding area, I was shocked at how much hiking I never tackled. How much climbing I never attempted.I went into school with grand plans of spending three years really learning how to rock climb. Maybe even get sponsored after developing what I assumed was a godgiven talent for the sport. I never scaled anything tougher than a barstool. I was simply too timid and closed minded to really branch out of my comfort zone.I skied a lot, but always the same resort. I never branched out into the backcountry. Never bothered with cross-country. Never even checked out Eldora, the tiny family-run ski mountain 30 minutes outside of town. I never did yoga. Never tried the oxygen bar. I only tubed Boulder Creek once. And don’t get me started on all of the beer I never drank. Mountain Sun Brewery was right across the street from my apartment, and I rarely set foot in the place. I was a staunch Busch Light guy. No craft beers would ever cross my lips. I didn’t even try Fat Tire until I was leaving Colorado for the West Coast.Obviously, I’ve seen the light since my grad school days in regards to beer, but I still find myself tucking back into that comfortable box. Buying the same 12 pack of my favorite local beer, ordering the same style of pale ale if I’m in a new brewery. It’s easy to talk yourself into following “the rut.” What if that new sour beer tastes like batteries? What if that new bike trail is too sandy?During this extended family vacation through the Western U.S., I’ve convinced my kids to try something new every day. So far, they’ve tried fried rice at that $1 a scoop joint I frequented in Boulder (loved it!).Had granola at the Go Pro Mountain Games in Vail (a tepid reception at best), and touched a dead cicada in Canyonlands National Park (definitely loved it!). With that same spirit in mind, I’m vowing to try a new beer every day. Okay, maybe not every day because I don’t drink beer every day. I vow to try a new beer whenever the opportunity presents itself and I don’t have to operate heavy machinery afterward. I started the vow in Boulder, when I found myself in a new brewery on Pearl Street, West Flanders Brewing Company. I ordered the Trippel, because I never order the Trippel, and it wasn’t bad. When one of the ladies I was with ordered one of the brewery’s signature “beer cocktails” (think beer-based mai-tais), I thought, “here’s another chance to branch out and try something new.” Then I saw the pink drink and all the fruit around the rim and thought, “let’s not get carried away here.” Trying new things is one thing. Drinking girlie drinks in public is another thing altogether.Follow Graham Averill’s adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at daddy-drinks.com