FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Think Progress:The Navajo Generating Station is facing a future familiar to many coal-fired power plants, struggling to compete with smaller, more nimble natural gas-fired generators, wind farms, and solar arrays.“You know the old saying, ‘You make money if you buy low and sell high’? They’re buying high and selling lower,” said David Schlissel, director of resource planning analysis at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).If the Navajo Generating Station shuts down, locals will lose some 800 jobs, both at the plant and in the nearby Kayenta mine, which supplies coal to the generating station. Facing unemployment rates upwards of 40 percent, the Navajo and Hopi tribes are eager to protect those jobs, to say nothing of the revenue the operation provides.“The Navajo Nation is so dependent on the jobs and the revenue for their budget. It’s really sad because, looking forward, it just doesn’t seem to be a sustainable economic enterprise,” Schlissel said. “I have no idea who would put their money here.”More: Embattled Navajo coal plant is a preview of what’s ahead as coal declines across the U.S. On the Blogs: ‘I Have No Idea Who Would Put Their Money Here’
German development bank to underwrite Indian wind, solar projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:German state-owned development bank KfW will lend EUR 200 million (USD 228m) to India so as to help the country provide low-interest loans for around 200 MW of new renewable energy capacity.The bank has signed a credit line agreement with India’s Rural Electrification Corporate Ltd (REC), which plans to back solar and wind power projects, the lender announced this week. The specific loans will be supplemented by counterparty contributions of up to 30% from the borrowers and contributions from other lenders. The provided financing will target projects in the private sector and will support 200 MW of renewables. The new capacity, seen to meet the demand of about 270,000 homes, will help offset up to 285,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.“KfW’s financing to promote the increased use of renewables will make an important contribution to slowing the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the deficit in the power supply,” said Joachim Nagel, member of the KfW Group executive board.Additionally, REC will get a EUR 1-million grant from KfW to improve standards in the Indian energy sector, the German lender said.India’s goal is to have 175 GW of installed renewables capacity by 2022 and account for 50% of its total power generation. The target for solar and wind is 100 GW and 60 GW, respectively.More: Germany’s KfW to help fund 200 MW of renewables in India
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享National Observer:The Trans Mountain oil pipeline is costing a Canadian Crown corporation some staggering interest expenses that cast doubt on strong revenues from the infrastructure touted in the federal government’s recent economic update.The interest expenses were $20 million over a single month in September, right after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government purchased the pipeline and related assets from Texas energy company Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion. As part of the purchase, the government also had to set aside an additional $500 million as a security deposit in case of environmental damage, and this appears to be part of the interest expenses.If the interest expenses continue to pile up at that rate over the year, they will come to represent a larger sum than the amount of money that the government has said the pipeline is on track to raise this year primarily from toll charges.Oil pipelines earn revenues by charging tolls to companies that are shipping fuels on the infrastructure. The Trudeau government has said that the proposed Trans Mountain expansion project, if completed, would generate more revenues and could be sold back to the private sector, along with existing assets, as a profitable venture.In a new quarterly report, the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), the Crown corporation that now owns and operates the pipeline through a network of subsidiaries, said it incurred $21.27 million in interest expenses related to Trans Mountain during the third quarter ending Sept. 30.The pipeline from the oil patch to the west coast and its related expansion project was acquired by Ottawa in a deal that cleared Aug. 31. These two dates represent approximately a month’s worth of expenses, or $255.24 million over the year. That is well above the “over $200 million” that Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s fall fiscal update said the pipeline was on track to make in “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization,” or EBITDA, a type of metric used in finance to show a performance snapshot. EBITDA doesn’t include things like capital investment costs or expenses linked to debt.Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, co-authored a report in June with Kathy Hipple, a financial analyst at the institute and corporate finance lecturer at Bard College, stating that the Canadian government was facing at least $11.6 billion in costs to complete the pipeline. “This transaction and the cost of further planning and construction could add a $6.5 billion unplanned expenditure to Canada’s budget during FY 2019,” the report states, boosting Canada’s projected deficit by 36 per cent.Sanzillo told National Observer that while it is not uncommon for a government economic development transaction to keep revenues, capital costs and operational expenses separate, the interest expenses and fiscal update numbers represent an incomplete picture. “For a project of this size and importance,” said Sanzillo, “the executive has a responsibility to also produce an all-in-one, true and accurate inclusive project accounting that answers the question: ‘How much is this costing the Canadian taxpayer?’ These financial disclosures are partial, and absent a full accounting, are irrelevant. Because it is only a partial explanation, it says nothing about the financial viability of the project.”More: The Trudeau government’s Trans Mountain purchase has triggered staggering interest expenses Trans Mountain pipeline costs are adding up for Canadian government
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Britain plans to generate a third of its electricity from offshore wind farms by 2030 and boost the value of exports of offshore wind services and equipment to 2.6 billion pounds ($3.4 billion) a year, the government said on Thursday.Britain, which aims to lift industrial productivity as it leaves the European Union, is the world’s biggest offshore wind market with almost 40 percent of global capacity. On and offshore wind turbines met 17 percent of UK power needs in 2018.Britain now has total installed wind power capacity of 20 gigawatts (GW), with offshore wind farms accounting for 8 GW. Offshore capacity will reach 30 GW by 2030 under the plan.The country also hosts the world’s largest wind farm, Orsted’s 659 megawatt (MW) Walney Extension project, with 87 turbines, some of which can generate 8.25 MW each.Britain aims to close coal-fired power stations by 2025, as it seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The failure of some nuclear power plans has also encouraged the focus on offshore wind to fill the potential power gap.More: Britain targets a third of electricity from offshore wind by 2030 U.K. looks to boost offshore wind capacity to 30GW by 2030
Analysts see big job cuts on horizon for U.S. coal mining sector as demand continues downward FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:The clearest sign yet that America’s Coal County is headed for widespread job cuts: The amount of coal being produced per U.S. miner is at the lowest level in eight years. Productivity has slid 11% this year alone. The last time it was this low was in 2011, when coal companies ended up cutting almost half their workers in a downturn that lasted more than four years.It underscores the intense pressure facing U.S. coal producers. For years, they relied on exports and metallurgical coal used for steelmaking to offset shriveling demand from U.S. utilities. Now even those markets are suffering as the global economy slows, liquefied natural gas becomes cheap and plentiful in Asia and President Donald Trump’s trade war churns away. The bottom line: U.S. production is expected to slide 10% this year, and jobs are at risk.“It’s highly likely there will be more layoffs,” said Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America union. “I don’t think there’s any question.”Cutbacks are already underway. On Monday, Peabody Energy Corp. said it plans to close an Illinois mine and lay off about 225 workers. Blackhawk Mining LLC idled four West Virginia mines last week and fired about 340 people. And in September, Murray Energy Corp. shut mines in West Virginia.“People are going to have to get laid off,” said Andrew Cosgrove, a mining analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. “They’re going to have to close mines.”The moves reflect the confluence of woes pummeling the industry. Electricity producers are shunning the fuel in favor of cheaper natural gas, wind and solar. Global prices for coal shipped to power plants have plunged by more than one-third in the past year in both Europe and Asia. And met coal prices fell last month to the lowest since January 2017.More: America’s coal country is heading for another wave of layoffs
Oil companies see climate change benefits, potential profits in hydrogen transition FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg Green:Hydrogen, long touted as the fuel of the future, had a bit of a coming-out party at this week’s S&P Global Platts Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference, as some of the world’s biggest refiners, drillers and traders extolled it as key to fighting climate change. The efforts are emblematic of an oil industry trying to reposition itself after the pandemic wiped out demand and as shareholders call for reduced greenhouse gas emissions.“Hydrogen seems to be the most disruptive and has the potential to grow 10 times between now and 2050,” said Giovanni Serio, global head of research at Vitol Group, the world’s biggest independent oil trader. “It could be the one to solve the problem of storing energy and also addressing later the demand from the transportation sector.”Nearly $11 trillion of investment in production, storage and transport infrastructure is needed for hydrogen to meet about a quarter of the world’s energy needs by 2050, according to BloombergNEF.The fuel’s unique advantages include high energy density, flexibility of production sources and a wide range of applications, Vaidya said. It also emits no greenhouse gases when produced with renewable energy, although most current production is done via polluting methods.China’s largest refiner, Sinopec, will integrate hydrogen into its retail fuel stations around Beijing. The country wants 1 million fuel-cell vehicles on the roads in a decade.BP Plc. expects hydrogen energy production and green ammonia to be areas of growth, Eugene Leong, chief operating officer at BP Singapore Pte Ltd, said at the conference.[Saket Sundria and Serene Cheong]More: Oil giants plan for a future with less crude, more hydrogen
August is pumping up the heat and humidity across the Blue Ridge which it why we just put out our Swimming Holes issue. This is the type of weather that fogs up your sunglasses as soon as you step out of the house. It’s the type of weather where anything you do – take a walk, take out the trash, take a glance out the window – leaves you damp and sticky with sweat. Whether you are hiking to a cool mountain stream or tubing your favorite river, now is the perfect time to hit the water.Sure, that air-conditioned air feels great, but nature’s cooling system is far superior, so get out in it and learn something new with these family -friendly river festivals celebrating area waterways.Shenandoah RiverfestOn Saturday head to Andy Guest/Shenandoah River State Park just south of Front Royal, Va. on the banks of the south fork of the Shenandoah River for a day of fun on the water. Enjoy canoe and tube rides on the river, live music, local food and great prize giveaways, including a kayak and local art. The Virginia Game Department will be on hand to display wild animals and there will also be fly fishing instruction.View Larger MapSmith River FestThis year the Smith River Fest is celebrating its five-year anniversary, and the Blue Ridge Outdoors Roadshow will be there to help. Come out to the Smith River Sports Complex in Axton, Va. on Saturday and enjoy all the Smith River has to offer, including a river race, mud run, fly fishing demos and beer garden for the big kids. Bike rentals will be available and live music from local artists will be played. Don’t forget to swing by the Blue Ridge Outdoors tent and sign up for our great raffles.View Larger Map
Clips of the Week Winter Edition features some of the raddest videos from winter wonderlands far and near. From kayaking in Greenland to high-speed snowball launches and epic skiing, if the cold’s got you hunkered down at home, check out these amazing adventures and you’ll surely get your hiney off the couch.Into Perpetual IceSpecialized German Weaponry Launches Snowball @ 76mphThe Space BetweenTom Wallisch’s Skier’s Discretion
A change in policy for the Leadville Trail 100, a 100-mile footrace through the rugged Colorado Rockies, has made it harder for runners attempting the famed grand slam of ultrarunning—completing Western States, the Leadville 100, Vermont, and Wasatch all in the same summer.Leadville 100 race director Paul Anderson announced last week that aspiring Grand Slam runners will no longer receive automatic entry into Leadville.The Grand Slam was conceived by pioneer ultrarunner, Tom Green, who strung together the four famous 100 miles races together in a single summer. Since then, around 300 people have accomplished the grueling feat.Paul Anderson, current race director of the Leadville 100, said they made the switch to the lottery system because he found it unfair to give people priority for an “unofficial event.” However, Anderson said he would like to give priority to people who have volunteered in past Leadville 100 races. Any grand slam aspirants should consider volunteering at future races to increase their chance of getting into Leadville.
Now that you’ve completed the seven summits of the world, what’s next?JR: I’m taking my boys to Iceland for spring break in April and introducing them to glaciers there for the first time. I’m really looking forward to that trip and introducing them to a landscape that really has been a gift in my life. I don’t expect them to love it as much as I do, but I think they will have fun. In terms of projects, I go to Ecuador and Peru in September, Kilimanjaro trip in June. I plan on going back [to Antarctica] with the information we’ve got. You go to places and you’re there for the first time and you might hit a couple of things, but to really dig into it, to get any real climbing done, you gotta spend some time there and do some reconnaissance. Three pieces of gear you cannot visit the Antarctic without?JR: Well, the dumbest piece of gear I brought with me was a headlamp. Otherwise, the Mountain Hardware Trango 3—the thing is like a bomb shelter for wind and the coloring of that tent is such that it radiates heat when the sun is out and you can actually stay warm inside of it. A crevasse probe was absolutely necessary. Every time we’d set up a camp we’d have to probe out a safe perimeter area to make sure we’re not falling into something. And a navigation system, like a Garmin. We plotted a route and in those whiteout conditions, it was just a necessary tool for route finding and risk management. Where did Vinson rank as far as difficulty compared to the other six summits?JR: I’d rank it number 4, maybe even 3. You gotta expand out the base of difficulty because when you’re working in Antarctica, when that wind starts to blow, it is really really difficult to manage. Last month, S2 Mountaineering owner Jeff Reynolds of Richmond, Va., successfully summited Mount Vinson (16,050’) in Antarctica, completing a more than decade-long bid for the seven highest peaks in the world. His four-person team also bagged the first ascent of Rogers Peak (4,918’) shortly after scaling Vinson. To read more about how Reynolds trains for these high-elevation summits right here in the Blue Ridge, check out this Q&A with the mountaineer from our January 2017 issue.When did you decide to go for the seven summits?JR: Initially I did not set out to do the seven summits. I kinda fell into it through the guiding gig. I was guiding Kilimanjaro (2005) and Aconcagua anyway—once I did Everest in 2012, it started to look like unfinished business for me. I’ve always wanted to go to Antarctica because it’s this amazing place. The heart of [the expedition] for me was getting into the Sentinel Range, into these areas that are really unchartered in the climbing community, and seeing what I could do. How long was the planning process for the final summit?JR: For all of it, the planning started about 18 months ago. If it were just Vinson, we could have hopped on a trip and finished it in two weeks and come back, which is a regular Vinson rotation. What took a tremendous amount of effort was what we did afterwards and that was heading off into no-man’s-land, so to speak, without any beta of what we were getting into. It took a long time to nail down as much information as we could and plot a route through that technical terrain. What surprised you about Vinson? About Antarctica climbing in general?JR: I think you go into these things with some expectation and knowledge about what the conditions are like, like you know it’s going to be cold, you know that it’s remote, you know it’s really isolated and you really gotta have your game on because if something happens, you’re going to have to manage it independently. But one thing that struck me, especially as I’m looking out my window now and I’ve got green and brown and blue and all these colors in the sky, is the sensory spectrum [in Antarctica] is so narrow–everything’s white. Sometimes the sky is blue, some gray rock maybe, but that’s it, and in terms of sound, there’s nothing but wind. It kinda screws with you a little bit. When the clouds move in, you can’t judge five feet from five miles and when it comes to route finding, that really, really rattles you.How did your team stay fueled on the expedition?JR: We thought we brought 10 percent more than we needed but we probably ended up with 10 percent less than we needed. The calorie burning was more than I was used to. We ended up getting a little short on food. But mostly it was freeze dried food, pasta, bacon bits, Snickers of course, lots and lots of Snickers and Twix bars. If I knew I was going to have a Snickers bar, I’d put them inside my pockets to warm them up, because once it’s frozen, it’s done, you’re not gonna get it back. Like a camera or camera battery, or toothpaste even, you end up sleeping with it or it’s toast. What was the summit bid day like?JR: We had 24 hours of light, which was great, and we had a really really nice day, probably the nicest day we had the entire time. The conditions were right around 5 degrees Fahrenheit and we had very light winds, about 10-15mph. We started out in the morning at about 11 o’clock, summited around 4:30pm, and there and back was about 8 hours.So no incidents?JR: We had a really nice straight forward route up and down, the group dynamic was cohesive, it really couldn’t have been a better day. But the next day we were going to go over to Mount Shinn, which is right next door. There’s only been maybe 10 teams climb it in its history. We’re on our way over there, it’s the second best day we’ve had, and we come to this crunch point where there’s pretty significant ice fall just above us, then there’s a small break you can traverse to gain a ridgeline on Mount Shinn. It’s very small break, and a high risk area you gotta move through pretty quickly. The ice fall below it is pretty significant so if something were to happen from the top ice fall, it was going to wipe out the whole team and it was going to be just catastrophic. We decided it looked good to go and we got about five minutes from it and it went right in front of us. It was just too active for us to take a stab at it.