Month: December 2020

  • Solar Glut in California Highlights Demand for a More Integrated Regional Grid

    first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Lauren Sommer and Stephanie Joyce:In California, there is so much solar energy that grid operators have to switch off solar farms. One solution of dealing with the additional power generated is to share the renewable wealth across state borders.Right now, California’s grid runs mostly on its own, like an island. But if there was one big Western grid where states could share power, it would be easier for California to hit its goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.“If you can operate it as an integrated whole, you can just operate the system more efficiently,” says Keith Casey, who also works at the California grid operator. “It’s a win win.”When California has too much solar power, western states would buy it instead of having to switch off those solar farms.This marriage of electric grids would start with PacifiCorp, a utility in Oregon, Utah and Wyoming, where negotiations are already underway. But PacifiCorp isn’t a partner everyone wants to get in bed with — because much of their electricity is generated by coal.“That’s a big problem for California,” says Travis Ritchie, staff attorney with the Sierra Club. He says coal doesn’t fit into California’s ambitious climate change agenda, a plan some western states actively oppose.“Will California actually lose the ability to lead on climate issues if it gives up its power to Utah and Wyoming?” Ritchie says.Those states feel the same way about California – for the opposite reason.Wyoming’s Public Service Commissioner Bill Russell is one of the regulators who would need to bless a Pacificorp-California marriage. As it’s currently proposed, he’s not inclined to do that.“California policies, whether you like them or not, are going to be exported throughout the entire West, and all of us in the West are going to be importing California policies,” Russell says.Policies like California’s commitment to renewable energy are not shared by Wyoming, the nation’s largest coal-producing state.But California isn’t the only one who might benefit from sharing electricity between western states. An initial study by Pacificorp estimated its customers would save $2 billion over 20 years, which is why Russell isn’t dismissing the idea outright.Regional grids like the one proposed to share all kinds of power already thrive in the Midwest, New England and in the mid-Atlantic. But western states have resisted similar arrangements in the past.“Politics, at the end of the day, are going to be the biggest obstacle,” says Cindy Crane, CEO of Rocky Mountain Power, the Pacificorp subsidiary in Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. She worked on some of the previous efforts to integrate the western grid. She says she is hopeful this time will be different.Full item: Who’s In Charge? Getting Western States To Agree On Sharing Renewable Energy Solar Glut in California Highlights Demand for a More Integrated Regional Gridlast_img read more

  • Industry Insiders and Administration Officials in Backroom Machinations to Preserve Coal Royalty Loophole

    first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Post:Top Interior Department officials worked privately with energy industry representatives during the first weeks of the Trump administration to suspend a new accounting system that would have forced companies to pay millions of dollars more in royalties to the government, documents show.The push to suspend the Obama-era rule, which is the subject of three federal lawsuits in Wyoming, took on a sense of urgency after an attorney for the coal company Cloud Peak Energy first suggested the move in late January. In email exchanges contained in more than 1,000 pages, obtained by the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council under the Freedom of Information Act, top Interior officials raced to address industry concerns by halting a system that had just taken effect on Jan. 1.Under Secretary Ryan Zinke, the department has launched a broad reassessment of what to charge firms extracting oil, natural gas, coal and other minerals from federal lands and waters, with an eye toward boosting domestic energy production. Interior on Wednesday held the inaugural meeting of a new Royalty Policy Committee, with Zinke’s energy counselor, Vincent DeVito, saying President Trump’s desire for “energy dominance” will help guide royalty rules as well as other aspects of department decision-making.“This committee has a job unlike any other in the past,” DeVito said of the industry-heavy panel. It “has an agenda and authorization to pursue” energy development, he added.Before Zinke or DeVito even arrived at Interior, though, career officials were reassessing how they should regulate these industries in light of Trump’s victory. The discussion focused on whether to revisit a method the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) had adopted just months earlier for calculating royalties for minerals extracted on federal land.The goal behind the change was to prevent firms from underpaying what they owe the government by selling coal to subsidiaries at an artificially low price — a strategy the government estimates costs taxpayers $75 million a year. Industry officials called the new requirements unclear and burdensome and wanted them halted before they had to file under the system for the first time.More: Interior Department worked behind the scenes with energy industry to reverse royalties rule Industry Insiders and Administration Officials in Backroom Machinations to Preserve Coal Royalty Loopholelast_img read more

  • Mars Australia to be fossil-free by next year

    first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Sydney Morning-Herald:Confectionery maker Mars, one of Australia’s biggest manufacturers, will shift entirely to renewable energy in just over a year as part of a company goal to reach carbon neutrality from its global operations by 2040.The maker of the Mars and Snickers chocolate bars and food brands such as Uncle Ben’s rice has signed a 20-year power purchase deal that will support development of the Kiamal Solar Farm near Ouyen in northern Victoria, due for completion in mid-2019. It will also support a second renewable energy project planned by the developer, Total Eren, in NSW.The move by the company, which runs six factories and two sales offices around Australia, is part of the Mars group’s $US1 billion ($1.34 billion) global investment to reduce its environmental impact.“We’ve got a pretty big footprint on this planet,” said Barry O’Sullivan, a Wodonga-based general manager for the company. “Our energy usage in total is equivalent to a small country’s.” The company’s Australian electricity use is just over 100 gigawatt-hours per year. The shift to fully renewable energy brings local operations in line with those in the US, the UK and about nine other of the 80 nations it operates in.Rising electricity costs were one factor, but so too was the tumbling price of large-scale clean energy, Mr. O’Sullivan said: “Ultimately this will leave the business financially better off”. Along with its own emissions, Mars will press suppliers to reduce carbon emissions by two-thirds across its “value chain” by 2050, compared with 2015 levels. “We take responsibility seriously to not just look after our own house,” Mr. O’Sullivan said.More: Mars bars fossil fuels and goes 100pc renewables Mars Australia to be fossil-free by next yearlast_img read more

  • Denmark sees more price reductions in wind power—onshore and off

    first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Nordic Business Insider:To guide the country’s energy strategy the agency has developed a calculator to compare the average costs of various energy sources based on input data and estimates for different future scenarios. The calculator is sophisticated in that it factors in lifetime costs beyond those associated with construction and production – like the socioeconomic costs of different emissions – to create a more economically correct comparison between energy alternatives, the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE).In the newest update of the calculator, which applies to facilities commencing production in 2020, the price of offshore wind has been slashed by 30%, onshore wind by 25% and solar by 40%. Behind the new estimates is a significant reduction in the capital expenditure and operating costs associated with employing the new technologies, coupled with increases in productivity.The reductions bring the average costs of producing one MWh of energy to EUR 46 for Danish offshore wind projects, EUR 30 for onshore wind, and EUR 40 for photovoltaic solar energy. That brings offshore wind on par with nuclear power, while onshore wind is by far the cheapest, and solar PV closing in quickly, as long as the assumption of rapid technology development holds true.The calculations are based on local contingencies, but the Danish Energy Agency has made the calculator and documentation freely downloadable so that anyone can use it to investigate corresponding prices for other energy markets. The agency stresses that the results will vary greatly based on assumptions and locality. For example, increasing the discount rate would make energy sources that require big investments (solar PV, wind, and nuclear power) a lot more expensive alternatives. Also, the calculator does not include revenue calculations as it is meant to holistically compare socio-economic costs per energy generated in a region and not the financial viability of any individual project.More: Danish Energy Agency’s new estimate slashes price of renewable energy by 30% – bringing offshore wind on par with nuclear Denmark sees more price reductions in wind power—onshore and offlast_img read more

  • EPA coal plan not likely to change utility plans—S&P

    first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):After years of shying away from building new coal-fired generation, U.S. electric utilities remain cautious about investing in their existing coal fleets, despite the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back Obama-era restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions.Responses from about 20 electric utilities had several common themes: they already completed many improvements, remain cautious about the timing of the rule and are committed to shifting to cleaner generation.The ACE rule is the Trump administration’s replacement for the Clean Power Plan, a proposal introduced by the Obama administration to address climate change. Instead of directly placing limits on total power sector emissions, ACE instead encourages states to require efficiency improvements tailored to individual sources at existing coal-fired power plants to lower the emissions per unit of power generated.However, several coal plant owners have said the rule does not change plans to retire existing units or encourage them to build new ones. Comments received from utilities suggest the new rule may also not do much to promote investment in the existing fleet.“We will continue to focus on retiring older, less-efficient, coal-fueled units; building advanced-technology natural gas units; and investing in cost-effective, zero-carbon renewable generation,” WEC Energy Group Inc. spokeswoman Amy Jahns said. WEC serves four states in the Upper Midwest.Even utilities with coal-heavy generation portfolios are shying away from new investment in the fuel. AEP “has no plans to invest in new coal-fueled generation,” company spokeswoman Melissa McHenry said. Duke Energy said it currently has no plans to invest in new coal plants either.Many power generators are simply reacting to customer demand to shift from coal generation to cleaner fuels. For example, CPS Energy, Xcel Energy Inc., Southern and Ameren Corp. subsidiary Ameren Missouri, known legally as Union Electric Co., all responded to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s inquiry by highlighting a push to renewable or otherwise low- to no-carbon energy sources regardless of the ACE proposal.More ($): Trump power plan unlikely to make case for coal, utilities say EPA coal plan not likely to change utility plans—S&Plast_img read more

  • DOE earmarks $28 million for floating offshore wind turbine R&D

    first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The U.S. Department of Energy’s innovation arm wants to disrupt floating offshore wind turbine technology.On February 1, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced it was making available $28 million in funding for research projects to develop new technologies for floating offshore wind turbines. The funding opportunity falls under a new ARPA-E program called ATLANTIS (Aerodynamic Turbines, Lighter and Afloat, with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control).“We are trying to find economically attractive solutions for floating offshore wind turbines,” Mario Garcia-Sanz, the ATLANTIS program director, told Greentech Media in an interview. “The current state of the art for FOWT [floating offshore wind turbines] is too massive and expensive for practical deployment. ATLANTIS seeks to design radically new FOWTs,” the ATLANTIS team wrote in a program briefing.According to ARPA-E, nearly 60 percent of the United States’ accessible offshore wind resource, estimated at 25 quads annually, is found in waters more than 200 feet deep — beyond the depth at which fixed-foundation turbines are economical.Efforts to deploy floating turbines in the United States, where the technology will be necessary to access strong winds found in deep waters offshore the West Coast, lag behind those in Europe. Nevertheless, there is activity underway in the United States.More: ARPA-E commits $28 million to develop advanced floating offshore wind turbines DOE earmarks $28 million for floating offshore wind turbine R&Dlast_img read more

  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia to stop financing coal projects by 2030

    first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Commonwealth Bank of Australia became the latest company to join a global push to reduce emissions and said it would phase out its exposure to thermal coal or power plants by 2030.The company announced a new environmental and social policy in its annual report released on Wednesday, emphasizing its commitment to bring emissions to net zero, in line with global goals set out in the 2015 landmark Paris climate agreement.The bank joins a host of other Australian companies adopting similar policies to combat climate change, and reduce the country’s reliance on coal-generated power. Late last month, the world’s biggest miner BHP Group said it would invest $400 million over five years to reduce emissions, while insurers Suncorp Group and QBE Insurance Group have also set targets to eliminate their exposure to coal by 2025 and 2030, respectively.The trend to move away from fossil fuels has gathered pace over the last few years since the Paris agreement, with pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and others limiting exposure to oil, gas and coal stocks. Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, recently said it would also be reducing some of its holdings in companies operating in environmentally harmful sectors like coal.CBA will make A$15 billion ($10.07 billion) of funding available to low carbon projects by 2025, the lender said in its environmental policy framework.More: CBA joins global push to limit emissions by cutting coal exposure by 2030 Commonwealth Bank of Australia to stop financing coal projects by 2030last_img read more

  • Fitch projects 110GW of new solar capacity in Southeast U.S. by 2029

    first_imgFitch projects 110GW of new solar capacity in Southeast U.S. by 2029 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The Southeast U.S. could see about 110 GW of solar capacity additions from 2020 through 2029, even as federal tax subsidies for solar projects phase out, according to Fitch Solutions Macro Research.And the potential exists for even more solar in the long run, Fitch Solutions analysts wrote in a Jan. 10 report. Capacity additions are clustered in a few states, including North Carolina, Florida and Georgia, but other states with smaller solar markets could see growth as project costs continue to decline.Utilities’ long-term resource plans are among the key factors driving the Southeast’s boost in solar. Duke Energy Corp., NextEra Energy Inc. and its flagship utility Florida Power & Light Co., Entergy Corp., Tennessee Valley Authority, and Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power Co. plan to add a collective 13.5 GW of new solar capacity over the next 10 years.“Utilities continue to advance their renewable energy initiatives as wind and solar power plants are becoming increasingly economical,” Fitch Solutions said. “In addition, utilities are facing increased demand from customers to act on climate change.”State and local renewable portfolio standards and community solar initiatives are expected to play significant roles in growing solar capacity in southeastern states. While Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina are the only states in the region with renewable energy targets, Fitch Solutions noted that 23 cities and 4 counties pledged to reach 100% renewable energy, including Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Fla. Local communities and utilities are increasingly working together to implement solar projects to meet customer demand, such as FPL’s “SolarTogether” community program that calls for installing 1,490 MW of new solar capacity.Commercial and industrial customers’ clean energy appetite is also feeding into the Southeast solar frenzy, particularly for states that do not have as many projects built. For example, Alabama’s current solar capacity will more than double once projects with electricity contracted to nonutility customers such as Facebook Inc. come online. “We expect additional renewable energy procurements to drive further significant growth in the Southeast U.S. solar industry, as the region will remain a top solar destination due to its highly suitable climate, land availability and proximity to large corporations and power-hungry data centers,” Fitch Solutions wrote.[Ellen Meyers]More ($): Fitch Solutions: Southeast U.S. set for solar boom despite sunsetting tax creditlast_img read more

  • Float Your Boat

    first_imgGear for when getting wet is mandatory or for when getting gear wet is not an option.1. Outdoor Research Sensor Dry PocketPacking portable electronics on a paddling trip can be great, even essential, but getting them wet is a disaster. The Sensor Dry Pocket features a zip top and roll closure for double protection, even when submerged. A clear front and waterproof headphone jack allows you full access to your smart phone or tablet, and with the Velcro straps, you can anchor it anywhere with no anxiety.$35; outdoorresearch.com2. DryCASE DryBUDS SportWhether you are rocking in the whitewater or jamming on the SUP, you can keep the tunes flowing if you take a swim with these waterproof ear buds. An over-the-ear clip keeps them secure during even the most active water pursuits and an extra long 54-inch cord gives you freedom on or in the water. Three size options are included and submersible up to 10 feet, so there is no fear of drowning out the sound of your favorite jams.$35; drycase.com3. Astral Buoyancy The LindaLocal buoyancy experts Astral designed The Linda for the female recreational kayaker. Environmentally friendly, durable foam is preformed for the perfect fit and the vest back features mesh ventilation for those hot days on the water. The mesh back also allows a full recline in high-seat-back recreational kayaks. Throw in large front pockets and you have the perfect PFD for all your paddling adventures.$90; astralbuoyancy.com 4. Pyranha ShivaLacking a true creek boat in the prodigious quiver of boats, Pyranha set out to make the fastest, most nimble boat to run the hardest whitewater and biggest drops on the planet; they may have succeeded. A wider stern, large volume, and progressive rocker make this boat incredibly fast and maneuverable in the water. It’s designed to push the boundaries with the best kayakers in the sport.$1,199; pyranha.com5. Native Watercraft Ultimate 12 BasicThis boat is built for stability, whether sitting or standing and casting. The open design provides comfort and support from flatwater up to Class II, and what it lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in a low price. It can also be tricked out with virtually any accessory you can think of so no fish can hide.$799, nativewatercraft.com 6. Howler Bros. Loggerhead LongsleeveSave “Sun’s out, guns out” for the frat guys; protection from the elements is the name of the game when spending a day on the water. Stay covered up without overheating in the Loggerhead. Certified SPF 45 and made from quick wicking and drying material, you can spend all day and night in this shirt. But it’s not all fun and games; you also get handy thumb loops at the cuffs and a stash pocket in the back lined with sunglass cleaning microfiber. From summer spring creeks to beach bonfires, this shirt has your back.$65; howlerbros.com  7. TEVA Fuse-ionTEVA tapped into the mind of their paddling athletes for their latest round of water centric shoes, and the Fuse-ion reflects a return to the soul of water sports – mainly a high performance water shoe you can wear to the bar. The Fuse-ion features an upper that sheds water at a molecular level while TEVA claims its Spider Rubber outsole “will stick to a grease-covered aluminum ramp.” Not bad for a sneaker clone with retro styling out of the 50s. Feeling more casual? The heel folds down so you can slip them on and off with ease so you’ll be ready for drinks in no time.$90; teva.com8. Julbo Dolphin SunglassesNo more need for duct tape straps to prevent your shades from ending up at the bottom of the river, lake, or (gulp!) ocean. If you drop these sunglasses in the drink, they’ll stay afloat until you can get your hands back on them. The Dolphins are made from a low-density material that provides buoyancy and is also super lightweight, so you can rock them all day in comfort. They also feature polarized lenses and a snug, wrap-around style so you can stay cool while spotting fish or running rapids.$100; julbousa.comlast_img read more

  • Trauma Tuesday: Just Like Paradise Version

    first_imgWho knew David Lee Roth could rock climb? He probably can’t, but there he is on Yosemite’s Half Dome, swinging like a bird and sending it like a rock star. This video is so 80’s they should send the digital file into space so the whole universe is aware of what went down. Extreme sports were just on the rise, neon was firmly established as the fashion motif of choice for the outdoorsman, rock climbing was sooooo in, as were music videos splicing staged concert footage and the artist doing something completely random, like climbing Half Dome. Also: a triple-necked, heart-shaped guitar? EPIC!Charles Bottomley called “Just Like Paradise,” released in 1988, “a polished ode to decadence, with a chorus you would be unashamed to punch the air to,” which makes sense. Whether you are forever traumatized by the song, the video, or both, only DLR could pull this off and live to sing the tale.last_img read more