Report finds 211GW of U.S. coal generation under serious economic threat

first_imgReport finds 211GW of U.S. coal generation under serious economic threat FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNN Business:The simple laws of economics threaten to doom America’s remaining coal power plants.Wind and solar costs have plunged so rapidly that 74% of the U.S. coal fleet could be phased out for renewable energy — and still save customers money, according to a report released on Monday by Energy Innovation, a nonpartisan think tank. That figure of at-risk coal plants in the United States rises to 86% by 2025 as solar and wind costs continue to plunge.The research demonstrates how it’s increasingly more expensive to operate existing coal plants than build clean energy alternatives.“U.S. coal plants are in more danger than ever before,” Mike O’Boyle, director of electricity policy at Energy Innovation, told CNN Business. “Nearly three-quarters of U.S. coal plants are already ‘zombie coal,’ or the walking dead.”The Energy Innovation report found that in 2018, 211 gigawatts of existing U.S. coal capacity — or 74% of America’s fleet — was at risk from local wind or solar that could more cheaply churn out just as much electricity.North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Texas are the U.S. states that have the greatest amount of coal plants at risk from local solar and wind, the analysis found. Energy Innovation defined local as within 35 miles. By 2025, Midwestern states including Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin are expected to have high amounts of coal capacity under pressure from renewable energy.More: Most of America’s coal plants are more expensive than wind and solarlast_img read more

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Slow demand growth prompts Egypt to delay construction of new coal plant

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Daily News Egypt:The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) decided to postpone the signing of contracts with AlNowais Investment Company for the construction of a coal-fired power station in the Oyoun Mousa area.Sources from the ministry of electricity and renewable energy told Daily News Egypt that the surplus electricity production is the main reason for postponing the signing of the contracts. This is especially since reserves have reached 20,000MW per day and will rise to 22,000MW after the addition of energy from the Gulf of Suez wind farm and solar energy projects in Benban.In addition, the sources said it is difficult to build a private coal port for the project at Oyoun Mousa because the water there is very shallow, necessitating the construction of the port at a greater depth within the water. Inevitably, this raises the total cost of the station.Talks with the UAE company, AlNowais, began three years ago. The company officials held more than 50 meetings with officials of the EEHC for electricity to implement a coal-fired power plant at Oyoun Mousa. The sources pointed out that the studies and paperwork of the project were transferred to EEHC for revision and no new decision was taken since then, noting that the project will not be signed off this year.“The agreement on the purchase of energy produced from the project was finalized at 4.01 cents per kW/h leaving only the legal aspects of the contract that will be reviewed, but it may take longer,” the source said.The sources said that the lack of increased demand for energy will push the EEHC to postpone a number of projects that seek implementation in order to avoid the aggravation of financial burdens.More: EEHC delays coal-fired plant due to production surplus Slow demand growth prompts Egypt to delay construction of new coal plantlast_img read more

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Spain’s Endesa looking to speed up renewable energy investments in pandemic recovery efforts

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Utility Endesa SA said it could speed up investments in wind and solar power as the Spanish government emphasizes green spending to boost its economy, while the coronavirus is leading to only minor delays in its construction program.“The company has already resumed construction on all its renewable farm projects and remains fully committed to the investments envisaged in [its] strategic plan,” CEO José Bogas said May 4 in a statement on Endesa’s first quarter, which saw profits excluding extraordinary effects rise 59%.In February, the company announced it had more than 5 GW in new installations ready to be built, mostly over the next three years. Enel Green Power, the renewables arm of Italy’s Enel SpA, which also owns Endesa, announced April 27 that it had started building a 50-MW solar power plant in Spain’s Seville province.“We are even considering speeding up the planned investments, especially in wind and solar plants, to help jump-start the economy by creating jobs and generating wealth,” Bogas said.Spain has been among the hardest-hit countries in Europe by the coronavirus, but Bogas said on an earnings call that Endesa is expecting only minor delays with some renewables parts sourced from a Chinese equipment provider. This will delay capital expenditure in some smaller projects but not affect 2020 earnings, Bogas said.While renewables production rose considerably during the first quarter, thanks in part to a recovery in hydropower production, output from Endesa’s four remaining coal plants in Spain, with a combined capacity of nearly 4,600 MW, was about 90% lower than in the same period in 2019, Bogas said, dragging down total mainland production by 13%. The CEO reiterated that the market conditions for coal in Spain are “completely uneconomical” and “remain unfixable” due to structurally low gas and rising carbon prices, meaning Endesa would not reverse its decision to close the plants by the end of 2021.[Yannic Rack]More ($): Endesa’s renewables plans could accelerate, despite minor delays due to COVID-19 Spain’s Endesa looking to speed up renewable energy investments in pandemic recovery effortslast_img read more

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U.S. Federal Reserve joins network of central banks focused on financial risks of climate change

first_imgU.S. Federal Reserve joins network of central banks focused on financial risks of climate change FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The U.S. Federal Reserve said on Tuesday it has joined an international group of central banks focused on climate change risk, a signal that the Fed could move to incorporate the impacts of global warming into its regulatory writ.The Fed’s membership in the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) comes after a yearlong collaboration, the Fed said. It had been the only major global central bank besides the Reserve Bank of India that was not a member of the NGFS.“As we develop our understanding of how best to assess the impact of climate change on the financial system, we look forward to continuing and deepening our discussions with our NGFS colleagues from around the world,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a statement announcing the move.For years, the Fed has stayed on the sidelines as other central banks pushed to use their regulatory and research clout to mitigate the effects of global warming, including potentially abrupt price changes from climate-related disasters that could reverberate through financial markets.But that has been changing recently. Last month, the Fed included climate change for the first time in its regular assessment of financial stability vulnerabilities. Powell has said that making sure the financial system is “resilient” against climate change fits with the Fed’s congressionally assigned mandates.[Katanga Johnson and Ann Saphir]More: Fed joins global club of peers in climate change fightlast_img read more

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White Water

first_imgWhen I was a kid we spent a week every summer near Ocean City Maryland. Many summers, our maternal grandfather would be part of our vacation. I remember holding his hand at the edge of the ocean—giggling and screaming as the salty waves crashed at our feet.Topsail Beach, NC“White Water,” we would yell in unison trying to hop over each crashing wave. “White Water!” If we missed the white foam, we felt victorious until the next wave rolled in.A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go rafting on the New River near Fayetteville, West Virginia. My husband’s friend is an experienced paddler and had invited us to join him on the water for a day of fun.As we drove west we watched a strong summer storm engulf the mountains and valleys in grey, yellow streaks of color and fast moving clouds.http://rivermen.com/site/gauley-river-rafting-wv/By the time we got to the river’s edge, the clouds had cleared leaving clean blue sky, rocks, and water. The first set of rapids is called Pinball falls. As the water and our boat approached larger rocks, and our rubber raft began to twist and pull under our legs, I realized the White Water in the New River  is very different from that in the Atlantic. This White Water had power the small waves of the Atlantic did not.“White Water,” I thought to myself, helmet on, paddle in hand, trying to stay in our boat as water flew across my body.My parents live on the Gulf of Mexico. Their homes are surrounded by  light blue water and white beaches. When I visit, I am reminded how calming the gentle roll of the Gulf is – most often, no White Water, just white sand.BP announced this week that 75% of the oil had been collected and removed from the Gulf. Today, we were told by the FDA it is safe to eat Gulf seafood.White Water has new meaning, once again.I am at my desk today—no water in sight. But I can think of past trips to the ocean, swims in the bay, and days on the river . I am grateful for the many opportunities to giggle and screech and leap with delight, in White Water.What does white water mean to you?  last_img read more

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Morgantown, W.Va.

first_imgPopulation: 29,956Public lands: Coopers Rock State Forest, Monongahela River, Cheat LakeOutdoor Highlights: Deckers Rail Trail, Coopers Rock, Cheat River Canyon, Lower Little Sandylast_img

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Ohiopyle, Pa.

first_imgPopulation: 77Public lands: Ohiopyle State Park, Ferncliff Natural Area, Bear Run Nature PreserveOutdoor Highlights: Youghiogheny River, Great Allegheny Passage Trail, McCune Traillast_img

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Fracking in North Carolina: There is No Planet B

first_imgWhat does a tomato grown in Little Sandy Mush, the Nantahala River and an Asheville brewer have in common? To thrive, each depends on the health of WNC waterways and aquifers. The food that grows in our rich soil, the icy rivers and unique commerce that draw so many tourists to this playground we call home, and future generations must motivate us as we take a close look at fracking — and what it means for Western North Carolina and the state as a whole.If you’re new to the conversation, you might be feeling confused in the middle of what seems like a sudden uproar around fracking.It’s a complicated process but at a basic level hydraulic fracturing, or, “fracking,” involves pumping water and sand along with a mixture of chemicals down a drill hole to extract natural gas or oil. Extremely high pressure from the pumping accelerates until the underground rock, already vulnerable from the initial drilling, fractures into many smaller fragments (like a bone shattering from impact). The cracks are propped open by the sand and sediment so that as extraction continues, more natural gas can be drawn from the site.Rather than arguing for or against the industry, I aim to capture the heart-felt testimonies of those who stood up at the final public commentary period on September 12 to critique the proposed rules in draft 15A NCAC OFH regarding fracking in NC. These brave citizens faced three representatives from the Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) in the large purple and gold Ramsey Center of Western Carolina University. From politicians to professors, directors of non-profits to an advisor for American troops, speakers questioned why the people lacked a vote on an issue that in the words of WNC Alliance co-director Julie Mayfield would be a, “single use lock-up of shared land.”Others questioned how a few commentary periods could be seen as sufficient after the motion to allow fracking was, “Ramroded through congress,” in the words of one. Another man asked, “Why is North Carolina rushing?” He cited the MEC’s claims that they had done exhaustive research, extensive review, and careful planning, yet it was only a few years ago in a 2010 study that fracking in NC was first brought to the table and a 2012 motion that legalized it, with many rules not available to the public until 2014.Still, a belief in democracy is what empowered another speaker to call on her, “inalienable right” to speak up and her, “inalienable responsibility” to protect the land she and her family call home. Of the nearly 90 people who took the podium before the four hours ran out, 100 percent opposed fracking in North Carolina and called for much tighter regulations if it must happen at all. Many said that there is no safe way to frack and that the rules as currently written actually incentivize violations since proposed penalties are far less than the profits companies stand to gain by cutting corners. Cited in the criticisms were an increased risk of earthquakes (documented in some areas near fracking sites which previously had no reported seismic activity) and damaging the tourism industry.Western North Carolina is in danger particularly, Elaine and Tom Robbins said, because of its unique topography and culture. The activist tag-team used their talking time to highlight the risks of fracking in a region prone to erosion. Elaine Robbins cited 11 major landslides that have shut down 1-40 since 1972 and hundreds of others that threaten farms, homes, and ecosystems each year. Because of flooding, she said, her land was running with over-flow from creeks, rivers, and streams for nearly three months last year. She and other speakers asked that all toxic fracking wastewater be contained and not injected back into underground wells. Disposal or storage in open-pits (which is currently allowed in draft rules) they said, should be banned completely.One commentator pointed out that while states in some parts of the nation are experiencing droughts so severe that they are considering desalinization of ocean water, it is morally wrong to even think about pumping (on average) 3 million gallons of water into a well site that will be not only wasted, but will be rendered toxic by the process.Perhaps the most shocking stipulation of the draft rules is that it is illegal for anyone to reveal the chemicals that are used in the fracking injection fluids. This means, as one speaker pointed out, that, “A fire chief could face up to four months in prison if he told his crew the chemicals they were dealing with in the event of an accident.” In response to fears about the volatile components, James Womack of the MEC was quoted at another hearing saying, “Most of the chemicals are things you could find under your kitchen sink.” Thankfully, Donna Dupree of Jackson County who has a background in biochemistry from Baylor College of Medicine and worked as an EMT, pointed out to Womack, “We don’t drink or deliberately inhale the chemical under our sinks.”One of the most moving testimonies came from a long time resident of Murphy, NC, who said he’d been, “reared in Cherokee County public schools.” He reported that after, “heeding the call of duty,” as a young man, he found himself at Camp Lejeune as a U.S. Marine. “Forty-one years later,” he said, “It caught up with me as a diagnosis of leukemia.” For decades soldiers were exposed to water at the camp poisoned by chemical solvents, but it took years to find the contamination and establish a link between it and the health effects many veterans and their families experienced. Speaking to the unknown effects of chemicals in the drinking water, “How many years,” he asked gravely, “before it shows up in you?”If you’re wondering how anyone could think it’s a good idea to shatter the foundation that our homes and infrastructure rely on for thousands of miles from a drill site, the answer from proponents is “job creation,” and “homeland security.” These tag lines may hit us where we are vulnerable, but as Louise Heath of the Cherokee Nation pointed out, “There are no jobs on a dead planet.” As to homeland security, speakers cited policy makers who were favoring “short-term gains,” over permanent degradation of our water supply, tourism industry, and ecosystems. “Western Carolina,” said one speaker, “Is the most biodiverse region of the US and draws tourists to the natural beauty of places like Joyce Kilmer National Forest in Swain County.” She elaborated on how fracking would threaten the viability of the tourism industry and the survival of many species due to noise pollution, constant road-traffic and air and water contamination.A speaker who grew up in Eastern Kentucky where fracking has been going on for years pointed out that, “If what they are promising were true, Eastern Kentucky should be wealthy and full of jobs.”Investment in the cleanest forms of energy available is the only way to get at the heart of the issue and truly make the East Coast energy independent, speakers said. Renewable energy, specifically solar, would create jobs and economic gains that would not be lost when companies exhausted resources and left town.Students in their first semester at WCU to elders born in these hills spoke from their souls, drawing from solid evidence and research, deeply held faith and pride in our democratic system. “We love this place so much,” confessed Krista Slavik, leaning over the podium towards representatives from the MEC. Slavik who came in a 15 passenger van with other activists from Asheville was one of the last to speak.The many political candidates and incumbents who spoke said that the only way to protect ourselves from misrepresentation of the kind that allowed fracking exploration to be funded by tax-payer dollars is by speaking with our votes. From Mayor Nick Breedlove of Sylva, to Tom Hill, a retired aerospace physicist running for the House of Representatives, and others like Jane Hipps, candidate for State Senate, all urged citizens to research the stance of political candidates in their districts and own the power of their vote.Take ActionYou can read the the proposed rules regarding fracking on lands in NC that could include Pisgah and Nantahala National Forest here.The MEC is accepting comments on these draft rules until September 30th, so if you’ve used water today, if you love our precious mountain lands, please submit a comment and encourage others to do so. As one speaker reminded us, “This is it, there is no Planet B.”Directions on how to submit electronic and written comments can be found at the bottom of the web page here.Check out www.frackfreenc.org to learn more about the work of grassroots organizations who are mobilizing activists around the state.last_img read more

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Just One More Time

first_img“Just one more time.”You know those words likely in the same capacity as I do, that infamous phrase you or one of your friends has said right before doing something borderline stupid which, more often than not, ends in either total embarrassment, injury, or both.“Just one more time” is right up there with “Hey, watch this.”It never ends well.Let me tell you about the last time I said “Just one more time” to myself.It was the day after Ocoee Fest outside of Chattanooga, Tenn. I didn’t know anyone to paddle with, but I refused to leave without hopping in my boat and at least getting on the water for a little bit. My solution? Hell Hole.I’m by no means a playboater. I have a playboat, yes (a pretty yellow Dagger Jitsu that reminds me of a fat banana). I can sometimes, very occasionally, catch a wave and surf it for a second, but I’m no playboater.There’s a reason Hell Hole has its name. Steep, turbulent, and kinda wild, if you’re not getting worked by the hole itself, you’re likely getting trampled by the herd of commercial rafts charging downriver. Doesn’t sound very appealing to an amateur playboater, right? But with roadside access, good eddies, a (relatively) clean washout, and early Sunday hours on my side, I thought to myself, “What do I have to lose?”Surprisingly, or maybe not (as it was the Sunday after the festival), there were no kayakers parked at Hell Hole when I pulled in with the Jeep and Go. I thought I’d misunderstood the directions a boater had given me that morning, so I walked down to the river to check it out. Normally, Hell Hole is packed with kayakers sitting in both eddies, waiting their turn to surf. But today, with the exception of a few tourists and commercial photographers, the place was empty.I looked down at my watch. It was almost 11a.m.I told myself I’d surf until noon which would give me plenty of time to pack up and hit the road and (shockingly) be on time to meet my friends in Knoxville. I wasn’t feeling particularly excited to just park and play, but I wasn’t dreading it either. I know how my surf attempts usually go. I paddle into the feature, don’t make it the first few times, get really frustrated, charge hard, make it, surf for about a millisecond, get power-window-shaded, roll up with my helmet half off my face, and then sit in the eddy trying to re-orient myself.In all, I normally have a good time, even if I repeat that process for an hour.Which, is exactly what I did.I tried to plug my bow down a few times and throw a loop. That, of course, only increased my violent window shades. After the first few runs, water was pouring out of my nostrils like a broken faucet, but I was actually having fun getting worked. Finally, after nearly a half hour of being the sole source of entertainment for the crowds standing on the bank, a few paddlers floated downstream and stopped to play at the feature. Their surfs were a little longer than mine, but not much better, so I relaxed a little more, finding hilarity in our useless attempts to throw ends down in the churning hole.I pulled off to the side and got out onto the bank, emptying the water that had accumulated in my boat. I sat there for a minute on the rocks, watching the rafts come crashing through and cheering on the kayakers that stopped to surf. I looked down at my watch – it was already 11:45am.Just one more time, I told myself as I cranked on the back brace. After all, I was on the river left side of the river and my Jeep was parked on river right. The only logical way to get to my car would be to surf over there.Which I did.And then I swam.I don’t really remember how it happened. I do remember having a pretty decent surf, flipping, carping my roll once, twice, three times, then sliding upside down over the first ledge of the rapid behind Hell Hole. At that point, I’d run out of breath, lost my grip on my paddle, and was just done.I pulled my skirt and gargled for air as I surfaced, sandwiched in between my boat and paddle. I watched my Freewaters float downstream away from me, but I couldn’t have cared less. A kind boater in a red Jefe helped nudge my floating shit show into the eddy at the bottom, told me he’d set my flip flops on the side of the road if he saw them, then peeled back out to join his crew.I began my walk of shame up the bank, struggling to avoid the broken shards of beer bottles that littered the leaf-strewn ground. When I finally wiggled my way to the top, I hoisted my boat on my shoulder, took a deep breath in, and tried to shake it off.Everybody swims, I told myself.At least, that’s what everybody says every time I swim.I sucked in my pride and began walking back to the car, delicately placing each bare foot on the smoothest patch of gravel. I had floated quite a ways downstream, and as the sound of rushing whitewater and voices cheering returned, I increasingly became more self-conscious.DCIM101GOPROEspecially when I realized that I was on the wrong side of the river.A bridge crosses the river, right over Hell Hole and into Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) property. Once you cross that bridge, the entire left side of the river is bordered with a seven-foot barrier of chain link fencing. Of course, I walked up that side of the bank and found myself trapped inside the chain link fencing. No one was around to unlock the gate for me.I sighed. Could this get any more embarrassing?I launched my boat and paddle over the gate, too annoyed to care how much plastic the chain link fence scraped from the bottom. I climbed up and followed my gear, disregarding the incredulous stares I got from the tourists that lined the bank. My skirt snagged on the gate as I jumped down, sending me flying back into the chain link fence instead of landing gracefully on my feet like a cat.As if that wasn’t humiliating enough, a guy with a professional-grade camera and a beefy tripod came walking up the trail behind me.“Man, I caught every bit of that action! Front and center!”I don’t think I even humored him with a reply. I threw my boat on the Go, took off my skirt and PFD, and drove to Knoxville in sopping wet clothes and a soggy attitude to match.###Please, help me feel better about myself and share your “Just one more time” stories. I know you’ve been there, don’t be shy. We can revel in our embarrassment together. But maybe, per this awesome blog post I recently read on 7 Strange Questions That Will Help You Find Your Life Purpose, embarrassing yourself isn’t so bad after all.last_img read more

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