Month: December 2020

  • Zero-Subsidy Renewables Promise a Reckoning for Old-Order Utility Industry

    first_imgZero-Subsidy Renewables Promise a Reckoning for Old-Order Utility Industry FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:Renewable energy technologies are upending the century-old, centralized business model that that utilities have used to grow. The cost of electricity from offshore wind farms, once one of the most expensive forms of green energy, is expected to slide by 71 percent over the next two decades, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Solar, once so costly it only made sense in spaceships, now competes with coal and even natural-gas plants on cost.“I do think we’re experiencing the slowest trainwreck in history,” Steven Martin, chief digital officer at General Electric Co.’s energy connections unit, said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference that finishes on Tuesday in London. “We’re going to reach some point where the marginal cost of energy is zero.”Earlier this year, Germany shocked the renewable energy industry by handing out contracts to developers willing to build offshore wind farms without subsidy. Spain has also seen zero subsidy tenders, according to Starace, who said he expects the trend to go global after beginning in Europe.The trend to zero subsidy is clear, and that beefs up competition leading to consolidation in the market, said Leonhard Birnbaum, chief operating officer at the German utility EON SE.“The party is over now, and not everybody can make money,” he said at the summit. “In the future, only the good performers can make money. The rest won’t be able to cover their cost of capital.”More: Utilities Line Up to Profit From ‘Slowest Trainwreck’ in Historylast_img read more

  • On the Blogs: A ‘Rear-Guard’ Action by the White House

    first_imgOn the Blogs: A ‘Rear-Guard’ Action by the White House FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Vox:There are still hundreds of plants in operation in the US, producing roughly a third of US power, but one in four of those plants is slated to retire or shift to natural gas, and another 17 percent beyond that are uneconomic, running only by virtue of being shielded from competition. As Department of Energy data shows, after a brief bump last year, US coal has resumed its inexorable decline.Last week, the Texas utility Luminant (owned by Vistra Energy) announced the retirement of two coal plants — Sandow Power Plant and Big Brown Power Plant — by early 2018. The reasoning was simple, and familiar: They just can’t compete with cheap natural gas and renewables.With that announcement, a milestone was reached: More than half of the total 2010 US coal fleet has retired or set a firm retirement date.The most effective anti-coal campaign has been recharged with significant new fundingThe 2010 fleet is the baseline used by the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign to track its progress in shutting down coal plants (2010 is when the campaign started).One key to its success has been that it not only took Bloomberg’s money but also adopted some of his relentless business discipline. It is working methodically, from a comprehensive spreadsheet of plants, each plant with its own description, its own identified weaknesses, and its own timeline for retirement.Wind energy capacity could surpass coal capacity in Texas as early as next year.This is of special significance because Texas is one of America’s biggest self-contained energy markets and also probably the closest thing the country has to a “free market” in electricity. Power is procured entirely through competitive bidding. Texas doesn’t even have capacity markets, which pay power plants to stay open in case of emergency. If capacity gets tight in Texas, the price of power rises — it’s a pure market signal.So it’s symbolically redolent that, as this excellent piece from a group of UT Austin scholars explains, cheap natural gas and renewables are driving coal steadily out of the “bid stack.”A report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) examined seven aging coal plants in Texas and concluded that “the coal-fired electricity industry in Texas is in decline and unlikely to recover in the face of rising competition from other energy sources.”Texas is not exactly run by tree huggers. Its legislature is packed with climate deniers. It fought against the Clean Power Plan just as fiercely as any conservative state. The steady decline of coal in Texas has nothing to do with emissions or climate change and everything to do with relentless market discipline.Companies, cities, states, and countries around the world are swearing off coalAround the world, coal capacity is being squeezed by two trends: the falling number of new plants being deployed and the accelerating number of retirements. The sagging fortunes of coal have led a growing number of companies and political entities to give up on it entirely.Meanwhile, out of the 1,675 companies that owned or developed coal plants since 2010, more than a quarter (448) have bailed on the coal power business entirely, canceling coal plant proposals and shutting down old plants. According to the report, that represents an exodus of $432 billion in capital and the capacity equivalent of 370 large coal power plants.Coal is increasingly seen for what it is: a dirty necessity in some places, but nothing anyone would choose if they could avoid it. To be free of coal is becoming a mark of modernity.Trump and his administration, in this area as in so many others, are engaged in a rear-guard battle. They are scrambling to keep uncompetitive coal plants open and running, but as we saw with Perry’s bonkers bid to blow up energy markets, there’s just no way to do that without forcefully intervening and subsidizing them (which is not a stable long-term business plan).More: 4 signs that Trump’s furious efforts to save coal are futilelast_img read more

  • Ørsted moves forward with 430MW solar project in Texas

    first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Ørsted SA announced on Wednesday it has taken final investment decision (FID) on a 430-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Texas.The Danish energy major will install the Old 300 Solar Center, as the photovoltaic (PV) park is called, some 40 miles (64.4 km) away from Houston, in the state’s Fort Bend County. It expects to bring the plant online in the second quarter of 2022.A long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) is already in place.Planned to cover an area of 2,800 acres (1,133 ha), the solar farm will be equipped with around one million bifacial modules made by China’s JA Solar Technology Co Ltd and Longi Solar. Inverters will be supplied by SMA America, a unit of German inverters maker SMA Solar Technology AG. During the peak construction period, the project will open up to 400 jobs.“With its location close to Houston, Old 300 will further diversify our onshore footprint into a premium market with strong long-term fundamentals.” said Vishal Kapadia, chief commercial officer, Onshore.At present, Ørsted has 3.4 GW of wind, solar and storage capacity in operation and under construction. Its solar assets under construction totaling 1.1 GW.[Veselina Petrova]More: Ørsted takes FID on 430-MW solar project in Texas Ørsted moves forward with 430MW solar project in Texaslast_img read more

  • Rock and Forest: The Legacy of Chuck Leavell

    first_imgLeavell and Jagger on stage. Photo: Stanislav MilojkovicOver the past four decades, keyboardist Chuck Leavell has remained the constant sideman to rock ‘n’ roll royalty. It started back in 1972, when Leavell joined the Allman Brothers Band. He’s since toured or recorded with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, the Black Crowes, and countless more musical greats. He’s still a touring member of the Stones, when they hit the road, and when Leavell is not lending his talents to other bands, he’s consistently fostering a prolific solo career.Even with a resume that exceeds any musician’s wildest dreams, playing piano is just a part of Leavell’s professional accomplishments. The longtime Georgia resident and ardent conservationist is also a sustainable tree farmer on his 2,000-acre Charlane Plantation near Macon. Leavell also founded the popular online magazine, Mother Nature Network, and has written four books about environmental issues, including Growing a Better America: Smart, Strong, Sustainable, released in February.What’s keeping you busy musically right now? I’m up in New York doing the second round of recording sessions for John Mayer’s new record. He’s a great artist, and the music he’s about to come out with is fantastic.What’s next with your solo work? I’m 80 percent done with my next solo record. It’s a tribute to pioneering blues piano players from the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. I’ll have some nice guest artists on it, including John Mayer, Keith Richards, Col. Bruce Hampton, and the very interesting banjo player Danny Barnes. I’m hoping to have it out in the early part of this month.How do you balance time between music and tree farming? When you have passion for something, you make the time to engage in it. I have a sincere interest in conservation issues. People don’t spend as much time outdoors as they should. If they did, we’d have a much healthier country. I get the same feeling of satisfaction when I’m expressing myself on these issues, as I do from playing music on stage.Tell me about your new book, Growing a Better America. The theme of the book is smart growth. For years, I have been giving talks about what I call the invisible forest health crisis. What I mean by that is the loss of natural land to growth and development. In the Atlanta metro area we lose between 80 and 100 acres a day. From Virginia down to East Texas we lose approximately one million acres a year. I’m not anti-growth, but I think we’re at a critical point where we need to stop and look at how we’re going to continue to grow, as far as energy, transportation, and how we live within our communities. We need to move forward in an intelligent way that focuses on protecting our natural resources. 1 2last_img read more

  • Outfit Your Dog for the Great Outdoors

    first_imgPets make some of the best outdoor adventure partners: they’ll keep you motivated, will get excited about all your ideas, and make great listeners all the while down the trail.But for all the gear that you gather for yourself, it can be hard to prep your pup in the same way for a safe and comfortable trip into the wild. These new products will help you outfit your dog for the great outdoors so that no bark gets left behind.S_MuckCollar_greenStripes_zen (1)Kurgo Muck CollarYour dog may love to get dirty, but Kurgo lessens the impact with a collar that says no to all the byproducts of an adventurous day. The Muck Collar wipes clean of any dirt and moisture that crop up along the trail, and prevents odors and bacteria from sinking into the protective material. Plus, the attached bottle opener can really come in handy when playtime winds down around the fire. www.kurgostore.comTFSH_mount_lab_chest(gp)Tru-Fit Smart Harness With Camera MountCatch all your adventures on film by letting your dog take a turn with the GoPro! This Tru-Fit harness comes with a special mount on the chest or back for outdoor action cameras. Five adjustment points keep dogs snug and comfy on the job. www.kurgostore.comSONY DSCKurgo Zippy BowlAfter an active day following you through the great outdoors, your dog will want to lap up the whole ocean. With the Kurgo Zippy Bowl, you’ll always be prepared for when your four-legged companion needs some liquid fuel. This bowl holds up to 48 oz. of water, and folds up small to fit in any pocket or pack in between uses. Bring the Zippy Bowl along for your next trip, and you’ll never have to worry about a thirsty dog again. www.kurgostore.commtbachelor-padRuffwear Mt. Bachelor PadThere’s nothing like snuggling up on a big comfy bed, even if it is in the back of an SUV, and the Mt. Bachelor Pad from Ruffwear will fit the bill for your dog no matter where you go. This durable travel bed gives dogs a comfortable place to dream of chasing rabbits, even on trips to the slopes or the beach. The bed rolls tight, cleans easily, stands up to wear and tear, and keeps pets warm and comfortable. Sizes M and L available. www.ruffwear.comKibble-KaddieRuffwear Kibble KaddieNo one likes to go hungry on the trail, and your pup is no exception. Ruffwear makes it convenient to keep dogs full and happy with the Kibble Kaddie, an extremely durable portable pet food container. The grease-proof carrier holds up to 42 cups of kibble but also packs down small when empty. Food stays dry with a roll-top closure system and features a magnetic side chute for pouring. www.ruffwear.comKurgo Loft JacketLoft_JacketRain jackets keep us warm and happy when the weather takes a turn for the worse, so chances are that your dog would like one too. The Kurgo Loft Jacket boasts a quilted and reversible shell, made waterproof using nylon Ripstop material. Reflective piping keep pets visible, and zippers make collars and leashes easily accessible. Through wind, rain, and snow, the Loft Jacket will protect your pup! Sizes XS-XL and colors Blue/Orange and Green/Grey available. www.kurgostore.comHamilton Reflective Dog Collar StackHamilton Reflective Collars and LeashesDogs like to roam, and this collection lets your pets make their own way through the dark without fading from sight. Reflective threads weave through the striped patterns to help dogs stay safe after sunset. Grab a Hamilton collar or leash, and you’ll have no problem keeping an eye on your pet no matter where the trail leads. www.petandhorse.comKurgo Skipping Stonesskipping_stonesTake a game of fetch to the next level with Kurgo Skipping Stones, and create some fun for both you and your dog! These floating stones are perfectly shaped with a flat  bottom and slim design to easily skim across the water. Replace your old ball with these Skipping Stones to hone your skills while giving your dog a good run. The stones come in bright colors for visibility in the water, have a natural stone shape for the ideal toss, and are sealed tight to prevent waterlogging. Kurgo Skipping Stones will bring a new touch to any shoreline. www.kurgostore.comgandhi leashD-fa Dogs Gandhi LeashThe Gandhi Leash from D-fa Dogs takes after its namesake and brings peace to your daily walk. Strong webbing paired with a built-in bungee cord give this leash the perfect amount of stretch when needed, and a shortening buckle keeps trouble at bay in busier areas. The Gandhi Leash replaces the traditional collar hook with a swiveling, locking carabiner that allows dogs to move more freely, yet securely. Plus, you’ll never be caught unprepared when your dog takes a bathroom break – this leash comes with an integrated stuff sack for poop bags, or for treats. Trust the Gandhi Leash to make any canine activity more enjoyable. www.d-fa.comlast_img read more

  • Fridays on the Fly: What To Ask When Shopping For Trophy Trout

    first_imgFor fly fishers this side of Alaska, the most likely place to do battle with trout approaching 30 inches is on private trophy water. But depending on the experience you’re looking for, not all trophy waters are created equal. There are questions to ask before dropping a few hundred bucks on a trophy trip.Is the stream fishable year-round?This is a loaded question. Rather than asking about seasonal availability, you’re probing to determine health of the fishery.Many streams in our region have water conditions unsuitable for trout, especially during the heat of summer. This is exacerbated when a stream is stocked with trout in numbers and sizes that far exceed its carrying capacity.If all you want is to catch big fish, this shouldn’t matter. If you’re looking for an experience that’s a little more true to life, find a fishery where trout would thrive without help from humans.What’s your stocking program?There aren’t many trophy waters without a stocking program. Whether it’s to supplement populations of wild trout or to create a whole new fishery, managers typically add trout to keep customers happy.Some operations stock heavily with fish grown to trophy size at a hatchery. Many times, these are sterile triploid trout. Triploids grow quickly and fight hard. They do not, however, have the sleek and colorful appearance of wild trout.Other trophy streams take advantage of existing populations of stream-born trout by feeding and growing them. Such management might also include limited stockings. These fisheries don’t typically grow as many huge trout, but some anglers like the idea—and the looks—of big fish that were raised in the stream.What about feeding?“Supplemental feeding” is a subjective concept. Some managers distribute as much trout chow as their fish will eat in order to grow them as large and as quickly as possible. Others use feedings sparingly to supplement a natural diet.One way or the other, trout in this part of the world don’t consistently grow huge without nutritional help. The trade-off for a stream with scads of enormous trout is the tendency for those trout to disregard natural feeding behaviors. On the other hand, trout keyed on tiny midge larvae are more challenging than those looking for brown pellets.How is the fishing regulated?With private water, it’s possible to limit fishing pressure and enforce catch-and-release regulations. Fish stay in the water and grow large. They can also grow wise.The better trophy streams devise systems to limit pressure, which means the fish will be healthier and a little less wary.Those are some questions to ask when shopping for a trip on private trophy waters. If you’re wondering who to ask, drop by your local fly shop. Even if they don’t run trophy trips, they’ll know about trophy operations in the area.Nick Carter is the author of “Flyfisher’s Guide to North Carolina & Georgia.” It is available on, and autographed copies are available by emailing the author at [email protected]last_img read more

  • Radioactive Materials in Grand Canyon National Park

    first_imgGrand Canyon National Park stored radioactive materials in museum building for 18 years In an interview with The Verge, Kathryn Higley, head of the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering at Oregon State University said that the radioactivity five feet away from the bucket would have been “zero.” Though park staff removed the radioactive material from the site in June, the incident didn’t become public until this month when the park’s safety manager sent an email to park employees alleging management cover-ups. This week a whistleblowing National Parks Service employee alleged that Grand Canyon National Park discovered three five-gallon buckets of radioactive uranium ore near a taxidermy display in the park’s Museum Collection building in March 2018 but failed to disclose their existence. center_img The safety manager claims the uranium ore had been in the building for 18 years. In a statement to NPR, a public affairs specialist for the park said that a recent survey of the building found radiation at standard levels but that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration would investigate. Among other things, the Grand Canyon Museum Collection hosts children’s tours that stop at the taxidermy exhibit for up to 30 minutes. The effect of the radiation on visitors is unclear. last_img read more

  • Chilean Naval Reserve to Include Women Starting in October

    first_img Hello, I want to know how my niece can take the course of aspirant to naval reserve officer? She wants to do it but she doesn’t know how. She is about to finish her college career. Sincerely, Erik Morales. The Officer Candidates’ Course of the Women’s Naval Reserve made its first official visit to a ship of the fleet, with the objective of gaining an inside understanding of the operational aspects of the Chilean Navy. During the course of the day, the 14 female Reserve candidates also visited Prat’s Crypt and the Naval Museum. The objective of the women’s course, the first in the history of the Naval Reserve, is to generate a commitment to service that will directly benefit our most vulnerable compatriots, in addition to contributing to promoting the values of the institution and serving as a bridge between the civilian world and the Chilean Navy. On board the frigate Prat, the candidates were welcomed by its commander, Cmdr. Leonardo Quijarro Santibañez, who together with his officers gave a forceful explanation of the ship’s capabilities and functioning. In this way, the candidates learned a little about the seamen’s way of life. The training activities planned for this course consist of mastering the peculiarities of naval life, learning sailor’s jargon and the Navy’s particular traditions. In addition, a series of institutional visits are planned in order to gain an understanding of the Navy’s purpose and work. Among these, a highlight will be a visit to the ASMAR Talcahuano Shipyard in September. The course had its first official session at the Naval Reserve Officers’ Company (CORNAV), at the Metropolitan Naval Station, presided over by the general coordinator of the General Secretariat of the Navy, Capt. Bernard Johnson, and the head of the Coordination and Institutional Interests Department of the Navy General Staff, Capt. Kurt Hartung, the latter of whom gave a lecture on the organization and work of the institution. In October, the 14 female candidates will take the military oath and graduate as junior ensigns, in the first graduation of the Mixed Class of Naval Reserve Officers. By Dialogo July 28, 2011last_img read more

  • Colombia Arrests Leaders of Submarine Cocaine Ring

    first_img “As a result of an investigation of more than six years, the national police captured two of those responsible for sending cocaine to North America using self-propelled, semi-submersible vessels, with (shipments) averaging 20 tons of drugs annually,” the police said in a statement. Colombian authorities have captured two leaders of a 20-ton-per-year cocaine operation that sent drug-laden submarines to the United States, local police said on 3 August. By Dialogo August 04, 2011 Colombia, where drug traffickers take advantage of dense jungles and forests and a weak state presence in some areas, has received millions of dollars in aid from Washington to fight cocaine output, leftist rebels and cartels. Colombia’s new criminal gangs – made up of a kaleidoscope of former paramilitary commanders, ex-cartel members and others – ship tons of cocaine monthly through Central America and Mexico to the United States and to a lesser extent to Europe.last_img read more

  • Jamaica’s Security Minister Promises Small Arms Policy

    first_img Jamaica’s National Security Minister, Senator Dwight Nelson, announced the development of a national small arms policy, as part of efforts to stem the flow of illegal firearms into Jamaica. Speaking at a media briefing at the Ministry, New Kingston, 9 August, Senator Nelson said that the service of an international consultant with “wide and vast” experience in small arms policy has been engaged. He said that the development of new approaches for the control of small arms, both legal and illegal, as well amendments to the relevant laws and other issues related to arms and explosives would be addressed by the policy. The briefing was held jointly with head of the United States Southern Military Command (SOUTHCOM), General Douglas Fraser, to re-affirm collaboration between the U.S. and Jamaica in the fight against crime and violence in the Caribbean and Latin America, involving SOUTHCOM and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). The briefing formed part of the itinerary for the two-day visit by General Fraser, who arrived in Jamaica on 9 August. Highlighting the significance of the bilateral cooperation between both countries in maintaining law and order, Senator Nelson lamented that crime and violence were “very destructive to our democracy”. He contended that the cooperation created a safer and a more enabling environment and protects and preserves democracy. The Minister said significant areas of the cooperation included support for Jamaica’s law enforcement agencies to disrupt criminal activity, bi-lateral training of law enforcement agents and multinational capacity building. He noted that these areas of cooperation, particularly through the US Southern Command, enhance Jamaica’s capabilities and preserve its democracy. “We look forward to continuing the cooperation between the United States and Jamaica,” Senator Nelson said. JDF Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Antony Anderson, said General Fraser’s visit will give him a different perspective on the country’s security challenges. He said it will also enable him to have greater appreciation of the JDF’s role and connectivity with other local law enforcement agencies, as well as the extent of support it provides within the region. “No matter how much you are briefed about what is happening in a country, and about the circumstances in a country, you will never be able to quite appreciate those circumstances, until you have been there,” he contended. Noting that SOUTHCOM and the JDF have collaborated in many areas, Major General Anderson said the cooperation has been mutually beneficial. General Fraser contended that there was nothing better than being able to talk, “face to face”, and to understand the situation that Major General Anderson has to deal with daily. “We look forward to continuing that partnership for many, many years, into the future,” he assured. By Dialogo August 12, 2011last_img read more