first_imgEditorial: Pennsylvania Should Stay the Clean-Energy Course FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the (Scranton) Times-Tribune:Some state legislators can’t or won’t come to grips with the reality that coal is not the fuel of the 21st century.Like all states, Pennsylvania is required to devise a Clean Power Plan in accordance with new federal regulations. The Wolf administration is doing so as federal appeals courts deal with challenges to the regulations.The federal standard calls for Pennsylvania to reduce carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 32 percent by 2030, with measurable progress by 2022. How to achieve that goal is up to the state.That inevitably means reduced use of coal to produce electricity — a movement that already is well underway and will continue because of market forces rather than regulations. Pennsylvania utilities already have shuttered a half dozen coal-burning plants while converting others to natural gas, which produces less than half as much carbon pollution as coal for comparable amounts of energy. Other coal plants are being converted to gas, and renewable fuels also are on the rise.But some legislators want to defy market forces and delay implementation of the Clean Power Plan and improved drilling regulations making gas production as environmentally sound as possible.One bill would delay the Clean Power Plan by at least a year. Another would, in effect, restart a regulatory process regarding new gas-drilling regulations that has been underway for years. A third bill would create a self-perpetuating loop under which legislators could block any regulation that they don’t like. Another bill would allow certain industrial entities to opt out of state-mandated energy-efficiency programs.Mr. Wolf should veto any legislation that slows the state’s progress toward a cleaner energy and sounder environmental future.Stop fighting clean energylast_img read more


first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wisconsin State Journal:One of Wisconsin’s largest utilities has set a date for giving up coal.Congratulations to Alliant Energy for helping to lead our state and nation into a clean-energy future, despite a president who would rather ignore science and steer America’s power supply backward.Alliant, a Madison utility company serving customers in parts of Wisconsin and Iowa, announced plans this month to stop burning coal for electricity generation by 2050. That’s more than three decades from now, and some environmentalists complain the timeline isn’t fast enough. But setting a date for giving up this dirty fuel that is filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gasses and warming the planet definitely represents progress.Alliant also has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, and to double its use of renewable energy sources by 2030. Alliant now fuels 33 percent of its power supply with coal. That will fall to 23 percent by 2024, and disappear by 2050, according to the utility. Alliant plans to supplant coal mostly with solar power — the cost of which has fallen by 70 percent in recent years. By 2030, Alliant plans to increase its use of renewable energy sources from 16 percent to 33 percent.Like Trump, Gov. Scott Walker has done little to position Wisconsin for a clean-energy future. Instead, these Republican leaders have ceded leadership — along with the economic benefits that come from innovation — to other states and countries, including China.The good news is that the private sector and the public is ahead of the politicians on this issue. And increasingly, those leaders who resist a smarter and more efficient power system will pay a price at the polls, especially with younger voters.More: No-coal goal is impressive, imperative Editorial: Alliant’s forward-looking coal phase-out plan is commendablelast_img read more


first_imgSlumping prices mean trouble for U.S. thermal coal exporters FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Wall Street Journal ($):Thermal-coal prices have tumbled to multiyear lows amid slumping global demand for the commodity, the world’s top source of electricity. Miners exporting from the U.S., which have benefited from growing foreign orders in recent years, are among the hardest hit.As the market softens, they are struggling to compete with mining giants from places such as Australia, because it is more time-consuming and costly for U.S. miners to ship their coal to key markets. The selloff is hurting an industry President Trump promised to revive as a centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign.Exports from the East Coast sold for $46.12 a metric ton on Tuesday, down 26% in a month, according to S&P Global Platts. That is roughly half where the commodity traded in mid-2018, although it is up from a trough of $42 a ton last week.There are several reasons for the rout, not least a seasonal lull as the Northern Hemisphere warms up after the winter. Prices for liquefied natural gas, a cleaner energy source, have slumped to roughly three-year lows, according to S&P Global Platts. That has enabled power producers that use both fuels to prioritize gas.Meanwhile, demand has waned in key markets. In Asia, Japanese buyers have locked in supplies with long-term contracts, Chinese utilities are buying more local coal and generating more power from gas and water, and South Korea has raised taxes on coal imports. In Europe, too, weak industrial output means less power consumption, while LNG output has jumped. BMO Capital Markets analyst Colin Hamilton said soft demand in Europe was the main weak point for the market globally.Should coal prices stay low, U.S. exports would probably shrink quickly, analysts say.More ($): A chill descends on the coal marketlast_img read more


first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:India’s annual electricity generation from coal-fired utilities fell in 2019 for the first time in a decade, government data showed, amid a broader economic slowdown and increased use of renewable energy.India is the second largest consumer, importer and producer of coal behind China. The world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter consumed nearly 1 billion tonnes of the fuel in 2018/19, with utilities accounting for over three-quarters of the total demand.While greater adoption of renewable energy contributed to lower output from coal-fired utilities, weak economic growth added to a slowdown in overall demand for electricity, economists say.Analysts and power sector executives say the fall in annual coal-fired generation was a blip and largely due to a broader economic slowdown.“It is very much an aberration now, but it’s a portent to what is inevitably going to happen in 5-10 years,” Tim Buckley, director of Energy Finance Studies, at the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, in Australia, told Reuters on the sidelines of Coaltrans India conference.Electricity generation from coal-fired utilities fell about 2.5% to 965.53 billion units in 2019, an analysis of fuel-wise electricity generation data by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) showed. Solar energy output rose by over a quarter while wind energy generation rose 5%, the data showed. The contribution of solar and wind energy to India’s overall energy generation rose to 8.8%, more than double their share of 3.6% in 2015.[Sudarshan Varadhan]More: India’s annual coal power output falls for first time in a decade Coal-fired electricity generation in India fell in 2019 for the first time in 10 yearslast_img read more


first_imgLargest onshore wind farm in Japan begins commercial operation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:Japan’s largest onshore wind farm has started commercial operation, following a two and a half year construction phase. The 122MW Tsugaru wind farm is located in the Aomori Prefecture, on agricultural land near the coast.US renewables company Pattern Energy developed Tsugaru through its Green Power Investment subsidiary. Mott MacDonald was the lender’s technical advisor on the project, on behalf of Green Power Investment.The wind farm extends over 12km and features 38 GE 3.2MW wind turbines.Mott MacDonald project director Matthias Vinard said: “We’re delighted to have been part of this project that has great social outcomes – around 90,000 households will be powered by renewable energy from the wind farm. The project will also diversify the economy of the local area through employment opportunities.”Mott MacDonald previously worked as lender’s technical advisor for Green Power Investment on the 33MW Ohorayama wind farm in Kochi Prefecture, Japan.More: Japan wind giant starts spinninglast_img read more


first_imgLet’s face it; you probably have not had as many turns as you wanted this year. Maybe more than last year, but not enough in general, and now a standard January warm up has left you feeling like spring is on the horizon. Well, it’s not so avoid breaking out the Hawaiian shirts or zipping off the bottom of your convertible hiking pants. A positive attitude goes a long way for morale, and even has the possibility of changing the outcome on global level. That may be a stretch, but winter will be making a brief comeback this weekend with the temperature dropping dramatically and the possibility of snow in the forecast for Thursday (today?) and Friday (tomorrow?). At the very least, ski resorts will have the snow guns blaring through the night, and the white ribbons will be in full effect. As we move into the first weekend of February, now is the time to recommit to the ski season – if you have not already been shredding in the rain, ice, sleet, or in a tee shirt. Ironically, Saturday is also Groundhog Day, which means if Punxsutawney Phil pokes his head out to warm sunshine, we’ll be looking at six more weeks of winter. So pray for…not snow?Regardless, hit up Appalachian Ski Mountain this weekend for some fun on the slopes. The mountain is fully open – including their three black diamonds and three terrain parks – and is primed for some casual shredding. If it ends up being 50 degrees, so be it. Appalachian Mountain is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and stays true to its “local ski hill” roots, so pay them back by cruising through. Also, stick around on Saturday night for the Red Bull ThingamaJIB rail jam under the lights at 6pm. Entry is free, but the prize money is real, so expect to see the full spectrum of riders testing the waters. That means an equal number of stomps to slams, the perfect ratio. Plus, it’s a Red Bull event, so you know it will be electric.View Larger Maplast_img read more


first_imgRoad biking terrifies me and not for the reasons that it should. I know I should be worried about traffic and careless drivers, but it’s those long downhills that keep me on the edge of my saddle. They scare me to death. The speeds are so high, and road bike tires are so skinny…I can’t help but imagine the worst case scenario every time I’m in the midst of a long, fluid descent. Did I clamp my axle down when I changed my tire? What if I hit a patch of gravel or sand at this speed? What if a squirrel darts in front of my wheel? What if I come around a blind corner and hit a bear? What if the yellow paint in the center of the road is wet? What if it starts raining? I’m scared of a lot of things, ranging from the mundane (planes) to the ridiculous (planes falling from the sky and landing on me while I’m walking my dog), but eating shit on a road bike descent is at the top of my nightmare list. I’m perfectly willing to charge full speed down singletrack on a mountain bike, but put me on pavement with skinny road tires and V-brakes and I practically crawl down the mountain. My worst fears came to fruition on a ride this week. I was white-knuckled surviving a three-mile stretch of speedy downhill that drops into downtown Asheville, cruising at a cautious 25 mph (some bikers take the mountain at twice that speed) when a wasp flies inside my jersey and starts stinging me repeatedly. Classic man versus nature scenario here, and it was such a random act violence that I had never bothered to worry about the situation before. The first sting hurt like a mother—right on my chest—but then he started buzzing around and stinging me more. Meanwhile, I have to hold it together because if I panic, I’ll lose control of the bike and end up skidding my face down the asphalt at 25 mph. So, I squeezed the shit out of my weak V-brakes, grimacing through the pain until I could pull over to the side of the road and flush the wasp out. Little bastard stung me again on his way out of my shirt. Naturally, I headed straight for the bar after the ordeal and ordered Innertube, a lager from Asheville’s Burial Beer Company. Burial is best known for its artisanal take on saisons and IPAs, but Innertube is a straight forward, summertime, lager. Clean, crisp, no gimmicks…it’s like drinking a Coors except, you know, better. I pounded the beer quickly and ordered another, and another, my hands shaking a little less with each can. The bright side is I get to add another “worst case scenario” to my list of phobias. Thanks nature!last_img read more


first_imgCamden County, home of Cumberland Island National Seashore, has spent millions of dollars since 2016 in an effort to build a spaceport where private spaceflight companies could launch rockets.That has raised a lot of concern with locals and environmentalists concerned that launching rockets over one of the East Coast’s last remaining pristine coastal wilderness areas, sensitive marshlands, and dozens of private properties could be problematic, or dangerous.County officials have been dismissing questions of environmental concern for two years, saying everyone should wait for the release of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement by the Federal Aviation Authority, the governing body responsible for issuing the necessary launch operator licenses for spaceports.The DEIS, paid for by Camden County and written by private firm Leidos, with guidance from the FAA, was released this month. The results did not appease environmentalists and concerned citizens.“The Environmental Impact Statement doesn’t answer the questions that have been raised. It’s an incomplete document. To me, you cannot assess the costs and the benefits of this project without truly understanding the risks associated with that type of land use in that location,” said Megan Derosiers, director of Brunswick-based environmental group One Hundred Miles.“Based on the document that we have, there’s nothing that can convince me that this is a good idea in this spot.”One of the biggest issues with the study, according to several property owners who have been studying the subject, is the designation of campers and hikers on Cumberland Island and property owners on both Cumberland Island and Little Cumberland Island as “authorized personnel.”Now, based on a letter sent to inquiring parties this week, it appears the FAA may agree that that is an inappropriate designation.The north end of Cumberland Island, including the federally designated wilderness area, and the entirety of Little Cumberland Island are located within the DEIS’s “hazard zones” based on their location within six miles of either the most northerly or southerly trajectories considered allowable by the DEIS. By law, any person within these hazard zones must be evacuated for a launch in order to achieve the FAA-mandated casualty expectation of one in one-million per launch.This DEIS allows anyone deemed “authorized personnel” to remain within the hazard zones during a launch, thus eliminating the need for evacuation, which may have been problematic because of a Georgia state law prohibiting forced evacuation of private property owners from their homes for the benefit of private industry. There are more than 100 private property owners on Little Cumberland Island.The term “authorized personnel”, as applied by the DEIS refers not to those involved in the operation of the spaceport, but to uninvolved members of the public that could be directly under the flight path of a rocket during launch.Jim Renner, a Little Cumberland Island property owner and a geologist who has worked in environmental permitting for a wide range of municipal and industrial projects, wrote to the FAA requesting an explanation of why he and his family would be considered “authorized” during a launch.FAA Environmental Specialist Stacey Zee responded via email, saying authorized personnel was not an FAA term.“The term ‘authorized persons’, as used in the DEIS, is a term that Camden has used to describe individuals who could remain in certain areas on Cumberland Island and Little Cumberland Island during operations at the proposed launch site.   It is not a term used anywhere in FAA regulations.  In accordance with 14 CFR 417.107, a launch operator may initiate flight only if the risk to any individual member of the public does not exceed a casualty expectation of one in one million per launch for each hazard.  Therefore, a launch operator could not conduct a licensed launch from Camden if the risk to any member of the public, including those who remain on Cumberland Island and Little Cumberland Island, did not meet this requirement.  A launch operator who intends to conduct launches from Camden may need to identify closure areas to meet this requirement.”Renner plans to meet with FAA officials soon to further discuss the authorized personnel issue.Zee also confirmed that the FAA would extend the public comment period on the DEIS to 90 days, although Renner and others had requested a 180-day comment period to further dissect the EIS. The DEIS public comment period will currently run through June 14, Zee wrote.Spaceport Camden Project Lead and Camden County manager Steve Howard would not return calls for this story after multiple attempts to reach him via email and phone.Overall, the DEIS proposes the project move forward as proposed, claiming that any adverse effects are “short term and temporary”, and therefore not significant enough to halt the project.Many environmentalists and locals disagree.Look for a Blue Ridge Outdoors coming next month for a full story on the origins and potential impacts of Spaceport Camden.last_img read more


first_imgGreat Smoky Mountains National Park hires first female chief ranger to oversee law enforcement As part of its Walls Are Meant for Climbing campaign, The North Face, through a partnership with the Trust for Public Land, is building public climbing walls across the country. The first was built in Denver, CO and Atlanta will be the second city to receive a climbing wall, followed by Chicago and Brooklyn. The wall in Atlanta will resemble the local rock at Horse Pen, a nearby climbing area, and was designed by kids from the YMCA and other Atlanta non-profits. The wall will be a part of the 16-acre Rodney Cook Sr. Park, which is currently under construction on the west side of Atlanta. Public climbing wall coming to Atlanta, GA this summer Western North Carolina non-profits join forces for Earth Monthcenter_img Lisa Hendy, a 26-year National Park Service veteran, has become the first female chief ranger in the Resource and Visitor Protection Division at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hendy will oversee law enforcement duties, emergency medical services, wildland fire operations, search and rescue, backcountry operations, and the emergency communications center. A Chattanooga, TN native, Hendy is currently chief ranger at Big Bend National Park in Texas, but has worked at Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Arches and Rocky Mountains national parks. She has served in a number of national leadership roles and won awards for her service, including the prestigious Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award, one of the highest recognitions a park ranger can receive. Non-profits, universities and businesses in Western North Carolina have teamed up to celebrate Earth Month, calling the collective effort WNC for the Planet. During the month of April, the partnership will host environmental service and education opportunities and community events for people of all ages and walks of life across WNC. Events will include trail workdays in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, French Broad River cleanups; trail building in the Highlands of Roan and native habitat restoration. To learn more, join the kickoff party on Sunday, March 31 from noon-2pm at New Belgium brewery in Asheville or visit the online community calendar at WNCfortheplanet.org.last_img read more


first_imgWith an abundance of lakes and rivers in the area, Patrick County, Virginia has several opportunities for first-class fishing. At the northeastern part of the county, Philpott Lake offers an undeveloped backdrop for a day on thewater. This lake is popular for its largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie,and catfish. It is also one of Virginia’s premier destinations for walleye.Several boat ramps, campgrounds, and hiking trails are scattered around the 2,880-acrelake, making this an ideal destination for a weekend getaway. Right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will find Rock Castle Creek. This cold and rocky stream is great for fishing wild trout in addition to pickerel and sunfish. At the end of the day, chow down on pizza from Elizabeth’s Pizza or Crooked Road Café. Get your fill ofseafood, burgers, and homemade potato chips from the Stuart Family Restaurant and wake up in the morning to a cup ofcoffee from Honduras Coffee Company.Visit the Stanburn Winery or Villa Appalaccia Winery for locallyharvested wines and stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Adjacent to the lake, FairyStone State Park offers fun for the whole family. Rent a boat for the dayto cast your line on Fairy Stone Lake for bass, bluegill, and crappie. Hike,bike, or ride a horse through the 10 miles of multi-use trails or hunt forfairy stones, Staurolite crystals only found in a few places around the world. center_img Make your way along the DanRiver, flowing from the Blue Ridge Mountains, as you chase brook, rainbow,and brown trout. The many landscapes of the river offer a variety of fishingopportunities, including access via small motorboats, hand-carried boats, andwade fishing. You will also find bass, sunfish, walleye, and more on this uniqueriver. The Kibler Valley section isa Category A put-and-take trout stream. visitpatrickcounty.org Visit the PrimlandResort for a variety of activities, including sport shooting, archery, and tomahawkthrowing. Sit down for local dishes at Elements, drinks at 19th Pub,and southern cuisine at Stables Saloon. Stick around until it turns dark forstargazing at the Observatory Dome. Check out the Virginia Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame and the Wood Brothers Racing Museum for a deepdive into NASCAR history and the oldest continuously operating team. From the rugged outdoors to five-star luxury experiences, there are many reasons to plan your next adventure to Patrick County. last_img read more