Platts: Latest U.S. Coal-Plant Retirements Signal a Shift to Renewables

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bob Matyi for Platts: Friday marked the retirement of another 2,000 MW of older coal-fired generation in the Midwest.Though not unexpected, the coal retirements continued a trend in a region that for decades has relied heavily on coal to produce electricity. Coal still comprises a sizable share of the generation portfolio, but it is slowly being replaced by renewables, particularly wind, and natural gasThe latest retirements were concentrated in Indiana and Michigan.The retiring coal plants for years burned several million short tons of thermal coal annually, both from low-sulfur Powder River Basin and higher-sulfur Eastern sources.Iowa’s MidAmerican Energy, meanwhile, announced plans Thursday to install up to 2,000 MW of new wind capacity by the end of 2019 as part of a $3.6 billion project.By the end of 2016, wind is projected to represent 47% of the utility’s generation portfolio. Coal still accounts for 31% and company spokeswoman Ashton Newman said Friday there are no plans to retire any coal generation.Full article: Midwest utilities retire more than 2,000 MW of coal-fired generation Platts: Latest U.S. Coal-Plant Retirements Signal a Shift to Renewableslast_img read more

EIA: Coal-Fired Electricity Generation in the U.S. Off by 24.2% in First Three Months of This Year

first_imgEIA: Coal-Fired Electricity Generation in the U.S. Off by 24.2% in First Three Months of This Year FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Everett Wheeler for SNL:The latest government figures have coal’s share of U.S. power generation at a significant deficit to that of natural gas through the end of the first quarter as coal-fired generation fell by nearly one-fourth year over year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal provided 279 million MWh, or 28.7% of the nation’s electricity through the end of March, down 24.2% from the prior year. Meanwhile, natural gas provided 311.8 million MWh, up 6.7% versus the prior year, to account for 32.1% of the nation’s electricity.Year over year, the quarter’s total electricity production was down 5% to 971.1 million MWh.Electricity generation from renewables was up across the board, providing 16.9% of first-quarter power production and helping to offset coal’s declining share of utility-scale generation. Hydroelectric generation climbed 6.5% to 76.9 million MWh to account for 8.9% of the nation’s electricity production. Solar power production climbed 31.4% to 6.7 million MWh, while production from all other renewable sources climbed 22.3% to 80.4 million MWh.As domestic coal production has tracked at roughly one-third below year-ago levels all year, it has helped to keep March’s 5.3 million ton coal stockpile build in line with the 5.4 million ton 10-year average for the month. According to the EIA, power-sector coal stockpiles totaled 194.3 million tons at the end of March, 24.7% above the 10-year average. Given that stockpile level, the government agency estimates days of burn at 24.7% and 40.1%, respectively, above the five-year average for bituminous and subbituminous coal.Even as the government projects the largest domestic coal production decline on record through the end of the year, analysts say elevated stockpiles are hampering the coal market’s recovery, and some coal executives say the industry will never return to its former size. The industry blames environmental regulations, but government analysts see the coal industry in decline whether or not more stringent limits on carbon emissions are enacted.($) Q1 US coal generation down nearly 25% as it cedes market share to gas, renewableslast_img read more

Indian Company Seeks Chinese Backing for Mega Mine in Australia

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises is in talks with China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC) for the financing of a controversial coal mine project in Australia, two sources with knowledge of the situation said on Thursday.Adani is seeking A$2 billion ($1.54 billion) in outside financing for its proposed A$4 billion Carmichael coal mine in the state of Queensland. However, Australian and overseas banks have balked at granting loans for the project which environmentalists oppose because of concerns over the size of the mine and the potential for damage to the Great Barrier Reef.CMEC is an engineering contractor that is majority-owned by Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) China National Machinery Industry Corp Ltd, or Sinomach.CMEC would provide financing through the China Export Import Bank or China Construction Bank, or both, in return for winning the procurement and engineering contracts, for the project, according to a report issued earlier on Thursday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, (IEEFA) an outspoken opponent of the project, citing unidentified sources.“Chinese SOE backing raises the probability that Adani can secure a financial close for this long delayed project,” the report said.In addition to the A$2 billion in financing, Adani has also applied for A$900 million in Australian government loans to build a railway to ship coal 400 km (250 miles) from the Carmichael site to a port on the Pacific Ocean for export.More: India’s Adani in Talks With Chinese Engineering Firm for Carmichael Financing-Sources Indian Company Seeks Chinese Backing for Mega Mine in Australialast_img read more

Coal, nuclear plants susceptible to cyberattacks, experts say

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Bailing out nuclear and coal-fired power plants will not toughen the U.S. power grid against cyberattacks as the Trump administration claims, according to cyber experts, because hackers have a wide array of options for hitting electric infrastructure and nuclear facilities that are high-profile targets.While the administration had been arguing for months that “fuel secure” facilities were important to America’s ability to rebound from storms and physical attacks, its efforts to link plant closures with protection from cyberattacks appeared to open a new front in its support for the coal and nuclear industries.Chris Bronk, a professor of computer and information systems at the University of Houston, said he could not endorse the idea. “I don’t see where a policy of keeping open aging infrastructure that would shut unless there was federal markets intervention keeps us any safer from cyberattacks,” he said.Bronk said coal plants, train deliveries and transmission systems are just as susceptible to hackers as gas pipelines, and added that, while nuclear facilities are tough targets, the stakes involved in a successful nuclear cyberattack are enormous – potentially involving an accident that leaks radioactivity and hits surrounding communities.Sergio Caltagirone, the director of threat intelligence at cyber security company Dragos, agreed that bailing out nuclear and coal plants offers little protection. “I do not expect this policy shift to deliver any additional cyber security resilience based on the threats we’re actively monitoring,” Caltagirone said.More: Trump’s coal, nuclear bailout no shield from hackers: cyber experts Coal, nuclear plants susceptible to cyberattacks, experts saylast_img read more

Germany postpones coal exit decision until February

first_imgGermany postpones coal exit decision until February FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Germany has postponed until February a decision on how fast Europe’s largest economy should phase out brown-coal-fired power plants and whether the government should compensate utilities as well as regions that could face job losses, a commission said.With brown coal mines the only truly domestic resource in a country reliant on energy imports, Germany faces wrangling over when to abandon coal-burning to meet ambitious climate goals by 2030, as it also wants to be free of nuclear energy by 2022.The German cabinet has appointed a 24-strong group, the coal commission, to find a compromise deal. It was expected to present an exit plan by the end of the year. But after another round of talks in Berlin on Monday, the heads of the coal commission said in a statement that further negotiations were needed and that the group now aimed to wrap up its work on February 1.Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the postponement of the decision could increase the chances for a broader acceptance of the coal exit plan. “I think there is no reason to be disappointed,” Altmaier said, adding that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who also participated in the talks on Monday, was trying to fend off calls for extra spending.So far, the coalition parties have agreed to spend 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) to help regions especially affected by structural change such as the planed coal exit. Coal-to-power production both from brown coal and imported hard coal accounts for 40 percent of Germany’s total power production, making the exit from coal difficult while maintaining reliable supply to industries and households.More: Germany postpones decision on coal exit until Februarylast_img read more

NTPC, India’s largest power generator, to put a hold on new coal plant development

first_imgNTPC, India’s largest power generator, to put a hold on new coal plant development FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Economic Times:NTPC, India’s largest power company, will not undertake any new coal-based generation for the next few years as part of measures to reduce its carbon footprint and has decided to invest about Rs 25,000 crore to set up one of the world’s largest solar parks at Kutch in Gujarat. The solar park will be developed in phases over the next five years.The company also expects to disconnect some of its coal-based capacity from morning till evening to make way for affordable solar and wind power generation, said a senior company official. Besides, it plans to set up solar power plants of 1,000-MW capacity which will sell electricity in open market.NTPC’s plan to procure renewable power from plants across the country and bundle it with its coal-based generation will be implemented in a month, the official told ET on condition of anonymity.“We will not set up coal-based power plants for the time being. We are setting up solar plants at Bilhor in Uttar Pradesh and Barethi in Madhya Pradesh where originally coalfired plants stations were planned,” said the official. “Don’t be surprised if in the next three-four years, we may have to stop coal-based plants from morning to evening.”The government regulations to cap emissions from coal-fired power plants, which increase the costs of building such projects, have also prompted the company to turn to green energy for growth.Bridge to India managing director Vinay Rustagi hailed the decision. “It is a remarkable development and shows how far the renewable energy sector has come in the last few years. But for NTPC, a 100% thermal power-focused company and reliant primarily on a cost-plus model, competing with private developers in an aggressive marketplace is not going to be an easy proposition,” he said.More: NTPC to invest Rs 25K crore to set up solar parklast_img read more

Gear Made in the Blue Ridge

first_imgPrintYou don’t have to travel far to find finely crafted outdoor equipment that stands up to the highest standards. Here are a few of the many manufacturers producing high-quality gear right here in the Blue Ridge.1. Bedrock Sandals Huaraches When Dan Opalacz and Nick Pence met each other in the AmeriCorps program several years ago, they were both into the growing barefoot running movement. Seeking freedom and simplicity, they eventually landed on huaraches, the traditional Mexican running sandal. The two friends decided to create a prototype: a slip-on huarache design with a buckle and some climbing straps and Bedrock Sandals was born. Today, Bedrocks are made with military grade parachute straps, thermo-plastic buckles, and a recycled bike tube heel strap.$54; bedrocksandals.com2. SMAX Bros. Duffle BagsEver wonder what those huge roadside billboard signs are made of or what happens to old ones? Roswell, Ga. brothers Sam and Max Ovett did, and when they found out the signs were made from giant sheets of heavy duty vinyl, they decided to do something about what happens to them. Sam and Max began procuring used billboards and using some previous sewing experience, turned them into cavernous 105-liter, heavy-duty duffle bags for their kayaking gear. Because of the repurposed material, no two SMAX Bros. bags are the same and each can be considered a piece of art. The bag you receive depends on the color and pattern of the latest billboard the brothers can get their hands on.$125; smaxbros.com3. Recover Brands Recover TeeRecover co-founder Bill Johnston wants you to think about where your clothing came from.Recover garments are made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled cotton from the cutting room floor. The two are then sorted by color and blended to make a new fiber and sewn into garments. The whole process takes place in North Carolina and cuts greenhouse gas emissions 35 percent and energy consumption by 66 percent, making them both eco-friendly and affordable. Recover also provides their garments wholesale for eco-friendly companies and leads local river cleanups.$18; recoverbrands.com4. Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStar Ultra Lightweight ShelterThere were only a few ultra-lite manufacturers in the game 10 years ago when Ron Bell began to make super lightweight shelters out of his garage in Roanoke, Va. Mountain Laurel Designs now produces a wide range of shelters, bivies, packs, sleeping pads, and accessories for the ultra lightweight hiking community – Bell claims 25 percent of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers carry a piece of his gear. The MLD flagship is the award-winning TrailStar; a five-sided, two-man shelter that weighs in at a scant 17 ounces. Made with no zippers or doors and pitched at a low angle, the TrailStar sheds the harshest wind, rain, and snow.$185; mountainlaureldesigns.com5. Oyster Fly Rods Handmade Bamboo Fly RodBill Oyster’s career as a maker of fine bamboo fly rods happened almost by chance. When a crash wrecked his pro cycling career, Oyster turned to fly fishing, and became fascinated with crafting bamboo fly rods. His made-to-order rods are now scattered across the U.S. and the globe, including custom builds for President Jimmy Carter. From his studio in Blue Ridge, Ga., Oyster handcrafts and hand-engraves rods that can take anywhere from 40 to 200 hours to make. Your finished rod will have the classic smooth action of bamboo, but with the added touch of being a handmade work of art.$2,300; oysterbamboo.com6. Polarmax Comp 4 Men’s CrewFor 25 years, Polarmax has been an industry leader in next-to-skin apparel based out of Candor, North Carolina. Every one of their base layers bears the Made in the U.S.A. label. Even better, their operations are one of the greenest: they recycle most of their yarns and fibers and concentrate all of their production and shipping in the same Carolina headquarters. So you can feel good about feeling good in your Polarmax base layers. The Comp 4 Men’s Crew is the warmest base layer on the market. Made from a comfy blend of high-performance polyester and Spandex, Comp 4 Tech Fleece provides maximum mobility, enhanced breathability and moisture-wicking comfort in extreme conditions.$40. polarmax.comlast_img read more

Trail Mix May 2013

first_imgThe temperatures are rising, our Blue Ridge Mountains are bursting with color, and Trail Mix is rockin’ this month.  Heading outside as things get green?  Take these twenty-five songs on the May Trail Mix with you.  Good times outside only get better with great tunes.Leading off this month’s mix is a track from noted singer/songwriter Josh Ritter.  Ritter recently released The Beast In Its Tracks, a critically acclaimed record that is both catharsis from,  and chronicle of, his recent divorce.  We are happy to include “Joy To You Baby” this month.Trail Mix is also happy to finally feature a track from West Coast rockers Tea Leaf Green.  These guys and their retro organ/guitar jams have long been on our radar.  Make sure to check out “Give Me One More Chance” off of their new record In The Wake, which releases on May 14th.Few Southern bands have garnered more buzz in recent years than Athens, Georgia’s, Futurebirds.  The quintet caught the ear of both Bonnaroo and The Drive-by Truckers and quickly became a fixture of the South’s roots rock scene. Baba Yaga, the band’s new record, released last month and Trail Mix is glad to have “Virginia Slims” featured this month.Fans of bluegrass and old time will be especially stoked about this month’s mix.  Check out the new tune from Steve Martin & Edie Brickell – the combination of Martin’s banjo talents with Edie’s vocals on their new record, Love Has Come For You, is brilliant, as well as the tight pickin’ on ”I Fell Short,” the new tune from Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, and the gypsy jazz of Hot Club of Cowtown’s “Dark Eyes/Ochi Chornye.”  Bluegrass stalwarts Dailey & Vincent  and Peter Rowan are also featured, as is a tune from The Bankesters, a relatively new family band in the vein of Cherryholmes.We are always excited to highlight artists from our area.  This month, take a listen to the new tune from Andrew Leahey & The Homestead.  Andrew is currently in Nashville, but he hails from Richmond, Virginia.Brand new tracks from Beth Hart, Hymn For Her, Cold Satellite, Marshall Crenshaw, Laura Cortese, and Paper Bird are featured this month.  Check out Jerry Miller’s rollin’ rockabilly guitar, the gritty rock of The Del-Lords, and the new track from Scott Tournet, known for his work with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.Also featured is “Boxcars,” a new cut from one of our favorite songwriting duos, Eric Brace and Peter Cooper.Rounding out the May mix are tracks from Highbeams, Heather Maloney, Sons of Fathers, Randall Bramlett, and Coastwest Unrest.This is a great month of music.  Download it, stream it, share it.  Spread the word and, of course, get out to your local record store and grab a couple of these records.  These artists would appreciate it.Stay tuned to the Trail Mix blog this month, too.  We’ll be giving away tickets to see Josh Ritter in Asheville and Tea Leaf Green in Washington, D.C.Download Trail Mix May 2013 here.Click here to open the player in a new window.Download more music from month’s past here! They never go out of style.No flash player!It looks like you don’t have flash player installed. Click here to go to Macromedia download page.last_img read more

Trail Mix – April 2015

first_img 2:43 Audio PlayerOld Crow Medicine ShowUse Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.00:000:00 / 1:00 3:37 Goin’ Across the Mountain Anna & Elizabeth Somebody Call a Doctor Chick Quest Take Too Long Milk Drive Cry Baby Cry Banditos Normalcy Brian Lisik Worn Wool, Soft Leather The Steel Wheels 2:54 5:14 Le vin est bon Melisande 3:47 4:08 3:54 Copy and paste this code to your site to embed. 2:28 Girl in the Holler Leo “Bud” Welch Embed Nightmares Future Thieves 3:55 3:46 4:06 Dark Birds of Night Heart of the World Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem Freight Train Humming House 3:46 Old Crow Medicine Show Just Like You Gill Landry I Will Watch Tommy Wallach 1:00 4:44 Lorraine’s Song Grayson Capps 3:27 4:06 Days of Gray Trout Steak Revival 2:54 3:49 4:01 3:34 Foolin Andrew Combs 4:10 2:19 4:46 2:52 No Gold Rob Nance 4:05 I’m Coming Home Sam Lewis 2:41 The Oak Tree Emily Hearn 83 years young blues man Leo “Bud” Welch returns to Trail Mix this month.Perhaps my favorite music story of 2014 was that of Leo “Bud” Welch, the octogenarian blues man from Mississippi whose first record, the gospel driven Sabougla Voices, was released last year after Welch cold-called the folks at Big Legal Mess Records and pitched his tunes. Welch returns to Trail Mix this month upon the the release of his second record in just fifteen months.If last year’s Sabougla Voices was Sunday morning, I Don’t Prefer No Blues is certainly Saturday night. A collection of gritty, rocking blues tunes, this record is much more juke joint than Sunday morning tent revival. As a good friend of mine recently, professed, “Now, THIS sounds like a a Fat Possum record.” Blues aficionados out there will know exactly what he meant by that. For the uninitiated, check out Welch’s “Girl in The Holler” on this month’s mix.For more on Leo “Bud” Welch, check out this stunning short film from The Legacy Project.This month, Jedd Ferris scoured the Blue Ridge to bring you a feature on 20 Bands To Watch. Trail Mix doubled down and has some of those artists featured, too. Take a listen to the brand new tunes from Folk Soul Revival, Emily Hearn, Gill Landry, and The Honeycutters and find out what the buzz is all about.Make sure you check out the new offerings from Sam Lewis, The Steel Wheels, and Keller Williams, three long time Trail Mix favorites, as well as the tunes from Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys, Trout Steak Revival, Future Thieves, Folk Family Revival, Milk Drive, Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem, Brian Lisik, Rob Nance, Mikaela Kahn, Foghorn Stringband, Humming House, The Damnwells, Tommy Wallach, and many more.Stay tuned to this month’s Trail Mix blogs for some great interviews and giveaways. Next week, Trail Mix chats with Cruz Contreras, of The Black Lillies, about next weekend’s Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival in Knoxville. Features on Andrew Combs, Grayson Capps, and Banditos are also on tap.And, of course, make sure to play this month’s mix often and loudly. Share with a friend one of the tracks that really lights your fire. And, as always, get out there and buy these records or see these artists when they come through your town.Download Trailmix MP#’s here.  If It Don’t Kill You Folk Family Revival The Fix Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys 4:13 Mantra Keller Williams Buy Your Drink Folk Soul Revival Lost The Damnwells 3:17 2:43 Chemical Attraction Mikaela Kahn 2:45 Henry Lee Foghorn Stringband Ain’t It The Truth The Honeycutters The Emperors New Sound Arthur Nasson 2:30 Far Cry From Here Malcolm Holcombelast_img read more

Almost Heaven

first_imgEver since having kids, I’ve actually managed to score more days on the ski hill than when I was child-less and the only responsibility I had was remember to take the trash out on Tuesdays. Making sure my kids love skiing is important to me and my wife, so we’ve spent a lot of time and energy reinforcing solid ski family values to our children since their first winter out of the womb. My kids are only eight, but they understand that there are no friends on powder days, and it’s okay to miss work or school if you can get solid turns in. And bagging first tracks are way better than straight A’s.When they were babies and toddlers, I made a harness for a sled so I could tow them on cross country ski days. When they got to be two or three, we got them plastic skis that fit over their winter boots and would take them to the local ski hill for an hour at a time. We fed them chocolate constantly and as soon as they started to whine, we’d whisk them away to the lodge for more treats. Then we’d get ice cream on the way home from the mountain. The plan was simple: trick them into thinking skiing is fun.They got older and grew into hard boots and real skis, took some lessons and got better. For a while, skiing still sucked. They were always uncomfortable and spent half the time crying. We persevered. They finished last season able to ski all of Breckenwolf and picked up this season without missing a step. It’s been super fun, but they’re still little so I’ve never pushed them to ski anything too hard. All season long, we’d stick mostly to the blues and take it easy. And as soon as they said they were tired, we’d make a bee-line for ice cream. But right now, I’m typing this blog in the midst of a golden parental glow because my wife and I just spent an entire day at Snowshoe skiing black diamonds with our kids. This is the sort of thing we’ve dreamed about since before we even had kids. It’s actually one of the arguments my wife would throw out there when she was trying to convince me to knock her up. “Just think: one day, we’ll be able to take ski trips as a family. And ski all day with our kids. Don’t you want that? Wouldn’t that be great?” I did want that. And it is great. At one point today, we cruised to the top of a seriously rutted out bump run that was steep and narrow. It was legitimate black diamond territory, even by western mountain standards, I thought my daughter was gonna lose it and say she wanted to find another way down, so I stopped short and waited for her and her brother to catch up. She didn’t even pause; she blew right past me into the mogul field and said, “come on dad, you got this!” I almost cried. I wonder if I’ll feel this proud on her wedding day? I guess it depends if the guy she marries is a skier.Really, it doesn’t matter what beer you drink after a day like this. Colt 45 would taste fine. But I chose Almost Heaven, an amber from Mountain State Brewing. Because it seemed appropriate given the situation.last_img read more