FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Arkansas Business:King Coal isn’t dead, but it’s being dethroned as the top fuel source for creating electric power in Arkansas.“Out of favor is probably a good term” for coal’s status, Entergy Arkansas’ Kurt Castleberry said this month, noting market forces and growing environmental awareness among consumers that have made lower-emission natural gas-fueled generation and renewable sources like wind and solar a bigger part of the mix. “We’re not planning to build any new coal plants, but our existing coal plants still have life in them, and they’re economical, large-scale, and clean,” said Castleberry, Entergy Arkansas’ director of resource planning and market operations. “We’ll run them until their useful life expires.”Entergy, the state’s largest electric utility with more than 700,000 customers, has seen coal fall from generating 20 percent of its power to less than 4 percent over the past few decades, partly a result of the utility’s continued reliance on its durable and emissions-free nuclear workhorse, Arkansas Nuclear One. That plant, in Russellville, carries some 70 percent of Entergy’s load.The state’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives took 54 percent of their power from coal last year, including a share from their part ownership of Entergy’s coal plants in Independence and Jefferson counties, as well as 50 percent of the Flint Creek plant near Gentry and 11 percent of the John Turk plant near Hope, Arkansas’ newest coal plant. Southwestern Electric Power Co. of Shreveport, which serves nearly 120,000 customers in western Arkansas, gets 45 percent of its generation from coal, including power from the 624-megawatt Turk plant, opened in 2012.“No new coal, I think we can make that declaration,” said Andrew Lachowsky, vice president of planning and market operations for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., echoing Castleberry.More: Power balance shifting in Arkansas: coal crucial but losing ground Arkansas utilities agree: ‘No new coal’
Massachusetts looking to double offshore wind capacity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享RTO Insider:Massachusetts is seeking to broaden its already ambitious goals for procuring clean energy and reducing emissions, state officials said last week.Topping the agenda: The state wants to solicit an additional 1,600 MW of offshore wind energy even as it is barely halfway through a procurement process for the same volume as authorized by 2016 legislation.“We’re launching an offshore wind study to look at … whether we can get an additional 1,600 MW,” Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson said Wednesday at a meeting of the Environmental Business Council of New England.Massachusetts last May awarded Vineyard Wind an 800-MW offshore wind contract that runs 20 years and has two 400-MW tranches. The first tranche starts at $74/MWh and the second at $65/MWh, with the prices increasing by 2.5% per year. Partially redacted contract summaries from the state’s Department of Public Utilities show an average nominal price of $64.97/MWh in 2017 dollars. “We’re excited to be jump-starting the offshore wind industry,” Judson said. “Because of the way we set that up, with a long-term, revenue-fixed contract … we were able to get that at a price that no one believed was possible. I know when we opened the bids, we were like, ‘Whoa’; we were surprised. I think everyone was surprised.”“We’re still in the midst of procuring our first 1,600 MW, and we will be issuing our next solicitation for offshore wind in the near term as well,” Judson said.More: Mass. looks to double down on OSW, clean goals
New York pension fund plan stops short of divestment FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released a plan for how the state pension fund that he oversees will address climate risks in its portfolio, although the plan stops short of calling for the fund to divest from fossil fuels.DiNapoli oversees the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the third largest public pension fund in the U.S with an estimated $210 billion in assets as of March.A Decarbonization Advisory Panel in April recommended the pension fund transition its investments to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. But the panel did not call for the pension fund to divest from fossil fuels.The pension fund has been among a number of large asset managers pressuring companies behind the scenes to act on climate change and has filed more than 140 shareholder resolutions resulting in 55 agreements with companies on the issue, the advisory panel said in its report. In addition, the fund has committed $10 billion to sustainable investments, including $4 billion into a low emissions index. In the new climate action plan, DiNapoli pledged to double the sustainable investments program to $20 billion over the next decade.In the 12-page Climate Action Plan, DiNapoli outlines why the fund will continue to hold investments in fossil fuel companies for the time being. The fund argues that using its voice and vote to encourage companies to transition to a low-carbon economy is “integral to long-term value creation for shareholders.”“Divestment is a last resort and should be reserved for specific investments (and not the fossil fuel industry generally) where there is an articulable, serious, and sustained financial risk to continuing the investment and where an economic analysis demonstrates that divesting would not have a negative economic impact” on the CRF (the pension fund goes by CRF in the report), the report said. “At this time, broad-based fossil fuel divestment by the CRF is not consistent with the comptroller’s fiduciary duty, and would not be effectual for either risk reduction or broader climate change mitigation.”More ($): New York comptroller’s new climate action plan leaves out fossil fuel divestment
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Power Magazine:A federal judge in Ohio on July 18 approved American Electric Power’s (AEP’s) plan to close Unit 1 of its two-unit, 2,600-MW coal-fired Rockport Plant in Indiana. The modified consent decree approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on Thursday is the latest chapter in a long-running dispute among AEP, the Sierra Club, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and several states.The Rockport consent agreement has been updated five times since 2007. That’s when AEP reached a deal with states, environmental groups, and the EPA to settle charges that the utility’s expansion of the Rockport plant occurred without the proper permits, and without installing the best available emissions controls, as required by federal law.As part of the court battle, AEP two years ago was ordered to install scrubbers at Rockport’s Unit 2, a move that the utility said would have cost it $1.4 billion. The judge’s ruling today means the utility will not have to make that upgrade.AEP in a news release Thursday said: “American Electric Power today announced that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has approved a modified agreement that will accelerate emissions reductions from the company’s remaining coal-fueled power plants in the Midwest, eliminate a requirement to install high-cost emission reduction equipment at the company’s Rockport Plant in Rockport, Indiana, and retire Rockport Plant Unit 1 (1,300 megawatts) by the end of 2028.”Unit 1 at Rockport came online in 1984. Unit 2 entered commercial service in 1989. The plant is located about 35 miles east of Evansville, Indiana, along the Ohio River. Rockport was honored as Large Plant of the Year by the Powder River Basin Coal Users’ Group in 2009.AEP in a news release said it has retired more than 8,600 MW of coal-fired generation since 2011, and it plans to retire another 1,100 MW by the end of 2020. The utility said it has started operation of 724 MW of wind power and battery storage, and plans to add more than 9,100 MW of wind and solar generation by 2030.More: AEP will close 1,300-MW Indiana coal unit AEP to close 1,300MW unit 1 at Rockport coal plant by 2028
Report shows 184GW of renewable energy installed globally in 2019, a new record FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The global deployment of wind and solar projects reached a new record level in 2019, as falling costs and a push to zero emissions energy sources presented new opportunities that could be expanded in a post-Covid-19 economic recovery.The latest Global Trends In Renewable Energy Investment report, published as a collaboration between BloombergNEF, the Frankfurt School and the United Nations Environment Program, estimated that 184GW of new renewable energy capacity, excluding hydro, was added in 2019, representing a 12 per cent annual increase and setting a new annual record.This strong growth was underpinned by US$282.2 billion (A$405 billion) in global investment, which was down from an all-time record of US$315 billion (A$451 billion) set in 2017. Thanks to the falling costs of technologies like wind and solar, the assessment found that a higher amount of generation capacity was added in 2019, while investment remained effectively flat compared to 2018. More renewables can now be installed for the same level of investment.More than three-quarters of the new generation capacity added in 2019 came from non-hydro renewables technologies, like wind and solar, showing the global market for new electricity project[s] had well and truly shifted towards zero emissions sources.Renewables, excluding large hydroelectric projects, accounted for 13.4 per cent of the world’s total electricity production in 2019.Wind and solar projects received almost equal investment in 2019 (US$138.2 billion and US$131.1 billion respectively), with a smaller amount of investment also directed towards new biomass and waste to energy projects (US$9.7 billion).[Michael Mazengarb]More: Global wind and solar additions set new record in 2019, but more needed
What’s the best way to protect waters threatened by pollution and encroaching development? Recreation is the answer, says American Rivers. The D.C.-based nonprofit just unveiled its Blue Trails Guide, highlighting the best in river recreation.Congaree Wateree ConfluenceA blue trail is the water equivalent of a hiking trail. Specific routes are developed on existing bodies of water with the idea of giving canoeists and kayakers a destination adventure.“Blue trails provide communities with more recreation opportunities and healthier rivers for years to come,” says Jamie Mierau, Director of River Protection for American Rivers.The organization recently created its first blue trail on the Congaree River in South Carolina. The 50-mile trail starts in the capital city of Columbia before moving in the majestic hardwood confines of Congaree National Park. Along the way, paddlers can stop and camp on shoreline sandbars and explore granite quarries.Congaree RiverThe creation of the Congaree River trail required cooperation of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, a land trust, and two local counties. New blue trails are possible for the Southeast, but they will require efforts from land agencies and local communities.“To have a successful blue trail, you need a group of partners who are dedicated to long-term maintenance,” Mierau says.Blue Trails in the SoutheastCongaree River Blue Trail, S.C.The first blue trail launched by American Rivers, the Congaree River Trail starts in Columbia, then continues downstream into Congaree National Park, home to the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest in the U.S. Work has begun on the 75-mile Wateree River Blue Trail, which will start near Camden, S.C., and continue to its confluence with Congaree.Rappahannock River Water Trail, Va.The 30-mile blue trail was developed after the removal of the Embrey Dam in 2004. The 30-mile trail helped build support for a critical 4,200-acre conservation easement along the river and resulted in streamside buffers that provide natural protection for Fredericksburg’s water supply.Roanoke River Water Trail, N.C.The Lower Roanoke River trail system features a series of water-bound camping structures that allow paddlers to do overnight trips in the water jungles of North Carolina’s coastal plain, which features old-growth habitat that’s home to black bears, river otters, bobcat, and over 200 species of birds.
Tom Sims ripping.This week, the outdoors community lost two of its own in untimely fashion: one doing what he loved, and the other by what could be called bad luck.Tom Sims is widely credited with inventing the snowboard in his 7th grade woodshop class in 1963. Along with Jake Burton, he is one of the original pioneers of snowboarding and snowboard technology. Growing up a skateboarder in California, Sims was a World Champion in the 1970s before founding Sims Skateboards and later Sims Snowboards. Among industry firsts, Sims is credited with the first metal edges on a snowboard, the first high-back binding systems, the first pro-model, and – looking out for the ladies – the first women’s specific model. More than that, he was the first to start “pro teams” and sponsor riders, which obviously became the model for every snowboard and ski company ever. A lion of the industry, Sims died of cardiac arrest near his home in Santa Barbara Wednesday, September 12th. He was 62. As a lifelong snowboarder, this one hits home for me. Read more and view a cool photo gallery of Sims’ life at Snowboardermag.com.While Sims’ life was cut short for medical reasons, kayaker Jeff West parished doing what he loved the most, kayaking. West was attempting to solo run the Grand Canyon of the Stikine River in British Columbia, when his body was found floating in an eddy Tuesday, September 11. West was well known in the paddling community, paddled for Jackson Kayaks, and had made it to the U.S. team finals twice. The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear, but the 42-mile, Class V-IV stretch of the Stikine is regarded as one of the toughest runs in the world, though West had navigated the canyon in 2010. West owned the Ace Kayaking School in Chattanooga, Tenn. He was 42. Read more at Paddlinglife.net.Both these men were well respected and loved in their respective sport’s communities and will be missed.
There’s too much noise in the world today. Too many distractions, and too much chaos. Settle down and settle in with a destination Christmas in Abingdon, Virginia. According to Southern Living, “If Frank Capra had made a Southern version of It’s a Wonderful Life, he might have set it in Abingdon, Virginia, with its tree-lined Main Street, scenic Blue Ridge setting, historic Martha Washington Inn & Spa, and legendary Barter Theatre.”Abingdon is a small town that’s big on culture and hospitality. Here, you can escape the hustle and bustle and focus on what’s important: your loved ones. Let us show you the way.Those who have never experienced the holiday season at Barter Theatre in Abingdon are truly missing out. It’s not your average theater, and it’s not your average “come watch our holiday show and go home” experience. Rather, attending a show at Barter Theatre during the Christmas season is an annual holiday destination.“The Christmas shows at the Barter are one of my very favorite things to do during the holiday season. It has become a tradition of sorts for me and my friends or family to start the season off with one of the favorite holiday classics …” Trip Advisor user Evie H.The Martha Washington Inn & Spa is the grand dame of Abingdon. Steeped in history, this hotel was originally the home of the Preston family but has seen life as a dorm for Barter Theatre actors, a women’s college, a makeshift Civil War hospital, and eventually a hotel.The Martha’s appeal for families are numerous: an on-site restaurant where kids under 12 eat free, the spa and heated pool, the fire pit, the beautiful decorations, the history, and of course, the ghost stories!“Our family, as well as other relatives, recently stayed at the Martha. We all had a fabulous time! This hotel is elegant, charming, and beautiful both inside and out. We found the rooms spacious compared to other historic hotels we’ve stayed in. The pool is also quite large for a hotel and it was so relaxing to sit in a jacuzzi outside in the middle of the winter. We also enjoyed the library and could have spent hours inside reading all the interesting books.” – TripAdvisor user Jennifer S.Abingdon’s bed and breakfasts are also stunning. Inquire with an innkeeper about renting the whole house if your family wants a private, more intimate environment.“[A Tailor’s Lodging] is a great place to stay have stayed here several times of the last few years. This is a place you can rent the whole house for you and your guests. Very quiet and close to the Barter Theaters.” – TripAdvisor user M7735XUgregbExpand your footprint beyond downtown Abingdon when you visit “must-see” places like Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway and Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview.Get more Christmas cheer at VisitAbingdonVirginia.com
Black Girls Run Brings More Color to the Starting LineCheryl Jackson went through a terrible divorce while going back to college and trying to put her own children through school. She was depressed and alone.“But then running saved my life,” says Jackson. “Running gave me hope, and it gave me friendships, and it gave me a chance to do things I only saw on TV.” At age 50, Jackson ran the Philadelphia Marathon, and she has since completed a duathlon and triathlon.She couldn’t do it without a little help from her friends at Black Girls Run. “The sisterhood is real,” she says, “and so is their mantra: No Woman Left Behind.”Let’s face it: there are many health issues that plague the black community more than others. Black people are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than whites, and black women are 60 percent more likely than white women to have high blood pressure. Black people are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure as white people.That’s why Black Girls Run was created a decade ago: To tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide support to both new and experienced runners. Today, there are more than 220,000 members in 71 groups nationwide.The black community has always been strong, because it had to be. In the U.S., black people have always had to rely on each other for support and celebration of the diaspora as we don’t often receive it outside of ourselves. More recently we have had to come together not only to combat political and socioeconomic injustices, but to support each other in leading healthy and active lifestyles.There’s a stereotype that black people aren’t active outdoors. For a long time, I feared I would never be able to find a fitness community I could love because of this stereotype.I struggled for a long time. Inside my head were the usual voices: “I can’t do it,” or “It’s too hard,” or “You can’t run.” I finally reached a breaking point: I could either keep sinking into the same negative ruts, or I could do something else. I decided to do something else.But what, exactly? I never liked to go to the gym. I wanted to be outside, and I also wanted to be part of a community.That’s when I stumbled upon some women with Black Girls Run t-shirts running together through Richmond. I started running with them, very slowly at first, once a week. It opened my eyes to a whole world of activity where I could be me and be more active outdoors.Running with my sisters at Black Girls Run has changed my life—and is changing the stereotypes, too.There is strength in numbers. As a collective, black women runners can achieve more and benefit exponentially. It can make us happier and lead to quality friendships. These relationships can help us to navigate the influences that others have over our lives. Expanding my fitness circle has allowed me to feel less isolated by the new lifestyle choices I’ve made, and these friendships help me combat the urge to regress into unhealthy habits.Running is not easy. And only recently has the running world been introduced to the non-traditional runner. Black Girls Run brings color to the running world—with curves and all shapes and sizes. Black women like me can join the running community, feel welcome in the outdoors, and feel confident in their own skin.
When Israel’s robotic lunar lander, Beresheet, crash-landed on the moon in April, it was carrying a box of tardigrades. Tardigrades, it turns out, are micro-animals that have been found everywhere from the tops of mountains to the deep sea. They are considered to be extremely hardy and resilient and capable of surviving in space. After a crash landing, tardigrades may be alive on the moon July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded Notably, the record heat comes without the influence of El Nino, which adds heat to the ocean and increases temperatures across the globe. July 2016, for example, was an El Nino year. “While we don’t expect every year to set a new record, the fact that it’s happening every few years is a clear sign of a warming climate,” Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist with Berkeley Earth, told the Washington Post. Are we starting to sound like a broken record here? June 2019 made headlines for being the hottest June ever recorded, but that was nothing compared to what followed. July 2019, it turns out, has officially been deemed the hottest month on record ever, narrowly edging out July 2016 by about 0.07 degrees. The troubling title is measured by feeding temperature readings from weather balloons, satellites, buoys, and other sources into a computer model. While the box of tardigrades on board Beresheet was dehydrated, those associated with the mission believe the animals are likely to have survived the crash, though they would need to be “brought back to life” before they truly made the moon their new home. Coming back to life from a dehydrated state is not out of the question for the tardigrade, however. Tardigrades can survive without water for 10 years and can withstand temperatures over 300 degrees Fahrenheit. One tardigrade is even known to have survived being frozen for 30 years.