Opposition to FirstEnergy Bailout Persists FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Kathiann M. Kowalski for Midwest Energy News:“It’s a classic sort of sleight of hand,” said Dick Munson of the Environmental Defense Fund. “My guess is that FERC will see through the sham. It’s just illegal affiliate dealing.”In a joint brief filed last week with federal regulators, industry competitors and environmental groups argued that the utility has basically replaced the express agreement to guarantee electricity sales with a “virtual power purchase agreement,” or virtual PPA. And that revised plan is “a shadow version” of the earlier arrangement to charge captive consumers for uneconomic coal and nuclear generation, the challengers argued.“From our perspective, it’s just a work-around of this FERC decision,” said Trish Demeter, managing director of energy programs at the Ohio Environmental Council. “At the end of the day, it’s a bailout of even bigger proportions, quite honestly.”Specifically, the revised plan requires that at least 3,200 megawatts of fossil fuel or nuclear generation now owned by FirstEnergy Solutions would continue to operate, the challengers noted. That’s about the same amount of output from the plants covered by the former plan — which include the Davis Besse nuclear plant and the Sammis coal-fired plant — with its express power purchase agreement, observed Matthew Kahal, an expert witness for the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel.FirstEnergy has claimed that consumers would eventually come out ahead, based on its assumption that gas prices will increase significantly over the next eight years.However, a May 2016 report by the Energy Information Administration projects that natural gas prices will remain below $5 per million British thermal units through 2040. That projection is true with or without the federal Clean Power Plan, the agency reported. In challengers’ eyes, that makes it much more likely that consumers will end up on the losing end of FirstEnergy’s proposed deal.Advocates weigh in with federal regulators on FirstEnergy plan
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享NextCity.org:Kansas City, Missouri, has voted unanimously to transition all its municipal electricity to carbon-free sources by the end of 2020. The city’s finance and governance committee recommended Wednesday that the sustainability measure be immediately adopted, and the measure passed the full council Thursday.The measure also directs the city to find 25 acres to develop a 5 megawatt community solar installation, giving city employees the option to subscribe to the farm. It also directs the city to purchase more all-electric or hybrid electric vehicles and to achieve Energy Star certification for most city buildings by 2023.As part of the deal, Kansas City Power & Light will build a new wind farm, Fox 4 KC reports. The city is Kansas City Power & Light’s largest customer.Kansas City was among the first cities to declare its support for the goals of the Paris Agreement, with Mayor Sly James tweeting on June 1, 2017 — the same day President Donald Trump announced he was withdrawing the U.S. from the agreement — that he was “proud to join 60 fellow #ClimateMayors” in implementing the goals of the agreement. “The world cannot wait & neither will we,” he added.More: Kansas City will make its government 100 percent carbon-free by next year Kansas City commits to buying 100% carbon-free electricity by 2020
Financial woes mounting for shale drillers in Appalachia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享OilPrice.com:Appalachian shale drillers are getting squeezed by low prices, and a supply glut may mean that there is little prospect of a pricing rebound anytime soon.Earlier this month, IHS Markit put out a press release entitled, “U.S. Natural Gas Price Will Fall to Levels Not Seen Since 1970s.” The firm said that persistent oversupply from the Marcellus would be “reinforced” by a surge in associated gas production from the Permian basin. That could keep average natural gas prices below $2/MMBtu next year, which would nominally be the lowest since 1995, but in real terms it would be the lowest since the 1970s.The market is set to see falling prices despite structural increases in demand from new gas-fired power plants and LNG export facilities. IHS noted that U.S. demand has climbed by 14 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in annual consumption since 2017, but supply has expanded by even more than that amount since the start of 2018.“It is simply too much too fast,” Sam Andrus, executive director of IHS Markit, said in a statement. “Drillers are now able to increase supply faster than domestic or global markets can consume it. Before market forces can correct the imbalance, here comes a fresh surge of supply from somewhere else.”The bust in gas prices create significant dangers for gas-focused shale companies. “With the news from IHS Markit that natural gas prices in the United States will drop below $2 MMBtu in 2020 and remain low through at least 2024, if not longer, heads must be exploding in the board rooms of oil and gas producers throughout the U.S. and Canada,” Tom Sanzillo and Kathy Hipple wrote in a commentary for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).The IEEFA analysts said that smaller shale gas E&Ps, which account for roughly 30 percent of production, “are likely to continue to fail.”More: “Too much too fast” gas glut crushes shale drillers
Spain’s Iberdrola targets Denmark’s Ørsted for top spot in U.S. offshore wind market FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Spanish utility group Iberdrola wants to be the biggest player in the U.S. offshore wind market, but it will need to go through early market front-runner Ørsted to get there.Iberdrola, among the world’s largest wind power generators, plans to steamroll its way through the coronavirus crisis, with CEO Ignacio Galán announcing plans this month to increase investment in renewables projects and continue adding jobs as soon as the public health crisis is over. Up to a quarter of the €10 billion ($11 billion) the company plans to invest this year will go toward offshore wind.Iberdrola has long been a major player in U.S. renewables and remains one of the country’s largest owners of onshore wind farms through its controlling stake in Avangrid, a utility and renewables developer. The U.S. — and Avangrid — is now a central plank of Iberdrola’s global offshore wind push, accounting for more than 60 percent of its 12-gigawatt global offshore pipeline.Avangrid is joint owner of Vineyard Wind, whose 800-megawatt project for Massachusetts is likely to become one of the first major U.S. offshore wind farms despite its ongoing permitting delay saga. Vineyard is now expected to be finished in 2023; Iberdrola confirms there has been no change in the project timeline despite the coronavirus shutdown.“We’re in a very good position to be the leading player [in the U.S.],”Jonathan Cole, managing director of Iberdrola’s offshore wind business, told GTM. “We’re going to be the first to build a large-scale offshore wind project in Vineyard I. That puts us in a strong position and allows us to just keep growing and growing beyond that.” Denmark’s Ørsted, which is the world’s leading offshore wind developer, holds a formidable position in the U.S., with interests in projects across five states totaling more than 8 gigawatts. By the middle of this decade, Ørsted could own more than 3 gigawatts of U.S. offshore wind, compared to 800 megawatts for Iberdrola if Vineyard successfully builds its first two projects in New England.[John Parnell]More: Iberdrola plans to take top spot in U.S. offshore wind (and keep it)
New study finds U.S. grid can be 90% clean by 2035, and cost less too FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:It will be feasible to power the U.S. on 90 percent clean electricity by 2035 thanks to stunning declines in the costs of renewables, a new study finds.In just a few years, decarbonizing the grid went from a solar-lover’s pipe dream to something many major American utilities have committed to, from Southern Company to Duke Energy. But utilities typically pick a midcentury deadline, as do states that have passed such goals. That puts execution comfortably beyond the tenure of anyone in power today. The new study, from UC Berkeley and GridLab, raises the stakes considerably. By using updated cost figures for wind, solar and batteries, the researchers found that it will be economically feasible to power a reliable grid by 2035, while only depending on natural gas for 10 percent of annual electricity production.This scenario retires all coal plants by 2035 and does not require any new construction of gas plants. The cost of wholesale electricity would be 13 percent lower than it is today, in contrast to the common assumption that a shift to clean energy would radically increase expenses.Cheaper, cleaner power without loss of reliability may sound too good to be true. But that’s what the study’s numbers suggest: Clean energy has become so cheap already that all prior predictions of future scenarios need a massive revision.Setting the target at 90 percent clean removes the need to run the system only on renewables at all times; it can burn a little gas when absolutely necessary. This proved durable for meeting demand in every hour of the seven years modeled in the study to test reliability under annual variations in weather.[Julian Spector]More: 90% clean grid by 2035 is not just feasible, but cheaper, study says
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:UK solar company Foresight Group is targeting a 700MW pipeline of projects thanks to a joint venture (JV) with developer Island Green Power. Together they will develop five subsidy-free projects, located throughout England and Wales.Peter Bolton, director, Foresight, said that as a “highly experienced renewable energy investor” it is well positioned for the anticipated second phase of growth in the country’s solar market. “Opportunities for asset optimisation and a continual reduction in capital costs will make unsubsidised solar investment increasingly attractive. Island GP has a strong track record of solar development and continues to develop a high-quality pipeline of new sites.”In September, Foresight announced another JV, with Elgin Energy for 200MW of UK solar. This will see them target the development of six projects located in England, Wales and Scotland. Foresight has also recently made its maiden move in the Spanish market, thanks to a €20 million deal to acquire a 26.1MW solar project that has a PPA with Shell Energy Europe.Island Green Power has been developing solar projects for 11 years, expanding beyond the UK to the Irish, Australian and Spanish markets.Ian Lawrie, the company’s director, said the firm has now developed in excess of 1GW of solar, and is “delighted” to have formed the JV with Foresight to “accelerate our development efforts in the UK”.[Molly Lempriere]More: Foresight Group sets its sights on 700MW UK pipeline through JV with Island Green Power Foresight Group, Island Green Power to build 700MW of subsidy-free solar in U.K.
Poland planning to build solar, wind capacity at Bełchatów, Europe’s largest coal plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:Poland’s largest utility PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA plans to develop solar and onshore wind capacity, as well as an incineration plant, on the site of its 4.93-GW lignite-fired Bełchatów plant, as the company seeks to meet its goal of becoming a zero-emission entity by 2050, Deputy CEO Ryszard Wasiłek said Nov. 3.Poland had proposed the Bełchatów region to the EU as one that should benefit from the bloc’s funds as it transitions away from coal-fired generation, Wasiłek said.“Without waiting for this decision, we have recently launched a project related to Bełchatów. There are three topics in the program. We’re identifying the possibility of about 460 MW of [solar] that can be built in Bełchatów. There is a lot of land that can be used for the construction of [solar] installations. We are also thinking of building an incineration plant in Bełchatów,” he said.“This is an additional several dozen megawatts of electricity and heat capacity. We think that between 30 MW to 50 MW of new onshore wind capacity can be built in Bełchatów and Góry Kamieńsk,” he added.Last month, PGE announced a strategy to have 50% of its generation from renewables sources by 2030, up from just 4.4% in the first half of this year. Bełchatów’s lignite feedstock will be exhausted during the next 10 years unless the company decides to exploit new reserves some 60 km away in Złoczew, which management regards as unprofitable given EU climate policy.PGE plans to spin off its conventional assets to a separate state-owned company next year to enable it to access financing for large offshore wind and PV projects. If Poland’s other two state-controlled utilities, Enea SA and TAURON Polska Energia SA, also spin off their conventional assets, PGE favors a merger of the three companies.[Adam Easton]More: Poland’s PGE develops renewables plan at site of Europe’s biggest coal plant
The 500-mile Virginia Mountain Bike Trail is poised to be the South’s sweetest stretch of singletrack. Check out the video below and read the full story here.The Virginia Mountain Bike Trail from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.
Pat’s Backcountry Beverages has solved a conundrum of many a backpacker and adventure sportsman. Beer concentrate. Yes, that’s right—concentrated beer that is lightweight and easy to pack. Nothing tastes finer then a beer after a long day’s hike. So next time you reach your campsite after a day in the hills, you can indulge in one of life’s pleasures, a delicious cold brew.The company is based out of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, and they have gotten quite the buzz about their patent-pending technology. Each lightweight pack starts as a concentrated liquid that’s 58% alcohol by volume and produces one pint of beer at 6.1% alcohol by volume. Currently, Pat’s offers two varieties of beer concentrate, Pale Rail and Black Hops. The brews are being sold online through Colorado Liquor Outlet who shipped their first batch on October 25.To drink, you just need to add carbonated water. When you’re out on the trail, this can be done by using the plastic carbonator bottle that the company began producing last year. The carbonation process required instructions and a bit of focus. An eco2Activator pack combines citric acid and potassium bicarbonate to produce carbon dioxide. Using a process of shaking the container and pumping the lever, the carbon dioxide is distributed throughout the liquid resulting in a fizzy beverage.Blue Ridge Outdoors was anxious to give beer concentrate a try. After brewing up a pint of Black Hops, the prominent taste was of the eco2Activator that is used to produce the carbonation. The instructions say to vary the amount to taste, and I would recommend using less than the full amount. The taste of the eco2Activator dulled over time, but that could have just been from the awesomeness of drinking a trail-made beer. The Black Hops had a surprisingly rich and malty flavor that was made even more delicious by the scenery.Beer concentrate has so many possibilities both on and off the trail. It seems that this product could be equally useful on a bike adventure, a kayak trip, or at a summer festival. In a recent Facebook post, Pat shared the brilliant idea of traveling with a few brews on your next flight—just pack the concentrate in the quart size bag along with your toiletries.Gourmands may prefer to haul the extra weight for their favorite beer, and others may stick with the classic choice of a flask of whiskey, but having beer concentrate as an option is certainly a game changer.
Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers return with Loved Wild Lost, their brand new record.The first time I heard Nicki Bluhm sing, it was in a van. And she was driving.Nicki, along with her band, did a ridiculously good cover of Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” while cruising down the highway. While my driver’s ed teacher might not approve of such impromptu, on-the-road recording sessions, I certainly do.Since seeing that video a few years ago, I have followed Nicki Bluhm as she and her brand of Califonia folk/country have gained increasing national exposure. Now a festival staple, Nicki Bluhm has become an icon in contemporary Americana.Last month, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers released Loved Wild Lost, the follow up to their much lauded eponymous debut.I recently chatted with Nicki Bluhm and went totally random. Among other things, chatted Disney characters, guilty pleasures, and first slow dance tunes.BRO – Favorite pop song that you sing way too loudly?NB – Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”BRO – Last time a TV commercial made you cry?NB – The Like a Girl ad for Always. It’s so powerful and the message is so true and needs to be perpetuated. I have two older brothers, so it kinda hits home for me.BRO – Favorite Disney character?NB – Cinderella. She’s adored by the animal kingdom.BRO – Beer, wine, or whiskey?NB – Beer and wine. Sierra Nevada or a good Cabernet Sauvignon.BRO – Something you always have in your fridge?NB – Realistically, baking soda. Ideally, half ‘n half.BRO – One item you won’t leave home to go on tour without?NB – My Ray Bans.BRO – A week at the beach or a week in the mountains?NB – I live at the beach, so I’ll go mountains. I love both.BRO – First song you ever slow danced to?NB – Probably “More Than Words,” by Extreme in seventh grade.BRO – First record you ever bought with your own money?NB – That’s a tough one to remember. I want to say Like A Virgin, by Madonna.BRO – TV show you watch that you don’t want anyone to know about?NB – If I didn’t want anyone to know I wouldn’t put it in an interview to read! Seriously, I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I don’t feel guilty liking something.Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers head to Hunter, New York, for Mountain Jam and then a bill with The Mother Hips in Jamestown, New York, next week. After that, it’s a steady slate of festival gigs beginning in early July, with appearances at High Sierra, Santa Cruz Mountain Sol Festival, Seven Sisters Festival, Northwest String Summit, and Floyd Fest on tap.For more information on the band, tour dates, and how you can grab the new record, cruise over to the band’s website, and also make sure to take a listen to “Waiting On Love” on this month’s Trail Mix.