Naughton Closure Likely To Undercut Demand At Westmoreland’s Kemmerer Mine FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star Tribune:Fossil fuel critics are questioning a Wyoming plan to spend up to $22.5 million in public funds to expand a coal mine even as its owner appears headed for bankruptcy and a key customer prepares to curtail consumption.State lawmakers earlier this year approved a measure that earmarked $15 million to relocate a highway north of the Kemmerer Mine, a move that would allow mining to expand. The legislature made its appropriation in the face of diminishing demand for the mine’s coal at a neighboring power plant. The measure calls for another $15 million contribution from “county or private funding,” expected to be a 50/50 split with Westmoreland Coal, the Kemmerer Gazette reported.Naughton Plant operators will shut down one of three generating units by Jan. 30, 2019, a PacifiCorp official said last week. “It’s a hard closure date for operations,” spokesman David Eskelsen told WyoFile. On top of that closure, Westmoreland Coal Company, which owns and operates the Kemmerer Mine, said a month ago it is considering reorganization—widely reported as bankruptcy reorganization—amid a troubled nationwide coal market.The developments regarding the mine and power plant raise questions about the economic future of Kemmerer, population 2,771, and surrounding communities. The circumstances also raise questions regarding the wisdom of Wyoming’s pending $22.5 million expenditure of taxpayer money.It’s another worrisome story from Wyoming’s energy sector, this time playing out in the state’s southwest corner, far from the better-known eastern Wyoming coal mines and power plants near Gillette. Despite criticism, the lawmaker who championed the road-relocation legislation doesn’t think his measure is either misguided or a waste.More: Tied To Coal, Kemmerer’s Future Looks Uncertain
Idaho company proposes largest solar project in the Northwest FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Idaho State Journal:A Boise developer hopes to build what would be the Northwest’s largest solar farm in Twin Falls County near the Nevada border and to sell the renewable energy to Idaho Power.Idaho Power has applied with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to approve a power purchase agreement with Boise-based Alternative Power Development, LLC for 120 megawatts of solar, with an option to purchase an additional 100 megawatts.The first 120 megawatts would be scheduled to come online in 2022. If PUC gives it the green light, the agreement would end a roughly four-year hiatus on “utility scale” solar and wind projects gaining approval in Idaho.The solar farms would be located on about 2,000 acres leased from J.R. Simplot Co. Alternative Power Development also developed Idaho’s current top solar farm, which is an 80 megawatt facility in Grand View.“It speaks to the advances in technology we’ve seen that are making some of these clean resources a lot more cost-effective,” Idaho Power spokesman Jordan Rodriguez said of the plans. Rodriguez said the solar farm would provide a clean power source to help offset lost production from the North Valmy coal power plant, which the company co-owns with a Nevada utility and plans to close early. The coal plant’s first unit will close at the end of this year, 12 years ahead of schedule, and its second and final unit should close in 2025, a decade early.Rodriguez said the solar farm will tie into the same power transmission network that serves the coal plant, which now operates as a summer-only resource. The clean power project also moves Idaho Power closer to its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, Rodriguez said.More: SUPERSIZED SOLAR: Idaho business plans Northwest’s largest solar farm
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):A Florida administrative judge recommends that the state approve Tampa Electric Co.’s application to retire one of the Big Bend Generating Station’s units and repower another one with a new combined-cycle natural gas generator.Judge Francine M. Ffolkes filed a May 30 recommended order with the state’s Division of Administrative Hearings recommending that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet, who serve as a state siting board to determine approval of power plant projects, give Tampa Electric the green light to produce more gas at Big Bend in Hillsborough County, Fla.Tampa Electric wants to retire unit 2, a 445.5-MW co-firing coal and natural gas unit, by 2021 and replace unit 1 with a 1,090-MW gas-fired generator slated to be in partial operations by 2021 and fully online by 2023.“Repowered Unit 1 would utilize the cleanest fuels and the latest, most efficient technology available to generate electric power,” Ffolkes wrote in the order. “Existing infrastructure is available at the site to support operations, and there would be sophisticated controls and continuous monitoring systems providing operational safeguards and minimizing environmental impacts to the area.”Scott Balfour, the CEO of Tampa Electric parent Emera Inc., said during the company’s May 10 conference call that the $850 million investment will reduce emissions from Big Bend by about 30% and save customers $750 million over the investment’s lifetime. He added that the upgrades will help provide backup for Emera’s Florida solar generation program, including the 20-MW Big Bend Solar (Apollo Solar) project at the site.More ($): Fla. judge recommends allowing TECO’s Big Bend plant to run on more gas State judge backs coal-to-gas conversion at Florida’s Big Bend plant
France drops coal projects, restricts financing of fracking and flaring globally FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:France is considering halting funding guarantees for energy projects abroad that involve fracking or flaring, according to a finance ministry report.The government aims to make its program of state guarantees for export financing more environmentally friendly and is dropping support for coal projects as a first step.Next year it will also look into stopping export guarantees for oil and gas activities that are banned in France, including fracking and gas flaring, the report submitted to lawmakers states.In the medium term, a ban on state guarantees for developing new foreign oil fields might also be considered.“All forms of leverage must be used to help transform the economy and production, and one of these is export guarantees,” a finance ministry official said.The government has extended nearly 9.3 billion euros ($10.3 billion) in public guarantees for oil and gas projects since 2009, mainly in the form of export credit insurance, the ministry’s report said.The biggest French firms active in that sector are Total and Engie.France is set to became the first country to ban state export guarantees for coal projects and aims to push others to do the same as part of a reform of OECD guidelines next year, a second finance ministry official said.More: France targets fracking and flaring with export guarantee overhaul
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ESI Africa:The Garissa Solar Plant has increased the share of renewable energy to the grid to 93%, setting the stage for cheaper electricity in Kenya.The construction of the 50MWp (Mega Watt peak) Garissa Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant was completed by the China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Co-operation (CJIC). The plant consists of 200,200 solar panels connected to inverters and installed on an area of 85 hectares.The project was developed by the Kenya Rural Electrification Authority. This public institution has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power (KPLC), the company that provides the electricity utility.Under the contract, KPLC will purchase a kWh of electricity at 12 shillings ($0.12), which is currently 8 shillings ($0.07) less than electricity generated from diesel, the main source of power in Garissa County.The project required an investment of Sh13 billion (just over $128.5 million). The Kenya Rural Electrification Authority relied on funding from Exim Bank of China to build the Garissa Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant.[Nicolette Pombo-Van Zyl]More: Garissa solar plant soars Kenya’s renewable endeavour to new high Chinese firm completes construction of 50MW Garissa solar farm in Kenya
India’s Greenko Energy planning $1 billion investment into battery storage sector FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mint:Greenko Energy Holdings aims to invest around $1 billion in a new battery storage business that also includes a plan to produce lithium-ion batteries in India for power grid-scale applications and electric vehicles (EV), said a person aware of the development.The fresh capital for renewables 3.0 investment will be deployed by the Hyderabad-based company to acquire and develop lithium-ion battery technology, and for its manufacturing and application playbook. This comes against the backdrop of the single-largest foreign clean energy investment announcement in India made by Japan’s ORIX Corp. for $980 million in Greenko for a 17% stake.Sovereign funds GIC Holdings Pte. Ltd and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA)-backed Greenko’s pivot towards battery storage comes amid India readying its proposed ₹18,000-crore production-linked incentive package for battery storage manufacturing, Mint had reported earlier. India also plans to issue tenders for setting up Tesla-style gigafactories for cell and battery manufacturing.As China dominates the lithium-ion cell manufacturing, India wants to avoid a repeat of events with solar equipment manufacturing where China leveraged its first-mover advantage to capture the market. The value chain comprises processing of raw materials and manufacturing of separators, cathodes, electrolytes, anodes, cells, and battery storage packs.This assumes importance given India’s ambitious clean energy targets and the intermittent nature of electricity from clean energy sources. In such a situation, large grid-scale battery storages can help maintain spinning reserves to support round-the-clock demand for electricity.Greenko is reportedly in talks with Japan’s NEC Corporation to acquire Massachusetts-headquartered NEC Energy Solutions, which holds the intellectual property rights for megawatt-scale lithium-ion batteries. Queries emailed to a Greenko spokesperson on Sunday morning remained unanswered.[Utpal Bhaskar]More: Greenko to invest around $1 billion in new battery storage business
Click here to subscribe to the Pharr Out BlogThe most traumatic day of my thru-hike in 2005 was when I summited Sunrise Mountain, New Jersey to find a body hanging from the rafters in the mountain top pavilion. I was the first witness to an early morning suicide, and it took everything I had to continue hiking after that point and end my journey in Maine.This morning I went back through Sunrise Mountain Pavilion; it wasn’t scary, it wasn’t sad, instead, it was redemptive.Now there are two things that I have wanted to do since I left Katahdin, one is to hold a Memorial for Meredith when I reach Blood Mountain, Georgia and the other was to have silence and prayer for the victim and family of the young man who ended his life tragically on the trail in New Jersey. Today I was able to accomplish one of those goals.It was a beautiful morning, the sun was bright and there was a cool breeze. I hiked the first part of the morning by myself and then was surprise when a runner came up the trail towards me shouting my name. My good friend, David Horton, from Virginia had come up to the trail to surprise me. Together we started to hike and run together down the trail until I was surprised again by a large black bear standing in the middle of the trail. Horton and I were able to watch it for several minutes before it finally wandered off the trail. When we made it to the base of Sunrise Mountain we were met by my husband and together we traveled together towards the top of the mountain.When I could see the pavilion, I reached out for Brew’s hand and looking at each other we continued to walk step-by-step until we reached the middle of the open-air structure on top. Sitting down on a bench looking out over the valley Brew, Horton and and I took a minute to remember the victim and pray for his friends and family. We spoke words of encouragement to the mountain and the nature surrounding us and together we made a positive memory and shared an affirmative experience at a place that had once been so heartrendingI am out on this trail for many reasons, but I truly hope that by being out here and smiling and encouraging others on the trail and by turning places of sadness into joy others will feel safe and comfortable on the trail and begin to love it as much as I do.
Where have all the real ski bums gone? The old school spirit is revived by Wayne Sheldrake in this memoir of his time as a wide-eyed and occasionally reckless adventurer. He consistently throws himself into big storms and tackles the terrain most of us avoid. But this isn’t just about a guy with guts. It’s more about the epiphanies that come by taking chances and throwing yourself into the great unknown. Read it, and you’ll definitely feel like a jackass for sticking so close to your desk job. waynesheldrake.com
Your daily outdoor news bulletin for April 23, the day William Shakespeare was born in 1564, much to the chagrin of every 10th grader in America:Maryland Man Dies in Tough MudderA 28-year-old Ellicott City, Md. man died Sunday during a Tough Mudder in Berkley County, W.Va. on Saturday. Avishek Sengupta was treated by staff and medics on site after being pulled from a deep pool in the “Walk the Plank” aquatic obstacle – in which participants jump into water from platforms as high as 15 feet. The event held at Peacemaker National Training Center was particularly difficult for participants, 20 of whom were taken to the City Hospital of Martinsburg with injuries ranging from heart attacks to hypothermia. According to a Tough Mudder spokesperson, Sengupta is the first person to die in an event since the first one in 201o (750,000 participants in 50 events over that time frame). Sengupta’s official cause of death was drowning and was ruled accidental by the medical examiner.West Virginia is Stressed OutOf all the lists that West Virginia could land on, this one is a little unexpected. According to a Gallup Poll, the Mountain State is the most stressed state in the Union, narrowly beating out Rhode Island, Kentucky, Utah, and Massachusetts. Actually, none of these states make a whole lot of sense; you would think New York would at least crack the top five, but apparently WV, KY, and UT have been leading the list for the past five years. With all the beauty in WV, with the woods and mountains and rivers, you’d think it would be easy to relive some of that anxiety, but that’s before you factor in mountain top removal mining, fracking, high rates of obesity, and poverty. So there you go. No surprise on the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii is the least stressed state.Loveland Avalanche Victim Warren Wilson GradOne of the victims of the worst avalanche accident in Colorado history had ties to Western North Carolina. Rick Gaukel, 33, majored in outdoor leadership at Warren Wilson College and was the department’s outstanding student in 2005 and the MVP of the mountain biking team that same year. Gaukel was part of a group of six skiers and snowboarders caught in the avalanche at Loveland Pass on Saturday, only one survived the slide.
Some Like It HotBy now we all know Lindsey Vonn isn’t competing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, further diminishing a Winter Games that was already lacking star power. The absence of big names is just one of the reasons the Winter Games pale in comparison to the summer version, especially this year. The Winter Olympics gave us the Miracle on Ice and the delightful film Cool Runnings, for which millions are grateful. But due to its exclusive nature and unfamiliar events, I’m far more excited for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.We like sports to be objective, with clear-cut winners and losers. Team A scored more points than Team B. Runner X crossed the finish line before Runner Y. Too many winter events are determined by judges. Figure skating, snowboarding, and freestyle skiing are three of the more popular sports where the winners are decided by votes. In the summer, the gymnastics events are among the few that require judges. Big-time sports like swimming, track and field, and volleyball do not.Even in the sports where simple numbers (time or distance) decide the medalists, most viewers have no frame of reference. I have no idea what’s a good time for bobsledding or a respectable distance for ski jumping because I’ve never done them. The Summer Games—dominated by simple and inexpensive sports like swimming and track and field—don’t have this problem.Aside from speed skating, there are hardly any winter sports that provide a photo finish. Due to the nature of many events, competitors go one at a time. Viewers have to keep an eye on the clock instead of watch the athletes go head-to-head down the stretch. The incredible finishes we see every four years in the pool or on the track aren’t possible in the Winter Games.And lastly, because of the cost and the climate necessary to attempt many of the winter sports, a majority of the world is excluded. There are 146 countries that have won an Olympic medal: 145 have summer medals, but only 45 have winter medals. You need not only snow but money to train for many of the winter events.Good luck trying to distinguish between two well-executed triple lutzes and have fun watching a couple of guys push a hunk of granite down the ice with a broom. I’ll be counting down the days until the opening ceremony in Rio.Andrew Kahn is a freelance writer who blogs at andrewjkahn.com.Baby, It’s Cold OutsideWe can all agree that most Olympic sports are difficult, or at least require an above average level of specialization, practice, skill, and dedication. This is why millions of people tune in to watch Olympians perform, because they simply don’t possess the combination of natural talent and rigor of these genetic anomalies.But let’s split hairs for a minute: performing sports when it’s cold outside (see: Winter Olympics) is just plain harder, requiring more dexterity, more strength, and more pure nerve than the Olympics’ warm weather cohort will have you believe. Let’s discuss.No one likes the bitter cold. Beach volleyball or snowball fight? I can guarantee 98% of those considered sane by the federal government would pick a warm beach and a Corona in their hand. That’s why winter sports are that much more impressive—it takes a true athlete, a truly hardened individual to face extreme cold, much less ski down a hill at 60 miles an hour in it. Or jump 150 feet in the air on a snowboard. Or ice skate at 40 miles an hour on rock hard ice. Suck it, triathletes, and try doing what you do in a negative-5 wind chill.Ice hockey. Skiing. Snowboarding. Speed skating. Luge. Cross-country skiing. All these sports have two things in common: cold and intensity. Let’s take a look at some summer sports: table tennis, horseback riding, fencing. It sounds more like a country club getaway.Have you ever seen soccer players rip off their gloves, throw down their sticks, and start pummeling each other in the face mercilessly? No? Why, soccer players don’t even have gloves. Or sticks. And they’re not allowed to fight. Is there any sports story more glorious than that of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team? I rest my case.It would seem that Summer Olympians just want to take their shirts off, lounge around at the beach, and pretend at athleticism. If you’ve ever stood atop a mountain in 8-degree weather with 30 mph winds, crossed your fingers, and hoped your skis carried you safely back to the lodge, you can relate. If you haven’t, give it a try some time. If you don’t freeze to death first, you may just come to realize that the Winter Games are really the only sports the Olympics have to offer.Evans Prater is founder of DoNation, a non-profit dedicated to helping folks streamline their support of good causes locally and nationwide: jointhedonation.org.