Month: December 2020

‘The Supreme Court Can’t Save Coal’

‘The Supreme Court Can’t Save Coal’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Daniel Gross for Slate:Investors in coal, owners of coal mines, and the politicians who carry their water consistently misunderstand the nature of coal’s decline. Yes, federal standards and rules such as the Clean Power Plan are an important part. But they’re not the only part. The war on coal is happening on many fronts. And the Supreme Court can’t do much about them.First, there are the states. Lots of people simply don’t want coal in their energy-generation mix. It pollutes, it’s a comparatively dirty business, and it’s the opposite of trendy. And utilities are regulated at the state level. Some 29 states have renewable portfolio standards, which dictate that a certain (and rising) percentage of power used in the state derive from sources other than coal and fossil fuels. Others impose air-quality standards that make coal an unviable source. On the East Coast, nine states with a combined population of about 41 million have entered a regional greenhouse gas initiative that effectively limits emissions. And guess what? There is virtually no coal generation in those states. Oregon is considering a law that would ban the use of coal-generated electricity in the state by 2030.The war on coal is happening on many fronts. And the Supreme Court can’t do much about them.Second—and this is the main factor coal partisans fail to grasp—there’s no greater enemy of coal than cheap natural gas. It’s abundant, difficult to export, and burns cleaner than coal. It’s also dirt cheap and a pretty good fuel for producing electricity. Utilities and power generators are switching from coal to natural gas in part for environmental reasons, but largely for economic ones. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in November natural gas accounted for 33.8 percent of electricity generated in the U.S., up from 28.2 percent in November 2013. In the same time period, coal’s market share of electricity generation fell from 38 percent to 29.2 percent. A Supreme Court ruling won’t make natural gas more expensive.Third, power production is a business with long planning cycles. And over the past decade, the industry has been plotting ways to burn less coal—in part because of existing regulations and the threat of future ones, but also because alternatives are making more sense. According to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative, about one-third of the nation’s coal-burning capacity has been retired or is on the road to retirement. So far this year, coal production is down by about one-third from the corresponding period in 2015. No Supreme Court ruling will change that trajectory.Fourth, renewables are taking a bite out of coal. Renewables aren’t just emissions-free. They’re now a viable business that provide long-term monetary savings to customers. The unexpected extension of the tax credits associated with building and operating wind and solar farms has given new life to those industries. The business is booming. Texas, Iowa, and other states in the plains are building massive amounts of wind-generating capacity. People are in the business of purchasing energy by buying it from renewable producers rather than from coal plants. That won’t change if the Supreme Court invalidates the clean power plan.Fifth, nongovernment and nonstate actors are waging their own war on coal. Today, every global company has a plan to reduce emissions. They operate in the U.S., where the debate over climate change and what to do about it is continuing. But they also operate in many other countries where the debate is settled and the policy picture is clearer. Companies need to invest in renewables for their brand but also to operate effectively. So we see the rising trends of companies building their own emissions-free power plants on their roofs and making direct deals to purchase the output of renewable plants. Earlier this week, conglomerate 3M agreed to buy the output of a 120 MW wind farm. A class of high-status corporate officials with large budgets has now been given a mandate to build and acquire zero-emissions electricity. That won’t change if the Supreme Court invalidates the Clean Power Plan.Full article: The Supreme Court Can’t Save Coal ‘The Supreme Court Can’t Save Coal’last_img read more

IEEFA Energy Finance 2016: U.S. Natural-Gas Pipeline System is Being Overbuilt

IEEFA Energy Finance 2016: U.S. Natural-Gas Pipeline System is Being Overbuilt

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Panelists at Energy Finance 2016 detailed this afternoon how energy companies are overbuilding natural gas pipelines in several states.Jonathan Peress, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund, called for “a more robust needs assessment” by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on such projects.“As we deploy more renewables, if we can price gas services for what they’re worth so that alternatives can compete, we can call forth from the market a better mix of services, many of them clean energy resources.”Peress says pipeline overbuild has gained momentum with the fracking boom, and that “it’s going to get worse … the market need is not what’s indicated by the contracts.”“It looks like we are going to have a relatively overbuilt system,” Peress said.Carrie La Seur, an IEEFA board member and Montana-based energy-industry lawyer, said challenges to eminent domain are increasingly important in landowner fights against projects that include the proposed Sandpiper pipeline across North Dakota and Minnesota. IEEFA Energy Finance 2016: U.S. Natural-Gas Pipeline System is Being Overbuiltlast_img read more

Alpha and Peabody, in Multimillion-Dollar Salary Reports, Cite ‘Talent’ and ‘Excellence’ of Executives Who Led Companies Into Bankruptcy

Alpha and Peabody, in Multimillion-Dollar Salary Reports, Cite ‘Talent’ and ‘Excellence’ of Executives Who Led Companies Into Bankruptcy

first_imgAlpha and Peabody, in Multimillion-Dollar Salary Reports, Cite ‘Talent’ and ‘Excellence’ of Executives Who Led Companies Into Bankruptcy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Julie Silvederio for SNL:Arch Coal Inc.’s Chairman and CEO John Eaves, and Peabody Energy Corp.’s President and CEO Glenn Kellow received $4.9 million and $4.8 million in total compensation in 2015, respectively, according to amended Form 10-K filings released April 29.Arch said its compensation program is designed to attract, motivate and retain highly talented executives.Peabody highlighted Kellow’s strategic vision and leadership in the areas of portfolio optimization, operational excellence, organizational efficiency, fiscal focus and health and safety were critical to the enterprise achievements in 2015, as the major factors in determining his nonequity incentive plan compensation.Full article ($): Arch Coal and Peabody Energy CEOs each had pay approaching $5M in 2015last_img read more

Australian water utilities band together in wind power purchase

Australian water utilities band together in wind power purchase

first_imgAustralian water utilities band together in wind power purchase FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Thirteen Victorian water utilities have banded together to forge a major renewable energy off-take deal that will supply between 20 and 50 per cent of each corporation’s total electricity needs, and lower water bills for consumers.The utilities, under an umbrella organisation called Zero Emissions Water Ltd (ZEW), have signed a deal with the 200MW Kiamal Solar Farm – Victoria’s largest such project to date, which is being developed in the state’s north-west by Total Eren.Victorian water minister Lisa Neville said on Tuesday that the power purchase deal, starting October 2019, meant the utilities would be able to source electricity at “a much cheaper rate” than would be possible individually.This would not only slash the utilities’ emissions, but reduce operating costs in what is a notoriously energy intensive industry, and allow those savings to be pass on to consumers.Total Eren’s Kiamal Solar Farm has been setting the pace for corporate renewables financing deals in Victoria, namely with the fast-growing energy retailer Flow Power, which is contracted to buy 50MW of capacity from Kiamal, to offer to its business clients, including Mars Australia.More: Victorian water utilities ink major off-take deal with state’s biggest solar farmlast_img read more

Duke Energy shuts 344MW Asheville coal plant in North Carolina

Duke Energy shuts 344MW Asheville coal plant in North Carolina

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Asheville Citizen Times:After 56 years of burning coal at its Lake Julian power plant, Duke Energy has officially shut down the coal operation.“At 4 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2020, Duke Energy achieved a significant milestone and officially shut down the 344-megawatt Asheville coal plant in Arden, North Carolina,” Duke Energy spokeswoman Heather Danenhower said. “The coal plant reliably served customers since 1964. Some demolition work has already started and is expected to be completed in 2023.”The plan to switch over to natural gas has been in the works for years, and Duke completed the 560-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas plant in late 2019. The $893 million natural gas plant was built on Duke’s nearly 700-acre campus near Lake Julian.“Duke Energy customers in both North Carolina and South Carolina are now receiving 460 megawatts of cleaner-burning, highly efficient energy from the new Asheville Combined Cycle Station,” Danenhower said. “We will add 100 more megawatts to the new natural gas power plant — for a total of 560 megawatts — when we bring the remaining steam turbine generator online in the first quarter of 2020.”Julie Mayfield, co-director of the Asheville environmental advocacy nonprofit MountainTrue, said the closure of the coal facility is cause for celebration, but natural gas, while a much cleaner fuel, also comes with some burdens.“The transition to natural gas does not address the larger concern around global carbon pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from fracking, and we recognize those are significant issues that do need to be addressed,” said Mayfield, who also is a member of Asheville City Council and a candidate for the state legislature in the 49th Senate District. “We certainly support the efforts locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[John Boyle]More: Duke Energy officially retires coal units at Lake Julian Duke Energy shuts 344MW Asheville coal plant in North Carolinalast_img read more

Falling LNG prices turning exports into a money-losing enterprise for U.S. companies

Falling LNG prices turning exports into a money-losing enterprise for U.S. companies

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:U.S. liquefied natural gas producers face a wave of order cancellations as global buyers struggle with growing stockpiles of the fuel along with demand weakened by the coronavirus crisis.All U.S. projects could get requests to cancel a total of 35-45 cargoes for July loading, which is higher than the number of shipments scrapped for June, traders surveyed by Bloomberg News estimated. That means more than half of the average monthly shipments from the fastest-growing LNG producing country could be scrapped in July.At least some cargo cancellations would translate into production curbs that could provide some respite from the global glut that has pushed prices to record lows. Shipments from other global suppliers have been robust despite the warm winter and the health crisis eroding demand as new plants keep pushing supply to the market.Economics for sending U.S. LNG to markets in Asia and Europe have rapidly deteriorated. The Henry Hub benchmark in the U.S., the main price link for U.S. LNG, is now above prices in European hubs. While Asian spot prices rebounded from record lows, they still don’t make U.S. exports profitable.Current forward prices indicate that traders will lose more than $0.70 per million British thermal units on LNG export operations from the Gulf Coast to Rotterdam, and more than $0.40 per million Btu for exports to Tokyo in July 2020, Anna Borisova, an analyst at BloombergNEF said in a note.“Negative profit margins for U.S. LNG exports suggest that cancellations may continue until October 2020,” she said. “Even the buyers that consider both liquefaction and LNG tankers as a sunk cost will make losses if they decide to export the commodity.”[Stephen Stapczynski and Anna Shiryaevskaya]More: U.S. LNG cancellations swell with storage space vanishing Falling LNG prices turning exports into a money-losing enterprise for U.S. companieslast_img read more

Investors, activists continue efforts to stop South Korean funding for new Vietnam coal plant

Investors, activists continue efforts to stop South Korean funding for new Vietnam coal plant

first_imgInvestors, activists continue efforts to stop South Korean funding for new Vietnam coal plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Straits Times:Pressure is mounting on South Korea to exit a multimillion-dollar coal project in Vietnam, with a consortium of 21 European investors being the latest to raise objections to the country’s decision to invest in coal overseas while pursuing a low-carbon initiative back home.Green activists are already up in arms over what they have called a “hypocritical” move by the state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) to go ahead with the Vung Ang 2 coal project in Vietnam, weeks after President Moon Jae-in declared a climate crisis and the National Assembly voted in favour of setting a goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.The European consortium, which manages over US$5.5 trillion (S$7.5 trillion) in assets, sent a letter last week to firms involved in the project, including Kepco, Samsung C&T, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, the United States’ General Electric and Energy China GPEC.Mr. Eric Pedersen of Nordea Asset Management, the largest asset manager in the Nordics, said it “shares with a fast-growing group of international investors the view that it is not too late to change course”. Nordea manages €235 billion (S$378 billion) in assets and has about €400 million invested in companies involved in the Vietnamese project.South Korea has long been criticised for being one of the world’s largest coal financiers. A report released last week by Greenpeace Seoul Office, Korea Sustainability Investing Forum, and lawmaker Yangyi Wonyoung of the ruling Democratic Party shows that South Korean institutions, both public and private, have financed US$50 billion worth of coal projects in the past 12 years.Ms. Thu Vu, energy finance analyst of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a global think-tank, noted that Vietnamese negotiators are still “carefully reassessing the necessity of the project” in view of factors such as the possibility that the new coal plant may “no longer be cost-competitive” by the time it is completed, say, in five years. South Korean sponsors might not be able to afford the time needed by their Vietnamese state partners, “given the quickly narrowing window for fossil fuel financing and mounting pressure from global investors and green activists”, she added.[Chang May Choon]More: South Korea in hot seat as calls to exit Vietnam coal project growlast_img read more

Video: Riding with the Legend

Video: Riding with the Legend

first_imgRecently, I had the pleasure of riding the Virginia Creeper Trail with Lawrence Dye. Dye is 80 years young and has been riding the Creeper for over 20 years, logging an astounding 165,000 miles. What’s it like to ride with the Legend of the Creeper Trail?Check it out:Legend of the Virginia Creeper from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.The song in the video was written and performed by Wayne Miller, current president of the Virginia Creeper Trail Club.Stay tuned for the full story on Lawrence and his accomplishments in our July issue.last_img read more

How To: Open an Outdoor Retail Store

How To: Open an Outdoor Retail Store

first_imgDear Mountain Mama,When I turned forty, I decided to quit my banking gig and put my MBA to use as an outdoor retailer. My goal is to open an independent outdoor gear and clothing store. How do I get connected with the distributors or sales reps from whom I’ll be buying inventory? Also, I’d like to distribute your magazine.Thanks, Aspiring Outdoor Retailer Dear Aspiring Outdoor Retailer,Congratulations on pursuing your dreams! Your next step is to build relationships with distributors and sales reps. And the place to start is OR, which stands for Outdoor Retailer. It’s a tradeshow venue for outdoor specialty retailers in Salt Lake City, Utah. The summer market is slated for July 31-August 3, 2013. But you’ll want to head out at least a day early for the Open Air Demo, where you’ll get to try out the latest in kayaks, stand up boards, camping gear, GPS systems, and more.OR is where small regional shop owners like yourself get to connect with sellers from all over the world and check out the latest and greatest in outdoor gear. At the show, new accounts are formed and orders are written. The only hitch is that buyer attendance is subject to approval. That means not just anyone can go. Luckily for you, new business owners can send a letter of intent along with their attendance application. The letter needs to be from an attorney or bank on official letterhead stating the type of business you plan on starting. You’ll find more info on their website at http://www.outdoorretailer.com.Also, continue reading BRO for reports of gear made in the Blue Ridge, like the article recently posted here. Contact info is provided in the article for the makers of these fine locally made products. Give them a call, I’m sure they’ll be happy to hear from you.Aspiring, as for distributing copies of BRO in our store, just let us know when you’ve scheduled your opening day!Best of luck,Mountain MamaGot a question for Mountain Mama? Send it herelast_img read more

Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge for Pro Bike Racing (And Plenty of Fun)

Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge for Pro Bike Racing (And Plenty of Fun)

first_imgSaturday 3:30 p.m.: Grab your team and see if you can finish 6 laps the quickest in the Adult Big Wheel Relay Race.Saturday 4:30 p.m.: Lace your shoes and participate in the Roanoke Valley Beer Mile. In addition to a quick run and beer, the top finishers (male and female) earn cash prizes of $500 each!Saturday 5:30 p.m.: Live music kicks off on the Martin’s Outdoor Stage with crowd-pleasing favorites such as Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band and DJ Williams Projekt.Saturday 6 p.m.: The main event gets underway, starting with the master’s race (35+), followed by the women’s and men’ events.Saturday Later Night: Stay downtown for the Night Rider’s Ball that’s part of Bike Month. Admission to the event at Martin’s Downtown is $15. Ride your bike and admission (and valet parking) is free. Anyone who participates in the Clean Commute Challenge in May can also get in free.Virginia’s Blue Ridge Downtown Twilight CriteriumWhen: May 21Where: Downtown RoanokeCost: FreeRelated events (and information): Adult Big Wheel Relay Race, Roanoke Valley Beer Mile, Night Rider’s Ball Make a weekend of it.The Virginia’s Blue Ridge Downtown Twilight Criterium is bringing some of the best professional cyclists around to the heart of Roanoke on May 21.It’ll be a weekend of fast-paced bike action paired with plenty of fun for spectators. You can watch the races, take part in a Beer Mile or Adult Big Wheel Race, and join the after-party for the Night Rider’s Ball at Martin’s Downtown. There will be live music, a bike expo and beer garden as well.If you haven’t been to a criterium, or crit, before, it’s been compared to NASCAR on two wheels. The race is a high-energy cycling event that is designed to provide spectators with one heck of an evening of fun. Professional road cyclists traveling in a tight pack, will race lap after lap through the streets of downtown, each jockeying for the lead. A pack of riders will zoom by your watching point, but don’t blink — they’ll pass by again in about 90 seconds.So why not come to Roanoke for the weekend? (And don’t forget to bring your bike and experience some of the best cycling on the East Coast while you are here.)Here’s an idea of what you can do: http://www.vbrcrit.com/event-schedule/Friday evening: Check in to your hotel and head downtown for a local beer at Soaring Ridge or Big Lick Brewing. Both breweries offer craft beer made on site, have food trucks parked outside and live music.Saturday (or Sunday) morning: Grab your bike or rent one locally at Roanoke Mountain Adventures or UnderDog Bikes and experience firsthand the incredible riding of Virginia’s Blue Ridge.Head to Carvins Cove – 2nd largest municipal park in the U.S. – and ride the 60+ miles of singletrack. Join local IMBA riders for an intermediate ride at Carvins Cove.Take a spin on the Blue Ridge Parkway or the new local L’eroica Ride.If you’re looking for something a little more low key, hop on the Roanoke River Greenway and enjoy the various pit stops you’ll encounter (climbing gym, ice cream, restaurants, shopping, coffee, etc.last_img read more