FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Andy Chow for WOSU:Ohio’s largest energy companies are trying to figure out what they’re going to do with their coal power plants as they navigate through a vital time in the utilities industry. For the final installment of his three-part series, Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow explores the different paths those utilities can take and what that means for Ohioans who pay to keep the lights on.Many agree that the state of Ohio has reached a boiling point where the fate of coal, renewable energy and the regulatory framework itself must be decided.Businesses and energy companies think so.“It’s not on a front page it’s not something people will immediately understand, it’s geeky stuff,” said Sam Randazzo.“Quite frankly I think we’re at a crossroads,” Todd Snitchler added.Environmentalists think so.“We’re at an incredibly critical transition point,” said Dan Sawmiller.And legislators think so.“We’re at a point where all of those major issues remain undecided,” said Republican Senator Bill Seitz of Cincinnati.AEP and FirstEnergy had plans to keep their struggling coal plants afloat by adding an extra charge to customers’ electric bills. But that was essentially struck down by federal regulators.FirstEnergy is trying to find a new way to fund the plants while AEP has suggested selling off all its coal plants or try to go back to a regulated industry.Full story and audio for three part series here: http://radio.wosu.org/post/power-plant-your-electric-bill-critical-point-future-energy-ohio Ohio Energy Decisions ‘at a Boiling Point’
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Asia Times:On Tuesday last week, Tony Abbott, Australia’s ex-prime minister, was photographed in parliament clutching a document entitled, the “Coal era is not over.”In India, which until recently had the world’s second-largest coal pipeline, two seismic events have signaled the contrary to be true.According to Australia’s pro-coal “Monash Forum” parliamentarians, of which Abbott is a founding member, India is ensuring a rosy future for coal exporters such as Australia due to its plans to construct 116 new power stations, or around 88 GW. Ironically, on the same day the Forum’s “fact sheets” were released, NTPC, the largest owner and developer of domestic coal plants in India, shelved its 4 GW Pudimadaka Ultra-Mega Power Plant, due to be built in the state of Andhra Pradesh.This decision to cancel the largest new coal-fired power station planned in India is another step in the country’s remarkable Indian energy transition. Since the start of 2010, as a result of shelved and cancelled projects, India’s coal plant pipeline has shrunk by a staggering 547 GW. To give this some perspective, that is almost three times the total installed capacity of Germany.Today, 88GW–or rather 84GW–are still reported to be “progressing” through approval processes. Though given current trends, this more accurately translates as “yet to be formally cancelled or put into administration.”In fact, of the remaining pipeline, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) estimates no more than 10-20 GW might actually see the light of day. That means more than 84% of India’s 2010 coal pipeline will have been cancelled. What’s more, if India’s 2018 National Energy Plan forecast of 48GW of end-of-life coal plant closures by 2027 occurs, India is rapidly approaching peak thermal coal.Coal will not be gone in a decade, but the era will end sooner than many expect.More: India is bringing the coal era to an end Commentary: End of coal era in India coming sooner than many think
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:America’s shale producers already had a profitability problem. It just got a lot worse.At a stroke, Saudi Arabia and Russia and their battle for market share have made almost all U.S. shale drilling unprofitable. Only five companies in two areas of the country have breakeven costs lower than the current oil price, according to data compiled by Rystad Energy, an Oslo-based consultancy.Wells drilled by Exxon Mobil Corp., Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chevron Corp. and Crownquest Operating LLC in the Permian Basin, which stretches across West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, can turn profits at $31 a barrel, Rystad’s data show. Occidental’s wells in the DJ Basin of Colorado are also in the money at that price, which is where oil settled Monday.But that’s not the case for the rest of the shale industry — more than 100 operators in a dozen fields. For them, drilling new wells will almost certainly mean going into the red.Shale projects are heralded for their ability to be quickly ramped up and down. But because output from these wells declines much faster than from their old-school, conventional cousins, companies have to drill more of them just to keep output flat. That has meant sluggish investor returns, one of the main reasons oil and gas represents less than 4% of the S&P 500 Index.At this point, “companies should not be burning capital to be keeping the production base at an unsustainable level,” said Tom Loughrey, a former hedge fund manager who started his own shale-data firm, Friezo Loughrey Oil Well Partners LLC. “This is swing production — and that means you’re going to have to swing down.”“Even the best operators will have to reduce activity,” said Artem Abramov, head of shale research at Rystad. “It’s not only about commerciality of the wells. It’s a lot about corporate cash flow balances. It’s almost impossible to be fully cash flow neutral this year with this price decline.”[Rachel Adams-Heard and Kevin Crowley]More: Shale’s new reality: Almost all wells drilled now lose money U.S. shale companies facing a money-losing reality after oil price collapse
Enel head of global power generation says company’s coal exit will happen faster than expected FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Italian utility Enel SpA will likely close its remaining coal-fired power stations around the world faster than anticipated, with worsening economics for the fuel leading to billions in write-downs and making an even stronger case to replace capacity with gas-fired plants and renewable energy.The company is still one of the largest owners of coal plants among European utilities and last month was placed on a watchlist by Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund for falling foul of new environmental guidelines, which require companies to own less than 10,000 MW of coal capacity.But Antonio Cammisecra, head of global power generation at Enel, said in an interview that the company expects to reach that milestone by the end of this year — likely accelerating Enel’s eventual exit from coal, tentatively planned for 2030.Enel now wants to close its last coal plant in Chile several years ahead of schedule, after which it will have only one small Colombian unit left in Latin America. In October, the company sold its last coal plant in Russia. “We’ll do it faster than we expected just one year ago,” Cammisecra said. “No doubt, by 2025, Enel will be out of coal in Italy and, mostly, around the world.”The rest of its coal stock, roughly 11,000 MW in all, is in Europe: In Italy, the company just got permission to close a 660-MW unit at its plant in Brindisi, while two of its five remaining plants in Spain also have the green light for decommissioning.“It must be done. And the quicker we do it, the better for everybody,” Cammisecra said. “We’re basically not burning coal right now … and this is not a temporary factor,” Cammisecra said, pointing to increasing generation from wind and solar, cheap gas and a tightening emissions market in Europe, which are all eating into margins for coal. “I think this [dynamic] is here to stay,” he said. “So better to close these plants now.”[Yannic Rack]More ($): Enel eyes faster coal exit as worsening economics ‘here to stay’
S&P: Water availability a growing threat for many U.S. coal-fired power plants FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Many of the nation’s coal-fired power plants, often heavy consumers of water resources, are located in areas projected to soon face water stress due to climate change. Water stress occurs when humanity’s competition for water exceeds the rate at which nature can replenish its stocks.Based on an analysis of data from S&P Global Market Intelligence and the Water Resources Institute, power generators in Texas, Indiana, Illinois, Wyoming and Michigan operate about 37.1 GW of coal-fired generation capacity in areas projected to face medium-high to extremely-high water stress due to climate change in 2030. And those five states are home to more than one-third of the 98.2 GW of coal capacity analyzed that fall into those upper-risk categories.Thus, an aging coal-fired fleet already retiring en masse due to the economic challenges of competing with renewable energy and natural gas-fired generation may come under even more intense pressure due to competition for limited water resources.Earlier this year, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. CEO Duane Highley announced the company would be closing its remaining coal-fired power plants in New Mexico and Colorado as the company shifts to the use of more renewable energy. “I’ll say it presents an enormous opportunity for all of us, as we think about it,” Highley said. “When you look at a typical coal facility, it uses an enormous volume of water, and the fact that that will be liberated and available for other reuse is going to be significant.”About 98.2 GW, or 44.6%, of the operating coal-fired capacity in the lower 48 states is located in regions expected to face medium-high to extremely-high water stress by the end of the decade. Of the 25.1 GW of coal-fired plants that have regulatory approval to retire, about 62% is in areas projected to face medium-high to extremely-high water stress in 2030.Many U.S. coal-fired plants are already struggling to compete with other forms of generation. As water becomes scarce, disputes around the resource are likely to increasingly factor into energy infrastructure decision making, said Joe Smyth, a research and communications manager with the Energy Policy Institute who authored a July 2020 report examining coal and water conflicts in the American West. “This is just one more sort of factor that may help push them to make those decisions in favor of closing coal plants and pursue renewables,” Smyth said.[Taylor Kuykendall and Esther Whieldon]More ($): Rising water stress risk threatens US coal plants, largely clustered in 5 states
Music festival darlings Donna the Buffalo celebrate their 20th anniversary with their latest offering Silverlined , the band’s seventh studio album to date. Led by founding members, lead guitarist Jeb Puryear and multi-instrumentalist Tara Nevins, DTB doesn’t necessarily break any new musical ground over the course of the album’s 13 tracks. Instead what they achieve is just another solid collection of countrified, Cajun-flavored, reggae-infused sounds, which have become their musical calling card. While Silverlined doesn’t measure up to the band’s earlier work from the mid to late 1990’s, there’s still plenty of goodies throughout to make long-time fans happy including the album opener “Temporary Misery” (with guest vocalist Claire Lynch), the live favorite “Biggie K”, which is presented here with a smoking horn section, and the album’s title track with a guest vocal appearance by David Hidalgo of Los Lobos. Here’s to 20 years and counting. -Shaun Harvey
Ten Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states have, in the face of federal inaction, agreed on a region-wide greenhouse gas emissions limit, enforced through the sale of pollution permits to large fossil fuel power plants there. Money raised is invested in local businesses throughout the region that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources Pictured: The Big Allis Power Plant, Queens, New York City. Credit: iStock Photo/ThinkstockDear EarthTalk: I understand that some Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. states have banded together to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions. Can you enlighten?— Bo Clifford, Cary, NCGiven the lack of federal action to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., several East Coast states joined together in 2008 to form the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), committing to a market-based system to cap carbon pollution and lower energy bills while creating more green jobs.Under RGGI, the 10 participating states—Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont—agreed on a region-wide greenhouse gas emissions limit, enforced through the sale of pollution permits to large fossil fuel power plants there. The utilities that run the plants purchase the right (at quarterly auctions) to emit certain capped amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2). The money raised is in turn invested in local businesses throughout Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. RGGI’s overall goal is to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector in the states involved by 10 percent by 2018.The program was conceived in 2008 by then New York governor George Pataki based on a similar federal program launched by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 that successfully curbed emissions of other pollutants that led to acid rain.While RGGI had strong bipartisan support at launch, changing priorities have since forced some states to reconsider their commitments. According to RenewableEnergyWorld.com, New Jersey is likely to back out, while factions in New Hampshire and Maine have also called for a withdrawal. “The political tides have turned significantly since the program was started, and many legislatures are now dominated by a new crop of lawmakers looking to cut spending in cash-strapped states,” the website reports.Environmentalists and many business owners have banded together to try to save RGGI in the face of economic threats to its viability. Last July some 200 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic businesses signed on to an open letter urging the governors of the 10 participating states to keep up with the program so that it can achieve its goals. “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative shows that market-based programs can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while boosting our economy and improving energy security, and we encourage you to support and strengthen RGGI going forward,” the letter states. The letter goes on to cite research showing a $4-6 increase in economic output for every $1 invested in energy efficiency programs in the RGGI states. “Even better, these market-driven investments create jobs in the clean tech sector—one of the most dynamic segments of our state economies.”Perhaps more important, RGGI “serves as a powerful model for what a comprehensive national energy policy should do” says the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental group. Whether or not the economy will improve enough or climate change will become dramatic enough for Congress and the White House to take federal action to limit greenhouse gas emissions across the board is anybody’s guess. In the meantime, keeping alive programs like RGGI might be the best we can hope for.CONTACTS: RGGI, www.rggi.org; RenewableEnergyWorld.com, www.renewableenergyworld.com; Businesses Letter to State Governors, www.cleanenergycouncil.org/files/RGGIJuly2011Final.pdf.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
Essential 2012 Albums from the South Avett BrothersThe CarpenterThe Avett Brothers have always been about heart-on-the-sleeve honesty, but on their second album for Rick Rubin’s American Recording’s label, North Carolina’s native sons get particularly personal. Through intimate finger-picking that channels some of their early independent albums, the Avetts share emotional introspection on parenthood (“A Father’s First Spring”), losing loved ones (“Through My Prayers”) and the emptiness of materialism in the tastefully horn-accented “Down with the Shine.” The end of the album has a couple surprises, including a veiled rebuke of over-development and prejudice through the infectious piano of “Geraldine” and a cleanse-my-soul unleashing of alt-rock energy in “Paul Newman vs. the Demons.”Band of Horses Mirage RockWho was the right man to reign in the Charleston, S.C.,-based indie rock heroes? Legendary producer Glyn Johns, whose resumé boasts work with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, nuanced the Horses’ usual distortion and reverb into some blissfully mellow moments of vintage folk rock. Front man Ben Bridwell channels the melancholy of Neil Young on the dusty ballad “Slow Cruel Hands of Time,” but there’s still plenty of freewheelin’ fun in the jangly rock dance tune “Knock Knock.” Asheville tunesmith Tyler Ramsey (now the Horses’ lead guitarist) also gets to sing his “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone,” a Laurel Canyon-flavored country shuffle that’s another example of how this group is ripe with versatility for the long haul.Alabama ShakesBoys & GirlsThis debut effort from a major buzz band lived up to the hype. The Alabama Shakes deliver gritty garage soul that’s propelled by the vocals of front woman Brittany Howard, whose range fluctuates between the sensual groove of Aretha Franklin to the wailing howls of Robert Plant. Boys & Girls pays homage to old school Muscle Shoals in the context of kids who grew up on Nirvana—gritty rock club energy that channels ghosts of the past.Widespread Panic WoodBefore shelving their instruments for a year-long break, Panic played a brief acoustic tour. It’s documented on this two-disc set, a compilation of the 12-show run that finds the band digging into stripped-down takes of many of their classic Southern fried jams. Highlights include the bluegrass treatment of “Imitation Leather Shoes” and the juke joint dance groove given to “Tall Boy.” Key to this collection are the choice covers, including John Lennon’s “Ballad of John and Yoko” and Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross.” Here’s to hoping for Wood Tour round two.Shovels and RopeO’ Be JoyfulAs Shovels and Rope, husband and wide duo Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst deliver gutsy roots rock that features stripped-down arrangements on acoustic guitar, a salvaged junkyard drum set, and the occasional addition of harmonica or keyboards. The group’s debut album channels the energy of their reality—young lovers traveling around the country in a Winnebago, belting out rowdy country-tinged foot-stompers with heartfelt ragged harmonies and all the power that can be mustered from weathered acoustic instruments. Throughout the record they swap instruments and lead vocals, Hearst accentuating a sultry howl on the punk-blues collision of the title track, while Trent favors a rambling folk drawl on the hypnotic crawl of “This Means War.” Without much instrumentation, the album’s appeal comes from raw emotion, but as the duo sings together on the opening track: “It ain’t what you got, it’s what you make.” •5 New Year’s Eve ShowsAvett BrothersGreensboro Coliseum • Greensboro, N.C. In their native North Carolina, the Bros. will play their biggest headlining show to date with help from folk-soul crooner Amos Lee.The Infamous StringdustersJefferson Theater • Charlottesville, Va.The expansive bluegrass heroes will deliver blistering steel and wood jams in the intimate confines of the Jefferson in Charlottesville.Pretty Lights and BassnectarHampton Coliseum • Hampton, Va.You’ll be hard pressed to find a more epic dance party, as two of the biggest EDM acts team up for a two-night (December 28-29) arena blowout at the Mothership.The RootsThe Fillmore • Silver Spring, Md.Hip-hop’s premiere live act—now best known as Jimmy Fallon’s house band—will deliver their soul-drenched grooves to the latest extension of the iconic Fillmore.Old Crow Medicine ShowRyman Auditorium • Nashville, Tenn. Culminating a triumphant comeback year that included a revised line-up and a solid new album, Old Crow will reprise their big end-of-the-year party at the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.5 more albumsThe Mountain GoatsTranscendental YouthBowerbirdsThe ClearingMalcolm HolcombeDown the RiverBeach HouseBloomJustin Townes EarleNothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now
Population: 652Public lands: Chattahoochee National Forest, Wolf Creek Falls at Vogel State Park, Desoto Falls, Raven Cliff Falls, Anna Ruby Falls, Vogel State Park,Outdoor Highlights: hiking the Appalachian Trail, waterfall viewing, paddling, hiking and biking Brasstown Bald
Steven Reinhold grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina and considers this area and its people as a base camp for life. He recently completed charity expeditions to Mt. Whitney, Mt. Shasta and The Grand Teton. His latest endeavor is The Appalachian Adventure Company, specializing in custom outdoor trips.Our outdoor careers serve as one long product testing session. Eventually, through trial and error, you learn how to pack for every occasion.Don’t you love the feeling you get when your pack is dialed in with the perfect mix of gear for a trip? Whether going for a night of naked and afraid, a weekend of glamping, or an assault in the Smoky Mountain rain, having the right gear makes the experience so much better.The old days of laurel walking sticks, old packs and pads, steel percolators, 7” Winchester knives, massive Coleman camp stoves, hatchets and thick double-knee Carhartts are gone. Now, you’ll find so many synthetic materials in my kit you’ll need an organic chemistry degree to unpack.My passions include snowboarding, backpacking, adventurous travel and the “Great American Road Trip.” Of late I have found myself in the Mountaineering world trying to help spread the word for Big City Mountaineers (BCM), taking underserved urban youth on wilderness mentoring trips across the country. Recently I have opened up The Appalachian Adventure Company in Waynesville, N.C., which offers all kinds of custom trips in this area.My packing rules are simple: if a piece of gear is going to add to your experience, then bring it. Bring gifts to share with your friends at random times on the trip and always be prepared for varying weather conditions. Although every adventure demands a different list of gear, here are a few of my favorites that go to wild places with me.DeLorme inReachThis guy is the life of the party at Base Camp and DeLorme is a huge supporter of Big City Mountaineers. With this incredible unit you can send and receive messages to anyone with a link showing your current position on a remarkably detailed map. The unit pairs with an App called Earthmate on your smartphone so you can see a detailed map of your position and send/post messages with the ease of your phone’s keyboard. It is really special to bring this along on our charity climbs. It gives everyone the opportunity to communicate and share the experience with those who helped support your cause. On Mt. Shasta our team sent dozens of messages to friends, family members and supporters at Base Camp. They were able to follow our climb and know exactly where we were on the mountain at all times and the moment we returned safely.Keen Marshall Mid/WPDepending on the expedition we wear a variety of footwear ranging from full on Mountaineering boots to lightweight approach shoes. I’ve had some great success with Lowa and Salewa on the mountaineering side and love Scarpas for the latter. For all around awesomeness though I really want to highlight the Keen Marshall series. The Marshalls offer ridiculous ankle support for how lightweight they are. They are surprisingly water proof and have a really aggressive tread pattern for difficult terrain. I can train like an animal in them beforehand and then use them on the approach to camp for a big climb. Keen is another huge supporter of Big City Mountaineers and they give every Summit For Someone climber a discount code good for a free pair of boots!Liberty BottlesI have to say this is my favorite company out there right now. They are very generous sponsors of Big City Mountaineers and are run by some wildly bearded outdoorsmen from Washington. I got a chance to hang out with their crew at the last OR show and it was a blast! They make super lightweight and durable custom water bottles from all recycled materials. You can order a batch to sell for a fundraiser or to promote your business and get anything you can dream up printed on them! The Gold bottle is a one of a kind item that’s special to me. It is the first place trophy from Liberty’s annual Ping Pong tournament at the OR show I was lucky enough to win!Gear TiesThese things are great for just about anything. I usually take two of the orange ones with me since they are highly visible. You can use them to mark a trail, hang a water filter, secure an ice ax and tie just about anything to your pack. I even crossed two in an “X marks the spot” fashion on Mt. Shasta to mark a beer cache I brought to surprise my teammates!Jansport KlamathThe Klamath Pack is Lightweight, versatile and has a super-easy adjustable strap system. Most all of the packs available today are going to be great and you can’t go wrong with an Osprey but this one from Jansport was free as part of the Summit For Someone gear package! Jansport and the legend behind it, Skip Yowell, have been long time supporters of Big City Mountaineers. Skip is just about the coolest guy walking the planet and Jansport is passionate about our cause so it is an honor to have one of these wonderful packs strapped to my back!Light My Fire SporkMost everyone who has camped has eaten with one of the colorful plastic sporks from this company. The President of Industrial Revolutions which owns great brands like UCO and Light My Fire is a Summit For Someone climber himself. Light My Fire provides all of the Big City Mountaineers kids with a backpacking food kit. Check out our video from that Grand Teton climb and see our climb thanks to GoPro!GoProFor me this one is simple. I hope to grow old one day and when that happens I want to look back on all the awesome things I have done in HD. Just be sure to spring for the extra battery.Black Diamond Raven Ice AxAn ax is your best friend and sometimes life saver at elevation. Black Diamond is another generous company that donates an ax to every Summit For Someone climber! There are countless designs out there for a variety of climbing but I have really come to love the Raven series as an all-around great tool for the mountains. I go old school and carry a longer ax for better balance and strong anchors. I heard Yvon Chouinard suggest that in a speech at the American Alpine Club’s fundraising dinner last winter and the advice stuck. I even keep it with me in the back of the truck at night on long road trips as a serrated, razor sharp theft deterrent!–What’s In Your Pack is a regular column on BlueRidgeOutdoors.com. Contact us with suggestions on athletes and adventurists you want to see featured!