Study: Clean energy shift promises global growth FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Strong action to combat climate change could cumulatively add at least $26 trillion to the world economy by 2030, according to a study on Wednesday which seeks to dispel fears that a shift from fossil fuels will undermine growth.President Donald Trump, for instance, said last year that he will pull the United States out of a global climate pact called the Paris Agreement because it would impose what he called “draconian financial and economic burdens” on his country.By contrast, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which includes former heads of government, business leaders and economists, said there was “unprecedented momentum” toward greener growth that would boost jobs and countries’ economies. Bold climate action could deliver at least $26 trillion in net cumulative benefits from now until 2030 compared with business as usual, it said.“There’s still a perception that moving toward a low-carbon path would be costly,” lead author Helen Mountford told Reuters. “What we are trying to do with this report is once and for all put the nails in the coffin on that idea.”A shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energies such as wind and solar power would avoid 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution in 2030, it added. The report recommended high prices on carbon dioxide emissions of $40-$80 per tonne by 2020 in major economies.More: Greener growth could add $26 trillion to world economy by 2030: study
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clean Technica:The Indian government has reiterated its commitment to auction large volumes of solar and wind energy capacity in order to achieve the target of 100 gigawatts solar and 60 gigawatts of wind energy capacity operational by 31 March 2022.In a press release issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the government stated that it plans to auction 60 gigawatts of solar power capacity and 20 gigawatts of wind energy capacity by March 2020 in order to achieve those targets.According to the data released by the Ministry as of 31 October 2018, solar power capacity installed in India stood at just over 25 gigawatts, while an additional 36.6 gigawatts capacity was under construction or auctioned, bringing the total to 61.6 gigawatts. The Ministry hopes that the gap of around 40 gigawatts could be filled through fresh auctions between January 2019 and March 2020. This translates into an average capacity auction of around 2.7 gigawatts every month for the next 15 months.For the wind energy capacity, the figures on 31 October 2018 stood at 35 gigawatts commissioned, and 9.4 gigawatts under construction or auctioned, bring the total to 44.4 gigawatts. The Ministry plans or expects fresh tenders of 20 gigawatts over a period of 15 months through March 2020 to achieve the installed capacity target of 60 gigawatts by March 2022. The monthly average capacity to be auctioned would be around be a manageable 1.4 gigawatts.This is not the first time that the Indian government has issued such a timeline for solar and wind energy auctions to achieve the 2022 targets. The MNRE had the same exercise a year ago, and has failed to keep up with its own timeline.As per the initial timeline, the Ministry had planned for the auction of 13 to 14 gigawatts of wind energy capacity between January 2018 and March 2019. Instead, only 6.9 gigawatts capacity was auctioned between February and September 2018. The Solar Energy Corporation of India, an agency under direct control of the MNRE, had to reduce the size of multiple wind energy tenders, and even had to cancel or postpone some of them.More: India eyes 80 gigawatts of solar & wind tenders by March 2020 India reiterates commitment to new solar, wind capacity
New York expects incentives to yield 1.8 gigawatt-hours of energy storage FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Energy storage companies now can apply for $280 million in incentives allocated by New York’s state government.Gov. Andrew Cuomo made energy storage a key pillar of his strategy to secure 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040, because it can replace fossil-fueled plants to deliver power on demand. So far, grid battery projects in the state have appeared as pilots or one-offs; a thriving, sustainable business environment has not emerged with today’s market rules and battery project pricing.New York leaders hope the new “bridge incentive” will fix that. The theory is that the funding will monetize some of the value of storage that companies cannot get compensation for yet. By supporting the early growth of the market, the bridge will get the industry to a sustainable place, phasing out as deployments grow.The scale and structure of the targets were published in March, but the funding went live during the week of Earth Day. Though the numbers are not new, their sheer size demands attention.“At a minimum, this funding will support 1.8 gigawatt-hours of additional storage by 2025 across all three segments [residential, commercial and utility-scale], and thus will be integral in supporting New York’s storage target of 3 gigawatts by 2030,” said Brett Simon, senior energy storage analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.The program divides the funds between two categories. “Bulk” projects, which are bigger than 5 megawatts and serve the wholesale market or distribution services, receive $150 million. “Retail” projects, smaller than 5 megawatts and sited among customers, get $130 million. The applications are available online via the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).More: New York’s energy storage incentive could spur deployment of 1.8GWh
Engie to replace its coal plants in Chile with 1,000MW of renewable energy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Engie Energia Chile SA launched on Friday the construction phase of its investment plan to install 1,000 MW of renewables, which starts with three projects in the Chilean region of Antofagasta.Two of the three are already in construction, the Chilean energy company said. These are the 150-MW Calama wind farm and the 100-MWp Capricornio solar park, both slated to begin operations throughout 2021.Construction of the third project, the 120-MWp Tamaya solar park, is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2020. Engie Chile estimates that the initial investment in the three schemes will reach around USD 300 million (EUR 273.4m).The strategy is part of the company’s asset rotation plan to replace coal-fired generation units with new renewable energy producing plants. Engie Chile is one of four power producers that signed an agreement with the Chilean government to voluntarily and gradually close coal-based plants, and the first one to take offline its units.Two units totaling 171 MW at the Tocopilla power plant ceased operations in early June, while two other units, of 132 MW and 136 MW, will be retired starting January 1, 2022.Engie’s 1,000-MW campaign will represent an investment of USD 1 billion, the company said.More: Engie Chile kickstarts 1-GW renewables build-out
Contura Energy’s big bet on met coal is turning into a big bust FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:U.S. miner Contura Energy Inc.’s $800 million bet on international coal markets is souring.In November 2018, when Contura bought Alpha Natural Resources and became America’s biggest supplier of metallurgical coal, global prices for the fuel were climbing — bolstered by demand, particularly in China. Since then, trade tensions have escalated, curbing purchases of both steel and the coal used to make it. On Thursday, the miner reported $40 million in third-quarter earnings, less than half of what analysts estimated, and suspended share buybacks.The stock plunged by the most ever and was trading at a record low Friday. It’s fallen 87% this year.Contura has “endured an incredibly tumultuous and unnerving 2019, marked by management changes, asset sale challenges, and most importantly, a significant deterioration in met coal market fundamentals,” Mark Levin, a coal analyst at Seaport Global, said in a research note. “As a result, the stock has come unglued.”The collapse of Contura, which declined to comment, reflects the broader struggles in America’s coal country. U.S. power plants are burning less of the fuel as utilities shift to cheaper natural gas and renewable energy. And the met coal export market that miners were depending on to weather this downturn at home is weakening. At least four U.S. companies have shuttered mines since August and five have gone bankrupt this year.This is not the market that Bristol, Tennessee-based Contura had envisioned. Coal prices, now near a two-year low, came in “significantly below expectations” in the third quarter, Chief Executive Officer David Stetson said in a call with investors Thursday. “Contura, as well as the industry as a whole, experienced weakening demand for our products.”More: U.S. coal giant is ‘unglued’ as $800 million takeover sours
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Plunging costs of renewables mark a turning point in a global transition to low-carbon energy, with new solar or wind farms increasingly cheaper to build than running existing coal plants, according to a report published on Tuesday.The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said the attractive prices of renewables relative to fossil fuel power generation could help governments embrace green economic recoveries from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic.“We have reached an important turning point in the energy transition,” Francesco La Camera, director-general of IRENA, said in a statement.Although scientists say the world needs to stage a much faster transition to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, the annual report by the Abu Dhabi-based agency shows that wind and solar are increasingly competitive on price alone. More than half of the renewable capacity added in 2019 achieved lower power costs than the cheapest new coal plants, the report found.Auction results also suggest that the average cost of building new solar photovoltaic (PV) and onshore wind power now costs less than keeping many existing coal plants running, reinforcing the case for phasing out coal, the report said.The authors also calculated that the world could save up to $23 billion of power system costs per year by using onshore wind and solar PV to replace the most expensive 500 gigawatts of coal-fired power, mostly found in China, India, Ukraine, Poland, South Korea, Japan, Germany and the United States. Next year, up to 1,200 GW of existing coal capacity could prove more expensive to operate than the cost of building new utility-scale solar PV farms, the report found.[Matthew Green]More: Plunging cost of wind and solar marks turning point in energy transition: IRENA Irena: Energy transition at a ‘turning point’ as renewables undercut fossil fuel generation costs
You might as well ask me why the sky is blue, Irene Soderquist. Actually, you are, in a way. The two questions are not as far apart as you might think. The famous blue haze suffusing the Blue Ridge Mountains is not an actual mist but rather a combination of physics, chemistry, and biology. It’s all a matter of perception when you get right down to it.First, a physics lesson. Thanks to Sir Isaac Newton, we know that the white light from the sun is really a combination of several different colors. One of the first science experiments many of us perform as children is to use a prism to separate the colors of light into a spectrum. When the colors of light form a spectrum, they always arrange themselves in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (remember ROY G. BIV?). These are the colors visible to the human eye. Each color has a different wavelength, with red having the longest, and violet, on the other end of the spectrum, having the shortest.A quick detour into biology tells us that the color receptors, or cones, in the retinas of our eyes respond best to the wavelengths of three colors of light-red, green, and blue. This reception is what gives us our color vision.So why doesn’t the sky appear red to us? We can thank Lord Rayleigh, who in the 1850s, explained why. He found that solar light passing through the atmosphere is broadly scattered before our eyes perceive it. Light passing through a medium containing small particles scatters the shorter blue wavelength more strongly than the red. This selective scattering is now known as Rayleigh scattering.Later scientists (including Alfred Einstein, who settled the matter in 1911) concluded that the small molecules of oxygen and nitrogen in the air are more effective at scattering shorter wavelengths of light-the blue and violet end of the spectrum. Since our eyes are not as sensitive to violet, the sky appears blue when you look up through the prism of air that constitutes our atmosphere.But you asked why our mountains-which are made up of many colors-appear blue. The blue-sky principle still holds: when you view a dark, solid object, such as a mountain, from a distance, the scattered light makes it appear blue. Yet the distinct blue haze of the Appalachians can also be attributed to the thick vegetation that blankets the slopes. Tiny hydrocarbon particles, including terpenes from pine trees, are released by plants. The particles react with natural ozone molecules to produce a hazy effect over the mountains. Again, the small size of the particles means that the light scatters blue. The Blue Ridge is not unique in this respect. This effect occurs in other mountain ranges around the world, including the Blue Mountains in Australia.Unfortunately, man-made particles have entered the picture. It’s no secret that, due to air pollution, visibility in the Blue Ridge has degraded significantly in the last 50 years. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide particles from coal-burning power plants, other industry, and from automobiles, mix with the ozone to form a grayish haze that reduces visibility. Sulfate haze may even interfere with the natural terpenes released by certain trees, further diffusing the blue color of the mountains. Unless we continue to improve our air quality, perhaps the Blue Ridge Mountains will be known to future generations as the Gray Ridge. Somehow, that doesn’t connote quite the same air of beautiful mystery.
Greenville, South Carolina resident, Ron Babington, just might be the friendliest of the one hundred or so participants to ride the Tour Divide race this June, but it’s going to take more than a smile and a generous demeanor to accomplish his goal, or even finish, the grueling 2,745 mile self-supported mountain bike race.That’s right . . . over 2,500 miles with no support crew to bring water, food, or aid over the world’s longest non-paved bike route along the western Continental Divide. Come race start on June 14, Ron will subject himself to over 200,000 feet elevation gain from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico on the Mexican border. That’s like summiting Mount Everest from sea level seven times. The website caveat to any who would take the challenge reads, “ . . . it’s the hardest form of bike racing, period.”It gets better. Most cyclists choose a geared bike to accomplish such a feat, but every year there are a few (like maybe ten) hardy souls who seek to tackle the already grueling race sans derailleur. Ron is one of them. “Besides finishing the race, my ultimate goal is to win the single speed division and beat the single speed course record,” says Ron. Eighteen days would be a record ride. “I fully realize how improbable that sounds and the perfect ride it would require. Although I’m not a powerhouse, my strength is more mental than physical. My hope is to push through when others may choose not to. My biggest fear is leaving something out there. I’d rather race it and scratch than just tour it and finish.”There is proof in the peddling when you view Ron’s previous accomplishments in adventure racing and particularly his solo hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in four months, battling through giardia and trench foot, and in the second wettest year on record for AT hikers. His mental metal will come in handy in order to execute his goal as he will need to log an average of 160 miles per day of rigorous mountain pass plodding.What will Ron get for his efforts? Surely the racers win some sort of cash prize, trophy, medallion, years worth of protein powder, or coveted technical tee? Nope. Nothing. Nada. The satisfaction of having achieved the race is itself the reward.For the gearheads out there, here is some of what will keep Ron moving day in and day out:Niner Air9 carbon bike, full rigid, singlespeed (32/17)Revelate Designs bags, ultralight bivy + cuben tarp combo for sleeping.Dynamo front hub that generates electricity to power his headlight.Navigation: GPS track of the official route.To follow Ron on is ride in real time, just follow the blue dots on www.trackleaders.com.Ride on, Ron! We are behind you . . . albeit a long way.
In early November of 2012, a good friend of mine named Ashlee-Jean Trott, who books a fantastic live music show in Nashville called Music City Roots, shot me an email. Included therein was a link to a Youtube video and a very brief message – “Dave, you have to check out this band.”I get messages like this one from Ashlee-Jean all the time. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her musical taste and we chat regularly about bands, what with our roles in finding bands for our respective events. But this message seemed more urgent, like there was something pressing, an as yet unshared secret that I was being let in upon.So I clicked the link. Hot diggety damn.The video was a clip from the previous week’s Music City Roots performance of St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Before the four minute rendition of “Broken Bones & Pocket Change” was over, I had replied to Ashlee-Jean’s email with my own brief response – “I need contact information and I need it now.”Less than two days later, I had confirmed St. Paul & The Broken Bones for our festival and both of the concert series that we sponsor. It was apparent – readily, glaringly, painfully apparent – that there was something special about this band.Sam Cooke, James Brown, Otis Redding . . . . all of them are reaching back to us from the grave through Paul Janeway, the band’s bowtied and bespectacled front man. While the band he stands before – bassist Jesse Phillips, guitarist Browan Lollar, drummer Andrew Lee, and horn players Ben Griner and Allen Branstetter – is nothing short of exceptional, it is Janeway and his vintage voice that captivates listeners.Hear Janeway sing once and I dare you to turn away.Just last month, I caught all three of the band’s sets at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. Sure, there were lots of others places I could have been, lots of other bands I could have seen for the first time. But I didn’t. In fact, I couldn’t. I had to witness first hand – three times over – the musical, spiritual, revival-like atmosphere that is a St. Paul & The Broken Bones set. And the band’s sets were packed. Without exception, people – both fans and festival workers — were raving about them.These guys have caught the lightning in the bottle, folks.St. Paul & The Broken Bones will be rolling into Charlottesville tonight, taking the stage at The Southern Café & Music Hall with Major & The Monbacks, and we want to give you a chance to check out the show for free. Take a shot at our trivia question below and EMAIL your answer to [email protected] A winner of a couple guest list tickets will be drawn from all correct answers received by 3:30 this afternoon.Good luck!!Question – Guitarist Browan Lollar played with what former Drive-By Truckers singer/guitarist prior to being snatched up by St. Paul & The Broken Bones?