Trump Rebuffs Industry Request to Invoke Emergency Powers to Keep U.S. Coal Plants Running

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:The Trump administration has rejected a coal industry push to win a rarely used emergency order protecting coal-fired power plants, a decision contrary to what one coal executive said the president personally promised him.The Energy Department says it considered issuing the order sought by companies seeking relief for plants it says are overburdened by environmental rules and market stresses. But the department ultimately ruled it was unnecessary, and the White House agreed, a spokeswoman said.The decision highlights a pattern emerging as the administration crafts policy: The president’s bold declarations – both public and private – are not always carried through to implementation.President Donald Trump committed to the measure in private conversations with executives from Murray Energy Corp. and FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. after public events in July and early August, according to letters to the White House from Murray Energy and its chief executive, Robert Murray. In the letters, obtained by The Associated Press, Murray said failing to act would cause thousands of coal miners to be laid off and put the pensions of thousands more in jeopardy. One of Murray’s letters said Trump agreed and told Energy Secretary Rick Perry, “I want this done” in Murray’s presence.Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said the agency was sympathetic to the coal industry’s plight, but likewise did not support the proposal.The aid Murray sought from Trump involves invoking a little-known section of the U.S. Federal Power Act that allows the Energy Department to temporarily intervene when the nation’s electricity supply is threatened by an emergency, such as war or natural disaster. Among other measures, it temporarily exempts power plants from obeying environmental laws. In the past, the authority has been used sparingly, such as during the California energy crisis in 2000 and following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Murray’s company is seeking a two-year moratorium on closures of coal-fired power plants, which would be an unprecedented federal intervention in the nation’s energy markets. The company said invoking the provision under the Power Act was “the only viable mechanism” to protect the reliability of the nation’s power supply.Murray told the White House that his key customer, Ohio-based electricity company FirstEnergy Solutions, was at immediate risk of bankruptcy. Coal has become an increasingly unattractive fuel for U.S. electricity companies, which have been retiring old boilers at a record pace. At least two dozen big coal-fired plants are scheduled to shut down in coming months as utilities transition to new steam turbines fueled by cleaner-burning natural gas made more abundant in recent years by new drilling technologies.More: A coal country dispute over and alleged Trump promise unmet Trump Rebuffs Industry Request to Invoke Emergency Powers to Keep U.S. Coal Plants Runninglast_img read more

BNEF: Eight Consecutive Year of $250-$350 Billion in Global Green Energy Investments

first_imgBNEF: Eight Consecutive Year of $250-$350 Billion in Global Green Energy Investments FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg New Energy Finance:2017 looks certain to be the eighth successive year in which global clean energy investment has been in the range of $250 billion to $350 billion; there is a good chance that it will end up a touch higher than last year’s figure of $287.5 billion. Once again, we have seen substantial reductions in the cost of renewable energy, so that 2017 will certainly see another record for new capacity installations.Prices agreed for renewable electricity at auctions around the world have continued to plummet, with the latest records held in photovoltaics by Mexico in November at an average of $20.77 per MWh, and in onshore wind also by Mexico, at an average of $18.60 – or, in you prefer, by India in October at $40.52 with no inflation indexing. In offshore wind, the U.K. auction in September saw projects for commissioning in 2022-23 win through with bids fully 50% below the 2015 auction.2017 also saw relatively new markets break into the big league as destinations for clean energy investment, including Mexico ($5.6 billion in the first three quarters of 2017), United Arab Emirates ($2.4 billion in the same period), Argentina ($1.7 billion) and Egypt ($1.3 billion).Another notable 2017 milestone was the record for the biggest renewable energy corporate power purchasing agreement ever – see number 8 in the break-out below – plus arguably the biggest wind farm repowering ever (the 350MW Wieringermeer project in the Netherlands) and, most importantly, the most solar capacity ever installed in one country in a year, namely an incredible 50GW-plus in China.Electric vehicles made great progress in 2017, with this year likely to have seen EV sales globally surpass 1 million for the first time, a big leap from just under 700,000 previously (see box on our “10 Predictions”). More significant than the current numbers, however, were the announcements during the course of the year of planned bans on pure internal combustion engines – the Netherlands by 2030, India “within 13 years”, China by a so-far-undefined date in the future, the U.K. and France by 2040. EVs still make up less than 2% of global vehicle sales, but they are certainly starting to loom in the rear-view mirror of the internal combustion sector.At the start of the year we predicted a deepening debate about the implications of what we called “base-cost renewables” – renewables with levelized costs that are not just grid-competitive, but that significantly undercut the costs of all other sources of power. That debate has indeed intensified, fueled by the record-low costs of wind and solar that we saw during 2017.The question is no longer about how to promote wind and solar to enable them to grab a small share of each electricity market, but how to reform the rules of the power system so that as much super-cheap but variable renewable electricity as possible can be integrated into it. “Market design” is the hot topic.All in all, therefore, 2017 was a good year. We started by predicting that “our little flotilla will sail on – perhaps not serenely, but more or less as it did in 2016,” and so it turned out.What about 2018? Maybe it is the short days and fading light of mid-December in the Northern Hemisphere, but it is hard right now to feel 100% relaxed about the next few years – even if the eventual direction for the world’s energy and transport systems seems more apparent than ever.One reason is that progress towards renewables and low-emission transport can be accelerated, or just as often, held back by political forces. Promising new markets can go in, and then out, of the fast lane. South Africa, for instance, was a star of renewable power deployment via auctions, investing $15.4 billion in clean energy between 2012 and 2015. And yet, in 2017, investment is likely to end up at little more than $100 million, the victim of Eskom’s refusal to sign power purchase agreements with developers of new projects.More seriously for the global picture, the Trump administration in the U.S. has not only set back international climate efforts by committing to quit the Paris agreement, but has been nibbling at the foundations of that country’s renewable energy boom. First, it proposed subsidies for generation sources that could keep 90 days of feedstock onsite (coal and nuclear), then the President got the chance to impose tariffs on imported solar cells, and finally the tax reform bill being discussed in Congress at one point threatened to undercut severely the all-important Production Tax Credit for wind and the Investment Tax Credit for solar. It appears – cross fingers – that the final version this week may more or less spare the PTC and ITC.So far, those developments have not changed hard reality for renewables, but they have affected confidence. Whether by cunning coordination or not, the Trump administration’s broad program, from removing regulations on power station emissions, to tax and trade measures, and international diplomacy, all point in one direction – and that is to preserve the country’s ancient fleet of coal-fired power stations rather than decarbonize.It is not just politics that provides inertia. The fact that vast amounts of coal-fired capacity are already installed around the world means that it is a struggle to change the mix in more than an incremental way, especially when that coal is plentiful. This year has seen the seaborne coal price extend its recovery from lows reached in 2016, and it has also seen the Global Carbon Project estimate that world CO2 emissions are likely to have increased by 2% in 2017, the first rise for four years.There are also risks in the markets at the end of 2017 that, if they came to pass, could wash over the economy generally, and therefore indirectly over investment in clean energy and transport too. One is that the financial markets look more exposed than for many years, with interest rates rising or soon to start rising almost everywhere, and share prices sitting on top of a 19% gain on the S&P 500 Index in 2017 alone. In more idiosyncratic markets, bubbles seem to be the air, whether in art with a Leonardo da Vinci sold for $450 million, or in crypto-currencies with bitcoin up from $952 to almost $18,000 this year alone.But let’s not be too cautious. It is the festive season after all. Clean energy and transport continue to enjoy powerful long-term trends in their favor. The pace of technological change is picking up, in particular in the areas of power storage and machine learning, after a decade in which change seemed to be mainly about scale, not about kind.More: Long-Term Clean Energy Optimism, Short-Term Cautionlast_img read more

Shell Expands Investment in U.S. Green Energy Sector

first_imgShell Expands Investment in U.S. Green Energy Sector FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Houston Chronicle:Shell Oil Co. plans to plow around $200 million into a Tennessee solar company, the latest deal that finds a major oil company investing in renewable energy as the industry prepares for a day when crude demand plateaus.A unit of Houston’s Shell Oil will purchase almost half of Silicon Ranch Corp., a Nashville company that operates solar projects around the United States, for up to $217 million, the company’s biggest investment in utility-scale solar energy yet, the company said on Monday. Shell Oil is the U.S. subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil major.The transaction is Shell’s answer to growing demand it sees for renewable energy options in the United States, said Marc van Gerven, vice president of solar for Shell New Energies, a business unit that focuses on alternative energy. Like its big oil rivals in Europe and the U.S., Shell is angling for a position in a rapidly growing sector that analysts say could provide a steady stream of profits in coming years as renewable energy technologies advance and oil demand falters.In recent years, as the fossil fuel industry has faced increasing regulations and public pressure aimed at slowing climate change, major European oil companies such as Shell have made investments in Texas and around the world to prepare for a low carbon future. For instance, the British oil giant BP operates four wind farms in Texas. Late last year, Total signed an agreement with the French merchant power company Engie to acquire its portfolio of liquefied natural gas – the cleanest burning fossil fuel – for $1.49 billion.For Shell, which already has interest in six wind farms and trades renewable energy, the Silicon Ranch transaction adds to a growing renewable business. If regulators determine that the deal does not violate anti-trust laws, Shell will acquire a 43.83 share in Silicon Ranch, with an option to expand its shares by 2021, the company said. Shell’s stake in the company will include around 800 megawatts of solar projects currently operating or under contract. More: Shell invests in solar, but still plowing money into oillast_img read more

U.S. energy storage deployments set new records in 2018

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The U.S. energy storage industry delivered record deployments in 2018, driven by a strong fourth quarter for utility-scale projects.But the new achievement for the young industry pales compared to what is to come: an expected doubling in 2019, followed by a tripling in 2020. Such growth will propel energy storage out of pilot-scale projects and into grid planning conversations around the country.Battery installations for 2018 totaled 311 megawatts and 777 megawatt-hours, according to the new Energy Storage Monitor released by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie, with data from Q4 and 2018 as a whole.The fact that this record happened in the course of business as usual, rather than a special circumstance like Aliso Canyon, signals that the industry is diversifying and maturing, said Daniel Finn-Foley, senior storage analyst at WoodMac and an author of the report. “This isn’t a fluke quarter, this is the natural evolution we’ve been looking at the market developing towards, and now it’s finally happening,” Finn-Foley said in an interview.Though California and the PJM market still dominate cumulative installed storage capacity, the quarter’s new builds revealed a growing geographical scope of activity. Large-scale projects with a variety of business models came online in Hawaii, California, Texas, Minnesota, and Colorado, Finn-Foley noted.More: U.S. energy storage broke records in 2018, but the best is yet to come U.S. energy storage deployments set new records in 2018last_img read more

Capital Dynamics, Tenaska to jointly develop 4.8GW of solar in U.S. Southeast, Midwest

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Capital Dynamics, the Swiss asset manager that is now a heavyweight solar investor, will partner with energy developer Tenaska on a 4.8-gigawatt solar portfolio in the Midwest and the Southeast, the companies announced Wednesday.The two will work together on developing 24 solar projects expected to come online by 2023, building on a 2018 partnership to cooperatively develop another 14 projects in six Midwestern states.In February, Tenaska and Capital Dynamics unveiled one offtake contract associated with the previous group of projects, with the Indiana Municipal Power Agency. Tenaska declined to comment on whether the new round of projects has found offtakers.Neither Nebraska-based Tenaska nor Capital Dynamics focuses solely on clean energy; Tenaska develops renewables and natural gas and Capital Dynamics invests and develops solar, wind and storage through its Clean Energy Infrastructure arm. But despite describing itself as “technology-agnostic,” Capital Dynamics told Greentech Media earlier this year that solar is likely to become increasingly significant for the company due to its stability and economic competitiveness. In 2020 alone, Capital Dynamics has bought up 353 megawatts of solar from Coronal Energy, invested in 8minute Solar energy’s 400-megawatt Eland solar-plus-storage project, and partnered with 8minute on another 387-megawatt solar-plus-storage plant. Capital Dynamics told Greentech Media that some projects of its newest solar portfolio with Tenaska may wind up with storage attached.Solar accounts for a growing portion of new generation in the Midwest, where wind turbines have long been the dominant form of renewable power. Solar will make up half or more of new capacity additions through 2025, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. “Solar is expected to see 58 percent compound annual growth rate in [Midcontinent Independent System Operator territory] from 2020 to 2025,” said Colin Smith, a senior solar analyst at WoodMac. “Capital Dynamics is moving into a market [where] they think they can be successful and see a lot of growth.”[Emma Foehringer Merchant]More: Capital Dynamics and Tenaska Partner on 4.8 gigawatts of solar development Capital Dynamics, Tenaska to jointly develop 4.8GW of solar in U.S. Southeast, Midwestlast_img read more

EDF Renewables, NV Energy announce major new solar+storage project in Nevada

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:EDF Renewables plans to build a 200-megawatt solar plant with a 180-megawatt/720-megawatt-hour battery for Nevada utility NV Energy, the developer announced Wednesday, adding to the growing list of large solar-and-storage projects under construction within the state and the broader region.Even at that size, the project will only barely make it onto the list of the 10 largest batteries in the U.S., based on Wood Mackenzie’s database tracking confirmed project details. This month NV Energy filed a proposal with state regulators to add 478 megawatts of new solar and 338 megawatts of new storage by the end of 2023. EDF’s project, called Chuckwalla Solar+Storage, is the largest among that portfolio.Only a year ago, EDF’s plans would have ranked among the largest battery projects in the world, but each subsequent project announcement made recently seems to outpace those preceding it. The largest solar-storage project currently planned in the U.S., Gemini Solar from Arevia Power and Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, is also slated to be located in Nevada with NV Energy as offtaker.“It’s a sign of the times that an announcement of a 720-megawatt-hour project doesn’t raise eyebrows anymore,” said Dan Finn-Foley, WoodMac’s head of energy storage. “What is notable…is how solar-plus-storage systems and contract terms are being structured, and this provides another data point.”The announcement from EDF, and the broader solar and storage proposal from NV Energy, shed more light on how Nevada’s largest utility plans to meet new state requirements for achieving 50 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free electricity by midcentury. Last year, regulators approved the Berkshire Hathaway-owned utility’s plans for 1.2 gigawatts of solar and 590 megawatts of new storage. In its more recent filing with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, NV Energy also requested approval for 600 miles of new transmission lines to deliver power from the utility’s growing roster of renewables projects.Earlier this month, NV Energy reported to state regulators that it had exceeded the 2019 requirement that renewables and energy efficiency account for 20 percent of its retail energy sales.[Emma Foehringer Merchant]More: More big batteries coming to the West, as EDF Renewables nabs deal with NV Energy EDF Renewables, NV Energy announce major new solar+storage project in Nevadalast_img read more

French developer Neoen to build 300MW/450MWh battery storage unit in Australia

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:One of the largest lithium-ion batteries in the world is planned for Victoria after the renewable energy company Neoen won a contract to build it near the regional city of Geelong.If constructed as promised, the battery will have a power capacity of 300 megawatts and a storage capacity of 450 megawatt-hours, making it more than twice the size of the battery at Hornsdale, South Australia, which was the biggest in the world when it began operating in 2017.Like the Hornsdale facility, the Geelong battery will be built using Tesla equipment. The Victorian energy and climate change minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, said it would be installed near Moorabool Terminal Station and would be ready for the 2021-22 summer.It has been scaled back since it was first flagged in April when it was expected to be 600MW and cost $300m. While among the largest batteries in the world, it is smaller than batteries planned in California and New York.D’Ambrosio said it would improve the reliability of the power grid as ageing coal-fired power stations became less reliable and the state increased its reliance on wind and solar power. The Andrews government aims to source 40% of the state’s electricity from renewable energy by 2025, and 50% by 2030.She said consumers would pay for the use of the battery through their power bills, but suggested it would lead to a reduction in wholesale energy prices so that Victorians were charged less for electricity. Independent analysis found that Victorians would receive $2 in benefits for every $1 invested in the battery, she said. Energy consultancy Aurecon found the Hornsdale Power Reserve saved consumers $116m in 2019.[Adam Morton]More: Victoria plans 300MW Tesla battery to help stabilise grid as renewables increase French developer Neoen to build 300MW/450MWh battery storage unit in Australialast_img read more

Greenville, S.C.

first_imgPopulation: 60,709Public lands: Paris Mountain State Park, Table Rock State Park, Caesars Head State Park, Jones Gap State ParkOutdoor highlights: Swamp Rabbit Trail, Falls Park, Foothills Trail, Raven Cliff Fallslast_img

Fayettechill Launches Into Pack Category

first_imgFayettechill, an outdoor lifestyle clothing brand based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, run by a couple of entrepreneurs under 25-years old, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the development of their new product — the Journeyman Dry backpack, a waterproof pack designed to meet the needs of everyday life while remaining technical enough for outdoor adventures.The campaign launched July 14 and is slated for a 35-day run. Backers of the Kickstarter can pledge anywhere from $1 to $500 and will be “rewarded” with a selection of current Fayettechill products. The goal of the campaign is to raise $30,000 for the development and production of the new backpack.The 25L Journeyman Dry backpack features a traditional roll-top dry-bag waterproof main compartment, a water-resistant zippered top lid and front compartment, mesh side water bottle pockets, padded breathable straps and hip belt. It can accommodate a 15-inch laptop in a removable internal laptop sleeve. The pack body is constructed of a waterproof TPU nylon-coated oxford fabric.“Most packs out there were designed for hardcore use or they were little more than a book bag with straps,” said Fayettechill co-founder Mo Elliot. “We wanted a pack that could bridge that gap and be equally at home on the trail as it is on campus. Having it waterproof was essential in order to protect the various electronics everyone uses.”In addition to Fayettechill’s network of 50 retailers in 12 states, the company owns and operates a retail basecamp. Plans are underway to move the current shop to a new 3900-square-foot store in the heart of Fayetteville, planned for September, 2014.Fayettechill-Journeyman“We want the new shop to be the place for the local outdoor community to congregate, not just to shop for gear. We plan to conduct athlete workshops, a place to hold events with our charitable partners and we’ll even have a small café serving coffee and local beers.”Since its beginnings in 2009 as t-shirt company started in a dorm room at the University of Arkansas, Fayettechill has grown to a multi-million dollar outdoor lifestyle clothing company.It was originally conceived to be a “culture brand” focused on promoting an outdoor lifestyle. As the brand grew, they realized it was not just a laid-back lifestyle that they were attracted to, but their Ozark Mountain setting that allowed it to take place. Now Fayettechill creates “experience inspired apparel” for outdoor enthusiasts and promotes “the relaxed and fulfilled state of mind that is brought about by adventuring into the wild.”Click here to learn more about Fayettechill or visit their Facebook page.Coincidentally, Water Stone Outdoors in Fayetteville, West Virginia, are big fans of Fayettechill, and are carrying many of their products.last_img read more

Blue Ridge Outdoors Top Towns Nominee: Richmond, Virginia

first_imgEarlier this year Richmond, Virginia was voted a top destination by respected travel guide Frommers. It was one of only three U.S. cities to make the list, and with a little research, it’s easy to understand why. First, there’s the region’s exploding beer scene, which in recent years has swelled to over a dozen independently owned craft breweries. Then there’s the city’s rising culinary status, which features farm-to-table restaurants with authentic southern flair.But even more important is the city’s ever-growing outdoor culture, also cited by Frommers as one of Richmond’s attractions. Outdoor highlights in Richmond include paddling the James River, mountain biking the James River Park System, and road biking Riverside Drive. The area also provides access to public lands like Pocahontas State Park, Richmond National Battlefield, the Dutch Gap Conservation Area, and the Appomattox River Conservation Area.Cudas_IB_0814_2Did you know? Every year from May to September, the grounds of Pocahontas State Park come alive with a lively and energetic concert series known as Pocahontas Premiers. You’ve still go time to check out the two remaining shows, which will feature a Led Zeppelin tribute band and the Richmond Symphony.Vote now at blueridgeoutdoors.com!last_img read more