India’s Clean-Energy Push Imperils Traditional Electricity Generation Industry FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Tim Buckley for Renew Economy:In 2015, to little fanfare, Indian Energy Minister Piyush Goyal announced a new policy to progressively tighten emissions controls for new coal-fired power plants from 2017.This last week the Indian Association of Power Producers responded, issuing dire warnings the policy will drive significant economy wide electricity price inflation and the closure of existing coal-fired power plants unable to justify the retrofitting of emissions controls.As the existing proposal stands, neither outcome is likely. So why is the industry belatedly wheeling out a scare campaign?The reality is that they fear the inevitable tightening of the legislative noose, catalyzed to some extent by mounting public concern around India’s air pollution, which was shown last week to be worse even than China’s.[i]In line with Prime Minister Modi’s sustainable growth strategy,[ii] the inevitable tightening of emissions controls will render many old and inefficient coal fired power plants commercially unviable, with wholesale plant closure ensuing. Prominent press coverage in India[iii] suggests as much.As India tightens up on power plants, the playing field will be further leveled for different electricity technologies. The Indian government’s draft Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) policy guidelines were released in December 2015, formally acknowledging that capital construction cost of coal-fired power generation has risen by 35-40% over the last five years or so, mainly on the requirement for modern ultra-super critical (USC) power plant technologies with full emissions controls built in.[iv]By comparison, the cost of renewable energy is forecast to continue to decline at a rate of 5-10% pa over the next decade. This follows a staggering 25% year-on-year decline in unsubsidized installed solar costs in India in the year to January 2016 to a new record low of Rs4.34/kWh (US$64/MWh).Energy Minister Goyal stated that new imported coal fired power generation is already more expensive than new solar projects, even before considering the inbuilt 5% annual deflationary real solar tariff that is locked in for the next 25 years. As such, the draft UMMP plans are to-date proposed only for domestic coal fired power plant proposals.To some extent, a tightening up of the new regulations to also cover emissions limits on existing facilities may not be such bad news for India’s coal fired power plant sector. With utilisation rate dropping from 75% to just 60% in the last five years, closing 10-20% of the entire Indian coal plant fleet would actually help improve the currently dire generator sector economics. This would also make way for the Indian government’s stalled UMPP program to be carefully relaunched after a multi-year delay.Progressively bringing on a few new high-efficiency, large scale USC plants to replace old, small heavily polluting coal-fired power clunkers would improve the average Indian coal plant efficiency, which is currently one of the poorest in the world, ahead of only real laggards like Australia.But the Indian Association of Power Producers is struggling to see the upside. Their nervousness is surely being heightened by the knowledge their country is following a now well-trodden path to diversify rapidly away from coal.In the U.S. for example, a similar process of progressively tightened regulatory standards will see the closure of a significant portion of the coal fired power fleet this decade, including 20GW in 2015 alone, with potentially another 15GW to come offline in 2016.In China, the National Development and Reform Commission released a new policy statement[v] along these lines just last week: a three year coal mine moratorium; the closure of 1,000Mtpa of stranded coal mine capacity; and strict new controls on new coal fired power plants.The world over, financing for old coal-fired power plants is progressively disappearing, just as debt and equity financing for new coal mines across Australia, America and Indonesia has evaporated over the last year and bankruptcies progressively claim most of the U.S. industry. As capital flight from the global coal sector continues, the stranded assets risks increase.India is shifting to cleaner energy and unfortunately for India’s generally loss-making Association of Power Producers, there is little they can do to apply the brakes.The noose tightens for future of coal power in India
Op-Ed: Mexico is poised for a renewable-energy revolution FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享New York Times:The president-elect can capitalize on Mexico’s huge potential for renewable energy. But while he has made promising proposals for expanding renewables, he will confront several obstacles.Renewable energy accounts for less than a quarter of Mexico’s installed power capacity, well below the Latin American average of about 50 percent; most electricity is generated from oil, coal and natural gas. Expanding renewable energy would not only cut Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions, but also reduce air pollution and diversify fuel sources, strengthening energy security. Mexico’s wind potential is more than eight times its current level of installed wind capacity. It has among the largest solar resources in the world — 75 times the country’s current total installed capacity.Mr. López Obrador has announced ambitious plans to increase renewable power generation from both large-scale projects, such as hydroelectric dams, and small energy systems, like solar rooftops for residences and businesses, in a bid to cut natural gas imports from the United States. He’s vowed to encourage local industries to produce parts for renewable energy plants through tax incentives and access to credit. And by the end of his six-year term he wants to see 100,000 electric cars on Mexican streets powered by solar energy. Over the course of his presidency, his proposals are estimated to reduce Mexico’s emissions by 6.8 percent per year.These are the right areas of focus to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy in Mexico, one of the planet’s top 15 emitters. With the right policies, Mr. López Obrador could make Mexico the Western Hemisphere’s leader in sustainable development, an opportunity declined by its northern neighbor when it withdrew from the Paris climate accord.To do so, the new government should build on the energy reform that President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law in 2013. That law created important incentives to increase renewable energy, including opening the power sector to private investment and creating clean energy certificates, which power distributors must acquire to meet quotas. Encouraged by this initiative, private companies bidding for contracts in Mexico’s post-reform renewable power auctions have offered some of the lowest electricity prices in the world. In 2015, Mexico was among the top 10 destinations in the world for new clean energy investment.While wind and solar prices in Mexico’s recent auctions have hit record lows, other promising renewable energy technologies, such as geothermal, still cannot compete with fossil fuel sources. As renewable energy markets expand, bottlenecks in the local production of equipment and services could hinder competitiveness. To ensure renewables are competitive, the government should provide more incentives for emerging technologies as well as support for local equipment and service providers.Energy projects in Mexico also often face resistance from local communities. Much of the land is collectively owned, meaning developers must consult with dozens or even hundreds of people before beginning a project. This process often leads to long, expensive legal battles.In January, Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered that a wind project in Oaxaca — a state that is home to most of the country’s wind projects and is 75 percent collectively owned — be halted because of insufficient consultation with indigenous Zapotecs. The government should clarify the consultation process, take a stronger role in mediation and encourage projects in which local communities share ownership, benefit from the energy produced and are incorporated into the supply chain.On election night, Mr. López Obrador confessed his ambition to “go down in history as a good Mexican president.” On the world stage, he surely would be remembered for transforming Mexico’s energy matrix and setting an example for the transition to clean energy. While Mr. López Obrador has a full slate of problems to tackle when he takes office on Dec. 1, encouraging clean energy must be a priority. Both Mexicans and the international community will thank him.More: Can Mexico Run on Clean Energy?
Anheuser-Busch says latest renewable deal will turn its energy consumption 100% green FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Beer giant Anheuser-Busch announced Tuesday the signing of a 15-year virtual power-purchase agreement with Recurrent Energy for a 222-megawatt (AC) project in West Texas.In 2017, Anheuser-Busch committed to purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025. Its previously inked renewables deals with AES Distributed Energy on a 2.76-megawatt solar project in New York and with Enel Green Power for 152.5 megawatts of wind in Oklahoma.With the Recurrent announcement, the company — famous for beverages including Bud Light and the Lime-A-Rita — said it would achieve its 2025 target several years early. The Texas project, Recurrent’s largest C&I deal to date, is slated to come online in 2021.The project from Recurrent, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar, joins many corporate deals cropping up around Texas. Canadian Solar says it has signed more than 1.3 gigawatts’ worth of renewables project deals in the service territory of ERCOT, the grid manager for 25 million Texas customers.Super-low prices on power-purchase agreements under $30 per megawatt have made Texas a growing hot spot for corporate solar development. Starbucks recently signed a deal with Cypress Creek Renewables in the state, and this month Facebook announced it had made its first direct investment in a renewables project there.While the overall U.S. corporate renewables market is looking increasingly diverse, with small-scale aggregation becoming more common, Recurrent’s deal for the West Texas project looks fairly traditional: a large project with one offtaker accounting for most of the power. Beyond Anheuser-Busch, Energy Transfer — the company behind the controversial Dakota Access pipeline — signed a contract for 28 megawatts (AC) from the Maplewood project, located in West Texas’ Permian Basin. It’s the oil and gas transport company’s first solar contract.More: Anheuser-Busch embraces solar to power past its 100% renewables target
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Express Tribune:Power Division Minister Omar Ayub Khan said on Wednesday that the wrong policies of the previous governments resulted in the electricity generation at high rates, consequently the power tariff went up in the country.Addressing a press conference along with Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, the minister said that around 8,000 megawatts clean, environment-friendly and cheap renewable energy (RE) would be added to the system.He added that the share of the RE would be increased to 20,000MW by 2030 under the new Alternative Renewable Energy Policy 2019 approved by the federal cabinet. “The share of clean and green energy will be enhanced to 60-65% of the total energy mix by 2030,” he told reporters. “The policy is aimed at substantively reducing electricity prices in the future,” the minister said. “The government initiatives will also boost industrial activities in return will enhance exports and create employment opportunities in the country,” he added.The RE sector offers $40 billion investment opportunities whereas $700 million investment was already pouring into 12 wind energy projects, he said, adding that solar panels and wind turbines would now be manufactured in the country, for which talks were under way with foreign companies.More: $700m investment in Pakistan’s power sector under way Pakistan planning to add 8,000MW of renewable energy to national grid
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:The double blow of the coronavirus and falling oil prices won’t derail the green economic transformation on which Enel SpA is building its future, according to Chief Executive Officer Francesco Starace.Investment in renewable energy will continue and the disruption may even weaken efforts to slow the change, he said in an interview. The Italian electricity giant generates 43% of its power from renewable sources that it owns and plans to increase its renewable capacity to 60% over its strategic plan through 2022.“The development of renewables has not slowed down,” Starace said. “If, in a few months, we have got the health situation under control, many investments will have to be accelerated.”Weak demand had already sent energy costs down before a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia pushed oil prices even lower. That makes the economic case for renewables even more convincing, the CEO said. “The drop in electricity prices takes away space from lobbyist forces that were ideologically opposed and remain opposed to renewable sources,” he said. “We have demand from large customers who have decided to go on renewables for economic reasons.”Enel on Thursday reported a 17.4% increase in net ordinary income to 4.8 billion euros ($5.1 billion). The company doesn’t expect the virus outbreak to disrupt its operations in 2020 and said its Chinese solar-panel suppliers have already resumed production.[Alberto Brambilla, Alessandro Speciale]More: Enel CEO says cheap oil may accelerate green energy shift Enel CEO says falling oil prices won’t stop renewable transition
Somerset, last coal plant in New York State, is closed FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Buffalo News:New York State’s coal-burning era will end Tuesday, when Somerset Operating Co. officially retires its power plant on the shore of Lake Ontario in Niagara County. It means the share of the state’s power generation coming from coal will fall to zero.The 675-megawatt plant, opened by New York State Electric & Gas Corp. (NYSEG) in 1983, last generated electricity on March 13, when it burned off the last of its coal. The process ended at 12:02 a.m. March 14.The plant sat idle more than it ran in recent years. It has been at least five years since the plant operated without interruption for as long as a month, [plant manager Brian] Gregson said.The business hasn’t been healthy for years. In December 2011, AES Eastern Energy, which had bought the plant from NYSEG in May 1999, went bankrupt because it was unable to pay bondholders. The creditors formed Upstate New York Power Producers and took over the plant. Beowulf Energy of New York formed Somerset Operating Co. and bought the plant in 2016.Plans are in the works for a town park on part of the 1,800-acre Lake Road parcel. A long-term plan, agreed to by NYSEG when it acquired the land in the late 1970s, envisioned a park in the northeast corner of the site.Meanwhile, Beowulf Energy is seeking state assistance to erect data centers in Somerset and at another mothballed coal-burning plant in Tompkins County. Last July, the New York Power Authority agreed to sell 10 megawatts of electricity to what Beowulf calls the Empire State Data Hub. At the time, the company said it would need more electricity.[Thomas Prohaska]More: New York’s last coal-burning power plant closes on Lake Ontario shore
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):As the stocks of oil and gas producers endured major selloffs in the first quarter, the sellers included a large number of institutional investors, with a number seeing declines of millions of shares, according to recent filings with the SEC.Occidental Petroleum Corp. saw a decline of 1.5% in institutional investor ownership, or a cut of 10.4 million shares. Franklin Resources Inc. reduced its stake by nearly 98%, or approximately 27.6 million shares, while SunAmerica Asset Management LLC sold off more than 95%, or 6.9 million shares. Adding insult to injury, the institutional investor with the most shares purchased was none other than the arch-nemesis of CEO Vicki Hollub and Occidental’s management team, Carl Icahn. Icahn Capital LP purchased more than 66 million shares of Occidental stock during the first quarter, increasing his stake in the company to 9.9% of all shares traded.Ovintiv Inc. saw institutional investor holdings plunge during the first quarter, falling approximately 26.5%. Three major investors ― Causeway Capital Management LLC, Wellington Management Group LLP and Vanguard Group ― sold off more than 80% of their positions in the company, totaling more than 48 million shares. The company’s largest buyer in the quarter was newcomer FIL Ltd., which bought approximately 10.4 million shares.Permian Basin powerhouse Diamondback Energy Inc. saw its institutional investor holdings decline by 8.1 million shares, or 5.2%. Ceredex Value Advisors LLC sold its entire 2.1 million share stake in Diamondback, while frequent buyer Capital Research & Mgmt Co. sold off approximately 15.7%, or 3.9 million shares. Capital Research and Management still holds more than 13.2% of Diamondback’s stock, or a position worth more than $550 million.Marathon Oil Corp. saw its institutional investor holdings decline by 22.7 million shares, or 3.4%, during the first quarter. The biggest seller was Macquarie Investment Management Business Trust, which sold approximately 29.3 million shares, or over 44.2% of its total stake in the company. On the positive side, FMR LLC increased its position in Marathon by more than 292% as it added 7.5 million shares during the quarter.[Mark Passwaters]More ($): Independent producers see institutional investors bail out in Q1 Institutional investors joined exodus from U.S. oil and gas producers in first quarter
Photo: Dan BennettThere is no sport that is more multidimensional than mountain biking. I have other hobbies but I could do without them. Snowboard at Wolf Laurel? Nah, rather ride. Paddle the Green? Rather ride. If you are in the fitness mode you can think about training. If you are into biomechanics you can think about pedal stroke and position. If you are into bike tech, you can think about bike setup. And if you are riding trail you can think about skills. By the time you run down the list you get back to where you started and hence the endless conversation about bikes. No wonder I had to meet a woman who was more into bikes than I was before I had enough to talk about.Some of what I think about when I ride trails goes all the way back to riding with John Machael (sp?) when I was 14. John promoted some of the first races in the area like “The Couch Potato Classic” and “Pinnacle Mountain.” He had a long red beard and looked like he was fresh off a ten-year tour with The Dead. He had an answer for everything. I liked tips when I was learning to ride. I needed firm beta to direct my practice. He talked about passing half the expert field on the slick roots of Mount Snow because he was the only one that figured out that you just have to not use your brakes. He said he’d ridden with H-ball and dropped him when the trail got rough but he didn’t have the fitness. We’re all a mix of useful and full of it, right?What I started back then is growing nerves. Nerves only grow an inch a year so starting early helps. Riding trails comes down to traction control so if you want to ride well you need to feel through your tires. When I hop on a bike now its automatic, I’m thinking through my tires, feeling the limits of a wet root, dry root, wet sandstone or slick granite, leaves, deep sand, moss, loam. It’s everything all together and mixed up at the speed of light. You think it all through but then you don’t think at all.That is the starting point and then you can get more specific. It’s useful to think about skills in two separate ways. You have the mindset and then you have the specific skills. Ultimately, the mindset you want to be in when you are really in the groove is a state of calm. Empty mind, relaxed, concentrated. When I used to do Yoga I learned how to meditate. I learned to use my breath as a distraction to give my mind something to follow. Watch your breath, observe, don’t react, don’t think. I got to the point where I could initiate that state by going to my breath. Get the downhill, listen to the exhale, and then empty, no thoughts just flow.To get to the flow you need the skills and when you’re working on your skills it helps to have tips to give yourself something tangible to think about. I want to call out a skill we all use, The Boof. It’s a way to use a trail feature to your advantage by allowing it to bounce your front wheel up without really having to use much muscle. Here’s a rule: put out as little energy as possible to achieve the same result. When your riding uphill and you find yourself hurting see if you can go less hard but just as fast. When your going down, do the same. Go the same speed with less effort. Stringing together a series of microboofs as you’re riding the trail instead of lurching the bike over obstacles leaves your arms free to soak up hits, which improves traction and control. Example: there is a small log down with a rut on the backside where water has run across the trail. Don’t hop the log and land in the rut, hit the log and jump the rut. It’s almost always better to hit logs with your front wheel to get a good bounce than trying to clear them. The timing is automatic, don’t time the jump, let the bounce happen and then go with it. That’s an obvious example but I think the technique can be taken further with microboofs, little bounces to take you over a pile of roots, a slick rock, or a hole. Anticipate the bounce and spot a landing with some traction. Take one bump and skip three. I’m really just talking about bouncing the front wheel, let the back one ride the trail, and maybe give it a little English if it needs it. You don’t need to go fast to get better, it’s smarter to stay well within your comfort zone and improve your technique.Enough of skills, now go to flow. Shut up and ride. Go for a long one and flow the whole way like maybe the Virginia Mountain Bike Trail, the Colorado Trail, or The Transylvania Epic. 2013 is going to allow time for all that and more.
1. Square SalmonSpring fishing is right around the corner. Here is a film from around the Southeast to get you in the mood featuring lunkers from Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Square Salmon from Robert Gibbes on Vimeo.2. Hospital BouldersClimbing season is also right around the corner. Here is a profile of the Hospital Boulders in Gadsden, AL.Hospital Boulders from Brandon Campbell on Vimeo.3. Longboarding to the ExtremeThis person appears to be insane.4. Unicycle to the ExtremeSketchy to say the least. Turn on closed caption.
Quick question: how many family activities can you name these days where everyone willingly participates, free of digital distraction, and nobody complains? Quick answer: skiing and snowboarding. The current digital era has arguably changed family dynamics more than any other social environment and yet hitting the slopes en masse remains wonderfully old fashioned. Sure, there’s some Go Pro filming plus pauses to “snap” or “gram” a moment, but in the end skiing together really does mean together.If you’re curious about how good skiing could be for your family, head to Seven Springs Mountain Resort one weekend and take a look at everyone’s faces. Guaranteed, you’ll see beaming smiles from just about everybody, regardless of age. There’s an unmistakable shared sense of silliness that resonates on the 10 chairlifts, down the 30+ runs, and inside the lodge.The reasons behind this glee abound: It’s the fifth grader who just skied her first black diamond run or the dad who gave snowboarding a try. Perhaps mom has finally figured out how to carve that inside ski edge during her private lesson or the little guy nailed his pizza turns in morning ski school and can’t wait to show them off when he joins the rest of his family after lunch. One beautiful truth about skiing and snowboarding: improvement is just part of the fun.Seven Springs Mountain Resort was designed to be all-inclusive, a diverse snow sport environment with expert-only glades, seven terrain parks, and plenty of intermediate and beginner slopes. Rental and lesson packages provide a great introduction to skiing or snowboarding and the Seven Springs offerings provide an ideal learning environment. Affordably priced and featuring small-sized groups, classes match new skiers of similar ability and teach them to ski appropriate terrain before transitioning to the next level.This communal exuberance provides one of the most cherished and unique experiences in all of sport. We may not take the same jump off that little ledge or carve as deeply into the powder or even scoot the same way down a shared run, but the buzz from an unbridled sense of accomplishment and mutual enjoyment remains unmistakable.This enthusiasm carries well beyond the slopes at a resort like Seven Springs, where families and groups of friends can gather inside 11 different dining establishments, such as the Pizza Place, Bavarian Lounge, and Foggy Brews. Families, especially those with teenagers, appreciate Slopeside’s buffet-style dinners, while burger buffs fall for Timbers. DJs spin at the Matterhorn Lounge on weekends, while plenty of families summit the snow tubing park —whether for the Tuesday Night Tube-A-Palooza Party complete with all-you-can-eat buffet (see previous teenager comment!) or for great fun every other night of the week.The quality time we spend with our kids continues to disappear into the digital divide. Providing livery service between this soccer tournament and that middle school dance just isn’t enough. As parents, even though we all know most of this separation is perfectly healthy, we still crave a little more “us” time as a family. So whether you have a five-year-old or fifteen-year-old twins, make some time for Seven Springs Mountain Resort and see what family bonding’s all about.https://vimeo.com/245190153