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White House plan to bail out coal and nuclear will cost consumers

first_imgWhite House plan to bail out coal and nuclear will cost consumers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal:The Energy Department is proposing a new plan to bail out failing nuclear and coal-fired power plants by forcing grid operators to take the electricity they produce, a move that could upend competitive power markets and raise prices for consumers.The plan—a draft now under White House review—isn’t the first attempt by President Donald Trump’s administration to help coal and nuclear businesses. Its goal is to stop a wave of plant closings for two years while the Energy Department studies which plants nationwide are critical to ensuring reliable power in case of attack or natural disaster. Administration officials say grid reliability is a national security issue.A boom in natural gas production and renewable power have lowered prices and forced coal and nuclear competitors out of business, a trend Mr. Trump has promised to slow. He pledged during his presidential campaign to help coal miners in particular, and he received millions of dollars in campaign donations from coal-company executives. In recent months, he has prodded Energy Secretary Rick Perry on several occasions to craft a solution, and did so again in a statement Friday.“Unfortunately, impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid,” Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement, adding that the president wants Mr. Perry “to prepare immediate steps” in response.Mr. Trump’s efforts so far have been blocked by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and fought by a broad coalition of opponents.The country’s largest grid operator is also skeptical. “Our analysis…has determined that there is no immediate threat to system reliability,” PJM Interconnection LLC, which runs the power markets in 13 states across the mid-Atlantic and Midwest, said in a statement. “There is no need for any such drastic action.”More ($): Energy Department Prepares New Plan to Prop Up Nuclear, Coal-Fired Power PlantsS&P Global Market Intelligence ($):“There is no national emergency justifying the use of these powers,” said Michael Steel, a spokesperson for the Affordable Energy Coalition, a group of organizations including those supporting wind, industrial energy consumers and others. “Independent experts, regional grid operators, and even the government’s own data show that competitive electricity markets keep the lights on and prices affordable.”The oil industry, through the American Petroleum Institute, joined a broad group of energy industry associations representing energy efficiency and storage, natural gas, solar and wind to condemn efforts to subsidize “failing” coal and nuclear plants.“Unprecedented government intervention in the energy markets to support high-cost generation will put achieving that vision in jeopardy and hurt customers by taking more money out of their pockets rather than letting people keep more of what they earn — a key priority of this administration,” said Todd Snitchler, American Petroleum Institute’s market development group director.Other industry groups opposing the administration’s proposed policy included the American Council on Renewable Energy, the American Wind Energy Association, the Natural Gas Supply Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association.PJM, which operates a regional transmission organization near abundant coal resources, said in a statement following the release of the DOE plan that there was “no need for such a drastic action.” “Any federal intervention in the market to order customers to buy electricity from specific power plants would be damaging to the markets and therefore costly to consumers.”The Union of Concerned Scientists called the proposal an attempt to “fleece ratepayers” by doling out billions of dollars in guaranteed profits to coal and nuclear plants. The Sierra Club said coal and nuclear plants will continue to retire even though the administration is pushing “illegal directives [that] will be met with fierce resistance in the courts and in the streets.”More ($): Much of US energy industry recoils at Trump plan to prop up at-risk power plantslast_img read more

Armed Forces of Central America and Mexico Come Together in Nicaragua

first_imgBy Lorena Baires / Diálogo May 11, 2018 Humanitarian Rescue Units of the armed forces of Central America and Mexico came together in early April 2018 to put out a fire in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, located in southwestern Nicaragua. Helicopters from El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico conducted more than 400 flights to drop 630,000 liters of water over 5,500 hectares of land. “Efforts to fight this fire from helicopters of our Air Force and our sister countries’ air forces were major. It was an intense effort, first, to extinguish the fire and, second, to eliminate the sources of heat from which smoke emanated,” said Army General Julio César Avilés, commander of the Nicaraguan Army. “We are grateful for the coordinated work between the armies and local residents.” The fire in Indio Maíz lasted almost 10 days. “The Nicaraguan Armed Force was able to stop the advance of flames with a firewall operation [clearing land to prevent the fire from spreading] along 25 kilometers with an average width of 10 meters,” said Army Colonel Rogelio Flores Ortiz, chief of staff of the Nicaraguan Civil Defense. “We also relied on the intervention of 1,500 military troops, 160 volunteer firefighters, and the work of air forces from countries like El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico.” The partner nations answered the Nicaraguan government’s call for help on April 6th since Nicaraguan Army and Air Force helicopters did not have the necessary equipment for aerial water drops. Time was their worst enemy, and air was the only way to get to areas under fire. Immediate response On April 9th, the Mexican Air Force (FAM, in Spanish) was the first to join the efforts to extinguish the fire. The Mexican helicopter stocked up on the Indio River, which borders the reserve in the municipality of San Juan del Norte on the outskirt of Costa Rica. “It is a pleasure to be able to help the Nicaraguan people, an honor to join these efforts. The aircraft has two helicopter buckets, each with a capacity of 2,000 liters,” FAM Captain Francisco Sánchez told Diálogo. “As there was a body of water nearby, we did 14 drops per hour. We were able to ensure that the work was continuous and effective in putting out the flames.” On April 11th, two Bell UH-1 Huey helicopters arrived from the Salvadoran Air Force (FAS, in Spanish) and the Honduran Air Force (FAH in Spanish). Both aircraft were equipped with the Bambi Bucket system, large sacks that can hold between 1,600 and 1,800 liters of water and allow for controlled release over fires. “The [FAS] crew was made up of three pilots who flew for two hours nonstop. They refueled and continued the effort to put out this fire,” Colonel Ángel Sermeño, an officer of the FAS mission in Nicaragua, told Diálogo. “The experience we have in putting out fires with this type of equipment is effective, which is why we are proud and grateful to come and support our military peers from Nicaragua in this mission,” added Lieutenant Colonel Manuel Ricarte, an officer of the FAH mission in Nicaragua. Indio Maíz, lung of the region According to the National Civil Police of Nicaragua, Miguel Ángel Díaz Sevilla, a resident of the Siempre Viva community in the municipality of San Juan del Norte, started the fire. The perpetrator confessed to the act, stating that his family has been burning land for years to raise crops. “My father has done this [burning land], but nothing like this ever happened before. When the brigade came to put out the fire, my family and I volunteered to help,” said Díaz when he was arrested. On April 16th, the Nicaraguan Armed Force and the countries that answered the call for help were able to put out the fire. “We are still keeping a military contingent in the area. We hope that the rains will contribute to our troops’ efforts to completely eliminate these sources of heat that still persist in certain areas where the fire burned,” Col. Flores said to Diálogo. The Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, the largest in Central America, extends across 320,000 hectares. Located on the border with Costa Rica, it forms part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. The Nicaraguan Armed Force estimated that the fire destroyed 5,484 hectares of tropical forest. The fire spread quickly because of the abundance of leafy yolillo palms rich in oil, which promoted the fire propagation and resilience. Indio Maíz and its dense woods are rarely explored, but the reserve boasts hundreds of species of flora and fauna. It is estimated to be home to 1,221 species of birds, 159 of insects, 65 of mammals, 55 of reptiles, 34 of amphibians, and 26 of fish The region also counts 101 endemic endangered species.last_img read more

Can Syracuse football contend for a New Year’s Six bowl berth in the next 10 years? No

first_imgThree minutes into his first press conference and first public appearance as Syracuse’s new head coach Dino Babers said it flatly: “This is not a destination job for me,” followed by just a split second of silence.“I mean this is —,” he continued before cutting himself off and correcting himself again. “This could be a destination job for me.”The attendants laughed. Babers apologized, saying twice that he was a “little nervous.” But he actually got it right the first time.Ten years ago, Ethan Ramsey, The Daily Orange’s sports editor at the time, argued that Syracuse wouldn’t warrant serious national title consideration for “at least the next 10 years, probably more.” He was right on both accounts.Syracuse won’t contend for a New Year’s Six bowl within the next 10 years because Babers isn’t here to stay. He’ll have success, we’ve seen it already, but then he’ll be gone, leaving the Orange struggling to pick up the pieces once again.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU is Babers’ 15th stop since he started coaching in 1984. He’s held two other head coaching jobs, both of which came within the last four years. He coached just two seasons at both schools.At Eastern Illinois, Babers took two 2-9 seasons in a row and turned them into a 12-2 conference championship winning campaign in his second year. At Bowling Green, his teams played in Mid-American Conference title games both years, winning the second.He begged SU fans to give him time before and during the season. He prepared them to wait until the second or third year, then knocked off then-No.17 Virginia Tech in the Carrier Dome. He compared his team to the raw batter of a cake, but it’s situated well within reach of a bowl game with three contests left in the regular season. The cake is already in the oven.The team’s exposure is already skyrocketing with quarterback Eric Dungey and receiver Amba Etta-Tawo’s record-shattering performances and Babers’ own postgame locker room speech broadcast on ESPN.“The first year, it’s like I’m watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island,” Babers said before the season. “It’s like I know what’s going to happen next. It’s kind of boring the first year. The second year is really cool. You get to the tempo and speed that you want.“The best thing about this story is I’ve never had an opportunity to go to a third year. … I really hope I get an opportunity to go for a third year at Syracuse because that would be new water for me.”He’s had the chance, he just skipped out early. But you can’t blame him. With success comes notoriety and other, better places to go.Bowling Green wasn’t Syracuse. But Syracuse isn’t Alabama, Clemson or Louisiana State and it’s hard to think it ever will be.Babers often points out the difference between SU and the powerhouses in the South. He makes quips about lacking the same number of coaches Clemson has or the extravagant facilities to wow recruits.A lot of people told Babers not to take the Syracuse job. Only one person did. He’ll get other job offers, it’s just a matter of where.The year after Babers left Eastern Illinois, the Panthers lost seven games and have lost at least five games each year since. Bowling Green is 2-8, amid one of its worst seasons in program history. The Falcons have lost two games by more than 60 points each.Any transition between coaches is rough, but when Babers leaves he takes nearly everything and everyone with him — a reputation he acknowledges and embraces. Babers brought in just three coaches new to him at SU.“I felt that we were in good shape,” Babers said of how he left Bowling Green. “I’m sure that (former Syracuse head coach Scott) Shafer felt like he was in fantastic shape, as most coaches do when they leave a program they think they leave it better than they find it, but that’s not for me to judge. You guys can decide that stuff.”When Babers leaves there’ll be no coordinators to promote in hopes of some continuity. Co-offensive coordinator Sean Lewis, defensive coordinator Brian Ward and the rest with likely be gone with him. What’ll be left is a group of players fine-tuned to run a system that probably won’t be coming back.A team stuck rebuilding every several years will have no place on the national stage.Don’t get me wrong. Be excited. Dino Babers is going to have success in Syracuse. It’s just that the more he has and the quicker it comes, the worse it will be for SU down the road.Jon Mettus is an Asst. Sports Editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at jrmettus@syr.edu or @jmettus. Comments Published on November 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more