Month: December 2020

Editorial: ‘We All Breathe the Same Air’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Missoulian (Montana):Montana is home to one of the top 10 emitters of greenhouse gases in the nation. The coal-fired power plant at Colstrip is by far the largest industrial source of greenhouse gases in Montana, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.Nevertheless, thanks to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Montana was finally on its way to charting a course for cleaner energy. In the past few years the state had put together a blueprint of sorts for complying with the plan, and earlier this year Gov. Steve Bullock announced the members of a 27-member advisory council charged with making recommendations on how to cut carbon pollution in the most environmentally effective, least economically damaging way possible.Then the Clean Power Plan got tangled up in the courts, coal began a steady global collapse and Montana’s leaders seemingly abandoned efforts to help mitigate climate change in order to focus their attention on saving the Colstrip power plant.Montana’s state and federal leaders have been spending a great deal of time talking about how to keep Colstrip viable. Bullock is even taking steps to put together a working group addressing Colstrip’s future.They are taking this train in the wrong direction. Regardless of how the Clean Power Plan plays out in court, Montana must get back on track. It must not commit public resources to propping up an industry that damages public health. Montanans must remind our governor and congressional delegates that the state still needs to plan for a future that includes a strong, diversified energy industry, good-paying jobs and most of all, clean air.There’s no reason to delay, and every reason to move forward with urgency. Montanans’ health depends on it.Just this month, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released a new report that links the effects of climate change with public health, and noted that if things don’t change, Montana can expect to see more drought, soil erosion and dust activity, for instance. The report, “The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment,” connects these outcomes to human activities including agriculture, livestock grazing, irrigation and the like.It also, of course, notes that Montana can expect more wildfires and more smoke – and therefore, poorer air quality.In Missoula and Ravalli counties, poor air quality is particularly concerning. Although Missoula has made some headway thanks to local standards, it is still losing ground and its air quality continues to receive the poorest possible grade from the American Lung Association.The American Lung Association will be releasing its annual State of the Air report later this month. Last year’s report, which studied the years 2011-2013, showed that hotter, drier summers – with their more frequent, more intense wildfires – were responsible for increased particle pollution in places like Missoula and Ravalli counties. In Missoula County, for example, 86 percent of the poor air quality days were directly attributed to wildfire smoke.Consequently, Missoulians can expect to see more cases of chronic illness and respiratory disease. Children and the elderly, pregnant women, and people with heart or lung disease are especially vulnerable. Climate change is even extending the allergy season, including more – and more potent – airborne allergens.County-level air quality standards are effective, but they can only go so far. Montana must join the national push to mitigate wildfires by curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and it can accomplish this by dramatically reducing the use of coal as an energy source.And then what? Montana must continue to hold a statewide discussion that focuses on replacing polluting energy sources with cleaner ones, making use of new energy technologies and training a workforce equipped to overcome the inevitable challenges of such a massive transition.Recent polling data shows Montana residents want to do something about climate change, but are skeptical of the Clean Power Plan. A poll released last month by the University of Montana and Stanford University found that 54 percent of Montanans agree that climate change’s effect “pose a serious problem for the state.” And a whopping 71 percent would prefer to see the state “develop its own plan to reduce emissions” instead of allowing the federal government to call the shots.Montanans can already see that climate change is costing us immensely, and we shouldn’t wait to begin taking steps to reduce that threat by implementing our own standards. Bullock ought to reconvene the Clean Power Plan advisory council, and direct the group to continue working on this issue.The council should be given the support to continue to develop state-level solutions to the global problem of climate change.Montanans may remain divided on the Clean Power Plan, whether to lend public support to propping up Colstrip and, if so, how far to go. Regardless of those divisions, it would be wise to keep in mind that we all breathe the same air.Missoulian Editorial: Return focus to clean energy, healthy air Editorial: ‘We All Breathe the Same Air’last_img read more

Odds Are Against Completion of Australia Mega-Mine Project

first_imgOdds Are Against Completion of Australia Mega-Mine Project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Adani’s operations in Australia appear to be hanging on by a thread, as activists prove effective at undermining the company’s chances of getting the finance it needs.China seems to have ruled out funding for the mine, which means it’s not just Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine that is under threat, but also its existing Abbot Point coal terminal, which sits near Bowen, behind the Great Barrier Reef.The campaign against the mine has been long. Environmentalists first tried to use Australia’s environmental laws to block it from going ahead, and then failing that, focused on pressuring financial institutions, first here, and then around the world.The news that Beijing has left Adani out to dry comes as on-the-ground protests against construction of the mine pick up. Two Greens MPs, Jeremy Buckingham and Dawn Walker, have been arrested in Queensland for disrupting the company’s activities.Is China’s move the end of the road for Adani’s mega coalmine in Australia, and will the Adani Group be left with billions of dollars in stranded assets?One by one, each of the big four Australian banks ruled out financing the mineBut Australia’s environmental law leaves very little opportunity for challenging the merits of a minister’s decision – it only allows for challenges on whether those decisions considered everything required by the law. As a result, the minister needed only approve it again, after formally considering the impact on the two species.Another court challenge argued the approval was invalid because the emissions caused by the mine – which would be greater than those of New York City – were a threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Hunt argued in court, successfully, that there was no definite link between coal from Adani mine and climate change.It became apparent Australia’s environmental laws were unable to stop a project like this if the government of the day was determined to push it through.Although further court challenges remained on the cards, they could only serve to delay the project. So activists changed tactics, aiming to undermine the company’s chances of securing finance for the mine and its associated infrastructure.While threats to reputational damage were not effective against Adani Group, since it is family-owned, the same was not true of Australian banks, which were targeted heavily by activists.And one by one, each of the big four Australian banks ruled out financing the mine.By then Adani had seen the writing on the wall, and had shifted to seek finance from overseas institutions. It entered negotiations with the state-owned China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), which was thought to raise the potential of subsidised Chinese government loans.The Australian government, which was seeking to give Adani its own subsidised loan, had supported the company’s efforts in China, according to a freedom of information request by the Australia Institute that reveals “several hundred pages” relating to formal representations to foreign financiers by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.In a Senate estimates hearing, it was revealed that the minister for trade, Steve Ciobo, and the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, had written a letter to the Chinese government confirming the mine had received all necessary environmental approvals.But even support from the highest levels of Australian government could not secure Chinese financing for the project – the activists won again.In a letter to ACF’s Geoff Cousins, China’s Australian embassy said that Beijing had “taken note” of his concerns, and that while a Chinese entity had been negotiating with Adani, it had terminated the negotiation process “due to the absence of commercial feasibility”.It also noted that “no Chinese banking institution has made any financing commitment to the project.”“Approaching China would seem like the last roll of the dice so Carmichael is now looking even more like the definition of a stranded asset,” says Simon Nicholas, an analyst from the pro-renewables Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (Ieefa).“Although there have been many twists and turns on Carmichael already, which makes it hard to predict,” Nicholas says. “Adani is faced with writing off their A$1.4bn investment if they can’t get the project going so they’ll continue to state that they are pursuing funding and make it sound like everything’s under control.”Tim Buckley, also from Ieefa, says the news is a major blow to the Carmichael project, and will mean there is unlikely to be much movement from Adani until after the federal court hears a case brought by representatives of the Wangan and Jagalingou, the traditional owners of the site of the mine.More: Is this the end of the road for Adani’s Australian megamine?last_img read more

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

Grid operator says Texas electricity now 30% carbon-free

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Texas may be the center of the U.S. oil and gas industry, but the latest data shows that the state’s competitive energy market is increasingly favoring clean energy over fossil fuel alternatives.New information from state grid operator ERCOT shows that carbon-free resources made up more than 30 percent of its 2018 energy consumption, and a slightly larger percentage of its 2019 generation capacity. In both cases, the largest share of credit goes to the state’s massive wind farms, which provided 18.6 percent of 2018 energy and make up 23.4 percent of 2019 capacity, followed by nuclear power, which served 10.9 percent of last year’s needs and will provide 5.4 percent of this year’s capacity.Solar, meanwhile, only made up a sliver of the 1.3 percent of last year’s energy use served by “other” resources such as hydropower, biomass and fuel oil. But solar will make up 2.1 percent of this year’s generation capacity, in a testament to the small but fast-growing utility-scale solar market developing in the state.ERCOT’s achievement is largely a result of the economics of wind and solar power, plus a healthy dollop of state energy policy to integrate its western wind resources to eastern cities, known as competitive renewable energy zones (CREZ). Since 2009, about when CREZ got started, wind generation capacity has grown from 6 percent to nearly 20 percent of ERCOT’s energy mix, while coal has fallen from 37 percent to 25 percent of ERCOT’s energy mix over the same time.Meanwhile, the amount of wind being curtailed due to lack of transmission and demand has shrunk from about 17 percent in 2009 to less than half a percent in recent years, a result of the $7 billion in new transmission enabled by CREZ, as well as ERCOT’s work to build weather forecasting and demand management into how it manages its grid.Solar meets only a fraction of ERCOT’s needs compared to wind, but its growth rate is much faster at present, with utility-scale projects in the state setting new low-price records alongside solar leaders like California, Arizona and Nevada. Much of this solar is in West Texas, where it can benefit from the same transmission investments that have enabled the wind industry, Rhodes noted.More: Texas grid operator reports fuel mix is now 30% carbon-free Grid operator says Texas electricity now 30% carbon-freelast_img read more

Permitting slows European onshore wind installations, but investment remains high

first_imgPermitting slows European onshore wind installations, but investment remains high FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Investments in new onshore wind farms in Europe rose to the highest level ever last year, even as the biggest wind markets on the continent saw a slowdown in new installations, according to an annual report from industry group WindEurope.In 2018, project developers made final investment decisions worth €16.4 billion, up by 11% from the previous year, to finance a total of 12.5 GW of onshore wind capacity, according to the trade body. Wind energy investments continued a trend of geographical diversification, with smaller markets attracting more money for new projects. Investments in non-E.U. countries rose by 75% to reach €5.1 billion even as stalwarts like the U.K., Spain and Sweden continued to attract the most resources.Despite the record investment, WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson warned that the slowdown in permitting procedures that has bogged down onshore projects in major markets like Germany and France, as well as a more challenging environment amid the switch to competitive auctions for renewables in many countries, were seriously threatening the future of the sector.“Beneath the surface, many things are not right” for onshore wind, said Dickson, highlighting that 2018 was the worst year for new installations since 2011. “Growth in onshore wind fell by over half in Germany and collapsed in the U.K. And twelve E.U. countries didn’t install a single wind turbine last year.”Europe installed 11.7 GW of gross additional wind power capacity in 2018, down by 32% from the previous year. In Germany, where a clumsy switch to competitive auctions for renewables and ongoing permitting issues have led to a large backlog of projects, capacity additions decreased by more than half, from 5.3 GW to 2.4 GW. In France, where permitting processes for wind projects have been delayed or even suspended in some parts of the country, installations fell slightly, from 1.7 GW to 1.6 GW.More ($): Onshore wind investment at record high as growth slows in major European marketslast_img read more

LNG and renewables to drive future profits at leading Japanese power generator

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:JERA, Japan’s biggest thermal power generator and the world’s biggest buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), aims to double its profit by the financial year through March 2026 by stepping up investment in LNG and renewable energy, its new head said.The joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings and Chubu Electric Power Co became a major electricity generator this month with the takeover of 26 power stations owned by its two shareholders and representing about half of Japan’s thermal power capacity.“Our top priority is to smoothly combine the two companies’ power operations and bring synergy,” Satoshi Onoda, who became president of JERA on April 1, said in an interview last week. “We also want to become the global leader in LNG and renewable energy to enhance the transition to a clean energy economy,” he told Reuters.To meet growing demand for cleaner energy from its customers, JERA plans to increase its renewable energy capacity to 5 gigawatts (GW) in seven years, up from 650 megawatts now and increased from an earlier target of 3 GW.“Large-scale off-shore wind power abroad and at home will be our main targets,” Onoda said.“We will fade out the use of old and low-efficient coal-fired power plants,” Onoda said. “But we’ll keep a certain level of coal power, in line with the Japanese government’s policy,” he said.More: JERA aims to double profit by FY25/26 with focus on LNG, renewable energy LNG and renewables to drive future profits at leading Japanese power generatorlast_img read more

BlackRock warns South Korean utility on planned coal investments in Vietnam, Indonesia

first_imgBlackRock warns South Korean utility on planned coal investments in Vietnam, Indonesia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:BlackRock Inc. has challenged Korea Electric Power Corp. over plans to invest in new coal-fired power plants in Vietnam and Indonesia.The world’s top asset manager raised concerns over “several controversial coal projects” with a South Korean utility, including in meetings in the first quarter, it said in a report last month. BlackRock “contacted the CEO seeking a clear strategic rationale for its investments in coal energy,” it said, without naming the company.Kepco, as the utility is known, confirmed Thursday that it received a letter from BlackRock, which it said requested fuller disclosure of its planned involvement in new coal-fired plants overseas.BlackRock’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink in January pledged that the firm would make climate change a priority across its funds, becoming one of the highest-profile proponents for climate-friendly investing.Kepco is seeking to buy a stake in the Vung Ang 2 project in Vietnam, the spokesman said Thursday. It also said in January that it’s pursuing involvement in the Java 9 & 10 coal-fired power projects in Indonesia.BlackRock said in its Global Quarterly Stewardship Report that the South Korean company’s plans appear to contravene the utility’s energy transition commitments and are at odds with decisions by banks and other companies to exit the same projects.[David Stringer, Heesu Lee and Aaron Clark]More: BlackRock warns Korean utility on overseas coal plant pushlast_img read more

Giant Borssele III&IV offshore wind farm begins sending first electricity into Dutch power grid

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享OffshoreWind.biz:The Borssele III & IV offshore wind farm produced first power early in the morning on 7 August, the Blauwwind consortium informs.The first of 77 MHI Vestas 9.5 MW wind turbines was installed at the project site in the Dutch part of the North Sea in May. At the end of July, TenneT announced that the 700 MW Borssele Beta high voltage offshore platform, connecting Borssele III & IV and Borssele V offshore wind farms to the Dutch grid, was ready for use.At the moment, 36 wind turbines are in place at the Borssele III & IV site. After undergoing further initial tests in the coming weeks, it is expected that one additional turbine will become operational per day, Blauwwind said.The offshore wind farm, with a total installed capacity of 731.5 MW, is scheduled to be completed in October 2020 and commissioned in 2021.Total expected energy production from the Borssele III & IV is 3,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. The offshore wind farm will supply clean, renewable energy to 825,000 households, accounting for up to 2.3 per cent of the total Dutch electricity demand.The 731.5 MW Borssele III & IV wind farm is owned and developed by the Blauwwind consortium. The consortium comprises Partners Group (45%), Shell (20%), DGE (15%), Eneco Group (10%), and Van Oord (10%), with the latter also being the balance of plant (BoP) contractor.[Adrijana Buljan]More: Borssele III & IV produces first power Giant Borssele III&IV offshore wind farm begins sending first electricity into Dutch power gridlast_img read more

Ohio judge blocks $1 billion nuclear bailout bill

first_imgOhio judge blocks $1 billion nuclear bailout bill FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:A central Ohio judge on Monday blocked the subsidies from a $1 billion nuclear bailout law at the center of a $60 million bribery probe, as state lawmakers scrambled to decide the fate of a repeal effort and nominees were chosen to succeed a utility regulator who resigned amid the investigation.Franklin County Judge Chris Brown sided with Republican Attorney General Dave Yost and the cities of Cincinnati and Columbus in granting a preliminary injunction that would block the subsidies that were set to be added to every electric bill in the state starting Jan. 1.“Today’s ruling is a win for all Ohioans,” Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said in a statement. “HB 6 was passed through deceit, deception and corruption and this decision means that Ohio ratepayers will keep their hard-earned dollars instead of paying for a massive corporate bailout.”The ruling came as lobbying intensified on all fronts on legislation seeking to repeal the bailout law, as well as several competing proposals, with just a day left in the lame duck legislative session.The potential for legislative inaction before the session ends influenced his decision, Brown said. Fees collected under the law, which was passed in July 2019, amount to more than $150 million a year through 2026.“To not impose an injunction would be to allow certain parties to prevail. It would give the OK that bribery is allowed in the state of Ohio and that any ill-gotten gains can be received,” he said from the bench. “All you’ve got to do is find the right legislator, find the right speaker of the House. It is in the public interest to avoid that sentiment throughout the state.”[Mark Gillispie, Julie Carr Smyth and Farnoush Amiri]More: Judge blocks fees set by tainted Ohio nuclear bailout lawlast_img read more

Cale Tyson: Country Music Done Right

first_imgThe SkinnyJust recently, the unthinkable happened.  My thirteen year old son, who has a keen ear and great taste in music, was manning the iPod on a recent road trip and, to my surprise, a Jason Aldean song was blaring through my speakers.I damned near swerved the minivan off the road.Like much of what you hear on modern country radio, Aldean isn’t country; instead, he and his cronies are Lynyrd Skynyrd sound-alikes with bigger hats.  I have long lamented that country music is floundering; instead of Willie and Hank we have Luke and Toby.But, when things seem forlorn, I come across an artist like Cale Tyson. Living in Nashville now, Cale is Texas born and bred, and he does country the right way; the twang is real, the pedal steel moans, and, most importantly, I believe in what Cale is singing.  It’s honest, and that is what is missing most from so much of what is passed off as country music these days.For Fans OfMerle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, J.P. Harris & The Tough ChoicesOutside Looking In“I first met Cale where I meet most musicians – in a smoky bar.  Cale and I shared a bill together at The 5 Spot in East Nashville.  I was hooked halfway through the first song of his set.  He was leaning heavily on the material from High On Lonesome, his then unreleased EP.  Two songs really stuck with me – ‘Is The Flame Burning Low’ and ‘Lonesome In Tennessee.’  Both are as honest and authentic as Cale’s native Texas sky and make for perfect nighttime driving music.”— Caleb Caudle, Singer/Songwriter, New Orleans, LA On StageCale just returned from some time off in Mexico and the balance of August finds him away from the stage.  You Nashville cats have it good when he returns, though; Cale will be at the The Basement on September 11th and The 5 Spot on September 19th.In His Own Words“‘Long Gone Girl’ was written about an old flame that I couldn’t quite shake. I’d get so frustrated with myself for constantly going back to something that was just going to cause me more pain. I’d get upset and drive eleven hours home to Texas every once in a while and think, ‘That’s it. I’m going to leave town and clear my head of this whole situation, just get back to Nashville and be over it.’ Then she’d call me while I was there and apologize for whatever had happened and I’d think that everything would be better when I came back to town. It never really did in the long term, and I finally realized that. Some people just aren’t meant to lie in the same bed. There are no hard feelings now though. That’s just the way life goes. At some point, we’re all reaching for something unattainable. You just have to realize that and move on. Hell, though – I think it made for a really good song.”  — Cale Tyson, on the story behind “Long Gone Girl.”On The WebYou can find out more about Cale Tyson, his new EP, and when he might be swinging through your town at www.caletyson.net.  Make sure you also take a listen to “Long Gone Girl” on this month’s Trail Mix.Speaking of that new EP, Cale and Trail Mix would like you to have a copy. You guys know the routine. Take a shot at the trivia question down below, shoot your answer to [email protected], and a winner of a copy of High On Lonesome will be drawn from all the correct answers received by noon tomorrow (Thursday, August 22nd).Question – In a recent chat with Trail Mix, Cale mentioned some themes that are typically found in the quintessential country song.  Much to Jason Aldean’s chagrin, which one of the following did Cale NOT list?(A)  heartache(B)  lifted trucks(C)  loneliness(D)  murder(E)  cheating.Good luck!!last_img read more