Month: December 2020

New York PSC Blocks Plan to Refuel Coal-Fired Cayuga Plant

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享David Giambusso for Politico:The Cayuga power plant near Ithaca, one of the few remaining coal plants in the state, will not get the approval or the $102 million needed to refuel and keep it viable, the state Public Service Commission ruled Tuesday. Instead, the state approved a proposal from New York State Electric & Gas and National Grid to upgrade transmission lines in the area, which the utilities have long argued was a better and more economic option to maintain reliability for the region.Until recently, the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration was unconvinced. In a curious political posture for a governor whose rhetoric on energy is focused on renewable, clean power, his quest to keep the Dunkirk coal plant in Western New York open and his ambivalence on Cayuga brought him into direct conflict with the environmental lobby that has exercised unrelenting pressure on him.The PSC ruled on three orders as part of its decision: one was to not fund Cayuga’s repowering, another was to approve the transmission upgrades, and the third was to approve the plant’s sale to Riesling Power, a Maryland-based energy company. Cuomo’s position was complicated by the need to balance jobs and property tax revenue the plants brought to a struggling region against his promises to clean up New York’s energy supply. Riesling is now negotiating a deal to purchase both the Cayuga plant near Ithaca and a large coal plant in Somerset. Riesling has promised to keep staffing at current levels, though with Tuesday’s decision, it is unclear how long that can be continued, especially since Cuomo has promised to phase out coal in New York by 2020.Cayuga is enjoying a ratepayer funded lifeline through June 30, 2017.For the time being, the state’s decision has saved utility customers roughly $80 million. The new transmission upgrades will cost $23.3 million; refueling would have run nearly five times that amount, or about $102 million, according to figures provided by the state.“We are very cognizant of the potential local economic effects of retiring power plants,” PSC chairwoman Audrey Zibelman said in a statement after Tuesday’s vote. “However, in this instance, the power plant itself does not solve our reliability concerns. Moreover, when we considered the combined lack of benefit to the power grid with the significantly higher costs of the refueling option, we determined it would simply be unfair to ask NYSEG consumers to shoulder both the transmission and refueling expense.”Full article ($): PSC ruling on Cayuga coal plant a big win for environmental lobby New York PSC Blocks Plan to Refuel Coal-Fired Cayuga Plantlast_img read more

Op-Ed: ‘Saying the Unsayable’ in West Virginia

first_imgOp-Ed: ‘Saying the Unsayable’ in West Virginia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Joe Morris for the Charleston Gazette-Mail:The last place you’d expect to hear an honest reckoning with coal’s future in West Virginia would be a campaign for higher office. Here, we literally shoot legislation that proposes even insufficient limits on carbon emissions. We sue all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn similarly inadequate federal regulations. We draft bills banning the mere discussion of climate change in our classrooms.And yet, the campaign for governor this year is, inexplicably, different.“It’s not our salvation; it never was our salvation,” said Jeff Kessler of the coal industry in November.In the West Virginia Public Broadcasting debate, he said, without even being asked: “I believe in climate change.”Just in case no one heard it then, he repeated himself on “MetroNews Talkline,” before endorsing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, justifying his position by citing the growth of solar power development in North Carolina as a model for Southern West Virginia.“I do believe in climate change, and we need to react to that. There are opportunities there,” he said. “We’ve got to look to the future because that’s where the world’s going.”Anywhere else, this would be banal. But in West Virginia, uttered by a major-party candidate for governor, it’s nothing short of audacious. It sets Kessler apart.Full item: Jeff Kessler is saying the unsayable on WV coallast_img read more

Proposed Loan for Adani Mine, Rejected by Queensland Government, May Have Failed Financial Test Anyway

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Australian Broadcasting Corporation:Adani’s bid for a $1 billion taxpayer-funded loan may have been doomed even before it was scuppered by Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government, the Productivity Commission has said. The miner’s proposed Galilee Basin rail line faced rejection by the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) because it may have failed key hurdles, the commission’s latest bulletin suggested.However, the commission is yet to analyse a rival NAIF loan bid by rail operator Aurizon, which the State Government will also consider blocking in line with an election promise relating to Adani. State Labor told lobby group GetUp! during the election campaign in November it would veto “any NAIF loan” that enabled Adani’s coal project.The Productivity Commission’s December newsletter noted that projects seeking low-interest loans from NAIF must “not otherwise be able attract finance, but would be commercially viable once constructed.” There must also be “a public benefit from the infrastructure [to justify the cost to the taxpayer of the short-term assistance provided]”.“Many of the projects suggested in the media as candidates for NAIF funding — such as the rail line to the Galilee Basin and various large irrigation dams — may fail at least one of these criteria,” it said.The miner, which is battling to meet its March deadline for clinching finance for the $22 billion project, has since been refused support by Chinese banks and parted ways with its main contractor Downer.Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad last month reportedly said the Government would soon decide whether to extend the NAIF veto to Aurizon.More: Proposed Loan for Adani Mine, Rejected by Queensland Government, May Have Failed Financial Test Anywaylast_img read more

India’s huge solar goal a ‘brilliant statement of intent’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:India says it intends to launch a tender for 100 gigawatts of solar power, 10 times the size of the current largest solar tender in the world–another Indian project scheduled to open for bids next month.But analysts have said the country has neither the infrastructure nor the energy demand to warrant installing so much solar capacity in one go, saying the announcement reflects the scale of India’s ambition to become a renewable energy leader.It is one of several green power promises made by Delhi this month on the back of continually falling renewables prices, with implications for coal projects including the proposed Adani Group mine in Queensland, Australia.The Indian power minister R.K. Singh flagged the 100 GW tender at an event in Delhi last week. While discussing a world record 10 GW solar tender set to launch in July, Singh reportedly told the audience: “Now [we] will bring out a bid of one lakh megawatts which would also include solar manufacturing and storage.”One lakh refers to 100,000 in the south Asian numbering system, equivalent to 100 GW. His office confirmed the plan to the Guardian but declined to provide further details other than that the tender would be launched “in the near future”.The unscheduled announcement surprised some energy policy specialists who said it was unrealistic and unnecessary. “I don’t think a 100 GW tender makes a lot of sense,” said Tim Buckley, a director at the pro-renewables Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, but adding he thought the plan was a “brilliant statement of intent.”More: India’s huge solar ambitions could push coal further into shade India’s huge solar goal a ‘brilliant statement of intent’last_img read more

European data show wind, solar help balance the other’s production

first_imgEuropean data show wind, solar help balance the other’s production FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:“What happens when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow?” It is a well-worn objection to renewable energy as too intermittent and unreliable to provide a safe and constant power supply.It is an argument, however, that has not been heard too often in recent years, as the ranks of renewables opponents have thinned and as wind and solar have proven more reliable and predictable than previously thought.A demonstration of this has now been highlighted by Vaisala, a Finnish provider of observation and measurement products and services, which has reported the heat wave afflicting Western countries such as the U.K., France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and much of Scandinavia created conditions for a considerably higher output from solar power generators to coincide with a fall in generation from wind turbines.The company’s wind and solar performance maps of Europe show wind power resources in July were 20% lower than average but that solar irradiance made up the difference. Vaisala claims its measurements – obtained from nearly 40 years of wind and solar data – clearly demonstrate solar picks up the slack when there is a wind drought, at least in Europe. “Europe is one of the few regions of the world where solar and wind anomalies are consistently anti-correlated over large geographic regions,” said the company, in relation to a heatwave which is caused by a high-pressure system expected to be present until October.“This new data shows that large-scale anomalies are not a one-time occurrence, and it may be time for the European market to follow suit in thinking about how it can become ‘climate resilient’,” said Vaisala’s Director of Renewable Energy, Pascal Storck. “Often wind and solar technologies are played against each other, but the reality is that a diverse portfolio, obtained by building out both to a large scale, will be the solution to long-term variability of this nature.”More: When the wind doesn’t blow don’t worry, the sun shineslast_img read more

New Mexico town bids to keep San Juan coal plant running

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The city of Farmington, N.M., announced that it has signed a deal with a private holding company to keep the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station open, but the plant’s majority owner and operator, PNM Resources Inc., indicated it does not see how such an arrangement would be viable.The city announced in a news release on Feb. 24 that it signed an agreement with Acme Equities LLC, which Farmington described as a New York City-based private holding company that focuses on North American energy assets. However, little additional information about the company could immediately be found on Feb. 25.Farmington, which owns 8.48% of San Juan Unit 4, announced it will begin negotiations with the plant’s other owners to transfer their interests, so the city can keep the plant running beyond its scheduled retirement date.However, PNM issued a statement that it remains committed to the plant’s closure in 2022 and has no plans to surrender its ownership and status as the plant’s operator. The plant is located near Farmington in San Juan County, N.M. Two of the plant’s four units were retired at the end of 2017.The parent company of Public Service Co. of New Mexico said the anticipated shutdown is consistent with its integrated resource plan and the IRPs of three of the other plant owners. Fortis Inc. subsidiary Tucson Electric Power Co. owns 50% of unit 1, which began operating in 1976. Along with Farmington, two other public power entities own small percentages of unit 4, which began operating in 1982.“PNM will continue to work with the other four San Juan Generating Station owners in accordance with their agreements to plan for a shutdown of the coal plant in 2022, subject to necessary regulatory approvals,” the company said.More ($): N.M. town claims it has deal to keep San Juan coal plant running New Mexico town bids to keep San Juan coal plant runninglast_img read more

Opponents return to court to block latest Trump administration move on Keystone XL pipeline

first_imgOpponents return to court to block latest Trump administration move on Keystone XL pipeline FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Opponents of the long-stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline asked a federal court Friday in a lawsuit to declare President Donald Trump acted illegally when he issued a new permit for the project in a bid to get around an earlier court ruling.In November, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled that the Trump administration did not fully consider potential oil spills and other impacts when it approved the pipeline in 2017. Trump’s new permit, issued last week, is intended to circumvent that ruling and kick-start the proposal to ship crude oil from the tar sands of western Canada to U.S. refineries.White House officials have said the presidential permit is immune from court review. But legal experts say that’s an open question, and the case could further test the limits of Trump’s use of presidential power to get his way.Unlike previous orders from Trump involving immigration and other matters, his action on Keystone XL came after a court already had weighed in and blocked the administration’s plans.“This is somewhat dumbfounding, the idea that a president would claim he can just say, ‘Never mind, I unilaterally call a do-over,’” said William Buzbee, a constitutional scholar and professor at Georgetown University Law Center.The pipeline proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada has become a flashpoint in the debate over fossil fuel use and climate change. Opponents say burning crude from the tar sands of Western Canada would make climate change worse. The $8 billion project’s supporters say it would create thousands of jobs and could be operated safely.More: Pipeline opponents ask judge to strike down Trump’s permitlast_img read more

Trout Unlimited

first_imgReba Brinkman and a brown trout.The Southern Appalachians has thousands of miles of trout streams. Here are four classic destination rivers that should be on every angler’s must-fish list. ELK RIVERWest Virginia Locals call it “The Lady,” because it’s so fertile. The river starts at Slatyfork, where Big Spring Run and Old Field Fork join, then goes underground for six miles before popping back out at Elk Springs in the form of three cold springs, and heads west toward Charleston. Head for the 4.6-mile stretch from the headwaters to the dries, where the river heads underground. This upper stretch, known as the Slatyfork section, is narrow, rocky, and shallow, but has plenty of cover to keep the river cool in the summer. It’s catch and release, and a stellar wild trout fishery. Expect to find naturally reproducing brown, rainbow, and brook.“The Upper Elk has the largest naturalized population of trout in West Virginia,” guidebook author Beau Beasley says. “It’s catch and release, so you’re not going to find as many conventional anglers in the area because they have to let the fish go.”Since the fish populations have been naturalized, they’re more wary than what you’ll find in stocked West Virginia streams, so bring your A-game.Access: From Slatyfork, take County Route 219-12 north for 0.5 miles to a trailhead servicing the catch and release section of the Elk. Follow the former rail line along the river.NORTH FORK MOORMANSVirginiaThe North Fork Moormans is a tight, rugged trout stream that starts near Skyline Drive inside the Shenandoah National Park and eventually feeds the drinking water reservoir for Charlottesville, before mellowing out into a wider river. The headwaters inside the park offer some of the best native brook fishing in the state.“Some of the largest native brook trout in Virginia are found in the North Fork Moormans. It’s not unusual to pull out a 12 to 14 inch brook with a good, thick body,” says James “Chubby” Damron, vice president of the Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited and author of the forthcoming Fly Fishing Guide to Jefferson Country. “Plus, there are over five miles of stream with public access, so you can camp and fish and head up into the upper parts and never see anyone else.”The section inside Shenandoah National Park is catch and release only. A massive flood in the ‘90s wreaked havoc on the trout populations and habitat, but the headwaters have bounced back.Access: Hike-in only. Park at Blackrock Gap on Skyline Drive at milepost 87 and walk down the North Fork Moormans River Road until you find the stream. SOUTH FORK HOLSTON RIVERTennesseeIf you want big fish, and lots of them, you go to the South Fork Holston, a tailwater stream that’s fed by the bottom of the South Holston Dam, which provides trout-friendly ice-cold water year-round. The river is famous for two things: big wild browns, and the mass hatching of sulphur bugs almost daily from April to November. Show up in the summer, and you’re almost guaranteed to see a massive bug hatch, which means the trout are popping to the top of the river to dine. This tailwater section of the river is home to 5,000 trout per mile, about a quarter of which are wild browns. Most anglers like those odds.“This is one of the classic Southern trout fisheries,” says Fly Fishing Team USA member Josh Stephens. “But even with high fish populations, it’s still fly fishing, which means the South Fork Holston can reward you one day and frustrate you the next.”The South Fork Holston is also a wider river, which will allow you more room to practice casting for distance.For large browns that push the 20-pound size, fish the tailwaters between the dam and Bluff City. This section of the river provides fish that rival anything you’ll find in world-famous Western rivers like the San Juan in New Mexico. Pay attention to the TVA dam generation schedule. If you’re fishing while the TVA is releasing water, you’d better be in a boat. Otherwise, wading is an option.Access: If you’re wading, there’s a walk-in area off of River Bend Road and another just upstream from Emmet Bridge.DAVIDSON RIVERNorth CarolinaThe Davidson could be the most well known trout fishery in North Carolina–it even made Trout Unlimited’s Top 100 Trout Streams list–but for good reason: It’s home to some very large trout.“It’s the only place in Western North Carolina where you can see a 24-inch fish, just laying out in front of you,” says long-time guide Forrest Marshal. “There’s a mile-long stretch around the hatchery where you can stand right beside these massive fish and look them right in the eye.”The river is as clear as moonshine, which allows you to spot the massive trout before you start tempting them with flies, but the transparency works both ways. As a rule, you should assume that any rainbow you spot in the Davidson saw you ten minutes earlier and assessed you as a non-threat. These fish are used to humans and have become so large because of regular feedings from the hatchery. So expect a finicky prey…and crowds.The hatchery stretch of the Davidson will host a dozen anglers even during the week. You can head higher into the Davidson River Gorge or lower towards Avery Creek for more solitude, but expect smaller fish.“Even though the Davidson is crowded, it’s still a unique experience,” Marshal says. “It’s still cool to take a beginner down there, put a fly rod in their hands for the first time, teach them a couple of things, and watch them catch a 20-inch fish.”Access: Park at the Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery, off FS 475 near Brevard, and follow the trail downstream.School of FishWant to learn how to cast from the best? Enroll in an Orvis Fly Fishing School. Orvis, maker of fine fly rods, began the country’s first fly fishing school in 1966 and quickly became the industry standard for teaching beginners how to fish with flies.“There’s a continuity to the training you find at an Orvis school,” says Orvis instructor Reba Brinkman (see Brinkman’s tips for beginners below). “It’s a proven method of teaching. At Orvis, you learn a foundation that you can take and fish anywhere.”Graduate from a two-day Orvis school, and you even get a diploma. There are only 15 Orvis schools in the country. The Southern Appalachians has four.ORVIS TENNESSEE FLY FISHING SCHOOL SEVIERVILLE, TENNESSEE Taught at the Hidden Mountain Resorts, you’ll start off at the casting pond and eventually have the chance to land wild trout inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. hiddenmountain.comTHE HOMESTEAD FLY FISHING SCHOOL HOT SPRINGS, VIRGINIA Learn the Orvis methods, then test them out on Cascades Stream, a privately owned trout stream on the Homestead that features 20-foot waterfalls and classic Southern Appalachians fishing.NEMACOLIN WOODLANDS RESORT’S ORVIS FLY FISHING SCHOOL FARMINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA There’s a lot of fishable water nestled inside Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands. At Nemacolin’s school, you’ll have the opportunity to fish some of the area’s prettiest streams, including the Youghiogheny River and Beaver Creek.NORTH CAROLINA FLY FISHING SCHOOL AT THE BILTMORE ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA Begin your journey to fly-casting superiority on ponds with the Biltmore in the background, then move on to legendary trout streams like the Davidson and Mills River.Fly School: Get an introduction to fly fishing from Orvis.Start HereThree tips from Reba Brinkman, Orvis-endorsed instructor at the Biltmore Estate and founder of WNC Women on the Fly.1. Casting is the most intimidating part of learning how to fly fish. People think it’s difficult, but if you have the proper training, it’s not hard to learn. It’s really important to build that skill at the beginning.2. Eighty percent of a fish’s diet is sub-surface. I look under rocks at the stream for aquatic bugs, then find the fly in my box that matches it closely in color. Or just use a fly that matches the color of the river bottom.3. Focus on fishing just a few local rivers and master them. Get to know these home waters by making a friend at a fly shop. A local resource can be extremely helpful to learning how to fish and where to fish. last_img read more

Daily Dirt: Crazy Eyes Trains for Boston

first_imgActress Uzo Aduba Running BostonMaybe your latest feat of endurance was a nonstop binge-watch of the popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black. If so, here’s a bit of news to make you feel better about yourself. Uzo Aduba, an actress on the show who plays inmate Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, will get a workout for you when she runs the Boston Marathon on April 20. According to Runner’s World, Aduba is running the famed marathon as a member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute charity team. Aduba ran track for Boston University.Grandma Gatewood Celebrated with New DocumentaryThis year marks the 60th anniversary of Emma Gatewood’s thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Better known in the hiking community as Grandma Gatewood, the late trail icon became the first solo woman to hike the entire length of the A.T. in 1955. Her heroic life, which included overcoming serious domestic abuse, was detailed in the recent New York Times bestseller Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail. Another look at Gatewood’s life will come in the upcoming documentary “Trail Magic,” which will debut on select PBS stations in May. Amazingly, Gatewood was 67 when she first hiked the trail. The mother of 11 and grandmother of 23 went on to hike the trail again in 1957 and 1957, which made her the first person to hike the trail three times, according to the Washington Post.last_img read more

Mountain Mama | All the Joy

first_imgTears glisten in his blue eyes. “These days I feel all the joy, I’m so happy to be here.”He spent so much of his life flirting with mortality – from professional rugby to motorcycle racing to extreme kayaking. But when death stared him down, he started chasing something else – joy.Over breakfast, we catch each other up about what’s happened in our lives over the past seven years.We met in Panama after my first summer of kayaking on a continuous class II and III stretch of river. It started raining at the put-in and didn’t let up. The river raged a chocolate brown, mud sliding in carrying rocks and small trees. I flipped, missed my roll and swam. He helped me get back into my kayak and asked me if I was okay. I grabbed him in a big hug and buried my face into his PFD and cried, cementing our friendship.He tells me how a stroke on the river changes everything. He’s paddling into an easy rapid when half his body goes numb and does everything he can to make it to shore.In the process, he flips.His face is under a few inches of water but with the half of his body still working, he can’t right himself. He thinks this might be the way he dies.Then a nearby paddler flips his kayak right-side-up. He lives.After two years relearning how to use his body, he’s ready to paddle again. He spent the night at his friend’s house on the river, and woke up to the sun shining, the green river flowing. He laces up his running shoes and goes for a run for no other reason than he can.We hug good-bye and I drive to another river to meet friends. This year I’ve been trying to get back into paddling Class IV and my belly fills with fear every time I get to the put-in.I tell everyone who will listen that I don’t want to feel this. They tell me that I have to in order to get out there and move to the other side, to transcend the fear I must feel it.For the first time in as long as I can remember I get into my kayak feeling the pure thrill and excitement replaced the noose of fear I usually feel. Perhaps I’ve felt the fear enough to move through it. Or maybe it’s the morning’s conversation.The river is a spicy level and turns me backwards before the second drop. I smile, staying lose and bracing into the frothy white. The sun illuminates the water and paddling through it, I begin to shine too.Between rapids, I admire the granite boulders, the wild flowers in brilliant orange and lavender hues.  That’s when I see her.She’s massive, perching on a boulder outcrop.I hear bleating sounds and follow it to first one cub and then another.The bigger cub scrambles up, finding a path around the boulder to his mama’s side. The smaller cub follows, but tumbles down several feet, crying out for help. The mama bear looks on from a distance, patient but not overly indulgent.I watch the cubs learn how to climb and paddle with a heightened sense of wonder. I finish the river, joy pulsing through every stroke.I stand at the take-out basking in the twists and turns of the day, realizing that joy is my antidote for fear. A swarm of butterflies surround me and I take a vow to seek joy, to cultivate joy, to live with joy.Nothing is more important than remembering joy.last_img read more