Month: December 2020

Colstrip Fights the Inevitable

first_imgColstrip Fights the Inevitable FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Elizabeth Harbel for E&E:“What is fundamentally driving change in Colstrip right now is the national economics of coal,” said Bill Arthur of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.Additionally, Anne Hedges of the Montana Environmental Information Center argued Colstrip’s fate was determined in 1997, when Montana deregulated Montana Power Co., then the sole owner of the plant. This ultimately allowed it to be parceled off to multiple out-of-state owners, Hedges explained.“That one decision right there put Montana in the back seat — in fact, it took Montana out of the car when it came to any decisions on Colstrip,” Hedges said.Hedges’ environmental group is not well-loved in Colstrip. It has participated in lawsuits surrounding the operation’s environmental impact — leaks from the mine’s coal ash ponds have been an environmental concern in the area for years (Greenwire, Oct. 23, 2013).Still, Hedges regularly appears before Montana’s Legislature in Helena, pleading with Ankney and his colleagues to plan a future for Colstrip’s workers that doesn’t involve coal.“If they’re not proactive and they just decide to fight the inevitable, then there is no future for the town of Colstrip,” Hedges said. “If they’re not willing to diversify, they’re screwed — and that would be unfortunate.”Hedges suggested Colstrip’s residents could find jobs in the remediation work that will be needed if the units were shut down. She and others have also proposed Colstrip explore less carbon-intensive ways to send power down the valuable twin, 500-kilovolt transmission lines originating at the plant.Full article: Inside a town that won’t give up on coallast_img read more

Peabody Angles to Keep Kayenta Mine in Arizona Open

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg BNA:A group of business and government representatives are exploring the possibility of keeping alive a troubled coal mine in northern Arizona.The Kayenta mine, operated by Peabody Energy, appears likely to shut down at the end of 2019, when the nearby Navajo Generating Station is also scheduled to close. The two are linked because the power plant is Kayenta’s only customer. No rail line exists to ship the Kayenta coal to the outside world.But now, a group of stakeholders that includes Peabody, the Bureau of Reclamation, and Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) have come together to study the cost of building a rail extension to a Burlington Northern Santa Fe line 115 miles to the south.Peabody spokeswoman Beth Sutton declined to comment on the rail spur, but said the company continues working with stakeholders that would allow NGS to stay open “well beyond 2019.” That includes “engaging a globally recognized firm to identify a new ownership structure,” Sutton said.O’Halleran also said the possibility of building a coal gasification plant to replace the Navajo Generating Station is on the table, corroborating statements made by Navajo Nation presidential spokesman Mihio Manus to Bloomberg BNA earlier this month.Those comments have taken many industry watchers by surprise, in light of two recent high-profile stumbles in the coal gasification industry. Duke Energy’s Edwardsport coal gasification plant in Indiana cost $1.5 billion more than originally planned and still doesn’t run reliably, according to David Schlissel, director of resource planning analysis at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).More recently, Mississippi regulators concerned about the rising costs of Southern Co.’s Kemper plant ordered the company last month to transition the plant to natural gas.On Aug. 11, the IEEFA said coal gasified power at Edwardsport costs $64.40 per megawatt hour, compared to $44.37 at the Navajo Generating Station.More: Peabody Mine May Survive if Railroad Extension Built Peabody Angles to Keep Kayenta Mine in Arizona Openlast_img read more

Record-low solar PPA deal in Texas

first_imgRecord-low solar PPA deal in Texas FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享GreentechMedia.com:The 15-year contract with Engie-affiliated Long Draw Solar is among the lowest PPA prices confirmed in the U.S. and the lowest confirmed in Texas. The project capacity is 255 megawatts.Greentech Media previously reported on several projects that rival the New Braunfels PPA. Austin Energy once claimed the record, announced at the end of last year. But the price of that deal was unconfirmed, hovering between $21 and $27.25 per megawatt-hour, according to Colin Smith, a senior solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. Projects in Arizona and Nevada have also sunk to $21.55 per megawatt hour (with 2.5 percent annual escalation) and $23.76 per megawatt hour, both for 25-year PPAs. The Long Draw project will be located in West Texas and is projected to come online in 2020.Texas is still among the top 10 solar states by megawatts operating and in development, as it was last year. And much like the political environment that surrounded the Austin Energy deal, the Section 201 tariffs are still depressing solar growth. According to WoodMac’s latest Solar Market Insight report, released this week in partnership with the Solar Energy Industries Association, Q3 2018 was the first time since 2015 that utility-scale installations sunk under 1 gigawatt.Austin Energy’s PPA came just ahead of the Trump administration’s announcement of tariffs in January, when uncertainty was high. At the time, Smith said the shockingly low price was a “bold statement” that the solar industry could ride through the challenges. Now that the tariff situation has clarified, Smith said solar can continue on a growth trajectory. He called the low quarter “a symptom of this [tariff] hiccup in the marketplace.” But announcements like the one from New Braunfels Utilities indicates the industry is still getting more competitive. In addition to Texas, utilities in states such as New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada have seen power-purchase agreement prices below $30 per megawatt-hour. More: Texas Municipal Utility Signs New Super-Low Solar PPAlast_img read more

Spain’s coal-fired electric generation fell to record low 4% of total demand in 2019

first_imgSpain’s coal-fired electric generation fell to record low 4% of total demand in 2019 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Spanish coal demand for generation slumped to its lowest year on record in 2019, with demand at around a quarter of the previous five years’ average and December recording the first coal-free generation days on record.Total coal-fired output in Spain was 10.8 TWh in the full year, according to data from grid operator Red Electrica de Espana S.A.U., down from an annual average of 40.8 TWh between 2014 and 2018. This meant that coal supplied just 4% of national demand in the year, down from 14% in 2018 and 17% in 2017.For December, coal-fired generation was just 400 GWh, close to all-time minimums recorded in March and August 2019, while five days — Dec. 14, Dec. 21, Dec. 22, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 — resulted in zero coal-fired generation for the first time ever in Spain.In the coming year, there is likely to be an even sharper reduction as a number of coal plant closure plans were submitted in December, in addition to previously announced closures of plants supplied with domestic coal, which are due to take place at the end of June.On Dec. 27, Endesa SA announced its intention to close two plants that were previously expected to remain operating beyond 2020 — the 1.4-GW As Pontes facility in Corunna and the 1.1-GW unit at Carboneras, Almeria — although it didn’t give a date for either closure. To replace the lost output, the company said it will build 3 GW of renewables — 1.50 GW in Galicia and 1.52 GW in Andalucia — between 2020 and 2026.Spain’s drive to decarbonize its economy has seen it add around 5 GW of new renewable capacity in 2019 while increased LNG supply from the U.S. Gulf Coast and Russia has meant far more competitive gas prices. These two factors have increasingly pushed coal out of the thermal gap in the generating mix, leading to a flip in the position of gas and coal in the merit order. While coal outsupplied gas roughly three to two in 2018, gas has outsupplied coal five to one in 2019, according to Red Electrica data.[Henry Edwardes-Evans, Gianluca Baratti]More ($):Spanish coal generation slumps to record low in 2019last_img read more

Climate Change and Rivers

first_imgRivers may well be hard hit by climate change, given the likelihood of increased droughts, floods and the associated spread of waterborne diseases. Pictured: The Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, which has lost 14 percent of its water volume since the 1950s due to higher temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns. Credit: iStockPhotoEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: How is it that climate change is negatively affecting the health of rivers and, by extension, the quality and availability of fresh water?                      — Robert Elman, St. Louis, MOGlobal warming is no doubt going to cause many kinds of problems (and, indeed, already is), and rivers may well be some of the hardest hit geographical features, given the likelihood of increased droughts, floods and the associated spread of waterborne diseases.For one, rivers are already starting to lose the amount of water they channel. A 2009 study at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found that water volume in the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest declined by 14 percent since the 1950s. This trend is similar in major rivers all over the world.“Many communities will see their water supplies shrink as temperatures rise and precipitation patterns shift,” reports the nonprofit American Rivers, adding that a rise in severe storms will degrade water quality and increase the risk of catastrophic floods. “Changes in the timing and location of precipitation combined with rising levels of water pollution will strain ecosystems and threaten the survival of many fish and wildlife species.” These shifts will have dramatic impacts, threatening public health, weakening economies and decreasing the quality of life in many places. In the U.S., the number of storms with extreme precipitation has increased 24 percent since the late 1940s—and the trend is expected to continue.Another certain impact on rivers is more pollution as more frequent and powerful storms increase runoff from urban and agricultural areas that contain fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals and motor oil. “In older communities where storm water and sewage are transported together in one pipe, heavy storms can overwhelm the system and send raw sewage and polluted storm water into nearby streams and rivers,” says American Rivers. “These combined sewer overflows will grow more frequent as extreme storms increase.”Lower water flows and rising temperatures compound problems caused by more runoff. “More frequent droughts and shifting precipitation patterns lower water levels in rivers, lakes and streams, leaving less water to dilute pollutants,” says the group. “Higher temperatures cause more frequent algal blooms and reduce dissolved oxygen levels, both of which can cause fish kills and do significant harm to ecosystems.”American Rivers reports that the health of our rivers in the face of increasing warming will depend largely on community preparedness. Municipalities that fail to address aging infrastructure “will experience greater increases in storm water runoff and sewer overflows.” And communities that have damaged their wetlands, forests, streams and rivers will have fewer natural defenses to protect against the effects of climate change.There is much we can do to protect rivers besides reduce our carbon footprints. American Rivers is promoting green infrastructure—an approach to water management that protects, restores or mimics the natural water cycle—as the way to bolster the health of rivers. “It means planting trees and restoring wetlands rather than building a new water treatment plant. It means choosing water efficiency instead of building a new water supply dam. It means restoring floodplains instead of building taller levees.”CONTACTS: NCAR, ncar.ucar.edu; American Rivers, www.americanrivers.org.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.last_img read more

Mountain Mama: Why bother warming-up? Here’s why

first_imgWarming up does more than prevent torn tendons and tweaked muscles. Revving up your body can help win the battle of the running doldrums.Dear Mountain Mama,I’m a time-crunched runner training for the Charleston Marathon. My goal is to finish – I’m not looking to break any records of set a PR. My training plan involves logging the miles at a moderate to slow pace.I keep hearing how important warming-up is, but does that apply to a runner like me? When time is at a premium, why bother with a warm-up?Yours,Time-CrunchedDear Time-Crunched,I get the time-is-so-scarce-I-barely-manage-to-squeeze-in-a-run mind frame, an apt description of my own head space most of the time. But skipping a warm-up does more than ensure you won’t hit your peak performance. Running first thing in the morning or after being sedentary for long stretches increases the risk of pulling a muscle or tweaking a tendon or joint. “A proper warmup increases heart rate, breathing rate, and blood flow to the muscles,” says Ann Alyanak, a University of Dayton coach who placed seventh at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials. “It prepares the body for increasingly vigorous activity, allows it to work more efficiently, and reduces injury risk by loosening you up.”Warming up also helps runners err on the side of starting out more like a tortoise than a hare. Beginning a run at an unsustainable pace results in an inevitable slow-down, leaving runners feeling discouraged and daunted at the thought of their next run.Even for everyday runs, at a minimum warm-up by walking for 3 – 5 minutes to loosen up joints and muscles. Then begin running at a deliberately slow pace for the first half mile or more, starting easy and gradually adding speed.Oh but there will be days. Day when real life conspires against you. Last week I’d calendared every hour of my work days, lunch presentations that required preparing after my toddler went to sleep. By Thursday, I dreaded my training run, even thought it was an easy 3-miler. It started raining thirty minutes before my babysitter was scheduled to arrive.Rain was just the excuse I needed to bail on my run, only my babysitter wouldn’t let me. When I texted her I wanted to cancel, she replied, “You positive? You can always run in a rain jacket! Or just get soaked!”So reluctantly I replied that I’d run, mostly out of guilt. But when I got home washing the dishes and folding the heap of laundry on my couch seemed more appealing. I spent close to an hour putting away dishes and clothes and sweeping. After a day behind my desk, even that activity revved up my energy level so when my babysitter set a time limit that I must leave the house to actually run, since that’s why I’d asked her to babysit. By then running, while still not completely exciting, at least seemed doable.Warming up, even if it’s cleaning your house, helps on those days when you just don’t feel in the mood to lace up your shoes. Telling yourself that you’ll start slowly will help to get into the right mindset before tackling long distances. Warming up ensures you’ll be mentally pumped up for your next workout.Happy Trails!Mountain Mamalast_img read more

More Than Just a Pretty Campus

first_imgWhat defines a college? Some people say it’s the food. Some people think it’s the parties. Well I say it’s the adventure. It’s being able to drive any direction for a few miles and embark on a daring mountainous hike. It’s having some of the best mountain biking trails in all of Virginia only minutes from campus. It’s waking up on a snowy morning to an email canceling class and being able to drive 20 minutes to Massanutten Ski Resort. This is the life here at James Madison University and the best part is that there is an adventure team of faculty and students ready to lead you to any adventure you hear echoing over the Blue Ridge Mountains, begging you to go outside and play.“JMU is unique in that we are sandwiched in between a national forest and a national park,” says Guy deBrun, the Assistant Director of Adventure and TEAM Programs.He is the one you can thank for scheduling many of JMU’s adrenaline pumping activities such as the recent spring break trip he co-led to Patagonia. Guy began spreading his love and passion for adventure when he attended James Madison University as a graduate student and became the graduate assistant for the adventure program. Opportunities led Guy to work for the outdoor programs at various other universities, but ultimately he was drawn back to JMU by its allure of a smaller atmosphere, beautiful location, and the growing opportunities of the adventure department.“All the access to public lands gives us plenty of opportunities to hike, bike, rock climb, and so much more. The opportunities are endless,” Guy tells me when I ask why he thinks JMU is a top adventure college.IMG_3671 (1)But you actually don’t even have to leave campus to quench your thirst for adventure. If you take a step inside JMU’s gym, which is in the process of doubling its current size, you’ll notice the 33 foot rock wall, led by the Adventure Program, that is sure to please beginners and experts alike. Need to be outside? No problem. Head to UPark and feast your eyes upon the towering pine trees that nest the high and low ropes course. Led by a staff that is passionate about the outdoors, the ropes course is a hot spot for most all clubs and organizations on campus.IMG_3833 (1)Cassidy Harvey is one of these passionate instructors.“Groups come to the ropes course looking to have a good time but when they leave, they walk out with new teamwork skills that can carry over to other aspects of life,” she explains. Not only is Cassidy a Lead TEAM Facilitator for the ropes course, but she also works as an Adventure Trip Leader for the University. Only a sophomore, she has already led hiking trips, canoeing trips, and backpacking trips that attract a wide variety of JMU students.When Cassidy decided to attend school here, she was not what you would call an outdoorsy person.“I came here because I liked the people and it’s a beautiful campus with great scenery. The job looked fun so I took it and Guy began training us, teaching us how to kayak, build a fire, camp, and other specific skills,” she explains. “Now, every trip I go on puts determination in me to do something bigger. I can be very proud but at the same time I am so humbled by the huge mountains.”As James Madison University’s adventure program continues to prosper, providing once in a lifetime opportunities to all students here, they still remain humbled by earth’s natural beauties. That’s part of what makes it such a unique and wonderful program. No matter where the trail leads, the river takes the kayak, or the rocks lead the climber, Cassidy, Guy, and the rest of the Adventure Program are there and enthusiastic to provide students with a glimpse of the powerful and inspiring ways of nature.last_img read more

Mountain Mama: The Power of Photography

first_imgMy son began speaking late, but once he started he told me memories of being a baby and a toddler. I’d thought he was too young to understand what was happening. He started these stories with, “when I was a little boy,” a preamble that always made me laugh.I’d marvel at the thoughts that became traced as memories and how he’d saved them up until he finally had the words to share the world that he’d taken in years before.“What are you thinking baby bear?”He looked at me in a way that made me feel I might be slow or dense. “Mama bear,” he said, “I’m remembering.”He reached for my hand and I squeezed it, eclipsing his small hand with mine. My fingers folded over his and I tried to memorize the imprint of his handprint, his hand now bigger than it had ever been, smaller than it would ever be from that day forward. I etched the outline of his hand into my mind and squeezed it tighter.“Thank you,” I said, recognizing that something in me shifted because he had told me the exact thing I needed to hear. The simple act of remembering was an act of surrender, trusting that the wisdom of a place or experience doesn’t need to be reduced to words in that exact moment. It wasn’t up to us to find the words that shaped that moment, but to soak up what was right before us, and let the unraveling happen when our words caught up to our memories.If I manage to take photos during my outdoor adventures with my son at all, they feature only him. So when I saw Melina Coogan post an opportunity for a photo shoot at one of our places in the outdoors, I jumped at the chance for recent photos of us both.When I saw the photos, I was overwhelmed the way they captured something about my experience of motherhood that I hadn’t yet realized, the way my wild boy, so comfortable in his element, also needs protecting. The photos reminded me of my desire to show my son the whole world and let him run wild sits side-by-side with the urge to hold him tight and protect him from anything that might hurt him. Knowing when to let go or even nudge him further away and when to cuddle him closer is something that evolves in an instant.I’m in awe of the fierceness and beauty of my own mama bear instinct. Photos allow me to reflect on experiences that happened once I have the emotional distance to process the meaning.last_img read more

Bryce Resort – Basye, VA

first_imgAverage inches of snowfall? 60-80 inchesNumber of slopes? 8Skiable acres? 25Pass prices?  Weekend/Holiday – Adult: $70, Junior: $62Weekday – Adult: $45 Junior: $40Opening day?  November 16, 2019Number of lifts? 5 surface lifts and 2 aerial liftsLongest run? Redeye at 3,500 feetBase/summit elevation? 1,250 ft/1,750 ftDriving distance to nearest major cities?Washington, D.C. – 116 MilesRichmond, Va. – 141 MilesCharlottesville, Va. – 97 MilesRoanoke, Va. – 146 MilesLexington, Ky. – 449 MilesCharlotte, N.C. – 330 MilesWinston Salem, N.C. – 251 MilesAtlanta, Ga. – 567 MilesChattanooga, Tenn. – 503 Miles[divider]What’s new at the resort this year?[/divider]Bryce is adding an ice skating rink this year. The rink will be in front of the restaurant by the tubing hill. Fifteen dollars covers one hour of skating and rentals which, includes skates, a helmet, and wrist guards. Expect the rink to open around Thanksgiving weekend.[divider]What are the best après ski activities available at the resort and in the area?[/divider]The Copper Kettle Bar & Lounge offers food and beverage with picture windows overlooking the slopes and features live music on the weekends.[divider]Where do you recommend visitors buy or rent their gear?[/divider]Our onsite Ski Boutique, located in the new Shenandoah Center, offers the latest gear and apparel that will equip anyone for a day out on the slopes.[divider]How many beginner, intermediate, and expert trails are there?[/divider]2 beginner, 4 intermediate, 1 expert[divider]What activities are available beyond the slopes?[/divider]Snow Tubing is directly beside the slopes, no skills required. Ice skating is a new addition that will be placed next to the tubing hill in front of the restaurant. The surrounding mountains offer a variety of hiking trails to explore with unbeatable views. Visit the historic Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs just down the road. You can even stay a night in one of their quaint cabins.[divider]Where is the best place to stay in the area? And if they are looking to buy?[/divider]Several onsite locations are offered through different companies as well as realty companies for those looking to buy. From hotels and condos to slopeside cabins, you can browse all of the options online.[divider]What do you offer for beginners who want to learn how to ski or snowboard?[/divider]Our First Time Package bundles a lift ticket, one hour lesson, and rental equipment for anyone 8 years of age and older looking to take to the slopes for the first time. The award-winning Kinder School features unique and interactive activities designed to teach children ages 4-7 how to get started in the sports of skiing and snowboarding.[divider]What are the best runs and why?[/divider]Our signature trail, Bootlegger, is the perfect intermediate slope, offering an upper section that provides moderate pitch, perfect for carving, and featuring a steep headwall at the end to challenge most skiers and snowboarders.[divider]Do you offer any family-friendly activities?[/divider]All of our activities, both winter, and summer are geared towards families, young and old for all to enjoy![divider]Are there activities available in the offseason?[/divider]We are a four-season resort! Dependent upon season, we offer golfing, scenic lift rides, mini-golf, disc golf, Zipline Adventure, Bryce Bike Park, Lake Laura, and more.last_img read more

USS Carl Vinson Arrives In Haiti To Support Humanitarian Operations

first_imgBy Dialogo January 15, 2010 The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) arrived off the coast of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti Jan. 15 to commence humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. Carl Vinson received orders from U.S. Southern Command to deliver assistance to the Caribbean nation following a 7.3 magnitude earthquake which caused catastrophic damage within the capital city Jan. 12. The aircraft carrier’s speed, flexibility and sustainability make it an ideal platform to carry out relief operations. “Our initial focus is to concentrate on saving lives while providing first responder support to the people of Haiti. Our assistance here reflects our nation’s compassion and commitment to those impacted by this tragedy,” said Rear. Adm. Ted Branch, commander of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group and the U.S. Navy’s sea-based humanitarian support mission of Haiti. The carrier arrived on station with a robust airlift capability, picking up extra helicopters while in transit that will will prove essential during the mission. Carl Vinson commanding officer Capt. Bruce H. Lindsey said, “When tasked to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Haiti, we immediately headed to Mayport, Fla., at more than 30 knots and loaded 19 helicopters, personnel and support equipment from five different East Coast Navy squadrons in less than eight hours. There is no other platform that can do all of that so quickly.” U.S. Southern Command is well-versed in providing humanitarian assistance to the region. Since 2005, the command has led U.S. military support to 14 major relief missions, including assistance to Haiti in September 2008. During that mission, U.S. military forces airlifted 3.3 million pounds of aid to communities that were devastated by a succession of major storms.last_img read more