Twilight of U.K. Coal-Fired Electricity Energy Is Approaching Faster Than Anticipated FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Karl Mathiesen for The Guardian:At 3pm on Thursday, the turbines of Scotland’s last coal power station at Longannet will spin for the last time. Coal, the lifeblood of the British economy for more than two centuries and now a terrible burden on the climate, is drawing its final breaths before an inevitable death. The question is: how long can it cling on?Longannet’s closure is the first in a year that will see a cascade of further shutdowns. Units at Rugeley, Eggborough, Ferrybridge and Fiddlers Ferry will all go cold over the coming summer months, removing 44% (around 8GW) of Britain’s coal-generating capacity in the turn of a season. This follows the closure of 8GW of ageing coal plants since 2012.European air quality laws have precipitated many of the recent closures, with old, dirty plants unable to afford the remedial measures needed to meet tightened restrictions.But this initial strangulation has been overlaid by falling gas prices and the growth of renewable energy, both of which have driven the wholesale price of electricity down by 60% since the beginning of 2014. Unlike gas, coal has high material transport costs and is more heavily affected by the UK’s carbon floor price. All of this means burning coal for power is an increasingly tough business to be in.By the end of this year, just six stations will remain active.The five on the mainland have received backing from the government’s capacity market until 2021 (Belfast’s Kilroot plant feeds the all-Ireland market). The capacity market guarantees a steady electricity supply by offering support to generators in return for a commitment to provide a certain amount of power to the grid. But in February, that guarantee was shaken when the operator of Fiddlers Ferry power station announced that despite winning government support for three of its four units until 2019, it would be cutting its losses and shutting down. Operator SSE cited dramatic changes in the generation market and opted to pay out the government contract of £33m rather than take on “unsustainable losses” into the future.The remaining operators are outwardly confident about their short-term future. But their language comes with heavy caveats.Full article: How long can the UK’s coal industry survive?
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Windpower Monthly:DENMARK—The government has announced plans in its new energy policy to require at least 50% of its energy needs to come from renewable sources by 2030. Danish wind capacity covered 43.4% of the country’s total electricity consumption in 2017.The Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate also unveiled proposals to phase out coal for electricity production by 2030.The government plans to invest DKK15 billion (€2 billion) to implement its energy policy and DKK4.2 billion (€560 million) out of this will help to ensure the continued development of a number of renewable energy technologies, including wind power. The funds will be allocated during the period 2020-2024.The ministry set out plans to “harmonize and simplify” its subsidy system for renewable energy technologies. Denmark currently has 35 different types of subsidies and under new plans, these will reduce to between four and six. The average level of direct support for subsidies is expected to go from around DKK0.22/kWh (€0.029/kWh) to DKK0.10/kWh (€0.013/kWh).The government has also proposed an “ambitious” green reform to “relax” energy taxes for the heating and electricity markets.More: Denmark Moves To Strengthen Renewable Energy Goals Denmark Eyes 2030 for Complete Coal Phaseout
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg Environment ($):The majority owner of the West’s largest coal-fired electricity plant is “closing in on” awarding five contracts to start decommissioning the plant, and could be ready to award them in April, the owner says.The Salt River Project, which owns 43 percent of the 2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station, also told Bloomberg Environment on March 19 that it’s not budging on its demand that any new owner absolve it of future cleanup liability. “Without a guaranty, there will be no progress,” said Scott Harelson, a Salt River Project spokesman.The Salt River Project, one of Arizona’s largest utilities, must begin dismantling the Navajo Generating Station because the plant near Page, Ariz., is scheduled to close at the end of the year.Those developments are putting pressure on the Navajo Transitional Energy Company, a wholly owned limited liability company of the Navajo Nation, to close its hoped-for purchase of the plant.The energy company’s sense of urgency was on display in a March 11 letter to SRP’s board, obtained by Bloomberg Environment, in which the company called the sale of the plant “literally a life and death issue for the Navajo and Hopi people.”The Salt River Project was unmoved by the company’s letter. “The owners’ position remains the same,” said Harelson.More ($): Navajo coal-fired plant dismantling could start next month Navajo coal plant owners to move forward with decommissioning plans
U.S. investigating potential criminal activity in Puerto Rico hurricane rebuilding efforts FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Oklahoman:Mammoth Energy Services’ subsidiary Cobra Acquisitions, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency are targets of an ongoing criminal investigation examining how the company obtained contracts worth more than $1.8 billion to help restore the island’s energy grid, filings in a related case show.In those filings, investigators state they have made findings of probable cause related to conduct they assert violates criminal statues involving the defrauding of the United States, conspiracy and bribery of public officials.The findings came to light in June when the subsidiary’s ex-CEO, Donald Keith Ellison, filed a suit in a northern California federal court seeking to recover millions of dollars in funds, securities and property belonging to him that were seized in late April by the U.S. government. Ellison demanded those assets be returned to him, arguing that affidavits and other supporting documentation for those seizures sealed by federal judge in Puerto Rico prevented him from challenging what happened.U.S. attorneys are working to have Ellison’s case moved to federal court in Puerto Rico.Ellison, a decorated Army Ranger who served in Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, was CEO of Cobra from January 2017 until June. Under his leadership, Mammoth’s Cobra secured a series of contracts in 2017 and 2018 worth more than $1.8 billion with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to repair storm damage caused by Hurricane Maria to the island’s electrical infrastructure.Mammoth Energy Services officials confirmed Tuesday they are aware of an investigation into Ellison, adding they are “cooperating fully” with authorities. That differs from their reaction in June, when they declined to confirm whether Ellison was being investigated after a story broke that federal investigators were examining contracts the island’s power authority had issued to companies involved in rebuilding the grid.More: Federal investigation into Mammoth subsidiary Cobra Acquisitions’ work on Puerto Rico continues, filings show
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Navajo-Hopi Observer:On Aug. 26, the last coal train delivered its cargo to the Navajo Generating Station, completing a cycle that had been in place since the 1970s when the plant first began operations. According to Joe Frazier, plant manager at NGS, the plant is in the process of burning down the final coal pile and will stay online through Nov. 10 to allow APS to finish installing reactors on a transmission system. After that, the plant will use the remainder of the coal and will officially go offline.The coal-fired plant has operated out of Page, Arizona since January 19, 1971, when its lease was first signed between NGS owners and the Navajo Nation. NGS owners include the Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona Public Service Co., Tucson Electric Power Co. and NV Energy.The closure of the power plant was in part because of the low cost of natural gas compared to coal. “It’s different for each organization … but the majority of it is gas and renewables,” Frazier said.Frazier has been plant manager since 2015 and said he understands from an economic standpoint why the plant closed.“Looking at it from the other end, the people who are our customers, you can see why the need is there. Economically it makes all the sense in the world to shut this plant down, not to mention the carbon footprint. There’s a lot of reasons to shut it down. This change is inevitable, as with most coal-fired plants and this is one of the first ones to go in this area,” he said.More: Last coal pile burns at Navajo Generating Station as plant prepares to go offline Navajo Generating Station manager acknowledges economic rationale for closing the massive coal plant
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:The renewable power sector has grown its share of the market globally during the coronavirus pandemic, while oil, natural gas and coal have all declined, the director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency said June 24.Even as oil prices slumped amid the pandemic, the share of renewables in production of electricity has grown in all parts of the world, Francesco La Camera said in a webinar co-sponsored by the Financial Times.“We have heard voices saying the COVID-19 was going to destroy the direction of renewable energy and we have said from the beginning this was just going in another direction,” he said. “The past five months have taught us that renewables have been proven as the most resilient way to produce energy. So, they are not only the cleanest but also the most resilient way to produce energy.”The increasing share of renewables in the power mix underscored the need for battery storage development, according to Bruno Brunetti, head of global power planning at S&P Global Platts Analytics, in New York. “As more conventional generating capacity is retired, especially in the US and Europe, we believe more batteries will be needed to boost flexibility and supplement renewables for peaking capacity,” Brunetti said.Global renewables capacity — solar and wind — will increase by about 162 GW in 2020, about 6% lower than projected in February, Platts Analysts forecast. Capacity additions in 2021-25 were seen staying even with 2019 levels, or up by an average 168 GW each year, it estimated.Solar and wind will account for about 9% of the global power generation mix in 2020, Brunetti said.[Claudia Carpenter]More: Renewables building power market share during COVID-19: IRENA IRENA’s La Camera touts renewables as cleanest, most resilient means of power production
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Albuquerque Journal:A mammoth wind farm covering 156 square miles in eastern Roosevelt County will begin generating enough electricity later this month to power up about 194,000 homes.At 522 megawatts, Xcel Energy’s Sagamore Wind Farm is by far the largest to come online in New Mexico, offering at least 40% more generating capacity than any of the next-largest facilities operating in the state.The company invested about $900 million to build the facility, employing about 500 workers at the peak of construction, which began last December. It will become fully operational by the end of the year, with 240 wind turbines cranking out electricity for Xcel subsidiary Southwestern Public Service’s 385,000 customers in eastern New Mexico and West Texas.The wind farm will employ 25 permanent workers and will generate about $234 million in local economic benefits over its 25-year life. That includes $44 million in gross receipt taxes, $89 million in lease payments to landowners where the wind farm is located, and $101 million in property taxes.The Sagamore facility caps a three-year effort announced in 2017 to boost SPS’ regional wind-generating capacity by 1.23 gigawatts, or enough electricity to power about 440,000 homes annually in the SPS service territory. Last year, it inaugurated a 478-MW wind farm in Hale County, Texas, just north of Lubbock, and it signed agreements to purchase another 230 MW of wind generation from NextEra Energy. It also buys power from four other wind farms and six solar plants in New Mexico.The Sagamore facility, outside Dora – about 17 miles south of Portales – is expected to save SPS customers about $110 million annually by offsetting fuel purchases for natural gas and other fossil fuel generation, according to the company.[Kevin Robinson-Avila]More: Xcel Energy inaugurates NM’s largest wind farm Xcel Energy completes construction of 522MW Sagamore wind farm in New Mexico
Post Green Race Interview with Adriene Levknecht from Lunch Video Magazine on Vimeo.
Though singer/songwriter Dan Lotti recently left Folly Beach, South Carolina, for the mountains of western North Carolina, his former homestead on the beach will always hold a special place in his heart. While in Folly Beach, Lotti – along with Mike Sivilli and Steven Sandifer – founded Dangermuffin, a band that, frankly, could not have originated anywhere other than surfside.Dangermuffin’s sound – an incredible blending of bluegrass, folk rock, spacey jams, and reggae – is a modern day folk surf soundtrack. I was hooked after taking a first listen Moonscapes, the band’s 2010 release. I am now spinning Songs For The Universe, the band’s newest record, virtually nonstop. Each time I listen, I am overwhelmed by an easy-hearted mellowness. I can’t help it. Lotti and his mates have a knack for writing music that resonates with positivity and good vibes. It never fails that, after listening to Dangermuffin, I just feel better.I recently caught up with Dan Lotti while he was in Folly Beach to chat up Dangermuffin’s hometown. Based on his descriptions, I have a trip scheduled for the not too distant future.BRO – Favorite local band?DL – There is so much great music going on here in Folly Beach and we only have a handful of bars. I am a big fan of The Travelin’ Kine and Weigh Station.BRO – Must visit spot for an out of towner?DL – That would have to be Bert’s Market. It has a great late night menu and the deli station makes sandwiches twenty-four hours a day. They have a fantastic growler station and all sorts of beach munchies. Bert’s is the heart of Folly Beach.BRO – Favorite place to see a band?DL – My favorite local venue is the Surf Bar. That’s where we got our start as a band. There was a beautiful vibe every Sunday evening with bluegrass, surf videos, and woodstoves.BRO – Favorite eatery?DL – I love Lost Dog Café on Folly Beach. It is always packed on weekends and the experience is always memorable.BRO – Cool historical tidbit?DL – Folly Beach was almost named Gershwin Isle. Porgy and Bess was written here, so when you hear “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy,” that there’s Folly Beach!It looks like Dangermuffin will be taking the balance of 2014 off, but January finds them all over the Southeast, with dates in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia already slated. For more information on those dates, others on the schedule, or how to get your hands on Songs For The Universe, fly over to www.dangermuffinmusic.com.Also be sure to check out “Little Douglas,” a track from the new record that includes Keller Williams on bass, on this month’s Trail Mix.
Thinking about a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2015? We’ve got some bad news…kinda. Your hike just got about four miles longer.The A.T. gained 3.9 miles, bringing its total mileage to 2189.2 miles.Most of this is due to re-measurements rather than actual additions to the trail. In some places, the trail is rerouted or modified due to erosion, slope, or other factors.Every year, the latest mileage and shelter information is updated from volunteers who are constantly improving the trail, with volunteer Daniel Chazin of Teaneck, N.J. leading the efforts since 1983. This year, more than half of the changes in the mileage are in southwest Virginia, with two miles added to the total following a re-measurement by volunteers.Increases were also reported in New York-New Jersey (0.1 mile); central Virginia (0.1 mile); Tennessee-North Carolina (1.5 miles); and North Carolina-Georgia (0.2 mile).