Month: December 2020

Indiana Utility Officially Closes Coal Plant

first_imgIndiana Utility Officially Closes Coal Plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Northwest Indiana Times:The two coal-fired generators at NIPSCO’s Bailly Generating Station will be shut down permanently Thursday night as part of the power company’s plan to reduce reliance on coal.The [604 MW] Bailly plant, on 100 acres near the Port of Indiana and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, dates to 1962. It became fully operational in 1968.Bailly will continue to house equipment to ensure transmission of continuous voltage and a gas-fired “peaking unit” used during high-demand periods. But its main role as a coal plant is coming to an end.The decision to end coal-fired generation at Bailly was part of NIPSCO’s 2016 Integrated Resource Plan, which calls for a 50-percent reduction in the utility’s coal fleet by 2023.“Bailly was the first step in that plan,” [Director of Communications Nick] Meyer said. The second step would be the planned retirement of two coal-fired units at the Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield, where there are four total coal-fired generators. Michigan City also has one. More: Bailly Generating Station’s Coal-Fired Units to be Retiredlast_img read more

Engie to redevelop U.K. coal plant into ‘sustainable village’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:An old coal power station is set to be transformed into a “sustainable village” of 2,000 homes powered by solar panels, in the biggest redevelopment yet of a former UK power plant.French firm Engie said it had decided against selling off the Rugeley site in Staffordshire and would instead build super-efficient houses on the 139-hectare site as part of its bid to “move beyond energy.”Half of the energy required by the new homes will come from green sources, predominantly solar, which will be fitted on rooftops, in a field and even floating on a lake. The company is planning for 10 megawatts of solar capacity in total, equivalent to one of the UK’s smaller solar farms. Batteries will be used across the site, both in homes and at a communal power storage facility, to balance out electricity supply and demand.Wilfrid Petrie, Engie UK’s chief executive, said: “We are positioning ourselves as going beyond energy into place-making. It’s an example of us closing down our coal power plant and, instead of selling off the land, we’ve decided to regenerate it ourselves.”Rugeley, which stopped generating electricity in the summer of 2016, is one of several coal plants to close in recent years due to economic pressures and environmental regulations.There are seven operational coal power stations left in the UK, but all are due to shut by a government deadline of 2025, raising questions over what happens to the sizeable parcels of land afterwards.More: Rugeley coal plant to be transformed into a sustainable village Engie to redevelop U.K. coal plant into ‘sustainable village’last_img read more

Florida utility FPL looks to close all coal, oil generation units no later than 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Palm Beach Post:Big changes are forecast for Palm Beach County’s and Florida’s energy sector during the next decade as an explosion of solar power takes shape.Florida Power & Light Co.‘s fleet will transition from producing less than 2 percent of its electricity from solar to a projected 20 percent from its solar energy centers. Larger solar battery storage systems will come online and extend the solar facilities’ energy production by a few hours each day.“It’s going to have a lot of solar, that’s for sure, with 30 million panels by 2030,” FPL CEO and President Eric Silagy told the Palm Beach Post. “I will be disappointed if we don’t do more than that.”The total of 10,000 megawatts of new solar will make Florida a global leader in solar, Silagy said.In 2018, close to 75 percent of FPL’s electricity was produced using natural gas. Renewables, such as solar power, accounted for less than 2 percent. Nuclear power provided 23 percent with coal at 2.1 percent, and oil at 0.3 percent. By 2030 or sooner, oil and coal will be phased out. Nuclear and solar power are projected to account for 20 percent each and natural gas for 60 percent.FPL operates 18 solar plants, and 10 are under construction. Along with several small installations, solar generates 1,250 megawatts. Each new plant will add 74.5 megawatts of capacity, enough to power 15,000 homes. Florida ranks fifth in solar capacity, but it is running in second place among all states for projected capacity installed over the next five years, with nearly 5.5 more gigawatts expected, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The price of solar installations has declined by 32 percent in the last five years.More: Palm Beach County 2030: More power will come from solar energy Florida utility FPL looks to close all coal, oil generation units no later than 2030last_img read more

Total, Adani Green Energy form joint venture targeting India’s solar market

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:French oil and gas giant Total has extended its reach into renewables this week, in a $US510 million deal with India’s Adani Group to help fast-track the roll-out of big solar across the sub-continent.The deal, announced by Total on Thursday, will create a 50/50 joint venture into which Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL) will transfer its Indian solar assets already in operation. Those solar projects – each with around 25-year, fixed-rate power purchase agreements with national and regional electricity distributors – span across 11 Indian states and have a cumulative capacity of over 2GW.The new deal – Total and Adani already have joined forces in India’s natural gas market – marks another small step away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy development and generation by some of the world’s biggest energy heavyweights.Adani – which is still firmly attached to coal, including the massive carbon bomb it is developing in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – has grand plans for renewables, not least in Australia where it opened its first grid-scale PV project in October last year, also in Queensland.Total, too, has been trying to change its spots, with plans to contribute to the deployment of 25GW of renewable generation capacity by 2025. In Australia it has been active via offshoot Total Eren – a deep pocketed joint venture with Eren – which is the developer behind the massive 200MW Kiamal solar and battery storage project in Victoria.[Sophie Vorrath]More: Oil giant Total flexes renewable muscle with stake in Adani solar portfolio Total, Adani Green Energy form joint venture targeting India’s solar marketlast_img read more

Europe’s largest solar farm begins commercial operation in Spain

first_imgEurope’s largest solar farm begins commercial operation in Spain FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:A 500-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant, described by Spanish utility Iberdrola as “Europe’s largest,” sent its first megawatt hour of energy to the grid earlier this week, a welcome bright spot for an industry that in the months ahead could experience difficulties brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.The Núñez de Balboa facility is located in Extremadura, a region in the west of Spain. According to Iberdrola, it has over 1.4 million solar panels and will be able to supply energy to 250,000 people per year.The plant is a collaboration between Iberdrola and Ecoenergías del Guadiana and construction work on the project finished in December last year. Photovoltaic refers to a way of directly converting light from the sun into electricity.While the commissioning of Núñez de Balboa is an undoubted positive, the solar industry, like many in the renewable energy sector, is facing up to difficulties caused by COVID-19.Earlier this week, research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie said global solar installations for 2020 had been revised down from 129.5 gigawatts (GW) to 106.4 GW, which represents an 18% drop compared to pre-coronavirus levels.[Anmar Frangoul]More: ‘Europe’s largest’ solar power facility comes online as the industry faces coronavirus challengeslast_img read more

University of California system completes fossil fuel divestment effort

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Los Angeles Times:The University of California announced Tuesday that it has fully divested from all fossil fuels, the nation’s largest educational institution to do so as campaigns to fight climate change through investment strategies proliferate at campuses across the country.The UC milestone capped a five-year effort to move the public research university system’s $126-billion portfolio into more environmentally sustainable investments, such as wind and solar energy. UC officials say their strategy is grounded in concerns about the planet’s future and in what makes financial sense.“As long-term investors, we believe the university and its stakeholders are much better served by investing in promising opportunities in the alternative energy field rather than gambling on oil and gas,” Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents’ investments committee, said in a statement.The UC action is groundbreaking, environmentalists said, because of the size of its investment portfolio and its massive teaching and research enterprise, which educates 285,000 students.Sherman and Jagdeep Singh Bachher, UC’s chief investment officer, announced the university’s intention to go fossil free in an L.A. Times op-ed article last September. “Our job is to make money for the University of California, and we’re betting we can do that without fossil fuels investment,” they wrote.Bachher announced Tuesday that UC has sold more than $1 billion in fossil fuel assets from its pension, endowment and working capital pools and surpassed its five-year goal of investing $1 billion in clean energy projects. He said his team is convinced that investments in fossil fuels pose an “unacceptable financial risk,” particularly with “geopolitical tensions and likely, a bumpy and slow global financial recovery in a post-pandemic world.”[Teresa Watanabe]More: UC becomes nation’s largest university to divest fully from fossil fuels University of California system completes fossil fuel divestment effortlast_img read more

IEA: Global electricity generation from coal will drop by largest amount on record in 2020

first_imgIEA: Global electricity generation from coal will drop by largest amount on record in 2020 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Worldwide coal generation will fall 5% in 2020 to 2012 levels, marking the largest annual decrease on record, the International Energy Agency estimated in a new report.Coal use will likely bounce back in 2021, but growth in renewables will remain the lead story in electricity generation, the agency said in its first-ever “Electricity Market Report” published Dec. 14. The drop in coal generation came against the backdrop of a 2% decline in global electricity demand due to the historic shock created by the COVID-19 pandemic.Coal-fired capacity will be flat in 2020 at 2,125 GW, the International Energy Agency said. However, if developers delay new plants or if power generators move retirements forward in 2020, it could be the first year with a coal capacity decline in this century.“As with most coal-related issues, the story of coal capacity varies considerably between advanced economies and those which are emerging and developing,” the report noted.Europe and the United States are generally not making plans for new coal capacity and are retiring existing fleets, while Austria and Sweden recently joined Belgium as European countries that are completely closing out their coal fleets, the group wrote.In the emerging and developing world, decommissioning coal plants is unusual, the International Energy Agency said. On the other hand, the construction of new coal plants has slowed due to both headwinds facing the coal sector and the pandemic. China leads the way on coal additions with 30 GW of capacity expected to be commissioned in 2020, in line with its 2019 total.Still, the agency said coal’s prospects in the developing world are shifting as well. “Lower electricity demand driven by the COVID-19 crisis, lower costs for renewables and low gas prices — as well as the reduction in air pollution that came with lower coal-based electricity generation in 2020 — have changed the perception in many countries that coal is the only way to have affordable, dispatchable and secure electricity,” the report stated. “Difficulties in financing and growing international pressure against coal are also playing a role.”[Taylor Kuykendall]More ($): Global coal generation estimated to fall 5% in 2020, hitting 2012 levelslast_img read more

Supersized South

first_imgNine of the top 10 most obese states in the country sit below the Mason-Dixon Line, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Mississippi currently stands atop the list of heavyweight states with 32 percent of adults categorized as obese. Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, and South Carolina also made the top 10, while Georgia and North Carolina were in the top 20. Reasons cited for the South’s place at the head of the obesity table include diets high in fatty, fried foods and people living in rural, often impoverished isolation, which promotes less physical activity.Last fall Huntington, W.Va., was given the dubious distinction of being the fattest city in America with the CDC reporting that nearly half of the metro area residents are obese—far more than any other city in the nation. One-third of Huntington’s 50,000-person population doesn’t exercise and one-fifth has heart disease.“In West Virginia we have problems from economic and geographic standpoints,” says Dr. Tom Dannals, a family physician in Huntington. “We don’t have big businesses providing gyms or financial incentives to join health clubs. We also don’t have shoulders, let alone bike lanes, on our windy roads.”Of course, America’s well-publicized weight problem is not limited to the South. Almost 60 million people or one-fifth of Americans are overweight and 40 million are classified as obese. One-quarter of the country lives a lifestyle that is completely sedentary, and one-third of children are now overweight or obese. Such a widespread problem certainly extends beyond infrastructure and economic woes.“There are problems everywhere,” says Dannals. “It sounds odd, but it’s almost become normal in society to be overweight. People have become complacent with their luxuries. They have their abundant food and their computers and they’re not out there running.”It’s no secret that winning the battle of the bulge generally requires two main commitments: proper diet and exercise. To reduce the risk of chronic disease the CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of a moderate physical activity every day. To take it a step further and manage body weight, people should get approximately 60 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week while not exceeding individual calorie needs. Losing weight will also require reducing calories. If you want to drop up to two pounds a week, cut back between 500-1,000 calories per day.But when individual willpower seems to be failing, is it time for intervention? Action is starting to be taken at the local, state, and national levels to change the South’s less than slim image. Last November, every state from the South sent representatives to a Southern Obesity Summit that took place in Birmingham, Ala., to plan a network strategy to promote healthier living.Dannals started a program called Healthy Huntington to help his community get active. The initiative has included helping build a downtown trail along the Ohio River, which flows through Huntington, and starting a series of races, which includes the St. Mary’s Medical Center Tri-State Triathlon, the Children’s Tri-State Triathlon, the Marshall University Marathon and Half-Marathon, and a five-mile walk. Dannals intentionally makes the races affordable community events without the usual competitive intimidating atmosphere.“I want to emphasize in these events that exercise is fun,” he says. “My goal is to change things. I want people to have good experiences and want to do these races again.”As childhood obesity continues to be a national concern, kids are also being targeted in efforts to get people active. Dannals was given a grant by the state of West Virginia to host a youth triathlon camp every year, which has become a popular sell-out event in Huntington. In North Carolina, where nearly 20 percent of children between the ages 10-17 are overweight, the Wellspring Adventure Camp was one of the first organizations to offer a mountain sports program intended to help kids lose weight. In the mountains about an hour west of Asheville, Wellspring incorporates a scientifically based weight loss program that cuts calories and fat grams with pound-shedding adventure activities like rock climbing, backpacking, and whitewater rafting.In addition to changing diet patterns and attempting to instill active lifestyles through fun adventure sports, Wellspring also follows up with campers throughout the year after their session to provide assistance with weight monitoring. Parents are also held accountable with a two-day workshop that helps provide the right support for kids.“The idea is that we’re creating something sustainable,” says Jessie Dean, the program director at Wellspring. “Making it fun is a huge part of it. The outdoors is an amazing outlet for kids to gain self-confidence and overcome obstacles. It’s not just coming to a diet camp for a short-term fix. We’re looking to provide education so campers can return home and continue to lose weight or maintain their weight loss and live a healthier lifestyle.” WEIGHT LOSS GETAWAYIn addition to weight loss camps and clubs for kids, Wellspring (www.wellspringweightloss.com) also offers adventure retreats for adults geared to produce rapid weight loss. The activity-intensive programs include eight hours of biking, hiking, sea kayaking, and yoga each day, along with proper nutritional instruction. Retreats will be offered this year on March 2-10 and April 11-19 on the South Carolina Coast near Charleston and from June 11-19 at the Lands Creek Lodge in Western North Carolina. Options are also available for retreats in Texas and California.The Canada-based Mountain Trek (www.hiking.com) also offers FitPath Boot Camp weight loss vacations that are based around high-intensity hiking, as well as strength training and core fitness. In addition to a program based out of the Bent Creek Bed and Breakfast near Asheville, N.C., there are also programs in Costa Rica and British Columbia. Outdoor Programs Fight the Battle of the BulgeMaybe it was the invention of country-fried steak. Or possibly it’s because there’s a Cracker Barrel every third interstate exit. Whatever the reason, the South is tipping the scales more than any other region in the United States.center_img last_img read more

Comeback Kid

first_img“l’ve done my share of bleeding,” says Bryan Hill, a senior at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, N.C.“I don’t remember the collision at all, but I was completely lucid when the ambulance came. I still have flashbacks of coming to and lying in a pool of my own blood. Imagine two or three Nalgene bottles full of blood, dumped out onto the road. It took four weeks and two torrential rains to wash the blood off the pavement.” “It was a sort of half shuffle, half run. But it felt okay,” Hill says. “I ended up going six miles that day. The pain stayed with me for days after, but I knew after that run that I’d be able to come back.” “I lay in bed for 24 hours trying to focus on other things,” Hill recalls. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to see the morning, let alone be able to run again.” Two years after the wreck, the pain is still present when Hill runs. He says it comes and goes in waves, but it doesn’t keep him off the trail. If anything, the pain and the memory of his accident are what keep him running.“The accident has allowed me to tap into a mental toughness that I never knew I had,” Hill says. “Many times during ultras I think, ‘wow, this hurts.’ But then I think of the pain I went through, and that puts the ultra in perspective.” Two weeks before the Mount Mitchell Challenge—a 40 mile race to the top of the East’s tallest mountain and back down – the race director called Hill and offered him a spot at the starting line. It was only nine months after the accident, and Hill wasn’t completely healed, but he jumped at the opportunity. “Coming down the mountain, my tibia got shocks of pain every time my foot hit the ground. I started to worry that I was affecting the healing process. I kept telling myself I was going to quit at the next aid station. Then I’d drink some water and say, ‘Okay, I’l quit at the next aid station.’; That’s how I finished the race, telling myself I would quit around the next corner.” “The pain was tremendous, so they put me on morphine for a week,” Hill says. “I had lost so much blood that I didn’t have enough liquid in my body to throw up. I was sick from the pain and the morphine, but all I could do was dry hack.”center_img Hill completed the Mount Mitchell Challenge in 8 hours, 6 minutes, which was 40 minutes faster than his time before the accident. “Most of my friends and family tried to talk me out of it, but one of the things that kept me going in the hospital was the realization that if I could get through that pain, I could do anything. After that sort of trauma, nothing in life is that big of a deal.” Bryan HillBryan HillHill is talking about his near-fatal accident in April 2007. He was riding his bicycle home from school when he was hit from behind by a drunk driver going about 50 miles per hour. The grill of the car severed his calf in two; his tibia was shattered; and by the time he reached the hospital, he had lost five pints of blood. Six weeks after leaving the hospital, Hill took his first steps, using a walker to travel from one end of the room to the next. Even after eight transfusions, his body still lacked the proper amount of blood, so the minor activity sent his heart rate to 200 beats per minute. In August, just four months after the accident and still unsure if he’d be able to run normally, Hill went for his first jog. Over the course of Hill’s hospital stay, he went through general anesthesia five times, underwent one major knee surgery, had tibia reconstruction where pins and rods were fixed to the pieces of bone to hold the leg together, and skin grafts were taken from his thighs and stapled over his calves. All the while, Hill moved through a cornucopia of pain medications.last_img read more

Cemetery Hikes

first_imgThe Southern Appalachians are full of dark corners where things go bump in the night. Check out video of one paranormal investigation team who decided to stay the night in the supposedly haunted Corbin Cabin in Shenandoah National Park.last_img