FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享SNL:Recent data shows that total coal production at Kentucky mines during the third quarter of 2017 totaled 9.6 million tons, posting a 15.6% cutback from the previous quarter’s 11.4 million tons and sliding 6.6% year over year.Western Kentucky’s second-largest coal producer, Armstrong Energy Inc., filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization this week, citing supply glut and depressed prices.“In the past few years, thermal and metallurgical coal markets and pricing have become increasingly challenged with oversupply conditions,” Alan Boyko, chief restructuring officer for Armstrong, wrote in a court filing. “In addition, coal’s share of the U.S. energy market and prices for thermal and metallurgical coal have both declined markedly. The lethargic economic environment, lack of growth in energy demand generally, and a number of scheduled coal-fired plant retirements have precipitated this decline.”The company’s bankruptcy marks the first reorganization since a wave of optimism pervaded the coal industry with the election of President Donald Trump.More ($): Kentucky’s coal production slides 6.6% YOY in Q3’17 Latest Data, Coupled With Armstrong Bankruptcy, Shows Slide in Kentucky Coal Industry
BNEF: Battery storage prices falling faster than expected FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The long-term cost of supplying grid electricity from today’s lithium-ion batteries is falling even faster than expected, making them an increasingly cost-competitive alternative to natural-gas-fired power plants across a number of key energy markets.That’s the key finding from a Tuesday report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance on the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) — the cost of a technology delivering energy over its lifespan — for a number of key clean energy technologies worldwide.According to its analysis of public and proprietary data from more than 7,000 projects worldwide, this benchmark LCOE for lithium-ion batteries has fallen by 35 percent, to $187 per megawatt-hour, since the first half of 2018. This precipitous decline has outpaced the continuing slide in LCOE for solar PV and onshore and offshore wind power.Over the past year, offshore wind saw a 24 percent decline in LCOE to fall below $100 per megawatt-hour, compared to about $220 per megawatt-hour only five years ago. The benchmark LCOE for onshore wind and solar PV fell by 10 percent and 18 percent, respectively, to reach $50 and $57 per megawatt-hour for projects starting construction in early 2019.Even so, the pace of the decline in battery LCOE, particularly for multi-hour storage applications that previous generations of lithium-ion technologies have struggled to provide, is startling, BNEF notes. Since 2012, the benchmark LCOE of lithium-ion batteries configured to supply four hours of grid power — a standard requirement for many grid services — has fallen by 74 percent, as extrapolated from historical data.In fact, the LCOE for multi-hour lithium-ion batteries is falling to the point that “batteries co-located with solar or wind projects are starting to compete, in many markets and without subsidy, with coal- and gas-fired generation for the provision of ‘dispatchable power’ that can be delivered whenever the grid needs it (as opposed to only when the wind is blowing, or the sun is shining),” the report notes.More: Report: Levelized cost of energy for lithium-ion batteries is plummeting
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Earlier this year, one of Meryam Omi’s deputies at Legal & General Investment Management sat down with board members and managers from Exxon Mobil Corp. to discuss how the oil giant could address climate change. LGIM, which manages about $1.3 trillion, is one of Exxon’s top 20 shareholders.The Exxon delegation listened, but it didn’t accept the suggestions, says Omi, LGIM’s head of sustainability and responsible investment strategy. Around the same time, Exxon persuaded the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to block a shareholder resolution that pushed the oil giant to do more to address climate risks.So, in June, London-based LGIM announced that it had dumped about $300 million worth of its Exxon shares and would use its remaining stake to vote against the reappointment of Exxon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods. “There’s got to be an escalation,” Omi says.As the risks of climate change have become more pronounced, so have efforts by major investment firms to push companies in greener directions. They tried talking. Then they started backing shareholder resolutions. Now, LGIM is at the forefront of a more aggressive, and controversial, tactic: divesting. “You cannot have the same conversation for 15 years with no results,” Omi explains. (Exxon responded to LGIM’s announcement by saying that it publishes an annual tally of emissions from its operations and is on track to meet targets for reducing methane emissions.)Momentum is gathering, says Mark Lewis, who leads climate change investment research for Paris-based BNP Paribas Asset Management. He likens it to the divestment campaign that forced companies participating in apartheid-era South Africa to change course, and he invokes the spirit of Gandhi: “They’ve ignored us and laughed at us. I think now they’re fighting us. So next we win.”But he knows it won’t be easy. In March, as he helped the BNP Paribas press team put the finishing touches on an announcement that its actively managed funds would exit almost €1 billion ($1.1 billion) of coal stocks as early as next year, he thought the news might cause a few “ripples” and not much more. In fact, Lewis was bombarded with emails and calls, not all of them polite. “It surprised me how big the reaction was,” he says.More: Big money starts to dump stocks that pose climate risks Fossil fuel divestment effort slowly picking up steam
New study finds potential $71 billion stranded asset problem for coal in Japan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:As much as $71 billion of Japanese coal assets could be at risk as the economic viability of plants is undermined by cheaper renewable energy, research by the University of Tokyo, Carbon Tracker and the Carbon Disclosure Project showed on Sunday.The report, called Land of the Rising Sun and Offshore Wind, used project financial models to analyze the economics of new and existing coal plants in Japan. It found that Japan’s planned and existing coal capacity could be jeopardized by low utilization rates and cheaper renewable energy, namely onshore and offshore wind and large-scale solar photovoltaics (PV).Offshore wind, solar PV and onshore wind could be cheaper than new coal plants by 2022, 2023 and 2025 respectively. Added to that, offshore wind and large-scale solar PV could be cheaper than the long-run marginal cost of existing coal plants by 2025 and 2027 for onshore wind, the report said.To meet a globally-agreed goal of limiting temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius this century, planned and operational coal capacity would need to be shut down and Japanese consumers could face $71 billion in higher power prices as the cost of stranded coal assets is passed on. Of this amount, $29 billion could be avoided if the Japanese government reconsidered the development of planned and under construction capacity straight away, according to the report.“We don’t comment on each report, but Japan plans to reduce inefficient coal-fired power plants as much as possible while enhancing development of carbon capture, utilization and storage technology,” Katsushi Takehiro, director of the coal division at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, told Reuters.According to a Reuters survey, Japan plans to build nearly 12.6 gigawatts (GW) of new coal capacity in the next decade. Japan’s coal generation capacity totaled around 43 GW at the end of March and is expected to reach 52 GW in 2023, according the country’s grid monitor.More: Some $71 billion of Japanese coal assets at risk from cheaper renewables
India’s installed renewable generation hits 138.9GW, up 72% in six years—Singh FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ET Energyworld.com:The installed capacity of renewable energy generation in the country has grown 72 per cent from 80 gigawatts (GW) to 138.9 GW during the past six years, according to new and renewable energy minister R K Singh.He also added that foreign direct investments of $6.1 billion flew into the Indian clean energy sector — including solar, wind, biomass, large hydro and nuclear ‒ in the five-year period 2014-19.“Globally, India stands third in terms of renewable power, fourth in terms of wind power, and fifth in terms of solar installed capacity. For the period 2014-2019, clean energy investments in India were about $75 billion,” Singh said in a written reply to Parliament last week.Of the renewable energy sources, excluding large hydro above 25 MW, installed capacity of solar energy registered the highest growth. It grew from 2.6 GW in March 2014 to 34.4 GW in February this year.As part of its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, as per the Paris Climate Agreement, India has committed to install around 40 per cent of its power generation capacity based on non-fossil fuel resources by 2030.Singh also said an additional 62.4 GW of clean energy capacity is currently under various stages of implementation and 34.07 GW is in various stages of bidding.More: India’s renewable energy generation capacity has grown 72 per cent in six yrs: R K Singh
Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group ends financing for coal-fired power plants FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (SMFG) said on Thursday it would no longer lend to new coal-fired power plants from May 1, a day after peer Mizuho Financial Group Inc said it would stop financing new coal power projects.The policy change comes as the sector faces pressure from activist investors and environmental groups to help tackle climate change.SMFG said in a statement that the movement toward decarbonization has been progressing globally since the Paris climate accord, adding it “would not provide financial support in principle to new coal-fired power plants.”Japanese banks are among the few major lenders who have stuck to backing coal projects even as other banks worldwide have cut their exposure to coal.The country’s three major banks – SMFG, Mizuho and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) – are among the world’s top five lenders to coal power and mining over the last five years, according to Refinitiv SDC Platinum data.Mizuho said on Wednesday it would halve its 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in loans to coal power projects by 2030 and reduce it to zero by 2050. MUFG said in 2019 it would not finance new coal-fired power plants.[Takashi Umekawa]More: Japan’s SMFG to end lending for new coal-fired power plants
My first dreams were of flying. I stood on the top of the bunk bed I shared with my brother and started flapping my arms. As an adolescent, I climbed onto the roof, extended my arms into the night air, and fantasized that angelic-like, golden feathered wings sprouted from my shoulder sockets. In college, I climbed water towers. Up in the dark night’s sky, I imagined leaping off and flying above campus, free from the worries of exams and career planning. I clenched my eyes tight, and wished I could fly away. I wanted to soar.I finally had the chance to take flight at Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding School just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Just after sunrise our class gathered around a petite, tanned blonde named Julie.Four others were learning to hang glide. There was Joe, a grandfather fulfilling a bucket-list goal. He brought along his entire family for a weekend in the mountains, but only convinced his daughter, Mary, to fly. Mary was terrified of the prospect of actually being airborne, but delighted by the prospect of spending an entire day away from her four children. Andy and Mandy, adorable newlyweds, rounded out the class, yearning for adventure on their honeymoon.We gathered around a hang glider as Julie explained how to put on our harnesses and connect the harnesses to the gliders. She quizzed us on the basics of performing safety checks before we headed over to the bunny hill, a gentle grassy slope.Beneath the glider, I felt transformed into my alter-ego, one with flying superpowers. The resplendent red and yellow striped wings of the glider extended from my shoulders, and I became a mythical half-butterfly, half-woman creature. Julie did one last wind check before giving me the go-ahead.“Raise the glider for the perfect angle of attack. Pick a visual out there.” Julie said, pointing to the mountain ridges on the other side of the valley. The age-old adage of looking where one wants to go holds true for flying. Julie had warned that if I looked down, I’d end up going down. Instead, I fixed my gaze on a single tree on top of the peak just opposite of me, just slightly higher than eye level.“Perfect! Now jog!” Julie instructed as I started trotting down the hill, “and now run!” Determined to fly, I ran as fast as I could, never taking my eyes off that mountain.Julie jogged next to me yelling, “Think Wiley Coyote.” Just like the cartoon character, Julie had told us to keep on running even if our feet lifted off the ground because sometimes it took a few ups and downs before the glider truly took flight. As long as students keep running, the glider will fly again.“And let go!” Julie reminds me, “let it fly, let it fly!” When students hold on too tight, which we all tend to do in life when we get nervous, we hold ourselves back from taking flight. As I opened up my hands, I let the glider slide through my fingers, and felt a light breeze lift the glider. My feet ran through the air for a few seconds before I realized I was flying. I was flying!The sensation of flying was the pure expression of freedom. In the air, the terrain blended seamlessly together. The individual blades of glass blurred into a soft dreamy green contour. The streams, fields, trees, and mountains stretched before me, a feast for my eyes. I heard the call of a hawk and the water flowing below, and always the sound of the breeze. In that moment, I felt as if I had taken my place in nature. The perspective showed me just how connected we are to the environment. I was no different from other feathered flyers, reliant on the whims of the wind.As my glider dropped nearer towards a grassy landing, intuitively I pushed away from the control bar, my body stretching out horizontally. The glider slowed down, and then the wheels touched the ground, a gentle reintroduction to reality.As the glider came to a stop, I looked up the hill to see my classmates jumping up and down for me, their whoops and cheers echoing in my head. I pulled the glider back up the slope, and reveled in the incredible feeling of flight. Taking off gave me that perfect, zen-like-feeling of balance, just like rolling a kayak or jumping a horse for the first time.One by one, each of my classmates took flight. I watched Joe realize a dream, I watched Mary become revitalized, and I saw Andy and Mandy share one of their first adventures as a married couple. As I stood watching the brightly colored hang gliders swirl like a leaves in the breeze, I realized that hang gliding is the perfect metaphor for life. If we can fix our gaze on a goal with determination and run toward that goal with speed and steadiness, and at the same time manage to let go, anything is possible, even flight.
FloydFest Celebrates 13th Year with Revolutionary Line-Up and Streamlined Logistics, July 23-27, Floyd, Va.Since its inception, FloydFest, the summer outdoor music festival near Floyd, VA, has celebrated its status as a “unique, fiercely independent festival experience that challenges the definition of the typical ‘summer music festival,” according to festival organizers.For its 13th year, FloydFest is bringing its fans a a jam-packed schedule of music, art, and outdoor adventures and a “Revolutionary 5-day music, outdoors, and healing arts experience that will embrace the beauty of creativity, evolution, and positive change.”“From new festival activities, to improved logistics, to a re-vamped artist lineup, we’re continuing to re-invent and revolutionize the summer music festival,” said Kris Hodges, FloydFest’s CEO and Co-Founder. “We believe FloydFest fans will love and appreciate the refreshed approach we’ve taken to the festival this year, giving them an intimate, yet multi-faceted experience.”The weekend will boast more than 100 performing artists on 10 stages, artisans, specialty craft beverages, Healing Arts Village, panel discussions with activists and headlining artists on sustainable practices, and an extensive Children’s Universe. Festival-goers will find a magical experience in the brand new She-Sha Tent, a Persian-style tent installation featuring healing arts activities ranging from aerial workshops to professional massages, musical performances, and a ‘Revolution-wear’ fashion show.Numerous outdoor activities will also be available throughout the weekend, including Osprey guided hikes, the Belcher Mountain Beat Down mountain bike tour, the 2nd annual Vasque 5K Trail Race, and float trips down the Little River with On The Water. Trips are limited, so be sure to sign up in advance. Learn more about FloydFest’s outdoor adventures here.For 2014, new logistical changes include off-site car camping and RV parking located on flat, spacious lots with potable water, showers, and 9 a.m. – 2 a.m. shuttle service (and limited service after 2 a.m.) With the implementation of a new Tent Tag system, all on-site campers are guaranteed a 15×15 camping space and shuttle service with an attached gear trailer. In addition, FloydFest has planned extensively with local farmers, garages and area law enforcement to ensure that attendees will be safe, comfortable and able to access transportation should a severe weather event occur.The new musical line-up is an impressive melding of R&B, Blues, Reggae, Americana, and more:Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite ~ Ms. Lauryn Hill ~ Ray LaMontagne ~ Thievery Corporation (Full Band) ~ Ziggy Marley ~ Michael Franti & Spearhead ~ Buddy Guy ~ Robert Randolph & the Family Band ~ JJ Grey & Mofro ~ Lettuce ~Carolina Chocolate Drops ~ Groundation ~Conspirator ~ Donna the Buffalo ~ Rising Appalachia ~ The Duhks ~ Campbell Brothers ~ The Lee Boys ~ HuDost ~ Hackensaw Boys ~ The London Souls ~ Ben Miller Band ~ Jonathon Boogie Long ~The Deadmen ~ Quinn Sullivan ~ 2013 On the Rise Winner: Paper Bird ~ 2013 On the Rise Winner Runner Up: Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands ~ Tauk ~ Dirty Drummer ~ Blue Mule ~ The Floorboards~ Incendio ~ Biz’Cirque ~ Appalachian Flow Arts ~ George Tortorelli-Medicine Wind ~ Jim Beckwith (Hanuman Das)~ Oakes & Smith ~ Adam Ezra Group ~ Allen Thompson Band ~ Ancient Cities ~ Antique Firearms ~ Chris Kasper ~ Cold Chocolate ~ Curtis Eller’s American Circus ~ Deer Run Drifters ~ Driftwood ~ Elonzo ~ Gabe Morales Trio ~ Grandpa’s Cough Medicine ~ Madrone ~ Major and the Monbacks ~ Maria Levitov ~ Michaela Anne ~ Mighty Joshua ~ Oak Creek Band ~ Onward, etc. ~ Proverbial ~ River Whyless ~ Run Boy Run ~ Rusty Maples ~Seth Stainback and Roosterfoot ~ Spoon Fight ~ Super Ape ~ The Dirty Beggars ~ The Get Right Band ~ The Giving Tree Band ~ The New Familiars ~ The Shack Band ~ The Southern Belles ~ Underhill Rose and more!For 2014, the following logistical changes have been put in place:CampingAll on- site campers will be given a designated 15×15 camping area with the purchase of a Tent Tag prior to the festival. All RV camping has been moved off the festival site to the nearby Delta lot, while the Bravo lot will be designated for off-site car camping. All car campers will be issued a parking ticket that allots for a 10×10 parking space right next to their vehicle.ParkingAll General Admission parking has been moved off-site to the Alpha lot. The Alpha, Bravo, and Delta lots are all flat, spacious, and easily-accessible to all types of vehicles. To make the check-in process easier, Alpha Lot ticket check-in and parking payment will occur directly at the lot, so be sure to bring cash! Spaces for RV’s at the Delta Lot and Car Camping at the Bravo Lot will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis during the festival, unless sold out via pre-event online sales. Powered RV spots are currently sold-out.Shuttle ServiceShuttles to and from the festival site and all parking lots will run continuously from 9am until 2am every day. Each individual shuttle will be assigned a truck with an equipment trailer, so campers will never have to be separated from their gear.Severe Weather PreparednessSummer weather in the Blue Ridge Mountains is about as predictable as next year’s FloydFest theme, and the festival has taken every possible precaution to ensure that attendees will be safe, comfortable and able to access transportation should a severe weather event occur. FloydFest staff have planned extensively with all local farmers, garages, and area law enforcement regarding severe weather preparedness and evacuation procedures. Harboring fears of an on-site mud pit? Fear no longer – this year’s festival site will feature gravel pathways from the entrance all the way through the main field.For more information and the full 2014 artist line-up visit www.floydfest.com.All photos by Nancy Bell, courtesy FloydFest.
Presenting our latest film in our Mountain Films series: Mountain Rule #8: This year, Snowshoe is letting us in on a few of their tried and true mountain rules that help us get the most out of our winter. Here are a just a few of them. Mountain Rule No. 10: Every student is a favorite.Learning to ski and snowboard should be a blast for all ages and levels. With Snowshoe’s unique terrain-based learning system, learning for beginners is simpler, more intuitive and a lot more fun. And for the intermediates and experts out there, Snowshoe’s friendly instructors know all about the secret stashes, glades, and groomers to fill your day from first chair to last. Learn more about Snowshoe’s ski school programs here.Mountain Rule No. 3: Post-ski hydration is compulsory.When the lifts close, your entertainment possibilities burst wide open. Après-ski spots galore? Check. Live music venues? Check. A variety of dining options? Check. You’ll even find a dance floor or two for those looking to burn off any extra calories left over from the day. Check out Snowshoe’s event calendar here.Mountain Rules No. 5: The harder you play, the softer the down.At Snowshoe, lodging options are spread across more than 30 properties ranging from rustic to remarkable. Many are even located just steps from the lifts. Most even include hot tub access, as well as balconies with astonishing views of the surrounding mountains. Sleeping easy is a given. Find your perfect fit here. To check out some other rules that may help you this winter, head here.
One thing I’ve learned from several years of skiing at Breckenwolf every Wednesday night with a bunch of middle aged dudes who may or may not be taking nips of whiskey between runs, is that it’s really hard to wrestle with skis on. It’s awkward, like you have these giant feet that get in the way of your otherwise normal sized body. Mountain top wrestling is a key component to Whiskey Wednesday, as is the end of the night, anything goes “Chinese Downhill Race” (copyright Hot Dog…The Movie, 1984). It’s typically an every-man-for-himself affair, where the entire group races to the bottom, skiing as fast as they can while also trying to knock each other down. Like roller derby, but on skis, and with whiskey.This week, we changed up the format by adding a “mixed doubles” approach, where teams of two raced down the mountain taking different routes. One team member takes the center line, the other takes the far right and the team with the highest placed combined finish takes gold. After five years of racing the exact same way week after week, this new format proved to be just the thing to spice up Whisky Wednesday. I can see why bored married couples start swinging.There was still plenty of carnage and high-speed hijinks, but you now had a partner dynamic to consider. Sadly, while my partner did quite well and finished second overall, I ate shit half way down the mountain. It was a spectacular crash. I was in a full tuck on the straight of way, going roughly 78 miles per hour, and hit a patch of sticky snow. It was like Velcro. My skis began to wobble and I couldn’t hold it together. You know that clip of Lindsey Vonn rag-dolling at the Olympics a few years ago, where she slid half way down the mountain on her back? It was just like that. The crash was Olympic in its awesomeness. I have road rash on my back from sliding across the ice, er, “packed powder.”My individual input into the race may have been lacking, but the mixed doubles format was money. So, we carried it throughout the night, playing doubles ping pong, and singing Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton duets in the car. Kidding. Or am I?Oh, and one of the Whiskey Wednesday members wore a speed racing suit. Not on the mountain to ski, but in the bar for ping pong. Because Whiskey Wednesday.