Puerto Rico’s Governor Resists Call for Federal Supervision of Electricity-Grid Recovery FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The federal board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances said on Wednesday it intends to appoint an outside manager to lead the island’s power utility, PREPA, in cleanup efforts following Hurricane Maria.But Puerto Rico’s government is pushing back on the move, and may challenge it in court as an unauthorized power grab, according to a source familiar with Governor Ricardo Rossello’s thinking.The board, in a written statement, announced “intent to appoint” retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Noel Zamot as PREPA’s chief transformation officer.Zamot, who has worked with the board in a separate capacity, would be responsible for expediting reconstruction efforts, the board said.U.S. lawmakers have criticized PREPA’s hiring of Montana-based Whitefish Energy Holdings to help fix the island’s power grid, decimated when Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20. Some Congress members were concerned that Whitefish was hired without a bidding process, and despite the fact that the two-year-old firm had only two full-time employees.The controversy reawakened feelings among lawmakers and Puerto Rican investors that officials at PREPA are not competent to lead the quasi-public utility, whose $9 billion debt load pushed it into bankruptcy in July.The storm cut power to the entire island. As of Monday, just 18 percent had been restored, according to U.S. Department of Energy data.The board’s announcement on Wednesday was also reigniting an ongoing power struggle between Puerto Rico’s government and the board appointed last year to manage the island’s precarious finances.Created under a federal Puerto Rico rescue law known as PROMESA, the board is to help Puerto Rico regain access to capital markets after it filed the largest-ever U.S. government bankruptcy in May.More: Puerto Rico oversight panel seeks outside manager for power utility PREPA
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Toledo Blade:A wind turbine company ready to invest $92 million in rural Seneca and Sandusky counties is threatening to walk away from the deal unless Ohio’s “setback” laws — which the company claims senselessly obstruct wind energy development — are repealed.The company’s complaint is well-founded. Ohio’s setback law originally mandated a minimum of 550 feet to separate a wind turbine from a given property line and 1,300 feet from a home. Problems arose when the 2014 amendment — crafted by then-Senate President Keith Faber (R., Celina) — raised the setback requirement to 1,300 feet measured from the property line, more than doubling the state’s property-line setback.Wind energy developers considered this requirement highly onerous, and their money followed them out of Ohio. A 20-page report by two Washington-based industry groups, the American Wind Energy Association and the Wind Energy Foundation, found Ohio has foregone roughly $4.2 billion in potential economic development since the 2014 rules took effect.Former Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay) responded to this news by crafting a compromise designed to attract wind energy investment back to Ohio, while safeguarding neighboring properties within reason. The following month, however, what little momentum the bill had gained died when Mr. Hite resigned in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.Now $92 million of energy infrastructure investment is set to walk away from Ohio — and this is only the first of five wind farms in the company’s planned project, called Republic Wind. Each of these wind farms would generate 95 to 200 well-paying jobs and enough power for 200,000 to 500,000 homes. The combined investment in the northern half of the state would amount to $2.6 billion over the next decade or so. It is all jeopardized by a terribly conceived piece of legislation that effectively zones wind energy out of Ohio.Repeal 2014 setback rules for wind turbines Editorial: Ohio’s War on Wind
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Unisun Energy Group:Unisun Energy Group announced that the 500KW photovoltaic project in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, to be constructed by its branch Unisun Japan, has obtained a non-recourse project finance with low-interest from the Hyakujushi Bank, Ltd., Japan. It is reported to be the third PV project of Unisun Japan that has successfully received financial support from local banks.The renewable energy projects developed by Unisun in Japan have played a significant role in promoting the energy upgrade in the country. In virtue of its world leading PV technologies and talents originating from Germany, high-level energy solutions, expertise in project development and construction, and social responsibility demonstrated during social energy transformation, Unisun won the active responses from the Japanese government and local financial institutions.According to a report recently issued by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), as of 2030, the proportion of solar photovoltaic generation to the total power generation in Japan is expected to rise to 12%. The power system in the northern cities of Japan is transforming from old grids to autonomy and localization, with approximately 40,000 cities opting to build microgrids and centralized renewable energy generation plants to achieve self-sufficiency.After several years of market development and team building, Unisun now has owned independent development right over projects with more than 80MW capacity in Japan and has acquired the qualification for local engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC). This March, Unisun Japan’s EPC project – 15MW PV project in Okajima, Fukushima, was successfully connected to grid. To date, Unisun Japan possesses three PV power plants.More: Boosting Japan Energy Upgrade: Unisun Obtains Another Loan from Local Bank Japan’s ‘Energy Upgrade’ Leads Company to Open Another Solar Plant
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Macquarie Group said on Monday it has agreed to help back an ambitious A$22 billion ($16 billion) solar and wind power project in outback Australia that could eventually provide power to Indonesia, as well as big miners and hydrogen projects.The project, called the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, is looking to build 11 gigawatts (GW) of power capacity, with more than half to be allocated to energy users and potential hydrogen producers in northwestern Australia.Macquarie has agreed to provide development capital and take an equity stake in the project, alongside Danish wind turbines giant Vestas and privately owned Intercontinental Energy and CWP Energy Asia, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub said in a statement.A Macquarie spokesman declined to comment on the size of the stake or provide further details of the group’s involvement.“From our perspective, it’s a vote of confidence in the project,” CWP Renewables spokesman Andrew Dickson said of Macquarie’s participation.The project, which has been in the planning stages since 2014, aims to win environmental approval from the state of Western Australia by the end of 2019 and secure financing around 2021. The wind and solar hub would be built in phases over six or seven years.More: Macquarie joins huge Australian west coast solar, wind project Macquarie backs massive Australian solar and wind development
Analyst sees ‘storm clouds’ looming for U.S. coal exports FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Analysts at the American Coal Council’s 17th annual Coal Trading Conference cautioned that the recent strong seaborne market for U.S. thermal and metallurgical coal could soon face pressure from slowing global economic growth and escalating trade tension.Charles Dayton, vice president for market analytics for Doyle Trading Consultants, said he expects U.S. coal exports to peak this year at about 120 million tons.While U.S. producers may face fewer regulatory and capacity challenges at home, revised economic forecasts from the International Monetary Fund point to slowdowns in vital thermal markets such as India and Turkey, Dayton said in his presentation Dec. 4. He said he also sees “storm clouds” for U.S. producers in recent economic activity in Germany and Japan.The threat of escalating trade tensions could add further strain to U.S. suppliers with an eye on the international market, said Lucas Pipes, senior vice president and senior analyst for B. Riley FBR. Pipes said the perception that the standoff with China had evolved from an opportunity to a market risk was worrisome for U.S. coal and metals producers, who could face “tit-for-tat retaliatory tariffs and duties” and other unintended consequences if current talks fail to address the concerns of both sides.In the case of a broader global economic slowdown, domestic metallurgical producers would be significantly exposed to a decline in demand as nearly 75% of their product went to the export market in 2017, Pipes said. Further, continued steel tariffs on U.S. imports could add to production costs for underground miners. According to Pipes, steel structures account for about 10% to 15% of their costs.More ($): ‘Storm clouds’ are on horizon for U.S. coal exports, analysts warn
Report: Number of coal plants being built since 2015 has fallen sharply FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:The number of coal-fired power plants being developed around the world has collapsed in the last three years, according to a report.The number of plants on which construction has begun each year has fallen by 84% since 2015, and 39% in 2018 alone, while the number of completed plants has dropped by more than half since 2015.The report, from the NGO-backed Global Energy Monitor, says the falling costs of renewable energy are pricing coal out of the electricity market, more than 100 financial institutions have blacklisted coal producers, and political action to cut carbon emissions is growing.The report warns of a possible coal plant resurgence in China, where satellite photos show developers have restarted work on dozens of suspended projects.Coal plant retirements have continued at a record pace, the report finds, with the US accounting for more than half of the total despite efforts by the Trump administration to prevent the closure of ageing plants. A separate report this week found that three quarters of existing US coal-fired electricity production was now more expensive than new solar and wind energy.China and India have accounted for 85% of new coal power capacity since 2005, according to the Global Energy Monitor report. China permitted construction for the generation of less than 5GW of coal power in 2018, compared with 184GW in 2015. India permitted less than 3GW in 2018, compared with 39GW in 2010. India has added more solar and wind power capacity than coal over the last two years.More: Global ‘collapse’ in number of new coal-fired power plants
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Smart Energy International:India’s largest integrated utility, Tata Power, has announced the expansion of its rooftop solar operations to 90 cities in the country.The rollout, says the company, comes at a time when consumers across all major categories including commercial, industrial, residential and public sector are now adopting solar energy as a reliable and sustainable solution to meet their energy needs that also holds tremendous potential to save costs.Rooftop solar installations are also attaining grid parity in many residential sectors of India. To-date, Tata Power has installed over 375MW of rooftop projects, including some of the most industrialized states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Surat, Baroda, Delhi, Gurgaon, Agra, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Varanasi, Guwahati, Kolkata, Dhanbad, Puri, Vizag, Vellore, Mysore, Coimbatore and Chennai are also proud proponents of Solar Rooftop Solutions.Mr. Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD, Tata Power said, “Solar Rooftops not only offer an economical and clean alternative to conventional energy sources but also deliver reliability. With the increased adoption of RTS by consumers, we are confident that our solar rooftop solutions will play a big role in improving energy access across the country, in both urban and rural parts.”Tata Power Solar has also built utility-scale projects in 13 states in the country with a total capacity of around 2.76 GW. In 2017, the company executed a 2.6 megawatt (MW) solar rooftop plant at the carport of Kochi International Airport, India’s largest solar-powered carport.More: India: Tata Power announces expansion of rooftop solar to 90 cities Tata Power looks to expand its residential rooftop solar operations to 90 cities in India
This month we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of “America’s Best Idea”, the National Park System, with all the beta you’ll need to check out the numerous national park units scattered throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Read on!DEPARTMENTSQUICK HITSClimber murders mentor • Run for women at Mama’s Day 10K • Stroller half-marathon recordFLASHPOINTUnraveling the mysterious death of Smokies hiker Jenny BennettTHE DIRTCutting Coal: The South’s Climate Success Story • Free Your Feet: Barefoot Running Doc Walks the TalkTHE GOODSAn Outward Bound instructor picks backpacking gear built for the long haulTRAIL MIXSouthern Playlist: New Bluegrass, Bar Rock, and BanjoTHE PARKS ISSUETHE CLASSICSExplore 11 must-do hikes in the Southeast’s iconic national parks: the Smokies, Shenandoah, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.THE PARKS LESS TRAVELEDThe South boasts over 50 national park units—including caves, historic battlefields, and world-class whitewater rivers.THE NEXT 100Climate change. Funding shortfalls. Invasive species. How can we protect national parks for another century? Here is what you need to know—and how you can help.WHY WE JUMPWhat inspires BASE jumpers to make the leap—and should they have more places to plunge?SOUTHEAST EXPOSEDTackle these seven edgy Southern Appalachian summit hikes with panoramic views.
Bring Fido along for a dog-friendly weekend in West Virginia!In the Mountain State, festivals, restaurants and adventures give a whole new meaning to family-friendly, Fido included.These places are top dog:1. HuntingtonCasual and tasty, Huntington’s West Virginia Hot Dog Festival in July is an enormous picnic party. Top hot dog vendors and chefs cook, and you can compete in zany contests all day.Cheer on dachshunds at the wiener dog race. Enjoy live music, a dog parade, car shows and crafts.Ritter Park’s rose gardens, trails and dog park have lots of exciting new scents and sensations for canines, too. Teach Rover some agility with obstacles like a tire jump and stay table.The Econo Lodge Hotel and Red Roof Inn welcome pets, so plan on extending your stay!2. CharlestonLeash up Fido and marvel as Charleston “becomes a work of art” for 10 days in June with 100+ art exhibits, a chili cook-off, photography, bands and more.Hang around and watch FestivALL’s Woofstock & Wieners race, a goofy competition for dachshunds. You can also enter your dog in sprints or show off his tricks and obedience skills.Share a nature walk with Rover at Kanawha State Forest and look for vibrant warblers and burbling streams. For river views, walk along Kanawha River Trail. It’s especially attractive in the evening, when sunsets settle over the city.For lunch, soak up beach-front ambience at Tricky Fish, which has a pet-friendly patio. Speaking of dogs, order a customized hot dog— grilled or deep fried. Plus, the dog park’s just down the block!Then, book a stay with pet-friendly hotels like Red Roof Inn and Residence Inn.4. New River GorgeYou and your dog can conquer the rapids together! The New River Gorge boasts some of the world’s best whitewater. Be gentle with your pet and try the mild (but still peppy) Upper New River.For lunch, bring your pooch to Vandal’s Kitchen, which has an outdoor patio and picnic table. Or, sprawl on Mackie’s Biergarten’s deck and order some Asian fusion goodness.Plenty of campgrounds and cabins are pet friendly, too! Check out Hemlock Haven Cabins, which has fenced-in backyards for pet owners— no need to get up early for a walk! You can also bring your dog to Country Road Cabins and New River Cabins.5. Harpers FerryThis atmospheric Antebellum town is the perfect backdrop for Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry, the oldest of its kind in America. Leash your dog and listen to its eerie stories.Ready to hit the trails? Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has some of the most scenic paths in America. Centuries of history, lore and natural beauty guide you for miles along towpaths.When you’re done exploring, grab some BBQ and fries at Hannah’s Train Depot, where pets are welcome outside.The Clarion Inn Conference Center has pet-friendly rooms.6. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, WestonIf your pooch is small enough to fit in a stroller, he can join you for some ghost tours! Or, carry him in your arms as you stroll through this historic building.7. Mountain State Brewing Co, Morgantown: Unwind at one of West Virginia’s oldest breweries. Sit with your dog on the lower patio or upper deck and order flavorful brews that go from Cold Trail blonde to dark, creamy Miner’s Daughter stout.Where are you going to take your dog?You and your canine navigator can plot a journey together or find nearby attractions with WV’s “Best of Summer” map:Get a free summer guide to West Virginia’s best for you and the whole family (Fido included).
In April, Roanoke, Virginia will install a bike share system similar to those found in New York and D.C. Bike Share will place 50 bicycles at 10 stations throughout the city, allowing anyone to use them and drop them off. Private donors contributed money to purchase the bikes and bike stations that will be set up around the city of 97,032. Roanoke is one of the smallest cities to adopt a Bike Share program.“It’s a small enough city that you can get from point A to Point B and you can do your shopping you can run your errands you can do whatever you have to on a bike,” said Chris Heslin, owner of UnderDog Bikes, told Roanoke news station WDBJ.Pricing has not yet been determined. In D.C., Bike Share is free for the first half-hour and increases to a few dollars per hour. Annual and 3-day passes for Bike Share are also offered at discounted rates.Learn more here.