Chinese Solar Drives Record in Global Green Financing

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:China’s insatiable appetite for solar power led to a surprise increase in global clean-energy investment last year even as U.S. President Donald Trump pushed to undermine pollution rules and curbs on coal.About $333.5 billion poured into renewable energy and cutting-edge power technologies, up 3 percent from 2016 and 7 percent short of the record set in 2015, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Almost half went to solar projects, and China’s investment accounted for 40 percent of the total.The figures confounded strong headwinds to further increases in investment. Prices for solar panels and wind turbines are falling rapidly, while the U.S., Germany and Poland were among the countries loosening policies designed to curb the dirtiest fossil fuels. Developers speculating they will reap subsidies in China along with higher spending from Australia to Mexico helped offset declines in longer-established markets across Europe.“The 2017 total is all the more remarkable when you consider that capital costs for the leading technology – solar – continue to fall sharply,” said Jon Moore, chief executive officer at BNEF. “Typical utility-scale PV systems were about 25 percent cheaper per megawatt last year than they were two years earlier.”Equipment such as solar panels and wind turbines are getting more affordable as they are increasingly mass-produced. The sliding cost has opened up new markets beyond rich countries, which typically were the early adopters of renewables when the industry was young. Now, solar and wind farms are an increasingly cost-effective way to electrify places with uncertain access to the grid. Projects are being built to power everything from chemicals plants in the Netherlands to suburbs of Kabul, Afghanistan.  More: China’s Solar Boom Boosts Clean Energy Funding Near Record Chinese Solar Drives Record in Global Green Financinglast_img read more

Danish energy giant makes a $580 million move into U.S. wind

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy Digital:Danish energy company Ørsted has agreed to purchase US wind and solar company Lincoln Clean Energy for $580mn.Lincoln Clean Energy develops, owns and operates clean power projects which a specific focus on wind and solar. In particular, the company owns a range of onshore wind farms in the US, and currently has a capacity of 513MW within its portfolio. By 2022, total capacity on Lincoln wind farms will reach 1.5GW.Ørsted currently has a 25% global market share in offshore wind and is the leading energy supplier in the UK, with 5,800 employees globally. The firm started a journey to becoming an entirely ‘green’ energy company around 10 years ago.Since then, Ørsted says it has reduced its use of coal by 73% and halved its CO2 emissions. It is currently converting its Danish coal-fired power stations to sustainable biomass, and hopes to be coal free by 2023.Regarding the Lincoln Clean Energy purchase, Ørsted CEO Henrik Poulsen said: “The global market for onshore wind power is expected to grow significantly in the coming years and the US is a leading onshore wind market. The acquisition of Lincoln Clean Energy will provide a strong growth platform in the US, which is one of Ørsted’s strategic growth markets. It is an investment case with healthy economics based on prudent assumptions about key value drivers and market developments.”More: Ørsted to buy Lincoln Clean Energy for $580mn Danish energy giant makes a $580 million move into U.S. windlast_img read more

Australian railroad says it’s not interested in moving Adani’s Carmichael coal

first_imgAustralian railroad says it’s not interested in moving Adani’s Carmichael coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Australian Broadcasting Corporation:The ABC has learned Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA) declined to participate in the Carmichael coal project, after Adani approached it to supply coal haulage services from its planned mine.“GWA has previously been approached to service the Adani Carmichael project and we have decided not to participate,” the company confirmed in a statement to the ABC.The snub, which came before Adani decided to build a smaller rail line in a bid to fast-track the stalled project, has narrowed the energy giant’s options as it looks to bring its mine to life.Aurizon — one of only two remaining rail operators with capacity to haul Adani’s coal — has come under intense pressure not to cut deals with it because of environmental concerns, and doubts from some key investors that the venture is “a viable commercial proposition”.But a major shareholder in Aurizon — which along with GWA and Pacific National has capacity to haul coal from the Carmichael mine to port almost 400 kilometres away — has been lobbying strongly against deals with the miner.UniSuper, one of Aurizon’s top five shareholders, has called on the rail freight company to provide no services to Adani beyond what it is legally obliged to.More: Adani’s ambitions challenged by rail snub and continued investor pressurelast_img read more

U.S. installs 2,617MW of wind power in first quarter, additional 13,383MW under construction

first_imgU.S. installs 2,617MW of wind power in first quarter, additional 13,383MW under construction FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The U.S. in the first three months of 2020 added 2,617 MW of wind power capacity, a record amount for a first quarter of any year.According to an analysis from S&P Global Market Intelligence, the U.S. now has 107,801 MW of total installed wind power capacity. That is a 75% increase from the first quarter of 2014, when the U.S. had 61,519 MW of wind power capacity.Meanwhile, the project pipeline stands at 78,376 MW. That includes wind power projects in early development, advanced development or under construction, all scheduled to be completed by 2024.Of that, 13,383 MW of capacity is in the construction phase. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, may cause some of those projects to be delayed or canceled. The American Wind Energy Association said in April that the pandemic has put at risk up to 25 GW of planned projects. Nevertheless, wind developers have expressed confidence that the industry can ride out the economic impact of the pandemic.Oklahoma has the largest pipeline of projects under construction of any state, with projects totaling 2,391 MW of capacity being built. The largest is Invenergy LLC’s 999-MW Traverse Wind Energy Center, in Custer County, Okla., scheduled to come online in December 2021. American Electric Power Co. Inc. in May said it would invest $2 billion in wind farms in Oklahoma, including the Traverse project.Texas closely follows, with projects totaling 2,318 MW of capacity under construction. The state’s largest project under construction is FGE Power’s 500.4-MW Goodnight Wind Energy farm, in Armstrong County. The projected online date of the $900.7 million project is June 2021, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.[Justin Horwath]More ($): U.S. saw record Q1 for wind power capacity additionslast_img read more

Global coal-fired generating capacity declined for first time in first half of 2020

first_imgGlobal coal-fired generating capacity declined for first time in first half of 2020 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Global coal-fired power capacity edged down for the first time on record in the first half of 2020 as retirements accelerated and the coronavirus saw new projects put on hold.The closing of plants, especially in Europe and the U.S., outpaced the start of new units, more than 60% of which were in China, according to a report by Global Energy Monitor. The net decline of 2.9 gigawatts may be small, at just over 0.1% of the world’s coal generation capacity, but marks a turning point in the burning of the dirtiest fossil fuel to produce electricity.“The Covid pandemic has paused coal plant development around the world and offers a unique opportunity for countries to reassess their future energy plans and choose the cost-optimal path, which is to replace coal power with clean energy,” said Christine Shearer, program director for coal at Global Energy Monitor.As developed economies in Europe and North America increasingly shift toward cleaner energy sources, mining companies are looking to fast-growing Asian countries to shore up demand for the heavy polluting fossil fuel. Still, world coal demand is set for its biggest annual drop since World War II as economic activity plunges due to coronavirus lockdowns, the International Energy Agency said in April.The pace of new construction in Asia is slowing, with countries including Bangladesh and Vietnam considering restricting or deferring new coal plants, according to Global Energy Monitor, which gathers information from public sources, such as media articles, and non-government agencies.China’s coal power expansion would exacerbate overcapacity, according to the report, which cited a study from the University of Maryland that projected the average utilization rate for the country’s coal plants could drop to 45% by 2025.[James Thornhill]More: Global coal power falls for first time even as China builds morelast_img read more

October Issue of BRO Out Now!

first_imgWe are pleased to announce our October issue of BRO is on newsstands and online! The leaves are beginning to change and the nights are cooling down; Fall is here and Blue Ridge Outdoors has your autumn adventure plans covered.Jess Daddio is at it again this month with a feature on the Great Eastern Trail, a long distance hiking trail that parallels the Appalachian Trail from Alabama to New York. The trail is made up of connecting existing trails and is not quite complete as of yet, but that didn’t stop a couple of intrepid hikers from thru-hiking the GET from end to end. We have the story of their thru-hike, plus a guide to the trail. We also give you eight great fall adventures that include incredible views of all the fall colors the Blue Ridge has to offer. There is something for everyone from climbers, to bikers, to hikers, to paddlers. Speaking of paddling, Graham canoes down the new French Broad River Trail with a French Broad River Keeper to check what the new blueway has to offer. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot. There is also an op-ed from pro paddler and North Carolina native Chris Gratgmans on the current state of the Green Race: is it becoming too popular and attracting paddlers that are not suited for the level necessary to negotiate the river? Does the race need a screening process? Chris offers his opinion.This month’s essays are full of important issues and big adventures. Learn to hang glide, help save one of the most polluted rivers in America right in our backyard, experience what it’s like to be a girl in man’s river guide world, and take a hike with a father and his autistic son.We discuss and interview a couple of Blue Ridge record breakers in Matt Kirk and Ben Friberg. This summer Kirk set a new “unofficial” unsupported Appalachian Trail speed record, while Friberg paddled his SUP from Havanna, Cuba, to Key West, Florida, becoming the first person ever to do so. These are amazing athletic achievements, which flows right into our Debate question for this month: Should performance-enhancing drugs be legalized? Then our issue wraps with a profile of Americana queen Nora Jane Struthers and her circular path to new grass stardom.We hope you enjoy this issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors! We had a blast putting it together, and we hope you have a blast reading it.Let us know what you think about this issue or other issues in the comments below!FeaturesGET: The Next A.T.Adventures With a Splash of ColorThe Green Race: Disaster Waiting to Happen?No Rush: On the New French Broad River TrailEssaysBig Adventure: Learning to Hang GlideA Hike Worth Talking AboutThe Forgotten River: Saving D.C.’s Anacostia RiverGirl Guide: On Being a Woman and a Whitewater GuideDepartmentsBen Friberg: Havanna to Key West on a PaddleboardMatt Kirk Sets New A.T. Speed RecordDebate: Should Performance-Enhancing Drugs Be Legalized?Americana Circus: Nora Jane Strutherslast_img read more

Weekend Pick: Russell Fork BADDLUN Adventure Race

first_imgThe 6th Annual Russell Fork BADDLUN event takes place this Saturday, October 12th in Elkhorn City, Kentucky. Wondering what in the world that stands for? It’s a blend of the words bike, paddle, run. BADDLUN. Get it?The course consists of a 13 mile bike ride, 8 mile paddle, 3 mile run, and a 20 yard swim. Unlike every other race in the world, BADDLUN doesn’t have an entry fee. With that, there are also no teams, aid stations, or prizes. It’s all for fun, people! Imagine that. The folks who started the event want to keep things carefree with a focus on the sports involved. You can read the hilariously honest course guide on their website for more details. I think it’s fair to say this is not for beginners.This year, the event will be raising money for ALS research. Keep a look out for ways to donate once you’re there.As far as sign up goes, you can register around 11:00am at the Ratliffe Hole. There will be shuttle info as well. The race will start a little after noon.The rules are simple: don’t die, don’t be weak, help others in need, have a good time, and be safe.If BADDLUN is a bit too extreme, lace up your kicks and run the Odyssey Autumn Faire 5K in Asheville, N.C. on Sunday. The rolling 3.1-mile run traverses Montford, Asheville’s most beautiful and historic neighborhood, and prizes are awarded to the best costumed runners as well as the fastest finishers. Stick around for the festival and chili cook-off afterward. More info and registration can be found here.View Larger Maplast_img read more

Mountain Mama | Becoming My Own Anchor

first_imgThere are so many milestones for us during this sailing trip. The first time we raised the sails, the first time Maya’s ever slept on a boat, the first time Tobin figured out how to pee between the lifelines, the first time we figured out the stereo player and listened to music while under sail.Yesterday was a big first for me and required me to face some serious fears – spending the night on an anchor we set. It didn’t help that the wind raged and the swell rolled our boat.Mastering anchoring feels like a huge accomplishment – it allows us freedom to spend the night almost anywhere the bottom is sandy, shallow and there isn’t turtle grass. Another big bonus we avoid the $30 a night charge of mooring by setting our own anchor.We anchored at Salt Island, a little over two nautical miles east from Peter Island, which makes the low-lying land mass feel exposed. The bay where we set anchor is a short dinghy ride to the Wreck of the Rhone, where we planned to snorkel and take a closer look at the remains of the ship that wrecked in the 1800s.The R.M.S. Rhone sunk off the rocks of Salt Island in October 1867.  One day the weather typified tropical perfection, the sun beating down from a deep blue sky. Then the barometer fell, the sky darkened and a hurricane blew from the northeast.The Rhone tried to anchor, but even the 3,0000-pound anchor and some 300 feet of chain couldn’t hold the boat in place. Winds blew her into the rocks surrounding Salt Island where she heeled over, broke in two, and sank, taking most of the crew down with her.According to our trusty cruising guide, the left side of the bay closest to the wreck is reserved as a day anchorage and the rest of the bay is fair game for anchoring overnight. When we arrived mid-afternoon, we set our anchor in the first available space. As the sunlight waned, I took another look at the map and it seemed we might actually be in the day anchorage area.rsz__mg_1684We motored toward other anchored sailboats. A man wearing nothing but a pair of white briefs gave us a scornful look. “There’s turtle grass there.”The turtle grass is an important food source for turtles and habitat for other sea critters, so we don’t want to destroy it.We motored further out. There was still turtle grass at 25 feet. At 30 feet Sarah made the hand-signal for sand and dropped the anchor. Since the safe ratio is to let out five times the amount of chain for the depth. Sarah let out a little over 100 feet and then I let the boat idle in neutral. When we stopped moving, we were only a couple boat lengths from the white-brief-wearing-grumpy man.Since we couldn’t let out any more chain without encroaching further on the other boat, we brought the anchor up and motored further toward the point in search of a sandy, shallow spot. On the other side of a sixty-foot catamaran, we found a place to anchor that would position us as the last boat in the harbor.That night the winds wailed and howled. Goats bleated from the cliff. Waves crashed against the boulders. We all took turns double-checking the anchor and our position. I tried to fall asleep, reminding myself that we had felt the anchor take hold and that we have put out enough chain so were secure for the night.Then the chain groaned.My thoughts turned to how small the anchor looked and how it was buried at most a foot into the sand. I wondered if it could hold us in that wind.I played a dangerous game of what-ifs that kept me up for most of the night.  Images of the graves where the Rhone crew was buried – a circle of rocks and mounds of earth adorned with conch shells and coral – flashed.What if the anchor dragged, the swell and wind would push us into the rocky shore and cliffs. What if water seeped into the open hatches, how would we escape?Would we end up buried in the graves adorned with conch shells and coral like the crew of R.M.S. Rhone?I poked my head out of the hatch to double check our position and was greeted by the clearest night sky we’d seen yet, studded with bright stars.I checked my watch during the wee morning hours, waiting and hoping for the pale light of dawn.  I wanted the night to pass quickly, to have certainty that our anchor would hold.I’d splurged the previous day and bought wifi for a night to post updates. I checked my email, then Facebook.I yearned for something more than a distraction, for someone to swoop down and reassure me. I wanted to be tethered to an existence where security meant more than an iron hook sunk a foot deep in the sand. That night I wished to be anywhere except that sailboat bobbing in the swell.I got up to check the anchor again and when I came back to our berth Tobin sprawled spread-eagle-like, taking up all the space on our triangular-shaped mattress. I grumbled, positioning myself around him, curling my body into a ball.I must have dozed off to sleep because I woke up feeling less tired. I went to pee off the back of the boat and saw that the wind had subsided and the sea mellowed into soft mounds.Flashes lit up in the water below. The familiar neon bioluminescence sparkled.I stripped off my pajama pants and tank top and jumped off the stern. Every time I moved, the black water lit up with dozens of fluorescent streaks. I gazed up at the sky at the precise moment a meteor plunged in a long diagnol line.My body tingled with the visceral sense that I was alive in that moment. It sunk in that this is my reality for the next three weeks and wouldn’t have it any other way. Hours before, if I had been in possession of some magic ball and could have wished the night away, I would have in an instant. I realized that I was enough to anchor myself, that I could trust the skills of our crew and let myself sleep easy knowing we were capableSwimming naked with all that sparkly light, both in the water and overhead, reminded me that I couldn’t skip the fear of the night without missing the intensity of the wind, seeing the brilliant night sky, and skinny-dipping amongst the bioluminscense.[divider]More from Mountain Mama[/divider]last_img read more

Introducing Blue Ridge Indoors

first_imgFor over 23 years, Blue Ridge Outdoors has brought you the best in hiking, biking, fishing, climbing, paddling, and more, from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. We have strived to keep you informed with the latest in conservation, recreation, and environmental policy. We’ve shared the best trails, swimming holes, and lookouts. We’ve introduced you to unique people, businesses, and brands.It’s been our mission to showcase the best from our region outside the walls of your home and office.Now, we’re looking to bring you the best from the indoors. Whether you’re in need of a refreshing summer color palette, the latest cabin design trends, or DIY Instructables, Blue Ridge Indoors has it all.When asked about the inspiration behind our new publication, BRO President Blake DeMaso replied, “I’ve just always had a flair for interior design and Blue Ridge Indoors is a vessel for sharing my gift with the world.”As a team, we are all on the same page (pun intended). We feel there aren’t enough interior design publications out there. We hope to inspire and help you get the most out of your home.Coming soon to a newsstand near you!last_img read more

Fridays on the Fly: A Private River Runs Through It

first_imgResorts and landowners are blocking river access to anglersSolitude is a good thing when it’s just you, a fly rod, and an Appalachian stream—which may explain why some resorts and private landowners are inclined to add “No Trespassing” signs to the streamside ambience.A few recent steps in that direction on the upper Watauga River reflect how the trend is playing out in the North Carolina High Country.Five years ago, a rushing, rocky stretch of popular public-access river was posted with “No Trespassing” signs. Once managed and stocked by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the river near Hound Ears Club sprouted “towing enforced” signs and roadside boulders to eliminate parking. The once idyllic sight of anglers casting near the upscale resort largely disappeared until 2016, when Hound Ears officially opened a new private fishing area where “members, property owners and guests may enjoy a picnic meal or grill out at the designated table in full view of this picturesque stream.”That closure deleted the public from a popular piece of what Hound Ears boasts is “one of the top-rated rivers in North Carolina for fly-fishing.”Already privatized adjacent properties on this prime section of river range from a Christian alcohol rehabilitation facility to the Twin Rivers development, both of which stock the river for paying guests or members.Twin Rivers attracted attention to a growing regional trend last winter with an explosion of metal signs along N.C. Highway 105. One large sign dangles on cables over the river and asserts its exclusivity. Resort expansion in the area has also closed other once publicly accessible fishing sites, among them Blowing Rock’s Chetola Resort.Photo: Randy JohnsonStream privatization received added attention recently when local fly fishing outfitter Patrick Sessoms spoke out against the practice in last fall’s Boone Film Festival.Since starting Due South Outfitters eight years ago, Sessoms says “there are a lot of places that are no longer accessible.” He faults a few factors, including landowners “who turn their property into a cash cow by privatizing streams for private trout fishing clubs, and resorts that market trout fishing in the Southern Appalachians, but that’s not what you get,” he maintains. “We call it country club fishing. It’s like turning streams into trout ponds.”The trend, Sessoms says, “stokes the egos of Instagram celebrities who post pictures of whale-sized, pellet-fed trout that no one would ever net on a real stream.” Sessoms guides exclusively on streams accessible to the public so his clients “know what the public fishing experience is like and can duplicate it, instead of just experiencing someone’s private honey hole.”The problem is not just limited to the High Country of North Carolina. Streams across Southern Appalachia are becoming increasingly privatized, which makes public lands and waterways even more important. Gil Willis and wife Mary own Elk River Touring Center in Slatyfork, W.Va., a 150-acre former homestead with an inn, restaurant, and access to a long stretch of the Elk River for fly fishing. Willis expects that there will be less access to private land and streams in the future due to the increasing pace of development throughout Southern Appalachia. “West Virginia is lucky,” Willis says. “If we didn’t have all this public land, it’d be a different story. Here in Pocahontas County, it’s 64% state and federal land. No wonder it’s called the birthplace of eight rivers.”Outfitters and guides may play their own role in the problem, says Doug Besler, Mountain Region Fisheries Supervisor for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.Photo: Randy JohnsonOutfitters and guides may play their own role in the problem. Doug Besler, Mountain Region Fisheries Supervisor for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, noted that many outfitters and fishing clubs are now leasing a section of river and stocking it.” He’s not sure if that accounts for loss of public access to other streams, “but it’s a factor.”Southern Appalachian resorts have long commercialized fly fishing. The resort town of Linville got its start in 1892. Angling images from that era still adorn the chestnut-paneled walls of Eseeola Lodge. For a fee, public lodge guests can cast on a private five-mile stretch of the Linville River. Under the director of outdoor programs Alan Burchell, anglers have a full range of rentals and lessons to enjoy as they fish reservable sections of the river called beats. Linville’s seventeen beats lie between Grandfather Golf and Country Club on the north and southerly Linville Land Harbor.The private status of the river was more noticeable recently when stream habitat improvements were undertaken, including deepening pools, improving oxygenation, and eliminating two nearby ponds that fed warm water into a stream that trout prefer to be cool.Burchell touts these improvements as “some of the good things that come with having a private part of a stream. We can truly mandate that anglers use barbless hooks and practice catch and release.” And the benefits, he asserts, flow downstream.Ensuring the exclusivity of such private waters and compliance with the rules requires security that can range from video surveillance to hired wardens who patrol daily and even at night.“Fifteen years ago, there was more water available to the public,” admits Burchell, a longtime Southern Appalachian angler. “We’re becoming more limited on put-ins and takeouts, too.” That limitation also affects paddlers and swimmers. Uncontrolled parking beside an overly popular swimming hole were factors in the Hound Ears river closure.Photo: Randy JohnsonWildlife officials stress that anglers can help forestall exclusion from private land by being courteous to property owners and being sure that they park discreetly, close gates, don’t litter, and ask when uncertain.“Back in the 1950s, there were large tracts with single family owners, and the fishermen knew the owner,” says the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Doug Besler. “Things have certainly changed.” Over time, large tracts were broken up and development has increased. “We’ve definitely seen a trend of decreasing access.”Privatization may sound bad to some eco-types, says Besler, but “most hatchery-supported streams are on private land with access to the public through the sheer generosity of landowners. Each year they permit us to stock 1500 miles of streams in North Carolina with almost a million fish. It’s a wonderful partnership with private citizens.”“I’m just thrilled we have 300 miles of public waterways,” adds Alex Dale, owner of Highland Outfitters in Linville and Foscoe Fishing Company. “We have more people on this planet than we did ten years ago, and a bigger portion of those people may have just started fishing.”But keeping streams open remains an uphill battle given the misperceptions out there. “Many landowners think they’d be liable for granting access, so the natural instinct is to post the property,” concludes Besler. “But the law in North Carolina is clear—landowners are not liable for fishermen and hunters on their property.”Anglers, too, have blind spots. In some states, you can fish any stream below the high-water line, but “that’s definitely not the case in North Carolina,” assures Besler. “The landowner owns the bottom of the stream. The water and fish are public trust. People are surprised by that.” Many also think they have access to any “navigable river,” but even “that’s a big source of confusion. Maybe that’s the French Broad in Asheville,” but not mountain streams, even in a kayak.Cynicism and outrage are understandable with exclusion of the public, but there are positive developments. Two new sections of the Watauga have also been designated for public access and stocked by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, including the mile-long ribbon centered on Valle Crucis Community Park, a privately owned, non-profit-run parcel. Two Watauga River put-in parks are being developed. And Boone’s expanding greenway system and Brookshire Park, both on the South Fork of New River, permit trout fishing inside of town.“Public access is vital to conservation,” says Watauga Riverkeeper Andy Hill. “The more people who enjoy the resource, the more people who will want to protect it.”last_img read more