Month: December 2020

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Norway’s $970-billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, should allocate a bigger share of its investments to renewable energy to boost returns, a U.S. energy policy think-tank said in a report on Wednesday.The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) also said Norway’s parliamentary elections on Sept. 11 would provide an opportunity to review whether the fund should be allowed to invest in unlisted infrastructure projects, such as wind or solar farms.Norway’s wealth fund pools the state’s revenues from oil and gas production. But a 75 percent drop in the price of oil between mid-2014 and January 2016 has depressed its returns, increasing pressure for an overhaul.The fund, managed by the country’s central bank, has a mandate from Norway’s finance ministry to invest in renewable-only investment to the tune of about $5-8 billion, but some green groups say that is too modest a sum.The finance ministry has twice rejected a proposal from the fund to invest in infrastructure projects, citing political risk and the modest size of the unlisted infrastructure market. The fund currently invests in stocks, bonds and real estate abroad only.“One way to achieve a good outcome would to be to invest in renewable energy, a fast-growing segment of the global energy economy and one that is now widely seen as a mainstream sector with a positive investment outlook,” the IEEFA report said.The IEEFA said renewables were driving deals in the listed and unlisted infrastructure market, estimated to total about $4.8 billion.Earlier this year, the Finance Ministry agreed with the central bank to allow the fund to increase its equity holdings to 70 percent from 62.5 percent of its total investments to try to boost the fund’s returns.This means the fund will have to re-allocate more than 500 billion crowns ($64.24 billion) over several years.The IEEFA said Norway should invest about 35 percent of this money, or about 190 billion crowns, in renewable energy, spreading it across publicly traded utilities, listed infrastructure companies, and direct investments in listed and unlisted infrastructure.Each of these investment opportunities have track records with returns that meet or exceed the fund’s historical performance, the IEEFA said.“The Ministry of Finance was shortsighted in its rejection of unlisted infrastructure,” Tom Sanzillo, the IEEFA report author said in an email.“The incoming government has a huge opportunity to boost the Norwegian economy with stable and attractive clean energy investments,” he said.Norway’s wealth fund should boost investments in renewables -report IEEFA Report Details Investment Opening for Norwaylast_img read more

first_imgLazard: Renewables at an ‘inflection point,’ with new solar, wind cheaper than existing coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Engineering News:A new US study comparing the costs of energy from various generation technologies indicates that an “inflection point” has been reached where, in some cases, it is more cost effective to build and operate new renewable-energy projects than to maintain existing conventional generation plants.The finding is contained in Lazard’s latest ‘Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) Analysis’, which the financial advisory firm compiles yearly. The report has been released together with the company’s latest ‘Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis’, which points to significant cost declines across most use cases and technologies.The analysis shows that the cost of generating electricity from utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and onshore wind continued to decline last year, with solar PV decreasing by 13% and onshore wind by almost 7%. Decreases since 2009 are more dramatic, with the mean unsubsidised LCOE for solar PV falling 88% and onshore wind decreasing by 69% over the nine years surveyed by Lazard in the report.The analysis shows the “low-end” levelised cost of onshore wind-generated energy to be $29/MWh, below the average illustrative marginal cost of $36/MWh for coal in the US. The levelised cost of utility-scale solar, meanwhile, is stated to be nearly identical to the illustrative marginal cost of coal.“Although diversified energy resources are still required for a modern grid, we have reached an inflection point where, in some cases, it is more cost effective to build and operate new alternative energy projects than to maintain existing conventional generation plants,” Lazard power, energy and infrastructure group head George Bilicic says in a statement. “As alternative energy costs continue to decline, storage remains the key to solving the problem of intermittency and we are beginning to see a clearer path forward for economic viability in storage technologies,” Bilicic adds.The Lazard findings are significant for the US, with the calculations pointing to the possible further early retirements of coal-fired plants, notwithstanding President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to revive the coal industry.More: Lazard says ‘inflection point’ reached making new renewables cheaper than existing coallast_img read more

first_imgBrazil solar auction yields new record-low power price of $17.50/MWh FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PVTech:Record-low solar prices at Brazil’s latest auction have cast fresh a spotlight on the industry’s global journey to cost-competitiveness, with experts arguing it further weakens the case of fossil fuels.The average solar prices of BRL67.48/MWh (around US$17.5/MWh) at last Friday’s A-4 auction would make PV the “cheapest power from any technology ever…in the history of the planet assuming it is confirmed subsidy-free,” Michael Liebreich, founder of BloombergNEF, remarked after the results were published.The auction – where PV secured over half of all 401.6MW awarded to renewables – marks the first time solar achieves lower prices than wind at a tender in Brazil, noted Maurício Tolmasquim, professor at Rio de Janeiro’s COPPE and former head of the country’s energy regulator EPE.Assaad Razzouk, CEO of clean energy developer Sindicatum, pointed at the “incredible” drop of solar prices between auctions in 2017 ($35.2/MWh) and this week (US$17.5/MWh). Fossil fuels “can’t compete” despite the “trillions” in support they receive every year, Razzouk argued.As several onlookers pointed out, the solar price breakthroughs mask the circumstance that PV winners will remain largely exposed to free-market dynamics, once auction contracts expire.“We noticed a tendency of solar and wind projects to allocate about 70% of their physical guarantee to the free market,” said Rui Altieri, who chairs the board of directors at distribution regulator CCEE. He urged developers to consider “commercial strategies” beyond the support of auction prices.More: Brazil’s solar price record seen as global renewable milestonelast_img read more

first_imgSouth Korea on track to add a record amount of solar generation in 2019 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced in a press release this week that the country’s newly installed PV capacity for the first seven months of this year has reached approximately 1.64 GW.For comparison, in 2018 – South Korea’s best year in terms of new PV deployments – new capacity reached 2.02 GW. This means that, if the current trend continues throughout the remaining part of 2019, the country will post another record. By the end of July, the nation’s cumulative installed solar capacity had reached approximately 9.5 GW. In 2017 and 2016, new PV additions reached 1.3 GW and 889 MW, respectively.The MOTIE also noted that new capacity has already exceeded the government’s 1,632 MW target for 2019. Of the total thus far, around 92.1%, or about 1.5 GW, has come from PV installations below 1 MW in size. The provinces of Jeonbuk, Jeonnam and Chungnam have the largest share of this new capacity, with 17%, 18.3% and 14.0% of the total, respectively.The MOTIE also stressed that the quality of solar modules has improved considerably. “In 2018, the share of photovoltaic modules with efficiency of more than 18% accounted for only about 35%, but this year their share increased to more than 80%,” it stated, while also noting how panels made in South Korea accounted for 69% of domestic installations.South Korea currently plans to install 30.8 GW of solar by 2030. This ambitious target is expected to be achieved by building giant solar parks, such as a recently announced 2.1 GW floating solar project and a 3 GW ground-mounted PV array that was announced for the Saemangeum area by South Korean President Moon Jae-in in November.More: South Korea has added 1.64 GW of solar so far this yearlast_img read more

first_imgGas, solar making inroads in traditionally coal-dominated Kentucky electricity market FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:In Kentucky, coal still generates the vast majority of electricity: 75 percent in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That dominance is waning, however. Meanwhile, in a striking bit of energy transition symbolism, the state’s Coal Mining Museum, located in Benham, historically a coal town, made the switch to solar as a cost-cutting measure back in 2017. “It is a little ironic,” museum spokesperson Brandon Robinson told local TV station WYMT at the time. “Of course, coal is still king around here.”The museum’s decision is unlikely to be the predominant trend in Kentucky. Though coal is steadily losing its grip on the energy crown, new natural-gas combined-cycle plants will remain more economic than building large-scale solar projects in some parts of Kentucky for the next couple of years.However, solar developers are inching into the state, teasing out deals and working to gain access to the lucrative PJM market, in part driven by demand from corporate energy consumers.“With the cost of solar continuing to decline [and the] corporate renewables market continuing to grow and expand, it’s just natural that any state that has a policy framework that allows power to be sold between a solar farm and a corporate offtaker…is going to start to grow,” said Carson Harkrader, CEO at Carolina Solar Energy, a North Carolina-based company that began sniffing around the Kentucky market in 2018.Developers working in Kentucky say corporate demand is the main driver of the current market. The state has installed just 25 megawatts of solar. But looking ahead, developers such as Kara Price, senior vice president of permitting and development at North Carolina-based Geenex Solar, expect a bump from corporations with a Kentucky footprint, including Toyota and Dow, as well as tech companies such as Facebook and Google, which have data centers in PJM states including Ohio and Virginia. Geenex has several early-stage projects under development in Kentucky, ranging in scale from 30 megawatts to more than 200 megawatts.[Emma Foehringer-Merchant]More: Even in coal-heavy Kentucky, corporations can’t stay away from solar powerlast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享 Energy became on Tuesday the latest coal miner to file for bankruptcy, saying the global economic slowdown triggered by the coronavirus epidemic had pushed it over the edge.The company, already hit by an ongoing switch to cheaper and cleaner sources of energy, said it planned to hand ownership to its creditors as part of a restructuring plan. The restructuring plan, which allows the company to stay in business, would cut debt by about $1 billion by swapping $1.4 billion of debt for equity, according to the Chapter 11 documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis.The coal miner’s collapse is yet another sign of a dying industry, despite President Donald Trump’s rescue attempts. Right after taking office, he slashed environmental regulations and even installed former coal lobbyist Scott Pruitt at the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt resigned in 2018, facing numerous ethics investigations.The deregulatory push, however, has been unable to offset market forces. Coal just can’t compete with cheap natural gas and the falling cost of solar power, wind and other forms of renewable energy.Internal demand for the fossil fuel, in turn, has hit a decades-low point with power plants expected to consume less coal next year than at any point since President Jimmy Carter was in the White House, according to official forecasts. At the same time, financial institutions are restricting thermal coal funding.To date, over 100 global banks and insurers, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, have announced their divestment from coal mining and/or coal-fired power plants.[Cecilia Jamasmie]More: Foresight latest U.S. coal miner to file for bankruptcy Foresight Energy joins ranks of bankrupt U.S. coal companieslast_img read more

first_imgUpgraded 13MW GE Haliade-X turbine to be used at Dogger Bank offshore wind project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Plans to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm using the world’s most powerful turbines have been taken up a notch after GE announced its newly upgraded 13MW Haliade-X units would be used for the 3.6GW Dogger Bank project in the UK.Dogger Bank is a 50:50 joint venture between Equinor and SSE Renewables comprising three 1.2GW offshore wind farms located about 130km from the Yorkshire Coast, on a large sandbank in the North Sea.GE Renewable Energy secured the contract to supply the project back in October of 2019 using its world-leading 12MW Haliade-X turbines, but this week revealed it would do so using 190 of the enhanced 13MW units.The uprated 13MW Haliade-X features 107 metre-long blades and a 220 meter rotor and with just one spin can generate enough electricity to power a UK household for more than two days, GE says. The deployment at Dogger Park will mark the first time a 13MW turbine will be installed anywhere in the world.As Renew Economy has reported, the three Dogger Bank projects were each successful in the UK’s 2019 Contracts for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round, with one locking in a record low strike price of £39.65/MWh ($A72.55) and the other two a price of £41.611/MWh ($A76.13). The more powerful turbines – requiring fewer to be installed across the entire project – stands to lower the cost of delivering the massive offshore wind farm further.Construction on the onshore infrastructure for the massive project kicked off in January of this year. Due to its size and scale, the wind farm is being built in three consecutive phases; Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B and Dogger Bank C. First power generation is expected sometime in 2023 and, once fully commissioned, the entire project is expected to generate around 6TWh of electricity annually.[Sophie Vorrath]More: World’s most powerful turbine to anchor largest offshore wind farmlast_img read more

first_img– John white, Charlottesville, VAMy friends and I were seated in a circle around a blazing campfire in the woods of West Virginia.  We were busy celebrating the tough 1.1 mile hike endured that day by consuming everything we had labored to bring, including those golden liquids that sloshed so enticingly every step of the 5808-foot journey.A sudden scream then came piercing out of the dark woods, and we were all sober in a second.  I was the only one with any relevant experience in the woods, and I coolly told the huddled man-boys, “Don’t worry guys, it’s just a bobcat.”To be honest, I’d never heard a bobcat scream, but I had been told that it sounded just like a woman in distress. To be honest, I still haven’t heard an actual bobcat scream.Our midsummer’s night party picked back up and we pretended to ignore the shrieks that continued calling for at least another half hour.At one point, I wandered away from the fire to get more wood to burn in sacrifice to Dionysus when the unintelligible cry formed two distinct, decidedly non-bobcat words, “HELP ME!”With scenes of every horror movie I’d ever seen dancing through my head, I dropped the firewood and ran back to the group to tell them that we had to help. Four of us split the three flashlights and dove headfirst into the trees, which had suddenly become hostile and overwhelming. As we followed the sounds of the scream toward its unknown source, we each grew more and more terrified and acted more courageous and confident as a result, sprinting through the forest like mongooses on the hunt. One of my valiant band of brothers-in-flannel didn’t have a flashlight so he loudly ran into several trees head-first. It would have been funny if we weren’t so scared.Since we had no idea if this distressed woman was alone or being tormented by captors, we tried to stay as silent as ninjas until we could see her in our lights. In our minds we were putting to use all the skills gleaned from stealth missions we had played in dozens of video games, justifying at once those decades of digital addiction. Despite our best efforts, she must have heard us, because she started screaming louder and shriller than before. Then our three beams of light converged on her, illuminating her body like some kind of backwater Broadway star.A thirty-something woman, wearing full-body bunny print pajamas, stood in the middle of a trail. You could tell that she’d been crying, and my God her voice must’ve been sore from screaming in vain for thirty minutes. I felt more than a little stupid for ignoring her for so long. When we got closer, one of us said what every knight in shining armor says to the damsel in distress after he dramatically bursts through the door locked tower door—“Hey.”She responded, to paraphrase, “Hey.”Turns out she’d left her tent site at dusk, looking for cell phone reception and got caught in the moonless dark without a light. As we walked her back toward her campsite, you could tell that just having light guiding the way calmed and visibly relaxed her. And then she let out the loudest series of farts I’ve ever heard. They were concussive enough that another party camping on the mountain probably heard them and turned to their fearless leader, who likely told them with collected cool, “Don’t worry guys, it’s just a toad.”last_img read more

first_imgI think it will be Day Four of the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race that I go out to visit the loony tune bikers who will sure to be suffering great consequences from relentlessly climbing these magical mountains of WNC.I will have my massage table with me and will give a free massage to whomever crosses the finish line first that day. I’m not talking about a little soothing rub down. I will work that person over in the infamous, Bettina Freese kind of way, so they start out their last day, of 43 miles, like it’s just another Saturday ride.Not only will it be an amazing experince for me to witness the specific aches, pains, deficiencies and miseries from being bitch-slappped by the ancient forest, but it will be a whole new bag of experiences to bring back to my sports massage students at the Asheville School of Massage and Yoga.Working on an athlete of that caliber, in that kind of race, is like a mechanic dropping into the Formula One race to crank a wrench on a Ferrari. The Toure De France would be another great massage and anatomy lesson, but I perefer mountain bikers. Hear that Mr. Hincapie? Yeah, I’m talking to you. Bring it. I’ll massage you anyway.The PMBSR starts on Tuesday, September 22nd at the Black Mountain Trail Head. Riders will start with the White Squirrel Loop, which is 39 miles and 6,200 feet of elevation gain. The day will end with an awards ceremony on the courthouse gazebo in Brevard.Day Two, dubbed the Land of Waterfalls Loop, begins at the Black Mountain Trail Head, sending riders out for 43 miles and 7,300 feet of elevation gain. The freaks will begin to feel the suffering on this evening as they gather for a happy hour at the Lobby. I wonder how many will go overboard and drink too much New Belgium? The thing is, I KNOW mountain bikers, and they will be hung over on Thursday morning. Those who didn’t drink are actually road bikers who have pure dites, nun-like habits, the stamina of cheetahs, and no technical skill. I say that because techinical skill is a byprodcut of high levels of yeast and hops in the system.The Carl Schenck Loop comprises Day Three and was designed for the hung over mountain biker with just 25 miles and 3,200 feet of elevation gain, but verrry technical. This one starts at the Wash Creek Campground. Schenck was a comrade of George W. Vanderbilt, who bestowed upon his the positioun of Biltmore Estate forester. He founded the first forestry school in the U.S. right here on th Biltmore Estate. His management theories influenced forestry education for generations therafter. People riding his trail will call his name out in their sleep. 1 2last_img read more

first_imgJack’s Boathouse has been renting kayaks for 40 years, but is in a life or death battle with the National Park Service.POTUS Highlights Climate in Inaugural, Enviros Remain SkepticalDuring his second Inaugural Address, President Obama made climate change and the environment a central policy issue in what many consider to be one of the most confrontational Inauguration speeches in recent memory. Along with calling for equal rights for the LGBT community and slight references to the ongoing gun control debate and GOP rhetoric in general, Obama used eight sentences – the most on any subject – to say a failure to address climate change would betray future generations of Americans. It was tough talk to begin his second term in office, but many in the environmental and conservation fields say they have heard it all before. They praised his words, but remain skeptical if any significant policy will be able to move through a decidedly contentious Congress. Many are waiting to see if the president follows through before heaping praise, but the Inaugural Address was a very good start.Washington, D.C.’s Jack’s Boathouse, NPS Battle Heats UpThe ongoing saga of Jack’s Boathouse and National Park Service battle over the Georgetown waterfront lease is reaching a boiling point. The NPS is attempting to restructure the lease on the property, which has been occupied by Jack’s Boathouse for 40 years, and says Jack’s will need to enter a competitive bid like everyone else if it wants to stay. Jack’s owner Paul Simkin counters that the NPS no longer has jurisdiction over the property, that the land was reverted back to the city in 1985. That is the barebones explanation, anything more in depth may require a law degree or real estate license, or both. The bottom line is the NPS believes it is doing the right thing in the eyes of the law, and Simkin believes he is getting steamrolled in the name of the almighty dollar. Either way, this legal wrangling is sure to end up in court, with a Georgetown outdoor institution on the line.PA Nuclear Power Plant Produces SnowIn one of the weirder side effects of nuclear power, the Beaver Valley Plant in southwest Pennsylvania generated a band of snow that has been credited with nearly one inch of snow in the area. Temper your fears of nuclear winter or a Godzilla/Yeti climbing out of Lake Erie, the phenomenon is basic science. Cold temperatures combined with the steam billowing from the plant’s cooling stacks produced a cloud which produced snow. Could we see nuclear power plants popping up in partnership with ski resorts? Could this be the future of snowmaking?No.last_img read more