Pipeline Race Suggests Overbuilding in Virginia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Brian Carlton for the (Waynesboro) News Virginian:While there is a need for natural gas in some parts of Virginia, too many companies are building pipelines to try and fill that void. This in turn could lead to overbuilding, creating pipelines that force legal battles and lengthy construction, but ultimately sit empty or at least are not used to maximum capacity. That was the argument presented in a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics on Wednesday.The company’s report argued that federal officials need to examine a larger picture when approving projects, such as the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. All of these projects, the report said, are built on the idea that natural gas prices will remain cheap across the region containing the Marcellus shale. Natural gas often is contained in shale, a marine sedimentary rock. The Marcellus formation, which runs from Pennsylvania through western Maryland and into West Virginia, is one of the largest shale fields in the world, formed almost 400 million years ago as layers of dead plants and animals built up.Utility companies, the report stated, want to build pipelines to move that cheap natural gas to areas where they can charge higher prices, because of the demand for growth and construction.“An individual pipeline company acquires a competitive advantage if it can build a well-connected pipeline network that offers more flexibility and storage to customers,” the report states. “Thus, pipeline companies [are] competing to see who can build out the best networks the quickest. This is likely to result in more pipelines being proposed than are actually needed to meet demand in those higher-priced markets.”An October 2014 study by Moody’s Investors Service showed that pipelines currently being developed, if constructed, will deliver an estimated 27 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus and Utica region. By comparison, currently 18 billion cubic feet are being piped out. It’s similar in some ways to the race between railroad companies in the 19th century to be the first to cross the nation. There is a need, with multiple companies competing to fill that need. The problem, the study asks, is what happens if all of the companies get approved for their projects and only one is needed to meet demand? What happens to the rest of that approved material?The cost of construction: Study questions if pipelines are needed
Where Jobs Are Being Created in Minnesota FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Minneapolis Star Tribune:Jobs related to clean energy in Minnesota have grown 5.3 percent over the past year, a significant uptick that prompted a bipartisan team of state lawmakers and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to call Thursday for boosting the state’s renewable energy goals in 2018.Over the last year, the state added 2,893 jobs in the clean energy industry for a total of 57,351 jobs, according to a new report from the nonprofit group Clean Energy Economy Minnesota, an industry-led nonprofit group. That’s nearly four times faster than the overall job growth rate in Minnesota — and evidence that the state should keep up the momentum, officials said in a news conference at the State Capitol.Clean energy jobs now comprise 1.9 percent of the state’s total employment, with the bulk of those jobs involved with increasing energy efficiency, in buildings for instance.Lawmakers said Minnesota should continue to act independently on its renewable energy goals, even as President Donald Trump and others in the federal government prioritize more traditional energy sources, like coal, over development in wind, solar, biomass or other renewable options.The energy efficiency sector accounted for 86.1 percent or 49,359 of clean energy jobs in Minnesota, according to the study. Energy efficiency jobs include workers involved in trades such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) that make buildings more energy efficient.The category also includes manufacturers of energy efficient products, such as window makers Marvin Cos. and Andersen Windows. Clean Energy Economy includes jobs that only partly involve clean energy. So an HVAC worker might be working on both traditional and clean-energy related projects; ditto for window manufacturers.More: Tribune Editorial: Coal is gone, let’s diversify
Chile launches coal phase-out initiative FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Chile’s Energy Ministry and industry stakeholders have agreed on the programmed and gradual phase-out of coal-fired plants that do not have carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems, after holding nine round-table sessions over the course of six months.Coal-sourced electricity represents 40% of Chile’s power mix and its replacement with cleaner energy sources required a careful analysis of how the withdrawal will impact the economy, labour and the efficiency of the country’s electricity system.The Ministry’s sessions ended on January 3 after utilities, unions, the civil society, consumer associations and academics, among others, presented their studies on decarbonisation and its effects, as well as analysis of other countries’ experiences, such as Germany and the UK.With conclusions from the meetings in hand, the Energy Ministry will agree with utilities on the timetable and the conditions necessary to gradually phase-out coal-fired plants without CCS or equivalent technologies.In January 2018, the Chilean government signed an agreement with utilities AES Gener, Colbun, Enel and Engie whereby the companies committed to scrapping all coal projects without CCS systems from then on. The Energy Ministry agreed at the time to invite all relevant institutions to participate in a working group to analyse the electricity system as a whole and each coal-fired plant in order to establish a timetable and conditions for the phase-out.More: Govt confirms coal is on its way out in Chile
Colorado’s Tri-State plans to add 100MW of new solar capacity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Denver Post:Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is more than doubling the power it will get from solar energy with a new 100-megawatt installation about 20 miles north of Trinidad.Tri-State said Friday that it is teaming up with Boulder-based juwi Inc. on the 660-acre project, which will install more than 300,000 photovoltaic solar panels on single-axis tracking arrays that follow the sun. The energy wholesaler will buy the entire output of the project over the 15-year contract.The Spanish Peaks Solar Project will serve about 28,000 rural homes and support 150 jobs during construction, which will start in 2022. The project is expected to be in service no later than 2023 and could start producing power earlier, Tri-State spokesman Lee Boughey said.The new project is the wholesale power supplier’s “largest, most cost-effective solar project to date,” Tri-State CEO Mike McInnes said in a statement. “By developing renewable projects through Tri-State, our members take advantage of an economy of scale unavailable in smaller projects,” McInnes said.Westminster-based Tri-State is owned by 43 member electric cooperatives and public power districts and supplies electricity to members in New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. Some member cooperatives and renewable energy advocates have criticized Tri-State for relying too heavily on coal at a time when the costs of wind and solar energy are falling and concerns about climate-changing emissions from fossil fuels are increasing. The Taos, N.M.-based Kit Carson Electric Cooperative paid $37 million to break its contract with Tri-State in 2016 because of rising rates and a desire to increase use of renewable energy sources.However, Tri-State said Friday that nearly a third of the energy used within its association comes from renewable energy sources. Boughey said that amount is expected to increase as Tri-State adds more renewable sources and retires two coal-generating units, one by the end of 2022 and another by the end of 2025.More: Tri-State announces new 100-megawatt solar project in southern Colorado
Ørsted, Northumbrian Water sign first-of-a-kind offshore wind power deal in U.K. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享BusinessGreen:Ørsted has struck a long-term deal to sell almost a third of the electricity produced by its Race Bank offshore wind project directly to Northumbrian Water, in what the Danish renewables giant has hailed as the first Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) of its kind in the UK.The 10-year corporate PPA, announced today, marks the first direct supply deal between a business and a UK offshore wind farm. It will see Northumbrian Water source around 100MW of electricity each year directly from the wind farm, providing a customer for roughly 30 per cent of the site’s overall expected output.Currently under commissioning off the Norfolk coast, the wind farm is capable of generating up to 573MW of power from 91 Siemens Gamesa 6MW turbines, according to Ørsted.The deal, which commences from the start of next month, is an expansion of an existing renewable electricity supply agreement between the two companies which started in April last year. Ørsted explained it would also provide an “innovative balancing service” for the wind power output from the project so that the electricity can be delivered to Northumbrian Water under the existing supply agreement.Northumbrian Water supplies around 2.7 million customers in the North East of England with both water and sewerage services, as well as supplying another 1.8 million customers in the South East with water services under the trading name Essex & Suffolk Water. Graham Southall, Northumbrian Water’s group commercial director, said the PPA deal would drive down the water supplier’s operating costs by offering a fixed price for electricity, while also increasing its renewable energy use.More: Ørsted strikes UK’s first offshore wind PPA deal with Northumbrian Water
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享WOSU:Last week brought a close to one chapter for Ohio’s nuclear power plant bailout, House Bill 6, when the group collecting signatures to fight against the law fell short of their goal.A federal judge on Wednesday denied the group more time to collect enough signatures to trigger a ballot referendum, but activists are still hoping the Ohio Supreme Court will grant their request.Rachael Belz, executive director of Ohio Citizen Action, set up a petition signing station at Land Grant Brewing near downtown Columbus for the last weekend of petitioning. This was part of a statewide effort to gather more signatures before Monday’s deadline to put the nuclear power plant bailout law up for a vote on next year’s ballot.“In this final stretch, people have been really upset that they haven’t found anybody with a real petition yet,” Belz said. “Friends of mine, allies, people that would normally signed it weeks ago but they haven’t been able to find it because of all these tactics.”Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts was behind the signature effort. The donors of the group aren’t known, but its spokesman has said it’s the same consumer groups, business groups and renewable energy advocates who opposed House Bill 6.As of now, the law created through HB6 is in effect. The bill’s sponsor says saving the nuclear power plants and making changes to Ohio’s green energy policies are a better investment for the state.But the book isn’t closed on the bailout just yet. Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts is reviewing its options to take the argument to the Ohio Supreme Court, which has opened a docket for the case.More: Nuclear Bailout Opponents Pin Hopes on Ohio Supreme Court Nuclear bailout opponents appeal to Ohio Supreme Court
Brook Trout. North Fork, Mormons River. Tricked him with a size 14 Royal Wolff on a 3-weight. Fall.Fall is great. The weather is cool, the leaves pop off like a Ke$ha show, pumpkin gets infused into everything, Christmas is just around the corner. The list goes on. Although I have nearly run over people, literally, on a couple pre-work jogs in the dark – they would have been fine, I don’t go that fast – the fall season is one I look forward to, not just due to the reasons stated a second ago, but because of something I like to call Delayed Harvest. Ok, everyone calls it that, but that doesn’t change anything.Delayed Harvest is a trout stocking program that restricts streams and rivers to artificial lures and catch and release only from October through May-ish, when the water is sufficiently cold enough to support a healthy trout habitat. These types of restrictions give fly fishermen, and sport fishermen in general, a leg up on the angling competition by keeping the fish in the river during prime conditions. Most states on the Atlantic have some sort of Delayed Harvest program that varies in dates depending on water temperature and how much the water gets fished. During the summer months here in central Virginia, it gets TOO DAMN HOT for trout to survive through July and August – it’s pretty tough for us humans, also – so after the specified date, you can keep a daily limit.I have been obsessed with fishing as of late; my jones being stoked by numerous sources, but obviously the internet has a lot to do with it – that internet is crazy. Fly fishing videos have been pouring into the ether like ski porn in the 00’s or regular porn in the 90’s, and it is good. Finally, some fishermen have put down the rod for a hot second to film some bros catching pigs in HD. This is what time it is, so get on board.Unfortunately, we’re two weeks into the season and I have yet to wet a line. Disappointing? Yes. Pathetic? Yes. Soul Crushing? …Almost.I love trout fishing, like, a lot, but I did get some great smallie fishing in this summer. Nothing beats chucking big poppers with a 7-weight in a big river. Smallmouth bass act very similar to big brown trout: coming up from deep pools, a deceptively small strike/slurp, and big runs to go with their big girth. Plus you can splash around in warm water, which is nice. But warm water fish are pretty dumb, and easy to fool. Trout, even stocked trout, are much more discerning when considering their next meal. This is the art and beauty of fly fishing, why we make it so hard on ourselves, and why it is such and all-consuming endeavor. 1 2
Strava seems to be the most popular way to break bones these days. EVERY ride is a race with this free service that tracks the ride via GPS device and then posts the results online, complete with a map showing where the ride occurred.Just when you think you’re the fastest person to descend Caney Bottom your buddy sees your time, rides that night, and bumps you to second place. All Strava members have the capacity to see whose been riding, how fast, and how often. It even breaks it down to how many miles have been ridden this year, cumulative time and elevation-gain. It has a category for all-time biggest ride, biggest climb and maximum effort as well as averages.It’s fun to link in with the pro riders in the area to see their favorite loops. I also stare in wonder at the numbers reflecting how many hours per week they are in the saddle – 16 hours? I’m lucky to get that much sleep in the average week. Elevation gain for the year: 139,000 feet?!Secret training will begin as people try to beat each other’s times, flipping the GPS on only when feeling strong and fast. Perfect riding conditions will inspire the competition into dashing out of the office with the “mystery flu.” People will keep their bikes on the roof at all times in case there’s an opportunity to ride. As an aside, there may be more drive-thru and parking deck accidents as people get used to having their bikes on the roof racks every day.Is all of this competition good or bad? We are seeing a new generation of adults who were raised thinking everybody is a winner. Something like Strava helps them understand just how untrue that can be. Nobody is handing out participation ribbons in this arena. You own your time, and everyone can see how often you’ve been hitting the trails. Unless of course the stress isn’t worth it and you leave the GPS in the car.Those with the competitive itch can’t get enough. Take Tom, who decided to be the winner by nightfall and busted out a quick loop after work. I’m not sure if he won, but he certainly was in the ER that night with a separated shoulder.One wife tells me that her husband is so obsessed with Strava that she now worries every time he goes out on a ride. She used to worry about him on race days. Now she can stress multiple times per week about being the only one to take responsibility for the kids. Of course then she broke her back in a zipline incident. Maybe he’s turned Strava off for a few weeks while she heals?If you like cycling, how about cycling to good food? Read more about Cycle to Farm here!
With the fall weather outside and all the colors it brings there is no better time to pack your gear, lace up those hiking boots, and discover why backpacking in the Blue Ridge Mountains is heaven on earth. To remind you of the joys of backpacking, here is a repost from the summer detailing why backpacking is good for the soul, body, and mind:One of the most rewarding activities out on the trail is one of the most basic, and perhaps to those who have yet to experience it, the most misunderstood. Backpacking – the art of walking while carrying a bunch of stuff. It seems simple enough, but not until you put on a 50 lb. pack and start ascending steeper then staircase hills, does one realize the difficulty in carrying one’s living supplies.When backpacking, the basic gear weighing you down includes shelter, food, water, and perhaps a clean pair of underwear. All the basic amenities taken for granted in our modern running water and electricity driven world. Add into the pack a stove, flashlight, sleeping bag, and a notebook and suddenly the difference between necessities and obscenities becomes clear.So where does the fun come in, the reward, and the reason for people of this fast-paced world to still seek this primitive method of traveling? Perhaps it is the escape from the said fast-paced world, for it is impossible to carry a cell phone or computer in the wild including with it all the weighty connections it holds. Perhaps it is the journey between A and B that people seek. The adventure that happens between the destinations. For me however, it is all about not losing the Game.The Game, as introduced to me by some of my younger campers, is a simple practice. The goal of the Game is to not think about the Game. As soon as your mind flickers light on the game that you’re trying to forget you’re playing, you must announce annoyingly to the group “I just lost the Game.” In response, typically anyone privy to the game will then also shrug in frustration and make a similar announcement due to their remembrance and recognition of the same Game. Simple, of course. Childish, maybe. But perhaps a deeper understanding of the world we live in can come out of these simple rules.The Game, in backpacking terms, is to simply not think about the fact that you’re backpacking. To not think of how heavy your backpack is, of how early you’ve woken that morning, or of how much farther is left to go on the map. If you think of these things as your trekking along, you have lost the game. The key instead is to let your mind wander to wherever your thoughts may take you. Personally I like to think of where I’ve been and where I’m going with my life, new thoughts and bright ideas, lost loves and missed opportunities, and friends new and old. Some may call it meditation, others say it’s zoning out (or in), but I would say it’s all about not losing the Game of backpacking. For a watched pot never boils, and a hiker whose is never lost fails to find anything new.The question now stands, how does the Game apply to everyday life outside of backpacking? For it is this author’s belief that every lesson learned within every recreational pursuit can be applied to everyday life. So perhaps in the pursuit of love, wealth, and happiness the key may be letting your instincts and ambitions do the work, let your feet keep moving without acknowledging the everyday weight that can sometimes pull us down. To keep your mind away from the struggle and trust yourself, trust that as long as you don’t think about the game all too much, that you’ll surely win.-Over and OutBDLFor more adventures during the summer, check out the original blog at www.adventurethirsty.blogspot.com
YES: BIKES BOOST BUSINESSMinimal traffic, amazing views, and access to historic and natural attractions make the Parkway a world-class bike touring route. We should do everything possible to encourage cycling on this national treasure.The National Park Service has shut down multiple facilities, like restaurants and campgrounds, for lack of use, so encouraging more cycling on the Parkway seems an obvious way to attract visitors and generate additional revenue at low cost. Bicycle touring is a proven revenue generator. Oregon claims $325 million a year in economic impact from bike tourism. The reasons are obvious. Cyclists are slower, stay longer, and eat more. Not paying for gasoline and other automobile-related expenses, they have more money to spend, and they have high disposable income to start with. They tread lightly on the infrastructure.Bikes mean business, and the Parkway is an ideal route. But do we need bike lanes? It’s not as simple as you might think. Some say only dedicated paths will do. Others say cars and cyclists can share the road as is. Bike lanes fall somewhere in between. Although painted lanes provide no physical barrier, they’re a constant reminder to share the road. They also reduce vehicle speeds, further increasing safety.Motorists might complain that they will be inconvenienced by slower speeds and narrower lanes, but even if bike lanes reduce speeds somewhat, the net effect would be greater safety and a little more opportunity for motorists to take in the sights, which is the purpose of the Parkway after all. Traffic engineers might argue that bike lanes would not be the ideal treatment for the Parkway. Some prefer sharrows; others say signage is enough. In my mind, designating a few feet of roadway for bikes is a nonintrusive and cost-effective way to encourage more cycling on the Parkway.Tom Bowden is chairperson of Bike Virginia and a board member and vice president of the Virginia Bicycling Federation. He spent many hours riding the Parkway training for Team RAAM in 1994.NO: DON’T MESS WITH SUCCESSAs an avid cyclist, I’m an advocate for anything that encourages drivers and cars to share the road.But the Blue Ridge Parkway is a different entity, and I feel bike lanes are unnecessary. Part of the Parkway’s charm is that it is a narrow, exquisitely designed 469-mile country road that travels through some of the most beautiful spots in the Southeast. The National Park Service does a great job at using the landscape to bolster the scenery. Instead of a shoulder, you can often find a carefully maintained and manicured stretch of grass. By leaving things alone, this experience will be maintained.I’ve spent quite a bit of time riding the Parkway, and cannot remember a time when I’ve wished for a bike lane. Sure, there are occasions when cars will bunch up behind me, wanting to pass. When I am climbing, they get around me pretty easily, as I am usually able to keep to the far right of the lane. When descending, I maintain a high-enough speed to not hinder traffic. If necessary, I can always pull off to one of the many overlooks to let them pass.There are not many situations where a bike lane would benefit the rider or the car. After laboring to ride up a thousand feet or more, the reward is an exhilarating descent. When descending on the Parkway, the rider needs the entire lane to maneuver around the bends and twists of the road. As you soar along the ridges of the mountain, you are enveloped in breathtaking views, lush greenery, and craggy rock structures below and above you. You see peaks and domes always in the distance, with a cool, breezy wind in your face. It would be nearly impossible to keep confined to a bike lane on such a descent, and if you did, it would take away from the experience.I’m in favor of anything that makes the Parkway more bike-friendly, but adding bike lanes would be drastic, expensive, unnecessary, and in many areas, logistically impossible. Instead, I would suggest that the National Park Service embrace the cycling community, encourage and support more cycling events, and educate motorists to be wary of those of us on two wheels. The Blue Ridge Parkway is an American treasure, a terrific way to allow for people to engage with nature. Let’s keep it that way.Aaron West races and lives in South Carolina, and writes about cycling for his blog SteepClimbs.com. What do you think? Join the debate by leaving a comment below!