FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Christopher Guinn for the Lakeland Ledger:A flaw built into Lakeland Electric’s McIntosh Unit 3 power plant 34 years ago could lead the utility to close the coal-burning workhorse depending on the cost to fix it, city officials said Tuesday.Of the generator’s 360 devices that limit individual electrical components’ exposure to overloads, 164 are considered underrated in the case of an extreme failure, a design flaw that has existed since the plant was constructed.In the case of a cataclysmic event, the devices could fail to disconnect an overloaded circuit, potentially causing connected components to catch fire or detonate and throw shrapnel.The utility’s engineers are working with an outside engineering firm to look for solutions to the problems, Lakeland Electric General Manager Joel Ivy said. Then, the utility and the City Commission will need to balance the cost of the fixes against the expected lifespan of the generator.“Everything’s fixable, but at what price?” Ivy said. “Right now we’re looking for the things we haven’t thought of, aside from replacing everything wholesale.”Unit 3 has been off as part of a scheduled outage for several weeks, but whether it is turned back on next month will depend on whether the utility can refit equipment or change operating procedures in a way to keep plant employees safe in the case of a cataclysmic event.Full article: Design flaw threatens Lakeland power plantOctober 2015 Report by IEEFA: Why This Coal-Fired Electric Plant in Florida Should Be Closed Design Flaw Threatens Lakeland Power Plant
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享SNL:No matter the size or location of their companies, the CEOs of four investor-owned electric utilities emphasized plans to invest in clean energy and technology while shifting away from coal-fired generation.PNM Resources Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Patricia Vincent-Collawn said there are many changes and challenges for the industry as customers and communities incorporate energy sustainability and wide-scale electrification, such as electric vehicle charging stations.Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. President and CEO Constance Lau pointed out that Hawaii is the first state to pass legislation that establishes a 100% renewable energy goal. The goal is for all electricity in the state to be generated by solar, wind and potentially geothermal power by 2045.El Paso Electric Co. President and CEO Mary Kipp said the utility she manages does not have the scale to be a trendsetter but it can be a “quick adopter.” Kipp said El Paso Electric’s customers are “very concerned with carbon” and many have subscribed to the utility’s community solar program.Alliant Energy Corp. President and CEO Patricia Kampling cautioned that “sometimes you have to let go of your past” to prepare for the future.More ($): CEOs prepare for clean energy future during ‘tremendous movement away from coal’ Utility CEOs Acknowledge Shift From Coal
FirstEnergy asks bankruptcy court for approval to shed liabilities for environmental clean-ups FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Plain Dealer:CLEVELAND, Ohio — FirstEnergy’s share price hit a 52-week high Thursday morning as news of its proposed “definitive settlement” with its bankrupt subsidiary FirstEnergy Solutions spread among investors.The settlement, filed this week in federal bankruptcy court, is FirstEnergy’s latest effort to shed itself of past and future financial responsibilities connected with FES and a second subsidiary, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co.FirstEnergy’s stock price on the New York Stock Exchange hit $37.69 Thursday morning. The price declined slightly, to $37.38 in early-afternoon trading. The share price has been as low as $29.34 over the past year.The 184-page settlement document, cobbled together by an army of lawyers, commits FirstEnergy to providing “more than $1.1 billion of total value” to the investors, banks, bondholders and other companies stuck with the debt owed by FES.Included among the primary benefits would be a $225 million cash payment from FirstEnergy and another $628 million in FE notes that will mature on Dec. 31, 2022 — funds that would go to the FES “estate,” meaning money for its many creditors.In exchange, the committees representing two investor groups and others, known as “unsecured creditors,” before the court, along with FES and FENOC have agreed not to seek additional money from the parent corporation in the future if things go wrong or expensive new problems arise. In other words, if the deal is approved by the bankruptcy court, FirstEnergy would be free of past debts and future financial entanglements connected to its former coal-fired power plants and its four nuclear reactors now owned by FirstEnergy Solutions.Such a move could put FirstEnergy in conflict with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.After FES and FENOC announced in April that the company would close its nuclear plants by 2021, the NRC said each reactor’s decommissioning funds were adequate, based on their worth as of Dec. 31, 2016. But the NRC has yet to release its assessment of the adequacy of the invested funds as they stand today, particularly in light of the company’s decision to close the plants earlier than previously planned.The NRC has agreed to consider a petition challenging the adequacy of the funds filed by consumer and environmental groups led by the Midwest-based Environmental Law and Policy Center. For its part, in financial reports to investors filed since the bankruptcy, FirstEnergy has not included a further financial obligation to the decommissioning funds of the four reactors.FirstEnergy also agreed in the settlement to continue funding FES employee-related programs, such as pensions, severance programs and deferred compensation.The settlement includes an escape for individual creditors who have refused to sign the agreement. They would still have the right to seek payment from FES or FirstEnergy at some future date.The one major exception to the umbrella protection FirstEnergy has tried to negotiate is the 1,300 megawatt coal-burning Pleasants Power Station in West Virginia. FES has tentatively agreed to take possession of plant — with the proviso that FirstEnergy be responsible for future environmental cleanups. The ownership transfer agreement must be worked out by Dec. 31, or it lapses.Pleasants is currently owned by another wholly-owned FirstEnergy subsidiary, Allegheny Energy Supply, which would continue to have responsibility for environmental cleanups.FirstEnergy previously tried to transfer ownership of Pleasants to a third subsidiary, Mon Power, which is a regulated utility in West Virginia. When state regulators balked, the company announced it would close the plant in 2019.More: FirstEnergy stock price up on proposed $1 billion court settlement with FES and creditors
Analysis shows Australia on track to hit 50% renewable generation by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Australian Financial Review:Australia is on track to reach 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, an energy consultancy says, even if new installations of wind and solar energy drop to just a third of the present rate.Green Energy Markets estimates that if construction of wind and solar farms and installations of roof top solar continues at present rates, the nation will get about 78 per cent of its power from renewable energy by 2030.“I think most of us had thought a while back that 50 per cent by 2030 would be a pretty massive task for the industry to scale up to meet,” says Green Energy Markets director Tristan Edis. “But given the spectacular level of construction and rooftop solar installation activity since 2017, the industry is now facing a rather massive contraction in activity and employment even if Labor are elected nationally.”Global insurer Allianz has ranked Australia last among Group of 20 top economies for its action to implement the Paris climate agreement – with zero marks – and Environment Minister Melissa Price heads to Poland next week to update the latest round of United Nations climate talks on what Australia is doing to meet its Paris obligations.The Green Energy Markets report suggests things are not that dire. Solar rooftop installations are on track to hit 1500MW this year – about the capacity of the Hazelwood coal plant shut down in Victoria last year amid a political firestorm. Another 6800MW of large-scale wind and solar projects is being built – leaving the Australian Energy Market Operator struggling to manage grid indigestion – with annual construction commitments including rooftop solar running near 5000MW.Only a third of this annual construction rate – about 1850 MW – would be required to meet Labor’s 50 per cent renewables target, and jobs in the rooftop solar sector would fall from 24,000 today to about 6000.More: Australia on track for 50pc renewables by 2030
Rystad Energy sees potential for coal-free Australia by 2040 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Australia’s renewable energy development pipeline has grown to a record 133GW, prompting leading Norwegian-based energy analyst Rystad Energy to predict that coal-fired generation in Australia may be ‘extinct’ by 2040.The bleak assessment of the future of coal in Australia comes upon a new assessment of the growth in the pipeline for proposed renewable energy projects in Australia, which Rystad says has surged to a new record level of 133GW, up from 94GW of proposed renewable energy projects at the start of 2019.Rystad predicts that the combined factors of ageing coal-fired power stations and a boom in new renewable energy projects to serve a green hydrogen export market could rapidly expand Australia’s renewable energy capacity. This could effectively push coal completely out of the Australian electricity market within two decades.Proposals for 39.4GW of new projects have been made in 2019, with more than half of this capacity representing large-scale solar projects, with large-scale storage and wind projects representing 25 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively. Rystad tracks the global renewable energy development pipeline as part of its RenewableCube service.Australia currently sources around 22 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources and Rystad expects this to grow significantly in coming decades.“Despite these projects retiring over the next 30 years, we believe coal-fired generation could be extinct by 2040 – as we expect a flood of storage projects entering the system by 2025. Coal will struggle to compete economically in this market and will also be driven out by growing consumer sentiment for cleaner fuel,” [Rystad Energy senior analyst David] Dixon added.More: Huge wind and solar pipeline could make coal power ‘extinct’ in Australia by 2040
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:A massive battery storage project is officially underway in Monterey County, California, with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Tesla beginning construction on one of the largest battery energy storage installations in the world.Set to clock in at 182.5 MW and 730 MWh, the Moss Landing battery energy storage system will be comprised of 256 Tesla Megapack battery units on 33 concrete slabs at PG&E’s electric substation in Moss Landing. The project’s targeted completion and energization is set for early-2021, with the project achieving full commercial operation in Q2 2021.And while this project is certainly a noteworthy installation, it marks just the first step in PG&E’s huge battery storage project pipeline. In fact, this Tesla battery might not even be the biggest one located at the Moss Landing substation, as PG&E has signed a contract for a 300 MW storage system at the same location, which will likely clock in at 1.2 GWh of capacity. While this second system is currently set to be significantly larger than the Tesla one under construction, PG&E’s agreement with Tesla contains an option for upsizing, which would increase the capacity of this first system from four hours to six, or 1.1 GWh total.Outside of the Moss Landing behemoths, PG&E also has third-party contracts for a 75 MW transmission-connected project near of Morgan Hill, California and a 2 MW project at the Gonzales substation in the Salinas Valley. The utility also owns a 20 MW battery system located the Llagas substation in Gilroy, California.[Tom Sylvia]More: PG&E, Tesla begin construction on the world’s largest battery (for now) California utility PG&E, Tesla begin construction on 182.5MW/730MWh battery storage project
U.K. offshore wind capacity pipeline tops 50GW FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The U.K. offshore wind pipeline has surpassed 50 gigawatts with the latest award of seabed rights revealed on Monday.The U.K. government is targeting 40 GW of installed capacity by 2030, with 10 GW already operational. Offshore wind will make a major contribution to its economywide 2050 net-zero target.In the first half of 2020, offshore wind provided 14 percent of the U.K.’s electricity, compared to 12 percent for onshore wind. Coal was down to 2.4 percent.The U.K. has the most ambitious offshore wind target in Europe, double that of Germany, helped by its vast coastlines and shallow waters.The existing 50 GW pipeline will need to deliver up another 30 GW of capacity to build on the 10 GW already in operation and hit its target. Beyond 2030, the government is consulting on other marine energy technologies, notably tidal stream and floating offshore wind. It’s looking to design support and a route to market to maximize each technology’s cost-reduction path and deployment potential.The U.K. is looking to add floating projects to its installed base in the years ahead in addition to the traditional bottom-fixed technology. The ScotWind seabed tender is the first to designate space for floating wind projects.[John Parnell]More: U.K. offshore wind pipeline passes 50GW
Dear EarthTalk: This winter is shaping up to be one of the coldest in recent memory where I live. What can I do to reduce my home heating bill now and in the future? — Eric Lenz, Seattle, WA Whether global warming is somehow to blame or not, much of the United States is getting walloped this winter. The Seattle area has suffered its most significant and lingering snowfall—and lower than average winter temperatures—in decades. Even Los Angeles is getting a nasty taste of winter, with several days topping out at the freezing mark on the thermometer. And other parts of the country more used to challenging winter weather have been getting an extra dose of wind, snow and ice this year as well. Besides the cold, another challenge this wintry weather presents, especially during such trying economic times, is higher heating bills. Heating typically accounts for about 28 percent of the average American home’s energy use, but this year staying warm might occupy a larger slice of the household expenditure pie. Homeowners who take a few simple steps to make their homes more weather-tight, though, just might be amazed to see their heating bills go down while they languish inside their toasty and warm homes. If you’re a handy person and your draft issues are minor, you might want to go around and assess just where cold air seems to be coming in—and then caulk, putty or insulate to your heart’s content. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC’s) green-living oriented SimpleSteps.org website, small gaps around windows, light fixtures and plumbing are easy to cover with caulk. Large drafty areas that are protected from moisture and sunlight can be covered with expanding foam sealant, while a little weather-stripping around door jambs goes a long way toward keeping the cold out. Beyond these easier fixes, adding or updating insulation can pay dividends on your utility bills. NRDC says that if you do it yourself, be careful not to cover or close up attic vents, as proper air flow is key to keeping indoor air quality good. Replacing single pane windows with sealed double or triple pane windows will also improve your home’s energy efficiency significantly. Other tips include insulating heating ducts and your hot water tank, and upgrading to a programmable thermostat which allows you to heat your home when you’re there and lower the temperature when you’re sleeping or at work. Switching ceiling fans to rotate in a clockwise direction will help circulate warm air throughout your home. Older, inefficient furnaces can also lead to large heating bills. New models which qualify for the federal government’s Energy Star program will use far less gas or oil and reduce your utility bill handily. The non-profit American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) rates different furnaces and boiler options and reports on their findings for free via the consumer guide section of its website. For those of us less qualified or less interested in doing our own home repair, bringing in a professional energy auditor might be just the ticket. Many local and regional utilities offer free basic energy audits. Meanwhile, the trade group Residential Energy Services Network, as well as the federal government’s Home Performance with Energy Star program, offer free searchable online databases of trustworthy local contractors with experience keeping homes in your area nice and warm. CONTACTS: NRDC, www.nrdc.org; ACEEE, www.aceee.org; Residential Energy Services Network, www.natresnet.org; Energy Star, www.energystar.gov. GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: [email protected] Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.
Dear Mountain Mama,Every year I make New Year’s resolutions I don’t keep. Last year I resolved to run a marathon. The year before, my goal was to finish a century bike ride. By the first cold day in February, I skip my run or ride. One day turns into a week. Weeks become months, and before I know it, I’ve spent more time on the couch than working toward my resolution. How do I summit my fitness goals and keep that New Year’s resolution?Yours,Goalless——————————————————-Dear Goalless,Resolving to run doesn’t mean finishing a marathon. Setting a goal to ride your bike shouldn’t always mean completing a century. Sounds like your highs are too high and your lows are too low. The real work of reaching your fitness resolutions happens somewhere in the middle. The hard work is not crossing the finish line, but showing up to training runs when there are no crowds cheering for you. Getting on your bike when you’d rather sit on the coach requires real grit.There will be days when the wind lashes at you, piercing through your layers like icicles. Run anyway. Feeling the cold will help you appreciate the joy of the warm sun. On the next bluebird day, you’ll roll back your shoulders and arch your back, basking in the sun. There will be days when you get the wind knocked out of you. Don’t let gasping for air be a reason to quit. The next breath will remind you of the sweetness of simply inhaling.Don’t confuse your own identify with your fitness goals. You are no better or worse of a person if you run a marathon or ride a century. You are not a PR, a race medal, a finish line, a hero, or a success story. Goalless, you are no more or no less than a person, made up of bones, muscles, and sweat. Lace up your running shoes and pump up your bike tires. Get outside not only to cross the eventual finish line, but to experience the joy of the warm sun and to remember the sweetness of simply breathing.Cheers!Mountain Mama
Brad McMillan isn’t new to professional kayaking. The 30-year-old boater was a raft guide at the NOC for 10 years, has been a member of the national team, and made a splash in 2014 when he ran the 70-foot Desoto Falls in an open canoe, earning the world record in the process. He still owns that world record, but he added a few more feathers to his cap in 2016, which was a breakout year for McMillan on the creek boat racing scene. He landed on the podium at the Northwest Creek Competition, pulled second at the Eagle Race in the King of New York Series, second at the Russell Fork Race and third at the coveted Green Race. 2017 is poised to be even better, as he refocuses on racing, while also trying to one-up his own open boat waterfall world record.“I tried to break it last year on a bigger waterfall in Oregon, but got ejected,” McMillan says. “I think I can stay in the boat this time.”We talked with McMillan about the gear he needs on the river. Here are his picks, in his own words.Ecōths Mathis Phantom Organic Shirt ($64)Ecōths’ performance organic cotton blends with Coolmax polyester are designed to keep guys cool and comfortable when the temps heat up. As an added bonus, many of Ecōths’ button-up shirts have a signature Handy Cloth microfiber patch built into the front shirttail to clean glasses or phone screens easily.NRS Throw Rope ($59.95)Speaking of safety, this is super important if you’re paddling whitewater. It’s always in my boat. It’s good to have a couple of them, so that if you’re switching boats out, you’re not going to forget it.Astral Green Jacket ($270)I wear it all the time. It’s super comfortable, low profile, stays out of the way…It has tons of storage, with a clam shell pocket up front, four chest pockets and one big mesh pocket. There’s a spot for your knife and a quick release tow tether for rescue situations. That’s essential if you’re swift water trained. If you’re paddling difficult water, you should be wearing this vest.Osprey Momentum 32 Bicycle Commuter Pack ($140)The mesh-covered shoulder straps and backpanel provide ventilated comfort, especially on long, hot, sweaty commutes in the South. A built-in high-visibility raincover keeps riders safe and dry, and there’s even a separate compartment for muddy shoes.Astral Rasslers ($119.95)I’m kind of clumsy when it comes to walking around the banks of rivers, so I like the high tops, which protect my ankles against the rocks. They also have great sticky rubber on the soles that lasts for a long time. Nobody else has been able to compete with Astral in terms of stickiness and durability. And these shoes aren’t heavy when they’re wet.FITS Light Runner ($17)Brand new for 2017, the Light Runner no-show is perfect for road or trail runners who prefer a no-show length and are looking for a little extra cushioning.Mountainsmith Morrison 2 EVO ($200)It’s everything you want in a tent: lightweight, easy to set up, and long-lasting. Fully packed, the tent is a featherweight 6 pounds, 9 ounces. The fly sets up quickly, with plenty of headspace and windows for ventilation. Surprisingly roomy for two people.Dagger Axiom ($1,059)This is my favorite piece of gear overall. It has a splicy stern on it, so you can flip over a lot and get wet and cool off, which is great in the summer. I’ve had one for about three years, and it’s my go-to summer boat.AT5 Paddle ($350)This is a new paddle this year, with a bigger blade and a stronger stroke. There’s a larger surface area to the blade, which slows down your stroke rate and makes you think about what you’re doing. It caters to a stronger paddler, someone who can pull hard.A Cold BeerI like to stay local, so anything that’s made in Asheville. If it’s in a can, that’s even better. Green Man ESB is probably my favorite. I love that beer. It’s hard to find in cans, but when I find it, I grab as much as I can.