South Africa Locks Onto Coal Despite Water Risks, Grim Market Trends

first_imgSouth Africa Locks Onto Coal Despite Water Risks, Grim Market Trends FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Keith Schneider for Circle of Blue:South Africa’s allegiance to coal mining and coal-fired power generation in an era of rising concern about water supply and quality, and weakening national and global demand is causing a furor in the country’s mining sector, affecting the financial community, and tearing holes in President Jacob Zuma’s veil of privilege and scandal.The national turmoil and a number of distinct regional conditions are tilting the balance of benefits and risks against new coal development in this area, say many residents. A deep two-year drought, the worst ever experienced in northern KwaZulu-Natal, emptied the drinking water reservoirs of Vryheid and nearby Paulpietersburg late last year. Thousands of town residents line up every morning to fill buckets with fresh water transported by tanker trucks from sources as far away as Pongola, a farm town set by the river of the same name that is 132 kilometers (82 miles) east of here.Outside the hill towns, where springs and deep wells are still active, one coal company is drawing nearer to gaining a license to mine a new coal seam near Paulpietersburg. At least nine other companies have been quietly nosing around the steep slopes of the area’s tabletop mountains for unmined reserves.Markets for new reserves are thought to include coal-fired power stations in neighboring Mpumalanga province, and for export. Richards Bay, South Africa’s primary export shipping terminal, is 214 kilometers east (133 miles).Senior managers of the South Africa Department of Mineral Resources declined to be interviewed for this article. The department’s weak public involvement mechanisms and Web site make it difficult for citizens to follow new licensing applications. Farmers, acutely anxious that pollution from new coal mines could contaminate their water, have responded by establishing a new advocacy group, the Pongola River Catchment Protection Association, to keep abreast of mining activity on the ground, and to oppose new mineral development.Full article: South Africa Locks Onto Coal Despite Water Risks, Grim Market Trends More here.last_img read more

FERC Data Show Coal, Nuclear Capacity Dropping, While Renewables Surge

first_imgFERC Data Show Coal, Nuclear Capacity Dropping, While Renewables Surge FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享North American Clean Energy:In the latest issue of its “Energy Infrastructure Update” (with data through November 30, 2017), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) notes that proposed net additions to generating capacity by utility-scale wind and solar could total 115,984 megawatts (MW) by December 2020—effectively doubling their current installed capacity of 115,520 MW.At the same time, the FERC report suggests that coal might experience a net decline of 18,723 MW (equivalent to 6.60% of current capacity) while nuclear power drops by 2,342 MW (equivalent to 2.16% of current capacity).The numbers were released as FERC prepares for a January 10 meeting to consider U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal for a bail out of the coal and nuclear industries. FERC’s data also outlines the retirement of 10,803 MW of natural gas capacity by the end of 2020 but offset by the potential addition of 92,489 MW for a net gain of 81,686 MW—an amount that would increase current natural gas capacity by 15.82%. Oil generating capacity would remain largely unchanged with retirements of 571 MW and additions of 762 MW.Proposed additions for wind total 72,526 MW with only 68 MW of retired capacity while solar could add 43,528 MW and experience just 2 MW of retirements. Hydropower, while retiring 706 MW, would grow by 12,732 MW. Biomass might add 945 MW and retire 47 MW while geothermal could expand by 1,610 MW without any retirements. In total, proposed net generation additions for the mix of renewable sources totals 130,518 MW.More: FERC Report Outlines Potential Doubling of Solar and Wind Capacity by 2020 as Coal and Nuclear Experience Sharp Declineslast_img read more

Macquarie backs solar plus storage project in South Korea

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy Storage News:Macquarie Capital Korea, a subsidiary of investment firm Macquarie Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the county office of Goesan in South Korea to finance a significant solar-plus-storage project, while it has also invested in what is said to be the largest energy storage project in the country.A company spokesperson confirmed to Energy Storage News that the MoU is for a 16MW solar PV project with 35MWh of energy storage capacity in Goesan, North Chungcheong Province, central Korea. This project would supply power to the equivalent of 7,700 homes each year.Separately, Macquarie has also invested in energy storage projects at five of steel manufacturer SeAH Group’s factories in Korea. The overall combined project base of 175MWh will be the largest in Korea, the company claimed.Notably, South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries is also set to install a 70MWh standalone energy storage system at its own facilities in Changwon, as well as a smaller battery installation co-located with solar PV.The Macquarie project is expected to save KRW130 billion (US$115 million) in electricity costs for the factories over the next 15 years through peak shavingMore: Macquarie to finance solar hybrid and ‘largest’ energy storage project in South Korea Macquarie backs solar plus storage project in South Korealast_img read more

Bernstein analyst: 100% renewable energy transition looking more and more feasible

first_imgBernstein analyst: 100% renewable energy transition looking more and more feasible FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Barron’s:Electricity generation is the largest single contributor to the carbon emissions that are warming the planet. It accounts for 42% of global emissions, and that share is likely to grow as transportation increasingly is powered by batteries instead of oil.As countries announce ambitious plans to wean their economies from fossil fuels, their efforts to shift how they generate electricity will determine whether they can hit those goals. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which helps governments come up with plans to shift to renewables, has estimated that 86% of electricity can be generated with renewables by 2050.That number might seem high, but more data is now supporting the potential for an aggressive shift in power generation. In a new report, Bernstein analyst Meike Becker examined how countries can get to 100% renewable electricity generation by 2050, and the analysis has some good news about the potential for renewable generation.Becker’s report found that countries will take widely different paths to renewable generation, based on their natural resources. If coal and oil deposits determined a country’s fate in the 20th century, the force of its rivers and strength of its sunshine will likely determine its path in the 21st. Countries that generate hydroelectric power are way ahead in terms of producing clean power. Norway generates 98% of its electricity from renewable sources, largely because of hydro power. As of 2015, Brazil got 75% of its power from hydro sources. Canada relies on renewables for 67% of its electricity.But even in countries without rushing water generating much electricity, Becker sees a feasible path to renewable generation. In Belgium, for instance, hydro accounts for just 7% of generation. What’s more, Belgium depends on nuclear power for about 30% of its electricity, and the country plans to phase nuclear out by 2025. Nonetheless, Becker expects Belgium can generate at least 75% of its electricity with renewables by 2050 by relying on solar, wind and a variety of other technologies, including so-called “combined cycle gas turbines” that use gas and steam for power. The key to doing this is being able to generate and store power at times when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, using batteries and technologies that can use other fuels more efficiently.The chances that countries can generate all their electricity with renewables by 2050 are “at this point very close to 100% for countries with good resources and a bit further away if conditions are less favourable,” she wrote in an email to Barron’s. Nonetheless, countries without the same resources can still generate “very high share, and usually higher than what most people currently think, I would say.”More: The path to 100% renewable power is looking more achievablelast_img read more

Turkey set to issue tender for 1GW of solar capacity

first_imgTurkey set to issue tender for 1GW of solar capacity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Turkey’s minister of energy, Fatih Dönmez, has announced plans to revitalize the country’s Covid-19-stricken economy, which include a 1 GW solar tender under the national Yeka (Yenilenebilir Enerji Kaynak Alanları) renewable energy program.Originally planned for last month, the procurement round will tender PV projects ranging in generation capacity from 10-50 MW across 40 of the nation’s provinces and is due to be staged during the next quarter.“The scheduling of the tender may help the Turkish solar market, which is very much stressed under Covid-19 restrictions,” said Hakki Karacaoglan, CEO of German company KRC Consulting.The consultant told pv magazine Turkey had added only 139 MW of new solar capacity in the first four months of the year.The Yeka tender was originally postponed in January 2019, because of the nation’s parlous finances. The authorities planned to try again before the end of the year but eventually pushed the tender back to last month, only for the public health crisis to capsize their plans again.[Emiliano Bellini]More: Turkey plans 1 GW solar tender before Octoberlast_img read more

The Lens Effect

first_imgHave video cameras changed the way we experience the outdoors?When you go to a concert these days you see a band on stage, sweeping lights and smoke effects, a sea of heads bobbing in the dark before you — and also a few hundred smart phones lifted high to capture the moment. Luminescent LCD screens have replaced the traditional lighter waving overhead. And this is true in every walk of life from the 6-year-old’s birthday party to a performance by sidewalk buskers to the cat pooping in a toilet: cameras are everywhere, and we have become the documentary filmmakers of our own lives. The advent of the GoPro camera and the dSLR revolution have given every Regular Joe the tools to record his stories, and this revolution has followed us into our outdoor adventures.The benefits of this technological renaissance need not be enumerated. For as long as humans have walked the earth we’ve been telling our stories, and now we’re able to do that with a level of polish and production value previously unimaginable. But have we fully considered what might be lost in the bargain? What happens when we go from simply dropping the long downhill on a mountain bike or linking up the five-pitch climb to taking on the additional work of making a documentary of the endeavor?It’s not enough anymore to have a meaningful experience. With our ready access to online social networking and the powerful tools of media production, we now feel compelled to capture every moment and broadcast it to the world with the message, “Look, look! I had a meaningful experience!”I may be unusually sensitive to the dilemma posed by bringing cameras on an adventure. As a person making a career out of photography and video production in outdoor lifestyle, I value deeply the stories that live in wild places. I am also acutely aware of the mental shift that happens when I take up a camera in such places. From attending to the intricate world around me with open eyes and ears, I undergo a perceptual pivot as I begin to look for the best light and the most interesting angle, anticipating the moment to release the shutter. In short, I stop simply being present with all of my senses in my surroundings, and I enter into work mode.No doubt other adventurers are less susceptible to this risk while using a camera, but we all see the world differently when looking through a lens. The frame necessarily limits the picture—that is the wonder and power of picture media; it focuses our attention. But in the moment of looking out across a panoramic view or down the gullet of a class V rapid I think that we see less fully (maybe less clearly) when we look through a camera.I’m thankful that I have friends who act as governors on my fairly constant drive to get everything down on film. Several of my kayaking buddies are of the mind that it is always better to simply run the river rather than stop to take pictures. They present a valuable tension to my impulse to capture every moment and preserve it for future review. They remind me of one of the primary reasons I am drawn to wild places: the way they make me slow down and be present, not clinging to any moment of beauty or excitement but letting it pass through my mind and heart like sand through open fingers.As I grow more aware of the visual impairment that cameras sometimes introduce into my adventures, I’m developing new strategies to add to my personal discipline. Some days I will intentionally leave behind all cameras for a trip down the river, or else I will carry only my old film SLR which seems to be less intrusive to the experience than digital tools. Some days I will carry only my journal or sketchbook, tools that have the effect of actually making me more present and aware as I meditate on the experience. In the end, I suppose I want to make a call to my fellow adventurers and lovers of the wild, not that we forsake all recording tools and documentary work but that we dedicate some time out in the wild free from our devices. Let’s spend some days doing what we love to do with only our memories to record the journey and our words to share it when we gather around the dinner table or at the bar at the end of the day.On a backpacking trip this October I hiked for twelve days through the Smoky Mountains and carried with me an array of camera gear and recording equipment to document the trip. I had a lot of fun looking for images and molding the story even as I lived it, but on the final night out, my last battery died and the digital camera was rendered useless. Initially I was frustrated: angry that the time lapse I’d been shooting was cut short, disappointed that I would not be able to record images the next morning on our hike out. I went to sleep that night with my camera batteries tucked into my sleeping bag, hoping to warm them and eke some last bit of life out of them. When I awoke in the dark the next morning, they were dead as can be.I crawled out of the tent and began to climb the Mt. Sterling fire tower with only my trusty old film camera to weigh me down. Halfway up I sat on a ledge in the chilly wind and watched as light began to creep over the eastern mountains. Film is expensive; so I didn’t bother snapping a lot of pictures as the color changed and the clouds morphed. I watched the sunrise blossom in many delicate shades, and I snapped one photo before descending to the ground again. My girlfriend and I ate a hearty breakfast and broke camp; then we began the long hike home through woods brilliant with fall color, straining our eyes to take it all in. •Chris Gallaway is an adventurer and filmmaker. In 2013 Chris will be embarking on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, and he’ll be carrying twenty pounds of camera gear to document the journey.last_img read more

Going Mental

first_imgAsking myself lots of tough questions at the end of the Massanutten Hoo-Ha XXC mountain bike race…This past Tuesday I knocked out my second biggest run this season, and the first run of 2013, in the Shenandoah National Park. We covered 23.76 miles, we round to 24 in a case like this, over snowy and icy trails.As usual my friends and family before and after the run had the usual comments such as “what are you running from, why would you do that, how do you do that, and was someone chasing you”. If you are an athlete you have more than likely been asked the same types of questions.During Tuesday’s run I had a good amount of time to think about this. Specifically on a climb from Jones Falls that I am pretty sure I left a little bit of my soul on. I realized that while yes you have to physically be able to do these activities, I would argue that 60+ percent of it is mental.If you are one of my friends reading this, you are most likely laughing right now. For those that don’t know me well, I have had more than one blow up, bonk, and existential crisis during runs, bike rides, etc. So many in fact that friends look for signs of the “Chase Face” which signals an oncoming hissy fit.My low spots don’t represent a dislike of running or biking, etc but rather a less than superb mental strength. In Chris McDougall’s book Born To Run the theme of becoming friends with pain is present throughout. Not injury pain, etc but rather a realization and acceptance that running is sometimes hard and that you will have low points. But rather than fight those low points with curses, and maybe in my case just once crying, accept the pain and become friends with it. Remember previous low points and know that you have been there before and it will pass. After all we run, bike, swim, climb, and more because we love it and loving something means loving everything that comes with it.In a roundabout way this is also my way of calling out my New Year’s resolution. To continue to be physically fit, but also to work on my mental strength. I think that this will not only help me become a better runner but also a better person. I can’t guarantee that I won’t have a slip up, but hopefully my curses turn from anger to praise such as “I love this climb you tough son of a gun mountain” and so forth.If you want to test your mental and physical strength I encourage you to check out The Wild Oak Trail Run and the Eastern Divide Ultra 50k. Both cover beautiful trail in the state of Virginia, and will surely put you to the test. I will be at The Wild Oak run testing my physical and mental fitness so I hope to see you there!last_img read more

Best Fests: Arts Festivals

first_imgPrepare for a cultural carnival at these arts festivals:FloydFestJuly 25-28Floyd, Va.floydfest.comBasics: In more than a decade in existence, FloydFest has grown from a special underground gathering to a festival in the national spotlight. Every year, crowds migrate to an unsuspecting 80-acre mountain plateau off the Blue Ridge Parkway for a four-day carnival of musical cultures from near and far. The festival bridges the gap between Appalachian traditions and the melting pot of independent roots music from the around the rest of the world.Bands: This year FloydFest is mixing it up with plenty of string band favorites (Yonder Mountain String Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Trampled by Turtles, and Railroad Earth), jam staples (Hot Tuna and the North Mississippi Allstars), and the Americana side of the indie scene (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and the Lumineers). Also, check out the fresh faces on the rise: the Last Bison, Spirit Family Reunion, Yarn, and Field Report.Set Break Escape: Finally utilizing the amazing piece of land just off the Parkway, the festival has added an impressive outdoor adventure program to its lengthy list of activities. The recently developed Moonstomper Mountain Bike Trail offers on-site singletrack with designated hours for riding and hiking. There’s also an organized 16-mile ride, the Belcher Mountain Beat Down, that features 1,700 feet of climb and offers shuttle service back to the festival. Additional offerings include a 5K on Sunday and organized paddling trips on the Little River.FIVE MORE…LEAFMay 9-12Black Mountain, N.C.theleaf.comSet in the shadow of the Black Mountains, the Lake Eden Arts Festival—better known as LEAF—features one of the most diverse arrays of artistic offerings of any fest in the region. Beyond the stellar line-up of roots music, check out healing arts workshops, a folk art show, a poetry slam, and dancing. Bands include Mavis Staples, Ozomatli, Steel Pulse, Peter Rowan, and Abigail Washburn. The best part—this fest returns again in the fall (October 17-20).Spoleto Festival USAMay 24—June 9Charleston, S.C.As if Charleston didn’t have enough going for it. Add this 17-day marathon performing arts fest that includes music from various genres, dance, theater, and visual arts showcased at theaters, churches, and outdoor spots across the Seedtime on the CumberlandJune 7-8Whitesburg, Ky.This annual down-home celebration of the arts in Appalachia brings together storytellers, musicians, artisans, and writers in the tiny, culturally rich town of ArtscapeJuly 19-21Baltimore, Md.The largest free arts festival in the country brings over 350,000 people to Baltimore to check out the work of artists, craft booths, and visual exhibits of sculpture and photography. Covering 12 city blocks, the fest also features live music and a full schedule of performing arts including dance, opera, theater, and film.artscape.orgShakori Hills Grassroots FestivalOctober 10-13Silk Hope, N.C.A cultural standby in the Triangle, Shakori Hills is a four-day fest that takes place in the spring and fall on a 75-acre piedmont farm. It blends some of North Carolina’s best roots musicians with national headliners, touches of world music, and an array of food, arts, and crafts.shakorihillsgrassroots.orgCheck out the rest of our Outdoor Festival Guide!last_img read more

Helgramite Hustle Mud Run 5K

first_imgTop Races and Events to Hit Before the End of the YearThe Helgramite HustleWhen: August 10, 2013Where: Axton, Va.What: Mud Run 5KStart time: 1 pmWebsite: to Hustle? In this muddy event you’ll navigate a series of mud pits, a slide, and a romp through the creek. There will be obstacles to climb over, crawl through, and slide under. You don’t want to miss the fun of the Helgramite Hustle Mud Run 5K!RACE [email protected]last_img

Beer Blog: Blue Mountain Brewery Kolsch 151

first_imgWhen you live in Beer City, it can be easy to get caught up in the beer that’s produced right here in your home town. There’s a lot of good beer to choose from, and most of it’s brewed within five miles of my home. Awesome.But there’s a dark side to living in Beer City. Locavore’s guilt can keep me from straying too far from the ales brewed here in town. I think the bar managers in town suffer from the same guilt; most of the restaurants I frequent carry an extensive list of local beers, but not much else. Actually, it’s gotten to the point that most of the restaurants I frequent have their own damned brewery.So I was pleasantly surprised when I saddled up to a new bar in downtown and found this puppy on the beer list — a Blue Mountain Brewery Kolsch 151. I’m a fan of Blue Mountain’s Full Nelson Pale Ale, but the Kolsch was new to me. And it didn’t disappoint. Low hopped, light, crisp, and refreshing—everything you want in a Kolsch. And it doesn’t bother me one bit that it wasn’t made in my neighborhood.Follow Graham Averill’s adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at daddy-drinks.comlast_img read more