IEEFA welcomes New Delhi-based energy economist FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis announced today that Vibhuti Garg, an energy economist based in New Delhi, has joined the organization’s global team of energy finance analysts. Garg’s recent work includes promoting sustainable development through influencing policy intervention on energy pricing, subsidy reforms and clean energy and private participation in various areas of the energy sector. “The global move into renewable energy is accelerating and in our view India is leading the way,” said Tim Buckley, IEEFA’s director of energy finance studies, Australasia. “Vibhuti brings a wealth of knowledge to IEEFA’s work in the energy sector in India, including 13 years of experience in the energy sector and extensive experience with policy-makers.” Garg has advised several private and public sector clients about a range of power sector market issues, including: commercial and market entry strategies, market diligence for investment in power projects, the impact of power sector performance on state finances, recommendations on least-cost options for energy supply, long- and short-term demand, and price forecasting. She is currently also an Associate and Senior Energy Specialist with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). She has work experience in Nepal, Bangladesh, Vietnam and in the Caucasus region.More: https://ieefa.org/
Michigan regulators approve Consumer Energy’s coal plant closure plan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Michigan regulators on Friday approved a major utility’s plan to phase out its coal-fired power plants and rely increasingly on renewable sources and energy efficiency to provide electricity. Jackson-based Consumers Energy, which supplies power to much of the Lower Peninsula, won the OK after modifying a proposal it initially submitted a year ago.Significant components remain unchanged, including a plan to retire two generators at the Karn plant near Bay City in 2023. The utility plans to close its final three units — at the Campbell plant north of Holland — between 2031 and 2040. As part of a settlement, though, Consumers Energy agreed to study whether it can retire two of three units sooner, possibly as early as 2025.“This truly ushers us into a new era for renewable energy in Michigan,” said president and CEO Patti Poppe. She told reporters on a conference call that the Public Service Commission’s blessing of the integrated resource plan “puts Consumers Energy on a path to eliminate coal, reduce carbon emissions by over 90% and meet our customers’ future electricity capacity needs with 90% clean energy resources by 2040.”The utility currently has about 1,000 megawatts of capacity from renewable sources. It will add 6,500 megawatts of renewables by 2040, including 5,000 megawatts of solar during the 2020s.The company initially proposed that all new power generation be competitively bid. The modified agreement calls for Consumers Energy to own up to half of future additional capacity and to buy the rest from third parties. The utility also will boost energy-efficiency efforts, including by incentivizing customers to reduce their electricity use during peak periods.Notably absent is any proposal for new generators to burn fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas, although the utility’s two existing gas plants in Zeeland and Jackson will remain online, eventually supplying about 10-15 percent of the power mix. A hydropower plant at Ludington also will continue to operate.More: Michigan utility OK’d to close coal plants, boost renewables
Cheaper, cleaner electricity imports put pressure on Poland’s high-cost coal-fired power generators FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Poland is on track to import a record amount of electricity this year as power traders buy cheaper and cleaner electricity from neighboring countries, reducing demand for the mostly coal-fired energy produced by state-run utilities.Poland’s power imports soared by 24.6% to 8.1 TWh in the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2018, data from power grid operator PSE shows. Although still a small part of the country’s total energy requirements, the rise is being driven by a surge in wholesale electricity prices in Poland, where 80% of power generated comes from burning coal, as carbon emission costs and coal prices increase.The majority of Poland’s electricity imports this year came from Sweden and Germany, where average wholesale prices in the first half of the year were 175 zlotys ($44.71) and 165 zlotys per MWh respectively compared to 229 zlotys in Poland.While the increase in imports helps Poland meet rising demand for power – total consumption between January and July was 98.7 TWh, according to PSE data – and is welcomed by the European Union, it adds to pressure on Poland’s state-run utilities which produce power mostly from coal and lignite.Poland’s biggest energy group PGE reported a fall in power production in its lignite and hard coal power plants of 12% and 19% respectively in the first half of 2019, citing the increase in imports, with the trend expected to continue for the rest of 2019.“This is not a comfortable situation for Polish utilities,” said Robert Maj, an analyst at Ipopema Securities.More: Poland’s cleaner power imports pile pressure on coal energy
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The market capitalization of five of the top 10 U.S. coal companies was sliced by more than half from early January to mid-November 2019. Those top 10 producers’ market value totaled about $4.42 billion as of Nov. 22, a 59.4% drop from $10.88 billion as of Jan. 8, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The group of companies saw double-digit percentage declines in market capitalization from Jan. 8 to Nov. 22 as domestic demand waned and the seaborne market weakened. Rhino Resource Partners LP, which rounded out the top 10 as of Nov. 22, saw the smallest percentage decline between the periods, with its value falling 18.6% to $11.4 million. While Cloud Peak Energy Inc. and Westmoreland Coal Co. may have been among the nation’s top producers previously, they were excluded because both companies filed for bankruptcy protection during the last year or so and subsequently sold off or transferred their assets.Peabody Energy Corp., which has been hailed as the leading U.S. coal producer, saw its value plummet 73.5% to $914.8 million on Nov. 22 from nearly $3.45 billion as of Jan. 8. That decline dropped Peabody down to third place in terms of market capitalization, behind Alliance Resource Partners LP and Arch Coal Inc., the only two U.S. producers with a value exceeding $1 billion as of Nov. 22. Several analysts said Alliance is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, thermal-focused U.S. coal producer. Given declining domestic utility demand, coupled with weakened export markets for U.S. miners, the company’s overall strength has proven to be an anomaly in the space. Several of the other top U.S. coal companies reorganized and shed some debt in recent years or benefited primarily from their metallurgical coal investments. The company with the most significant percentage decline in market value was recently delisted from the NYSE. Foresight Energy LP’s market capitalization plunged 97.1% to $14.6 million from January to November following its affiliated company’s bankruptcy protection filing in October and a less than impressive third quarter that may foreshadow the company’s own trip to a bankruptcy court. [Ellie Potter]More ($): Top 10 U.S. coal producers’ market value plunges 59.4% January to November Exclusive S&P: Market capitalization of top U.S. coal companies has fallen 59% in 2019
California regulators okay early shutdown of GE-owned, 800MW gas-fired power plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The California Energy Commission on Dec. 11 approved the premature decommissioning and demolition of General Electric’s 10-year-old, financially struggling natural gas-fired Inland Empire Energy Center, a more than $500 million generating facility in Riverside County once heralded as the future of the global power sector.Now a different future is unfolding — one in which a large-scale battery storage system is planned to replace the once roughly 800-MW, combined-cycle plant after GE dismantles it over the next year.“Obviously, the repurposing of this site as a battery storage facility will provide significant benefits,” Commissioner Karen Douglas said at a meeting ahead of the agency’s unanimous vote approving GE’s closure plan.The facility will cease power production at the end of 2019 and begin a 12-month decommissioning and demolition process, according to the plan. The company mothballed one of the two units in 2017.Only a quarter to a third of the way into the typical 30- to 40-year lifespan of such assets, the plant’s machinery remains in “pristine condition,” according to the Branford Group, an auctioneer that is helping GE sell still-useful equipment at reduced prices.Inland Empire came online in 2009 amid a gas plant building boom in California that pushed the state’s capacity reserves far beyond what is required for grid reliability. Increasingly under pressure from low-cost renewables, the plant’s early end reflects the investment risks of a gas-fired glut in many regions of the U.S., as identified in a new S&P Global Market Intelligence investigation. [Garrett Hering]More ($): California OKs early end for GE gas plant; big battery peaker planned
The nation’s largest climbing gym recently opened its doors in Atlanta. Here’s a breakdown of the behemoth gym. 30,000: Square feet of climbing surface within the 45,000 square foot facility, which also houses a yoga studio, weight gym, and spin station.300: Number of climbable routes on any given day, with roughly 20,000 holds across the gym.$12: Cost of a day pass, including all the equipment you’ll need.$5: Years from conception to completion of the gym.2,248: Number of quickdraws on the sport climbing routes.60: Height in feet of the walls within the gym.
Guide to the East Tennessee Road Trip Adventure:BRING: Mountain bike, water shoes, courageHIGHLIGHT: Scrambling the Chimney TopsSOUVENIR: Handcrafted beer mugs from Moccasin Bend Brewing (bendbrewingbeer.com)Day OneStart at the Sugarlands Visitor Center on the western edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and head up Newfound Gap Road to the Chimney Tops Trail parking lot. This is a four-mile out and back that takes you to the rocky spine of a 4,840-foot knob with stellar views stretching deep into the park. Out of 900 miles of trail inside the park, Chimney Tops is one of the most stunning short hikes. Start by following and crossing Walker Prong for a mile as it makes its way into the West Fork of the Pigeon River, then ditch the creek and start climbing the mountain in earnest. You’ll gain 1,335 feet on your way to the ridge. The trail gets rootier and rockier the higher you climb, until eventually you’re scrambling hand over hand on solid rock with vertigo-inducing exposure. Hop and scramble your way across the spine of the mountain, pausing for a sack lunch with impeccable views.Post-hike, set up your tent in Elkmont Campground ($17), then drive just west of the park to Townsend, where you’ll splurge on one of the finest meals in East Tennessee at Dancing Bear Lodge. The menu changes nightly depending on what the chef pulls from his partner farms, but expect something to the tune of cornmeal-dusted rainbow trout over grits.Day TwoHead south along US 411, skirting the edge of the Smokies to the Ocoee River Gorge, where the Ocoee offers class IV whitewater winding through steep and green mountains. The Ocoee is dam-released, so check tva.gov for the recreational release schedule. If you can, go on a weekend when the Upper Ocoee is flowing, allowing you to do the Upper/Middle combo trip for 8.5 miles of class III-IV that includes the ’96 Olympic canoe and kayak course as well as big-hit rapids like Grumpy’s and Humongous. And keep an eye out for the new breed of whitewater SUP paddlers who test the limits of SUP on the Ocoee all summer long.Pitch a tent at the Thunder Rock Campground, inside the gorge on the banks of the river ($12). And bring your mountain bike. The Thunder Rock Express is the highlight of the Tanasi trail system, which begins and ends at the campground. The screaming 1.5-mile downhill is well worth the sweat equity it takes to climb out of the gorge.Day ThreeKeep the bike lubed for your final day, when you’ll hit the ever-expanding Raccoon Mountain Trail System just outside of Chattanooga. SORBA Chattanooga has built 22 miles of singletrack on TVA land above downtown, with more to come in the future. The Chunky Freeride area offers steep downhills, big jumps and overhead drops over natural boulders. The Small Intestine Trail is the exact opposite, with smooth, flowing singletrack cut through a tight forest. Bust out a couple of loops, then drop into downtown Chattanooga for a mini brewery tour that includes the Chattanooga Brewing Company in the hip North Shore neighborhood, the inventive Moccasin Bend Brewing at the base of Lookout Mountain, and Terminal Brewhouse in the up and coming Southside neighborhood. Grab a dog or two at Good Dog, where the meat and all the fixings are harvested within 100 miles of the shop. After the beer tour, settle down for the night at The Crash Pad, a boutique hostel that caters to adventure-minded travelers (bunks start at $27).Want more adventure? Check out our full list of road trip guides!
We’re bringing an international flair to this week’s Clips of the Week. Crazy backcountry fly fishing and splitboarding as well as Pipeline in the wintertime and the fundamental elements of freeride.Tributaries Fly Fishing FilmRed Bull Bavarian Split from WE MAKE THEM WONDER on Vimeo.Pipeline Winter 2013 from Eric Sterman on Vimeo.FLOW – The Elements of Freeride (Pretty Lights Remix) from North 40 Productions on Vimeo.
Peacefully nestled in the western corner of Maryland where West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia meet is a tiny mountainous, lakeside town where cell service is lost, backroads are prominent, and adventure is in the air. This town is rapidly expanding its reputation as one of the most beautiful wooded areas on the east coast for whitewater adventure, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, and lake adventures. McHenry sits at the northern shore of Deep Creek Lake, a giant manmade lake built in the early 1900s. Read on to find out how to spend your perfect 48 hours in McHenry, Maryland.Day One: Cool Down at Swallow Falls State ParkJust a few miles east of Deep Creek Lake, Swallow Falls State Park has everything from waterfalls and swimming holes to bike trails and campsites. Home to Maryland’s highest waterfall, the 53-foot Muddy Creek Falls is less than a mile hike and connects to the smaller but just as serene Swallow Falls that cascade down the Youghiogheny River. Along this trail, you’ll get a taste of history as you pass by a camping spot chosen decades ago by Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, John Burroughs, and Harvey Firestone. If you brought your bike along, ride the 5.5 mile trail that connects this state park to Herrington Manor State Park. If you’re lucky, an ice cream truck will be eagerly awaiting your return.That huge body of water is manmade?!Whether you’re paddling a kayak, cruising on a pontoon boat, fishing, or flipping over waves on your wakeboard, Deep Creek Lake’s vast array of wildlife, water, and nature will leave you wishing there were more hours in the day. Didn’t bring your kayak? Have no fear, there are numerous locations to rent all different types of boats for several hours or several days. For a very relaxing and laid back time, book an hour long pontoon boat tour with High Mountain Sports where you’ll cruise the calming waters while learning fascinating history and native knowledge of the lake and surrounding area. Did you know that the lake was built for a hydroelectric project in the early 1920s?Photo via http://on.fb.me/1Ny1yKSTighten up your helmets and PFD’s and get ready for some whitewaterThrough the Youghiogheny River’s upper section roars ten miles of adventurous and technical whitewater ranging from warm up class IV rapids to the daring class V rapids. The final mile, known as the ‘miracle mile’, is no place for hesitation as its non-stop class V drops more than 200 feet per mile. If you aren’t quite ready for the big guns, Adventure Sports Center International provides you with another unique whitewater experience. Sitting on top of a mountain that overlooks Deep Creek Lake, ASCI’s whitewater course is a one of a kind, manmade loop that was home to the 2014 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships. Make your way around rafting, duckying, or kayaking.Adventure is in your back yard at Wisp ResortWith high ropes courses, mountain biking, rock climbing, disc golf, mountain rollercoasters, skiing and snowboarding, Wisp Resort has something for every outdoor enthusiast young and old. Shred the gnar on the snowy slopes in the winter or downhill mountain bike in the warmer weather. Rattle the chains on the 18 hole disc golf course that works its way up and down the mountain and includes a scenic chairlift. Swing for par at the Lodestone Golf Course rated the number two golf course in the state of Maryland. Besides the plethora of activities available at the resort, they offer guided trips off site such as guided hiking, biking, and climbing and rappelling at the nearby Fork Run Recreation Area. Whatever your interests and skill level, Wisp Resort is ready to cater to your adrenaline craving or relaxing day in nature.Bike, swim, fish, and hike at Deep Creek Lake State ParkNestled beside Deep Creek Lake is the beautiful and well maintained Deep Creek Lake State Park where you can not only sun bathe on the beach and take a dip in the water, but embark on one of the hiking or biking trails. The park’s several trails take you up, down, and around Meadow Mountain and provide short out and back hikes or longer circuit loops. Black bear spottings aren’t an unusual occurrence to park goers as several are reported each week. Camping on one of their 112 campsites makes it easy to roll out of your sleeping bag and head down to boat launch open 24 hours a day for some morning fishing excursions on the calm lake filled with many breeds of fish. One highlight of the state park is the Discovery Center and its exhibits. Park rangers and other nature enthusiasts are frequently teaching educational programs about local wildlife, conservation issues, and other lake and environment information.Food:Mountain State Brewing Co. – The perfect way to end any adventure packed day is to enjoy a hand-crafted cold one while watching an elegant sunset at the base of a mountain. They boast not only heavenly beer, but also more than twenty specialty flatbreads each uniquely baked in a hand-built brick oven.Moonshadow Café – Simply the best black bean burger I have ever had. Located in nearby Accident, Maryland, this eclectic café offers food fresh from the farm, craft beers on tap, live music, and an art gallery.Canoe on the Run – This homey café serves delicious breakfasts, gourmet sandwiches, salads and wraps made with fresh ingredients, and delicious hot or cold specialty espressos and coffees.Lakeside Creamery – By the time you park your car or tie up your boat next to the creamery, you might be drooling over the thought of their homemade ice creams, milkshakes, sundaes, and sorbets.Nightlife:Honi-Honi Bar – The perfect place to grab a bite to eat, have a few drinks, and listen to great live music on the terrace overlooking Deep Creek Lake.Stage Wisp Concert Series – Every Wednesday evening from late June to late August enjoy a free concert on the lawn located at the bottom of the ski slopes at Wisp Resort. Food and drinks will also be available for purchase during each concert.Black Bear Restaurant and Tavern – Nightclub, grub, live music, and sports bar open late. What’s not to love?Lodging:Blue Moon Rising– Sleep well knowing you’ve chosen an eco-friendly and uniquely designed cabin built during the tiny home movement. Each cabin is between 250-300 square feet yet comes with beds, a kitchen, and full shower.Trail Inn & Bed and Breakfast and Campground – With quaint and cozy rooms or well-kept camping spots, Trail Inn is the perfect place to take the family. Its convenient location is only a short walk to the Allegany Passage trail which can be used for hiking or biking.Upcoming Events:Maryland’s Government Cup: This two day ski and snowboard race is open to all competitors with medals to be awarded to the top finishers. Be sure to cheer on your favorite athlete in the GS and SL events. March 12th-13th, 2016 at Wisp ResortAutumn Glory Festival: In its 48th year, the Autumn Glory Festival takes five days to celebrate the vibrant and beautiful fall colors of the local area. Activities include parades, craft and antique shows, art exhibits, concerts, plenty of food and celebration, and much more. October 7th-11th, 2015Native Knowledge:“The places that I visit most often in Garrett County to play are probably our two best climbing areas. Fork Run Recreation Area has 15 or so bolted climbs, as well as some good bouldering, so I spend a bit of time there. We also have a very consistent ice climbing area about 20 minutes from campus, outside of Swallow Falls State Park. Other places I get to regularly, some outside of Garrett County but close by…Wisp Resort for Telemark Skiing, Whitegrass for cross country skiing, Coopers Rock, Seneca Rocks, and from time to time I’ll mountain bike at the Margroff Plantation or Fork Run.”Andrew Hershey, Associate Professor of Adventure Sports
20,000+ miles, 13 states, and six months later and the Blue Ridge Outdoors + Elevation Outdoors Magazines’ Live Outside and Play road team is back from their road trip to Colorado. Check out some of their favorite scenes from the road and see what they have to say about life and adventure in this video diary.