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U.S. Banks Resume Lending to Coal Industry

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The New York Times:Starting three years ago, the largest American banks vowed to cut back on lending to the coal industry.But the banks, it turns out, never actually promised to walk away from coal completely. And now, with coal companies enjoying a small resurgence under the Trump administration, banks are again embracing the industry.Five of the country’s biggest banks are lending tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to coal companies again, in one case eclipsing what they lent in 2014, before the industry entered a nose dive, according to an analysis by Rainforest Action Network, a liberal environmental group.JPMorgan’s coal lending increased to $654 million 2017 from $32 million in 2015, according to the analysis. That was more than the $570 million the bank lent to coal interests in 2014. The vast majority of JPMorgan’s coal loans in 2017 were to Peabody, which emerged from bankruptcy that April.Morgan Stanley’s coal loans, though well below their 2014 levels, more than doubled from 2015 to 2017. And though their loans to coal companies haven’t quite reached earlier levels, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America each added new coal loans last year, the analysis shows. Citigroup made more such loans in 2016 and 2017 than it did in 2015, though well below its 2014 figure.Combined, the five banks issued about $1.5 billion in new coal-related loans last year, according to Rainforest Action Network.More: Think the Big Banks Have Abandoned Coal? Think Again U.S. Banks Resume Lending to Coal Industrylast_img read more

Engie joint venture targets wind power in India

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:French energy group Engie SA and compatriot STOA have established a joint venture (JV) that will aim to deploy over 2 GW of wind power capacity in India in the next five years.The equally owned venture will target both onshore and offshore wind projects under tenders by the Indian government and by separate states, Engie said on Wednesday.Three of Engie’s wind projects totaling 280 MW, which it secured in various Indian tenders earlier this year, will be part of the JV platform. Two of the schemes are in Tamil Nadu, while one 30-MW project is located in Gujarat. All of these projects are currently in the implementation stage.“Our aim is to respond to the major challenges of the energy transition, in particular in fast-growing countries like India,” said Malcolm Wrigley, country manager Engie India. Investment in wind projects is one of Engie’s priorities.STOA is a French infrastructure and power investor focusing on sustainable development in developing countries.More: Engie, STOA tie-up targets 2 GW of Indian wind Engie joint venture targets wind power in Indialast_img read more

Sunrun’s virtual power plant wins bid in New England capacity auction

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Sunrun will get its chance to prove that home batteries and solar panels can stack up against traditional power plants.The San Francisco-based company won a 20-megawatt bid in the forward capacity auction for ISO New England, which operates the electric grid in six northeastern states. That auction ensures that enough grid capacity will be online in 2022.Unlike previous winners, Sunrun did not bid a traditional power plant. Its product is a network of small solar and battery installations that will go into roughly 5,000 customer homes across the region. The company is promising to aggregate across those systems to deliver the necessary power to the grid, while also keeping the host customers happy.Sunrun has vocally promoted this vision, as it expanded from simply installing solar panels into battery storage and grid services business lines. Many other companies and analysts share the belief that distributed resources, acting in concert, can provide a cleaner, more resilient and cheaper alternative to centralized grid architectures.Real world implementation of this model, sometimes referred to as a “virtual power plant,” has lagged behind its invocations in cleantech conferences and white papers. With this win, Sunrun showed it could compete in an open auction alongside conventional resources like gas plants and hydropower.By power plant standards, 20 megawatts is small. But it’s groundbreaking for virtual power plants to date. Sunrun completed 5,000 installations of its BrightBox home solar and battery system across the country by the end of 2018; now it must match that number in the six New England states in three years.More: Sunrun wins big in New England capacity auction with home solar and batteries Sunrun’s virtual power plant wins bid in New England capacity auctionlast_img read more

Navigant Research: New offshore wind installations will top 69GW by 2027

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.Biz:Over 69GW of new offshore wind capacity is expected to be installed between 2018 and 2027, according to a new report from Navigant Research.By 2030, global offshore wind installed operating capacity will exceed 100GW, according to the study.Navigant senior research analyst Jesse Broehl said: “Offshore wind will play an increasing role in the broader global energy transition to a more diverse and flexible energy economy. However, due to the capital-intensive nature of this market, the market share analysis by country shows that an increasingly narrow pool of wind turbine manufacturers is providing to this fast-growing market.”Regionally, offshore wind is quickly becoming more cost-effective with each successive competitive tender in Europe, according to Navigant, with industry-leading countries, such as the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and Belgium, well into a transition phase to market-oriented policies that include highly competitive bidding for power contracts.Meanwhile competitive bidding has also begun in the US ahead of offshore project installations along the northeastern seaboard, the consultancy observed.More: Offshore wind flexes 69GW potential to 2027 Navigant Research: New offshore wind installations will top 69GW by 2027last_img read more

Coal-fired generation has dropped by one-fifth this year in Western Europe

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享World Economic Forum:Coal generation in Europe fell by a fifth in the first half of this year, with almost every coal-burning country cutting back.Western Europe saw particularly dramatic drops in production – up to 79% in Ireland, according to climate think-tank Sandbag. And there were times of zero or near-zero generation in many countries. The UK, for example, switched off its coal plants for a fortnight in May for the first time.In absolute terms, Germany saw the biggest drop, as it made substantial cutbacks in both hard coal and its dirtier relative lignite. But it remained responsible for over a third of the coal generation in the EU so far this year, the research shows.Renewable resources are slowly taking the place of coal, with both solar and wind energy rising across the EU. However, the use of gas, another fossil fuel, has risen as coal disappears and carbon pricing shifts incentives.The fall in coal use has been much smaller in eastern European countries, with lower uptake of green alternatives. And in some cases, such as Slovenia and Bulgaria, coal generation even rose. Many countries, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, still rely heavily on lignite.More: Chart of the day: Is 2019 the beginning of the end for coal in Europe? Coal-fired generation has dropped by one-fifth this year in Western Europelast_img read more

Britain sets new daily record for wind generation, topping 44% of country’s electricity consumption

first_imgBritain sets new daily record for wind generation, topping 44% of country’s electricity consumption FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Stormy conditions drove wind to a new record-high share of Britain’s electricity supply that at one point hit 56% this weekend, said power market analysts.The record level, in the early hours of Saturday 8 February, beat a previous high of 52.4% set in September 2019, said analysis from Drax Electric Insights.Saturday also set a new record for highest share of power produced in a single day with 44.26%, said Drax, outstripping both nuclear and gas combined.The wind power records came amid the arrival of storm Ciara, which caused havoc to travel and infrastructure across the UK this weekend – and left thousands of consumers without any power at all.The UK has 13.57GW of onshore wind installed, and a world-leading 8.4GW offshore fleet.The two are currently on very different trajectories, with onshore installations plunging as a result of adverse government policies, while offshore is booming after being included as a key part of the national industrial strategy.[Andrew Lee]More: Storm blows wind to record share of Britain’s electricitylast_img read more

Chinese coal company planning world’s largest solar-powered hydrogen plant

first_imgChinese coal company planning world’s largest solar-powered hydrogen plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Chinese coal miner Baofeng Energy has announced the start of construction of what it claims will be the world’s largest solar-powered hydrogen plant, in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region of northwest China.The RMB1.4 billion ($199 million) electrolysis project is intended to produce 160 million cubic meters of hydrogen per year plus 80 million cubic meters of oxygen. Baofeng said the use of solar electricity to power the facility would save 254,000 tons of coal consumption annually, leading to a 445,000-ton reduction in carbon emissions.The project will feature two 10,000m3/hr electrolyzers powered by two 100 MW solar plants plus a 1,000kg/day hydrogenation station and two petrol stations will be converted to also supply natural gas and hydrogen for transport purposes. The solar panels will be installed over wolfberry and alfalfa crops which will generate extra revenue, according to Baofeng.Work on the project started this month and is slated for completion this year, with hydrogen production to start next year.[Vincent Shaw]More: Chinese coal miner starts work on world’s biggest solar-powered hydrogen facilitylast_img read more

Mountain Mama: The Greatest Life Lesson I Learned from Kayaking

first_imgDear Mountain Mama,I read your posts every week and you often write about the river. I’m new to whitewater, but I know paddlers often make analogies between kayaking and life.What’s the greatest life lesson you’ve learned from kayaking?Yours, Just CuriousDear Just Curious,By training, I’m a corporate lawyer. That means I’ve studied how to analyze the hell out of a business deal, trying to anticipate potential problems so the parties can agree to business terms upfront and avoid litigating down the road.My analytical brain causes me to study rapids the same way; coming up with a plan. When I started kayaking, I’d come up with a plan, a back-up plan, and even a back-up to the back-up plan. There were days when I spent more time planning than actually paddling.I thought that if I was prepared, I could prevent anything bad from happening. Sometimes I’d mess up my line and find myself about to paddle into a hole. Instead of squaring up to the hole and punching it, I’d paddle as hard as I could to avoid it. Often that resulted with me landing in the hole sideways and getting surfed.I held on to a corporate law career way past my time. A six-figure salary, while nice, left my soul empty. But I convinced myself to stay because it was what I had studied in school and what I thought I was supposed to do.The river taught me that as important as planning is to success, the practice of letting go is just as necessary. When I’m off the planned line, I can count on my past paddling experience to read water and find another way to go. When Plan A no longer serves me, I’m learning to trust myself to able to respond to the present moment.I squirreled away money in a savings account I’d dubbed my “fuck it” fund. When I’d finally had enough of late nights and clients I didn’t care about, I walked away from law for good, or so I thought.Fast forward two years and I’m working in another office practicing law. But there’s a difference between this desk and the last. I serve clients who can’t afford legal fees, often transforming their lives, working a regular work-week.Every time I paddle, I’m reminded to stay open to possibilities. Flipping upside down or getting surfed on a hole illustrates my resilience, which helps me take risks on and off the water.Paddle On!Mountain Mamalast_img read more

Triple Crown Bouldering Series 2014

first_imgThis weekend, the Triple Crown Bouldering Series will conclude its annual celebration of Southeastern climbing with the fourth and final competition aRumbling Baldt Rumbling Bald in Lake Lure, North Carolina.The annual Triple Crown Bouldering Series typically occurs in three parts – first at Hound Ears in Boone, North Carolina; and second at Little Rock City, or Stone Fort, in Chattanooga, Tennessee; before hitting Steele for the final leg of the competition. This year, the event has tacked on a fourth segment at Rumbling Bald in North Carolina to finish out the series. But this year, with the addition of Rumbling Bald in the eleventh hour, the Triple Crown has become a Quadruple.Like each of its predecessors, the Rumbling Bald competition will span about seven grueling hours as climbers tackle problem after problem to rack up points. Participants race through the boulder field on a mission to climb and document their ten best problems, each assigned a particular number value based on difficulty.Jim Horton and Chad Wykle, the brains behind the Triple Crown, do not expect Rumbling Bald to become a permanent feature of the series, but are excited to shake things up with this special addition. In light of last year’s disappointing cancellation of the Hound Ears leg due to disagreements with the property owners, Rumbling Bald will help to further reignite the spirit of the Triple Crown.All boulder problems in the area are graded on the V scale, which on a worldwide scale currently ranges from V0 to V16. Climbers fall into categories based on gender and climbing grade: “Novice” includes men and women climbing V0 to V2, “Intermediate” looks to men from V3 to V5 and women from V3 to V4, “Advanced” holds men from V6 to V8 and women from V5 to V6, and the elite “Open” category applies to men on V9 or higher and women on V7 or higher.The top three climbers in each category win some seriously cool prizes, and all other competitors can walk away with plenty of equally solid door prizes, raffle items, and giveaways.Each leg of the Triple Crown serves to bring top-notch climbing opportunities and a healthy competitive atmosphere to boulderers of all levels, pure beginners and hard experts alike. The day may leave your muscles tired, your fingertips raw, and your stomach growling… but chances are, you’ll just relish all all these signs of a day well spent. Chalk up those hands, grab your shoes, and let the Triple Crown Bouldering Series get you psyched on climbing – even long after the day is done.last_img read more

Presidential Playgrounds

first_imgIt’s no surprise that many U.S. presidents have found solace in Southern Appalachia when needing to unwind. Several of our country’s commanders-in-chief established private retreats and protected key public lands right here in our Blue Ridge backyard.Thomas JeffersonMonticello and Black Rock GapWhile most Americans recognize former U.S. president Thomas Jefferson as the crafter of the Declaration of Independence, his most prized work of art may have been his Monticello home and property at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Charlottesville, Va. Jefferson spent decades of his life creating a personal utopia filled with vegetable gardens, wildflowers, fruits, and groves of trees. In writing to his daughter, he once proclaimed, “I never before knew the full value of trees. My house is entirely embosomed in high plane-trees, with good grass below; and under them I breakfast, dine, write, read, and receive my company.” Not only can you still tour the grounds of his beautiful estate, but a short drive to Black Rock Gap along Skyline Drive will deepen your Jeffersonian adventure. It is within a cave, among the rocks at the summit of this easy hike, where legend has it that Jefferson once hid the state seals of Virginia during the Revolutionary war.Herbert + Lou HooverRapidan CampRapidan is located deep within a forested gorge of Shenandoah National Park, at the convergence of two mountain streams. It’s no wonder our 31st president and his wife saw this as the ideal place to escape the stress of Washington D.C. It was Hoover’s predecessor, Calvin Coolidge, who first suggested that the government provide a nearby retreat, which could be used by presidents to unwind on weekends. President Hoover put the idea into practice for the first time on personal land at Rapidan Camp, secluded among the hemlocks and nestled into a natural mountain setting enhanced by rock gardens, waterfalls, and other stone structures. Here, the Hoovers welcomed many distinguished guests, family, cabinet members, and politicians to share the beauty of hiking, horseback riding, and honest conversation. Hoover spent many hours in the creeks directly below the property enjoying one of his favorite activities, trout fishing. The Rapidan River, which cascades about 50 yards from the deck of the main cabin at Camp Hoover, is still regarded as one of the best trout streams in Virginia.Franklin D. RooseveltGreat Smoky Mountains National Park, C.C.C., and the Blue Ridge ParkwayAs our nation’s longest serving president, Franklin D. Roosevelt probably had the most significant impact on the Blue Ridge and beyond. Roosevelt designated Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and he was also responsible for implementing the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway. His Civilian Conservation Corps provided trail maintenance, forest conservation, facility development, and reforestation to Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. There’s a good chance you’ve benefited from one of their projects in some way, whether enjoying a scenic drive over a stone bridge, catching fish that they helped stock, or hiking to a view from one of their many fire towers.Lyndon B. JohnsonThe Wilderness Act of 1964Have you ever hiked in Shining Rock Wilderness? Climbed in Linville Gorge? Ever stood atop ‘The Priest’ or swam in the pool beneath St. Mary’s Falls? Fished in the Conasauga or Jacks Rivers? If so, then you can thank L.B.J’s 1964 Wilderness Act, which created the National Wilderness Preservation System. It now includes over 640 wilderness areas. Additionally, Johnson spearheaded the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, National Trails System Act, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provided funds to acquire land, specifically for public recreation.Recent Presidential Land Protection HighlightsPresident Obama (2008-2016)• Established more national monuments and protected the most acreage than any president in history• Blocked construction of the Keystone XL oil pipelinePresident Bush (2000-2008)• Created first-ever cabinet committee on ocean policy with 2004 Ocean Action Plan• Provided nation’s highest form of marine protection to over 330,000 square miles of ocean• Created 15 new National Wildlife RefugesPresident Clinton (1992-2000)• Protected over 3 million acres of land from any future development, including Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante, Arizona’s Grand-Canyon-Parashant, and California’s Pinnacles• Launched first federal action for environmental justice• Launched Clean Water Action Initiative to increase wetland protection, and protect water supply quality• Created Roadless Area Rule, protecting millions of acres of national forestlandslast_img read more