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Michigan utility with 6.7 million customers to exit coal generation by 2040

first_imgMichigan utility with 6.7 million customers to exit coal generation by 2040 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Detroit News:Consumers Energy said Wednesday it will stop using coal to generate electricity by 2040.The announcement comes as the utility company files a plan this week with the Michigan Public Service Commission outlining how it will meet that goal. The company said it will increase its use of renewable resources, especially solar, and begin closing its remaining five coal-fired units in 2023.Consumers’ announcement comes as inexpensive natural gas and renewable electricity has brought serious competition to coal-fired power plants. DTE Energy Co. said in May 2017 that it would close its five coal plants in Michigan by 2040.As a part of its plan, Consumers would close two coal-fired generating units at Karn Generating Complex in Hampton Township in 2023. The remaining two units at that facility would close in 2031, along with two units at the J.H. Campbell Plant in West Olive. A third unit at Campbell would serve consumers until 2040. Their retirement follows the closure of seven coal units in 2016.Consumers would increase renewable energy from 11 percent to 37 percent by 2030 and 43 percent by 2040. It would add 5,000 megawatt of solar energy throughout the 2020s in addition to wind and battery storage. The company also plans by 2040 to decrease carbon emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels. The plan expects by 2040 a 22 percent decrease in electricity demand by improving and updating demand response, energy efficiency and the power gridConsumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, serves 6.7 million residents in the Lower Peninsula.More: Consumers Energy to end use of coallast_img read more

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European companies target U.S. offshore wind market

first_imgEuropean companies target U.S. offshore wind market FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The Trump administration wants to fire up development of the U.S. offshore wind industry by streamlining permitting and carving out vast areas off the coast for leasing—part of its ‘America First’ policy to boost domestic energy production and jobs.The drive to open America’s offshore wind industry has attracted Europe’s biggest renewable energy companies, who see the U.S. East Coast as a new frontier after years of success across the Atlantic. Less experienced U.S. wind power companies, meanwhile, have struggled to compete in their own backyard, according to lease data and interviews with industry executives. Many are steering clear of the opportunity altogether, concerned by development costs and attracted to cheaper options on land.Since 2014, European-backed companies have won all eight of the U.S. government’s competitive offshore wind lease auctions with aggressive bids that have pumped up prices into the tens of millions of dollars.Bidding in an auction last year for nearly 80,000 acres off the coast of New York, for example, lasted 33 rounds with Norway’s Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, eventually winning the lease for a record $42.5 million. An individual lease had never before sold for more than $5 million, according to public records. Europeans claimed another victory in May when a partnership between Copenhagen Infrastructure Fund and Avangrid, the U.S. arm of Spain’s Iberdrola, won the largest ever U.S. contract for offshore wind power, in Massachusetts.While the U.S. East Coast has wind conditions and sea depths similar to the North Sea, it boasts just one five-turbine wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. That wind farm was developed by privately-held U.S. firm Deepwater Wind LLC, which is backed by hedge fund D. E. Shaw Group. Deepwater Wind’s chief executive, Jeff Grybowski, called the U.S. wind industry’s hesitation to move offshore outdated.  “I’m sure that we will see more American entrants in this business as time goes on,” he said. “Until then we’re happy to fly the flag.”More: Trump effort to lift U.S. offshore wind sector sparks interest – from Europelast_img read more

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Two Australia states push ahead with green energy purchases

first_imgTwo Australia states push ahead with green energy purchases FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Australia’s Victoria state on Tuesday agreed to back six new wind and solar farms to help meet a target of getting 25 percent of its power from renewables by 2020, just weeks after a year-long attempt at crafting a national energy policy collapsed.The announcement came the same week as South Australia, the state most reliant on wind and solar energy, said it would invest A$100 million ($71 million) to help households buy battery storage from Germany’s sonnen, which will link the batteries into a “virtual power plant”.The two states are forging ahead on their renewable energy programs, providing some certainty to investors who have been asking the federal government for stability in the national energy policy after more than a decade of turmoil.The conservative federal government last month scrapped its National Energy Guarantee (NEG) plan – which aimed to make the grid more reliable, cut emissions and lower prices – yielding to pressure from politicians wanting more coal-fired power.The Australian Industry Group, which had been pressing the for a national policy rather than uncoordinated state policies which have led to power outages on the grid, said the new generation in Victoria will help energy users. “With national uncertainty inhibiting needed investment, even second-best options are frankly welcome,” Australia Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said in a statement.Victoria sought bids last November for 650 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy last November, but attracted so much interest that on Tuesday it chose projects that will deliver 928 MW of capacity at a combined cost of A$1.16 billion. The wind and solar farms will generate about 6 percent of the state’s power.More: Australia states power ahead with renewables after national policy collapseslast_img read more

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Developers bring 195MW of new solar online in Egypt

first_imgDevelopers bring 195MW of new solar online in Egypt FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:A joint venture between Elsewedy Electric and EDF, along with Scatec Solar and its respective partners, have both commissioned PV projects near Benban, Egypt with a combined generation capacity of 195MW.Elsewedy Electric and EDF reached commercial operation on two PV projects developed as part of Egypt’s second phase of the Renewable Energies Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) programme. Both companies jointly developed, financed, built and will now own and operate the two sites, which will have a combined capacity of 130MW. The estimated 290GWh of electricity produced by both sites will power more than 140,000 households while avoiding more than 120,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Proparco have equally financed the two solar plants with US$111 million, with the total investment value of both sites totaling out to about US$140 million. The two solar plants will provide the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) with clean energy under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA).Scatec Solar and its partners have also completed another PV project in Benban, with a 65MW installation now grid connected and operational at the 390MW megaproject in Egypt. Scatec Solar now has 260MW in operation in Egypt and expects to have completed the remaining two plants out of six over the next couple of months.The Benban PV project will be Scatec Solar’s largest project in operation and stands as the company’s first solar plant with bifacial solar panels, which captures sunlight from both sides of the panels to increase the total clean energy generation.Back in April 2017, Scatec Solar, along with partners KLP Norfund and Africa 50, signed off on 25-year PPAs with the Government of Egypt for delivery of electricity from six solar sites, all equal in size, totaling 390MW.More: Various joint ventures complete 195MW of PV projects in Egypt’s Benbanlast_img read more

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IRENA: Solar generation to account for 13% of global total by 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Solar will see its share of global power generation rise to 13% by 2030 and a quarter by 2050, according to the Future of Solar PV report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).Improved PV technology will drive the production of ever cheaper solar electricity, according to the agency. The study notes the historic prices recorded in national PV generation capacity auctions indicate solar power could be produced for an average $0.048/kWh next year, a figure 44% lower than the cost of solar produced by generation facilities commissioned last year.“Recent record low auction outcomes for solar PV in Abu Dhabi, Chile, Dubai, Mexico, Peru and Saudi Arabia have shown that an LCOE [levelized cost of energy] of $0.03/kWh is possible in a wide variety of national contexts,” the report stated.The report forecasts the solar project development cost per kilowatt of capacity installed will fall from $1,210 last year to $340-834 in 2030 and $165-481 in 2050. The price of solar electricity is expected to fall further from an average $0.085/kWh last year to $0.02-0.08/kWh by the end of the next decade and $0.01-0.05 by mid-century.The agency says solar may reach 2,840 GW of installed capacity by 2030 and that figure could rise to 8,519 GW in 2050. Asia is expected to claim more than half, with around 4,837 of solar capacity by 2050, followed by North America, with 1,728 GW; Europe, at 891 GW; and Africa, with 673 GW. Latin America and Oceania are expected to host 281 GW and 109 GW in 2050, respectively, according to IRENA.In annual deployment terms, the 94 GW of new solar added last year is expected to hit 270 GW in 2030 and 372 GW by mid-century, with IRENA adding: “Along with capacity additions, replacement of solar panels at the end of their lifetime is also essential and plays a key role, especially with the benefit of old panels giving way to advanced technologies.”More: IRENA predicts LCOE of solar will drop to $0.01-0.05 by mid century IRENA: Solar generation to account for 13% of global total by 2030last_img read more

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Despite declining subsidies, analysts expect Asia-Pacific renewable investment to continue climbing

first_imgDespite declining subsidies, analysts expect Asia-Pacific renewable investment to continue climbing FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bangkok Post/The Wall Street Journal:Renewable energy operators are planning for further growth in Asia despite a falloff in subsidies, betting energy demand will keep rising.In China, government support has driven a rapid build-up and turned the country into the world’s largest producer of renewable energy. That stimulus is drying up, putting the industry at risk. Solar-energy subsidies were halved this year, while offshore wind subsidies will end in 2020, to be followed by onshore next year.Nonetheless, French utility Electricité de France SA said it expected growth in the post-subsidy era, predicting that offshore wind capacity in China would rise to more than 50 gigawatts by 2030 from 6.8 gigawatts today.EDF in June closed a more than $1 billion deal with state-controlled China Energy Investment Corp. to add capacity to a wind farm off the coast of Jiangsu province. The two companies will jointly operate that portion of the wind farm, as well as an existing portion of it, making EDF the first foreign entity to take a stake in China’s offshore wind market.Wood Mackenzie expects investment in renewable electric power in the Asia-Pacific region to outpace investment in fossil-fuel power such as coal and natural gas every year for the next five years. With much of the fossil-fuel investment going toward replacing old facilities, that means the lion’s share of added capacity is likely to come from renewables.Today, Asia accounts for nearly half of global renewable-energy capacity, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. That is up from less than one-third a decade ago. Relative to its size, Asia still lags the West with renewables accounting for less than 5% of energy consumption last year. That compares with 10% in Europe, where hundreds of billions of dollars of the European Union’s economic-rescue package are being earmarked for funding projects related to climate change, and 6% in the U.S., according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.[River Davis]More: Renewables are primed for growth in Asialast_img read more

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Tropical Rainforest Deforestation

first_imgDeforestation in tropical rainforests — from logging, coffee growing, meat and milk production and other economic activities — adds more CO2 to the atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads. Pictured: Cattle in a clearcut portion of the Amazon Rainforest. Photo credit: iStockPhoto/ThinkstockEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: Is it true that cutting and burning trees adds more global warming pollution to the atmosphere than all the cars and trucks in the world combined?     — Mitchell Vale, Houston, TXBy most accounts, deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads. According to the World Carfree Network (WCN), cars and trucks account for about 14 percent of global carbon emissions, while most analysts attribute upwards of 15 percent to deforestation.The reason that logging is so bad for the climate is that when trees are felled they release the carbon they are storing into the atmosphere, where it mingles with greenhouse gases from other sources and contributes to global warming accordingly. The upshot is that we should be doing as much to prevent deforestation as we are to increase fuel efficiency and reduce automobile usage.According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a leading green group, 32 million acres of tropical rainforest were cut down each year between 2000 and 2009—and the pace of deforestation is only increasing. “Unless we change the present system that rewards forest destruction, forest clearing will put another 200 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere in coming decades…,” says EDF.“Any realistic plan to reduce global warming pollution sufficiently—and in time—to avoid dangerous consequences must rely in part on preserving tropical forests,” reports EDF. But it’s hard to convince the poor residents of the Amazon basin and other tropical regions of the world to stop cutting down trees when the forests are still worth more dead than alive. “Conservation costs money, while profits from timber, charcoal, pasture and cropland drive people to cut down forests,” adds EDF. Exacerbating global warming isn’t the only negative impact of tropical deforestation. It also wipes out biodiversity: More than half of the world’s plant and animal species live in tropical rainforests.One way some tropical countries are reducing deforestation is through participation in the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program. REDD essentially works to establish incentives for the people who care for the forest to manage it sustainably while still being able to benefit economically. Examples include using less land (and therefore cutting fewer trees) for activities such as coffee growing and meat and milk production. Participating nations can then accrue and sell carbon pollution credits when they can prove they have lowered deforestation below a baseline. The REDD program has channeled over $117 million in direct financial aid and educational support into national deforestation reduction efforts in 44 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America since its 2008 inception.Brazil is among the countries embracing REDD among other efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Thanks to the program, Brazil has slowed deforestation within its borders by 40 percent since 2008 and is on track to achieve an 80 percent reduction by 2020. Environmentalists are optimistic that the initial success of REDD in Brazil bodes well for reducing deforestation in other parts of the tropics as well.CONTACTS: WCN, www.worldcarfree.net; EDF, www.edf.org; REDD, www.un-redd.org.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.last_img read more

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Appalachian Trail Dispatch: Monuments

first_img Editor’s Note: Blue Ridge Outdoors contributor Chris Gallaway is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. He will be periodically checking in with BRO and sharing the story of his hike. This is his fourth dispatch from the A.T. Read his other dispatches from the trail: A Cold Start, Trail Magic, and Difficult Winter.Many people come to the Appalachian Trail looking to leave a mark. They distinguish themselves by hiking faster or longer than others, by carrying the least amount of weight or the most, or more commonly by scrawling their name and message on the shelter walls (we Purist hikers frown at this!). As most people find, the Trail ends up leaving more of a mark on us, revealing our character and personality in new ways and impacting our life and outlook. The impact the Trail has is evident in the number of people who place burial markers along the way. Between Watauga Lake and Damascus, Virginia the ridgeline is peppered with small cemeteries and markers. Some are old family plots; some commemorate hikers who loved the AT. The most memorable marker for old hermit Uncle Nick Grindstaff reads simply: “Born Dec. 26, 1851 – Died July 22, 1923 – Lived alone, suffered alone, died alone.”We’ve been hiking a long time now. Two months of life on the Trail has already shaped me in ways that I expected and ways I didn’t. I am most comfortable moving at a walking pace now–highways and traffic unsettle me. I’m a few pounds lighter, and my white chicken legs are strapped with more sinew and muscle than ever. I’d like to say that I’m a more patient, grounded person, but I’ll leave that for other people to comment on. It’s hard to believe that I’ve only made a quarter of the journey. There is so much time left and Trail to discover, and I feel the excitement of that thought flutter in my gut like happy butterflies. last_img read more

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Debate: Pay more to fund bikeways?

first_imgYES: Pay To RideAs both a tax policy wonk for Forbes.com and an avid cyclist, I find myself torn between two competing ideologies regarding the levying of taxes or “registration fees” on two-wheeled riders.When on my bike, the idea of paying taxes for the right to cycle seems misguided at best, ludicrous at worst. We’ve all heard of sin taxes, but does it make sense to tax something that’s, you know, good for us? Something that reduces traffic, helps the environment, and generally makes for a healthier population?When in the office, however, I recognize the need for urban environments to provide safe bike lanes and bike-sharing programs to protect their citizens and reduce gridlock. This pressure has further stressed the already-tapped budgets of many local governments. As a result, cities are searching for additional sources of revenue, and in many cases, that search is landing squarely on the city’s helmet-donning denizens. And quite frankly, I wouldn’t be against it.Make no mistake, I understand and appreciate the arguments set forth by the cycling community. Why should we have to pay a tax on cycling when we put virtually no stress on the infrastructure by opting to cycle rather than drive? Or taken further, aren’t we already paying for infrastructure when we register the car that sits idle in our driveway?Compelling arguments, both. But the truth is, most cyclists – maybe not all, but most – sometimes do the unthinkable and eschew a bike ride for the ease of a motor vehicle. And so as much as we hate to admit it, paying our share of the automobile-specific infrastructure is justified. Because we double as cyclists, however, we have a need for additional resources such as dedicated bike lanes and pathways that keep us safe and provide incentive for us to ride.These items of infrastructure are costly to design, to implement, and to maintain. To simply shrug and suggest that we’re already doing our share as fee-paying car owners, in my view, isn’t enough. Creating a cycling-friendly city is not a cheap proposal, and that cost must be borne by someone. In my mind, if a nominal fee to register my bike means I can ride it free from the fear of getting run down by an enraged soccer mom piloting an SUV, then it’s money well spent.–When Tony Nitti isn’t climbing the mountains on his bike, he is a tax writer for Forbes.com. NO: Tax Smarter, Not MoreI nearly always support high taxes in support of the public good. And bicycle facilities have certainly proven to be a public good: besides improving personal and public health and reducing pollution and road congestion, there are also less obvious but equally important economic benefits. Bicycling for transport or tourism results in increased receipts for local businesses and higher property values.So why am I opposed to a bike tax? Cyclists (and potential cyclists) have been shorted on funding for decades. In Los Angeles County, for example, where 19% of all trips are made by bike or on foot, only 1% of transportation funding goes to cycling and walking programs. This is typical for US metros. Even Portland, Oregon, has spent only 2% of its transportation budget on walking and bicycling combined over the last fifteen years. And yet, Portland’s entire bicycle network, built over a span of a quarter-century, has cost no more than one mile of average urban freeway. As Portland’s mayor once pointed out, the city has built single interchanges that cost as much as the entire bike network.In Los Angeles, taxpayers haven’t blinked at investing over one billion dollars in adding a single lane, each way, to ten miles of the notorious 405 freeway.In short, tax-and-spend drivers are hogging our money as well as our roads.And they are getting tired of it themselves. Driving has declined steadily since 2004, though municipalities are still building roads to nowhere as fast as they can. Meanwhile, surveys show that 60% of the population would prefer to bicycle more for local travel, but is afraid to, because drivers dominate the roads.Given the natural increase in civic revenue that follows the building of bikeways, and the futility of building more roads for fewer drivers in a global warming world, a bike tax isn’t needed. There is enough being collected and wasted now to build spectacular bicycle networks all over the country. All we’re asking for is our fair share of funds—something that should have been coming to us throughout the last seven decades of America’s misguided infatuation with the image (not the reality) of mass motoring. We’ll pay the investment back–many times over!–Richard Risemberg writes for Sustainable City News.last_img read more

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Coming Home

first_imgI was taken a little aback on a recent A.T. hike when I passed a group of individuals who did not look like hikers. Some had rucksacks; others carried a blanket under one arm, a plastic bag in their hands, or nothing at all. They weren’t wearing name brands or outdoor gear. In fact most of them wore combat boots or worn out sneakers on their feet and bulky, heavy coats to keep warm—a far cry from my lightweight capilene layers and micro-puff down jacket.Their leader—a young man named Brian with a dark, manicured beard and a Marmot rain jacket—smiled at me and explained that his group was made up of mostly homeless folks from Haywood Street Ministry.“Members of the un-housed community are expert campers, expert hikers, and expert survivalists,” Brian explained to me later. “It’s important for them to feel proud of their skills, and it’s even more important for the individuals whom we pass to recognize their ability.”I was put in my place. My self-righteousness had been exposed like a backpacker’s rear end on National Hike Naked Day.Brian went on to tell me how many un-housed “hikers” walk five to ten miles a day to receive meals, a shower, services, and occasional shelter, and how most of the folks in his circle have spent more nights under the stars than even the most experienced backpacker.One of the hikers in Brian’s group was David. On his first hike he weighed 348 pounds. “Because of backpacking,” David said, “I’m now down to 239.”David and I talked and laughed about how we both tried to take too much on our first backpacking trip. We compared notes on our favorite local day-hikes and we bonded over a shared love for Grayson Highlands in Southwest Virginia. Then we both recounted the difference that the trail had made in our lives.“One of the best parts about the trail,” David said, “is that nobody’s gonna tell you that you can’t be out there. It’s a place we all belong. No one on the trail tells you, you can’t have this because you didn’t do that. Out there, it’s common ground.”The trail is there for people who need to be healed. But it is also there for people who need to be broken. Hiking can literally lift up the people who feel undervalued and help them have a mountain top experience, but it can also take the proud into a desolate valley. The trail is an equalizer. And as David put it, “To Mother Nature, everyone has the same self-worth. “It is amazing what happens when you overcome whatever it is that hems you in and get out on the trail. Regardless of whether you start the journey housed or un-housed, haughty or humble, once you take that first step you are a hiker. And you are home.last_img read more

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