Archives : Dec-2020

first_imgWind Power Industry Reports All-Time High Output in U.S. in 2015 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Associated Press:Wind energy generated a record 191 megawatt-hours of electricity last year, enough for 17.5 million homes, an industry group said Tuesday.The American Wind Energy Association said wind produced 4.7 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2015. Coal generated 33 percent and natural gas slightly less than that, the association said.The association released the statistics at a Vestas Wind Systems turbine plant in Brighton, Colorado, near Denver.Demand for wind energy is also driving up employment. The industry employed the equivalent of 88,000 full-time workers last year, up 20 percent in a year, the report said.“We need wind technicians to keep these machines running smoothly,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the association, said at a news conference.Chris Brown, president of Vestas America, said it can be difficult to find qualified workers.Starting pay for wind technicians is about $25 an hour, said Auston Van Slyke, wind energy technology director for Ecotech Institute in Aurora, a private school that trains workers for the renewable energy industry.Texas remains No. 1 for wind energy while Iowa is second. Iowa generated more than 30 percent of its electricity from wind last year, a record for any state, the report said.The group said tax breaks extended by Congress last year will help stabilize the industry.Full article: U.S. wind energy output hit record last year, industry group sayslast_img read more

first_imgEU regulatory shift has electricity-usage behavior changing by 2020 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Most utilities have long offered cheaper night-time tariffs, but new EU rules expected in 2020 will require them to provide more flexible options that encourage customers to use power during sunny or windy periods, at varied times of day or when businesses are shut at weekends.These kind of flexible “dynamic pricing” contracts are already widely offered in Spain and Scandinavia. But utilities in some of the biggest European markets like Britain and France are now beginning to follow suit in a shift that analysts say could disrupt the continent’s electricity retailing industry.The nascent drive is enabled by the mass rollout of smart meters, which can precisely record energy usage patterns.“From now on, consumers in Europe will be able to seize more spot market opportunities as the rise of renewable power and the availability of smart meters and internet-connected appliances boost dynamic pricing,” said Jean-Marc Ollagnier, group CEO of consultancy Accenture Resources.Newer, smaller players are offering the most experimental tariffs, selling power in hourly or even half-hourly slots tied to wholesale spot prices. The big, traditional utilities like EDF (EDF.PA) and Centrica (CNA.L) are responding more gradually by offering variable time-pricing options.Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, director Internal Energy Market at the European Commission, the EU’s executive, says variable pricing could cut power bills for a household by up to 400 euros ($470) a year.It is early days in Europe, and in other developed power markets such as the United States and Australia. Utilities largely sell at fixed prices, regardless of wholesale swings or time of usage, and dynamic pricing accounts for a fraction of the market – but it is growing.The number of customers on dynamic pricing rates globally is expected to rise from 4.5 million in 2018 to 75 million by 2025, of which 15 million will be in Europe, according to Navigant Research analyst Brett Feldman.Experts say automation will be crucial for take-up.More: Run your dishwasher when the sun shines: dynamic power pricing growslast_img read more

first_imgLegal setback for coal industry on federal leases in Montana and Wyoming FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:A federal judge in Montana has given the Trump administration until late 2019 to analyze reductions to mining in the nation’s most productive coal fields as a way to fight climate change.The order from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris, issued Tuesday, applies to the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. The region supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s coal, much of it from massive strip mines on public lands.The case involves a challenge by environmentalists of U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans issued in 2015 to lease more than 10 billion tons of coal in the region. The plans also guide the leasing of oil and gas.Morris turned down a request from environmentalists to halt new energy lease sales until the climate change review is completed. However, each individual lease issued will have to go through a review similar to the one Morris required for the region as a whole.Government officials had argued unsuccessfully that climate change could be addressed at individual mines rather than across the region.The delay affects 223 parcels comprising more than 160 square miles (414 square kilometers) of public and private lands in eastern Montana.Coal mined from the Powder River Basin and burned in power plants is responsible for 13 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.Coal lease sales in the region slowed considerably over the past decade as demand for the fuel declined.Since his election with a strongly pro-fossil fuels agenda, President Donald Trump has sought to boost the industry. That’s included lifting a moratorium on new lease sales from public lands imposed during the Obama administration over concerns about climate change.A ruling in September by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver cast doubt on a longstanding U.S. government argument that blocking leasing of federal coal reserves wouldn’t affect climate change because the coal could simply be mined elsewhere.More: Judge: US must weigh cutbacks in top coal region by late ’19last_img read more

first_imgSolar self-generation rises sharply in Spain FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享El País:Solar power is paving the way for a rise in self-generated energy in Spain. Installed capacity grew for the second year running in 2018 with a 94% hike on 2017 figures – and 90% of that was self-generated.Installed solar power in Spain passed the 5,000-MW mark of installed capacity last year, indicating a decade of vertiginous growth. Despite a slowdown in 2012, solar energy is once again powering ahead with both companies and homes installing the technology in a bid to curb costs.In 2018, 261.7 MW of new solar power was installed, of which 26 MW are connected to the grid and the remainder, 235.7 MW, self-generating installations.José Donoso, managing general of Spain’s Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), believes the 80% drop in the cost of the technology over the past 10 years is responsible for the upward trend, coupled with the European Union’s self-generated renewable energy drive.For years, self-generated energy was punished in Spain by administrative obstacles and fees from the central government, such as the so-called “sun tax” levied by the Popular Party (PP). However, Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Party (PSOE) government ditched the tax last October and is now preparing to regulate self-generated electricity practices and the financial compensation for feeding energy into the grid – which could increase the value of the technology. The regulations are set to be ready by May. After this date, UNEF believes self-generated energy will grow between 300 and 400 MW a year.If the projections are right, 2019 will be a record year for renewable energy in Spain, and solar power in particular. According to Donoso, 4,000 MW of solar installed capacity is on the cards.More: Self-generated energy soars in Spain as solar panels plunge in pricelast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star Tribune:A Virginia businessman will be the newest coal player in Wyoming after being the sole bidder for a bankrupt firm’s coal mine in Lincoln County, according to documents filed in bankruptcy court in southern Texas on Tuesday.Westmoreland Coal Company’s Kemmerer mine will be sold to former health care executive Tom Clarke’s new company, Western Coal Acquisitions Partners LLC, for $7.5 million in cash at closing, a $112.5 million senior secured promissory note and a $95 million junior secured promissory note, according to a copy of the asset purchase agreement filed Tuesday in the bankruptcy court in Houston.Clarke’s firm will also assume the Kemmerer coal mine’s liabilities, minus contested costs of continuing health care benefits for retirees and their dependents. A union contract between Kemmerer miners and the coal company is also voided in the sale.Westmoreland filed for bankruptcy in October, citing about $1 billion in debt and a troubled coal market. The decision left the fate of the 300-employee Kemmerer coal mine in limbo. Prior to the bankruptcy filing, the company had informed the union representing Kemmerer miners that it intended to cut certain health care obligations to retirees and retiree dependents. The United Mine Workers of America had fought that decision, but the bankruptcy court ruled in favor of Westmoreland’s plea Friday to shave those liabilities. The court also ruled Friday that Westmoreland could abandon the union contract.Clarke, Kemmerer’s newest owner, said in a recent interview with the Star-Tribune that the obligations to retirees were too costly. He said the majority of the former contract would be retained. Another of Clarke’s companies, Merida Natural Resources, is a guarantor for the Kemmerer acquisition. Clarke is also acting as a personal guarantor, according to court documents.Clarke is a relatively new coal player. He was first successful as a businessman in the health industry as an owner of nursing homes. He has since dabbled in other industries and projects from hotels to iron ore. Clarke got into the coal business by buying Patriot Coal’s Appalachian assets during its bankruptcy in 2015.More: Virginia businessman’s sole bid wins Kemmerer mine, omits retiree benefits as expected It’s official: Bankrupt Westmoreland’s Kemmerer mine sold, retiree benefits eliminatedlast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Spanish energy giant Iberdrola says it has decided to invest $500m in a wind and solar farm in South Australia as the first of a series of renewable power projects it hopes to develop in Australia.Iberdrola’s head of renewables, Xabier Viteri, said that in the new year the company would also probably increase its target for renewable energy from the “ambitious” target of 10GW by 2022. “Our ambition is going to be a little bit higher,” he told Guardian Australia.Viteri said Australia was an ideal place to invest because of its high power consumption and stable market. “It’s a place where renewables are going to play a much more relevant position in the coming years, clearly,” he said. “It’s a bit far away from where I am now, that’s the only problem.”The project, the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, has been under development by the privately owned DP Energy.The plant is to be made up of a 210MW windfarm, designed to peak at the same time as demand at about 6pm to 7pm every day, plus photovoltaic solar to provide electricity during the day.Iberdrola’s country manager for Australia, Fernando Santamaria, said construction would start next year and the plant should be complete by the second half of 2021. “The combination of those technologies, it’s a trend we are seeing globally,” he said. “The wind profile matches very well the South Australian demand, and the solar provides the perfect complement.[Ben Butler]More: ‘Shovel ready’: Spanish firm to put $500m into Australian wind and solar farm Spain’s Iberdrola to invest $500 million in Australian wind, solar hybrid projectlast_img read more

first_imgBudweiser parent InBev signs Europe’s largest corporate solar power purchase deal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:InBev, the brewer of Budweiser and an array of other beers, has signed a 130-megawatt solar power purchase agreement, which it calls the largest “pan-European corporate solar” power-purchase agreement so far.The deal, with German renewables developer BayWa r.e., will supply enough electricity for 14 breweries in Western Europe. BayWa will finance and develop two new solar projects in Spain totaling 200 megawatts, with InBev’s virtual PPA acting as the linchpin.Completion of the projects — one of them to be called the Budweiser Solar Farm — is expected by March 2022. BayWa will additionally provide the company with 75 gigawatt-hours’ worth of guarantees of origin certificates from a Spanish wind farm.AB InBev has been ramping up its renewables procurements. At the end of 2018, AB InBev agreed a 15-year, 100-megawatt deal with Lightsource BP to supply its U.K. operations. It has a 152.5-megawatt agreement in place with Enel Green Power for its U.S. operations.Once 100 percent of its operations are powered by renewables, Budweiser intends to adorn each bottle sold in the U.K. and U.S. with a symbol declaring that fact.Europe has lagged the U.S. in corporate renewables PPAs. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 86 percent of corporate PPAs signed at the halfway point in 2019 had been signed in the Americas.[John Parnell]More: Budweiser brewer signs Europe’s ‘largest corporate solar PPA’last_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Moody’s Investors Service expects “very weak” second-quarter earnings in the U.S. coal sector because of falling electricity demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying it sees 2020 coal consumption by power utilities shrinking more than 30%.“The U.S. coal industry has weakened after taking the brunt of lower electricity demand and is now highly vulnerable to resurgent coronavirus infections that could further reduce demand for coal in a downside scenario,” Moody’s said in a July 15 note.Meanwhile, coal export prices continue to weaken, with the firm noting that global steel production, which depends heavily on metallurgical coal as an input, fell about 5% through May.Moody’s also noted that it took negative ratings actions in the first half on most of the North American coal producers it covers, with a couple of exceptions.“Only the low-cost, met-focused producers such as Arch Resources Inc. (Ba3 stable) and Warrior Met Coal Inc. (B2 positive) have not experienced a recent downgrade to long-term ratings nor an outlook revision, as they have fundamentally stronger discretionary cash flow generation than their peers — free cash flow before considering dividends and expansionary capital spending,” Moody’s wrote.The U.S. coal sector has been hit by a wave of bankruptcies driven in part by the pandemic and competition from other energy sources such as gas and renewables. Coal has also fallen out of favor in some jurisdictions as governments and consumers push for lower-carbon alternatives. Moody’s projected that aggregate EBITDA for rated U.S. coal producers would slump by about 50% in 2020 and said the sector faces further downgrades if the pandemic significantly worsens.[Kip Keen]More ($): Moody’s expects US coal producers to report ‘very weak’ Q2’20 earnings Moody’s: U.S. utility sector coal consumption could fall more than 30% in 2020last_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:General Electric’s renewable energy division has been chosen as the preferred turbine supplier for the third and final phase of an offshore wind farm that’s set to be the largest on the planet.According to an announcement from SSE Renewables on Friday, a 14 megawatt (MW) version of GE’s huge Haliade-X turbine will be used at a British energy project called Dogger Bank C. The first two phases, Dogger Bank A and B, are to use a 13 MW version of the Haliade-X.Dogger Bank C is a joint venture between Equinor and SSE Renewables. The turbine supply agreement, as well as the service and warranty agreements, are all set to be finalized in the first quarter of next year. The deals are subject to Dogger Bank C reaching financial close at the end of 2021. If all goes to plan, turbine installation for the third phase will start in 2025.With 107-meter long blades and a height of 248 meters, the scale of the Haliade-X turbine is considerable.Situated in waters off the northeast coast of England, the Dogger Bank Wind Farm will have a total capacity of 3.6 gigawatts when completed. Equinor and SSE have both described it as the “world’s biggest offshore wind farm,” and it will have the ability to power millions of homes in the U.K. annually.Earlier this month, both Equinor and SSE sold 10% stakes in the first two phases of the project to Italian firm Eni. Upon completion of this deal, Equinor and SSE’s shares of Dogger Bank A & B will still amount to 40% each.[Anmar Frangoul]More: GE’s giant turbines will power final phase of the ‘world’s biggest offshore wind farm’ Upgraded 14MW Haliade-X turbine tapped for third phase of Dogger Bank offshore wind farmlast_img read more

first_imgGOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: [email protected] Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine Dear EarthTalk: I came home today to yet another set of phonebooks at my front door. I feel they are a great waste of paper, especially in this electronic age. How can I stop getting these books? Better yet: How can we get the phone companies to stop making them? — Bill Jones, via e-mail Many of us have little or no use for phonebooks anymore. While such directories are helpful for that occasional look-up of a service provider or pizza place, consumers and businesses increasingly rely on the Internet to find goods and services. Directory publishers usually do make their listings available online nowadays, too, but the books are still money-makers for them as prints ads fetch top dollar even though their effectiveness is waning and much harder to track. According to the nonprofit YellowPagesGoesGreen.org, more than 500 million phone directories—nearly two books for every American—are printed and distributed every year in the U.S., taking with them some 19 million trees. Upwards of 1.6 billion pounds of paper are generated to produce the books from these felled trees, while 7.2 million barrels of oil are churned through in creating them (not including the gasoline used for local deliveries). Producing the directories also uses up 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and generates 268,000 cubic yards of solid waste that ends up in landfills (not including the books themselves, many of which eventually end up in landfills in areas where recycling is not available or convenient). Unfortunately, there is no centralized way for consumers to opt-out of receiving the big books like the National Do Not Call Registry for telemarketing. Most individual yellow and white page publishers have “no deliver” lists they can add you to, but they will not be held accountable if the books show up anyway. The YellowPagesGoesGreen.org website will find your local/regional directory pages publishers and ask them not to deliver on your behalf. The site warns, though, that there are no guarantees with this either. For their part, directory publishers insist they have made great strides in recent years to operate in an environmentally responsible manner. The Yellow Pages Association (YPA) and the Association of Directory Publishers (ADP) have collaborated on formal guidelines calling for source reduction in the production of directories, environmentally sensitive manufacturing practices and enhanced recycling programs. About 90 percent of industry members have adopted the guidelines so far. Examples in practice include the use of water soluble inks and recycling-friendly glues, not to mention forsaking the use of virgin trees in their books (many books are made from recycled old phonebooks, mixed with scrap wood; see a previous column that discussed this: www.emagazine.com/view/?3651). Because of widespread and increasing use of the Internet, many sources of information—from newspapers and magazines to newsletters and, yes, directories—are forsaking print for online placement. So it is really just a matter of time before phone directories follow that lead. In the meantime, asking to be removed from the delivery list of your local directory publisher can only help to hasten that inevitability. CONTACTS: YellowPagesGoesGreen.org, www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org; Yellow Pages Association (YPA), www.ypassociation.org; Association of Directory Publishers (ADP), www.adp.org.last_img read more