Wisconsin utilities move ahead with clean energy plans

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:Wisconsin’s two largest public utilities are making bigger stakes in renewable energy and have pledged far deeper cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases than previous predictions.Madison-based Alliant Energy says it intends to stop burning carbon-intensive coal altogether in its electric power plants by 2050. Alliant and Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group recently said they are setting new goals to reduce carbon emissions by 80% from 2005 levels by 2050.That’s a shift from 2016 pronouncements when the utilities envisioned carbon dioxide reductions of 40% by 2030. (WEC Energy Group, which operates We Energies, says it now expects to reach the 40% goal by about 2023.)The moves to renewables are driven by tumbling prices for wind and solar power at the same time power companies in Wisconsin and nationally are using more natural gas as an alternative to coal.“We’re glad to see that the utilities are recognizing that this is what people want,” said Elizabeth Katt-Reinders of the Wisconsin chapter of the Sierra Club. “But actually it’s very underwhelming. We need to move off coal completely —and sooner.”Still, the actions of the companies are an about-face from a decade ago when Alliant was seeking regulatory approval to build a new coal plant in Wisconsin. The state Public Service Commission in 2008 rejected the plan with one commissioner then calling it the “wrong project at the wrong time.”More: Two Wisconsin utilities are increasing solar and wind power as they dramatically cut coal use to combat climate change Wisconsin utilities move ahead with clean energy planslast_img read more

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Michigan utilities move forward with coal phase-out plans

first_imgMichigan utilities move forward with coal phase-out plans FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Crain’s Detroit Business:Renewable energy had a major moment last year when Michigan’s major utilities announced they would end the use of coal as an electricity generator by 2040.For 2019, the race will be on in earnest by large public utilities like DTE Energy Co. and Consumers Energy Co. to begin replacing retiring coal plants, partly with renewable energy sources including solar and wind power, along with ramped-up efficiency programs to help residential and business customers reduce electricity use.But what Michigan’s two biggest utilities are planning over the next several decades flies in the face of what the Donald Trump administration announced in December. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it will reverse the Barack Obama administration’s coal emissions rule to ease restrictions on the nation’s coal industry, a move condemned by environmentalists and renewable energy advocates.However, top executives of DTE and Consumers have told Crain’s in previous interviews that their companies plan to move forward in replacing more than two dozen aging and inefficient coal-fired plants regardless of what the federal government does or doesn’t do.Consumers Energy has said it plans to retire its five remaining coal-fired plants from 2021 to 2040 and replace them with renewable energy, primarily wind and solar, along with supercharged programs to improve efficiency, demand response, advanced energy saving technology and regional market purchases. Other utilities around the country are taking similar tacks to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.DTE Energy has announced plans to retire three coal plants — River Rouge, St. Clair and Trenton — which will all be closed between 2020 and 2023. Two other plants in Belle River and Monroe will close in 2030 and 2040, respectively. Interim plans call for DTE replacing much of the generation by building at least one and possibly two natural gas-fired plants, quadrupling renewable energy generation, increasing electricity efficiency programs and by using other technology to boost clean power.More: Race is on by Michigan utilities to end coal uselast_img read more

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India’s Gujarat state government says it will stop approving new thermal power projects

first_imgIndia’s Gujarat state government says it will stop approving new thermal power projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Indian Express:In a first-of-its-kind move aimed at curbing the burning of fossil fuel for power generation, Gujarat government on Saturday announced that it will not give fresh permissions for setting up new thermal power stations in the state.A decision to not provide permission for new thermal power projects has been taken by Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, stated an official release here. The 8-10 per cent of annual increase in power demand will be met through non-conventional sources, the statement said adding that the move will “guide” other states in the country.When quizzed about the development, Gujarat’s energy minister Saurab Patel told The Indian Express, “In a meeting yesterday, it was decided that we will no more be going for any new coal capacities.” When asked how the government plans to satiate the annual increase in power demand, Patel said, “We are going very high on solar renewable.Gujarat currently has a total installed power generation capacity of 26800 MW. Of this capacity, 19555 MW is conventional power, while 7273 MW is capacity through non-conventional sources like solar, wind and hydro, states the socioeconomic review of the state for the year 2018-19. The private sector in Gujarat consisting of Torrent Power, Adani Power, Essar and Tata Group contributes a lion share of power produced through largely through coal.The total power consumption in Gujarat rose by about 9.7 percent in 2017-18. During this year, 85445 million units of power was consumed in the state, as against 77881 million units in 2016-17. The highest consumption of 55.52 percent was reported for industrial and commercial use, followed by agriculture at 21.46 percent. The domestic use for power in Gujarat was 17.22 percent while the rest were for other uses like public water works and public lighting.Taking about the move, veteran energy expert KK Bajaj says, “Most of the thermal power stations of GSECL (Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited — a wholly owned subsidiary of Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam) are shut, due to the high cost of generation. Secondly, the Plant Load Factor (PLF) of the functioning plants is just 40 percent. So, the state government is encouraging more renewable energy projects in the state.”More: Gujarat govt not to issue permits for new thermal plantslast_img read more

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Coronavirus may slow Southeast Asia’s renewable energy transition

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNA:Regional aspirations for a swift transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy are likely to be dashed by the economic and market crises triggered by the global COVID-19 outbreak, experts say.Southeast Asian nations already struggling to meet climate change targets will find those goals further from reach, with the unprecedented health emergency becoming the principal priority and a major economic burden.Nuclear energy exploration – being considered by several nations in recent times, including Indonesia and the Philippines – is now also expected to be shelved indefinitely.“The collapse in oil and gas prices and decline in coal prices together will undermine support for renewable energy in most countries, at least in the short-term, because governments have other matters to worry about,” said Dr Philip Andrews-Speed, Senior Principal Fellow at the Energy Studies Institute at the National University of Singapore.“They (the governments) will have even less ability to provide direct financial support and renewable energy supply chains have been disrupted.”He added: “As a result, the switch from fossil fuels to renewables may be delayed a few years across many countries.”Countries across the region face lower levels of economic growth and recession. In a report published on Mar 31, the World Bank declared that “significant economic pain seems unavoidable” across the region. Projections for the major economies of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are of 5 per cent, 4.6 per cent and 3.5 per cent negative growth respectively in 2020. Singapore’s full-year GDP growth forecast has been downgraded to -6 per cent, from -2.3 per cent, according to Maybank Kim Eng economists. Southeast Asia is a region hungry for electricity and growing hungrier by 6 per cent every year, one of the fastest rates in the world, according to a 2019 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Power demand has grown by 80 per cent since 2000, resulting in the doubling of the use of fossil fuels. It could increase by a further 60 per cent by 2040, based on stated policies of regional governments. In times of fiscal weakness, the imperative in developing economies may shift to provide power as cheaply as possible. Replacing dirty power generation with new cleaner technologies with high upfront costs looks far less attractive now than pre-COVID-19.Already, securing financing for traditional technologies, including so-called “clean coal,” has proven problematic of late. Extra financial pressures could cut further those investment pathways, giving more impetus to a renewable shift. Asia is already the world leader for renewable sector growth – up 7.6 per cent of supply in 2019 and accounting for 54 per cent of new global additions in 2019 – according to an annual report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. While 2020 will be a different prospect, there remains confidence in the long-term trajectory of the sector. [Jack Board]More: Southeast Asia’s renewable energy transition likely to take hit from COVID-19: Experts Coronavirus may slow Southeast Asia’s renewable energy transitionlast_img read more

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Wisconsin’s Alliant Energy to spend $900 million buying 675MW of solar capacity

first_imgWisconsin’s Alliant Energy to spend $900 million buying 675MW of solar capacity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Wisconsin utility Alliant Energy will spend $900 million buying 675 megawatts of utility-scale solar projects as it moves to replace uneconomic coal-fired plants with renewables.Alliant, which serves about 1 million customers in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin and Iowa, currently relies on renewables for about 20 percent of its generation capacity, largely wind power in Iowa, with twice as much coming from natural gas plants. On Tuesday Alliant said it will “acquire” six large-scale solar projects in Wisconsin from developers NextEra Energy Resources, Ranger Power and Savion. The projects, ranging from 50 megawatts up to a 200-megawatt development owned by NextEra, represent a huge leap forward for Wisconsin’s solar market. The state has around 150 megawatts of installed solar today, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.Alliant’s solar news comes just days after it announced plans to close the remaining 380-megawatt unit of its coal-fired Edgewater Generating Station in Sheboygan by the end of 2022, a move it said will save customers “hundreds of millions of dollars in costs.” Alliant subsidiary Wisconsin Power and Light closed two other, older units at Edgewood over the past five years.In 2018 Alliant established its “Clean Energy Blueprint,” which aims for 30 percent renewables by 2030 on the way to an 80-percent carbon emissions cut by 2050. The blueprint includes a goal of 1 gigawatt of solar by 2023, as well as an accelerated closure of the coal plants that still made up 30 percent of its generation as of last year.Most Midwestern states are not known for their solar markets, but utilities across the region are increasingly staking out clean energy and decarbonization plans that move beyond onshore wind and embrace large-scale solar. Over the past few years, the active interconnection queue for Midwestern grid operator MISO has steadily shifted from wind to solar as its primary renewable resource. According to a May 2020 report from MISO, of the 68 gigawatts of projects seeking interconnection, 40.6 gigawatts are solar projects.[Jeff St. John]More: Wisconsin has 150MW of solar. Alliant just bought 675MW morelast_img read more

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Andhra Pradesh state government approves 2,750MW solar+wind+pumped hydro project

first_imgAndhra Pradesh state government approves 2,750MW solar+wind+pumped hydro project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mercom India:The Government of Andhra Pradesh has approved the establishment of an integrated renewable energy project (IREP) at Pinnapuram village in Kurnool district by Greenko Energies Private Limited.As part of the project, Greenko will set up 1,000 MW of solar project, 550 MW of wind project, and 1,200 MW of standalone pumped storage capacity.According to the order, the project should be completed in four years, failing which the entire land would be taken back by the government.The power generated from the wind-solar hybrid and standalone pumped storage will be connected to the power grid substation, and it will be supplied outside the state. The distribution companies (DISCOMs) will have no obligation to purchase the generated power.For the reverse pumping hydro project, a ‘Green Energy Development Charge’ would be levied at the rate of ₹100,000 (~$1,327)/MW of the installed capacity per year for the first 25 years. After that, a charge of ₹200,000 (~$2,654)/MW of the installed capacity per year would be levied. For the solar and wind projects, this charge would amount to ₹100,000 (~$1,327)/MW of the installed capacity per year for 28 years.[Rakesh Ranjan]More: Andhra Pradesh approves Greenko’s 1 GW solar, 550 MW wind, and 1.2 GW pumped storage projectlast_img read more

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SloperFest: Pickin’ and Sendin’

first_imgThe Southern SloperFest Bouldering Competition and Music Festival brings together two of the South’s favorite pastimes—bluegrass and bouldering. On March 6 the annual festival at Alabama’s Horse Pens 40—a 120-acre craggy climbing haven in Steele—will combine a full day of slab grabbing with an all-night roots music and camping festival. The ancient exposed stone of the Horse Pens nature park isn’t just revered by climbers. Since the 60s, event organizers also have been using the pristine acoustics of its natural amphitheatre to host the likes of Emmylou Harris, Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, and Ricky Skaggs.last_img

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The July Issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors is On Stands Now: Road Trip!

first_imgRoll down the windows and kick some tunes: our July issue features six favorite road trips packed with island-hopping, crag-crushing, whitewater shredding, two-wheeled touring adventures for everyone. We also investigate the coal ash ponds threatening most of our readers’ drinking water and offer ten concrete actions that really can make a difference. Also in this month’s issue are stories about street fishing, authentic moonshine, car camping gear, and skirt-wearing outdoorsmen.FEATURESTHE OPEN ROADRoll down the windows and kick some tunes: our six favorite road trips are packed with island-hopping, crag-crushing, whitewater shredding, two-wheeled touring adventures for everyone.10 WAYS THAT WORKTen concrete steps everyone can take to improve the health of our delicate blue-green orb.SMOKE IN THE WATERWhat’s in your drinking water? Toxic coal ash threatens your tap.LAST OF THE WILDA wilderness seeker wanders into one of the few remaining dark spots on the map.HOMELANDA mountain man fights to save his creek—and his life—with a new vision for rural Appalachia.DEPARTMENTSEDITOR’S NOTEThe best way to save the planet: save your health.FLASHPOINTMore wilderness in the South?THE DIRTAuthentic mountain moonshine , Street fishing and more!THE GOODSCar camping essentialsTRAIL MIXReed Turchi’s gritty Appalachian blueslast_img read more

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10 Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas for the Outdoorsy Dad

first_imgIn case you somehow missed it, Father’s Day is Sunday. If you’re like me, and you haven’t made plans or arrangements for that outdoorsy dad on your list, don’t freak out just yet. There’s still time. And with this top 10 list of top-notch gifts for the outdoor-loving Dad in your life, the task just got a little simpler.1. Costa Polarized SunglassesNew in 2016, the Rafael frames offer optimum comfort, style, and durability while the copper shaded 580 p glass lenses are perfectly calibrated to the mountain trout streams of the Blue Ridge.costa2_FIX2. Ice Mule CoolerThis is a serious cooler designed for extreme adventure. It’s perfect for the dad on the go because it allows him to keep things cold without having to lug a heavy, bulky cooler around!Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 2.07.18 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-15 at 2.07.24 PM 6. Deuter Kid Comfort 2“Designed for that feeling of boundless freedom on longer hikes, Kid Comfort has taken thousands of kids and parents on great excursions outdoors.” Related Content: 3. Altec Lansing Sport EarBudsThese waterproof buds stay securely in your ear even when you’re dripping with sweat or covered in mud. They can even go under water for lake swims or laps in the pool. With 20 hours of battery life, these Bluetooth buds are comfy and snug, and they deliver top-notch sound to power you through your next workout.Sport Headphones Redcenter_img Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.53.20 PM7. Oboz SundogLet Dad  leave winter’s weight behind with the versatility of the Sundog – traction, breathability, comfort, and only-what-you-need protection.Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.57.41 PM8. Leki Instructor Lite Hiking PolesLeki is the industry standard for hiking poles, and the Instructor Lites don’t disappoint. With rubber fitness tips, adjustable trigger straps, an innovative patented Shark Grip releasable strap system, and 100% carbon shafts, the poles are lightweight yet durable.  The poles are easily adjustable, too, allowing multiple users to size the poles to their needs.unnamed9. Chaco Updraft EcotreadThese are our approach shoes. In the fall and winter, we convert them into “Sacos” for bouldering. You don’t have to tie your shoes from boulder to boulder. It’s a pain in the ass to tie your shoes. $95chaco updraft_FIX10.  Columbia OutDry Extreme Rain JacketColumbia is positioning their new OutDry Extreme tech as a paradigm shift in the world of raingear, which has been dominated by Gore-Tex for the last 30 years or so. It’s the first two-layer system, employing a wicking fabric on the inside and a super-durable waterproof membrane on the outside.Men's OutDry EX Diamond Shell 4. myCharge All-TerrainIt’s the first waterproof, temperature proof, drop proof and dust proof portable battery pack. Charge your phone or devices on big backcountry adventures without worrying about the elements.The All-Terrain is waterproof up to two meters for one hour and can withstand extreme heat and cold without losing charging capabilities.AllTerrain open5. Howler Brothers, Matagorda Tech ShirtTechnical shirts are a dime a dozen these days, but Howler Brothers has outdone themselves with the Matagorda Tech Shirt, the newest in an apparel lineup that is being heralded by industry pros and weekend warriors alike. The key to the Matagorda’s functionality is its streamlined simplicity. The design is clean and focused and the breathable nylon fabric is engineered for extreme flexibility.LS Shirt_Matagorda_Crustaceanlast_img read more

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Anything to Win: Are elite trail runners using performance enhancing drugs?

first_imgBarry Bonds. Lance Armstrong. Marion Jones. Some of the biggest names in sport have become synonymous with scandal, having been investigated or banned for using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). No one publicly condones the use of steroids or other banned substances, but when millions of dollars and eternal glory are on the line, it’s not hard to see how some may find themselves on a slippery slope of self-enhancement, with the potential side effect of self-destruction.It’s not always high-stakes athletes who are willing to cheat, either. Amateur athletes have increasingly been turning to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Trail running has exploded in popularity over the past decade, and with more sponsorships and attention have come more allegations of blood doping. Are elite trail runners juiced up?During the 2015 Ultratrail du Mont-Blanc competition, Gonzalo Calistos tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone that helps the blood carry more oxygen to the cells. That same year, Elisa Desco entered the 50-mile The North Face (TNF) Endurance Challenge, three years after completing a ban for testing positive for EPO in 2009. Many athletes were outraged, claiming that she shouldn’t have been allowed to compete due to her record, even though her ban had been fully served.Both athletes maintain their innocence and say they didn’t knowingly take performance-enhancing drugs. Calistos suggested that his Ecuadorean background and regular exposure to high altitudes might explain his atypical blood profile, but neither the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) nor the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have commented on that. Dr. Chris Harnish, a trail runner and exercise physiologist, believes more comprehensive data, such as from “anonymous surveys and some random drug testing” versus isolated incidents, are necessary to determine the true state of doping in trail running.However, with PEDs being relatively easy to purchase and so few races implementing drug testing, it is definitely possible that PED use is “a lot more rampant than we realize,” says Dr. Harnish. In response, some runners have been taking matters into their own hands. Testing is irregular in this blossoming sport partially because it is prohibitively expensive, but in 2016, Paul Kirsche and David Roche started the website runcleangetdirty.org, where runners can pledge their commitment to being substance-free.The North Face (TNF) is taking a stand of its own. Their new policy states not only that athletes serving a ban will be unable to participate in their Endurance Challenge Series events, but also that athletes who have completed a ban, while able to compete, will be ineligible for “prize money, awards, podium recognition, or rankings.”  They will also be barred from the elite field.The mere existence of this policy denotes the need for regulation in a growing sport. Maeve Sloane, TNF’s Performance Sports Marketing Manager, admits that “as any sport grows, so does the number of issues that arise,” but at the moment TNF doesn’t believe doping incidents are growing at an “alarming rate.” Still, TNF has joined Hobbs and the ATRA to set forth a plan for the coming years and raise awareness of the issue.Will the new policy make much of a difference? Sloane acknowledged that the Endurance Challenge Series would not start testing its competitors, and many are left asking: What good is banning illegal substances if there’s no testing? Anne Riddle, a trail runner with over 25 years of experience, thinks that athletes will realize “they are likely to get away with it…until drug testing is more common.” However, both she and Michael Owen, the SE Ohio Trail Runners race director, don’t see testing becoming common in the near future due to the expense.“With participation growth, and competition depth growth, we will surely see more people trying to gain an advantage illegally,” says Owen. “I don’t let it affect me—there are so many people who run ultra’s for their own reasons. 99.9% of us don’t do it for the money. We’d be cheating ourselves of a pure experience.”People get into trail running to challenge themselves or just try something new. It’s seen as a pure sport, more closely connected to nature than many others, and perhaps that’s why the idea of doping hits such a raw nerve with some participants.For the most part, however, many runners at the recreational level feel that the issue is being blown out of proportion. “It’s not a common thing,” notes Scott Dunlap, a 12-time national trail running champion and writer of A Trail Runner’s Blog. He fears that “the more [a few runners] talk about it, the more people outside the sport think it really is a considerable factor.”Nancy Hobbs, Executive Director of the American Trail Running Association, agrees that some “vocal runners” are drawing unnecessary attention to the issue. “It’s like a whisper down the alley,” she speculates of individuals who are suspicious of how well others are doing. While testing is “a good thing to do,” Hobbs says, what’s more important is to educate runners about performance-enhancing drugs and how testing works.This would help avoid accidental use of banned substances, which can be found in pretty unlikely places. One athlete wound up serving a six-month ban thanks to an ingredient in a medication meant to treat menopausal symptoms. If runners at every level knew what to look out for, Hobbs explains, they could talk to their doctors to ensure that medications for legitimate health issues wouldn’t land them on the banned list.With new policies and growing awareness, Sloane is optimistic about trail running’s future. “As more brands and races adopt clean sport policies, it will continuously become more difficult to get away with doping.”last_img read more

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