Editorial: A Renewable Energy Boom

first_imgEditorial: A Renewable Energy Boom FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the New York Times:Some world leaders, especially in developing countries like India, have long said it’s hard to reduce the emissions that are warming the planet because they need to use relatively inexpensive — but highly carbon-intensive — fuels like coal to keep energy affordable. That argument is losing its salience as the cost of renewable energy sources like wind and solar continues to fall.Last year, for the first time, renewables accounted for a majority of new electricity-generating capacity added around the world, according to a recent United Nations report. More than half the $286 billion invested in wind, solar and other renewables occurred in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil — also for the first time. Excluding large hydroelectric plants, 10.3 percent of all electricity generated globally in 2015 came from renewables, roughly double the amount in 2007, according to the report.The average global cost of generating electricity from solar panels fell 61 percent between 2009 and 2015 and 14 percent for land-based wind turbines. In sunny parts of the world like India and Dubai, developers of solar farms have recently offered to sell electricity for less than half the global average price. In November, the accounting firm KPMG predicted that by 2020 solar energy in India could be 10 percent cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal.These are all hopeful signs. They suggest that reductions in carbon emissions can be achieved more quickly and more cheaply than widely believed. And they provide hope that nations will be able to achieve the ambitious goals they set for themselves at last December’s climate summit meeting in Paris — to keep warming below the threshold beyond which the world will be locked into a future of devastating consequences, including rising sea levels, severe droughts and flooding, widespread food and water shortages and more destructive storms.Replacing coal-fired plants or avoiding new ones will have major health benefits as well, especially in heavily polluted cities in China and India where ground-level pollutants like soot and smog make the simple act of breathing a major undertaking. Those benefits will be even greater as gasoline-powered cars are replaced with electric vehicles that draw power from wind and solar farms.Formidable obstacles to the cleaner energy future envisioned in Paris remain. One is technological: Batteries capable of storing energy for use when the sun is not shining and the wind isn’t blowing are still quite expensive, though their costs are falling. Another is financial: Despite increased private investment in renewables, the United States and other industrialized countries have not lived up to their pledge at the Copenhagen conference in 2009 to provide $100 billion a year to underwrite climate projects in poorer countries. Negotiators in Paris gave themselves until 2025 to come up with a new financing goal.A third obstacle is political. It’s clear that imposing a price on fossil fuels would encourage investment in cleaner fuels. A carbon tax has cut emissions in British Columbia; India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed doubling a tax on coal; China has promised a national emissions trading system. But carbon taxes remain a nonstarter in the United States.The falling cost of renewables is a clear plus. The prospect of keeping energy affordable while saving the planet should inspire leaders to bolder action.A Renewable Energy Boomlast_img read more

Technology transition undercutting all fossil fuels

first_imgTechnology transition undercutting all fossil fuels FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The New York Review of Books:“Kingsmill Bond” certainly sounds like a proper name for a City of London financial analyst. He looks the part, too: gray hair expertly trimmed, well-cut suit. He’s lived in Moscow and Hong Kong and worked for Deutsche Bank, the Russian financial firm Troika Dialog, and Citibank. He’s currently “new energy strategist” for a small British think tank called Carbon Tracker, and last fall he published a short paper called “2020 Vision: Why You Should See the Fossil Fuel Peak Coming.” It asks an interesting question: At what point does a new technology cause an existing industry to start losing significant value?This may turn out to be the most important economic and political question of the first half of this century, and the answer might tell us much about our chances of getting through the climate crisis without completely destroying the planet. Based on earlier technological transitions—horses to cars, sails to steam, land lines to cell phones—it seems possible that the fossil fuel industry may begin to weaken much sooner than you’d think. The British-Venezuelan scholar Carlota Perez has observed that over a period of twenty years, trains made redundant a four-thousand-mile network of canals and dredged rivers across the UK: “The canal builders…fought hard and even finished a couple of major canals in the 1830s, but defeat was inevitable,” as it later was for American railroads (and horses) when they were replaced by trucks and cars.Major technological transitions often take a while. The Czech-Canadian academic Vaclav Smil has pointed out that although James Watt developed the coal-powered steam engine in 1776, coal supplied less than 5 percent of the planet’s energy until 1840, and it didn’t reach 50 percent until 1900. But the economic effect of those transitions can happen much earlier, Bond writes, as soon as it becomes clear to investors that a new technology is accounting for all the growth in a particular sector.Over the last decade, there has been a staggering fall in the price of solar and wind power, and of the lithium-ion batteries used to store energy. This has led to rapid expansion of these technologies, even though they are still used much less than fossil fuels: in 2017, for instance, sun and wind produced just 6 percent of the world’s electric supply, but they made up 45 percent of the growth in supply, and the cost of sun and wind power continues to fall by about 20 percent with each doubling of capacity. Bond’s analysis suggests that in the next few years, they will represent all the growth. We will then reach peak use of fossil fuels, not because we’re running out of them but because renewables will have become so cheap that anyone needing a new energy supply will likely turn to solar or wind power.Bond writes that in the 2020s—probably the early 2020s—the demand for fossil fuels will stop growing. The turning point in such transitions “is typically the moment when the impact is felt in financial markets”—when stock prices tumble and never recover. Who is going to invest in an industry that is clearly destined to shrink? Though we’ll still be using lots of oil, its price should fall if it has to compete with the price of sunshine. Hence the huge investments in pipelines and tankers and undersea exploration will be increasingly unrecoverable. Precisely how long it will take is impossible to predict, but the outcome seems clear.This transition is already obvious in the coal markets. To understand, for example, why Peabody, the world’s largest private-sector coal-mining company, went from being on Fortune’s list of most admired companies in 2008 to bankrupt in 2016, consider its difficulties in expanding its market. India, until very recently, was expected to provide much of the growth for coal. As late as 2015, its coal use was expected to triple by 2030; the country was resisting global efforts like the Paris Accords to rein in its carbon emissions. But the price of renewable energy began to fall precipitously, and because India suffered from dire air pollution but has inexhaustible supplies of sunlight, its use of solar power started to increase dramatically.“In 2017, the price in India of wind and solar power dropped 50 percent to $35–40 a megawatt hour,” said Tim Buckley, who analyzes Australasia/South Asia for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “Fifty percent in one year. And a zero inflation indexation for the next twenty-five years. Just amazing.” This price drop occurred not because India subsidizes renewable energy (it doesn’t), but because engineers did such a good job of making solar panels more efficient. The cost of power from a newly built coal plant using Indian coal is, by comparison, about $60 a megawatt hour. If you have to import the coal, the price of power is $70/megawatt hour. And solar’s $40/megawatt hour price is guaranteed not to rise over the thirty-year life of the contract the suppliers sign—their bids are based on building and then running a facility for the life of the contract. No wonder that over the first nine months of 2018, India installed forty times more capacity for renewable than for coal-fired power.More: A future without fossil fuels?last_img read more

Florida officials approve coal-to-gas conversion at Big Bend Power Station

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Tampa Bay Times:Tampa Electric Co. can move forward with its plan to convert part of its Big Bend Power Station to natural gas.In a Thursday morning meeting, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the rest of the Florida Cabinet voted to approve the plan over the objections of some environmentalists. The cabinet, meeting as Florida’s Power Plant Siting Board, has final say over such projects.The utility plans to convert a coal-fired generator at Big Bend (Unit 1) to natural gas, while another coal-fired generator (Unit 2) will be retired. The new natural gas generator will be able to produce 1,090 megawatts, about 294 megawatts more than the two coal-powered generators currently produce together. Both units will be complete by 2023. Tampa Electric expects to spend $853 million on the project, which its ratepayers will cover.Big Bend Power Station will continue to use coal in its two other generators.The conversion of the other generator drew sharp criticism and pushback from environmental groups, particularly the Sierra Club, which sought to prevent the power company from pursuing the project. In advance of the vote Thursday, the Sierra Club collected 9,430 signatures on a petition against the plant’s conversion and facilitated 878 calls to the governor as part of its #TellTheTruthTeco campaign.Tampa Electric argues that switching from coal to natural gas will reduce the plant’s emissions by half compared to the coal-powered generators. But environmental advocates argue that swapping one fossil fuel for another will still significantly contribute to climate change.More: Florida cabinet approves Tampa Electric partial plant conversion from coal to natural gas Florida officials approve coal-to-gas conversion at Big Bend Power Stationlast_img read more

Indian renewable energy ministry: Country’s offshore wind generation potential may total 70GW

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享EnergyWorld.com:India has an estimated offshore wind energy potential to generate around 70,000 Megawatts (MW) of power, most of it in coastal Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, according to the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE).“Initial studies indicate offshore wind energy potential of about 70 Gigawatts (GW) within the identified zones along the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu only,” the ministry told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy.The Ministry is planning to develop the first offshore wind energy project of 1 GW capacity off the coast of Gujarat. The required geophysical study for 365 square km has already been completed and the geo-technical and met-ocean studies are in progress. The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has floated the expression of interest (EoI) for this first offshore wind energy project of India.All the stage-I clearances as per national offshore wind energy policy has been obtained for the proposed 1 GW project. An environmental impact assessment for the proposed project is being carried out by National Institute of Oceanography, Goa.The parliamentary panel has also recommended that MNRE should encourage wind–solar hybrid projects as much as possible in order to minimize the intermittency of renewable power. “Wind and solar energy are complementary, and hybridizing these two would help in minimizing the variability apart from optimally utilizing the infrastructure, including land and transmission systems,” the panel said in its recommendations to the ministry.The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has awarded three wind-solar hybrid projects of 1,440 MW capacity in Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu and issued a tender to install 160 MW capacity of wind-solar hybrid projects in Andhra Pradesh.[Anshul Joshi]More: India identifies offshore wind energy potential of 70,000 MW along Gujarat, TN coasts Indian renewable energy ministry: Country’s offshore wind generation potential may total 70GWlast_img read more

Clips of the Week: Riding High

first_imgClips of the Week: Riding High features some brave souls attempting feats of ascent far beyond our comfort level. From high-lining between two hot air balloons to scaling the second tallest building in the world, these people have a knack for heights that will leave you thankful for GoPro.This group of insane high-liners attempt a nauseating cross between two hot air balloons, complete with a small umbrella for safety.Almost sixty years after the first ascent of Mount Everest, Russian extreme sport star Valery Rozov jumped off the north face of the mountain, the highest base jump ever recorded at 23,668 feet above sea level.Watch as two men (illegally) climb up the Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world. Their look down from the top is enough to make you grip your armrest.And finally the Bridge Day 2013 compilation of base jumpers at the New River Gorge.last_img read more

Tallulah Fest + Chattooga River Clean Up

first_imgWe did it! We fit everything we need to live for eight months in the back of a truck to haul across the country to the Blue Ridge Outdoors headquarters to meet our new home, Live Outside and Play Van (yet to be named). Among our adventure gear, I’ve hidden logic puzzles, homemade sunscreen, and a color changing LED light string, I think we’re set. After we swing by the BRO headquarters, we make way for our first festival, Tallulah Fest!With only five opportunities to dip and dive through the currents of Tallulah River this year, missing this rowdy party and classic rapid run would be a grave mistake. Come join us at Tallulah Fest on April 1st, for boats, brews, bluegrass, and boogying. Emphasis on the boogying, especially by Ben. Boaters from all over come to play in the fresh currents, as well as camp, hike, and celebrate general merriment. There’s even a film festival for the more cultured among us. It will be our first festival of the Live Outside and Play 2017 tour, and Tallulah Fest’s last year (for now), so we need to make it the best year.This is a perfect opportunity to meet us in person and find out what Roxy’s favorite animal is. Stop by our tent, say howdy (it is Georgia after all), and ask us how we managed to fit our entire lives in a van, plus a guitar and a didgeridoo.Once you’ve enjoyed the four B’s of Tallulah Fest, come back to the Live Outside and Play tent Sunday morning (April 2nd) to partake in a Chattooga River clean up. We will be meeting at 10AM to make the world a better place, one piece of litter at a time. We will caravan to the parking lot at the Bull Sluice rapid on the Chattooga and clean up between the US-76 bridge and the flowing Chattooga. As an added bonus, we will have giveaways from our sponsors, as well as dad jokes, and impromptu didgeridoo performances.Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see when we will be close by!last_img read more

The New Classics

first_img oru kayak Paddling The North Face Ultra Traction FuturelightFuturelight is The North Face’s answer to Gore-Tex, a lightweight, super-breathable membrane that the brand spent a long time developing and claims is lighter and more effective. Put it to the test yourself in these spry, 10.6-ounce trail runners with a lug pattern that features alternating heights between 3.5 mm and 4 mm that will eat up slick rocks and roots. They are the perfect vehicle to run off your cabin fever no matter the conditions out there. $155; thenorthface.com Orvis Women’s PRO WaderFly fishing is the perfect social distancing activity: Everyone wants their own personal space on the water away from other anglers. Breathable and super-tough, these waders can handle a wide range of temperatures on the water as well as rambling around off trail to find the right spot. Best of all, they come in a wide range of sizes for a fit that feels a bit stylish. A waterproof front pocket to hold essentials and fleece-lined hand warmer pockets seal the deal. The mens’ version is just as good. $498; orvis.com  Weeks of social distancing have made us all a bit stir crazy. Never fear, these new iterations of classic outdoor gear will get you on the paths, trails, lakes, and streams close to home where you can safely and responsibly let out some steam.  Oru Kayak InletIf you face limited storage in your house and vehicle, kayaking seems out of the question. Hold it right there, because Oru specializes in “origami kayaks,” which pack down to fit in tight spots and fold out to get you on the water. Take the new Inlet: This beginner’s flat water boat weighs just 20 pounds and will hold 275 pounds of paddler plus gear, and it all breaks down into a neat 42”-by-19”-by-10” traveling box. $899; orukayak.com Trail Runningcenter_img Nomader BottleThere are plenty of water bottles out there, but the smart, packable Nomader puts a new spin on the outdoor essential. This soft, BPA-free bottle rolls up to fist size when empty, making it simple to stash in a pack or in your crowded cupboard. A locking screw top makes it easy to drink out of on the go and prevents spills while it’s in your pack. We are looking forward to taking it backpacking when we get back out in the woods. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty. $25; nomader.com Diamondback Haanjo 7C CarbonThis multi-tasker of a ride can handle anything from a casual cyclocross race to a training ride to a day-long spin up into the hills—ideal for these times when you may be limited to adventure out your door. The carbon frame and fork are light, tough, and put you in the perfect position to comfortably hammer out long miles on pavement, gravel, and dirt. Endurance geometry and a relaxed headtube angle make it easy to spend long hours cranking this steed and a componentry package that includes HED Tomcat tubeless rims that can handle a range of tires make it even more versatile. $3,000; diamondback.com Hydration Fly Fishing Hiking Vasque Breeze All-Terrain GTXThe new classic when it comes to a hiker needs to be a boot that has all the beef of a traditional backpacking shoe but none of the bulk, weight, and break-in time. Voila. Weighing in at two pounds, 11 ounces, this surprisingly light boot can tackle the nastiest of trails thanks to a leather upper and Gore-Tex membrane that sheds slop. Meanwhile, the sticky Vibram MegaGrip outsole breezes up scree and talus but also feels right at home when you are cruising on hard-packed dirt. It’s a boot that will stand up to big trips but feels just fine out on a casual hike. $190; vasque.com Gravel Grinding Speed Hiking Camelbak Octane 25Even as we recover, the COVID-19 era has forced us to seek out responsible adventures that are close to home and far from other people. This light (one-pound, six-ounce) hydration pack proves the perfect companion whether you are hiking, bushwhacking, or off on an adventure run. The bladder holds 70 ounces of water and the pack can haul a jacket, lunch, and other essentials. $145; camelbak.comlast_img read more

FARC Planning Attack on Former President Uribe: Minister

first_imgBy Dialogo October 06, 2010 The issue of the assault against the paramilitary Uribe is nothing new, it’s only a political campaign to benefit Uribe Velez, and as to the district attorney, it’s also false. How they are going to murder a sympathizing member of the guerrilla that during his youth was part of the JUCO. Be professional journalists and don’t repeat like parrots the stupidities told by politicians and Uribe’s useful idiots, such as the Minister of Defense. Colombia’s largest leftist guerrilla group is planning to assassinate former president Alvaro Uribe, who during his administration sponsored a military offensive that weakened the rebels, Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said on 4 October. The minister indicated that information on the plan for an attack on Uribe, who held office between 2002 and 2010, was found on one of the computers found in the camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) military commander, alias El Mono Jojoy, who died in a conforntation with authorities on 23 September. “Based on the initial information gathered from these computers, we observe a clear intention to make use of criminal plans to assassinate former president Alvaro Uribe Vélez,” Rivera affirmed in a press conference. “Former president Uribe has already been informed of the existence of these plans by President Juan Manuel Santos; he is aware of these criminal plans against his safety, against his life,” he added. Rivera announced that the administration is determined to offer security and protective measures to Uribe so that he can continue to carry out his political activities in the country. Uribe, who announced last week that he will participate actively in Colombian politics leading up to the 2011 regional elections, headed a military offensive that weakened the FARC and forced them to withdraw to remote mountain and jungle areas. In the course of this offensive, the FARC lost several of their commanders, such as Raúl Reyes, Tomás Medina Caracas, and Martín Caballero, while thousands of their fighters deserted. However, the guerrilla group, which says that it is fighting to impose a socialist system in a country in which almost half of the 44 million inhabitants live in poverty, still maintains the ability to carry out high-impact attacks in remote jungle and mountain regions strategically located for drug trafficking, and even in urban centers.last_img read more

Haiti: One Year after the Earthquake, Priority Is to Speed Up Recovery

first_imgBy Dialogo January 12, 2011 The solution for Haiti is to have a Government of a different nationality, because all of the former Haitians have been corrupt and dictatorial and they only talk about Port Au Prince. The problems of Haiti are not only in Port AU Prince but throughout the entire country. For example in Hinche there is a lot of poverty and more than 500 people have died of cholera. There is no potable water and only one hospital that serves a population of 500,000 people. One year after the earthquake that caused 225,550 deaths in Haiti and displaced 2.3 million people, the “absolute priority” of UN humanitarian agencies in 2011 will be speeding up the country’s recovery, the organization indicated on 11 January. “We need to hit the accelerator on recovery efforts. This will be the absolute priority in 2011,” the spokesperson of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Elisabeth Byrs, explained to AFP. The process is expected to last “months and even years,” given the magnitude of the task on the ground, Byrs admitted, in particular the rebuilding of 180,000 damaged or destroyed homes, the removal of tons of debris, and the reestablishment of basic services for hundreds of thousands of people still waiting to be rehoused. “With 800,000 people still in camps, we should be realistic about the time that will be needed to rehouse all of them,” the spokesperson insisted. The humanitarian agencies again defended their overall handling of an unprecedented disaster that annihilated the structures of an entire state, which lost around 30% of its officials in the 12 January 2010 earthquake. The UN itself mourned the death of two hundred of its employees in the collapse of the building housing its Haitian mission.last_img read more

Twenty-nine Military Personnel Wounded in Colombia by Explosive Device Attributed to the FARC

first_img Twenty-nine soldiers were wounded by a FARC explosive device that went off as a military patrol was passing nearby in the Colombian department of Arauca, on the border with Venezuela, a military spokesperson told AFP on 3 February. “Twenty-nine soldiers were wounded, all with light wounds except for one whose condition is serious and who is in surgery right now in San Vicente Hospital,” in Arauca, the capital of the department of the same name, said the spokesperson for the Army’s 18th Brigade, headquartered in that city. The attack, attributed to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Communist guerrilla group, occurred early on the morning of 3 February, when the military personnel were moving through a remote rural area, the spokesperson specified. As he explained, the military personnel were isolating the area, due to the fact that the guerrillas had abandoned a vehicle loaded with explosives that ultimately did not go off. Nevertheless, the rebels activated another explosive charge when the military patrol was about six kilometers from the location of the car bomb. At the end of a security council meeting in Arauca, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called on the Army not to neglect its operating procedures “to prevent new attacks.” “We’re going to reinforce the rigor of our procedures, so that situations of this kind don’t happen again. Fortunately, there were no dead, but we do have to regret the injuries,” Santos indicated. In his turn, Vice President Angelino Garzón, who is responsible for human-rights policy, condemned the event, which he characterized as a “criminal attack,” and emphasized that the wounded “are humble soldiers, the children of peasants, of members of the people.” The event occurred at the same time that civilian groups in Arauca are holding a “civic strike” to demand the release of seven indigenous social leaders detained by the authorities on 25 January, on charges of rebellion and criminal conspiracy, according to a statement by the protest organizers. By Dialogo February 07, 2011last_img read more