FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Science Magazine:Floating wind turbines at sea could create up to three times as much electricity as turbines on land, increasing the energy potential for a technology that has yet to be proven at scale, a new study suggests.Scientists at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Palo Alto, California, wanted to know whether turbines installed in the open ocean—where air currents are 70% stronger than on land—would also face wind shadow problems. So they conducted virtual experiments using a climate model, and in today’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences atmospheric scientist Anna Possner and climatologist Ken Caldiera report that turbines placed in the North Atlantic could produce three times as much power as an existing wind farm in Kansas of similar size. Driving this greater potential are wintertime low-pressure systems, which occur more frequently at sea than land. They efficiently mix energy from fast, upper level winds down to the surface of the ocean, speeding surface winds. That means offshore wind turbines in close proximity would still encounter each other’s wind shadow, the authors write, but the wind speed would recover because of the replenished energy, allowing for sustained high power.The authors say their findings should spur companies to try to overcome those obstacles, however, estimating that offshore wind farms in the North Atlantic alone “could potentially provide civilization-scale power.”More: Offshore wind farms have powerful advantage over land-based turbines, study finds Report: Offshore Wind Can Produce ‘Civilization-Scale Power’
AEP seeks regulatory approval for 400MW of solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:U.S. utility American Electric Power Company Inc said Thursday its unit in Ohio is seeking the green light from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) for 400 MW of new solar capacity.Through a request for proposals (RfP), AEP Ohio has awarded power purchase agreements (PPAs) to Hecate Energy Highland LLC’s 300-MW Highland Solar project and a 100-MW scheme by Willowbrook Solar LLC. Both will be built in the Appalachian region in Highland County and both are expected to be operational by the end of 2021, pending regulatory approvals.The solar parks are estimated to save customers USD 200 million (EUR 171m) over the life of the fixed-price renewable energy purchase agreements, when taking into account the projected cost of power in the future.AEP Ohio yesterday filed with the PUCO its proposal to support the development of these photovoltaic (PV) projects, one of which would be the state’s largest once built. The commission is to evaluate the proposal and issue a decision before construction of the power plants can begin.According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Ohio has just 182 MW of solar capacity, but annual capacity additions are expected to jump to some 170 MW in 2020 and keep rising in the years that follow.AEP Ohio in November 2016 pledged to support 500 MW of wind and 400 MW of solar capacity in Ohio so as to please opponents of an eight-year off-take contract tied to coal-fired power plants.More: AEP Ohio seeks PUCO nod for 400 MW of solar PPAs
Coal’s end may be on the horizon FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Should we just give up now?The world’s electrical utilities need to reduce coal consumption by at least 60 percent over the two decades through 2030 to avoid the worst effects of climate change that could occur with more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced Monday.Such a target seems wildly ambitious: Even Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which tends to be more optimistic than other analysts (and more accurate) about the speed of energy transition, expects coal-fired generation to increase by 10 percent over the period. Hold on though. Is it really such a stretch?After all, U.S. coal-power generation decreased by about a third in the seven years through 2017, to 12.7 billion British thermal units from 18.5 billion, based on data from energy-market consultancy Genscape Inc. In the European Union, black-coal generation fell by about the same proportion over just four years through 2016, according to Eurostat, to 385,925 gigawatt-hours from 544,279 GWh.Across Europe and the U.S., the decline in coal output recently has averaged close to 5 percent a year. If the world as a whole can reach 7 percent a year, it would be on track to meet the IPCC’s 2030 target. The conventional wisdom is that this isn’t possible, as rising demand from emerging economies, led by China and India, overwhelms the switch from fossil fuels in richer countries. That may underestimate the changing economics of energy generation, though.The mainstream view is still that we can’t decarbonize our electricity system fast enough to meet the IPCC’s targets. But a decade ago, the current situation of plateauing demand for coal and car fuel and cratering renewables costs looked equally outlandish. Given the way the world’s energy market has changed in recent years, it’s a good idea to never say never.More: The end of coal could be closer than it looks
Renewables a better option than nuclear, French environment agency says FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:France will save 39 billion euros ($44.5 billion) if it refrains from building 15 new nuclear plants by 2060, and bets instead on renewable energy sources to replace its all its aging atomic facilities, a government agency said.France should spend 1.28 trillion euros over the next four decades, mostly on clean power production and storage capacities, networks, and imports, according to a report from the country’s environment ministry. If it does this, France would progressively shut down its 58 atomic plants and renewable energy would comprise 95 percent of its electricity output by 2060, up from 17 percent last year.The development of the so-called EPR nuclear reactors “wouldn’t be competitive for the French power system from an economic standpoint,” the Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maitrise de l’Energie –or Ademe– said in a statement. The report assumes that the reactors would produce electricity at a cost of 70 euros per megawatt-hour, while the cost of wind and solar power would fall much lower.The report follows President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement that state-controlled Electricite de France SA will have to shut as many as 14 of its 58 nuclear reactors by 2035 to allow renewable energy to expand the country’s power mix. Macron also gave EDF until mid-2021 to prove that it can build an economically-viable reactor before the country decides to build new atomic plants. EDF’s EPR project in Normandy is more than six years late coming online, and the cost has more than tripled from its original budget.Falling costs means that photovoltaic facilities won’t need subsidies from 2030, nor will onshore wind from 2035, the report said. That’s assuming that EDF halts 30 percent of its reactors after 40 years of operation and an additional 30 percent when they turn 50. Otherwise, surplus production capacity would undermine the economics of both nuclear power and renewables, Ademe said.More: France would save $44.5 billion by betting on renewable energy, agency says
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Billings Gazette:The Republicans’ play to bail out Colstrip will cost each NorthWestern Energy customer at least $721 and may not work, according to Montana Public Service Commission analysts. Analysts for the state’s commission of elected utility regulators laid out the costs Monday and recommended the PSC oppose the latest bill on Colstrip.At issue is Senate Bill 331, a bill by Billings Republican Sen. Tom Richmond that assures that if Colstrip closes early customers keep paying NorthWestern $407 million for the utility’s 2008 purchase of Colstrip Unit 4. Early closure is seeming more likely as the power plant’s other utility owners arrange to be financially ready to shutter Colstrip by 2027. The bill, which has NorthWestern’s backing, is being promoted by the Senate Republican caucus.“In the event that Colstrip Unit 4 were retired in 2027, the asset’s un-depreciated and remediation costs total $276 million. That amount would equate to a liability of approximately $721 per customer, based on the current number of NorthWestern customers,” analysts reported.That $721 cost per consumer could increase as other costs, such as environmental cleanup, are folded in the equation, according to staff.Analysts described the bill as a guarantee that NorthWestern would be paid back, not as legislation that would protect Colstrip from early closure. The risk associated with the power plant closing early would shift entirely to NorthWestern’s customers, staff said.The commission declined the advice and voted 3 to 1 to support SB 331, which was scheduled for a Tuesday hearing. Bozeman’s Roger Koopman, the only no vote, warned the commission wouldn’t be able to balance the interests of customers and NorthWestern if SB 331 passed.More: ‘Save Colstrip’ bill could cost each NorthWestern customer at least $721 ‘Save Colstrip’ bill will cost Montana consumers, PSC staff warns
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:The Democratic governor of Virginia’s attempts to join the cap-and-trade compact of 10 states had been thwarted by Republican lawmakers, who had controlled the General Assembly in Richmond. That roadblock no longer exists.Climate policy in the U.S. has closely tracked with Democratic state victories in recent years. In 2018, Democrats seized control of all three branches of state government in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and New York and added to their narrow legislative majorities in Washington state.In the following months, New Mexico, New York and Washington all passed legislation to eliminate emissions from power plants by midcentury. Colorado passed a series of reforms meant to green its power supply while Nevada boosted its requirements for renewable energy.Northam has indicated that he wants to follow in those state’s footsteps. In September, he issued an executive order setting renewable energy goals for the state. They included generating 30% of Virginia’s power from renewables by 2030 and all power from non-carbon emitting sources by 2050.But with Republicans controlling the General Assembly in Richmond, the order lacked the force of other states. One big question will be how Democrats approach Dominion Energy Inc., the state’s largest utility. Dominion has emerged as a flashpoint in Virginia politics in recent years.But Dominion has also signaled it is willing to substantially boost its investment in renewables. When Northam issued his executive order establishing renewable energy goals, the utility responded with a statement saying “challenge accepted” Dominion recently announced plans to invest $8 billion in offshore wind.More: Democratic sweep thrusts Va. into ambitious role on climate Virginia elections put another state squarely in the energy-transition column
Riders and drivers seem to have too much of a “them against us” attitude, and that makes it difficult for anyone to like each other. If we aren’t liking and respecting each other, there will be no productive end-result.I was driving my truck downtown today and after pulling through an intersection, I noticed a commuter in my left side view mirror. I thought it was smart of him to position himself into my direct line of view. This is also the proper place to be when following a line of traffic since every one of us has to wait our turn. This is especially important when traffic is moving slowly.Immediately after clearing the intersection, he moved over to the far right of the lane – where a bike lane would be should there actually be one. This too is fine. I don’t think there’s a problem for cyclists to pass traffic when they can get through faster.However, he was trying to pass me as we both approached a stop sign. I had been ahead of him, and I knew that I would be accelerating faster, and we both seemed to be going straight, so I pulled out first to make it 20 yards down to the next stop sign.Here comes the part that irks me…he shouts out, “Hey, share the road, huh?” He then turns left from the right side of the lane, allowing me to share a few thoughts within earshot of my open window.The first thing that came to my mind, was “Are you kidding me?! I RIDE A BIKE TOO!!” I’m watching him this whole time, making sure that he’s got space, staying off of the brakes, and ready for him to do something squirrelly, and then I get to watch him get self-righteous because I didn’t let him pull out in front of me.I’ve probably met the guy before, or drank beer with him at the same Bike Love party. I support SORBA, do trail maintenance, support the school mountain biking club, commute when I can, and teach my children how to ride safely through traffic. I quiz my kids in the car about traffic rules and road safety.“You need to ride your bike as if you are driving a car,” I said to him, which I thought was accurate, forthright and non-emotional. “I ride a bike, too!”I realize this blog is probably a lame excuse for me to rant over something that happened today, so I want to offer all of you a safe space to expel a little road rage. Please comment, and I really hope the guy I met today gets his peace too, because I’m really curious. 1 2
Wetting a line helps wounded warriors heal.“Strip, strip, strip, striiiip. SET! Oooh, just missed him.”Volunteer guide Chuck Jochen is high on the bank, spotting big trout for Stan Abshire who is doing his darnedest to get a big rainbow into the net. Tricking the wily trout at Suzie Q Farm outside Bridgewater, Va., is no easy task, but Jochen and Abshire are not your average fly fishing team. They are at Suzie Q as part of Project Healing Waters, which uses fly fishing as a way to assist in the physical and emotional recovery of wounded military veterans.In 2005, the seeds of PHW began to germinate in the mind of Navy captain and life-long fly fisherman Ed Nicholson while at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. On the verge of retirement, he was struck by the need to help his fellow wounded soldiers, so he started the best way he knew how: by taking them fishing.“Fly fishing is a very special kind of fishing,” he said. “It’s the fly rod and the casting of the fly rod and the tranquility you have on a nice trout stream. It’s a special thing; it’s kind of a tension breaker. It relieves stress and is especially good for individuals who have, and are dealing with, a lot of stress.”From these humble beginnings, Nicholson’s idea began to catch on – and fast. Over the past eight years, PHW has grown into an organization that runs 130 programs in 46 states enlisting the help of an army of volunteers along the way who do everything from teaching classes to hosting events. Volunteers donated over 97,000 hours to PHW in 2011, which helped more than 3,000 disabled and recovering veterans to participate in sponsored activities. These activities include fishing outings like the one at Suzie Q.“I think the healing really goes on not so much because you have a fly rod in your hand but you’re with people who really care, be they volunteers or other disabled veterans,” said Nicholson.Volunteers hold weekly classes at military hospitals to teach casting, fishing techniques, fly tying, and even rod building as part of their recreational therapy program. The classes not only provide wounded soldiers with exercises in hand-eye coordination and motor skills, but also a sense of accomplishment that may be absent since they were injured. The experience of being on the water, being able to catch fish and perform the same kinds of tasks they did before they were injured, can be a major boost, says Nicholson.“It’s a confidence builder, especially for some of these younger kids who are just now reckoning with the fact that they are ‘disabled.’ They are missing an arm or leg. They have post-traumatic stress. A lot of times they feel more comfortable in the confines of the hospital or veterans center, but we help bring them out because they have to do that sooner or later. They’ve got to get on with life, and I think we help them do that.”Sergeant First Class Walter Morse was recovering at Walter Reed from injuries sustained in Iraq when he was introduced to fly tying through the PHW.“I was in the occupational therapy clinic and saw a couple of guys tying flies. They had me doing these puzzles and chess and I said, ‘I would much rather try that.’”Morse credits the nature and organization of PHW with its success. By bringing younger and older disabled veterans together in the outdoors under a common interest, PHW creates an environment conducive to emotional healing. It also allows the older generation of soldiers to mentor the younger and see how life can change for the better over time, even with a disability.“I fished with a Vietnam veteran, very successful in life, but I got out on the river and realized that the same things I was going through, he went through,” said Morse. “If you take 12 soldiers and put them in a clinical session with a psychiatrist, it’s going to be absolutely dead silent. You take those same 12 people and put them out on the river and healing is in process.”Nowhere is the adage of “teach a man to fish…” more appropriate than when talking about PHW. The ultimate goal of the program is to help participants get to a place where they can and want to perform the skills learned in the program by themselves. Over the next five years PHW’s strategic plan calls for the program to nearly double in size. For Jochen and Abshire, that means plenty more chances to hook into that big rainbow in Mossy Creek.For more information on Project Healing Fly Fishing and to see how you can get involved, visit their website at www.projecthealingwaters.org.Project Healing Waters from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.Other programs Soldiers to SummitsThis program focuses on mountaineering as a way to help disabled veterans set ambitious goals, work through personal barriers and reclaim their lives. Their documentary High Ground premiered at the Boulder International Film Festival.Veterans ExpeditionsThis Colorado-based organization uses wilderness challenges to create a common bond and promote camaraderie and recovery. Rock climbing, mountaineering, and hiking expeditions are all part of VetEx’s program.Wounded Warrior ProjectAll encompassing support system of wounded vets including mental and physical support as well as a growing peer and alumni network.OASIS: Outdoor Adventure for Sacrifice in ServiceMainly working in the Fingerlakes region of New York, this group helps disabled veterans get back into the outdoors by offering instruction, equipment, and support for disabled veterans.Ride 2 RecoveryRide 2 Recovery holds events and races that raise money to benefit cycling programs in V.A. and military recovery centers. This nationwide organization uses cycling as a rehabilitation and recovery tool.
Every June, more than 10,000 people descend upon Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Elkmont Campground to see a miracle of nature: a rare species of synchronous fireflies that flash in unison. Visitors stand in line for hours to be shuttled in and out of the campground, which sits in a river valley on the western edge of the park. The Elkmont fireflies are the most well documented and stunning example of synchronic bioluminescence in the U.S., but the Smokies doesn’t have a monopoly on in-sync bugs. Another population of synchronous fireflies was recently discovered in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest.The fireflies found in both the Smokies and Allegheny flash several times in unison, go dark for several seconds, then flash again in harmony. “They look the same, act the same, have the same DNA,” says Lynn Faust, leader of the team that studied the Pennsylvania lightning bugs in 2012.Faust, a Tennessee native, was responsible for bringing the Smokies’ population of fireflies to the attention of the scientific community in the 1990s. She has spent the last 22 years traveling the world to study fireflies of all kinds. “It’s a hobby that went nuts,” she says. Faust wasn’t surprised to see the fireflies in Pennsylvania and says, historically, the lightning bugs have been seen throughout the Southern Appalachians.“I have scientific papers that date back to the 1850s that mention reports of the synchronicity. I’m surprised we don’t have more reports from other parts of Appalachia.”She’s personally seen them in several locations outside of the Smokies. Just don’t expect any other show to be quite as spectacular as what’s found in Elkmont.“The show in Allegheny is impressive, but the fireflies are more spread out,” Faust says. “In Elkmont, thousands of them can be found in a condensed area. I’ve seen fireflies all over the world, but you can’t beat the show at Elkmont on a peak night.”See For Yourself The synchronous fireflies typically peak in mid-to-late June, depending on the weather patterns leading up to their mating season. In Elkmont, you’ll have to register for a shuttle to see the lightning bugs. In Allegheny National Forest, the Allegheny Defense Project is organizing a Firefly Festival this year to celebrate the bugs on June 21-23. Find out more at alleghenydefense.orgOr head into the woods to discover a colony of synchronous fireflies of your own. Synchronous fireflies only live above 1,600 feet in elevation and prefer elevations between 2,200 and 2,400 feet. They are typically found near rivers in older forests without a lot of understory, so they can see each other.
– Jay Reese is a rock climber for the B.R.O. Athlete Team. Check out his bio here. Rock climber Jay Reese from the BRO Athlete Team fills up on sun and psyche as Spring wakes up in the New River Gorge of West Virginia. It’s 6am and bells are chiming. My eyes peel apart from 4 hours of unconsciousness, a few hours too early after a few beers too many. I slap around for my phone to turn my alarm clock off, cursing the late night game of high stakes trivia that got me into this predicament. But it’s not my phone making the noise. Maybe it’s the alarm clock? Nope. Sounds like a doorbell? What doorbell? My doorbell! Growing tired of waiting at our normal meeting place, my climbing partner David decided to trek down to the source. A common rule among the crew is that anyone that doesn’t make it to the meet-up is considered dead or immobile, but will be given the opportunity to correct their actions at the price of paying for breakfast. Since I was both of those things a few minutes earlier, ham biscuits would be on me. After a shotgun packing job I was in a car and bound for West Virginia.The New River Gorge in West Virginia was not our original destination, having just the night before made the call to scrub plans to go to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky due to a little snow. In this case “a little snow” was 20″ of a traffic jamming, ice forming, road ruining weather system known as Thor. Days of pouring over guidebooks, watching videos, and dreaming of rice bowls at Miguel’s fizzled before our eyes as news came in that Lexington, a town 45 minutes away from the Red, was reporting the most snow since 1943. Luckily for the trip, the New only got around 10”, so we closed one guidebook and opened another. After a cold winter of training in gyms, sneaking outside only to freeze stiff, and staring at pictures of Lynn Hill on Quinsana Plus, I was pretty excited to get back to the New and get on the Nuttal Sandstone cliffs that pepper the side of the valley.David and I rolled into the parking lot at the New to find we were alone save for some tire tracks in the deep snow. The tracks told a story of attempts at parking, spinning, pushing, and retreat. A bit of a concerning start to the day, hopefully the hike to the other side of the hill would be a bit better. We unpacked and repacked our climbing gear as the last member of our crew sauntered in. The sun was beaming and it was already in the high 40s. The temperatures would turn the friction up to 11, ideal conditions, so long as we could find some South facing, sunny rock that had already shivered off the thick layers of ice that could be seen from the bridge. Luckily we had just the place in mind.The Cirque, an amphitheater of brightly colored, bullet-hard sandstone, it is the crescendo of the 4.5 mile stretch of Endless Wall. Containing some of the hardest, most technical routes in the area, it’s not uncommon to pass a few broken dreams when walking the base of the cliff. Due to its concave shape, lack of tree shade, and South facing orientation, the Cirque is an ideal winter climbing location. Today it was host to a chaotic symphony of shattering glass. A hundred feet above us, giant icicles were warming up, losing their footing, and cascading to the floor below. The steep overhang of the wall kept us safe from the icefall, but every time a refrigerator size chunk of ice dislodged from the top and came roaring down I felt the need to duck and cover.Climbing at the Cirque is nothing less than perfect, albeit on the difficult side. We warmed up on a route aptly named “The Warmup”, where a less than easy start leads into a steep roof that burns the forearms and wakes up the brain cells. After a few laps on the climb we were ready to head to our respective projects for the day. Ricky (our tardy third member) was first on the rotation. A winter of living on homemade cheesecakes had apparently not hindered his superhuman pulling power as he danced up “Trebuchet Jr.”, a technical thinker of a route. Making it past the crux, a botched hand sequence sent Ricky down to the tight end of the rope. A quick rest and he was back on the wall and at the top. “One hanging” a project, where a climber only falls once during their attempt, is considered the last step before actually sending a route. It was Ricky’s first run of the day so he was off to a solid start.Next up was David, my partner for the next 3 days of climbing and sleeping in the slushy mud. David is an odd cat, full of try-hard, physics equations, and grape nuts cereal. David and I had our sights set on a route called “Hasta La Vista” located at the end of the massive wall. Just to the right of the route was a beautiful waterfall, spraying bits of ice and water from the melt above. Chandeliers of ice bordered the spray, making for a beautiful setting for the climber but a nervous belay down near the drop zone. David styled his way through the route and after a few attempts he had the thing mostly dialed.It wasn’t until I was standing below the route tying in that I had the old familiar feeling of dread that comes from not climbing outside for a while. As a personal confession, heights terrify. that might seem weird in a sport where the very name of the game is heights, but in practice it rarely affects me. It’s only when I’ve been away for a while that the fear creeps in. Luckily I have learned to manage away this fear by assuring myself that nothing will break, my belayer is competent, and that as long as I take care to remember the fundamentals I shouldn’t end up like all that ice tumbling down around me.With fear pushed to the back of my mind I tied in and got ready to throw myself outside of the comfort zone once again. I had spent most of my winter training and I was excited to check and see where my fitness was after being away from real rock so long. On my first attempt I fell at the second hard throw, making it a bit further than I had expected for a first attempt. The fall had reassured my mind that falling is a normal part of climbing and my anxiety quieted down. After a few attempts I made it through the throw and up to the anchors. I managed to get on the route a few more times that day but was never able to put it all together. With the light fading, we all hopped on a few more routes, took some pictures of the ice, and discussed what to do next.The day ended like most of our trips to the New, at Secret Sandwich Society talking about how amazing the day was. The secret to climbing with a full tank of stoke is that every climbing day is the best climbing day you’ve ever had. This leads to a lot of enthusiasm and odd looks from non-climbers a table over as you pantomime your favorite moves of the day with a mouth full of french-fries and an IPA sloshing about the table. Ricky was heading back to Roanoke to do some sort of lumberjack woodworking project; as for David and I, we were about to drive into the dark of night, through the back roads West Virginia and into Kentucky. We had heard that temps were on the rise and most of the snow was gone at the Red. It was a bit of a foolish gamble for us to leave dry routes and cozy tents to head into questionable weather. But as soon as we pulled into Miguel’s campground at 1am and saw the fire blazing and tents strewn across the field I knew we made the right decision. That night we were so pooped that I slept in the passenger seat of my truck and kicked David to the bed of the truck with a sleeping pad and a guidebook. As the driver, I had first dibs on car sleeping spots. The next morning with a hunched back, soggy from sleeping in a steamy cab I asked David how he fared in the bed, he said had slept great with a perfect view of the Kentucky sky. Chalk that up to karma and all that gibberish.We rounded out our trip with a few more equally amazing days of climbing. Heading into Muir Valley the first day there and getting on some of the classic routes in the Solarium, “Air Ride Equipped” “Manifest Destiny” and my personal favorite “Super Best Friends”. The second day we finished off the trip by venturing into the Motherload. After spending a good bit of time staring in awe at the Madness Cave, we headed over to Buckeye Buttress to hop on a few more routes before packing it in. We finished off our trip with a few Ale 8’s and a 5-hour drive filled with conversations on climbing, the importance of pi, and how bad we smell.The beginning of spring is always a kick-start for the psych. With a crew of motivated friends, a rope, and a half a dozen routes bouncing around my head, I’m ready to soak in all the good things that spring has to offer. The ice is thawing, bluebird skies are becoming more and more common, and the stoke couldn’t be any higher.