‘Corporate Welfare’ in Colorado Governor’s Approval of Arch Coal Royalty Reduction FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享SNL:Colorado’s governor has thrown his support behind Arch Coal Inc.’s request to pay lower royalty rates for the coal it mines from its West Elk operation.The coal producer submitted a renewal request earlier this summer for a royalty rate reduction at its West Elk mine that had been previously approved. Arch sought a reduction from 8% to 5% after the previous rate reduction had expired.Gov. John Hickenlooper wrote a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management expressing his support for the request as long as Arch’s subsidiary Mountain Coal Co works to develop a way of capturing methane released by the West Elk mine.Ted Zukoski, a staff attorney with Earthjustice, told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the proposal looks like “corporate welfare” and that the mine was the single largest industrial methane polluter in the state from 2011 to 2015.He said he hopes Hickenlooper got a commitment from Arch to reduce West Elk’s methane pollution.“Talk is cheap, and Arch has done little for a decade but talk and vent billions of cubic feet of methane. The state of Colorado can regulate this pollution. It did so with the oil and gas industry; it can and must do so for coal mine methane if Arch continues to filibuster.”More: ($) Colo. governor supports Arch’s request for lower royalty rate at West Elk
Denmark Lauds U.S. Policy Shift on Offshore Wind Power Cooperation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The United States signed a deal with Denmark on Thursday to expand cooperation on offshore wind power, giving a boost Europe’s biggest green energy players.Danish companies DONG Energy and Vestas had feared the nascent U.S. offshore wind sector would be stymied after President Trump vowed to revive the coal industry, challenged climate-change science and blasted renewable energy as expensive and dependent on government subsidies.But both companies now say the Trump administration is increasingly looking at Europe’s experience as it seeks to kick-start the sector.“We see some positive initiatives coming out of the administration in Washington,” the head of DONG’s U.S. business, Thomas Brostroem, told Reuters. He pointed to measures being taken on a federal level to streamline and speed up the process to obtain permits to build offshore wind farms.“They’ve been really receptive to talk to European countries and developers to get know-how from the past decades,” he said.The U.S. offshore wind sector, which has lagged behind Europe, is at a critical juncture, with the first large-scale offshore wind auction in Massachusetts coming up in December.But to gain traction, industry executives and experts say the United States will need to replicate the dramatic cost cuts which Europe has implemented.“Something that is important for the new administration is jobs, jobs, jobs and that is something that will come from the supply chain around the turbines,” Adam Thomsen, head of U.S. growth implementation at MHI Vestas, told Reuters, but declined to quantify any numbers.MHI Vestas is a joint venture between Vestas and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which makes offshore wind turbines and whose rivals include Siemens Gamesa and General Electrics.Vestas already produces onshore turbines at four factories in the United States, but large offshore turbine parts like the nacelles, towers and rotors would be made at existing facilities in Europe, said Thomsen.“We need a much more stable market development before we can talk factories.”“It is a huge scoop that we now get a formal cooperation with the Trump administration on offshore wind,” Danish climate and energy minister Lars Chr Lilleholt told Reuters.More: U.S. wind concerns ease as Trump cabinet calls on Denmark to help boost offshore output
Renewable Energy Brings Cost Savings, Rapid Payback to Australian Businesses FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Almost half of Australia’s large businesses are actively transitioning to cheaper renewable energy, including many going off the grid by building their own generators and battery storage, as power bills threaten their bottom line.A new report by the Climate Council details the increased speed of a business-led transition to renewables as power bills have increased. Many businesses–including 46% of large operations–have responded by seeking green alternatives. The Climate Council report, released on Tuesday, said the capacity of Australian businesses to generate their own solar power had doubled in less than two years.Business owners report making their investment back through cost savings in less than five years.The general manager of AustChilli at Bundaberg, Ian Gaffel, said the decision to invest in solar panels was a “no-brainer”. AustChilli employs more than 100 people in the agriculture and food manufacturing process. The business initially built a 100 kW solar system and about 18 months ago added an additional 200 kW. Solar now accounts for about a quarter of the business’s power usage.The story is being repeated across the country, particularly in the manufacturing industry, where increased power bills have squeezed profits.More: Almost Half Of Australian Big Business Moving To Renewables
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:The UK’s electricity system recorded its “greenest” ever month in May after running without coal-fired electricity for a full calendar month.The National Grid, the energy system operator, said the country’s sunniest spring on record helped generate enough solar power to reduce the carbon intensity of the grid to its lowest level ever recorded. The bright and breezy weather helped wind and solar power make up about 28% of Britain’s electricity last month, narrowly behind gas-fired power generation, which made up 30% of the energy mix.Meanwhile, the record low demand for electricity during the coronavirus lockdown has left little room for the UK’s last remaining coal power plants to play a role.Since April, the UK’s electricity system has run without coal-fired power for about 54 consecutive days, which has helped the carbon intensity of the electricity grid fall to the lowest average carbon intensity on record at 143 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour.The record was possible, in part, because of the collapse of energy demand in the UK caused by the coronavirus lockdown and two bank holidays in a fortnight. But the chief reason was the unseasonably sunny spring weather, said Roisin Quinn, head of National Grid’s control centre.“Great Britain’s incredible coal-free run has continued throughout May, giving us the first full calendar month – 744 straight hours – of electricity generation without coal since the Industrial Revolution,” Quinn said.[Jillian Ambrose]More: UK electricity coal free for first month ever U.K. electricity grid goes coal-free for first month since Industrial Revolution
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享WLRN:Four months after Florida Power & Light received approval for a similar program, Duke Energy Florida is asking regulators to sign off on a $1 billion plan that would add 10 solar-power plants in the state.Duke filed a proposal last week at the state Public Service Commission for what it has dubbed the “Clean Energy Connection” program, which would start operating two of the proposed plants in January 2022, four in January 2023 and four in January 2024.The plan comes amid a broader push by major utilities in Florida to expand the use of solar energy, as solar has become more cost-efficient and as utilities look to reduce carbon emissions.But the Duke plan and the FPL program approved in March are different from other solar projects because of their financial structures. Under the Duke program, customers would be able to voluntarily pay more on their electric bills to help finance the projects and would receive credits that would result in them getting a “payback” in about seven years. Duke said the program would respond to customers who want to help boost renewable energy and might not want to have rooftop solar panels.The plan calls for building 10 74.9-megawatt solar plants, with each costing slightly more than $100 million. The filing said Duke has not chosen sites for the plants.The Public Service Commission in March approved FPL’s “SolarTogether” program, which is similar to the Duke proposal but is expected to add 20 solar plants. The SolarTogether proposal, however, drew opposition from the state Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers in utility issues.[Jim Saunders]More: Duke seeks approval of major solar expansion Duke’s Florida utility looks to add 750MW of new solar in the state by 2024
This contest is a wrap, but our Georgia Weekend Getaway contest is still running strong!
Memorial Day is a time to celebrate. Over the three day weekend we will celebrate many things: those we have lost in war, an extra day off from work, friends and family, hot dogs – so many hot dogs – and of course the official arrival of summer. Not sure how official it is, but for most, the last weekend in May kicks off the summer season and Labor Day closes it. The kids are out of school – or nearly – the weather is hitting that mid 70s sweet spot, the trees and flowers are in full regalia. Yes, Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to get outside and celebrate this beautiful country we live in and all it has to offer in the outdoors, but it is not all backyard barbeques, beer, and beaches. Memorial Day weekend is also a time to gather with loved ones – or nice strangers – and give something back.Fortunately, if you are a mountain biker in Virginia, you can do it all at the annual Virginia Mountain Bike Festival. The Virginia Mountain Bike Festival is an event celebrating mountain biking in Virginia National Forests, and is organized by Shenandoah Mountain Touring, based out of Harrisonburg. Part bicycle jamboree, part hard-core riding weekend, the festival has something for everyone, the whole family, and even those who don’t ride.Beginning noon Friday and running through Monday evening at the Stokesville Campground – a private campground abutting George Washington National Forest outside Mt. Solon, Va. – the festival features events for all ages and abilities. There are organized rides that range from day-long epics to kids races, and everything in between that take off right from camp. Breakfast and dinner are provided, as well as maps, ride leaders, nightly bonfires and stargazing. You can also give a little back by participating in Sunday’s trail work session. Not into shredding dirt? The hiking is great, as well as road riding on Virginia’s vast system of country roads.This is a great way to gather for a weekend of hanging with like minded people, getting out on the trail, and celebrating all Virginia has to offer the mountain biking community.View Larger Map
The 17th annual French Broad River Festival in Hot Springs, N.C., is coming up next weekend May 2-4, and this could prove to be the best year yet in the long history of this growing tradition.What started as a humble river festival to benefit American Whitewater has turned into one of the most vibrant family friendly events in the Blue Ridge. Taking place each year at the Hot Springs Campground and Spa, festival goers partake in rafting and mountain bike racing, a Paddle with the Pros event, an outdoor gear auction, arts, crafts and plenty of live music. Headliners include Toubab Krewe, Sol Driven Train, Dangermuffin and many more.Visit the festival website for more information!
After about three hours on the French Broad River, my arm muscles start to burn and I begin to regret my decision to try out the 20-mile stretch that the participants of the upcoming Riverfest Canoe Relay will traverse. Turning to my paddling guide Jayne for reassurance, I frame a half-statement, half question: “We’re going at a pretty moderate pace, wouldn’t you say?”Jayne Fought, a local outdoor instructor and educator, pauses for a quiet moment before responding, “Well, I’d say more of a casual pace”. My shoulders hunch. “So, how much faster do you think individuals racing the canoe relay could travel?”Jayne nods in a thoughtful way before explaining, “If you wanted to go fast, you’d be on your knees, not sitting, to power through each stroke with your core. Really good paddlers would count their strokes, coordinating together to alternate sides in unison.” Jayne demonstrates a quick, repetitive arm motion, several times faster than my own relaxed pace. “ I suddenly feel more tired than before.Jayne had generously offered to take me out on the relatively calm stretch of the French Broad that would be covered in the Canoe Relay conducted by Headwaters Outfitters as part of the Upper French Broad Riverfest on June 23rd. Starting at Champion Park, Rosman, the river’s clear and fish-burdened waters wind across Transylvania County, passing through farmlands, under bridges, and alongside diverse local communities.While our own canoe trip didn’t have the same intensity of racing and competition that some teams will undoubtedly bring to Riverfest, the five hours Jayne and I spent on the French Broad offered its own rewards, revealing a unique perspective on the natural world. We played chase with a white egret, flying ever just out of sight, while other birds–herons, hawks, and turkey vultures–eyed us lazily from their tall tree perches.Silt in the water glistened like flecks of gold, and new leaf buds colored the banks with an almost surreal green. “It doesn’t matter what time of year you get out, it is always going to be the most beautiful time,” Jayne had remarked during our trip, as she surveyed the sunny spring morning.Just as it revealed a unique perspective on nature, the 20-mile course also demonstrated the diversity of community and history built up alongside the banks of the French Broad. Worn chairs and picnic tables spoke of private riverside getaways. Stranded cornhusks and wide-eyed cattle are evidence of the farms located on the floodplain above. Old cabins and abandoned industrial installations remind you of times past, while carefully maintained public access points to the future of the newly designated paddle trail.Caught up in these surroundings, it was only hours later that I recognized how the paddle trip had also served as a perfect backdrop for the long conversation held between Jayne and myself. Supported by the river’s quiet yet steady flow, topics ranging from childhood memories to local politics to future outdoor adventures wove seamlessly together.Easing into Hap Simpson Park at the end of the day’s journey, I felt a bittersweet tug between the accomplishment of finishing and the disappointment that the trip was over. While I may not be coming in first place any time soon for the Canoe Relay, I learned that choosing to spend a day out on the river encompassed not only sport and exercise, but also an appreciation for nature and the community that make up Transylvania County.The Upper French Broad Riverfest will be held in Champion Park, Rosman on June 23rd from 10am-3pm. The Canoe Relay will take place on the same day at 9:30 a.m. For more information and registration and entry forms, visit their website or email [email protected] Burrows is a Project Conserve AmeriCorps Member working on natural resource education programs in Transylvania County with the Cooperative Extension, Conserving Carolina, and the French Broad Stewards.
Prizes for each challenge were provided by DGIF partners: Blue Ridge Outdoors, Crewel & Unusual, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Fleet Feet Richmond, Keep Virginia Cozy, Virginia is for Lovers, and the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia. Learn more: https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/run-for-the-wild/ Scenic Seeker Challenge: Plus, they have four unique challenges where participants can compete for some great prizes from some awesome partners. Turtle Trot Challenge: Falcon Fierce Challenge: Your Message Registration includes: a wooden finisher medal, pocket notebook, vinyl sticker, a digital badge and entry into the Run for the Wild Sweepstakes to win a Virginia Lifetime Freshwater Fishing License! This license allows access to our 250,000 acres of public lands in Virginia and is your badge of honor as a wildlife conservationist. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) plays a much bigger role in Virginia’s wildlife management other then the work they do with hunting and fishing. Since 1916, DGIF has worked to conserve and build wildlife and habitats, be a resource of information on conservation and wildlife, and encourage people to get outside and play while respecting and protecting nature. Flora & Fauna Fanatic Challenge: Registered participants can run or walk a course of their choosing at their own pace on July 17, 18, or 19, 2020. They pick whichever day is best for them! Participants are reminded to be safe and follow social distance guidelines. Registration deadline is July 16, 2020. To create a title that better represents all of the amazing things they do, DGIF is set to change it’s name to the Department of Wildlife Resources this summer. To kick off the new name, they invite you to Run for the Wild, a virtual 5k run/walk that will take place in mid July. What better way to celebrate than with an outdoor activity that supports their mission to keep Virginia’s wild places wild? All registration proceeds will go toward DGIFs Restore the Wild initiative to support habitat projects vital for the survival of Virginia’s wildlife. • Share your most scenic photo from your Run for the Wild route. Bonus points if your route is on public land! Not a TrailHead? Learn what it takes to become one here. • Share your best photos of the native Virginia plants and wildlife you see along your Run for the Wild route. Your Email (required) Your Name (required) DGIF is offering our TrailHeads members to enter to win a free entry for them and a friend to their Restore the Wild Virtual 5K! All you have to do is fill out the form below: • Be the person that takes the longest time to complete their Run for the Wild 5K. • Be the person that completes their Run for the Wild 5K with the fastest finish time (Male & Female winners).