FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:South Africa has dropped proposals to boost supply from nuclear plants in its latest energy blueprint and will increasingly harness renewable sources as it trims a reliance on coal.“There will be a study to determine if more nuclear is needed after 2030,” Energy Minister Jeff Radebe told reporters in Pretoria on Monday. “But until then, there is no increase in nuclear generation envisaged.”The long-awaited update of the country’s Integrated Resource Plan for power sector spending, the first in eight years, calls for the biggest increase in capacity from wind and natural gas.Wind and natural gas are each projected to increase by 8,100 megawatts of capacity, while 5,670 megawatts will come from solar and 2,500 megawatts from hydropower, according to the plan. Coal, which currently makes up the bulk of the country’s energy source, will add 1,000 megawatts. The Department of Energy, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and state-owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. are tasked with carrying out the proposals.President Cyril Ramaphosa has this year overseen the replacement of Eskom’s leadership as he seeks to attract $100 billion of investment to the country. A program to add more renewable power from independent producers has been revived.“There is significant change in the energy mix post 2030, which is mainly driven by decommissioning of old coal power plants that reach their end of life,” Radebe said. Close to 30 gigawatts of Eskom’s coal fleet is to reach end-of-life by 2040, according to the draft document.More: South Africa drops nuclear, adds renewables in energy plan New South Africa plan looks to cut coal reliance, expand renewables
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Coal mines in the Powder River Basin bounced back from the rain-soaked second quarter, increasing production 18.9% in the third quarter, but still saw year-over-year declines. Ten of the top 16 mines reported production decreases from 2017, lowering the region’s output by 5% to 86.6 million tons, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.Despite reporting a $41.5 million net loss in the third quarter and filing for bankruptcy in October, Westmoreland Coal Co. saw significantly higher production levels at two of its mines in the third quarter than in the second. The Absaloka mine posted a 33.7% production increase, the largest among the basin’s top performers, producing 1.1 million tons. The Rosebud mine, which the company plans to sell alongside its other core assets, saw a 22.4% quarter-over-quarter uptick but the largest year-over-year percentage decline among the top producers with a 29% decrease to 1.8 million tons.The effects of the second-quarter rains carried over into Cloud Peak Energy Inc.’s third-quarter production. The company reported in an Oct. 25 earnings call that the moisture caused instability in its Antelope surface mine’s dragline pits. As miners removed coal from the pits, wet spoil would shift down into the pit and block the coal. CEO Colin Marshall said the company anticipates that fourth-quarter shipments will be constrained but “there’s no reason why Antelope can’t perform the way it should next year.” The pits are expected to “return to their normal cycle” by the end of 2018.Antelope had the second-largest year-over-year production drop during the period, with a 26% decrease to 5.8 million tons. The company’s Spring Creek mine produced 5.3% less coal year over year with 3.7 million tons, and the Cordero Rojo mine’s production dropped 10.5% to 3.4 million tons. All three saw at least a slight improvement over the second quarter’s production levels, with the Antelope mine posting an 18.6% quarter-over-quarter uptick.Peabody Energy Corp.’s North Antelope Rochelle mine, the largest coal mine in the country, posted a 22% uptick from the second quarter to 26 million tons, though levels were down 6.3% from the year-ago period. Its Caballo and Rawhide mines also saw production increases from the second quarter, rising 16.2% to 3.1 million tons and 29.3% to 2.4 million tons, respectively.More ($): Powder River Basin Q3 coal output improves from Q2 but down 5% from year ago Powder River Basin coal production continues falling
Indian Railways turns to solar to cut coal-fired electricity costs FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:To reduce its annual electricity bill, Indian Railways will soon run trains powered by solar power from arrays of PV cells deployed along electrified tracks in 10 states. The solar power generated will replace 4 GW of coal-fired electricity consumed by the railways, saving the operator 20% of its annual energy bill in the first year and 40% thereafter. Indian Railways currently buys electricity for around INR5 ($0.07) per unit.Developers will recover the installation cost of solar panels and other equipment through the sale of power to the railway operator. Under an agreement with states, there will be a provision to sell surplus power to the local utilities, which will supply equivalent power when Indian Railways needs it.The railway board is examining a project bid document prepared by the Solar Energy Corporation of India which recommends PV electricity from panels be fed through inverters and step-up transformers directly into the 25 kV overhead traction system. That would eliminate the cost of laying separate transmission lines and boost manufacturing of 25 kV single-phase inverters.Around 20 manufacturers, including ABB, Huawei, Delta and Sungrow, are said to be interested in manufacturing the equipment given sufficient demand, according to the Times of India. “This is a historic step towards Indian Railways becoming a net zero emitter by 2030,” railways and coal minister Piyush Goyal told the daily newspaper. “Indian Railways is by far the greenest travel option for transportation.”The government of India is encouraging cash-rich public sector undertakings to set up renewable energy projects. Indian Railways has committed to developing 5 GW of solar by 2025.More: Indian Railways plans to tender 4 GW solar project
Japan looks to turn area around Fukushima into renewable energy hub FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Nikkei Asian Review:Japan’s northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, devastated during the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, is looking to transform itself into a renewable energy hub, Nikkei has learned.A plan is under way to develop 11 solar power plants and 10 wind power plants in the prefecture, on farmlands that cannot be cultivated anymore and mountainous areas from where population outflows continue.The total cost is expected to be in the ballpark of 300 billion yen, or $2.75 billion, until the fiscal year ending in March 2024.The government-owned Development Bank of Japan and private lender Mizuho Bank are among a group of financiers that have prepared a line of credit to support part of the construction cost.The power generation available is estimated to be about 600 megawatts, or equivalent to two-thirds of a nuclear power plant. The produced electricity will be sent to the Tokyo metropolitan area.The plan also envisions the construction of an 80-km wide grid within Fukushima to connect the generated power with the power transmission network of Tokyo Electric Power Co. That part of the project is expected to cost 29 billion yen.More: Fukushima to be reborn as $2.7bn wind and solar power hub
Eos Energy Storage announces orders for 1.5GWh of battery projects in Texas, California FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:This summer, we’ve seen developments in non-lithium-ion battery chemistries — including a forecast where lithium-iron-phosphate becomes the predominant chemistry and millions in funding for the commercialization of metal hydrogen batteries. Now, zinc hybrid cathode technology is entering the mix, with Eos Energy Storage announcing orders for more than 1.5 GWh of projects.As part of the Texas battery boom, Eos has entered into an agreement to supply 1 GWh of standalone battery energy storage systems to International Electric Power, in projects connected to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid.Under the terms of the agreement, Eos will manufacture, design and deliver multiple battery energy storage projects to the grid starting in the third quarter of 2021. Since the agreement is in its infancy, the final number of projects and their locations have not been decided upon yet, though it does appear that these will be standalone storage projects.The fun doesn’t stop in Texas, however, as Eos has also entered into an agreement with Carson Hybrid Energy Storage (CHES) to supply the company with 500 MWh of battery energy storage systems for the California power grid.According to Eos, the long duration battery solutions will be used “in parallel with existing power generation and substation architecture to store renewable energy generated capacity, and to provide power quality and better resilience.” This would imply that, unlike the Texas projects, these installations may be paired with generation stations, like solar facilities. A recent Berkeley Labs presentation showed the California Independent System Operator solar queue having a battery attachment rate for solar projects of 67%.[Tom Sylvia]More: Eos announces 1.5 GWh of zinc battery storage projects across Texas and California
Renewables top 25 percent of electricity supply on Australia’s main grid FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Australia has reached a new milestone – a 25 per cent share of renewable energy on its main grid – despite all the carefully constructed political and regulatory road-blocks, a powerful and entrenched fossil fuel lobby, and a global pandemic.This 25 per cent share has built on the 21 per cent share of Australia’s electricity that came from renewable energy in 2019, which in turn rose from a 19 per cent share in 2018.The new milestone – at least new for the 2000s – comes as renewable investment in both small and large scale renewables has exceeded expectations and punched above its weight for the Australian economy.It should be noted that even the federal Coalition government now concedes that Australia will reach 50 per cent renewables by 2030, despite all its hand-wringing and fear-mongering when Labor suggested the country aim for that target, and AEMO has outlined a 20-year plan to reach up to 94 per cent renewables by 2040.As the June 2020 Quarterly Carbon Market Report published by the Clean Energy Regulator at the beginning of the month showed, large-scale renewables remain on track to deliver around 3.4 GW in new generation capacity for 2020, while rooftop solar looks likely to exceed the CER’s previous estimate of 2.7GW in 2020 and hit a total of 2.9GW.[Sophie Vorrath]More: Milestone: Australia’s main grid reaches 25 pct renewables over last year
What a difference a couple of years makes. Two years ago, I participated in a 12-hour race at the Black Mountain Monster. I use the term “participated” rather than ran or competed because I walked the entire thing. Six weeks had elapsed since I had undergone major back surgery and although I was forbidden to run for another few weeks, my PT had given me the go-ahead to “walk as much as I wanted”. Little did she know that I would take her literally, covering 42 miles or fourteen rotations around the 3-mile loop.That was an interesting experience, and although I had fun, my pride took a beating as I was lapped over and over again. Although I knew that I was out there only for the experience and the camaraderie, the competitor within me hated the fact that I was out of the mix from the start.At that point in time, both the doc and I viewed the surgery as a success and I was thrilled to be able to walk all day without pain (although I was forced to lie down and ice every two hours). We still didn’t know what the future held in store for my running, however. The surgeon made no promises and it was still unclear if I’d ever run again. I told myself that I’d be thrilled if I could simply jog a few miles without pain, although deep in my heart I knew that what I really wanted was to continue to be an ultrarunner.Fast forward two years, and I’m standing at the start of this race once again. This time the walk breaks will be short and purposeful. I will walk for three minutes at the start of each lap, enough time to rehydrate and suck down a gel. I won’t even think about my back (although there will be plenty of pain and discomfort in other areas to occupy my thoughts).The day was terrific – perfect weather and the camaraderie that comes with reuniting with old trail-running friends and meeting new ones. I ran with a sense of gratitude that my body was allowing me to do what I love, knowing that many others are not as fortunate. I was psyched to surpass my goal distance with a total of 68 miles for the day.I’m not an advocate of running through severe pain or injury, but I definitely believe in pushing our limits. Some people would’ve given up running at the first mention of back surgery. If I was that type of person, I never would’ve taken up running in the first place, being a lifelong asthma sufferer. Or perhaps I would’ve quit fifteen years ago, when an orthopedist said that I had bad knees and suggested that I take up biking instead.Some might consider my decisions risky or foolish, but I’d rather try and fail, succumbing to my body’s limitations only after giving it my best shot, than live a life full of what-if’s.
Best Outdoor CityChattanooga has been getting a lot of press in the outdoor industry the last couple years. This is no accident. This city has undergone one of the great revitalizations in modern American history, completely transforming itself from grim pollution spewer, to clean outdoor mecca. I had a blast exploring the city and talking to the locals about what the city was and what it is now.Best Mid-Sized Mountain TownThough I had visited Roanoke many times during my lifetime, when I visited Roanoke for this story, it was like seeing the city for the first time. Roanoke has fully committed to being a destination for the outdoors and it is reflected everywhere. From the city government to the lifetime residents to the medical school transplants, people are focused on the city’s image as a place where the active lifestyle, and all that goes with it, can thrive.Best Small Mountain TownWhat struck me about Hot Springs on my trip there was the kindness of the locals. This is a small town with a huge heart, and that is what truly endears it to the people who pass through or come to visit the springs. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows when a hiker, or a reporter, comes through town. Besides all the recreation opportunities, which are numerous, this welcoming atmosphere is what really defines Hot Springs.WHAT MAKES A GOOD MOUNTAIN TOWN?No concrete criteria exist to quantify what makes a mountain town or how you achieve such a distinction. Not every town at a high elevation is a mountain town, but not every mountain town is in the actual mountains.So what makes a good mountain town? The simple answer, to quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, is “I know it when I see it.” You can usually tell if that dot on the map has an outdoor culture the minute you pull into town. Commuters on bikes, runners on a lunchtime jog, or a full tasting room at the local brewery are all good indicators you are in the midst of a mountain town paradise. These things are a big hint that the outdoor lifestyle is central to what makes up the fabric of a community, but ultimately they are a result and not a cause.The single most important aspect of a mountain town is, and always will be, the people. You can have all the open space and money in the world, but it is the people of any given town that define it as true mountain town or not. Without a community committed to building the infrastructure, you are left with just a town in the mountains, not a mountain town. It is the people that enable a place like Chattanooga to transform their city from the most polluted in America to the most progressive; or a sleepy stopover like Damascus, Virginia to become “Trail Town, USA.”That’s the funny thing about outdoor recreation: it takes a commitment from the people to maintain. Trails need clearing, rivers need cleaning, and access needs protecting. It would be easy for Asheville to rest on the laurels of its already robust outdoor reputation, but the community is constantly striving to improve the opportunities for its citizens to access the outdoors in any way possible.Sure, bike lanes and municipal parks are great—really great—but the bottom line is these improvements attract the type of person who will settle in a town and open an independent outdoor outfitter or climbing hostel. It is this independent, can-do spirit that sustains a mountain town’s economy and infrastructure for decades to come. What makes mountain towns special is the combination of local governments, entrepreneurs, conservationists, artists, and local outdoor enthusiasts working together to maintain their happy little hamlets.We also wanted to thank our supporters who helped make the Mountain Towns poll such a success. They have always been great supporters of our mission: inspiring people to go outside and play!Don’t forget to vote in our Best of the Blue Ridge poll where you choose your favorite things across from across the region!
While the Southeastern U.S. is now my home, I lived in northern England for 5 years. At that time, the Peak District National Park, in north central England, always meant one thing and one thing only to me: climbing. The area is full of fantastic opportunities for climbing, mostly on relatively short outcrops of gritstone—a type of sedimentary rock only found in the U.K. and Ireland. Despite rumors of gritstone in Mongolia, no one has ever actually found it there. Gritstone offers the best friction of any rock type and so it is highly prized among climbers. But on a visit back to the Peak District this year, I discovered that the gritstone edges also make for some excellent running. There are footpaths everywhere in the park; you can run for miles and miles from one climbing area to the next, along the tops, and down into the towns in the valleys. There is an endless choice of technical trails, grassy cross-country style running, and smooth, wide footpaths and bridleways. You can link up loops of gradual and rolling hill terrain, or you can run steep ascents and thin ridges. In short, it’s an unsung trail running destination that is worthy of a place on any trail runner’s list of destinations to visit.
That’s right, folks, we’ve got some fresh meat in the house! You all know Sarah Puckett from JMU who’s written a number of our 48 Hours guides, but we also have four BRO Ambassadors from across the region who are helping us spread the #gooutsideandplay love. Help us welcome Gordon, Jess, Sean, and Jordan to the BRO team!Why so serious, Gord?Gordon KnappUniversity of Virginia, Va.As long as I’m outside, I’m happy. I especially enjoy day hikes, backpacking, mountain/road biking, and the occasional game of pickup basketball. Mount Pleasant is my favorite trail close to home. It’s a fairly easy hike, and the views are absolutely spectacular at the top, especially for sunsets! Currently majoring in Economics and hoping to pursue a second major in Global Sustainability. My dream job would be working in the marketing or business department of a renewable energy company. I would absolutely love to sit down and talk with Yvon Chouinard, I’m sure a guy like that would have plenty of stories. Sean likes fish. We like Sean.Sean ReckertWarren-Wilson College, N.C.My name is Sean Reckert, age 22. I grew up in Needham, Mass., and was draw to Warren Wilson College, in part, by its gorgeous location in the Blue Ridge Mountains. For the past four years my fondness for rock climbing and fly-fishing have grown exponentially. I am proud to be part of this friendly and environmentally minded outdoor community. Jordan in her natural element.Jordan BudnikGeorgia College & State University, Ga.If newborn babies are delivered to their families by stork, it is safe to speculate that I was dropped off by a hawk. My name is Jordan Budnik: raptor spazz, nature nut, and self-proclaimed Critter Captain. A suburban childhood in Decatur, Georgia is not rife with endless forests so I sought out every leaf, bucket of mud, or reptile that I could find. With age and the blessing of a supportive family, I expanded my passion for the outdoors through ski trips, fishing, hiking, birding, interning with Zoo Atlanta, and attending animal conferences across the states. Aside from being in the wilderness, I delight in writing, curling up with a book in my bedroom (aka lair), painting, singing, rock climbing, volunteering with a wildlife rehab clinic, and educating my community about nature. Everyone has a place that resonates with them above all other places–some inexplicable relationship forms. The Blue Ridge mountains tug insistently on my heartstrings whenever I leave for too long so I often go running back to them. It seems only fitting that I made my way to write for an innovative outdoor magazine that shares the name of my favorite place in the world. So many people in outdoor pursuits go out in search of adventure, forgetting to look back and share it with others in the process. Through writing with Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, I hope to join that unique breed of adventurer that reaches out through words to bridge the gap and encourage others to ‘Go Outside and Play’. Enjoying a snowy day at Triple Falls in DuPont State Forest. Photo cred: Sarah HarrisonJess WiegandtBrevard College, [email protected] go outside and play in lots of ways, but mostly by means of whitewater kayaking. I’ve been paddling since the age of 6 and continue to do so as often as possible. I remember when I was too young to paddle on my own, probably around three or four, my family and some friends spent a day on the James River paddling the Balcony Falls section. I used to be terrified of the Balcony Falls rapid and the first time I ran it, I was sitting in the bottom of a canoe, peering over the edge of the gunwhale and I remember screaming both out of fear and happiness as water splashed in and hit my face. After that, there was no going back. The North Fork of the French Broad right now is one of my favorite places to get out and paddle. It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s in a beautiful part of the forest, and I can get out there after class and get a couple laps in before dark. My dream job is to work as an outdoor journalist, covering events, people, and places all over the world. This way I get to play outside, take pictures, write, and get paid for it!Follow Jess on Vimeo!