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Large Corporations Leading the Way in Purchasing Wind Power in the U.S.

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Matthew Bandyk for SNL: Direct purchases of wind energy by corporate buyers rose significantly in 2015, potentially signaling a new trend in renewable energy, according to data released April 7 by the American Wind Energy Association.While 2014 saw companies announcing deals for wind to supply their energy needs at levels unheard of in previous years, wind power purchase agreements from nonutility customers in 2015 were more than double the 2014 level as a share of the market, the lobbying group for the wind industry announced. Nonutility purchases made up 52% of all wind power contracted through agreements last year. That 52% adds up to 2,074 MW. In 2014, nonutility purchases were at 23% of the market, or around 1,500 MW, and just 5%, or about 500 MW, in 2013, according to AWEA data.Some of the biggest purchases of wind last year were made by Amazon.com Inc.‘s cloud computing company,Amazon Web Services Inc.; Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; General Motors Co.; and Dow Chemical Co.The trend is driven by companies trying to meet internal goals of promoting sustainability, according to AWEA Research Analyst Hannah Hunt. In addition, corporate buyers are seeking stable sources of energy that are not tied to variable fuel costs, such as energy generated by natural gas. “In recent years, what’s bolstered this trend is that these companies are interested in low-cost, fixed-price energy,” Hunt said. Out of 8,598 MW of wind capacity added in 2015 in total, more than 800 MW were from long-term contracts.Full article:  Corporate wind purchases soared in 2016 $American Wind Energy Association press release Large Corporations Leading the Way in Purchasing Wind Power in the U.S.last_img read more

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In FirstEnergy Bailout, Customers Would Pay 1 Month Extra for 8 Years

first_imgIn FirstEnergy Bailout, Customers Would Pay 1 Month Extra for 8 Years FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享John Funk for the Cleveland Plain Dealer:Federal utility regulators appear to be the last bulwark between consumers and FirstEnergy’s efforts to make them pay more to subsidize two of its old Ohio power plants.The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, several environmental groups and competing power suppliers have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to intervene a second time in a case pending before Ohio regulators.What’s at stake for consumers?Higher electric bills even as low natural gas prices continue to drive coal and nuclear power plants to the sidelines and gas-fired plants push wholesale power prices to new lows.Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston said consumers using an average amount of electricity could pay $790 to $827 extra for electricity over the next eight years, or about $100 extra every year.All customers would pay extra, even those who buy their power from competing suppliers. The surcharge would be “non-bypassable.” The total cost to all customers, including commercial and industrial, would come to about $3.6 billion, said Weston.The money that people need for school clothes and medical co-pays will bail out inefficient coal & nuclear plants.”“When all the jargon is stripped away, the FirstEnergy … [plan] requires regular people to pay an extra month’s electric bill each year for eight years.Full article: FirstEnergy customers would pay equivalent of extra monthly electric bill for up to eight yearslast_img read more

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Study finds plenty of brownfield sites in Nevada to host green energy

first_imgStudy finds plenty of brownfield sites in Nevada to host green energy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Las Vegas Review-Journal:Nevada could meet the new clean energy benchmark approved by voters Tuesday without tearing up any undisturbed land, according to an analysis by The Nature Conservancy and the Rocky Mountain Institute.The Silver State is home to more than enough old mines and other former industrial sites to accommodate the new solar, wind and geothermal plants that will be needed if Nevada electricity providers are eventually required to get at least 50 percent of their power from renewable sources, the analysis shows.The Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute used existing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data on potentially contaminated brownfield sites in Nevada to identify more than 2.8 million acres of already disturbed land that appears ripe for renewable energy development. That land has the potential to produce enough geothermal energy to meet about one-third of the new green energy standard, enough wind energy to meet the standard two times over and enough solar energy to meet the standard 20 times over, analysts said.And because those brownfield sites — a term used for any previously developed land that is not currently in use — were already used for industrial purposes, many of them already have access to roads and transmission lines.“We should do everything we can to take advantage of this great overlooked land resource that Nevada has to support clean energy goals,” said John Zablocki, Southern Nevada conservation director for The Nature Conservancy. “Achieving that requires focused policy work to break down barriers.”More: Nevada’s mines could hold key to Question 6 energy standardlast_img read more

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Community choice aggregation efforts for power supplies gaining steam in the U.S.

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:A renewed national expansion of community choice aggregation (CCA) is raising ambitions for transforming the U.S. power system.On the heels of an explosion of customer choice in California over the last three years, the slowly growing aggregation market in Massachusetts is accelerating. In New York, a new version of aggregation is emerging. Customers in traditional markets like Illinois and Ohio are looking for new services from their aggregators. And national CCA organizations want to bring the choice to more states.CCAs led by municipal governments were created to leverage the buying power of large groups of electricity users to get lower electricity prices and meet other customer demands. In deregulated power market states, the newest aggregations are demanding the power sector meet grassroots customer demand for renewable, distributed and — increasingly — local generation. “Customers want more choice and more ways to green the grid, and aggregations offer both,” Shawn Marshall, executive director of national aggregation advocacy group LEAN Energy, told Utility Dive. “Overturning the status quo is not easy, but we are seeing a lot of interest.”In states with legislation that enables aggregation, momentum is growing. Aggregation’s popularity is softening utility resistance. Renewables developers’ initial concerns about its creditworthiness are transmuting into commitments to make deals happen.One conflict aggregation still must face is the gap between the power system’s reliance on bulk and diversified generation and the dream of a power system comprised entirely of local resources.More: As CCAs take over utility customers, local generation emerges as the next big growth driver Community choice aggregation efforts for power supplies gaining steam in the U.S.last_img read more

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U.S. utilities sticking to coal plant retirement decisions

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):While U.S. power generators continue to assess what the total implications could be of a decline in electricity demand caused by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, those forecasting a shift to less carbon-intensive assets have not yet changed near-term plans to retire coal plants.In 2019, U.S. power generators retired 13,863 MW of coal-fired generation, the highest amount of coal capacity retired since 2015 when new mercury regulations drove the retirement of 15,124 MW of coal-fired capacity, an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis shows. As of April 17, generators had 9,038 MW worth of capacity slated for retirement in 2020 and another 23,010 MW of coal capacity set to retire between 2021 and the end of 2025.In April, renewables generated more electricity than coal every day of the month, the first time that has happened in the U.S., an analysis from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis recently pointed out. Lower power demand due to the coronavirus pandemic is one of several reasons the transition away from coal has accelerated in 2020, the group added in a May 4 news release.While companies around the world are reassessing capital spending forecasts and looking to preserve liquidity, most utilities set to retire coal plants said they are not yet seeing a reason to slow those plans. Eleven companies responded to a set of questions from S&P Global Market Intelligence regarding their COVID-related generation demand impacts and whether the pandemic will prompt any reassessment of their coal plant retirement plans.[Darren Sweeney, Taylor Kuykendall, Anna Duquiatan]More ($): So far, COVID-19 fallout not altering plans to retire U.S. coal-fired plants U.S. utilities sticking to coal plant retirement decisionslast_img read more

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Largest floating wind project now operational off the Portuguese coast

first_imgLargest floating wind project now operational off the Portuguese coast FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享OffshoreWIND.biz:The 25 MW WindFloat Atlantic floating offshore wind farm is now fully operational and supplying electricity to Portugal’s electrical grid.The WindFloat Atlantic project features three MHI Vestas 8.4 MW turbines mounted on Principle Power’s semi-submersible floating foundations.Following the connection of the last of the three wind turbines to the 20-kilometre export cable connecting the wind farm to the substation at Viana do Castelo, the construction of the wind farm is now complete.WindFloat Atlantic is the world’s first semi-submersible floating wind farm and will generate enough energy to supply the equivalent of 60,000 users per year, saving almost 1.1 million tons of CO2, the Windplus consortium said.The three floating turbines, the largest ever to be installed on a floating platform, were assembled at the Port of Ferrol in Spain prior to being towed to the installation site.The Windplus consortium comprises EDP Renewables, Engie, Repsol, and Principle Power.[Adnan Durakovic]More: WindFloat Atlantic fully up and runninglast_img read more

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All in the Family

first_imgSons of Ralph plays a monthly residency at Jack of the Wood in Asheville, N.C. Photo: Jay CobleSons of Ralph have the spirit of legend behind them. Band leader and family patriarch Ralph Lewis played with the late “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys in the early 1970s, touring internationally and making numerous appearances on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.These days, though, the 83-year-old Lewis steps beyond the bounds of tradition in his expansive acoustic outfit with sons Marty (guitar) and Don (fiddle and mandolin).Based in Asheville, N.C., Sons of Ralph formed back in 1997 with the sole intention of getting family members together to play music. Soon after the band’s inception, a then-new brewpub in Asheville, Jack of the Wood, opened. Marty Lewis knew the owners and volunteered to play on the pub’s tiny stage with his new band. Fourteen years later, Sons of Ralph still holds a monthly residency at the venue, and their shows have become legendary, attracting audiences from across the country.“It’s our home base,” says Marty Lewis. “People still e-mail us, asking when we’re playing Jack of the Wood to plan their vacations around it.”With the addition of cousin Steve Moseley on bass and Ozzie Orengo Jr. on drums, the group regularly packs the house with a rowdy brand of Americana combining traditional bluegrass with the edgier elements of country rock.“Dad was always playing straight bluegrass, but my brother and I were playing a broader range of stuff,” Marty says. “By adding an electric bass and drums, we realized we could play any kind of music.”As youngsters, the Lewis boys learned how to play from weekly jam sessions that Ralph hosted at their childhood home in the shadow of Mount Pisgah.“All the best musicians from the area would show up, and they took it seriously,” Marty adds. “We’d fall asleep and still hear banjos playing.”Soon the grade-school-age boys were on the road with their dad and the legendary Monroe, who would call them out to the stage every night to play a song or two. As they grew up, Marty went on to work with Chubby Wise, Kenny Baker, and Vassar Clements, while Don has played with Rhonda Vincent and recorded with Warren Haynes and Doc Watson.Coming back to play with their father has proven to be a wise move, as Sons of Ralph remains one of the most popular groups on the regional mountain music scene. The group entered the studio in late spring to record their sixth album, and they plan to hold court indefinitely at Jack of the Wood. 1 2last_img read more

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The Genworth Virginia 10 Miler

first_imgTOP RACES AND EVENTS TO HIT BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR:The Genworth Virginia 10 MilerWhen: September 27 – September 28, 2013Where: Lynchburg, VAWhat: 10 mile run, 4 mile run, and 4 mile walk, 1 mile kids runWebsite: www.virginiatenmiler.comThe historic Genworth Virginia 10 Miler will celebrate its 40th year on September 27-28, 2013. Join more than 4,000 runners on a historic course that has hosted participants from around the globe. The 10 mile race, 4 mile race, and Amazing Mile Children’s Run invite men, women, and children of all ages and abilities to participate. The festivities begin Friday night with packet pick-up, the Amazing Mile Children’s Run, and a fun family-friendly festival. On Saturday, thousands will take part in the 10 mile run, 4 mile run, and 4 mile walk.Enter to win two free race entries, plus a running gear package, here! Race ContactRaceDirector@virginia10miler.comCHECK OUT OUR FALL RACE AHEAD GUIDE, FOR THE TOP 25 RACES AND EVENTS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR!last_img read more

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Mountain Mama: A Paddler’s Journey

first_imgBooks fall into one of two categories for me. When my three-year old falls asleep sprawled across my lap on a cross-country flight most books remain tucked in my carry-on that’s stowed under the seat. Only certain books beckon to be read in such a way that I risk waking up my little guy to retrieve them and then proceed to plow through  cover-to-cover before the plane lands. On a recent flight from North Carolina to California, Bryant Burkhardt’s memoir, A Paddler’s Journey: Adventures on the water and wisdom gained along the way, proved to be one of those risk-wake-sleeping-toddler-one-hour-into-flight reads.Bryant Burkhardt is a badass kayaker by all accounts –- he’s instructed instructors how to teach paddling, he was a member on the Olympic polo team, he’s an accomplished expedition-style sea kayaker, and he’s paddled the whitewater gnar. To get there, he’s sacrificed a mainstream career path. He takes readers on a sometimes humorous, sometimes white-knuckling ride down rivers and through ocean waves. He makes his tales accessible to non-paddlers, while still making sure that diehard kayakers aren’t eddied out by long explanations or definitions.Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 9.57.30 AMWhile I found Bryant’s kayaking anecdotes amusing, my favorite aspect of his writing is the way he squares up to uncomfortable questions even when he doesn’t have the answers, like the emptiness he felt with the opportunity to embrace the paddler’s dream of fun-employment and spend his days paddling.  Bryant’s willingness to talk about his loneliness coming home to an empty house and having nobody to share his adventures takes a rare type of courage too rarely displayed by adrenalin sport seekers – vulnerability. At the same time, he grapples with his need to push himself and experience the ups and downs of living a full life. He ends with the most insightful and true realization. “Kayaking is part of who I am.”Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 9.57.02 AMBryant signed a copy of his book for me. He wrote, “One of these days we’ll have to get on a river together.” Indeed, I hope we will.  If it goes like most paddling encounters, it’ll be when we least expect it, at the take-out or while scouting one of us will call out to the other and we’ll hug and have a good laugh, as if we’re old friends. Although we’ve never met, we have so much in common, the deep and abiding love for kayaking.For paddlers looking for a good read or those intrigued about the sport, A Paddler’s Journey: Adventures on the water and wisdom gained along the way, is available at Bryant’s website, http://www.bryantburkhardtkayaking.com.last_img read more

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Mountain Mama Reviews a New Book About the Sailing Life

first_imgKeys to the Kingdom: A Rising Young Lawyer Who Found the Key by Losing the LockFor anyone struggling to muster up the courage to leave behind an office job in search of a dream life, Annie Dike’s book The Keys to the Kingdom is for you.  Written with southern charm and light-hearted wit, it’s the perfect book to curl up on a dark winter evening.At the tender age of thirty, Annie finds herself freshly divorced. She examines other aspects of her life and agonizes over walking away from a law career she spent years creating. The idea of starting over fills her with fear and anxiety. She worries that everyone, especially the law partners she’s worked so hard to please, will consider her nuts.Once she confronts the realty that she’s living in a prison of her own making by chasing security and money when she really craves an interesting, experience-rich life, she leaves the practice of law for good.After a dating spree, Annie meets her version of prince charming, Philip, who is also a recovering attorney. Deciding that marriage isn’t for her, she and Philip become adventure companions and the two buy a sailboat, Plaintiff’s Rest. On days too windy to sail, the pair kite surfs and on windless days, Annie uses the mast to rig up her aerial silks to dance through the air.24The book skims the surface of Annie’s finances. The divorce leaves her struggling to get out of an upside-down mortgage while still paying off school loans, but the book leaves certain money matters unexplained, like how Annie scrambles up the money to buy the sailboat and affords the cruising life.Keys of the Kingdom offers readers an up-close view of life under sail on Annie’s boat. The time on the glimmering sea transforms her from a pasty, unfit desk jockey into a toned and tanned sailor babe. Sailing also bought out her spark in a way that the law never had. Annie writes, “It was as if my life had been fuzzy for years – each day a dull, hazy repetition of the one before – and it was finally now clicked into focus, everything in high-def.”She soon discovers that the quit-and-sail-away fantasy requires just as much work as practicing law. From climbing the mast to retrieve the halyard to sleepless nights worried about equipment failures to getting caught in weather, Annie spends her fair share of time wet, salty, and uncomfortable. Even in the most challenging moments, she wouldn’t have it any other way, knowing that life on a sailboat is the place she most wants to be.3D-2“The wear of the passage – the uncomfortable conditions your body sometimes has to endure for hours on end – makes you truly appreciate the stillness, the security of being in port or on anchor. The simple act of washing my face after we were docked felt like a lavish experience. . . The more discomfort you endure, the more comfort you find. One enables and enriches the other.”Amazon releases Keys to the Kingdom this Friday, December 11th. For more information, check out Annie’s website havewindwilltravel.com.last_img read more

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