Workers in Canada Propose Renewable-Energy Expansion

first_imgWorkers in Canada Propose Renewable-Energy Expansion FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Justin Brake for the Independent (Newfoundland):It began as a conversation around the worktable in the oil sands and has turned into an important national initiative to help workers adjust to the changing landscape in Canada’s energy industry.In 2014 Adam Cormier, an electrician from Corner Brook who spent a year working in Alberta’s oil sands, and some of his colleagues were discussing the oil industry downturn.“Why aren’t we investing in the future of energy, which is renewables?” Cormier recalled in a recent interview with The Independent.And then it occurred to them — their livelihoods didn’t have to be dependent on or dictated by an unstable and unsustainable industry.“We are boilermakers, we’re welders, we’re iron workers, we’re electricians,” said Cormier. “We have the hard hands-on skills right now to put up windmills, build biogas plants, to install solar panels — and we want that work because a lot of people right now are hurting.”Recognizing the potential for thousands of fossil fuel industry workers to transfer their skills to the burgeoning renewable energy sector, Cormier and his co-workers decided to get the ball rolling on what they hope will be a large shift of tradespeople to new jobs in renewables, which Cormier calls “the future of energy”.They’ve named the project Iron & Earth, which they introduced at a press conference in Edmonton on March 21, along with the vision for their first undertaking: to retrain 1,000 out-of-work oil sands workers in Alberta to install solar panels in that province.Beyond that the group is also inviting fossil fuel industry workers to join their organization and help them determine how to coordinate subsequent projects in other provinces and jurisdictions.“We will be looking at each of our trades and all across the country develop specific campaigns for each trade geared toward the best renewable options in that region and the best technologies that match with their current skills,” Cormier explained.Iron & Earth is asking workers to help pay for their retraining, but also for support from governments, which they’re optimistic about in light of the Trudeau Government’s recent budget commitment of $2 billion to establish a Low Carbon Economy Fund and $130 million over five years to, among other things, “create clean jobs” and “support clean technology research and development.”Cormier said Iron & Earth and Canadian trades workers are “in a very unique position to bridge the two traditional sides of the environment vs. the economy. Our message is that that is an old argument that no longer stands because renewables are incredible for the economy [and] they’re incredible for job growth.” Full article: oil sands workers champion shift to renewable energylast_img read more

As Demand in China Wanes, ‘Trouble for Coal’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal:China pumps out machinery, cellphones and smog, but it runs on coal. It is by far the largest burner of the black stuff so, when Chinese factories start slowing down, it is usually time to sell your coal stocks.A sharp economic reversal in China this year remains unlikely, but July data was strikingly weak after stellar second-quarter growth. That is bad news for coal firms everywhere, and especially for China’s state-owned behemoths like Yanzhou Coal, struggling with crushing debt burdens and fickle Chinese regulators. The coal price rebound fueled by Chinese stimulus this year has pushed Yanzhou’s stock up around 40% year-to-date and its first half sales up 82% from a year earlier, but the firm hasn’t used the breathing space to pay off much of its borrowings. Debt still clocked in at a vertigo-inducing 156% of equity in June.Instead, Yanzhou is pursuing expensive acquisitions in Australia through its subsidiary Yancoal , YAL -4.17% which recently agreed to buy Rio Tinto’s Hunter Valley coal assets for $2.69 billion. Cash-strapped Yancoal is issuing $2.5 billion in new equity to finance the deal over the objections of minority shareholders, with Yanzhou itself on the hook for up to $1 billion. Yanzhou also plans to boost capital expenditures by about 20% in 2017.None of this would matter that much if China’s economy was poised for another 12 months of above-trend growth. Unfortunately, it is increasingly clear that isn’t the case. Chinese policy makers are tightening credit gradually ahead of an important Communist Party meeting this fall, and that is starting to affect investment and industrial output. Chinese real-estate investment, the biggest driver of global materials demand, including coal, grew at its slowest pace in over a year in July, and infrastructure investment also ticked lower. Industrial output weakened across the board.Two other bearish factors for coal and electricity demand are about to kick in. First, it has started raining again in southwest China. Dry weather this spring pushed hydropower utilization down the most since 2012 and coal power plants’ run rates sharply higher. That dynamic is now moving into reverse as hydropower ramps up again.Furthermore, plans to shutter more energy-intensive steel and aluminum plants this winter during the peak pollution season—on top of steel capacity cuts already enacted—could deal another blow to power demand. Metal smelting alone accounts for around 20% of power consumption in China.Things are looking brighter for the global coal sector following the disastrous price crash of 2015—including the U.S., where the sector is seeing a revival—but things are just about as good as they can possibly be right now. Next year will be tougher.Investors should take the opportunity to dig out their cash while the digging is good.More: ($) Indigestion in China’s Economy Spells Trouble for Coal As Demand in China Wanes, ‘Trouble for Coal’last_img read more

Dominion sets closure date for Chesterfield coal units

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Richmond Times-Dispatch:Dominion Energy is planning to permanently retire 10 of its energy-producing power plant units — most of which were built to burn coal — by the end of the month.A Dominion spokesman said the units had been placed on reserve last year with the possibility of coming back online. Retiring the units, he said, negates that possibility.The move marks a significant step for the utility, which once relied heavily on coal for energy production.“It’s all part of us moving to a greener and less carbon-centered energy mix,” said spokesman Dan Genest. “We have lots of inexpensive natural gas, increasingly more competitive solar, so older smaller and less efficient units just could not compete.”Two of the units that will be permanently retired are in Chesterfield County. The units, built in 1952 and 1960, burned coal until they were placed on reserve in December.The other units are at the Bellemeade Power Station in Richmond, the Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County, the Mecklenburg Power Station in Mecklenburg County, the Pittsylvania Power Station in Pittsylvania County, and the Possum Point Power Station in Dumfries in Prince William County.More: Dominion to retire old, coal-burning power units Dominion sets closure date for Chesterfield coal unitslast_img read more

India’s Renew Power looks to double installed green power portfolio to 20GW in five years

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ET EnergyWorld.com:Renew Power, India’s largest clean energy firm, plans to double its portfolio of running plants and projects under implementation to 10,000 MW in five years, an ambitious growth plan that has cheered its major investor Goldman Sachs.The expansion would require an investment of Rs 40,000 crore to Rs 50,000 crore, going by the average cost of projects in the industry, although the company did not share financial details. Project economics vary across the country, depending on the cost of land and the intensity of sunlight or wind.Sumant Sinha-led Renew Power’s aggressive expansion is part of the growing corporate interest in the sector in which Gautam Adani is also expanding his presence with the aim of becoming the world’s biggest renewable energy company with a capacity of 25,000 MW.“This year despite the impact of Covid-19, the government has been actively bringing out new bids in the renewable energy space and companies have responded enthusiastically,” Renew Power chairman and managing director Sumant Sinha told ET.Goldman Sachs holds 48.6% stake in Renew Power and has backed the company for a long time. Renew Power has also raised debt and equity from other major global investors including Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, JERA and Global Environment Fund. Since its inception 10 years ago, the company has seen foreign direct investment of over $1.4 billion from various investors.Renew already has the country’s largest operation capacity of 5,600 MW, which along with capacity in the pipeline adds up to 10,000 MW.[Shashwat Mohanty]More: Renew Power plans to double power generation capacity to 20,000 megawatts in five years India’s Renew Power looks to double installed green power portfolio to 20GW in five yearslast_img read more

Greek government approves 2.8GW of new renewable energy capacity

first_imgGreek government approves 2.8GW of new renewable energy capacity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Ekathimerini.com:The government on Monday approved four new investment projects in electricity production from renewable energy sources with a total budget of 2.02 billion euros. The projects that the Ministerial Committee for Strategic Investments, led by Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis, approved have a combined capacity of 2,810.3 megawatts and will create more than 300 jobs in various parts of the countryside.The first project concerns photovoltaic parks with a total capacity of 1.5 gigawatts in 12 regional units, to be constructed by the Egnatia Group with a budget of €888.14 million euros. The project in parts of Central and Northern Greece will create 240 new jobs.Terna Energy is responsible for the second project, concerning the development of 18 wind parks with a capacity of 360 MW at Karystos on the island of Evia, with a budget of €585 million and the creation of 18 jobs.The third provides for five wind power investments of €121.28 million in total, with a combined capacity of 120.3 MW in Thrace, which are expected to create 36 new jobs.The last one is by Karatzis SA, and foresees for the development, construction and operation of 37 photovoltaic stations of 830 MW in total in Larissa, Magnesia and Kilkis. The €421.6 million project is expected to lead to 10 new job openings.[Chryssa Liaggou]More: Four RES investments approvedlast_img read more

Blue Ridge Autumn Adventures With a Splash of Color

first_imgIt’s hard to be sad about the passing of summer when autumn’s cool weather and majestic colors make their way to the Blue Ridge. Whether you’re a paddler, climber, biker, or hiker, we have a trip for you that will revamp your faith in the beauty and power of nature. Here is your guide to Blue Ridge Autumn Adventures:PADDLERussell Fork, Va./Ky.Starting in southwest Virginia and running north through parts of Kentucky, the Russell Fork offers novice and advanced paddlers alike the chance to see some of the region’s most spectacular scenery. For newer paddlers, catch the whitewater releases in October to run the stretch from Flannagan Dam on the Pound River to the take out at Garden Hole, a great class II-IV run. For experienced creekers, try the class IV+ Russell Fork Gorge, which starts at Garden Hole and takes paddlers through a 1600-foot gorge of full-on whitewater.Nolichucky River, Tenn.Stretching for 115 miles through parts of North Carolina and Tennessee, this natural flow river typically has at least one section that runs year-round. The challenging and scenic class III-IV gorge of this river starts near Poplar, N.C., and ends eight miles downstream at the Nolichucky Gorge Campground in Erwin, Tenn. Playboaters especially should enjoy this run, as it offers multiple opportunities for surfing.CLIMBNo Place Like Home (5.11c): Red River Gorge, Ky.For sport climbers looking for a good challenge and some epic exposure, try this Red River Gorge classic. The 100-foot arête requires climbers to use a minimum of a 60m rope (although 70m is preferred). The run-out leading to the first high bolt can be intimidating but is manageable. If you’re feeling leery, bring a #4 Camelot and some slings.Photo Finish (5.9): New River Gorge, W.VaOne of the most iconic climbs of the New River Gorge, this route affords climbers a chance to literally have a photo finish, so make sure to bring a camera. The 40-foot trad line is an extension of its neighbor, the 5.9 Super Crack. The surrounding Beauty Mountain area is a must-see when climbing in the Gorge and a great place to catch the sunset.BIKEBear Creek: Ellijay, Ga.For advanced bikers, Bear Creek offers a challenging 10-mile loop that can give out-of-towners a true taste of the Blue Ridge. The trail is about 50 percent narrow singletrack and 50 percent doubletrack on old fire roads and can be started at a variety of trailheads sprinkled throughout the area. The final climb is rewarding for two reasons: one, for the stunning view at the top and two, for the beastly downhill spin that finishes up the loop.Virginia Creeper Trail: Damascus, Va.Family vacations don’t have to be painful. Grab the kids, dogs, and grandma for a cruise on the Creeper. No bikes? No worries. Hit up one of the bike shops in town for a rental bike and helmet as well as a shuttle to the top. The most popular section takes you from Whitetop Station back to your car in Damascus, a 17-mile downhill cruise that follows the scenic Whitetop Laurel Creek.HIKECold Mountain: Pisgah National Forest, N.C.Nestled in the Shining Rock Wilderness of North Carolina, Cold Mountain is known for more than its blockbuster claim to fame. At 6,030 feet, the climb to Cold Mountain is steep and traverses some of the region’s highest peaks. For a challenging 2-day hike, take the Ivestor Gap and Art Loeb Trails for an 18-mile taste of stiff climbs, unparalleled views, ridgewalks, and hollows thick with rhododendron.Baughman Trail: Ohiopyle State Park, Penn.If you’re driving through the area and want a challenging out and back hike, take the Baughman Trail to the Baughman Rock Overlook. The trail can be accessed from two trailheads, one near the Middle Yough takeout parking lot and the other at the Sugarloaf Snowmobile and Mountain Bike Area. The going gets tough pretty quickly, so be prepared for some strenuous hiking but some truly rewarding panoramic views of the Laurel Highlands and Ohiopyle State Park.last_img read more

Dan River ash spill: Could it happen near you?

first_imgThe Dan River spill, which was first reported by Duke Energy on Monday, February 3, has released enough toxic sludge into the Dan River to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools, making it the nation’s third largest coal ash spill ever.Could this happen to your local river? There are two dozen coals ash ponds endangering rivers and waterways across the Southeast, including ponds along the French Broad River, James River, Clinch River, and Catawba River. These coal ash ponds threaten the drinking water of many major cities, among them Richmond, Va., Charlotte, N.C., Greensboro, N.C., Winston-Salem, N.C., Norfolk, Va., and Asheville, N.C.The Southern Environmental Law Center has released an interactive map that details the ongoing risk to drinking water intakes downstream from the Dan River spill: http://cdb.io/1azMQSH, as well as a map that shows the risk to drinking water intakes downstream from coal ash pits across the region: http://cdb.io/1neAekg.At the very least, toxic coal ash needs to be moved out of these unlined, earthen pits and into dry, lined landfills away from the rivers and lakes we rely on for drinking water and recreation.Following lawsuits from environmental groups, two of the three utilities in South Carolina—South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper—are removing coal ash pits near rivers to safer dry, lined storage facilities. Neither utility has raised its rates for taking responsible action. The Dan River site is one of fourteen coal ash sites managed by Duke Energy that are the subject of similar lawsuits ongoing in North Carolina state court.Over the past 12 months, North Carolina environmental advocates have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clean up their dangerous and unsafe coal ash ponds. Each time, their efforts were essentially blocked by Governor McCrory’s administration, which legally intervened in the cases. The state allowed Duke to only pay a small fine but do nothing to actually clean up their unsafe and unlined toxic coal ash dumps.Last week, we paid the price.last_img read more

Weekend Pick: Wilderness Wildlife Week

first_imgThough Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee has technically been running for several days, it’s not too late to catch the tail end of this celebrated outdoor immersion experience! Take a trip to the Smokies this weekend to participate in the 25th anniversary. There will be workshops, lectures, discussions, presentations, and adventures all in honor of the great outdoors.Wilderness Wildlife Week began in 1990 under the influence of photographer Ken Jenkins, and has skyrocketed in popularity ever since. Today, over 25,000 people travel to Pigeon Forge every year to take part in this unique getaway tradition. Jenkins himself remains surprised at just how successful the event has become, but loves to see his own enthusiasm for the outdoors spread so far.“I really believed in the idea that the more that we can let people know about these mountains, and the things that are so wonderful about coming here,” he says, “the more they will fall in love with mountains and the more they will want to take care of things.”Join in on Jenkins’ project and see all that the Smokies have to offer this winter season. Wilderness Wildlife Week packs each day full of exciting outdoor fun, and the events continue through the whole weekend. You can expect lessons on wilderness navigation, Leave No Trace, animal interaction, photography, food sources, music, and even moonshine-making. Plus, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore the trails, rivers, rocks, and forests of the area with your fellow outdoorsmen and women. Check out the full schedule to plan your trip.The event will use the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge as its headquarters, where participants can register for sessions, get more information, and view photography exhibits. Don’t miss this chance to get outside, even in these colder months, and escape into the wild!last_img read more

Mountain Mama: Who Guards the Waterfalls?

first_img“Who guards the waterfalls?” a twelve-year-old boy asked at the meeting last Thursday night with the U.S. Forest Service regarding Big Ivy’s future. The Barnardsville community and other supporters like me answered that question.We will.Hundreds of people filled the community room to capacity and another hundred stood outside or circled for parking. The Forest Service’s most recent draft plan for managing Big Ivy for the next two decades designated it suitable for timber production. The three representatives from the Forest Service, including Matt McCombs the District Ranger, emphasized that no site-specific plan is under consideration. Logging the forest is one of many viable outcomes for the area. The Forest Service’s typical response to questions included vague assurances.“We’ll take that into consideration.”“This is the 30,000-foot view of future management direction.”“Gone are the days of clear cutting.”But the crowd wasn’t relieved by their assurances and called them out on using forest speak. I’m a lawyer. I’ve waded through page-long sentences and am no stranger to legalese. Even to my lawyer-ears, most of the responses for the Forest Service contained references to dense regulations, convoluting to the point of being unintelligible.Hands shot up in the air. “What are the chances that there will be logging in Big Ivy?”Another man explained the eco-tourism driven economy in the area, pointing out that many in the crowds earned their livelihood from hosting weddings to renting out cabins to canopy tours. The local economy relies on the forest’s scenic appeal. He asked, “What do you need from us in terms of estimates of the impact of logging the forest on the economy? How can we gather that information for you?”I’ve visited Big Ivy exactly once when I hiked to Douglas Falls, an impressive seventy-foot cascade of water from the top of the mountain into an idyllic mountain creek. I drove from Asheville to attend the meeting to protect the natural playground where so many like-minded friends come to hike, run, and bike.BigIveCollage1Many commenters reminded me that they were there to not only save a playground, but to save their heritage. They told about gathering food and medicine from the woods. Some moved to the area seeking fresh spring water. Others said their grandparents lived in these hills, describing the intangible quality that makes the forest special, sacred even. One person explained that Big Ivy is the culture and history of Barnardsville, the forest is the spirit of the people. Their greatest wish was to give their own children the opportunity to live in those hills too.Parents brought their kids last Thursday night, their faces etched with an expression that as a single mom, I recognized – a fierce determination laced with doubt. They wanted to pass along the best parts of themselves – the land – to their children, but lived in the shadow of fear that the place in the world they valued most might be logged. Their legacy and home, the forests and waterfalls, the springs and clean air, the mountain spirit and sense of community, might not get passed on to the next generation.A baby cried and I overheard someone grumble that parents should have hired a babysitter, but I think bringing kids to a meeting like that is akin to taking kids to church. It’s a message about values and morals, and passing those along, showing their kids what it means to stand up for what matters most in life.The children seemed to already know they live in a special place, and they spoke about how much they loved the view from their homes and how they visited the forests before they could even walk.The Forest Service representatives repeated the overwhelming opposition to the current proposal that the crowd imprinted upon them. They also stressed the importance of staying engaged in the process. Even if Big Ivy is safe for now, that’s no guarantee that policies or personnel or priorities won’t change a year or ten from now.The crowd rallied for wilderness, a designation that would forever protect their sacred forests. The wilderness designation requires Congressional approval, but there are other designations that would bestow a greater level of protection for Big Ivy and the Friends of Big Ivy recommends that the 1 and 2a designations be replaced by 3, 4b, 5 and 6 (wilderness) designations.If living with the uncertainty of future logging seems intolerable to you too, I can suggest some resources. Contact the District Ranger, Matt McCombs, at 632 Manor Road, Manors Hill, NC 28754, 828.689.9694. Email your concerns [email protected] Follow Friends of the Big Ivy on Facebook and check their website for future meetings.The fight for Big Ivy will be on going. Get involved. Stay engaged.last_img read more

A Creek Contested

first_img“A state-recognized Virginia treasure,” I say as I pull up to the infamous Johns Creek, a jewel of southwestern Virginia that, until recently, was illegal to paddle due to a landowner dispute. Located just 30 minutes from downtown Roanoke and with 5.5 miles of continuous class IV, Johns is a 9-to-5 working boater’s wet dream.In 2015, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) deemed the creek navigable, and therefore accessible to the public. Since that fateful decision, I had been eager to paddle the legendary run. I had grown up listening to tales of rapids with names that made me want to pee a little, like “Separator” and “Bambi Meets Godzilla.” So, after a few days of rain in the valley, I head to the put-in to make my personal first descent of Johns Creek.Johns is a creek with constant rock slides, boofs, and giant holes to either punch or eddy-hop around. I was challenged in the best of ways as I maneuvered my creek boat through tight slots and around downed trees. All the while, I was amazed with the beauty of the gorge—walls of rock looming above me. This is what I had been waiting for my whole life of paddling. But for years, it’s been off-limits.“Back when paddling and canoeing started gaining popularity, right in the 1980s, Johns was considered the gem of Virginia,” says Pete Katt, a Roanoke area paddler and lawyer. “Then in the 90s, there were two landowners along Johns Creek who put pressure on the commonwealth attorney to research if Johns was a navigable waterway.” Once the commonwealth attorney could not find sufficient evidence that the creek had been used for commercial transportation, Johns Creek was deemed un-navigable, which closed it off to public access.Plott_Carr_IMG_5029_FIXHowever, the paddling community pushed back, arguing Johns was navigable and had been proven to be many times since the first descent of the creek in the late 1960s. This resulted in the VMRC reviewing Johns Creek along with 11 other Virginia creeks. According to the VMRC, any waterway with over five square miles of drainage or with a mean annual flow of five cubic feet per second is considered navigable.In 2015, VMRC concluded that Johns Creek and the 11 others all were deemed navigable.The landowners countered with land grants, known as King’s Grants. The landowners refused to comment for this story, but their lawyer, Lenden Eakin, argues that grants given prior to 1802 include ownership of the creek and the creek bottom. This allows the landowner to control access to the creek, deciding if recreational use such as paddling and fishing will be allowed. Currently, the pending case Looney v. VMRC focuses on the ownership of stream bottoms on Johns Creek.When Johns was deemed navigable in 2015, the commonwealth attorney and sheriff of Craig County decided they would no longer prosecute or arrest paddlers who were on the creek. This allowed the paddling community to have the immunity they had been seeking for 16 years. Johns Creek was open to the public to paddle again.Immediately after the decision was made, several Roanoke paddlers organized a beautification of the takeout, owned by American Whitewater. They brought in gravel to minimize mud impact on the road and built a change station for paddlers to utilize so they weren’t changing out in the open.But the two landowners are continuing their fight. They point to the General Assembly ruling that the state owns all streambeds unless the land was granted prior to 1802. Both grants from the landowners were issued prior to these years, one in 1760 and the other in 1786. So, according to Eakin, all of the land being contested is private property, including Johns Creek, subject to the constitutional rights that prevent the taking of private property for public purposes without due process and compensation.“In order to have jurisdiction to declare a stream navigable, the VRMC has to claim that the stream bottom belongs to the commonwealth,” says Eakin. “They only have jurisdiction over ungranted bottoms in the state. They have taken the position, at least from our point of view, that no bottom is granted and so they have jurisdiction over everything. And that’s simply not true.”Katt hopes to clarify who is behind the suit as he helps to represent the paddling community. “There are two corporations and [one] landowner that are suing: one has the money and the other is adamant in trying to deny people use of the stream,” says Katt. “The lawsuit itself talks just about the King’s Grant. It doesn’t mention navigability. They’re trying to avoid bringing up navigability.“The response of the government to the lawsuit is that we haven’t acquired anything, we haven’t tried to acquire anything, and you haven’t lost anything. So what [the landowners] are asking… there’s no basis for in court,” says Katt.The suit has been filed, and they are now in the process of setting a hearing with the circuit court judge in Craig County. Eakin says they are prepared to appeal through the Virginia Supreme Court if the initial ruling is not in his clients’ favor.“Does the creek belong to the public or the landowner? That’s the main question here. There’s a lot of pressure for creeks to be open to the public, but when you open it up that infringes on the landowner’s right to private property,” says Eakin.Katt encourages those who want to paddle Johns Creek to get on it now and show that it is a navigable stream beloved by the public. Local paddler Steve Powers stresses the importance of paddling with locals who know the lines. “Scouting isn’t an option out there. Be sure you’re ready for it and don’t be the cause of a future problem with anyone,” says Powers. “But also know that Johns is worth all of this legal work and research. This creek is something many people can do, and it runs over 100 days out of the year. It’s beautiful, it’s continuous, it’s the best creek in the state, and it might very well be one of the best creeks on the planet.”last_img read more