Month: December 2020

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:Big Rivers Electric Tuesday notified Kentucky regulators and the Henderson municipal utility that owns a 312 MW coal-fired plant that it was terminating a long-term operating agreement at end-May 2019.Big Rivers, a Henderson-based generation and transmission co-op, has operated the Station Two plant since the facility opened in 1972, Jennifer Keach, the co-op’s spokeswoman, told S&P Global Platts in an interview.“We’ve experienced losses for several years,” said Keach, adding Big Rivers has concluded the plant is “no longer capable of normal, continuous, reliable operation in an economic manner.”In a filing with the Public Service Commission, Big Rivers seeks commission approval to establish a regulatory asset to defer contract-related expenses. The Rural Utilities Service already has told Big Rivers it has no objections to such a request.Although Big Rivers and HMP&L have discussed such a possibility, the official contract termination announcement leaves the city in somewhat of a lurch. HMP&L plans to spend the next couple of months evaluating its options, Chris Heimgartner, HMP&L general manager and CEO, said in an interview. Those options include finding another operator for Station Two, purchasing wholesale power from the market or retiring the plant next spring.More: Big Rivers Says To Stop Operating Henderson, Kentucky, Coal Plant In 2019 Big Rivers Decision Could Lead to Another U.S. Coal Plant Closurelast_img read more

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first_imgZambia solar projects set record low price for Sub-Saharan Africa FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:The latest GET FiT tender in Zambia has awarded 120 MW of capacity and set a record low price for Sub-Saharan Africa. The tender had originally been for 100 MW but was extended, owing to the quality of the received bids. The lowest bid of 3.999 U.S. cents per kWh is the first under the four-cent mark. The weighted average price across all projects was 4.41 cents.The scheme is run by Zambia’s Department of Energy and the German development bank KfW.The six winning bids were awarded in pairs to three successful bidders, whittled down from 23 consortia.“It is important to recognise that these tariff results represent a truly competitive outcome. Not only were developers required to find and acquire their own suitable sites and pay for shallow grid connection, but GET FiT Zambia has offered no form of grant financing, nor has it arranged for concessional finance,” said Ryan Anderson, the tender agent team leader.More: Zambia solar tender sets Sub-Saharan price recordlast_img read more

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享GeekWire:Starbucks has struck a first-of-its-kind clean energy deal that will generate enough power to run 3,000 of its stores by 2021. To pull it off, the coffee giant worked with green energy marketplace LevelTen Energy to purchase stakes in two solar and one wind project across North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.Starbucks has invested in renewable resources since 2005 and reached its goal of using 100 percent renewable electricity to power its stores in 2015. Two years ago, the company took its first step into directly investing in renewables with a 260-acre solar plant in North Carolina that creates enough electricity to power 600 stores.The LevelTen deal represents a new approach to clean energy investments. Rather than signing up as the sole purchaser of electricity, as it did in the North Carolina deal, Starbucks owns a fraction of several projects that together create a portfolio. The new model “opens the door for many new buyers to cost-effectively source smaller amounts of renewable energy,” Patrick Leonard, an energy manager for Starbucks, said in a statement.LevelTen’s platform aims to make it easier for corporate buyers to shop around for clean energy projects. For Starbucks, spreading cash across several projects reduces the overall risk by diversifying a portfolio, much like any other investment. The added peace of mind could attract more companies to directly purchase renewable energy.Earlier this week, LevelTen raised $20.5 million to fuel the growth of its platform and expand its presence in North America and Europe.More: Starbucks taps Seattle startup LevelTen in first-of-its-kind clean energy deal New Starbucks contract should expand smaller companies’ access to green energylast_img read more

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first_imgAustralia’s largest solar-plus-storage project begins commercial operation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:Australia’s largest solar-plus-storage project has come online in Victoria with Tesla batteries, proving that existing PV projects can be successfully retrofitted with battery storage.The 25MW/50MWh battery is co-located and integrated with the 60MW Gannawarra Solar Farm, near Kerang, in the Northwest of Victoria. The battery is now owned by Edify Energy and its partner Wirsol, who developed the project.Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, who visited the project, said: “Big batteries help to stabilise our power grid and provide much-needed backup power – which is vital to maintaining a reliable and affordable energy supply for Victoria.”The Andrews Labor Government has invested AU$25 million (US$17.25 million) into two big batteries in North Western Victoria – the Gannawarra Energy Storage System and the Ballarat Energy Storage System – help integrate new renewable energy into the Victorian grid and alleviate stress points in the electricity network.The Australian Renewable Energy Agency also provided AU$25 million to co-fund these projects, with close to AU$20 million investment from private equity.This is Tesla’s second biggest battery in Australia and among the largest of its kind in the world. It can power 16,000 households for two hours during peak demand.More: Australia’s largest solar-plus-storage project comes onlinelast_img read more

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first_imgGibbons Creek owners make it official, Texas coal plant to close permanently in October FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Owners of the 470-MW, coal-fired Gibbons Creek Generating Station, which has been in mothball status, have decided to shut the plant permanently as of Oct. 23 despite tight supplies in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and pricing changes designed to encourage generation owners to stay in the market.ERCOT late June 28 issued a notice to market participants that it had received a Notification of Change of Generation Resource Designation, which the city of Garland, Texas, intended to change the status of the Gibbons Creek plant from mothballed “to a status of decommissioned and retired permanently as of October 23, 2019.” As the plant was in mothball status, its owner, the Texas Municipal Power Agency need take no further action with ERCOT to proceed with the permanent decommissioning.Having come online in October 1983, the plant’s contract for supplies to the Texas cities of Bryan, Denton, Garland and Greenville ended in September 2018. The four cities own the power agency. Denton in November 2018 entered into power purchase agreements for 150 MW from two solar projects now in development.The Gibbons Creek plant had been in mothball status since October 2018 with plans to resume operations seven or eight months later, but the city of Garland, which had contracted for about 221 MW of the plant’s capacity, decided instead to continue the mothball status indefinitely.According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, the Gibbons Creek plant’s capacity factor in 2017 was less than 39% and just over 40% in 2016. Its coal supply in 2018 came from Arch Coal Inc.’s Coal Creek mine in Campbell County, Wyo.Located near the nexus of ERCOT’s Houston, North and South hubs, the plant had been for sale since mid-2017. This year through July 1, day-ahead on-peak locational marginal prices at those three locations have averaged less than $28/MWh.More ($): Texas municipal to retire mothballed coal plantlast_img read more

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Bangladeshi power minister Nasrul Hamid has said the government has invited China to accelerate the renewable energy ambitions of the South Asian nation because private sector investors were not driving forward solar deployment fast enough.Welcoming the decision to form a joint venture (JV) between state-owned entities from each nation which will drive 450 MW of new solar capacity and a 50 MW wind farm, Hamid said lack of local investment meant solar power projects still cost $0.10-0.13/kWh in Bangladesh despite marked falls elsewhere in the world.Bangladesh’s highest decision-making body, the cabinet committee, on Monday approved a joint venture which will see the host nation’s North-West Power Generation Company Limited supply land for clean energy generation. Chinese engineering contractor the National Machinery Import and Export Corporation will invest an estimated $500 million in developing the planned solar and wind facilities, via the new Bangladesh-China Power Company (Pvt) Ltd Renewables entity.It is not clear whether the JV will be established as part of China’s continent-spanning Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure program of which Bangladesh is a member, but Hamid confirmed Dhaka wants at least 3 GW of solar capacity installed in the years ahead.Under the terms of the JV arrangement – which was held up, in part, by the Covid-19 crisis in Bangladesh – a 60 MW solar plant, for which a feasibility study has been prepared, will be set up on 205 acres of government-owned, non-cultivated ‘khas’ land, with the facility set to go online by next June. A feasibility study has also been prepared for a 100 MW solar project planned in the Sirajganj district. That facility is expected to begin generating by June 2022 and arrangements to lease the required land are under way.The 50 MW wind farm has been planned near the southern port of Payra and wind mapping of the site is almost complete, with the facility expected to be operational by December 2022.[Syful Islam]More: Bangladesh looks to Beijing to speed its solar ambition Bangladesh turns to China for help with its solar development planslast_img read more

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first_imgInvestors pressure Samsung over potential investment in Vietnam coal-fired power project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Activist climate investors warned Samsung C&T Corp. over its potential involvement in a new coal power plant in Southeast Asia amid mounting global pressure to halt use of the dirtiest fossil fuel.Investment arms of Legal & General Group Plc, the U.K.’s biggest manager of corporate pension schemes, Norway’s KLP Kapitalforvaltning AS and Helsinki-based Nordea Bank Abp, have urged the South Korean company not to participate in the construction of the controversial plant in Vietnam, which it’s currently considering.The project “poses significant reputational and climate related risks,” said Meryam Omi, the head of sustainable investing at Legal & General Investment Management Ltd. “We have asked the company to commit to no involvement in construction of new coal plants and will continue to engage with them on this matter.”While the shareholders own just a tiny fraction of the de facto holding company of the Samsung empire, such public pressure is an increasingly common tactic by funds to put fossil fuel-engaged companies under the spotlight amid the global push against climate change.The funds are focused on Samsung’s potential role in constructing the Vung Ang 2 project, which may come after state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. finalizes an impending investment in the venture.The scrutiny comes as global investors are increasingly voicing concerns over the risks associated with South Korea’s overseas coal financing. BlackRock Inc., the world’s top asset manager, has urged Korea Electric to provide clear strategic rationale for its investment in several coal projects, including Vung Ang 2. Domestic pressure is also growing after the country unveiled a $35 billion plan to boost low-carbon power sources and foster green industries.[Heesu Lee]More: Samsung C&T targeted by activists over Vietnam coal projectlast_img read more

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Sydney Morning Herald:BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has thrown its support behind a push for Australian energy giant AGL to bring forward the closure dates of its remaining coal-fired power stations.AGL faced an investor revolt on Wednesday, as more than 20 per cent of the company’s shareholders backed a resolution for the board to align the retirement of the Loy Yang A power plant in Victoria and its Bayswater station in New South Wales with a strategy to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. This would mean shutting Loy Yang A, the largest brown coal fired power plant in Victoria, at least 12 years before AGL’s planned 2048 closure.While prominent local superannuation funds including Aware Super declined to support the motion, the $10 trillion BlackRock, which ranks as one of AGL’s top shareholders, voted in favour of it.AGL is Australia’s largest energy generator and heaviest carbon emitter, accounting for 8 per cent of national emissions. Like many top polluters, it has faced a rising tide of pressure both from activists and increasingly climate-conscious major investors to improve its carbon credentials and, in particular, reduce reliance on thermal coal.The resolution for an accelerated coal exit, prepared by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) and co-filed by 100 shareholders, gained 20.4 per cent of shareholders’ support on Wednesday, but was not supported by the board and several other prominent AGL investors.Investors who backed the resolution expressed concern not only about the emissions generated by AGL’s remaining fleet of coal generators, but also the increasingly significant maintenance costs required to keep the ageing and failure-prone facilities running. AGL’s expenditure to sustain its existing operations has more than doubled from $255 million in 2014 to $536 million in 2020, one investor said. BlackRock noted that Loy Yang A would be more than 60 years old if it was kept in service until 2048, raising operational concerns in relation to reliability and safety.[Nick Toscano]More: BlackRock turns up the heat on AGL’s coal exit plans BlackRock backs resolution that would have forced early closure of AGL coal plants in Australialast_img read more

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first_imgNew River Gorge Bridge – West VirginiaLights on the New River Bridge?The West Virginia Department of Transportation may install lights on the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia. The lighting would be turned on at dusk, then turned off after a couple of hours. “It’s still in the ‘idea’ phase,” says DOT project coordinator Rob Pennington. Not everyone is lighting up over the proposal. “This bridge is in a national park. You’ve got dark skies issues,” says Kenny Parker with the New River Climbers Alliance. “Plus, it’s just cheesy.”Paddle the French Broad River TrailSeven access points and campsites are being planned along a 117-mile stretch of the French Broad River by the Western North Carolina Alliance. Construction of the first campsite has already begun, and the entire paddle trail should be completed by next summer.New Species Found in Tennessee RiverA new species of giant crayfish was recently discovered  under a rock in a stream bed that joins the Tennessee River. The new crustacean, dubbed Barbicambarus simmonsi, is five inches long, twice the size of most other crayfish found in the region. According to researchers, the discovery underscores the need for more scientific exploration of land and species in the U.S. Celebrate the new crayfish on the 22nd of this month, which has been declared International Day for Biological Diversity by the United Nations.“The woods and the wind will be good for their hearts and souls.”—President Franklin Roosevelt, at the dedication of Shenandoah National Park in 1936. Shenandoah turns 75 this year. My Bike is Faster Than Your CarBikes are faster than cars in downtown Chattanooga, according to a new study by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency. The study measured door-to-door travel time of driving, mass transit, walking, and cycling. Surprisingly, taking a car was the slowest mode of transport studied over a number of routes, due to the time it takes to walk to a car, stop at lights, park, and walk to the destination. 1 2last_img read more

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first_imgBiomass can be a part of the effort to cut back on fossil fuels, but only if it is harvested and used in ways that reduce pollution, cut emissions and protect forests. Pictured: A biomass-burning power plant. Credit: iStockPhotoEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: What is “biomass” and why is it controversial as a potential source of energy?                                                                                                                                      — Edward White, New Bedford, MABiomass is plant matter that is burned as a source of energy. Fallen or cut wood that is burned for heat is one primary form of biomass, but another includes plant or animal matter that is converted into biofuels.According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which was formed during the oil shocks of the early 1970s to help ward off future energy shortages, biomass combustion is a carbon-neutral process because the carbon dioxide released at burning has previously been absorbed by the plants from the atmosphere.Biomass resources, reports IEA, include agricultural residues, animal manure, wood wastes, food and paper industry residues, municipal green wastes, sewage sludge, and a large variety of grasses and crops.But while biomass may be in theory carbon-neutral, green groups point out that there is no free lunch. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), for example, points out that some American timber companies are targeting whole trees from forests as an easy source of biomass and are pressuring Congress to open up additional National Forest acreage for this form of energy generation.NRDC says that, practically speaking, burning whole trees for biomass energy is far from carbon-neutral, given that the carbon dioxide that trees accumulate over decades is suddenly released into the atmosphere upon combustion, just like when coal is burned. “But unlike coal, however, trees will continue to absorb carbon if left alone.” Therefore, the burning of forests for biomass energy both emits considerable amounts of carbon and destroys an important way carbon is prevented from entering our atmosphere.Deforestation isn’t the only problem with biomass. Burning biomass also produces sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and other toxins harmful to our health. Two California wood-fired power plants were fined $830,000 under the Clean Air Act recently for violating emissions standards.And then there is the issue of the efficiency of biomass as a fuel feedstock. Researchers have found that some common forms of biomass yield only 25 or 30 percent the amount of energy as an equivalent amount of coal. The 2011 closure of a biomass conversion plant in Georgia that reportedly spent $320 million to produce just 100,000 gallons of ethanol stands out as another black mark against biomass.Despite such downsides, reports NRDC, some policymakers seeking to promote alternative fuels are proposing actions and policies that would greatly increase the use of biomass. At the same time, the group says, industry lobbyists are pushing to relax biomass sourcing safeguards and “pushing to give industrial biomass burning a ‘free pass’ on complying with Clean Air Act mandates.”Biomass can be a part of the effort to cut back on fossil fuels, but only if it is harvested and used in ways that reduce pollution, cut emissions and protect forests. NRDC and other green groups would like to see Congress impose stricter rules to rein in soot, smog and greenhouse gases at biomass power plants and pass measures that safeguard forests from deforestation for biomass development.CONTACTS: International Energy Agency, www.iea.org; NRDC, www.nrdc.org.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.last_img read more

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