China State News Agency: Coal Industry Requires Restructuring FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From Reuters:Coal demand from China will slow over the next five years and the industry should focus on restructuring and upgrading, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday citing the China National Coal Association (CNCA).Jiang Zhimin, CNCA vice-president, told Xinhua that the service sector was now the main driver of China’s economic growth, adding that the government was increasingly replacing coal with cleaner, non-fossil fuels.“Over the 13th five-year-plan period (2016-2020), the coal industry should focus on promoting structural adjustment, restructuring and upgrading,” he said, adding that this included eliminating excess production capacity, building larger power plants and encouraging the development of downstream activities.He said, however, that coal remained China’s primary energy source and that trends such as urbanization and industrialization would support energy demand growth.Demand from China, the world’s top coal consumer, has been on the wane amid slowing economic growth and a shift away from fossil fuels to curb pollution.Last week, the cabinet said China will remove around 500 million tonnes of coal production capacity within the next three to five years and halt approvals of all new projects.Full article: China’s coal industry needs to restructure as demand slows – Xinhua
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Nithin Coca for Equal Times Indonesia:What do you do when your top export – coal – is down, production is falling and a new global climate accord calls for sharp cuts in CO2 emissions? Convert to greener energy? Contrary to some of its neighbours, Indonesia is going headlong in the other direction: burning more coal to boost demand.With production more than 30 million tonnes below projections last year, the government is nearly quadrupling the number of coal-fired power plants, building 117 new plants throughout the country, which will provide 10,000 megawatts of power generation capacity, on top of the existing 42.According to Arif Fiyanto, a coal campaigner with Greenpeace Indonesia, going forward with this plan would be devastating, in both environment and economic terms. “If the government continues down this path of kowtowing to coal interests, our beautiful country will be turned into a poisoned wasteland, producing a resource that fewer and fewer want to buy,” Fiyanto tells Equal Times.One key reason for the drop in Indonesia’s coal export figures is that shipments to China fell by half last year, due to both an economic slowdown, but also a push to reduce horrific smog levels throughout the country. In addition, recent developments show that Vietnam and India will not be able to fill that China-sized hole as expected.Earlier this month, Vietnam announced that it was abandoning its previously ambitious coal power plant plans in favour of “accelerated investment in renewable energy.” This was followed by news that India’s coal imports dropped by a much-higher-than expected 35 per cent last year due to massive oversupply and a quicker-than-expected expansion in renewables.“The structural decline of the seaborne thermal coal market is increasingly evident from the trends in China and India,” said Tim Buckley, a director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis in a press statement.“That one of the leading coal developers in Southeast Asia, [Vietnam], is going to retreat from new coal plants further signals the terminal decline of the global coal industry,” he continued.This doesn’t bode well for Indonesia. In 2014 it was the world’s top exporter of the fossil fuel, sending 410 megatons of mostly thermal coal – most commonly used in power plants – to its power-hungry Asian neighbours. That’s because it produced the cheapest coal, in comparison to its competitors in Australia, Russia and the United States.However, cheap coal had a huge external cost. Producers relied on low-paid, mostly non-union labour, used environmentally degrading strip-mining techniques, and shipped via uncovered cargo ships which polluted waterways.If the Indonesian government’s plans go forward, it will only cement the control this destructive industry has over the country’s economy.Full article: Indonesia Swims Against the Global Green Tide With Its New Coal Commitments Indonesia, Despite Coal-Industry Collapse, Continues to Develop More Coal
The Emerging Internet of Electricity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Energy startups have been using blockchain to power electricity sharing in microgrid trials from Texas to Tasmania for a year or so.An Electrify SG engineer shows a PowerPod that will be installed to record data of photovoltaic solar panels on a rooftop in Singapore.But now companies are moving beyond trials to commercial projects, leveraging the distributed ledger technology for payments and trading on a city-wide and even national scale.“What the internet did for communications, blockchain will do for trusted transactions, and the energy and utilities industry is no exception,” said Stephen Callahan, Vice President, Energy, Environment & Utilities, Global Strategy, at IBM.The trend illustrates how blockchain is swiftly moving beyond financial services and cryptocurrencies, and offers a glimpse of a growing challenge to the $2 trillion energy market.Blockchain is a database of transactions distributed among multiple computers. It solves two key problems in the online world: transacting without the need of a trusted intermediary, and making sure those transactions can’t later be altered, removed or reversed.This appeals to the energy industry in several ways. As the market liberalizes and renewable energy grows, blockchain offers a way to better handle the increasingly complex and decentralized transactions between users, large- and small-scale producers, retailers and even traders and utilities.Blockchain’s use of tokens also offers a way to reward users for saving energy, and for small-scale transactions between individual users with solar panels who are both producers and consumers – known as “prosumers”.Being able to add “smart contracts” onto a blockchain would also make it possible for actions to generate automatic transactions down to the smallest level, where meters and computers could autonomously reconcile supply and demand.“The prospect of being able to track particular electrons via a blockchain as they move onto or off the energy grid has captured the imagination of many companies,” said Daniel Sieck of U.S. law firm Pepper Hamilton.All of this would save money and could transform the way we produce, store and consume electricity, what DHL Energy president Steve Harley calls the “internet of electricity.”The World Energy Council predicts that such decentralized or distributed energy will grow from 5 percent of the market today to 25 percent in 2025.The past few years have seen proofs of concept and trials, from small microgrids to projects by big players such as Shell (RDSa.L), BP (BP.L) and IBM (IBM.N).Few energy companies, however are making significant investments into blockchain technology, says Shane Randolph, managing director at Opportune LLP, an energy consulting firm based in Houston.“The ones that are engaging in the conversation are largely doing ‘blockchain tourism’ without developing applications.”That leaves opportunities for newcomers.Power Ledger, an Australian startup which raised A$34 million ($26 million) in an initial coin offering, or ICO, in October, is building platforms to enable commercial operation ofmicrogrids in Thailand and India and two commercial buildings in West Australia.It also recently launched a 200-customer trial microgrid with power retailer Origin Energy (ORG.AX) in Sydney. Energi Mine, a UK-based startup, has created a blockchain-based platform to reward energy-saving users with tokens they can use to pay their energy bills or charge their electric vehicles.It says it is already making money, albeit from the artificial intelligence side of its business.A Singapore company called Electrify has been running a price comparison marketplace as the country liberalizes its electricity market. Electrify plans to launch a blockchain-based exchange for all consumers and producers next year, and is talking to one of Japan’s biggest utilities about doing something similar there.Grid+, a U.S. startup, will launch its first retail device next year in Texas, using the Ethereum blockchain to allow users, whether they’re traditional consumers or owners of solar panels and batteries, to buy and sell electricity at wholesale prices.More projects are on the way. Energy startups will have raised about $200 million from initial coin offerings this year alone, with a dozen more planned next year, according to data collected by Reuters.But obstacles remain. They include the entrenched nature of the incumbents, and questions about blockchain itself, which is less than a decade old.Martha Bennett, an IT industry analyst at Forrester, points to a “misunderstanding just how immature the technology is.” Then there’s the regulatory landscape. “Because the energy sector is a regulated industry,” said Pepper Hamilton’s Sieck, “widespread adoption of many possible blockchain use cases will require regulator buy-in.”There are signs of that. Singapore’s Energy Market Authority launched a sandbox for energy innovations in October, while U.S. states including Vermont have passed legislation designed to help apply blockchain technology.Skeptics say blockchain may help incumbents rather than disrupt them.However many individuals choose to capture, store and sell power, there will still be a lot of users who won’t bother, says Hugh Halford-Thompson, of BTL Group, which has this year completed gas trading pilots on its internet blockchain with BP, Eni (ENI.MI) and Wien Energie.“As a result we are going to see a lot of the larger firms adopting blockchain and absorbing it.”Others disagree, arguing blockchain will empower individuals by automating much of the drudgery of switching between sending power to the grid and receiving it.Omar Rahim, CEO and co-founder of Energi Mine, says blockchain will change user behavior and utilities will only be used when prosumers’ demand and supply don’t match.Most likely, says Tony Masella, an energy consultant at Accenture, it will be more of an evolution.More: As energy markets evolve, blockchain powers up
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Omaha Public Power District is proposing more aggressive environmental goals to get electricity from renewable sources and natural gas.The electric utility’s board may vote next week on a new set of goals that would accelerate its shift away from coal to other power sources, the Omaha World-Herald reported. The utility is considering a policy change that would reduce the amount of carbon released while producing each megawatt of electricity for ratepayers.The change could increase the pace at which OPPD adopts wind and solar power projects with private providers, said Craig Moody, a utility board member who supports the proposed approach to environmental stewardship.The move would break from the utility’s approach since 2015, which focused on generating a certain percentage of local electricity from renewable sources.The draft policy calls for a 20 percent reduction in “carbon intensity” levels from 2010 to 2030. Choosing 2010 instead of 2017 for the baseline year for progress would require more carbon reductions. In 2010, the utility still operated Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, a carbon-free source of energy that has since shuttered.More: Omaha electric utility proposes new environmental goals Omaha utility proposing faster shift from coal to renewables
Minnesota co-op Great River Energy to close 1,146MW Coal Creek power plant by end of 2022 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Minneapolis Star Tribune:Great River Energy will shutter its big North Dakota coal-fired power plant several years early, an extraordinary move that underscores the waning cost-competitiveness of coal in electricity production.The Maple Grove-based company Thursday announced the closure of Coal Creek Station — one of the Upper Midwest’s largest power plants — in the second half of 2022. It will be replaced to a great extent with new wind farms, including four in Minnesota.The plant, which supplies power to hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans, has historically been a low-cost electricity producer — it’s adjacent to a coal mine, a big competitive edge. But due to dramatic changes in electricity markets in recent years, Coal Creek is losing money.“The real driver for this decision is economics,” said David Saggau, CEO of Great River, a nonprofit wholesale cooperative owned by 28 retail electricity co-ops, most of them in Minnesota.When the transformation is complete, Great River expects that two-thirds of its electricity will come from wind turbines. Much of the rest will come through purchases in the regional wholesale electricity market.U.S. coal plants are becoming increasingly uneconomic because of the rise of gas-fired power and renewable energy. Those developments, combined with coal’s environmental liabilities, are prompting more early plant closures.[Mike Hughlett]More: Minnesota’s Great River Energy closing coal plant, switching to two-thirds wind power
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on Monday signed off on Nevada’s Gemini Solar Project, which could be the largest U.S. solar plant once constructed.In addition to topping the list as the largest solar project in the U.S., Gemini includes 380 megawatts of battery storage, part of a trend of mega-solar projects coming with significant storage attached. The project is being developed by Arevia Power, a California-based company run by SunEdison alums, and investment manager Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners.The project will serve NV Energy, part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, as the utility works to meet Nevada’s state requirement for 50 percent renewables by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The power would feed Las Vegas and potentially additional areas in Southern California.The federal government framed its approval as a way to strengthen the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. “This action is about getting Americans back to work, strengthening communities and promoting investment in American energy,” said Casey Hammond, principal deputy assistant secretary at the DOI, in a statement.The project would become the eighth-largest solar plant in the world, according to the DOI’s statement.[Emma Foehringer Merchant]More: Trump administration approves $1B Gemini solar project in Nevada desert Federal regulators approve 690MW, $1 billion Gemini Solar Project, largest in U.S.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Oil firm Equinor expects global oil demand to peak by around 2027-2028, two-free years earlier than the company previously saw, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it said on Tuesday.“Earlier assumptions for peak oil demand to happen around 2030 may be challenged,” Equinor said in its annual energy outlook.Equinor sees oil demand returning to the pre-pandemic level of around 100 million bpd by around 2025, and falling to 88 million bpd in 2050, under its central scenario, dubbed Reform. A year ago, it saw demand peaking just before 2030 at 105 million barrels per day (bpd), mainly due to electric cars denting demand for fossil fuels, and declining to 93 million bpd by 2050, under the same scenario.Supply constrains due to underinvestment could also impact the demand growth in the future, after oil firms cut investments by about 30% this year, the company said. “The consequence may be that billions of barrels of oil that were earlier assumed to be recoverable will not be developed,” Equinor added.Equinor said COVID-19 imposed changes on how people work and travel could have a long-lasting impact and slow oil demand growth, while deployment of renewable energy and electric cars would accelerate.“It is likely that demand for aviation fuels will suffer for many years to come, as the pandemic may have permanently altered the frequency with which we fly,” it said in the outlook.[Nerijus Adomaitis]More: Equinor sees oil demand peaking two-three years sooner due to virus Equinor sees peak oil coming by 2028
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Listed renewable energy developer Tilt Renewable says it has landed a long term contract with major mining company Newcrest that will underpin the development of what will be the biggest wind project in NSW – the 400MW Rye Park project in the north of the state.Tilt and Newcrest have signed up for a 15-year supply deal for its Cadia gold mine in western NSW, that will account for around 55 per cent of the output of Rye Park and will include electricity and green products. The pricing has not been revealed.Newcrest says the deal is important to support the long term future of the Cadia mine, saying the deal guarantees its energy supply costs will remain competitive and will deliver a significant reduction in emissions.Tilt says the deal means that it can now move forward with the construction of Rye Park, where it expects to start construction late next year and deliver power in late 2023. However, the project depends on the ability to obtain a variation to its development approval that will allow it to use bigger turbines. Machines of up to 6MW are being contemplated.It is the second major off take agreement with a corporate customer for Tilt, which signed up retailer Audi for its 336MW Dundonnell wind farm in Victoria, which also has an underwriting agreement with the Victorian government.“The long‐term off-take agreement with Newcrest, our second corporate off-take, will underpin the investment decision for our largest wind farm to date, allowing Tilt Renewables to grow its footprint of high‐quality renewable energy assets, supporting the low carbon ambitions of corporate Australia,” Tilt CEO Deion Campbell said in a statement.[Giles Parkinson]More: Tilt lands contract with Newcrest gold mine for biggest wind project in NSW Tilt Renewable moving forward with largest wind farm in Australia’s New South Wales
Full day pass to the ACE Adventure park and lake Breakfast, lunch, dinner the day of the raft trip Enter at Great Gauley for a chance to win the grand prize package! Raft Upper/Lower Gauley for 4 people 2 nights in a cedar cabin Be sure to listen to some great local free tunes with our Trail Mix!
Best Mountain Towns of the Blue Ridge: Part IV from Blue Ridge Outdoors on Vimeo. Bristol, Va./Tenn. has long been named the Birthplace of Country Music, but was just recently voted Best Music Town by our readers. Never heard of this border town? If you’re a fan of Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family Fold, and Ernest Stoneman but have never heard of Bristol, you just might want to catch up on your history in our November issue. Check out this final spot for BRO-TV’s Best Mountain Town Video Series to get a taste of Bristol’s current music scene. Our voters definitely hit the nail on the head when they crowned Bristol Best Music Town. Soundtrack provided by Amythyst Kiah. Additional footage provided by Two Rivers.