Berlin Officials Vote to Divest

first_imgBerlin Officials Vote to Divest FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Alexander C. Kaufman for the Huffington Post:Berlin’s parliament voted Thursday to pull its money out of coal, gas and oil companies.The new investment policy, part of the German capital’s goal of completely weaning off carbon by 2050, will force the city’s pension fund — worth $852.8 million, or €750 million — to divest from shares of German oil giants RWE and E.ON, as well as the French behemoth Total.The move comes a week after Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, vowed to end its investments in fossil fuels companies, making Berlin the seventh major Western city to join a divestment movement that already includes Paris, Copenhagen, Oslo, Seattle and Melbourne. In September, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged the city’s five pension funds — worth a collective $160 billion — to sell their $33 million exposure to coal, by the far the dirtiest fossil fuel.A handful of smaller U.S. cities have pledged to curtail fossil fuel investments, too.Full Item: Berlin Is The Latest City To Pull Out Of Fossil Fuelslast_img read more

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China envisions a global electricity grid not unlike the Internet

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Financial Times ($):In Laos, in Brazil, in central Africa and most of all in China itself, ultra high-voltage cable technology that allows power to be commercially transported over vast distances with lower costs and increased load is justifying the construction of massive power projects. It is dubbed the “intercontinental ballistic missile” of the power industry by Liu Zhenya, its biggest backer and for a decade the president of State Grid, China’s powerful transmission utility. UHV allowed China to binge on dam building in its mountainous hinterland, then transport the power thousands of kilometers to its wealthy, industrial east coast. But by enabling this, and other projects, UHV has left western China with such a glut of power that Mr. Liu in 2016 proposed using the technology to export power as far away as Germany. Now Mr Liu is promoting UHV internationally through his Global Energy Interconnection initiative. Designated a “national strategy” and championed by Xi Jinping, China’s president, the initiative feeds into one of China’s most ambitious international plans — to create the world’s first global electricity grid. “All of this fits in with Beijing’s goals of expansion and being a global standard setter,” says Erica Downs, an expert on China and energy at Columbia University. “It is also linked to China’s intention to become an advanced industrial superpower. There is a big prestige element in this.” Advocates stress that this does not mean China would control the resulting grid but networks would be linked to allow better cross-regional allocation of power surpluses. It is no coincidence that this would resolve the problem of “trapped” power resulting from some of China’s mega construction projects in countries like Laos that lack a big enough domestic market. Some western observers see a geopolitical strategy on a par with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a grand design that seeks to boost Chinese-led infrastructure investment in more than 80 countries around the world. “While there is certainly a commercial explanation for China’s rapid expansion in the power sector, it should also be recognized that Beijing is known to intertwine its economic, diplomatic and strategic initiatives,” says Andrew Davenport, chief operating officer at RWR Advisory, a Washington-based consultancy. “Part of the explanation for its expansion in this area is, therefore, likely the influence — and soft power gains — that accompanies increased control over an industry so fundamental to the everyday lives of citizens.” Chinese companies have announced investments of $102bn in building or acquiring power transmission infrastructure across 83 projects in Latin America, Africa, Europe and beyond over the past five years, according to RWR. Adding in loans from Chinese institutions for overseas power grid investments brings the total to $123bn. Throw in all power-related Chinese deals overseas, including investments and loans to power plants as well as grids, and the number almost quadruples. Between 2013 and the end of February 2018, total overseas power transactions announced reached $452bn, up 92 per cent from 2013 levels, according to RWR, which strips out of its calculations deals that are announced only to be subsequently cancelled. Officials and power industry analysts in China insist that it would be too simple to assume that such investments are all slated to be rolled up into a single international grid to achieve the GEI goal, which Mr Liu recently described as similar to the internet: global but not controlled by a single country.More ($): China eyes role as world’s power supplier China envisions a global electricity grid not unlike the Internetlast_img read more

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On the blogs: U.S. coal has not flourished as advertised under Trump

first_imgOn the blogs: U.S. coal has not flourished as advertised under Trump FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ThinkProgress.org:Newly released data shows the coal industry is doing worse today than it was when President Barack Obama was preparing to leave office in January 2017. Coal production is still on the decline. Coal-fired power plants are still closing. And Trump’s own Department of Energy doesn’t see these trends reversing anytime soon. In other words, Trump hasn’t reversed the downward financial trajectory of the industry that started years ago.New forecasts from the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) show coal production will decline by 1.1 percent in 2018 and drop by another 1.8 percent in 2019. Despite an increase in coal exports, according to the report, declining domestic consumption is making it unprofitable for coal producers to keep mining.By next year, exports won’t be picking up the slack like they did in 2017. The EIA, in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook released Tuesday, projects that both coal exports and domestic coal consumption will decrease in 2019.As a generation fuel, EIA forecasts that coal’s share of U.S. electricity generation will steadily decline from 30 percent in 2017 to 28 percent in 2018 and 27 percent in 2019. In 1997, the average share of electricity generated from coal had reached 52.8 percent.Natural gas has been the leading fuel used for electricity generation since 2015 when it surpassed coal in the generation mix. The shale gas boom started flooding the market with natural gas in the late 2000s, making it cheaper as a generation fuel source than coal.At the same time, renewables continued to boom. In 2017, wind supplied 6.3 percent of electricity generation and utility-scale solar made up 1.3 percent. Meanwhile, 2017 was the first time a reduction in U.S. power sector carbon emissions could be attributed more to renewable energy and energy conservation than the nation switching from coal to natural gas to generate electricity.Since 2010, at least 50,000 megawatts of coal-fired generating capacity have been retired. “Those millions of tons of lost coal production aren’t coming back. We see an additional 15,000 megawatts of coal-fired capacity closing this year, with more retirements on the horizon in coming years,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) wrote in a report released in March.Speaking at an American Coal Conference in New Mexico on Monday, Luke Popovich, former vice president of communications for the National Mining Association, said “the coal industry learned there is life after death” after Trump’s surprise election victory, according to Taylor Kuykendall, a coal reporter for S&P Global Market Intelligence.At other events, industry officials have applauded Trump’s announcement, made on June 1, that he had ordered the Department of Energy to look into a way to prop up coal and nuclear plants. Chris Hamilton, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, exuded optimism upon learning that Trump and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R), a coal industry magnate, were coming to the industry’s rescue.“Without question, this is the best news in my 40-year career in the coal industry,” Hamilton said at a coal industry meeting in West Virginia. “It’s bigger than big. Never before in the history of mining has our state and federal political leadership been able to achieve the benefits to coal that are embodied in the Trump-Justice plan.”But few people outside the coal and nuclear industries support the plan. And few experts believe that anything Trump might have up his sleeve will restore the coal industry back to its glory days.More: Coal industry on steady decline under Trump’s leadershiplast_img read more

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Tesla’s Musk sees ‘gigantic’ potential in energy storage

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk says the Tesla big battery in South Australia has been so successful it will likely pay for itself within a few years, and has prompted interest from other governments to install even bigger batteries as a substitute for dirty and expensive gas peaking plants.Musk, in comments accompanying the company’s latest quarterly results, which showed a small profit for a second consecutive quarter, said the company’s battery storage business is likely to double in 2019, and promised increased production would reduce waiting times for both Powerwall and Powerpack batteries.“(Energy storage) is going to be a gigantic business,” Musk told an analysts briefing later. The $96 million Tesla big battery in South Australia, officially known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, and owned and operated by Neoen, has been a stunning success – not just with the speed, versatility and accuracy of its performance, but also its contribution to grid stability and reliability, and its ability to deliver significant savings and make money on its own account.“While the Hornsdale battery that we built in South Australia is still the largest battery in the world, we have recently received multiple requests to build significantly larger battery projects,” Musk said in the statement.Musk said that Tesla deployed 1.04GWh of battery storage in 2018, a three-fold increase over the previous year, and expects it to double again in 2019 as a new manufacturing line at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada boosts the output of both Powerwall and Powerpack modules.More: Musk says Tesla big battery to pay for itself within a few years, bigger ones on the way Tesla’s Musk sees ‘gigantic’ potential in energy storagelast_img read more

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U.K. begins auction process for up to 7GW of new offshore wind capacity

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Britain has launched its first major auction of offshore wind farm leases in a decade, offering sites with the combined potential to power more than six million homes.Britain is already the world’s largest offshore wind market, and plans to generate a third of its electricity from the technology by 2030 as a part of efforts to reach its 2050 net zero carbon emissions target.The Crown Estate’s so-called fourth leasing round is expected to attract bids from established offshore wind developers as well as European oil majors, under pressure from shareholders to show how they plan to align their businesses with global efforts to cut emissions.Combined, the sites have the potential to host a total of 7 gigawatts (GW) of electricity generation.Companies will assess the areas available and then make their own proposals for project sites. The Crown Estate will then asses the viability of the proposals, with the tender process beginning in October and expected to take around 12 months. First seabed rights could be awarded in early 2021, The Crown Estate said.Britain currently has around 9.3 GW of operational offshore wind capacity, with around 8% of the country’s electricity coming from offshore wind in 2018. It is also host to the world’s largest fully operation offshore wind farm: Orsted’s 659 megawatt Walney Extension project.More: Britain launches first major auction for offshore wind leases in a decade U.K. begins auction process for up to 7GW of new offshore wind capacitylast_img read more

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Thanksgiving: Who are we fooling?

first_imgThanksgiving is upon us and with it comes an abundance of things for which to be thankful. Family and friends, health, gainful employment, a roof over our heads, and – who could forget – a scrumptious holiday feast. Just thinking about turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and whipped cream sends my salivary glands into overdrive, even though the big day is still a week away. I do try my best to eat well for the other 364 days of the year, but this day is special. No holds barred. Gluttony at its finest.Fortunately the Thanksgiving holiday offers more than just the opportunity to be grateful and to pig out. In addition to the traditional spectator activities that the day brings (the Macy’s parade and Lions football), the annual Turkey Trot has become a ritual for many runners across the country. Our region alone offers at least ten of them, with enticing names such as the Drumstick Dash and the Giblet Jog. What a way to begin the holiday festivities – get your workout done early in the morning, leaving plenty of time for guilt-free gorging.Only one problem – the average 160 lb. Turkey Trotter burns just under four hundred calories in a 5k race. And the average Thanksgiving dinner? Anywhere from 3000 to 4500 calories, depending on how many extra helpings of stuffing you pile on your plate. Another slice of pumpkin pie? Better lace up your shoes – you’ve got 2 ½ more miles to run.Just for fun, I went online to calculate the approximate number of calories I’ll consume this Thanksgiving. By conservative estimates (the calculator didn’t allow for the inevitable seconds of sweet potatoes, stuffing and gravy), I’ll take in 2395 calories. Yikes! I’ll need to run twenty-five miles to burn off that meal.Which brings a dilemma. Forego the seconds? Not a chance. This year, I’m proposing that we ditch the turkey trot 5k’s. Who are we fooling? Those runs don’t even put a dent in our holiday calorie consumption. What we really need are some Thanksgiving ultras. Who’s in for the Fat Turkey 50 Mile? Or maybe the Hungry Pilgrim 100k? Whatever your distance, just get out there – and be thankful for the ability to do so.last_img read more

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Trauma Tuesday: Peloton Edition

first_imgCrystal City from Patriot on Vimeo.There is something about a bike crash video that is especially cringeworthy. Even low-speed accidents elicit winches, gasps, and/or stomach aches. Maybe it’s the fact that you are connected to a large, spiky in places machine that has no qualms about mangling you even if you don’t crash. Maybe it’s the fact that you are traveling at high speed either over rocks and dirt or hard-as-pavement pavement – neither of which do that great a job at breaking your fall. Maybe It’s all of the above.This particular crash at the Crystal Cup outside Washington, D.C. is a perfect storm of miscalculations, unfortunate circumstances, and balls-out riding. The action gets going at around the :30 second mark when a rider trailing the peloton – not the car – clips the race marshal, then nearly gets run over by the pace car that is coming back around. So the pace car is coming back around, which means the peloton is also coming back around. The situation goes from bad to worse, as other officials begin to yell for the riders to “stay left,” when they need to stay right. One rider – Tim Rugg – tries to thread the needle with a bold line to bunny hop move I’m sure he’s practiced a hundred times for just this situation. Unfortunately, the prone race marshal is 5′ 7″, not 5′ 5″, and he takes the brunt of the impact – besides the marshal’s face of course which gets smashed into the hard-as-pavement pavement. Also narrowly avoiding getting run down by the cycling hoard is the male sheriff’s deputy who employs some supremely fancy foot work and body gyration control in the middle of the melee at the 1:11 mark.Side note: a rider cruises to a stop to the left side of the white pace car as the carnage unfolds and takes off on foot out of the frame at the  1:13 mark. Where is he going? Is this the moment he decides he’s had enough of this dangerous sport and just walks off into the sunset of cycling retirement?No serious injuries were reported, and there is a pretty healthy debate in the comments on the Vimeo page of the video, so it’s worth it to check them out.Also here is a hilarious cycling related bonus fail gif from the Giro d’Italia:ku-mediumlast_img read more

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Weekend Pick: Say Goodbye (Maybe) to the Bele Chere 5K

first_imgThere is probably no other race that brings a community together than the town 5K. What’s great about the five-kilometer distance is that it is short enough that even the casual runner feels comfortable running hard and going for a PR, which takes the energy level up at the start and throughout the race. This also makes for some interesting racers as running a 5K in a banana suit, gorilla costume, naked or chugging beer is not too tough. It is also a great distance to walk for those who want to participate but are not joggers or runners without taking all day. You can usually keep the course within town limits or along the busy streets of the city or town so it is self contained and super spectator friendly. Plus, it the race is over by mid morning, so you have the rest of the day to treat yo’ self as the saying goes. Yes, the 5K is the perfect community race and this weekend one community could be saying goodbye to the most popular 5K in a town that has a bunch of them. Asheville’s 34th annual Bele Chere 5K just may be it’s last, so don’t miss it.The Bele Chere festival has been held in Asheville for each of the past 35 years, but with the city pulling its funding for the music and arts festival, Bele Chere, and subsequently the Bele Chere 5K will fade into oblivion unless someone steps in to fill the void. The Asheville Track Club has held the race every year since 1980, making the 5K one of the oldest and most popular races in the region – last year’s race drew over 1,500 runners and you can expect just as many if not more for this year’s race given the precariousness of the funding situation.Along with the traditional 5K, there will also be a 1K kids fun run (featuring Dora the Explorer and Diego), a team costume contest, children’s costume parade. You can register on Friday or on race day, but the race kicks off at 7:30 am you you’ll want to go online to register. Do it by tonight (Thursday July 25) at 9pm you will be pre-registered and eligible for the guaranteed race t-shirt – the first 1,300 pre-registered racers get the t-shirt which could become a collectors item given the nature of the race as I’m sure the first race t-shirt will be (if there is one).So, get out there and support the Asheville Track Club and the community of runners in what could be the last race for the Bele Chere 5K.View Larger Maplast_img read more

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Where We’re Going and What We’re Doing in 2016

first_imgHere at Blue Ridge Outdoors we’re often inspired by the people and places that grace the pages of our magazine and the homepage of our website. With 2015 on the way out, and another New Year coming in hot, we’ve decided to double down on some of our 2016 travel and adventure goals.We’re sharing our goals with you, the reader, so that you can hold us to them and help give us a sense of accountability. But it doesn’t end there. We want to hear about your goals too. Share the link to our resolutions on your Facebook page and and tell us about your 2016 goals for getting out and about in the Blue Ridge and beyond. Don’t forget to tag us, because on January 11th we’ll select the reader with the most exciting and unique New Years travel goals and send him or her a free BRO T-shirt.Here’s what we’ll be doing and where we’ll be doing it in 2016!—“Fly fishing in the Smoky Mountains. Specifically the tributaries on the north shore of Fontana Lake between the the lake and the Appalachian Trail. These waters are pristine and remote, and I hear the creeks and rivers are chock full of brookies, browns, and bows. I’d also like to check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail that we covered back in August. You just can’t beat Basil Hayden or Woodford Reserve.”—Blake DeMaso, PresidentScreen shot 2015-12-30 at 4.57.26 PM“Lots more microadventures in our Blue Ridge sandbox. I have lived and explored here my entire life and there’s no shortage of new places to check out or wild adventures that can stitch them all together.2016 will be the year when a couple of friends and I undertake the 30+mile ALTAR (Art Loeb Trail Adventure Run) in a single day capped off with celebration suds at my friends Jordan and Sam’s amazing new space for the Pisgah Tavern and The Hub at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest.Also on the bucket list for the new year is to use Mountain True’s resources to paddle and camp the entire 140 mile stretch of the French Broad River Paddle Trail beginning near Headwaters Outfitters in Rosman, NC and ending on the outskirts of the buzzing outdoor mecca of Knoxville, TN where the FB empties into the great Tennessee River. Lots of island camping, smallmouth and muskie fishing, rapids, and swimming.Yeah…2016 is going to be a great one.” —Dusty Allison, Digital PublisherThe Art Loeb Trail showcases some of Western North Carolina's most breathtaking scenery. The Art Loeb Trail showcases some of Western North Carolina’s most breathtaking scenery.“I hope to see all 54+ constellations visible from our latitude in a calendar year. And I hope to see as many as possible with my son.Every night, the deepest imaginable wilderness opens above me. Too often I forget to look up. There is nothing more powerful or profound than a sky full of stars. It provides me with much-needed perspective on my brief and tiny life.”—Will Harlan, Editor in Chief20607466013_276ffa96c0_z“Every night, the deepest imaginable wilderness opens above me.” Will Harlan“Luckily, I have family all over the United States, so a few trips we have planned will be to Montana in September to see my oldest sister get married lakeside and then out to California the week after for my best friends wedding and hopefully a little hike through Muir Woods (always a family favorite for us). One thing my husband has always wanted to do is go up north and see the Northern Lights. Maybe this will be the year he gets to cross that one off his bucket list!”—Paigelee Chancellor, Graphic Designer Photo by Ryan McKeeMontana’s Lake McDonald at sunset “2016 will be the year of water for me. If I love the element enough to get a damn tattoo of it on my wrist, I might as well explore as much of the eastern waters as possible. From the Edisto River of South Carolina, to the Green River Gorge in North Carolina, to the Birthplace of Rivers in West Virginia, I want to delve into waters brackish and clear and work harder to protect these special places.”—Jess Daddio, Travel Editor and Road Warriorwater“2016 will be the year of water for me.” Jess Daddio“I hope to travel more this year. Starting off on the right foot—off to the one happy island of Aruba on Friday! See ya later, winter. Or is it spring? Mother Nature is confused.”—Lauren Walker, Senior DesignerlaurenTurqiose Blue Water against an Aruban Divi Tree“In 2016 I want to dive deeper into the fly fishing culture of my new Western North Carolina home. More specifically, I want to catch fish on the Nantahala, the Oconaluftee, the Chattooga, the Davidson, and the Tuckaseegee just to name a few. This place harbors some of the best trout waters in the country, and I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. 2016 = Year of the Trout.”—Travis Hall, Online Editor and Digital Content StrategistScreen shot 2015-12-30 at 5.05.35 PMA young Western North Carolina brown trout on the fly.“In 2016 I want to introduce my new baby to the outdoors by spending time with him outside everyday no matter what the weather happens to be. I want him to know that when it is rainy, it just means more puddles to play in, and when it is cold, you just have to move a little faster. Also I want to teach him that he can get as dirty as he wants–especially if he is weeding the garden.”–Leah Woody, Print Publisherlast_img read more

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