Monthly Archiv: December, 2020

SNL: U.S. Coal Exports Fall Again in 2015 as China, India Are Becoming Self-Sufficient

first_imgSNL: U.S. Coal Exports Fall Again in 2015 as China, India Are Becoming Self-Sufficient FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Ken Silverstein for SNL:“In 2016, you can expect U.S. coal exports to be somewhere between 40 million short tons and 60 million short tons,” says Tom Sanzillo, director of finance for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis in New York, in a phone interview. “Asia will account for near zero. That’s because both the metallurgical and thermal markets are down and getting worse.“India and China will be importing less coal for economic and security reasons,” he adds. “They don’t want to be dependent on anyone from the outside. It has negative fiscal and monetary consequences.”Meanwhile, U.S. coal imports remained constant at 11.3 million tons, roughly equal to that of 2014. Eighty-five percent of that is steam, or thermal, coal used to generate electricity. Colombia increased its exports to the U.S. by 8%, the EIA analysis says. Metallurgical coal, used in steelmaking, was mostly imported from Canada, it adds.But could things turn around for the coal export market? According to the EIA, the current global coal market trends are expected to continue, and U.S. coal exports are forecast to decline by an additional 11% in 2016 and by 3% in 2017.Coal imports into China peaked in 2013 and mid-2015, India may have turned corner. That is when coal imports fell by 6%, says the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.As for Southeast Asia — and countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines — it may be consuming more coal, but it only accounts for 6% of all globally traded thermal coal, the institute adds. “Southeast Asia will definitely not save the U.S. export market,” says Sanzillo.Full article($): US coal exports fall again in 2015 as China, India are becoming self-sufficientlast_img read more

Editorial: Will U.S. Companies Walk Away From Their Cleanup Promises?

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The nation’s leading coal companies are increasingly filing for bankruptcy, leaving behind enormous tracts of scarred terrain and rising doubts that they will ever meet their legal commitments to repair the earth. Concern is growing that the companies and their debtors will use Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to force the costs of mine reclamation onto taxpayers, despite the industry’s standing obligations to pay.The profits of Big Coal have been plummeting in a shifting energy market. Abundant supplies of cleaner natural gas have replaced coal as the fuel of choice in an increasing number of power plants, while the industry has been disappointed in its plans to expand overseas into China and other markets. Jobs have disappeared, a major topic on the campaign trail. Also at stake in the more than three dozen bankruptcies declared in the last three years are hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup obligations, primarily in the Appalachian coal fields.Companies insist they will not shirk their reclamation duties. Unfortunately, their track record is not good in West Virginia, where the mining method called mountaintop removal — the systematic dynamiting of summits to get at underlying coal seams — has devastated the Appalachian landscape, polluted waterways and driven entire hamlets into retreat. “Lipstick on a corpse,” was how Ken Hechler, a former West Virginia congressman, described the industry’s cosmetic repairs to the state’s mesa-like remains of mountains.The court fights are focusing on a loophole, called self-bonding, in the 1977 federal surface mining control law. This allowed state regulators to recklessly let companies, in profitable times, offer a mere promise to cover reclamation costs instead of requiring that they purchase bonds as insurance. The fear is the industry will use bankruptcy to see their obligations to banks and hedge funds paid first, leaving little for environmental cleanups.“Bankruptcy courts need to hold strong and not let financial institutions pocket the money and leave a huge part of Appalachia out to dry,” Peter Morgan, a lawyer for the Sierra Club, told the reporter Michael Corkery of The Times. Similar concerns are growing in other coal-producing regions, westward to Wyoming. The latter produces 40 percent of the nation’s coal and has $2.25 billion in company promises that supposedly will be there for extensive reclamation jobs.The industry was shocked when Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal producer, filed for bankruptcy protection in April. It continues to operate but carries $1.47 billion in self-bonding liabilities. Officials in Illinois are now beginning to wonder whether Peabody will carry through on its pledge to clean up at three old mines.In West Virginia, where politicians have traditionally gone easy on the companies, the mood is hardening as Big Coal vanishes. A special assistant state attorney general has been appointed to pressure the industry’s lenders to share responsibility for the mine cleanups. Industry will make its case in court hearings scheduled next month. Taxpayers can only hope the bankruptcy courts there and elsewhere hold Big Coal to its obligations to fully pay for its decades of severe damage to the environment.Will Big Coal Pay to Clean Up Its Messes? Editorial: Will U.S. Companies Walk Away From Their Cleanup Promises?last_img read more

Activists take aim at planned Lamu coal plant in Kenya

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享BBC:Campaigners in Kenya who fear their country is turning its back on its green goals are hoping to stop construction of a coal plant that would increase greenhouse gas emissions by 700%.At least two-thirds of Kenya’s electricity is currently generated by renewable resources and it has pledged to reduce its small carbon footprint by nearly a third over the next decade. But the planned power station to be built by Chinese contractors with borrowed money would increase emissions by a factor of seven – and Kenya would have to import the coal.China has made a commitment to reduce its reliance on coal, but at least a quarter of the hundreds of coal fired power stations being built or planned to be built around the world are being financed by China. Critics say that by building these plants China is outsourcing its fossil fuel use by providing a market for its coal and encouraging it use in other countries.The new plant will sit alongside an ambitious new $25.5bn (£20bn) development on the Kenyan coast at Lamu – an historic 700-year-old fishing and trading town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project includes a vast 32-berth container port, an oil terminal, road and railway links, and a “resort city”. The first phase of the port building project is almost complete. The work is yet to start on the road and rail links, leaving the prospect of a state-of-the-art container port for some of the world’s largest ships isolated on a remote stretch of coast near the Somali border.The country is currently producing a large surplus of electricity and the new power station is predicted to increase its capacity by 44%. “We are wondering why they want to implement this project because we have signed a green agreement at Paris – our president signed that,” said Raya Famau Ahmed, who is campaigning against the plant. But down here they want to implement this disastrous project and we are really worried.”More: Row over Chinese coal plant near Kenya World Heritage site of Lamu Activists take aim at planned Lamu coal plant in Kenyalast_img read more

AEMO: Rooftop solar taking a big bite out of daytime demand for Australian grid power

first_imgAEMO: Rooftop solar taking a big bite out of daytime demand for Australian grid power FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The growth of rooftop solar continues to have a major impact on Australia’s electricity grids, with the Australian Energy Market Operator reporting significant declines in operational demand in the latest quarter.AEMO noted that average operational demand reduced by 362MW in the three months to June, compared to the same period a year earlier. The biggest falls were in NSW (minus 130MW) and Victoria (minus 111MW), which it said was driven by additional rooftop solar PV output and mild peak-time temperatures which reduced heating requirements.“Reduced demand in Queensland (minus 75MW) and South Australia (minus 22MW) was a function of continued growth in rooftop PV output over the middle of the day,” it noted in its latest Quarterly Energy Dynamics report.The increase in rooftop solar, along with the big growth in large scale solar and wind energy, is changing the dynamics of the market, usually pushing down demand in the middle of the day, when traditional coal and gas generators expected to make pots of money.AEMO says that overnight generally remains the t ime with the lowest demand in most of the National Electricity Market, but this is now being challenged by the impact of rooftop solar.In South Australia, the minimum demand is now almost exclusively in the middle of the day, or late morning. It used to be between 3 am and 6 am. A new record low for minimum demand in South Australian was set at 1:30 pm on April 27, when operational demand dropped to 749MW. This was 44MW lower than the previous second quarter record last year. At this time, rooftop PV provided approximately 600MW of output.More: Rooftop solar slashes demand levels and emissions across main gridlast_img read more

High prices for coal power, dirty air spark growing support for renewable energy in Poland

first_imgHigh prices for coal power, dirty air spark growing support for renewable energy in Poland FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:As he stood outside a coal mine during a campaign stop last month, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki surprisingly touted the project’s green credentials. “Without investments like this one, we wouldn’t have renewable energy and other industries that we are betting on,” Morawiecki told a crowd of miners in Silesia, the country’s coal heartland.The mention of renewable energy at all, in the weeks leading up to an election on Sunday, marks a change of tone in the country, which gets most of its power from coal and has previously stifled renewable investments. With wind and solar costs plummeting and an increasing public backlash against some of the dirtiest air in the region, the government is changing its rhetoric on energy and looking to the European Union to help finance the transition.Morawiecki’s Law & Justice party came to power in 2015 thanks in part to support from miners. In its first year, the government nearly halted the fast-developing onshore wind industry with restrictive laws. At the same time, it revived a 1 gigawatt coal-fired power plant project in Ostroleka — whose backers now struggle to find financing.A tripling in the price of emission permits last year also hit Polish coal hard, with wholesale power prices currently about 25% above levels in neighboring Germany. The government stymied the impact to consumers by freezing household electricity rates and limiting the increase for businesses.Then last year, the government held an auction for new onshore wind projects. Developers, including state-owned utility PGE SA and international players EDP Renovaveis SA and Innogy SE bid to sell power at prices that were far below what the market had expected. “That was a big turning point,” said Bart Dujczynski, founder of Proventus Renewables Ltd., which advises on renewable energy projects in Poland. “It made opposition to renewables quite difficult to justify because economically, it was very attractively priced.”Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski, a major proponent of coal power, has championed a 1 billion-zloty ($255 million) solar subsidy program. Additionally, the government plans to auction a record 3.4 gigawatts of renewable energy this year. The country’s photovoltaic capacity passed the 1 gigawatt mark on Oct. 1, up 158% from a year earlier, as households and enterprises sped up installations of solar panels.More: Poland’s backing wind power in the heart of coal countrylast_img read more

Italian regulators okay Enel plan to close 605MW coal-fired unit at Brindisi plant

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Argus Media:Italian utility Enel will shut down one of the four units of its 2.4GW Brindisi south coal-fired plant starting from next year.The Italian economic development ministry authorised the closure of the 605MW unit 2 from 1 January 2021, the company announced today. Enel presented the request in January this year as the first step towards shutting down the whole facility by 2025, aligned with the deadline set in the national energy and climate plan.The company also started the permitting process to convert the site to gas. This would be done in three phases. The first phase will be the installation of an open-cycle gas turbine (OCGT) unit and the phase-out of coal. The second phase will be the installation of a second OCGT, and the third phase will be to convert the OCGTs to combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGTs).The CCGTs will have an installed capacity of 1.7GW and an efficiency of 60pc.The move is part of a plan the company disclosed in May last year to replace its coal capacity in the country. Enel owns about 6.3GW of coal capacity in Italy — more than three-quarters of the total.[Fabio Roccon]More: Italy’s Enel to close one Brindisi coal unit in 2021 Italian regulators okay Enel plan to close 605MW coal-fired unit at Brindisi plantlast_img read more

EU proposes end to gas infrastructure funding, shift to hydrogen and renewables

first_imgEU proposes end to gas infrastructure funding, shift to hydrogen and renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The European Commission has proposed to reform regulation covering cross-border energy infrastructure projects that are eligible for financial support, including a plan to exclude oil and natural gas infrastructure from EU funding in the future.In the proposed reform to the Trans-European Networks for Energy, or TEN-E, regulation, the commission said Dec. 15 that unabated natural gas projects were not compatible with the EU’s carbon-neutrality goals. Instead, it plans to shift more money to electricity grids, including for the connection of new offshore wind farms.However, funding could be made available for infrastructure projects for the supply and trade of hydrogen, which would also include assets converted from gas, it said. That could open the door for projects to convert or upgrade existing gas infrastructure, such as pipelines, storage facilities and LNG import terminals. Utilities, oil companies and other investors have launched a flurry of hydrogen projects in recent months to benefit from renewed interest in the fuel.The proposal comes a year after the European Investment Bank decided to stop financing most fossil fuel projects from the end of 2021, highlighting how gas is increasingly moving into the spotlight of the climate debate.Under the TEN-E regulation, priority energy projects are compiled into a list of so-called projects of common interest, or PCIs, which means they qualify for billions in EU funds.The revised TEN-E also reflects an increased role for renewable and low-carbon gases by creating a new category of infrastructure for smart gas grids, which the commission said would support distribution and transmission investments to integrate green gases such as biogas and biomethane, but also hydrogen.[Stuart Elliott]More ($): EU proposes to stop funding natural gas infrastructure, shift focus to hydrogenlast_img read more


first_imgIf you have been bold enough to flip through a fitness magazine in the last ten years, you have undoubtedly read an article or two about the importance of core strength and balance.Rumor has it, finding balance and ways to strengthen your core, will help us all in various athletic pursuits. What pursuits? Golf – where better balance and core strength can help lead to monster drives Cycling – where a strong core and good balance can help cyclists reserve energy and use their legs more effectivelyRunning – where lack of core strength can lead to back problems, pain and other injuries The gospel of core strength for athletes has been preached and accepted by professionals for years. Even soft core athletes and normal folk like myself have heard and accepted the message. Strength = balance = less bad stuff like back pain, hip pain, etc. Even nursing home patients could likely tell you the importance of strength and balance in recovering from surgery or pain.I will even venture a guess that a number of us potential followers have attended classes at the gym or purchased our own  balance ball, yoga mat, or other device to aid in at home core workouts.The desire to fild balance, and strength is a noble one.But I must admit, when I hear the words “core strength,” and balance, I rarely think of my abdominal muscles. I consider my whole body, mind,  body and spirit. I think of wellness, wholeness, psychological balance and emotional strength.I consider whether my whole person at this minute, has balance. If not, I think on how and where I can find that needed core strength.For example:Long day.Feel exhausted.No outlet but that of work and routine. A friend needs help sorting through a difficult problem or a loved one calls needing someone to listen.I already feel empty, un-nourished, and have nothing left to give. My lack of balance and strength will negatively impact the way I treat people I love. They way I listen, respond, give back and encourage.To me, a life of emptiness, exhaustion and fatigue is unacceptable. Even a day of emotional exhaustion is too much. I want to feel strong, able to serve and listen. And while I cannot control the intensity of my work or the demands of ordinary life, I can control what I do to nourish and build myself up before and during the stress. I can make building core strength a priority, knowing that balance will help me get through the rough parts with enough energy left to do the real work.I own a balance ball. One day, I will use it to strengthen my actual muscles. But for now, I am reaching out for the other tools necessary to build strength.My journalDaily quite time – reflection – prayerWalks with my dogsBooksFriendsQuiet time at homeYour list will be different. I am sure of it. My husband’s would include mountain streams and running clothes. My brother’s would include some British band’s latest record.A friend of mine with two children, a full time job and a busy husband will need very different things to feel whole, and balanced at her core. She may need help with meals, child care. She may need alone time, a walk with the dogs alone, or a hot bath.If we don’t find this balance, and work on it every day, we can’t be our best selves. We break down and waste what energy we do have in feeling discouraged, alone, weak.If a 60 year old Golfer attended Titlest camp and said ” I just don’t feel like working on my balance or strength,” the instructor might inform him that his game will suffer accordingly. While it may be acceptable for an amateur athlete, I don’t think it is acceptable for our lives that we become apathetic.It is not selfish to focus on yourself in this way. It is in this context, a gift to those around you. It is a necessity in these crazy times to find balance, and wholeness.I would love if folks would share their secrets to balance. I think the more we encourage each other to seek it, the stronger all of us can be.Oh, and if any of you still have an ab roller hiding under your bed from 1995, maybe its time to dust it off as well.last_img read more

Quick Hits: News from the October Issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors

first_imgGeorgia Runner Sets 24-Hour Barefoot RecordSavannah, Ga.In August, Savannah-based runner Andrew Snope traveled to Anchorage, Alaska, where he set the world record for running 24 hours straight with no shoes. Competing in the Six Days in the Dome indoor track race, Snope covered 136.98 miles with a full day of strides inside Anchorage’s Alaska Dome. The effort bested a previous record of 131.43 miles posted last year by New Zealand’s Peter Wayne Botha.Remarkably, Snope started running less than three years ago, inspired after reading Christopher McDougall’s best-selling book Born to Run. He’s never owned a pair of running shoes and only runs barefoot or in minimalist sandals.A.T. OrientationRichmond, Va.Adapting to life on campus can be tough. To help some incoming freshmen at the University of Richmond get acclimated to college life, some school officials took 18 incoming students on a 40-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. The hike, led for the second year in a row by Patrick Benner, associate dean for residence life, has become part of the school’s pre-orientation program for new students. “It’s about being able to talk on the trail,” Benner said in a release. “We start off talking about who has the best delivery pizza and move on to talk about what they want to achieve on campus, their concerns, and their worries.”New A.T. Board GameMarshall, N.C.A hiking enthusiast has created a new Appalachian Trail-themed board game, an effort that was funded through Kickstarter donations. Created by Mark Hanf of Marshall, N.C., “Thru Hike: The Appalachian Trail Game” takes players through a map-style board course of the venerable trail, moving forward as they answer trivia questions or identify plants and animals. Hanf got the idea for the game after he cleaned an A.T. shelter that had been left in rough shape by previous visitors. He decided to make a game that would teach people about the trail, including best practices during hiking and backpacking trips. The nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy gave him asmall grant for a prototype of the game. Then the Kickstarter campaign for greater production launched in July, reaching its initial funding goal within 48 hours.The Man Who Cried Mountain LionAiken, S.C.Bill Lunsford certainly had the town of Aiken on edge. According to a report by the Associated Press, the 55-year-old man told police officers burglars broke into a pet store and set a mountain lion free. The local police force sent 12 officers on an 18-hour search for the domesticated animal that was said to have been three feet tall, weighing approximately 100 pounds. But police later learned the whole thing was a hoax, which resulted in Lunsford’s arrest for filing a false police report.Beyond the Blue RidgeRunner Loses Medal (For Taking off His Shirt)Zurich, SwitzerlandIt appeared French runner Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad took gold in the European track and field championship’s 3000-meter steeplechase. But soon after the race, he was disqualified for taking off his shirt before he crossed the finish line. At first, Mekhissi-Benabbad was just given a yellow card warning for the infraction, which he claimed was supposed to be a celebration similarly done by soccer players after scoring a goal. But after an appeal from track officials in Spain, the runner was disqualified for violating uniform standards.Mekhissi-Benabbad has been embattled with officials for bad behavior in the past, including pushing a mascot at steeplechase championships in both 2010 and 2012.Giraffe Kicks Fence HopperMadison, Wis.It turns out those fences they erect at zoos are there for a reason. A woman learned this lesson the hard way when she climbed the fence at Madison’s Henry Vila’s Zoo, entering the boundary of a giraffe exhibit. When Amanda Hall, 24, tried to make an escape over a second fence a 12-foot-tall giraffe named Wally kicked her in the face. Fortunately her injuries were not life-threatening, but according to a news story, Hall was fined $686 after being ticketed for harassment of zoo animals.Wander Through Al Roker’s FaceAtkins, IowaAny big Al Roker fans out there? Get to Atkins before the end of the month. The owners of Bloomsbury Farm decided to celebrate the “Today” show weatherman’s 60th birthday by carving his face into a 10-acre maze in a cornfield. The maze, which took six hours to cut, has two miles of open paths for the public to explore through Halloween. The farm owners Dave and Karen Petersen pick a new theme for their maze every year, and this year they told the AP they chose Roker because “he seems like a great guy.”last_img read more

FILM: Protect Bears Ears, Utah

first_imgJosh Ewing began visiting the Bears Ears region of southeastern Utah to climb at Indian Creek and explore the local archaeology. But when he gave up a 6-figure salary in advertizing to move to the town of Bluff, he saw degradation from oil drilling, looting, and careless visitors. Ewing knew simply loving a place was no longer enough. “If I’m going to be working my ass off, I want to be working my ass off for something I really care about.” He was asked to head up the organization “Friends of Cedar Mesa” and is working to protect it.  #ProtectBearsEarslast_img