Op-Ed: U.S. Energy Policy Hangs in the Balance in 2016 Presidential Election FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享David Ignatius for the Washington Post:So much of America’s future is at stake in the 2016 presidential election. But let’s focus for a moment on just one area — energy and the environment — where the Obama administration has made startling progress that could be reversed if either of the GOP front-runners becomes president.Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, arguably President Obama’s best Cabinet appointment, has been leading a quiet revolution in clean-energy technology. Innovation is transforming this industry, costs are plummeting and entrepreneurs are devising radical new systems that create American jobs — in addition to protecting the planet.The leading GOP candidates, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), offer know-nothing denials of this march of science. Trump told The Post last month that all that’s happening is “a change in weather. I am not a great believer in man-made climate change.” Cruz told an audience in New Hampshire in January that “climate change is the perfect pseudoscientific theory,” propounded by “big-government politician[s].” If either is elected president, you have to assume he will try to gut clean-energy programs.Full commentary: America’s next president must continue Obama’s progress on clean energy
GM: Access to Clean Energy a Key Siting Factor FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Environment & Energy Report:General Motors is calling for greater access to wind and solar power through expanded transmission lines to feed growing demand for clean electricity by its future factories and customers.Access to renewables is a factor in the company’s decisions about where to expand or build new facilities, Rob Threlkeld, GM’s global manager of renewable energy, told Bloomberg Environment.Electric power lines delivering wind and solar power are not a constraint on growth today, but, between 2018 and 2050, new transmission connecting wind and solar farms to both GM factories and its customers—particularly those driving electric vehicles—will be critical for the company’s success, he said.GM is one of the RE100 group of companies that have committed to obtaining 100 percent of their electricity from wind, solar, and other renewables. GM plans to go fully renewable by 2050 and expects 20 percent of its global electric power demand to be met with renewable energy by the end of 2018.“Electricity that is both cost-effective and clean is one of the determining factors that go into any new investment/expansion,” Threlkeld said. “As we go from 2018 to 2050, obtaining lowest-cost renewable energy generation will be key to meet the RE100 2050 goal.”More: GM’s Expansion, Energy Goals Hinge on Renewables’ Power Lines
Australian study finds renewables ‘unequivocally’ lower-cost than coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Australia’s leading scientific research group and the country’s energy market operator have released a benchmark study that shows the cost of new wind and solar – even with hours of storage – is “unequivocally” lower than the cost of new coal generation.The joint study – GenCost 2018 – by the CSIRO and AEMO shows that the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of solar and wind is well below that of any other generation source. Even adding two and six hours of storage with batteries or pumped hydro still leaves the cost of “firm” solar and wind power cheaper than any fossil fuel alternative.The study follows similar conclusions from the likes of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and the observations of big utilities such as AGL, Origin, and the government’s own Snowy Hydro. But it has added significance because of the importance and reputation of the two institutions involved.“I fully expected the LCOE of renewables to be cheaper,” CSIRO economist and lead author Paul Graham told RenewEconomy in an interview. “I thought that once you added storage, maybe it would be line ball. But it is unequivocally cheaper. Wind and solar are still lower cost even if you take into account those balancing costs.”And Graham says these are conservative estimates. He points out, as previous studies from the CSIRO and chief scientist Alan Finkel have shown, that the level of storage required for wind and solar is minimal up to a point of around 50 per cent. That is because of the existing back-up required to support the fleet of coal and gas generators. But even when storage is required, Graham says there will be cheaper alternatives such as demand response, better use of existing back-up, more transmission, more “non-coincident” wind and solar (in different regions) or even hydrogen and fuel cells.The significance of this report is immense, both for its contribution to the political debate – which is usually derailed by the false claims of the fossil fuel industry and the Far Right – and for the choices to be made for grids like NSW, where much of the existing ageing coal fleet will have to be replaced over the next 15 years. AEMO will also use it as its guide for the Integrated System Plan – its 20-year blueprint for managing the energy transition – and Graham says it will be updated every year from now on.More: CSIRO/AEMO study says wind, solar and storage clearly cheaper than coal
BP studying 1.5GW of renewable energy capacity for Western Australia green hydrogen project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Oil and gas giant BP is looking to build 1.5 gigawatts of new wind and solar capacity in Western Australia if it goes ahead with a full commercial project to build a renewable hydrogen production facility in that state, with an eye to the export market.The scale of the project underlines the massive opportunities that could be presented by the renewable hydrogen industry, which will look to draw on Australia’s magnificent wind and solar resources and use them to create zero emissions export fuels, such as hydrogen or ammonia, or for use to support a revitalised domestic manufacturing industry.The Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which is putting $1.7 million towards a $4.4 million feasibility study, says the potential market of renewable fuels – both for export and domestic use – is so big it is thinking in terms of Australia moving beyond “100 per cent renewables” to 700 per cent renewables.Many states are now looking at the possibility of tapping into their own wind and solar resources to develop an industry that would match, if not replace the LNG sector over time, these include Queensland, South Australia and W.A., where another two projects have also been identified in the Pilbara and the same region targeted by BP.The significance of the BP interest is the focus of one of the Big Oil majors on renewables. The economics of renewable hydrogen over fossil fuel alternatives will likely be driven by the price trajectory of electrolysers, but also the potential to supply manufacturing and industries like steel making at scale.“We believe that green hydrogen will play an increasingly important role, not only as a new, clean energy vector but also in enabling the further growth of renewable power,” Dev Sanyal, executive VP of BP’s gas and low-carbon energy business, said in a statement.[Giles Parkinson]More: BP looks to add 1.5GW wind and solar for huge renewable hydrogen project in W.A.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Offshore Wind Journal:Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) has formed a joint venture with Iberdrola to co-develop a 3.3-GW portfolio of three bottom-fixed and three floating offshore wind projects in JapanThe offshore wind projects were initiated and have been developed to date through Macquarie’s renewable energy platform, Acacia Renewables. Iberdrola will acquire Acacia Renewables and take forward the existing offshore wind development pipeline alongside GIG as a joint venture. GIG will hold an equal share in the six projects with Iberdrola and provide development and commercial advisory services to the portfolio.Under Iberdrola’s ownership, Acacia will focus on the development of offshore wind projects, while its existing onshore wind development business will be taken forward by GIG.Acacia Renewables currently has two offshore windfarms under development, with a combined capacity of up to 1.2 GW, which could be operational by 2028. The company also has four other projects in its pipeline, with a total capacity of 2.1 GW.The operation is in line with the company’s strategy, allowing Iberdrola to position itself in the early development stage of Japan’s offshore wind market, which has strong growth potential. The deal also gives Iberdrola access to a diversified project pipeline, located in different areas of the southwest of the country, in what it said is an optimal manner for the auctions announced by the Japanese Government.The joint venture brings together GIG’s offshore wind expertise and commitment to the Japanese market with Iberdrola’s technical capabilities and operational excellence. The joint venture is GIG’s second joint venture with Iberdrola – the partners currently co-own the 714-MW East Anglia One offshore windfarm in the UK.[David Foxwell]More: Iberdrola and Green Investment Group to co-develop 3.3-GW portfolio in Japan Macquarie, Iberdrola form joint venture to develop 3.3GW of offshore wind in Japan
Last weekend I traveled to Charlottesville, VA to compete in the TrailRunner Ultra Run of Champions, otherwise known as the UROC. Originally the brainchild of ultrarunners Russell Gill and Francesca Conte, co-owners of the Charlottesville Running Company, the goal of this event was simple yet ambitious: to create “the Championship Event for the sport of Ultra Distance Running.”Once Gill and Francesca put the word out about their plan, sponsors and elite runners alike jumped on board. TrailRunner Magazine and iRunFar.com both signed on to promote the race and promote they did, with prerace interviews and predictions, live race coverage, and plenty of video footage of the event.Elite runners from across the country juggled their fall race plans in order to make the trip to Virginia. The week before the race, the official website listed 25 men and 8 women as comprising the elite field. The number of national championships, victories, and course records among this group of athletes was astonishing. Two of these runners, Michael Wardian and Devon Crosby-Helms, had just competed in the World Cup 100km in the Netherlands two weeks before, Michael’s silver medal performance leading the U.S. men’s team to its first team gold.Unfortunately, by race day, both the men’s and women’s fields had diminished due to injuries and other unforeseen circumstances. The women’s field, in particular, dwindled down to four runners, leading Gill to allow an additional female to join the elite start, fifteen minutes ahead of the open field. As a competitor, the lack of a deep field was disappointing although we made jokes about it at the start, commenting that we would all get a payday for just finishing the race.Prior to the race, there had been much discussion on various blogs about the validity of this particular “championship”. Creating a championship for ultrarunning is harder than it seems. Although it is tempting to group all ultramarathoners together, the reality is that every runner has unique strengths that allow him or her to prevail on certain types of courses. There are the roadies, who exhibit good turnover and an uncanny ability to maintain an even pace over many miles. There are the trail animals who excel on the gnarliest single-track imaginable. There are 50k specialists who can complete their race in less than four hours, and 100 milers who may see the sun rise and set multiple times in the course of one race. 1 2
Corndawg Can Do it All: Sing country songs, make leather wallets, run marathons.With a stage name like Jonny Corndawg, you might think the storytelling country troubadour is looking to parody a genre many feel has gone wrong. But Corndawg (real name Jonny Fritz) is actually quite serious about his craft, reviving the vintage sound of revered idols like Waylon Jennings and Billy Joe Shaver with his own lyrical perspective.The multi-talented tunesmith has practically lived on the road for the past decade, though he now holds part-time residences in both Nashville and Brooklyn. In the past few years, his authentic sound with a quirky edge has found favor with a number of alt-country, new school Americana, and indie rock bands, which has resulted in Corndawg touring for extended periods with the likes of Jason Isbell, Deer Tick, Dawes, the Whigs, and Futurebirds.“I’ve been on the road for so long, I don’t really feel like I live anywhere,” Corndawg says. “Fortunately, being on the road feels right at home.”He did find time to settle down in Nashville long enough to make his new record, “Down on the Bikini Line,” released just last month on his own Nasty Memories Records. Sonically, the album reflects Corndawg’s love of Music City’s storied history. With an all-star backing band, his tunes are filled with hyperactive roadhouse rock riffs, dusty pedal steel licks, and timeless fiddle runs. Much of the album features back-up vocals from Tennessee songstress Caitlin Rose.While making the record, Corndawg went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum four times a week to learn more about his idols and soak in the sounds of the past.“Nashville is the absolute mecca of everything that I care about, musically,” he says. “I didn’t want to break into the scene and become the new artist in town. I just wanted to use the city as an educational tool to develop my craft. This record is the product of that.“Conceptually, this album was a dream come true. I wanted to find some really good studio musicians and write a record in that classic Nashville way. I put everything I had into it.”Corndawg grew up in the small Central Virginia town of Esmont, about 20 miles south of Charlottesville. He learned about music at an early age from his father, an experienced luthier who makes guitars and banjos. His dad turned him on to country and bluegrass heroes like Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, and John Hartford, songwriters with wry wit who were never afraid to embrace the obscure and buck the mainstream. 1 2
Hit the open road this summer with Blue Ridge Outdoors’ Ultimate Road Trips Guide!Road Tripping from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.
It’s Clips of the Week! The best outdoor videos from around the web for the week that was:1. Soggy Summer ShreddingWe’ll kick off with some summer sideways shredding from the Liberty Snowflex Center. Great crash reel to begin and some uber stylie jibs the rest of the way. Snowboarding in August? Why not.Soggy Carpet from Dillan Hodak on Vimeo.2. Summer Dirt ShreddingThis is a highlight vid from race two of the Snowshoe Gravity Series. Course looks….gnarly.3. This is Backcountry…AdvertisingBut it’s still a pretty rad video. Epic clips of the best of the best doing what they do, in HD of course. Could do without the overwrought voiceover, but OMG that bow at 1:12!4. Ocoee FestivalThis is a video preview of what to expect at the upcoming Ocoee Festival over Labor Day Weekend. Looks like a blast.5. BEARS!These bears love to get down.
Dear Mountain Mama,Lately a lot of talk among kayakers revolves around how to calculate risk. As a Class IV paddler who aspires to run Class V, I am interested in safely taking on more challenging runs.Do you have any advice about deciding to paddle more difficult, Class V whitewater?Thanks,Aspiring Class V Boater—————————————————————————Dear Aspiring Class V Boater,I applaud you for your desire to improve. Realizing that failure walks hand-in-hand with success is fundamental for growth. But the real question is the type of risk that is appropriate for a paddler to take, which is an intensely individual decision. The path I personally advocate is the natural evolution that occurs when one pushes herself in small ways every day on the river, not one big blind leap of faith.Intelligently assessing risk necessitates getting really intimate with fear. As tempting as it might first appear to numb anxiety, I’d counsel you against it. Whenever I see boaters smoke or drink at the put-in of challenging runs, my stomach churns for them. Ignoring feelings doesn’t make them disappear, but rather empowers them. A small seed of fear buried deep in the soul festers into an ugly monster who might lash out with disastrous consequences.Instead, cozy up with fear until you transform those negative feelings into something positive like motivation, creativity, and, ultimately, joy from thriving in new situations. I’m by no means advocating that you indulge your fears, but rather exactly the opposite. Start by identifying the source and naming it. Is it a particular rapid? Or the undercut rocks? Or that you’ve just broken up with your girlfriend? Or that you slept a total of two hours the previous night?Sit with your fears as you might with a good friend and have a chat. The result of which might be that you portage a rapid or opt to paddle something else. Or the result might mean seeing a line that you feel confident about paddling.Either way, you’ve made a decision that’s put you in touch with your most authentic self instead of your ego. At the end of the day, nobody cares what rapids or rivers you did or didn’t paddle. And nobody who matters likes you any better for being a Class V boater, or if you even paddle at all for that matter.Be courageous enough to be imperfect. Embracing your own humanity makes you Class V in my book. By being real, you allow others around you to do the same. Portage, paddle, sit on a rock, or run shuttle, just be sure whatever you do, you do it with intention.Best,Mountain MamaGOT A QUESTION FOR MOUNTAIN MAMA? SEND IT HERE