Court Stay a ‘Bump in the Road’ as States Continue With Clean-Utility Plans

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Analee Grant for SNL:Before the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan was put on hold by the Supreme Court, many states — even those requesting the stay — were on track to creating a workable plan in time for the September deadline for initial submissions.Former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., along with a panel of experts at Brookings, thinks states will likely continue with some form of planning for decarbonization. Jonas Monast, director of the climate and energy program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, said states made certain decisions following the stay directly related to the Clean Power Plan, but that does not mean they will stop pursuing cleaner power resources.Ritter said one of the unintended consequences of the stay is that it took away the regulatory certainty the Clean Power Plan provided utilities when making resource planning decisions. “Utilities are very concerned that their business model is a 20th-century business model and actually does not fit with this 21st-century energy world … that we live in,” Ritter said.Utilities likely will continue to consider the Clean Power Plan in their resource planning for that reason, Ritter said, citing Xcel Energy Inc. as an example. The company confirmed that it had received at least one extension from Colorado officials for a planning document in anticipation of new information from the state’s Clean Power Plan stakeholder process. But Xcel Energy intends to continue with its “Our Energy Future” plan and to support the state’s efforts to create sound plans for a sustainable and affordable energy future. A renewable energy plan will be filed with Colorado regulators at the end of February. Neither the stay of the carbon rule nor the ultimate outcome of the litigation against it is expected to alter Xcel Energy’s planning schedule. Many utilities have echoed similar sentiments.Ritter called the Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan a dramatic event, but a “bump in the road” in the overall future of the Clean Power Plan.With carbon rule in limbo, experts urge states to move on with planning anyway Court Stay a ‘Bump in the Road’ as States Continue With Clean-Utility Planslast_img read more

West Virginia Regulatory Staff Seek Answers on FirstEnergy Coal-Generation Plans

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Darren Sweeney for SNL:West Virginia regulatory staff have asked FirstEnergy Corp.’s utilities to explain why buying an existing coal-fired power plant is the best option for meeting future generation needs. The utilities also were asked to provide the additional costs needed to retrofit a supercritical, coal-fired plant to meet federal environmental requirements.Monongahela Power Co. and fellow FirstEnergy subsidiary Potomac Edison Co. submitted their integrated resource plan late last year to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia. Mon Power, which supplies the generation needs for Potomac Edison’s West Virginia service territory, predicted a capacity shortfall of more than 850 MW by 2027 and said that purchasing existing generation facilities or co-firing its coal plants with gas are likely the best options to meet this need. (Case No. 15-2002-E-P)Guggenheim Securities LLC analyst Shahriar Pourreza noted in a March 15 research report that opponents of the plan are concerned that FirstEnergy is attempting to place one of its merchant coal plants into the West Virginia utilities’ rate base.Retrofitting would cost approximately $55 million to $80 million for each unit at the coal plants, which Mon Power breaks down to $85 per MW for the three units at Harrison and $140 per MW for the two units at Fort Martin.The utilities said they did not factor in the additional costs needed to meet the minimal EPA requirements under the Clean Power Plan since the regulations remain under litigation and “have yet to be defined in the state implementation plans.”Regulatory staff, however, also are skeptical of the effect on reliability during the retrofitting.“How can the Company remain in compliance with [PJM Interconnection LLC] requirements when at any given outage to retrofit a generating unit with co-fired natural gas burners, generation will be down by at least 546 MW?” the PSC staff asked.Full article ($): W Va. regulatory staff seek answers on FirstEnergy utilities’ coal generation plans West Virginia Regulatory Staff Seek Answers on FirstEnergy Coal-Generation Planslast_img read more

Tech-Sector Backlash Against U.S. Coal Bailout Plan

first_imgTech-Sector Backlash Against U.S. Coal Bailout Plan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:Selling custom nose rings, crocheted bunnies and hand-carved Santas is energy-intensive stuff.Just ask Etsy Inc., the go-to marketplace for crafts that doubled its electricity use in two years to feed power-sucking data centers that keep the $2.8 billion-a-year business running. It’s one of the many technology giants including Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google demanding cheaper — and cleaner — electricity as their data demands grow.This hunger for power has set Silicon Valley on a collision course with the Trump administration, which is working up a plan to keep coal plants afloat by raising electricity prices. As a rare source of demand growth, these tech firms have become formidable advocates for clean energy. They’ve contracted enough renewable energy to displace at least 12 coal generators, and some are paying millions to sever ties with utilities to find their own supply.Big Tech is no longer “afraid to throw around their weight or their ability to influence — some might say bully — their local utility or local governments in what they want to get,” said Lucas Beran, a senior research analyst on IHS Markit’s data center and cloud team.It’s easy to see why the companies have become such advocates. Power used by all the nation’s data centers is set to climb 4 percent from 2014 to 2020, according to an Energy Department report. Server farms now draw enough electricity to light up Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada, twice over. Etsy alone used 10,679 megawatt-hours last year — enough to supply 1,000 homes.While coal still accounts for about a third of U.S. electricity, it’s losing ground to cheaper natural gas, wind and solar. Hundreds of mines have shut in recent years, and President Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to revive them. His administration is now calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to enact a plan that would subsidize coal-fired power plants.This is part of a series looking at Trump’s plan to rescue coal. Read the last story here.In a letter last month, Etsy called on regulators to reject Trump’s plan, which it described as a barrier to “making creative entrepreneurship a path to economic security.” Separately, a group that includes Amazon and Microsoft Corp. said the administration is overlooking the potential of renewable power, grid technology and energy storage, warning that the proposal would create “burdensome out-of-market costs on consumers like our companies.”Their push for clean power extends well beyond Washington. Alphabet has called on utilities to create “buy-as-you-go” renewable energy programs. The demands of modern electricity consumers have outgrown the standard utility business model designed “for a bygone era,” it said in a white paper last year. The Mountain View, California-based company, which runs the world’s largest online search engine, has signed contracts to buy 2.6 gigawatts of renewable energy that it said will lead to $3.5 billion of investments.More: From Yarn Bunnies to Amazon, Tech Fights Trump Coal Planlast_img read more

‘Fastest-growing solar market in the U.S.,’ Texas signs $100 million deal with project developer

first_img‘Fastest-growing solar market in the U.S.,’ Texas signs $100 million deal with project developer FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Texas Public Radio:A deal announced Monday could mean a $100 million towards solar projects in Texas. Austin-based solar power company PowerFin Partners will develop and build the projects and Toronto-based real estate investors Fengate will finance the deals as part of today’s announced co-development deal.“Financing of solar projects is pretty difficult,” said Tuan Pham, president of PowerFin. “(The deal) allows Fengate to focus on the financing and us to focus on the operating, development, and construction.”PowerFin is best known for developing projects like CPS Energy’s residential solar program, Fengate director Greg Calhoun pointed to both projects as innovations in the solar market and part of the reason they decided to partner with PowerFin. Another big reason was accessing Texas’ solar market.“Texas is the fastest growing solar market in the U.S.,” Calhoun said. “There’s a great resource here. There’s population growth, so the macroeconomic story makes sense. The resource story makes sense.”It is the second $100 million solar development commitment that Fengate has announced in three months. Fengate will partner with Alberta, Canada-based Greengate Power Corporation.More: Texas Could See $100 Million In Solar Investmentslast_img read more

Bon Voyage Blue Ridge

first_imgGoodbye for now Blue Ridge. Much like the geese I’ll be heading south for the winter. After all my work is seasonal and so am I. For the months of November through February, with a quick stop back home in Iowa, I’ll be searching for the right season and best climbing spots, searching for the land of the lost cowboy hat and broken spur,  this Winter I’ll be Southwest Searching.With any farewell, there is a twinge of regret to be leaving. To be saying see ya’ to the mountains I’ve climbed and to the ones left unconquered. To leave the land that provided me a place to sleep, a land full of adventure and insight, and the land made accesible by new friends.But this arrivederci provides more then remorse, this adios is not forever, and before the trees turn green I’ll be back in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains; I’ll be ready to explore, ready for more, and with the same Adventure Thirst.Saying temporary goodbyes can be good for the soul. It can be hard to realize where you’re at when you are there. It takes a little stepping back, some outside perspective, to really understand the blessed problems you have and the reasons to go back. Saying goodbye for awhile rejuvinates the daily-life, the internal battery, and the all too elusive muscle memory routine.So excuse me as I stretch my legs and continue the search for tomorrow’s adventure and I encourage you to do the same. It is a big wide world out there with many avenues left unexplored. Goodbye (for now) Blue Ridge and stay safe this winter. Look for me galloping into town with the Spring time sun. And most importantly, go outside and play.Bradlast_img read more

Adventure Thirsty

first_img Photo courtesy of Staff at Wilderness Adventure Bald sunset Tree Climbing Photo courtesy of Staff at Wilderness AdventureI remember the question clearly. I was talking to a professor in my college years and we were swapping stories of outdoor escapades, interrupting each other with friendly one-upsmanship. On the wall above his desk hung a large framed picture of a fly fisherman standing ankle-deep in flowing water with his line half out and waving behind his shoulders.He paused to ask, “who got you into all of this, how did Mother Nature pull you in, what connects you to the natural world,” or more simply put, “why?” And I remember sitting there trying to think of a thoughtful response. His intentions were good but I was struck by the question. Their were plenty of small reasons, really sensations, as to why the natural world resignated with me; a cool breeze on a summer’s day, orange and yellow blossoms in the Autumn sky, or perhaps sleeping under an infinite sky filled with different planets.But I couldn’t put a cummalitive thumb on it, on “why?” And then, as I stuttered to poorly explain a jumble of an answer, a lightbulb flicked on and I realized that the question for me had never been why, but instead it revolved around why not?If their was no need for the trees, the aestetics and the leaves, what substitute for air would I breathe? If the morning sun forgot to rise, how could I fail to notice the darkened skies? And without a need to know more, to see whats behind every door, without this Adventure Thirst, then the question can be reversed; Why?I don’t remember what I told my professor thay day, but after our conversation I recognized my intrinsic “why-not” attitude towards the natural world, the satisfaction of something so simple embedded in complexity, and it opened a brand new appreciation for the world I live in. The question now stands for those of you with a wandering eye out the window, the weekend warrior, andthe air-breathers; Why Not?center_img Photo courtesy of Staff at Wilderness Adventure Flippin awesomelast_img read more

Weekend Pick: Hot Chocolate 10K

first_imgThe Isaac Dickson Hot Chocolate 10K started out as a small fundraiser for an elementary school. It’s become one of the biggest and most exciting regional races of the winter season. The 7th Annual Hot Chocolate 10K takes place this weekend, Saturday January 25th, in Asheville, North Carolina. Local runners and outdoor enthusiasts Tim and Leslie Grotenhuis have been organizing this race for years, and they know how to put on a top-notch event. It’s one of the friendliest and most well organized races in the mountains.It’s quite competitive up front, with elites battling it out on a mostly flat, fast course. But mainly it’s an excuse to get off the couch in freezing cold weather and run a few miles with friends. Save something up for the last mile, which is mostly uphill.This event is truly fun for all. There will be a Kids 1K Hill Climb for children 12 and under, as well as a Marshmallow Dash for those ages 6 and under. All races benefit the Issac Dickson Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization. The school is currently being demolished and rebuilt; in the meantime the children have moved to the William Randolph School building on Montford Avenue, which is where the 10K will start and finish.Registration is taking place both online (now) and on race day. The entry fee for the 10K is $30. Both of the children’s runs are $12. All participants will receive a race day long sleeved t-shirt and a collector’s mug. This video gives participants a great idea of what to expect during those 6.2 miles. 10K runners need to be ready to go at 8:55am sharp!Enjoy some live entertainment and hot chocolate (of course) afterwards with the wonderful community of Asheville. There will be an awards ceremony for the top three winners in each category.As always, volunteers are needed. Check out this page for a list of ways and opportunities to help. View Larger Maplast_img read more

Momma on Board

first_imgMy mom is awesome.She’s definitely where I get my adventurous side. Growing up, my mom was the one who introduced me to the outdoors and instilled in me an insatiable curiosity for the world. We went for walks together, rode horses together, saved countless stray cats and dogs and hid them in abandoned barn stalls so my dad wouldn’t find out. She’s smart, funny, caring (almost to a fault), a total goob, and my best friend. She’s where I find the motivation to get up every day and make the most out of every moment, no matter the obstacles. She’s wise beyond her years yet still gets mistaken as my sister. She rocks tattoos on both of her forearms, has the best taste in music, and lets me push her off rocks (okay maybe not willingly).Circa 2011, New River Gorge, West VirginiaCirca 2011, New River Gorge, West VirginiaAs if all of those qualities weren’t good enough, my favorite part about my mom is that she’s willing to try just about anything. Starting tomorrow, my mom will be joining me on the road for the next two weeks. From the mountains of western North Carolina to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, this pretty lady is going to be my partner-in-crime, sidekick, copilot, cooking buddy, Go-mate. The best part? I couldn’t be more excited.Stay tuned for updates from our ramblings and we’ll see you on the road!last_img read more

How to Have a #Vandog

first_imgWith Tom Tom Festival in the books, the Road Team is ready for the full festival season to really get underway. We’ve left the comfort of Charlottesville, Virginia and embarked toward the woods of Brevard, North Carolina landing in Charlotte for Tuck Fest this weekend. While we travel, Henry, our scruffy trash dog, lays on the bed behind us, starring out over his tiny home kingdom. Our #vandog goes everywhere with us, and because of that, he deals with a lot. We drag him to festivals, sit next to him during long car rides, and have him lay inside while we reorganize the van for the third time that day. But being a #vandog has its perks too. Free reign at campsites, new smells every night, dog friends all over the place, and pets from almost every human that walks by. Check out below how we make the best life for our #vandog while living the #vanlife ourselves.Food and WaterThe most important of all things. We have a special container we keep his food and water in so his food doesn’t get wet and we don’t have to pour water out every time we move locations. Henry self-regulates his food intake so we make sure he has the opportunity to eat whenever we stop. This means taking more time at gas station stops, finding places to put his bowls at friends houses and closing it before we sleep every night so critters don’t get to it. It also means packing in extra food every time we backpack or hike. He’s worth the extra pounds.ExerciseOn long travel days, Henry is just as antsy as we are in the van. Gas stations usually have a grass plot to stretch both human and dog legs. I like to do a walk over first to check for broken glass and anything else dangerous he may encounter. We play fetch with him at whatever location we end up at to get a bit more energy out before bed. The glow in the dark ball really helps with that.On non-long-travel-days, Henry tires himself out and puts himself to bed early. These are the days that make #vandog travel so rewarding. When we hike, he is often off leash if the regulations allow it.“Your dog behaves so well!”Thank you, it didn’t happen overnight. I spent hours and hours with Henry as a puppy training him after work. I’m still training him. We work on behavior every day so I can continue bringing him everywhere. If you’re curious, I used a softer version of the Koehler Method. In essence, you and your dog are a pack of two and the human is the lead dog at all times. Order the book (we’re not getting any money for it, it’s actually what we used years ago), take a look, and post with questions. If you’ve met Henry, you know he behaves 95% of the time, is calm, and will put up with two-year-olds pulling on his ears while he eats. That’s a win in my book.Dirt in your HomeIf you’re choosing to live in a van, then you’ve already chosen to live a life with dirt. Your bed will get dirty, your floor will be a mess, and your dog will love it. Henry sleeps on a dog bed at the foot of our bed in the van, but we still invite him up on our bed every once in awhile. Shake everything out, bring a broom in the van, and embrace the dirt.HealthTick check, shots, rest after injury. Henry blasts through fields and scrambles rock walls. He’s become graceful in the outdoors. But that doesn’t mean he comes home clean and injury free every evening. His paws get cut up, he gets ticks under his coat and is exposed to a lot of weird bacteria. We make sure to give him the rest he needs, check him for ticks EVERY night (also ourselves), and get him to the vet whenever we’re in town for a checkup. He takes heartworm medication monthly and gets all his shots on time. He is most definitely more healthy than Ben and me. The other thing to take into consideration is leaving your pup in the van during the summer. We try to leave him in the van as little as possible. It gets dangerous very quickly when the van starts to heat up. We have multiple fans, water, and always park in the shade if we know he’s going to be in the van for an hour or two. But it’s all worth it.Having Henry with us changes the game when we come back from a hard day and he is really to cuddle. He raises moral every chance he gets, everyone at festivals loves him, and he’s living his best life from this van. Not all dogs are meant for #vandog life. Temperaments have to be taken into consideration when changing lifestyles. But Henry is a #vandog through and through!There is one way for this tour to be a reality, our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to our title sponsor Nite Ize, and all of our other awesome sponsors like Crazy Creek, National Geographic, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Old Town, Leki, HydraPak, UCO Gear and Wenzel.last_img read more

Unleashed Dog attacks Olympic Trials Qualifier

first_imgKeen was taken to the hospital in the ambulance with gaping wounds that required 21 stitches. At the 2017 Dallas Marathon, Keen finished second after the first-place runner staggered across the finish line assisted by a pedestrian. Keen refused to challenge the results, despite pressure from other runners who criticized the winner for receiving help. BRO: What were some things going through your head during the attack? BRO: What are some ways that runners and dog owners can work together to be safer in shared spaces? KEEN: Sometimes really unfortunate things just happen. And they suck. And we can’t control the fact that it happens, but we can control how we handle ourselves and our reaction. I am choosing to use this to make me stronger. I survived for a reason. I plan on figuring out why. Olympic Trials Qualifier Caitlin Keen was out running on the Trinity Trails system in Fort Worth, Texas, last weekend when she was attacked by a dog. Keen says the dog appeared out of nowhere, sprinted toward her, leapt up, and bit her arm. She shook it off and kept running, but the dog bit into her back and pulled her to the ground. This isn’t the first time that Keen has made headlines. The dog, a pit bull mix whose name is Taco, was up-to-date on its rabies vaccines and is currently in city-mandated quarantine. Taco belongs to a local homeless woman who was not present during the attack. BRO: Do you feel safe to run outside or at the park? KEEN: I haven’t run since the attack, and I am not allowed to run or drive for at least another week. I know that I will run back at the trail again, but I know that it will take me some time to recover. BRO: What do you want people’s biggest takeaway to be? BRO: You mentioned that you have received a lot of hate from this incident. Is there anything you would like to say on your behalf? BRO: Do you feel changed at all from this? KEEN: I think that dogs should be kept on a leash if it is not a designated “off-leash area.” Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their dog controlled, and runners have a responsibility to stay clear of these areas if they are not comfortable with dogs. We can all work together by putting ourselves into each others’ shoes and thinking about what it would feel like if you had to suffer the consequences of an irresponsible dog owner. center_img KEEN: During the attack, I was thinking how scared I was that it wasn’t going to let me live. I didn’t know what this dog wanted, and I didn’t know how to handle it. All I wanted was to get away and for someone to show up to help me because I knew I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own. We reached out to Keen to hear her thoughts on the situation. Photo Courtesy of Caitlin KeenPhoto Courtesy of Caitlin KeenPhoto Courtesy of Caitlin KeenPhoto Courtesy of Caitlin Keen KEEN: I have been running outside at this particular park since 2006, since I was 14 years old. I have always felt safe out on the trails and have never had a close encounter to not feel safe. BRO: How did you feel when you saw the dog calm down after it attacked you? Her injuries require 21 stitches. Warning: the pictures are graphic. KEEN: If there was anything I could have done to not get attacked, I would have done it. I went from having one of the best long runs I had run all training cycle to being dragged to the ground fighting for my life in a matter of seconds. I didn’t provoke anything, I was simply running fast. I looked at my watch, and when I looked up, a dog was lunging for me. She kicked at the dog until a woman, who was also on a run, picked up a large rock and scared the dog away. The dog was eventually subdued and caught by the collar by a man walking his own two dogs that were leashed. The dog that attacked Keen became calm and friendly with the man’s dogs. BRO: How long have you been running at that park? KEEN: I currently feel very lucky to be alive. Previously, I used to let all the little things bother me. Now I have a much different outlook and perspective on what matters and what is a waste of energy. This is not a fight against breed, animals, or their owners. This is a story about awareness, safety, and having to overcome things that happen to us that we don’t have control over. KEEN: I was scared. I thought the dog was going to start attacking the other dogs that were being walked by a witness, but it didn’t. It made me wonder, “Why me?” Why was I just running one moment and the next I was being taken down by a dog?last_img read more