FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享David Crane for GreenBiz.com:There is little public indication that coal plant-owning companies, or the public service commissions that supervise them, are reassessing each of their economically distressed coal plants to see what is their best available alternative use.That effort would involve, initially, cataloguing the various attributes of those plants that may unlock economic value, including the dedicated and skilled workforce; the positioning of the plant on the transmission grid; the value of the interconnect; the non-power real estate value; and the value of avoided carbon that might be realized upon the plant’s closure.All the while, environmentalists continue to fight the fight against coal and coal-fired generation using their traditional tactics — EPA regulation, litigation, sporadic protests — while their most potent economic argument (“You keep losing money from plants that employ technology that Wall Street deems obsolete”) remains undeployed.Maybe it is time for a different approach.Full article: King Coal and the irony of the endgame The Overlooked Economic and Financial Case Against Coal-Fired Power Generation
Warren Buffet: Energy Transition Spells End Times for Uncompetitive Utility Companies FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Stephen Lacey for Greentech Media:Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says that renewable energy and efficiency are pushing utilities beyond a “sloppy” operational model and into a more competitive environment.In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Buffett outlined the risks posed by distributed generation to traditional power companies. Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational holding company worth nearly $200 billion, owns 10 energy companies, including three large electric utilities serving territories across 11 Midwestern and Western U.S. states.The business of electricity is entering a period of uncertainty, wrote Buffett.“In its electric utility business, our Berkshire Hathaway Energy (“BHE”) operates within a changing economic model. Historically, the survival of a local electric company did not depend on its efficiency. In fact, a ‘sloppy’ operation could do just fine financially,” wrote Buffett. “That’s because utilities were usually the sole supplier of a needed product and were allowed to price at a level that gave them a prescribed return upon the capital they employed.”“That’s all changing,” he wrote. Sloppiness is no longer an option.More and more regulated power companies are facing a world where third parties, like solar service providers, can compete with them directly on cost.“Today, society has decided that federally-subsidized wind and solar generation is in our country’s long-term interest. Federal tax credits are used to implement this policy, support that makes renewables price-competitive in certain geographies. Those tax credits, or other government-mandated help for renewables, may eventually erode the economics of the incumbent utility, particularly if it is a high-cost operator,” wrote Buffett.Full article: Warren Buffett: Solar and Wind Could ‘Erode the Economics of the Incumbent Utility’
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Seattle Times:The Washington State Department of Ecology has denied a key permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, a decision that if it withstands appeal would kill the last remaining proposal in the state to export Western coal to Asia.The department denied the permit citing nine problem areas, including rail safety, air pollution, noise pollution and tribal resources. “There are simply too many unavoidable and negative environmental impacts for the project to move forward,” Ecology Director Maia Bellon, said in a statement Tuesday.Bellon, in an interview with reporters, said the denial was based on a broader evaluation of the project’s impact, including on water quality.The project has run into economic challenges as the price coal can fetch in Asia has dropped due to slackening demand. Also, Northwest environmentalists fiercely oppose the project, railing against the prospect of increased coal-train traffic through the region, and exporting a fossil fuel that emits greenhouse gases.“The Pacific Northwest will not be a hub for the global trade in dirty fossil fuels. It is not who we are,” said Jan Hasselman, an Earthjustice attorney who represented a coalition of environmental groups in litigation over the project. “The conversation about coal export from the Pacific Northwest is over.”Last year, a separate project to build a coal-export terminal at Cherry Point, in Whatcom County, was denied a federal Army Corps of Engineers permit, a decision based on protection of tribal treaty fishing rights.More: Washington state denies key permit for Columbia River coal terminal, potentially dooming project State Denies Permit on Last of Proposed West Coast Coal-Export Terminals
Asia tops Europe as leading region for offshore wind investment in 2019 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Total investment in offshore wind power projects in Asia Pacific (APAC) came in at almost double that of Europe in 2019, as the fast-moving emerging market eclipsed the sector’s historic heartland for the first time, according to new research from the Renewables Consulting Group (RCG).Led by Taiwan, Japan, and Vietnam, the capital spend in APAC surpassed $10bn, while in Europe just over $5.5bn was invested – a differential largely explained by the “maturity of the [latter] market and intense competition” which have driven down the levelised cost of energy per megawatt by over 50% in recent years, said the UK analysts.Overall, by RCG’s calculus in its Global Offshore Wind: Annual Market Report, Europe saw just under 1.4GW of offshore wind plant reach financial close last year, while for APAC this was nearly 2GW.“Taipei’s offshore wind development plan, supported by a feed-in tariff, is starting to bear fruit [in Taiwan] with five projects reaching financial close in 2019, totaling almost 2GW in cumulative capacity,” said RCG director Lee Clarke, noting that the financial investment decision (FID) reached on the Changfang and Xidao projects in the first quarter of 2020 suggested the “mechanisms and procedures that can be adopted in emerging markets in order to attract investment and lower project costs.”Clarke also spotlighted break-out FIDs for the Vietnamese and Japanese markets, via Tra Vinh 1 and Akita projects, respectively reached the same milestone. Though 2019 was a “particularly strong year” for the APAC region in locking up project investment, other markets “continue to advance,” emphasized Clarke, pointing to RCG’s forecast that 8-13.5GW of cumulative capacity will reach FID in the next four years worldwide.“Europe and the Americas laid the foundations for similar project progress from 2020-2023, with significant lease auctions, power purchase solicitations and legislative changes taking place in the past year. In the UK, France, the Netherlands, and the US, large-scale offshore wind solicitations have positioned more projects closer to financial close than in any previous year in the history of the offshore wind market,” said Clarke.[Darius Snieckus]More: Asia offshore wind power capital spend eclipses Europe’s for first time
Talent gets all the glory, but the man behind the lens is the one that makes him look good. Capturing video in the sports world can be a delicate tango with dire consequences. You are often moving backwards with no eye on where you are headed, there are wires to deal with, expensive equipment to protect, and of course the shot to get. It takes agility, savvy, and a little bit of luck to get it all on film. Cameramen can be wizards in the open field, getting the the footage and bringing themselves and their gear home in one piece.But lets face it, there is a reason they are behind the camera and not in front and this cameraman fail vid is proof.
It’s balls cold outside (that’s an actual meteorological term) which means you can do two things: 1) embrace it and find a half-frozen lake to jump into and hope you don’t have a heart attack, or 2) avoid the weather all together, retreat to a climate controlled space and drink lots of beer.It’s a personal choice. If you choose “B,” we recommend the Winter Warmer Beer Fest in Asheville (Sat. Jan 25). There, you’ll find winter seasonals and flagship beer from some of the South’s best beer mongers, as well as taps from guest brewer Surly. Surly calls Minneapolis home, so you can bet they know how to whip up a warming winter seasonal because their lives depend on it.All the regular southern players will be there (Pisgah, Highland, Oskar Blues…) but this is your best chance to check out some of the smaller brewpubs that have been popping up in the last couple of years. These small shops have limited distribution, so a festival like Winter Warmer offers the rare opportunity to sample a variety of uber-local beers in a single go.I like the new Lookout Brewing Company, out of Black Mountain, which is beginning to make a name for itself among locals thanks to their superior IPA. Plus, instead of your standard growlers, they sell 32 ounce mason jars to-go. Sweet.
On August 14-16, Asheville will host a celebration of the country’s top boundary-pushing adventure films. The festival weekend will kickoff with a free outdoor party before the films roll at 7pm on Friday. Saturday’s line up will include a community picnic, ice cream social, van life rally, dance party with DJ Marley, a youth adventure film program, and an amazing lineup of powerful films.BRO Editor in Chief Will Harlan will moderate a panel of top regional athletes on Saturday morning at the New Mountain Sol Bar—including elite triathlete and runner Jay Curwen, Girls at Play founder Anna Levesque, ultra running wild man Adam Hill, pro paddler Pat Keller, and champion mountain biker Sam Koerber—who embody the spirit of the film fest.Unlike other film fests, 5Point features films that are about more than heart-pumping adrenaline. They highlight people who go deeper and give voice to the places and issues that matter most.“We are so excited to bring 5 Point to Asheville and to become an ongoing part of the booming outdoor scene in this community,” said Executive Director Sarah Wood. “We are really striving to make 5 Point Asheville a local, community driven event!”In addition to all the other festivities, 5 Point will be hosting a one of a kind ‘Van Life Rally.’ Like the Going the Distance Panel, the rally will take place at New Mountain and will showcase some of the Blue Ridge region’s best livable vehicles! BRO’s own Jess Daddio will even be on hand with her Sylvan Sport GO!For more info including a detailed line up of films and events, check out them out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or their website, and enjoy a sneak peak of coming attractions by watching the trailer below. See you there!5Point Film Festival Asheville from 5Point Film Festival on Vimeo.
Southwest Montana is a bucket list destination for fly fishing enthusiasts from all over the globe, so you can understand my excitement when I got to spend a few days there completely immersed in the local fly fishing scene.Luckily, I have a buddy from my days living and working in Yellowstone National Park who lives in Bozeman, owns a drift boat, and spends 99.9 percent of his waking hours obsessing over all things trout. All I had to do was show up, sit back and enjoy the ride—and a few of Montana’s finest craft-brewed ales—while he shuttled me around to a handful of the area’s most renowned fishing holes.What follows are brief descriptions of each of those fisheries along with some photos of the success we enjoyed while fishing them.Floating The Lower MadisonNamed in 1805 by Meriwether Lewis, the Madison River is one of Montana’s premier blue ribbon trout fisheries. It originates in Yellowstone National Park, at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers—both famous trout rivers in their own right—and flows for about 180 miles until it joins forces with the Mighty Missouri River (more on that later).My day on the Madison was eventful and full of fish. Of all the rivers I had the pleasure of visiting during my time in Montana, this was the most productive.Browns and rainbows were plentiful—most falling victim to cadis pupa and olive hare’s ear nymphs—and the scenery was typical Montana, complete with high-rising, riverside cliffs and the occasional bald eagle circling above. If you ever make the trek to Montana don’t miss out on the Madison.Strippin’ Streamers on Hyalite ReservoirHyalite Canyon is a go-to for Bozemanites looking for quick access to mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, camping, and fishing—all in the shadow of Montana’s stunning mountain landscape.For us, fishing was the pursuit of choice, so we put the boat in on Hyalite Reservoir—a 206-acre high altitude lake perched at an elevation of 6,700 feet—and started casting streamers in hopes of hooking up with native cutthroat trout and arctic grayling.Fishing was understandably slower in this still body of the water, but I did manage to net one small cutthroat. Unbelievable scenery, craft beers, and good times with good friends dominated the rest of the day.Salmonflies on the Big Hole RiverThere was something in the air when we showed up to at the banks of the Big Hole River on the morning of Friday, June 17. To me they looked like small, uncoordinated birds, but it turns out they were huge aquatic insects called salmon flies.Every year these gargantuan bugs make their ascent from the bottom of the Big Hole to its swirling surface. Most are quickly gobbled up by hungry trout. Others make their escape for nearby tree limbs. We were just happy to have a box full of flies in our possession that closely resembled these unique insects.As soon as we put it on the Big Hole we noticed trout rising in every direction, and I had what I can only assume was a giant brown emerge from the depths to break my salmon fly off within the first 30 minutes.We continued to fish salmon fly dries and girdle bugs for the rest of the float. By the time we arrived at the takeout, where we had stashed our tent and camping gear a few hours earlier, everyone aboard had netted trout and spirits were high.The next day we woke up with the sun and re-embarked on our journey down the Big Hole. Saturday started with more technical whitewater and our drift boat even took on some of said water at one point. After a quick foray on the bank and some manual bilging with a Nalgene bottle, we were back on the river catching more trout on girdle bugs.Once we reached the pullout and loaded the boat onto the trailer we were off again to the tiny town of Craig, Montana. Of all the trout-obsessed towns I’ve visited over the years, Craig is the one I can most accurately describe as a “Trout Mecca”. It sits mere feet from the banks of the much tamer but just as fishy Missouri River and boasts more drift boats than year-round residents.Conquering the Might MoThe Missouri River might be best known as the waterway that delivered the Lewis and Clark expedition from the midwestern frontier deep into the heart of the mysterious mountain West.Today it is known for delivering hungry trout into the nets of eager anglers. Our trip was no exception.We arrived during the heart of another famous hatch. Instead of salmon flies we were hoping to see hoards of caddis and pale morning duns. Unfortunately, the wind thwarted our dreams of all-day dry fly action, so we turned to trusty nymphs rigs, complete with split shots and bobbers.This proved to be the ticket, and before long Josh was battling the biggest fish of the trip on a secluded Missouri River side channel. Needless to say, the giant rainbow found the bottom of his net, and a fitting cap was placed upon a perfect Montana fly fishing excursion, but not before indulging in celebratory beers, bourbon, and burgers back in Craig with the Missouri River still in view. Here’s to hoping I make it back soon.Related Content:
The magical hour – the one I used to call lunch – transforms into the time to escape my life and disappear into the woods. I lace up my running shoes and weave between the fading mountain laurel, slowing my breath to take lingering inhales of the blooming honeysuckle.Whenever I get that pinched up feeling when only abrupt, short answers roll off my tongue, I know I must get out into the woods and pound out the miles. When I don’t know the answer because I haven’t figured out the right question, the forest offers wisdom.More often than not, in between oaks and pines the answer reveals itself.I go into the forest to unravel my life from the goals that become intertwined with my identity – the new book I’m writing this summer, the lifestyle I want to create for my son, the business I started a year ago.I’m learning to listen to the birds, to the sound of my own feet. My focus turns to lifting my feet high enough to avoid roots and snakes. I scan the trail, committing to a path and then looking ahead. Sweat trickles down my back, my shirt clings to me.I become more aware and curious about my surrounding in and out of the forest. I want to be connected with the earth’s cycles, to see the sunset and the moonrise. I want to be alert for the blinking fireflies, to mark summer’s arrival with open arms.The moss and ferns blur green in my peripheral vision. The dense canopy dwarfs me, reminding me of Mother Nature’s magnitude, along with my own place out here.I am small. So are the things I call problems. The fears that keep me awake at night won’t be remembered in a month.I enter the forest to lose myself, giving myself permission to let go, to change directions, or forge ahead on a new path. In the process, becoming the best version of myself, one still flawed with all the same problems but with a better perspective.There are days though, when no matter how hard I try to make time, I never get to the trailhead. I’m so married to my to-do list that I don’t break myself away from my computer.It was my writing mentor, not my running coach who provides an answer:“If you miss working on your book one day, begin again the next. You haven’t fallen off the wagon. This isn’t recovery. This isn’t boot camp. You’re just writing a book. It’s a new day. Come back to your desk.” ~Ariel GoreAnd so it is with the woods. If I miss the cure-all green for a day, I can go back. I am just running in the woods and it’s a new day. I don’t need to wait for an invitation to reinvent myself.The forest is waiting.
It’s been said that having a child is both the least and most selfish thing a person can do. Eight years into this parenting experiment and I can honestly say it’s 90% selfish, 10% unselfish. Yes, I give up the occasional Saturday afternoon to watch a little league game, and all of my money goes to braces and school field trip expenses, but I get a lot more out of this relationship than I give. That wasn’t necessarily true when my kids were babies. During that stage, the only thing I got from my kids was vomit and poop. Sometimes, both at the same time. But now my kids are eight. They can do shit now. Which means I can relive doing shit for the first time. It seems like every day there’s another significant first for my kids. First time one of them bunny hops on a bike. First time one of them says “shit” in the right context. First time one of them knocks out a tooth because of a failed bunny hop attempt…This past weekend, we took the kids whitewater rafting and found the perfect rock to jump from. One of the greatest joys of my childhood (for the purposes of this article and all my articles, “childhood” refers to the ages of 5 through 40) was jumping off rocks, cliffs, trees, truck beds, houses…anything that was significantly higher than the water below. Jumping off rocks is something special. And I’m happy to say, it didn’t take much coaxing to get my kids to jump off the rock on the edge of the Tuck last weekend. I leapt first to make sure the water was deep enough, gave them the thumbs up and they were already on the edge, counting down from 10. Seeing the look on their faces—half terror, half joy—as they rose out of the water after that first leap took me back to my own first jump, off the edge of a cliff on the Chattahoochee decades ago. I was psyched to give them this opportunity, but more stoked to be a part of it and absorb some of their fear and joy, like a lizard taking warmth from a rock. So yeah, selfish. After rafting the Tuck, we headed straight for Innovation Brewing, in Sylva, and ordered session IPAs for the parents and ginger ales for the kids. Sadly, this wasn’t the first brewery my kids have been to. That first came and went years ago, while they were still in those weird marsupial chest packs. Because that’s the kind of dad I am.