Q&A: Why Banks Are Steering Clear of Coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Huffington Post Australia:As news broke of the government’s decision to ditch the proposed Clean Energy Target (CET) and adopt instead the hastily cobbled-together “National Energy Guarantee” (NEG), Energy Finance Analyst Tim Buckley, from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), went on Sky News and voiced strongly worded opposition to the plan.HuffPost Australia contacted Tim Buckley to run some of the key points of the National Energy Guarantee past him.HuffPost Australia: OK Tim, let’s start at the beginning. In abandoning the CET, the government is effectively saying renewable energy simply can’t do the job that fossil fuels can do, and that only coal can provide the baseload grunt underpinning the system. Is this true?Tim Buckley: Baseload is a term which was 100 percent relevant 10 years ago. It is is out of date now and is an excuse for why we need to subsidise coal. Baseload is no longer relevant because demand and supply are more flexible. This is what AEMO [the The Australian Energy Market Operator] is saying and what the Chinese government and other governments are saying. A grid is stronger when it is diversified.HuffPost Australia: But both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg repeatedly said on Tuesday that only their new plan provides true “reliability”.Tim Buckley: The government is fixated with reliability as an excuse to prop up the coal-fired power industry even more than it’s already been propped up through 50 years of massive subsidies. The government is throwing misinformation. When did you last have a blackout? Our network is gold-plated to allow grid reliability, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.HuffPost Australia: What about “affordability”, which is another term Turnbull and Frydenberg have repeated many times this week. Is renewable energy more expensive?Tim Buckley: No, that is not true. Wind is now cheaper than new coal or gas, and solar is at least at parity. The price of wind and solar is dropping every year.HuffPost Australia: We often hear that the government’s reluctance to subsidise or incentivise renewables has left investors running scared of committing to the sector. Are there really Australian investors out there busting to invest in renewables?Tim Buckley: We have the fourth largest superannuation pool in the world. It is 2 trillion dollars and growing, and it is looking for industries of the future that are sensible and commercially viable. Anyone investing in thermal power could assume to maximise profits in the near term because they know the world has to deal with climate change in the medium to long term.HuffPost Australia: And if they can’t invest here…Tim Buckley: They are going offshore instead.HuffPost Australia: We know that banks are increasingly reluctant to fund massive new coal projects like Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine. But will they fund renewable energy?Tim Buckley: The banks are there to make money, and that’s why they are moving. They know that the policy is changing in China, in Europe, in Korea, in America, in Indonesia and they don’t want to be facing a cliff [by committing to redundant coal projects] when inevitably we get sensible energy policy here.The five biggest American banks have in the last three months committed $575 billion in lending to renewable projects, and no one is forcing them to do it. CommBank here has committed $20 billion, and it’s roughly the same size as the American banks. In many ways, [renewable energy projects] are the perfect asset — long duration and low risk.More: The Energy Analyst Who Is Totally Gobsmacked By Turnbull’s ‘Ridiculous’ Energy Plan
Month: December 2020
Equinor, Orsted submit bids for New York’s 2.5GW offshore wind solicitation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Newsday:Norwegian energy conglomerate Equinor has bid to create another 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind power for New York state and Long Island with two projects. One, which would connect to the local electric grid in Nassau County, would more than double the number of turbines off Long Island to some 200. A second would be built around 50 miles from Montauk Point and connect to the state grid in Queens. The plan would also include conducting assembly work in Brooklyn.In disclosures Tuesday in response to a state request for proposals, Equinor said it would bolster its already state-awarded, 819-megawatt Empire Wind project off Long Island’s South Shore with another called Empire Wind 2 that will add 1,260 megawatts. Turbines of at least 10 megawatts each would mean that the prior project’s 80 or so turbines could be joined by another 120. Equinor’s federally approved lease area off Long Island encompasses some 80,000 acres, starting 15 miles due south of Long Beach and extending east and south.Equinor on Tuesday also submitted plans to offer a second project called Beacon Wind that would be built 50 miles from Montauk Point, off the coast of Massachusetts. It would be 1,230 megawatts and connect through Long Island Sound to Queens.The new proposals came in response to a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority bid request. In a statement, Siri Espedal Kindem, president of Equinor Wind U.S., said the company’s plans would include “significant new benefits for New York — from workforce training, economic development, and community benefits — alongside a tremendous amount of homegrown, renewable energy.”Meanwhile, Denmark-based Orsted, working with New England power company Eversource, has also submitted plans for a new offshore wind project called Sunrise Wind 2, a proposal that includes “multiple bids” that would create “hundreds of new jobs, and infrastructure investment,” according to a company statement. Con Edison Transmission will also work to develop transmission facilities for that project, the companies said.Orsted and Eversource already have contracts to develop a 130-megawatt wind farm for LIPA to serve the South Fork, and an 880-megawatt wind farm for the state. All of its hundreds of turbines would be based in a lease area off the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.[Mark Harrington]More: Scores more wind turbines proposed for Long Island’s South Shore
U.K.’s SSE plans significant expansion of renewable energy capacity by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:SSE is to treble its renewables output by 2030, with an aspiration to add 1GW a year of new clean power capacity by the second half of the decade.The company said it has already pledged to spend £7.5bn – £4m every day – to 2025.Its commitment follows the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan to build back greener and attract private sector investment in decarbonisation.SSE expects to reach financial close in the coming days on the 3.6GW Dogger Bank offshore wind complex, which it is a 50:50 joint venture partner on with Equinor. It added that there has also been strong progress on its other flagship projects, the 1075MW Seagreen offshore wind farm, of which SSE’s share is 49%, and the 443MW Viking onshore wind farm in Shetland, including the transmission link that will connect it to the mainland.SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “Today is an important day, not just for us as we publish our results and our low-carbon investment plans, but for anyone who supports the effort to tackle climate change as the Prime Minister sets out his welcome 10-point plan to build back greener. As we seek a recovery from the effects of Coronavirus, investments in low-carbon infrastructure that help stimulate the economy, boost jobs and level up regions while tackling climate change are a win-win.”More: SSE to treble renewables output by 2030
It was one of those rides where we ran out of food, water, and legs, all in just 26 miles.It’s what happens when you try finding new trails that are “off the map.” All I can say, is that we were “Hinkered.” Ben Hinker has this beautiful way of making any ride turn epic with a simple suggestion followed by, “Whatever you guys think…” He wasn’t even on the ride this time and managed to “Hinker” us. No, no. He was sitting back somewhere with his feet up, having a beer while we suffered on an endless climb, cursing his name with every pedal stroke.Ok, so it wasn’t that bad, but he’s easy to rile, so that’s always part of the game. We relentlessly tease and blame him for our misery, only because we can never keep up with him. I think I’ve only ever out-climbed him once.The only reason I succeeded was because I had anger to fuel my pedal strokes. I was mad that he‘d quit riding bikes for several months. I still had to be in really good shape. Maybe it’s all of those commuter miles he had under his belt after being carless for seven years. The other part is how he just keeps frigging pedaling, no matter what.So there the three of us were, searching for the magical trail, which we’d passed miles back. We were looking for the second trail, because that’s what we swore he’d said. It wasn’t a steep climb, where you’d pretty immediately say, F*&% this, turning back. It was a slow, steady climb through brambles and tall grass. At one point I just lied down in the grass to watch the clouds pass. I should still be checking for ticks. I strategically saved my peanut butter and banana sandwich for a time that I needed it most, yet just 20 minutes later I couldn’t help but join the group fantasy about burgers. The funny thing is that by the time we hit civilization it was beer we poured into our bodies first – something to numb the legs.By the time we hit a somewhat downhill stretch of grassy road I was so tired that I couldn’t really make physical decisions or changes. I’m pretty certain that I was asleep on the handlebars when my front wheel sunk into a slight divet that normally would have resulted in me quickly leaning my weight over the back wheel to wheelie over it. This time, for some reason, I felt that sailing over the handlebars was a much simpler option. It was more like a pile drive into the soft dirt, twisting my nipple on the handlebar and taking the headset into the pubic bone, which was already severely bruised from a slow-speed wreck a week back. By now you think I’m a totally idiot, but I swear, I’m just klutzy when I’m tired or not paying attention… 1 2
In the farthest southwest fingers of the Jefferson National Forest is a slice of Virginia that is too often overlooked. Trails climb through the forests and spill into a wide-open high-elevation frontier, strewn with giant boulders and pierced by rugged, rocky crags. Harsh winds carve through the moraines and sweep through the fields. Wild ponies roam the bald peaks and ridgelines. Bears lumber through the rhododendron thickets and feed on the huckleberry bushes. This is the high country of Mount Rogers.With over 400 miles of trails, 120,000 acres of mountain terrain, and three designated wilderness areas, the highlands of the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area are about as wild as it gets and are fairly accessible thanks to miles of primitive singletrack trails, old logging roads, railroad grades, and horse trails. The A.T. also cuts through this area, passing within a half mile of the trail to Mount Rogers’ 5,729-foot peak, the highest point in Virginia. Here are three unforgettable backcountry experiences in the high country.A Day in the High CountryHead into Grayson Highlands State Park from the south and park at Massie Gap. From there, follow the Appalachian Spur Trail. At the top, hang a left and the A.T. will deposit you right into Wilburn Ridge. Head up in late summer and you can pick blueberries and huckleberries ‘til you puke. You’ll see wild ponies grazing the grassy mountain plains, scramble through boulders and rocky trails, and catch sunsets and 360-degree views.Two Days of Little WilsonMake camp at Grayson Highlands State Park and head into the upland hardwood forests of Little Wilson Creek Wilderness. The Big Wilson Creek trail will take you in and you can branch off and do plenty of exploring, but before you’re done, grab your fly rod and take joy in the solitude of the Little Wilson Creek Trail along the creek bed and make a fishing day out of it. Catch yourself some of the beautiful brook trout that swim the waters of cold, bubbling waters and call it a day with a fire back at camp.Three Days on the TrailTwo and a half miles west of Troutdale, park at Fairwood and catch the A.T. This will take you through the gorgeous lower elevation rhododendron jungles and uphill towards the Old Orchard Shelter. Continue climbing and the A.T. will suddenly open up into the stunning highlands, where you can hike to an old fenced-in pony weigh station known as The Scales. Wild pony herds keep the area trimmed. Continue heading towards the Wise Shelter. This area is scattered with places to camp near the woods of Big Wilson Creek, where you are protected from the sometimes-brutal winds of high-elevation campsites. You’ll have access to water and beautiful starry skies to gaze upon.The next day follow the A.T. towards Wilburn Ridge and through to Rhododendron Gap. You’ll scramble over rocks and boulders, up and down the ridgelines, and boulder the rocky faces of Rhododendron Gap peaking at 5,525 feet. You’ll want your camera here as you gaze out over the moors of Mount Rogers. There are plenty of great campsites around Rhododendron Gap. Set up camp under the spruce trees and save time for a side-trip in the morning before closing the loop. Mount Rogers is home to rare Southern Applachian red spruce and Fraser fir, and its summit lays just a half-mile west from the A.T. Close out your trip by following the Pine Mountain Trail to the A.T. and back down towards the Old Orchard Shelter and Fairwood.
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The easy Red Spruce Knob Trail will reward you with a view of the Crooked Fork watershed, plus the remains of the old lookout tower. Discover another architectural treat on Props Run, where an arch bridge stretches over the creek. This section of the trails follows right along the vast Monongahela National Forest, so you can slide off into this scenic national gem to explore hundreds of additional miles of trail.4. Alpine LakeAcres of winter wilderness fan out from Alpine Lake. Lakeside Loop winds around the water, while Lake View Circle Trail dips closer to the shoreline. If you want an up-close view, the more difficult Seven Bridges Trail cozies up even further to the shoreline, and scoots smoothly along the edge for about a mile.Tracing further out on the trails a few miles, you can reach Old Firetower Peak, the highest point at the resort.5. Bald KnobIn the midst of White Grass Touring Center is Weiss Mountain, which used to be a downhill skiing slope. You can still take a cross-country trek up for a view of Canaan Valley. But the best view is from nearby Bald Knob, the 3rd highest point in West Virginia. Even though it can get steep, less experienced skiers can still reach the peak.The backcountry trails at White Grass also link to the open plains of the Dolly Sods Wilderness. With enough powder, you can barrel over boulder gardens, or even burrow into a snow cave. Take Fido to for a winter walk in the meadows, too: the trail to the sods from White Grass is pet-friendly.5. Bluestone Canyon & National ParkThe ungroomed trails of Pipestem Resort State Park are challenging, but worth it. The Lick Hollow Trail winds to the top of the Bluestone Canyon Rim for a sweeping view of the National Park 1,000 feet below. For a more historic backdrop, look for lingering remains from the pioneer days along the South Side Trail.Discover more winter beauty and adventure in West Virginia on the Best of Winter map: The Mountain State is best known for its ski slopes, but the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing terrain is the real winter gem.Along the trails, you can discover scenic wonders of West Virginia, from glistening frozen waterfalls to sweeping National Forest vistas.If you’re looking for a scenic trip on the winter trails, here’s a look at what you can uncover:1. Blackwater FallsAll it takes to tame a wild mountain waterfall is a little winter chill. If temperatures creep low enough, even the nearly 60-foot Blackwater Falls freezes solid, creating a massive, cascading icicle garden. Snowshoe the overlook trail to get a good vantage point of the enchanting scene.If the snow is high enough, the park’s trails are also great for skiing. For a wondrous winter view of the slopes, trek to Lindy Point, which opens up to a panoramic view straight off into the winding Blackwater Canyon, where stacked, snow-draped mountains rise up from the valley and stretch on for miles. 2. DeerIf you’re sweeping through Canaan Valley Resort State Park, you’ll probably meet a few deer along the way. The graceful creatures are used to sharing the valley with humans, so they aren’t as skittish. While you can’t approach them, you might be able to catch an amazing photo.3. Highland Scenic HighwayThe Highland National Scenic Highway is every bit as stunning in winter, but the road is closed for the season. Luckily, with no traffic to worry about, the path is clear for pedestrians (of sorts). The Elk River Touring Center ski trails criss-cross a section of the rugged highway’s terrain.
Hike, bike, paddle or stroll and have the time of your life on more than 10 scenic trails in Lake Lure & the Blue Ridge Foothills. Home to Chimney Rock State Park and 27 miles of shoreline around Lake Lure, bring your gear and spend the day, weekend or season sampling a variety of trails designed for beginners, extreme outdoor enthusiasts, kids and even dogs. Learn more about these trails and other adventures at www.VisitBlueRidgeNC.com. A Hiker’s ParadiseClimb Mother Nature’s “Ultimate Stair Master” by taking the 499 steps to the top of Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park where a rewarding 75-mile panoramic view awaits you. Dogs are welcome, and the Park even has a Great Woodlands Adventure trail custom designed for kids. Across town, hike through Donald Ross Nature Trail Park offering three miles of looped natural surface trails of varying difficulty over rolling terrain. In Rutherfordton, try the Purple Martin Greenway and explore wildlife and waterways, or take the kids on the Main Street Safari featuring games, tree climbing, gold hunting and a search that goes through a Civil War cemetery.Mountain BikingKnown as one of the best biking trails in western N.C., Buffalo Creek Park has the only mountain bike trail system within a 20-mile radius of Lake Lure. With 4.5 miles custom engineered for this sport, bring your own bike or rent one locally. In Rutherfordton and Spindale, try the Thermal Belt Rail Trail. This 7.8-mile biking trail was originally the railroad line that moved textiles in and out of the county. Both trails are also great for hiking/walking, running and dogs.Paddle or TubeThe Broad River Paddle Trail is 42 miles of class I/II paddling and tubing adventures. With three access points, the river is broken into three sections allowing you to choose your endurance level or tackle the full stretch. Hire a professional kayak guide, rent tubes or bring your own gear.Take a StrollIf a leisurely stroll is more your speed, visit the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. This iconic landmark is only the second of its kind in the country boasting more than 700 species of plants and flowers. Hop over to Rutherfordton to follow the Historic Downtown Walking Tour that takes you back in time while passing antebellum homes, shops and restaurants. Also part of the Historic Downtown Walking Tour is the Gold Mile, a one-mile loop that follows commemorative sidewalk coins in honor of Christopher Bechtler who minted America’s first one-dollar gold coin in Rutherfordton. For the DogsGive your dog the ultimate outdoor adventure experience – book a stay with Four Paws Kingdom Campground. With campsites, RV spots and cabins, Four Paws Kingdom was the first dog-dedicated campground in the U.S. Treat man’s best friend to doggie hikes, play parks, pond, bathhouse, grooming station, agility courses and more.
Last year around this time, many national and regional news outlets, including USA Today, the Asheville Citizen Times, and Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, were reporting a staggering set of snowfall statistic coming out of Mount Mitchell State Park.The stats, which were recorded by Mount Mitchell park rangers, stated that Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River, received a staggering 60 inches of snowfall during a weather event known as Winter Storm Jonas.During the 24 hour period ending in Jan 24, 2016, the park was said to have received a total of 41 inches of snow accumulation. This would have bested a previous record of 36 inches set during a severe blizzard in the winter of 1993—an event that is still studied by undergrads working to become meteorologists.The problem with the measurement? It grossly misrepresented the facts.According to the North Carolina climate extremes committee, formed ten years ago for the express purpose of reviewing record-setting weather events, the actual amount of snow that accumulated on Mitchell a year ago yesterday was closer to 21 inches, nearly half the amount that was actually reported.The discrepancies could have arisen from the difficult conditions that state park personnel, who are tasked with recording and reporting all weather that occurs on Mt. Mitchel, were facing during Winter Storm Jonas.“We got hammered. It was brutal,” park superintendent Bryan Wilder told the Asheville Citizen Times shortly after the storm. “We had 4 or 5 inches an hour, and you really couldn’t tell if you were on the road or not.”In addition to the white out conditions, a gauge typically used to record liquid precipitation—an instrument that climate experts say is vital when verifying snowfall totals—was rendered inoperable by heavy snow drifts.
By Dialogo May 08, 2009 A sample of indigenous art from Northwest Argentina that opened at the National Museum of Fine Arts aims, through pieces ranging up to 3000 years old, to destroy the cliché that all pre-Hispanic societies were savages. Of a strong didactic nature, the exhibition “Original Art: Diversity and Memory” intended “to highlight the role of heritage in the Argentine prehistoric world, that of the natives before the arrival of the first Europeans,” the curator of the show, archaeologist José Antonio Pérez Gollán, explained to Efe. In addition, Gollán noted that the exhibition tries to “explain, in a political context, why the Argentines do not feel that the indigenous world is part of their heritage.” The material, on display from now until early July, was provided by the collections “Guido Tella” of the Museum of Fine Arts and “Francisco Hirsch” of the Argentine Chancery, but has some pieces on loan from the Museum of La Plata, and from the School of Natural Science, of the same city. Although the material had been exhibited previously, it was never done in an instructional manner, “not trying to prompt curiosity in people, not offering a full-circle message, but a questioning one,” said Gollán, for whom there are many ways to be Argentine, with diverse cultural manifestations, and this is one of them. The exhibition presents a journey through some of the central themes of the indigenous tradition of the country’s northwestern region, such as the worship of the sun and ancestors, the representations related to power, and the use of hallucinogenic plants to communicate with holy beings. Focusing on the first millennium BC and the first half of the sixteenth century, the exhibit illustrates 2,500 years of change and transformation, mainly through archaeological remains in pottery, stone, and bronze. Among the 80 pieces are decorative ceramics, common objects such as drinking glasses and bottles, bronze tools and plates, and pipes, which were used to consume substances that brought them into contact with their gods. Many of the pieces have the property of being dual, a concept that the exhibition’s organizers consider “fundamental to the thinking of Andean societies,” as it structured their entire symbolic world. Several explanatory texts and audiovisual presentations accompany the archaeological elements, as well as drawings on the walls and several pencil, watercolor, and oil paintings by César Paternosto, Alejandro Puente, and Joaquín Torres, whose works are intended to enhance the indigenous tradition.