FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Australia Associated Press:The downturn in the coal industry will last longer than expected and prices won’t improve until at least 2020, an economics professor has warned.The dire prediction comes as the Queensland Resources Council lobbies the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, for emergency relief measures to help prop up the state’s ailing coalmines and save thousands of jobs.An economics professor at Central Queensland University, John Rolfe, said the downturn in coal prices was expected to last another four years, which was much longer than previously thought.“Nobody predicted that the slowdown in mineral energy prices would be as swift or as long reaching,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday. “So these sorts of costs weren’t seen as an issue even two years ago.”However, Rolfe doesn’t agree with reducing royalties to the state government, which is among the measures the QRC is pushing for after a report painted a bleak picture of the coal industry.The report, by mining sector analysts Wood Mackenzie, found a third of Queensland coalmines are running at a loss and more than half of the mines producing thermal coal for power stations are in the same position.Cockatoo Coal’s Baralaba mine has become the latest Queensland coalmine to halt production.The mine, which went into administration last year, has been put into care and maintenance mode to protect the value of assets while a possible sale structure is examined, the ABC reports.The chief executive of the QRC, Michael Roche, has warned 21,000 jobs have been lost in the sector and more of the remaining 60,000 will be on the chopping block unless the state government offers relief.Coal price won’t improve for years and mining downturn will last: professor Outlook for Australia: No Coal Price Improvement Until at Least 2020
PREPA Failure to Distribute Grid-Repair Equipment ‘Borders on Criminal Act’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Intercept:On Saturday, a day after becoming aware of a massive store of rebuilding materials being held by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the U.S. federal government — the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with their security detail — entered a Palo Seco warehouse owned by the public utility to claim and distribute the equipment, according to a spokesperson for the Corps.Rumors of a tense standoff had been circulating on the island, but the encounter was confirmed to The Intercept in a statement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Asked if the federal officers were armed when they entered the warehouse, USACE spokesperson Luciano Vera said they were indeed accompanied by security detail and quickly began distributing the material after seizing it. Vera declined to say whether there was a confrontation at the entrance, saying only that PREPA officials ultimately toured the warehouse along with the feds:Leadership responsible for restoring the Puerto Rico power grid and their security detail toured the warehouse in cooperation with PREPA. USACE conducted a full inventory and immediately sent out critical materials to contractors at work sites. USACE will continue to distribute critical materials from the site to contractors. The hope is to strengthen the partnership between PREPA and its restoration partners, while increasing visibility of the inventory of all materials on the island. PREPA has invited FEMA and the Corps to visit its warehouses anytime and to distribute material as needed.The armed encounter comes as around half of Puerto Ricans still remain without electricity well over 100 days after Hurricane Maria.PREPA did not respond to The Intercept’s request for comment, though in a statement to the Associated Press, it rejected allegations that it had failed to distribute the warehouse’s contents. The AP only reported that “officials over the weekend also discovered some needed materials in a previously overlooked warehouse owned by Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority.” Sen. Eduardo Bhatia, minority leader of the Senate of Puerto Rico, provided a statement to The Intercept on the hoarded electrical equipment: “The news that has come out today about the discovery made by armed federal agents of thousands of electrical spare parts hidden in an PREPA warehouse borders on a criminal act by its managers. It is time for people to stand up and demand answers. Hundreds of thousands of families have been in the dark for more than 125 days, people keep dying, and businesses continue to close due to the lack of energy while the necessary spare parts were in the possession of PREPA. Lying about not having the parts to cover the inefficiency of PREPA is outrageous and those responsible must be taken before st ate and federal authorities to be criminally processed immediately.”More: https://theintercept.com/2018/01/10/puerto-rico-electricity-prepa-hurricane-maria/
Trump trade policies won’t stop U.S. renewable energy growth experts say FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The multi-front trade war being waged by the U.S. ranks as the most significant policy challenge for the country’s renewable energy industry under the Trump administration, according to industry insiders including Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners K/S Executive Director Will Demas.Since imposing duties on foreign-made solar cells and panels in January, President Donald Trump has levied tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and is considering taxes on power electronics used in solar arrays as part of a broader package of import restrictions on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.“It’s definitely not background noise,” Demas, whose Danish firm is a part-owner of the Vineyard Offshore Wind Project in the U.S., said of the escalating trade feud on a July 25 conference call organized by the American Council on Renewable Energy. “I think there will be some slowdown as projects have to find new ways to become economic.”Jonathan Yellen, a managing director at Mizuho Americas LLC, agreed that rising trade tensions are a “real concern” for the cost of renewable energy projects in the U.S. and the availability of capital. However, investors in Asia “are taking a little bit of a longer-term view and I think would expect that things are going to sort themselves out, notwithstanding choppiness in the near term,” said Yellen, whose firm is a subsidiary of Japan-headquartered Mizuho Bank Ltd.Tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners are rising at a time when foreign investment is providing a boost to America’s renewable energy industry, investors say, helping to push up clean energy investment in the U.S. to $28.8 billion in the first half of 2018, 31% over the first six months of 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The surge is happening despite the Trump administration’s determination to prop up uneconomic coal-fired power plants rather than advancing cleaner alternatives.“My impression is that people here … are not looking at the U.S. because they expect lots of favorable policies,” said Chris Archer, head of green energy in the Americas at Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc., a subsidiary of Australia-headquartered Macquarie Group Ltd. Instead, “they just see a huge opportunity irrespective of the details of the policy.” The Trump administration is unlikely to implement policies “that will be enough to stop the [renewable energy] industry in the U.S.,” he added.More ($): Trade fights could dampen US clean-energy enthusiasm, but not kill it
India adds record 1,538MW of rooftop solar in 12 months through September FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:India added a record 1,538MW of rooftop solar capacity in the 12-month period up to September 2018, which is a huge year-on-year rise of 75%, according to consultancy firm Bridge to India’s latest report.The ‘India Solar Rooftop Map’ revealed that cumulative installations reached 3,399MW by the end of September this year, and are projected to reach 15.3GW by March 2022. This is well short of the original 40GW target, but a strong rise from previous, more pessimistic predictions from analysts in recent years.As usual, the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector dominated the year with a 70% share of the market, with residential at just 9%.The top five states account for 54% of the market: Maharashtra – 473MW; Tamil Nadu – 312MW; Karnataka – 272MW; Rajasthan – 270MW; and Uttar Pradesh – 223MW.Bridge to India said the market is very crowded with companies with a frequent churn in leading player rankings. In the OPEX segment, Cleantech, CleanMax and ReNew came out on top with a 45% share between them. Meanwhile, in the Capex segment, the top ten players only have an 18% share between them, led by Tata Power, Mahindra and Sunsure.Vinay Rustagi, managing director of Bridge to India, said: “75% market growth in a year plagued by safeguard duty and GST uncertainty is absolutely fantastic. Ongoing fall in module prices should continue to drive growth in the next few years. Rooftop solar has huge growth potential and should be given more policy support particularly when utility-scale solar is increasingly facing acute land and transmission connectivity challenges. Proactive government intervention can help in boosting growth and realising full potential of this compelling energy source.”More: India adds record 1.5GW of rooftop solar capacity in 12 months
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Wall Street Journal ($):A slowdown in U.S. drilling activity is taking a toll on the oil patch as Weatherford International PLC has become one of the biggest oil-and-gas bankruptcies in years.Among the world’s largest oil-field service companies, Swiss-based Weatherford filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday after bondholders approved a restructuring agreement that will reduce its total debt by almost $6 billion, or 70%. Five years ago, the company was worth more than $12 billion, but equity shareholders would be left virtually empty-handed if the reorganization is approved.U.S. oil production is topping all-time records, but producers have held back spending even as crude prices climb to almost $60 a barrel. Shale companies are under pressure from investors to live within their means after years of failing to do so. That fiscal restraint has weighed heavily on the oil-field service segment, the industry’s largest employer and often the first to bear the impact of financial headwinds in the energy sector.Almost 180 service companies have filed for bankruptcy since 2015, when prices plunged, affecting about $57 billion in debt, according to law firm Haynes and Boone LLP. While prospects for larger service providers, including Schlumberger Ltd. and Halliburton Co., are improving with an expected increase in international activity, Weatherford has been burdened by a heavy debt load.Shale companies have been reducing activity levels over the past six months while also demanding price reductions from the service companies that drill and frack wells for the producers. Shale companies have managed to maintain and even increase production by eking out efficiency gains, although they face tremendous pressure as capital dries up from Wall Street.Service companies are in a vise. The sector is experiencing both an increase in operational costs and a decrease in pricing and margins, according to a survey in June of oil-and-gas companies by the Dallas Federal Reserve.More ($): U.S. drilling slowdown triggers oil bankruptcy Oil service provider Weatherford latest casualty of U.S. shale sector’s financial struggles
India’s electricity authority sees sharp drop in coal generation by 2030, strong renewables growth FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ET Energyworld.com:Coal may account for half of India’s power generation in 2030 despite a boom in solar and wind energy projects, according to analysis by the country’s power-planning body.The assessment, released Monday by the nation’s Central Electricity Authority, highlights that the nation has a large existing fleet of coal plants and that there’s a mismatch between peak periods of demand and output from renewables. That will leave a big role for the most-polluting fuel in the nation’s future electricity mix.The CEA’s analysis shows that India may be able to exceed one of its 2015 Paris Agreement commitments – reaching 40% of installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources. But the report also sees annual carbon emissions from the power sector rising about 12% from levels expected in 2022 to 1.154 billion tons. The report didn’t include an assessment of what that means for another key India goal – cutting emissions intensity of gross domestic product by as much as 35% from 2005 levels.The report, which is an attempt to model the lowest-cost capacity mix to meet expected future demand, identifies the intermittent nature of renewables as a limiting factor for its use and advocates adopting grid-scale battery storage.Non-fossil fuel power sources, led by solar and wind, are seen generating 48% of gross generation, more than double what it was at the end of last year, while accounting for 65% of installed capacity, according to the report. India had 80 gigawatts of renewable capacity at the end of May and has set a goal to install 175 gigawatts by 2022.While coal’s share in capacity is likely to drop to one-third, it will account for 50% of electricity generated, according to Monday’s report. It was about 72% of generation at the end of March, according to separate CEA data.More: Coal to dominate India power to 2030 despite renewables boost
Adani Group CFO says company not interested in India’s coal mine auctions FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:India’s largest coal mining services provider and trader Adani Enterprises Ltd is not interested in participating in the country’s first ever coal mine auctions for the private sector, an executive said on Thursday.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June opened up coal mining without end-use restrictions and provided financial incentives to attract investment in India, which has the world’s fourth largest coal reserves.When asked to comment on these coal mining reforms and if Adani would participate in domestic auctions for coal mines, the Group’s Chief Financial Officer Jugeshinder Singh said he would restrict participation to mining services. “Not really until and unless it related to mining services, not commercial coal (mining),” Singh said in a post-earnings conference call on Thursday.Adani Group’s position highlights the struggles of the global coal sector, which has been battered by low prices and falling demand. It also highlights challenges India – the world’s second biggest coal market after China – will face in attracting private sector investors into coal as it attempts to become a net exporter.Earlier on the call, Singh had said Adani Group was deemphasising commercial coal mining. “Coal-related and mining-related businesses are becoming an increasingly insignificant part of the group’s portfolio,” Singh told reporters, adding that the company’s Carmichael project in Australia would be less ambitious than initially envisioned.“Carmichael rather than being a mining business is now a support business for Adani Power,” he said.[Sudarshan Varadhan]More: India’s Adani not interested in domestic coal mine auctions – CFO
I nearly decided to go on the Tuesday night ride, but then I couldn’t find the energy to find a babysitter as well as a set of lights after doing the Thanksgiving Day grocery shopping.Thank goodness.I got the groceries put away and a list made of all the crap I forgot, cooked dinner and whipped up some oatmeal cookies for the kids – all the time thinking I should’ve planned to ride on this beautifully warm fall night.It was later, as I lie in my bed to read a few pages whilst sipping a beverage, that I heard the distinct pattering of rain on the deck. It was now that I cheered.You know those times you are in the woods and it’s cold, and wet, and you’re tired, and you can’t see shit, that you start wishing for your warm bed?There you are, sludging the pedals around again and again as the muddy rain sprays up your back, the wheels slipping relentlessly against slick roots as you pedal forward with one stroke and slide back half the distance.Your eyes are squinted nearly shut against the needling pelts because even clear lenses are ridiculous – and now down the front of your shirt. Mud spatters into your bared teeth. The old sweat built up in the foam of your helmet from the last year loosens and begins streaming down your forehead and stinging your eyes. The gloves are squishy and cold, causing the fingers to go numb. What began as a cool sweat in the jersey is now a freezing, soaking cloth plastered to your chest. The rustling wind is now a sheer icy breath. The chamois remains somewhat elusive to large amounts of water, but is now grabbing at little bits of privates, causing you to stand. The downhill is like being sprayed with a hose, powered by a cooling fan, complete with slippery surfaces to cross, lit by headlamp.The shoulders cave forward in a protective embrace, and even if the ride is nearly over, there’s still that part about getting naked next to the truck while trying to keep the seats dry. There’s no hurrying when it comes to wet lycra, and sport bras are hard enough to manage when dry. At least the downpour washes some of the mud away. Then there’s the naked, getting into the front seat to get dressed while sitting on cheerios, candy wrappers and small pocket treasures, i.e. rocks, shells and tacks.The “dry” clothes aren’t all that dry any more and now the interior is layered with wet riding clothes – a smell that never really goes away. God forbid those clothes get left in there overnight, which is of course very tempting when the front door to the house and a hot shower is RIGHT THERE.But no. Tonight I slink down lower beneath the down and clutch my hot, sleepy time tea between my hands in the dim light as I drift in my cocoon to the soothing sounds of rain, my bike safe and dry on its hook in the basement below me.
Pining for the mountain: Pine Mountain is the go-to spot for Eastern Kentucky adventurists.In the heart of coal country, straddling the border of Virginia and Kentucky, lays the outdoor playground of Pine Mountain. The 120-mile ridge was once a barrier to western expansion of the early American settlements – only the Cumberland River dissects the entire ridge. The area now provides some of the most scenic natural expanses in the East.The ridge traverses three states. Because of the way it was formed, the ridge creates two distinctly different habitats on either side of its zenith.“Everything to the east of the Pine Mountain Ridge is very wrinkled and low hills; everything to the west is more rolling, higher peaks,” says Elkhorn City, Ky., resident Steve Ruth.Ruth should know. He grew up with Pine Mountain in his backyard and credits the area’s natural resources for keeping him around. Since 1994, Ruth has run www.russellfork.info, posting real-time information about the Russell Fork River and contributes to the Kentucky Tourism Adventure Blog.“The primary thing that really keeps me here now is the Russell Fork River. I’m a kayaker, and I have one of the best rivers in the world in my backyard.”The Russell Fork runs through Breaks Interstate Park at the northern end of Pine Mountain and is well known as one of the premier creek boating rivers in the U.S. Rafting is limited, but kayakers are drawn to the narrow river due to its fast and technical whitewater. Though the river can be run year-round as a Class VI+, the thrills get magnified in the fall. During four weeks in October, the Army Corps of Engineers lowers the Flanagan Dam from summer levels to winter levels. The water flows down the Pound River into the Russell Fork, transforming it from an already formidable creeking run into a Class V monster that draws paddlers from around the world.“Folks come from literally all over the world. I’ve met folks from New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, other parts of South America, even folks coming in from South Africa.”Despite its reputation for whitewater, the Russell Fork also provides opportunities for the more casual water enthusiast. Sandwiching the Class IV-V gorge section of the river are less intimidating Class II-III sections of whitewater with fantastic views perfect for beginner and intermediate paddlers. Because of the cold water that trickles out of the dam, the Pound and Russell Fork rivers have also developed into prime trout fisheries.“The primary vibe has been boating culture, but we have a pretty strong fishing culture,” said Ruth. “Virginia stocks brown trout, Kentucky stocks rainbows, so there are a lot of trout in the river and we also have trophy smallmouth. The Virginia side of the fish and wildlife claim that they actually have trout reproducing. It’s a pretty popular river for fishing also.”Feel like being an even more casual observer? Ruth suggests a short hike to one of the biggest rapids on the Russell Fork, deemed El Horrendo.“El Horrendo, which is a Class V, totals about a 35-40 foot drop, but not all at once. The way the terrain works there it’s almost in a little amphitheater,” he said. “It’s a place where a lot of folks hang out and watch. There is actually a railroad that goes through the canyon and folks will hike the railroad to get to that spot and watch the carnage.”Besides the river, the other main draw of the area is the stunning views along the abundant trails of Pine Mountain, including sections of the Pine Mountain Trail. While still under construction, eventually the Pine Mountain Trail will traverse the entire 120-mile ridge from Breaks Interstate Park in the north to Cumberland Gap National Historic Park in the South. Birch Knob, the most northern section of the Pine Mountain Trail, is complete.“There are great loop opportunities in the [Birch Knob] section. Once you get onto the ridge, you can get on the main trail and head south. Once you commit to that, you are pretty much committed to a 20-mile, multi-day hike. It’s 23 miles of trail from Elkhorn City to Jenkins and Pound Gap, right on the Virginia-Kentucky state line.”For shorter day hikes, head to Breaks Interstate Park.“The system of trails within the Breaks Park proper is a great system of trails, nothing longer than a day hike but really well maintained trails,” he said. “It is up and down; there is no flat. Even once you get up on the main ridge of the mountain, still the ridge is up and down, but you’ve got great views. You look one way, you’re looking out across Kentucky; you look the other way, you’re looking out across Virginia.”CrossroadsDamascus, Va., holds the title of Trail Town, USA, but Elkhorn City, Ky., sits at a crossroads itself. The northern part of the Pine Mountain Trail is complete and runs through town outskirts. This trail will eventually run the length of the ridge and also become an important link in the Great Eastern Trail. The Great Eastern Trail is planned to parallel the A.T. and run from Alabama to New York.Along with these foot paths, U.S. Bicycle Route 76 also runs through Elkhorn City. Originally part of the Bikecentennial ride across America from East to West to celebrate the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence, the route stretches over 4,000 miles from Yorktown, Va., to Reedsport, Ore. Still used by ambitious cyclists each year, Elkhorn City sees between 500 and 1000 bikers come through a summer. Read about a few climbing areas, that until recently, were not open to the public.
There comes a time in life when you question everything. What is the meaning of life? What’s my purpose? Where am I going? Why do I suck at fishing all of a sudden?That last one has been creeping up in my conscious for the past few months. Following a series of disastrous fly fishing outings – no fish, broken rods, lost fly boxes, ripped waders, shattered dreams, and soggy undies – I began to doubt not only my ability to catch fish, but my ability to go fishing without hurting myself and/or others. From river stripers, to smallmouth, to trout, I repeatedly came home with my tail between my legs and having to search for a warranty card. I’ve been fishing long enough that being skunked and alone is nothing new for me, but this was an unprecedented string of miscues and miscalculations that had me at rock bottom with no felt and a dam release on its way.At its core, fly fishing is an exercise in frustration. There are way easier and more effective ways of catching a fish. For me, and most fly fishermen, the point is not to catch as many fish as possible. No, the point is to get out on the water, cast the fly, watch the drift, see the take. Bringing a fish to hand and safely releasing it is the bonus, like hiking to the top of a mountain AND catching the sunset. Heck, I’ll usually take time to just sit on a rock and take in the beauty of the river, even if the bite is hot. That being said, there is only so much disappointment a man can take, and going fishing without catching fish, while that may not be the whole point, is certainly disappointing. Not because of the lack of fish, but the lack of skill to fool the fish. Fly fishing technique is rooted in experience and skill with enough variables to drive a person insane. The mistakes to be made are virtually endless, and you usually only get one shot at it. That is usually why the best fishermen are older and have a patience that can only be accumulated from a lifetime of missed takes, spooked fish, and tangled leaders.My lifetime of patience was being tested; so much so that I almost lost interest in fishing in general…almost.I had the chance to fish the upper Jackson River outside Warm Springs, Virginia, and reluctantly packed the car in the chilly autumn pre-dawn. The Jackson River below Lake Moomaw is well known as the best, albeit controversial, trophy trout tailwater in Virginia. The river above the lake is a glorious fishery in its own right with beautiful water, easy access and careful management. I’d fished there several times with marginal luck, so I was not expecting much on that fall morning. As I pulled on my waders and rigged up, I thought about what useless fly I was going to snag in the bushes first – yes, this was my mindset, as I said, rock bottom. I had recently come across a wayward box of about 15 muddler minnows of various design, and vaguely remembered reading somewhere – probably on the internet – it was a solid fall trout fly, so I started there. I had never fished a muddler minnow because a) I didn’t have any and b) despite their versatility, I thought they looked stupid and would never work. So I hit the water with an obsolete fly and no expectations of success, but at least I had good scenery and a backup plan: a morning beer I was saving for when things got really bad. This is pretty much my backup plan for everything.But then something unexpected happened. I caught a fish.Not just any fish. This was a nice, colorful 14-inch brown out of the first riffle I came to. Not only that, he took the fly on top like it was spring instead of fall.IT WAS A MUDDLER MINNOW MIRACLE!All of a sudden, my entire outlook changed. What was once a barren river lined with fly-craving bushes and trees became a sparkling, fish filled paradise with plenty of room to cast. What was once a silly looking attractor pattern, became the best fly of all time. What was once the worst fisherman in the world, became a mediocre angler. That last one was about me.Isn’t it surprising how things can turn around in life? Month’s worth of frustration wiped away in 10 minutes. I spent the next three hours stalking browns, bringing a few more to the net on topwater muddlers, and one on a dropper nymph. By most accounts, this would be a so-so morning of fishing, but on this day it was life changing. I lost zero flies in the brush, didn’t break a rod, and that if-all-else-fails morning beer turned into refreshing victory ale. Although, I guess any cold beer consumed before 10 am is a victory. At least in my book.More importantly, I once again believed that if there are fish in the river, I can catch them.