FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bruce Henderson for the Charlotte Observer:The N.C. Utilities Commission has rejected a Durham advocacy group’s test of a state law that allows only utilities to directly sell renewable energy.The group, NC WARN, installed solar panels on the roof of a Greensboro church and sold electricity to the church. In asking the commission to allow the arrangement, WARN hoped for a victory for so-called third-party sales of solar energy.The commission rejected the petition Friday, saying the “General Assembly has determined that the public is better served by a regulated monopoly than by competing suppliers of service,” leading to low electric rates.WARN, a persistent critic of the commission and Duke Energy, indicated it would appeal the ruling.“This case is going to court,” director Jim Warren said in a statement. “In other states, regulators or courts have agreed that third-party financing of rooftop solar is permissible and in the public interest.”Utilities Commission rejects test of third-party green energy sales North Carolina Commission, Ruling for Duke Energy, Blocks Third-Party Solar Development
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:Kuwait will issue a tender to build the estimated $1.2 billion Dibdibah solar-power plant in the first quarter of 2018 as part of the country’s plans to produce 15 percent of power from renewable energy by 2030.OPEC’s fifth-biggest oil producer set a Sept. 7 deadline for companies to express interest in the 1 gigawatt project, Shukri AbdulAziz Al-Mahrous, deputy chief executive officer of planning and finance at Kuwait National Petroleum Co., said in an interview at the company’s headquarters south of Kuwait City. The cost will be about $1.2 billion, he said. Dibdibah will produce half of the country’s planned renewable energy output, he said.The 32-square-kilometer (12.3-square-mile) plant, which should be completed by the end of 2020 in Kuwait’s northwest, will save burning 5.2 million barrels of oil a year and reduce carbon emissions by 1.3 million tons annually, Al-Mahrous said.Kuwait consumes at most 14 gigawatts of electricity a day, usually in the summer when temperatures can top 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the Ministry of Electricity & Water. Capacity is 17 gigawatts. The oil industry is the biggest user of power in the country and plans to cover 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020, beating the national target by 10 years, Al-Mahrous said.More: Kuwait Plans Tender for $1.2 Billion Solar Project in 2018 Kuwait in $1.2 Billion Solar Tender Offer
Op-Ed: Interior Has Essentially Allowed the Industry to Perpetrate a Fraud on the U.S. Treasury FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star Tribune:This week in Washington, D.C., the Department of the Interior convened a select group of industry executives and state government officials to serve on a Royalty Policy Committee.The committee will advise the Trump administration on the need for new polices on mineral royalties and other key mechanisms for assuring that American taxpayers get the full value for the minerals sold from our public lands. Recent reports from both government and private organizations suggest that the public has forsaken millions and perhaps billions of dollars in revenue that would have been generated had the government demanded fair value for these minerals as the law requires. Reform is long overdue.Lagging federal policies are a big problem for the oil and gas program. The 12.5 percent royalty paid for oil and gas leases is well below market rates. Texas commands a whopping 25 percent for its oil and gas resources and federal offshore leases receive 18.75 percent. But the problems with the federal mineral revenue program are especially acute for our federal coal resources. For far too long, the Interior Department has allowed the coal industry to dictate the terms of federal coal leasing, and the industry has used its power to acquire vast tracts of federal coal at rock-bottom prices and virtually without competition. By the government’s own estimates the coal industry has locked up enough federal coal reserves to last 20 years at current production rates. And if coal production continues to decline, as seems likely, then federal coal reserves might last well beyond the current 20-year projection.Coal leasing is carried out through what is supposed to be a competitive bidding process. But the government allows the industry to design the tracts that are put up for lease and, not surprisingly, they design tracts adjacent to their existing coal properties and not big enough to attract another bidder. They rarely fail to scare off the competition. Leases in the coal rich Powder River Basin rarely sell for more than $1/ton. Often they sell for a tiny fraction of that. The government insists that it receives fair market value, but it refuses to release the details of its analyses, and how can anyone possibly know the fair market value of their coal properties when time and again they receive only one bid. And it is frankly hard to believe when coal can be produced at the mine mouth for less than $10/ton but sold on the open market for several times that amount.Royalty rates for coal raise another issue under the federal coal leasing program. These rates are nominally set at 12.5 percent for surface coal and 8 percent for underground coal. The Interior Department has the discretion to raise those rates but has never done so. Moreover, Interior can actually reduce royalties if particular companies persuade the agency that they need royalty relief to maintain a viable coal mining operation. Since 1990, Interior has used this provision to reduce the royalty on more than a third of all federal leases. The standard royalty for federal coal leases in North Dakota leases is a whopping 2 percent! Headwaters Economics has estimated that these royalty reductions have cost taxpayers $294 million over a 24-year period. To make matters worse, Interior has essentially allowed the industry to perpetrate a fraud on the U.S. Treasury by allowing the companies to pay royalties on the first sale of coal to a wholly owned subsidiary. No one seriously believes that these sales are made for the true market value. So, it is fair to ask why is Interior leasing coal for mere pennies per ton, reducing royalty rates, and then allowing royalties to be paid on the first non-arms-length sale? The Royalty Policy Committee should demand answers.More: Taxpayers deserve a fair return from our public coal resources
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享South China Morning Post:Environmentally-friendly fields like clean energy, food safety and health care, will offer key investment opportunities in the mainland, as technology boosts their profitability and climate change becomes a focus following the 2015 Paris climate accord.“The theme of social responsibility and environmental friendliness is one area people should keep an eye out for,” said Jackson Chan, managing director at Eaton Partners, a global placement agency that primarily raises capital from pension funds.“In the past it was very hard to link financial return and socially responsible investment. Technology has enabled social responsibility and environmental friendliness to achieve good financial returns, so I think these industries will be very powerful going forward. We want to focus more on that.”US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement this year has allowed China to further project itself as a globally responsible power.Such achievements and ambitious goals have helped the world’s second largest economy maintain its position as a global leader of investment in clean energy projects, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA)’s China 2017 Review.Although China is still heavily dependent on coal-fired power plants, building a solar or wind facility is now cheaper than a coal facility, Chan argued.Figures from the IEEFA show China will account for 42 per cent of global solar energy capacity growth from 2017 to 2022; the number is expected to be 35 per cent for hydroelectric energy, and 40 per cent for wind.More: The smart money is on food safety, health care, clean energy in China this year, say experts Where the Smart Money on China Is
Egypt expects massive 1.6GW solar park to enter commercial operation by end of 2019 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Egypt expects the 1.6 gigawatt solar park it is building in the south of the country to be operating at full capacity in 2019, the investment ministry said in a statement on Sunday.The $2 billion project, set to be the world’s largest solar installation, has been partly funded by the World Bank, which invested $653 million through the International Finance Corporation.Some parts of the park are already operating on a small scale, while other areas are still undergoing testing.Egypt aims to meet 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022 and up to 40 percent by 2035. Renewable energy currently covers only about 3 percent of the country’s needs.“Egypt’s energy sector reforms have opened a wider door for private sector investments,” World Bank President David Malpass said during his visit to the site alongside Egypt’s Investment Minister Sahar Nasr.More: Egypt expects giant solar park to be fully operational in 2019
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Spanish utility giant Iberdrola has revealed a multi-pronged floating offshore wind strategy, announcing two pilot projects and hinting at grander ambitions for the future.Iberdrola, which controls U.S. utility Avangrid and ranks among the world’s largest wind generators, revealed Monday that it plans to have its first floating turbine in the water in 2022 with a second demonstration to follow soon after. The company said it’s targeting commercial floating projects in the “near future” and is actively looking for opportunities in the U.S. and in Scotland over the longer term. Iberdrola also said it’s assessing the opportunity to install floating turbines alongside bottom-fixed projects from its 10-gigawatt offshore development pipeline.The first of Iberdrola’s floating projects is the Flagship demo being developed off Norway as part of the European Commission’s main innovation funding stream, Horizon 2020. The company confirmed that this will be followed by another pilot in Spanish waters, with more details to come later this year.Flagship will test a single turbine, with a power rating in excess of 10 megawatts, on a semi-submersible concrete structure, the OO-Star Wind Floater. The largest floating turbine in operation, for now, is the 8.4-megawatt WindFloat Atlantic demo off the coast of Portugal.Iberdrola has nearly 2 gigawatts of offshore wind projects up and running, in construction or about to enter construction, the majority of it in the North Sea. It also has a 10-gigawatt offshore wind pipeline including development rights for the 3-gigawatt East Anglia Hub. Through its Avangrid subsidiary, Iberdrola is an investor in several U.S. offshore wind projects, including Vineyard Wind’s 800-megawatt development off Massachusetts.Iberdrola’s announcement adds to the growing sense that floating wind is developing at a faster pace than many previously thought. Wood Mackenzie currently expects 10 gigawatts of floating wind to be deployed by 2030.[John Parnell]More: Wind giant Iberdrola throws its weight behind floating offshore market Spain’s Iberdrola announces push into nascent floating offshore wind industry
Coal generation in Australia drops below 70% of national electricity market for first time FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Coal-fired power’s contribution to large-scale electricity generation in Australia has fallen below 70 per cent for the first time in the history of the modern grid, a new report from The Australia Institute has shown.TAI’s June 2020 National Emissions Report, published on Tuesday, charts the changing generation mix of Australia’s National Electricity Market, and the latest data on energy sector emissions. For the year to May…the renewable energy share of Australia’s total generation mix is continuing to grow rapidly, having recently passed the milestone level of 25 per cent, including rooftop solar.The [data] also shows that total grid-scale renewables – that is, excluding Australia’s not insignificant contribution from rooftop solar – are inching ever closer to 20 per cent, another important milestone.But an equally riveting flip-side to renewables growth is coal’s steady demise.According to TAI’s data, the year to May 2020 saw total sent out coal-fired generation fall to below 66 per cent of total generation, and to less than 70 per cent of grid-level generation, excluding rooftop solar.“This is undoubtedly the first time that the share of coal-fired electricity across the five states now making up the NEM has fallen to this level since the foundation of electricity supply in Australia, during the 1880s,” said report author Hugh Saddler.[Sophie Vorrath]More: Coal’s share of Australia’s grid scale generation tumbles below 70% for first time
Europe’s electric grid can be 80% fossil free by 2030, industry trade group says FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:As much as 80% of the European Union’s electricity could be fossil fuel-free by 2030, regardless of whether the European economy faces a prolonged economic crisis, industry association Eurelectric said on Monday.Eurelectric represents European national electricity associations and leading national electricity companies.In the first half of this year, two thirds of electricity generated in the EU was carbon-free. Renewables generation accounted for 40% of the electricity mix and fossil fuel generation dropped by 18% year-on-year to 34%, it said in a report.A decade ago, renewables accounted for 20% of the EU’s electricity mix and last year they accounted for 34%.“This year, the power sector has proven its crucial value for society by providing hospitals, government offices and millions of home-working Europeans with clean and reliable power throughout the pandemic,” said Kristian Ruby, secretary general of Eurelectric. “In order to meet the 2030 targets, or go even further, we must urgently remove the specific barriers holding back the progress on the ground,” he added.Recently, restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have delayed many projects and permitting procedures are slowing down progress. Electric car infrastructure also needs to be rolled out and the growth in coal imports needs to be stopped, the report said.[Nina Chestney]More: Europe’s electricity could be 80% fossil fuel-free by 2030: industry group
Here’s a great chance to get out and compete in some awesome dirt races while helping to save the trails of the Pisgah area. Taking place on August 23 in Dupont State Forest, the Pisgah Area SORBA (Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association) is hosting two events.The first event is for mountain bikers, featuring a 26 or 40 mile ride. There’s also a Marathon and Ultra Marathon run, 26.2 miles and 65K, respectively. Either way, these are challenging and exciting events you don’t want to miss.The MTB race starts at 9 a.m. Cost is $50 with a 200 rider limit. ($60 day of). Both the Epic and Advanced routes feature access roads and single track winding through the DuPont State Forest.The runs start at 7 a.m. with a 100 runner limit. August 24 is the rain out date for all races. Funds raised go to help build and maintain the areas trails for outdoor athletes to enjoy. This is an un-timed race. Visit the website for more information.
Test your limits at the Transylvania Adventure Games this Saturday, September 27, in Transylvania County, N.C. Full of challenging fun for the whole family, this obstacle course experience is sure to make you move, sweat, and smile.The course will take participants through tunnels, under webs, over walls, around barriers, and plenty more! Each portion will push your body and your mind, and leave you feeling spent and satisfied. Plus, anyone can join in! Children and adults of all ages can enjoy the adventure, and even the little ones can run around a special course made just for kids 5 and under.In addition to the course itself, the Transylvania Adventure Games will feature food vendors, music, face painting, and a silent auction.Best of all, anyone can attend the TAG festival for free! Tickets for the obstacle course itself will then be sold the day of the event for $5 each. All profits benefit the Mountain Sun Community School in Brevard, North Carolina.Dive into a new kind of fun at the Transylvania Adventure Games, this Saturday at the Transylvania County Recreation Center.