first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Taylor Kuykendall for SNL:While some celebrate what they say is not only a break from designing compliance with the Clean Power Plan but also indication that the rule could be tossed completely, some are skeptical a recent U.S. Supreme Court is really much of a saving grace for coal.While coal remains a significant portion of electric generation into the near future — Michael Ferguson, an associate director in the utilities and infrastructure group of Standard and Poor’s Rating Services, said estimates are modeling about 27% generation share by 2025 — more and more coal plants are “going to continue to not make a ton of sense” going forward. Those most impacted, he said, will be those in regions that have been less progressive on transitioning.“Are there certain coal generating assets that will get another year or two of life? Sure, because the way we’re looking at it now, a lot of these states are going to use a carbon tax or a carbon fee to comply with this in order to incentivize carbon reduction,” Ferguson said. “In general, there’s kind of a consensus that gas prices are going to remain low for a while just because the economics of gas in our country. Even if gas prices were to go up, there would be more drilling.”Chiza Vitta, a credit analyst who monitors the coal industry for S&P, also sees natural gas prices being a heavier weight on the lid of coal demand than regulatory pressure. He said the reason the EPA has been so bold in its policies is that low natural gas prices and anticipation of the same going forward has drastically lowered the economic consequences of bold emissions reductions goals.“Unless that changes, unless that [natural gas] price changes, it’s going to be more of a driving factor than what’s happening on the regulatory side,” Vitta said. “It doesn’t materially change our view. … We’ve had bankruptcies — clearly there’s more immediate concerns in the short term that are more of a factor for these companies than what may happen on the regulatory side here.”Vitta said those bankruptcies, which have included coal production giants such as Arch Coal Inc. and Alpha Natural Resources Inc., may allow companies to restructure in a way more fit to current and future coal demand. He said that while most coal mines outside of the Powder River Basin are “deep out of the money,” there are several mines that will continue on as they either mine coal with special properties or are located in a manner as to be an economical choice for certain plants.“They call coal a commodity, but that’s not exactly true in the sense that there are specific situations where coal might be more valuable to one generator than another,” Vitta said. “There are different levels of how dirty it is, but more important your plant may be situated next to a coal producer so it’s very cheap for you to get that coal maybe dedicated to you. … If you were just to think of it as a commodity that everyone viewed exactly the same, only one of the basins is cost-competitive: the [Powder River Basin], which is low heat rate.”Vitta said that absent something coming “out of the blue” in the way of discovering further danger from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas or some other supply disruption, he does not see coal demand improving in the near future. He added that what regulations such as the Clean Power Plan accomplish is changing the mindset on coal “decades into the future.”Full article ($): Analysts: Stay of Clean Power Plan not likely to outdo economics in coal decline Analysts See Little Advantage to Coal Industry in Supreme Court Delay
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first_imgMissouri Utility Announces Plan to Shift From Coal to Renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:Ameren Missouri this week filed its 20-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with state officials, calling for significant cuts to the utility’s coal-fired generation, increased investment in renewables and grid modernization that will allow the electric system to be used in new ways.The utility will add at least 700 MW of wind generation by 2020, at a cost of about $1 billion, along with 100 MW of solar over the next decade.The utility plans to retire over half of its coal-fired generating capacity, including mothballing the Meramec Energy Center in south St. Louis County by the end of 2022. And significant amounts of wind power will come online just two years before the plant is pulled offline. Ameren has also left open the possibility that even more wind energy will be added, as a result of improving technology and economics, and renewable energy initiatives with large customers.Meramec is the oldest of Ameren’s coal-fired facilities and began operating in 1953.More: More renewables, much less coal in Ameren Missouri’s futurelast_img read more

first_imgLloyd’s of London Steps Back From Coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market, has become the latest financial firm to announce that it plans to stop investing in coal companies.Lloyd’s will start to exclude coal from its investment strategy from 1 April. The definition of what is a coal company and the criteria for divestment will be set over the coming months.The firm has long been vocal about the need to battle climate change, with insurance one of the worst affected industries by hurricanes, wildfires and flooding in recent years.The insurance market decided last month to implement a coal exclusion policy as part of a responsible investment strategy for the central mutual fund that sits behind every insurance policy written by the Lloyd’s market.Inga Beale, Lloyd’s of London chief executive, said: “That means that in the areas of our portfolio where we can directly influence investment decisions we will avoid investing in companies that are involved mainly in coal.“Is there more the insurance sector could be doing to help the world transition to a low-carbon economy by choosing sustainable or low-carbon stocks?”Lloyd’s does not underwrite operations directly, but offers a marketplace to almost 90 syndicates of other insurers.Lloyd’s has been slower to take action than others. Other big UK and European insurance companies, including Aviva, Allianz, Axa, Legal & General, SCOR, Swiss Re and Zurich, have been shifting away from coal and other fossil fuels due to concerns about climate risks. About £15bn has been divested by insurers in the past two years, according to a recent report from Unfriend Coal Network, a global coalition of NGOs and campaigners including and Greenpeace. It said 15 companies – almost all in Europe – have fully or partially cut financial ties by selling holdings in coal companies and refusing to insure their operations.More: Lloyd’s of London to divest from coal over climate changelast_img read more

first_imgAnalysis shows U.S. shale drillers still not profitable FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享 the hype of lower breakeven prices, and despite the hype around longer laterals, energy digitalization, and other technological breakthroughs, most shale companies are still not profitable.In fact, roughly 9 out of every 10 U.S. shale companies are burning cash, according to Rystad Energy. The Oslo-based consultancy studied 40 U.S. shale companies and found that only 4 of them had positive cash flow in the first quarter of 2019. In fact, the number of companies with positive cash flow was lower than it was previously, and total cash flow from the group fell from $14 billion in the fourth quarter to just $9.9 billion in the first.“The gap between capex and [cash flow from operating activities] has reached a staggering $4.7 billion. This implies tremendous overspend, the likes of which have not been seen since the third quarter of 2017,” Alisa Lukash, Senior Analyst on Rystad Energy’s North American Shale team, said in a press release.U.S. shale drillers have historically loaded up on debt in order to continue to finance their cash burn. But investors have soured on the sector, finally waking up to the fact that shale drillers by and large are money losers. According to Rystad, no shale company has made a public offering since the collapse of oil prices last year, the longest stretch of time with no public capital issuance since 2014. “Recently released data, which confirmed dismal first quarter earnings, only served to cement negative market sentiment,” Lukash said. Investors are fed up and are “leaving no room for undisciplined spending in 2019.”Smaller shale companies are in a particularly tough position. Even as investors demand capital discipline and an end to reckless spending, small drillers are unable to sit still because of the treadmill of declining shale wells. Rapid declines in output require constant drilling, which, if you are an unprofitable company, requires constant reinjections of capital. For years, that was not too much of problem as long as Wall Street kept the taps open.However, financing is becoming less abundant as tightfisted investors become more demanding. Instead, in order to survive, small shale companies are under pressure to either grow their way out of the problem or find a buyer, Robert Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said in an interview with the FT.More: Shale drillers keep on falling into the same traplast_img read more

first_imgInvestors managing $5 trillion commit to major carbon reductions across portfolios FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Thirty of the world’s largest investors managing a combined $5 trillion said on Tuesday they plan to set targets to lower their portfolio carbon emissions by as much as 29% over the next five years.All members of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, a group which includes the biggest U.S. pension scheme CalPERs and German insurer Allianz, are aiming to align their portfolios with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.The move is the most ambitious yet by the influential group, whose members own sizeable stakes in many of the world’s top companies, and comes as pressure builds for asset owners to use their financial muscle to push for quicker change.While an increasing number of investors, companies and governments are committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, some have been criticised for not setting the clear nearer-term targets needed to ensure the goal is met. With policymakers gearing up for the next round of global climate talks in Scotland next year, the group’s move is likely to act as a challenge for other leading investors to step up their own efforts.The group said its members would implement cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from their portfolios of between 16% and 29%, with each confirming their own particular target in the first quarter of 2021. The plan, called the 2025 Target Setting Protocol, should help increase investment in those companies contributing to the transition to a low-carbon economy and influence both markets and government policies, the group said in a statement.Specifically, the group said it would send a message to the thousands of companies owned by the investors that “deep emissions cuts are required”, and that the group would work with boards willing to adjust their business models.[Simon Jessop]More: $5 trillion investor group sets tougher portfolio carbon targetslast_img read more

first_imgYour daily news bulletin for September 12, the day John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953, proving that a Jack and a Jackie can make it work…if they have enough money, power, and good looks:Lassiter Dam on Uwharrie River Comes DownEarlier this month the Lassiter Mill Dam was removed from the Uwharrie River in Randolph County, North Carolina. The dam removal was a partnership between American Rivers, Piedmont Conservation Council, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the landowners around the dam. The 12 foot high, 200 foot long Lassiter Dam blocked migrating American shad, among other species, from reaching the upper Uwharrie. Removal of the dam opens up 14.6 miles of potential spawning habitat in the main stem and 189 river miles including tributaries. This will allow for easier migration, obviously, but also easier recreation activity like boating and fishing on the river by humans. In the next few years Duke Energy-Progress plans to trap and transport over 20,000 shad to the Uwharrie to boost stock and accelerate species recruitment. The Lassiter Dam is the third of five dams scheduled to be removed from the Pee Dee watershed.Click here to see video of the demolition.Appalachian Trail Hits the Silver ScreenAs part of their 2013 membership drive – titled A Journey of 2,000 Miles: The Appalachian Trail, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy will hitting the road in October. Throughout the month, the ATC will be traveling up and down the East Coast showcasing the film Appalachian Impressions in 15 cities from New York to Florida. The film will take viewers on along for the ride as it showcases the trail and everything that goes with embarking on the thru-hike: “Appalachian Impressions captures the true essence of this historic pathway, its interesting characters, beautiful scenery and the generous spirit found in small town America.” The film is produced by Flagler Films, who specialize in long-distance hiking documentaries – they have probably cornered the market. The film tour is at the heart of the ATC’s goal of gaining the support of 2,180 new members, one for every mile of the trail. The tour will also feature guest speakers from the 2,000-mile club including authors Richard Judy, Susan Letcher, and Michelle Pugh, among other.For a full list of show dates, times, and locations, click here.Virginia Tech Finds Stadium Woods CompromiseThe controversy over Virginia Tech’s new football practice facility and the university’s iconic Stadium Woods appears to be over. Early this week a compromise was struck by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors subcommittee that will protect the 14-acre Stadium Woods stand of old growth forest from development – the indoor practice facility will be built on the existing footprint of the practice facility. The original proposal for the new facility would have destroyed about three acres of the woods, but this raised the ire of many advocates, including professors in the forestry department and students. The issue escalated in 2011 when several dozen white oaks estimated to be 100-400 years old were discovered at the site. Student committees were formed, the student government got involved, and it became a battle between the big money of college football versus the trees who can’t speak for themselves. With the compromise, all parties seem satisfied with the outcome, and of course the tress will continue to grow.Full story at Roanoke.comlast_img read more

first_imgStuck in the mud.“It’s just like delivering a placenta,” my brother-in-law — a doctor — says helpfully.I fail to see the humor.Dan and I are trudging through the Alaskan bush on the Canoe Portage From Hell, trying to keep phalanxes of black flies from chomping our exposed skin, while board-stiff alder branches are whipping our faces.Moments before, our torturously slow slog ground to a halt when I planted one of my crutches in the wrong spot and leaned on it, hard. The smooth metal shaft promptly sank two feet into the state’s infamous “suck mud,” and my heart sank with it. I tugged gingerly and heard just what I expected: the distinctive slurp of the rubber tip being suctioned off and entombed in the muck. Without their tips, my custom-made titanium crutches were useless on the soft terrain, like trying to post-hole through deep snow on stilts.So now I’m up to my elbow in the ooze and groping blindly—hence the obstetrics joke—while the flies drink deeply from their stationary target. Suddenly, my fingers brush something hard… and immediately slip off. I probe again, stretching, clawing, swatting at my winged tormentors with the other hand, which comes away blood-streaked as I smash their engorged bodies against my skin. This time my grip holds, and I finally manage to free the critical piece of equipment.Our goal is to circumvent a difficult rapid that rips a frothy white gash through a remote river in a corner of Alaska that tourists rarely visit. Because I was born with spina bifida and am partially paralyzed from the waist down, the portage is taking a while, to put it mildly—eight hours so far, hauling gear through dense vegetation devoid of anything resembling a trail, in prime grizzly bear habitat. Visibility is only a few feet in many places, which means that surprising one of the beasts is a distinct possibility. It has taken me 20 minutes to crutch, stumble, claw, and crawl the last 20 feet, and suck mud, downed trees, grabby vines, and spiny alder stretch as far as we can see. Not to mention that we barely know where we’re going or how far it is back to the river. Discouragement begins to descend like an Alaskan squall.Sometimes I ask myself why I do this stuff. What’s the point of a grueling portage when, even on a paved surface, a mile for me feels like five or 10 for most people? Why kayak or scuba dive, when just hauling my gear to the water can leave me exhausted? Why crank a 33-pound handcycle up punishing hills?Today, I’m intensively reevaluating my decision to trudge waist-deep through a mini-swamp filled with rainwater, mud, and shattered branches. At any moment I expect a 900-pound grizzly to spring from the woods and swipe me dead with a plate-sized paw. Meanwhile, Dan labors somewhere behind, heroically schlepping our folding Ally canoe and the other gear that I can’t carry. Which is all of it. The thought is emasculating, and it resurrects unpleasant memories from my youth. Like sitting alone in the grass at recess while my classmates played a giddy game of kickball. Or searching lists of extracurricular activities for something validating, something I could be good at, but finding only sports.And then there was that unforgettable blue-sky day in the fourth grade. I was playing alone in the schoolyard near a group of cute pre-pubescent girls who were chattering about secret girl stuff.“Shhhh!” one giggled. “Someone might hear!”“Oh, there aren’t any boys around,” another said.“Unless you count Jeff.”The afternoon shadows are growing longer, and still there’s neither sight nor sound of the river. At some point Dan materializes out of the woods after a scouting mission.“I think I heard it,” he says. I look skeptical.“No, really. About a half-mile through those trees.” He points. “See that tall spindly one? Head to the left of it.”I squint into the bush, trying to pick out said tree from hundreds of others. I’m from Maryland, where trees along trails in public parks are smeared with blue blazes every 10 feet or so, in case you think the wide, sidewalk-like path in front of you is naturally occurring. So my navigational skills aren’t exactly Shackletonian.“Go on,” Dan says. “I’ll get the rest of the gear.”My mood doesn’t really improve with Dan’s discovery. A half-mile on this demonic obstacle course might as well be 20, and even if we make it to the river, who knows if we’ll have skirted the rapid? At the same time, we can’t exactly hunker down for the night in a fly-infested alder thicket. So I press on, straining to discern the course Dan pointed out through the trackless terrain. And then…A low, indistinct sound, like white noise. But not the wind. Rushing water. Another hundred feet, and the forest gives way to dazzling, warm-hued sunlight glinting off the churn and froth of a swift but manageable current. I collapse at the river’s edge and plunge my face into the bracing, gin-clear liquid, giardia or not. I expect a wash of euphoria or exhilaration or something, but mostly there’s relief—relief for finishing the task uneaten by large carnivores, and, except for some blood donated to the bugs, largely unscathed.Looking back conjures a keen sense of joy and personal accomplishment that went missing in the heat of the moment. At the same time, I’m reminded of something that too often gets lost in the noise: the futility of trying to be the toughest, the smartest, the most accomplished. Chase those things, it seems, and only madness awaits. For me, the wiser goal is to use whatever I’ve been given to the fullest, to play the hand I’ve been dealt rather than coveting someone else’s. There in the Alaskan bush, I like to think I took a step or three in that direction—with or without my crutch tips.last_img read more

first_imgPhoto Courtesy of Compass Points MediaA man who had been on the FBI’s most wanted list for several years was detained at Trail Days in Damascus, Virginia last Saturday. James T. Hammes, 53, who was known to thru-hikers by his trail name Bismarck, has been wanted by the FBI since 2006 for allegedly embezzling more than $8 million. For the last six years Hammes has been avoiding federal authorities by spending his days hiking on America’s most famous footpath. Authorities were tipped off about Hammes’ whereabouts when a Mississippi resident who had previously hiked on the AT with Hammes recognized him on an episode of American Greed. Read more.Originally from Germany, Niki Rellon has always led an active lifestyle, teaching ski lessons in Colorado and thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2006. But when she lost her leg in a tragic repelling accident in Utah, Rellon’s way of life came to screeching halt.  “I broke my pelvis, my spine, shredded my entire left foot. It was so damaged we had to amputate,” she told WCYB of Virginia. As a way to cope with the perils of life with one leg and stave off what some would consider inevitable depression, Rellon, a former professional boxer, is attempting a thru-hike of the AT. If she completes the hike, she will will be the first female amputee to ever do so. Learn more.last_img read more

first_imgWith confidence in the capabilities of his SPOT device, Swagman continued to carry it with him on all of his adventures and it wasn’t until 2012 that he had to use the device for his own emergency. He was about 230 miles short of completing his Thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail when we fell nearly 20ft from a Bemis Mountain in Maine. With cuts, bruises and fear of a concussion, Swagman hiked about 2 miles to where the trail crosses Maine route 17 where he knew his S.O.S. message would have a signal to be sent out. Shortly after, an ambulance arrived and took him to the hospital in Rumford where he was treated for his injuries and sent home.Swagman didn’t let a little fall like that keep him away from his passion and he continues to use the outdoors as his personal playground hiking trails all over the upper part of the United States. Most recently, he was hiking on the Tuscarora Trail, a 252 mile long bypass route of the Appalachian Trail, when we began feeling symptoms of a heart attack. Numbness in his extremities, tingling in his arm and fingers, fatigue and blurred vision all prompted Swagman to press the S.O.S. button. After Search and Rescue team reached him and ran some tests, they too thought he was experiencing a heart attack and had him airlifted to a hospital to be treated.The opportunity to take on the Appalachian Trail next year keeps Swagman motivated to make a full recovery from the ravages of chemo-radiation therapies associated after a 2015 diagnosis of Squamous cell throat cancer. “I swear by SPOT! It saved my bacon twice,” said Swagman. “I will never hike without it.” This winter, SPOT is here to give peace of mind to fisherman, sailors and outdoorsmen alike when venturing within, or outside of cellular coverage. By providing satellite and GPS messaging and emergency notifications, SPOT allows users to stay connected to family, friends and emergency responders. Enjoy an instant 50% off now thru 12/31/17 John Walker aka Swagman is no stranger to overcoming challenging situations. As a U.S. Navy Veteran and avid hiker, Swagman loves being outside and takes on nature one hiking trail at a time with plans to conquer the Appalachian Trail in 2018.With safety in mind, Swagman purchased his first SPOT device in 2008 after his sister persuaded him to do so—she didn’t want him to be mauled by a bear or rabid raccoon. Little did he know that his SPOT device would be put to use not only once, but a total of three times over the past ten years.In 2009, Swagman acted as a Good Samaritan when he first activated the S.O.S. on his SPOT device. With two days into their 10 day hike on the Colorado Trail to Lake City he noticed one of the men falling behind and found him sitting by the stream complaining of chest pains. Based on his symptoms,Swagman determined he was having a heart attack and pressed the S.O.S. button prompting GEOS to send out search and rescue who then transported the man to the hospital.last_img read more

first_imgAdult (season passes): $559 Where is the best place to stay in the area? And if they are looking to buy? How many beginner, intermediate, and expert trails are there? Our main village area is home to a variety of great bars and restaurants including the Junction, Cheat Mountain Pizza, and the Sunset Cantina. Skiable acres? 257 acres Opening day? Friday, December 4 (weather permitting) Under 4 (ages 0-4): $39 What are the best après ski activities at the resort and in the area? We have a wide variety of lodging options here on top of the mountain, the best of which are part of our Brigham Collection of luxury lodging. Almost all mountain top lodging is either ski-in/ski-out or a very short walk to the slopes. First Tracts Realty can help you find the perfect condo or mountain home. Yes! Almost all of the activities mentioned above are family friendly. Child(ages 5-12): $449 What activities are available beyond the slopes? Do you offer any family friendly activities? As we look forward to welcoming you back to the mountain this winter, please know that the health and well-being of our employees, community, and guests is our top priority. To help protect one another and limit the spread of COVID-19, we will be implementing new policies and procedures in line with state and industry guidelines throughout all facets of the resort. This will include capacity management, mask requirements, elevated sanitation efforts, social-distancing policies, pre-shift employee screenings, and much more. Number of slopes? 60 We’ve got snowmobile tours, off-road RZR tours, horseback tours, an arcade, an escape room, a full-service spa, and plenty of shopping and dining. Number of lifts? 14 Pass prices? Our annual Ridiculous Pass Sale is the best time to buy. It’s an unlimited season pass that we offer in early March, that is good for the rest of the current season and the entire next season as well. It usually costs less than $250. Pricing and timing is not yet set for this season’s sale. What guidelines and protocols have you put in place to keep visitors and employees safe during COVID-19? Average inches of snowfall? 180 inches What are the best runs and why? Of course! The Snowshoe Bike Park has gained global notoriety and hosted the UCI World Cup race in the fall of 2019. It’s not just for World Cup racers though. We have some of the best beginner mountain biking terrain in the country and our bike instructors are top notch. You can rent the protective equipment as well as bikes from the MAC. Shaver’s lake serves as our snowmaking reservoir in the winter, but in the summer it’s great for paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, or playing on our fleet of inflatables. We also have amazing hiking trails, off-road RZR tours, horseback tours, a village zipline, climbing wall, and a eurobungy. Please note that these guidelines are subject to change as we continue to monitor the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to check back to our website prior to your visit for the most up-to-date information. We’re going galactic. Tubing that is. With the inclusion of a fun new night tubing option at the Coca-Cola tube park, you can now experience the six story, eight lane experience ‘under the lights’ – taking the excitement level up a notch! 24 beginner, 19 intermediate, 16 expert, 5 terrain parks, and 4 glades Longest run? 1.5 miles Base/summit elevation? 3,348 ft/ 4,848ft We offer a variety of lesson packages and we utilize terrain-based learning, an innovative new approach to teaching folks how to ski or snowboard. It has worked wonders for helping it “click” for folks on their first day. That depends on ability level. For beginners, it’s hard to beat Log Slide. Intermediates love Skip Jack and Spruce. For experts, the Western Territory is the place to be. Driving distance to nearest major cities? Richmond, Va. – 3 hoursWashington D.C. – 4 hoursPittsburgh, Penn. – 4 hoursCharleston, W. Va. – 3 hoursStaunton, Va. – 2 hoursRoanoke, Va. – 3 hoursCharlotte, N.C. – 6 hoursRaleigh, N.C. – 7 hoursAtlanta, Ga. – 9 hoursKnoxville, Tenn. – 6 hours If we’re going to operate successfully for a full winter season here on the mountain, we’re going to need your help. As our guest, we ask that you do your part and accept the shared responsibility to take the necessary precautions. Let’s all be kind, be safe, and have fun. Teen (ages 13-17): $559 We have several great shops on the mountain. If you’re looking to buy, head to the MAC, Full Tilt, or the Tool Shed. For renting, check out Expedition Station or Top of the World. High performance demo rentals are available at the MAC. What do you offer beginners who want to learn to ski or snowboard? Are there activities available in the off-season? Where do you recommend visitors buy their gear? What’s new at the resort this year? last_img read more