Evolving Policy in China Focuses on Clean Energy Incentives

first_imgEvolving Policy in China Focuses on Clean Energy Incentives FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享New York Times:China released plans on Tuesday to start a giant market to trade credits for the right to emit planet-warming greenhouse gases. The nationwide market would initially cover China’s vast, state-dominated power generation sector, which produced almost half of the country’s emissions from the burning of fossil fuels last year. If it works as intended, an emissions market will give Chinese power companies a financial incentive to operate more cleanly.The long-awaited announcement could bolster global efforts to combat climate change after President Trump signaled this year that the United States would back away from Obama-era promises to curb emissions. It could also serve as a big — though ultimately government-controlled — laboratory for such carbon markets, after earlier efforts in Europe and at the local level in China stumbled.The government did not issue a hard timeline, and regulations and other details still have to be worked out. But environmental groups that worked with the government said they could emerge in the next couple of years. “Everything is gradual, step by step,” said Li Junfeng, a senior government adviser on the carbon market plan.China’s announcement could also disappoint those who were hoping the long-promised emissions market would cover the country’s broader economy, the world’s second largest after that of the United States. China’s booming car culture, its industrializing agriculture sector and its huge chemical complexes, cement factories and steel mills are also big emitters.Still, environmental groups welcomed the move. Nathaniel Keohane, vice president for global climate at the Environmental Defense Fund, said the market for power-sector emissions alone would cover 3.3 billion tons of annual carbon dioxide releases. The European Union’s trading system encompasses about two billion tons of emissions.“This is like the Mount Everest of climate policy,” Mr. Keohane said. “It’s an incredibly ambitious undertaking.”China is reacting to pressure at home and abroad to clean up its act. Rising sea levels could devastate its heavily populated coast. The Chinese public is increasingly worried about broader environmental issues like urban smog, water quality and soil pollution.China has invested heavily in green technologies such as electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels.China’s emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gas have nearly tripled since 2000, according to data from the International Energy Agency in Paris. The high tonnage partly reflects its huge population; Chinese emissions per person are still somewhat less than the average per capita figure in the United States, although the gap has been narrowing.Making solar panels in Hefei, China. The country has invested heavily in green technologies like electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels. Credit Adam Dean for The New York TimesUnder emission markets, power companies and others effectively pay for the right to pollute beyond a government-mandated limit. Those that cut their emissions could sell permits to pollute to dirtier companies, ideally at a healthy price.So far, such efforts have been underwhelming. Markets in Europe and at the provincial level in China have faltered because the authorities issued too many credits to existing polluters. That gave companies little reason to buy credits, or to cut their own emissions and sell the credits.More: China Unveils an Ambitious Plan to Curb Climate Change Emissionslast_img read more

NYC Pension Funds To Divest Fossil Investments

first_imgNYC Pension Funds To Divest Fossil Investments FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享AP:New York City officials are citing climate change as their motivation to join a growing number of investors ridding themselves of financial interest in fossil fuels.Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer are set to announce plans on Wednesday to divest the city’s five pension funds of roughly $5 billion in fossil fuel investments out of its total of $189 billion. They say the divestment is the largest of any municipality in the U.S. to date.Clara Vondrich of the DivestInvest campaign says the city joins a movement that started about six years ago. She says hundreds of institutional investors managing assets of over $5.5 trillion have taken their money out of fossil fuel investments.Last month, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to have the state pension funds also divest from fossil fuel investments. He and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli are creating an advisory committee to examine the way to proceed with divestment.In November, Norway’s central bank urged the Norwegian government to consider divesting oil and gas company shares held in the $1 trillion oil fund.Vondrich said other cities and entities divesting of fossil fuel interests have included Washington, D.C., Berlin and Cape Town; insurance companies Swiss Re, Axa and Allianz; and educational institutions such as the University of Oxford in Great Britain, Stanford University in California and Trinity College in Ireland. Philanthropies have included the Wallace Global Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, notable because the late John D. Rockefeller grew his wealth as an oil baron.Brian Youngberg, a senior energy analyst at Edward Jones Investments, noted divestment is not entirely altruistic over the issue of climate change. Fossil fuel securities are underperforming and officials say the outlook for fossil fuel investments continues to be negative.More: https://apnews.com/c0e7b71262474f5bae5ae5caa0e4b7ec/NYC-taking-steps-to-divest-pension-funds-of-fossil-fuelslast_img read more

Wind likely to top coal as Kansas’ leading electricity supplier this year

first_imgWind likely to top coal as Kansas’ leading electricity supplier this year FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享KCUR:Wind is beginning to challenge coal’s status as the primary energy source for electricity produced in Kansas.The shift has accelerated almost exponentially since 2010. As the cost to develop major wind projects has decreased, the cost to operate and maintain aging coal plants has gone up. The simple economics of the equation means utility companies are closing coal plants at the same time the number of new wind projects is exploding. And there’s still more wind potential to be tapped.Exactly how fast utilities turn from coal to wind will depend largely on what tools state lawmakers and regulators give companies as they try to recuperate their investment in coal facilities. But even with government inaction, market forces mean wind will continue to grow, just maybe not as quickly as it could.While Jeffrey Energy Center is — and will likely continue to be — the largest producer in the state, the charts hint at the fact that our mix of electricity generation is changing. Only one relatively small wind facility made the top 10 in 2010, while three of the top generators in 2017 were wind.Beyond looking at the top 10 generators, which only shows how big a facility is, the total amount of electricity generated per year also shows how quickly the energy landscape is changing.In 2010, coal made up 68 percent of the total electricity generated in the state. Wind generated only 7 percent.Fast forward to 2017, and coal provides only 38 percent of the electricity generated in the state, while wind has increased to 37 percent. It’s likely that once totals for 2018 or 2019 are posted wind will overtake coal as the largest source of electricity produced in Kansas.More: This is what Kansas’ top 10 energy producers reveal about the future of electricitylast_img read more

Enel begins construction of South America’s largest wind farm in Brazil

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews Biz:Renewables developer Enel has started construction of a 716MW wind farm in Brazil, the biggest project of its kind in South America.Enel will invest over €700m in the Lagoa dos Ventos project in the north-east state of Piaui, which is expected to enter operation in 2021. Lagoa dos Ventos, comprising 230 turbines, is sited in the municipalities of Lagoa do Barro do Piaui, Queimada Nova and Dom Inocencio.As well as being the largest wind project under construction in South America Lagoa dos Ventos is also Enel’s biggest wind farm worldwide.Enel Green Power head Antonio Cammisecra said: “The start of construction of this record-breaking wind project in Brazil is a major milestone for our presence in the country, which continues to be one of the most prominent markets for Enel Green Power.”Out of the wind farm’s total installed capacity, 510MW was awarded to Enel in Brazil’s A-6 public tender in December 2017 and is supported by 20-year power supply contracts with a pool of distribution companies operating in the country’s regulated market. Output from the remaining 206MW will be sold to retail customers on the free market.More: Enel turns sod on 716MW Brazilian giant Enel begins construction of South America’s largest wind farm in Brazillast_img read more

Profits soar at U.K.’s Solarcentury

first_imgProfits soar at U.K.’s Solarcentury FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:A UK solar power pioneer has grown its profits eight-fold by investing in subsidy-free solar farms, a portion of which will help connect homes in Africa to small-scale solar-powered lighting systems.Solarcentury, one of the UK’s fastest growing renewable energy companies, will report profits of £14.4m for the year ending in March, compared with £1.5m the year before.A 5% share of the record profits will be channeled into SolarAid, a charity that has helped connect 2m homes in Africa to reliable electricity since it was founded by Solarcentury in 2006.The rapidly rising profits follow a four-year growth strategy in which the company has invested heavily in building and running subsidy-free solar projects in southern Europe, Latin America and Africa. In the year ahead the UK will emerge as a key focus for subsidy-free projects, owing to falling technology costs that have made solar power more economical in more overcast countries.The better than expected results are likely to stoke investor interest in the company, which was put up for sale this year and could fetch £250m for its current owners. But the sale could spell the end of the donations to SolarAid as the new owners will not be held to the same agreement.Solarcentury hands a share of its net profit to the charity every year to fund a not-for-profit home-solar company that sells mini solar panels to homes in Uganda, Malawi and Zambia on a pay-as-you-go basis. The company’s record profits mean SolarAid will receive more than £500,000 from Solarcentury, which could fund 125,000 new home-solar installations.More: U.K. solar power pioneer Solarcentury profit grows 860% in a yearlast_img read more

GE wins big battery storage contract in Australia

first_imgGE wins big battery storage contract in Australia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:GE won its biggest grid battery deal so far, to supply a solar plant in South Australia. The 200-megawatt Solar River plant will be coupled with a 100-megawatt/300-megawatt-hour GE Reservoir grid storage system. Solar River already secured Crown Development approval and could start generating power as early as 2021.This battery will outrank South Australia’s Hornsdale Power Reserve, the Tesla-supplied system that currently holds the title for world’s largest, but won’t for long. Like that battery, it will provide fast-reacting capacity for a state grid dealing with rapid renewables growth and baseload coal retirement. But the GE system will use its longer energy duration to turn solar power into a dispatchable resource.The project answers a warning that the Australian power market operator issued in a November report on the status of South Australia’s grid. “System strength needs to be more actively managed, and there is increased need for fast-start and rapid-response technologies to accommodate changes in renewable energy output and improve power system security,” it said. “The shape of operational demand is becoming increasingly peaky, and both demand and supply are exposed to the vagaries of weather, changing the nature and profile of supply scarcity risks.”Rooftop solar provides 15 percent of South Australia’s installed capacity; wind delivers 29 percent. Renewables account for nearly half of electricity generated, meaning the grid has considerable exposure to intermittent resources. That exposure will continue to grow, as renewables constitute a majority of new capacity investments. Negative demand could arrive during peak solar production hours by 2023 or 2024, and rooftop solar has already pushed the daily peak later into the evening, when solar generation drops off.Pairing the large solar plant with a battery, then, directly tackles the “vagaries of weather” issue. The storage system at Solar River, among the largest proposed worldwide, will reduce the flood of additional solar generation in the middle of the day and make it available in the more valuable evening hours. Australia’s competitive energy market rewards plant owners for arbitraging energy from times of surplus supply to times of scarcity.The Australia market offers one of the fastest-growing opportunities for hybrid generation, said Gianpaolo Giuliani, energy storage global sales director at GE’s Renewable Hybrids unit. “The system is leveraging GE’s Reservoir technology, with a high energy density modular architecture, proprietary string-level battery control, and a hybrid controller which leverages our vast history of controls experience to appropriately orchestrate the solar dispatch and the battery storage output,” he added.More: GE’s largest battery deal yet will support a 200MW Australian solar plantlast_img read more

Swancor Renewable Energy to build 4.4GW of offshore wind capacity in Taiwan

first_imgSwancor Renewable Energy to build 4.4GW of offshore wind capacity in Taiwan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Power Technology:Swancor Renewable Energy (SRE) has announced plans to develop three offshore wind projects totaling 4.4GW offshore Taiwan.The Formosa 4-1, Formosa 4-2 and Formosa 4-3 projects will be located in the north-western territorial waters of Miaoli County.Swancor Renewable Energy CEO Lucas Lin said: “Swancor Renewable Energy has been preliminarily developing Formosa 4 since 2019. We are excited to support the Taiwan Government’s ambitious offshore wind renewable energy target.“We will be leveraging our development experience from Formosa 1 and Formosa 2 with our new portfolio and are looking forward to extending our relationships with the Miaoli County Government and the local stakeholders.”This week, SRE submitted these projects to the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency. The company proposes to develop the turbines with both fixed-base and floating foundations. The company has said the Formosa 4 wind farm would begin operations after 2025, subject to project contracts and financing, as well as environmental impact assessment and government approvals.Previously, SRE was involved in developing the Formosa 1 (128MW) and Formosa 2 (376MW) projects. These are now in operation and construction, respectively.More: Swancor Renewable Energy to develop offshore wind projects in Taiwanlast_img read more

New York’s state pension fund to divest most fossil fuel stocks in coming five years

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The New York Times:New York State’s pension fund, one of the world’s largest and most influential investors, will drop many of its fossil fuel stocks in the next five years and sell its shares in other companies that contribute to global warming by 2040, the state comptroller said on Wednesday.With $226 billion in assets, New York’s fund holds sway over other retirement funds and its decision to divest from fossil fuels could accelerate a broader shift in global markets away from oil and gas companies, energy experts and climate activists said.The announcement comes after the fund moved to sell its stock in 22 coal companies last year. New York City, San Francisco, Washington and several smaller cities have also committed to fossil fuel divestment plans, but New York State’s commitment to such a sweeping step is more significant, especially given the state’s centrality to the global financial markets.The state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, had long resisted a sell-off, saying that his primary concern was to safeguard the taxpayer-guaranteed retirement savings of 1.1 million state and municipal workers who rely on the pension fund.But on Wednesday, Mr. DiNapoli signaled that the main goal was to set up the fund for long-term economic success in a world moving away from fossil fuels. “New York State’s pension fund is at the leading edge of investors addressing climate risk, because investing for the low-carbon future is essential to protect the fund’s long-term value,” he said in a statement.New York’s fund, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, has historically invested about $12 billion in fossil fuels. Now it is committing to sell its investments in any oil, gas, oil-services and pipeline companies that do not have clear plans to abandon the fossil fuel business. Few companies have disclosed such plans. The fund is also pledging to push other companies it invests in to reduce the amount of planet-warming greenhouse gases that they and their suppliers emit. The fund will sell its stakes in the firms if they have not eliminated such emissions by 2040, according to the announcement. The plan could free up billions of dollars for potential investment in renewable energy and carbon-neutral industries, analysts said.[Anne Barnard]More: New York’s $226 billion pension fund is dropping fossil fuel stocks New York’s state pension fund to divest most fossil fuel stocks in coming five yearslast_img read more

Open Water

first_img Richmond swimmers train on a calm stretch of the James River. Photo: Jay Peluso Kathleen Wilson swims around Charleston, S.C. Photo: Gary McElveenRichmond swimmers train on a calm stretch of the James River. Photo: Jay PelusoKarah Nazor Friberg hates the TV show River Monsters, which centers around man-eating fish. A show that highlights the vicious underbelly of our waterways hits close to home for Friberg, an accomplished marathon-distance swimmer living in Chattanooga. She spends most of her free time swimming long distances in rivers. The 34-year-old has ticked off some impressive marathon-distance swims, including swimming the English Channel, and she says it’s best not to think about what’s lurking beneath the surface.“In the Tennessee River, it’s catfish. Really big catfish,” Friberg says. “People catch huge ones all the time. They’re the size of Volkswagens. Okay, half the size of Volkswagens. But they’re still scary.”According to Friberg, you can’t think about the catfish, or the sharks, or the cold temperatures or the incredible distances, or any of the concerns that keep most of us out of the water. To swim open water, you have to enter with a clear mind, free of negative thoughts. It’s a process that more and more athletes are discovering as the sport of open water swimming spreads. Every year, more swimmers are crossing bays and lakes and knocking out long stretches of mountain rivers.“I have this urge when I’m at the edge of water to get in and swim straight out,” Friberg says. “I want to swim all the way to the other end. No walls. No boundaries. It’s like backpacking in a wilderness.”She is currently training for a 30-mile relay swim that begins at the Farallon Islands and ends in San Francisco, passing under the Golden Gate Bridge and through “sharky” waters. After that, she’s off to swim 8.5 miles from Maui to Molokai Island, also through sharky waters. Friberg doesn’t like the notion of swimming with sharks, but the fear isn’t strong enough to keep her onshore.“When you’re swimming open water, you’re a part of the elements, probably more so than in any other situation,” she says. “That’s part of the appeal. You’re literally immersed in nature.”That same sense of immersion that attracts Friberg keeps the majority of us out of open water. Americans aren’t in love with swimming. We’re not like Western Europeans, where open water swimming clubs are almost as common as running clubs. According to a Gallup poll commissioned in the late 1990s, 46 percent of American adults are afraid of the deep end of pools, and 64 percent of us are afraid of deep open water, be it an ocean, lake, or river.Richmond-based triathlete Jay Peluso has created an entire coaching business designed to eradicate that fear of open water. “A lot of people aren’t comfortable with being out in a river or a lake. It’s the fear of the unknown,” says Peluso. “Some people freak out when their feet touch the bottom of a river. Or they’re scared of the wildlife. Even some competent pool swimmers are uncomfortable with open water. They’ll start to hyperventilate and panic in the river. What happens is they lose perspective. The water’s murky, there are no black lines or tiles to mark distance. It can be overwhelming.”Even veteran swimmers can be overwhelmed by the enormity of a lengthy open water swim, particularly when swimming in the ocean. Denis Crean is a long-time swimmer who has competed in some of the country’s most lauded and longest open water races. He was training for a pier to pier race in California one day when panic began to take hold.“Those piers stick a half a mile out into the ocean. I was swimming by myself between piers, training for a race. You’ve got nothing to hold onto out there. You’re all alone. All of a sudden, your mind starts playing tricks on you. I was out there and I realized, if I went under, or if something ate me, no one would know. The lifeguards wouldn’t see me. I stopped, looked around, but what do you do? I had to keep swimming to the next pier.”While swim technique and fitness are the foundations of open water success, coping with the mental aspect of swimming great distances is just as important.“Negative thoughts will drag you down,” Crean says. “When you’re swimming 20 miles across a bay, your body is screaming at you to stop and you begin to doubt yourself pretty quickly. You can’t think about the waves, the current, the sharks. You can’t think about how tired you are. If you do, it’s over. Those negative thoughts will act like weights and you’ll sink.”With his budding triathlete clients, Jay Peluso begins developing a solid foundation of swimming technique in the pool, then introduces open water in a comfortable group setting with safety kayakers along for the ride. He’s also developed a local open water race series to give athletes as many chances as possible to dive into the world of open water.“Acclimation is the key to enjoying open water swims,” Peluso says. “The more you do it, the less anxious you’ll be.” 1 2 3center_img Kathleen Wilson swims around Charleston, S.C. Photo: Gary McElveenlast_img read more

Daily Dirt: Great Outdoor Provision Co. Opening, Epic Antarctic Trek, and the End of Snow?

first_imgThis week’s Daily Dirt for February 12th, the day Mattel announced that “Barbie” and “Ken” were officially breaking up:GREAT OUTDOOR PROVISION CO. TO OPEN IN CHARLOTTESVILLECharlottesville outdoor enthusiasts: get excited.This spring, Great Outdoor Provision Co. will bring their first Virginia store to Barracks Road Shopping Center. Founded in 1972, the independent retailer is known for their unique brand of active outdoor retail.“We’re flatted to join this community with its incredible history and appreciation for the outdoors,” said co-owner Chuck Millsaps. “Charlottesville was a natural choice for our first location in Virginia. We share this region’s love for the active outdoor lifestyle along with the commitment to protecting the open spaces that make adventure possible.”The company’s seven other locations in North Carolina frequently partner with local organizations to support youth, trails, and local conservation initiatives. The recipient of Backpacker Magazine‘s 2010 Retailer of the Year Award for Conservation, Great Outdoor Provision Co. prides themselves on conscious conservation efforts while servicing their customer’s drive for adventure. We look forward to their arrival in Charlottesville.TWO EXPLORERS COMPLETE SCOTT’S ANTARCTIC TREKOver 100 years ago, Sir Robert Falcon Scott and his team set off on a frigid journey through Antarctica. The five men reached the South Pole on January 17th, 1912, but all died of hunger and exhaustion on their return.On Monday morning, Ben Saunders, 36, and former rugby player Tarka L’Herpiniere, 32, became the first people in history to ever complete the nearly 1,800-mile trek that Scott attempted years ago. Pulling sleds with more than 440 pounds of gear, the men hiked through wind chills as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit.The two frosty explorers were suited in modern gear from Intel and managed a blog throughout the tundra. You can read their blog here.THE END OF SNOW?On Sunday, Porter Fox posted an editorial to the New York Times outlining some of the most recent estimates of worldwide snowmelt in the wake of complaints about slope conditions in Sochi. Due to high temperatures last year, 16 million cubic feet of snow was stored under insulated blankets to ensure decent levels for Olympics this month. Snow-making guns have been firing non-stop to maintain courses.These facts, coupled with long-range estimates that project dwindling snow-averages, certainly raise an alarm for skiers and boarders.  The planet has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s, leading to greater snow melts. Over the past 47 years, the northern hemisphere has lost over a million square miles of spring snow cover.While you may be one that hesitates about long term predictions and figures, the daunting idea of closing ski resorts would bum out any powder aficionado. Some estimates project that Europe will lose two-thirds of its resorts by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced. In the United States, more than half of the 103 resorts in the Northeast may be unusable in 30 years.Fox raises some interesting notions. No skier wants to see brown peaks. We all want our kids to experience the same joy of deep powder, long runs, and beautiful landscape. We’ve just got to figure out a way to make it happen.last_img read more