China expands air pollution controls, targets coal-intensive steel production

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:China will intensify the elimination of outdated and excessive steel and coke capacity, and continue to control coal consumption in major areas in the coming three years, the State Council said on Tuesday.The State Council’s announcement is the final version of the country’s 2018 to 2020 anti-pollution plan. The plan will expand procedures, such as closing industrial capacity, to clean the air in 82 cities across China from the 28 cities in Hebei province and the cities of Tianjin and Beijing that were subject to the rules previously.The western provinces of Shanxi and Shaanxi, the central province of Henan, and the eastern provinces of Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, along with the region around Shanghai will be included in the new plan.No new capacity for steel, coke and primary aluminum production will be allowed in the expanded regions through 2020, the State Council, the equivalent of China’s cabinet, said.The Council also set a cap for steel capacity in Hebei province, the country’s largest steelmaking province, at 200 million tonnes by 2020.The country will continue to launch anti-pollution measures during the autumn and winter seasons and control total coal consumption in major area from 2018 to 2020, the State Council said.More: China to increase elimination of old steel, coke capacity in 2018-2020: state council China expands air pollution controls, targets coal-intensive steel productionlast_img read more

Coal-heavy Poland looks to expand offshore wind capacity

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first_imgCoal-heavy Poland looks to expand offshore wind capacity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Deutsche Welle:Europe’s fourth-biggest greenhouse gas polluter has given a boost to offshore wind power plans in the Baltic Sea. After its pro-coal rhetoric tarnished the Polish government’s good name, Warsaw is looking to green up.There are about 4,000 offshore wind turbines in EU waters, most in the North Sea, producing 72 percent of the continent’s wind electricity. Turbines in the Irish Sea and the Baltic Sea contribute 16 and 12 percent respectively. But the balance could be about to shift to the Baltic after Poland’s upper house of parliament recently approved the removal of clean-power investment obstacles in a new renewable energy law. And others in the Baltic region are following suit.The Polish electricity transmission system operator PSE said as much as 8 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity could be installed in Poland, with 4 GW of that operational by 2026/27.Meanwhile, state-controlled Polish energy group PGE has seemingly, though not officially, abandoned its plans to oversee the country’s first nuclear power station to focus on wind farms in the Baltic Sea. By diversifying sources used to generate power and incorporating offshore wind, Poland may be able to reduce the share of coal in its energy mix even below the 60 percent currently expected by the government in 2030, Monika Morawiecka, PGE’s director of strategy, said at the Krynica Economic Forum in southern Poland.“The costs of green energy technologies are falling all the time,” Morawiecka said. “They start to be competitively priced in relation to such sources as gas or coal. In Poland, the costs of raising capital for such investments are still higher than in the West, but these differences are gradually decreasing.”More: Poland’s pro-coal government goes greenlast_img read more

Study finds solar-plus-storage already cost competitive across Europe

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:A study co-written by industry figures has put forward new claims of the cost-competitiveness of European solar-plus-storage, amid predictions that grid parity will unfold continent-wide by 2025.In work carried out with the support of PV research institute ETIP PV, researchers examined six solar markets in Europe’s north and south and found levelised costs of electricity (LCOE) fell below average spot prices across all already in 2018. Assuming weighted average costs of capital of 7%, solar grid parity was already present last year in Málaga (LCOEs of €24/MWh), Helsinki (€42/MWh) and cities in four other EU countries, the study said.Solar competitiveness – understood as the gap between average spot market prices and lower PV LCOEs – was most pronounced in high-irradiation Spain and Italy, followed by the UK, France, Germany and Finland, the analysis claimed.The analysts explained their LCOE calculations factored in costs and margins including manufacturing, plant roll-out and O&M. They admitted assessing LCOEs is not challenge-free – “investors do not usually publish their budgets,” they said – and added data had been pulled from BloombergNEF, Solargis and other sources.The findings, the study said, should help steer the ongoing global debate on how to tackle climate change. “Policymakers need to be informed that PV is the cheapest form of electricity, especially if its inherent low…risks are taken into account,” the document added.More: Study touts fresh claims of European solar-plus-storage’s sound economics Study finds solar-plus-storage already cost competitive across Europelast_img read more

Indonesian government plans to replace 11GW of older coal-fired capacity with renewables

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The Indonesian government plans to remove old coal-fired power plants with plants using renewable energy, the country’s Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif said on Thursday.He said the country will replace coal power plants aged 20 years and older.“Perusahaan Listrik Negara is taking inventory of those plants that will be replaced by renewable energy plants,” Tasrif said, referring to the state electricity utility company.He said the government may replace up to 69 units of coal-fired power plants and coal gas-fired power plants, with a combined power capacity of over 11,000 megawatts of electricity.Indonesia, a major coal exporter, uses coal to power around 60% of its electricity needs but the government is aiming to double the contribution of renewables, which include solar power, geothermal and hydropower, among others.[Wilda Asmarini]More: Indonesia plans to replace old coal power plants with renewable plants: minister Indonesian government plans to replace 11GW of older coal-fired capacity with renewableslast_img read more

Indiana utility Vectren charts quick transition away from coal to renewable generation

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:The electric utility serving southern Indiana’s coal country yesterday announced a plan to transition swiftly from coal to renewable energy as part of a strategy it said would save consumers more than $300 million and slash carbon emissions.The plan, announced by Vectren Corp., would reduce the utility’s reliance on coal from 78% this year to just 12% by mid-decade.Vectren, a unit of Houston-based CenterPoint Energy Inc., is the second Indiana utility to announce a massive shift away from coal in the past two years and comes in spite of intense lobbying by Indiana’s coal industry to slow the retirement of aging plants. In late 2018, Northern Indiana Public Service Co. announced a plan to shut its coal fleet within a decade — most of it by 2023 — and replace much of the capacity with renewables.Vectren’s announcement is similar. Under a “preferred portfolio” that’s the core of a 20-year integrated resource plan (IRP), the utility would shutter most of its coal-fired generation by 2023 and add more than 1,000 megawatts of wind energy and solar, some of which would be paired with battery storage.The utility said shutting three coal units will save an estimated $700 million that would be required to meet environmental regulations. Replacing the units with wind and solar energy, meanwhile, will reduce the utility’s carbon emissions by 75%.The Vectren plan represents not just a dramatic shift from the status quo but also a big departure from a previous proposal by the utility to replace much of its coal capacity with a new $900 million natural gas plant. The gas plant proposal was rejected by state regulators, who sent Vectren back to the drawing board.[Jeffrey Tomich]More: 78% to 12% coal: Ind. utility announces renewable shift Indiana utility Vectren charts quick transition away from coal to renewable generationlast_img read more

S&P: U.S. coal exports down 29% through May 2020 compared to 2019

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first_imgS&P: U.S. coal exports down 29% through May 2020 compared to 2019 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The U.S. coal sector is taking another beating as exports to two key markets, Asia and Europe, plunged in the first five months of this year.U.S. exports between January to May totaled 27.6 million tonnes, falling 29.0% from the amount shipped over the same months last year, S&P Global Market Intelligence data show. Of the total, the U.S. shipped 12.4 million tonnes to countries in Asia, down 11.5%, and 8.9 million tonnes to European countries, which also fell 36.3% from the prior year.About 80.2% of the coal exported for steelmaking from the U.S. during the first quarter went to countries in Asia and Europe, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows. However, global steel production has been down about 5% this year through May with steep declines in North America, the European Union and South America, Moody’s analysts add.Among the 20 largest destinations for U.S. coal exports year-to-date, 15 showed year-over-year declines. Shipments to India, where the U.S. shipped the most tonnes through May, fell by 14.0% from the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, other countries such as South Korea, China, Turkey, Singapore, and the Dominican Republic saw year-on-year increases.The downturn in U.S. coal exports could stretch through the end of 2020. In its most recent “Short-Term Energy Outlook” released in early July, the EIA projected that coal exports will fall 32% to 63 million tons this year before recovering and growing by 7% in 2021.U.S. metallurgical coal exports for the calendar year 2020, for instance, are expected to drop by about 10 million tonnes from 2019 levels, according to Jim Truman, Wood Mackenzie’s director for global metallurgical coal markets. “Reductions shouldn’t be too surprising, as the U.S. is the classic swing supplier to the seaborne metallurgical coal markets and overall trade is down, as well as prices,” Truman told S&P Global Market Intelligence in a July 14 email, adding that China and India will be “the most important drivers to the recovery of total seaborne trade.”[Robert Vergara and Stephanie Tsao]More ($): U.S. coal exports through May plunge 29% YOY as COVID bears on global marketslast_img read more

EIA: U.S. on track to add record-setting 23GW of wind capacity in 2020

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first_imgEIA: U.S. on track to add record-setting 23GW of wind capacity in 2020 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享OilPrice.com:The United States is on course to see record-breaking 23 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbine capacity additions this year, smashing the previous record from 2012 by nearly 10 GW, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday.This year wind capacity additions are set to be higher than in previous years because of the impending phase-out of the full value of the U.S. production tax credit (PTC) at the end of 2020.Between January and August, a total of 5 GW of wind turbine generation capacity was installed in the United States, according to data EIA has collected from power plant owners and developers. Another 18.5 GW are coming online between September and December, as it is typical for wind installations to come online at the end of each year, the EIA noted. December is typically the month with the most wind turbine capacity additions, and this year 9.6 GW are planned to come online in the last month of the year. In the previous 10 years, a total of 41 percent of the annual wind capacity additions came online in December.In the third quarter of 2020, the U.S. wind industry installed nearly 2 GW of new wind power capacity, setting a record for third-quarter additions and bringing total American capacity to nearly 112 GW, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said in its latest report at the end of October. U.S. wind installations are on pace for a record year, with capacity additions through the third quarter up by 72 percent compared to the first nine months of 2019.Wind power has increased its share in the U.S. energy mix and in the U.S. renewables sources mix in recent years as renewable energy consumption continues to grow.Renewable energy consumption in the United States continued to rise for the fourth year in a row in 2019. Of the renewable energy used, wind energy—almost exclusively used to produce electricity—accounted for 24 percent of U.S. renewable energy consumption. Last year, wind beat hydropower to become the most used renewable electricity generation source.[Charles Kennedy]More: U.S. wind capacity additions set to surge to record in 2020last_img read more

New Year’s Day Hike on C&O Canal Towpath

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first_imgThe holidays can mean many things to many people. For some it’s family, for others it’s a time of reflection, but one thing is virtually unavoidable during this time of year: packing on the pounds. Of course, there are fitness freaks out there that can resist the onslaught of cookies, candy canes, and eggnog that tempt us around every corner; who stick to their regimen despite the in-laws visiting – or maybe because of it – the presents that have to be wrapped, and the wassailing that must be done. Leave these people to their devises, they are missing out on the best part of this week. The holiday season is all about gorging yourself right before the end of the year, then resolving to live a healthier life in the next 365 days – or at least 358 or so until the holidays role around again. Well, the binging is over and now it’s time to get back to work. Get started on that New Year’s Resolution by kicking off the year with a gentle 10-mile Rails to Trails hike to ease back into working out, and working off those holiday love handles.Begin the year on a fitness high note with the Thirty-Ninth Annual New Year’s Day Hike on C&O Canal Towpath in Washington, D.C. This casual hike will get you back into the workout cycle without causing too much physical or psychological damage.View Larger Maplast_img read more

Green Racers: Tighten Up!

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first_imgThe Green Race started as a legendary day in which a few local paddlers lined up at the top of the “monster mile” to test their personal limits and earn bragging rights. A self-regulated community, that elite group of paddlers was able to vet newcomers and make sure they weren’t getting in over their heads.Now in its 18th year, that tight-knit style cannot be maintained with thousands of paddlers running the Green every year. As a result, there is a new term that I am hearing far too often in the same breath as Green Race: shit show.Last year, I realized that I was more nervous spectating than I was racing. I sat below the crux of the race, Gorilla, and cringed as I witnessed some horrific lines. One after another, paddlers pinballed down, sometimes upright and sometimes on their heads. Many lacked basic kayak survival skills, like the ability to orient and drive their boat to safety, surf out of a hole, or even roll. I’m not sure what steps transpired to get them there, but had I been asked individually about their readiness for the Green Race, I would have told at least a third of the field that they should keep practicing and wait for another year. Fortunately, in spite of the bad lines and 20-plus swims, every paddler came out of the experience without injury.Five-time women’s champion, Adriene Levknecht, sums up this trend well: “I’ve been racing the Green for seven years, and every year has been sketchier than the last.”So, at the heart of it, why are people paddling over their ability levels?Photo: Renee BombardierPhoto: Renee BombardierRace organizer John Grace suggested one possibility. “The safety during Green Race day is unparalleled. That live bait rescue system is on display to all spectators and aspiring racers, and paddlers believe that no matter what happens on race day, ‘they’ve got me.’ This mentality breeds complacency, and paddlers do irresponsible things like run Gorilla for their first time ever on race day.”Unqualified paddlers may also get drawn up in the energy and aura of the race. The put-in speech by figurehead Jason Hale is nothing short of legendary, and I can’t blame aspiring athletes who want a piece of that bedrock coliseum with 1000+ spectators. It’s easy to get drawn into this energy, especially when it involves peer pressure from buddies, and the desire to add that fantastic and universally recognizable accomplishment to the resume.“The number of new competitors has consistently averaged 35% of total racers over the past five years,” says John Pilson, keeper of the Green Race Information Page. “I love the race so much, but during a time of alarming spike in whitewater fatalities, it’s unsettling to witness that carnage during race day.”The issue is particularly precarious this year because of the high water levels. The Green could be at over two times the normal flow for the race. This is thrilling news for top athletes, but it does not bode well for the borderline racers. The river turns into a liquid locomotive: the holes get bigger, the rapids more continuous, and the ability to help paddlers in trouble drops dramatically. That safety net that so many rely on is simply not there at high water.So what is the answer?This challenge has been dealt with in other top-level races by creating an invitation board or a qualifying round. Races such as The North Fork Championship, Sickline World Championships, and the Whitewater Grand Prix all have some form of screening process before paddlers are allowed to compete. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of these steps, because those races all see minimal carnage.While this is an option, part of the draw to the Green Race is its grassroots nature. This race has always been completely free to enter, has no cash on the line for the winner, and has no specific protocol for spectators, yet it is among the most prestigious races in the world to win. Grace sums up balancing that heritage with managing its growing pains:“Every year, we tighten up the Green Race just a bit. Whether that is through insurance, safety, or media, we work to improve it so that it can be sustainable. After watching what happened last year, the next step may be some kind of intervention. If competitors can’t clean it up and self-regulate, our hand will be forced to create an application process.”This is simple self-preservation. If unqualified racers continue to compete, math dictates that a serious accident or death is likely to occur. To protect organizers and the race itself, people must start making honest assessments about their own abilities to run the course smoothly under pressure. If they are incapable of doing this, other steps will be taken.Of course, class V whitewater is inherently unpredictable, and no one can have smooth lines 100 percent of the time. I have swum during Green Race practice, and many great paddlers have done the same during the event. It happens sometimes. As Jeff Paine, racer and American Whitewater staffer says, “Even with several hundred laps on the Green, each year I think critically about my readiness to race. If I’m not ready, I could put myself, other competitors and safety crew in danger.”Fortunately we have some incredible personalities in the sport who are leading the way. Rafa Ortiz recently announced that, in spite of huge investment of time and sponsorship dollars, his would-be first kayak descent of Niagara Falls didn’t feel right, and he was pulling the plug. Robin Betz, long-time Green Racer, decided at the last minute in 2008 that she didn’t feel right about racing, and chose to follow her gut and spectate instead. She was the defending champion at the time. These are the types of decisions that are overlooked, but are infinitely important for the next generation to hear and think about.Paddlers call Green Race “the greatest show in sports.” It will continue to be a huge source of pride for its local community only if we can collectively work to glorify good decisions and honest self-assessment.  Let’s race the Green at high water this fall, and let’s do it well.The 18th annual Green Race will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2nd, 2013 at 12 noon.last_img read more

Top 5 Outdoor Activities for Beginners

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first_imgTop 5 Outdoor Sports for Beginners and AmateursOutdoor sports for beginners and amateurs include some of the activities we did engage in while growing up. They are easy to do, not much training is required, and the sporting gear isn’t costly – you can get it in your local store or online. Are you considering participating in an outdoor sport but don’t have an idea which one? Well, you’re in the right place. We took the liberty of identifying the top 5 outdoor ideal sports for beginners and amateurs. These outdoor activities are easy to do and will not require much regarding sporting gear except for the basics which we have highlighted.Race Walking, Sports for AmateursRace walking sports for beginners is an excellent outdoor activity. It’s different from running, as race walking demands that one foot is in contact with the ground at all times. It doesn’t require much with regards to training and sporting gear. You can train for free. Several online platforms offer free training regimen which you can comfortably adapt while in your home. The other advantage of race walking is that you won’t have to invest a lot in the sporting gear. All you require is an excellent pair of walking or running shoes and moisture-wicking clothing. You’ll need quality walking shoes that fit well and can sustain long walking distances. The attire needs to be moisture wicking to keep your body cool at all times. If you’re working with a limited budget, you’ll be just fine.SwimmingLike race walking, swimming will not require much investing in sporting gear. You’ll need to have access to a pool. There are several options to choose from, you can;Visit the city poolGym poolBe living in a condo with a poolWhatever your options, access to a pool will not be costly. Training will be provided as needed, and it’s not expensive. You’ll require other sporting gear such as a bathing suit, swim cap, and goggles. Other items are usually available at the pool such as flutter boards.CyclingLearning how to cycle is like a rite of passage for most kids. By the age of 6 or 7, a lot of us already knew how to cycle. Although at some point, as we grow older, we rarely cycle as we once did; it’s one of those skills that’s hard to forget. You’ll not require much training, and if you do, it will be free. Sporting gear will be slightly costly, with majority of the investment going towards buying a bike. You’ll also require a helmet – often comes with the bike, moisture-wicking top, and cycling shorts.Trail Running Sports for BeginnersAlthough trail running can be complex sports for beginners, there are ways to make it work for them. Since it’s your first time, you can start on flat grounds, not on technical terrains like mountains. In simple terms, begin by jogging on your local trails. It could be a jog through the local park or around the neighborhood. Training is free as you can do so outside at no fee. The sporting gear is also not costly. You’ll need a pair of comfortable running shoes, moisture-wicking attire, and a cap if necessary.You can opt for a triathlon activity. Combine the race walking, swimming, cycling and running, and you’re good to go!ClimbingClimbing is one of those activities that will challenge the brain while at the same time offer training for the whole body. Considering that all the sporting goods will be available in your local climbing store, you can opt to rent since it’s cheaper. The essential sporting gear will be climbing shoes that fit just perfect.ConclusionThese outdoor activities are simple and easy to do. They don’t require much training with much of the investment going to sporting gear which you can find in your local outdoor gear store. Ever tried any of these outdoor sports for amateurs? Let us know which ones worked for you.About the author: Catherine Wiley has found herself as a freelance writer. Her expertise is writing about outdoor sports and best gear reviews at https://gearexpertguides.com/last_img read more