Coal plant retirements undercut Trump bailout plans FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clean Technica:President Trump has publicly made quite a few comments about bringing coal jobs back, but his verbiage isn’t making much of a dent in the declining coal industry. In fact, a very large number of American coal power plants will be closing in 2018. “The real story I believe is in coal retirements. [T]he fundamentals of the economics of coal have gotten worse, with costs going up, while the competition for coal — that is, gas, wind and solar — has all gotten cheaper,” said Bruce Hamilton, a director at Navigant.Natural gas costs less than coal, solar power is at its most affordable, wind power can be more affordable than new coal, and energy storage is emerging to support renewables.“Coal jobs aren’t coming back, due to market forces, not due to regulation. Natural gas is cheaper and more plentiful,” explained James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at West Virginia University College of Law.To make matters worse, the President seems to be very uninformed about the coal industry. “Trump claims West Virginia is exporting “clean coal” to China. But this is wrong for two reasons. One, in 2015 and 2016, West Virginia exported virtually no coal to China. Two, there is no such thing as “clean coal.”More: Coal power plants retiring quickly during Trump administration
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Live Mint:NTPC Ltd will help Mali develop a 500 MW solar power park, a statement by the state-owned power generator said Wednesday. India’s largest power generation utility has been awarded the project management consultancy contract by the West African nation, making it the second country after Togo to do so.This comes in the backdrop of Indian state-owned firms including Solar Energy Corporation of India’s plan to land overseas business under the aegis of International Solar Alliance (ISA), as China continues to co-opt countries into its ambitious One Belt One Road initiative.According to information reviewed by Mint, of the 500 MW solar park capacity, 450 MW will be connected to Mali’s national power grid.With an installed capacity of 62 GW, NTPC is targeting similar contracts to help set up 10 giga watt (GW) capacity in ISA member countries, NTPC said in the statement. NTPC accounts for nearly a fifth of India’s installed power generation capacity of 370 GW.ISA is the first treaty-based international government organization headquartered in India and is increasingly being viewed as a foreign policy tool. Its strategy is to leverage the demand from the member countries to reduce costs by aggregating the demand from member nations and then call for tenders. It has aggregated demand for solar pumps, rooftops, mini-grids, parks and home systems that require around $5 billion of financing requirement.“Solar parks are being showcased as a best practice from India which had started solar parks as a novel concept and has commissioned a number of projects, thus bringing down cost of solar energy substantially, bringing in investment, creating employment and benefitting the environment in the process,” the statement said.[Utpal Bhaskar]More: NTPC to help Mali develop 500 MW solar park India’s NTPC tapped to help Mali develop 500MW solar park
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享MiBiz:DTE Energy plans to significantly expand its solar energy portfolio in the next two years to support growing corporate demand for renewable energy contracts.The Detroit-based utility announced Tuesday that it expects to bring online an additional 420 megawatts of solar power by 2022 as part of its MIGreenPower program, a voluntary renewable energy purchasing program available to all customers. The company would add another 377 MW through 2025, according to a filing with state regulators.The two-year buildout — subject to Michigan Public Service Commission approval — would expand the utility’s solar capacity nearly 10-fold.DTE and Michigan’s other large investor-owned utility, Jackson-based Consumers Energy, have proposed voluntary renewable energy program expansions pending at the MPSC. In recent years, the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council — along with its corporate members — have raised concerns about program prices and the way proposed contracts are structured.MEIBC President Laura Sherman said the group is reviewing DTE’s latest proposal, but said it suggests growing interest in renewable energy contracts.“DTE’s proposal to expand its MIGreenPower program is additional proof that renewable energy is the cheapest form of new energy,” Sherman said. “It’s also continuing evidence that corporations, universities, communities, and individuals want to purchase renewable energy. We look forward to reviewing the proposal to ensure that it represents the most reasonable path forward and that best practices for competition are followed.”[Andy Balaskovitz]More: DTE Energy plans major two-year solar energy buildout to meet corporate demand Michigan utility DTE Energy to add 420MW of solar in next two years
The most unique concert hall in the Southeast—if not the world—rests some 300 feet below the Cumberland Plateau and just outside McMinnville, Tenn. Carved by millions of years of underground river flow, the Volcano Room, one of the caves that make up the labyrinth of Cumberland Caverns, has become home to the monthly concert series known as Bluegrass Underground.Stage in a CaveIn the 50-odd years that Cumberland Caverns has been open to the public, thousands of visitors have passed through the Volcano Room, but it was a recent visit by music fan Todd Mayo that led to the series genesis. “My wife and I were like so many other visitors going down to the caverns,” says Mayo. “We went through the Volcano Room and we were awed by its majesty. It’s spectacular. Being a music fan, I asked the tour guide if they ever had live music down there. They had not. We finished the tour and I wouldn’t shut up about it. I’d had ideas about shows before, but at that moment it crystallized.”Mayo gained the support of legendary WSM Radio—the home of the Grand Ole Opry—and enlisted the help of Grammy-winning sound engineer Phil Harris. It soon became obvious to all involved that they were on to something incredible. Says Harris, “The natural acoustics in the Volcano Room rival the finest studios in Nashville. Taken with the cave’s natural features and 350 million years of evolution, there isn’t another performance space like it anywhere on the planet.”Both musicians and audiences alike have been taken with the opportunity to participate in a subterranean concert. Bluegrass phenoms The Infamous Stringdusters played the series’ third show in November, and bass player Travis Book noted that it was unlike anything the band had ever done before. “Playing in the cave was completely surreal,” he says. “Being underground brought about a lack of distraction, and the sense that what we were doing at that moment was so completely unique—unlike anything else that was going on in the world at the time—made it truly special.”Mayo has heard audience members echo these sentiments. “We’re really pleased with the audience response,” he says. “It’s amazing to see the looks on their faces. It’s a musical adventure because most of the people that come to the Volcano Room have never done anything like this before. I’ve been told more than once that it is almost a spiritual experience. That tells me we’re off to a good start.”
Week 7 is now over, which means here is week 8, the final week we will be giving away lift passes to Wintergreen Resort!Each week we will give away 2 weekday lift passes (valid Monday-Thursday) to one lucky individual, so 16 in total over 8 weeks.To sweeten the deal, we are also giving away a pair of Atlas Snowshoes (a $170 value) with the tickets!This giveaway is now closed, but enter the Race Ahead Giveaway for free race entries!Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 noon EST on March 1st, 2013. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and Wintergreen Resort reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before March 15th, 6:00 PM EST 2013. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received.
Old Man Winter reminded us this weekend that spring is still a few weeks away. I welcome the return of snow and cold, as it tends to sharpen my anticipation of spring’s arrival. To stay warm and dry on blustery days, it’s important to give some thought to base layer selection. My preference for base layers is merino wool. The great thing about wool, specifically, merino wool, is that it keeps you warm on cold days and cool on warm days. Icebreaker offers a variety of merino wool base layers to keep you comfortable out on the trail. One of my current favorites is the Oasis V Dusk from the Icebreaker Bodyfit 200 Lightweight line. This top is in the middle temperature range of the Bodyfit line, making it a perfect choice for cool days. The Oasis V Dusk top has a flattering stay-put fit and is great paired with a puffy vest for a hike or worn alone as a base layer. Icebreaker has added a cool color transition on this shirt, which gives it a unique and flattering look. It is my go-to layer for cold weather hikes, trail runs or for making turns down the slopes at Beech Mountain. Icebreaker claims that you can wear this top for ten days stink free days before washing, although admittedly I have not put it to the stink test. One thing I do know, is that it will resist odors a lot better than any synthetic competitors. MSRP $89.99To keep toes toasty on cold weather hikes, runs and mountain bike rides, I look to wool as well. Icebreaker Hike Crew socks provide a comfortable fit for winter activities. The merino wool socks can be worn on all day adventures with no reduction in comfort or warmth. If you think wool is itchy, you have not experienced the soft warmth of merino wool. No itch at all. Best thing about these socks is that they come with a 30 day money back guarantee. You’ll be convinced after your first hike or run in these socks that they are worth the investment. Icebreaker has the added benefit of providing true sizing in their socks, which come in Small – Large. This provides for a more accurate and comfortable fit for feet of all sizes. Finally, the Hike Crew socks are thick enough that you will not blow through them in a season or even two. They will come to be your favorite hiking socks for many seasons to come. MSRP $19.99
The Catawba River was recently named the most endangered river in the country. It stretches from the mountains of North Carolina to the Wateree Watershed in South Carolina and then to the Atlantic Ocean. From source to sea, it flows over 400 miles. Along the way, it meets several challenges: coal ash ponds, dams, agricultural draws, nutrient and sewage spills and recreation and drinking water needs for a growing population.One man is working to protect the river. His name is Rick Gaskins, a Harvard educated environmental lawyer and the executive director of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation.Just how bad is the Catawba currently?In 2008, American Rivers, an organization that works to protect America’s waterways, rated the Catawba as America’s Most Endangered River (download the PDF report here). Plus, just this year, American Rivers rated the Catawba as the fifth worst river in the United States due to coal ash pollution. In 2010 and 2012, The Southern Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit that uses the law to fight for protection of the Southeastern environment, listed the Catawba River as one of the top ten endangered places in the Southeast. In 2011, the Union of Concerned Scientists, an organization that uses science to push for policy change, found, due to power plants, that the Catawba was the fourth most stressed river in the United States.Which sections of the Catawba are in the worst shape? That is hard to answer. If the standard is whether the Catawba is fishable, for example, then one hundred percent of the basin fails to meet the unrestricted fishability standard. There are fish advisories throughout the Catawba basin for excessive levels of mercury in some types of fish. Burning coal is the primary source for most mercury found in the water. High levels of mercury affect the neurological development of children and can cause learning disabilities and other lifelong disabilities. High levels of mercury are especially toxic to children and pregnant women.Is the river getting better or worse? There is some improvement. For example, Charlotte has worked hard to restore the natural state of the tributaries to the Catawba, even instituting buffer areas. Also, some sewage plants are doing better treating sewage. However, the overall trend is not good.Do you ever use litigation to help protect the Catawba?At times we use litigation to solve issues, but that is our last resort. Our first step is to talk to the source of the problem. If the source does not correct the issue, then we contact the appropriate regulatory body, hoping for an enforcement action.We’re currently involved in litigation against the North Carolina Department of Transportation to stop a proposed toll road that would potentially damage water over discharges from coal ash lakes into Mountain Island Lake, part of the Catawba River. This discharge is a direct threat to Charlotte’s drinking water.How about lobbying legislators? We aren’t large enough to have paid lobbyists, but we encourage members to use grassroots lobbying. We get information to our volunteers so they can talk to their legislators. When there is a bill that directly affects the waterway, then the foundation might rent a van and take volunteers to their legislators in Raleigh.Is it true that the Catawba could run out of water?Current projections are that the region’s demand for water will exceed our quantity of water by the year 2048. Industry and agriculture must use less water. Forty-eight percent of the water consumed from the Catawba is used for cooling power plants. This can and should be reduced. Also, a big chunk of the water is consumed by towns outside the basin. In short, these towns want water from the Catawba River, but they don’t return water to the Catawba. This must be regulated.What are the biggest threats to the Catawba? Coal-burning power plants and their coal ash waste storage. On any scale, coal ash ponds surrounding the Catawba are given the highest hazard potential. Other major water quality problems are by-products of poor development practices that result in large amounts of polluted storm water, poor treatment of sewage, and excessive water usage. Sewage spills and inadequate treatment of sewage are also a major problem. Sewage systems fail with regularity. State regulators are underfunded; one inspector might be responsible for thousands of sites. And even when current regulations are enforced, they are not enough to maintain a high level of water quality.How do dams affect the river and its natural environment? There are 14 dams along the length of the Catawba. These are primarily used to generate electricity and to create a source of cooling water for thermoelectric power plants. Power plants use the water for cooling, then they dump hot water into the Catawba after using it.There are sections of the Catawba that rest between two power plants, one upstream and one downstream. During peak power usage this particular section will have little to no water flow. In fact, it might have backward flow if the power plant upstream is larger than the plant downstream.
I first met Stephen Murray six or seven years ago when he and his band, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, rolled into Bristol, Tenn., for a performance. Murray and friends were blending Dixieland jazz with Beatles-era psychedelic rock and putting on one of the most energetic live shows I had seen in a long, long while.Along with being banjo player, guitar picker, and singer for Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Murray can now add solo artist to his resume. Last month he released The Backlot Sessions, his first solo effort. A collection of nine tunes he recorded with an ensemble called The Backlot Collective, The Backlot Sessions is an absolutely dandy of a record. Just check out “Sweet Stephanie,” which is featured on this month’s Trail Mix.Trail Mix recently caught up with Stephen Murray to chat about guitars, the North Country, and songwriting.Blue Ride Outdoors – You are no stranger to recording, but this is your first record without your mates in Holy Ghost Tent Revival. How was this experience different from recording with the band?Stephen Murray – I had nine songs in mind and I wanted to release them as soon as possible. With the band, we let songs build up over time and cultivate them and take turns arranging and writing parts. We can let a song sit for months before we think it’s ready for the studio. This project was all of the same, just warped into a two month period. The group I worked with, called The Backlot Collective, followed the structure of the tunes but changed them into what they are now simply by bringing their ideas to the table. We never really discussed who should play what or if a part wasn’t right. We just let the process unfold organically.BRO – We are featuring “Sweet Stephanie” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?SM – It’s a song I wrote years ago about my wife. Originally, it was a ragtime tune with a two-beat feel. My wife called me one day and said, “I keep hearing this song as a rock & roll number with big horns and heavy drums.” Since I already had a ragtime tune, “Cabin, Captain, Cabin,” worked out for the record, I thought this was a good move. Lyrically, it’s a simple song. There’s a line that starts, “Oh, the coast of Carolina,” which was originally about time I spent with my wife at her family’s beach house, which ended up being where we got married.BRO – What’s the most listened to track on your iPod right now?SM – I don’t have an iPod, and I just now got a working phone, but I’ve got Willie Nelson’s Redheaded Stranger on my turntable right now.BRO – You originally hail from Canada. Favorite band from your homeland?SM – The Band. Even though they are thought of as an American rock band, there were four members from up north. They’re my favorite.BRO – Tell me about your favorite guitar.SM – It’s a 1976 Rickenbacker 360. It’s the guitar I normally play with Holy Ghost Tent Revival and mainly what I am playing on this record. Mmmmmmm . . . . . it’s beautiful.BRO – If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?SM – I really don’t know. I think about that a lot, but I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Sometimes I daydream about having a farmhouse with a studio, but that’s still making music. I used to be an actor, so maybe I’d try to get back into that.BRO – Best place to grab a beer in Greensboro?SM – My house. We’ll have you over and play cards.Stephen, you might want to be careful with those invites. I just might show up. In the meantime, I am going to keep spinning The Backlot Sessions, and I highly recommend that all of you out there grab your own copy.You can download the record right now at www.stephenmurray.bandcamp.com/ or send in an order for a copy of the disc at stephenmurraymusic.com. Also, keep your eyes peeled for when Stephen drops by your town for a solo show or a gig with Holy Ghost Tent Revival. You’ll want to be there.
Late summer into fall is looking like high season for new releases. Here are four upcoming albums we can’t wait to hear.Langhorne Slim & the Law The Spirit MovesRelease Date: August 7Since his last release, 2012’s The Way We Move, folk-rock showman Langhorne Slim (real name Sean Scolnick) has undergone some pretty major life transformations. He moved from the West Coast to East Nashville, became completely sober, and ended some rocky relationships. Call it plenty of fodder for an open-hearted tunesmith, as lead single, the mellow highway cruiser “Changes” leaves little mystery about Slim’s headspace as he sings: “Things could be stranger, but I don’t know how. I’m going through changes now.”Steep Canyon RangersRadioRelease Date: August 28The Steep Canyon Rangers continue to step outside the boundaries of the traditional bluegrass persona they created as one of North Carolina’s favorite bands over the past decade and a half. The new Radio, produced by dobro legend Jerry Douglas, finds the group further branching into different areas of roots music. Banjo player Graham Sharp told the Wall Street Journal: “Radio travels the dial from top to bottom. The album tunes into the rock channel for a little while, then the blues, then country, pop and, of course, bluegrass.”Phil CookSouthland MissionRelease Date: September 11Phil Cook is best known as a member of the inventive indie folk trio Megafaun, a lauded band from the North Carolina Triangle with an uncertain future. He’s recently been on tour with Hiss Golden Messenger and not long ago teamed with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon in the bluesy garage-rock side project The Shouting Matches. Now Cook is stepping out on his own with a new solo album, Southland Mission. Leading single “Great Tide” has a gospel-rock vibe with melodic slide guitar, a hopping Second Line beat, and the soothing harmonies that made Megafaun so enjoyable.Widespread Panic Street DogsRelease Date: September 25Earlier this year Panic hunkered down at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, N.C., to make its first studio album in five years. During the sessions the Southern jam stalwarts were without founding drummer Todd Nance, who’s been on hiatus since last fall due to undisclosed personal reasons. Filling in ever since has been Duane Trucks—nephew of the Allman Brothers’ Butch Trucks and brother of guitar ace Derek—who’s proven to be a nimble, energetic replacement in the live setting. This should translate on the new record, which includes some road-tested new tunes like “Street Dogs for Breakfast” and the New Orleans-inspired rocker “Cease Fire.” The album’s 12 tracks also feature some interesting covers—lending Panic’s patented Dixie groove bent to Alan Price’s “Sell Sell,” Murray McLauchlan’s “Honky Red,” and Willie Dixon’s “Taildragger.”
Twisted Highway Erika Wennerstrom 3:32 Best Days Lissie Strongest Son Madam West Missing Pieces Mermaid Motor Lounge 3:44 3:13 3:48 Presidential Silver Lining John Craigie American High The Barons Let’s Go To Mars Barrence Whitfield & The Savages 4:03 2:59 5:30 Sound of the South Whiskey Wolves of the West 4:02 How Long (Until I See The Sun Again?) Birch Pereira & The Gin Joints 3:37 3:20 4:35 3:05 4:57 4:03 Untitled God Song Haley Heynderickx 3:30 For fifteen years, Erika Wennerstrom has been traveling the roads with Austin-based roots rockers The Heartless Bastards. She and her mates in the Bastards have been drawing critical praise since they first played a note, playing to big crowds across the country, but Wennerstrom felt the call do something more with her music.Later this month, Sweet Unknown, Wennerstrom’s aptly named debut solo release, drops on Partisan Records. This new record, which pushes her into the unknown territory of solo artist, marks Wennerstrom’s hiatus from The Heartless Bastards, though the band is not breaking up. Instead, this solo endeavor simply allows her to explore some songs that were ready to be written and sung outside of the Bastards’ dynamic.Featured this month on Trail Mix is “Twisted Highway,” a bad ass rocker that certainly proves Erika Wennerstrom made the right call in chasing her muse.A killer addition to this month’s Trail Mix is acoustic dynamo Hot Club Sandwich. Hailing from Olympia, Washington, the band released it’s fifth record last month, and the mix is happy to include “New Gravy Waltz,” one of many tracks from the record featuring the crazy good licks of mandolin maestro David Grisman.It’s always fun to discover songwriters who are the top of their craft, and this month’s features many artists new to my ears. Allman Brown, Jeff Hyde, Lissie, Courtney Marie Andrews,and Jeff Bryant are all artists on constant shuffle now that they have crossed the Trail Mix radar.The mix welcomes back some good friends this month, too. Returning with new cuts are soulful rockers Barrence Whitfield & The Savages, rootsy grass act Parsonsfield, and singer/songwriter John Craigie.Be sure check out new tunes from Echo Bloom, Whiskey Wolves of the West, Haley Heynderickx, The Barons, Birch Pereira & The Gin Joints, and Madam West.Lots of great stuff coming up this month on the Trail Mix blog, too. Chats with 6 String Drag, Vivian Leva, Mermaid Motor Lounge, and Toubab Krewe are all in the pipeline.And, of course, be sure to spread the word about all of the great artists you are hearing on Trail Mix. Don’t be shy. Don’t keep it a secret. These tunes are too good to be kept on the down low. Get out and buy some of these records and support the artist who keep Trail Mix in your ears each and every month. Audio PlayerBirch Pereira & The Gin JointsHow Long (Until I See The Sun Again?)Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.00:000:00 / 3:56 Henry Ford Jeff Hyde Song for Steven Echo Bloom Bury My Heart Allman Brown 2:53 3:59 New Gravy Waltz Hot Club Sandwich Grace Jeff Bryant Copy and paste this code to your site to embed. 4:35 Kick Out The Windows Parsonsfield Time Is Everything (Featuring Riley Calcagno) Vivian Leva Kindness Of Strangers Courtney Marie Andrews 3:56 3:07 Embed Ghost 6 String Drag That Damn Squash Toubab Krewe