13,000-Home Kayenta Solar Project Comes Online as Closure Looms for Navajo Coal Power Plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:A giant array of solar panels near the famed sandstone buttes of Monument Valley has begun producing electricity for the Navajo Nation at a time when the tribe is bracing for the loss of hundreds of jobs from the impending closure of a nearby coal-fired power plant.The Kayenta Solar Facility is the first utility-scale solar project on the Navajo Nation, producing enough electricity to power about 13,000 Navajo homes.The plant comes at a time when the area’s energy landscape is shifting.The coal-fired Navajo Generating Station near Page is set to close in December 2019, leaving a site that both tribal and private entities say has potential for renewable energy development.The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, which owns the solar plant, said the project advances clean energy on the reservation long known for fossil fuel development, the Arizona Daily Sun reported (http://bit.ly/2wj3fsc ).Walter Haase, general manager of the tribal utility, said the plant proves to investors, developers and tribal communities that renewable energy projects are possible on the reservation. Economic development often is hampered by the lack of infrastructure, required environmental clearances and consent from anyone holding a permit or lease for use of the land.Before the solar facility, “we had a reputation in the industry of not being able to get something built or brought online,” Haase said.The town of Kayenta benefited, too. The contractor hired and trained about 200 Navajos to build the plant, said Deenise Becenti, a spokeswoman for the tribal utility, leaving a qualified workforce for other projects.The tribal utility avoided passing on the $60 million cost of the solar plant to its customers through federal solar investor tax credits, said Glenn Steiger, project manager for the solar farm. A two-year power purchase and renewable energy credit agreement with the Salt River Project will cover loan repayments for the plant’s construction, Steiger said.The tribal utility is working on extending the agreement.Navajo solar plant breaks new ground
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享NBC News:Puerto Rico is officially moving to privatize and upgrade its outdated power grid exactly 9 months after it was flattened by Hurricane Maria.At a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Ricardo Rosselló signed into law the approved legislation that allows parts of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority—known as PREPA in English and by the acronym AEE in Spanish—to be sold to private entities.The power authority has been a monopoly that practically abandoned maintenance of the electrical system’s infrastructure over the past decade. Over the last five years, the financially strapped entity was operating with a third of its employees, and these were mostly workers in charge of the grid’s maintenance.During his announcement, Rosselló described Puerto Rico’s current power system as an expensive, oil- dependent, polluting grid that’s three decades older than an average U.S. electrical utility. He said a combination of these factors have hurt economic development efforts in the island for years, so he hopes to change the pattern with the newly signed law. The governor explained that privatization efforts are taking place in two stages: power generation and distribution.“In terms of generation, we’re going to the market to either privatize it or develop a public-private partnership,” Rosselló said. In terms of the power distribution, he said that ideally “the assets would belong to the state and a consortium of companies would be handling the distribution.”According to Rosselló, the Puerto Rican government has 180 days to “stipulate public policy” that would guide PREPA’s privatization process and detail “the energy model we aspire to have in Puerto Rico”. Puerto Rico’s Legislature is expected to maintain control of the process that would establish and approve PREPA sales contracts. Contracts are set to be evaluated in 45 days or less. Once approved by both senators and representatives, board members of the island’s Authority of Public-Private Partnerships will have the final decision on how assets will be assigned and distributed.More: Puerto Rico’s new law moves to privatize power grid nine months after Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico moves forward with utility privatization
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:A year after Elon Musk rolled out what was then the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery to aid South Australia’s blackout-prone power grid, more projects are set to follow in its footsteps at home and abroad.The Hornsdale storage facility — the result of Musk’s successful wager that he could build and get it up and running within 100 days — has helped the state stabilize the grid, avoid outages and lower costs. Its success is a boost to other plants commissioned around the world, including a larger one in South Korea.The battery system is designed to overcome one of the main obstacles to renewable energy taking a bigger role globally: reliability falters when the wind stops blowing or the sun goes down. Batteries store up power and then release it steadily to the grid when generation stalls.The storage industry is increasingly important in places like South Australia, which has less access to traditional fossil-fuel sources like coal and gas. Hornsdale has performed an important function in providing frequency control services and its “speed and laser precision in response to system events has been encouraging,” the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) said in an emailed response to questions.The plant earned Neoen about 8.1 million euros ($9.2 million) in the first half of 2018 from a supply contract with the South Australian government and independent sales of stored electricity, helping to pay back some of its 56 million euro price tag. It has also contributed to an almost 75 percent drop in the cost of ancillary services to the grid, according to Bloomberg NEF.The big question for the renewables industry is whether battery storage can be expanded to shore up baseload generation, as fossil fuels’ dominance in the power mix declines. Neoen’s Heron said battery storage was “absolutely scaleable,” and the company has plans for at least two more battery storage facilities in Australia. Liberty House chief Sanjeev Gupta wants to eclipse Hornsdale with an 120 megawatt plant in South Australia.More: Musk’s Outback success points to bright future for battery storage A year in, Tesla’s big Australian battery proves viability of energy storage
Proposed New England power projects reflect ‘dramatic shift’ from gas to renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:About 95% of nearly 21GW of energy resources currently proposed for the New England region are grid-scale wind, solar and battery projects, according to the Independent System Operator of New England (ISO-NE).The number “reflects a dramatic shift” in the grid operator’s interconnection queue, ISO-NE president and CEO Gordon van Welie said in a press call on Friday. Five years ago, the majority of projects sought by developers were natural gas resources, he said.While not all of the projects in the queue will be developed, the shift “signals that that’s the type of project that developers are seeking to propose or to bring forward,” Anne George, ISO-NE’s VP of external affairs and corporate communications, said on the call.The makeup of the proposed 20,927MW includes 68% wind, 15% solar and 11% battery storage. Natural gas makes up only 5% or 1,037 MW. Developers are asking ISO-NE to study proposals for many more potential projects as well.In 2016, natural gas made up 63% of the queue, with wind representing 33% of the 13,000MW of total proposed generation. In 2015, the interconnection queue had about 10,000MW of proposed projects — 57% natural gas and 42% wind.[Iulia Gheorghiu]More: Wind, solar and storage take up 95% of ISO-New England interconnection queue, marking ‘dramatic shift’
South Korea’s Doosan Heavy, SK E&C link up to target floating offshore wind projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Doosan Heavy Industries will link with compatriot infrastructure giant SK Engineering & Construction (SK E&C) to develop and equip floating wind projects, in another move by South Korea’s industrial heavyweights to grab a share of what’s set to be a huge build-out off its coasts. SK E&C will develop projects, including obtaining licences, and Doosan Heavy “manufacture key equipment” for the wind farms under the joint push, described as a “technical cooperation agreement”.For Doosan Heavy the announcement marks a big statement of ambition in floating wind by the power systems giant, which is currently undergoing a major corporate restructuring that will see it pivot to renewables as part of a bail-out by the South Korean government. Doosan Heavy is working on an 8MW turbine and said it would invest in R&D and production facilities to support growth of its floating wind business.Inwon Park, CEO of Doosan Heavy’s Plant EPC business group, said: “Given the rising interest in floating offshore wind farms, the signing of this agreement will open up more business opportunities for us in the market. We will endeavor to successfully pursue the floating offshore wind power business, including projects in the Ulsan and Southeast region of Korea, where we expect to see phased growth starting in 2023.”For Doosan Heavy, attempts to carve out a significant position in offshore wind mark a return to an industry it walked away from in 2012, citing a lack of confidence that the sector would take off. At that stage it was talking about launching a 6MW turbine by 2015 and building a turbine factory in Scotland.Doosan and SK E&C – the latter a global player in power plants and civil engineering construction – are not the only South Korean big-hitters to target floating wind, backed by the determination of the country’s government to secure a role for domestic players.South Korea is expected in the second half of the decade to deploy major floating projects as part of the country’s plan to install 12GW of offshore wind by 2030. Floating is seen as big opportunity for a nation where the best winds are in deep waters and fixed projects nearer to shore have met with fierce opposition. The world’s biggest portfolio of floating wind so far was unveiled by Total and Macquarie when they linked to develop 2GW off the nation’s coasts.[Andrew Lee]More: Doosan Heavy in floating wind push with fellow South Korean giant
Population: 16,807Public lands: Catawba Meadows Park, Steele Creek Park and Campground, Lake James State Park, South Mountain State ParkOutdoor Highlights: mountain bike Back Creek, South Mountain Loop, Table Rock Loop or Yancey Ridge, South Mountain Trail
Late last year, for the first time in U.S. history, a watershed filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to defend its right to exist. Not a riverkeeper, nor a river advocacy organization—an actual watershed: the Little Mahoning in Pennsylvania.The Little Mahoning’s “rights to exist and flourish” was enacted into law by Pennsylvania’s Grant Township to protect the watershed and the community from fracking. It’s being challenged in court by Pennsylvania General Energy Company, who wants to frack in the Little Mahoning watershed.Does a river have rights? Over 200 communities across the country—including the city of Pittsburgh— think so. They have passed laws that recognize rights of rivers, forests, and ecosystems to exist.Most often, these rights of nature are enacted to protect a community from an environmental threat: factory farms, water privatization, sewage sludging of farmland, and especially lately, fracking. Pittsburgh’s ordinance explicitly elevates the rights of nature over corporate rights and bans fracking within its watersheds.The rights of nature movement is spreading beyond our borders. Ecuador ratified the world’s first constitutional rights of nature in 2008. India is considering enacting rights for the sacred Ganges River.In the past century, we have widened our circle of inclusion to encompass women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights, and even the rights of endangered species. Can we expand the circle to include all of nature? Or is that overreaching?Corporations claim that neither a town nor a river can overrule state or federal laws, which give them the right to frack, mine, inject, pipe, dam, and drill across most of the country. And who decides what a river wants anyway? Who actually speaks for the trees, and do we want them all to have a voice?This is about recognizing the rights of ecosystems to exist and thrive so that human actions do not threaten the long-term survival of the system upon which we depend, says Mari Margil, associate director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which has spearheaded the rights of nature movement. “A river has the right to flow. Fish and other species in a river have the right to exist and evolve. And the plants and animals that depend on a river have the right to thrive.”Margil says that existing environmental laws and regulatory agencies are failing colossally to safeguard our health. The broken system mostly perpetuates the rights of corporations to frack, mine, and drill. By legally enshrining basic rights of nature, communities are revolutionizing the fight to protect the environment and themselves.“When state and federal laws prevent towns from protecting themselves, communities are deciding to make their own laws and take a stand for the health of their human and natural communities,” says Margil.The Little Mahoning is a small creek, but it’s already making a big splash. If the courts uphold its right to exist, it will ironically give people more power. Our health has always depended on the health of our ecosystems. We’re not going to be able to protect one without the other.
Drew Shelfer crosses the finish line of the Assault on Mount Mitchell atop the highest peak in the EastThe inaugural Mount Mitchell Triple Crown was completed by its two creators and sole competitors, Mark Ledyard and Drew Shelfer.Chances are you’ve never heard of the Triple Crown, but you may be familiar with its components: three endurance races that take place on the formidable 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain East of the Mississippi.Each event is a staggering feat of athletic capability. The Mount Mitchell Challenge is a 40-mile ultra marathon from the town of Black Mountain to the summit of Mitchell and back down again in the dead of winter. The Assault on Mount Mitchell, a cycling race in the spring, climbs 103 miles to the summit via the relentlessly steep Blue Ridge Parkway. And then there’s the Off-Road Assault on Mount Mitchell (ORAMM), a 60-mile mountain bike race on forest roads and highly technical single track in mid-summer.The Triple Crown challenges competitors to complete all three races in succession, thereby committing to a total of 203 grueling miles, 25,199 feet of climbing, and an unyielding onslaught of training, racing, and recovering between February and July.Shelfer, 41, a social worker and father, initially conceived of the idea to tackle all three Mitchell races in one year, but it was Ledyard, a 49-year-old veterinarian, who pulled the trigger. “I said to Drew, you’ve been talking about this for three years now. I’m doing it. You can either join me, or you can keep talking about it.”Both Asheville men are experienced ultra-marathoners, affable and filled with self-deprecating humor regarding their proclivity for the particular brand of suffering inherent to their pastime. Shelfer swears that his primary motivation to participate is “to be able to eat all the BBQ and drink all the beer I want.” Yet they both possess the hallmark intensity of extreme athletes, that sense that a depthless reservoir of energy is just barely being restrained.By early 2015, having recovered from a collection of injuries and orthopedic surgeries, Shelfer and Ledyard were finally ready to attempt the endurance trifecta.The friendly but fierce rivalry that has always existed between the two athletes became their main source of motivation. Says Ledyard, “We have a history of competition. We’ve gotten hurt trying to beat each other.”In the end, Ledyard finished with an accumulate time of 18 hours and 48 minutes, claiming first place by 1 hour and 9 minutes. They held a brief celebration by “borrowing” the podium after the ORAMM finishing ceremony, wielding homemade trophies and mugging for a single photo, taken by a friend.“You want to know what was going through my head at that moment?” asks Ledyard. “Thank God it’s over. This is one and done for me.” But judging by the emulous glint in his eye, it seems unlikely that he’ll let his title go undefended.To the best of their knowledge, Ledyard and Shelfer are the first people to ever complete the three Mitchell races in one year. They hope their efforts may have inspired a few more challengers for future Triple Crowns—or, at the very least, a third-place finisher to round out the podium in 2016.—Mt. Mitchell Triple CrownFinishing TimesMark LedyardMount Mitchell Challenge: 5:35Assault on Mitchell: 6:31 Off-Road Assault: 6:42 “The absolute worst moment for me was the hour long slog up the Parkway on the Assault on Mount Mitchell. It took everything I had mentally to push through and not just sit on the side of the road for a while. Every race was hard, and long, and every one had times where I really had to reach deep to push myself to go, but none were as miserable as slog up the Parkway. The best part for me was just taking on this challenge with Drew. He’s one of the nicest guys, and it was fun training and hanging out with him.” —Mark LedyardDrew ShelferMount Mitchell Challenge: 5:48 Assault on Mitchell: 7:08 Off-Road Assault: 7:01 “There were too many low moments to count. But every adventure was amazing, especially bcause I was chasing Mark the whole time. He made this challenge a ton of fun.”—Drew Shelfer
My friends back home think my job consists of floating down rivers and drinking beer. After years of watching their eyes glaze over as I told them about the important water sampling and policy work we do to protect our river, I figured “if you can’t beat ’em, then live up to their expectations.”The Riverkeeper Beer Series is fulfilling my goal to paddle and drink beer quite nicely. We are getting ready to release the fourth beer in the series with Hi-Wire Brewing on Saturday, at the Big Top in Asheville’s Biltmore Village.We will spend the morning dragging tires, shopping carts, 40 ounce bottles, and, if we’re lucky, a blow up doll (it’s happened before), from the Swannanoa River. Then we’ll head over to Hi-Wire’s Big Top in Biltmore to sample, and by sample I mean drink a bunch of new Hi-Wire session IPA’s with experimental hops.Watershed Dry Bags and Southern Raft Supply will reward the brave folks who hauled out the strangest piece of trash, and raffle tickets will be on sale for some fancy dry bags and gear.In addition to drinking beer and pulling trash out of the river, the beer series is paddling the entire French Broad River Paddle Trail, one Saturday at a time. The paddlers started at the headwaters in Rosman, North Carolina and have snaked their way under a canopy of trees, past farmland and recently to the rapids and rocks that dot the river north of Asheville. These section paddles have now paddled over 90 miles of the almost 150 miles included in the paddle trail.Next up is a Wicked Weed IPA, aptly named Riverkeeeper IPA. Not only will folks get the chance to try the latest in an award winning series of beers from Wicked Weed, but Liquid Logic Kayaks is donating an SUP board for raffle. Visit the bottle shop at the brewery for a chance to win, or come to the beer release party at Wicked Weed on September 3.To sign up for the cleanup and for more information visit mountaintrue.org.
When I was lucky enough to get a call from Howler Brothers asking if I’d like to test a new pack from their latest collaboration with the Colardo-based Topo Designs, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve been a big fan of Howler Bros. products for awhile now, and I’d been hearing a lot of good things about Topo Designs. Here are my biggest takeaways from several days in the field and the office with this durable and versatile pack.Durability and SizeThese are usually the first two things I look for when selecting a good pack, and the Topo Designs X Howler Brothers Mountain Pack delivers on both counts. Large enough to hold a pair of waders, a fly rod and reel, and a few fly boxes, the pack also features a “water-resistant truck tarp base” which keeps its contents safe and dry no matter where you happen to set it down. It’s just as handy on the fly fishing stream as it is on a lengthy day hike, and they’re hand made in Colorado. #MericaAestheticsUnlike some of the major pack companies which tend to sacrifice style in the name of technical performance, Howler Bros. and Topo Designs sought to implement both form and function into the design of the Topo Designs X Howler Brothers Mountain Pack. Topo based the design for the pack on their tried and true Mountain Pack, already a popular item in its own right. Whether you’re pedaling your commuter bike to the office or summiting a southern Appalachian bald, you’ll look sharp while doing it. VersatilityThis could be my favorite aspect of this pack because I don’t like having multiple items that essentially perform the same function. Less stuff equals more freedom right? I’ve already used this pack out on rivers during fly fishing excursions, hauled it around on hikes, and toted my laptop to the office and coffee shops almost daily.ComfortIn addition to all its other attributes, the Topo Designs X Howler Brothers Mountain Pack is light and sits comfortably on your back. When it comes to work, it blows the satchel I was previously using out of the water, and the sternum and waist straps make long treks make it the perfect companion on long, uphill treks.MSRP: $198.00Learn more here.Related Content: