In ‘Symbolically Charged Move,’ a Record Faith-Based Fossil-Fuel Divestment by Investors With $5.5 Trillion in Assets

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi.The sum involved has not been disclosed but the volume of divesting groups is four times higher than a previous church record, and adds to a global divestment movement, led by investors worth $5.5tn.Church institutions joining the action include the Archdiocese of Cape Town, the Episcopal Conference of Belgium and the diocese of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, the spiritual home of the world’s Franciscan brothers.A spokesman for the €4.5bn German Church bank and Catholic relief organisation Caritas said that it was committing to divest from coal, tar sands and shale oil.In a symbolically charged move, the Italian town of Assisi will also shed all oil, coal and gas holdings the day before a visit by the Italian prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, to mark St Francis’s feast day.The origins of the latest church action lie in last year’s climate encyclical by Pope Francis – himself named after St Francis of Assisi – although the project was advanced by the Global Catholic Climate Movement.More: Catholic Church to Make Record Divestment From Fossil Fuels In ‘Symbolically Charged Move,’ a Record Faith-Based Fossil-Fuel Divestment by Investors With $5.5 Trillion in Assetslast_img read more

Department of Interior’s Misstatement on Montana Mine Expansion Causes Short-Lived ‘Market Sensation’

first_imgDepartment of Interior’s Misstatement on Montana Mine Expansion Causes Short-Lived ‘Market Sensation’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Montana Public Radio: We’re getting perspective now on last week’s news that the U.S. Interior Department said it had approved a major coal mine expansion in Montana. It caused the stock of the mining company involved to temporarily spike.Six days later, Interior rescinded its statement, saying no expansion was approved, and the original approval statement was the result of “internal miscommunication.”Matthew Preston is the research director for North American coal markets for a global research and consulting firm called Wood Mackenzie.Here’s his take on Interior telling the Associated Press that it had approved Westmoreland Coal’s proposal to expand it’s Rosebud Mine outside Colstrip by 10.5 square miles, potentially adding 19 years of life to the mine.“It did cause something of a sensation in the market for a small period, brief, of time, and relatively small scale, but it was something that you can’t just pass over lightly.”Westmoreland’s stock, which lost 93 percent of its value last year, rose by as much as 49 percent on news that Interior had greenlighted the company to mine an additional 60 million tons of coal at Rosebud. That didn’t sound exactly rational to Preston, given that the sole customer for the Rosebud mine’s coal is the Colstrip power plant.“I’m not sure what the market was thinking, because it’s been pretty clear that the life of the Colstrip plant is limited. You know, a third of the plant is going to go away in 2022, and perhaps the whole plant by 2028, so adding another 60 million tons to the reserves they have wouldn’t seem to make much difference. But, the market was somehow interested in that. You know, it’s a market, so sentiment happened to turn, and people took that announcement to heart, I guess.”The Colstrip plant’s life is being limited by at least one of the west coast utilities that buys its electricity. Seattle-based Puget Sound Energy has made it clear that it plans to source its energy in the future from sources with less impact on climate change.Some supporters of coal based energy are optimistic that the Trump administration will turn the industry’s fortunes around, and that that could mean an extended life for the Colstip power plant and the mines that support it. Wood Mackenzie’s Preston doesn’t share that belief.“Yeah, no, I don’t think so. I don’t think anything that the Trump administration is doing right now would change the minds of the folks that are owners of the Colstrip plant. Everybody can change their minds, but the owners of the plant seem set on moving some other direction than coal.”Still, the Interior Department’s statement that the Rosebud mine expansion was OK’d did have an impact on Westmoreland’s stock price, meaning investors potentially made or lost money based on the statement and its retraction six days later.“And it’s certainly unfortunate, from the point of view of the folks that may have made the decision to invest or not invest because of that. I don’t know that there’s any regulations that would come down on specific individuals within the Interior [Department],” Preston says. “I don’t think there’s any — this is my opinion — I wouldn’t expect there to be any ulterior motive to this announcement and then retracting it, I think it was as they state, a miscommunication within the office.”The Interior Department and Westmoreland Coal declined interview requests from Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio.More:  Interior’s Misstatement On Montana Coal Mine Leads To Small ‘Market Sensation’last_img read more

MidAmerican Plans for 100% Wind by 2021

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Des Moines Register:MidAmerican Energy said Wednesday it plans to invest $922 million in added wind-power capacity, equaling as much renewable energy as its customers use.“If the project is approved, it will allow our customers to get 100 percent of their annual energy use from a clean, renewable and cost-effective source,” said Adam Wright, MidAmerican’s CEO. “This is, no doubt, historic.”MidAmerican said it will be the first investor-owned electric utility nationally to meet the goal, which the Des Moines utility announced in 2016.The latest wind investment, expected to be completed in late 2020, would enable the company to freeze consumer rates, possibly up to 15 years, MidAmerican said. “With wind, we don’t need to buy fuel to make the energy,” Wright said. “This is a big reason why MidAmerican Energy’s rates are 37 percent below the national average.”MidAmerican needs the Iowa Utilities Board approval before it can move forward with the project. MidAmerican’s newest project would add 591 megawatts of wind generation. With nearly 2,200 turbines, the company’s wind generation capacity is 4,400 megawatts. It has 27 wind farms across Iowa. With its newest project, MidAmerican will have invested about $12.3 billion in wind generation in Iowa since 2004.More: MidAmerican Will be First to Create Enough Wind Energy to Cover 100% of Consumer Use MidAmerican Plans for 100% Wind by 2021last_img read more

Ignoring Washington, corporate America continues to expand its renewable energy footprint

first_imgIgnoring Washington, corporate America continues to expand its renewable energy footprint FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享New York Times:Dozens of Fortune 500 companies, from tech giants like Apple and Google to Walmart and General Motors, are voluntarily investing billions of dollars in new wind and solar projects to power their operations or offset their conventional energy use, becoming a major driver of renewable electricity growth in the United States.“You’re definitely not seeing corporations slow down their appetite for renewables under Trump — if anything, demand continues to grow,” said Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president for policy at Advanced Energy Economy, a clean energy business group. “And it means that many utilities increasingly have to evolve to satisfy this demand.”One big question, however, is whether these corporate renewable deals will remain a relatively niche market, adding some wind and solar at the margins but not really making a sizable dent in overall emissions, or whether these companies can use their clout to transform America’s grid and help usher in a new era of low-carbon power.Last year in the United States, 19 large corporations announced deals with energy providers to build 2.78 gigawatts worth of wind and solar generating capacity, equal to one-sixth of all of the renewable capacity added nationwide in 2017, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewable Center. (Power companies themselves added much of the rest, often in response to state mandates.)That trend appears to be accelerating. Corporations have already announced deals for another 2.48 gigawatts of wind and solar in the first half of 2018, as companies like AT&T and Nestlé join the search for cleaner power to fulfill their sustainability goals and take advantage of the rapidly declining cost of renewables.“We didn’t intend to do this as a statement about Paris, though it has become a statement that we’re definitely still in,” said Brian Janous, general manager of energy at Microsoft, which has so far bought enough wind and solar power to match 50 percent of the demand from its global data centers.“But with how fast wind and solar prices have fallen, we see this as something that makes financial sense,” he said.At least 22 companies in the Fortune 500 have committed to buying enough renewable power to match 100 percent of their electricity use in the years ahead. And some analysts say these goals could help spur electric utilities to continue reducing their own emissions even as the Trump administration rolls back Obama-era policies like the Clean Power Plan, a regulation focused on reducing carbon emissions from power plants.“We think this is a major trend,” said Lisa Wood, vice president of customer solutions at the Edison Electric Institute, a major utility trade group. “Customers are becoming the driver.”More: A Year After Trump’s Paris Pullout, U.S. Companies Are Driving a Renewables Boomlast_img read more

Japanese firms abandon plans for 2GW coal plant near Tokyo

first_imgJapanese firms abandon plans for 2GW coal plant near Tokyo FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan, Kyushu Electric Power and Tokyo Gas said on Thursday they have given up their plan to build a 2 gigawatt (GW) coal-fired power station in Chiba, near Tokyo, as it would not be economically feasible.The move follows a similar decision by Chugoku Electric Power and JFE Steel, a unit of JFE Holdings last month, and comes amid growing pressure in most of the world for companies to divest coal assets due to environmental concerns.Burning coal to generate power produces large quantities of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. An international agreement reached in Paris in 2015 committed signatories to cutting fossil fuel use.Kyushu Electric and Tokyo Gas said instead they will consider building a gas-fired power plant, using liquefied natural gas (LNG), at the same site owned by Idemitsu.Amid growing pressure, Japan’s trading house Marubeni Corp said last year that it would no longer start new coal-fired power plant projects and would halve its net coal power generating capacity of about 3 GW by 2030 to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and tackle global climate change.More: Japan’s Idemitsu, Kyushu Elec, Tokyo Gas scrap coal-fired power plant planlast_img read more

U.S.’ largest battery storage system begins operation in California, much more in the pipeline

first_imgU.S.’ largest battery storage system begins operation in California, much more in the pipeline FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Power plant developers LS Power Group and Terra-Gen LLC added two big new lithium-ion battery stations to the California ISO’s expanding portfolio of electrochemical energy storage in June, marking the start of a potential sevenfold jump in battery resources on the state’s primary power system in 2020.That includes the initial 62.5-MW phase of LS Power’s planned 250-MW Gateway Energy Storage Project, which came online June 9, one week after 16.5 MW of battery storage at Terra-Gen’s Mojave 90 wind-storage hybrid project entered service, CAISO data shows.Located next to the natural gas-fired Otay Mesa Generating Project in San Diego County near the U.S.-Mexico border, LS Power’s Gateway system is now the largest operational battery storage facility in the United States, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. The previous biggest system, LS Power’s 40-MW Vista Energy Storage facility, is also in San Diego County.“Utility-scale battery energy storage projects such as LS Power’s Gateway and Vista projects are effective ways to enhance grid reliability and reduce costs to consumers by shifting energy from midday solar production hours to the evening peak,” John King, LS Power’s executive vice president for renewables, said in an email.Battery storage is a critical part of California’s strategy to replace retiring natural gas generation while balancing rising volumes of variable renewable energy resources, especially solar power, that are increasingly curtailed in the middle of the day amid power oversupplies.Together, the two new projects boosted energy storage on the state’s primary transmission system to roughly 215 MW, from 136 MW at the start of the year, a CAISO official said. If all of the energy storage projects seeking 2020 interconnection remain on track, the grid operator expects to have roughly 923 MW of battery storage online by the end of 2020.[Garrett Hering]More ($): Most powerful U.S. battery system charges up in Calif. storage surgelast_img read more

Construction begins on world’s largest floating solar project in Singapore

first_imgConstruction begins on world’s largest floating solar project in Singapore FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Construction has begun on what is being called one of the world’s largest inland floating solar PV systems, a 60MW project on the Tengeh Reservoir in Singapore, which is also one of the first in the world to integrate green technology with water treatment.Singapore’s PUB (Public Utilities Board) National Water Agency announced on Tuesday that, along with its subsidiary Sembcorp Industries, it had begun construction on the 60MW peak floating solar PV system on Tengeh Reservoir, on Singapore’s northern border with Malaysia.The 60MW floating solar plant will be integrated with PUB’s water treatment plants and, when completed and operational next year, will generate enough clean energy sufficient to power PUB’s local water treatment plants, offsetting around 6% of its annual energy needs.As a sovereign island city state with a total land area of only 724.2 square-kilometres and heavy urbanisation, Singapore does not have a lot of room for traditional renewable energy generating technologies. Solar energy is Singapore’s most viable renewable energy source, but even then, large-scale deployment of solar panels is difficult due to its dense urban landscape and limited available land. This leaves rooftops and vertical spaces, as well as PUB’s largest expanse of water bodies and reservoirs, which can now serve a dual purpose of water catchment and electricity generation.The Tengeh Reservoir floating solar plant is also incorporating new innovations in floating solar PV design and construction. For example, according to PUB, “Every component of the system was carefully designed and selected based on Singapore’s climate conditions in order to maximise energy generation, minimise environmental and water quality impact, and be durable enough to fulfil a service lifespan of 25 years.”Double-glass solar PV modules were used instead of single-glass modules so as to enhance durability in a wet and humid environment. The PV modules are also supported by certified food-grade quality high density polyethylene (HDPE) floats which are UV-resistant so as to prevent degradation from intense sunlight exposure.[Joshua S Hill]More: One of world’s biggest inland floating solar systems begins construction in Singaporelast_img read more

Switchback – Do you support more nuclear power plants in the Southeast?

first_img—Spencer Ellsworth, VirginiaWe must stop building fossil fuel plants. We are 30+ years behind European countries in clean air technology. France has one of the lowest carbon footprints, mainly due to getting 90% of their power from nuclear power. —Sandy Blakely, Knightdale, N.C.———–The environmental destruction caused by the mining of uranium is as devastating as mountaintop removal mining. Nuclear power plants also raise water temperatures and damage watersheds. And nuclear power is by far the most expensive form of energy. A nuclear power plant proposed today won’t produce power for at least 10 years, while wind and solar are safer and can be put online to produce power today. —Jon Oliver, Charlottesville, Va.The harmful health and environmental effects of coal, which constantly pollutes our air and water from mining to burning, far outweigh the slim possibility of a nuclear accident. Additionally, commonly-used fuel rod reprocessing techniques, long blocked by public fear of nuclear power in the U.S., would drastically reduce the amount of waste produced by nuclear plants. —Drew Stockdreher, Fairfax, Va.Our energy solution must come from solar and wind technology. They are safe, renewable, and can be installed quickly for immediate energy relief. Who wants a nuclear plant in their backyard? Give me solar panels any day. —Esther Godfrey, Asheville, N.C.The numerous problems with nuclear energy put all of us at serious risk. Berlin gets the same amount of sunlight as Anchorage, and yet the Germans are putting up solar units as fast as they can. If it is cost effective to put solar panels up so far north, how much more benefit would we get here? —Cicada Brokaw, Asheville, N.C.There is absolutely no way to make nuclear power safe. Anyone versed in science, human frailty, and statistics knows this. Nuclear power is a convenient political red herring with today’s energy and economy concerns. Illustration by Wade MickleyNuclear power has a well-proven record in other countries such as France. Our focus on energy development should be multi-faceted, with the goal of eventually eliminating all oil dependence. However, we should recognize that oil will continue to be a needed resource until we get other energy sources developed for large-scale usage. Nuclear is one important part of the puzzle. —Mark Stover, Weaverville, N.C.Population in the Southeast has increased greatly in recent years, which has caused a greater need for more energy. Hopefully by building more nuclear plants we can fulfill the growing demand.—Pat Brodbeck, Kingston, Tenn.Nuclear is the only alternative fuel that has a chance of making a significant dent in our appetite for oil and coal. Given proper storage safeguards for spent fuel, I’d much rather have a nuclear power plant in my neighborhood than a coal-fired one. —Bev Jern, Poolesville, Md.The Southeast’s natural energy resources are wind, solar, and small-scale hydro. These are what we should develop to create regional energy self-sufficiency. Nuclear energy uses and creates more radioactive products, which lasts for hundreds of thousands of years. It is beyond my comprehension how we can saddle our planet and our public health with additional radioactive burden for which there is no safe method of containment. —Rodney Hytonen, Pennsboro, W.Va.Solar, wind, and geothermal energy have the least impact on the land and should be explored to exhaustion before we jump on the nuke wagon. The money it takes to build a nuclear plant would be better invested in renewable energy, which is a lot less expensive and far more dependable and long-lasting.—Mark Smith, Jonesborough, Tenn.———-36% say yes64% say nolast_img read more

Trail Mix February 2013

first_img Powered by Flash MP3 Player Just last week, we saw a picture posted online of a front yard in Central Virginia with just the barest dusting of snow.  The author of said picture, both joyfully and a bit sarcastically, captioned the photo, “Snow Day!!!”Sure, there was a hint of snow, but you know what that means . . . . It was a great day to get outside and play!  When the local school system gets the jitters and shuts you down, take advantage and hit a trail or two!!And how better to accent your winter adventures on an unexpected – but much appreciated – day off than with a great Trail Mix to take along?We open this Trail Mix with a tune from blues man Otis Taylor.  Taylor’s instrument of choice is the banjo – an instrument he learned to play while riding a unicycle in high school and one, perhaps, seemingly incongruous with the blues.  Taylor is known for a keen social consciousness in his music; when listening, you can’t help but be challenged to ponder the ills of society or the injustices of history.  Take a listen to “Blue Rain In Africa,” a sparse and moving tune, off of Taylor’s recent release, My World Is Gone.Trail Mix is also happy to include a new track from one of our favorite songstresses, Samantha Crain.  After exploding on to the scene with her early releases with her band, The Midnight Shivers, Crain offers up “Never Going Back” from her new record, Kid Face.Make sure to check out new stuff from former Squirrel Nut Zippers front man Jimbo Mathus, blues man Bobby Rush, quirky folksters Frontier Ruckus, progressive old time rambler Charlie Parr, and Adele’s favorite newgrassers, The Steeldrivers.Trail Mix also features Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Sol Driven Train, Fonda, Chris Stamey, Dustin Welch, Sunshine, Henry Wagons, Elephant Stone, Wood & Wire, Bex Marshall, The Shilohs, Mary Gauthier, Jacob Jones, and A Fragile Tomorrow.As always, stream and listen to Trail Mix at your leisure.  Spread the word.  Share with your friends or – if you get lazy around the 14th – gift it to your sweetheart!  Most importantly, seek out the records the great artists have released.  They appreciate your business!  Thank them for supporting Trail Mix by throwing some money their way!!!Download Trail Mix February 2013 here.Click here to open the player in a new window.Download more music from month’s past here! They never go out of style.No flash player!It looks like you don’t have flash player installed. Click here to go to Macromedia download page.last_img read more

Son Volt Back on the Road

first_imgLeft to right: Gary Hunt, Jay Farrar, Dave Bryson, Mark Spencer, Andrew Duplantis. Photo: Emily NathanMuch has been made of the lofty position held by Son Volt in the pantheon of modern Americana bands.  Following the dissolution of Uncle Tupelo, principal songwriters Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar went their separate ways, with Tweedy forming Wilco and Farrar founding Son Volt.  Farrar and his new project earned critical praise for the band’s debut record, Trace, in 1996, and Son Volt has since released a number of outstanding follow ups.After a five year hiatus between 1999 and 2004, Farrar returned with a revamped line up and released Okemah & The Melody of Riot in 2005, The Search in 2007, and American Central Dust, their first record for Rounder Records, in 2009.Son Volt is out on the road now supporting Honky Tonk, their second record for Rounder, which was released last month.  Farrar describes the record as an ode to the best of the spirit of honky tonk: heartache, heartbreak, and the road.Honky Tonk also continues Son Volt’s revisiting of more acoustic tones.  “The record is a continuation of what was happening with American Central Dust,” says Farrar.  “I didn’t play much, if any, electric guitar.”Son Volt will be swinging through Knoxville for a show at The Bijou on Sunday, April 14th, and we’d like to make sure you have a couple tickets for the show.  Take a shot at the trivia question down below.  A winner will be chosen from all correct answers received by 12:00 P.M. (E.S.T.) on Friday, April 12th.Remember to email answers to [email protected] – In 2009, Jay Farrar worked on the soundtrack for One Fast Move Or I’m Gone, a documentary about what famous On The Road author?Son Volt will be joined by Colonel Ford at the beautiful Bijou Theater in Downtown Knoxville on Sunday, April 14th.  Show time is 8:00 P.M.  For information on this show, tickets, or the Bijou’s upcoming shows, surf over to read more