Arkansas farmers tout economic benefits of solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Magnolia Reporter:Fields across Arkansas seem to be sprouting solar panels as multiple growers take advantage of the one thing they can count on: the sun. Solar energy is catching on with Arkansas farmers, which is a trend that is very promising for the state, said Rick Cartwright, head of the Cooperative Extension Service for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.A.J. Hood of Desha County began using solar panels this season to power his grain storage facilities. “We started to look into solar energy about eight months ago,” Hood said. “We took the time to run the numbers and find out if this was going to be a good fit and when we looked at the long term benefits it was a no brainer. I really think this is going to catch on, it’s a great fit for growers in Arkansas.“I only have them on a little over an acre, that’s the beauty of it,” Hood said. “We have approximately 150 kilowatts of solar panels that produce approximately 240,000 kWh in electricity annually. That is enough to reduce our electricity cost by over 75 percent. It is a substantial savings for us and it makes our grain operation much more profitable. “Since implementing solar technology on his operation, Hood’s excitement is through the roof. “We can monitor our electricity production every minute of the day in real time, and I’ve become kind of obsessed with checking it,” Hood said. “I find myself running the numbers to see how much money I saved that day. As a farmer I’m used to praying for rain, but now I’m torn because I know those clouds are going to hurt my solar production!”While the economics of it are reassuring, there are other bonuses that famers see. Wade Hill in Desha County came for the financial benefits, but stayed for the environmental impacts. “I heard the benefits of farm savings and that was my main reason up front,” Hill said. “But I’m really in this for the green energy aspects of it.” Hill said he has dedicated an acre and a half of land to his solar panels and uses them to power his irrigation wells.More: Solar power gaining popularity on south Arkansas farms
Starbucks buys 100% wind power for all its Illinois stores FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Windpower Engineering & Development:Constellation, an Exelon company and energy provider, has signed a long-term agreement with Starbucks to power more than 340 company-operated Illinois stores with 100% renewable energy produced by Enel Green Power (EGP) North America, Inc.’s HillTopper wind project in Logan, County, Ill. The deal is made possible by a separate long-term agreement between Enel and Constellation under which Constellation will purchase a 14-MW portion of the energy generated by HillTopper. “It’s exciting to see Starbucks continue its commitment to play a role in the growth of renewable energy markets,” said Rebecca Zimmer, Director of Global Environmental Impact for Starbucks. “We are identifying and investing in new green power projects that are close to our retail communities and give our store partners a story they can be proud of.”The agreements reinforce Starbucks’ commitment to greening its operations through energy and water conservation measures and advancing renewable energy sources through its purchasing practices and will enable Starbucks to support the generation of approximately 48,000 megawatt-hours of wind power from EGP’s HillTopper wind project, enough to brew nearly 100 million cups of coffee, or more than seven cups of coffee for every Illinois resident. It will deliver an annual environmental benefit equivalent to removing nearly 8,000 passenger vehicles from the road.“An increasing number of commercial and industrial customers are choosing renewables as a competitive and clean way to meet their energy needs and they look for customized solutions addressing their specific energy profile,” said Georgios Papadimitriou, Head of Enel Green Power North America. “The agreement with Constellation is an example of an innovative approach we are taking to meet the needs of these commercial and industrial customers to enable them to achieve their sustainability targets in a cost-effective way.”The HillTopper wind farm is expected to enter into service by the end of 2018. The facility will have a total capacity of 185 megawatts and, once fully operational, will be able to generate around 570 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually. Investment in the construction of HillTopper amounts to approximately $325 million.More: Illinois’ Starbucks are going with 100% wind energy
Analysts see uncertain future for expected second wave of investment in U.S. LNG export projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The expectation at the start of 2020 was another year of investment in U.S. LNG export infrastructure. Even though the market was a bit challenging, a slew of companies were racing to build enough commercial support to build new terminals, existing exporters were targeting major expansions, and it looked like a few developers might get their projects over the line.But that was before the health and economic crisis of the coronavirus spread around the world, upending the outlook for U.S. LNG. Lockdowns aimed at halting the spread of the virus put such a hit on world oil and gas demand that the International Energy Association estimates it will take years to recover.Gas prices plummeted to historic lows, making it unprofitable to ship spot U.S. LNG cargoes to Europe or Asia. Buyers canceled dozens of U.S. cargoes that would have loaded in June and July, causing a sharp decline in feedgas flows to export facilities that threatened to ripple through the domestic gas market even as new U.S. LNG capacity continues to come online.The crash in oil prices delivered another blow by making U.S. LNG less competitive against other world supplies that are mostly linked to crude. The hard work of striking sufficient LNG supply deals to secure project financing suddenly became almost impossible, and commercial talks ground to a halt.“What becomes more challenging is that the whole case for U.S. LNG exports was that the U.S. gas price was low, the international gas price was high, and there was a trade to be had,” said Nikos Tsafos, a senior fellow with the energy security and climate change program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “To me, it’s not obvious that you are going back to that world.”[Corey Paul]More ($): LNG Project Tracker: 2nd investment wave slips as pandemic roils gas market
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Plunging costs and improved performance could see big batteries start to compete with gas plants to provide peaking services, and it’s an opportunity at least one of Australia’s largest energy companies is looking to seize, as the end of coal looms.AGL Energy’s newly appointed chief operating officer, Markus Brokhof told Renew Economy in an interview that there is a clear business case for big batteries, and added that they were starting to compete with gas peakers on commercial terms to firm up supplies of wind and solar.Last week, AGL revealed plans for a significant increase in its portfolio of large scale battery systems and will target up to 850MW of new big battery projects by 2024, and a further 350MW of distributed resources. The company sees a growing opportunity in the market for peaking, or firming, infrastructure as the market share of wind and solar grow.The first of these newly disclosed battery investments is set to be located at the site of the Liddell power station, with up to 500MW in the one location. It will begin with a 150MW initial stage, followed by a similarly sized system, between 100MW and 150MW at the Torrens Island power station site in South Australia. A third battery system is also being considered for a site in Victoria. A precise location has not yet been announced, but co-location at the Loy Yang A power station would be a possibility.The decision to co-locate batteries at existing operations – where infrastructure was already in place – was a ‘time to market’ question, according to Brokhof, who said that the existing grid connection and network infrastructure provides some of the fastest possible opportunities to get a big battery system up and running.Brokhof told Renew Economy that AGL would be aiming for one to two hours of battery storage at the sites, with the business case of each battery stacking up irrespective of the ultimate fates of the ageing coal and gas generators at the Liddell and Torrens Island sites, respectively. “We see a high value in batteries with the emergence of renewables given the need for firming infrastructure. There is a clear business case for batteries,” Brokhof said. “Decision on the Liddell battery has nothing to do with plans for the Liddell power station, this project could be built irrespective of the closure of the Liddell power station.”[Michael Mazengarb]More: AGL says batteries starting to compete with gas generators for peaking services Australia’s AGL Energy says battery storage can compete with gas peaker plants
AES Gener begins work on largest battery storage facility in Latin America FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy Storage News:AES Gener has held a virtual groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on a 112MW / 560MWh battery energy storage system project in Chile, Latin America.Multinational electric power generation and distribution company AES Corporation’s local subsidiary said the system, which can store power from nearby solar and wind facilities for up to five hours, is the biggest battery storage system in Latin America to date as well as being Chile’s first solar-plus-storage project.The batteries will be paired with 253MW of renewable energy generation, including the 180MW Andes Solar II B project in Antofagasta. Andes Solar II B will be built with 10MW of modular, prefabricated solar PV panels and 170MW of bifacial solar PV panels of the type AES Gener has already deployed in the 80MW Andes Solar II A project which has already begun construction.The solar energy to be integrated into the national electricity system with the batteries will be built on mountain ranges in Antofagasta in the Atacama Desert, enjoying a combination of high solar irradiance at relatively low temperatures. Meanwhile, the output of the 73MW Campo Lindo wind farm being built in the Bío Bío region in the central south of Chile will also be integrated using the storage system. Campo Lindo is the first phase of a total 480MW cluster of wind turbines being built in the region, near the city of Los Ángeles.Battery systems used will be supplied by Fluence, the energy storage technology provider co-owned by AES Corporation and engineering solutions company Siemens. Fluence said that its Sunstack modular battery storage solutions will be used – part of the company’s sixth generation range of energy storage systems launched earlier this year. AES Gener said the ability to store energy for five hours – and therefore charge the batteries for dispatch after the sun has set – will make the company’s energy supply “more competitive and resilient”.AES Gener also said that the new solar-wind-storage build-out, along with 709MW of energy projects that it has already begun building in Chile, the company is contributing to the creation of around 6,000 direct jobs in the country. In total, AES Gener is adding 2,300MW+ of renewable capacities and batteries to its portfolio in Chile by 2024 under its existing plans, the company said in a press release.[Andy Colthorpe]More: AES begins work on 560MWh ‘largest battery system in Latin America’ for solar and wind in Chile
Race DetailsWhen: April 7, 2013Where: Christiansburg, Va.What: TriathlonStart time: 9:00 amRace size: 250Website: www.triadventure.comStaged out of the state of the art Christiansburg Aquatic Center the TriAdventure Summer Sprint is sure to bring fast times and fun to all who participate. Located in the picturesque town of Christiansburg this event features a 300 meter snake swim followed by a rolling 12 mile ride through Christiansburg and the surrounding countryside. Once athletes are finished with the bike they will follow a 5K course that loops through neighborhoods adjacent to the aquatic center.Registration is now available through Set up Events at:http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=event_detail&eventID=2409TEAM COMPETITIONS for Middle/School High School Teams, Collegiate Teams and Open Teams. Sign-up for YOUR team at check-in with a valid school or collegiate ID. The Team with the most participants racing receives the coveted traveling trophy.Race ContactAnne [email protected]
Columbia Montrail put its Spring 2017 collection to the test at one of the most physically and mentally challenging trail running races in the world: the Columbia-sponsored Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). Located on some of the highest peaks in the Alps, UTMB is a continuous 103-mile race, which means no sleeping, just running for over 20 hours. To share the inspiring moments and trials of the race, we developed a special video, entitled Endure, currently featured on Columbia’s social media channels. See the trailer here.Endure features three of the participants from last year’s race: Amy Sproston, a Columbia Montrail-sponsored runner from the United States, and Columbia employees Ruy Ueda and Tomo Araki from Japan. To watch the video and find out how Amy, Ruy and Tomo endured one of the biggest challenges of their lives, click here.
The Mountain State of West Virginia is a mecca for a wide range outdoor activities, but some would argue that fly fishing for trout is its biggest draw. Whether you live in West Virginia, reside nearby, or even if you’re a day’s drive from this remote corner of Appalachia, fly fishing here should be a high priority on every angler’s bucket list. Here are four of the best trout streams that West “By God” Virginia has to offer.The Cranberry RiverFlowing through the heart of the Monongahela National Forest and the 47,000 acre Cranberry Wilderness, the Cranberry River is known for producing sizable brookies, browns and rainbows. Anglers familiar with the area know that the Cranberry River is broken up into two sections, the backcountry and the lower sections. The lower section provides easier, drive-up access, while the 16-mile backcountry portion, which encompasses both the North and the South Fork, is more remote and deamnds a fair bit of hiking. Solitude is often the reward when fishing the backcountry section. Also notable on the backcountry section of the Cranberry River are the numerous overnight shelters. More info here.Elk RiverThe Elk River is a limestone spring creek that consistently draws anglers from all over the country. The reason for its draw is its propensity for producing large and feisty wild browns and rainbows—some reaching sizes of 20 inches or more. Originating in the Allegheny Mountains at the confluence of Big Spring Fork and the Old Field Fork, the Elk River includes a catch and release only section, known as The Dries, that begins at the aforementioned headwaters and flows some 4.5 miles before disappearing underground where it feeds into several miles of caverns. Once the Elk River emerges from its underground depths, it continues for a few miles as catch and release only fishery. The catch and release section below the dries is said to harbor rainbow trout so large that they’ve been mistaken for steel head. More info here.Dry ForkWhile not as universally known as acclaimed West Virginia trout waters like the Elk and Cranberry Rivers, Dry Fork is looked upon as a highly productive fishery by many a Mountain State native. Part of the well known Cheat River system, Dry Fork originates in the Monogahela National Forest before it flows through Randolph and Tucker counties. In both counties it is stocked once in February, and once every two weeks from March through May. The key to fishing this Cheat River tributary is to focus on riffles and deep pocket pools ranging three to five feet in depth.Seneca CreekFeatured on Trout Unlimited’s list of the top 100 trout streams in the United States, Seneca Creek is named for a series towering sandstone bluffs nearby that have been a popular destination with rock climbers for decades. While rock climbing may be the main attraction in this area, the fly fishing is not to be missed. Like the backcountry section of the Cranberry River, Seneca Creek is more remote than some of its counterparts, making an overnight excursion the best way to capitalize on all the great fly fishing it has to offer. The creek is know for wild rainbows and native northern strain brookies. For more info on seasonal hatches, preferred guides, and a detailed fishing report for Seneca Creek click here.More from the Fridays on the Fly Blog:
The November issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors is live and on newsstands throughout the region. Pick up your copy or read online today for valuable beta on the winners of our Top Adventure Towns Contest, other must-visit outdoor meccas throughout the Blue Ridge, the rise of the professional hiker in the Blue Ridge and beyond, the latest and greatest field tested gear and much more!THE DIRTMoonwalks and other night adventures • Fighting fire with fire after Gatlinburg • Best Thru-Hiker Names • Red Wolf in the Crosshairs QUICK HITSPhilly bikers bare all • Expectant couple learns baby’s gender revealed at marathon finish line • High school mountain biking grows in VirginiaTRAIL MIXRoots run deep—Four regional acts taking old sounds to new placesLAST WORDWally Smith has downed beers with industry supporters and diehard environmentalists while living in coal country—and is surprised by how much they all agree.TOP ADVENTURE TOWNSThousands of votes poured in to our seventh annual Top Towns contest. 48 towns battled for the crown. Which one topped the podium?CAPITAL CITIESWhat are the biking, running, hiking, paddling, and climbing epicenters? Our editors and experts pick the outdoor hubs for every sport.RISE OF THE PROFESSIONAL HIKERHow do professional backpackers make ends meet and maintain relationships? Follow in the sponsored footsteps of Andrew Skurka, Jennifer Pharr Davis, and ‘Hiking Viking’ Tom Gathman.GEAR OF THE YEARCheck out the best new hardware, apparel, and technology, with a spotlight on gear pioneers headquartered in the Blue Ridge.
The tree-sitters have come down, and all the permits have been issued by state and federal agencies. Bulldozers and chainsaw crews are already clearing sections of the the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.Is there anything that can stop them?Actually, yes.Governor Ralph Northam has the power to halt pipeline construction, but so far, he has chosen not to act. Instead, in April, Northam issued an executive order that allowed the pipelines to proceed through Virginia.Originally, Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality had planned to conduct a project-specific reviews of each pipeline, called a 401 permit review. This would have required regulators to analyze the pipelines’ impacts on every stream and body of water that they cross.However, regulators later decided to skip the 401 permit review and instead use a blanket Nationwide 12 permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to approve the entire process. Most of the streams crossed by these pipelines were never properly analyzed to determine the health and environmental impacts of pipeline construction.Despite the inadequate review process, and despite the agency’s acknowledgment that they have never reviewed a project this large, Governor Northam has continued to stand by the review process.The truth is this: Governor Northam has the power to halt the pipelines right now. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the primary authority over interstate gas pipelines, but states also have the authority to approve or deny certain permits under the federal Clean Water Act. FERC’s role does not supercede state power when it comes to stopping projects that pose a threat to the state’s water quality. In August, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the state of New York’s denial of a Clean Water Act Section 401 permit for the Constitution Pipeline.Northam could do the same in Virginia. At the very least, Northam could direct the Department of Environmental Quality to suspend the 401 certification based on the Corps’ blanket permit while it conducts a stream-by-stream analysis. Such an analysis will likely reveal many adverse effects of pipeline construction on drinking water sources, fishing, swimming, paddling, boating, and other uses across Virginia.Just last week, Governor Northam’s own Advisory Council on Environmental Justice recommended “a moratorium on new gas infrastructure in the Commonwealth and a stream-by-stream assessment of the impact of both the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.”So why has Northam refused to invoke any of his power to stop these pipelines? Perhaps because doing so would require his going up against Dominion Power, the state’s biggest political campaign donor. Northam himself has accepted campaign donations from Dominion (over $199,000 over the course of his career) and even owns shares in their company. Dominion has invested heavily in Virginia’s politics and lobbied hard to ensure that their projects are approved and construction is expedited quickly before the public can intervene. But Dominion is not the only energy company that is funding Northam. The Governor has also accepted over $20,000 from EQT, the company behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and $10,000 from Marcellus Gas Infrastructure.In April, Northam repeated a common refrain of his campaign speeches: “I believe that science should dictate whether the pipelines can be built safely and in an environmentally sound way.” Yet scientists have not been allowed to conduct stream-by-stream analyses of the pipelines’ impacts on health and water quality.The Department of Environmental Quality was created in order to protect the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Virginia. Instead of bending the rules and modifying regulations for big corporations, state agencies should be enforcing and strengthening their regulations. Governor Northam has not only caved to corporate interests, but has acted as an adversary to the state by putting the interests of a few over the needs of the entire Commonwealth.But the governor can still make things right. He can fulfill his campaign promises to require stream-by-stream analysis of proposed pipeline waterbody crossings.Northam can revoke 401 Water Quality Certification for both the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines today.If you enjoy or use any water bodies that may be affected by the Mountain Valley Pipeline or Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the State Water Control Board (SWCB) needs to hear from you before the new deadline, 11:59pm, June 15, 2018.PLEASE take 5 minutes to do the following, and share these instructions.1. Send an email about the MVP to [email protected] and/or an email about the ACP to [email protected] Provide your name, mailing address, and telephone number.3. Choose one of two protected uses: Enjoyment (swimming, fishing, etc.) or other use of un-degraded water (irrigation, livestock watering, etc).4. Explain your concern that the US Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permit 12 (aka “NWP 12”) is insufficient to protect a specific wetlands or stream that would be crossed by MVP.5. Request a stream-by-stream analysis to uphold Virginia’s Water Quality Standards (WQS).