Montana’s Aging Colstrip Plants Face Increasingly Tough Economic and Market Circumstances FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Jay Kohn for KTVQ Montana (Billings):Economist David Schissel has been studying the viability of the Colstrip plants for the past year:“I don’t see theses conditions getting better for coal plants like Colstrip.“Talen Energy, which owns have of Units 1 and 2, has said they’re making money but they haven’t provided any evidence that in fact they are. Even if they are now I doubt that they will be over the next five years.”“It’s not Obama. It’s not a ‘war on coal.’ It’s a set of economic and market circumstances.’Full clip: The future of the Colstrip Power Plants in doubt
Armstrong Energy, Miner of Coal in Ohio and Kentucky, Files for Bankruptcy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNN Money:More evidence of coal’s challenges came on Tuesday as Armstrong Energy, a western Kentucky coal company, filed for bankruptcy protection.Armstrong Energy is the first coal company to succumb to bankruptcy since Trump was elected nearly a year ago, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, an environmentally focused research group.As part of the bankruptcy, Armstrong plans to transfer most of its assets to a new business owned by Illinois coal company Knight Hawk.Armstrong produces thermal coal, which has seen its demand drop due to power plants switching to cheap natural gas as well as renewable energy options like solar.Trump has sought to reverse that trend by ripping up environmental regulations and withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. The Armstrong bankruptcy comes just a day after Trump cheered rising U.S. coal production on Twitter with the hashtag “#EndingWarOnCoal.”Rather than Trump’s deregulation, analysts say a recent uptick in coal production has been driven by higher exports to Asia and natural gas prices that have stopped plunging.Longer term, those who follow coal remain skeptical about Trump’s ability to fix what are largely market-driven, not regulatory, challenges.“Him saving coal jobs was smoke and mirrors,” said Andrew Cosgrove, senior analyst on global metals & mining at Bloomberg Intelligence. “It was never going to happen because low natural gas prices are the main problem. That will continue to cap any upside for coal.”“It’s not surprising coal continues to struggle because the decline wasn’t driven by environmental regulations that this administration wants to scrap,” said Jason Bordoff, a former Obama energy adviser who is now director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.Armstrong may not be the last coal bankruptcy in the Trump era. In August, Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray pleaded with the White House to issue an emergency order protecting coal-fired power plants from being closed. Failure to do so would spark the bankruptcy of his company, Murray said.“Our time is running out,” Murray, a Trump supporter, wrote.More: First coal bankruptcy of Trump era WSJ:Documents filed to U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis show that Armstrong Energy’s noteholders will assume 100% of the company’s ownership upon agreeing to forgive $90 million in debt. Knight Hawk Holdings, which will take over the company’s operations, will get an undisclosed portion of equity later.Armstrong Energy mines for coal in western Kentucky and Ohio on land that is estimated to have 445 million tons of proven and probable coal reserves, according to a June 30 report. The 600-worker company also operates three coal-processing plants and a river dock coal handling and railroad loading facility.Founded in 2006, Armstrong Energy sells coal to six utility companies that operate power plants throughout the country’s midwestern and southern regions. Louisville Gas & Electric Company and the Tennessee Valley Authority rank as its two largest customers, according to court papers.Recently, the company saw “reduced demand for coal and lower coal prices, precipitated by slow economic growth, an abundance of extremely low-price natural gas and increased regulatory burdens,” Alan Boyko, chief restructuring officer, said in court papers. “As U.S. natural gas production hit a record high in 2015, the abundance of inexpensive natural gas put severe pressure on the coal industry.”Armstrong Energy joins a long list of coal-mining companies that have turned to bankruptcy, including Peabody Energy Corp. , Alpha Natural Resources Inc., Arch Coal Inc. and Patriot Coal Corp.More ($): Coal Company Armstrong Energy Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
Ohio Contractor Transitions From Nuclear and Coal to Solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Midwest Energy News:An Ohio construction firm that got its start working on nuclear and coal-fired power plants is now experiencing steady growth from solar and energy efficiency projects for industrial and institutional customers.Rudolph Libbe Group celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week at its new Northeast Ohio headquarters in suburban Cleveland. The renovated building is the first of three on what will be a seven-acre regional campus. The Toledo-based company outgrew its previous regional facilities, having gone from two employees in Northeast Ohio to more than 200 in less than 15 years. A large chunk of that growth has come from efficiency and renewable projects.Rudolph Libbe Group’s companies have had “a connection—a legacy—with the energy industry for a long time,” said Rudolph Libbe Group Chairman Bill Rudolph. “We’ve been part of this shift of the energy industry.”The Davis-Besse nuclear power plan was the largest customer in the early days of the GEM part of the company’s business. Then the company expanded into work at coal-fired power plants, including projects for FirstEnergy at its former Bay Shore and Eastlake plants and elsewhere. Over the years, the firm’s companies have also done extensive work at petroleum refineries in the Toledo area.Rudolph Libbe Group got into solar energy about ten years ago with a project for the National Guard. Since then, the group’s GEM Energy company has gained extensive experience building solar arrays, including 2-megawatt and 1-megawatt arrays at Ohio Northern University in Walbridge. On April 27, Rudloph Libbe Inc. announced it has been named the design/build contractor for First Solar’s new 1.2-gigawatt solar module factory in Northwest Ohio.As Rudolph sees it, renewable energy and energy efficiency provide “triple bottom line” benefits for a customer’s facility. “You can make it better comfort. You can help reduce your operating expenses. And it’s good for the environment.”More: Ohio Construction Firm Grows With Region’s Clean Energy Transition
Wind industry coming to oil-rich Saudi Arabia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Windpower Monthly:The Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) and the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources (MEIM) have received bids of between $21.30/MWh and $33.86/MWh for the 400 MW Dumat Al Jandal project.However, the agencies pointed out the bidder with the lowest price may not be awarded the project licence. “REPDO said the bid opening results announced do not represent a ranking of bidders or a bidder’s compliance with RFP requirements of the project, nor do they constitute a determination by REPDO of the outcome of the bidding process,” MEIM said in a statement. An EDF-led consortium placed the lowest bid of SAR 79.97/MWh ($21.30/MWh). Meanwhile, an Engie-led consortium (SAR 88.70/MW), ACWA Power (SAR 101.13/MWh) and an Enel Green Power-led consortium (SAR 127.14/MWh) also had bids opened by the agencies.The 400 MW Dumat Al Jandal site will be the country’s first commercial scale project. The country’s first utility-scale turbine was installed in January 2017. MEIM said the site should experience class II and class III wind speeds and generate 1.4 TWh annually. The bid prices are surprisingly low for a country just starting out in the wind power energy space. It compares to some of the lowest onshore wind bid prices seen anywhere in the world. In Mexico’s November power procurement round, wind prices fell to an average of $20.57/MWh, and a record low of $18.86/MWh secured. Saudi Arabia’s tender is the first phase of Saudi’s National Renewable Energy Programme aiming at 9.5 GW of wind and solar by 2023.More: Saudi Arabia opens wind bids
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Dominion Energy Inc said on Friday the estimated cost of its Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina has risen to $7.0 billion-$7.5 billion, adding that it has delayed the expected completion date to early 2021.The company said previously the project would cost an estimated $6.5 billion-$7.0 billion, excluding financing, and be completed in mid-2020 due to delays caused by numerous environmental lawsuits.“We remain highly confident in the successful and timely resolution of all outstanding permit issues as well as the ultimate completion of the entire project,” Dominion Chief Executive Thomas Farrell said in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings release. He noted the company was “actively pursuing multiple paths to resolve all outstanding permit issues including judicial, legislative and administrative avenues.”Earlier this week, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a previous court decision against U.S. Forest Service permits that allowed Dominion to build the Atlantic Coast pipeline across national forests and the Appalachian Trail.Dominion said it expects construction could recommence on the full 600-mile (966-kilometer) pipeline route during the third quarter of 2019, with partial in-service in late 2020. When the company started work on Atlantic Coast in the spring of 2018, Dominion said it expected the project would cost an estimated $6.0 billion-$6.5 billion and be completed in late 2019.More: Dominion delays U.S. Atlantic Coast nat gas pipe, boosts costs Dominion: Atlantic Coast pipeline may cost $7.5 billion, not be built until 2021
Greece, Hungary announce coal phaseout plans FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Montel:Greece and Hungary will phase out all coal-fired power generation capacity by 2028 and 2030, respectively – accounting for a combined 6 GW – amid efforts to improve their green credentials.“Until now, Greece’s power mix has been relying on coal and a new lignite plant is currently being built, which was supposed to operate beyond 2050,” said environmental group Europe Beyond Coal, in a note. It added the announcement – delivered by Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the UN climate action summit in New York overnight – made Greece the only country in southeast Europe to have announced a coal phase-out date.Greece currently has around 4.9 GW of coal-fired capacity.Also at the New York summit, Hungarian president János Áder announced plans to phase out the country’s 1.1 GW of coal-fired generation capacity by the end of the next decade.Other major European countries like the UK have signed up to exit coal-fired generation, with Britain due to close all such plants by 2025, while Germany is still devising a staggered phase-out.More: Greece, Hungary to exit coal by 2030
BHP to sell its Mt. Arthur thermal coal mine in Australia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The world’s largest mining company BHP Group has hired Macquarie Bank and JP Morgan to sell its Australian thermal coal mine, three sources said, as miners face increasing pressure to reduce their exposure to fossil fuels.BHP’s Mt Arthur open cut mine, in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, supplies thermal coal used as fuel for power plants, to domestic and international customers. Prices have tumbled this year, slashing BHP’s likely sale price to less than $1 billion, two banking sources said.BHP previously said that the thermal coal business is a very small part of their portfolio, contributing about 3% of turnover and said in February that if a good offer came along they would be willing to sell.Activist investor Elliott, which holds a 4.7% stake in the mining company, has pushed for the sale of BHP’s thermal coal assets, which include one third of the Cerrejon mine in Colombia. BHP has also been pressured by green groups and some shareholders to leave any industry associations with policies that fail to match the company’s support for the 2015 Paris climate accord.Rival mining companies have also taken steps to go thermal coal free, with Rio Tinto selling its last coal mines in 2018, and Anglo American considering the spinoff or sale of its South African coal operations within the next two or three years.There is a handful of companies including Australia’s Whitehaven Coal Ltd, China’s Yancoal and India’s Adani Enterprises that have expressed interest in the Mt Arthur mine, the sources said.[Clara Denina, Melanie Burton and Zandi Shabalala]More: BHP puts Australian thermal coal mine up for sale: sources
Diane Van Deren is no stranger to adversity. Following a long professional tennis career, Van Deren developed epilepsy. After 10 years of battling seizures, trying every medication available, and with her family hanging in the balance, brain surgery was the only option.Fortunately, Van Deren’s surgery was successful, and while she was happy to be free of her ailment, the operation did have side effects. She now has some short-term memory loss, difficulty reading maps, and sometimes cannot recall how long she has been engaged in a particular activity. She uses a system of notecards and other reminders to navigate her way through her life.In spite of these limitations, Van Deren has continued to flouirsh athletically. She is now a professional athlete sponsored by The North Face, and she has competed in ultrarunning events and expeditions around the world. She has run on the Great Wall of China, completed the Hardrock 100 endurance race in Colorado, and trudged through -40 degree temperatures in the brutal Yukon Ultra 300. She has embraced her new life and realizes that she is now capable of getting into the zone more easily than ever before.Van Deren recently set a new record on the 1,000-mile Mountains to Sea Trail in North Carolina, arriving beside the Atlantic Ocean in a time of 22 days, 3 hours, and 50 minutes. That’s over 45 miles per day.Her record-setting run was not without obstacles. Here is a look inside her mind during a few of the most dramatic moments:“We are in a war zone, and everything is threatening to rip out of the sand and fly away. There is nothing to do but keep placing one foot in front of the other.“The downpour is driving sideways and blurring the light of my headlamp.“The winds are fierce, the conditions are brutal, but they seem par for the course for this expedition. Nothing has come easily for us. Only 30 minutes after leaving the Clingmans Dome trailhead, I got lost. Dense fog and rain pressed down on me for the first six days, and I literally didn’t look up for that entire time. I have run all over the planet, but that was the most technical running I have ever done. One slip on the roots or mud, one twist of my ankle, and the trip would have been over.“So I didn’t slip.“Now I have traveled over 900 miles across the state, and I am closing in on the terminus of the trail in the Outer Banks. But I am being battered by the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl.“Today I have 45 miles to go and eight hours to do it in, my crew tells me. I have to catch a ferry at the end of the day, or my record-setting attempt will be over. The team has become like a Nascar pit crew: I run into a stop, they sit me down and fly into action. Duct tape is put on my feet, food is shoved into my mouth, shoes are changed, and BOOM, I’m off again!“My body feels empty. I’ve been operating on less than three hours of sleep for 19 nights in a row, and the wind gusts are knocking me to the ground more and more regularly. We haven’t spoken for hours, but Chuck keeps nervously glancing at his watch. He tries to feign optimism, but I can tell that things aren’t looking good for us.“Suddenly, I hear a savage and malicious sound coming from the darkness to our right. ‘What is that?’ I yell to Chuck. He assures me that it’s an airplane and nothing to worry about, yet he continually looks over his shoulder as we run. I keep slogging in the darkness as the roar fades away. I am happy to have him with me in the midst of this chaos.“Finally, a cluster of lights come into view, and we are back on pavement again. With twenty minutes to spare, we run into the ferry terminal where the whole team is waiting. Chuck and I collapse, elated to be under shelter and with friends. One person chimes in: ‘Did you guys see the tornado that just touched down? It was less than a mile from the trail!’ Chuck smiles knowingly, but I am stunned. ‘Whose idea was this anyway?’ I yell. The ferry begins pounding into the waves and the wind, but my exhaustion makes it feel distant, and I slip into a much-needed sleep.“Two mornings later, we are still running, chipping away at the final 82 miles to the finish. It took me a long time to stand up today. The past few mornings I have needed to crawl for a while before I could put any weight on my feet. They are in rough shape, and may need significant medical attention when I get home. As I plod through the sand, all of the faces of the people that I have met over the past 22 days flash through my mind. They represent the beauty of running—a loving, caring community that is brought together by one collective passion. I think about Annette Bednosky, an ultrarunner who I usually compete against. She gave up her own time to come out and support me in my journey. I know that all of these people will be friends for life.“Throughout the expedition, I have refused to allow myself to think of the end. Finally, after 1,000 miles of trail, I see one final sand dune come into sight. On top of that dune is a group of people cheering and yelling my name. Tears of joy overwhelm me.” •
First, check out this mountain biking video from Fruita, Colo., with Elevation Outdoors editors Chris Van Leuven, Sonya Looney, Tim Shafer, Nick Kozel and Cameron Martindell. They explore some gear, Horsethief Trail, Lunch Loops, trail building, Fruita Crashpad, Aspen Street Coffee, The Hot Tomato, 18 Road and the Single Track Sisters.Then, have a look at this road biking video featuring pro triathlete Lauren Goss as she tests the new POC road cycling kit and helmet in Aspen, Colorado. Hear Ryan Eastman of the Bontrager Cycling Development Team talk about the state of pro cycling and the perspective of up and coming riders. Check out POC’s new safety strategy points: Attention Visibility Interaction Protection (AVIP) and ICE. Wind down with some cyclocross riding from John Cariveau of Moots Bicycles.
Trampled By Turtles played “Are You Behind The Shining Star” from their brand new album, Wild Animals, on the Late Show with David Letterman. Check it out here, and if their awesome blend of bluegrass and folk-rock is your thing, it just so happens that Blue Ridge Outdoors is bringing them to the Jefferson Theater September 9!Win tickets by clicking here.Until then, Wild Animals is out now, so if you can’t wait untill September, here’s a preview of what they’re all about.