Delhi city officials offer incentives for businesses to stop using coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Authorities in the Indian capital Delhi approved measures on Tuesday to encourage businesses to use clean energy as one of the world’s worst polluted cities stepped up the fight against deadly air pollution.The Delhi city government gave the go-ahead for financial incentives for restaurants switching to electric or gas tandoor ovens from coal, its food and supply minister Imran Hussain said on Twitter, without elaborating.The city cabinet also approved various incentives to industries switching to piped natural gas, said Hussain, who is also Delhi’s environment minister, as the cheaper, safer and less polluting fuel is consumed across the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors.A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in May said India was home to the world’s 14 most polluted cities, with Delhi the sixth most polluted. Air quality has worsened in New Delhi in recent years, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office to monitor measures to clean up the capital’s air directly.Last November, India’s top court upheld a ban on the use of petroleum coke, a cheaper and dirtier alternative to coal composed mainly of carbon, in and around New Delhi.More: Delhi backs incentives for clean energy switch to combat pollution
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy News Network:The Massachusetts Legislature is considering measures that would clear the way for municipal and county retirement systems to pull out of fossil fuel investments. The proposals follow several defeated attempts to get the state system to divest.“We’ve been thinking this would be an easier way to allow fossil fuel divestment to move forward in Massachusetts,” said Randi Mail, executive director of MassDivest. “Instead of top-down, it would be bottom-up.”Divestment has been a tool used to promote social change since at least the 1970s, when anti-apartheid activists urged institutions to move their investment dollars away from companies that did business with South Africa. Fossil fuel divestment has been gaining momentum in recent years, with more than 1,000 institutions pledging to remove $8.55 trillion from investments in the fossil fuel sector, according to Fossil Free, a project of climate action group 350.org.Massachusetts’ latest efforts have their origins in the city of Somerville in 2014, when local activists began pressing the municipal retirement system to divest. In 2017, the system’s governing board agreed and moved $9.2 million — 4.5 percent of the total invested funds — out of fossil fuel investments.However, the Massachusetts Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC), the regulatory body that oversees public pension systems, rejected the move. First, it told Somerville to reverse the move because of a procedural issue. Later, it prohibited fossil fuel divestment entirely, arguing that avoiding an entire class of investments was a breach of fiduciary duty. Essentially, PERAC claimed Somerville was failing to put the financial needs of its beneficiaries ahead of social and environmental causes.The Somerville Retirement Board disagrees with this assessment. In shaping its divestment plans, the board heard from many experts and concluded that there is, in fact, a lot of financial risk in investing in fossil fuels. Demand for fossil fuels is likely to drop as much of the global economy shifts to renewable energy, and increased storm frequency due to climate change can cause supply chain disruption and infrastructure damage for oil companies, said Alex Nosnik, a member of the Somerville board. “From the fiduciary perspective, there are a lot of questions as to the economic health of the fossil fuel sector moving forward,” Nosnik said. “Risk, certainly in concert with the environmental and social issues, was driving our decision to move forward.”More: Massachusetts bill would free local retirement systems to divest from fossil fuels Massachusetts legislature considering local fossil fuel divestment option
Former Montana state regulator blasts Colstrip bill, says NorthWestern will benefit, consumers will pay FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Montana Public Radio:NorthWestern Energy is asking Montana lawmakers to back a bill that would allow them to bypass some oversight by state regulators.The so-called Montana Energy Security Act of 2019 passed out of the Senate late last week. It would give NorthWestern, the state’s largest monopoly utility company, the ability to forgo some regulation by Montana’s elected Public Service Commission. They’d be allowed to pass on to customers the costs of purchasing of a bigger share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant. Critics say that wouldn’t be fair to customers.Travis Kavulla is a former chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC), and a sharp critic of the bill NorthWestern is lobbying for. He’s now the energy policy director at R-Street, a free market think-tank based in Washington, D.C.“If a usually regulated utility gets to buy something, but without regulatory oversight, I’d guess I’d call that deregulation,” Kavulla says. “The bill very plainly allows NorthWestern to charge consumers $75 million plus an unspecified amount of decommissioning and remediation costs. I’ve never seen in my experience any piece of legislation like this anywhere in the United States, which allows a monopoly from which consumers don’t have a choice in service, to essentially set rates for them that they have to pay.”The bill would allow NorthWestern to buy 150 megawatts of power generating ability at Colstrip without PSC oversight. It would increase its 30 percent share at one of the Colstrip units to 50 percent, for the outlined purchase price of $1. The legislation also allows $75 million in potential costs to be passed onto customers, without regulatory oversight for a decade.“As to the idea that Colstrip might be saved by this transaction, I disagree with the premise. I think it’s as likely as not that this move hastens of closure of Colstrip. So, I think we’re actually introducing quite a bit of risk into this. But it all comes back to the bottom line, that NorthWestern is a business and it should be expected to act like a business. You shouldn’t need to play this mother-may-I game with the Montana Legislature when Montana law already gives NorthWestern every authority and permission it would need to exercise this option that they’ve negotiated behind closed doors.”More: Colstrip bill: Deregulation is in the eye of the beholder
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Great Britain’s recent trend of breaking the number of hours it can go without using coal generation in its electricity mix continues this week as, at time of writing, the country chalks up more than 10 consecutive days without coal.We have been covering Great Britain’s (as distinct from the UK, as Britain’s energy grid does not include Northern Ireland) success at removing coal from its energy mix for some time, now, and so far, 2019 has seen records tumbling like dominoes.In just the past month alone, Britain has increased its record time spent without coal generation from 90 hours over the Easter weekend up to 8 days, 1 hour, and 25 minutes a fortnight later in early May.Unsurprisingly, then, Fintan Slye, the head of Britain’s National Grid, told media in the UK: “I predict it will become the ‘new normal’.”The UK is currently looking to phase out coal from its energy mix completely by 2025. In line with this, coal capacity has fallen dramatically in recent years as various power operators shuttered their projects and transitioned either to nuclear, or more frequently, renewable energy sources.Over the first quarter of 2019, coal generated only 2.9TWh, around 3 per cent, of the country’s electricity – down 37.2 per cent from the previous quarter and down 65 per cent from the same quarter a year earlier. Conversely, renewable energy sources generated 27.2TWh over the same first quarter – 33 per cent of the country’s electricity generation.More: Britain goes record 10 days without coal power – and counting Great Britain passes 10-day mark with no coal-fired generation
Chinese engineering firm to build 600MW of solar in Poland FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:A unit of Warsaw-based private equity fund NeoInvestments and China Sinology Electric Engineering announced a plan on Wednesday to build 600 (megawatts) MW capacity by 2021 in what they called Poland’s biggest photovoltaic power station.A day earlier, Poland’s state-run copper producer KGHM and energy group PGE said they would work together on new solar projects that might total at up to 500 MW by 2023, costing around 3 million zlotys ($764,000) per 1 MW.“(The) event is another step towards Poland’s implementation of goals related to the increase in the share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption, as well as the development of a low-carbon economy, where photovoltaics plays one of the leading roles,” Deputy Energy Minister Krzysztof Kubow said on Tuesday.This would be part of PGE’s plan to have 2.5 GW in solar energy by 2030.More: Warsaw fund, Chinese company announce solar power deal
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:In a remote area almost eight times the size of Manhattan covered by millions of young fir trees, Europe’s biggest onshore wind park is emerging. Workers are installing turbines perched atop 130-meter-tall towers at a rate of about two a week at the site in northern Sweden, where the temperature regularly dips below minus 10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) and the sun is hardly seen for months on end during winter. So far, more than 170 of the machines scatter across the sparse landscape owned by some of the nation’s biggest forest companies.Markbygden, as the site is called, may be the clearest sign yet of the industry’s seismic shift away from subsidies and toward relying on markets that also set returns for traditional plants running on natural gas, coal or nuclear energy. It’s also a harbinger for the giant facilities that will be needed for nations to meet the climate targets they’re discussing at the United Nations’ COP25 conference in Madrid next week.The wind farm has drawn investors from a wide spectrum of energy and high finance. Firms including General Electric Co. and Macquarie Group Ltd. will spend as much as $7 billion on the facility. It will be vital to Sweden’s power supply as two old reactors are due to shut permanently next year, as well as for power exports to the continent. Some of the electricity will also be sold to customers including aluminum producer Norsk Hydro ASA under a deal that was the biggest of its kind at the time when signed two years ago.The expansion of wind power sweeping northern Sweden has been likened to the Texan wind boom of the past few decades, which turned the state into the biggest producer in the U.S. The high plains may look very different from the Swedish forests, but they both provide vast expanses of land with favorable breezes steady enough to spin turbines.“When it comes to wind power, Sweden has more in common with Texas than the rest of Europe,” Roland Flaig, head of RWE AG’s renewable energy arm in Sweden, said in an interview. “Few and big landowners make it possible to build larger parks.”But the nation’s boom is more than Markbygden. Several other big projects by developers, including OX2 AB and Arise AB, are under way, and wind power output in the Nordic region’s largest economy is expected to double in the next three years. Companies say they prefer Sweden over Germany for example, citing the relative ease of getting permissions for big parks.More: Sweden is becoming Europe’s Texas for wind power Wind energy boom under way in Sweden
Whether you’re trying to finish your first 5K or slog through an ultramarathon, getting to the finish line can be a challenge. Mike Kuhn, owner of Power On Coaching and curator of the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic in Pennsylvania, offered these key tips to achieving race goals:Pick a realistic goal. It’s great to reach for the stars, but that requires the proper training time. If you only have two months to train, run the half-marathon and work up to the full next season. Know your challenge. Make sure you research your upcoming race course. Ask former finishers about the tough spots, and give it a test run ahead of race day, if possible. Wear familiar gear and apparel. Race day is not the time to break in a new pair of shoes or try on a fresh pair of shorts. Unexpected blisters or chafing could end your race early. Avoid burnout with variety. Of course, the majority of training for a running race will be running or a bike race will be riding. But if you don’t want to hate your sport by race day, devote one day a week to some kind of different athletic activity or cross training. Don’t try to copy the pros. Remember that professional athletes get paid to train and structure their schedules around training. Don’t try to do a pro’s volume when you have all sorts of other demands on your daily schedule. Proper training requires rest and recovery.According to Kuhn, the biggest mistake people make during training is going too hard on days designated for light recovery workouts. “Then they wonder why they have no energy left for the tough workouts,” he says. “I see this kind of self-sabotage all the time. When you’re putting your body through a new challenge, you have to compensate with proper rest.”
A large public transportation network, in concert with other sustainability efforts, could reduce our carbon footprint by 24 percent, significantly reduce our oil consumption, save us money, reduce our travel time and its associated stress, and improve our overall health. Pictured: a Washington, DC Metro station. Photo credit: iStockPhotoEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: It might seem obvious, but what would be the primary benefits of public transit as an alternative to the private automobile if our country were to make a major commitment to it? — James Millerton, Armstrong, PAThe benefits of making a major commitment to building up and efficiently managing a larger and more comprehensive public transit network are many.According to the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA), an organization that represents grassroots transit coalitions, organizations and advocates, expanded public transit, coordinated with greener development and other “operational efficiencies,” can reduce our carbon footprint by some 24 percent, which is significant given that carbon dioxide (CO2) output from the transportation sector as a whole account for 28 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. After all, buses and trains burn much less fuel per rider than a car with a single rider in it. Switching to public transit for a typical 20-mile round trip commute would decrease a commuter’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by some 4,800 pounds a year, which is equal to about a 10 percent reduction in a two-car household’s carbon footprint.Another group, the American Public Transit Association (APTA), reports that current use of public transit in the U.S. already saves 37 million metric tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to the emissions resulting from electricity generation to power some five million typical American homes.A massive shift to public transit would also be good for our pocketbooks. According to NAPTA, U.S. car owners can save as much as $112 billion a year in gasoline and other vehicle costs. “Public transportation offers an immediate alternative for individuals seeking to reduce their energy use and carbon footprints,” reports NAPTA. “Taking public transportation far exceeds the combined benefits of using energy-efficient light bulbs, adjusting thermostats, weatherizing one’s home, and replacing a refrigerator.”As to reducing oil use, NAPTA says public transit already saves Americans the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually, or some 900,000 automobile fill-ups every day. And the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) reports that individuals who live in areas served by public transportation save more than 300 million gallons of fuel a year. Meanwhile individuals can save upwards of $9,000 a year by taking public transportation instead of driving and by living with one less car.An improved quality of life is yet another benefit of more public transit. In some ways public transit can be considered a life saver: It produces 95 percent less carbon monoxide and nearly 50 percent less nitrogen oxide—both key triggers for asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular health problems—per passenger-mile than driving a private vehicle. Also, transit users tend to be healthier than car commuters because they walk more, which increases their fitness levels. Public transit use also means fewer cars on the road, thus reduced travel times—and less stress and road rage accordingly—for everyone. TTI reports that Americans living in areas served by public transportation save themselves almost 800 million hours in travel time every year.CONTACTS: NAPTA, www.publictransportation.org; APTA, www.apta.com; TTI, tti.tamu.edu.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
There was a time when I hated riding my bike.Strange for a professional cyclist, right? Couldn’t stand it. At that time, I absolutely loved racing, but riding for fun was not something I was interested in. Training was only a means to an end.After a winter of very poor training I gained more than 10 pounds and had trouble finishing races. Shortly after the dismal season came to a close, I moved to Harrisonburg, VA to begin my college education. I quickly discovered that Harrisonburg, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, had deep cycling roots.In my first week in Rocktown (Harrisonburg’s original name) I discovered how to love riding.Without knowing any of the local routes or the safest ways out of town, simply figuring out the roads surrounding Harrisonburg was enough to wet my appetite. I wonder where that goes. Does this go through? How do I get there? More often than not, I never answered those questions. I was still a little afraid of exploring the roads.So I enlisted the help of an acquaintance I had met on the racing circuit who lived in town. Andy McKeegan, already a veteran route builder and mapping extraordinaire, immediately took me not on training rides but adventures. Five or six hours in the mountains, over dirt roads, through creek crossings, and through the valleys. Half of the time he wasn’t sure if the road we were on went through or how to get to the next one, but that was half of the fun!As we would continue to explore and get lost, we also nick named regions; Narnia (there is only one way in and you will exit one hour later completely confused, but three actual hours have passed), Middle Earth (exactly what it sounds like), The Swiss Alps, and more.On these routes I shed the weight I had gained, actually looked forward to riding, and made a great friend. Andy and I would dream about racing professionally, encourage each other in endeavors on and off the bike and keep each other honest with the training. We’d meet at 10 – that’s a lie, ‘Meet at 10’ really meant 10:40 – and find new roads and routes, often coming back nearly frostbitten and in the dark.My wife and I have since moved, just one valley away, and I don’t often get to ride the routes that taught me to love cycling. With Strava, Ride With GPS, and Garmin Connect, it’s a lot easier to share these routes than in the past. Below are a few links to a few of these digital que sheets – my favorite routes. Please enjoy them, stay safe, and never stop exploring!There are many cyclists before and after me who have had the pleasure of riding in the Shenandoah Valley, and who have all discovered and created their own routes, or added twists to already popular loops. And though new riders will come upon roads many times traversed already, they will will still wonder ‘Does this go through?’ And the answer will continue to delight.Connor Bell, U23 US National team rider climbs a dirt road. From my Instagram @curtiswinsorRecommended Routes leaving from Rocktown Bicycles in Harrisonburg, VA.Supine Lick Adventure – 90 miles, lots of dirt, plenty of short punchy climbs. http://www.strava.com/routes/106251Cub Run PLUS – Two challenging rides, combined into one 90 mile climbers loop. http://www.strava.com/routes/106211Crooked Run Death March – Long steady stretches to and from Crooked Run, a steep dirt climb to a cell phone tower. http://www.strava.com/routes/106271Guaranteed to Flat – This route features a seldom ridden fire road in West Virginia connecting two of the Reddsih Knob climbs. If you don’t flat, you will certainly damage your rims. Worth it. http://www.strava.com/routes/106266One Way – Every March, the town of Montery hosts a maple festival. What better way to prepare to prepare for glutenous maple-everything eating, than a climbing -heavy bike ride? http://www.strava.com/routes/107804No Quiche Loop – With 116 miles and 12,000 feet of climbing this route is a bear. http://www.strava.com/routes/106276
Boaters supporting social justice in Western North CarolinaPaddlers for Pisgah combines two things I’m most passionate about – paddling and social justice. Join us this Thursday, May 28, 2015 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at The Bywater (796 Riverside Drive, Asheville, NC). ASTRAL, the Asheville-owned company that designs and manufacturers some of the best kayaking lifevests and footwear around, teams up with Pisgah Legal Services, a grassroots non-profit poverty law firm, to host a one-of-a-kind event at our favorite river venue, The Bywater. ASTRAL presents its famous products, games and activities. The crowd will also have an opportunity to learn about Pisgah Legal Services’ life-saving work that keeps our community afloat. Your $15 donation at the door supports PLS and gets you two of the Bywater’s signature cocktails or drafts.To learn more about the inspiration behind this unique event, I sit down with ASTRAL’s VP of Operations, Yonton Mehler and Pisgah Legal Service’s staff attorney, Molly Maynard who are engaged to be married later this summer.Mountain Mama: What’s your connection to Asheville and why do you care about the community here?Yonton: I’m originally from Tel Aviv, Israel and fifteen years ago the freestyle circuit brought me to the U.S. After visiting WNC many times, I started working at ASTRAL and have been living in Asheville for ten years.Molly: I came to Asheville to work at Pisgah Legal Services a little over three years ago, and now I can’t really imagine living anywhere else. I went to law school because I wanted to work in public interest law, and I feel really lucky to do it in a community that is so supportive of that work. It’s pretty unique.Mountain Mama: How did you first become involved in Pisgah Legal Services?Yonton: I drive by Pisgah Legal Services almost every day and I’d heard the about it on the radio, but it wasn’t until I met Molly that I really learned about the work Pisgah does and began to understand how much need there is for Pisgah’s services in this area. Last year I became part of PLS’s Young Professionals Board and we were brainstorming how to reach out to let more people know about Pisgah Legal Services and tap into slightly different circles. That’s how the idea to host Paddlers for Pisgah originated.Mountain Mama: How did you get involved in kayaking?Molly: I grew up in Wilmington and did a little kayaking at the beach, but it was all in a giant two person sit on top kayak that was mostly good for getting picnics out to barrier islands. I didn’t really learn anything about whitewater kayaking and the community around it till I met Yonton. I’m actually signed up for beginner lessons this weekend!Mountain Mama: What is the connection between paddlers and the services of Pisgah Legal Services?Yonton: This area is a very tight knit and strong paddling community. Although kayakers aren’t known for being the most ethnically diverse group, we are socioeconomically diverse. Kayakers are likely to be very sympathetic to the kind of work and services that Pisgah provides in the area. We often band together to promote and support causes that we believe in, but I think the cause of social justice is just not on the radar for a lot of kayakers yet. I hope this event can bring it to their attention.Molly: I think social and economic justice are causes that people in this community feel very strongly about, but don’t always have ways to act on directly. It’s been exciting for me to talk about Pisgah’s work to people who aren’t familiar with it because helping people get access to civil legal services- whether it’s to stop the illegal repossession of the car they need to get to work each day or to get someone a protective order that stops life threatening domestic violence- is a way to have a direct, measurable impact on those issues.Mountain Mama: ASTRAL seems to mostly sponsor environmental causes. Do you see any links between alleviating poverty and improving the environment?Molly: Being poor is really expensive. Many of our clients move frequently and the cost of moving is staggering with having to pay the security deposit and first and last month’s rent. People are in survival mode. Once we help our clients stabilize their financial situations and legal issues, they can think about saving money and higher level concerns like their environmental impact, or even doing the kind of outdoor activities that cultivate a lifelong love and appreciation for the environment. Yonton: Until now I actually saw this as a completely unrelated from the environmental philanthropy that Astral is usually involved in, but Molly brings up a good point. I didn’t even think of that.To learn more about Astral, visit them online or join us this Thursday at Paddlers for Pisgah to meet Yonton and Molly. More information about the event can be found here.