Testimony: FirstEnergy Takeover of West Virginia Plant Would Cost Customers $470 Million FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Gazette Mail (Charleston):A proposed deal for FirstEnergy subsidiaries to acquire a coal-fired power plant would likely cost customers $470 million over the next 15 years, according to testimony from an energy and environmental consultant filed with the state Public Service Commission Friday.David Schlissel, president of Schlissel Technical Consulting, submitted his prepared testimony on behalf of groups against the acquisition. He said Mon Power and Potomac Edison’s proposed Pleasants Power Station purchase from FirstEnergy should be rejected by the PSC because customers would be saddled with higher utility bills.According to Schlissel, revenues earned from selling electricity generated by the Pleasants County plant wouldn’t be enough to cover the costs of maintaining it. The $470 million figure Schlissel reached is based on an economic analysis of energy market prices, Pleasants’ generation for the past year and generating capacity price estimates, he said in the filing.“There is a high risk that the plant will not be profitable and will not produce a net benefit to ratepayers,” Schlissel said. “In fact, if there was not such a high risk, AE Supply and FirstEnergy would not be looking to offload the Pleasants plant to begin with.”The groups Schlissel provided testimony for, WV SUN and West Virginia Citizen Action Group, have argued the $195 million deal would raise customer utility bills to benefit company shareholders and is similar to Mon Power’s Harrison power plant purchase, which an IEEFA report said cost customers more than $160 million.If the purchase is approved by both the PSC and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the plant would exit a competitive market and become a part of West Virginia’s regulated market, where it is guaranteed a profit.More: WV PSC testimony: Pleasants Plant deal could cost ratepayers $470 million
Puerto Rico’s Privatization Scheme Draws Skeptics FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:One of the largest public utilities in the U.S. might soon be up for sale, but many wonder who would want to buy a power company that is worth roughly half of the $9 billion debt it holds and has an infrastructure nearly three times older than the industry average.Concerns also are growing about whether plans to privatize Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority will translate into more affordable electric bills and better service. People in the U.S. territory say they cannot afford another financial blow amid an 11-year-old recession and many complain about receiving high power bills after Hurricane Maria when they didn’t even have electricity.“Some people have faith that privatization will improve everything, but it’s not a guarantee,” said Puerto Rico economist Jose Caraballo. “If a good deal isn’t hammered out, Puerto Rico can end up worse than it is.”The power company once known as the government’s crown jewel has seen a reduction in employees and a drop in the demand for energy amid a deep economic crisis and recent austerity measures. The agency now has some 5,800 employees and serves nearly 1.5 million customers with infrastructure that is roughly 45 years old, which officials say caused frequent power outages before the hurricane and an island-wide blackout in September 2016 that lasted a couple of days.The company also has long been criticized for political patronage and inefficiency, and recently faced accusations of corruption. In June 2016, the owner of the U.S. territory’s biggest oil supplier was arrested after being charged with misappropriating $11 million in public funds. Jose Gonzalez Amador and his company, PetroWest, are accused of charging the power company a 0.5 percent municipal tax even though some municipalities granted them a lower rate or waived the tax altogether. Authorities say the charge was then passed on to consumers.Given that situation, can the U.S. territory attract any takers?Industry analysts say it’s a bit too early to tell, noting that it all depends on the type of measure the governor expects to submit in upcoming days to start the privatization process.“It’s a complicated arrangement: What’s going to happen to the workers? Where is the debt going to land? What are the contracts going to look like? There are a lot of details here that have very real implications on how much electricity is going to cost for Puerto Rican customers,” said Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst with the Ohio-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.She said her main concern is that privatization could occur without a regulatory body, which is needed in part to look after consumers’ interests on an island where power bills have been double the average of those on the U.S. mainland, in part because imported fuel supplies three-fourths of the energy consumed in Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.The terms of the contract will determine the interest, Kunkel said, noting that the cost of any new investment in the electrical system will be paid by consumers.“Private investors will want to make a profit,” she said.More: Hope, Fear as Puerto Rico Moves to Privatize Power Company
U.S. State Department to conduct new review of Keystone pipeline FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The U.S. State Department will conduct another environmental review of TransCanada Corp’s long-pending Keystone XL oil pipeline, a U.S. official said on Friday, a move that could lead to additional delays of the project.The so-called supplemental environmental impact statement was ordered by Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court in Montana in his ruling on Nov. 8 that blocked construction of the pipeline planned to bring heavy crude from Canada’s oil sands to the United States.Morris said in his ruling that previous environmental analysis of Keystone XL fell short of a “hard look” at the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on Native American land resources.The $8 billion pipeline, which is supported by Canadian oil interests and U.S. refiners, but opposed by landowners and environmentalists, has been pending for a decade.TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said that the State Department’s announcement of an additional review was expected after the judge’s ruling. Earlier this week, TransCanada asked Morris, the District Court judge, to allow it to resume some U.S.-based pre-construction activities blocked by the initial ruling.More: U.S. to conduct additional Keystone XL pipeline review
Amazon signs biggest corporate solar PPA in Australia with developer Canadian Solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Global online shopping giant Amazon has revealed that its previously announced contract to buy 105MW of output from an un-named Australia solar farm is with the 150MW Suntop facility in New South Wales.Amazon has pledged to power its operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, reach net zero emissions by 2040, and CEO Jeff Bezos has also pledge $US10 billion to a establish a new fund to support climate change efforts.The deal with Suntop solar farm – located about 10km from Wellington in the state’s central west region, is believed to be one of, if not the biggest, single power purchase agreements between a corporate customer and a solar farm in Australia. (Some bigger contracts, such as that signed by Neoen and CleanCo for the Western Downs solar project in Queensland are between developers and energy retailers).Suntop, being developed by Canadian Solar, will in fact have a capacity of 150MW (ac), and will sell just over two thirds of its output to Amazon. It was first announced in late 2018 when Photon Energy held a 25 per cent stake in the project, since sold to Canadian Solar. Photon is still looking to develop a bigger project next door, known as Suntop 2.It is the second deal struck between Canadian Solar and Amazon following the announcement that Amazon would buy 60MW of output from in Canadian Solar’s 110 MW (ac) Gunnedah solar farm, also in New South Wales.The five new renewable energy projects announced by Amazon in May added a total of 615MW of contracted capacity, or around 1.2 million megawatt hours of additional renewable output, to help power its retail operations and data centres. In total, it has announced 31 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects and 60 solar rooftop installations on its centres across the globe, with a total of more than 2,900MW of contracted and installed capacity and more than 7.6 million MWh of renewable energy a year.[Giles Parkinson]More: Amazon signs biggest corporate solar PPA in Australia with Suntop project
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:Enel Green Power North America has started operating a 199MW expansion of the Cimarron Bend wind farm in Kansas, raising overall capacity to 599MW, and also brought online the over 236MW White Cloud project in Missouri.Cimarron Bend in Clark County is now Enel Green Power’s largest renewable energy project in the world.Construction of the Cimarron Bend extension started in the second quarter of 2020, and the 599MW facility is expected to generate a total of more than 2.7 terawatt-hours of electricity a year. Enel will sell the facility’s energy output through a 150MW power purchase agreement (PPA) with Evergy, and a 30MW PPA with the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission.The 236.5MW White Cloud, on which construction began in summer 2019 in Nodaway County, is due to generate around 950 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year. It has a PPA with Associated Electric Cooperative for all the project’s output.The two wind farms bring Enel’s total renewable capacity added in 2020 across the US and Canada to 865MW.The investment in the construction of White Cloud amounts to around $380m, while that of the Cimarron Bend expansion amounts to over $281m.More: Enel wind double adds 436MW in the U.S. Enel Green Power brings 436MW of wind generation online at two sites in U.S. Midwest
The purple jacket.My husband gave me a purple running jacket for Christmas. I love it – and not just because it’s lightweight, wind and water resistant, and breathable. I love it because of what it represents. For the past ten years, I’ve been a sponsored athlete. Now, before you jump to conclusions, let me assure you that this does not mean that I’m a professional runner. I don’t get paid to run. I have a day job just like everyone else. However, it does mean that I have been supplied with free shoes and gear from my awesome sponsor, inov-8, and for this I am eternally grateful. However, with sponsorship sometimes come limitations.Part of being a sponsored athlete means running in the team uniform, which, for some reason is often black or red. Maybe team managers believe that these colors are flashy and good for intimidating the competition. I agree – I always feel like a bad*** when I’m decked out in black. Black makes me feel like I’m a serious competitor – mean and ready to take on the world. Don’t mess with me when I’ve got on my team kit and my game face.Recently, however, this persona hasn’t really reflected who I feel I am as a runner. After thirty-one years of being competitive in the sport, I’m feeling the need to take my running – and myself – a little less seriously. Hence, the purple jacket. Not only is purple my favorite color, it’s also a fun color. A color that says, “Don’t take me too seriously.” A color that for me, promises lightness, spontaneity, and adventure. A color that mirrors the delicate wild irises that grace the trail in the early spring and the vivid sunrises that greet me on quiet winter mornings.You may still occasionally see me sporting the eye-catching uniform of my team sponsor, and when that happens, look out – I mean business. But for the coming year, my goal is to have more purple jacket days. Days when I will run the trail just because it’s there, enjoying the journey and forgetting about mileage, splits, competition and PRs. Days when I will run from the heart and not the ego. What will your purple jacket days bring?
For me, breaking down Halloween always comes back to the phases of childhood. Early on, you are all about the candy; maximize speed and efficiency to stockpile as much sugar as possible before mom comes to pick you up, traveling to the posh neighborhoods if necessary. Then, during the tween years, candy takes a back seat to, shall we say, more devious endeavors, whether they be of the TP and egg variety, or of the “take advantage of being alone in the dark on a school night awkward make out” variety. This is when trick or treating becomes less cool, but you still want free candy so you do it anyway. Then comes the lean years when you are too old to trick or treat, but still too young to go full rager without the risk of being grounded for the year. But it finally pays off when you get to the slutty, blowout, scare fest, extravaganza Halloween party phase. This one lasts a while, and it is good. The final phase is the bored parent phase, and it is also good, but for different reasons. This is the phase most of the people in the above video are in, and to which I am currently creeping toward.One of my favorite parts of getting scare pranks on video is that sometimes the person doing the scaring comes out the worse for wear, either by getting punched in the face or…well, usually getting punched in the face. What does this have to do with the outdoors? You have to be outside to get the candy, right? Or at least be outside long enough to half-french your girlfriend in the bushes.For a more traditional take on Trauma Tuesday, check out this compilation of urban rail riding bails from We Are 2012’s new movie “Capitals.”★CAPITALS / BAILS from WEARE2012 on Vimeo.
Mountain biking always struck me as a spring, summer, or fall sport. The short daylight hours of winter and colder temperatures make it difficult to squeeze in trail bike rides in the winter. After picking up the sport of cyclocross this fall, I decided that I would take the plunge into the world of night riding. It took me a few weeks of thinking and talking about night riding before I decided I was ready to commit. A couple of months ago I purchased a relatively expensive bike light. I also decided to purchase a couple of Cree XML T-6 bike lights based on the recommendation of a friend. After using both the expensive light and the Cree, the Cree bike lights have exceeded my expectations, especially given the price point.Based on my shopping experience and anecdotal evidence, quality bike lights are notoriously expensive. When spending that much on an electronic device, however, I expect it to do more than simply act as a flashlight. One thing that makes the Cree bike lights such an attractive option to the novice night rider is that they are a not cost prohibitive barrier to night riding. With Cree, you can test the waters of night riding without making a huge investment. The Cree lights claim to have 1,600 lumens, have three settings, high, medium and strobe. I have not tested the lumen output to verify this claim, but suffice it to say, this light is bright. The Cree lights are rechargeable and a full charge last about 4 to 5 hours, which is pretty similar for much more expensive options. The lights easily mount to a helmet or your handlebars and come with accessories for mounting. I suggest you buy a pair of Cree bike lights, one for your helmet and one for your handlebars and get out and explore the trails after dark. Adventure awaits.MSRP $29.99
One of the largest bicycle manufacturers in the world, Trek Bicycle Company out of Wisconsin, broke tradition last week by launching its new line of high end mountain bikes in the mountains of Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Recreational Forest outside Brevard. Media from around the world converged on the Appalachians to test Trek’s new line, including the Fuel EX (now available in the popular 27.5-inch wheel version), and the new Remedy 29 (introducing the new 140-mm rear suspension platform), and featuring the brand’s new RE:aktiv shock technology developed in conjunction with Penske Racing Shocks and FOX shocks. Trek’s global mountain bike brand manager Travis Ott said most launches in North America typically happen in Moab or Whistler or other major mountain biking destinations on the West Coast. “But we knew the Pisgah area would be all-time and with Penske Racing’s complex located nearby in Mooresville,” Ott said in a release, “this was the perfect opportunity to hold a global media event in Transylvania County.” More than a dozen journalists covering the event included BIKE mag, Bicycling, MTBR and Pinkbike from around Europe, Mexico, the UK and others. Mountain bikers love the flow trails surrounding DuPont and the more technical terrain of the Pisgah, perfect for testing full-suspension steeds.BIKE magazine says the shock technology is borrowed from Formula One racing, and a visit to Penske Racing was part of the tour.
What’s better than running the country’s oldest 50 mile ultra-marathon? Running it in a town called Boonsboro. Be sure to pull that up on a map or your friends might not believe you.Image from the 1967 JFK 50 Mile Race – history in action!In all seriousness, however, November 22 brings the 52nd annual JFK 50 Mile Race to Boonsboro, Maryland.This Saturday, many of the best from the ultra-marathon community will gather for one of the most competitive distance races around. Registration for this ambitious event filled up months ago, but don’t miss your chance to watch these superhuman racers – maybe you’ll get motivated to join the elite crew — or at least work on someone’s crew as a feeder or pacer — next year!During his administration, John F. Kennedy called for a nationwide resurrection of physical fitness and launched a whole chain of ultra-races across the country. Now, I doubt that Kennedy ever actually ran any of those 50 miles himself… but the sentiment remains. While most of these died out after the Kennedy assassination, The JFK 50 Miler has been the only race out of the original set to occur annually since 1963 and serves as a memorial to its namesake.The JFK 50 Mile Race invites anyone to accept Kennedy’s challenge, but most participants hail from various branches of the U.S. Military. Special awards, like the Kennedy Cup for the top-finishing military team, honor these racers in particular. However, officers and civilians alike seek out this event for the rich history and inspiring atmosphere it offers.The 50 mile course, already strenuous enough in distance, takes runners off the road to add yet another level of difficulty. The race takes runners through Boonsboro to the Appalachian Trail, as well as over the local C&O Canal Towpath, where the terrain is far from gentle. Rocky climbs, sharp switchbacks, and country hills all make this extreme event even more of a trial for the ages.Not for the faint of heart, the JFK 50 Miler stands among the top ultimate adventure events for the strongest competitors known to man. Come support these impressive runners as they raise the bar for athletes everywhere!