Opposition to Bangladeshi Coal-Fired Electricity Expansion Mounts

first_imgOpposition to Bangladeshi Coal-Fired Electricity Expansion Mounts FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Jeremy Hance for The Guardian:Thousands of Bangladeshis will march from the country’s capital, Dhaka, to the world’s biggest mangrove forest next week in protest at plans to build two coal-power plants on the edge of the World Heritage-listed forest.The organisers of the so-called long march on 10 March hope to persuade the Bangladeshi government to drop its backing for construction of the plants near the Sundarbans, an area of rice paddies, shrimp farms and vast mangrove forests.“No sensible person will deny that there are many alternative ways for electricity generation,” said Anu Muhammad an economist with Jahangirnagar University, and head of the march organisers, the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports. “But there is no alternative for [the] Sundarbans.”Both the proposed 1,320 MW Rampal coal plant and the 565 MW Orion coal plant will sit within 14km of the Sundarbans, a 10,000 sq km (3,860 sq miles) forest listed as both a Unesco World Heritage site and a Ramsar-protected wetland. The great forest is split between Bangladesh and India, but the bulk of its lies in the former.Hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis depend directly on the Sundarbans forest and its waterways for their livelihood, from fisheries to honey production. The forest also provides a vital buffer against the cyclones that routinely hit this part of the world. Muhammad calls it a “natural safeguard … for nearly 40 million people.”Despite its vocal stance on the international stage on tackling climate change, Bangladesh is aggressively turning towards coal. The Rampal and Orion coal plants are just two of at least a dozen planned coal plant projects around the country.Hasina has pledged to increase Bangladesh’s coal power by 15,000 MW by 2030, raising Bangladesh’s percentage of coal power from 1% in 2010 to 50% by 2030. Currently, the country gets the bulk of its energy from natural gas.Thousands to march against coal plant threat to Bangladesh’s Sundarbans forestlast_img read more

Australian renewables group: Record-setting 14.6GW of green capacity under construction

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Australia’s renewables sector has doubled its output over the past 12 months, with more than $20bn of projects now under construction, but the current boom will not last without policy certainty, according to the Clean Energy Council.The council, which represents solar, wind, energy efficiency, hydro, bioenergy, energy storage, geothermal and marine businesses, along with more than 5,000 solar installers, has released new figures claiming a record year for Australia’s renewables industry – with more than 80 wind and solar farms under construction, and rooftop solar installations now topping two million homes.The CEC’s chief executive, Kane Thornton, said there were 14.6 gigawatts of new renewable energy projects under construction, which was equivalent to four times the energy output of the coal-fired Liddell power station, and the projects had created 13,000 jobs, including 4,500 in Queensland, 3,800 in Victoria and 2,100 in New South Wales.But he said the positive trajectory was threatened by the continuing absence of a settled energy policy in Canberra. Thornton warned the renewables boom “could come to an end if the energy policy debate is left to languish unresolved”.Thornton said the renewables sector was now sufficiently mature to not require subsidy, but it did require policy certainty.More: Australia’s renewables sector doubles output in boom year Australian renewables group: Record-setting 14.6GW of green capacity under constructionlast_img read more

Experts: State efforts to bolster coal industry can’t stop the market

first_imgExperts: State efforts to bolster coal industry can’t stop the market FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Several state legislatures took up bills aimed at boosting coal during their 2019 sessions, but industry observers said the efforts will do little to turn the tide for the struggling sector.While some producers have been able to take advantage of strong export pricing in the global metallurgical market, many of the proposed bills were geared toward helping thermal coal producers as domestic demand continues to shrink.Robert Godby, director of the University of Wyoming’s Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy, said much of the pro-coal legislation “has largely been symbolic” and is unlikely to do much more than slightly extend the life of some affected mines or plants. “If nothing else, it demonstrates state support for a coal industry that is either politically important or economically important,” he said. “… The market’s kind of like a tide. There’s just not a lot you can do to stop it. You can maybe sandbag for a little while, but eventually, it overwhelms.”In Wyoming, Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill into law mandating that investor-owned utilities try to sell coal-fired power plants before closing them down. But utilities already seek out buyers when they consider closing a plant, said James Van Nostrand, a West Virginia University law professor and director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development.“If it thinks there’s a buyer out there, it’s going to have to try to sell it,” he said. “… They’re closing them for a reason. They’re not cost-effective.”More ($): State efforts to boost coal production, demand largely symbolic, observers saylast_img read more

Private equity investors see potential in Vietnam’s renewable energy market

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Nikkei Asian Review:Private equity investors are increasingly evincing interest in Vietnam’s renewable energy sector as the country, which has long relied on coal and hydropower for electricity production, seeks private investments in alternative resources.Renewable energy emerged as one of the most preferred sectors for investments in the country in 2019 as it took the third slot after fintech and education, according to a Grant Thornton survey. The upward move is significant given that in 2018, renewable energy took the 10th place in terms of the most attractive investment sector in the country, as per the survey. This year, the sector has taken a slot ahead of health care, e-commerce and logistics.“100 percent foreign ownership is allowed in energy production. Wind and solar energy projects, in particular, are absolutely booming — more active than anything I have seen in my 28 years’ working here,” said Fred Burke, managing partner of Baker & McKenzie Vietnam.The country has granted tax relief incentives for green energy projects and has published a national power development plan, which aims to create modern, sustainable and reliable energy services by 2030.Pham Trong Thuc, director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s department of renewable energy, said that focus will be given to companies that have proven technologies in hydropower, wind power, solar power, biomass energy and biogas. “Vietnam’s objectives include increasing the proportion of domestically-manufactured equipment value in the renewable energy field up to 30 percent in 2020 and 60 percent in 2030, and being able to export in 2050,” he said.The country is facing a rising demand for energy, growing at 13 percent a year since 2000 and is projected to continue to grow at 8 percent through 2030, according to International Finance Corporation (IFC). Vietnam’s power system will require about $10 billion investment each year until 2030 to fulfill the country’s targets, according to Electricity of Vietnam’s estimates. So, a major challenge is to find the right partners who can commit this huge capital.More: PE investors scout for deals in Vietnam’s renewable energy sector Private equity investors see potential in Vietnam’s renewable energy marketlast_img read more

Avista agrees to plans to exit Colstrip coal plant by 2025

first_imgAvista agrees to plans to exit Colstrip coal plant by 2025 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Billings Gazette:A Colstrip Power Plant owner has accelerated its exit plans by nearly a decade and has agreed to compensate the community. Avista Corp. agreed to be financially ready to exit both Units 3 and 4 by 2025. Based in Spokane, Washington, Avista had previously given itself until 2034 to be financially ready for Unit 3’s closure and until 2036 for Unit 4.The change in plans is part of a partial settlement agreement between Avista and multiple intervening parties in the utility’s general rate case in Washington State. Avista has a 15% share of each unit. Customer debt associated with Avista’s ownership share of the plant is about $50 million. The settlement calls for lowering customer depreciation share to $38.5 million, or $6.7 million a year through 2025.One subtle settlement detail with big implications for the power plant’s future, Avista won’t be spending money on any improvement that would keep Colstrip running beyond 2025. That agreement places a higher cost burden on owners like NorthWestern Energy, which plans to keep Colstrip running for longer than six years.Avista also agrees to contribute $3 million to a Colstrip Community Transition Fund, with the utility’s shareholders and customers splitting the bill. The agreement specifically states that the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Rosebud County, the town of Colstrip and labor organizations are to share the benefit of the transition funding.The 2025 deadline for depreciating Avista’s stake in Colstrip lines up with Washington’s plans to be free of coal power that year, which the Washington Legislature made law last spring. Two other Colstrip owners, Puget Sound Energy and PacifiCorp, also face Washington’s coal-free-by-2025 deadline.The next few months are pivotal for the four-unit power plant. Colstrip Units 1 and 2 will shut down in January. The owners of those two units, Washington’s Puget Sound Energy and Talen Energy of Pennsylvania, announced last June that the power plant’s oldest units, built in the 1970s, were no longer economical. The owners had the option of keeping Units 1 and 2 burning through 2022 under an air pollution lawsuit settlement reached in 2016. But rising coal prices played into the decision to close the units sooner than expected.More: Colstrip owner speeds up exit plans 9 years to 2025last_img read more

Australian firm shows climate friendly stocks can be profitable investments too

first_imgAustralian firm shows climate friendly stocks can be profitable investments too FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:When AllianceBernstein set up Australia’s first carbon-neutral equities fund, it wanted to prove to investors you don’t have to forgo returns to safeguard the environment. A year into the strategy, the $592 billion asset manager says benchmark-matching gains of more than 20% have proved its point.“It’s allowing us to have a conversation about a very challenging issue, which is do you have to sacrifice returns in order to invest sustainably?” Jen Driscoll, chief executive officer for AllianceBernstein Australia, said in an interview. “It’s not an ‘either-or’, it’s an ‘and’. You can have both.”The strategy, which Chief Investment Officer for Australian Equities, Roy Maslen, dubs “green alpha,” is derived from the AB Managed Volatility Equities Fund, which was set up in 2014. The fund has 70% less carbon emissions than its benchmark, the S&P/ASX 300 Total Return Index, because it’s typically underweight cyclical stocks in industries such as fossil fuels, steel and cement, transport and mining, Maslen said.The Green MVE strategy aims to keep emissions about 90% below the benchmark by further screening of stocks. Maslen calculates the cost of offsetting the remaining emissions and reaches third-party agreements to retire carbon credits. He estimates it costs investors about 6 basis points a year to take the extra step to carbon neutrality.About 80% of Green MVE is invested in Australian shares and 20% in global equities. It doesn’t hold more than 5% in any stock and among its top 10 holdings are conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd., Transurban Group, a Melbourne-based toll-road operator, and medical diagnostics firm Sonic Healthcare Ltd.The Green MVE strategy had a total return of 24.15% as of Oct. 31 since inception in December 2018, according to AllianceBernstein. That’s in line with the 24.11% for the benchmark.[Andreea Papuc]More: Australia’s first carbon-neutral equities fund delivers gains of 24%last_img read more

Dutch asset manager Robeco to divest thermal coal, oil sands holdings by year’s end

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Dutch asset manager Robeco is excluding investments in thermal coal, oil sands and Arctic drilling from all its mutual funds, it said on Thursday, joining other investors in cutting their exposure to fossil fuels.Companies that derive 25% or more of their revenues from thermal coal or oil sands, or 10% or more from Arctic drilling, will be barred from its investment portfolios, Robeco said in a statement.The 155 billion euro ($181 billion) asset manager previously excluded thermal coal investment from its sustainable funds only. It is also adding oil sands and Arctic drilling firms to its exclusion list, it said in a statement.“Our move to exclude investments in fossil fuels from our funds is a further step in our efforts to lower the carbon footprint of our investments, transitioning to a lower carbon economy,” said Victor Verberk, Robeco’s CIO fixed income and sustainability.A number of European insurers and asset managers have cut investments in fossil fuels, including Dutch insurer Aegon.Robeco said it would complete the exclusion of fossil fuel firms by the end of this year.[Carolyn Cohn]More: Dutch asset manager Robeco cuts fossil fuels from all its funds Dutch asset manager Robeco to divest thermal coal, oil sands holdings by year’s endlast_img read more

Mike Cosentino

first_imgMike Cosentino is the author of the Atlanta Running Guide and veteran marathoner and ultra-marathoner with place finishes at the Louisville Marathon, Atlanta Marathon, Leadville 100, Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Miler, and owner of a coveted “Silver Buckle” for a sub-24-hour finish in the Western States.Mike CosentinoMike CosentinoI’m an avid runner, but my girlfriend hates it. How can I convince her that running is something we could enjoy together?Your girlfriend doesn’t hate running. She just hates the way you package it. If she likes intimate conversation, engage in good chatter while on a run and she’ll come around pretty quickly. If she likes coffee shops, run to one and take a cab back afterwards. She’ll find you and running more adventurous. Same activity, different packaging.Gels taste like crap. What other foods will give me the same quick energy when running long distances?Try some Sport Beans. They have many of the same ingredients in popular gels while tasting like jelly beans…who doesn’t like jelly beans?How many miles should I put on my running shoes before I ditch them for another pair?400 is a safe estimate. And do, indeed, measure by miles and not months.Is it okay to join a running club just to pick up chicks?The real question is, would any running clubs still exist if their members didn’t join for that very reason? Probably not. So join in.last_img read more

Top 40: Biking

first_img1. Ortovox Mountain SkyverThe concept is simple—hike up, cruise down. The Mountain Skyver is a new foldable scooter designed to give you a new kind of downhill fix. It fits in its own pack, so you can strap it on your back and huff it up the mountain. Then jump on the foot pegs (no pedals or seat) and let gravity do its work.mountainskyver.com2. Spot Rocker SSYou ride a singlespeed for the simplicity of it. Pedal. Go. No worries. That’s never been more true than with the Spot Rocker, a 29er that combines a no-nonsense steel frame with the new Gates Carbon Belt Drive System instead of a traditional chain. Why go to a belt instead of a chain? The Gate’s system is stronger than a chain, requires no lube, virtually no maintenance, and is completely silent. Raleigh, Specialized, and Trek all offer belt drive models, but Spot was the original offroad bike company to adopt the system. Even better, Spot’s dropout also allows you to switch out the belt for a chain, or add a derailleur if you suddenly decide you really do need gears.$3,599; spotbrand.com3. Ritchey Ti-Carbon Break-AwayFolding bikes aren’t new and Ritchey’s Break Away has been around for a few years, but the use of titanium and carbon materials in the frame takes this bike from novelty to serious performance machine. The bike is built for traveling, splitting in two for easy storage, but aero-space grade titanium frame and carbon stays and fork keep the bike super light and the coupling system only adds 100 grams to the frame weight.$2895; ritcheylogic.com4. Road Holland Montfoort JerseyIt looks and feels like those spiffy, sporty elite cyclist jerseys, but the styling is a tad more forgiving—and therefore more flattering. The fabric is a super-soft and highly breathable blend of polyester and Merino wool. The inclusion of fine Merino makes it the most comfortable jersey our cyclists have tested.$120; roadholland.comlast_img read more

Get the Drop on Oktoberfest

first_imgBeer enthusiasts wait all year for the holy grail of brew festivals: Oktoberfest. Germany has been the epicenter of the largest festival in the world for over 200 years celebrating beer, Bavaria, and bratwurst – not necessarily in that order. As the evenings get cooler and the days shorter, you may be reaching for a dark, belly-warming beer over that last Corona more often so now is the time to celebrate. Sure, it’s only the middle of September, but when has that stopped anyone from hosting an Oktoberfest beer party?If you can’t make it to Munich this year, don’t worry; there are plenty of opportunities to imbibe seasonal ales in a town near you. One of the biggest and best is this weekend in Kingsport, Tenn. We named the Kingsport Oktoberfest one of our “50 Best Festivals” in 2012 because of the huge variety of activities including family friendly entertainment, a wiener dog race, and “Das KidZone.” There is also a brat eating contest, cornhole tournament, and Beer University where local brewers discuss the intricacies of craft beer.Another good option, though not officially an Oktoberfest, is the French Broad Fall Fest in Hot Springs, N.C. This fest is a straight up celebration of craft beer and music put on by the same folks as the French Broad River Festival.Hot Springs, N.C.: French Broad Fall FestView Larger MapKingsport, TN: Kingsport OktoberfestView Larger Maplast_img read more

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