‘A Program That Has Been Mismanaged for Years and Is Failing on Every Front’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Joshua Learn for SNL: Warring factions have amplified their arguments in early comments to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s proposed reformation to the federal coal-leasing program.“It’s time for the U.S. to modernize how it manages its publicly owned coal reserves,” wrote Tom Sanzillo, the director of finance of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, in a press release outlining some of the group’s recommendations during the BLM’s ongoing comment period.Sanzillo went on to describe the federal coal-leasing program as But not everyone agrees.“The fundamental fairness and value of the federal coal lease program was underscored in recent investigations by the Government Accountability Office and the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General,” said Hal Quinn, the president and CEO of the National Mining Association, in a release. “While recommending targeted efficiency improvements, neither report identified fundamental flaws that would justify the wholesale changes called for by environmental activists and now suggested by the administration. In fact, the Department of the Interior previously rejected the very claims made by these activists.“The White House announced a moratorium on new coal leases on federal land in mid-January, but Quinn noted that there are no environmental benefits of keeping coal in the ground and that DOI reports show that mines on federal land in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota have no off-site impacts.“There is no compelling need for a moratorium to ‘fix’ a program that isn’t broken,” Quinn said. “Keeping federal coal in the ground is a political fix that will deny taxpayers any revenue from this valuable resource, while forcing state and local communities to suffer the loss of additional high-wage jobs and sharp budget shortfalls that will require either higher taxes, lower services or both.”In a recent op-ed column in the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, Bob LeResche, the chair of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, said the challenges presented by the moratorium underscore its rationale and necessity. “The system needs fixing, and this down market is the perfect time to pause and fix it. The coming new coal industry, certainly viable but very likely much smaller, requires re-thinking our management structures,” he wrote, adding that 20 years’ worth of coal is already leased and will not be hindered by this pause in new leasing.Full article $:  https://www.snl.com/web/client?auth=inherit#news/article?id=36512910&KeyProductLinkType=4 ‘A Program That Has Been Mismanaged for Years and Is Failing on Every Front’last_img read more

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IEEFA Webinar: Moody’s Investors Services on Coal, Renewables, Utilities (Sept. 28, 10 a.m. ET)

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享IEEFA:One of the core takeaways in research published last week by Moody’s Investor Service: Declining capital costs and improved operating efficiencies will continue to drive strong growth in renewable energy over the next few years. Three Moody’s executives will be featured next week in an IEEFA webinar to discuss the research: Jim Hempstead (Managing Director, Moody’s Global Projects & Infrastructure Finance), Anna Zubets-Anderson (Vice President-Senior Analyst, Moody’s), and  Swami Venkataraman  (Senior Vice President, Moody’s).Globally, China and India are expected to lead in renewable energy installation. In the U.S., even in the absence of subsidies, lower-cost wind and solar are expected to continue to take market share from coal-fired electricity generation.Moody’s in its recent research also notes growing political support for renewables in much of the U.S., driven by job growth, noting that  “The renewable energy sector provides significant employment for the US economy — 677,544 jobs in total versus 160,119 for coal — and this helps to ensure that the sector will continue to receive support from many local governments.”The webinar, on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. ET, “Financial Trends in U.S. Utilities, Renewables and Coal,” is open to the public. Register here. IEEFA Webinar: Moody’s Investors Services on Coal, Renewables, Utilities (Sept. 28, 10 a.m. ET)last_img read more

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Cleanup liability stalls talks over potential sale of Navajo coal plant

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Arizona Republic:Negotiations for a Navajo Nation energy company to take over the troubled coal plant near Page have hit a major impasse over who could be responsible for the eventual cost of cleanup.The owners of the Navajo Generating Station, which is on tribal land and fed by a mine on Navajo and Hopi land, are planning to close the power plant this year.The Navajo Transitional Energy Company, or NTEC, which is owned by the tribe, has been negotiating to take over the plant, which is the largest coal-fired generator in the West. But a Feb. 25 letter from NTEC to the power plant owners, which include Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service Co., indicates the deal has stalled because the parties cannot agree over the long-term liability for the plant.The parties met Wednesday and an SRP spokesman said Thursday the deal stalled. “The discussion we had with them yesterday did end at an impasse,” SRP spokesman Scott Harelson said Thursday. “We don’t see a path forward.”Because SRP and the other owners have run the plant since it opened in the 1970s, they are responsible for the majority of the cleanup, even if new owners take over the plant and run it for another decade or two.The plant’s current owners have agreed to put money in an escrow account to pay for the eventual cleanup of the plant if it is transferred to NTEC. And NTEC has agreed to a second clean-up fund as a “backstop.” NTEC has offered to issue a performance bond, and is willing to negotiate the amount, to pay any potential cleanup liability beyond what SRP is offering. But SRP wants even more: full release from any further liability, according to the letter. Harelson confirmed the negotiations ended over clean-up liabilities.More: ‘We don’t see a path forward’: Navajo coal plant negotiations hit big roadblock Cleanup liability stalls talks over potential sale of Navajo coal plantlast_img read more

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Enviro groups sue to block expansion of Rosebud mine in Montana

first_imgEnviro groups sue to block expansion of Rosebud mine in Montana FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Montana Free Press:A group of environmental groups filed a lawsuit in federal court in Billings Monday challenging the proposed expansion of the Rosebud Coal Mine, which supplies coal to the Colstrip power plant.In June, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement approved the expansion, which will allow about 68.5 million tons of coal to be mined from 6,700 additional acres, adding eight years to the operational life of the mine, which is extended through 2038 by the expansion.The lawsuit was filed by the Western Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Montana Environmental Information Center, Sierra Club, Indian People’s Action, 350 Montana, and WildEarth Guardians.The Rosebud Mine is the second-largest coal producer in Montana and the 18th-largest in the United States, according to the Energy Information Administration. The mine, which employs 421 people, is owned by Westmoreland Mining LLC, a group of creditors that purchased the mine from Westmoreland in bankruptcy court earlier this year.The mine’s sole customer is the Colstrip power plant. Two of Colstrip’s four units are planned to close in early 2020, and three of the plant’s four remaining owners are planning to stop buying coal from the other two units by 2027. The remaining owner is NorthWestern Energy, which supplies electricity to Montana.Mike Scott, a Billings-based senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club, said those withdrawals make an expansion of Rosebud unnecessary. “The writing’s on the wall for what’s going to happen to Colstrip,” Scott said.More: Environmental groups file federal lawsuit against Rosebud Coal Mine expansionlast_img read more

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Vietnam’s offshore wind industry on the verge of significant growth

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Eco-Business:Vietnam’s thriving wind energy market is, without doubt, among this year’s biggest success stories for renewables to emerge from Southeast Asia, a region that has long resisted the global trend away from fossil fuels.With its economy ballooning and its population among the world’s most climate-vulnerable, the country has made great strides to boost wind power to keep pace with soaring energy needs and bring down carbon emissions, introducing more ambitious wind power targets than any other Southeast Asian state and policies that have attracted investors from all over the world.With foreign capital flows into Vietnam on the rise, the country is forecast to install 1 GW of onshore and offshore wind capacity by 2021, up from the current 327MW, surpassing even Thailand—at present Southeast Asia’s front-runner in installed wind capacity. Vietnam is also the only state in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to have developed offshore wind, with 99 MW already in place.But it won’t stop there, with the target to deploy a total wind power capacity of 6,000 MW by 2030 enshrined in its latest national power development master planIn July, the Vietnamese government approved the assessment of the area off the cape of Kê Gà in south Vietnam to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm with a capacity of 3,400 MW. Once completed, the project’s power capacity will outstrip even that of the nation’s largest coal, gas and hydropower stations.Liming Qiao, Asia director at Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), said with Vietnam’s energy needs acute, the state turned its focus to its 3,300 km coastline, which boasts one of the best resources for both onshore and offshore wind in ASEAN. By tapping into its potential offshore wind capacity alone—an estimated 309 GW—Vietnam could meet its entire energy needs for decades to come. “The government has realised that wind power is a cheap and reliable source of electricity production. Given the soaring electricity demand, this is the most sensible direction to go in,” she said.More: Gusty growth: Vietnam’s remarkable wind energy story Vietnam’s offshore wind industry on the verge of significant growthlast_img read more

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New Zealand to divest fossil fuel stocks from government-backed savings funds

first_imgNew Zealand to divest fossil fuel stocks from government-backed savings funds FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享SBS News:The New Zealand government is ringfencing billions of dollars from fossil fuel investments, effectively divesting much of the country’s superannuation scheme.On Sunday, Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi announced the country’s ‘KiwiSaver’ accounts would be going green. From next year, default funds will no longer be able to include ‘fossil fuel production’ companies in their portfolio.“This reflects the Government’s commitment to addressing the impacts of climate change and transitioning to a low-emissions economy,” Mr Faafoi said. “It also makes sense for the funds themselves given that there is a risk of investing in stranded assets as the world moves to reduce emissions.”KiwiSaver is New Zealand’s superannuation-style scheme, in which Kiwis are encouraged to put a fraction of their income in a savings deposit, which is then topped by employers and the government.The decision will impact the 690,000 Kiwis remaining with their default provider, which each invest somewhere between 0.49 per cent and 2.4 per cent of their portfolio in fossil fuels. At the end of 2019, there were 2.9 KiwiSaver accounts in total, with a total value of $NZ59 billion ($A56.5 billion).New Zealand has already changed the rules on its $NZ47 billion ($A45 billion) Superannuation Fund, which supports the country’s pension system. That decision, in 2017, removed more than $NZ3 billion ($A2.9 billion) from fossil fuel-related stocks “without negatively affecting performance” according to Mr Faafoi. “Moving away from investments in fossil fuels doesn’t have to mean lower returns.”More: NZ directs super away from fossil fuelslast_img read more

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Vietnam backs plans to develop nearly 7,000MW of new wind power

first_imgVietnam backs plans to develop nearly 7,000MW of new wind power FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Forbes Vietnam:Vietnam’s Government has approved the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s proposal to add a series of wind power plants to the national power development plan, with a combined capacity of nearly 7,000 MW.In a document sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade on June 25, 91 wind power projects with a total capacity of nearly 7,000 MW were added to the revised national power development plan (PDP VII Revised).The decision was approved based on a proposal from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and based with the goal of ensuring power supply in 2021-2023 in the context of large power projects currently facing implementation delays. The document emphasized that the Ministry of Industry and Trade will be fully responsible for wind power projects and grid connection to the national power system.Of the 91 wind power projects that have been added to the plan, most are concentrated in the Southwest with 37 projects with a total capacity of 3,116 MW; Central Highlands 28 projects with a total capacity of 2,452 MW; North Central Coast 16 projects with capacity of 941 MW; The South Central Coast has 9 projects with a total capacity of 336 MW and one project of 102 MW in the Southeast region.The feed-in-tariff for wind power projects is 1,927 VND/kWh, equivalent to 8.5 cents/kWh. For offshore wind projects, the FiT is VND 2,223, or 9.8 cents/kWh.[This article was translated from Vietnamese by IEEFA]More: Vietnam approves 91 wind generation projects for power master planlast_img read more

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Solar growth in Australia seriously undercutting coal generators’ economic competitiveness

first_imgSolar growth in Australia seriously undercutting coal generators’ economic competitiveness FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Even the world’s top coal exporter is struggling to make money from burning the fuel.Australia’s coal power plants, which make up more than half of the nation’s generation mix, are facing increased pressure as rooftop solar hollows out daytime demand. That could mean early closures among the country’s aging fleet, giving energy planners the tricky task of ensuring energy security while replacing the steady, predictable flow of power with more variable renewable generation.“We’ve got a problem with coal closures,” Kerry Schott, chair of the Energy Security Board, told a virtual clean energy summit on Thursday. ‘We’ve got plants that are becoming uneconomic and some have got very tight margins at the moment.”A surge in new wind and solar capacity is driving wholesale electricity prices as low as A$40 ($29) a megawatt-hour in some parts of the network — in many cases lower than it costs the plant to buy its coal, Schott said. Reduced demand because of coronavirus restrictions has also damped prices. While that’s a good thing for the consumer, it’s vital to ensure that any capacity lost due to coal retirements is replaced in a way that also safeguards network security and reliability, she said.Australians love of rooftop solar is also under-cutting coal plants. Almost one in four Australian households has panels, and there’s still scope for solar capacity to jump by 500% by 2050, according to BloombergNEF.Australia’s coal fleet is mostly owned by the country’s three big power companies: AGL Energy Ltd., Origin Energy Ltd. and the CLP Holdings-owned EnergyAustralia. AGL’s Liddell facility will kick off a raft of retirements over the next decade with a phased shutdown from 2022.[James Thornhill]More: Solar surge is making coal plants unprofitable in top exporterlast_img read more

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Switchback Results: American Races and Atlantic Drilling

first_imgIllustration by Wade MickleyShould the Atlantic be opened to oil drilling?Yes: 24%If it helps with giving Americans jobs and keeping our gas prices lower in the USA, then I don’t see a problem with it. —Brian, via e-mailAs long as we continue to improve our safety and environmental records, we should drill anywhere in American territory, be it the Gulf, Atlantic, Pacific, or the Arctic. The visual presence of a drilling platform 10 miles off the coast is not a reason to obstruct drilling. It is but a dot on a very large horizon. —Photo Nomad, via e-mail No: 76%The short-term gains don’t outweigh the long term negative consequences. Earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, as well as human error, will inevitably lead to catastrophe. And since when is oil the only source of jobs? How about the jobs that could be created from increased usage of green technologies? That’s where the potential growth is greatest. —Laura Ryan, via e-mailI wonder how the Outer Banks, Chesapeake Bay, New York Harbor, Long Island, Boston Harbor, and the Lobster fields of Maine will like an oil spill like the one in the Gulf that BP gave us. The oil companies will eventually make a mistake and the whole East Coast will feel the impact. —Dave Henderson, via emailYou want to talk jobs? Renewable energy will create tens of thousands of jobs, advance America to the forefront of renewable energy, and help save the environment. —M.P. Crosson, via e-mailWe need to take advantage of what is free. Capture the power of the sun, wind, and water. I would much rather see wind mills far out in the ocean than oil rigs. —Sheila B., via e-mailShould foreign runners be allowed to win American races?Yes: 90%As an American runner, I enjoy competing against runners from other countries. It’s nice to be able to work hard against runners from different backgrounds and heritages. It is also nice to be able to trade stories about different runs and how we may have more in common with someone from another country than we once may have realized.—William Orndorff, via e-mailA race is a competition. Runners want to compete and know who is the fastest, regardless of their background.—Bea, via e-mailThe beautiful thing about running is that there are no leagues, divisions, or major associations seen in organized sports such as football. The fact that an American can compete against an Italian, Kenyan, and Japanese runner at the same time on American soil is one of the unique aspects of running that makes it interesting. The idea is to be the fastest runner, and if that individual happens to be a Slovak, so be it.—McGinnis, via e-mailNo: 10%The Kenyans and foreign runners win all of the prize money, depriving American runners of winning races on their home soil. It’s not as exciting to see a pack of foreign runners far ahead of the rest of the American field.—Louie S., via e-maillast_img read more

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Yet Another Challenge

first_imgLent has come and gone. For the second year in a row Anne and I gave up meat for Lent. We are not Catholic but I guess being ultra runners we love a good challenge. My twelve year old step-daughter on the other hand is not ready for these types of contests. For the second year in a row I struggled to make it all forty days with no animal proteins.I’m pretty good at setting running goals and achieving most of them. However I must admit when it comes to my diet I’m not as strong and regimented as I am with my running plan. I don’t eat meat with every meal but I have found it surprisingly tough to find restaurants in our area that offer a variety of vegetarian entrees. Our family likes to eat out a lot and there in lies a part of the struggle. A lot of the places I like to eat don’t offer many vegetarian choices, maybe one or two at best. Another pre-requisite for restaurants we frequent is that they must have a good beer selection, which throws another wrench into finding good vegetarian dishes. Still one would think Asheville would have this covered.Anne and I announced our intentions back in February at the dinner table and asked our daughter Emma to join us, knowing full well she was not going to take the bait. She looked at us as if this plan was crazier than discussing our next ultra. Emma matter-of-factly stated that “my body and Italian digestive system need meat”. This made sense to me as I nodded in approval. I was going to mention something about being Scandinavian and that this idea was probably good for the both of us. Anne, somehow knowing what I was about to say, was staring me down with a silent order to keep my mouth shut. So I did, knowing that I had to be a good role model, suck it up, and explain the benefits of a vegetarian diet to Emma.My body really responded well to eating vegetarian meals. As each day passed I felt healthier in general and things were “flowing” much better than ever. This becomes more important the older I get (TMI?). I had my weak moments for sure where I thought I was not going to make it but I had to finish the challenge not only for myself but to show Emma it could be done. I doubt she ever really cared but these thoughts helped forge me onward towards the end of my forty day quest.A week or two after Lent I’m actually eating less meat than before I went rogue. Hopefully I can keep it up but like I said my weak point is my diet. We just need a good brew pub around here that serves mostly vegetarian entrees and a nice greenway leading to the front door, problem solved!last_img read more

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