Missouri Utility Sees $300 Million Savings in Switch to Wind From Coal

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Joplin Globe:Empire District Electric Co. on Tuesday filed an application with the Missouri Public Service Commission to more than triple the amount of energy it gets from wind for power generation, continuing the company’s — and the industry’s — move away from coal-fired power.Empire’s filing requests permission for a $1.5 billion project to construct wind turbines in Southwest Missouri and eventually close its Asbury power plant.The company plans to pursue an equity partnership that would take advantage of $800 million in federal tax incentives for the project, making Empire’s total investment $700 million, according to its announcement.Costs associated with upgrades to the Asbury power plant were built into rates approved in mid-2015 by the PSC in Missouri. That increase raised the bill of Empire’s average residential customer by about $8 per month. Approximately 55 people currently work at the Asbury plant. The future of those jobs is unclear.Empire says a dramatic flip in market forces has made it far more feasible economically to generate wind power as the cost continues to drop. The company estimates its costs for generating power with coal at Asbury are about $38 per megawatt-hour but would be close to $24 with wind, leading to a projected savings of more than $300 million over 20 years.Julie Maus, director of corporate communications, said the market changes in the cost to procure wind and coal power are so great that even with the cost of upgrades made to the Asbury plant, the wind project will save ratepayers money.“Given all those costs of the construction and capital investment in this new wind initiative, it is still going to save about $10 per month for the average residential customer over the next 20 years,” Maus said.Empire already uses some wind power through purchase agreements but calculates it can cut costs by constructing and using its own turbines.“We are pleased to put forward this initiative, which demonstrates an innovative approach to reduce energy costs for our customers, while supporting our region by investing locally,” said Empire President David Swain.Under the plan, closure of the Asbury plant would take place in approximately April 2019, more than 15 years before Empire plans originally forecast. Empire notes expensive upgrades are due to be made to the plant in the coming years, meaning even with the money it has spent on the site in the past seven years, it makes more economic sense to shutter the plant and pivot more heavily toward wind power.The change in the market landscape for energy generation is one Empire said the industry didn’t see coming, but utilities across the nation have taken notice of the shift. Empire sees a 30 percent annual increase in renewable energy projects now, and 30,000 megawatts of renewables are already under construction.Empire notes its power generation makeup was approximately 95 percent from coal as recently as 1997, but this new proposal could reduce that amount to 21 percent by 2023. While a reduction in coal-burning has environmental benefits, the economics of renewable energies are the driving factor for the proposal, according to the company.Empire has already secured more than 40,000 acres of property in Jasper, Barton, Dade and Lawrence counties where wind turbines could be constructed. Property owners where the turbines are placed would be compensated for the land, Empire said.More: Empire plans pivot to wind energy generation Missouri Utility Sees $300 Million Savings in Switch to Wind From Coallast_img read more

U.K. tops 20GW of installed wind capacity

first_imgU.K. tops 20GW of installed wind capacity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:The U.K. has crossed the 20-GW mark for wind power capacity after the opening of the 659-MW Walney Extension offshore wind farm, RenewableUK said today.Denmark’s Ørsted A/S inaugurated the Walney Extension project in the Irish Sea earlier this month. It is now the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, leapfrogging the 630-MW London Array facility.The UK’s current onshore and offshore capacity of 20,128 MW can meet the annual power demand of more than 14 million homes, while reducing carbon emissions by 25 million tonnes a year, the industry body estimates. Of that capacity, 12.2 GW is onshore and 7.9 GW offshore.Since deployment of the country’s first commercial onshore wind farm in 1991 and its first offshore wind project in 2000, wind capacity expanded slowly to 1 GW in 2005 and grew to 5 GW in 2010. Then it picked up steam and reached 10 GW in 2013 and 15 GW in early 2017, with another 5 GW added just in the last 21 months.“It took 19 years to install the first 5GW of wind energy in the UK and we’ve now installed the same amount in under two years. That phenomenal growth shows just how quickly the UK is moving to a smart, low carbon power system and wind energy is at the heart of that,” commented RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck.More: UK now has over 20GW of wind capacitylast_img read more

Michigan town votes to close local coal plant

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Grand Haven Tribune:In a decision long-awaited by residents, activists and stakeholders, the Grand Haven City Council voted unanimously Monday to authorize the closure of the [80 megawatt] Sims power plant in June 2020.The resolution authorizes the Board of Light & Power to decommission the coal-burning plant on Harbor Island on the condition that the municipal utility will be capable of generating a majority of electricity locally by June 2023. The resolution also requires that future BLP facilities include the capacity to partner in the support of the city’s downtown snowmelt system.The new resolution falls in step with the BLP’s latest recommendations to diversify its energy portfolio, and the desire of the public to move away from coal and toward renewable resources.The BLP’s current plan for power generation, to be finalized in December, entails purchasing a majority of power off the grid and producing power locally when it is the economical option. A 36-megawatt gas engine is being considered for local production, likely to be located at the current Sims plant site on Harbor Island.Keeping the Sims plant running would have required an overhaul project costing more than $35 million. That was considered the least economical option by Burns & McDonnell.More: City council approves closure of Sims plant Michigan town votes to close local coal plantlast_img read more

ExxonMobil seeks to block shareholder vote on climate risk

first_imgExxonMobil seeks to block shareholder vote on climate risk FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:ExxonMobil Corp is trying to block an investor proposal that calls on the world’s largest publicly traded oil company to set targets for lowering its greenhouse gas emissions, two of the investor groups involved said on Sunday.Exxon in late January wrote to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the proposal, which is set for a vote at its May annual meeting, is misleading and an attempt to “micro-manage the company,” spokespeople for investors supporting the proposal said.The Church Commissioners for England (CCE), the endowment fund of the Church of England, an institutional investor that supports the proposal, as well as New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who manages the state’s pension fund that is pushing the proposal, both saw the Exxon letter, officials for both groups told Reuters.“Trying to strike out a shareholder proposal from institutional investors with a fiduciary responsibility to manage climate risk is an outdated reflex,” CCE head of responsible investment Edward Mason said in a statement. “Our proposal deserves more serious consideration.”Exxon rivals Royal Dutch Shell PLC and BP Plc have taken steps to broaden disclosure on greenhouse gas emissions or tied executive pay to reducing emissions.Investors supporting the Exxon proposal manage a total of $1.9 trillion and are led by DiNapoli.More: Exxon asks U.S. regulator to block climate-change resolution: investorslast_img read more

RWE aims to cut carbon emissions 70% by 2030, be climate neutral by 2040

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:RWE AG, Europe’s biggest carbon-dioxide emitter, plans to become climate neutral by 2040 as the German utility shutters its remaining coal-fired power plants.Chief Executive Officer Rolf Martin Schmitz on Monday said the utility would cut its carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 compared with 2012 levels. It will decommission its last U.K. coal plant next year and convert two facilities in the Netherlands to burn biomass. It will still operate 6 coal-fired plants in Germany, but has earmarked 1.5 billion euros ($1.64 billion) per year to expand in renewables.The plan fits with Germany’s 2038 goal to exit coal-fired power generation, which is vital for Europe’s biggest economy to make good on its climate targets – currently behind schedule. RWE had in part chosen the 2040 target as it “sounds better” than 2038, Schmitz said at a press conference in Essen.RWE’s target of carbon neutrality by 2040 follows the closure of its asset swap with one-time rival EON SE. Under the deal, RWE’s acquisition of EON’s green assets will see the firm boost the share of renewables in its portfolio. The company will eventually generate 60% of its earnings from green power generation.The company is also operating gas-fired plants. Schmitz said some of them would be converted to burn green hydrogen. There is no plan to close the whole fleet, according to a spokeswoman.“Every energy has its era, now begins the renewables era,” Schmitz saidMore: RWE targets climate neutrality by 2040 as sun sets on coal RWE aims to cut carbon emissions 70% by 2030, be climate neutral by 2040last_img read more

S&P: U.S. utility-scale solar installations surged in first quarter to almost 2GW

first_imgS&P: U.S. utility-scale solar installations surged in first quarter to almost 2GW FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Utility-scale solar installations in the U.S. totaled 1,962 MW of new capacity in the first quarter of 2020, which was 65.5% higher than the total installed in the first quarter of last year and the strongest first quarter in the last five years, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. The analysis aligns with data from the Solar Energy Industries Association Inc., which said that the first three months of 2020 was the strongest first quarter on record with new additions, including residential solar, totaling 3.6 GW.Most projects came on in January, which saw 56.7% of the total capacity added during the quarter. Florida saw the highest utility-scale solar capacity added during the quarter at 596 MW, while California stood second with 359 MW of solar capacity added.Cumulative installed utility-scale solar capacity in the U.S. as of March 31 reached 40,652 MW, up 18.4% from 12 months prior.The Misae Project (Childress Solar Park), a 240-MW solar farm located in Childress County, Tex., was the largest solar project to come online during the quarter. IKEA owner INGKA Holding BV shares ownership of the plant with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners K/S, which acquired a 49% stake in April.NextEra Energy Inc. tops the list of companies with the largest pipeline of projects set to begin operation through 2024. The developer has an aggregate capacity of 5,867 MW, most of which is in early development. Invenergy LLC has the second-largest development fleet, totaling 5,092 MW, and Paris-based EDF Group has the third-largest project pipeline with 2,513 MW.As of June 8, the amount of capacity scheduled to come online in the next five years is expected to peak in 2021, with 28,172 MW planned. Most planned capacity over the five-year period is in early development. Texas has the largest amount of solar projects in the pipeline of any state, with 25,738 MW of new capacity through 2024. The single largest planned project in the state is Greyhound Solar Project, in Ector County, owned by Energy Acuity, LLC. The 650-MW plant, which is in early development, is slated to come online in June 2021.[Gaurang Dholakia]More ($): U.S. utility-scale solar installations accelerate in Q1’20last_img read more

From Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia has 35 of the most beautiful state parks in the country

first_imgThis month we’re working with our partners at Virginia Tourism to help you win an adventure-lovers paddling giveaway.When the trees begin to green and the woods start calling your name, be ready. Gather up the ones you love and head out on the trail in Virginia, where nature puts on a special show in springtime. Stretching from the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia has 35 of the most beautiful state parks in the country. virginia is for lovers logoAlso boasting 22 national parks, Virginia’s countless trails and access points share opportunities for high-adrenaline hiking to low key wandering, and the holy grail of outdoor experiences- sharing it all with your friends and family.Follow a trail to the banks of a stream running with trout just waiting to challenge your fly-fishing skills. Let a mountain pass lead you to a vista you’ll never forget. Picnic beneath the canopy of an old-growth forest, or at the edge of a pristine beach.  In Virginia, there are thousands of ways to breathe in a big whiff of springtime and feel its sunshine down to your toes.Start planning your Spring vacation at Virginia.org…last_img read more

Running for Their Lives

first_imgA new feature-length documentary about the Tarahumara goes beyond running and offers a deeper look into their culture. Goshen: Places of Refuge for the Tarahumara Tribe reveals how the Tarahumara ancient diet, active lifestyle, andcultural traditions have enabled their people to thrive in some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet. The film was made by Dana Richardson and Sarah Zentz, who lived with the Tarahumara in the canyons. It has already won an Accolade Global Film Award.Appearing in the film is BRO Editor in Chief Will Harlan—winner of the 2009 Copper Canyon Ultra—who founded the nonprofit Barefoot Seeds to assist Tarahumara farmers. Drug violence and drought are endangering the Tarahumara’s ability to survive in their ancestral homelands. Barefoot Seeds helps Tarahumara communities grow and store indigenous varieties of seeds so they can withstand future droughts and food shortages.The documentary will make its premiere in the Southeast at the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company theater on May 7 at 10 p.m. Harlan will be there to introduce the documentary and answer questions.last_img read more

Nearly 800 Cyclists Tackled The 44th Annual Assaults on Mt. Mitchell & Marion

first_img“The Freewheelers Association is grateful for another successful year of The Assaults,” Karl Johnson, Freewheelers Association President, said. “We are honored to put on a ride that fosters camaraderie and promotes healthy, active lifestyles while also benefitting the Upstate and Western North Carolina communities. A big thank you is due to our incredible sponsors, partners, and volunteers who made the 44th annual Assaults possible.” The organization behind The Assaults, The Freewheelers Cycling Association, is a Spartanburg, S.C.-based, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit community service organization founded in 1973. The Freewheelers’ mission is to provide education and promotion of bicycle safety and a forum for amateur sports competition and touring. To learn more about The Freewheelers, visit their website at www.freewheelers.info. SPARTANBURG, S.C.—The 44th annual Assaults on Mt. Mitchell & Marion, presented by Prisma Health, saw the ascent of nearly 600 cyclists on Mt. Michell and almost 200 riders on Marion on Monday, May 20. The 102.7-mile journey is one of the most intense, premier cycling experiences in the Southeast, known as “the Beast of the East”. Seth Jones – Top Finisher Ben Allen – Youngest Finisher Ina Pfuhler, from Cincinnati, O.H., held this year’s fastest female time at 07:01:50. Organizations supported by the ride include FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Spartanburg County Baptist Network, NC High Peaks, Advent Outreach, the Bearden-Josey Women’s Cycling team, Palmetto Cycling Coalition, Partners for Active Living, and the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind. About The Freewheelerscenter_img Participants began in downtown Spartanburg, S. C., and rode to either Marion, N.C., (74.2 miles) or the Mt. Mitchell summit (102.7 miles). Thanks to ride sponsors and participants, the Freewheelers Cycling Association of Spartanburg, who hosts this ride, gave back almost $10,000 this year to organizations in and around the Upstate and Western North Carolina who help support The Assaults. About The Assaults With a beautiful day on Mt. Mitchell to compliment, Moorseville, N.C.’s Seth Jones was the fastest rider this year, completing The Assault on Mt. Mitchell with a 05:06:13 time, beating last year’s fastest time by 3 minutes. A bucket list ride for serious cyclists, The Assaults is one of the most intense, premier cycling experiences in the Southeast, and draws a full field of around 800 cyclists from across the world each spring to ride from Spartanburg, S.C. to either Marion, N.C. (74.2 miles) or the top of Mount Mitchell (102.7 miles). To learn more, register, sponsor or volunteer, visit www.theassaults.com or email [email protected] Other notable participants included: 13-year-old, Ben Allen from Charlotte, N.C. (09:37:37), Michael Davis from Albemarle, N.C. who completed the Assault on Mt. Mitchell for the 39th time (09:59:40), and Justin Teutsch, who joined all the way from London, U.K. (06:11:00). Ina Pfuhler – Top Femalelast_img read more

Outdoor Updates: Girl returns heart-shaped rock to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

first_imgWhite-tailed deer in both West Virginia and Kentucky have been diagnosed with Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), transferred to deer by small biting flies known as no-see-ums. EHD is not the same as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), an always-fatal neurological disease. Some deer do survive EHD and build protective antibodies that are then passed on to their young, eventually producing herd immunity. Girl returns heart-shaped rock to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, earns praise In Kentucky, the first case of EHD this year was confirmed in Graves County. West Virginia is experiencing an outbreak of the disease, with cases confirmed in Summers, Monroe and Greenbrier Counties. EHD ends with the first frost, which kills the flies that carry the disease. Humans and pets cannot contract EHD. A just-opened hiking and biking trail is connecting Brevard, NC to Pisgah National Forest, a world-renowned mountain biking and hiking destination. The 1.5-mile long Pinnacle Trail is located at Bracken Mountain Preserve and brings the total miles of trails at the preserve to nine. The new trail offers a tough climb with 500 feet in elevation gain. Volunteers, including Summer of Service AmeriCorps members, were instrumental in bringing the trail to life. “The new trail makes Bracken Mountain more of a destination, not just a way to get somewhere else or a quick after-work ride,” said Torry Nergart who organized trail-building days with Conserving Carolina. “Now, you can get in a really good climb and an extended downhill run. Afterwards, you’re right there in Brevard’s downtown.” Park officials were charmed but also saw the gesture as a teaching moment. After all, removing objects from a national park is against federal regulations and violators can incur fines. The park service posted the girl’s note and a photo of the rock on Facebook, along with a message: “Already, you are becoming an amazing steward for the park,” the Facebook post said. “Thank you for recognizing that what is in the park should stay in the park. If every visitor took a rock home, that would mean 11 million rocks would be gone from the park every year!” A new hiking and biking trail has opened in Brevard, NC A young girl who visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park enjoyed it so much that she decided to take home a souvenir: a heart-shaped rock which she plucked from the trail near Tom Branch Falls. Upon returning home, however, she felt guilty about taking the rock, so she mailed it back along with a donation, a note, and a hand-drawn illustration. Hemorrhagic disease confirmed in deer in West Virginia and Kentuckylast_img read more