Editorial: The Myth of Corporate Resistance to Renewables

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Dallas Morning News:There is a persistent myth that U.S. corporations oppose green initiatives. To the contrary, many are embracing a green future and reduced carbon footprints as profitable strategic investments.According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, a clean-energy think tank, U.S. companies bought nearly three times as much solar and wind power under long-term contracts in 2015 as they did in 2014. How significant is that? Imagine 1.4 million fewer carbon-spewing cars on the road, or taking every home in Arlington off the grid.It doesn’t take a math genius to determine that this is an important dynamic in the push to increase the use of renewable energy. As energy consumers, corporations wield tremendous power to vote with their dollars. As more companies voluntarily reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the economics of affordable renewable energy options are likely to improve for residential consumers, too.That’s why we applaud companies like Toyota, which announced last week that its new corporate headquarters in Plano will include a network of solar arrays designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The solar panels will provide about 25 percent of the power needed to run the headquarters complex — about several hundred homes’ worth of power consumption. And Toyota is not alone in this new business model. Facebook, for example, has cited accessibility to renewable energy as one of the reasons the company picked Fort Worth for a new data center.Without a doubt, natural gas and other fossil fuels will continue to dominate the nation’s energy needs for some time to come. But it’s impressive to see that, even with today’s low oil and natural gas prices, companies are embracing renewable energy alternatives as a long-term competitive advantage. Dozens of major companies — including Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Walt Disney, Wells Fargo, General Electric and at least nine major energy firms — have officially factored the likelihood of a carbon tax into their business plans. And many others are monitoring this issue like hawks.The World Resources Institute, for example, has compiled a Corporate Renewable Energy Strategy Map to show companies where they can buy affordable renewable power at the scale they need from their local utility suppliers. Plus, more than 60 U.S. companies, including Facebook and Microsoft, and several environmental groups recently formed the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance to develop 60 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025. Their goal is to eliminate hurdles from utilities and regulators that impede corporate efforts to reduce carbon emissions.Full item: Don’t believe the myth that corporations oppose green initiatives Editorial: The Myth of Corporate Resistance to Renewableslast_img read more

Global trillion-watt milestone for renewables seen as ‘the first of many’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:Global wind and solar developers took 40 years to install their first trillion watts of power generation capacity, and the next trillion may be finished within the next five years.That’s the conclusion of research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which estimated the industry reached the 1-terrawatt milestone sometime in the first half of the year. That’s almost as much generation capacity as the entire U.S. power fleet, although renewables work less often than traditional coal and nuclear plants and therefore yield less electricity over time.The findings illustrate the scale of the green energy boom, which has drawn $2.3 trillion of investment to deploy wind and solar farms at the scale operating today. BNEF estimates that the falling costs of those technologies mean the next terrawatt of capacity will cost about half as much – $1.23 trillion – and arrive sometime in 2023.“Wind and solar are winning the battle for cost-supremacy, so this milestone will be just the first of many,” said Albert Cheung, BlNEF’s head of analysis in London. The world had a total of about 6.2 terrawatts of installed capacity in 2016, about 1 terrawatt of that being coal plants in China, according to the research group. Like all milestones, reaching 1 terrawatt is an arbitrary mark that scratches the surface of the debate about how much renewables will contribute to the world’s energy system.Each power plant works at a different “capacity factor,’’ a measure capturing both the efficiency of the facility in generating electricty and how often it works. On average, wind farms have a capacity factor of about 34 percent worldwide, meaning they work about a third of the time, according to BloombergNEF. Some of the best sites have factors above 60 percent. For solar photovoltaics that track the sun, those readings range from 10 percent in the U.K. to 19 percent in the U.S. and 24 percent in Chile’s Atacama desert. By comparison, coal plants have a 40 percent capacity factor and nuclear sometimes double that.Even so, the terrawatt of installed capacity for renewables marks substantial growth for an industry that barely existed at the start of the century. More than 90 percent of all that capacity was installed in the past 10 years, reflecting incentives that Germany pioneered in the early 2000s that made payouts for green power transparent for investors and bankers alike.Asian nations absorbed 44 percent of the new wind and 58 percent of solar developments to date, with China account for about a third of all those installations.Wind made up 54 percent of the first terrawatt but solar is expected to overtake wind in early 2020. China has led the world in installing solar power over the last five years holding 34 percent of global solar capacity and it’ll continue to be the world’s largest market for both power sources, reaching 1.1 terrawatts in the country by 2050.“As we get into the second and third terrawatts, energy storage is going to become much more important,’” Cheung said. “That’s where we see a lot of investment and innovation right now.”More: Green Energy Producers Just Installed Their First Trillion Watts Global trillion-watt milestone for renewables seen as ‘the first of many’last_img read more

Sony joins RE100, plans 100% green energy by 2040

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Nikkei Asian Review:Sony plans to have all the energy it uses come from renewable sources by 2040, up from the current level of 7%, aiming to enhance corporate value as more investors and consumers place greater weight on environmental friendliness.The electronics company has 111 business sites around the world. Renewables will supply all power used not only in manufacturing televisions and cameras, but also in such content creation work as moviemaking.The goal will be achieved through such means as installing solar panels atop production facilities and purchasing green-certified power. Sony will gradually increase use of such energy, aiming first for a rate of 30% in 2030.Sony has already gone fully green in Europe. But 80% of the group’s energy consumption is in Japan, mainly because of semiconductor manufacturing.Purchasing solar power facilities will likely be pursued as well. Since 2012, solar has fallen under a feed-in-tariff system in Japan that requires electric utilities to buy renewable energy for fixed prices for specified periods at producers’ request. But solar facilities will start aging out of their 20-year period in 2032, which is expected to give Sony an opportunity to buy them from operators.Globally, more companies are pledging to use only renewable energy and are joining the RE100 initiative, which includes big names like Apple, Fujitsu, Ricoh and Aeon. The push for renewables is now spreading to large manufacturers like Sony that use massive amounts of power.More: Sony to source all its energy from renewables by 2040 Sony joins RE100, plans 100% green energy by 2040last_img read more

IEA data show a significant downturn in coal plant financing

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Fossil-fuel advocates have a favorite rejoinder to those who predict a global shift to renewable energy: Coal has never been more popular.It’s a decent argument because it happens to be true. While coal-fired power has declined by nearly a quarter in Europe and almost 40 percent in North America over the past decade, the change has been overwhelmed by a 63 percent increase in Asia.That makes ambitions to prevent more than 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming seem all but out of reach. Making matters worse, there’s a further 236 gigawatts of plants under construction worldwide, according to the Global Coal Plant Tracker, an online database operated by climate activist groups. Put together, that’s enough to add another quarter to the current fleet of turbines.The tide may finally be turning, though. Final investment decisions, or FIDs, for coal plants have fallen by about three-quarters over the past three years, from about 88GW over the course of 2015 to around 22GW in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest world investment report released this week.The full significance of that figure isn’t apparent until you compare it to the pace at which plants are shutting down. Some 30GW of generators were retired last year, so more capacity was closed in 2018 than was approved – almost certainly the first time this has happened in a generation, and possibly the first time since the 19th century. When FIDs drop to zero, the 140-year era of coal plant construction will finally be over. “This is a sneak preview of where we’ll be in three to four years time,” said Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a research group that favors energy transition. “If closures stay where they are, we’re at peak by 2021.”More: The world’s last coal plant will soon be built IEA data show a significant downturn in coal plant financinglast_img read more

Analyst sees big problems ahead for both met and thermal coal sectors in U.S.

first_imgAnalyst sees big problems ahead for both met and thermal coal sectors in U.S. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):At least one analyst believes that more U.S. metallurgical coal mines are likely to shut down in the coming weeks and months following Murray Energy Corp.’s announcement that it is shutting down its Maple Eagle coal mine West Virginia.Due to soft demand for steelmaking coal around the world, Murray’s decision to temporarily idle its metallurgical coal operation is likely only the beginning of an “accelerated number of mine shut-ins in the U.S.” Seaport Global Securities LLC analyst Mark Levin wrote in a Sept. 30 note. While the sector has been slow to respond as prices dipped in the past, it is reacting with greater urgency to shut down mines that are losing money this time around, the analyst added.“At the end of the day, we think it’s fair to say the market is in tough shape, and it’s not abundantly clear to us why it would get a whole [lot] better any time soon,” Levin wrote.Levin estimated that about 10 million tonnes of U.S. metallurgical coal could be at risk if prices do not meaningfully improve. At least a quarter of that production could come offline in the next 90 to 120 days, with higher-cost and lower-quality supply likely to be the first to go, Levin wrote.Levin added that U.S. exports of thermal coal used to generate power are also likely “off a lot” in 2020. Aside from some success from Consol Energy Inc. partnering with coal marketer Xcoal Energy & Resources, very few thermal coal exports have been contracted for 2020, Levin wrote. “Not one industry player with whom we have chatted expects U.S. thermal exports to be down any less than 20% next year,” Levin wrote.Domestic coal sales continue to be challenged by the low price of natural gas as well. Without export demand to serve as a release valve, thermal coal production idlings could also be coming in a few months.More ($): More closures likely at U.S. met coal mines soon, analyst sayslast_img read more

BloombergNEF: U.S. residential solar installations to hit record 3GW in 2020, 3.6GW in 2021

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg Green:America’s residential-solar industry is on the verge of a record-breaking year after overcoming a bruising due to the coronavirus pandemic.BloombergNEF now forecasts 3 gigawatts of residential-solar installations in 2020, topping the previous high of 2.8 gigawatts set last year, according to a report released Monday. BNEF expects another 3.6 gigawatts to be installed in 2021. And it’s not just residential solar seeing growth — onshore wind and utility-scale solar are also having a robust year.Demand for residential solar has rebounded after installers early in the pandemic had to limit, if not ditch, a key marketing tactic — door-to-door sales. A shift to digital sales amid lockdowns has proved fruitful, deepening the pool of potential customers, BNEF said. Now, many homeowners forced to work at home are contemplating upgrades to their residences, some spurred by weather-related power outages.“The push for renewables is really strong,” said Tara Narayanan, an analyst at BloombergNEF, in an interview. “It’s allowed the sector to shake off the worst of the plague and some natural disasters.”America’s utility-scale solar and onshore-wind industries, meanwhile, were poised to have strong years — and are still on pace to do so. BNEF projects 10 gigawatts of utility-scale solar to be installed in 2020, the best year for the sector since 2016. The research group bumped its onshore-wind forecast to 13.4 gigawatts from 11.1 gigawatts, which would be the highest since 13.9 gigawatts were added in 2012.[Brian Eckhouse]More: Americans poised to set new rooftop solar record despite virus BloombergNEF: U.S. residential solar installations to hit record 3GW in 2020, 3.6GW in 2021last_img read more

Kepco reported to be backing away from 630MW coal project in South Africa

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mining Weekly:South Korea’s state-owned power utility Kepco will either cancel its investment in coal-driven South African independent power producer Thabametsi, or transition the project to gas.A statement issued on Friday by Seoul-based nongovernmental organisation Solutions for Our Climate said Kepco announced on Thursday night it would no longer invest in overseas coal projects, a move which would also impact the Sual 2 venture in the Philippines.The move comes 10 days after Kepco approved the acquisition of a stake in the controversial Vung Ang 2 coal power project in Vietnam.Friday’s Solutions for Our Climate statement said Kepco chief executive officer Kim Jong-gap stated in an annual governmental audit hearing by the Korean national assembly that the utility planned to cancel or convert to liquefied natural gas, two remaining overseas coal power projects in its pipeline, namely Sual 2 and the 630 MW Thabametsi plant.Environmentalists in South Africa have been working for several years to discourage the development of new coal-fired power stations, which they say would have a high pollution impact, be economically costly and raise greenhouse gas emissions.In a victory for the environmental groups, a landmark decision by South Africa’s Water Tribunal in August confirmed that water licensing authorities must consider the impacts of climate change when deciding whether or not to grant water use licences to coal-fired power stations.More: Kepco cancels investment in South African coal energy plant Kepco reported to be backing away from 630MW coal project in South Africalast_img read more

Gore Street energizes 50MW battery in Northern Ireland, a second is due in December

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:Gore Street Energy Storage Fund has energised its 50MW Drumkee grid battery in Northern Ireland. Mullavilly, Gore Street’s second 50MW project in Northern Ireland, is expected to be energised in December.Both Drumkee and Mullavilly are expected to be commissioned and operational in the first quarter of 2021, bringing Gore Street’s operational portfolio to a total installed capacity of 210MW.The DS3 contracts available for these assets, which will provide returns for the projects, are expected to exceed the Company’s 10% unlevered target internal rate of return for portfolio assets.Gore Street has partnered with Low Carbon to jointly own and operate the projects.Gore Street Capital CEO Alex O’Cinneide said: “We are delighted to announce the energisation of Drumkee, the largest energy storage asset on the national electricity grid, an important milestone for local climate change goals. Both this asset and Mullavilly which remains anticipated to be energised in December, will benefit from highly attractive DS3 contracts and from a highly attractive return profile.”More: Gore Street energies 50MW Northern Ireland battery Gore Street energizes 50MW battery in Northern Ireland, a second is due in Decemberlast_img read more

Daily Dirt: Outdoor News for May 22, 2013

first_imgYour outdoor news bulletin for May 22, the day 1,000 brave adventurers set out on the Oregon Trail in 1843 hoping to find freedom, fertile land, and a video game franchise to span generations:Bike Share Business BreakdownBike Share systems are sweeping the nation, popping up in cities big and small. They are a great asset to commuters, transient workers, and anyone who doesn’t own a car or wants to limit their carbon footprint by not driving around – a group that is growing rapidly in this country. The Washington Post has a very interesting article that focuses not so much on the environmental and social aspects of a D.C.’s Bike Share program, but the economics and business side of it. The District’s Capital Bikeshare network has more shared bikes in circulation than any other region in the nation (when you include Arlington, Alexandria, and metro D.C.) with 1,890 bikes and 22,000 members. The article dives into the system used to keep popular racks stocked with bikes, the effect on drawing young professionals to live there, prices compared to other forms of public transportation, etc. If you are interested in bike shares, this is a must read.Petition to Repeal Backcountry Camping FeeA petition has been posted to Change.org demanding that the National Park Service repeal the backcountry camping fee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The $4 per person, per night  fee was implemented in February of 2013 and is being used to increase customer services to backcountry campers. This has rankled many of those who believe they should not have to pay a fee if they do not use amenities, should be able to buy a year pass, or should be able to sleep in GSMNP more than the 60 day limit. The end of the petition states: “We no longer have confidence that Superintendent Dale Ditmanson can effectively and efficiently manage the day to day operations of Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the best interest of the citizens who use this most beloved of national parks.” Ouch. As of this writing, the petition had 97 of the 100 signatures needed.People Love the Ocoee RiverAccording to a recent study by Steve Morse, an economist and associate professor in the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management and commissioned by the Ocoee River Outfitters Association and the America Outdoors Association, Tennessee’s Ocoee River was the most visited whitewater river in the U.S. With 229,542 visitors in 2012, the Ocoee trumped the Arkansas River in Colorado (208,329), the Pigeon River also in Tenn. (169,060), The Nantahala in N.C. (165,906), and the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania (110,422). The study states that visitors left a $42.8 million economic impact and supported 622 jobs the Ocoee Region. That’a a lot of hooch.last_img read more

First PrimaLoft Synthetic-Down Blends Hitting Stores Now

first_imgPrimaLoft, Inc. — the world leader in high-performance insulations and fabrics — said its proprietary PrimaLoft Performance Down Blends, is now available at retail in outdoor, fashion and hunting specialty shops.Blue Ridge Outdoors has been testing this next generation of apparel insulation for a full year, and this global technology is leading the trend to combine the warmth and loft of down with the wet-weather performance of PrimaLoft synthetic insulation. It is also helping to bring the cost of garments down while being sensitive to some of the supply chain issues surrounding down.PrimaLoft insulation was originally developed for the U.S. army as a water-resistant, synthetic alternative to down. The PrimaLoft brand is recognized as a benchmark in the outdoor industry for providing superior comfort in any condition, ultimately empowering users to “stay in the moment.”Brands debuting PrimaLoft Performance Down Blends products at retail in North America include: adidas Outdoor, Black Diamond, Helly Hansen, Lands’ End, Sherpa, Sitka, Under Armour and Westcomb. Consumers can also visit the company’s new consumer-facing website PrimaLoft.com to learn more about the technology, what to look for on hang tags in stores and which brands utilize this new insulation.The PrimaLoft Performance Down Blend product is created by a proprietary process that fuses water-repellent, fluorocarbon-free treated down with PrimaLoft insulation. This hybrid insulation is engineered by intimately blending premium down with moisture blocking, permanent water repellent PrimaLoft ultra-fine fibers, combining the best attributes of both materials.“PrimaLoft has been the go-to insulation for apparel brands around the world demanding best-in-class performance for over 25 years,” said Mike Joyce, president and CEO of PrimaLoft. “Now, we’re proud to offer consumers a new insulation product that features an entirely new level of warmth and excels in virtually any condition Mother Nature offers. Whether consumers want a great looking coat for walking down Fifth Avenue, skiing in the backwoods, or going on that traditional hunting weekend, the choices are significantly better.”PrimaLoft Performance Down Blends are available in Gold and Silver categories for Fall 2014. PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Down Blend has comparable warmth in construction to 750 fill goose down. PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Down Blend provides comparable warmth in construction to 650 fill down. The Gold level product retains more than 95 percent of warmth when wet and dry four times faster than untreated down.“For us, PrimaLoft Performance Down Blend is the perfect choice for our all-new SUBZERO parka line,” said Alan Yiu, chief designer and president at Westcomb. “Consumers are well educated about what they want in their apparel and, as a result, are demanding more from manufacturers. They want stylish outerwear that not only will last a long time but is also warm, versatile and comfortable. PrimaLoft® Performance Down Blends enable wearers to focus on the experience, not the weather. We are honored to be one of PrimaLoft’s launch partners.”PrimaLoft is a materials science company based in Latham, New York, with offices in Germany and Italy, a world leader in research and development of comfort solutions and performance insulations and fabrics. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the PrimaLoft brand (a registered trademark of PrimaLoft, Inc.) delivers products that are used in the top global outdoor and fashion brands, home furnishings, work wear, hunting and military applications.last_img read more