FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wisconsin State Journal:Coal is not coming back. Sorry, Wyoming, West Virginia and other states that mine the fading fuel.Wisconsin, which imports most of its energy, is shutting down another coal plant, with plans to rely on more natural gas and renewable energy instead.Congratulations to We Energies on its smart decision this week to close its Pleasant Prairie plant in Kenosha County. The plant burns about 13,000 tons of coal a day, most of it shipped here from Wyoming. The plant’s buildings and equipment will be removed, according to We Energies, which has pledged to help about 150 employees find jobs elsewhere in the company.The free-market economy favors natural gas, and the cost of renewable energy is falling, especially for solar.Moreover, an increasing number of customers want their power companies to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, which emit the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet.The State Journal this week reported “wind technician” is the fastest-growing occupation in the United States. Wind generation employs about 102,000 workers, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. An even bigger employer is solar energy, which accounts for about 374,000 jobs.That’s far more than the 86,000 positions attributed to coal generation, or the estimated 74,000 coal miners.The Trump administration is aggressively trying to defy market trends. Energy Secretary and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for example, has been pushing for subsidies for coal plants that stockpile supplies as a supposed security measure. Yet despite Perry’s best efforts, three coal-fired plants in Texas recently announced they are shutting down.This is good — not just for the planet and future generations of Americans, but also for utility bills.We Energies told the Racine Journal Times this week that its goal in shuttering its Pleasant Prairie coal plant is to reduce the cost of supplying power as well as cutting carbon-dioxide emissions. We Energies also has plans to develop a large solar energy project in the state by 2020.The future is clean energy — no matter how much the president wants to return to the past.More: Editorial: Coal plants will continue to shut down Editorial: Wisconsin Coal Plant Is Closing for Good Reason
Rising coal prices in Europe spur more interest in renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Coal’s push to $100 a ton in Europe may benefit the greenest energy providers more than it does miners.Companies that provide alternatives ranging from renewable power plants to natural gas turbines are expecting a lift after the commodity reached a five-year high. Far from spurring a revival of the dirtiest fossil fuel, executives of energy companies that provide an alternative expect the move to accelerate a shift toward cleaner power sources. Higher energy costs also put efficiency on the agenda of industry and policy makers, breathing life into technologies designed to squeeze more out of raw materials of all kinds.“It’s an opportunity,’’ Paolo Bertuzzi, chief executive officer of Turboden SpA, a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., said at the Bloomberg NEF summit in London. “What’s important is not just the price but also the trend. If prices are rising, people start to think more about what to do about energy costs.’’The surge in coal stems from record demand for energy in China, which has driven up the cost of power generation fuels of all kinds. That’s drawn cargoes away from Europe and boosted electricity prices from Britain to Italy. Those governments already were working to limit fossil fuel emissions to rein in climate change. As a result, many utilities have spent years re-positioning to draw supplies from wind and solar farms instead of coal plants.Higher coal and power prices make renewables look like a better economic bet against fossil fuels, according to Ignacio Galan, CEO of Iberdrola SA, which was the first big promoters of wind power in Europe. “Fossil fuel costs are increasing, and that’s helping renewable energy,’’ Galan said in an interview at the BNEF conference in London this week. “It signals that if you invest in fossil fuel sources, you will be penalized.”Oil companies also expect to benefit from rising coal costs, since natural gas they supply is used as a competing power generation fuel. “The coal price increase has an impact and it is very good news for renewables, and very good news also for gas, and also very good news for CO2 emissions,” said Philippe Sauquet, president of gas, renewables and power at the French oil major Total SA. “If coal is expensive, less coal will be dispatched, there will be more room for gas and the CO2 emissions will decrease.”More: Coal reaching $100 a ton in Europe boosts greener alternatives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:The state government of Rajasthan has come up with a new draft solar policy. The proposed policy package aims to establish the state as a global hub for solar with 50 GW of installed generation capacity within 5-6 years. It envisages an R&D hub for the deployment of renewable energy technologies and solar-wind hybrid projects, with a focus on improving efficiency and reducing balance-of-system costs.The new policy aims to achieve 25 GW of grid-connected solar projects up to 2021-22 to fulfill the renewable purchase obligation of state electricity distribution companies (discoms) from PV. The state will also endeavor to develop solar projects for sale to parties other than state discoms, and for commercial self-consumption.Rajasthan also proposes setting up decentralized, grid-connected solar projects near 33 kV sub-stations for the sale of power to discoms. The minimum capacity allowed for such projects under the draft policy would be 500 kW and the maximum 3 MW. The projects would be awarded through tariff-based competitive bidding.To promote the development of 500 MW-plus solar parks, the state government will invest up to half of the equity required, including the cost of land, in joint venture companies formed for their development.However, industry insider Gopal Lal Somani says Rajasthan’s ambitious 25 GW, two to three-year target appears out of reach. He said the state policy has gaps on issues such as land acquisition, the huge transmission network required for the influx of solar, the creditworthiness of discoms and permit processing for land use. The new proposals need an investment-friendly environment and cost-economic benefits for developers to take investment decisions, said Somani.More: Rajasthan eyes 50 GW of solar within six years India’s Rajasthan state government announces 50GW solar goal by 2025
Attend the best music festivals in the Blue Ridge for FREE this summer with our Weekly Festival Ticket Giveaway!Each week we will give away tickets to a different festival:Drawing May 13: Two four-day passes to DelFestDrawing May 13: Two winners get two passes each to the Rooster Walk Music Festival Drawing May 17: Two general admission weekend passes to BonnarooDrawing May 24: Two three-day general admission passes to Red Wing Roots Music FestivalDrawing May 31: Two general admission passes plus camping to The Festy ExperienceDrawing June 7: Two general admission weekend passes to Forecastle FestivalThis giveaway is now closed! Thanks to all who entered.Don’t forget to enter to win tickets to FloydFest and a Deuter Backpack here!Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 noon EST on June 15th, 2013. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, DelFest, Rooster Walk Music Festival, Bonnaroo, Red Wing Roots Music Festival, the Festy Experience, or Forecastle Festival reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before June 30th, 6:00 PM EST 2013. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received.
“Jessssss can we pppllease go play?”Adam is staring at me with that pleading puppy dog look that’s impossible to refuse. It’s nearing 5pm and we’ve been cooped up inside all day, answering emails, conducting phone interviews, charging batteries, doing laundry, nailing down upcoming travel logistics. His nails are chewed down to the cuticle. My eyes are glazed over from the techno-glow of the screen. And outside, the sunny warmth and spring breeze beckons to us like a siren.The week following events is always consumed in chaos. It’s a necessary evil to van life, this head-to-the-ground, up-early-work-late pattern. Two days off the grid or working an event most definitely equates to two subsequent days of nothing but organization and cleaning. As a writer with some borderline OCD tendencies, it’s nearly impossible for me to work in a space that is cluttered. Plus, one misplaced La Sportiva shoe or pair of pants makes the whole 60 square feet of space look like a disaster zone.I don’t answer, but he senses I’m done. I hit ‘send’ on one final email before shutting the computer. Adam leaps from his seat and practically knocks over the table in his spirited dash for the door. We decide to take the bikes and ride up the road in search of morel mushrooms. The odds are against us. It hasn’t rained in over a week. The nearby Shenandoah National Park is up in smoke it’s so dry. Still, we set off anyway, unconcerned with whether or not we find any morels.With each pedal stroke, the weight on my shoulders, the tension in my eyebrows, lifts. I stop thinking about the to-do list and start noticing the tingling in my quads, the burning of sun on still-winter-pale skin. The pavement beneath my tires is hot, but the breeze is refreshing, the views of the surrounding Virginia farmland, comforting.We pull off the road and stash our bikes in a thicket of brush. Cinching our packs tight around the waist, we set off through the woods. Despite the leafless trees, it’s clear spring is near. The forest floor is carpeted in lush greenery and wildflowers in bloom. Birds flit from limb to limb in harmonious song, the clouds above them floating lazily in the sky. It’s a glorious day, and a sense of guilt overcomes me for having waited so long to bask in its beauty.Adam and I ditch our packs and split up, scouring the base of trees and root balls for the elusive morel. Though patience is a virtue, it was never my forte. After only a few minutes of looking, my mind begins to wander with the breeze. It’s quiet. Mayapples and uncurling fiddleheads blanket the understory between rows of poplar trees. Out of nowhere, the overwhelming urge to sit consumes me and I plop down right there on the earth, feeling instantly grounded, instantly at home.Soon, Adam abandons his hunt and joins me. Together, we sit there in meditative silence. The need to talk ebbs from our consciousness. The stillness feels right. Despite his normally fast-paced energy and restless spirit, Adam hardly moves. We sit there back-to-back for more than an hour, watching the sun set beyond the trees.Then, just as wordlessly as we began, we stand and return to our packs, beginning the trek back to our bikes. The ride to our van feels weightless and wholesome, the cool evening air sprouting goosebumps along my forearms. I feel awake, realizing that in our deadline driven, goal oriented lives, that precious hour of nothingness was a welcome reprieve for mind, body, and soul, and that is something we all need (even if that something is nothing).Check out these other moments of simplicity and quiet respite from the past month! Like any of the products you see featured in the images above? Click on the following links to learn more! La Sportiva, IceMule Coolers, Farm to Feet, LifeStraw, Crazy Creek.
New study finds runners in the U.S. are getting slower A new study by RunRepeat analyzing 19.6 million results from over 16 thousand marathons has found that marathoners around the world, and especially in the U.S., are getting slower. The study found that in 1986 the average finish time was 3:52:35 and today it’s 4:32:49, a slowdown of over 40 minutes. A new study out of the University of Ottawa has found that bumblebees are in sharp decline across Europe and North America due to hotter and more frequent extremes in temperatures, reports The Guardian. “I’m pretty sure East Brunswick is unique in our protection efforts in the state,” East Brunswick resident David Moskowitz told patch.com. “When we found slaughtered amphibians one raw night 12 years ago, we knew we needed to do something and convinced the mayor to allow us to close the road.” The study has found that the likelihood of a bumblebee population surviving in any given place has declined 30% in the course of a human generation. Researchers with the study say the rates of decline are “consistent with a mass extinction.” Study finds bumblebee decline may indicate mass extinction East Brunswick, New Jersey is taking measures to ensure salamanders can safely migrate. Throughout late winter and early spring, the town intermittently shuts down Beekman Road between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. for the salamanders, tree frogs and other amphibians so they can get to the vernal pools across the street for breeding. New Jersey town shuts down road to help with salamander migration The study also looked at the fastest and slowest states. The fastest state in the U.S. is Massachusetts, finishing the marathon in an average time of 4 hours 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Washington state clocked in as the second fastest state and Indiana came in third. The slowest state in the U.S. is Hawaii, with an average finish time of 6 hours 16 minutes.
By Dialogo January 01, 2010 Boasting one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, a team of top scientists and a campus at which female and male students can mingle freely, Saudi Arabia’s new multibillion-dollar university aims to break both scientific and social barriers. Classrooms are integrated, women are allowed to drive on campus and, as the photo shows, they aren’t required to shroud themselves in the black abaya. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology was officially launched in September 2009 and is expected to propel the kingdom into the top ranks of technological research, reported Agence France-Presse. The master’s and doctorate degree students represent more than 60 countries, with 15 percent from Saudi Arabia.
By Dialogo February 28, 2011 The income per hectare of Honduran farmers who benefited from a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) program almost doubled in two years, the U.S. agency announced on 22 February. According to preliminary data, the producers’ annual income per hectare increased from 1,880 dollars to 3,550 dollars after two years of receiving assistance, an agency fact sheet indicated. This is “a gain of 88 percent, which is much faster than the approximately 7 to 11 percent growth that would have been expected in the absence of the program,” the document noted. These are preliminary figures that will be corroborated by an independent consultant whose findings are due in September, MCC chief executive officer Daniel Yohannes said during an event at the organization’s headquarters. During its five-year program, from 2005 to 2010, the agency spent around 205 million dollars in Honduras, and according to its figures, more than seven thousand farmers benefited, and over six hundred kilometers of roads were improved. The Honduran government, which is still recovering from the decrease in aid to that country due to the coup d’état of June 2009, hopes to obtain another “compact,” the technical name for the aid program, subject to anti-corruption and democratic-values criteria. The Honduras program was the first to be completed by the MCC, which began under George W. Bush’s presidency, in January 2004.
By Dialogo February 24, 2011 In an effort to maximize communication with the Afghan population and to honor their customs, coalition forces are training female engagement teams to interface with local women in Parwan province. Female engagement team training teaches service members and civilians to communicate with Afghan women without offending their way of life. The five-day course consists of Pashto and Dari language training, Afghan religion training, Afghan cultural training and many other lessons to prepare the students for future engagements. “The female engagement team has been around for the past nine years, we are just starting to put a name on it now,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Teresa Wolfgang. “Fifty percent of the Afghan people are women; if you ignore 50 percent of the population, you’re not going to get that much information. This is Afghan culture and we have to respect it, that’s where the female engagement team comes into play.” The female engagement team has many roles when talking to Afghan women out on patrol. “The female engagement team helps connect the local populous to the government in a more direct fashion that has been done in a while,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Lindsey Pawlowski, a female engagement team member. “It provides an opportunity to gather information from Afghan women within a town.” During missions, female engagement team members can assist in accomplishing the task and purpose for the patrol, as well as get the other side of the story from the local females in the village, said U.S. Army Col. Stephen Bentley, coalition forces. “During the patrol after-action report, the female engagement team members will report their findings as well as what the other soldiers found out from the males of the village, so it will give you on the ground-truth situational awareness of the village,” Bentley explained.
Violence shot up in Guatemala during the recently concluded administration of Álvaro Colom, with more than 24,000 homicides during his four-year term, the highest figure in the last three administrations, according to a report released by a humanitarian organization on January 23. “Upon comparing the three previous administrations, it can be seen that the one with the highest number of fatalities” is Colom’s, the document by the Mutual Support Group indicates. According to that independent humanitarian organization, there were around 14,000 homicides during former president Alfonso Portillo’s four-year term (2000-2004), 21,511 during Óscar Berger’s administration (2004-2008), and 24,021 during Colom’s (2008-2012). Guatemala is suffering an escalation of violence chiefly due to the penetration of drug cartels such as the Mexican Los Zetas, as well as the proliferation of the feared youth gangs (“maras”) that control marginal neighborhoods in the country. In 2011, “massacres (…) were among the most prominent crimes, with a total of 122 cases, in which 466 people died and 152 were injured, reported over the course of the year,” the report specified. On January 21 alone, eight people died in an armed attack in a nightclub in a town south of the Guatemalan capital. Five M-16 rifles were found at the scene of the slaughter, according to the National Civil Police, which is investigating the motives. Otto Pérez, who took office as president of Guatemala only ten days ago, stated that the attack might have taken place due to clashes between cartels, since drugs were being distributed at the club, he said. By Dialogo January 25, 2012