first_imgIRENA: Southeast Asia a prime market for renewable energy growth FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Southeast Asia is a potential hotspot for renewable energy, yet the region has not met expectations because it lacks policy frameworks that would encourage investment, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) told Reuters.Renewables across the world have typically been boosted by policies like price subsidies and guaranteed grid takeoff. In Southeast Asia, though, barring some exceptions such as in Thailand, support for renewables has been smaller, and the region lags far behind others in renewable output despite its potential, especially for solar, geothermal and wind power.Global renewable capacity, excluding hydro, has soared from under 100,000 megawatts (MW) in 2000 to more than 1 million MW in 2017, according to IRENA data. Only a tiny portion of that has come in Southeast Asia.Now, there are also efforts underway in Southeast Asia: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plans to generate 23 percent of its primary energy needs from renewables by 2025, up from just over 10 percent now. To help achieve that, ASEAN and IRENA signed an agreement this week to boost renewable investment and deployment.“I think the adoption of the 23 percent target is a very good step, but that needs to be translated now into policy actions,” said [IRENA’s director general Adnan] Amin. “Over the next decade, a total of $290 billion will have to be invested for Southeast Asia to reach its targets, a ten-fold increase on the annual investments we’re seeing today,” Amin said, speaking to Reuters while attending Singapore’s International Energy Week (SIEW).Amin said renewable investment, including in Southeast Asia, would receive a boost from “dramatic reductions in the cost of renewables.” Solar panel prices have crashed to under 50 cents per watt of electricity, from around $70 per watt in 1980 as technology and manufacturing efficiency have improved. At the same time, Amin said capital markets were starting to price carbon risks, raising the cost of fossil fuels. “Financial institutions have started to bail out from financing coal, so, cost of investments in coal will rise while cost of investments in renewables are decreasing,” Amin said.More: Southeast Asia’s renewables held back by policy inaction: IRENAlast_img read more


first_imgOil price crash pushing independent U.S. producers to the brink of bankruptcy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):When the 2014 to 2016 oil and gas price collapse took hold, a large number of independent producers found themselves in dire straits. If prices do not rebound quickly in 2020, the industry could be facing a similar situation, or worse.During the two-year price downturn, producers who had overspent in an effort to expand were faced with suddenly overloaded balance sheets and high breakeven prices. That left many dealing with the prospect of bankruptcy, and at least 70 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2016 alone. Producers now have far lower breakeven costs, but a number still have damaged balance sheets dating back a half-decade. Prolonged exposure to prices in the low- to mid-$30 per barrel range could push many over the edge.“If prices remain depressed below $40 per barrel for more than a few weeks, we will likely see a repeat of 2016,” Haynes and Boone LLP Partner Buddy Clark said. Haynes and Boone has kept a tracker of producers that have filed for bankruptcy since 2015, a total that stood at 208 in December 2019. The 2019 total of 42 was the highest in three years, and Clark said the number had already increased in the opening months of 2020 even before the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia sent prices crashing March 9.There could have been more bankruptcies in 2015 and 2016, but there was a saving grace: banks and other funding sources were willing to pump capital into the sector, keeping a number of producers above water. Those sources have now dried up, leaving independents with fewer options.“For those producers still standing and faced with near-term debt maturities, there is less access to capital now than there was in 2016, with fewer options to restructure, other than filing for bankruptcy court protection,” Clark said.A possible exit route for struggling companies — being acquired — appears to be blocked by the price crash. Producers that have made acquisitions were frequently punished by investors before prices lost double-digits per barrel overnight; now, very few expect to have the free cash flow to make such a move.[Mark Passwaters]More ($): Oil price collapse driving more producers to brink of bankruptcylast_img read more


first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Polski Koncern Naftowy Orlen SA submitted an environmental report to the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Gdansk, Poland, for the offshore wind farm it is developing in the Polish Baltic Sea. The company, or PKN Orlen, is developing the project via subsidiary Baltic Power, which holds a license to construct wind farms with an aggregate capacity of up to 1.2 GW.Comprehensive surveys were carried out at the site from October 2018 to February 2020. After a round of consultation with various stakeholders, the environmental report will serve as the basis for a conditional environmental permit.PKN Orlen added July 23 that it can now seek a building permit, prepare a detailed schedule and define technical conditions for the project.Based on the data collected, the company will be able to prepare an indicative layout of the wind turbines and provisionally define the optimum type and size of the support structures.“[The project] will deliver nearly 1.2 GW of capacity installed in the Baltic Sea, which — along with our planned investments in gas assets — will result in a permanent shift in Poland’s energy mix, ensuring stable power supplies, with meaningfully reduced emissions,” Daniel Obajtek, president of PKN Orlen’s management board, said.The company has already secured grid connection conditions and is now seeking an industry partner and technical adviser to carry out the project.[Maryam Adeeb]More ($): Poland’s PKN submits environmental report for 1.2-GW Baltic Sea wind farm Poland’s PKN Orlen moving forward with planned 1.2GW offshore wind farm in Baltic Sealast_img read more


first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:A sizeable new renewables fund chaired by former NSW Premier Morris Iemma and numbering executives from Macquarie, AEMO and Tesla, has revealed billion-dollar plans to install 1.5GW of solar and a gigawatt of battery storage across commercial and industrial sites around Australia over five years.CEP.Energy said this week that the first phase of the rollout would start relatively soon, on the assets of industrial developer and property owner Pelligra Group, which has a portfolio of several hundred properties, including the former Ford manufacturing sites in Victoria.An agreement with Pelligra will see CEP.Energy lease a portion of the company’s millions of square metres of roof space and build and operate solar and storage systems, starting with a 400MW “virtual power plant.”The Pelligra solar and battery VPP – presumably using Tesla batteries, if the appointment of ex-Tesla energy storage man Jan Muller is any hint (RE is awaiting confirmation on this) – will be managed and operated through a separate deal with retailer SmartestEnergy, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Marubeni.CEP.Energy says SmartestEnergy will manage the assets, optimise the value of the solar energy produced, and sell it back to Pelligra’s retail and commercial customers at a roughly 20 per cent discount on grid prices.CEP.Energy has also entered into negotiations with several large companies for long-term corporate power purchase agreements, a statement says.[Sophie Vorrath]More: CEP and Marubeni unveil plans for 1GW battery and 1.5GW of solar in Australia New group planning 1.5GW of solar, 1GW of storage on Australian commercial, industrial rooftopslast_img read more


first_imgIt’s racing season on the Southern SlopesSki and Snowboard Comps in the SouthBreakneck speed or big air? The ski and snowboard racing scene in the South can satisfy both. Whether you’re looking to navigate the gates down a slalom course or huck off a ledge in the terrain park, regional resorts are offering plenty of head-to-head action this season.Cataloochee Challenge Cup Ski Race SeriesMaggie Valley, N.C. • January 10 – March 7  On Thursday nights, Maggie Valley is the place to be for the Cataloochee Challenge Cup Race Series. Adults 21 and over can hit the hill every Thursday at 7:30pm to race against the clock on a giant slalom or slalom course for the best of two runs. Racing slots only cost 10 bucks, and a post-race party goes down after the action. cataloochee.comUSSA Slalom and Giant Slalom Competition   Sugar Mountain Resort, N.C. • January 26-27 A crew of United States Ski Association racers will head to Sugar—a High Country resort with 1,200 feet of vertical drop—and weave in and out of the gates for a long weekend of competition in both slalom and giant slalom. All participants must be licensed USSA racers. skisugar.comFreestyle Double Cross  Wintergreen Resort, Va. • January 27, February 10 and 23  Strap into your board or click in to your skis and get ready for the fast-paced action of double cross. Four racers launch out of the starting gate at once, tightly fighting for space and aggressively rubbing elbows through a course of table tops, jumps, and whoop-de-doos. The top two then advance to the next round, until one winner is left. Racers can accumulate points for an overall series win. wintergreenresort.com Wintergreen Terrain Park Series Wintergreen Resort, Va. • January 20, February 3, 20 and March 3, 9This series is composed of two rail jams (January 20 and March 9) and three slopestyle comps (February 3 and 20 and March 3), so you’ll have plenty of chances to get your tricks dialed at Wintergreen’s terrain park. Show off your moves on a mix of obstacles, including jumps, rails, and boxes. Judges will be standing by to notch scorecards for difficulty of trick, difficulty of feature, creativity, and consistency. Prizes are awarded during individual events, and a grand prize is up for grabs for competitors who participate in three out of five events. wintergreenresort.com Cupp Run Challenge  Snowshoe Mountain Resort, W.Va.  • February 4Every year ski racers feeling the need for speed flock to Snowshoe from all over the East Coast to test their skills on the gnarly downhill slalom course on Cupp Run—an epic black diamond run designed by Olympian Jean-Claude Killy that drops more than 1,500 vertical feet in a little over a mile. Big prize money is awarded in pro and amateur divisions. snowshoemtn.comThe Maryland Open  Wisp Resort, Md. • February 23Get your moves in check, because the competition at Wisp will be stout. This high-profile event crowns the top freestyle skier and rider in the Mid-Atlantic. Competitors head to the resort’s pro park at the base of Face to drop their best moves in three categories—slopestyle, big air, and terrain park—as they’re judged on style and amplitude. wispresort.com Recess Wreck Less Rail Jam   Appalachian Ski Mountain, N.C. • March 2  This one is not for newbies. There’s no other way to put it. Fast becoming a tradition among App’s big air ballers, the Wreck Less Rail Jam gives intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders each 45 minutes to hit the rails and show off their best tricks. Then the finals get interesting with a game of SHRED—just like the old school basketball game of HORSE with snowboard tricks in place of hoops. If you can’t land the trick determined by roll of the dice, you get a letter. The last rider standing is eligible for cash, prizes, and serious bragging rights in the High Country freestyle scene. appskimtn.comGrom Jam   Snowshoe Mountain Resort, W.Va. • March 30Is your little one starting to get brave on the features? Bring aspiring air dogs to Snowshoe’s Mountain Parks for some free on-hill coaching and an informal rail jam on Skidder, near the village. Held during the last weekend of the season, the kid-friendly event will lead into the resort’s Last Hurrah party. snowshoemtn.comRun in the snowThe dedicated ultra addicts of the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners don’t like to slow down in the winter, so every year they host a 5K Snowshoe Run at the Whitegrass Touring Center in the Canaan Valley near Davis, usually during the third weekend of January. Runners huff it for three miles on a loop course created on Whitegrass’s cross-country ski trails. At an area that receives 200 inches of snow every year, competitors could find themselves pushing through some serious powder. If you don’t own snowshoes, no worries. Whitegrass offers cheap rentals. wvmtr.orgElsewhere in the South, Beech Mountain in the North Carolina High Country holds the only regional event in the United States Snowshoe Association’s National Championship Series on January 12. beechrecreation.orglast_img read more


first_imgWhat’s cool about IceMule? What is IceMule even? Well I’ll tell you.It’s quite possibly the. coolest. cooler. ever. (no pun intended).With a softshell exterior, easy-to-use roll top, and padded backpack straps, this cooler is portable, leak-proof, and durable. It’s perfect for any adventure, from festival strolling to stand up paddleboarding and beach chilling. Load it up with whatever you want to keep cool, a bag of ice, and roll down the top. Let some air into the sides and your perishables are good to go for over 24 hours. The ice will keep for at least a day if not longer, but even once the ice melts, your contents will stay chilled for days.IceMule founder James Collie thought of the idea during a day hike with friends in the mountains of Virginia (where most great ideas come to fruition). When his impromptu trash-bag-lined day pack failed to keep his contents cold and his remaining possessions dry, he decided to make a portable softshell cooler. Many months and prototypes later, the IceMule was born. Check them out at icemulecooler.com.last_img read more


first_imgThe 23rd Annual Wilderness Road Ride takes place Saturday May 24.This awesome event is a scenic and historical adventure through southwest Virginia’s beautiful New River Valley.The ride follows part of Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Road. This year will feature a kids bike rodeo and fun ride in the park.It’s a ride the whole family can enjoy, with something for everyone— 4 routes to choose from ranging from a 29 mile relaxed journey for novices, to a 79-mile challenge for the fittest cyclist.All routes start and finish in Radford, at the Dedmon Center and Bisset Park. Non-riders can enjoy Bisset Park, the New River, and downtown Radford, while their families and friends are out riding.Fully supported aid stations will be positioned at regular intervals along the course and the start/finish location. Aid stations will be supplied with Heed Hammer Nutrition fuel, as well as water and plenty of other snacks.Visit their website for more information!DSC07785last_img read more


first_imgFounded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day has emerged as a national awakening to society’s growing disregard for the planet’s health and well-being. From the destruction of waterways and treasured wild lands to rampant air pollution and harmful mining practices, post 1970s America placed little emphasis on environmental preservation. While Earth Day’s founding ushered in an unprecedented level of awareness about environmental issues, pressing problems persist. In honor of Earth Day, educate yourself about some of those issues with this top 10 list of eco-minded documentaries, complete with trailers and Netflix descriptions.1. River of No ReturnThis film is a journey into one of America’s best-kept secrets: the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, with a pair of newlyweds as guides.2. VirungaThe Oscar-nominated true story of the rangers risking their lives to save Africa’s most precious national park and its endangered gorillas3. Mission BlueThis documentary follows oceanographer Sylvia Earle’s campaign to save the world’s oceans from threats such as overfishing and toxic waste.4. Vanishing BeesThis documentary details the economic, political and ecological consequences of a puzzling phenomenon: a dwindling world honeybee population.5. DamNationThis documentary reveals the ecological cost of two centuries of American dam building, from degraded waterways to the loss of wildlife habitat.6. A Fierce Green FireThis documentary profiles the evolution of environmental movements, from early efforts at conservation to current concerns over global climate change.7. WatermarkExploring the force that sustains all life, this documentary brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water8. PumpAfter World War II, consumer tastes and government policy steer America into a fateful reliance on oil-fueled technology that must and can be broken.9. 180 Degrees SouthA band of bliss-seeking surfer-mountaineers sets out — in 2007, by boat — on a journey to Patagonia, South America, in this adventure documentary10. The Great InvisibleThis film plumbs the depths of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig catastrophe, including the causes and aftermath of the unprecedented disaster. All of these documentaries are currently streaming on Netflix.last_img read more


first_imgMy grandmother was a professional amateur historian.Stacked on shelves and tables around her house were books and pamphlets about Wise County and Norton, Virginia, where she lived the vast majority of her life. In college, I ended up majoring in history, and I credit much of my early interest in times past to the hours I spent rifling through the books she collected or wrote. Contained therein were images chronicling the early settlers of the mountains of Southwest Virginia, their hardscrabble existence captured forever in sepia or black and white.Looking back at early 20th century Appalachia is an interest I share with violinst and singer/songwriter Jenny Scheinman. Here latest record, Here On Earth, drew its earliest inspiration from a film project called Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait, a collection of archived movie footage shot across the North Carolina Piedmont between 1936 and 1942.Scheinman found common ground between the stark, deliberate lifestyle captured in those Depression era loops and her own approach to music; honest, raw, and self-reliant.I was able to chat with Jenny Scheinman about the new record, the images that so captured her from the film footage, and using a fiddle tune to break out of prison.*BRO – What was it about the footage of the Depression era South that inspired this collection of songs?JS – It’s loosely based on the old time acoustic fiddle music that was played all through Appalachia and the South throughout the Depression. The band in our live show is based on a specific scene of an old time country dance party in which the dancers are accompanied by a little string band – fiddle, resonator guitar, and banjo. Here On Earth takes that acoustic core and adds the cinematic element of Bill Frisell’s big electric swarmy open vista heart sound – he is in the movie when there is no movie.BRO – Is there a particular sequence in Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait that you have a hard time getting out of your head?JS – I have really strong and specific feelings for many of the characters in the film. When I’m playing the show, it feels like we’re relating to each other. They dance to the music, they look up at me, and yet, of course, they’re dead. It’s like a fever dream loop where the same paradoxical system keeps circling around and around. There’s a girl in the beginning and the end of the show who haunts me. I call her Freya. She twirls in slo-mo, looking down at her feet and then up at the camera, mysteriously, like she understands something we don’t.BRO – We are featuring “A Kid Named Lily” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?JS – I started writing lyrics to this one with my niece, Lily, when we were up at my mom’s house a few years ago. We were serenading a little brown goat that just been born in the barn, and I had my fiddle and Lily was swinging her legs off of a hay bale. It was all very country. It started very PG – I had a goat and her name was Lily/hair like a cinnamon swirl – and ended up  . . .  not so.BRO – Trail Mix included a track from Danny Barnes last month. How was it working with him on this project?JS – I wanted these songs to have banjo and fiddle at their core. That old time core, that magic combination. And Danny was the man. I’m such of fan of him and his music. I’ve been trying to lure him into the mix for years. We tried in 2013, and then again the year after that, but between our two remote locales and touring schedules, it just never seemed to work. Finally, when I just couldn’t get him out of my head, I made a little pilgrimage up to the San Juan Islands and we recorded at a little home studio there near his house. He blew our minds.BRO – Should you ever end up in the pokey, what’s your go to fiddle tune?JS – Maybe something hypnotic, like “Rowan.” I’d put a spell on the guards and then run for it.Jenny Scheinman is out west this weekend, with two shows scheduled in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Early May will find her in New York City before she heads abroad for some dates in Japn.For more information on Jenny Scheinman, her new record, or Kannapolis: A Moving Portait, please check out her website.* One of my favorite parts in researching this piece was reading about a childhood conversation Jenny had with her mother while they were traveling in the car. Jenny’s mother urged her to learn poetry, for the sole purpose of entertaining the other prisoners after Jenny inevitably landed in prison. Jenny later took up fiddle, figuring it might be an even more powerful tool on the prisoners – and perhaps, even, the guards.last_img read more


first_imgThe preliminary sketch of the Trump Administration’s federal budget seeks to eliminate nineteen federal agencies — groups ranging from the National Endowment for the Arts to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.Among these potentially defunded agencies is the Appalachian Regional Commission, an interstate and bipartisan collaboration that has funded infrastructure projects, economic development, and community health initiatives for decades. The agency has invested 3.8 billion dollars in the Appalachian region since its inception in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty.”Though poverty rates in Appalachian counties have generally improved over the last fifty years, the region is still home to some of the poorest communities in the country. As the coal industry shrivels due to the advent of cheap natural gas, new pollution regulations, and the automation of mining, job opportunities in rural Appalachian towns are few and far between.Historically, most of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s funding has gone to road building and broadband infrastructure projects. In recent years, the agency has shifted its efforts to supporting economic diversification and growth — hoping to fill the hollow void of post-coal Appalachia.In West Virginia, the Appalachian Regional Commission funds the Coalfield Development Corporation, an organization that offers workforce training programs for low-income residents. In 2016, the initiative trained 550 participants in solar installation, construction, and agriculture — each receiving a professional certification or associate degree.Coalfield Development Corporation participant works on solar installation.In 2016, the agency awarded Friends of Southwest Virginia with a large grant for their project: Building Appalachian Spring: Growing the Economy of Southwest Virginia. The project aims to diversify the region’s rural economies by investing in the outdoor recreation industry. Funds will be used to build a Gateway Center to the High Knob Recreation Area, develop four new access points to the New River, create a new trail system, and construct an Appalachian Trail Center in downtown Damascus. Over the next five years the project hopes to create 60 new businesses, 200 new jobs, and increase travel expenditures in the region by $30 million.In Eastern Kentucky, the Appalachian Regional Commission is partnering with TechHire to help the region adapt to an increasingly technological world. TechHire pays participants to learn coding and guarantees a full-time job upon successful completion of a paid internship.Because most rural communities have limited access to financial capital, the Appalachian Regional Commission takes on the important role of investor. The agency’s financial fortitude gets new projects off the ground, leveraging other sources of funding for Appalachian communities further down the road.The Trump Administration’s proposed budget would also eliminate the Economic Development Administration, an agency within the Commerce Department, that provides grants and technical assistance to economically distressed communities. The agency devoted a large sum of funds to coal-impacted communities throughout the Obama Administration.The Appalachian Regional Commission is a politically popular program championed by Democrats and Republicans alike; the agency’s projected elimination has sparked resistance — particularly among the region’s legislators.Representative Hal Rogers (R-Ky), who helped double the Appalachian Regional Commission’s budget as chair of the House Appropriations Committee from 2011-2016, called Trump’s proposed cuts “draconian, careless, and counterproductive.”“We are not going to allow any cuts to the Appalachian Regional Commission,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). “It is very important to Eastern Kentucky. It has been for a number of years. That’s not going to happen.”Instead of focusing on economic diversification in coal country, Trump is focusing on repealing environmental legislation like Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the Stream Protection Rule (a regulation that keeps coal companies from dumping mining waste into waterways) in hopes of revitalizing the industry. Yet the Trump Administration has also promised to expand fracking — the coal industry’s biggest threat. With cheap natural gas at the nation’s disposal, it is doubtful that the coal industry will ever make a rebound.Trump was supported in mass by blue-collar Appalachian voters on election day after repeatedly pledging to revitalize coal country throughout his campaign. The elimination of the Appalachian Regional Commission would do just the opposite.last_img read more