U.S. Solar Makes Up Majority of New Electricity Generation for the First Time FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Chris Martin for Bloomberg News:The U.S. solar industry had a record first quarter, accounting for the majority of new power generation for the first time.The 1,665 megawatts of solar power that came online in the first three months of the year represented 64 percent of new capacity, and wind provided 33 percent, analysts at GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association said in a statement Thursday.The U.S. solar industry will add 14.5 gigawatts this year, mainly with large utility-scale power plants, almost double the 7.5 gigawatts installed last year. Residential rooftops reached 1 million homes this year and will add another 1 million within two years, said Tom Kimbis, interim director of the Washington-based trade group.“The solar industry is growing at warp speed, driven by the fact that solar is one of the lowest-cost options for electricity,” Kimbis said in the statement.Full article: Solar Makes Up Most of New U.S. Power Capacity for First Time
Danish Oil and Natural Gas Is Getting Out of Oil and Natural Gas FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal:A company whose name stands for Danish Oil and Natural Gas is getting out of both businesses.Dong Energy Denmark’s majority state-owned energy company, is selling off its last oil and natural-gas fields in a deal expected to close by the end of September. The billion-dollar-plus sale is part of a broader plan to significantly reduce the company’s exposure to fossil fuels and produce energy primarily from renewable sources.With the help of a sizable infusion of cash from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., GS +0.81% Dong Energy over the past few years has transformed itself from one of Europe’s most coal-intensive utilities and a small regional oil competitor into the world’s biggest producer of offshore wind power.Dong’s wind turbines off the coasts of Europe have almost triple the wind-power-generating capacity of Sweden’s Vattenfall AB, the company’s nearest rival. Now Dong has set its sights on helping to establish the U.S. offshore wind industry, looking at three new projects off the East Coast.On the outskirts of Denmark’s capital, the company’s largest power plant is now burning wood pellets—a renewable energy source despite some concerns over their environmental credentials. By 2023 the company intends to go completely coal-free, though some of its power plants will continue to burn natural gas.Dong used to be one of the most coal-intensive utilities in Europe, but now it has become the world’s largest offshore wind producer and plans to phase out coal altogether by 2023.Dong’s transformation comes as global oil-and-gas companies wrestle with the prospect of oil demand plateauing amid a push to tackle climate change. Companies such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Norway’s Statoil ASA and France’s Total SA are also building their renewable businesses and betting billions on an energy future where oil plays a diminished role.More: ($) Danish Energy Company Is Turning the Page on Oil and Gas
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享AsianPower:The Philippine Board of Investments has approved eight solar projects through Solar Philippines Commercial Rooftop Projects Inc. worth PhP85.96b, or US$1.65b. A conservative estimate of 8GW of solar installations by 2030 includes 35% of that coming from rooftop solar, an investment value of US$2.8b, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analytics (IEEFA) indicated.According to Sarah Jane Ahmed, energy finance analyst at IEEFA, rooftop solar could lower electricity costs to PhP 2.50 per kWh (excluding financing expenses) and triggering US$2.8b or PhP1.5t in new investment by 2030.“The government is in a position to change the longstanding status quo, which disproportionally puts fuel-price and foreign-exchange risk on consumers, while utilities and power generators remain insulated from market changes. As a result, power suppliers have no incentive to transition away from coal and diesel or to hedge against price-change and currency risks,” she said.In a report, Ahmed highlighted how the Philippines continues to lag global trends toward power-sector modernization, which are gaining momentum around rapidly-declining costs and technological advances in renewable energy, energy efficiency and distributed storage. However, the PBI’s nod towards the eight solar projects worth US$1.65b marks an “enormous” opportunity to replace imported-coal and imported-diesel models with indigenous alternatives, the analyst said.“Solar, wind, run-of-river hydro, geothermal, biogas, and storage are competitive, viable domestic options that can be combined to create a cheaper, more diverse and secure energy system,” she said. This phenomenon alone could save the Philippines up to US$2.2b annually in its current account deficits as well as US$200m per year in diesel subsidies.In March, Manila Electric Company (Meralco) received the country’s lowest wind electricity generation bid ever on a new 150MW wind turbine project in the Rizal province, for PhP3.50 per kWh. Solar is competing similarly, with Meralco having contracted for a PhP 2.99-per kWh, 50MW capacity plant.In comparison, coal-fired power generation costs upwards of PhP 3.8-5.5 per kWh whilst the “true” cost of imported diesel-fired power ranges from PhP 15 to PhP 28 per kWh.Rooftop solar costs PhP2.50 per kWh (without financing expenses) to 5.3 per kWh (with financing expenses), utility-scale solar power can cost as little as PhP 2.99 per kWh, wind is PhP3.5 per kWh, geothermal is PhP3.5-4.5 per kWh, and run-of-river hydro costs PhP3-6.2 per kWh.More: Unwieldy rules bar growth of Philippines’ solar rooftop potential Philippines approves $1.65 billion in rooftop solar projects
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Barron’s:Electricity generation is the largest single contributor to the carbon emissions that are warming the planet. It accounts for 42% of global emissions, and that share is likely to grow as transportation increasingly is powered by batteries instead of oil.As countries announce ambitious plans to wean their economies from fossil fuels, their efforts to shift how they generate electricity will determine whether they can hit those goals. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which helps governments come up with plans to shift to renewables, has estimated that 86% of electricity can be generated with renewables by 2050.That number might seem high, but more data is now supporting the potential for an aggressive shift in power generation. In a new report, Bernstein analyst Meike Becker examined how countries can get to 100% renewable electricity generation by 2050, and the analysis has some good news about the potential for renewable generation.Becker’s report found that countries will take widely different paths to renewable generation, based on their natural resources. If coal and oil deposits determined a country’s fate in the 20th century, the force of its rivers and strength of its sunshine will likely determine its path in the 21st. Countries that generate hydroelectric power are way ahead in terms of producing clean power. Norway generates 98% of its electricity from renewable sources, largely because of hydro power. As of 2015, Brazil got 75% of its power from hydro sources. Canada relies on renewables for 67% of its electricity.But even in countries without rushing water generating much electricity, Becker sees a feasible path to renewable generation. In Belgium, for instance, hydro accounts for just 7% of generation. What’s more, Belgium depends on nuclear power for about 30% of its electricity, and the country plans to phase nuclear out by 2025. Nonetheless, Becker expects Belgium can generate at least 75% of its electricity with renewables by 2050 by relying on solar, wind and a variety of other technologies, including so-called “combined cycle gas turbines” that use gas and steam for power. The key to doing this is being able to generate and store power at times when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, using batteries and technologies that can use other fuels more efficiently.The chances that countries can generate all their electricity with renewables by 2050 are “at this point very close to 100% for countries with good resources and a bit further away if conditions are less favourable,” she wrote in an email to Barron’s. Nonetheless, countries without the same resources can still generate “very high share, and usually higher than what most people currently think, I would say.”More: The path to 100% renewable power is looking more achievable Bernstein analyst: 100% renewable energy transition looking more and more feasible
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:The state government of Uttar Pradesh has paved the way for a 2 GW ‘ultra-mega’ renewable energy park.A state cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Yogi Adityanath approved a memorandum of understanding concerning the establishment of a joint venture (JV) by Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA) and jointly state and federal government-owned hydropower company THDC India to establish the project.The project JV, which will be 74% owned by THDC India and 26% by UPNEDA, will have Rs50 crore of authorized share capital.The renewables park will initially require a Rs2,400 crore to fund 600 MW of solar capacity at the site, costed at Rs4 crore per megawatt.With land allotted and a connection in place to evacuate power to the nearest substation, the state government said developers bidding for the tendered solar capacity would be able to quote competitive tariffs for the solar electricity generated.[Uma Gupta]More: Uttar Pradesh set for 2 GW ‘ultra-mega’ renewable energy park State government in India’s Uttar Pradesh backs plans for 2GW ‘ultra-mega’ renewable energy park
A heated winter jacket. Avoid-grip trekking poles. Gummy athletic gel. These are a few of the innovative products coming to market later in 2009 in the outdoors industry. Last week, at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City, I got a peek into this future of outdoors gear and apparel. Here’s the rundown on five items that caught my eye.Mountain Hardwear Refugium Trifecta jacket — Stay dry. Heat your core. Charge your electronics. Those are the features Mountain Hardwear promises with its new “jacket system,” a waterproof shell jacket with a battery-powered, heated liner. Plug in the Ardica battery pack and the liner pumps heat via receptors embedded in the fabric. Or, use a cable connector to charge your cell phone or music player as it sits cozy in warmth in the Trifecta’s inside pocket. All these tricks don’t come cheap, however. The jacket, available later this year, will cost $550.Leki AERGON Grip — A rounded grip atop a trekking pole that sits nice in the palm, especially for descents, was the big new from Leki. The AERGON grip incorporates an ovoid shape that can be palmed or held traditionally for several grip options. Its handle has a rubberized and dimpled top for texture, and the company’s proprietary strap-adjustment system for quick tweaks for fit. The AERGON will be come on 11 new trekking poles, including women-specific designs.TREW outerwear — This small outfit from Hood River, Ore., adds the performance of top-end outerwear to a line of ski and snowboarding jackets and pants that look most at home in a terrain park. But take the company’s jackets, pants, and bibs into the backcountry for some ski touring and the products perform with waterproof-breathable fabric, high collars (no neck gaiter required), expandable chest pockets that can accommodate climbing skins, and other neat design touches.Adventure Medical Kits Women’s Edition Travel kit — As its name implies, this is a first-aid kit for women, and it includes all the usual medical supplies — wound care implements, medications, instructional materials — plus components for women-only like tampons and meds for menstrual cramps. For international trips, a “visual card tool” can help you communicate a medical issue when a language barrier is present by simply pointing to diagrams and pictures on a card. Available in March for $60.GU Chomps Performance Energy Chews — GU Energy Labs’ latest athletic enhancer comes in the form of a gummy chew. GU Chomps cost $2.20 per packet and are made to address an athlete’s craving for solid food during training or racing while delivering nutrients and electrolytes. The company will ship Chomps in March in Blueberry Pomegranate, Orange, Cran Apple, and Strawberry flavors. Nutritionally, the chews contain complex carbohydrates from maltodextrin and simple carbs from tapioca syrup and cane sugar, as well as antioxidants in the form of vitamins C and E (to accelerate recovery from hard workouts, according to the company).— Stephen Regenold writes a daily blog on outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.
G. loves the Blue Ridge. What inspired you to finally fully embrace old blues? This is a record I’ve been trying to make for a very long time. This is a style I was into before I stumbled onto the hip-hop side of what I do. I started as singer-songwriter playing the coffeehouse circuit, when I was in high school in Philadelphia. When I decided I was going to do it, I made a wish list of possible producers, and the Avett Brothers were at the top.Why were the Avett Brothers right for this project? With those guys, the energy and creativity was constantly crackling. They are both multi-instrumentalists, great vocalists, and great songwriters. Right away, just the three of us could go into a room and create a huge variety of sounds. They both sing beautifully, so adding layers of harmonies or additional lead vocals was a piece of cake. They also both have great ideas. When they work, they’re really supportive of each other but they also push each other. They’re decisive without a lot of second-guessing, which is a struggle for a lot of artists. And they’re easy-going guys, so even though we were in a high-pressure situation with time constraints, they kept it fun with a lot of laughs.What was it like recording in Asheville? Echo Mountain is a beautiful space to record. You walk into that old church and immediately get a good vibe. The Avett Brothers have done a lot of recording there, so they were already very comfortable with the space and the gear. It helped me get right into the comfort zone. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better nine days in my life. 1 2 G. Love has made a successful career out of his infectious blend of hip-hop and the blues. On his new album, Fixin’ to Die, the Philadelphia-based G. Love (real name Garrett Dutton) has peeled back a few layers, put the freestyle rapping aside, and delivered a spirited yet reverent homage to old school blues. Helping him on the journey were Scott and Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers, who brought G. Love to Echo Mountain Recording Studio in Asheville. Together, the trio churned out a dusty, largely acoustic mix of traditional covers, plenty of Love originals, and a surprise reworking of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”
Asheville is many things to many people. To outdoor enthusiasts, it’s a mecca of activity from rafting to biking and everything in between. To beer lovers, it’s a mecca of craft beer from Imperial IPAs to Lagers and everything in between. To food lovers, it’s a mecca of locally sourced, organic flavors from vegans soup to meat lovers pizza. It’s little wonder that all these things go hand in hand. Those who tend to love the outdoors, want to protect the outdoors, and spend most of their time outdoors, also love heady brews and local fare. This is no coincidence; the outdoors lifestyle we have cultivated in the 21st century encompasses all these traits. At least for most of us. This weekend, take that epic bike ride, that long run, that kayaking trip, then head over to the U.S. Cellular Center for the Asheville Wine & Food Festival.The name of this festival is a slight misnomer. Yes, there will be awesome food, and awesome wine from around North Carolina and the greater Asheville area, but there will also be ample amounts of local beer, and even locally distilled spirits, on hand for those who don’t enjoy the vino – who are these people? The main event is the Grand Tasting on Saturday where they will be popping bottles and cookin’ up grub from 1pm to 5pm. We could go on, but the events press release says it all:“Even for locals, it’s still almost impossible to sample every delicious flavor the region has to offer, but The Grand Tasting comes pretty close. On Saturday, August 24, the U.S. Cellular Center will house the largest gathering of its kind in downtown Asheville. This year, nearly 125 local and international wine distributors and makers, a bevy of local Beer City and area brewers, regional distillers, restaurateurs and chefs, farmers, and artisan food producers will line the concourse and ground floor of the arena. Meet farmers, chefs, cookbook authors, and artisan makers, as well as select nonprofits and regional crafters. Cooking demonstrations will take place throughout the day, as well as the Amateur Winemaker Competition. And you won’t want to miss the WNC Chefs Challenge finale, when the Best Chef in WNC will be revealed.”So let your passions combine at the Asheville Wine & Food Festival, just be sure to get your ride in beforehand. No one likes a tipsy, food coma-y exercise partner.View Larger Map
Travis Book – Tennessee Side Of ThingsAnimal Parts – Where The Heart IsBreathe Owl Breathe – Silent Movie ReelBrian Wright – We Don’t Live ThereBurning Bridget Cleary – Oh My Little Darling_Fire on the MountainCharlie Robison – Look Out ClevelandChristopher Paul Stelling – You Can Make ItDinosaur Bones – SleepsickElephant Revival – Grace Of A WomanHa Ha Tonka – Colorful KidsHave Gun, Will Travel – Standing at the End of the WorldJ. Roddy Walston & The Business – Heavy BellsMelody Walker & Jacob Groopman – We Made it HomeNoam Pikelny – Road to ColumbusSteep Canyon Rangers – Stand And DeliverSWF – Let It Be ToldThe Bankesters – Cups (When I’m Gone)The Darcys – The RiverThe Devil Makes Three – StrangerThe Gospel Whiskey Runners – Shake It OffThe High Jump Heart – Signal FiresThe Howlin’ Brothers – Dixie FriedThe Rigneys – Double or NothingThe Royal Concept – RadioVikesh Kapoor – I Dreamt BluesWatermelon Slim – Blue FreightlinerWild Ponies – Trigger October is upon us. That means many things: the leaves are changing, mountain views across the Blue Ridge are spectacular, the temperatures are a little crispier in the morning, and Trail Mix is back at it with another tasty set of tunes.We kick Trail Mix October off with a brand new track from Travis Book, bass player for The Infamous Stringdusters. Travis wrote “Tennessee Side Of Things” with Burle Galloway, noted songwriter who has recorded with Yonder Mountain String Band and the ‘Dusters, among others. Travis and his mates are gearing up for the fourth annual Festy Experience, which takes place October 10th thru 13th in Nelson County, Virginia. Stay tuned to the Trail Mix blog next week, when we chat with Travis about the new tune, the Festy, and his new side projects.On the heels of my recent trip to IBMA, Trail Mix is featuring some top notch bluegrass this month. Check out new tunes from Noam Pikelny, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Bankesters, Melody Walker & Jacob Groopman, and The Rigneys.Trail Mix is happy to welcome back some fantastic artists – Elephant Revival, Brian Wright, The Devil Makes Three, The Howlin’ Brothers, and Ha Ha Tonka all return with outstanding new tracks.There are some great Trail Mix first timers this month, too – take a listen to the offerings from J. Roddy Walston & The Business, The Gospel Whiskey Runners, Watermelon Slim, The High Jump Heart, Burning Bridget Cleary, Breathe Owl Breathe, The Royal Concept, and Have Gun, Will Travel.And there’s still more! At 27 tracks, October’s Trail Mix is almost too good to believe. But believe. Download it. Stream it. Share it with an old friend or a new buddy you meet on some bald summit while you revel in autumn’s glory. And, of course, get out and buy some of these great albums. Support these great artists that support Trail Mix.
After leaving Charlottesville in 2004 and moving to the mountains of Southwest Virginia, I taught in a school located just miles from hallowed ground in the bluegrass world.Ralph Stanley, bluegrass icon and patriarch, was born and raised in Dickenson County. With his brother Carter, in The Stanley Brothers, and later with his own band, The Clinch Mountain Boys, Ralph forever altered the American songbook with his high lonesome take on old time and bluegrass music.The year I began teaching outside of Clintwood, Virginia, the Ralph Stanley Museum opened its doors. With a calendar full of events and workshops, along with a stunning collection of artifacts and memorabilia, the museum is a hallmark on The Crooked Road, the musical road trip that winds through Virginia’s mountains and showcases traditional music, and it is a must see for fans of Ralph Stanley and bluegrass music. A mere $5.00 affords you entrance to the museum and,with rooms available to rent upstairs, you can even spend the night!I recently got the chance to talk with Judy Steele and Vonda Shortridge about the museum, its importance to the town of Clintwood, and the legacy of the man it honors.BRO – We are approaching the first anniversary of Ralph Stanley’s death. Pretty easy to say that the museum is now more important than ever?JS – Absolutely, and his legacy in old time music will continue through the videos and the music that can be seen and heard in the museum. His fans knew he remained true to his roots and the museum will give generations to come a chance to visit a museum that highlights the old time music in its original form. Already, the museum has brought generations together, as older fans have passed their love of Ralph Stanley’s music down to their loved ones by listening to the music or going to concerts and festivals.BRO – What does having a museum like this mean to a small town like Clintwood?VS – For a small town, having a state of the art museum for visitors to tour, whether special plans were made to visit or the stop in our beautiful town was spur of the moment, is great. Everyone that enters the doors of the museum is immediately impressed by Dr. Stanley’s vast display of memorabilia, and being able to see his life portrait in videos and listening to his music on interactive screens brings his love of music to life. And the museum offers a walk through the history of Ralph Stanley’s music, along with the music he made with his brother, Carter, in The Stanley Brothers.BRO – What is the one thing you recommend visitors to see when they are in the museum?JS – As you enter the museum, one of the first rooms you see is the church room. In this room is an introduction video which begins with Ralph’s early life and ends with him sitting on the porch of the museum. This will set the tone for the rest of your tour.BRO – When you think of Ralph Stanley, what’s the first song that comes to mind?VS – For me, probably “O, Death” or “Man of Constant Sorrow,” but many of his fans ask for “Pretty Polly” or “Little Maggie.”BRO – I am sure you have a way of noting from where your visitors have come. Any idea of the longest distance traveled by a museum patron to visit?VS – Visitors have come from all over the United States, and from Australia, Canada, Japan, Ireland, England, South Africa, and New Zealand. So many of those fans have such interesting stories on how they became fans of both Ralph Stanley and bluegrass music.Another visit to the Ralph Stanley Museum is definitely on my horizon. If you are interested in learning more about museum, its hours, events, and exhibitions, please visit the website and plan a trip there soon. And for more information on other adventures you can take around the mountains of Southwest Virginia, check out what our friends at The Heart of Appalachia have to offer.