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As Blackout Drags On, Uncertainty Over Whether Puerto Rico Will Modernize Its Grid

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E:The facts also are that Puerto Rico remains a disaster area unlike  anything the nation has experienced in modern times, said Tomás Torres of the Institute for Competitiveness and Sustainable Economy of Puerto Rico.“After a month, 90 percent of the people of Puerto Rico are without power,” Torres said, interviewed as he traveled to Miami for a conference on the island’s desperate plight. “We need to restore power to save lives and  restore this economy.”Acknowledging the emergency, Trump also signed his name to Puerto Rico’s future, “long-terming it,” he said.No details were provided on how Puerto Rico’s dilapidated power grid might be transformed, where the funds would come from and who would lead the planning.Rosselló faces significant obstacles, including infighting among the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the grid operator; the Puerto Rico Energy Commission, the agency created in 2014 to impose independent oversight on the state-run electric monopoly; and the financial oversight board established under Congress’ plan to reorganize Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt.Instead of details, reporters heard Rosselló repeating his pleas and Trump offering sympathy and promises to see the crisis through, even though the commitment of some 18,000 pairs of federal boots on the ground is not open-ended. The leadership of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is focused on one thing: to simply bring a shattered grid back up, not modernize it.“Our mission assignment from FEMA, under this emergency response, is to repair the grid,” José Sánchez of the Army Corps said last week, in an interview with E&E News. “It is not to rebuild the grid, it is not to augment the grid or to strengthen the grid.”The Army Corps has received $577 million for its work in Puerto Rico so far, a spokesman said.This week, FEMA awarded a $240 million contract to Fluor Corp. of Irving, Texas, for grid repairs. The Army Corps has placed an initial $115 million order for supplies and materials that includes more than 50,000 concrete, galvanized steel and wood utility poles, and 6,500 miles of transmission and distribution line cable. It’s installed 106 temporary generators.The Army Corps said 403 crews with three to five people each are working on restoration, including works from the utility PREPA and other contractors. Another 200 crews will arrive within a week, an Army Corps spokesman said.“We do understand they want to restore the power quickly,” says Jorge Camacho, former chief of infrastructure and system planning for the District of Columbia Public Service Commission and now a consultant who joined in the damage assessment of the island’s grid.But an opportunity could be lost. “If they’re going to repair it the way it was before,” he added, “if it’s not hardened or not up to safety standards, you are missing an opportunity.”“We need to energize the island,” said José Román Morales, president of the Puerto Rico Energy Commission. “We have priorities at all the critical facilities. We have places where elderly live that have no power; we have hospitals still running on backup generation. Restoring power is the most important thing to do right now.”But, Morales said, there’s also a grid modernization strategy already before the commission that aims to redesign and strengthen the island’s grid. “You don’t have the same technical challenges because everything is down,” he said.“But the question is funding,” he said.“There is a gross lack of coordination to support the long-term rebuilding of Puerto Rico’s electrical infrastructure, and some entity needs to be identified to provide oversight,” said Camacho.PREPA’s long-term restructuring plan, called the Integrated Resources Plan, outlines a “21st Century grid” for the island. Utility creditors signed on.The plan includes a new rate structure, stretched-out debt obligations, operating efficiencies and a $4.6 billion, 10-year investment strategy featuring an offshore liquefied natural gas terminal and microgrids. The gas supplies would replace imported petroleum fuels for power plants, which is one reason the utility’s customers pay exorbitant electricity rates.But the plan ran into a roadblock in 2016, when the Puerto Rico Energy Commission said it wasn’t very well thought out. The commission said the utility didn’t take renewable power and energy conservation measures seriously enough and placed too much emphasis on expensive construction projects. While allowing some of the new initiatives to proceed, the commission limited work on the proposed LNG terminal to $15 million for planning.At DOE, some officials have expressed interest in tackling elements of the rebuilding task as “demonstration projects” to bring newer technologies. Outside of the confines of Washington, Silicon Valley’s big clean energy technology names, such as Tesla Inc. and Sunrun Inc., are joining makers of large-scale batteries such as AES Corp. to pitch their technology to Puerto Rico.Summing up the outlook yesterday, FEMA chief Long echoed the day’s hopes. “The traditional recovery is going to require a solution far greater than what FEMA typically puts down,” he said. “But that’s why we’re here today working with Governor Rosselló and the president and all of the Cabinet members to figure out what the best way forward is for the longer-term solutions.”Long added, “This could allow Puerto Rico to be a showcase in terms of energy production and others by way of mitigating and innovating.”More: Trump throws in for the long haul in Puerto Rico As Blackout Drags On, Uncertainty Over Whether Puerto Rico Will Modernize Its Gridlast_img read more

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IEA: A ‘worrying’ drop in renewable energy investment in 2017

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Global electricity investments exceeded those in oil and gas for the second year running in 2017 due to more spending on grids but renewable energy investment fell after years of growth, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.Global energy investment totaled $1.8 trillion last year, down 2 percent from 2016. More than $750 billion was spent on the electricity sector, while $716 billion was invested in oil and gas supply.Spending on the power sector was driven by grid investments as it moves towards more electrification, the IEA’s annual World Energy Investment report said.Many countries are having to invest more in upgrading or building new power networks to balance out demand and supply swings due to the rise of solar and wind power and electric vehicles.Despite rising renewable energy production, investment in energy efficiency and renewables went down by 3 percent last year after several years of growth and could decline further this year, the IEA said.China has decided to cut subsidies for new solar plants and restrict the number of new projects which raises the risk of a slowdown in investment this year.“Such a decline in global investment for renewables and energy efficiency combined is worrying,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.“This could threaten the expansion of clean energy needed to meet energy security, climate and clean air goals. While we would need this investment to go up rapidly, it is disappointing to find that it might be falling this year,” he added.At the same time, investment in fossil fuels increased last year for the first time since 2014 as the spending power of the oil and gas industry increased.More: Electricity investments surpass oil, gas for second year running: IEA IEA: A ‘worrying’ drop in renewable energy investment in 2017last_img read more

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Analysts: Rooftop market to drive stronger-than-expected 2018 solar uptake in China

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):China’s decision to slow the pace of solar-power development and cut financial aid to the industry has plunged the global solar market into uncertainty. But some industry insiders see bright spots in China’s domestic solar industry in 2018.Longgen Zhang, CEO of China-based polysilicon producer Daqo New Energy Corp., told analysts on an Aug. 7 earnings call that China’s solar market will be bigger than expected this year, because distributed generating projects are still being added as the price of solar modules falls. Driven by concerns about pollution and unemployment, new installations in China will be between 40,000 MW and 45,000 MW this year, Zhang said — less than 2017 but more than some analysts and industry participants have forecast.With China cutting subsidies for large solar farms, “rooftops … become that much more valuable as a source of growth for us,” said Sachin Shah, a senior managing partner at Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc., which is partnering with real estate fund manager GLP Pte. Ltd. to install 300 MW of rooftop systems in China over the next three years. Though it presents immediate challenges, China’s new solar policy is “probably very good long-term because it will favor strategic as opposed to financial investors,” Shah added. Facing a glut of equipment and raw materials, manufacturers would welcome stronger-than-expected demand from China, by far the world’s biggest solar market.In addition to China’s expanding rooftop market, Zhang said, development is booming in Latin America, the Middle East and India: “The solar end-markets outside of China are accounting for an increasing percentage of our downstream customers’ shipments.”Rudolf Staudigl, president and CEO of Munich-based polysilicon producer Wacker Chemie AG, has also seen demand growth outside of China. More ($): Glutted solar industry looks to China’s budding rooftop market for growth Analysts: Rooftop market to drive stronger-than-expected 2018 solar uptake in Chinalast_img read more

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European corporate wind deals set record in 2018

first_imgEuropean corporate wind deals set record in 2018 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:European companies bought a record amount of wind power capacity last year, as energy-hungry businesses like aluminum producers and IT giants look for greener ways to drive their machinery and data centers. As wind power becomes competitive on price with conventional energy in many countries, big companies have rushed to secure renewable energy to manage costs and reduce their carbon emissions, while boosting their image with customers.New wind deals through so-called corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) were signed in Europe last year for 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, up from 1.3 GW in 2017, according to new data from industry body WindEurope.Wind power PPAs signed by companies in Europe have now reached a total capacity of 5 GW, almost the same as Denmark’s total wind energy capacity, WindEurope said.In 2018, the biggest buyers of wind power in Europe were aluminum producers Norsk Hydro and Alcoa, which both signed big deals to buy power from farms in Norway and Sweden. In July, Hydro signed the world’s longest corporate PPA – for 29 years – with Green Investment Group (GIG), a unit of Australian investment bank Macquarie.The PPA market was traditionally driven by the IT sector to power data centers, but other industries have since joined in.More: European companies secure record amounts of wind powerlast_img read more

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Industry study shows climate risk now the leading concern for insurance companies

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wyoming Public Media:According to a new report, climate change is now the number one concern for North American insurers.Max Rudolph, fellow of the Society of Actuaries and author of the report, said this is the 12th year the group published an analysis. “Climate change took the biggest jump this year of I believe any risk that I can remember, seeing it jump from 7 percent up to 22 percent,” he said.Rudolph added that it’s becoming harder for risk managers to avoid thinking about climate change. He pointed to major hurricanes in 2017 and the longer, more intense wildfire seasons we’re seeing in the west. “My personal opinion is that this is a case of the risk managers catching up to the actual risk that is out there,” he explained.Rudolph said it’s a good time for business owners to start adapting to the changing environment, by questions like, “How is this building code going to be impacted by potential flooding or potential wildfires?”Cybersecurity and financial volatility ranked second and third behind climate change for largest current risks.More: Climate change jumps to biggest risk for insurers Industry study shows climate risk now the leading concern for insurance companieslast_img read more

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Japan looks to build 10GW of offshore wind by 2030

first_imgJapan looks to build 10GW of offshore wind by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:Japan is to propose a major expansion of its offshore wind plans that would see 10GW of capacity built in the next decade, according to reports.Starting in 2021, the country wants 1GW from three to four projects annually, the Nikkei business daily said.In total, Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama wants 30 wind farms spinning by the end of fiscal 2030-31, the media outlet reported. Kajiyama will outline the policy measures to support the plan shortly, added Nikkei.Among the proposals is a Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism plan to build storage facilities at ports to support construction.The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) meanwhile will revise power grid rules to lift restrictions on renewables, the media outlet said.More: Japan ‘planning 10GW offshore bonanza’last_img read more

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EDF Renewables buys 4.5GW pipeline of solar projects located in the U.S.’ PJM market

first_imgEDF Renewables buys 4.5GW pipeline of solar projects located in the U.S.’ PJM market FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:EDF Renewables North America has acquired a pipeline of more than 20 US solar assets from project developer Geenex Solar, totaling more than 4.5GW of capacity.The transaction consists of a portfolio of up to 4.5GWac of projects located in PJM, a regional transmission organisation for 13 US states and the District of Columbia, with the first parks expected to begin commercial operation in 2023.EDF said the deal will accelerate its growth in PJM to meet the growing demands of corporate and utility customers seeking cost-effective renewable energy.EDF Renewables and Geenex previously collaborated on the development and construction of the Pecan and Gutenberg solar projects, which are located in North Carolina and were sold to Dominion Energy.Hanson Wood, vice president, strategic development initiatives, EDF Renewables (EDFR), hailed Geenex Solar’s regional approach and strategy of entering markets early. “Geenex, as the largest holder of development assets in PJM market, enables EDF Renewables to expand into over five key states where solar is poised to be a market-leading technology,” he said.EDF Renewables’ North American portfolio consists of 16GW of developed projects and 11GW under service contracts. The company earlier this year sold a 50% stake in 689MW of US solar assets to Abu Dhabi-based Masdar.[Jules Scully]More: EDF acquires 4.5GW U.S. solar pipeline, targets further growth in PJM marketlast_img read more

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SUP on the New River

first_imgStand Up Paddleboarding on the New River in Giles County, VirginiaThe weather was overcast as we heading out on our adventure down this 6 mile section of the New River from Eggleston to Pembroke in beautiful Giles County, this area is quickly becoming an recreation mecca, with the New River and the nearby National Forest, recreation abounds in this part of Southwest Virginia. This would be my first real Stand Up session in a river setting. We did do a brief paddle on a small rapid on the Greenbrier River during last September’s Soggy Bottom Paddleboard Tour, but today would be 6 miles on the New, with a few class 1 and 2 rapids.Today I would be joined with a group of special friends from the neighborhood where my dad lives on nearby Claytor Lake, these friends are real special since they each played an important role in the support and care of my parents, during my mom’s recent battle with cancer, sadly she lost that battle on June 21st, as part of the healing process we had planned this trip for mid July.We launched at Eggleston just up from the Eggleston road bridge. This trip has easy launch and take out sites and the shuttle from the to points is less than 10 minutes. If you are in a solo vehicle, Tangent Outfitters offers shuttle service for an reasonable charge, and they also rent kayaks and canoes for the trip if you are not up for the paddleboard adventure.At the launch site we were joined by a nice group of young adventurous kids from the town of Blacksburg recreation department, they were on a kayak trip today as part of an adventure day camp program; it was great to see these kids outside and enjoying the outdoors. The river was up slightly and the flow was good, the water was fairly clear and around 72. We had 5 single kayaks, double kayak and a paddle boarder in our group, we heading out down the river, the first section of the river before the bridge is mostly flat water with the exception of a couple ripples, the first rapid a small class 1 is below the bridge.In the first miles of the river I found myself experimenting with stance and feet placement, I found myself using the basic stance from flat water riding, worked well on river riding, knees bent slightly, back straight, feet about shoulder width apart and I did position my feet a couple inches back on the board from my normal flat water stance. The first ripples and the current were not much different from riding a paddleboard on a busy flat water lake. After the first mile or so the river is flat for a while and then the first of various sections of the river with the high rock formations (aka Palisades) becomes visible, this is the reason this section of river is some popular, the beauty of the river and the reflections of the high rock formations, make this a must do section of river.The next section of the river has another couple small rapids; this section had a nice rapid, a little longer, multiple routes and flow coming in different directions, this was a nice progress from the earlier ripples. The end of this rapid was a little tricky but I was still standing and dry. We paddled another mile or so and pulled off to the side to experience a nice spring (I think this is Eggleston Spring) to the left of the river, the water was gin clear and about 50 degrees, a nice place to cool off on a hot Virginia day, after a brief stop and snack we headed out. The next section of the river is flat which is great for the paddle boarder, a little rest from being on your toes in the rapids.New River SUPThe Stride inflatable board works great in a river setting, a couple pointers for river paddleboarding, over inflate the board slightly, in the cooler water the board will soften slightly, wear good river shoes, knee pads and helmet recommended, and of course comfortable fitting paddling PFD.  This is the first section of the trip with multiple Palisades, a nice red Caboose sets to the left, which makes from a nice river camp along the river with the Palisades as a back drop, the beauty on this section of the river, is special.After about a mile the river starts to develop some more rapids, then flat again and then a long section of multiple Palisades, the river then start to narrow slightly and the biggest rapid of the trip and longest rapid of the trips comes into view, as we paddle along this section of river, at the same time we spot a beautiful bald eagle off to the right of the river, since I was on the paddleboard I paddled to the right to get closer view of the eagle, joining the eagle was three grey herrings. As I approached closer each of the herring took flight, leaving the eagle perched on a limb overhanging the river, when I was about 50 feet away the eagle took flight across the river and directly over our group of kayakers, what a sight, this was some of the groups first site of an eagle in the wild. As all this was going on the water was becoming swifter and most difficult to navigate. We all got caught up in the eagle sighting and somewhat forgot about the moving water. The best route was on the left side of the river, so I paddled across the river which is fairly easy with a paddleboard, the rapid was getting more difficult to navigate with rocks to the center and most water going along this part of the river, most of the kayaks where in this section so I paddled more to the left, things were going go until I came to almost a complete stop when the fins hit a rock, the water was a little low for the far left route, so to play it safe, I kneeled down and paddled out the rest of the rapid.After a little more time on the river I would feel comfortable paddling this section of the rapid, I would rather enjoy the trip than risk it and end of getting banged up and missing a few days on the water. After this last rapid you enter what is called the Pembroke Pond about a mile and half of flat water before you exit the river at the launch in Pembroke. This trip is great for kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding; it is fairly easy and forgiving for the first time paddlers under the right conditions. We had a great trip and we will be back again later in the summer or early fall. My first river paddleboard trip was great and I was still dry.As a fitting end to this trip, a visit to this section of river, one can not miss the fairly new restaurant in downtown Eggleston, that bears the name that makes this river trip special  “The Palisades”, know for great food, great service and good times, this place will not disappoint. My personal favorites are the Chipotle Ribeye steak and finish it off with the Pomegranate Chip Homemade Ice Cream for dessert. Until next time, keep paddling and we see you in September when version 2.0 of the Soggy Bottom Paddleboard Tour heads south into NC, SC and GA for a tour of the mountain lakes of this region before heading back up I-81 for a tour of the valley lakes of TN and Southwest Virginia.Information:Local Outfitters: Tangent Outfitters 540.626.4567 newrivertrail.comLocal Fare: The Palisades 540.626.2828 thepalisadesrestuarant.comLocal Lodging: Inn at Riverbend 540.921.5211 innatriverbend.comLocal  Knowledge: Giles County 540.921.2525 gilescounty.orglast_img read more

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Weekend Pick: 4th Annual Autumn Bottom Brews Festival, Richmond, Virginia, Nov. 2

first_imgVirginia has become one of the nation’s choice destinations for beautiful sections of the Blue Ridge Mountains, plenty of historical exposure, and delicious local food, but now’s your chance to check out the new favorite attraction sweeping the state: breweries! The Autumn Bottom Brews Festival in Richmond Virginia this Sunday, November 2nd, is a celebration of the best local beerbeer across the Old Dominion.18 different Virginia breweries, including Bold Rock, Legend, Starr Hill, and Devil’s Backbone, will gather at the Autumn Bottom Brews Festival to showcase their own craft beers and help you explore your options. The festival will partner up with the weekly 17th Street Farmer’s Market in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom district, and will also feature food courtesy of Halligan’s Barbecue, River City Wood Fire Pizza, The Savory Grain, The Boardwalk, and plenty more. Virginia beer and Virginia food – what could make a better combo?Live music from the Sweater Band and Andrew Alli and the 5th Street Hospital Band will join the fun throughout the day. Plus, check out the Farmer’s Market while you’re here. Local crafts, clothing and jewelry, food and groceries, and art all combine to make the 17th Street Farmer’s Market the perfect slice of River City life.Admission to the festival and the 17th Street Farmer’s Market is free, and beer tickets can be purchased at the event for only $2 per sample $6 per full pour. This 4th annual event is bound to be a great introduction to the fall season. Embrace the autumn air in the best way possible – with beer in hand, of course – at the Autumn Bottom Brews Festival.last_img read more

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Javan Lapp Anchors Winning Team in Blue Ridge Relay

first_imgTwenty-six-year-old Javan Lapp runs with every chance that’s come his way: from becoming the first member of his family to finish college to being the first runner to cross the finish line of this year’s Blue Ridge Relay.“I went to college to run,” said Lapp, whose lanky frame makes him easily identifiable as a runner. “I wouldn’t have gone if it weren’t for running. And if I’d never gone to college, I wouldn’t have gone to law school. Running led to my legal career.”Lapp’s passion for running began with a book. Raised in a tight-knit Mennonite community in Ohio where television was forbidden, he read voraciously, which exposed him to topics that his private Mennonite school didn’t teach. He read Matt Christopher’s book Run, Bill, Run, a novel about children running track, and became fascinated with running around the playground faster than his Mennonite classmates.When Lapp was in sixth grade, his parents divorced and his mom relocated her three children to Western North Carolina. For the first time, he attended public school and joined the cross country team. Lapp’s mom supported his running, rushing home from her job cleaning houses to pick him up from practice—cross country soon evolved into a year-round running regime including indoor, outdoor, and summer track. He ran throughout high school and began thinking about college as a way to continue racing. “College wasn’t on my radar until then,” Lapp explained.When no coaches recruited Lapp as a collegiate athlete, he created his own opportunity and approached the coach of UNC-Charlotte before a track meet. The coach signed him after seeing Lapp on the track.At UNC-Charlotte, he ran the 800 in 1:53.4. Initially, academics took a backseat to his collegiate running. By his junior year, Lapp started considering law school and ended up attending University of Cincinnati College of Law.During law school, running became Lapp’s way of dealing with stress and while studying for the bar exam he sometimes ran two or three times a day. “I never expected to keep going after college. I loved racing, but I was never a fan of running in high school. I never expected to still be doing this every day” Lapp said.Lapp returned to Western North Carolina to start his legal career and started running for Foot Rx. Lapp ran 15:43 for a 5k and 26.18 for an 8K. He also ran a mile in a blazing 4:09 at the Waynesville Main Street Mile, a fast course with some downhill. His mom also ran, finishing in 9:59. “It was fun to see my mom race. After I finished, I ran back and cheered her across the finish line.”Lapp led off and anchored the Asheville Running Collective at this year’s Blue Ridge Relay. Relay teams consist of 12 runners rotating through 36 legs over two hundred miles of country roads. Starting in Grayson Highlands, Virginia, the course winds past scenic views of the New River, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain, and the Toe River before runners descend down Town Mountain and finish in Asheville.Lapp secured an early lead for the team during the first leg of the relay, a steep downhill descent which he maintained a sub-five-minute pace. The team stayed ahead of the competition throughout the night when runners wear reflective gear and headlamps. But even with those aids, one of ARC’s best runners, Peyton Hoyle, stepped in a pothole on a steep 10.5 mile climb up Grandfather Mountain around 3 a.m. He hurt his Achilles tendon and pressed on during his second leg. After cooling down, he realized he might not be able to anchor the team down Town Mountain to the finish line in Asheville.Meanwhile, Lapp was exhausted from his second leg, a brutal 9.5-mile climb up the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock. When Peyton announced that his Achilles wouldn’t permit him to go fast enough to maintain the team’s lead and sub-six-mile pace, Lapp stepped up to run. He secured another first place finish for ARC and kept the winner’s belt in Western North Carolina for another year with an unofficial time of 20:05:26, averaging 5:46 a mile.When asked for what advice he’d give new runners, Lapp said, “Don’t make every run about beating your former best. Every day shouldn’t be race day. Get out there and relax on most of your runs.”–Follow the Asheville Running Collective on the Facebook page to find out more about their regular runs. They invite all runners, regardless of speed, to join.last_img read more