China Hits Pause on Coal-Fleet Expansion

first_imgChina Hits Pause on Coal-Fleet Expansion FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Xinhua (China State News Agency):China is holding back on building new coal-fired power plants to avoid risks from overcapacity and promote a clean energy mix.A total of 150 million kw of new coal power generation capacity will see construction halted or postponed from 2016 to 2020, the 13th Five-Year Plan period, according to a statement released Monday by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and other government agencies.“New capacity will be strictly controlled,” the statement said, citing measures to crack down on violations in planning, approval and operation. “All illegal coal-burning power projects will be halted.”Meanwhile, more than 20 million kw of outdated capacity will be eliminated, and nearly 1 billion kw of capacity will be upgraded to produce fewer emissions, use less energy, and better coordinate with new energy development.The government plans to keep the country’s total coal power capacity below 1.1 billion kw by 2020.The move followed an ongoing campaign to downsize bloated heavy industries, especially coal mining and steel smelting. Solid progress has been made to shut down inefficient coal mines, and more measures are in the pipeline.The country is gradually lowering the proportion of coal in its energy system to make room for clean fuels, from natural gas and solar energy to hydropower. Coal will account for less than 58 percent of energy consumption in 2020, down from the current 60 percent or more.China halts building of coal power plantslast_img read more

U.S. Coal Producers ‘at the Whim of Chinese Policy Makers’

first_imgU.S. Coal Producers ‘at the Whim of Chinese Policy Makers’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal:China’s reemergence as a coal importer has boosted the fortunes of U.S. producers who are now shipping more coal abroad than any time in the last two years.The trend has helped solidify a business that at the beginning of last year was suffering through a spate of bankruptcies and threatened with more. Revenue at publicly traded U.S. coal companies grew 19% in the first half of this year compared with the same period a year ago, and the biggest gains came at companies helped the most by exports, according to data compiled by Doyle Trading Consultants, a coal-market-analysis firm.Market forces, especially China, have a much bigger influence than anything the Trump administration has done, analysts said. While that has worked in the administration’s favor so far, it could also overwhelm its deregulation efforts and put the coal industry into retreat if those factors swing back the other way.The rebound has been so dependent on exports that U.S. producers face a big risk if China undoes last year’s policy changes. Chinese coal production is showing signs of picking up again and the government is starting to block some imports to support domestic miners, researchers at Italian ship broker Banchero Costa said Wednesday. With U.S. year-to-date production up 14% from last year, the specter of oversupply is rising again, analysts said.“When you’re at the whim of Chinese policy makers, it’s not really a great place to be,” said Andy Blumenfeld, head of market analytics at Doyle. “Beyond the first quarter of next year, it becomes very risky.”More: ($) The Big Name in Coal’s Resurgence: Chinalast_img read more

Solar Emerging as the Leading Force in India’s Power-Generation Expansion

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Quartz:The solar energy sector has accounted for the largest capacity addition to the Indian electricity grid so far this year.It has contributed around 39%—over 7,100 megawatts (MW)—to the overall capacity additions, according to data from Mercom Capital Group, a US-based research and consulting firm. For comparison, solar energy capacity additions stood at only around 4,313 MW in all of 2016.In all, the country now has a total solar capacity of around 14.7 gigawatts (GW, 1 GW = 1,000 MW) as of September 2017.The spurt in solar power capacity comes on the back of the Narendra Modi government’s push for renewable energy, and its target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy (100 GW of this from solar sources) by 2022. “Last year (financial year 2016-17) was a landmark year in the Indian power sector…for the first time, the capacity addition in renewables sector was more than conventional and the same is likely to continue even this year also,” Amit Kumar, a partner at consulting firm PwC, told Quartz.India’s demand for coal is also likely to peak by 2027, according to an analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a US-based research institute, the Financial Times reported (paywall). It will be replaced by renewables, which the IEEFA predicts will account for 27% by 2027.More: Nearly 40% of all new power capacity in India this year is solar Solar Emerging as the Leading Force in India’s Power-Generation Expansionlast_img read more

GE, Ørsted restructure, focus on renewables

first_imgGE, Ørsted restructure, focus on renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Windpower Monthly:Following a strategic review, the company—which has reported struggling financial results recently—said it will focus on its aviation, power and renewable energy divisions.GE plans to spin its healthcare division off into a standalone business, and completely separate from its Baker Hughes (BHGE) oil and gas subsidiary, in which it owns a 62.5% interest. The “orderly separation” from Baker Hughes will take place over the next two or three years, the firm said.John Flannery, chairman and CEO of GE, said: “We are aggressively driving forward as an aviation, power and renewable energy company—three highly complementary businesses poised for future growth. We will continue to improve our operations and balance sheet as we make GE simpler and stronger.In its annual results presentation, GE reported a 14% revenue increase for its renewables business, while the group as a whole made a loss for 2017. Across the full financial year, GE Renewable Energy also saw orders increase 1% to $10.37 billion and profits grow 26% to $727 million.GE is not the only energy firm active in the renewables space to announce divestments. Offshore wind developer Ørsted has placed its Danish power distribution and residential customer business up for sale. This move follows the sale of its upstream oil and gas division in May 2017.The firm said the unit does not fit in with its long-term growth in renewables. “With continued significant investments in green energy in the coming years, the strategic and financial importance of the Danish power distribution and residential customer businesses will be further reduced in the coming years, compared to Ørsted’s rapidly growing international business in green energy,” the company said.More: GE to sell off oil and gas stakelast_img read more

Utility-scale solar is surging across the southeast

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Platts:After climbing 15% in 2018, utility-scale solar capacity in the southeastern US is expected to surge another 25% this year, but the geographic concentration of such growth is driven more by policy than by the quality of the sunshine, S&P Global Platts analysis shows.S&P Global Platts Analytics data show the region encompassing Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee had about 5.6 GW of solar capacity in 2017. That is estimated to have grown to about 6.5 GW in 2018, surging to 8.1 GW in 2019 and almost 9 GW in 2020.By 2021, the Tennessee Valley Authority plans to have 377 MW of solar capacity in Alabama and Tennessee to serve Google and Facebook data centers, TVA spokesman Scott Fiedler said.“Our 2019 integrated resource plan, which provides direction on how to best meet the valley’s future energy needs, indicates solar growth up to 14 GW in our region over the next 20 years,” Fiedler said.More: Analysis: Solar rising in the southeastern US Utility-scale solar is surging across the southeastlast_img read more

Poland’s new draft energy plan would cut coal, boost renewable electricity generation

first_imgPoland’s new draft energy plan would cut coal, boost renewable electricity generation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Poland plans to reduce coal’s share in its generation mix from 80% to between 56% and 60% in 2030, and raise the share of renewables to 21% to 23%, the Ministry of Energy said Nov. 8. The 2030 targets form part of a revised draft Polish Energy Policy to 2040, or PEP 2040, that the ministry originally published in November 2018 and has subsequently updated.The new draft “takes into account many of the [public consultation] comments made and its priority is to preserve the evolutionary nature of the transformation of the Polish energy sector so that it operates in a safe way for people and the economy,” Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski said. Tchorzewski told the state news agency the estimated total cost for transforming the energy sector was €140 billion.The biggest change to the revised draft is the decision to withdraw from a phaseout of onshore wind capacity. Last year’s draft policy had installed onshore wind capacity falling from a high of 7 GW in 2025 to just 0.8 GW in 2040. The revised draft forecasts capacity reaching a high of 9.497 GW in 2020 and increasing slightly to 9.761 GW in 2040.Wider renewable energy growth is to be achieved through the rapidly developing solar PV market and the construction of the first offshore wind farms in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea. However, both capacity estimates for 2040 have been revised downwards, PV from 20 GW to 16 GW and offshore wind from 10 GW to 8 GW.The revised policy estimates the share of renewables in energy consumption could reach 32% by 2040 if energy storage is developed and more gas-fired capacity is built.The ministry expects to reach a lower share of coal mainly through phasing out lignite-fired plants, with open pit resources scheduled to be largely exhausted by 2040. The new draft foresees lignite capacity falling more slowly, from 8.64 GW to 3.4 GW in 2040, instead of 1.5 GW. Similarly, existing and planned new hard coal capacity is expected to fall from a high of 15.6 GW in 2020 to 7.63 GW in 2040, instead of 6.7 GW as envisaged in the previous draft.More ($): A way back for onshore wind as Poland revises draft energy policy to 2040last_img read more

U.S. oil boom a bust for shale exploration and production companies

first_imgU.S. oil boom a bust for shale exploration and production companies FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Last month, two days before the latest government prediction that U.S. shale production would hit new heights, an oil industry conference in Houston opened with a clip of Eeyore making one of his bleak utterings: “End of the road, nothing to do and no hope of things getting better.”It made sense to kick things off with Winnie the Pooh’s depressed donkey friend. As Kim Bourgeois, a managing director who focuses on energy at HOS Investment Partners, told the assembled crowd, “That’s what most of our Monday mornings have felt like.”For the exploration and production companies behind what has been spectacular growth in U.S. crude output, the boom has busted. Many are burning through cash and struggling to meet investor expectations. In Texas, the biggest oil-producing state and home to most of the prolific Permian Basin, the number of active rigs tumbled 24% last year. Oil prices are down as much as 19% this year as the coronavirus outbreak hits Chinese oil demand.“North America is full of companies that, on the E&P side, probably shouldn’t be here anymore,” said Marcel Hewamudalige, a Houston-based managing director at Evercore Group LLC. “There’s too much debt in the system and those guys won’t survive.”The shale revolution unlocked previously inaccessible reserves of oil and natural gas, making America’s production of both the highest in the world. But that abundance has also helped create a global glut, keeping a lid on prices.What’s more, the shale sector has found itself on a treadmill. Fracked oil and gas wells experience steep declines in their production compared to conventional wells, compelling shale producers to keep drilling simply to maintain output levels and cash generation, even in the face of stagnant prices.[Kevin Crowley, Rachel Adams-Heard]More: America’s oil boom feels more like bust in the shale patchlast_img read more

Australia’s New South Wales set for ‘biggest and quickest’ transition from coal to renewables

first_imgAustralia’s New South Wales set for ‘biggest and quickest’ transition from coal to renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The New South Wales state government has confirmed it will seek a massive 8,000MW of wind, solar and storage projects in the state’s north, the biggest call for renewables in the country, and setting itself up for what will be the biggest and most rapid transition from coal to renewables in the country, if not the world.As foreshadowed by Renew Economy on Thursday, state energy minister Matt Kean announced on Friday plans to create an 8,000MW renewable energy zone in the New England region, tapping into the enormous response to the state’s first renewable energy zone (REZ), which saw a phenomenal 27,000MW of wind, solar and storage projects for a region with the capacity of 3,000MW.“The nine-fold level of interest in the Central-West Orana REZ was astounding, so it makes absolute sense to go even bigger with the New England REZ,” Kean said in the statement on Friday. “The New England REZ will be able to power 3.5 million homes and, when coupled with Central-West Orana REZ, sets the state up to become the number one destination across Australia for renewable energy investment.”NSW has been a bit of a laggard on renewable energy investment in recent years, although its current pipeline of projects means that it is catching up.  But while it is the only state in the main National Electricity Market (NEM) without a stated renewable energy target, it is headed for the biggest and quickest transition of them all, because the bulk of its ageing coal generators will retire in the next 10-15 years.This coal capacity will have to be replaced by renewables and storage, which Kean says is clearly the cheapest and best option for the state, one that will give the state the opportunity to become an economic powerhouse as well as a renewable energy powerhouse.But over the past year, only 16.2 per cent of the state’s electricity demand came from renewables, with a combined 7 per cent from rooftop and large scale solar and 6.3 per cent from wind energy. A further 7.6 per cent came from imports from Queensland and Victoria.[Giles Parkinson]More: NSW sets itself for biggest and quickest transition from coal to renewableslast_img read more

Americana Circus: Nora Jane Struthers

first_imgNora Jane Struthers didn’t take the most direct path to Nashville. She started out as a Jersey girl. Her dad taught her to sing traditional country and bluegrass songs, and the family pastime was extended with trips to fiddle conventions in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina.“That was a life-altering experience,” Struthers said of attending the Old Time Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Va., among others. “I became aware of this wide community of people who are passionate about music and have this beautiful thing in common.”Music, though, wasn’t an immediate career choice. Struthers earned a degree in English education at New York University. But after a couple of years of teaching at a charter school in Brooklyn, she eventually packed up her belongings and moved to Nashville.“At a certain point I fear regret more strongly than I fear change,” she recently reflected. “When I realized being a professional musician was an attainable goal, I knew if I didn’t try, I would forever regret it.”After arriving in Music City she started working with producer Brent Truitt (Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss) and recorded a well-received self-titled debut album with backing support from ace players like Bryan Sutton, Tim O’Brien, and Stuart Duncan. She also put together a road band and started working the acoustic music touring circuit. In 2010 her group won the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest, which put her in elite company with acts like the Dixie Chicks and Nickel Creek.Struthers then took an opportunity to join lauded Alaska cum Nashville bluegrass outfit Bearfoot. Despite gaining a wealth of experience with a seasoned group of players, she ultimately resigned and set out to record the batch of songs that became her latest album, Carnival. Fans helped Struthers get the record made by funding it through a Kickstarter campaign, which raised $22,000 and supported recording sessions, once again with Truitt at the helm, in Nashville last fall.The album, released last April, is a bold, varied Americana effort. With a set backing band, The Party Line, behind her, Struthers put together a concept album of thought-provoking story songs delivered with her alluring tender vocals and a mix of old-time strings and driving rock edge. She can evoke both the smooth grace of Krauss and the emotional grit of Brandi Carlile.The willingness to mingle the past with the present has enabled Struthers to fit into a variety of circles in the acoustic music world. Just last month she performed at both the Americana Music Festival in Nashville and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Conference in Raleigh.“I wanted to move into a more contemporary sonic space,” Struthers said of her latest album. “The success of Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers has opened a lot of doors for artists who are using stringed instruments to try and create new sounds. The community of Americana musicians is raging right now. It’s strong and exciting.”With a firm direction in place for her solo career, Struthers is focused on bringing her sound to stages across the country. She has a hearty slate of dates booked into next year, including stops this month in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C., and an open mind about the new songs in her head.“The sound is going to keep evolving,” Struthers said. “For the next record I’m thinking pedal steel and distorted guitar tones. That can be strange for listeners, especially in the acoustic genre, but as an artist I need my music to grow.”Asheville Electronic SummitPeople with certain interests might already call Asheville, N.C., a mountain oasis, but a new festival is making it official. Mountain Oasis, which is being billed as an Electronic Music Summit, will fill five venues around downtown Asheville during the weekend of October 25-27 with a full line-up of electronic and experimental rock acts. Headliners include Nine Inch Nails, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Animal Collective, and a recently reunited Neutral Milk Hotel. The festival, created as a spin-off by the former promoters of Moogfest, will bring approximately 50 acts to venues of varying size, including the Exploreasheville.com Arena, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, the Orange Peel, Diana Wortham Theatre, and Asheville Music Hall.mountainoasisfestival.comlast_img read more

Video: Chattanooga’s RiverRocks Adventure Sports Games

first_imgIf you weren’t able to make it to last year’s month-long celebration of outdoor sport (four weekends in October) last year, this closing ceremony video is sure to make you put it on the calendar for 2014.The Drop – River Rocks Closing Ceremony from Silvey Huffaker Creative on Vimeo.This is the footage used for the River Rocks closing ceremony in Chattanooga, TN on October 12, 2013.last_img