Utilities, states question administration’s revised carbon dioxide rule

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The Trump administration’s replacement for the Clean Power Plan has generally been seen as positive for the U.S. coal sector, but states and utilities have expressed concerns about compliance with the rule in comments published ahead of an Oct. 31 deadline.The Affordable Clean Energy, or ACE, rule focuses on deploying heat-rate improvements at individual coal plants instead of allowing plants to comply by shifting to other types of generation and has raised some concern in a sector where utilities have indicated no plans to slow retirements of older, less efficient coal plants. While some stakeholders are applauding the Trump administration’s shift to state authority over power-sector carbon dioxide emissions, even those who support ditching the Clean Power Plan are calling for tweaks to the proposal.The Electric Power Research Institute also said the rule’s focus on a rate-based standard, in which compliance is based on emissions per unit of electricity generated versus total emissions, takes away utilities’ option to reduce a plant’s generation levels to comply with the rule.The industry coalition Utility Air Regulatory Group expressed a similar concern and said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should recognize that states can permit affected sources within a state to average their emissions. The EPA acknowledged this could result in lower costs but was concerned that averaging would encourage generation-shifting, the coalition wrote. It said it would address that concern and others, including the focus on a rate-based performance standard, in future comments that do not appear to have been published by the EPA yet.Hinting at why even states that largely back Trump’s pro-coal policy goals might have problems with the policy, Hawaii Gov. David Ige and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the Western Governors’ Association, wrote Oct. 10 that the administration did not consult with governors or their designees.More ($): Supporters of ditching Clean Power Plan raise concerns about replacement Utilities, states question administration’s revised carbon dioxide rulelast_img read more

Analysts don’t expect gas to coal switching this winter

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Even though some coal-fired generation is becoming competitive at the margins since natural gas prices began rallying in November, utilities’ reluctance to restock their coal inventories suggests the fuel will continue to play a “shrinking role” in meeting system load, according to an analyst with Morningstar Commodities Research.The winter strip natural gas futures price at Henry Hub is around $4.25/MMBtu as generators in the PJM Interconnection see coal prices around an equivalent of $3.81/MMBtu, Matthew Hong, Morningstar’s director of research for power and gas, said in a Dec. 12 note. That should encourage generators to favor coal over gas, Hong said, but high demand for coal exports, along with reduced capacity for both mining and burning coal, is limiting any potential gains from the recent “unexpected reversal in coal generation economics.”Every 25-cent change in the price of Henry Hub natural gas would theoretically equate to a 1% shift in market share from gas to coal, according to Seaport Global Securities LLC analyst Mark Levin. However, despite a cold start to the winter and low storage levels of both coal and natural gas, there is “no evidence of gas-to-coal switching” even as pricing dynamics become more supportive of coal generation, Hong said.“Conventional wisdom in PJM was that at times of high demand during the winter, coal generation would provide a backstop against more volatile natural gas prices,” Hong said. “However, a decade of retirements in coal generation and mine shut-ins in Central Appalachia have shrunk the safety net coal plants used to provide. … Coal producers need more than high prices to invest in expanding production.”East of the Mississippi, coal producers may have between 5 million and 10 million tons of excess capacity to ramp up steam coal production, Levin said in a Nov. 20 note. While he suggests the risk versus reward around strengthening thermal coal prices could justify taking a gamble on coal companies such as Consol Energy Inc.—one of his top thermal coal-levered picks — on the whole, he said producers likely could only boost U.S. steam coal production by about 6% to 8%.“Although Central Appalachian coal prices are at levels that support additional production, the long-term domestic forecasts do not support the investment,” Hong said. “As a result, we enter the peak winter months when coal generation typically ramps up with fewer coal generators and constrained supplies of physical coal.”More ($): No apparent gas-to-coal switching despite economic reversal in PJM, analyst says Analysts don’t expect gas to coal switching this winterlast_img read more

Analysts see continued weakness for U.S. LNG despite resumption of Chinese imports

first_imgAnalysts see continued weakness for U.S. LNG despite resumption of Chinese imports FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The resumption of U.S. LNG deliveries to China offers little hope of eliminating the risk of U.S. LNG exports getting shut in as the coronavirus pandemic chokes off demand in key markets and prices hover at historic lows.But analysts said the renewal of LNG trade flows that had been frozen for 13 months during the U.S.-China trade war could still help soften the blow of a weak global gas market as China’s economy recovers from a period of lockdown amid the pandemic.“You can’t imagine that China’s gradual return to normal is enough to counter the two negative drivers on the price side, which are the constrained activity everywhere else and the increase in LNG supply coming from the U.S. and other places,” energy analyst Katie Bays, co-founder of research and consulting firm Sandhill Strategy, said in an interview. “China returning to normal just dampens the impact of those.”The bounce-back of the world’s fastest-growing LNG buyer should benefit all Chinese suppliers, but the politics of the trade war could benefit U.S. exporters, Bays said.Still, China’s demand is unlikely to be enough to significantly alter the bleak outlook for global gas markets. Market observers have warned that already high European storage levels could fill up around the start of the third quarter, potentially triggering a wave of cargo cancellations in the U.S. if other markets cannot absorb the LNG.“China isn’t enough by itself to fundamentally change the fortunes of the global market, even though it’s a big buyer,” Bays said. “If we are going to continue to drift into a more compressed demand scenario, and storage continues to fill up, and that dynamic continues to get worse, then you will see curtailments in the U.S.”[Corey Paul]More ($): China’s renewed imports of US LNG may soften but not avert export shut-in riskslast_img read more

San Francisco bans natural gas use in new construction projects

first_imgSan Francisco bans natural gas use in new construction projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):San Francisco will ban natural gas infrastructure in most new construction, reinforcing previous building electrification measures adopted in California’s fourth most populous city.The city’s Board of Supervisors on Nov. 17 voted unanimously to amend San Francisco’s building code to prohibit the issuance of permits for residential and commercial construction that includes gas piping. The gas ban would apply to buildings built after June 1, 2021, with exceptions for restaurants and cases where all-electric construction is not technically feasible.Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced the legislation on June 30, opting to pursue a strategy pioneered by Berkeley, Calif., which taps the city’s power to modify its building code to safeguard public health and safety. The ordinance is meant to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, but also acknowledges the risk of natural gas explosions and research that links burning the fuel indoors with adverse health outcomes.The Board of Supervisors previously prohibited gas infrastructure in municipal building construction and renovation. It also adopted a so-called energy reach code — which “reaches” beyond minimum state standards — to require new buildings with gas infrastructure to achieve higher energy standards than all-electric buildings.Lawmakers made several changes to the original version of the gas ban ordinance, which included a blanket exception for gas piping in commercial kitchen spaces through Jan. 1, 2022. The final version allows city officials to grant restaurant exceptions beyond that date, but only after determining the applicant has shown that gas appliances are necessary for a specific food service, such as cooking with a wok.More than 30 California towns, cities and counties have adopted building gas bans or electrification requirements and preferences for new construction.[Tom DiChristopher]More ($): San Francisco bans natural gas in new buildingslast_img read more

Financing complete for 3.6GW Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, world’s largest

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:A major offshore wind farm, set to be the largest on the planet, took another leap forward Thursday with SSE Renewables and Equinor announcing the completion of a deal to finance the project.Once completed, the Dogger Bank Wind Farm in Britain — a 50:50 joint venture between the two firms — will have a total capacity of 3.6 gigawatts (GW). The first two phases, Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B, will be built simultaneously, with each having a capacity of 1.2 GW. The third phase of the project, Dogger Bank C, is being developed to a different schedule, with a financial close expected toward the end of 2021.In a statement, SSE said funding for the first two phases of the project represented “the largest ever offshore wind project financing anywhere in the world.” Investment for Dogger Bank A and B will amount to approximately £6 billion (around $8 billion), it added.According to the website of the Dogger Bank project, which will be located in waters off the northeast coast of England, the final group of lenders is made up of 29 banks and three export credit agencies. SSE Renewables is heading up construction of the facility, while its operations are to be led by Equinor.The scale of the overall scheme, which is due to be finished in 2026, is considerable. Equinor and SSE have both described it as the “world’s biggest offshore wind farm.”Phases A and B will use GE’s 13 megawatt Haliade-X turbine, while the wind farm as a whole will have the ability to power as many as 4.5 million homes in the U.K. annually. Onshore construction works for the project started earlier this year.[Anmar Frangoul]More: World’s largest offshore wind farm seals financing deal worth $8 billion Financing complete for 3.6GW Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, world’s largestlast_img read more

San Jose, Oakland are latest California cities to enact bans on gas in new construction

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:Both the San Jose City Council and Oakland City Council [last week] approved measures to prohibit natural gas infrastructure in newly constructed buildings, adding to the growing list of more than 40 California cities to pass such ordinances.The San Jose measure, passed in an 8-3 vote, makes it the largest U.S. city to require all-electric new construction. That measure allows a “controversial exemption” however, enabling facilities that generate and store energy on-site to continue using natural gas, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Meanwhile, the unanimously-passed Oakland measure will apply to all residential and commercial construction, though developers can apply for “technology feasibility” waivers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.These measures come on the heels of San Francisco’s all-electric construction ordinance passed last month. Nearly every major Bay Area city — including Berkeley and Menlo Park — have now approved such mandates.When San Francisco took action on natural gas construction in November, experts suggested it could hold enough weight to pressure similar legislation in neighboring cities — which it did. They also suggested such local efforts could push Gov. Gavin Newsom toward statewide action, particularly as the California Energy Commission considers updates to its building energy efficiency standards.And while California cities have led such measures — Berkeley made history as the first city to ban natural gas infrastructure in new buildings in July 2019 — the trend is beginning to spread across state lines.[Also last week], Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced an energy code update proposal to ban fossil fuels in new commercial and large multi-family construction. The proposal is a direct response to the city’s building sector emissions, which increased 8.3% in Seattle from 2016 to 2018. “As Seattle’s population continues to grow, the scale of our policy response to rising carbon emissions must grow even faster,” Durkan said in a statement.[Kristin Musulin]More: San Jose, Oakland join growing list of California cities to ban natural gas construction San Jose, Oakland are latest California cities to enact bans on gas in new constructionlast_img read more

Blue Ridge Outdoors Top Towns Nominee: Fayetteville, West Virginia

first_imgYou may remember Fayetteville from November of 2013 when this small river town of nearly 3,000 people took top honors in our Best River Towns Contest. In that contest we acknowledged Fayetteville for its world-renowned whitewater, and paid homage to its status as a year-round river rat retreat.Thanks to its proximity to both the New River Gorge and the Gauley River, Fayetteville is one of the most sought after whitewater destinations in the country, but it’s also home to climbers, hikers, trail runners, anglers, and mountain bikers. If any of your passions fall into these categories, go ahead and put this town in your ‘must-visit’ column.Cudas_IB_0814_2Did you know? In addition to being a virtual whitewater mecca, the New River Gorge attracts rock climbers from all over the globe. One look at the Endless Wall, which offers 4.5 miles of unbroken cliff line accessible only by repelling or ladders, and you’ll understand why.Vote now at blueridgeoutdoors.com!last_img read more

Weekend Pick: Fly Fishing Expo in Fletcher, North Carolina, Dec. 5-6

first_imgThe days may be getting shorter and chillier, but the fish are still biting! Show your sport some winter love at the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo, this Friday and Saturday at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher.WNC-ExpoReturning to the Center for its 6th year running, the Fly Fishing Expo attracts more than 1,000 anglers from all over the Southeast for a weekend packed full of exhibitions, demonstrations, lessons, and talks with the pros.Fishing experts – such as George Daniel, Blane Chocklett, and Jon Hooper – will be ready to up your game and give you the best new tips to improve your skills. Plus, Fly Tying and Casting Clinics alongside these big names will help you put your new knowledge to the test and get you water-ready. The Southeastern Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers has even sponsored a 3,200 square-foot indoor casting pool, built specially for these clinics.All your favorite manufacturers, shops, and organizations will also be at the Expo. Don’t miss the Flyman Fishing Co., Fishpond, Hatch Fly Reels, Carolina Mountain Sports, Rivers Edge Outfitters, Hunter Banks Company, and tons of other groups ready to gear you up right with good advice and big deals.The 2014 WNC Fly Fishing Expo is bound to be a hit for the fishing community, so mark your calendars. No need to register – tickets will be available at the door for only $16 starting at 12 pm on Friday. Kids under 16 even get in free! Don’t miss this largest fly-fishing event in the Southeastern area.last_img read more

Trail Mix | New Madrid

first_imgNew Madrid, from Athens, Georgia, is working hard to become a band without borders.On the quartet’s latest release, magnetkingmagnetqueen, there is a constant progression into a wide array of sounds, with songs ranging in style from 80’s era garage rock to progressive, ethereal ambient noise. That New Madrid is willing to experiment is undeniable, and that is a trait I admire in a band. Tried and true methods need a regular shot in the arm, and exploration is the only inoculation for stagnation.With their current mindset, the members of New Madrid won’t be getting stale any time soon.I recently tracked down New Madrid’s Phil McGill to chat about the new record, being a band from Athens, and music to add fractions by.BRO – Your hometown has a powerful music legacy. Are there particular challenges or benefits that come with being a band from Athens?PM – Yes to both. It’s a benefit in that there are so many musical wizards about. Wise, accomplished musicians. And there are a lot of talented, fearlessly creative younger folks as well. There is a good history, with so many incredible records that have been made here, and maybe you can feel that in the air. The challenge may be that you could be playing a show on the same night as some other incredible musician who could be from anywhere in the world, or Georgia, and they are playing next door. Saturation, but that is nice per the consumer. Another challenge is that Athens is still isolated in a lot of respects. There are limitations to its size, but that can be creatively invigorating.BRO – The sounds on this records, easily, could be described as divergent. Is there a conscious effort on the part of the band to create such disparate sounding tunes, or is it a natural progression?PM – I think it’s a combination of both. We do try and push boundaries, but we are also refining writing techniques that worked for us in the past. And then, sometimes, a song develops purely on its own, disconnected from all other former pieces. We definitely made a conscious effort to change and grow the sounds. We will continue exploring different ways to do that, as we don’t feel comfortable remaking the same thing, but I think, as we go forward, we won’t be able to help refining a consistent process. I’m not sure. We may just turn into a ranchero band.BRO – Should I happen to find myself in Athens on a week night, where should I head to recharge my musical boundaries?PM – Well, chances are you could find a good show at the Georgia Theatre, either on the roof top or in the main room. Then there is The 40 Watt frequently bringing the heat, and the Caledonia Lounge and Go Bar are sure hot spots as well. You usually can’t go wrong in those types of places. Just depends on what kind of charger your musical battery needs. If it is more experimental noise based beautiful grab bag multimedia throbs, go to Go Bar. If you want a smaller room with an incredible sound system and a stage with more space for a band, go to Caledonia. You could see a world class act there any night of the week. And The 40 Watt and Georgia Theatre have reputations that precede them, I believe. They are amazing sanctuaries for music.BRO – We are featuring “Summer Belles” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?PM – It’s loosely inspired by a show we played in Chattanooga on July 4th a couple of years ago atop a Southern Belle riverboat. It’s a meditation on what the term “southern belle” actually means. Growing up, it always had rather positive implications and connotations. But the reality is that it’s a class that existed almost specifically due to slavery. While many qualities are good and positive – politeness, beauty, etc. – the truth of the term is oppressive in its own right. It’s about hearing the belles of summer ringing in the distance, about a smile being evil or pastels being threatening. I started really thinking about it after playing on a boat with the same name. It’s a limiting model for womanhood.BRO – My fifth grade math students have been grooving to “Guay Lo” during class recently. Bet you never figured that tune would be a great soundtrack for adding fractions.PM – That I would have never initially expected, but it does definitely fall within the realm of what our intention was for the song. We wanted it to be a functional piece, a song you can really get lost in and meditate to. You can run to it or drive a car or do fractions. It’s a song that helps you move through time a little more effortlessly. It would be a positive to have at least one song on each album that was proper for adding fractions, more mindless and more of a physical experience. You know you can add fractions well when you don’t have to think about it.New Madrid’s tour schedule is pretty quiet until June 11th, when the band will take the stage in front of their hometown fans at The 40 Watt. After that, the van points Southwest, with shows in Louisiana and Texas scheduled for later in the month.For more information on New Madrid, their tour schedule, or how you can snag a copy of magnetkingmagnetqueen, jump on over to the band’s website.Also, be sure to check out “Summer Belles” on this month’s Trail Mix.More from the Trail Mix Blog:last_img read more

Fishing Patrick County, VA

first_imgFive rivers rise out from Patrick County, Virginia, flowing into two major watersheds. Every river or stream in the county originates from within its borders. This dynamic creates wading opportunities for anglers that can’t be found everywhere.The Dan River begins northeast of the Meadows of Dan community on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Native brook trout can be found in the river north of Talbott Dam. First-class rainbow, brook, and brown trout fishing can be found in the six-mile section between Talbott Dam, locally called the “Upper Dam,” and Townes Reservoir. The river flows from Townes Dam, locally called the “Lower Dam,” around the Pinnacles of Dan, three mountain peaks that rise up from the Dan River Gorge, to the Pinnacles Powerhouse. This section is a catch-and-release trout area and the section from the Powerhouse through Kibler Valley is a Category A put-and-take trout stream.The North and South Mayo River are frequently stocked with brown and rainbow trout. The Smith River’s headwaters also start in Patrick County and can be accessed at Iron Bridge Road. Also near Woolwine is Rock Castle Creek, which contains pickerel and sunfish. The Ararat River rises up near the Ararat community and contains native and rainbow trout.Lake fishingThere are four lakes in Patrick County with great fishing. The 168-acre Fairy Stone Lake, home of Fairy Stone State Park, offers largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and bluegill. Outboard motor use is prohibited on this lake. Philpott Lake is in Patrick, Henry, and Franklin counties. Philpott offers excellent bass, walleye, crappie, and catfish opportunities. Talbott Dam and Townes Reservoir offer many angling possibilities from shore, as well as from hand-carried boats and canoes.While you’re thereImmerse yourself in local history, whether related to the early American republic, the Civil War, or NASCAR’s early roots. You can flatfoot to fiddle music or wind down at a winery. From the rugged outdoors to 5-star luxury, there is so much to discover in Patrick County.Patrick County Virginia Fishinglast_img read more