PNM: No interest in keeping San Juan coal plant open FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):PNM Resources Inc. officials said their company firmly intends to close the coal-fired San Juan plant in 2022 and expressed confidence the New Mexico Legislature will pass a measure to provide financing for that effort.PNM Chairman, President and CEO Patricia Vincent-Collawn said in a Feb. 27 earnings call that the company, parent to utility Public Service Co. of New Mexico, stands by its plans to completely abandon the plant following final evaluation for replacement power resources in its request for proposals, along with completion of an updated load forecast and plant decommissioning study.The city of Farmington, N.M., on Feb. 24 announced it signed an agreement with a private holding company to keep the plant open, but the town has only an 8.48% stake in San Juan Unit 4, one of the two remaining operating units. PNM is the plant’s operator and majority owner.PNM Executive Vice President and CFO Charles Eldred said the company has every intention of shedding its ownership interest in San Juan, regardless of what Farmington has “theoretically” proposed. The company will not in any way accept a power purchase agreement or any involvement in the plant after 2022, he said.Vincent-Collawn said New Mexico state Senate Bill 489, also known as the Energy Transition Act, includes securitization financing provisions for San Juan’s closure that PNM has supported, along with the governor’s strong support.Vincent-Collawn pointed out the bill, which also would increase the state’s existing 20% renewable energy standard to 50% by 2030, is one of several measures that call for more renewable and carbon-free resources. The majority of the House and Senate, along with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, are Democrats, and energy policy has been a central focus of this year’s legislature. “So I can’t see any coal fitting into our plans,” she said.More ($): PNM stands by plans to close San Juan coal plant, urges passage of bill to help
Month: December 2020
U.K.’s National Grid takes big step into U.S. renewable energy market FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Star Tribune:Geronimo Energy, one of Minnesota’s most prominent renewable-energy developers, has been sold to a large British utility company for $100 million.In conjunction with the deal completed Monday, National Grid is also paying $125 million for a 51% stake in a joint venture that owns wind and solar projects being developed by a Geronimo affiliate. The other 49% is owned by the Washington State Investment Board.National Grid is known in this country for its regulated electricity and natural gas utilities in the northeastern United States. But the company is trying to extend its nonregulated business through its National Grid Ventures arm, of which Geronimo is now a part.The Geronimo deal marks National Grid’s entry into U.S. wind- and solar-energy development. “Geronimo was acquired to be our platform in U.S. renewables,” said Daniel Westerman, president of renewables and distributed energy for National Grid.National Grid, based in London, is one of the world’s largest investor-owned utilities with about $19 billion in sales last year, its business spread roughly evenly between Great Britain and the United States. The company serves about 20 million people in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.Geronimo has developed — or is in the process of developing — a total of 2,200 megawatts of wind and solar power, which includes several projects in Minnesota. A megawatt is 1 million watts, and 2,200 megawatts is the equivalent production capacity of three to four coal or nuclear power plants — though wind and solar farms can’t operate constantly.More: Edina’s Geronimo Energy sold to British utility for $100M
NextEra says tax credit phase-outs won’t slow solar, wind, storage adoption in the U.S. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:NextEra Energy, the largest U.S. wind and solar developer, sees little threat to the renewables market from the fading federal tax credits, executives said Wednesday.With the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind already phasing down, and the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar set to begin declining next year for new projects, individual companies and their broader industries are grappling with how — or whether — to push for an additional extension.NextEra, for its part, is focused on its gargantuan development pipeline, and believes wind and solar will remain highly competitive without federal subsidies, CFO Rebecca Kujawa said on an analyst call Wednesday discussing the company’s financial results. “With continued cost and efficiency improvements, we expect new near-firm wind and solar to be cheaper than the operating costs of coal, nuclear and less-efficient oil- and gas-fired generation units, even after the tax credits phase down early in the next decade,” Kujawa said. “The combination of low-cost renewables plus storage is expected to be increasingly disruptive to the nation’s generation fleet, providing significant growth opportunities well into the next decade.”Pressed Wednesday on the renewed efforts to extend the solar ITC, Kujawa said: “We’ve benefited over the last couple of years from some of the most significant visibility for long-term incentives the industry has ever had.” While another extension could create a stronger tailwind for the renewables market, NextEra is “excited about our development program” with or without subsidies, she said.NextEra on Wednesday revealed that its renewables backlog — or projects to be built over the next few years — has grown to a record 11.7 gigawatts.More: NextEra sees little threat to wind and solar from fading tax credits
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Windpower Engineering & Development:E.ON announced its largest single-phase project to date, the 440-MW onshore wind farm, Big Raymond. The development is located in Willacy, Cameron and Hidalgo counties. The project benefits from a 12-year power purchase agreement with Austin Energy for 200 MW.“We’re thrilled to partner with another renewable energy leader in Texas in Austin Energy, especially with one of our main U.S. offices based in the city,” said Silvis Ortin, COO North America. “E.ON and Austin Energy both have a long track record of investing in renewables in Texas, and we look forward to that continued growth in the state.”Big Raymond Windfarm represents an investment of more than $500,000,000 in the South Texas region.E.ON recently announced two other South Texas onshore wind farms, Peyton Creek and Cranell, are under construction with a combined total of more than 370 MW and both of which are expected to come online by the end of 2019.E.ON has developed, built, and operates more than 3,800 MW of solar, wind and energy storage projects across the U.S., with more on the way.More: E.ON announces 440-MW South Texas wind farm E.ON to build 440MW, $500 million wind farm in Texas
Britain breaks record for coal-free electric generation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Britain has gone without coal-fired power generation for its longest stretch since the Industrial Revolution, breaking the existing record of 18 consecutive days this morning. The UK’s energy system has not used coal-fired plants for more than 438 hours, according to National Grid data, the longest uninterrupted period since 1882.The 18-day stretch has broken the UK’s previous record, which was set on 4 June 2019, partly because of a collapse in demand for electricity during the coronavirus lockdown and because of greater use of solar power.The UK set a new solar power record on 20 April after solar farms generated more than 9.6GW of electricity for the first time.The new coal-free record comes almost three years after the grid first ran without coal power for 24 hours for the first time. Since then, all but four of the UK’s coal power plants have shut in advance of a government ban on coal generation from 2025.Coal made up only 2.1% of the country’s total power mix last year, a dramatic fall from almost a quarter just four years ago.Britain’s dwindling fleet of coal plants still includes the West Burton A and Ratcliffe-on-Soar power stations in Nottinghamshire, the Kilroot facility in Northern Ireland and two generation units at the Drax site in Yorkshire, which are earmarked for conversion to burn gas.[Jillian Ambrose and Niko Kommenda]More: Britain breaks record for coal-free power generation
Day One: “The Deep Creek Deluge” – September 5th As we chill out after a busy summer at Deep Creek Lake/Wisp Resort and prepare for the epic paddleboard tour, the weather channel is forecasting flash floods for Western Maryland for the evening. The extended forecast for the rest of the week does not look much better: 6”- 10” of rainfall over the next 3 days. What a way to start out on a five-state, 24-lakes river stand up paddleboard adventure. The only positive from the weather report is that Hurricane Katia is most likely going to make a turn to the right and not come ashore in North Carolina later in the week. A friend from my days at Snowshoe Mountain, Jeff Gee, is joining me for the first 4 days of the tour. This tour is all about paddleboarding and relaxing. I am not going to let a little rain (no, a lot of rain) ruin the epic adventure.Our evening paddle launched at Deep Creek Lake State Park. This is one of the nicest parks in the Maryland Park system. We launched at the beach area, which is a great place to learn the sport of paddleboarding. Wisp Resort operates the beach concession at the park and offers paddleboard rentals, tours and instruction. This area of the lake offers a great 1 – 2 hour paddle to the end of Carmel Cove. Carmel Cove is a no wake area (powerboats must make no wakes) and the reward at the end of the cove is a narrow water trail into a marsh and past a couple of beaver dams. The water is clear and you can see some of the tree stumps from when the lake was built back in the 1920s. The air temperature was a cool 58 with heavy rain and the water temperature was 72. The water was calm, a rarity for the last unofficial day of summer; the cool rainy weather has even sent the locals of Deep Creek Lake seeking shelter. As I drove to the state park, even the large end of season party at the Honi Honi was dampened with the rain. Hopefully the weather will improve later in the week; otherwise it is going to be the Soggy Bottom Stand Up Paddleboard Tour.The photos were provided by another friend from the days at Snowshoe and now at Wisp Resort, John McCracken. We tried to convince John to join us for the rest of the tour, but to no avail. 1 2
Micah True (a.k.a. Caballo Blanco) — made famous by the bestselling book Born to Run — disappeared on a run in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico on Tuesday. He was staying at a wilderness lodge and went out for a 12-mile trail run Tuesday morning. When he did not return by Wednesday morning, resort owners alerted the police. The 60-year-old ultrarunner is an experienced wilderness traveler. He was scheduled to leave for Phoenix yesterday. Rescue teams, state helicopters, and the Civil Air Patrol are currently searching the wilderness.Editor’s Note: Micah is a long-time friend and colleague. For over 15 years, he has lived and run in the Copper Canyons with the Tarahumara people. He has celebrated the Tarahumara’s running prowess and brought much-needed attention to their everyday struggles.I’ve run many miles with Micah. Even at age 60, he is still one of the toughest ultrarunners I know. If anyone can survive this ordeal, it is him. My deepest thoughts are with Micah and the ongoing efforts to locate him.
If there was any snow left in the woods, it was wiped out this week by temps in the 60s and a soaking rain. Sure, this type of weather is not completely out of the ordinary in mid-January here in the South, but it is still a bummer when it hits. A few days of mild temps and a good rain can wipe out a season’s worth of hard work put in at ski resort. Being outdoorsy people our activities are dependent on a wide arrange of factors, the most obvious being the weather. With this in mind, our attitude has to be “When one door closes, another door opens.” When a January warm spell slams the door on any backcountry snow expedition we still have the open door of the woods to keep us sane. Shed the winter blues by getting out on the trail. The bare trees will open up vistas you have never seen, providing a whole new experience to a trail you only trek during the traditional seasons. A new perspective has the potential to jumpstart even the deepest seasonal malaise so don’t waste this opportunity. Take a hike, or better yet, hang onto the last traces of that New Year’s resolution and lace up the running shoes for a trail run. A little pain, a little reflection, and a whole lot of sweat – it’s going to be in the mid-50s across the region – will go a long way for your piece of mind.I’m sure you have your home trail to run, but one of our favorite trail systems is on Raccoon Mountain outside Chattanooga, Tenn. Stunning views await those who tackle these trails used for the Scenic City Trail Marathon 15 minutes from downtown, so hit them up this weekend. You won’t be sorry.View Larger Map
Our favorite web videos from around the internet:The Couch Potato Epic MTB RaceThe Couch Potato Epic is 30 miles through Pisgah. Just long enough to be epic, just short enough that…well, it’s right there in the title. Featuring cool ariel shots and sage strategy advice from BRO editor at large Graham Averill (a respectable 61st out of 72 racers).Green Race 2013The Green Race is not without controversy, but it looks like one hell of a time.GlampingGoing all in on glamping, and I mean ALL IN.Glamp Out 2013 from caroline fontenot on Vimeo.ShaunThis, we’ll call it a “puff piece” since this is family show, on the golden boy of snowboarding should get you jazzed for Olympic coverage. (Ed note: apparently you can’t watch this embed in the U.S., which is totally weird, but you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.)
Photo by Buck NelsonWere there a lifetime achievement award in the category of DIY Outdoor Superstar, Bruce “Buck” Nelson would invariably top the list of recipients. He explored the Alaskan frontier during his seven-year tenure as a Coast Guard parajumper and a smokejumper.Then Nelson decided to get back to the land, constructing himself a 16 x 20’ cabin just outside of Fairbanks (“With all the regular amenities, minus running water.”). Whenever Nelson wasn’t parachuting from DC-3s and battling wildfires, he was off exploring the great Alaskan wilds. Nelson exhibited a penchant for the dramatic: Like some kind of mutant thrill-junky, he systematically sought out and proceeded to tackle the biggest, most notorious high-mileage solo excursions known to man.After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2001, he canoed solo down 2,300 miles of Mississippi River from headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico.Photos courtesy bucktrack.comThen in 2006, hoofed, paddled, hunted, and fished his way across 1,000 miles of Alaska’s Brooks Range, abiding by the rather hardcore imperative of “live by the land or perish.” His trek was featured in “Alone Across Alaska”, a documentary described by Backpacker Magazine as “Oscar-worthy for indie outdoor films.” Nelson has also conquered the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail, the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, and in 2012, he became the first thru-hiker of the 2,223-mile Desert Trail from Mexico to Canada.Most recently, Nelson paddled 557 miles from the source of the Yellowstone River to its convergence with the Missouri, and he spent 70 days in Alaska’s Admiralty Island’s Kootznoowoo Wilderness area, living exclusively off the land.Interspersed throughout these wanderings were a slew of international adventures, including summits of Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro.What exactly drives Nelson to pursue these big-mileage solo expeditions? BRO caught up with Nelson on a rare moment off-trail to find out.What has been your most exalted moment on the trail? BN: It would be hard to beat a wildlife encounter I had during the river portion of my Alaska traverse. I was drifting down a remote river and spotted a black wolf. Nearby was a caribou. When the wolf first rushed the caribou, the caribou reared up on its hind legs and fled in terror. With the wolf catching up, the caribou leapt into the river and swam for its life, passing just a few feet from my inflatable canoe. Its eyes were huge. I floated right past the black wolf, which was still staring at the caribou. They were both so focused—one on escape and the other on its meal—they barely noticed me. That was intense.What about your most life-threatening and/or terrifying experience you’ve yet to encounter?BN: On the Pacific Crest Trail I hiked several hundred miles with another hiker whose hiking style matched mine. We came to a creek roaring with icy snowmelt. The ‘official’ crossing was marginal, with a fifteen-foot section of falls a stone’s throw below it. Not a good deal. We went upstream in to a better spot. Still marginal looking, but a bit easier and farther from the falls. I wanted to take some time, to double-bag gear in case we fell in, maybe scout a bit more. She wanted to get it over with. She waded in, looking very wobbly as the water deepened, but kept going. She fell in the middle and was swept away. I ran downstream, hoping to be able to grab her when she came by. As I got to the main crossing I thought, “If I don’t see her here, she’s dead.” When I got there, I couldn’t see her. I stood looking up and downstream. Nothing. I’m sure my face went white. I was yelling for her. Thankfully, I heard her answer—she’d made it to some brush just upstream. She and her gear were completely soaked. She was a trooper. No whining. But it was mighty scary for us both.What’s the most number of days you’ve gone in the wilderness without crossing paths with another human being? BN: I have gone for weeks without seeing people in Alaska. I’m unusual in that being alone for weeks doesn’t bother me at all. Doing trips solo is a big advantage for me. Pacing and goals are usually different between partners. Team hiking always involves compromises that sometimes lead to friction. Hiking with other people can be a positive, but it can also be a negative. In the river crossing story I related, my partner wouldn’t have tried to cross on her own, but she didn’t want to hold us back and she almost paid dearly.Were you ever surprised by a human encounter? BN: On my Alaska traverse I went weeks without seeing another soul. One day I was hiking along a beautiful mountain valley and saw a reflection up ahead. I thought, “What could that possibly be?” Then I saw a few dots and another reflection. “The sun reflecting off caribou antlers,” I figured. Seemed too early in the year for shiny antlers though. Finally I figured out what it was. The dots were people and the reflection was a Frisbee. When I got there it was a group of about fourteen young ladies! Half had flown out to a lake and were walking back to the village, the other half started at the village and were walking to the lake. They had just met at the halfway point. I have to admit, it was fun seeing their faces when they I told them that I was in the middle of a 1,000-mile trek.What was your most coveted trek? BN: My Alaska traverse across the Brooks Range was an incredible adventure. This was before Google Earth. When I tried to ask people if certain passes were doable, the standard answer was “I don’t know.” It was real exploring. I didn’t know what I’d find, what I’d see, if there was even enough time before winter for me to complete the trip. At times there was no indication that humans had ever existed. There was only wilderness in every direction. I had many close encounters with grizzlies, moose, Dall sheep, musk ox, and caribou. I had a pack of wolves howling outside my tent. I came upon wolf puppies, found an old plane wreck, and discovered ancient artifacts.What was your most challenging excursion? BN: The Desert Trail, Mexico to Canada, was very tough, especially logistically. No one had thru-hiked the Desert Trail before. I had to figure out how I’d resupply and get water. It took over two weeks just to lay it all out and pick up water and food caches. The toughest part was making sure my caches would be intact when I got to each point along the trail.What do you get from these wilderness steeped, solitary quests? BN: For some people the answer would be that these experiences aren’t important, but pointless and narcissistic. For me, I’ll answer that question with two quotes:“All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream.”—T.K. Whipple“What we’re really seeking… is an experience where we can feel the rapture of being alive.”—Joseph Campbell To learn more about Buck’s upcoming plans, take a gander at journals and photos from his many prior travels, peruse exclusive gear reviews, or get yourself a copy of his scintillating documentary (available on DVD), “Alone Across Alaska: 1,000 Miles of Wilderness,” visit www.bucktrack.com.