‘Huge Symbolic Significance’ in Peabody’s Fall

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Taylor Kuykendall for SNL:Tim Buckley is the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’ director of energy finance studies for Australasia. He said that while the “sheer size and profile” of Peabody’s U.S. and Australia operations make “any bankruptcy problematic,” the fall of the world’s top private coal producer would also be highly symbolic of the direction of the industry.“Any bankruptcy of Peabody is of huge symbolic significance — IEEFA works on the premise that technology change will inevitably drive a global electricity market transformation,” Buckley said. “All along firms like Peabody have funded tens of millions of dollars into lobbyists and advertising campaigns denying climate change and trying to use regulatory barriers to favor their self-interest and stop technology change.”Buckley points to gross liabilities of $10.46 billion at the end of 2014 in calling any potential bankruptcy of Peabody “massive” as it has large amounts of debt and other significant unfunded liabilities. He said Australian pension and health liabilities are off-balance sheet and are required to be fully funded by corporate, but in the U.S. unfunded postretirement benefit obligations and net pension liabilities pose a serious problem.Specifically, Buckley noted that in 2014, Peabody had a defined benefit pension and savings plan for one group of staff at $1.0 billion in total and 85% funded. He said a second liability of postretirement health care and life insurance benefits was recorded as an $839.1 million liability, but was zero-funded.“How the board can allow staff to be fully protected and retired employees get zero protection is beyond me,” Buckley said. “So the workers and existing management it seems to me will be pitted against the retired workers. I’m not a lawyer, but that looks at face value like a potential breach of fiduciary duty by the board, given the board of directors was willfully borrowing to pay quarterly dividends until November 2014 when they should have been paying pension liabilities of retired and sick workers.”Buckley also said a bankruptcy process, to be handled in a U.S. court, will pit Australian liabilities against American liabilities, “raising questions of which government will get left to clean up which portion of the inevitable shortfall.” The land reclamation costs, he said, will largely be covered by U.S. and Australian taxpayers.The assets the company owns, Buckley said, face a tough market. He said “almost every global coal mining company” has mines for sale and any potential buyer is flooded with opportunity to buy. However, he said financial institutions are increasingly reluctant to extend credit to the sector.Full article ($): Opponents eye potential ‘massive’ bankruptcy of nation’s largest coal miner ‘Huge Symbolic Significance’ in Peabody’s Falllast_img read more

FERC’s commissioners in bipartisan agreement: Trump’s grid emergency is false

first_imgFERC’s commissioners in bipartisan agreement: Trump’s grid emergency is false FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Federal regulators on Tuesday disputed the Trump administration’s claim that struggles facing the coal and nuclear industries threaten the reliability of the nation’s power grid.“There is no immediate calamity or threat,” the Republican chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told Congress. Existing power sources are sufficient to satisfy the nation’s energy needs, FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre added.Four other commissioners from both parties agreed there is no immediate threat to the grid. The comments before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee contradict a recent White House directive ordering action to keep coal-fired and nuclear power plants open as a matter of national and economic security.“I think reliability has been protected and I am confident it can continue to be if we are vigilant about any localized issues,” said commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, a Democrat and former FERC chair.Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., asked LaFleur and other commissioners whether any of them believe the U.S. is facing “an actual national security emergency” as President Donald Trump claims. None answered yes.Commissioner Robert Powelson, a Republican, warned that Trump’s June 1 directive imploring Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take immediate steps to bolster coal and nuclear plants threatens to “collapse the wholesale competitive markets that have long been a cornerstone of FERC policy.” A plan being considered would direct regional transmission operators to buy power from coal and nuclear plants for two years to ensure grid reliability and maximize domestic energy supplies.More: Energy regulators: No grid emergency to justify coal bailoutlast_img read more

UNEP: 638GW of solar capacity installed worldwide in past 10 years

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:Solar PV has seen a “meteoric rise” over the past decade, with more capacity installed than any other power source, according to a new report by BloombergNEF and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).Over the last ten years, 638GW of solar PV was installed globally – a dramatic turn of events for a power source only boasting 25GW at the close of 2009. Solar reaped more capacity investment than any other renewable technology over the decade, at US$1.3 trillion. That’s half of the overall US$2.6 trillion invested in renewables – excluding large hydro – over the same period.Solar’s ascendancy has been accompanied by a “precipitous drop” of the levelised cost of the technology, the report notes. The cost of solar technology has tumbled 81% over ten years, from US$304 to US$57 per MWh.Over the decade, China has sunk US$758 billion into renewables capacity, followed by the US (US$356 billion) and Japan (US$202 billion). Europe has invested US$698 billion in total, with Germany and the UK leading the pack at US$179 billion and US$122 billion respectively.Renewables now account for 26.3% of all electricity produced, or 12.9% if large hydro is excluded.In 2018, solar deployments accounted for more than half of total renewables additions (excluding large-scale hydro), at 108GW of an overall 167GW. The technology also attracted the most investment, at US$133.5 billion. Investment in renewables capacity was roughly three times larger than global investment in coal and gas-fired power in 2018.More: UNEP: Solar the star of a decade of ‘incredible’ renewables momentum UNEP: 638GW of solar capacity installed worldwide in past 10 yearslast_img read more

Utility officials see path to 80% carbon emissions reduction, worry about last 20%

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Thirteen states have set targets for a carbon-free grid by midcentury, if not earlier, to help the world avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But is that possible?With today’s technology, utilities can readily reach 80% reductions in carbon emissions in the next decade, according to an Oct. 14 panel discussion at the Energy Bar Association’s fall conference, held virtually. It’s the remaining 20% that will be hard.Xcel Energy Inc. was one of the first entrants into the carbon-free race. In March 2021, it will file a resource plan with regulators in Colorado — a state enacting sweeping energy reforms to move to carbon-free generation — that will show how it can achieve an 80% carbon reduction by 2030.Xcel executives have said in earnings calls that natural gas must play a role in helping the utility reach carbon-reduction targets in the near-term as it awaits advancements in battery storage, pumped hydropower, advanced nuclear, hydrogen and molten salt technologies that will provide and store carbon-free power. “But really where we sit as a company is, ‘Look, bring it all,’” Alice Jackson, president of Xcel in Colorado, said during the panel discussion. “Because we don’t know which one of these is going to see the cost reductions that we’ve all enjoyed as utilities and our customers have enjoyed,” such as the dramatic fall in the price of solar and wind power.Jason Burwen, vice president of policy for the Energy Storage Association, said, “Project sizes are going higher and higher, and that’s because of the rapidly reducing costs of batteries.” Utilities have so far proposed 18 GW of storage in resource plans, according to the association, as batteries increasingly look like a feasible, cost-effective option for replacing natural gas peaker plants. New York recently announced plans to explore replacing natural gas peaker plants with battery storage systems.George Wayne Jr., vice president for market services for Kinder Morgan Inc., said natural gas has been the “primary source of reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, and that can’t be lost.” But he acknowledged that the industry is seeing unprecedented opposition. Natural gas pipeline infrastructure, though, can be repurposed to deliver hydrogen and renewable fuels, he said. The industry is studying hydrogen’s degrading effect on pipelines. Technologies allow the insertion of plastic into pipelines to prevent them from becoming brittle, but they are currently expensive, he said. Subsidies would help such technologies advance.“Is net zero achievable? I believe it is,” Wayne said. “I mean, it’ll be bumpy, with twists and turns along the way. But I do ultimately believe it is achievable.”[Justin Horwath]More ($): Utilities can reach 80% CO2 reductions, but net-zero will be hard, say officials Utility officials see path to 80% carbon emissions reduction, worry about last 20%last_img read more

The Long Road: Epic Blue Ridge Cycling Rides

first_imgPhoto: Richmond MultisportsPut the fun between your legs. August means cycling season is heating up, so get in gear for the long haul.Tour De Lions Ashland, Va. – August 20Cyclists start in the quaint town of Ashland and pedal through the scenic, gently rolling country roads just north of bustling Richmond in Hanover County. Just right for a variety of levels, the ride includes routes of 30, 50, 75, and 100 miles.tourdelion.webs.comWNC Villainous ViperAsheville, N.C. – September 10Both the century and metric century options of the Villainous Viper climb Town Mountain before a rolling stint on the Blue Ridge Parkway and a screeching descent of Ox Creek Road. Century riders circle the entire city, including a tough final stretch up Cravens Gap before dropping back into town.wncvillainousviper.orgBack Roads CenturyBerryville, Va. – September 18Courses of 100, 65, 50, 30 and 25 miles wind through friendly towns and at times parallel a scenic stretch of the Shenandoah River.  Elevation on each course is relatively moderate, as the full century has approximately 4,500 feet of climbing.backroadscentury.orgBridge to Bridge Incredible ChallengeLenoir, N.C. – September 18If you’re ready to huff it in the High Country, try this lung-busting ride from Lenoir to the top of Grandfather Mountain. Known as one of the toughest cycling rides in the country, the course climbs 10,528 feet—almost all of it in the last 40 miles. Riders move through the Yadkin Valley to some of steepest sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway, before a final brutal ascent to Grandfather’s famous Mile High Swinging Bridge.b2bride.weebly.comHilly HellaciousAsheville, N.C. – September 25In the full century, sadistic cyclists spin their wheels over 8,000 feet of grueling climbs and winding mountain roads around Lake Lure before looping back through the Henderson County countryside. The big killer here is the rigorous ascent of Bearwallow Mountain. A metric century is also offered.hillyhellacious.comSix Gap Century Ride Dahlonega, Ga. – September 25This challenging route takes riders up and down six of the steepest climbs in the North Georgia Mountains, with more than 10,700 feet of vertical climbing over the 100-mile course. The ride’s hardest climb at Hogpen Gap can break the will of even the toughest riders, with sections as steep as 15 percent. A three-gap half ride is also offered.cyclenorthgeorgia.comBeach Century Bike Tour Virginia Beach, Va. – October 1Flat seaside roads and crisply mild temperatures will be what to expect at the Beach Century Bike Tour, which starts in Virginia Beach and winds past the rural marshlands of the Commonwealth’s southeastern coast. This fall ride has 100-, 50-, and 33-mile options.beachcenturytour.com Gran Fondo of the Alleghenies Sheffield, Pa. – October 9Wind through Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest at the height of foliage season. This colorful fall is perfect for cycling newbies looking to build mileage without a ton of elevation gain. The rural ride starting from the small town of Sheffield includes routes of 30, 60, and 100 miles with the longest ride only gaining 3,500 feet.warrenadventures.com First Century TipsFormer pro racer and current cycling coach Ashley Powell of Greensboro, N.C.-based Catup.com Coaching Services offers essential tips to finish your first century.Proper hydration starts days before your rideSeveral days before the event drink consistently, so your urine is light yellow. It shouldn’t be too dark or too clear.Bring fluid in an insulated water bottle or hydration packOtherwise, potentially sweltering Southern temps will turn your drink of choice into hot liquid miles before the next aid station.Wear familiar clothes and gear Your ride day is not the time to break in a new pair of shoes or shorts that can cause unexpected discomfort.You can loosen your shoes   “Some riders think numb feet are just a part of cycling, but they’re not,” says Powell. “Especially in the summer heat, it’s important that feet have proper circulation.”Don’t set lofty goals that will only add stress   Many new riders burn out from trying to maintain an unachievable pace. Knowing your limits comes from experience. “The first time should be about the experience,” says Powell. “It’s fine to have goals, but cycling has too many variables that leave many ambitious new riders disappointed and frustrated.”last_img read more

Trauma Tuesday: Christmas Tree Fail Edition

first_imgThis Christmas tree fail goes out to all the Clark Griswolds out there. Setting up the Christmas centerpiece can be a trying, dangerous experience. And even once you set it up straight, there is always the chance it could come crashing down around you at any moment. Probably the worst possible moment.Happy Christmas Eve!Stay away from the tree.last_img

Once Upon a Time in Bath County

first_imgMake Your Dreams Come True in the County of BathNestled in Virginia’s Western Highlands, the County of Bath is a nature lover’s paradise.  Young backpack couple with hiking poles beautiful panoramic view countrysideYoung backpack couple with hiking poles beautiful panoramic view countrysideThe area offers stunning vistas, over 160 miles of hiking trails, dark starlit skies, clear cold streams, all which allow for a wide range of recreational opportunities. The Omni Homestead Resort AerialExpect to see white tail deer, wild turkey, black bear and other game animals within our vast woodlands.  While we are known for our fly fishing, you can also enjoy hiking, camping, biking as well as a vast array of boating and water sports.  GNPubYou can also enjoy a great round of golf or a quick game of tennis.  In winter there is snowing, tubing and ice skating.  And finally, you can skeet shoot, take a falconry lesson; enjoy bird watching, hunting, and horseback riding.  Or, just sit on the porch and enjoy a good book.last_img read more

Antarctica’s sea ice at record low

first_imgAntarctic ice is at an all-time low this month since the satellite record started in 1979.On March 1, when the ice was last measured there were only 817,800 square miles of ice compared to the former lowest record of 884,200 square miles.Antarctica is just coming off its summer months, January and February, where temperatures can exceed 50º F . In the past, the South Pole’s ice levels have been more stable, unlike the degrading sea ice of the North Pole. Antarctica experienced minimal ice growth this past fall and winter, and that has contributed to the lack of ice coverage. This reduction of ice could have big impacts on global weather patterns and escalate the already warming global temperatures. Scientists believe there to be a correlation between global warming and the falling levels of sea ice in both poles.Read more here.last_img read more

What’s the definition of adventuring?

first_imgSummer at Snowshoe might just be the quintessential definition of adventuring. A chance to increase your vocabulary, as you stockpile new skills and thrills. A place where hiking-boot-mornings turn to bikini-afternoons, fishing flies are chosen as wisely  as swinging clubs, and the thirst for gravity and velocity never goes unquenched. Where a perfectly banked downhill mountain bike line is worshiped as much as a perfectly seared scallop. And where every day is an invitation for more adventure, and more sticky memories. Welcome to summer on the Mountain. Visit us at snowshoemtn.comlast_img

Holiday Shopping with a Purpose

first_imgHoliday Shopping with a PurposeEthical sourcing and direct trade are changing the world. By paying a fair wage and encouraging sustainability, people across the globe are able to take care of their families, pay for their children’s educations, and create a better future for their entire community. If you’re looking to support a coffee brand that prioritizes ethical sourcing and offers a selection of high quality blends, Westrock Coffee Company may be perfect for you. When you purchase coffee or merchandise that fits the lifestyle of your favorite coffee-lovers, you also help to make a difference in the lives of people around the world. Westrock ensures that the farmers who grow Westrock are always paid a fair wage for their beautiful coffee. Westrock is proud to offer a delicious selection of high quality coffee, and for the first time the brand is also offering a line of holiday merchandise.The Coffee Lover: Coffee Gift BoxWestrock’s high quality coffee is a perfect gift for any coffee lover. Whether you’re looking for a bold and smoky dark roast or a honeyed and floral medium roast, you will easily find your perfect blend. The coffee gift box is an easy way to share coffee with your loved one. The gift box includes two bags of delicious coffee and two diner style mugs.Always on the Go: Travel MugThis travel mug is a great gift for a loved one always on the go. No matter if they drink their coffee hot or iced, this insulated 12 oz travel mug will help keep it that way. It’s even insulated on the outside to prevent condensation.The Coffee Connoisseur: Airscape® ContainerThis container will keep coffee fresh for weeks, making it an ideal gift for those who love to take special care of their coffee. Thanks to its patented technology, the lid actively removes and locks out air, making sure the coffee inside stays fresh and flavorful day after day.This 10 oz creamy white ceramic mug features a stamp-like brown Westrock logo on both sides. It is extremely durable, double-walled and dishwasher safe, a thoughtful and practical gift for the everyday coffee drinker.Looking for something stylish and comfortable? This super soft Westrock t-shirt is a perfect gift for someone who likes to dress up some days and dress down on others. These short sleeve shirts are a great way to represent a brand with a great cause.Holiday shopping with a purpose is changing lives, and there is no better time to start shopping with a purpose than the season of giving.last_img read more