Monthly Archives: December 2020

Rise in renewable generation pushes U.K. carbon emissions to record-low levels

first_imgRise in renewable generation pushes U.K. carbon emissions to record-low levels FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:British carbon emissions fell to just 97 grams per kilowatt-hour (kWh) on Sunday June 30, its lowest ever carbon intensity and meeting for the first time ever the UK Committee on Climate Change’s 2030 target of 100 g/kWh for a whole day.This new record – which breaks the previous record of 104 g/kWh set during the country’s last summer – plays into a larger trend which, according to British electrical power generation company Drax, which published the analysis of carbon emissions on Tuesday, is seeing British power stations produce 100 million tonnes less CO2 per year than they were at the start of the decade.June 30 was a big day for the British electricity sector in more ways than one, as it was also the first day ever when more than half of the country’s electricity was supplied by renewable energy sources – with 39% coming from wind energy, 9% from solar, 8% from biomass, and 1% from hydroelectricity.“Britain’s power system is decarbonising at a faster rate than any other country in the world,” said Imperial College London’s Dr Iain Staffell, who worked independently via Imperial Consultants to analyse Drax’s Electric Insights data. “We have spent more than half the summer without a single coal power station turned on, and renewables are breaking new records all the time.“As a result, our power stations are producing 100 million tonnes less CO2 per year than they were just six years ago. The amount of carbon saved is equivalent to taking every single car and van off the UK’s roads, or what would be produced if every single person in the UK flew to Beijing and back.The records are, obviously, all intertwined, as it is the increase in renewable electricity generation which is helping to reduce emissions. Drax, the UK’s biggest renewable power generator, recorded a 52% reduction in its emissions over the first half of 2019 compared to the same period a year earlier, with 94% of the power produced at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire being renewable.More: Britain emissions fall to record low as renewables deliver half of supplylast_img read more

Gas pipeline setbacks pushing U.S. utilities to embrace renewables, analysts say

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Legal challenges halted several major pipeline projects across the U.S. in recent days, underscoring a seismic shift facing the U.S. utility industry: the rise of renewables as a potentially less costly and risky alternative to fossil fuels.Over the weekend Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, two of the country’s biggest utilities, canceled their Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, citing costs that have ballooned to as much as $8 billion and ongoing legal challenges from landowners and environmental groups. The pipeline’s legal challenges include an April federal court decision overturning Nationwide Permit 12, a federal permit authority allowing pipelines to cross waterways and wetlands, which threatens the viability of projects including the massive Keystone XL oil pipeline.Then on Monday the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline to shut down its oil shipments from the North Dakota shale fields by next month for failure to meet federal permitting requirements. The decision is a blow to the Trump administration, which reversed an Obama administration decision to deny the permits.For utilities and energy companies, the mounting challenges to pipeline projects may serve as an incentive to shift from plans to rely on natural gas as a bridge fuel, and toward a less risky role building ratepayer-financed electric infrastructure to serve an increasingly renewable-powered grid, analysts say.“If you look at the last six to seven years, electric utilities were seeking to acquire gas utilities as a hedge against anemic electric load growth,” Rob Rains, analyst at Washington Analysis, said in a Monday interview. Today, “companies like Duke, Southern Company, Dominion, are moving back to electric, in the face of sustained public policy and consumer interest in low-carbon energy.” Beyond public pressure, there may be a growing economic incentive for utilities to shift from natural gas to renewable electricity. “The costs keep dropping” for renewable energy, Rains said. And regulated utilities that earn a guaranteed rate of return on electric infrastructure investments have an interest in expanding that rate base via large-scale projects, he said. In a Sunday statement, the CEOs of Duke and Dominion expressed regret for canceling the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which they said would have brought much-needed reliable and cost-effective energy supplies to their regions. At the same time, both utilities are increasingly looking to renewable energy to supply a significant portion of their future power supplies, both because the states they operate in are increasingly demanding it and because it’s becoming an increasingly more cost-effective alternative.[Jeff St. John]More: As fossil fuel pipelines fall to opposition, utilities see renewable energy as safe bet Gas pipeline setbacks pushing U.S. utilities to embrace renewables, analysts saylast_img read more

Leading investment firms push Texas regulators to crack down on natural gas flaring

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Investors managing more than $2 trillion are calling on Texas regulators to ban the routine burning of natural gas from shale fields, arguing that the energy industry hasn’t moved quickly enough to curb the controversial practice.AllianceBernstein, California State Teachers’ Retirement System and Legal & General Investment Management said they support eliminating gas flaring by 2025, according to a letter to the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees oil and gas in the state. All three investors have been vocal on environmental issues before, but it’s the first time large institutional investors have taken such a public stance to the Texas regulator.“Actions of leading operators demonstrate the financial and technical viability of ending routine flaring,” the fund managers said in the letter, which was seen by Bloomberg. “It is clear, however, that voluntary actions alone have been insufficient to eliminate routine flaring industry-wide.”Investors and environmentalists are increasingly drawing attention to flaring because of its wastefulness and contribution to climate change. Flaring is utilized around the world as a way to deal with gas that producers can’t — or don’t want to — transport or store. Much of what’s burned, especially in the shale fields of Texas, is so-called associated gas coming from oil wells.The sheer abundance of gas in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico means local prices for the fossil fuel are often so low that it’s cheaper for shale operators to burn it rather than pay for pipeline connections and storage. Last year the Permian flared enough gas to supply 5 million U.S. homes, according to Oslo-based Rystad Energy.The Texas Railroad Commission has come under attack for allowing companies to effectively flare at will over the past decade as shale production boomed and helped make the U.S. the world’s top oil producer. The commission allows companies to flare during the start-up of wells and during emergencies. It also issues waivers that can be utilized right through the early and most productive phase of a shale well’s operation. After more than a year of public pressure, the commission recently proposed reducing the amount of flaring time allowed under some waivers and requiring operators to provide information on why they need to flare, but it set no targets and resisted calls for an outright ban. [Kevin Crowley]More: Investment giants urge Texas to end most natural gas flaring Leading investment firms push Texas regulators to crack down on natural gas flaringlast_img read more

Totally 80s

first_imgMany people thrifted, found, and gathered the perfect 80s outfit for a totally tubular throwback weekend on the slopes. Outfits usually included such accessories as neon jackets, leggings and leg warmers, Grateful Dead goggle straps, and wooden skis with bamboo poles. Beech Mountain Resort held their fourth annual Totally 80s Retro Ski Weekend last month on February 20-22. Many people traveled far and wide to partake in a time warp experience like no other. With more than eight fresh inches of snow the week prior and Madonna look-alikes skiing besides you, what more could a shredder want from a weekend on the slopes?Beech Retro WeekendThe resort planned many activities for skiers and snowboarders to partake in over the course of the weekend including live music, contests, and discount prices. The scheduled events started on Friday with Carolina Ghostbusters playing at Fast Eddies. Another retro 80s band, Buick MacKane, played at the Mile High Tavern with a Madonna look-alike contest to close out the night. Events continued with a full day of activities starting on Saturday afternoon with several iconic 80s cars located in the ski village. The Breakfast Club band played at Beech Tree where a totally retro 80s apparel contest took place — the winner would receive $500. The band played from 7:30pm-2am, making this is the largest weekend event that Beech Mountain holds all season. Additionally, to make matters more festive, the resort had specials on lodging, rentals, and food around town which all ended in $0.80.DID YOU KNOW: Beech Mountain Resort is the highest ski area in Eastern America with the peak elevation reaching 5,506 feet. At the peak of the mountain there is a one of a kind amenity that gets its name from the elevation of the resort — 5506’ Skybar. It’s only accessible by taking the longest lift the resort has, and the sky bar offers food, drinks, snacks, and a deck for hanging loose. In the winter it offers a place to defrost and in the summer months it offers a place of relaxation for mountain bikers. The resort has seven total lifts and 16 total trails. They also offer a terrain park for the more gnarly shredders and ice-skating for those that wish to stay off the slopes. A village of several different shops surrounds the ice rink, including the resort’s namesake, Beech Mountain Brewing Co. For a full list of upcoming events hosted by the resort or to plan a last minute trip, visit their website here.last_img read more

Trail Mix – Boo Ray & Sean Brock

first_imgIt was this time last year that I was just getting turned on to the country stylings of Nashville/Athens- based singer/songwriter Boo Ray.Boo is a country fan’s country artist, complete with the monosyllabic Southern forename and songs bound together by chicken wire and sawdust.When he isn’t working on long players of his own, Boo Ray is partnering up with musician pals in the Boocoo Amigos series. So far, Ray has teamed up with Both Lilly Winwood and Elizabeth Cook to record and press three seven inch singles, printed up by the good folks at Kindercore Vinyl.The latest in the Boocoo Amigos series hits the streets tomorrow and has Boo Ray joined by renowned chef Sean Brock.To Ray, it was a no-brainer to get Brock out of the kitchen in his famous Husk restaurants and behind his guitar for the project.“Sean’s a badass guitar player and has a really cool tone and great feel. He’s been back into picking guitar for a year or so now and claims a strong spot in the band with us for a three-guitar attack. Sean plays great rhythm guitar and picking these great triple guitar solos has me hangin’ ten.”This month, Trail Mix features “Saint Misbehavin,” a track co-written by Ray and Brock.“Sean and I wrote this one as a celebration of our tattooist pal Mitchell Atkinson, who has a wild rebel soul and always drove some kind of radical hot rod, dune buggy, jacked up truck, or chopper. We talked about the song having a Jerry Reed and Georgia kind of vibe, since we both knew Mitch from Pain & Wonder Tattoo Studio in Athens and we’re both Jerry Reed fans. There’s just something special about that cultural intersection of hot roads, that ‘red clay’ Georgia guitar sound, and Georgia asphalt, right where you pull up off a dirt road onto the blacktop.”I also wanted to get Sean Brock’s take on the project, so I reached out to him and he was kind enough to take time from his insanely busy schedule of handling some of the country hottest restaurants to tackle some questions on his Appalachian roots, getting into a Nashville studio, and what would make a Boo Ray inspired dish so tasty.BRO – When you think of music from Appalachia, what is the first name that comes to mind?SB – Lesley Riddle, a one-legged African American musician. His relationship with the Carter Family is undeniably responsible for what country music is today, has been, and will continue to be. If you have never heard of him, I highly suggest venturing down that rabbit hole.BRO – Tell me about your guitar.SB – My main guitar that I reach for every time is a Novo Serus J made by Dennis Fano and his incredibly talented team. It’s light as a feather and sounds like an acoustic guitar when it’s unplugged. The neck is like a stick of butter that’s been sitting on the counter for the perfect amount of time.BRO – What got you interested in playing with Boo?SB – As soon as I heard Boo’s lyrics, I knew that we were cut from the same cloth. Not many people are blessed with the sense of humor and wit he was given.BRO – Playing guitar in the studio. Did that have you outside your comfort zone?SB – I don’t think I have ever been more nervous or humbled in my life. Sitting in a studio in Nashville is a place I never thought I would end up. I was so nervous I forgot to eat that day and around 3:30 in the afternoon I started hallucinating a little. I guess that’s how some of the best music has been made, so I’ll take it.BRO – If you were to whip up a dish for Husk called The Boo Ray, what might the secret ingredient be?SB – A spoonful of elixir pulled from the coffee can sitting on the stove full of country ham and bacon drippings. Greasy and groovy as all get out.Plan ahead on a trip to Charleston (SC), Savannah, Nashville, or Greenville (SC) and you can grab some of Sean Brock’s Southern cuisine at one of his four Husk locations.Boo Ray will be at The 5 Spot in Nashville on Tuesday, August 28th, for $2 Tuesday. If you are around, swing by and check out some of the best songwriters in The Music City in what is one of the best showcases in Nashville. For more information on Boo Ray, his tour dates, or how to grab his recordings, check out his website.And make sure you grab your copy of the latest Boocoo Amigos release, featuring Boo Ray and Sean Brock, which drops tomorrow, August 24th. You can take an early listen to “Saint Misbehavin,” along with tracks from Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Kevin Gordon, Beth Snapp, and more on this month’s Trail Mix.last_img read more

Quick Hits: Pink Squirrels

first_imgScientists stumble upon flying squirrel that glows hot pink in UV lightResearchers Allie Kohler and her team at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin were using a UV light to study lichen in a Wisconsin forest when they discovered something else entirely—a hot pink glowing squirrel. The chance observation, made possible with the glow of the UV light, was confirmed when 135 museum specimens of the New World flying squirrel were examined and glowed pink under the UV light. Though scientists don’t know why the squirrels glow pink, they theorize that it could be to help them find—or perhaps impress– each other in the dark. The pink glow may also mimic the plumage of owls, which also omit a similar secret glow, to confuse avian predators. Learn more about Kohler’s research here.Eastern monarch butterfly population rebounded by 144 percent According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the eastern population of monarch butterflies, which breed east of the Rocky Mountains, reached their highest numbers since 2006. The butterflies overwinter in Mexico where scientists from the World Wildlife Fund Mexico estimate the population by measuring the area of trees that have turned orange by the gathering butterflies. The 2019 winter count found the monarchs occupied nearly 15 acres of forest, up from just over six acres in winter 2018—an increase of 144 percent. In the mid-1990s, monarchs covered nearly 52 acres of forest. Those numbers fell to 3 acres in 2014. Scientists estimate that 15 acres is the threshold to be out of the immediate danger zone of migratory collapse. The Fish and Wildlife Service are considering protecting the butterfly under the Endangered Species Act and a final decision will be issued by a court-ordered June deadline.U.S. intelligence officials name climate change as a worldwide threatIn its annual assessment of worldwide threats, the nation’s intelligence community warned that climate change poses risks to global stability. The Worldwide Threat Assessment, released Tuesday, the report stresses that climate change may cause global instability because it is “likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond.” Last Friday, the United Nations Security Council held a discussion to better understand how climate change acts as a “threat multiplier” in countries with vulnerable governance and sparse resources.In addition to climate change, the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment also lists terrorism, cyber crimes, and weapons of mass destruction as a threat to human security.last_img read more

Chilean Naval War College Visits U.S. Southern Command

first_img Students, professors, and administrative personnel from the Chilean Naval War College (Academia de Guerra Naval) visited the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) on 16 August, as part of a 12-day tour of U.S. military and government installations. During their visit to Southern Command headquarters, in Miami, Florida, the more than 40 Chilean military personnel participated in a roundtable discussion moderated by Ambassador Paul Trivelli, USSOUTHCOM civilian deputy commander, who answered questions about the Command’s mission and its relationships with friendly countries in the region. Capt. Guillermo Díaz Avello, director of the Naval War College, located in Valparaíso, Chile, explained that the objective of this visit is to familiarize students with the work done by the Southern Command. “We could say that USSOUTHCOM is involved in an ongoing fight to solve a conflict that affects millions of people. Participation by only one country is not sufficient, and cooperation among all is an essential element,” he commented. The group, which is about to complete the General Staff Course, left Viña del Mar on 7 August and has toured facilities such as Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, as well as the Capitol, the Pentagon, and Arlington National Cemetery, among others. “For our students, it’s very important to get to know all aspects of the U.S. military and the close academic, professional, and operational relationship that exists between us. The students have learned the U.S. vision of its relationship with Chile,” Díaz Avello indicated. The meeting was also attended by Capt. David Cinalli, representing the U.S. Coast Guard, and Capt. Felipe Bravo, who as a Chilean liaison officer at USSOUTHCOM offered his own perspective on the role played by the Command and its ties of collaboration with friendly nations in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. “This visit complements what we’ve learned up to now in the General Staff Course,” affirmed Lt. Cmdr. Hugo Moya, a student at the Chilean Naval War College. “For me, it was impressive to see how the Southern Command has an area of responsibility that encompasses more than you can imagine and that takes into account the principle of democracy. This doesn’t always come through clearly in our countries, since it’s not the same from a distance,” he added. In the last item on its itinerary before departing for Chile, the group will stop in Key West to visit the headquarters of the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S). Under USSOUTHCOM’s direction, JIATF-S works with liaison officers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Spain, and the United Kingdom to combat illicit trafficking. By Dialogo August 18, 2011last_img read more

Mexico Arrests Synthetic Drug Manufacturer Fugitive from U.S. Justice

first_img On February 14, the Mexican Security Secretariat announced the arrest of a producer and distributor of synthetic drugs with ties to the Sinaloa cartel and who is a fugitive from U.S. justice. Jaime Herrera Herrera, alias “el Viejito” [“the Little Old Man”], was arrested on February 13 in Culiacán, in the state of Sinaloa, in the northwestern part of the country. He was identified as “one of the chief producers and distributors of synthetic drugs working for” the cartel led by Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán. “Herrera is a fugitive from the U.S. authorities, since he has a record in several states in relation to his criminal activity,” the secretariat specified in a statement. The secretariat specified that he had been arrested in the neighboring nation in the 1990s, but while free on bond, he escaped to Mexico, where in 2002, “he established his center of operations in Culiacán in order to produce drugs, which he sent by land to Los Angeles, California.” “According to the investigations, he acquired supplies of chemical precursors coming from China and Guatemala in 2008. At that time, he possessed three small planes with which he transported the synthetic drugs” to the United States. Currently, he was using two rural properties near Culiacán to produce methamphetamines, the bulletin added. Another member of his group was arrested along with him, and 147 packages containing a total of more than 200 kilos of methamphetamine were seized. Last week, the Mexican authorities announced a “historic” blow against drug trafficking when they seized more than 15 tons of methamphetamines and substances for manufacturing synthetic drugs in Jalisco, in western Mexico. The discovery took place at the same time that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime warned that the cartels are directing their efforts toward the production of synthetic drugs, since they appear to be a more attractive business than cocaine. Since 2006, 646 laboratories for producing synthetic drugs have been dismantled, and more than 45 tons of methamphetamines have been seized, according to an announcement by the Military in early February. By Dialogo February 16, 2012last_img read more

Alleged Local Operator of Norte del Valle Cartel Captured in Nicaragua

first_imgBy Dialogo August 07, 2012 The Nicaraguan police captured Bismarck Jirón Lira on Aug. 4. Lira is suspected of being an important operator for the Norte del Valle cartel in Colombia, and the police stated that they seized close to $ 1 million he had hidden in a luxurious residence in Managua. Jirón was “the main operator in Nicaragua for this cell”, stated the Nicaraguan police spokesman, Fernando Borge to AFP. Thirty-nine-year-old Jirón, was also wanted by the International Police (Interpol) and was detained in his vehicle while with his girlfriend, Ana Ponce, after a police chase in Las Sierritas de Santo Domingo, a residential area in the southern outskirts of the Nicaraguan capital. The suspect was wanted by Interpol since 2011, and operated the logistical support base for the Norte del Valle cartel in Nicaragua. After his arrest, the antinarcotics agents searched his residence in Las Sierritas, where they seized $901,770, according to Borge. They also seized six checkbooks, three vehicles, a building and three firearms, indicated the statement issued by the police hours later. The note stated that Jirón would send narcotics through the Pacific Rim of Nicaragua to alleged drug trafficker Javier Cachiro, who supplies the Mexican cartels. Jirón’s network was in charge of obtaining vehicles and houses to stash the narcotics and to offer resting locations for the criminals, as well as providing boats, communications and other equipment to the members of the cell, stated Borge. The alleged drug trafficker was captured in the framework of Operation “Cumbre” which the Nicaraguan police is implementing in tribute to the 33rd anniversary of its founding. Within the past year, the Nicaraguan police have detained more than 20 alleged local drug traffickers who served as support to international cartels operating in the Pacific and Caribbean regions of Nicaragua.last_img read more

Powerful Opening for the Start of the Colombian Peace Process

first_imgBy Dialogo October 22, 2012 The Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas showed a harsh – and sometimes tense – tone at the start of the peace process on October 18. However, both parties highlighted their will to achieve an agreement to put an end to almost half a century of armed conflict, according to analysts. Gathered for the formal ceremony to begin peace talks at a hotel north of Oslo, where they announced that they will carry out negotiations in Cuba starting on November 15, both sides adopted a distant attitude, without exchanging looks or handshakes. “Each party has clearly established their starting point. For the FARC, peace will not be possible without social changes, while the government insisted that armed conflict should be changed into political combat in a democratic scenario,” political scientist Jaime Zuluaga from the Colombian National University, told AFP. While Iván Márquez, chief of the guerrilla delegation, stated in his speech that “peace is not equivalent to the silence of rifles, but it encompasses the transformation of the State structure,” government delegate Humberto De la Calle recognized that “ending the conflict is the precursor to peace.” Beyond that coincidence, however, strong contradictions that threaten to accentuate Colombia’s divisions surfaced; throughout half a century, the armed conflict has left hundreds of thousands dead, and 3.7 million people displaced by violence. “I would like to reiterate that talks will not be centered on an economic development model, or foreign investment. For that to happen, the FARC must disarm, get involved in politics, and win elections,” said De la Calle after Márquez’ speech, where he questioned the presence of multinational companies in Colombia and referred to them as “vampires.” Nevertheless, other sensitive matters that go beyond the peace talks came up. “We have not committed crimes against the people,” declared Iván Márquez, number two in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. “The FARC should identify their victims,” responded De la Calle, who was Colombian vice-president between 1994 and 1996.last_img read more