Governor’s Politics Are Interfering With an Already Slow Recovery in Puerto Rico FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:The outlook for the restoration of Puerto Rico’s ravaged power grid took a backward step after Gov. Ricardo Rosselló hinted he would challenge the appointment of an emergency manager for grid recovery that was announced Wednesday by the bankrupt island’s federal oversight board.The Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board, which Congress established to oversee the U.S. territory’s fiscal crisis, had moved to wrest control of the halting grid recovery efforts away from the island’s utility, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), which reports to Rosselló.But in a combative statement following that announcement Wednesday, Rosselló asserted that the management of Puerto Rico’s public companies “rests exclusively on democratically elected officials,” potentially setting the stage for a legal tussle over the utility’s future.The board picked its revitalization coordinator, Noel Zamot, a retired Air Force colonel and native Puerto Rican, to serve as “chief transformation officer” for emergency power restoration and future, undefined efforts to build a more modern, resilient power network on the island.If the governor takes the issue to court, it will set up conflict with the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), enacted by Congress in June 2016.If the governor battles the federal oversight board’s choice for new leadership at PREPA, it will get no support from PREPA’s electricity workers’ union, the Unión de Trabajadores de la Industria Eléctrica y Riego (UTIER).The head of the union, Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, said in an email that federal overseers are legally able to unseat PREPA’s board and its CEO. “This action by [PROMESA] confirms UTIER’s denunciations of the bad management, corruption and incompetence of the management and of Ricardo Ramos during the emergency occasioned by Hurricane Maria,” Jaramillo wrote.Tom Sanzillo, finance director for the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis in Puerto Rico, a business and environmental advocacy group, said “I think the board’s authority to do this [appoint Zamot] is pretty explicit.”The PROMESA legislation gave the oversight board authority to oversee Puerto Rico’s “public agencies,” which would define PREPA.Rosselló needs to see the oversight board as his partner, not his opponent, Sanzillo added.“There are times when a governor has to draw a line” with Washington, said Sanzillo, former acting comptroller of the state of New York. “But this is a fight over something that screams out for oversight. He’s trying to defend a system that has produced one bad contract and one bad decision after another. He’s just wrong.”More: Tensions build over control of Puerto Rico utility
First offshore wind tender in India coming soon, official says FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge News:India is due to announce its first offshore wind tender for a 1GW flagship project off Gujarat in October or November, a senior energy official in the state tells Recharge.The Solar Energy Corporation of India, a state-owned company under the auspices of the national Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has been tasked with releasing the auction plan, which follows an expressions of interest process in June.Raj Gopal, the principal secretary in Gujarat’s energy department, told Recharge that the government has no finishing timeline set for the 1GW development. “In the end, it depends on the progress of the tender,” he said.Gujarat’s 1GW offshore wind project serves as India’s opening gambit in its bid to install 5GW of offshore wind by 2022 and 30GW by 2030, with total wind capacity targets set at 60GW and 140GW by those dates.Since the ambitious plan was announced in December, it has triggered both excitement and scepticism globally. “I would consider it an achievement if the 1GW (Gujarat project) could be built,” said Steve Sawyer, secretary-general of the Global Wind Energy Council, citing the country’s lack of infrastructure as a clear challenge.India’s wind power price, Gopal said, is another key stumbling block for the country’s offshore wind ambition. Wind power prices in India have been subject to competitive bidding since 2017. The most recent wind power bid in Gujarat state came in at a price of 2,650 rupees ($36.50) per MWh.More: India’s first 1GW offshore wind tender to be announced shortly
Australian utility exec: Baseload power era is over FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:[Australia’s] Origin Energy says the cost of wind and solar farms has fallen so far it is now cheaper than the marginal cost of coal generation, and the company is moving on from the concept of “24/7 base-load”.The assessment was made by Greg Jarvis, the company’s head of energy trading and operations, in an interview for Renew Economy’s popular Energy Insiders podcast, published on Tuesday.“I have been in this game for so long … the one thing I have seen is just the cost of renewables really change the game,” Jarvis says. “It is amazing what we have been seeing. Renewables are cheaper than the marginal cost of black coal at the moment. They are very cheap.”Jarvis puts the cost of solar in the mid $40s/MWh and the cost of wind at the low $50s/MWh. That cost of solar is around half the average price of wholesale electricity in most states this year. And with the falling cost of storage – this is likely to enable “firm” renewables to emerge as a serious contender to existing fossil fuel plants.Jarvis also made it clear that Origin Energy has moved on from thinking about new generation in terms of “base-load”, which stands in sharp contrast to current government thinking and the conservative commentariat. Asked if Origin Energy had moved beyond the idea – promoted by the federal government and many in mainstream media – that reliability depended on 24/7 base-load power, Jarvis said: “Oh, a long time ago. The idea of base-load power stations is well and truly gone.”He cited Origin’s recent investment in its last coal fire generator Eraring, and its efforts to make it more flexible so it can power down in the middle of the day so Origin can focus on cheap renewables, before turning up the power at peak times.More: Origin says solar cheaper than coal, moving on from base-load
Technology firms driving sharp rise in renewable energy demand in Virginia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Technology firms are buying more than half the solar-generated electricity produced in Virginia, and a state official expects the industry to drive increasing demand for clean energy resources.Virginia has 512 MW of operating solar capacity, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, with more than double that amount, 1,324 MW, including planned projects, under contract to parties such as corporate buyers, universities and utilities seeking to combat climate change. Microsoft Corp., Amazon Web Services Inc., and Facebook Inc. have collectively purchased 700 MW.Stephen Moret, president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, which secured a deal for Amazon.com Inc.’s second national headquarters in Arlington County, Va., eyes exponential growth of renewable demand given capital investments from the tech sector.Referring to past investments in data centers in Virginia by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Facebook, Moret said a convergence of state policy support and an increasing presence in the state from leading tech firms will drive growth in demand for renewables. “I think it is going to accelerate and be much, much bigger going forward,” he said.“I think it is probably fair to say that the major data center players have represented the biggest single private-sector catalyst for accelerating demand for renewable energy,” Moret added. Outside data centers, Moret also expects job growth in the coming years from cloud computing, automation, software engineering and development, cybersecurity, machine learning, and technology equipment manufacturers.Technology firms have sought wind and solar power to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations. On Dec. 3, for example, Amazon Web Services announced investments in two solar projects including an 80-MW project in Northern Virginia and 100-MW project in Lee County, Ill. AWS’ goal is to use 100% renewable energy by 2030, with an interim goal of 80% by 2024. It previously contracted for 305 MW in Virginia from a combination of the Whitehorn Solar Project planned by Engie SA in Pittsylvania County and six projects in various locations owned by Dominion Energy Inc.[Stephanie Tsao]More ($): Technology companies push for more renewables in Virginia
SUP the PotomacIf you haven’t been living in a cave or a pineapple under the sea this summer, you have surely heard of the newest outdoor craze sweeping the outdoor nation: standup paddleboarding, affectionately known as SUP. As with most nation sweeping crazes, this one has wide appeal to everyone from new-agers to grandma to adrenaline junkies. What was once a pleasant way to paddle around a pond has become a platform for a diverse set of activities including yoga, surfing, whitewater, and endurance training. The combination of water, bathing suits, and a full body workout have made SUP the sexiest water sport since the wet t-shirt contest. But don’t be intimidated, the inner beauty of this sport is its accessibility. Even the most inexperienced paddler can scoot around on flat water with ease. With summer officially coming to an end this week, now is the time to give it a try. Hurricane Isaac will keep warm and humid weather in town for a few more days, so get on this trend now and next summer you’ll be ahead of the curve.If George Washington crossed the Potomac in this day and age, I’m sure he would SUP it because if we know one thing about our first President, he was always on top of what was new and cool, i.e. democracy. There is no better way to explore our nation’s capital than by SUP. Check out Paddle DC or Potomac Paddlesports for river, rental and lesson information.BONUS: Be sure to check out the Nation’s Triathlon while you’re in townView Larger Map
The Natural Resources Defense Council launched its BioGems Initiative in an effort to safeguard special places that face an imminent threat of destruction, from pristine coastlines to ancient forests to unspoiled habitats and the wildlife that thrive in them. Pictured: a Yellowstone Buffalo in winter. Photo cred: Ingram Publishing/ThinkstockEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: I heard of an effort to save what are being called “BioGems.” What are BioGems and what is being done about them? — Larry Dibner, Tallahassee, FL“BioGems,” a term created by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), describe the most endangered natural treasures around the Americas. NRDC selects special places in our hemisphere that face an imminent threat of destruction, from pristine coastlines that could become industrial ports to ancient forests that could be stripped of trees to unspoiled wildlife habitats that could be sacrificed to oil and gas drilling. “Our imperiled BioGems are irreplaceable remnants of wilderness that curb global warming, preserve biodiversity and provide sanctuary for rare and extraordinary wildlife, from threatened polar bears to endangered gray whales,” reports NRDC.NRDC launched its BioGems Initiative back in 2001 as a way to harness the power of online citizen activism to help save threatened lands. The group mobilizes its 1.3 million members and online activists “to bring overwhelming pressure to bear on governments and companies bent on industrializing the world’s last wild places.”Never afraid of a little attention, NRDC has enlisted the help of several celebrity partners in championing the cause of saving the BioGems. Robert Redford is spearheading NRDC’s campaign to keep the Polar Bear Seas safe from oil drilling, while Pierce Brosnan is leading the charge to try to bring an end to the commercial slaughter of whales. The group has also brought the star power of Leonardo Di Caprio, Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Seth Myers, Jason Mraz and others to bear for the sake of saving BioGems.“Together, BioGems Defenders and our local partners on the ground have scored dozens of historic victories for the environment, proving that individuals can be a powerful force for conservation,” reports NRDC. Some of the campaign’s recent successes include: helping to persuade Iceland to call off its fin whale hunt for the second year in a row; protecting the last 340 beluga whales of Alaska’s Cook Inlet through filing a lawsuit; helping secure a breakthrough agreement for wild buffalo that allows them to roam outside Yellowstone National Park during the harsh winter months; and winning in court over trophy hunters keen on stripping the polar bear from its endangered status.Currently NRDC is focusing on a half dozen primary BioGems campaigns: keeping Shell out of the American Arctic (unfortunately the company’s drills just went in); stopping Big Oil’s attack on whales in Alaska’s Cook Inlet and up and down the Atlantic seaboard; stopping the pipeline from Alberta’s tar sands to Texas refineries (Obama has kyboshed the pipeline for now); stopping the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska; and saving British Columbia’s Spirit Bear coast.Individuals can get involved by customizing and sending pre-written e-mail messages to decision makers who are key to the particular locales in need of protection. NRDC will also gladly take donations of any size toward the BioGem campaign of the giver’s choosing. Of course, telling your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members what you have learned about the potential despoliation of natural treasures, many in our own backyard, is also a big help.CONTACT: NRDC BioGems, www.savebiogems.org.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
In this weekly round up of outdoor adventure videos from across the inter-webs, you’ll find out why a young man with a good job and a steady paycheck decided to drop everything and ride his bike from Oregon to Patagonia. There’s also a cameo appearance by group of cave divers and an intriguing tale of high water and rough rapids on the Youghiogheny River. Enjoy!Oregon to Patagonia, “Jed’s radical choice to quit his job and ride his bike across the world is a perfect challenge to the rest of us to get out of the routine and make some scary decisions.” “John Regan had his hiking boots in the back of his boat. He knew, with the Upper Yough at seven feet, surging and pulsing over rocks instead of around them, he’d spend as much time walking as he would boating that day.”“The Dolinsjö Cave is a an underwater cave system that was discovered in 1979. Expedition Bjurälven is an annual expedition, exploring the depths of the cave. So far, the expedition has reached 1.7 kilometres into the cave, but noone knows how far it stretches.”
A young deer and a rabbit were recently caught on camera getting to know each other in front of a YMCA in Estes Park, Colorado. If this doesn’t help push you over Hump Day into the the downward slope toward the weekend, nothing will.
“I want to go out and enjoy my life, and I hope people can understand that how they should live their own life: just be happy with what your doing. We have one chance out here. For me, it’s just about having fun,” said Karl Meltzer, the winningest 100 mile runner of all time.Meltzer, known as the Speedgoat, has made his life one of passion and exploration. He moved to Utah at the age of 19 to pursue his love of skiing, working as a bus boy at a ski resort so he could ski all day and work in the evenings. Skiing more than 100 days a year for eight years, Meltzer considered himself a ski bum. The snowless summers left the young Meltzer with nothing but hundreds of miles of beautiful high-altitude trails, which he started to explore by foot. Being a ski bum soon transitioned to being a running bum.“It slowly turned from just running to running farther distances until one of my friends said I should run the Wasatch 100, and I was like no freaking way am I running that far,” said Meltzer. “I ended up entering, I finished, but most people when they finish their first 100-miler are like, ‘I’m never doing this again.’ But three days later I was like ‘Where do I sign up?’”Meltzer finished 27th his first year. The year after that, he finished 7th. The third time, he won and set the course record. That is when Meltzer realized his potential.Last year, two decades after completing his first ultramarathon, the 49-year-old Meltzer set the speed record—or fastest known time (FKT)—on the 2,189 mile Appalachian Trail in 45 days 22 hours and 38 minutes. He ran south from Maine to Georgia just 10 hours quicker than the previous record set by Scott Jurek in 2015.However, this wasn’t his first attempt at the speed record of the AT. In 2008, Meltzer made an attempt simply by looking at maps and doing little to no research and finished in 54 days becoming the fourth fastest to complete the trail. He again attempted the FKT in 2014, this time doing much more recon, driving the entire AT with his wife in 2013, despite his research, his crew chief managed to miss him several times.“There is something about the AT that draws me back. If I was able to come to Southeast every summer and train, I would. I just love it. Out west in Utah, where I live, I have great trails, I have great mountains. It’s killer. But something about this trail draws me back. It’s got a good vibe to it,” Meltzer said.In the spring of 2016, Meltzer and one of his main sponsors, Red Bull, decided to send a film crew along with him this time around to document the chase.“When we decided to do this documentary, we agreed the film crew could not get in the way, like pull me aside and say, ‘Hey let’s do an interview for 10 minutes.’ That would impede on the record attempt. It was really about the record, not the film,” Meltzer said.He failed twice on previous A.T. speed record attempts, but he had learned from his previous mistakes, and he was confident that he could break the record. Beforehand, he drove the roads near the A.T. and marked out on a map each place his crew was to meet him. His crew was led by his father and his crew chief Eric Belz.Meltzer even did a practice run earlier in the summer, covering the first six days of the Maine section of the trail as a rehearsal. “It was just about getting the crew practice so they can find me. It’s not as simple as dropping a pin and coming to me. GPS doesn’t work everywhere,” Meltzer said.Meltzer got started with his adventure in late August, starting at Mount Katahdin in Maine and running nearly 60 miles in the first day.Meltzer said Maine might be his favorite state along the A.T. because it’s like running through a tunnel of green. “You come up on these amazing views and are then submerged back into the thick lush forest.”“The hardest state for me was probably Pennsylvania,” said Meltzer. “It’s rocky, it’s hotter, and the trail isn’t as good. That week while I was in Pennsylvania was when my shins were really bothering me, so I was going through this rocky nasty terrain with an injury basically. That was really hard.”Meltzer’s days consisted of running, eating, and sleeping. On average, he ran for 14 hours per day, usually hitting the trail by 5 a.m. and finishing between 7 and 9 p.m. He maintained a pace of around 3.4 mph. Then he would sleep in the crews van for 8 hours and repeat it all the next day.“It goes back to the crew being efficient with having meals ready for me when I arrived. I was usually in bed within half an hour of getting to the van. My focus was to sleep. Every morning when I got out I was like, ‘Alright when am I going to be done so I can sleep again.’Completing these long adventures has given Meltzer a new perspective on what “distance running” is.“You build this amazing base, all these miles, and what sticks in your head is that 100 miles is not that far,” said Meltzer, while his wife laughed at him. “Go run the AT as fast as you can, and then 100 miles is nothing. I mean sure it hurts while you’re out there, but after a few days, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.”Watch the full documentary Made to be Broken which follows Meltzer’s record setting run here.
There were zero male loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings found at test beaches on Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, according to a study by Dr. Jeanette Wyneken, a biological sciences professor at Florida Atlantic University.The phenomenon is similar across other sea turtle species in the state as well. Leatherbacks and green sea turtles are also predominantly female.The majority of sea turtles born along the coast of Florida have been female for over a dozen years, according to the report published in USA Today this week. This strange finding could be linked to climate change.Unlike humans, a sea turtle’s gender is determined by the temperature of the sand around the eggs; and warmer sand typically means the hatchlings will be female. Therefore, hotter temperatures means less males.What’s more, is that this problem has been observed in states up north as well. In fact, Wyneken found more males located in Florida than in the states up north.This female phenomenon has been observed by researchers in Australia, too. In a recent study, scientists found that in a major nesting area 99.1 percent of juvenile sea turtles and 86.8 percent of the entire population were female.Climate change could also be responsible for the decrease in how many hatchlings are able to make to emerge from their nests. This is because the hot, dry sand makes the belaboring process much more difficult.While Wyneken reported that shading or watering turtles’ nests is a favorable short term solution, she told USA Today that “we’ve got to keep the world from getting hotter.”