Australian Financial Review: Potential ‘Beginning of End’ for Victoria Coal Industry

first_imgAustralian Financial Review: Potential ‘Beginning of End’ for Victoria Coal Industry FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Ben Potter for the Australian Financial Review:French energy giant Engie is considering closing Hazelwood power station in a move that could signal the beginning of the end for the cheap brown coal power that helped build Victoria’s post-World War 2 industry.  Luke van der Meulen, president of the Morwell branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, said closure would be devastating and called on the Victorian and federal governments to step in with a plan to diversify the La Trobe Valley economy away from coal.“If it’s left up to the market we are buggered,” Mr van der Meulen said.It confirms the shift away from coal in the NEM, but Mr Mountain said about 3500 megawatts of coal fired power had already been removed from the NEM in the past three years with no impact on emissions. Neither would Hazelwood’s closure have much impact on Victoria’s NEM prices, given the 7000 megawatts of surplus NEM capacity, he said. Hazelwood was sold to Britain’s International Power for $2.35 billion in 1996 and is now owned 72 per cent by Engie and 28 per cent by Japan’s Mitsui.Engie extended Hazelwood a $652 million lifeline in 2012 but the plant may be worth next to nothing now. It makes about $100 million a year before interest and tax, but is 47 years old and site remediation and other closure costs could easily wipe out any value, said Tim King of the anti-coal Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.Full article: Hazelwood closure could mark beginning of end for Victoria’s brown coallast_img read more

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Statoil Sees Growth Potential in Offshore Wind

first_imgStatoil Sees Growth Potential in Offshore Wind FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:LONDON/OSLO—Statoil is working with its partner SSE to develop the Dogger Bank offshore wind project so it can take part in Britain’s renewable energy subsidy auction in 2019, the company said on Friday.The planned 4.8-gigawatt (GW) Dogger Bank project, which has approval from the British authorities, is set to become the world’s largest offshore wind park and could deliver more than five percent of Britain’s electricity needs, Statoil Executive Vice President Irene Rummelhoff said in London.Statoil has a 50 percent stake in the partnership developing 3.6 GW of the approved capacity at Dogger Bank. “The strategic importance of that project to the UK and Statoil can not be overestimated,” Rummelhoff said.The Norwegian oil and gas firm says it plans to spend up to 15-20 percent of capital spending on “new energy solutions” by 2030, as part of its effort to become a “broad energy” company.Last year, Statoil built the world’s first floating offshore wind park off Scotland, using in-house technology. Its plans also include developing a 1.5-GW offshore wind park in the United States outside New York. “We see growing potential for floating (wind projects),” Rummelhoff said. “We expect about 13 GW floating offshore wind to be installed by 2030. On a global basis, we hope to take a fair share of that.”More: Statoil Eyes Britain’s 2019 Renewable Subsidy Auction For Dogger Banklast_img read more

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New Mexico regulators approve 2,200MW wind project

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):New Mexico utility regulators on Oct. 3 agreed to issue a permit for construction for Pattern Energy Group Inc.’s ambitious plan to install 2,200 MW of wind energy capacity across more than 300,000 acres in the east-central part of the state.The state Public Regulation Commission approved the Corona Wind Projects consisting of up to 950 wind turbines and about 80 miles of 345-kV transmission lines that Pattern Energy subsidiaries propose to install across three counties.The projects would tie-in to SunZia Transmission’s proposed 520-mile SunZia Southwest Transmission Project at the proposed SunZia East substation near Corona, N.M. The PRC denied approval of SunZia on Sept. 5, deciding it did not have enough information to approve the two 500-kV lines across 320 miles in New Mexico, although the Arizona Corporation Commission in early 2016 approved a permit for the 200-mile stretch that would cross the southeastern portion of that state. Pattern Energy Group LP, known as Pattern Development and a privately held affiliate of publicly traded Pattern Energy Group Inc., is the transmission project’s anchor tenant.However, the New Mexico regulators rejected the transmission line without prejudice, meaning SunZia can submit a new application, which the developer has said it plans to do. SouthWestern Power Group II LLC is the major partner in the project. MMR Group Inc. is SouthWestern’s parent company.The SunZia project would be the main path for transmission of energy from the Corona projects, with the aim of selling the power to Arizona, California and possibly Utah. PRC Hearing Examiner Anthony Medeiros on Sept. 26 told the commissioners in a recommended decision that the status of the SunZia project has no bearing legally on whether the commission should approve the wind projects because the developers do not have to show they have a means to deliver their power.Pattern Energy is developing the wind projects at its own risk, Medeiros said, and the permit to construct can be issued based entirely on whether environmental and land use requirements have been met and whether the plans for the project are of sufficient detail to meet state statutory requirements. Unlike the commission’s conclusion on the transmission project plans, Medeiros said the wind project plans meet the state requirements, and he recommended approval, subject to 26 conditions including compliance with air and water pollution controls and bird protection measures.More ($): New Mexico approves plans for 2,200 MW of wind capacity New Mexico regulators approve 2,200MW wind projectlast_img read more

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Mining firm BHP says its Australian, Chilean power tenders could be a ‘game changer’

first_imgMining firm BHP says its Australian, Chilean power tenders could be a ‘game changer’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Mining giant BHP has put its electricity contracts for its operations on Australia’s main grid and in Chile out to tender, and expects that offers including renewable energy could present the cheapest and most efficient options.BHP consumes about 6 terawatt-hours in Chile, around seven per cent of that country’s annual electricity demand, and it has a 300MW requirement for the operations on Australia’s National Electricity Market, including for the power-hungry operations at Olympic Dam in South Australia.“We are in market in both Chile and Australia for significant amounts of energy,” the head of low emissions technology at BHP, Kirsten Rose, said at the Energy and Mines conference in Perth this week.“The ability to use BHP’s purchasing power in this way is significant…these are technology agnostic tenders by the way, but we encourage innovation and to bring value to the table. We are really interested to see what happens, but we fully expect there will be a significant renewable component to that…and that for us could be game changing.”Recent tenders held by corporates and utilities have underlined the cheaper cost of wind and solar, including the cost of “firming” to ensure consistent supply.Rose says the BHP tender would evaluate cost, reliability and emissions, but she notes that for the first time BHP is putting a strong emphasis on the carbon content of its electricity supply contracts. “We are certainly turning the evaluation on its head from what we have done in the past.”More: BHP energy tender could deliver “game changing” shift to renewableslast_img read more

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Appalachian shale producer EQT Corp. may take $1.8 billion fourth quarter charge

first_imgAppalachian shale producer EQT Corp. may take $1.8 billion fourth quarter charge FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Natural Gas Intelligence:EQT Corp. said in a regulatory filing on Monday it may incur a steep one-time impairment of up to $1.8 billion for the fourth quarter due to a new development plan and low natural gas prices.Under a new management team that took over last July, the nation’s largest natural gas producer is aiming to aggressively cut debt and realign operations to boost performance and value. Management has outlined plans to cut debt by $1.5 billion by mid-2020, which it expects to achieve with a mix of initiatives, including asset sales.The monetization, along with a decrease in the value of its reserves and the writedown of unproven properties no longer in the development plan, is likely to result in a 4Q2019 impairment of $1.4-1.8 billion, the company said in a Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The figure could change as year-end results are finalized.Fourth quarter production is expected to average 370-375 Bcfe, or toward the high-end of previously announced guidance, according to preliminary estimates. The company produced 394 Bcfe in the year-ago period and 381 Bcfe in 3Q2019. It is guiding for 1.45-1.50 Tcfe of production this year, roughly flat to 2019 levels.Averaged realized prices are also expected to average $2.51-2.56/Mcfe in 4Q2019, or below the 4Q2018 average of $3.13/Mcfe.EQT also said Monday it would offer two new series of fixed rate senior notes. Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the company following Monday’s filing.[Jamison Cocklin]More: Appalachian heavyweight EQT warns of $1B-plus impairment for fourth quarterlast_img read more

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New Australian study, same old conclusion: Renewables are cheaper than gas, coal

first_imgNew Australian study, same old conclusion: Renewables are cheaper than gas, coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:An updated study on current and future generation costs by the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator confirms that wind, solar and storage technologies are by far the cheapest form of low carbon options for Australia, and are likely to dominate the global energy mix in coming decades.The first report, GenCost 2018, identified that wind and solar were by far the cheapest forms of new generation technologies, clearly cheaper than coal, and even when combined with storage, remained easily the cheapest form low carbon electricity options.A draft of the updated study, GenCost 2019-20, has been quietly posted on the AEMO website and confirms that wind and solar and storage remain the cheapest technologies, now and into the future, and much cheaper than the technologies promoted by the Australian government – gas, carbon capture, and nuclear.Its capital cost estimates – which assume continue cost reductions for solar, wind and dramatic falls for batteries, remain little changed from the 2018 version, although wind cost reductions are lower than expected last year.And despite ferocious criticism by the nuclear lobby, its estimates for nuclear remain unchanged, largely because it says there have been no technology advances since the last report. It does recognise the potential for small nuclear reactors in certain scenarios, but these are heavily qualified: they are at least a decade away, and would still deliver a levelised cost of energy at least twice that of wind and solar and storage.“The global generation mix is expected to be dominated by wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) by 2050 in all three scenarios explored in this report: Central, High CRE and Diverse technology,” the report says.[Giles Parkinson]More: New CSIRO, AEMO study confirms wind, solar and storage beat coal, gas and nuclearlast_img read more

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Electricity usage fall-off indicates serious recession

first_imgElectricity usage fall-off indicates serious recession FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享New York Times:New data on electricity use in the past three weeks suggest a sharp decline in U.S. economic activity on par with that of the Great Recession. It may already be the deepest downturn since the Great Depression; it is certainly the fastest.These numbers are important because our official statistics can’t keep pace with the abrupt economic changes the coronavirus shutdown has caused. All those closed stores, silenced factories and darkened office buildings are yet to be counted in the government’s official economic numbers, which take months to collect, process and report.But evidence of the sharp economic shift shows up in a large and rapid decline in electricity usage over recent weeks.The numbers come from a new electricity-based measure that Steve Cicala, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, has devised to track the state of the economy and how it changes from day to day. The idea of tracking electricity usage, he says, follows from the observation that most economic activity requires electricity.Mr. Cicala’s results conform with a similar analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and from reports by regional electricity providers. “In terms of this scale of event, I don’t think we’ve had in recent history anything like this hit the grid,” said April Lee, an analyst at the E.I.A.Mr. Cicala said his indicator was useful in times of rapid economic change, adding, “While this isn’t a perfect measure, it certainly helps with filling in the gap so that we can get the most complete picture.”[Quoctrung Bui, Justin Wolfers]More: Another Way to See the Recession: Power Usage Is Way Downlast_img read more

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First floating offshore wind project off Wales moves step closer to development

first_imgFirst floating offshore wind project off Wales moves step closer to development FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Business Green:Wales’ first floating wind project took a major step forward this week, after the Crown Estate awarded seabed rights to developers to build the 96MW demonstration project in the Celtic Sea.If final planning consent is granted, the Erebus project would be installed approximately 44km from the shore and will allow developer Blue Gem Wind – a joint venture between French oil giant Total and developer Simply Blue Energy – to trial floating wind technology in water depths of 70 metres.“Welsh waters are home to a thriving offshore wind industry and as this continues to evolve and mature, innovation will be vital to unlocking a sustainable pipeline of new capacity over the longer term,” head of energy development at the Crown Estate Will Apps said. “With an increasingly busy marine environment, we need to explore new technologies in more diverse and technically challenging areas which is why we are delighted to see the Erebus project take this important step.”Floating wind technology does not rely on traditional fixed foundations and allows wind projects to be installed in deeper waters where wind yields are higher. While in its infancy today, the technology is anticipated to grow rapidly over the decades to come and play a steering role in helping the UK deliver 75GW of offshore wind by mid-century, a target set by government climate advisors the Committee on Climate Change. Research centre Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult estimates that the Celtic Sea alone could support up to 50GW of offshore capacity, while supporting thousands of jobs in Wales and southwest England.The leasing deal is one of a number of offshore wind milestones recently marked in Wales by the Crown Estate. Last month, it granted seabed rights for a 106-square kilometre extension to the Gwynt y Mor offshore wind farm off the coast of North Wales. The extension, if consented, will add 576MW of capacity to one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms. And last year, the Crown Estate included the Northern Wales and Irish Sea Bidding Area in the first UK offshore wind leasing round held in a decade. Projects picked in Offshore Leasing Round 4 could be operational by 2030, it said, with projects set to be identified later this year through a competitive tender process.[Cecilia Keating]More: Wales’ maiden floating offshore wind project secures seabed rightslast_img read more

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25 Years of Widespread Panic

first_imgDixie Jam: Widespread Panic starts a huge fall tour in the South this month.In the early ‘80s, Widespread Panic was born at the University of Georgia out of the casual dorm room jams of lead singer John Bell and lead guitarist Michael Houser. After becoming a popular fixture in Athens’ reputed independent music scene, the band gradually spread its dynamic brand of psychedelic Southern groove rock to huge audiences across the country. Now it’s been 25 years since the band’s first official show in 1986, and along the way the group has endured its share of triumphant highs and devastating lows. The Dixie jamband’s road-warrior diligence built a loyal fan following that led to sellouts of monumental venues like Red Rocks Amphitheater and Madison Square Garden, as well as a free blowout concert in the streets of Athens that attracted 100,000 people back in 1998. There has also been evolution through adversity, specifically when the band lost Houser to cancer in 2002.After two and a half decades, the band—which now includes Bell (lead vocals and guitar), John Herman (keyboards), Jimmy Herring (lead guitar), Todd Nance (drums), Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz (percussion), and Dave Schools (bass)—is planning an indefinite hiatus to start in the early part of next year. But before the extended break, Panic is celebrating its anniversary with a tenacious touring schedule that includes a huge run through the South this fall and a New Year’s Eve show in Charlotte. Bell chatted with BRO about the band’s biggest moments and his upcoming time off.After 25 years, can you pinpoint a pinnacle moment for Widespread Panic?The first time Mike and I were playing together, and we realized something special and different was going on. That has to be the pinnacle moment, because it led to everything that has come since. Playing venues like Red Rocks and the streets of Athens were really big things, but they happened because of bigger things like knowing we were a band that needed to stay together.Through trials and triumph, what’s been the key to keeping the band vital for so long?It sounds trite, but we always remember to have fun with it. We just keep writing new music and try not to be too serious—just serious enough to keep our jobs.The band recently reconnected with Athens with two big shows to start the year, and the recording of your latest album, Dirty Side Down. Why was the town a great starting point for your band and many others?It’s a great starting point for a lot of bands, because it’s a college town with a bunch of kids partying all the time and a lot of opportunities to play music. Meeting our main producer, John Keane, early on had a lot to do with it as well. He’s a great producer, who’s done great things for our band. When we’re in his studio, we are always comfortable and we always explore new stuff that we wouldn’t without his influence. 1 2 3last_img read more

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Daily Dirt: Outdoor news for March 27, 2013

first_imgYour outdoor news bulletin for March 27, 2013:Snow Delays Clingmans Dome OpeningThe planned spring opening of Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been delayed indefinitely. You may think it has to do with all the budget cut/sequestration nonsense…but you would be wrong. This latest snow storm has been a boon to ski resorts up and down the East Coast, but has caused havoc to other entities including the Clingmans Dome delay. The higher elevations of the park received upwards of 18 inches of snow of the past week, making the passage to Clingmans and the Newfound Gap Road impassible. The opening was slated for Friday, but will probably will not be opened until next week. Nature, you so crazy!Roadless Rule UpheldIn the final battle over Bill Clinton’s Roadless Rule, the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia struck down a challenge by Alaska. The roadless rule protects tens of millions of acres of forest lands nation-wide against road building, and by extension, logging. The war of roads has been waged over the past decade, but was finally put to rest with this ruling. This is a victory for conservationists across the nation and for the future of nature lovers everywhere, including in the Appalachians where roadless areas dot the mountain chain from Georgia to Maine. Here is a map (PDF).A Crappy SituationIt’s one of those running jokes or scenarios that you talk about at camp. How much money would it take for you to dive into one of those natural outhouse-style toilets? Well, one man at Carter’s Lake, Ga. did it for free. The man reportedly stood on the toilet, slipped and fell five feet to the gross, nasty, disgusting bottom. He remained there for a full 70 minutes before family members were able to unlock the door and find out that, yes, he had fallen in. Classic quote from ‘spokesperson’ Lisa Parker: ““We’ve had these type of toilet facilities for 10 to 15 years, and he just mis-used the toilet, unfortunately.” Unfortunately, indeed.More, if you want it, from the Dalton Daily Citizen.last_img read more

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