Fraud Case Detail Emerges Around Owner of Proposed Mega-Mine in Australia

first_imgFraud Case Detail Emerges Around Owner of Proposed Mega-Mine in Australia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:A global mining giant seeking public funds to develop one of the world’s largest coal mines in Australia has been accused of fraudulently siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars of borrowed money into overseas tax havens.Indian conglomerate the Adani Group is expecting a legal decision in the “near future” in connection with allegations it inflated invoices for an electricity project in India to shift huge sums of money into offshore bank accounts.Details of the alleged 15bn rupee (US$235m) fraud are contained in an Indian customs intelligence notice obtained by the Guardian, excerpts of which are published for the first time here.The directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) file, compiled in 2014, maps out a complex money trail from India through South Korea and Dubai, and eventually to an offshore company in Mauritius allegedly controlled by Vinod Shantilal Adani, the older brother of the billionaire Adani Group chief executive, Gautam Adani.Vinod Adani is the director of four companies proposing to build a railway line and expand a coal port attached to Queensland’s vast Carmichael mine project.The proposed mine, which would be Australia’s largest, has been the source of years of intense controversy.More: Adani mining giant faces financial fraud claims as it bids for Australian coal loanlast_img read more

California Sets New Renewable Generation Records

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:California has set a new record for peak output of utility-scale solar at more than 10.5 GW, as well as for renewable energy overall. However, the state’s grid operator is still curtailing solar and wind while hydro and the last nuclear plant run full-steam.California blew through a series of peak solar and renewable energy generation records last week, showing not only the increasing potential of the state to run on renewable energy, but also the work remaining to be done.According to the California Independent System Operator (ISO), utility-scale solar generation reached 10,521 MW on Thursday April 26, the first time it had surpassed 10.5 GW. On Saturday it peaked again at 10,539 MW at 1:40 PM local time, a new record for the state.California also hit a new record for the instantaneous portion of demand met by renewable energy on Saturday at 73%, just 15 minutes before the solar record, with solar and wind alone meeting 64% of demand.What is even more remarkable is that this does not even count all of the solar. California had an estimated 6.6 GW of behind-the-meter solar as of the end of January 2018, which is not reflected in California ISO output data.Over the full year 2017 renewable energy sources excluding large hydro plants represented 31% of California’s in-state electricity generation. With hydroelectric generation included, the total was more than half of all generation. However, the state also imports large volumes of electricity.More: California Blows Through Solar Power, Renewable Energy Output Records California Sets New Renewable Generation Recordslast_img read more

Critics pan Trump coal, nuclear support plan

first_imgCritics pan Trump coal, nuclear support plan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享U.S. News & World Report:President Donald Trump and Republican political leaders spent close to eight years accusing the Obama administration of picking winners and losers in the energy sector, but Trump’s order to the Energy Department last week to prop up failing coal and nuclear power plants does exactly what he vilified – and proposes the opposite of what’s needed to best safeguard the nation’s vulnerable electric grid, experts say.Citing national security and defense concerns caused by the “rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix,” Trump on Friday directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry “to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources.” The administration referred to coal and nuclear plants as “fuel-secure,” because they can house their fuel supplies on site, rather than relying on pipelines like natural gas plants.“If you really want security, you get away from all that and you decentralize the grid,” says David Bookbinder, chief counsel at the Niskanen Center, a libertarian-leaning think tank in the nation’s capital. In particular, he continues, “residential solar is the single most secure form of power we have in the United States: It’s secure both from a fuel supply side – no one’s blocking the sun – and a distribution side: it goes from roof into your house, so there’s no problem with the transmission. That is a secure energy supply.”“Most of the outages occur on the distribution system, which has nothing to do with the power plants connected to the system,” says John Larsen, director in the energy and climate practice at Rhodium Group, a research firm. “That’s not to say the loss of power from a particular plant doesn’t cause a loss of power here and there. But the vast majority of power outages occur elsewhere in the system.”Experts agree that natural gas pipelines are vulnerable to cyberattack. An attack on a shared data network this spring, for example, forced gas pipeline operators to halt communications for close to a week, although gas transmissions were not affected. However, coal and nuclear plants also rely on software that’s seen as similarly vulnerable to attack – as, for that matter, do renewables.“Those risks are the same across any type of power technology – we have computers running all our power plants,” Larsen says. “So a coal plant’s computers are no different than the natural gas plants or wind power for that matter.”More: Trump Plan to Prop Up Coal, Nuclear Won’t Protect the Electric Gridlast_img read more

Cayuga coal plant in New York plans natural gas conversion

first_imgCayuga coal plant in New York plans natural gas conversion FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Lansing Star:Cayuga Operating Company announced today that they have submitted applications to allow them to close a 155 megawatt coal-fired burner in order to repower it with natural, and that plans are still in motion to construct an 18 megawatt, 75 acre solar farm on its 434-acre site in northwest Lansing, making it one of the largest solar farms in upstate New York.Company officials say compressed natural gas (CNG) will be conveyed to the plant by truck, eliminating the need for a gas pipeline. If approved, the conversion will not be paid for at ratepayers’ expense. The company submitted an air permit modification application to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) May 1st that will, if granted allow the conversion of one of the plant’s two burners to natural gas. Traffic statistics from a 2017 report by the Tompkins County Transportation Council shows that the 25 to 60 trucks per day used to bring CNG to the plant would only add 2% more traffic at most. The trucks are also fueled by CNG, which is cleaner than gasoline and diesel trucks, and will reduce the transport of coal by train.Cayuga Solar has applied for over 1.5 million NYSERDA Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to help pay for construction of the solar farm. This is the company’s second try to obtain the credits, and company officials are optimistic they will qualify in this summer’s round. Applications are due by August 15th, and awards are scheduled to be announced in October of 2018.A major advantage Cayuga Solar has over other solar projects is the existing infrastructure that connects the facility to the power grid. While many solar farm projects stumble on just finding a location that makes sense for connecting, as did a proposed solar farm that would have powered the Lansing schools (that was one of the obstacles), the existing power plant connection can also be used for the proposed solar installation and future renewable projects on the site.If Cayuga Solar is able to obtain the credits company officials estimate the solar farm could begin operating by July 2020. Company officials anticipate it may take up to a year for the DEC to make a determination on its air permit modification application. Once approved, Goodenough estimates that the conversion, paid for by the company, will take four to five months to complete.More: Power Plant to Repower With Natural Gaslast_img read more

Another natural gas project cancelled in California

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Independent power producer Calpine has abandoned plans to build a new natural-gas plant in Southern California, swelling the ranks of recently canceled fossil fuel plants in the state.The company withdrew its application for the Mission Rock plant in a letter to the California Energy Commission dated May 21. That decision ended a years-long conflict over the permitting of the plant, a 255-megawatt combustion turbine facility planned on the banks of the Santa Clara River in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles. The Native American Chumash people opposed the plant as a disruption to a river environment that they consider sacred.The permitting battle also became a test case for new fossil fuel plant development as the Golden State moves toward its legislative goal of carbon-free electricity by 2045.Mission Rock joins a string of recent gas plant cancellations in California. The state still relied on natural-gas generation for 34 percent of its electricity in 2017, but new gas construction there has become a rarity as market and policy headwinds intensify.Calpine’s decision to walk away from the project comes a few weeks after SCE announced the battery plants it picked in place of the Puente gas plant. Calpine could have waited until those batteries were up and running, but it would still face headwinds from the local opposition that would ask regulators to rule the same way they did with Puente.A handful of previously approved gas plants are working their way through construction to commercial operation. The elimination of Mission Rock, though, narrows the list of new gas plants seeking approval as California moves toward the legally mandated deadline of 2045 to remove carbon emissions from power production. The thinning pipeline and recent string of failed gas plant developments raise the possibility that California won’t build any more new plants.More: California’s gas plant pipeline dwindles as Calpine drops Mission Rock application Another natural gas project cancelled in Californialast_img read more

Renewable developer EDPR nears 7GW capacity goal with Mexico solar deal

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Power Technology:Renewable energy company EDP Renováveis (EDPR) has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Mexico-based electricity supplier Ammper Energía.As per the terms of the agreement, EDPR will supply clean energy generated by its 200MW Los Cuervos solar PV project to the Mexican company for 15 years.With this new PPA, EDPR noted that it has reached 80% of the 7GW target wind and solar global capacity build-out for the 2019-2022 period.Located in Mexico, EDPR’s Los Cuervos solar project is expected to start operations at the beginning of 2021.Last month, EDP Renewables (EDPR) signed two 15-year power PPAs with Microsoft for 125MW of power from the Timber Road IV wind farm in Ohio. The Timber Road IV wind farm is expected to become operational this year and will have the capacity to power more than 36,000 households in Ohio.More: EDPR signs 200MW solar power PPA in Mexico Renewable developer EDPR nears 7GW capacity goal with Mexico solar deallast_img read more

Strata Solar’s new battery storage project in California will replace planned gas peaker plant

first_imgStrata Solar’s new battery storage project in California will replace planned gas peaker plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Another of the world’s largest battery projects is moving forward with construction in Southern California amid the coronavirus slowdown.Strata Solar will begin construction in July on its 100-megawatt/400-megawatt-hour battery plant in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles along the coast. County authorities signed off on the final approvals over Zoom, allowing the project to keep on schedule, Strata SVP of Energy Storage Joshua Rogol told Greentech Media. It should be operational by early 2021.That’s a welcome development for a project that serves as a test case for replacing new natural-gas plants with non-emitting battery storage. Strata’s Ventura Energy Storage project is the largest of a portfolio of batteries that utility Southern California Edison procured in place of a new NRG gas plant on the beach in Oxnard, California.Strata Solar has installed a few batteries already, but the Ventura project vaults the company into the big leagues. Only a handful of companies have attempted building a battery at the 100-megawatt scale, starting with Tesla in South Australia. But the ranks are swelling constantly; SCE alone signed deals for four more earlier this month.Per the contract with SCE, the Ventura system will deliver resource adequacy by bidding into the day-ahead CAISO markets. The utility can also make a handful of emergency calls per year in the event of wildfires or other grid constraints. As long as it fulfills those obligations, the battery is free to maximize revenue elsewhere in the energy and ancillary services markets.“Generally speaking, we’re going to be charging the battery during peak solar hours, when energy prices are low or negative, and potentially discharging during peak demand hours, when folks are coming home, trying to smooth out that duck curve,” Rogol said.[Julian Spector]More: Strata blazes ahead with California gas peaker replacement battery, taps Teslalast_img read more

Neoen moving forward with massive solar+wind+storage hybrid project in South Australia

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:French renewable energy developer Neoen has filed its development application for the huge $3 billion Goyder South wind, solar and storage project in South Australia which includes a proposed big battery than it nearly 10 times bigger than the expanded “Tesla big battery” at Hornsdale.The plan proposes a total of 1,200MW of wind energy, 600MW of solar PV, and 900MW/1800MWh of battery storage, an “extremely large” battery as Neoen describes it that will dwarf the 150MW/194MWh “Tesla” battery known officially as the Hornsdale Power Reserve.Each stage would be delivered in three equal tranches of 400MW wind, 200MW solar and 300MW/600MWh of battery storage. Combined, they would generate around 4.8 terawatt hours of zero emissions power each year, nearly doubling the current output of wind and solar in the state, and taking South Australia close to the Liberal government’s net 100 per cent renewables target just on its own.Neoen insists that the first stage is likely to go ahead regardless of any significant grid upgrades, but admits that the second and third stages would be contingent on the new transmission line between South Australia and NSW, known as Project EnergyConnect, going ahead. The French developer says the wind facility will be made up of up to 163 turbines, suggesting a capacity of 7.3MW per turbine – by far the biggest announced in Australia to date. It says these machines will have a maximum hub height of 160 meres, a maximum blade length of 80m, and an overall maximum height (tip height) of 240m.The lithium-ion batteries would deliver 900MW with two hours of storage, and associated infrastructure for connection to the electricity grid would include three substations, access tracks, underground connection cabling and transmission lines.[Giles Parkinson]More: Neoen files plans for $3bn wind and solar farm with battery 10 times bigger than Hornsdale Neoen moving forward with massive solar+wind+storage hybrid project in South Australialast_img read more

Things Fall Apart

first_imgAt some point in the middle of the night, I decide that there’s a very real possibility that I’m going to lose at least one of my toes. Maybe more. That’s what happens with extreme cases of frostbite, after all. The wind is howling through the tent, there’s 14 inches of snow on the ground outside with more falling, and I’m wearing every piece of clothing I have to keep warm. The last time we checked, the temperature was hovering at a balmy 5 degrees. Beautiful night to go backpacking, right?Most of my body is warm, but my toes are 10 tiny icebergs. I envision the moment tomorrow when I finally peel off my socks to reveal 10 dead, black digits. You hear about this sort of thing happening to climbers on Everest, or lost hikers in Alaska, but I’m camping on the edge of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. Not 20 miles from the nearest Waffle House. To lose a toe to frostbite here would just be embarrassing.And yet, a severe case of frostbite is exactly what I expect from one of my backpacking trips. Regardless of how well I plan, inevitably, something goes terribly wrong every time I spend the night in the woods. The near-disasters are so reliable, that they’ve become almost comforting in a way. Like how you know your mother’s cooking is terrible, but you love it anyway because it tastes like home.There’s a common saying among travelers, that if you’re comfortable and having a good time, you’re not traveling. You’re vacationing. I have a similar philosophy for backpacking. If it’s going well, you’re not backpacking. I’ve spent countless nights tucked into a tent in the woods, far from civilization, but I only remember half a dozen backpacking trips, each of which was painful, scary, or painfully scary.There’s the time we had to make a dozen knee-high water crossings in the middle of the night…in the dead of winter…barefoot…because we forgot our water shoes. There’s the time I spent the night clutching a fold-up axe listening to an all-night revelry of bullets, screams, and laughter. Apparently, we chose a campsite about 100 yards upslope from the premier party spot for the toothless set. Then there’s the time we chose the absolute driest ridgeline in the Southern Appalachians for our multi-day trek and had to sip hot Dr. Pepper and rum to stay hydrated. Not even a puddle along this trail! The time I chose an old meth lab site for our campsite and was asked to move in the middle of the night by rangers was memorable. The time we almost got lost 50 yards from our car because the combination of heavy snow and high winds formed whiteout conditions during a night hike that was only exacerbated by our headlamps. I could go on. 1 2last_img read more

Handmade Gear

first_imgGet and share ideas for making your own minimalist running shoes at too many years ago, I sat down in front of a sewing machine for the very first time. Sweat streamed from my furrowed brow as I tried to sew the shoulder straps to a homemade backpack. I’ll admit that I mumbled more than a few curse words as I painstakingly undid some misdirected seams. But by the end of the day, I had my very first project completed and was eager to test it out in the field.That very same pack went on to serve me well on thru-hikes of the Colorado and John Muir Trails. I later redesigned and reused the same materials to build a framed pack for a 2007 Appalachian Trail thru-hike. As confidence in my skills grew, I added articles of clothing, tarps, tents, bicycle panniers, sleeping bags, and even running shoes to my do-it-yourself resume.Most everyone is familiar with the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. Although the latter of the three, recycling, seems to get most of our attention, reducing could have an even greater positive impact. How do environmentally conscious outdoor fanatics balance a love of gear with a desire to reduce their ecological footprint?Mainstream outdoor manufacturers may be shipping in “greener” products from faraway lands to sell to you, but perhaps the better answer resides in three other R’s: raise, repair, and regionalize. So what do these mean? Just as it is desirable to have a garden to raise your own food, it’s good to have a sewing machine to make your own gear. It need not be that expensive an investment: over a decade ago, my mom bought me a sewing machine (the same one that I still use to this day) at a local yard sale for five dollars.Now that you have a sewing machine, stores like Foam and Fabrics Outlet provide DIYers with an assortment of materials to build all sorts of gear and clothing. Patterns and construction tips are readily available on the internet. There is a burgeoning online community of DIYers out there and MYOG (make your own gear) forums abound.Some people I’ve talked to about making gear often say things like, “Well, I’d love to try this, but I’d rather spend my free time doing something outside!” This is a valid point, but I rarely regret my time in the shop building and creating. It’s a perfect therapy for dreary days. Maybe it all traces back to playing with Lego bricks growing up, but I hardly ever follow a pattern.Building gear from scratch can be tedious and frustrating, but the sense of empowerment that comes from using a finished product is priceless. DIYers can also get more from their gear through repair. Once you learn how to put something together, you will know how to keep it together. All too often, people get rid of damaged articles of clothing and gear that are perfectly fixable. Outdoor enthusiasts would be less inclined to dispose of these items had they a better sense of the time and energy invested in each product.The last of the three other R’s, regionalize, is all about keeping it local. Perhaps you don’t have the time or tenacity to make your own gear. I can assure you that there are local seamstresses, even local outdoor gear manufacturers, who would be eager to help you reduce your carbon footprint. It’s great to bolster the local economy, but I’d still encourage as many people as possible to learn a little more about making gear and clothing. Even if most projects don’t pan out, you’ll come away better prepared to fix the gear you buy.Even after a decade using handmade gear, I still catch myself thinking that somehow the equipment I make isn’t as good as what I could buy. Is it because my seams aren’t as straight or there are extraneous strands of thread left untrimmed? Surely the mesh fabric I bought from the local fabric store on sale isn’t as fancy as the cutting-edge stuff that the top gear manufacturers are using. So is it really worth all the time and energy to embrace such a hobby? I’ve alluded to a few snags for beginning gear makers, but consider this tale of triumph:For me, the efficacy of homemade equipment became clear in the summer of 2009 when I completed a fast pack of the 288-mile Benton MacKaye Trail in less than six days. Most of the gear I carried was homemade. Because I custom fit it to my body, the mesh pack that I used on this ambitious journey—yes, made from fabric on sale for a buck per yard—carried my water and other supplies far better than any I could’ve bought from a store. In fact, this very same pack is still going strong after another trip this summer along the 930-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail.We’ve been programmed in this country to be consumers, but not irreversibly so. Hopefully outdoor fanatics can break free of such a mindset. After all, there is indeed another way to get outfitted for the outdoors.Watch Matt Kirk run in handmade running shoes wearing a hand-sewn backpack on record-setting runs across the Southern Appalachians.Get Started on Your GearRead all about it. Research patterns and ideas for gear/clothing projects from websites like http://thru-hiker.comAsk all about it. Consult veteran seamstresses (e.g. moms) for tricks of the trade. If you don’t know anybody personally, consult help forums online.Ease into it. Start with simple sewing projects like stuff sacks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.Hold onto it. Save buckles, straps and scrap fabrics from old gear for future projects. You never know when you could use a ladder lock again.last_img read more