Exxon Capitulates to Investors Who Want More Climate-Risk Exposure FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Fortune:ExxonMobil said it would publish new details about how climate change could affect its business, in a move aimed at appeasing critics and forestalling another proxy fight next year.Until now, it had opposed such a move, in contrast to other western oil and gas majors such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total. Such impact assessments, which factor in the cost of likely climate-related taxes and levies to cut carbon dioxide emissions, can have a big influence on determining whether parts of an oil company’s portfolio are economic or not. Exxon earlier this year wrote off some 15% of its reserve base, implicitly acknowledging that it was too expensive to develop its oil sands reserves in Canada against a background of relatively low crude prices. Exxon’s statement, which came three days before the deadline for its 2018 annual meeting resolution submissions, said additional information would be released in the near future, but did not provide details. The company’s board originally opposed providing shareholders with a report outlining the potential impact of global warming on Exxon’s long-term outlook.Thomas P. Di Napoli, New York state’s comptroller, heads one of the two lead sponsors of a shareholder resolution calling for Exxon to issue a climate-impact report. He called Monday’s decision “a win for shareholders and for the company’s ability to manage risk.”However, another sponsor noted the lack of specificity in the company’s statement. “This is giving no detail,” said Tim Smith, who leads shareholder engagement efforts at Walden Asset Management, a co-filer of last spring’s resolution. He said Exxon’s statement “needs to be expanded to assure shareowners that they’re responsive to last year’s request.”An Exxon spokesman declined to comment beyond the filing.Some 50 shareholder and climate activists earlier this year demanded the company produce an annual report on the risks to its business from extreme climate and government policies seeking to reduce carbon emissions. The resolution was backed by 62 percent of shares voted in Exxon’s May annual meeting.Other energy companies already have begun detailing their view of climate-related risks to their businesses. Refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp recently published a report, “Perspectives on Climate-Related Scenarios,” meant partly to address suggestions from the global Financial Stability Board about how to measure and respond to such risks.Members of the shareholder group had said they were considering refiling had Exxon not agreed to a detailed plan. Big investors including BlackRock Inc and Vanguard Group backed the May resolution and have made climate change a priority in their governance efforts.More: ExxonMobil Gives in to Shareholders on Climate Risk Disclosure
Renewables Company Funds Solar Training for Skilled Workers in Fossil, Nuclear Fields FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Cypress Creek Renewables is growing. It’s the nation’s fifth-largest developer and it brought online the most utility-scale solar projects last year, according to GTM Research.With hundreds of megawatts in capacity expected in 2018, hiring skilled workers to build it all remains a key focus. “A big piece of last year was finding the workforce to come work with us,” said Jaime Carlson, executive vice president of operations and capital planning.To that end, Cypress Creek is supporting a total of five solar training programs at community colleges across the country. Its first partnership at Greenville Technical College in South Carolina launched this fall. Since then Cypress Creek has offered between $10,000 and $25,000 to programs in New York’s Hudson Valley, at Cape Fear in North Carolina, in northeastern Illinois and most recently in Flint, Michigan.“It really stems from us feeling a responsibility to the energy industry to be part of the solution,” said Carlson. “As we see changing economics and trends, we really want to be part of making sure there are transition solutions for everyone.”Cypress Creek selected the programs by assessing where the company has plans for growth, where the solar industry is blossoming, and where high unemployment or a transitioning energy market makes retraining attractive.In South Carolina, for instance, the failure of the VC Summer nuclear expansion left an opening for the solar industry. Since Cypress Creek’s partnership with Greenville Tech started, 30 percent of new students have come from the fossil fuel or nuclear industries. Two students, Carlson said, specifically cited the termination of VC Summer as a reason for their interest in the program.In areas where traditional fuels are facing challenges, Carlson said Cypress Creek wants to avoid “an us-versus-them equation.”More: Cypress Creek Renewables Wants To Build The Solar Workforce Of The Future
Georgia Power seeks bids for 540MW of new renewable energy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Atlanta Business Chronicle:Georgia Power Co. has issued a request for proposals for up to 540 megawatts of utility-scale renewable energy projects.The RFP, released on Monday, will fulfill a commitment the Atlanta-based utility made more than two years ago to procure an additional 1,200 megawatts of renewable power through a combination of solar, wind and biomass projects. The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Georgia Power’s Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI) in the summer of 2016.“We are proud of the principles that we have built upon with REDI, such as competitive bidding, as we continue to procure renewable energy from cost effective resources to maximize the benefits for our customers,” said Wilson Mallard, director of renewable development for Georgia Power. “Georgia Power has worked with the PSC to be a national leader in renewable energy, and we are eager to receive, review and select projects from this RFP that will provide significant long-term value.”Under the terms of the RFP, proposals for renewable projects must have a generating capacity greater than 3 megawatts. The solicitation also allows for proposals that include energy storage in conjunction with a renewable resource.Altogether, Georgia Power expects to have added up to 1,600 megawatts of renewable power to its energy portfolio by the end of 2021.More: Georgia Power issues RFP for renewable energy projects
Zibelman: Australian energy transition moving faster than predicted FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Australia’s exit from coal and transition to a renewable grid is tracking not only ahead of most of the rest of the world, but is coming faster than almost all of us would have predicted, the head of the Australian Energy Market Operator has warned.“We have to look forward, we have no choice in Australia,” AEMO chief Audrey Zibelman told the audience at Australian Energy Week 2019, in Melbourne on Wednesday.The comments come as the nation heads into a new term of federal government under the coal-attached Coalition, headed up by a man whose main claim to fame is having brought a lump of coal into Parliament, and supported by an energy minister who has said there is already too much wind and solar in the grid.But Zibelman, who rarely wades into the quagmire of energy politics in Australia, likes to stick to the known knowns – namely that coal is on the way out, and a completely different grid to that we have known for the past century is on the way in. It’s just a matter, now, of how quickly and neatly this transition plays out.“The fact of the matter is, it’s happening really fast,” Zibelman said. “Everyone’s predictions around solar uptake, even the most aggressive ones, were below what it actually is. I think even all of our predictions around storage, and the changing price of storage, I think we’re probably all shy of where it’s going to be. And so thinking about that means that…we have to assume that it’s going to be faster than we anticipate. At the same time, we need to make sure it’s an orderly transition,” she said.Zibelman was particularly keen to stress how quickly the energy market is changing at the consumer level – as households and businesses take up ever cheaper solar and battery storage at a break-neck speed, and in turn set the pace and the direction for the rest of the grid. This, Zibelman calls the “democratisation” of the grid – one of the four Ds that will shape the future NEM, alongside decentralisation, digitalisation and decarbonisation.More: Australia has to look forward on energy, says Zibelman: “We have no choice”
South Africa’s 140MW Kangnas wind farm begins commercial operation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ESI Africa:Two years after construction kicked-off, Kangnas Wind Farm achieved commercial operations on 15 November 2020, making it the first bid window four wind farm, in the Northern Cape, to come on stream as part of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).According to a media release, this wind farm will generate enough clean power to satisfy the needs of 154,625 average South African households, as it is expected to generate over 513GWh of renewable energy each year, during its 20-year operations period.Constructed by a South African team, mostly from the local Nama Khoi Municipal area, this mega 140MW wind project comprises sixty-one turbines, and is one of 12 wind farms in this part of the REIPPP procurement bid round.“These projects will collectively add 1.3GW of new wind power capacity, onto the country’s national grid, at a time when South Africa needs more available energy to support the rebuilding of the country in a post-COVID era,” said Manie Kotzé, the construction project manager of Kangnas Wind Farm.Following industry trends, as set up by the Department of Energy’s local content requirements, the wind farm achieved very high local content levels, exceeding 45%. This includes both locally manufactured turbine towers as well as the project’s mega transformer, helping to drive the demand for local manufacturers to offer items previously only available through import.Construction commenced during June 2018. As with all the wind farms that were under construction at the time the country’s national COVID-19 lockdown kicked in, construction at this Northern Cape wind farm was halted and gradually picked up pace after 19 May 2020.More: South Africa: Kangnas wind farm kicks off operations
What’s better than a run through North Carolina’s High Country? A beer run through North Carolina’s High Country. The inaugural Oskar Blues 5K Hash commences next Saturday, July 20, with a scenic route across Beech Mountain and beer stops stocked with Dales Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pilsner, and Old Chub Scottish Ale. That’s a hell of a lot better than the malt liquor that was circulating at the last last hash I ran. The run is part of Beech’s incredibly cool Bikes, Brews ‘n’ Views weekend (July 19-21) with live music (Acoustic Syndicate headlines), Monster Energy Dual Slalom and Downhill races, and a beer festival featuring some of North Carolina’s finest hop hucksters. Demo from the mountain’s fleet of state of the art downhill bikes and check out the newly-dug downhill park that’s poised to put Beech on the gravity map. The weekend also marks the grand opening of the mountain’s new disc golf course, a sport that truly pairs well with beer.As for brewery standouts, keep an eye out for regional favorites Green Man (Asheville) and Natty Greene’s (Greensboro) as well as up and comers Blind Squirrel (Plumtree) and Gizmo Brewworks (Raleigh). And here’s the best part—the $40 entry fee to the Oskar Blues Hash gets you a ticket to see Acoustic Syndicate and entry into the Beer Fest.Best. Weekend. Ever.Check out more beer fueled runs here.
It’s Friday, which means it’s time for Clips of the Week! This being the first full week of August, its seemed appropriate to have a water themed entry, so we have fly fishing Shenandoah, tubing, kayaking, and EXTREME kayaking for you, along with an important message form Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy, and remember, if you have a video you want featured in clips of the week, leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.Our favorite outdoor videos of the week that was:1. Beautiful BrookiesWe’ll kick off this week with a gorgeous little vid from our friends at Two Fisted Heart Productions (you may remember them from the tidal Potomac doc in the F3T, Urban Lines). The message is simple, you can always go home again…to fish, and features some awesome shots of wild Shenandoah National Park brook trout leaving the water in pursuit of yellow sallies. This is what small stream trout fishing is all about.The Way It Began from TwoFisted Heart Productions on Vimeo.2. Watauga WhitewaterWant to know what running the Watauga in a kayak at 240 cfs is like? Here you go.3. Ozone Falls First DescentThis is a little old – it’s from January – but we just came across it this week. This vid features the first descent of 100+ foot Ozone Falls in Cumberland County, Tennessee, by Pat Keller and was scouted and shot by BRO contributor Chris Gratgmans. The video’s title, and GrindTV.com post have the hilarious title of “Kayaker Survives 100 Foot Drop…” like he went over the falls by accident. You can read the full story of the descent in Canoe & Kayak magazine.4. Tubing Never Looked So GoodHere is a short little ode to tubing on Deep Creek in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Looks like a blast.5. Writing, and Carving, on the WallThis is a semi-public service announcement from Great Smoky Mountains National Park addressing graffiti and vandalism of historic buildings on park grounds. This has special relevance this week as several monuments around the East, including Washington D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial, National Cathedral, and Smithsonian, and a statue of Jackie Robinson in New York. Vandalism in National Parks is on the rise across the nation, which is both baffling and infuriating.
Cohutta 100Ducktown, Tenn., April 26Begin at the Ocoee Whitewater Center in Tennessee and head south for 100 miles through some of the most beautifully remote fire roads and singletrack in the Southeast. From Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest through the Cohutta Wilderness in Georgia and back, the course has a 40/60 ratio of singletrack to gravel roads, making it a great race for skilled riders just beginning to race 100-milers. trailheadoutdoors.orgThe Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike EpicState College, Penn., May 25-31How would you like to take off life for a week and go mountain biking in the scenic mountains of central Pennsylvania? Sound too good to be true? If you’re prepared to take on the country’s longest mountain bike stage race, then this dream can be a reality. Every year, hundreds of cyclists gather to take on the trails for a good cause. The event serves as the annual fundraiser for the non-profit The Outdoor Experience Organization, a program whose goal is to better serve and improve upon the trails in Pennsylvania. tsepic.comIron Mountain 100KDamascus, Va., June 29An up-and-coming race that is sure to gain attention for its difficulty is this 54-miler, based out of Trail Town, U.S.A. The Iron Mountain Trail is known for its big drops and long smooth sections. Pair that up with some Forest Service road connectors to climb and technical track that’s rooty, rocky, and steep, and that about sums up the race. With only 8,500 feet of elevation change, this race is often mistaken as “easier” than some of the other big events, but give it a try and let that very first climb make the decision for you. mtntouring.comOff-Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell (ORAMM)Old Fort, N.C., July 20At 6,684 feet, Mount Mitchell in North Carolina stands as the tallest peak east of the Mississippi. This 63-mile off-road route will literally feel like an assault on the mountain, climbing 11,000 feet and weaving in and out of North Carolina’s Forest Service roads and singletrack. Try to beat the 4:33-hour time record for the ORAMM, set in 2012 by pro rider Jeremiah Bishop. blueridgeadventures.net/orammThe Wilderness 101Coburn, Penn., July 26Often cited as the original East Coast epic, this dirty century (+1) has it all: 10,000 feet of elevation gain, jagged rocks and roots clogging the harrowing descents, cold creek crossings, windy singletrack, and loose gravel fire roads. Yet this adventurous undertaking attracts cyclists from every walk of life, whether it’s the weekend warrior with the goal of simply finishing or the road century rider looking for a different challenge. Before and after the race, the laid back camp scene is always bustling with mingling racers who enjoy the opportunity to meet new people, eat, drink, and be merry. mtntouring.comBringing the HeatFormer Trek/Volkswagen pro-rider Sue Haywood knows the Shenandoah Mountain 100 like the back of her hand. One of a number of top cyclists who reside in Harrisonburg, Va., Haywood typically joins the mountain biking community every year in Stokesville for the SM100.“It’s on the bucket list of cool experiences for any avid cyclist or fitness junkie,” Haywood says, making reference not just to the race itself but the atmosphere in general. “If we could capture all the watts and energy flowing at the race we could easily power the town of Stokesville!”Although Haywood has stood atop the podium at the SM100 a number of times and even set a course record in 2007, placing not just first in the women’s division but 8th overall, she still remembers how difficult her first SM100 experience was.“I had never done that kind of distance on a mountain bike,” Haywood says. “Spending almost 11 hours on the bike, climbing big mountains and not really knowing how to fuel and hydrate made it epic.”Haywood pushed on and finished, inspired by her fellow riders and the race volunteers’ supportive attitudes. Although Haywood has raced around the world, she says there is a certain vibe about the SM100 that, combined with the challenge of the course, keeps her coming back for more.“Right after it’s done, I say never again and then I realize that riding my bike all day with other like-minded people is exactly what I want to do,” she says. “Good fitness is essential for this race, but honestly training to be tough mentally is more important.”Haywood’s other favorite regional races include Revenge of the Rattlesnake in Davis, W.Va., and the Massanutten HooHa in Keezletown, Va.Best of the RestSnake Creek Gap Time TrialsDalton, Ga., Feb. 1, March 1 • snake.nwgasorba.orgDragon’s TaleNew Castle, Va., April 6 • mtntouring.comBig Frog 65Ocoee Whitewater Center, Tenn., April 26 • trailheadoutdoors.orgBlankets Creek Cross Country RaceCanton, Ga., May 10 • mountaingoatadventures.comKarl’s Kaleidoscope Mountain Bike RaceMarion, Va., May 17 • active.comPisgah 111KBrevard, N.C., May • pisgahprouctions.comBump N’ GrindOak Mountain State Park, Ala., May 31–June 1 • bumpngrindrace.comMassanutten Hoo-HaMassanutten Resort, Va., June 7–8 • massresort.comGran Fondo Alleghany HighlandsCovington, Va., July 12 • sport-vista.comSix Hour Race to SunsetCanton, Ga., August 9 • mountaingoatadventures.comShenandoah Mountain 100Stokesville, Va., August 31 • mtntouring.comChomolungma ChallengeSnowshoe Mountain, W.Va., August • snowshoemtn.com/bikeFontana Dam JamFontana Dam, N.C., August • goneriding.comPisgah Stage RaceBrevard, N.C., September • blueridgeadventures.net_______________Check Out Our Other Race Ahead GuidesTrail RunningRoad RunningRoad BikingMountain BikingClimbingPaddlingMultisportsSnowsports
We’ve settled into a familiar boat-living routine. Each day we make coffee and enjoy it on the deck, watching the last of the sunrise dance on the translucent blue, flying fish skim across the water’s surface, or a mama goat foraging for food on a nearby island. The wind sings us an invitation to raise our sails and come play, but first we must attend to our boat, Kazijin or Kaz, as we’ve come to call her.Boat chores take up a lot of our time and also get us moving in a nice rhythm. The normal-life-maintenance errands like swabbing the deck, cleaning the cabin, and doing laundry happen on a weekly basis.Every morning we check the engine (belt, oil, and coolant), check the battery, count the engine hours to determine if we need gas, take a look at the bilge and pump out any water, and estimate our fresh water supply. We learned the hard way by spending two days without fresh water to make sure we fill both water tanks and keep track of how many days a tank last. Our refrigerator is a glorified icebox, so we need to restock ice and empty the water if we don’t want soggy food.Being on a boat has raised our awareness about energy use. Since we have to pay $3 a garbage bag to get rid of waste, we’ve been thinking a lot more about what we consume and throw away. Since we have a limited DC battery, any time we turn on a light, fan, or use energy in any manner requires consideration.Our first provisioning effort was a mad dash to the grocer before getting on the boat. After spending a week limited to what we bought, we started thinking hard about “must haves,” those food items and drinks we craved. Out on a boat anchored on a remote island, we usually don’t have access to supplies and are stuck with what’s on board.Living on a boat takes some getting accustomed to. Take going to the bathroom. The nautical term for toilet is head and flushing builds the biceps. I’m pumping for two since Tobin can’t manage the pump yet, so I’m getting ripped. Ok, not quite, but I’m using it as an excuse to eat a few more chocolate bars.I’ve honed my ability to pee off the stern, which involves hanging off the rail, squatting and sticking my butt as far out over the water as I can. I’m also encouraging Tobin to pee off the side of the boat, perfecting his balancing skills as we sail through big swell and wind chop.Another novelty of living on a boat in the British Virgin Islands where squalls pop up on a daily basis is getting up in the middle of the night to close all the hatches, reopening them or else getting smothered by one’s sweat, and then closing them a few hours later when the next rain shower threatens soaking one’s sheets.Boat living requires a more active lifestyle, always thinking about the next chore and cultivates an awareness of our surroundings. That’s part one of the reasons boat bedtime tends to be on the early side, and we’re usually asleep by nine.It suits me, this windblown, shower-scarce, almost-always outside lifestyle.[divider]More from Mountain Mama[/divider]
Two years ago, Don Blankenship’s lawyers argued that the longtime coal baron was so despised in West Virginia that he could not receive a fair trial from a state jury. Now, the former Massey Energy CEO is setting out to prove his counsel wrong by joining the 2018 West Virginia Republican primary for U.S. Senate.“I’m Don Blankenship, candidate for U.S. Senate, and I approved this message,” he announced at the beginning of a 30-second ad posted to his Vimeo page.Blankenship’s entry into the race for the seat currently held by former Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, was reported on Wednesday by Mountain State-based media outlets and confirmed by the chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party.Blankenship will join an already heated battle between U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, essentially breaking down along the national battle lines that are emerging between GOP factions: Jenkins represents the establishment Republican selected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while Morrisey is the insurgent backed by former White House aide Steve Bannon of Breitbart.Blankenship’s candidacy blows up that dynamic. His persona and name recognition dwarfs that of either of the others, as he has been a presence in West Virginia coal culture since the early ’80s. His career has been a long series of labor, miner safety, and environmental horrors, making him the subject of countless books and news stories, including a Rolling Stone profile that memorably labeled him as the “Dark Lord of Coal Country.”In “Mine War on Blackberry Creek,” a documentary film produced about a labor fight in the early ’80s, a still-new-to-Massey Blankenship laid out his vision of raw capitalism as “a jungle.” “Unions, communities, people —everybody’s gonna have to learn to accept that in the United States you have a capitalist society, and that capitalism, from a business standpoint, is survival of the most productive,” Blankenship said.Blankenship and Massey won that fight, breaking the United Mine Workers of America in what now looks like a turning point in labor history. Blankenship’s subsequent rise through the company saw a dramatic expansion in brutal mountaintop removal strip mining techniques, as well as a relentless approach to maximize profit by cutting costs that endangered not only miners but those who lived in the communities around Massey mines.In one case, people living near a Massey mine found that their groundwater had been poisoned because the company disposed injected toxic waste into abandoned coal shafts. Blankenship’s own neighborhood was affected; he had a private water line run to his house from nearby Matewan, but didn’t offer the service to others.Simultaneously, Blankenship invested millions of dollars into building the West Virginia Republican Party. At one point in the 2000s, he gave $3 million toward the election of a state supreme court candidate, who then helped overturn a $50 million jury decision against Blankenship in a civil suit.The biggest outrage in a career full of them came in April 2010, when 29 men died at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine after sparks from a longwall cutter ignited a massive explosion. Four separate investigations found that poor ventilation, poor rock dusting, and a company culture that encouraged poor safety practices created conditions for the explosion. Blankenship, however, has peddled a different theory, blaming the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for creating the conditions that caused the explosion. He commissioned a 2014 documentary to tell his side of the story, prompting several individuals featured in the film to disclaim it—including Manchin, who was governor at the time of the disaster.Federal prosecutors eventually brought criminal charges against Blankenship, not for the disaster itself but for conspiring to skirt safety regulations at the mine. Blankenship faced three felony counts worth a potential 30 years, but was convicted only of a misdemeanor that put him in prison for one year.Since emerging from confinement earlier this year, Blankenship has used Twitter and his website to push his Upper Big Branch theory blaming the government, as well as to attack Manchin and former President Barack Obama.Blankenship clearly intends to use his Senate campaign—and the media attention that will come with it—as a megaphone for the message he’s been hammering the last few years. Greg Thomas, a representative for Blankenship, told West Virginia Public Radio that his run for office is “about getting the truth out about [the Upper Big Branch disaster] and exposing a government cover-up.”“It’s going to be interesting whether or not this political campaign is just an extension of this campaign to clear his name, or whether he’s really going to weigh in on the issues facing West Virginia in the future,” said Bill Price, a Charleston, West Virginia-based Sierra Club organizer.For conservationists and environmentalists, there’s not much to like about any of the three GOP candidates. “All three of them are fairly conservative and pushed back significantly on any environmental regulations,” Price said. “As far as their votes on anything related to the Clean Power Plan, the Stream Protection Rule, there’s not any significant difference between any of them.”Scott Crichlow, an associate professor of political science at West Virginia University, said that Blankenship exemplifies a recent trend in politics where personal brands largely outweigh policy stances. In a low-turnout, three-way Republican primary—in the last GOP U.S. Senate primary in 2014, only 85,322 people cast ballots—there’s a real chance that Blankenship could capture a plurality of voters. Says Crichlow, “If he actually puts resources into this and it’s a three person, well-resourced race, it doesn’t take that many voters to win.”