Tampa Electric to Convert Big Bend Coal Plant

first_imgTampa Electric to Convert Big Bend Coal Plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Tampa Bay Times:The parent company of Tampa Electric plans to seek regulatory approval to convert its Big Bend power plant, the site of an industrial accident that killed five workers last year, from coal to natural gas, a top executive said Friday.If approved, the full conversion would cost an estimated $1 billion and could take a decade to complete, said Rob Bennett, who led the integration of TECO Energy with Emera after the Canadian company bought TECO in 2016.The four coal-fired units at the Big Bend Power Station are the oldest in Tampa Electric’s fleet, dating back to the 1970s and ‘80s.Three of the four are known as “wet-bottom boilers;” they use water to cool a molten byproduct of burning coal known as slag. That technology is being phased out nationwide, and by 2015 only about 30 of the nation’s roughly 800 main electric utilities still had them. Tampa Electric’s wet-bottom boilers are the only ones left in Florida, according to the Energy Information Administration.Bennett said two of the four units would be converted in the next couple of years to what are known as combined cycle natural gas generators, which burn natural gas to generate electricity, then use the waste heat from that initial combustion to generate more power. The other two existing coal-fired units, which are newer than the first two, would be converted to natural gas over the next five to 10 years, said Bennett, who last month was appointed CEO of a new company, Emera Technologies, created to seek business opportunities and develop technology related to energy transformation.Big Bend wouldn’t be the first Tampa Electric plant where coal has been phased out. The company replaced the coal-fired Gannon Power Station with the natural-gas powered H.L. Culbreath Bayside Power Station in 2003. A third plant, Polk Power Station, uses a combination of coal and gas.More: Tampa Electric To Convert Big Bend Coal Plant To Natural Gaslast_img read more

Canadian court deals major blow to Trans Mountain Pipeline

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:A Canadian court on Thursday overturned approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, ruling that Ottawa failed to adequately consider aboriginal concerns, in a blow to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s efforts to balance environmental and economic issues.Trudeau’s government agreed in May to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd for C$4.5 billion ($3.46 billion), betting it would win the court battle and expand Trans Mountain despite fierce political and environmental opposition.The decision also hurts Canada’s oil producers, who say the expanded pipeline is needed to address bottlenecks that have sharply reduced prices for their crude. Shares fell on the decision.The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the National Energy Board (NEB) regulator wrongly narrowed its review of the project to exclude related tanker traffic. Additionally, the federal government failed to adequately consult First Nations, as required by law, it ruled.“The big takeaway is the duty to consult (indigenous people) is still the most important step in any major project,” said Andrew Leach, associate professor of business economics at the University of Alberta.Trudeau has portrayed himself as a friend to aboriginal people and tried to build national support for a carbon emissions reduction plan, even while backing Trans Mountain to support the oil industry.“It’s quite a slap to the government by the court on the grounds of reconciliation with First Nations,” said Kathryn Harrison, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia. “They’ve committed billions of dollars in taxpayers’ funds, doubling down on a project that the courts have just quashed.”Trudeau’s finance minister, Bill Morneau, said the government remains “absolutely committed” to building the project, adding the sale could close as early as Friday.“We know that we must diversify our economy and our markets for resources, and that’s why it was important” to buy the pipeline, Morneau told reporters in Toronto.In a statement, Kinder Morgan Canada President Ian Anderson said the court ruling was not a condition of the pipeline’s sale to Ottawa. He said the project is suspending construction.Kinder Morgan Canada shareholders voted on Thursday to approve the pipeline’s sale to Ottawa.Canada has the option to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court but Morneau said the government had made no decisions and needs time to study the ruling.An appeal to the higher court would drag out the project at least another couple of years, Harrison said.“Thankfully, the court has stepped in where Canada has failed to protect and respect our rights and our water,” Coldwater Indian Band Chief Lee Spahan said in a statement. “Our members will be hugely relieved.”The Trans Mountain expansion would nearly triple capacity on an existing line from Edmonton, Alberta, to a port in the Vancouver area for export. It was approved by the federal government in 2016.The court’s ruling is likely to amplify sentiments expressed by oil producers, such as Suncor Energy Inc, that they would hold off on further major investments in Canada’s oil patch until regulatory challenges abated.Shares of Canadian oil producers fell in Toronto, led lower by heavy oil producers MEG Energy Corp and Athabasca Oil Corp, which are especially hurt by price discounts connected to clogged pipelines.Further delays will harm Canada’s economy by limiting access to global markets, said Al Reid, executive vice-president of oil producer Cenovus Energy Inc.Renewed doubts about Trans Mountain place greater importance for Canada’s oil industry on two other pipeline projects. Enbridge Inc is rebuilding Line 3 from Alberta to a hub in Wisconsin, while TransCanada Corp is considering construction of Keystone XL from Alberta to Nebraska.More: Court quashes Canadian approval of Trans Mountain oil pipeline Canadian court deals major blow to Trans Mountain Pipelinelast_img read more

UAE’s Masdar wins 100MW Uzbek solar tender with bid of $0.027/kWh

first_imgUAE’s Masdar wins 100MW Uzbek solar tender with bid of $0.027/kWh FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Uzbekenergo JSC, Uzbekistan’s state-owned energy company, has chosen the bid of UAE-based developer Masdar as the winner among 23 it received for the country’s first large scale PV tender, launched in February.According to the International Financial Corp (IFC), which is advising the Uzbek government on the tender process, Masdar submitted a bid of $0.027/kWh for the 100 MW solar power project at an unspecified location in southwestern Uzbekistan. The project is being financially supported by the Austrian Ministry of Finance, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the government of the Netherlands. The energy utility accepted submissions from 23 companies from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the IFC said in March last year.The IFC said Masdar’s price was one of the lowest tariffs seen for large scale solar in emerging markets and that two more tenders for 400 MW and 500 MW will be launched in the near future. The IFC also said that the new tendered project will be configured as a landmark public-private partnership transaction.“The project is part of an effort by the government of Uzbekistan to develop up to 5 GW of solar power by 2030 to diversify the country’s energy mix,” said Shukhrat Vafaev, Uzbek deputy minister for development and investments. The country’s total power generation capacity stands at around 12.6 GW. Gas accounts for nearly 76% of Uzbekistan’s electricity demand while fuel oil and coal make up 7% and 6%, respectively.A 40 MW solar project was recently announced for the Namangan Free Economic Zone and a new provision to support rooftop PV, solar heaters and energy-efficient gas burners was introduced at the beginning of September.More: Masdar wins Uzbekistan’s 100 MW PV tender with lowest bid of $0.027/kWhlast_img read more

Stop-work order lifted on Mountain Valley pipeline project

first_imgStop-work order lifted on Mountain Valley pipeline project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Mountain Valley Pipeline has another two years to finish a natural gas pipeline.The Roanoke Times reports that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC] also lifted a stop-work order for all but a 25-mile segment of the interstate transmission line that includes the Jefferson National Forest and adjacent land.While acknowledging problems with erosion and sedimentation during the first two years of construction, FERC found that allowing the pipeline to be completed is best for both the environment and the public.In a 2-1 decision, the commission wrote that the presence of equipment, personnel, and partially completed construction is disruptive to landowners. Commissioners say proceeding to final restoration “is in the best interest of these landowners and the environment.”However, new legal challenges could limit the scope of work.More: Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline can resumelast_img read more

Boats and Boards

first_img1. Mamba 8.1 CreekerIf bombing down steep chutes or pounding through big volume is your thing, Dagger delivers a smoother than usual ride with this beefy redesigned model of the popular Mamba Creeker. This boat is designed to take a hit, and thanks to some significant upgrades—adjustable, padded foot and hip braces and additional carefully positioned security handles—you’ll feel more control navigating monster rapids or hucking huge falls. $1049;  dagger.com2. Doyle Discovery Paddleboarders looking for a primo ride need to glide on this hand-shaped design by world champion surfer Mike Doyle. The Discovery is constructed of high density EPS Foam with a wide platform offering plenty of stability for lengthy downriver trips, fishing, and even yoga. $1,300; scsiinc.us/doylesup 3. Hobie Quest 11 Made to accommodate long days of casting, the Quest 11 is an angler dream boat with plenty of convenient features to help you focus on the catch of the day. It’s surprisingly lightweight and nimble for a boat of its size and stability, but you’ll be more impressed by the ample storage space in the bow and stern, as well as the molded rod holders, that accommodate everything you need for long hours on the lazy river. $949; hobiecat.com4. Emotion Kayaks TraverseIf you’re new to stand-up, this board was made to help you get balanced. Deep recess areas and a textured surface offer your feet ample traction to dig in and get comfortable—giving you plenty of stability to get your board legs. The Traverse’s beefy profile and high sidewalls will also help you make the transition from flat lakes to choppier river swells. $449; emotionkayaks.com5. Necky Rip 12If fast-paced flatwater cruising is your thing, Necky’s new rec boat is a supreme glider with performance features more akin to a touring kayak. The Rip 12 is a great transitional option for those looking to explore greater open waters—built to offer plenty of comfortable stability but also smooth performance at increased speeds, thanks to a longer length and sharp keel. This is a boat that will turn newbies into lifers—facilitating passion without the call for a fast upgrade. $699; neckykayaks.com 6. Bomber Gear K-Bomb Spray SkirtNo spray skirt handles extreme conditions like the K-Bomb. It begins with a heavy-duty rubber band to lock the skirt down tight. The skirt itself is woven from an advanced Aramid polymer fiber, typically used for ballistic rated body armor. The waist is crafted with four-way stretch Super Stretch Neoprene for comfort and the decking is infused with Sub-Screen technology for exceptional water repellency. The K-Bomb also features Bomblock reinforced seam construction and the WickClip system which allows the paddler to clip the skirt out of the way for portaging or to hang dry at the end of the day. $175; bombergear.comlast_img read more

Destination Seneca

first_imgThe day-trip adds a good dose of adventure to the normal routine. The planning (whatever little there is), the traveling, and the actual activity all combine for a fresh break into this wide world. To illustrate this, here is a recent account of an excursion into the wild, past ordinary boundaries, and up a huge frickin’ rock: Destination Seneca, West Virginia.The day started off early and with a full cup of coffee. We packed the necessary equipment, excess food, and ourselves into the vehicle to start our trip to Seneca National Park. An early 3-hour car ride through autumn country roads is always a good way to start an adventure. The road and the miles between our home and our destination stretched on like a long ribbon tied to a present we were about to open. We kicked on some Blue Ridge Mountain Jams, held the delicate balance between coffee and bathroom breaks, and cruised down the Sam Sneed memorial highway, all the while having only dreams of what was to come.We arrived to Seneca, WV to find all the local climbing shops closed due to nice weather. We took the signs as a good omen and headed to the base of our climb. Full trad rack equipped, three of us started methodically ascending the first pitch and sequentially said goodbye to the ground for awhile.Trad Rack PictureThe first pitch was easy enough, a Seneca 5.6, but between two ropes, three people, and a good handful of placed gear, the climb took some time off the clock. At one point I looked across the landscape to see deep valleys of the young colors of fall. An opposite butte of Tuscarora quartzite towered across the street and fully in my view. I remember thinking, “who would be crazy enough to climb that thing?”Knife BladeThe second pitch was a little shorter, but there were some shaky legs and nervous smiles as the route began to run out a bit making for an uncomfortable situation in the event of a fall. However, it wasn’t until the third pitch did the exposure kick in.Suddenly our climbing party stood on top of the forest, on top of the landscape, and on top of the world with only way to go; up. Although our multi-pitch adventure had us only scaling so much distance at a time, we incrementally built up a lot of vertical distance between us and the ground. As I scrambled for anything that could constitute as a hand-hold, and looked below my smeared feet to the seemingly thousands of feet (seemingly) below, a sudden realization of my own frailty in nature overcame me. It is the same frailty that turned to astonishment as I stood on top of every pitch, knowing I had surpassed the obstacles of the natural world briefly.Exposure ViewAfter the fourth pitch we could see the sun starting to dip beneath the mountains in the spread out western sky. It was that time and we knew it, it was bail-o’clock. An old friend once said that whenever something goes wrong in the wilderness that is when the adventure begins. And sitting on top of Seneca rocks as the sun disappeared into the horizon, our adventure began.We had a guide-book, all the right equipment, and just enough time. What we didn’t have however, was a suitable anchor to rappel directly down from. Down climbing was far from an option and there was little time to sit around. After some scouting and searching, we found a rappel station for a separate route and we improvised.After hanging precariously from cold shuts and setting the two ropes up for the rappel with a European Death Knot (comforting name, I know), we were ready to rappel halfway down the arête and to an established rappel station. After all the set-up, deliberation, and execution of our off-the-cliff plan, we made it to the second rappel station safely with bloodied knees and an absence of daylight.Our last rappel was equipped with headlamps and starry skies. The ground felt welcoming after six hours spent on the rock, and my trail sneakers felt like slippers after spending the same amount of time in climbing shoes.Headlamp RappelWe left Seneca in the dark and a part of ourselves on the rock. Self doubt, unknown experiences, and old weaknesses all stayed behind as we pulled out of the parking lot. The ride home was easy, fueled by unleaded gasoline and the excitement of the day, and we drove home as our headlights pushed forward and to the end of a great day.Go out and play,Seneca SilhouttesBradlast_img read more

Daily Dirt: A.T. Hiker Falls Off Cliff, PA Hatcher Sued, Bay Striper Rebound

first_imgYour daily outdoor news bulletin for October 21, the day the Guggenheim Museum opened in New York City in 1959:A.T. Hiker Falls Off Cliff, in Critical ConditionA Delaware woman remains in critical condition following a fall from the Appalachian Trail in central Pennsylvania over the weekend. Around noon on Saturday, Lara Louise Kadambi, 38, of Wilmington, Delaware, fell about 30 feet down a cliff of the Pinnacle near Albany Township. Officials say Kadambi was with a hiking group when she lost her balance and fell, suffering severe head trauma. The rescue operation required the help of three departments and 25 people due to the nature of the location and terrain surrounding the accident. It took rescue workers 45 minutes to get to the site and another 90 minutes to get Kadambi up the cliff, down the trail and into a helicopter.She was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital where she remains in critical condition.Enviros Suing PA Fish HatcheryIn a weird, ironic twist, a couple of Pennsylvania environmental groups plan to sue a fish hatchery for…polluting? You heard right. PennEnvironment and the Environmental Integrity Project filed a notice of intent to sue the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for ongoing violations at the state fish hatchery in Bellefonte, a town located in the heart of the state along the famous Spring Creek. Attorneys charge that nitrogen and other pollutants discharged from the Bellefonte hatchery are above permit levels, affecting aquatic life. Spring Creek flows into the Susquehanna River, and then into the Chesapeake Bay, so the federal water pollution control act comes into play. A state hatchery’s goal is to promote and help the health of waterways and the fish that live in them, so this comes as a bit of a surprise. Eastern cold water fisheries are in enough trouble without having our own fish hatcheries polluting them.Chesapeake Stripers on the ReboundStriped Bass in the Chesapeake Bay are mounting a comeback. The latest monitoring survey from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science suggests that stripers are rebounding from poor 2012 numbers. The VIMS takes an annual count of stripers in Bay tributaries of the York, Rappahannock, and James rivers to monitor and count juveniles as they swim upstream. Although the 2013 numbers were just average, they topped last year’s by a significant amount, a promising sign that the fishery is healthy. Striped Bass were nearly fished out of the Bay in the early 80s, but strict laws were enacted in VA, MD, and DE to counteract the problem. It worked. The “rockfish” recovered and continues to be one of the most sought after game fish both commercially and recreationally.last_img read more

The Hard Truth about Horses

first_imgHorses are animals deeply entwined with human history, and they have earned a prominent spot in our hearts. One aspect of this human-horse relationship is our tendency to project onto these beloved creatures our love for freedom, picturing them living an idyllic life “running free.” This image comes with an assumption that horses “set free” will adapt to their new conditions, thrive, and be happy. We assume they will have a better life. But few of us see the actual hardships in the life of a feral horse in unfamiliar terrain.yard 1Aug2014Modern horses are grassland animals. They’re not built to thrive on islands. As a result, their carcasses are piling up in greater numbers on Cumberland Island, a national seashore along the Georgia coast.Visitors imagine that the animals are enjoying happier lives living free on a forested island, but most island visitors see only a glimpse of the life of island horses. They do not observe the struggles of equine life in this hostile island environment, nor the outcomes, since the National Park Service quickly removes dead or injured animals from sight. Turning loose the horses on Cumberland is similar to turning one’s pet dog loose in a forest and expecting it to fare well.E.O. Oct 04On Cumberland, feral mares are often impregnated at age one, long before they are fully mature. Their health quickly deteriorates, especially when food supplies are sparse, which they frequently are on barrier islands.In addition, foal mortality is high, and environmental hazards are many. Flowing manes and long-haired tails are potentially deadly in vine-tangled forests, where the horses are often snared and held until death. The open, level expanses of salt marsh are inviting to equines, but the weight of a horse is distributed on four small points, which offer little support in soft mud. Once a horse sinks belly-deep in mud, escape is unlikely, but the tide is inevitable. Many have drowned, held fast by the mud.Turning loose the horses on Cumberland is similar to turning loose one’s pet dog in the forest and expecting it to fare well.And there are predators. Island horses are killed by alligators, as well as venomous snakes, and encephalitis-bearing mosquitoes. In reality, life is hard and survival is a challenge for the horses living on Cumberland Island.Not only are the horses living a hard life, but many animals native to Cumberland suffer from the presence of feral livestock, as do the natural island ecosystems. Much of the island horse’s diet is composed of Spanish moss, which would otherwise hang to the ground, providing food and habitat for native animals. One look at the amount of horse manure on the island gives an idea of the enormity of their impact on the vegetation and water quality, and thus the ecosystems.BO foal MayPreferring open areas to hazardous forest habitat, and always in search of food, horses frequent the beach and dunes to forage and escape biting flies. There they graze and trample grasses necessary to stabilize the dunes, such as sea oats. Sea oats help hold the sand dunes in place, with their deep network of roots and ability to continue growing if buried. Grazing compromises this natural protection of the shoreline and also violates state law.It is time for us to thoughtfully address the presence of feral horses on Cumberland Island, taking into account their welfare and that of the island ecosystems. Local businesses see the horses as attracting tourist dollars. Others still have an emotional attachment to having horses on the island, without understanding the situation. Are we guilty of simply projecting our romantic notions onto suffering animals?Recently, the National Park Service expressed an interest in non-lethally eliminating feral horses on the island. Using contraception, it is both possible and feasible through non-lethal methods, to allow the present horses to live out their lives on the island, without reproduction, thereby preventing future suffering and ecosystem degradation. In the long-term, using contraception to reduce the number of horses on Cumberland is what’s best for the horses and the island.The National Park Service is seeking comments as part of their upcoming Visitor use Management Plan. Now is an important time to share your thoughts. Ideally, the feral horses should be completely removed, for the health of the suffering horses and the island. At the very least, the National Park Service needs to reduce the number of horses to a small herd on the south end of the island. Submit your comments—even just a sentence or two—at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CUISlast_img read more