FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Tom Pawlicki for SNL:Discoveries of oil and gas in new regions in the U.S. typically bring the need for additional pipelines to take the resources to market. But with natural gas production booming in the past 10 years, industry experts believe that increased use of gas for power generation and deference by regulators may result in a potential overbuild of pipeline infrastructure.The number of interstate natural gas pipelines and compressor stations that have been proposed and approved in recent years is growing.“In 2014, there were 26 pipelines that were approved and then an additional 20 that were proposed,” Carolyn Elefant, a private attorney that represents impacted communities during the pipeline conception process, said at a conference held by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis on March 15. “In 2015, there were 54 pipelines proposed and 30 that were approved. There are definitely many more cases.”Full article ($): FERC deference to pipeline operators seen contributing to overbuild FERC Deference to Pipeline Operators Seen Contributing to Overbuild
As U.S. wind capacity passes 90-GW milestone amid expectations that surge will persist FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Intelligence ($):The U.S. wind market made healthy gains in the second quarter of 2018, with new research suggesting new wind energy project installations will surge between now and 2020.Wind installations reached 626 MW in the second quarter, up from 357 MW of capacity installed in the same period in 2017 and 406 MW in the first quarter of 2018, according to a new market report from the American Wind Energy Association, or AWEA. The country’s cumulative installed capacity is now 90,004 MW in 41 states, plus Puerto Rico and Guam.The U.S. project pipeline also saw healthy growth in the second quarter, the domestic wind industry’s biggest trade group and lobbying body reported. At the end of June, there was 18,987 MW of wind capacity under construction and 18,806 MW in advanced development. That combined 37,794 MW is a 46% year-over-year increase and a 13% rise from the first quarter of 2018.“Wind power’s job creating engine just kicked into a higher gear,” AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said.More ($): AWEA: US wind installations surpass 90 GW in Q2’18
Report: Solar prices have more room to fall FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:A new analysis from Greentech Media (GTM) Research estimates solar bids becoming as cheap as $14.07/MWh through 2022, assuming a perfect storm of desirable financing and technology advances.While that is an extremely low and aspirational price in today’s market, the report warns that the rate of cost declines is beginning to slow, particularly in more mature markets. But rapid declines will still likely be seen in developing areas.NV Energy proposed a portfolio of projects that currently has the lowest-priced solar — a 300 MW power purchase agreement at $23.76/MWh for 25 years, with the Eagle Shadow Mountain solar project.The industry has been playing the solar limbo for years now, as prices rapidly plummeted in response to economies of scale, new technology and experience.NV Energy’s proposal made waves by coming in below a $24.99/MWh contract signed earlier this summer in Arizona. And there is talk that a Tri-County Electric Cooperative deal in Oklahoma resulted in even lower wind prices than the NV Energy solar deal.The addition of storage is also helping bring down solar prices in some areas. In January, Xcel Energy received a median bid price of $21/MWh for wind-plus-storage projects and $36/MWh for solar-plus-storage projects. That beat out the $45/MWh price for a solar-plus-storage project hit last year in a PPA between Tucson Electric Power and NextEra Energy.More: How low can solar prices go? GTM predicts under $15/MWh in 2022
States and conservation groups press case against Trump’s reversal of federal coal-lease moratorium FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Attorneys for California, New Mexico, New York and Washington argue the coal sales have been shortchanging taxpayers because of low royalty rates and cause pollution that puts the climate and public health at risk.The states were joined by conservation groups and Montana’s Northern Cheyenne tribe in a lawsuit that seeks to revive a coal leasing moratorium imposed under President Barack Obama. The moratorium blocked new lease sales from federal lands that hold billions of tons of the fuel.The Trump administration said in court filings that ending the moratorium last year was of critical importance to the economy. That claim comes despite the slow pace of lease sales in recent years and a precipitous drop in demand for the heavily polluting fuel.U.S. lands in Western states including Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Colorado are a major source of coal for mining companies. There are 7.4 billion tons of the fuel in roughly 300 leases administered by the Bureau of Land Management .The judge has played the role of spoiler to Trump on another Obama administration policy reversal — the contentious Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada. Trump approved the pipeline last year, but Morris blocked it temporarily in March. The judge said further environmental reviews were needed for the line to comply with federal laws.Some of those same laws are at the center of the coal moratorium dispute.The states and their allies want push to stop further leasing and resume a sweeping review of the program’s environmental effects. Government attorneys and the National Mining Association say the review started under Obama was a voluntary step and the Trump administration is within its rights to end it.More: States cite climate worries in push to stop US coal sales
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:The South African government will organise a procurement programme for 11,813 MW of new power infrastructure, including 6,800 MW set aside for renewable energy.The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) has concurred with its ministerial determination issued in February 2020 to procure additional capacity.The procurement will open up a number of bid windows, including Bid Window 5 (BW 5) for renewable energy capacity. About 6,800 MW of wind and photovoltaic (PV), 513 MW of storage, 3,000 MW of gas-fired capacity and 1,500 MW from coal-based plants will be up for bidding.“Given the current supply constraints, this additional generation capacity is urgently required, and will be an important contribution towards ending load shedding and ensuring energy security for the country,” Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter commented following NERSA’s decision.The additional capacity is to come on top of the 2,000 MW of emergency power currently being procured under the technology agnostic Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Programme (RMIPPP).The new procurement programme is in line with South Africa’s Integrated Resources Plan (IRP 2019), which sets the country’s energy agenda through 2030. The IRP 2019 leaves gigawatts worth of space for renewable, but coal will remain the biggest source of electricity for South Africa due to its abundance.[Sladjana Djunisic]More: S Africa to procure 6.8 GW of renewables under new programme South Africa moves forward with plan to build 6,800MW of new renewable energy capacity
This could be you this weekend. Photo: Kristian JacksonThis weekend marks the first weekend in March, always an awkward time for the outdoor enthusiast because it is so hard to have any solid plans. It could be 65 degrees and sunny, it could be 20 and snowing, or it could be 33 degrees and sleeting/raining/hailing/tornadoing/brimstoneing. You could be fishing in short sleeves on Saturday and building an igloo in the backyard on Sunday. You never can tell, and even the weathermen grasp at straws during this erratic time. But, those same weathermen are predicting cold temperatures and some snow this weekend, so we have to take their word for it, right? It may be March, but this weekend could be the last chance to experience true winter conditions in the Blue Ridge, so don’t miss the opportunity to send Jack Frost out with a bang.Head for the High Country and get your kicks on the snow-covered trail. Whether you cross country ski, snowshoe, telemark, or just hike in huge, waterproof boots, getting out into the woods when the snow is flying is one of life’s great pleasures – just you, the trees, and the ghost of your breath in the wilderness. What could be better?Our favorite spot to get out into the backcountry is Roan Mountain, the hotspot for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing in the Southeast. From Carvers Gap you can access the summit observation tower at Roan High Bluff. This makes for a lovely ski tour or snowshoe hike with views to spare at 5,700 feet, the perfect ending to a not so perfect winter season.View Larger Map
Your daily news update for March 27th, the day the first long-distance telephone call was made in 1884. It’s the Daily Dirt!WOLF RIDGE SKI RESORT LODGE BURNSEarly yesterday morning on March 26 around 1:30a.m., one of the main lodges at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort burned to the ground. Fortunately, the slopes have been closed since mid-March and no one was in the building at the time of the fire. Investigators say the cause of the fire is still unknown.The burn comes amid a time of turbulence for Wolf Ridge, as the ski resort is in the midst of a lawsuit concerning a proposed deal to sell the property. For more information on the lawsuit, check out this article.RECORD MARATHON FINISHESMarathons saw record finishers in 2013, with approximately 541,000 runners completing one of the 1,100 races around the United States. The Running USA’s Annual Marathon Report issued the report, which said completions were up from 487,000 in 2012.Despite some deterrents and tragedy, including weather and April’s Boston Marathon bombings, runners flocked to marathons, indicating an increased invigoration for the sport. The New York City Marathon had a record year, with 50,266 finishers. This year’s Boston race has expanded to 36,000 runners, leading many to expect 2014 could be the biggest year yet.ROANOKE KAYAKER DIESCurt Joyce, an avid kayaker and rock climber, died last Tuesday while running the Grand Canyon.Park rangers said that Joyce was discovered capsized and unresponsive in his kayak Tuesday night near the Lower Whitmore camp in the Grand Canyon. Members of the kayaking group tried to resuscitate Joyce with CPR. They called rescuers with a satellite phone at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.Hailing from Roanoke but currently living in Portland, Joyce was an outdoor enthusiast with an ardent knack for living life fully. Friends and family have described him as someone who worked hard to make time for his passion and love of the outdoors. He is survived by his wife Melissa. A memorial service will be held for Joyce on Saturday, March 29th at 2:00pm at South Roanoke United Methodist Church, 2330 South Jefferson St., Roanoke, VA. The Curt Joyce Memorial Fund has been set in place for those wishing to contribute their support for Joyce’s family.BUNGEE JUMPING WORLD RECORDLast Friday, Colin Phillips of the UK completed 151 bungee jumps in a single day, breaking the Guinness World Record. Talk about a dizzying day of inversions and contortions.Surpassing the previous record of 105 jumps in a 24-hour period, Phillips completed the feat in just 12 hours. Jumping from a 238-foot crane in Dubai, he had originally aimed to complete 200 jumps but stopped short at 151 due to fatigue.FIRST 3D-PRINTED KAYAKIn the seemingly boundless world of 3D-printing, engineer Jim Smith has debuted the world’s first 3D-printed kayak. The boat took more than 1,000 hours over 42 days to construct, measuring in at 16 feet 8 inches long.The colorful construction is made of 28 color-coded ABS plastic parts, which are connected by thermoplastic inserts and a small amount of caulk. Check out Smith’s process here.
Steep Canyon Rangers host the tenth annual Mountain Song Festival this weekend.The Steep Canyon Rangers have come a long way since the first time I saw them at The Prism Coffeehouse in Charlottesville in 2003. Over the ensuing twelve years, the band has gone on to win a Grammy Award and a host of IBMA awards while garnering critical acclaim for both their own recordings and live performances and the work they have done with comic legend (and wicked good banjoist) Steve Martin.Fresh off the release of Radio, which the band celebrated with a rousing show at the Paramount Theater in Bristol, Tennessee, the Steep Canyon Rangers are poised to host the tenth edition of their very own Mountain Song Festival in Brevard, North Carolina, this weekend.I recently chatted with guitarist and lead singer Woody Platt about the new record and this weekend’s festivities.BRO – You just released Radio, your newest record. What did it mean to you to have the release party in Bristol, a city well known for its musical history?WP – With Bristol being the birthplace of country music, and with the addition of Tony Lawson and WBCM, it was a natural fit. There is so much great musical history there, starting with the Bristol Sessions. We were honored to release Radio in Bristol. The audience was wonderful!BRO – This marks the tenth anniversary of your Mountain Song Festival. What do you know now that you wish you had known in year one?WP – That it really makes sense to hire someone to clean the bathrooms after the festival instead of doing it ourselves! But seriously, having a great team and plenty of volunteers makes the festival run so much more efficiently.BRO – In five words or less, finish this statement – “The best part of hosting a music festival is . . . “WP – . . . . bringing a community together for a great cause.BRO – Any performances over the first nine years that really stick out in your memory?WP – Doc Watson playing to a full house as the headliner of our first festival. Also, Steve Martin coming out as a total surprise guest at the fourth Mountain Song Festival. That was the first time we played with Steve and the audience went nuts!BRO – Come Sunday evening, what will be your measuring stick for the success of Mountain Song?WP – We always hope to raise as much money as we can for the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County. If we can break the $500,000 mark this year, it will feel like a huge success. But just having three days of great music in our wonderful small mountain community will be a success in itself.The tenth annual Mountain Song Festival kicks off on Friday, September 11th, and the line up includes Del McCoury Band, Ricky Skaggs, Larry Keel, and more. For information and times, please check out the festival’s website.And if you would like to win a pair of lawn seats for the weekend, you have come to the right place! Take a shot at the trivia question down below and email your answer to [email protected] A winner of two passes to Mountain Song will be chosen from all of the correct responses received by 2:00 P.M. tomorrow (Wednesday, September 9th). Remember – please email your responses. Don’t post answers don’t below in the comments section. That’s no fun for anyone!While you wait to find out if you have won, make sure to take a listen to “Radio” on this month’s Trail Mix and to check out the band’s website for more information on how to get your copy of the new record or when the band might take to a stage near you.Question . . . . The Steep Canyon Rangers formed on the campus of what university?Good luck! Photo by Sandlin Gaither.
I’m a sucker for great bands with quirky names.Mipso.Just say it.The only thing more enjoyable than saying the name of this North Carolina bluegrass quartet – which, incidentally, always makes me grin – is listening to its progressive take on acoustic music.Mipso recently entered the Billboard Bluegrass charts at #1 with their new release, Old Time Reverie, which dropped earlier this month.I recently caught up with mandolinist Jacob Sharp to chat about the new record, balancing the old with the new, and funny words that start with “m.”BRO – How difficult is if for a contemporary string band to balance the traditional with the progressive?JS – As difficult as you want it to be, I suppose. We pick and choose our moments to really dig into, or out of, the balance here. I think we benefit at times from being schooled at different levels within different types of music. Traditional musics of North Carolina – folk, old time, and bluegrass – are our collective foundation, but only recently have we become better versed in them, so we often have to decide when, and at what levels, we balance out the traditional with the progressive. But it’s a total joy for us – that balancing challenge – because it’s so fun. And we appreciate that doing it is an obvious tip of the hat to our North Carolina heritage. We’re proud of that.BRO – What pop song out there right now might you like to give your “renegade traditional” treatment to?JS – Well, I’m really into Taylor Swift. Ryan Adams kind of stole the spotlight here, but I’d still like to cover one of her tunes. I think I’d be the only Mipso to have this desire, which may be an issue. But, yeah . . . we could really rock “Out Of The Woods.”BRO – We are featuring “Marianne” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?JS – This is a tune Joseph wrote, and it is maybe one of the more political tunes on the record. It’s about the struggles of an interracial couple in North Carolina may have faced a few decades back. Being period based in a time we didn’t live in, it’s not based on Joseph’s experiences or anyone he knows, but as modern liberal North Carolinians we think a lot about the contradictions and complications of some of the legacies we have here in North Carolina, in the South, and anywhere else. Those tensions are based around different issues now than they were then, but they similarly stem from a certain segment of society’s fear of change and difference. We think about those tensions a lot, as individuals and as a group.As I prepped for this piece, I thought it might be fun to turn someone from the band loose on a quiz of funny words that start with “m.” Jacob was more than gracious in accepting my challenge.BRO – Does “mixen” mean (a) a dunghill, (b) to gather insects, or (c) a Flemish folk dance?JS – A Flemish folk dance.BRO – Is a “moton” (a) armor for the armpit, (b) a crispy Chinese noodle, or (c) a traditional Egyptian dress?JS – A crispy Chinese noodle.BRO – Is a “mugwump” (a) someone who is politically neutral, (b) an unsuccessful thief, or (c) a feral swamp pig?JS – An unsuccessful thief.BRO – “Moya” is (a) volcanic mud, (b) a miniature zebra, or (c) the Spanish slang equivalent for “mommy.”JS – Volcanic mud.BRO – Does “molo” mean (a) a two or three stringed West African lute, (b) a spicy mayonnaise, (c) or something that is weird or strange?JS – A two or three stringed West African lute.BRO – Now, in the spirit of the quiz, can you tell those of us that are curious what a “mipso” is?JS – Mipso, MipsoWhere did you goWhenever I askNobody knowsEven though Jacob fell a bit short in sharing with me what a mipso is, he did okay on the quiz, getting two out of the five words right. That’s really not too bad for a bunch of words he’d never heard before!For the record, each word was correctly defined by the (a) answer!You can catch Mipso tonight in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then across the Midwest for shows in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa over the next couple weeks.For more information on Mipso, their tour dates, or how you can get the new record, point your browser here. And make sure you check out “Marianne” on this month’s Trail Mix.And, lastly, a big shout out to my fifth grade students at Powell Valley Middle School for coming up with the alternate answers for the “m word” quiz!!
April 9Tallulah Fest: Long Creek, S.C.Join us April 9th in Long Creek, South Carolina for some of the Southeast’s most classic whitewater paddling and hum-dinging. Boaters, rafters, and river lovers alike will find themselves stitched amongst an enthusiastic river-loving community!April 10Meet-Up #1: Chattooga River Clean-Up: Long Creek, S.C.After a weekend of foot stomping and stout crushing, meet Jess and Adam at the Blue Ridge Outdoors Tent/Van for a shuttle to the Chattooga River to cleanup some of the more heavily impacted sections of the river. The first 25 participants that sign up will receive a pair of Farm to Feet socks and also the satisfaction that comes from giving back!!April 15—17Down by Downtown: Roanoke, Va.Square dancers and marathon runners of all ages are invited to join Jess and Adam at the 2016 Down by Downtown Music Festival held in beautiful Elmwood Park, downtown Roanoke. Down by Downtown is held in conjunction with the Blue Ridge Marathon kicking off the morning of Saturday April 16th. Catch a show at the Elmwood Park Amphitheater, Friday and Saturday, as well as at multiple venues through out town.April 16Meet-Up #2: Hike for the Stars: Roanoke, Va.If you’re not participating in the Blue Ridge Marathon, and not too exhausted from a night of dancing, come join Blue Ridge Outdoors and Walkabout Outfitters for a hike to the infamous Mill Mountain Star! Meet us at Elmwood Park at the Blue Ridge Outdoors and Walkabout Outfitters booths (site 10) at 8:15am if interested.April 30Meet-Up #3: TBD: Fayetteville, W.Va.Join us with Waterstone Outdoors in the New River Gorge for a day of play and an evening of rocking out!April 22—24Tuck Fest: USNWC, Charlotte, N.C.This three-day event will be sure to leave you exhausted. No matter what your calling to the outdoors may be, Tuck Fest has it. Come join us at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C., for a bike riding, trail running, and eddy catching good time.Have questions? Email [email protected] for more information on any of these events or meet-ups! We want to hang out! That’s part of the reason why we hit the road in the first place. Check back on our blog and social media handles regularly for updates on when and where we’ll be near you, but in the meantime, browse through our April schedule for event presences and meet-ups this month.