Wyoming editorial: Trump bailout looks backward; it’s time to move forward

first_imgWyoming editorial: Trump bailout looks backward; it’s time to move forward FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star-Tribune:Coal powers homes throughout the nation, and it helps fuel Wyoming’s economy. For many, it keeps the lights on in more ways than one.When coal busted in 2015, Wyomingites were among those hit hardest in the nation. And though things are starting to look up for the industry, the golden days of coal are likely over.But instead of looking to coal’s new future, the Trump administration is seeking to prop up its past.As Wyoming politicians are fond of saying, it isn’t the job of the federal government to pick winners and losers in business. If the Trump administration eliminates subsidies for renewable energies, or dismantles the Clean Power Plan in order to reduce some of the regulatory burden on the industry, that’s one way to deliver on campaign promises.But this bailout is going too far.Coal’s place in the energy sector has changed. Investing in our past will only shortchange us in the future.More: Editorial board: Trump’s coal bailout is a short-sighted planlast_img read more

Equinor expands into solar, opens Brazil PV plant

first_imgEquinor expands into solar, opens Brazil PV plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:The 162-megawatt Apodi Solar Plant, in Ceara State, Brazil, is expected to produce around 340,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, Equinor said Wednesday. This is enough to provide energy for over 170,000 homes.Pal Eitrheim, Equinor’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, described the news as a “strategic milestone” for the business.In October 2017, the firm – formerly known as Statoil – set up a joint venture with Norwegian solar power company Scatec Solar to construct, own and operate “large-scale solar plants in Brazil.” Earlier this month, Equinor acquired a minority shareholding in Scatec Solar.Equinor and Scatec each own 43.75 percent of the Apodi facility, with the remainder owned by holding company Apodi Participacoes.“The Apodi project was our first step into the solar industry,” Eitrheim added. “With the plant now in operation and through our excellent collaboration with Scatec Solar, we are complementing Equinor’s portfolio with profitable solar energy.”More: Equinor’s first solar plant starts commercial operationlast_img read more

NextEra CEO says most U.S. coal generation could be closed by 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The head of NextEra Energy, the biggest and most successful utility in the United States says the energy industry is in the grip of massive change, with the cost of renewables and battery storage – without subsidies – beating gas, as well as existing coal and nuclear on costs.“We see renewables plus battery storage without incentives being cheaper than natural gas, and cheaper than existing coal and existing nuclear,” Jim Robo, the CEO, president and chairman of NextEra, told analysts last week at the Wolfe Utilities & Energy Conference. “And that is game changing,” Robo said. So much so, that renewables would likely replace coal generation in the US within a decade.Robo noted that the US government’s Energy Information Administration expects that the world’s biggest electricity market could reach 35 per cent renewables by 2030. Robo says it could be as high as 50 per cent by 2030, and could ultimately be 70-75 per cent by 2050.“I think that’s very doable, and that would take out an enormous amount of carbon out of the United States. And at the same time bring rates down across the country. And that’s the thing that I think people still haven’t grasped – that you can be green and low cost at the same time and that it’s terrific for customers, it’s terrific for the environment and it’s great for shareholders as well.”Robo’s comments are significant for a number of obvious reasons. Close watchers of the US energy market will already be aware that the cost of wind and solar has fallen dramatically, and recent auctions for “dispatchable” energy has seen renewables and battery storage projects beating out gas, which is significantly cheaper in the US than in Australia. And the fact that renewables and storage, without further incentives, can beat out existing coal and nuclear plants, most of which have been fully depreciated, is just as significant. As is Robo’s point that “you can be green and low cost” at the same time. And, as he also notes, can deliver reliable power as well.“When you look at wind and solar paired with a battery, new construction is cheaper than the operating cost of existing coal. So, there’s very little reason from an economic standpoint to continue to run those units and there’s very little reason from a reliability standpoint to run those units and there’s certainly no reason from an environmental standpoint to run them. So, we see a massive shift there in terms of much of the coal in the country being phased out by 2030.”More: U.S. energy giant says renewables and batteries beat coal, gas and nukes NextEra CEO says most U.S. coal generation could be closed by 2030last_img read more

BlackRock plans to set stricter standards on climate risk

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Wall Street Journal ($):BlackRock said it would take a tougher stance against corporations that aren’t providing a full accounting of environmental risks, part of a slew of moves by the investment giant to show it is doing more to address investment challenges posed by climate change.Among the moves, BlackRock said it would be increasingly disposed to vote against management and boards if companies don’t disclose climate change risks and plans in line with key industry standards.BlackRock is also pulling back from thermal coal producers in actively managed debt-and-equity portfolios by mid-2020, a move that will lead to $500 million in sales. It will expand the range of sustainable investment products as well as double to 150 the number of exchange-traded funds that address environmental, social and governance challenges.BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, with about $7 trillion under management. It has risen on the back of index funds that trade on exchanges and through these funds has extended its reach across nearly every company and is part of the retirement accounts of millions of people around the world. The firm also sits at the backbone of Wall Street as its software is used by banks to monitor their risks.The firm said it is putting the focus on sustainability because the costs of climate change have ramifications on the price of assets and the financial ecosystem.“Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” BlackRock Chief Executive Laurence Fink said in his annual letter. “The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance.”Lately, there has been increased pressure on investment firms to do more on climate change.[Dawn Lim, Julie Steinberg]More: BlackRock to Hold Companies and Itself to Higher Standards on Climate Risk BlackRock plans to set stricter standards on climate risklast_img read more

Wood Mackenzie: ‘Low-risk’ renewables now offer same return as oil and gas projects

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Investor payback from wind and solar projects is now competitive with oil and gas as the price for crude languishes at under $25 per barrel (bbl) following the market collapse fueled by the spread of coronavirus — and would be even at $35/bbl, according to analyst group Wood Mackenzie.Before the pandemic, when the price of crude was at $60/bbl, wind and solar projects’ average 5-10% internal rate of return (IRR) “found it difficult to compete with expected double-digit returns” for oil and gas, said Valentina Kretzschmar, vice-president of corporate analysis. But even if the oil market were to rebound, the growing pressure on the sector to commit to net-zero carbon meant renewable energy “presented opportunities for companies with strong balance sheets,” she added.“Our analysis shows that 75% of pre-final investment decision projects globally would return less than the cost of capital, assumed at 10%…Oil and gas projects are now in line with average returns from low-risk solar and wind projects,” WoodMac said in a special note on the impact of coronavirus on the oil and gas sector. “Capital allocation is no longer a one-way street for Big Oil — renewables projects suddenly look as attractive as upstream projects at $35/bbl.”Kretzschmar downplayed notions that the swinging “survival mode” cuts now being made by oil and gas companies to discretionary spending would impact on renewables investments — as many, including the International Energy Agency (IEA), have feared. “Historically, the oil price has shown no correlation with investment in renewables. The installation of both wind and solar continued to increase through the last oil price downturn,” she said.“Oil and gas companies make up a tiny proportion of global investment in renewables. The sector accounts for less than 2% of global solar and wind capacity. Even if Big Oil stopped investing in renewables altogether, that would have a minor impact on growth.”Kretzschmar noted, nonetheless, that in the short-term, the oil and gas sector will “struggle to generate enough cash to maintain operations and honour shareholder commitments” in a sub-$35/bbl industrial landscape, with all discretionary spending “including additional budget allocated for carbon mitigation” being put under review.[Darius Snieckus]More: Investor returns on renewables projects ‘now competitive with oil & gas’ as coronavirus strikes Wood Mackenzie: ‘Low-risk’ renewables now offer same return as oil and gas projectslast_img read more

Australia’s AGL Energy unveils plans for 500MW battery at Liddell coal plant

first_imgAustralia’s AGL Energy unveils plans for 500MW battery at Liddell coal plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:AGL Energy has kick-started the transformation of the ageing Liddell coal-fired power station, lodging initial development documents for a new big battery of up to 500MW – more than three times the size of the Tesla big battery in South Australia, which remains the biggest in the world.The 1,680MW Liddell power station – one of biggest in NSW – has been flagged for closure by AGL in 2023, despite repeated calls by the federal government to keep it open. AGL has intentions to repurpose the existing infrastructure at the Liddell site, once the coal power station is decommissioned to support the construction of new generation and storage infrastructure.The preferred plan for the Liddell power station site developed by AGL includes an initial big battery installation of 150MW, but the planning approval it is seeking from the NSW government is for a big battery of up to 500MW in total.The hours of storage – expressed in megawatt hours – is yet to be determined, but the Liddell battery is set to be overtake the Tesla big battery at Hornsdale in South Australia – currently being upgraded from 100MW/129MWh to 150MW/194MWh and setting new records in testing – although much bigger batteries are being built or are planned in the US.AGL says that it has already approached a number of suppliers to tender for the supply of the battery systems to be installed at the Liddell site and has lodged an initial scoping document with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.The announcement comes just a day after AGL told shareholders during its annual earnings update that it had set a target to grow its battery storage and demand response programs to up to 1,200MW in available capacity.[Michael Mazengarb]More: AGL seeks approval for 500MW big battery at site of Liddell coal generatorlast_img read more

CEA: 21GW of renewable generation capacity currently under construction across India

first_imgCEA: 21GW of renewable generation capacity currently under construction across India FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ETEnergyworld.com:Solar and wind energy projects of over 21,142 Megawatt (Mw) are currently under construction in India over and above the 88,000 Mw already installed generation capacity based on the two clean resources.Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the country’s apex power sector planning body, said in a report the projects are getting built across key resource-rich states including Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh and were bid out under multiple schemes.The report also said the government had tendered projects with 31,500 Mw capacity of which 23,246 Mw capacity projects were awarded to developers.These projects were tendered under programmes such as the Solar Energy Corporation of India’s 2-GW ISTS-connected scheme, 750 MW Rajasthan projects, 150 MW grid-connected floating solar PV plants, 750 MW Kadapa solar park project, the CPSU scheme’s tranche-I of 2 GW and tranche-II of 1,500 MW, and nine tranches of SECI’s wind schemes.The data of under construction renewable energy projects shared in the report also showed time over-runs across multiple projects. Mahindra Renewables’ 250-MW project in Rajasthan — to be developed in Jodhpur and bidded under the 2-GW ISTS-connected solar project scheme — has been rescheduled to 31 January 2021 from the earlier date of 25 October 2020. Similarly, ACME’s Deoghar solar project had an original scheduled completion date of 8 November 2020, which has now been shifted to 7 January 2022.The report also said of the 61 solar energy projects tendered by SECI, 42 have availed timeline extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic in line with the government’s earlier Order.[Aarushi Koundal]More: Solar, wind energy projects of 21,142 MW capacity under construction in Indialast_img read more

Repsol’s new strategic plan earmarks 5.5 billion euros for low-carbon generation

first_imgRepsol’s new strategic plan earmarks 5.5 billion euros for low-carbon generation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Repsol SA has unveiled a new strategic plan for the next five years aimed at accelerating its energy transition while boosting shareholder value, according to a Nov. 26 news release. The Spanish integrated oil and gas company said it will decarbonize its asset portfolio and establish a new operating model as it aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.The strategic plan will have two periods. For the first two years, Repsol plans to focus on ensuring financial strength and extending its efficiency and competitivity programs by prioritizing efficiency, investment cuts and optimization of capital, along with projects to lead the energy transition, according to the company. From 2022 onward, the company will shift its focus to the acceleration of growth.Repsol intends to invest a total of €18.3 billion between 2021 and 2025, of which €5.5 billion, or 30%, will be spent on low-carbon businesses. As part of the strategic plan, Repsol has also reorganized itself into four business areas: upstream, industrial, customer and low-carbon generation.Through its low-carbon generation unit, Repsol will target a generation capacity of 7.5 GW by 2025 and 15 GW by 2030. It will develop a portfolio of projects that will grow more than 500 MW annually between 2020 and 2025. The industrial unit is in charge of transitioning its seven industrial sites in Spain, Portugal and Peru to multi-energy hubs, as well as reaching renewable hydrogen production of 400 MW by 2025 with the goal of exceeding 1.2 GW in 2030.Repsol aims to generate €4.5 billion of free cash flow between 2021 and 2025 and cut emissions by 75% through 2025 through its upstream unit.Repsol committed to long-term emissions reduction goals as early as 2019. Repsol previously laid out plans to reduce its carbon intensity indicator by 10% by 2025, 20% by 2030, 40% by 2040 and net-zero emissions by 2050, from a 2016 baseline. The new strategic plan looks to cut carbon intensity by 12% in 2025, 25% in 2030, and 50% in 2040.[Dan Carino Jr.]More ($): Repsol unveils new strategic plan to accelerate energy transitionlast_img read more

ExxonMobil to take $20 billion writedown, cut development spending

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Exxon Mobil Corp. is about to incur the biggest writedown in its modern history as the giant U.S. oil and gas producer reels from this year’s collapse in energy prices.Exxon — traditionally far more reluctant to cut the book value of its business than other oil majors — on Monday disclosed it will write down North and South American natural gas fields by $17 billion to $20 billion. That could make it the industry’s steepest impairment since BP Plc’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill that killed 11 workers and fouled the sea for months. Meanwhile, capital spending will be drastically reduced through 2025.The announcement comes in the waning days of a grueling year for Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods, who’s resorted to laying off thousands of employees, curtailing retirement benefits and canceling ambitious growth projects. The former refinery manager, who stepped into the top job in 2017, has been forced to recast his seven-year, $210 billion blueprint for rejuvenating Exxon’s aging portfolio of crude and gas holdings.In addition to dropping vast swaths of gas assets from the development queue, Woods is capping capital spending at $25 billion a year through 2025, a $10 billion reduction from his pre-pandemic target.Exxon has been warning shareholders since October that its gas assets were at risk of significant impairment. Previously, the energy titan’s largest writedown was for about $3.4 billion in 2016, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Assets removed from Exxon’s development plans include so-called dry gas resources in Appalachia and the Rocky Mountains, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, as well as western Canada and Argentina, the company said. It will attempt to sell “less strategic” assets.The writedown stems from former CEO Rex Tillerson’s decision a decade ago to buy XTO Energy for $35 billion rather than spend years building an in-house shale business. At the time, the outlook for North American gas prices was bright because demand was rising faster than supply. Instead, fracking was a victim of its own success, unleashing so much gas that it overwhelmed demand and the infrastructure needed to handle it, resulting in a prolonged stretch of depressed prices.[Kevin Crowley]More: Exxon faces historic writedown after energy markets implode ExxonMobil to take $20 billion writedown, cut development spendinglast_img read more

The Benefits of Bicycle Commuting

first_imgStreet view of biking to work in Asheville. Photo: Jakob Kafer The petroleum IV drip that we as Americans have bothers me more and more every day.  I am as guilty as anyone about using petroleum to access my favorite playgrounds in the outdoors, but one important goal for me in my career is the ability to ride my bike to work daily.  That is part of the reason why I love living in Asheville, NC so much.  This city is very accessible from a variety of neighborhoods surrounding the town, and the enabling infrastructure is improving every day with the help of organizations such as Asheville on Bikes.I did some Internet searching recently on the actual benefits of bicycle commuting from a variety of different standpoints, and the supportive factors were staggering!Apparently, riding a bicycle is the most energy efficient form of transportation ever invented.  By biking instead of driving a car, you are saving on a myriad of expenses that you would have otherwise incurred.  These include fuel, tire wear, fluids, maintenance and parking.  Although the distances traveled may seem inconsequential at first, these savings can add up very quickly.When you ride to work, you are getting a great workout and kick-starting your metabolism for increased fat burning and productivity throughout the day.  It is widely accepted that new full-time bicycle commuters can expect to lose an average of 13 pounds their first year of bicycle commuting if they maintain the same eating habits!  This exercise leads to clearer skin, better muscle tone, and bone mass improvement.  It also decreases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.There are many other hidden benefits to this form of transportation.  In many cities, riding a bike is actually faster than any other option, and it usually carries with it a predictable commute time that is not susceptible to traffic jams, and other problems.  Increased bike use also aids in the generation of bike infrastructure, which drives up property values.  Biking commuters were also added to the list of those eligible for transportation tax benefit in 2010, so tax-free subsidies are available in addition to the cost savings!If you aren’t convince yet, check out this bicycle commuting infographic.What do you think… ready to give it a shot?last_img read more