FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Star:Experts say an annex in North America’s newest trade agreement could protect the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from financial difficulties.The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) forbids all three governments from giving non-commercial assistance to Crown corporations, meaning governments can’t help corporations restructure debt, rescue a corporation from bankruptcy, or support activities that will have “adverse effects” in another country.All three governments chose certain Crown corporations to be exempt from these rules. The Trans Mountain Corporation is one of Canada’s picks.Under USMCA’s Annex IV, the federal government can support Trans Mountain Corporation with non-commercial assistance “for the sole purpose … to return (the enterprise) to viability and fulfil its mandate.” The government is allowed to provide assistance to the pipeline until Trans Mountain Corp. is privatized or 10 years have passed since the original agreement.Blake Shaffer, an energy adviser at the C.D. Howe Institute, said the annex could put a time limit on the government’s ownership of the Trans Mountain expansion project. “It’s … noteworthy that a countdown is on,” Shaffer told iPolitics. “At the very least, it makes it a credible statement when the federal government says it doesn’t plan to remain in the pipeline business.”Jack Aubry, a spokesperson for the ministry of finance, refuted that claim, saying there is “no specific” timeline for the divestment to occur — only that the agreement allows Trans Mountain to be exempt from UMSCA rules governing other Crown corporations for 10 years.More: USMCA protects Trans Mountain from money problems: experts Canada carves out protections for Trans Mountain pipeline in new free trade agreement
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The market to acquire wind generation remains robust, whether for development assets or legacy projects, with contracts or without, according to deal-makers at the American Wind Energy Association’s annual Wind Energy Finance & Investment conference in New York City on Oct. 1-2.“There is a lot of liquidity and strong demand, both on the development side and the operating side,” said Frank Nicklaus, principal at Greentech Capital Advisors, citing the recently agreed sale of Noble Environmental Power LLC’s 612-MW operating wind portfolio in New York state as an example.Carlyle Group LP announced it would acquire the wind assets in September, marking the first wind investment for the Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm. Carlyle owns upward of 6,000 MW of generation assets, including gas-fired plants and hydro facilities.“A lot of the folks that looked at that portfolio were looking at it as a potential repowering,” said Nicklaus, whose firm ran the sale process for Noble, adding that he was “pleasantly surprised” by the great interest shown in the platform. “Those assets were about 10 years old, had rolled off the [production tax credits] and were actually merchant.”Nicklaus said big strategic investors are expected to be among those looking to acquire projects ripe for repowering as the passage of time produces more “legacy” wind projects, though Christopher Pih, managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said private equity firms may be more equipped to tackle the risk associated with a repowering.“If you have higher risk, whether it’s repowering, or re-contracting, or a bit of hair, then you start to tap into more of the private equity-like kind of infrastructure players who are interested in those types of assets,” Pih said.However, panelists at the conference left little doubt that the wind M&A market is active across the board.Live sales include utility-owned portfolios from sellers trying to drum-up low-cost cash, recycle capital or otherwise find ways to up their balance sheet as well as assets from developers who see the frothy M&A market as the perfect opportunity to put projects on the block, Pih said.More ($): Seller’s market for wind assets persists New assets, old assets, U.S. wind market is flourishing
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:Angola is expecting to kickstart its dormant solar sector by deploying several hundred megawatts worth of projects within three years, a top government official has said. Speaking in the capital Luanda, energy minister João Baptista Borges predicted that nationwide PV capacity will reach 600MW by 2022, up from the 10MW-plus figures recorded this year.At an event a the U.S. embassy this week, Baptista Borges said the roll-out of 30,000 individual systems is feasible if the private sector steps in to back the transition. “There is a need to create a vehicle to secure funding for the electrification of rural areas,” the minister said, in statements aired by government news agency ANGOP.In Angola, the rise in policymaker interest in solar PV comes as analysts describe the African state as a largely untapped PV hotspot, thanks to irradiation levels in the 1,350-2,100 kWh/m2/year range. As the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar) and the Becquerel Institute noted this year, the government’s own figures place Angola’s solar potential at 55GW, far above wind’s 3GW. In a report released in mid-May, as Intersolar 2019 got underway in Munich, the authors pointed at the government’s efforts to tap into clean energy to bolster rural electrification rates.The minister’s talk this week of a 600MW solar market by 2022 outstrips some of the government’s earlier goals, including a target for PV capacity to hit 200MW nationwide by 2025. As BSW-Solar and the Becquerel pointed out in May, the country has shown interest in coming on board the World Bank’s Scaling Solar programme, which has helped unlock PV growth in countries like Senegal, Zambia and Ethiopia.More: Angola eyeing 600MW solar market within three years Angola looks to kickstart solar development efforts
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:America is continuing its exodus from coal.Alliant Energy Corp. announced Friday it will close its coal-fired Edgewater power plant outside Sheboygan, Wis., in 2022. A few weeks earlier, Great River Energy said it plans to shut its Coal Creek Station north of Bismarck, N.D., in two years’ time. And in New Mexico, Arizona Public Service has moved forward the retirement date of the Four Corners Generating Station—long one of America’s largest CO2 emitters—from 2038 to 2031.Power companies have announced plans to close 13 coal plants this year, according to an E&E News review of federal data and companies’ closure plans. Two others will be converted to natural gas.The actual retirement dates vary. Springfield, Ill., will close two of the four units at the city-owned Dallman power plant later this year. Others, like Hoosier Energy’s Merom Generating Station, will shut in 2023. Still others face a gradual shutdown. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. will close one unit at its Craig Station in Colorado in 2025 and two more in 2030.But analysts say the trend confirms the country’s shift away from coal as the fuel struggles to compete with natural gas and renewables amid stagnant demand for electricity.“Right now, the economics of burning coal just don’t make sense. There are fewer and fewer hours in the year where you can cover your fuel costs, let alone your staffing costs and everything else,” said Joe Daniel, an analyst who tracks the power sector at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “If you are the CEO that owns coal or the energy manager at a city buying coal-fired electric power and you’re not thinking of retiring that coal contract, then maybe it’s time for you to retire.”[Benjamin Storrow]More: Coal’s decline continues with 13 plant closures announced in 2020 Announced U.S. coal plant retirements year-to-date climb to 13
An excerpt from “Challenging the Linville Gorge”by Eric Crewsas seen in The High Country Magazine (June, 2010)The Franklin Challenge For most people, a short day hike to one of the many overlooks of the Linville Gorge for a view of the river below is all the challenge they need. But for a small group of avid hikers and backpackers, the Linville Gorge is the perfect place to challenge themselves to go farther, and faster, in one day, than most people prefer to hike in a weekend. They do so by racing from the far southern terminus of the Linville Gorge near Shortoff Mountain to Linville Falls in a 16.7 mile jaunt that has become known as the Franklin Challenge.According to Chris Blake, the author of the recent book on the Linville Gorge, River of Cliffs, the Challenge was first inspired by a mountain man named Franklin.“A mountain man named Franklin, well known for his reckless as well as other spirits, took a dare and a bet that he could go up the Gorge in one day…a trip that usually takes three to four days. Well, he started at the Beach bottoms, just above Lake James; tied his pants legs to his boots; stuffed his pants with dried leaves until he looked like a Dutchman in pantaloons; drank a pint of white lightning and started up the Gorge.A companion who followed him said that before he go 2 miles up the Gorge, he had 3 copperheads and 1 rattlesnake stuck to his britches like barbed wire around a fence post. But he won his bet…with his leather boots and pants full of leaves, he didn’t have to worry about snakes.”After the publication of Blake’s book, the legend of the Franklin Challenge took hold, and inspired a renewed interest in long-distance hiking in the Gorge. First organized in 2007 by Allen Hyde as a hike amongst friends to see who was up for the challenge, the event has taken on a life of its own and is regarded as one of the latest adventures to be summoned in the Gorge.For Nathan Buchanan, an avid hiker of the Linville Gorge, the Challenge presented a great way for him to experience some seldom seen areas of the Gorge, but little did he know the extent of the challenge he was in for.“The first time I met Alan Hyde, [author of The Linville Gorge Hiker’s Guide] was on race day in the first year,” Buchanan recalled. “It was still dark and I couldn’t see his face and he couldn’t see mine and he said, ‘First off, we’ll need the make and model of your vehicle so that if you’re still in the Gorge when we’re out we’ll know that you’re still there because your vehicle will still be at the finish line; and, secondly, we need a phone number for the next of kin so that somebody can identify your body if you fall.’ I think that’s a pretty good way to sum up how dangerous it really can be down there. Especially during the race when people are going as fast as they can, but on any given day it’s slick on a whole number of spots down there and one fall could bust you up real bad or end your life, truly. Of course it’s dangerous and there’s a risk involved, but I think it’s worth it.”Buchanan went on to hike the entire Gorge in seven and a half hours that day, finishing the 17 mile race in third place.Nathan Buchanan preparing for a climb in the Linville Gorge“The first year I ever did the race was a completely new experience for me,” said Nathan Buchanan. “I hadn’t been in the Gorge a great deal and thought it would be a great way to see a whole lot of it in a day. It turned out to be a very challenging race – I nearly crawled to the end I was cramping up so bad.”Last year, in 2009, Buchanan bettered his time by more than an hour, and won the Franklin Challenge. And while racing up the Gorge with a group of friends is something most people might not have the desire to ever attempt, Buchanan believes it is something most people would really enjoy, given the proper training and preparation.“It’s important to be prepared and know the trail when you’re going into the Gorge on a hike like this,” Buchanan said. “Take a lot of food, and a lot of water, but more than anything just have a good time. As tough as the race is, it’s still fun. And, in the end, it’s still about enjoying the natural landscape and seeing everything that’s there because some of those views that you can see from the middle of the Linville Gorge trail you just can’t see from an overlook.”“I think the Linville Gorge is so special because, unlike many other areas that are so easily accessed, it just feels very pure, very pristine – like you’re in a place that, truly, has stood the test of time. It’s just a truly beautiful place.”
Your daily outdoor news bulletin for July 31, the day Jimmy Hoffa disappeared without a trace in 1975, an appropriate anniversary for today’s Dirt:Sad News From the Appalachian TrailOne hiker died and another went missing on the Appalachian Trail this week, putting a damper on what could be the last weeks on the trail for thru-hikers.Robert “Lucky 10” Accola, 54, of Raleigh, North Carolina was found dead in his tent Monday that was set up along the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire. Accola’s cause of death has been ruled a heart attack – he had survived another heart attack when he was 39 – and he was found at the Jeffers Brook Shelter. According to Whiteblaze.com Accola had started his through hike last year, but had to stop in Massachusetts due to injury, and was finishing up his hike this year. Others recall his kindness on the trail, sharing food and kind words to the sick and tired.A Tennessee woman has been missing from the trail for over a week, and Maine authorities are ‘mystified’ by her disappearance. Geraldine Anita Largay, aka “inchworm”, is 66, from Brentwood, Tenn. Largay was reported missing by her husband last Wednesday who was expecting her in Stratton. On July 21, Largay left Sandy River Plantation near Rangeley and texted her husband that she was on top of Saddleback Mountain. Largay sent a text to her husband the next morning and planned to meet him in Wyman Township, about seven miles north on the trail, the next day, but she never arrived. Her last sighted location was on Route 4 in Sandy River Plantation on July 21. Largay set out for Baxter State Park from Harpers Ferry in April.Any information can be directed to Augusta Public Safety Dispatch at 1-800-452-4664.Happy News From the Appalachian TrailFifteen-year-old Neva “Chipmunk” Warren is still on pace to be the youngest solo thru-hiker of the A.T. She will be speaking at a Hike For Mental Health event in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania on August 2.More information can be found here.
Thanks to our friends at TGR for turning us on to this epic POV footage from Pennsylvania’s Chris Van Dine, escaping to South America.
Fox Factory Holding Corp., manufacturer of some of the world’s best shock absorbers and racing suspension products for snowmobiles, mountain bikes, motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, off-road cars, trucks, and SUVs, has announced plans to expand its bike division to Asheville, North Carolina. FOX makes some of the best mountain bike suspension products in the world.“We are very excited to now call Asheville, NC home for one of our bike division’s satellite offices focused on service, sales, engineering, R&D, distribution, and finance,” stated Larry L. Enterline, FOX’s Chief Executive Officer. “Along with a very passionate mountain biking culture, we believe Asheville offers us the ability to tap into a top-notch talent pool to help us continue to improve our business in these functional areas.”The company will soon begin renovations on a 20,000 square foot facility in south Asheville, making it part of an ever-growing community of outdoor industry members in Western North Carolina.The new FOX location will be tasked with facilitating growth of the company’s bikes division in the Eastern U.S. and European markets.For Asheville, the move amounts to 47 new outdoor industry jobs over the next five years.“The announcement today is about more than quality career opportunities for Buncombe County,” shared Brownie Newman, Chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. “The FOX name is internationally recognized and a natural fit for our economy, our community, and our mountains.”
All across town, you can find different types of lodging options for all budgets and types of visitors. There are campgrounds on the water, RV parks, full-blown hotels, luxury cabins and more.You can camp just minutes from town in the famed Cades Cove Campground inside Smoky Mountain National Park. Sites range from $21-$25 a night. There are no hookups available in the campground but there is cold running water flush toilets. In fact, there are several campgrounds inside the park depending on where you would like to set up your base camp.If you are more of a hotel kinda person, there is a Best Western that offers rooms for around $110 a night.Play:The Smoky Mountains boast an annual rainfall of 55 inches in the valleys and up to 85 inches on some of the peaks. This is more rain than anywhere in the United States except for the Pacific Northwest, qualifying these upper elevation areas as temperate rainforests. During years with more rainfall, these areas can receive upwards of eight feet of rainfall per year.As is common with mountainous areas, temperatures can vary 10-20 degrees from low lying areas to mountain tops and weather can change very quickly. For this reason, it is important to pack appropriately when venturing into the park.The park is fairly accessible by car. Which is one reason, aside from the beauty, that it is so popular. When we visited, the area was receiving a lot of rainfall so we wanted to find things to do that would keep us dry. We drove the famous Cades Cove loop. This 11-mile paved loop takes you through a picturesque valley surrounded by lush mountains and wildlife. There are several historic buildings from the early eighteen hundreds that you can stop and visit. While driving the loop you have many opportunities to get out and stretch your legs. There are several trailheads right off the road. We hiked to Abrams Falls, a beautiful 20ft high waterfall. The hike is roughly 5 miles round-trip and we had it all to ourselves. During certain days of the week, the Cades Cove Loop is closed in the mornings to motorized traffic so cyclists can enjoy the loop in peace.Smoky Mountain National Park is a large park with a seemingly endless trail system. We recommend visiting the Visitors Center in Townsend to gather some intel before setting out into the park.One of the things that makes the Smokies unique is the extensive caverns and caves below the mountains. Exploring some of the caverns is the perfect activity for a rainy day. One of the largest and highest rated caverns in the area are the Tusckaleechee Caverns located in Townsend. Dubbed the ‘Greatest Site Under the Smokies,’ these caverns are roughly twenty to thirty million years old. The highlights of the tour are the “big room” that is so big that you can fit a football stadium inside, and SilverFalls a 210-foot waterfall that flows down through the cavern.Once you’ve seen the park stop by the Smoky Mountain Outdoor Center for all of your outdoor gear needs. They have everything you need for a day in the mountains and more. Rent a bike and ride the trail into town, or ride along the river. Speaking of the river, SMOC will get you hooked up with everything you need for a relaxing day tubing the Little River.Go check out the quiet side of the mountain! We had a wonderful stay.There is one way for this tour to be a reality, our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to our title sponsor Nite Ize, and all of our other awesome sponsors that make this happen: Crazy Creek, National Geographic, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Old Town, Leki, HydraPak, UCO Gear and Wenzel. If you like the gear that keeps us groovin’ click here to enter for a chance to win With approximately nine million visits per year, Smoky Mountain National Park is Americas most visited National Park. With that kind of traffic, it’s not surprising that the towns surrounding the park can be a little hectic, to say the least. In stark contrast to the surrounding nature, you’ll find mini golf courses, go-kart tracks, all-you-can-eat buffets, and traffic, traffic, traffic! For those looking to stay in a town with a more relaxed feel, there is an exception. We recently stopped in Townsend, Tennessee for a few days to relax, get some work done, and enjoy the park.Townsend is situated right on the edge of Great Smoky Mountain National Park and feels like an oasis compared to some of the larger towns in the area. In fact, their motto is “the quiet side of the mountain.” It has a slow, relaxed, small-town feel, with easy access to some of the most popular spots in the park. It also has all of the amenities for those who want to relax but don’t want to rough it.Eat:For the meat eaters, we recommend the Trailhead Steakhouse. In this rustic setting, you’ll be able to order many classic American staples like burgers, steaks, and trout. As usual, we were starving when we arrived so we immediately ordered the fried tomatoes, a southern staple. They were delicious. Our hostess informed us that they are known for their fried tomatoes. We can see why. For entrees, we suggest the ribeye steak and tiger shrimp. Both were cooked perfectly and we even went home with left-overs. There nothing like a steak and shrimp omelet to fill you up in the morning. The service there is one of the best parts. They treat you like a local, which is exactly what we wanted. We recommend making a reservation as they have limited seating and get quite busy.If you are looking for some familiar southern fair with a fresh garden to table to twist, Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro is a must. This Appalachian-inspired experience will bring you the seasons freshest flavors whether you’re on a romantic date night for two, or out with the whole family. We also recommend stopping here if you’re in the mood for a craft cocktail.If comfort food is what you’re after, don’t miss the Apple Valley Express Cafe. Build your own burger and make it a masterpiece at their topping bar that includes over 30 burger toppings. This modestly priced cafe is light on the wallet but you definitely won’t leave hungry. After your meal, hop over to the general store to satisfy your sweet tooth with some home-made fudge.If you need a pick-me-up we recommend stopping at the Dancing Bean Caffe located just across the parking lot. You can grab a smoothie or a cup of locally roasted organic coffee to wake you up. They also offer an array of fresh baked goods, including house-made sticky buns.Sleep:There’s no shortage of sleeping options in Townsend. We decided on Little Arrow Outdoor Resort. Little Arrow is located (literally) just steps away from the entrance to the National Park. The resort is full of different styles of cozy accommodations including tiny homes, cabins, luxury tents, and RV sites. It’s all situated on a rustic mountainside right on the Little River. We decided to treat ourselves to one of the Luxury Tents. We’ve never stayed in a tent like this before. Complete with all of the amenities that you would expect in a cabin, these canvas-walled structures offer the best of both worlds. Little Arrow is a great option for those traveling with their families. They have a swimming pool, hot tubs, a clubhouse full of coffee and board games as well as a funky playground for the kids.
In 2018 a team of researchers drilled the Khumbu glacier and found that the ice was much warmer than expected. The coldest ice that they tested was a full 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the mean annual air temperature. The first official running of Barkley was in 1986 and the field of runners is capped at around 40 each year. Not much about the course is known, but runners must complete five 20-mile loops with a total elevation gain of 60,000 feet in 60 hours. Since its inception, only 15 runners have finished the race. Tiny poisonous toads are taking over neighborhoods in Florida As temperatures across the globe continue to rise, melting glaciers on Mount Everest are exposing the bodies of climbers who died attempting to summit the mountain. Since the first climber set out to reach the peak in 1922, more than 300 have died trying to scale the highest mountain in the world. In recent years, most of the dead bodies have been exposed at Khumbu icefall, a notoriously difficult part of the climb, and in the final camp area. Last year at camp one, the hand of a dead climber appeared above the ground. It can cost up to $80,000 to remove a dead body from the mountain. There wasn’t a single finisher in this year’s Barkley Marathons The residents of Palm Beach Garden, Florida weren’t sure what to think when countless numbers of baby cane toads began appearing in their yards, pools and homes two weeks ago. Cane toads are an invasive species introduced to Florida in the 1930’s for the purpose of killing the beetles that feed on Florida’s sugarcane crop. When attacked, adult cane toads shoot a toxin out of their backs that is strong enough to kill a dog. The invaders in this situation are baby cane toads and their toxin isn’t strong enough to cause real harm. Still, the toads have arrived in swarms, hopping over fences and entering homes and swimming pools en masse. The reason for the invasion in the Palm Beach Garden neighborhood appears to be an undisturbed lake. Because there was nothing to bother the toad eggs and tadpoles in the lake nearly all of them hatched and grew, hopping their way into Palm Beach Garden in one headline-making wave. The Barkley Marathons, held each year in the hills of Wartburg, Tennessee, is considered one of the hardest ultra marathons in the world. Here’s proof: the race took place again last weekend and for the second year in a row, despite a field that included elite runners, no one finished the race within the 60-hour window. Six participants finished the “Fun Run,” completing three loops of the course. Melting glaciers are exposing the bodies of climbers who died on Mount Everest