Positive Environmental news thread

N&P: Discuss governments, nations, politics and recent related news here.

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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by Jub » 2019-02-06 06:04pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-02-06 05:58pm
Associated Press
LG&E in Kentucky seeking renewable energy proposals
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The state’s largest electric utility is seeking proposals to generate renewable energy.

Louisville Gas and Electric says there is a growing interest and declining costs associated with renewable energy. The company is conducting a formal review and has issued a request for proposals from suppliers.

David Sinclair, the company’s vice president of Energy Supply and Analysis, says renewable energy options could help attract energy-conscious businesses.

LG&E’s request requires that the respondents be ready to supply a minimum of 10 megawatts and no more than 200 megawatts by 2022.

They also want the source to be in Kentucky or surrounding states.

LG&E says in a release that the company and its parent, PPL Corporation, are committed to cutting carbon dioxide emissions 70 percent from 2010 levels.
Can someone explain to me why they would require a maximum? I'd assume that more energy equals better. So what reasoning would they have behind it? Is it a cost issue, space issue, labor issue? Or something else?
My best guess is that more might disrupt the grid and renewable capacity is rarely static or reliable. Based on current needs going above 200MW of what they want to/can install might cause more issues than it's worth.

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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by LaCroix » 2019-02-07 11:04am

A solar plant has pretty much no storage capacity (unless you specially incorporate one wia huge batteries, like that one project with Tesla), and apart from maybe putting blinds over the panels to shut some of them down, no method of limiting output. So what ever energy it produces, it has to put into the grid, immediately.

Therefore, you have to determine limits in order to make it somewhat planable - if you know it will never put out less than y and no more than X units, you can plan accordingly.
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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-02-07 08:16pm

They might be looking to incubate multiple companies too. By limiting each project size yiu might let five different companies get a start. Two will go bust and two stagnate, but the last might develop as a local employer.
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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by mr friendly guy » 2019-02-17 03:54am

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/13/worl ... index.html
China and India are making the planet greener, NASA says
By Emily Dixon, CNN

Updated 1840 GMT (0240 HKT) February 13, 2019

he Earth is facing a climate crisis, but it's also getting greener and leafier. According to new research, the rise is largely courtesy of China and India.

A study by NASA, based on extensive satellite imagery and published in the journal Nature Sustainability, has revealed that the two countries with the world's biggest populations are also responsible for the largest increase in green foliage.
Since the turn of the new millennium, the planet's green leaf area has increased by 5%, or over two million square miles. That's an area equivalent to the sum total of the Amazon rainforests, NASA says. But researchers stressed that the new greenery does not neutralize deforestation and its negative impacts on ecosystems elsewhere.
A third of the leaf increase is attributable to China and India, due to the implementation of major tree planting projects alongside a vast increase in agriculture.
"China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the planet's land area covered in vegetation -- a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation," Chi Chen, the study's lead author and a graduate researcher at Boston University's Department of Earth and Environment, said in a statement.

Between 2000 and 2017, a NASA sensor known as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) gathered high-resolution data of the Earth's surface from aboard two satellites, the Terra and the Aqua.
Using the MODIS data, researchers discovered that China is the source of a quarter of the increase in green leaf area, despite possessing only 6.6% of the world's vegetated area. Forests account for 42% of that increase, while croplands make up a further 32%.
China's increase in forest area is the result of forest conservation and expansion programs, NASA said, established to combat the impacts of climate change, air pollution and soil erosion.
India has contributed a further 6.8% rise in green leaf area, with 82% from croplands and 4.4% from forests.
Both countries have engineered a significant increase in food production, thanks to "multiple cropping practices," which see fields replanted and crops harvested multiple times each year. "Production of grains, vegetables, fruits and more have increased by about 35-40% since 2000 to feed their large populations," NASA said.

Rama Nemani, a co-author of the study and a researcher at NASA's Ames Research Center, said in a statement, "When the greening of the Earth was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilization from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to more leaf growth in northern forests, for instance."
"Now, with the MODIS data that lets us understand the phenomenon at really small scales, we see that humans are also contributing," Nemani said. "This will help scientists make better predictions about the behavior of different Earth systems, which will help countries make better decisions about how and when to take action."
The researchers emphasized however that this phenomenon does not make up for negative impacts on environmental ecosystems elsewhere. "The gain in greenness, which mostly occurred in the Northern temperate and high latitudes, does not offset the damage from loss of leaf area in tropical natural vegetation," the study authors wrote, citing depleted areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Brazil and Indonesia.
Still, the researchers are optimistic about the results of the study. "Once people realize there's a problem, they tend to fix it," Nemani said. "In the '70s and '80s in India and China, the situation around vegetation loss wasn't good. In the '90s, people realized it. And today things have improved. Humans are incredibly resilient. That's what we see in the satellite data."

Thomas Pugh, an associate professor at the University of Birmingham's School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, said the NASA report expands scientists' understanding of the causes behind global greening. Previously, Pugh told CNN, the increase in green vegetation over the past two decades was attributed to higher levels of atmospheric CO2.
Global greening is a "tangible sign of how the biosphere is responding to human activities, whether through climate change or how we use the land," he said. "It generally implies an increase in vegetation coverage or productivity of that vegetation, or both, although neither of those relationships are unambiguous and universally consistent."
Pugh cautioned that a direct line cannot be drawn between an increase in global greening and a decrease in adverse impacts of climate change. "In some ecosystems, such as forests, greening may imply more net carbon removal from the atmosphere, but the relationship isn't direct," he explained. "In croplands the relation of greening to carbon storage is even less clear. Then there is the effect on the reflectivity of the Earth, which again can go in both warming and cooling directions depending on the local context."
"What green surfaces do less ambiguously is increase the fraction of energy that goes into evaporating water, rather than heating the surface, so they tend to cool the surrounding area, which can offset some of the impacts of climate change."
Man, NASA now become a Chinese puppet. :lol:
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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-02-17 01:58pm

Strait Times
Australia to plant 1 billion trees to help meet climate targets
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Regional Forestry Hubs plan would also support jobs in a sector that contributes more than A$23 billion (S$22.3 billion) to the national economy.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Regional Forestry Hubs plan would also support jobs in a sector that contributes more than A$23 billion (S$22.3 billion) to the national economy.PHOTO: DPA
PUBLISHEDFEB 16, 2019, 12:21 PM SGT
SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - Australia aims to plant a billion trees by 2050 as part of a new forestry plan the government says will help the country meet its Paris Agreement climate targets.

A sod-turning spree on that scale would contribute to the removal of 18 million tonnes of greenhouse gas per year by 2030 in a country currently producing in excess of 500 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year.

The Regional Forestry Hubs plan would also support jobs in a sector that contributes more than A$23 billion (S$22.3 billion) to the national economy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a media statement.

Australia has the seventh-largest forested area in the world covering 17 per cent of its land area, according to the government's 2018 State of the Forests report.

Morrison has said Australia will comfortably meet its Paris-agreed goal to reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030, but has no specific policies in place to get there.

An OECD report last month said the country would miss the target unless it intensified its efforts to combat climate change.

The importance of coal to the Australian economy is an obstacle to serious efforts to lower carbon emissions, environmentalists say. The country still gets around two-thirds of its power from the fuel, which is also its biggest export earner.
So, what do the Australians in the room think about this?

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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-02-18 01:29am

Its a beautifully sarcastic piece of writing.

Still, shit load of trees is always positive news i guess.
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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-02-26 06:16am

Planting trees is too expensive, and most of them die anyway. But young trees sprout naturally every year. What farmers are doing is nurturing those sprouts, often by digging a shallow pit that concentrates scarce rainfall onto the roots...

Mixing trees and cropland is an ancient practice in West Africa, but it fell out of favor when colonial and corrupt African governments seized trees for their own purposes. Recent reforms have reduced such thefts. Now the mixing of trees and cropland is again spreading from farmer to farmer across vast areas of Burkina Faso, Mali and neighboring Niger.

Chris Reij, a Dutch geographer who’s been working in the region for thirty years, says farmers in Niger alone have grown an estimated 200 million trees.

“This is probably the largest environmental transformation in the Sahel, if not in Africa," said Reij. "There are fifteen to twenty times more trees than there were in 1975, which is completely opposite of what most people tend to believe.”
https://www.pri.org/stories/2009-08-20/ ... rkina-faso

edit. fixed quote tags.
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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-03-02 12:09pm

'No such animal as clean coal': Mayor of Texas city powered by solar and wind pokes the bear
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'In Georgetown, we make our decisions based on the facts,' says Dale Ross
David Bell · CBC News · Posted: Sep 26, 2018 12:59 PM MT | Last Updated: September 26, 2018

Dale Ross is the mayor of Georgetown, Texas. It runs on renewable energy and is the largest city in the state to do so. (Ellis Choe/CBC)
Despite being a Republican, the mayor of a Texas city that runs fully on renewable energy is taking on Donald Trump's pro-coal policies.

Georgetown, with a population of almost 70,000, is perhaps the largest city in the United States to look solely to wind and solar to keep the lights on and is the first city in the Lone Star State to do so.

Mayor Dale Ross is in Calgary speaking at the 2018 Alberta Climate Summit this week and stopped in to share the story with CBC's The Homestretch.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. You can listen to the complete interview here.

Q: What kind of renewables are we talking about?

A: Wind and solar. We had a windmill farm up in the panhandle near Amarillo and a solar farm out in far, far West Texas.

Q: How is it that a red city in a red state is one of the first cities in the U.S. to be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy?

A: In Georgetown, we make our decisions based on the facts.

This was a decision between wind and solar and natural gas. Wind and solar would give us fixed rate pricing for 25 years. With natural gas, it's only seven years.

So we know, all the way through 2041, what we are going to pay for our electricity, which gives us cost certainty, which minimizes and mitigates volatility in the short-term market.

It also mitigates regulatory and governmental risk because those knuckleheads in Washington, D.C., they can screw up a good deal for you with over-regulating.

There is nothing to regulate with wind and solar. It's very clean energy, no pollutants go back into the air, so what can they possibly do?

Q: Do you get a lot of sun and a lot of wind in your area?

A: Actually, our wind farm is more than 600 miles (965 kilometres) away up in the panhandle and our solar farm is about 700 miles (1,125 kilometres) away, and so through the transmission lines, that's how we get the electricity.

Q: You are a Republican in a traditionally conservative state. Why are you such a strong supporter of this?

A: I am a fact-based decision maker.

My daytime job is being a Certified Public Accountant and we make our decisions based on facts. In Georgetown, we put silly national partisan politics to the side and we just do what's good for the voters and citizens that put us into office.

In our situation, you can't go wrong with renewable energy.

Q: You are in the heart of oil country. What kind of response or resistance have you received from this?

A: The fossil fuel industry doesn't like any more competition, so they like to point out all of the deficiencies of wind and solar, and I like to point out all the deficiencies when it comes to fossil fuels.

I am not saying it's going to work for every city, but we had to do what was right for our community.

Q: What about the cost to the consumer?

A: Right now, it is comparable to what you are paying for fossil fuels. But our strategy wasn't to be the lowest cost but to be one of the lowest costs and it was to create cost certainty over 25 years.

With normal inflation, what's it going to look like 10 years into the contract?

In Texas, it's $2.50 per gallon of gasoline. If I made you an offer that for 25 years I can guarantee you $2.50, would you take it? I would lock in, for sure.

Q: What about things like recycling?

A: We have had single-stream recycling for years. Last year, I was in Halifax and I learned about composting. Paper, plastic, composting and trash.

Right now, we are in the first portion of getting that implemented.

Q: What about scaling this up in the future, for population growth?

A: As long as you have plenty of sunshine and wind, you can scale it.

It has to be in close proximity. And even if you could only do 40 per cent renewables, wouldn't that be better than zero?

Q: You have been in four documentaries, including Al Gore's An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. How did that come about?

A: We got a call from his people asking if we wanted to film with him.

I said, absolutely. We welcome anybody to Georgetown that wants to come and learn about our story.

Q: Have there been discussions with other larger Texas cities?

A: It's a little bit more complicated in Austin because they have pre-existing contracts and you can't just walk away from contracts.

We had to break our contract and we had to write a pretty good cheque, but we ran the numbers and it certainly made economic sense to get out that and go to wind and solar.

Houston and San Antonio have some renewables but not like Georgetown.

Q: A lot of Alberta's economy is based right now on fossil fuels. What kind of advice would you have for transitioning without too much economic hardship?

A: You have to do what's good for your community.

I don't think very many communities can do it like Georgetown did, in two years. I think it's a transition.

West Virginia is a state that has a lot of coal. They have been transitioning their workers into renewable energy and other sectors with government-provided job training.

It doesn't happen overnight. There has to be a smooth transition. It could take 30 years or longer to make that transition.

Q: Donald Trump has been supporting coal in the U.S. and making changes at the Environmental Protection Agency. What do you think about that?

A: I couldn't disagree with him more on environmental or energy policy.

Coal has reached its peak and we are at a tipping point with renewables. Coal is not going to be able to compete with wind and solar, price-wise.

He says it's clean coal. There is no such animal as clean coal.

If he would invite me to the White House, I could show him the art of the deal when it comes to energy.
So, even Republicans, Texas Republicans, are getting with the program.

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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-03-03 07:41am

Energetic City
Alberta government contract to result in three new solar power plants
FEBRUARY 15, 2019 2:32 PM
CALGARY, A.B. – The Alberta government is granting a 20-year contract to supply about half of its electric power needs to a partnership that plans to build three new solar power plants for more than $100 million.

Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips says the contract to supply about 55 percent of the government’s annual power consumption will shave $3.9 million per year from the current expiring contracts.

She says the winning bid of 4.8 cents per kilowatt-hour by 50-50 partners Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. of Guelph, Ont., and Conklin Metis Local 193 of southern Alberta was selected from 19 companies through a competitive procurement process.

John Gorman, CEO of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, said during the announcement the power price is so low it’s “almost unbelievable,” adding it is less than the average cost of building natural gas-powered power generation.

Ryan Tourigny, director of development for Canadian Solar, says construction on the three plants at Hays, Jenner and Tilley in southern Alberta will begin in early 2020 and are expected to come on stream in 2021.

The plants are to produce about 94 megawatts at peak times, enough to power about 20,000 homes, and about 270 jobs will be created during construction.
Minor, but still it's progress.

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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-03-08 06:10pm

AP News
Nepal says its tiger population has almost doubled from 2009
October 7, 2018
Vladimir Putin, Madhav Kumar, Sheikh Hasina
FILE- In this Nov. 23, 2010 file photo, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, the then Prime Minister of Nepal Madhav Kumar, center, and, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina attend the International Tiger Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia. The number of tigers roaming the jungles of Nepal has nearly doubled because of initiatives from the government, conservationists and local authorities who have worked for years to increase the tiger population in the Himalayan nation, an official said Sunday. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The number of tigers roaming the jungles of Nepal has nearly doubled because of initiatives from the government, conservationists and local authorities who have worked for years to increase the tiger population in the Himalayan nation, an official said Sunday.

Gopal Prakash Bhattarai of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation said that the latest tiger count showed there were 235 tigers in the jungles — almost twice as many as the 121 that were found in 2009.

“Even the nation’s prime minister is involved and he heads the National Tiger Conservation Committee,” Bhattarai said, adding that there has been better security in the conservation areas and awareness among the people living near these locations.

Leaders of nations with tiger populations had met in 2010 and pledged to double the number by 2022.

Bhattarai said Sunday that Nepal is already heading in that direction and could be among the first nations to meet the goal.
Here's hoping we see tigers grow in population as the years go on.

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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-05-16 07:07pm

Disclose TV
Amazon Tribe Wins Lawsuit Against Big Oil, Saving Millions Of Acres Of Rainforest
Amazon Tribe Wins Lawsuit Against Big Oil, Saving Millions Of Acres Of Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest is well known across the world for being the largest and most dense area of woodland in the world. Spanning across nine countries, the Amazon is home to millions of different animal and plant species, as well as harboring some for the world's last remaining indigenous groups. The Waorani people of Pastaza are an indigenous tribe from the Ecuadorian Amazon and have lived in the Rainforest for many generations. However, there Home came under threat from a large oil company - they didn't take it lightly.

Ecuador Rainforest Amazon River
Legal Win
After a long legal battle with a number of organizations, the Waorani people successfully protected half a million acres of their ancestral territory in the Amazon rainforest from being mined for oil drilling by huge oil corporations. The auctioning off of Waorani lands to the oil companies was suspended indefinitely by a three-judge panel of the Pastaza Provincial Court. The panel simply trashed the consultation process the Ecuadorian government had undertaken with the tribe in 2012, which rendered the attempt at land purchase null and void.

This win for the indigenous tribe has now set an invaluable legal precedent for other indigenous nations across the Ecuadorian Amazon. After accepting a Waorani bid for court protection to stop an oil bidding process, the court also halted the potential auctioning off of 16 oil blocks that cover over 7 million acres of indigenous territory.

Government Corruption
While there is no evidence, some people believe that the Ecuadorian government may be accepting bribes in some roundabout way. The land in question is meant to be protected under Ecuador’s constitution that establishes the inalienable, unseizable and indivisible rights of indigenous people to maintain possession of their ancestral lands and obtain their free adjudication.

River Amazon Rainforest
Furthermore, the constitution also states that there is a need for prior consultation on any plans to exploit the underground resources, given the probable environmental and cultural impacts on tribal communities. The government claim they did do this in 2012, however, the tribe alleges that the agreement they came to was based upon fraudulent practices in favor of the oil companies and the government was favoring their bottom line over the people the actually still live on this valuable land. Due to this, the judges ordered the Ecuadorian government to conduct a new consultation, applying standards set by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights before anything else is agreed regarding the exploitation of the natural resources below the ground.

Nemonte Nenquimo, president of the Waorani Pastaza Organization and plaintiff in the lawsuit, remarked:

"The government tried to sell our lands to the oil companies without our permission. Our rainforest is our life. We decide what happens in our lands. We will never sell our rainforest to the oil companies. Today, the courts recognized that the Waorani people, and all indigenous peoples have rights over our territories that must be respected. The government’s interests in oil is not more valuable than our rights, our forests, our lives."

This is a major win for indigenous tribes all over the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, and even perhaps the Amazon as a whole! This has definitely set a new precedent regarding indigenous peoples’ rights over the land they live in and offers them a glimmer of hope in protecting their cultural heritage. They'll definitely need plenty of support in the coming years as economical advances, such as this one will keep coming more and more as the world becomes ever growingly desperate for the natural resources that the beautiful land holds.
Good to know that some land will be preserved, no matter what.

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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-05-17 02:06am

Two articles from Ars Technica:

UK goes a whole week without using coal-fired electricity
The cradle of the Industrial Revolution is turning a corner away from pollution.
MEGAN GEUSS - 5/9/2019, 4:48 AM

On April 21 in 2017, the UK had its first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution. Now, just two years later, the UK's National Grid confirmed that it had gone 168 hours, or seven days, without using any coal-fired power. The electricity system operator said that it expected coal-free stretches to become more frequent in the coming years.

In 2015, the UK pledged to remove coal from its grid by 2025. In a statement to the Financial Times on Thursday, the National Grid's director, Fintan Slye, said he expected the grid to be able to not only hit that target but to run with zero carbon emissions.

"As more and more renewables come on to our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to be a regular occurrence," the director said. "We believe that by 2025 we will be able to fully operate Great Britain’s electricity system with zero carbon."

The UK is a leader in offshore wind, and it also has nuclear plants and natural gas-fired plants to feed power demand. Natural gas, of course, is still a fossil fuel, but it releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when it's burned, compared to coal. Grids around the world tend to hit zero-carbon milestones in spring and autumn, when winds are high and daylight is still plentiful, and customers aren't demanding a lot of electricity to light and heat (or cool) their homes.

The BBC notes that currently only 10 percent of the country's electricity comes from coal-fired generators, and in 2019 the National Grid has logged more than 1,000 hours of coal-free electricity. In 2018, an application to proceed with a new UK coal mine was rejected on climate change grounds.

While other industrialized nations still struggle to leave coal completely, the UK's progress is also symbolic. As the BBC notes, coal-fired power originated in the UK, with the first such power station opened in London in 1882.
A full week where they didn't need coal.

Fourth-largest coal producer in the US files for bankruptcy

The company staved off bankruptcy for years but continued to face lean markets.
MEGAN GEUSS - 5/15/2019, 5:15 AM

Cloud Peak Energy, the US' fourth-largest coal mining company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last week as the company missed an extension deadline to make a $1.8 million loan payment.

In a statement, Cloud Peak said it will continue to operate its three massive coal mines in Wyoming and Montana while it goes through the restructuring process. Colin Marshall, the president and CEO of the company, said that he believed a sale of the company's assets "will provide the best opportunity to maximize value for Cloud Peak Energy."
Cloud Peak was one of the few major coal producers who escaped the significant coal industry downturn between 2015 and 2016. That bought it a reputation for prudence and business acumen.

But thinning margins have strained the mining company as customers for thermal coal continue to dry up. Coal-fired electricity is expected to fall this summer, even though summer months are usually boom times for coal plants as air conditioning bolsters electricity demand. That's because cheap natural gas and a boost in renewable capacity have displaced dirtier, more expensive coal.

According to the Casper Star Tribune, Cloud Peak shipped 50 million tons of coal in 2018. The paper noted that after the bankruptcy filing, "speculation almost immediately began that Cloud Peak would sell its mines."

Similar mine sales have struggled in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. A deal to buy a struggling mine in Kemmerer, Wyoming, recently fell through due to bonding issues. Bonding is essentially insurance that covers the mine's clean up after closure.

According to the Star Tribune, a Wyoming landowner's group called the Powder River Resource Council echoed some concerns about Cloud Peak's ability to pay for mine reclamation after its bankruptcy. “We are gravely concerned that employees’ and retirees’ pensions and healthcare benefits will be taken away, and that millions of dollars of ad valorem taxes owed to Wyoming counties for coal already produced will be left unpaid,” wrote the council's vice chairman, Bob LeResche, in a statement. “Our greatest fear is that reclamation of Cloud Peak’s large mines will cease, and that financial assurances required by law will prove inadequate.”

Cloud Peak reportedly paid $700,000 in local land taxes just before it filed bankruptcy, but it left an additional $8.3 million production tax bill unpaid.

Correction: An earlier version of this story listed Cloud Peak as the third-largest coal producer in the United States. Cloud Peak slipped from third-largest coal producer in the US to fourth-largest coal producer in 2018.[/quote]

Looks like the market is turning against coal. Despite Trump's promise.

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Re: Positive Environmental news thread

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-05-18 12:13am

Let's add Ohio to the number of US states trying to go green: PV Magazine
Ohio approves two huge solar projects
Ohio Power Siting Board has approved 470 MWac of solar and 60 MWac of batteries in two separate projects, as another confirmation of the coming boom in the state and the Midwest.


Image: Swinerton Renewable Energy

The Midwest is getting ready for a major boom in large-scale solar, as evidenced by the activity in interconnection queues of the region’s grid operators. Today, two more very large solar projects got the green light by the state of Ohio, which is the tip of the spear for large-scale development in the region.

Specifically, the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) has approved Hecate Energy’s 300 MWac Highland Solar Farm in Highland County, as well as Invenergy’s 170 MWac Hardin Solar Energy Center 2 in Hardin County, which is paired with a 60 MWac battery. Developers plan to begin construction on both of these projects within the next five months, and to complete them in 2020 and 2021.

Either of these projects on their own would dramatically increase the capacity currently online, which Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) put at 202 MWdc as of the end of last year. However, we at pv magazine have found five other large-scale solar projects planned for the state which have been approved by the OPSB and/or hold interconnection agreements; together with the projects approved today these total 1.24 GWac.

These could be the first projects of this scale to come online not only in Ohio, but in the entire Midwest.

Chicago developer Invenergy’s Highland Solar Farm is technically the smaller of the two at 170 MWac, however it is planned to be built adjacent to the original 150 MWac Hardin Solar, and together the two plants will represent a whopping 320 MW. Hardin Solar 1 has already been approved by OPSB, and Invenergy secured long-term leases for the land for the Hardin Solar 2 in July.

The Hardin Solar 2 is notable in that it plans to incorporate a 60 MW lithium-ion battery system, as one of the first large-scale solar projects that pv magazine staff have seen in the Midwest to incorporate battery storage.

As of the filing of the project application Invenergy did not appear to have made a decision as to whether to utilize multicrystalline, monocrystalline or thin film modules. In any cases these modules will be mounted on single-axis trackers, which in turn will be affixed to piles sunk 10 to 15 feet below grade, which Invenergy notes is necessary “in areas with freeze thaw or loose soils, such as Hardin County.”

Like the Hardin 2, Hecate’s Highland Solar Farm initially applied for OPSB approval in October of last year. At that time the project was planned to deploy more than one million crystalline silicon PV modules mounted on single-axis trackers, which will cover 3,300 acres in Clay and Whiteoak townships in southern Ohio’s Highland County.

And while it appears that the Highland Solar Farm is still awaiting interconnection approval by the PJM Interconnection grid, Hecate reports that the project already holds a contract to sell the electricity which it generates.

We will be providing additional details on these projects as they meet more milestones, as well as on other projects. Overall, there are nearly 100 large-scale solar projects in Ohio which have applied to PJM for interconnection and which totaling over 10 GWac; however the organization lists only 750 MWac as having been granted interconnection and reaching the “engineering and procurement” stage.

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