Montana’s Colstrip bailout bill defeated, for now

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):A bill meant to save the Colstrip power plant in Montana is dead for now, but NorthWestern Corp. hopes lawmakers will revive the idea in other legislation before the session ends May 1.The bill was one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in this year’s session. Republican state Sen. Tom Richmond’s initial proposal would have allowed NorthWestern, the state’s largest utility, to pass on $75 million to ratepayers to cover the cost of increasing its share by up to 150 MW in one unit of the beleaguered coal plant. The proposed bill came as other utilities in the Pacific Northwest pull out of Colstrip because of requirements in states such as Oregon and Washington to move away from coal-fired generation. The bill would have allowed NorthWestern to pass on the costs to ratepayers investments for “environmental, regulatory, and safety compliance and reliability” without review by the Montana Public Service Commission.But lawmakers stripped language allowing the company to skirt PSC oversight, leading some to wonder what the resulting bill was intended to accomplish. And on April 16 Montana house members abruptly rejected the measure by a 60-37 vote.Anne Hedges, lobbyist for the Montana Environmental Information Center, said in an email, “We’re hopeful that this concept is dead for the session but we are staying vigilant. There’s too much time left and too many opportunities for bill proponents to hijack other ideas and try to force people to vote for this bill.”Jo Dee Black, spokeswoman for NorthWestern, said in an email that the company “continues to track legislation as the 2019 Montana Legislature continues.” Black would not say whether the company would still attempt to increase its ownership in the unit from the undisclosed seller.Talen Generation LLC operates Colstrip, which has a generating capacity of 2,094 MW, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. Owners include Puget Sound Energy Inc., of Bellevue, Wash., Portland General Electric Co. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary PacifiCorp, both of Portland, Ore.; and Avista Corp., of Spokane, Wash.More ($): Colstrip bailout bill dies in Montana Montana’s Colstrip bailout bill defeated, for nowlast_img read more

BNEF: Costs for offshore wind, battery storage have dropped sharply in past year

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:The price of offshore wind power has plunged by a third in just a year, said analysts at BloombergNEF, as its latest benchmark prices for new projects also tracked lower onshore wind and solar cost-of-energy as equipment prices fell.New-build offshore wind has seen the fastest cost fall of any renewable energy source, according to BNEF’s second-half 2019 global benchmark price of $78/MWh – down 32% on the same stage in 2018 and 12% from the first half of the year. “New offshore wind projects throughout Europe now deploy turbines up to 10MW, unlocking Capex and Opex savings,” said the research group. European auctions are now contracting projects into the 2020s on a zero-subsidy basis or at rates below $50/MWh, as seen in the recent UK CfD round, while the turbine sector continued to up-size with the completion of the first 12MW Haliade-X this month.BNEF’s onshore wind benchmarks of $47/MWh for new-build onshore wind and $51/MWh for PV projects are down 6% and 11% respectively from the first half of 2019, which the researchers said is “mainly down to cheaper equipment” with a 7% average decline in wind turbine prices since last year.The research group suggests some ultra-low prices are achievable for “best in class” renewables projects financed this half in some geographies. In Brazil, India, Mexico and Texas it reckons costs can reach $26-31/MWh for onshore wind, while PV will get as low as $27/MWh in India, Chile and Australia.Storage has also seen a cost decline, said BNEF, estimating $186/MWh for battery storage with four-hour duration, down 35% since early 2018.More: Offshore wind power price plunges by a third in a year: BNEF BNEF: Costs for offshore wind, battery storage have dropped sharply in past yearlast_img read more

First Solar bounces back from slump expanding production and workforce in Ohio

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Blade:Three years ago, the mood around the First Solar Inc. complex in Perrysburg Township, Ohio was glum.The Tempe, Ariz.-based solar panel manufacturer announced the permanent layoff of about 450 employees as it phased out its older panels to make room for its new, larger Series 6 thin-film panels.The Series 6 went into production in mid-2018, and on Thursday the company commenced producing more of the Series 6 at a new plant that just opened in Lake Township.Their combined annual production capacity of 1.9 gigawatts — 600 megawatts at Perrysburg Township and 1.3 gigawatts at Lake Township, makes First Solar the largest solar manufacturer not just in the United States, but in the entire Western Hemisphere, the company said.The area workforce, which had dipped to around 800 after being just over 1,200, now stands at 1,400 employees.“Based on our customers’ needs, we have the ability to ship anywhere in the world. This added capacity positions us to expand our support within the U.S. solar sector with American-made manufacturing,” Jay Lake, a First Solar spokesman said via email.First Solar officials have always said that the Series 6, which is larger, more efficient, and up to 40 percent cheaper to manufacture than the older Series 4 panels, would be a game-changer for the company.Thin film technology, which is based on cadmium telluride, has a carbon footprint that’s up to six times lower than crystalline silicon solar panels made using conventional, energy-intensive production methods.The company is so convinced that the product will be a huge seller that it struck a deal with NSG Pilkington North America, a maker of sheet glass and the owner-operator of the Rossford glass plant, to invest $265 million to construct a 511,000-square-foot float glass plant in Wood County’s Troy Township.More: Three years after layoffs, First Solar producing like never before First Solar bounces back from slump expanding production and workforce in Ohiolast_img read more

Tropical Winter Kayaking Options

first_imgUganda. Photo: Ben MarrWell, winter is swooping in at full stride. I pulled my drysuit out of the closet in the middle of November, and haven’t paddled without it since then. The past few weeks have been one big paddling party with the huge storm cells that have been rolling through the Southeast, but it’s definitely getting colder out there!As the mercury drops, and the non-diehards pack their gear away for the winter, there are still options.  If you have the desire and the funds to book a plane ticket and experience world-class whitewater in warmer climates, here are a few options that I can personally vouch for…White Nile, UgandaThis is an incredible river and truly a one-of-a-kind experience. The river is divided into two sections, with different lodging options for both. The day one section can be made as difficult as you could possibly want, with multiple channel options, and rapids with names like Bujagali Falls, Widowmaker, The Dead Dutchman, Silverback, and Itanda. Day two is a more mellow section of river that starts out with a bang at the two legendary put-in options, Kalagala Falls or Hypoxia. This section also ends at The Hairy Lemon island resort, which means that you can surf the incredible Nile Special wave as long as you could possibly want right next to your tent or cabin. Also check out the Murchison Falls National Park eight hours’ drive north of the White Nile to go on safari and round out your African experience.Lodging: Eden Rock Resort and The Hairy LemonSeason: All year long!  You are on the equator.Fly into: Entebbe. Talk to NRE or the Hairy Lemon owners for shuttleDon’t forget: Your malaria meds and sunscreen.Futaleufu, ChileThis was actually my first international kayaking trip at the age of 15, and I’ve been dying to go back ever since. This river is one of the most stunning places that you can find yourself as a kayaker. It is comprised of the crystal-clear runoff of the northern end of the Patagonia mountain range, and gives up everything from class II to V whitewater throughout its 50 miles or more of runnable whitewater sections. Class IV paddlers or higher… absolutely do not miss staying in “Cave Camp” next to the ferocious Zeta Rapid at the bottom of the Inferno Canyon section. Bring a playboat or river runner to experience the intricacies of this amazing place.Lodging: Get in touch with Expediciones Chile for food, lodging, and guidesSeason: December-FebruaryFly into: Puerto Montt, then take a ferry down to Chaiten for the inland journeyDon’t forget: Your drytop.  You are in the mountains and the weather can change quickly!New ZealandDo yourself a favor and put New Zealand near the top of your paddling bucket list. From the moment that you land in Auckland, you will have countless options available for playboating, river running, creeking, and ocean surfing. New Zealand is a great destination due to the fact that everyone speaks English, and if you are there for more than three weeks, you can pretty much break even on transportation by simply purchasing an old car, and then selling it at the end of the trip. Destinations to check out include the legendary Kaituna River in Rotorua, as well as the Taupo area, both of which are great class III-IV North Island destinations. The South Island is creekers’ paradise, and it’s best to head straight to the town of Hokitika on the West Coast. The Mahinapua Pub, and its’ adjoining campground are the epicenter for the most incredible class V helicopter kayaking trips in the world. Don’t miss the Arahura, Upper Perth, and the Styx and Upper Crooked hike-ins.Lodging: Mahinapua Campground in Hokitika, many options at KaitunaSeason: December-FebruaryFly into: Auckland (cheapest) or ChristchurchDon’t forget: Your game face… South Island rivers are beautiful but challenging.Honorable Mentions(Only because I haven’t been there)Costa RicaThis is definitely one of the best destinations for class II, III and IV paddlers who want to experience a unique culture and beautiful jungle rivers. Ladies, check out Anna Levesque’s Girls At Play week-long trips for an awesome instructional river experience with other women. Additional information on the area can be found on the Costa Rica Rios website.Pucon, ChileThis is the recent hot destination for class IV-V paddlers who want to run perfect waterfalls. The media that has come out of the Palguin, Nevados, and other rivers in the area is just incredible, and I cannot wait to check that place out. If you’re planning on going, Rodrigo Tuschner from Kayak Pucon can definitely help you out.I hope everyone is having a great holiday season and getting outside as much as possible!Good Lines.last_img read more

Trail Mix: Scott Miller and His Big Big World

first_imgThough he called Tennessee home for quite a while, Scott Miller has always been a Virginia boy. Heck, he even named his band The Commonwealth. After years away, during which Scott was on the road with The V-Roys and the aforementioned Commonwealth, recording for Sugar Hill Records and his own F.A.Y Recordings, and, most recently, collaborating with Rayna Gellert, formally of Uncle Earl, Scott has moved back to Virginia to his hometown of Swoope.Between recording and time on the road, Scott is now back on the 200 acre dairy farm on which he grew up. Scott’s hometown of Swoope is just outside Staunton in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Having returned to his small town beginnings, Scott set about writing his new record, Big Big World. I recently caught up with Scott to chat a bit about both his hometown and some of his favorite spots on the road.BRO – Favorite hometown music venue?SM – I’d like to use my lifeline for this question. I grew up here and only moved back two years ago – and it goes without saying that Staunton has changed a bit from the 1970s/80s – so I am not familiar with the local scene. Hell, even back then – I actually grew up in Swoope – we’d rarely come to town, so I couldn’t have answered this question even back in the day. In all my years of touring, I managed to avoid playing back in the area when I grew up because playing in front of family, high school teachers, and a Scoutmaster brings together worlds that freak me out. Stupid, I know. Mea cupla.BRO – How about your favorite venue on the road? SM ­-  Wanna say which of your co-workers you like best? In public??? There are so many to choose from over the years as a performer and/or patron. The Down Home in Johnson City, Tennessee, is a favorite, as is The Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky. I just played The Ryman in Nashville again on this last tour, so let’s say THAT ONE. For now.BRO – Best local outdoor adventure? SM – Give me a canoe and the Cowpasture River in Bath County, please.BRO – One interesting fact about your hometown?SM – Staunton is the hometown of The Statler Brothers.BRO – Must see spot for a visiting out-of-towner? SM – Marino’s.  And bring cash. Debit cards are for phonies.BRO – Best spot for a post-show libation?SM – See above.You can catch Scott at The Southern Café & Music Hall in Charlottesville tonight.  Scott is then off to the Hanesbrands Theater in Winston-Salem tomorrow and then back to Roanoke at Kirk Avenue Music Hall on Saturday.For more dates and info on Big Big World, surf over to  Also, be sure to check out “Freightrain Heart/Stonewall Love” on this month’s Trail Mix.last_img read more

Like a Kid

first_imgThere are a lot of reasons to ride your bike. It’s really good cardio, it’s a wonderful way to see a city, it helps reduce your carbon footprint…but if I’m being honest with myself, I ride my bike so much because it makes me feel like I’m 13 again. There was an afternoon recently when I rode my bike through my neighborhood to the park to play baseball, which is literally what I did just about every day of my 13th year. Although this time, I did have a flask of whiskey in my backpack, so I guess it wasn’t exactly like when I was 13. Our latest Whiskey Wednesday resulted in a similar sense of nostalgia for the whole group. We picked a strange route that had us exploring a weird forested track with rogue trails dropping off of a couple of dirt fire roads. The trails were mostly fall line, skinny pieces of loose dirt that zig-zagged through the trees and over creeks. We didn’t know where any of them led, so every new path we took was a leap of faith. It felt a lot like mountain biking for the first time, when everything was new and we were pedaling hard and going fast because it was fun and adventurous.I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, probably because I’m 40 and I guess that’s what you do when you hit middle age. You think about the glory days of little league and riding bikes before you discovered girls. I even had a nostalgic moment for shitty beer recently. I was at a party and there was a Corona in the cooler. So, I drank it, and the beer immediately took me back to my early 20s—a time when there wasn’t a lot of craft beer to be had, and even if there were options, I didn’t have the money to splurge on decent beer. I spent most of my time drinking Natural Light ($6 for a 12 pack). But if I was flush with cash, I was drinking Corona with a lime. Even today, the beer tastes like pool parties and a general lack of responsibility. I think the whole craft beer world must be feeling nostalgic for those days, because more breweries are producing their own version of the Mexican Lager. Oskar Blues has one, Ska Brewing has one, 21st Amendment has one…now Sweetwater has one. They’re debuting their easy-drinking Mexican Style Lager today, in honor of Cinco de Mayo. The beer is one of the first releases from their new pilot brewing system, The Hatchery. And it’s exactly what you think it should be—light as hell (just 4.8% ABV), mildly sweet and crisp…in short, it tastes like pool parties and a general lack of responsibility, and I respect the hell out of Sweetwater for sticking to the script with the style. Craft breweries have the tendency to get a little arty with their beers, even when they’re trying to placate the lowest common denominator. They’ll brew a 40-ounce malt liquor, but use organic malt, an experimental hop strain and hibiscus flowers. But Sweetwater’s Mexican Style Lager satisfies my thirst for nostalgia. It’s like riding a bike to a baseball game, or pedaling hard through the woods without knowing where you’re going. It’s like being a kid again.last_img read more

Trail Mix | June 2017

first_img Comfort Zone Glenn Morrow’s Cry For Help Clean Sheets Nathan Oliver 3:33 4:07 4:39 2:23 I’m Going Home Joe Newberry & April Verch 1:53 Remington Andy Hall & Roosevelt Collier Copy and paste this code to your site to embed. 4:17 5:21 Audio PlayerThe Gage BrothersAll You AreUse Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.00:000:00 / 4:02 Healin’ Slow Banditos 3:08 3:11 3:02 3:08 Only Lonely Gretta Gaines 3:55 Loving You is Killing Me Rev. Sekou Hurricane Shakedown The Deslondes 4:21 4:02 When I Learned Your Name Daniel Romano Take six or so musicians . . . or even as many as fifteen . . . stir in some Appalachian old time with a dash of New Orleans jazz, add a little Dick Van Dyke and cook the whole concoction in Los Angeles. What do you have? The Dustbowl Revival, one of the most exciting bands currently touring on the folk scene.The band, who made friends with Van Dyke, the iconic movie and television star, a couple years ago, are a musical co-op, so to speak, with a line up that varies and expands at will, employing brass and strings and a willingness to dabble across genres to create their singular sound. This month, the band drops its new record, The Dustbowl Revival, and Trail Mix is thrilled to bring to you “Honey I Love You,” which includes a guest spot from folk blues legend Keb ‘Mo.Another group dipping their toes in all manner of sonic ponds is The Deslondes. Based in New Orleans, the band’s sound, like the city itself, is a mishmashed musical gumbo, with inspiration drawn from old country, Texas swing, and bluesy, boogie woogie rock & roll. Later this month, this Big Easy quintet releases Hurry Home, and you can take a listen to “Hurricane Shakedown” on this month’s mix.It’s always a good time around here when old friends come back and share tunes. Returning this month are Southern rockers Banditos, indie crooner Daniel Romano, and April Verch, who has a new record out with multi-instrumentalist Joe Newberry, a favorite of Garrison Keillor during his tenure as ringmaster of A Prairie Home Companion and someone I have been interested in getting on Trail Mix for years.This month also features the return of two of our longtime favorites from our hometown of Asheville. Both acoustic stringbenders Jon Stickley Trio and alt-country songstress Amanda Anne Platt – with her band, The Honeycutters – have new records out. Trail Mix is happy to offer you early listens this here!And there are still plenty of great tunes for you to check out. This month’s mix rounds out with killer new songs from Molly Tuttle, Phat Phunktion, Cowbell, Glenn Morrow, Zephaniah Ohora, Rev. Sekou, Gretta Gaines, Rachel Baiman, Nathan Oliver, and Parker Longbough.Lots of great stuff is also set for the Trail Mix blog this month. Chats with Andy Hall, The Secret Sisters, Amy Black, and Tyler Hughes are all on tap. Tune in each week to get inside the head of the musicians sharing their music here.And be sure to get out and grab a couple records from these fine artists who have given their music to Trail Mix this month. Spread the word and share the love. These musicians will certainly appreciate it.DOWNLOAD THIS MONTH’S PLAYLIST HERE. Haunted Heart Cowbell 3:07 He’s Fine The Secret Sisters Birthday Song Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters Honey I Love You (w/ Keb Mo’) The Dustbowl Revival Whatcha Gonna Do Phat Phunktion May Kasahara Parker Longbough The Blackest Cloud Amy Black 3:35 Way Down in My Soul Zephaniah Ohora And The 18 Wheelers 4:54 Shame Rachel Baiman 3:43 3:33 Save This Heart Molly Tuttle Embed 3:22 3:29 All You Are The Gage Brothers When We Love Sam Gleaves and Tyler Hughes Birdland Breakdown Jon Stickley Trio 4:32last_img read more

Mountain Candy by Sycamore Brewing

first_imgI landed in Asheville almost 15 years ago and haven’t really considered living anywhere else since. Sure, I’ve entertained the notion of spending a winter in Canaan Valley so I could have top-notch powder right out my front door. And every time I hit the coast I like to imagine what life would be like with a little beach house tucked into the dunes within walking distance of a consistent surf break. I’m human. I daydream. But generally, I love my town. I’m happy here. It’s only 30 minutes from Breckenwolf, after all. But recently, I’ve been daydreaming about living in Charlotte, not because I’m craving the city life, but because I’d like to have constant access to this beer, Mountain Candy, from Sycamore Brewing.I discovered it while I was in the middle of the state watching one of my kids in a soccer tournament. If you’ve never been a spectator at a U9 soccer tournament, let me set the scene for you. Picture a two-day event where hundreds of kids battle in a series of games on a sprawling complex of turf fields in 80-degree temperatures while their parents scream “encouragement” from the sidelines. It’s the kind of situation that demands an immediate post-game beer. Luckily, I came across this beauty of an IPA in my time of need.Mountain Candy is an appropriately-named beer with a malty side that has depth, and a nose reminiscent of a fruit cup thanks to a hefty double dry-hopping. It’s loaded with sweet fruit notes but also has a fresh layer of dank bitterness that keeps everything in check. Honestly, I had never heard of Sycamore Brewing before and only picked up the can because A) I liked the name and B) it’s 16 ounces instead of the standard 12 and I desperately needed that extra four ounces of beer.But I’m so impressed with this particular IPA that I’m dying to get my hands on some other Sycamore brews. Apparently, they won a bronze at GABF for their lager. And it looks like they have a solid rotation of intriguing seasonal beers (Watermelon Kolsch? Strawberry lemonade gose? Yes please). I want to drink them all. But Sycamore doesn’t distribute in Asheville, so I either have to start making a weekly beer run to Charlotte, or I have to uproot my family and move to the Queen City. That’s the power of a great IPA. It makes you reconsider your life choices. Like, maybe I should have majored in financing so I could have a job at a bank in Charlotte? I’d have to wear a suit and tie every day, but I could drink this IPA at lunch. So, it would be a wash.https://www.sycamorebrew.comlast_img read more

Hot Tubbing Hopping Black Bear

first_imgBlack bear caught soaking in Gatlinburg, TN hot tub A black bear cub in Gatlinburg, TN decided to take a little “me” time and lounge in a hot tub before getting back to more traditional bear duties. Hannah Strickland and her boyfriend had rented a cabin in Gatlinburg for the weekend and were surprised when they looked outside the rental window and saw three bear cubs wandering about. They were even more surprised when one of the cubs jumped into the hot tub for a quick soak. When the cubs left the area, Strickland’s boyfriend put the cover on the hot tub and the bears did not return. Wildlife officials remind the public to never feed or approach bears. If you are approached by a bear stand your ground, yell and try to scare the bear away by throwing sticks or rocks. Never run from a bear. If a black bear attacks, fight back and do not play dead.last_img read more

Colombia, Ecuador Reestablish Diplomatic Relations

first_imgBy Dialogo November 13, 2009 Colombia and Ecuador have restored diplomatic ties after nearly going to war in 2008 over clashes involving leftist rebels, Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez said on Friday. “As planned in the roadmap, we have agreed to appoint our charges d’affaires,” Bermudez told Radio Caracol. Both governments agreed earlier this month to appoint envoys to their respective embassies no later than November 15. The move was described in Quito as “a new step toward normalization of diplomatic relations,” a statement said. Relations between the neighboring South American nations were shattered on March 1, 2008, when the Colombian military bombed a clandestine encampment run by Colombian FARC guerrillas in Ecuador, and diplomatic ties were severed two days later. FARC’s number two Raul Reyes was killed in the raid, as well as 24 others.last_img read more