Federal Agency Lowers Forecast for U.S. Coal Consumption in 2016 to Below 700 Million Tons FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Everett Wheeler for SNL: Having already predicted natural gas’ topping coal as the nation’s top source of electricity, the U.S. government lowered its 2016 outlook for power-sector coal consumption to below 700 million tons.According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, domestic coal-fired generators burned an average of 948 million tons annually from 1997 through 2015. In its latest “Short-Term Energy Outlook,” the government agency lowered its latest forecast for 2016 by 3% versus the prior outlook to 689 million tons, a 6.8% drop year on year.Power-sector coal consumption accounts for more than 90% of domestic coal consumption, according to the EIA. The government agency blamed falling coal demand on this year’s mild winter, low natural gas prices and coal plant deactivations stemming from a combination of competition with natural gas-fired plants and burdensome environmental regulations.Last month, the government had projected coal would account for roughly 32% of the nation’s electricity needs to natural gas’ 33.3% in 2016, but the latest projections have coal providing roughly 31% to natural gas’ 33.9% in 2016.The shift in coal consumption patterns has the nation’s coal stockpiles rising. “Overall U.S. coal stockpiles are still very ample given the significant decline in coal’s share of overall electricity generation,” the report said.Power-sector stockpiles ended January at 189.1 million tons for a 22.3% increase year over year. Although that stockpile level is up 16.5% versus the five-year average, EIA-estimated days-of-burn are up 18.1% and 47.2%, respectively, over the same period.The EIA projects secondary coal stockpiles will end the year at 181.7 million tons, up 3.4% versus the prior outlook, but down 11.4% versus the prior year.Full story: Power-sector coal consumption called to fall below 700 million tons $
On the Blogs: The Coal Industry’s Fragile New Optimism FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clyde Russell for Reuters:For the first time since 2012 there was a mood of optimism at the annual Coaltrans Asia meeting. What remains to be seen is whether this new-found view that the worst is past has any basis in reality, or whether it’s just a different type of delusion for the beleaguered coal industry.Much of the optimism is based on the fact that the benchmark Asian coal price, the Newcastle weekly index, has risen almost 3.9 percent so far this year, ending last week at $52.59 a tonne.If that sounds like a modest increase, it has to be seen in the context of a commodity that has fallen for the past five years, and is still 61 percent below its post-recession peak in January 2011 of $136.30 a tonne. Not to mention that it’s also worth little more than a quarter of its all-time high of $194.79 reached in the giddy boom prior to the 2008 global recession.The main reason for the collapse in prices was the switch from an under-supplied sea-borne market to one that was massively over-supplied as more production was brought on to meet what had been widely assumed to be China’s insatiable appetite for coal. While the supply-demand balance is (slowly) being restored, there is very little fundamental justification for prices to rise much further than current levels.Full item: Coal industry shouldn’t get carried away with new-found optimism
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享MEED:The ongoing coronavirus crisis and low oil prices have made the region’s oil-exporting economies that have identified tourism, hospitality and logistics as key pillars of their economic diversification programmes especially vulnerable.The interlocking crisis could also affect the region’s nascent renewable energy programmes. Up to 90GW of renewable energy capacity, mainly solar and wind power, is planned across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region over the next ten to 20 years.Of these, an estimated 15GW are under execution, while half of that capacity is under the tendering phase. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the UAE have some of the region’s largest renewable energy programmes.“There is potentially two to three months delay in new project awards and implementation as a result of the ongoing crisis,” says Ramses Khalil, general manager for Saudi Arabia and Egypt of Australia-based Worley. “But the renewable energy programmes in the region will continue regardless of the price of oil because renewable energy is a direct substitute for electricity generated from fossil fuels.”“On the demand side, tariff reform has already significantly slowed demand growth in the GCC countries,” explains Brendan Cronin, management consulting head in the Middle East at consultancy Afry. “Covid-19 means that an overall fall in demand growth is now highly likely for 2020. Population and economic growth fundamentals will mean that demand growth will return in to 2021 and beyond, but the level of growth depends on the future oil price.“We need to therefore look at what is happening in the gas market and focus on the forward rather than spot prices,” Cronin tells MEED, adding that Afry expects the international netback gas price for 2023 to be around $4 a million British thermal unit (MMBtu), which is down $1.5/MMBtu since the start of the year. “This is still at a level where new renewables and reverse osmosis [projects] can deliver savings to the system … so these tenders should proceed,” the executive explains. “But uncertainty has certainly increased as offtakers and policymakers take time to re-assess.”More: Middle East renewables programmes to withstand crisis Analysts expect Middle East push for renewables to continue despite current uncertainties
BP energy outlook sees global fossil fuel demand falling for first time this year FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Fossil fuel consumption is set to shrink for the first time in modern history as climate policies boost renewable energy while the coronavirus epidemic leaves a lasting effect on global energy demand, BP said in a forecast.BP’s 2020 benchmark Energy Outlook underpins Chief Executive Bernard Looney’s new strategy to “reinvent” the 111-year old oil and gas company by shifting renewables and power. It includes three scenarios that assume different levels of government policies aimed at meeting the 2015 Paris climate agreement to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.Under its central scenario, BP forecasts COVID-19 will knock around 3 million barrels per day (bpd) off by 2025 and 2 million bpd by 2050. In its two aggressive scenarios, COVID-19 accelerates the slowdown in oil consumption, leading to it peaking last year. In the third scenario, oil demand peaks at around 2030.While the share of fuels has shrunk in the past as a percentage of the total energy pie, their consumption has never contracted in absolute terms, BP chief economist Spencer Dale told reporters.“(The energy transition) would be an unprecedented event,” Dale said. “Never in modern history has the demand for any traded fuel declined in absolute terms.” At the same time, “the share of renewable energy grows more quickly than any fuel ever seen in history.”Even with energy demand set to expand on the back of growing population and emerging economies, the sources of energy will shift dramatically to renewable sources such as wind and solar, Dale said. The share of fossil fuels is set to decline from 85% of total primary energy demand in 2018 to between 20% and 65% by 2050 in the three scenarios. At the same time, the share of renewables is set to grow from 5% in 2018 to up to 60% by 2050.[Ron Bousso]More: Fossil fuel demand to take historic knock amid COVID-19 scars: BP
A 16-year-old runner was pursued, mauled and ultimately killed by a black bear during a popular annual trail race outside of Anchorage, Alaska last week.The Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb was in its 29th year when the bear attack—which Race Director Brad Precoscky called “the worst thing that could happen”—happened.The runner, who was identified by local authorities as 16-year-old Patrick Cooper of Anchorage, texted his mother immediately after seeing the bear, but by the time rescuers made it to his location the teen had already been killed by the animal.“The mother was here with her family, her children,” Anchorage Police Dept. Sgt. Nathan Mitchell told local news affilate KTUU. “They were running the race.”The attack occurred just before 12:30 p.m. on Father’s Day, June 19.After receiving a cell phone call from her distressed son, who was being actively chased by the bear at the time of the call, Patrick Cooper’s family immediately alerted race organizers, and a search was quickly mobilized.Using GPS coordinates obtained via Cooper’s phone, searchers were able to pin-point the location where the young man was lying, but the presence of the bear that attacked him prevented the search and rescue team from immediately entering the vicinity.With more development and fewer forests, bears and people live together in increasingly crowded quarters. Can we all get along? Learn more in our in-depth digital feature, The Bear Truth.Eventually, a park ranger with the Chugach National Forest—the venue where the race took place—arrived and neutralized the bear with a shotgun. Cooper’s body was then life lighted from the scene.According to rangers, the black bear that attacked Patrick Cooper weighed approximately 250 lbs. It was wounded by a shotgun slug to the face but fled the scene immediately afterward. According the Alaska Daily News, Chugach National Forest rangers are still trying to locate and kill the wounded animal.
“Right now, you could spend three days backpacking the New River segment of the Cumberland Trail and not see another person the entire time,” says Tony Hook, executive director of the Cumberland Trail Conference. Hook has been leading week-long trail building retreats in the area in an attempt to complete the trail from Cove Lake State Park to Frozen Head State Park. Even though this section of trail and the Cumberland Plateau it traverses sits only 30 minutes west of Knoxville, it doesn’t receive a lot of foot traffic, largely because Great Smoky Mountains National Park is such an attraction for Knoxville hikers and backpackers.See a map of the North Cumberland Plateau, the area proposed as the New River National Park 1 2 3 4 Chris Irwin has a vision. He looks at the North Cumberland Plateau, a mix of timberland and abandoned strip mines currently operated as a Tennessee Wildlife Management Area, and sees a national park.“Yes, there are some bad former mining sites in the area. Honestly, the area represents steep slope mining at its worst, and has the landslides to prove it,” Irwin says. “But it’s also a rugged, forested plateau that serves as an important watershed for the New River. In many ways, it’s as majestic and beautiful as the Smokies. The land just looks like a national park.”Irwin, the staff attorney for the United Mountain Defense, has begun a grassroots campaign to drum up support for turning much of the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area into the New River National Park. The North Cumberland is actually a complex of wildlife management areas—Sudquist, Royal Blue, New River—that covers 146,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau between Knoxville and Nashville. This portion of the plateau has been a hot spot for strip mining and logging, but is beginning to rebound. Some of the former mountaintop removal sites are now grassy balds with 360-degree views. Elk were reintroduced to the area in 2000. Today, the land is a rugged and remote playground used predominantly by hunters and offroad vehicle enthusiasts. But the land is also ripe for backpacking and hiking. Bookended by two popular state parks, Frozen Head and Cove Lake, the Cumberland Trail Conference is on the verge of completing a 35-mile segment of Tennessee’s long trail that runs right through the middle of the wildlife management area.Thirty miles of the Cumberland Trail is already on the ground and open for hiking, trail running, and backpacking. The Cumberland Trail Conference calls this section of trail the New River segment, and describes it as some of the wildest, most remote terrain in Tennessee.
“Heading to Virginia” Overnight Lodging – Gee FarmWe spent the night at the Gee Family farm in Trout, WV, the farm is beautiful and Bonnie & Ben Gee were great hosts. Jackson, the Gee family dog even liked Rasta and Bahama. It was peaceful and relaxing on the farm. In a couple weeks the Poor Farm Music Festival is being held a few miles from the Gee Farm, this is a up start music festival with a good line up, as I headed out from the Gee farm I drove past the farm were the event is being held, they were putting the finishing touches on the stage, hopefully I will be able to get back to the festival and back to the Gee farm.Jeff had to return to his real job as a realtor with Country Road Realty in Lewisburg (if you need any real estate in the Greenbrier Valley or Snowshoe area) give Jeff a call , so today it is just Rasta and Bahama on the tour.First stop – Greenbrier River/ Caldwell, WVAfter a brief visit to downtown Lewisburg, I stopped by Wild River Coffee and talked with Melvin about paddleboarding in the area, Melvin is a rep for a couple paddleboard companies and enjoys paddleboarding, and he is opening a new bike/paddleboard shop in Lewisburg soon. We headed out Route 60 towards Caldwell to the Greenbrier River, just a couple miles from Lewisburg, there is a small section of the Greenbrier River that pools up and with the right water you can get a short paddle in, today the water was right, about 70 degrees and only moving at about 2mph. The water was fairly clear, the launch is right off of Route 60 before the bridge, it is a nice launch with plenty of parking. We headed out for out next stop, The Greenbrier Resort, no they do not have a paddleboard lake, but they have something almost as good “Iced Peach Tea with simple syrup.” As were arrived at the entrance gate you can only imagine the look from the gate attendant when a jeep with two paddleboards arrived to The Greenbrier, he said we have lot of things to do at the Greenbrier but surfing is not one of the activities we offer, yet, I explained that the boards were paddleboards and that I was heading to Lake Moomaw and that I just need to stop in for my iced peach tea fix, we talked about paddleboarding and I heading to the parking lot. I stopped in for a quick visit to the kitchen store for peach tea bags for home, and then to the lower level to Drapers Café get what I really had stopped in for, two iced peach teas with simple syrup and a couple slices of orange. This iced tea is the best…well worth the quick diversion from our next stop Sherwood Lake. 1 2 3
It has become my favorite weekend of the year. Hands down. I love Lake Logan weekend. When Melissa and I were getting into triathlon, circa 2008-09, we started looking for races in interesting places around the State of North Carolina. Long enamored with the foothills of Asheville and points west, I stumbled upon Lake Logan International Triathlon, just outside of Canton, N.C. We first did the race in August of 2009, spending Friday night in nearby Waynesville, then Saturday night after the race in Asheville. I fell immediately and irretrievably in love with that weekend and in particular, Lake Logan.We’ve done it five years running now and it has never failed to leave me deeply satisfied. Annually held on the first Saturday of August, Logan comes at a time of year that finds my soul in need of nourishment – deeply diminished by the grinding heat and humidity of a long summer and the bleak morass that is the sports world between the end of the Tour de France and the start of College Football season. Logan is a welcome retreat from steamy Raleigh into the high hills west of Asheville, and as we make that annual drive up the mountain on I-40, my blood pressure drops in corresponding degrees with each west bound mile marker. Logan is medicinal – I daresay even spiritual. It is my late summer North Star and I am reminded each year of the simple, luxuriant pleasure of needing a long sleeve t-shirt against the cool morning air.*****According to the site digitalheritage.org, Lake Logan sprang up in 1932 when the powers that be at Champion Mill, located in nearby Canton, decided to dam the West Fork of the Pigeon River, resulting in an 87 acre lake that flooded the former logging community of Sunburst. Named for Logan Thompson, the son of Peter J. Thompson who founded Champion, Lake Logan soon became home to various meeting, sleeping and dining facilities constructed from logs of deconstructed cabins in nearby counties and served as a retreat for Champion Mill executives well into the 1990s. Many of the buildings survive today and were purchased by the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina in 2000 after Champion sold its holdings. The Diocese operates a retreat at Logan and in 2006 sponsored the first Lake Logan Multi-Sports Festival, which has grown to include international and sprint triathlons, an aqua-thon (swim/run) and aqua-bike (swim/bike).*****The swim portion of the triathlon is one of the very few wetsuit-legal swims (possibly the only one) in the summertime triathlon circuit throughout the Carolinas, which indicates that the water temperature is below the acceptable wetsuit cutoff temperature of 78 degrees. Usually it is considerably cooler and this year it was a bone-chilling 67 degrees. The last hundred yards or so of the swim goes under the Lake Logan Road bridge and directly into the chilly mountain stream which feeds the lake, resulting in a lung-seizing five to ten degree drop in temperature. It is cold, people, but in August, you appreciate that kind of thing.The swim itself is enchantingly beautiful, setting off just after dawn, the narrow lake bookended by hills covered in hemlock and fir and topped by a cloud cover almost low enough to touch, hanging grey and cottony like soiled gauze over the water. The .9 mile course runs in a long rectangle and as you advance in that strange watery silence unique to lake swims, the hills to your right and left rise up in your periphery and you – I at least – feel totally at ease, peaceful and warm in the thought that there is no place on Earth I would rather be on the first Saturday in August than in this very place.The bike course is 24 miles of mostly rolling hills through Southern Haywood County, bookended by steep climbs out of T1 and coming back, just before T2. It is Southern Appalachian farm country, generously dotted with picturesque and diminutive farms, ancient barns and the occasional work mule, brooding and contemplative in its pen. Mostly flat to downhill on the first nine miles, you don’t so much ride the bike course as you float through it, enjoying the novelty of the cool air and the rustic countryside. You can almost hear banjo music in the air, although not in the moronic, clichéd sense of snickering Deliverance references, but deep in your veins – in the very fiber of your being, as if the hills are calling to you in bent, five string notes. And for me at least, it sounds a lot like home.The last 15 miles of the bike are mostly up hill – the heady reverie a little less pronounced, the determined exertion a little more. Your average speed steadily declines as the hills exert dominion over any unspoken plans you may have harbored for a 22 mph average. The last climb is truly taxing, but Lake Logan is visible to the right, through the chlorophyll-choked cover of summer trees. You know you are closing in on the run and this carries you upward.The run is a 10k – three miles mostly uphill from the base of T2 along Lake Logan Road to Sunburst campsite just within the borders of Pisgah National Forest (the campsite takes its name from that long-forgotten logging community). This is followed at the turn by the much-anticipated pleasure of three miles mostly down hill back to the finish. The run is always an especially happy time as you pass friends either going or coming and contemplate the completed swim and bike in between high fives and shouts of encouragement.The finish is always sun-splashed, the low cloud cover of early morning burned away as friends gather to cheer each other and chat about the race – what went right, what went wrong, how cold the water was, etc. The temperature is late summer perfection – warm but not hot – and we make our way to the food tent where we eat sandwiches and chat some more. We are pleasantly tired after 31 miles of swimming, biking and running and as we sit there amongst friends in the perfect post-race warmth, it is, how can I put this… exceedingly nice.Later, Melissa and I always check in at the Indigo Hotel in downtown Asheville – an easy walk to all that downtown has to offer, which is much. After lunch and a nap, we’ll meet friends again for well-earned margaritas and dinner at our favorite Asheville establishment, Salsa’s. We’ll dine in the narrow ally way outside and soak in the perfect mountain air. Saturday night after dinner can go late and on occasion ends early, but is always fun.Sunday, we’ll sleep in and have breakfast at Early Girl Eatery or Over Easy. Afterwards we’ll walk over to Mast General Store and my favorite bookstore, Malaprops, where I take almost as much pleasure eavesdropping on the aging hippies gathered earnestly to discuss new age mumbo jumbo as I do in the truly wonderful selection of books.We linger, not wanting to leave. We order coffee, we stroll, we take in Asheville and all of its charms. And then, reluctantly, we get in the car and we head home. And on the drive home, we talk about our weekend and Logan weekends of years past, and the four-hour drive breezes by. Its Monday after Logan as I write this, and we’ve already planned next year’s trip.I told Melissa that when I kick the bucket, I want my ashes spread over Lake Logan. And though nothing is guaranteed, I’m hoping we’ll have a lot more Logan weekends between now and then.Alan Piercy is a freelance writer and veteran endurance athlete from Raleigh, NC. He has completed two Ironman triathlons and the JFK 50 Mile ultra run among other events. He writes frequently about the challenges and rewards of competing in endurance sports and his blog can be found at www.triathletechronicles.com Want to submit a race report, story, or essay for the website? Shoot an email to submit[at]blueridgeoutdoors.com.
Photo by Reenan OztkurkModern day climbing legend Dean Potter, 43, has died in a BASE jumping accident in Yosemite National Park. According to reports, the accident occurred on Saturday May 16 just after 7:30 p.m., when Potter and BASE jumping partner Graham Hunt donned wing suits and dove from the 7,500 foot Taft Point.A search and rescue effort was initiated sometime after the jump when the pair’s spotter failed to connect with them. According to Outside Online, she heard sounds that could have resulted from either impact or parachute deployment, but was optimistic that Potter and Hunt might have been detained since BASE jumping is illegal in Yosemite National Park.The initial effort was fruitless, but when searching resumed the next morning Yosemite search-and-rescue crews recovered the bodies of both Hunt and Potter. Neither of the men’s parachutes had been deployed.Potter was known for his record setting speed climbs of El Capitan, BASE jumping stunts, and for breathing life into the sport of high-lining in the mid-2000s. He drew controversy in 2006 when he free soloed the iconic Delicate Arch in Utah’s Arches National Park (a climb that cost him his Patagonia sponsorship), and more recently, when he modified a wing suit to accommodate his Miniature Australian Cattle Dog Whisper.Potter is survived by Whisper and his girlfriend Jennifer Rapp.
Alabama singer/songwriter Jesse Payne returns with another collection of sonic paintings.Birmingham, Alabama, is fast becoming one of my favorite Southern musical cities.St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. Banditos. Duquette Johnston. All of these artists hail from Birmingham. This blue collar town in central Alabama – also home to the Sloss Music & Arts Festival – is now a hot bed for some of the best in Southern music.Go ahead and add Jesse Payne to the list above.Payne will be releasing his latest record, Heirloom, on August 14th. A self-described “audio painter,” Payne treats his guitar more like a paint brush. His songs are sonic landscapes, vivid and lush, nearly tactile in their depth.Having spent much time with Jesse Payne’s new record, I can attest that it is aptly named. This is certainly a collection of tunes that will be willingly passed on for years to come.I recently chatted with Jesse about heirlooms, the new record, and favored outside spaces.BRO – This record was a long time in the making. How does if feel now that it is coming out?JP – Yes, it was! It’s a bit surreal, and the excitement has been building for quite some time. I can’t wait for it to finally see the light of day!BRO – Your music makes me want to get outside. Do you have a favorite outdoor getaway?JP – Smith Lake in Alabama is a place that my family has gathered for years. A lot of good memories and beautiful scenery. I feel at peace when I am there.BRO – We are featuring “Ravens” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?JP – I’m fascinated with birds, specifically owls and corvids. While I was writing for Heirloom, I had listened to a report done on a study that explains how corvids can understand the concept of time passing. One of the observations was that ravens would stash food in a secure location and would return to it after a period of time. If the bird noticed someone or something untrustworthy watching while it buried the stash, it would return fifteen minutes later and move the stash. I felt this was quite apropos to some things that I have recently survived. This song is about me realizing that it’s time I moved my stash.BRO – The title of the record is Heirloom. Have any family heirlooms in your possession that you hold dear?JP – I have quite a few. My family is big on passing down history from one generation to the next. I was raised in this atmosphere, so even me believing in passing down history is a family heirloom within itself. One of my favorite heirlooms that I have is my great-grandfather’s Masonic ring. My grandmother gave it to me just before she passed. I think of her every time I see it.BRO – Along the same lines, what might an heirloom be that you would like to leave behind?JP – My brother gave me a beautiful book with an owl head on the cover a few years ago. It was full of blank pages. I use it to write down all of my finished lyrics from songs that have been released. Hopefully, by the time I leave it behind, there won’t be as many blank pages.Want to hear a little of what Jesse Payne is offering on the new record? Bounce on over to this month’s Trail Mix and take a listen to “Ravens.”Plans for a big tour celebrating the release of Heirloom are coming together. However, if you are in or around Birmingham on August 15th, you can catch Jesse at Saturn Birmingham.For more information on Jesse, tour dates, or how you can find a copy of the new record, check out his website.