Puerto Rico Says No to Lenders Who Seek to Encumber It With More Debt FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:Puerto Rico rejected an offer from Electric Power Authority bondholders to lend the utility $1 billion in the wake of Hurricane Maria, saying the deal would hamper the agency’s recovery.Investors holding about $3 billion of power utility bonds said the loan was made to help the island meet local matching requirements to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency funds. They also proposed exchanging $1 billion of outstanding power utility debt for $850 million of new bonds.Prepa, as the agency’s known, is struggling to restore its power grid after the hurricane knocked out electricity across the island.“The bondholders’ proposal is not viable and would severely hamper and limit Prepa’s capacity to successfully manage its recovery,” the island’s Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority said in a statement. “Such offers only distract from the government’s stated focus and create the unfortunate appearance that such offers are being made for the purpose of favorably impacting the trading price of existing debt.”Prices on Prepa bonds have fallen in the wake of the storm’s devastation. Debt maturing in 2042 traded Wednesday at an average 43.4 cents on the dollar, down from 52.5 cents at the end of August, data compiled by Bloomberg show.More: Puerto Rico Rejects $1 Billion Loan Offer From Bondholders
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Brooklyn Daily Eagle:The nation’s leading [offshore] wind power developer plans to establish a major assembly hub in Brooklyn that would support construction of the largest offshore wind farm in the United States, proposed for 30 miles east of Montauk.That factory would generate more than $80 million in economic activity and create hundreds of jobs, said the company, Deepwater Wind, which also plans to create a workforce training program.[Deepwater Wind Vice President Clinton] Plummer said Brooklyn will play multiple roles on current—and perhaps future—Deepwater Wind projects. “One would be building portions of the foundations that connect the wind turbines to the sea floor,” he said. “These are massive structures; each one will weigh several hundred tons.” The company would build parts of those foundations here, “and put a lot of people to work doing iron work, steel fabrication, painting and other hands-on blue collar, good paying union jobs,” he added.Other Brooklyn contractors will bid to fabricate the offshore substation “where the collection lines from all the wind turbines come together…a big structure of steel, electrical components and high-tech computers,” he said.If all goes as planned, the South Fork Wind Farm will be just the second offshore wind farm in America, following one built by the same company off Rhode Island. The 90-megawatt, 15-turbine wind farm off Montauk could power 50,000 homes, the company said.More: Offshore Wind Farm Could Bring Fabrication Hub, Hundreds Of Jobs To Brooklyn Brooklyn Eyed as Offshore Wind Development Hub
Wind Industry Hoping Artificial-Intelligence Breakthroughs Can Help Boost Turbine Performance FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Makers of giant wind turbines are hoping that artificial intelligence can bring back some of the industry’s mojo.While developers have spent $1.1 trillion on new wind farms over the past dozen years—helping transform the global energy landscape with renewable power—more money is going into new solar systems these days. Also, governments are phasing out subsidies, including programs in the U.S. that have offered $22 billion in tax breaks to turbine projects in the past 15 years.To remain an attractive, lower-cost option for utilities, companies like Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Invenergy LLC are investing in technologies to squeeze more electricity from every propeller rotation. That’s no easy task. Modern turbines with blades that stretch 450 feet (137 meters) in the air already can twist and turn and spin faster or slower to adjust to ever-changing breezes. And they’re covered with sensors and control systems to make adjustments quickly.But many still aren’t able to fully exploit weather and operational data in real time. For example, on wind farms with hundreds of turbines, the front wall of propellers creates a wake that reduces the efficiency for those behind. Making each unit more integrated with the rest could boost output as much as 15 percent, according WindWISDEM, an wind-industry software startup funded by venture capital firm YStrategies Corp.Innovations will be needed for the next stage of growth in wind power, which accounted for a record 6.3 percent of the electricity produced in the U.S. last year. Utilities are demanding that sources of renewable energy deliver more dependable flows to transmission grids. So, the industry is trying to use data analysis to narrow the efficiency gap in existing systems and better predict how much power they can supply to consumers before it’s actually needed.“The grid likes certainly,” said Julia Attwood, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “If renewables can be more sure about their production, then that means they can supply more power because the grid operator can work that into their schedule for the day.More: Smarter Wind Turbines Try To Squeeze More Power On Each Rotation
In Illinois coal country, a town takes up solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Belleville News-Democrat:Chad Easton, Marissa’s new 37-year-old mayor, has found himself in the unlikely position of promoting solar energy as a way to help the former coal community cope with high power costs.Plans call for construction of two solar farms, one 5 acres and one 11 acres, on village property on the west edge of town. Officials expect them to eventually provide all the electricity for the wastewater-treatment plant and most of it for other village buildings, saving thousands of dollars a year.Officials also hope residents of Marissa’s 818 homes will consider buying electricity generated by the solar farms, becoming part of a solar boom in Illinois and possibly saving money on utility bills. The two village projects are separate from a 26-acre solar farm proposed by Colorado-based Microgrid Energy on private property on the east edge of town. Its purpose would be adding electricity to the Illinois power grid through the state’s new community solar program.Microgrid has applied for a special-use permit from the village. Easton is the first Marissa mayor in decades without a coal-mining background. The decline of coal hit Marissa hard. Its population has dropped from a peak of 2,568 in 1980 to an estimated 1,836 in 2016. Decreases in sales, income and property tax revenue have forced village officials to tighten their budgetary belt, Clerk Laumbattus said.Last year, Mayor Cross asked Easton — then a new trustee and chairman of the utilities committee — to look into possible ways to save on electricity. Power bills were running $7,000 to $10,000 a month at the wastewater-treatment plant alone. The board negotiated with a new supplier, lowering its rate from 5.2 to 4.2 cents per kilowatt hour.StraightUp and SHINE plan to start construction on the 5-acre solar farm on Marissa village property this year. By next spring, officials expect it to be generating 40 percent of electricity for the wastewater-treatment plant at a cost of 4 cents per kilowatt hour, a rate locked in for 25 years.The adjacent 11-acre solar farm is expected provide the plant’s remaining 60 percent and most of the electricity for other village buildings. Power also would be available for purchase by any Ameren customer.More: Coal was king in this Illinois town for generations. A young mayor is betting on solar.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clean Technica:Enel Green Power México, the Mexican subsidiary of Italian electricity and gas distributor Enel Group, announced towards the end of September the completion and connection of approximately 1,089 megawatts (MW) worth of new solar capacity to the Mexican grid.The Enel Group’s Mexican renewable energy subsidiary completed the connection to the grid of the 828 MW Villanueva solar park in the Mexican municipality of Viesca, and the 260 MW Don José solar park in the municipality of San Luis de la Paz.“Villanueva and Don José are two groundbreaking projects that mark the significant headway Enel Green Power has made in the strategic Mexican market,” said Antonio Cammisecra, head of Enel Green Power. “The completion of the two facilities helps solidify our leadership in the country in terms of renewable capacity, while further contributing to the country’s transition towards more sustainable energy. Through the development of these projects, EGP is leveraging on Mexico’s wealth of renewable resources and confirming its commitment to sustainability by delivering value to all its stakeholders.”The new capacity pushes Enel Green Power México’s total in-country operational capacity up to 1,816 MW, which includes in addition to the new solar capacity a further 675 MW worth of wind energy and approximately 53 MW worth of hydropower.More: Enel Green Power connects 1 gigawatt of solar In Mexico Enel brings 1GW of new solar online in Mexico
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal ($):Westmoreland Coal Co. paid eight of its current and former executives more than $10.2 million in salary, bonuses and severance in the 12 months before the coal-mining company filed for bankruptcy protection in October.Executives at Westmoreland collected additional compensation in the form of benefits and expense reimbursements over the same one-year period, according to a Thursday filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston. The Englewood, Colo.-based company also listed more than $3.8 million in so-called retainer payments and management fees to its directors.Bankruptcy rules require companies that seek protection from creditors in chapter 11 to disclose payments made to insiders during the 12-month period prior to the bankruptcy filing. Westmoreland paid more than $5.88 million in bonuses and $2.27 million in salary to current and former executives, the filing said. Nearly $1.98 million in severance was paid to the company’s former chief executive officer and president and chief operating officer.The bonuses are described in court papers as incentive awards. Financially distressed companies across industries regularly pay these types of bonuses to executives in the months leading up to a bankruptcy filing.Westmoreland’s senior lenders, who are funding the chapter 11, consented to the bonus payments before the bankruptcy filing, a person familiar with the company’s restructuring told The Wall Street Journal on Friday. The cash bonuses are intended to retain executives who had participated in a long-term incentive program that had been paid in stock but that is now essentially worthless in chapter 11, this person said. Westmoreland’s stock was previously listed on the Nasdaq and is expected to be cancelled in chapter 11, court papers say.Westmoreland filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 9, listing about $1.4 billion in debt. The company is seeking concessions from its union employees and retirees. The coal-mining company employs about 1,732 workers overall. Westmoreland is party to seven collective bargaining agreements covering about 900 employees, according to court papers filed in October.More ($): Westmoreland paid millions in executive bonuses in year before bankruptcy Westmoreland bankruptcy bonuses good news for company executives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Albuquerque Journal:A bill to make New Mexico’s electricity generation 100 percent carbon-free by 2045 will get its first hearing today in the Senate Conservation Committee.The Energy Transition Act, Senate Bill 489, has a broad coalition of supporters from across the state, representing near-consensus among most leading environmental groups and local utilities to push the state’s electric grid into almost complete reliance on renewable energy over the next 25 years.It’s priority legislation for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who campaigned on promises for a clean energy economy.The state’s largest utility, Public Service Company of New Mexico, has thrown its support behind SB 489, marking a turning point that, for the first time, puts environmentalists, state officials and utilities on a shared path for ending fossil fuel generation.“It takes us out of our comfort zone,” PNM President, Chairman and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn told the editorial board Wednesday. “But it’s where New Mexico wants to go. … We need to be able to step up to the challenge.”If approved, the bill would require public utilities to rely on renewables such as solar and wind for 50 percent of all electricity sales by 2030, and 80 percent by 2040. By 2045, no carbon-emitting resources would be permitted, although the last 20 percent of electric sales could come from new generating technologies, such as carbon capture for natural gas, or advanced battery storage backup to offset the intermittence of renewable resources.More: PNM firmly supports clean energy initiative New Mexico utility backs bill requiring carbon-free electricity by 2045
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Power Technology:Spanish renewable energy and infrastructure company Elecnor has secured a contract to build a 185MW wind power facility in Chile.Backed by Mainstream Renewable Power, the Cerro Tigre wind farm will supply the national grid once operational. As per the terms of the contract, the company will install 44 wind turbines each with 4.2MW capacity and a height of 72m.The works are expected to be completed by next year.The Cerro Tigre wind farm forms part of the Cóndor portfolio, within Mainstream’s wholly-owned Andes Renovables 1.3GW platform. Once operational, the Cóndor portfolio will supply 680,000 Chilean homes.Elecnor has operated in Chile since 1980, with energy development and power transmission projects beyond wind.More: Elecnor wins contract to build 185MW wind farm in Chile Spanish firm Elecnor to build 185MW wind farm in Chile
Isaac Levinson might be having the year of his life. The 22-year-old Atlanta-based kayaker is on the U.S. National Slalom team, competing in World Cup events in the two-person canoe category with an eye on the Olympics in 2012. Last year, he finished second in the two biggest Southeastern creek races, the Lord of the Fork and the Green River Narrows Race. He’s been training nonstop for his shot at the Olympics and is in the best shape of his life. This could be his year to take the coveted Green title. BRO talked with Levinson about his chances at the Green this year and what it’s like to be part of a dynamic canoe duo.You’re on the US National slalom team, but you also compete in creek races. Do you identify with any one form of boating over the other?No. I’m just trying to do everything at the best level I can. But I will say if I had to pick a favorite race, it would be the Green. I love the atmosphere, the other boaters, and the river itself. I put a lot into that race every year.Is it tough to switch gears from kayaking solo to paddling a C-2 with a partner?It’s interesting to take such an individual sport and turn it into a team effort. It’s fun to balance everything that’s involved with paddling with someone else. Somehow, it makes it more exciting. We’re not communiciating as much as you’d think. We’re not talking about every individual stroke. We’re just trying to keep a good feeling inside the boat. It’s a lot more physical than kayaking solo. If one person’s steering, then the other person has to pull harder with his strokes to carry the extra 130 pounds.Your C-2 partner is from Atlanta and there are quite a few Atlanta boaters on the U.S. team. That’s surprising.Atlanta has a solid slalom scene. The Chattahoochee is actually good slalom training. It’s just class III, but it’s consistent and convenient. Everyone thinks if you’re a good boater, you’re from North Carolina, but Atlanta has good boaters too.How does the U.S. stack up against the rest of the world in slalom right now?This is my first year on the national team, so it’s been interesting to see things play out on the World Cup. The competition level at slalom is so high. It’s the best of the best. We typically have someone finishing in the top 10, but we haven’t had any medals yet. It could happen though. 1 2
Home—there’s no place like it. Our mountains are homelands, both for Appalachian natives and adventurous newcomers. This was made clear last month, when over 85,000 votes poured in last month for our Best Mountain Towns Contest. Readers rallied for their favorite outdoor towns and celebrated the trails, rivers, restaurants, pubs, outfitters, and especially the people of their favorite hometown hotspots. We’re highlighting all 38 of our nominated towns in this issue.Most important, though, are not the winners, but the overwhelming responses from our readers. You care passionately about your hometowns and favorite mountain getaways. These places touch something deeply personal.It’s not just family or childhood that can bind us to a place, but also experience and adventure, which etch their memories upon our hearts more deeply and indelibly. A place becomes home to us when we feel emotionally connected to it, when we know its chattering creeks, twisting trails, and whispering forests as intimately as we know a close friend. A town comes alive when we recognize its faces, hang out in its haunts, and know its streets like lines on our palm.These hometowns don’t survive without us. Thomas Wolfe was wrong: you can go home again, but only if you’re willing to protect it. These hometowns need more than your vote in an online poll. They need your visits and your voice.Your voice has already been essential in creating many of them. Perhaps the greatest success story is Chattanooga, which was declared the most polluted city in the U.S. in 1969. Today it’s the most celebrated new adventure hotspot in the country, with a thriving outdoor community and world-class rivers, rocks, and trails.Even classic adventure towns like Asheville depend on a dedicated outdoor community to fight for their future. In 2007, Asheville’s riverfront was slated for a giant oil-burning power plant. Most of the opposition came from health and outdoor advocates. When the vote finally came, officials unanimously sided with them and stopped the power plant. Today, the river is home to new greenways, trails, parks, breweries, outdoor shops and outfitters, and some of the best paddling in the Blue Ridge.Many of our mountain town nominees were old mining towns, timber communities, and railroad hubs. While that heritage is an important part of their character, their future is in protecting the forests and mountains for tourism, recreation, scenery, and health. The short-term profits of extractive industries can’t match the long-term jobs and sustainable economies provided by recreation and tourism. Two roads diverge in our yellow woods, and I hope we follow the promising path of sustainable recreation and tourism instead of the rutted, washed-out road across mowed-down mountains and clearcuts.Recreation is the region’s future, but mountain towns need our support to stay on that path. Asheville was once nearly the site of the country’s largest nuclear waste dump in the mid-1980s. A groundswell of opposition shelved the plan, but some politicians are once again eyeing the mountains of Western North Carolina as a possible nuclear waste repository. And just south of Roanoke, Va., winner of our best mid-sized mountain town, uranium mining has been proposed near the Roanoke River. Fishing, paddling, hiking, and the health of entire communities would be devastated.The corporations blowing up mountains and destroying the landscape only have to win once. The defenders of public lands and outdoor recreation have to win again and again. These towns need both the residents who have lived there for generations and the gritty, gutsy climbers and mud-splattered mountain bikers who visit them every weekend.We have the toughest people on the planet—from the pioneering mountain folk who have scratched a living out of the land for centuries to the modern-day mountain adventurists who huck their boats over waterfalls, hike for hundreds of miles, and hang from vertical rock ledges. If anyone can protect Appalachia’s mountain towns, it is our readers—the passionate people who live, work, and play here. The future of the mountains is in our sweaty, mud-splattered, chalk-covered hands.