American Electric Power takes another swing at adding Midwestern wind power capacity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News ($):Two units of American Electric Power Co. announced requests for wind energy proposals yesterday, less than six months after the company decided to cancel its $4.5 billion Wind Catcher project.The new approach reflects continued interest in wind at AEP’s Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) and Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), despite Texas regulators’ rejection of a Wind Catcher application last year.That AEP project called for acquiring a 2,000-megawatt wind farm that Invenergy LLC had been working on in Oklahoma, with about 1,400 MW slated for SWEPCO and 600 MW linked to PSO. The plan also envisioned a 765-kilovolt power line, which would have run hundreds of miles in Oklahoma.Now, SWEPCO is requesting proposals for as much as 1,200 MW of wind energy that would be in commercial operation by Dec. 15, 2021. The plans must have a nameplate rating of at least 100 MW and are due March 1, SWEPCO said. The company said it’s looking to acquire new or existing projects that qualify for at least 80 percent of a federal production tax credit.Another requirement, according to SWEPCO, is that projects will need to be interconnected to the Southwest Power Pool grid in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas or Oklahoma. The new approach to wind expansion is different from Wind Catcher in part because it involves a competitive process.PSO, which operates in parts of Oklahoma, said yesterday that it’s also seeking proposals for wind resources that would be operating commercially by late 2021. Stan Whiteford, a PSO spokesman, said the amount of wind pursued by the company will depend on what the responses show and could be in the hundreds of megawatts. Whiteford said PSO already has more than 1,100 MW of wind under contract through power purchase deals.More ($): AEP looks again to wind after $4.5B plan flops
Southeast Asia nations launch $1 billion green development initiative FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and major financiers on Thursday launched a facility to spur more than $1 billion in green infrastructure investments across Southeast Asia.The facility offers loans and technical assistance for sovereign projects in areas such as sustainable transport and clean energy, the ADB said during the meetings of ASEAN’s finance ministers and central bank governors.“Through the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility, ADB will support ASEAN governments in developing green and climate-friendly infrastructure projects,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said in a statement.It will mobilize a total of $1 billion, including $75 million from the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF), $300 million from the ADB, $336 million from KfW, 150 million euros from the European Investment Bank, and 150 million euros from Agence Francaise de Developpement.ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.More: Southeast Asia launches $1-billion facility for green infrastructure
Canadian government approves Trans Mountain pipeline expansion a second time FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享NPR:Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given the green light for a second time to a $5.5 billion pipeline expansion that has attracted strong opposition from environmentalists and some indigenous groups.Trudeau, an ardent supporter of green energy, has found himself defending the 620-mile Trans Mountain pipeline expansion since his government first approved it in 2016. The project is meant to bring petroleum from oil sands near Edmonton, Alberta, to tanks in Burnaby near Vancouver on Canada’s Pacific Coast.Last year, opponents won a suit in Canada’s Federal Court of Appeals to temporarily halt the expansion, but Trudeau’s government subsequently purchased the existing 715-mile pipeline from the Canadian division of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP for about $3.5 billion in an effort to move the project ahead.At Tuesday’s news conference in Ottawa announcing that the project was back on, Trudeau justified the move by saying the money reaped from the pipeline would be channeled back into green projects. “We need to create wealth today so we can invest in the future,” he said. “We need resources to invest in Canadians so they can take advantage of the opportunities generated by a rapidly changing economy, here at home and around the world.”Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was quoted by the CBC as calling Trudeau’s promise to funnel profits from pipeline into clean energy technology a “cynical bait-and-switch that would fool no one. If you’re serious about fighting climate change, you invest public funds in renewable energy,” May said. “And there’s no guarantee that this pipeline will ever turn a profit anyway.”The expansion is designed to move nearly a million barrels of oil each day — triple the flow from the existing pipeline. That is expected also to significantly boost tanker traffic on Canada’s Pacific Coast from just 60 vessels a year to more than 400, according to The Associated Press.More: Canada’s Trudeau approves controversial pipeline expansion
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:A giant wind farm being developed off the coast of the U.K. will sell some of its power to energy trader Danske Commodities A/S.Under the 15-year deal, the subsidiary of Equinor ASA will trade and balance power from 480 megawatts of the Dogger Bank wind farm, about 13% of its capacity. It’s a key step as the developers of the massive wind park move toward a final investment decision.Dogger Bank is a joint venture between Equinor and Scottish utility SSE Plc. The pair won a government auction to sell power at record-low prices last year.That contract means that the owners of the wind farm will get paid the same price no matter what happens in the power market. If prices sink the wind farm is protected. But if prices gain in the coming years, as some forecasters predict, the owners will leave money on the table.The traders at Danske Commodities will sell the power on the market as part of that process. If the price they get is below Dogger Bank’s government contract, then the government will reimburse the difference. If the market price is above the contract, then the wind park owners will pay the government back.[Will Mathis]More: World’s biggest offshore wind farm signs deal to sell power Trader Danske Commodities signs PPA for 480MW of power from Dogger Bank wind farm
It’s a brand new year, and the first Trail Mix of 2014 hits right smack dab in the middle of a polar vortex. Now, for some, that might be cause for panic, but with 16 brand new tracks waiting, those in the know do know that Trail Mix is just the recipe for warming up on a frigid winter day.Kicking off this January mix is one of my favorite bands. Railroad Earth, a stalwart of the folk/jam scene for over a decade, welcome 2014 with the release of Last Of The Outlaws. Recorded in the band’s native New Jersey, this new record continues Railroad Earth’s tradition of producing evocatively written and instrumentally astounding folk rock.One of the coolest stories I have heard is that of Leo Welch. Trail Mix is thrilled to have a cut from his new record, Sabougla Voices, featured this month. Leo is a youngish 81-years-old and this is his debut recording. Stay tuned to the Trail Mix blog for more on this later this week.From time to time, Trail Mix gets to include tracks from some true heavyweights. Take a listen to new tunes from The Pixies and Los Lonely Boys.Trail Mix is happy to welcome some first time artists to the mix. Check out new tracks from Iain Matthews, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Lone Justice, Sleepy Sun, The Railsplitters, Annie Ford Band, The Blushin’ Roulettes, Mode Moderne, The Sacred Shakers, and Elizabeth & The Catapult. As always, one of the best things about Trail Mix is discovering new artists. All of these bands are tremendous.This month’s mix also features two of our favorite regional artists. We are featuring “50 Miles of Elbow Room,” from Travis Book of The Infamous Stringdusters, which comes off his brand new solo debut, Alice. The mix also has the most aptly titled song for this blustery weather, “Winter Is Coming,” by our good friends from the Shenandoah Valley, The Steel Wheels.We hope your new year has started in fantastic fashion and with one simple resolution – share Trail Mix more! Please tell a friend about the mix or one of the many great artists featured this month. Stream and download often. And, of course, get out and purchase a disc or two from one of these great artists. Railroad Earth – When the Sun Gets in Your BloodAnnie Ford Band – Buick 1966Blackie & The Rodeo Kings – SouthElizabeth & The Catapult – Like It Never HappenedIain Matthews – Ghost ChangesLeo Welch – Praise His NameLone Justice – Nothing Can Stop My Loving YouLos Lonely Boys – Blame It On LoveMode Moderne – Baby BunnySleepy Sun – Galaxy PunkThe Blushin’ Roulettes – Purple CloudsThe Pixies – Blue Eyed HexeThe Railsplitters – Jackson TownThe Sacred Shakers – All Day, All NightThe Steel Wheels – Winters ComingTravis Book – 50 Miles of Elbow Room
Dear Doc: Does raw sushi ever contain parasites?–Vanessa, Greenville, N.C. The short answer is yes.In the wild, human disease-causing parasites are more commonly found in saltwater fish than freshwater fish. Other aquatic animals such as snails, frogs, and snakes also contain parasites.Now, this fact does not stop me from hungering for my favorite sushi roll as I write this post. Sushi served in the U.S. very rarely contains any live parasites (notice I said live). All intended-to-eat raw seafood in the U.S. is flash frozen for a set time, killing potential human-disease causing parasites.Note to home-made sushi makers: non-commercial freezers do not freeze raw meats or seafood fast enough to ensure all parasites are killed.Also, seafood at a local grocery store is not frozen to the same standards as that of seafood used in sushi restaurants.For those who crave sushi while traveling outside the country, keep in mind that other countries may not follow similar U.S. food standards.–Dr. Sean Cook is a physician and outdoor enthusiast from Georgia.
This week’s Clips of the Week starts with a throwback. If you haven’t seen this mountain biking video before, you’re in for a treat. Check it out:This is probably illegal, and most likely going to ruin the bottom of your kayak, but it’s undeniably awesome. Something tells us these guys know how to party:Everyone knows someone that fits these stereotypes, even if it’s yourself:
Different fly anglers have different goals in their pursuit of fish. To some it’s very important to catch fish, many fish—big ones—any way possible. To others it is to catch that fish. The one that makes you work hard and demands precision.But for many of us, it’s all about the experience, the location, the peace and quiet—not just the fish. No matter our separate goals, our common ground is to enjoy ourselves in the outdoors and have fun. As a guide, I often see people struggling to get past the nuts and bolts of fly fishing in search of that sweet spot where things run smoothly and joy of the pursuit emerges.Efficiency in fly fishing leads to success, plain and simple. It may take a while to develop, but when it clicks, the light bulb often illuminates a new way of thinking and doing. Multi-taskers often excel in the fly fishing world. I know that if I can watch both my flies and my line during my drift while picking up slack I not only have a better chance of hooking that fish when he eats, but I can instantly keep the line tight, watching the fish run, feeling the rod, and playing him correctly.When I am guiding, I strive to share my own systems with my clients. These people will often return a year or two later, and in that time span they have built upon my systems and developed their own. That’s the beauty of sharing in fly fishing. There is no one way of fishing correctly. It’s personal, it’s developed over time, shared and morphed; when you really find it, it has style.Organization is a virtue, and it’s one of the most important elements in my fly fishing. Yes, disorganized people catch fish too, but organized people often enjoy themselves more, have more time to soak in the surroundings, pay closer attention to clues on the water, and avoid frustration.Preparation is key. Did you have a good breakfast? Hydrate enough? Do you have all the gear—flies, leaders, tippet, floatant, etc.—that you need to be successful? Did you bring a map with you so you know where you’re going when your GPS drops or phone dies? Have you read up on the fishery or spoken to people that may know it better? Is all your equipment in working order and do you know how to rig it properly? When someone comes into our shop complaining about a less than satisfactory day on the water, more often than not they answered no to at least one of the questions above.Keeping your equipment organized and possibly having a backup stash of beater gear in your vehicle may save the day if something gets left behind. Organizing your fly boxes will help you find what you need precisely and quickly.Always check your knots, if they break, try tying them again, slower and more methodically. Try and develop a muscle memory and patterns in your hands and fingers for tying knots that work. When they work, tie them like that every time, and it will become second nature. Know three or four knots like a boss and have confidence in them.When you approach a new spot on the stream take a second to look all around you. Up, down, forwards, and backwards. Know where your hazards are and make a point to avoid them. This may be achieved by employing different casts or simply by moving five feet. Fools rush in, and so do those that put their bugs in the tree behind them on the first cast without looking. Take your time and you will avoid frustration, which can turn a perfectly good day sour in a snap.Finally, it is imperative to know where your fly is at all times. Whether you are executing a drift or moving from spot to spot, treat your flies like deadly weapons. Utilize them as tools and put them away so as not to lose or damage them when not in action.A simple method that I teach people to use in rigging your rod for movement goes like this: reel in until you have about 1.5-2 feet of fly line out of the rod tip, take your terminal fly and attach the hook to your second or third guide up from the cork, grab the big loop of line and walk it back with your hand and place the loop around the foot of your reel, then reel in any excess line. Everything should be tight and well kept along the rod. When you are ready to fish, reverse the steps listed above, but don’t grab for your fly first; it should be the last thing that hits the water before your cast.It’s often the simple things that bring us the most joy. Fly fishing, as intricate as it seems, has awarded many people, including myself, with countless moments of elation that typically come from keeping our systems and methodologies simple and precise. Seek to develop your understanding of the tools at your disposal and knowledge in pursuit of fish. Along the way, when you find something that works, do it a lot, share it with others, and put some style into it.Scott Osborne is a fly fishing guide at the Albemarle Angler in Charlottesville, Virginia. Check them out on Facebook.
A handful of close friends awaited Matt Kirk atop Springer Mountain, Ga., in August, 58 days 9 hours and 38 minutes after he left Mount Katahdin in Maine. Sunlight filtered through the thick fog that was covering the mountain. Then a long and lean hiker appeared through the mist, and in a few final strides, he reached the summit plaque to the sound of cowbell and cheering.It was the accomplishment of a lifetime for Kirk. After being introduced to camping at age 17, Matt fell in love with the Appalachian Trail on a trip to the Grayson Highlands in Virginia with his parents. He tackled a northbound trek of the A.T. in 2001 when he was 20 years old. Long-distance running and hiking became an obsession. He went on to add thru-hikes of Vermont’s Long Trail, the Colorado Trail, California’s John Muir Trail, and in 2011, the Mountains to Sea Trail in North Carolina. He also set records thru-hiking the Bartram Trail and completing the South Beyond 6,000 Challenge.Now, at age 32, he has accomplished his toughest trek to date: an unsupported southbound thru-hike. He hiked to all of his resupply points and even made his own ultra-lightweight backpack, setting a new unsupported A.T. speed record in the process.What inspired you to hike the A.T. again, this time with a goal of sub-60 days? I learned about Ward Leonard’s extraordinary feat of hiking the A.T. in 60.5 days during my first thru-hike of the AT in 2001. He accomplished this back in 1990, and it fascinated me that the record had stood for so long. As my competence in fast packing grew over the years and I found myself in a position with summers off, I thought I’d give it a shot.Considering how hard it must be to train well for such an endeavor, how did you fit in the time and miles? During the year leading up to the attempt, we were living in downtown Brevard, N.C., where I could literally hike from our home into the mountains of Pisgah for weekend-long outings. My training was rather minimal, and I relied on the cumulative experience of 12 years of hiking and ultra running to be successful.What was your longest day? Shortest day? My longest day was my last day. From Low Gap Shelter, where I ducked out from the rain from one to four o’clock in the morning, it was 43.2 miles. My shortest day was on day 11 when I hiked 22.9 miles from Zealand Falls to Lonesome Lake Hut. Ironically, that was nearly the longest day in terms of daylight. The Whites are just that rugged.When, if ever, did you feel confident that you’d make it under 60 days?I think it was around Hot Springs when I calculated that I could break 60 days by averaging around 35 miles per day for the remainder of the trek. My knee was feeling much better, so I started to feel really good about my chances at that point.What were the highs and lows of the journey?There are far too many to list! It’s interesting how highs followed lows. To give an example: I was cold and wet as I hiked out of the Mahoosucs in the dark. And yet, even before I reached the warmth and comfort of the White Mountain Lodge in Sherburne, NH, I came to relish the raw beauty around me: descending rugged terrain, spooking countless porcupines and feeling more alive than ever. The entire journey was an emotional roller coaster just like that particular night on the trail.What new insight have you gained after such an amazing accomplishment?I definitely learned a lot about myself. Moving quickly through the Appalachians also gave me a unique perspective of these finite and fragile mountains. I hope to share this experience with others as best as I can through writing.Were you still able to enjoy the typical AT thru-hiker’s social experiences?Yes, maybe not to the extent of most hikers, but it’s about quality, not quantity. I feel fortunate that I got to meet some really cool people, even if it was for a very short period of time. Talking with and getting to know these folks was a highlight of my journey.What was the longest that anyone hiked along with you?I recall bumping into and hiking with a father and son team for 10 miles or so in Vermont. That was probably the longest that I hiked with anyone along the entire trail.Is it true that you make your own gear? If so, why?Yes, a lot of my gear is homemade. By making my own gear, I not only dialed in a system that really works, but also developed skills to be creative and resourceful on the trail. It’s a huge time investment, but it’s also time well spent.What was the most important piece of gear on this adventure?My brain.What did you eat? How many calories per day? I ate a lot of peanuts, raisins, and a variety of snack and energy bars. I also cooked a dinner most evenings on the trail, which added some variety to the diet. I started with a budget of 3,500 calories per day in my drops, but quickly figured out that was insufficient, so I started supplementing whenever and wherever I could.What do you think about social media and/or forum posts revealing a hiker’s location?I think it’s ultimately the hiker’s responsibility to take the preventative actions required to ensure the safety and integrity of his/her hike since no one can control what others do or say. It’s important to be transparent about a record attempt, but not in real time.How much did unplanned trail magic actually aid you in getting to your next resupply?I received trail magic on several occasions and I’m very grateful to the trail angels who came out to provide this support for all hikers. However, without this magic, I would’ve still made it to my next resupply. On a self-supported hike, it’s equally foolish to rely on unplanned trail magic as it is to turn it down.How low do you think the record could go in the future? Who do you think could beat your record?I don’t think sub-50 would be possible without a support crew. But given a good year, I believe an experienced hiker could break 55 days. I’m not going to name any names, but there are several people who come to mind. I just hope they don’t make it look too easy.
In this month’s issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors, guidebook author and North Carolina climbing advocate Mike Reardon relays the December 1966 first ascent of the Nose at Looking Glass, a benchmark achievement in the history of North Carolina climbing. First ascentionists Steve Longenecker, Robert John Gillespie, and Bob Watts met last month for the first time in over a decade to revisit Looking Glass and their landmark ascent. Both humble and charming, the three talked to Blue Ridge Outdoors on camera about their climb, their relationship, and the present-day climbing community in North Carolina.Join us this Saturday, December 10th from 6—8pm, at Black Dome Mountain Sports for the showing of these interviews. Steve, Robert John, and Bob will all be present and available for a Q&A session. Beer proceeds from Oskar Blues and Wicked Weed, as well as sales from Mike Fischesser’s long-awaited book, “Forbidden Fruit – The History and Exploration of Laurel Knob,” will benefit the Carolina Climbers Coalition. The event also marks the opening of North Carolina’s very own climbing history museum. Attendees are asked to bring gear, topos, or images of climbing relevance from decades past to contribute to the museum.Stay up-to-date on the event at the Facebook page here. Help us celebrate these living legends and support climbing initiatives in North Carolina for decades to come.Have questions? Email [email protected] with any inquiries.