Poland’s Government Resists a Clean-Energy Transition

first_imgPoland’s Government Resists a Clean-Energy Transition FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Konrad Krasuski for Bloomberg News:The government’s position is unapologetic: While backing coal, it also seeks to reduce subsidies for renewable energy, which needs to “stand on its own feet,” Piotr Naimski, Szydlo’s leading energy security adviser, said last week. The governing Law & Justice party also introduced a bill to parliament that would require more distance between wind parks and homes, making new investments in such energy more difficult.The Polish renewable energy lobby says the four-month-old leadership in Warsaw is missing a trick.“The growing conflict between energy policy in Poland and the rest of the EU may prompt more companies to build up their own green power resources here or to import clean electricity,” said Beata Wiszniewska, managing director of the group. “Poland is being barred from participation in the current global energy revolution.”Yet with demand from corporate clients, which typically accounts for three-quarters of customers, utilities say they are being forced to adapt.PGE SA, the utility that operates Belchatow lignite-coal power plant, the EU’s largest polluter, plans to reduce carbon emissions by a quarter by 2030. Tauron Polska Energia SA, 94 percent of whose generation comes from coal, has been increasing green power sales for 2016.Under EU law, large consumers must reduce their carbon footprints, or the amount of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere. They purchase clean energy and either consume it or sell it back to the grid to offset their consumption of coal-fired electricity.“Polish coal will remain the dominant energy source for years,” Bartlomiej Kubicki, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in Warsaw, said in e-mail. “But pressure is mounting for renewables as corporate customers seek to reduce their carbon footprints.”In Land of Europe’s Dirtiest Power, Companies Stage a Revolutionlast_img read more

Peabody Bankruptcy Filings Show Company Funded Dozens of Climate-Change Deniers

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengtsson for The Guadrian:The company’s filings reveal funding for a range of organisations which have fought Barack Obama’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and denied the very existence of climate change.“These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”Among Peabody’s beneficiaries, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has insisted – wrongly – that carbon emissions are not a threat but “the elixir of life” while the American Legislative Exchange Council is trying to overturn Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity campaigns against carbon pricing. The Oklahoma chapter was on the list.Contrarian scientists such as Richard Lindzen and Willie Soon also feature on the bankruptcy list.So does the Washington lobbyist and industry strategist Richard Berman, whose firm has launched a welter of front groups attacking the EPA rules.The filings do not list amounts or dates. But the documents suggest Peabody supported dozens of groups engaged in blocking environmental regulations in addition to a number of contrarian scientists who together have obstructed US and global action on climate change.The support squares up with Peabody’s public position on climate change. The company went further than the fossil fuel companies and conservative groups that merely promoted doubt about the risks of climate change, asserting that rising carbon emissions were beneficial.Just last year, Peabody wrote to the White House Council on Environmental Quality describing carbon dioxide as “a benign gas that is essential for all life” and denying the dangers of global warming.Full article: Biggest US coal company funded dozens of groups questioning climate change Peabody Bankruptcy Filings Show Company Funded Dozens of Climate-Change Denierslast_img read more

Push to End Self-Bonding in Wyoming Picks Up Speed

first_imgPush to End Self-Bonding in Wyoming Picks Up Speed FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Sheridan Press:The Powder River Basin Resource Council has submitted a petition to the [Wyoming] Department of Environmental Quality to end self-bonding for coal companies in the state, contributing to mounting pressure against the practice.Federal law requires coal companies to secure bonds that will guarantee the costs to restore the land a mine occupies if that mine closes. Self-bonding allows companies to use its own assets to guarantee the funds for land restoration.PRBRC Executive Director Jill Morrison said the group decided to organize the petition after the Land Quality Advisory Board voted to send a set of rules that would have limited self-bonding back for revisions. The rules were drafted by the Department of Environmental Quality, which is currently working on a revised draft. The petition PRBRC filed is far stricter than the rules the Land Quality Advisory Board voted to amend; it would eliminate self-bonding altogether in Wyoming and require that 25 percent of a coal-mine operator’s bond be a cash bond. Morrison acknowledged that her group’s proposed changes may not be adopted, but PRBRC wanted to contribute to the argument for limiting self-bonding in the state.Critics of the practice argue that it puts taxpayers and landowners adjacent to a mine at risk — if a coal mine closes because a company goes bankrupt or into forfeiture, the assets that company used to guarantee cleanup costs may be unavailable.More: PRBRC Petitions To End Self Bondinglast_img read more

Despite relaxed regs, no comeback seen for closed coal plants

first_imgDespite relaxed regs, no comeback seen for closed coal plants FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Herald Bulletin (Indiana):While the implications of the Donald Trump administration’s planned rollback of coal regulation remain unseen, one seems certain: previously shuttered power plants are unlikely to reopen.Coal officials and power companies champion the new Affordable Clean Energy rules announced last month as offering coal-fired plants a temporary reprieve from costly regulations, but the decision came too late for many smaller plants.Paul Hartman, Logansport Municipal Utilities superintendent, estimated compliance with the [Obama-era] regulation would have cost north of $100 million, a huge price for the small metropolitan energy provider. Instead, the plant closed in January 2016.But even without the required regulation, Hartman said, it’s unlikely that new coal will be flooding into previously closed facilities any time soon. “It’s impossible to get these units restarted,” Hartman said. “If you leave a coal-fired plant down for three or four or five months or through a winter, it’s not going to start back up again.”As Hartman explained, without the regular maintenance associated with actually running a plant, all those water lines would have frozen and broken, and many of the main moving parts would surely have locked up by now. He compared it to trying to start a car that’d been sitting outside for two years, “except if the car didn’t have antifreeze in it and no oil in the crankcase. You just don’t know how many leaks or where they would be,” he continued.And even if the plant were in working order, the cost for coal is much higher than Hartman could afford to run the plant effectively.More: Even with relaxed regulation, Indiana coal plants will remain coldlast_img read more

Britain’s leading asset manager to divest ExxonMobil, Korea Electric from some of its funds

first_imgBritain’s leading asset manager to divest ExxonMobil, Korea Electric from some of its funds FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Britain’s biggest asset manager has removed ExxonMobil and four more companies from its 5 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) Future World funds, and said it would vote against their chairs for failing to confront the threats posed by climate change.Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), the fund arm of insurer Legal & General which has 1 trillion pounds under management, has been among the most vocal asset managers on climate risks, and will also divest from Hormel Foods, Korea Electric Power Corp, Kroger and Metlife.The divestment applies only to LGIM’s Future World funds, which it says are set up for clients who want to express a conviction on environmental, social and governance themes.“In all other LGIM (non-Future World) funds that remain invested in those companies that have not met our criteria, we will vote against the election of the chair of the board,” said Meryam Omi, head of sustainability and responsible investment strategy at LGIM. “We can vote against the chair on any number of issues, so to do so because of a single issue such as climate change sends a powerful message to companies that they should be raising their standards in this area.”As part of its Climate Impact Pledge, launched in 2016, LGIM has sought to engage with the largest companies in the oil and gas, mining, electric utilities, autos, food retail and financial sectors on climate change and said it would take action.“ExxonMobil Corporation has not met our key minimum requirements, including on emissions reporting and targets,” LGIM said in its report. LGIM said Exxon lagged behind European peers such as Equinor, BP and Shell which better disclose their company’s potential climate risks.More: Investor LGIM dumps ExxonMobil from its Future World fundslast_img read more

Insurer Storebrand says $24 billion managed by its Swedish unit is now fossil-free

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Life insurer Storebrand ASA has scrubbed all funds managed by its Swedish unit clean of fossil-fuel producers.It’s the latest example of money managers responding to client concerns about climate change. Storebrand, which is the biggest listed life insurer in Norway, had already promised to exit coal completely, and is part of a group of capital managers that have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050.This latest move means SPP Fonder AB, which manages 230 billion kronor ($24 billion), no longer owns stakes in firms that produce or distribute fossil energy sources or companies related directly to these industries, such as oil-service suppliers, Storebrand said in an emailed statement. It exited 9 billion kronor in such entities over the past weeks to comply with the new rules, it said.As a result of the divestments, Storebrand as a whole now has about a third of its assets, or roughly $29 billion, in fossil-free investments.The Nordics have been at the forefront of the finance industry’s adjustments to climate risk. Norway this year tightened restrictions on coal investments for its $1.1 trillion sovereign wealth fund and decided to exclude pure oil producers. Though that move was driven by financial risk exposure rather than climate considerations, it was touted by activists as another sign that fossil fuels are losing appeal.Storebrand has seen most interest for fossil-free funds from institutional investors, with the strongest demand so far coming from the Swedish market, Chief Executive Officer Odd Arild Grefstad said in the statement. “The growth in our fossil-free funds is a result of strong customer demand,” he said. “There is a rising global demand for action on climate change. Countries, municipalities and cities are increasingly asking for different investment solutions to align their capital with their overall climate commitments.” [Mikael Holter]More: Nordic money manager pulls $24 billion funds out of fossil fuel Insurer Storebrand says $24 billion managed by its Swedish unit is now fossil-freelast_img read more

Council backs plan to close three units at Dallman coal plant in Springfield, Ill.

first_imgCouncil backs plan to close three units at Dallman coal plant in Springfield, Ill. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The State Journal-Register:It was a debate years in the making. But, when it came time Tuesday evening to debate a resolution endorsing the retirements of three of City Water, Light and Power’s four coal-fired units, it took just minutes for the Springfield City Council to make their decision.Council members voted unanimously to support the nonbinding resolution, which supports CWLP’s recommendation that Dallman Units 31, 32 and 33 be retired in favor of purchasing additional power from other sources, such as natural gas and renewables.CWLP’s proposed timeline for units 31 and 32 — the two oldest and least productive — stayed the same, with the units expected to come offline no later than the end of this year.If the plants close as planned, it will largely mirror the recommendations CWLP received last year from The Energy Authority (TEA), an energy consulting firm hired to create an “integrated resource plan” to map out the utility’s power generation for the next two decades. That future, according to the firm, does not include those three units, which it recommended be taken offline “as soon as feasible” as “no scenario economically retained these units.”Between annual lost savings and doing the necessary work to keep up with environmental regulations, Brown said that retaining units 31 and 32 would cost $100 million over the next five years. Retaining unit 33 would also cost $100 million within that span.Brenden MooreMore: Council approves resolution supporting CWLP’s impending retirement of three coal-fired unitslast_img read more

ESG issues played key role in Dominion’s decision to get out of the gas business—CEO

first_imgESG issues played key role in Dominion’s decision to get out of the gas business—CEO FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Dominion Energy Inc. pointed to the growing importance of environmental, social and governance practices as one of the “key considerations” in weighing the sale of its midstream gas assets and narrowing its focus on cleaner energy resources.Dominion announced the sale of its natural gas transmission and storage business to Berkshire Hathaway Energy on July 5 in a deal with an enterprise value of about $9.7 billion, including the assumption of $5.7 billion of debt.“In reviewing this transaction, in the context of our long-term strategic direction, we weighed several key considerations, including the value to our industry-leading ESG-focused strategy,” Dominion Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell II said on a July 6 call with investors.The subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. will acquire 100% of Dominion Energy Transmission Inc., Questar Pipeline Co. and Dominion Energy Carolina Gas Transmission LLC and 50% of Iroquois Gas Transmission System LP.The move came on the same day that Dominion and Duke Energy Corp. announced the cancellation of the 604-mile Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline project based on ongoing delays from legal and regulatory challenges as well as increasing cost uncertainty.“Our company continues to evolve, allowing us to focus even more on serving our customers and positioning us for a bright and increasingly sustainable future,” Farrell said. “We believe that Dominion Energy offers one of the industry’s most compelling profiles for ESG-focused investors and stakeholders.”[Darren Sweeney]More ($): Dominion points to ESG as key factor in decision to off-load gas assetslast_img read more

UAE’s Masdar buys big stake in EDF Renewables’ U.S. renewable energy pipeline

first_imgUAE’s Masdar buys big stake in EDF Renewables’ U.S. renewable energy pipeline FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:In one of the U.S. renewable energy market’s biggest deals in a challenging year, Masdar is set to acquire a 50 percent stake in a 1.6-gigawatt portfolio of advanced wind, solar and energy storage projects from EDF Renewables North America.The deal, expected to close later this year, represents a new front in the global renewables collaboration between EDF and Masdar, which to date has largely focused on the Middle East and North Africa.Last year, state-owned Masdar, part of the United Arab Emirates’ Mubadala Investment Corp., made its first foray into the U.S. renewables market, buying stakes in two smaller wind farms from the U.K.-based John Laing Group. Mubadala is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. The latest eight-project deal with EDF is a big step up. Masdar will buy half-stakes in three wind farms in Nebraska and Texas totaling 815 megawatts, as well as five solar projects in California — two with batteries — totaling 689 megawatts of PV and 75 megawatts of storage. All but one of the projects are due for completion in 2020, with one of the solar plants expected online next year. The financial terms of the deal have not been revealed.Aside from its sheer size, the deal is important for having come together during the COVID-19 pandemic, Raphael Declercq, executive vice president for portfolio strategy at EDF Renewables North America, said in an interview.“There was strong interest in this portfolio, which I think really contrasts with the…[2008 Great Recession when] renewables were still on the fringe,” Declercq said. “The capital markets were unsure if they were going to invest in renewables at that time. This time around, I think capital is still there for renewables, and [it is] here to stay,” he said. “We’re in a crisis, yet we’re finding ways to raise money.”EDF, which is currently building the Middle East’s largest wind farm in Saudi Arabia in partnership with Masdar, may work with Masdar further in the U.S., though there’s no formal framework in place, Declercq said. EDF Renewables North America often brings investors onto its projects, which it continues to co-own and operate.[Karl-Erik Stromsta]More: Masdar buys into 1.6GW EDF Renewables pipeline in one of the year’s biggest dealslast_img read more

Road Trip Essentials

first_imgField-tested favorites for adventure travel – whether you’re traveling to the Andes or the Appalachians, make sure these items are in your pack.1. Eagles’ Nest Outfitters Doublenest Hammock The ENO Doublenest Hammock is a more snuggly, comfy alternative to clunky chairs and pole tents. Just sling the hammock straps around a couple of trees, and your bed is ready. The DoubleNest’s high-strength nylon easily accommodates two people, perfect for a romantic cuddle under the stars. $60; eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com2. Brunton Freedom Solar Recharger Traveling with tech gear? The Brunton Freedom Solar Battery captures enough solar power to charge and recharge the batteries of devices like GPS units, iPods, smartphones, and digital. Charge it in the car, from the laptop or via solar energy. If you’re away from the power outlet for a few days, make sure you have this in your pack. $55; brunton.com3. Bowsers Eco-Tahoe and Eco-Futon Dog Beds The Eco-Tahoe uses eight inches of blown recycled fiber to fill this ultra-thick, super-soft  rectangle bed. Its rugged design endured the abuse of an 85-pound dog for years without tearing or even staining. Its removable cover washes easily, and the handle makes it an ideal bed (for you or your dog) to throw in the back of the car or truck on an outdoor adventure. The Eco-Futon’s comfy, polar fleece is stuffed with super-loft recycled fiber, which stayed fluffy and unclumped. $95 Tahoe; $53 Futon; theuncommondog.com4. Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife This lightweight, easy-to-use stainless steel knife also offers one of the toughest, most durable folding blades available today. The blade uses an ambidextrous thumb stud to control the locking mechanism, making it extremely easy to flick the knife open with one hand. The affordable, durable Griptilian has long been the knife of choice for elite adventure travelers. $60; benchmade.com5. Kleen Kanteen The 40-ounce bottle and cap are totally free of BPA and other toxins, and the flavor-free stainless steel is both durable and lightweight. It’s the healthiest and safest water bottle available, and it’s handcrafted to last a lifetime. Bonus: Klean Kanteen is a member of 1% for the Planet. $25; kleankanteen.com6. SteriPen Adventurer Opti The SteriPen is the quickest, safest, and most travel-friendly option for adventure travelers. Whether in the backcountry or the bathroom of a dirty motel, the SteriPen provides clean water by sterilizing it with 48 seconds of ultraviolet light. The Adventurer Opti makes water purification easier than ever with its slim, ultralight design. $63; steripen.comlast_img read more