FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Christopher G. Kerr for the Cleveland Plain Dealer:Spring is usually a season of warmth, joy and hope in Ohio — especially for the more than 80 percent of Ohioans who identify as Christian. The return of the sun thaws the cold of winter, Earth Day highlights the wonder of creation, and the remembrance of Christ’s Resurrection reminds believers that we are an Easter people.The prospect that the Ohio legislature will extend the freeze on the state renewable energy and energy efficiency standards for several more years, however, has made this season seem unseasonably cold and unusually desolate.Despite this news, the faith community remains optimistic and is taking action — most recently through a Statehouse Faith & Clean Energy Advocacy Day on April 20. There, 200 faith leaders gathered at the Ohio Statehouse and called on lawmakers to exercise moral leadership by “ending the freeze” and reinstating strong renewable energy standards.The Judeo-Christian tradition teaches that creation is a gift given by God who calls humanity to “cultivate and care for” creation (Genesis 2:15). Additionally, the Catholic tradition recognizes that environmental degradation harms the life, health, dignity and common good of human persons and communities — especially those who are poor and marginalized.In 2008, the Ohio legislature passed with near unanimity statewide clean-energy and energy-efficiency standards. In 2014, however, the legislature passed Senate Bill 310, which sought to freeze and study these standards for two years.Legislation to freeze the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency mandates for two years is headed to Gov. John Kasich’s desk after passing final legislative votes on Wednesday.Although the Catholic Conference of Ohio asked lawmakers to “prayerfully consider if it would be more prudent for the sake of environmental stewardship to maintain our current policies and not freeze these standards while the study takes place,” Gov. John Kasich signed SB 310 into law.In September 2015, the state’s Energy Mandates Study Committee recommended that the freeze remain in place indefinitely. In response, the Catholic Conference of Ohio again raised moral concerns about freezing standards that will care for creation, the poor and the marginalized.At the end of April, state Sen. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati, introduced Senate Bill 320, which would freeze the standards for another three years. On Monday, state Rep. Ron Amstutz, a Wooster Republican, introduced a companion measure, House Bill 554.As a person of faith, I strongly oppose SB 320 and HB 554 because they would effectively prevent Ohio from embracing renewable energy and energy efficiency that will care for creation and protect the life and dignity of human persons — especially the most vulnerable. In response, I am proud to stand with Ohio faith leaders from other traditions and support the Ohio Statehouse Clean Energy Advocacy Day goals.Ohio lawmakers can help us all breathe easier for years to come, by unfreezing and fully reinstating Ohio’s renewable energy standards. Until then, Ohio faith leaders will continue to call on state lawmakers to do so.Full item: The moral, people-based case for reinstating Ohio’s renewable energy standards: Christopher G. Kerr (Opinion) Op-Ed: The Moral Case for Reinstating Ohio’s Renewable Energy Standards
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:This year saw new solar output highs across Europe as summer temperature records were smashed.In the U.K., solar broke the record for weekly output between June 21 and June 28, producing 533 gigawatt-hours of energy. The spike in output led solar to take over from gas as the number-one energy source in the country, said the European PV industry body SolarPower Europe.In July, solar also reached a new high in Germany, with a record 6.17 terawatt-hours of production, SolarPower Europe said. Further north, Denmark registered 361 hours of sunshine in May. This led to an increase of 33 percent in solar electricity production, smashing previous records. And in the Netherlands, a sunny July saw 75 percent more solar power generation than in the same month last year. The organization’s policy director, Aurelie Beauvais, said large-scale solar filled in for conventional generation as the 2018 European heatwave brought thermal power plants to a standstill. “In France and Germany, coal and nuclear power plants had to be powered down as they could no longer use the huge volumes of water needed to cool their power stations, resulting in intermittent supply,” she said.The European solar market grew by 28.4 percent in 2017, SolarPower Europe figures show. This brought the region’s total installed capacity to 107 gigawatts.With costs hitting an all-time average low of €43.30 ($50.35) per megawatt-hour in Germany’s latest solar tender, in December 2017, and the European Commission ending five years of trade barriers on Asian panels, the industry is braced for increased growth. According to SolarPower Europe’s medium growth scenario, the total installed solar capacity across Europe could rise to 116 gigawatts this year and 129 gigawatts in 2019.More: Solar Broke Records All Over Europe This Summer Europe’s summer solar generation breaks records
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:More than 140GW of new PV plant is expected to be added to grids around the world this year, an almost 15% rise on 2019, as the global solar build-out continues its sprawling expansion, according to latest IHS Markit figures.The forecast 142GW in installations to be added in 2020 would be seven times as large as the total operational fleet a decade ago, the analyst group noted, with growth “substantial in terms of geographic reach as well,” as 43 countries are set to have solar plant capacity greater than 1GW, compared to seven in 2010. “Another year of double-digit global demand growth in 2020 is proof of the continued and exponential growth of solar PV installations in the last decade,” said IHS Markit clean technology & renewables director Edurne Zoco.“If the 2010s were the decade of technology innovation, steep cost reductions, large subsidies and dominance by a few markets, then 2020 marks the decade of emerging unsubsidized solar, diversification and expansion of solar installation demand across the globe, new corporate entry players and increasing competitiveness versus conventional energy sources.”Market-leader China will continue to account for an outsized share of new installations into the foreseeable future, according to IHS calculations, but the “over-reliance on China for global solar installation growth will continue to decrease in coming years as more capacity is added elsewhere.”In the U.S., the world’s second largest solar market, IHS Markit expects installations to grow 20% in 2020, with California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and New York “key drivers” of rising demand over the next five years.[Darius Snieckus]More: ‘Exponential’ global solar growth to continue with 142GW added in 2020 Global solar installations to top 140GW in 2020—IHS Markit
Study shows rooftop solar pushing fossil fuels off of Australian electricity grid FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Strong growth in rooftop solar installations has continued to push coal fired generation out of the Australian electricity market, a new audit of the National Electricity Market has shown.The latest edition of the National Energy Emissions Audit published by The Australia Institute found that the initial impact of disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has had a small impact on electricity consumption. At the same time, the continued strong growth in uptake of rooftop solar, which supplied more than 16 per cent of South Australia’s total electricity consumption over the last summer, and 7.7 per cent of Queensland’s consumption over the same period, has worked to drive fossil fuel generators out of the market.Analysis of the rooftop solar market has shown that 2019 was another record year for new installed capacity on homes and small businesses, with the accelerating pace of installations continuing for at least the first four months of 2020.To illustrate that growth, the audit showed the share of rooftop solar in total generation in South Australia has jumped from 10.1 per cent to its latest level of 16 per cent in the first quarter, while in Queensland it jumped from 5 per cent to 7.7 per cent.“Without rooftop solar, gas generation in South Australia would have had to supply 20 per cent more electricity in summer 2017-18 and 44 per cent more in summer 2019-20,” it says. Coal would have had to rise by 10 per cent last summer.Based on this strong growth, the National Energy Emissions Audit predicts that the annual share of renewable energy in Australia will top 25 per cent for the first time in the year to April 2020. This growth in rooftop solar, along with growth in generation from large-scale wind and solar projects, is succeeding at pushing coal fired generation out of the market. Over the 2020 Easter weekend, the share of electricity consumption in Australia’s main grid being supplied by renewable energy projects exceeded 50 per cent for the first time.[Michael Mazengarb]More: Record growth in rooftop solar pushing coal out of Australia market
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Oil supermajor Total raised its renewable energy target to 35GW by 2025, as it pursues an ambition to become a global top-five player in the green power sector that could see it adding 10GW of new projects annually, the company said on Wednesday.The new 2025 goal for gross capacity developed adds 10GW to the previous 25GW ambition, which CEO Patrick Pouyanné said had already been underwritten in Total’s wind and solar pipeline after a spree of acquisitions in 2020. “We have raised the bar,” said the oil chief, adding that Total aims to be producing about 30TWh net of renewable electricity by the middle of the decade.Total expects to be devoting 20% of its Capex, or about $3bn of the total, to renewable power by the end of the decade, up from $2bn for the next five years.Pouyanné said the increased target reflects Total’s ambition to be one of the five biggest producers of renewable power globally. “We are among the top five in oil and gas [and want] to reach the same level in renewables,” he said, adding that Total could continue to add 10GW gross of new project capacity annually as it has done in 2020.It expects its 2025 developed portfolio to include 15GW of gross development in Europe, 6GW in the Americas, split evenly between North and South, 6GW in India and 3GW in China.Pouyanné said renewables projects in sectors such as solar and offshore wind have the ability to add “long term value” to Total and insisted they could deliver attractive returns when compared to the rest of the company’s oil and gas-focused operations.[Andrew Lee]More: Oil giant Total aims for global green top-five with raised renewables ambition Oil giant Total ups renewable energy installation goal to 35GW by 2025
Australia’s New South Wales unveils major renewable energy transition plan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The NSW government has unveiled a $32 billion investment plan for new electricity infrastructure in the state, that will see strong investment in new wind, solar and storage projects replace the state’s ageing coal fleet while reducing emissions and costs for NSW consumers.Under the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap launched by energy minister Matt Kean, and deputy premier John Barilaro on Monday, the NSW government – home to the country’s biggest grid – will target $32 billion of new private investment in electricity infrastructure by 2030, including the development of renewable energy zones and energy storage projects.NSW aims for 12 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity – over and above “business as usual” – with an additional 2 gigawatts of storage capacity by 2030. It will be supported by an Electricity Infrastructure Investment Safeguard that will offer long term energy services agreements through a tender for generation, long duration storage and firming.Under the long term energy services agreements, the NSW government will offer an electricity price floor to projects being developed in line with the government’s infrastructure strategy, ensuring the right investment signals are being sent to the market to build the right projects in the right places, while also working to reduce the risk and cost of finance for the projects. They effectively work as a PPA.It is a hugely significant development, given that NSW is the biggest grid in the country, and has so far not undertaken the sort of reverse auctions and tenders common in other states. And it has a Coalition government trying to manage the anticipated exit of most of its coal fleet in the next decade or two.The plan is expected to reduce emissions from NSW’s electricity sector by around half, compared to a business-as-usual trajectory, with an equivalent reduction of around 90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually by 2030, and turn NSW into one of the lowest cost regions in the developed world.[Michael Mazengarb]More: NSW targets 12GW of renewables and storage under roadmap that includes auctions
Ovo, Sonnen to offer rooftop solar, storage package for residential customers in Spain FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Ovo Energy Ltd has partnered with a Royal Dutch Shell Plc subsidiary to offer rooftop solar and batteries to homes in Spain.The deal is the latest in a trend where energy suppliers offer complete energy systems that turn households into virtual power plants. Ovo’s Spanish offering is similar to Tesla Inc’s tariff launched in the U.K. last month that combines solar panels and a battery. Ovo is also carrying out a home battery trial in the U.K. with Sonnen.The company entered the Spanish market last year and now has thousands of customers. Residential solar in Spain is forecast to reach 1 million rooftops by 2025 and is expected to be a large contributor to meeting the nation’s 74% renewable generation goal by 2030.“The Spanish grid already has a significant amount of solar from the first wave of installations which happened about 10 years ago, and we’re expecting to see another wave as the cost of solar has come down,” Toby Ferenczi, Director of Ovo International said in an interview.Sonnen is the world’s largest manufacturer of residential batteries and it is providing the storage technology. Ovo provides the customers and uses its Kaluza technology to optimize deployment of the battery to the grid. Spanish company Webatt Energy will install the kit in people’s homes.Ovo is the U.K.’s second-biggest energy supplier after Centrica Plc and is also a supplier in France, Spain and Australia.[Rachel Morison]More: Ovo, Shell unit to turn Spanish homes into virtual power plants
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Brothers From Another Mother: Indie-folk Middle Brother made their debut album in Nashville.My Morning JacketCircuitalJim James and his Kentucky-bred crew toned down the cosmic soul experimentation of 2008’s Evil Urges and got back to some of the cavernous rock anthems and chilling ballads of their earlier years. Quite possibly the band’s most satisfying collection of songs from start to finish, Circuital gave a broad picture of what the Jacket does best—from the big arena riffs of the title track to the mellow utopian folk of “Wonderful (The Way I Feel),” all blanketed in the undertone of alt-country warmth.Gillian WelchThe Harrow and the HarvestAlthough Welch took her time (eight years) coming up with a new album, she stuck to her guns. With acoustic guitars and the purest of harmonies, the Nashville songstress and her long time musical partner David Rawlings released a collection of tunes with a simple throwback aesthetic that sounds completely out of time. Whether it’s with the banjo-driven spiritual “Hard Times” or the hard-luck character ballad “The Way It Goes,” Welch proves she’s still the best companion for sipping whiskey on the front porch.Drive-By TruckersGo-Go BootsThe Truckers keep cranking out great albums. Following last year’s rock bombast of The Big To-Do, the band decided to dive into the soul and R&B of their Muscle Shoals roots. There are still plenty of vivid, dark tales from the South’s underbelly, but the distortion is largely turned down in favor of slow-burning grooves, especially on standouts like “Used to Be a Cop” and “The Thanksgiving Filter.” The group also delivers an endearing reading of Eddie Hinton’s Motown hit “Everybody Needs Love.”Middle BrotherMiddle BrotherThis supergroup of indie-folk heroes—John McCauley of Deer Tick, Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit and Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes—headed down to Nashville and passed around songs like a new school Traveling Wilburys. The sessions yielded a collective sound that you wouldn’t expect from three bandleaders. With McCauley’s gritty blue-collar wit and Vasquez and Goldsmith’s more heart-on-sleeve earnestness, the group found a roots rock chemistry that easily rivals the work of their respective bands.Tyler RamseyThe Valley WindBefore Tyler Ramsey became the lead guitarist for indie rockers Band of Horses, the tunesmith was a fixture on the local Asheville, N.C., music scene as a solo singer-songwriter. Fortunately Ramsey found time to make another solo record, because it’s his best one yet. Blending intricate finger picking and narrative lyrics deftly laced with natural imagery, The Valley Wind conjures the haunting melancholy of Neil Young with the addition of some fitting rock atmospherics.Wye OakCivilianNext in the line of superb male-female duo acts, Baltimore’s Wye Oak achieves a broad sound on Civilian that grows on you with each listen. With Jenn Wasner on guitar and soaring lead vocals and Andy Stack on drums, keys, and backing vocals, the band moves well beyond expected garage rock into bold soundscapes with intelligent indie composition that delivers—from wailing to chilling—a roller coaster of emotion.Jason Isbell and the 400 UnitHere We RestFour years after leaving the Drive-By truckers, Isbell has fully realized his voice as a solo artist. Before making Here We Rest, he slowed his touring schedule and went home to rural Alabama to reconnect with his roots. The result is a dusty journey down multiple roads of American roots music: the windows-down acoustic highway ballad “Alabama Pines,” a cautionary tale through a country waltz in “Codeine,” vintage folk in the finger-picked “Daisy Mae,” dirty road house rock in “Never Could Believe,” and uplifting soul in “Heart on a String.”MegafaunMegafaunFormer band mates of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, this trio from Durham, N.C., released a bold self-titled effort that starts with a base of sparse indie folk and finds multiple ways to explode with full sonic color. Their songs are rooted in simple Americana structures and country-flavored harmonies, but they’re filled out with orchestral textures and psychedelic flourishes. “These Words” is the most deliberate with a cacophony of glitchy blips and industrial beats infiltrating a delicate piano melody. The bluesy “Scorned” drifts into slow-motion collision of gutbucket guitar and distorted harmonica, while Vernon steps in to riff with his old crew on the sprawling eight-minute atmospheric rocker “Get Right.”
Guide to the Southwest Virginia Road Trip:BRING: Mountain bike, camping gear, your appetiteHIGHLIGHT: Getting as high as you can in VirginiaSOUVENIR: Photo of you kissing a ponyDay OneKick off this trip with some cardio by running the crest of North Mountain, aka “The Dragon’s Back,” 15 miles northwest of Roanoke in the George Washington National Forest, where rocky terrain and bitchin climbs lead to views of McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs. After an immediate 1,000 foot climb on Deer Trail (park off FS 224), follow the North Mountain Trail as it rolls for 4.5 miles along the narrow ridge over jagged, gray rocks offering views to your left and right. Take Turkey Trail back to your car for an 11-mile loop.Before leaving town, grab a Smoked Trout Melt ($10) at The River and Rail, a Southern café in a restored pharmacy with a seasonal menu that changes weekly.Head southwest to Pandapas Pond/Brush Mountain, a recreation area in Jefferson National Forest outside of Blacksburg with more than 20 miles of singletrack that’s lovingly maintained by local mountain bikers and trail runners. Start at Pandapas and take Poverty Creek Trail to the top of Brush Mountain, then drop down Jacob’s Ladder and Old Farm for a three-mile burly descent.Get a campsite on the New River at Eggleston Springs Campground ($20) and head to the Palisades Restaurant for dinner. Housed inside an old general store, the Palisades serves hand cut steaks and rainbow trout sourced from local farms and streams. If you time it right, you’ll catch one of the local string bands playing live on weekend nights.Day TwoKeep trucking south to Grayson Highlands State Park, where you’ll bag the state high point, 5,729-foot Mount Rogers. Rogers often gets dissed because it doesn’t have a big view from its summit, but it’s the only state high point east of the Mississippi that doesn’t have a paved road to its summit. Start inside the state park at Massie Gap, hiking the A.T. four miles to the Mount Rogers Spur Trail to the summit. You’ll get long-range views from grassy meadows along the way, probably see a feral pony or two on Wilburn Ridge, and get to immerse yourself in the dank spruce-fir forest that dominates the top of Rogers. Retrace your steps to your car for an eight-mile round trip in Virginia’s High Country.Post-hike, cruise into Abingdon, which is rapidly becoming Southwest Virginia’s hub of local food. Grab dinner at The Harvest Table (276-944-5142), where the menu changes daily depending on what they can source from their own farm and partner farms. If it’s on the menu, get the Salad Pizza, which is exactly what it sounds like.Finish the day at Wolf Hills Brewing, with a White Blaze Honey Cream Ale (or two), which uses four pounds of local honey in each barrel.Head south across the border and get a campsite at Backbone Rock Recreation Area, known for the “shortest tunnel in the world,” the 20-foot long hole that was blasted through a rock wall to accommodate a timber train. ($10 a site; 423-735-1500)Want more adventure? Check out our full list of road trip guides!