Sierra Club seeks public disclosure of PacifiCorp coal plant study

first_imgSierra Club seeks public disclosure of PacifiCorp coal plant study FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Portland Business Journal:The Sierra Club on Monday formally asked Oregon utility regulators to require PacifiCorp to divulge results of a company analysis into the economics of its coal power plants.The environmental group is pushing for earlier coal retirements than PacifiCorp plans, and suspects the study could make its case.A PUC order allows PacifiCorp to keep “commercially sensitive and confidential business information related to the company’s long-term resource planning” under seal. But the Sierra Club said the utility hasn’t demonstrated how it could be harmed by release of the coal analysis.The coal analysis was ordered by the PUC as part of PacifiCorp’s 2017 integrated resource plan, which is largely wrapped up. The company will introduce its next IRP in April 2019.Last month, PacifiCorp shared a presentation about the study with stakeholders who had agreed not to disclose any information about it. That presentation was made public, but with redactions.“PacifiCorp redacted the study results to the extent that no reader of the PowerPoint could discern anything beyond the study’s methodology and its purported caveats and limitations,” the Sierra Club said in its filing. “PacifiCorp hid all of the study’s findings.”More: Sierra Club demands PacifiCorp reveal coal study resultslast_img read more

New Jersey utility PSEG pledges to be carbon-free by 2050

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNN Business:PSEG has relied on fossil fuels to keep the lights on for the past 116 years. Now, New Jersey’s largest and oldest power company is pledging to deliver carbon-free electricity to fight climate change.The $30 billion utility provider announced Thursday that it’s on track to slash carbon emissions by 80% by 2046, compared with 2005 levels. And PSEG, which also serves more than a million customers on Long Island, is setting an ambitious goal of getting down to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.To get there, the power company is shutting down its coal plants, betting big on offshore wind and working hard to keep its existing nuclear plant alive. PSEG said it won’t build or acquire any new fossil-fueled power plants, including those running on dirt-cheap natural gas.PSEG is joining a growing list of power companies going all-in on the clean energy revolution. The movement reflects the rapid decline in renewable energy costs and a growing push by households, businesses and state governments to respond to the threat of climate change.“We believe climate change is real. There is this crescendo that’s building,” PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo told CNN Business. “Climate change represents the pre-eminent challenge of our generation,” he wrote in a letter to stakeholders announcing the goals. “It’s far past time we moved beyond simply ‘heeding warnings’ to acting on them.”Last month, PSEG announced an agreement to sell its stake in a pair of coal plants in western Pennsylvania. The company plans to shut its final coal-powered unit, located in Connecticut, within 18 months.More: One of America’s oldest power companies is going carbon free New Jersey utility PSEG pledges to be carbon-free by 2050last_img read more

IEA: Almost 200GW of renewable energy capacity will be installed worldwide in 2019

first_imgIEA: Almost 200GW of renewable energy capacity will be installed worldwide in 2019 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:After stagnating last year, renewable energy has hit back with a vengeance in 2019 with the International Energy Agency (IEA) expecting almost 200 GW of new clean energy generation capacity will have been added by year-end.The lion’s share of the new capacity will come from solar – 115 GW of it despite a small decline in China – as PV and wind offer very much the mainstream options.Rapid solar power adoption across EU member states, particularly Spain, will offset the dip in the world’s biggest market according to the IEA, which also picked out Vietnam, India, the U.S. and Japan as fast-expanding solar markets. In fact, the only uncertainty cited in the latest IEA forecast concerned the unpredictable Chinese marketplace.This year PV will crack the 100 GW mark globally for the first time, helped by a more-than-80% fall in solar prices since 2010 as PV becomes the largest clean energy technology deployed for the third year running, according to IEA predictions.The IEA estimates the onshore wind market will grow 15% to 53 GW this year, driven by new installations in the U.S. and China. The increase in offshore wind energy is expected to remain stable at around 5 GW in 2019, led by the European Union and China.More: International Energy Agency forecasts 115 GW of new solar this yearlast_img read more

Bear Aware

first_imgPhoto: John Manuel The U.S. Forest Service suspended camping in the Shining Rock Wilderness in Pisgah National Forest last fall because of a series of bear encounters with backpackers. Campers reported multiple incidents of bears climbing trees to retrieve hung bear bags.“I don’t think we’ve ever had to close camping in Shining Rock before,” says Pisgah District ranger Derek Ibarguen. “There was one incident when the bear made contact with a tent. That’s too close for comfort, so we decided to suspend camping until winter.”Similar bear encounters were reported all over the Southeast in 2012. Black bears tore apart properly hung bear bags last fall in Panthertown Valley, prompting the Nantahala National Forest to release a bear alert for the valley. Great Smoky Mountains National Park closed two backcountry camping areas because of bear activity. And in Georgia, increased bear activity in the Blood Mountain Wilderness has prompted a new U.S. Forest Service rule requiring approved bear-resistant storage containers for camping on a five-mile stretch of the A.T. through the Wilderness during the spring.“We’re definitely seeing an upward trend in bear/human encounters in the backcountry,” says Mike Carraway, a biologist for the North Carolina Wildlife Commission. “We have a healthy bear population in the mountains. At the same time, more people are recreating in those mountains, so bear interactions are inevitable.”Carraway says that bears are both smart and creatures of habit. If they’re rewarded by a certain behavior, like climbing trees to get hung food, they’re likely to repeat that behavior.“In the past, we haven’t had many problems with bears going after food in campsites or up trees, but we have more bears in the forest now and more people camping,” Carraway says. “So we’re seeing more bears climb trees after hung bags, and more bears entering campsites.”Spring is typically the most active season for bears, as they forage for food after exiting their hibernation dens in March. But there’s no reason for backpackers to fear the backcountry. Take the proper precautions to remove the allure from your campsite, and backpackers and black bears can coexist without incident.“The key to reducing your chances of seeing an unwelcome bear is proper food storage,” says Steven Westcott, spokesperson for Pisgah National Forest. “We have bear encounters every year, but most cases are when food is left in the tents or near a cooking area.”Here’s a simple guide to creating a bear-proof campsite in the backcountry.The golden rule: Don’t carry anything with a scent into your tent with you: no candy bars, no toothpaste, no lip balm. Bears love lip balm.Properly hang your food bag: Finding the right tree is key. You need to be able to hang the bag 12 feet off the ground and at least three feet from the trunk, so the bear can’t climb for it. The bag should also be 100 feet from your tent.Cook somewhere else: Cooking at the fire ring beside your tent creates all kinds of tempting smells for black bears. Instead, consider cooking along the trail before you set up camp. At the very least, have a separate “cook site” 100 feet from your tent where you cook your meals. This will keep all alluring smells away from your tent.Three sites: If you’re taking all of the precautions, your campsite should actually be a collection of three sites (your tent, your cook site, and your food bag) all spaced at least 100 feet apart.Hang it or Can it?Many Western parks and forests require backpackers to store all of their food in an approved bear canister—hard plastic barrels that are air tight and stored a safe distance from the campsite. The Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia has issued this requirement for a section of the A.T. that has a heavy bear population. Should all backpackers switch to bear canisters instead of hanging their bags?“It might be appropriate for the forest service to require bear canisters in certain sections of the forest at certain times of the year,” says Mike Carraway. “But there’s no reason for a forest-wide rule requiring canisters at all times.”Still, the bear can might be worth your consideration. Canisters have proven to be more “bear proof” than hanging bags. The downside? They’re an added cost many backpackers don’t want to pony up, and they add a couple of pounds to your pack.last_img read more

Trauma Tuesday: Cliff Jumping Edition

first_imgDon’t worry, this video is relatively tame – mostly belly-flops and awkward takeoffs as oppose to the sand faceplants, deck slams, and rope snags you may be used to in your YouTube videos. But here’s the thing about jumping off a cliff into a swimming hole, it still hurts. Heck, even when you do it right, it still hurts. I have a younger brother who has blown out his eardrum and given himself a concussion jumping from heights into water, and that was two different instances. Like any launch situation, a lot can happen from the takeoff to the landing, and there is not much you can do about it. You can squirm in the air, shout “Oh, no,” twist so you land flat on your back instead of flat on your face, but cliff jumping poorly will always be painful. Obviously, that first step into thin air is the key to success or failure – epic failure in some cases.Enjoy this video, but take it as a warning for the rest of the summer: let someone else go first.One another note: Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.last_img read more

Shut Down

first_imgThe cool weather is finally starting to show its face around here. Just last week during my stay in Canaan Valley, I couldn’t go a day without talking to one of the locals about their summer temps (or lack thereof). In fact, their summer has been so unusually chill that they’ve already experienced their first frost.While I’m excited about the coming of snow (and working on not being such a ski newb), I’m a little apprehensive about how the Go will hold up in a winter that, according to a number of farmer’s almanac-type sites, will experience below average temperatures and above average snowfall (at least on the East).For me, that means two things – 1) Soak up the warm weather while it lasts and 2) Start planning.Since I’m more apt to procrastinate the planning process, I decided to check off #1 beginning of this week up at Grayson Highlands State Park in southwestern Virginia. To me, this place feels like home. The mountains here are my old stomping grounds. Five years ago when I first started school at Emory & Henry College, my first foray into the backcountry was here to pick wild blueberries on the Rhododendron Trail.Breathtaking views, diverse forest vegetation, wild miniature ponies, blueberries galore, and access to Virginia’s highest point – Mt. Rogers. There’s good reason I was sold on Grayson Highlands the moment I stepped from parking lot to trail all of those years ago.IMG_8200But now, there’s something else that makes this place even more special – bouldering. Just last year, local climber and GHSP AmeriCorps volunteer Aaron Parlier published the first guidebook to bouldering in the GHSP. Thus far, the book has created a wave of interest in southern Appalachia’s bouldering potential, and Parlier continues to update the Grayson Highlands Bouldering blog with POWs (problems of the week) and updates to access trails and new problems.I’ve only been bouldering up in the park a couple of times and usually it’s been during the tail end of fall when it’s really just too cold to climb at that elevation (for me and my sissy circulation at least). Since I was in the area this week, though, I figured I’d give it another go and hopefully get a bit of climbing in before the rock season hits full force next month.After much persuasion, and the promise of some delicious beer from Devils Backbone Brewing Company, I finally convinced my friend and fellow photographer/videographer/all-around-outdoorsman Tommy Penick to join me in the highlands for a little camping/bouldering excursion. Tommy’s more into the rope thing, but I assured him that he would be able to pet a wild miniature pony here, whereas he might get lucky and have an encounter with a copperhead in the Linville Gorge (his backyard crag).I’m not really much of a climber. I like to climb, but it’s such a muscle-specific sport that if I don’t get on rock often, I very quickly lose any progress and strength I’ve gained. I like climbing for the problem-solving aspect, and bouldering (the ‘routes’ which are appropriately referred to as ‘problems’) always seemed to me like the perfect embodiment of that.Until Grayson Highlands shut.me.down.Tommy Penick Photo.Tommy Penick Photo.Tommy Penick Photo.Tommy Penick Photo.Tommy Penick Photo.Tommy Penick Photo.IMG_8053IMG_8166“I don’t like bouldering because it’s right in your face,” Tommy said as we stared back from the guidebook to the (supposedly) straightforward V1 problem back to the guidebook again.We had been trying to work this slightly overhanging boulder for what seemed like forever with little to no success. The most irritating part? The hold we can’t get to is just above eye-level. I’ve heard Tommy say this before when it comes to climbing, but I’ve never actually agreed with him until now. With the exception of sketchy highballs, boulders around here are normally no bigger than 15-20ft. I could bypass this whole problem, make Tommy give me a leg up, and be happily sitting at the top-out in a matter of seconds.But that takes the whole fun out of climbing the thing. Instead, we both sat on my crash pad staring up at the problem trying, falling, flailing, and ultimately failing to make much of any progress.“Let’s go to another boulder,” I finally suggested, reluctantly accepting the fact that maybe V0s were more my level.We walked down the trail to the Picnic Block, a smaller boulder which nearly touches its neighbor the Picnic Boulder. It was all overhanging, but the problem was short and seemed to have solid holds. I went first and, surprise surprise, could barely get off the ground. Tommy followed my struggle fest by sending the problem with ease and I stared on in furious frustration at the solid-hold-that-was-there-but-which-I-was-too-weak-to-hold-onto.It’s not like we had been bouldering hard for days on end and I was all pumped out, bloodied, and rightfully sore. In total I had successfully topped out on four or five problems at the most and struggled in vain on many more.Tommy tried to cheer me on with various words of encouragement. “Come on, Jess, you got it.” “Quit being a baby and get up that thing.” “What is this sit-on-your-ass-time or bouldering? Let’s go!”No level of tactful pushing could get me up that 10-foot arête and I was finally forced to walk away from it and hit the road for an afternoon meeting, feeling defeated, deflated, and shut down.Why did we go up there at all? I chastised myself on the drive down the mountain. Why did I waste an entire evening and morning getting shut down on some boulders instead of going for a trail run or a bike ride or a paddle (though the rivers here are pretty much rock gardens).I’d lost a chunk of my finger, ripped a hole in my Eddie Bauer pants, and all but abandoned any remaining bit of confidence in my climbing abilities to that last problem, and for what?I had only to browse through the photos Tommy and I shot up in the Highlands to have my answer.Tommy Penick photo.Tommy Penick photo.Tommy Penick Photo.Tommy Penick Photo.IMG_7995Sometimes I get caught up in the “end goal.” You know what I mean. You get your eyes on the prize and before you know it, you’ve lost sight of the process, of what it’s going to take to get there, the blood-sweat-and-tears of it all. We live in an era of instant gratification, and I feel that sometimes, that sense of immediacy breeds impatience in us all. I am certainly guilty of this, particularly when it comes to climbing or mountain biking or trying anything new for that matter.Really, I should have tapped into that person I was five years ago when I was simply in awe at the beauty that is the Grayson Highlands, when I was willing, eager, hungry to try anything no matter how bad I sucked.Getting shut down isn’t the end of the road. It isn’t a total failure and it isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a challenge unmet, and that problem will be waiting for me the next time I find myself up in the highlands with warm, dry weather on my side and an itch for bouldering.Until then, I must say that the company, beer, sunset, and mystery-cheesy-pasta dish were enough to call that a successful outing. Thanks for the rad shots Tommy (and sorry we didn’t get you some pony-love…next time).Tommy Penick Photo.Tommy Penick Photo.IMG_8005Tommy Penick Photo.Tommy Penick Photo.Tommy doin' his thang.Tommy doin’ his thang.Shut down or not, nothing makes you feel more on top of the world than a room-temp Devils Backbone brew.Shut down or not, nothing makes you feel more on top of the world than a Devils Backbone brew.It's just a flesh wound!It’s just a flesh wound!last_img read more

Beer Blog: Asheville Distilling Company Blonde Whiskey

first_imgTattoo Removals and Restraining OrdersHere’s the thing about blondes: they really do have more fun. Dolly Parton—fun. Miley Cyrus—fun. Bat shit crazy, but fun. This bottle of whiskey sitting in front of me called “Blonde”—Fun. With a capital “F.”Asheville-based Troy and Sons makes Blonde, putting a mixture of heirloom red wheat and corn into the mash—the wheat contributes a softness to the whiskey and the corn adds the sweet element you find in most bourbons.Not that Blonde is a bourbon. There’s no age statement on the bottle, which usually means it isn’t aged the requisite two years to legally claim bourbon status. The good news is, this whiskey doesn’t need “bourbon status,” or a magical age-statement to be worthy of your time.This is an incredibly smooth (thanks wheat), sweet spirit with huge notes of caramel and vanilla. There’s almost no heat, whatsoever—none of that characteristic whiskey burn. Like I said: F.U.N.Troy and Sons uses oak barrels with a honeycomb pattern inside to enhance the aging. They say the result is a whiskey with more vanilla and caramel, and I believe it. This whiskey has a hell of a caramel backbone. It’s there in the nose, in the sip, in the after taste… The more I get into the bottle, the more notes of vanilla come out to play as well. Eventually, I get the feeling like I’m sucking on a candy bar. But that’s probably because I’m four or five glasses in. But whatever. I’m a journalist. This is research.The danger, of course with this whiskey and all blondes, is that at some point, the fun ends. The bottle runs empty, the blonde shows her Miley Cyrus side. After that, it’s just the hangover. Tattoo removals and restraining orders.Still, blondes are worth it.–Beer Blog is a regular column on BlueRidgeOutdoors.com. Sometimes we talk about other things. Email us if you have ideas for this column.last_img read more

In Search of a Secret Spot

first_imgMy love for the Blue Ridge Mountains came at an early age. Like many kids in Charlottesville, Va., I grew up hiking, biking, fishing, skiing and paddling, but it was my grandparents who really taught me about the Blue Ridge Mountains. They had an Airstream trailer—the big silver spaceship-looking thing that still turns heads today on the highways and in campgrounds.Every weekend and all summer, I would take off with my grandparents on another adventure in the mountains. We hit every campground from Pennsylvania to Georgia, often driving on the Parkway and exploring back roads. My grandfather taught me about the mountains and mountain people, and I became comfortable in the woods and was always ready for an adventure.Fishing was an important part of almost all of these weekends and summer adventures. My grandfather (I called him Dub for reasons unknown to me) fancied himself as a fisherman, and he loved fresh rainbow trout. He didn’t know the term “catch and release” but he knew how to fillet a fresh caught fish and cook it to perfection on his grill outside the Airstream. He started teaching me to fish at trout farms and fish hatcheries where you could put just about anything on the end of a hook and catch a fish.I quickly graduated to the rivers, streams and lakes of Appalachia. We went deep into the mountains on dirt roads in his old wood-paneled Suburban, passing dozens of fishable spots, and hiked miles of unmarked trails in search of the “secret spot.” These secret spots didn’t come from online research or a paid guide — they came through connecting the old fashioned way, by talking to locals. He had a system. Each time we would go into a new area or return to an area we had previously been, we’d hit up the local gas station and convenience store. Even today, these stores can be the centerpieces of some rural communities. He would get to know folks, ask questions, and when they told my grandfather to go to the place down the road where they sent everyone, he smiled and dug a little deeper. Eventually “the secret spot” would come out of them. As a kid, the list of directions, turns, and odd landmarks—all delivered by a thick Appalachia accent—was dizzying. And almost every time, my grandfather was able to make the turn at the “pregnant tree” or “where the three legged dog barks” and find that secret spot.One day I asked, “Dub, I wonder if we stopped at all of those other spots closer to the campground if we would catch as many fish as at the secret spot?” I remember his mouth gaping slightly and his foot coming off the gas of the Suburban slowing the vehicle down the dirt road and he said, “I don’t know. I suppose we could try, but what would be the fun in that?”I realized that eating a great trout dinner at the end of the day wasn’t the goal—it was the icing on the cake to a great day of adventure and conquering the unknown in pursuit of trout. It required persistence, attention to detail, and patience, and the reward was delicious. And sometimes at night around the community campground campfire after my grandfather told some strangers about our adventures, if the person asked just the right questions, he would tell them how to get to the secret spot.I would have never imagined back then that one day I would own a media company that’s main goal is to tell our fans, followers, and readers how to go outside and play. We are oftentimes criticized for giving up “secret spots” and sending readers into places that were previously only known by a small group of people. We don’t give up everything, and we still hold plenty of secrets, but we take our goal of encouraging people to get outside seriously. If someone wants to work hard enough to find some of the spots we uncover, then I hope the people who hold those spots sacred can be impressed enough to share them with others. In this day and age where everyone is looking for a quick “experience,” even Dub could probably get on board with this notion.As we celebrate our 20th Anniversary and I look back on the past 11 years that I have been with Blue Ridge Outdoors, I can’t express how lucky I am to do this for a living. But none of this would be possible without our dedicated readers.5.1.3last_img read more

BRO Editor in Chief Will Harlan Honored at 8th Annual Wild South Green Gala

first_imgAn all-star cast of conservation heroes were honored last Saturday’s a the 8th Annual Wild South Green Gala. At the event, Wild South recognized the winners of the Roosevelt-Ashe Conservation Awards and special awards, as well as celebrated Wild South’s legacy of 25 years.will1BRO Editor in Chief Will Harlan with his Roosevelt Ashe Conservation Award for Most Outstanding Journalist.The award for most outstanding journalist was awarded to BRO’s own Editor in Chief Will Harlan. 175 people gathered at The Millroom for a seated dinner, award ceremony, music, and silent auction that benefitted Wild South. The keynote address was given by DeLene Beeland, author of The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight to Save North America’s Other Wolf. Beeland’s speech addressed the history and current status of the endangered red wolf, of which there are fewer than 50 left in the wild.“We are grateful to the many contributions of our sponsors, community partners, supporters, volunteers who made this event an enormous success,” says Hannah Morgan, Wild South’s Development and Communications Coordinator. “The event was a very special moment to celebrate the many accomplishments of Wild South over the past 25 years as well as the accomplishments of many special conservation leaders.”Check out the rest of the Roosevelt-Ashe Awards below:Outstanding JournalistWill Harlan: Editor of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, Asheville, North CarolinaOutstanding Small BusinessHolladog Farms: Organic Farm, Pamplico, South CarolinaOutstanding Youth Bennett David: Scout/Student-Volunteer, Boy Scout Troop 91, Asheville, North CarolinaOlivia & Carter Ries: Founders of One More Generation, Fayetteville, GeorgiaOutstanding EducatorKim Wheeler: Executive Director of The Red Wolf Coalition, Columbia, North CarolinaOutstanding ConservationistCarl Silverstein: Executive Director of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Asheville, North CarolinaAdditional special awards were given to outstanding individuals in their field:Outstanding Community Conservationist: To recognize an individual’s contribution to education and community engagement on conservation, spanning many categories of achievement. This is a special, one-year award designated by the Roosevelt-Ashe Selection Committee.Forest Hilyer: Chairman of Lumpkin Coalition, Dahlonega, GeorgiaKayah Gaydish Award: For an individual who has advanced Wild South’s mission and vision and has demonstrated the same dedication Kayah had for inspiring others to protect our wild places.Ben Prater: Southeast Program Director of Defenders of Wildlife, Asheville, North CarolinaKayahGaydishAwardBen Prater, the Southeast Program Director of Defenders of Wildlife, received the Kayah Gadish Award.Cultural Heritage Award: For an individual who has demonstrated commitment to preserving cultural heritage in our region.Robin Swayney: Program Manager, Qualla Boundary Library, Cherokee, NC.Public Service Award: For a dedicated public servant whose work has promoted a conservation vision and values that mirror Wild South’s and represents the type of conscientious stewardship of natural resources that promotes collaborative partnerships with organizations.Gary Kauffman: Botanist & Ecologist of U.S. Forest Service, Asheville, North CarolinaFriend of Wilderness Award: For an individual who has worked to designate and increase protection for our special wild places in the Southeast.Mike Leonard: Board Chair of The Conservation Fund and attorney at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.Related Articles:last_img read more

BREAKING: Mount Mitchell State Park To More Than Double in Size

first_imgOfficials with a national conservation organization called the Conservation Fund have ensured the acquisition of 2,744 acres of land adjacent to Mount Mitchell State Park, allowing the 100 year old park to more than double in size.The park, which currently protects just under 2,000 acres, will now extend into the western slope of the Black Mountains, which contain some of the highest peaks in the East.“It’s not going to affect the character of the park initially,” park spokesperson Charlie Peek told the Charlotte Observer. “In the next 100 years, there will be a lot of people who will be very glad we had the foresight to do this.”The Conservation Fund acquired the acreage, which includes two separate tracts, at a price of $8.6 million and sold it back to the state for the significantly lower price of $3.2 million.One of the more notable peaks contained within the new purchase is Cattail Peak, which until now had been known as the tallest privately owned peak in the Appalachian chain.The expansion will also bring the Cane River, a well known trout stream, into the auspices of the park and allow visitors more access during snowy winter months.The expansion comes on the heels of another land acquisition on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which occurred in the Plott Balsam Mountains of Jackson County, North Carolina on Wednesday, August 17.Click here to learn more to learn more about this significant win for public lands in North Carolina.Related:last_img read more