South Australia businesses, billionaire team up on solar FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:U.K. “green steel” billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has unveiled a stunning, landmark agreement to provide cheap solar power to five major South Australian companies, promising to slash their electricity costs by up to 50 per cent.The eight-year deal signed with a consortium brought together by the SA Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME)–and including some of the heavy hitters in the resources industry–will enable Gupta’s SIMEC ZEN Energy to fast track the construction of the 220 MW Cultana solar farm near Whyalla. The eight-year supply deal is the just latest in a flood of contracts between large energy users and solar companies to slash their electricity costs by sourcing power directly from their own or third-party solar farms.Just in the past few weeks, companies such as CUB, Mars Australia, and University of Queensland have signed contracts to meet all their electricity needs with large-scale solar plants, and others such as zinc refiner Sun Metals, Telstra and CC Amatil will use solar and/or wind to supply a large part of their needs.Gupta’s deal is doubly significant, because it is the start of his own plans to create an Australian solar-powered economy, with plans to build 10GW of large-scale solar to slash the energy costs of his own manufacturing businesses and others. It is also another stake in the heart of the coal industry and their apostles in the right wing of the Coalition, whose claim that only coal power can deliver cheap and reliable energy is looking more ridiculous by the day.Indeed, while South Australia’s high and volatile power prices have been blamed by conservatives and ideologues as the fault of renewables, in reality the state has always experienced such high prices, even causing the state grid provider to investigate wind energy more than half a century ago. Now it is patently clear that wind and solar–combined with the plunging cost of storage and the emergence of “firming contracts”–is easily beating fossil fuel generation as the most reliable source of cheap energy.In all, Gupta plans 1GW of large-scale solar in South Australia alone, and plans to sign up more business customers. More: Gupta’s stunning deal to supply cheap solar to South Australian industry
Malaysia’s Tenaga looks to increase renewable generation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Tenaga Nasional Bhd., the most valuable listed utility company in emerging Asia, is looking to sell its gas-fired power plant in Pakistan as it pushes forward with a plan to rely more on renewable sources of energy.Malaysia’s state-owned electricity producer wants to reduce reliance on fossil fuel, which accounts for about 70 percent of its power generation, Chief Executive Officer Azman Mohd said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur. The company is also considering increasing its stake in Turkey’s Gama Enerji AS that produces electricity using water, wind and natural gas, he said.“Our strategy is to invest in a combination of developed countries and emerging countries, contracted and market, fossil fuel and renewable — we are increasing our renewable,” Azman said in his first interview with international media since taking the helm in 2012.Tenaga has a market value of nearly 90 billion ringgit ($21.7 billion), beating publicly traded peers including India’s NTPC Ltd. and China’s Huaneng Power International Inc. The Malaysian company’s push toward sustainable sources of electricity aligns with the agenda set out by Energy Minister Yeo Bee Yin, who said this week that she’s confident of meeting a 20 percent renewable energy target by 2030, from 2 percent currently.Tenaga wants to produce 1,700 megawatts from green energy by 2025, from 280 megawatts, according to a December investor presentation. That compares with the company’s total installed capacity of 24,139 megawatts, enough to power at least 1.6 million mid-sized homes.More: Emerging Asia’s top power firm considers M&A deals to go green
Coal-heavy co-op signs contract for South Dakota’s largest solar project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bismarck Tribune:Bismarck-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative will purchase electricity from a solar farm slated near Rapid City, S.D.The co-op announced the power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy on Tuesday. Geronimo is the developer of the Wild Springs Solar Project, which, with a capacity of 128 megawatts, would become the largest solar farm in South Dakota once built.“For the first time in its history, Basin Electric will buy solar generation on a large scale to serve our members,” Basin CEO and General Manager Paul Sukut said in a statement. “The board’s decision to add solar generation to our resource portfolio is to continue with our all-of-the-above strategy, as well as solar generation becoming a more economic energy source.”The Wild Springs solar farm still requires local and state approvals in South Dakota, Basin spokeswoman Joan Dietz said. The facility would be 20 miles east of Rapid City in Pennington County. It’s scheduled to start operating in 2022, according to Basin.The co-op estimates that the project would result in more than $17 million in economic benefits during the first 20 years of its life via tax revenue, jobs and charitable funds. An education fund established through the project would give $500,000 in donations to local school districts, Basin said.Geronimo is the same company proposing the 200-megawatt Harmony solar farm in Cass County.[Amy Sisk]More: Basin Electric to purchase power from South Dakota solar farm
Mountains outside of San Juan de la Maguana, DRA few weekends ago my husband and I picked up a hitchhiker. He was standing near an Appalachian Trail crossing, walking polls, pack, looking tired. He needed a ride to Roanoke where he believed he could find a motel, dinner and a bus station to get a ticket home to Vermont.He was leaving the trail and needed help getting home.We know of a man who lives in Damascus Virginia who set up a grill and a cooler of beer for thru-hikers this spring. A random party trail side where all were invited to sit, relax and enjoy some of the comforts of a summer evening at home.My husband has long delighted in stories of trail magic. Of hikers being provided for, served and taken care of by strangers. Acts of kindness and hospitality that make the 5-6 month trip possible.I spent the last week in the Dominican Republic, a country not lacking in natural beauty. While the mountains were indeed spectacular, it was the warmth and kindness of the people I will never forget. I do not know of a time or place where I have ever felt such gracious hospitality from strangers.Trail Magic.Hospitality.Doing unto others.The Gospel of Matthew says to love your neighbor as yourself. But who is your neighbor?The Dominicans I met believed I was their neighbor, white skin notwithstanding. The thru-hikers believed the young man trail side with the cooler of snacks was their neighbor, brother perhaps. The elderly woman in front of you at the grocery store is your neighbor. The homeless man who asks for change downtown is your neighbor. The politician who makes you so angry you must turn off the TV is your neighbor. The family member who takes and takes and never gives is your neighbor. The young boy who litters your favorite fishing spot or makes too much noise on his floating island while you try to quietly float the New River is also your neighbor.What if we all lived with these daily goals of service in mind? Could you change your relationships? Your block? Your office? Your town?I think so. I hope so.
Dear EarthTalk: What was the BULB Act pertaining to light bulb energy efficiency that just failed to pass in the House of Representatives? –Betsy Edgerton, Columbus, OHThe Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act (H.R. 2417) was a failed attempt in July 2011 by some Republicans in the House to repeal a 2007 law mandating increased efficiency for light bulbs sold anywhere in the U.S. Sponsors of the bill cited the 2007 bulb efficiency requirements—whereby light bulbs must be 25 to 30 percent more efficient by 2014 and then as much as 60 percent more efficient by 2020—as a key example of how government overreaches its authority.“The 2010 elections demonstrated that Americans are fed up with government intrusion,” said Representative Joe Barton, the Texas Republican who proposed the repeal. “The federal government has crept so deep into our lives that federal agencies now determine what kind of light bulbs the American people are allowed to purchase.” It’s ironic that the new standards were put in place by Republican President George W. Bush as part of his Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, a sweeping update of the country’s energy policy. At the time, the bill, including the provisions about light bulb efficiency, enjoyed widespread bi-partisan support.The fact that the BULB Act couldn’t muster enough votes in the Republican-controlled House to pass by the required two-thirds majority shows that even many conservative lawmakers would rather have the country save money and energy than waste it unnecessarily on inefficient lighting. The repeal effort did garner 233 votes, but the 193 opposed were more than enough to override it given House rules.Maryland’s Steny Hoyer, Democratic Whip in the House, derided the sponsors of the repeal attempt for focusing on the wrong priorities in these dire economic times. “By bringing misguided bills like this one to the floor instead of a comprehensive jobs plan, it is clear that House Republicans are still in the dark.”Even the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and General Electric came out against repealing the increased efficiency standards, given the strides industry has made in recent years to roll with the punches and design more efficient bulbs, fixtures and electricity distribution methods.Analysts wonder if the 2007 efficiency requirements will sound the death knell for incandescent bulbs, which have not changed significantly since first invented by Thomas Edison in 1879. While newer, more efficient styles of bulbs—from compact fluorescents (CFLs) to halogens to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) —may be significantly more expensive than their incandescent counterparts (by as much as a factor of 50! ), consumers will likely make up the difference and then some over the long term as energy savings accrue. The Department of Energy estimates that the switchover to newer, more efficient bulbs will save American households upwards of $50 per year by 2015, or some $6 billion in the aggregate. 1 2
Photo: Paul KellyOutdoors athletes have many different ways of measuring a successful season. Some measure it through competition results; others through personal progression. One overriding commonality that seems to exist among athletes from all sports is tabulating the number of days spent doing what they love.For whitewater kayakers, canoers, rafters, and riverboarders, there is an event that channels this energy while also raising money for a very good cause: the EddyFlower Vertical Challenge. The premise of the Vertical Challenge is simple: team up with other paddlers and drop as much elevation as humanly possible in one month. These teams work together to paddle and record their runs, and rally together to raise money for First Descents, a kayaking cancer camp for young adults.The Vertical Challenge runs from April 1 to May 2 on the East Coast. Now in its sixth year, the event is as much about the community as the competition. Paddlers of all ability levels are welcome to participate, and last year over 100 boaters spent an entire month chasing water and ticking off runs in the online portal to increase their accumulated total vertical feet.“This competition is growing because people think of it as getting back to the soul of the sport,” says EddyFlower co-owner Justin Bellucci. “It’s all about just getting out with your friends and lapping your favorite runs.”The event this year will be ramped up even more with the presence of an East Coast category as well as the traditional West Coast contingent. The long-standing rivalry between these two paddling meccas will surely come out in the competition, and there will be only one overall winning team.In spite of this competitive aspect, everyone still remembers the root cause for the event: helping those who are struggling with cancer. First Descents is an organization based out of Denver, Colorado, that was originally founded by professional kayaker Brad Ludden.Since its inception, First Descents has created something unique for cancer victims and survivors: outdoors experiences that help them to regain the confidence and self-efficacy lost to the disease. The week-long camps are designed to facilitate happy, natural and organic healing. The camps are also a wonderful place to connect them with others and create lifelong friendships. 2012 will be a huge year for First Descents, as the organization will host over 40 camps in 10 states.The EddyFlower Vertical Challenge raised over $15,000 last year, and is shooting for a much larger number this time around. The donations are tax deductible, and all of the revenue from donors and sponsors goes directly to First Descents.Participants are also competing for some impressive prizes. A number of industry leaders have stepped forward as sponsors, and kayaks, helmets, shoes, and other prizes will be given away at the awards ceremony to the top competitors and fundraisers.
Welcome to our new Ask the Doc feature. We will be posting regular updates from Dr. Sean Cook with questions pertaining to outdoor injuries and basic health and fitness. Hey Doc,My husband and I are going camping for a week on the Appalachian Trail. Ten weeks ago we did the same trail and two days after we returned home both of us had a stomach bug for next five days. How can we avoid a repeat situation?————————————————- First, congratulations on the trip (not on the illness). An estimated 3 percent of outdoor adventurers will return home with more than memories of their trip. Wilderness associated diarrhea (WAD) is caused by bacteria or viruses though less commonly due to parasites. The time frame of exposure to onset of symptoms is usually no more than seven days. Most WADs require no management beyond hydration and replacement of electrolytes like salt and potassium. Imodium can be used to help decrease frequency of diarrhea. Warning signs to seek medical attention would be diarrhea persisting more than 5 days, if the diarrhea is accompanied by fever, abdominal pain, or if blood is noted in the stool.WAD prevention is the key. Choose running water sources. Avoid water that is cloudy or run off water from nearby farms. Boiling water at 500 C (1600 F) for 30 minutes or 2-3 minutes at 900 C (1940 F) is adequate to kill all types of pathogens. If boiling water is not an option, using commercial filtration followed by iodine or chlorine tablets will work equally well. UV light devices have also become a popular alternative to chemical tablets. Be aware that colder temperatures and the amount of particles in the water will affect the purification efficiency UV light devices and chemical tablets.When Sean Cook, M.D., is not tempting fate kayaking the Chattooga River, you can find him practicing infectious disease in Eastern Georgia and South Carolina.
YES: Hair Today, Gone TomorrowYou’ve seen them. They shave their face, arms, chest, legs, and parts unknown. They do it in the name of performance, the ease of treating injuries, and just for the look.But is there really any good reason for an athlete of any level to remove all traces of body hair? Even if you’re grizzly-bear hairy, do you really think you will cut any time off your run, bike, or swim?I’ve shaved my body hair regularly for more than twenty years, and I’m convinced there is a substantial performance advantage in shaving. The advantage isn’t so much aerodynamic, though it has been proven to take time off various efforts. Instead, the real performance advantage with shaving smooth has everything to do with giving you a mental boost.The first time you shave and then go fast in air or water, you’ll notice something. You don’t feel any resistance at all. Your body becomes a knife. Hair on your body slows you down because you can feel the amount of wind or water you’re pushing out of the way. I notice it most when I’m swimming. After I shave, I slip through the water like a glass spear. When I can’t feel the water, I don’t feel how fast I’m going. That means I can push even harder because there is no mental limit being reached. The negative feedback doesn’t trigger my mind to ease off. I can go considerably faster because I can feel the water better without the distraction of thousands of tiny hairs giving me unnecessary biofeedback.Want a couple more good reasons to shave down?Remove the rug, and your skin will feel cooler during exercise. Without hair, it is also easier to treat cuts and scrapes. Most cyclists cite this as the reason they shave. It is easier to apply and remove adhesive bandages and keep skin clean and free from infection after injuries.If you are serious about competition, with yourself or others, shave once and see how you feel. If you don’t dig it, your hair will grow back in a month or two. But I’ll bet you’re going to like the feeling, and I know you’ll love the results.–Vern Lovic is a top triathlete and cyclist. NO: A Shave Like Any OtherAs a consultant to professional endurance athletes, I get asked all manner of things. Including, strange as it may seem, looking into the research on performance benefits of shaving body hair. Beyond psychologically induced gains (placebo effect), there is little to no legitimate evidence that shaving results in any meaningful performance gains. And, even the few studies showing ever-so-miniscule gains are debatable due to potential placebo effects and research bias influence. The only population that may have a somewhat valid argument would be very hairy long-distance, non-wetsuit wearing swimmers with excellent swim technique. That likely limits the number of people who could truly see performance gains from shaving to a very, very small percentage of the athletes.Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most common rationalizations for shaving.It makes me faster. In cycling, 90% of your effort is simply fighting wind resistance. Therefore, it would make sense that any additional wind resistance would help, right? To date, this claim is unsupported by legitimate research. The truth appears to be none beyond that it makes you think you’re faster. If there is a true speed benefit, it is ever so tiny. Turns out those little extensions of our body are pretty aerodynamic.I’m less likely to get an infection in my wounds from the crazy riding I do since I’m the Chuck Norris of biking. Somehow, road cyclists and triathletes have turned this into an excuse. Yet, mountain bikers rarely shave. The truth is that you will get an infection whether you have hair or not if you don’t clean out the wound. Cleaning techniques also work on leg and body hair.I don’t want hair follicle infections from my recovery massages. My advice is to not to use this excuse. It just adds more ammo. Now you shave your legs and get lots of massages.My opinion: skip the unfounded “important” reasons to shave and tell the truth…you do it because everyone else does and it accentuates those hard earned calf muscles.–Dr. Garret Rock is an adviser to over 80 of the world’s top professional triathletes, cyclists, and runners. And yes, he shaves his legs.
SCAR is the name for the “Smokies Challenge Adventure Run,” a runners’ challenge that involves running the entire 72 miles of the Appalachian Trail that go across the Smoky Mountains, all in under 24 hours. I had been itching to try this for several months and finally, this weekend, it was time to give it a go.The route certainly lived up to expectations. I started at Davenport Gap, the northern border of the Smokies, at 3:48 a.m. I had decided to go southbound for two reasons–one, it would give me a more gradual descent off the mountain ridge at the end of the run, and two, it would get me past the Charlie’s Bunion area before the tourist crowds became too intense.I set off to warm, muggy weather and a peaceful, still forest lit up by a pretty sliver of moon. After 8 or 9 miles I popped out a nice section of ridgeline just in time for the sunrise. From here until mile 31 would be one of my favorite runs ever. There was the perfect morning light on the ridge (my photos do not do it justice), the views off both sides, the many sections are perfect trail for runing.My legs were still feeling heavy and sluggish from Lake Sonoma, but it didn’t really matter as I knew I didn’t need to run quickly for this day; I just needed to keep moving steadily.Around mile 29 I got an exciting surprise: my friend Julien! I knew he was going to be at Newfound Gap to pace me, but I wasn’t sure where on the trail I’d find him. I got into Newfound Gap, which is mile 31.5, in 7:55, which was also a surprise as it was 35 minutes ahead of schedule. I was especially pleased as I had taken most of those miles conservatively, pacing myself as if I were doing a 100 miler rather than a 72 miler. After a slightly longer-than-ideal stop at Newfound Gap, Julien and I set off for Clingman’s Dome, about 8 miles away.Heat is my kryptonite, and it struck with a vengeance at mile 32. After Newfound Gap you drop off the other side of the ridge and run along the hillside below the ridge. This meant I lost my cool breeze and gained direct sunlight. And the hills on this section are surprisingly difficult, even though they’re not the biggest on the route. Julien aptly named them the little steep monsters. Ouch! Julien did an impressive job keeping me moving at a good pace after I started to slow. We met Divesh just south of Clingman’s Dome and did a quick swap of my food and gear for the final 32.5-mile stretch.My original goal for SCAR was to run it in less than 22 hours. But when I left Clingman’s Dome with 10:15 elapsed, I realized that if I had a great second half of my run, I could possibly run under 20 hours or even under the women’s course record of 18:50. On one hand, I had some significant nausea already starting, and I knew I was behind in my water intake. On the other hand, my legs were still feeling strong, and I actually managed to get ahead of what I needed to run for an 18:50 between miles 40 and 50.My stomach didn’t do well during those miles, though. I barely drank and I don’t think I ate anything until I was able to barter with a hiker for his Snickers bar at mile 50 (I gave him a bag of peanut butter pretzel bites). Then the weather turned. The occasional showers turned into a steady downpour that would last the remaining 22 miles. When you haven’t been eating or drinking, you’re stopping often to throw up, and it’s raining heavily and windy, it’s almost impossible to stay warm, even with good rain gear and warm tights on. I shivered my way along, feeling cold and miserable. The trail was flooded and after it got dark it was almost impossible to see, since my headlamp wasn’t quite cutting through the dense rain and fog. From miles 55 to 59 I slowly lost my cushion on an 18:50 finish, and at mile 59 the large hill up to the Mollie’s Ridge shelter took away any remaining chance I had at the record.The one thing I had to look forward to in the final miles was that Divesh was planning to run in 5 miles from the finish and meet me. He actually made it 6 miles in, and I was thrilled to see him and have some company in the cold. Those last 6 miles took so long that I was convinced I must be nearing the 24-hour mark (I hadn’t looked at my watch in several hours since it was under several layers of rain jacket and gloves) but I had to laugh when we emerged from the trail for the last mile on the road and I discovered that the clock was at 19:41. I had planned a sprint finish down the last mile, but an attempt at sprinting quickly led to an especially painful bout of throwing up stomach acid, so I decided that a fast walk/shuffle would have to do, and I finished in 19:54.Other than the bad weather, my SCAR was basically a summary of everything I love about running: great trails and views, a classic point-to-point route, pushing myself to a time that I wouldn’t have thought was possible, and even getting to see friends and family in the process. A perfect day!Learn more about:The Hub and Pisgah Tavern, Crozet Running, Bold Rock Cidery, and Blue Ridge Cyclery.Related Articles:
Through the camera lens and from the fly rod, I do things outside to see and experience beauty in nature, but I also do these things to experience friendships and create lasting memories to one day pass on to my kids and theirs.Related: This month’s Instagram Takeover features Virginia-based fly fisherman, photographer and all around outdoorsman Kyle LaFerriere. Kyle has taken a slightly different approach to his takeover, using his photos to tell a story about how he found himself immersed in the world of fly fishing and the friendship that ensued. Read on! Dinner with friends was something that my wife and I did every Thursday this past year. We were always excited for newcomers, but when one showed up and said he liked to fish, I got really excited.Zach and his fiance had just moved from Colorado where he spent the last three years as a fly fishing guide. I quickly bombarded him with questions, told him about the shad fishing in Richmond and how it was just about to get going. I asked him if he wanted to fish in two days, told him where I would be at 6am and that I was going to take photos of him. I explained it would be cold and maybe miserable, but we would catch fish. To my surprise, he showed up and our friendship began.Fly fishing was always something I adored from afar. I hoped to someday be good at it and dreamed of being an old man teaching my grandson how to cast a fly rod. I had a few friends that did it, but for some reason I stayed comfortable with a spinning rod.When @Zjmadison spoke of a place nestled up in the mountains where a dirt road led you to native brook trout in steams as wide as a school bus, I was a bit skeptical, but I got in the car and drove to the Radian River. Zach had a fly rod ready for me and was willing to teach me his ways. I remember thinking, “Well, if we don’t catch any fish… at least we can hangout in the woods and be outside.”During our trip to the Radian River, I was soon humbled by my early thoughts of doubt, toes in the icy cold water and watching @zjmadison create art with a fly rod. It was something I had never seen. You could say I was mesmerized. The sun began to peer through the secluded forest around us and it all began.The perfectly placed fly in front of a small waterfall was the needed temptation for our first Brookie. An explosion of water and a hook of the fish. Watching Zach fight this fish was like watching an eight year old on Christmas morning. You could see the joy written on his face. He pulled this gorgeous spotted fish above the water and said, “Im Healed.”I was a bit confused about his statement, but soon remembered that his previous life in Colorado had consisted of fishing 6 days a week for 8 hours a day. This lifestyle was engrained in him. These experiences were something that he missed dearly. Later that night under a campfire I asked him why he left life of being a guide in exchange for a job behind a desk. He softly answered, “Theres more to life than catching fish. I can’t do that forever, I wanted to settle down and begin a new life. Now I’m in Richmond catching fish with you.”When my wife told me she was leaving for a girls weekend to the beach with @Zjmadison’s fiance, I quickly knew what that meant for my weekend. I had to call Zach.We left at 3:30am in hopes of receiving 2 of 4 permits to fish Beaver Creek. We missed getting the permits by minutes, but knew of a spot on the near by Mossy Creek, where we could walk around on farm land, get pestered by cows and eventually get to the water. “Don’t worry though, we will still catch fish,” he said. After our first excursion on the Rapidan River, I quickly learned not to doubt him and his ideas. Zach was right again. We were pestered by cows while pulling brown trout from the spring fed creek all day. Made the 3:30am wake up call well worth it.In the summer months, during the lull of trout fishing, we started a Wednesday night fishing group. We darted around the James River, that runs straight through Richmond, VA, in hopes of finding smallmouth.We were all successful, Zach still catching the biggest fish, but I learned that it’s not always just about the fishing. The memories that I shared with a friend who I have only known for 6 months and the fishing summer of 2016 will be engrained in my head. @Zjmadison not only pushes me to catch better fish, but he pushes me to be a better man. We share the struggles and joyous times of our everyday life on and off the water.