S&P: China market reforms will benefit cleaner energy at the expense of coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Ratings:China’s latest push to accelerate market-based electricity trading should boost the consumption of clean energy. Coal-fired power could face further market-share losses, however producers in this segment may get some relief from governmental backing of coal-linked market pricing to reduce input-price volatility.“Our base case assumes all Chinese power companies will be exposed to higher competition and price risks due to increasing market-based trading volumes,” said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Gloria Lu. “Coal-fired power generators (gencos) could face the most pressure unless they improve their competitiveness.”On July 16, 2018 China’s energy planners, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and National Energy Administration (NEA), jointly issued a policy note (Notice 1027) with guidelines to advance the country’s market-based electricity trading mechanism. In recent years, an increasing portion of electricity sales have been transacted in direct sales or regional power-trading centers, rather than under the government set tariffs and planned dispatch volumes. The ratio of market-traded volume in national power consumption reached 25.9% in 2017, up from 19.0% in 2016 and just 5.4% in 2015. Exchange-traded electricity tends to be sold at discounts to official tariffs.“We estimate market-based sales could increase to 35%-40% of national power consumption in 2018 and more in years ahead,” said Ms. Lu.The July 16 policy note also recommended linking power prices to a coal index in bilateral pricing negotiations. This could reduce input-price volatility. It also showed policymakers are aware of, and looking for means to help stabilize the performance of coal-fired gencos over the next two to three years. Under the guideline recommendations, China will lower the threshold for participation in electricity markets. On the demand side, lower requirements on volume and voltage levels will allow more industrial and commercial users to purchase electricity on the market. Participation will also extend to more power retailers and end users from high-tech, emerging, and policy-supported industries. The notice said that four energy-intensive industries, including coal, steel, non-ferrous metals, and construction, are open to market trade of all power volume from 2018. In fact, these four industries are already major users of the direct power-purchase mechanism. In 2017, they accounted for about 25% of national power consumption, and over 50% of national market-trade volume.For some gencos which have been engaged in market trade for years, such as China Resources Power Holdings Co. Ltd., the ratio of market-trade volume to total power sales could be as high as 50% by the end of 2018. In China, a common bottleneck to the development of clean energy is the insufficient intake of generation by grids due to power oversupply and under-developed transmission infrastructure. We believe this leads to higher curtailment rates of clean energy in certain regions and sectors in the nation. Clean energy covers hydro, wind, solar, and nuclear power.In our view, the new policy will help increase the consumption and efficient use of clean energy. This is because it promotes more clean energy sales through market exchanges and also facilitates cross-regional transmission. At the same time, clean energy still benefits from its higher pecking order in power dispatches and the China’s recently proposed consumption quota system on renewables. The government plans to bring down the renewables curtailments to be less than 5% by 2020, compared to 11.8% for wind and 6% for solar in 2017.More: China’s Move To Accelerate Market Pricing Of Electricity Will Be Harder On Coal Than Clean Energy
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Newsday:Talk about a Hamptons power trip.Starting this month, the South Fork becomes home to Long Island’s first and largest utility-scale battery storage unit as part of an effort by PSEG Long Island and LIPA to boost power to the energy-starved Hamptons—from the Shinnecock Canal to Montauk Point.PSEG and the battery’s owners at National Grid and NextEra Energy Resources flipped the switch on the barrack-sized unit Aug. 1.The 5-megawatt battery storage unit, located at a LIPA substation in East Hampton, is one of two set for the South Fork as a way to deal with what the utility says is soaring electric demand. At peak summer times, the South Fork draws some 300 megawatts of power, PSEG officials said. One megawatt powers 800-1,000 homes, but South Fork customers use more than most, PSEG has said, particularly during the summer.A second battery is planned for Montauk later this year.Both units, costing a combined $110 million over a 20-year contract with NextEra and National Grid, have the potential to save money on energy but for now are being used to improve reliability on the system, said Daniel Eichhorn, president of PSEG Long Island.LIPA chief Tom Falcone said the units will be in place to store energy when a $1.62 billion wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island is producing energy by the end of 2022. More: Region’s largest battery on line in the Hamptons Long Island gets first battery storage unit
Scottish Power sells fossil assets to focus on wind FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Scottish Power has ditched fossil fuels for electricity generation and switched to 100% wind power, by selling off its last remaining gas power stations to Drax for more than £700m. Iberdrola, Scottish Power’s Spanish parent company, said the move was part of its strategy to tackle climate change and would free it up to invest in renewables and power grids in the UK.The deal also marks a significant expansion and diversification for Drax, whose main business is a coal- and biomass-fired power station in North Yorkshire. Included in the £702m sale are four gas power stations in England, two hydro schemes and a pumped storage plant in Scotland.That leaves Scottish Power producing all its power from windfarms. While it has many onshore, the firm’s growth is in offshore windfarms, including East Anglia One, which should take the crown of the world’s largest when it opens in 2020.The Scottish Power chief executive, Keith Anderson, said: “We are leaving carbon generation behind for a renewable future powered by cheaper green energy.”Drax, for its part, will see an immediate boost in its earnings, adding an estimated £90m-£110m profit in 2019. The acquisition positions Drax as a key player to fill in the gaps in the UK energy system at times when solar and wind power output is low.More: Scottish Power shifts to 100% wind generation after £700m Drax sale
First quarter Powder River Basin coal production down 12.9% from 2018 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Powder River Basin coal production among the top producers fell 12.9% year over year in the first quarter after larger producers outlined plans to reduce output while others fight for market share in the struggling basin.While the top producers in the region produced 80.8 million tons of coal in the first three months of 2018, comparable output totaled 70.4 million tons in the recent period, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The basin was also affected by severe winter weather and flooding during the quarter, which delayed rail shipments.Experts told S&P Global Market Intelligence in April that they expect producers in the basin to continue to struggle for the foreseeable future. Robert Godby, director of the University of Wyoming’s Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy, said cutthroat competition for the basin’s shrinking demand has lowered prices and margins for smaller producers that are willing to sell at slim margins just to generate cash flow and keep their mines open.Three of Peabody Energy Corp.’s mines in the basin saw year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter production decreases during the period. The company’s North Antelope Rochelle mine, the largest in the basin, produced 20.3 million tons of coal in the first quarter, dropping 22.9% year over year and 17.3% quarter over quarter.Arch Coal Inc. executives said in February that the company’s volumes from the region would be down in 2019 as well. On an April 23 earnings call, executives touted high interest in Arch’s thermal coal from the basin. CEO John Eaves said buying activity in the region was the strongest in more than five years. Arch’s Black Thunder mine saw single-digit percentage decreases in output from the first and fourth quarter of 2018, but the company’s Coal Creek mine took an especially large hit. Coal Creek produced 696,000 tons of coal during the recent period, a 62.6% decrease from the year-ago period and a 63.1% drop from the prior quarter.Cloud Peak Energy Inc., which continues to struggle financially and recently elected not to make a debt payment, saw double-digit percentage drops in output at its Antelope Coal, Cordero Rojo and Spring Creek mines from the prior quarter. Antelope Coal, the largest of the three and the third-largest operation in the basin, saw a 28.4% production drop year over year to nearly 4.8 million tons.More ($): Powder River Basin coal production falls 12.9% YOY in Q1’19 among top miners
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The German energy transition continues to gather pace, reaching a record 47 per cent of total electricity produced in the first five months of 2019, putting it well ahead of its target for 2025, which requires it to meet between 40 and 45 per cent of total electricity consumption from renewables.The achievement for the first five months of the calendar year is documented by the Fraunhofer Institute, a leading renewable energy research organisation, which runs a detailed tally of electricity production and consumption in Germany.As Fraunhofer’s Bruno Burger notes, each month of 2019 has so far delivered at least a 40 per cent renewable share, with May coming in at a 50.7 per cent share, and the total for the first five months at 46.8 per cent. The lowest month for renewables share was February, with 40.2 per cent.[T]he biggest contributor over the first five months of the year was wind energy, which accounted for more than 26 per cent of the electricity produced in Germany over the first five months of the year. What’s interesting is the change between this year and last year. Burger says wind is up 18.7 per cent, or 9.45TWh, while solar is down 4.8 per cent, and nuclear output is up 3.8 per cent.But the biggest falls came in coal – with lignite (brown coal) falling 17.1 per cent, or 9.48TWh (about the same amount that wind increased), while hard coal (black coal) was down 22.4 per cent.More: Germany renewable energy share jumps to record 47% for first five months of year Electricity generation in Germany has been 47% renewable in first five months of 2019
South Africa, Kenya leading push for renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Quartz:Africa’s leading economies are increasingly looking to wind energy to power homes. It’s part of a trend towards varying forms of clean energy across the continent.South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy, is a clear leader in renewable energy policy and projects, shows research by BloombergNEF. For example it will lead the drive for wind power installations with an additional 3.3 gigawatts added to its energy capacity by 2024, as it both tries to cope with the problems at its national power company, Eskom, and tries to slowly reduce its addiction to coal.Kenya is also a major leader and opened Africa’s largest wind farm last year and is on course to soon be able to claim 100% renewable energy from a range of sources including geothermal and solar.Investment in clean energy in sub-Saharan Africa jumped to $7.4 billion in 2018 up from $2.3 billion in 2017. South Africa accounted for $4 billion of investment driven by a major onshore wind project in 2018.Clean, renewable energy is being adopted across sub-Saharan Africa boosted by policy incentives, backing by donors to overcome the lack of local finance and developing de-risking mechanisms for reluctant governments. But it’s not all plain sailing: “Governments are struggling to afford existing power purchase agreements and will have to make hard choices if they are to find room for renewables.”While clean energy policies are somewhat limited to tax incentives, BNEF analysts think “low hydro availability and a growing reluctance to finance coal will boost investment in renewables in the long run.” That’s good news, it helps that gas and coal are somewhat curtailed by the cost of the infrastructure required to implement new projects.[Yinka Adegoke]More: Renewable energy investment is taking big strides in sub-Saharan Africa
South African coal miner Exxaro Resources taking first steps into renewable energy arena FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Business Day:Exxaro Resources, [South Africa’s] largest, black-empowered coal miner, is moving into renewable energy as the global transition away from fossil fuels intensifies.At its results presentation on Thursday, Exxaro CEO Mxolisi Mgojo said that after following a “robust engagement” between the board and management, Exxaro has resolved to adopt a strategy “that will focus solely on new opportunities in the energy security space”. Mgojo said renewable energy is the fastest growing energy sector and so will be core to the strategy.The growing issue of climate change presents “big risk” to Exxaro’s business but it has resolved to embrace the challenge, Mgojo said.In South Africa (SA), the integrated resource plan (IRP) envisages a much-reduced role for coal in the country’s future energy mix. In the private sector, big emitters have come under pressure to clean up their act. Lenders too are feeling the heat and last week Standard Bank published its policy on funding coal-powered projects and coal mining.In September last year, Exxaro announced its acquisition of the remaining 50% stake in Cennergi, an independent producer of renewable power in SA, which provides a key steppingstone in Exxaro’s pursuit of its new strategy, Mgojo said.He said the strategy is also being driven by a more-drastic-than-expected liberalisation of SA’s energy market, which, Mgojo said, is driven by severe levels of load-shedding that have prompted stakeholders and the government into action. Recently, the government announced that it will clear the regulatory hurdles which have prevented industry from producing energy for its own use. “There are a lot of things being done behind the scenes,” Mgojo said.[Lisa Steyn]More: Exxaro embraces a green future
Investor pressure mounting to push changes in Mizuho’s coal plant lending policies FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:More investors are publicly backing a resolution to curb coal project lending that shareholders of Mizuho Financial Group are expected to consider this week, the first time such a step is to figure at the annual meeting of a Japanese listed company.As a new front of stakeholder activism opens up in Japan, advisory groups such as the Institutional Shareholder Services group and Glass Lewis, which advise funds worth more than $35 trillion, back the proposal in recommendations seen by Reuters.If Thursday’s resolution is passed, it could push Japanese banks, one of the last remaining major holdouts on financing coal, to live up to recent commitments to end lending for the dirtiest fossil fuel as climate concerns grow.“This is a pivotal moment for companies to show their dedication to the future financial and climate-related sustainability of their business models,” said Dewi Dylander of Danish pension fund PKA.PKA has about $50 billion under management and will vote in favour of the Mizuho resolution, Dylander, the fund’s head of environment, social and governance issues, told Reuters.Swedish pension fund manager AP7, with $64 billion in assets under management, also supports the resolution, spokesman Mikael Hök told Reuters. It joins three investors who reiterated their support.[Aaron Sheldrick]More: Environmental shareholder activism comes to Japan as Mizuho faces climate resolution
Click here to subscribe to the Pharr Out BlogFor most tennis players (being one myself – in a previous life) it would be a dream to play on the same court with Jimmy Conners and John McEnroe; or for those basketball fans (forever calling myself a Carolina faithful) out there… imagine playing a game of HORSE with Michael Jordan and Larry Byrd. It isn’t often that fans are able to have contact with sport greats, at most avid followers are usually satiated and turned away with little more than an autograph. The trail is different.This week I was able to hike with two Appalachian Trail legends. At the beginning of the week I was joined in New York and New Jersey by trail running great, David Horton. Horton, as he is fondly called, was – and still is – a pioneer in the world of ultra running. In 1991 he set the record on the Appalachian Trail by running the path in 52 days… Amazing. I was lucky enough to meet Horton on my first thru-hike and after completing a handful of his insane ultra-races we have become good friends. After all, you know he must be a good friend if he came to run with me through the rocks that frequent if not engulf the trail in the mid-atlantic. Speaking of rocks, I wasn’t so happy with Horton with he decided to throw said stones at a large black bear 20 yards ahead of us on the trail… I mean the bear’s gonna move eventually, do we really need to throw things at him. AND THEN, the next morning he repeats his catapulting episode by beaning a skunk to see if he would spray! It might not have been my style but his verbose nature and constant antics sure made our 40-mile days fly by.Hiking in very high spirits after my visit with Horton, the highlight of Pennsylvania came in the form of one Warren Doyle. Warren has hiked the Appalachian Trail more than any other person – EVER. Currently he is wrapping up the final sections of his 15th thru-hike. That’s over 30,000 miles just on the AT. WOW! Warren was also a part of my original AT thru-hike and in the years since he has been a friend on the trail and at local contra-dances. He helped Brew and I while we planned for our hike this summer and it would have been nearly impossible to navigate the Maine wilderness without his help and maps. Warren hiked me out of the rocks in Pennsylvania and then took Brew and I to an all you can eat buffet. There we talked about the southern section of the trail, which is timely considering Brew and I passed the mid-way mark today and tomorrow we will be back below the Mason Dixie line. Yep, this is where my hike “goes south”… and I can’t wait.I am lucky to have such great friends and support on the trail, Warren and Horton in my mind are two of the most accomplished athletes I know and there accomplishments and service to the trail are incredible, but even as the legends come and go out of my life the best part of my hike is the day-to-day support and presence of my husband; cause when talking about the “greats”, he’s the greatest.
The Fall beers are coming.Let’s just imagine there are a bunch of colorful leaves behind that beer in the picture. As a matter of fact, why don’t you photoshop some pretty fall foliage in for me. I tried to do it myself, but I’m not that computer savvy. I know it’s only August and summer is still in full swing, but the fall beers are coming. Some of them are actually hitting the shelves right now. Fall beers. In August. For whatever reason, a lot of breweries like to run their seasonal beers a couple of months ahead of schedule. Like when Walmart puts out the Halloween decorations before Labor Day.I’d like to bitch about the breweries jumping the gun, but how can I complain about a fresh crop of new beers hitting the shelves? Sure, we’re still enjoying daylight savings, and I’m probably going to hit the river this weekend, but bring on the Oktoberfests and the Smoked Porters!I picked up New Belgium’s newest beer, Tour de Fall, this week to honor the new crop of beers, and it’s actually the perfect way to dip your toe into fall. Because it’s not your typical fall beer at all. It’s a pale ale—the under appreciated backbone of the American craft brewing industry. Lighter in body, lower in alcohol content and easier to drink, pales are cornerstone beers, maybe a spring or summer seasonal, but not your standard fall fare. Personally, I think it’s refreshing to find a new pale on the shelves this time of year.And Tour De Fall is definitely refreshing. It smells like a box of oranges, has a hearty malt backbone, and a zesty finish from the Cascade and Amarillo hops. And each bottle has a handy calendar that outlines New Belgium’s Clips Beer and Film Tour—a roving festival that combines fan films with some of New Belgium’s most ambitious beers. Heads up—it’s coming to the South in September. When summer actually transitions to fall.