Growth of Service-Sector Jobs Outpaces Coal in Australia

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Joshua Robertson and Michael Slezak for The Guardian:Jobs lost in the death of Queensland’s mining boom have been dwarfed by new jobs in service industries, pointing to a bankable future a so-called “rocks and crops” economy, according to a new report.The report by think tank The Australia Institute highlights figures showing record job losses in mining have been outstripped by a wave of job creation in every key service sector from tourism to education.While mining shed 22,000 jobs between 2013 and 2015, health and community services created new jobs for almost double that number of workers.Jobs growth in education (34,000), tourism-related services (27,000) and professional services (26,000) also more than made up for the decline in resources jobs.While workers appear to be surviving the declining mining industry, Australia’s big banks are having more trouble, with separate research suggesting mining companies will soon start defaulting on loans.Recent research has shown Australia’s big four banks have continued lending to fossil fuel companies, amounting to about $5.5bn in 2015.Tim Buckley, an analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis said Australian banks “to date have clearly underestimated the magnitude and breadth of stranded asset risk”.He said the risk is bigger than indicated by the Bernstein report since it just examined exploration and production companies. Associated infrastructure companies have also been having trouble servicing their debts. Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal in Gladstone in central Queensland, for example, has reportedly been at risk of defaulting on its future debt payments.Full article: Queensland mining job losses dwarfed by new services jobs, says report Growth of Service-Sector Jobs Outpaces Coal in Australialast_img read more

More than 20 California utilities file for expansion into renewables, storage

first_imgMore than 20 California utilities file for expansion into renewables, storage FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Intelligence ($):The filings with the California Public Utilities Commission include plans for tens of thousands of megawatts of additional renewable energy and energy storage, and charging infrastructure for several million electric vehicles. The proposals are part of the new integrated resource planning (IRP) process created by a 2015 law that set California’s climate targets. The new IRP process puts emissions reductions at the center of planning for power providers, while maintaining a focus on electric reliability.The filings reflect the extreme state of flux for California’s utilities amid an exodus of customers to fast-multiplying local power agencies known as community choice aggregators, or CCAs. More than two dozen CCAs have launched or are exploring formation, gobbling up 15% of regulated retail electric demand, the PUC estimates. That share could hit more than 80% by the 2020s.Several pending regulatory decisions and legislative proposals further complicate the picture. At stake are how legacy costs are allocated among departing and remaining utility customers, along with a proposal to lift the cap on large energy users’ direct power purchases from independent suppliers, which could further fragment the retail power sector.Like several other power providers, SoCalEd, an Edison International subsidiary, proposed separate plans depending on the outcome of pending regulatory action. The utility’s preferred proposal calls for around 4,200 MW of new renewables and about 1,600 MW of new energy storage, on top of already required amounts. The utility envisions 80% carbon-free power by 2030 across the state, as well as the addition of more than 16,000 MW of renewables, nearly 10,000 MW of energy storage and charging infrastructure for roughly seven million electric vehicles — well beyond the state’s current target of five million emission-free vehicles by 2030.More ($):  ‘A decisive moment’: Calif. utilities pitch decarbonization planslast_img read more

Weak global demand cuts coal exports from Australia’s Richard’s Bay terminal

first_imgWeak global demand cuts coal exports from Australia’s Richard’s Bay terminal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享BusinessDay:Three-million fewer tonnes of coal were exported from the Richard’s Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) in 2018 as global demand for South African product weakened in response to high prices.In a briefing on the annual performance for 2018 on Thursday, RBCT reported coal exports of 73.47-million tonnes for 2018 —4% less than the 76.47-million tonnes exported in 2017 and falling short of a previously-stated target of 77-million tonnes. On average the terminal received 26 trains a day in 2018 compared with 27 a day in 2017.The reduction in exports is not because of any operational issues at the terminal but, rather, is a reflection of weaker global demand, said CEO Alan Waller. “Whatever has been railed has been shipped. [The reason for lower exports] is global demand; it’s market dynamics,” he said.The Richard’s Bay terminal, which is owned by 14 major coal-mining companies, is one of the largest such facilities in the world and has an export capacity of 91-million tonnes. Coal exports are a significant foreign-currency earner for SA.Nearly 82% of the coal leaving RBCT was delivered to Asia in 2018, with India being the largest market. Africa received 8% of the export coal and Europe procured 10.1%.More: SA sells less coal from Richards Bay terminal in 2018 than in 2017last_img read more

New York Power Authority to upgrade Niagara Power Project

first_imgNew York Power Authority to upgrade Niagara Power Project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Buffalo News: ALBANY – The New York Power Authority will invest $1.1 billion in a massive modernization effort at the Niagara Power Project, the state’s largest producer of electricity.The 15-year commitment is the largest single investment in the agency’s history, according to Gil C. Quiniones, the power authority’s president and CEO.The authority owns the Lewiston facility, which was the western world’s largest hydropower plant when it opened in 1961. It’s still the second most productive hydroelectric plant in the nation and is a crucial source of power for New York and seven other states.But the equipment in the plant is showing its age. Some of it has never been replaced.“Starting this program right now…puts us in a good situation where we’re not at risk for any imminent failures that could be catastrophic going forward,” said Joseph Kessler, the authority’s executive vice president and chief operating officer for utility operations.“If we delay it any longer, we feel we’re putting ourselves at risk,” Kessler told the authority’s Board of Trustees, which approved the work Tuesday.Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in a statement announcing the investment Wednesday, said the project will help the state meet its ambitious plans to transition to a carbon-free energy system throughout New York by 2040.“It’s something we’re proud of as well as excited about,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.More: $1.1B Niagara Power Project upgrade is NYPA’s biggest investment everlast_img read more

U.S. utilities redirect capital spending in shift from coal

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence:Expect U.S. electric utilities to boost capital spending, as the industry continues its shift away from coal and toward natural gas and renewable energy as part of many companies’ decarbonization efforts, according to CFRA Equity Research.Potential state and federal carbon regulations, as well as advantages to renewable generation are pushing some regulated utilities to seek out less carbon-intensive energy sources, CFRA analysts Christopher Muir and Shang Yang Chuah said in their 2019 survey of the electric utility industry. The increased renewable generation will likely lead to higher capital spending levels for companies and drive rate base growth.Overall, CFRA projects capital expenditures for the S&P 1500 Electric Utilities Index will see a growth rate of 5.5% in 2019 and 4.5% in 2020.Power plants primarily using gas, wind or solar as their main fuel make up an overwhelming majority of facilities slated to come online through 2023 and are currently in various stages of development or under construction. While investments in new natural gas-fired plants are the most popular option among regulated utilities, these companies are also increasing their exposure to renewables with new wind and solar capacity.CFRA believes economic and environmental pressures, such as renewable energy’s declining costs and increasing competitiveness and pressure from climate change advocates, are largely driving utility investment in renewables, rather than state renewable mandates.More ($): US utilities to boost capital spending in shift away from coal U.S. utilities redirect capital spending in shift from coallast_img read more

Polish court ruling may halt planned 1GW Ostroleka C coal plant

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Climate Home News:Poland’s “last coal-fired plant” may never go ahead, after a district court struck down the company resolution authorising construction on Thursday. The ruling dealt a blow to the 1GW Ostrołęka C project, a joint venture between utilities Enea and Energa backed by the government.It is a major win for Client Earth. The environmental law firm had bought shares in Enea and filed a lawsuit against the project on the grounds it posed an “unacceptable” financial risk to investors.Revived in 2016, the €1.2 billion project was part of the government’s plan to ensure the country’s energy security. It was presented as a necessary supplement for renewable energies that will partly replace a number of old coal power plants due to be taken offline by 2020.With a controlling stake in Enea, the Polish government pushed through company approval despite concerns raised about the project’s economic viability. In September 2018, 22% of non-government shareholders voted against starting construction and 58% abstained. At project partner Energa, with 37% opposed the project.Client Earth claimed its case against Enea was a world first, in the way it forced the company to reckon with climate risk. As carbon-cutting regulations kick in and clean energy sources become competitive on price, it argued, coal generation is an increasingly bad bet.“Pursuing this project puts an unnecessary burden on the state and taxpayers and is in no way necessary for national energy security,” said Marcin Stoczkiewicz, head of Client Earth Poland. “Enea and Energa need to look at what the future of energy is in Poland. There is vast employment potential in cheaper, domestic renewables.”More: Court blocks Polish coal plant, in win for climate campaigners Polish court ruling may halt planned 1GW Ostroleka C coal plantlast_img read more

Norway’s Scatec Solar completes fourth solar PV project in Malaysia

first_imgNorway’s Scatec Solar completes fourth solar PV project in Malaysia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Norwegian power producer Scatec Solar ASA today announced the commercial operation of the 47-MW Redsol photovoltaic (PV) plant in Northwest Malaysia.Now that it is hooked to the grid, the solar park will supply some 67 GWh of power per year, offsetting around 44,000 tonnes of annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It has a 21-year off-take contract with local utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad.The project, contracted in Malaysia’s second large-scale solar tender round, was executed in partnership with Fumase (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, an asset manager and developer with dual headquarters in the US and Malaysia.Redsol is Scatec Solar’s fourth project in Malaysia, which, according to CEO Raymond Carlsen, is a prioritised market for the company.[Ivan Shumkov]More: Scatec Solar opens 47-MW Redsol plant in Malaysialast_img read more

Renowned Runner Found Dead

first_imgMicah True, also known as Caballo Blanco, was found dead in the New Mexico wilderness yesterday. He had departed Tuesday morning on a trail run in the Gila Wilderness and never returned. After massive search and rescue operations were launched, his body was found five miles from the trailhead. A cause of death has not yet been determined, but no trauma was immediately visible.Micah singlehandedly brought attention to the Tarahumara’s prowess and plight. He lived in the canyons for two decades, following in the footsteps of the Tarahumara and learning their values, traditions, and ways of simple living close to the land. For ten years, he has been organizing the Copper Canyon Ultramarathon to bring together Tarahumara and international runners in a shared journey through the deepest canyons on the continent. The race—and Micah himself —were made famous by Christopher McDougall’s bestselling Book, Born to Run. Despite all of the fanfare, Micah remained humble, generous, and devoted to the Tarahumara. He used the book’s popularity to raise even more prize money and corn for the Tarahumara runners this year.I saw Micah three weeks ago at the 2012 Copper Canyon Ultramarathon. He was the happiest I had ever seen him. He seemed to have a tranquility and centeredness, even as record numbers of Tarahumara descended on Urique to run the race. He ensured that every single one of them went home with food.The Tarahumara people have lost a close friend, and so have I. The best way I can honor Micah’s legacy is to devote even more of my energy to helping the Tarahumara people protect their ancestral canyons and ways of life. (To learn how you can help, visit barefootfarm.org or norawas.org).But for now, I’m going for a run, and I’ll be thinking about Micah. I hope you can dedicate a few of your miles and thoughts this week to a true friend of the Tarahumara. Micah, you will be deeply missed. Run free, amigo.last_img read more

The Clean Water Act Celebrates its 40th Anniversary

first_imgThe act that gave the Environmental Protect Agency the power to be tougher on water pollution was passed by Congress in 1972. Since then the CWA has done a lot to clean up U.S. waterways, though experts still say there is more to do.For more information visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/clean-water-act-2012_n_1874980.html?ref=topbarlast_img

Exposed: The Skinny on Naked Running

first_imgOur editor takes on naked running.PrintThey say 90 percent of life is just showing up, and that’s certainly true in running. Toeing the starting line is often the toughest part. For me, no starting line was scarier than the Fig Leaf 5K, a naked race at a north Georgia nudist colony.I had streaked across my college campus in a drunken blur, and I had once been dared to run a naked lap around a bar during a blizzard. But never before had I faced spectators and sobriety sans clothes.I waited until a few minutes before the start to disrobe. Instead of a race bib, my race number was written across my butt cheeks.Over 100 runners had gathered at the starting line. Many were top athletes from across the Blue Ridge. They seemed a lot less intimidating without their shorts.Still, I had plenty of reasons to feel self-conscious. How would I measure up? What if I was aroused by a beautiful female runner? Most of all, I was worried about the flop factor. How would my bait and tackle hold up to three miles of bouncing?It was a cold April morning in the mountains, and my twig and berries shriveled up as soon as I dropped my drawers. I joined the other nude runners at the start making jokes and milling around in the buff.“Weather’s a bit nipply this morning.”“Gonna run hard today?”“Nah…feeling a bit stiff.”At the starting line, it was hard to know where to look. Runners are always sizing up their competition, but this was nuts. I tried to stare ahead at the race course, but I felt like I was standing at a crowded row of urinals, trying not to glance.A crowd of stark-naked spectators—most of them from the nudist colony—gathered at the start. Cameras flashed as we took off. (I have no idea where those photos ended up.)For the first mile, I sagged back and dangled off the lead pack. Then around mile two, I made a hard sprint to the front.Freeballing had never felt so good. My junk jiggled and bounced, and my flabby bare skin rippled with savage delight. I felt primitive and raw. I was pure animal, unlocked from my self-conscious mind cage, running wild and free.I hung on through the final mile, though a heavy-breathing hardass approached me from behind in the final homestretch. I bared it all in a balls-out kick for the finish—and edged him by a hair.Afterward, I sat in the sun, soaking it all in. I had shed my inhibitions along with my clothes at the starting line. My mile splits and finishing time didn’t matter. It was the most fun I’d had running in a long time.Running au naturel exposed a naked truth: bodies are amazing—even the sagging, droopy parts. I vowed to spend more time in the buff, getting more comfortable in my own skin.No, the Fig Leaf 5K didn’t turn me into a nudist. I still wear shorts on my morning runs.But at least I’ve taken off my watch.last_img read more