On the Blogs: Transition Progress in Buffalo

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Midwest Energy News:I work with PUSH Buffalo, in the heart of one of the poorest big cities in the country, right up there with cities like Cleveland and Detroit, where factory jobs have waned and new jobs have not arisen to take their place. Our efforts center on a 25-square-block area we call the Green Development Zone. When we set up shop in 2006, the average family of four earned $12,000 to $19,000 per year, and lived in expensive housing. Because of Buffalo’s tough winters and beautiful but old and drafty housing stock, most of the neighbors paid more for utilities than they did for rent! On top of that, good local jobs were limited. So people felt stuck. They felt like they could never get ahead.We asked the people what they needed most. They said they needed quality, affordable housing and good jobs. They said energy poverty — struggling to pay all your bills because the cost of energy is so high — was a major problem. That’s a problem familiar in Midwest cities like Detroit, where one recent survey found almost 27 percent of low-income houses fell behind on utility payments, while another seven percent had their utilities shut off.Reducing energy poverty was where we started. We began working with community members to weatherize hundreds of homes and save families much-needed money. The people doing this work live in the community. They get job training and earn good wages in the growing clean energy field.Making houses more energy efficient was a simple but effective first step: residents joined together to address a problem, and saw a real difference in terms of lower bills, better housing, and access to good jobs. They saw that they could own the solution to their problem, and build themselves a better future.Despite the cold and the snow, Buffalo enjoys as many sunny days each year as does Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Our first community owned, community shared solar project is at an abandoned school. We’re turning it into affordable housing for seniors, plus an all-ages community center. And while we keep our eyes on building a better Buffalo, we are also reaching out to allies across our state, working for policies that encourage community solar projects and other pathways to clean, efficient, affordable energy.As changes in technology, markets, and business models rock the energy business, I think of our work in Buffalo as a living example of what a just transition to a sustainable energy economy might look like — and an example Midwest cities can learn from. As the world moves to more efficient, renewable, distributed energy sources, communities can benefit from lower bills and new career opportunities. Instead of some far-off corporation controlling how energy is made and used, neighbors can make their own decisions, and profit from them in a variety of ways that build up their community and the economy while protecting the environment.We are creating do-it-yourself pathways to employment in the growing clean energy sector, all while expanding the stock of efficient, affordable housing, and strengthening our city.  We welcome Midwesteners to come visit PUSH Buffalo, steal our best ideas, and see what your city’s future can look like when people work together to create real hope for the future.Commentary: Clean, efficient energy can turn Rust Belt communities around On the Blogs: Transition Progress in Buffalolast_img read more

Known for wind, new Iowa project may herald start of solar development in the state

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Cedar Rapids Gazette:Less than 1 percent of Central Iowa Power Cooperative’s energy comes from the sun, not all that rare in a state with less than 100 megawatts of installed solar. However, all that could change soon as CIPCO hopes next year to flip the switch on a solar project that essentially would double the state’s solar capacity.The Iowa Utilities Board in December approved plans to shut down Duane Arnold Energy Center in 2020, five years sooner than officials with CIPCO had anticipated, leaving the utility in need of a source of energy for the approximately 120 megawatts of power the utility receives from the state’s sole nuclear power facility — about one-third of the company’s 2018 energy portfolio.Wapello Solar, an 800-acre, 100-megawatt solar project in Louisa County, easily would become the state’s largest solar installation and more than double the installed solar in Iowa.Iowa’s status as a wind energy leader began with the 1983 adoption of a renewable portfolio standard, or RPS, the first of its kind in the nation. Wind made up less than 1 percent of the power generated in Iowa in 1990. By 2016, that figure jumped to 37 percent of state generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a federal entity that tracks nationwide energy use. In the same time frame, coal — a fossil fuel commonly offset by renewable sources — dropped from 86 percent of the state’s electricity generation to almost half that, at 47 percent.But as wind power has flourished, Iowa’s solar portfolio has remained relatively meager — until recently. Jason Hall, founder of North Liberty-based Moxie, a 10-year-old solar company, said the declining cost of solar — the price has dropped from about $8 per watt a decade ago to around $3 per watt — is a key reason for growing interest in solar arrays. “In 2008, there was no solar in Iowa. We didn’t do any,” Hall said, noting that the company’s primary function at the time was focused on energy-efficiency audits. By the end of 2019, Moxie will have completed more solar projects than the company has built in all previous years of operations combined, Hall said.More: The game-changing spark Iowa’s solar industry needs could be in Louisa County Known for wind, new Iowa project may herald start of solar development in the statelast_img read more

Macquarie investment unit looks to develop 20GW of renewable energy in next five years

first_imgMacquarie investment unit looks to develop 20GW of renewable energy in next five years FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享BusinessGreen:The Green Investment Group (GIG) is set to develop a massive 20GW pipeline of renewable energy projects over the next five years in a bid to drive the “full transition” to low carbon energy, the bank’s owners Macquarie announced today at Climate Week in New York.Macquarie did not confirm what kind of green energy projects GIG would be backing, although the investment vehicle has previously supported offshore wind and energy-from-waste plants in the UK and Europe.Macquarie’s CEO and managing director Shemara Wikramanayake said for the next tranche of investment around 4GW of capacity is set to be in developing countries where funding for climate projects is tougher to source. Many of the projects will be backed by corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), she said.Macquarie also this week announced it has joined the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI), which sees bosses of major financial firms join with UN climate envoy Michael Bloomberg to consider how best to mobilise and scale private capital for climate solutions. Together CFLI members have promised to deploy $20bn of emerging market climate finance by 2025, and to work more closely with development banks to drive private capital into developing economies.In addition, GIG announced a new partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance to build a data-led tool that will assess the green impact of more than 40,000 wind and solar assets globally.More: Macquarie’s Green Investment Group promises 20GW renewable energy pipelinelast_img read more

Cumulative small-scale rooftop solar installations top 10GW level in Australia

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Installations of small-scale rooftop solar panels reached 2.13GW in calendar 2019 – a jump of 35 percent over the previous year – after a record surge in the month of December.According to industry statistician Sunwiz, 220MW of small-scale rooftop solar was installed in December – nearly 10 per cent above the previous record levels in October and November, and despite the usual slowdown around Christmas.The surge in December took the cumulative total in Australia to 10.2 gigawatts – installed on 2.3 million different buildings (mostly homes). And the boom won’t stop anytime soon, with the Australian Energy Market Operator, the Clean Energy Regulator (and now the federal government) expecting the total to reach more than 25GW by the end of the new decade in 2030.Small-scale rooftop solar is defined as installations of 100kW or less – and which qualify for an upfront rebate (which are being wound back each year and which will be eliminated by 2030). Larger rooftop solar systems operate under a different scheme, along with utility-scale solar farms.According to Sunwiz, the combined total of solar – both small-scale and large-scale reached 3.3GW in 2019, although the large-scale figures for the latest month have yet to be added. In 2018, the figure was 3.6GW with a much higher amount of large-scale additions.Queensland remains the overall leader with 2.9GW of small-scale rooftop solar installations, followed by NSW with 2.4GW and Victoria with 1.99GW. That state will likely have broken through the 2GW barrier in early January. South Australia and Western Australia also have more than 1.2GW.[Giles Parkinson]More: Australia rooftop solar installs total 2.13GW in 2019 after huge December rush Cumulative small-scale rooftop solar installations top 10GW level in Australialast_img read more

Confessions of an Outdoor Dad

first_img by Jay Hardwig“I’m hot, sweaty, thirsty, and smelly, but I’m having a great time.”The pronouncement came from my eight-year-old son as we scrambled up a small summit on the Mountains-to-Sea trail late last summer. It was hardly the deep backwoods: we were a scant mile from the Folk Art Center, a fifteen-minute downhill stroll to flush toilets, station wagons, and soda pop machines. But it struck me with the force of revelation all the same. My boy loved it out here in the woods. He might grow up to run the ridges after all.I had worried it would not be so. It’s a common concern in this modern age, filled as it is with a long list of pixelated micro-diversions and other agreeable conveniences. You know the usual suspects: the Gameboys, the Leappads, the iPods, the cell phones, the boob tube, the Internet, Club Penguin, Webkinz, ToonTown. How is it possible to raise a true nature’s child in a world of instant entertainment?Easy enough, I’m starting to think. We imagine the seductions of our time to be stronger than they are. Give our kids a little credit: they know what is real and what is not. Their sturdy little souls are smart enough, even at a young age, to know that time spent staring at the sky can hatch more happiness than time spent staring at a screen; that a butterfly landing on one’s shoulder offers more enchantment than a plasticized pageant of Disney princesses; that a cold drink of water, well-earned, is more refreshing than the sugared siren call of yet another juice box.Pure bunk? Perhaps. But it is worth remembering that if my kids don’t grow up to love the trees and the dirt and the chirp of birds in spring, it is more my fault than Nickelodeon’s. When I glance out the window to spy my kids lying prone in the backyard, staring at the sky and inventing worlds of bravery, battle, and whimsy, it reminds me that any failure of imagination here is mine, not theirs.When it comes to living a more authentic outdoors existence—a life of hiking and biking, moleskin and granola—I talk a pretty good game. I keep my walking stick at the ready, trail maps in my glove box, a Whisperlite stove in good working order. I write these columns, dream of campfire nights, and speak of sore calves as a blessing and a gift. But truthfully? I don’t get around much anymore. My boots go unlaced for months at a time and my stove is (almost) always cool to the touch. I spend more time parsing online football scores than backcountry maps. My most memorable hiking experiences are a solid fifteen years in the past. My wife has told me for years that I really should be writing for Blue Ridge Indoors.What can I say? The kids are big and time is short. There’s soccer practice, PTO potlucks, and pizza palace birthday parties to navigate. Mom’s got book club, the dog needs shots, and we all know that Dad needs to hoist a few with the boys now and then. I ain’t complainin’: like Willie Dixon before me, I live the life I love and I love the life I live. But the calendar’s not quite as free as it was when I was a 25-year-old grad-school dropout bouncing around the Smokies with an ‘84 Toyota, more time than money, and a withering disdain for convention in all its forms. (My mom will hate that sentence, by the way. She’ll point out, quite correctly, that I was never quite the vagabond boho iconoclast I sometimes like to pretend I was. My pretensions in that vein have always exasperated her. But the essential point remains the same: I’ve got less free time, and perhaps less free spirit, than I once did.)Still, I know that if I put my mind to it, I could raise my kids as true lovers of the woods. If I put my mind to it, I could have them skinning rabbits right now, starting fires with flint, sniffing out rare truffles, and snapping off clean Eskimo rolls in their downtime. We could wake up each morning with grit in our teeth and bed down each night with sweat on our brow. (There are families out there like that, I know: I read about them sometimes on the Internet while sitting in my underwear and drinking canned beer.) But like so many things that I could do if I just put my mind to it–learning the accordion, flossing more thoroughly, composing dirty limericks for office dinner parties—the problem comes in putting my mind to it. I don’t put my mind to much these days, I’m afraid. My mind’s a stubborn and baleful thing, and doesn’t like to be put in places that require much in the way of effort or ambition. So it goes.But next summer, by gum, we’ll get our boots dirty. There will be more camping, more canoeing, more nights spent under the stars. It won’t be a hard sell. Eli loves to hike and ramble and talk about black holes, magicians, and time travel; Isabel could play in a mountain stream all day; they both can find the fairies in a rhododendron tangle. When we camp, they choose the primitive sites over the paved ones, and can’t wait for the campfire to start. We had a taste of the woods this summer, and the children want more. They deserve no less.And so it comes to this: after years spent thinking that I would have to push my children out of doors, I find instead they are pushing me. Keep pushing, kids. We’ll be hot, sweaty, thirsty, and smelly, and we’ll have a great time. •last_img read more

Morning Jog Turns Into Police Chase

first_imgDalton police chief Jason Parker’s daily run on Thanksgiving morning ended with him apprehending a would-be burglar, Georgia’s The Daily-Citizen reports. As Parker was out on his morning running route, he witnessed a man with a bin entering an outbuilding in the backyard of a house and coming out with the bin loaded full of an assortment of items. When Parker called out to the man, Thomas Daniel Green, he took off running, and Parker gave chase, identifying himself as a police officer. Parker caught up with Green and the burglar, who was unlucky enough to rob a house on a police chief jogging route, was brought into custody.Although he got a little more of a workout than planned, Parker said that he reacted the way any officer would.last_img

Video Clips of the Week: Fly-Fishing the Keys and the Sea of Cortez with Smith Optics

first_imgJoin Captains Bou Bosso and Brian Gabriel for an up close experience on the water, fly-fishing for Red Drum and Tarpon:Idaho boys travel south of the border to the sea of Cortez in pursuit of the prized rooster fish:last_img

Goodbye Winter

first_imgPut on some jean shorts and your bikini top, grab your downhill skis and head to your favorite resort to kiss winter goodbye with some spring skiing. Mountains all across the region will be hosting their end of season parties that include classics like pond skimming, rail jams, and the occasional bikini contest. Timberline’s Snowy Luau could be the best thanks to the parade of torch-baring skiers that descend the mountain like lava. Even if you can’t make one of these resort-sanctioned parties, you can still hold your own Viking-funeral to mourn the passing of winter.These end-of-season rituals are important. They give you a chance to say goodbye to your favorite liftees, throw one last bra on the “tree of debauchery,” and count your total number of days on the hill (my number is never as high as I want it). Spring is right around the corner and pretty soon we’ll all be drinking hefeweizens and planting herb gardens. But I say wallow in winter one last time. After a day of making turns on slush in 50 degree temps, head home and pop the cap on that big, burly winter beer you’ve been saving for the right occasion. Maybe it’s an imperial stout, or a gingerbread porter. For me, it’s a killer barleywine from Starr Hill — the Bandstand Barleywine, which is part of their limited All Access series of big beers.Starr Hill ages this beer in used bourbon barrels from Smooth Ambler in West Virginia. Barleywines are typically on the sweet side of things and always high in alcohol content, and Bandstand does not disappoint on either note. The beer is full of caramel and vanilla and boozy as hell, with a thick, almost slick mouthfeel. This is classic winter beer territory–the sort of thing that you only drink when you’re not worried about how your abs look at the beach.You can start doing crunches and eating carrot sticks next week. For now, enjoy the slush at the resort, and indulge in the dark side of beer one last time.last_img read more

Debate: Should Natural Area Open to Mountain Bikers, Trail Runners?

first_imgPhoto Courtesy of the Bureau of Land ManagementOn Monday, the city council of Charlottesville, Virginia decided to table a proposal that would have opened a popular natural area to mountain bikers, trail runners, and dogs.The debate arose after the city, which recently assumed control of the Ragged Mountain Natural Area, held a meeting to determine if said uses were appropriate in Ragged Mountain and desired by community members.Currently, this 980-acre forest, which surrounds the Ragged Mountain Reservoir, only allows for “passive” recreational uses like hiking and bird watching, but many in the community would like to see those uses expanded.“We think with a shift of rules at Ragged Mountain, we’ll see a lot better opportunities [for mountain biking],” Sam Lindblom, president of the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club, said during a recent meeting of the Charlottesville City Council. “There are tremendous connecting corridors to get from trails like the Rivanna Trail out to Ragged Mountain.”RM-trailsCourtesy of City of CharlottesvilleLindblom, who also represents the Rivanna Trails Foundation and Charlottesville Area Trail Runners, says that everyone has a right to enjoy the natural beauty that Ragged Mountain has to offer regardless of his or her preferred method of outdoor recreation.“What we love about our various pursuits, whether it be birding, mountain biking, or running, is that it gets us outside,” he said in an interview with WVIR-TV. “It gets us into these beautiful places, and everybody wants to experience nature in a different way.”But not everyone agrees with Linblom’s assessment.“These activities are inappropriate for a natural area,” said Charlottesville resident Downing Smith during the same council meeting where Lindblom voiced his opinion. “We have lots of parks where people can run and ride their bicycles, can walk their dogs. This is the only natural area.”City Council Member Dede Smith is a former director of the Ivy Creek Foundation, which previously managed the Ragged Mountain Natural Area before handing it over to the city back in September.She says that the council should consider the reasons that such recreational regulations were originally imposed on Ragged Mountain and take that information into account going forward.“I think it’s really important to understand why these rules were imposed in the first place,” Smith said. “At the time, Ragged Mountain Natural Area was probably the most ecologically significant piece of land anywhere in this region.”At a Charlottesville City Council Meeting on Monday, October 19, during which nearly two dozen residents spoke on the matter, the council voted 3-2 to delay opening the trails until the completion of a “natural diversity inventory.” It is likely that results from this inventory will not be submitted to council members until spring.“We do have a process for our parks that we always follow and it wasn’t followed,” said Councilor Dede Smith said. “I can see how this happened, but it’s not what we do in the city.”Do you think mountain biking, trail running, and other forms of outdoor recreation that might not be considered “passive” should be allowed in designated natural areas throughout the Blue Ridge? Let us know in the comment feed below and learn more about this particular issue here.last_img read more

Virginia is for Outdoor Lovers Getaway and Kayak Giveaway

first_imgGRAND PRIZE • BOTETOURT COUNTY GETAWAY PACKAGE This contest is over.Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 Midnight EST on June 31, 2016 – date subject to change. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and their promotional partners reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or beforeJune 31, 6:00 PM EST 2016 – date and time subject to change. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received. • River trip for 4 from Twin River OutfittersSee the mountains like you’ve never seen them before. Paddle along The Upper James River Water Trail. Winner can choose kayaks, tubes, or a canoe day trip.• 2-night stay at the Squirrel’s NestA quaint, historic log cabin overlooking the James River in Buchanan, Virginia. Three bedrooms and two baths, accommodating up to six guests. Fully equipped kitchen with a picnic area overlooking the river.• $100 gift certificate* to Brink of the James BistroA retro-themed American bistro with a full-service dining room, outdoor deck and Grab-n-Go retail counter. Offering classics and local craft beer, local wines, and mixed drinks. *excludes alcohol• 4 movie tickets to the historic Buchanan TheatrePlaced on the National Register of Historic Places, the theater plays host to exciting musical groups, film festivals and movies.center_img FIRST PRIZE • APPOMATTOX RIVER COMPANY• Ocean Kayak Malibu Two• Two Extrasport Livery Lifejackets• Two Carlisle Daytripper Paddleslast_img read more