FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享New York Times: When Eneco, a major Dutch utility, tested a promising energy monitor in several dozen homes, things could not have gone much worse. The company making the devices failed to deliver enough of them, and some of those provided did not work.But when Eneco sent workers to recover the monitors, something strange happened — a tenth of customers refused to open their doors. “They wanted to keep it,” said Tako in ’t Veld, a former Eneco executive who now leads the “smart energy” unit at Quby, the company that makes the energy meter. “They were so happy with the energy insight.”The test in 2010 was part of Eneco’s efforts to adapt to upheaval in the energy market. In recent years, large volumes of wind and solar-generated electricity have undermined the economics of traditional power plants and provided the outlines of a future in which conventional power plants no longer supply the bulk of a home’s electricity.Through acquisitions (including of Quby), by nurturing a cluster of start-ups and with other initiatives, Eneco has sought to provide new services to customers — and, in doing so, to enter new sectors, like the charging of electric vehicles and the repair of solar panels. “We said ‘we have to create an increasing customer loyalty by doing something different,’” said Hans Valk, chief executive of Quby and formerly the leader of Eneco’s consumer business. “What we are trying to do is switch from selling a pure commodity to selling energy as a service.”For instance, Eneco owns Jedlix, an electric vehicle charging unit, which has partnerships with Tesla and BMW and allows car owners to recharge their vehicles inexpensively when there are large supplies of renewable energy on the grid. Jedlix sometimes even pays them to do so.Eneco is also starting a business called CrowdNett which, unusually, pays customers for some of their power. Eneco looks for people who already have solar panels at home and tries to sell them a large home battery, like a Tesla Powerwall. Surplus power generated by the solar panels is stored in the battery and Eneco taps into a portion of that storage to help balance the electricity grid. Customers will receive 450 euros, or $530, a year for allowing use of their batteries.Eneco’s leaders concede that they are proceeding more by trial and error than following a grand plan. Still, these efforts may, over time, aid the company’s survival and contribute to creating ways to help consumers shift to cleaner energy.“They are very forward-looking in terms of strategy and mind-set,” said Roberta Bigliani, a vice president at IDC, a market research firm. If Eneco’s experiments flop, though, “they definitely will not be in operation in the future,” she said.So far, the experiment with its wall-mounted energy monitor, known as Toon, has been among its more successful.When Eneco first considered the test, the utility was locked in a profit-zapping battle with competitors, cutting prices for electric power and natural gas while giving customers gifts for signing up. Seeing the danger signs, Eneco’s management decided that a radical change was necessary.The Toon offered Eneco an opportunity to shift course and, despite early teething problems, Eneco expanded the rollout. The meters allow customers to control their domestic heating settings through a smartphone app, and they have displays that show electricity and natural gas consumption in detail, along with other information like weather forecasts.Full Story: Dutch Utility Bets Its Future on an Unusual Strategy: Selling Less Power Dutch Utility Changes the Game by Showing Customers How to Buy Less Power
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Santa Fe New Mexican:Last week, the state Public Regulation Commission voted 3-2 to approve the utility company’s renewable energy portfolio plan, which include procuring solar, wind and geothermal power. The plan is aimed at meeting the goal of relying on renewable energy for 20 percent of the total energy mix in New Mexico.The solar and geothermal power purchases were contested by some, and a hearing examiner for the commission said the utility should not be allowed to move forward with the investments because it had failed to show they were the most cost-effective options. PNM’s costs ultimately show up in customers’ bills.New Energy Economy, a longtime opponent of PNM, filed a motion asking the commission to “rehear and reverse the findings and conclusions” associated with PNM’s solar plan, which outlines investing in a 50-megawatt facility built by Affordable Solar.Mariel Nanasi, director of the group, wrote the commission had ignored and distorted evidence and applicable law when it decided to allow PNM to move forward with the plan.She said Affordable Solar received a significantly better deal to build a solar-powered center for Facebook last year from PNM. Solar prices have declined, she said, yet the renewable portfolio plan will cost ratepayers in New Mexico a higher fee per megawatt hour than Facebook.This is “not the most cost effective among feasible alternatives,” Nanasi said.PNM has said the plan will provide crucial energy benefits to New Mexico. Earlier this week, Moody’s Investor Service released a statement finding that the plan’s approval is “credit positive.”“The New Mexico regulatory environment historically has been inconsistent and unpredictable,” Moody’s wrote. “And the possibility of litigating the case remains.”More: Environmentalists ask PRC to reverse approval of PNM’s solar plan Criticism in New Mexico of Utility’s Solar Market Control
Who Will Invest in Clean Energy? Big Money Will FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg New Energy Finance:People who invest in the world’s energy systems often want to know how many trillions of dollars will be needed to finance renewable energy and natural gas. One way to find the answer is to look at what those who have already invested trillions of dollars want to happen as the world transitions to a lower-carbon power system and electrifies transportation.A look at the numbers shows that the first thing they want is scale. The 10 largest institutional asset managers each manage more than $1 trillion; the largest, BlackRock Inc., manages nearly $6 trillion. Trillions of dollars of investor supply naturally need trillions of dollars of asset and company demand.Fortunately for energy, it has such a demand. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that zero-carbon power generation will attract almost $9 trillion in investment between now and 2040.Increasingly, the suppliers of that institutionally managed money want to know how their portfolios will affect climate change. Earlier this year, David Fickling took a smart look at the largest asset managers and found that most of the 20 biggest ones back shareholder resolutions on climate and sustainability. Such resolutions are becoming far more common, too: This year, investors have filed 189 climate and sustainability resolutions with U.S.-listed companies — as many as in the previous five years combined, according to Ceres’ climate and sustainability resolutions database.And then there’s yield. Investors are still piling into U.S. energy high-yield debt, which mostly funds oil and gas exploration and production. As Liam Denning noted in August, even this risky part of the energy bond market still yields in the range of only 6 to 7 percent.A decade ago, the yield from U.S. energy fixed income would have been comfortably investment-grade, according to the International Monetary Fund’s October Global Financial Stability Report. In 2007, all but a very small proportion of corporate debt yielded more than 4 percent, and not a dime of securitized or collateralized debt yielded below 4 percent. Ten years ago, “only” $3.4 trillion of investment-grade fixed income yielded below 4 percent.Things look rather different now. According to the IMF, there is now just under $40 trillion of investment-grade fixed income yielding below 4 percent, including more than $5 trillion with a negative yield.This yield distribution, then, is what anything needs to beat to be considered “high yield.” 2007’s investment-grade yield is today’s risky yield; today’s low-risk yield is barely any yield at all, and could even be a negative yield.There’s plenty of money out there to create renewable technologies, and its institutional investors want more than lower-carbon investment strategies. They also are seeking to beat very low investment-grade yields.In 2007, when renewable technologies were expensive compared with conventional energy, and when shale gas just a glimmer in the eye of the U.S. oil patch, there may have been a funding gap. Today, we’re dealing with something more addressable: a simple matter of allocation. Trillions of dollars are needed; trillions of dollars exist. It’s just a matter of aligning supply and demand.More: Who Will Fund Clean Energy?
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):After spiraling lower during the final week of July, over-the-counter prices for in-state solar renewable energy credits in Ohio were mixed during the week ended Aug. 1, still reeling after legislation was passed that would eliminate the state’s solar carve-out starting in 2020.Dropping $7 the week prior, Ohio 2019 in-state solar RECs were down almost $3 during the week ended Aug. 1 to $6.83/MWh. Ohio 2020 in-state solar RECs, which dropped $14.50/MWh in the prior week, rose 13 cents to an average of $8.13/MWh.Market analysts anticipate the impact of the legislation will ultimately work to push Ohio in-state SREC prices down to the $4.00/MWh level. Although it remains unclear, it is likely that Ohio-generated SRECs will be eligible to be sold in the Pennsylvania Tier I REC and Ohio REC market instead, analysts said.The Ohio legislation signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine at the end of July would also lower and freeze the state’s renewable energy mandate from 12.5% to 8.5% in 2026. As of Aug. 1, Ohio-located 2019 RECs came in at $5.38/MWh, up 7 cents, while 2020 RECs saw an index at $5.62/MWh, losing 1 cent week over week.In Massachusetts, prices for 2019 and 2020 SREC Is were again unchanged on the week at $381.08/MWh and $345.83/MWh, respectively. Prices for Massachusetts 2019 SREC IIs eased 34 cents to $303.08/MWh, while 2020 SREC IIs were steady at $287.00/MWh.More: Ohio solar, nonsolar REC prices chop following new legislation Renewable energy credits in Ohio on the chopping block
Last week, a Virginia angler conceded defeat last week in a two-year legal battle to protect recreation and access on the Jackson River, a cold, clear trout stream in western Virginia.In 2010, Dargan Coggeshall and his brother-in-law waded in the river, whose waters are publicly owned, according to Virginia law. However, a property owner along the river had Coggeshall arrested for trespassing and later sued him for $10,000 in damages. The property owner claimed that crown grants issued by the King of England almost three centuries ago validated his claims to owning the river bottom.An Alleghany County court ruled last week that the property owner was justified in his trespassing claims, but the court did not rule on who actually owns the river bottom. Coggeshall claims that the crown grant cited by the property owner does not explicitly mention the river bottom. And a more recent Virginia statute grants ownership of all of Virginia’s riverbeds to the Commonwealth.Coggeshall plans to continue fighting for recreational access to the river through the Virginia Rivers Defense Fund, which he founded. Coggeshall plans to reach beyond the fishing community and partner with other outdoor and environmental organizations to secure access to this publicly owned waterway.Meanwhile, the property owner has asked Virginia to remove the Jackson River from its map of rivers open to the public.
Elizabeth Allen is a local legend in Western North Carolina, but you probably don’t recognize the name. Everyone has been calling her Biz since she was two years old, short for busy, because she never sits still. She’s out on the slopes or rivers with her boys, sharing her passion for the outdoors with everyone she meets.The trait I admire most about Biz is her ability to see struggles as gifts that allow us to reach and grow until we realize our greatest potential.“When I first became a single parent, I thought my worst nightmare had become my reality. When you’re doing it alone, you have to reach out and incorporate all available resources. We are surrounded by all of these people with amazing gifts to share and a desire to be involved in my boys’ lives. If I had never been a single parent, our community would be much smaller now. Single parenting has been the greatest gift for my family.”What motivates you to get outside with your kids?Being confined by four walls makes me break out in hives, I swear I have an allergic reaction to being stuck indoors. My best guess is that I was a homeless person in a previous life.Getting outside isn’t just a preferred option. It’s a requirement for me. I am most alive when connected to the Earth. If we want to not merely survive our lives, but truly live, we must be connected with out natural world and I want to pass these values on to my boys, who will be fifteen and seventeen-years old at the end of January.Did you grow up playing outside?My parents weren’t into the outdoors so it wasn’t something nurtured in my childhood. It took a long time for me to incorporate adventure sports into my lifestyle. I was in college at Mars Hill and a few of my girlfriends worked at the Wolf and taught kids how to ski, so I started skiing with them and then worked there.That winter I met a lot of people in the boating community and they said, “Come out and be a raft guide.”“Why would I do that?” I asked.“The parties are awesome,” they said. So I showed up the next spring and I was terrible at it. After training season, the senior guide told me that everyone enjoyed hanging out with me and I should stay and work doing odd chores. I lived in a parking lot that summer with thirty other people and had the time of my life, sleeping on the top of buses and hanging out around the fire every night. We became a big family.The following spring I went back and the same senior guide said, “We aren’t getting off the water until you nail it.”There were tears until it finally clicked. I got enough of the basics down and stayed that season as a raft guide.Spending time on the slopes or rivers comes easy for my kids because it’s all they know, it’s the normal way to live. Because we went outside as a family, the boys are acclimated to the outdoors.When did you start taking your kids to the slopes?I started taking them skiing when they were two. And then I swore I’d never teach them anything else. There was a lot of screaming and not enough drinking. Once they learned how to ski, they didn’t want to hang out with me so I’d dress them up in super bright colors and sent them out. I knew all the ski patrollers and told them, “Keep an eye on them, spank them if they do anything bad.”When I became a single mom, I struggled to keep the love for skiing alive in my boys’ hearts and I believed that being on the snow was a tool to give them a deeper understanding of themselves. Two brothers stepped up and sponsored my boys for years by providing ski passes to Wolf Laurel. Those were pivotal years – those seasons gave my boys a snow family.How did your boys start spending time on the river?When my boys were young, I stayed at home with them. After being in such a social environment working on the slopes and with a rafting outfitter, all that solitude left me on the brink of insanity.At that time, I paddled an Avon Scout, I slapped life jackets on them and piled toys on the floor. I bought them giant squirt guns and paddles that didn’t reach the water, so my boat became a giant playpen. We started a game of picking up litter. I’d pay them a quarter for anything Styrofoam or can. The boys would ask to stop at these thrash-covered beaches. Now the boys do river clean ups on their own. Looking back, it was a genius way of installing the value of cleaning up the environment, but I can’t take any credit, it was completely unintentional.How have your boys benefitted from adventuring?All those guys on the river have become uncles, and now have a mentoring relationship with my boys. Now if I need my boys to know something, I’ll have a friend tell them. Information that comes from other trusted adults is more powerful than hearing something from mom.Others often compliment my boys because they are self-sufficient in the outdoors. They can pack their own gear and carry their own boats. Safety considerations are automatic for them. And an added bonus is that they can hold a conversation with adults – they’ve had to – they’ve been in ski lodges and riding the lifts with grown-ups. They’ve around in parking lots as we figured out shuttle logistics and spent lots of time on the river with adults.Has it ever been difficult to pursue your own outdoor interests after having kids?My boating friends pulled a permit for the Grand Canyon, which is a month-long wilderness trip. At the time, my oldest was just starting kindergarten and I had to miss his first day. I was still married and my boys’ father supported my decision to go. The boy’s grandparents help out too.I got a lot of flack. People said, “How can you leave your kids for a whole month?” They had no problem asking, “Don’t you worry about missing out on their lives when they need you?”That scrutiny was difficult – other people expressed their disappointment with how I lived my life.I knew I had to go. The first there days were the hardest and I cried, especially at night. I was the only female paddling an oar boat and the guys had a bet that I’d flip.The empowerment from sitting at the helm of an oar rig and push through some of the biggest fear I’d ever experienced changed me. I kept my boat upright through all the shit. We all roll through life with a shred of doubt about what we’re capable of. The Canyon removed my doubt about what I could do.What advice do you have for other parents, especially single parents?Letting your kids see you fail is an incredible gift. My kids have seen me struggle. They see me get out there and fall down and watch all the peaks and valleys that come with that.If they never saw me cry, they might not know that people cry when they are disappointed and that it’s okay to struggle. Most adventure sports require us to struggle in order to succeed – there’s a level of discomfort involved when first learning how to stand on skis or roll a kayak or even tie a knot.The secret is embracing, not choking, on the idea of being a single parent. When I first became a single parent, I thought my worst nightmare had become my reality. When you’re doing it alone, you have to reach out and incorporate all available resources. We are surrounded by all of these people with amazing gifts to share and a desire to be involved in my boys’ lives. If I had never been a single parent, our community would be much smaller now. Single parenting has been the greatest gift for my family.
A North Carolina angler got a welcomed surprise last month when he hooked into a gigantic musky while fishing on Fontana Lake near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), the muskelunge that Capt. Kyle Fronrath of Fontana Guides netted in late September measured 52 inches and weighed in at a whopping 32 pounds. That’s about nine pounds shy of the overall state record.“It was a very long fish — 52 inches — but the Wildlife Resource Commission keeps records by mass, and it was only 32 pounds, whereas the current record is 41.5 pounds,” Jodie Owen, a spokeswoman for the NCWRC told the Asheville Citizen Times. “So, it did not break the existing record.”The fish was caught near the Little Tennessee prong of Fontana Lake and was bested after a 6 minute fight that, according to Fronrath, seemed much longer.“The amount of water it moved when thrashing and head shaking during the fight was incredible to see,” Fronrath said in his Citizen Times interview. “It was a very stubborn fight. It all happened so fast, but at the same time it’s like it was in slow motion.”Also of note is the fact that the musky Fronrath caught was of the wild variety, not the more common state-stocked version. Fronrath, who owns and operates Fontana Guides, has been pursuing wild musky on Fontana for ten years, and his recent catch marks only the second encounter he’s had during that time.Looking to hook into a muskelunge of your own? Click here for tips on fly fishing for musky.
Want to hone your chops as a young bluegrass band?Take a month long gig as the bluegrass house band on a cruise ship. Nothing like baptism by fire on the fair seas.Meadow Mountain, hailing from the Vail Valley in Colorado, did just that. With roots traced back to high school friendship, Meadow Mountain is evolving into a band that will soon gain mention in the lineage of groups that has established the Rocky Mountain State as fertile bluegrass ground.After turning the heads of Colorado bluegrass fans for the last couple years and winning the 2017 Rockygrass band competition, the band released its eponymous debut record last month.I recently caught up with Meadow Mountain to chat Colorado bluegrass, gigging on a cruise ship, and recording with Chris Pandolfi of The Infamous Stringdusters.BRO – Finish this statement in five words or less: The best part about spending a month as the house band on a cruise ship is . . . . MM – . . . . endless buffets after every set.BRO – How did working with Chris Pandolfi in the studio push you as a band?MM – Chris has a fine tuned musical mind, and it was really beneficial for us to witness what he listens for in each recording. We definitely came into the studio with the goal of laying down the most technically proficient tracks that we could. Chris pulled us back from that mindset and helped us listen for what he called “the bigger picture.” His main interest was in capturing the recordings that he thought had honest energy. We now aim for that in our playing at every show.BRO – Meadow Mountain stands to take its place among a long line of great Colorado bluegrass bands. What does that mean to you guys?MM – We are consistently humbled and inspired by the Colorado bluegrass scene. It is a surreal thing to stand on stage in front of 400 people to play bluegrass after so many years of standing in the audience at shows and dreaming of what it would be like to stand on the stage. We don’t take it for granted.BRO – We are featuring “Caught Out On The Line” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?MM – This tune was inspired by Jack’s romantic misadventures. It is a dramatized version of real events, and that feeling of being on the hook for someone is something that many of us are familiar with. An inside joke with the band came with the other guys picking on Jack on stage, all in good fun. When the title was misinterpreted to be about fishing, the guys suggested it was in fact about fishing for love.BRO – 2019 is nearly upon us. What plans does the band have for the new year?MM – We are going to be touring on the east coast in February, which includes a stop at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Montreal. In March, we are playing at a large theater in Denver – which we can’t announce yet!!! – and we will be playing on the festival circuit all summer. In May, we are going to put together the second annual Colorado Music Summit, which has musicians from all over the country coming to Twin Lakes, Colorado, to record and collaborate. It looks like an exciting year to say the least.Meadow Mountain will be joining bluegrass mates The Infamous Stringdusters next weekend at The 10 Mile Music Hall in Frisco, Colorado. After that, it’s off to 2019 for the band and what does appear to be a watershed year for Meadow Mountain.For more information on Meadow Mountain, tour dates, and how you can get a copy of the new record, be sure to check out the band’s website.And be sure to check out “Caught Out On The Line,” along with new tracks from Rhett Miller, Donna The Buffalo, Jay Psaros, and many more on this month’s Trail Mix.
If youprefer riding pavement, there are several options available in the area. The LynnhavenParkway Trail is perfect for beginners looking for an easy ride. At six milesin length, you can stretch your legs without turning your ride into an all-dayevent. Extend your ride as you connect with other pathways in the area. The IndependenceBoulevard Trail will take you south to the scenic Stumpy Lake Natural Areawith raised overlooks of the water. Explore the culture of Coastal Virginia on the Bike, Brew, and Arts Trail or the Bike, Brew, and History Trail. These two long distance rides will take you through the city to where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Stop at restaurants, breweries, the Cape Henry Lighthouse, and more along the way. Those with little ones will enjoy the Family Fun Trail. This shorter ride will take you past a water park with slides, and adventure park with ziplining, and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. visitvirginiabeach.com Getready to explore Virginia Beach by bike. With more than 200 miles of bikewaysand trails, and new ones being added all the time, you’re sure to find anadventure that fits your style. Try a ride with an ocean view when you take to the sandy beaches with a fat tire bike. Check out Surf and Adventure Company or Ocean Rentals LTD for bikes made for riding on wet sand. Back Bay Getaways offers guided mountain bike tours and daily rentals. Paddle the bay or take an overnight trip into False Cape State Park. Checkout the Pungo Loop Trail, a local favorite for its unbeatable views ofvineyards, strawberry fields, and waterways. At just under 20 miles, this loopis perfect for road riders of all kinds. While you’re in the area, stop at oneof the many farms to pick your own produce. Explore the seven distinct ecosystems at First Landing State Park. Bike 19 miles of interpretive trails through protected habitats like the maritime forest community. At 7.5 miles, the Cape Henry Trail is the longest in the park. Pass by old neighborhoods, wildlife, and secluded beaches before the trail connects with the boardwalk. At theend of the day, dine by the water and spend the night at one of the manylodging options in the area. No matter your speed, you can enjoy all of this,and more, when you visit Virginia Beach. Prefer riding with a group? Join one of the free morning rides Fat Frogs Bike and Fitness offers seven days a week. A variety of pace and distance offerings allows riders of all abilities to join in on the fun through the Pungo Area. All rides depart at 7:30 in the morning and include free bagels and coffee. The Virginia Beach Boardwalk was built for cyclists. Separate biking and pedestrian paths allow riders to cruise along the coast unimpeded by cars and people. Rent one of the four-wheel surrey bikes from one of several stations easily accessible right off the beach. Cherie’s Bike and Blade Rentals has a bike for everyone along the entire oceanfront, including tandems, in-line skates and beach umbrellas. Bike all the way to the North Carolina border from the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. You can escape the city and noise in this secluded environment, one of the last undeveloped areas on the East Coast. Pass by marshes, swamps, and wildlife as you ride to the beach, inaccessible by car. Experienced riders will enjoy the challenge of the Sand Ridge Trail, the longest in the park.
The U.S. Forest Service reminds non-hunters to stay safe this hunting season Before you head out on a hike in a national forest this fall, it’s important to know that nearly all of the national forest lands in North Carolina are open to hunting. The last thing you want while out hiking or biking the trails is to be mistaken for game, so to avoid any confusion the National Forest Service encourages everyone to take these precautions to stay safe during hunting season: Indy Pass expands to 44 independent ski resorts Wear bright-colored clothing, like hunter orange or neon colors, in order to be more visible. If you’re hiking with your dog, make sure it wears a hunter orange vest, bandana or leash.Make noise to alert hunters of your presence. If you hear shooting, raise your voice to let hunters know that you are nearby.If hunting makes you uneasy, learn about where and when hunting is taking place and consider hiking in other areas. Visit www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting/Hunting-in-North-Carolina to see hunting seasons and regulations. Thirty-seven of the 44 participating resorts offer unrestricted, season-long access with the Indy Pass. Five have holiday blackouts and two allow midweek-only access. See indyskipass.com for more information. Organizers of the Indy Pass, which provides two lift tickets at every participating ski resort, has announced their expansion to 44 independent resorts. For the cost of the pass ($199), skiers and snowboarders have access to 88 days of skiing or snowboarding at resorts across the country. There are 15 participating resorts in the Eastern region, including Cataloochee Ski Area in North Carolina, Blue Knob Resort and Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area in Tennessee, Bryce Resort and Massanutten Resort in Virginia and Canaan Valley Ski Resort in West Virginia. Additionally, there are 15 participating resorts in the Western region and 14 participating resorts in the Midwest region.