U.S. Coal Industry Bailout Plan Would Cost Customers as Much as $288 Billion FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享SNL:The U.S. Department of Energy’s proposal to prop up financially struggling coal and nuclear plants by ensuring they can recover all their costs would carry a big price tag for consumers, according to the PJM Interconnection’s independent market monitor and other stakeholders.Many market participants already have voiced strong opinions, and costs are a key point of criticism. Monitoring Analytics LLC, PJM’s independent market monitor, said the DOE proposal would increase costs to customers by between $18 billion and $288 billion over ten years, depending on what percentage of replacement costs are paid to coal and nuclear units not currently subject to cost-of-service regulation.Monitoring Analytics therefore said the proposal “does not serve the public interest” and urged FERC to reject the DOE’s request. Among other complaints, the market monitor said the proposal would “impose significant costs on customers” by requiring regional transmission organizations and independent system operators to allow plants with at least 90 days of fuel on-site — chiefly coal and nuclear plants — to fully recover their costs.“Approving the DOE proposal would replace regulation through competition with an unworkable hybrid of competitive markets and cost-of-service regulation,” Monitoring Analytics said. “The eventual result would be the demise of competitive markets in the PJM region.”In addition to direct costs, the market monitor said the DOE directive would impose major opportunity costs by undermining incentives to build new, more efficient resources “that are at the heart of existing competitive markets.”“The artificial retention of uneconomic resources will crowd out economic resources and weaken or eliminate the incentives for competitive new entry,” Monitoring Analytics said. “It would be ironic if cost-of-service regulation were reintroduced in order to preserve nuclear and coal power plants that have been demonstrated by the market to be uneconomic.”More ($): Market monitor: DOE proposal could cost up to $288B over 10 years
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Electric and municipal utilities that own coal-fired generation in the U.S. are applauding President Donald Trump’s proposed replacement for the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, but there is no initial indication these companies will re-evaluate their planned coal plant retirements.An analysis of S&P Global Market Intelligence data shows more than 23,700 MW of coal-fired capacity scheduled to be retired from 2018 through 2032 and more than 36 coal units set for retirement before 2020. But instead of touting the new EPA proposal as a lifeline for existing coal units, utilities outlined how they are significantly reducing carbon emissions and boosting clean energy investments in line with the previous rule.AEP said it is focused on modernizing the energy grid, expanding renewable energy resources and reducing its carbon-dioxide emissions. “That strategy will not change,” [spokeswoman Melissa] McHenry said.Dominion Energy Inc. said it is “committed to a greener and cleaner energy future” with more solar and wind, along with reduced coal generation. Dominion Energy Virginia, known legally as Virginia Electric and Power Co., still plans to retire its Yorktown coal units once the 500-kV Skiffes Creek transmission line is complete in order to address the reliability needs of the Virginia Peninsula.Duke Energy Corp. welcomed the new replacement for the Clean Power Plan, which the company said “raised significant legal and implementation questions.” Duke Energy, however, also said it remains “committed” to its planned investments, which include retiring the 384-MW Asheville coal plant in western North Carolina in November 2019 and replacing this generation with the 560-MW Asheville combined-cycle natural gas plant.In addition, Duke Energy subsidiary Duke Energy Carolinas LLC plans to retire all five units at the 1,161-MW G.G. Allen coal plant in Gaston County, N.C., by December 2028. Duke Energy Florida LLC plans to retire the two oldest units at the 2,222-MW coal-fired Crystal River plant in Citrus County, Fla., in December 2018 as the new 1,640-MW Citrus County combined-cycle gas plant comes online.More ($): Despite new EPA rule, utilities steadfast in coal generation retirement plans Utilities see no changes in coal plant retirement plans
Vistra begins process of closing 2,000MW of coal capacity in Illinois FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Vistra Energy Corp. on Aug. 21 identified four coal-fired power plants in Illinois with a combined capacity of 2,000 MW that it will close by the end of this year to meet recently approved amendments to the state’s Multi-Pollutant Standard, or MPS, rule.The Illinois Pollution Control Board in June directed Vistra to retire 2,000 MW of coal-fired generating capacity by the end of this year to comply with the amended rule, which regulates and sets new caps for sulfur dioxide, or SO2, and nitrogen oxide, or NOx, emissions for coal-fired power plants in central and southern Illinois. In its order, the board said the amendments to the MPS rule are “economically reasonable and technically feasible.”The plants slated for retirements, all interconnected to the Midcontinent ISO market, are the 915-MW Coffeen plant in Montgomery County, 434-MW Havana 6 plant in Mason County, 425-MW Duck Creek plant in Fulton County, and 294-MW Hennepin plant in Putnam County. According to a Vistra news release, the plants are between 41 and 66 years old.According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, the Coffeen plant’s sole source of coal this year has been Peabody Energy Corp.’s North Antelope Rochelle Mine in Campbell County, Wyo. For Havana 6, the largest source of coal has been Blackjewel LLC’s Belle Ayr Mine, also in Campbell County, Wyo., along with North Antelope Rochelle and Arch Coal Inc.’s Black Thunder Mine, in Campbell County, Wyo., as well. The Black Thunder Mine is the largest source of coal for the Duck Creek plant, while Cloud Peak Energy Inc.’s Antelope Coal Mine in Converse County, Wyo., has been another source. Belle Ayr, North Antelope Rochelle and Black Thunder are all sources of coal for the Hennepin plant.Following the plant closures, Vistra will have approximately 5,000 MW of coal-fired capacity in the Illinois, including an 80% stake in the 1,002-MW Joppa Steam station in Massac County, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.The plant retirements are pending Midcontinent ISO and PJM Interconnection reviews for potential reliability impacts and termination of certain tariffs by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.More ($): Vistra names Illinois coal plants to be shut for emissions rule compliance
100 Muddy Miles of Tandem by Ryan Delaney and Kurt RosenbergerRYAN: There are plenty of stories about how riding a tandem has strengthened relationships, or how the encouragement of a cheerful stoker has pushed a flagging captain through a low point on a century, but even though my captain and I have been friends for years, we’re not here to talk about that.Six hours into the 2012 Shenandoah Mountain 100, I leaned the wrong way and our bike dropped over the edge of the trail coming to a skidding, muddy halt. Kurt, our captain, put a foot down and said “Let me try something”. In a minute, I found myself walking, in the rain, up an hour-long singletrack climb. Kurt pedaled our bike alone up the mountain and out of sight. I wouldn’t catch up to him till I found him waiting at the top, anxious to try and get down the other side without wrecking us. If I had been coherent, I would’ve asked how I got into this mess.In the summer of 2011, I was still scrambling to recover the fitness I lost in grad school. I was planning to just stay home and barbecue on Labor Day like a normal American.That all changed when Kurt called me up one evening in August to sell me on the idea of stoking his tandem for 100 off-road miles.Kurt laid it on thick, showering me with the hypothetical positives of racing a tandem in the dirt, “We can buy matching socks!” I was sold. After the three-martini haze of happy hour lifted, I remembered the other things he had said; “No, I’ve never ridden one either…how bad could it be?”The morning of the race, we took our first ride together: from our tent down to the start line. There were only two other teams in our category, and all six of us realized that all we’d have to do was finish to get on the podium…awesome! We took off, and it seemed like we had been riding together for years. Kurt is an incredible bike handler, and as a local, knew all the right lines. It surprised a lot of folks to be passed on downhill singletrack by a tandem and two dudes in matching pink lycra. After a heated late-race battle, we rolled into the finish with a comfortable lead, got into our podium shirts, had a little champagne, and promptly hung the tandem up till next Labor Day.In retrospect, not riding the thing for a year seems stupid, but we had gotten our first Shenandoah Mountain 100 win based purely on friendship and Kurt’s ridiculous downhill ability, so we weren’t worried—until we saw the wet forecast for race day. Still, flush with memories of victory, we suited up, and 364 days and 11 hours exactly after we hopped off the big machine, saddled up and rolled down to the start line. Then things got very real, very quick.KURT: Ryan’s recollection of how things unrolled during our two years of tandem racing, though mostly accurate, leaves me looking sadistic. Bike racing is about discovery. Anyone who’s raced hard knows it can take on spiritual qualities. Sadist? No, but maybe I get a little masochistic when faced with an elevated heart rate and a timing chip.Tandem racing is not like this. You aren’t going to find any catharsis when you can hear your buddy wheezing over your shoulder. There is no happy place that you can retreat to on that last climb of the day. Anyone who has raced an endurance event knows that beyond the physical stuff, keeping your mind and emotions in check is the real challenge. Tandem racing throws some social responsibility on top of all of that. “I’m okay…is Ryan okay?” “I’m thirsty, Ryan must be too”. “Ryan, I want to keep going, can we?”The broken record in my head spins faster than our shared wheels. For me, racing on a tandem became performance art. It’s about the spectacle, the hilarity and yes, the matching outfits. The idea was always that it’s supposed to be fun. 2011 was, so why wouldn’t 2012? Hurricane Isaac? Sure we’ll get muddy, but this is mountain biking!Seven miles in, we took the first hard turn of the day: lean bike, turn handlebar, bike goes straight, wheels wash out, riders touch ground. “I’m okay, are you okay? Back on the bike!” As the day went on, “let’s get back on” became “let’s push for a little”.Ryan and I had some highs during our long ride, and plenty of lows. At times, the highs and lows aligned nicely and we commiserated or celebrated together. At times, our highs and lows were out of sync, which is when I usually kept my mouth shut.Fourteen hours later, with borrowed brakepads and lights, we crossed the line for the win. We were the only category winners still on course during the podium ceremonies, so we missed out on our moment of champagne-soaked glory. The fun we had last time was buried somewhere in the mud out past Aid Station 5. We slid off the bike, exhausted from fighting the bike, the weather, the course, and each other.While we washed the mud off at the hand pump near our campsite, we dissolved into laughter. In the midst of these long races, you can get obsessed with finding a reason you’re putting yourself through the ringer, but really all you need from it is a story to tell, and the satisfaction of pushing yourself to your limits. You can bet we’ll be talking about this ride for years with grins on our faces…but you won’t catch us dead on a tandem next year, either. •
For National Get Outdoors Day, travel editor Jess Daddio hit up The Channels Natural Area Preserve in southwest Virginia for a great day of hiking and sandstone bluff exploring. The Channels are an impressive geological feat, with endless passageways and hidden rooms that, over time, were carved away by water. You can clamber on top of the rocks to get an epic view of the surrounding mountains.To check out the hike, check out the Virginia Department of Forestry’s brochure. For more photos, take a look at Blue Ridge Outdoor’s Facebook page!
After 94 years of inspiring and enabling adventure with premium outerwear, apparel and gear, Eddie Bauer announced it is expanding its outfitting expertise to include footwear.Available July 28, 2014, the new Eddie Bauer footwear collection utilizes cutting-edge technology and advancements in product engineering to offer the ultimate in performance, comfort, and durability for all types of terrain on and off trail. The fall 2014 footwear collection launches with six men’s and seven women’s styles. “Whatever your destination, Eddie Bauer footwear is built to take you anywhere you want to go,” said Mike Egeck, Chief Executive Officer for Eddie Bauer. “Eddie Bauer is committed to building innovative products focused on functionality and versatility. We aim to elevate the experience of adventurers, and our footwear is a natural extension of our outfitting mentality. We are confident this launch further solidifies Eddie Bauer’s position in the outdoor industry.”All styles feature ergonomic, cushioned insoles to offer the most stable, supportive fit, and the lightest, strongest midsoles to absorb the impact of every stride. With specialty designed outsoles exclusive to the collection, consumers are sure to have all-day comfort, no matter where their adventures take them.The collection debuts with the ultimate 24-hour adventure travel shoe, the Eddie Bauer Travex Full Circuit, available in both men’s and women’s styles. Weighing 11 oz., this shoe integrates state-of-the-art materials and technologies, including:InsoFit Pro: An ergonomic polyurethane footbed stabilizing heel cup and superior forefoot support.MidLite Pro: A midsole using the lightest, strongest form of polyurethane available to ensure critical cushioning, reduce impact, and provide overall stability that lasts long after other midsoles break down.SportGrip Pro: Carbon rubber outsole with grippy tread excels in all terrain, including light trail use.The collection will also feature two versions of streamlined, lightweight hikers for men and women – the Eddie Bauer Lukla and Lukla Pro. At 10 oz., the Lukla is a streamlined trekker that reduces stride impact, especially critical when hiking on uneven ground with a pack, and features:InsoFit: An EVA footbed that delivers all-day support while reducing weight and bulk.MidLite: Premium EVA midsole to provide the lightest possible weight without sacrificing durability, support and comfort.MultiPitch Pro: Outsole with exclusive lug design using Vibram XS Trek rubber compound – best in class for performance and durability.The Lukla Pro features the same performance attributes and technologies as the Lukla, and includes Eddie Bauer’s exclusive WeatherEdge PRO, a 20k/20k waterproof/breathable membrane lining to help keep feet dry in extreme, wet conditions.The fall 2014 assortment also includes Travex styles including a chukka, oxford and slip-on styles for him and Mary Jane and ballet flats for her. Each of these styles combines classic silhouettes with technical features ideal for the modern, adventure-traveler.This winter, the line will expand with a collection of performance boots and casual slippers. As with all Eddie Bauer products, the new footwear collection is backed by the company’s unconditional lifetime guarantee.Established in 1920 in Seattle, Eddie Bauer is a direct-to-consumer specialty retailer selling sportswear, outerwear, footwear, gear and accessories “for the active outdoor lifestyle.” The Eddie Bauer brand is a nationally recognized brand that stands for high quality, innovation, style, and customer service. Eddie Bauer products are available at approximately 400 stores throughout the United States, Canada and Japan through catalog sales and online at www.eddiebauer.com. Eddie Bauer was named a J.D. Power 2011 Customer Service Champion.
Last June marked the end of a decade’s-long effort to create a fourteen-mile multi-use trail through the heart of the Cumberland Plateau into Georgia’s popular Cloudland Canyon State Park. The trail — facilitated in large part by a Georgia-based conservation organization called the Lula Lake Land Trust — has come to be known as the Cloudland Connector Trail, and it’s 14-mile path provides easy spur access to more than 60 miles of well maintained hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails.The Lula Lake Land Trust is the product of a 50-plus year rehabilitation project that began with the acquisition of 80 acres of old mining property on top of Lookout Mountain. The land was initially acquired in the late 1950s by a local conservationist named Robert Davenport. During his lifetime, Davenport ensured that previously clear-cut timber was replanted and that all of the area’s spectacular natural features were preserved to the best of his ability. By the time he died, he had extended his land holdings to as many 1,800 acres, and his will officially hashed out the formation of the Lula Lake Land Trust.Today the Lula Lake Land Trust preserves more than 8,000 acres in northwest Georgia. In addition to supporting recreation-based initiatives like the Cloud Land Connector Trail, the trust has worked relentlessly to protect the native flora and fauna found within its boundaries. Most notable of the species they’ve worked to save is a federally protected and significantly threatened wild rose known as the Virginia Spiraea.According to Developmental Director Tricia King, the idea for a trail connecting the Lula Lake Land Trust to Cloudland Canyon State Park was conceived about ten years ago at a routine board meeting.“When the trail was originally proposed we weren’t 100% certain that we’d actually be able to turn our long-term goal into a reality,” King said. “Fortunately we gained a lot of invaluable support from volunteer groups and private land holders in the area.”Through a combination of hard work from Lula Lake Land Trust employees, volunteer efforts from groups like the Southern Off Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) and conservation easements agreed upon by nearby landowners, the Cloudland Connector Trail has become a reality, and land that was previously inaccessible is now open for public recreation and enjoyment.The trail starts about fourteen miles north of Cloudland Canyon State Park and culminates within the park boundaries. A trailhead for its northern terminus can be found on Nick-A-Jack Road, and there are three others —5 Points, Ascalon and Durham—located at different points along its 14-mile course. All of the trailheads afford access to the 20 miles of world-class single track found within the Five Points Recreation Area.Travel past the border of Cloudland Canyon State Park, and you’ll find a backcountry area with 13 remote campsites as well as one of the most spectacular views—the Cloudland Canyon Vista—that northwest Georgia has to offer.–Read more of contributor Travis Hall’s work at his website travishallfreelance.wordpress.com.
Looking for the easiest way to get your SUP or surfboard from home to the water? Look no further than the Yakima SUPPup Paddle Board Carrier.This simple rack keeps your SUP or surfboard out of the trunk and safely secured to your vehicle’s roof using your existing Yakima cross bars. Initially, I was impressed with how easy it was to install the rack on my existing bars and then equally impressed with how easy the carrier is to use. Loading and unloading your boards is now a breeze.The carrier comes with paddled cradles that protect the board as well as guide straps that keep the board secure, which is especially important for longer trips or travel at highway speeds. Another benefit is that the rack can accommodate multiple boards — meaning that you can carpool with your crew without having the boards sticking out the back of your Subaru.The adjustable feature of the rack means that it is also able to easily accommodate boards of various widths — up to 34 inches, the widest rack on the market.Yakima has once again found a way to make sporting life easier and more convenient, thanks to the SUPPup Paddle Board Carrier. If you are frustrated with trying to shoe horn your board into your vehicle, consider this rack to reduce the hassle and up the fun.This carrier also fits most round, square, aero and factory-direct bars. (MSRP $159)
Appalachian Bear Rescue has helped hundreds of orphaned cubs return to the wildAn orphaned bear cub from Kentucky—rescued by wildlife officials—recently joined Appalachian Bear Rescue, where she will recover until she’s ready to join the wild again. She is one of over 250 bears that the center has rescued.Dana Dodd, president of the bear rehabilitation center, said each bear gets a visit to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine before settling into his or her new habitat.The other two cubs in the center’s care include one that’s more than 20 pounds underweight, and another that was hit by a car.Although each cub has a dedicated team of professionals rooting for their recovery, the three orphans will never know the people who help them.“We provide good care with as little human contact as possible so that they don’t get used to humans and can get back to the wild,” she said.The cub that was hit by a car had five broken ribs and a chipped humerus, so it needed to stay still as much as possible, Dodd said. The facility has adjustable ceilings in the cubs’ enclosures specifically to keep bears from climbing. That specific cub has a lowered ceiling so it can’t stand up on its hind legs.If the center receives a cub early in the year, it has to be bottle fed, but at 10 weeks of age, the bear must start lapping from a bowl.“They may not want to [self feed], but they have to,” Dodd said.And when they’re bottle fed, the staff doesn’t cuddle the cubs.Once the bears are healthy enough to live in the center’s bigger, grassy enclosures, their contact with humans is almost non-existent.“They [the staffers] throw food over those enclosures so [the bears] forage on the ground, so they don’t see them feeding,” Dodd said.She said they rely on a 21-camera system to monitor the bears as they go about their daily lives.“Throughout the summer, when it’s really hot, most bears spend all day in the trees,” she said. “In the evening they come down to forage.”There are also pools of water for the bears to play and cool off in and drink from.“We keep things as natural as we can,” Dodd said.Come August, she said the bears leave the trees to start “chubbifying.”“Their bodies know that they have to start eating a lot to get ready for a winter in a den,” she said. “About 85 percent of their diet is vegetation in nature—berries, nuts, acorns, hickory, pecans…the other 15 percent in their diet is meat.”A bear’s meat source tends to be hornet, bee, or ant larvae, which is high in protein, she said.Wildlife officials are trained to care for an entire population of black bears, not just one individual cub. That’s why officials are often skeptical of what Appalachian Bear Rescue does, Dodd said.“It’s unusual to have something like ABR because the animals in our care are being managed as individuals,” she said. “When we release them into the wild, they’re just part of the wild again…they’re not individuals anymore.”But thanks to social media, there’s been a push to save individual cubs in distress—no one wants to see a baby bear put down in a video.“Before Appalachian Bear Rescue existed in Tennessee, about the only thing you could do is to euthanize [sick or hurt bears],” Dodd said. “And now we’ve taken bears from eight different states and the National Park Service for a temporary time.”Coy Blair, the rehab center’s lead curator, did a GPS collar study of 42 former bear residents released between 2015 and 2017, Dodd said.His finding showed that the survival rate one year after release for bears is 88.5 percent, which means bears can thrive in the wild after individual care.“The survival rate is really high,” says Dodd, “which suggests that what we’re doing seems to be working.”
Nothing but you, your bike and the open road. Experience the thrill of riding in the hills of southern West Virginia. Scenic highways and byways, breathtaking views and rugged terrain provide the backdrop as you enjoy the twists and turns and roller-coaster-like features of our country roads.Here, every road leads to adventure, and there’s a history lesson around every curve. Winding hills and sweeping curves beckon motorcycle enthusiasts to southern West Virginia every year. Here’s some of our most traveled routes!Head of the Dragon91 miles of curvaceous country roads in McDowell County make up the Head of the Dragon, a scenic loop that completes the Body of the Dragon motorcycle run series. This day-long journey features dramatic mountain vistas and quaint small towns. Plan your trip during the Head of the Dragon Motorcycle Run & Autumn Festival on September 15 in Welch, WV.Coal Heritage NorthThis 129 mile loop begins and ends in Beckley, WV. Past and present is well represented on this scenic ride that offers up scenic views, waterfalls, coal history and quaint small towns. Your journey will take you across the New River Gorge Bridge, past the New River Gorge Harley Davidson and down Gauley Mountain. Along Route 60 you will see Cathedral Falls, Kanawha Falls and the confluence of the New and Gauley Rivers.Coal Heritage SouthThis 131 mile loop begins and ends in Beckley, WV. A good part of this ride follows the Coal Heritage Trail and takes you deep into coal country through what were once thriving coal camps. The remnants of life in the coalfields is evident along this trail. The coal baron’s homes in Bramwell, Twin Falls State Park, Pinnacle Rock, Camp Creek, Burning Rock Outdoor Adventure Park are just a few of the highlights of this trek.Farm CountryRide begins and ends in Princeton WV – 111 total miles. Some of the most beautiful farm country in all of West Virginia. This journey is reminiscent of a simpler place and time. Beauty and Civil War history collide in both Lewisburg and the historic town of Union. While traveling through Monroe County keep your eyes peeled for beautiful barn quilts throughout the area.National ForestThis is our longest suggested ride. Totaling 195 miles, it begins and ends in Fayetteville, WV. This ride takes you through two of West Virginia’s Coolest Small Town’s, Fayetteville and Lewisburg. Plan to stop for a meal in one or both towns! Other interesting stops include Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, Droop Mountain, Beartown State Park, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, Babcock State Park and the New River Gorge Bridge.National RiverBeginning and ending in Beckley, WV, this ride is 123 miles long. Travel along the ancient river valleys of the New, Gauley and Meadow Rivers. See the historic Prince Depot and the Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park, two of the best photo opportunities along the way.Get a Motorcycle GuideReady to plan your trip? Get a copy of our Southern West Virginia Motorcycle Guide for official routes and directions, suggested stops and even more rides!