Middle East sovereign wealth funds investing in green energy, but fossil divestment seen as unlikely

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Sovereign wealth funds from oil-rich countries in the Middle East are moving to diversify into renewable energy, pushed by regulators and pledges on climate change, but are stopping short of following Norway in shedding some oil and gas investments.Total sovereign wealth fund investments within the oil and gas industry have dwarfed those within renewable energy in the past decade. But data on private equity investments with sovereign wealth fund participation suggests this balance might be shifting. In 2018, $6.36 billion went into hydrocarbons, compared to $5.81 billion in renewable energy, one of the narrowest margins in the past decade, according to PitchBook, a data and research firm.Norway’s trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, said last month it would sell its stakes in oil and gas explorers and producers. But the fund also said it would still invest in energy firms that have refineries and other downstream activities, such as Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil.But other sovereign wealth funds from oil-rich countries are not expected to do the same, sources close to the funds and analysts said. “I don’t expect many fiduciary bound investors to follow suit until such a time it can be shown that this divestment activity does not harm returns,” Ashby Monk, executive director, global projects centre at Stanford University, said. “It would make sense from a national balance sheet perspective for some of these investors to diversify, but they don’t think in terms of national balance sheets,” he said.Instead of pursuing a strategic approach to design a portfolio taking into account the country’s national wealth, both natural resources and financial, funds are often pushed to focus only on commercial and financial interests, he said.Many sovereign funds voluntarily commit to the Santiago Principles, a set of guidelines agreed in 2008 to govern how sovereign wealth funds operate. This includes investing based on the basis of economic and financial risk and return related considerations. While most sovereign wealth funds follow the principles, Norway, one of the few oil funds from a democracy, is considered an outlier in its approach, operating under ethical guidelines set by parliament.More: Oil-rich sovereign funds look to renewables alongside fossil fuels Middle East sovereign wealth funds investing in green energy, but fossil divestment seen as unlikelylast_img read more

Cleanup liability issues prompt judge to reject FirstEnergy Solutions’ bankruptcy plan

first_imgCleanup liability issues prompt judge to reject FirstEnergy Solutions’ bankruptcy plan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Wall Street Journal ($):A bankruptcy judge rejected FirstEnergy Corp.’s $3.1 billion attempt to walk away from a fleet of failing power plants, siding with regulators who want the parent company on the hook for pollution cleanup costs.Judge Alan Koschik of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Akron, Ohio, said Thursday a $4 billion restructuring strategy to lift FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. out of chapter 11 was “patently unconfirmable,” a setback for the bankrupt company, its creditors and its publicly traded parent.FES filed for bankruptcy more than a year ago to part ways with FirstEnergy, which agreed to contribute $1 billion to pay back creditors and forgive $2.1 billion in claims against the unit. In exchange, FirstEnergy was to receive immunity from future legal claims surrounding FES, including the costs of cleaning up and shuttering several coal and nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania.But Judge Koschik rejected the exit plan, a victory for federal and state regulators who accused FirstEnergy of abusing bankruptcy law to try to extricate itself from the money-losing power facilities.Most of the power assets that FES and other bankrupt affiliates own are slated for closure, unable to operate profitably amid aggressive competition from cleaner gas-fired and renewable power generators that have become cheaper to run in the past decade. FES now plans to deactivate four nuclear reactors by 2021 and 11 fossil-fuel units by 2022, part of a wave of plant closures across U.S. wholesale power markets, where natural gas is plentiful and state-subsidized renewables are gaining in popularity.More ($): FirstEnergy’s bankruptcy deal with power units collapseslast_img read more

Zimbabwe seeking bids for 500MW of solar generation

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Zimbabwe’s state power transmission company has invited bids for the construction of 500 megawatts (MW) of solar power plants as part of a drive to increase its use of renewable energy and end power cuts.The southern African nation since last year has endured cuts, known locally as load shedding, lasting up to 18 hours after a devastating drought reduced dam levels at its hydro plant while ageing thermal stations constantly break down.Supplies have improved since the country entered a coronavirus lockdown at the end of March, forcing industry to close. Zimbabwe also paid off arrears to South African power supplier Eskom, guaranteeing supplies of up to 400MW daily.Zimbabwe is currently producing 987MW of electricity daily.“The Zimbabwe Electricity and Distribution Company (ZETDC) is intending to contract 500MW of PV solar plants of varying capacities at different identified strategic locations,” the company said in a public notice. ZETDC said solar power would help mitigate against climate change-induced risks and reduce imports, saving scarce foreign currency.Zimbabwe’s largest hydro station Kariba has a capacity of 1,050MW but is only producing 600MW due to low water levels. [MacDonald Dzirutwe]More: Zimbabwe tenders for 500MW solar power plants in renewable energy drive Zimbabwe seeking bids for 500MW of solar generationlast_img read more

Partners in grime: Top trail running duo join BRO bloggers

first_imgAnne and Mark Lundblad—two of the country’s top ultra runners—will begin blogging for Blue Ridge Outdoors on Monday.Anne Riddle Lundblad is a nine-time national champion in ultra and trail events. In 2005 she was the World Cup 100km Silver Medalist.  She also holds the female speed record for the Foothills Trail in upstate South Carolina and the South Beyond 6000.  She is a mother, a counselor at Warren Wilson College, an obsessive knitter, and a wanna-be banjo player.Mark Lundblad has won the USATF 50 Mile Road Championship, JFK 50-Miler, Shut-In Ridge Trail Run, Uwharrie 40-Miler, and Strolling Jim 40-Miler, and he is the course record holder for the Mount Mitchell 40-Mile Challenge, the Great Eastern 100K, and the Bel Monte 50K and 50-Miler. He’s also a trail maintenance volunteer for the Carolina Mountain Club and a mean darts thrower (he’s the B-division champion of the WNC Dart League).Mark and Anne live in Swannanoa, N.C., and they have been running regional and national races for the past 20 years. Despite their incredible running resumes, they are humble, down-to-earth people with full-time jobs, a family, and a deep commitment to give back to the running community. You’ll find both of them volunteering at races, cheering back-of-the-packers to the finish line, maintaining trails, and volunteering with youth programs like Girls on the Run and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America.Our readers will undoubtedly benefit from their experiences, humor, and insights into the running world..last_img read more

Food Choices Linked to Water Availability

first_imgLivestock are the largest consumers of fresh water in the U.S. and in many other countries. Researchers for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2006 report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” concluded that 2,400 liters of water go into the production of one hamburger, while only 25 liters are needed to produce a potato. Credit: iStockPhoto/Photodisc/ThinkstockDear EarthTalk: I heard that my food choices can affect the use and therefore availability of fresh water around the world. How so?                                                                — Denise Beck, Washington, DCOur food choices and the availability of fresh water are inextricably linked. The crux of the problem is that human population numbers keep growing—we recently topped seven billion people worldwide—yet the amount of fresh water available remains finite. And growing food and raising livestock to feed increasing numbers of humans takes a great deal of water. Worldwide, some 70 percent of fresh water is used for agriculture. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that, by 2050, two-thirds of the people on the planet will lack clean water to meet even basic needs.According to the Vegetarian Resource Group, the livestock industry is the largest user of fresh water in the U.S. and in many other countries. The billions of livestock animals raised for food around the world each year consume substantial amounts of water directly. The industry also negatively impacts the replenishment of fresh water through the compaction of soil, the degradation of banks along watercourses, the clearing of forests to expand grazing, and other factors.An even larger issue is the water needed to grow the feed that livestock eat. Researchers for the 2006 FAO report “Livestock’s Long Shadow” report that 2,400 liters of water go into the production of one hamburger, while only 25 liters are needed to produce a potato. Likewise, a cheese pizza requires 1,200 liters of water—given the drinking, cleaning and feed needs of dairy cows—while a tomato pizza only needs 300.Eliminating meat consumption would be a surefire way to save vast amounts of fresh water, and switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet is one way an individual can make a big impact on water consumption. “On average, a vegan, a person who eats no meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet,” reports Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project and the lead water expert on the National Geographic Society’s Freshwater Initiative.But those loathe to giving up meat entirely should consider switching to only grass-fed beef. According to Postel, it takes some 5,300 liters of fresh water for every dollar’s worth of grain fed to a typical beef cow, while the water required to feed grass-fed cattle falls on the pasture from the sky, meaning it is free and does not deplete groundwater reserves at all. “Not all burgers are created equal,” she says.Postel adds that another way to cut down on one’s water footprint would be to give up or cut back on coffee: One cup takes some 55 gallons of water to make, with most of used to grow the coffee beans.Choosing organic food can also help keep an individual’s indirect water consumption in check. Organic farming techniques conserve water both by using less, increasing the water-holding capacity of soils and reducing erosion as well as by not polluting nearby water bodies with run-off from synthetic chemical inputs.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.last_img read more

Foxfire Mountain Adventures Giveaway

first_imgLooking for adventure? Foxfire Mountain Adventures is your one stop shop for excitement in the air or on the river. Then kick back and relax in their world-class accommodations.Enter our giveaway for your chance to win:7 World-class ziplines, plus a 1-hour ATV excursion and a walk along America’s longest swinging bridge at Foxfire Mountain Adventures (lunch included).1 Full day on the Big Pigeon River with Smoky Mountain Outdoors. Includes a 2-hour guided tour on the upper river with class 3 & 4 rapids and 2 hours on the lower river with your choice of non-motorized boat.3 Nights’ stay at the Blue Mountain Mist Bed & Breakfast in Sevierville, TN.This giveaway is now closed, but be sure to sign up for all our other great gear and vacation prize packs!Blackout Dates: Memorial Day weekend (Friday-Monday), July 4th week (Saturday-Saturday), Labor Day weekend (Friday-Monday), October 1-31, Thanksgiving (Saturday-Saturday) and Christmas week (2 week period surrounding Christmas).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 noon EST on April 15th, 2013. 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 Wintergreen Resort 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 before April 30th, 6:00 PM EST 2013. 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.last_img read more

Daily Dirt: Outdoor News for April 18, 2013

first_imgTenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary (possibly) eating Grape-Nuts on Everest in 1953. AP PhotoYour daily outdoor news bulletin for April 18, the day Paul Revere made his famous ride, getting there slightly ahead of William Dawes, who no one has ever heard of:Grape-Nuts Wants You To SummitPost Grape-Nuts is recruiting you to live like Sir Edmund Hillary and summit the highest peak…in your town. To celebrate Hillary becoming the first man to conquer Everest in 1953, Grape-Nuts is running a contest called Grape-Nuts Summit Sampler, in which you apply by writing a short essay on what peak you plan to summit. If one of the 60 or so selected, they will send you a prize pack (see above) including a High Sierra backpack, water bottle, other assorted goodies, and of course, some Grape-Nuts. If you follow through and summit, they will send you $500 if you send them a photo of yourself and your Grape-Nuts gear at the top. Seems like a fairly easy way to back an extra $500. Apparently Sir Hillary packed Grape-Nuts as his cereal of choice when assaulting the world’s highest mountain (they even have pics of him choking it down) and they want to celebrate it with this neat little contest, which also promotes their new addition to the team: Grape-Nuts Fit. You don’t need to summit the Everest, just the Everest of your imagination.Applications are due by tomorrow, so you better hurry. Apply here.Three Southeast Rivers Make Famous ListBut not in a good way. Georgia’s Flint River, the Catawba River that flows in North and South Carolina, and Alabama’s Black Warrior River came in at numbers two, five, and seven respectively on American Rivers’ annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers list. The list is put out by American Rivers – a river protection group – as a way to highlight rivers that have major policy changes coming up that will affect the fate of the river, the wildlife that inhabit it, and the people in its watershed. They have put out a list every year since 1986, making it one of the longest lived annual reports in the environmental movement and last year’s list included the Potomac, Chattahoochee, and Coal rivers. The Flint was cited as having an outdated water management system, the Catawba for coal ash pollution threatening drinking water and recreation, and the Black Warrior for coal mining development threatening drinking water and fish and wildlife habitat.See the full list and learn what you can do.Bears Bear Brunt of BurnA prescribed burn in Shenandoah National Park last week went exactly as planned…for the humans. The 500-acre Jarman Gap burn’s aim was to reduce hazardous fuels and the threat of a major wildfire, promote oak and pine regeneration, and increase plant diversity. The burn did not go as planned for two black bear cubs that were injured in the fire, one of which died while being treated at the Wildlife Center of Virginia (the other cub is expected to survive). Once released from the WCV, park staff will try and find the cub a new home with a nursing female black bear. Quote from Park Superintendent Jim Northrop: “We deeply regret the injuries to these two bears, but overall we are very pleased with the outcome of this burn.”last_img read more

Trail Mix: IBMA, I Think I Love You

first_imgIBMA . . . I know we just met, and this is probably going to seem way too fast . . . . . but I think I love you.Just about every year – for the last eight years – someone has asked me, “Dave, are you going to IBMA this year?”  And, unfortunately, the answer has always been, “Nope, but maybe I can make it next year!”  Historically, I have always been hesitant to take days off from school for what might be construed as self-indulgent reasons, and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual celebration of the high lonesome sound comes right on the heels of our music festival, so I have always passed on the opportunity.This year, however, was different.  I was invited to participate in a panel for emerging artists by publicist Emilee Warner.  My segment of the four hour discussion, for which I was joined by Ashlee-Jean Trott, my good friend who books Music City Roots in Nashville, was about young bands getting booked for festivals and gigs before they had signed with booking agents.Since I had been asked to participate, well, the trip no longer seemed so self-indulgent and I jumped at the chance to go.After a number of years in Nashville, this year’s conference was in Raleigh.  I was overwhelmed from the moment I left my van.  There were pickers everywhere.  And I truly mean everywhere.  In every nook and cranny of the hotel and convention center, on every concourse and walkway, was a jam session.  Pickers of all ages and pedigrees were clustered around each other, banging out one bluegrass highlight after the next.And they were all good.  Breathtakingly good.  These people had to have been born holding banjos and fiddles.When I walked into the exhibit hall of the convention center, I damned near lost my breath.  A casual stroll through the vendors brought me within inches of a 1924 Gibson Lloyd Loar F-5 mandolin, with the tempting price tag of $175,000, and a 1935 Martin D-18 guitar, which went for a more affordable $45,000.  I must admit to, momentarily, considering a second mortgage on my house, but I like being married, so I let the thought disappear from my mind nearly as fast as it entered.While the week-long conference itself was centered in the convention center, downtown Raleigh was blocked off on Friday and Saturday for a bluegrass celebration for the music’s fans that was completely free.  Multiple stages were set up on the street and fans soaked in sounds from some of the genre’s best: Jim Lauderdale, The Boxcars, Della Mae, Chatham County Line, The Steel Wheels, and Bryan Sutton were just some of the artists that played during the Wide Open Bluegrass Street Fest.After just hours, I was neck deep in music overload.For fans lucky enough to score a wristband, there was a big to do at the Red Hat Amphitheater.  Friday night’s line up alone included Del McCoury Band, The Punch Brothers, and an all star jam with Del, Tony Rice, Bela Fleck, Jason Carter, Jerry Douglas, Mark Schatz, and Sam Bush.  While I had a wristband, I missed every single note played.  Instead, I wandered around the street fest with Jeremy Darrow, a good buddy of mine from Nashville, chatting about music and sampling some tasty fermented beverages from some of Raleigh’s finer establishments.  We also ended up at The Pour House for the Dark Shadows Recording showcase and caught some tunes from The Rigneys, an up and coming bluegrass family band that included two ridiculously talented teenagers on guitar and mandolin.My night – or, should I say, early morning – ended with The Infamous Stringdusters jamming with some friends at the end of a hotel hallway.  Knowing that I had to be on the road home just a few hours later, I eventually tore myself away and went to bed.  I headed to my room with the understanding that 12 hours of IBMA was just not enough.  My head had been on a swivel since I had arrived and I knew that I barely scratched the surface of what the conference had to offer.Nice thing is, there is always next year.  And, while I love my students, I might not be so hesitant to take a little time off this time.last_img read more

Clips of the Week: Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, Rollerman, Crash Reel, Jackson’s New Toy

first_imgOr favorite outdoor video clips from around the web for the week that was:1. Alpine Loop Gran FondoJeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo is quickly becoming a staple for cyclists in the Blue Ridge. Here is a very nicely done re-cap of last week’s ride from Adventure Seen. Bonus: Bishop rocking a suit in the opening shot like he does it everyday.Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo from Adventure Seen on Vimeo.2. Downhill ExtremeThis video features a Euro who goes by the name Rollerman. One look and you’ll see why. This video is a couple years old, but…I mean…c’mon. It’s Rollerman!3. Jackson Kayak’s New ToyIt’s called the DJI Phantom and it looks rad. Wish we had one.4. Way of Life Crash ReelTGR athletes do amazing things on skis and snowboards. Sometimes it doesn’t go according to plan.5. Snowflex Trails to RailsLIberty University’s Snowflex Center is a marvel of modern engineering. Check out this video that explains how it works and also announces their new video project.Check out all our Clips of the Week entries here!last_img read more

Trail Mix: Jonah Tolchin

first_imgRecently, my family and I took a quick trip to do some shopping in Johnson City, Tennessee. Over the course of the day – during the drive and while I was in the van minding my two youngest kids while my wife spent a long time in a fabric store – the radio was tuned to a local top-forty station.It had been years since I had listened to a radio station for any extended period of time that wasn’t NPR, and it didn’t take me long to remember why. Though I was unfamiliar with the work of Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande, or Nico and Vinz, I had their most popular tunes memorized before I got home, considering each wafted across the air waves seemingly on the hour.I couldn’t help but think, as I was bombarded by these tunes that were so much flash and so little substance, that I knew a laundry list of artists writing better tunes that I would love to hear more of on the radio.Jonah Tolchin is on that list.Just a hair this side of twenty years old, Tolchin writes and sings with a mojo more akin to someone decades older. Tolchin released his second record, Clover Lane, on Yep Roc this month. Featuring appearances from the likes of John McCauley, of Deer Tick, and Chris Scuggs, the new record is a fine collection of tunes displaying Tolchin’s appreciation of old blues and poignant lyrical sense.Trail Mix recently caught up with Jonah Tolchin for a quick chat about favorite reads, songwriting, and must haves on the road.BRO – Where’s your favorite place to write a song?JT – Wherever the electricity strikes and almost always when I am alone.BRO – Best book you have read recently?JT – Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda.BRO – City you have played recently that you cannot wait to play again?JT – I’m not really a city person, but if I had to pick one, it would be probably Providence, Rhode Island. BRO – We are featuring “21st Century Girl” on Trail Mix this month. What’s the story behind the song?JT – This is a song about slowing down the world and taking a look around. Questioning the way reality seems to be and moving deeper, beyond the surface.BRO – One item you have to take with you on the road?JT – My Gnome Socks that my bandmate Danny Roaman got for me. For good luck, of course.This weekend, Jonah Tolchin, along with Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin, will be appearing at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia. Tomorrow night, the trio will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, at The Visulite, and on Friday they appear at The Five Spot in Atlanta, Georgia.For more information on Jonah Tolchin, how you might get your hands on a copy of Clover Lane, or when he might take to a stage near you, surf over to jonahtolchin.com.last_img read more