Facebook continues aggressive renewables push FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:Sembcorp Industries has announced a 20-year deal to support the Singapore operations, including a new data center, of tech giant Facebook with renewable power.In an official announcement on Tuesday, Sembcorp said it would supply Facebook with renewable energy via offsite solar panels installed on almost 900 rooftops in Singapore. The project is expected to finish in 2020.Facebook announced it was building a data center in Singapore at the beginning of September. Its fifteenth worldwide and first in Asia, the facility will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. “This agreement represents our first step towards supporting our Singapore data center and local offices with 100 percent renewable energy,” Bobby Hollis, head of Global Energy at Facebook, said in a statement Tuesday. The agreement with Sembcorp is the latest clean energy deal struck by Facebook as it looks to green its operations.In July, for example, it was announced that the company’s Prineville Data Center in Oregon would be supported by 100 percent solar power under a new partnership with Pacific Power. Additionally, all of Facebook’s offices at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, are powered by 100 percent renewable energy.More: Facebook signs 20-year deal to supply Singapore operations with clean energy
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):After hitting a near-term low in early 2016, average U.S. coal mining employment has risen steadily as total production hovers below a rate of 200 million tons per quarter, though the overall trends belie regional differences.Total U.S. coal production fell 2.5% to 755.6 million tons in 2018, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. Production totaled about 774.2 million in 2017 and 728.8 million tons in 2016. Average coal mining employment held steady year over year, gaining less than one-tenth of a percent, or about 625 jobs, from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the same period in 2018. Average total coal mining employment in the most recent quarter was 54,233 jobs, up by 3,662, or 7.2%, since hitting a low of 50,571 in the third quarter of 2016.A trend of retiring older coal-fired power plants has continued despite a more sector-accommodating regulatory environment brought about by the Trump administration. Initial challenges caused by those retirements and a transition to a greater dependence on natural gas in the U.S. are being worked out by electricity generators and grid operators, Morningstar Commodities Research analyst Matthew Hong wrote Feb. 6.Utilities still relied on coal during a recent polar vortex, Hong pointed out, but the trend toward greater natural gas reliance continues. “The recent polar vortex highlighted just how much the northeast and the PJM Interconnection system have changed over the last five years. Increased natural gas supply, greater flexibility on the pipeline system, and changes to the generation fleet created a totally different environment than the one seen five years ago,” Hong wrote. “Power and natural gas prices stayed relatively subdued in the face of higher demand and operational challenges on the pipeline system, highlighting the improvements to the grid and PJM’s ability to reliably meet demand in spite of generational weather systems.”However, production and employment losses in the coal industry have slowed thanks to an increase in global demand for U.S. coal. The market trends that have stabilized coal company balance sheets could translate to stability in employment and production volumes in the near-term, although investment in new supply remains limited.Companies with exposure to metallurgical coal markets and room to grow supply are particularly well positioned in the market today. Sustained improvement in demand and solid expectations for its future led Arch Coal Inc. to announce a new metallurgical coal mining project in West Virginia. When fully operational, the mine is expected to employ 600 people.More ($): Total U.S. coal production, jobs steady since late 2016, but regional trends vary S&P: Export demand helping to slow decline in U.S. coal industry
Armenia secures financing for country’s first utility-scale solar project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The World Bank’s International Finance Corp (IFC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the European Union (EU) said on Wednesday they would finance development of the first utility-scale solar power plant in Armenia.The project includes the development, construction, and operation of a 55-megawatt power plant and a nine-kilometer transmission line in Armenia’s Mets Masrik municipality.IFC and EBRD each pledged to allocate $17.7 million long-term loans for the project, while the EU would offer 3 million euro investment grants.The project was developed by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, a global leader in utility-scale renewable energy projects.The plant is expected to generate more than 128 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually and will displace the release of 40,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Around 70% of Armenia’s current electricity generation depends on imported fossil fuels.[Nvard Hovhannisyan and Margarita Antidze]More: IFC, EBRD, EU to finance first solar power plant in Armenia
You just finished a 30-minute oatmeal bath and now you’re caked in Calamine lotion. The rashes are spreading and you’re skin feels cursed by the fiery depths of hell. A day hike isn’t supposed to hurt this much.How could you have avoided this fate? Learn to identify poisonous and stinging plants. Here’s a quick rundown of the poisonous plants you can stumble across in the woods of Appalachia.Poison Ivy: It’s widespread and it can grow in many forms: as a vine, ground cover, or upright. Poison ivy changes colors by season, but it's always able to release its poisoning agent, a chemical in the sap called urushiol. And it always bears the characteristic three leaves (“leaves of three, let it be.”) In the Blue Ridge it can be often confused with Virginia creeper, which has leaves with a similar tear- drop shape and serrated leaf edges, but creeper usually has five leaves on a stem. The urushiol oil can stick to shoes, pets, and garden tools, enabling it to spread easily.Thanks to global warming, poison ivy outbreaks may be getting more common. According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences, the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing poison ivy to grow at twice its normal pace, increasing the number of leaves found on each vine. And the rashes are getting worse too. Urushiol was found to be about 153 percent more concentrated in each leaf due to increased carbon dioxide.Poison Sumac: In the same family as poison ivy, poison sumac-a cousin that also pops up in predominantly wet areas of the Southeast-also irritates with urushiol. Sumac is usually characterized by seven to 13 leaflets arranged in an alternate pattern. Like poison ivy, the berry of poison sumac is also ivory or white and formed in clusters. Look for the fruit that grows between the leaf and the branch. A nonpoisonous sumac has fruit growing from branch ends.If you think you’ve been exposed to poison ivy or sumac, treat the area immediately with rubbing alcohol, then rinse your skin with water. Rinsing the exposed area in a creek or stream can help, but avoid taking a shower with soap, as bar soap can help fresh urushiol spread. Be sure to wash all clothes and shoes that you were wearing at the time of exposure. Some well-reputed over-the-counter remedies like Tecnu Extreme and Zanfel are also available.Stinging Nettles: You know it as soon as it hits your skin. While not necessarily poisonous, stinging nettles can certainly be painful. The perennial plant doesn’t have the long-range effects of poison ivy, but it certainly can put a damper on your afternoon. The plant has a distinctively yellow, widely spreading root with soft green leaves that are covered with brittle, silky hairs. The sting comes from three chemicals: histamine, acetylcholine, and hydroxytryptamine. When you brush up against the plant it breaks the delicate defensive hairs and releases the trio of chemicals, usually resulting in a temporary burning sensation and painful skin rash. Washing the skin should provide almost immediate relief.
Hot Springs, North Carolina is the winner in the small town category of our Best Mountain Towns reader poll. Check out what this tiny hamlet has to offer the outdoor enthusiast.Read the full article on Hot Springs, and the rest of our Best Mountain Town poll winners here.Best Mountain Towns – Hot Springs from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.
Get off yer butt and FISH, in N.C.Your outdoor news bulletin for April 1o – the day Jackie Robinson signed with the Dodgers, the Titanic set sail, and the Beatles broke up:GSMNP Tops Attendance AgainLike there was any doubt: in the land of open spaces, Great Smoky Mountain National Park is king. The National Park Service released its official attendance numbers this week and GSMNP again topped the list of most visited parks. Its 9,685,829 visitors trumped number two Grand Canyon National Park (4,421,352) by over double. This is not only a testament to the park’s natural beauty and wonder, but also to all the fine folks that keep it up and running smoothly, from the administration to the rangers. In all, more than 282 million people visited a national park in 2012, up from 2011, and the sixth highest total ever. While the rest of the list is dominated by national parks in the Mountain West – including Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, and Grand Teton – number ten on the list was a surprise: Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park.Also, GSMNP is looking for volunteers.North Carolina Named Top Fly Fishing State…by ForbesFly fishing may not be shedding that elite reputation anytime soon, I guess. North Carolina was named one of the top states to go fly fishing in the U.S. by none other than Forbes, that bastion of information aimed at the down and out…no, wait, I mean the opposite. In his piece, Monte Burke lumps N.C. in with Montana, Oregon, New York, and Idaho, saying the Tarheel State has tremendous variety from brook trout to stripers to redfish. Although it is great to see N.C. continue to receive deserved recognition as a fly fishing hotbed, the fact that Forbes is on the case will not help shed fly fishing hoity-toity, stuffed shirt, tweed jacket image from those who still have that image…and who also read Forbes. So, that one guy’s perception will be confirmed.Winter Athletes Descend…on WashingtonWinter season may be over, but the winter of our discontent may last a while longer. A group of snowsports and Olympic athletes including heavy hitters like Jeremy Jones, Gretchen Bleiler, Julia Mancuso, and Kit Deslauriers are urging President Obama do what he said he was going to do about climate change in his State of the Union address. This includes reducing carbon emissions, rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, and basically ebbing the continued man-made warming of the globe. This comes on the heels of the joint effort by Protect Our Winters and the Natural Resources Defense Council on a report stating the U.S. ski and snowboard industry could lose as much as $1.9 billion during warm winters and as many as 27,000 jobs. On top of that, if there is less snow, there is less opportunity to shred which is what all these people do for a living, and that is no bueno. While most of the concern lies in the West, this is an especially pertinent issue here on the East Coast where temperature is incredibly vital to putting manmade snow on the slopes and keeping it there. Also, we are really close to the ocean, which is rising. Gulp.
The UK’s Montane is a pioneer in the fast-and-light movement, and was one of the first manufacturers to work with the game-changing Pertex ultralight fabric several years ago. Now 18 years old, Montane continues to make inroads into the U.S. apparel and equipment market as well as in design, style and versatile functionality. They support sustainable manufacturing and humane down sourcing and are committed to giving back to mountain rescue through various non-profits. Montane goes the extra mile in every circumstance to reduce weight and bulk while maintaining the highest durability and quality.This spring they introduced quite a few new packs for backpacking, all the way through vests for trail running, as well as six new sleeping bags. They have also added several new shells, a softshell climbing jacket, and windproof trail shirt and jacket. These pieces make great cross-overs for Southeastern fowl weather hiking, unpredictable spring weather and winter squalls. Here’s a look at two standouts.Trailblazer Stretch ShellA bi-component waterproof laminate fabric (AquaPro Dynamic) with hydrophobic and hydrophilic membrane and taped seams offers four-way stretch and a highly sophisticated vapor/liquid perspiration management system for year-round mountain trail use from backpacking to trail running. True to its European roots, a tailored fit adds to full body protection during movement. It features a fully adjustable, stow-away Trail hood with a durable visor (single-hand adjustable face aperture with floating cordlocks improves simplicity and functionality). A full-length center YKK matte Aqua Guard front zip with side stretch panels and internal storm flap allows greater torso movement. Weight: 12.7oz / 359.4g (Size M); Sizes: S – XXL (MSRP $259)Aero eVent PulloverAnorak-style pullovers are trending for SS14, and the Aero is no exception, featuring lightweight eVent 3-layer construction. It features a technical hood with asymmetric YKK Aqua Guard zipper to maximize venting and enhance comfort. This stylish piece is designed for mountain walking, fast alpine ascents, trail running and mountain marathons. The Aero also features Montane seam taping, engineered tailoring, and the Trail Hood. A rear back vent adds breathability and a roomy front pocket is mesh lined for even more ventilation. Weight: 278.7g / 9.8oz (Size M); Sizes: S – XXL (MSRP $379)
After injuries stalled his competitive career, Timmy Reyes began focusing on scouring the Pacific Northwest, looking for the hidden Northern Pacific power waves the area is known for but that are rarely seen.
When you’re gearing up to head out for a winter adventure, one of the most important decisions you make is what to wear. To make this decision, you typically weigh factors like temperature, wind, precipitation and the forecast. Ruffwear offers five different winter dog coats, taking all of the same weather factors into account, to make sure that your dog can enjoy inclement weather outings as comfortably as you.Here’s a summary of our dog jackets and a handy comparison chart to make your decision easier, based on your adventure plans.Climate Changer™As you layer for a cooler weather, one consistent go-to is a soft, warm fleece layer. Ruffwear has designed the Climate Changer as a lightweight, breathable warm fleece jacket with excellent belly coverage that dries quickly. This coat was designed with two goals in mind – keeping dogs warm while reducing the impact on our environment. The polyester fleece is made of 75% recycled materials and is recyclable when you are ready to retire it after years of use and abuse. Included is a full-length zipper providing a secure fit and integrated reflective trim.Cloud Chaser™When you have a hunch that the weather could turn for the worse, reach for our most technical soft shell layer – the Cloud Chaser. This coat’s durable upper panel is waterproof and windproof protecting dogs from rain, snow and frigid winds. The coated, stretch lower panel provides excellent coverage that sheds water, snow and dirt. Lining the coat is a warm fleece layer that retains the dog’s core body heat. A full-length side zipper allows for easy on/off as well as providing a snug fit.K-9 Overcoat™Ruffwear’s classic tough, cold-weather utility jacket is the K-9 Overcoat. If you were to just have one dog coat for a variety of conditions, this would be your best option. The abrasion- and weather-resistant outer shell is made of recycled polyester while the recycled inner fleece lining provides warm, soft insulation retaining body heat. Instead of a zipper, this coat has two side-release buckles that are sheltered to increase durability and prevent snagging. Quinzee™We designed the Quinzee to be your dog’s lightweight, packable puffy coat – excellent for outings in extremely cold, crisp conditions. An integrated stuff sack means you can easily make this coat small enough to fit in a corner of your pack. The Quinzee is filled with insulation that traps the dog’s body heat keeping them warm in extreme cold temperatures. The outer shell fabric is weather, snag and abrasion resistant. Two side release buckles and a zippered collar offer easy on and off for dogs with larger heads. Powder Hound™Our warmest jacket in our apparel offering, the Powder Hound is a hybrid design that combines technical materials for weather-resistant warmth. The polyester fabric and 200-gram synthetic insulation upper provides excellent warmth, while the breathable-technical stretch knit lower offers a comfortable, warm fit. The sleeved style provides full coverage for maximum warmth and full range of motion. The full-length zipper offers easy on/off.
Dr. Ray Russell is a man of many talents. A minister with a Ph.D. in computer science and a running coach’s certification, Russell is mostly known around town as the weatherman. Self-taught in the art of meteorology, Russell first began reporting weather in the High Country after the blizzard of ’93 blew through Boone, bringing with it nearly 36 inches of snow. As a professor of computer science at Appalachian State University (a position he maintains to this day), Russell was one of the few who could decipher the inner workings of the Internet, which was then only in its infancy.Using primitive web design, Russell crafted a snow report for western North Carolina on his university site, posting semi-regularly during the winters of 1994-96. By the time he received a weather station from his wife during the Christmas of ’98, Russell already had a well-established following of weather watchers.Now, Russell’s forecast (raysweather.com) covers more than the High Country surrounding Boone, spanning the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Cherokee, N.C., to Waynesboro, Va. Though Russell now has five meteorologists working for him, he still updates daily forecasts for his hometown. The company’s annual Fearless Forecast has become like a Farmers’ Almanac to southern Appalachian powder hounds awaiting winter’s arrival.Ray Russell Runs the Boston MarathonBRO: CAN YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU EVER EXPRESSED INTEREST IN THE WEATHER?RAY: When I was young, I bought every book a 10-year-old could get on meteorology and read. When you asked me what I was going to be when I grew up, well, I was going to be a meteorologist of course. As time went on, I did other things. The weather just kinda happened out of hobby and interest and accident.BRO: WHEN WAS THE TURNING POINT FOR RAY’S WEATHER?RAY: February of 2000. Unbeknownst to me, a local radio station started going to the site and looking at it. They wanted me to talk about weather on the radio. For the next three years, every day at 7:10, that became a staple of the radio station.BRO: WHAT MAKES YOUR WEATHER FORECAST DIFFERENT?RAY: If you go to weather.com, they’re going to tell you what the temperature is in Beech Mountain, but they don’t have any idea. They’re just guessing. With those national [weather] sources, there are no people behind that. It’s all computer generated. It goes from a computer model through some processing straight to the website or mobile device with no human brain that ever intervenes in that process.BRO: DO YOU THINK YOUR ACCURACY HAS LED TO RAYSWEATHER.COM’S SUCCESS?RAY: I call it my hobby gone berserk. I don’t really understand it all. Back in the day, I wrote some pretty zany things I couldn’t get away with anymore, but it was a creative outlet for me, not just the weather, but just to write something funny. We have a golf-o-meter for good days and snowman-o-meter for snow days. We’ll issue a white leg warning on the first warm day after winter, and if it’s windy, we’ll issue a big hair alert. We have fun with it but it’s a serious forecast.BRO: SO WHAT’S OUR WINTER LOOKING LIKE?RAY: It’ll be a slow start to winter, but snowier than average in the Foothills and throughout Southern Appalachia. The heart of our winter will begin late January and February.[divider]Related Contact[/divider]