Gov. Cuomo Calls For Coal Phase-Out In New York FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:New York made waves yesterday when it unveiled a slate of clean energy proposals that sets the highest energy storage mandate in the country. Cuomo wants to commit at least $200 million from the NY Green Bank for storage investments that will help integrate renewable energy. The plan is to roll out 1,500 MW of energy storage by 2025. Cuomo’s proposal also calls for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to invest at least $60 million through storage pilots and activities to reduce barriers to deploying energy storage, including permitting, customer acquisition, interconnection and financing costs.But the energy package is also being framed as a boon to the state’s economy. Cuomo wants the state to employ 30,000 workers to establish New York as a home to the clean tech industry — a goal that he says could produce $2 billion in “energy value” to the state.The proposal would also develop a solar program for 10,000 low-income residents, with NYSERDA utilizing its purchasing power to secure community solar subscriptions and provide them at zero cost.Cuomo will also direct the N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to launch a rulemaking this year to implement the 30% reduction in the carbon dioxide emissions cap announced by the RGGI states last summer. Those changes would include revisions to cover peaking units that collectively exceed RGGI’s capacity threshold of 25 MW. Cuomo also indicated his office would work with RGGI states and potential new partners in Virginia and New Jersey to broaden the compact’s reach.To “immediately reduce emissions” from the state’s highest-polluting power plants, Cuomo also directed the DEC to propose complementary reforms to decrease emissions of smog-forming pollutants from peaking units, and to adopt regulations ending the use of coal in the state’s power plants by 2020.More: New York clean energy proposal seeks 1.5 GW of storage, coal phaseout
Westmoreland Coal files for bankruptcy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Westmoreland Coal Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 9 after years of attempting to deliver its balance sheet.Westmoreland entered into a restructuring support agreement with an ad hoc group of lenders that hold about 76.1% of the company’s term loan, 57.9% of its senior secured notes and 79.1% of its bridge loan, according to a company release. The company’s U.S. and Canadian operations are “cash flow positive.” Given its operations’ liquidity and its Debtor-In-Possession financing, Westmoreland anticipates continuing to operate its mines as normal without affecting output levels or reducing staff.Under its restructuring support agreement, “Westmoreland launched a business transformation aimed at significantly increasing cash flow for all operational and support areas of the business,” according to the release.The coal producer, which has focused on a mine-to-mouth strategy some thought immune to the problems affecting the rest of the coal industry, had been working to downplay the possibilities of a bankruptcy since its former CEO Kevin Paprzycki stepped down in November 2017.On April 2, Westmoreland notified investors that it may seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection or be subject to involuntary petition for bankruptcy and that its auditors have expressed “substantial doubt” about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.The Nasdaq Stock Exchange halted trading of the company’s shares in late April after its share price and market value fell below listing thresholds for more than 30 days.More ($): Westmoreland Coal files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
GenOn to close Morgantown coal-fired station, support Maryland just transition legislation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News ($):One of the nation’s largest independent power producers has announced it is closing a coal plant in Maryland and is throwing its weight behind a bid to phase out coal-fired generation in the state entirely.GenOn Holdings Inc., a Houston-based firm, said it plans to retire its [1,205MW] Morgantown Generating Station in southern Maryland by 2027, marking the firm’s third closure announcement this year.The company is also backing a bipartisan bill requiring all of Maryland’s coal-fired generating units to shut down by 2030. As of 2019, approximately 14% of the state’s electricity came from coal. The measure includes a provision to support impacted coal workers and communities, mirroring a national push to support workers and economies suffering from coal’s decline.“These retirements reflect the sentiment of the citizens of Maryland and will facilitate a smooth transition for GenOn’s employees and the communities in which we currently operate,” Dave Freysinger, the company’s CEO, said in a statement.Colorado and New Mexico have enacted similar “just transition” bills, and President-elect Joe Biden has called for a federal push.“GenOn’s support of this bill is huge and greatly enhances the likelihood it is going to pass,” said state Del. Ben Brooks (D), who is co-sponsoring the proposal with Republican state Sen. Chris West. “What we want to do in the state of Maryland is get 50% of our energy from renewables by 2030, and this is going to go a long way in helping that.”[Arianna Skibell]More ($): Major power producer backs shutdown of all Md. coal plants
Grayson Highlands State Park is an easy portal to the vast 120,000-acre Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Southwest Virginia. In fact, Grayson Highlands was originally called Mount Rogers State Park when it opened in 1965. The Highlands are an expansive windswept grassland with fields of rocky outcroppings, which offer spectacular views of the region’s tallest peaks. Grayson Highlands also boasts plush backcountry camping spots and the occasional sighting of wild ponies. The miniature horses often ask visitors for handouts; state park officials ask that you resist the temptation to feed them, which leads to nuisance and health problems for the horses.Summit RogersFrom Grayson Highlands you can easily bag the biggest peak in Virginia, 5,729-foot Mount Rogers. The biggest reward about topping Rogers isn’t standing at its summit, which is engulfed in forest, but the scenic eight-mile round-trip jaunt. Starting at Massie Gap, follow the Rhododendron Trail to the Appalachian Trail. Along the way you’ll cross the outcroppings of Wilburn Ridge, which offers panoramic views of the Highlands Range. In late spring and early summer, enjoy colorful thickets of wildflowers as you cross through Rhododendron Gap at the juncture with the A.T., which then goes on to the summit.Sleep UNDER THE STARSThe state park has 96 established campsites with nearby toilets, grill pits, and a general store with other creature comforts. But Grayson Highlands also affords an abundance of appealing backcountry slumber options. Just jump on the A.T. and you’ll run into a number of inviting open fields with grassy plots that are perfect for a night under the stars.Road to DamascusFor local eats and accommodations, head into the quaint little trail town of Damascus, located 20 miles west of the park on Route 58. Grab a quaint cottage at Creeper Trail Cottages (creepercottage.com), or work up an appetite with a bike ride (sundogoutfitter.com) on the Virginia Creeper Trail. Damascus sits midway along the 34-mile rail trail, which runs from Abingdon to Whitetop Station.
An optimistic look at the ski season aheadThere’s no way to sugarcoat it: last ski season sucked. After a big snowfall in October, which dropped a foot of powder on Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia (before the resort was open), Old Man Winter pulled a no-show. Virginia resorts were some of the hardest hit, reporting only 57 percent of their average annual snowfall. Worse yet, temps were so unseasonably warm, the mountains couldn’t get their snow guns going with any consistency.“It was one of the worst winters we’ve ever seen,” says Kenny Hess, ski operation manager for Massanutten Resort outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia. Mass, which usually averages 35 inches of natural powder a year, didn’t even reach double digits last season. And they weren’t alone. Even looking to the Rockies didn’t offer any solace. Many Colorado and Utah resorts failed to reach the 200-inch snow mark.“Everyone took their lumps last year,” says Rob Schwartz, general manager for Bryce Resort, Virginia’s smallest ski resort.Skiers and boarders took their lumps too, dealing with spotty conditions and hopeful forecasts that rarely panned out. Some simply took 2011-2012 off. We cross-trained. We mountain biked through winter. But as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. As fall transitions to winter, we’re itching to hit the slopes hard. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of this ski season.How’s the Weather? Last winter was a bummer, but this winter should be a winner according to leading meteorologists. Long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok at Accuweather is calling for above-normal snowfall for the majority of our resorts and Mid-Atlantic cities, based mostly on the weak presence of an El Niño pattern. At press time, the Old Farmer’s Almanac agreed, also siting the weak El Niño.Want some less scientific indicators of a good winter? How about a couple of long-standing folklore indicators of a harsh (read: great) winter. 1) For every fog in August, there will be a snowfall in winter. 2) If the corn husks are thick during harvest, the winter will be cold and snowy.Cheapest Ski Digs: $20 A hotel is nice, but camping is cheap. Canaan Resort has the best winter camping situation in our region. For $20, you get a pad, showers, and full power hookup at Canaan Valley State Park. And it’s all across the street from Canaan Resort’s 180 annual inches of snowfall and 850 feet of vertical drop, not to mention the cross-country trails that traverse the park. canaanresort.com Ski When You Want Appalachian Ski Mountain is introducing a Flex Ticket this year, which allows your ski day to start when you start skiing, instead of having to adhere to a strict 9am-4pm or 6-10pm ski schedule. Massanutten, Bryce, and Wintergreen in Virginia have a similar Flex Ticket program, but App is the only North Carolina resort to offer this sort of flexibility. appskimtn.comScrew Mother Nature “Manmade snow is our product,” says Kim Jochl, marketing manager for Sugar Mountain. “And our product gets better every season, thanks to the evolution of snowmaking technology.”Sugar invested a quarter of a million in eight new state of the art guns for the 2012 season, which will mean deeper snow, faster and longer. All resorts make improvements to their snowmaking capacity each season, but Wintergreen took it to a new level by adding a new water tank that will double their snowmaking capacity this season. “This will help us open earlier in the season and get 100% of our slopes open sooner,” says Betsy Dunkerton, marketing for Wintergreen.There’s an App for That Wintergreen is introducing a mobile app this year featuring up-to-the-minute slope and conditions updates, special offers, trail map…wintergreenresort.com. Want something broader? On The Snow gives you surface conditions, weather, and general info for resorts all over the country. onthesnow.comCheapest Weekend Lift Ticket: $50At Canaan Resort, for a weekend day ticket during peak season. canaanresort.comGo Lumberjack Tree skiing has long been a rarity in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, but our legal gladed terrain is growing this season. North Carolina’s Cataloochee Resort is officially adding Wildcat Glades, a short tree run beside Short and Sweet that skiers have “poached” in previous seasons when there was enough natural snowfall. This season, the resort has cleared the brush from the trees and added snowmaking. cataloochee.com Snowshoe Mountain is also set to unveil some new gladed tree runs this winter. The resort opened Sawmill Glades (the first official gladed terrain on the mountain) a few years ago and skiers have been anxious for more trees ever since. The resort couldn’t be reached by press time, so details about the new tree run are scarce.Best Season Pass Perk: First Tracks, Wisp Resort Every Saturday from January to March, Wisp will open one of its chairs at 7:30am for season pass and multi-day ticket holders only. wispresort.comBy the NumbersYes, last season was rough, but there were some shining moments. Here are the highlights from the 2011-2012 ski season.Longest Ski Season, 2011-12110 days at Cataloochee, November 12 to March 18Most Snowfall, 2011-12110 inches, reported by Timberline ResortBiggest Single Dump 12 inches, Wisp, Jan. 3, 2012
The holidays can mean many things to many people. For some it’s family, for others it’s a time of reflection, but one thing is virtually unavoidable during this time of year: packing on the pounds. Of course, there are fitness freaks out there that can resist the onslaught of cookies, candy canes, and eggnog that tempt us around every corner; who stick to their regimen despite the in-laws visiting – or maybe because of it – the presents that have to be wrapped, and the wassailing that must be done. Leave these people to their devises, they are missing out on the best part of this week. The holiday season is all about gorging yourself right before the end of the year, then resolving to live a healthier life in the next 365 days – or at least 358 or so until the holidays role around again. Well, the binging is over and now it’s time to get back to work. Get started on that New Year’s Resolution by kicking off the year with a gentle 5k to ease back into working out, and working off those holiday love handles.Get 2013 started on the right foot with the Running of the Lights in Clemmons, N.C. The course winds through the Tanglewood Park Festival of Lights, making this one of the most scenic runs of the season. The race starts at the crack of midnight on New Year’s Eve.View Larger Map
Dear Mountain Mama,I’ve recently started dating another kayaker. He’s always trying to carry my boat or load it on the car for me. While I realize he’s just trying to be nice, I don’t want him to think I can’t do these things for myself. I’m independent, and have been paddling fine without him for years. How do I tell him not to touch my boat without being rude?Thanks, Can-Do-It-MyselfDear Can-Do-It-Myself,Of course you’re more than capable of picking a kayak up and hoisting it onto the roof rack. You’re also fit enough to lug a forty plus pound boat on your shoulder. But just because you can do these things perfectly fine, doesn’t mean you should.Sometimes the best gift we can give someone else is recognizing and accepting love. Some men bring their girlfriends chocolates or flowers. Other men kayak with their significant others and demonstrate their manliness by carrying heavy objects for them while pounding their chests, cavemen style. Can-Do, let this man who’s so eager to impress take your heavy load. And then thank him.My good friend is a capable in the outdoors by all accounts. She shreds on a snowboard and knows her way down difficult rivers. She’s also an avid mountain biker and trail runner. The first time I paddled with her and her husband, I was surprised when we got to the take-out and she didn’t pop her spray skirt right away and hop out of her boat. Instead, she called, “Honey, princess pull please.”She winked at me, as she asked, “Have you ever gotten a princess pull?”When I said no, she told her husband to give me one too. He bent over and pulled my boat up the bank far enough that I didn’t have to get my feet wet. And then he bowed low, making a sweeping gesture with his hand. It made me giggle. I did indeed feel like a princess, the best kind possible, a paddling princess.Can-Do, boat with this paddling hunk of yours. Feel free to surf better or take harder lines down rapids. But by all means, accept whatever love he offers you, whether it’s a special rock he found at the put-in, a snack he’s carried in his dry bag, or his willingness to carry your boat. All these are little love offerings are his way of showing you how strong and kind he is.Yours,Mountain Mama
Our favorite web videos of the week that was:1. Big Jim Whittaker and A Life Well LivedAmerican climbing legend Jim Whittaker – first ‘merican to summit Everest (but you already knew that), and his life, well-lived.A Life Well Lived | Jim Whittaker & 50 Years of Everest from eric becker on Vimeo.2. Fishin’ Ain’t Easy…Unless it isHere is a nice little fly fishing video from a fly fishing school session from the Orvis store in Woodbridge, Va. Some nice fishing action and good pacing in this one.3. On the RoadThis trail for a short feature from Fitz Cahill has been making the rounds and getting attention from all over the web. The film was self shot by high-alpine climber Kyle Dempster on a solo, mountain bike driven climbing trip to the remote and unclimbed peaks of Kyrgyzstan.4. Moose Vs. TruckA truck hits a moose in Ontario, fireworks ensue….literally.5. I Know It’s Summer, But…Here is a trailer for the Appalachian Project. Not sure what it’s all about, but if Bruce Persinger is involved, it must be good.Appalachian Project Trailer from Appalachian Boarder on Vimeo.
I officially have a new favorite beer. Now, keep in mind, I’m a fickle beer drinker. I change favorite beers at about the same pace that Taylor Swift changes boyfriends, but right now, at this moment in time, my favorite beer is Terrapin Tree Hugger, an amber ale with so much caramel goodness, you might as well be eating a Milky Way.Terrapin is best known for their experimental, limited release beers (ginger and green tea IPA, anyone?), but Tree Hugger couldn’t be more mainstream. And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with an easy-drinking beer that doesn’t turn off anyone but the most pure beer snobs. Think of Tree Hugger as a tastier Fat Tire—the perfect introductory beer for those who aren’t initiated in the art of craft brew hijinks.And here’s the best part, Terrapin partners with the Dogwood Alliance, a non-profit that keeps an eye on the South’s forests and various logging projects, so every Tree Hugger you drink helps protect a tree, or a squirrel living in that tree. So drink up. Don’t you love trees? And squirrels?Check out Terrapin here (terrapinbeer.com), the Dogwood Alliance here (dogwoodalliance.org). And Daddy Drinks here (daddy-drinks.com).
Of all outdoors sports, bikes get my “coolest machine to look at” award.I keep my downhill bike next to my desk chair — as a motivation refresher for whenever I’m getting bogged down. Glancing at the linkages, brakes, and drivetrain puts me in a better mood every time.Here, Blue Ridge Outdoors takes a look at the best new trail-tested mountain bike gear for Spring 2014.Giant Trance 27.5Walking out of Sycamore Cycles in Brevard, N.C., I couldn’t suppress my shit-eating grin. Clicking along next to me was a brand new Giant Trance 27.5 demo—a “freshie” as I’ve always called new toys. This would be my first time on a 27.5-inch wheeled bike, the trend that is currently sweeping the cycling industry.Racing daylight, I put my gear on at the base of the Black Mountain Trail and hit it. The Trance’s setup seemed like a perfect trail bike for my gravity background: 140 mm of travel front and rear, short stem, slack head tube angle, and front and rear quick-release through-axles. My eyes told me it would be confidence-inspiring for the technical stuff, but underneath me the bike demonstrated that it was also capable of climbing like a demon. The Fox TALAS fork allows the option of lowering the front end for uphill efficiency. This, when combined with “climb” mode to tighten up both suspensions, seemed to compensate nicely for my weak quads. I love it when nice gear makes me feel like a better rider than I am!It was a perfect Pisgah testing day—gloomy and cold, with a trail extending before me that had recently been soaked with rain, then snow, and then freeze-thaw. My first experience with 27.5-inch wheels felt good. The bike pulled through muddy patches, soft sand, and technical uphill roots, and kept asking for more.After 50 minutes of climbing, I gripped the bars in anticipation of ripping the downhill ahead. A quick flip of the settings from “climb” to “descend,” and I dropped into the twilight. The Trance reacted well as I pumped the suspension, weighting and unweighting the bike. Roots, rocks, waterbars… the trail is steep and demanding, and the fallen leaves seem to drift like snow. Dropping my front wheel into those mystery piles at speed was unnerving, but the bike sliced through and handled unexpected hits well. The bigger wheels gave me the impression of having a longer foundation underneath me, and that extra circumference extended far in front, assuring me that I wouldn’t go over the bars on steep sections.As I hooked off the gnar and onto a more open section of singletrack, the bike hunkered down and accelerated. It felt stable at high speed and seemed to like big, fast hits. Pumping and hopping off of rollers and from side to side, it felt lively, but didn’t pop like my 26er. The Trance likes to stay connected: low and fast. There’s a reason why Giant Factory Team riders have been crushing it on the enduro circuit.Roughly 2.3 miles, 1,300 vertical feet, and just over 10 minutes later, I was back at my truck with endorphins dripping out of my ears and my forearms on fire. It might be time to smash the piggybank. $3600.Cane Creek Double Barrel Coil I’ve had a Double Barrel on my downhill bike for a bit over a year, and my experience can be described in two words: smooth and quiet. I like to ride fast, I like hitting downhill jumps, and sometimes I ride above my ability level (which isn’t very hard to do). This shock has saved my ass many, many times. I noticed an immediate improvement in arm pump when descending long, rough sections of trail. It’s counterintuitive that a rear shock would have that much impact on your bars/hands, but that’s exactly what happened. This shock is endlessly adjustable, and it’s made here in North Carolina. $650Smith PivLock Overdrive In this recent addition, Smith targets versatility. The idea is to carry multiple lenses for your shades (it comes with three sets), and keep performance as high as possible by easily switching lenses to light conditions. This is particularly important on a bike, where we must be acutely aware of every rock and root that passes through our vision, while also protecting eyes from branches, dirt, and bugs. The lenses allow good peripheral vision for looking up when in the saddle, and the frame feels strong and flexible. The temple arms hug the side of my head and fit easily underneath both my XC and full-face helmet. They’re a perfect substitute for goggles on those hot days on the DH bike. $199