Solar is saving the University of Virginia $1 million per year

first_imgSolar is saving the University of Virginia $1 million per year FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享WVIR:The University of Virginia says it’s leading in higher education when it comes to sustainability. The school’s efforts to go green have resulted in nearly a million dollars saved in utilities per year.One way UVA has become more sustainable is by its roughly 1,000 solar panels scattered across the university. UVA says the solar panels help it unplug from fossil dependency.“At the University of Virginia, we’ve got about 600,000 watts of solar panels on our roofs,” Jesse Warren, the sustainability program manager for buildings and operations at UVA, said. Some of the power goes back to the grid through a partnership with Dominion Energy, and some of it goes back to taking university buildings off the grid.“The thing that really sets us apart here at UVA is how we’re developing and preparing our solar sites,” Warren said. “Here in facilities management, we’ve got great information about all of our buildings and all of our rooftops.” Facilities management has partnered with an environmental engineering class to help identify which rooftops are ideal for solar development. “We’re committed to continuing to grow solar across grounds and anywhere we can bring that together with our students and faculty, we’re going to do it that way,” Warren said.As the University of Virginia’s solar power grows, it will add another 32 megawatts of energy.More: UVA reports solar panels save it money, hopes to implement more in futurelast_img read more

Hawaii regulators approve six precedent-setting solar plus storage contracts

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:In only a few years, solar paired with energy storage has gone from a niche concept to the new reality of the U.S. power system. And it all really came down to price.While the 14.5 cents per kilowatt-hour that SolarCity was able to achieve with solar plus storage on Kauai was groundbreaking three and half years ago when it was announced, today Hawaiian regulators set a new threshold for the price that solar projects fully backed by four-hour batteries must beat: 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.The Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission (HPUC) has approved contracts between the subsidiary utilities of Hawaiian Electric Industries and the developers of six projects, representing a combined capacity of 247 MW of solar, and 998 megawatt-hours of energy storage – meaning that the entire capacity of all six projects will be fully backed by four-hour batteries.The price for each of these contracts was between eight and ten cents per kilowatt-hour. This is cheaper than both gas peaker plants and HEI’s current cost of fossil fuel generation, much of which is petroleum-based, which the company put at around 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.These six projects will dramatically increase the volume of utility-scale solar on the island chain, and using 2017 capacity factors provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, pv magazine estimates that these will generate somewhere in the neighborhood of 480 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually, more than tripling the current output of utility-scale solar as the island moves towards its mandate to get all of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2045.But perhaps more important than that is that these projects can be used to supply electricity during the evening peak and on cloudy days, moving solar from an intermittent, mid-day supply of electricity to a dispatchable resource. As such, they are ushering in the age of the solar peaker. And there will be more where these came from.More: Hawaii’s new reality of solar plus storage: under 10 cents Hawaii regulators approve six precedent-setting solar plus storage contractslast_img read more

Moody’s: Coal could drop to 11% of U.S. electric generation by 2030

first_imgMoody’s: Coal could drop to 11% of U.S. electric generation by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:Demand for U.S. thermal coal will “erode significantly” between 2020 and 2030 as total use for U.S. power generation could fall to as little as 11% based on scheduled and likely retirements, Moody’s Investors Service wrote in a report released Wednesday.Mines in the Powder River Basin are expected to be the hardest hit as thermal coal generation declines. The operations are run by companies that have all gone through or are undergoing bankruptcy restructuring, such as Blackjewel, Cloud Peak Energy, Westmoreland Coal, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy.Natural gas generation will replace most of the thermal coal generating capacity set for retirement as the U.S. coal industry contracts and becomes ever more reliant on export markets, according to Moody’s.“The pace and magnitude of the decline in coal demand for power generation remains uncertain. But the closures of coal-fired power plants already announced, plus other likely closures such as power plants more than 50 years old, would reduce coal to as little as 11% of total U.S. power generation by 2030,” the report said. “This drop would represent a substantial reduction from today’s mid-20% contribution to power generation, and the continuation of an ongoing secular decline in thermal coal demand.”While many of the remaining coal-fired power plants in the US are not fully utilized, the Moody’s report said capacity factors at those plants are also unlikely to increase even as other plants retire. According to the report, domestic utilities consumed about 84% of the coal produced in the US in 2018.Moody’s estimates that exports will make up more than a quarter of US coal sales by the early to mid-2020s, assuming that thermal and metallurgical coal markets continue to support reasonable profits. Cash flow will be volatile because many US producers do not have cost structures that can compete when the commodity cycle drives prices down, Moody’s added.More: Coal’s share of U.S. power generation may fall to 11% by 2030: Moody’slast_img read more

Waltzing Away

first_imgClick here to subscribe to the Pharr Out BlogFor those of you trail savvy folks out there, you may know Warren Doyle as the man who has hiked the AT more than any other living soul (he’s working on number fifteen right now). For those Ashevillians reading this, you may know Warren Doyle as a Contra dance regular at the Grey Eagle and Warren Wilson. For Brew and me, we know Warren as a friend and as our wedding dance waltz instructor. He took the two of us from four left feet to wowing our wedding crowd in three short sessions. However, what I didn’t know at the time was that while showing me how to waltz, Warren was also teaching me about the trail.What I am starting to learn out here is that the AT is as much a dance as a hike. With the trail as the leader, the past few days I have learned how to spin, twirl, step forward and backward- all in proper timing. The rocks and roots in Maine make me sometimes feel more like an acrobat or gymnast than a hiker. However, another lesson the first two hundred miles have taught me is that I will make more progress if I let the trail determine my steps, If I try to lead the dance, I tend to end up kicking my partner and constantly tripping.Leaving the Maine Wilderness, I was six miles behind my ideal schedule. I was able to tag on six miles to my day into Caratunk, but along the journey I was forced to ford several very strong rivers. This made me anxious because the AT out of Caratunk passes over the Kennebec, one of the largest rivers in Maine. Most hikers take a canoe-ferry across the river, but when I arrived I discovered that because of high waters, the boat hadn’t run in over a week. I had no clue what I would do if the boat didn’t run the next morning, but I could do nothing about it except wait and hope for the best. As luck would have it, the next morning I rode over on the first ferry in eight days.The day after I crossed the Kinnebec, I climbed up the Bigelow Mountains of Maine. This range is where Maine starts to show her teeth, and trust me when I say Southern Maine is mighty ferocious. I knew I couldn’t make it to the road after the Bigelows, but lucky for me I have a super handsome and athletic husband who was able to hike in five miles with our equipment so we could set up camp.After the Bigelows, the Mountains came in greater size and frequency. I really started to struggle with the climbs and much to my dismay, on day five Brew and I had our first “road-side meeting” fiasco. We miscommunicated the night before so we spent the entire day playing hide and seek in the Maine woods. We didn’t locate each other until late that evening. Thankfully, my food had been replenished in the meantime by a hiker who shared a package of ChipsAhoy with me. (On a side note, Chips Ahoy says they have 1000 chips per bag but that’s way too many for one person in a day.) I was emotionally and physically drained that evening after hiking 38 grueling miles, but I was blessed with some gorgeous views and near perfect weather.After six days of 30+ miles, I finally cut the mileage down to marathon length (26 miles) for my last two days in Maine. I needed the lower mileage and lower intensity not only to recover but also to store up for what lay ahead, the White Mountains of New Hampshire. If there is anything I learned in the first week on the trail, it is that adhering strictly to my schedule is not necessarily as important as listening to my body and dancing with the trail, which may include taking steps backwards and twirling when I least expect it.last_img read more

Eagle Creek Pack-It System: Don’t Leave Home Without It

first_imgThe idea of adding more to my usually already overstuffed luggage while packing was so counter intuitive I found myself questioning my “open-minded” trait that has always served me well in the past.For my last few trips I finally caved, as it were, to trying the Eagle Creek Pack-It system. A series of little baggies (they call them Cubes and such) to pack your clothes, accessories and whatever else you find yourself taking along. While packing I continued to baulk as I put my t-shirts in one Cube, socks and underwear in another. Pants, sweatshirts, gloves, everything had a place. There are even “Folders” for dress shirts and pants (of which I rarely, but on occasion need to pack) to keep them from getting wrinkled up and ready to wear upon arrival.Then it clicked. While compressing one of the cubes to get it zipped up it dawned on me how, despite the extra fabric the cube introduces to the packing, it keeps my clothes compressed and out of the way for more items to be packed.Aside from the compression the cubes bring to the packing process, I’ve always appreciated having my bag organized. Even when backpacking I like to use stuff sacks to keep smaller items like socks, gloves, extra long johns and the such from exploding out of my pack and onto the wet and/or dirty ground as I rummage to find something. The same applies to my suitcase now. And, if for some reason immigration and customs decides to pull me aside for a full bag inspection, I won’t suddenly have unmentionables scattered across the inspection table and falling onto the floor as I have seen some other poor souls suffer.This sense of organization has been adopted by the many kinds of gear I find my self lugging across the globe for various projects like GoPro and other photography accessories, climbing gear, water sports gear and more. It looks like I’ve retained staying “open-minded” after all.My only gripe would be for Eagle Creek to provide more color options to distinguish one bag of gear from another. Some of the cubes have little mesh windows and that’s a good start, but not always the most effective. I’m currently working on a good labeling system without using a sharpie on the bag and having to cross it out each time I use that bag/cube/etc for something else. Got any ideas?last_img read more

Gear Guide: Get Trail Ready with these Multisport Essentials

first_imgIt may still feel like winter here in the Blue Ridge, but the trails will be dry before you know it. Fickle weather calls for lightweight, multifunctional gear. These selections will help you hit the ground running – or biking, or hiking – come spring.1. Spy Optics CutterChange with the weather, almost as instantly. The Cutters are built with performance in mind featuring Scoop ventilation for a clear view and Hytrel Rubber on the featherweight frames so they stay in place for the long haul. If the clouds roll in, swapping out for rose- tinted lenses on the go is a breeze. Even with all the tech, these shades are fashion forward enough to pull double duty on the singletrack and at the brewery. $160.2. Deuter Compact Air EXP 10You won’t find a more feature-filled, versatile pack than the Compact Air EXP 10. Inside, the EXP comes standard with a pump sleeve, tool pouch, externally accessible bladder compartment, expansion zipper, helmet carry system, and stowaway rain fly. The star of the show, however, is the FlexLite carrying system that utilizes a springy metal frame in combination with mesh lining to not only prevent overheating with three-sided ventilation on the back, but transfers the load seamlessly to the hip straps. $129.3. Green Guru Clutch Saddle BagGreen Guru fashions all their bags from upcycled inner tubes and hand builds them in the U.S. Because it is made of rubber, the Clutch will keep your gear dry and the reflective strip will keep you visible. $254. Lems Boulder BootAt a scant 9.9 ounces, the Boulder is one of the lightest boots on the market. Lems built the boot on a minimalist platform with zero drop and minimal arch support, which accounts for the low weight. The upper is water resistant nylon and the sole is 9mm of LemsRubber, making for a boot that is both tough and flexible. How flexible? This boot can be collapsed and rolled up, the perfect accessory to stuff into a backpack or suitcase for travel and camping. $115.5. Westcomb Focus LT HoodyTo move fast and nimbly in the mountains, you need a jacket that can keep up. The Focus combines Westcomb’s renowned construction quality with eVent DVL technology to produce a shell that keeps the weather out and breathes like a soft shell. The Focus packs down impossibly small and weighs just 203 grams, so you can stuff it in your pack and forget about it until that early spring storm rolls in. $280.6. TerraLux TT-3 FlashlightGo deeper and climb higher with the TT-3. This ultra rugged, indestructible LED flashlight can be used underwater for 2.5 hours. It illuminates 300 feet of trail and pumps out a blinding 250 lumens, all powered by two double-A batteries. $90.7. Vapur Microfilter 1LiterThe 1.1-ounce filter screws into the 1.6 ounce collapsible bladder bottle giving you a ultra-lightweight microbial filter that removes 99.9 percent of everything bad, and all you have to do is suck the water through the top. The filter can also be used on its own as a straw or squeeze filter and is good for up to 500 uses. $70.8. PROBAR Meal BarsOrganic, 100% plant-based, non-GMO meal-bars are everything you need for a quick meal on the go: nutritionally dense, 350 – 400 calories of mostly raw fruits, seeds, nuts and vegetables. $3.25.9. FITS Ultra Light Trail SockThis zero-cushion sock with a high ankle cuff is perfect for keeping snow and debris out of your shoe without sacrificing performance fit for your foot. Perfect for the year-round runner or hiker. $17.10. Sport Hansa Helle Eggen KnifeCheck out any survivalist forum or talk to any experienced outdoorsman and they’ll inevitably brag about Helle knives, which have a long tradition of superior craftsmanship and quality. One of their premier offerings is the Eggen, a triple-laminated stainless steel blade so durable that it stayed sharp through months of rugged outdoor use. The birch handle with its finger guard provided our tester with outstanding control and accuracy. $154.last_img read more

Thule’s Technical Backpacks Raise the Figurative Bar

first_imgThule has just released news of a new collection of technical backpacks, and as evidenced by other recent bag and hardgood introductions by the company, they’ve pulled out all the stops.First in the new line for Spring ’15 is the Thule Guidepost Trekking — billed as a “deluxe gear hauler,” it is highly customizable with a lid that can be transformed into a 24L summit pack for a two-in-one solution. The Guidepost is the top-level option in the technical collection. The medium range Capstone Hiking Backpack is a little smaller but just as feature-laden as the Guidepost, and also customizable. Last but not least is the Sapling Elite Child Carrier. An adjustable cockpit, belt pockets, and the customization options of the other packs in the series make it easier to bring the little ones on hikes and treks.The focus of Thule’s new technical packs seems to be the emphasis on customization. With gender specific design, two suspension systems, and the ability to adjust torso length on the fly, you can zero in on the perfect fit for your experience every time you hit the trails.The new technology developed to accomplish this is pretty innovative:TransHub Suspension SystemAn aluminum and steel wire spring frame distributes the weight of your pack evenly onto your hips and legs to preserve your back for longer hikes, and allows for 150mm of adjustment to the torso length of the pack to fit your body comfortably. This system features on the flagship Thule GuidePost series backpack.Capstone_w40L_Slate_04_Prelim_4MicroAdjust Suspension SystemJust like the TransHub system the MicroAdjust evenly distributes your pack’s load to your hips and allows for a wide range of adjustments for your perfect fit. You can expect to see this system on the Capstone Hiking backpack.Thule_Capstone_22L_Men_Roarange_207304_207404_4 (1)Gender Specific DesignMale packs are designed with a more generous cut around the neck line and the hips, and female packs feature shoulder straps designed for a slender neck and curved chest. Additionally, female hip belts have a gender specific contour for improved fit.Guidepost_65L_Potion_05_Prelim_4QuickFit Shoulder YokeThis system allows you to adjust the width of the shoulder straps to fit your specific body. Thule has even provided a handy fit guide which will allow you to quickly find the optimal fit based on the circumference of your neck.Capstone_w40L_Slate_01_Prelim_4The minds behind these new technologies include Graham Jackson, the project manager for Thule’s Technical Backpack line and an avid outdoorsman from the Rocky Mountains; Anders Lundgren, Thule Group’s chief engineer; and the Thule Design Team made up of Henrick Kax, Sky and Trisha Wookey, and Damian Kelly.Henrick Kax leads the Design Team responsible for the new Technical Backpacks. You might know Sky and Trisha Wookey from Wookey Backpacks. Founded in 1996 they’ve gone on to win several prestigious and highly acclaimed awards over the years. In 2012 their Mile High Mountaineering Salute 34 backpack was voted one of the “top 100 products of 2012” by Men’s Health Magazine. Damian Kelly brings experience from projects for Mountain Hardwear, Sitka Hunting, and Timbuk 2 to the Thule Design Team, with a focus on preserving everything you love about Thule in the face of all the innovation taking place, especially with their emphasis on packs and bags.Thule Technical Backpacks come with a 25 year warranty and will be available from specialty retailers February, 2015.last_img read more

Trail Mix: Totally Random With Zach Deputy

first_imgDuring a recent family movie night, I had the pleasure of introducing my two youngest children to the magic of Mary Poppins, one of my favorite childhood films.Ben and Lindsay were equally enamored with the film as I was, laughing at all the same places I laughed and expressing wide eyed wonder during all of Jane and Michael’s adventures with Mary Poppins and her sidekick, Bert.Bert – chimney sweep, sidewalk artist, and one man band – came to mind as I began to ponder the talents of Zach Deputy, the one man funkalicious jam band who released his latest record, Wash It In The Water, late last month.Instead of Bert’s bass drum, clanging cymbals, and accordion, Zach Deputy can be found behind a bevy of microphones, looping station, keyboards, and guitars during one of his live sets. Deputy’s groove is undeniable. Check out some live video – Zach dances as hard in his seat as his crowd does in front of him. Armed with a soulful voice and impeccable instinct as to where to drop each sound, Zach Deputy makes people move. Having seen him live, Zach Deputy is also one of those rare artists who are as much fun to watch as listen to.Recently, Zach Deputy was kind enough to indulge me and get totally random.BRO – Something you always have in your fridge?ZD – Butter, aka veggies’ best friend.BRO – First record you ever bought?AD – Cake’s biggest record. I forget the title.BRO – Last TV show you binge watched?ZD – The Walking Dead, I think, or Eastbound & Down.BRO – Favorite song to sing in the shower?ZD – An improv scat of some sort or my mouth trumpet.BRO – Beer, wine, or whiskey?ZD – I don’t drink much, but if I did it would be tequila.BRO – First time you were starstruck?ZD – It was a guy named Rick Kazoo, a local news celebrity, who was at my dentist’s office. I think I was like six or so, and I froze in disbelief.BRO – Deserted island. You get one instrument, What do you take?ZD – My Godin Nylon SA guitar.BRO – Deputy Dog or Barney Fife. Who you got?ZD – Deputy Dog, of course!Zach Deputy can be found all around the Southeast throughout the month of October. Shows in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and both Carolinas are on tap.For more information on when and where Zach Deputy will hit a stage with you, along with how you can get your hands on a copy of Wash It In The Water, please boogie on over to Zach’s website.Also, be sure to check out “Chevrolet,” a brand new track from Zach Deputy, on this month’s Trail Mix.last_img read more

Trail Mix – Andy Thorn

first_imgBRO – We are featuring “Star of St. Elmo” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind this instrumental? BRO – There is a definite sense of eco-awareness on multiple tunes on the new record. Are you confident that we can get this whole thing turned around? In true festavarian fashion, Andy’s summer schedule is piled up with Leftover Salmon festival dates. You can catch him with Vince and the rest of the Salmon gang at the aforementioned Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Weiser River Music Festival, High Sierra, Floyd Fest, and many, many more. AT – Most of the new songs were written on our deck at 7.300 feet, just above Boulder. It’s not hard to find inspiration up here. And the players are some of my oldest musical buddies. Jon Stickley, Bobby Britt, Andrew Marlin, Miles Andrews, and I learned bluegrass together when we were teenagers, so having them on the record feels about as natural as it could be. AT – It’s hard not to think about climate change in Colorado and the rest of the West, where forest fires and droughts are a constant threat. I don’t claim to know how to deal with the situation, but it seems like the first step is to stop being in denial as a country. The Green New Deal is a great first step. We need massive changes. Writing songs to raise awareness can’t hurt. For more information on Andy Thorn, the new record, or where you can find him on the road, be sure to check out his website. BRO – How does the new record represent your own new musical frontiers? And, of course, be on the lookout for that Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band set at Telluride. But Thorn’s musical mission doesn’t begin and end with Leftover Salmon. This month, he has released his first solo record in nearly a decade, Frontiers Like These, which he laid down during a return visit to his native North Carolina and which features some his of oldest music minded friends. AT – I’m insanely pumped. This has been a long time coming. I remember wading across the creek to sneak into the campground at Telluride with Anders, Travis, Stickley, and Robin fifteen years ago! We’ve all come a long way. It’s not easy to align the schedules of The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon, Town Mountain, and Jon Stickley Trio. It’s a miracle it’s finally happening, and y’all aren’t going to want to miss it. Since studying jazz guitar at the University of North Carolina, Thorn has played with some of the most influential progressive bluegrass pickers in the business. Thorn’s banjo mastery has been sharpened during his tenure with, among others, Larry Keel, The Emmitt-Nershi Band, and Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band, a short lived Colorado based bluegrass collective whose members soon dispersed to form some of the most significant bluegrass bands currently touring. AT – Hah! I’m glad I didn’t have to take that approach. I was lucky to find a banjo at my neighbor’s yard sale when I was twelve years old. When you’re young, you have the time and patience to sit around and practice for hours a day without the distractions of adult life. It’s definitely never too late to start, though. For people starting out I would encourage them to get out and go to jams, rather than sit around and practice by yourself all day. Bluegrass is a very social music, and getting out and playing with other folks will only encourage you to get better. BRO – Later this month, you will be reuniting with your buddies in Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band. Stoked? AT – St. Elmo is one of Colorado’s coolest ghost towns. It’s way up a dirt road past Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Tyler Grant and I used to hang around up there while camping in the area. After spending a full moon night wandering the town, we felt the spooky vibe, and I wrote the tune the next day. It’s kind of a spin on an old Irish tune called “Star of Munster,” so we called this one “Star of St. Elmo.” And be sure to take a listen to “Star of St. Elmo,” along with other great new tunes from The Lark & The Loon, The Iveys, Frankie Lee, and many more on this month’s Trail Mix. I recently caught up with Andy Thorn to chat about climate change, the new record, and getting back together with his mates in Broke Mountain. This new collection of songs cements Thorn’s place, alongside stalwarts like Noam Pikelny and Chris Pandolfi, in the vanguard of great contemporary banjo players. BRO – A friend once told me that locking oneself in a room for a dozen years was a good start in learning the banjo. Accurate? Andy Thorn was destined to claim the banjo gig with genre bending acoustic legends Leftover Salmon.last_img read more

September 2019: Best Bike Parks

first_imgFor a backpacker, there may not be a better way to see North Carolina than on a bike It used to be that the harvesting of wild ginseng was an honorable occupation. Or at least that was the verdict among the people who lived for centuries off the land in the rough-cut Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. BACKTALK Read what the Road Team is up to and the gear that keeps them going. THE GOODS Wheels of Fortune—Industry Nine’s winding road to success · Best bike parks in the Blue Ridge · Shoes for Good · 15-year-old canoeist wins bronze at World Cup After her mom was hit by a car, a rookie rider faces her fears and begins bicycle commuting. Features On the Cover Bike Packing Four Southern musicians on the rise QUICK HITS Follow in the muddy tread of two classic bikepacking adventures in Big South Fork National Recreation Area and Pisgah National Forest. Endangered Gravel Grinder Departments Is there really enough room in the woods for everyone? A dispatch from deep in the weeds of a generation-long effort to protect Shenandoah Mountain. In the last ten years, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association has added 27 leagues in 26 states. Will competitive cycling be coming to a high school near you? Adventure Ed The Battle for Shenandoah Mountain LIVE OUTSIDE AND PLAY Is your waterproof gear poisoning you and the planet? The outdoor industry tackles toxins. Back in the Saddle Tangled Roots Best bike gear—Andy Beckman’s favorites for fat tire adventure. Want a job in the outdoors? Learn how guides, search and rescue leaders, environmental attorneys, river keepers, outdoor educators, and adventure sports coaches got their start. The most important conservation law on the books—The Endangered Species Act—is under attack, and it’s not just wolves and salamanders that will suffer. Your favorite adventure spots are also critical habitat for many rare species. The Rise of High School Biking TRAIL MIX Lift-assisted MTB parks bring convenient, immersive thrills for riders of all ability levels. Here are five of the region’s best. Bike Parks of the Blue Ridge Brandon Blakely rides Slate Rock in Pisgah National Forest. Photo by Derek DiLuzio |  @derekdiluzio | derekdiluzio.comlast_img read more