On the Blogs: The Fossil-Fuel Risk to Insurance Companies

first_imgOn the Blogs: The Fossil-Fuel Risk to Insurance Companies FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Dan Gocher for RenewEconomy.com:Climate change goes beyond a question of ethics, or lack thereof. It cuts to the heart of insurance business, because, like general insurers the world over, QBE Group is having to adjust to more frequent and more costly natural disasters, many of which are driven by climate change.Large risk and catastrophe claims cost the firm US$1.35 billion, a significant drop from the US$2.35 billion paid out in disaster-ridden 2011, but well above QBE’s long term average prior to 2010. These included a “spate of large individual energy risk claims” suffered by its European Operations in the first half of 2015.Major payouts for recent weather events include US$144 million for UK storms Desmond, Eva and Frank in late 2015, US$108 million for Cyclone Pam in March 2016 and US$76 million for NSW east coast storms in April.Shareholders will have the opportunity to interrogate this information at the company’s AGM this week. And before long, it won’t just be shareholders. QBE subsidiaries will soon be required to disclose their investments in fossil fuels to the Bank of England and the California Insurance Commissioner.APRA, who regulate the Australian insurance industry, have proven themselves slow off the mark in addressing climate risk, having so far not produced any research, nor spoken publicly on the systemic impacts of climate change on the insurance industry.Unlike its peers IAG and Suncorp, QBE will be forced by foreign regulators to consider and act on the implications of climate change. APRA should demand the same level of disclosure QBE will soon provide in the UK and the US, and extend it to other major insurers.In general, Australian insurers are lagging behind their European peers. AXA and Allianz have already divested their investment portfolios from thermal coal. Reinsurers Swiss Re and Munich Re have published extensive research on the impacts of climate change, and are attempting to shift the industry in the right direction.At its AGM in Sydney, QBE will be confronted head on with its high-wire hypocrisy. And simply rolling out the old drug-dealers defence that ‘if we don’t do it, someone else will,’ just won’t cut the mustard. We need leadership from firms that can exert as much influence over the fossil fuel industry as QBE.No amount of greenwash will sufficiently address climate change or the inherent risk it poses to their investment portfolios.The reality is, should QBE choose to act, it is in a unique and powerful position to genuinely combat climate change and safeguard its own business. But to do so, it must take serious action internally, come clean on its investments, and advocate publicly for comprehensive policy change.Full article: QBE to be held to account for fossil fuel investmentslast_img read more

Electricity-Sector Transition and Its Jobs Effects

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg New Energy Finance:This shift in the political weather from trumpeting green jobs to chest-beating about brown jobs leads us onto something that deserves more attention than it has got so far. That is the wider effect on economies around the world of the transition to clean energy and transport.In power generation, we are moving from centralized power stations burning raw materials extracted from below ground, to distributed units harnessing natural resources, and in transport, we are starting to move from the internal combustion engine based on liquid fuels, to electrified vehicles.The outlook on employment is closely related to that for GDP and trade. In power generation, coal-firing worldwide ceases to grow according to our forecast, with increases in South Asia more than offset by declines in developed economies. This will mean a shrinkage in mining jobs in Europe and the U.S., and in countries that produce a lot of seaborne coal such as Australia.In renewables, our projections for year-on-year additions suggest that employment in both wind turbine and solar panel manufacturing globally will continue to grow at least until the late 2030s, as capacity additions jump from a combined 636GW in the 2021-2015 period, to 2.2TW in 2036-2040.There will also be increases in the number of people involved in constructing wind farms and utility-scale solar projects, again mainly in developing countries. As an indicator, Adani Power’s 648MW Kamuthi PV park in Tamil Nadu employed 8,500 workers for six months in the building phase in 2015-2016 – equivalent to 6.6 man-years per megawatt. The latter figure is roughly double what might be expected in developed economies. Even if productivity in construction improves, the solar (and wind) project build-out globally should keep many hundreds of thousands of hard hats busy through the 2030s.And then there is small-scale solar system installation. This is a much more labor-intensive business than polysilicon, wafer, cell, module or inverter manufacturing, or indeed the building of big PV parks. Estimates are that 11-13 man-years are required to install 1MW of small-scale solar, although it does depend greatly on whether the systems are household rooftops of 3kW or so, or commercial-scale arrays of many tens of kilowatts. The majority of the new jobs will be in developing countries (since these are forecast to add more than 700GW of the 1.3TW of new small-scale PV installed worldwide between 2017 and 2040).In the operating phase, there are many fewer jobs per MWh in wind and solar plants than there are in fossil-fuel generation. For instance, the giant 2GW, $4.5 billion onshore wind project in the Oklahoma Panhandle announced this summer by American Electric Power, is slated to create 4,000 jobs during the construction phase but only 80 during operation (a ratio of just 0.04 per MW). By comparison, AEP’s 600MW John W Turk Jr coal-fired power station in Arkansas employs 109 people directly, plus those in the coal mining and transport chain, to produce about half, at most, of the electricity that is due to come from the Oklahoma wind complex.More: How Economies May Flex to Transition in Energy, Transport Electricity-Sector Transition and Its Jobs Effectslast_img read more

New Details on Abandoned V.C. Summer Nuclear Project Show Its Developers ‘Papered Over’ Problems While They Charged Ratepayers Billions

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Louisville Courier-Journal:Nine years into their effort to build two new nuclear reactors, SCANA and Santee Cooper officials were confronted this summer with a painful reality: billions of dollars from ratepayers had taken them only so far.Newly-obtained emails, letters and other documents show: Finishing the project would require at least 23 million man hours of additional work. The project would cost $13 billion more than the initial budget called for in 2009. It would take four to six more years than what SCANA told state utility regulators last year.These and other revelations are in documents The Post and Courier obtained from Santee Cooper through a Freedom of Information Act request.Taken together, they reveal a behind-the-scenes story of frustration and uncertainty. They show how officials papered over these problems in public, and the documents raise fresh questions about why it took so long for SCANA and Santee Cooper to realize the seriousness of their project’s problems. Or for state regulators to question the project’s obvious shortcomings.Long before it turned into a boondoggle, the VC Summer plant was supposed to herald a nuclear renaissance.SCANA and Santee Cooper had hired Westinghouse, which had long touted its reactors as “the safest and most economical nuclear power plant available.”With two new reactors next to the existing one at VC Summer, SCANA and Santee Cooper hoped to generate decades of electricity practically free of carbon emissions.More: Documents: Failed South Carolina nuclear project was years and millions of hours away from completion New Details on Abandoned V.C. Summer Nuclear Project Show Its Developers ‘Papered Over’ Problems While They Charged Ratepayers Billionslast_img read more

Rystad: Asian renewable energy capacity to hit 754GW by 2025, up 50% in five years

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Analysis from Rystad Energy has found the installed capacity of renewable energy in the Asia-Pacific region is set to soar from 497 gigawatts (GW) this year to 754 GW in 2025. The driving force behind the increase will be solar, with regional capacity nearly doubling from 192 GW in 2020 to 349 GW in the next five years.The jump will propel solar energy past the installed capacity of well-established onshore wind energy. Nonetheless, onshore wind’s capacity is also expected to rise 26% from 243 GW to 308 GW in the next five years, with offshore wind set to grow 50% from 34 GW to 51 GW. Storage, battery and hydrogen electrolyser capacity is likely to expand even faster, with a 60% growth rate forecast, moving the capacity from 28 GW to 45 GW by 2025.In September, Rystad Energy analysis found Australia is following a similar trajectory to the region at large, with electricity generated by solar and onshore wind farms to overtake the combined power production from coal and gas from 2026.“Renewable energy growth has led engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) service providers in the region and Asian fabrication yards to fast-track their energy transition plans to actively target low-carbon markets and tender for such contracts,” senior energy service research analyst at Rystad Energy, Lin Lin Goh, said in a press release.[Bella Peacock]More: Solar to power to drive 50% surge in Asia-Pacific renewable energy capacity by 2025 Rystad: Asian renewable energy capacity to hit 754GW by 2025, up 50% in five yearslast_img read more

Dirty Bird Swoops Back Into Hawksnest with Challenging New Downhill Bike Course This Weekend

first_imgThe Dirty Bird Downhill Race series returns to Hawksnest Resort this Saturday and Sunday, August 21 and 22, for round two of the three-part race series.For round two, race organizers have constructed two new tracks: one for the pro racers, and another for the amateur categories. The brand new, highly anticipated downhill courses will be unveiled for the first time during this Saturday morning’s practice round and will give registered riders and spectators a chance to see the wide variety of new challenges the recently designed course offers.According to race organizers Will Washam, Michael Thomas, Andrew Mueller and Steven Trottier, the new tracks that have been under construction since late last year are their best yet. The course designers believe that the new track should prove to be a step up in difficulty from the first track of this year, the original Dirty Bird course—a screaming fast descent through the hardwood forest over boulderfields and across jumps that proved to be full of thrills and excitement for both riders and spectators during last year’s events. The latest design from the Dirty Bird Crew offers a longer, more difficult boulderfield, faster berms,and a variety of different lines to choose from as the riders rip through many of the technical sections of the course.“It’s a completely new challenge, compared to the original track,” Washam said. “It’s rougher and it’s definitely steeper.”Andrew Mueller PhotoAnother mainstay of the new track at Hawksnest is the ability of the racers to choose a variety of different lines through certain sections of the course, opening up a wider range of different possibilities that, as Washam said, leaves the track up for interpretation by the riders, which, in the end, makes for a more exciting race format.“When you have a wider course that has multiple line options in every section, it really lets the racers separate themselves from each other, and that makes for good racing because there are certain sections where the riders can find the fastest line for their riding style and it really gives people places to individually separate themselves from the crowd,” Washam explained.Andrew Mueller PhotoIf the excitement that recently released photos and videos of the new course is generating on the internet is any indication, there should be no shortage of riders making a special trip to the High Country to race the new track this weekend.“I think they’re going to be extremely stoked on the pro course,” Washam said. “It’s really going to allow all of the extremely talented pro racers of the Southeast to open up their skill set on some of the most challenging terrain that has been raced on in years,” Washam continued. “By having these three full downhill runs it has opened up a huge opportunity for downhill mountain biking, and it really solidifies Hawksnest as the premier gravity riding spot in the High Country.”The event will offer cash prizes to the pro categories and will offer merchandise prizes for the other categories from a variety of different suppliers. Sledgehammer Charlie’s will offer catered food for the riders and spectators while D.J. Trill Will provides fresh music and running commentary on the races. Spectators are encouraged to come out to both the practice rounds and the official races, which will take place this Sunday, August 22.For more information about the Dirty Bird Downhill Race series, click to www.dirtybirddh.com.More information on Hawksnest Resort found at Basecamp, http://basecamp.blueridgeoutdoors.com/?p=2583last_img read more

Video: Opening Day at Beech Mountain

first_imgSkiing at North Carolina’s Beech Mountain opened on Friday, November 30th and we were there. Check out the video of a beautiful day on a beautiful mountain. Skiing in November? Can’t beat that.Check out the video from opening day at Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia.Beech Mountain Opening Day from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.last_img

Weekend Pick: Goodwill Mud Run

first_imgThe 12th edition of the Goodwill Mud Run takes place this Sunday, October 6th in Greenville, South Carolina. The race, presented by St. Francis Sports Medicine, is a 3.5 mile course filled with 35 obstacles including climbing walls, cargo nets, low crawls, swings, and (of course) a giant mud pit. Runners will participate in teams of 4, all competing against each other for an official time.Registration is currently open on-line but quickly filling up. Reserve your spot now! Start times will be emailed out once registration is complete. The sign-up fee is $140 and all proceeds help fund the long-term mission of Goodwill Industries. Specifically, this program assists people in becoming independent through education and training, ultimately leading them to employment.It goes without saying, but just in case, be sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind throwing away. They will, without a doubt, be covered in mud. A running, trail, or hiking shoe is required on the course. No flip flops or barefoot running allowed.There will be a costume and t-shirt contest for participants. Let the race crew know if you plan to enter and they will snap a photo. These will later be judged the week after the event. The winning team from each category will receive $150 and runner-ups will receive $100. Keep your designs family friendly!Kids, ages 4 and up, are welcome to play in the Kid Zone. This will be a smaller scale course where they can also participate. Registration will take place on race day.Like any event, volunteers are crucial. Race day staff is in need of people to help with set-up, registration, parking, time keeping, obstacle judging, and tear down. Fill out a waiver on the Mud Run site and then choose a task for the day.Enjoy lunch, a free massage, cold beverage, and hot shower after the event. You’ll have earned it!View Larger Maplast_img read more

Beer Blog: The Can’s In The Van, Man

first_imgI’ve been meaning to pay a visit to NoDa Brewing for a couple of years now, but could never seem to make it to the Charlotte, NC, brewery in person.They have a small, 15-barrel brew house that’s been gaining a lot of attention for their weekly one-off experimental brews and wicked-good IPA’s. Finally, like a dream come true, NoDa Brewing came to me. Sort of.I was in my local beer shop and found a four pack of Hop, Drop ‘n Roll — NoDa’s flagship IPA that’s getting ridiculously good views.I bought a four pack of tall boys and worked my way through them fast, enjoying the citrusy hop bomb that NoDa has created.Hop Drop ‘n Roll is one of the better examples of an IPA you can find in the South, coming out of a tiny, hyper-local brewery that most of us living outside of their small distribution area wouldn’t be able to experience if it weren’t for one of the greatest inventions of modern time: The mobile canning system.Imagine a van that drives around the country, visiting small breweries who make amazing beer, like NoDa, but don’t have the space or capital to buy a canning line of their own. hop dropThe van pulls up with the canning line in tow, and “Bob’s your uncle”—that tiny brewery gets to can a small batch of their beer. Asheville’s Pisgah Brewing got to can a run of their uber-popular Pisgah Pale thanks to a mobile canning system. Devils Backbone, Hardywood Park, and Wild Wolf have all used mobile canning systems in the past. Even tiny nano-breweries working on two-barrel systems have been able to get in on the caning action because of these mobile canning systems.The breweries are still hyper local, and their distribution is still small, but with one-off canning runs, they have a chance to get their beer into the hands of more people. People like you and people like me. So keep an eye out for unfamiliar labels in your local beer shop: The cans are coming.last_img read more

November 2020: The Top Adventure Towns Issue

first_imgRead or download the November issue for FREE HERE Gear Up 2020 Giveaway! Cold-Weather CastingThe chilly months at the end of the year offer new opportunities for trout fishing. The GoodsWe’ve got gift ideas for the gear lover in your life. Giveaway! Trail MixTake a listen to the sounds of emerging artists from the Blue Ridge and beyond. ExploreAn avid whitewater boater appreciates the calm seclusion of a Low Country creek. Quick HitsHow the war on Asian carp, an invasive species pervasive in the Southeast, could falter due to COVID-19. Q&A with Jordan JonasBRO chats with the winner of reality TV series Alone about surviving 77 solo days in the Arctic and living in Virginia. Gear Up 2020Top Picks for Great Gear center_img Special Sections Fighting Fire with FirePrescribed burns are used throughout the Southeast to manage vegetation and restore habitat. Higher LearningA visit to an outdoor school in the Tennessee mountains gives an avid explorer new perspective on adventure. On the Cover: Adventure opportunities abound in Charlottesville, Va., the top medium-size town winner of the 2020 Blue Ridge Outdoors’ top adventure towns contest. Photo by Robert Radifera Departments Skiing During a PandemicWith COVID-19 cases still rising, find out what resorts are doing to make slopes safer. Go Outside and PlayTurnkey itineraries for the perfect 24- or 48- hour getaways. Top Adventure TownsFor the 10th straight year, our readers selected the best outdoor hubs in the Blue Ridge. Featureslast_img read more

Ricardo Martinelli Inaugurated as President of Panama

first_imgBy Dialogo July 02, 2009 Panama City, July 1 (EFE).- Fifty-seven-year-old businessman Ricardo Martinelli was inaugurated today as Panama’s new president for the next five years, in a ceremony in which eight presidents and the Prince of Asturias, Felipe de Borbón, participated. Martinelli received the presidential sash from the new president of the National Assembly, José Luis Varela. Martinelli’s inauguration and that of businessman Juan Carlos Varela as first vice-president, began with the summons of the seventy-one members of the National Assembly and of the Assembly’s officers. Martinelli, a multimillionaire businessman, took office as president of Panama after having received nearly 60 percent of the votes in the elections held on May 3, with a message of change. Owner of one of Panama’s largest supermarket chains, Ricardo Martinelli, who has a Spanish grandmother and an Italian grandfather, was born in Panama City on 11 March, 1952. After being a public officer in the previous administrations of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PDR) and the Panamanianist Party (PP), Martinelli decided to create his own party, Democratic Change (CD), founded in May, 1998. At the head of this group in his campaign for the presidency, he demonstrated his negotiating skill by forming a coalition called Alliance for Change, under his leadership. Martinelli achieved this coalition by incorporating one of the parties with the longest tradition in Panama, the Panamanianist Party (PP), and also including the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement (Molirena) and the Patriotic Union (UP). Martinelli is considered a populist who is committed to neither the left nor the right, despite his ties to the business world. Martinelli’s inauguration ceremonies were attended by the presidents of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe; of Costa Rica, Óscar Arias; of Guatemala, Álvaro Colom; of Mexico, Felipe Calderón; and of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández; as well as Prince Felipe de Borbón. The ceremonies were also attended by the president of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou; the president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz; the vice-president of the Cuban Council of State, Esteban Lazo; and the U.S. Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, among other distinguished guests. The ousted president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, arrived at this handing over at the last minute, while Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega canceled his visit to Panama following the death of Managua mayor and former three-times world boxing champion Alexis Argüello.last_img read more