FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Aiken (S.C.) Standard:MTU America flipped the switch last Wednesday in celebration of its new solar panel field in Graniteville. To create the solar panel field, MTU America collaborated with Sol America, SCE&G, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Key Equipment Finance and Aiken County.They were praised by S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster for working together and break new ground in the generation and transmission of energy. We commend them, as well.Solar power is gaining in popularity, and the County’s willingness to embrace such technology means our leaders are looking to the future.“The kind of innovation reflected here with this solar power, that’s what is going to take us into new dimensions in South Carolina,” McMaster said. “We are on the way up, and if we don’t mess it up with high taxes and heavy regulations, the future here is incomparable to anything else in the rest of the country. I congratulate all the leadership in Aiken County, this company and all those involved for making great decisions to produce wealth, prosperity and happiness.”Aiken County and MTU America aren’t the only entities going solar. North Augusta entered into an agreement with Clean Energy Collective, or CEC Development LLC, to enroll in the SCE&G Community Solar program. This agreement will help the city offset some, or all, of its electric use and save on energy costs.MTU America will see a benefit from its solar panel field, as well. According to Dan Kaminski, senior manager of purchasing for MTU America, “Under the current program with SCE&G, it (MTU America’s system) is feeding SCE&G’s grid. After 10 years, we can continue feeding the grid, at a wholesale rate, or we can bring it into our own grid. We’ll be putting it on our on grid because it will offset our peak demand, which is for air conditioning on hot, sunny days when the solar field is doing its thing. It’s a perfect match.”Utilizing solar power is not only good for the environment, but the pocketbook, as well, and it’s good to have City, County and business leaders so enthusiastic about such technology.Editorial: Solar power is good for economy, environment Editorial: The Solar Pocketbook
Map of the Week: The 57,000+ Wind Turbines in the U.S. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Washington Post:California’s Kern County, home to the city of Bakersfield, bills itself as the “Wind Capital of the West.” But a Washington Post analysis of a massive new U.S. Geological Survey database of over 57,000 commercial wind turbines suggests that the county is being overly modest: It is, in fact, the wind capital of the entire country.To create the database, the USGS partnered with the Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association. The organizations merged their individual data sets to create a new database that was more accurate and comprehensive than previous efforts. Once they compiled the new database, researchers attempted to visually verify the precise location of each turbine using satellite imagery. They intend to update it periodically in the coming years as the wind industry grows.The database shows that Kern County is home to some 4,581 wind turbines with a total power-generating capacity of somewhere north of 4,000 megawatts, giving Kern the largest county-level concentration of wind capacity in the nation. Put another way, there are more turbines in Kern County alone than in the entire Northeast region of the United States.California can also boast the No. 2 and No. 3 counties in the nation when it comes to turbine density: Riverside, home to the San Gorgonio Pass wind farm, and Alameda, where the Altamont Pass wind farm is located. Texas’ Nolan County and Oregon’s Gilliam County round out the top five.At the other end of the spectrum, 2,501 counties are tied for dead last, with no commercial wind energy to speak of. There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is simple geography. There’s a lot of variation in average annual wind speeds in the U.S…. The southeast, in particular, is virtually a wind desert relative to the rest of the country. As a result, there are hardly any commercial wind projects to be found in the region.More: Every One Of America’s 57,636 Wind Turbines, Mapped
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Energy major Total said on Thursday it had launched a project to construct the largest battery storage facility in France which could help boost the growth of intermittent renewable power in the French energy mix.The 25-megawatt (MW) capacity battery power storage facility in Dunkirk, northern France, will be used to provide fast power reserve services to support the stability of the French electricity grid, the company said.Total, like other oil majors, is expanding its foothold in the renewables energy sector. It plans to invest around US$2 billion annually to grow its low carbon business and increase its renewable energy generation capacity to 25 gigawatts by 2025 from around 6 GW by the end of 2020.Total said the storage facility is scheduled to be commissioned later this year. The system, in which it will invest around 15 million euros (US$16.92 million), will be developed by Total’s battery subsidiary Saft.Battery power storage is expected to grow as the intermittent supply from renewable energies like solar and wind increases, pushing grid operators to have more power reserves on standby.France’s grid operator RTE, launched a separate project in January to test the integration of battery storage to the grid. RTE said the project, called Ringo, in which Total’s Saft will also participate in, will add three battery storage facilities to the grid with a total capacity of around 32 MW.[Bate Felix]More: Total says to build France’s biggest battery power storage project Oil major Total to build largest battery storage unit in France
LS Power brings world’s largest battery storage project online in California FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Stealthy grid infrastructure developer LS Power now operates the largest grid battery in the world.The Gateway Energy Storage project launched earlier this summer, with an initial tranche of 62.5 megawatts/62.5 megawatt-hours. That was enough to make it the most powerful battery in the U.S. But LS Power had more up its sleeve, and now Gateway can charge or discharge 230 megawatts for one hour, expected to rise to 250 megawatts by the end of the month.That would be big news for the storage sector in any event, because it exceeds the previous largest battery, the Tesla-supplied Hornsdale plant (150 megawatts/193.5 megawatt-hours). But its arrival coincides with an energy crisis as California struggles to produce enough power to keep the grid running amid a historic heat wave.California shut down enough power plant capacity in recent years that it now has trouble supplying air-conditioning demand on hot days in the hours when the sun sets and solar generation drops off. Meanwhile, imports from neighboring states have been constrained because those states are facing the same heat wave.A wave of massive battery projects is under construction in California, many of which are designed to step in for the retiring gas and nuclear plants by shifting solar generation into the hours after sunset. Gateway is the first of this cohort to come online. It alone wields more power than all the other batteries connected to the grid managed by the California Independent System Operator.“By charging during solar production on off-peak hours and delivering energy to the grid during times of peak demand for power, our battery storage projects improve electric reliability, reduce costs and help our state meet its climate objectives,” LS Power Head of Renewables John King said in a statement.[Julian Spector]More: LS Power energizes world’s biggest battery, just in time for California’s heat wave
TOP RACES AND EVENTS TO HIT BEFORE THE END OF THE YEARCherokee Harvest Half Marathon & 5kWhen: October 19, 2013Where: Cherokee, N.C.What: Half Marathon & 5KStart time: 8 amWebsite: http://cherokeeharvesthalf.com/Great race swag bag! The 1st 500 runners get a race hoodie, Nike N7 T-shirt and race T! Except for one hill at mile 6, the 1/2 marathon is mostly flat on paved roads. Race proceeds benefit the Madison Hornbuckle Children’s Cancer Foundation.RACE CONTACTallison@gloryhoundevents.comCheck out our full list of the top races and events of the end of the year in our Fall Race & Event Guide
I must admit to an obsession.Just recently, a good friend of mine suggested I take a listen to a great young band out of Utah called Desert Noises (see photo above). My buddy, Eric, claimed they were his favorite discovery of the summer. After listening to their most recent record, 27 Ways, which inexplicably escaped my attention when it was released earlier this year – I can understand why.I have listened to almost nothing but 27 Ways over the last two weeks. In my house. In my classroom. The tunes are constantly playing in my head, I have been recommending Desert Noises to anyone who will take the time to listen. The band has the uncanny ability to segue from bombastic arena rock anthems to the subtle songs more attuned to a coffeeshop song swap. These twenty-somethings are on to something good. Check out “Mice In The Kitchen” for proof.I am also happy to include a brand new track from Cracker, who return with their first record in over five years. Berkeley to Bakersfield, a double album that highlights both the band’s alt-rock swagger and country bravado, drops this week. Trail Mix features “Almond Grove,” a stand out track written by David Lowery, the band’s long time front man.This month’s mix sees the return of some longtime favorites. Drive-By Truckers are here again with a live version of “Grand Canyon” off of Black Ice Verite, the deluxe edition release of the band’s recent record, English Oceans. Our favorite South Carolina surf folksters, Dangermuffin, are also back with a new record, from which Trail Mix pulled “Little Douglas,” which features Keller Williams on bass.There are some killer first timers on the December mix, too. Check out the brand new tracks from Over The Rhine, Fly Golden Eagle, The Family Crest, and The Sweet Lowdown.Also featured are two killer rereleases from Game Theory and Old 97s.There’s more. Check out the offerings from Bruiser Queen, Angel Olsen, Jacob & The Good People, Willie Nile, Whitey Morgan & The 78s, and much more.And the mix even has a Christmas tune! Jason Ringenberg, formerly of Jason & The Scorchers, has released a Christmas record as Farmer Jason. Check out “Eat Your Fruitcake” as you get ready for the holidays.Speaking of holidays, if you are in the gift-getting mood, track down some of these records for the music lover in your life. They will love the tunes, and these artists will appreciate the support. So, stream, download, and buy, but – most importantly – enjoy.DOWNLOAD THIS MONTHS TRAIL MIX HERE.
Located on the banks of the mighty French Broad River, just 10 miles from its headwaters, one of Brevard’s best-kept secrets is becoming less of a secret. The East Fork Farm is developing its already stunning spread, just a bit further, helping provide even more incredible experiences for their guests.The East Fork Farm is a legit, hard-working organic farm that grows vegetables and raises a variety of game birds.However, they recently joined forces with Adventure Camp Guru, a referral and guide service for folks searching for summertime adventures. Through fresh, local food and breathtaking adventures, The East Fork Farm hopes to become the “must-do experience” for families visiting the area.“Every time I step foot on the property, I feel this instant sense of calm,” said Adam Perkins, a recent visitor to the farm. “It truly is a unique place to come and unwind. I’m able to come out here and really dial into the adventure of nature without the distractions of home.”While the property is already one of a kind, East Fork Farm is looking to expand operations by including a cozy bunkhouse and bathhouse, and developing off-grid camping shelters along the river.Additionally, the farm will offer limited amounts of CSA shares next year. “We wanted to grow and expand while also giving back to the people that chose to support our dream,” manager Emily Hughes said. The farm has uniquely come up with a simple way to support their growth while also being beneficial to the donor.You can go online and purchase an incentive for various adventures, or even a catered night’s stay on the property.The farm will customize the experience based on each person’s goals and interests. The East Fork Farm will mail a beautifully presented voucher direct to the donor’s door. Vouchers can be purchased for tours to stunning waterfalls complete with farm to “picnic blanket” lunches or, for the more adventurous, a three-day canoe trip down the French Broad River ending with a feast at the farm.“It’s important to us that you feel great about investing in this business. Your contribution will be vital to our success,” Hughes said.When people invest in local enterprises like The East Fork Farm, they not only receive a unique, local experience, but they also enrich the community around them. According to research, every dollar spent at independent businesses yield three times more money to the local economy than the one spent at chains.With the holidays fast approaching, The East Fork Farm is excited about providing meaningful, mutually beneficial gifts for people looking to explore Transylvania County. Vouchers can be purchased directly from their online campaign at smallknot.com. Visit their website East Fork Farm Life.com.–Reporting for BRO by Jeanie Slade, a longtime resident of the WNC area and an avid outdoorswoman who enjoys exploring her beautiful backyard counties. To find more of her work, check out her LinkedIn page.
Western North Carolina’s Tuckaseegee River could soon become home to a brand new whitewater center and outdoor adventure complex.According to the Sylva Herald, the Nanatahala Outdoor Center (NOC) is currently in talks with Jackson County, North Carolina officials about bringing a “world-class outdoor entertainment complex” to 17.65 acres of county-owned along the banks of the Tuckaseegee River.While the Sylva Herald reports that a plan for a new Jackson County NOC outpost is all but finalized, both Jackson County and NOC have stopped short of calling the plan a done deal.“Last year, NOC was approached by Jackson County regarding a potential outfitter location along the Tuckaseegee,” NOC said in an official statement provided to Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine via email.“We informally presented several high-level concepts to the county for consideration. While we remain excited about the opportunities in Dillsboro, no decisions have been made by NOC to move forward with the project.We are hopeful that the Jackson County commission will enter into a formal negotiation with us to allow both sides the opportunity to develop specific plans, timelines, and commitments.Until then, we appreciate the community’s enthusiasm for outdoor recreation along the Tuckasegee and its confidence in the NOC brand, but it is premature to make any announcements at this time.”Rich Price is the director of Jackson County’s economic development. He said that talks between the county and the outdoor adventure giant are still underway and called the Sylva Herald’s story “premature.”“Unfortunately, the local media has chosen to jump the gun on this issue,” Price said. “But we are in talks with the Nantahala Outdoor Center and optimistic about the possibility of an adventure center coming to Jackson County.”The Nanatahala Outdoor Center is Western North Carolina’s largest outdoor adventure outfitter. Established in 1972, NOC currently operates on eight different rivers throughout the area and hosts more than a million guests annually. In addition to white water rafting excursions the company offers zip-lining, mountain biking, and whitewater kayaking instruction.[divider]More from BlueRidgeOutdoors.com[/divider]
A bend in the Gauley River. Photo Courtesy NPS.“These challenges are direct attacks on America’s national parks,” said Nicholas Lund, Senior Manager of NPCA. “Each of these rules provides the commonsense protections for national parks that millions of Americans demand. If the Park Service’s drilling rules are repealed, national parks across the country would be subjected to poorly regulated oil and gas drilling, threatening parks’ air, water and wildlife.”Learn more here.Have an opinion? Let your legislator know! You can find contact information for your state’s representative here. It’s been just over a week since Congressman Jason Chaffettz (R) of Utah introduced a bill that seeks to sell off more than 3.3 million acres of public land, and Congress is already at it again.The newest threat to America’s public land is aimed at the National Park Service (NPS), and takes the form of a joint resolution that would lift crucial drilling restrictions in more than 40 national parks across the country.Last night, Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), introduced H.J. Res. 46 to the 1st session of the 115th Congress. If enacted the bill would roll back NPS safeguards that strictly regulate oil and gas extraction on national parks where the federal government does not own the sub-surface mineral rights.These national parks are commonly referred to as ‘split estate’ properties, and include such treasured parks as Grand Teton National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, The Gauley River National Recreation Area, New River Gorge National River, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, and many others.The bill would make drilling more likely in Colarado’s Mesa Verde National Park and many others.It’s important to note that extraction activities are already taking place on 12 of the so-called ‘split estate’ parks. That includes one active well in the New River Gorge National Recreation Area, two in the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, and 284 in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.But the rule changes proposed in H.J. Res. 46 would transfer the responsibility of regulating extraction out of the hands of NPS and into the hands of individual state governments with minimal requirements for oversight and regulation.The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), a nonpartisan group that works to safeguard America’s national parks, breaks it down like this:If Congress repeals these rules, drilling could occur in national parks with little more than bare-minimum state regulations. The Park Service will have essentially no authority over oil and gas development proposed inside national parks. Leaks and spills could go unpunished without NPS authority to enforce safety standards. Companies would be able to build roads through national parks to begin drilling, such as the 11-mile road through the heart of Big Cypress National Preserve built to reach an oil and gas lease. Drilling companies would not be required to inform parks or park visitors about when or how drilling operations would occur.
What do you do when a loaded raft is barreling down the river at you? Lean back, hold on, and ride it out bro!Prior to my move to Southern Appalachia, I spent six years of my life surfing in North Florida. Surfers are a tough and annoyingly proud breed. We pretend we own the beach, the ocean, and the breaks. Ownership isn’t dictated by how good you are at surfing. That’s irrelevant. It’s dictated by how long you’ve lived there. You know, “local’s only bro.”I’ve always wondered if this mindset is shared by our landlocked friends, in particular, river wave surfers. Do you have the same arrogance? The same localism and pride? I’d imagine it’s hard to share a lineup when you’re relegated to surfing the same wave, in the same spot, all the time.My question was answered, when I saw this riverboarder hold his own as a loaded raft of people barreled down the river at him. Like a boss, he leans back, get’s bucked into the air, and rides it out with style. A little look back to see if anyone other than him survived (they are all fine), and he’s right back to surfing.I’m sure that’s the most air he’s ever gotten on a river wave.In a video that went viral this week, our friends at Mammoth Clothing Co. were rafting down the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia. In a trip guided by Whitewater Express, they were coming into the last rapid of the day when they ran into the riverboarder.“We didn’t see him until we were coming over the top of the first rapid,” says Josh Julian, Co-Founder of Mammoth Clothing Co. “We were completely sideways coming down on that rapid and he [the riverboarder] had the biggest grin on his face. It was pure fear for all of us.” Josh and his team were visiting the area for a whitewater kayaking competition. They have since connected with the riverboarder and he’s invited them to come riverboarding the next time they’re in town.What’s even better is that they are taking their epic bail in stride! If you enter the promo code JOSHGOTTRASHED you can get 15% off your online order in their store.Just remember…Try to snake someone’s wave and you’ll be flipped over, floating down the river.See you in the lineup!