California Project Reflects a Trend Toward Oil Industry Investment in Solar

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Post:The Belridge oil field near Bakersfield, Calif., is one of the largest in the country. It has been producing oil for more than a century and last year produced about 76,000 barrels a day, according to Aera Energy, its operator.But the oil field is about to become even more remarkable. Its future production operations will be partly powered by a massive solar energy project that will make the oil extraction process more environmentally friendly, according to Aera and GlassPoint Solar, the firm that will create the solar project.The Belridge field was discovered in 1911. Oil from the field flowed out of the ground because of natural pressure in the geologic reservoirs. Later, as the pressure declined, many companies said the field was exhausted. But in the 1960s, a process known as enhanced oil recovery gave the field new life. But squeezing more crude oil from the Belridge requires large amounts of steam to help loosen up the heavy crude, which in turn requires energy.Aera has traditionally used natural gas to heat up water to create steam. But Aera and GlassPoint will now use a large, 850-megawatt solar thermal array to evaporate the water that’s pumped into the ground to liberate more oil. The companies say this will offset 4.87 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year and avoid the emission of 376,000 tons of carbon. The water used emerges from the process of oil extraction itself and will be recycled and pumped back into the ground.The project was made possible by the recent extension of California’s cap-and-trade system for carbon-dioxide emissions until 2030, said Christina Sistrunk, chief executive of Aera Energy, a company jointly owned by Shell and ExxonMobil. “We need some level of what I would call regulatory and legislative stability to be able to fund projects that really need a couple of decades worth of certainty to be economic,” said Sistrunk. “The extension of that program really underpinned our ability to make this long-term commitment.”The solar thermal array will capture the sun’s energy using curving mirrors that are enclosed in a greenhouse and then use that energy to heat water. In addition, there will be a smaller, 26.5-megawatt solar photovoltaic installation to help power oil field operations. The project should start operations by 2020, the participating companies said.This is the second such megascale solar-oil project for GlassPoint, which is building the massive, 1-gigawatt Miraah project in Oman (a gigawatt refers to the capacity to instantaneously generate 1 billion watts of energy; a megawatt refers to the capacity to generate 1 million watts). The company said that the Belridge project will be the largest solar project in California.The combination of massive solar and massive oil is not the kind of thing we tend to think of when it comes to the expansion of renewables around the globe, which has generally been led by wind and solar installations. But joint projects of various types between major oil producers and renewable energy players are growing, too. The Norwegian oil giant Statoil has announced plans to build solar arrays in Brazil with a clean energy industry partner, and Shell is exploring a possible large solar project in Australia. Statoil, meanwhile, has also made a major push into offshore wind energy.What’s different about the Belridge project is the use of renewables, which don’t emit greenhouse gases, to produce more fuel that will emit those gases. That could leave environmentalists feeling rather ambiguous. But this, too, has parallels — a recent major carbon capture and storage project in Texas will capture most of the CO2 emitted by a major coal facility, but then pipe the gas in a liquid form to an oil field where it will, once again, be used in enhanced oil recovery.What these examples perhaps show most of all is that as renewable energy becomes more and more a part of our lives, it will also become increasingly integrated into more traditional energy systems.More: One of the country’s biggest oil fields just turned to an unexpected power source: Solar California Project Reflects a Trend Toward Oil Industry Investment in Solarlast_img read more

Weekend Pick: Trail Days Festival

first_imgOne of the most beautiful places in the Southeast, if not the U.S., just happens to be where three of the core states of the Blue Ridge come together. The intersection of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee on the edge of National Forest land encompasses those traits we hold dear at Blue Ridge Outdoors, and we’re sure you do too. Small towns, open spaces, mountains, and rivers dot the landscape around this trifecta of states bisected by the Southern Appalachians. If it is adventure you are after in the Blue Ridge, this is the place to get it with the Virginia Creeper Trail, Mt. Rogers and Grayson Highlands, the South Holston and New rivers, and much more all within striking distance. Plus, the Appalachian Trail runs right through the region, and right through downtown Damascus, on it’s way into the mountains of Virginia. Indeed, Damascus touts itself as “Trail Town USA” due to the A.T., Creeper, Iron Mountain, Daniel Boone Heritage, and Crooked Road Musical Heritage trails all running through town or right by it.With this distance trail lineage, it is no wonder Damascus plays host to one of the biggest trail festivals along the A.T. Trail Days is a weekend long celebration of everything A.T. and distance hiking related, scheduled to coordinate with thru-hikers passing through town. This small hamlet becomes flooded with thru-hikers, former thru-hikers, campers, bikers, and plain old hiking enthusiasts. Vendors have the latest camping and backpacking gear on hand to demo or purchase and there are hiking workshops, clinics, and lectures from legends like Warren Doyle, Bill Walker and Jennifer Pharr Davis. Plus, free gear repair, gear auction, and of course the hiker parade. There is live music played by the pros throughout the day, and played by the amateurs at the campgrounds during the evening.This is the biggest and most robust hiking festival in the area, so if you are an A.T. enthusiast, it is not to be missed. Even if you are just getting into the distance or ultralight scene, or want to start, this is the place to be, where old and young, thru-hikers and A.T. alumni share their experiences, stories, and good will from the trail and beyond. Plus, the BRO Roadshow will be there so swing by the tent, say hey to Martha and the newest member of the BRO team Jess, and sign up to win some great prizes in our raffles being held throughout the weekend.View Larger Maplast_img read more

NAFCU eyes CHOICE Act hearing, government funding, more

first_img continue reading » 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr NAFCU will closely monitor Wednesday’s House Financial Services Committee hearing on the draft “Financial CHOICE Act” as it continues its analysis of the measure’s full impact on credit unions and their members.Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, released a discussion draft of the CHOICE Act last week. The draft, contains numerous NAFCU-sought measures, including Durbin interchange amendment repeal and other Dodd-Frank Act reforms. However, there are also areas of concern, such as a proposal to subject the NCUA to congressional appropriations.The draft bill, at 593 pages long, would require regulatory agencies to improve their cost-benefit analyses and better tailor regulations to the size of regulated institutions. It would also preserve the NCUA Board’s current three-member structure (last year, a five-member board was contemplated) and mandate agency budget transparency.The measure is expected to be introduced as legislation before the end of the month. Wednesday’s hearing is slated for 10 a.m. Eastern.last_img read more

USDA says new Listeria rule has made a difference

first_imgDec 3, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Most firms that produce ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products have taken specific steps to prevent Listeria contamination since new federal safety rules took effect last year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this week. The document says that in the first 9 months under the new regulations, 76% of the plants had no “noncompliance records,” or violation notices, while 24% had been notified of some type of violation. The report doesn’t describe what kinds of violations were most common. About 51% of all RTE plants are classified as “very small,” and these accounted for 56% of the Listeria-related rule violations. Jun 6, 2003, CIDRAP News story on announcement of interim final rule on Listeriahttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/june0503listeria.html The report says that FSIS has found Listeria contamination on about 1% or fewer of recent RTE product samples. However, it cites limited evidence from other sources that 3% to 5% of RTE meats from retail delicatessens—which are not regulated by the USDA—may harbor Listeria. The FSIS said it would accept comments on the report as well as on the Listeria rule itself until Jan 31, 2005. (See FSIS news release link below for details on how to submit comments.) The report also says that no firms have availed themselves of an option under the new rules to cite Listeria-control measures on their product labels. The provision was intended to give companies an incentive to install newer control technologies, with the idea that citing these measures on labels would confer a marketing advantage, FSIS spokesman Steven Cohen told CIDRAP News. The USDA does not regulate retail delis, which are under the jurisdiction of the FDA and state and local health departments, according to FSIS officials. But the report recommends that the FSIS should increase comparisons of the levels of Listeria on RTE products at production plants and at retail delis. The report suggests that retail delicatessens may be a soft spot in defenses against Listeria. “Evidence indicates that slicing and packaging of luncheon meats at retail deli counters presents a significant source of exposure to L. monocytogenes,” it states. “Prevalence reported from these sources ranges from 3 to 5 percent in deli meat sliced at retail.” But more studies are needed, because the samples that yielded the data were small, the report says. The data come from unpublished findings from New York State and one published study. Dec 1 FSIS news releasehttp://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/NR_120104_01/index.asp “Under the Listeria rule, ready-to-eat meat and poultry products are safer and public health is being better protected,” Elsa Murano, USDA under secretary for food safety, said in a news release. “If progress continues at the current rate, we should achieve the Healthy People 2010 goal of lowering the incidence of listeriosis to 0.25 cases per 100,000 people.” However, close to a quarter of firms that produce RTE products, such as hot dogs and deli meats, failed to comply with some aspect of the new Listeria rules in the first 9 months after they took effect, according to the report by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Random testing of RTE products this year, including tests on the riskiest products, has shown Listeria on about 1% of samples or less, the report states. In general sampling, 3 of 345 samples collected in the first 5 months of this year tested positive for the pathogen. In testing of the highest-risk products over the same period, 11 of 1,349 samples tested positive. In October 2003 the FSIS added a requirement that firms take specific steps to prevent Listeria contamination of RTE foods. The rule says producers must choose one of three approaches: (1) using both a “post-lethality” (post-cooking) treatment, such as heating, and a chemical growth inhibitor; (2) using either a post-lethality treatment or a growth inhibitor; or (3) using sanitation only. Firms using sanitation only are supposed to get the most FSIS inspections and those using the first approach the fewest.center_img The team reports that more than 87% of the nearly 3,000 plants that produce RTE meats have adopted at least one Listeria-related measure since the regulations took effect in October 2003. About 17% of the plants began using a post-lethality treatment to control Listeria, and 27% began using an antimicrobial agent or “other control process” in one or more of their RTE products. Also, about 59% of the firms started testing for Listeria or similar organisms on food-contact surfaces after the rules took effect, the report says. Listeria monocytogenes can grow on refrigerated meat and cause serious illness in pregnant women, elderly people, and others with weak immune systems. Largely because of the risk of listeriosis, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says these groups should not eat hot dogs or deli meats unless they are reheated, nor should they eat refrigerated meat spreads, refrigerated smoked seafood unless cooked, or products containing unpasteurized milk. See also: Full FSIS reporthttp://www.fsis.usda.gov/Oppde/rdad/frpubs/97-013F/LM_Assessment_Report_2004.pdf “This may be a way to differentiate their product from others,” Cohen said. “It’s a little early at this point to expect to see much of that. They would have to propose a label, and we’d evaluate it.” The new report was prepared by a 28-member FSIS team that was assigned to measure the effectiveness of all aspects of the Listeria regulations. The USDA began strengthening its Listeria rules for RTE meats in November 2002, after an outbreak in the Northeast involving at least 52 illness cases, seven deaths, and three miscarriages. That prompted the agency to require plants to start testing their surfaces and equipment for Listeria or else submit to increased testing by the FSIS. Previously the FSIS had tested RTE products but not plant equipment. In other items, the report says most of the small and very small plants producing RTE products didn’t receive or didn’t know about the FSIS compliance guidelines for the Listeria regulations. Cohen said he was confident that all the firms were aware of the regulations, since inspectors meet weekly with plant managers, but there may not have been “100% penetration on all the supporting materials that were available.” Nov 2002 CIDRAP News story on requirement that plants test environmental surfaces for Listeriahttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/listtests.html CIDRAP News story on recent FDA Listeria risk assessmenthttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/oct2103listeria.htmllast_img read more

Trump: US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan begins ‘today’

first_imgPresident Donald Trump said Saturday that the first withdrawals of US troops from Afghanistan are starting “immediately,” following the successful signing of a deal with the Taliban.Asked when the drawdown would begin under the accord, Trump told journalists: “Like today, OK? Today. They’ll start immediately.”The deal signed Saturday in Doha will see US troops and the smaller numbers of foreign allies pulling out of Afghanistan within 14 months, as long as the Taliban stick to commitments to negotiate with the Western-backed government in Kabul and repel international jihadist groups.The US, which currently has between 12,000 and 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, will draw that number down to 8,600 within 135 days of the signing.Topics :last_img read more

Socially-distanced buses and elbow bumps: German football’s new world

first_imgAnd the weighty text underlines that “all of the measures are conditional on the fact that they do not divert indispensable resources from the fight against COVID-19 for the rest of the population”.Testing and quarantine The central pillar of the DFL’s plan is the mass testing of players, coaches and backroom staff. They are tested at least twice a week and once on the eve of matches. Any that test positive for the virus are separated from the rest of the team.The decision to quarantine teams rests with the authorities in each of Germany’s federal states, which explains why the entire team of second-division Dynamo Dresden was placed in quarantine after two players were found to have coronavirus but Borussia Moenchengladbach, in a different state, continued to train after cases were found among their squad. Topics : Players arriving in several sparsely-populated team buses, substitutes wearing masks and goal celebrations limited to elbow bumps — when German football returns to the pitch this weekend, it will have to follow a draconian set of guidelines.The German Football League (DFL) presented political leaders with a 51-page document of guidelines to earn the right for the Bundesliga to become the first of Europe’s big five leagues to resume action.The matches will be surrounded by extraordinary measures to protect players and officials from infection by coronavirus.center_img Empty stadiums Only around 300 people will be allowed into the stadium on matchdays. They are divided into three zones to avoid any contact between each group. Only players, match officials, first aid personnel and a small group of photographers are allowed on the pitch.In the otherwise empty stands there will be just a handful of reporters and TV camera operators. Outside the stadium itself is the third category of personnel including security guards. It is the police’s job to prevent supporters gathering outside the stadiums.Team arrivalsThe teams will arrive in several coaches to ensure each occupant is sitting 1.5 meters apart. Everyone in the vehicles must wear masks.The social distancing rules must also be respected in the changing rooms. When the players come onto the pitch, handshakes are banned, there will be no team photos or handshakes and no team pennants will be exchanged.On the pitch Players and the match officials do not need to wear masks, but everyone else on the pitchside does, including substitutes on the bench. The match balls will be disinfected regularly during the action.Players have been told that physical contact should only be made as a result of play during the match and embracing or high-fives to celebrate goals is to be strictly avoided. “Contact with elbows or feet is preferred,” the document states.The DFL urges players to show “exemplary behavior”.Media coverage Eight pages of the health document detail the measures that the TV teams must take to avoid contact, including erecting plastic screens between interviewer and interviewee.Just 10 journalists will be admitted to each match. There will be no press conferences and the mixed zone where reporters can normally ask players questions, will be closed.Holed up in hotels Wherever possible, visiting teams must book an entire hotel or, at the very least, an entire floor. The hotel has to be disinfected before the players arrive. Players are banned from the hotel’s weights room and must respect the required distance from their teammates even at mealtimes.Private lives At home, players must live in near-quarantine conditions, without seeing their neighbors or friends. The same rules apply to all of a player’s family members. The players are not even permitted to do the family’s shopping.last_img read more

Rohit Sharma advocates patience with Rishabh Pant

first_imgAdvertisement 60ovNBA Finals | Brooklyn VsrfWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E7k06b( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) karWould you ever consider trying this?😱x28qCan your students do this? 🌚zvjt8Roller skating! Powered by Firework Rishabh Pant is a rising star in Indian cricket and in both white ball formats, the youngster has had some memorable innings. Although there is a lot of competition for the wicket keeper batsman spot in the Indian Cricket Team, Rishabh Pant has Rohit Sharma’s trust.Advertisement Sanju Samson is coming off an execellent domestic season form and an impeccable double century for Kerala in the Vijay Hazare trophy. However, Rohit Sharma hints at Pant over Samson in this selection dilemma while speaking at the IND vs Bangladesh t20i series’ opening match press conference.Advertisement “[Both Samson and Pant] are really talented but we have stuck with Rishabh Pant all this while. And this is the moment that he embraces more, this is the format that gave him a lot of attention. This is the format where he excelled to start with and caught people’s attention.“We have to stick with him for a while and see how he performs and what he does. We have seen how well he can take the game forward when he has his day. We just have to back him more. He has hardly played 10-15 T20 matches so it is still too soon to judge whether he is good or not. There is a lot of time left before we pass any judgement on [Pant],” Rohit said.Advertisement “We have got to see the conditions, what the pitch has to offer because a lot has got to do with how the pitch is going to play. If the pitch is low and slow, slower bowlers come into play a lot. Which means we might have to play three spinners. If the pitch has some grass and we feel there might be some bounce as well, we might play three seamers as well. Everything depends on the conditions,” Rohit said. Advertisementlast_img read more