Column: Coal optimism in Australia hides unease about long-term problems FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:BRISBANE—Coal miners supplying Asia’s rapidly growing economies have plenty to be optimistic about as prices and demand appear robust, but they should be wary of getting caught up in the positive feedback loop that nearly destroyed them before.This week’s inaugural Energy Mines and Money conference in Brisbane, the heartland of the industry in top coal exporter Australia, was a sea of optimism about the outlook for the industry. Prices have been on an upward trend since bottoming in 2016 after five years of losses, and miners are once again making good profits amid strong demand from top importers China and India, new consumers such as Pakistan and the reliable veteran buyers like Japan and South Korea.But at the back of the minds of many Australian miners is the fear that they have seen this movie before, and they don’t want the same ending. In 2012, the industry was cock-a-hoop over forecasts that pointed to massive import demand growth in Asia, led by China and India. Problem was it was pretty much all wrong.A well-respected industry consultant and forecaster boldly claimed in early 2012 that China would be importing 1 billion tonnes of coal by 2030, and India would be up to 400 million tonnes. But these forecasts now look hopelessly optimistic, given China’s coal imports were 270.9 million tonnes in 2017. While imports have risen for two years, they are still well below the record 327.2 million tonnes from 2013. While China’s coal imports may rise slightly this year, it’s unlikely they will reach 300 million tonnes, and that 1 billion tonne forecast looks well out of reach.The [new] optimistic forecasts also fail to account for political pressure to move away from coal, not only in China, but increasingly in India. It’s likely that those countries planning on building coal plants powered by imports will also come under mounting pressure from environmental activists, who have become increasingly sophisticated in targeting how coal plants are financed and insured.In fact, if there was another common theme to this week’s conference in Brisbane, it’s that the coal sector still doesn’t fully grasp that array of forces now being deployed against it. The mantra of coal as ‘cheap and reliable and the only way to electrify the masses of people still without power’ was still repeated, and clearly believed.But scratch a little further and miners will tell you of the incredible difficulties in developing projects, with increased government scrutiny and regulation, the rising threat of public opposition and the dearth of financing, notwithstanding a seemingly large pool of investment funds. The inability of India’s Adani to actually start building its Carmichael mine in Queensland, the world’s largest planned mine aimed at supplying the seaborne market, plays on the industry’s mind, as does the virulent public opposition to the mine’s development.More: COLUMN-Resurgent coal exporters should be wary of blinkered optimism: Russell
The USC men’s water polo team suffered a rare setback on Saturday, falling 10-6 to Pacific for the first time since 2002.The Trojans (20-2, 2-1) entered the game with the top spot in the nation, setting the stage for a clash of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titans, as Pacific (16-3, 3-1) entered the game just two spots below.More than 1,300 fans attended the game in Stockton, Calif. and fostered a raucous environment to support their hometown Tigers. The Trojans struggled to stop Pacific’s high-octane offensive attack, highlighting an issue on defense that has recently become more prevalent for head coach Jovan Vavic’s squad.USC gave up 10 goals for the second consecutive game. They had previously allowed that many points just once in the team’s previous 20 matches this season.“We are giving up, again, too many goals,” Vavic said. “We just have to be more aware and tougher at defense.”The defensive problems were highlighted through the first three quarters, as the Trojans gave up eight goals to dig themselves an 8-5 hole entering the final stanza.Another tough aspect for the Trojans was the hostile crowd. As the undisputed top program in the nation, USC often becomes the marquee matchup for opponents — and the Tigers were clearly amped to host the Trojans.“It was a great atmosphere — lots of people, lots of cheering,” Vavic said. “You need to welcome that and enjoy it. But at the same time, some younger players do get nervous.”Though it certainly provided another challenge for the Trojans, Vavic welcomed the boisterous scene in Stockton.“We were talking about it before the game,” Vavic said. “If you’re the No. 1-ranked team in the country, people will come watch you play. And that is why you play for USC.”The Trojans held close in the beginning, scoring first and jumping out to a 2-1 lead behind two goals from senior utility man Mace Rapsey.But Pacific responded by scoring four consecutive goals through the second quarter. The Trojans came back and cut the margin to 5-4 off a five-meter penalty shot from junior driver Kostas Genidounias with 3:55 left in the second frame, but entered the break down 6-4 after the Tigers converted on a power play.The Trojans would get no closer than that two-goal margin, as the Tigers simply wore down USC’s defense and continued to pile it on.Some of USC’s stars continued their consistent play for the Trojans, as Rapsey and Genidounias led the Trojans with two goals apiece. But senior two-meter Jeremy Davie and senior driver Nikola Vavic each contributed just one goal.The loss dropped the Trojans behind Pacific by half a game for the top spot in the MPSF.As dynasties form, program outsiders can be quick to make comparisons between current teams and past squads. But coach Vavic asserts that every team has its own strengths and weaknesses.“This is a different team than the team we had last year,” Vavic said. “We have some young players and they are going to gain from this experience.”The Hall of Fame-worthy coach knows that the Trojans need not overreact to one loss, but simply keep their noses to the grindstone.“I think that focus is the biggest thing,” Vavic said. “We’re plenty strong, we have good speed … That’s the way we want it.”USC will trek back to NorCal next week, when they visit California in a high-profile match that will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.The team will then return home to the friendly confines of the Uytengsu Aquatics Center on Nov. 10 for a matchup against the Pepperdine Waves. Follow us on Twitter @dailytrojan
ANKENY — The governor and business leaders announced a statewide coalition of renewable energy supporters last week they say will push for policies that grow wind energy investments in Iowa.The coalition called “Power Up Iowa” was announced at Des Moines Area Community College, where vice president Scott Ocken oversees the program that trains people to work on wind turbines. “We’ve got about 60 students in our energy-related programming. We start about 20 new students in the wind turbine technician program every year…we’d like to double those numbers,” Ocken says.He says the demand is strong for these students. “Just this week we had two employers contact DMACC — they need 40 new wind energy technicians — and they need them now,” according to Ocken. “We started 20 in the fall, we can meet about half of that demand with graduations and attritions, we’ll as close to that as we can get. And then other community colleges will also have to step up.”Governor Kim Reynolds says the program is a key part of her “Future Ready Iowa Initiative” which seeks to prepare graduates for the high demand jobs. “Bringing people together in public private partnerships like Power Up Iowa is helping our state remain in the forefront of energy policy, and a leader on the national level.” the governor said.The American Wind Energy Association says Iowa ranks second in the nation in installed wind capacity, and is a leader in wind manufacturing. Facebook regional manager Matt Sexton, said that’s why they chose Iowa for their facility. “Today our two-point-five million square foot campus is supported by 100 percent wind energy from right here in the state of Iowa,” Sexton said.Sexton said they support the further development of renewable energy. “Just last year we set a goal of reaching 100 percent of renewable energy for all of our operations by 2020. And a big part of that commitment is helping strengthen renewable energy markets, and encouraging others to invest in areas where wind and solar energy are being developed,” according to Sexton says. “Renewable resources are good for the environment and will help to bring further investments to the communities in the state of Iowa.”Iowa currently generates 37 percent of its electricity using wind power.
James Pat McDaid and Ciaran Brogan look like they are both heading for LIfford.THE FIANNA Fail strategy in the Letterkenny Milford area has resulted in two certain seats for Cllr Ciaran Brogan and former Glenswilly GAA man James Pat McDaid.Brogan hadn’t canvassed in McDaid’s home patch and got just five votes there to allow the 25-year-old a clear run.And the two are celebrating today as tallies point to both of them being elected. “It worked well for both of us,” said Cllr Brogan.“I am delighted with the support I received from across the electoral area.“I am also delighted for James Pat because he is part of what Fianna Fail is about now and for the future.”McDaid is now certain to join Brogan in County House in Lifford next month. “I want to thank all those who voted for me,” he said.“I am looking forward to Sunday’s count. If Donegal can beat Derry now at Celtic Park it will be a very good weekend indeed.” FIANNA FAIL STRATEGY PAYS OFF AS McDAID AND BROGAN LOOK TO BE HOME AND DRY was last modified: May 24th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Ciaran BrogandonegalElectionsfianna failJames Pat McDaid