On the Blogs: Cheapest Electricity in the World? Mexican Solar

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Electrik.co:Per a press release from the Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (Cenace) of Mexico, the department received bids for 3TWh of solar electricity, with the lowest bids being 1.77¢/kWh coming from Italian multinational ENEL Green Power.This record low price of electricity on earth, just beats out the 1.79¢/kWh from Saudi Arabia, and is part of a pattern marching toward 1¢/kWh bids that are coming in 2019 (or sooner).I predict that in 2019 we’re going to see 1¢/kWh from a solar power project – and this low price will be primarily driven by increasing solar panel efficiencies. I am bullish that efficiency will drive an additional 0.7¢/kWh out of solar power because right now we’re seeing laboratory efficiencies increase from a current standard of 16-17% solar panel efficiency toward a leading edge solar cell at 23.45% by JinkoSolar. Depending on how that cell efficiency translates to a panel, that’s an increase of up to 40% more efficiency based upon 16.5% solar panels. That means 40% less racking, 40% less labor laying our wiring and solar panels, 40% less maintenance and cleaning, 40% less land, etc.This efficiency gain is in addition to other technological advances. Drones are lowering long-term costs, international finance has more trust in solar, inverters are getting smarter and cheaper, re-powering is extending plant lives and companies are learning how to manage their projects better.Soon we’re going to have to confront new questions as solar power costs less than anything seriously considered before, and will offer new opportunities never thought of before. What will we do with all of this cheap energy? How do we move from fossil systems toward solar sources without destroying the social fabric of those dependent on revenue from gas and coal? How will our post scarcity society continue to advance? It’s going to be more difficult to live up to the potentials of solar and ‘free energy’ than we think.More: Cheapest electricity on the planet is Mexican solar power at 1.77¢/kWh – record 1¢/kWh coming in 2019, sooner On the Blogs: Cheapest Electricity in the World? Mexican Solarlast_img read more

‘Tepid Demand’ Contributes to Over-Capacity of Coal-Fired Power Plants in India

first_img‘Tepid Demand’ Contributes to Over-Capacity of Coal-Fired Power Plants in India FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg: India is adding the least amount of coal-fired power in more than a decade as tepid demand from indebted state retailers fails to utilize the nation’s existing generation capacity.Coal-fired capacity, which accounts for more than three quarters of the nation’s electricity, rose by 809 megawatts during the April-November period, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the latest available data from the Central Electricity Authority, the planning wing of the power ministry. That’s the slowest pace since 680 megawatts was added during the same eight-month stretch in 2006.Power producers have canceled some coal-fired projects as existing plants fail to sell all the electricity they can produce. Nearly 40 percent of the country’s coal-based capacity is unused because the core customers — state-managed distribution companies — struggle to increase purchases in the face of massive debts and losses through electricity theft, insufficient metering and selling power below cost.The inability of state distributors to utilize existing plants leaves India with a glut of capacity while still nearly 300 million Indians, mostly rural, remain without access to electricity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration, which came to power in 2014 promising electricity for all, has launched ambitious programs to bring electricity to every household by December 2018.“Financially, the distribution companies are still not out of the woods and there isn’t enough demand to use up all the power capacity,” said Debasish Mishra, a partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLP in Mumbai.  “Net capacity additions for coal may fall even lower in coming years as some of the older plants get phased out.”A rapid increase in renewable power on the back of Modi’s pledge to provide clean energy is exacerbating the glut. During April-November, the country added 4.8 gigawatt of renewable capacity, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. That’s almost sixfold the additions for coal.More: Coal Power Pace Slows in India as Glut Leaves Plants Unusedlast_img read more

Bidding war emerges over rights to offshore U.S. wind

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:Companies competed Thursday for the opportunity to install wind turbines in Atlantic waters off Massachusetts in an auction that shattered records even as it headed toward a second day of frenzied bidding.After 24 rounds of sealed bidding, companies had already pledged $285 million toward the three offshore wind leases that are up for grabs — more than six times the previous high-water mark: Norwegian energy company Equinor ASA’s $42.47 million bid in 2016 for the rights to build an offshore wind farm near New York.High bids in the offshore wind auction, set to resume Friday, also already eclipsed the $178 million the U.S. government collected in its August sale of offshore drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico.By Thursday evening, when Interior Department officials called an overnight halt to the auction, four companies were still vying for the territory, drawn by growing demand for renewable power in the Northeast U.S. and a chance at gaining a foothold in the nation’s growing offshore wind market.“The unprecedented interest in today’s sale demonstrates that not only has offshore wind arrived in the U.S., but it is set to soar,” said Randall Luthi, head of the National Ocean Industries Association.More: Offshore Wind Bonanza Draws Bidding War in Record-Setting Sale Bidding war emerges over rights to offshore U.S. windlast_img read more

Enthusiasm for coal waning at India’s largest power generator

first_imgEnthusiasm for coal waning at India’s largest power generator FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Business Standard:The country’s [India’s] sagging growth in new capacity additions in coal-fired power seemed to have rubbed on state-controlled NTPC Ltd., the largest power generator.Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, the country had added as much as 20 GW of coal-fired power each year. The growth has subsided over the past three years, with last fiscal [year] adding a net capacity of only 1.2 GW.According to a study by US-based research organisation, Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA), NTPC too has jumped on the bandwagon of tepid additions in coal-based power. In 2018-19, NTPC signaled intentions of abandoning coal-based projects amounting to 9.3 Gw in Andhra Pradesh (Pudimadaka & Simadhri), West Bengal (Katwa) and Odisha (Gajamara). As per IEEFA’s calculations, NTPC could manage just 1,160 Mw capacity addition, less than a quarter of its envisaged target of 4,740 Mw for 2018-19. NTPC’s subdued growth betrays its robust balance sheet and operational prowess to risk building new thermal power capacities.For India as a whole, the retirement of 2.1 GW of thermal power plants during the year (1.9 GW of coal and 0.2 GW of gas capacity) is a clear sign of things to come, the report noted.In line with India’s National Electricity Plan 2018, 49 GW of end of life coal-fired plants are proposed to be retired through FY2026-27 to curb emissions from older, polluting units. India’s thermal power sector is in the throes of a crisis, burdened with an enormous $60 billion in stranded assets.“The continued decline in thermal capacity additions is the result of a fundamental change in electricity market dynamics driven by competition from cheaper renewable energy sources. Lack of policy clarity and power evacuation infrastructure, the imposition of trade duties on imported solar modules, and the high number of tender cancellations materially tempered the momentum in renewable generation capacity as well”, said Kashish Shah, energy analyst, and Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies (Australasia), IEEFA.More: NTPC tempers growth in coal-fired capacities, meets under 25% of FY19 goallast_img read more

S&P: 10,000MW of renewable energy capacity to be operating in New Mexico by 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):New Mexico’s recently bolstered renewable portfolio standard, or RPS, is expected to be a major driver as Market Intelligence estimates over 10,000 MW of renewable capacity installed in the state by 2030. Aggressive state renewable legislation, the expected participation in the Energy Imbalance Market, or EIM, corporate renewable demand, and a climate that supports utility-scale wind and solar power plants make New Mexico a popular destination for renewable developers through the next decade.In March of 2019, New Mexico’s state Senate passed Senate Bill 489 increasing the state’s RPS from 20% to 50% by 2030, 80% by 2040 with a goal to reach 100% carbon-free by 2045. This is a significant increase to their previous RPS which was set at 20% by 2020. Eligible technologies include solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, fuel cells not powered by fossil fuels, biomass, landfill gas and anaerobic digested waste biomass.The 847-MW San Juan coal plant is scheduled to close in 2022 and the bill allows Public Service Co. of New Mexico, or PNM, a subsidiary of PNM Resources Inc., to securitize the costs of the closure. PNM has stated they plan to phase out coal generation entirely by 2031. The legislation permits the utilities to retain zero carbon resources in their generation portfolios until Dec. 31, 2047. Zero carbon resources, which would include nuclear power plants, are defined as generation assets that do not produce carbon dioxide emissions.In terms of compliance to their previous RPS obligations, New Mexico utilities have largely fallen short in recent years with qualifying utilities reaching only 83% of their overall RPS requirement in 2017. The previous legislation included carve-outs for wind, solar, biomass and distributed generation and utilities fell short in every technology.The state has an impressive pipeline to help make up this shortfall with over 5,000 MW of wind projects and 1,000 MW of solar projects in various stages of development. The pipeline for wind is particularly front-loaded with over 3,600 MW of capacity planned to come online between the end of 2019 and 2021. Solar projects are a little more spread out with almost 600 of the 1,000 MW planning to come online in 2022. Current estimates project in-state renewable builds surpassing 10,000 MW by 2030. As is the case in many regions across the country, transmission and distribution access will be a consistent concern over the next five years as thousands of megawatts of wind and solar projects undoubtedly located in remote locations across New Mexico are expected to come online.New Mexico’s newly implemented aggressive RPS, its aim to boost their participation in out-of-state markets, abundant land availability and favorable climate for wind and solar energy will make it one of the country’s most popular markets for renewables over the next ten years and beyond.More ($): Over 10 GW of renewable capacity expected in New Mexico by 2030 S&P: 10,000MW of renewable energy capacity to be operating in New Mexico by 2030last_img read more

Distance Persistence

first_imgGoing the Distance: Lawrence Dye has been pedaling the Virginia Creeper Trail for 15 years.If you rode your bike around the Earth six times, you would still have to pedal farther to match the mileage of Lawrence Dye…and he’s 80 years old.You have probably crossed paths with Dye if you’ve been on the Virginia Creeper Trail in the past 15 years. The Legend of the Creeper Trail has logged over 165,000 miles on the trail and shows no signs of slowing down even as he approaches his 81st birthday. Dye’s trail persistence has been intertwined with the Creeper Trail virtually since its inception as one of the premier rails to trails paths in the Southeast.The last Virginia Creeper train ran in 1977, so nicknamed due to the slow crawl it took over the mountain railroad and the ivy that flanked its route. Through a partnership among the towns of Abingdon and Damascus and the U.S. Forest Service, the Creeper Trail was refurbished for bike, horse, and foot traffic and opened to the public in 1984. It was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1985. The trail stretches a total of 34.3 miles from downtown Abington to a mile past Whitetop Station at the Virginia-North Carolina border.The trail’s transformation was not without controversy, however. Since the 15-mile stretch between Abingdon and Damascus runs through mostly private land, homeowners posed a significant roadblock to the trail’s creation. Despite the throughway being purchased from Norfolk and Western Railway, many landowners hoped to reclaim the land as their own. Lawsuits, heated town council meetings, and a series of sabotage attempts followed, including placing obstacles on the trail and the mysterious burning of a trestle in 1985. It was obvious there needed to be an advocate for the young Virginia Creeper and its purpose as a recreational, multi-use trail.Dye began riding the Virginia Creeper casually after retiring as a state auditor in 1988. He began pedaling the trail in earnest beginning in 1990. Although he has ridden its length thousands of times since then, that first 17-mile trip was a doozy.“I just rode from Abingdon to Alvarado and back. I didn’t have much problem doing it, but I got back to my house and tried to get out of my truck and I nearly fell,” he remembers. “I just wasn’t used to doing it.”Legend of the Virginia Creeper from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.Despite the inauspicious beginning, that first ride sparked a passion for the trail that shows no sign of fading. Despite the 3% grade heading from Damascus to Whitetop Station, Dye tackled the entire 68-mile round trip nearly five times a week for two decades. His career as an auditor and his acquired habit of record keeping made it easy to log his almost daily trips and the mileage began to pile up.“It just started happening,” says Dye. “When I got to 50,000, I said, ‘I’ll step it up a little. If I do 10,000 miles a year over the next five years, I’ll get to 100,000.’ So that’s whatI did.”“We’ve got our own Lance Armstrong right here,” declared Wayne Miller, current president of the Virginia Creeper Trail Club.The nonprofit Virginia Creeper Trail Club was formed in 1989 to oversee the maintenance, promotion and preservation of the trail. Today, an estimated 200,000 people traverse the trail each year and is kept in shape by a network of club members deemed Creeper Keepers. But probably no one has done more to promote the trail than its most seasoned veteran and official Trail Ambassador. Dye has been greeting visitors, cleaning up trash and helping to change tires on the trail on a daily basis for over 20 years, a fact that does not go unnoticed by trail users, both local and from out of state.“I ride it so much and I love it,” he says. “I meet people all the time and they know me. They’re looking for me and stop and take a picture. It promotes the trail and it’s been good for me.”The large amount of Creeper traffic coming through town has been a boon to the local economy. So much so, an entire industry has developed around it including shuttle buses, restaurants and lodging. This puts a lot of pressure on the trail during the peak summer months, but Dye sees this as a continuation of the trail’s true purpose.“The shuttle service provides a way for the whole family to use [the trail]. From Whitetop down, you can ride without much effort, if you can keep from wrecking,” he says, laughing.Dye rides at a pace that belies his age. During his rides he is constantly on the pedals and moves with surprising speed. His use of the trail as a physical fitness regime is surely to be admired, but that is not the only reason he continues to ride. The natural beauty of the Virginia Creeper Trail, with its 47 trestles, river crossings, and pristine open pastures and rolling hills, is also a motivating factor. But what ultimately brings Dye back to the trail after all these years is the human element of the trail, its ability to bring a community and strangers together on common ground.“Some people say it’s crazy to do it, but I do it anyway,” he says. “I meet people all the time from all over the world, and that’s a great joy.”Ride with the LegendWant to take a spin on the Creeper Trail with Lawrence Dye? You’ll have your chance on July 28 during the annual Ride With the Legend event. Lawrence and crew ride the entire trail from Abingdon to Whitetop and back in conjunction with the weeklong Virginia Highlands Festival. Think you have what it takes?Tell us if Lawrence Dye is the most inspring outdoor person to you and more in the Best of the Blue Ridge Ballot!Wolf Hills Brewing CompanyThe latest addition to Virginia’s craft beer renaissance is Wolf Hills Brewing Company in Abingdon. Brewing in small batches and distributing, for now, only in the Virginia Highlands, Wolf Hills has built a reputation for fresh and creative brews like their White Blaze Honey Cream Ale and Creeper Trail Amber Ale. You can find their beer on tap around town or stop in for a tasting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.last_img read more

To Build a Fire

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Eric Albitz, http://www.ericalbitz.com/Whether you are experiencing a cold snap in the Yukon, or spending your summer nights on trail; building a fire is not only critical to your safety, but also a crucial boost for your moral. The heated logs that serve as a platform for the flickering fire, the embers that shoot up along the smoke into the night air, and the general sense of warmth; building a fire is always a great night-cap to a long day.Imagine if you will, the first cavemen who saw the lightning strike, the flint rock ignite, and the fire burning. What amazement he must of felt, what humbling natural beauty he had to succumb to. How long do you suppose he stared at the sudden iridescence playing the song of life? Hours, days, weeks? This is how I feel as I suddenly snap out of my thoughts and realize I’ve been lost in the glowing center of the fire.What natural instinct brings man to fire? Some say it’s the need for warmth, the gentle toastiness the right distance and the right fire can bring. Some say it’s the need for light, each flame bringing a dark world closer to view. But I would say that fire attracts man because it is one of the most raw and quickest forms of the natural world. Uncontrolling and unable to be touched, the fire spreads from log to log with fury and passion, with rhythm and chaos. The fire dances to whatever song it pleases, naked and without ambition, unbiased to the world around it.Go create a little spark to your day, stoke the embers, and add a little fire to your life.-BDLlast_img read more

Trauma Tuesday: Snow Shark Edition

first_img“You know it’s a damn shark, and don’t pretend like it’s something else!”Apparently nowhere is safe from threat of a shark attack anymore, not even on land, in the winter, in the snow. With the recent announcement that the big budget, highly anticipated “Avalanche Sharks” is in post-production, we here at BRO felt compelled to dig into the legend of the snow inhabiting shark attack movie phenomenon, kicked off by “Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast” from last year. The IMDB.com description reads as thus:12 years ago during a scientific expedition 3 animal biologists stumbled upon a great discovery that ended in tragedy. Whatever killed them has awoken and now the legend of the Ancient Snow Beast could prove to be more than just a legend.Yap. That just about sums it up. The above trailer is amazing due to the weight the actors give to their characters, the suspense drawn out by the night scenes, the fully realized snow, etc. but it lacks the Hollywood glitz and CGI that gets movies into theaters around the country.Back to “Avalanche Sharks,” which has a decidedly more sport-oriented plot line than “Snow Shark.” From the writer and director:After an horrific avalanche, the staff members at Twin Pines Ski Resort start to receive reports of missing people and creatures that move beneath the snow. As the body count piles up, the management tries to cover up the situation, which leads to disaster on their busiest day of the year: Bikini Snow Day.Spring break in the mountains: snowboarding, beer, drunken co-eds in bikinis. As the yearly Bikini Ski Day party descends on a small mountain town, something lurks beneath the snow. When an unwitting rider causes an avalanche, it awakens a huge, menacing, pre-historic Snow Shark! With a newfound taste for human flesh, the Snow Shark picks off the snow bunnies mercilessly. Cut off from help by mountainous terrain and blinding snow, the local sheriff must make an unlikely alliance with a motley crew of snowboarders to take down the Snow Shark before the white hills run red with blood!O.M.G.This sounds like a combination of Hot Dog: The Movie, Lake Placid, Deep Blue Sea, Frozen, and Tremors – which happen to be my favorite movies, in that order. This is the movie poster for Pete’s sake:AvalancheSharksI mean, what’s her plan for that ski pole with the basket that looks like it’s from 1920?Unfortunately, there is no trailer for “Avalanche Sharks” which we have to assume is because they are working on all the extreme special effects they are going to have unless they train a real shark to swim in the snow –  which of course will escape its handlers and go on an actual snow shark attack killing spree spawning another B-horror movie spin off (where does art leave off and real life begin? We may never know). If that happens, we have bigger problems. So there will probably be CGI mountains, CGI snow, CGI snowboarding tricks, CGI sharks, CGI avalanches, and CGI bikinis. Oh, Brooke Hogan – Hulk’s daughter – is also in the film, lending her big name panache to the project. She will probably also be in CGI.last_img read more

Bigger: Four Dudes Escalate the Weekly Ride

first_imgThere’s talk among the group about bringing a full-sized grill to the next weekly ride.“We could grill some steaks,” Mark, a builder and avid 29 rider says.“Why stop at a grill?” someone asks. “Hell, we could get a small smoker and smoke some ribs. We could start cooking before we set off on the ride, then a couple of hours later when we roll back to the parking lot, ‘shazaam’, BBQ ribs.”Brilliant.Four of us have been doing a weekly mountain bike ride for about eight years now. Picture a bunch of dads rapidly approaching middle age—our bikes getting nicer but our ride times getting slower. We took a few years off in the middle of that eight-year-span while doing daddy duty to small children, but now that most of our kids are older, we’re back at the Wednesday night ritual.I don’t use the term “ritual” lightly. Sure, our wives think we’re just goofing off for a couple of hours in the woods (“acting like a bunch of jackass kids on 10 speeds”, one of them said). But these weekly rides go beyond your typical suburban escapism. We’re bonding out there. We’re solving problems. And on a good night, we’re getting drunk. Last time I checked, 1) bonding, 2) problem solving, and 3) booze are the three pillars of ritual.And with all rituals, the tendency is to take it up a notch. Escalate, if you will. That’s how the first virgin got thrown into a volcano. Four dudes were standing around the burning hole and said, “You know what we should do next week?” Until that point, they’d just been throwing goats into the volcano.So, back to the grill. Before someone thought of bringing flame-broiled meat into the mix, we just scarfed down some Clif bars while making our way through a sixer after each ride. Like a bunch of animals. Now, with the fire, the meat, the sweet onions wrapped in foil–it’s all so civilized.All of a sudden, the six-pack we’re drinking looks a little too…high school.“What about margaritas?” I say. “I saw in the SkyMall there’s a margarita machine that runs on your car battery.”It was only natural that we’d eventually turn our revisionist eye to the ride itself. We typically ride the same section of Pisgah week after week. It’s a lovely trail system, but after several years of pedaling the same 15 miles (let’s get crazy and ride it counter clockwise tonight!), even a freshly grilled steak and frozen margarita couldn’t make the ride feel “big” enough.The problem was one of convenience. To ride anywhere else would add 20 minutes of drive time on either end of the night. Then there was the unknown quality of the other ride options. Our typical forest might be well tread, but it’s high quality, the kind of trails people drive four hours to ride. And it was in our backyards. Who were we to turn our backs on that? Just because we’re bored?Hell yes. So that’s how we found ourselves waist deep in stinging nettles in a godforsaken corner of Pisgah National Forest that only a handful of meth dealers and downhillers bother to explore.We were just supposed to do a quick six-mile loop with a bit of gravel climbing and a few miles of fun downhill. The few bikers that ride the loop tend to shuttle it. We decided to pedal it all because we’re badass and nobody wanted to be the shuttle bunny. After a couple of hours of grinding up the gravel, it becomes pretty obvious to us all that we completely missed the turn for the downhill. Instead of turning around, we consult the map and decide to keep climbing to another trail higher on the ridge.“It’ll mean more singletrack,” someone says, optimistically leaving out the miles of additional gravel road ahead.“My wife is gonna be pissed if I’m late,” someone else adds.“We won’t be late.”An hour later we’re knee deep in stinging nettles and bear poop on a “trail” that hasn’t been ridden since it was cut 60 years ago to haul virgin timber off the top of the mountain. Eventually we hit good singletrack that barrels down the face of the mountain in a straight line of loose bowling-ball-sized boulders and mud puddles. It’s more of a drainage creek than a trail. But that gives way to a legit stretch of downhill complete with big berms and jumps that we’re all too old and wise to attempt. Some sections are so steep, we slide down on our butts holding our bikes awkwardly. Everyone ate it at least once. There is blood. Some video is taken. Everyone is late and wives are angered, but look, this is the way rituals go. Some people get hurt, others get angry.There’s no time to light the grill or mix a margarita at the end of the ride because of the aforementioned spouses, but everyone is satiated in a completely different way. In the middle of the week, in a few short hours between deadlines and responsibilities, we managed to have a mini adventure, which is exactly why we started the weekly ride eight years before. We all rush home, thinking of ways we can go bigger next Wednesday.last_img read more

What One Seeks, One Will Find

first_imgLocated in the heart of the High Country, Boone, NC, is home to 18,000 students who attend Appalachian State University. Many students attend App State solely for the outdoors aspect that the university and town offer… and for an education too, I guess. The rest of the student population quickly discovers that an outdoor lifestyle is hard to avoid, therefore, they, too, become an outdoor-adventure-junky.From a variety of courses and majors, to the programs and clubs students can join, to the local shops located on King Street in downtown Boone, the town fully engulfs the outdoor lifestyle. Within an hour of campus there are several different locations in which a person can seek adventures. Whether it’s a short day hike to Elk Knob, a quick drive over to the Blue Ridge Parkway, or a long weekend spent in Linville Gorge, adventure is always near by.With the help of the university’s Outdoor Program (OP) and University Recreation Center (UREC) students and staff can easily rent equipment at discounted prices including backpacks, tents, kayaks, stoves. You need it? They’ve got it. The OP also offers a wide variety of staff-led trips to educate students, encourage them to meet new people, and provide new places to explore. Some of this month’s expeditions include whitewater rafting, rock climbing and bouldering, sunset canoe trips, and caving.This week I had the pleasure to speak to a few members of ASU’s Outdoor Program in order to get better insight on their involvement with the great outdoors.Jonathon Weaver, a current senior at App State has been a trip leader for the OP since his sophomore year. Weaver fell in love with the outdoors at a really young age.“My granddad lived in Cleveland County and had 100 acres behind his house of woods and farm… both [he] and my great-granddad would take me out there and we would hike,” Weaver says.Today, Weaver finds himself tucked away in a kayak as often as possible.“Wilson Creek is by far my favorite place in the High Country. It’s two miles roadside, class IV whitewater… it’s the place to be,” says Weaver. “I find myself connected with water — ocean, stream, pond, creek, it doesn’t matter. There’s such an adrenaline rush with kayaking, I can’t explain it, it’s just so fun”.photo 3Aside from being in the outdoors, Weaver teaches a free kayaking roll clinic in the Student Rec Center pool once a week. Both students and townsfolk come together from all backgrounds of experience to take part in this clinic.“Some people have been doing this as long as they can remember, others have never even been in a kayak before,” Weaver says.Being apart of the OP as a student has enriched Weaver’s life in many ways.“If nothing else being outside is a stress reliever in itself… a big part of being on the OP staff is just personal development,” says Weaver. “After going on a trip we come back and sit down and say, ‘That was good… how can we make it even better?’… It forces me to be introspective and then you begin to ask yourself, ‘How can I be a better person? How can I be a better leader? How can I be even better”?From another perspective, Andrew Hawley has been leading trips for more than 10 years. He received his BS in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from North Carolina University. He later attended Ohio University where he received his Masters in Recreations Studies. Hawley’s love for the outdoors led him back to North Carolina where he is now the event coordinator of ASU’s OP.Around the High Country, Hawley finds adventure about 45 minutes away from Boone at Linville Gorge. “It’s majestic, it’s beautiful… there’s something about looking through the gorge with the mountains above you and being on top of one of the cliff faces looking down at the river with the sound of the whitewater rushing around you,” says Hawley.No matter the reason one ends up at Appalachian State, I guarantee that by the end of a student’s four years of school, they will have spent just about as much time outdoors as he or she has in the classroom. There is so much more to life than the education you can gain from a textbook. The real world situations you get yourself in will teach you much more about this life than any scholar ever could. So, in the words of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, “go outside and play.” Go see what the world has to teach you right outside the classroom door.last_img read more