2021年11月25日 星期四

As Solar Farms Grow, So Does Resistance 美國拓展太陽能 居民反彈變大

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2021/11/26 第360期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 As Solar Farms Grow, So Does Resistance 美國拓展太陽能 居民反彈變大
The Transformation of the Fitness Industry 疫情還沒完 健身產業已大轉型
As Solar Farms Grow, So Does Resistance 美國拓展太陽能 居民反彈變大
文/Ellen Rosen

美國拓展太陽能 居民反彈變大

Hecate Energy, a renewable energy developer, had hoped to install a 500-acre solar farm in Copake, New York, a quiet town nestled between the Catskill and Berkshire mountains. The setting was ideal because of its proximity to an electrical substation, critical to the power transmission.


But after facing an outcry from some in the community who feared the installation would mar the bucolic setting, Hecate scaled back its plans.


"We heard loud and clear," said Diane Sullivan, Hecate's senior vice president for environmental and permitting. "People felt that the project was too large, and they wanted us to shrink it down."


Hecate cut the size of the planned development to 245 acres, which it says will still produce the 60 megawatts of electricity in the original design.


The Copake fight mirrors similar battles raging in rural areas like Lake County, Oregon; Clinton County, Ohio; and Troy, Texas. Developers say industrial-scale solar farms are needed to meet the nation's goals to mitigate the rise of climate change, but locals are fighting back against what they see as an encroachment on their pastoral settings, the loss of agricultural land and a decline in property values.


Until recently, most farms were built in the West, where abundant sunshine powers industrial-scale solar arrays and installations were farther away from sight lines. But now, with federal and state governments committing to a reduction in fossil fuels, joined by corporate giants like Amazon and Microsoft, the industry is seeking solar installations in areas where the calculus is more complicated.


In the first half of this year alone, developers installed 5.7 gigawatts of solar capacity, for a total of 108.7 gigawatts of capacity, sufficient to reach 18.9 million U.S. homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.


"Typically, 5 to 7 acres are needed to create 1 megawatt of power," said Matt Birchby, co-founder and president of Swift Current Energy, a solar developer that is working on a proposal for Clark County, Kentucky.


Finding appropriate sites with sufficient sunlight, proximity to the grid and up-to-date infrastructure is challenging.


Approximately 0.5% of U.S. land would need to be covered with solar panels to achieve the decarbonization goals proposed by the Biden administration in April. Urban settings usually lack enough space for significant projects; as a result, 90% of the suitable land sits in rural areas.


The Transformation of the Fitness Industry 疫情還沒完 健身產業已大轉型
文/Mark A. Stein

疫情還沒完 健身產業已大轉型

Like restaurants, retailers and other businesses normally conducted in crowded locations open to the public, the health and fitness industry in Europe is scrambling to recover and get its business back on track — as soon as it figures out what its business will look like.


The orders by public health authorities to close health and fitness clubs several times have had a profound effect on the industry. The consulting firm Deloitte estimates that clubs in Europe lost 15.4% of their members, or more than 10 million people, even when closures were relatively brief. Industry revenue fell twice as much, by almost 33%, as clients froze their accounts or requested refunds.


While the pandemic drags on, club executives are trying to fully understand how fundamentally COVID-19 has transformed their industry, which generated $96.7 billion in global revenue in 2019.


"For a long time now, I believe that too many health club leaders around the world assume they have the full and undivided attention of the exercising consumer," said Ray Algar, a global fitness industry business adviser and analyst with Oxygen Consulting in Brighton, England. "That the gym sits at the top of some exercise industry hierarchy."


"The gym may have once had this temporary monopoly, but this is over, and the pandemic has demonstrated that consumers can capably locate and enjoy many different gym substitutes," he said. "What the pandemic has done has made these gym substitutes more visible."


Stefan Ludwig, a Deloitte partner and leader of the Sports Business Group, said that the lockdowns had indeed had a "significant impact on both consumer behavior and operator offerings."


A report by ClubIntel, a marketing research and consulting firm, found that closed clubs led many people to lose the habit of exercising regularly and caused others to try alternatives, such as biking, joining a walking club, signing up for video classes (dance and boxing are popular options) or buying an interactive device like a Peloton or Mirror.


Many customers, the report found, have chosen remote options offered by providers other than a fitness club. To retain or recoup pre-pandemic clientele, clubs need to increase those kinds of options and build a business model with diverse offerings like on-demand and streaming video. Many have already begun.


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