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talkSPORT writers predict who will win World Cup 2018

first_img Jackson Cole (Staff Writer) – France Fallon d’Floor LU BEAUTY diamond geezer NO JOY SUPERSTITION Their second eleven could probably win the World Cup. The Samba Stars have world-beating quality in every area of the pitch, with physicality and form to match. Neymar’s fitness was the only question and he’s provided a resounding answer in the two warm-up matches. Olivier Giroud confirms N’Golo Kante is the nicest man in football They somehow managed to lose the Euro 2016 final on home soil but this French side have gone up a few gears since. It is also 20 years on from when Didier Deschamps captained Les Bleus to a World Cup triumph and he has every chance of achieving that feat as France manager. Joe Coleman (Staff Writer) – Brazil Billy Hawkins (Senior Writer) – Germany 7 A reminder to Liverpool fans about the very comical threat Neymar offers Paul Pogba buys France World Cup winners specially designed rings Brazil have two very solid teams, both of which are capable of winning the World Cup. I also think they will have a point to prove. Dele Alli reveals pre-match rituals and lucky charms he has before matches Watch every goal England scored at the 2018 World Cup 7 7 Michael Benson (Staff Writer) – Argentina Arsenal star Laurent Koscielny admits he didn’t want France to win World Cup Shy guy misery Good times For me, you can’t look past Brazil for the crown this year. Under new coach Tite, the Selecao are on an incredible run of form and look unbeatable when they are in full flight. Finally, they have sorted out their defensive issues and their attacking options just look too strong. France are the strongest side on paper but, as an England fan, we all know that equates to nothing once the first ball has been kicked. You’re the one Here at we’re no different and happy to put our necks on the line to provide our tournament predictions.So who do our writers believe will win the World Cup in Russia, scroll down to find out. Jogi Low’s side just have so much about them, making them one of the most versatile sides at the tournament. I’m expecting them to become the first team to retain the World Cup since Brazil in 1962. Pure class World Cup 2018 is about to get under way in Russia and fans are busy around the globe making predictions.Whether they are putting on bets, filling in brackets, entering sweepstakes, or just looking to prove their football knowledge to mates, it’s getting people talking. Learn the words for England’s catchy Gareth Southgate song 7 Write them off at your peril. Everybody is discounting the Argentinians because of their dodgy qualifying campaign, but that all goes out of the window once tournament football begins. Watch Jorge Sampaoli’s men gather some serious momentum in their group before Lionel Messi leads them to glory, finally securing his legacy with the most coveted international trophy of all. ‘It could have been me’ – Allardyce admits World Cup was tough to watch Sean O’Brien (Staff Writer) – Brazil Damian Mannion (Deputy Editor) – Brazil 7 Why does Luis Suarez kiss his wrist when he celebrates a goal? 7 Southgate makes young England fan’s day by replying to his letter 7 Anton Stanley (Features Editor) – Brazil This has the potential to be an incredibly open tournament, especially given the dramatic coaching changes with the Spanish national team. With an excellent mix of experiences and a squad fairly balanced in terms of attack and defence I do feel Brazil will be hard to stop if they hit top form.talkSPORT will be with listeners all day and all night at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup™ with over 800 hours of World Cup content and all 64 games live across the talkSPORT network.last_img read more

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Fishing the North Coast: Late-season coastal king season starts with a bang

first_imgLast weekend’s rain provided a glimpse into what could be one heck of a late-fall coastal salmon season on the Smith and Chetco rivers. Following last Thursday’s rain, the Smith opened to fishing above Rowdy Creek for the first time this fall. And per usual, that first big rise brought in plenty of big, chrome-bright kings. Sunday was the day to be there, with just about all of the boats landing fish. Monday was the day to be on the Chetco as the river dropped to 3,000 cfs in the morning and …last_img read more

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World Cup stadium a hit with tourists

first_img13 May 2011Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium – previously known as Soccer City – is proving to be a hit with local and international tourists, both because of its status as South Africa’s flagship stadium during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and because of its architectural genius.“Almost 40 000 tourists have toured the stadium since its transformation in 2010,” says Jacques Grobbelaar, chief executive of Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA), which runs the venue. “The numbers have increase significantly this year.”Tours of the FNB stadium have been extremely popular due, says Grobbelaar, offering “a first-hand view of the models and main stadium, the ‘ring of fire’, spectator stands, the pitch, players’ tunnel, change rooms, hospitality suites, venue operations centre and the ramps.”Grobbelaar says the high number of tourists expressing an interest in FNB Stadium prompted SMSA to roll out public tours of the city’s Dobsonville, Rand and Orlando stadiums as well.Tours of all four stadiums take place at 9am to 3pm from Monday to Friday and from 12 noon to 1.30pm on weekends. Adults pay R80 each, pensioners pay R70, while children under the age of six can join a tour for free. Schools can take learners on an excursion to the stadium for R30 each learner.Grobbelaar says the facility is the busiest of South Africa’s World Cup stadiums, namely Johannesburg’s Coca-Cola Park, Pretoria’s Loftus Versveld, Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng Palace, Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium, Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba Stadium, Bloemfontein’s Free State Stadium, Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, Green Point Stadium in Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth.Flagship World Cup venueThe FNB Stadium – known as Soccer City during the World Cup – hosted the first and final matches and the opening and closing ceremonies of the tournament. The facility, held under a 99-year lease with the City of Johannesburg, staged 23 sporting events in 2010, including eight Fifa World Cup games.It also hosted other major events, such as the U2 concert, with more than 90 000 people in the audience.Between January and March, it received lots of bookings for concerts, church events and soccer matches. “There is still a range of concerts and events that will take place at the facility for the year ahead,” says Grobbelaar.Some of the sports that are to take place at the stadium are the Nedbank Cup semifinals and finals, the Vodacom Cup and the Telkom Charity Cup.“The stadium has to be constantly maintained because of its busyness. For the pitch only, we spend over R70 000 per annum. We work with various private sector companies who assist in general maintenance of the facility.”One of SMSA’s strategies to ensure that the stadium is used regularly “is to compete proactively for headline sporting events, by building strong relationships with the leagues and sports clubs to encourage them to bring matches to the stadium”.The stadium“Our goal is to ensure that the stadium becomes the most sought-after venue in Johannesburg for large events of all kinds. With its iconic status, state-of-the-art facilities, award-winning design and all the glamour and excitement of flagship sporting events to offer, FNB Stadium presents an unbeatable package.”The stadium has a field of 11 232 square metres and a moat holding 2 670 cubic metres of recycled water. With 88 530 spectator seats and 195 suites, it is the largest stadium in Africa.Known as the calabash, a reference to its design, which resembles an African cooking pot, the establishment was voted the best public building and best building overall for 2010 in the Leaf Awards, an international architecture competition.The three-tier stadium soars 60 metres into the air and stretches across 300 metres. Its shape and facade were created from a mosaic of thousands of glass-fibre concrete panels in eight different colours that respond to natural and artificial light to create a glittering effect that lights up the stadium from far by day and night.To book a tour to FNB, Rand, Orlando or Dobsonville stadiums, visit or call 011 247 5300.Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

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For Storing Electricity, Utilities Turn to Pumped Hydro

first_imgIn the past decade, wind energy production has soared in Spain, rising from 6% of the country’s electricity generation in 2004 to about 20% today. While that is certainly good news for boosters of clean energy, the surge in renewables has come with the challenge of ensuring that electric power is available when customers want it, not just when the wind blows.To help accommodate the increased supply of wind, Spain’s utilities have turned not to high-tech, 21st-century batteries, but rather to a time-tested 19th-century technology — pumped storage hydroelectricity. Pumped storage facilities are typically equipped with pumps and generators that move water between upper and lower reservoirs. A basic setup uses excess electricity — generated, say, from wind turbines during a blustery night — to pump water from a lower reservoir, such as behind a dam, to a reservoir at a higher elevation. Then, when the wind ceases to blow or electricity demand spikes, the water from on high is released to spin hydroelectric turbines. Total capacity is now 142 gigawattsCurrently, 292 pumped storage hydro facilities are in operation worldwide, with a total capacity of 142 gigawatts. Another 46 projects, with a total capacity of 34 gigawatts, are being developed, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Global Energy Storage Database.Chemical batteries are typically installed at the electricity distribution level, where in addition to storage they provide other services, such as closing the gap between supply and demand in increments measured in milliseconds, notes Ruud Kempener, an analyst with the International Renewable Energy Agency in Bonn, Germany. The capacity of batteries is typically in the single to tens of megawatts.In contrast, the capacity of pumped storage hydro systems ranges from the hundreds to thousands of megawatts, providing flexibility to the electric system as a whole, a role that Kempener says will increase in importance in the future. He was lead author of a recent report that found pumped storage hydro would need to increase to 325 gigawatts by 2030 from about 150 gigawatts today in order to double the share of renewable energy in the global mix.Recent energy policy reforms in Spain have halted the hyper growth of renewables there. Still, several new pumped storage projects have recently come online in Spain, with more being developed in Germany, Austria, and Italy. In Italy, Swiss utility Repower is gaining approvals for its planned 572-megawatt Campolattaro pumped storage plant about 55 miles northeast of Naples, which would pump water from a dammed lake to a newly constructed reservoir in nearby hills.Pumped storage hydro is growing fastest in China, according to Chi-Jen Yang, a research scientist at the Center on Global Change at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “A new pumped hydro station comes online every several months,” he says, adding that “there are 10 or 15 under construction right now and each one is really huge, like 1 gigawatt or bigger.”China’s 22 gigawatts of installed pumped storage hydro capacity recently surpassed the United States’ 21 gigawatts and will overtake world leader Japan’s 27 gigawatts in 2018, according to Yang. The 3.6-gigawatt Fengning Pumped Storage Power Station under construction in Hebei Province will be the world’s largest when it comes online around 2022. John Roach is a Seattle-based journalist who covers technology, science and the environment. This post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360. Obstacles to new hydro facilitiesBuilding new pumped storage hydro faces numerous obstacles, especially in the United States. Public and private sector support for chemical batteries can outweigh interest in pumped hydro. Other challenges include the hundreds of millions of dollars in upfront capital, long construction times, and market structures that give insufficient value to grid flexibility.These hurdles have hobbled the Klickitat County Public Utility District’s effort to construct the JD Pool Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project along the Columbia River. Renewed interest is percolating, however, according to Randy Knowles, a commissioner for the utility district who has promoted the project for more than a decade. HydroChina Corp., a major hydropower construction firm based in Beijing, signed a memorandum of understanding with the county this October to discuss collaborating on the project. “They have an interest in entering the U.S. market, and this is a real attractive project given its size,” Knowles says.Since 2000, 47 wind projects have been developed in Washington and Oregon within about 50 miles of the proposed project site. The turbines have a combined capacity of 4,695 megawatts and generate enough electricity to power about 800,000 homes, according to data from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Power lines carry the electricity wrung from the wind to high-voltage transmission lines that lead away from the John Day Dam.Most of the time, the dam, and others in the Columbia Basin, work in concert with the wind turbines. When the wind slackens, for example, grid operators send more water through the dams to keep up with demand. When the wind howls, flows through the dams are reduced to save water until it’s needed. In a sense, the dams act as a giant battery that compensates for the intermittency of the wind, ensuring a low-carbon means to keep the lights on from Seattle to Los Angeles.But the capacity of the hydroelectric dams to accommodate wind generation is about maxed out, according to Knowles. In the spring of 2011, for example, the Bonneville Power Administration, the federal agency that operates the dams, ordered many Pacific Northwest wind farms to shut down generation for several hours a day to accommodate water releases (and a resulting surplus of hydroelectric generation) that was legally required to maintain safe passage for migrating fish.The Klickitat County Public Utility District’s proposed 1,200-megawatt project, Knowles says, would reduce the wind sector’s reliance on the dams, allow more wind turbines on the Columbia Plateau, and, in the process, help the United States meet long-term emissions reduction targets.“We are just ahead of the curve, frankly, in recognizing the need,” he says. “So at some point everybody will catch up and the project will get built.” The technology dates from the 1890sPumped storage hydro was first used in the 1890s in the Swiss, Austrian, and Italian Alps to provide greater flexibility for the management of water resources. The technology was widely adopted in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s to provide load shifting, which transfers electric generation from peak hours to off-peak hours of the day, according to Koritarov. The technique allows utilities to continually operate large, inflexible assets such as nuclear and coal-fired power plants at their optimal efficiency. Surplus generation from these plants is used to fill storage reservoirs; when demand peaks, the water is released to generate additional electricity. When nuclear and coal plants stopped being built, “the pumped storage also quit being built,” he says.Pumped hydro in Spain: The upper reservoir of the Cortes-La Muela hydroelectric station in the municipality of Valencia, Europe’s largest such facility.Today’s growth in pumped storage hydro is strongest where access is limited to inexpensive natural gas-fired “peaker plants,” which are built to run specifically during times of high demand, such as the late afternoon on hot summer days. Peaker plants are also increasingly used to fill the gap when the wind dies or clouds blot the sun, causing a drop in intermittent renewable generation. Pumped storage hydro can perform the same tasks. An added bonus of pumped storage hydro is the capacity to absorb excess electricity, Koritarov says. Wind generation, for example, is typically highest at night, when demand is lowest and the electricity is often unwanted.Pumped storage hydro requires more energy than it produces, notes Yang, meaning that the technology only makes sense in electric power systems that have surplus generation during certain parts of the day and lulls at others.The technology is not without environmental costs. Their operation leads to rapid fluctuations in reservoir water levels as the systems switch between pumping water from dam reservoirs to elevated storage reservoirs, and then lowering those upper reservoirs during electricity generation. “You may have an artificial flood for four hours, and then a drought for 20 hours, and then another artificial flood,” Peter Bosshard, the interim executive director for International Rivers, an environmental advocacy based in Berkeley, California, says. Such fluctuations wreak havoc on the ecologically rich areas where terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems overlap.“We are seeing that there are other, more interesting ways of storing electricity coming up on the horizon, in particular battery storage through distributed systems,” Bosshard says.center_img New projects in the U.S.In the United States, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued licenses for two projects in 2014, both in California. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s $800 million, 400-megawatt Iowa Hill Pumped-Storage Project involves construction of a reservoir 1,200 feet above Slab Creek Reservoir, along with an underground powerhouse and tunnels to connect the water bodies. Eagle Crest Energy Company’s $1.4 billion 1,300-megawatt Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Project involves construction of upper and lower reservoirs at an old iron mine near Joshua Tree National Park.Several dozen other U.S. projects are in the early planning and preliminary study stages. These include the $2.5 billion, 1,200-megawatt JD Pool Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project in Washington State, which would site a pair of upper reservoirs between strings of wind turbines on the Columbia Plateau and a lower reservoir, located 2,400 feet down the wall of the Columbia River Gorge at an abandoned aluminum smelter near the John Day Dam. Planners envision close coordination among Columbia River dams, large arrays of wind turbines, and the proposed pumped storage facilities, which would hold water in reserve during steady winds and unleash it during calm periods. That’s precisely what the giant Spanish utility Iberdrola has done with the expansion to its $1.3 billion Cortes-La Muela hydroelectric scheme, completed in 2013. The company uses surplus electricity to pump water from the Júcar River to a large reservoir on a bluff 1,700 feet above the river. When demand rises, the water is released to generate electricity. The 1,762-megawatt pumped storage generating capacity is Europe’s largest and is part of a hydroelectric complex capable of powering about 500,000 homes a year.While much of the buzz around energy storage today centers on the development of innovative battery technologies, more than 98% of installed storage capacity globally is, in fact, pumped hydro, according to Vladimir Koritarov, an energy systems engineer at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. And today, fueled by the world’s embrace of solar and wind power to help combat global warming, pumped storage hydro is in the midst of a surge, with power generators and utilities building new facilities from Italy to China as a way of balancing supply and demand across electric power grids.“Among all energy storage technologies,” Koritarov notes, “pumped storage hydropower is still the only one that is mature, reliable, proven, and commercially available to provide large utility-scale energy storage.” RELATED ARTICLES Spanish Island Kicks the Oil HabitA Novel Way to Store Energy Surge in Renewables Remakes California’s Energy LandscapeUndamming Rivers Could Make Room for PVlast_img read more

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Sports ministry sets up panel for CWG venues’ use

first_imgAfter the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG), one of the main questions that did the rounds amongst the sports fraternity was whether the stadiums, built spending crores of rupees, would ultimately be available to the athletes for training or whether they would turn into proverbial ‘white elephants’. Sports minister Ajay Maken announced on Saturday the formation of a committee comprising renowned sportspersons, which would submit a report about ways to utilise the stadiums in the best possible way.Sports Minister Ajay Maken at the National Stadium in New DelhiMaken, who on Saturday went on a visit to five CWG stadiums, added that the committee will have their first meeting on Monday and would submit their report within four weeks after which steps will be taken keeping in mind the London 2012 Olympics.”I am happy to see the worldclass infrastructure in place. At the same time, it was disappointing to see that no players are practising in these state-of-the art stadiums.”So we have decided to form a committee comprising renowned sportspersons PT Usha, Mary Kom, Bhaichung Bhutia and Dilip Tirkey who would prepare a report on how to utilise the stadiums for the benefit of the athletes. Veteran journalist K Dutta would also be a member of the committee headed by secretary (sports),” Maken said.”We will be mainly focussing on three aspects regarding the stadiums: firstly, how to utilise them as training centres for young athletes; secondly, making the stadiums available to top athletes keeping in mind the London 2012 Olympics and thirdly, hosting national and international sporting events – the calendar of which will be out soon,” said Maken.advertisementRegarding the maintenance of the stadiums, the minister declared that he would like them to be maintained by the government rather than a public-private-partnership model.”The sports ministry has decided to hand over three stadiums to NDMC for cleaning and another two would be maintained by the Sports Authority of India (SAI). CPWD had to do the maintenance till March 31 and we are considering allowing them to do so beyond that date,” he said.Maken added that the SAI is also in touch with sport federations as well as the DDA regarding training of athletes for London 2012.”What we could not provide to the athletes during the CWG, we would like to do that for the Olympics which is 15 months away. The SAI is constantly in touch with the federations regarding their preparations.We are also in consultation with the DDA to arrange their accommodation during their stay in the capital,” Maken said.Maken visited Dr SPM Swimming Complex, National Stadium, IGI Stadium and JLN Stadium and Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.last_img read more

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