WINDPOWER 2016 is off to a hopeful start. WINDPOWER 2016 kicked off yesterday with high hopes and strong optimism, as a host of industry leaders highlighted U.S. wind’s successes over the past year and great future potential.
Following the multi-year PTC extension passed by Congress last year, the American wind industry scored another huge win this month when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued updated guidance on what developers must do to qualify projects for the tax credit. Previously, as long as developers entered physical construction or “safe-harboured” a project by investing 5% of the budget in a year in which the PTC was live, they then had two years to bring it to completion while still qualifying for the tax credit.
China holds the record as the world’s top wind installer, accounting for about a third of the total global installed wind capacity. The United States trails in second place, accounting for just more than 17 percent. But despite its higher total capacity, China still isn’t putting out as much wind-generated electricity as the United States. In other words, it has built the technology, but it just is not able to use it to the max.
The aughts were an inconvenient time for environmentalism. President George W. Bush declared the Kyoto Protocol, the first international treaty meant to address climate change, dead. Environmentalists charged widespread political interference in climate change science conducted at federal agencies. Most people had not heard of global warming. Then former Vice President Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” landed with a thud on the public’s consciousness. It grossed $24 million, won two Academy Awards and earned Gore the Nobel Peace Prize.
Royal Dutch Shell cannot switch too quickly to producing renewable energy without risking its dividend payments and even its very existence, the oil and gas group’s chief executive warned. Major investors, including Dutch pension fund PGGM, have criticised Shell’s climate change policy in recent months, saying it should do more to mitigate climate change risks.
The White House threatened to veto the energy and water bill partly because it funds DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy about $1 billion below the administration’s request. The department’s renewable and efficiency programs are considered critical for Mission Innovation, a plan announced at climate talks in Paris last year to double clean energy R&D over five years.
With the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil is undergoing a seismic political shift that promises to transform everything from public spending to workers’ rights in South America’s largest country. But the extent to which it will affect the nation’s climate diplomacy and domestic environmental agenda remains to be seen. Experts offer widely different views on everything from the quality of the Rousseff government’s environmental legacy to the likelihood of the new conservative government maintaining deforestation protections and international emissions commitments.
On the job just six months as the chief resilience officer in Florida’s largest county, Jim Murley has gotten pretty good at his climate change 101 speech. It’s out of necessity. As the Earth’s temperature rises, the oceans warm, he told a crowd at a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce event this spring. When water gets warmer, it expands, and the seas rise. And if glacial melt accelerates as predicted in Greenland and Antarctica, Florida is in even more trouble, he warned. “We’re on a peninsula surrounded by water,” Murley said. “That defines the very issue that we have to deal with as we think about sea-level rise and climate change.”
Poland has adopted a new law banning construction of wind farms close to dwellings and hiking project costs in a move which the industry says could hobble Poland’s move to renewables and away from coal. Wind farms must be built at a distance from housing of at least 10 times the height of the turbine, or about 1.5 to 2 km, under the law which was adopted by the lower house of parliament on Friday.
A pair of Republican state attorneys general are calling on U.S. EPA to halt all work related to the Clean Power Plan while the rule remains frozen by the Supreme Court. In February, the high court halted EPA’s program for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants pending the resolution of complex litigation.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) penned a letter to EPA, accusing the agency of not according the court’s decision “proper respect.”