ENERGY storage is crucial to transforming the electric grid into a clean, sustainable, low-emissions system, the experts say. And it’s happening already, just not the way most consumers would expect. The simplest idea for storage — charging up batteries at night when there is a lot of wind energy and not much demand for it, or at midday when the sun is bright — is years from being feasible, according to the experts.
Colorado wind power continued to soar in 2013, but may flag this year according to facts and figures in American Wind EnergyAssociation’s annual market report. AWEA, the industry’s main trade group, pronounced 2013 a good year with 61,110 megawatts operating in the U.S. across 46,100 wind turbines in 39 states and Puerto Rico. The 905 utility-scale wind projects operating can power the equivalent of 15.5 million American homes.
Wyoming is among the greenest states in the nation, at least in terms of renewable power production. Wind energy accounted for 8 percent of the Cowboy State’s electricity generation in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, making it the second-biggest source of power production in the state. Coal was far and away the largest power producer in Wyoming, responsible for generating 89 percent of the state’s electrical production. No other sector accounted for more than 1 percent of Wyoming’s power.
Iowa’s wind energy will fully power the first phase of Google’s Council Bluffs data center, adding another Iowa data center that is receiving power from renewable energy.
Under an agreement with Google, MidAmerican Energy will provide up to 407 megawatts of wind-sourced energy to the Mountain View, Calif.-based technology company’s Council Bluffs data center. The two companies said Tuesday that the energy provided will fully power the first phase of that data center.
The behemoths of the electric power sector are pushing federal regulators hard to enact reforms in East and Midwest markets that they say would strengthen the reliability of electricity supply and shore up their bottom lines. A central focus of the reform efforts is the capacity market in the PJM Interconnection, which oversees the wholesale electricity business in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
Xcel Energy is tops in wind energy among utilities nationwide and one third of that capacity serves its customers in the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico. Trade group American Wind Energy Association ranked Xcel as the utility providing the most wind energy for the 10th consecutive year, according to a report the group issued earlier this month. The company’s total capacity in 2013 was 5,080 megawatts or 15 percent of Xcel’s national energy supply.
The Obama administration has completed the draft environmental analysis of a commercial-scale wind farm project in the foothills of the Tehachapi mountain range, an area that has some of the nation’s best wind resources near habitat for California condors and golden eagles. The Bureau of Land Management today released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Tylerhorse Wind Project in Kern County, Calif., proposed to be built on about 1,200 acres of BLM land inside the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area where wind farms have been in operation for 30 years.
Last year got off to a shaky start for the U.S. wind energy industry, but new project construction and installed generation capacity took off following belated Congressional extension of the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC). By year’s end a record number of wind energy projects were under construction, and new wind energy generation records had been set across the country.
When it comes to wind energy, not all states are created equal. They say everything’s bigger in Texas — and for wind energy and rib-eye steak, they’re right. Here’s how Texas tops the list of wind energy producers.
The three largest industrial equipment divisions — aviation, power and water, and oil and gas — all grew robustly in the quarter. For example, revenue from the power and water unit rose 14 percent to $5.5 billion, helped by strong sales of power plant equipment and wind turbines. With demand for renewable energy increasing, G.E. expects to sell 3,000 wind turbines in 2014, about 1,000 more than last year, said Jeffrey S. Bornstein, the chief financial officer.