The Sierra Club this week launched a new lobbying campaign designed to persuade Congress to extend a lucrative federal tax incentive that’s credited with expanding the wind power industry and supporting tens of thousands of jobs. The “Wind Works” campaign, which the Sierra Club formally launched yesterday, comes as President Obama continues to press Congress to extend the production tax credit (PTC) that’s set to expire at the end of the year.
“We need conservative Republicans who can say, ‘This means jobs to my district,’ … and we need Democrats to say, ‘This is a way to expand the range of options that we have in this country for energy,’ ” said Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to President George W. Bush. The measure, which expires Dec. 31, gives 2.2 cents in tax breaks for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced by wind turbines and biomass, geothermal and landfill gas plants. Extending the tax credit would give wind energy manufacturers and suppliers more certainty that their business will move forward. An additional four years of federal incentives also is enough time to lower the cost of wind power to the point that it is as cheap as traditional sources of electricity such as coal and natural gas, industry supporters say.
Illinois communities are moving away from getting their power from big utilities like Commonwealth Edison Co. and Ameren Illinois, a change that is worrying renewable energy developers. The two large utilities provide most of the funding for the Illinois Power Agency, which procures energy for utilities. And as the utilities lose market share, renewable energy developers are concerned that their projects will not be funded.
Increasing wind power many not lower grid emissions as much as previously thought, according to a new study from Argonne National Laboratory.
Renewable energy needs help. Technological innovation has significantly reduced the cost of solar panels, wind turbines and other equipment, but renewable energy still needs serious subsidies to compete with conventional energy. Today, help comes mostly in the form of federal tax breaks.
Georgia’s leaders are hoping to capitalize on the state’s nascent manufacturing industry for wind power when 200 international wind energy exhibitors come to Atlanta next week. The state already is home to more than a dozen companies that make components that either go into wind turbines or that assist in building them. Such development has been a way for Georgia and the Southeast to capitalize on the wind energy industry even though the state lacks a steady wind needed for the giant turbines to spin constantly and create electricity.
Chinese manufacturers of towers for wind turbines received unfair subsidies and must now pay duties of 13.7 to 26 percent, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday in a preliminary decision in a case brought by four American manufacturers of the towers. The decision, the third trade case decided this year in favor of American wind and solar manufacturers, will be followed by another in the coming weeks on whether Chinese companies engaged in dumping the towers in the United States at prices below the cost of making them.
The White House last night issued a veto threat to a pending House spending bill to fund the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies, citing cuts to clean energy promotion and other DOE priorities and “policy riders” that would reopen the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository, undo federal building efficiency requirements and block guidance on the Clean Water Act.
If it gets hot enough for long enough, Texas and Southern California may not have the electricity to avoid outages this summer, the overseers of the nation’s power grid warned in a forecast today. Most parts of the country should make it through the summer without a problem, says the annual report by the North American Electric Reliability Corp., a quasi-public body that supervises the regional authorities that run the U.S. electric grid.
The Obama administration today announced plans to offer potentially hundreds of thousands of acres of federal waters off Massachusetts for commercial wind development, the latest in a sweeping Interior Department push to expand the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. The wind energy area about 10 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard was trimmed to avoid an area of high sea duck concentration, as well as an area important to commercial and recreational fishermen, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said.