The 16-day government shutdown delayed the announcement of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s third competitive offshore wind lease sale, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said yesterday. “Had we not been shut down for two-and-a-half weeks, I would be announcing the next sale date for the Maryland wind energy area,” Jewell said. “I don’t have that firm date for you, but it will be coming up.” Speaking at the American Wind Energy Association conference in Providence, R.I., Jewell called the shutdown “a bit of a rude awakening” after her tenure in the business sector, most recently as the CEO of outdoor gear retailer REI.
“MidAmerican Energy, of course, is making a $1.9 billion expansion to wind energy in Iowa.” MidAmerican’s expansion program is the largest single financial investment in the state’s history which includes adding up to 656 new wind turbines totaling 1050 megawatts of wind energy that’s to be used within Iowa. “And then, of course, you have here the Clean Line Energy plan. Its tremendous economic development for Iowa and this area of the state which will capitalize on our robust wind energy that we have,” Branstad noted. “All you have to do was be outside today and see that this is the windiest part of the state, so it makes a lot of sense.” Harkening back, Branstad said, “I’m proud to say that I was the Governor that started this back in 1983. We were the first state to begin a program that we called the Renewable Energy Standard. Since then, 24 states have copied what we have and it’s been very successful. I think we’re up to between 25% or 30% of our energy that’s now produced from the wind.
“Wind energy holds huge potential for NW Iowa,” Simon continued. “And the Clean Line Energy/Rock Island transmission project, as well as other wind projects, can turn potential into economic reality. NWIDP feels so strongly about the project that we have formally supported the project and plan to support it in multiple ways.”
A University of Michigan engineering professor said ice in the Great Lakes will likely increase construction costs for wind turbines being built in the area but will not be a deal-breaker for projects. Speaking at the Grand Valley State University Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon, Mich., yesterday, marine engineer Dale Karr said his research had not found ice to be a “showstopper” that would derail construction plans, although he said more study was needed to be sure.
Gene Takle, director of Iowa State University’s climate science program, said too many Americans believe there is serious dispute among scientists about whether climate change is real and whether it is caused by people. “In the scientific community, we have debates on the details,” he said. “But there are very, very few scientists who are active in studying climate science who deny the existence of the role of heat-trapping gases in raising our global average temperatures, and the fact that these heat-trapping gases are produced by humans.”
If the vast wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound is ever built, William I. Koch will have a spectacular view of it. Of course, that is the last thing he wants. Mr. Koch, a billionaire industrialist who made his fortune in fossil fuels and whose better-known brothers underwrite conservative political causes, has been fighting the wind farm, called Cape Wind, for more than a decade, donating about $5 million and leading an adversarial group against it. He believes that Cape Wind’s 130 industrial turbines would not only create what he calls “visual pollution” but also increase the cost of electricity for everyone.
By harnessing existing policies and infrastructure, Pennsylvania could cut its power sector emissions 21 percent by 2020, according to a new analysis by the World Resources Institute (WRI). Those reductions would put the Keystone State well on its way to meeting new carbon pollution rules proposed by U.S. EPA, the report notes. Rules covering carbon emissions from future power plants were announced last month, while standards for existing plants are expected to be proposed in 2014.
Outgoing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff announced today that he will join Portland, Ore.-based law firm Stoel Rives LLP after he wraps up nearly seven years at the agency. Wellinghoff, a driving force behind the Obama administration’s efforts to green the electric grid, will work out of the firm’s offices in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., upon completing his work at the commission.
State utility regulators at the forefront of implementing upcoming federal rules to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants in the United States are concerned that a fast-tracked schedule could trigger reliability issues. Philip Jones, president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), said the most important question is how much time industry will have to carry out the new rules. “Even if you know [that] the end goal is clean energy sources, more demand response, more energy efficiency, more gas, how much time do you have to comply?” he asked.
The expected increased use of wind and solar on the electric grid will create a more than $10 billion global market for energy storage systems in 10 years, according to a new report from market analyst Navigant Research.