MidAmerican Energy plans $900 million worth of new wind-generated electricity capacity in Iowa, bringing the total wind farm investment it has announced this week to $1.5 billion. MidAmerican is a division of Berkshire Hathaway Energy of Des Moines, in turn, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. of Omaha. It said today it has filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board for up to 522 megawatts of generating capacity at two undisclosed locations in Iowa. That’s on top of a 400-megawatt Nebraska wind farm, worth about $600 million, that MidAmerican announced Thursday.
The utility filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board for the development of up to 552 megawatts of new wind generation in Iowa. The news comes as leaders of Berkshire Hathaway, the parent of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which owns MidAmerican, gather in Omaha this weekend for the company’s annual meeting. MidAmerican Energy is in the process of obtaining necessary permits and easements for the construction of wind farms at two new sites, it said Friday.
The Obama administration is close to granting final approval to a multi-state power line project that would allow wind-generated electricity in Wyoming to power homes and businesses from Las Vegas to San Diego, Calif., but that still has some environmentalists concerned about potential impacts to greater sage grouse. The TransWest Express line would carry as much as 3,000 megawatts of electricity — including wind-generated power from planned wind farms in Wyoming — from a substation in Sinclair, Wyo., in the south-central part of the state across portions of Colorado and Utah to a substation in southern Nevada, about 25 miles south of Las Vegas. Once placed into service in 2018, the project would have the capacity to transmit enough electricity to power about 1.8 million homes.
The 131 MW of new wind energy capacity reflects a 40 percent drop from the same period in 2014, when the industry added 217 MW, according the American Wind Energy Association, which released the sector’s latest quarterly report Wednesday. But AWEA downplayed the anemic Q1 numbers, which reflect the sector’s fourth smallest quarterly growth since 2008 (its three smallest quarters all occurred in 2013). Instead, AWEA said the sector has emerged from its recent downslide and is poised for huge capacity additions as more than 100 projects currently under construction come online later this year and into 2016 and 2017.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is asking senators to have bills filed by the end of this week to be considered for inclusion in the bipartisan energy bill she would like to have out of committee by the summer. The call for ideas is designed to let the committee hold its remaining legislative hearings on the bill this month, begin marking up components of the bill after the Memorial Day recess, and have something out of committee before the August recess.
Tesla Motors Inc on Thursday unveiled Tesla Energy – storage systems or batteries for homes, companies and utilities that will expand its business beyond electric vehicles and tap into a fast-growing area of the energy industry. Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company’s goal was to “fundamentally change the way the world uses energy on an extreme scale.” He introduced the products to a crowd of business partners and journalists at a Tesla facility near Los Angeles.
In recent years, the fast-growing popularity of solar panels has intensified a central challenge: how to use the sun’s energy when it isn’t shining. Now, Tesla Motors, the maker of luxury electric sedans, says it is taking a big step toward meeting that challenge with a fleet of battery systems aimed at homeowners, businesses and utilities. The company’s foray into the solar storage market will include rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs that can mount to a home garage wall as well as battery blocks large enough to smooth out fluctuations in the grid.
“The changes we make to avert climate change not only have benefits for climate change, but they also have huge benefits on health,” Kaufman said. Kaufman’s statement echoes the ideas behind President Obama’s initiative to highlight connections between climate change and health announced earlier this month. The president even brought his own daughter Malia’s childhood battle with asthma to illustrate how combating global warming can directly affect those who have the respiratory disease.
NextEra is getting “a steady request” from its customers about potential options to store wind and solar power with upcoming projects, the CEO of the company’s robust renewable energy power unit said yesterday. Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, said traditional and commercial customers are starting to ask about behind-the-meter storage as part of a new wind plan or utility-scale solar plan.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) issued an executive order this week to prevent her state from submitting a plan to implement U.S. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Fallin, in a Tuesday news release, said her order was intended to show that “Oklahoma has no intention of implementing new regulations that run directly contrary to the interests of our citizens and our state.” She said efforts against “bad policy” would be fought in court.