A project to install hundreds of wind turbines in the Fosen peninsula area of Norway at one point was shelved as unfeasible. The strong breezes that whip off the sea can shift and swing unpredictably, while the soaring cliffs and steep drop-offs create turbulence that wears out expensive equipment. The venture was rescued with a lot of help from the mathematical calculations of Vestas Wind Systems, a Danish wind power company. Vestas used data to figure out how to use more powerful turbines for the project, and precisely where to place them. That meant the utility developing the facility could buy fewer turbines, helping cut costs and balancing the economics of the $1.2 billion project.
The United States ranks second in the world for total wind power capacity but lags behind other countries like Turkey and Poland in terms of the national percentage of electricity generated from wind, according to a new federal report examining the U.S. industry’s cost, performance, employment and generation trends. The annual “wind technologies market report” from the Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds that the U.S. wind industry installed almost 8.6 gigawatts of capacity in 2015, the largest of any electricity source. Nationally, 41 percent of new-electricity capacity last year came from wind. Globally, the United States ranked only behind China in terms of annual capacity additions.
Britain on Tuesday approved plans to expand an offshore wind farm project that could ultimately have more than 600 turbines spread across an area of the North Sea more than twice the size of London. The Hornsea Two windfarm project, to be built by DONG Energy, is part of Britain’s push to invest in new electricity generation capacity needed to overcome a squeeze on power supplies in the next decade.
Kansas state Rep. Tom Sloan is the rare Republican who voices some support for the Obama administration’s climate rule and still wins elections. The moderate from a split district in Douglas County has held the seat since 1995. Before that, he also served as a chief of staff to leaders in the Kansas Senate. His district, which includes the college town of Lawrence, is about one-third Republican, one-third Democrat and one-third independent, he said. Voters there have re-elected him for 11 terms, including in 2014, when he faced a GOP challenger who criticized his opposition to repealing renewable energy standards.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is still working with lawmakers to authorize state-run carbon auctions through 2030 in the waning days of the state’s legislative session. Brown’s administration has offered language that would expressly extend the state’s cap-and-trade program through 2030, The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday. The language would amend S.B. 32, which as currently written would merely authorize overarching greenhouse gas targets, rather than a specific method of reaching them. The 2030 goal would be 40 percent below 1990 emissions levels, in line with an executive order Brown signed last year.
A commercial wind project in southern Vermont that’s been delayed for seven years is finally moving ahead. The Public Service Board has approved an agreement between Iberdola Renewables and the Agency of Natural Resources that will protect bear habitat near the site. Developers now say construction on the Deerfield Wind project will start within the next few months.
Opponents of a planned transmission line across Arkansas and parts of Oklahoma and Tennessee said Friday they have filed a federal lawsuit objecting to the U.S. Department of Energy’s participation in the project. Golden Bridge and Downwind, two organizations representing landowners who oppose the Plains & Eastern Clean Line project, said they filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Little Rock. The suit was not available on the court’s website Monday evening, and the groups did not immediately provide a copy to the Arkansas News Bureau.
Ken Salazar and Jennifer Granholm will be helping to pick agency leaders and map out policy goals and could be in line for top administration jobs if Hillary Clinton clinches the White House. The former Interior secretary and former Michigan governor — familiar faces in the energy policy world — will be leading Clinton’s Washington, D.C.-based transition, the campaign announced today. Salazar has been picked as chairman of the team, where he’ll be flanked by four co-chairs: Granholm, Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, former Obama national security adviser Tom Donilon and longtime Clinton aide Maggie Williams.
Just after noon on a 110-degree summer day, the 5.6-square-mile Desert Sunlight Solar Farm — the biggest of its kind erected on U.S. federal land — is proving why this desolate spot is such a good one for harnessing the sun’s rays. With few clouds above, the seemingly endless 8-million-panel array is churning out 551.3 megawatts, or million watts, of electricity, more than enough to power 160,000 homes some 175 miles west of here in Los Angeles. “This is fairly typical, that as the sun moves through the sky, this is about the time of day that we hit that sort of number,” said Steve Stengel, a spokesman for the plant’s co-owner, NextEra Energy Resources.
The Northeast Atlantic coast has some of the world’s strongest offshore winds, according to developers who have long waited for the opportunity to build commercial-scale wind farms on the outer continental shelf from Maine and New Jersey. But those same winds are highly volatile, posing unique challenges to those same developers, according to researchers at the University of Delaware and Stony Brook University who reviewed a decade’s worth of wind data off the Massachusetts coast.