ore efficient use of energy is eroding demand. Customers want more options to manage their energy use and even generate a share of their own energy with solar arrays. Massive investments are required to maintain and improve the grid, and new environmental regulations require a continued shift to cleaner energy sources. But how the utility is facing that future, one that requires billions of dollars in capital investments at a time when sales are flat or declining, is relatively unique.
German financial group Allianz SE says it will over the next six months decrease investments in companies using coal and boost funding on those focused on wind power.
CEO Oliver Baete said Tuesday that Allianz will no longer invest in companies if more than 30 percent of sales come from coal mining or if they generate more than 30 percent of electricity from coal.
Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) today questioned the legal authority for the White House Council on Environmental Quality to continue to operate without a Senate-confirmed chairman. In a letter to President Obama, Inhofe challenged the standing of former National Park Service official Christy Goldfuss, who in March replaced former CEQ Chief of Staff Mike Boots as managing director of the agency.
William Fehrman had a 450,000-pound puzzle on his hands. A large power transformer in the utility executive’s service territory was sputtering toward the end of its useful life. Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy Co. in Des Moines, Iowa, knew he needed to replace the cumbersome piece of equipment, so he jumped on the chance to practice speeding up the process.
Thomas Pyle’s Nov. 17 oped “Support affordable energy by ending corporate welfare” ignores the benefits of American wind power and distorts its costs, while omitting any mention of Pyle’s work for anti-renewable energy special interest groups. Wind has been good for New Jersey. It has attracted $10 million of capital investment into the state and supports 500 jobs and 13 factories that build components. New Jerseyans will save more than $335 million on electric bills through 2050, and billions more will be saved by holding down natural gas prices.
Xcel Energy Inc. says it wants to begin delivering 100 percent renewable energy to customers in Minnesota under a pilot program that will test ratepayers’ appetite for clean power. In a proposal filed with state regulators, Xcel said it wants to expand its portfolio of clean energy options beyond its 15-year-old Windsource program, which has more than 39,000 subscribers, according to utility officials.
The Interior Department said it is gauging industry’s interest in developing wind farms off the South Carolina coast. The agency is also beginning a National Environmental Policy Act review to determine whether it is appropriate to lease four areas covering 1,100 square miles off the Palmetto State shores. Both announcements — the call for industry interest and the notice of intentto prepare a NEPA review — are open to 60 days of public comment.
It’s not often that we get a chance to combine Warren Buffett with the topic of concrete wind turbine towers, so we pricked up our ears earlier this week when the legendary investor’s MidAmerican Energy Company announced that its new Iowa wind farm will include a 2.3 megawatt wind turbine perched atop a tower made of concrete. At 377 feet from ground to hub, the tower will top most conventional, steel-tube towers by more than 100 feet, easily making it the tallest in the US.
Amazon is making another big investment in Ohio. A day after officially releasing its plan to build two massive distribution centers in central Ohio that will employ 2,000, the Internet giant said on Thursday that it will develop a wind farm in Paulding County in northwestern Ohio that is to begin generating electricity in May 2017. The wind farm will supply power to Amazon’s rapidly developing data-center business, including its plans for three data centers that it is building in central Ohio at a cost of $1.1 billion.
Louisiana regulators, in the latest flashpoint of a smoldering debate on residential solar, backed a view yesterday that three electric cooperatives have surpassed a threshold to halt expansion of retail net metering under state rules. The 3-2 vote by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC) validated the position taken by its staff in a review of calculations related to Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative Inc., Panola-Harrison Electric Cooperative Inc. and Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative Inc.