The United States for the first time since 2009 outpaced all other major economies in clean energy investment, pouring $48.1 billion into wind, solar and other technologies last year, according to a new report out today. In doing so, the United States pulled itself up from third place, where it had lagged behind China and Germany. But the top slot could be short-lived. The authors of the “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?” study by the Pew Charitable Trusts attribute the unprecedented 2011 investment in the United States to a likely one-time rush before renewable energy tax credits bite the dust.
The debate over the effect of renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) on electricity rates has a new entrant, the Center for American Progress, which issued a report today suggesting there is no relationship between the state-based RPSs and what customers pay for electricity.
JUST a few years ago, the future of renewable energy looked as bright and shiny as a white turbine blade coming out of the mold. The federal government was handing out money under the stimulus package, states were approving clean energy mandates, young companies were racing ahead with promising new technologies and big global developers were planting stakes for ambitious, utility-scale projects. Now that picture has dimmed. The low price of natural gas has made renewable power less appealing to utilities and energy companies. The high price of gasoline — which has become an issue in the presidential campaign, as Republican candidates seek to use it against President Obama, has renewed calls to increase oil exploration and production at the expense of alternatives. State lawmakers are reconsidering requirements for utilities to buy green power. Surprisingly fierce competition from Chinese photovoltaic manufacturers has driven American ventures to the brink of bankruptcy and beyond.
There are the wind energy component manufacturers — like Acciona Windpower and TPI Composites — that have moved into the state to provide the hardware and expertise needed to harness the state’s wind and convert it into electricity.
And there are the human resources — like the aspiring engineers Butler teaches at the University of Iowa — who represent the future of an industry that has become so woven into Iowa’s economic fabric that the state’s higher education system has recalibrated itself to meet its needs.
Indeed, several experts noted that Iowa — and particularly the I-80 corridor in eastern Iowa — has emerged as the backbone of the U.S. commercial wind power sector, much the way that New York dominates the U.S. financial sector and the Gulf Coast anchors the oil and gas industry. Since 2005, the state has enticed four global wind energy firms to establish core manufacturing facilities here, while dozens of secondary supply chain firms have followed the leaders into the cornfields.
The shadow of inexpensive natural gas hovered over the annual meeting of the Iowa Wind Energy Association in Des Moines on Tuesday. U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Ia., warned the association that “a war is being waged against renewable energy.”
Only about a third of the nation’s hybrid owners were repeat hybrid buyers last year, indicating that high fuel prices have so far had little impact on hybrid loyalty rates, according to the Polk automotive research firm. The number of hybrid models on the market in the United States has more than doubled since 2007, […]
Fishermen’s Energy, the company likely closest to placing wind turbines off the coast of New Jersey, is seeking more time to file an amended application with state regulators following harsh criticism of its initial proposal by consultants.
The Iowa Senate today approved a bill that would expand Iowa’s wind energy tax credit.
The Treasury Department’s $9 billion renewable energy grant program supported as many as 75,000 jobs each year it was available, according to a new report from the Department of Energy that counters Republican criticism of the grant-in-lieu-of-tax-credit effort.