Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz used his first major policy address here yesterday to defend the president’s “all of the above” energy strategy. The nuclear physicist turned Cabinet officer insisted that President Obama’s decision to support unconventional fossil fuel development should be viewed within the context of the administration’s Climate Action Plan, not as a cave-in to powerful energy interests.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said today that he will look to a diverse panel of academics, former government officials, environmentalists and industry representatives to offer advice on a range of issues he will confront over the duration of his term atop the Department of Energy.
Renewable wind and solar power could be cost-competitive with natural gas in Western states without subsidies in 2025, when current state renewable energy standards are set to expire, according to a new federal study.
The study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that wind and solar power from remote lands in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana could be transmitted to urban customers for almost the same cost as power from a nearby natural gas plant.
Wind producers in Iowa say they want a level playing field when it comes to tax breaks. They would go so far as to push for cutting tax breaks for other energy producers, such as oil and gas, Iowa Wind Energy Association Executive Director Harold Prior said in an interview with IowaWatch.
The Monday morning commute in the Diller and Steele City area might be an eye-opener. A parade of flatbed trucks loaded with sections for 262-foot-high metal towers, and possibly 160-foot-long turbine blades, will start to arrive in the area for the Steele Flats Wind Project.
Last week, Minneapolis-based utility Xcel Energy proposed its fourth wind farm in the Upper Midwest since mid-July. If approved, the 150-megawatt Border Winds Project would be developed in North Dakota near the U.S.-Canadian border and produce enough electricity to save customers an estimated $45 million over its lifetime while reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 320,000 tons. In July, Xcel Energy — the nation’s top utility for wind-based power — proposed to add 600 megawatts of wind energy through three wind farms in North Dakota and Minnesota. With the addition of the Border Winds Project, Xcel could save customers more than $220 million and add a total of 750 megawatts of wind power to its existing Midwest portfolio, which would bring its wind capacity total in the region to 2,550 megawatts — or enough power to serve over 750,000 homes.
Offshore wind industry expands quickly. “If you want to do wind on a big scale with power plants based on wind, you need to go offshore,” said Michael Hannibal, chief of offshore wind business at Siemens, the German wind giant.
Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S fired its CEO yesterday even as it said it would no longer sell one of its Colorado plants because it had become more hopeful about its prospects in the United States. Vestas, which competes with General Electric Co. to be the world’s biggest maker of wind turbines, said it decided not to sell its tower factory in Pueblo, Colo., because it expected an acceleration in market growth in the United States that would lead to significant orders in the second half of this year.
U.S. investment in clean energy was down in 2012 after breaking records all through 2011, but rapidly declining installment costs mean deployments are likely to continue to rise, according to new analysis from Ernst & Young LLP, a multinational accounting firm.
Wind power is one of the fastest-growing energy sectors in the world, but even this record-breaking growth has been limited by wind’s inherently fickle nature: What do you do when the wind changes direction, or dies completely? Wind can save you one minute and sink you the next, as any sailor will tell you. New forecasting technology may now be on the horizon that could help wind developers both find the best locations for potential wind farms and then manage them as efficiently as possible.