The equipment that’s powering America’s wind energy boom is increasingly being made right at home. In 2007, just 25 percent of turbine components used in new wind farms in the U.S. were produced domestically. By last year, that figure had risen to 72 percent, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy. And exports of such equipment rose to $388 million last year, up from $16 million in 2007.
Clean energy investors, entrepreneurs and proponents shouldn’t be shy about discussing the effects of climate change and shouldn’t fret about those who doubt evidence linking human activities to rising temperatures and fierce weather, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today. Speaking at the opening of his sixth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, the Nevada Democrat said increasingly severe Western wildfires exemplify the need to combat climate change on all fronts and to aggressively highlight the nature of the problem.
Houston has the potential to be the nation’s leader in a much-needed renewable energy future, former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson told a group of officials and business leaders while speaking in the city Thursday.
FloDesign effectively began as a theory. In the sleepy town of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, two semiretired aerospace scientists named Walter Presz and Michael Werle had set up a skunk works for exploring jet-engine propulsion technologies. When I met with them there several years ago, Presz told me that around 2004 the two started to think: Rather than putting energy in for propulsion, what if you took energy out and turned the engine into a wind turbine?
With the American wind market showing record growth and offshore wind farms gaining support, a new report commissioned by the Department of Energy shows that the bulk of this increased capacity is coming from a small-scale, local, decentralized sector known as distributed wind power. The report, prepared by DOE and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), takes stock of the growth in distributed wind power in 2012, which is used independently of utilities to power smaller facilities like farms, small businesses and homes.
The Iowa Utilities Board has approved a $1.9 billion project from the state’s largest utility to install hundreds of wind turbines by the end of 2015, Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday. Branstad called the Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy Company’s plan a “win-win” for the state.
id American Energy said Monday it plans to build its new Iowa wind energy farms, costing up to $1.9 billion, in Madison, Marshall, Grundy, O’Brien and Webster counties. The utility company’s announcement of the sites follows an order issued Friday by the Iowa Utilities Board that allows it to develop up to 1,050 megawatts of additional wind energy in Iowa by the end of 2015. “We are excited about this. It is a huge project, and it is a win-win for everybody,” Branstad said.
Timothy Danyliw is the type of guy whose truck has a “No farms, no food” bumper sticker, who owns a T-shirt proclaiming “Renewable energy is American security,” and who moved into a weathered, wood-framed house in the Berkshires for a quiet life amid nature. His friend Larry Lorusso, a river guide and photographer, is much the same. His car runs on biodiesel, he’s a fan of solar panels, and he heats his home with wood gathered from the forest around his house.
While last month’s heat wave forced utilities in New England to crank up generation of power from expensive and dirty sources, at least two wind farms in Maine and Vermont were forced to reduce the amount of electricity they produced. The weak rural system that links wind turbines to the power grid causes wind companies to be routinely taken offline or have their output scaled back.
With Congress deadlocked, a huge chunk of the action on clean energy in the United States is happening at the state level. Some 29 states and Washington D.C. have renewable standards requiring utilities to get a chunk of their power from sources like wind or solar. Over the past year, conservative groups have made a big push to try to repeal these laws, arguing that the mandates drive up electricity prices (since wind and solar can be pricier than coal or natural gas in many cases). What’s surprising, though, is that these attempts have been so unsuccessful — even in deeply conservative red states. As Matt Kasper of the Center for American Progress documents here, repeal efforts by one major group have failed in every state so far