Nebraska’s wind and solar industry brings its annual conference to the Omaha metro area for the first time this week. The event will be Wednesday and Thursday at the La Vista Conference Center, 12520 Westport Parkway, and features national and local experts in renewable energy. Among the 56 speakers are top officials with the American Wind Energy Association, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy
Earlier this month Grinnell College formally abandoned its vision of building a 5.1-megawatt wind farm that would meet about half of the college’s electrical needs. However, Alliant Energy, which serves the college, said it likely would have to curtail much of the project’s energy production because another wind developer had applied for an interconnection agreement first. The combined production, according to Alliant, likely would overload the local distribution circuit. And according to state regulations, the earlier applicant, Optimum Energy, had effectively snagged “first dibs” on providing power to the rather small load served by that particular substation.
Broken Bow II, a 75-megawatt wind farm developed by Sempra U.S. Gas & Power Co., in central Nebraska, was dedicated Monday. The farm’s 43 turbines generate enough clean electricity to power about 30,000 Nebraska homes, the company said in a news release. Nebraska Public Power District has bought all of the electricity that will be generated by the wind farm under a 25-year contract.
Broken Bow dedicated its second wind farm Monday, where forty three wind turbines now grace the skyline northeast of the Custer County community. “For the year they were in construction there was an average of 300 construction workers here from outside the area. If you think about it in terms of rural Nebraska that’s an entire community,” said Custer Economic Development Corporation Executive Melissa Garcia. Governor Dave Heineman helped dedicate the $110 million wind project called Broken Bow II.
Heather Zichal eloped last month in Croatia, where she also biked about 30 miles per day, went sailing and chatted up winemakers about global warming’s toll on their industry. Zichal, who resigned late last year as President Obama’s top climate and energy adviser, called the trip a badly needed break after a six-year marathon that started on the campaign trail and ended with a top White House post.
Wind power is a growing part of the energy mix in the United States. And along with that growth, there are new job opportunities for people to install and repair the 30-story-tall wind turbines. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, a unique skill set is required — the fearlessness of a pro rock climber along with the know-how of a skilled mechanic.
“This is the year it happens,”Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski said at the conference. “We are nine months away from the installation of our first foundations.” Deepwater’s Block Island Wind Farm, which is fully permitted and approved, will operate five wind turbines off the coast of Rhode Island. Massachusetts-based Cape Wind plans to lay foundations in late 2015. The project, which will be the first utility-scale offshore wind project in the U.S., began development more than a decade ago. Over the years it has faced opposition from the Kennedys to the Koch brothers, at basically every stage in the process.
Wind energy is generating most of the dollars being invested in renewable energy in Michigan, according to a study released by the Pew Charitable Trust on Thursday, Oct. 23. More than $2 billion was invested in renewable energy between 2009 and 2013, according to the study, which examined the impact of Michigan’s 2008 Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act, which required state utilities to produce 10 percent of their power via renewable energy.
European Union leaders agreed on a set of long-term targets on energy and climate change in the early hours of Friday, agreeing to financial sweeteners and weakening some objectives in order to get a deal. The 28 leaders haggled for hours before clinching an agreement that they hope will set the tone ahead of global climate negotiations in Paris next year. “It was not easy, not at all,” conceded the European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy after the talks ended. “But we managed to reach a fair decision. It sets Europe on an ambitious yet cost-effective energy path.”
Warren Buffett is synonymous with his hometown of Omaha, Neb., but for a glimpse into the future of his investment empire, look east…to Iowa. In the neighboring Hawkeye State, the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman has sunk billions into wind-farm projects, part of a big gambit on renewable energy by a utility company he acquired in 2000 and has built into one of the country’s largest power suppliers. Through a majority-owned subsidiary, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Mr. Buffett plans to double the $15 billion already committed to renewable-energy projects through early this year, and he is on the hunt for more utility acquisitions.