Energy regulations will be key to congressional efforts to revive the U.S. economy, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said today while also expressing disappointment that the White House has failed to pursue a national renewable energy standard. “When you start seeing energy as a solution to the economy, then you start looking at it differently,” the Democrat said during an energy efficiency event at the Democratic National Convention sponsored by the Echo Foundation and The Charlotte Observer and The Hill newspapers. Klobuchar touted her home state’s 2007 renewable energy standard and lamented what she called “missed opportunities” for a similar national program.
Researchers are testing wind speeds in the middle of Lake Michigan to evaluate whether it could serve as a location for offshore wind power generation. “We’re capturing some of the very first data,” said T. Arnold Boezaart, director of the Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center at Grand Valley State University, the group leading the research. “The wind data that we’re bringing on shore — when I brought the first data cards on shore, I felt like I was bringing gold bullion.”
State regulators on Wednesday approved construction of a wind energy project and a natural gas processing plant in western North Dakota that will represent about $360 million worth of new construction. A subsidiary of Oneok Inc., an energy company based in Tulsa, Okla., intends to build a factory capable of processing about 100 million cubic feet of natural gas daily, the state Public Service Commission said.
A strategic tie-up between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Vestas Wind Systems could help the struggling Danish wind turbine producer regain its financial security, Vestas said yesterday. The world’s biggest wind turbine maker has been facing sharp losses, fueling speculation the company may issue new shares or be bought out entirely. Yesterday, share prices rose 19 percent after news of the two companies’ talks.
The spate of layoffs that wind industry advocates have warned about has accelerated in recent weeks, with workers losing their jobs in key wind states such as Iowa and Colorado in a trend expected to continue at least into next year. The layoffs can be pinned in part on congressional foot-dragging around an expiring tax break for wind energy that the industry says must be extended beyond the end of this year. The growing number of people — many of whom are likely to cast ballots in November — who have lost or are in danger of losing jobs put a face on the consequences of Congress’ inaction
The American Petroleum Institute is inescapable here, its name attached to briefings and concerts while its campaign logo adorns free sunglasses and sunscreen. But clean energy is not invisible to Republicans during their quadrennial celebration. Even as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney emphasizes the oil, gas and coal elements of what his party likes to call an “all of the above” strategy, businesses that traffic in renewables and efficiency are honing their energy pitch to conservatives. Their language tends to sidestep climate change and the environment while emphasizing profits and growth — talk tailor-made to persuade a potential Romney administration that fossil fuels are not the only game in town.
Clean Lines Energy Partners, based in Houston, Texas, rolled into Fort Dodge Tuesday morning to establish contacts with area contractors for when the company begins construction a 500-mile, high-voltage, direct-current electric power line from O’Brien County to Rock Island, Ill., then to markets farther east. The $1.7 billion, 3,500-megawatt Rock Island Clean Lines project is expected to pass through, or close to, Webster County. Beth Conley, regional outreach manager for Clean Lines, said the company is still working out details of the power line’s route, while seeking construction permits and utility authorizations; however it’s confident the two-year project will begin in 2014.
Two years ago, Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA), a bill that would set up parameters for New Jersey to be the leader in harnessing wind energy — and the jobs created by it — throughout the East Coast. The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) was to develop regulations regarding the offshore renewable energy credit program, but these regulations have yet to be released — keeping the offshore wind industry from coming to New Jersey.
Government regulators are assessing the nation’s increasing dependence on natural gas as a source of electricity generation in a series of regional meetings around the country throughout the month of August. Advocates for renewable energy, however, express concern that in a “dash for gas,” the federal government may be overlooking the long-term reliability and emissions reduction potential of renewable sources such as wind and solar. “This is a moment of transition for the energy system. For some time, there’s been a marked decline in coal generation and we’ve seen an increase in natural gas and wind,” said Kit Kennedy, clean energy counsel at the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. The top priority for her organization, she added, “is to push for better deployment of renewables and energy efficiencies. That is the pathway for a low-carbon future.”
Three companies that make components for wind turbines laid off a total of 219 people in the past week, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said on Friday.