Xcel Energy on Tuesday announced its single largest increase in wind generation in the Upper Midwest, saying it will add three large wind farms in Minnesota and North Dakota. The additional 600 megawatts of electricity, enough to serve 180,000 homes, is a 33 percent increase over the Minneapolis-based utility’s existing wind capacity of 1,800 megawatts in the region.
The National Petroleum Council should study how power outages caused by major weather events such as last year’s Superstorm Sandy affect the availability of transportation fuel, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said today. Speaking at an NPC meeting in Washington, Moniz said the Obama administration’s efforts to address climate change would feature a heavy focus on how to adapt to the effects of rising temperatures and more frequent extreme weather, including examining how to ensure the resiliency of energy infrastructure. And he said the federally chartered advisory committee to the Department of Energy should play a central role in those efforts.
The Department of Energy has removed the top executive of the Bonneville Power Administration after an audit uncovered illegal hiring practices at the federal nonprofit agency. In an email to employees yesterday, DOE said Elliot Mainzer, deputy administrator, would step in as acting chief, replacing Bill Drummond.
The Lincoln and Minnehaha County economic development associations on Tuesday formally announced preliminary action on a new community wind power project in Lincoln County. Dakota Power Community Wind, a group of Lincoln County landowners and community leaders formed in 2012 to look at developing a wind farm, has been working with Aberdeen-based wind farm developer Dakota Plains Energy to lay the ground work for the potential project. The hope, according to some of the group’s board members, is to help develop the county’s economy.
The president’s nominee to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has vowed to shelve his consulting firm and shed investments in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, a critical step in the wake of past ethics controversies. Ron Binz, a pro-renewables champion and former Colorado utility regulator, pledged in a June 17 letter to stop consulting at a firm he has operated since 1995 and to sell up to $50,000 in shares of Berkshire Hathaway.
The installation rate of offshore wind turbines in Europe doubled in the first half of the year, with Siemens AG accounting for 83 percent of the new capacity. Nations including the United Kingdom and Germany are increasingly relying on offshore wind to help meet carbon reduction and renewable energy goals.
The Senate today is scheduled to vote to confirm Gina McCarthy to lead U.S. EPA, but a broader showdown over whether to limit the filibuster still threatens to throw the upper chamber into chaos as no agreement emerged from a closed-door meeting that went well into the night.
State officials in Albany yesterday released their most comprehensive study of offshore wind potential to date in an attempt to shape where future projects are placed.
The 154-page technical analysis from the Department of State is the result of two years of work on the marine wildlife, biology, culture and economic potential. In all, the study covers more than 16,000 square miles of state and federal waters.
Rising temperatures, decreasing water availability, more severe storms and rising seas stemming from climate change are already affecting every part of the country’s energy sector, and those threats will only grow more severe in years to come, the Energy Department said today.
Bill Richardson often denigrated America’s power transmission network as a “third-world grid” when he was President Bill Clinton’s energy secretary, but the more current description of it is “balkanized,” with 500 separate owners. Marc L. Spitzer, a former member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said even that analogy was not harsh enough. “To call the U.S. grid balkanized would insult the Macedonians,” he said.