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.
EFerrari SpA plans more hybrid vehicles to follow the 1 million-euro ($1.34 million) LaFerrari as the manufacturer works to attract wealthy buyers beyond supercar drivers. “I don’t believe in the electric cars, but I strongly believe in hybrids,” Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Sara Eisen at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Maranello, Italy.
Vestas, the Danish wind turbine maker that once led the industry but that has struggled in recent years, ousted its chief executive on Wednesday and appointed a successor, while also reporting another quarter of lackluster results. Anders Runevad will succeed Ditlev Engel, who had been chief executive since 2005. Until Mr. Runevad assumes his post on Sept. 1, Vestas will be run by the chief financial officer, Marika Fredriksson, the company said.
North Antelope Rochelle is only 30 years old. It wasn’t around during the first oil shock of 1973 or during the Iranian revolution of 1979, which led to a second oil shock. It hadn’t opened for business when a nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania melted down, when 200,000 people gathered in New York City’s Battery Park to hear Ralph Nader demand the end of atomic power and Carly Simon sing yearningly about the “comforting glow of a wood fire.” Those events set the nation on a hurried quest for alternative sources of energy.
In a warehouse district on the outskirts of Bremen in northwestern Germany is a big, well-lighted work space dominated by the massive top section of a wind turbine called a nacelle. It is here that Siemens, the German power systems giant, trains new employees and gives refresher courses on how to work safely on modern windmills that can rise 90 meters, or about 300 feet, and weigh more than 100 tons.
On a hot August day, employees wearing hard hats and protective clothing were squeezing in and out of the multi-ton module, practicing evacuating injured colleagues using pulleys and harnesses.
President Obama announced that Nobel laureate Mario Molina will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed on a civilian, this fall at the White House.