Iowa’s hugely successful wind industry isn’t just an economic driver, it’s having a major impact on cutting pollution and saving water. Wind energy generation in Iowa avoids more than 8.4 million metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution — the equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road, according to a new report released by Environment Iowa.
Efforts to extend the credit have already met with pushback from stakeholders on the other side of the issue. The American Energy Alliance has so far been one of the most vocal opponents of the credit and is planning a major drive against the credit set to begin next week with the release of a series of digital and print ads in the Washington, D.C., market as well as national ads railing against the subsidy for wind producers. AEA is also helping to organize a fly-in next week to marshal grassroots organizations from across the country to put pressure on members of Congress not to renew the subsidy. According to Benjamin Cole, a spokesperson for AEA, the fly-in will focus on strengthening opposition to the credit among members who have already said they want to see it expire
When U.S. EPA was founded in 1970, Bill Ruckelshaus had thousands of applications from would-be employees who wanted to be part of an agency with a cause they believed in. “From the beginning, the morale was sky high,” the first EPA administrator said in a recent interview. “People were excited and enthusiastic and working around the clock because they had this cause that they were working for.” The thrill is gone. An agency that was once home to some of the government’s happiest employees now ranks just average in morale. And EPA’s not alone: Employees at the Interior Department and the Energy Department are also on par with other federal workers when it comes to their overall job satisfaction, according to a recent government survey.
The federal government Friday announced the first-ever criminal enforcement of bird-protection laws at a wind energy facility, fining a North Carolina-based energy giant $1 million for killing more than 150 migratory birds, including 14 golden eagles, at two Wyoming wind farms over the past few years. The government’s plea agreement with Duke Energy Corp. could have broad legal implications as the Obama administration and the wind industry grapple with the ecological trade-offs of building commercial-scale wind farms across the landscape.
Emissions of the greenhouse gas methane due to human activity were roughly 1.5 times greater in the United States in the middle of the last decade than prevailing estimates, according to a new analysis by 15 climate scientists published Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The analysis also said that methane discharges in Texas and Oklahoma, where oil and gas production was concentrated at the time, were 2.7 times greater than conventional estimates. Emissions from oil and gas activity alone could be five times greater than the prevailing estimate, the report said.
In recent years, solar energy has emerged as a solution for powering places that lack sufficient electricity, frequently remote areas in developing nations where conventional fuel can be expensive. Now, Vestas, the wind technology giant, is betting its products can do the same. On Monday, the company announced a project called Wind for Prosperity, with the goal of bringing low-cost power to rural populations around the globe.
Nebraska is rated third among the states for its wind-energy potential. And yet a year ago, it ranked only 26th for its actual wind-energy production. It’s a long-debated issue that came to a head earlier this year, when neighboring Iowa’s vast wind farms helped it beat out the Cornhusker State to land a $300 million Facebook data center. In fact, among Midwest states, only Ohio has less installed wind capacity than Nebraska. The reason for the gap? Several people familiar with the curious dynamics of wind energy in Nebraska place much of it squarely on the doorstep of one Bruce Pontow.
U.S. federal energy regulators imposed more than $304 million in fines against energy companies in fiscal 2013 primarily for market manipulation and false reporting activities. It was the highest yearly total, according to Reuters data. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday said its enforcement division staff in fiscal 2013 also forced companies to disgorge an additional $141 million in unjust profits.
Duke Energy agreed on Friday to pay $1 million in fines as part of the Justice Department’s first criminal case against a wind power company for the deaths of protected birds. A subsidiary of the company, Duke Energy Renewables, pleaded guilty in Federal District Court in Wyoming on Friday to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a federal law that protects migratory birds. The company was charged with killing 14 golden eagles and dozens of other birds at two wind projects in Wyoming since 2009.
Saudi Arabia today threatened to block negotiations toward a 2015 climate change treaty unless the world compensates it for oil production losses stemming from reduced petroleum use, according to two sources who were in the closed-door session. Saudi Arabia, which has the world’s largest oil reserves, earned more than $336 billion in petroleum exports last year. Negotiators didn’t name a specific dollar amount, but Saudi Arabia has previously estimated it will lose $19 billion annually as nations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and move to cleaner energy sources.