Wind power industry officials are touting what they describe as a “wind rush” of new development and technology advances in the U.S. market, a trend characterized by substantial expansions of generation capacity in Texas and other wind-rich states, and the improved operating efficiencies of wind farms due to technology advances and higher turbine heights. Those conditions and a blustery October helped grid operators in Texas, the Great Plains and the Midwest set new records for wind energy generation, with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas achieving a new peak wind power output of 12,238 megawatts on Oct. 22, followed by the Midwest Independent System Organization hitting a 12,383 MW production peak on Oct. 28.
The main problem is the lack of planning in how to tackle the up to 80 billion euros ($88 billion) cost of decommissioning Germany’s atomic reactors. “This should have been tackled much earlier,” said Claudia Kemfert at Berlin-based DIW economic institute. “Together with the decision to phase out nuclear power they should have found a way or come up with some legislation to deal with the cost. The cost is not a new thing.” On top of those costs, there is the more than 20 billion euros annually to expand solar and wind power to help fill the energy gap.
As concerns mount over fossil fuels becoming ‘stranded assets,’ experts warn of looming financial crisis
“Smart investors can see that investing in companies that rely solely or heavily on constantly replenishing reserves of fossil fuels is becoming a very risky decision,” Nicholas Stern, the author of the famous Stern Review on “The Economics of Climate Change” and a contributor to Carbon Tracker’s 2013 report, said at the time. “The report raises serious questions as to the ability of the financial system to act on industry-wide long-term risk, since currently the only measure of risk is performance against industry benchmarks.”
Supreme Court justices dread taking on the complex cases that make environmental attorneys swoon, a well-known expert who has argued environmental issues before the high court said. Harvard Law School’s Richard Lazarus told a conference of environmental lawyers, “We share something in common, which the justices don’t share. We like the Clean Air Act; we like the Clean Water Act; we like RCRA; we like CERCLA. It makes our hearts go pitter-patter.” But for the Supreme Court justices, he added, “These are the dogs of the docket.”
“And we continue to expect further advances in the efficiency of wind technology as you get toward the end of the decade,” he said at Platts 17th Annual Financing U.S. Power Conference here. “We’ve been pretty vocal in supporting a phaseout of the production tax credit as you get to the end of decade,” he said. “We think by that time, given what we see in terms of technology advancements, you won’t need it in the better wind resource regimes in the country.” Ketchum said keeping the wind tax credit to 2020 would “bridge the gap” until U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan takes effect.
Renewables experts continue to foresee a December appropriations deal as the best chance for lawmakers to extend wind production tax credits, considering Congress did just that last winter when it extended those credits through 2014. And it is too soon to tell whether lawmakers will simply extend the PTC through 2015 or give it a two-year bump, according to one source.
As countries skirmish here over money and carbon emission cuts, a seemingly abstract debate is shaping up with real-world implications for investors and governments alike. Dubbed the “long-term goal,” it is wording in a burgeoning international climate change accord that defines how 194 countries want the world to look by the century’s end. The hope of many here is that the phrase will go beyond current calls to keep temperatures below the 2-degrees-Celsius threshold that will avoid the worst impacts of climate change to defining what that means.
Wind energy provided more new U.S. electrical generating capacity than any other resource did during the first nine months of 2015, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update reportfrom the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Citing the FERC statistics, nonprofit SUN DAY Campaign says 26 new “units” of wind power accounted for 2,966 MW – or, more than 40.76% of all new U.S. capacity – during the period.
New figures reveal that US utility-scale renewable energy projects accounted for more than 60% of new energy capacity installed throughout the first three quarters of 2015. In new figures released by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in its monthly Energy Infrastructure Update (PDF), it was revealed that renewable energy sources — including biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind — accounted for 60.20% of the total 7,276 MW of new electrical generation installed in the US during the first 9 months of 2015.
The most significant U.S. tax credit for solar power will expire at the end of next year, and the biggest one for wind power already has. Renewable-energy developers aren’t losing much sleep over it. “The fundamentals of the renewable business have never been stronger,” Jim Robo, chief executive officer of NextEra Energy Inc., told investors during a conference call Wednesday. Robo said the largest North American wind and solar builder will as much as double its resources for developing clean energy projects over the next few years. The need for tax breaks, which once underpinned the economics of wind and solar projects, is fading as prices fall and the technologies become more competitive with electricity produced from fossil fuels. At the same time, other federal policies such as the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan are creating new incentives for renewable energy plants. Developers are planning now for the day when they will no longer receive the credits.