News

Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says

Source: By JUSTIN GILLIS, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

In decades of public debate about global warming, one assumption has been accepted by virtually all factions: that tackling it would necessarily be costly. But a new report casts doubt on that idea, declaring that the necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free. A global commission will announce its finding on Tuesday that an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure.

Study of Eastern U.S. Shows Wind Energy Could Stabilize the Grid

Source: By Robert Fare, Scientific American • Posted: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

ast month, General Electric (GE) consulting presented the results of a U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) sponsored study testing if wind turbines can be controlled to manage the stability of the electric grid. The authors found that wind turbines might actually be a valuable tool for controlling and stabilizing the grid in the future, disputing the conventional notion that wind energy doesn’t play well with the grid. To understand the source of this counterintuitive result—and its implications—let’s review the key aspect of power grid control at play here: frequency regulation.

EPA extends comment period for power plant rule

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Acting air chief Janet McCabe said the agency will accept comments through Dec. 1, adding to one of the longest comment periods ever for a rulemaking. EPA unveiled the rule proposal June 2. “We hope that additional time will give those entities wishing to submit comments the time they need to engage with us, ask questions, and ultimately provide input that will help ensure that in the end this plan is practical, flexible and achievable,” she said.

Chafee foresees large role for R.I. in offshore wind

Source: Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Rhode Island will have a major role to play in the offshore wind industry, even though a developer chose to use a Massachusetts port to build a large wind farm, Governor Lincoln Chafee said Monday. Rhode Island officials had hoped that Cape Wind would use New Bedford and Rhode Island’s Quonset Point for the staging and construction of a proposed 130-turbine wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, bringing jobs and economic activity to both states. Cape Wind announced Friday that it had signed a lease agreement with Massachusetts.

Number of bird deaths by turbines minor compared with other threats — study

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

A new study that evaluated bird mortalities at wind farms across North America found that collisions with wind-turbine blades annually kill less than 1 percent of the smallest and most common birds on the continent, a conclusion that the study’s sponsors say points to the need to focus bird conservation on climate change, loss of habitat and other more significant threats.

Committee to probe energy tax issues for first time since Wyden took over

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

While comprehensive tax reform has been on Congress’ back burner for most of the year, a Senate hearing this week could shed some additional light on what an eventual overhaul of the tax code would mean for oil companies, renewable energy developers and others in the energy industry.

Green power programs on the rise in both red and blue states — report

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Green energy programs have expanded in blue states as well as deeply conservative ones like Texas and Mississippi in recent years, according to a study released yesterday by Stanford University and the Hoover Institution. “Many states, from all parts of the country and from all political perspectives, are taking steps to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy,” the report said. “Put simply, both red states and blue states are turning green, whether measured in dollar-savings or environmental benefit,” it added.

State energy board gives initial OK to $140M wind farm near Blue Hill, Nebraska

Source: By Paul Hammel, World-Herald Bureau • Posted: Sunday, September 14th, 2014

A state energy board gave conditional approval Friday to a $140 million wind farm that would rise south of Blue Hill in south-central Nebraska.
Financed by NextEra Energy Resources, the nation’s largest wind developer, the project would produce about $800,000 a year in lease payments to 35 landowners and about $864,000 a year in local taxes. That would represent a 7 percent increase in overall tax revenue for Webster County, according to David Levy, an Omaha attorney who represents Florida-based NextEra.

Sun and Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind

Source: By JUSTIN GILLIS, New York Times • Posted: Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Of all the developed nations, few have pushed harder than Germany to find a solution to global warming. And towering symbols of that drive are appearing in the middle of the North Sea. They are wind turbines, standing as far as 60 miles from the mainland, stretching as high as 60-story buildings and costing up to $30 million apiece. On some of these giant machines, a single blade roughly equals the wingspan of the largest airliner in the sky, the Airbus A380. By year’s end, scores of new turbines will be sending low-emission electricity to German cities hundreds of miles to the south.

Google invests $145M in big Calif. solar project

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 12th, 2014

Google Inc., the Internet technology giant and green energy investor, will provide $145 million in equity funding to help construct one of the world’s largest brownfield-to-renewable energy sites. The 82-megawatt Regulus solar project in Kern County, Calif., will cover a 737-acre former oil and gas field with nearly a quarter-million solar photovoltaic modules, whose electricity output will be sufficient to power roughly 10,000 California homes.