News

A big, clean energy industry matures at sea 

Source: Eric Marx, E&E Europe correspondent • Posted: Monday, March 30th, 2015

Flying 56 miles west from this port, you are greeted by a 10-story, yellow, boxlike platform rising out of the North Sea. It is called SylWin1, the connection to Europe’s electric grid from one of the largest power plants ever built offshore. Beyond it, arrayed over 27 acres of ocean, are the 80 Siemens 3.6-megawatt turbines of the Dan Tysk wind farm.
For Europeans, and perhaps for some Americans, this may be their energy future. The unobstructed winds at sea here are capable of spinning up enough power to electrify around 1 million German households.

Wis. wades into Clean Power Plan legal fight 

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, March 30th, 2015

Wisconsin has asked to join 13 states supporting coal company Murray Energy Corp.’s court challenge to block U.S. EPA from finalizing a rule to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The D.C. Circuit has consolidated the Murray challenge with another one brought by West Virginia and 11 other states. In total, 15 states are part of the efforts to block the regulation.

New Jersey: Wind power or hot air? Foes question Christie’s shift on clean energy.

Source: By Joby Warrick, Washington Post • Posted: Monday, March 30th, 2015

Why the project stalled — and why New Jersey will almost certainly miss its goal of 1,100 megawatts of wind-generated electricity before 2021 — is the subject of intense debate here. Some blame the governor, whose enthusiasm for wind energy appeared to flag around the time he began exploring a run for the Republican presidential nomination. Political opponents say the turning point was a series of meetings in 2011 and 2012 with key Republican donors, including billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, oil-industry magnates who have bankrolled campaigns against renewable energy.

Comment: Jeff Clark: Wind energy boosts Oklahoma economy

Source: By JEFF CLARK. Tulsa World • Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2015

“When the wind comes sweeping down the plain” is no longer just a signature lyric from Oklahoma’s famous state song. It is synonymous for what Oklahomans once thought of as just an annoying component of Mother Nature. Since 2003, the signature Oklahoma winds have enjoyed a renaissance thanks to their development as a leading generator of electricity, and their many economic and environmental attributes.

New Maryland Bill Would Create Height Restrictions on Wind Turbines Near NAS PAXRVR

Source: By Katelyn Newman, Southern Maryland Online • Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2015

As wind energy companies try to find their footing in Maryland, state senators proposed a bill that would limit turbines’ heights, as well as their companies’ interests, in southern Maryland. Proposals had placed wind turbines in the Chesapeake Bay near the Patuxent River, and along the Atlantic Coast near Ocean City, but this bill would only limit development near the river’s Naval Air Station.

Senate goes on record opposing carbon tax 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2015

The Senate voted yesterday afternoon to oppose creation of a federal carbon tax, a proposal the White House has not endorsed and that has little chance of enactment in the current Congress. Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) amendment was adopted by the chamber, 58-42. Four Democrats crossed the aisle to support it: Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. All voted for a previous Blunt amendment to the fiscal 2014 resolution.

As prices drop, cities and towns choose sun and wind for their energy

Source: Brittany Patterson, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2015

Georgetown, Texas, is home to the oldest university in the Lone Star State and is affectionately called the “red poppy capital” of Texas. It will soon add another accolade to the mix: the state’s first city-owned utility to run on 100 percent renewable energy. Last Wednesday, the city announced a 25-year contract with SunEdison to buy 150 megawatts of solar energy. In order to supply the power, SunEdison will build a solar farm in West Texas. The solar will complement a deal Georgetown signed last year with EFD Renewables for 144 MW of wind power from its West Texas wind farm through 2039.

Lessons from the ‘vote-a-rama’ 

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 27th, 2015

For procedural reasons, the amendments were all vaguely worded and nonbinding — which limits somewhat their usefulness as guides to future legislation. But over the course of the 15 hours senators spent casting votes yesterday and this morning, some clear lessons emerged for the marquee energy and environment fights to come later this year. They are:

Tandem solar cell improves performance 

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Scientists have teamed up two materials to soak up more sunlight in a new solar cell. The dynamic duo in this case was silicon, the workhorse of conventional photovoltaics, and a mineral called perovskite. First discovered in the Ural Mountains and named for Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski, the mineral is a crystal made of calcium titanium oxide that has useful photovoltaic properties.

Comment: The lessons of Cape Wind

Source: By Jack Clarke, Dorchester Reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 26th, 2015

The wind blowing off America’s coastline has the potential to generate 54 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 42 million homes. To capture some of that energy, this winter the US Department of the Interior leased 354,000 acres off the Bay State to two wind energy developers. In 2013, the feds leased 166,000 acres off Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and a fully funded wind project off Block Island will soon power 17,000 homes.