News

Is The Sky The Limit For Wind Power?

Source: Christopher Joyce, NPR • Posted: Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Wind power is growing faster than ever — almost half of the new sources of electricity added to the U.S. power grid last year were wind farms. But is the sky the limit? Several scientists now say it’s actually possible to have so many turbines that they start to lose power. They steal each other’s wind.

Numbers From the War on State Renewables Standards

Source: HERMAN K. TRABISH, Greentech Media • Posted: Thursday, March 28th, 2013

At least twenty-two of the 29 state renewables standards have been attacked by legislators or regulators in the last year or are now under attack. Known as a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) or a Renewable Energy Standard (RES), these mandates require utilities to obtain a portion of their power from renewable sources by a certain date. Research shows they add less than 5 percent, on average, to the cost of electricity bills and are an effective driver of renewables growth.

2 Northwestern governors ask White House to weigh CO2 emissions from coal exports

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 28th, 2013

The governors of Oregon and Washington are urging the Obama administration to consider greenhouse gas emissions when leasing and exporting coal from federal lands. In a joint letter to Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the administration’s Council on Environmental Quality, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) urged the federal government to “examine the true costs of long-term commitments to supply coal from federal lands for energy production, whether that production occurs domestically or in Asia.” While the letter reaffirmed positions Kitzhaber took a year ago, when he raised similar concerns in a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior, it represents a stronger stance from Inslee, who had previously limited his voiced concerns to the localized impacts of transporting coal.

Wind blowing against Alexander’s energy arguments

Source: Paul C. Barton, Gannett Washington Bureau • Posted: Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Few issues arouse as much passion for Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander as federal subsidies for wind-generated electricity. But utilities, including his home-state Tennessee Valley Authority, are finding they like wind power more and more. Alexander, up for re-election in 2014, argues the country needs 100 new nuclear plants to ensure low cost and clean power for the 21st century.

Vestas Had Top Wind Turbine Market Share in 2012, Make Says

Source: By Alex Morales, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) was the biggest wind turbine manufacturer in 2012, Danish researcher Make Consulting, contradicting a preliminary report last month from another analyst that gave General Electric Co. (GE) the lead.

The biggest fight over renewable energy is now in the states

Source: Posted by Brad Plumer, Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Nowadays, a huge chunk of the action on clean energy in the United States is happening at the state level. Some 29 states and Washington D.C. have renewable energy standards requiring electric utilities to get a portion of their power from sources like wind or solar. Those state-level standards have played a big role in doubling the amount of renewable-energy capacity in the United States in the past four years. And current standards are projected to add some 76,750 megawatts of new renewable power capacity by 2025 — enough, in theory, to power 47 million homes.

Wind power here to stay in Iowa

The Gazette • Posted: Monday, March 25th, 2013

With the recent layoff of 40 employees at Acciona Windpower in West Branch and larger furloughs last fall at Siemens Energy, Trinity Towers and other Iowa wind turbine component plants, the long-term viability of the industry has been questioned. But analysts who follow the electric power industry are quick to affirm the future of wind power as a long-term source of renewable energy. “Wind is not going anywhere,” said Shane Mullins, vice president of product development for the power industry at research firm Industrial Info Resources in Sugar Land, Texas. “Many wind turbine manufacturers did not receive any orders after June of last year as developers waited to see if Congress would extend the production tax credit before it expired on Dec. 31. With the extension of the PTC on Jan. 3, wind turbine construction projects that were put on hold last year are going to be dusted off.

Life After Oil and Gas

Source: By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL, New York Times • Posted: Monday, March 25th, 2013

WE will need fossil fuels like oil and gas for the foreseeable future. So there’s really little choice (sigh). We have to press ahead with fracking for natural gas. We must approve the Keystone XL pipeline to get Canadian oil. This mantra, repeated on TV ads and in political debates, is punctuated with a tinge of inevitability and regret. But, increasingly, scientific research and the experience of other countries should prompt us to ask: To what extent will we really “need” fossil fuel in the years to come? To what extent is it a choice?

A split FERC makes headway on landmark Order 1000

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 22nd, 2013

In a vote split along partisan lines, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today approved plans in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic for revamping the grid planning process, while the two Republicans on the commission rejected the order and expressed concern about the fate of new projects. FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, a Democrat, and Democratic Commissioners Cheryl Lafleur and John Norris found that PJM Interconnection and the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator had largely complied with Order 1000, the agency’s landmark ruling that revamps the way new power lines are planned and paid for.

Wyden vows committee oversight, tax incentives to advance smart grid

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden promised today to do everything he can to move the government’s “clumsy … machinery” to make the U.S. electric grid a smart grid. The Oregon Democrat said he is planning to hold oversight hearings with federal agencies responsible for building out the smart grid to understand whether they are working on all angles to facilitate a transition to a digitized grid, especially on the consumer end.