Technological advances from taller turbine towers to the integration of digital infrastructure into wind farms are defining the next growth phase within the U.S. wind energy sector, experts attending the American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference said yesterday. In comments to industry leaders gathered in Orlando, Fla., Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the wind energy sector’s research-and-development investments, especially the deployment of turbines at heights of greater than 100 meters, are opening up significant new areas of the United States that used to be considered marginal for wind power, including Florida and much of the Southeast.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande confirmed their commitment to fighting global warning Tuesday, gathering with others in Berlin to prepare for this year’s U.N. Climate Change Conference. Merkel and Hollande said in a joint statement that both countries “are firmly decided to take all efforts to reach an ambitious, comprehensive and binding U.N. climate agreement by the end of this year in Paris.” The preparatory talks in Berlin involve 35 countries. The Paris summit in December aims to curb climate change and rising global temperatures, which scientists say are largely driven by carbon emissions.
California has joined a pact with 11 other states and countries to slash greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change. Gov. Jerry Brown signed an agreement Tuesday as part of a broader effort to pressure global leaders to adopt an aggressive emissions treaty at a United Nations-led summit in Paris later this year. “This global challenge requires bold action on the part of governments everywhere,” Brown said in a statement. “It’s time to be decisive. It’s time to act.” The 12-member agreement includes the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington and Vermont, as well as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Ontario. The Mexican states of Baja California and Jalisco also joined, along with the British country of Wales and states and provinces in Brazil, Germany and Spain. Together, the group represents more than 100 million citizens and $4.5 trillion in gross domestic product.
The United States could increase its wind power deployment by more than 50 percent with larger components, but the outsized technology would also boost potential problems with transportation and wildlife deaths, according to a new report from the Energy Department. Wind hub heights — from the ground to the center of the blades — soaring to 110 meters would lower the overall costs of the renewable energy source because it could capture more power from the same amount of wind with longer turbines and larger rotors compared to current 80-meter technology, the report says.
“The wind energy industry is a dynamic and innovative sector with great potential to further diversify our nation’s energy portfolio, as evidenced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s recent Wind Vision report. Technological advancements will bring the environmental and economic benefits of wind energy to states previously thought to have little wind energy potential. We are encouraged by the scientific and engineering innovation that continues to advance the nation’s wind energy development.” – Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Chairman and Vice Chairman, Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition
All 50 states could become wind energy producers, according to an Energy Department report released Tuesday, once the next generation of larger, taller turbines in development hits the market. The bigger machines — reaching as high as 460 feet — could eventually make faster winds at higher altitudes an economical source of electricity, an important part of reaching the nation’s goals in fighting global warming, said Ernest Moniz, the secretary of energy. “We believe very much the central role of wind in meeting our climate challenges, and we’re very committed in this direction,” Mr. Moniz told reporters after speaking in Orlando, Fla., at the annual conference of the American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s main trade group.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday suggested U.S. EPA include a mechanism within the final version of the Clean Power Plan to maintain reliability — but turned down requests to review specific state plans. FERC Chairman Norman Bay and his fellow commissioners — two Republicans and two Democrats — in a joint letter to U.S. EPA acting air chief Janet McCabe outlined the parameters of a “reliability safety valve” to resolve conflicts between the final rule to curb carbon emissions and FERC-approved reliability standards.
At least 41 states are in talks with neighbors about how they might cut power-sector carbon emissions under U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, despite appeals from Republicans in Congress for state officials to refuse to comply, according to regional coordinators. Fifteen states are bringing court challenges to the rule, and based on comments from GOP governors and attorneys general, it appears that number could grow closer to two dozen once EPA finalizes the regulation this summer.
Kansas lawmakers are set to repeal the state’s renewable energy mandate and replace it with a voluntary goal for electric utilities, the Lawrence Journal-World reports. Lawmakers have approved a bill to the end the state’s “renewable portfolio standard,” which requires utilities to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020, and replace it with a voluntary goal instead. The bill also limits the property tax exemption for renewable energy projects currently in law. The Legislature passed the bill on Thursday, sending it to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback for his signature.
nergy Secretary Ernest Moniz will address House members this week as the chamber takes up far-reaching energy language to ensure the U.S. electric grid remains stable as new environmental rules take effect. Moniz is slated to address the House Energy and Commerce Energy and Power Subcommittee on Thursday about the department’s high-profile energy policy blueprint, the Quadrennial Energy Review, as well as a number of draft bills the lower chamber has generated in recent days.