Wind turbine blades continue to grow — turbines are now more than 200 feet tall — and officials are having trouble transporting equipment to remote locations in Texas and other windy Western states. Moving the blades, which reach higher into the sky and wrest more energy from the wind than ever before, can take days and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
A municipal utility in Missouri has suspended talks to become a customer of Clean Line Energy Partners’ proposed Grain Belt Express merchant transmission line. But the developer is continuing efforts to recruit other utilities as it plans to try to get the nearly 800-mile project approved in Missouri.
The United States installed almost 7.3 gigawatts of new solar photovoltaic capacity in 2015, marking a fifth consecutive year in which the industry added at least 1 GW of new generation, according to data released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research. The 17 percent year-over-year growth from 2014 extends solar PV’s unprecedented boom since 2010 and places PV solar on a trajectory for even larger gains through 2020, according to industry experts.
General Electric Co. has ceded its position as the world’s No. 1 wind turbine manufacturer to a Chinese competitor, according to 2015 market data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. Ltd. received orders for 7.8 gigawatts of new wind turbines in 2015, exceeding GE, which dropped to No. 3 globally with 5.9 GW of new commissioned capacity, according to BNEF. Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark attracted 7.3 GW of new orders in 2015, solidifying its No. 2 ranking in the global supply chain.
The impasse over Flint has blocked a bipartisan energy bill that had been moving forward in the Senate. Under the tentative agreement, the Senate would vote on the energy bill before taking up the Flint legislation as a separate bill. The energy bill, the first comprehensive legislation of its kind in nearly a decade, promotes a wide range of energy sources, from renewables such as solar and wind power to natural gas and hydropower. The legislation also would speed federal approval of projects to export liquefied natural gas to Europe and Asia and boost energy efficiency.
Oregon lawmakers yesterday amended one of the state’s most far-reaching pieces of environmental legislation in decades in an attempt to give state regulators more oversight and to rid coal from Oregon’s energy supply. H.B. 4036, approved by the Senate’s business and labor committee, would give the Oregon Public Utility Commission, which regulates the state’s two major public utilities, authority to manage costs incurred from shifting toward renewable energy.
Colorado officials said yesterday they believe it is “prudent” for the state to keep working toward power plant carbon emissions reductions despite a recent Supreme Court ruling to freeze a key federal climate change regulation. But the state’s original path toward meeting U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan goals will be recharted, officials declared at Colorado’s first public meeting about the regulation since the court stay. “We don’t think it is appropriate at this point to continue drafting a full state plan,” said Chris Colclasure of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Pollution Control Division. “There’s just too much uncertainty for that
The White House yesterday spiked the ball in the end zone, cheering a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory finding that the resurrection of key renewable energy incentives could curb more than a billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The study paints a rosy picture for the wind and solar industry in the United States, despite policy setbacks like the Supreme Court’s ruling this month to freeze the Obama administration’s signature climate change regulation, along with state slowdowns on renewable portfolio standards and incentives like net metering. “We’ve made unprecedented progress in deploying renewable energy,” Dan Utech, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, told reporters yesterday. “Meeting the Paris commitments will require scaling up low-carbon solutions, including wind and solar, at an unprecedented pace.”
The Supreme Court stay on the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan came as a shock to the White House. After all, the president had unveiled the plan in August 2015, calling it “the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.” But on Monday administration officials took advantage of a new report to argue that the recent five-year extensions of wind and solar tax credits will cushion the blow and serve as a “bridge” to the Clean Power Plan.
More than 200 lawmakers are jumping into the legal brawl over the Clean Power Plan, warning that U.S. EPA is trying to “usurp” them. Led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), 34 senators and 171 representatives today filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the throngs of states and industry groups looking to topple the Obama administration’s rule to slash power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions. The lawmakers are all Republicans with the exception of West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.