Climate change and oil dependence are issues of national security, and the Pentagon will take a lead role in shifting the way the country uses energy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last night. In remarks made at a Washington, D.C., reception held by the Environmental Defense Fund, Panetta became the highest-level official to draw a clear line between environmental, energy and security issues since their relationship was formally established in Pentagon strategy two years ago.
Under pressure from business groups, the Legislature has backed away from a plan to require utilities to buy a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. The energy bill is one of the last pieces of legislation awaiting action before the 2012 session adjourns. But the business community opposed a section of the bill that said utilities had to step up their purchase of renewable power supplies. They argued that would raise electricity rates and not do much to improve Vermont’s greenhouse gas footprint.
Two environmental groups are challenging a $300 million proposal to build a wind project on the north end of Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon. The Oregon Natural Desert Association and Portland Audubon have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland to stop the project, arguing for a different development area. The association mapped out other areas in Oregon where wind development could occur without social and environmental consequences to Steens Mountain, association Executive Director Brent Fenty said.
Vestas will decide on whether it will lay off 1,600 U.S. employees in the third quarter this year, CEO Ditlev Engel said yesterday in a conference call with analysts. Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, has said several times it would cut the jobs if the U.S. government does not renew the production tax credit, which supports renewable energy.
As the wind industry argues that tens of thousands of U.S. jobs will be lost unless Congress extends its prized tax credit, a new book aims to flesh out the stories of those workers as part of a broad examination of the industry’s growth. Author Philip Warburg was flanked by photos of several of the small-town residents whose communities embraced wind energy as he discussed his book, “Harvest the Wind,” at a Washington, D.C., reception yesterday.
Senate legislation aimed at expanding use of low-emitting sources of electricity would nearly triple the projected retirements of coal-fired power plants by 2035 while providing a substantial boost to nuclear, natural gas and renewable energy, according to an analysis released today from the Energy Information Administration.
Millions of people in Southern California, Arizona and northern Mexico were plunged into darkness last September because of errors and system problems paralleling those that caused the great Eastern blackout of August 2003, federal investigators reported on Tuesday.
What is more, the investment boom could help Chinese companies gain share in new, high-tech markets where they did not compete before. In the wind energy industry, for example, China now has about 6 percent of world exports, up from almost zero five years ago. Still, China has not adopted many of the reforms that economists suggest are needed to lay the groundwork for a new phase of development that relies less on exports to other countries and depends more on the spending of the Chinese themselves. To do this, wages and incomes must rise.
Large wind farms might have a warming effect on the local climate, a new study suggests, casting a shadow over the long-term sustainability of wind power.
Lagging investment in the nation’s electric power system could lead to a $107 billion funding shortfall for essential new generation and transmission lines by the end of the decade. That gap could grow sevenfold, to nearly $732 billion, by 2040, according to a new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The report, one of a series updating ASCE’s 2009 “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure,” concludes that such shortfalls could have major economic implications for U.S. homeowners and businesses as they are forced to cope with higher electricity prices and other costs associated with an inefficient electricity system.