Solar panels, windmills and biomass facilities made up all the new generation that came online last month, compared to fossil-heavy contributions in January 2012, according to a new federal report. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its monthly infrastructure update that found more than 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy went into operation in January. The findings are based on data from Ventyx Global LLC. In comparison, coal- and gas-fired plants made up the bulk of new generation in January 2012, with lesser contributions from wind and solar facilities, according to the report.
An environmental group released a report today promoting offshore wind energy as a smart investment for coastal states. The Natural Resources Defense Council report faults the United States for failing to provide incentives to develop offshore wind.
Over the objections of Republican lawmakers, the House of Delegates on Friday approved Gov. Martin O’Malley’s bill to create incentives for development of a wind energy project off the coast of Ocean City.
Electricity generated by wind farms powered more than 350,000 Pennsylvania homes last year, and that number is expected to grow. “There’s demand,” said Titus North, executive director of Squirrel Hill-based Citizen Power.
In 2001, Jim Gordon, a well-heeled developer of natural gas plants in New England, took up a long-discussed but never-pursued idea that advocates said would usher in a new era of clean energy in America: an ocean-based wind farm off the shores of Cape Cod. The advantages of the site seemed plain: Relentless, hard-driving winds, shallow shoals several miles offshore on which to anchor large turbines, and, perhaps most importantly, a left-leaning population inclined to support what was already viewed at the time as an overdue migration away from dirtier sources of electricity.
How many tourists would travel to Atlantic City to view the nation’s first offshore wind farm? Fishermen’s Energy, which has proposed building five giant turbines about 2.8 miles off the resort city’s beaches, estimates 4.5 million people a year would visit the site, according to a consultant’s report that recommends the state should turn down the project because it is too costly.
Energy and climate are THE challenges of our time – both globally and here in the Pacific Northwest – and no set of challenges will have a greater impact on our nation’s economy, environment and quality of life in coming decades. Indeed, no other issues have bigger implications for the planet and coming generations. The central question is whether we will shape our energy future through intentional policy, investment and development, or whether it will shape us. Answering this question is urgent, because the toll of our fossil fuel dependence is rising fast. We are struggling to make the complicated transition from 20th century energy infrastructure to new business models that can unleash the job-creation potential of low-carbon energy innovation.
As McGinn was acting locally, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber was thinking nationally and globally in a Portland speech to the American Wind Energy Association. “One of the largest concerns I have about coal exports out of the West Coast, in addition to all the environmental implications, is the lack of any larger federal energy policy that speaks to what this means,” said Kitzhaber. “What does it mean for the United States to become a major energy exporting nation? What does it mean in terms of domestic pricing? What does it mean in terms of energy security? And how does that decision, which is being driven only by short-term profit, provide transition for a lower carbon future for the United States?”
Renewable Northwest Project’s Rachel Shimshak says the shutdown of coal plants in the region will provide new opportunities for wind energy. Following industry contractions, a general economic slump, national uncertainty, and a rollback of state tax credits, Oregon could be looking at an uptick in the renewable energy market as a number of utilities around the region look to power down coal plants.
Vestas Wind Systems announced Thursday morning it was reducing its workforce by 10 percent, cutting about 110 jobs at blade factories in Windsor and Brighton, due to uncertainty in the market for wind turbines caused by Congress’s delay last year in extending a Production Tax Credit for the industry. The wind energy PTC was finally extended at the end of last year; but the refusal by Republicans in Congress to allow that extension until after the presidential election because Mitt Romney opposed it has led to a reduction in wind turbine orders.