The U.S. natural gas futures contract for May delivery remained under $2 per million British thermal units at the end of last week, another 10-year low for gas as supply continues to outpace demand.
Three years after President Obama promised that millions of “green jobs” would sprout from $90 billion in stimulus spending earmarked for clean energy, only a small fraction have materialized. Supporters say the administration overpromised on the potential for job creation and worry that backlash could erode support for overall renewable energy policies.
Despite coming much closer to prior efforts, the latest effort to develop a vast offshore wind energy farm off the coast of Ocean City failed to pass again this year. The House of Delegates had approved Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2012, which would open the door for the development of a wind farm including as many as 40 turbines off the coast of Ocean City, but the Senate never took up the debate and the legislation died. However, it remains possible the issue could resurface in a special session.
Ohio is making gains in the “green economy,” according to a new report that says the state is one of the nation’s fastest-growing new markets for wind projects. The report by the American Wind Energy Association said the state added more electricity from wind power on a percentage basis in 2011 than any other state did, although the growth came from a low starting point.
Onshore wind farms do not cause long-term damage to bird populations, but the construction phase does harm some species, according to a new study.
The U.S. wind industry posted another year of double-digit growth in 2011 and expects to continue with similar gains this year — but that progress is in jeopardy if Congress does not act soon to extend a key tax break, industry officials warned today.
The United States for the first time since 2009 outpaced all other major economies in clean energy investment, pouring $48.1 billion into wind, solar and other technologies last year, according to a new report out today. In doing so, the United States pulled itself up from third place, where it had lagged behind China and Germany. But the top slot could be short-lived. The authors of the “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?” study by the Pew Charitable Trusts attribute the unprecedented 2011 investment in the United States to a likely one-time rush before renewable energy tax credits bite the dust.
The debate over the effect of renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) on electricity rates has a new entrant, the Center for American Progress, which issued a report today suggesting there is no relationship between the state-based RPSs and what customers pay for electricity.
JUST a few years ago, the future of renewable energy looked as bright and shiny as a white turbine blade coming out of the mold. The federal government was handing out money under the stimulus package, states were approving clean energy mandates, young companies were racing ahead with promising new technologies and big global developers were planting stakes for ambitious, utility-scale projects. Now that picture has dimmed. The low price of natural gas has made renewable power less appealing to utilities and energy companies. The high price of gasoline — which has become an issue in the presidential campaign, as Republican candidates seek to use it against President Obama, has renewed calls to increase oil exploration and production at the expense of alternatives. State lawmakers are reconsidering requirements for utilities to buy green power. Surprisingly fierce competition from Chinese photovoltaic manufacturers has driven American ventures to the brink of bankruptcy and beyond.
There are the wind energy component manufacturers — like Acciona Windpower and TPI Composites — that have moved into the state to provide the hardware and expertise needed to harness the state’s wind and convert it into electricity.
And there are the human resources — like the aspiring engineers Butler teaches at the University of Iowa — who represent the future of an industry that has become so woven into Iowa’s economic fabric that the state’s higher education system has recalibrated itself to meet its needs.