News

Wind layoffs mostly hitting constituents of PTC supporters

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The spate of layoffs that wind industry advocates have warned about has accelerated in recent weeks, with workers losing their jobs in key wind states such as Iowa and Colorado in a trend expected to continue at least into next year. The layoffs can be pinned in part on congressional foot-dragging around an expiring tax break for wind energy that the industry says must be extended beyond the end of this year. The growing number of people — many of whom are likely to cast ballots in November — who have lost or are in danger of losing jobs put a face on the consequences of Congress’ inaction

Industry groups sell profit-making, not planet-saving, at GOP convention

Source: Elana Schor, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The American Petroleum Institute is inescapable here, its name attached to briefings and concerts while its campaign logo adorns free sunglasses and sunscreen. But clean energy is not invisible to Republicans during their quadrennial celebration. Even as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney emphasizes the oil, gas and coal elements of what his party likes to call an “all of the above” strategy, businesses that traffic in renewables and efficiency are honing their energy pitch to conservatives. Their language tends to sidestep climate change and the environment while emphasizing profits and growth — talk tailor-made to persuade a potential Romney administration that fossil fuels are not the only game in town.

Contractors sought for 500-mile Iowa power line

Source: By LARRY KERSHNER, Messenger News • Posted: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Clean Lines Energy Partners, based in Houston, Texas, rolled into Fort Dodge Tuesday morning to establish contacts with area contractors for when the company begins construction a 500-mile, high-voltage, direct-current electric power line from O’Brien County to Rock Island, Ill., then to markets farther east. The $1.7 billion, 3,500-megawatt Rock Island Clean Lines project is expected to pass through, or close to, Webster County. Beth Conley, regional outreach manager for Clean Lines, said the company is still working out details of the power line’s route, while seeking construction permits and utility authorizations; however it’s confident the two-year project will begin in 2014.

Gov. Christie urged to act on off-shore wind energy inititatives

Source: By Rebecca Forand/Gloucester County Times • Posted: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Two years ago, Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA), a bill that would set up parameters for New Jersey to be the leader in harnessing wind energy — and the jobs created by it — throughout the East Coast. The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) was to develop regulations regarding the offshore renewable energy credit program, but these regulations have yet to be released — keeping the offshore wind industry from coming to New Jersey.

FERC hearings examine gas- and coal-fired power, highlight low priority for renewables

Source: Robert S. Eshelman, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 27th, 2012

Government regulators are assessing the nation’s increasing dependence on natural gas as a source of electricity generation in a series of regional meetings around the country throughout the month of August. Advocates for renewable energy, however, express concern that in a “dash for gas,” the federal government may be overlooking the long-term reliability and emissions reduction potential of renewable sources such as wind and solar. “This is a moment of transition for the energy system. For some time, there’s been a marked decline in coal generation and we’ve seen an increase in natural gas and wind,” said Kit Kennedy, clean energy counsel at the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. The top priority for her organization, she added, “is to push for better deployment of renewables and energy efficiencies. That is the pathway for a low-carbon future.”

Wind industry lays off 219 in past week

Source: Wall Street Journal • Posted: Monday, August 27th, 2012

Three companies that make components for wind turbines laid off a total of 219 people in the past week, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said on Friday.

Cape Wind purchases Mass. marina to use as operations hub

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 24th, 2012

Developers of an upcoming offshore wind farm have purchased a Massachusetts marina to serve as the hub of operations for the project that is aiming to be the first offshore wind farm in the United States. Cape Wind CEO Jim Gordon announced today the purchase of East Marine in Falmouth, Mass., which the company plans to use as its operations and maintenance center for the 130-turbine project planned for Nantucket Sound. The center will create 50 permanent jobs employing highly paid engineers and other skilled workers, Gordon said.

Vestas cuts hundreds of U.S. wind power jobs with production tax credit in limbo

Special to E&E • Posted: Friday, August 24th, 2012

Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, said it would cut an additional 540 jobs in the Americas by the end of the year as it prepares for lower demand next year while the renewal of the production tax credit (PTC) remains in limbo. The cuts are part of 1,400 jobs being eliminated at Vestas worldwide this year in addition to the 2,335 jobs the company cut in January. The new cuts will lead to savings of €250 million ($313 million) in fixed costs per year, the Danish company said.

Texas wind energy boom may go bust if tax subsidies disappear

Source: BILL HANNA, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram • Posted: Friday, August 24th, 2012

South of Sweetwater, hundreds of towering wind turbines from some of the nation’s largest wind farms dot ridge lines as far as the eye can see. North of town, crews are busily erecting new transmission lines to move more wind power from West Texas and the Panhandle to population centers like Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio. But the wind industry building boom, which has led Texas to be the nation’s leader in wind energy, could be nearing the end if the production tax credit expires at the end of the year.

Vestas cuts jobs as wind industry faces tax credit expiration

E&E • Posted: Friday, August 24th, 2012

The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer will be cutting thousands of workers as the struggling company attempts to get out of the red. Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems has said it will lay off 1,400 workers in addition to the 2,300 job cuts it announced at the beginning of the year.