In a warming world, Big Oil doesn’t look quite so big anymore. A global glut of oil and natural gas has sent prices tumbling over the last two years, and profits are evaporating. Improving auto fuel efficiency standards threaten to depress oil consumption eventually, and fleets of electric vehicles are gradually emerging in China and a few other important markets.
Offshore wind costs are plummeting in Europe and approaching “striking distance” of other power sources, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said yesterday. The average cost of electrons from offshore wind has fallen 28 percent since this time last year, BNEF said in a report. Offshore wind, long regarded as the Cadillac option of clean energy, remains one of the world’s priciest resources at roughly $126 per megawatt-hour.
2016 will be remembered as “the year U.S. offshore wind arrived,” as Block Island Wind Farm, a 5-turbine 30 MW offshore-wind project, arose off Rhode Island’s coast this summer and will soon power the grid. Relatively modest in scale, this wind farm’s christening carried significance greater than its size. The first “steel in the water” for U.S. offshore wind, it was proof of the promise this abundant home-grown renewable resource holds to light boardwalks and boardrooms up and down the Eastern seaboard.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin praised the deal in a statement to the Tulsa World, describing GE as “the world’s premier digital industrial company” working with Clean Line “on a transmission line that will harness and export Oklahoma’s great wind resource.” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, while acknowledging political opposition, conceded last month that the state was likely to see benefits from the Clean Line project.
“We are excited to see GE, the world’s premier digital industrial company, working with Clean Line Energy on a transmission line that will harness and export Oklahoma’s great wind resource,” commented Oklahoma’s Republican governor, Mary Fallin. Construction of the line is expected to begin in the second half of 2017. A deal that would create the largest clean-energy transmission project in the United States was announced yesterday, a $2.5 billion effort to build a high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) power line that would take wind energy produced in Oklahoma’s windy Panhandle region to the Memphis, Tenn., area. From there it would be distributed by the Tennessee Valley Authority to other major power distribution systems in the South and Southeast.
A federal appeals court has dismissed a Virginia energy company’s request to overturn a federal judge’s ruling last year that threw out the Obama administration’s approval of what was projected to be Nevada’s largest wind power project.
Nevada became the poster child for the national net-metering debate last year when state regulators voted to slash the credits paid to rooftop solar owners who send power back to the grid. New installations ground to a halt, as prominent installers like SolarCity Corp. and Sunrun Inc. shut down operations in the Silver State. But signs of change are afoot.
Colorado is one of 11 states that generated at least 10 percent of its total electricity from wind last year, according to an analysis by the Energy Information Administration.
Renewable energy investment probably has reached a peak of $349 billion that won’t be surpassed for at least five years, signaling a lull in the global fight against climate change. That’s the outlook from Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, who predicted funding for wind, solar and other clean-energy projects will probably fall at least 15 percent this year. At a conference in Shanghai on Tuesday, he outlined how the industry’s capacity to generate power will keep growing even with lower investment.
Top oil companies including Saudi Armco and Shell will join forces to set up an investment fund to develop technologies to cut carbon emissions and promote renewable energy, sources said on Wednesday. The chief executives of seven oil and gas companies — BP, Eni, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Statoil and Total — will announce details of the fund and other steps to reduce greenhouse gases in London on Friday.