More than six months after Congress extended a vital tax break for U.S. wind energy developers, the industry is showing signs of strengthening as electric utilities and high-profile companies such as Wal-Mart, Google, Microsoft and Apple chart their growth strategies around the use of wind and other renewable energy resources.
“Our state continues to lag behind our neighbors in reaping the economic development benefits of wind energy, and this latest announcement makes it clear that there is still more to be done to make Nebraska wind projects competitive with states like Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma,” Mello wrote.
Secretary Ernest Moniz outlined an ambitious effort to reorganize the Department of Energy in a memo and address to department staff yesterday, aiming to restructure the responsibilities of his top deputies and bringing in a cadre of senior advisers. The effort includes establishing a new undersecretary for management and performance, a position to which President Obama yesterday nominated NASA Chief Financial Officer Beth Robinson (E&E Daily, July 19). Moniz also will be combining the undersecretaries of science and energy into a single position, for which a nomination is expected soon. “Successful implementation of the President’s Climate Action Plan, ‘all of the above’ energy strategy and nuclear security agenda require the appropriate alignment of management functions and strengthened management throughout the agency,” Moniz wrote yesterday in a memo to DOE staff.
A group of Colorado county commissioners are so miffed by the state’s new renewable energy requirements and other regulations that they are mulling a plan to secede. Commissioners from 10 counties in rural northeastern Colorado were irate when Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) last month exempted municipally owned utilities from a law that requires rural electric cooperatives with more than 100,000 customers to double their renewable energy standard to 20 percent by 2020 (Greenwire, June 5).
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected part of a plan yesterday floated by a Southern grid operator and utilities to comply with the agency’s landmark Order 1000 rule over objections from Republican commissioners. FERC voted 3-2 to approve a plan filed by Southwest Power Pool (SPP) to comply with the rule, which aims to revamp the planning and financing of power lines. SPP operates the grid in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
If you have acrophobia, kinetosis or ancraophobia, Whiskey Dick Mountain is not for you. Because this wind farm called Wild Horse in Kittitas County has 149 turbine towers gently swaying in almost constant winds, 23 stories up.
More than 60 percent of Americans support President Obama’s effort to combat climate change, although support for individual components of his plan is even higher, according to results of a poll released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Sixty-six percent of those polled said climate change is a very serious or somewhat serious problem, including 46 percent of Republicans.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today stressed the importance of finding creative ways to unlock investment in clean energy – both today’s renewable power, and to create the breakthrough technologies that will combat climate change and transform the nation’s economy.
During the year-end flurry, Oregon rose to the top five states for wind energy production, and welcomed the nation’s second-largest complex at Shepherd’s Flat — just as the two multinational wind companies with Portland regional headquarters were shedding staff. Iberdrola Renewables, the North American arm of a Spain-based energy giant, laid off about 25 people last year, shrinking to about 375 employees. Vestas, the Danish wind turbine maker whose North American headquarters is blocks away in Northwest Portland, shrank to about 250 employees here, down from nearly 400.
How willing is U.S. EPA to compromise with industry on its power plant emissions standards? During today’s OnPoint, Robert Sussman, the former senior policy adviser at EPA, gives his take on the key hurdles facing the agency as it tries to meet President Obama’s aggressive timeline for new and existing power plant emissions standards. Sussman, who departed the agency earlier this month, also discusses how the holdup of Gina McCarthy’s confirmation as administrator has affected operations and slowed the progress of agency projects.