North Dakota’s robust and diverse energy sector can provide a model for creating jobs and help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, officials said Monday. Sen. John Hoeven and Gov. Jack Dalrymple were among the speakers at the Renewable Energy Action Summit in Bismarck. They, along with government and industry officials, said North Dakota’s energy policy has expanded traditional and renewable energy sources, advanced technology, provided certainty for developers, spurred investment and created jobs.
The sea’s heaving, rolling waters are an often overlooked source of renewable energy, but companies are now harnessing the motion of the ocean to feed electricity into the grid. The potential is enormous, experts say. “The predictions are that oceans could generate at least 10 percent of the world’s energy usage,” said Belinda Batten, director of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University. Wave and tidal generators could supply power to areas that lack power lines and transformer substations, like isolated coastal villages, islands and offshore drilling platforms, she added.
Look out, wind industry. John Droz Jr. has you in his sights. Droz, 66, is no inside-the-Beltway mover and shaker. He lives in the port town of Morehead City, N.C., when he isn’t at his Adirondacks cabin. He prefers sweater vests to pinstripes, and he describes himself as “just a busybody.”
Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems said on Monday it will close a factory in China and cut 300-350 jobs in the process, due to forecast low demand for kilowatt turbines in the future. The world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer said it would phase out production of kilowatt turbines, including the V52-850 kilowatt and V60-850 kilowatt turbines produced at the Hohhot factory to be closed.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted today to revise rules for variable energy resources like wind and solar power, saying the changes will let the overseers of the power grid respond more quickly to weather patterns. It marks a departure from the current practice of setting transmission schedules in one-hour blocks, which can make it more difficult to prepare for when the sun hides behind clouds or the wind stops blowing. Transmission companies will now be able to set their schedules in 15-minute blocks.
Scientists have concluded that the larger the wind turbine, the greener the electricity it produces. Their report appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology. This study could solidify the trend toward construction of larger wind turbines.
With the House set to begin debate today on a GOP energy package with no chance of advancing this Congress, a top House Republican is signaling his willingness to continue a key wind energy incentive that is set to expire Dec. 31.
While Senate tax writers have started discussions on a bevy of expiring tax incentives — including a key break for the wind industry — Republican efforts to tie a vote on those incentives to an extension of tax breaks for the wealthy may delay significant action until after the election, a key wind backer said yesterday.
While much of the renewable energy sector remains focused on extending federal tax credits for wind, solar and other alternative fuels, utilities and small-scale energy producers in more than a dozen states are forging ahead with programs that pay renewable energy producers a fixed rate for power they put on the grid. The programs, known as “Clean Local Energy Accessible Now,” or CLEAN, allow mostly municipal utilities and energy producers to enter contracts guaranteeing a fixed rate for electricity sent to the grid from clean sources over a fixed period of time, usually 10 to 20 years, said John Farrell, a senior researcher for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, or ILSR, which issued a status report on the programs.
Global leaders, development experts, bankers, academics and activists are gathering here this week to celebrate the anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit of 1992 and to try to address the linked problems of poverty, hunger, energy shortages and environmental degradation. But the conference — expected to draw as many as 50,000 participants — is in many ways overshadowed by economic and political crises around the world. While more than 100 heads of state and government are planning to attend the formal talks starting Wednesday, President Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany are staying away, preoccupied by domestic politics and the financial turmoil in Europe.