Renewable energy needs help. Technological innovation has significantly reduced the cost of solar panels, wind turbines and other equipment, but renewable energy still needs serious subsidies to compete with conventional energy. Today, help comes mostly in the form of federal tax breaks.
Georgia’s leaders are hoping to capitalize on the state’s nascent manufacturing industry for wind power when 200 international wind energy exhibitors come to Atlanta next week. The state already is home to more than a dozen companies that make components that either go into wind turbines or that assist in building them. Such development has been a way for Georgia and the Southeast to capitalize on the wind energy industry even though the state lacks a steady wind needed for the giant turbines to spin constantly and create electricity.
Chinese manufacturers of towers for wind turbines received unfair subsidies and must now pay duties of 13.7 to 26 percent, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday in a preliminary decision in a case brought by four American manufacturers of the towers. The decision, the third trade case decided this year in favor of American wind and solar manufacturers, will be followed by another in the coming weeks on whether Chinese companies engaged in dumping the towers in the United States at prices below the cost of making them.
The White House last night issued a veto threat to a pending House spending bill to fund the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies, citing cuts to clean energy promotion and other DOE priorities and “policy riders” that would reopen the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository, undo federal building efficiency requirements and block guidance on the Clean Water Act.
If it gets hot enough for long enough, Texas and Southern California may not have the electricity to avoid outages this summer, the overseers of the nation’s power grid warned in a forecast today. Most parts of the country should make it through the summer without a problem, says the annual report by the North American Electric Reliability Corp., a quasi-public body that supervises the regional authorities that run the U.S. electric grid.
The Obama administration today announced plans to offer potentially hundreds of thousands of acres of federal waters off Massachusetts for commercial wind development, the latest in a sweeping Interior Department push to expand the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. The wind energy area about 10 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard was trimmed to avoid an area of high sea duck concentration, as well as an area important to commercial and recreational fishermen, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said.
Heather Zichal spent her early days in the Obama administration pushing a climate-change bill in Congress that oil and gas companies helped to derail. Now President Barack Obama has named Zichal, his deputy assistant for energy and climate change, as a liaison to that industry, and to make sure proposed rules don’t slow the surge in U.S. natural-gas development.
The Commerce Department ruled today that China has given improper subsidies to makers of steel towers used in utility-scale wind turbines, siding with American manufacturers and intensifying a trade dispute that is roiling the renewable energy industry. The tariffs that Commerce plans to place on Chinese imports at U.S. borders range from 13.74 percent to 26 percent, several times higher than the equivalent tariffs being placed on Chinese solar panels.
Wind farms are considering the use of radar units and experimental telemetry systems that would switch off turbines when birds were detected nearby. Wind turbines have been at the center of a conservation controversy as birds from the critically endangered California condors to the federally protected golden eagles have been killed by the blades.
The Bureau of Land Management has taken a major step toward authorizing one of the nation’s largest proposed electricity transmission projects, releasing a draft plan that the agency said addresses lingering concerns about impacts to nearby military installations and sensitive wildlife habitat. BLM today published in the Federal Register a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the 530-mile-long SunZia Southwest Transmission Project that has been under federal review for three years. The power line would have the capacity to transport as much as 4,500 megawatts of mostly renewables-generated electricity from northeast New Mexico to an electric distribution point northwest of Tucson, Ariz.