Concerns over energy security are spurring branches of the military to get more electricity from renewable sources, inching the Pentagon toward governmentwide climate goals. But environmental concerns are not a key driver for the Defense Department, the nation’s largest consumer of energy. Instead, military officials say that safer sources of power are needed to enhance national security. That’s a bigger motivation than reducing emissions.
The cost of building wind farms off the U.S. coast may decline as much as 55 percent within 13 years, letting developers offer clean power at rates competitive with market prices, according to a study released Tuesday by the University of Delaware. If developers commit to a series of large projects, installing about 2,000 megawatts of capacity between 2020 and 2030 off the Massachusetts coast, they will gradually drive down costs as they gain experience, install transmission lines, upgrade infrastructure and utilize increasingly efficient components, the study found.
The offshore wind industry’s efforts to distance itself from Cape Wind continued this week as the University of Delaware released a report showing offshore wind energy in New England would be far less costly under projects that are newer and bigger than Cape Wind.
The rising demand for small-scale forms of distributed electricity generation like rooftop solar is proving a major challenge for California policymakers.
The wind and solar industries say they aren’t changing their messaging strategies while the Clean Power Plan remains frozen pending a flurry of litigation.
Under fierce attack from the political right, and with even some Democrats questioning its competence, the Environmental Protection Agency is facing a tumultuous election year — with rising regulatory responsibilities, falling budgets and its very existence at stake.
The Lancaster County Board should heed the request of a local coalition that it take another look at the super-strict noise limits it approved last year for wind turbines. As John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, told the board last week, the regulations “make it next to impossible to develop wind energy in our county.”
Doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix to 36 percent by 2030 could save the world economy up to $4.2 trillion a year, research by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) showed on Wednesday. Renewable sources, such as wind and solar, accounted for around 18 percent of global energy consumption in 2014. Under existing national policies, the share of renewables is forecast to reach 21 percent by 2030.
Announcing government support for clean-energy projects, President Obama hailed a Spanish company, saying its new solar technology would supply tens of thousands of American homes with renewable power, while spurring local employment. “It’s good news,” Mr. Obama said in 2010, “that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs right here in America.” Since then, the Spanish company, Abengoa, has built two American plants, in Arizona and California, supplying electricity to more than 160,000 homes. It is the world leader in a technology known as solar thermal, with operations from Algeria to Latin America.
An area off the coast of New York designated for offshore wind farms has the potential to generate almost as much electricity as a nuclear power plant. The site has more than 81,000 acres (127 square-miles), enough for turbines with as much as 900 megawatts of capacity, according to Willett Kempton, a professor at the University of Delaware who studies offshore wind. That estimate, based on developers using 6- or 8-megawatt turbines, is about 30 percent bigger than earlier proposals for the wind energy area.