Billionaire oil-and-gas tycoon T. Boone Pickens is abandoning his long-planned wind farm, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Pickens has in recent years changed his eponymous “Pickens Plan” for reducing oil imports to emphasize natural gas rather than wind power for electricity generation. The Star Tribune reported Pickens sold his stake in the Goodhue County, Minn., farm, but that the 50-turbine, $180 million project will go forward.
The biggest wind turbine manufacturer in the world has axed about 20 percent of its U.S. jobs as the company waits to see whether the wind production tax credit will be extended in 2013. Vestas Wind Systems A/S made the cuts despite having the “busiest year ever in the U.S. and Canada by supplying wind turbines to more than 20 new wind power projects,” Martha Wyrsch, president of Vestas’ Americas unit, said in a statement. “However, the U.S. wind industry has slowed largely due to the uncertainty surrounding the federal production tax credit extension.”
The idea of raising renewable standards may not be a focus on Capitol Hill, but in Michigan, the concept is spurring an expensive political brawl with repercussions for the Midwest’s future power mix and manufacturing base. A proposal on the state ballot that would raise the state’s renewable energy standard to 25 percent by 2025 is pitting utilities, chambers of commerce and their allies against environmentalists, public health advocates, faith groups and national organizations from as far away as San Francisco. Supporters say the measure will generate a wind energy surge and jump-start the state’s economy, while opponents argue the plan will cause costs to spiral, ruin the landscape and create mass regulatory confusion
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill should stand to the side and let states lead the way toward a smarter electric grid, says the author of the legislation that Congress passed in 2005 to promote the concept nationally for the first time. Former Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat who chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s former Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality for several years before losing a re-election bid in 2010, said during an interview this week that state utility commissions are doing plenty to advance the technology under current federal laws.
The Interior Department’s first competitive lease for offshore wind in the Atlantic Ocean will not occur until 2013, an Interior Department official said today at a conference here on offshore wind. The announcement at the American Wind Energy Association event pushes back by two years an original goal of having a competitive sale in the mid-Atlantic by late 2011.
Wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems made its largest Colorado job cut Thursday, laying off about 200 workers at its Windsor blade plant. The cuts represent 29 percent of the plant’s workforce. Vestas also had laid off workers at plants in Brighton and Pueblo.
Environmentalists today ripped the Obama administration’s decision to approve a wind power project in southeast Wyoming, arguing that the massive wind farm is improperly sited and will cause grave harm to golden eagles and greater sage grouse.
Industry and state officials yesterday said they remain optimistic about the future of offshore wind in the United States, despite uncertainty surrounding the extension of key tax incentives and a lack of markets for developers to sell their power. Jim Lanard, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Offshore Wind Development Coalition, told a gathering here of government, industry and environmental officials that he expects significant announcements soon in the windy mid-Atlantic, though he acknowledged progress has been slow.
The Obama administration has issued final approval for the largest wind farm in North America, a move that will allow the nation to meet a goal set forth in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to approve roughly 10,000 megawatts of new renewable energy projects on federal land by 2015. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced at a ceremony in Cheyenne, Wyo., that he has signed a record of decision for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind project in southeast Wyoming.
Americans have become more likely to link extreme weather events to climate change, according to a report released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities. Seventy-four percent of Americans said “global warming is affecting weather in the United States,” according to a survey taken in August and September, compared with 69 percent who agreed with that statement in a March survey, the report says.