In his quest to force tougher action on climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown has traveled to China, Mexico, Canada, even the Vatican. But he was much closer to home on Thursday, just a couple dozen miles from the ranch his family has owned for generations. Standing in front of scorched hills, the smell of smoke lingering in the air, Brown said the wildfire that had ripped through the area was evidence that global warming already has created dangerous conditions in California. “This is a real wake-up call,” the governor said. “It’s a new normal.”
The cost of electricity from wind power fell to its lowest point on record last year as the industry continued its growth pattern, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). A Monday report from DOE said wind power that utilities bought last year in purchase power agreements, the main measurement for comparing costs, was 2.35 cents per kilowatt hour, the drop of two-thirds from its 2009 peak. Wind saw the most growth of any power source last year and, with 66 gigawatts installed, now accounts for 4.9 percent of of the country’s electricity demand, DOE found.
Higher towers and larger turbines propelled the United States to “all-time low” wind power prices and world-leading wind production numbers last year, but that won’t be enough to overcome the loss of federal tax incentives, the Department of Energy said today in its annual wind market report. The report says total installed U.S. wind capacity is at about 66 gigawatts after an 8 percent growth spurt in 2014. An $8.3 billion investment in U.S. wind projects and 4,854 megawatts of new capacity was a big improvement after a “lackluster” 2013, the report says.
Study Finds that the Price of Wind Energy in the United States is at an All-time Low, Averaging under 2.5¢/kWh
Wind energy pricing is at an all-time low, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Energy and prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers averaged under 2.5¢/kWh for projects negotiating contracts in 2014, spurring demand for wind energy. “Wind energy prices—particularly in the central United States—have hit new lows, with utilities selecting wind as the low cost option,” Berkeley Lab Senior Scientist Ryan Wiser said. “Moreover, enabled by technology advancements, wind projects are economically viable in a growing number of locations throughout the U.S.”
The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, released last week, requires the country to use a lot more renewable energy by the year 2030 — and a lot less coal. And right on time, two new reports published Monday by the Department of Energy find that one key renewable sector — wind — is booming, a development that can only help matters when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. The reports being released — including the 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report, published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — suggest that wind is being installed at a rapid rate, that its costs are plummeting, that its technologies are advancing, and that it is creating a growing number of jobs to boot.
THE history of today’s climate change debate may have begun on Feb. 7, 1861. That day, an Irish physicist named John Tyndall, a professor of natural philosophy, delivered the annual Bakerian Lecture to the Royal Society in London. Dark-eyed and quick-witted, Tyndall was a dazzling figure who drew huge audiences to his public lectures on lively new subjects like glaciation, radiation and sound. “I never saw so large an attendance in the rooms of the Society,” he wrote in his journal that night. Even Alfred Tennyson, the poet laureate, sat amid the “many remarkable men present.”
Kansas had the third-highest amount of wind power capacity under construction in the country in the second quarter, with buyers including in-state utilities and an internet search company.
There were 1,070.75 megawatts of wind power capacity under construction in Kansas as of the second quarter of 2015, according to the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade association. That will add to the state’s 2,967 megawatts in existing capacity, the ninth highest in the country.
A nationally televised prime-time debate among Democratic presidential candidates will be held at Drake University in Des Moines on Saturday, Nov. 14, the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday. CBS News and KCCI-TV are sponsors, in conjunction with The Des Moines Register.
Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of a seminal decision on when courts must defer to agencies, said the high court’s decision this year to invalidate U.S. EPA’s air standards for mercury and other toxics was “truly mind-boggling.” In June, the court ruled that EPA should have considered costs in determining whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to promulgate its mercury and air toxics standards, or MATS.
A strong, sustained growth of U.S. wind power, a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, is achievable but faces stiff economic and political headwinds, according to government and private analyses. The plan issued Monday predicts that zero-carbon renewable energy — primarily wind and solar power — will supply 28 percent of total generation capacity in 2030, the compliance period’s end year. The draft rule a year ago projected 22 percent as the estimated renewable power capacity share, and the higher contribution from renewables is key to the deeper cut in greenhouse gas emissions that the new plan requires (ClimateWire, Aug. 4).