A new study funded by opponents of a key wind industry tax credit argues that the incentive should disappear this year because wind developers have a bright long-term future driven by state-level renewable energy policies. The report from the American Energy Alliance does little to contradict the gloomy scenario of lost jobs and sharply reduced development that wind industry backers see on the immediate horizon without an extension of the tax credit, and it was funded by a fossil-fuel-industry-backed organization that opposes even the state-level incentives that undergird wind’s future.
Michigan’s two largest electric utilities have given $11 million each to defeat Proposal 3, which would require state utilities to derive at least 25 percent of their energy from clean renewable sources by 2025. Clean Affordable Renewable Energy (CARE) for Michigan has raised $24 million to defeat the measure, while Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs, which supports the measure, has raised roughly $12 million.
Plans are in the works for a potential large-scale expansion of the National Wind Technology Center, the nation’s premier wind energy research facility known for its towering, white windmills on the southern periphery of Boulder County. According to a U.S. Department of Energy letter obtained by the Daily Camera on Wednesday, federal officials envision nearly quadrupling the number of wind turbines from the 16 that currently exist at the center, installing up to 30 meteorological towers and constructing more than 60,000 square feet of laboratory and conference space.
Critics of tax credits for wind energy projects are intensifying their push to kill the incentive with a study that calls it “rent seeking” by an established industry that doesn’t need the subsidy. The conservative American Energy Alliance (AEA) unveiled the study Thursday as wind power companies — joined by allies including President Obama — are pushing Congress to renew credits that are scheduled to lapse at year’s end.
No matter who wins the White House next week, Steven Chu is widely expected to soon book a one-way ticket back to California, sparking heightened speculation over who may be tapped to take over after his embattled term leading the Department of Energy if President Obama is re-elected.
This month, utilities and regional transmission planners are issuing compliance filings on Order 1000, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s broadly scripted mandate to limber up America’s electric grid (ClimateWire, Oct. 18).
As the U.S. looks to another record year for wind power installations, one large North American developer says that the market will continue to grow, but the U.S. could play less of a role. In an interview with Dow Jones, Mike Garland, the chief executive of Pattern Energy, a wind power project developer backed by Riverstone Holdings, said there are still opportunities for expansion beyond the U.S. in Canada and even newer markets like Colombia and Chile, where his firm has just begun developing.
Central and Eastern European countries are moving to disconnect their power lines from Germany’s as a glut of wind-generated electricity risks causing blackouts. It is a situation that highlights the difficulty many countries are facing as they try to integrate the world’s 200,000 wind turbines with aging and limited infrastructure.
Fagen Inc., a contractor for Exergy Development Group, says it is entitled to ownership of Exergy’s Big Blue Project near Blue Earth, Minn. In a lawsuit, the contractor says a February pact it struck with Exergy gives it control of the Big Blue Project because the Idaho company hasn’t come up with an $11.4 million loan repayment.
The wind energy industry is at a crossroads, rapidly shedding jobs and preparing for bigger layoffs if Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney gets his way and a billion-dollar tax break for the industry is allowed to expire. It’s become a contentious issue in the campaign, and it’s at the center of the battle between President Barack Obama and Romney over federal investment in renewable energy at a time of government budget deficits. The stakes are heightened by the fact that crucial swing states in the election are among the nation’s leaders in wind power jobs.