March winds brought a new wind power record to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region Wednesday evening, March 26, when instantaneous output reached a record 10,296 megawatts (MW) at 8:48 p.m. At the time the new record was set, wind generation was providing nearly 29 percent of the 35,768 MW of electricity being used on the ERCOT grid. The new record beats the previous record set earlier this month by more than 600 MW, and the American Wind Energy Association reports it was a record for any U.S. power system.
U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy today promised renewable energy advocates that the Obama administration’s climate rules would help grow the clean energy industry.
“Know that you have a friend at this podium,” McCarthy told a meeting of the American Council on Renewable Energy on Capitol Hill. “The energy issues and the environmental issues are really two sides of the same coin,” she said. “If there’s one message … it is that the president’s Climate Action Plan is designed to complement clean energy development and its deployment.”
Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported on Monday, and they warned that the problem was likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control. The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.
Solar power is poised to overtake wind energy as the renewable energy source with the most financing and installation, according to a new report. Clean Edge Inc., a research advisory firm, said more solar photovoltaic generating capacity than wind power was installed worldwide for the first time last year. “This was the crossover year,” said Ron Pernick, the firm’s managing director.
Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are asking grid operators if future U.S. EPA regulations on coal plants will spur reliability problems and rising power prices. Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.) and Reps. Ed Whitfield (Ky.), Joe Barton (Texas), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and Steve Scalise (La.) sent letters this week to the four grid operators responsible for electricity delivery in the eastern United States. Their questions were spurred, they said, by high prices for natural gas and electricity in the East caused this winter by persistent Arctic blasts and constrained gas supplies.
With the relaunch of its “Energiewende” program earlier this year, the German government renewed its commitment to the near phaseout of fossil fuels — including a transition to 80 percent renewable energy — by 2050. Many Germans, meanwhile, remain optimistic that a complete transition to renewables could be possible by midcentury.
Siemens, the German power and industrial giant, said on Tuesday that it would build facilities for offshore wind turbines on the east coast of England, as Britain rapidly expands into wind power. Siemens plans to invest about 160 million pounds, or about $264 million, in the production and installation facilities. Its partner, the port operator Associated British Ports, which is owned by a group of investors including Goldman Sachs, will contribute about £150 million.
A key renewable energy tax break is facing stiff resistance as Congress begins to debate the fate of dozens of business tax breaks that expired at the beginning of this year, according to lawmakers, aides and outside stakeholders tracking the process, and its main beneficiary is rolling out an answer to the leading attack it is expected to face this year. The future of the production tax credit (PTC) and other energy extenders will be decided in the coming months as Congress begins to craft legislation that could reinstate some of the more than 50 temporary provisions, collectively known as “tax extenders,” that expired at the beginning of this year.
Finally, there’s an electric car that rivals Tesla’s eye-catching Model S. The sleek, new-for-2014 Cadillac ELR coupe is arguably as sexy looking as the sporty Model S, and like the Tesla, it’s a plug-in vehicle that’s capable of traveling for hours without stopping.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard a case regarding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 1000, which seeks to address some of the modernization challenges facing the grid. During today’s OnPoint, Sue Sheridan, president and chief counsel at the Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy, a plaintiff in the case, discusses the four key issues at play and the rationale behind the plaintiffs’ petition. She also explains how this case is significant to the larger debate over Order 1000.