Letter Outlines Steps to Strengthen Nation’s Wind Energy Development WASHINGTON, DC —In a letter to President Obama, the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition has outlined key administrative actions that will advance the nation’s wind energy development and economic potential. The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition is a bipartisan group of governors and provides regional and national leadership […]
An Iowa City industrial park that the city has spent millions to develop sits empty, nearly two years after a Maryland-based wind turbine company announced it would build an $85 million plant and employ nearly 200 people there.
Nadicom, or North American Ductile Iron Co., announced in April 2011 that it would build an iron foundry on the site that would support 175 jobs. But the foundry never materialized.
It’s unlikely that natural gas will be cheap forever, so hedging against future price shocks with wind power could be a viable strategy for utilities in the United States, according to new research. In a report released last week, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researcher Mark Bolinger observed that wind power has a hard time competing on cost alone when natural gas prices bounce near a record floor. “It may need to fall back on its nonprice attributes,” he said in a conference call yesterday.
The Texas Panhandle’s wind energy industry is about to be blown away. An international mix of companies has committed to more than doubling the region’s production capacity by spending more than an estimated $3.3 billion on construction of wind farms in the next two years.
There is a treasure trove of renewable energy in the U.S., but the obstacles and barriers to getting it on the grid are many. Johnathan Hladik, energy policy advocate with the Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA), said the biggest hurdle right now is the lack of high voltage transmission lines. Adding to that infrastructure would allow for the use of more renewable resources, he said, while helping with rural economic development. “There is so much opportunity associated with increased property tax paid by wind-turbine owners and by those building transmission lines, with the actual construction jobs associated with both the wind turbines and the transmission lines,” he explained. “We’re looking at a good way to rejuvenate a lot of our smaller communities.”
I was elated to read March 8 (“Panel draws ire for wind tax bill”) that several senators on the Revenue Committee voted to advance a bill that would allow renewable energy companies tax breaks under the Nebraska Advantage Act.
Despite a recent report trumpeting a record year for wind power in 2012, the numbers are not as encouraging as they seem. Because even though total wind power capacity grew by 30 percent last year, with 13,000 megawatts in new wind turbines, the actual portion of our electricity coming from wind energy did not increase proportionally. Also, the forecast for future growth in the next few years is not robust, which means wind power will not keep up with the faster growing use of natural gas.
Wind energy is the fastest-growing source of electricity production globally, and in the U.S., Texas ranks No. 1 for wind energy capacity. If Texas were a country, it would be sixth in the world. Presently, Texas has 12,000 megawatts installed, which signifies a $20 billion investment in the state and creates jobs, said Elizabeth A. Salerno, director, Industry Data and Analysis, American Wind Energy Association.
Five companies responded positively to a federal survey asking whether they would be interested in developing offshore wind power off the coast of North Carolina. Virginia Electric and Power Co., which serves Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, was one of the respondents.
The budget released last night by Senate Democrats calls for substantial investments in energy infrastructure and research as mechanisms to boost the economy and address the effects of climate change. The plan is heavy on calls for infrastructure investments, including transmission lines, “smart grid” technology, water management and mass transit. The document is not binding on lawmakers but presents Democrats’ priorities for the coming years.