Whichever way the wind blows, it’s probably passing through this town of 3,300 in north-central Montana. At least that’s the picture Shelby Mayor Larry Bonderud paints as he rattles off facts and figures about wind energy development here, seemingly without pausing for breath during a recent interview in the office of his optometry practice.
Wind industry representatives will gather today to discuss the long-term economic implications of their key tax break, including how and whether it could be reduced or phased out and what policy mechanisms could replace it, according to sources familiar with the meeting. The two-day, closed-door meeting being convened by the American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s primary trade association, is separate from the industry’s long-standing push for an immediate extension of the production tax credit, which expires at the end of this year for wind.
Custer County landowners Dale and Phyllis Green never expected to share their family ranch of more than 50 years. But today, a single wind turbine soars about 80 meters into the sky and sits on a section of rolling pasture where Dale, 82, and Phyllis, 72, used to raise cattle. The turbine is one of 50 in the just-completed $145 million Broken Bow LLC project, a joint effort by Edison Mission Energy, a subsidiary of Edison International, and the Nebraska Public Power District.
About 25 military veterans will be roaming the halls of Capitol Hill tomorrow and Thursday to push for an extension of a key wind-industry tax break that is set to expire at the end of this year. The lobbying effort is being organized by the nonprofit Operation Free, a veterans organization that promotes renewable energy. Workers will come from E.ON Climate and Renewables, Invenergy, Gamesa, NextEra, EDP Renewables and Siemens.
On Tuesday, Garcia and other Broken Bow officials, along with Gov. Dave Heineman and utility representatives are to dedicate the 80-megawatt wind farm about three miles northeast of the central Nebraska town of 3,500. The wind farm has 50 turbines scattered over 14,000 acres. Each turbine tower is about 262 feet high, topped with a 1.6-megawatt power plant. Total generation capacity is 80 megawatts, enough to meet the energy needs of about 25,000 homes.
Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens has sold his stake in a controversial wind farm proposed in Goodhue County, Minn., but its new owner says the project is going ahead. Dallas-based American Wind Alliance, founded by Pickens in 2009, said Friday that it has sold 100 percent of the company behind the Minnesota project, whose name has been changed to New Era Wind Farm LLC. The financial terms were not disclosed.
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.