News

T. Boone Pickens departs Minnesota wind project

Source: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune • Posted: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

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.

T. Boone Pickens sells off stake in wind farm

Source: By Zack Colman, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

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.

Vestas fires 20% of U.S. workforce on tax credit uncertainty

E&E • Posted: Monday, October 15th, 2012

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.”

Political slugfest in Mich. over renewable energy ballot proposal

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, October 15th, 2012

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

Patron of federal ‘smart grid’ laws sees no more room for Congress

Source: Gabriel Nelson, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, October 12th, 2012

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.

First competitive Atlantic lease bumped to 2013 — Interior official

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, October 12th, 2012

The Interior Department’s first competitive lease for offshore wind in the Atlantic Ocean will not occur until 2013, an Interior Department official said today at a conference here on offshore wind. The announcement at the American Wind Energy Association event pushes back by two years an original goal of having a competitive sale in the mid-Atlantic by late 2011.

Vestas Wind Systems trims about 200 more Colorado jobs

Source: By Steve Raabe, Denver Post • Posted: Friday, October 12th, 2012

Wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems made its largest Colorado job cut Thursday, laying off about 200 workers at its Windsor blade plant. The cuts represent 29 percent of the plant’s workforce. Vestas also had laid off workers at plants in Brighton and Pueblo.

Some conservation groups fret over Interior’s approval of massive Wyo. wind farm

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Environmentalists today ripped the Obama administration’s decision to approve a wind power project in southeast Wyoming, arguing that the massive wind farm is improperly sited and will cause grave harm to golden eagles and greater sage grouse.

Offshore wind: Industry bullish, despite political turbulence

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Industry and state officials yesterday said they remain optimistic about the future of offshore wind in the United States, despite uncertainty surrounding the extension of key tax incentives and a lack of markets for developers to sell their power. Jim Lanard, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Offshore Wind Development Coalition, told a gathering here of government, industry and environmental officials that he expects significant announcements soon in the windy mid-Atlantic, though he acknowledged progress has been slow.

Obama admin reaches 10,000-MW project threshold three years early

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

The Obama administration has issued final approval for the largest wind farm in North America, a move that will allow the nation to meet a goal set forth in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to approve roughly 10,000 megawatts of new renewable energy projects on federal land by 2015. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced at a ceremony in Cheyenne, Wyo., that he has signed a record of decision for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind project in southeast Wyoming.