China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is making progress in connecting idled wind farms to the electricity grid, helping to address a roadblock slowing the development of wind power. “The issue is in the process of improvement, given the efforts made by grid companies,” Jiang Liping, vice president of the State Grid Energy Research Institute, said in a phone interview on Jan. 10, without disclosing the connection rate. The adoption of wind power in China has been damped by the electricity grid’s ability to handle the influx of energy, forcing the government to impose stricter approvals on new projects. The rate of wind capacity sitting idle could fall to as low as 10 percent this year, compared with 25 percent at the end of 2011, Jun Ying, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s head of research in China, said by e-mail.
Clean energy investment in the United States fell nearly a third last year compared with 2011, largely driven by uncertainty around the fate of a key tax break, slackening demand from state renewable energy mandates, falling costs for renewable technology and competition from natural gas, according to research released today.
Wind energy in Kansas could be in store for another round of development due to the one-year renewal of a federal tax credit. The Associated Press reports Kansas saw the most wind farm construction of any state last year. But by early fall, projects stalled and workers were laid off because the industry was expecting the tax credit to expire on Jan. 1.
According to Bill Noto, a software engineer for GE Renewable Energy, the wind energy highway is rife with speed traps. When there’s sufficient demand and room for electricity to flow, utilities and grid overseers want wind farms to run full throttle. But during periods of congestion, or when market conditions call for less power on the grid, wind energy operators have to apply the brakes to keep their power from overwhelming the system
Google Inc. has invested $200 million in a wind farm in west Texas, marking its 11th major investment in renewable energy projects.
Billionaire Tom Steyer isn’t well-known outside California, but plenty of people believe that’s about to change. He’s seen here as a likely star in energy politics.
Steyer, 55, is a self-made mogul who made a bundle as a hedge fund manager. He’s also a philanthropist, environmentalist and father of four who says the country needs a clean energy revolution. He’s spent part of his wealth working toward that aim.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the incoming chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today announced his senior committee staff, which includes nearly a dozen new faces.
Joining the committee this year will be Joshua Sheinkman, Michele Miranda, Isaiah Akin, Drew Johnston, Dave Berick, Peter Gartrell and Keith Chu, who all come from Wyden’s personal office. The committee also welcomes Todd Wooten, Dan Adamson, Meghan Conklin, Cisco Minthorn and Samantha Offerdahl, each of whom comes from other committees, member offices or advocacy groups.
Jack Gerard, the often-combative chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute, said Tuesday that the United States was “at the crossroads of a great turning point” in the nation’s energy history. As long as Congress and the Obama administration don’t mess it up, he warned.
Put the name of Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire on top of the list of potential nominees to run U.S. EPA in President Obama’s second term. That’s the talk these days among EPA watchers in Washington, D.C. Gregoire, a Democrat whose second term ends this month, had been rumored to be under consideration for several administration positions, including the Department of Energy, but until Friday wasn’t believed to be in the running for EPA chief.
Last week, global wind turbine manufacturers heaved a sigh of relief after the U.S. government extended a tax credit considered crucial to the industry.
But 2013 will still bring challenges to wind developers around the world. In the United States, long-term uncertainty about the tax credit — which was extended for only one year, after considerable political tension — will continue. Growth in China is expected to slow, a casualty of constraints on the electric grid. And Spain, an important market in Europe, has stalled.
“The industry’s rate of growth will slow substantially in the coming few years,” the Brussels-based Global Wind Energy Council said in a report released in November. A global deal to put a price on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions would bolster the outlook for wind power, the report said, but such a deal seems unlikely.