Calif. offshore farm leaps first hurdle

Source: Emily Yehle, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

California is one step closer to getting its first offshore wind farm. The Interior Department announced yesterday that it has completed an “initial review” of a request from Trident Winds LLC to put 100 floating turbines more than 30 miles off the coast near the middle of the state. It found that the company was legally, technically and financially qualified to hold an offshore wind energy lease in federal waters, according to a press release.

U.S. Considers 800-Megawatt Floating Wind Farm in California

Source: By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is evaluating a proposal for the first offshore wind project in California. The agency said Trident Winds LLC is qualified to develop its proposed 800-megawatt wind farm, and will now determine if other companies are interested in the lease area, according to a statement Monday. If so, BOEM will initiate a competitive bidding process for the site about 33 nautical miles northwest of Morro Bay. If not, it will move forward with a noncompetitive leasing process.

Moniz to make another push for R&D spending hike

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, March 21st, 2016

Moniz has repeatedly noted that business leaders and outside groups have called for at least a doubling in clean R&D funding over current levels. For example, the Bipartisan Policy Center released a white paper last week noting that R&D spending directed toward DOE has fallen from about 18 percent in 1979 to 6-9 percent of total federal R&D funding now.

EPA has legal precedents for carbon crackdown — experts

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, March 20th, 2016

A trio of New York University law experts argue in a forthcoming law paper that U.S. EPA has several legal precedents for the Clean Power Plan. Those precedents include programs under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act — under which EPA issued the carbon program for power plants — and other provisions in the law, according to the paper. The law professors say they plan to soon file an amicus brief that makes the same point in the ongoing litigation over the Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Solar power gets K Street boost

Source: Kevin Bogardus, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Major solar power companies have expanded their presence in the influence industry. West Front Strategies LLC has signed up to lobby for both SolarCity and Sunrun Inc., according to lobbying disclosure records released by the Senate this week.

Turbines taller than Empire State Building

Source: By Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union Tribune • Posted: Sunday, March 20th, 2016

In efforts to increase wind power, the blades on turbines designed by engineers, scientists and researchers keep getting bigger and bigger. But a new design in the works takes the idea to levels most people can barely imagine: Blades up to 200 meters, or 656 feet, long — more than two football fields. Today’s longest blades run 262 feet. The blades at the Ocotillo wind farm on Interstate 8 that sends electricity to San Diego are almost 174 feet long.

San Diego company explores wind farm in rural Plymouth County Iowa

Source: By KIRBY KAUFMAN, Sioux City Journal • Posted: Sunday, March 20th, 2016

A San Diego-based alternative energy company is looking to enter Iowa’s wind farm industry in rural Plymouth County. EDF Renewable Energy proposes to build an estimated $200 million wind farm between Kingsley and Le Mars, said County Zoning Administrator Alan Lucken. Company officials will meet with rural landowners this week to discuss the construction of roughly 100 windmills, which could include easements.

Pentagon wants ‘bombs on target’ first, renewables second

Source: Camille von Kaenel, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Concerns over energy security are spurring branches of the military to get more electricity from renewable sources, inching the Pentagon toward governmentwide climate goals. But environmental concerns are not a key driver for the Defense Department, the nation’s largest consumer of energy. Instead, military officials say that safer sources of power are needed to enhance national security. That’s a bigger motivation than reducing emissions.

U.S. Offshore Wind Cost May Drop 55% as Builders Gain Experience

Source: By Joe Ryan, Bloomberg • Posted: Sunday, March 20th, 2016

The cost of building wind farms off the U.S. coast may decline as much as 55 percent within 13 years, letting developers offer clean power at rates competitive with market prices, according to a study released Tuesday by the University of Delaware. If developers commit to a series of large projects, installing about 2,000 megawatts of capacity between 2020 and 2030 off the Massachusetts coast, they will gradually drive down costs as they gain experience, install transmission lines, upgrade infrastructure and utilize increasingly efficient components, the study found.

Wind energy could get cheaper with newer, bigger projects

Source: By Jon Chesto, Boston Globe • Posted: Sunday, March 20th, 2016

The offshore wind industry’s efforts to distance itself from Cape Wind continued this week as the University of Delaware released a report showing offshore wind energy in New England would be far less costly under projects that are newer and bigger than Cape Wind.