The American Petroleum Institute is inescapable here, its name attached to briefings and concerts while its campaign logo adorns free sunglasses and sunscreen. But clean energy is not invisible to Republicans during their quadrennial celebration. Even as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney emphasizes the oil, gas and coal elements of what his party likes to call an “all of the above” strategy, businesses that traffic in renewables and efficiency are honing their energy pitch to conservatives. Their language tends to sidestep climate change and the environment while emphasizing profits and growth — talk tailor-made to persuade a potential Romney administration that fossil fuels are not the only game in town.
Clean Lines Energy Partners, based in Houston, Texas, rolled into Fort Dodge Tuesday morning to establish contacts with area contractors for when the company begins construction a 500-mile, high-voltage, direct-current electric power line from O’Brien County to Rock Island, Ill., then to markets farther east. The $1.7 billion, 3,500-megawatt Rock Island Clean Lines project is expected to pass through, or close to, Webster County. Beth Conley, regional outreach manager for Clean Lines, said the company is still working out details of the power line’s route, while seeking construction permits and utility authorizations; however it’s confident the two-year project will begin in 2014.
Two years ago, Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA), a bill that would set up parameters for New Jersey to be the leader in harnessing wind energy — and the jobs created by it — throughout the East Coast. The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) was to develop regulations regarding the offshore renewable energy credit program, but these regulations have yet to be released — keeping the offshore wind industry from coming to New Jersey.
Government regulators are assessing the nation’s increasing dependence on natural gas as a source of electricity generation in a series of regional meetings around the country throughout the month of August. Advocates for renewable energy, however, express concern that in a “dash for gas,” the federal government may be overlooking the long-term reliability and emissions reduction potential of renewable sources such as wind and solar. “This is a moment of transition for the energy system. For some time, there’s been a marked decline in coal generation and we’ve seen an increase in natural gas and wind,” said Kit Kennedy, clean energy counsel at the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. The top priority for her organization, she added, “is to push for better deployment of renewables and energy efficiencies. That is the pathway for a low-carbon future.”
Three companies that make components for wind turbines laid off a total of 219 people in the past week, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said on Friday.
Developers of an upcoming offshore wind farm have purchased a Massachusetts marina to serve as the hub of operations for the project that is aiming to be the first offshore wind farm in the United States. Cape Wind CEO Jim Gordon announced today the purchase of East Marine in Falmouth, Mass., which the company plans to use as its operations and maintenance center for the 130-turbine project planned for Nantucket Sound. The center will create 50 permanent jobs employing highly paid engineers and other skilled workers, Gordon said.
Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, said it would cut an additional 540 jobs in the Americas by the end of the year as it prepares for lower demand next year while the renewal of the production tax credit (PTC) remains in limbo. The cuts are part of 1,400 jobs being eliminated at Vestas worldwide this year in addition to the 2,335 jobs the company cut in January. The new cuts will lead to savings of €250 million ($313 million) in fixed costs per year, the Danish company said.
South of Sweetwater, hundreds of towering wind turbines from some of the nation’s largest wind farms dot ridge lines as far as the eye can see. North of town, crews are busily erecting new transmission lines to move more wind power from West Texas and the Panhandle to population centers like Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio. But the wind industry building boom, which has led Texas to be the nation’s leader in wind energy, could be nearing the end if the production tax credit expires at the end of the year.
The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer will be cutting thousands of workers as the struggling company attempts to get out of the red. Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems has said it will lay off 1,400 workers in addition to the 2,300 job cuts it announced at the beginning of the year.
Natural gas and renewable energy resources have effectively replaced coal as the fuels of choice for electric utilities building new generation, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration. That finding, issued in a “Today in Energy” brief from the agency, comes as another dose of bad news for the U.S. coal industry. It has witnessed a steep drop-off in domestic demand as electric utilities increasingly look to alternative fuels to meet their needs