Six months after the expiration of a federal loan guarantee program that backed $16 billion in loans to solar, wind and geothermal energy projects, the Energy Department has decided to offer a smaller set of similar guarantees by tapping another pot of money appropriated by Congress last year. The department said Thursday that it had sent letters to potentially eligible companies inviting them to apply for the new money.
House Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) says the Obama administration’s plan to use power marketing administrations to upgrade the electric grid is flawed and should be halted until Energy Secretary Steven Chu testifies before his committee. Hastings asked Chu in a letter today to testify before the House committee April 26 to discuss a memo he issued last month (E&ENews PM, March 16).
A panel of power experts today warned that the East Coast’s most populous state will have to replace 40 percent of its electricity transmission over the next three decades to keep up with regulations and replace aging generation with more diverse supply. Appearing at Columbia University here, the experts said three drivers — power plant age, transmission congestion and new Clean Air Act rules that go into effect in 2015 — will accelerate the Empire State’s need for an unprecedented wave of line construction.
The Indiana Republican speaks out repeatedly on the costs of “our oil addiction” and how the reliance on imported oil makes the U.S. less secure. He’s crossed party lines to support higher fuel efficiency standards, and strongly advocates for biofuels. He drives a hybrid car and regularly honors Hoosier “energy patriots” who have taken steps to improve America’s energy security.When Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis created a center to study renewable energy in 2007, they named the center after Lugar.
Billionaire T. Boone Pickens is building a 377-megawatt wind farm in Texas, three years after shelving plans for a project about ten times as big that would’ve been the world’s largest. Mesa Power Group LLC, the Dallas-based renewable energy company Pickens created in 2007, is co-developing the Stephens Bor-Lynn wind farm with Wind Tex Energy LP, according to a statement today.
In one of the biggest announcements this year for the domestic wind energy industry, General Electric Co. said yesterday that it will provide advanced technology turbines to nine new North American wind farms in the coming months, amounting to 650 megawatts of new emissions-free power generation. But the investment won’t be happening in the United States, where wind energy developers remain in a holding pattern while Congress debates whether to extend renewable energy tax credits that provide a 2.2-cent-per-kilowatt-hour tax benefit to wind farm owners.
Federal energy regulators are defending their approval of plans to spread the cost of new high-voltage transmission lines in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest as a means of preventing blackouts and saving billions of dollars a year. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order Friday reaffirming support for PJM Interconnection’s practice of spreading the cost of new power lines among utilities in 13 states and the District of Columbia. FERC expects the plan to save the region $2.2 billion annually.
The Massachusetts utility NSTAR has agreed to buy power from the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind farm, giving the long-delayed project guaranteed customers for the majority of its projected power output. The contract filed with state regulators Friday would have NSTAR pay about $1.6 billion for the electricity over the term of the 15-year deal. That is $940 million more than the market price of conventional energy over the same period.
The project, known as Bishop Hill II, is an 81-megawatt wind farm that is under construction. It will feature 50 General Electric 1.62 megawatt wind turbines. “The Bishop Hill II wind project demonstrates MidAmerican Renewables’ commitment to environmental respect and renewable energy,” Bill Fehrman, MidAmerican Renewables’ president, said in a news release. “The closing of the Bishop Hill II acquisition adds to our growing portfolio of renewable energy assets.”
“It’s nuts,” Sen. Michael Bennet said. “It’s like Congress will get around to it when Congress is ready to work on it, but that’s cold comfort for people getting laid off across the country and the state of Colorado.” A delay in the tax extension, say members of Congress and the industry, could cripple manufacturing for 2013. The impact is greater now than it was 10 years ago because domestic manufacturing has grown so quickly.