Storing energy remains the missing link for many clean power technologies, but DOE researchers and startup companies are racing to fill the gap. Without a way to save electricity and heat for later use, intermittent renewable energy will struggle to close price and performance differences with fossil fuels. But stored energy has advantages. It can respond to increased power demands faster than a turbine can spool up, and it can also save excess power and then supply it when needed.
What happens when the wind doesn’t blow? That’s a question that wind power skeptics or critics frequently ask. While coal, nuclear and gas plants theoretically run uninterrupted whenever they are called upon, humans have no control over when wind turbines stop and start spinning. Some utility and power company officials say this is a reason that “reliable,” baseload power should be valued more than wind. But in a report released Thursday and an accompanying webinar, experts with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) explained how wind can actually be seen as a more reliable source than conventional power plants — one that contributes to rather than inhibits the stability of the grid as a whole.
“I’m not sure what Cape Wind’s next move will be, but anybody who is developing an offshore wind piece, this bill is going to be for them,” said Haddad, who is second only to the speaker in the House hierarchy. “If Cape Wind wants to compete and they want to bring a lower price to the table, then they are going to be successful.”
The report comes as several states are reconsidering their existing RES or EERS. For example, West Virginia recently became the first state to repeal its RES, with the legislature voting overwhelmingly to scrap the law, which would have required 25 percent of electricity sales to come from renewable or alternative sources by 2025.
Visions of large, white wind-energy blades sweeping up the horizon have faded five years since a wind farm was proposed for Lake Michigan off the West Michigan coast. Five years ago, Scandia Wind created quite a stir by proposing a large wind-energy project, generating much discussion and debate in West Michigan, especially in Mason, Oceana, Muskegon and Ottawa counties. After months of talk in 2009 and 2010, the discussion of putting wind turbines in Lake Michigan has been relatively silent since.
Google has announced it is purchasing power from Altamont Pass, one of the country’s oldest and largest windfarms in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The technology company recently inked a 20-year agreement with Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. About 770 wind turbines from the 1980s will be replaced this year by 48 new turbines, which will double energy production.
China boosted its installed wind energycapacity last year to a record 19.81 million kilowatts as the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter tries to switch its power grid to cleaner energy sources.
The National Energy Administration said Thursday that wind farms produced 153.4 billion kilowatt hours of electric power in 2014, making up 2.8 percent of total generated electricity.
Acting Assistant U.S. EPA Administrator Janet McCabe didn’t make any specific promises during her testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee yesterday morning. But between the lines of her answers, the agency’s top air quality official delivered a clear signal to the state officials charged with implementing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan: There’s a strong chance EPA will back away from the interim 2020 goals many states have decried as unreasonable, rushed and too expensive to comply with.
As German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama meet this week in Washington, they are surveying the world’s energy future through a window that Germany opened — one with a spectacular view of the low-carbon horizon. For decades, Germany has been a first mover in clean energy. After suffering contamination from the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986, the nation walked away from nuclear power, and it slammed the door shut after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011. Now, the country is saying auf wiedersehen to coal, on the way to reducing its carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2020.
America leads the world in wind power — and it’s doing so with one arm behind its back. Today, 39 states, have utility-scale wind turbines. Combined, these 39 states generate more wind energy than any other country in the world. The federal Production Tax Credit, first signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, has spurred the growth of wind power — and generated billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs in the process.