Certainly, the Republican-controlled Congress could decline to renew the subsidies that wind power now enjoys. The production tax credit, which is slated to phase out by 2020, helped the onshore wind industry become competitive and create 100,000 jobs, most of them in red states. Onshore wind doesn’t need the tax credit any longer, but why not extend it for offshore wind to help create more high-paying jobs more quickly? Even if Congress doesn’t come through, New York State is looking to provide some financial incentives for offshore wind. Says John Rhodes, president of Nyserda, the agency that oversees the state’s energy policy: “We want developers to come here with the certainty that they can build the wind farms and sell the power.”
The Trump administration will broker its first offshore wind energy deal this week as the Interior Department auctions development rights to 122,400 acres of the Atlantic Ocean near North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area, covering 191 square miles of outer continental shelf roughly 24 miles from the beaches where the Wright brothers achieved first powered flight in 1903, has an opening bid price of $244,810, or $2 per acre.
Hearings starting Monday could determine whether Maryland becomes a leader in the development of offshore wind power in the United States. The Maryland Public Service Commission will begin what could be two weeks of hearings on proposals from two developers to build wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean off Maryland. The two developers are competing for up to $1.9 billion in subsidies over 20 years, paid for by the state’s electricity ratepayers, a crucial financing mechanism for developers to recoup the cost of building the massive wind farms. The commission is expected to decide whether to move forward with one by May 17.
Energy and manufacturing coalition: America can do better with its essential transmission infrastructure
“Just like highways and bridges, transmission is infrastructure that keeps the U.S. economy moving – and growing,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Investment in new transmission lines will modernize the U.S. grid and deliver more clean energy to population centers. This investment also will help to keep the lights on and costs low for American homeowners and businesses. Recognizing transmission as essential infrastructure is another way Congress and the administration can keep promises of advancing all forms of energy while growing U.S. energy independence.”
A diverse group of businesses from the energy, manufacturing, construction and environmental sectors sent a letter to Congressional leaders today calling for investment in America’s electricity grid. The coalition reminded lawmakers that ensuring reliable access to affordable electricity is necessary to keep business strong. Updating the country’s electricity grid to meet 21st century needs will play a key role making sure our economy continues to grow.
Last year, Tesla announced a joint project with SolarCity to install a large battery farm and solar array in Hawaii. That project is now complete, and ready to provide electricity to a Hawaiian utility. Tesla, SolarCity, and partner Kauai Island Utility Cooperative unveiled the completed solar and energy-storage facility last week, reports the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Finance ministers for the U.S., China, Germany and other members of the Group of 20 economies may scale back a robust pledge for their governments to combat climate change, ceding efforts to the private sector. Citing “scarce public resources,” the ministers said they would encourage multilateral development banks to raise private funds to accomplish goals set under the 2015 Paris climate accord, according to a preliminary statement drafted for a meeting that will be held in Germany next week.
The Oklahoma House has approved legislation to roll back a state tax credit for the wind energy industry. The House passed the bill Thursday by a vote of 74-24 and sent it to the Senate for consideration. The bill modifies the tax credit for electricity generated by zero-emission facilities like wind turbines. It says facilities must be in operation by July 1 in order to qualify for the credit, instead of the current deadline of Jan. 1, 2021.
Wind has surpassed hydroelectric as the top renewable electric resource in the United States, according to a new report by the American Wind Energy Association. This puts wind power as the fourth highest overall electric energy source behind natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy. A “balance of power, if you will in terms of energy, is shifting to West Texas. Every new job is going to be here, every lost job is going to be in East Texas — and that’s an upside down situation from what we all grew up with,” said Greg Wortham, director of the Texas Wind Energy Clearinghouse.
The future of solar energy in Massachusetts is looking bright. The Commonwealth has the second highest amount of solar industry jobs in the country and is in the top 10 for solar energy-producing states, according to a new report. Solar energy has been expanding across the country; 2016 saw a 97 percent growth in the U.S. solar market, Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) year-in-review data showed. Massachusetts in particular played a big role. In total, Massachusetts has more than 14,500 solar jobs. That’s second only to California, which has long been a leader in clean energy. Despite that, Massachusetts has the highest ratio of solar jobs to the size of its overall workforce.