Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s remarks this week linking climate change and U.S. oil dependence with national security today drew a sharp rebuke from Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe.
Oil service companies led by Technip SA (TEC) and Subsea 7 SA (SUBC) for the first time are working with wind energy developers in the North Sea’s 14 billion-euro ($19 billion) a year market. The offshore engineers plan to exploit the similarities between building undersea oil installations and constructing offshore wind farms and have both established renewable energy units. Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) also offers expertise to wind developers in the North Sea, where fossil fuels first discovered in 1966 are being depleted as clean energy demand rises.
“Offshore wind is still just a niche industry, but it’s a growing niche,” said Steen Broust Nielsen, director of the renewable energy consulting firm Make Consulting. “It will count for 8 percent of the global [wind] market in 2016.
That growth is driven by Europe’s significant offshore wind potential — the North Sea alone has the potential to provide Europe’s electricity needs 10 times over — along with policies in the European Union to reduce carbon emissions and promote renewable energy.
Climate change and oil dependence are issues of national security, and the Pentagon will take a lead role in shifting the way the country uses energy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last night. In remarks made at a Washington, D.C., reception held by the Environmental Defense Fund, Panetta became the highest-level official to draw a clear line between environmental, energy and security issues since their relationship was formally established in Pentagon strategy two years ago.
Under pressure from business groups, the Legislature has backed away from a plan to require utilities to buy a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. The energy bill is one of the last pieces of legislation awaiting action before the 2012 session adjourns. But the business community opposed a section of the bill that said utilities had to step up their purchase of renewable power supplies. They argued that would raise electricity rates and not do much to improve Vermont’s greenhouse gas footprint.
Two environmental groups are challenging a $300 million proposal to build a wind project on the north end of Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon. The Oregon Natural Desert Association and Portland Audubon have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland to stop the project, arguing for a different development area. The association mapped out other areas in Oregon where wind development could occur without social and environmental consequences to Steens Mountain, association Executive Director Brent Fenty said.
Vestas will decide on whether it will lay off 1,600 U.S. employees in the third quarter this year, CEO Ditlev Engel said yesterday in a conference call with analysts. Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, has said several times it would cut the jobs if the U.S. government does not renew the production tax credit, which supports renewable energy.
As the wind industry argues that tens of thousands of U.S. jobs will be lost unless Congress extends its prized tax credit, a new book aims to flesh out the stories of those workers as part of a broad examination of the industry’s growth. Author Philip Warburg was flanked by photos of several of the small-town residents whose communities embraced wind energy as he discussed his book, “Harvest the Wind,” at a Washington, D.C., reception yesterday.
Senate legislation aimed at expanding use of low-emitting sources of electricity would nearly triple the projected retirements of coal-fired power plants by 2035 while providing a substantial boost to nuclear, natural gas and renewable energy, according to an analysis released today from the Energy Information Administration.
Millions of people in Southern California, Arizona and northern Mexico were plunged into darkness last September because of errors and system problems paralleling those that caused the great Eastern blackout of August 2003, federal investigators reported on Tuesday.