The Senate may hit another milestone in its consideration of whether to extend a bevy of expiring tax incentives — including a key credit for the wind industry — soon after returning from its Independence Day recess, a senior Democrat said today. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (Mont.) said he hopes to see “movement next month” on a tax extenders package, although he would not offer additional details. Industry lobbyists tracking the issue have said they expect the committee to mark up an extenders package in July, although Baucus would not confirm those plans.
An environmental group today sued the Interior Department for allegedly withholding information on how commercial wind farms affect birds and bats. The American Bird Conservancy, in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said the Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to provide correspondences with wind developers and other data on the impacts to birds and bats near wind projects in 10 states.
A group of fishermen agreed to support a wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts, dropping a federal lawsuit against the project.
Electric utilities and transmission owners are expected to make significant investments in technologies to protect the grid against ebbs and flows in current caused by the addition of intermittent power sources such as wind and solar power, two new reports predict.
When the energy entrepreneur Jim Gordon first proposed building the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, he assumed the project would be a slam dunk. Liberal Massachusetts communities would surely embrace a clean energy initiative, he figured. More than 10 years later, the offshore project is still not up and running, although it has passed some regulatory hurdles and survived a few legal challenges from locals who oppose the project. The long controversy is now the focus of a documentary, “Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle,” which opened on Friday in Washington after showings in Boston and a sprinkling of film festivals.
North Dakota’s robust and diverse energy sector can provide a model for creating jobs and help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, officials said Monday. Sen. John Hoeven and Gov. Jack Dalrymple were among the speakers at the Renewable Energy Action Summit in Bismarck. They, along with government and industry officials, said North Dakota’s energy policy has expanded traditional and renewable energy sources, advanced technology, provided certainty for developers, spurred investment and created jobs.
The sea’s heaving, rolling waters are an often overlooked source of renewable energy, but companies are now harnessing the motion of the ocean to feed electricity into the grid. The potential is enormous, experts say. “The predictions are that oceans could generate at least 10 percent of the world’s energy usage,” said Belinda Batten, director of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University. Wave and tidal generators could supply power to areas that lack power lines and transformer substations, like isolated coastal villages, islands and offshore drilling platforms, she added.
Look out, wind industry. John Droz Jr. has you in his sights. Droz, 66, is no inside-the-Beltway mover and shaker. He lives in the port town of Morehead City, N.C., when he isn’t at his Adirondacks cabin. He prefers sweater vests to pinstripes, and he describes himself as “just a busybody.”
Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems said on Monday it will close a factory in China and cut 300-350 jobs in the process, due to forecast low demand for kilowatt turbines in the future. The world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer said it would phase out production of kilowatt turbines, including the V52-850 kilowatt and V60-850 kilowatt turbines produced at the Hohhot factory to be closed.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted today to revise rules for variable energy resources like wind and solar power, saying the changes will let the overseers of the power grid respond more quickly to weather patterns. It marks a departure from the current practice of setting transmission schedules in one-hour blocks, which can make it more difficult to prepare for when the sun hides behind clouds or the wind stops blowing. Transmission companies will now be able to set their schedules in 15-minute blocks.