Last year got off to a shaky start for the U.S. wind energy industry, but new project construction and installed generation capacity took off following belated Congressional extension of the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC). By year’s end a record number of wind energy projects were under construction, and new wind energy generation records had been set across the country.
When it comes to wind energy, not all states are created equal. They say everything’s bigger in Texas — and for wind energy and rib-eye steak, they’re right. Here’s how Texas tops the list of wind energy producers.
The three largest industrial equipment divisions — aviation, power and water, and oil and gas — all grew robustly in the quarter. For example, revenue from the power and water unit rose 14 percent to $5.5 billion, helped by strong sales of power plant equipment and wind turbines. With demand for renewable energy increasing, G.E. expects to sell 3,000 wind turbines in 2014, about 1,000 more than last year, said Jeffrey S. Bornstein, the chief financial officer.
Fossil fuels states met yesterday and today in Bismarck, N.D., to swap ideas about how to protect their states’ economic and energy interests from what they fear could be the harmful effects of U.S. EPA’s upcoming existing power plant carbon dioxide rule. The meeting comes six weeks before the federal agency is set to release its proposed guidance for the rule, and regulators have been tight-lipped about what it will look like. EPA Air and Radiation Office chief counsel Joe Goffman maintained that policy by offering few specifics during his participation in the meeting yesterday.
Once completely off the map when it came to building successful wind turbine projects, nearly every state in the Southeast has a wind developer looking at it, according to clean energy and wind advocates. The lower wind speeds in the Southeast have not typically made the region ripe for wind development, especially when compared with the Midwest and Texas. Improved technology combined with a future need for cheaper power has opened up the Southern states for new development, however.
New Jersey’s political support for offshore wind has waned since 2010, when Gov. Chris Christie (R) approved a law providing a substantial subsidy for the technology. As a result, Google-backed AWC is now selling itself to state policymakers as a transmission line that will cut electricity costs and increase grid resilience should another storm like Superstorm Sandy arrive on the New Jersey coast.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which pools the efforts of scientists around the globe, has begun releasing draft chapters from its latest assessment, and, for the most part, the reading is as grim as you might expect. We are still on the road to catastrophe without major policy changes. But there is one piece of the assessment that is surprisingly, if conditionally, upbeat: Its take on the economics of mitigation. Even as the report calls for drastic action to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, it asserts that the economic impact of such drastic action would be surprisingly small. In fact, even under the most ambitious goals the assessment considers, the estimated reduction in economic growth would basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year.
A member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today said the American Wind Energy Association presented “compelling” information that wind production tax credits are not a major factor in making nuclear power uneconomical. Speaking at FERC’s monthly meeting in Washington, D.C., Commissioner John Norris said he had asked for information about why baseload nuclear power plants are being forced out of the market and whether production tax credits for the wind industry were a factor.
The Obama administration’s landmark rule to reduce the power sector’s contributions to climate change may be released nearly a month behind schedule and will feature numerous ideas about how to promote alternative sources of energy and otherwise remake the electric grid, U.S. EPA’s second in command said at a White House forum on solar energy today. Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe said EPA helps to drive demand for solar energy deployment and other changes that reduce emissions from electricity production as part of its broader role in implementing President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. A centerpiece of the agency’s climate efforts is the upcoming rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, which Perciasepe said today would come out in “late June, maybe even the end of June” — a delay compared to previously announced plans to release the rule June 1.
Renewable energy rises, but IPCC authors warn that nuclear power must also rise to replace fossil fuels
Over the past decade and a half, countries around the world have taken unprecedented steps to shift their energy dependence from fossil fuels to alternative resources. Tariffs and subsidies have spurred the growth of wind and solar, regional emissions markets have imposed costs on carbon, and government funds have poured in to support the development of new, low-carbon technologies. And yet carbon emissions from the energy sector continue to rise. From 1991 to 2010, they grew at a rate of 1.7 percent a year; over the following decade, that rate nearly doubled, to 3.1 percent a year, according to data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Notwithstanding a minor drop in emissions during the economic recession of 2009, the upward trajectory continues today.