American renewable energy company Iberdrola Renewables has entered into long-term power supply agreements with Equinix data centers. The company will supply data centers with clean energy produced by a fleet of wind farms that Iberdrola operates. Wind farms in Washington, Oregon and Texas will be supplying bulk of the power.
State senators amended and then advanced a bill Wednesday that would provide a first-ever production tax credit for wind farms and other renewable energy facilities. The 25-3 vote to advance the proposal from the first round came after a long debate over whether such a tax break could succeed in creating an incentive or whether Nebraska is too late to become a big player in wind energy. Nebraska’s wind energy potential has always ranked among the highest in the nation. But its production of energy via wind farms has lagged behind, ranking 18th nationally in 2013. By contrast, neighboring Iowa was No. 1 in wind energy production that year, with about eight times more wind turbines than Nebraska.
“The administration has made it a priority to work with industry to identify challenges and create solutions for increasing the security and resilience of the electric grid, including the development of an integrated national plan to mitigate challenges pertaining to aging power transformers, the cyber and physical security of transformers, and the vulnerabilities of large power transformers,” the QER says.
Climate change will be a major factor in the future of power lines, natural gas pipelines, fuel depots and rail tanker cars, according to the Department of Energy’s first installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review(QER), released yesterday. The 348-page document, stemming from the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, focused on how hydrocarbons and electrons get from point A to point B, mapping out the current state of affairs and recommending pathways to ensure that energy reliably gets from producers to end-users in the coming decade. Proposals included more than $15 billion in spending and tax credits to improve energy infrastructure (Greenwire, April 21).
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced legislation yesterday that would give federal regulators power to override state decisions and site power lines meant to move large amounts of renewable energy across long distances. “We certainly understand that states would have a lot of questions about how any new federal authority would affect their existing authority,” said Bill White, senior adviser for Americans for a Clean Energy Grid. “At the same time, we all recognize that there’s a challenge here in getting these really important and valuable interstate infrastructure projects built.”
While Congress struggles to define the federal government’s role in promoting solar and wind power, American homeowners remain strongly supportive of federal tax credits and other subsidies for emissions-free electricity, according to recent polling done by the consulting firm Zogby Analytics. The January survey of 1,400 homeowners, commissioned by Clean Edge Inc. and SolarCity, revealed that 74 percent of homeowners support continuing the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar power and the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy, while nearly 9 in 10 homeowners believe renewable energy is important to the nation’s future.
Contrary to the claims of Thomas Pyle [“As taxman cometh, wind producers get a windfall,” April 14], whose group is funded by the fossil fuel billionaire Koch brothers, wind has received far less in tax credits and other government support than other energy sources. Its primary federal incentive, the Production Tax Credit, has been successful in attracting more than $100 billion to the U.S. economy since 2008 and increasing the amount of electricity provided by clean, affordable wind power.
Sen. Martin Heinrich unveiled legislation today that would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the ability to override a state’s opposition to specific power lines. The New Mexico Democrat’s bill would amend the Federal Power Act to give FERC the authority to approve a project if a state fails to greenlight construction or routing of the projects within a year of a company’s seeking the state’s approval. FERC’s authority may also apply if the state denies the project or doesn’t have the authority to approve the transmission line, or if approval is accompanied by contingencies that “unreasonably interfere” with construction.
The grid’s federally appointed monitor said today that parts of the industry need more time to comply with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, but its latest analysis was unable to quantify how much delay is required. The North American Electric Reliability Corp., the federally designated grid reliability overseer, in an assessment of EPA’s landmark proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants said the agency needs to make changes to its final rule to coordinate and adjust to an accelerated shift to natural gas and renewables and account for long lead times needed to build new generation, pipes and wires.
“The cost of energy in our region is a major issue that our states need to address in a collaborative way,” Malloy said. “At this meeting, the governors will renew and strengthen our commitment to working together to put solutions to this challenge in place.” The agenda includes the lack of pipeline capacity to bring natural gas to power plants, growing concerns about reliability, and the challenge of integrating power from renewable energy sources into the grid, Malloy said.