FERC revises rules to help bring renewables onto the grid

Source: Gabriel Nelson, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 22nd, 2012

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.

Super-Sized Wind Turbines for Greener Electricity

Source: Buildings • Posted: Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Scientists have concluded that the larger the wind turbine, the greener the electricity it produces. Their report appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology. This study could solidify the trend toward construction of larger wind turbines.

Key House Republican expresses support for extending wind tax credit

Source: John McArdle, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 21st, 2012

With the House set to begin debate today on a GOP energy package with no chance of advancing this Congress, a top House Republican is signaling his willingness to continue a key wind energy incentive that is set to expire Dec. 31.

Key production tax credit backer worries Bush cuts may muddle path forward

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 21st, 2012

While Senate tax writers have started discussions on a bevy of expiring tax incentives — including a key break for the wind industry — Republican efforts to tie a vote on those incentives to an extension of tax breaks for the wealthy may delay significant action until after the election, a key wind backer said yesterday.

States try variants of feed-in tariff to help connect solar, wind power to grid

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

While much of the renewable energy sector remains focused on extending federal tax credits for wind, solar and other alternative fuels, utilities and small-scale energy producers in more than a dozen states are forging ahead with programs that pay renewable energy producers a fixed rate for power they put on the grid. The programs, known as “Clean Local Energy Accessible Now,” or CLEAN, allow mostly municipal utilities and energy producers to enter contracts guaranteeing a fixed rate for electricity sent to the grid from clean sources over a fixed period of time, usually 10 to 20 years, said John Farrell, a senior researcher for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, or ILSR, which issued a status report on the programs.

Global Economy Limits Expectations at Earth Summit in Brazil

Source: By SIMON ROMERO and JOHN M. BRODER, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Global leaders, development experts, bankers, academics and activists are gathering here this week to celebrate the anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit of 1992 and to try to address the linked problems of poverty, hunger, energy shortages and environmental degradation. But the conference — expected to draw as many as 50,000 participants — is in many ways overshadowed by economic and political crises around the world. While more than 100 heads of state and government are planning to attend the formal talks starting Wednesday, President Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany are staying away, preoccupied by domestic politics and the financial turmoil in Europe.

Are we wildly underestimating solar and wind power?

Source: By Brad Plumer, Washington Post • Posted: Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Right now, renewable energy sources like solar and wind still provide just a small fraction of the world’s electricity. But they’re growing fast. Very fast. Three new pieces of evidence suggest that many policymakers may be drastically underestimating just how quickly wind and solar are expanding.

INTERVIEW: Novozymes CEO: Sees Limited Impact From Euro Crisis

Source: By Aaron Back, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Novozymes A/S (NZYM-B.KO), a Danish producer of industrial enzymes used in everything from detergents to biofuels, sees limited impact on its business from the euro-zone crisis barring a “catastrophe” such as a Greek exit from the euro zone. “The outlook we have is that our sales for this year will grow by between 4% and 8%, and only a catastrophe in Europe will shake that number,” Novozymes President and Chief Executive Steen Riisgaard told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.

Renewables could produce 80 percent of U.S. power by 2050 — federal study

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Renewable energy could supply up to 80 percent of the country’s electricity by 2050 if the United States makes major upgrades to the electric grid and implements clean energy policies, according to a federal study released Friday.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory study found that renewables, which currently provide 10 percent of U.S. electricity, could be ramped up if new power lines were built to access geographically dispersed pockets of wind and solar energy. Policies would also need to be imposed to support the construction of new power lines at a cost of more than $8 billion annually, according to the report.

On Our Radar: A Global Wind Day

Source: By THE NEW YORK TIMES • Posted: Monday, June 18th, 2012

It’s Global Wind Day, an annual celebration coordinated by the wind industry that includes events like a photo competition, the inauguration of new wind farms and many festivals, mostly in Europe.