Administration Fast-Tracks Offshore Wind Farms

Source: RYAN TRACY • Wall Street Journal • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

The Obama administration said it planned to make areas off the coasts of Maryland and New Jersey available to wind-energy developers by year’s end, paving the way for the first leases under a program designed to fast-track offshore wind farms.

While President Barack Obama has said he favors an “all of the above” approach to energy development, Thursday’s announcement highlighted the stronger emphasis he places on wind and solar power compared with Republicans. A House committee on Wednesday approved three bills promoting oil-and-gas exploration, an issue also stressed by the GOP’s presidential candidates.

Why the Clean Tech Boom Went Bust

Source: Juliet Eilperin • Wired (February) • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

In 2005, VC investment in clean tech measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The following year, it ballooned to $1.75 billion, according to the National Venture Capital Association. By 2008, the year after Doerr’s speech, it had leaped to $4.1 billion. And the federal government followed. Through a mix of loans, subsidies, and tax breaks, it directed roughly $44.5 billion into the sector between late 2009 and late 2011. Avarice, altruism, and policy had aligned to fuel a spectacular boom. Anyone who has heard the name Solyndra knows how this all panned out. Due to a confluence of factors—including fluctuating silicon prices, newly cheap natural gas, the 2008 financial crisis, China’s ascendant solar industry, and certain technological realities—the clean-tech bubble has burst, leaving us with a traditional energy infrastructure still overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuels. The fallout has hit almost every niche in the clean-tech sector—wind, biofuels, electric cars, and fuel cells—but none more dramatically than solar.

Climate scientists hit back at WSJ op-ed

Source: Jean Chemnick • Posted: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

A group of climate scientists faulted The Wall Street Journal for publishing a column in which scientists from other disciplines disputed the occurrence of significant man-made global warming. In a letter to the Journal today, the climate scientists compared the publishing of the op-ed to consulting a dentist about a heart complaint.

China’s No. 2 turbine maker secures $5.5B from state bank

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter  • E&E • Posted: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

U.S. development ambitions for Chinese turbine manufacturer XinJiang Goldwind received a major boost yesterday as the company signed a new financing agreement with China Development Bank Corp., providing an estimated 35 billion yuan ($5.5 billion) in new capital for 2012. The deal, announced in a statement to the Hong King stock exchange, will allow the company to solidify its No. 2 standing in the Chinese turbine market behind Sinovel Wind Group Co., but will also help propel its recent expansion into the U.S. wind power market.

Sweeping energy package reaches House floor

Source: Phil Taylor • E&E • Posted: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

House Republicans yesterday advanced a trio of energy bills that would allow a vast expansion of oil and gas development in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and in the oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The bills, which passed the Natural Resources Committee on mostly party-line votes, now move to the House floor where they are expected to join Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) “American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act.”

Salazar to announce offshore wind move

Source: Tim Wheeler • Baltimore Sun • Posted: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is blowing into B’more Thursday to announce the Obama administration’s latest move to boost development of industrial-scale wind energy projects off the mid-Atlantic coast. He’ll be joined at the World Trade Center in the Inner Harbor by Gov.Martin O’Malley and Tommy P. Beaudreau, director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Officials were mum, officially speaking, on the details of Salazar’s announcement. A news advisory said only that the Interior secretary would declare a “major step” toward putting turbines on the Outer Continental Shelf off Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Virginia.

GE sees more short-term wind, solar departures but long-term demand

E&E • Posted: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

General Electric Co. executives expect more companies to exit the wind and solar power business, but they still see growing long-term demand.

Total wind power growing in Calif.

Source: Anne C. Mulkern • E&E • Posted: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Wind-generated electricity now makes up 5 percent of California’s power, a trade group said today as it lobbied Congress to extend a tax incentive. Developers added 921 megawatts of wind projects in the Golden State last year, enough to juice more than 400,000 homes, the California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA) said. Wind power capacity in the state now is 3,927 MW, the association said.

Senate Tuesday group has bipartisan energy legislation in its sights

Source: Jean Chemnick • E&E • Posted: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Senate supporters of efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions hope to cobble together a package this year that would boost energy efficiency and alternative energy — and can pass the Senate. The group, headed by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), revived their Tuesday meetings late last year, and approximately 20 Democrats attend regularly.

Baucus urges extension of green tax credits as part of payroll tax package

Source: Elana Schor • E&E • Posted: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Bipartisan enthusiasm for sweeping tax reform — a task considered nearly impossible to complete before the November elections — should not prevent lawmakers from swiftly extending renewable energy credits, the Senate’s chief tax writer said yesterday. At issue for the Senate Finance Committee are dozens of tax benefits that expired last year, including the research and development credit, as well as a passel more set to run out at the end of this year unless lawmakers act. In that latter group are two credits hotly pursued by alternative energy companies, a production credit used by wind and biomass producers and a 30 percent advanced manufacturing credit.