Kicking off a daylong gathering here devoted to promoting clean energy, the wind industry touted hitting a new milestone in installed capacity as industry representatives and their supporters in the Obama administration and on Capitol Hill called for an extension of a key tax break for wind electricity generation. With the first wind farm in Nevada coming online tomorrow, total installed capacity in the United States has reached 50 gigawatts, enough to power 13 million homes, said Denise Bode, head of the American Wind Energy Association. Bode told reporters at a news conference here that the industry was able to hit that capacity — double the 25 GW that was installed four years ago — because of a consistent ability to rely on the production tax credit.
The Obama administration yesterday said it will expedite approval of seven commercial-scale solar and wind projects on federal and tribal lands in Arizona, California, Nevada and Wyoming. The projects, which include a sprawling wind energy facility in southern Wyoming that would be the largest in North America, would generate a combined 5,000 megawatts, enough to power up to 1.5 million homes, the White House said.
Vast swaths of land on U.S. military bases will be available for renewable energy development under an agreement between the Interior Department and the Pentagon announced this afternoon. More than half the land used by the military in the United States — 16 million acres — is actually owned by the Interior Department.
Exelon Corp. is calling for an end to production tax credits for wind power that will expire this year unless Congress acts to renew them. Christopher Crane, president and CEO of the Chicago-based utility, said during an earnings call Wednesday that the tax incentives have already been in place for two decades and should be halted.
During the early morning hours of April 15, with a steady breeze blowing down Colorado’s Front Range, the state’s biggest utility set a U.S. record — nearly 57% of the electricity being generated was coming from wind power. As dawn came and the 1.4 million customers in Xcel Energy’s service district began turning on the lights, toasters and other appliances, the utility’s coal and natural gas-fired power plants ramped up production and brought wind’s contribution back closer to its 2012 average of 17%.
Iowa’s Republican governor blames “a bunch of east coast people” on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign for getting Romney to oppose federal tax breaks for the wind energy industry. During a brief interview with Radio Iowa, Governor Terry Branstad said he wants to talk directly with Romney about the value of the wind energy production tax credit. The credit is set to expire at the end of the year.
While a variety of new fuel technologies are advancing, policy makers can be assured that the internal combustion engine will remain dominant for decades, the National Petroleum Council told the Department of Energy on Wednesday in a report. The report from the council, an advisory agency, was drawn up in response to requests from the department for counsel on how to accelerate the adoption of new fuels and technologies, from compressed natural gas to fuel cells to biofuels, between now and 2050. One of the nation’s biggest energy problems is that nearly all of its ground transportation fuel is derived from oil.
A key wind-energy incentive was restored yesterday as the Senate Finance Committee began marking up legislation aimed at extending dozens of expired and expiring tax breaks.
Yesterday’s bipartisan Senate Finance Committee vote to renew a variety of expired and expiring tax breaks — including a key credit for the wind industry and a suite of incentives for alternative fuels and biofuels producers, energy efficiency programs and transit programs — drew cheers from industries that won extension of their incentives and raised optimism that the breaks would be included in a yet-to-be-unveiled House version of the package.
Senate Republicans rebuffed their presumptive presidential nominee as the Senate Finance Committee passed a one-year extension of the tax credit for wind energy, just four days after Mitt Romney’s campaign announced that it wanted the credit to die. The lawmakers had tried to unite around the position of the Republican presidential hopeful, leaving the wind production credit out of a slate of business tax breaks to be formally drafted on Thursday. But that drive faltered when Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, angrily told colleagues he would join with Democrats to add the extension back, according to Finance Committee aides. Rather than have a public fight, senators quietly inserted the one-year, $3.3 billion tax break before the committee took up the suite of tax breaks and passed them Thursday afternoon.