Last year I wrote about sudden surges in renewable energy that set up a conflict between wind producers in the Pacific Northwest and the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency that runs hydroelectric dams and the regional grid. When unseasonable storms created a simultaneous surplus of wind and water, Bonneville gave free power away but still had to deal with an oversupply that could overwhelm the grid. But at a two-day National Electricity Forum sponsored by the Energy Department and others, the federal energy secretary, Steven Chu, on Wednesday proposed a different set of solutions to the problem, which is likely to emerge elsewhere as installations of renewable energy expand and systems have to cope with surges or deficits of power they cannot predict.
A new study released Wednesday by Gov. Bev Perdue said North Carolina had the largest offshore wind resource on the East Coast and that the state should work with industry to develop the wind energy industry. The 15-member panel said wind energy along North Carolina’s coast and sounds offered significant opportunities for renewable energy and for job creation.
The White House’s top environmental adviser said today that Republicans will be disappointed if they hope the hubbub over the failed solar equipment manufacturer Solyndra will translate into drastic new cuts in clean energy investments in President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal. “The president is going to articulate his priorities next week, and as you heard in the State of the Union, he spent a lot of time talking about energy,” Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley said today after a brief appearance at an environmental justice event for students that took place on Capitol Hill.
The chairman of Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s largest maker of wind turbines in terms of revenue, announced he will step down after the company said last year’s profits were substantially below target. Bent Erik Carlsen said Wednesday in a live television interview that investors wanted change, forcing him and Deputy Chairman Torsten Erik Rasmussen to decline a re-election bid at next month’s shareholder meeting.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) predicted today that his motion to strike a new U.S. EPA rule for power plant air toxics would fare better than efforts to roll back air rules using the Congressional Review Act.
European wind energy is picking up as recently released statistics by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) show an upward spike in the number of wind farms created, amount invested, and energy generated. The European Commission describes it as one of the fasting-growing energy sources, while the sector itself aims to get wind power to account for 20 percent of final EU electricity consumption by 2020. In 2011, wind accounted for 6.3 percent up from 5.3 percent the year before.
The top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should be doing more than just advising U.S. EPA on whether power plants should be given extensions to comply with new air pollution rules. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski believes a FERC staff paper released last month that lays out an advising role for the commission relinquishes too much power to EPA and does not require the agency to take advice from electric reliability professionals.
A bipartisan group from Colorado’s congressional delegation is calling for the extension of the wind-energy-production tax credit to be added to the bill extending the payroll-tax cuts.
Two Colorado Republicans yesterday joined their state’s Democratic lawmakers in backing a wind tax credit set to expire at year’s end, underscoring the degree to which the swing state has become a political asset to renewable-power groups pushing for its extension. In a letter to bipartisan leaders of conference committee talks on a payroll tax-cut deal, which is mired in political combat despite some Democrats’ hopes to make it a vehicle for clean-energy tax extenders, seven Colorado lawmakers urged that the wind production tax credit (PTC) get new life beyond its scheduled demise.
Green power surged in California last year as utilities added renewable power at a record-high level, the state’s Public Utilities Commission said in a new report. The Golden State last year added 830 megawatts of wind and solar energy, capacity that at peak power would supply about 400,000 homes. It was the largest annual increase since the inception of California’s renewables portfolio standard (RPS), a program requiring utilities to make portions of their power from clean sources.