KCP&L said it plans to buy 400 megawatts of power from two new wind turbine facilities, increasing its wind energy portfolio to 939 megawatts. The company said that will make it the largest provider of renewable energy generation of any investor-owned utility in Missouri or Kansas. The two new wind facilities — expected to produce power by early 2016 — will be built in Coffey County, Kan., and in Holt County, Mo.
Despite the widespread view that tax reform will not happen this year — necessitating another stopgap bill to extend dozens of temporary incentives — House Ways and Means Committee members are maintaining a singular focus on an imminent proposal for a full overhaul of the tax code. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), the chairman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the temporary tax breaks, said Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has not diverted his focus from overall tax reform and was not ready to consider a “tax extenders” bill
A state administrative law judge has given Minnesota’s nascent solar industry a huge competitive boost by finding that a 100-megawatt solar power project by renewable energy developer Geronimo Energy is a more economical and environmentally sound way to meet future electricity demand than the construction of natural gas-fired power plants.
The renewable energy production tax credit is gone for now and, even if it is reinstated this year, there are growing calls to replace the current system of year-to-year extensions with a more definitive path meant to phase out the credit altogether. To that end, the Congressional Research Service last month produced a report weighing the pros and cons of various phaseout proposals that have been floating around Capitol Hill and in energy policy circles over the last few years.
For the fourth year in a row, Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is pushing to roll back or significantly change portions of Maine law aimed at boosting in-state renewable energy production. LePage says he wants to level the state’s energy-production playing field and open the door to cheap, renewable hydropower from Quebec and maritime Canada, an idea to which Canada seems lukewarm.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Congress should not renew the wind energy tax credit. Instead he said the money would be better spent reducing the federal debt. “The massive taxpayer subsidy to windmill developers expired Jan. 1,” Alexander said. “A good way to celebrate the New Year would be to not renew it and to reduce the federal debt by $60 billion, an amount about equal to the spending in the recent budget agreement.”
The Bureau of Land Management overestimated how many eagles could be killed by what may become the largest wind energy project in the United States, the developers of the farm said. The federal agency said the Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind power project would result in between 46 and 64 eagle deaths a year. But Power Company of Wyoming LLC said it has planned measures to keep that number much lower.
The answer may be blowing in the wind, but the National Wind Technology Center is using a new $16 million dynamometer to test how wind turbines perform. The 5-megawatt dynamometer test facility is the newest addition at the center, which is part of the Golden-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
To stave off climate change, sources of electricity that do not emit carbon will have to replace the ones that do. But at the moment, two of those largest sources, nuclear and wind power, are trying to kill each other off. In the electricity market, both are squeezed by pressure from natural gas, which provides some carbon reductions compared with coal but will not bring the country anywhere near its goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas has a carbon footprint that is at least three times as large as that goal.
As stewards of the U.S. electrical system, grid operators have a well-deserved reputation for caution. With the mandate to provide reliable, affordable energy as their bottom line, they typically favor time-tested approaches over radical innovations and can be slow to embrace new technologies until they’ve stood up to lengthy scrutiny. But the past two decades have seen some rapid shifts in U.S. electrical systems, with power consumption plateauing even as new fleets of renewable power stations come online. With more changes on the horizon, operators have had to move quickly to keep pace, using modeling and simulation to work out the complexities in the new power system.