The mood was upbeat at last week’s offshore wind industry conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 7 and 8. The massive, long-awaited Cape Wind and Block Island offshore wind energy projects are kicking into high gear from the private sector, the Interior Department is steaming full speed ahead with the leasing process for additional Atlantic coast sites, and earlier this year the Energy Department announced federal funding for two more Atlantic coast projects that will serve as R&D platforms for cutting edge, cost-reducing offshore wind energy technologies.
The shift to renewable energy sources in Michigan — particularly wind — has picked up in the past few years and could get more of a boost as the Obama administration seeks a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, advocates and utility companies say. That could mean more investment and more jobs to add to Michigan’s modest energy sector profile of about 83,000 workers. One recent study concluded targeted local investment in wind and other renewable energy could support nearly 21,000 jobs in the state by next year.
“Now the sailors know it’s about them. It’s about nothing else. It’s about who can keep the team together and they can still go as fast as before but there are no excuses now.” The changes have helped bring an all-women’s crew back to the event — the Swedish-backedTeam SCA — for the first time since 2002. The one-design rule also means that a late entry from Denmark — Team Vestas Wind — has a chance to be competitive to a degree it simply could not have been had it needed to build and develop its own boat.
Iowa’s reputation as a leader in wind energy production got another boost Friday when0 MidAmerican Energy announced plans to invest an additional $280 million in the renewable energy. The Des Moines-based utility will add 67 wind turbines at two western Iowa locations. Most of the turbines, 64 of them, will go to a new wind farm in Adams County in southwest Iowa. The other three will expand an existing O’Brien County wind farm in northwest Iowa.
Driving across the state of Iowa, there’s always been on sight you could count on seeing an abundance of: cornfields. But over the years, wind turbines have slowly become part of that trademark Iowa landscape, too, and Friday, Governor Terry Branstad announced we’ll be seeing a lot more of them. $280 million’s worth of them, to be exact. MidAmerican Energy is set to develop one new wind farm site in Adams County and expand a second site in O’Brien County in 2015. This comes after a $1.9 billion project announced in 2013.
The NAACP released a report last week linking energy policy and human rights issues. According to the report, 68 percent of African-Americans live within 30 miles of a coal power plant and suffer long-term health complications as a result of continued exposure to plant emissions. At the same time, only a small number of African-Americans actually hold energy jobs and share in the profits.
After more than three years of a concerted effort to woo private financing for large-scale renewable energy projects on its lands, the Army says it is hitting its stride. One example, leaders say: The Army recently turned a temporary energy initiatives task force aimed at smoothing the approvals process for renewable power projects into a permanent Pentagon office.Amanda Simpson, executive director of the newly established Office of Energy Initiatives, acknowledged that her job is still not easy.
Wind energy in Colorado has picked up some bragging rights in recent years, several times delivering more than half of electricity on Xcel Energy’s power grid while arguably rivaling coal mining in job totals. There are altogether 3,800 megawatts of generating capacity. Will this success, like the winds that often scour the eastern plains, die down?
In the ongoing debate about Oklahoma’s wind industry and whether it needs stricter regulation, two types of property owners have been the most vocal: those who hate the idea of turbines next door, and those eager to lease land to a wind company. But there’s a voice that’s been largely absent from the discussion so far: Landowners who have wind farms and like them.
Kerry said climate change is already changing the world in real and significant ways, from serious food shortages to increasing temperatures to the threat of rising sea levels. But those changes also bring the potential of millions of new jobs to develop the renewable energy industry, he said, provided the U.S. and the rest of the world act now. “We still have in our hands a window of opportunity to make the difference,” he said. “But the window is closing quickly. That is not a threat. That is a fact.” Kerry made the comments after touring a Boston wind technology testing center with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond, who echoed Kerry’s remarks.