Wyden vows committee oversight, tax incentives to advance smart grid

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden promised today to do everything he can to move the government’s “clumsy … machinery” to make the U.S. electric grid a smart grid. The Oregon Democrat said he is planning to hold oversight hearings with federal agencies responsible for building out the smart grid to understand whether they are working on all angles to facilitate a transition to a digitized grid, especially on the consumer end.

Wind power development off Virginia begs the question: What’s out there?

By Associated Press, Published: March 21 • Posted: Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Before energy companies invest in developing wind energy off Virginia’s coast, they’ll need to know what’s out there: sea life, what the ocean floor is like, shipping routes, migratory birds and wind speeds. A Virginia Beach startup has begun the daunting task of collecting that data.

Renewed Tax Credit Buoys Wind-Power Projects

Source: By DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Friday, March 22nd, 2013

“Deals are getting signed; people are ramping up their production facilities again,” said Peter C. Duprey, chief executive of Broadwind. “The whole industry went through either a shutdown or idling at the end of last year and are now quickly trying to gear back up again.” The rush to development is in large part because of Congress. Lawmakers had allowed a popular incentive, known as the production tax credit, to lapse at the end of last year, but then renewed it in January. They also changed the requirement so that projects only have to be under construction by the end of the year to qualify, rather than fully operational, as had traditionally been the case.

Legislation encourages wind farm, but hurdles remain for Maryland

Source: By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun • Posted: Thursday, March 21st, 2013

After three years of trying, Gov. Martin O’Malley has won approval of legislation that aims to spur construction of towering wind turbines off Maryland’s Atlantic coast. Now comes the hard part. Daunting regulatory, political and financial hurdles remain before a wind-driven power plant could be built in the water 10 to 20 miles from Ocean City. Even if all goes right, construction could be four to seven years away, industry and government experts say — long after O’Malley has left the State House.

Xcel hits Upper Midwest wind power record

Source: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune Updated: March 19, 2013 • Posted: Thursday, March 21st, 2013

The utility normally gets about 12 percent of its power from regional wind farms. But one night last month, the wind share hit nearly a third. Xcel Energy Inc., the nation’s No. 1 wind-power utility, said Tuesday it set a record for wind generation in the Upper Midwest.

New Bill Aims To Boost Pennsylvania’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

Source: by North American Windpower Staff • Posted: Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Pennsylvania State Rep. Greg Vitali has introduced legislation that would increase the amount of electricity that the commonwealth’s utilities must obtain from wind power and other renewable energy sources. H.B.100 would amend the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act by requiring Pennsylvania utilities to obtain 15% of their power from renewable sources by 2023, compared to the current AEPS requirements of 4% by 2013 and 8% by 2021.

Climate change a top concern for Washington Gov. Inslee

Source: By Andrew Garber, Seattle Times Olympia bureau • Posted: Thursday, March 21st, 2013

There was a telling moment just before Gov. Jay Inslee raised his right hand and took the oath of office. He was introduced as a politician who sees climate change as “an existential threat that transcends politics.” “More than any other president or governor before him, Jay has an electoral mandate on this issue,” Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970, told a packed audience in the rotunda two months ago. If lawmakers did not grasp the significance of those remarks then, they do now.

Cape Wind project announces financing ‘milestone’

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

The developer of what could become the nation’s first offshore wind farm today announced an agreement with a Japanese bank to help finance the multibillion-dollar project. Cape Wind Associates called the term sheet agreement with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) a “financing milestone” for the 468-megawatt, 130-turbine farm off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass.

Iowa bill would support farmer-owned wind installations

Source: by Dan Haugen. Midwest Energy News • Posted: Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

An Iowa Senate subcommittee surprised utility groups and clean energy supporters alike earlier this month when it unanimously passed a bill that would establish a statewide feed-in tariff for small wind projects. It’s the first time the perennial proposal has ever been cleared for a full Senate vote.

O’Malley offshore wind bill passes

Source: By Michael Dresser and Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun • Posted: Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Gov. Martin O’Malley achieved a long-sought victory Monday night as the General Assembly gave final approval to his bill to encourage development of a wind energy industry featuring dozens of giant turbines off the state’s Atlantic coast. Passage came quickly and quietly when the House of Delegates agreed without debate to relatively minor changes the Senate had made. The final vote was 88-48. The legislation now goes to O’Malley’s desk for his signature.