North Antelope Rochelle is only 30 years old. It wasn’t around during the first oil shock of 1973 or during the Iranian revolution of 1979, which led to a second oil shock. It hadn’t opened for business when a nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania melted down, when 200,000 people gathered in New York City’s Battery Park to hear Ralph Nader demand the end of atomic power and Carly Simon sing yearningly about the “comforting glow of a wood fire.” Those events set the nation on a hurried quest for alternative sources of energy.
In a warehouse district on the outskirts of Bremen in northwestern Germany is a big, well-lighted work space dominated by the massive top section of a wind turbine called a nacelle. It is here that Siemens, the German power systems giant, trains new employees and gives refresher courses on how to work safely on modern windmills that can rise 90 meters, or about 300 feet, and weigh more than 100 tons.
On a hot August day, employees wearing hard hats and protective clothing were squeezing in and out of the multi-ton module, practicing evacuating injured colleagues using pulleys and harnesses.
President Obama announced that Nobel laureate Mario Molina will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed on a civilian, this fall at the White House.
In investor reports and promotional efforts, utilities are increasingly touting their services to a lucrative growing customer base: cloud computing and data centers. “From Loudoun County in Northern Virginia to Mecklenburg County in Southside Virginia and stops in between,” Dominion Resources Inc. says on its website, “data centers are expanding or building across our service area.” And Duke Energy Corp.’s brand-new CEO, Lynn Good, said in a recent interview with Charlotte, N.C.’s WFAE-FM, “To have an opportunity to bring industry to the state that uses electricity 24/7 is actually a benefit to residential and commercial customers.”
The Energy Department released two new reports today showcasing record growth across the U.S. wind market — increasing America’s share of clean, renewable energy and supporting tens of thousands of jobs nationwide. According to these reports, the United States continues to be one of the world’s largest and fastest growing wind markets. In 2012, wind energy became the number one source of new U.S. electricity generation capacity for the first time – representing 43 percent of all new electric additions and accounting for $25 billion in U.S. investment.
The overall area of U.S. land suffering from “exceptional” drought continued to shrink for the sixth straight week, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor maps, although dryness is set to persist and even grow in several areas of concern. By the end of last month, areas of “severe to extreme” drought had shrunk by 9 percent from the month before, covering around 20 percent of the contiguous United States, compared with the 38 percent seen in 2012.
Wind energy is expanding just as fast as the turbines can go up. Just last week, the U.S. Department of Energy named South Dakota one of its four “Wind All-Stars.”
Iowa is among several states now getting more than 20 percent of its power from wind, a key reason wind energy was the fastest-growing power-generation sector for the first time in 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy reported Tuesday. Wind accounted for 43 percent of all new electricity generation last year, after a $25 billion run of new projects, the department reported.
Billionaire William Koch, brother to Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries Inc., was once known as the politically moderate member of his family. But as the Obama administration attempts to tackle climate change, Koch has changed his tune. Koch, the owner of Oxbow Carbon LLC, has denounced global warming and alternative energy investments. His brothers are known for their backing of politically active nonprofits, but he’s chosen a different route: giving millions of dollars from his firms’ corporate treasuries to super PACs, a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.
A conservative think tank has set its sights on elevating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and its importance to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan ahead of a nomination hearing for its next chairman. The Institute for Energy Research is boosting efforts to educate policymakers on and off Capitol Hill about what FERC does and how that could affect the U.S. energy supply and consumption in favor of renewables and to the detriment of fossil fuels, especially coal, an IER spokesman said.