The Obama administration continues to move a massive wind farm project that proposes to string together 1,000 turbines across nearly 220,000 acres of public and private lands in southeast Wyoming closer to construction. The Bureau of Land Management this week issued a preliminary environmental assessment (EA) of some of the infrastructure projects needed to build the massive Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, which would have the capacity to produce up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity, making it the biggest power-producing wind farm in North America.
The wind industry is touting increased construction activity and power purchases from some of the country’s largest companies to argue for an extension of its key federal incentive — amid an uncertain political landscape that could be heavily influenced by the outcome of November’s election for control of the Senate.
Work will continue through winter. Frozen ground actually facilitates work in marshy terrain, he said. The new line will improve reliability of electrical service in Fargo and will help to move power from North Dakota wind farms and, during winter, from Minnesota power plants to Fargo, he said.
America’s solar market boom has outshined other renewables in recent news, but the latest wind industry update is a reminder new turbines can save money and boost economies across the country – despite doldrums caused by federal policy inaction.
The IRS on Friday clarified how it will evaluate companies hoping to take advantage of an expired renewable energy tax credit. The IRS guidance is expected to increase the number of firms willing to move forward with projects comfortable they would be eligible for the production tax credit (PTC) or investment tax credit (ITC) for wind, geothermal, biomass and other projects. The credit expired at the end of last year, but developers are still eligible as long as they started construction or sufficiently invested in the project in 2013.
New England could be a model for tackling carbon emissions as the Obama administration pushes for national reductions in greenhouses gases, said a U.S. EPA official. Curt Spalding, EPA administrator for Region 1 in New England, praised the nine Northeastern states for the progress they had made in reducing emissions. They have seen their gross domestic product grow 22 percent and have reduced emissions by 20 percent since 1999, he said.
“I hear some states are considering all options including that one,” he said. “We have not even begun to consider how we will respond to a final rule. Instead, we will continue to work through the process to encourage EPA to modify the rule to accurately follow the Clean Air Act and not dramatically expand federal control over state implementation approach.” He reiterated in the email that Texas would challenge what he called EPA’s “overreach” in the rule. “However, it is much too early to suggest that would be through suing EPA,” he said. “We are still working through the administrative process to encourage EPA to improve the rule.”
Texas has invested about $7 billion in a sprawling wind power network that spans nearly 4,000 miles. Wind power generates more than 12,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity for the state, according to the Texas’ Public Utilities Commission. The state ranks first in the country for total MW of wind power capacity. Earlier this year, the state smashed a U.S. record for the most power generated from air power. A combination of public subsidies, new federal carbon regulations and private investment has made Texas “one of the fastest growing hubs in the world for wind energy,” said Matthew Senicola, registered representative of JHS Capital Advisors.
Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, is the lead author of a new paper published in the journal Energy that outlines how the Golden State can meet all of its energy demands with wind turbines, solar panels, tidal generators, hydroelectric dams, and geothermal power stations by midcentury. And zero fossil fuels or nuclear power. Previously, Jacobson has outlined how to do the same, in broader strokes, for the entire world.
The largest proposed onshore wind farm in the United States cleared a key regulatory hurdle after state regulators voted unanimously to approve the nearly $5 billion project. The Industrial Siting Council voted 7-0 to approve Power Company of Wyoming’s proposal to build up to 1,000 turbines in Carbon County. The council is responsible for permitting large-scale industrial projects in Wyoming. Chokecherry and Sierra Madre, as the project is known, could produce up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity, or 10 million megawatts hours annually.