Former Secretary of State and widely anticipated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton set the table for a strong renewable energy platform in her appearance at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) clean energy summit yesterday. Clinton spread praise and encouragement far and wide, hailing Nevada’s, Texas’ and Iowa’s pursuit of renewable energy, highlighting the role of natural gas and sounding an optimistic note on global climate change negotiations.
A proposed offshore wind farm that was rejected by New Jersey earlier this year may yet see the light of day as the first active U.S.-based offshore wind plant following a series of key developments in August. At issue is a proposed 25-megawatt pilot project off the coast of Atlantic City from developer Fishermen’s Energy LLC. The proposal looked as if it was headed for the scrap heap in April when the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities rejected a motion to reconsider the project under guidance from the Republican governor of the Garden State, Chris Christie.
The U.S. Department of Energy released its Distributed Wind Energy Market Report earlier this week, detailing the state of the U.S. wind market. It outlines key facts and figures and provides a snapshot of what the market currently looks like. The first point of note is that the market is declining. In 2013, 30.4 MW of new wind capacity was added. This represents 2,700 units across 36 states including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This is an 83% decline from additions in 2012, though it remains in line with an overall 92% decline for the same time period.
The federal government’s social cost of carbon values is going on trial in Minnesota. Required by state law to establish a dollar value for the environmental damages caused by power plants carbon dioxide emissions, state utility regulators sent the contentious issue to an administrative law judge. If it plays out like it has so far, the case will pit advocacy groups that successfully petitioned the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to refresh outdated values for damages caused by CO2 emissions against utilities and big power users, which will try to poke holes in the methodology used by the federal interagency work group and experts.
Verizon Communications Inc., the United States’ largest cellular and broadband provider, polished its green business credentials last week by announcing it would effectively double its solar power generation at 13 company-owned sites in six states. The additional solar power, which should boost the firm’s renewable energy portfolio to an industry-leading 25 megawatts, was more than a gesture toward promoting clean energy and environmental sustainability.
Cambridge-based MIT startup Ambri is building a novel liquid metal battery for grid-level storage to revolutionize energy in the 21st century. The challenge of selling any new idea is that it has to compete with every other new idea. The process is more difficult when the idea’s technology hasn’t existed and addresses an issue that some industries don’t see as a problem. Such is the reality of Ambri.
Four years ago, energy consultant Peter Fox-Penner assessed disruptive forces converging on the U.S. electric power sector, finding that the industry’s century-old business models would have to radically change because of the climate threat, technology innovation and slowing growth for electricity. In an updated version of his 2010 book “Smart Power,” Fox-Penner, chairman emeritus of the Brattle Group consultancy, documents how these trends have accelerated since then. He presents the case for change as a survival issue for an industry with an indispensable product.
Once-bold calls for national high-capacity transmission to harvest abundant but remote U.S. wind, solar, and geothermal resources are now a distant whisper. But some developers are still pioneering upgrades for a fragile, somewhat balkanized electricity delivery system. “You can’t get enough clean energy from distributed resources,” said former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) chairman and staunch distributed energy resources (DERs) advocate Jon Wellinghoff. “If you run the numbers, you find out we need these clean remote resources and transmission lines to get them to the load.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today said he would bring tax extenders for renewable energy to the Senate floor this year, lambasting Republicans for their opposition earlier in the year. Tax credits for wind energy, biomass, energy efficiency and other energy sources are among a package of about 50 credits and other incentives that expired in January or are set to lapse at year’s end.
Those dazzling white wind turbine blades that are often seen being trucked across Nebraska highways may be up for a color change. “Less birds fly into black blades,” said Tim Frentz, the founder of the Helping Hands Network and co-owner of the Nebraska Green Fuels Co-op, both renewable energy organizations. The comment came as representatives from the Center for Rural Affairs and Bold Nebraska met Tuesday night at the Chocolate Bar in downtown Grand Island with a handful of renewable energy enthusiasts.