A Kansas oil company is going public with its concerns over a proposed wind energy transmission line. Kurt Mai, owner of Mai Oil in Russell, Kansas, took out a two-page ad in Monday’s Topeka Capital Journal newspaper. It spells out his concerns over the proposed Grain Belt Express line.
Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen cited estimates from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that show 200 megawatts of wind energy development would provide between $174 million and $328 million for Nebraska. “Nebraskans will miss this enormous economic development opportunity at a time when rural landowners and communities are hungry for these new revenue streams from new jobs and tax revenues,” Hansen said. “Harvesting Nebraska’s world class wind energy, ranked the third best in the nation, is a win-win for our economy and our environment.”
Coal-state champions in Congress have expressed grave concerns about how U.S. EPA’s forthcoming carbon emissions rule for today’s power plants might affect their home-state utilities. But although Republicans and some Democratic members from states heavily reliant on coal — including West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri — say their states’ power sectors may not survive the plans EPA has in store for them, the air quality regulators and public utility commissioners who will implement that rule back in their home states take a less dim view.
The $45.9 billion spent makes it “almost certain” that annual investment in renewables and energy-smart technologies will fall for the second consecutive year from $281 billion in 2012, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a statement. Investment in the quarter was 20 percent lower than the same period last year as spending in China, the U.S. and Europe fell. The U.S. saw the largest decline, sliding 41 percent to $5.5 billion, according to the London-based research company.
The state’s largest public power district on Friday rejected a resolution to more heavily invest in wind energy. Pro-wind forces say that the Nebraska Public Power District Board blew it, not only because wind energy is cheaper now, but also because it would increase economic development in shrinking rural areas. “Instead of being there for its customer-owners, NPPD decided to continue to send millions of Nebraskans’ energy dollars to Wyoming to fuel its big coal plants rather than investing in local, clean, affordable wind energy,” said Ken Winston of the Sierra Club of Nebraska. But the head of NPPD said that the utility has an excess of electric-generating capacity, and it didn’t make sense to add to that.
Fickle West Texas breezes are pushing wind power generators to the state’s 367-mile coast. Texas pulled ahead last decade in the U.S. race to develop wind power thanks to the hardy gusts sweeping across its vast prairies and energy-friendly landowners. Now it’s seizing the lead in building turbines along its shoreline as developers find the slower but steadier air currents there translate to bigger profits.
The nascent offshore wind industry in the United States has faced its share of hiccups and stumbles over the last decade but lately has shown signs of progress. Now industry officials say the ongoing government shutdown could deliver another blow to its development. The industry relies on the federal government in several respects. Most utility-scale installations are planned for federal waters, where the Interior Department oversees lease sales and permitting. The Department of Energy has offered millions of dollars’ worth of grants to companies that are contingent on congressional appropriations over the next several years. And developers are hoping to qualify for lucrative tax credits set to expire Dec. 31 — without which facilities risk being unprofitable.
Dominion Virginia Power has won approval of its $1.6 million bid to lease nearly 113,000 offshore acres for wind power development. But the federal government shutdown is holding up finalizing the lease, the company said Wednesday.
The number of large-scale projects to capture and bury carbon dioxide has fallen to 65 from 75 over the past year, a worldwide survey has found, despite a consensus among scientists and engineers that the so-called carbon capture and sequestration, known as C.C.S., will be essential to meet international goals for slowing the buildup of climate-changing gases. The survey was released Thursday in Seoul, South Korea, by the Global CCS Institute, which is based in Canberra, Australia. Since the previous survey a year ago, five projects have been canceled, one reduced in size and seven postponed, while three have been added, the report said.
If you live in Nebraska, chances are you have cursed the wind at some point in your life. Whether it has ruined a good day of fishing, blown your neighbor’s leaves onto your front lawn or just messed up your hair on your way to work or church — we’ve all done it. And if you’re a farmer or rancher like me, it’s a safe bet you cuss the wind on a regular basis when you try to put up hay or irrigate your crops. The bad news is the wind isn’t going away anytime soon. The good news is it’s about to transform our great state.