The towering machines stand a few miles from shore, in a precise line across the seafloor, as rigid in the ocean breeze as sailors reporting for duty. The blades are locked in place for now, but sometime in October, they will be turned loose to capture the power of the wind. And then, after weeks of testing and fine-tuning, America’s first offshore wind farm will begin pumping power into the New England electric grid.
There’s a lot of worry about fossil fuels these days. But our guest Gretchen Bakke says America does not run on gas, oil, coal or wind or solar power, at least not directly. Electricity, she says, is what powers most of what we use. And we’re relying on an electrical grid that’s increasingly unstable, underfunded and incapable of taking us to a new energy future.
Wind energy prices in the United States “are at rock-bottom levels” and continue to remain attractive to utility and commercial purchasers, according to a new US-centric wind energy report. Prepared by the Electricity Markets & Policy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) for the US Department of Energy, the Wind Technologies Market Report confirmed several existing conclusions made in recent months about the US wind industry in 2015, and revealed several more. Prime among these conclusions is confirmation that wind prices are at an all time low, with newly built wind projects in the US averaging around 2¢/kWh thanks to technology advancements and cost reductions across the wind industry.
Rooftop solar may shift costs of about $36 million a year to non-solar ratepayers, according to a new study based on about 30,000 consumers signed up for net metering in Nevada. The study, published by Energy and Environmental Economics Inc., says that “overall, for the state of Nevada, [net energy metering] generation is a costlier approach for encouraging renewable generation than utility-scale renewables.”
“We have a bold vision for our energy future,” MidAmerican Energy President and CEO Bill Fehrman said. “We don’t know of another U.S. energy provider that has staked out this 100 percent position. Our customers want more renewable energy, and we couldn’t agree more. Once the project is complete, we will generate wind energy equal to 85 percent of our annual customer sales in Iowa, bringing us within striking distance of our 100 percent renewable vision.”
The United Kingdom has just approved the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the Hornsea Two project. In contrast to the delays and suspicions raised over Britain’s nuclear facility at Hinkley Point C, the country has signed off on a £6 billion plan ($7.8 million) to construct 300 wind turbines 50 miles off the coast of Yorkshire. The farm’s combined output will equal 1.8 GW, enough to power 1.6 million homes. If it proceeds on schedule, Hornsea Two (H2) will be completed in the mid-2020s.
The National Ocean Industries Association on Friday praised the completion of the United States’ first offshore wind farm. The Block Island Wind Farm off of Rhode Island’s coast completed construction Thursday, according to a tweet posted by Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski.
The first offshore wind energy farm in the USA is up and nearly ready to go, marking a new chapter in the nation’s changing electricity grid. Thursday, workers finished installing the last of five turbines off Rhode Island’s coast, a little more than a year after the Providence-based developer Deepwater Wind first put steel in the water. “A lot’s happened over the last year,” said Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind. “I feel like the industry has really turned the corner.”
Batteries that store electricity and offset power required from the grid during peak periods are key to unlocking lucrative power and transport markets, according to BMI Research. Solar capacity has expanded globally due largely to premium subsidies and feed-in-tariffs, and these policies could play a similar role for battery storage, according to the Aug. 17 note. Regulators could provide incentives for self-consumption during peak generation and grid-feed-in when renewable generation is lower.
As federal climate regulations push state leaders to map out blueprints for cutting carbon emissions, the legislators who may be needed to help implement those plans are split on how they should look. Under pressure from voters who often don’t understand the complexities of the electricity system as well as powerful corporate and advocacy interests, they divide on how quickly to move to cleaner power and how long to keep coal and natural gas plants online. While Democrats mostly cite politics for the division, Republicans say they are being pragmatic about what is possible.