For an offshore wind industry accustomed to decadeslong development, 2015 is turning into a banner year. In the first six months, European offshore wind installations touched 2.34 gigawatts — establishing the best year ever for installed capacity. Output tripled over the same six-month period a year ago, and total installed offshore wind capacity in Europe hit 10.4 GW generated from 82 wind farms in 11 countries (rivaling the power production of 10 large nuclear power plants). “The bottom line is it’s been a dream year for Germany,” said Oliver Joy, political affairs spokesman for the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in Brussels.
A new wind energy project in Iowa is still awaiting final approval from the Iowa Utilities Board. The board met Tuesday to review a proposed settlement agreement for the project from Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy. No decision was made. MidAmerican filed plans earlier this year to build wind farms on two new sites, with a total cost of about $900 million. If approved, the company would start construction in the spring of 2016 and conclude by the end of the year.
Clean Power Plan will be so effective at incentivizing a shift to lower-carbon sources of power that the agency may never find it necessary to tighten its emissions limits, Administrator Gina McCarthy said today. Speaking at an event hosted by Resources for the Future, McCarthy said the existing power plant rule released Aug. 3 set a long-term market signal that would continue to encourage reductions even after its final compliance deadline.
The Texas power grid operator said electric demand hit another record high on Monday as consumers cranked up their air conditioners to escape a brutal heat wave. Demand reached a record 69,783 megawatts on Monday, topping the previous records of 68,912 MW set on Aug. 6 and 68,459 MW on Aug. 5, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in a statement. ERCOT is the grid operator for most of the state. Before the latest heat wave, the grid’s previous peak demand was 68,305 MW set on Aug. 3, 2011. One MW is enough to power about 200 homes during periods of peak demand.
Coal-fired power is coming to an end in New Zealand as the country focuses on taking the global pole position in renewables, the energy minister said. “Historically coal has played an important role in ensuring the security of New Zealand’s electricity supply, particularly in dry years where our hydro-lake levels are low,” New Zealand Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said in a statement. “But significant market investment in other forms of renewable energy in recent years, particularly in geothermal, means that a coal backstop is becoming less of a requirement.”
In his quest to force tougher action on climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown has traveled to China, Mexico, Canada, even the Vatican. But he was much closer to home on Thursday, just a couple dozen miles from the ranch his family has owned for generations. Standing in front of scorched hills, the smell of smoke lingering in the air, Brown said the wildfire that had ripped through the area was evidence that global warming already has created dangerous conditions in California. “This is a real wake-up call,” the governor said. “It’s a new normal.”
The cost of electricity from wind power fell to its lowest point on record last year as the industry continued its growth pattern, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). A Monday report from DOE said wind power that utilities bought last year in purchase power agreements, the main measurement for comparing costs, was 2.35 cents per kilowatt hour, the drop of two-thirds from its 2009 peak. Wind saw the most growth of any power source last year and, with 66 gigawatts installed, now accounts for 4.9 percent of of the country’s electricity demand, DOE found.
Higher towers and larger turbines propelled the United States to “all-time low” wind power prices and world-leading wind production numbers last year, but that won’t be enough to overcome the loss of federal tax incentives, the Department of Energy said today in its annual wind market report. The report says total installed U.S. wind capacity is at about 66 gigawatts after an 8 percent growth spurt in 2014. An $8.3 billion investment in U.S. wind projects and 4,854 megawatts of new capacity was a big improvement after a “lackluster” 2013, the report says.
Study Finds that the Price of Wind Energy in the United States is at an All-time Low, Averaging under 2.5¢/kWh
Wind energy pricing is at an all-time low, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Energy and prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers averaged under 2.5¢/kWh for projects negotiating contracts in 2014, spurring demand for wind energy. “Wind energy prices—particularly in the central United States—have hit new lows, with utilities selecting wind as the low cost option,” Berkeley Lab Senior Scientist Ryan Wiser said. “Moreover, enabled by technology advancements, wind projects are economically viable in a growing number of locations throughout the U.S.”
The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, released last week, requires the country to use a lot more renewable energy by the year 2030 — and a lot less coal. And right on time, two new reports published Monday by the Department of Energy find that one key renewable sector — wind — is booming, a development that can only help matters when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. The reports being released — including the 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report, published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — suggest that wind is being installed at a rapid rate, that its costs are plummeting, that its technologies are advancing, and that it is creating a growing number of jobs to boot.