Iowa offers a glimpse of what a thriving, apolitical renewable energy sector looks like. Iowa — where support from the state capital came as early as the 1980s, many residents correlate the industry with green jobs, and opposition to wind turbines has not been as vocal as in some other states — offers a glimpse of what a thriving, apolitical renewable energy sector looks like. “In the national perspective, it has become left versus right,” John Boorman, vice president of the Iowa Wind Energy Association, says of renewable energy. “It has never been that here. It has always been about jobs and economic development.”
A courtroom brawl over the Obama administration’s signature climate change rule was expected to kick off Thursday — featuring a packed courthouse in Washington, D.C., long lines, throngs of reporters and a slew of heavy-hitting lawyers making their case before three federal judges. That didn’t happen. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit made waves last month by tossing out those plans. Instead of holding oral arguments before three randomly picked judges, the court rescheduled the arguments for September before the full court (Greenwire, May 17). For the dozens of lawyers involved in the behemoth lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, today is now just like any other.
Washington state yesterday released a new version of its proposal to cap carbon emissions from large sources. The plan was released in response to concerns about the state’s original proposal, including how the rule would mesh with the federal Clean Power Plan. The Department of Ecology scrapped that plan in February
The Obama administration is proposing to lease more than 81,000 acres off the New York coast for an offshore wind energy project. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the proposal today, calling it a milestone in the administration’s effort to increase renewable energy development on public lands and in federal waters. The agency plans to conduct the lease sale by the end of the year. “This is another major step in broadening our nation’s energy portfolio, harnessing power near population centers on the East Coast,” she said. “Offshore wind power marks a new frontier in renewable energy development, creating the path for sustainable electricity generation, job creation and strengthening our nation’s economic competitiveness.”
A boom in solar and wind power jobs in the US led the way to a global increase in renewable energy employment to more than 8 million people in 2015, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. More than 769,000 people were employed in renewable energy in the US in 2015, dwarfing the 187,000 employed in the oil and gas sector and the 68,000 in coal mining. The gap is set to grow further, with jobs in solar and wind growing by more than 20% in 2015, while oil and gas jobs fell by 18% as the fossil fuel industry struggled with low prices.
In the middle of the sprawling Ernest N. Morial Convention Center this week, an executive from German industrial giant Siemens gave a quick history of the offshore wind turbine. The first turbine that Siemens planted in the North Sea off of Denmark 25 years ago had a generating capacity of 450 kilowatts and barely stood above the waves. Today, he explained, as waves of people drifted past, Siemens builds massive turbines with blades that are roughly equivalent to the wingspan of a jetliner—and that can generate nearly 16 times as much power.
Utility-scale solar power will reach a critical price benchmark by the end of the decade, falling below $1 per watt for fixed-tilt ground-mounted photovoltaic systems, according to new projections published today by GTM Research. The finding, included in GTM’s latest U.S. solar PV price brief, maintains that upfront installed costs for large, ground-mounted systems will drop 21 percent in four years, from $1.26 per watt today to $0.99 in 2020, riding a nearly decadelong downward price curve.
A proposed wind farm has been delayed in Antelope County near Neigh. A crowd of about 300 people attended a public hearing Tuesday to discuss the proposed wind farm that’s expected to have about 160 turbines.
An Italian company says it has reached an agreement to build a $56 million wind farm in central Iowa with the capacity to generate 30 megawatts of energy. Building Energy SPA said its subsidiary, Building Energy Wind Iowa, will provide $23 million of the project cost, with Capital One Bank kicking in $33 million. The project, consisting of 10 wind turbines, is the groups’ first in Iowa and is slated to be constructed in Story, Boone, Hardin and Poweshiek counties.
Across the country, state officials, power companies and environmental advocates are participating in closed-door meetings to discuss the future of the Clean Power Plan. While state agencies have made parts of their planning talks public, transparency experts say the common practice of holding parallel private discussions could deprive people of insight into preparations for a regulation that stands to affect power prices and public health for decades to come. They also say it may give utilities an early opportunity to sway discussions to their benefit.