MidAmerican Energy on Wednesday said it has completed two major wind energy installations in Iowa, adding more than 1,200 megawatts of electric generation. The Highland wind farm in O’Brien County, which began providing electricity on Dec. 3, 2015, is the fifth and final piece of MidAmerican Energy’s Wind VIII project — the Des Moines utility’s largest wind energy project to date.
Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation yesterday to support wind research at the Department of Energy. The “Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2016” directs DOE to conduct a research-and-development program to improve the efficiency of wind generation capacity, optimize its design and reduce costs associated with permitting and other issues. It also outlines a variety of wind technologies for department attention, such as offshore floating systems and “projects to assess and mitigate the impacts of hurricane wind flow.”
To understand how Puerto Rico’s power authority has piled up $9 billion in debt, one need only visit this bustling city on the northwest coast. Twenty years ago, it was just another town with dwindling finances. Then, it went on a development spree, thanks to a generous —some might say ill-considered — gift from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Today, Aguadilla has 19 city-owned restaurants and a city-owned hotel, a water park billed as biggest in the Caribbean, a minor-league baseball stadium bathed in floodlights and a waterfront studded with dancing fountains and glimmering streetlights.
Growth in new offshore wind capacity in Europe is to slow this year after more than doubling in 2015, an industry report said on Tuesday. “New capacity additions will be lower in 2016 than 2015 though should then rebound, and we can expect to have (an installed total) over 20 GW (20,000 MW) offshore wind by 2020,” said the chief executive officer of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), Giles Dickson. The report for 2015 showed that new capacity linked to onshore grids totalled 3,019 megawatts (MW) last year after 1,483 MW in 2014.
China solidified its standing as the world’s wind energy behemoth in 2015, adding almost as much wind power capacity in one year as the total installed capacity of the three largest U.S. wind-producing states: Texas, Iowa and California. New data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance show China installed just under 29 gigawatts of new wind energy capacity in 2015, surpassing its previous record of roughly 21 GW set in 2014. The country also accounted for more than 46 percent of all wind power installed globally for the year, eclipsing the next largest market, the United States, which added 8.6 GW
Sanders’ uncompromising positions on climate change won him support among caucusgoers who are younger, white and first-time political participants. A Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday found that 11 percent of likely Democratic voters see climate change as the most important issue in the race. That falls below the economy and jobs with 36 percent and health care with 22 percent. But it marks a passionate category of voters who overwhelmingly supported Sanders over Clinton on climate by 66 percent to 30 percent.
Top utility groups have come out against an amendment to the Senate’s energy bill that aims to limit state regulators from imposing new rates for net-metering policies. In a letter sent to senators, the American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association warn the amendment by Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “would impose prescriptive electricity policies on the states and on certain localities and would intrude on critical retail electric service decisions that are — and have always been — subject to the authority of states, localities and rural electric cooperatives.”
The Senate is working its way through a mini vote-a-rama this afternoon, as the chamber looks to complete work on its bipartisan energy package later this week. Senators yesterday afternoon voted on eight of 257 amendments filed to the energy bill, S. 2012. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said this afternoon that negotiations were underway for roll call votes on another tranche of amendments tomorrow.
Energy experts are mining a major Supreme Court decision issued yesterday for clues about what it could mean for another high-stakes energy market case pending before the justices. Both cases hinge on federal versus state management of power markets.
Showing the effects of lower oil prices, BP on Tuesday reported a loss of $3.3 billion for the fourth quarter of 2015. The London-based oil producer lost $4.4 billion in the comparable period in 2014, when falling oil prices led to large inventory write-offs. For all of 2015, BP said it lost $6.48 billion, compared with a profit of $3.78 billion in 2014. BP blamed the loss primarily on sharply lower oil and gas prices. The company also said it wrote down the value of its oil and gas assets by $1.6 billion in the quarter.