Coal, once king in Texas, sees wind as ‘real competition’

Source: Benjamin Storrow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, April 17th, 2017

During a visit yesterday to the Harvey mine in Sycamore, Pa., U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared that “the war on coal is done.” But if the regulatory battle is over, the fight in coal’s largest domestic market has just begun. Wind generation accounted for nearly 23 percent of power generation for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in the first quarter of 2017, the Lone Star State grid operator said this week.

Solar Energy Association Calls For Modernizing The Electrical Grid

Source: By Steve Hanley, Clean Technica • Posted: Monday, April 17th, 2017

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has released another hit in its series of white papers, this one entitled “New Opportunities for Solar Through Grid Modernization.” In it, SEIA looks at grid modernization policies in New York and California and makes recommendations that other states could use to make their electrical grids more up to date.

Trump is creating a void on climate change. Can California persuade other states to help fill it?

Source: By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Monday, April 17th, 2017

The goal has become more critical than ever as President Trump rolls back national environmental regulations. No matter how hard California pushes, the country will fall short of its obligations under the Paris agreement on climate change unless more states try to keep pace. So far, experts say, not enough is being done. A dozen states are emulating California’s rules on tailpipe emissions, and even more are setting benchmarks for increasing renewable energy. But persuading them to adopt other, more ambitious policies, such as requiring polluters to pay fees through a cap-and-trade system, remains elusive despite years of efforts.

Germany Strikes Offshore Wind Deals, Subsidy Not Included

Source: By STANLEY REED, New York Times • Posted: Monday, April 17th, 2017

European governments have spent large sums of money in recent years subsidizing giant offshore wind projects in hopes of creating a clean source of energy that could eventually pay for itself. Now that moment may be here — and a lot sooner than expected. On Thursday, the Danish company Dong Energy, the largest offshore wind developer, won the right to build two large wind projects in the German North Sea with no government subsidies — a highly symbolic first for the industry.

Nev. governor’s energy bill would help with commercial upgrades

Source: By Sandra Chereb, Las Vegas Review-Journal • Posted: Monday, April 17th, 2017

Local governments could create special improvement districts to allow commercial properties to finance, through a private lender, energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy sources under a bill heard Wednesday by an Assembly committee. Assembly Bill 5 is sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Energy and is part of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s package of legislative priorities. It would allow loans to finance energy efficiency projects to be paid off through tax assessments, which would be passed on to new owners if a property is sold.

Duke Energy Plans Renewables Growth As Part Of Grid Modernization

Source: By North American Wind Power • Posted: Monday, April 17th, 2017

Duke Energy has launched a $13 billion, 10-year initiative to modernize North Carolina’s electric system. Among the goals of the “Power/Forward Carolinas” project is expanding renewable energy in the state. According to Duke Energy, other plans include hardening the system against storms and outages, making it safer and more resilient against cyber-attacks and physical threats, and generating jobs and stimulating economic growth. The initiative will also give 7 million people in North Carolina more information to manage their energy use, the company says.

Electric Grid Study Ordered by U.S. Energy Chief to Boost Coal

Source: By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, April 17th, 2017

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is ordering a study of the U.S. electric grid, with an eye to examining whether policies that favor wind and solar energy are accelerating the retirement of coal and nuclear plants critical to ensuring steady, reliable power supplies. The 60-day review, which Perry set in motion Friday, comes as regulators increasingly wonder how to balance electric reliability with a raft of state policies that prioritize less stable renewable energy sources. In an April 14 memo obtained by Bloomberg News, Perry highlights concerns about the “erosion” of resources providing “baseload power” — consistent, reliable electricity generated even when the sun isn’t shining and the winds aren’t blowing.

Unlikely Riches Found in the Dirt-Poor Badlands of North Brazil

Source: By Blake Schmidt, Bloomberg • Posted: Friday, April 14th, 2017

Wind is as good as gold to Mario Araripe, a Brazilian tycoon who built his empire by tapping the same gusts that brought Portuguese sailors to South America five centuries ago. Harvesting those breezes, he created an estate that includes about 170,000 hectares of land in Brazil’s northeast and Casa dos Ventos, the wind-energy giant that’s developed almost a third of Brazil’s current and planned capacity. His company’s share of that capacity, plus the revenue from a 2.3 billion reais ($767 million) sale of wind assets to Cubico Sustainable Investments Ltd. last year, have helped Araripe grow a personal fortune that the Bloomberg Billionaires Index values at $1.3 billion.

Germany Approves 1st Subsidy-Free Bid for Offshore Wind Park

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Friday, April 14th, 2017

German authorities have approved the first bid to construct an offshore wind park without feed-in subsidies, indicating the growing competitiveness of renewable energy. The agency that oversees access to Germany’s electricity grid says the bid was one of four to receive approval for projects in the North Sea with a total capacity of 1,490 megawatts. On average the bids sought a subsidy of about $0.0047 per kilowatt hour under a system designed to encourage power companies to feed renewable energy into the grid.

IRS Boosts Wind PTC To Adjust For Inflation

Source: By David K. Burton, North American Wind Power • Posted: Friday, April 14th, 2017

On April 11, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced an inflation adjustment increase in the production tax credit (PTC) for power sold in 2017 that is generated by wind, closed-loop biomass and geothermal projects to 2.4 cents/kWh from the prior 2.3 cents/kWh. The inflation adjustment announcement is being published in the Federal Register.