The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which pools the efforts of scientists around the globe, has begun releasing draft chapters from its latest assessment, and, for the most part, the reading is as grim as you might expect. We are still on the road to catastrophe without major policy changes. But there is one piece of the assessment that is surprisingly, if conditionally, upbeat: Its take on the economics of mitigation. Even as the report calls for drastic action to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, it asserts that the economic impact of such drastic action would be surprisingly small. In fact, even under the most ambitious goals the assessment considers, the estimated reduction in economic growth would basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year.
A member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today said the American Wind Energy Association presented “compelling” information that wind production tax credits are not a major factor in making nuclear power uneconomical. Speaking at FERC’s monthly meeting in Washington, D.C., Commissioner John Norris said he had asked for information about why baseload nuclear power plants are being forced out of the market and whether production tax credits for the wind industry were a factor.
The Obama administration’s landmark rule to reduce the power sector’s contributions to climate change may be released nearly a month behind schedule and will feature numerous ideas about how to promote alternative sources of energy and otherwise remake the electric grid, U.S. EPA’s second in command said at a White House forum on solar energy today. Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe said EPA helps to drive demand for solar energy deployment and other changes that reduce emissions from electricity production as part of its broader role in implementing President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. A centerpiece of the agency’s climate efforts is the upcoming rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, which Perciasepe said today would come out in “late June, maybe even the end of June” — a delay compared to previously announced plans to release the rule June 1.
Renewable energy rises, but IPCC authors warn that nuclear power must also rise to replace fossil fuels
Over the past decade and a half, countries around the world have taken unprecedented steps to shift their energy dependence from fossil fuels to alternative resources. Tariffs and subsidies have spurred the growth of wind and solar, regional emissions markets have imposed costs on carbon, and government funds have poured in to support the development of new, low-carbon technologies. And yet carbon emissions from the energy sector continue to rise. From 1991 to 2010, they grew at a rate of 1.7 percent a year; over the following decade, that rate nearly doubled, to 3.1 percent a year, according to data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Notwithstanding a minor drop in emissions during the economic recession of 2009, the upward trajectory continues today.
With the Senate scheduled to consider tax extenders when it returns from its recess, how is the wind industry managing the uncertainty surrounding an extension of the production tax credit? During today’s OnPoint, Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, discusses AWEA’s annual market report for 2013 and talks about the impact the evolving utility business model is having on growth within his industry. He also discusses his group’s lobbying strategy for 2014.
Home goods giant Ikea is building a wind farm in downstate Illinois large enough to ensure that its stores will never have to buy a single kilowatt of power again. “It’s about taking care of the environment and living within our means,’’ said Rob Olson,chief financial officer of Ikea U.S. With the project, Ikea’s first wind investment in the U.S., the company is among a growing number of companies taking care of their energy needs by buying or investing in power produced by the wind and sun.
With approximately half of its electricity coming from coal-fired generation, how is Michigan preparing for U.S. EPA’s pending regulations for existing power plants? During today’s OnPoint, Commissioner Greg White, a member of the Michigan Public Service Commission, discusses the future of his state’s renewable portfolio standard and the role of coal in its energy future. He also talks about recent court action on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 1000.
With only six weeks left until U.S. EPA is set to release its proposed guidance for existing power plant carbon emissions, stakeholders across the country are making their closing arguments about what the rule should look like. Representatives from energy-producing states will meet tomorrow in North Dakota to try to find consensus on how EPA should craft its proposal in a way that respects state policies and energy mixes.
In 2013, 12 states accounted for 80% of U.S. wind-generated electricity, according to preliminary generation data released in EIA’s March Electric Power Monthly report. Texas was again the top wind power state with nearly 36 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity. Iowa was second, with more than 15 million MWh, followed by California, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
While renewable energy developers dream of harnessing the stronger, more consistent breezes that blow thousands of feet above our heads, it’s hard to say when airborne wind energy technology will become commercially viable. But a recent study roughly estimates that if these high-flying devices are deployed at strategic locations around the globe, they have the potential to provide between 7.5 and 9 terawatts of energy — “more than enough to provide electricity to all of humanity,” it states.