Renewable energy rises, but IPCC authors warn that nuclear power must also rise to replace fossil fuels

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 17th, 2014

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.

AWEA’s Kiernan discusses impact of utility evolution on wind industry

Source: Monica Trauzzi, E&E • Posted: Thursday, April 17th, 2014

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.

Ikea investing in Illinois wind farm

Source: By Julie Wernau, Chicago Tribune reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 17th, 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.

Mich. Public Service Commissioner White discusses future of state’s RPS

Source: Monica Trauzzi, E&E • Posted: Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

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.

At N.D. meeting, states will seek consensus on power plant rule

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

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.

Twelve states produced 80% of U.S. wind power in 2013

Source: Allen McFarland, U.S. Energy Information Administration • Posted: Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

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.

Could airborne wind turbines power the world?

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

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.

Wind energy more popular than fracking — poll

Source: John Murray Brown, Financial Times • Posted: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Wind farms are more popular in Britain than hydraulic fracturing, a new study shows. According to the YouGov poll, 62 percent of respondents said they would rather live next to a wind farm than a fracking site. Nineteen percent said they would prefer an oil or gas well near their home, according to the poll.

IPCC summary calls for action sooner rather than later to address warming

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The world needs to ramp up the ambition of its greenhouse gas reduction goals — and do so quickly — if it is to avoid the worst effects of global warming, a U.N. panel of experts warned yesterday. A draft summary of the mitigation section of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report, released yesterday in Berlin, showed that the world’s current greenhouse gas emissions reduction pledges are likely to hold warming to 3 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — if countries stick to them. But scientists have warned that if human emissions push warming above 2 degrees Celsius compared with that base line, that will open the door to dangerous and costly shifts in the world’s climate.

Peabody Energy pitches coal as the cure for Third World poverty

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 14th, 2014

Faced with uncertain domestic markets and mounting regulatory pressures over pollution at home, the U.S. coal industry is shifting its focus to some of the poorest nations of the world, where it argues coal should be a primary antidote to global energy poverty. In a sophisticated public relations campaign launched in late February, Peabody Energy Corp., the world’s largest private coal company, argues that policymakers, along with anti-poverty nongovernmental organizations and global investment banks, have overlooked the positive role that coal can play in meeting economic development and even environmental goals throughout the developing world.