Most important, United States wind energy reduced carbon pollution by 125 million metric tons in 2014, the equivalent yearly emissions of 26 million cars. As the lowest cost zero-emission energy source, wind energy must play a critical role in tackling the most pressing challenge facing all of Earth’s lands: climate change.
Xcel Energy is named the number one wind power provider for the 11th consecutive year. “Wind is becoming more and more important to us than ever,” Mike Herro, community service manager at Xcel explained. The company holds nearly 6,000 megawatts of wind power. That powers nearly 3 million homes.
It would be foolhardy to stanch federal investment in the research, development and commercialization of clean and renewable sources of energy. There is huge money to be made in this sector, which can bolster regional economies, rejuvenate the tax base, enhance our global competitiveness, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change. If we fail to seize these opportunities, others will do so.
We are a nation of entrepreneurs, and today’s energy entrepreneurs — just like the energy entrepreneurs of a century ago — need encouragement and support. Without it, we ultimately will be buying from others what they should be buying from us. A significant number of the world’s most respected economists believe that renewable energy will be one of the most dynamic and profitable sectors of the global economy in the next 100 years. Nations that provide either mandates or private-sector incentives to develop and commercialize renewable energy technologies through tax credits, loans and innovation funding will have a significant economic advantage over those that do not.
s Gina McCarthy spoke for a second straight year at one of the world’s top energy gatherings, the U.S. EPA administrator defended a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions and told the power industry to focus on its ability to innovate. McCarthy made a point at IHS CERAWeek here to outline the thinking behind EPA’s Clean Power Plan, saying a low-carbon future is an “inevitability.” She dismissed “doomsday” scenarios she said won’t happen because of the plan, which aims to use Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to seek carbon emissions reductions from power plants.
About half of the $15 billion in federal spending proposed in the Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Energy Review would go to modernizing the electric grid and providing incentives to replace aging natural gas lines, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said. It will be up to Congress to find a source of funding, although about $350 million has been set aside for grid modernization in the Energy Department’s fiscal 2016 budget, Moniz said during a press conference at the IHS CERAWeek conference here
The planning of high-voltage power lines in the United States — marked by just-in-time, least-cost projects — is failing to prepare the nation for unavoidable changes to the power grid, ensuring that consumers will ultimately have to pay significantly more for electricity, a new study by transmission proponents argues. Commissioned by WIRES, an advocacy group including utilities and transmission developers and operators, the study by the Brattle Group is directed at power grid officials, regulators and members of Congress who are confronting implications of U.S. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan on the future of the power grid.
Federal officials are moving to speed up their review of wind power projects across the Upper Great Plains in anticipation that the industry will continue growing, a situation that’s alarmed wildlife advocates who say many bird and bat species are being put at risk as wind turbines proliferate. The proposal would cover future wind farms in Montana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Companies to date have installed roughly 8,000 turbines generating more than 12,000 megawatts of wind energy in the six states. That’s almost one-fifth of the wind power in the U.S. and represents enough energy to power the equivalent of almost 3.3 million homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Sunny Arizona’s road to solar has been fraught with problems, the latest of which is tied into the state’s big public utilities placing higher fees on solar users to compensate for their dwindling use of the electric grid. Industry advocates said the increased fees assault the state’s burgeoning solar industry. Supporters of the fee hikes said it’s just another sign of changing markets as utilities navigate the blossoming demand for renewables.
Chuck Hassebrook, the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor and former executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs, has joined a wind energy firm. Hassebrook will be vice president for renewable energy export for Sandhills Wind Energy, which is based in Valentine. “I am excited to help develop the profound opportunity that renewable energy offers the people and communities of rural Nebraska,” Hassebrook said Thursday.
A year-old initiative to mobilize the global business community around the risks and opportunities of climate change has entered a second phase, according to the nonprofit group BSR. It said it will focus efforts in 2015 on deepening private-sector understanding of climate science while also helping develop collaborative strategies to reduce and mitigate against warming’s most harmful effects.