The behemoths of the electric power sector are pushing federal regulators hard to enact reforms in East and Midwest markets that they say would strengthen the reliability of electricity supply and shore up their bottom lines. A central focus of the reform efforts is the capacity market in the PJM Interconnection, which oversees the wholesale electricity business in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
Xcel Energy is tops in wind energy among utilities nationwide and one third of that capacity serves its customers in the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico. Trade group American Wind Energy Association ranked Xcel as the utility providing the most wind energy for the 10th consecutive year, according to a report the group issued earlier this month. The company’s total capacity in 2013 was 5,080 megawatts or 15 percent of Xcel’s national energy supply.
The Obama administration has completed the draft environmental analysis of a commercial-scale wind farm project in the foothills of the Tehachapi mountain range, an area that has some of the nation’s best wind resources near habitat for California condors and golden eagles. The Bureau of Land Management today released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Tylerhorse Wind Project in Kern County, Calif., proposed to be built on about 1,200 acres of BLM land inside the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area where wind farms have been in operation for 30 years.
Last year got off to a shaky start for the U.S. wind energy industry, but new project construction and installed generation capacity took off following belated Congressional extension of the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC). By year’s end a record number of wind energy projects were under construction, and new wind energy generation records had been set across the country.
When it comes to wind energy, not all states are created equal. They say everything’s bigger in Texas — and for wind energy and rib-eye steak, they’re right. Here’s how Texas tops the list of wind energy producers.
The three largest industrial equipment divisions — aviation, power and water, and oil and gas — all grew robustly in the quarter. For example, revenue from the power and water unit rose 14 percent to $5.5 billion, helped by strong sales of power plant equipment and wind turbines. With demand for renewable energy increasing, G.E. expects to sell 3,000 wind turbines in 2014, about 1,000 more than last year, said Jeffrey S. Bornstein, the chief financial officer.
Fossil fuels states met yesterday and today in Bismarck, N.D., to swap ideas about how to protect their states’ economic and energy interests from what they fear could be the harmful effects of U.S. EPA’s upcoming existing power plant carbon dioxide rule. The meeting comes six weeks before the federal agency is set to release its proposed guidance for the rule, and regulators have been tight-lipped about what it will look like. EPA Air and Radiation Office chief counsel Joe Goffman maintained that policy by offering few specifics during his participation in the meeting yesterday.
Once completely off the map when it came to building successful wind turbine projects, nearly every state in the Southeast has a wind developer looking at it, according to clean energy and wind advocates. The lower wind speeds in the Southeast have not typically made the region ripe for wind development, especially when compared with the Midwest and Texas. Improved technology combined with a future need for cheaper power has opened up the Southern states for new development, however.
New Jersey’s political support for offshore wind has waned since 2010, when Gov. Chris Christie (R) approved a law providing a substantial subsidy for the technology. As a result, Google-backed AWC is now selling itself to state policymakers as a transmission line that will cut electricity costs and increase grid resilience should another storm like Superstorm Sandy arrive on the New Jersey coast.
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.