In investor reports and promotional efforts, utilities are increasingly touting their services to a lucrative growing customer base: cloud computing and data centers. “From Loudoun County in Northern Virginia to Mecklenburg County in Southside Virginia and stops in between,” Dominion Resources Inc. says on its website, “data centers are expanding or building across our service area.” And Duke Energy Corp.’s brand-new CEO, Lynn Good, said in a recent interview with Charlotte, N.C.’s WFAE-FM, “To have an opportunity to bring industry to the state that uses electricity 24/7 is actually a benefit to residential and commercial customers.”
The Energy Department released two new reports today showcasing record growth across the U.S. wind market — increasing America’s share of clean, renewable energy and supporting tens of thousands of jobs nationwide. According to these reports, the United States continues to be one of the world’s largest and fastest growing wind markets. In 2012, wind energy became the number one source of new U.S. electricity generation capacity for the first time – representing 43 percent of all new electric additions and accounting for $25 billion in U.S. investment.
The overall area of U.S. land suffering from “exceptional” drought continued to shrink for the sixth straight week, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor maps, although dryness is set to persist and even grow in several areas of concern. By the end of last month, areas of “severe to extreme” drought had shrunk by 9 percent from the month before, covering around 20 percent of the contiguous United States, compared with the 38 percent seen in 2012.
Wind energy is expanding just as fast as the turbines can go up. Just last week, the U.S. Department of Energy named South Dakota one of its four “Wind All-Stars.”
Iowa is among several states now getting more than 20 percent of its power from wind, a key reason wind energy was the fastest-growing power-generation sector for the first time in 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy reported Tuesday. Wind accounted for 43 percent of all new electricity generation last year, after a $25 billion run of new projects, the department reported.
Billionaire William Koch, brother to Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries Inc., was once known as the politically moderate member of his family. But as the Obama administration attempts to tackle climate change, Koch has changed his tune. Koch, the owner of Oxbow Carbon LLC, has denounced global warming and alternative energy investments. His brothers are known for their backing of politically active nonprofits, but he’s chosen a different route: giving millions of dollars from his firms’ corporate treasuries to super PACs, a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.
A conservative think tank has set its sights on elevating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and its importance to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan ahead of a nomination hearing for its next chairman. The Institute for Energy Research is boosting efforts to educate policymakers on and off Capitol Hill about what FERC does and how that could affect the U.S. energy supply and consumption in favor of renewables and to the detriment of fossil fuels, especially coal, an IER spokesman said.
Legislation that would phase out tax incentives for the wind industry over the next six years is emerging as a possible compromise measure. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced the bill, H.R. 2987, the day before Congress left for its August recess. The measure would extend 100 percent of the PTC through 2014, then ratchet down the credit by 10 percentage points a year until hitting 60 percent in 2018, after which it would expire in 2020.
When NASA designer Robert Simmon bought one of the first iPhones in 2007, what he saw when he turned it on startled him. The image on the phone’s startup screen was one he had designed. Known as the “Blue Marble,” it displayed a beautiful picture of the Earth from space, composed of many satellite images taken of our home planet.
The 21 turbines at the Kingdom Community Wind farm in Vermont soar above Lowell Mountain, a testament in steel and fiberglass to the state’s growing use of green energy. Except when they aren’t allowed to spin at their fastest. That has been the case several times in the farm’s short existence, including during the record July heat wave when it could have produced enough much-needed energy to fuel a small town. Instead, the grid system operator held it at times to just one-third of what it could have produced.