The US wind energy industry is currently paying $222 million annually to rural landowners whose land supports wind farms, in turn supporting some of the most economically distressed communities in the US. Landowners in six states are currently receiving over $10 million dollars a year in lease payments, with Texas ranked number one, followed by Iowa, California, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Kansas. Landowners in 26 additional different states are receiving over $1 million. In the end, the share of wind development in rural areas represents more than $101 billion in wind farm investment.
Up and down the center of the country, winds rip across plains, ridges and plateaus, a belt of unharnessed energy capable of powering millions of customers, with enormous potential to help meet national goals to stem climate change. And because the bulk of the demand is hundreds of miles away, companies are working to build a robust network of high-voltage transmission lines to get the power to the coasts. If only it were that simple. In all, more than 3,100 miles of projects have yet to be built, in need of government approval.
Building on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ongoing efforts to modernize the grid and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, today U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz announced that DOE will participate in the development of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project (Clean Line), a major clean energy infrastructure project.This marks the first use of Congressional authority conferred to DOE as part of Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 with the objective of promoting transmission development.
A $2.5-billion transmission line carrying wind power to the U.S. Southeast is coming — whether state regulators there like it or not. On Friday, the U.S. Energy Department used a decade-old statute to clear Clean Line Energy Partners LLC’s 705-mile (1,134-kilometer) power line for construction over any objections from the states involved. The Energy Department’s approval of the line, proposed to carry 4,000 megawatts of power from the wind-rich Oklahoma panhandle through Arkansas and into Tennessee, marks the first time the 2005 statute has been used to bypass state approval and push through an interstate transmission project.
A major transmission project aimed at bringing wind energy out of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandle cleared a significant hurdle on Friday as the Energy Department announced it would allow the project to go forward. The development, led by Clean Line Energy Partners, had been delayed because of resistance from state lawmakers, but the federal decision is a green light for the project. “Moving remote and plentiful power to areas where electricity is in high demand is essential for building the grid of the future,” Ernest Moniz, the energy secretary, said in a statement. “Building modern transmission that delivers renewable energy to more homes and businesses will create jobs, cut carbon emissions and enhance the reliability of our grid.”
The overwhelming majority of meteorologists believe climate change is happening, and more weather professionals have become convinced of it over the past five years, according to the results of two surveys released today. More than 99 percent of broadcast weather forecasters believed climate change is occurring, and 68 percent believed that it is largely caused by humans, a survey of TV weathercasters nationwide found.
For the first time, developing countries invested more in renewable energy capacity in 2015 than their wealthier counterparts, helping drive global spending on clean energy generation to $266 billion, according to data released this morning by the United Nations Environment Programme. In its 10th annual report on global renewable energy investment, UNEP and partners the Frankfurt School and Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that global spending on renewable energy rose 18 percent in emerging countries, to $156 billion, while dropping 8 percent in developed nations.
U.S. rooftops could generate 80 percent more energy from solar panels than previously thought, according to a new analysis from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Using a combination of aerial surveys, on-the-ground counting and supercomputing, researchers found rooftop solar holds the potential to generate 1,432 terawatt-hours of annual energy, up from the estimated 800 terawatt-hours in 2008. The amount of possible installed capacity from rooftop solar photovoltaics also jumped from 664 gigawatts to 1,118 GW. The three-year analysis projected the level of energy that could be generated in theory if PV systems were installed on all suitable U.S. business and residential rooftops.
Thousands of homeowners and small businesses in New Mexico — the second sunniest state in the nation — have invested nearly a quarter billion dollars in roof-top solar and related labor thanks to a program fueled by tax credits. Supporters say the investment has paid off. A record number of solar panels went up in 2015 and job growth within the industry jumped by more than 18 percent, signaling new economic opportunities for the struggling state.
Critics of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan are urging states to stop planning for the electricity sector regulation, arguing they will get extra time to meet carbon targets if the courts uphold the rule. But despite a Supreme Court order that could halt the standards for at least the next year and a half, supporters believe judges could adhere to most of the agency’s original timeline and require emissions cuts starting in 2022.