DONG Energy announced last week that it had successfully completed the installation of the first of thirty-two 8 MW wind turbines at the Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm which it is developing, currently under construction in Liverpool Bay, off the west coast of England. The 8 MW wind turbines, built by Vestas, are the largest in the world, standing at 195 meters — in excess of two Big Bens.
U.S. solar firms installed more than 2 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity between April and June, a 43 percent increase over the same period in 2015 and the fifth largest quarterly growth in the industry’s history, according to data released this morning by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. The latest figures, rolled out at the annual Solar Power International conference in Las Vegas, reflect solar’s surging popularity outside its traditional markets. They also add credence to the notion that sunlight is a cost-competitive fuel for electricity generation against nearly every other resource, including natural g
The federal bureaucracy will soon be dealing with the impact of lawmakers failing to finalize spending negotiations before the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. As congressional leaders wrestle with the politics of a new appropriations plan, departments will have to wait for new money. The reality is not new for agencies, like U.S. EPA and the Interior Department, because Congress has rarely finished its annual appropriations work on time over the past two decades.
Tradition holds that when the Energy and Interior secretaries leave Washington to tout a major energy play, it usually involves a mineral deposit, oil and gas field, or renewable energy site in the Interior West, where the government’s resource management footprint is large and highly visible. But last week, officials revealed that the nation’s largest untapped energy resource is nowhere near the Bakken Shale oil patch of North Dakota, the coal fields of Wyoming or the sun-soaked California desert. Instead, it’s just off the Eastern Seaboard, where 86 gigawatts of wind energy is waiting to be tapped by private developers with the help of government agencies, according to the Obama administration.
If you’ve been doing your homework, then by now you should know that wind power in the U.S. is on sale. Thanks to performance-based tax policy (the bipartisan-supported Production Tax Credit) attracting new investment and driving innovation, wind power’s costs dropped by two-thirds over just six years. Now you can start studying for your next assignment, with newly published research from one of the country’s top national laboratories, one otherwise known for participating in the Manhattan Project, among other critically important scientific endeavors.
In a nugget of very good news for the renewable energy sector, a survey of 163 wind energy experts has found that in the coming decades, the cost of electricity generated by wind should plunge, by between 24 and 30 percent by the year 2030, and even further by the middle of the century. One key reason? New wind projects are about to get even more massive, in both the offshore and onshore sectors. As turbines get taller and access stronger winds, and as rotors increase in diameter, it becomes possible to generate ever more electricity from a single turbine.
Also this week, efforts to reconcile the House and Senate energy bills will continue, as lawmakers race the clock to see if they can find common ground. House and Senate conferees detailed their own priorities for the conference last week, signaling a desire to work toward consensus but also highlighting vast policy divides (Greenwire, Sept. 8). House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told E&E Daily that efforts will intensify this week. “Now that the opening statements are out of the way, we’ll have member-to-member discussions,” he said.
“Over time, I think we’d like to see elements of the turbines made and assembled here in the U.S. more and more,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, which is the developer of the project. “It’s not an all-or-nothing thing. We’ll increasingly see more and more of the components made closer and closer to these projects. And that is almost entirely driven by the size of the market that the manufacturers see.
It was that a “supergrid,” a national network of 30,000 miles of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) electricity lines, might cut electricity generating emissions by as much as 80 percent by rapidly moving surplus power generated by wind, solar, hydroelectric and natural gas around the nation. The system, he thinks, could be built in 15 years. The resulting power, most of it coming from the weather, he asserts, would not lift energy bills much above traditional levels.
The U.S. just completed its first offshore wind farm, with 30 megawatts of capacity off the coast of Rhode Island, and has laid out a plan to reach 86,000 megawatts by 2050, almost enough to power the U.K The departments of Energy and Interior are planning a joint effort to support offshore wind farms over the next five years, a move aimed at reducing cost and development risks and easing the regulatory constraints that have hindered construction to date, according to a statement Friday.