News

E.U. offshore wind targets look iffy as France and Germany fall behind

Source: Special to E&E • Posted: Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Offshore wind is the key to the European Union’s commitment to a legally binding target to meet 20 percent of its energy consumption through renewable energy by 2020. Under plans submitted by E.U. member states, as much as 43.3 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity is supposed to be deployed by 2020. But the pace of installation is falling well behind this ambitious target — roughly the equivalent of 40 large electric generating plants. The gap is 14 percent at the moment, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), with France and Germany, in particular, significantly behind.

Christie administration is pulling N.J. away — again — from regional cap and trade

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Gov. Chris Christie (R) may have fallen out of love with cap and trade years ago, but his state is still struggling to complete the divorce papers. New Jersey has been trying to extricate itself from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — a cap-and-trade system spanning nine states in the Northeast — since 2011, when Christie first suspended participation in the program. But his administration had to restart the separation process this year after the state Superior Court ruled that it had provided insufficient opportunity for public participation.

Industry group asks for more time to vet EPA power plant rule

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

has already allotted more time than usual for public input on its bid to regulate power plant greenhouse gas emissions, but one industry group wants an even longer public comment period. The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council yesterday asked EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a letter for an additional 60 days of public comment time beyond the 120 days the agency has already provided.

U.K.’s world-leading plans to build out sea-based wind power get a push from Norway

Source: Special to E&E • Posted: Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

When it comes to offshore wind, the near-term development of this industry depends almost entirely on whether the United Kingdom manages to strike the right balance between reining in subsidies and saving taxpayers money without completely scaring off developers. The United Kingdom already has more installed offshore wind power capacity than the rest of the world put together, with nearly 4,000 megawatts out of 7,000 MW globally. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said in 2011 that by 2020 up to 18 gigawatts of offshore wind could be deployed in the country if costs are cut to €118 ($160) per megawatt-hour.

Turbines near Broken Bow bring benefits — but not to neighbors dealing with their noise, size, ‘strobe effect’

Source: By Carson Vaughan / Special to the Omaha World-Herald • Posted: Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

On the cusp of the Nebraska Sand Hills, an inch and a half of rain makes all the difference. The pastureland engulfing the town, so often a palette of browns, snaps green. Blue skies. Black cattle. A string of low, white clouds piling up like rush-hour traffic. And strewn across the horizon, just a few miles northeast of town, are 50 General Electric wind turbines standing 262 feet tall, their white blades slowly turning, shadows spilling forward, an intricate series of access roads snaking between them like a shallow prairie stream.

Christie launches formal bid to remove N.J. from RGGI

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration today moved to formally withdraw the state from the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — three years after the Republican announced his decision to pull his state from the interstate compact. The Christie administration has not been participating in RGGI since it announced its withdrawal from the program in 2011, which prompted a lawsuit by Environment New Jersey and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Obama admin offers $4B in loan guarantees for renewables, efficiency

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 7th, 2014

The Obama administration offered as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees today for clean and efficient energy and fuel projects, rejuvenating a program that not long ago was a political punching bag. The Department of Energy is making up to $4 billion in loan support available to foster technology and equipment for the grid, transportation and housing technologies that would curb emissions and complement President Obama’s climate initiative.

Birthplace of offshore wind farms struggles to cope with government subsidy cuts

Source: Special to E&E • Posted: Monday, July 7th, 2014

The offshore wind industry has been concentrated in Europe, where North Sea winds provide excellent power generation conditions. Support from government subsidies in Denmark, Britain and Germany has helped create global leaders among turbine manufacturers and offshore wind farm builders and operators here. But even as the industry embarks on an ambitious quest to significantly lower the cost of energy, wind power produced at sea still costs more than on land. And just as offshore wind is finally showing signs of life in other regions, like the United States and Japan, subsidies are being cut in Europe, raising worries about whether the industry will be able to grow and become self-sufficient.

Vestas to make turbines for wind farm in Minnesota

Source: By Steve Lynn, Northern Colorado Business Report  • Posted: Monday, July 7th, 2014

Danish wind-turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems said its factories in Colorado will help fill an order from Broomfield-based Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. for 83 wind turbines. Vestas workers in Colorado will make towers, blades and nacelles for the project in Minnesota, the company said this week. The company has factories in Brighton, Windsor and Pueblo.

New York Towns Can Prohibit Fracking, State’s Top Court Rules

Source: By KATE TAYLOR and THOMAS KAPLAN, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

In a decision with far-reaching implications for the future of natural gas drilling in New York State, its highest court ruled on Monday that towns can use zoning ordinances to ban hydraulic fracturing, the controversial extraction method known as fracking. Since the issue arose about six years ago, there has been a statewide moratorium on fracking, and the State Health Department is currently studying its potential health effects. But in recent years some towns, worried that the state would eventually allow the practice, have taken matters into their own hands by banning fracking within their borders. Among them, two towns — Dryden, in Tompkins County, and Middlefield, in Otsego County — amended their zoning laws in 2011 to prohibit fracking, on the basis that it would threaten the health, environment and character of the communities.