News

Does nuclear power have a place in a low-carbon future? Friends and foes weigh in

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The process used to generate electricity from decaying nuclear fuel creates a laundry list of toxic and radioactive byproducts along with plutonium, a man-made element that can be used to make nuclear weapons. What you won’t find on that list, however, are substantial amounts of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane. Nuclear energy may not be clean, but without it, a climate-neutral energy system may be far more difficult and expensive to achieve.

Building of large wind farms could provide Nebraskans with major property tax relief, advocates say

Source: By Paul Hammel / World-Herald Bureau • Posted: Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The answer to high property taxes in Nebraska, at least in some rural areas, might be blowing in the wind. That’s the conclusion of a new report by wind power developers that projected that the construction of a large wind farm in the state’s 15 most-rural and least-populated counties could allow a local property tax cut of up to 39 percent.

Wind farm turns to remotes, radar to prevent bird deaths

Source: E&E • Posted: Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

A Montana wind farm is using tracking radar and a remote operations center to prevent golden eagle and other raptor deaths. The radar’s “detect and deter” cameras, along with human monitors, at the Rim Rock Wind Facility in Glacier and Toole counties can spot signs of possible bird collisions and shut down wind turbines within 30 seconds.

Green groups urge extension of clean energy credits

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

With just over six weeks remaining in the year — and, hence, in the current life cycle of some key clean energy tax credits — a coalition of environmental groups is calling on Congress to not let those incentives lapse.
It seems a long shot to expect congressional tax writers to turn their attention from the intensifying discussion of an overhaul of the tax code to deliver an extension of the expiring provisions before the end of this year. But failure to do so would create more problems for a slate of burgeoning industries, the groups wrote in a letter to members of the Senate Finance Committee.

U.S. wind farms killed 600K bats last year — study

Source: Sam Pearson, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, November 11th, 2013

More than 600,000 bats may have been killed by wind turbines last year in the continental United States, according to a new study, illustrating the ongoing controversy over clean energy projects’ environmental impacts. The study by University of Colorado, Denver, researcher Mark Hayes, to be published in the journal BioScience, used statistical models to determine the estimate from other researchers’ peer-reviewed data of bat deaths at 21 wind energy facilities across the United States.

Former Senate aide becomes climate adviser as Zichal exits

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, November 11th, 2013

President Obama today tapped a low-profile insider with legislative and administration experience to replace climate change adviser Heather Zichal, who departs today after more than four years at the White House. Zichal deputy Dan Utech will now be lead coordinator for President Obama’s broad Climate Action Plan.

DOE secretary says carbon capture and storage is ‘ready’ at world meeting

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, November 11th, 2013

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said yesterday that his department “perhaps could do more” to boost carbon capture and storage (CCS) development but emphasized that the “technology is ready” to meet U.S. EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas standard.

Wind Energy Blows Michigan Toward 30% Renewables By 2035

Source: Silvio Marcacci, CleanTechnica • Posted: Monday, November 11th, 2013

A new state analysis finds wind energy is blowing Michigan toward its 10% by 2015 renewable portfolio standard (RPS), and could help reach it 30% renewables by 2035 without reliability or affordability concerns. The report, “Readying Michigan to Make Good Energy Decisions: Renewable Energy,” was released by the governor’s office this week as the state starts to contemplate what its energy future should look like beyond 2015. While a ballot initiative to increase Michigan’s RPS to 25% by 2025 was rejected in 2012, this new analysis undercuts many of the arguments used in that election by showing renewable energy costs falling fast while being integrated into the grid.

Tax breaks help wind turbine firm hire more workers

Source: Associated Press • Posted: Monday, November 11th, 2013

Vestas Wind Systems is hiring more people to take advantage of a federal tax credit before the end of the year, a move that comes after a slow year for wind energy, including a series of company layoffs in 2012. Vestas announced Thursday the company will hire hundreds of workers at its factories in Windsor and Brighton to meet a spike in demand for wind turbines.

Amid natural gas boom, Texas remains a leader in wind power

Source: Kevin Carmichael, Toronto Globe and Mail, Nov. 5 • Posted: Friday, November 8th, 2013

A federal tax credit on renewable energy generation is spurring development in the United States, with Texas emerging as an unlikely leader in wind power generation. Last year, Texas generated 12,600 megawatts, more than the state’s mandate of 5,800 MW by 2015. Although the state accounts for a major amount of wind generation, interest in developing the technology has waned with the rise of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for fossil fuels.