Wind power is an important part of America’s electricity mix that keeps money in the pockets of families and businesses, despite misleading claims from anti-renewable energy special interest groups. Today, there’s enough wind power in the U.S. for 20 million American homes, and wind is on track to quadruple in size by 2030 to supply 20 percent of the country’s electricity. This strong growth has been driven in part by the Production Tax Credit (PTC), a market-driven solution that has helped rapidly scale up wind power.
A new player has entered the 2016 campaign: The renewable energy industry. American Wind Action, a newly-formed 501(c)(4) nonprofit group that’s devoted to advocating for wind energy, is launching on Tuesday with ambitious plans to spend over $1 million in congressional and state legislative races across the country. It plans to invest in TV and digital ads.
Wind advocates are forming a new group today to elect candidates around the country who are friendly to the industry. American Wind Action is launching with a seven-figure budget, a new website and digital ads. Its board of directors includes Sam Enfield, principal of Windline Development LLC; Jeff Clark, executive director of the Wind Coalition in Texas; and Jim Reilly, senior vice president at the American Wind Energy Association. “In addition to its focus on ensuring that the public understand the importance of wind to energy policy and communities across the country, AWA will also help elect candidates who are strong advocates for wind, and work to defeat candidates who oppose wind energy with a leading-edge grassroots effort in the 2016 campaign,” the group said in a statement.
The head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration today called a goal by North American leaders to reach 50 percent carbon-free power by 2025 “doable.” Speaking at an event to discuss his agency’s Annual Energy Outlook, EIA Chief Adam Sieminski said the United States, Canada and Mexico are expected to reach 46 percent power from renewables and nuclear by 2025.
The researchers point to a myriad of other reasons for the shortcomings of turbines in China, ranging from lower turbine quality, grid connection problems and the failure of grid operators to transmit wind power to users because they prefer other types of energy sources such as coal. “Improvements in both technology choices and the policy environment are critical in addressing these challenges,” the authors of the report concluded.
Senate appropriators today advanced a fiscal 2017 spending plan for the State Department and federal foreign operations that would restrict funding for international climate change efforts. According to summaries of the draft bill made available this afternoon, the legislation would bar any federal funding for the U.N. fund to help poor countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The idea behind the PTC phase-out was to spark a near-term investment boom without simultaneously creating a demand cliff. Developers with advanced projects would rush to qualify for the full PTC in 2016, but earlier-stage projects would still be able to secure a substantial fraction of the PTC over the coming few years – or so the thinking went. But major wind developers are now questioning whether many projects will get built based on reduced PTC levels after all, given the intensely competitive landscape in the US power sector today.
Leaders in the Massachusetts Senate have unveiled legislation designed to ramp up the state’s reliance on renewable energy sources, including offshore wind and hydropower. The plan, detailed Friday, establishes more aggressive energy targets than a similar bill approved by the House this month.
Ellen Anderson, director of the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, can reduce Minnesota’s landmark community solar law into three escalating numbers: 20, 430 and 1,003. The first number, 20, is the projected megawatts that the state’s largest electric utility, Xcel Energy Inc., said it expected to approve in community solar capacity over the first two years of the program’s life since it was enacted in 2013.
Senate negotiators will continue talks on a possible conference with the House on energy legislation this week, along with pressing forward on spending legislation and Puerto Rico relief. Senate Republican leaders are still hoping to complete as many spending bills as possible before the long summer recess. And energy bill boosters see the measure as a potential win during an election year. But gun control debates and passing legislation to shore up Puerto Rico’s finances are stressing an already stretched calendar.