Wind is emerging as a prize for energy planners who see the howling gusts that arrive from the east as a way to offset the fresh limits imposed on hydropower. A string of wind-turbine parks is being erected in the nation’s windiest stretches, in what planners here see as the beginning of an extraordinary transformation. No one expects that wind will outpace dams as the main source of Brazil’s electricity. But the goals remain audacious for a country that projects an annual rise in electricity consumption of up to 5 percent in coming years.
Today, everything from bank receipts to the batting averages of baseball players can be coded into megabytes and lines of data. Yet in the United States, the basic infrastructure that underpins these systems — the grid that feeds them with electrons — remains largely untouched by the computerization boom of the past half-century.
Oil and natural gas lobbyists have spent more than a year urging lawmakers to maintain targeted tax breaks for extracting and transporting their products, but there are signs of a growing fear within the industry that impending legislation to overhaul the tax code for the first time in a generation would eliminate most of those incentives in order to lower the top-line rate paid by all companies.
It’s hard to find anywhere in America that’s windier than Nebraska, where sweeping flat lands offer little to break up the gusts. So why isn’t the state dotted with turbines?
Two Democrats today introduced a Senate bill that would require utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The bill from Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is the latest in a long-running campaign to implement a nationwide renewable energy standard; when they were in the House, the Udall cousins introduced their first RES bill in 2002.
Continuing their push for legislation to set a threshold for renewable electricity production, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Udall (D-CO) today introduced a bill to establish a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that would create jobs, reduce pollution and save consumers money.
Voters in 11 swing states said they would prefer that U.S. EPA set new standards for carbon emissions rather than leaving the task to Congress, according to a survey out today. While the Hart Research Associates poll of 1,013 likely voters, commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters, found strong public support for new regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions, it also showed that those polled would prefer the rules be set by bureaucrats, and not politicians.
Green California led the country in greenhouse gas emissions between 2011 and 2012, according to an analysis of U.S. EPA’s recently released data. A wet year in 2011 ramped up hydropower generation in the state, which led to a relative drop in that renewable energy in 2012. The decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station also raised emissions, said Trevor Houser, a partner with the Rhodium Group and a former climate change adviser in the State Department.
House Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) today took Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to task for failing to respond to his concerns about an agency memo that called on the nation’s four power marketing administrations to invest in transmission upgrades and clean energy and to address cybersecurity. At issue is a controversial memo that then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu released last year that called on the Bonneville Power Administration, Western Area Power Administration, Southeastern Power Administration and Southwestern Power Administration to leverage partnerships, rate-making power and financing to upgrade power lines and boost reliability and access for renewables.
Lawmakers are once again looking for ways to attract wind-energy producers to Nebraska. At least seven state lawmakers and Gov. Dave Heineman will speak next month at the annual Nebraska Wind Conference in Lincoln. The conference helps generate new ideas based on what has worked in other states, said John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union and an event organizer. Nebraska is the nation’s third-windiest state, but ranks 26th in the energy it could now produce, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Nebraska lags behind its neighboring states: Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas.