facts, analysis, exposure of wind energy's real impacts
Cost of green power makes projects tougher sell
Even as many politicians, environmentalists and consumers want renewable energy and reduced dependence on fossil fuels, a growing number of projects are being canceled or delayed because governments are unwilling to add even small amounts to consumers' electricity bills.
Deals to buy renewable power have been scuttled or slowed in states including Florida, Idaho and Kentucky as well as Virginia.
Planning Board takes back eolic [wind energy] plant approval
Planning Board President HÃ©ctor Morales Vargas announced Monday the agency has left without effect the approval of the location consultation for the construction of an eolic or wind energy plant in Guayanilla.
While the Planning Board approved Windmar Renewable Energy Inc.'s location consultation in May of this year, several groups who opposed the project ...requested a revision of consultation number 2006-61-0536-JPU.
Wind energy efforts often get tangled up in red tape
Despite the hoopla over renewable energy - media chatter, government rebates, neighbors who "go green" - the nuts and bolts of installing more Earth-friendly power sources often get stuck.
San Diego County, for example, is wrestling with how to handle applications for using residential wind turbines. Critics say the approval process is confusing and drawn-out enough to discourage investment in green power, just as companies are moving to fill the home-windmill niche.
Cape Wind navigates shifts in market
The controversial and long-delayed Cape Wind project - which could become the first offshore wind farm in the United States - is inching forward.
The next milestone is a decision by the Interior Department about whether to issue a lease for the project (something that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar discussed during an interview with The New York Times last week).
But if Cape Wind does manage to leap over all of its hurdles, the question remains: who will make the turbines?
Just off I-39 lies rural El Paso, Ill. But it's hardly a quiet place. Some of its 2,700 residents got pretty worked up in 2007 after learning that Navitas Energy of Minneapolis wanted to build a wind farm in their back yard. It proposed 40 turbines, each peaking at 2 megawatts of electric output. Sitting in Woody's Family Restaurant on the town's main drag, roof truss salesman Kevin Moore explains that he worried the proposed windmills could hurt property values, stunt the town's growth and flick dangerous ice balls.
Offshore Cape Wind project catches a break; Feds issue study on controversial wind farm
Opponents of the project, which include Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and other residents in the area, vowed to continue their fight. They maintain the 400-foot turbines would kill birds, threaten sea life, and hurt tourism and fishing.
"I do not believe that this action by the Interior Department will be sustained," Kennedy said in a statement issued to the Associated Press. "By taking this action, the Interior Department has virtually assured years of continued public conflict and contentious litigation."
Green Line: California transmission battle divides environmentalists
From Texas to Scotland, new clean energy projects that might disrupt wildlife habitats (or vacation views) have become an internecine battleground among green warriors. Fighting climate change by adding renewable energy is good; but upsetting pristine landscapes is unconscionable. ...The bottom line is that all power sources need transmission lines to carry electricity to population centers. Since wind and solar power are often sited in remote locations, like ridgelines or deserts, the need for new transmission lines is even bigger. Texas ...is still grappling with the costs and complexity of getting all the wind energy onto the power grid. Even clean-energy veterans like Denmark fret over transmission.
Ontario to approve Great Lakes wind power
Ontario is preparing to lift a controversial moratorium on the development of offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes that has been in place for nearly 14 months, the Toronto Star has learned.
A Ministry of Natural Resources official says the department is "getting ready" to make an announcement and that new minister Donna Cansfield is "anxious to demonstrate leadership in the area."
Jamie Rilett, a spokesperson in Cansfield's office, confirmed that the ministry is currently revisiting the moratorium. He said a decision would be made "shortly."
Industry sources also confirmed the moratorium's end is imminent.
Cape Cod wind farm plan inches forward
A key federal agency said Monday that a proposed wind farm off Cape Cod would pose no major environmental problems, giving a boost to the project that has sparked a long and bitter public fight.
A draft environmental report by the Minerals Management Service said plans by developer Cape Wind Associates to build 130 windmills across 25 miles of federal waters in Nantucket Sound would have mostly 'minor' or 'negligible' effects on wildlife, ocean navigation, fishing and tourism. ...A spokesman for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the leading opposition group to the wind farm, said the report underestimated the project's environmental threats.
'We're disappointed because there are still gaps in what's been put in the report,' said Glenn Wattley in a phone interview with The Associated Press. 'Statements that there is minimal environmental impact, we think are wrong. There are very important and serious impacts.'
Senate Passes Energy Bill
The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed an energy bill that lacked many alternative energy measures in the House's version, avoiding a presidential veto but missing an opportunity to boost the role of renewables in the country, according to alternative energy advocates. ...The Senate dropped a $21 billion package of tax breaks for alternative energy, which would have been paid for mostly by repealing tax breaks for big oil. The Senate's version also left out the renewable portfolio standard, which called for 15 percent of electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2020.
Mr. Wilder said there would now be less incentive for investment in the wind and solar industries. He said wind in particular needs the tax credits to make it viable.
Investors cannot ignore green shift; Renewable energy is not the cure for addiction to fossil fuels
For decades, coal-fired power stations have been among the biggest contributors to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Now, as climate change moves near the top of the world agenda, a sizeable investment opportunity is emerging for coal power equipment manufacturers and companies that build power plants and coal producers.
This is one of many conclusions reached at AllianceBernstein after two years of research into the investment implications of climate change. Our analysts conducted more than 500 visits and interviews with companies, consultants, scientists and legislators. ...But renewable energy is not the cure for the world's addiction to fossil fuels, our research found. Wind power, solar energy and hydropower have compelling advantages, such as inexhaustible fuel supply and minimal emissions of CO2. But initial costs, reliability and transmission problems are severe disadvantages.
We expect renewable energy, including hydropower, to gain market share, growing from 17% of global electric output this year to 19.5% in 2030. But wind power will supply only 5% of total world electricity in 2030, even after a 10-fold leap in global production.
Renaissance for nuclear plants may be nearing
For the anti-nuke crowd, the storage pool's ghostly appearance hints at potential catastrophic fallout from reliance on an energy source with a waste stream so toxic it must be guarded for centuries. ...The nation's tolerance for atomic power is about to be tested by an industry intent on welcoming a new wave of nuclear plants and drowning memories of accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Legions of activists will surface to obstruct the flow of this nuclear gambit. The exchange is likely to spark a relapse into polarizing environmental, political and regulatory debates that dominated nuclear power's emergence at Wolf Creek and plants carrying the names Copper Station, Turkey Point, Vermont Yankee, Peach Bottoms, Beaver Valley, Comanche Peak and Grand Gulf. ...Stuart Lowry, a Topeka lawyer who works with power cooperatives and serves on the Kansas Energy Council, said he didn't need surveys to grasp that nuclear power had to play a larger role in the nation's energy future.
Fears over power lines in National Parks
GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Apple trees have been planted, wood fences restored and power lines buried in recent years to transform the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg to the way it looked when Union and Confederate forces clashed on farmers' fields in 1863.
But preservationists now worry that the national military park in Pennsylvania's picturesque fruit belt soon may be in the shadow of high-powered transmission lines.
It is not just Gettysburg that worries them as a result of a 2005 law that gave federal regulators new authority over where power lines are built. They fear the law could place hundreds of national and state parks and other protected sites in the Northeast and Southwest in or near the path of massive power lines.
Energy corridors draw fire
Property in Franklin, Clinton and St. Lawrence counties could be seized in the interest of national security if the land is where a federal commission says power lines should go.
The initiative is meant to improve the delivery of electricity to populated areas along the Eastern Seaboard.
And it is designed to prevent the kind of wide-spread, rolling blackouts and power interruptions that California experienced - situations that experts predict will start in New York and other eastern states in 2011 unless system upgrades are made.
But opponents, such as the Sierra Club and historic-preservation groups, contend that state and local governments would be stripped of the power to control what occurs within their boundaries under the plan and that host communities and land owners would get little compensation.
Rahall, Others Aim to Change His Energy Bill
Rahall's spokeswoman, Allyson Groff, said last week that committee staff already were working on the points of greatest contention - especially the wind provisions. The bill as introduced "was a proposal," she said. "Nothing was set in stone. He wanted to be able to work with the Republicans on this."
Wind Energy White Paper Outlines Concerns About Wind Industry's Rapid and Unregulated Growth
Booming growth in the U.S. wind energy industry creates special responsibilities for wind farm developers as large utility-grade wind turbines are increasingly placed closer to population centers, according to a recent white paper published by Dallas attorney Trey Cox.
In his paper, the partner from Dallas' Lynn, Tillotson & Pinker, LLP, outlines key strategies for wind-farm developers to help insure continued public support for the young and fast-growing industry.
U.Va. Environmental Scientist Advocates Impact Assessments for Wind Energy Projects
Imagine 3,500 wind turbines, each at least as tall as a 40-story building, lining the ridges of Virginia's mountains for about 400 miles (Shenandoah National Park is 100 miles in length). That is what would be needed, according to a U.Va. environmental scientist, to satisfy proposed legislation to make nine percent of Virginia's energy "renewable" by 2020.
Rick Webb doesn't want to imagine it, nor would he allow it if it were up to him. "On-shore wind energy will do little to solve our energy problems in Virginia, but will possibly do significant harm to our environment," he said.
Digital Chirps Will Make It Easier to Site Wind Farms
-A Massachusetts company has perfected a way to measure wind speed by sending a digital chirp into the sky - lowering development costs and improving power predictions to make the siting of wind farms easier.
Second Wind Inc. is introducing the TritonÂ® sonic wind profiler, a device designed to address the limitations of sodar technology for identifying wind farm locations. The product was introduced today at North America's premiere trade event for the wind energy industry, WINDPOWER 2007 in Los Angeles.
Wind Wars: Scientistsâ€™ Findings Spawn an Immodest Proposal
For many environmentalists, the modern wind turbine is a symbol of a cleaner energy future, and building wind farms as quickly as possible represents one of America's best hopes to fight global warming.
But for many residents of mountain communities in the Appalachians where most of the nation's wind development east of the Mississippi has happened or is now planned, industrial wind turbines represent something less optimistic: the spoiling of pristine wilderness for little benefit to anyone except wind developers themselves.
Now, wind opponents can call on a new report by the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences to help them make their case.
Lack of rules could stall wind projects
Offshore wind farms, such as the one planned off the Sussex County coast, will have to wait to gain federal approval because of a laborious effort to regulate the technology.
Bluewater Wind, bolstered by an endorsement from four state agencies last week, hopes to build as many as 200 wind turbines in the Atlantic. The company says its turbines will generate pollution-free electricity at a stable price.
At the direction of the state agencies, negotiations have begun between Bluewater and Delmarva Power for a long-term power purchase agreement. But even if they strike a deal, and the company wins state and local permits to build an offshore wind farm, Bluewater will have one time-consuming hurdle left.