Energy Policy or Location
A handful of House Republicans dealt a stunning blow to state Rep. Mike Hager's bill to phase out slowly North Carolina's subsidies, tax credits, and purchase mandates propping up renewable energy companies. Despite this setback, the Rutherford County Republican said he plans to bring House Bill 298 to another committee vote.
"This misguided policy acts much like a hidden tax. Experience has shown that renewable energy mandates, like the one on the books in North Carolina, have a negative impact on the economy and an adverse impact on your constituents' pocketbooks."
...Clinton called for the creation of a "Strategic Energy Fund," which would place a two year fee on major oil company profits that exceed a 2000-2004 profit baseline. Companies could offset their fee by investing in refinery capacity, ethanol production, or alternative energy such as wind-generated electricity.
The province should scrap its new system for allocating wind power sites on Crown land, NDP Leader Howard Hampton says.
"They should stop it now and start over with a process that's fair," Hampton said in an interview yesterday, after the Star reported the "winner-take-all" format might let Toronto-based SkyPower Corp. tie up the best remaining sites on provincial land, as well offshore sites in lakes Ontario, Huron and Erie. ...Most wind power sites should be kept in public hands to be developed on a not-for-profit basis, as the hydroelectric power resources were in the last century, he said.
"If they're going to turn it over, the process must be one that doesn't result in the creation of a monopoly. You're not supposed to give public assets to one or two private companies to make them rich."
The discussion in Hanover Park over wind turbines is generating more hot air.
The village board next month is to consider joining a group of area school districts and communities who are supporting the construction of power-generating wind turbines to reduce electricity consumption. Hanover Park Trustee William Manton has asked for the item to appear on the Jan. 15 agenda.
But Village President Rodney Craig, who's been a big proponent of wind energy, nonetheless is calling Manton's move a political ploy.
DES MOINES — U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin predicts the upcoming farm bill will put a greater emphasis on renewable energy, biomass production and conservation and less on subsidy payments to farmers.
With Democrats capturing the majority in the U.S. Senate this week, Iowa’s junior senator could take over once again as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee as a new farm bill is being drafted.
Harkin, D-Cumming, shepherded the last farm bill as chairman of the agriculture committee in 2002. Although he said it is not a foregone conclusion he’ll assume chairmanship of the committee once again, he already has ideas of how he wants to shape the legislation.
“We have to make changes,” Harkin said. “The times have changed; conditions have changed, a lot of things have changed.”
"While wind power is a popular and growing source of electricity generation in the United States ... it continues to face regulatory obstacles and local opposition," stated the Vermont Energy Partnership report. "And while there is clear potential for an expansion of wind in the State of Vermont, even fully developed, wind can only meet a fraction of the state's electricity needs. To ensure that Vermont has a dependable supply of clean and low-cost electricity, base load providers such as Vermont Yankee and HydroQuébec must continue to serve our state into the future," stated the report.
"The immediate challenge is to build transmission infrastructure to send wind energy to end users in other states," he said.
Paying for the wind power transmission infrastructure is a complicated proposition involving state and federal regulators, the Southwest Power Pool, wind farm owners, landowners, Oklahoma-based utilities, utilities in other states - many east of the Mississippi River - who would buy the wind power created in Oklahoma and end users.
"Our challenge is to encourage orderly development of this resource," Fleischaker said.
The challenge includes fair compensation for Oklahoma resources.
"We do not want to deliver an industry that exports revenues out of state," he said.
The shallow water just miles from the Rehoboth Beach shoreline could be the site of the country's first offshore wind farm -- but it will not be the only one, as similar projects are racing forward in Massachusetts and New York, experts say.
A major Yukon hydroelectric project that served as the showpiece for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's green stimulus fund will create few jobs and only theoretically cut greenhouse gases, according to new two territorial government reviews. ...Infrastructure Canada has said the deal was based on the promise of increasing the availability of renewable or clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But the Yukon Energy Corporation has said the federal funding was not tied to any specific level of reduction. ...The project's job creation potential also appears to be less than advertised.
MANCHESTER - Robert M. Hartwell, Chair of the Bennington Country Regional Commission, was elected president of the New England Association of Regional Councils at its annual meeting in Portland, Maine. NEARC is composed of planning commissions and metropolitan planning organizations throughout New England.
Just last fall, it appeared the Texas coal rush was rolling ahead like an unstoppable locomotive.
Skyrocketing natural gas prices were pushing electricity prices up, and electric demand was growing. Coal, relatively cheap and relatively dirty, seemed the reasonable alternative.
Gov. Rick Perry last fall ordered regulators to expedite coal plant applications, and environmentalists feared the plants would be rushed through and rubber-stamped. Companies such as TXU subsequently lined up earlier this year to file a batch of new applications, resulting in 17 proposed coal units, including 10 in Central Texas.
But this summer, the coal train has hit some rough rails.
Down a dirt road on America's southernmost island, 16 windmills tilt their sleek blades toward the ocean, as dependent on the whims of Hawai'i's tropical breeze as residents are on the electricity they help produce.
The Hawi wind farm on the Big Island makes clean and affordable energy, but the 100-foot-tall wind turbines stop when the air is still.
Most forms of renewable energy face a similar difficulty nationwide - they're cleaner than oil and coal but fall short on reliability and convenience.
The state Public Utilities Commission has denied Hawaiian Electric Co.’s request to reconsider a July ruling requiring the utility to rebid 200 megawatts – or half – of the Big Wind project.
With its ocean breezes, ample sunlight, pounding waves and a continuously erupting volcano, Hawaii seems blessed with the means to produce clean electricity and achieve energy independence.
But that isn't anywhere close to happening. For one thing, the technology isn't quite ready.
The big drawback with wind and solar energy, for example, is that the flow of electricity stops when the breeze dies down and the sun sets. Since there is no good way to store the power for use later, homeowners need conventional electrical service - meaning fossil fuel-burning plants - as a backup.
The Historic District Commission approved a wind turbine for private use on Nantucket at its weekly meeting last night
THESE should be heady times for Vestas, a Danish firm that makes more than a quarter of the world's wind turbines. The wind business is booming, and the company said last week that it had swung into profit in 2006, thanks to an 8% rise in revenue. But there is "significant unexploited production capacity", Vestas says, due to shortages of high-quality turbine components. Other companies grumble about a lack of gearboxes and bearings.
Wind firms' worries echo those in the solar-power business, which is also booming but where a shortage of polysilicon has hampered growth. Silicon is made from sand, which is abundant, but there are not enough refineries to turn it into solar-grade polysilicon. As a result, prices for silicon contracts have more than doubled, to $70 or $80 per kilogram, in the past three years, says Jesse Pichel, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.
In both industries demand has rocketed and supply cannot keep up. The wind business is growing by more than 30% a year worldwide, with America leading the way. (This week Energias de Portugal became the latest European utility to invest in American wind farms, with the $2.2 billion purchase of Horizon Wind Energy.) And when a solar incentive scheme took hold in Germany in 2004-05, demand in Europe roughly doubled, says Ron Kenedi of Sharp, the biggest solar-cell maker.
Town administration is expected to provide more information to council in coming weeks about the proposed South Side Wind Farm and members of council are joining members of the Advisory Committee on the Environment (ACE) with questions of their own.
Councillor Bob Pillon brought up the issue of potential health impacts ..."We need answers," said Pillon.
Kestell said he asked for the public hearing on new wind turbine siting standards in response to concerns from constituents ..."There are many questions and concerns about these rules from citizens statewide and I have personally heard from many constituents as there are existing wind turbines in my district."
Wind energy development in and near Buzzards Bay drew the most public comment during a hearing Tuesday night on the state's draft Ocean Management Plan.
Public officials, environmental advocates and local residents shared concern for protecting the ecologically sensitive bay, but disagreed on how much wind development they would support.