Energy Policy or Location
Saying that for too long the Atlantic states, including Rhode Island, have toiled separately in developing offshore wind energy, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar gathered the governors of those states Friday in Washington, D.C., and pledged to form a consortium to speed development of wind energy.
A state Senate committee has again postponed voting on legislation that would benefit an offshore wind developer as the panel awaits amendments to the controversial bill.
The Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture was set to vote Thursday on legislation that would allow Deepwater Wind LLC to enter into an agreement for the sale of electricity from its proposed eight-turbine wind farm near Block Island without first getting approval from the state Public Utilities Commission. It is the second delay for a decision on the bill after the cancellation of a vote Tuesday. No new date has been scheduled.
Rhode Island's major power company would be required to buy renewable energy for at least 10 years at a time under a proposal adopted unanimously Tuesday by Senate lawmakers. ...Bill supporters say the proposal is designed to fix a problem holding back green energy projects: a lack of large customers willing to buy the power. The bill will affect National Grid, the state's largest electricity distributor, which supports the proposal.
Without a big customer willing to pay for wind or solar energy over the long run, banks and investors will not fund renewable energy projects, said Matt Auten, an advocate for the nonprofit group Environment Rhode Island, which supports the 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."
Coal River Mountain in Raleigh County may soon become the center of an energy battle that pits fossil fuels against non-fossil renewable sources.
At issue is this: Should we develop coal resources now if that will destroy wind resources that can be harnessed forever?
North Carolina-based community organizers Appalachian Voices decided to raise this question.
The group contracted national wind development consultants WindLogics to analyze some likely wind resources in southern West Virginia.
Jackson threw out the bulk of Ralls’s lawsuit against the Obama administration, which focused on whether the president exceeded his power by ordering the company, an affiliate of China’s Sany Group Co., to sell the wind farm assets. “The statute expressly authorizes the president to do what he deems necessary to accomplish or implement the prohibition."
The Ramblers' Association is set to announce its opposition to the construction of onshore wind farms across the country. The move is a major blow for the government, which is struggling to maintain its pledge to increase the amount of electricity generated by renewable energy sources.
The decision to try to block large wind farms in Britain follows the association's role in persuading the Scottish Executive to stop construction of a group of turbines in Perthshire on the grounds that the development would damage the environment.
The Rand Corp. has announced the withdrawal of its study on renewable energy expenditures issued Nov. 13 because of errors in the analysis.
Rand officials said the study — “Impacts on U.S. Energy Expenditures of Increasing Renewable Energy Use” — contained errors in the computer model and numerical assumptions on which findings were based.
The study examined total energy expenditures if a requirement was imposed that 25 percent of electricity and motor vehicle fuels used in the United States by 2025 would come from renewable resources.
Rand Vice President Debra Knopman said the errors might have an effect on the study’s results but no determination has been made.
State regulators welcomed wind farms into Texas' unfettered wholesale power market through a special process to designate the best wind-power production zones and to accelerate construction of power lines -- costing from $3 billion to $6 billion -- needed to link those remote areas to more populated areas of the state.
However, problems that surfaced in the Texas wholesale market as wind's influence reached a critical level this spring should be a warning for the rest of the nation, said Lawrence Makovich, vice president and senior power adviser at Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
"Wind is not a direct substitute for conventional power supply," said Makovich. ...Wind is attractive if added in moderation, Makovich said.
"It has a desirable environmental profile, but you want to incorporate a smart amount of wind," he said. "If you add too much, you may impose too much additional cost."
In California, the titles given to ballot initiatives can mean everything to their success or failure. Which may be why Proposition 7, which goes by the name "The Solar and Clean Energy Law of 2008," seemed like a surefire winner in summertime polls. ...But renewable-energy companies, environmental groups and the Democratic Party - virtually every constituency pushing to wean the state off fossil fuels - have joined hands with the major utilities, the business establishment and the Republican Party to oppose it. They argue that it is loaded with loopholes and upends a system that is already working, replacing it with one that is problematic at best.
Phyllis Hartwig is not happy with the resolution, passed by the municipality of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards on Jan. 7, requesting that the Ontario government place a moratorium on wind farms until further research is done ..."You're saying it's all good, good, good and we have people that have researched and come back and said bad, bad, bad. That's what council is facing. What we need are facts."
Visneskie asked council members if they wanted to rescind their original motion, but they voted to let it stand as it is.
The state renewable energy law that made it feasible for controversial new "wind parks'' will also cost New Hampshire consumers in higher electricity bills.
They may pay $2 billion by the year 2025 under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) -- an extra $5 a month, a University of New Hampshire study concludes.
But these are just estimates. The state's consumer advocate and utility companies say there really is no way at this point to figure the actual cost.
As Floridians struggle to pay the soaring cost of gasoline and home insurance, energy legislation that could cause a significant increase in Florida's electricity rates is breezing through the Legislature with little scrutiny.
House and Senate energy bills backed by Gov. Charlie Crist are packed with incentives - grants, rebates and tax credits - to promote the use and development of renewable energy.
Both bills, however, call for state regulators to require electric utilities to produce a certain percentage of their power from renewable energy sources. The standard touted by Crist and others is 20 percent over a number of years yet to be determined, an ambitious threshold that would lead to higher electric bills because renewable power is generally more costly than power made from coal and natural gas. ...Tampa Electric, which provides electricity to nearly 670,000 customers and uses renewable energy sources to produce 2.5 percent of its power, said although it supports the increased use of renewable power, a mandate to produce a certain percentage would lead to increases in monthly electric bills.
"The most affordable fuels will be taken off the table for future use and replaced with more expensive technologies," said company spokeswoman Laura Duda. "There will be rate pressure."
Customers of Pacific Power will see their electric rates spike 14.5 percent in January. The increase comes in a one-two punch: an 8.4 percent general rate increase state utility regulators approved Friday, and a 6.1 percent increase for increased power costs they are expected to approve Dec. 28. Both take effect Jan. 1. ...The biggest factor driving the increases: renewable power.
A natural gas plant here. New nuclear reactors there. Massive wind farms in northern Ontario. Surplus hydroelectric power from projects in Manitoba and Labrador.
Who says Ontario is facing an electricity shortage?
On top of conservation efforts aimed at reducing how much electricity we all consume, the reality is there are plenty of opportunities — some cleaner than others — to generate the power this province needs over the next two decades. Even, it should be noted, with the shutdown of all coal-fired plants.
But generation is only part of Ontario’s electricity equation. Under-appreciated in the power supply debate is the crucial role transmission plays in moving electricity around the province. Power generation, like a car, is useless if there are no roads on which to drive, or if the only route into a big city is limited to one lane during rush hour.
“Transmission is undervalued; without transmission you can’t do anything,” says engineering consultant Frank Macedo, a 25-year veteran of the electricity sector who once oversaw Hydro One’s provincial transmission assets.
"Cape Wind's oversized costs do not represent a reasonable return on the public's investment," wrote Joseph P. Kennedy II, the former congressman and president of the Citizens Energy Corporation, a Boston nonprofit group, in a letter to The Cape Cod Times in February. Mr. Kennedy's family owns property that looks out on the proposed wind farm site.
"The more installations you get, the more the subsidies cost, and someone is paying for it," Lekander said. "If you take Denmark, it started to become very expensive for the state budget to pay these feed-in tariffs. You can't hide the fact that it costs money, whether it's the utility, finance ministry or the customer paying it. It will be interesting to see if wind power subsidies will really manage to be unchanged in Spain despite the problems there with the budget deficit."
Following concerns from council planning officers about the reasons given for the refusal of planning permission for Wandylaw wind farm, the eight reasons given for refusal at the meeting at Berwick High School on October 23 have been redrafted, clarified, and approved by the council planning committee.
Concerns over the original reasons were that some could not be substantiated and would not stand up to any possible appeal by developers ...
"There can be no doubt that groups of industrial wind turbines ("wind farms") generate sufficient noise to disturb the sleep and impair the health of those living nearby," states Dr. Christopher Hanning in a recent report titled "Sleep Disturbance and Wind Turbine Noise."
Founder of the Leicester Sleep Disorders Service, which is the longest standing and largest service of its kind in Great Britain, Dr. Christopher Hanning's work in the area of sleep disorders has spanned thirty years.
The appeal is based chiefly on the issue of serious harm to human health from both noise and low-frequency sound. The appeal raises numerous issues including the MOE's apparently admitted inability to predict, measure, or assess noise levels; the lack of regulations for low-frequency sound; and the seemingly double standard that permits wind turbines to be sited closer to project participants than non-participants.