Archive for January, 2012

Clean energy reportedly to be featured in Obama State of the Union

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Despite Solyndra, Obama to Boost Green Energy

January 23, 2012 RSS Feed Print
With a Solyndra-scandal-be-damned attitude, President Obama is expected to revive his push for new green fuel sources in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, claiming that they will boost jobs and help clean the environment.

Industry sources who met with policy officials at the White House last week say the president will hint at an emerging administration plan to propose increased spending on green fuel sources and radical changes in how the government and Americans power machines in the future. [See a collection of political cartoons on energy policy.]

“He wants a huge, sweeping thing. He wants to do it all,” said an industry source, who explained that the president’s plan was sidelined by the Solyndra financing scandal. “They are trying to get the train back on track and it will probably start with the State of the Union,” said the source.

The focus on the State of the Union came late last year with the president’s Office of Science and Technology Policy calling for white papers from green fuel firms. What Obama wants, according to the request, is for new ways to produce energy in “lean budget times,” regulatory reforms that would speed up new development of green fuel plants and ideas to add environmentally-friendly jobs to the economy.

Since then, the administration has rapidly ramped up its focus on green energy, announcing a plan for the Pentagon to start buying biofuel for jets and ships and several Agriculture Department initiatives to fund renewable energy projects.[Follow the U.S. News Energy Intelligence blog on Twitter]

“Look at the timing of all of this,” said the industry source. “There are no coincidences when it comes to tying all of these green announcements and the president’s speech together.”

Wind Energy Smart Breif

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

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News for wind power professionals and advocates

Industry Update

Experts: Wind turbines pose no health risks
There is no evidence that sounds or lights from wind farms can cause dizziness, nausea or anxiety in people living nearby, according to a report from a panel of experts convened by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. There is also no evidence that “shadow flicker” can lead to seizures, the experts said. However, there is “limited evidence” that sounds from spinning turbine blades can, in some instances, disrupt sleep and pose an annoyance to some individuals, but further study was needed, the experts said. The Boston Globe/Daily Dose blog (tiered subscription model) (1/17), The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass.) (1/18), Boston Herald/The Associated Press (1/17)     
U.S. beats China as top clean-energy investor in 2011, report says
The U.S. topped China as the world’s biggest investor in clean energy in 2011, thanks to policies such as the Treasury Department’s now-expired Section 1603 tax credit and the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. U.S. spending on clean energy reached $55.9 billion in 2011, up 33% from 2010, the report showed. China’s investments rose 1% to $47.4 billion during the same period. Environmental Leader (1/17)     
Report: U.S. completed most funding deals for clean energy in 2011: The Federal Financing Bank completed $10.1 billion worth of clean-energy financing deals in 2011, beating development banks in Europe and Brazil, according to a study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Before anyone in Washington celebrates too much, the U.S. figure was achieved thanks in large part to support initiatives” that are expiring, said BNEF CEO Michael Liebreich. Bloomberg (1/17)     
Optimization in Energy & Utilities: Effectively plan, schedule and monitor systems
The energy market has changed dramatically, and responding well means not getting bogged down by cumbersome manual planning and spreadsheet solutions. Read this solution brief to find out how effective planning, scheduling and monitoring systems can help your business reduce risks, cut costs and operate more efficiently.

Project Focus
Judge allows Massachusetts wind project to continue
A Massachusetts Superior Court judge denied a request to block Fairhaven Wind’s project because the complainants failed to explain how the wind turbines might put them at risk. “If the plaintiffs do suffer harm caused by the wind turbines, the court can remedy that harm following a trial,” wrote Judge Thomas F. McGuire Jr. SouthCoastToday.com (New Bedford, Mass.) (tiered subscription model) (1/18)     
Minn. wind project will benefit locals, lawyer says
An opinion piece written by three Minnesota lawmakers contained inaccuracies about the state’s Community-Based Energy Development program and the AWA Goodhue Wind project, writes Dan Yarano, an attorney for the AWA Goodhue Wind project and a former member of the C-BED Advisory Task Force. The wind project meets C-BED criteria because more than 51% of its revenue will stay in the state, Yarano notes. “We should not rush to throw out legislation that has been proven to benefit Minnesotans for a lack of understanding of how wind projects are built, financed and operated,” Yarano adds. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (1/17)     
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Economy, Energy & Trends
Lack of power lines, PTC uncertainty are hurting S.D. wind sector
South Dakota added just 75 megawatts of wind power capacity in 2011, down from 396 megawatts in 2010, mainly because of limitations in the state’s transmission infrastructure, according to Josh Gackle, regional policy manager at Wind on the Wires. The uncertainty over the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit, which is due to lapse at the end of the year, is also contributing to the slowdown, said Ron Rebenitsch, executive director of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association. Developers are “kind of putting things on hold to see what happens,” he said. CBS News/The Associated Press (1/17)     
Groups join forces for offshore-wind study in the Carolinas
AWS Truepower will work together with Duke Energy, ABB, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study the viability of building wind farms off the coasts of North and South Carolina. The Carolinas Offshore Wind Integration Case Study will be funded by the Department of Energy. Charleston Regional Business Journal (S.C.) (1/16)     
Policy Watch
Obama is advised to adopt “all-in” energy strategy
President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness called for an “all-in” energy policy that would spur development of energy resources on public lands to generate jobs and enhance energy security. “The council recognizes that providing access to more areas for drilling, mining and renewable energy development is controversial, but, given the current economic situation, we believe it’s necessary to tap America’s assets in a safe and responsible manner,” the council said. FuelFix.com (1/17)     
AWEA hails Council on Jobs and Competitiveness’ endorsement of PTC     
India to repeal wind-energy tax incentive by April, official says
India is planning to eliminate a wind-energy tax incentive either on March 31 or with the unveiling of a new taxation framework, whichever comes first, said Dilip Nigam, director of wind policy at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. New wind power installations could shrink by 15% if the tax credit is discontinued, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. LiveMint.com/The Wall Street Journal (India)/Bloomberg (1/17)     
Health Canada to draft national guidelines for wind projects
Health Canada is formulating voluntary wind-siting guidelines that are expected to establish a recommended minimum setback distance between wind turbines and houses. “The voluntary draft guidelines are health-based, and focus on minimizing potential impacts such as sleep disturbance by recommending noise limits, sound measurement standards and minimum setback distances,” said Health Canada spokeswoman Olivia Caron. Medical complaints concerning wind turbines are overblown, said David Colby, professor of medicine at the University of Western Ontario. Canada.com/Postmedia News (1/17)     
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