Offshore Wind Outlook 2019 is the most comprehensive global study on the subject to date, combining the latest technology and market developments with a specially commissioned new geospatial analysis that maps out wind speed and quality along hundreds of thousands of kilometres of coastline around the world. The report is an excerpt from the flagship World Energy Outlook 2019, which will be published in full on 13 November. The IEA finds that global offshore wind capacity may increase 15-fold and attract around $1 trillion of cumulative investment by 2040.Continue reading
The Green New Deal and multiple proposed laws and resolutions in the U.S. House and Senate call for the United States to move entirely from fossil fuels to clean, renewable electricity and/or all energy. A new bill was just introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), calling for the U.S. to produce 100 percent of its electric power from renewables by 2035.
Recently, though, some vocal advocates have pushed back, claiming that the only way prices will stay low with large amounts of renewables on the power grid is to use nuclear power, fossil fuels with carbon capture, and biofuels, which they claim are “zero carbon.”
Here is why nuclear, fossils with CCS, and biofuels should be excluded.Continue reading
NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) – Wind farms have boosted local tax bases and generated new revenue as they expand across the United States, especially for rural areas, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report on Monday. “What we’re seeing is wind farms generate new operating revenues, lower the tax burden for local residents,” Moody’s analyst Frank Mamo told Reuters. “In many cases, local governments are using this new money to address what was a growing backlog of deferred capital expenditures.” In Adair County, Iowa, construction of 10 new wind farms has grown the tax base nearly 30 percent over the last decade, giving it money to fix bridges and streets. Wind farm taxes are also paying over 40 percent of debt service for Webb Consolidated Independent School District in Texas, Moody’s noted.Continue reading
The changing of the seasons has definitely been disrupted by global heating, but it’s still the case, in general, that in the last month of a season there are a few days that are like the season that’s coming. For example, in the first few weeks of March there’ll be days where temperatures are spring-like, for example, and that’s always a good day. We who get it on the climate crisis got something like this recently when it comes to the essential, urgently-needed shift from fossil fuels (think winter) to renewables (think spring). What happened? In the first quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), approximately 2% of the new electrical generation capacity (power plants) came from natural gas, while 94% of it came from wind and solar (see page 4 here), This compares to the first quarter of 2017, when approximately 33% came from natural gas, 61% from wind and solar.Continue reading
All along the straight-shot roads of Nolan County in West Texas, wind turbines soar over endless acres of farms, the landscape either heavy with cotton ready to harvest or flushed green with the start of winter wheat. The turbines rise from expanses of ranches, where black Angus beef cattle gaze placidly at the horizon. Here and there are abandoned farmhouses dating to the 1880s, when this land was first settled and water windmills were first erected. Occasionally a few pump jacks bob their metallic heads, vestiges of a once-booming oil industry still satiating an endless thirst. Every industry creates an ecosystem around it. If the wind turbines that sprouted in West Texas were huge steel trees, spinning sleek carbon-fiber blades 100 feet in length, then the wind farms—including Roscoe Wind Project and Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, some of the largest in the world—were their forest.Continue reading
Transporting an offshore wind array from the factory floor to the ocean floor is no easy feat. Giant, specialized marine vessels must carry the blades and turbines—which sit atop rigs hundreds of feet tall—out miles from shore. Steel or concrete foundations are built to hold them in place, and underwater cables are laid on the seabed to transfer the power to land. One other industry has spent decades constructing and maintaining such massive energy infrastructure that can survive the storms of the open ocean: oil and gas. Now, with global demand for wind power growing, major oil and gas companies like Shell and Statoil are diversifying their portfolios by developing offshore wind, and the companies that provide services to offshore fossil fuel platforms are seeing a new market rising in their wake.Continue reading
The booming renewable energy industry is breathing a wary sigh of relief as Congress prepares to vote this week on a sweeping tax bill that preserves critical tax credits for wind energy, solar power and electric vehicles. As lawmakers were working over the past week to resolve issues between the House and Senate versions of the bill, the clean energy industry kept a keen eye out for details of the legislation, including provisions in the House bill that would have weakened or eliminated the tax credits for renewables. By rejecting that approach, Republicans sent a message that they won’t back attempts to kneecap ongoing growth in renewables, despite pressure from the oil and gas industry to scale back incentives for clean energy.Continue reading
Meanwhile, in the realm of scientific facts, the American Wind Energy Association, the main trade group representing the wind power industry, points to 25 scientific reviews that document the safety of wind farms for human health and the environment. One health researcher has told DeSmog the GateHouse article was “simply irresponsible journalism” and actually had “potential to exacerbate the experience of anxiety and related health effects.” Although GateHouse, a syndication outfit that publishes 130 daily newspapers in 36 states, briefly mentions the fact that scientific evidence for these claims is nearly non-existent, it plows ahead with a lengthy article full of anecdotes and unsubstantiated claims that aren’t supported by real science.Continue reading
By Staff for Energy Watch Group. A global transition to 100% renewable electricity is not a long-term vision, but already a tangible reality, a new groundbreaking study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Energy Watch Group (EWG) shows. The study was presented on November 8, 2017 during the Global Renewable Energy Solutions Showcase event (GRESS) on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn.
The results of the study are revealing: A global electricity system fully based on renewable energy is feasible at every hour throughout the year and is more cost effective than the existing system, which is largely based on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. A transition to 100% renewables would bring greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector down to zero and drastically reduce total losses in power generation. It would create 36 million jobs by 2050, 17 million more than today.
”There is no reason to invest one more Dollar in fossil or nuclear power production”, EWG President Hans-Josef Fell said. “Renewable energy provides cost-effective power supply.Continue reading
By Akshat Rathi for Quartz – One of the biggest criticisms of the renewable-energy industry is that it has been propped up by government subsidies. There is no doubt that without government help, it would have been much harder for the nascent technology to mature. But what’s more important is whether there has been a decent return on taxpayers’ investment. A new analysis in Nature Energy gives renewable-energy subsidies the thumbs-up. Dev Millstein of Lawerence Berkeley National Laboratory and his colleagues find that the fossil fuels not burnt because of wind and solar energy helped avoid between 3,000 and 12,700 premature deaths in the US between 2007 and 2015. Fossil fuels produce large amounts of pollutants like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, which are responsible for ill-health and negative climate effects. The researchers found that the US saved between $35 billion and $220 billion in that period because of avoided deaths, fewer sick days, and climate-change mitigation. How do these benefits compare to the US government’s outlays? “The monetary value of air quality and climate benefits are about equal or more than state and federal financial support to wind and solar industries,” says Millstein.Continue reading
By Harvey Wasserman for The Progressive – In the corporate war against renewable energy, a single Ohio regulation stands out. It is a simple clause slipped into the state budget without open discussion, floor debate, or public hearings. The restriction is costing Ohio billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. The regulation demands that wind turbines sited in the Buckeye State be at least 1,125 feet from the blade tip to the nearest property line, about 1300 feet total—nearly a quarter-mile. Ohio’s setback rule is similar to one in Wisconsin, where progress on wind power has atrophied. Lincoln County in South Dakota just passed a requirement that turbines be at least a half-mile from any residence. And Vermont is pondering a rule change to require a setback of ten times the turbine height, which in the case of a 500-foot turbine would be nearly a mile. Such regulations threaten to kill wind power, thus protecting corporate investments in nuclear power and fossil-fuel generators. The situation is Ohio is especially egregious. FirstEnergy, owner of Ohio’s two dying reactors at Perry and Davis-Besse, is now strong-arming the legislature and regulators for $4.5 billion in handoutsto sustain two money-losing nukes whose electricity is far more expensive than what would come from currently approved wind projects, and whose 1,400-odd jobs would be dwarfed by the new turbine construction.Continue reading
By Julian Spector for GTM – March produced the highest share of wind and solar generation the U.S. has ever seen. The saying about March — “in like a lion, out like a lamb” — plays extremely well for renewable generation. Wind and solar together crossed the 10 percent mark of total U.S. electricity production in March, reports the Energy Information Administration. That’s the first time they’ve reached double-digit market share for a month, marking an important milestone in the growth of renewables nationwide. Wind supplied 8 percent of U.S. electricity and solar produced 2 percent. Overall for 2016, wind supplied 5.6 percent of generation, utility-scale solar contributed 0.9 percent, and small-scale solar about 0.5 percent, for a cumulative total of 7 percent. Why did the record occur in March, when the days haven’t reached their sunny summer maximum? Most of the electricity is still coming from wind, for one thing. And more of that wind comes from Texas than any other state, by a long shot. The winds blow more forcefully in Texas and surrounding states in the spring.Continue reading
By Jeff St. John for GTM – A new McKinsey report predicts a 68 percent drop in offshore wind prices by 2020 and highlights European projects already hitting grid parity. Building wind farms in the ocean is still more expensive than building them on land. But maybe not for much longer. A new report from McKinsey finds that fast growth, increased investment, bigger wind farms, falling costs and new technologies are driving new project bids to record lows in Europe. Late last year, the Netherlands approved a bid for its cheapest offshore project yet, €54.50 ($61.10) per megawatt-hour, a sharp drop from the €72.70 ($81.50) per megawatt-hour bid for the same site just five months earlier. Denmark set its own record in a November auction, with a winning bid of €49.90 ($55.94) per megawatt-hour, down 50 percent from 2014. Some of these bids are coming in at grid parity prices as well. In a German auction in April, the average winning bid for the projects was far below expectations, with some bids coming in at the wholesale electricity price — “meaning no subsidy is required.” “One caveat: these are prices, not actual costs,” McKinsey noted. “Until the parks are actually built and running, it is impossible to know if they can be profitable at these prices. But companies would not be competing so fiercely — the Dutch auction saw 38 bids — if they didn’t think they could be.”Continue reading
By Leslie Kaufman for Inside Climate News. New York State is making a $5 billion bet that by making its power cleaner, it can become a magnet for the clean energy jobs of the future.
Its efforts stand out among the many states racing to integrate more renewables into their power grids—such as Massachusetts, Hawaii and California—not necessarily for the technology but because of what’s happening behind the scenes: New York has launched a Herculean effort to turn around an antiquated system that has deterred innovation for generations by rewarding utilities for selling more electricity. The state is so gung-ho that its rules require utilities to come up with demonstration projects that test out a new business model, in partnership with at least one private sector company.
The result, say the state’s regulators, is that New York is already attracting hundreds of innovative companies of all stripes. The plum opportunities are not only in installing wind turbines and solar panels, which are generating new employment opportunities across the country, they are also in emerging technologies related to smart grid management and storage.Continue reading
By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News – The significant increase this past quarter, when 908 new utility-scale turbines came online, is largely a result of the first wave of projects under the renewable energy tax credits that were extended by Congress in 2015, as well as some overflow from the prior round of tax credits. The tax credits’ gradual phase-out over a period of five years incentivized developers to begin construction in 2016, and those projects are now beginning to come online. A recent AWEA-funded report projects continued steady growth for the wind energy industry through 2020. Energy analysts, however, say that growth could slow after 2020 as the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) expires. “We are in a PTC bubble now between 2017 and 2020,” said Alex Morgan, a wind energy analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which recently forecast wind energy developments in the U.S. through 2030. “Our build is really front-loaded in those first four years. We expect that wind drops off in early 2020s to mid-2020s, and then we expect it to come back up in the late 2020s.Continue reading