Report: U.S. wind energy price hits all-time low

A wind turbine installation near Frankfurt, Germany viewed from the air. @bberwyn photo.

A wind turbine installation near Frankfurt, Germany viewed from the air. @bberwyn photo.

Renewables on the rise around the world

Staff Report

FRISCO — A new report from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that wind energy prices have fallen to an all-time low, with prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers averaged under $0.2.5 per/kWh. The falling prices have spurred increased demand by utilities, according to the report, with wind power comprising 33 percent of all new U.S. electric capacity additions since 2007

“Wind energy prices, particularly in the central United States, have hit new lows, with utilities selecting wind as the low cost option,” Berkeley Lab senior scientist Ryan Wiser said. “Moreover, enabled by technology advancements, wind projects are economically viable in a growing number of locations throughout the U.S.” Continue reading

2014 saw record global investment in renewable energy

103 gigawatts of generating capacity added during the year

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Investment in offshore wind energy surged in 2014.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A sharp drop in oil prices in 2014 didn’t deter investment in renewable energy, which increased 17 percent after declining during the previous two years.

The surge in investment was driven my major expansion of solar installations in China and Japan and record investments in offshore wind projects in Europe. Altogether, global investment in renewables climbed to $270 billion for the year, according to an annual report from the United Nations Environmental Program.

All that investment added up to  103 gigawatts of generating capacity added around the world — equaling the energy generating capacity of all 158 nuclear power plant reactors in the USA, and the continuing drop in the cost of renewable energy technology means that there’s a greater return on every dollar invested, the report explained. Continue reading

Report shows huge benefits of pursuing wind energy

Wind farming in the West.

Wind farming in the West.

Clean energy saves lives and money in the long run, reduces water demand from power sector

Staff Report

FRISCO — Boosting the role of wind power in the country’s energy portfolio would have significant economic, environmental and health benefits, the Department of Energy found in a new report that outlines the  path needed to achieve 10 percent wind by 2020, 20 percent by 2030, and 35 by 2050.

Currently, wind power generates about 4.5 percent of the country’s energy. Reaching the 2050 goal would reduce cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent, saving $400 billion in avoided global damages, the report found. Continue reading

Colorado: House committee rejects clumsy GOP attempt to roll back renewable energy target

Playing politics with our future

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Got wind?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado won’t be lowering its 30 percent renewable energy target anytime soon, as lawmakers on a State House committee yesterday rejected a measure that would have cut the renewable energy standard from 30 percent to 15 percent. Continue reading

Feds map wind, solar energy zones in Arizona

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New plan focuses on previously disturbed sites with few resource conflicts

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Obama administration’s push to develop more renewable energy resources reached another milestone this week, as the Interior Department finalized designation of 192,000 acres in Arizona as potentially suitable for utility-scale solar and wind energy development.

Any subsequent proposals for specific solar or wind energy projects will still need to undergo a site-specific environmental review.

According to the Interior Department, the lands identified in Arizona include previously disturbed sites (primarily former agricultural areas) and lands with low resource sensitivity and few environmental conflicts. Federal land managers in Arizona spent three years analyzing  disturbed land and other areas with few known resource conflicts that could accommodate commercial renewable energy projects. Continue reading

Wind energy production tax credit gets 1 year extension

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Wind turbines near Lamar, Colorado. Photo courtesy NREL.

Congressional vote may help prevent additional wind energy layoffs in Colorado

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Surprisingly, and in part because of the persistence of Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), the wind energy production tax credit made it through the federal budget fiasco, gaining approval for a one-year extension that could help protect Colorado’s burgeoning renewable energy industry.

After giving 27 speeches on the Senate floor in support of the tax credit, Udall said the extension  gives manufacturers in Colorado and throughout North America the signal they need to create jobs, make capital investments in the United States, and ensure that wind energy remains a strong part of our national energy strategy, although a one-year extension isn’t likely to spur significant long-term investments.

“The extension of the wind Production Tax Credit is excellent news for workers in Pueblo, Windsor, Brighton and across the country. Thanks to the PTC extension, I am confident the wind industry will be able to create jobs and help revitalize our American manufacturing sector,” Udall said. Continue reading

Feds OK massive Wyoming wind energy project

Mapped wind energy potential in Wyoming, by NREL.

Site-specific reviews still to come for what could be a 3,000 MW facility

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — When it comes to renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gases, actions speak a lot louder than words. And despite almost constant carping from environmental groups, the Obama administration has made significant progress in four years.

Most recently, the Department of Interior announced approval of the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project site in Wyoming. At completion, the complex could generate 3,000 megawatts of electricity — enough to power almost 1 million homes.

With the approval, the administration has reached its goal of authorizing 10,000 megawatts of renewable power on public lands, marking a sea change in the country’s energy mix. The project developers expect the proposal to create an estimated 1,000 construction, operation and maintenance jobs and generate enough energy to power nearly 1 million homes. Continue reading

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