Why large-scale wind power is so hard to build

Michael McDonald, Oilprice.com via USA Today :  he Bureau of Land Management faces a problem and wants to shake up the rules around wind farm approvals. The problem is straight-forward on its face, but difficult to reconcile logically: Why are so few new large-scale wind projects being built? Despite the fact that nearly everyone – environmentalists, government regulators, and business interests –wants to build more wind farms, precious few are making it over the goal line. Since 2009, the Obama Administration has approved 46 wind farm projects that would cover a proposed 216,356 acres of public land. Yet only 15 of these 46 projects have made it into operation. The rest are stuck in limbo with years of mandatory environmental analysis ahead or have been cancelled outright.   Cont'd...

San Bernardino County rejects a controversial solar power plant proposed for the Mojave Desert

Louis Sahagun for The LA Times:  The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has rejected a controversial solar plant proposed for the Mojave Desert’s Soda Mountains, citing concerns that the project would destroy habitat and block ancient trails used by bighorn sheep for thousands of years. In a 3-2 vote, the board on Tuesday declined to certify documents required under state law in order to issue county permits for the project on public land along Interstate 15 near the entrances to Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park, and less than a mile from the Mojave National Preserve. “We endorse renewable energy, but this was the wrong project in the wrong location,” said Supervisor Robert A. Lovingood.   Cont'd...

Nevada Court Rejects Solar Power Ballot Initiative As 'Inaccurate' And 'Misleading'

Samantha Page for ThinkProgress:  The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a solar industry-backed measure that would have let voters decide how customers are paid for the electricity they put back on the grid. The November referendum would have allowed voters to overturn a Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decision from late last year that gutted the state’s net metering program — a rate design element that ensures solar owners are paid retail rate for the electricity they put back on the grid. The court ruled that the description included in the referendum was “inaccurate,” “misleading,” and “argumentative,” the AP reported. But the industry was not bowed after the ruling, saying it would continue to fight to set fair rates for solar homeowners.   Cont'd...

New York Should be Applauded for Setting a 50 Percent Clean Energy Standard

Following is a statement from Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on the New York Public Service Commission's approval of a 50 percent Clean Energy Standard by 2030:

Solar survey respondents reveal third of UK solar jobs lost - more losses expected

Comprehensive PWC and Solar Trade Association survey shows support for tax breaks to re-boot struggling UK solar sector as global market accelerates

Turbines for First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm

The Maritime Executive:  Preparations for the groundbreaking Block Island Wind Farm – America's first – are well under way, with the regulatory permits obtained, the funding procured and the jacket installation complete. Now the actual equipment for the farm, towers, blades and five massive turbines have been shipped, ready for assembly.  The blades arrrived in Providence, RI from Denmark on the general cargo shipSuomigracht late last month, and the turbines are on board the Fred Olsen jackup construction vessel Brave Tern, currently under way across the North Atlantic. When theTern arrives, it will begin the process of installing the towers; that work is expected to begin in August.  The 20-mile cable connecting Block Island with the mainland was completed on June 28 – providing the island with its first electrical and fiber optic connection ever. Deepwater Wind, the developer and operator of the farm, has completed a separate cable linking the facility with Block Island, and expects to finish cable linkages between the five wind towers this month.   Cont'd...

Obama makes new push on solar power

Timothy Cama for The Hill:  The Obama administration is making a new large-scale effort to encourage deployment and use of rooftop solar power on homes. Numerous agencies announced new or strengthened coordinated efforts Tuesday aimed at increasing solar installations in houses owned by low- and moderate-income Americans, including a new goal for solar installations and a policy change to increase access to a key financing mechanism for solar power and energy efficiency. “This is an approach that cuts across the government to try to take advantage of the fact that the cost of renewable technologies has come down dramatically during President Obama’s tenure, and we want to advantage of that a try to encourage more homeowners to actually benefit directly from that dynamic,” Brian Deese, a top adviser to Obama, told reporters. The administration is dubbing the effort the “Clean Energy for All Americans Initiative.”   Cont'd...

Energy Storage Would Get U.S. Tax Credits in Bipartisan Bill

Chris Martin for Bloomberg Politics:  Energy storage would gain access to the same tax incentives that helped make renewable energy the biggest new source of electricity in the U.S. last year under a bill introduced in the Senate. Batteries like the lithium-ion ones in phones and electric vehicles would be eligible for the tax incentives when connected to the utility grid at homes and businesses under a bill introduced Tuesday by Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich from New Mexico. The bill has eight co-sponsors including Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican, according to a statement. Other energy storage technologies such as pumped hydroelectric power, flywheels and compressed air would also have access to the tax credits, modeled after incentives for the solar industry, which reimburse as much as 30 percent of installation costs.   Cont'd...

Aclara Participates in White House Summit on 'Scaling Renewable Energy and Storage with Smart Markets;' Announces Commitment to Deploy 500,000 Smart Meters with Distributed Solar by 2025

In conjunction with the Summit, Aclara announced a commitment to deploy, in partnership with utilities and customers with distributed solar, 500,000 smart meters by 2025 to provide data and communications infrastructure to enable the optimal grid integration of solar.

Here's How Brexit May End Most British Wind Power

Andrew Follett for the Daily Caller:  Officials from Britain’s wind industry are terrified their subsidies and tax incentives will end because of the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union, according to a report by Reuters published Friday. The report found that British wind companies, particularly ones that specialize in offshore wind power, are worried that Brexit places the government subsidies and easy access to financing at risk. The industry is deeply dependent on these subsidies to make projects more economically viable. Britain’s political uncertainty following the pending resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron means cuts to subsidies are likely. The Brexit could also make it much harder for wind companies to get loans from European banks, which could significantly slow the expansion of wind power.   Cont'd...

Landmark North American Climate Pledge to Spur Rapid Solar Growth, Job Creation

Following is a comment by Tom Kimbis, acting president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on the agreement by the United States, Mexico and Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by relying on clean energy sources for 50 percent of electricity generation by 2025:

PURPA Must Continue to Support Fairness, Competition and Clean Energy in Electricity Markets

Following is a comment by Christopher Mansour, vice president of federal affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on the need to maintain the pro-solar provisions of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).

AWEA statement: Pledge of 50 percent zero-carbon electricity by 2025 possible by growing more low-cost, reliable wind energy

Within the next 10 years the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will collectively obtain half of their electricity from zero-carbon sources of electricity, including wind power.

California's Rule 21 Decision Comes with Big Wins for Customers

Today's long-awaited, unanimous Rule 21 decision by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) comes with some very important wins for the energy customer who is interested in investing in distributed renewable energy.

Advanced Energy Economy Applauds FERC Inquiry on Barriers to Energy Storage, Calls for Electricity Market Participation of All Advanced Energy Technologies

AEE urges Commission to conduct a separate review of similar barriers affecting other technologies in wholesale electric markets

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