Monday, May 24, 2010

Renewable Energy News, May 24, 2010

Local Vermont & Regional News:

Power strips: Can the smart grid smarten up Vermont's energy choices? | The Burlington Free Press | Burlington, Vermont
Last week, a bunch of smart people started talking about how Vermonters can (or can't) pay for renewable energy. There also was a parallel discussion about how an ever-smarter electrical grid would raise (or lower) our utility bills. Here now are short interviews with some of the panelists who spoke at the "Distributed Generation Northeast Conference," hosted by Renewable Energy Vermont at the Equinox Resort in Manchester. Distributed generation, you ask? Consider it a term for electricity that's produced closer to where we use it than it is now.
GMP President unveils plans for $150 million wind farm in Lowell: Times Argus Online
MONTPELIER – Green Mountain Power officially unveiled its Kingdom Community Wind project Friday, a plan to build 21 turbines along three miles of ridgelines in the northern Vermont town of Lowell.

The utility submitted a 1,300-page proposal to the Vermont Public Service Board detailing its plan for the $150 million project, which the utility says will be able to power about 20,000 homes when it is up and running.

The long-awaited project is the largest renewable energy proposal in Vermont since GMP built a 50 megawatt wood-burning facility in the 1980s. This new project, GMP officials said, will generate 63 megawatts of power from turbines placed on the Lowell Mountain range.
Middlebury College seeks methane deal | The Burlington Free Press | Burlington, Vermont
MIDDLEBURY -- Middlebury College is hoping to use methane from cow manure to help heat its campus.

The college would like to buy bio-methane from Montpelier-based Integrated Energy Solutions, if the company is able to put production facilities on Addison County farms.

Methane gas is produced by cow manure.
National News:

NREL: News - NREL Study Shows Power Grid can Accommodate Large Increase in Wind and Solar Generation
Increased Coordination Over Wider Areas and More Frequent Scheduling Needed; Wind and Solar Significantly Reduce Carbon and Fuel Costs

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today released an initial study assessing the operational impacts and economics of increased contributions from wind and solar energy producers on the power grid. The Western Wind and Solar Integration Study examines the benefits and challenges of integrating enough wind and solar energy capacity into the grid to produce 35 percent of its electricity by 2017. The study finds that this target is technically feasible and does not necessitate extensive additional infrastructure, but does require key changes to current operational practice. The results offer a first look at the issue of adding significant amount of variable renewable energy in the West and will help utilities across the region plan how to ramp up their production of renewable energy as they incorporate more wind and solar energy plants into the power grid.
05/24/2010 -- E&ETV VIDEO
Biofuels: National Biodiesel Board's Jobe discusses House, Senate votes on tax package (OnPoint, 05/24/2010)

The House and Senate are both scheduled to vote on a tax extenders package this week that would extend incentives for biofuels, energy efficiency and alternative vehicles. Will this bill do enough to revive the struggling biodiesel industry? During today's OnPoint, Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, explains why the biodiesel industry is at risk of collapsing and how a tax credit extension would help.
Wind industry asks for national renewable energy standard at Dallas wind power meet | Dallas Environmental Policy Examiner
A special screening of the film “Climate Refugees” was one of the highlights when the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Windpower 2010, the world largest wind energy trade show, opened in Dallas Sunday. The conference and exhibition held at the Dallas Convention Center runs through May 26 and brings more than 20,000 wind industry leaders, government officials and business executives together. AWEA says that the U.S. wind industry faces a difficult future if the Congress does not adopt an energy policy that gives the industry predictability and certainty.
Duke Energy lines up $375 million in backing for wind farms :: Editor’s Blog at Local Tech Wire
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There’s financial power blowing in the wind these days at Duke Energy – more than $300 million worth.

Duke (NYSE: DUK) said Monday that it has leveraged five of its wind farms with long-term financing worth $325 million plus another $50 million in a line of credit.

The utility giant said the funds will be used “to finance continued investments in renewable power.”

The five wind farms are located in Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Colorado.
Environmental Economics: The case for strong climate policy is simple. A cap on carbon pollution is, too.

Gernot Wagner over at Environmental Economics responds to a recent post by Harvard economics professor Edward Glaeser on the New York Times Economix Blog
Edward L. Glaeser makes the case for simplicity in addressing climate change. I couldn’t agree more with his premise. The basic economics are indeed simple. Climate change might be the largest market failure the world has ever seen. To correct it, put the right incentives in place: correct the fact that we currently treat the atmosphere as a free sewer for our global warming pollution. Problem solved.

The how and especially the politics are not quite as straight-forward. Glaeser bemoans that the proposed American Power Act has 987 pages and identifies three culprits: that the Act tries to do more than just put a price on carbon, that it uses a cap-and-trade system rather than a tax, and that the problem has an important international dimension. He is broadly right on one and three but not on two: the issue of a cap versus a tax.

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