Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wind Energy News - July 2012

Study shows renewable-energy potential in the U.S.
The U.S. has 481,800 terawatt-hours of technical renewable-energy generation potential and 212,224 gigawatts of technical renewable-energy capacity potential, according to a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The West and central Great Plains have the most potential for land-based wind power, while the Southeast has the least. The Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico have lower offshore-wind potential than the Pacific Coast, but their relatively shallow continental shelves mean they have a bigger development potential, the report showed. Greentech Media (8/1)

Obama camp slams Romney for opposing PTC, backing Big Oil
President Barack Obama's campaign has criticized Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for backing the elimination of the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit at the end of the year. "By opposing an extension to the wind production tax credit, Mitt Romney has come out against growth of the wind industry to support 100,000 jobs by 2016 and 500,000 jobs by 2030," wrote Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher in an e-mail. "Meanwhile, he supports $4 billion in oil and gas subsidies for companies that have rarely been more profitable." The Hill/E2 Wire blog (7/31)

Romney is against extending PTC, spokesman says
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney supports ending the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit at the end of the year, campaign spokesman Shawn McCoy said. "Wind energy will thrive wherever it is economically competitive, and wherever private sector competitors with far more experience than the president believe the investment will produce results," he said. However, Republican leaders in Iowa support the PTC's extension. Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, said Romney's stance "shows a lack of full understanding of how important the wind energy tax credit is for Iowa and our nation." The Des Moines Register (Iowa) (7/30), The Hill/E2 Wire blog (7/30), The Wall Street Journal/Washington Wire blog (7/31)

Several GOP lawmakers ask Romney to reverse stance on PTC
Several Republican lawmakers from states that embrace wind power called on presidential candidate Mitt Romney to reverse his decision supporting the elimination of the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit. "I don't think it's going to stand. ... I don't think that that's the real position of the party because they said that they were going to consult me on this stuff, and they haven't gotten my view," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. (7/31)

Study: Larger wind turbines are more efficient
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich concluded that larger wind turbines equated to increased efficiency and a smaller carbon footprint. The scientists found that producing and constructing large turbines requires minimal additional energy, but they yield substantially more energy output than smaller ones. National Geographic News (7/20)

Severe heat underscores value of renewables, group says
The massive drought experienced by much of the country is straining the water-intensive operations of nuclear and fossil-fuel power plants. This highlights the value of renewables, including wind power, which does not use water for generation, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Our power sector is built for a water-rich world, and when that world is water poor, power plants and electricity users face big risks," stated Erika Spanger-Siegfried, a senior analyst with the group's Climate and Energy Program. Forbes (7/31)

New U.S. tariffs on turbine towers dismay Chinese manufacturers
The federal government's decision to impose a new set of preliminary import duties on Chinese wind turbine towers is disappointing and will ultimately increase costs in the U.S. wind industry, said Liu Huijuan, director of legal affairs at the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products. "The U.S. is trying to protect their own industry amid an economic downturn, without considering the development of the whole industry chain," Liu said. The Wall Street Journal (7/30)

Samsung delivers world's biggest WIV to Singapore company
Samsung Heavy Industries has handed over the Pacific Orca wind farm installation vessel to Singapore-based Swire Pacific Offshore Operations. The Pacific Orca, which is the biggest WIV to date, is due to take part in the West of Duddon Sands offshore wind project in the U.K. later this year, before moving on to the Borkum Riffgrund 1 project off the coast of Germany. A second WIV, the Pacific Osprey, is scheduled for delivery by Samsung to SPPO at the end of the year. (tiered subscription model) (7/27)

FIT policy propels the U.K. past the U.S. in new small wind capacity
The U.K's introduction of a feed-in tariff program for "microgeneration" in 2010 caused the country to leapfrog the U.S. in small wind installations last year, and the same is expected to happen this year, writes Paul Gipe, citing industry data. The U.K.'s tariff is calculated on the "cost of generation plus a reasonable profit" model, and "utilities simply pay a fixed tariff -- or rate -- for electricity from microgenerators," Gipe explains. China and the U.S. are expected to remain the top countries for total installed small wind capacity "for some time to come," but the U.K. "can play an increasing role" thanks to its innovative FIT policy, Gipe adds. Renewable Energy World (7/27)

FERC chairman warns against sudden elimination of PTC
An abrupt and arbitrary removal of the Production Tax Credit could have a "devastating effect" on U.S. renewable-energy businesses, according to Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, at a monthly gathering of energy newsmakers and journalists in Washington, D.C. Bloomberg Businessweek (7/31)

Report: Global demand for wind turbines fell in first half of 2012
Orders for new wind turbines worldwide declined by 30% in the first half of 2012 from the same period in 2011, reflecting weak demand from Europe and Asia, as well as the sluggish global economic recovery, according to a report from MAKE Consulting. "Regulatory uncertainty, subsidy cuts and grid connectivity issues all contributed to the weakness and offset good growth in new emerging markets," the firm said. "[W]e expect that order flow could improve in 2013 and beyond," the report stated. Reuters (7/26)

Overcapacity is hurting turbine manufacturers, exec says
Overcapacity in the wind-turbine market is driving down industry profits, said Siemens President and CEO Peter Loescher. "We continue to see capacity adjustments, overcapacity" and therefore continued pricing pressure in the renewables business, Loescher said. Bloomberg Businessweek (7/26)

GE attributes dip in wind turbine sales to PTC uncertainty
The drop in General Electric's sales of wind turbines for the second quarter of this year should be blamed on the uncertain future of the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit, the company said. The company's sales for the quarter were 37% lower than during the same quarter of 2011, GE announced Friday. The Hill/E2 Wire blog (7/20)

Enercon shelves plans for wind-turbine factory in Spain
Germany-based Enercon is putting on hold plans to build its first wind-turbine factory in Spain due to the Spanish government's indefinite suspension of feed-in tariffs for new renewable-energy projects. Developers fear the moratorium could last until 2015, said Juan Ruiz-Jarabo, head of the company's Spanish division. (U.K.) (7/24)

Indian turbine maker eyes Africa, other emerging markets
India-based RRB Energy, a former partner of Vestas Wind Systems in India, expects to generate up to 25% of its sales from the export of small-scale wind turbines to nontraditional markets such as Africa. "There's a lot of potential in emerging markets where so far there's been no development of wind power like Africa," said Sarvesh Kumar, RRB Energy's deputy managing director. "They can’t simply start with megawatt-class machines." Bloomberg Businessweek (7/24)

Advanced turbines drive wind power cost below coal in India, firm says
For the first time, wind power in India is cheaper than coal-fired energy because of more advanced turbines, according to Greenko Group, which has joined General Electric to build wind farm projects in India. "Today we're able to supply energy below the cost of conventional power. That's the key development for this year," Greenko President Mahesh Kolli said. Bloomberg Businessweek (7/18

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