Editorial: Wisconsin’s Governor Wants to Waste Taxpayer Money Fighting Clean Energy

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the (Milwaukee) Wisconsin Gazette: There’s a proposed item in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget that would waste $250,000 to have the Public Service Commission study the health effects of wind turbines. His transparent intention is to continue stalling on Wisconsin’s development of this renewable energy source, which is opposed by the real-estate sector and producers of dirty energy, including Koch Industries and Exon Mobil. Those industries have bestowed Walker with beaucoup bucks, and, as he’s proven time and again, he’s not about to let the state do anything counter to their interests on his watch — not even for the best interests of Wisconsinites.If wind energy did indeed present a health hazard for humans, the world would be well aware of it by now. Wind energy is the second fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the world — behind only solar, Wind has contributed to increasing energy independence and job growth throughout Europe and Asia over the past decade. It’s also led to falling energy costs in nations such as Germany, where 31 percent of energy during the first half of last year came from wind, solar and hydro.Neighboring Iowa generated 27.4 of its electricity from wind in 2013. The state continues to expand its wind energy program, with no reports of health problems that we could find.But there’s even stronger evidence that wind energy is harmless, and Walker is well aware of it. Five years ago, 13 Wisconsinites from all sectors were appointed to the state’s Wind Siting Council. The council reviewed over 50 different scientific studies and found no evidence to support the contention of Walker and his shills that wind turbines are hazardous to human health. The only studies used by the council were those that had appeared in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The findings of the Wind Siting Council, presented to the Legislature in October 2014, should have marked the end of the story for wind energy deniers.The $250,000 Walker wants to spend to duplicate a conclusive study on a topic that has long since been settled elsewhere could be used in many other productive ways.  The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters suggests that the money could go to programs that contribute to conservation, clean energy, or monitoring the pollution and contamination that we know are caused by the forms of energy that Walker favors.The absurdity of Walker throwing away taxpayer money to hold up the production of clean energy due to public health concerns is laughable. Walker has never met a polluter he didn’t like. His environmental policies are extremely hazardous to public safety, including the relaxation of regulations for polluters, construction of the nation’s largest tar sand crude pipeline, which flows under every major waterway in the state, and revamping the permitting process to make it easier for operators of open pit mines to get approval without public input — just for starters.This is not a partisan issue. Renewable energy is essential to keeping Wisconsin in the game, and the hypocrisy Walker shows toward it should offend every citizen who expects our leaders to do what’s best for us over the interests of their benefactors or in the interests of their political aspirations.Of course, the Public Service Commission, which is dominated by Walker appointees, might just come up with findings that conveniently differ from all the scholarly studies on the subject. If that should occur, we hope that Republicans and Democrats alike recognize the sham for what it is.Editorial: Walker wants $250,000 to duplicate wind energy study because he didn’t like the findings Editorial: Wisconsin’s Governor Wants to Waste Taxpayer Money Fighting Clean Energylast_img read more

On the Blogs: New York Grid Update Widens Market for Renewables

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Katherine Tweed for Greentech Media:New York has an ambitious goal of getting 50 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030. To get there, the state will need to expand grid infrastructure to deliver renewable power from rural areas to load centers.But the state won’t always have to build new infrastructure — it can do more with what it has.The New York Power Authority and New York State Electric & Gas have just finished the first project that shows what is possible using existing infrastructure.NYPA completed a $120 million transmission upgrade, called the Marcy South Series Compensation Project, that will move up to 440 megawatts of additional capacity from upstate, where there are abundant wind and hydro resources, to downstate cities.“Marcy South is a prime example of how we can do more with existing assets,” Richard Kauffman, chair of energy and finance for New York, said in a statement.Instead of building new transmission, NYPA and NYSEG collaborated to connect portions of their grids with ABB capacitor banks installed in the middle of the state. The project is a part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s energy highway initiative that was established in 2012. The initiative calls for nearly $6 billion to modernize New York’s transmission system in order to enable more clean energy development.“This is a traditional transmission upgrade that utilities are turning to more and more, when additional capacity is needed or when power needs to travel further to get to load centers,” said Ben Kellison, director of grid research at GTM Research.New York Links Power Lines to Bring Renewables From Upstate to Downstate On the Blogs: New York Grid Update Widens Market for Renewableslast_img read more

Macquarie Group Moves Deeper Into Renewables

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Australian Financial Review:When shares in Macquarie Group came within a whisker of cracking the $100 mark on Friday it was a sign of the growing market confidence that its 14,000 employees in 27 countries would continue to prove adept at making humungous amounts of money. Macquarie stock hit an intra-day high of $99.75 on Friday, about 50¢ higher than the previous record high set in May 2007.The move toward $100 a share comes soon after Macquarie employees sent a clear message to chief executive Nicholas Moore to direct the bank’s energies toward servicing a low-carbon economy.Employees were asked where the best money-making opportunities would be in the years ahead. They came back with three words – renewables, infrastructure and technology.In calendar 2016, the total amount of new investment in renewable energy projects in the world was $US240 billion, according to Tim Bishop, who heads Macquarie Capital. He said that outstripped the $US180billion invested in all other infrastructure projects in the world including rail, ports and airports.Bishop says the growth rates baked into renewable expansion are hard to comprehend. Macquarie’s own forecasts are for $US1 trillion in investment in renewables infrastructure over the next five years. Bishop says about $US600 billion of this will be in Asia.Earlier this year a Macquarie-led consortium comprising Macquarie Group, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 and Universities Superannuation Scheme completed the acquisition of the UK Green Investment Bank from the British government for £2.3 billion.Bishop says this acquisition was a turning point for Macquarie in Europe because it not only acquired one of the region’s largest group of bankers with expertise in renewables it got control of a pipeline of renewable projects.If Macquarie plays its cards right it could well become the global leader in financing green infrastructure projects using a combination of debt and equity. This would give it a distinctive differentiation from other investment banks in the United States, Europe and Asia.To be brutally honest these banks are caught up with traditional business models focused on high-risk trading in financial markets and fighting to win the next M&A transaction. Macquarie has an opportunity to dominate the renewable energy space because of its unique business model. That model has evolved rapidly since the global financial crisis.Its specialist alternative asset manager, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, is a leading renewable energy investor. Since 2010 it has invested or arranged about $15 billion of investment into renewable energy projects.Moore says that the past 12 months has seen a tipping point in the relative attractiveness of renewable energy.“There’s a number of important landmarks that we’ve seen in recent times that really shows that green energy is coming into its own,” he says. “There was an auction for offshore power in Germany in the last 12 months which was significant. This auction was for offshore wind power – wind farms built in the North Sea. We noted that the winner actually was with a zero subsidy from the government.”More ($): Macquarie Group sees big dollars in renewable energy investment Macquarie Group Moves Deeper Into Renewableslast_img read more

Tesla’s Aussie Success Paves Way For More Projects

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Australia’s renewable energy sector responds to the success of South Australia’s Tesla lithium ion battery: South Australia will build the world’s largest solar thermal plant, and a Queensland wind farm may be the site of a new record-breaking battery.The Aurora solar plant in Port Augusta, SA, will begin construction this year. The $650 million, 150-megawatt plant uses mirrors and solar power to heat molten salt and generate electricity, and was approved this week by the state government. It will be built by American company SolarReserve, and is expected to create 650 local jobs during construction.In Queensland, French utility Neoen – which partnered with Tesla in SA to create the world’s largest battery – may trump its own creation by building an even larger storage system at the Kaban Green Power Hub, 80 kilometers from Cairns.Garth Heron, Neoen Australia’s head of wind development, told Bloomberg the company was looking to create “a very large battery” up north to deal with “a lot of need for electricity storage up in Queensland.”The South Australian Tesla battery, which is paired with Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm, has a 100 MW capacity. In December the state government hailed the battery’s effectiveness in dealing with power outages, and Neoen and Tesla have recently announced plans for a second collaboration to build a 20 MW battery in Victoria.More: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/11/big-new-renewable-projects-planned-across-australia-as-tesla-effect-hits Tesla’s Aussie Success Paves Way For More Projectslast_img read more

Swiss Re steps away from coal insurance business

first_imgSwiss Re steps away from coal insurance business FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Swiss Re took a step forward this week in its commitment to manage carbon-related sustainability risks and support the transition to a low-carbon economy. As of Monday, the Zurich-based firm no longer provides insurance or reinsurance to businesses with more than 30 percent exposure to thermal coal.The thermal coal policy announced in June 2017 was based on Swiss Re’s pledge to adopt the principles of the Paris climate agreement in 2015, which seeks to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. As part of that commitment, “Swiss Re supports a progressive and structured shift away from fossil fuels,” according to a company statement.The thermal coal policy applies to both new and existing thermal coal mines and power plants, and is implemented across all lines of business and Swiss Re’s global scope of operations. The policy is an integral part of Swiss Re’s Sustainability Risk Framework, which the reinsurer uses for all underwriting and investment activities.The 30 percent threshold on Swiss Re’s insurance practice is in line with the threshold on the firm’s investment practice. As of 2016, Swiss Re stopped investing in companies that generate 30 percent or more of their revenues from thermal coal mining or that use at least 30 percent thermal coal for power generation. The reinsurer also divested from existing holdings.Swiss Re isn’t the only insurance firm to restrict its participation in the coal sector in recent months. In May, Germany’s Allianz stopped insuring single coal-fired power plants and coal mines, in response to criticism from environmental groups. Dai-ichi Life Insurance recently became the first Japanese institution to stop financing coal-fired power plants overseas, and Nippon Life Insurance is considering limits on coal plant financing.More: Swiss Re stops insuring businesses with high exposure to thermal coallast_img read more

PJM: Ohio’s nuclear and coal subsidy bill likely to cost more than forecast

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy News Network:A bill to subsidize FirstEnergy Solutions’ two Ohio nuclear plants could cost customers even more than the hundreds of millions of dollars in direct charges proposed to prop up those plus two older coal plants.A new analysis from grid operator PJM concludes that keeping FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants open could also cost ratepayers as much as $16 million a year in lost savings by discouraging cheaper gas generation from coming online.House Bill 6 passed in the Ohio House of Representatives by a vote of 53-43 on May 29. Under the current version, all retail consumers in the state would pay 50 cents per month for the first year and then $1 per month for the next six years to subsidize FirstEnergy Solutions’ Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power plants. FirstEnergy Solutions and other FirstEnergy generation subsidiaries are currently in bankruptcy. The bill would also subsidize 1950s-era coal plants and gut Ohio’s clean energy standards.PJM’s analysis contradicts an earlier statement by FirstEnergy Solutions Vice President David Griffing, who claimed that closing the nuclear plants would cost Ohioans an average of $35 per year between 2022 and 2029. Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston responded by asking PJM for a fact check on the projected effects on wholesale and retail electric prices if the two Ohio nuclear plants close.Yet the PJM analysis may still underestimate costs to consumers. “While useful, the analysis looks only at the energy market, which is an important shortcoming,” said Dan Sawmiller, Ohio energy policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. PJM’s report said that it didn’t consider impacts on longer-term capacity markets because of time constraints.Ohio Public Utilities Commission Chair Sam Randazzo also testified Wednesday before the Ohio Senate committee. By his estimate, the annual out-of-pocket costs to ratepayers are slightly more than a third of a billion dollars. Before his appointment to the commission this year, Randazzo had long represented Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, which has consistently opposed the state’s clean energy standards.More: Costs of FirstEnergy nuclear bailout bill could exceed out-of-pocket subsidies PJM: Ohio’s nuclear and coal subsidy bill likely to cost more than forecastlast_img read more

Enel executive: Market forces speeding up transition away from coal worldwide

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Commodity markets are stripping away the case for coal in Europe, moving quicker than government efforts to close the most polluting power plants.A plunge in natural gas prices along with an increase in the cost of releasing carbon dioxide emissions shifted the profitability of generating electricity away from burning coal, according to data compiled by BloombergNEF. The trend is evident in Italy, Spain, Germany and the U.K., each of which have cut the proportion of coal in their power mixes this year.Shifting economics in the power business are complementing the efforts of the European Union to slash greenhouse gases and make good on commitments in the Paris Agreement on climate change. It’s made utilities from RWE AG in Germany and Italy’s Enel SpA change their calculations about the pace the region will be able to reduce carbon pollution.“It’s a magical alignment that’s igniting and accelerating a transition that, without the economics, would be much harder,” said Antonello Cammisecra, who is in charge of Enel’s gas, coal, oil and green power generation worldwide. “We have an alignment of economics, of saying switch to gas and most importantly switch to renewables because it’s cheaper, safer and easier.”The shift in Europe is part of a global trend. Abundant supplies of cheap gas are cutting in on coal’s market share in the U.S., where plants burning the dirtiest fossil fuel closed at near record rates last year. New export terminals are exporting cheap American gas worldwide, prompting countries across Asia, especially China and Pakistan, to buy LNG as an alternative to coal for power generation.“The exit from coal is finally driven by the market,” said Claudia Kemfert, a professor of energy economics at the DIW research institute in Berlin. “The repair of emissions trading has worked.”More: Coal’s demise quickens in Europe as market shift idles plants Enel executive: Market forces speeding up transition away from coal worldwidelast_img read more

Shifting markets, renewables put the kibosh on a 1,000MW Rhode Island gas plant

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:After days of hearings this summer, Rhode Island regulators voted to deny Invenergy a key permit and made clear they thought a new gas plant is unnecessary. But the written order issued Tuesday provides more insight into the decision, including the delays caused by the company. During the time Invenergy’s application was pending, regulators said there was a reduction in peak load due to efficiency, along with growth of renewables and storage and offshore wind procurements in the region.Experts “presented strong and credible evidence demonstrating that the need for this type of facility would likely decrease in the coming decade” the board said. And reports that were referenced during testimony on the plant “revealed plans forecasting a significant increase in renewables and a continued decrease in peak load.”“The market changes that accrued over the four forward capacity auctions conducted during the pendency of Invenergy’s application undercut the credibility of Invenergy’s original arguments on the issue of need.”The Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) on Tuesday issued a final order denying a new gas-fired power plant proposed by Invenergy, pointing to lengthy delays in the proceeding that allowed market changes and the growth of renewable energy to overtake any need for the project.Regulators pointed to the New England ISO’s decision in September 2018 to terminate a capacity supply obligation with Invenergy for one of the plant’s units, calling it “an extraordinary choice” the grid operator had never before made.The EFSB initially rejected the 850-1,000 MW plant in June; company officials say they are reviewing the final order and mulling next steps. The decision can be appealed to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.More: Renewables growth, market changes tanked Invenergy’s Rhode Island gas plant, regulators say Shifting markets, renewables put the kibosh on a 1,000MW Rhode Island gas plantlast_img read more

Corporate buyers a big reason behind Australia’s renewable energy boom

first_imgCorporate buyers a big reason behind Australia’s renewable energy boom FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Corporate energy users have supported renewable energy development across Australia to the tune of 5.2GW of new capacity and procured nearly 2.3GW of mostly solar and wind powered electricity in just three years, a new report has found. The report – a State of the Market report for corporate renewable PPAs – was released on Tuesday for the first time by the Business Renewables Centre Australia (BRC-A).In total, there have been 58 publicly confirmed corporate renewable PPAs since 2016, which have contracted nearly 2.3GW of renewable electricity and supported 5.2GW of project capacity, most of this (60 per cent) new solar and wind farms.Renew Economy, too, has watched this market boom, with major Australian utility Origin Energy recently conceding that the shift to renewables by Australian businesses was taking a noticeable chunk out of the gen-tailer’s commercial electricity volumes.“Until recently, solar and wind farms needed a power purchase agreement with a retailer to get built, but the growth of corporate renewable PPAs has opened up a vital new source of investment,” said Christopher Briggs, BRC-A’s technical director and research principal at the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF). “The emergence of corporate PPAs is proving crucial in driving the energy transition in Australia and helping to realise the nation’s climate change targets.”Jonathan Prendergast, a research consultant at the ISF – one part of the team that makes up the BRC-A, alongside the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia and Climate-KIC Australia – said what impressed him most was how these deals had diversified the large-scale renewable energy market. “(Renewable energy investment) used to be really one-dimensional. It’s great that there are now multiple ways that investors and project developers can get their projects financed,” he told RE on Monday.And the corporate buyers are a diverse bunch, too. “While large corporate buyers led the way in the early deals, there has also been a series of deals with smaller and mid-sized buyers – like schools, vineyards and even the Sydney Opera House,” Briggs said.More: Business demand is helping drive the energy transition to wind and solarlast_img read more

Australia’s FIRB clears Iberdrola’s takeover bid for Infigen Energy

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:The Aussie unit of Iberdrola SA has secured approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to proceed with its proposed acquisition of renewables company Infigen Energy and its installed wind assets totaling 670 MW.The Spanish renewable energy giant announced the milestone on Tuesday.Iberdrola is offering AUD 0.89 (USD 0.62/EUR 0.55) per share for the Aussie wind developer in what has turned into a fierce battle with UAC Energy Holdings Pty Ltd (UAC). The latter, owned by Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corporation’s AC Energy and Hong Kong-based UPC Renewables Group, at the start of June bought a 12.82% stake in Infigen and made an offer of AUD 0.80 per share for the rest of the stock.Later in June, the group raised its bid to AUD 0.86 per share, thus matching the initial one made by Iberdrola and freed the offer from all conditions apart from the FIRB review. Iberdrola responded by making a counter proposal of AUD 0.89 per share, representing a 3.5% premium to the UAC offer.Infigen’s board has advised investors to reject the UAC bid and take no action in respect of the offer but to support the proposal of Iberdrola. The minimum acceptance condition that calls for Iberdrola to acquire more than 50% of Infigen’s stapled securities has to be met before Iberdrola’s bid expires on July 30.Infigen owns about 670 MW of installed onshore wind capacity along with 268 MW of conventional generation and energy storage firming assets plus 246 MW of additional renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) with third parties. Also, the company has a 1-GW-plus portfolio of wind and solar projects in different stages of development.[Veselina Petrova]More: Iberdrola gets FIRB clearance for takeover of Aussie Infigen Australia’s FIRB clears Iberdrola’s takeover bid for Infigen Energylast_img read more

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