Demand for wind, solar and natural gas is increasing, resulting in a reduced demand for fossil fuel plants, writes Alwyn Scott. He argues that economics -- not government policies -- are driving the shift, which means it will likely be permanent.
The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has issued a call for a strategic plan that will help it attract offshore wind firms and become an East Coast hub for the industry, said the office of Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday. The proposal will be subject to a Virginia State Corporation Commission review.
Technological advances are improving turbine performance, increasing the production of modern machines by 30% to 40%, says Justin Steinbrock, operation manager for EDP Renewables' Meridian Way Wind Farm in Kansas. "Wind energy is a proven industry that's here to stay, and it's only going to grow," he says.
The American Wind Energy Association has tapped Bree Raum, Diane Miller and Sari Fink for senior leadership roles, with Raum due to come on board May 29, followed by Miller on June 4, and Fink having already started. "I'm excited to add such talent to the AWEA team as we continue to up our game and refocus our efforts on a suite of opportunities to grow American wind power," said Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Amy Farrell.
Facebook has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with a trio of wind farms in Norway that will feature 70 4.2-megawatt Siemens Gamesa turbines for a total capacity of 294 MW, according to the company. Facebook has contracted Vattenfall to service the cluster.
Oregon utility Portland General Electric Co. has launched a request for proposals to add 100 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to its portfolio. It said it's open to a variety of renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, as long as each project has a minimum capacity of 10 MW.
Massachusetts is expected to release the winner of a request for proposals today that will see it select one of three offshore wind farms to advance. Associated Industries of Massachusetts spokesman Christopher Geehern touted the competitive nature of the bidding process, which he said will help the state secure a favorable rate for electricity from the winning project.
Canadian investment firm Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec has expanded its stake in Invenergy Renewables to 52.4%, said the companies, noting that Invenergy would still act as the managing member of the unit. "The wind and solar energy sector is a promising one for CDPQ, and this investment is in line with our strategy announced last fall to increase our exposure to low-carbon assets," said CDPQ Senior Vice President of Investment of Infrastructure Rana Ghorayeb.
The Crown Estate Scotland has confirmed plans to lease a section of seabed floor off the coast of Scotland for new offshore wind projects. "To provide affordable, secure and clean energy, Scotland must continue to sustainably use its natural resources and grow the offshore wind sector," says Senior Energy and Infrastructure Manager John Robertson.
NatureWorks is planning to globally expand the market for its Ingeo PLA resin and is examining the use of feedstock other than corn, said President and CEO Richard Altice. "The material is now starting to gain recognition for its specific benefits, beyond the sustainability aspect alone," Altice said, adding that the company could add production capacity based on estimated growth rates.