President Barack Obama said he wants the US to double its funding for clean energy research and development by 2020. Obama said he would take the first step toward that goal by issuing a new budget on Tuesday that includes a 20% increase in funding for clean energy R&D. Senior administration officials said a funding increase could transform the nation's energy infrastructure.
Green marketing is going mainstream -- which means regulators are paying far more attention to brands' sustainability claims, write Steven Chang and Daren Garcia. "[R]etailers and marketers must thoroughly analyze the legal implications associated with green initiatives to avoid unwanted [Federal Trade Commission] action or class litigation," they warn.
American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan praised a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, which found that renewables made up roughly 68% of all new generation capacity last year. "Now that there's long-term policy certainty in place, and with states and utilities increasingly looking to lock in low-cost wind energy to reach their Clean Power Plan carbon reductions, now is a great time to invest in American wind power," said Kiernan.
Climate change -- not wind turbines -- is the single greatest threat to wildlife, according to studies cited by American Wind Energy Association Senior Director of Environmental Affairs John Anderson. At an event on Friday, Anderson said that according to leading wildlife groups, unless "drastic steps" are taken, the world stands to lose up to 50% of all wildlife species within a generation. AWEA added that no form of energy generation is without consequences, but that "the impacts of the wind energy industry are comparatively modest, particularly when one considers the benefits of generating electricity from wind."
Allianz and Bank of America have agreed to back two wind farms owned by EDF Renewable Energy in New Mexico. The Roosevelt and Milo wind farms feature 150 turbines and have a combined capacity of about 300 megawatts. No financial details have been disclosed.
Georgia Power will launch a bidding round in September to add 525 megawatts of new installed wind, solar or biomass capacity to its portfolio by 2019. "As we navigate the changing energy and environmental landscape, striking the right balance between reliability and affordability is crucial to protecting our customers," Senior Vice President and Senior Production Officer John Pemberton said. The winning bids will receive 30-year power purchase agreements.
Wind farms generated enough power to meet 48% of Scotland's total electricity needs in January, according to WWF Scotland. The report said that there were 22 days last month when the nation's wind farms generated enough electricity to meet the needs of every residence in the nation. "2015 proved to be a big year for renewables, and the latest data makes clear that 2016 is already off to a flying start, with wind power alone meeting nearly half of Scotland's total electricity needs during January," said Director Lang Banks.
John Laing Investments has agreed to buy a pair of wind farms in Poland and France from WKN, a subsidiary of PNE Wind Group. The projects will have a combined capacity of 90 megawatts. WKN has agreed to finish building the wind farms, at which point ownership will pass to John Laing. "We want to expand our strategic approach to constructing international turnkey wind farms in the future," said WKN Chief Operating Officer Roland Stanze.
Illinois must update its energy infrastructure to support added capacity from new wind energy projects, writes Wind on the Wires Public Policy Manager Kevin Borgia. The Energy Department said wind could save Illinois consumers about $1.16 billion by 2050. "To fully tap into these benefits to our economy and our environment, we will need to invest in in upgrading our grid, which includes adding new transmission," he writes.
Compensation, consultation and culture are sensitive subjects that may slow or stall wind development in Mexico, according to environmental certification organization Equitable Origin. The Mexican government has set a goal to add 9.5 gigawatts of installed wind capacity by 2018. However, said the report, firms may struggle to gain regulatory approval in states such as Oaxaca, where hundreds of individuals control 75% of the land using a social property ownership model. In those places, wind farm owners will have to be careful to properly compensate every person involved.
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