Climate hawk David Crane was recently ousted as chief of NRG Energy -- a reminder, some executives say, of the challenges top business leaders face in advocating for sustainable business practices. "Never, ever, ever underestimate the power of the status quo. It is huge," warns John Hofmeister, former president of Royal Dutch Shell.
Vermont can help protect two of its leading industries -- skiing and maple sugaring -- by embracing renewables to combat climate change, writes Jack Hanson, president of the Renewable Energy Network, a student group at the University of Vermont. Vermonters are often blind to the effects of fossil fuels because the state sources a lot of its electricity from other states, he argues. "As consumers of energy, we should be aware of where our energy comes from, and be working to reduce the damage that our consumption has," he writes.
The EU added a record-breaking 12.8 gigawatts of installed wind capacity last year, according to the European Wind Energy Association. Last year, said the report, wind surpassed hydropower to become the third-biggest source of generation in the EU. "Wind power accounts for one-third of all new power installations since 2000 in the EU. Conventional power sources such as fuel oil and coal continue to decommission more capacity than they install," said EWEA.
3M has signed a multiyear power purchase agreement with Invenergy for 120 megawatts of output from the Gunsight wind farm in Texas. 3M said it would use the capacity to power its operations throughout North America. "Corporate off-site renewable energy procurement is one of the most exciting changes we've seen recently in our industry as the sector nearly tripled from 2014 to 2015 with more than 3,400 MW announced," said Invenergy Vice President of Sales and Marketing Craig Gordon.
RES Americas has transferred its rights to develop 160,480 acres of offshore space off the coast of New Jersey to Dong Energy. The area could support an installed offshore capacity of more than 1 gigawatt. "The US is an interesting market for offshore wind with the potential to become a significant area for future development," said Dong Executive Vice President Samuel Leupold. "The site conditions are quite similar to those we currently work with in north-western Europe which means that the project could be developed using well-known technology," he added.
Vestas Wind Systems is not planning on making a bid for Gamesa, according to Vestas CEO and Group President Anders Runevad. Instead, Vestas will focus on "organic growth." Meanwhile, Vestas received a record-breaking number of turbine orders last year, and it expects demand for its products to increase as the cost of renewables energy declines, said Runevad.
MHI Vestas, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Vestas, said it expects to win offshore turbine supply deals totaling 2 gigawatts this year. MHI has received orders for turbines totaling 1,176 megawatts. It has also been named the preferred supplier for 400-MW and 450-MW offshore projects owned by Vattenfall and Dong Energy, respectively. "Based on these levels of order activity, the joint venture finds itself well positioned as one of the strongest players in the offshore market," said Vestas.
Australian turbine manufacturer Keppel Prince Engineering has won a contract to supply the Waterloo wind farm in Australia with six turbines. The site is in the process of being upgraded by Vestas Australia. "Keppel Prince were able to capitalize on the fact they already had wind turbine towers in manufacture for Vestas Australia, our engineering and construction contractor, and therefore offer us reduced costs and faster delivery time frames," said Waterloo General Manager Steve Symons.
More of the world's electricity will be generated by renewables than coal by 2030 -- the same year that the Clean Power Plan is expected to reach maturity, according to the International Energy Agency. The IEA expects wind to grow at a faster rate than any other form of renewable energy. In the US, utility American Electric Power is looking to add 150 megawatts of installed wind capacity to its portfolio, including in coal-producing West Virginia.
A group of researchers in Germany has dedicated the past three years to developing a turbine rotor blade that incorporates smart technology. The goal of the Smart Blades project, said researchers from the Research Alliance for Wind Energy and other agencies, was to develop a turbine capable of changing its shape depending on an area's wind resources. "The findings of this project offer turbine developers and operators new information and tools allowing them to launch more effective, more cost-efficient and more reliable system designs on the market," they said.
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