Ohio lawmakers should support wind energy development because the taxes paid by wind farms yield huge economic rewards for the state's schools and other areas of development, writes Jeff Snyder, superintendent of the Lincolnview school district in Ohio. The school district receives $400,000 in taxes annually from Iberdrola Renewables. "We didn't have to go ask our community to pay more in taxes. Instead we took advantage of the natural wind that has always blown in our own backyards," he writes.
Geothermal energy will remain a bit player as the world transitions to cleaner energy sources, writes Euan Mearns. Geothermal is low-carbon, low-impact and "about as close to a perfect source of renewable energy as one can get" -- but high-temperature geothermal resources aren't widespread enough for the technology to go mainstream, Mearns explains.
Fashion houses and animal-rights campaigners are squaring off again over the ethical status of fur, which some designers and trade groups are seeking to reposition as an environmentally sustainable material. "There will be fur long after the last oil wells are empty," said Alan Herscovici of the Fur Council of Canada.
Companies often encourage innovative, extraordinary customer service, but the potential downside is employees prioritizing the customer's needs to the detriment of the business, Chip Bell writes. "Bottom line, it's helping employees have the perspective of an owner," he writes.
Windlab has begun construction on the 20-megawatt Coonooer Bridge wind farm in Australia. The project was one of three wind farms to win a 20-year feed-in tariff from the Australian Capital Territory during a recent renewables auction. The local government has set a goal to source 90% of its total electricity from clean energy by 2020. "Wind energy brings employment to the bush, it brings money to farmers. That's a good thing," said Windlab Chief Financial Officer Rob Fisher.
Siemens has won a contract to provide Dong Energy's Race Bank offshore wind farm in the U.K. with 91 of its 6-megawatt turbines, said the developer on Friday. Siemens is scheduled to begin installing the turbines in 2017, and the project will likely begin generating power the following year, according to the developer. Siemens added that the cost of offshore wind energy in the U.K. has declined 11% in the last five years.
Alstom has agreed to supply the Merkur Offshore wind farm in Germany with a total capacity of 400 megawatts. The deal includes 66 of Alstom's Haliade 150 6-MW machines. Alstom has already agreed to provide long-term service and maintenance for the project. Construction is expected to begin in 2016.
Scotland's wind farms provided 33% of the country's total electricity needs in June, according to WWF Scotland. Wind power could have powered 100% of Scottish homes on six out of 30 days last month, the report said. "Thanks to a combination of increased capacity and stronger winds, output from turbines more than doubled compared to the same period last year," said WWF Director Lang Banks.
Green Mountain Power has proposed to sign a 25-year power purchase agreement with Iberdrola's Deerfield wind farm in Vermont. Iberdrola has filed for regulatory approval with the Vermont Public Service Board, according to the company. The project will have a total capacity of 35.7 megawatts and will include 15 turbines.
TradeWind Energy has unveiled plans to build a 108-megawatt wind farm in Grady County, Okla. The Drift Sands wind farm is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2016. "We are glad to offer low-cost, highly competitive energy to the state of Oklahoma and beyond," said Project Manager Heath Herje. The project has a power purchase agreement with the Arkansas Electric Cooperative.