All forms of renewables, including offshore wind and solar thermal, are expected to become cost-competitive with fossil fuels by 2020, according to International Renewable Energy Agency, citing technological advances and competitive bidding processes. "Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now overwhelmingly a smart economic one," said Director-General Adnan Amin.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is seeking input on its draft "design envelope" for offshore wind development in the US, which calls for a more flexible permitting process. "The outer continental shelf's offshore wind potential is a tremendous asset and part of the administration's America First Energy plan to make it easier for industry to do business here," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said.
The Maryland Energy Administration has named the recipients of two grants designed to prepare local businesses and workers for two offshore wind projects slated. "Maryland will be home to the first commercial scale offshore wind farm in America," said MEA Director Mary Beth Tung.
Town leaders in Waterford, Vt., have unanimously voted in favor of signing a memorandum of understanding with Granite State Power Link to host a section of the line. The project is expected to carry wind energy from Canada into Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Predictive software from Uptake Technologies has helped MidAmerican Energy realize significant cost savings, according to CEO Adam Wright, who added that MidAmerican plans to install the tool across its 2,200-turbine fleet. "These types of predictive insights are just going to become commonplace in the next decade," said Sonny Garg, chief of global solutions for Uptake.
Pennsylvania's wind industry has seen little growth in recent years, but increasing its renewable portfolio standard above 18% by 2021 may change that, EverPower Wind President and CEO Jim Spencer and other advocates argue. Observers say that increased standards in neighboring states may also lead to the construction of more wind farms within Pennsylvania.
The Trump administration's decision to reverse the Obama-era Migratory Bird Treaty Act won't significantly affect Lake Erie Energy Development Corp.'s proposed Icebreaker offshore wind pilot in Lake Erie, according to Director of Sustainable Development Beth Nagusky. She said LEEDCo plans to break ground on the project this year, and will still employ various mechanisms to protect fish and wildlife.
New Jersey state Sen. Richard Codey has proposed two bills in the new legislative session that support Gov.-elect Phil Murphy's clean energy goals. One calls on the state to add 3.5 gigawatts of installed offshore wind capacity, and another would set a goal requiring New Jersey to source 100% of its electricity needs from renewables by 2050.
California's water conservation program has led to a number of side benefits, such as lower emissions and reduced energy consumption. Its next phase includes new targets and steps up reporting requirements, such as monthly reports on usage and conservation efforts from urban water suppliers, plus drought risk assessments every five years.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has been sharing plans for the UK's post-Brexit environmental policy, including long-term goals and metrics to monitor performance. The plan will also impose charges or taxes on single-use plastics such as shopping bags and polystyrene containers.
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