Federal Tax Credit Success

Former Governor Mitt Romney would like to see the estate tax eliminated and he would also like to end the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy production. Speaking on ag issues in this Presidential election on the nationally syndicated radio program AgriTalk, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that he appreciates Romney saying he’s for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), “but he’s not for the wind tax credit which is unfortunate because that’s going to cost a lot of jobs in rural America. We need to not only continue focusing on biofuels, but renewable energy as well.

Both President Obama and Romney have advocated for an expansion of domestic energy production in order to boost the economy and create jobs. They also agree that increasing energy independence is critical to national security. It’s how to get there that they disagree on – the role government should play in subsidizing energy production and regulating its environmental impact.

Farmers for Romney Co-Chair Bill Northey, and Iowa Ag Secretary, says Romney’s position comes from a desire to simplify the tax system. “Looking at a lot of different tax credits and trying to make it easier for folks to be able to reduce rates, and therefore he has opposed the wind energy tax credit,” said Northey. “Many of us in Iowa are still very supportive of the wind energy tax credit. We’ll have lots of discussion with him as we look at the overall picture.”

Northey also said it’s day and night between those two candidates in the opportunities to become self sufficient in energy production.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, record growth in the wind power industry can be attributed to the success of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). In August, the U.S. wind industry surpassed 50 thousand megawatts of installed electrical generation capacity for the first time. This is enough energy to power 13 million averaged sized homes each year. So far in 2012, the country has added 4,728 megawatts of wind power, and AWEA says there are several factors driving this growth including the expansion of U.S. manufacturing, technological advances and the Production Tax Credit.

AWEA CEO Denise Bode says this is what a successful policy looks like when it’s working. But will wind continue to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy? Bode says that depends on Congress. The PTC is set to expire on December 31st and Bode says it has incentivized more than $15 billion dollars a year in private investment in U.S. wind farms.

Extending the PTC is part of an overall tax extenders package that Congress is set to debate during the lame duck session following the November 6, 2012 election. Bode says without the extension, 37,000 industry jobs will be lost within the first quarter of 2013.

DF Cast: Candidates Debate Domestic Fuels

It’s less than a week before election day, and President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney are vying for every vote they can, including those people interested in energy issues in this country.

In this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast, we hear from Obama and Romney as they made their pitches about their domestic energy policies during the debates they held in October. A little talk about wind… a little talk about biofuels (with just one small utterance of the word ethanol)… and a LOT to say about petroleum and coal. It’s for you to hear and make your decision… and for all of us to see what talk actually becomes action once the shouting is all over.

You can listen to the Domestic Fuel Cast here: Domestic Fuel Cast - Candidates on Energy

You can also subscribe to the DomesticFuel Cast here.

WindMade Label Awarded to BD

The Windmade label has been awarded to Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) a global medical technology company, for using wind power to energize its global operations. The label, which is backed by the UN Global Compact and conservation group WWF, requires participating companies to obtain at least 25 percent of their electricity from wind power. BD uses as much as 35 percent of its total electricity consumption from wind power.

“Using a clean source of electricity such as wind power is well aligned with our company purpose of helping all people live healthy lives, and helps us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Glenn Barbi, BD’s Vice President of Global Sustainability. “Receiving the WindMade label is an important achievement that helps us communicate to our customers and other stakeholders about BD’s commitment to reducing our environmental footprint.”

The WindMade label was created to allow companies to demonstrate their commitment to renewable energy. BD has supported the development of WindMade in numerous ways since joining the Pioneer Program in 2011. As part of this cooperation, Glenn Barbi joined the WindMade Board of Directors as a member in June 2012. In addition, BD’s Director of Sustainable Innovation & Stakeholder Relations, Ellen Kondracki, is a member of WindMade’s technical committee, and has been instrumental in developing a WindMade label for products that is expected to launch shortly.

Henrik Kuffner, CEO of WindMade, added, “BD has been one of WindMade’s Pioneer Companies, and its management’s vision and relentless commitment to sustainability issues have been truly inspiring. We are proud and privileged to be granting the WindMade label to a company where environmental and social values are deeply engrained in the corporate culture.”

Sancton Hill Wind Farm Fully Financed

The 10 megawatt Sancton Hill Wind Farm has been fully financed according to REG Windpower using a 10 year non-recourse debt facility from the Co-Op Bank. According to company statements, the wind regime was analysed on-site through a relatively novel approach, which utilized long-term reference data from short 16 metre met masts combined with a short ZephIR lidar deployment. ZephIR provides measurements up to 200 metres from installed level and importantly down to just 10 metres to provide on-site correlations with the short masts.

The ‘short mast + ZephIR’ methodology was adopted by REG Windpower in 2009 when a strategic approach to wind monitoring across the company’s portfolio of sites currently totaling some 11 operational wind farms and over 900MW in the pipeline, resulted in the purchase of three ZephIR lidars. The technology was used to created a P90 Energy Yield Analysis report that was accepted for use in refinancing the project.

REG Windpower’s Wind Assessment Manager, Simon Pipkin, said, “ZephIR was deployed on site with a low-cost, short mast for just six months and delivered the data we needed to reach financial close for Sancton Hill. This approach allowed us to start monitoring quickly without the need of a tall mast – which themselves encounter significant planning issues now – and deliver bankable, finance-grade wind data to the Co-Op Bank to take the site forward in a timely, cost effective and safe manner. The wind speed recorded by the ZephIR deployed varied from the mast by just 0.9 percent during the correlation period which is far better than often found when comparing two cup anemometers.”

An additional site, Orchard End Wind Farm in Lancashire, England will be financed using the short mast + ZephIR methodology in the near future and a further three to four wind farms are expected to follow.

Obama Campaign “Energy Tour” at Juhl Wind Today

The Obama Campaign “Energy Tour” will be blowing into Woodstock, Minnesota today for a press conference at the headquarters of Juhl Wind, Inc.

Former Minnesota state representative Matthew Entenza will join company representatives to discuss the importance of the extension of the Renewable Energy Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and President Obama’s support of the clean energy sector.

“In my over 25 years in the energy business, I have never seen a more balanced approach to our nation’s energy strategy than the Obama administration’s,” said John Mitola, President of Juhl Wind. “We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Entenza to the Juhl Wind headquarters to further underscore the need for continued support of Renewable Energy, a critical component of our domestic renewable energy policy and a creator of new domestic job opportunities. We are proud of President Obama’s strong ongoing support of the Renewable Energy industry and the need to continue to invest in our clean energy future. For anyone to solely attack the Renewable Energy PTC as a subsidy, they are simply ignoring the hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies that have been provided to the nuclear, coal, gas and oil industries for decades and continue to this today – and, seemingly are never questioned.”

Mitola referenced the most recent American Wind Energy Association report that says 2012 has been a record year for the development of wind power within the United States, surpassing 50,000 megawatts of electrical power generation capacity, with a total of 4,728 megawatts added this year alone and another 8,430 megawatts in active development throughout 29 states and Puerto Rico.

Investors Ask for Wind Tax Credit Extension

Dozens of investors totaling more than $800 billion in assets have called for an immediate extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy, specifically wind power. In a letter delivered to Congressional leaders, investors noted that this critical tax credit creates broad economic benefits, both for wind power producers and their suppliers across the nation. Several of these investors met with Congressional staff to discuss their support for the credit.

The PTC provides a tax credit of 2.2 cents for each kilowatt-hour of renewable power generated. Designed to spur investment, the credit has helped the wind energy industry develop a large domestic network of supplies. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the PTC has spurred $20 billion in private investment and the creation of 75,000 jobs. Investors wrote to encourage. The PTC expires at the end of 2012.

“The Production Tax Credit is vital to fostering a vibrant renewable power sector, which will improve our economic competitiveness while also reducing our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, who oversees the management of $72.5 billion of state funds. “Renewable energy generation opportunities beckon from border-to-border in Oregon, and they promise to produce not only clean and sustainable power but also crucial employment and investments in key infrastructure.”

Oregon wind farms now generate enough energy to power 700,000 homes, and the state is the home to the North American headquarters of wind power companies Vestas and Iberdrola Renewables. Continue reading

USDA Funds 244 Agribusiness Projects

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the funding for 244 projects across the United States that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses. The projects will help to lower energy consumption and costs using renewable technologies. The funding is part of USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

“As part of President Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy, USDA has partnered with thousands of America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to help them save energy and improve their bottom line,” said Vilsack. “This effort is helping to provide stable energy costs that create an environment for sustainable job growth in rural America.”

For example, grower Matthew Gabler, based in Augusta, Wisconsin, was awarded a grant to install a new 11 kilowatt wind turbine that is estimated to produced nearly 29,000 kilo-watt hours a year for his farm.

Another example is Edaleen Cow power LLC, located in Whatcom County, Washington, has awarded a REAP loan and grant combination of $2,638,000 to install an anaerobic digester. The renewable energy project is estimated to generate 4,635 megawatt hours per year with the dairy’s 2,450-head herd as the sole manure source. The agribusiness will sell the extra electricity to the local utility and will also benefit from the bedding byproduct the digester produces.

In combination, USDA announced over $16 million in investments across the 244 projects. For a full list of awards, click here.

Safety, Health Concern in Offshore Wind

Copenhagen is the home of the upcoming Offshore Wind Health & Safety Summit taking place December 5-6. Sponsored by Wind Energy Update (WEU), the conference wil discuss safety culture, access options and training. With the increase in offshore wind projects, such as the North Sea farm power plant, it will require a larger number of workers. Smart companies, says Wind Energy Update, will position themselves to protect their employees from hazardous environments posed by offshore wind construction and operation.

“I am truly delighted to be working alongside the industry to help them meet their health and safety objectives, not only for 2012, but for the long term” explains Carrianne Matta, VP Health and Safety, for WEU. “I am thrilled to be running this year’s Offshore Wind Health and Safety Summit which has such a fantastic speaker line up.”

Participating companies include: RWE Innogy, RES Offshore, Statoil, DONG Energy, Mainstream Renewables, Siemens, GE Energy, Vestas, Gamesa, REpower, and GDF Suez. The companies will share experiences and strategies and safety programs that will help the industry as a whole help reduce the frequency of health and safety incidents on offshore wind projects.

For more information on the event, speakers, agenda and workshop, click here.

SLICE Award Winners for Clean Energy Announced

Seven winners received the 2012 State Leadership in Clean Energy (SLICE) Awards given by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA). The award recognize state programs that are most effectively accelerating the adoption of clean energy technologies.

This year’s winners are New York’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program and On-Site Wind Market Development Program, both administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority’s (CEFIA) CT Solar Lease Program; the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Pilot Program; the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission’s Residential Wood-Pellet Boiler Rebate Program; and two projects by the California Energy Commission: the University of California, San Diego Microgrid, and the Synchrophasor Research and Development Program.

“Despite challenging economic conditions and uncertainty over continuing federal support, the SLICE Award-winning state programs have demonstrated innovation, supported emerging technologies, and advanced clean energy markets,” said Mark Sinclair, Executive Director of CESA. “After a decade of experience working with clean energy funds across the country, CESA feels confident that these programs represent the best of what’s out there today.”

Winners were chosen by a panel of six judges that included representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Lab along with experts from several other energy organizations.

2013 Clean Energy Challenge Kicks Off

The 2013 Clean Energy Challenge, funded by the Clean Energy Trust, has kicked off with more than $300,000 in cash prizes waiting to be won. Researchers, students and entrepreneurs with transformative clean tech business ideas based in the Midwest, are encouraged to submit their businesses and concepts through the Clean Energy Exchange.

The Clean Energy Challenge is a two-track competition for projects in different stages of development. The Early Stage Challenge is for clean tech projects with fully-developed business plans and established start-up companies. The Student Challenge is for students in eight-state Midwest region who have a great idea, and need assistance in developing a clean energy business.

“The very best clean technology innovations are being developed in the Midwest and the Challenge ensures that those ideas are presented to the venture capitalists, businesses and investors who can bring them to market,” said Amy Francetic, executive director of the Clean Energy Trust. “The cash prizes and commercialization support kick start Clean Energy Challenge Finalists, which have all gone on to receive significant venture and federal funding.”

Applications are encouraged from Midwest entrepreneurs working in: Energy Storage; Hydrogen & Fuel Cells; Geothermal; BioEnergy; Solar Technologies; Wind Energy; Water-Energy Nexus; Recycling and Remediation; Energy Efficiency; Building Materials; Energy Management; Smart-Grid; Next Generation Transportation; and Manufacturing Efficiency.

Finalists will receive mentoring from the Clean Energy Trust in preparation for the Challenge finals taking place in Chicago on April 4, 2013. The judging panel is comprised of nationally renowned investors and clean technology business leaders. The application deadline is December 3, 2012. Complete rules and eligibility for the Challenge are available at www.cleanenergytrust.org.