News roundup: 2013's successes, educational opportunities, and the PTC's value

13 January 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

It’s Monday, and we’ve got 10 great reasons why clean energy excelled in 2013; how an exciting new educational initiative is teaching kids about wind power; and AWEA’s Elizabeth Salerno touting the PTC’s accomplishments as a market-based success story.

2013 was a banner year for developments in clean energy, according to guest blogger Laurie Guevara-Stone at the Christian Science Monitor:

  • “Multiple U.S. utilities added renewable energy to their mix in 2013, because it’s the cheapest option, with no state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirement calculated in. For example, Georgia Power joined Alabama power in buying wind energy from Oklahoma, and Xcel of Colorado filed a petition to the public utility commission stating that utility-scale solar is its cheapest peaking option.”
  • “Some of the biggest public companies in the U.S., including most of the large oil companies, are setting an internal price on their carbon pollution, with prices ranging from $6 to $60 per metric ton. From Walt Disney Company to Delta Air Lines to ConAgra Foods, companies are preparing for the possibility that someday they may face carbon taxes or regulations.”
  • “The Better Buildings, Better Plants Program, a national initiative that challenges industry to meet ambitious energy-savings targets, now has 123 partner companies representing 1,750 plants. These companies have agreed to reduce the energy intensity of their industrial operations by 25 percent or more within 10 years. Companies involved include GE3M, Ford Motor Company, and Johnson Controls.”

Sleeping Giant Middle School of Livingston, Montana, is now home to its very own small wind turbine, accompanying a new program aimed at teaching students about the benefits wind power can bring to their communities:

  • “The program, called Wind for Schools, aims to provide students, teachers, and communities with an up-close look at how wind energy works through a combination of turbines and a free K-12 curriculum developed by the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project.”
  • “Sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Wind Powering America program, Wind for Schools launched in six windy states -- Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, and South Dakota -- but teachers can use the curriculum anywhere, with or without a turbine.”
  • “K-12 schools apply to participate in the program and, if chosen, work with their state's Wind for Schools facilitator to raise the $6,000 or so (excluding labor) necessary to buy a 1.8-kilowatt turbine. (Schools can expect to pay about $1,500 of this amount.)”

Finally, AWEA’s Vice President of Industry Data and Analysis, Elizabeth Salerno, heads to The Hill to highlight the myriad successes of the PTC in ensuring America’s position as a top innovator in wind power:

  • “The wind power industry employs over 80,000 Americans in manufacturing, construction, operations and maintenance, and many other multi-disciplinary roles. Wind power is constantly innovating, taking advantage of new technologies and materials to reap efficiency gains from turbines on a continuing basis. Persistent innovation is one of the reasons why the cost of wind energy has declined 43 percent in the past 5 years.”
  • “Wind power competes healthily with more established, traditional forms of energy. Data from the 2013 U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook report shows, taking into account all energy incentives across all sources, newly built wind generation is cost competitive with all forms of electricity--currently second only to natural gas.”
  • “While we must address the broader issue of tax reform in this country, we must also acknowledge that until concrete changes can be made to place the full spectrum of energy sources on a level playing field, the PTC is an important, effective, and affordable way to make sure we aren’t picking winners and losers on Capitol Hill. Absent comprehensive tax reform, why should wind be the only source of energy to lose its primary incentive?”

Sources:

Laurie Guevara-Stone, “Top 10 reasons 2013 was a good year for clean energy.” The Christian Science Monitor. 11 January 2014.

Hilary Masell Oswald, “Wind Turbines Fuel Learning.” Edutopia. 13 January 2014.

Elizabeth Salerno, “Wind energy credit is successful.” The Hill. 10 January 2014.