News roundup: EPA speaks with Western Gov's., Iowa wind set-up for success, SC turbine testing switches on

12 June 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

The second half of the week begins with regional news with national implications: EPA’s Gina McCarthy visits the Western Governors’ Association to talk 111(d), Iowa set itself up for clean energy jobs, and a turbine testing center in South Carolina could score an important client.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy headed to Colorado Springs this week to speak to the Western Governors’ Association, where she held a discussion on what new carbon emissions rules mean for the American West. Associated Press:

  • The head of the Environmental Protection Agency promoted proposed clean power plant rules to Western governors Tuesday, framing the plan as a way to deal with destructive wildfires and floods that have ravaged the region in recent years.
  • McCarthy emphasized that states will have flexibility in developing plans to reduce carbon output.
  • She said the biggest concern from governors is that the EPA doesn't "treat every state as if they're the same." "Even out West, they're different. Some are very much coal-dependent, while others are very much advancing renewables in a strong way," she said.
  • In addition to [Colorado Gov. John] Hickenlooper and [Wyoming Gov. Matt] Mead, the governors attending the annual WGA conference in Colorado are: Jan Brewer of Arizona, C.L. "Butch" Otter of Idaho, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, Gary Herbert of Utah, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, and Steve Bullock of Montana.

States are just beginning to figure out how they plan to curb their carbon emissions, but Iowa seems to have it figured out: deploying wind power and creating good jobs at the same time. Huffington Post Blog:

  • The Des Moines Register’s editorial board applauded the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for proposing the first standards for carbon pollution from existing power plants. They got it right: the proposal offers an opportunity for Iowa to continue to grow its booming wind sector and implement solar and energy efficiency to a greater extent, creating a more affordable, more independent, and cleaner electric system.   In fact, Iowa is already on a path to meet the emissions reduction target set by EPA.
  • In fact, Iowa is the nation’s leader in wind generation, with 27% of the state’s electricity now coming from wind turbines. MidAmerican Energy, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, has announced plans to invest an additional $1.9 billion by 2016, adding 1050 MW of wind to the state and increasing wind’s share in the utility’s energy portfolio to 40%.
  • Renewables and efficiency bring benefits beyond the electricity provided.  Wind energy was a factor in drawing companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft to locate their data centers in Iowa rather than in our more coal-dependent neighbor states. Governor Branstad attributed the drastic employment gains in Lee County partly to turbine manufacturing growth in the state. And, when the wind industry came to Newton, Iowa, it gave new purpose to skilled workers left behind when an appliance manufacturer left.

In North Charleston, a recently christened turbine testing facility may soon be opening its doors to a major client, New Jersey’s Fisherman’s Energy. The Post and Courier:

  • A New Jersey wind power project is a step closer to working with Clemson's North Charleston testing facility after being chosen for federal funding. Fishermen's Energy was one of three offshore wind projects to receive up to $47 million from the Department of Energy. The firm wants to use the SCE&G Energy Innovation Center at the Clemson site on the old Navy base to test turbines for the project. Its goal is to place five turbines in the shallow ocean water near Atlantic City to harness wind energy, as early as next year.
  • The firm likely will submit the documentation this week, he said, and he hopes to finalize the contract for the funding by the end of the month. The innovation center is prepared for the opportunity to work with Fishermen's Energy, said director Nikolaos Rigas.
  • "It's a great project in that we're going to learn a lot with them about these systems and how they're going to work out there, how to better control them once they're off the coast," Rigas said. "It exactly supports the model we've been talking about: that Charleston is a port city, so we're not just going to be working with equipment that will be placed in South Carolina, but we can bring in equipment that goes anywhere in the world."

Be sure to check out this week’s other roundups:

Sources:

Staff, “EPA promotes carbon emissions proposal to Western governors.” The Associated Press. 11 June 2014

Henry Henderson, “EPA Carbon Standards and Iowa: Breezing Past Proposed Goals.” Huffington Post Blog. 11 June 2014.

Katie West, “Wind energy developer eyes Energy Innovation Center testing.” The Post and Courier. 11 June 2014.