News roundup: Wind-powered Snickers, shaping up U.S. wind, Cape Wind DOE loan advances

1 May 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

Today’s news highlights a major decision by Mars, Inc. to power its operations with wind, a record over-12GW of American wind energy under construction, and Cape Wind’s forward progress with its DOE loan application.

Mars seeks to go “sustainable in a generation” through large-scale clean energy initiatives and other programs, but their decision to buy a wind farm takes the cake. Triple Pundit’s Andrew Burger:

  • U.S. candy and food products multinational Mars is taking bold steps towards meeting ambitious triple-bottom-line sustainability goals. Aiming to be completely carbon-neutral by 2040, today Mars announced it is partnering with the Sumitomo Corporation of Americas and BNB Renewable Energy Holdings to build a wind farm in Texas capable of producing enough renewable electricity to power all of its U.S. operations.
  • Mars Chief Sustainability Officer Barry Parkin highlighted the role Mesquite Creek Wind will play in realizing the company’s climate change mitigation and overall sustainability goals: “We are committed to doing our part to limit climate change. We are therefore delighted to be announcing this major renewable project that takes us a big step towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral in our operations. This is an innovative approach that makes great business and environmental sense.”
  • Added Sumitomo Americas Vice President William Cannon: “We are pleased to be partnered with Mars to help them reduce their carbon footprint and allow their electricity to be carbon-neutral in the U.S. Mesquite Creek is a landmark project for Sumitomo and our sixth renewable energy investment in the U.S., further strengthening our commitment as a major developer and owner of renewable energy.”

After a first quarter that signals important improvement in the wind industry, AWEA is preparing for WINDPOWER 2014 by celebrating the industry’s record-high construction numbers. ReNews:

  • The US had more than 13GW of wind projects under construction at the end of the first quarter to evidence a continuing “construction boom”, according to the American Wind energy Association.
  • Sites are being developed in 21 states with Texas topping the pile for activity on 8GW, followed by Iowa (more than 1GW), Kansas (700MW), North Dakota (600MW) and Oklahoma (nearly 500MW).
  • “The US wind industry has a busy few weeks ahead with the largest wind energy conference in North America coming up and momentum on Capitol Hill to take up an extenders package in the full Senate, including the Production Tax Credit,” said AWEA chief executive Tom Kiernan. “An extension of the PTC is essential to continuing the growth of US wind energy and we look forward to watching the full Senate take up the package soon.”

Cape Wind is one step closer to reality, as it seeks to secure an important loan from the Department of Energy to help it build what could be the country’s first offshore wind farm. Bloomberg’s Ari Natter:

  • The Energy Department is proceeding with "active review" of an application for a loan guarantee by Cape Wind Associates LLC after a federal court decision in March upholding the Interior Department's approval of the company's proposed $2.6 billion wind farm, the head of the DOE loan guarantee program said.
  • The court decision paves way for the Energy Department's loan programs office to proceed with review of the loan, which includes financial due diligence and eyeing possible "regulatory issues," Davidson said.
  • The project, proposed over a 25-mile area in Nantucket Sound known as Horseshoe Shoal, has two power purchase agreements in place with Massachusetts utilities National Grid and NSTAR. Cape Wind has said it will begin onshore cable route construction by the end of 2014 and begin ocean construction in 2015. It expects to begin commercial operations in late summer 2016.

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

Sources:

Andrew Burger, “Mars To Cut Carbon Emissions 25 Percent By Investing In Texas Wind Farm.” Triple Pundit. 30 April 2014.

Staff, “US shaping up 13GW of wind.” ReNews. 30 April 2014.

Ari Natter, “DOE Proceeds with Review of Cape Wind Loan Guarantee After Favorable Court Ruling.” Bloomberg BNA. 30 April 2014.