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Hot news on a cool sector

Hot news on a cool sector

The people agree, wind power is cooling the planet. Two new reports show that Americans love clean energy more every day, and U.S. wind manufacturers had a stellar end-year performance.

According to a new report from Navigant Research, public opinion in the U.S. on clean energy is on the rebound, with overall support for the 10 “clean-energy concepts” surveyed increasing from 44 to 51 percent favorability:

  • “‘Between 2009 and 2012, there were steady declines in favorability for some clean energy concepts, particularly the most favorable concepts, such as solar energy, wind energy, and hybrid and electric vehicles,’ said Clint Wheelock, managing director with Navigant Research. ‘This year saw statistically significant increases in favorability for seven of the 10 concepts, and a decline for only one — nuclear power.’”
  • “Wind energy came in second [after solar energy], viewed favorably by 72 percent, up from 66 percent in 2012. Hybrid vehicles were third at 67 percent, up from 54 percent.”

Navigant’s findings go along well with a poll conducted by USA TODAY at the year’s end, suggesting Americans are reacting to the impacts of climate change. 73 percent of those surveyed supported continued tax incentives for wind, solar, and hydropower.

  • “Survey participant Theolyn Brock, 42, who's lived in Florida since 1974, says hurricanes and beach erosion in her state have definitely worsened in recent decades, and she attributes part of that to global warming. She'd like to see a U.S. shift toward solar and wind power similar to what Germany's doing. She recently returned from a vacation there: ‘You could see it everywhere — solar panel after solar panel.’”

Finally, with the year-end rush to begin construction on new wind projects in order to qualify for the PTC, the U.S. wind industry found itself awash with new orders. Earth Techling’s Pete Danko reports on Vestas:

  • “How good is it in U.S. wind power manufacturing these days? This good: When Vestas announced its latest wind turbine orders this week, it included a link to the website of a staffing agency that is helping it hire hundreds of new employees at the Colorado factories were Vestas builds blades and nacelles.”
  • “On Friday, Reuters reported that Vestas set a company record for orders booked in a month in December, with 1,346 megawatts.”
  • “Jobs in the wind manufacturing sector look strong elsewhere, as well, thanks to huge orders like MidAmerican Energy’s contract with Siemens for 448 2.3-megawatt wind turbines to be used at five new Iowa wind power plants. That’s driving Siemens jobs in Fort Madison, Iowa, and Hutchinson, Kan., while tower maker Broadwind Energy, with plants in Wisconsin and Texas, also stands to benefit.”

Sources:

Mark Harden, “Americans' view of clean energy rebounds”. Denver Business Journal, 2 January 2014.

Wendy Koch, “Poll: Americans see impact of global warming”. USA TODAY, 20 December 2013.

Pete Danko, “US Wind Power Manufacturing Pipeline Fills Up”. GreenTech Media, 3 January 2014.

 

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