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News roundup: A leap forward, a Farm Bill for renewables, and a pro-PTC chief in Senate Finance

News roundup: A leap forward, a Farm Bill for renewables, and a pro-PTC chief in Senate Finance

The week is halfway done, and Deepwater Wind has a new partner in Alstom, the Farm Bill contains significant provisions for renewables, and the incoming chairman for Senate Finance has good plans for the PTC.

Rhode Island’s Deepwater Wind project has announced a partnership with Alstom to supply its turbines for the state’s first offshore project:

  • Deepwater Wind has signed an agreement for Alstom to supply the Block Island Wind Farm with five Haliade 150-6 MW offshore wind turbines. Deepwater says the deal represents a pivotal point in the development of the 30 MW demonstration project, located off the coast of Block Island, R.I.
  • Under the new supply contract, Deepwater Wind says it made an initial multi-million-dollar payment in December 2013 that allowed Alstom to begin the manufacturing process for the turbines. Grybowski adds that most of the blade units have already been manufactured. Deepwater expects all of the blades to be completed and delivered to the company at a warehouse in Europe in April.
  • Deepwater says its partnership with Alstom will create a number of local jobs and boost economic activity in Rhode Island. In addition to operations and management positions the developer will fill to support the project, Alstom intends to base its long-term service operations in the state and to perform pre-installation work in a local harbor. Furthermore, Alstom will investigate opportunities to execute assembly activities in Rhode Island.

President Obama has signed off on the new farm bill, meaning significant provisions for renewable energy, including wind power, will benefit rural communities:

  • The revamped Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), part of the Energy Title, will allocate $45 million in each fiscal year from 2014 through 2018 to offer grants and loans to rural businesses and agricultural producers to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including solar and small wind power systems.
  • Applications for REAP funding are to be evaluated under a three-tiered approach: projects costing $80,000 or less, those over $80,000 but less than $200,000, and those costing $200,000 or more. The Energy Title also provides funding for biofuel programs.
  • “ACORE commends Congress for finding a way to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that leaves crucial components of the Farm Bill intact while continuing to fund important renewable energy programs and recognizing the importance of water conservation,” [ACORE President and CEO Michael] Brower says. 

As Oregon Senator Ron Wyden prepares to take the chair on the Senate Finance Committee, he has made extending the PTC a priority:

  • "My sense is that the focus at the outset is likely to be the extender package," Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, told reporters yesterday.
  • The PTC is among 55 tax provisions that expired at the end of last year. Baucus and Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican who chairs the House tax-writing committee, allowed them to lapse in favour of working on a broader tax code overhaul.
  • He expects an extension to be opposed by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, but that it will ultimately go through. "It will be close, but if I had to bet, that's where I am."

Don’t forget! Leading up to Valentine’s Day, AWEA wants you to tell us why you love wind power!

And be sure to check out this week’s other roundups:

Sources:

Staff, “Deepwater Wind Takes 'Leap Forward,' Taps Alstom To Supply Rhode Island Offshore Demo.” North American Windpower. 11 February 2014.

Staff, “New Farm Bill Becomes Law, Includes Millions In Renewables Funding.” North American Windpower. 10 February 2014.

Diane Bailey, “PTC extension priority for new senate finance chief.” Windpower Monthly. 12 February 2014.

 

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