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News roundup: New opportunities for the Southeast, Kansas wind for Alabama, and Rhode Island's Deepwater Wind is looking good

News roundup: New opportunities for the Southeast, Kansas wind for Alabama, and Rhode Island's Deepwater Wind is looking good

This Wednesday, the Southeast is making big news as ACORE releases a new report, Alabama takes advantage of abundant Kansas wind power, and Maine prepares to lead on offshore wind.

The American Council on Renewable Energy has released the last report in a four-part series on renewable energy in all 50 states. As it turns out, the South is brimming with potential:

  • “The Southeast certainly has suitable renewable energy resources—like the tremendous biomass resources that are a dominant source of renewable power in the Southeast and now also exported to Europe,” said Lesley Hunter, ACORE’s research and program manager and lead author of the report. “However, the Southeastern states have often been reluctant to create market signals attractive to renewable energy developers and investors –including appropriate incentives and government initiatives.”  
  • While 10 of the 14 states in Southeast Region have no installed wind power capacity, two of the outliers are nationally recognized hubs for wind development: Texas and Oklahoma. To support the growth of the nation’s largest wind power market, Texas is building a $7 billion transmission system designed to facilitate the transmission of about 18.5 GW of wind power from turbines located in West Texas to the population centers farther east in the state.
  • While the region as a whole lags behind national development trends, a few Southeastern states—notably North Carolina, Georgia and Texas—have emerged as hotspots for growth. “One of the goals of the 50 State Report was to highlight the economic benefits of renewable energy that is supported by state policy. The data in the Report offers the opportunity to compare and contrast and will hopefully encourage states to take advantage of their resources to create jobs and attract investment,” Hunter said.

A new wind farm in Kansas is taking advantage of Alabama’s thirst for clean, renewable energy, and exporting the Sunflower State’s breeze far and wide:

  • Recently completed projects included a roughly 250-megawatt farm, known as Buffalo Dunes, that will supply power to Alabama Power Company, according to a quarterly report from the American Wind Energy Association. Fort Hays State University also installed 4 megawatts of capacity for its own use.
  • About 20 megawatts of the capacity under construction will be sold to the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission. Other buyers weren’t disclosed in the report. Kansas currently has about 2,967 megawatts of wind energy capacity, which is the eighth-highest in the country.
  • Elizabeth Salerno, director of industry data and analysis for the American Wind Energy Association, said most wind energy development is happening in the Midwest, while the coasts lag behind. “In the corridor from Texas all the way to North Dakota is where we expect to see our big growth area,” she said.
  • Alabama Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company

The Providence Journal reports that area groups are helping to make Rhode Island a clean energy hub:

  • During [a] nearly four-hour hearing that was dominated by presentations by developer Deepwater Wind, representatives of the National Wildlife Federation, the Rhode Island chapter of the Sierra Club and Environment Rhode Island said that the development of offshore wind power can help reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
  • The hearing at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay campus was the first opportunity for the public to comment before the CRMC on Deepwater’s plans to install five wind turbines in waters about three miles southeast of Block Island. About 200 people attended.
  • The turbines would be manufactured in Europe and brought to Quonset Point in North Kingstown for assembly, said Robert Billington, project director for Deepwater. They could be installed in a matter of weeks after their latticework steel foundations are sunk into the ocean floor. The jacket structures and turbines could withstand a 100-year storm.

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

Sources:

ACORE, “Report Finds Renewable Energy Resources in Southeastern Region.” Water & Wastes Digest. 4 February 2014.

Megan Hart, “New wind farms in Kansas sell power as far as Alabama.” Topeka Capital-Journal. 4 February 2014.

Alex Kuffner, “Environmental groups support Deepwater’s wind farm proposal off Block Island.” Providence Journal. 4 February 2014.

 

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