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News roundup: Wind boosts reliability, a call to extend the PTC, and strong support for the Kansas RPS

News roundup: Wind boosts reliability, a call to extend the PTC, and strong support for the Kansas RPS
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It’s Monday, and today’s roundup highlights wind’s ability to improve grid reliability, the importance of the PTC on the president’s climate change to-do list, and how the Kansas RPS is improving the state’s economy with the help of wind power.

Clean Technica’s Silvio Marcacci showcases a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report that argues wind power improves grid reliability:

  • We’ve all heard the warnings about how intermittent renewables could “crash” the grid if for instance all of a sudden the wind stops blowing and grid operators are left in the lurch for power when they need it. But what if wind turbines actually improve grid reliability? May sound far-fetched to some people, but that’s exactly what the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reports in the new study Active Power Controls from Wind Power: Bridging the Gaps
  • National Wind Technology Center to determine how if wind could provide ancillary services in wholesale electricity markets, how wind farms affect system frequency in the Western U.S. grid system, and if using wind farms to actively provide power control to the grid affects turbine performance and structural integrity.
  • And the outcome of all these studies? Wind energy can not only support the grid by ramping power output up and down to enhance system reliability, but that using wind farms to provide active power control is economically beneficial, all with negligible damage to the turbines themselves.

The Center for American Progress has a 5-item to-do list for President Obama’s climate change plan, and extending the PTC sits high on the list at second:

  • On the eve of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in 2013, the Center for American Progress recommended 10 energy and environmental priorities for President Obama’s second term to build on his first-term clean energy successes. Now, one year later, with the annual State of the Union address coming up, we can assess the status of these recommendations and add five new actions that would further enhance our health and safety, grow our economy, and protect our air, water, and climate.
  • Federal tax incentives for wind power expired in 2013 and will expire for solar electricity in 2016. This creates market uncertainty for investors and leads to boom-bust investment cycles. A study by the Nuclear Energy Institute found that renewable electricity sources received only 9 percent of total federal support between 1950 and 2010, compared to 60 percent for the oil and gas industry. President Obama should urge Congress to extend these tax incentives for renewable technologies until 2020.
  • If President Obama were to pursue these measures, we would achieve additional pollution reductions beyond those that will result from the complete implementation of the Climate Action Plan. These steps would also increase energy security, help maintain more stable gasoline prices, and protect fragile places such as the Arctic Ocean from fossil-fuel pollution. 

Mark Richardson of Red State Renewable Alliance argues for the Kansas RPS, saying the program creates jobs and keeps costs low for consumers:

  • The Kansas Chamber of Commerce recently began targeting Kansas’ Renewable Portfolio Standard, blaming it for raising rates just as Kansas City Power & Light announced purchasing 400 megawatts of wind energy to lower rates $600 million over 20 years.
  • These contradictory statements on wind energy costs result from the Chamber’s reliance on conjectural data generated by an out-of-state think tank asserting the RPS drove rates up 38 percent. Utility and Kansas Corporation Commission empirical data unquestionably refute the Chamber’s claim. They cite federal coal regulations as the main component of the increased costs of $3.3 billion, not the approximate 1 percent rise from the RPS.
  • With Gov. Sam Brownback’s support, the RPS has worked as intended, providing jobs and reducing energy costs.

Sources:

Silvio Marcacci. “Forget Intermittency: NREL Says Wind Energy Can Boost Grid.” Clean Technica. 24 January 2014.

Daniel J. Weiss, Jessica Goad, and Shiva Polefka. “5 More Items for President Obama’s Climate Change To-Do List.” Center for American Progress. 24 January 2014.

Mark Richardson, “KCC should get facts straight regarding renewable energy.” Topeka Capital-Journal. 26 January 2014.

 

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