News roundup: Renewables on top in 2013, Kansas wind builds momentum, and the State of the Union's Energy Agenda

28 January 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

It’s Tuesday, and renewable energy took the lead once again in 2013, Kansas wind power is hugely popular, and SOTU: will Obama follow through on climate change and clean energy?

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has released its Energy Infrastructure update, and renewable energy has come out on top again in 2013:

  • Renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower, accounted for 37.16% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed during calendar-year 2013 for a total of 5,279 MW, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
  • Among renewable energy sources, the FERC report says solar led the way in 2013 with 266 new "units" totaling 2,936 MW, followed by wind with 18 units totaling 1,129 MW. Biomass added 97 new units totaling 777 MW, while water had 19 new units with an installed capacity of 378 MW and geothermal steam had four new units (59 MW).
  • "Renewable energy sources are leaving coal, oil and nuclear power in the dust as new sources of electrical generating capacity while challenging natural gas' current dominance," comments Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "The growth of renewables is likely to accelerate as the costs for new solar and wind, in particular, continue to drop, making them ever more competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear power."

Kansans are big fans of wind power, according to a recent poll, and momentum is only increasing. In this week’s Wind Talk:

  • The Wind Coalition recently released new poll data showing that Kansans support increasing renewable energy development and the state’s renewable portfolio standard. The poll, conducted by North Star Opinion Research, indicates that renewable energy is just as popular as it was in 2009 when Kansas first pursued renewable energy legislation. In this podcast, Jeff Clark, Executive Director of the Wind Coalition, will discuss the poll, its findings, and the economic benefits of wind.
  • You can listen to the podcast here.

With tonight’s State of the Union on the horizon, environmentalists and clean energy advocates want to know just what the president is doing to combat climate change and promote renewable energy. U.S. News & World report has a full rundown:

  • President Barack Obama heads to the U.S. Capitol Tuesday to deliver his 2014 State of the Union Address. Energy and the environment have figured prominently in each of his five addresses so far, but how well has he followed through on his promises?
  • "Double this nation's supply of renewable energy in the next three years": Pass. The country's renewable energy capacity was 43.5 gigawatts in 2009. Doubling it would have meant increasing it to 87 gigawatts by 2012. While the U.S. just missed that goal by coming in 1.3 gigawatts shy, according to a report by Bloomberg, the administration essentially matched its stated objective. We give this one a pass.
  • "Invest $15 billion a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America": Uncertain. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act alone, tens of billions were invested in clean energy efforts, but it's unclear how the administration would break down that figure by year.
  • "By 2035, 80 percent of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources": At risk. Projections by the Energy Information Administration show that up to 70 percent - and perhaps as little as 50 percent - of Americans' energy consumption will come from renewable, nuclear or natural gas resources by 2040. If so-called "clean coal" is included in the projection, the figure ticks up only slightly higher.

Be sure to have a look at Michael Goggin’s new post: Wind power once again saves millions by keeping energy prices in check during cold snap

For more news on wind power, check out Monday’s news roundup: Wind boosts reliability, a call to extend the PTC, and strong support for the Kansas RPS

Sources:

Staff, “New U.S. Renewable Energy Capacity More Than Triples Coal, Oil And Nuclear Combined.” North American Windpower. 27 January 2014.

Nic Sharpley, “Wind Talk: Wind gaining momentum in Kansas, says Wind Coalition exec.” Windpower Engineering & Development. 27 January 2014.

Alan Neuhauser, “State of the Union: Has Obama Kept His Promises on Energy and the Environment?U.S. News & World Report. 27 January 2014.