News roundup: Michigan RPS on track, Suzlon powers through polar vortex, Kansas winning with wind
With the weekend upon us, good news comes from the states, where the Michigan RPS is on track to meet its 2015 goal, Suzlon highlights its turbines’ performance during the polar vortex, and a Kansas roundtable shows just how much the Sunflower State loves wind power.
Michigan is set to achieve the goals set out in its Renewable Portfolio Standards by 2015, with wind power driving the charge:
- Thanks to a surge in wind power development, Michigan's utilities are on track to meeting the state's 10% by 2015 renewable portfolio standard (RPS), finds a new report issued by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). For 2012, the estimated renewable energy percentage reached 5.4%, up from 4.4% the previous year. For 2013, renewables are expected to have reached 6.9%.
- "The year 2012 marked the first time that Michigan utilities were mandated to meet an interim compliance requirement, and all of them succeeded," notes MPSC Chairman John D. Quackenbush. "Progress toward Michigan's 10-percent-by-2015 renewable energy standard is going smoothly, and since the standard has been in effect, over 1,100 MW of new renewable energy projects have become commercially operational."
Suzlon congratulated its team for helping maintain its turbines through the extreme cold of the polar vortex, when wind power stepped in to provide critical electricity to Americans:
- Turbine company Suzlon notes that during the polar vortex that hit northern U.S. states last month, 71 of the company's machines situated in the region each produced a record 1 million kWh.
- "I am proud of Suzlon turbines and my team of technicians and achieving an extremely high volume of kWhs for our customers in the middle of this harsh winter," says Duncan Koerbel, Suzlon Wind Energy Corp.'s CEO, Suzlon Energy Ltd.'s chief technology officer and head of global operations.
- Wind power proved a helpful resource across the country during the polar vortex. Utilities, such as the Nebraska Public Power District, and grid operators, such as the New York Independent System Operator, relied on wind power to help meet boosts in energy demand.
In Kansas, a renewable energy roundtable confirmed Kansans’ love for wind power and its economic benefits for the state:
- Renewable energy fans who filled the room were urged to keep singing praises for wind and solar and to lobby their elected leaders to maintain and grow the footprint in Kansas. The third of five Renewable Energy Roundtable gatherings conducted across the state brought more than 65 folks to Kansas Wesleyan University on Wednesday night. It was the best-attended roundtable yet, said Dorothy Barnett, executive director of the nonprofit Climate & Energy Project, with headquarters in Hutchinson.
- Speakers told of the benefits to Kansas, communities and owners of land where the tall wind turbines are located. "This was a fantastic opportunity," said Richard Plinsky, a Lincoln County farmer and rancher who leases land to the Smoky Hill Wind Farm project. "As a landowner, I have no regrets. The most profitable land I own is underneath those turbines," he said.
- By the end of 2012, Kansas had already seen $6 billion invested in wind and manufacturing projects. Added to that figure is $321 million in landowner payments, $208 million in donation agreements to communities – over the 20-year life of the projects – and 13,484 jobs. There are currently 20 projects up and running in the state. "Kansas wind is very cost effective," [energy consultant Scott] White said. "It’s cheaper to generate power from wind here than anywhere else in the U.S."
Be sure to check out this week’s other roundups:
- Thursday: Veterans for clean tech, gains in American offshore, and investing in turbines
- Wednesday: Steyer on climate change, Michigan's RPS a winner, and transmission for 1 million homes
- Tuesday: 100 percent renewables for U.S., Google invests in clean energy, support for action on climate
Staff, “Wind Power Keeps Michigan Utilities On Track To Meet RPS Goal.” North American Windpower. 20 February 2014.
Staff, “Suzlon's Turbines Achieve Record Production During Polar Vortex.” North American Windpower. 20 February 2014.
Tim Unruh, “Wind, solar power touted.” Salina Journal. 20 February 2014.