July 23, 2010 - no Senate energy bill for now; wind gets boosts

Friday, July 23, 2010

A bit of New Meadows eye candy:

Sure enough, the Senate climate bill is dead. Instead, we'll get a weak energy bill addressing the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, promoting building energy efficiency through the HomeStar program, and promoting the use of natural gas as a fuel for large trucks.

In Maine, the Fort Halifax dam removal saga continues. Prior to removal of this dam on the Sebasticook River, the town of Winslow, Maine and residents had voiced concerns about erosion, and had appealed (without success) the Department of Environmental Protection's orders approving dam removal. After the dam was removed, portions of the former impoundment's banks suffered severe erosion. The town had to spend over $725,000 to demolish six homes on Dallaire Street that were threatened by the newly eroded banks. The affected areas also included the river bank below the historic (mid-1700s) Fort Hill Cemetery, eroding the bank back much closer to the cemetery fence and grave sites. Former dam owner FPL Energy Maine Hydro commissioned a study of why this erosion happened. FPLE's study concluded that the dam removal and drawdown "did not play a significant role"; instead, the study pointed to unstable soils, steep slopes, heavy rain, and an earthquake. Both the town and the state expressed doubts about this conclusion. Now the town has officially asked the DEP to perform its own study, and to enforce the conditions in its dam removal order that require FPLE to monitor and remediate erosion.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved Susan Collins's request for $10 million in funding for the University of Maine's development, deployment and testing of deepwater and offshore wind turbines. The funding must now be approved by the full Senate, but the parallel House bill still lacks such an appropriation.

Wind is big in California too. It looks like Terra-Gen's Alta Wind Energy Center near Tehachapi is going forward, as it has placed an order with Vestas Wind Systems for 190 3 MW turbines. The Alta Wind project represents the largest financing of a North American wind-energy development to date. Part of the financial picture includes a 1,550 MW power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison for part of the project output. The project will have domestic economic benefits as well: Vestas will manufacture the blades in Windsor, Colorado, and most of the towers in Pueblo, CO.

A growing storm in the Gulf of Mexico has put BP's efforts at the oil well site on hold.

No comments:

Post a Comment