Renewables should be "prioritised on federal land"
A top contender to lead the US Interior Department under Democratic President-Elect Joe Biden says the federal government should prioritise expanding renewable energy projects on public land, changing course from the Trump administration’s decision to increase oil and gas drilling.
Speaking at Reuters Events’ Energy Transition North America, Democratic US Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico, says that over the last four years Republican President Donald Trump’s administration has allowed drillers to ‘run roughshod’ over federal lands and that it is now time to make it easier for renewable energy such as solar and wind power to expand.
“Leasing practices need to be changed. We need to make sure we’re promoting and increasing clean-energy leases,” she explains, citing a 2018 federal report that shows that about a quarter of US greenhouse gas emissions come from burning fuels extracted from public lands and waters.
During his campaign, Joe Biden vowed to ban all new permits for drilling on public land as part of a broader effort to bring down the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, in order to fight climate change. The ban would not affect existing drilling permits, which can continue to produce for years, Haaland says.
“We’re not saying ‘shut everything down today'. But this renewable energy is an industry that we know holds a great future for so many Americans and that’s what I really want to move forward.”
Haaland won re-election to a second two-year term representing New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District including Albuquerque, was one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in 2018.
She is on a short list of potential Interior secretaries alongside her Southwestern state’s two senators: Tom Udall, who is retiring, and Martin Heinrich, according to sources familiar with the matter. Should Biden name Haaland to the post, she would become the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. She declined to confirm whether she has been vetted.
Oil and gas production on public lands topped a record one billion barrels last year, as the Trump administration pushed its ‘energy dominance’ agenda, which is aimed at speeding up permitting for major energy projects.
During the initial outbreak of the coronavirus, the Interior Department helped oil and gas companies get relief from paying royalties amid an oil market slump and expanded the industry’s access to economy-wide government lending facilties.
Conversely, the department did not ease rents for renewable energy projects on public land, prompting accusations of unfairness by proponents of renewable energy.
Haaland has not committed to supporting a waiver program that would exempt states from a potential ban on fossil fuel production permitting on federal land. The idea was floated last year by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a fellow Democrat, citing the state’s reliance on revenues from federal drilling.
However, Haaland does point out that there are several other measures that Biden could take on Day One of his presidency to protect public land, including issuing an order to conserve 30 percent of federal land and oceans by 2030.
She adds that Biden could also seek to reverse the Trump administration’s moves to shrink the size of national monuments like the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase in Utah, which include land sacred to local tribes, and use his authority to designate new national monuments.
W3 Energy signs technical operations contract with Luxcara
The wind farm, located outside of Piteå in northern Sweden, plans to have 137 wind turbines on full installation, with an expected capacity of more than 750 MW.
W3 Energy will be responsible for onsite technical operations management and local accounting services as well as operation and maintenance of the electrical infrastructure and transformer stations.
"This contract strengthens our position as a key player in onsite technical operations management. The Önusberget wind farm is the largest single-site wind power project in Europe and we are proud that Luxcara gives us the trust to support with the operational management of their investment", says W3 Energy's COO André Sjöström.
"The contract with Luxcara is extremely important to us and means that we take a firm grip on our home region. This contract allows us to continue to grow and we plan to continue to recruit in Piteå, Umeå, and Skellefteå."
The new contract with Luxcara means that W3 Energy manages approximately 15% of the renewable energy produced in Sweden and lays the foundation for continuing to build growth in other regions.
"Luxcara is an internationally respected asset manager in renewable energy, with high-quality investment criteria and a strong focus on diversity and sustainability. We share their view on sustainability, with a strong focus on environmental as well as social and ethical aspects", stated W3 Energy's CEO Pär Dunder.
Its past engagement with W3 combined with their track record from other large projects and their local experience were decisive factors for choosing W3 Energy, according to Philip Sander, Managing Director of Luxcara.
Global Wind Day will be held tomorrow (June 15), to promote wind's potential to reshape our energy systems, decarbonise economies and boost jobs and economic growth.
Onshore wind is now the cheapest form of new power generation in most of Europe, and offshore wind is not far behind with costs having fallen over 60% in three years, according to WindEurope.
Adrian Timbus, ETIPWind Chairman, said: “Wind energy can help electrify 75% of Europe’s energy demand and thereby deliver climate neutrality by 2050. But we must prioritise the development of the necessary technologies: next generation onshore and offshore turbines, electrification solutions for transport and for industry, and electrolysers for renewable hydrogen.”
Poland leads Europe's wind growth
Poland saw Europe's biggest increase in wind turbine energy production between 2000 and 2018, according to a Save on Energy study, and produced the fourteenth highest percentage of electricity by wind power overall in 2018.
Czechia has seen second highest percentage increase in electricity production generated by wind power. Despite having the second lowest proportion of electricity generated by wind power in 2018, the country previously produced the lowest percentage overall in 2000, so it has still seen a significant increase in wind turbine energy production over the years.
France has the third largest increase in wind turbine energy production throughout the period studied, with electricity production generated by wind power increasing from 0.009% in 2000, to 4.9% in 2018, while neighbouring Belgium experienced the fourth highest increase in wind energy production, with almost 10% of electricity produced being generated by wind power in 2018, compared to 0.02% in 2000.
Although Ukraine boasted the lowest percentage of electricity produced by wind turbines in 2018 (0.7%), the country had the fifth largest percentage increase since 2000, since only 0.003% of electricity production was generated by wind turbines.
By comparison, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain each ranked as having the lowest percentage increases when it came to the percentage of electricity production generated by wind turbines between 2000 and 2018, and they lag considerably behind other European nations.
The EU wants wind to account for 50% of the continent's electricity by 2050. The Romanian Wind Energy Association recently launched a Code of Good Practice for renewable energy.
Top 10 countries in Europe for wind growth