40% of Texas-New Mexico electricity supply could be wind powered by 2021
Electricity supplier Xcel Energy has announced plans to increase the wind power supply at its Texas-New Mexico Service area, an undertaking that could result in 40% of the region’s electricity supply being powered by the renewable energy source.
The company already supplies 20% of the regions annual energy using wind farms, however, the proposed additional contracts would double this, providing over 1000MW of wind energy.
Xcel’s plans have been announced at a time when many companies are investing into renewable energy, with capital costs falling and incentives such as tax benefits becoming ever-present.
“The new wind projects we are proposing will generate electricity as cheaply as our coal-fueled power plants without using precious groundwater or producing air emissions,” said David Hudson, President of Xcel Energy for the Texas-New Mexico region.
“Because of these and other factors, we will save $2.8 billion on energy production costs over 30 years, and those savings will flow directly back to our customers through lower fuel costs.”
Further, the ability to add more wind power is much more feasible due to the significant investments that the company has made into the region’s high voltage transmission network.
“We have to invest wisely in our energy future, which means we may have to bear higher upfront costs to achieve long-term savings,” Hudson continues.
“Our wind energy expansion will pay for itself and return nearly 40 percent in savings over time, and that’s not something we’d want to pass up.”
If the regional utility regulators approve the projects, construction will begin on the 478MW Hale Wind Project and the 522MW Sagamore Wind Project, with expected completion dates of 2019 and 2020.
Toyota unveils electric van and Volvo opens fuel cell lab
Toyota is launching its first zero emission battery electric vehicle, the Proace Electric medium-duty panel van, across Europe.
The model, which offers a choice of 50 or 75kWh lithium-ion batteries with range of up to 205 miles, is being rolled out in the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
At present, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs, including battery electric vehicles) account for only a fraction – around 1.8 per cent – of new light commercial van sales in the UK, but a number of factors are accelerating demand for practical alternatives to vans with conventional internal combustion engines.
Low and zero emission zones are coming into force to reduce local pollution and improve air quality in urban centres, at the same time as rapid growth in ecommerce is generating more day-to-day delivery traffic.
Meanwhile the opening of Volvo's first dedicated fuel cell test lab in Volvo Group, marks a significant milestone in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040.
Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen with oxygen, with the resulting chemical reaction producing electricity. The process is completely emission-free, with water vapour being the only by-product.
Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, says fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides another vital tool in its work to reach targets.
"The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing," he said.
The Fuel Cell Test Lab is a demonstration of the same dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology, as the recent launch of cell centric, a joint venture by Volvo Group and Daimler Truck to accelerate the development, production and commercialization of fuel cell solutions within long-haul trucking and beyond. Both form a key part of the Group’s overall ambition to be 100% fossil free by 2040.