U.S. Wind Market Putting up Strong Numbers in Second Half of 2014
Good news for the U.S. wind market this week, as the numbers for the second half of 2014 are looking better than expected. In the first nine months of this year, 1,254 MW of wind power has come online—more than all of 2013 combined.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), in Q3 alone, 419 MW of new wind projects were added. This growth has been brought on by a federal tax credit. Wind farms that began construction at the end of last year still qualify for the $0.23 per kWh tax credit.
"The American wind industry responded to the extension of the Production Tax Credit in 2013 by setting new records for the number of new wind farms under construction and reaching the lowest wind energy costs ever seen," AWEA chief executive Tom Kiernan said. "We believe Congress will do what it takes so we can keep these US factories open and offer this increasingly affordable source of electricity to more Americans, instead of seeing the 92 per cent drop-off we saw in 2013 when the tax credit was last allowed to expire."
The AWEA says there are 105 projects that total roughly 13,600 MW under development in 21 states, though more than half of this capacity can be found in Texas. As analyst site BusinessGreen points out, though, this hasn’t exactly helped reduce carbon emissions.
“However, despite an increase in wind, solar, and nuclear power output over 2013, new figures published yesterday confirmed the US saw energy-related emissions rise 2.5 per cent to 5,396 million metric tons (MMmt) in 2013 as coal-fired generation grew 4.8 per cent and natural gas power dropped 10 per cent,” the site reports.
Still, the biggest contributor to reduced emissions continues to be renewable energy, and the recent uptick in wind farms is definitely helping.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.