Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Religious Activist's Agenda Includes Wind

See Grist magazine for an interview with green religious leader Rabbi Warren G. Stone of Temple Emanuel in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. Rabbi Stone notes in part:

I am tremendously proud of the work that my congregation has done. To describe only some of what has been accomplished: Temple Emanuel has had many years of energy audits, we developed environmental policies passed by our board, added solar panels for our "Eternal Light," use wind power, and recycle. We have built with sustainable building materials, created energy-efficient zones, added a biblical garden, and built a symbolic and beautiful sanctuary based on the banyan tree. We have developed interfaith programs in the D.C. community, taken our students on trips to the Chesapeake, and involved them in numerous cleanups and other environmental projects. We have become a "zero carbon footprint" community as well.

Not a bad checklist for any religious community that wants to focus on stewardship of God's creation.

Wind-Powered Pizza Leads Green Business Wave

Yesterday's Baltimore Sun includes an AP wire story on Galactic Pizza, a Minnesota pizza delivery firm that features electric cars and buys wind power.

Galactic Pizza emphasizes environmental sustainability and protection in its business practices, uses organic and locally grown ingredients when possible, and donates a small portion of its profit to hunger relief and other charities.

"I wanted to do good for people, I wanted to not, at the very least, be a burden on society and try to even contribute to it," said Pete Bonahoom, Galactic Pizza's 29-year-old owner.

Excellent short article, check it out. Additional resource: the Center for Small Business and the Environment.

Readers who wish to buy wind power to cover their own energy needs can do so. If you don't feel that you can afford to go 100% wind, a very inexpensive option is to buy 10% or 20%. For the average household, the cost will be 5-10 cents a day . . .

For info on green power suppliers, see "Your Electric Choices" at


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Designing for the World's Poor

This post is not about wind power--so sue me. About the only tangential connection I can think of is that, as with wind power, it involves doing the right thing as opposed to following the herd.

Today's New York Times has an excellent short article on a museum with an exhibit showing examples of products that have been designed to meet the needs of the world's hundreds of millions of poor people, rather than the fashion desires of a wealthy few. Favorable reference is made to KickStart, whose Web site says in part:

KickStart is a non-profit organization that develops and markets new technologies in Africa. These low-cost technologies are bought by local entrepreneurs and used to establish highly profitable new small businesses. They create new jobs and wealth, enabling the poor to climb out of their poverty forever.

Another innovative approach with similar goals is offered by, which uses Web technology to enhance and personalize micro-lending to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

I've added both of these groups to this site's list of links and encourage you to check them out.

Coal Is the Answer?

U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) writes thoughtfully about U.S. dependence on foreign oil at, coming to the conclusion that coal-to-liquids technologies are the answer:

There are many other steps that must be taken: hydrogen cells, solar and wind power, geothermal energy, conservation and clean fuel technologies.

However, given our massive reserves of coal, we need to put this abundance toward reducing our dependency on imported oil. This will greatly enhance our national and economic security.

Stearns bases this view on the assessment that U.S. coal reserves total some 275 billion tons, calling for a Manhattan or Apollo project to take advantage of this huge resource.

Interestingly, a reasonable guesstimate for U.S. wind resources is that they are sufficient to generate 15-20 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. How much coal would be needed to generate that much electricity for one year? Roughly 10 billion tons. Clearly, our wind resources are also massive and deserve equal attention, rather than to be dismissed as a relatively trivial footnote to coal.

Also, missing from Stearns' analysis: any mention of global warming. Probably good thinking on his part--my guess is that the carbon dioxide emissions from the production and then combustion of coal-based liquids would be quite high.

If it were not for global warming concerns, certainly, the idea of any domestic substitute for imported oil would be attractive. For a totally different big-picture approach, see V2G, or Vehicle-to-Grid, Power. I think of it as plug-in hybrids on steroids.

Oregon's RPS Termed 'Historic'

The Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard for May 27 has a strongly positive article on the state's newly approved renewable portfolio standard, saying in part:

By a surprisingly lopsided 41-19 vote, the House approved a bill that requires Oregon's biggest utilities, including the Eugene Water & Electric Board, to generate 25 percent of their power by 2025 from renewable energy sources. The Senate passed a similar version of the bill last month, and is expected to quickly endorse the House changes and send the measure to Gov. Ted Kulongoski to be signed into law.

Oregonians should be proud of this historic legislation, which should help limit carbon emissions while at the same time promoting alternative energy and boosting the state's economy. The proposal's scope and complexity, along with the initial wariness of powerful utility and business interests, made its passage anything but a foregone conclusion.

As I have commented elsewhere, hopefully "business interests" will come to see that this type of legislation is in their best interest, because (1) it helps to stabilize energy prices (wind power, which likely will provide a major chunk of the electricity from renewable sources, uses no fuel and is therefore immune to fuel price spikes on world markets); and (2) it reduces the risk of future carbon emissions regulation and/or taxation.

Congratulations to Oregon! That's a standard of 25% of electricity supply from renewable energy sources by 2025.


Monday, May 28, 2007

How to Fix Wind Power?

Nick Aster at TriplePundit offers a useful quick summary of an article in Popular Mechanics on "How to Fix Wind Power." I enjoyed the article, which I think is a definite cut above average.

With respect to the obstacles, a few comments (quoting Nick here):

1) Cost of transmission lines from relatively remote locations where wind is best. Solution: Small, local turbines, including personal sized ones that augment the grid with diffuse power generation and negligible transmission costs.

Transmission certainly is a major issue that has to be sorted out in the U.S., not only for wind, but for other electricity sources and to strengthen reliability of the entire utility system. This is a long-standing problem for the electricity industry that is gradually making its way higher on the U.S. energy policy agenda. "Small local turbines" sounds appealing, but while small wind turbines definitely have an important role to play in energy supply, they don't really work when one is talking about, say, providing a sizable chunk of New York City's electricity with wind.

2) The inevitable windless day. Solution: Hook up generators to batteries that store electricity for peak demand and low wind conditions.

Storage is tempting as a panacea. However, most utility systems in the U.S. have little need for specific storage dedicated to wind, and such dedication would dramatically increase the cost of wind. On windless days, utilities use other power sources, just as they do when, for example, a nuclear power plant is producing zero electricity due to scheduled maintenance. With regard to wind's variable output, a simpler answer is already provided above--more transmission lines and linkages. This boosts overall reliability while making balancing problems easier all round.

3) Difficulty of offshore construction. Solution: This is a tricky one, involving technology that's not yet here at as-yet unknown costs.

Offshore construction is definitely something that needs to be addressed. America's onshore wind resource is huge and we can do a lot with it, but to take clean energy to the maximum, offshore wind must be a component. Here's more info on a great recent study on offshore wind in the mid-Atlantic states.

Broad Alliance Backs Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

A wide-ranging coalition of more than 180 organizations, including wind companies (the obvious usual suspects) but also powerhouse corporations (Google and GE), labor (United Steelworkers), environmental groups (Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, U.S. PIRG, Sierra Club), faith groups (Union for Reform Judaism, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA), farm groups (Rocky Mountain Farmers Union) and more, lined up last week in support of a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) (also sometimes referred to as Renewable Electricity Standard, or RES). The groups sent a joint letter to U.S. Senate leaders urging adoption of strong RPS legislation as part of an energy bill that will soon come up for debate on the Senate floor.

You can express your support for the RPS through a new action Web site that includes a link to the full text of the letter and its signers.

In other related news, the American Wind Energy Association has kicked off a radio ad campaign that will focus on several states whose Senators have not yet declared their support for an RPS. You can hear a sample ad here.

For even further reference, many RPS resources are available at Endangered Spaces.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wind Turbines and Air Pollution

(Sorry for backing up here: this is something that deserves lengthy treatment, and the long holiday weekend in the U.S. finally provides the time I needed.)

Christopher Mitchell at the blog Energista does a good job of commenting on a Matt Wald story in the May 4 New York Times entitled "Wind Farms May Not Lower Air Pollution, Study Suggests." You can view the entire Wald story here.

Some additional comments:

Wind Farms May Not Lower Air Pollution, Study Suggests

WASHINGTON, May 3 - Building thousands of wind turbines would probably not reduce the pollutants that cause smog and acid rain, but it would slow the growth in emissions of heat-trapping gases, according to a study released Thursday by the National Academy of Sciences.

This headline and lead are very strange, because neither of these findings appears to be news. The reason wind power, in theory, won't reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides is that nationwide emissions of these pollutants is limited by law--no matter how many wind turbines are installed, the limit doesn't change. As Christopher Mitchell points out, though, since wind generators emit no pollutants, more wind should mean that the cost of complying with the limits is reduced. The limits on sulfur dioxide were part of the Clean Air Act of 1990, so this is a 17-year-old story.

With respect to carbon dioxide, the primary "heat-trapping gas," there are no limits, and so more wind generation does indeed reduce CO2 emissions.

So why the peculiar lead and headline?

Even the scale of local damage from wind farms is unclear. Bats and raptors are thought to be the animals most threatened by wind turbines because they reproduce more slowly. But scientists base estimates on fairly primitive methods, like counting animal carcasses nearby and hoping that few have been carried off by animals, said Paul G. Risser, chairman of the academy's study.

I'm not sure I'd call this "primitive." It's the standard method that is used by wildlife biologists to study and report on bird (or bat) mortality caused by collisions with structures of all types, such as communications towers, buildings, and even automobiles. Typically, estimates of "predation" (carcasses being carried off by animals) are developed at each site by leaving carcasses on the ground and seeing how swiftly they are removed. These estimates (for example, 25% removed within a week) are then included when the scientists conducting the study extrapolate a range of total mortality from the dead bodies that are found.

"If 100 bats are killed, we don't know whether that's 100 out of 10 million or 100 out of 100 million," Dr. Risser said.

Excellent point. More federal research dollars invested in getting a handle on bird and bat (especially bat) populations would be a very good thing. At present, almost nothing is known about bat populations. Also, though, it is quite interesting that neither the New York Times nor the National Academy of Sciences study mentions a currently ongoing bat research program that is jointly funded by Bat Conservation International, several wind power companies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. More info about this here.

At the moment, the research is focused on testing a sonic deterrent that would warn bats away from wind farms. Much more testing and engineering work needed before it can be declared a solution.

And researchers do not know whether newer windmills, which have huge blades that rotate slowly, are any safer for birds and bats than older models, which spin more like airplane propellers.


1) Some studies of raptor vision suggest that slower-rotating blades should be easier to see. But it's almost impossible to test this in the field. The only way to do it would be to install one type of machine, then remove it and install the other, measuring mortality at each for the same period of time. You'd also have to hope that nothing else changed in the meantime.

2) The numbers of birds that are killed at most wind sites are so low that studies of this question are unlikely to be fruitful.

Wind power could also reduce coal-plant carbon dioxide, which is thought to cause climate change, but the impact may be small, the report said. By 2025, wind turbines could cut carbon dioxide output by 4.5 percent compared with what it would otherwise have been, but this "would only slow the increase," said Dr. Risser. "It wouldn't result in a decrease in the amount of CO2."

The study relied on an Energy Department projection that in the next 15 years, onshore wind capacity would range from 19 to 72 gigawatts, or 2 percent to 7 percent of the nation's generating capacity. The actual impact would be smaller, however, because wind machines run fewer hours than coal or nuclear plants.

As a matter of fact, they run about the same number of hours (65% to 80% of the time), but unlike coal or nuclear plants, wind turbines usually generate at well below their peak capacity. As I've indicated elsewhere in this blog, this is one way of looking through the telescope. Looking through the other end, we find that using essentially the same data and statistics, wind turbines would cut new CO2 emissions between now and 2020 by 30%.

Wind output quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, but wind turbines still produce less than 1 percent of the electricity used in the United States. And the amount of wind energy that can be integrated into the electricity grid is limited, the researchers said. The maximum that could be accommodated, Dr. Policansky said, is probably 20 percent of the nation's electricity use.

These last two sentences that I have bolded are probably the clearest example of minimizing wind's contribution, otherwise known as damning with faint praise. First, we know little about what the upper limit on wind is, and it will be many years before we have solid knowledge. But second and more important, 20% is huge. It's as much as nuclear power generates today, and more than any other source except coal. The fact that we could get that much electricity from a new clean alternative energy source is the real news contained in this story. It would be great to see a story in the Times someday with the headline, "Wind Farms Could Provide 20% of U.S. Electricity, Study Says."

The Alternative Energy Boom: Subsidy Driven?

Daniel Gross of the New York Times revisits the question of subsidies for clean alternative energy sources in an article on the hot market for financing ethanol and other renewable energy projects.

“There’s a huge boom going on in alternative renewable and new technologies, and it wouldn’t be happening without the bouillabaisse of incentives, mandates, subsidies and the related group of ingredients,” said Daniel Yergin, the chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

True. On the other hand, many of those subsidies have been in place for years. What is different now is that most of the world (and most Americans) realize that global warming is neither a hoax nor a topic of real debate in the scientific community. Smart companies and smart financiers can see the writing on the wall.

“We think a reliance on market forces is the best way to satisfy any growing fuel requirements, and that any policies should provide a level playing field for all options,” said Rayola Dougher, senior economic analyst at the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, who adds that many of the trade association’s members are responding to government incentives by investing in projects to harness solar, wind and other forms of alternative energy. “We just don’t think at this point that the government should pick winners and losers.”

Well, that's easy to say, when you are representing a fossil fuel industry that enjoys much of its prosperity due to the fact that the environmental costs of global warming, drilling for fuel, oil spills, etc., are not monetized in market prices. In addition to this substantial hidden subsidy, there is another: the U.S. spends billions each year to ensure that the sea lanes to the Persian Gulf are kept open. In other words, we are picking winners every day, and the winners are the large and influential fossil fuels industries that emit global warming pollutants.

The main criticism of alternative energy is that, even with government assistance, it is still more expensive than many traditional sources of energy.

This is lumping many energy sources with different costs and economics together. Wind power, for example, is generally competitive with other options for new electricity generation when its federal incentive is included, and would be still more competitive if environmental costs were reflected in market prices.

Increasingly, however, businesses and consumers are finding that alternative energy and new energy-efficiency technologies can pay real economic dividends.

True. And this holds not just for electricity bills (where, e.g., compact fluorescent bulbs pay for themselves rapidly), but with respect to the new manufacturing jobs that alternative energy industries create.

Finally, anyone who is interested in learning more about the billions of dollars we spend each year on subsidies, not just to new energy sources, but to energy industries that are well established and should have no need of them, should check out the detailed analyses available from EarthTrack.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cape Wind Book Termed 'Piling On'

Cape Wind, the new book by science writer Wendy Williams and Providence Journal editorial page editor Robert Whitcomb, is unfortunately the subject of a rather negative New York Times book review by William Grimes. Williams and Whitcomb, writes Grimes, "pile on" in their attacks on the Cape Wind project's wealthy opponents and "make no pretense of laying out the facts evenhandedly." If that is true (I admit to not having read the book yet myself), it's a shame. As Grimes also notes, "The facts are damning enough. The wind farm, consisting of 130 propellered turbines installed over an area of about 26 square miles, would generate up to 500 megawatts of clean energy. It would also reduce Cape Cod’s dependence on two fossil-fuel plants that help make its air among the most polluted in New England," and "Opposition boiled down to four words: not in my backyard."

Global Warming: Bring It On?

Given the threat of global warming and the obvious, urgent need to develop more clean alternative energy sources like wind and solar as quickly as possible, it is bizarre to see legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress that would essentially outlaw wind power. Not surprisingly, the bill that would do this comes from a Congressman representing one of the leading fossil fuel-producing districts in the country. Let's hope this embarrassing, paleolithic, pathetic piece of legislation is escorted away soon to the merciful death it merits.


PS This legislation, Subtitle D of H.R. 2337, is getting some heavy attention at Good to see.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Today's roundup:

  • Nice story from Denver's Channel 9 on the benefits that a single large wind farm is bringing to a rural Colorado county:

    - Up to 350 people hired for construction;
    - 20 full-time permanent jobs;
    - $70 million in property taxes over 30 years;
    - $65 million in land rental payments to landowners over the same period;
    - As much electricity as 120,000 Colorado households consume.

    It isn't mentioned in the press release from FPL Energy, the project developer, but I'll add my rough guesstimate of water savings: 30 billion gallons (~94,000 acre-feet) of water annually. Not too shabby.

  • Peak oil and the effects of globalization get a brief but thoughtful post at Candleblog. I'm with Candleboy in being optimistic about alternative energy sources: the global energy potential of wind power is enormous, and schemes like plug-in hybrids and Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) could allow it and other renewable energy sources to displace a big chunk of our fossil fuel consumption. If we get moving. Now.

  • features Nature Air, which bills itself as the "world's first zero-emissions airline," having used carbon offsets to, um, offset its fuel emissions. Easy to poke holes in, as a few commenters have already done, but if everyone does the same and if the carbon offsets are properly quantified, then global warming ends. It's the ifs we should be focusing on.

  • Oregon publication Willamette Week provides a fascinating look into the role of a major utility in shaping alternative energy legislation in the state. One item that caught my eye: a lobbyist for Intel claims that his company will have to pay an extra $2 million annually in electricity costs. This is a little surprising, because it implies God-like knowledge of where energy prices are going, when in fact they have been extremely volatile since 2001 and remain so today. One of wind energy's big pluses is that once it is installed, the cost of electricity generated is predictable and stable, because no fuel is used and there are no fuel price gyrations to contend with. By contrast, the market price of natural gas today hovers at 3-4 times what it was in 2001.

  • Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    Noteworthy items from today's blogging:

  • Cape Cod Today features an excellent, if somewhat chilling, opinion article on the proposed Cape Wind project by Wendy Williams from the Christian Science Monitor. Comments Ms. Williams, "I have watched this drama unfold for nearly six years. The desperation, indignation, exaggeration, and imagination of the critics is astounding." Amen. Williams, a science writer, is co-author, with Robert Whitcomb, of Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound.

  • Swamp Fox reports that Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University and state-owned utility Santee Cooper are partnering to establish a project to determine feasibility of wind power on an undeveloped South Carolina barrier island. It'll be interesting to see the results, as South Carolina is not among the states reported to be leaders in wind energy resources. Still, more recent studies have identified a huge offshore resource in the mid-Atlantic between North Carolina and Massachusetts (enough to supply all of the energy used in the region's coastal states), so it's good to keep an open mind.

  • Domestic Fuel has a brief description of an innovative project in Iowa that would combine wind power with underground compressed-air storage. While combining storage and wind would certainly increase wind energy's market, it's important to note that storage is not a critical need in today's utility system. See Myth #4 in the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Energy Myths fact sheet.

  • TTC News Archives reports on efforts to improve rail and highway transportation and electric transmission in support of economic development in Texas, noting that one of the purposes of new transmission will be to ship wind-generated electricity to market. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the nation's transmission infrastructure needs an upgrade, not just for wind, but to increase overall system reliability--it's been suffering for too many years from NIMBYs (Not-In-My-Back-Yarders), who turn out to oppose new lines but seem to have no problem using electricity.

  • Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    WWF: Global Warming Demands Response

    In a stark warning, the Geneva, Switzerland-based World Wildlife Fund said the worst effects of global warming could be avoided by beginning a "wholesale shift from fossil fuels" within five years, according to a Reuters story by Laura MacInnis distributed by the Environmental News Network (via Sustainability in Hawai'i). The group called for a coordinated effort by governments to set national targets for increasing clean alternative energy sources like wind and solar (more info on such a U.S. proposal here).


  • Wind developer Airtricity signed an agreement with TXU Wholesale to provide the output from a $300-million, 209-megawatt (MW) wind farm on 30,000 acres near Roscoe, Tex. Comments Airtricity North America CEO Declan Flanagan. “Airtricity is playing a leading role in helping Texas and America meet its fast-growing energy needs. As electricity demand and natural gas prices continue to rise policymakers and businesses like TXU are seeing the benefit of tapping into Texas’s vast wind energy resource.”

  • South Dakota Sen. John Thune (R) convened a group of experts to find out how to harness the world-class winds of that state. Ben Shouse's article in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader provides an excellent summary of the discussion and some of the major obstacles. At the top of the list? A lack of high-voltage transmission lines, a long-standing problem not just for wind, but for the electricity industry as a whole, that is gradually making its way higher on the U.S. energy policy agenda. Dirk Lammers' AP story on the meeting, by contrast, quoted Brad Barton of the U.S. Department of Energy as focusing on the need for more stable tax incentives for wind development. The Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental group, has a nice chart showing how on-off availability of incentives has caused boom-and-bust cycles in the industry.

  • U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman spoke favorably about alternative energy before a ministerial meeting of the International Energy Agency. Key quote: "We must diversify our energy portfolios to include more alternative and renewable energy sources including biofuels, solar, wind and even nuclear. This will relieve pressure on energy markets and yield positive environmental benefits."

  • Nebraska lawmakers approved a bill to encourage wind projects in the state.

  • Wind developer PPM Energy will dedicate the 200-MW Big Horn project May 21 in Bickleton, Wash. Here's the full text of a media advisory we received today on this event, except for directions included in the invitation link above. Of special interest: the dedication will include live raptors (birds of prey) that are used in wildlife training for wind farm employees.

    Klickitat County Bickleton Carousel Museum
    PPM Energy MSR Public Power Agency BPA

    Jan Johnson, PPM Energy, (503) 796-7070,
    Julie Yamamoto, CMD for PPM Energy, (503) 488-4289,

    May 15, 2007

    Big Horn Wind Power Project Celebrates Partners for a Powerful Future
    Energy industry leaders, community members and schoolchildren dedicate new wind farm on May 21

    Big Horn Wind Power Project

    Energy leaders, schoolchildren and the community will gather in the rolling wheat fields and ranch lands of Bickleton, Wash., to dedicate the Northwest's newest wind farm. The Big Horn Wind Power Project is one of the region's largest wind farms and a model for sensitive land use and conservation. Along with more than 500 community members, a live golden eagle, red-tailed hawk and other rehabilitated raptors used in educational programs at wind farms will join in the celebration.

    Monday, May 21, 2007
    10:30 a.m.: Speaker program begins
    11:30 a.m.: Picnic lunch, wind turbine tours for the public and a special encounter with several live raptors

    Bickleton, Wash., a three-hour drive east of Portland, Ore.
    See directions in Logistics section below.

    With 133 turbines and a 200-megawatt (MW) capacity, the Big Horn Wind Power Project is one of the largest wind power developments in the state of Washington and the Columbia River Gorge region. Big Horn produces enough clean wind electricity to power about 60,000 homes each year. In addition, economic and environmental benefits include the following:

    An infusion of jobs and economic activity to a rural town of 90 people
    Wheat farmers and ranchers get a boost through land lease payments, while 98 percent of the leased land remains available for traditional uses.

    PPM Energy sponsored the local high school shop class to build and place 250 bluebird boxes in the region. Bickleton is known as the "Bluebird Capital of the World," and the birds are a source of local pride and tourism.

    455 scenic acres are set aside as a long-term wildlife habitat conservation area

    Speakers include:

    Rachel Shimshak, Renewable Northwest Project
    Ty Daul, PPM Energy
    Allen Short, MSR Public Power Agency
    Brian Silverstein, Bonneville Power Administration
    U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington by special video message
    Local and state representatives


    Huge American flag mounted on an 80-meter-tall white wind turbine

    Live raptors with Blue Mountain Wildlife and PPM staff. Birds that have been rehabilitated at the center play a major role in wildlife training for wind farm employees. Experts will be available to interview on this topic.

    Bluebird boxes for two species of bluebirds thriving in and around the site through a joint effort by PPM Energy and the community of Bickleton. Interview community leaders and schoolchildren who built the bluebird boxes.

    Learn about 455 scenic acres set aside to conserve wildlife habitat.

    Attendance is expected to top 500 people as the surrounding community and all school children in the county will be present.

    Print-quality images of the Big Horn Wind Power Project and b-roll of the local school's bluebird box program are available in advance from Julie Yamamoto, CMD for PPM Energy, (503) 223-6794,

  • Monday, May 14, 2007

    Delaware 'Sinking' About Wind?

    Slacktivist points out that concern about global warming may be a factor in Delaware citizens' enthusiasm for a proposed offshore wind power plant. Why? Well, you can check his map yourself, but it looks as though about 1/3 of the state would be submerged by a 14-meter sea level rise (admittedly still a fairly remote scenario).

    Slacktivist also discusses the wind development situation in Vermont, a state where I live and in which, in my opinion, the public debate has been dominated by a relatively well-to-do group of anti-wind folks who have done an excellent job of sowing confusion and mistrust. There are still a couple of proposed wind projects making their way through the permitting pipeline and we may yet see them built. Wind remains a good idea for New England, despite all of the misinformation, because of its ability to save natural gas. For more on why, see A Night to Remember, a case study with some zing from Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture).

    The Wind World Is Flat, Too . . . and Active

    Andrew Leonard has an intriguing post at about the bidding war between Indian wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon and French nuclear giant Areva over German wind turbine maker REPower. While the globalization implications are important to note, a quick look at recent history reveals that this is but the latest in a series of major business deals involving multinational firms in the wind space. See, for example:

  • The purchase by investment banker Goldman Sachs of U.S. developer Horizon Wind Energy in 2005 and its subsequent sale to Energias de Portugal for a cool $2.15 bilion.

  • The purchase by Spanish utility Iberdrola of U.S. wind developer and green power marketer Community Energy.

  • The purchase by Iberdrola of ScottishPower, complete with its U.S. wind development subsidiary PPM Energy.

  • Decisions by Suzlon, Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas and Spanish turbine makers Gamesa and Acciona to build manufacturing plants in the U.S.

  • A "Strategic Turbine Supply and Joint Development Agreement" between U.S. manufacturer Clipper Windpower and BP and BP Alternative Energy's purchase of wind developers Orion Energy and Greenlight Energy.

    Clearly, many companies are awakening to the enormous global potential of this energy source.

  • Sunday, May 13, 2007

    What Can Wind Do About Global Warming?

    The following information is from a fact sheet we will be releasing soon.

    The United States has one of the most abundant wind energy resources in the world. If the U.S. takes advantage of this clean, renewable, domestic, available, and vastly deployable energy source, it can take one large step closer to addressing global warming and achieving emission

    Adding clean generation from wind energy means we need less generation from other types of energy, including natural gas, coal and sometimes oil.

    On average, every additional megawatt-hour produced by wind energy means 1,220 pounds of CO2 are not emitted into our environment.

    How much can wind really do to fight global warming?

  • A recent study from the National Academies of Science (NAS) reports that adding another 60 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy by 2020, in addition to the 11 GW that we have today, could avoid approximately 130 million tons of CO2 in 2020. This is nearly 30% of expected emission increases by 2020 in the electric sector.

  • A National Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 20% renewable generation by 2020 could avoid almost 100% of expected emission increases in the electric sector with 180 GW of renewable energy, including 130 GW of wind.

    Wind Can Reduce CO2, Says Who?

    Three transmission and system integration studies estimate how much CO2 wind energy can avoid.

    Where and How Much?

    New York:
    1,256 lbs of CO2/MWh
    (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, NYSERDA)

    1,277 lbs of CO2/MWh
    (Midwest Independent System Operator, MISO)

    962 lbs of CO2/MWh
    (Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT)

    Copyright 2007 - American Wind Energy Association. May be freely re-transmitted electronically, for non-commercial purposes only, provided this notice is included. All other rights reserved.
  • Saturday, May 12, 2007

    455,000 MW of Wind Power by 2016?

    The Danish wind power market analysis firm BTM Consult ApS (BTM) released its latest annual market report in late March. Although the press release on the report notes considerable uncertainty in projections beyond 2011, it also states that its projection would lead to total global cumulative installed wind generating capacity of 455,000 MW by 2016. If that amount of wind capacity were installed in the U.S., it could be expected to generate roughly 1.3 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year (my estimate), or 25% or more of total U.S. electricity supply.

    Other information from the release:

  • BTM's forecast through 2011 predicts an annual average growth rate for the global wind industry of 17.4% annually.

  • "2006 recorded the highest installation of wind power ever - 15,016 MW of new capacity, 30% above 2005!" (15,016 MW of wind in the U.S. is enough to supply as much electricity as 4 million homes, with 11 million people, consume [my estimate--I say "in the U.S." because wind turbine performance is lower on average in Europe because of lower average wind speeds there]).

  • Global wind capacity at the end of 2006 totaled some 74,300 MW.

  • "The market value of the industry over the next five years will total some US$186.4 billion."

  • Wind power's strong global growth is being driven by concerns about 1) energy supply and 2) global warming.


    Update 13 May 2007: This compares with a World Energy Council estimate in the late 1990s that wind capacity could grow to 180,000 MW to 474,000 MW worldwide by 2020. BTM Consult's latest numbers, while tentative, are somewhat more expansive.
  • Friday, May 11, 2007

    Graffito of the Times

    Spotted by one of our staffers in Milan, Italy, site of the recent 2007 European Wind Energy Conference earlier this week.

    At the conference, the 3,000-plus delegates in attendance heard European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) President Arthouros Zervos say that 180,000 megawatts (MW) of wind generating capacity could be installed in Europe by 2020, generating 16% of the continent's electricity.

    Let's hope the U.S. can find its way to a similarly bold vision soon.


    Thursday, May 10, 2007

    Over 3,000 MW of New U.S. Wind Seen in 2007

    The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today released its First Quarter Wind Power Market Report, announcing that the U.S. wind energy industry is on track to install over 3,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power generating capacity nationwide in 2007, with Texas likely to account for about two thirds of the new installations. Over 100 MW have newly come online in the U.S. so far this year, and over 1,000 more are under construction in Texas alone, according to AWEA. (One megawatt of wind, on average, generates as much electricity as 250 to 300 homes use.)

    In addition to providing details about the new projects, the release emphasizes the role of the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) in spurring wind energy development. The full release is available online.

    Renewables Portfolio Standard Awaits Senate Consideration

    At this writing, it appears that a Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) proposal will be offered as a stand-alone amendment to the energy bill now making its way through the U.S. Senate. What is the RPS? It's a provision that would require utilities throughout the United States to obtain a certain minimum percentage of the electricity they sell from clean alternative energy resources like wind and solar power.

    The passage into law of an RPS would mark a clear step away from our traditional energy policies (or rather, lack of energy policies) and toward a long-term approach aimed at dealing with the increasingly urgent problem of global warming. Twenty-two states have already adopted an RPS in some form and more are currently considering it.

    The American Wind Energy Association's Legislative Priorities page contains:

    1) A brief description of the benefits of a national RPS;
    2) A link to a fact sheet on a national RPS; and
    3) A link to a legislative action Web page where you can let your representatives in Congress know your opinion on the RPS.

    Please help support this vital legislation.


    Wednesday, May 09, 2007

    One Step at a Time

    More positive developments today (great to see them happening on a daily basis):


    In Delaware, the state Public Service Commission voted unanimously to give preliminary approval to an offshore wind farm. As previously noted below, this decision follows an outpouring of public support for wind energy in a matchup against two fossil-fueled competitors.


    Meanwhile, in Illinois, the State Senate unanimously passed the Affordable, Clean Energy Standards Act, a bill that calls for 10% of the state's electricity to come from clean alternative energy sources by 2015, rising to 25% by 2025. Here's the text of a news release from Environment Illinois, which strongly supported the bill:

    "For more information: Contact Becky Stanfield at Environment Illinois 773-454-0155 or 312-291-0696.

    "The Affordable, Clean Energy Standards Act (Senate Bill 1184) passed the Illinois Senate unanimously today. This legislation would also catch Illinois up to other states on renewable energy. 10% by 2015 with a goal of 25% by 2025.

    "Today, while enough wind blows across our state to power more than 2 million homes, less than 5 percent of this potential has been developed. Twenty-three states have renewable energy standards, and many of them have been so successful in spurring local economic development that the states are increasing their standards. For example, Colorado just doubled its renewable energy standard. Adopting these clean energy standards for Illinois would spur private investment in Illinois wind power by ensuring a market for the power, diversifying our electricity mix, creating millions in revenues for rural Illinois and creating jobs in our state.

    "Perhaps, even more noteworthy, the bill requires Illinois utilities to use energy efficiency to meet 1 percent of their demand by 2012 and 2 percent by 2015. If this policy had been adopted in 1990, Illinois consumers' electric costs would be 11 percent lower. For a Chicago two-flat, that would mean a savings of more than $200 this year. If we adopt these standards today, we can save Illinoisans nearly $2 billion annually by 2020.

    "The bill now goes to the House; which, last month overwhelmingly passed a renewable energy bill with nearly identical targets as Senate Bill 1184. Proponents are hopeful that the House will now approve this more comprehensive bill."


    Tuesday, May 08, 2007

    Wisconsin Newspaper Checks Out Wind

    . . . and finds a positive story. This is one of the better jobs I've seen of examining some of the issues raised by anti-wind groups and summarizing their substance, or lack thereof.

    "In Montfort, wind is ‘just another cash crop’

    By REID MAGNEY | La Crosse Tribune
    MONTFORT, Wis. — Half a century ago, noisy coal trains stopped just outside this Iowa County village to refill their boilers and coal cars.

    Today, near the abandoned 90-foot-high coal tower, windmills generate clean power. . . . "
    Wind Power and Fresh Water

    One benefit of wind power that gets far too little attention is its ability to save water. A friend at the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America program has been talking about it for some time, and when I started digging into the numbers, I was stunned. Did you know:

    - The average U.S. home uses about 11,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in a year. For every kilowatt-hour that is generated, 25 gallons of water is used (average for coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear and hydro electricity generation). You do the math--that's a quarter of a million gallons a year.

    - The average U.S. home uses more water indirectly for electricity generation than for all other household uses (bathing, washing dishes, cooking, etc.) put together.

    - Generating electricity with wind power uses no water.

    You can get the full lowdown on this issue from a Wind Powering America fact sheet, The Wind-Water Nexus. Very impressive--and particularly important in areas that may experience prolonged drought as a result of global warming.


    Monday, May 07, 2007

    Guest Blog: Wind Power: A Shot in the Arm for Manufacturing

    Sometimes overlooked is that wind energy is not only clean and renewable, it creates jobs as well.
    By Elizabeth Salerno
    Policy Analyst
    (From the American Wind Energy Association publication Windletter, March 2007)

    Across the U.S, rural towns and cities have lost economic ground from the decline of once-reliable and flourishing industries such as railroad and steel. Many of those towns and cities, though, are now seizing an opportunity to make a comeback.

    As the wind industry grows at a rate of nearly 30% per year, the manufacturing and services that provide the foundation of the wind industry have to keep up. From Pennsylvania to Washington, from North Dakota to Louisiana, manufacturing facilities, each of which employ hundreds of workers, are popping up—all because of the demand for wind.

    On-the-ground evidence

    Although wind energy’s potential contribution to the nation’s energy needs remains huge, it still provides less than 1% of the nation’s electricity. Here’s the upside of that story, though: in spite of its relatively small share of the current energy mix, wind power is already proving to be a powerful catalyst for job creation in the U.S. Better yet, those jobs are usually in manufacturing, a sector often lamented these days for departing the country in search of foreign lands, where labor costs are lower. Wind is countering a trend in this sector, which lost over 2.5 million jobs between 2001 and 2004. Here are just a few examples of how wind has made an economic difference—and take note that these examples can be found all over the country, even in economically hard-hit regions once known for being bustling manufacturing hubs.

    Clinton, Ill., was a thriving railroad town at the turn of the 20th century. Today, both the farming and manufacturing sectors underpin the town’s economic stability, and wind energy is doing its part. Trinity Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of tubular wind towers, this year is expanding and renovating its facility in Clinton. Pouring an additional $15 million into the plant, Trinity expects to add 140 new full-time jobs to what will become one of the largest tubular wind tower production facilities in North America.

    Fairless Hill, Pa., is the former home of a 2,500-acre U.S. Steel site that once employed as many as 7,000 workers. Employment at the plant started declining in 1982, and steady downsizing followed through the years until only 100 employees were left in 2001. Then in 2006, Spanish company Gamesa Corp. started planting roots in Fairless Hill, building three brand-new facilities on 20 acres of the old U.S. Steel site. The facilities will produce wind towers and blades, and assemble nacelles as well. Putting over $34 million into the plant, Gamesa will employ over 300 workers there. That’s in addition to the 230 jobs Gamesa already provides at its facility in Cambria County in the western part of the state and its North American headquarters in Philadelphia.

    Now jump to Grand Forks, N.D., a town devastated by a flood in 1997. Refusing to bow to defeat, the town put in place mechanisms to stimulate economic development, restore the tax base, and rehabilitate its way of life. A wind energy industry company was one that answered the town’s call. In 1998, blade manufacturer LM Glasfiber teamed up as a business partner with the town and has brought over 500 jobs to the town, adding nearly 100 in 2006 and 2007 alone. In 2006, Forbes magazine ranked Grand Forks 28th in the nation for “Best Small Metros in Business & Career.”

    In Fort Madison, Iowa, meanwhile, a former Wabash National Corp. facility that once produced trucks until being shut down in 2001 is now being converted by German company Siemens Corp. into a wind blade manufacturing plant. The facility will eventually employ 200 people and will produce 150-foot blades for Siemens’ 2.3-MW wind turbines. With 500 jobs lost as a result of the Wabash plant closing, in addition to the thousands of jobs lost in southeast Iowa due to factory closings across the board, it should have been no surprise that job fairs held last December at two local high schools drew some 2,600 people, all of whom were hoping to land one of those 200 coveted, well-paying jobs at the new blade facility.

    While the production of towers and blades obviously provides new jobs and economic growth, the wind energy industry extends far beyond those products. The industry also needs the nuts and bolts to hold together the ladders that go inside the steel towers, which support the nacelles, which house the gearboxes and generators—which in turn need bearings, metal shafts, brake discs, and pumps. Moreover, the large components that make up a wind turbine must be transported to the wind sites by trucking services that can accommodate oversized products; assembled on-site by skilled workers; and finally connected to the grid by electrical engineers.

    Training a growing workforce

    As the need for manufacturing and construction services expands to accommodate the rapidly growing wind industry, the need for skilled workers is also expanding. Educational institutions are increasingly seeing opportunities to meet that need.
    In Cleveland, Wis., Lakeshore Technical College provides a two-year electrical apprenticeship with courses for students interested in wind systems. Lakeshore even provides a course in renewable energy interconnection, allowing students to understand the electrical equipment used in renewable energy systems and the application of the National Electric Code to these systems.

    And for students wishing to continue their education in wind, St. Francis University in Pennsylvania is getting ready to offer a graduate business degree in renewable energy with a concentration in wind power, tentatively beginning in the fall. The program will include courses focusing on finance, marketing, environmental science, and project management, and will also have an internship requirement. Finally, with St. Francis developing its own wind farm (scheduled for completion this summer), students will gain hands-on experience working with wind turbines.

    Meanwhile, individual wind energy facilities must train workers to keep up with demand. Suzlon Rotor Corp. broke ground in late 2006 on a facility in Pipestone, Minn.; to train employees needed for the plant, which will produce blades and generator cones, the company contributed funds to nearby Minnesota West Community and Technical College. The plant is expected to employ over 300 people.

    Will America lose out on this opportunity?

    The wind industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and with the demand and need for domestic, clean and available energy sources only increasing, there are no signs of its slowing. The industry has already brought new facilities and thousands of jobs to help meet the needs of installing 2,000-3,000 MW of wind per year in the U.S., making wind the second largest energy source for new electric generation capacity.

    The U.S., however, is not the only country that can build wind turbines. Demand for wind energy is growing around the globe. The U.S. installed the most megawatts in 2006 with 2,434 MW, but Germany, India, Spain, and China installed over 1,300 MW each—and over 7,000 MW in total—creating serious global demand for wind turbines. The U.S. already imports most of its turbines from Europe. India and China can build them cost effectively and, with growing demand in those countries, they may play a big role in production in the future. Competition for this attractive industry will be stiff.

    In the wind industry, it is cost-effective for suppliers to set up shop near customers, largely because of the transportation costs that go with shipping the giant components. If the U.S. adopted a stable long-term policy to signal the nation’s need for clean and domestic renewable energy, U.S. wind industry manufacturing growth could be catapulted to a whole new level. A long-term extension of the production tax credit, a national renewable portfolio standard, enactment of a federal climate change policy, and Congressional leadership on expanding the transmission grid would each augment the economic and job growth we are already seeing today. And there are numbers to back this up: an analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists reported that over 300,000 American jobs could be created by a 20% renewable portfolio standard by 2020.

    Just as wind’s energy potential has barely been tapped, we have only just begun to see wind’s potential to create economic benefits.

    Copyright 2007 - American Wind Energy Association. May be freely re-transmitted electronically, for non-commercial purposes only, provided this notice is included. All other rights reserved.
    Washington Post Examines Wind Power

    Today's Washington Post features a nice page 1 story on offshore wind in Delaware. The proposed wind plant is up against two proposals for fossil-fueled power plants and, not surprisingly, is attracting strong public support.


    Sunday, May 06, 2007

    Revenge of the Bats . . . Er, Bat

    So our house was invaded by a bat this evening--probably a Little Brown, as they are very common in this area. After the usual frantic ducking and flailing with towels (this happens a couple of times a year here), we trapped him/her under a mixing bowl with a copy of North American Windpower over the top. Bowl and magazine were tossed out the window, whereupon he/she flew away, doubtless just as relieved as we were.


    Well, my comment attempting to correct what I felt were factual errors at, which calls itself a "breaking news" site, lasted for a day before being removed. Not only was the comment removed, but there is no longer a comment option on the Web page, which I find disappointing, given the fairly wild inaccuracies in the story. For the record, here is the full comment, posted in response to the Huliq article "Wind Farms Must Think of Birds and Bats." (The text of excerpts from the original article is in italics.)


    I'm sorry to say that there are a number of serious errors in this post.

    According to statistics wind turbines kill less birds than aoutos and building, but it can threaten whole flocks of birds especially in migration corridors. It is very important to be extremely careful while locating and regulating turbines.

    This is not true. There is no indication that wind turbines have any effect on flocks of migrating birds. It is also not clear that extreme caution is needed in siting wind plants.

    "The first three rules of avoiding impacts with wind turbines are always going to be location, location, location," Mike Daulton, a spokesman with the National Audubon Society, said in a telephone interview.

    "Location, location, location" is a good sound bite, and I would guess that it will be used a lot. I would just add, "But the truth is that the vast majority of locations for wind farms do not present threats to birds."

    A wind farm in California Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area killed a population of golden eagles in the 1980s. The population is still recovering from that huge harm.

    This is not true. Scientists have studied the wind turbines in Altamont Pass for years and have not determined whether the local population of golden eagles is being harmed. I'm not defending eagle kills, but the statement is incorrect.

    Texas is the home of tanagers, that can suffer from turbines. "I don't envision these wind turbines being like a giant weed eater chopping birds to bits," said Clifford Shackelford, an ornithologist at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. But the same tanager can suffer not only from turbines, but also from bad weather. And when the weather is very bad to the birds, the lights of the turbines help them find the right way to fly.

    This requires a bit of explanation. There is plenty of evidence that steady-burning bright lights on foggy nights cause birds to become disoriented and collide with communication towers. There is, however, no evidence that flashing lights on wind turbines create the same effect. (Wind turbines are required to have flashing lights for aircraft safety.)

    North and South Dakota are the home of water fowl populations, which can also appear at risk because of wind power.

    On the other hand, it is very rare for ducks or geese to collide with wind turbines. I'd say there is little evidence that this is actually a threat.

    Wind farms have 197 and 295 feet tall towers with blades that have diameters ranging from 230 to 295 feet. Most of the farms have hundreds and sometimes even thousands of that kind of towers, which can kill entire bird populations of migrating birds.

    This is not true. There is not a single case on record of a major migratory bird kill by wind turbines. Such kills have been recorded for communication towers, TV towers, and even the smokestacks of coal-burning electric power plants, but not for wind turbines. Why? Most likely because wind turbines are not as tall and do not have steady-burning lights.

    Thomas O. Gray
    American Wind Energy Association

    Saturday, May 05, 2007

    Hunting Down Misinformation

    Spent some more time last evening and today responding to misinformed blog posts about wind power and birds. It is truly amazing how much misinformation there is circulating on this issue, and how poorly it is understood. There is an excellent general article on ("Common Eco-Myth: Wind Turbines Kill Birds") that should be required reading for anyone who writes on the subject.

    At the other end of the spectrum, we have "Wind Farms Must Think of Birds and Bats", a post that introduces a whole new set of myths into the public record. My guess is that this is unintentional and perhaps results from language difficulties, but nevertheless, there it is.

    What is most unfortunate is that, with a major scientific study having concluded that one million species may be driven to extinction by 2050 due to global warming, and other scientists having found that wind energy is one of the technology "wedges" needed to fight global warming, there has developed this persistent myth that wind power cannot coexist with birds.

    I've attempted to correct factual errors at both of these sites. If you see something I have missed, or have additional suggestions, feel free to comment here.


    Friday, May 04, 2007

    Coverage Analysis: NRC Report on Wind Power

    Laurie Jodziewicz of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) staff does a great job of deconstructing the press coverage of yesterday's report from the National Research Council (part of the National Academy of Sciences) on wind and wildlife (see my post from yesterday). Check it out.

    The New York Times story was particularly interesting, ending with the observation that wind power could probably only provide, at most, 20% of U.S. electricity. Hmmm, 20% of our electricity supply--as much as is supplied today by any source, including nuclear, except for coal--coming from a source that emits no pollutants, uses no water, produces no waste, and requires no mining or drilling for fuel? Sounds good to me, but then, what do I know?

    A Whisper of Change

    Hope you caught today's National Public Radio piece on the Bluewater Wind offshore project in Delaware. Very nicely done, and factually accurate. Kudos to Elizabeth Shogren.


    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    Wind Power and the Environment

    AWEA urges Academy to conduct study of all energy sources

    The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today responded to the findings of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on the benefits and impacts of wind energy in the Mid-Atlantic region.

    According to AWEA’s Executive Director Randall Swisher, “The report verifies the fact that wind energy development’s overall impact on birds is extremely low compared with many other human-related activities. More than a thousand times as many birds are killed flying into buildings, for example, than wind turbines.”

    [The report found that in 2003, for example, wind turbines accounted for 0.003% of human-related bird deaths, or 3 of every 100,000.]

    Full statement here.

    Wind Power Factory Watch--More?

    Rumor has it that another wind power manufacturing plant may soon join the ones listed below. Stay tuned.


    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    Wind Power Factory Watch

    March 20, 2007: Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas announces plans to locate a blade manufacturing plant in the northern Colorado community of Windsor. The plant is expected to begin production in early 2008, to be capable of producing 1,200 blades a year, and to employ 400 people.

    April 25, 2007: Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Acciona says it will open a turbine plant in West Branch, Iowa. The $23-million, 18,000-square-meter facility is expected to employ 109.

    May 2, 2007: U.S. wind turbine tower maker DMI Industries announces that it will open a tower manufacturing plant near Tulsa, Okla., that will have half a million square feet of production space and ultimately employ up to 450.

    Wind power is shaping up to be a major engine of economic development in the 21st century, as America turns to clean energy sources to meet the twin challenges of global warming and steadily increasing electricity demand.

    Tuesday, May 01, 2007

    Arctic Ice Melts, PepsiCo Goes Green

    Bad news: the Arctic Ocean's ice cover is melting more rapidly than expected. This is a serious issue, since open water reflects less of the sun's heat than ice, and rapid ice melting therefore has the potential to create a feedback loop.

    Good news: PepsiCo announced a purchase of more than 1.1 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, enough to power all of its U.S. operations, vaulting it to the top of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of green power purchasers by a wide margin.

    Let's keep hoping for more good news.