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Credit score:  Two proposed wind farms off the Texas and Louisiana coasts would be part of offshore oil drilling rigs within the gulf because the Biden administration tries to spice up the nation’s clear energy provide. |

By Mitchell Ferman |

The Texas Tribune |

July 22, 2022 |

HOUSTON – The Gulf of Mexico’s first offshore wind farms will likely be developed off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, the Biden administration introduced Wednesday, and collectively they’re projected to supply sufficient energy to energy round 3 million properties.

The wind farms probably won’t be up and working for years, energy analysts and the state’s grid operator mentioned, however the announcement from the U.S. Inside Division is step one in ramping up offshore wind energy in the USA, which has lagged behind that of Europe and China. The one two working offshore wind energy farms within the U.S. are off the coasts of Rhode Island and Virginia, which collectively produce 42 megawatts of electrical energy – sufficient to energy fewer than 2,500 properties.

One of many new wind tasks introduced Wednesday will likely be developed 24 nautical miles off the coast of Galveston, overlaying a complete of 546,645 acres – larger than town of Houston – with the potential to energy 2.3 million properties, based on the U.S. Inside Division’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Administration. The opposite undertaking will likely be developed close to Port Arthur, about 56 nautical miles off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, overlaying 188,023 acres with the potential to energy 799,000 properties.

“It’s thrilling to see offshore wind within the Gulf getting nearer to actuality,” mentioned Luke Metzger, government director of Surroundings Texas, an environmental safety group. “With robust winds within the evenings after we want energy essentially the most, offshore wind within the Gulf of Mexico would drastically complement Texas’ onshore renewable energy assets, assist bolster our shaky electric grid and assist the environment.”

The wind farms will be part of a rising variety of oil drilling rigs off the coast of Texas, together with close to Galveston, the place the oil platforms dot the horizon looking from Galveston’s seashores. The Biden administration additionally not too long ago has opened up land within the Gulf of Mexico for extra offshore oil and fuel drilling leases.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s workplace didn’t reply to a request for remark in regards to the new offshore wind energy developments.

“Offshore wind has an incredible potential in Texas,” Brad Jones, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages Texas’ principal energy grid, informed The Texas Tribune on Thursday. “It’s going to take a while to develop, and that point will likely be primarily based on how shortly we are able to put collectively port services, the specialised ships which might be vital and practice our labor drive to realize such a improvement. It’s new for the U.S.”

Texas is already the nation’s largest wind energy producer and has land-based wind farms up and down the Gulf Coast, the place winds usually blow more durable.

Wind energy’s contributions to the Texas energy grid range relying on the place, and the way arduous, the wind blows throughout the state. On Tuesday, when Texas hit a brand new report for energy consumption, wind and {solar} energy mixed to offer 25% of the energy on the grid, ERCOT mentioned. On July 11, when ERCOT requested Texans to preserve electrical energy as a result of demand threatened to exceed provide, wind era dropped to lower than 10% of its general capability.

ERCOT forecasters mentioned they usually don’t anticipate a variety of wind energy throughout scorching summer season days as a result of throughout summer season winds are usually stronger at night time.

Offshore wind gives a lot steadier energy manufacturing than wind farms on land in Texas, Jones mentioned. With the “extraordinary” development of Texas’ inhabitants and financial system, Jones mentioned “we have now to maintain tempo with that improvement.”

“So having an extra useful resource that may present era to Texans to maintain the lights on is a price to all of us,” Jones mentioned.

Metzger and energy analysts mentioned corporations are desirous about creating offshore wind tasks in Texas, nevertheless it’s too early to inform how shortly they are going to be constructed and the way a lot they may price.

New monetary incentives from the federal or state governments might velocity up completion of the tasks, the analysts mentioned, nevertheless it’s unclear whether or not that may occur.

“The industrial urge for food is there – it truly is in regards to the regulatory hurdles that exist,” mentioned Kenneth B. Medlock III, an energy knowledgeable at Rice College. “There’s a variety of curiosity, undoubtedly. Corporations are actively lobbying to attempt to get these tasks accomplished.”

Leaders in neighboring Louisiana have been actively working to draw wind energy manufacturing. Louisiana’s most up-to-date local weather plan, launched in February, set a aim of producing 5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035, which might energy thousands and thousands of properties there. Texas doesn’t have a state local weather plan.

“Louisiana, not like Texas, has been actually bullish on creating offshore wind and providing financial incentives to offshore wind,” Metzger mentioned.

Nonetheless, U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Houston, mentioned Texas “has persistently led within the offshore energy business” and is properly positioned to accommodate the brand new undertaking.

“Our area has the energy experience and the prevailing infrastructure to assist the growth of wind alternatives whereas powering our nation,” Fletcher mentioned in a press release. “As an advocate for an all-of-the-above technique for energy funding, I welcome this proposal and sit up for partnering with the Administration to create new jobs and to make sure our area and our nation proceed to steer the transition to a lower-carbon world.”

Disclosure: Rice College has been a monetary supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan information group that’s funded partially by donations from members, foundations and company sponsors. Monetary supporters play no function within the Tribune’s journalism. Discover a full list of them here.

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NREL Introduces Ordinance Databases for Siting Wind, Solar Energy Projects



NREL Introduces Ordinance Databases for Siting Wind, Solar Energy Projects

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has launched two new databases of state and native wind and {solar} energy zoning legal guidelines and ordinances in the US. The information units are machine-readable so geospatial analysts and researchers can readily analyze siting impacts. This work is a part of ongoing analysis at NREL to discover the dynamics of land use and clear energy deployment.

Earlier NREL analysis has discovered that whole U.S. wind energy technical potential is seven occasions better below the least restrictive siting regimes as in comparison with essentially the most restrictive siting regimes. State and native zoning legal guidelines and ordinances affect how and the place wind and {solar} energy tasks may be sited and deployed – which may have a measurable affect on U.S. renewable energy useful resource potential.

As the US targets 100% clear electrical energy by 2035 and a net-zero carbon financial system by 2050, native siting constraints have turn out to be a important matter. Nonetheless, publicly out there knowledge on state and native wind energy and {solar} energy ordinances haven’t been out there in a single place.

“Our new, high-resolution knowledge units are instruments that may assist us higher perceive the complicated interactions between siting issues and large-scale clear energy growth,” says Anthony Lopez, NREL’s senior geospatial knowledge scientist and undertaking lead for the brand new knowledge units. “The information can inform discussions about balancing native clear energy deployment selections with mitigating international local weather change.”

NREL launched two knowledge units: one together with almost 2,000 U.S. wind energy zoning ordinances and one other together with almost 1,000 {solar} energy ordinances on the state, county, township and metropolis ranges. Each knowledge units are formatted as downloadable spreadsheets and accompanied by interactive maps, illustrating the wind and {solar} energy zoning ordinance knowledge by location and ordinance sort.

The wind energy database contains setbacks – or the required boundaries round infrastructure the place wind generators can’t be put in – for property strains, buildings, roads, railroads, electric transmission strains and our bodies of water. As a result of setbacks are influenced by wind turbine tip heights – the taller the turbine, the bigger the setback – the information set additionally contains peak and rotor dimension restrictions. Different ordinances, like noise limitations, shadow flicker limits, and utility-scale wind bans or moratoriums, are additionally included.

Equally, the {solar} energy database contains setbacks for property strains, buildings, roads and water, in addition to peak restrictions, minimal and most lot sizes, {solar} energy growth bans or moratoriums, and extra.

The 2 knowledge units be a part of a collection of NREL-developed renewable energy provide curves, which characterize the amount and high quality of renewable assets. NREL develops and disseminates the foundational knowledge to the analysis group to function the premise for a wide range of evaluation and modeling purposes. The provision curves can be utilized to evaluate land availability for renewable energy tasks, contemplating their intersection with the constructed and pure atmosphere.

“Energy modelers, wind and {solar} energy expertise engineers, land-use specialists, ecologists, social scientists, and extra, can use the brand new knowledge to know how different land makes use of might affect large-scale clear energy deployment,” states Trieu Mai, NREL’s senior energy analyst. “It may be utilized in modeling and evaluation to evaluate trade-offs between emissions, prices, plant design, land use, wildlife habitat and extra.”

Lopez and Mai first began fascinated by the affect of land use restrictions on clear energy deployment, particularly for wind energy, a couple of decade in the past. It was not a serious matter of analysis on the time, however they believed it was a important query that may must be addressed.

Lopez and staff have fine-tuned the spatial decision of wind and {solar} energy technical potential assessments to account for 124 million buildings and each highway, railway, transmission line and radar tower in the US.

Lopez and staff have carried out a number of research on land use dynamics of unpolluted energy deployment, together with a latest evaluation of land space necessities and land use depth of U.S. wind energy deployments from 2000 to 2020 – discovering that the full U.S. wind energy footprint is equal to the scale of New Hampshire and Vermont mixed. Nonetheless, solely a small fraction of that space (<1%–4%) is estimated to be instantly impacted or completely occupied by bodily wind energy infrastructure.

Land use for {solar} growth can be an energetic space of analysis, together with latest projections of {solar} land use from the {Solar} Futures Research. Outcomes present there may be greater than sufficient land out there to help {solar} growth in each studied future situation. On the highest deployment stage in 2050, ground-based {solar} applied sciences require a land space equal to 0.5% of the US, which could possibly be met with lower than 10% of doubtless appropriate disturbed lands. Nonetheless, {solar} installations will have an effect on native communities, ecosystems, and agricultural areas.

“There are nonetheless a variety of questions that must be studied,” Lopez provides. “Nationwide clear energy objectives will occur on the native stage. We are going to proceed to drill down our decision and analyze totally different elements of the interactions between land use and clear energy deployment.”

The work is funded by the U.S. Division of Energy’s {Solar} Energy Applied sciences Workplace and Wind Energy Applied sciences Workplace.

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Woods, wetlands make poor hosts for wind farms



Swiss wind park ordered to scale back to protect birds

Credit score:  COUNTERPOINT: Woods, wetlands make poor hosts for wind farms |

Sandy Martin, Visitor Opinion |

The Guardian |

July 30, 2022 |

Re: “Anti-turbine NIMBYs a far cry from enlightened Holland.”

I learn with curiosity Janet Bickerton’s June 24 Reader’s Nook. I imagine one ought to use warning when making observations whereas on trip, as they’re usually primarily based on assumptions which will or might not be rooted in actual fact.

Within the case of wind turbine parks in The Netherlands (Holland), I can guarantee you a similar heated discussions happen in Ms. Bickerton’s trip vacation spot as in Nova Scotia. I do know. I’m a Nova Scotian who lives in The Netherlands.

I’ve been concerned in these tales on either side of the Atlantic. Right here, in The Netherlands, discussions regarding migratory chicken flight paths, view-plane disturbances and well being dangers brought on by sound and light-weight disturbances precede and observe virtually each wind park challenge.

Within the North Sea, the principle issues are the lack of fishing grounds and security issues, because the encroachment of wind parks grows on the already very busy ocean-going visitors lanes. It’s also necessary to level out that the subsidies obtainable to firms by means of the Dutch and European Union governments are substantial with regards to constructing “green energy” sources. The motivation for investing and constructing these parks is usually income and revenue technology, with little or no if any altruistic thought to a greater future. Discussions concerning international warming are not often a part of the dialogue.

We’re certainly in a local weather disaster and biodiversity disaster. But it surely’s a bit extra difficult than weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels. We completely want to scale back emissions, however that’s not the entire story.

Scientists have been telling us for fairly some time now that we should cease the worldwide destruction of forests and wetlands. Why? As a result of forests and wetlands draw down and sequester carbon. They cut back floor temperatures and preserve groundwater ranges. Wetlands are the world’s rock stars with regards to sequestering greenhouse gasses. They’re the premise for a viable and clear water provide and the house to numerous and wealthy plant and animal life.

Once you disturb or destroy these very complicated ecosystems, you create a greenhouse fuel chimney, releasing carbon, nitrous oxide and methane into the environment. When timber are minimize, carbon can be launched, not solely from the minimize timber, however from the disturbed topsoil as nicely. When they’re gone, so too is the service they supply – without cost.

If we have a look at the proposed websites of a lot of the wind and {solar} initiatives in Nova Scotia, the popular location is Crown land. Land that’s held – in belief – for the general public regardless that it’s unceded Mi’kmaw territory. And virtually with out exception, these initiatives are positioned in forested areas or wetlands. This isn’t “uninhabited” land. These are complicated ecosystems we desperately want to be able to have some likelihood of mitigating the crises we’re in and guarantee some semblance of a future for our kids and grandchildren.

There are different areas, however that requires cautious planning, imaginative and prescient and the political will to cease giving freely Crown land at bargain-basement costs.

Requiring that each one big-box shops and industrial complexes cowl their roofs with {solar} panels is one step. Constructing wind and {solar} parks on decommissioned or unused industrial websites is one other. There are additionally many community-based options already obtainable in Nova Scotia.

I don’t imagine it’s a matter of NIMBY. I do, nonetheless, imagine we have to take an built-in method to discovering a sustainable resolution and never accept the short-term monetary positive aspects of the chosen few.

Sandy Martin lives in Den Helder, The Netherlands

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Douglass Township Planning Commission recommends repealing 2017 wind ordinance



Swiss wind park ordered to scale back to protect birds

DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – After a number of residents voiced issues with a controversial 2017 wind energy ordinance, the Douglass Township Planning Fee unanimously voted Wednesday to advocate that the township board repeal it.

The township board will vote on the advice at subsequent Wednesday’s assembly; nonetheless, a pending ordinance just like the 2017 wind ordinance nonetheless stays to be handled. Even when the township board repeals the 2017 ordinance, the township board voted earlier this month to approve a precept wind energy ordinance, in addition to a second model of the ordinance which features a “financial savings clause” relating to the 2017 ordinance which was by no means correctly printed by the township and thus stays in dispute.

Each not too long ago authorised new ordinances are dealing with a referendum effort.

A discover of intent to file for referendum has been filed with the Douglass Township clerk and poll wording should be licensed by the Montcalm County Clerk’s Workplace by Aug. 16 to ensure that the referendum to seem on the November poll.

Robert Scott of Sidney Township opened public remark by telling the Planning Fee that he emailed township lawyer Ron Redick relating to the 2017 wind ordinance.

“I wrote that you’ve acknowledged at current Douglass Township conferences that the so-called supplemental ordinance will give the residents of Douglas Township the chance to referendum the 2017 wind ordinance, which they had been disadvantaged of in 2017,” Scott mentioned. “You appear to be saying {that a} profitable referendum of the supplemental wind ordinance may also serve to rescind the 2017 wind ordinance. However there’s no manner on the earth that the supplemental ordinance can knock out the 2017 ordinance.”

Vice Chairwoman Tammy Sweeris responded to Scott’s feedback.

“So one of many issues that simply got here up was the request has gone to the township lawyer,” Sweeris mentioned. “Nobody on this panel was copied on any request. And I believe Ron has instructed all of us quite a few occasions that he’ll solely deal with issues that come from us. So by not together with anybody on this panel in any request, now we have no strategy to comply with by and get the solutions that you simply search.”

“I’m sorry, however the frequent courtesy would have been for him to ahead it to considered one of you or to let me know that,” Scott responded. “To respect one other lawyer, he ought to have finished that.”

Former Planning Fee member Cindy Shick additionally made her ideas identified on the 2017 wind ordinance.

“Again virtually a yr in the past, we had been evaluating ordinances to the 2017,” Shick mentioned. “At the moment, we didn’t know that it had not been correctly authorised, however we knew there have been issues. Ron Redick acknowledged that there have been issues.”

Shick added that the 2017 ordinance offers the very township with little safety if wind firms injury property or roadways and no energy to litigate towards them.

“There isn’t any provision for restore of street injury,” Shick mentioned. “They will do all of the injury they need to the street by putting in one thing and 2017 permits for it. There’s nothing to make sure the price of decommissioning. In the event that they die out, and the corporate walks away, they keep till they fall. We’ve got no tooth to go after them.”


Additionally on Wednesday, the Planning Fee reviewed its grasp plan, together with areas that planner Paul LeBlanc recognized as potential points. Michigan’s Planning and Enabling Act requires that townships evaluate its grasp plan each 5 years.

LeBlanc instructed commissioners that the census knowledge on the present plan is from 2010. As a result of many municipalities are reviewing grasp plans to get an thought of how their neighborhood has modified, he urged commissioners evaluate that info.

LeBlanc listed a number of areas that he noticed as improvable, together with one matter which continued to come back up in dialogue: Zoning.

“On web page 14, there’s an outline of present land use,” LeBlanc mentioned. “As I have a look at map primary, the present land use map, I’m a land-use planner, so after I have a look at the map and see all yellow, that tells me that it is a residential neighborhood that’s largely undeveloped, and that isn’t the case.”

Points had been additionally raised in regards to the industrial districts zoned within the township, minimal and most home dimension, fireplace providers and tiny properties. No motion was taken by the Planning Fee on these matters, as commissioners wanted extra time to acclimate themselves to the problems introduced.

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