by Aaron Severn
Director, Grassroots and Federal Legislative Affairs
American Wind Energy Association
I wanted to loop you in on the latest updates on American wind power. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently released its Annual Market Report for 2013, as well as its First Quarter 2014 Market Report.
So what’s new?
The U.S. wind industry did not install much wind power capacity in 2013, reflecting the impact of the policy uncertainty that the wind industry faced throughout 2012.
The numbers were small:
- 1,087 megawatts (MW) installed in 2013, compared to 13,131 in 2012 – a 92% drop in new capacity
- Corresponding drop in investment, $2 billion into the US economy in 2013, compared to $25 billion in 2012
- Loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs – ending the year with 50,500 total wind industry jobs, as compared to 80,700 jobs at the end of 2012
In total, though, wind power is making impressive contributions to the U.S. electricity supply:
- Wind now provides over 4% of our electricity nationally
- Iowa and South Dakota get over 25% of their electricity from wind power; nine states get more than 10% and six states get more than 15% of their electricity from wind power
As you may recall, Congress allowed the PTC to expire at the end of 2012. Then, our legislators extended the credit in early January 2013, allowing projects that started construction by the end of 2013 to qualify for the credit (rather than requiring that they be operational by the end of 2013, as required in the past). The uncertainty throughout 2012 caused wind project development to come to a halt, and manufacturing orders to cease, resulting in little development and significant job loss as noted above.
How’s this year looking so far?
The PTC extension in 2013 allowed developers to put plans back in motion. As a result, 2014 is off to a great start:
- Over 13,000 MW of wind power under construction – more than any other time in history – and including over 95 projects across 21 states
- 214 MW of wind power installed so far — more than in the first three quarters of 2013
- Utility companies and corporate purchasers continue to announce agreements to purchase wind power – they announced 8,000 MW of power purchase agreements in 2013, and about another 1,000 MW so far this year
Is there a catch?
Yes – federal policy for the wind energy industry is still uncertain. The PTC expired again, at the end of 2013. Without an extension, the wind industry is looking at the prospect of near-term downturns in project development, and job layoffs as well.
The Senate Finance Committee has acted to extend the PTC, and a credit that developers can choose instead of the PTC, the investment tax credit (ITC). They extended these provisions as part of the EXPIRE Act in early April. The bill moves to the Senate floor for consideration next, and we will keep you updated on that front. It will be important to weigh in with your Senators about the importance of extending the PTC through the EXPIRE Act.
Thanks, as always, for your support. I encourage you to check out these resources if you’re interested in more information:
- AWEA State Fact Sheets
- AWEA U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2014 Market Report
- AWEA U.S. Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2013
Director, Grassroots and Federal Legislative Affairs
American Wind Energy Association
We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged, and by taking an all- of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our kids’ health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. Building on efforts underway in states and communities across the country, the President’s plan cuts carbon pollution that causes climate change and threatens public health. Today, we have limits in place for arsenic, mercury and lead, but we let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they want – pollution that is contributing to higher rates of asthma attacks and more frequent and severe floods and heat waves.
Cutting carbon pollution will help keep our air and water clean and protect our kids. The President’s plan will also spark innovation across a wide variety of energy technologies, resulting in cleaner forms of American- made energy and cutting our dependence on foreign oil. Combined with the President’s other actions to increase the efficiency of our cars and household appliances, the President’s plan will help American families cut energy waste, lowering their gas and utility bills. In addition, the plan steps up our global efforts to lead on climate change and invests to strengthen our roads, bridges, and shorelines so we can better protect people’s homes, businesses, and way of life from severe weather.
While no single step can reverse the effects of climate change, we have a moral obligation to act on behalf of future generations. Climate change represents one of the major challenges of the 21st century, but as a nation of innovators, we can and will meet this challenge in a way that advances our economy, our environment, and public health all at the same time. That is why the President’s comprehensive plan takes action to:
Cuts Carbon Pollution in America. In 2012, U.S. carbon pollution from the energy sector fell to the lowest level in two decades even as the economy continued to grow. To build on this progress, the Obama Administration is putting in place tough new rules to cut carbon pollution—just like we have for other toxins like mercury and arsenic —so we protect the health of our children and move our economy toward American-made clean energy sources that will create good jobs and lower home energy bills. For example, the plan:
- Directs EPA to work closely with states, industry and other stakeholder to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants;
- Makes up to $8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of advanced fossil energy and efficiency projects to support investments in innovative technologies;
- Directs DOI to permit enough renewables project—like wind and solar – on public lands by 2020 to power more than 6 million homes; designates the first-ever hydropower project for priority permitting; and sets a new goal to install 100 megawatts of renewables on federally assisted housing by 2020; while maintaining the commitment to deploy renewables on military installations;
- Expands the President’s Better Building Challenge, focusing on helping commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings cut waste and become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020;
- Sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 – more than half of the annual carbon pollution from the U.S. energy sector – through efficiency standards set over the course of the Administration for appliances and federal buildings;
- Commits to partnering with industry and stakeholders to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles to save families money at the pump and further reduce reliance on foreign oil and fuel consumption post-2018; and
- Leverages new opportunities to reduce pollution of highly-potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons; directs agencies to develop a comprehensive methane strategy; and commits to protect our forests and critical landscapes.
Prepares the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. Even as we take new steps to cut carbon pollution, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country. Building on progress over the last four years, the plan:
- Directs agencies to support local climate-resilient investment by removing barriers or counterproductive policies and modernizing programs; and establishes a short-term task force of state, local, and tribal officials to advise on key actions the Federal government can take to help strengthen communities on the ground;
- Pilots innovative strategies in the Hurricane Sandy-affected region to strengthen communities against future extreme weather and other climate impacts; and building on a new, consistent flood risk reduction standard established for the Sandy-affected region, agencies will update flood-risk reduction standards for all federally funded projects;
- Launches an effort to create sustainable and resilient hospitals in the face of climate change through a public-private partnership with the healthcare industry;
- Maintains agricultural productivity by delivering tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and landowners; and helps communities prepare for drought and wildfire by launching a National Drought Resilience Partnership and by expanding and prioritizing forest- and rangeland- restoration efforts to make areas less vulnerable to catastrophic fire; and
- Provides climate preparedness tools and information needed by state, local, and private-sector leaders through a centralized “toolkit” and a new Climate Data Initiative.
Lead International Efforts to Address Global Climate Change. Just as no country is immune from the impacts of climate change, no country can meet this challenge alone. That is why it is imperative for the United States to couple action at home with leadership internationally. America must help forge a truly global solution to this global challenge by galvanizing international action to significantly reduce emissions, prepare for climate impacts, and drive progress through the international negotiations. For example, the plan:
- Commits to expand major new and existing international initiatives, including bilateral initiatives with China, India, and other major emitting countries;
- Leads global sector public financing towards cleaner energy by calling for the end of U.S. government support for public financing of new coal-fired powers plants overseas, except for the most efficient coal technology available in the world’s poorest countries, or facilities deploying carbon capture and sequestration technologies; and
- Strengthens global resilience to climate change by expanding government and local community planning and response capacities.
I was looking through my posts for environmental cases that have been resolved or not and found that the Mann V Ford case is probably not the only one but it is still active. Sometime around 2006, I read about this case and then the trailer came out as well, informing us all about the Environmental Waste Disaster case named Mann V Ford. I posted it several times. I am still looking for the author of the article below, but the words are not to be denied or ignored. I also wrote pop tort for an update on the case but have not heard back so I went to wiki and found among other things that the Mann V Ford case is active, though a settlement was determined in 2009 with an amount of $12.5 million. The so-called experts claimed they could not find a connection a correlation or attach any health issues or the many deaths to Fords environmental waste. Reports are that the claimants received checks in 2010 and the max given out was about 35K. However, most got less. The truth is beyond offensive,but get this … the EPA has had 5 attempts to finish the job but residence found and keep finding more paint sludge even while Lisa Jackson was in charge, meanwhile more folks have died. The question environmentalist need to ask and the EPA needs to answer … did/is Ford doing what they were expected, promised and required to do in order to ensure the residence were all compensated appropriately, Did they continue to check the land, water and grounds before they deemed them safe lest we talk about a constant watch on the health of the next generation …
The information written below is from poptort.com around 2006- 2011
If you’re a PopTort.com fan, you know that there have been a few documentaries already out this year about the civil justice system, except that the business community, with all their money, can’t seem to make ones that anyone wants to watch. I dunno, maybe the problem is their basic theme:
“please feel sorry for us, we can’t make as much money as we want at the expense of everyday people, wah wah wah”.
Last Monday night, an example of this phenomenon aired on the Reelz channel, a film called Injustice that received almost no news coverage except by piggy-backing off publicity for the critically-acclaimed film Hot Coffee, and even so, was covered mostly by a few legal blogs like Above the Law, which lambasted it saying, “I’m not sure if anyone was even able to watch it. And if they had been able to do so, I’m pretty sure they would have changed the channel pretty quickly….” (We were happy to see them pick up our “this isn’t a film, it’s an infomercial” theme! ) Even noted film and media scholar Patricia Aufderheide, professor of Film and Media Arts in the School of Communication at American University and director of the Center for Social Media, noticed, tweeting: Dueling documentaries ; looks like the big-biz folks aren’t as good filmmakers….
On the other side of that coin, once again tonight HBO airs another very powerful documentary film, called Mann v. Ford, by co-directors Maro Chermayeff and Micah Fink, which showcases how vitally important the civil justice system and plaintiff’s lawyers are to help communities seek justice when powerful corporations have harmed them. Here is what HBO says about it:
The Ramapough Mountain Indians have lived in the hills and forests of northern New Jersey, less than 40 miles from midtown Manhattan, for hundreds of years. In the 1960s, their neighbor in nearby Mahwah, the Ford Motor Company, bought their land and began dumping toxic waste in the woods and abandoned iron mines surrounding their homes. Ford has acknowledged the dumping.
In the 1980s, the Ramapough’s homeland was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of federally monitored Superfund sites – and supposedly cleaned up by Ford. However, thousands of tons of toxic waste were left behind. In 2006, the residents of Upper Ringwood, after suffering for years from a range of mysterious ailments, including deadly cancers, skin rashes and high rates of miscarriage, filed a mass action lawsuit seeking millions of dollars from Ford as compensation for their suffering. Ford denied all responsibility for the illnesses devastating the community and claimed its flawed cleanup had fully complied with all EPA rules.
MANN v. FORD tells the story of a small community’s epic battle against two American giants: the Ford Motor Company and the Environmental Protection Agency, which failed to ensure that Ford cleaned the land of deadly toxins and erroneously declared the community safe and clean of toxic waste. The documentary debuts MONDAY, JULY 18 (9:00-10:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
Impressive. We should point out the New Jersey newspaper, The Record (reporters Jan Barry, Thomas E. Franklin, Mary Jo Layton, Tim Nostrand, Alex Nussbaum,Tom Troncone, Debra Lynn Vial, Lindy Washburn, Barbara Williams) initially broke this story for the wider public in an award-winning series called Toxic Legacy. The paper’s web site says,
A generation ago, the Ford Motor Company churned out six millions cars and trucks at a sprawling assembly plant in Mahwah. But that remarkable production came at a cost. Before the plant closed in 1980, it also generated an ocean of pollution that was dumped in the forests of North Jersey, contaminating a mountain community in Ringwood and threatening the region’s most important watershed.
In 2005, a team of reporters from The Record spent months conducting an investigation of the failed cleanups that had taken place up to that point, and documenting its impact on the people living amid the waste.
So again, the film aired on MONDAY, JULY 18 (9:00-10:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.