Posts Tagged ‘wind’


China Leads World in Renewables? – CNN.com

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Five miles off the coast of Shanghai, the Chinese recently completed the country’s first offshore wind farm.

The project was completed before construction on the first American offshore wind farm has even begun.

The Shanghai project is not just another wind farm. It’s the next generation in wind power technology and the latest example of how China is jumping ahead of the United States.

Earlier this month, the accounting firm Ernst & Young named China the most attractive place to invest in renewables, knocking the United States out of the top position.

The study ranked countries on such things as regulatory risk, access to finance, grid connection and tax climate. It cited the lack of a clear policy promoting demand for renewables in the United States — a product of Congress’ failure to pass an energy bill — as one of the main factors for the dethroning.

China has already surpassed the United States in the amount of wind turbines and solar panels that it makes. China is also gaining on the United States when it comes to how much of their energy comes from renewable energy sources.

The country that leads in the renewable energy industry, is opening the door to more home-grown jobs.

Cash is pouring in: From an investment point of view, the trend is clear.

In 2009, nearly $35 billion in private money flowed into Chinese renewable energy projects, including factories that make wind turbines and solar panels, according to the research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The United States attracted under $19 billion.

“Within the past 18 months, China has become the undisputed global leader in attracting new investment dollars,” Ethan Zindler, head of policy analysis at New Energy Finance, recently told a congressional committee.

Zindler said the money came from not only the Chinese government and banks, but also Western private equity funds and individual investors buying publicly-traded Chinese stocks.

Jobs growth, for China: The result of all this investment money is jobs.

In wind power, China-based companies are on track to make 39% of the turbines sold worldwide in 2010, according to New Energy Finance. U.S.-based companies will make just 12%.

In solar, China-based firms will make 43% of the panels. U.S. firms will make 9%.

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Cape Cod Wind Project is Approved but Much to Chagrin of Residents (yes, energy is complicated)

HYANNIS, Mass. — The federal government may have described the Cape Wind project as a fait accompli, but Ian Parent does not expect to see turbines in the water or run the panini maker at his restaurant with electricity generated in Nantucket Sound any time soon.

“I bet this goes on for another five years,” said Mr. Parent, the owner of La Petite France Café, as he unwrapped cheese behind the counter on Wednesday afternoon.

Word that the federal government had approved a permit on Wednesday for Cape Wind Associates to build a 130-turbine wind farm off the coast here barely caused a ripple in Hyannis, where the installation will be visible from parts of the town, including a popular beach and many houses.

After a nine-year battle over the proposal, most here thought the decision would lead to even more years of litigation and waiting.

“I don’t think it’s over yet,” said Rob MacNamee, 42, a lawyer from Barnstable, Mass. “It’s been going on for how long? All the stickers for and against have washed off the cars, and the signs have blown down.”

The fight has dragged on for so long that many find themselves on both sides of the issue. That is, they now support the development of renewable energy, but just not here.

“I’m 100 percent for alternative energy, but just not in Nantucket Sound,” Mr. Parent said. “There’s no guarantee that the electricity will be cheaper. And once you put those windmills out there you can never take them away.”

Many in Hyannis, where the wind that would one day power the turbines whipped around rain and hail on Wednesday, thought the decision was to be expected from the Obama administration, which has dedicated billions of dollars to alternative energy sources.

Allen Rencurrel, a ship captain, speculated that the administration had deliberately waited until after the death in August of Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, one of Cape Wind’s biggest opponents, to make its call.

“Now that Teddy’s gone, that’s the only way they got it approved,” Mr. Rencurrel said from the deck of the Seafox, which harvests clams in beds near the site where the turbines would rise.

Mr. Rencurrel said he worried that the turbines would interfere with the routes he takes to some of his clam beds and challenge both experienced captains and recreational boaters.

“I feel sorry for the pleasure boaters out there — they’re inexperienced and are going to be running into these things,” he said.

Yet with unemployment high and affordable housing hard to come by, some here suggest that the construction and operations jobs could well make up for what might be lost in a vista.

“There’s a desperate need for work here,” said Steven Spagnohe, 46, a musician from Hyannis. “There’s a lot of skilled laborers and mechanical people out of work, and this would help.”

Mr. Spagnohe said that people opposed to the project are “old money” who “don’t want to lose tradition” while he sees Cape Wind as a step forward for the country’s energy policy.

“We’re going to get more electricity,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for the United States, for America and for the Cape.”

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