Last night news broke that Siemens’ wind energy will be restaffing their American manufacturing sites. This is great news for the wind industry and for local economies  impacted by Siemens’ hiring (such as our local economy in Hutchinson, KS.)

Of particular interest in comments from the Siemens’ executives is that the renewed PTC legislation is not key to this restaffing -but that increased orders for export of wind turbines is driving the need to restaff facilities.

Here is an excerpt from the press release:

After the uncertain fate of the production tax credit (PTC) led Siemens to lay off approximately 37% of its U.S. wind energy workforce last year, the company is now in the process of restaffing its operations in Fort Madison, Iowa, and Hutchinson, Kan., company spokesperson Monika Wood confirmed to NAW.

Although the tax credit has been renewed, Siemens’ decision to hire more workers is not a direct result of the PTC extension, Wood says. In fact, the company is restaffing in order to produce wind turbine components for projects located outside the U.S.

“While the recently passed one-year PTC extension is not directly related to our need to ramp up production at this time, the PTC extension gives us confidence in the American market,” Wood tells NAW. “As projects move forward and we receive new wind turbine orders sparked by the PTC extension, we will continue to adjust our operations accordingly.”

Read the entire release here.

We are glad to see the wind industry getting back to work!

Kate Van Cantfort, Communications Director for  CEP

Advertisements

In response to the recent layoffs at the Hutchinson, KS Siemens plant and to the continued lack of support from the KS delegation to the House of Representatives, CEP, the Wind Coalition, Kansas Interfaith Power and Light and the Kansas Natural Resources Council are asking Kansans to sign a letter of support for the Production Tax Credit.

You can read and sign the letter below:

Or sign and share the letter on Facebook here.

We are on track to have 5,000 signatures by October 7th.

Please join us in this effort and spread the word to your friends and neighbors.

posted by Kate Van Cantfort, Director of Communications and Special Projects

The proposed rule will require all new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity produced. Existing plants or new power plant units that have permits and start construction within 12 months of this proposal are considered “transitional” units and will be grandfathered in.

The rule is rooted in a 2007 directive from the Supreme Court instructing the E.P.A. to decide whether carbon dioxide was a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. In late 2009, the agency declared that it was, and so had to be regulated.

Hailed by some as “nothing short of an historic step toward creating healthier, more secure communities” the first ever national industrial carbon pollution standard get’s poor marks from others including the Edison Electric Institute, representing the majority of U.S. electric utilities.

Even some environmental organizations believe the proposal is too weak because it fails to address existing power plants.

Policy makers as usual seem to be split across party lines and already have said they’ll seek to overturn the rule through legislative means.

You know where we stand – and regardless of whether you support the new rule or not, deploying substantial amounts of renewable energy and energy efficiency across the nation is both good for the environment and the economy; creating jobs, prosperity and security for America.

EPA is accepting comments on the proposal for the next 60 days, so do your homework and let them know how you feel about the Carbon Pollution Standard for new power plants.

Dorothy Barnett, Executive Director, Climate + Energy Project

@CEPheartland

In case you missed last week’s blog about the Production Tax Credit, here is a quick update on the latest news:

RENEWABLE ENERGY:

Lawmakers prepare bipartisan push to extend wind energy tax credit

Evan Lehmann, E&E reporter

Published: Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lawmakers are poised to introduce a bipartisan bill extending a key federal incentive for wind energy developers through 2016. It’s emerging during a stormy debate over renewable energy subsidies and as lawmakers struggle to identify massive spending cuts before year’s end.

Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) will seek a four-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC), which makes wind energy comparable in price to electricity derived from coal and natural gas by giving generators 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. They plan to introduce it later this week.

The bill begins what its supporters say is an urgent effort to prolong the wind credit before it expires at the end of 2012. That would avoid a similar slowdown in construction after the credit’s last disappearance in 2003, industry officials say.

The year-away expiration is already having a negative effect, according to some industry reports that claim developers are not planning beyond the 2012 time frame and have begun laying off employees.

“We need to renew these credits quickly so that construction and job creation in the wind industry can continue uninterrupted,” Blumenauer said in a statement. He and Reichert are members of the Ways and Means Committee.

An extension might mark Congress’ boldest action on renewable energy this year. But even modest action on tax credits faces political hurdles as House Republicans question federal energy loan guarantees while others target all subsidies — for fossil fuels and renewables.

The bill to extend the credit comes days after Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) said he’ll offer one to disband it, along with other subsidies.

“The House majority has repeatedly disappointed anyone who wants to see smart policy,” said Joshua Freed, vice president for clean energy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank. “It’s tough to see anything, including the smart extension of the PTC, succeed — though it would be really pleasant.”

A ‘good possibility’ for extension?

But a Democratic aide believes the bill has a chance. It would likely involve attaching the extension to a larger tax bill that could emerge from the “supercommittee” that is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in cuts by Nov. 23.

“There’s a lot of open questions with how this year ends, and we’d like to make sure that it’s there as a moving vehicle,” the aide said, adding that the tax credit “should not be as partisan” as other clean energy policies. “I think there’s a good possibility for this.”

Still, the legislation could test the partisanship of energy issues in today’s Congress, where lawmakers have traditionally supported policies that align with their regional interests over political positioning. But the bill’s sponsors face an unfriendly atmosphere in which energy subsidies are being demonized, cash is short and Congress is maneuvering for the presidential election.

Yet members of both parties have celebrated the policy’s ability to create jobs, especially in the gusty Great Plains, out West and in Southern states like Texas where wind is growing.

Eight weeks ago, 24 governors asked the administration to extend the production tax credit for seven years to encourage long-term commitments from wind developers. Nine of those executives are Republicans, and some of them represent key election states, including Iowa, Florida and Pennsylvania.

House Republicans also held hearings last summer to identify roadblocks for renewable energy projects on public land. But they emphasized a need for faster permitting, not expanded subsidies.

The Reichert-Blumenauer bill is already attracting some Republican attention. One source said Reps. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) and Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) have signaled support for co-sponsoring the bill.

That’s not unusual. The tax credit has enjoyed GOP support in the past, including from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the majority whip. He proposed a 10-year extension of the credit in 2009, saying Congress needs to take “decisive action and create a stable wind energy development climate.”

McCarthy’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment. Two years ago, he said, “This decade-long extension of the production tax credit would also invest in new local jobs and energy to power our future.”

Perhaps those of you talking to our Kansas congressional delegation may want to mention how important this production tax credit extension is to our friends at Siemens, Draka, JR Customs, Jupiter to name a few of the companies creating clean energy jobs in Kansas.

Dorothy Barnett, Executive Director

The Take Charge Challenge is a friendly contest between communities to reduce their energy use – think of it as a “Biggest Loser” for energy. The Challenge seeks to drive demand for Efficiency Kansas, the Facilities Conservation Improvement Program, and Weatherization Assistance. At heart, the goal is to spur durable behavior change and achieve substantial energy reductions in participating communities. We seek to save energy and money, both now and over the long-term.

Regional Coordinator Job Description

We seek energetic, effective communicators to help communities succeed.

Successful candidates will convene and motivate diverse leadership teams, plan engaging and newsworthy events, and create irresistible “buzz” around the Challenge.

Regional coordinators will work in no more than five communities, where they’ll build capacity among city leadership, utilities, and universities. Coordinators will deploy a tested program as well as develop innovative ways to inspire reduction in energy use and harness the spirit of competition.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Convene and coordinate Leadership Teams in each community
  • Plan and conduct three successful events in each community plus a final regional celebration
  • Actively coordinate challenge partners including auditors, banks, utilities and others
  • Report monthly progress

Other Responsibilities:

  • Weekly check in with Director
  • Weekly calls with other Regional Coordinators
  • Attend all Take Charge Challenge trainings and meetings

 Additional duties as assigned by Director:

  • Measure tracking
  • Website support/updates
  • Material production
  • Press outreach/media coordination

Supervision Received:

Reports to the Director of Energy & Transmission

Personal and Professional Qualifications:

  • Event planning experience
  • Volunteer management
  • Community building/civic engagement
  • Customer service
  • Leadership experience

Education & Experience:

Desirable: Experience with volunteer management, community building and customer service

This is a contract position: one year, part time, $12,000-$15,000.

Requires dependable transportation, computer, and mobile phone. Mileage and proportional phone expense reimbursed. No insurance or retirement benefits.

To Apply:

Submit cover letter, resume and three references to:

Dorothy Barnett, Director Energy Transmission

Climate and Energy Project

barnett@climateandenergy.org

By Dorothy Barnett

Thomas Friedman’s “The Great Disruption” is a great article – but what in the world do this New Yorker’s words have to do with Kansas? Why should you care?

Because even though the United States is making a shift toward and investment in clean power, like Friedman clearly tells us – Kansas risks missing the boat.

YOU have a chance to make a difference – let’s tell our legislators we want to be a state with GREAT energy policy. We want to reap the economic benefits wind energy can bring to both landowners and county coffers.

We want the thousands of new jobs renewable energy and energy efficiency can bring to Kansas, we want the opportunity for Kansas manufacturers to build components for wind turbines and we want to be able to compete for billions in federal stimulus dollars to help make this all possible.

What we want and need to bring prosperity to the plains is a clean vote for clean energy policy.

Come to Topeka on March 19th and rally with other Kansans for CLEAN ENERGY POLICY. Find details at http://www.kansascleanenergy.com If you can’t come in person – contact your legislators and tell them how you feel.

When your children and grandchildren ask you, ‘What was it like? What were you doing, when times were troubled and the world was changing? What did you think? What did you do?”

Tell them about the part you played in renewing Kansas through clean energy!

WHAT’S UP WITH COLORADO?

Kansas has the third best wind resource in the nation, yet we are far behind in developing our wind resources and manufacturing.

 

At the same time, our neighbors to the west have seen exponential growth in wind energy development, with 1,067 MW of installed wind capacity at the end of 2007. Colorado’s wind resource is ranked only 11th in wind energy potential –yet Colorado has vaulted into sixth place nationally in wind capacity, trailing only Texas, California, Iowa, Washington and Minnesota.

 

Plus, Colorado is getting wind manufacturing jobs.

 

· Wind-turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems is developing plants in Windsor and Brighton with plans to employ a total of more than 2,000 people.

· AVA Solar Inc., a spinoff from Colorado State University, plans to build a solar panel manufacturing plant that would employ 500 people.

· Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. said it was moving its U.S. headquarters from Austin, Texas, to Broomfield, which offered economic incentives to lure the wind-energy farm developer. The headquarters is expected to employ 140 people.

· Siemens Energy said it would establish a wind turbine research and development center that would employ 50 people in Boulder.

 

How did Colorado do it? Its governor and legislature worked together on clean energy policies that made Colorado a prime location for renewable energy manufacturers. Some of the initiatives that Colorado passed:

 

Renewable Energy Standard (RES)

· Requires investor-owned utilities to reach 20% by 2020, electric co-ops and municipal utilities serving more than 40,000 customers must reach 10% by 2020.

· In-state incentives for community wind and solar installations.

· Utilities must provide optional green pricing programs for customers

Net Metering and Interconnection Standards

· Co-ops and utilities must implement FERC interconnection standards and provides for 1:1 credit of net excess energy generated. At the end of calendar year IOU’s pay customer for net excess generation credits at the rate of the average hourly incremental cost for that year.

Local Option Property Tax and Sales Tax Exemptions on Renewable Installments

· Allows local governments to support renewable installations through property and sales tax exemptions.

 

Hmmm….What would it take for Kansas to compete in the new energy economy?

 

Well – many reading this blog will say – hey, once the 2008 numbers are in and all of the turbines are up and running, we’ll be in the 1000 MW club too. Very true – however, we have the THIRD best wind resource in the nation – shouldn’t we be way ahead of 11th ranked Colorado?

 

The 1000 MW club can be a tough nut to crack – however, even without a top-notch wind resource Colorado has managed it. A recent study, “Defining, Estimating, and Forecasting the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Industries in the U.S. and in Colorado found that the renewable-energy and efficiency sector accounted for more than 4 percent of the gross state product in 2007 – making it one of the biggest contributors to Colorado’s economy.

 

Colorado has been busy working with industry stakeholders to capitalize on their resources. Created just one year ago, the Green Jobs Working Group, has been a leader in promoting green energy jobs in Colorado through a number of initiatives.

 

First, the GJWGcommissioned and closely managed a green jobs study. Second, it took a comprehensive inventory of green energy education and training opportunities in Colorado to assess the state’s capacity to educate and train a green energy workforce. Third, partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund, the GJWG is currently producing a Colorado Green Jobs Guidebook that details the occupational profiles of jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.

 

Governor Sebelius’ energy plan is a step in the right direction. Her creation of the GreenWorks Advisory Council led by Len Rodman, CEO of Black and Veatch will work to bring new green jobs to Kansas – assuming they can get the necessary support from the Kansas Legislature to capitalize on Kansas’ wind and solar resources.

 

Dorothy Barnett

CEP