High Plains Public Radio

renewable energy

Larry Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

As wind energy becomes more economically viable in Oklahoma, momentum is building on a political movement to limit tax breaks to wind farms in the state.

As StateImpact reports, last week a panel that decides Oklahoma’s tax incentives decided to curb the credits being given to wind operations. The Incentive Review Commission has reported on ten different wind incentives under review this year.

Kathleen Lavine / Denver Business Journal

Wind energy is booming in Colorado, reports the Denver Business Journal.

In fact, 14 percent of the state’s power now comes from wind, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy. And the Centennial State isn’t alone; wind power is surging in many parts of the country.

Texas Observer

Renewable energy has seen a boom recently. That means many landowners have been tempted to lease their acreage to solar companies. In many cases, farmers and ranchers have received fliers and letters from solar operations.

news9.com

Oklahoma is one of several states challenging President Barack Obama's plan that would force coal plants to reduce emissions,

Theodore Scott / Flickr Creative Commons

A battle over local power in rural Colorado could have national implications, reports the The Rural Blog.

A small electric co-operative in Montrose, Colorado, is battling its supplier over how much local power it should be able to get from sources other than the big power company. The Delta-Montrose Electric Association is one of 43 rural utilities in four states that buy power from the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

Center for Rural Affairs

A recent environmental study got Brian Depew of the Center for Rural Affairs thinking. After mulling the info from the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, Depew penned a column on the rural development potential of transforming the energy sector.

Matthew Mahon / The Wall Street Journal

Texas has added more wind-based capacity than any other state, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

The Lone Star state still embraces its oil and gas, and Texas has garnered many headlines leading role in the fracking revolution. But the state has also quietly been becoming a renewable energy powerhouse.

Naveena Sadasivam / Texas Tribune

A new book by a member of a think tank in Texas insists that renewable energy creates “false hope,” reports The Texas Tribune. In a talk last week, Kathleen Hartnett White praised fossil fuels and called the advent of fracking “breathtaking.” White directs the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Armstrong Center for Energy and Environment. While she spoke, protesters outside the event did their best to make their displeasure at her message known.

Friday marked the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, and our planet has come a long way since the inaugural holiday. But there have been struggles, too, notes The Kansas City Star. Earth Day began in 1970 in response to a 1969 massive oil spill near Santa Barbara, Calif.

cpr.org

Yesterday we reported on a problem Texas is struggling with: The state has so much renewable energy these days that, when the flow slows it costs power companies a lot to ramp up fossil fuel energy again. This problem could be solved by renewable energy storage, the next frontier on the energy landscape.

technologyreview.com

Sometimes the modern world presents you with problems you couldn’t have anticipated. Texas is facing one such dilemma. It seems, according to MIT Technology Review, that the Lone Star State has too much renewable energy. Or perhaps “too much too soon” is a better way to put it.

Drenaline / Wikimedia Commons

The US Department of Energy approved a project last week that would ship renewable energy directly from Oklahoma’s panhandle to cities in the southeastern United States. The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports that the 700-mile Plains and Eastern Clean Line project was okayed by the feds last Friday. The electricity transmission line will cross 14 Oklahoma counties before passing through Arkansas and ending north of Memphis, Tennessee.

ewea.org

Wind energy is exploding nationwide, and Colorado is hoping to be a big part of the revolution. In 2015 the US wind industry had its third-best year in terms of new wind farms built. Across the nation, the industry installed almost 9,000 megawatts worth of wind turbines, reports Denver Business Journal. That’s a 77 percent increase over the previous year. Colorado installed wind turbines capable of generating 400 megawatts worth of renewable power.

storageioblog.com

A group of Oklahoma students have found a way to turn trash into energy, reports KFOR. The students, along with staff members at Oklahoma State University, have patented a process they call “gasification.” The new system could be a game-changer. The name of the project is “Renewable Energy Power on Demand,” or “RE-PODS” for short. The program takes garbage and transforms it into “syngas,” which can run specially-made generators.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed today on new quotas for the amount of renewable fuels blended in to our gasoline. The E-P-A plan would increase the total volume of renewable fuels at gas pumps. But it actually cuts the amount of ethanol made from corn.

Senate Bill 498, which ends a five-year property exemption for new wind farms on Jan. 1, 2017, is headed to Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk.

The Future of Wind Turbines? No Blades

May 19, 2015

Now that we’re used to seeing huge spinning blades across the high plains, there may be a new visual icon on the horizon in the future – enormous tall narrow poles that simply quiver in the wind. This report from Wired. They’re called Vortex Bladeless. Their purpose is the same: turning breezes into kinetic energy that can be used as electricity. But, that’s where the similarity to bladed wind turbines ends. Instead of capturing wind energy with the circular motion of a propeller, The Vortex uses vorticity. That’s an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of vortices. Whirling air patterns that are the enemy of architects and engineers, could now be have new purpose in renewable energy.

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

The wind power industry, free-market business groups, the governor and lawmakers have unveiled a compromise to overhaul the Kansas renewable energy standard. It would remove the mandate that 20 percent of power generation come from renewable sources and replace it with a voluntary goal.

Some advocacy groups get something they’ve wanted, eliminating the mandate for renewable energy. Mike O’Neal is president and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

eia.gov

Have you ever wondered how much energy your state produces, consumes, and expends?  The U.S. Energy Information Administration has created a series of state level maps detailing these facts. 

Here are some quick facts:

COLORADO

BO RADER / kansas.com

Republicans may have gained enough seats in the Kansas House to end the state’s renewable energy standard in the last election.  Activists on both sides of the issue are preparing for a fight in the next legislative session reports the Wichita Eagle.

ElectroRally sparks high school competition in Hays

Oct 5, 2014
Joe Birzer / Wheatland Electric

Hays High won big in the standard class at the 15th annual High Plains ElectroRally recently held in Hays, Kansas.  Wheatland took honors in the solar class, and Olathe Northwest won the Team Spirit Award.

The ElectroRally is a "one-hour endurance race for electric cars" designed and constructed by high school students, said Joe Chretien, associate professor of applied technology at Fort Hays State University in a recent press release.

The electric car that completes the most laps within the hour wins the race.

Michael Glasgow/Texas Tribune

In Panhandle, a Growing Need for a Shallow Lake's Water
Lake Meredith, previously empty, is only 4% full, but those 2.8 billion gallons are enough for the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority to start pumping water from the lake. The authority supplies water to Amarillo, Lubbock, and surrounding areas. The low water means higher sediment levels, which will affect the water's taste and cause higher treatment costs. More from the Amarillo Globe-News.

Unique energy transmission line gets approval

May 29, 2014
kmzu.com

Clean Line Energy Partners recently received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to go ahead with one of the Great Plains transmission projects according to the Center for Rural Affairs.

Miscanthus: A growing energy crop

May 24, 2014
Rick Fredericksen/Harvest Public Media

Miscanthus, a relative of sugar cane that looks like bamboo, could be the Midwest’s next energy crop. But in a region dominated by corn and soybeans, it has yet to fully catch on, even as advocates tout its advantages.

kslegislature.org

A southwest Kansas lawmaker says there is no debate about renewable energy standards according to a recent article from the Kansas City Star

futurewithinreach.com

Gov. Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 1456 into law recently.  The new measure allows regulated electric utility companies to charge customers who generate electricity from rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines reported StateImpact Oklahoma.

Kansas: Renewable energy repeal stalled out

Mar 27, 2014
destination360.com

The Kansas House rejected a bill to repeal the state’s renewable energy standards.  Kansas Public Radio reported the vote was 44-77. 

amarillo.com

Pattern Energy is moving components from Hutchinson and Abilene, Kansas, as well as Iowa, to the Texas Panhandle.  Sections of towers that hold the large blades in the air and the narcelles that hold the equipment that makes electricity from the turning blades are transported by trucks pulling specially built trailers.  The components are headed for two projects located north of Amarillo.

First community-owned solar garden comes to Kansas

Mar 20, 2014
southunioncdc.org

Two energy companies are partnering to build the largest community solar array in Kansas.  Community-owned Midwest Energy and community solar developer Clean Energy Collective (CEC) signed an agreement to build a 1-MW community solar photovoltaic array according to a recent article in Utility Products.

Travel Aficionado / Flickr

On December 31, the federal production tax credit for renewable energy expired. In Oklahoma, this stimulated 12,300 megawatts of wind projects to begin construction ahead of the deadline.

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