NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, March 27: A WIND OPPONENT PROVED WRONG BY THE MARKETPLACE; THE COST OF THE SAN ONFRE NUCLEAR OUTAGE; APPLE LIKES NEW ENERGY

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    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    QUICK NEWS, March 27: A WIND OPPONENT PROVED WRONG BY THE MARKETPLACE; THE COST OF THE SAN ONFRE NUCLEAR OUTAGE; APPLE LIKES NEW ENERGY

    A WIND OPPONENT PROVED WRONG BY THE MARKETPLACE Wind blowing against Alexander's energy arguments; Sen. Lamar Alexander has long opposed a tax credit for wind energy and thinks that modern windmills are a blight on the landscape, but the sector continues to grow in some areas of the country.

    Paul C. Barton, March 26, 2013 (USA Today)

    “…[U]tilities, including [Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander’s] Tennessee Valley Authority, are finding they like wind power more and more…[but] Alexander, up for re-election in 2014, argues the country needs 100 new nuclear plants to ensure low cost and clean power for the 21st century…[and] has this year renewed efforts to strip the wind industry of a [2.2 cents per kilowatt hour] tax credit, in existence since 1992, for new power it brings on line…[It costs] the federal government about $1.5 billion annually…[but] produce at least $18 in capital investment for every dollar they cost…

    “…[Wind farms return far more in tax revenues to all levels of government than they receive in subsidies…And farmers receive lease payments for allowing the turbines on their land, even as they plant and harvest right alongside of them]…In 2012, more wind energy — 13,124 megawatts — was added to the U.S. electric grid than any other form of power. Of all U.S. power, 4% now comes from wind…”

    “…Texas, in fact, is No. 1 in wind capacity with 12,212 megawatts of capacity, followed by California with 5,549 and Iowa with 5,137…Nine states now get 10% or more of their power from wind, with Iowa getting more than 20%. California is on course to get more than a third of its supply from wind by 2020, and a recent Department of Energy study predicted wind could supply 20% of the nation's supply by 2030…

    “…[U]tilities, especially in the Midwest, are finding that wind…[from] wind farms of the Great Plains is often cheaper than other power sources, especially at night…[M]any are using wind to displace nuclear…[and] entering into long-term contracts with wind sources as a hedge against future volatility in natural gas and oil prices…[Alexander’s home state TVA has, since 2010,] entered into six contracts that can provide it with a maximum of 1,515 megawatts of…the 34,000 megawatts it has from other sources, primarily nuclear and fossil fuel plants…[and] is contemplating the purchase of an additional 500 megawatts…”

    THE COST OF THE SAN ONFRE NUCLEAR OUTAGE Extended nuclear plant outages raise Southern California wholesale power prices

    March 26, 2013 (U.S. Energy Information Adminstration)

    “The outages of both units at Southern California Edison's San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), starting in January 2012, have created a persistent spread in wholesale power prices between Northern and Southern California.

    “Historically, wholesale power prices for Northern and Southern California tracked closely with one another, indicating minimal market differences between the two areas. However, after the shutdown of SONGS in early 2012, the relatively inexpensive nuclear generation produced by SONGS had to be replaced with power from more expensive sources. Consequently, since April 2012 Southern California power prices have persistently exceeded Northern California prices, with the spread averaging $4.15/MWh, or 12% of the Northern California price.”

    “Relative differences in natural gas prices do not seem to be driving the gap between Northern and Southern California power prices…[T]his difference accounts for less than $1 per megawatt-hour…[H]igher wholesale power prices in Southern California more likely are attributable to the need for more-expensive generation…in the densely populated Los Angeles and San Diego regions…[where] alternative sources…are more expensive…

    “In 2012, the continuing SONGS closure put pressure on the electric power grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), to adjust both generation and transmission in order to meet summer demand for electricity, and in general, continues to change the generation profile in the area…[CAISO has] requested changes to a transmission constraint rule in an attempt to resolve transmission congestion that is contributing to higher prices…[Restarting SONGS]…requires the approval of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)…[which is expected] after May 2013.

    APPLE LIKES NEW ENERGY Apple Inc. Powering Data Centers With 100% Renewable Energy

    26 March 2013 (North American Windpower)

    “Technology giant Apple Inc. says that all of its data centers now use 100% renewable energy, including power from wind, solar, geothermal and hydro resources…[It has also achieved use of] 75% renewable energy [at its facilities] worldwide - through a combination of on-site solar and fuel cell projects, renewable energy credits, and direct purchase of electricity from renewable energy projects.”

    “In California, for example, Apple is powering its Newark data center and Cupertino corporate headquarters with wind energy purchased from nearby wind farms. [According to its current environmental footprint report, Apple] will continue developing and procuring renewable energy until all of its facilities run on 100% renewables.”

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