For more on wind energy and environmental, economic, and grid integration issues, see The Big Picture.
11/10/15 - New federal rules for Calif. desert put too many prime wind energy sites off-limits - A new plan released by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) puts approximately three million acres that had been available for solar and wind development off-limits. This will make it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the plan’s stated planning goal of 20,000 MW of renewable energy and presents a challenge to the greenhouse-gas-reduction goals laid out by President Obama and Governor Jerry Brown. (See Map) Read more >>>
11/3/15 - Sacramento Bee opinion editorial argues that wind energy bans cannot be part of a responsible solution to the climate problem - The opinion piece, by CalWEA Executive Director Nancy Rader and Michael Gerrard of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, highlights the fact that wind energy projects are being banned or severely restricted in several California counties and, more significantly, across vast federal lands in the state. These restrictions threaten the ability to achieve California’s climate change goals. Read more >>>
10/13/15 - CalWEA Reacts to the Release of PacifiCorp Integration Benefits Study - CalWEA released the following statement upon today’s issuance of a study examining the benefits of combining the electric grids operated by PacifiCorp and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). Nancy Rader, Executive Director of CalWEA, stated: "In view of land-use restrictions limiting wind energy development inside California, CalWEA is excited about the potential the western market expansion offers for greater access to high-quality wind resources in the West." Read more >>>
7/31/15 - LA Supervisors Should Heed Climate Imperative, Reverse Course on Proposed Wind Energy Ban - CalWEA Executive Director Nancy Rader and Michael Gerrard, professor and director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, argue that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors should reverse course on its recent move to ban utility-scale wind turbines in unincorporated areas of the county, because such a ban is incompatible with averting the worst impacts of climate change. Read more >>>
7/13/15 - Wind Energy Industry Reacts to LA County Supervisor Proposal to Ban Wind Energy - In response to reports that Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich may propose a ban on wind turbines in the unincorporated portions of the Antelope Valley under Los Angeles County's jurisdiction during a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting, CalWEA stated that the area in question contains some of the best wind resources in all of California which could lead to substantial economic benefits for Los Angeles County and help achieve the state’s greenhouse-gas reduction goals. Read more >>>
4/02/15 - Wind energy saves 2.5 billion gallons of water annually in drought-parched California - A new report from the American Wind Energy Association finds that wind energy saved 2.5 billion gallons of water in California in 2014 by displacing water consumption at the state’s thirsty fossil-fired power plants, playing a valuable role in alleviating the state’s record drought. Wind energy’s annual water savings work out to around 65 gallons per person in the state (200 gallons per household), or the equivalent of 20 billion bottles of water. Read more >>>
2/23/15 - CalWEA Comments on the Draft DRECP - CalWEA submitted extensive comments on the Draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a joint initiative of California and the federal government to plan for renewable energy and conservation across 22.5 million acres of desert land in Southern California. CalWEA’s comments argue that the Draft Plan fails to plan for the amount of wind energy that will be needed for California to achieve its ambitious goals to address the peril of climate change. These and other legal and analytical defects require wholesale reconsideration and recirculation of the Draft Plan and associated NEPA and CEQA documents. In the alternative, CalWEA recommended, the agencies should adopt the “No Action Alternative.” Read more >>>
12/04/14 - Environment California Report: Wind Energy, Tax Credits Needed to Combat Global Warming - A new report from Environment California finds that if the nation were to set a course for obtaining 30 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2030, America could achieve the entire target of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan, and then some. "Speeding the development of pollution-free wind energy will slow global warming," said Environnment California’s Michelle Kinman. "That's why our leaders should invest now in healthy air and a healthy planet." Read more >>>
9/23/14 - California Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Disappoints Wind Energy Industry - State and federal agencies today released for public review the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The release comes nearly six years after California and the federal government announced an unprecedented effort to jointly collaborate on a land use plan intended to expedite renewable energy development while protecting the unique natural resources in the California desert. The draft Plan is being greeted with disappointment by CalWEA. "After years of trying to constructively engage in this process, we did not expect this plan to provide permitting efficiencies for wind energy. But it now appears that our worst fears are being realized: all five DRECP Plan Alternatives would largely end most wind energy development in California," said Nancy Rader, Executive Director of CalWEA. Read more >>>
8/11/14 - CalWEA Mourns the Passing of Wind Industry Giant Hal Romanowitz - CalWEA Executive Director Nancy Rader released a statement on the passing of CalWEA Board Member Hal Romanowitz, one of California’s wind energy pioneers. Hal played a key leadership role in the expansion of the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area and associated transmission system. Read more >>>
5/21/14 - As the California Air Resources Board (CARB) hears public comment Thursday on a far-reaching plan to meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals in the Golden State's clean energy law (AB 32), business groups, including CalWEA, are calling on lawmakers to make more definitive plans beyond 2020. The business leaders say formally extending AB 32 will provide certainty and market signals, while guiding high-stakes energy investment decisions they have to make now. Read more >>>
4/29/14 - Peter Frumhoff of the Union of Concerned Scientists discusses AWWI’s Reconciling the Local Wildlife Risks of Wind Energy with its Global Climate Benefits, saying "The predicted and devastating impacts of climate change on biodiversity need to be incorporated into the risk calculus of renewable energy development in ways that they are not today. Even as the conservation community partners with the wind industry to minimize impacts of siting renewable energy, it will be necessary to accept some, and perhaps substantial uncertainty about the [local, direct] risk to wildlife populations if we are to limit the greater risks of global extinctions from unlimited climate change." Read more >>>
4/10/14 - E3 Study Points the Way to Achievable and Affordable 50% Renewable Energy Goal - A major study performed for California’s five major utilities by the research firm Energy and Environmental Economics (E3), released in January 2014, provides a roadmap for achieving 50% renewable energy by 2030 with a relatively modest 2% impact on rates, or less, according to a review and analysis of the report by CalWEA. Read more >>>
3/06/14 - American wind power reaches major power generation milestones - The American Wind Energy Association reports that American wind power topped 4 percent of the U.S. power grid for the first time last year and has delivered 30 percent of all new generating capacity for the last five years. AWEA reports that California wind projects provide 6.6 percent of California's electricity supply, with an additional contribution from out-of-state wind projects whose output is imported to California. (CalWEA estimates that the total wind contribution to the state's electricity supply is well over 7%.) AWEA reports also that California ranks second in installed wind capacity (at 5,812 MW) with the wind industry supporting over 7,000 jobs and 21 manufacturing facilities in California. AWEA calculates that the water consumption savings from wind projects in California total more than 3 billion gallons of water annually. Read more >>>
2/10/14 - For the third time in a month, wind energy protects consumers during cold snap - Wind energy proved its value to California consumers earlier in February by providing a large amount of energy when natural gas prices and electricity prices spiked during a cold snap. In a reply of events seen in January across nearly every region of the country, wind energy played a critical role in keeping electricity and natural gas prices in check. Read more >>>
12/04/13 - Fact Check: LA Times Off Target on Renewables, Reliability - While apocalyptic writing may sell newspapers, it doesn't make good journalism. Regrettably, the Los Angeles Times has veered in the direction of fear-mongering over the state's transition to renewable energy with a December 2, 2013, article by Evan Halper, â€śPower struggle: Green energy versus a grid that's not ready." The American Wind Energy Association provides the facts, in response. Read more >>>
11/05/13 - CalWEA says the wind industry is ready to address carbon pollution under the EPA's forthcoming standard - While the Environmental Protection Agency held a listening session in San Francisco, seeking input on its forthcoming carbon pollution standard for existing power plants, local leaders, public health experts, business leaders and environmental advocates highlighted the urgent need for action on the unchecked carbon pollution that is causing climate change. Read more >>>
5/01/13 - California Wind Forecast: Marketplace Uncertain - In the May 2013 edition of North American Windpower, CalWEA's Executive Director Nancy Rader and Siting Counsel Clark Morrison review several important regulatory processes under way in California whose outcomes will influence wind energy's position in the market, both in achieving the 33% target and in laying the foundation for higher targets that likely lie ahead. Among the most important are the RPS procurement reform process at the California Public Utilities ComÂmission (CPUC) and an ambitious state-federal desert land-use planning effort that could dramatically limit wind development areas.
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2/13/13 - Research Report Released on Improving Methods for Estimating Fatality of Birds and Bats at Wind Energy Facilities - A study released today by CalWEA found that equations commonly used to estimate total bird and bat fatalities from sampling performed at wind energy facilities can produce widely varying results using the same input data. The equations' results were found to differ by up to a factor of four, with some equations tending to have a negative bias while others showing a consistently positive bias, both carrying the potential to generate results that differ significantly from actual mortality. The study developed a new equation that, paired with new field sampling protocols, is able to produce unbiased results. Slides from a webinar presentation made on September 26, 2012 are available here. A link to the webinar recording is available here. Download the Report.
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12/17/12 - The December edition of The CalWEA News is available for download. This edition addresses the Little Hoover Commission report issued earlier that month, which was way off-base in suggesting that the state's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) policy could produce another energy crisis. The CalWEA News also discusses how, under the leadership of Commissioner Mark Ferron, the CPUC is now fine-tuning RPS procurement in support minimizing the overall cost of the policy, while ensuring system reliability. Read more >>>
12/9/12 - CalWEA Responds to Misleading LA Times Story - While the topic of how renewable resources are reliably integrated into California's power system is admittedly complicated, a recent LA Times article on the topic got nearly everything wrong. Read more >>>
10/23/12 - "It's hard to overstate the importance of wind energy to California" - LA Times Columnist Michael Hiltzik
8/1/12 - Announcing The CalWEA News Available for Download - CalWEA's newsletter will highlight the many benefits that wind energy offers California, the policies needed to realize those benefits, and the challenges that lie ahead.
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1/30/12 - Five Percent of California's Electricity Supply Now Comes from Wind - More than 900 MW of Wind Projects Installed in 2011.
10/21/11 - The answer to L.A.'s energy future is blowing in the wind - In an LA Daily News op-ed, CalWEA explains how LADWP's delay in re-starting its renewable energy acquisition program until after 2011 puts the city at risk of losing valuable federal tax benefits.
02/10/11 - CalWEA Director Featured on KQED's California Report - Listen to part one of a series on wind energy.
06/10/10 - Killing AB 32 Will Threaten California's Leadership in Wind Energy - Just when California is about to start closing the gap with Texas and Iowa in the amount of wind energy it produces, there's a move afoot by out-of-state oil companies to pull the rug out from under us and thwart the development of these projects.
09/30/09 - Sierra Club, NRDC, CalWEA Urge Governor Schwarzenegger to Protect Legacy by Signing RPS Legislation - Clean energy advocates today urged Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign legislation to increase California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 33%. These bills would protect his legacy by setting the new goal into law, preventing it from being overturned by a legal challenge or a future governor at the stroke of a pen.
09/25/09 - Governor: Cancel the Veto, Deliver on Your Promises - CalWEA Executive Director Nancy Rader explains in an editorial for California Energy Circuit why, despite the governor's good intentions in directing the California Air Resources Board to raise the state's Renewables Portfolio Standard to 33 percent under its AB 32 authority, only a statute will do the job.
09/12/09 - California Wind Energy Industry Lauds Passage of Landmark Renewable Energy Bill; Urges Governor to Resist Calls for Veto - The California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA) today praised the California Legislature for adopting legislation requiring the state's utilities to acquire 33% of their power from renewable-energy sources by the year 2020, which the state's Air Resources Board has said is essential if the state is to achieve its ambitious greenhouse-gas reduction goals for that year.
04/16/09 - AWEA, CALWEA, CEERT Welcome Findings
of NERC Integration Study - The California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA) and the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) today joined the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) in supporting the findings of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC's) Integrating Variable Generation Task Force (IVGTF) report. This is an excellent roadmap for the grid planning and operations changes needed for America's future electric generation portfolio.
01/26/09 - Wind Association Releases Scientific Review of
California Bird & Bat Study Guidelines for Wind Energy - The California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA) today released a scientific review of guidelines adopted in 2007 by the California Energy Commission and California Department of Fish & Game to reduce impacts to birds and bats from wind energy development.
CalWEA's Annual Meeting October 22-23, 2008. Get the latest information on the policies shaping California's renewable energy market. Hear from policymakers. Establish CalWEA's priorities for 2009.
09/30/08 - CalWEA and Other Solar, Wind and Other Renewable Power Companies Overwhelmingly Oppose Proposition 7 - Companies that Would Benefit from More Renewable Power Oppose Poorly-Written Measure and Warn Prop. 7 Would Disrupt Renewable Power Development in California
07/09/08 - Wind and Solar Developers Say CAISO Queue Reform Proposal Makes Progress, But Needs Improvement for Timely and Efficient Renewables Growth - The California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA) and the Large-scale
Solar Association (LSA) today gave a mixed grade to the proposed Generation Interconnection
Process Reform (GIPR) of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which is
expected to be approved today by the CAISO Board of Governors and filed at the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) later this month.
01/10/08 - CalWEA, Solar Developers, Propose Comprehensive CAISO Queue Reform - The California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA) and three solar thermal development companies -- Ausra, Inc., Abengoa Solar, Inc. and BrightSource Energy -- today filed at FERC a comprehensive proposal to address the dysfunctional large generator interconnection process at the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO).
06/15/07 - Bottom Lines - With Focus on Wires, Wind Could Offer 20 Percent of State's Energy by 2020
06/08/07 - More Wind, More Flexibility - A CalWEA opinion piece on wind reliability. While not intended as a "capacity" resource to meet system peak load, California's existing wind projects do provide "capacity value" to the system in an amount equivalent to about 25% of their nameplate electrical rating. Wind's variable output (very similar to changing consumer demand for power) can be readily managed by grid operators
06/06/07 - In a speech given at Wind Power 2007, CalWEA Executive Director Nancy Rader talks about how California can achieve 20% wind energy by 2020.
04/01/07 - A Mighty Wind - By Ryan Schuster - Tehachapi area may see nation's largest wind energy project
02/16/07 - CalWEA Responds to CPUC 2006 Resource Adequacy Report - Because staff chose a misleading evaluation method, the report perpetuates the myth that wind generators do not contribute to system reliability.
02/15/07 - Wind vs. Coal: False Choices in the Battle to Resolve Our Energy Crisis - By Tara Lohan, from Alternet, February 15, 2007. When you cross the border into West Virginia along I-64 the welcome sign that used to say, "West Virginia: Wild and Wonderful," now says, "West Virginia: Open for Business." It is a sign of the times. According to a few area residents, the sign change coincidently occurred this fall around the same time that the state decided to approve an application for development of the largest wind farm east of the Mississippi. Read more >>>
01/24/07 - CalWEA Statement on CAISO's Approval of Tehachapi Transmission Project
01/07 - The Birds and The Breeze - Making Wind Power Safe for Wildlife - By Frances Cerra Whittelsey, from Sierra Magazine, published by the Sierra Club, January/February 2007 Efforts to make turbines safer for birds seem to be working. According to a 2003 study of 4,700 turbines located outside California, each killed 2.3 birds per year. That's a tiny number compared with the hundreds of millions of birds that fall prey to cats every year, or the 4 million, at minimum, that collide with communication towers. And it pales in comparison to the number of birds and other creatures that would be killed by catastrophic global warming. Read more >>>
12/24/06 - CalWEA's Independent Review of 2004 California Energy Commission Report on Avian Issues - CalWEA commissioned three independent scientific reviews of the consultant report, "Developing Methods to Reduce Bird Mortality in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area," and numerous significant statistical and methodological errors were found. CalWEA and others in the wind industry have been highly critical of the quality of this report, whose estimates of avian fatalities in the Altamont are significantly higher than those found in previous studies, fueling anti-wind efforts around the globe. Read more >>>
12/06 - California Energy Commission Releases Its Own Peer Review Study of Altamont Pass Avian Report - On behalf of the California Energy Commission (Energy Commission), the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE) conducted three peer reviews - with a primary focus on statistics - of "Developing Methods to Reduce Bird Mortality in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area." These peer reviews show that the report did not provide a credible statistical evaluation of the data and is not suitable as a basis for policymaking or law enforcement. Read more >>>
10/24/06 - CalWEA Independent Review of 2004 CEC Report on Altamont Avian Issues
09/08/06 - Editorial: CalWEA Executive Director Answers the Question: Is the RPS Working?
01/12/06 - Nature Writer Bill McKibben Puts Wind's Environmental Impacts in Perspective - "No More Mr. Nice Guy --Climate change is pushing this easygoing enviro over the edge" - from Grist, January 12, 2006. "[W]hat we need to say is: every bird, and everything else that we know, is fundamentally at risk in the next few decades [due to global warming]. In the name of birds, I want that windmill on my ridge. In the name of wild beauty, I want that windmill out my window..." Read more >>>
The CalWEA News features a story on the serious threat that the DRECP poses to California wind energy. Read More >>>
A major study performed for California’s five major utilities by the research firm E3 provides a roadmap for achieving 50% renewable energy by 2030 with a relatively modest 2% impact on rates, or less, according to a review and analysis of the report by CalWEA. Read more >>>
Nature Writer Bill McKibben -- “[W]hat we need to say is: every bird, and everything else that we know, is fundamentally at risk in the next few decades. In the name of birds, I want that windmill on my ridge. In the name of wild beauty, I want that windmill out my window" Read more >>>
The Birds and The Breeze - from Sierra Magazine, "According to a 2003 study of 4,700 turbines located outside California, each killed 2.3 birds per year. That's a tiny number compared with the hundreds of millions of birds that fall prey to cats every year and it pales in comparison to the number of birds and other creatures that would be killed by catastrophic global warming."ť Read more >>>
CalWEA addresses wind energy's reliability in this Energy Circuit Editorial "The initial results from a California Energy Commission study show that the California grid has the technical capability to include 20 percent intermittent generation under a 33 percent renewable goal without the need for significant new resources to accommodate the variability of these intermittent renewables." Read more >>>