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News and views: Biofuels and wind

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biofuel2First- and second-gen biofuels get White House boost

It looks like the Governors’ Biofuel Coalition got what it was looking for from President Obama – an endorsement of biofuels development, support for the continued viability of the existing ethanol industry and an invite to partner with members of the administration on energy independence.

In a letter late last month to the coalition leadership, Obama asked the Coalition to join him in implementing his Presidential Biofuels Directive, which was issued earlier in May.

The directive outlined the President’s vision for biofuels development and his expectations for key cabinet and administration officials to lead the Administration’s biofuels initiatives. The President noted that the Coalition’s February 2009 recommendations helped form key points of the directive, and led to the President’s request for the Coalition to work with “members of my cabinet to implement the directive.”

Biofuels are the “primary near term option for insulating consumers against future oil prove shocks and for lowering the transportation sector’s carbon footprint,” the president writes.

In the letter Obama says he is committed to the rapid development of “an array of emerging cellulosic technologies so that tomorrow’s biofuels will be produced from sustainable biomass feedstocks and waste materials rather than corn.”

He continues: “This transition will be successful only if the first-generation biofuels industry remains viable in the near-term, and if we remove long-standing artificial barriers to market expansion necessary for large volumes of of advanced renewable fuels to find a place in America’s transportation fuels system.”

Anyway the wind blows

Europe’s largest onshore windfarm went live late last month in Scotland.wind_turbineeurope

The £300 million ($495.6 million) project at Scottish Power Renewables’ Whitelee Windfarm will power 180,000 homes and include expansion plans to add to add another 70,000 homes to that grid.

The initial 140 turbines situated across the 21.2 square mile site can generate up to 322MW of electricity – enough to power more than those 180,000 homes while displacing the equivalent of 500,000 tons of CO2 a year, Scottish Power said.

A proposal to increase farm capacity by another 130MW was approved by the Scottish Government, powering an additional 70,000 homes. In addition, the company is also scoping work on a potential second extension, which could add a further 140MW. It is anticipated that an official planning application will be submitted later in the summer. This would mean a total capacity windfarm of nearly 600MW.

There are more than 500,000 people living within about a 19-mile radius of Whitelee. “This is one of the first major windfarms to be constructed close to large population centers, and an ever increasing supply of renewable energy has been fed directly into these areas since the site first started exporting power in January 2008,” Scottish Power, which is part of the Iberdrola Group, said.

“Whitelee is a milestone in the history of Scotland, not only representing the largest wind farm in Europe but also one of the largest in the world,” Scottish Power Chairman Ignacio Galán said.

Once again Europe is showing the way on what is possible right now with renewable energy.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

2 June, 2009 at 10:16 am

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