Sunday, January 30, 2005

North Dakota Sen. Pushes to Extend Wind Tax Credits

Posted on Sun, Jan. 30, 2005

Conrad pushes wind energy incentivesHerald Staff Report
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said Friday that he has introduced a bill that would give the wind energy industry more incentives to expand than it now receives.
The incentives, known as wind energy production tax credits, give utilities tax breaks based on how many kilowatt-hours they produce.
Currently, the credits are renewed annually by Congress, but delays in renewal have been frequent. The current legislation expires at the end of the year.
Conrad proposes a five-year extension.
This could win more jobs for wind-swept North Dakota, he said.
Stop and start
The stop-and-start nature of wind energy legislation has been bothersome to the industry.
"The short-term duration of the federal production tax credit and its repeated expirations - three in the past six years - are keeping this industry from reaching its potential," said Randall Swisher, executive director of the American Wind Energy Association, in a statement.
The Washington, D.C.-based lobby group reported that the industry added 389 megawatts in capacity in 2004, a sharp contrast to the year before when 1,687 megawatts were added.
A megawatt can supply 240 to 300 average American homes, according to the AWEA.
In 2005, North Dakota is expected to add 20 megawatts, bringing the total capacity to 86 megawatts, according to Conrad's office.
Big potential
Production tax credits might help North Dakota grow its production by another 150 to 200 megawatts, according to wind energy advocates in the state.
Conrad's office said, if a single 100-megawatt wind farm were built, the state could reap as much as $187 million in additional economic activity from the construction, and create as many as 2,200 jobs statewide.
But to fully realize the state's 4,722 megawatt potential, wind advocates have said repeatedly, would require an infrastructure upgrade to bring electricity to major markets, such as the Twin Cities.
A bill before the North Dakota Legislature would create a transmission authority that would help speed the development of new power lines to electric markets.
The bill is HB1169.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

MidAmerica Energy Plans 50 More Turbines

Iowa gets wind of additional electricity
MidAmerican Energy plans 50 more turbines
MidAmerican Energy wants to make one of the nation's largest wind energy projects even bigger.The utility plans to add 50 turbines to its Iowa wind farm. The total project would have 257 turbines that could power up to 100,000 homes, according to a request filed with the Iowa Utilities Board on Wednesday.MidAmerican is asking to add more turbines because it has the capacity to do it and the extra generation helps meet Gov. Tom Vilsack's renewable energy goals, said Tom Budler, wind project manager.
"It's a good fit in our generation portfolio, and we think it's the right thing to do," Budler said.The new turbines will cost $63 million, Budler said. But the addition will not affect customer power rates, which will remain the same through 2010 under MidAmerican's rate agreement with the utilities board.MidAmerican's wind project is at two sites. The northwest Iowa site opened Dec. 31. The north-central Iowa site is scheduled to be completed by the end of September.
The proposed new generation would add 15 turbines to the northwest Iowa site and 35 to the north-central Iowa site, for 50 megawatts. That additional generation would be completed by the end of the year, Budler said.Emmet O'Hanlon , energy associate for the Iowa Public Interest Research Group, called the proposed turbines "good news." But he noted that the additional generation is small compared with the capacity of the new coal-fired power plant MidAmerican is building in Council Bluffs.
"Fifty megawatts is great, but it's a drop in the bucket," he said.The Des Moines-based nonprofit group supports the adoption of a 20 percent renewable energy standard, which O'Hanlon said would spur utilities to pursue renewable energy instead of new coal, natural gas or nuclear generation.Iowa law requires utilities to get 2 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. Vilsack has a goal of 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy in Iowa by 2010. When MidAmerican's wind project is complete, the utility estimates that slightly more than 9 percent of its generation will come from renewable sources.
If the utilities board approves the proposal, the entire MidAmerican project will have the capacity to generate 360.5 megawatts, which would make it the largest wind project in the United States.The American Wind Energy Association, however, considers MidAmerican's project two separate wind farms because of the different sites, spokeswoman Kathy Belyeu said.MidAmerican began construction on the turbines in October, shortly after President Bush signed legislation renewing a tax credit for renewable energy gen- eration.
Iowa ranks 10th among states in wind energy potential, according to the wind association. But by the end of last year, Iowa ranked as high as third among states in wind energy production. Bringing the northwest Iowa site into operation on Dec. 31 was enough to push Iowa just ahead of Minnesota, Belyeu said.Four-hundred megawatts of new wind energy generation was brought online in 2004, according to the wind association. The "production tax credit," which supports MidAmerican's wind project and others across the nation, will expire at the end of the year.
Wind projects have been slowed because of industry uncertainty about the credit from year to year, Belyeu said. Turbine construction will slow again if the tax credit is not renewed for two years or more."It's a matter of making sure the momentum of a big year isn't lost," Belyeu said.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Kansas to Harness Wind Energy

Posted on Wed, Jan. 26, 2005

Kansas takes step to harness its wind energyBy Loren StantonCommunity editor
Thanks to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, something good is in the wind.
Earlier this month the governor adopted a set of recommendations setting forth a strategy for wind energy development in Kansas. It is a badly needed action.
While our state — the third windiest nationally — has stood by, many less windy states have been aggressive about developing wind power and cashing in on its benefits.
The governor wants 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity in the state by 2015. Currently, the state is only about one-tenth of the way there, but several utility companies are have wind-farm projects in either the development or talking stages that soon could get Kansas half way toward the governor's goal. The recommendations she approved will help encourage and assist those projects.
While local governments will have the decision-making authority in approving wind developments, the governor assured that the state will provide services and expertise to help guide local leaders through what can be a complicated approval process.
Rather than Kansas being a place that frustrates wind developers, the governor's initiative signals that she encourages them. We can only hope that other state leaders as well as local ones exhibit similar wisdom. Gubernatorial recommendations are only a start. There will be obstructionists who continue to stand in the way of progress, so success will depend on more far-sighted leaders refusing to allow the continued squandering of this rich resource.
Granted, opponents have some legitimate concerns. Though wind is a “green” energy resource, there are legitimate environmental reservations related to it. Birds occasionally fly into the windmill blades, so turbines need to be situated outside of migratory patterns. Also, the towering turbines would be considered unsightly in some locales, and special sensitivity to those concerns is needed in the scenic Flint Hills. Beyond that, there are a lot of minor and bogus complaints.
No energy source is without its downsides. Other forms give us such horrors as strip mining, oil spills, acid rain, foreign dependence, rising cases of asthma, and oil field attacks overseas.
Though not perfect, wind power's benefits are considerable. Kansas could become a significant exporter of energy, and that means money collected from other states. Jobs could be created. Income for the state and local governments would be generated. New income would flow to financially struggling farmers who sell wind royalties.
And unless the state drags its feet it can take advantage of federal matching funds for wind projects.
Lee Allison, the governor's science and energy policy adviser, said last week that utility companies are becoming increasingly more enthusiastic about wind. In the past, the utilities have balked at pursuing it. Allison said those companies now realize that wind energy is becoming much more economical to produce. He said Joplin, Mo.-based Empire District Electric estimates it will be able to save its customers $6 million per year by developing its planned 100-turbine wind farm in Butler County, Kan. Those savings aren't possible with every utility. For some, in fact, adding wind to their energy mix would cause a price increase. But still, there would be benefits.
Allison notes that once a wind farm is built the power a utility gets from that source is free. In effect, the company locks in a rate scale for that energy source for about 20 years. That's hardly possible with natural gas and oil, which produce constant price fluctuations that mostly fluctuate upward.
Our compliments to the governor and those agencies and committees that helped formulate the basis of her recommendations. The vision and good sense reflected in her actions must not be undermined by myopic self-interests.
In a state struggling for revenues and in a nation needing dependable energy sources, it would be irresponsible not to take full advantage of wind's power

Cornell University to Study Wind Energy

CU explores wind energy option
ITHACA -- In a move to fulfill New York state's new renewable portfolio standard, Cornell University has begun exploring the possibility of setting up wind mills for energy production in the county.
Approved by the state's Public Service Commission in September of 2004, the renewable portfolio standard aims to increase the proportion of energy sold to consumers that is generated from renewable resources to at least 25 percent by 2013. That equals about 3,700 megawatts of renewable energy. Currently about 19 percent of energy sold to consumers in New York state is from renewable resources.
By Cornell's calculations, wind energy is the most affordable renewable energy source that can be set up in the time dictated by the portfolio.
"Wind is by far the most logical means for us to consider," said Lanny Joyce, Cornell's manager of engineering, planning and energy management. "Biomass and solar are just not going to cut it here, we have too many clouds."
Biomass refers to the process of harnessing methane gas produced by cow manure. While Joyce noted Cornell does have a small herd of cows in Harford, he said the start-up costs of installing a system with so few cows would be prohibitive.
Cornell already generates approximately 2 percent of its electricity by hydroelectric power, another renewable energy source, produced with water from Fall Creek. The implementation of lake source cooling also reduced Cornell's electricity use by using water from Cayuga Lake to cool water circulated in the campus' heating and air conditioning systems.
"I think it makes sense to reduce energy use on the supply side and work to generate it wisely," Joyce said. "Wind is way better than conventional fossil fuels for sure."
To study the feasibility of wind power, Cornell is setting up anemometers, which measure wind speed, around the county in areas that may have sufficient wind exposure.
One such test is in Dryden, though Joyce declined to elaborate on where in the town they were looking. Joyce said there is the possibility that more than one site could be used if the project proceeds.
Ithaca College is also considering introducing wind power on campus, though in what capacity is yet to be decided.
"Professors from the physics, biology, and environmental science programs are working together on an educational wind turbine facility for Ithaca College that will be effective in reducing our emissions to the atmosphere," said Beth Clark Joseph, an assistant professor in Ithaca's physics department.
At Cornell, the pros and cons are being considered. Joyce said the visual and avian impacts are the primary side effects people object to, according to his research.
"It's certainly a visual thing," Ed Cope said of wind power. Cope, who works as a botanist at Cornell, has his own wind turbine to power his home and spearheaded the Town of Caroline's successful effort to buy all of the municipality's power from wind. "Nobody minds driving by these posts with wires hanging off them, these ugly things. I don't think wind mills are worse."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Verticle Axis Wind Turbine Testing Success

Source: McKenzie Bay International Ltd.
New Wind Energy Technology Verification Testing SuccessfulFriday January 21, 12:54 pm ET
DETROIT, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - McKenzie Bay International Ltd (OTCBB:MKBY - News) has been advised by its wholly owned subsidiary, DERMOND Inc., that the first level of technology verification for its new, improved, vertical axis wind turbine designed for WindStor(SM) installations has been successfully completed. Core operating features, including coordinating interface and control functions, have been thoroughly tested to satisfaction.
Technology verification testing began immediately after completion of the installation and commissioning of the WindStor(SM) wind turbine on October 29, 2004 (PR-October 29, 2004) at the Universite du Quebec en Abitibi- Temiscamingue in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, Canada. Since that date, the WindStor(SM) wind turbine has successfully: - performed as designed at all rotational speeds, including its 54 RPM
- demonstrated that audible noise at the base of the turbine tower is
nearly absent at all rotational speeds
- demonstrated that turbine construction, control systems and sensor
effectiveness have the ability to smoothly navigate resonance
frequencies without affecting power production and safety
- operated through all weather conditions, including snow and ice, and
in temperatures as low as minus forty degrees (-40C/F), confirming
design specifications to generate power in extremely adverse weather
- demonstrated that electronic load-torque control systems and
mechanical braking have functioned as designed
- demonstrated full redundancy of mechanical to electrical emergency
braking and vice versa
- demonstrated that a light weight guy-wired wind turbine tower is an
efficient solution to control the natural vibration frequencies of the
wind turbine structure over the range of power producing rotational
speeds and, as such, simulating the support structure of a rooftop
mounted wind turbine.
Testing of the 100kW WindStor(SM) wind turbine prototype is transitioning to the autonomous operation and performance phase with the Universite du Quebec en Abitibi-Temiscamingue. This long term testing phase will continue indefinitely gathering power measurement data serving as a basis for development of technology and performance improvements in operational functionality and economics.
WindStor Power Co., a wholly owned McKenzie Bay subsidiary, intends to begin to contract manufacture and install WindStor(SM) after negotiating Power Sales Agreements (PSA) with customers. PSAs will have defined pricing terms and be subject to: adequate wind power at installation sites to provide economically sufficient electricity production, satisfaction of all regulatory issues such as zoning, permitting and obtaining approvals for site plans, and McKenzie Bay securing financing to fund installations and WindStor(SM) development. Contact: Richard Kaiser - 800-631-8127 (001-757-306-6090)
McKenzie Bay International Ltd - -

National Renewable Energy Lab on Wind Energy

NREL — Keeping Up with the Rapidly Growing Wind Industry
Wind energy — it's the fastest growing electricity-generating technology in the world. And thanks to the successful research and development partnerships between industry and DOE's Wind Program at NREL and Sandia National Laboratories, it's breaking U.S. records as well.
In the past 10 years, global installations of wind energy systems have grown at least tenfold—from a total capacity of 2.8 gigawatts (GW) in 1993 to almost 40 GW at the close of 2003. In the United States, wind energy installations tripled in only 5 years. Totaling less than 2000 MW in 1998, the capacity of wind energy installations added up to more than 6000 MW in late 2003.

Robert Thresher, director of the National Wind Technology Center, stands at the base of a new Clipper wind turbine drive train that as researchers prepare the machine for fatigue testing on the center's 2.5-MW dynamometer test bed.
"Wind energy is real, it's no longer a dream," said Bob Thresher, director of the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at NREL. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), businesses around the world invested $9 billion in wind energy technologies in 2003.
Explaining why wind energy is growing faster than other electricity sources, Thresher said, "With the current fuel prices, wind is the most cost-effective energy source out there, and it's a clean, domestic, renewable resource that can wean the United States from its dependence on foreign fuel sources. There's enough wind energy resources on- and offshore to more than meet the electrical energy needs of the country."
This great progress in wind energy is largely the result of the research and development activities conducted under the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Wind Energy Program by NREL and Sandia National Laboratories with their wind industry partners.
"From watts to megawatts, from design to integration, NREL has worked by the wind industry's side for more than 20 years to advance the technology and make wind energy cost effective," said Thresher. During that time, the cost of wind energy dropped from 80¢ (in current dollars) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to about 4.5¢/kWh for utility-scale production.
Although 4.5¢/kWh comes close to competing with conventional fuels, the cost of wind energy must fall further to be truly competitive. One major goal of the Wind Program, therefore, is to reduce the cost of utility-scale wind energy to 3¢/kWh onshore and 5¢/kWh offshore by 2012.
Another important goal for the year 2007 is to produce electricity from small, distributed wind systems in Class 3 wind resource areas—areas with average annual wind speeds of 5.6 meters per second (m/s) at a height of 10 m above ground—at a cost of 10¢ to 15¢/kWh. Today, that's the cost of producing electricity in Class 5 wind resource areas, with average wind speeds of 6.4 m/s at 10 m.
NREL's New System Cuts Blade Testing Time in Half
As wind turbine blades become longer and more flexible, they also become more difficult to test for endurance. At the same time, test methods developed for smaller blades have become more expensive and less effective.
To test the new, larger blades, NREL's researchers have developed a novel hydraulic resonance blade test system to replace a conventional system that uses a hydraulic actuator to push the blade up and down in millions of cycles for up to 4 months. The new system contains a 317.5- to 453.5-kg (700- to 1000-lb), hydraulically actuated weight housed in a fixture attached to the end of the blade. The exact weight used depends on the size of the blade, and the weight is precisely controlled to oscillate up and down and excite the blade at its natural flap frequency.
The new test system uses one-third as much energy as the conventional one does, and the blade oscillates at more than twice the conventional rate. It now takes less than 2 months to apply 3 million cycles to fatigue test a blade. The new system, which will test blades manufactured for giant multimegawatt turbines, will be the only one of its kind in the world.
Testing Industry's Giants
To achieve these goals, NREL and its industry partners are taking on some difficult technological challenges. These include finding ways to increase production, reduce construction costs, and design utility-scale machines that can operate cost effectively in areas with lower average wind speeds—for example, Class 4 wind resource areas where wind speeds are from 7 to 7.5 m/s at 50 m. For wind systems to be cost effective in these areas, larger turbines will be needed.
In 1997, the average turbine was about 60 m tall and produced enough electricity (600 to 750 kW) to power about 200 to 300 average homes. Today's turbines are almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty (93 m), with rotor diameters larger than the wingspan of a jumbo jet (64 m), and they produce enough electricity to power more than 500 homes. Some turbines on the drawing board are even larger.
As our industry partners develop these multimegawatt giants, NREL plans to accommodate them by upgrading its test facilities at the NWTC, which are just south of Boulder, Colorado. Dedicated in 1996, NWTC facilities were designed to test turbines rated at up to 1.5 MW. But in less than 10 years, the wind industry has nearly outgrown this world-class research center. In September 2004, for example, TPI Composites sent the NWTC a wind turbine blade 45 m long—a good 13 m longer than the test facility. To meet TPI's immediate needs, NREL is building a temporary 50-m blade test stand.
NREL's future plans for expansion will allow researchers to test wind turbines rated up to 8 MW as well as related turbine components. If a new, 70-m structural blade test facility and an 8-MW dynamometer test bed are approved, NREL will begin constructing them in 2006.
Partnering to Harvest More Wind
According to NREL's wind energy technology manager, Brian Smith, DOE's Wind Energy Program is the only government program in the world that has a comprehensive plan for developing turbines that take advantage of wind resources at lower average wind speeds. "Our plan is centered on strong technology partnerships with industry. We believe combining NREL's research expertise with industry know-how is the best way to bring competitive wind technology to commercial markets," Smith said.

The NWTC prepares to test Clipper's innovative, 8-generator, 1.5-MW drivetrain on their 2.5-MW dynamometer test bed.
Most wind farms developed to date take advantage of our country's best wind resources—areas that have an annual average wind speeds between 8 and 9 m/s at a height of 50 m. As the wind industry continues to grow, excellent wind resources will be developed closer to load centers, which is more economical, leaving only hard-to-access sites and those with lower wind speeds.
DOE launched efforts to develop low wind speed technologies in 2001 with a request for proposals from industry to participate in the program in any of these three areas: (1) concept studies, (2) component development, and (3) full-scale prototype development. In 2004, DOE launched the second phase of this effort with a solicitation to develop advanced systems, components, and concepts.
The second solicitation identified 21 public-private partnerships to be negotiated by NREL and Sandia National Laboratories. They represent a DOE investment of $30 million over 4 years and will include an additional investment of $30 million from industry.
NREL has formed partnerships with such companies as Advanced Energy Systems, AWS Scientific, Berger/ABAM Engineers, Inc., BEW Inc., Clipper Windpower, Concept Marine, GE Energy, Global Energy Concepts, NA Technology, New Generation Motors, Northern Power Systems, Peregrine Power, and TPI Composites. The partnerships have generated prototype turbines, advanced drive trains, new blade designs, novel blade manufacturing composites, advanced control systems, and new tower designs. GE Energy alone has produced more than 2,500 1.5-MW wind turbines—the descendents of proof-of-concept turbines developed in partnership with DOE.

Southwest Windpower's Storm wind turbine is designed to operate quietly in areas with low wind speeds, and it can be marketed to consumers like household appliances.
Developing Advanced Small Wind Turbines
NREL also works with turbine manufacturers to develop advanced small wind systems for agricultural, residential, and business applications. Small distributed wind systems can make a significant contribution to our nation's energy needs. The industry estimates that 60% of the United States has enough wind resources to make small turbines a good option. They also know that 24% of the population still live in rural areas.
The ranchers, business owners, and homeowners of rural America can use small wind turbines to reduce their utility bills and stabilize their electricity supplies. In addition, they will be displacing carbon emissions from conventional fuel sources and helping to reduce our dependence on foreign energy by feeding their excess generation into the utility grid.
To help increase the use of small turbines, NREL researchers work with manufacturers to make the machines more efficient, less noisy, and more aesthetically appealing. An Arizona company, Southwest Windpower, has worked with NREL since 2000 on a small turbine that can be marketed to consumers like a household appliance. And Oklahoma-based Bergey Windpower has worked with NREL since 1997. This partnership is perfecting a 50-kW wind turbine suitable for agricultural and small business applications.
Overcoming Barriers
In addition to rising to the technological challenges, researchers are tackling barriers that block the widespread development of both onshore and offshore wind installations. Regional transmission constraints, operational policies, and misunderstandings about the impact of wind energy on a utility grid are three barriers to future development. To better understand utility grid integration issues, NREL works with rural electric cooperatives and utilities to collect much-needed data on fluctuations in wind farm power output and effects on utilities. This helps researchers evaluate the interconnection and system impacts of both current and proposed wind farms.
NREL and DOE also cosponsored a Wind Integration and Interconnection Workshop with AWEA, the Utility Wind Interest Group, and the International Council on Large Electric Systems in May 2004. The event drew more than 160 participants and provided detailed information on analysis methods used in operating impact studies, capacity credit valuations, interconnection issues, and worldwide grid code efforts.
To further address deployment barriers, NREL participated in a National Wind Coordinating Committee meeting in June 2004 to discuss relevant transmission and wind development siting issues in the Southwest Power Pool region. The meeting drew more than 40 participants representing utilities, the wind industry, environmental groups, regulatory bodies, and state and federal government groups.
At the state and regional levels, NREL's Wind Powering America (WPA) team makes use of state-, utility-, and Native American-based strategies to identify and address barriers to wind energy development. WPA's goal is ensure that at least 30 U.S. states have at least 100 MW of wind capacity by 2010.
State-Based Strategies. At the state level, WPA team members help coordinate meetings that provide local landowners and businesses, utilities, developers, and other interested parties with information about the technology and the economic impacts of wind energy development in rural areas. They also provide area wind resource maps and information about anemometer loan programs and local policies and incentives. The key outcome of these meetings is the formation of a wind working group in each state to encourage wind development.
To help developers identify areas with the best wind resources, WPA facilitates a cooperative mapping and wind measurement effort. This effort supports a public/private-sector mix of wind resource analysts and meteorological consultants who update state wind resource maps. Identifying the wind resource in an area is the first step in evaluating and installing both large and small wind systems.
Utility-Based Strategies. During the past three years, WPA has worked closely with national consumer-owned and public power utilities and others to present up-to-date information to their membership and customers nationwide. These cost-shared efforts include co-sponsorship of wind-specific meetings, conferences, and workshops as well as joint development and distribution of material containing technical and market-specific information and wind project success stories. WPA also provides real-time technical assistance for everything from the state of wind technology and economics to information on barriers, benefits, and how to get a wind project started.
Native American-Based Strategies. The WPA team helps Native Americans on the mainland, in Alaska, and in Hawaii as they explore the development of their wind power resources. The United States is home to more than 700 Native American groups and corporations that control 38.8 million hectares (96 million acres) in the United States. Many of these groups have excellent wind resources that could be commercially developed either as an export or to meet local needs.
To encourage the development of these resources, WPA works with tribal leaders and groups to address key issues that include adequate wind resource data; community and local utility authorities and policies; developer risks, both real and perceived; limited loads; and needs for investment capital, technical expertise, and transmission to markets. To address these issues, WPA offers a Native American anemometer loan program, provides outreach materials, and conducts workshops on the wind development process and options available to Native Americans.
Ensuring Future Growth
Although the growth of the wind industry has been constant in each year of the past decade, there is much more to be done. To achieve program and industry goals and enable the technology to achieve its full potential in the future, researchers at NREL today are exploring several innovative applications.
These new applications include offshore deep-water development, the use of wind power to clean and move water, and the development of new technologies that will allow wind energy to work in synergy with other clean energy systems, such as hydropower and hydrogen. As this work continues, the promise we are hearing in the winds all around us will most assuredly be fulfilled.
Home Page Photo: The Northern Power Systems North Wind 100-kW turbine installed at the NWTC is the only small-to-moderate size turbine available that has the ability to operate in extremely cold environments.
—Contributed by Kathy O'DellDecember 2004

Saturday, January 22, 2005

First Wind Powered Community in Texas

Green Mountain Energy teams up on state's first wind-powered community
Local clean energy provider Green Mountain Energy Co. has teamed up with the Freedom Seal of Approval Program to create the first wind-powered community in Texas.
The Shadow Creek Ranch master-planned community is in Pearland, about 15 minutes from downtown Houston, and features homes that use less energy.
"What we've done here is create an opportunity for the community to do some good now and for future generations," says David Goswick, managing director of Freedom Seal, the country's first home certification program for energy-efficient, technologically advanced standards.
"All the homes in the master-planned community consume 30 percent less energy than traditionally built homes, and now we are able to offer community residents wind energy that is totally reliable at an affordable rate."
Austin-based Green Mountain, one of the country's largest providers of clean energy, is offering Shadow Creek residents an electricity program with average monthly electricity usage of 1,000 kilowatt-hours, which the company says can help avoid generating about 18,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
Upon completion, Shadow Creek Ranch will have more than 10,000 homes.
"We feel this partnership presents a very unique opportunity for us and for the residents of Shadow Creek Ranch," says Paul Thomas, president and CEO of Green Mountain. "This community becomes a model for what can be done in Houston and across America."
Green Mountain offers electricity generated from sources such as wind, solar, water, geothermal, biomass and natural gas. It serves about 600,000 residential, business, institutional and governmental customers nationwide.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Big Clipper Windpower Plans Turbine Plant

Article Published: Monday, January 17, 2005
Clipper Windpower plant could employ as many as 550
Colorado is competing with Nevada for the plant, which would boost the state's wind prominence.
By Steve Raabe Denver Post Staff Writer

Post / Jerry Cleveland
Troy Boro, a technician with Mountain Valley Energy, inspects the drive-train system of a Clipper Windpower Inc. turbine undergoing testing in Boulder last Thursday. Clipper is considering Colorado as a location for a plant to build the taller, more productive turbines.

A California wind-energy company is eyeing Colorado as a location to build the nation's largest wind turbines.
Clipper Windpower Inc. said Colorado and Nevada are finalists in the company's plan to build a plant that would produce a new line of wind generators soaring 435 feet into the air - more than 100 feet taller than downtown Denver's Daniels & Fisher tower.
The manufacturing and assembly plant initially would employ 75 workers and ultimately could grow to as many as 550 employees, earning annual salaries averaging $42,000, Clipper Windpower chief executive Jim Dehlsen said.
Clipper expects to make a decision on the location of its western manufacturing facility by the end of this month, Dehlsen said.
Clipper plans to unveil a prototype of the new turbine - minus its 300-foot-diameter rotor - in Denver in May at Windpower 2005, the annual conference and exhibition of the American Wind Energy Association.
Placing the manufacturing plant in Colorado would add to the state's growing prominence in wind generation. Among recent developments:
The Colorado Green wind farm near Lamar, opened a year ago, is the nation's fifth- largest wind project.
Xcel Energy recently received bids from developers for 2,000 megawatts of wind energy, enough to serve the cities of Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs. Xcel initially will accept just 500 megawatts of the bids, although the utility may add more later.
Colorado voters in November approved a ballot measure requiring the state's largest utilities to acquire 10 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015. Most is expected to come from wind generators.
Clipper's new turbines will generate a maximum of 2.5 megawatts, making them two-thirds more powerful than the 1.5-megawatt units made by GE Wind Energy that are used at the Lamar wind farm.
One megawatt of continuous electricity serves about 650 homes. Because the wind blows sporadically, one megawatt of wind capacity serves about 240 to 300 average homes.
Industry analysts said Clipper's large turbine could bring significant improvements in the economics of wind energy.
"Larger turbines make a tremendous difference in the cost competitiveness of wind power" compared with coal and natural gas, said Gary Schmitz of the Golden-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Clipper's new turbine is being tested at NREL's wind-energy research center in Jefferson County.
While larger turbines produce far more power than smaller units, their ground "footprints" - the amount of surface area they occupy - are only slightly larger.
For example, a wind farm under development by Clipper in Maryland will produce 100 megawatts using the company's new turbines, compared with 70 megawatts if smaller turbines were used on the same amount of acreage.
In addition, the rotors of the larger turbines are higher in the air, causing fewer bird and bat deaths from collisions with blades.
While wind power is widely embraced for its environmental benefits, some critics dislike the noise and visual impact of wind farms containing hundreds of turbines.
The proposed "Cape Wind" project with 130 turbines in offshore waters south of Cape Cod, Mass., has been controversial because of complaints that it would interfere with pristine ocean views.
Clipper Windpower's plan is to build three manufacturing plants in the United States, one each in the West, Midwest and East. That will help the company reduce transportation costs by placing factories closer to wind farms.
Privately owned Clipper was founded in 2001 by Dehlsen, a wind-energy pioneer. The Carpinteria, Calif.-based company developed the $55 million, 44-megawatt Flying Cloud wind farm in Iowa, and did preliminary development work on another Iowa wind project that is one of the nation's largest.
Dehlsen's former company, Zond, developed the 1.5 megawatt turbine that has become the industry standard. Zond was acquired by Enron in 2000, and after Enron's implosion the company's wind business was picked up by GE Wind.
Capitalizing on the fast-developing wind-power market, GE has become one of the world's major turbine manufacturers.
After the federal production tax credit on wind energy recently was renewed, inducing a surge of new wind-farm proposals, GE landed $1.3 billion in new orders for turbines.
Dehlsen now finds himself in the ironic position of competing against the popular turbine he helped create.
Although he hasn't announced pricing for the 2.5- megawatt turbine, he expects its cost per megawatt will be slightly less than that of GE's 1.5-megawatt unit.
The GE turbines sell for $1.3 million to $1.6 million each, Dehlsen said. That indicates that Clipper's larger turbine could be priced at slightly less than $2.5 million.
Dehlsen said the Clipper machines will use sophisticated components that will make the turbines more efficient than others on the market. When the 2.5-megawatt turbine is rolled out this year, Clipper's revenues gradually will shift from wind-project development fees to sales of the turbine.
The company's big turbine is attracting plenty of attention in the industry, said Tom Gray, executive vice president of the Washington-based American Wind Energy Association.
With the dollar weak against foreign currencies, American wind-farm developers increasingly are looking to domestic turbine makers instead of European giants such as Vestas and Siemens.
"It seems likely that (the Clipper turbine) will improve the economics of wind energy," Gray said. "Any time a new turbine of that size from a new manufacturer comes to market, that's a significant event."
Staff writer Steve Raabe can be reached at 303-820-1948 or

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Wind Energy Library

Complimentary Resource Library From AWEA's Communications Department
SEE ALSO: AWEA Online Bookstore

AWEA wind energy information resources available free of charge via the Internet, document download or mail include:
Documents and Reports
Fact Sheets
Audio/Visual materials, and
Archives of news releases, newsletter articles, and photographs
Publications Available from Other Groups
Renewable Energy Blogs (Web Logs)
Resource Library Features:
Workshop Proceedings: Wind Energy and Birds/Bats
Information Guide for 2004
Wind Energy Teachers Guide
Article on Wind/Utility Integration Issues
Wind Energy Financing
Wind Web Tutorial
Wind Energy Outlook 2004
Updated Small Wind Systems Slide Show
Wind Energy Applications Guide
Many of our complimentary publications require a PDF document reader. Download the free version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader that's suitable for your PC or Mac.
Documents and Reports
Wind Energy Teachers Guide (Download pdf document)
Learning about wind energy can be both fun and instructive, whether it is at the elementary school or 6-12th grade levels.This guide provides teacher information, ideas for sparking children's and students' interest, suggestions for activities to undertake in and outside the classroom, and research tools for both teachers and students.
Wind Energy FinancingA new, under-development resource of links, resources and vital information for those seeking to finance wind projects or understand the economic and regulatory issues associated with wind energy development.(Financing Section)
Article on Wind/Utility Integration Issues - "Bringing Wind Energy Up to 'Code'"(Download pdf document)This article by AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher appeared in the June 2004 issue of Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and provides up-to-date information about the progress of wind energy technology and its impact on electric utility systems.
Wind Energy Applications Guide (Download pdf document)An introduction to various wind power applications for locations with underdeveloped transmission systems, from remote water pumping to village electrification.
WIND WEB TUTORIAL - Most Frequently Asked Questions About Wind EnergyA Question-Answer review of the latest information about Wind Energy Basics, Costs, Potential, Economics, Environmental Impacts, Offshore Projects, Industry Statistics, Small Wind, Policy Issues, and Information Resources. Updated March 2004(Wind Web Tutorial)
Global Market Reports Updated March 10, 20042004 Report: updated annuallyReport on the current state of the worldwide wind power industry, including growth estimates and installed capacity figures on a region-by-region basis. Previous AWEA Global Market Reports:1999 2000 2001 2002 2003Public Attitudes on Wind Energy,Renewables, and the EnvironmentDownload pdf Document11 page summary of public opinion surveys on the environment in general, renewable energy in general, and wind energy in particular in that order, using data gathered from polling in the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Canada.
Wind Energy and Birds/Bats Workshop ProceedingsDownload pdf DocumentProceedings of a comprehensive two-day workshop on wind energy, birds, and bats co-sponsored by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) in Washington, D.C., May, 2004. An excellent summary of current research and knowledge on the topic.Wind Energy Information Guide 2004 Paperback, 16 pagesDownload PDF DocumentAn indispensable list of contact information and Web site addresses for resources that provide a range of general and technical information about wind energy, including general information, wind and renewable energy, university programs and research institutes, international wind energy associations and others. For live links to many of the sites listed in the Guide, please visit the Links section of our Web site.
Wind Energy OUTLOOK 2004 Updated annually6-page full-color brochure (PDF document)AWEA's up-to-date assessment of the wind industry.

Fact Sheets
One or two-page issue briefs covering the full range of issues, including wind energy costs, economics, environment, market and policy.
For a list of titles in available in Adobe PDF format go to:
Additional State Program Fact Sheets are also available:Iowa Fact Sheets
New York Fact Sheets
Pennsylvania Fact Sheets
Additional Environmental Fact Sheets: Wind and CO2
Comparative water use
DatabasesCurrent and Planned Wind Power Projects DatabaseDownloadable state-by state at Also available as an Excel spreadsheet (to come)Detailed listing of U.S. existing and planned wind power projects, organized by state. Includes installed capacity and location, as well as developer, power purchaser and turbine manufacturerGreen Power databaseAlso available as an Excel spreadsheet (to come)State-by-state listing of green power and green marketing products that have a wind power component. Spreadsheet tracks number of utilities in regulated states offering green power products and marketers in competitive states. For each product, lists product, price, prominent customers and other details. Emissions spreadsheetExcel spreadsheet that supports the Fact Sheet, "Comparative Air Emissions of Wind and Other Fuels." Allows users to calculate estimations of avoided emissions, when compared to convention fuels, equivalent trees planted, etc.
Audio/VisualAWEA Wind Energy Slide Show (2002)A graphic presentation of wind power statistics, including a discussion of wind power technology, economics and market.
Small Wind Systems Slide Show

AWEA's new small wind slide show can be viewed from your browser in PowerPoint, Acrobat PDF or HTML format (Webshow) or downloaded for later use in promotional or educational presentations.
Small Wind Webshow(Includes access to PowerPoint and PDF Versions)

Small Wind Display
This 3-panel outreach display gives an overview of AWEA’s small wind resources including the Small Wind Toolbox, slideshows, Success Stories, Small Wind Permitting Handbook and Direct Mail Campaigns. Download the 25” x 40” pdf panels.
AWEA Small Wind Display PDF Panels:Panel 1 Panel 2 Panel 3
Fundamentals of Wind Power CD (under development) Walks a beginner through the various stages of developing a wind farm, plus examines the current state of the various wind power markets.
Photo libraryAWEA maintains a loan library of photographs for media and non-profits. Please email or call (202) 383-2500 for more information. Archive of AWEA news releases
Archive of Wind Energy Weekly ArticlesWind Energy Weekly
Archive of Windletter ArticlesWindletterMembership List
Publications Available From Other Groups
National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC)
Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States
Permitting of Wind Energy Facilities: A Handbook
Siting Issues for Wind Power Plants
Wind Energy Costs
The National Renewable Research LaboratoryNational Wind Technology Center (NWTC)
NWTC Virtual Library
The Renewable Energy Policy Project/Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology
Blending Wind and Solar into the Diesel Generator Market Clean Government: Options for Governments to Buy Renewable EnergyCooperative Wind: How Co-ops and Advocates Expanded Wind Power in MinnesotaThe Environmental Imperative: A Driving Force in the Development and Deployment of Renewable Energy TechnologiesA Guide to the Clean Air Act for the Renewable Energy CommunityWind Clusters: Expanding the Market Appeal of Wind Energy Systems

Renewable Energy Blogs

Renewable Energy Law Blog Alternative Energy Blog

© 2004 by the American Wind Energy Association.

Western States to spend Billions$ on Renewables

Speakout: Good news about renewable energy
By Craig Cox, Special to the NewsJanuary 7, 2005
And now for some good news.
During the past year, in ways big and small, the Western United States has taken the lead in leveraging its rich resource base in clean, inexhaustible renewable energy technologies.

Working together and individually, Western political leaders, utilities and nongovernmental organizations are transforming the region's energy infrastructure.
Because of their work, the West is poised to assume a leadership role in the modern energy industry of the future.
These efforts will provide many tangible economic and environmental benefits throughout the region for years to come.
Here are just a few examples of how the West is laying the groundwork for a clean, reliable and modern energy infrastructure for the 21st century:
• Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Bill Richardson of New Mexico are leading regionwide efforts to increase clean energy development in the West to 30,000 megawatts by 2015. They sponsored a resolution to this effect that the Western Governors' Association adopted at its annual meeting in June.
• Colorado's voters, by a solid 54 percent to 46 percent margin in November, passed Amendment 37, creating a 10 percent renewable energy standard by 2015. Colorado is the 17th state to have such a standard, but is the first state to pass a standard by popular vote. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission will begin rulemaking activities to implement the standard this year.
• Richardson is spearheading efforts to build new transmission capacity from New Mexico (which has a renewable energy standard similar to Colorado's) to send hundreds, or possibly thousands, of megawatts of renewable energy to other states, such as California.
• Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal is pursuing new ways of upgrading Wyoming's energy infrastructure (such as transmission) to leverage his state's huge energy potential.
• In Nevada, Gov. Kenny Guinn and the state's Public Utilities Commission have implemented a "Temporary Renewable Energy Development Trust" that is expected to spur new projects that had been stalled because of concerns over utility creditworthiness.
• The Arizona Corporation Commission is looking to increase the state's renewable energy generation significantly, perhaps through creation of a standard similar to those in Colorado and New Mexico.
• Utilities regionwide are increasing their intake of renewable energy technologies:
Xcel Energy is reviewing bids for 500 megawatts of renewable energy projects in Colorado and has committed to accept all cost-competitive wind resource bids up to a 15 percent penetration level.
PacifiCorp is looking for up to 1,100 megawatts of renewable energy projects in its service territory.
Arizona Public Service will be seeking 100 megawatts of new renewable energy projects in the next year.
Idaho Power is seeking 200 megawatts of renewable power by the end of 2007.
California utilities, which operate under a 20 percent renewable energy standard, are seeking new projects throughout the state and the entire region.
All of this new renewable energy development will provide new jobs, significant new local and county tax revenues, and new economic opportunities for states around the West. The investment potential from wind energy development alone in the West is likely to run into the billions of dollars.
Rural and agricultural areas, which have not seen many new economic opportunities in recent decades, will reap particular benefits from many of these new developments, as new wind and biomass projects will mostly be located in rural parts of the West.
This increased investment in renewable energy technologies should also have a stabilizing influence on electricity prices, since the low fuel costs for most renewables (and no fuel costs for wind and solar) are stable and predictable.
As the West develops its sizable renewable energy resources, utilities are also looking at leveraging the region's coal resource in cleaner and more efficient ways. For instance, in a recent regulatory settlement with Colorado's environmental community, Xcel Energy has committed to support efforts to advance innovative technologies, practices and measures designed to reduce greenhouse gases.
Clearly, 2005 will mark a turning point for the West's energy infrastructure. This region is preparing to lead the world in the adoption and implementation of an energy infrastructure that will benefit its citizens and enhance the environment.
Craig Cox is the executive director of the Western Business Coalition for New Energy Technologies in Evergreen.

Nebraska Sells $100 Million Bonds for Wind Project

Article Posted: 01/14/2005 8:27:37 AM
NPPD Sells Bonds To Finance Energy Facility Improvements

Columbus, Neb . – The Nebraska Public Power District has issued $103.6 million of General Revenue Bonds at a premium to be used for financing its new 60-megawatt wind energy facility near Ainsworth, Neb. and for improvements at its 1365-megawatt Gerald Gentleman Station coal-fired facility near Sutherland, Neb.

NPPD recently began construction of the new wind-generating project, which will be the largest of its kind in Nebraska. The 36 wind turbines and related transmission facilities will cost an estimated $81.3 million.

Last year, NPPD began installation of a well field project at Gerald Gentleman Station, to ensure adequate cooling water for the plant in light of drought conditions. The well field project will cost an estimated $12 million.

A second project to rewind one of the generators at Gerald Gentleman Station is estimated to cost $10.7 million. This project involves rewinding the station’s Unit 2 generator’s stator and replacing its excitation system. A stator, as its name implies, is the stationary part of a generator. The excitation system is the part of the generator that initiates current through the stator and begins the generation process.

The remainder of the bond proceeds will be used to pay for financing costs.

Prior to the bond sale, NPPD received favorable ratings from New York rating agencies. Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s rated NPPD bonds as “A+”, “A1” and “A,” respectively. The agencies cited NPPD’s low cost generating resources, flexible future power supply alternatives, stable financial profile, competitive wholesale and industrial electric rates, and Nebraska’s status as an all-public power state as credit strengths. They also mentioned certain credit concerns regarding Cooper Nuclear Station performance issues and potential impacts of the drought on NPPD generating facilities.

The bonds will be repaid by NPPD over a period of 20 years, with the initial maturity on January 1, 2007 and the final maturity on January 1, 2026. The bonds were financed at an average interest cost of 4.25 percent. The senior bond underwriter is Lehman Brothers.

Money to repay the bonds will come from the revenues received by NPPD from its wholesale and retail electric customers and from the other utilities that are participating in the wind generation project.

Wind Energy Plant built in Pa.

Wind energy company to open plant in Cambria County

The Associated Press
January 14, 2005

A European wind-energy company will build a manufacturing plant in Cambria County, bringing nearly 240 permanent jobs to the region, Gov. Ed Rendell announced Friday.

Gamesa Corp., of Vitoria, Spain, will construct a plant that makes wind turbine generator blades in the South Park Industrial Complex in Ebensburg, about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh.
The project will create jobs, including temporary construction positions and permanent manufacturing positions, Rendell's office said in a statement.
"Not only is this one of the most significant economic development announcements in decades for the Johnstown area, but it also represents a significant turnaround with Pennsylvania luring high-paying manufacturing jobs from overseas," Rendell said at the announcement in Ebensburg.
Gamesa has received a financial package worth $9.31 million through the state's Department of Community and Economic Development, which includes loans, grants and tax credits.
The wind energy manufacturer in September announced it would put its U.S. headquarters and East Coast development offices in Philadelphia and that it would build a manufacturing plant somewhere in the state. The site of the plant wasn't known until Friday.
Gamesa's development plans for the state total $40 million and will create as many as 1,000 permanent and temporary jobs, Rendell's office said.
On the Net:

Prince Edward Island Going 100% Wind/Hydro

Province moving to wind/hydrogen
Last Updated Jan 14 2004 04:20 PM AST
CHARLOTTETOWN – The province appears to be turning its back on natural gas in favour of hydrogen and wind energy.

Jamie BallemLast year the provincial government developed ambitious plans to build a $100-million natural gas pipeline to the Island, and use it to fire a 200-megawatt electrical generation plant. In December, with gas supplies and prices less certain, government began to back away from those plans.
From December 5, 2003: Ballem dims Island's energy plan
This week, the province seems to be walking away from natural gas entirely, and replacing those plans with equally ambitious ones for wind and hydrogen energy.

"We're using more wind, we're building more wind capacity now," says Premier Pat Binns. "That will continue into the future. It will become a bigger part of the picture."
Jamie Ballem takes cabinet responsibility for the energy plan. He's meeting with Atlantic energy ministers next week, where he'll try to launch a cooperative regional approach to developing more generating capacity. Much of the Island's contribution, he says, could come from wind.
"It's such a renewable, and it's so clean," says Ballem. It's our oil. It's our opportunity because it's one thing we do have here. We have good wind conditions. Maybe we should be maximizing it. If we can get Maritime cooperation then it makes it a lot easier for us to look at. Instead of 15 per cent of our energy coming from wind, can we make it 50 per cent, can we make it 100 per cent?"
Cooperation is important, because P.E.I. would have to draw electricity from the region when it wasn't generating its own wind energy, and feed energy to the region when it was generating an excess.
The North Cape Wind Farm currently generates over 100 megawatts, but the province would have to generate a lot more to implement such a plan.
"How to convince small businesses or a farm or a cluster of houses to say I want to put a small turbine up to produce our own energy," wonders Ballem. "How much potential is there for that? We don't know that answer right now. We look at a country like Germany that's producing over 13,000 megawatts of power from wind. If we've got the wind to power one turbine, we've got the wind to power a whole lot more."
The province is also looking into the potential of using wind power to create hydrogen, and plans to create a hydrogen village in western P.E.I. to explore different uses for the fuel.
"Our proposal is to do applied research with every possible use of hydrogen as a fuel," says Ballem. "What we want to do is combine it with the wind farm in North Cape so we're producing hydrogen with the wind energy. How can we convert a fishing boat, and have a container of fuel so the boat is powered by hydrogen? We'll hopefully have some farm equipment – tractors or trucks. Our intention is to work at every application of hydrogen."
From (June 10, 2003): Fuel cell products ready for sale soon
The goal is a working field project in five years where companies can come and see wind and hydrogen energy in use, and possibly buy any new technology developed.
The government is working with three Maritime universities and several private companies on the project, and is looking for Ottawa to pay half the $15 million price tag. If the application is approved the project would start later this year.
Ballem says the government is just a few months away from making some major decisions which will set energy policy in the province for the forseeable future.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

New Mexico Wind Power

Craig FritzTribuneTurbines spin at the New Mexico Wind Energy Center near House in eastern New Mexico. The 204-megawatt wind farm, which is owned by FPL Energy and sells power to Public Service Company of New Mexico, is one of two operating wind plants in the state, with two more under development.Moving the wind
New Mexico is a prime spot for power generation, and the governor sees a market for it outside the state. Getting it there is one of the hurdles in propelling its potential.
By Erik SiemersTribune ReporterJanuary 10, 2005
You can see them from I-40, giant whirligigs dotting the landscape near Tucumcari.
Walter Hornaday's company, Cielo Wind Power in Austin, has built 60 of the wind turbines, mechanisms meant to make a commodity from one of Mother Nature's catalog of products.
By April, Cielo plans to have 20 more turbines running at the 80-megawatt Caprock Wind Ranch.
And by Hornaday's estimates, that barely scratches the surface of the wind power potential in that patch of eastern New Mexico.
"Mother Nature is blowing 85 percent of the time," said Hornaday, Cielo's president. "It's a huge site that has potential of maybe 10 or 20 times what we built here. But we built 80 turbines, and we're completely saturating the transmission capacity within a 60-mile radius."
Gov. Bill Richardson last month proclaimed his commitment to making New Mexico a leader in wind energy transmission.
Richardson, the U.S. energy secretary under President Clinton, sees a market for the state's wind power in energy-thirsty places like California.
But a question remains in how it gets there, and it's one the industry - from wind energy producers to utilities to the regulatory government agencies - is pondering.
"It's a story of lots of potential for wind," Hornaday said of his wind farm, "but it can't be brought to market."
California dreaming
California is a hot place in the summer, and with around 35 million people, it sucks up a lot of energy.
There's no greater evidence of that than the rolling blackouts that occurred in 2001, when a variety of factors - including 100-degree heat - led to heavy energy consumption and depleted reserves.
Some energy experts - including officials at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates interstate utility transmission - say such scenarios could happen again in California.
"There's a real concern here at the commission as we go into next summer that there will be a repeat of the energy shortages like we saw in 2000 and 2001," said FERC spokesman Bryan Lee.
The California Energy Commission is open to new power sources.
"Any electricity that can be added to the grid at the moment is very welcome in California," said Chris Davis, an information officer with the commission.
California's date to reach its goal of having 20 percent of energy come from renewable sources has been pushed back from 2017 to 2010, partly because Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks New Mexico can supply some of that power, Richardson has said.
Which, for New Mexico power generators, means a market exists.
With wind becoming a potentially lucrative commodity, the state hopes to position itself as a major wind energy exporter and create an industry to support rural New Mexico communities.
Richardson last month announced he would ask the state Legislature this year to support financing the infrastructure needed to send energy westward.
The governor also, through his Wind Energy Transmission Task Force, could ask for the formation of a body called the Transmission Infrastructure Authority.
The authority would have powers similar to the New Mexico Finance Authority - namely it could issue bonds - but it would include the expertise needed to wade through complicated energy issues, said Robert Castillo, the task force's chairman and administrative services director for the state Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources.
Still, wind being what it is, the inability to predict precisely when it's produced and how much is the cause of other hurdles the power industry is trying to leap.
High-wire act
The Public Service Company of New Mexico has a room inside its Albuquerque power operations center that looks like a command post where space shuttles are launched.
A cluster of video screens form the wall at the front of the room, their neon lights showing a collection of line graphs, maps and figures.
The screens show how New Mexico is using electricity at that moment.
In a room off to the side, PNM employees work as electrical accountants, so to speak, their balance sheet being the grid in which they must maintain certain levels of power.
Monday through Wednesday, they schedule the next day's power usage hour by hour, and on Thursday and Friday they do the same for the weekend.
This is done by accounting for how much capacity has been scheduled by other entities buying space on PNM lines and how much power is used, on average, at the various hours of the day.
Scheduling, however, can be trickier with a variable power source like wind. And utilities can issue penalties when an entity puts more or less energy on the grid than scheduled.
"The issues involved with wind power and transmission in the electrical system in this country is sort of, no-pun intended, a high-wire act," said Lee, the FERC spokesman. "The voltages need to be kept at 60 hertz. But if it dips just a few hundredths of a percent below that or above that, you have power grid reliability problems."
It's a system that tends to work against wind power developers, said Suedeen Kelly of Albuquerque, one of five FERC commissioners.
"Imbalance penalties are very detrimental to wind generators," Kelly said. "By and large, wind generators can't predict specifically how much power they're going to bring."
As a result, Kelly - who was nominated by President Bush in May and sworn in to a five-year term Dec. 7 - said imbalance penalties need to be adjusted to not discriminate against wind generators.
Kelly also said the standard system in which generators reserve power line usage is designed for traditional natural gas or coal plants.
For example, she said a gas-fired generator that produces 200 megawatts of power would lease that amount of capacity on a transmission line to get the power to its destination.
A 200-megawatt wind farm, however, might produce only 30 percent of the time, Kelly said. "The reality is that a wind generator that buys 200 megawatts of capacity only uses it a third of the time, so it costs them a lot more to have that right," she said. "If they could buy 200 megawatts on a short-term basis, it would be much cheaper. But because they have to lease it on a long-term basis, they end up overpaying."
She said that's another issue FERC is studying as a way to increase transportability of wind power.
Western organization
Finally, Kelly said there needs to be coordination between Western states in planning and construction of new transmission lines.
That's because if new lines were to be built to send power from New Mexico to California, she said, they'd traverse various jurisdictional boundaries, with each controlling where power lines are constructed.
Some states have joined forces to create regional transmission bodies that help streamline such developments, an option Richardson last week said he'd be interested in exploring.
"Now, if we are looking at a new system like the governor is, a new trade in clean electricity, we need to have regional coordination and cooperation in the planning and construction of transmission," Kelly said. "That means not only transmission-owning utilities have to coordinate and cooperate but also the states have to coordinate and cooperate."
And if anybody is in a position to facilitate some of this, Kelly said, it's the man holding office in Santa Fe.
Richardson last year was chairman of the Western Governors' Association and is the current chairman of the Democratic Governors' Association - both national platforms he intends to use to benefit New Mexico wind energy, he said last week.
With the Western Governors, he has worked with Schwarzenegger to push a set of ambitious clean-energy goals: produce 30,000 megawatts by 2015 and have a 20 percent improvement in energy-efficiency by 2020.
And with the Democratic Governors' Association he intends to ask Congress for legislation to extend federal tax credits for wind production by periods of five or 10 years.
Congress has granted tax credits for wind production over periods like 14 months, something the American Wind Energy Association says causes "stop-and-go" cycles of investment, said spokeswoman Christine Real de Azua.
The credit was extended again in September and is set to expire in December, Real de Azua said.
Richardson also hopes to push Congress to pass incentives like an investment tax credit for storage products for wind energy.
"But one of the main messages is that the states are going to be the leading innovators of wind technology development," Richardson said last week. "The federal government can be helpful. But the public/private partnerships that come out of state initiatives, Western initiatives, are going to be key."
PNM Chief Executive Jeff Sterba agreed, saying his company could serve several roles.
"We obviously know transmission, know how to operate it, know how to build it, know how to own it," Sterba said. "But where the public sector comes in is helping facilitate the licensing of it, getting through the approval process so you don't end up with a project taking seven to 10 years just to get turned down, because that makes it untenable."
Electrical highway
Beyond the policy initiatives, beyond partnerships, Cielo's Hornaday says what's needed are simply more lines to move the power.
"The governor of New Mexico has been talking about looking beyond just serving New Mexico," Hornaday said. "It's easily done. It just needs to invest in infrastructure to get the energy to market."
The governor's transmission task force issued a report to Richardson two weeks ago saying that with some upgrades, the existing infrastructure can hold an additional 500 megawatts, but only during off-peak hours, said Castillo, the task force chairman.
Anything beyond an extra 500 megawatts on the grid would require additional infrastructure, he said.
Richardson said last month that transmission is a national problem and that the country should tackle the issue much like it did when building the interstate highway system, by investing enough money to bring wind power to population centers.
A big buyer of wind power in New Mexico Xcel Energy of Minneapolis, which has long-term contracts to buy the energy from two Cielo wind farms in the state and a third from a farm owned by Padoma Wind Power of La Jolla, Calif., that is under construction.
Bill Crenshaw, a spokesman for Xcel's office in Amarillo, Texas, agreed that new transmission "highways" are a key solution.
"The governors are all looking for the West Coast markets," Crenshaw said. "There's absolutely no way you can move that resource without constructing pathways that can bring that resource to the marketplace."
Copyright 2005, The Albuquerque Tribune. All Rights Reserv

Renewable Energy Answers Natural Gas Price Hikes

Renewable Energy Answer to Natural Gas Price Hikes
January 11, 2005
Berkeley, California [] Renewable energy and energy efficiency may be able to help reduce the current high cost of natural gas, according to a report released by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Heightened natural gas prices have emerged as a key energy-policy challenge.
"Our study is the first to demonstrate that these results are broadly consistent with economic theory, results from other national energy models, and limited empirical evidence."- Mark Bolinger, Berkeley Report Co-author
With the recent run-up in prices, deepening concerns about the ability of North American gas production to keep up with demand, and the continuing reliance on natural gas as a favored fuel for electricity generation, a growing number of voices are calling for increased diversification of energy supplies."Our report shows that renewable energy and energy efficiency can displace gas-fired electricity generation, reducing gas demand and putting downward pressure on natural gas prices and bills," said report co-author Ryan Wiser of Berkeley Lab.The report's findings are based on a review and analysis of recent modeling studies that have evaluated the gas-price-reduction effect of renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment. "The 13 studies and 20 specific analyses that we review consistently show that increased use of renewable energy and energy efficiency can begin to reduce natural gas prices," adds co-author Mark Bolinger. "Our study is the first to demonstrate that these results are broadly consistent with economic theory, results from other national energy models, and limited empirical evidence." While variations in the magnitude of the price suppression are significant among the studies, and more research on this effect is warranted, the studies generally show that each 1 percent reduction in natural gas demand nationwide is likely to lead to a long-term wellhead price reduction of 0.8 to 2 percent, with some studies showing even more significant reductions."This means that increased use of renewable energy benefits natural gas consumers at a level conservatively estimated to be equivalent to at least $10 to $20 for each megawatt-hour of incremental renewable generation," Bolinger said.The report also develops and demonstrates the use of a simple, transparent analysis tool that can be used to evaluate the potential impact of renewable energy and energy efficiency on natural gas prices and bills across all sectors of the economy. "Based on our analysis, we find that the 18 existing state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in the U.S. could provide natural gas bill savings of $7 to $18 billion on a net-present-value basis, while the California RPS alone could deliver national consumer savings of $3 to $9 billion," Wiser said.The study also evaluates the potential impacts of New England and New York RPS policies; state renewable energy fund support for renewable projects; projections by the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Associations of wind and solar power deployment, respectively; California's aggressive natural gas efficiency goals; and two possible national efficiency standards for residential boilers and furnaces. "Overall, our study suggests that renewable energy and energy efficiency can help to alleviate the threat of high natural gas prices over the short and long term, thereby lowering gas and electricity bills for consumers," concludes Wiser. The report "Easing the Natural Gas Crisis: Reducing Natural Gas Prices through Increased Deployment of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency," can be downloaded from the following link.
For further Information
Berkeley Report

EnXco Flips Switch on Wind Farm

Tax credits propel wind powerWashington to pay bounty on ’05 mills
More stories about windmillsMore
bureauJanuary 10, 2005
COACHELLA VALLEY -- Employees at EnXco Inc., a North Palm Springs company that builds and operates wind farms, are scrambling to erect giant power-generating turbines. Why the rush? The federal government is offering a tax credit for wind generators that are up and running by the end of 2005. There’s no guarantee that the tax breaks will be renewed. "Because we only have a year we’re working double-time and triple-time to get these projects done," said Donna Lotz, project marketing coordinator at EnXco. "That’s why we’re pushing so hard. We’ve had these things in the pipeline." EnXco flipped the switch last week on a wind farm in Tehachapi that will produce 60 megawatts of electricity -- enough to light up nearly 20,000 homes. EnXco, which has about 300 employees, is not alone. Thousands of giant wind turbines will spring up around the country this year to generate more eco-friendly power. Nearly 30 energy companies are rushing to take advantage of the 2005 tax break and plan to install thousands of windmills in 21 states, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Wind power produces less than 1 percent of America’s electricity today, according to the Energy Information Administration, compared with nearly 22 percent provided by nuclear generators and 55 percent by coal plants. But proponents of this renewable source of power hope the 35-story turbines can produce 6 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2020. Among the developments propelling the new wind power projects are:
The federal government is offering wind producers a 1.8-cents-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit. The tax break drops the cost of generating wind power to make it more competitive with natural gas or coal generators.
States are requiring utilities to produce some of their electricity from green power, such as solar, wind or geothermal sources.
Technology is increasing energy efficiency. New giant turbines can each produce 3.6 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 1,000 homes. But problems have cropped up as energy companies rush to build wind farms. Just because wind power doesn’t pollute the air doesn’t mean it has no environmental impact. Also, not everyone wants a windmill within eyesight. Alameda County placed a moratorium on new wind farms because turbines had killed hundreds of hawks, eagles and other birds of prey. Hundreds of bats were killed at a wind farm in Tucker County, W.Va. Some Massachusetts residents oppose building a big wind farm off Cape Cod, partly because it would spoil their view. New Jersey Gov. Richard Codey announced a state moratorium on offshore wind farms in December. The decision was applauded by a number of state surfing, fishing and environmental groups worried about the effects of large wind turbines. The wind farms could affect fish populations, migratory birds and possibly other marine life, said Tim Dillingham, who heads the American Littoral Society, a Sandy Hook, N.J., conservation group. Proposals had been submitted for more than 1,000 turbines to be built along the New Jersey coast, about 3.5 miles offshore, he said. "You have this rush to get these huge facilities in the door despite the fact that there aren’t well-thought-out plans in place," Dillingham said. "It’s a brand new industrial use of the ocean, and there really isn’t any environmental impact (report) that’s been done." Some farmers are finding that wind power can be a new cash crop. Despite opposition from some homeowners, the Dodge County, Wis., Farm Bureau supports developing wind farms because it provides new revenues to both landowners and county governments, said Jim Schoenike, the group’s president. Clear Lake, Iowa, farmer Delbert Watson has nothing but good things to say about the five 120-foot towers on his land. He can plant corn or soybeans within 20 feet of the turbines and hasn’t seen any bird deaths even though his land sits less than a mile from a wildlife refuge. Watson has had wind towers on his land since 1999 and receives about $2,000 annually in rent for each turbine. Local residents have become used to the wind turbines, he said, and creating electricity without air pollution is an efficient use of resources. "There’s nothing that comes off of it -- the wind blows through it," Watson said. "It’s just got to be good for the whole nation to use that wind." While most lawmakers support wind power, Congress has been partly responsible for the uneven pace of wind farm development. The wind power production tax credit has lapsed three times in the past five years, said Christine Real de Azua, American Wind Energy Association spokeswoman. Projects on the drawing board were put on hold while Congress debated the issue, and the industry hopes that Congress will extend the current tax credit beyond 2005, she said. "There’s no guarantee" that Congress will extend the tax credit, said EnXco’s Lotz. "That’s why we’re pushing so hard. We’ve had these things in the pipeline."

AES buys SeaWest wind farms

San Diego-based SeaWest wind farms sold for $60 million cash

12:16 p.m. January 11, 2005
ARLINGTON, Va. (Dow Jones/AP) – Power producer The AES Corp. has agreed to acquire wind energy company SeaWest Holdings Inc. for about $60 million in cash, which AES said will make it one of the top developers and operators of wind farms in the United States.
San Diego-based SeaWest is a privately owned company that operates more than 500 megawatts of wind facilities in California, Wyoming and Oregon and has 1,800 megawatts of development sites in 10 states in the western United States. It employs 175 people.
Arlington-based Tuesday said it expects the acquisition to close by the end of the first quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.
AES also plans to acquire and construct SeaWest's 120-megawatt Buffalo Gap wind generation project near Abilene, Texas, at an estimated cost of $165 million.
AES plans to begin construction early this year, and the facility is expected to become operational in the fourth quarter.
AES said its acquisition of SeaWest, combined with its recent investment in US Wind Force LLC, advances its goal of becoming a strong competitor in wind generation.
US Wind Force focuses on wind energy projects in the eastern part of the country.
The SeaWest deal will give AES operating or planned wind projects in 13 states, and development options on more than 100,000 acres of land.
AES runs in 111 power plants in 27 countries. It shares fell 6 cents to $13.04 in early afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

GE Wind Energy

Renewable Energy SolutionsAt GE Energy, we know that renewable energy will be an integral part of the world energy mix throughout the 21st century. Our commitment is to help our worldwide partners and customers design and implement wind energy solutions for their unique energy needs.> Company Snapshot> Our Products> Our Technology> Worldwide Capabilities> Image Gallery> Just 4 Kids & Teachers> Contact Wind Energy
Primary Activities
GE Energy is one of the world’s leading wind energy companies and wind turbine suppliers. With over 6,900 worldwide wind turbine installations comprising more than 5,200 MW of capacity, our knowledge and expertise spans more than two decades.We currently design and produce wind turbines ranging from 1.5 to 3.6 megawatts. We also manufacture advanced wind turbine blades to assure the highest quality, advanced designs and quick on-time delivery.
> 1.5 MW Wind TurbineWith more than 2,500 units in operation worldwide, the 1.5 MW continues to be one of the world’s most widely used wind turbines in its class.
> 2.X MW Wind TurbineOur 2.3, 2.5 and 2.7 MW class of wind turbine provides highly cost effective operation, especially at wind sites where space is limited.
> 3.6 MW Wind TurbineWith a rotor diameter of 341 feet and a swept area of 91,439 square feet, the 3.6 MW wind turbine is ideal for offshore markets worldwide.
> December 1, 2004 -- Pakistan to Launch Its First Commercial Wind Project> November 30, 2004 -- GE to Supply 207 Wind Turbines for MidAmerican Energy Company's Wind Generation Project> November 22, 2004 -- Wind Turbines from GE Being Erected for New Project in NorthWestern Spain> More press releases>
Current Events
• Nov 22-24: European Wind Energy Conference, London, England• Nov 30 - Dec 2: Powergen International Conference & Exhibition, Orlando, Florida, USA• Nov 30 - Dec 3: Pollutec International Exhibition, Lyon, FranceOct 31 - Nov 4: Asia Windpower Conference & Exhibition, Beijing, China-->May 25-27: Powergen Europe, Barcelona, Spain-->
> Celebrate the Wind! See highlights from the Arklow, Ireland poster contest -- and check out these curricula, activities and worksheets designed to help teachers and kids learn more about wind energy.
> Careers @ Wind Energy Join our worldwide team! Search the GE Careers listings for jobs that contain "Wind" in their description.

FPL Wind Energy

Wind Energy
Clean, renewable energy A cost-effective source of power Meeting market demand reliably How wind turbines work For more information
FPL Energy is the largest U.S. generator of wind power, with 42 wind farms currently in 15 states:
New Mexico
North Dakota
South Dakota
West Virginia
With a wind-power portfolio of more than 2,700 net megawatts, FPL Energy generated nearly 40 percent of the total wind energy in the nation in 2003.
Clean, renewable energy
Wind is a source of clean, renewable energy. This means we save on fossil fuel resources (coal, natural gas or oil), but, more importantly, we aren't faced with the additional environmental impacts associated with burning them.
Wind is clean, efficient and almost always there to be tapped. An abundant, never-ending resource, it generates clean energy using the most up-to-date technologies available. Today, wind energy is the fastest-growing renewable energy resource in the world. For example:
global installed capacity is more than 31,000 megawatts
U.S. installed capacity is more than 6,300 megawatts.
Source: American Wind Energy Association
A cost-effective source of power
Today, wind produces a small percentage of our nation's electricity. But some believe wind power can produce up to 6 percent of our electricity needs by 2020. That's the same amount of electricity generated today through hydroelectric power and enough to serve 25 million homes.
Wind has always been clean and renewable, but it was not always a cost-effective source of power. In the past 20 years, the cost of wind energy has dropped approximately 80 percent, making it competitive with other energy sources, due largely to
advances in technology and
the federally-sponsored wind production tax credit.
Established to encourage the development of clean, renewable wind power, the tax credit dramatically changed the ladscape of the wind generation business in the U.S. by helping promote a sensible energy policy that wisely encourages diversification of energy sources.
Source: American Wind Energy Association
Meeting market demand reliably
When a utility diversifies its power portfolio with the addition of wind energy, it can reliably meet market demand for that power.
While wind energy generation cannot be precisely scheduled based on demand, sophisticated monitoring and wind resource analysis allow wind developers to estimate with a high degree of certainty "when" and "how much" wind energy is available in a particular region during a specific month or year, so customers can plan their resource balance accordingly.
How wind turbines work
Wind turbines capture the wind's energy with two or three propeller-like blades, which are mounted on a rotor, to generate electricity. The turbines sit high atop towers, taking advantage of the stronger and less turbulent wind at 100 feet (30 meters) or more above ground.
A blade acts much like an airplane wing:
When the wind blows, a pocket of low-pressure air forms on the downwind side of the blade.
The low-pressure air pocket then pulls the blade toward it, causing the rotor to turn. This is called lift.
The force of the lift is actually much stronger than the wind's force against the front side of the blade, which is called drag.
The combination of lift and drag causes the rotor to spin like a propeller, and the turning shaft spins a generator to make electricity.
Wind turbines can be
used as stand-alone applications or
connected to a utility power grid or
combined with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system.
Stand-alone turbines are typically used for water pumping or communications.
However, homeowners and farmers in windy areas can also use turbines to generate electricity.
For utility-scale sources of wind energy, a large number of turbines are usually built close together to form a wind farm. Several electricity providers today use wind farms to supply power to their customers.
For more information
Explore our list of frequently asked questions.
Download our brochure, The Nation's Leader in Wind Energy (704kb .pdf file). This file requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you don't already have it, or have problems viewing this file, download it now.
For more information on wind energy, visit the American Wind Energy Association.