August 3, 2012
Wind energy policy advances in U.S. Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support
Extension of critical tax relief to save 37,000 jobs in wind energy and continue growing U.S. manufacturing advanced in the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday with strong bipartisan support.
By an overwhelming bipartisan margin of 19-5, the committee passed an extenders package that included an extension of the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC). On critical amendment votes, all the Democratic members and GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) supported the extension of the PTC.
Also in the committee’s markup is an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which provides an incentive for the development of offshore and community wind projects.
“We applaud the committee for this act of leadership to move critical policies forward in a difficult environment,” said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. “This was an extremely important step to provide critical certainty to keep people at work in wind energy manufacturing and construction.”
Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) included an extension of the PTC and the ITC for wind projects started in 2013 in the modified chairman’s mark (essentially a revised base bill) of the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012.
Introducing amendments in support of the wind PTC were Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), John F. Kerry (D-MA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Kent Conrad (D-ND).
Meanwhile, three senators from each party who are not members of the committee submitted a letter yesterday to committee leaders in favor of wind energy. Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), John Boozman (R-AR), Scott Brown (R-MA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Mark Udall (D-CO) urged the committee to extend the PTC in the markup.
The PTC drives up to $20 billion a year of private investment into U.S. wind farms, creating demand that allows U.S. manufacturing to compete in a global market. According to Navigant Consulting, 37,000 jobs will be lost by early 2013 if Congress lets the PTC expire at the end of 2012.
An extension of the PTC enjoys widespread, bipartisan support from groups as diverse as the National Governors Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, Edison Electric Institute, the American Farm Bureau Federation, environmentalists, labor unions, and others. Members of the House and Senate from both parties have indicated their agreement that the PTC should be renewed.
New poll shows that Iowa voters are not likely to support an anti-wind candidate
AWEA this week expressed disappointment that the Romney campaign has come out with an anti-wind stance, particularly in Iowa, the state that gets 20 percent of its power from wind and the state with more major manufacturing facilities than any other.
According to a statement to the Des Moines Register, the presidential candidate supports letting the popular and bipartisan wind industry Production Tax Credit expire at the end of this year. On Thursday, subsequent to the Des Moines Register statement, the Senate Finance Committee passed an extenders package that included an extension of the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) (see top story).
A poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for AWEA shows that “an overwhelming majority of Iowa voters would be less likely to support an anti-wind candidate for office.”
Key findings from the Iowa poll include:
- Iowa voters are less likely to vote for candidates who do not support expanding wind power generation.
- Iowans are supportive of using renewable energy sources like wind energy to meet the growth in America’s energy needs.
- Iowans, particularly Independents, believe that wind energy has been good for the state’s economy and has helped to create jobs in the state.
The full poll memo can be found here.
The Hawkeye State currently employs as many as 7,000 people in the wind industry and is a top manufacturing state with more than 200 companies across 50 counties. But with the PTC set to expire at the end of this year, as many as 3,000 jobs are immediately at risk.
In response to the recent position announced by Governor Romney’s staff, Congressman Tom Latham (R-Iowa) made the following statement:
“I’m disappointed that the statement by Governor Romney’s spokesperson shows a lack of full understanding of how important the wind energy tax credit is for Iowa and our nation. It’s the wrong decision. Wind energy represents one of the most innovative and exciting sectors of Iowa’s economy. Nearly 7,000 hardworking Iowans are employed by over 250 businesses associated with the wind energy industry in our state, making Iowa the top state in wind energy employment. A continuation of the wind energy tax credit is in the best interest of our nation’s all-of-the-above energy policy for American energy independence and for our economy. I invite Governor Romney to step forward and re-evaluate the statement issued by his campaign spokesman.”
Just last week, Steve Thompson, general manager of Availon in Des Moines, Iowa told the Des Moines Register, “[I]f Congress will let us finish the job, wind energy can do for America what it has already done for Iowa: create U.S. manufacturing jobs right here at home.”
The PTC enjoys widespread, bipartisan support from groups as diverse as the National Governors Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau, environmentalists, labor unions, and others. Members of the House and Senate have indicated their agreement that the PTC should be renewed.
AWEA, RENEW-NE applaud New England Governors' resolution to procure renewable energy
AWEA and its regional partner, Renewable Energy New England (RENEW), applauded the New England Governors’ Conference for unanimously passing a resolution this week to coordinate regional renewable energy procurement directing the release of a request for proposal (RFP) for renewable energy next year.
Specifically, the resolution charges the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) with developing and implementing a work plan on behalf of the New England Governors that will result in the release of an RFP for renewable energy in 2013—allowing six states to capture economies of scale by joining together to secure power contracts. The resolution, proposed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, is the culmination of years of work led by NESCOE on behalf of the New England Governors.
The news came during what has turned out to be a great week for New England renewable energy. In Massachusetts, the state legislature approved an expansion of the Green Communities Act, which currently requires that 3 percent of the state’s electricity be procured by the utilities using long-term renewable energy contracts. The new legislation raises that target to 7 percent by 2016.
“This is an historic week for renewable energy in New England,” said RENEW Executive Director Francis Pullaro. “The New England Governors’ unanimous vote was a resounding ‘yes’ to more renewable energy, more jobs, and lower-cost electricity for New England. We thank the governors, along with Massachusetts leadership, for their hard work and vision on this key issue for our region.”
“Congratulations to the New England Governors and all six New England states for embracing the multiple economic and other benefits of renewable energy,” said Christy Omohundro, regional representative for the East at AWEA. “Wind power gives regions all across America affordable, stably priced power, and so we thank New England’s governors and legislators for their leadership and vision in helping to implement strong policy that creates jobs and generates affordable electricity.”
Fittingly, in little over a month, AWEA will be holding its Regional Wind Energy Summit – New England, which will take place Sept. 5-6, 2012 in Portland, Maine. The implications of the newly minted state and regional policies are sure to be major topics of discussion at the event.
AWEA recently saw a need for regional events as a way for participants to focus on topics affecting their particular region while saving time and travel costs. The concept has taken off, and the Portland event will be the first Summit to focus on the New England region. Register or get more information on the Summit here.
For more information on the New England market, see this newsletter.
But those interested in the New England market don’t even have to wait the few weeks before the Summit to gain information on that region. An AWEA webinar, “Wind Power Growth in New England,” is set for this coming Wednesday, Aug. 8. The event will provide information on wind power growth in the New England region via a concise, 30-minute overview of the upcoming AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit in Portland.
The webinar, which takes place from 9 to 9:30 a.m., is free, but those wanting to participate must register in advance. For more information, go to the AWEA News section below, or simply register here.
151-MW Mehoopany Wind Farm enters construction in Pennsylvania
BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s Mehoopany Wind Farm in Pennsylvania has moved into full construction, the two companies announced.
On completion, the 141-MW project, which is located 20 miles northeast of Scranton, will be the largest wind farm in Pennsylvania. BP and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power are equal partners in the project, with BP serving as operator once it is completed.
At peak construction, the Mehoopany wind farm, which represents a combined investment of approximately $250 million, will create about 250 jobs, according to the companies. Some 10-15 permanent jobs will be created once the wind farm begins commercial operation, which is expected by the end of the year.
To mark the launch of construction, Congressman Tom Marino (R-Pa.) was joined by state and local officials at a ceremony, in which they signed one of the wind turbine blades that will be installed at the facility.
“Pennsylvania has a rich abundance of natural resources, and the ability to harvest wind energy is an important addition for our state,” said Marino. “We congratulate BP and Sempra U.S. Gas and Power in moving this project into full construction.”
Electricity produced from the Mehoopany Wind Farm has been sold under long-term power purchase agreements with Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative Inc. The agreements were made possible through the efforts of the National Renewables Cooperative Organization, which enables cooperatives nationwide to pool the ownership and benefits of renewable resources.
“This announcement reinforces BP’s commitment to deliver cost-competitive power to U.S. consumers by making a major investment in Pennsylvania that creates jobs, stimulates rural economic development and enhances national energy security,” said John Graham, president and CEO for BP Wind Energy.
“With world-class projects like the Mehoopany Wind Farm, Pennsylvania extends its position as a leader in the development of domestic energy and job creation,” said Jim Sahagian, vice president of renewables at Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. “We look forward to completing the project later this year, and forging a long-term partnership with the state and local community.”
Administration official pays visit to wind power factories, shows support for PTC effort
An Obama administration official this week traveled to Iowa and visited two companies that are part of wind energy’s manufacturing supply chain as part of the administration’s push for an extension of the wind energy Production Tax Credit and other renewable energy policies.
During his trip, David Sandalow, Acting Under Secretary for Energy and Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs, toured Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company in Des Moines and ACCIONA Windpower’s wind turbine generator assembly plant in West Branch, Iowa. The wind energy supply chain has grown significantly in the U.S. thanks in part to the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which is set to expire at the end of the year unless Congress takes action (see top story).
"Iowa is at the forefront of America's growing clean energy economy," said Sandalow. "To continue creating jobs and expanding this important industry, President Obama is calling on Congress to extend clean energy tax credits for renewable energy and manufacturing. These tax credits are supporting thousands of jobs in Iowa and have played a key role in nearly doubling renewable energy in the last four years nationwide."
Acciona Windpower produces 1.5 MW and 3.0 MW wind turbines. At its West Branch assembly plant, the company sources over 80 percent of its components from domestic suppliers. Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Co. manufactures systems for the electricity industry, with 22 percent of their business’s gross sales coming from power control systems for the wind industry.
“Wind energy is powering manufacturing here at Acciona Windpower and all the suppliers we work with across the U.S.,” said CEO Joe Baker, CEO of Acciona Windpower North America. “Stable policies are critical to the growth of any business, and the wind industry is no exception.”
To be sure, the wind power supply chain is feeling the effects of the uncertainty with in-coming orders slowing down significantly.
“Many of our customers are developing alternative plans that significantly reduce the number and size of wind projects in the coming years,” said stated Fred Buie, president of Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Co. “If Congress fails to extend the Production Tax Credit, jobs will be lost as early as the first quarter of next year.”
In 2011, Iowa generated nearly 19 percent of its total electricity from wind energy, making it one of America’s wind energy leaders. Iowa’s wind industry supports several thousand direct and indirect jobs (see story on Iowa, above). Job losses will total 37,000 in the absence of a PTC extension.
ABB wins $55 Million wind power order from Brazil
Indicative of how Brazil has become one of the world’s most attractive renewable energy markets, Cary, N.C.-based ABB won an order worth around $55 million to supply three wind power-related new substations and transmission infrastructure for the Brazilian utility Eolicas do Sul.
Brazil has traditionally relied heavily on hydropower for its electricity supply. The project for which ABB is lending its electricity-industry expertise is part of the government's efforts to increase the share of wind power as part of its renewable energy portfolio.
ABB will design, supply, install and commission the substations in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, bordering Uruguay. ABB will also supply and install two 138 kV overhead transmission lines to connect a new 400 MW wind power plant, one of the largest in the country, to the national electricity grid. The project is scheduled for completion by 2014.
Brazil has added significant wind power in the past few years and currently has over 1,500 MW of installed wind capacity with another 7,000 MW in the pipeline over the next five years. Brazil is the largest consumer of electricity in Latin America, using twice as much as its neighbors Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. The country's installed capacity is just over 100,000 MW, which is comparable to Italy or the United Kingdom.
Economic and population growth is expected to drive demand for electricity to an expected generation capacity requirement of around 150,000 MW by 2020.
DWEA, AWEA expand outreach to farm shows in Midwest and Northeast
The Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) and AWEA will have a presence at two farm shows this month in the Midwest and Northeast, where they along with their members will share the benefits of wind energy with an audience having great potential for wind power adoption—farming professionals and rural communities.
The Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, will enable the groups to reach out to the rural marketplace and provide a platform to help educate consumers on the significant economic benefits of distributed wind for those in the agricultural sector. DWEA will be hosting a series of discussions on distributed wind energy lead by Jennifer Jenkins, DWEA’s executive director. The shows provide DWEA members with a unique opportunity to showcase an array of products with systems ranging from 5kW up to 900kW.
Larry Flowers, deputy director for distributed and community wind at AWEA, will be presenting at the event and speaking with attendees at the AWEA/DWEA booth.
“Participating in the farm shows this year marks a first for DWEA and its members,” Jenkins said. “We continue to forge new paths on behalf of our members, whether it involves opening new markets or advocating on national policy. Our community is proud to support rural markets and bring the power of wind to America’s Heartland. From farm to table, wind is an integral piece of energy independence for all communities and industries.”
Event focuses on Texas offshore wind power
The 3rd Texas Offshore Wind Energy Roundtable (TOWER) Conference will seek to help industry leaders from Texas realize opportunities and tackle obstacles in offshore wind power by bringing some of the leading experts from Europe and the U.S. to Houston, Texas.
Participants at the conference, which is hosted by the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern US, Inc. and the Texas Wind Energy Clearinghouse, can expect to get the latest information on developments and challenges in the Texas offshore wind market, and be able to network with players in the offshore industry from the Gulf Coast region. The conference will take place September 5-6, 2012 in Houston, Texas.
Among other notable speakers, Susan Williams Sloan, director of state relations at AWEA, will be presenting at the 3rd TOWER Conference 2012. She will be giving insights into the current state of the U.S. offshore wind industry. In addition to providing the American perspective, the conference also features international wind industry experts from Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Norway. Their presentations will provide conference attendees with the most up-to-date information.
Featuring more than 25 hours of intensive, cutting-edge information and valuable networking opportunities, the 3rd TOWER Conference will feature turbine showcases and explore further topics such as turbine installation, ports and infrastructure, offshore wind law, environmental issues, and finance and insurance. The conference also recently received approval for 10.75 hours of MCLE credit. To receive current information about the program and other updates, please send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “subscribe.” The conference program is available online at http://www.tower-conference.com.
AWEA is an event partner, so AWEA members will receive a $100 discount for this conference. Please enter the discount code y4PHuP5W at the checkout.
Supply Chain Connections
UpWind Solutions awarded ISO certification
UpWind Solutions, Inc., which provides asset management operations and maintenance services to wind project customers, received ISO 9001:2008 certification by QAS International. To meet ISO standards, Upwind Solutions completed a rigorous review of its service standards and protocols, culminating with a two-day inspection earlier this month. “This ISO 9001-2008 certification solidifies our leadership position as a provider of asset management and O&M services to our wind project customers and our continuing commitment to safety and quality," said CEO Peter Wells.
QAS provides certification for companies that have demonstrated through documented procedures and manuals that their operating practices have achieved the international quality management standards controlled by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in Geneva.
Now Blue Scout, Catch the Wind rebrands
Catch the Wind Ltd., providers of predictive optical control systems (OCS) for optimized wind energy generation, today announced the complete rebrand of the company, now operating through its wholly-owned subsidiary (formerly Catch the Wind, Inc.) as BlueScout Technologies, Inc. The company stated that its technology and product development roadmap, in combination with the new brand, positions it to reconfirm its focus on making wind energy more competitive through innovation.
“Our name, BlueScout, is about the future,” said President and CEO Jo S. Major. “Our passion is to use our technologies and skills to help our customers in the wind industry understand and manage their wind resource more effectively. We will use this rebranding to show our customers, investors and partners our commitment to helping turbines reliably produce cleaner, renewable energy. To us, the blue of the skies holds intelligence to be discovered and applied, and our passion for exploration is embodied within the concept of scouting what is ahead.”
The company’s optically based wind forecasting technology for control systems, the BlueScout OCS-210, is a next-generation turbine control system for utility-scale wind turbines. From its position on top of the nacelle, it measures wind speed and direction in the approaching free-stream inflow and employs predictive control architectures to increase energy production and reduce harmful effects of wind turbulence on wind turbines. The optical wind sensor, BlueScout OWS-150, is a lightweight, portable, all-weather wind assessment tool that measures wind speed and direction of vertical profiles above the ground or off shore water surface—reaching the full blade height of most utility scale wind turbines.
Also this week, Blue Scout announced its new ticker symbol, SCT, on the TSX Venture Exchange, effective today, Aug. 3.
AWS Truepower partners for South American effort
AWS Truepower, LLC and AIRES Renewables announced a strategic partnership to provide renewable energy consulting services to Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. Part of the offering includes renewable resource modeling and measurement, energy assessments, engineering studies, forecasting services, grid integration studies and operations services to maximize system performance and better plan energy delivery.
“We are pleased to be working with AIRES to provide clients with a single source for wind and solar data, resource modeling, energy assessments, bankable reports, engineering and proven methods to identify project risks,” said Joan Aymamí, vice president of AWS Truepower. We expect that there will be many opportunities for us to offer strong local support and advanced solutions to a rapidly growing renewables market in Latin America.”
The two companies announced a joint venture for a $1 million project to identify and quantify the wind and solar resources in the San Juan province of Argentina. The work, funded through Argentina’s San Juan province power utility, EPSE, aims to provide the government with validated, high‐resolution wind and solar resource maps, long‐term datasets and build‐out scenarios for renewable energy projects throughout the San Juan territory. The project is expected to last until the end of 2013.
Free Webinar, New England Summit highlight region
Space is limited for this free Webinar.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
Learn about wind power growth in the New England region in this concise, 30 minute overview of the upcoming AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit, which will take place in Portland, Maine on September 5-6, 2012. This 30 minute webinar, taking place Aug. 8, will give you a quick overview of the market for land-based and off-shore wind projects, and a preview of what will be covered in the event in September.
The webinar will start with a market update on wind project development in each of the states in the New England region, and then will feature the two wind energy industry co-chairs for the event in September.
The New England Wind Energy Summit in September will cover key issues in New England markets for wind power including market drivers and policy issues, transmission and supply chain issues, construction and development issues as well as the benefits to the region from an economic development perspective as wind power expands in the New England states. To learn more about the Summit, go here.
The webinar is free to attend, but you must register in advance.
Title: Wind Power Growth in New England
Date: Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Time: 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
AWEA Wind Resource and Project Energy Assessment Seminar
Join your resource assessment peers and the wind industry’s leaders as they explore new challenges and find critical solutions to key issues in this crucial field within the industry. With insights from speakers and presenters who are the experts in their field, this event is worth adding to your calendar.
If you are new to wind resource assessment, or are just interested in a baseline refresher, consider the basic webinar scheduled prior to the seminar: Resource Assessment 101. This introductory webinar is specifically designed for those wind professionals new to resource assessment, or those who are already familiar but who would like to hone their knowledge. This webinar will maximize your learning during the more technical onsite seminar program.
Volume 29, Issue 1494
|Wind Energy Weekly is a publication of the American Wind Energy Association and a service to its Members.
Upcoming AWEA Events:
AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit - New England
Sept. 5-6, 2012
AWEA Wind Resource & Project Energy Assessment Seminar
Sept. 13-14, 2012
AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition
Oct. 9-11, 2012
Virginia Beach, Va.
AWEA Wind Energy Fall Symposium
November 13-15, 2012
AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit - Southwest
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