August 17, 2012
DOE wind report: 67 percent domestic content in wind turbines
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) latest annual report for wind power depicts an energy source being threatened by policy uncertainty—yet one that is now conventional, driven by the continuing trends of downward prices and more of the technology’s components being made in America.
The DOE Wind Technologies Market Report for 2011 generally tracks with the numbers of AWEA’s Annual Market Report released in the spring. The government report, however, complements the AWEA report, providing information on such areas as domestic content for wind turbines and the overall cost of wind energy.
Facing looming policy uncertainty beyond 2012, when the wind energy Production Tax Credit is slated to expire, the U.S. remained one of the fastest-growing wind power markets in the world in 2011—second only to China—according to the report, which was prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Over 6,800 MW of new wind power capacity were connected to the U.S. grid in 2011. Also tracking with AWEA’s analyses, new wind power installations are widely expected to be substantially higher in 2012 than in 2011.
But the report’s most intriguing numbers, perhaps, don’t involve megawatts. In spite of the PTC uncertainty wreaking havoc on the supply chain, turbine manufacturers continued to move their sourcing activities to the U.S. last year, with 67 percent of the equipment used in U.S. wind power projects now sourced domestically, up a strong 7 percent from the 60 percent threshold hit the previous year and nearly doubling the 35 percent number reported for 2005-2006. That trend is not surprising when considering the 500 U.S. factories now serving the wind industry, as reported in the AWEA report. However, noted Ryan Wiser, staff scientist at Berkeley Lab and co-author of the report, “[B]ehind these positive headline numbers, the domestic wind industry supply chain is currently facing severe pressure, due to uncertain prospects after 2012.”
That uncertainty is the result of the pending expiration of the PTC. AWEA and the wind energy industry are working full-force to ensure an extension to wind energy’s primary policy driver.
The DOE report noted wind power’s stature as a “credible” source of new generation, comprising about a third of all new U.S. electric capacity additions in 2011, according to the report. During the last five years wind power’s contribution has been 35 percent. Last year’s installations represented $14 billion in new investment, according to the report, which also noted that wind power currently contributes more than 10 percent of total electricity generation in six states (with two of these states above 20 percent), and now provides more than 3 percent of total U.S. electricity supply.
The DOE report, which is available online, also highlighted lower wind turbine prices as well as PPA prices.
Michigan State study: state ballot proposal would create over 74,000 jobs
At least 74,495 Michigan jobs will be created if the Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs renewable energy ballot proposal passes in November, according to a new report from researchers at Michigan State University.
The study also found the proposal, which would raise the state’s renewable electricity standard (RES) to 25 percent by 2025, would create more than $10 billion in new investments.
“Michigan is endowed with an abundance of wind, solar, hydro and biomass that not only could surpass our energy needs but can contribute more to economic development,” said the report. “Our study finds that Michigan stands to create tens of thousands of construction, operations and maintenance, and manufacturing jobs from passing a higher renewable energy standard.”
The authors determined the proposal would create 31,513 jobs from construction and 42,982 jobs from operations and maintenance. A range of additional job impacts could follow passage of the proposal, they also found. All told, the initiative would create between 74,495 and 113,845 jobs in Michigan.
Under the proposed RPS, the 25 percent threshold would be met in increments, with wind, solar, hydro and biomass qualifying as resources. The proposal includes a 1 percent cap on electricity rate increases, a provision that answers any possible claims by opponents that the RPS would negatively impact consumers’ wallets. Given the current cost of electricity in the state, the RPS would not be expected to trigger such a rate cap, even without the federal Production Tax Credit, wind power’s crucial primary policy driver that is awaiting extension. Current power-price revenues for the two largest utilities in the state are at around $100 per megawatt-hour, and wind power purchase agreements in the state range between $65 and $95/MWh.) Currently Michigan has an RPS of 10 percent by 2015.
“This report illustrates the tremendous boost to Michigan’s economy that a strong renewable energy standard will have,” said Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council, which commissioned the study. “It’s a job creating machine, with the added benefit of cleaner air, improved public health and healthier communities.”
The researchers have done previous analyses on renewable energy issues, including the economic impact of Michigan adopting the current 10 percent by 2015 standard. The latest full report is available online.
Solicitation: Army seeks renewable energy
The U.S. Army released a request for proposals to obtain up to $7 billion in locally generated large-scale renewable energy including wind power through long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).
PPAs will be competitively awarded for specific renewable energy projects with a cumulative project cost of up to $7 billion in total energy value. The generation assets, which will not be owned by the Army, may be located on U.S. Department of Defense properties or on nearby private land.
The RFP coincides with the August 6 announcement that the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of the Interior have signed a memorandum of understanding that encourages development of renewable energy projects on up to 16 million acres of public lands that were previously set aside for defense-related purposes, and in other land-based and offshore areas near military installations.
Responses to the solicitation are due by 2 p.m. CST on October 5, and questions will be accepted through August 24. A pre-proposal conference is tentatively planned to be held in Chicago.
The solicitation is available online.
GE marks 10 years in the wind industry
Major wind turbine manufacturer and American business icon GE is celebrating 10 years in the wind energy business.
Since GE entered the industry through the acquisition of Enron Wind in 2002, it has installed 18,000 wind turbines and expanded its business from 500 MW to 28 gigawatts of installed capacity. This year, GE expects its wind turbine installed base to exceed 20,000 worldwide.
The company’s global operating fleet produces enough clean energy each year to power the equivalent of New York City. Over the last decade, nearly one of every two wind turbines installed in the U.S. has been a GE wind turbine, and the company has introduced its wind technology into new markets such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Poland and Turkey.
“Our 10th anniversary is a time to acknowledge our achievements of the past decade and recognize this is only the beginning of our journey in the alternative energy sector,” said Vic Abate, vice president of renewable energy for GE and former chairman of the AWEA board of directors. “Our $2 billion in innovation investments over the past decade have transformed the wind industry and helped make wind a reliable, competitive, renewable source of carbon-free energy.”
Abate said GE “is bullish” on wind power. “The cost of wind power has gone from mid-double digits to mid-single digits, largely due to wind turbine efficiency, manufacturing productivity and availability improvements,” he said. ”Within the next two years, wind will generate 5 percent of the planet’s electricity and continue to be one of the top three new power generation sources in the next decade.”
A result of this work is GE’s 1.6-100 wind turbine, developed specifically to meet higher performance and efficiency needs of today’s wind industry, GE said, adding that it has secured more than 2,750 MW of global commitments for the technology since it was launched in May 2011. Featuring a 100-meter rotor, the 1.6-100 is designed to capture more energy in low-wind environments.
Another technology milestone, GE’s advanced technology 2.5-series wind turbines have surpassed 2 gigawatts of installed capacity worldwide. Like other members of GE’s wind turbine family, both the 2.5 and the 1.6-100 benefit from the vast experience of the company’s 1.5-MW wind turbine, the most widely deployed wind turbine in the world.
Abate pointed to Europe, Canada, Brazil, China and India as the top growth markets for GE’s wind business in the immediate future, and GE is well positioned in each of those areas, according to the company. “We are rapidly growing in Europe, and both Canada and Brazil are very active,” he said.
Over the past 10 years, GE has supported many of the world’s most important wind projects. These include two of the world’s largest such projects, the 845-MW Shepherds Flat wind farm in Oregon and CEZ Romania’s 600-MW Fantanele wind farm, Europe’s largest land-based wind project, both of which will use GE’s 2.5 wind turbine technology.
In addition to equipment supply, GE’s wind services business continues to grow rapidly. The company more than doubled its investment in services research and development in both 2010 and 2011. GE’s service solutions incorporate the company’s advanced technology, global resources and service facilities and a network of skilled, highly trained local technicians who are closely connected to GE’s engineering organization.
Data from GE’s installed base that is monitored from Schenectady, N.Y., and Salzbergen, Germany, provides GE and its customers with intelligence that helps drive the long-term competitiveness of wind, the company noted.
Technical RFP: proposals sought for engineering services in lake bed sampling study
The Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Department of Development announced it is now soliciting proposals for engineering services related to a lake bed sampling study to include soil test boring, soil sampling, and analysis.
Proposals are to be submitted to the Office of Procurement and Diversity in Cleveland no later than 11 a.m. on Aug. 22. All inquiries should be directed to A. Steven Dever, executive director of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force, 216-443-7817. The RFP can be found on the Cuyahoga County website by inserting the RFP number, 24432, in the Notice Number search field.
After setting DeWind's course, CEO Bob Rugh to hand over helm
Announcing an end to a five-year stint at the helm of DeWind Co., CEO Robert C. Rugh—the man who brought DeWind turbines to the North American market—said he will leave the wind turbine manufacturer in September.
DeWind Co. now is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. (DSME), which acquired the company in September 2009. DSME is moving to respond to Rugh’s departure and expects to name a successor shortly, likely from the ranks of the parent firm.
“Over the past five years we have made great strides in bringing the company along, from the brink of bankruptcy when I joined DeWind, to where DeWind is today, part of a multi-billion dollar global corporation,” Rugh said.
To be sure, Rue’s accomplishments parallel the company’s busy five-year timeline, for he guided DeWind through a whole slew of both challenges and milestones including the financially difficult period early in his tenure followed by the extensive M&A effort that resulted in the September 2009 acquisition of DeWind by DSME, the company’s transition and integration into the parent company, the introduction of DeWind turbines into the North American market, and, to cap off the stretch, this year’s record turbine sales and installations.
By the end of 2012, DeWind will have installed over 150 MW of new wind turbine capacity during the year in the North American market, including both Canada and the U.S., thereby bringing its total installed base in the Western Hemisphere from 2 MW when Rugh joined the company to 200 MW by the end of 2012, including locations in Argentina, Canada, Chile and the U.S. In total, DeWind turbines are now installed in over 15 countries around the world.
“I have fulfilled my commitment to DSME of transitioning the technology and the day-to-day business operations to the DSME team,” said Rugh. “The migration of both has been complete for some time now, and I feel that it is time for a new challenge, so the timing is right. This is a great time for new leadership to take the reins of DeWind and continue where we left off, continue the growth trajectory, and take the company to new heights beyond today’s accomplishments.”
The DeWind global workforce has more than doubled since the DSME acquisition, with offices now located in Seoul, Korea; Luebeck, Germany; and Irvine, California. The domestic U.S. workforce alone has grown 10-fold since the acquisition by DSME. DeWind also recently opened a new regional operations office in Guymon, Okla., which by the end of 2012 will be the operating base for the 160 MW of DeWind turbines that will be installed in the region, including the existing 20 MW project at Little Pringle, Texas, together with the 20 MW Frisco, Texas site, and the 80 MW Novus 1 and 40 MW Novus 2 sites in Oklahoma.
“DeWind is well-positioned for growth now, considering the global reach of the company and the momentum we have created over the past five years,” said Rugh. “I expect the new leadership to take full advantage of the groundwork we have laid and to continue to set new records for the business.”
Supply Chain Connections
NRG Systems expands global presence with opening of international distribution center
NRG Systems, manufacturer of measurement equipment and turbine optimization systems, has opened an international distribution center in The Netherlands and a warehouse in South Africa to serve burgeoning overseas markets for wind energy, the company announced. The move enables the company to better serve the established and emerging markets of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
“Now, our customers in these regions can enjoy shorter lead times and convenient service wherever their project may be,” said John Norton, chief operating officer of NRG Systems.
The storage of 60- and 80-meter towers in Europe and South Africa has reduced delivery times from eight weeks to four weeks or less, according to the company. NRG Systems now has sales, support or distribution centers in seven countries around the world including France, China, India, The Netherlands, Spain, the U.S. and Quebec, Canada.
Mesalands Community College program expands
The North American Wind Research and Training Center at Mesalands Community College will be offering a new one-semester Occupational Certificate in Basic Wind Energy Technology, the institution announced.
Students in the one-semester program will gain real-world training experience on the College’s on-campus 1.5 megawatt wind turbine. The college’s wind turbine shuts down frequently to allow students to receive realistic hands-on training and troubleshooting experience. Students will also learn wind turbine technology, turbine maintenance, tower safety, and wind economics. Course topics include studies in electricity, hydraulics, and mechanics.
The program is a continuation of the college’s successful short certification program offered for the past year. This week the College will have another graduation ceremony for students obtaining an Occupational Certificate, bringing the total number of graduates to 28. Many graduates of the program have acquired high paying jobs in the wind industry, Meslands said.
One such graduate is now the site supervisor at the High Lonesome Wind Farm of New Mexico. Orlando Encinias, 43, from Albuquerque N.M. graduated in May from Mesalands and now oversees eight full-time employees, 40 wind turbines, as well as any contractors or repairs at the wind farm. Encinias said he attributes his new career to the training he received at the Wind Center.
Other graduates of the program have obtained jobs throughout New Mexico, Texas and in Oklahoma.
Thanks to New Mexico State funding from the New Mexico Wind Center of Excellence, the semester program is free to individuals that meet certain qualifications. Classes start August 21 and end December 7. For more information, visit www.mesalands.edu/wind or call 575-461-4413, ext. 156, or toll-free at 800-261-4877.
Wind Resource & Project Energy Assessment Seminar: performance, dollars and cents on the docket
Knowing how many kilowatt-hours a project will produce lies at the heart of the wind power industry. The people who make the projects happen (developers) live by such data, while no one is more interested in such numbers than the people paying for those projects (the financial community). Even the industry’s primary policy driver, the performance-based Production Tax Credit, is based on kilowatt-hours generated. Thus, since project output makes the entire industry go round, wind resource calculations are crucial.
This industry segment will be the sole topic at the upcoming AWEA Wind Resource & Project Energy Assessment Seminar, taking place Sept. 13-14 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Driving the event will be all the hot topics in the area including the latest technologies, improvements on more traditional ones, and how the industry segment can get better. Cutting-edge research & development initiatives will be on the docket, as will the tough questions that must be asked, said Program Co-Chair Kevin Walter, director of meteorology at developer TradeWind Energy.
For instance, one of the hot topics right now is a big-picture one—a question that lies at the heart of the field: how accurate do project development-stage resource assessments turn out to be once wind turbines are in the ground and online? Wind resource assessment has never been more accurate (learn more about the R&D side at the seminar), but it can always get better, and the discipline, in fact, epitomizes the wind power industry’s culture of constant improvement to drive down cost—a culture that has allowed the cost of wind power to plunge in recent years. It’s that culture and spirit that will drive the seminar.
“One of the most valuable things that we’re going to focus on is where we are as an industry in terms of how projects are performing relative to expectations,” said Walter. “We’re really going to take a closer examination of that.”
But the seminar won’t just tackle big-picture items; on the contrary, it will strive to provide participants with concrete takeaways they can use as soon as they return from Pittsburgh. For example, Walter and fellow Program Co-Chair Chris Ziesler, senior vice president of meteorology and wind analysis at developer Wind Capital Group, both highlighted the need for developers and others attending the seminar to be able to communicate the return on investment that resource assessment provides.
“We’re trying to do a better job of translating the information coming out of the conference into a dollars and cents argument that can be used as justification to make the right investments in resource assessment in the development stage,” said Walter.
How is the seminar able to go from big-picture questions to dollars and cents, and on to technology and R&D? Always working to build on the previous year’s event, organizers took a slightly different approach this year in an effort to tap as much knowledge as is out there. Organizers did that by taking a more formalized approach to the program creation process, soliciting abstracts and meticulously reviewing them, said Ziesler. That solicitation was hugely successful, with a full 85 abstracts flowing in for the rather specialized, one-topic seminar. With the call for abstracts, the process brought in both ideas and expertise that otherwise may not have bubbled up.
“We were really overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of abstracts,” said Ziesler. “What this has allowed us to do is create a lineup that encompasses a broader spectrum of industry members and skillsets.”
The AWEA Wind Resource & Project Energy Assessment Seminar, takes place Sept. 13-14 in Pittsburgh, Pa. To register or for more information, go to the AWEA website.
J. Carter, Sr., wind power pioneer, passes
J. Warne Carter, Sr., a Texas wind power pioneer and a significant contributor to the modern wind industry, died Wednesday, August 8.
Carter, known as “Jay” in the industry, gained national and international recognition for his technological innovation and his commitment to seeing wind become the major contributor to the electricity grid that it is today. Several of Carter’s early two-bladed wind turbines populated the first “wind farm” to interconnect and sell power to the grid in Texas, which is now the No. 1 state for wind power capacity.
“Jay Carter, Sr., was always willing to share information about the wind turbines he designed and built, along with perspectives about the wind industry,” said Vaughn Nelson, a wind energy expert and author who headed West Texas A&M University's Alternative Energy Institute in the 1980s and 1990s. “He and his son, Jay, Jr., were very innovative designers of wind turbines.”
In 1996, Texas Tech University admitted Carter as a member of the Academy of Mechanical Engineers for his contributions to the profession. In 2010, he was named a "Texas Wind Legend," by the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association, for his contributions to the modern wind energy industry.
Those recognitions came after years of innovation and creation that began when Carter was only a child, when he designed and built flying model aircraft and a steam-powered mahogany boat. The World War II veteran’s work preceding his involvement in wind power encompasses a range of technologies, from a glass filament winding process used to fabricate the booster rockets that put the first satellites into space, to work in plastics and in the automotive arena. In the 1970s, he and son Jay Jr. developed a steam-powered automobile that was the first vehicle to meet the original 1976 EPA emission standards.
Friends remembered Carter as “a kind and gentle man, loved dearly by all those around him, and one who greeted newcomers with a smile and a welcoming hand shake.”
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice of Wichita Falls, 4909 Johnson Road, Wichita Falls, Texas 76310.
Economic development workshop at OFFSHORE WINDPOWER 2012
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) invite you to attend the Offshore Wind Power Economic Development Workshop on the first day of the AWEA 2012 Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, October 9-11, 2012 in Virginia Beach, Va. This special workshop will
- explore the economic development aspects of offshore wind project development and supply chain / manufacturing, as experienced in Europe and as projected to occur in the U.S.,
- provide a forum for leading experts to discuss the job growth potential of offshore wind as well as what practical steps economic developers can take to support offshore wind industry growth,
- identify where there is consensus between industry experts and where key uncertainties exist,
- identify sources of information that can help economic developers identify offshore wind opportunities in their communities,
- allow economic developers as well as industry and market experts to network, and
- provide a venue for economic developers to clarify their concerns and questions for offshore wind experts
The detailed agenda/program information can be found here. Then at the main conference & exhibition following the workshop, attend the AWEA 2012 Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition . The event offers unmatched education and networking opportunities with manufacturers, suppliers, developers, operators, policy makers, utility representatives, and thought leaders of the wind industry. More information is available here.
OFFSHORE WINDPOWER 2012: Register now and save
As progress continues on the first generation of offshore wind projects in the U.S., now is an excellent time to enter the U.S. offshore wind market. Get a jump-start on, or pull ahead from, your competition, and ensure you are well-positioned to succeed in this exciting market sector by attending the AWEA OFFSHORE WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition.
Participate in innovative sessions, at which U.S. companies can learn about how to do business in the growing European offshore wind market, and European companies can expand their offshore portfolios in the United States
Register by Aug. 24 to save!
WINDPOWER 2013: Session abstracts sought till Sept. 17
Are you a wind industry expert with solutions? Make a contribution to the future success of the industry and WINDPOWER 2013 Conference & Exhibition, the world's largest annual wind energy event, May 5-8 in Chicago, IL. Program organizers are now accepting your ideas and solutions through a call for abstracts. Deadline is September 17, 2012 – submit yours today!
Solutions for Success
In particular, we are seeking presentations that provide innovative business solutions to current industry challenges. Abstracts should focus on methods and proven strategies for maintaining and increasing profitability in an environment of technical, economic, and political change.
Volume 29, Issue 1496
|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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