October 19, 2012
The presidential debate: Candidates agree on American wind power's economic importance
Wind energy received six mentions in this week’s presidential debate—three by each candidate, and all favorably. While debating how to improve job growth and the economy, both candidates made sure to talk about their support for wind power.
Their comments illustrate why the wind industry believes it has the bipartisan support to extend the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) during the lame duck session of Congress next month after the election. Whoever is president will want to preserve the 37,000 jobs, half of all those in U.S. wind energy, that Navigant Consulting forecasts will be lost if the tax credit for wind power were to be allowed to expire on Dec. 31.
Here were the mentions of wind energy last night, from the debate transcript:
President Obama: Number three, we've got to control our own energy, you know, not only oil and natural gas, which we've been investing in, but also we've got to make sure we're building the energy sources of the future, not just thinking about next year, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now. That's why we've invested in solar and wind and biofuels, energy-efficient cars.
President Obama: But what I've also said is we can't just produce traditional sources of energy; we've also got to look to the future. That's why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars. That means that in the middle of the next decade, any car you buy, you're going to end up going twice as far on a gallon of gas. That's why we've doubled clean energy production like wind and solar and biofuels. And all these things have contributed to us lowering our oil imports to the lowest levels in 16 years.
Governor Romney: I want to make sure we use our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables. I believe very much in our renewable capabilities — ethanol, wind, solar will be an important part of our energy mix. But what we don't need is to have the president keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas.
President Obama: What I'm not for is us ignoring the other half of the quotation. So for example, on wind energy, when Governor Romney says these are imaginary jobs, when you've got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado who are working, creating wind power, with good- paying manufacturing jobs, and the Republican senator in that — in Iowa is all for it, providing tax credits to help this work and Governor Romney says, I'm opposed, I'd get rid of it, that's not an energy strategy for the future. And we need to win that future, and I intend to win it as president of the United States.
Governor Romney: Candy, Candy, Candy, I don't have a policy of — of stopping wind jobs in Iowa and that — they're not phantom jobs. They're real jobs.
Governor Romney: I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country. I appreciate the jobs in coal and oil and gas. I'm going to make sure that taking advantage of our energy resources will bring back manufacturing to America. We're going to get through a very aggressive energy policy, 3.5 million more jobs in this country. It's critical to our future.
For more bipartisan endorsements of wind energy, and information about the jobs and clean energy at stake in the decision over continuing the Production Tax Credit, please seewww.SaveUSAWindJobs.com.
Studies & Reports
Q3 numbers in: Tax credit's efficacy, U.S.-built technology helping drive strongest year yet
The success of the federal Production Tax Credit and wind energy’s increased affordability are helping drive turbine installations to record levels in America, AWEA said in announcing the U.S. industry’s third-quarter results.
The U.S. wind industry in August for the first time surpassed 50,000 MW of total installed electrical generation capacity—enough to power 13 million homes. America has added 4,728 MW of wind power so far this year, AWEA announced this week, with another 8,430 MW currently under construction.
Factors for the strong year so far include:
- Greatly expanded U.S. manufacturing, which now makes up to nearly 70 percent of the value of U.S.-installed equipment, cutting transportation costs
- Technological advances, such as higher towers and longer blades, which make turbines more efficient and further drive down costs
- The fact that more electric utilities are locking in 20- to 25-year contracts for lower-priced wind power, to the benefit of their consumers
- The federal Production Tax Credit for renewable energy, which has been kept continuously in place since 2005 and currently extends to the end of the year
“This is what a successful policy looks like when it’s working, but whether wind will continue to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy now depends on whether Congress acts to extend the Production Tax Credit by the end of the year,” said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA.
The PTC incentivizes over $15 billion a year in private investment in U.S. wind farms. It currently is set to expire on Dec. 31. A proposal to extend the tax credit for projects that start construction next year won bipartisan support from the Senate Finance Committee on Aug. 2, as part of an overall “tax extenders” package. It now awaits action by the full Congress, expected in its lame duck session after the election.
“We have the bipartisan support to get the job done,” Bode said, “but it is up to Congress to bring it to a vote or else lose 37,000 jobs by the first quarter of next year.” That is what Navigant Consulting has forecast will be the job loss if the PTC is not extended. Thousands of layoffs have already begun in wind energy measurement, development, and U.S. manufacturing, even as the construction sector remains busy on this year’s projects.
The third quarter saw 1,833 MW of new installations, putting total U.S. wind capacity at 51,628 MW on Oct. 1. Over 40,000 wind turbines across the U.S. can now produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of all the homes in Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada combined.
The year-to-date total stood at 4,728 MW at the end of the quarter, up 40 percent from the same point in 2011. The average turbine size installed throughout the year continues to hover around 2.0 MW.
- Top states for installed new wind capacity during the third quarter include Kansas, on track to more than double the state’s wind capacity this year with 473 MW added; Oregon (333 MW); Texas (281 MW); Oklahoma (229 MW); and Nevada (152 MW).
- Nevada’s wind project was its first, making it the 39th state with utility-scale wind installations.
- Across 29 states and Puerto Rico, more than 8,430 MW are currently under construction, a record for this time in the year.
- Texas leads the nation with 1,291 MW under construction, followed by California (1,022 MW); Kansas (836 MW); Oklahoma (734 MW); Iowa (597 MW); Colorado (496 MW); Illinois (480 MW) and Michigan (472 MW). In total, 10 states are on track to add at least 500 MW of wind this year with Texas, California, Kansas and Oklahoma on track to add over 1,000 MW each.
- Utilities are locking in more wind power on long-term contracts. Over 80 percent of the new capacity coming online or under construction is covered by long-term power offtake agreements, either through a power purchase agreement between a utility and a wind developer, or through direct utility ownership. In fact, projects online through the third quarter and under construction are either owned by or have contracted power with 68 different utilities.
A full version of the Third Quarter 2012 Market Report is available on the AWEA Member Center, accessible by logging on. A limited version of the report is available publicly at www.awea.org in the Industry Statistics section here. Credentialed media can obtain a copy of the third-quarter results by contacting Matt Englehart email@example.com.
Sign up to advocate for wind energy and see bipartisan endorsements of the Production Tax Credit at www.saveusawindjobs.com.
Broadwind's $37 million tower orders spill into 2013
Reflecting market dynamics characterized by consolidation brought on largely by policy uncertainty, Broadwind Energy, Inc., recently brought in tower orders totaling approximately $37 million from two U.S. wind turbine manufacturers, for production beginning in late 2012 and extending “well into 2013,” the company said.
The towers will be produced at the company’s Manitowoc, Wis., plant. The news comes during a time when the industry’s supply chain has slowed down dramatically because of the scheduled expiration at the end of the year of the renewable energy Production Tax Credit, wind power’s primary policy driver. Wind power advocates are working hard to ensure an extension, which is most likely to come during the lame-duck congressional session after the election, and the issue has garnered attention in not only the national media but in the presidential debates (see top story).
Broadwind spokesperson John Segvich confirmed that all orders were for U.S. projects, rather than for Canadian or other foreign markets. As one of the largest components of a wind turbine, towers are sourced as closely as possible to the market. For that reason, towers and blades were two of the first segments of the supply chain to migrate to the U.S. as the project development market took hold here, and then other component manufacturing gradually followed. Today nearly 70 percent of U.S.-deployed turbines are made in the U.S., but layoffs at various industry supply chain companies have already been announced.
Meanwhile, the comparatively mature tower market is making adjustments to the current difficult times for the U.S. industry. “The market for wind towers in the U.S. is coming into balance,” said Peter Duprey, president and CEO of Broadwind Energy, Inc. “Due to the pending expiration of the Production Tax Credit and the wind tower trade case, a number of competitors, both foreign and domestic, have exited the market or repurposed some of their production assets. This has improved the balance between supply and demand. In 2011, we at Broadwind committed to broadening our customer base and continued to invest in the North American wind tower market.”
As a result of those efforts, Duprey said, Broadwind is now the second largest tower manufacturer in the U.S., “and we are winning new business for 2013 despite the regulatory uncertainty in Washington.”
Duprey said the towers on order “will support more complex turbine designs, which are well-suited to the equipment at our Manitowoc plant and our skilled workforce and welding capabilities.”
Siemens 6-MW wind turbine prototype gets GL certification
In news emblematic of how wind turbine technology continues to advance and drive down cost—in this case, in the offshore arena—GL Renewables Certification awarded Siemens Wind Power prototype certification for its new 6-MW offshore wind turbine, the SWT-6.0-154.
The prototype certification is a prerequisite for the testing of the turbine. Field testing of Siemens Wind Power's new 154-meter rotor for the 6-MW offshore wind turbine began in Østerild, Denmark two weeks ago.
The direct-drive wind turbine is equipped with what are currently the world's longest rotor blades, with each blade measuring 75 meters in length. With a record rotor diameter of 154 meters, each SWT-6.0-154 turbine can produce 25 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity in offshore locations, enough to supply 6,000 households, according to GL Renewables Certification.
Conference wrap: OFFSHORE WINDPOWER event makes waves with study released, dialogue on road ahead
Last week’s 2013 OFFSHORE WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition created a hub of activity for a nascent yet rapidly advancing segment of the U.S. wind power market, with an economic impact study released during the week and productive discussions taking place that promise to help make U.S. offshore wind power happen.
The event, which drew nearly 1,000 enthusiastic attendees, featured such speakers as Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling; Rear Admiral Tim Alexander, Commander for the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic Region; and Jose Zayas, DOE’s Wind and Water Program Manager. The conference was highly anticipated, given the major milestones achieved by the industry during the last 12 months and the resulting need to gather and focus on next steps for launching the industry in the U.S. For example, panelists, speakers, and attendees tackled new standards that have been released for offshore wind design, installation, operations and maintenance. Session topics also included discussion on how to best engage and partner with utilities on offshore wind projects and what insurance issues offshore wind developers need to consider.
The Atlantic Wind Connection took the opportunity of OFFSHORE WINDPOWER to release a study, conducted by IHS, Inc., finding that 7,000 MW of offshore wind in the Mid-Atlantic could create more than 170,000 jobs from New York to Virginia. That’s enough to power more than 2 million homes in the Mid-Atlantic region, increase the gross domestic product by $19 billion and increase federal, state and local revenues by $4.6 billion.
The exhibition, meanwhile, featured a developers’ pavilion that served as a central location for attendees to meet and interact with all the major offshore wind project developers.
Having become a fixture on the calendar after only a few years, OFFSHORE WINDPOWER takes place next year in Providence, R.I. on October 22-24, 2013. The event will once again provide an opportunity to take inventory of what will have transpired between now and then and discern what needs to happen next.
New Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center features small wind turbines
Five small wind turbines are among energy-conscious features of the new Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center dedicated last week.
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, along with other state officials, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the 27,000 square-foot, $12 million project, which houses a visitor welcome center, rest area facilities and Wyoming Office of Tourism offices.
The Skystream 3.7 wind turbines from Southwest Windpower are mounted on are highly visible to motorists on Interstate 25. The turbines, combined with solar panels on the roof and south-facing wall, will offset a portion of the facility’s energy use.
One of the benefits of small wind power, beyond the clean energy it produces, is that it often helps members of the public become familiar with wind energy. The highway carries about 17,000 cars past the Colorado-Wyoming border daily. The location is close to the utility-scale Happy Jack wind farm and has a good wind resource.
“The building and site design fully encompass a sustainable design ethic in which the wind and solar energy systems are prominent features,” said Suzanne Norton, AIA, project coordinator for the state of Wyoming Office of Construction Management.
Greg Erdmann, Southwest Windpower’s vice president of sales and marketing, added, “This five wind turbine project is an excellent showcase for renewable energy with an excellent educational benefit to the public as they enter the state of Wyoming. Additionally, it is a great example of balancing energy production across five separate units instead of one to produce reliable power where it is needed.”
The new facility also includes a ground source heat pump, daylight harvesting and other energy-conserving features.
Supply Chain Connections
CohnReznick, LLP, by the merger of the two top 20 public accounting firms J.H. Cohn, LLP and the Reznick Group, P.C., this week highlighted the new opportunities for the firm’s renewable energy practice as the company expands its capabilities in the U.S. and internationally. Now the 11th largest accounting, tax and advisory firm in the country with 25 offices and 2,000 employees throughout the world, CohnReznick’s renewable energy practice will be led by Reznick Group principals Timothy Kemper, CPA, and Anton Cohen, CPA, and will have increased opportunities for growth as a result of J.H. Cohn’s international networks and established construction and manufacturing practices.
Prior to the merger, Reznick Group had established a successful energy practice providing accounting, tax and business advisory services to the renewable energy industry. Under the newly formed CohnReznick, the practice will continue to offer the same expertise along with a newly expanded network of resources that the firm says will increase opportunities for the practice.
“The experience and network that J.H. Cohn brings to the table will expand opportunities for the renewable energy practice as we work to continue to grow,” said Kemper. “There is a large international market for renewable energy, particularly in structuring renewable energy finance deals, which is our area of expertise. This combination will play a significant role as we work to expand our networks and take advantage of those opportunities.”
Energy practice co-leader Cohen said, “Through this merger, our renewable energy practice will be exposed to a worldwide network of independent accounting and consulting firms, so we expect there to be good opportunities; similarly, our energy expertise will be a welcome resource for the J.H. Cohn construction and manufacturing practices. This is an exciting combination that will afford many new opportunities for us to deliver real value as we further build our renewable energy practice.”
1,000th GE 2.5 MW turbine deployed
GE announced the installation of its 1,000th advanced technology 2.5-MW series wind turbine. The company made the announcement at the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s CanWEA 2012 event.
The milestone unit is going to CEZ Romania for use in the 600-MW Fantanele/Cogealac wind farm, Europe’s largest onshore wind project, GE reported at CanWEA 2012. The 2.5-MW technology, emblematic of the increasing capacity of wind turbines, is also powering Sheperds Flat, the largest wind farm in the U.S. Earlier this year, GE announced its fleet of 2.5-MW wind turbines had surpassed 2 gigawatts of installed capacity worldwide.
“Today’s milestone demonstrates the strong global acceptance of the 2.5-MW family of wind turbines,” said Victor Abate, vice president of renewable energy at GE.
Vestas secures service contract renewals at eight Canadian facilities
Vestas has inked 10-year service agreements with International Power Canada covering 276 wind turbines at eight wind facilities in Canada. The service agreements, totaling 533 MW, include 335 MW for existing wind power plants in New Brunswick, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. They also encompass 198 MW for two projects in Ontario that will be finished in 2013.
As WINDPOWER 2013 in Chicago approaches, events in region kick in with executive panel
The WINDPOWER 2013 Conference & Exhibition in Chicago is only seven short months away, and so for months now, exhibitors have been locking in booth space, while the conference program has long been in the works, with the abstract deadline already having closed.
So let the countdown begin, with the first of many compelling events in the region taking place next week. On Oct. 25 Clean Line Energy and The Chicago Clean Energy Alliance will present a WINDPOWER-worthy, executive-level discussion featuring three top industry CEOs—Michael Skelly of Clean Line, Declan Flanagan of Lincoln Renewable Energy, and Andy Cukurs of Boulder Wind Power—in addition to AWEA Vice President Rob Gramlich, who will inject his policy expertise into the discussion. David Streicker, a shareholder in Polsinelli Shughart's energy practice group, will moderate the panel.
The topic on tap is as current as they come: “Recent declines in natural gas prices have obscured declining costs for renewable energy technologies. Hear about the drivers for declining wind and solar costs, competing resources, and needs for transmission—all in the context of federal policy uncertainty and the election.”
The Oct. 25 event takes place at the W Hotel (City Center), 172 W Adams St., in Chicago. The panel presentation starts at 5:30 p.m. (on-site registration at 4:45), and a 6:40 cocktail reception will follow.
Register Today to ensure a spot at Thursday’s event.
For more information on WINDPOWER 2013, go to www.windpowerexpo.org.
Just announced: Paul Begala, Ari Fleischer to speak at Fall Symposium
Note: Fall Symposium housing deadline is Monday!
AWEA is pleased to announce our keynote speakers at the Wind Energy Fall Symposium’s Washington Insiders Perspective session: Paul Begala, former counselor to President Clinton and commentator, and Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary/Spokesperson. Mr. Begala and Mr. Fleischer are currently political analysts at CNN, where they offer sharp civic commentary and insight to millions of viewers around the nation on a regular basis. During the opening session they will lay out their post-election analysis, discuss what you can expect from Washington and conclude with a Q&A session.
Please note that the housing deadline for Fall Symposium is here—this Monday, Oct. 22.
Register now, or find out what else to look forward to at this year's Fall Symposium.
Act now and get the hotel you want in Chicago: WINDPOWER 2013 housing now available
WINDPOWER 2013 housing is now open. AWEA has negotiated discounted hotel rates at 24 Chicago hotels for AWEA WINDPOWER 2013 participants. Don't waste time, and get the best hotel locations. Book Your Room Today!
Volume 29, Issue 1505
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