November 30 , 2012
Vets for wind: Extend the Production Tax Credit
This week AWEA joined forces with the veterans’ group Operation Free at a bipartisan, bicameral press conference that featured Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), and veterans from around the country to call on Congress to extend the renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC).
One of the great, largely untold stories about wind power is that the industry employs many veterans. A substantial group of those veterans employed in the wind industry flew from across the country to Washington, D.C. this week to meet with members of Congress from their home states. Thousands of veterans have signed a petition to Congress urging an immediate extension of the PTC. Over 400 of the veteran signatories are currently employed in the U.S. wind industry. Some 40 veterans participated in the Washington, D.C., news conference with the senators and representatives.
“Our industry is proud to employ so many servicemen and women in our ranks,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “A diversified energy portfolio that includes wind power is a path to U.S. energy security. Congress needs to act swiftly to protect the 37,000 jobs at stake and restore stability to this critical and broadly supported industry.”
The PTC is due to expire at the end of this year unless Congress renews it. As Bode referenced, without renewal, thousands of good-paying, middle-class jobs and a certain level of energy security will be lost. Americans of all stripes, including veterans, have benefited from the job opportunities and growth created by the wind energy industry.
"Work in wind energy offers vets the opportunity to use a wide variety of skills they learned in the military, such as risk analysis, problem-solving and contract negotiation, and we’re happy to have them as members of our team," said John DiDonato, vice president of wind development at NextEra Energy Resources.
Senator Grassley, the father of the wind PTC, has fought to ensure that the wind industry has the support it needs to power communities. Udall, too, has been a vocal proponent for the wind PTC, speaking almost every day that the Senate has been in session to urge his colleagues to extend the PTC and secure made-in-America energy and the jobs it creates.
“Our returning servicemen and women come back uniquely qualified and prepared for work within the wind industry, and have proven themselves to be some of the most talented and valuable candidates available,” said Gabriel Alonso, CEO of EDP Renewables North America. “We are proud to be an employer who relies heavily upon the work of our veterans.”
Both DiDonato and Alonso are current board members of the American Wind Energy Association.
To learn more about this effort to preserve this growing American work force, and the 500,000 jobs wind energy will support when it generates 20 percent of America's electricity, go to www.saveusawindjobs.com.
Give thanks for wind: MISO crosses 10 GW in output, saves money
The Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) got a record-setting boost from wind power on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when output from wind turbines surpassed 10,000 MW and comprised more than a quarter of the ISO’s total generation. And in reporting on the record, MISO took the occasion to highlight wind’s cost-saving power.
The record for MISO, the regional grid operator for 11 states and the Canadian province of Manitoba, was set overnight on Friday, Nov. 23, with a peak output of 10,012 MW. MISO only began integrating wind onto its grid in 2006—the year, incidentally, that the entire U.S. reached 10,000 MW in total wind installations.
From a wind industry perspective, the news came with an additional bonus. In reporting on the record, a MISO executive was particularly eloquent in explaining how fuel-free wind power pushes down prices for consumers. "Wind represents one of the fuel choices that helps us manage congestion on the system and ultimately helps keep prices low for our customers and the end-use consumer," said Joe Gardner, executive director of real-time operations. "When we have significant quantities of wind being generated, we use less of other, more expensive, generation types to keep the system in balance," he said.
Total wind capacity in the MISO footprint has grown dramatically since 2006. Driven by the nation's desire for cleaner energy and state targets to diversify their generation portfolios, MISO now manages more than 11,000 MW of installed wind generation in service, with another 7,000 MW of projects advancing through the interconnection requirements.
PNM seeks renewables
Utility Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM) issued a request for proposals (RFP) this week for renewable energy projects that will decrease its dependence on fossil fuels and help the company meet state renewable energy targets.
PNM seeks multiple proposals for wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal and bio-fuel generation that can be available no later than 2015. Beginning in 2015, PNM requires a total of 375,000 megawatt-hours of new qualifying renewable energy per year supplied through company-owned projects, power purchase agreements or through purchases of renewable energy certificates from other renewable generators in New Mexico.
Currently, New Mexico requires PNM to have a renewable energy component of its portfolio comprising 10 percent of its retail energy sales—a goal PNM said it will achieve in 2013 and 2014 from a mix of solar, wind, and geothermal sources and its solar distributed generation program. The state renewable requirement increases to 15 percent in 2015 and to 20 percent by 2020. New Mexico also has a renewable resource diversity requirement of 20 percent solar, 20 percent wind, 10 percent non-wind/non-solar and 1.5 percent distributed generation that becomes 3 percent in 2015.
Through the RFP, "We want to evaluate all alternatives available to meet our growing renewable energy requirements cost effectively and reliably for our customers," said PNM Planning and Resources Director Patrick O'Connell.
The deadline for proposal submissions is Jan. 31, and a pre-bid conference for those planning to submit proposals is scheduled for Dec. 10. Learn more about the RFP process and the pre-bid conference on the PNM website. Submit questions to the Renewable RFP administrator, at RenewableRFP@pnmresources.com.
Broadwind 2013 order includes option for additional towers
A U.S. wind turbine manufacturer recently placed with Broadwind Energy a $14 million tower order that’s for delivery in 2013 and includes an option to purchase up to $27 million of additional towers.
The option would have to be exercised in early 2013. The towers will be produced in the company’s facilities in Manitowoc, Wis., and Abilene, Texas. Wind power’s primary policy driver, the Production Tax Credit, is scheduled to expire at the end of this year, and the industry is urging renewal so that jobs can be saved. Meanwhile, individual companies are awaiting the policy signal for next year.
“We are very pleased that Broadwind’s improved competitive position has led to new wind tower business, particularly given the regulatory uncertainty around the extension of the production tax credit,” said Peter Duprey, president and CEO of Broadwind Energy, Inc. “Assuming the option is exercised, orders for 2013 deliveries will exceed the low end of the production range guidance we previously provided. With wind tower supply and demand coming into better balance and the ongoing trade case, we have seen continued market share gains, and are increasingly optimistic about the outlook for the tower business in 2013.”
National Grid to invest in transmission developer Clean Line
Multinational transmission and energy giant National Grid will make a $40 million equity investment in Clean Line, the emerging U.S. transmission developer that focuses on modern high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission projects that move renewable energy to market, the companies announced.
Clean Line will use the proceeds from National Grid to advance the development of its four HVDC projects, all of which are intended to connect otherwise-stranded land-based wind energy resources in the U.S. to communities and cities with demand for low-cost, clean power. On that front, last week the Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Transmission Working Group passed a unanimous motion accepting that reliability studies completed for the company’s Plains & Eastern Clean Line project have met coordinated planning requirements.
National Grid, which has U.S. utility assets in the Northeast, is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world, with experience building, owning and operating large HVDC electricity transmission interconnectors and transmission networks in the U.S. and the U.K.
“We strongly support the advancement of tomorrow’s network technologies and clean energy resources in the U.S., and our equity investment in Clean Line underscores each of those objectives,” said Tom King, president of National Grid USA. “With this investment, we are bringing capital and network knowledge to help advance resources that will link clean energy resources to markets throughout the U.S.”
“We continue to make steady progress on the development of our four long-distance HVDC transmission projects and National Grid’s participation in Clean Line will further enhance our technical, financial, and development capabilities,” said Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line. “We are delighted to have an investor of National Grid’s caliber who shares our vision and brings a deep understanding of HVDC transmission. We look forward to working together as we develop and build new infrastructure necessary to facilitate a cleaner energy mix for the future.”
As for the SPP interconnection studies, the regional grid operator requires entities requesting transmission interconnections to work with the SPP, the Transmission Working Group (TWG), and affected parties to ensure grid reliability. In May 2010 Clean Line requested that SPP study the connection of the Plains & Eastern transmission project to the SPP grid in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
The $2 billion Plains & Eastern Clean Line would deliver up to 3,500 MW of clean energy from western Oklahoma, northern Texas, and southwestern Kansas to utilities and customers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and other markets in the Mid-South and Southeast. The clean energy will be transported via a 750-mile HVDC line. The project would provide broad economic growth throughout the project area.
Clean Line’s other HVDC transmission projects, all with 3,500 MW of capacity, under development include:
Grain Belt Express Clean Line. The project would connect low-cost renewable power from Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and points farther east.
Rock Island Clean Line. With this line becoming reality, renewable energy from northwest Iowa would be shipped to load centers in Illinois and other states to the east.
Centennial West Clean Line. The transmission project would connect renewable resources in northeastern New Mexico with communities in power-hungry California.
All projects have reached various regulatory milestones.
Tennessee Valley Authority named "Utility of the Year" for pioneering wind power in Southeast
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) garnered AWEA’s "Utility of the Year" award last week for its leadership in bringing wind-generated electricity to its customers in the Southeast, as well as its long-term commitment to low-cost, cleaner energy.
TVA has signed nine contracts with eight different wind farms since 2008, bringing in wind power from states as far away as Illinois, Kansas, and Iowa. It also installed its own utility-scale wind turbines, the first in the Southeast. TVA is purchasing 1,340 MW of wind that is operating today and expects another 200 MW on its system by the end of the year.
TVA has set the goal of being one of the nation's leading providers of low-cost, cleaner energy by 2020.
AWEA’s Utility of the Year award is given to the U.S. electric utility that has done the most to advance wind power’s growth through its actions.
“We honor TVA with this award to recognize their accomplishments for wind power in general and how they’ve achieve these results in a way that benefits other utilities and the entire wind energy industry,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode.
“By adding wind generation into its energy mix, TVA and the distributors of TVA power are introducing more clean technology to the Tennessee Valley," Bode said in presenting the award at AWEA's recent Fall Symposium for industry leaders in Chandler, Ariz. "In addition, TVA had the first commercial-scale use of wind power to generate electricity in the southeastern United States.”
Accepting the award on behalf of TVA were Patty West, director of renewable energy programs, and Chris Hansen, director of power origination.
“The addition of wind energy helps TVA achieve its vision of being a leading provider of low cost and cleaner energy,” said West. “We're confident that wind power will continue to demonstrate its value, effectiveness and potential in the years to come.”
Alabama Power recognized for using wind power to save dollars for Southeastern customers
Alabama Power took honors for "Outstanding Commercial Achievement" as a result of its work with TradeWind Energy in helping to bring cost-effective wind power to the Southeast. The utility is purchasing wind power from Kansas-based TradeWind.
The association presented the award before over 400 leaders of the U.S. wind energy industry at its annual Fall Symposium, held Nov. 14-15 in Chandler, Ariz.
Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co., made its first wind power purchase last year. In signing off on the contract, the state Public Service Commission noted at the time that the “price of energy from the wind facility is expected to be lower than the cost the company would incur to produce that energy from its own resource…with the resulting energy savings flowing directly to the Company’s customers.”
John Kelley, Alabama Power's director of forecasting and resource planning, said that, including another recent deal, the company's energy mix now includes 404 MW of capacity from wind – enough to power the equivalent of 115,000 homes. Under the contracts, Alabama Power has the flexibility to use the wind energy to serve customers and retire the associated renewable energy credits, or sell the energy and renewable energy credits to others, separately or bundled together.
“These agreements are good for our customers for one very basic reason, and that is, they save our customers money,” Kelley says in a company video recently released on YouTube (at 2:21 in the video).
In accepting the award, Kelley said, “Alabama Power is doubling down on wind. We’re always looking for environmentally friendly ways to produce and obtain rights to reliable, cost-effective electricity. These two agreements represent a win-win for the company and the people we serve.”
AWEA gives the Outstanding Commercial Achievement Award each year to the individual or company responsible for outstanding commercial achievement in the areas of new financing structures; contracting; electricity market participation and grid operations; applications of technology; community relations; landowner relations; siting; permitting; or logistics. Winners are chosen on the strength of nominations from AWEA member companies.
This year Alabama Power shared the award with the company from which it purchased its wind power, TradeWind Energy of Lenexa, Kan. TradeWind specializes in developing and managing wind energy projects in the U.S. heartland, which has a rich wind resource. TradeWind CEO Robert Freeman spoke of wind's economic development benefits to the region.
"Everyone knows that rural America is looking for ways to keep their young people and grow their economies," Freeman said in accepting the award. "I think it’s fair to say that there hasn’t been anything that has come along in recent memory that has the potential to impact rural economies like the development of wind power."
AWEA recognized TradeWind for navigating the complexities of obtaining long-term firm transmission service across three different transmission systems, each with different timelines and processes, to reach the Southeast with its wind-generated electricity.
It then successfully aligned the schedules for power sales contracting, regulatory approvals, equipment procurement, transmission service, and financing. The company has now completed three contracts for delivery of wind energy to the Southeast using this innovative model.
Juhl Wind JV will focus on acquiring wind farms
Culminating a busy year for the community wind company, Juhl Wind recently formed a joint venture with Boulder, Colo.-based 8030 Companies that will focus on the acquisition of existing wind farms and other clean energy assets across the U.S. and Canada.
The joint venture has already conducted preliminary discussions with targeted owners of existing wind farms in the upper Midwest and is now expanding its scope across North America, Juhl Wind said.
Juhl Wind, which has been focused on non-organic growth lately in addition to bringing wind farms online, continues to tap into niche markets within wind power. The company has always focused on smaller projects, and the joint venture appears to be tapping a niche even within that segment of the industry. The joint venture will operate under the Juhl Wind umbrella with a focus on wind farm assets approaching their 10th year of operation—that is, when projects can no longer access the Production Tax Credit and when equipment may require upgrades and a level of operating care that may not be available at the local level or by a large, conglomerate, absentee owner. Juhl also looks to acquire or become a partner on any projects where a local owner may be facing a "flip" and may prefer to have a partner, like Juhl, that understands the unique issues facing smaller wind farm assets.
"We are excited to announce our joint venture with 8030 and to show the wind industry how we are uniquely qualified to partner with and/or acquire existing wind farms across North America," said John Mitola, president of Juhl Wind. "We are targeting projects that strongly align with our core capabilities in the market—wind farms under 100 MW. Despite the tumultuous last 12 months in the wind industry, Juhl Wind's business strategy has allowed the company to remain stable and well-positioned for future growth.”
Corey Juhl, vice president of development at Juhl Wind, noted that industry data “suggests there is well over 6,000 MW of wind farms under 50 MW in size presently operating in North America and obviously a significant more amount available that exist under 100 MW. This data underscores the tremendous scale of opportunity for both Juhl and 8030.”
Last spring Juhl Wind announced the acquisition of Power Engineers Collaborative, LLC , getting the company in the business of providing services and support in natural gas, biomass, waste-to-energy, medium-to-large on-site solar, and larger wind farm construction. In late 2011, the company acquired the Valley View Wind Farm, located near the company's headquarters in Chandler, Minn.
Wind-Wildlife meeting highlights wind's proactive approach
The nation’s leading scientists on wind energy and wildlife convened this week in Denver, Colo., for the ninth biennial Wind Wildlife Research Meeting to share their latest findings and evaluate progress in understanding and addressing wind energy’s potential impacts on wildlife and wildlife habitat.
The meeting was co-hosted by the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) and the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative (NWCC). With over 40 speakers, 70 poster presentations, and 350 attendees, it is the largest ever of its kind. AWWI, whose members include conservation and wind energy industry partners, uses collaboration and science to facilitate timely and responsible development of wind energy while protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat. Even with its relatively low impacts, the wind industry is held to a higher standard and does more to study, avoid, minimize, and mitigate any wildlife impacts than any other industry.
“We’ve come a long way since the first Wind Wildlife Research Meeting was held 18 years ago,” said Abby Arnold, executive director of the American Wind Wildlife Institute and senior facilitator for the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative, which co-hosted the meeting. “Working with conservation groups, wildlife agencies, and wind energy companies, scientists have identified the questions to ask, are developing a body of peer-reviewed research across species and across disciplines, and are planning for future research priorities. We’re building a strong scientific foundation for responsible wind energy development.”
Among the topics featured at the conference: assessing habitat-based impacts for grassland birds, bats and wind energy, and the Great Plains Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan. More details concerning the research on those areas is available on the AWWI website.
“The science is maturing to a point where we are able to draw preliminary conclusions about certain impacts and how much information is needed to in order to site and operate projects,” said Dr. Taber Allison, AWWI’s director of research and evaluation and Wind Wildlife Research Meeting chair. “The Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines issued earlier this year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are a case in point: each decision about siting and operating a wind energy project is grounded in the evolving science.”
The Wind Wildlife Meeting agenda featured a full-day training session on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines.
Shermco's motorcycle-wind power charity event yields generous donation to Women of Wind Energy
Thanks to a wind power motorcycle tour the company puts on, Shermco Industries recently presented Women of Wind Energy with $5,500 in funds that will go toward the nonprofit organization’s scholarship program.
Shermco Director of Renewable Energy Services Kevin Alewine presented a check to Kristen Graf, executive director of Women of Wind Energy (WoWE), at AWEA’s recently held Wind Energy Fall Symposium, held in Chandler, Ariz. The WoWE scholarship program supports the development of young women in engineering and other wind energy services.
The money was raised from participants and corporate sponsorships at the annual Ride for Wind event in Sweetwater, Texas. The Ride for Wind is an all-day motorcycle tour through the vast wind farms in West Texas. The participant riders traveled through the thousands of utility-scale wind turbines that surround Sweetwater, Big Spring, Roscoe, and Snyder, Texas. The charity was founded by Shermco Industries and Shermco Charities.
“We are very proud to sponsor this event and know that the monies raised have really helped women who want to be professionals in the wind energy sector,” said Scott Meador, vice president of business development of Shermco Industries.
More information on the annual Ride For Wind event is available at www.rideforwind.org.
Owners, operators, service providers: attend O&M strategy session next week
AWEA is ramping up its programs to support operating and maintaining the nearly 60 GW of wind turbines now installed in the U.S. Let us know what services, information or programs your trade association can provide to help you improve the long-term performance of your wind turbines. AWEA members in the O&M space are strongly encouraged to attend the strategy session next week, Tuesday, December 4, 2-4 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency in Houston, Texas, the afternoon before the AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit - Southwest. Please RSVP to Technology@AWEA.org.
If you can’t make the in-person meeting, please plan to participate in a follow-up WebEx discussion on the same topic on Monday, December 17, at 4 p.m. ET. Please send a note to Technology@AWEA.org and you will be sent a summary of the recommendations gathered at the Houston meeting and a link to the web discussion shortly before the event.
Project Performance, Operations, Maintenance & Reliability Seminar set for January
January 15-16, 2013 > La Jolla, CA
Join the wind energy industry's leading owners, operators, turbine manufacturers, material suppliers and experts from national laboratories to discuss strategies on how best to manage wind projects’ assets in ways that will maximize the bottom line.
- Investigate and analyze condition based monitoring systems and how optimizing them can ensure reliability and financial success.
- Hear directly from owners and operators how to maximize productivity and minimize costs.
- Evaluate case studies and hear best practices as you discuss the evolving marketplace, life-cycle costs, and long-term modeling.
- Receive the AWEA Operation & Maintenance Recommended Practices that will be released at the seminar.
- Attend the AWEA Operations and Maintenance Working Group meetings to further improve O&M services and practices in the wind industry.
More information and register now.
Regional Wind Energy Summit: wind power's rapid growth in SPP, ERCOT
Wind power is growing steadily in the ERCOT and SPP regions--in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and surrounding states. Your company needs to have a firm understanding of how to maximize your business opportunities in these markets.
Learn strategies on managing wind project assets for maximum profits, how best to capitalize on the latest regional transmission developments, and the technology and policies that are driving more wind energy into the regional energy mix.
This event features expert speakers and interactive sessions that analyze wind power as a rapidly growing source of clean energy generation and as a key driver of economic growth. Through impactful sessions led by the industry's leading companies, this event could be a pivotal and strategic event to shape your company's direction for 2013.
Dec. 5-6 in Houston. Learn more.
Volume 29, Issue 1510
|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 - Southwest
December 5-6, 2012
AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit - West
January 14, 2013
La Jolla, Calif.
AWEA Wind Project Operations, Maintenance & Reliability Seminar
January 15-16, 2013
La Jolla, Calif.
AWEA Wind Environmental Health & Safety Seminar
January 16-17, 2013
La Jolla, Calif.
AWEA Wind Power on Capitol Hill
February 5-6, 2013
AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit - Northwest
February 19, 2013
AWEA Wind Project Siting Seminar
Febuary 20, 2013
AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition
May 5-8, 2013
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