January 11 , 2013
With policy certainty, America's wind industry focuses on building clean, affordable, wind power and driving investment
As shown in a host of reports around the country, the U.S. wind power industry is back at work with renewed momentum following extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) by Congress as part of the Jan. 1 legislation to avert the "fiscal cliff."
The wind energy PTC, and an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is important to small community and offshore projects, will allow continued growth of the energy source that has comprised 35 percent of all new electric generation in America over the past five years, with manufacturing factories or wind farms in all 50 states.
The extension will cover all wind projects that start construction before 2014. Companies that manufacture wind turbines and install them sought that definition to allow for the industry's 18-24 months business timeline for building projects, particularly given the 11th-hour extension on New Year's Eve that kept businesses from planning.
Here's what some industry players are saying, and the project activity that has gotten a boost, one week after the PTC was extended:
- First Wind CEO, Paul Gaynor, tells Electric Light and Power, “We are planning to substantially expand our portfolio – by as much as 50 percent or more – with several projects starting construction by the end of 2013. That will mean jobs and investment, and consumers will be getting clean energy at a competitive price.”
- The Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center near Elgin in northern Nebraska, which represents a $350 million capital investment and could create 300 construction jobs (WOWT Channel 6, Omaha, NE).
- The Broken Bow Wind project near Kearney, Neb., where Midwest Energy will proceed with construction on an additional 75 megawatts (MW) of capacity with the passage of the PTC as ‘the last remaining stumbling block’ (Kearney Hub).
- The 300-megawatt Pleasant Valley Wind Farm in Mower County, Minnesota. “It is one of the largest wind farm developments in the state of Minnesota with advanced permitting and [is] ready to build,” RES Americas Vice President of Development Joe DeVito told the press (Austin Daily Herald).
- Geronimo Wind Energy’s wind farm in Courtenay, North Dakota, which could be sized between 100 and 200 MW and range from about 58 to 120 turbines. The total cost of the project would range between $200 million and $350 million (Prairie Business Magazine).
- St. Louis based companies Emerson, electric component maker ABB and carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek. As the St. Louis Business Journal reported, “Zoltek was already ‘well on the way to a record year in fiscal 2012’ thanks to its growth in the wind energy industry, according to chairman and chief executive Zsolt Rumy. The extension of the Production Tax Credit will help Zoltek keep that momentum going in 2013, Rumy said. ‘This is definitely helpful because investors were holding back on projects to see what would happen.’"
America's wind energy workers had been living under threat of the PTC's expiration for over a year and layoffs had already begun, as companies idled factories because of a lack of orders for 2013. Uncertain federal policies have caused a "boom-bust" cycle in U.S. wind energy development for over a decade.
Half the American jobs in wind energy – 37,000 out of 75,000 – and hundreds of U.S. factories in the supply chain would have been at stake had the PTC been allowed to expire, according to a study by Navigant Consulting.
"America's wind power industry is back on track," said AWEA interim CEO Rob Gramlich. "With a banner year behind us, we look forward to showing how wind energy can continue to strengthen America's energy future, and create jobs and business for our families and communities."
Investing in America: Google buys into wind project
Technology giant and business icon Google Inc. continued its embrace of wind power with the announcement that it has invested $200 million in EDF Renewable Energy’s Spinning Spur Wind Project in Oldham County, Texas.
The 161-MW facility, located about 35 miles from Amarillo, uses 70 2.3-MW Siemens turbines.
Google seems to be embracing wind power on all fronts. The innovative company has entered power purchase agreements—that is, contracts usually entered into by utilities—directly with wind farms to power some of its energy-hungry data centers. Google also is investing in the Atlantic Wind Connection, an ambitious offshore backbone transmission project that would run north-south off the East Coast to connect offshore wind projects to be built. Finally, the company has invested in wind power both because it believes in the energy source and it believes it makes for a sound investment.
Said Google in a blog post, “We look for projects like Spinning Spur because, in addition to creating more renewable energy and strengthening the local economy, they also make for smart investments: they offer attractive returns relative to the risks and allow us to invest in a broad range of assets.”
ERCOT sets wind generation record on Christmas Day
Records keep getting shattered in the wind energy output arena, highlighting the clean, affordable energy source’s reliability and potential to power the grid all the more.
This time, the news came from the Lone Star State. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. (ERCOT) set a wind generation record of 8,638 MW at 3:11 p.m. on Dec. 25, exceeding the previous record by 117 MW.
ERCOT is the grid operator whose territory comprises the vast majority of Texas. More than 6,600 MW of the power included wind generation from West Texas wind farms, followed by more than 1,600 MW from wind farms along the Texas Coast. ERCOT recorded the previous wind output record of 8,521 MW on Nov. 10, according to a Jan. 2 news release.
The new wind energy output record represented nearly 26 percent of system load in ERCOT at that time. The Friday after Thanksgiving, the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) got a record-setting boost from wind power, with output from wind turbines surpassing 10,000 MW and comprising more than a quarter of the ISO’s total generation. In reporting on the record, MISO took the occasion to highlight wind’s cost-saving power.
Post PTC-extension project ticker: EDF, Pattern, BP-Sempra projects online
Wind power developers continued to report flipping the switch on projects at the end of 2012, reflecting both the frenetic push to finish projects before the federal Production Tax Credit was set to expire on Dec. 31. (The PTC was extended in the 11th hour, right on New Year’s Eve). Project completions normally increase in the fourth quarter regardless of the PTC situation, but this end-of-year pace was particularly busy, as illustrated in recent weeks. This week’s news:
Pattern Energy puts Ocotillo online
Pattern Energy Group LP reported Jan. 9 that its Ocotillo Wind project in California is now sending electrons onto the Sunrise Powerlink, the new, 117-mile, 500-kV transmission line linking San Diego and renewable resources in the Imperial Valley.
Pattern put 94 turbines online, and 18 more will enter operation in the spring, the company said. The 112 turbines for the 265-MW project are Siemens 2.37-MW units.
BP-Sempra project in operation
BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power said the Mehoopany Wind Farm has moved into full commercial operation. The wind farm is the largest wind project in the state of Pennsylvania and represents a combined investment of approximately $250 million.
Located on a 9,000-acre site some 20 miles northwest of Scranton, the 141-MW Mehoopany Wind Farm features 88 GE xle 1.6-MW wind turbines.
Some 10-15 permanent jobs have been created at the facility, while over 400 jobs were created during the peak of construction.
Recently the companies, which have a joint venture together to do such projects, announced that the Flatridge 2 wind farm in Kansas in online.
EDF Renewable Energy enters ERCOT market
EDF Renewable Energy’s 150-MW Bobcat Bluff Wind Project in Archer County, Texas, became operational on December 26, the company formerly known as enXco said.
EDF Renewable Energy acquired the project in March and commenced construction in April. The project consists of 100 GE 1.5-MW turbines and is expected to generate clean electricity sufficient to supply the needs of approximately 40,000 homes.
Also of note: The project is the first wind farm in the ERCOT market for the long-time U.S. developer, said Executive Director Ryan Pfaff.
With Bobcat Bluff, EDF Renewable Energy put into service five wind projects for a total of 654.3 MQ during 2012, bringing total installed capacity of all its renewable projects in the U.S. to 1,785 MW.
500 MW under E.ON's belt for 2012, 2,700 MW total in U.S.
Like many other developers, E.ON Climate & Renewables capped a busy 2012 with a flurry of activity at the end of the year, reaching 500 MW for the 12-month period for a total of more than 2,700 MW operating in the U.S. today.
E.ON put up 292 turbines at three projects in 2012. Both the Anacacho Wind Farm in Kinney County, Texas and the Wildcat 1 project in Tipton and Madison counties, Ind. were completed last month. The 100-MW Anacacho project uses 55 Vestas 1.8-MW turbines, while the 200-MW Wildcat 1 facility features 125 GE 1.6 MW turbines. The 200 MW Magic Valley project went online in September.
E.ON’s 2,700 MW, which it completed in only five years, comprise 18 wind farms across five states. Wildcat 1 is the company’s first project in Indiana.
Training and Education
DOE inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition RFP announced
A recently released request for proposals (RFP) from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) seeks participation in DOE's inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition.
The competition enables DOE to support innovative and forward-thinking educational institutions that incorporate renewable energy technologies, helping to foster the growth of the future wind energy industry and workforce.
The National Collegiate Wind Competition is a forum for undergraduate college students of multiple disciplines to investigate innovative wind energy concepts; gain experience designing, building, and testing a wind turbine to perform according to a customized market data-derived business plan; and increase their knowledge of wind industry barriers. Successful teams will gain and then demonstrate knowledge of technology, finance, accounting, management, and marketing, providing lifelong technical and business skills.
The theme of the inaugural competition is to design and construct a lightweight, transportable wind turbine that can be used to power small electronic devices. A principal contest involves testing each team's prototype wind turbine in a wind tunnel under specific conditions. Each team's business plan and turbine will also be evaluated against other pre-weighted criteria. The third stage of the competition will be a team-to-team debate relating to current wind market drivers and issues. Teams will be judged on the members' understanding of the issues posed to them, their communication of potential solutions, and their ability to promote constructive dialogue.
This competition is an opportunity for collegiate institutions to showcase student ingenuity and the programs that the students represent. In addition to this national recognition, the turbine from the college or university with the best overall score will be placed on temporary display at the DOE Headquarters building in Washington, D.C.
The RFP is available on the Federal Business Opportunities website (Solicitation number RFC-3-23003).
Supply Chain Connections
First Wind picks GE software to enhance wind farm output
GE will install its WindCONTROL software to help maximize energy output at two First Wind projects in Maine that feature a total of 95 GE wind turbines. The GE technology will regulate curtailment by monitoring and controlling the wind turbines’ ramp rates, effectively easing power spikes and putting less strain on the turbine compared to constant starts and stops. The projects being upgraded with the technology are First Wind’s Rollins and Stetson facilities.
“The effect of curtailment on wind turbines has been an area of concern for us,” said First Wind Vice President of Operations EJ Martin. “The application of GE’s WindCONTROL technology to our wind turbines in Maine will help the units maximize energy capture while mitigating the strain on our units as we regulate power production.”
Using GE’s WindCONTROL, turbine owners can earn back power that may have been lost due to inefficient controls for meeting curtailment. The software automatically controls the output of each wind turbine in the wind farm, versus an approach that depends on starting and stopping units to meet a power demand. The more precise regulation of power not only meets requirements despite wind variation but also allows the wind turbines to run more efficiently and reliably without compromising grid stability.
AWEA Member Benefit
For AWEA members: Overview and Insights on the PTC/ITC Extension
Join us for a Webinar on January 18
Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
For its membership, AWEA will hold a follow-up webinar on the PTC/ITC extension and its impacts on the U.S. wind energy industry. The webinar will take place on Friday, January 18 at 1pm EST / 10am PST. Speakers will include Interim AWEA CEO Rob Gramlich, AWEA Senior Director of Federal Regulatory Affairs Tom Vinson and AWEA Chief Economist Liz Salerno.
Importantly, the version of the PTC and ITC extension enacted by Congress this time around covers all wind projects that start construction in 2013. That allows for projects completed beyond 2013 to qualify for the credit, a critical change that the Senate Finance Committee made specifically in order to accommodate the business timelines of the wind energy industry.
Join this webinar to understand the implications of this policy for your business as well as the growth opportunities for the U.S. wind energy industry. On this webinar, you will learn how this extension will
- provide continuous tax relief to U.S. wind farms built in 2013, 2014 and beyond, so long as they start construction by the end of 2013;
- support the continued manufacturing of wind turbines and components in America;
- drive the continued growth of an industry that installed 35 percent of all new generating capacity in America over the last 5 years; and
- support offshore and community wind as well as land-based projects.
Wind power is expected to set a new record in the U.S. in terms of project installations during 2012, and can continue to grow with the current tax credit extensions.
The webinar is free to attend, but AWEA members must register in advance.
Title: AWEA Overview and Insights on the PTC/ITC Extension
Date: Friday, January 18, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
PC-based attendees: Windows 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Mac-based attendees: Mac OS X 10.5 or newer
Mobile attendees: iPhone, iPad, Android phone or Android tablet
AWEA members have opportunity to impact O&M program strategy
Next week staff from AWEA member companies can take the opportunity to help set the course for new AWEA operation & maintenance (O&M) programs—and do so without leaving their desks.
The AWEA 2013 O&M Program Strategy Planning Discussion will take place at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT) Jan. 16, both at the AWEA O&M Working Group meeting in La Jolla, Calif., and via a webinar. The working group, which will devote the first part of its meeting in La Jolla to the strategy planning discussion, is gathering at AWEA’s Wind Project Operations, Maintenance & Reliability Seminar.
AWEA and its O&M Working Group want to enhance the trade association’s O&M services, information resources, and programs in ways that are valuable to members. With over 60 GW of wind projects now operating in the U.S., the need has never been greater to maximize and improve on efficiencies and reliability at facilities. Bring your creative ideas to the meeting or feel free to send them to Technology@AWEA.org before or even after the meeting. The Working Group and people on the webinar will prioritize the suggested new programs at the meeting.
The on-site meeting takes place in the Fairway 1 room at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines (site of the Wind Project Operations, Maintenance & Reliability Seminar). AWEA members not going to La Jolla can access the webinar by reserving a spot here. Space is limited, so reserve now.
Explore new frontiers at EWEA 2013
The opportunity of wind power growth in emerging markets in Europe and internationally will receive a special focus at the EWEA 2013 Annual Event that takes place in Vienna, Austria, February 4-7, 2013.
Organized by the European Wind Energy Association, this is Europe’s foremost wind industry event and is regarded as the annual meeting place for anyone involved in wind energy with a specific interest in European and international markets. As the first major wind energy event of 2013, this event provides many ways to reach sales targets in the first quarter of 2013.
· 400 exhibitors from 80 countries will be present on the exhibition floor – the whole of the wind energy supply chain meet under one roof!
· With over 40 sessions the conference program will cover the widest possible range of topics relevant to the industry, from high-level finance and policy issues through to the finest details of the latest advances in research and technology.
· Numerous networking opportunities from social events to business tours and careers fair.
For full details visit: www.ewea.org/annual2013
Also a chance to hit the piste (a/k/a ski slopes) in Europe
The event takes place during the height of the skiing season, so EWEA has teamed up with local travel experts, Mondial Reisen, to offer EWEA 2013 participants a 10% reduction on any booking.
Maximize your event networking with Attendee Connect
Registrants of AWEA January events in La Jolla: you have the benefit of using the valuable AttendeeConnect platform. Don't underestimate the utility and power of this FREE tool that makes connecting with your wind energy colleagues quick and easy.
All pre-registered attendees, speakers, and guests can contact each other, organize meetings and network before, during, and after the event using this easy-to-use, private messaging system. Maximize networking by contacting other registered attendees in advance - search other attendees by name, company name, or job title and send messages directly via this secure, private system (none of your personal details will be shared with other users or displayed publicly.)
When you create and use your AttendeeConnect profile, you can:
- View all registered attendee profiles, including your LinkedIn connections who are attending
- Browse recommended connections based on professional interest
- Communicate with current and potential business contacts and set up meetings ahead of time
- Use your social media accounts (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) to announce your attendance
- View the event agenda - along with session descriptions and speaker listings
Start planning and networking today...
Log on to AttendeeConnect!
Next week: Meet California's energy leaders
With the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC), AWEA, with the strong support and direction from our members, has delivered a major victory for the American wind energy industry. The extensions mean it's time to get down to business.
On Monday, regional leaders in the western U.S. energy market will convene to share their expertise with the wind energy industry. Your business partners, peers, and competitors will be there... will you? Register today!
Today’s highlight: In this intimate setting and beautiful location, learn from and meet:
- Catherine J.K. Sandoval, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission
- Matt Burkhart, Vice President of Electric and Fuel Procurement, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)
- Wade Crowfoot, Deputy Director, California Governor's Office of Planning and Research
Learn more about these leaders and the event’s sessions and happenings.
PTC extension is set. Now get set for WINDPOWER 2013
The PTC is in place, so now there’s no better time to make plans for WINDPOWER 2013. Take part in the discussions at WINDPOWER 2013 Conference & Exhibition, May 5-8 in Chicago, on where our industry is now heading, what new business opportunities can be developed with the recent policy backing and how this momentum can positively influence the future of your business.
Solutions for Success: Real Insights for An Ever-Changing Wind Energy Industry
WINDPOWER has never been more relevant to the wind energy industry than right now, and provides business solutions to drive success through market intelligence, a rich environment for the exchange of ideas and strategies, and information about business opportunities to strengthen your company’s position in the wind energy industry.
WINDPOWER 2013 is a MUST ATTEND event in order for you to maximize business in 2013 and the years that follow. Find every answer you need, grow your contacts and learn about the new solutions that can build your success.
Attendee registration opens in the coming weeks. Sign up for a personal notification of the opening.
Also, join the AWEA WINDPOWER LinkedIn Group to get information about the event and engage in conversation about your business.
Volume 29, Issue 1515
|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 - 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 Regional Wind Energy Summit - Northwest
February 19, 2013
AWEA Wind Project Siting Seminar
Febuary 20, 2013
AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition
May 5-8, 2013
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Sr. Vice President for Public Policy
Sr. Vice President for Conference, Membership & Business Development
Vice President for Federal Legislative Affairs
Vice President for Public Affairs
Vice President of Finance
|Primary AWEA Contacts
Conference - Program
Conferences & Meetings
Distributed & Community Wind
Exhibits, Sponsorships & Marketing
Legislative Affairs - Federal
Legislation and Policy - State
Susan Williams Sloan
Labor, Health and Safety
Membership - Core Member
Strategic Policy Initiatives
Utility Programs and Business Development
Wind Energy Weekly / Publications