February 1 , 2013
4Q report: Wind energy top source for new generation in 2012; American wind power installed new record of 13,124 MW
The U.S. wind energy industry turned in its strongest year ever in 2012—installing a record 13,124 MW of electric generating capacity, leveraging $25 billion in private investment, and crossing the 60,000 MW mark for cumulative capacity, AWEA announced this week.
The 13,000-plus megawatts installed last year shatters the previous record of 10,000 MW, set in 2010.
The milestone of 60,000 MW (60 gigawatts) was reached just five months after AWEA announced last August that the U.S. industry had 50,000 MW installed. Today’s 60,007 MW is enough clean, affordable, American wind power to power the equivalent of almost 15 million homes, or the number in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio combined.
In the historic year that was 2012, wind energy for the first time became the number one source of new U.S. electric generating capacity, providing some 42 percent of all new generating capacity; the final tally will be released in April in AWEA’s annual report. Just as impressive: The year was a strong one for all renewables, as together they accounted for over 55 percent of all new U.S. generating capacity.
Comprising the 13,124 MW installed last year were turbines at 190 projects across 32 states plus Puerto Rico.
“It is a real testament to American innovation and hard work that for the first time ever a renewable energy source was number one in new capacity,” said AWEA interim CEO Rob Gramlich. “We are thrilled to mark this major milestone in the nation's progress toward a cleaner energy system.”
Currently installed wind power will avoid 95.9 million metric tons a year of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to 1.8 percent of the entire country’s carbon emissions.
In last year’s fourth quarter alone, 8,380 MW were installed, making it the strongest quarter in U.S. wind power history. While the fourth quarter is typical the strongest period in any given year, 2012’s late year surge was significantly augmented by the impending expiration of the successful federal Production Tax Credit (PTC). It was slated to end on December 31, 2012, but was extended by Congress on January 1, 2013, as part of the “fiscal cliff package,” the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
As Gramlich noted, “What is just as striking as the new records is the expansion of new customers.” A total of 66 utilities bought or owned wind power last year, up from 42 in 2011. “We are also seeing growth in new customers in the industrial and commercial sectors purchasing or owning wind energy directly,” he noted.
That includes such high-profile companies as Google, which has both invested in wind farms and entered power purchase agreements to power its data centers. New wind power purchasers last year included at least 18 industrial buyers, 11 schools and universities, and eight towns or cities, showing a significant trend toward nontraditional power purchasers from the industrial sector. Manufacturers of everything from plastics to light bulbs, semiconductors, and badges, farms, and medical centers are now directly purchasing wind power. Just this week, Juhl Wind announced that it will lead the development and installation of two turbines on site at a Honda Transmission Mfg. of America plant in Ohio.
“The fact that wind power grew by another 28 percent in 2012 alone and poured $25 billion of private investment into the U.S. last year demonstrates wind’s ability to scale up, and continue to serve as a leading source of energy in America,” Gramlich said.
Here are the top 10 states for new capacity installations in 2012:
1. Texas (1,826 MW)
2. California (1,656 MW)
3. Kansas (1,440 MW)
4. Oklahoma (1,127 MW)
5. Illinois (823 MW)
6. Iowa (814 MW)
7. Oregon (640 MW)
8. Michigan (611 MW)
9 .Pennsylvania (550 MW)
10. Colorado (496 MW)
States with exciting news in wind project development in 2012 include California, Michigan, and Illinois. The Golden State regained its position as the second largest state in installed wind capacity, surpassing Iowa, which had been number two since 2008. California achieved the 5,000-MW milestone in wind capacity, following Texas, and alongside Iowa.
Illinois had its most successful year ever. Ranking number five in new capacity, Illinois saw the installation of over 800 MW, with half that output sold into the Tennessee Valley Authority market. As one of America’s wind power hubs, Illinois is home to wind power innovation and this year, it installed the first concrete wind tower, which the manufacturer says can support taller turbines to access better winds. Iowa soon followed suit.
While a strong renewable portfolio standard (RPS) is successfully growing wind power in California, such policies are also growing wind projects in upper Midwest states like Michigan. Over 610 MW across 9 projects were built in the Wolverine State, which is close to achieving the 1,000-MW mark within the first few years of its RPS program, while continuing to be a leader in wind manufacturing jobs.
America's wind energy industry 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 energy industry is back on track,” said Gramlich. “With a banner year to celebrate, we look forward to showing how wind power can continue to strengthen America's energy future, and create jobs and business for our families and communities.”
Nordex takes two orders from Uruguay
Nordex’s U.S. operations just experienced a busy week of business news, and while none of that news involved an order from a U.S. project, the company’s Jonesboro, Ark., plant is sure to be ramping up in response.
First, early in the week Nordex USA, Inc. and Akuo Energy announced plans for construction of a new wind farm in the Florida district of southern Uruguay, about 65 miles from the capital city of Montevideo. The project will feature 21 Nordex N117/2400 2.4-MW wind turbines on 91-meter towers. It is expected that the nacelles will be assembled at Nordex’s Jonesboro turbine assembly facility, Head of Communications Naomi Lovinger told Wind Energy Weekly.
Nordex will be responsible for delivery, installation and commissioning, and for ongoing maintenance for a minimum of 10 years under a service contract.
The two companies have collaborated in the past on projects in France. Ralf Sigrist, president and CEO of Nordex USA, Inc., commented, “It is especially rewarding to extend our existing relationship with Akuo to a new country and a new continent. We are excited by the opportunities that Uruguay can offer as it fulfills its commitments to a renewable energy future.”
The electricity produced by the project, enough to power 73,000 homes, will be deployed by Usinas y Trasmisiones Eléctricas (UTE), Uruguay’s state power company, under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Akuo Energy.
Later in the week, Nordex USA, Inc., inked an agreement with Usinas y Transmisiones Eléctricas (UTE), Uruguay’s state power company, for the sale of 28 of its N117/2400 (2.4-MW) wind turbines for the Juan Pablo Terra wind farm.
The site, on the border with Brazil, is located a few miles from the city of Artigas, in the north of Uruguay, about 370 miles from Montevideo. Delivery of turbines is slated to begin in February 2014 with project completion in June 2014.
The newest addition to Nordex’ established multi-megawatt fleet, the N117/2400 is designed specifically for light wind regimes.
Honda plant to get two wind turbines with the help of Juhl Wind
In a deal that brings wind power directly to the U.S. auto industry for the first time—and may give a wind power company a new business niche—community wind specialist Juhl Wind, Inc., has entered into an agreement with Honda Transmission Mfg. of America, Inc. to develop, install and operate two utility-scale wind turbines that will generate electricity for the automaker’s plant in Russell's Point, Ohio.
Juhl Wind is providing full development services along with construction management of the $8 million project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2013. Juhl acquired the development asset from Boulder, Colo.-based NexGen Energy Partners in 2011, and Juhl is expected to take ownership in the project under its Juhl Renewable Asset subsidiary. Juhl will be providing oversight of the construction and ongoing operation of the turbines.
Studies commissioned by Honda Transmission indicate that wind-generated power is a cost-effective source of electricity for the plant, according to Juhl Wind. Once the turbines begin operating later this year, the Honda transmission plant will be the first major automotive manufacturing facility in the U.S. to obtain a substantial amount of its electricity directly from wind turbines located on its property, the developer said. The turbines will be installed on Honda Transmission property, which is suited for a maximum of two wind turbines. The specific turbines to be used have not been determined, said spokesperson Jodi Janson.
"We are very pleased and honored to partner with Honda on this industry-leading initiative,” Corey Juhl, the developer’s vice president of project development. “The Honda Wind Project represents a growing niche within our renewable energy development services, which includes installing 'behind the meter' wind and solar facilities for large industrial electricity users and corporate clients. Our goal is to continue to grow this sector of our business by providing quality development services to companies that are looking to utilize renewable energy at their planned or existing facilities."
There are hundreds of manufacturing facilities similar in size to Honda's transmission plant across the country that are candidates for renewable-energy resources such as wind and solar, Juhl noted. Moreover, the Honda project has spurred interest from other manufacturers, said Janson. “As a result of this project we have fielded quite a few inquiries,” he told Wind Energy Weekly. “That’s something we’re going to pursue aggressively; we feel it’s low-hanging fruit.”
An evaluation of the project shows that renewable energy from the two wind turbines will supply approximately 10 percent of the plant's electricity, while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Honda Transmission vice president Gary Hand said, "This is just one of many ways that Honda is seeking to reduce our environmental footprint, and we appreciate the experience and knowledge that Juhl Wind is bringing to this unique wind-generation project. In our own ways, both Honda and Juhl are committed to reducing CO2 emissions."
Globally, Honda has established voluntary goals to reduce the environmental impact of its products and manufacturing operations by 2020. This includes a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from Honda products, and significant CO2 reductions from the company's plants and other operations, compared with year 2000 levels. To achieve these new environmental targets, Honda is accelerating its efforts to advance the environmental performance of its products and operations throughout its North American Region.
Wind energy sets new records in ERCOT, BPA
The U.S. wind industry’s record installations for 2012 (see top story) are already bearing fruit in the form of record numbers of electrons.
On January 29 newly installed wind generation pushed the main power systems in Texas and the Pacific Northwest to record levels of wind output. On the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid, wind output peaked at 8,667 MW just after midnight, meeting 32.1 percent of electricity demand at that time. While that wind output level is only 29 MW greater than the record that was set on December 25, it is believed to be the first time wind output has exceeded 30 percent of load in ERCOT.
Meanwhile on the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) grid in the Northwest, a record output of 4,344 MW came at 7:15 p.m. Pacific time. The new record surpasses BPA's old wind generation mark of 4,289 MW, and came in the middle of a period of more than 60 hours during which wind generation never fell below 3,400 MW.
GE unveils new high-efficiency, low-wind speed 2.5-MW wind turbine
On Thursday GE introduced its new 2.5-MW wind turbine, the 2.5-120, a model designed with low wind speed and high efficiency in mind.
The model is the world’s most efficient high-output turbine, according to the company. The 2.5-120 is the first wind turbine to bring together world-class efficiency and power output at low wind speed sites, capturing a 25 percent increase in efficiency and a 15 percent increase in power output compared to the company’s current model, GE said.
GE is calling the unit “the first brilliant wind turbine.”
The turbine’s high efficiency and high output unlock higher returns for wind farm operators at low wind speed sites. Its controls allow the 120-meter rotor to capture larger amounts of energy in low-wind areas, while the taller tower, which has a maximum hub height of 139 meters, makes the unit ideal for heavily forested regions in places like Europe and Canada, the company said.
“Our 2.5-120 is the first wind turbine that utilizes the Industrial Internet to help manage the intermittency of wind, providing smooth, predictable power to the world regardless of what Mother Nature throws its way,” said Vic Abate, vice president of GE’s renewable energy business. “Analyzing tens of thousands of data points every second, the 2.5-120 integrates energy storage and advanced forecasting algorithms while communicating seamlessly with neighboring turbines, service technicians and customers.”
The advanced technology drives higher wind farm output than GE’s current offerings, improves services productivity and creates new revenue streams for customers, according to GE. The design also minimizes sound emissions, the company said.
Two new small wind installations show Native American group living values with power, business choices
Putting its respect-for-earth values into practice, TWN Wind Power, a Tsleil-Waututh Nation company, recently completed two distributed wind installations at White Earth Nation, located in Northwest Minnesota.
The two sites, Ojibwa Building Supplies in Waubun and White Earth Community Service Center in Naytahwaush, are now both benefiting from wind energy. The White Earth Nation is Minnesota’s largest and most populous reservation, encompassing over 1,300 square miles. It serves as the homeland for over 20,000 band members. Situated in the northwest region of Minnesota, the land is the transition between the Red River Valley to the west and the lake and pine region to the east.
Upon completion of the installations, White Earth Nation Chairwoman Erma J. Vizenor plainly explained the significance of the projects and the motivation that drove their development and build-out. “We, as Native American people, continue to strive to be stewards of the earth, and White Earth is proud to have completed this project in partnership with TWN Wind Power, a Tsleil-Waututh Nation company,” she said.
Each site consists of an Endurance Wind Power 3120 small wind turbine featuring a 43-meter tower. While there are hundreds of installations of 3120-series wind turbines in North America, these are the first installations at a Tribal community in the U.S., according to TWN Wind Power.
“Nation-to-Nation business success in Indian country is what we are striving for, all the while helping communities achieve their energy goals,” said Marc Soulliere, president and CEO of TWN Wind Power. “It has been a wonderful journey and an honor working with White Earth Nation.”
As a First Nations company, TWN Wind Power offers Aboriginal communities throughout North America an opportunity to generate clean energy through small wind power, in addition to providing other energy related services. They are guided by a deep responsibility to honor and care for natural resources.
Wind for Schools: 124 installations and counting
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind for Schools program enabled the installation of 30 small wind turbines at schools across the country in 2012, resulting in a total of 124 installations for the project in its five-year history.
Under the program, Wind Applications Centers located at universities in a given state assist in distributed wind turbine installations at K-12 schools, providing educational opportunities for both university and grade-school students alike. The installations also serve to educate members of the community about wind power of all scales.
In 2012 Nebraska, one of the original six Wind for Schools states, installed seven turbines, increasing the state's total to 25 public school installations since 2008. According to Nebraska Wind Applications Center Associate Director Joel Jacobs, the Wind for Schools project in his state has had an estimated impact on 8 percent of the state's public school students since its implementation in FY08.
Arizona also had multiple installations in 2012, with eight turbines installed at four schools, bringing the state's total to 13 in a two-year period.
Colorado's Wind for Schools project accessed Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) funding that ensured an additional four installations in the state. The SEP was designed as a mechanism to provide entities with an alternative to paying fines for noncompliance with environmental laws. Instead of paying the entire fine amount, the entity can choose to fund environmentally friendly projects. While SEP funding is not a guaranteed annual source of funding, it is a success for the Colorado Wind for Schools team, which, like other states, faces the end of DOE funding.
More information about the Wind for Schools project is available on the Wind Powering America website.
Supply Chain Connections
Tetra Tech wins $350 million USAID clean energy contract
Tetra Tech, Inc. has been awarded a $350 million contract to provide technical assistance for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) clean energy development program worldwide. Seven companies, including three small businesses, will share in the indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract value. The contract has a five-year ordering period.
Tetra Tech will help USAID address the growing demand for, and use of, clean energy services in developing countries by designing clean energy strategies. The company will help improve governance structures to support clean energy development, assess the environmental implications of energy policies, and help foster private sector participation and investment in clean energy.
Tetra Tech will also assist USAID in its efforts to reduce climate change by promoting the sustainable use of renewable energy technologies, energy efficient technologies, and carbon sequestration.
WINDPOWER 2013 second call for abstracts now open (POSTERS ONLY)
AWEA is currently accepting a second round of abstracts for poster presentations. If you would like to participate in the WINDPOWER 2013 program, we encourage you to submit an abstract by FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2013. Learn more.
WINDPOWER 2013: bonus early-registration discount for limited time
Business solutions for wind energy can be found in the people and educational programming at AWEA WINDPOWER 2013 in Chicago, IL. Hear the answers you need, meet the contacts you want and identify the new solutions that will build your success in the wind energy industry. WINDPOWER offers AWEA Committees and Working Groups a venue to convene on important issues and mingle with other industry leaders that are shaping change as AWEA Business Members.
WINDPOWER has never been more relevant to the wind energy industry than right now and registration is open for business.
For Business Members of AWEA only: Register in the first 30 days (by 2/28) and receive an additional discount on top of the early registration rates. Click here for more details on redeeming this offer.
AWEA Pacific Northwest Wind Energy Summit
Build opportunity in the Pacific Northwest with a full day of educational sessions at the AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit - Northwest, Feb. 19. Focusing on Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho, this event offers you a comprehensive and timely analysis of current and near-term market conditions, opportunities and trends. Hear from newly announced keynote speaker Bill Drummond, incoming BPA Administrator! Register here before registration prices increase after February 15.
Volume 29, Issue 1518
|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 - Northwest
February 19, 2013
AWEA Wind Project Siting Seminar
Febuary 20, 2013
AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition
May 5-8, 2013
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