March 4, 2011
Missouri lawmakers consider improvements, clarifications to renewable standard
Well-crafted legislation setting state renewable energy targets spurs job creation and economic development while helping to provide consumers with stable electricity prices.
That's the message Missouri lawmakers received from expert testimony this week as they consider clarifications and improvements to the state's renewable electricity standard (RES). Voters said "yes" more than two years ago to a renewable energy requirement, but the law has gotten snagged up in the details of its implementation, underscoring the need for clarification by the state legislature.
In a 2008 ballot initiative (Prop C), Missouri voters approved (by a 66 percent majority) a law requiring utilities to diversify their energy mix through a 15 percent renewable energy target. Implementing the law, however, has resulted in controversy and confusion, causing legislators to take up the matter during the current session. Among the issues, the Wind Coalition, an industry-supported trade association, is asking legislators to clarify the law's "sold to Missouri" provision to ensure that the state's electric customers do in fact receive renewable energy as intended by the law—and in the process, receive the economic-development and risk-protection benefits as well.
Testifying on behalf of the Wind Coalition before the House Committee on Renewable Energy, Jeff Reinkemeyer of Iberdrola Renewables outlined the benefits that his company's 146-MW wind farm in Farmers City already provides Missouri. Just as wind farms are doing all across the country, the Iberdrola facility is infusing new tax funds into local jurisdictions and giving farmers and other landowners an added source of revenue, said Reinkemeyer. "Farmers City provides $600,000 to $1 million in annual local taxes and approximately $365,000 annually to landowners," he said.
According to AWEA, Missouri’s 457 MW of wind generate $3 million dollars in annual property tax payments and $1.3 million dollars in annual land lease payments.
The economic benefits don’t stop there. The supply chain that feeds the wind power industry and allows it to build high-tech wind turbines migrates near to where wind farms are developed. A case in point is Missouri, where that trend has already been set in motion in spite of wind power development just getting under way there. By the end of 2009, the state had between 500 and 1,000 direct and indirect wind industry jobs, with a growing number of those jobs housed at the approximately seven facilities in the state currently manufacturing components for the wind energy industry. Two new facilities have also been announced.
A University of Missouri - St. Louis study in 2008 predicted Prop C and its RES would create 9,591 jobs and generate $2.86 billion in economic activity in Missouri over the next 20 years.
In a letter to legislators last week, Governor Jay Nixon (D) said:
“Clean, abundant, renewable energy is critical to the health of our state’s economy and environment. It is vital to creating jobs, to helping existing businesses expand, and to attracting new businesses to our state. We must seize every opportunity to secure Missouri’s future by embracing renewable energy today.
This is a decisive moment for Missouri; we are poised to realize our potential to become a leader in the development, production, use and export of renewable energy. It is imperative that we pass legislation now that moves renewable energy forward in Missouri.”
“The voters have spoken, and they want more renewable energy including wind power,” said Paul Sadler, executive director of the Wind Coalition, an AWEA regional partner. “Now it is time for the state legislature to build on the law already embraced by the people of Missouri so that the wind power industry can get to work and bring the jobs and economic development to the state. Wind energy is American—turbines are built here, and the wind that fuels them is an inexhaustible American resource. It’s time for Missouri to tap wind power, and tap its economic-development benefits.”
Missouri is one of 29 states with a state renewable electricity standard; another seven have renewable energy goals.
Indiana voters call for renewable energy requirement
Results of an Indiana poll released earlier this week show strong and deep bipartisan public support for increasing wind farm development in the state through the passage of legislation calling for 10 percent of electricity sold in Indiana to come from renewable energy by 2020.
The results of the poll, conducted by research firm Public Opinion Strategies, come as the Indiana House and Senate prepare to take up energy legislation, Senate Bill 251, which currently does not create any market for renewable energy. After passing in the Senate, the bill now heads to the House, where it can be amended to establish a renewable energy requirement for which so many Hoosiers are showing strong support.
The poll found that 77 percent of Indiana voters support legislation creating a requirement for 10 percent renewable energy by the year 2020. A full 47 percent of voters “strongly” support such legislation, and just 16 percent oppose it. The results signal support among Hoosiers for harnessing the economic-development benefits of wind power and diversifying the state’s energy mix in a way that can save consumers money. A 10 percent renewable energy requirement would spur construction of approximately six new wind farms and create thousands of jobs.
“Indiana voters clearly speak with one voice on this issue,” said Neil Newhouse, Public Opinion Strategies pollster and co-founder. “Nearly 80 percent of voters interviewed say they support legislation requiring 10 percent of the electricity sold in the state to come from renewable energy such as wind and solar.
“Support is not only deep (47 percent strongly support such legislation), but also broad, as voters across party lines support the proposal by at least a three-to-one margin. Clearly this is a win-win issue for lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.”
The poll reflects recent national polls showing that as much as 89 percent of Americans want more renewable energy.
Key findings of the Indiana poll include:
- 77 percent of Indiana voters support legislation requiring that 10 percent of electricity sold in the state come from renewable energy by 2020. Fully 47 percent of voters “strongly” support such legislation, while just 16 percent oppose it (9 percent strongly opposing it).
- A strong 66 percent of Republicans statewide support a 10-percent renewable energy requirement.
- Overall support for the legislation was above 70 percent in all regions of Indiana and between 77 percent and 79 percent in urban, suburban, and rural areas of the state.
- Statewide voter support rose to 84 percent when told that a 10-percent requirement would spur construction on six new wind farms in the next two years, creating thousands of new jobs.
- Support for legislation rose to 85 percent when voters were told that Indiana’s neighbors have secured long-term electricity contracts from wind power that costs significantly less than the average per kilowatt-hour price Hoosiers currently pay.
- Voter support for legislation rose to 83 percent when voters were informed that more than half of the wind energy generated in the state is currently used to deliver power to neighboring states with renewable energy requirements.
“The voice of Indiana and the voice of America are one,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “Hoosiers clearly want to embrace the economic-development engine that is wind power, and the industry stands ready to do its part here in America’s heartland.
“Twenty-nine other states already require their utilities to provide renewable energy. Our job now is to make sure that Indiana’s leaders take to heart the overwhelming support for a 10-percent renewable energy requirement as demonstrated in this poll. We appreciate Indiana voters’ support, and we will work with a bipartisan group of policymakers to provide the clean, affordable and homegrown energy they want.”
Suspension of Wisconsin siting rules to stymie industry: wind power advocates
In what wind power advocates called a major setback for Badger State wind power development, a joint committee of the Wisconsin state legislature voted this week to roll back wind farm siting rules that had been developed in a multi-stakeholder process, immediately threatening all future wind power development.
The 10-member Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) suspended the Wisconsin Wind Siting Rules, known as PSC128, on the same day they were set to take effect. The turn of events in recent weeks has taken many by surprise because the rules had been developed by consensus over the course of two years in a collaborative process that involved multiple stakeholders. At the time of their approval, the rules were hailed as a success story because they addressed concerns of a diverse group of stakeholders while allowing the industry to move forward and fuel the state’s economy. PSC128 would be among the most restrictive and detailed wind siting regulations in the country, according to industry members. The Wisconsin wind siting bill passed the state legislature with strong bipartisan support in 2009, and the rules were finalized by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in December 2010.
"We are deeply disappointed with this vote in the Wisconsin legislative committee," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "The wind power industry has already created over 2,000 direct and indirect jobs in Wisconsin, and further growth expected in both project development and wind turbine manufacturing shows we could create a lot more. The action today in Madison indicates that the state is favoring the support of a few special interests over Wisconsin's call for economic development and America's need for more affordable, homegrown energy that can help accelerate the long process of weaning the country from foreign oil."
AWEA said it remains committed to the wind energy industry in Wisconsin, and will work with the legislature to remedy the situation as quickly as possible, in order for the wind industry to continue to fuel economic growth that wind power projects and component manufacturing have already begun in the state.
Inside look at USFWS Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance: Service promises continued collaboration, regional plans in 5-7 years
AWEA Siting Workshop attendees got an inside look into the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) perspective on the formation of the recently released draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance—a permitting approach that could slow and seriously hamper wind power project development.
While providing an overview of the draft document, Jerome E. Ford, deputy assistant director of the USFWS Migratory Bird Program, explained that the guidelines are intended to provide interpretative recommendations for the development of Eagle Conservation Plans (ECP) specific to the issuance of eagle programmatic take permits in order for wind facilities to comply with the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act (GBEPA). In short, according to Ford, the Guidance is a voluntary set of principles to reduce risks to birds.
Despite the fact that the Department of the Interior seemingly overlooked two-and-half years of consensus-building recommendations generated by the Federal Advisory Committee, consisting of wildlife groups, states, tribes, and the wind industry, Ford maintained that the five-tier approach of the guidance originated from that process. He stressed that the USFWS is very interested in further collaborating with the industry not only to protect eagles, but also to continue to develop wind projects. Ford encouraged public comment during the 90-day period open through May 19, 2011.
Edison Mission Energy closes $255 million refinancing for wind energy portfolio
Edison Mission Energy closed a $255 million debt refinancing for its Viento 2 wind energy portfolio, which includes three separate wind projects in three states.
The transaction increased the overall financing by approximately $85 million and on improved pricing, terms and conditions. The wind projects that comprise the Viento 2 portfolio are the 161-MW Wildorado project in Texas, the 120-MW San Juan Mesa project in New Mexico and the 81-MW Elkhorn Ridge project in Nebraska.
The refinancing package consists of a $227 million term loan facility, and ancillary credit facilities of $28 million for debt service reserve, working capital and project letter of credit requirements. The refinancing has a tenor of 10 years. The original financing for the portfolio was closed in 2009.
ITC’s approved Michigan transmission project to carry wind power
Michigan regulators on February 25 granted ITC Holdings Corp. an expedited siting certificate for the transmission company’s $510 million Michigan Thumb Loop project, which will transform a network of 120-kV lines along the thumb of Michigan into a mostly high-voltage, 345-kV loop to move wind resources.
The Michigan Public Service Commission's (MPSC) unanimous approval allows ITC to construct roughly 140 miles of double-circuit, 345-kV line and four new substations in the Thumb region. The MPSC decision marks its first approval of an expedited siting certificate since the state's Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act was enacted in 2008 and later established the Thumb part of the state as a primary wind resource zone.
Supply chain connections
WebCore Technologies, LLC announced recently that its TYCOR W fiber reinforced composite sandwich core products have earned a certificate of approval by Germanischer Lloyd for use in the manufacture of composite wind turbine blades. GL an international design certification agency for the wind industry. In addition to TYCOR W’s family of products for wind blades, the certification includes the design and manufacture of TYCOR W products at WebCore’s Miamisburg, Ohio manufacturing facility.
Diving deep into the dirt: Siting Workshop wrap
This week’s 2011 AWEA Siting Workshop provided an opportunity for wind power experts to gather not only to discuss the pressing siting issues for the industry, but also to share practical experiences in confronting and overcoming current obstacles.
The events in Kansas City kicked off with a Siting 101 pre-conference seminar designed to provide new attendees an introduction to the complex issues that arise through the intersection of wind project development (e.g., planning, permitting, and financing) and the surrounding environment.
“We really wanted to get deeper in the dirt,” said Program Chair Blayne Gunderman, an environmental manager with BP Energy. “Although we wanted to provide a chance for new siting professionals to get up to speed, we also wanted to hit on the tough issues and elevate the dialogue to a higher level while providing real lessons learned in the field that attendees can take back to their companies.”
In keeping with the program chairs’ goals, session content honed in on some of the most real and significant siting issues facing wind energy project development and operation, such as interaction with various species of wildlife like birds and bats, radar and airspace conflicts, compliance with various government agencies, public land and cultural resource policies, and communicating on the local level to overcome misconceptions about sound and health.
Speakers covered best practices in environmental impact assessments, bat acoustic monitoring efforts, permitting in accordance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), habitat conservation plans, and community engagement. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the new Department of Defense (DoD) Energy Siting Clearinghouse and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) highlighted technological advances and progress in collaborating with the industry. One of the more spirited yet timely panels featured U.S. Fish & Wildlife Representative Jerome Ford who spoke to the recently released draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance from the Department of the Interior. (See related article.)
“Sometimes it’s easy to feel under siege in dealing with siting challenges,” said AWEA director of regulatory affairs Tom Vinson, “but there are also so many opportunities to make progress and move forward. We know we are fortunate to work in legacy jobs that contribute to a better future for our planet and our children. Wind power is unquestionably a key solution to the critical energy, environmental and economic challenges America is confronting today.”
A new New Deal: how wind works for rural electric cooperatives
A new New Deal: how wind works for rural electric cooperatives
By Anyah Dembling
As the country digs itself out of the depths of the recession, Congress and the President are still seeking ways to stimulate job creation and economic opportunities across America, and renewable energy continues to be a part of the solution. With a history rooted in innovative remedies to generate the New Deal-era goals of “Relief, Recovery and Reform” after economic crisis, rural electric cooperatives are ripe for partnering with wind power and reaping its benefits.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) annual TechAdvantage Conference & Expo—the premier event for utility co-ops to strategize on cost reduction, reliability enhancement, and service improvements—kicks off March 8 in Orlando, Fla. Given the great potential for partnership between wind power and co-ops, AWEA director of business development Jeff Anthony will attend and present on how wind power works for rural electric cooperatives.
“Some of the best wind resources in the country are blowing through rural co-ops’ lands,” said Anthony. “We’ll have a presence at the show to answer questions about why these utilities should harness that wind. For the last two years wind power costs have dropped and its long-term power purchase agreement contracts offer customers a price hedge against volatile fuel prices.”
Once a wind farm is erected, co-op consumers could potentially also benefit from the tax revenue flowing back into landowners’ pockets in the form of lease payments. Providing consumers more choices in the form of a diversified energy resource portfolio is on par with what Americans want: 89% of voters polled believe that increasing the amount of energy the nation gets from wind is a good idea.
“Co-ops were born out of the need to address economic challenges, and it seems like a perfect match that—75 years later—wind power stands ready to join these utilities and reinvigorate the towns and communities they serve,” Anthony said.
More information on the NRECA TechAdvantage Conference & Expo can be found here and the AWEA booth will be #415 at the show.
Anyah Dembling is associate editor & speechwriter at AWEA.
Around the Industry
Public Power Wind Award nominations open
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America program in partnership with the American Public Power Association (APPA) is calling for nominations for the 2011 Public Power Wind Award.
For the ninth year, the honor, bestowed on an APPA member, will recognize one consumer-owned utility for its leadership in wind power. Consumer-owned utility members can nominate themselves or other systems, at no cost, by April 4.
The 2011 honoree will be announced at the APPA National Conference in Washington, D.C. in June. Last year, both Nebraska Public Power District and Princeton Municipal Light Department were co-recipients of the award.
Register now for WINDPOWER 2011
There is no other place to learn more about wind energy than at WINDPOWER, and from now until March 28, you can save on this must-attend event.
Education – Speakers Announced
The educational programming at WINDPOWER 2011 Conference & Exhibition is unparalleled. With 50 educational sessions organized into 5 daily, concurrent tracks covering 13 topical areas - this event has something for everyone. Featuring speakers from varying backgrounds, representing a cross section of expertise in the wind industry, the education sessions offer unmatched access to the thought leaders of our industry. See the detailed program agenda.
Networking – Special Events
WINDPOWER brings together wind industry professionals, experts, leaders, decision makers, and researchers every year. This event is your opportunity to meet new client prospects, represent your company, and learn the ins-and-outs of the wind business.
In addition to everything else, WINDPOWER also has a number of special events where attendees will strengthen and grow budding connections, spend quality time with staff, colleagues, and industry peers, and quite simply have a lot of fun. Information regarding these events is available on the event website and more information will be coming soon. Participate in one, many or all of these special events:
Exhibition – Indoor and Outdoor Exhibition
WINDPOWER is also home to the largest wind focused exhibit hall in the world. Simply walking the exhibit floor will expose attendees to the latest industry products and services from manufacturing leaders, component suppliers, and other wind energy organizations. For those attendees wishing to make the most of this phenomenal networking opportunity, use the interactive exhibit floorplan to map out the best route to visit current customers, vendors, or potentials.
Have you considered exhibiting? It's not too late! Learn More.
See you in Anaheim!
Get exclusive tour of the platinum LEED certified Clinton Presidential Center at Supply Chain Workshop
AWEA Wind Power Supply Chain Workshop
March 24 > Little Rock. AR
Register online. Be sure to reserve your hotel room before Saturday, March 5.
In addition to participating in the exceptional supply chain educational program, attendees are also invited and encouraged to participate in a special after-hours tour of The Clinton Presidential Center following the workshop networking reception on March 23 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm at the Peabody.
The Clinton Presidential Center received a Platinum LEED® Certification for Existing Buildings from the United States Green Building Council in 2007, and is the only federally maintained facility to receive this recognition.
Please join us for this special tour!
Link-In to the Domestic Supply Chain
There are more than 8,000 components parts in a large-scale wind turbine, representing a wide range of opportunities for your company – including:
- Yaw and Pitch Systems
- Blades and Composites
- Electrical Systems
- Control Systems
Attend the AWEA Wind Power Supply Chain Workshop to hear from leading experts what you need to know to enter and remain in the wind energy supply chain.
View the detailed program agenda or visit the workshop homepage for more information.
Or register now to secure your space at this unique event!
MEMBERS: Sign-Up for the Special, Co-Located Transportation & Logistics Summit
Wednesday, March 23
The AWEA Transportation & Logistics Working Group will be hosting this special event that will explore many issues facing the industry related to transportation and logistical services, and will include dialog and planning activities to move this sector of the industry ahead in 2011. Only AWEA business members and invited guests are eligible to attend.
For more information, please contact Tom Maves at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring cleaning at the AWEA Store!
It’s time to make room for new merchandise! Select items are 30% off, and 2011 AWEA Calendars are 50% off! Shop early for the best selection!
Be green when you wear green! Our 100% organic cotton turbine tee will be the topic of conversation at your St. Pat’s celebration! Get one for yourself and extras for your friends!
WINDPOWER 2011 is May 22-25! All WINDPOWER 2010 Conference Materials are on Clearance!
We have to make room for all the new WINDPOWER 2011 merchandise, so the WINDPOWER 2010 products must go! Full Conference, Pre-Conference 101 and 102, and HR and Supply Chain materials are ALL priced to sell! Build your library, share with your staff, or just learn about wind energy! At these prices, you can get the whole set!
AWEA outreach: the weeks ahead
AWEA staff members participate in high-level industry events to ensure that the newest and most accurate information about the wind energy industry gains maximum visibility. In the next two weeks, AWEA will have a presence at the following events:
- Event: Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America
- Details: March 8-10, 2011; Tampa, FL
- AWEA Participation: Denise Bode, CEO, will participate as a panelist on the plenary session, “A Roundtable with the Industry Associations” on the 9th. Jeff Anthony, Director of Business Development will provide the “Wind Energy Industry Market and Policy Overview” presentation to kick off the Wind Power track and Michael Goggin, Manager of Transmission Policy, will participate in a panel discussion on the “Wind Technology Overview” on the 9th. Additionally, on the 10th, Jessica Isaacs, Senior Policy Analyst, will present on wind power manufacturing opportunities in the U.S. during the session on supporting wind growth. AWEA is co-sponsoring the event and will have an exhibit booth at the conference.
- Event: NRECA TechAdvantage 2011 Conference & Expo
- Details: March 8-11, 2011; Orlando, FL
- AWEA Participation: Jeff Anthony, Director of Business Development, will present a poster on “How Wind Power Works for Rural Electric Co-ops.” AWEA is co-sponsoring a networking reception for utility executives and will have an exhibit booth at the conference.
- Event: European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Annual Event 2011
- Details: March 14-17, 2011; Brussels, Belgium
- AWEA Participation: Denise Bode, CEO, will participate as a panelist on the World Wide Wind session about the North American wind power market on the 15th. AWEA is co-sponsoring the event and will have an exhibit booth at the conference.
Volume 29, Issue 1424
|Wind Energy Weekly is a publication of the American Wind Energy Association and a service to its Members.
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