Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 2012 summary of Wind Energy News

Wind Generation Sets New Records in Texas, Spain
The past few weeks have seen more new wind-generation records in Texas and Spain, two areas where the clean-energy source is providing a growing share of electricity production. Read more.
AWEA: U.S. wind power installations up 52% over 2011 levels in Q1
New wind power installations in the first quarter were the highest for that period since 2009, as companies pushed to complete wind projects before potential expiration of the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit at the end of the year, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The U.S. added 1,695 megawatts of wind power capacity in the first three months of 2012, up 52% from 1,118 MW during the same period in 2011, AWEA said. "The last five years have been marked by unprecedented policy stability, and in response wind power has delivered," AWEA CEO Denise Bode said. SNL Interactive (free content) (5/2), (tiered subscription model) (5/4), (5/3)
Fossil fuel-backed think tanks plan to discredit wind power
Watchdog group the Checks and Balances Project found a memo from a senior fellow of the conservative think tank American Tradition Institute suggesting that oil-and-natural-gas backed think tanks were planning a national campaign against wind power. The memo outlined a nationwide PR campaign to undermine wind projects and influence federal policy on wind power, the CBP said. National Journal/Influence Alley (5/9)
Report: EU may phase out tax supports for solar, wind power
EU officials are considering a plan to phase out the region's tax incentives for solar and wind power, according to newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, citing a strategy paper that Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger is slated to present next month. The EU must reduce the tax credits for renewable energy because overcapacity is driving down prices, the paper showed. Bloomberg Businessweek (5/19)
Energetx Composites starts blade production, creates jobs in Mich.
Energetx Composites has started manufacturing the 150-foot-long blades that are part of the company's first major order from a wind turbine supplier, said company President Bob Slikkers. The company is investing more than $5 million in machinery and equipment at the facility and has hired 60 workers, with plans to add up to 60 more in the coming year, Slikkers said. This past week, the Holland City Council agreed to give Energetx a long-term tax credit that would allow the company to save almost $122,000 on its taxes through 2016. The Grand Rapids Press (Mich.) (5/21)
ZF Wind Power to increase workforce at Ga. gearbox factory
Gearbox maker ZF Wind Power is planning to hire at least 100 new workers for its factory in Gainesville, Ga., in anticipation of rising demand for wind turbines. ZF Wind opened the $98 million factory last September. The facility currently employs 150 workers. American City Business Journals/Atlanta/AtlanTech blog (5/25)
Gearbox supplier remains optimistic about U.S. wind market
Wisconsin-based Gearbox Express, which repairs and remanufactures gearboxes for wind turbines, is optimistic about its prospects despite the uncertainty over the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit. "From our perspective, there are over 26,000 megawatt-class wind turbines already installed, and that's really our market," said CEO Bruce Neumiller. "If they stop installing turbines next year, we're still OK with that. Obviously we'd still like the industry to grow, but there's a huge installed base already." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (tiered subscription model) (5/14)
Sandia, partners to open wind turbine research center in Texas
Sandia National Laboratories has partnered with Texas Tech University, Vestas Wind Systems and Group NIRE to develop a state-of-the-art wind turbine research facility in Lubbock, Texas. The Scaled Wind Farm Technology Facility is scheduled to go online in October, said Sandia spokeswoman Stephanie Holinka. (tiered subscription model) (5/9)
Siemens' 6MW wind turbine to undergo offshore testing in the U.K.
Siemens and Dong Energy are preparing to install a pair of Siemens' 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines at the first of four locations identified by the U.K. Crown Estate for pilot testing of new offshore-wind technologies. Construction of the land-based segment of the project is slated to begin next month, and the companies hope to begin generating power by the end of the year. (tiered subscription model) (5/18)
Construction under way at massive turbine-testing facility in S.C.
Choate Construction has started pouring the concrete foundations on what is expected to become the world's biggest testing facility for wind turbine drivetrains. The $98 million facility at the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston, S.C., is scheduled to begin operating its first test stand in early 2013, while the second test stand is due for completion in the spring of 2013. A group led by Clemson University will operate the facility upon completion. (tiered subscription model) (5/11)
GE tops growing competition in U.S. wind turbine segment, data show
General Electric is still the biggest provider of wind turbines in the U.S., but other companies are closing in, according to industry data. GE turbines account for 40%, or 18,873 megawatts, of U.S. wind power capacity. Vestas Wind Systems and Siemens account for 19% and 11% of the market, respectively. Greentech Media (5/1)
China: U.S. support for renewable-energy projects violated WTO rules
U.S. government assistance for six renewable-energy projects broke World Trade Organization rules, according to a ruling from China's Commerce Ministry. The announcement came after U.S. trade officials released the results of an investigation showing that Chinese manufacturers were selling solar cells and panels at prices below the cost of producing them. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (5/24)
Report: China must rethink grid to meet clean-energy goals
China won't achieve its carbon-emission-reduction goals unless it overhauls its power grid, which is heavily geared toward coal and large hydropower projects, according to a report from the Energy Transition Research Institute. "They are in serious danger of losing the battle to meet their carbon and energy-intensity goals," said William Chandler, the institute's research director. "Without strong new demand-side measures and strong new regulatory policies on the grid itself, they're not going to make it," he added. (5/16)
Report: China starts development of 1,373-mile transmission line
China is developing a transmission line that will carry wind and solar power across 1,373 miles, according to a report. The 800-kilovolt line is expected to have the world's biggest capacity upon completion in 2014, the report said. China Daily (Beijing)/Xinhua (5/14)
GE to spend $250M for new R&D facility in Brazil
General Electric is planning to spend $250 million for a new research-and-development center in Rio de Janeiro. The company will use the facility to develop low-carbon energy systems, among others, said Ken Herd, GE's head of global research center in Brazil. The center is slated to open in the second half of 2013. Fox Business/Dow Jones Newswires (5/24)
Bingaman: Clean-energy plan is unlikely to advance this year
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said it is unlikely that his proposed clean-energy standard will gain traction in Congress this year. "Because of the general lack of consensus ... our ability to enact new energy legislation will probably not include far-reaching proposals like a Clean Energy Standard," Bingaman said in a prepared remarks for a Wednesday speech. (5/24)
NYT Editorial: Cutting funds to renewables would worsen addiction to oil
Efforts in Congress to repeal several renewable-energy tax incentives would worsen the country's dependence on imported oil, according to The New York Times editorial board. If Congress allows the tax incentives to expire this year or in 2013, "federal support for renewables will plummet from $44 billion in 2009 to $11 billion in 2014," the editorial notes. "If the Republicans care about reducing dependency on foreign oil, this is not the way to do it." The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (5/27)
Iowa governor: PTC, RPS are good for economy, national security
Two recent editorials in The Wall Street Journal neglected to mention the economic and national security benefits of the wind-energy Production Tax Credit and state renewable portfolio standards, writes Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. The PTC and Iowa's renewable-power commitments have brought in billions of dollars of investment, generated jobs and helped wind-related businesses prosper in the state, Branstad notes. Those policies have turned the wind power industry into "an American success story that is helping us build our manufacturing base, create jobs, lower energy costs and strengthen our energy security," Branstad adds. The Wall Street Journal (5/14)
Bode: Lack of long-term energy policy disrupts growth
A recent report from three leading think tanks was right to blame the lack of a long-term U.S. energy policy for the boom-and-bust cycles that plague the renewable-energy industry, writes American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode. The U.S. needs a consistent energy policy to "seize a foothold in the new growth industry of wind equipment manufacturing and keep jobs from being outsourced to other countries," Bode adds. In the meantime, the U.S. needs to extend the wind-energy Production Tax Credit to "avoid serious harm to industries that can contribute to that long-term policy," Bode notes. National Journal/Energy Experts Blog (5/14)
Poll: Most Americans willing to pay more for clean energy if needed
Most Americans support President Barack Obama's plan to obtain at least 80% of the country's power from clean-energy sources by 2035, as long it would add no more than 13% to their utility bills, according to a report in Nature Climate Change. However, Obama's clean-energy standard would only clear both houses of Congress if it added no higher than 5% to power costs, the survey showed. New Scientist (5/13)
Gamesa pulls plug on U.S. offshore wind project, citing uncertainty
Gamesa has scrapped its plan to install a 5-megawatt prototype wind turbine off the coast of Virginia, citing policy uncertainty and concerns over permitting and market conditions. The company will instead move forward with a similar project off Spain's Canary Islands. "We thought the market would be ready, but there are a number of conditions that have prevented a commercial market from being here," said spokesman David Rosenberg. Bloomberg Businessweek (5/7), The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)/The Associated Press (5/7), American City Business Journals/Philadelphia (5/7)
Milwaukee mayor slams Gov. Walker on wind power
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett criticized Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for hindering the growth of wind power in the state. Barrett is seeking the Democratic nomination in a gubernatorial recall general election. "The governor tried to kill the wind industry here and as a result, we lost seven projects with about a $1 billion financial impact to the state," said Barrett. "I believe in clean energy and I will fight for it as governor," Barrett added. Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) (5/3)
Report finds inadequate funding for U.S. energy grid
Total U.S. investment in next-generation energy solutions such as the smart grid is forecast to exceed $560 billion by 2020, but that won't be enough to protect the nation's infrastructure against service interruptions and capacity bottlenecks, according to a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, which identified an estimated $107 billion spending shortfall. The ASCE says closing the funding gap would not only lessen the probability of brownouts and blackouts but also save jobs and boost economic competitiveness. Smart Grid News (4/27)


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  2. It's interesting to hear that Texas and Spain are setting wind generation records. With the advancements in wind energy technology and wind turbine blade manufacturing, we should continue to see records broken year over year.

  3. Hi there! great stuff here, I'm glad that I drop by your page and found this very interesting. Thanks for posting. Hoping to read something like this in the future! Keep it up!

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