Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wind Energy News Round-Up - 1st half 2013

Offshore WINDPOWER: Move forward with the U.S. offshore industry
U.S. offshore wind energy development is picking up speed and momentum, based on recent, significant advancements by federal agencies, educational institutions, and private businesses. Attend AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition to explore these advancements, meet federal and state agency reps, and make crucial business connections for forging strategic partnerships. Mark your calendars: The event takes place Oct. 22 and 23 in Providence, R.I. Registration will be open soon -- get more information.

Report: 2012 was a boom year for wind power
More wind turbines were installed globally in 2012 than ever before, bringing the world's wind power capacity to 3% of global electricity demand, according to a report by the World Wind Energy Association. Global wind power installations reached 45 gigawatts in 2012, taking the world's wind power capacity to 282 GW, the report stated. The U.S. and China were at the forefront of wind power investments last year, adding 13 GW of capacity each, the report showed. Deutsche Welle (Germany) (5/16)

Global wind installations reached 44,000 MW in 2012
Global wind installations last year hit a record high of 44,000 megawatts in new capacity despite policy uncertainty in leading wind markets, boosting the world's overall wind capacity to more than 280,000 MW, writes J. Matthew Roney of the Earth Policy Institute. The wind industry in the U.S. installed new facilities with capacity of 13,100 MW last year, raising the country's total wind capacity to 60,000 MW, he writes. New wind installations around the world are expected to decline to about 40,000 MW this year, Roney says, citing data from Navigant Research. Sustainablog/Earth Policy Institute (4/3), Energy Matters (Australia) (4/4)

AWEA: U.S. led the way in new wind projects in 2012
The U.S. became the foremost destination for new wind projects in 2012, according to the annual market report of the American Wind Energy Association. Wind power accounted for more than 40% of newly installed capacity in the U.S. last year, surpassing natural gas, which accounted for 32%, AWEA said. "We saw an uptick in every region of the country for new installations in 2012. ... Wind is making a big mainstream impact across the country," said Emily Williams, senior policy analyst for AWEA. (4/11)

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Report: Global clean-energy spending shrank in Q1
Global investments in clean energy dropped to $40.6 billion in the first quarter, down 22% from the same period in 2012 and the lowest quarterly total since 2009, according to data gathered by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The report attributed the decline to reduced government incentives and financing difficulties in China and Brazil. In the U.S., investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy-smart technologies dropped 54% in the quarter, compared with 15% in China and 25% in Europe, the report stated. Bloomberg (4/14)

Report: GE ties with Vestas as top turbine supplier in 2012
General Electric and Vestas Wind Systems were tied as the biggest suppliers of wind turbines in 2012, with each accounting for about 5.7 gigawatts of turbines, ending Vestas' 12-year run as sole market leader, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Siemens came in third, followed by Enercon and Suzlon Energy, the report showed. The wind-energy Production Tax Credit resulted in a record 13.6 gigawatts of new capacity last year in the U.S., where GE and Vestas sold 96% and 40% of their turbines, respectively, BNEF said. Bloomberg Businessweek(4/18)

China overtook the U.S. in private clean-energy spending in 2012
China reclaimed the top spot in private clean-energy investments last year, according to a report by Pew Charitable Trusts and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Private investors poured $65 billion into Chinese clean-energy projects last year, up 20% from 2011, thanks mainly to consistent policies, the report showed. The U.S. fell to the No. 2 spot, with $35.6 billion, down 37% from the year before, the report stated. CNNMoney (4/17)

Opinion: A national renewables standard would be good for America
The U.S. is in danger of lagging further behind China and other countries in clean energy unless it adopts a national renewable portfolio standard, writes Billy Parish, president of clean-energy investment platform Mosaic. California has set a 33% renewable-energy goal by 2020, while China's goal is 15% by 2020. President Barack Obama has urged Congress to adopt an 80% standard by 2035, but no legislation promoting the plan has been put forth, Parish writes. A study found that "the average American would be willing to pay $162 more per year in energy costs for a standard that would get the country to 80 percent clean energy by 2035," he writes. The Christian Science Monitor (7/15)

Concerted campaign targets state renewable energy standards
Forty-two different efforts are making their way through legislatures and courts in more than 24 states to undermine or dismantle renewable portfolio standards, according to the North Carolina Solar Center. "The danger of some of these [RPS laws] being repealed is a little bit greater this year than it was last year," said Justin Barnes, a senior policy analyst at the center. Observers say the biggest proponent of the anti-RPS efforts is the American Legislative Exchange Council, whose members include some of the world's largest fossil-fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Koch Industries, as well as Peabody Energy, the country's largest coal producer. which believes that it is not government's role to promote such standards. (3/19)

ALEC targets states' renewable portfolio standards
Renewable energy supporters should guard against the American Legislative Exchange Council's efforts to undermine or dismantle state-level renewable portfolio standards, according to Grant Smith, a senior energy policy analyst to the Civil Society Institute. ALEC employs a "boilerplate report that uses bogus analysis to question the cost and economic impact of renewable energy standards," Smith writes. "Renewable power is being attacked not because it has failed or is too expensive but because it works and has become a threat financially to fossil fuel and nuclear interests." The Deming Headlight (N.M.) (3/12)

Siemens accounted for most of new offshore wind turbines in first half in Europe
The European Wind Energy Association reported that 1,045 megawatts of offshore wind capacity was added in the region in the first half of 2013, up from 523.2 MW in the same period in 2012. Siemens took the lion's share with 83%, followed by Bard Holding and REpower with 10% and 7%, respectively, EWEA said. The U.K. accounted for 513.5 MW of the new installations, followed by Denmark with 352.8 MW and Germany with 105 MW, EWEA said. Bloomberg (7/12)

Floating wind turbine in Maine to remain in the water through winter
The test deployment of the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's prototype floating wind turbine in Castine Harbor has been extended through May 2014 to gauge its performance in winter conditions. The VolturnUS turbine was originally planned to stay in the harbor only until June, after which it was to be transferred to a site near Monhegan Island for a few weeks before being taken off the water for the winter. The VolturnUS team is putting together a proposal to get ratepayer support for the project. Bangor Daily News (Maine) (free registration) (7/14)

At least 100 more workers sought for Vestas wind-tower plant in Colo.
Vestas Wind Systems is looking to hire at least 100 more workers for its wind-tower manufacturing plant in Pueblo, Colo., citing an uptick in demand. If domestic demand fully recovers, Vestas could add more jobs by the end of 2013, according to Steve Nawrocki, president of the Pueblo City Council. The company planned to hold a job fair today at a community college in Pueblo. The Pueblo Chieftain (Colo.) (7/9), American City Business Journals/Denver (7/9)

Repowering gives new life, extra power to old wind sites
By 2020, swapping aging wind turbines with more powerful modern units will have raised annual electricity generation at refurbished sites from 1,524 GWh to 8,221 GWh. Read more.

Opening ceremony is held in U.K. for world's largest offshore wind farm
An official opening event attended by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron was held Thursday for the London Array, the world's biggest offshore wind farm. The 175-turbine, 630-megawatt facility generates enough power for about 500,000 homes. The wind farm is owned by Dong Energy, E.ON and Masdar. Forbes (7/4)

Feds to hold 13 hearings in 4 states on transmission-line project
Thirteen public hearings have been scheduled by federal regulators to gather input on a proposed TransWest Express transmission line that would deliver electricity from Wyoming wind farms to customers in Arizona, California and Nevada. The public hearings will be held from mid-August through early September in cities across Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah. The Monterey County Herald (Calif.)/The Associated Press (7/3)

Fractures on Siemens turbines unrelated to blade design, company says (U.K.) (7/4)

Commentary: PTC isn't causing "negative pricing"
Exelon's contention that the wind-energy Production Tax Credit is causing "negative pricing" in the electricity market doesn't hold up, according to Gabe Elsner of the Checks and Balances Project. Analysis by the Center for American Progress showed that wind power set the price in Exelon's service area just 0.5% of the time in 2012, Elsner writes. Exelon's call to repeal the PTC is motivated by profit and the desire to weaken the wind industry, he writes. The Hill/Congress Blog (7/4)

Nordex to shut down Ark. wind turbine factory
Nordex USA cited "global overcapacity and the continued uncertainty" in the U.S. market for its decision to close its wind turbine plant in Jonesboro, Ark., once it has met existing orders. The plant's closure will mark the end of Nordex's manufacturing on the continent. "We are reacting to the weakened demand from the U.S. market, brought on by the unpredictable extensions of the Production Tax Credit, and the resulting low utilization rate of our U.S. assembly plant," said Jurgen Zeschky, CEO of parent company Nordex SE. Arkansas Business (6/28)

EIA: Nearly 25% of the world's power will come from renewables by 2018
The International Energy Agency said the world's renewable-energy capacity will grow 40% to take nearly 25% of the electricity market by 2018, with developing economies accounting for most of the increase. By 2016, renewable energy will outdistance natural gas and nuclear, the IEA said. However, predictable policies and rules are needed for the projected growth to happen, the agency said. Reuters (6/26)

French group working on vertical-axis floating wind turbine
France's Eolfi is developing a prototype vertical-axis floating wind turbine. The Spinfloat turbine will feature variable-pitch blades and will be bigger than the 2-megawatt unit under development by Nenuphar, Technip and EDF Energies Nouvelles, Eolfi said. (U.K.) (6/24)

Minn. wind-power firm seeks bankruptcy protection
Renewable Energy SD, a company sued by the Minnesota attorney general's office for allegedly selling faulty wind turbines to farmers, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. "The bankruptcy filing was unavoidable because the company was out of business and had no way to fund its defense in multiple court cases," said Michael McGrath, an attorney for the company. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (6/24)

Feds to open first U.S. testing center for clean-energy grid integration
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Department of Energy in August will open the country's first research center focused on clean-energy grid integration in Golden, Colo. The 182,500-square-foot Energy Systems Integration Facility is dedicated to "overcoming generation, transmission, distribution and end-use challenges to support a cleaner, affordable and more secure U.S. energy mix," the NREL and the department said. SNL Financial (free content) (6/20)

REpower remains focused on 6M turbine models for offshore use
REpower Systems is planning to carry on with its 6M 6-megawatt offshore wind turbine model through 2020, said Norbert Giese, the company's vice president for offshore development. The company is not considering to make bigger turbines despite moves by its competitors to build bigger machines for offshore use. "We firmly believe the 6MW platform will be the platform for this decade," Giese said. (U.K.) (6/18)

Analysis: Op-ed's claims about wind don't hold true
An op-ed written by Jay Lehr, science director of the Heartland Institute, had several factual inaccuracies about wind energy, according to an analysis by Max Greenberg. One such claim is that wind can only be a "niche provider of U.S. electricity needs." According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind was the top source of new capacity installed in the fourth quarter of 2012. Further, a study published in Nature Climate Change found that "[t]here is enough power in Earth's winds to be a primary source of near-zero-emission electric power as the global economy continues to grow," Greenberg writes. Media Matters for America (6/18)

Report: Renewables can supply all of Latin America's power
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean could get all of their power from renewable sources, but their governments must do more to attract investors, according to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank. Renewable-energy growth in the region is hampered by "myths" about development costs, said Walter Vergara, IDB's chief of sustainable energy and climate change. "I think the momentum is changing. That is not to say everything will change tomorrow, but there is a global momentum based on the fact that the region understands that there are many advantages" to renewable energy, Vergara said. (6/18)

Democrats criticize GOP-led plan to halve renewables spending
A Republican-led plan in the House Appropriations Committee to halve the Department of Energy's budget for renewable energy has drawn criticism from the panel's Democrats. "With global carbon emissions at record highs and extreme weather events caused by global warming happening with increased frequency and deadly force, I see no justification for such drastic cuts to investments in renewable energy that decrease our carbon footprint," said Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. Democrats also criticized a plan to slash the funding of the Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy program. The Hill/On The Money blog (6/18)

Report: Global wind capacity to surpass 300 GW by year's end
Installed wind power capacity worldwide will top more than 300 gigawatts by the end of 2013, equal to 114 nuclear reactors, according to the European Wind Energy Association and the Global Wind Energy Council. The projected increase is modest compared to a year ago, when global capacity stood at more than 280 GW, industry data showed. Europe still leads the world in wind power, but growth in the region has slowed due to the economic downturn, the data showed. Reuters (6/14)

Vestas sees major demand growth in emerging markets
Vestas Wind Systems expects "significant growth" in emerging wind power markets such as Africa and eastern Europe, while demand in mature markets weakens. "Ninety percent of the growth of energy consumption in the next 25 years will happen in emerging markets," said Juan Araluce, chief sales officer at Vestas. "It makes a lot of sense to sell our products into countries where they need that power and are currently paying higher prices." Bloomberg (6/14)

Court rules in favor of FERC decision to allow out-of-state energy
On June 7, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's 2011 decision to approve Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator's renewable energy program that required paying for new power lines to make out-of-state renewable energy such as wind power accessible in the state. "Michigan cannot, without violating the commerce clause of Article I of the Constitution, discriminate against out-of-state renewable energy," Judge Richard Posner wrote in the decision. (free content) (6/11)

Report: More factories are needed for U.K. wind farm components
The U.K. needs to build up to 32 new factories to produce the components for the offshore wind warms that the government intends to build under its renewable energy plans, according to a report from RenewableUK. Only 10 factories so far have been built or are being planned and the construction of more factories would open new jobs for tens of thousands of workers, the report said. "If we don't seize it, the large scale offshore wind supply chain factories of the future, making the blades, towers and foundations that we'll need to retain the UK's global lead in offshore wind will be sited elsewhere," said Maria McCaffery, the group's CEO. The Guardian (London) (6/12)

Ala. county official pens ordinance forbidding wind projects
The director of Planning and Zoning Department in Baldwin County, Ala., has proposed an ordinance that would prohibit wind farms producing more than 50 kilowatts of energy. The measure would affect a wind project proposed by APEX Wind Energy, although the director said he also has drafted an ordinance that would allow for such projects. "It's a surprise to me that in an area that takes such pride in property rights the county government would take steps to prevent the rights of citizens who choose to participate in a project and draw the economic benefit of that participation," said Wade Barnes, a development manager for APEX. (Alabama) (6/11)

Report: RPS Provides Economic Benefits at "Little or No" Cost
Trailblazing the renewable energy frontier, in 1983 Iowa became the first state to implement a renewable portfolio standard. Though modest -- the RPS only required MidAmerican and Alliant Energy to procure 105 megawatts of renewable generation capacity -- the policy positioned Iowa to become a renewable energy leader. Since then, 29 states and the District of Columbia have followed suit -- and gained the economic benefits. Read more.

Wind turbine bearing sensors enter clean energy competition
Sensors developed by students at Purdue University designed to track bearing performance in wind turbines and prevent costly repairs will be part of the Department of Energy's National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition this week. The sensors detect when a bearing is approaching failure. The team won state and regional honors for the competition. The Indianapolis Star (tiered subscription model) (6/8)

Sen. Vitter questions offshore wind power lease
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., accused the White House of favoring renewable-energy companies over oil firms after data from the Department of the Interior showed that wind power developer NRG Bluewater Wind paid less for its offshore lease than what an oil and natural gas producer would have. Jim Lanard, president of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, said the economics of offshore wind and oil and gas production are very different, and it makes little sense to compare them. "If the leases for oil and gas included the external costs to the public -- health care, climate change -- we'd see a different calculation here," Lanard said. SNL Financial (free content) (6/5)

Construction begins on wind turbine testing facility in Texas
The West Texas A&M University and Underwriters Laboratories have started construction on a wind turbine testing facility in Canyon, Texas. The facility is expected to enter service by late fall. WFTV-TV (Orlando, Fla.)/The Associated Press (6/5)

U.S. overtakes China in E&Y's renewables attractiveness index
The U.S. has jumped ahead of China in the 10th edition of Ernst & Young's renewable-energy attractiveness index. Germany, Australia and the U.K. came in third, fourth and fifth, respectively. "Renewable energy has come of age. Today, it's a business imperative and personal prerogative; solar panels appear on homes and offices, biomass plants power factories and hospitals, and wind turbines are now a common sight," said Ben Warren, the index's chief editor. CleanTechnica (6/3)

Canada-based wind tower maker to open factory in S.D.
Canada-based Marmen Energy is planning to open a wind tower manufacturing plant in Brandon, S.D., in the fourth quarter and hire 250 workers by 2014 to work at the facility. Aside from the strategic location of South Dakota, "Brandon and Sioux Falls offer a pro-business climate with engaged political, academic and corporate leaders. Lastly, the entire community is facilitating our integration," said Patrick Pellerin, the company's president. IndustryWeek (5/29)

Vestas unveils new wind blade at Colo. factory
Vestas Wind Systems has unveiled a new, 189-foot wind blade at its factory in Brighton, Colo. The new blade is made of a composite of carbon and glass fibers and designed to operate in areas with low and medium winds. Three of the blades are on their way to Denmark to undergo testing, which should take at least six months, said Bjarne Sandager Nielsen, Vestas senior vice president and head of blades. The Denver Post (5/29)

Mich. wind project provides brisk business for companies
A wind project in Munger, Mich., is helping provide steady income for the Broadwind Towers & Heavy Industries' factory in Manitowoc, Wis., where the project's wind towers are being made, as well as the ferry transporting the tower sections across Lake Michigan. About 280 truckloads of equipment have started heading to the project site, said Pat McCarthy, shore operations vice president of Lake Michigan Carferry Service. The shipments are expected go on through late July or early August. Herald Times Reporter (Manitowoc, Wis.) (tiered subscription model)

U.S. has 13 offshore wind projects in the works
The U.S. has 13 offshore wind projects in 10 states, representing at least 5,100 megawatts of future capacity. Of the 13, three have secured power purchase agreements: The Cape Wind project in Massachusetts, Deepwater Wind's pilot-scale project in Rhode Island and Statoil North America's pilot-scale Hywind project in Maine. Greentech Media (5/23)

NTSB calls for registry of meteorological towers
The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all meteorological towers be listed in a database and clearly marked to improve safety. The board also called on the American Wind Energy Association to amend its handbook on wind projects to mention the potential threat that such towers pose to passing aircraft and encourage developers to make them more visible. General Aviation News (5/23)

Concrete being tested for taller wind turbines
Precast panels and columns of ultra-high strength concrete are being used by engineers at Iowa State University to design taller wind turbines to better withstand stresses. If successful, the concrete turbines would be easier to ship and last longer than their steel counterparts, said Sri Sritharan, an engineering professor at the university. The Republic (Columbus, Ind.)/The Associated Press (5/16)

Scientists divided on theoretical saturation point for wind power
Some scientists are raising concerns that building too many wind turbines near each other will result in an overall decline in wind power output as turbines begin to interfere in one another's airflow. But other researchers say that the theoretical saturation point where turbines begin to undermine their own effectiveness is still billions of turbines away, if it exists at all. The American Wind Energy Association said a wind-power saturation point is the result of "crude theoretical modeling techniques." National Geographic News (5/16)

Wind power effort in Mich. gets boost from new turbine design
An initiative to look into the potential of building a wind farm in Muskegon County, Mich., is getting a boost from Gamesa Energy USA's development of a new wind turbine designed for low and average wind speeds. The G114 turbine is more efficient than current models because its larger blades are able to capture more wind, said Mark Eisenbarth, director of the county's wastewater management system. Gamesa is planning to continue studying the area's wind resources for another six months and then examine the risks posed by wind turbines to wildlife in the area, Eisenbarth said. (Michigan) (free registration) (5/15)

Analysis: U.S. can learn from Germany's renewables drive
The U.S. can learn from the successes of Germany's program to obtain at least 80% of its power from renewable sources by 2050, write Rainer Baake, director of Agora Energiewende, and Jennifer Morgan, director of the Climate and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute. Germany's experience shows the value of a consistent national vision and predictable policies, and how transforming the electricity system "can be done economically and affordably," Baake and Morgan state. Bloomberg/The Grid (5/15)

Energy Dept. to update 2008 wind-power road map
The Department of Energy is planning to re-examine the conclusions of its 2008 study on how to achieve a 20% wind power share of the U.S. energy mix by 2030. The updated report, a draft of which the department aims to complete within "one calendar year," will include a road map for addressing the issues hindering growth, said Jose Zayas, director of the department's wind and water power technologies office. The 2008 report looked at what was feasible with policy certainty and "provided a road map for what needed to be done," said American Wind Energy Association interim CEO Rob Gramlich, noting that the nation's total wind power capacity was just 10 gigawatts at the time. North American Windpower online (5/14)

U.S. wind power interconnection backlog is decreasing, experts say
The interconnection backlog for wind power has shrunk from an estimated 311 gigawatts in 2009 to 136 GW by early this year, thanks to ramped-up construction of wind-friendly power lines, among other factors, the American Wind Energy Association reported. However, wind-transmission bottlenecks still remain, particularly in the western part of the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator's range, experts said. Moreover, policy issues, such as the lack of an adequate cost-allocation formula, could stymie future projects, experts said. (U.K.) (5/1)

Vestas unveils 2 new turbine models for low to moderate winds
Vestas Wind Systems has unveiled two new wind turbines designed for areas with low or moderate winds. The V100 and V110 2-megawatt turbines will give developers a wider choice of potential locations for their projects, the company said. A prototype of the V110 is expected to be installed in Denmark, while production of the two designs is slated to start in the second quarter of 2014, the company said. Bloomberg Businessweek (4/24)

Brazil's wind output exceeded expectations in 2012
Brazil's wind farms posted an average efficiency of 54% last year, higher by 12 percentage points than earlier estimates, said Elbia Melo, president of the Associacao Brasileira de Energia Eolica. Brazil is experiencing a boom in wind-farm development, with the country's total wind capacity to increase to about 6,000 megawatts in 2013, said Melo. The sector's critics "were justified in their concerns that the wind farms won't operate at the level they promised. They're going to operate at a much higher level," Melo added. Bloomberg (4/18)

Political pushback stifles wind-power growth in Wis.
Wisconsin lags behind other Midwestern states in wind-energy development, due to a stream of legislative challenges to the state standard for siting wind turbines, observers say. Several proposals, including one backed by Gov. Scott Walker, to tamper with the standard have so far failed to gain traction, but more are pending in the Wisconsin legislature, including one by state Sen. Frank Lasee that would allow residents to sue wind-power developers for damages. The proposals to alter the rules would "continue to perpetuate uncertainty" in the market, said Chris Kunkle, a representative of wind energy group Wind on the Wires. Midwest Energy News (4/18)

GOP panel members renew attack on tax incentives for wind power
Some Republican lawmakers renewed their criticism of federal incentives for wind energy during a joint hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology subcommittees on Oversight and Energy. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said offshore turbines would be a hazard to air and water traffic. Jim Lanard, president of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, in an interview, downplayed the lawmaker's fears, noting that the biggest air carrier and ferry company in Massachusetts' Nantucket Sound support the proposed Cape Wind project. Other lawmakers questioned the motivation behind the report, since it focused on wind energy tax incentives and not fossil fuels, and that some witnesses had ties to fossil fuel interests. SNL Financial (free content) (4/17)

Calif. wind production reaches highest level in April, firm says
Wind energy production levels in California hit way past the previous record of 3,944 megawatts, surging to 4,196 MW on April 7, according to the California ISO. "With these impressive wind production levels, California is well positioned to meet the 33% by 2020 green power goal," said Steve Berberich, the firm's president and CEO. CleanTechnica (4/17)

IEA: Rapid expansion in low-carbon energy needed to avert disaster
Despite more than $2 trillion in renewable-energy investments since 1990, global greenhouse-gas-reduction efforts have barely made a dent, mainly because coal remains the preferred choice for electricity generation, especially in the rapidly growing Asian economies, according to a report from the International Energy Agency. "The drive to clean up the world's energy system has stalled," said Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA. "We need a rapid expansion in low-carbon energy technologies if we are to avoid a potentially catastrophic warming of the planet," she said. The Wall Street Journal (4/17)

Experts: Computer model advances needed as wind projects grow
The need for more accurate computer modeling to predict wind power output is becoming more apparent, as falling wind turbine costs make it possible for developers to draw up plans for wind projects with up to 1,000 turbines or more, industry experts said. Improved computer modeling for large wind farms would further bring down costs, experts said. "The more accurate the models and the more certain a developer can be, the lower the cost of financing," said Michael Drunsic, a senior consultant at DNV KEMA, which assists companies project output from wind projects. MIT Technology Review online (4/17)

Xcel is top wind-power utility for 9th year running
Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy held its position as the top wind-power-supplying utility in the U.S. for the ninth year running in 2012, according to the American Wind Energy Association's annual market report. Xcel had almost 4,900 megawatts of wind power capacity at the end of last year, enough to supply 1.5 million homes, AWEA said. Minnesota dropped from fifth among states in terms of wind power capacity to seventh in 2012, the report stated. Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.) (4/12)

$6.8B wind-power transmission project in Texas is almost done
A 3,500-mile transmission-line project meant to send wind power from western Texas to consumers in the eastern part of the state is due for completion by the end of 2013, but cost overruns and the slower-than-expected development of new wind farms could trigger renewed criticism of the project. Wind-power supporters, however, say that investing in the project will turn out to be good for the state. "In a decade, we're going to look back at the ... investment as one of the most visionary things we did," said Jeff Clark, executive director of the Wind Coalition. The Dallas Morning News (free content) (4/5)

Opinion: Push for 100% renewables integration gains momentum
The drive to completely replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as wind energy is gaining stronger momentum worldwide as more countries strive to generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources, writes Paul Gipe. Countries like Germany and Denmark, as well as some cities in the U.S., have set 100% renewable energy targets, Gipe adds. Renewable Energy World (4/4)

Japan conducts testing of floating wind turbines
Japan's Environment Ministry is testing an offshore floating wind turbine prototype as part of a project that aims to build a low-cost floating wind farm. The turbine, which has a roughly 72-foot propeller arc diameter and generates 100 kilowatts, started operation in August last year. The Japan Times/Kyodo News (4/4)

Firm unveils robots designed to inspect wind turbines
Wisconsin-based Helical Robotics has unveiled a series of remote-controlled, camera-equipped robots designed to inspect wind turbines. The robots have powerful magnets that allow them to stick to and climb metallic towers. Gizmag (4/3)

Fact Check: Debunking Howard Rich's Errors on Wind
A recent column by Howard Rich simply repackaged many previously refuted myths about wind power. Read more.

Dutch firm develops wind turbine with no moving parts
Architecture firm Mecanoo, in collaboration with researchers from Delft Technical University in the Netherlands, has developed prototypes of a wind-harvesting system that has no mechanical parts. The turbine uses positively charged water particles to create an electric field. The lack of moving parts means it would be virtually silent and cast no flickering shadows, while requiring little maintenance, the company said. Gizmag (4/3)

New wind turbine developed by Wyo. firm uses hydraulic motors
Wyoming-based Winhyne Energy is developing a kind of wind turbine that uses hydraulic motors to compress and pressurize nitrogen gas that would be used to power a generator or stored in pipelines for later use. Winhyne's turbine has a lower cut-in speed than most turbines on the market and can operate in areas with lower-than-average wind speeds, the company said. Winhyne is planning to demonstrate the turbine's capabilities at a pilot project near Guernsey, Wyo., which is slated to go online in late 2014. Star-Tribune (Casper, Wyo.) (tiered subscription model)(3/30)

Firm aims to cut offshore wind project cost with bigger turbines
Denmark's Dong Energy aims to lower the cost of wind energy development in the North Sea from about $243 per megawatt-hour last year to less than $152 per MWh by 2020 with the use of larger, more efficient wind turbines, and with the help of consistent government policies. To achieve its cost-reduction goal, The company plans to shift from 3- to 4-megawatt offshore wind turbines to 8- to 10-MW turbines in 2016 through 2020. "It's very challenging, but we think it's very much a realistic and achievable target," said Benj Sykes, Dong Energy's wind power director for the U.K. (free content)/ClimateWire (3/19)

China OKs more wind projects to hit 100GW targets by 2015
The number of approved wind projects in China has increased as the country aims to install 100 gigawatts of electricity by 2015 and ease the strain on its power grid. The country's National Energy Administration gave approval to 28.7 GW of wind projects this year, an increase from 27.5 GW approved last year, the agency said. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/19)

New grid operating practices offer smooth integration of wind power
Grid operators were able to integrate a record amount of wind power last year without significant cost increases or destabilizing their systems, according to Michael Goggin, manager of transmission policy at the American Wind Energy Association. Critics of renewable energy "have said for years that costs would go up and the grid would fall apart. They have been proven wrong," Goggin said. "Newer research suggests systems can go to 40 percent renewables with no problem, using the very efficient grid operating practices being applied" by the Midwest ISO and others, Goggin said. Greentech Media (3/18)

Report: Global renewables revenue may double by 2022
Global renewable energy revenues could rise to $426 billion by 2022, double the amount today, thanks to robust demand and strong government backing, according to a report from research and consulting firm Clean Edge. "Some argue that America's cheap natural gas will crowd out clean energy technologies, but we strongly believe this is not the case, as solar and wind have seen repeated record deployment in recent years," the report stated. (3/12)

GE system allows First Wind to get most from wind turbines
First Wind is using sensor data from equipment supplied by General Electric to get the most out of its wind turbines. The GE-supplied system tracks 200 data points and provides real-time analysis of wind turbine performance. "The wind business is about nickels and dimes. You have to make the most of the wind that is there, and that is exactly what this software does with all the data it captures from the turbines," said First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor. The Wall Street Journal/CIO Journal blog (3/12)

Study: Wind is a good long-term hedge against rising gas costs
Wind power contracts show a high degree of price stability over the long term, making wind energy a strong, long-term hedge against rising natural gas prices, according to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of 287 contracts representing more than 23.5 gigawatts of wind power capacity. "Newer wind contracts not only provide ample long-term hedge value, but on average are also directly competitive with gas-fired generation in the near term," said the report's author. SNL Financial (free content) (3/8)

Okla. reaches 15% renewable energy target ahead of schedule
A surge of wind farm construction last year has enabled Oklahoma to reach its 2015 target of 15% renewable energy ahead of schedule. After adding more than 1,100 megawatts of wind power capacity last year, Oklahoma now has the sixth biggest wind power capacity in the U.S., up from eighth at the end of 2011, according to the American Wind Energy Association. At least two bills that would have increased the renewable energy target to 20% by 2020 failed to gain traction this year, but state Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman may revive one of the bills next year, said a spokesman for the lawmaker. The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City) (3/8)

Hitachi wants transfer of floating offshore wind technology to Japan
Industrial machinery firm Hitachi Zosen intends to fast-track the transfer of Norway's floating offshore wind turbine technology to Japan through the firm's partnership with oil and natural gas company Statoil. "We are looking at how we can bring technology cultivated in Norway to Japan," said Takashi Fujita, general manager of strategic planning department at Hitachi Zosen. "It won't be that difficult. Both partners want to reduce time to bring the floating offshore technology to reality as much as possible." Bloomberg (3/4)

New class of turbines aims to give wind an edge against fossil fuels
Technological improvements are boosting the efficiency of wind turbines, creating a new generation of machines that show potential in further boosting wind's cost effectiveness, experts said. Because of innovations in technology, the average cost of wind power has dropped from 15 cents per kilowatt-hour in 1991 to 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour, which is about the same price of new plants running on natural gas, said Ryan Wiser of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. MIT Technology Review online (2/6/2013)

1 comment:

  1. The rate with which the consumption of fossil fuel is going, at such time installing renewable energy resources could be a good decision. But the fact is that these resources are not being used to their full potential.

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