Wind Energy = Invisible Power
Articles on Wind Power
Help Build New Wind Farms
Revolutionary Wind Generator
MONTANA POWER ANNOUNCES 150-MW WIND POWER PURCHASE
COW MANURE, WAVE POWER ENERGY VENTURES PLANNED IN NORTHWEST
WORLD'S LARGEST OFFSHORE WIND FARM OKd for IRISH SEA
HUNDREDS OF NEW NORTHWEST MEGAWATTS BLOWING IN THE WIND
BPA WIND SOLICITATION BRINGS IN 2,600-PLUS MW OF PROPOSED CAPACITY
CONGRESS FUELS WIND ENERGY BOOM WITH TAX CREDIT
MAJOR WIND FARM PROPOSED FOR CENTRAL WASHINGTON'S KITTITAS VALLEY
EWEB, PACIFICORP POWER MARKETING STRIKE 25-MW, 25-YEAR WIND DEAL
WIND ENERGY TURNS KINTYRE ECONOMY AROUND
100-MW-CAPACITY WIND PROJECT APPROACHING CONSTRUCTION IN NORTHEASTERN OREGON
WIND POWER SET TO BECOME WORLD'S LEADING ENERGY SOURCE
Third Major Wind Farm Proposed for Central Washington
Prototype Failures Hurt Washington Companies' Effort to Create Innovative Wind Turbines
WIND PROJECT BIRD DEATHS
WIND POWER AVOIDS FUEL COSTS
VISUAL EFFECTS IDENTIFIED AS MOST NOTABLE IMPACT OF PROPOSED CENTRAL WASHINGTON WIND FARM
PROPOSED 300-KW-CAPACITY COMMUNITY WIND PROJECT IN WASHINGTON WOULD BENEFIT LOW-INCOME PEOPLE
Subscribe to these energy news email magazines:
Here at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), we recently released some exciting news – that the U.S. has more wind projects under construction right now than ever before.
Here are some more highlights from our Fourth Quarter 2013 Market Report –
In contrast, however, the amount of wind power installed in the U.S. this past year is the smallest the country has seen in the past nine years – only 1,084 MW, a 92% drop from 2012. The reason for this contrast is the lack of certainty about federal policy, particularly the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC) that help project developers finance wind projects. Throughout 2012, the wind industry did not know if the tax credits would be extended, so business came to a halt – thus resulting in the small amount of new wind power installed last year. When the PTC was extended at the beginning of 2013, the industry quickly rebounded, signing a record number of agreements to sell wind power, and starting construction on projects in at least 20 states.
In tapping our homegrown wind resource at that level, we will tackle some of our biggest challenges:
We’ll get there by reaching smaller targets along the way – including doubling the amount of power we get from wind in the next five years. That’s moving us up from securing 4.5% of our electricity from wind power nationwide today, to 10% by 2020.
Learn about the American Wind Energy Association:
The PTC is an effective tool to encourage the development of proven renewable energy projects. The PTC has been instrumental in helping the wind industry to:
• Lower the cost of wind power by more than 90%
• Manufacture components for wind turbines at nearly 500 U.S. manufacturing facilities
• Power the equivalent of 12 million American homes
• Provide 35% of all new U.S. power capacity in the past five years
By extending the PTC, Congress will drive the growth of American wind energy. Energy security requires a diverse supply of domestic sources of which wind energy is a prominent part.
Give something special to your friends and purchase
a WindBuilderssm gift membership from NativeEnergy. Each one-year
membership helps build a new wind farm and keeps 12 tons of CO2 out of
the air. Joining WindBuilderssm has the same global warming impact
as powering and heating an average
For details and to sign up or give a gift membership, go to http://www.nativeenergy.com/windbuilders.html.
This vertical-axis wind turbine helps power the San Francisco Zoo.
Montana Power has unveiled plans for the largest
wind energy purchase in the Northwest's windiest state.
This milestone event, however, has been disputed by a losing bidder in the investor-owned utility's wind power solicitation.
Montana Power announced Dec. 4 it had signed a contract to buy the output
from 150 megawatts of new wind capacity proposed by developer Montana Wind
Harness at a minimum of three
This would be the biggest collective wind venture in
Peter West of Renewable Northwest Project called the announcement an
"extraordinarily positive step. We applaud Montana Power for taking this
strong, forward position. It ought to leapfrog wind in
Montana Wind Harness was selected through a competitive bidding process that has created some controversy. One of the losing bidders told Con.WEB his company offered a lower price than Montana Wind Harness--2.8 cents per kilowatt-hour compared with 3.1 cents/KWh. That difference would cost Montana Power more than $30 million over 25 years, said John Jaunich of Minnesota-based Northern Alternative Energy.
Montana Power, however, retorts that Northern Alternative Energy didn't make a firm offer at that price. "We did accept the lowest bid that was offered to us back in August, and that's what we used to complete the negotiations," said utility spokeswoman Claudia Rapkoch.
Northern Alternative Energy has officially intervened in the Montana Public Service Commission's consideration of Montana Power's default supply portfolio, including the proposed wind power purchase.
Cow manure and ocean waves will fuel separate new power-producing ventures
Portland General Electric is supporting construction of two projects
Meanwhile, the first ocean wave power project in the world is under
DUBLIN, Ireland, January 14, 2002 (ENS) - Two hundred wind turbines
have been approved for Ireland's east coast in a new development that will
be the largest offshore wind power project in the world. At a Foreshore
Lease signing ceremony in
For full text and graphics visit:
Northwest wind energy capacity is now measured by the hundreds of megawatts--and perhaps, in the near future, by the thousands.
Following is a brief summary of regional wind projects,
1) completion in 2001 (360 MW)
2) coming soon/under construction (73.3 MW)
3) pending (either in the permitting process or under active consideration). This latter category totals more than 1,400 MW of capacity.
If all these projects eventually go into operation they will total nearly 1,900 MW of wind capacity, producing roughly 630 average megawatts of power a year--enough to serve more than half of Seattle City Light's annual average load, but only about 2.5 percent of the region's total load.
This summary was compiled with information from the Northwest Power Planning Council, Renewable Northwest Project and Con.WEB research.
Wind energy isn't quite as popular as natural gas-fired
power plants for new megawatts in the Northwest, but it's gaining momentum
like a freshening spring breeze. Bonneville Power Administration's recent
solicitation for wind-energy resources has resulted in 25 proposals totalling
more than 2,600 megawatts of new capacity, nearly 850 average megawatts
of energy. Those proposals are located primarily in the four Northwest
states and could be expanded to about 4,000 MW of installed wind capacity.
And many of these would-be wind projects are reportedly very competitive
in cost with gas-fired generation. Although only a portion of these proposals
are likely to be developed soon, the responses indicate a robust wind power
market is forming in the region. "I think what our RFP did was create a
gold-rush mentality in the
sought 1,000 MW or more of wind capacity, although Darr noted the amount ultimately bought will be shaped by cost considerations and an upcoming study on the impacts of intermittent wind power on BPA's system. Meanwhile, Seattle City Light is negotiating contracts for several wind-energy projects, as part of its 2000 solicitation for up to 100 aMW of renewables.
For full text and graphics visit:
Wind and farm are well-known attributes in central
June. Zilkha wants to start construction next spring and finish by the end of 2003.
"We believe this has the potential to be one of the premier wind sites in the Northwest," Zilkha project development manager Chris Taylor told Con.WEB.
The proposed site features strong winds, ready access to roads, transmission
lines and power markets, and as yet no apparent significant environmental
constraints, he said. At maximum capacity it would be the second-largest
wind farm in the Northwest, and the nearest to major population centers,
about 100 miles southeast of
Initial local reaction, though, has not been entirely favorable. Some
concerns have cropped up over visual effects in the valley just east of
the Cascades. " ... electric power will not be any cheaper for
Zilkha's Taylor and some other locals consider the most vocal opposition to originate from residents near the proposed site. "I sense a lot of support for it in the community in general," said executive director Jim Armstrong of the Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce, although he believes many people have not yet firmly decided one way or another.
A recent Daily Record news article characterized the proposal as "an
Eugene Water & Electric Board and PacifiCorp Power
Marketing have signed a long-term deal for wind energy. EWEB will buy the
output from up to 25 megawatts of wind-powered capacity for 25 years from
PPM, which owns the electrons generated from the 263-MW-capacity
This agreement , announced May 13, makes EWEB one of the largest public-power
purchasers of wind energy in the nation.
"The Stateline project purchase represents another significant step forward in EWEB's efforts to increase the amount of renewable energy it has," said general manager Randy Berggren in a news release. "This acquisition keeps EWEB on track with our board's goal of adding 1 percent of our load in new renewable energy supplies each year."
EWEB's contract with PPM calls for purchases from 20 MW in 2002 and 2003, then 25 MW for the remaining 23 years, according to EWEB's Jim Maloney. The municipal utility will pay a levelized price at the busbar of between 4 cents per kilowatt-hour and 4.5 cents/KWh. A separate contract covers integration and transmission services furnished by PPM, for an undisclosed price.
GLASGOW, Scotland, July 8, 2002 (ENS) - Originally an area known best
for its fishing fleet, its music festival, and the distillation of whisky,
the Kintyre Peninsula is now host to the UK's most efficient windfarm,
which officially opened today. The 46 wind turbines on the peninsula's
highest hill will deliver an output of 30 megawatts, enough to supply electricity
to 25,000 homes. Scottish Power's £21 million (US$32.4 million) wind
energy project is able to produce its power so efficiently because the
For full text and graphics visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/jul2002/2002-07-08-03.asp
The Northwest's second-biggest wind farm is
approaching construction in northeastern
exceeded regionally in size only by the 299.6-MW-capacity
"I'm still assuming we're going to be in construction in the summer and be in operation in the first quarter" of 2004, Patricia Pilz, development vice president for developer Lifeline Renewable Energy, told Con.WEB in mid-June.
Shepherds Ridge has conditional-use permission from
other resource except established hydropower, Pilz said.
However, she acknowledged, power-buying arrangements have not been announced for Shepherds Ridge.
Pilz also expressed concern about
Beyond Shepherds Ridge, Lifeline is contemplating additional wind development of several hundred megawatts capacity in the same general vicinity, according to Pilz.
PACIFICORP, ENERGY TRUST, EURUS SIGN AGREEMENT
provide energy to PacifiCorp. An Energy Trust payment of $3.8 million will lower power costs from the project, according to a news release. Look for more coverage in the next issue of Con.WEB.
"We are looking for customers right now" for this additional wind power capacity, FPL's Anne Walsh told Con.WEB. Permitting is "part of the development phase of the project. You've got to have that initially" before signing up power purchasers, she said.
FPL has no specific timetable for putting up the additional 279 660-kilowatt-capacity turbines, she said. "You need to know you can get your permits, and so now that we have that, now we'll continue working on the project."
EFSC endorsed the expansion even though it will encroach on prime habitat of the
Energy. Council members "weren't particularly comfortable" in coming to that conclusion, he said, "but they ultimately did, based largely on the efforts by FPL to minimize the area of direct impact." The developer established a conservation easement around the proposed turbines
This Stateline expansion also encountered an issue raised by the developer of adjacent Combine Hills Turbine Ranch. Eurus Oregon Wind Power Development argued that some proposed Stateline turbines would disrupt the wind flow to several planned turbines at Combine Hills, and it asked the Council for a contested case proceeding. However, Eurus and FPL Energy
reached a confidential agreement before the June 6 Council meeting. Stateline gets
EMERALD PUD SOLICITS
1 AMW-5 AMW OF WIND POWER
Emerald PUD is in the market
for wind power. In one of the first wind-energy solicitations by a Northwest
owned utility, Emerald is seeking between 1 average megawatt and 5 aMW of wind for its customers in
"One of the expectations I have is that we will be an add-on or a tack-on to a bigger project," said Emerald resources manager Alan Zelenka. "If somebody's building a big project, they can add three to 10 more turbines, and then we can share in the economies of scale of that."
Emerald's request for wind proposals stems from its recent new service to two large industrial customers, who pay public-purposes funding that would help cover the costs of this wind power, Zelenka told Con.WEB. The utility, which gets almost all its wholesale electricity from Bonneville Power Administration, also is interested in wind as a prospective new
resource. July 14 is Emerald's deadline for submittals. Emerald PUD looks for wind.
CFL SALES LOOKING BRIGHT, EVEN
AFTER POST-ENERGY CRISIS DIP
Compact fluorescent lamps
are holding on to an expanded beachhead in the residential lighting market,
even as recent sales have dipped from their extraordinary high during the
2000-01 energy crisis, according to Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
reports and industry observers. With energy off the front pages, ongoing
consumer interest in reducing electricity bills is likely to continue supporting
CFL sales, the
CFL bulb prices have fallen by about two-thirds since 1997, which is attracting more consumers, according to Costco, the region's leading CFL retailer. Increasing manufacturere interest in CFLs also is evident. CFLs, however, still account for a small share of the residential lighting market, and sustained high sales will be necessary to transform the household lighting market, the market evaluation study reported. Even at the height of the energy crisis, with power shortages on the front pages and a compact fluorescent discount coupon campaign in full swing, CFLs accounted for only 11 percent of total Northwest light bulb
sales, the study noted. Fewer than 40 percent of households purchased even one CFL.
Cost is still a significant barrier to expanded CFL sales. Quality also remains a concern, despite improvements.
"The product appears to be viable for some people for some applications," said Ken Keating, Bonneville Power Administration market transformation coordinator and
BEST EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS SHARE COMMON TRAITS,
ABOUND IN NORTHWEST, ACEEE REPORTS
There may be no single best
way to achieve energy savings, but the best efficiency programs share common
traits, according to a recent report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient
Economy. Ingredients for success include focusing on specific residential
technologies, changing commercial and industrial practices, comprehensive
approaches, partnerships, customized services and establishing value beyond
energy efficiency, according to "America's Best: Profiles of America's
Leading Energy Efficiency Programs."
This April report covers 63 initiatives, nine of which hail from the Northwest. A particularly large proportion of the programs in the running came from three regions--the Northwest, the Northeast and
the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership--and extensive utility and public programs in
These results mirror another ACEEE study, released in February, showing that public spending on energy efficiency programs is highest, relative to the size of the regional market, in Northeast, Northwest and Midwest states, with strong showing from
ENERGY MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
OFFERS LEARNING AND DOLLAR SAVINGS
Professional energy education
can provide more than learning. It can also bring financial benefits to
organizations, as shown by the Energy Management Certification program
offered by the Northwest Energy Education Institute.
EMC graduates are creating substantial energy bill savings for their employers, stemming from efficiency projects required for certification as well as from training at EMC workshops. These attributable dollar savings can reach tens of thousands of dollars annually. Con.WEB interviewed three EMC graduates--all of whom work for public entities in
and beneficial for themselves and their organizations. They also offered a few suggested improvements. One graduate emphasized the importance of student commitment and employer support for the year-long program, which begins again this summer with a July 28-Aug. 8 workshop at the
"Students who successfully complete the certification requirements join an elite group of can-do energy managers," said NEEI director Roger Ebbage. "They now have a proven track record of energy savings that will carry with them as they move through their careers. Additionally, they have colleagues who have experienced 'Energy Boot Camp' and can call on them
with questions and/or provide solutions at any time."
Following are profiles of EMC graduates Elin Shepard, who works for the state of Oregon's Department of Administrative Services, Facilities Division; David Remillard of the city of Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services; and Ron Osborne of North Santiam School District. Energy Management Certification graduates expand their knowledge and save money for their organizations.
WIND, ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROMISE MUCH GREATER
ECONOMIC BENEFITS THAN GAS-FIRED POWER, REPORT SAYS
Energy efficiency and wind
power development would create substantially more economic benefits in
Power in Washington," by WashPIRG Foundation.
That new wind power would also bring in more than $100 million in lease payments for landowners by 2020 and generate twice as much property tax revenue as natural gas plants with twice the capacity, conclude Brad Heavner, Robert Pregulman and Travis Madsen. "
The report advocates statewide conservation and renewables standards, as WashPIRG Foundation also did in a February report on efficiency and renewables potential in the
"A secondary goal [of the new report] is to generate support for portfolio standards, but the primary goal is just to make people understand the benefits of wind energy and energy efficiency to Washington, not just from a power diversification point of view, but also from an economic point of view," Pregulman told Con.WEB. Green energy promises greener economic benefits, according to WashPIRG Foundation.
So what do we do now? Reap the Whirlwind. Invest in Wind Power! Outside the path of the increasing tornadoes and hurricanes, wind power will be even more promising than this very optimistic report, which says that wind should be able to generate enough cheap ($0.02) electricity for the world’s entire energy needs, including electrolyze hydrogen and oxygen to
fuel Fuel Cells, portable electric devices, high-temperature flame for manufacturing, etc.
Eco-Economy Update 2003-4
For Immediate Release
June 25, 2003
Copyright Earth Policy Institute 2003
WIND POWER SET TO BECOME WORLD'S LEADING ENERGY SOURCE
Lester R. Brown
In 1991, a national wind resource inventory taken by the U.S. Department
Energy startled the world when it reported that the three most wind-rich
to satisfy national electricity needs. Now a new study by a team of
engineers at Stanford reports that the wind energy potential is actually
substantially greater than that estimated in 1991.
Advances in wind turbine design since 1991 allow turbines to operate
lower wind speeds, to harness more of the wind's energy, and to harvest it
at greater heights--dramatically expanding the harnessable wind resource.
Add to this the recent bullish assessments of offshore wind potential, and
the enormity of the wind resource becomes apparent. Wind power can meet not
In a joint assessment of global wind resources called Wind Force 12,
European Wind Energy Association and Greenpeace concluded that the world's
wind-generating potential--assuming that only 10 percent of the earth's land
area would be available for development--is double the projected world
electricity demand in 2020. A far larger share of the land area could be
used for wind generation in sparsely populated, wind-rich regions, such as
the Great Plains of North America, northwest
Patagonian region of
this, it seems likely that wind power could satisfy not only world
electricity needs but perhaps even total energy needs. (See data
Over the last decade wind has been the world's fastest-growing energy
source. Rising from 4,800 megawatts of generating capacity in 1995 to 31,100
megawatts in 2002, it increased a staggering sixfold. Worldwide, wind
turbines now supply enough electricity to satisfy the residential needs of
40 million Europeans.
Wind is popular because it is abundant, cheap, inexhaustible, widely
distributed, climate-benign, and clean--attributes that no other energy
source can match. The cost of wind-generated electricity has dropped from
38¢ a kilowatt-hour in the early 1980s to roughly 4¢ a kilowatt-hour today
on prime wind sites. Some recently signed
contracts are providing electricity at 3¢ a kilowatt-hour. Wind Force 12
projected that the average cost per kilowatt hour of wind-generated
electricity will drop to 2.6¢ by 2010 and to 2.1¢ by 2020.
consultant Harry Braun says that if wind turbines are mass-produced on
assembly lines like automobiles, the cost of wind-generated electricity
could drop to 1-2¢ per kilowatt hour.
Although wind-generated electricity is already cheap, its cost continues
fall. In contrast with oil, there is no OPEC to set prices for wind. And in
contrast to natural gas prices, which are highly volatile and can double in
a matter of months, wind prices are declining.
Another great appeal of wind is its wide distribution. In the
for example, some 28 states now have utility-scale wind farms feeding
electricity into the local grid. While a small handful of countries controls
the world's oil, nearly all countries can tap wind energy.
percent. In terms of sheer generating capacity,
megawatts. By the end of 2003, it will have already surpassed its 2010 goal
of 12,500 megawatts of generating capacity. For
in wind power is central to reaching its goal of reducing carbon emissions
40 percent by 2020.
Rapid worldwide growth is projected to continue as more countries turn
wind. In addition to the early leaders--
In densely populated
also being exploited.
farm, this one with 160 megawatts of generating capacity.
12,000 megawatts of off-shore generating capacity under consideration.
Wind power is now a viable, robust, fast-growing industry. Cheap electricity
from wind makes it economical to electrolyze water and produce hydrogen.
Hydrogen is the fuel of choice for the highly efficient fuel cells that will
be used widely in the future to power motor vehicles and to supply
electricity, heating, and cooling for buildings. Hydrogen also offers a way
of storing wind energy and of transporting it efficiently by pipeline or in
liquefied form by ship.
With the wind industry's engineering know-how and manufacturing experience,
it would be relatively easy to scale up the size of the industry, even
doubling it annually for several years, if the need arose. If, for example,
crop-shrinking heat waves raise food prices and generate public pressure to
quickly reduce carbon emissions by replacing coal and oil with wind and
hydrogen, it will be possible to do so. If the need arises to shift quickly
to hydrogen-fueled automobiles, this can be done by converting
gasoline-burning internal combustion engines to hydrogen with inexpensive
For energy investors, growth in the future lies with wind and the hydrogen
produced with cheap wind-generated electricity. Solar cell sales are growing
at over 30 percent a year and are likely to supply much of the electricity
for the 1.7 billion people who are still without electricity, most of them
living in developing country villages. But solar cells are still too costly
to supply the vast amounts of energy required to power a modern economy.
World coal burning peaked in 1996 and has fallen 2 percent since then.
a fading industry, not an exciting investment prospect. Nor is oil
particularly promising, since world production is not likely to expand far
beyond current levels. Production of natural gas, the cleanest and least
climate-disruptive of the fossil fuels, is likely to continue expanding for
a few more decades, fortuitously developing an infrastructure that can be
adapted for hydrogen. Nuclear power generation is expected to peak soon,
when the large number of aging plants that will be closing down will exceed
the small number of plants that are under construction.
The energy future belongs to wind. The world energy economy became
progressively more global during the twentieth century as the world turned
to oil. It promises to reverse direction and become more local during the
twenty-first century as the world turns to wind, wind-generated hydrogen,
and solar cells. Wind and wind-generated hydrogen will shape not only the
energy sector of the global economy but the global economy itself.
# # #
For more information on wind power and the emerging wind/hydrogen economy,
see Lester Brown's forthcoming book, Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress
and a Civilization in Trouble.
Chapter 1 is now online <www.earth-policy.org/Books/index.htm>
Additional data and information sources at
or contact email@example.com
For reprint permission contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A new wind farm with several
distinctions is rising in northeastern
The 41-megawatt-capacity Combine Hills Turbine Ranch 1 will deliver the
under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
It also marks the first big renewable energy project funded by the Energy
Trust of Oregon, which will pay $3.8 million to cover the above-market
costs of Combine Hills electricity. The public-purposes funding agency,
which issued a request for wind proposals about a year ago, will own the
projects green tags and pass them to PacifiCorp for its Oregon customers.
Combine Hills marks a "unique partnership of public and private interests,
" ETO renewable energy director Peter West said in a news release.
Scheduled for completion by years end--just in time to secure the 1.8
cents per kilowatt-hour federal wind energy production tax credit--Combine
Hills will join neighboring
Wind Farm in what is becoming a "wind and wheat belt" of northeastern
Developer Eurus Combine Hills received
in November 2002 for 104 MW of wind capacity, but there are no definitive
plans for the remaining 63 MW, according to a company official.
A third major wind farm is
proposed for central Washingtons Kittitas
County, raising the countys announced potential wind capacity to more than
Zilkha Renewable Energy on July 1 unveiled plans for a 165-MW-capacity
wind project about 13 miles east of Ellensburg, the county seat. The Texas-
based firm also is developing the proposed (and controversial) 181.5-MW-
capacity Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project some 12 miles northwest of
Ellensburg, close to yet another prospective local wind farm, a 180-MW-
capacity venture planned by enXco.
Zilkhas newest proposal, the Wild Horse Wind Power Project, reflects
"strong utility interest being expressed right now in wind power," project
development manager Chris Taylor told Con.WEB. He specifically mentioned
Puget Sound Energy, Avista Utilities and PacifiCorp as examples. "Theres a
lot of demand out there, more than just our
Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, as the company has for its other
project in the wind-raked county stretching from the Cascade Mountains to
Valley project, recently directed the firm to pursue compliance with
Claim, is exclusively within the countys permitting process.
A leading opponent of Zilkhas proposed Kittitas Valley project, Geoff
Saunders of Residents Opposed to Kittitas Turbines, called the remote Wild
Horse site "far more appropriate" for wind development. He urged the
company to withdraw its
for Wild Horse.
Prototype Failures Hurt Washington Companies'
Effort to Create Innovative Wind Turbines
generate low-cost electricity is foundering.
The Wind Turbine Co. has sustained two accidents on a prototype turbine in
the past year or so, the most recent a rotor shaft break in early June.
Meanwhile, the Bellevue-based firm also has failed to attract sufficient
capital for a $15 million cost-sharing contract with the U.S. Department of
Energy, which could spell the pacts end in the near future, a National
Renewable Energy Laboratory official told Con.WEB.
Company and NREL officials believe the two breakdowns do not reflect on
the technical viability of The Wind Turbine Co.s novel turbine design--a
lightweight, flexible, two-bladed, downwind-facing machine with proprietary
rotor hub technology that could potentially generate power in the
unsubsidized range of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. The rotor shaft fracture
and an earlier electronic device failure that caused a blade to strike a
tower "arent indicative of problems in the technology," said NREL's David
Simms. "Its more just unfortunate circumstances."
He compared the mishaps to flat tires on a new-design car. But he
acknowledged they have made it harder to attract investment dollars.
WTC president Larry Miles sees a larger problem for his company. "The
private market for investing in wind technology in this country has been
... abysmal," he said. "People have no interest, or have had to date little
interest in wind technology."
Simms suggested the wind industrys expansive growth has actually hurt The
Wind Turbine Co., as developers opt for conventional and cost-effective
three-bladed upwind turbines, in ever-larger sizes, to meet growing demand
(U.S. installed capacity has grown an average of nearly 25 percent the past
The Wind Turbine Co. is assisting DOEs investigation of the rotor shaft
failure while "exploring a number of options" for its future, Miles said,
including selling part of the company and licensing the technology. Several
entities have shown interest since the recent accident. "We still have
considerable faith in the technology and the question really is how, since
we are not long on financial resources ... what the government will end up
1.7 BIRDS PER TURBINE ANNUALLY, REPORT SHOWS
Stateline Wind Energy Center has killed an estimated
1.7 birds per turbine annually, a slightly lower fatality rate than for
other U.S. wind projects, according to recently published preliminary findings.Stateline's
first avian and bat monitoring program report documented 106 bird deaths
and 54 bat deaths on standard search plots around representative turbine
groups between July 2001 and December 2002. Those numbers were extrapolated
to come up with fatality estimates for the entire
399-turbine wind farm, which straddles the Oregon-Washington border southwest of
Horned larks were the predominant victims, accounting for 43 percent of found bird fatalities. No threatened, endangered or candidate bird or bat species--at the federal or state levels--were discovered as casualties of the world's largest land-based wind farm. "It generally confirmed what [Stateline developer] FPL [Energy] has been asserting all along, that it is a relatively low-use area for avian species," said John White of the Oregon Department of Energy. The report said Stateline's fatality estimates could actually be high, as they include many birds with an undetermined cause of death. FPL believes the fatalities represent a tiny fraction of the total birds in the Stateline vicinity."We were pleased the number was below the average estimated for other projects," said FPL Energy's Anne Walsh, noting this report is part of an ongoing bird and bat monitoring study through 2003. "We'll continue to work closely with the agencies and the local Audubon Society to review the final
results," she said.Careful turbine siting is the biggest factor in limiting bird deaths at wind farms, according to the American Wind Energy Association. An AWEA publication lists other and far greater causes of bird deaths: house cats, which kill an estimated 100 million birds annually in the
BUT INTERMITTENCY AFFECTS ITS PRICE
When it comes to raw fuel costs, wind beats thermal
energy resources hands down. Unlike coal, natural gas or uranium, wind
is freely available and does not have to be mined, washed, processed, piped,
shipped, milled or fabricated. However, wind comes and goes as it pleases,
and its will o' the wisp intermittency is a key issue affecting the economics
of wind power and
determining the most cost-effective role wind can play in a given utility's resource portfolio, utility officials and energy policy observers say.
PPM ENERGY'S BARRETT STAMBLER
FLYING HIGH WITH WIND ENERGY
Barrett Stambler has ridden the wind for some two decades, and now he's
As director of renewable business development for PPM Energy, Stambler has
a pivotal role in the Portland-based company's fast-expanding wind energy
portfolio, which is nearing 1,000 megawatts of capacity. PPM Energy, a
subsidiary of ScottishPower, supplies wind power and related services to
wholesale customers around the West and
Administration, Seattle City Light and Eugene Water & Electric Board.
Stambler's renewable energy career has spanned policy arenas to an Ivy
League business school to the corporate energy world, and wind's evolution
from a high-priced novelty to a technologically advanced and commercially
viable power generation source.
Today is "a very exciting time" for the wind industry, he believes.
Costs are declining (and the fuel remains free), technologies are
improving, system integration and siting issues are better managed, and
natural gas-fired power--the current favored large-scale resource--faces an
Oh, and don't forget wind's economic development for rural areas.
Stambler's exuberance for wind energy is plainly evident during a recent
late afternoon conversation at PPM Energy offices in downtown
"Why can't you be passionate?" he asked, raising his arms and smiling wide.
"It's a wonderful story."
The eyes have it.
A draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project in central
"For many viewers," the draft EIS reads, "the presence of the wind turbines represents a significant unavoidable adverse impact because it significantly alters the appearance of the rural landscape over a large area of the
From a regulatory perspective, "In Washington state, there is no standard or criteria for visual impacts from wind facilities," said Irina Makarow, siting manager for the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council. Her agency produced the draft EIS in its review of the Kittitas Valley proposal, for which it will make a recommended decision to the governor.The draft EIS came out Dec. 12 and outlined a broad range of potential wind farm issues, including effects on birds, other wildlife, natural resources, human health and safety, land uses, transportation, and the local economy and community. Some issues are deemed insignificant by the draft EIS. Some others, such as bird deaths and fire risks, are noted but considered manageable. Cultural resources, specifically Yakama Indian Nation resources and a historic canal tunnel, could be indirectly affected for the worse,
but those impacts could be avoided or mitigated.
"The EIS in large measure basically confirmed what we said over a year ago when we filed our application This project is not going to have any significant negative impacts on the environment locally and will have significant benefits regionally in terms of adding significant renewable generation," said project manager Chris Taylor of developer Zilkha Renewable Energy.
He acknowledged views as a "possible exception" to the lack of major concerns, but said Zilkha would design features to minimize visual impacts.Meanwhile, an Ellensburg attorney opposed to the project criticized the draft EIS as "inadequate in so many ways." Steve Lathrop told Con.WEB the document is "nothing more than a regurgitation" of Zilkha's EFSEC application for site certification, instead of an independent evaluation.
Information and analysis in the draft EIS are "based primarily on information provided" by Zilkha, the document stated.
"We did the studies; these are the conclusions of [EFSEC] experts, who are not reporting to us," said
and upcoming adjudicative hearings. "We're very far from issuing a final EIS," she said.
A unique wind energy venture is beginning to swirl in south-central
Washington. Luna Point Community Wind Project in Klickitat County would
be Washington's first community-based wind energy facility. It reportedly
would be the nation's first in which low-income citizens would directly
benefit from wind-generated revenues, in the form of energy bill assistance.
And, it would make energy-productive use of an area that hosted demonstration
wind turbines in the 1980s.
This distinctive 300-kilowatt-capacity venture, planned east of Goldendale by six participating entities, is at least a year away from operation. It still needs permitting approval and most of its financing; a recently awarded $307,000 federal grant will cover up to one-fourth of the projected $1.2 million cost. Other key details, including specific power, transmission and green tags arrangements, are pending. Luna Point would generate power more expensively and intermittently than a large-scale wind project. Still, project officials share enthusiasm and optimism, and the hope Luna Point could serve as a model for other such ventures.
"We are excited by this opportunity to collaborate and to demonstrate how communities can benefit from a Northwest renewable energy resource that is locally owned and generated," said Robin Rego, president of Last Mile Electric Cooperative, in a news release. Other participants are Klickitat PUD, Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development, A World Institute for a Sustainable Humanity (A W.I.S.H.), Klickitat Skamania Development Council and Our Wind Co-op. "I like the idea that it's bringing together both the environmental benefits as well as direct assistance for low-income households in the county," said Heather Rhoads-Weaver, community partnerships director of Northwest SEED. Low-income people generally aren't directly involved in any aspect of Northwest utility green power programs, noted Michael Karp of A W.I.S.H. "This is a chance to make that link," he said.
HUGE PROPOSED VANCOUVER ISLAND WIND PROJECT COULD DELIVER POWER TO U.S. PACIFIC NORTHWEST
What could become the world's largest land-based wind power project
has been permitted on British Columbia's Vancouver Island, and the developer
hopes to sell some of the renewables output to U.S. Pacific Northwest utilities.
British Columbia regulators in late September announced the awarding of
an environmental assessment certificate to Sea Breeze Power Corp. for its
proposed 450-megawatt-capacity Knob Hill Wind Farm, planned for northern
In June, the Vancouver, B.C.-based firm announced it had filed an application with Bonneville Power Administration and other agencies to build a 990-MW underwater transmission line from Vancouver Island across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Port Angeles, WA. The 12-mile line could deliver energy from Knob Hill and other renewables projects on the island to Washington state. Paul Manson, president of Sea Breeze Power Corp., told Con.WEB he hopes the $550 million project is operational by 2007. Meanwhile, he is marketing the project to several Northwest utilities.
FAA shuts down work on proposed wind farms
The Federal Aviation Administration has shut down work on at least
15 Midwest wind farms pending ... wait for it ... more research. Last year,
Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), a critic of the Cape Wind project planned for
Nantucket Sound, added an amendment to a military spending bill directing
the Defense Department to study wind turbines' effect on small-aircraft
radar signals. Since then, despite the fact that dozens of wind projects
currently operate within sight of radar systems and have caused no discernable
problems, all proposed turbines within the scope of military radar have
been blocked. The stalled projects include an Illinois wind farm that
would have been the nation's largest. "Until the potential effects can be quantified and possible mitigation techniques developed, it is prudent to temporarily postpone wind-turbine construction in areas where the ability of these long-range radars that protect our country might be compromised," says a Pentagon spokesflack. That sounds not-at-all promising.
Renewable energy technology just got a much needed breath of fresh air. During the TEDGlobal 2012 Conference held in Edinburgh, Scotland the head of the Tunisian company Saphon Energy introduced a radical innovation in wind technology. Saphon has developed a design that allows turbines to function without blades. The turbine, named the “Saphonian” after a Carthaginian wind deity, took its inspiration from sailboats. Without the need for rotating blades, the Saphonian is quieter than traditional models, and can harness the power of the wind without hurting wildlife.
Read more: Bird-Friendly Saphonian Wind Turbine Ditches Blades for a More Efficient, Less Expensive Design | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
Sounds like a pipe
dream: free, pollution-free energy, renewable and abundant. With Alpine
Technologies new WindTree rooftop energy system, it may be a reality.
WindTree is in the development and testing stages.
The unit potentially weighs less than two hundred pounds, and should be less than eight feet dimensionally -- high, wide and deep. The original size was 6'x7', then resized to 6'x6', then resized again to 5.5'x5.5'. If the testing trends continue as they have, the WindTree’s original goal was 2 to 3kW at 10 to 12 mph, but even that is impossible. One of the benefits of this system is a smaller amount of energy at significantly lower wind speeds -- speeds a traditional windmill can not even function with.
Ideally the price will be well under $10,000. Financing will be available in many different forms, as well as tax credits if the government continues encouraging energy conservation.
See http://www.wyndpower.com/faq.html for realistic estimates