DNV GL Releases Offshore Wind Manifesto

DNV GL has released its finding of a report, “Offshore wind: a manifesto for cost reduction,” at WindEnergy Hamburg 2014. The offshore wind industry is looking to reduce costs to ensure growth. In response to this need, DNV GL is offering the industry its manifesto for offshore wind cost reduction identifies and quantifies cost reduction opportunities. It also set out a challenge and the company has committed to take action on the issue.

DNV GL Pledges to Help Reduce Offshore Wind Costs by 25%The cost reduction strategies outlined in the manifesto are categorized into three basic types: “Doing it right,” by mitigating risk and increasing certainty; “Doing it better,” by improving the efficiency of existing processes; and “Doing it differently,” by innovating for the future. Working with industry partners, the actions DNV GL commits to in the manifesto have the potential to achieve reductions in the cost of energy of up to 25 percent. According to DNV GL, these savings, combined with trends in other areas such as improved supply chain efficiency, has the potential of delivering a total reduction of 40 percent which is recognized by many stakeholders as the level required to secure the future of the industry.

CEO for DNV GL – Energy, David Walker, said, “This is about securing the future of offshore wind. Achieving cost reduction is about more than just new technology and innovation. It also requires us to get the basics right which means getting people together, assessing the issues in detail and defining best practice. This may be seen as incremental or even unglamorous, but it is exactly what a maturing industry looks like and it is exactly what is required to drive down costs.

“The good news is that we are seeing signs of progress, but we need to do much more as an industry,” added Walker. In this manifesto document, we in DNV GL recognise the role we can play in the cost reduction story – we are committed to helping offshore wind do it right, do it better and do it differently.”

The manifesto document contains 14 specific pledges across a wide range of topics from reducing subsea cable installation risks through to accelerating the commercialization of floating offshore wind technology:

White Papers Look At Energy in Mexico

A new series of white papers look at various issues relating to energy in Mexico. Recent reform in the country has created anticipation and speculation as to how the energy market will shape up over the next few years. Peter Nance with ICF International has released three white papers to help increase understanding of the country’s emerging energy issues.

Peter Nance ICF InternationalThe first paper, “Renewable Energy and Cross-Border Prospects,” looks at current opportunities and risks in cross-border renewables trade, especially for the California market. The current power trade between the United States and Mexico is relatively small, and the renewable sector in Mexico remains underdeveloped. Yet, encouraging market dynamics gives ample reason to pay attention to this area. Key topics include: ambitious reform creates opportunities and lingering questions; state of electricity trade and renewables development; exporting opportunities for central station renewables; and risk and uncertainties.

Power Generation and Cross-Border Prospects,” is the second paper in the series and examines current opportunities and risks in cross-border power markets in the context of the Mexican regulatory reform, especially along the Arizona-Sonora and Texas-Tamaulipas/Coahulia/Chihuahua areas of the border. Key topics include: current state and near-term prospects; future opportunities; and risks and uncertainties.

The third report is, “Midstream Opportunities,” and focuses on proposed sublaws from Mexico’s energy sector. ICF International anticipates a comprehensive analysis and development of their implications for investors after a successful conclusion of current negotiations in the Mexican Congress. They are also closely tracking the emerging trends and needs in the midstream and engaging with partners in Mexico to develop a comprehensive, in-depth picture of the market and its potential opportunities and risks. Key topics include: current state and near-term prospects; recent project profiles; important players in the Mexican midstream subsector and future possibilities.

ACCIONA Windpower Installs First AW125/3000

gI_46398_Acciona_AW3000_125_1ACCIONA Windpower has completed the installation of the world’s first AW125/3000 wind turbine, which combines a 125 meter rotor with a 3 megawatt wind turbine generator. The turbine is mounted on a 120 meter concrete tower at ACCIONA’s Vedadillo Experimental Wind Farm located in the Navarra Region of Spain. The company has fulfilled orders for an additional 552 MW of AW125/3000 turbines which will be installed at wind farms around the globe in the coming months.

Launched in 2013, the AW125/3000 is an extension of ACCIONA Windpower’s AW116/3000 wind turbine. The 125 meter rotor is among the largest rotors in operation at any onshore wind farm, capturing the wind energy from an area of over 12,300 square meters to deliver maximum production at a lower cost of energy. The AW125 is suitable for a wide range of wind conditions and is certified for IEC Class IIb, IIIa, and IIIb.

“The 125 meter rotor is one of the technological advances made by ACCIONA Windpower as part of our commitment to lower the cost of energy for our customers,” said Jose Luis Blanco, CEO of ACCIONA Windpower. “Design innovation is helping ACCIONA Windpower emerge as a preferred supplier by many major customers and fueling the rapid growth in orders for the AW3000 platform.”

The AW 125/3000 turbine at the Vedadillo Wind Farm will help ACCIONA Windpower complete the requisite testing for Type Certification, which is expected to be complete by Q1 2015. The AW125 is available on 100 and 120 meter concrete towers and an 87.5 meter steel tower.

ContourGlobal Inaugurates Peru Wind Farm

The Cupisnique and Talara Wind farms located in Peru are now producing wind energy. The projects were completed by ContourGlobal, through it subsidiary Energia Eolica S.A., and with the first kilowatts produced, have become the largest wind farm owner and operator in the country.

ContourGlobal Wind Farm in PeruWith a combined investment of nearly US $250 million, the Cupisnique and the Talara Wind Farms are the first operational projects in the northern region of the country and were connected to the National Interconnected Electric System (SEIN) last month. Each of the projects has secured a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement under Peru’s Renewable Energy Resource Program.

“With the inauguration of ContourGlobal’s Peruvian wind farms, the country is taking a big step towards realizing the benefit of integrating wind power into the nation’s electricity grid. Peru is blessed with abundant wind resources, which makes wind generated electricity significantly less expensive than many of the fossil fuel power plants in the country,” said Alessandra Marinheiro, CEO of ContourGlobal Latam.

The development of the wind farms took 22 months beginning in October 2012. ContourGlobal managed the construction of the sites, featuring Vesta’s wind turbines. The 62 turbines are installed in two locations along Peru’s windy Pacific coast and are Peru’s largest wind farms as well as the largest wind farms in South America outside of Brazil.

“We would like to express our appreciation to COFIDE (Corporacion Financiera de Desarollo—Peru’s national development bank), the Government of Peru and the communities of Pacasmayo and Talara for helping us to place Peru’s largest wind complex into operation today,” added Joseph C. Brandt, president & CEO of ContourGlobal. “We have found Peru to be a very hospitable destination for new investment and look forward to growing with the country in the years to come.”

Dark Horse Brewing Brews With Solar

Dark Horse Brewery solar projectPatriot Solar Group, Contractors Building Supply, The Green Brewery Project, and The Dark Horse Brewing Company have created the first solar power-driven brewery on the east coast. The 40 kilowatt, 140 panel system has helped generate solar energy and aid in the formation of the famous Dark Horse growler we all know and love.

The Green Breweries Project, whose research originated at the University of Michigan, is focused on offering creativity with energy systems to help craft breweries enhance their sustainability. Even with a considerably lower rate of emissions, Green Breweries are becoming increasingly predominant and are making the exchange to a further domestic market.

Dark Horse purchased 140 Michigan-assembled solar panels as well as mounting systems supplied by Patriot Solar Group. This off-grid system allows the brewery to manage their energy demands and monitor them closely with affluence as well as ease. According to Patriot Solar Group, the fixed standing metal roof mount systems are durable and can withstand brutal wind speeds but also offer minimal maintenance as well as low cost.

DOE Supports Taller Wind Turbine Tower Development

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $2 million to support the development of technologies to harness stronger winds available at higher heights. The goal is to increase the amount of wind energy produced. The projects will take place in Iowa and Massachusetts and are aimed at reducing the cost of wind energy as well as expand the areas where wind energy can be successfully harnessed.

ISU taller wind tower researchIn the northeastern, southeastern, and western United States, winds near the ground are often slower and more turbulent, reducing the amount of electricity installed turbines can generate. Taller wind turbines capture the stronger, more consistent winds available at elevated heights, increasing the number of potential locations where wind farms can supply cost-effective power to American businesses and homeowners. While wind turbines installed in 2013 had an average height of 260 feet, the projects announced today will support new design and manufacturing techniques to produce towers nearly 400 feet tall.

Keystone Towers of Boston, Massachusetts will utilize its grant dollars to implement an on-site spiral welding system that will enable turbine towers to be produced directly at or near the installation site, freeing projects of transportation constraints that often limit turbine height. Adapted from an in-field welding process used by the pipe manufacturing industry, Keystone’s spiral welding technique can be scaled up to produce large diameter steel towers that they report will be 40 percent lighter than standard turbine towers, which could lower the cost of energy by 10 percent.

The second grantee, Iowa State University, will develop a hexagonal-shaped tower that combines high-strength concrete with pre-stressed steel reinforcements to assemble individual tower modules and wall segments that can be easily transported and joined together on-site. Due to the modular design, thicker towers capable of supporting turbines at increased heights can be produced at a reduced cost.

$8B Green Energy Plan Proposed for LA

Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand and Duke-American Transmission have jointly proposed a $8 billion green energy plan that would bring large amounts of renewable power to the Los Angeles, California area by 2023. The companies will formerly submit their proposal to the Southern California Public Power Authority by early 2015.

If accepted, the project would require construction of one of America’s largest wind farms in Wyoming, one of the world’s biggest energy storage facilities in Utah, and a new 525-mile electric transmission line connecting the two sites. The proposed project would generate more than twice the amount of electricity produced by the giant 1930s-era hydroelectric dam in Nevada – 9.2 million megawatt-hours per year vs. 3.9 million megawatt-hours.

“This project would be the 21st century’s Hoover Dam – a landmark of the clean energy revolution,” said Jeff Meyer, managing partner of Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy.

A key component of the project is a massive underground energy storage facility that would yield 1,200 megawatts of electricity, equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power plant and enough to serve an estimated 1.2 million L.A.-area homes. According to the proposal, the underground energy storage facility would help solve one of renewable energy’s biggest challenges – its intermittency. Wind farms produce no electricity when there’s no wind; solar farms produce no electricity when there’s no sun.

Linking the wind farm to the energy storage facility would enable the wind farm to function largely like a traditional coal, nuclear or natural gas power plant – capable of reliably delivering large amounts of electricity whenever needed, based on customer demand.

The energy storage facility also would reduce the need for L.A.-area utilities to build expensive backup power plants and power lines to serve customers on days when there’s no wind, at night when there’s no sunlight, and during other periods when traditional wind and solar farms are unable to produce electricity.

According to the plan, Duke-American Transmission would build a $2.6-billion, 525-mile, high-voltage electric transmission line that would transport the Wyoming wind farm’s electricity to the Utah energy storage facility. From there, using an existing 490-mile transmission line – traversing Utah, Nevada and California- electricity would be transmitted from the Utah energy storage facility to the Los Angeles area.

Black Oak Wind Farm Looking for Investors

The first community owned wind farm in New York is looking for investors. Black Oak Wind Farm, LLC has opened a new equity investment round for New York residents and companies to join the existing investors in owning the wind farm. The project will consists of 7 turbines located on a ridge in Enfield, New York.

Black Oak Wind Farm LogoAn AA credit rating institution is purchasing all the power output from the project for ten years. The project was awarded a ten-year contract with NYSERDA for its Renewable Energy Credits and qualifies for the Federal Investment Tax Credit. Black Oak has protected itself against the financial risk caused by wind variability through the use of an innovative risk management product offered by Nephila Capital, in partnership with REsurety.

Project Manager Marguerite Wells is leading the project. Her vision for community ownership stems from the fact that most wind farms don’t allow local residents to invest in the projects they live among. “I asked myself a long time ago…if wind farms are profitable then why shouldn’t they be owned by regular local people instead? I quickly learned that wind farm financing is extremely complex, and although community ownership is a common model in Europe, there are few such projects here in the U.S.”

One similar project is South Dakota Wind Partners, a 7-turbine wind farm owned by 614 South Dakotans. Val-Add Service Corporation, the financial consultants who developed that project, are members of the Black Oak team, as is Juhl Energy, based in Pipestone, MN. The PPA was negotiated by Altenex; GE will be providing the turbines (1.7-100’s) and the O&M services. Tetra Tech Construction, based in Gloversville, NY will build the project; COD is expected Fall 2015.

The current round is open only to accredited investors in the State of New York, with another round opening this fall for non-accredited investors.

West African Solar Project Gets Funding

A large photovoltaic solar farm to be located at Zagtouli on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso in sub-Saharan Africa is moving ahead. The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide EUR 23 million to support the project. When completed the 30 MW solar plant is expected to act as a reference for future solar investment across the continent.

Once operational the new solar plant will significantly increase power generation in Burkina Faso, reduce dependence on energy imports from Ivory Coast and Ghana and help prevent power cuts. It is estimated that less than a quarter of the country’s inhabitants have access to electricity. In recent years power demand in the country has increased annually by 10 percent; however, power cuts and limited electricity access have seriously hindered economic growth.

Burkina Faso Flag“The European Investment Bank is a strong partner for Burkina Faso and this close cooperation over many years has enabled significant investment in new water and energy infrastructure that has created jobs across the country. The new support agreed today for investment by SONABEL in renewable energy is an importance milestone in the long-standing cooperation between Burkina Faso and Europe,” said Lucien Bembamba, Minister of Economy and Finance for the Republic of Burkina Faso.

Agreement for financing the solar project follows detailed feasibility studies to evaluate local energy needs and strengthen project implementation supported by the European Union. The European Union Delegation in Ouagadougou has supported the project since the start and worked closely with promoter SONABEL. Alongside the EIB, financing will also be provided by the French Development Agency and European Union and over a hundred jobs will be created during construction of the solar plant.

“Electricity in essential for economic activity and the European Investment Bank is committed to supporting energy investment that will improve lives across Africa,” added Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank vice president. “The significant support for the new solar farm builds on our strong partnership over many years with Sonabel. Burkina Faso can be proud to host the new facility that will act as a benchmark for renewable energy in West Africa.”

DNV GL Releases Offshore Wind Transmission Guide

DNV GL, together with the Swedish Transmission Research Institute (STRI) and 10 wind industry companies have developed a methodology for technology qualification of offshore High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technologies through a joint industry project.

With the development of wind farms further offshore there is an increasing need for long-distance underwater power transmission. The use of HDVC transmission allows power transmission through cables over longer DNV GL offshore wind transmission guidelinesdistances and higher capacities compared to what is feasible when using AC transmission. To date, though, companies have little experience using HVDC transmission technologies and as such, there are no relevant standard, guidelines or recommendations for its successful use.

Peter Vaessen, segment director future transmission grids at DNV GL said of the new guidelines, “Implementation of new technology always introduces uncertainties that imply risk for its developers, manufacturers and end-users. With this technology qualification, we enable our customers to provide the evidence that the technology used will function within the specified limits with an acceptable level of confidence. Customers can ensure that each step is agreed in advance with the technology provider and the buyer, whilst delivering projects on time.”

As a means to manage the technology risks associated with offshore HVDC transmission projects, the new recommended practice is based on DNV GL’s methodology for technology qualification, which has been used extensively for managing technology risks in the oil and gas industry for more than a decade. Technology qualification is a method for providing evidence that technical equipment will function within specified operational limits with an acceptable level of confidence, both for suppliers and buyers of the relevant equipment.

Companies that participated during the testing process included: ABB, Alstom Grid, DONG Energy, Elia, Europacable, Scottish Power, Statkraft, Statnett, Statoil, Svenska Kraftnät and Vattenfall.

Gevo’s Plant Co-producing Isobutanol & Ethanol

Gevo’s plant in Luverne, Minnesota is now co-producing isobutanol and ethanol with one fermenter dedicated to isobutanol production and three fermenters dedicated to ethanol production. With the completion of the last phase of capital for SBS, Gevo has begun to produce and ship isobutanol in railcar volumes.gevo logo

This equipment facilitates the extraction of isobutanol from the plant, which should enable Gevo to boost production levels of isobutanol by debottlenecking the downstream side of the plant. This distillation equipment was commissioned in early September and is already showing improved results at the plant, such as:

  • A doubling of isobutanol batch sizes;
  • A 50% reduction in isobutanol batch turnaround times;
  • Consistent yields of >90% based on starch content; and
  • A continued decrease in isobutanol production costs towards targeted
    economic rates.

“We are on track with the SBS. We completed the installation of our isobutanol distillation column and it operates well. We are continuing to boost isobutanol production levels while simultaneously driving cost out of our production processes. We are pleased to be shipping both ethanol and isobutanol in railcar quantities. This isobutanol is destined for the solvents and specialty gasoline blendstock markets, as well as to supply our demo plant in Silsbee, TX, to convert our isobutanol into hydrocarbons such as bio-jet fuel and isooctane,” said Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s CEO.

Gruber continued, “By installing the last phase of capital at Luverne, we remain confident that we will be able to achieve production levels of 50-100 thousand gallons of isobutanol per month by the end of 2014. As we continue to learn and optimize the isobutanol production process, we believe we can ultimately increase our production rate to approximately 2-3 million gallons of isobutanol per annum under the SBS, while we are producing ethanol in the other three fermenters.”

10 Facts About Geothermal Energy in Oregon

geothermal power plantThe GRC Annul Meeting and Geothermal Energy Expo is taking place September 28-October 1, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. To get people excited, the Geothermal Energy Association has created 10 facts about geothermal energy in Oregon.

  1. There is about 33 MW of geothermal power on-line in Oregon producing 165 GWh in 2013.
  2. The latest industry survey identified 19 projects under development in Oregon with estimated subsurface resources of 340 MW that developers expect could provide 60 MW of additional power within the next few years if appropriate contracts are secured.
  3. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are an additional 500 MW of discovered geothermal power resources in Oregon and 1,800 MW of undiscovered resources.
  4. Geothermal power provides affordable power according to studies produced in 2014 by the Energy Information Agency, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, California Public Utilities Commission and others.
  5. Geothermal power provides significant numbers of permanent jobs. For every 100MW of geothermal power there are 170 permanent jobs supported and development of 100MW of new projects produces over 600 annual construction and manufacturing jobs.
  6. According to studies geothermal has the lowest life-cycle emission of any renewable technology besides hydropower.
  7. Geothermal power projects have the lowest land density compared to any other renewable power technology.
  8. Geothermal power plants can be engineered to be firm and flexible power sources in addition to being source of a renewable baseload power.
  9. Geothermal fields can operate for 30 years or longer, the largest geothermal field in North America, the Geysers in California celebrated its 50th birthday this year. Geothermal fields in Italy have been generating electricity since 1912.
  10. Every additional megawatt of geothermal power can enable the installation of 3 to 5 megawatt of additional intermittent power like solar and wind power.

Registration is still open. Click here for more information.

E15 Could Help Lower Gas Prices at the Pump

The end of summer is here and with the season change, “summer gasoline” and its Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements will also come to an end. With fall in view retailers who want to offer E15 to their customers may now do so.

“We’re seeing reports and predictions of lower gas prices, with some celebrating the fact that the price is ACElogodown to $3.39 nationwide,” said American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty. “In the Midwest, where E15, E30, and E85 are more widely available, even E10 prices are already under $3.00 in some markets. Ethanol adds octane and lowers prices because it provides competition for higher priced, lower octane gasoline.”

“E15 brings environmental benefits as well,” continued Lamberty. “Recent studies highlight the reduction in cancer causing emissions offered by E15. E15 means cleaner, higher octane fuel at a lower price and fuel marketers are starting to realize that. Fuel retailers like CHS/Cenex and Protec have taken steps to make E15 available in more markets soon and others will follow.”

Lamberty is encouraging retailers to take note of the growing number of vehicles that can use E15. E15 use is covered under warranty for most cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. for the 2013, 2014, and 2015 model years, and some automakers approve it for 2012 vehicles. That’s 30 million vehicles or more with more vehicles hitting the roads each week that are approved for E15 use.

“This is exactly why Big Oil fights so hard and spends so much time and money to convince EPA and elected officials that the 10% “blend wall” is real, and why they have contract restrictions that prevent branded stations from offering E15.” Lamberty concluded, “It’s not the 5% market share that could be taken by E15 that worries Big Oil – it’s what competition for that 5% does to the prices they can charge for the rest of the gallon. More ethanol means lower prices.”

Lotnisko Wind Farm Contruction Begins in Poland

September 10, 2014 marked the official beginning of construction of the 90 MW Lotnisko wind farm based in Kopaniewo, Poland. It is one of the largest projects in the Polish wind power industry. The ceremony was attended by Marek Woszczyk, PGE Odnawialna S.A1, President of the Board; Maciej Górski, PGE Energia 90 MW Lotnisko wind farm in PolandOdnawialna S.A., President of the Board; Lesław Kuzaj, Alstom, President of the Board; Mirosław Kowalik, Alstom Thermal Power and Renewable Sales and Marketing Director; Alexis de Beaumont, Alstom Renewable Spain, Regional Vice President; and several local officials.

The construction of the Lotnisko wind farm will be conducted by Alstom who was awarded the contract in June 2014. This is the first wind power project implemented by Alstom Poland. The project includes supply, installation and commissioning of 30 Alstom ECO 110 3MW wind turbines, equipped with a 110m diameter rotor, 90m high steel tower and a SCADA2 remote control system. Completion of the wind farm is scheduled for Q 4 of 2015.

“Alstom is proud to contribute to this project, thus confirming our involvement in the development of the wind power sector and the effort to build a sustainable energy mix in Poland,” said Yves Rannou, Senior Vice President of Alstom Wind business.

Fuels America Thanks Biofuels Supporter Sen Harkin

As Iowa Senator Tom Harkin prepares to retire, Fuels America is thanking him for his unwavering and tireless support of biofuels with a full-page advertisement in the Sunday, September 14, 2014 Des Moines Register and on Iowa radio. Sen. Harkin will be holding his final steak fry with Secretary Hilary Clinton, who is the keynote speaker. During the event he plans on taking the opportunity to update Clinton on biofuels progress across Iowa and the country.

“We’re grateful to Senator Harkin for his leadership, and proud to welcome Secretary Hillary Clinton to Iowa for the last Harkin Streak Fry,” says Fuels America’s radio ads that began running on Wednesday and will continue through Sunday on stations throughout the Des Moines area. “As one great Iowa tradition ends, another is growing.”

Fuels America Harkin-Clinton AdThe ads note that Iowa has doubled renewable fuels production since 2007, and that the Iowa renewable fuels industry now supports over 73,000 jobs. The ads go on to appeal to Clinton’s experience as Secretary of State, noting that she knows the danger that America’s addiction to foreign oil poses to our national security, economic security, and energy security. Instability in Ukraine and Iraq has recently created even more uncertainty in an already tumultuous global oil market, and America’s reliance on foreign oil has left us at the mercy of hostile and unstable foreign actors.

The advertisements come as President Obama is giving final consideration to this year’s final rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which will determine the extent to which renewable fuels will be allowed to compete with foreign oil in our fuel supply. At the same time, Secretary Clinton’s arrival in Iowa marks the beginning of a larger national dialogue on the future of renewable energy sources.