Dynamometer Test Facility Sets Wind on New Course

Days before the holiday season, the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) set the wind industry on a new course with the addition of a new 5MW Dynamometer Test Facility at its National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). The new facility will better enable NWTC engineers and their industry partners to verify the performance and reliability of wind turbine drivetrain prototypes and commercial machines. Increased performance and realiability will lead to more competitively cost wind energy.

The facility will be able to test virtually any land-based turbine in more “real time” conditions that turbines experience out on the “farm”.

“These new capabilities make this a very special facility, one of the largest and finest of its kind in the world,” said NWTC Director Fort Felker. “It gives NREL an enhanced ability to do comprehensive testing of modern multi-megawatt wind turbine systems in a laboratory environment to verify their performance and reliability before they are widely deployed.”

A dynamometer system replaces the rotor and blades of a wind turbine and allows researchers to control the turbine drivetrain’s mechanical and electrical systems while simulating normal and extreme operating conditions. Historically, this testing has been done under torque (rotating) loads only. However, the NWTC facility incorporates a non-torque loading s20131226_dynamometer_28229ystem into the testing regimen, a hydraulic device that allows for simulation of both the rotational and bending loads that a wind turbine rotor places on a drivetrain.

“The non-torque loading system is what really sets this facility apart from other comparable test sites,” explained NWTC Dynamometer Project Manager Mark McDade. “This allows us to test the drivetrain system with the types of loads that it will see in a real-world application. It’s a very important feature for a test apparatus because the adverse impacts these types of loads can have on a system are significant.”

The system features a 6-MW motor, which provides the power to a turbine during testing. The motor turns at very high speed and low torque. The motor drives a gearbox, which transforms the output to the high torque and low speed that is appropriate for a wind turbine drivetrain. This provides the rotating loads on the test article. Add to this motorized torque testing the non-torque loading capability unique to the NWTC, and NREL is able to put a wind turbine drivetrain through the most realistic loading tests possible in a laboratory.

“These machines are expected to operate reliably in the field, often in harsh conditions, for 20 years or more,” Felker said. “The ability to comprehensively test these systems in the lab, to verify their reliability and performance before they go into service, is a critically important capability for the wind industry.” Continue reading

Ohioans Support Clean Energy

Ohio is voting “yes” for clean energy according to a new poll conducted by Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future. The survey found that Ohioans support the Ohio Jobs Initiative, the Ohio Clean Energy Initiative by a margin of 35 percent (64 percent likely to vote in favor versus 29 percent unlikely). The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), who found during the survey that 55 percent of respondents were not aware of the Jobs Initiative. The proposed policy needs 385,247 signatures by July 4, 2014 to be on the November 2014 ballot to enable Ohioans to vote on the bill.

According to Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future, who backs the initiative, the Jobs Initiative enacts an amendment that would provide $1.3 billion a year for 10 years from state general obligation bond funding in a comprehensive array of areas, including clean energy YES FOR OHIO'S ENERGY FUTURE CLEAN ENERGYindustries and energy-related public infrastructure projects in the areas of solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, smart grid, along with other technologies. Funding includes research and development, academic and educational development as well as vocational training support.

Beginning in January 2014, the Ohio Energy Initiative Commission (OEIC) will begin accepting a limited number of early project proposals as part of the Fast Start Program; however, funding is limited to one quarter of the annual budget. Early project proposals may be placed on a prioritized list for funding, which is contingent on passage of the Initiative. Eligible categories of applicants include individuals, companies, non-profits, municipalities, and state agencies.

Project proposals for funding will be reviewed by independent reviewers at the OEIC through a simple open, transparent, and publicly-published process that evaluates the technical, economic, financial and environmental merits of each proposal.

Yes for Ohio’s Clean Energy future says the Ohio Clean Energy Initiative mirrors the enormously successful bi-partisan jobs initiative, Ohio Third Frontier, which began in 2002 under Republican Governor Bob Taft and continued under Democratic Governor Ted Strickland. The program is credited with producing 55,000 jobs at an average salary of $65,000 per year and at an overall Return on Investment of 9:1.

Consumer Attitude About Renewable Energy Rebounds

According to a new consumer survey from Navigant Research, favorable attitudes toward a number of clean and renewable energy concepts, particularly solar energy, wind energy, hybrid vehicles and electric cars, have rebounded significantly from their 2012 levels.

The survey finds the average favorability rating for 10 concepts, which fall under the Solar and wind togethercategories of clean energy, clean transportation, smart grid, and building efficiency, also rose, to 51 percent, the highest level seen in Navigant Research’s annual survey since 2010.

“Between 2009 and 2012, there were steady declines in favorability for some clean energy concepts, particularly the most favorable concepts, such as solar energy, wind energy, and hybrid and electric vehicles,” said Clint Wheelock, managing director with Navigant Research. “This year saw statistically significant increases in favorability for seven of the 10 concepts, and a decline for only one – nuclear power.”

The white paper, “Energy and Environment Consumer Survey,” analyzes the survey responses as a basis for comparing consumer views of 10 energy and environment topics to one another. In addition to favorable and unfavorable opinions, the number of respondents unfamiliar with a concept is also considered in order to compare the level of consumer awareness within each topic.

The survey of 1,084 U.S. adults was conducted in the fall of 2013, and asked respondents to provide their level of favorability for the following key concepts: solar energy; wind energy; nuclear power; hybrid vehicles; electric cars; natural gas vehicles; biofuels; smart grid; smart meters and LEED certification.

According the Navigant Research, the similarly high levels of favorable views toward solar and wind energy indicate that consumers are generally supportive of the more established renewable energies that harness naturally occurring power sources. Since these two concepts have retained their most favored status year after year, Navigant Research asserts that consumers consider these renewable energies to be important pieces in the power generation portfolio of the future.

First Wind Supports Local Teachers

First Wind is supporting local teachers for the third year through its partnership with DonorsChoose.org. The program was developed to enhance the value of the company’s financial contributions in communities where they have wind projects. During 2013, the company will award $15,000 to teachers for educational efforts.

Through DonorsChoose, First Wind supports teachers and their innovative classroom projects in its communities that include Sheffield and Lyndonville, Vermont; Danforth, Maine; Beaver, Utah; Boston, Massachusetts; Kahuku, Hawaii; Tekoa, Washington; and other communities.

“As we continue to grow, First Wind is committed to being an active community member and we want to help support innovative and exciting educational projects in our host First Wind Kidscommunities,” said Carol Grant, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at First Wind. “This program starts with the good idea of a teacher in one of our communities. Our contribution is to support that idea and help bring it to life. We’re glad to have a small part in helping these inspiring teachers and their students.”

In its second full year, First Wind funded 43 projects at 31 schools, which reached and positively touched nearly 2,600 students. For example, First Wind donated funds toward a project to supply graphing calculators for a pre-calculus classroom in Mars Hill, Maine, which is near the Mars Hill project. First Wind also donated funds to a classroom in Cedar City, Utah, which is near the Milford Wind projects, to help the classroom purchase books to implement the S.T.E.A.M. program (Science & Technology interpreted through Engineering & the Arts, all based in Mathematical elements).

The recipients of the funds have been publicly grateful to First Wind. “Thank you so much for your donation. Our school has limited funding, especially for anything in addition to what is required,” said Mrs. Heidi Thomas of Milford Elementary School in Milford, Utah who wrote the response on the First Wind DonorsChoose webpage. “Your donation makes it possible for the students in my classroom to experience their learning hands-on. This allows students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the curriculum. Once again, thank you so much for your support of our school and the vision to create a better future generation.”

Wind Tax Credit Set to Expire

The wind energy tax credit is set to expire tomorrow and unlike last year, there has been virtually no noise from the wind energy industry on the need to save the Production Tax Credit (PTC). In January 2013 Congress extended the tax credit for one year but single wind turbine Photo Joanna Schroederstructured the credit different in the past. Could this be the reason there has been all but silence from the industry on its expiration?

Heading in the the third and fourth quarters of 2012 wind supporters claimed that if the tax credit expired, the industry would all but halt. However this argument has not been heard this year.

While speculation, it could be because when the tax credit was restructured for 2013, it said that a project only has to be in construction by the end of 2013, not completed to qualify for the PTC. But it wasn’t until September of 2013 that the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) released rules that defined a project “in construction” if the project developer has incurred 5 percent of the total capital costs. In addition, the IRS guidelines also stipulate that all the wind turbines for a project must be delivered to the project site by April 15, 2014 and the wind farm must be in operation by December 31, 2015.

Under this structure, the wind industry should remain strong through 2015 and this past month, many companies have announced their wind farm projects have entered the “construction phase”.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), during the forth quarter at least 27 requests for proposals were issued with an estimated 4,175 MW of new wind energy to be generation upon completed. Looking further ahead, reports AWEA, 5,600 MW of new wind projects have secured long-term contracts, and another 1,900 MW have received state regulatory approval.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 12.33.55 PMSo how is 2013 shaping up for the wind industry? AWEA reports that American wind energy will finish 2013 with strong momentum for installations in the new year according to the U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter 2013 Market Report. The industry experienced a painful slowdown at the beginning of 2013 as result of the scheduled expiration of the federal wind energy PTC at the end of 2012, but has now rebounded. However, says AWEA, lack of certainty over federal tax policies continues to keep wind energy from reaching its full potential in the United States. Continue reading

World Energy Center Heeds Call for Renewable Energy

The Southern California-based World Energy Center is reporting that it has heeded and exceeded President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s call for the use of renewable electricity. The administration has called, as part of its “new energy plan” for America, to develop and use 25 percent renewable electricity by 2025. This will spur clean energy jobs, says the Obama administration as well as reduce greenhouse gases and other sources that lead to climate change.

img_energy-center-mapThe World Energy Center is comprised of more than 30 companies, cities, colleges, participants’ partners and affiliates. Larry Hales with Hales Global Group has been providing consultant business development services and says the World Energy Center is the nation’s leading clean energy nerve center in North America. The Center collaborates with multiple companies to develop the most technological advanced renewable energy projects with the goal of spurring clean energy innovation and creating a commercialization Hub to reduce the cost of clean energy and accelerated its worldwide deployment.

World Energy Center aims to create more new jobs and further economic growth says President and COO, Michael Reich, “With billions being spent on new construction projects, long-term manufacturing, engineering, maintenance and management jobs, ancillary growth and service jobs, manpower will be needed for us to succeed. We need to create green job training facilities, educational programs and a number of diversified renewable energy projects will be brought online.”

The World Energy Center and its collaborative group of partners expect to build out more than 5,000 Megawatts of solar, geothermal, wind, natural gas and other clean energy projects over the next 15 years. Reich said the Center will position the United States as a leader in low cost renewable energy, create tens of thousands of green jobs and educate the next generation of young Americans keeping pace with President Obama’s goal and Energy Secretary Dr. Moniz’s mandate.

Ian Campbell, senior lobbyist with Manchester Associates noted that World Energy Center is extremely efficient at Photovoltaic, PV, converting sunlight into electricity. “We are building on the development of applicable PV affordable solar renewable clean energy which was born in 1979, and today with support from private and public partners, the price of PV systems has fallen in half; however, maintaining such a viable U.S. clean technology industry will require policy makers to advance energy subsidies that will lead to improvements in technology and lower prices.”

ACCIONA Turbines Selected for Wind Farm

ACCIONA has signed a contract to supply 34 turbines for a 102 MW wind farm in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The company will carry out the construction, internal electrical infrastructures and assembly, and will also undertake the operation and maintenance of the facility.

The South Canoe wind farm, which will be the largest in Nova Scotia, has been developed by three local companies: Oxford Frozen Foods, Minas Basin Pulp and Power and the utility company Nova Scotia Power, to which the power generated will be sold. It will use ACCIONA Windpower AW3000/116 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3 MW, hub height of 92m, and a rotor diameter of 116 metres.

ACCIONA_parque-eolico-canada-pThe facility will supply electricity equivalent to the consumption of 32,000 homes and will help the province of Nova Scotia reach its renewable energy targets.

“ACCIONA was able to deliver what the South Canoe Project team asked for: a complete solution including highly-reliable and high-capacity turbines, construction services and operations and maintenance,” said Ilya Hartmann, CEO of ACCIONA Energy North America. “We’re pleased to apply our full range of wind energy services to provide the best value for this project.”

ACCIONA Windpower North America CEO Enrique Teruel says the company “is proud to be part of the South Canoe Wind Project and to continue expanding the track record of our AW3000 turbine in North America.”

To date, orders for the AW3000 turbines amount to 1,491 MW and the wind turbines are destined for wind farms in nine different countries. Nearly half this figure corresponds to wind farms in North America, and 78 percent of the total capacity will be supplied to customers outside the ACCIONA Group.

EU Guidelines Undermine Renewable Energy

The European Commission proposes putting an end to differentiated support for renewable technologies such as onshore and offshore wind in its consultation of draft State aid guidelines for energy and the environment published this week according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). This would effectively stop Member States from determining their own energy mix – a fundamental principle of EU energy policy says EWEA.

AREVA OFFSHORE MASTS“These guidelines, if adopted in their present form, endanger Member States’ ability to meet their 2020 renewable energy targets cost effectively,” said Pierre Tardieu from the EWEA. “Moreover, following the destabilising regulatory changes for renewable energy in many countries, requiring further fundamental changes to support mechanisms would cause major investor uncertainty.” The organization has drafted its own brief related to the EU’s proposed guidelines.

EWEA is calling for Member States and stakeholders to speak out to ensure the guidelines do not put at risk their path to the 2020 targets when they take part in the consultation on the proposal that has been launched. The guidelines are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2014.

Separately, the European Commission has announced investigations into the German renewable energy support mechanism, the EEG, and the UK’s measures offering generous support to nuclear energy.

“The EEG investigation risks undermining the wind industry in Germany by destabilising investors, and putting at risk the jobs, energy security and industrial leadership brought by wind and other renewables,” said Tardieu. “The Commission needs to carry out this investigation as rapidly and with as little disruption as possible.”

“The UK nuclear investigation is welcome, since the proposed 35-year subsidy would wreck efforts for a single European electricity market until after the year 2058 – over 100 years after the first commercial nuclear power plant was installed at Sellafield/Windscale in the UK,” Tardieu concluded.

Marshall County Wind Farm Begins Construction

Laurel MorningMarshall Wind Energy LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RPM Access LLC, has begun construction of its 74 MW wind farm in Marshall County near Beattie, Kansas. The company executed a high voltage transmission interconnection agreement with Westar Energy and Southwest Power Pool in mid-2011. Under the terms of this arrangement, the two companies are coordinating their efforts to pursue all design, engineering and construction activities related to the Westar 115kV Marshall County Wind Farm Switching Station and the Marshall Energy Rock Substation. Energization is scheduled for August 2014 with wind farm commercial operations expected by year end 2014.

A contract has also been signed with Mortenson Construction to provide balance-of-plant design and construction management activities. Marshall Wind has established a local business office in Beattie. An on-site construction management office and equipment have been mobilized to support construction of access roads to wind turbine locations along with substation site grading and foundation work activities that are now underway.

Renewable energy generated by the project will be purchased by multiple entities via long-term contracts. In September, Marshall Wind signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for 20 MW with the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC). The project will qualify for current renewable production tax credits (PTCs). Located within the Southwest Power Pool market region, Marshall Wind in 2014 is ideally positioned to offer for sale under long-term contract(s) the remaining available capacity.

The project is anticipated to create more than 150 jobs during the construction phase and approximately four permanent positions. The wind farm will also benefit the community by strengthening the local economy and providing a steady flow of revenue to Marshall County.

DOE Announces $150M in Clean Energy Tax Credits

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $150 million in clean energy tax credits to build U.S. capabilities in clean energy manufacturing. The credits will go towards investments in domestic manufacturing equipment by 12 businesses. Through the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit program (48C Program), DOE says these awards will help create thousands of jobs across the country and increase U.S. competitiveness in the global clean energy market.

DOE Energy Secretary Ernest MonizU.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz announced the 48C Program awards during the Energy Department’s American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit, jointly sponsored by the Council on Competitiveness. As part of the Department’s broader Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, this summit brings together industry, government, academia and the Department’s national laboratories to address national challenges in manufacturing and energy.

“Cost-effective, efficient manufacturing plays a critical role in continuing U.S. leadership in clean energy innovation, and the tax credits announced today will help reduce carbon pollution from our vehicles and buildings; create new jobs and supply more clean energy projects in the United States and abroad with equipment made in America,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

The Departments of Energy and the Treasury worked in partnership to develop, launch, and award the funds for this program. The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit authorized Treasury to provide developers with an investment tax credit of 30 percent for the manufacture of particular types of energy equipment. Funded at $2.3 billion, the tax credit was made available to 183 domestic clean energy manufacturing facilities during Phase I of the program. Today’s awards, or Phase II, were launched to utilize $150 million in tax credits that were not used by the previous awardees and support projects that must be placed in service by 2017.

Today’s awards include domestic manufacturing of a wide range of renewable energy and energy efficiency products – from hydropower and wind energy to smart grid technologies to fuel efficient vehicles – and will support thousands of new manufacturing jobs in nine states and dozens of supply chains throughout the United States.

China’s Offshore Wind Power Industry on Track

During the 18th Congress of Chinese Communist Party meeting, a call was made to create a “Biological Civilization” strategy that would encompass a plan for more use of green energy including offshore wind. On June 4-6, 2014 Offshore Wind China 2014, Wind Farm O&A China 2014 and Distributed Generation China 2014 are simultaneously taking place at the Shanghai New International Expo Center and Shangri-La’s Kerry Hotel Pudong.

Optimale Bedingungen / Ideal conditionsThe organizers of the June events include Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Committee, China National Renewable Energy Centre and Shanghai International Exhibition Co., Ltd. The groups have announced they will focus on the seven topics for the conferences in an effort to move the offshore wind industry and green energy industries forward.

1. Experience Wind Power Industry’s Turn-around through Release of Latest Progress on Offshore Wind Projects. Offshore wind power developers along with planning and design organizations will be invited to deliver speeches on progress of offshore wind power projects.

2. Catch New Industry Trends by Bringing together Leading Wind Turbine Manufacturers. Key offshore wind turbines manufacturers, including Vestas / Mitsubishi, Goldwind, Gamesa, United Power, Sinovel, Shanghai Electrics / Siemens and Ming Yang will gather to present the advanced offshore wind technologies.

3. Capture Future Market Opportunities in Sector of Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance. The event features Wind Farm O&M Market to explore life-cycle management and after-sales services of onshore and offshore wind farms.

4. Provide Full-range Solutions with Focus on Offshore Installation and Construction. With a focus on offshore installations and construction, leading offshore installation companies including CCCC Third, ZPMC, Jiangsu Longyuan Zhenhua, CCCC Fourth will gather at this event to showcase installation equipments and share practical experiences.

5. Join Hands with Leading Wind Power Nations to Share in Advanced Experience. Attendees will meet with associations and delegations from developed countries including U.K., Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and U.S. to have exchanges with overseas firms.

6. Improve Trade Mechanism by Expanding On-site Communications and Negotiations. The event will further enhance the trade mechanism to hold “On-Site Match-making Meetings between Turbine Manufacturers and Components Suppliers”.

7. Witness Offshore Mega Project by Visiting Offshore Wind Farm under Construction. Attendees will have opportunity to visit East Sea Bridge Offshore Wind Farm (Phase II) during its construction stage, and the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the first of its kind in China.

Staggering Wind Turbines Produces More Energy

According to the University of Delaware’s Cristina Archer and her Atmosphere and Energy Research Group, staggering and spacing out turbines in an offshore wind farm can improve performance by as much as 33 percent. The findings, which appeared in Geophysical Research Letters, could help engineers plan improved offshore wind farms.

“Staggering every other row was amazingly efficient,” said Archer, associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering and geography in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.

Sund_mpazdzioraThe researchers used an existing offshore wind farm near Sweden as the basis for their study, comparing the existing tightly packed, grid-like layout to six alternative configurations. In some, they kept the turbines in neat rows but spaced them farther apart. In others, they shifted the alignment of every other row, similar to how rows of theatre seats are staggered to improve the views of people further back.

In computer-intensive simulations that each took weeks to run, the team took into account the eddies, or swirls of choppy air, that wind turbines create downwind as their blades spin — and how that air movement would impact surrounding turbines.

They found that the most efficient arrangement was a combination of two approaches. By both spacing the turbines farther apart and staggering the rows, the improved layout would decrease losses caused by eddies and improve overall performance by a third.

The optimal configuration had the rows oriented to face the prevailing wind direction, for example from the southwest in the summer along the U.S. East Coast. Most locations, however, have more than one dominant direction from where wind blows throughout the year. The optimal configuration for a season may not be optimal in another season, when the prevailing wind changes direction and intensity.

Considering these various factors could better inform where and how to configure future offshore wind farms, Archer explained. “We want to explore all these trade-offs systematically, one by one,” she said.

The study is part of Archer’s overall research focus on wind and applications for renewable energy production. Trained in both meteorology and engineering, she uses weather data and complex calculations to estimate the potential for wind as a power source.

Offshore Wind Needs EUR123 Billion to Meet Goals

EWEA offshore wind financial reportAccording to new research, the offshore wind energy sector needs up to EUR123 billion in investment between now and 2020 if it is to meet its target of 40 GW of installed capacity. Equity and debt provides are willing to invest; however, they are holding back due to regulatory instability.

What’s blocking the investment is the uncertainty caused by changing regulatory frameworks, not least in the two largest markets, the UK and Germany, the independent survey of the financial community shows.

“By undermining investment stability, governments are putting green growth, jobs and a world-leading European industry at risk,” said CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), Thomas Becker, at the report launch in Frankfurt at EWEA OFFSHORE 2013. “Stable national frameworks and a binding EU renewable energy target for 2030 will be a green light to investors and ensure the industry continues to flourish.”

The report, ‘Where’s the money coming from? Financing offshore wind farms‘ comes from EWEA with research from Ernst and Young.

Duke Settles Wind Farms Bird Deaths Suit

Duke Energy Renewables has announced it has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the deaths of golden eagles and other migratory birds at two of Duke Energy’s wind generation sites in Wyoming. The DOJ brought misdemeanor charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for 14 golden eagle mortalities within the past three years at Duke Energy’s Top of the World Windpower Project and Campbell Hill Windpower Project near Casper, Wyoming.

Golden_EagleGolden eagles are not listed as threatened or endangered under U.S. law. However, they are protected under the MBTA.

Federal fines and restitution of $1 million will be levied against Duke Energy Renewables. These funds will be dispersed to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Conservation Fund.

“Our goal is to provide the benefits of wind energy in the most environmentally responsible way possible,” said Greg Wolf, president of Duke Energy Renewables. “We deeply regret the impacts to golden eagles at two of our wind facilities. We have always self reported all incidents, and from the time we discovered the first fatality, we’ve been working closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service to take proactive steps to correct the problem.”

The company has engaged in several steps to reduce further bird deaths that they believe is a first in the industry. These included:

  • Installing and testing new radar technology to assist in the detection of airborne eagles on or near the site, which was developed from the same technology used in Afghanistan to monitor incoming missiles.
  • Instituting a curtailment program using field biologists, who radio for turbines to be temporarily shut down upon sighting an eagle in the vicinity.
  • Further curtailing turbines during periods of high eagle flight activity.
  • Instituting migratory bird training programs for wind technicians and developing a reporting system to track any findings related to avian populations on the sites.
  • Removing rock and debris piles that attract eagle prey.
  • Continuing to voluntarily report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) all eagle and migratory bird mortalities and meeting with the agency regularly to discuss adaptive management measures to reduce avian mortality. Continue reading

S.C. Opens Largest Wind Energy Testing Facilities

wind_testing_cert-1The U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman recently joined with officials from Clemson University to dedicate the nation’s largest and one of the world’s most advanced wind energy testing facilities in North Charleston, S.C. Led by Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, the facility will help test and validate new turbines, particularly for offshore wind – helping to speed deployment of next generation energy technology, reduce costs for manufacturers and boost global competitiveness for American companies.

“Developing America’s vast renewable energy resources is an important part of the Energy Department’s all-of-the-above strategy to pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future,” said Deputy Secretary Poneman. “The Clemson testing facility represents a critical investment to ensure America leads in this fast-growing global industry – helping to make sure the best, most efficient wind energy technologies are developed and manufactured in the United States.”

Congressman Jim Clyburn said, “This facility is about job creation, sustainable growth and energy independence, while building the infrastructure to power America’s economic growth and prosperity for years to come. I applaud Clemson University for their leadership in bringing this cutting edge research to South Carolina and North Charleston. Wind energy represented over 40% of new electricity production in the United States in 2012, but there is still tremendous amount of untapped potential for this technology. I look forward to this industry creating jobs while providing clean renewable energy.”

Located at a former Navy warehouse with easy access to rail and water transport, the Clemson facility will test machinery that converts both onshore and offshore wind to electricity and allow engineers to simulate 20 years’ worth of wear and tear on drivetrains in a few months. The facility’s proximity to the coast also makes it ideal for U.S. and international companies to testing larger offshore wind turbines.

Supported by a $47 million Energy Department investment as well as about $60 million in outside funding, the facility is equipped with two testing bays – for up to 7.5-megawatt  and 15-megawatt drivetrains, respectively. The facility will also feature a gridwind_testing_cert-2 simulator that mimics real-world conditions and can help private industry and public researchers better study interactions between wind energy technologies and the U.S. power grid.

Over the past four years, the Energy Department has made significant investments in our nation’s wind turbine testing capabilities, including the Scaled Wind Farm Technology facility in Lubbock, Texas, to help optimize whole wind farms’ performance and power production as well as the United States’ first commercial large-blade test facility in Boston Harbor.

These efforts build off the Department’s National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colo., which has helped drive new wind technology development since 1993. This past week, the Department dedicated a new five-megawatt dynamometer at the center to further strengthen its capabilities and conduct research on stronger, more durable wind drivetrains for land-based wind farms. Connected to a grid simulator as well as operating multi-megawatt turbines at the center, the new installation will also help study grid interactions and test energy storage devices simultaneously.