Vestas Delivers First V110-2.0 Wind Turbines to U.S.

Vestas is now manufacturing its first V110-2.0 MW wind turbines that will be delivered to EDP Renováveis (EDPR) for several wind energy projects in the United States. The turbines are part of a supply agreement to deliver 1,500 MW to wind power plants in the Americas and Europe. EDPR said it selected the V110-2.0 MW because of its competitive cost of energy compared with other options.

The V110-2.0 MW turbines are expected to be delivered and commissioned in 2014 and 2015. The new projects’ names and specific locations are not currently available.

Category: Installed turbines Country: USA State: New Mexico Site: Macho Springs Turbine: V100 1.8 MW No. of turbines: 28 Photographed in: November 2011 Photographer: Lars Schmidt“Vestas has successfully worked with EDPR for the past eight years to deliver many wind-power projects around the world,” said Chris Brown, President of Vestas’ sales and service division in the United States and Canada. “We look forward to supplying EDPR our new V110-2.0 MW wind turbine, which is a variant of the V100-1.8 MW that can provide over 13 per cent higher annual energy production compared with its predecessor. Our 2-MW platform has a long track record of success and reliability. The V110-2.0 MW will provide clean, reliable and low cost electricity for decades.”

Vestas’ factories in Colorado will manufacture the blades, towers and nacelles for these projects.

The projects include five-year service agreements featuring the Active Output Management (AOM) 5000 offering. AOM 5000 is an energy-based availability guarantee that ensures the turbines are operational when the wind is blowing. This service option includes the VestasOnline® surveillance system that remotely controls and monitors the turbines and predicts potential wear-and-tear issues. This allows Vestas to plan maintenance so the turbines operate with the minimum amount of lost production.

India & Australia Renewable Energy Investments Up

India and Australia, powered by policy support from the government, will increase their share of renewable energy projects in the near future, according to the recent report, Asia-Pacific Renewable Energy Policy Handbook 2013, published by GlobalData. In addition, the report finds China will remain the largest market in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to the report, Australia’s cumulative installed capacity for renewable power surged from 849 MW in 2001 to 5,968 MW in 2012. The cumulative share of solar and wind power accounted for 80 percent of the country’s total renewable power capacity in 2012, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 41 percent.

india-solar34 photo solarfeeds.comIndia has also invested heavily in solar energy, with the government expecting to deploy 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022. Furthermore, the country aims to increase the capacity of grid-connected solar power generation to 1,000 MW by 2013 and 3,000 MW by 2017, through mandatory use of renewables by utility providers.

Due to a rising number of new installations, the report finds China will remain the leading industry for renewable energy in the Asia-Pacific region, while retaining its position as the largest wind power market in the world with 75.6 GW installed capacity in 2012. In addition, the reports finds that favorable government policies and incentives in the Asia-Pacific region have become an important tool to boost the renewable energy industry.

“Most countries are supporting renewable sources in order to aid recovery from the economic downturn. Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) are the two most prominent support mechanisms implemented by countries that are driving renewable energy market development,” explained Swati Singh, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power.

In addition, the report details other incentives, such as capital subsidies, grants, rebates, tax credits and exemptions, as well as reduced-rate loans, being offered by these countries to help further promote the use of renewable power.

Growth in Wind Industry to Boost O&M Market

According to a new report from GlobalData, with wind energy capacity growing at rapid pace, the value of the operations and maintenance (O&M) market is expected to increase from $3 billion in 2008 to $19 billion in 2020. The report finds that more than 191 GW of wind power capacity was added between 2008 and 2012, which has drastically increased O&M expenditure from $3 billion to $7 billion in the same period, demonstrating a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.6 percent.

Wind Farm near Galva Iowa Photo Joanna SchroederOffshore wind energy will continue to attract higher O&M costs in comparison to onshore wind, reaching a market size of $5 billion, or a 29 percent share of the total O&M market in 2020. Currently, the U.S. is the largest O&M market in the world, but GlobalData expects that China will surpass it to become the leader in O&M expenditure, with a 24.7 percent share of the market by 2020.

Prasad Tanikella, GlobalData’s Senior Analyst, said: “Higher turbine maintenance, high logistics costs and a lack of skilled manpower make offshore wind services more challenging than the onshore equivalent. Although onshore wind also faces similar issues, the impact of these factors on the offshore segment is more significant.”

According to Wind Operations & Maintenance Market, 2013 Update – Global Market Size, Share by Component, Competitive Landscape and Key Country Analysis to 2020, the growth in the wind industry’s O&M cost is largely due to the increasing age of wind turbines and the failure of components such as blades and gearboxes.

“This increase in market size is leading to a rise in the number of companies providing specialized wind turbine O&M services, which is in turn bringing the benefit of lower costs to consumers,” Tanikella concluded.

Northern Power Expands Into South America

Northern Power Systems has entered into a strategic partnership with WEG Equipamentos Elétricos S.A., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electronic equipment. WEG and Northern Power are cooperating to bring next‐generation wind turbine technology to the South American wind market. This partnership combines WEG’s extensive production capabilities and market knowledge with Northern Power’s PM/DD technology and wind industry experience to deliver value‐enhanced wind energy products for customers of WEG.

Northern Power logoAs part of their collaborative efforts, WEG is offering a utility‐scale technology platform that will include wind turbines rated between 2.1 and 2.3MW and rotors sized from 93m to 110m to meet customer requirements in a range of a wind classes. WEG has already secured commitments for initial orders and will be scaling production operations throughout 2013 and 2014.

“We believe that Northern Power’s PM/DD technology offers a significant performance advantage to a vast array of customers in South America,” said João Paulo Gualberto da Silva, WEG’s Head of Wind Energy Generation Business. “The South American wind market, particularly Brazil, is growing at an incredible rate, and the initial market response to WEG’s turbine offerings has been very positive. Having a partner like Northern Power with proven technology which is capable of providing solutions for both current and evolving wind market demands, positions WEG to be a leader in this expanding space now and in the future.”

According to Northern Power, turbines leveraging PM/DD technology typically demonstrate higher availability and lower maintenance and repair costs than traditional gear‐based turbines, offering higher energy production over the turbine’s lifetime, and providing enhanced economic returns to owners. The wind turbines initially will be manufactured at WEG’s manufacturing facilities in Jaragua do Sul, state of Santa Catarina, Brazil.

“WEG has tremendous capabilities to supply all aspects of wind power plants integrated with a strong understanding of the needs of the South American wind market, and Northern Power has the experience and technology necessary to provide the right solutions for this market,” added Troy C. Patton, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Power Systems. “We look forward to powering WEG’s capabilities through our technology offerings.”

Natural Power Wins Award & New Contract

Natural Power has been in the news lately with several announcements. The company has been recognized by The Green Organisation, with its Green Apple award, for its overall environmental performance.

London Array Offshore & Final turbine assembly 104In addition, the company has been appointed by First Flight Wind Ltd, the developers of Northern Ireland’s first offshore wind farm, to provide bird and marine mammal advisory and survey works over the Wind Resource Zone. Flight Wind, a consortium comprising of B9 Energy, DONG Energy and Renewable Energy Systems Ltd (RES), was awarded a Wind Resource Zone of approximately 438km² off the Coast of County Down, Northern Ireland, by The Crown Estate in Autumn 2012.

Starting in July 2013, Natural Power’s experienced Ecology team commissioned a local Kilkeel vessel, to carry out the surveys, which are expected to last until late 2014. The boat-based surveys will see ornithologists and marine mammal observers undertaking surveys each month to collect data suitable for analysis and impact assessment.

In other news, Natural Power announced plans to open a new office in Stirling, Scotland this fall. The office is expected to be the single largest renewable energy consultancy office in Scotland, with capacity for 140 staff. Around 90 staff will transfer from the company’s current central belt locations, leading to significant job creation opportunities over the next 24 months.

IBM Launches Wind & Solar Forecasting

IBM has announced the launch of an advanced power and weather modeling technology that will help utilities increase the reliability of renewable energy resources. According the company, the solution, “Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting” (HyRef) combines weather predictions and analytics to accurately forecast the availability of wind power and solar energy. This will enable utilities to integrate more renewable energy into the power grid.

IBM HyRefIBM says HyRef uses weather modeling capabilities, advanced cloud imaging technology and sky-facing cameras to track cloud movements, while sensors on the turbines monitor wind speed, temperature and direction. When combined with analytics technology, the data-assimilation based solution can produce accurate local weather forecasts within a wind farm as far as one month in advance, or in 15-minute increments.

“Utilities around the world are employing a host of strategies to integrate new renewable energy resources into their operating systems in order to reach a baseline goal of a 25 percent renewable energy mix globally by 2025,” said Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, President and CEO of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). “The weather modeling and forecasting data generated from HyRef will significantly improve this process and in turn, put us one step closer to maximizing the full potential of renewable resources.”

By utilizing local weather forecasts, according to IBM, HyRef can predict the performance of each individual wind turbine and estimate the amount of generated renewable energy. This level of insight will enable utilities to better manage the variable nature of wind and solar, and more accurately forecast the amount of power that can be redirected into the power grid or stored. It will also allow energy organizations to easily integrate other conventional sources such as coal and natural gas.

HyRef represents advancements in weather modeling technology, stemming from other game-changing innovations such as Deep Thunder. Developed by IBM, Deep Thunder provides high-resolution, micro-forecasts for weather in a region – ranging from a metropolitan area up to an entire state – with calculations as fine as every square kilometer. When coupled with business data, it can help businesses and governments tailor services, change routes and deploy equipment-to minimize the effects of major weather events.

Corn Farmers Look to Produce Fertilizer from Wind

MNwindmillFarmers in Minnesota soon could be turning wind energy into fertilizer. Research funded by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association is developing a way to have the wind turbines put up in corn fields produce the very nitrogen fertilizer that helps those same crops grow.

“We take water, and we separate the hydrogen and oxygen. We pull nitrogen from the air and combine the hydrogen and nitrogen to form anhydrous ammonia, the predominant nitrogen fertilizer source farmers use,” explains Mike Reese, the Renewable Energy Director for the University of Minnesota at the school’s West Central Research Station in Morris, Minn.

This first-in-the-world research project still uses the tried-and-true process of producing ammonia for fertilizer… but hopefully more locally and efficiently. Reese says they need to figure out how to make this wind-powered process commercially scalable.

“Right now, anhydrous ammonia and nitrogen fertilizer is produced on a massive scale in central locations. What we’re trying to do is make this so we could have community production or co-op facilities to produce the nitrogen fertilizer locally,” he said.

Reese added that there are enough resources in Minnesota to make all the fertilizer needed for the state’s entire corn crop, a possible $400 million industry that is now done completely out of the state.

EIA: Wind, Solar & Biofuels Seeing Good Growth

eiaThe latest government energy report seems to provide plenty of good news for some of our favorite alternative fuel sources. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) August 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook shows that wind, solar, ethanol and biodiesel productions are all up for the year, according to comments from EIA’s Administrator Adam Sieminski:

Renewables:

“Wind power generation is expected to grow by 19% this year as capacity that came on line at the end of 2012 is available to produce electricity for the entire year. Wind generation is forecast to grow by 7% in 2014.”

“EIA expects continued robust growth in solar power generation, although the amount of utility-scale generation remains a small share of total U.S. generation at about 0.2% for this year.”

U.S. Liquid Biofuels:

“U.S. ethanol production has been increasing since April, and is projected to average 870,000 barrels per day this year and 920,000 barrels per day in 2014. Biodiesel production has also been rising this year and reached 85,000 barrels per day in May. Biodiesel output is expected to average 82,000 barrels per day this year.”

It’s a good thing renewable energy is doing so well, because the EIA also reports that petroleum oil prices, and consequently gasoline prices, are also on the rise. Nice to know alternatives are there to give us some choices.

Now This Is Interesting…

Now this I find interesting. Yesterday I brought you the story about how Xcel Energy is taking aim at net metering, one of the most important tools to increase solar power adoption on homes. Yet the company is the top wind energy provider and has announced plans to expand its wind power production to “reduce customer costs, protect against rising and volatile fuel prices, and benefit the environment. Ironically, these are also benefits of solar power.

Yet I understand the dichotomy of support. For the most part, you can’t put a wind turbine on the roof of your home, although there are some up and coming home wind turbine technologies that would face the same challenges if changes were made to net metering regulations. The problem is simple – utility companies don’t make money on renewable energy projects that reduce bills or even provide enough power to sell excess energy to the grid. And the biggest threat to utilities’ bottom lines today is solar energy.

Here is another reason why wind is “good” for utilities. With the significant growth of the industry, prices are competitive and then there is the federal Production Tax Credit that was renewed just in the nick of time at the end of last year.

XCEL ENERGY WIND GROWTH“Wind energy is a valuable, low-cost substitute for natural gas and other fuels right now,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy in a press statement detailing their intentions for wind energy. “These projects will lower customer costs by at least $800 million over their lives and will provide a valuable hedge to rising and volatile fuel prices for well into the future.”

The company has submitted to state regulators throughout its service area proposals to purchase at least 1,500 megawatts of wind resources, a 30 percent increase in overall wind capacity. The wind power expansion, along with previous conservation, renewable energy and power plant improvement projects, according to the company, puts them on track to reduce its carbon emissions by 28 million tons, or more than 31 percent by 2020.

“These projects demonstrate how to do environmental leadership the right way,” Fowke continued. “Both economic and environmental benefits can and should be achieved.”

If the projects are approved, the company expects that more than 20 percent of its total energy mix will be supplied by wind. While this would be a great accomplishment that other utilities could and should follow, let’s hope other utilities don’t follow their lead on net metering – a move that could stall solar power adoption in the residential sector.

1st Offshore Wind Lease Sale in U.S.

Today the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held its first-ever offshore wind lease sale, leasing 164,750 acres off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The area was divided into two leases, the North Lease Area, which consists of about 97,500 acres, and the South Lease Area, covering approximately 67,250 acres.

Oceana, an international advocacy group protecting oceans, celebrated the sale. “Today is a historic day for the United States and its offshore wind industry. For more than 20 years, we have watched as Europe developed and benefited from offshore wind power. It is high time for the U.S. to take advantage of this unlimited resource that can help solve our Offshore wind energy platformclimate and energy challenges,” said deputy vice president for U.S. campaigns Jacqueline Savitz.

She continued, “Today’s lease sale takes a critical step toward building offshore wind in U.S. waters. These companies understand the massive clean energy and job-creating potential that offshore wind provides. They should be commended for their efforts to transition America off of fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future.”

“However, in order to continue the advancement of the U.S. offshore wind industry,” stressed Savitz, “we will need a long-term extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The ITC is necessary to stimulate investment in offshore wind, and extending it will further demonstrate that the U.S. stands strong in its commitment to this renewable energy source. We urge Congress to provide a long-term extension of the ITC for offshore wind so that we can finally begin to reap all of the environmental and economic benefits of this domestic clean energy supply.”

Wind & Solar to Growth Significantly

According to a recent report by Worldwatch Institute, global use of solar and wind energy continued to grow significantly in 2012. Solar power consumption increased by 58 percent, to 93 terrawatt-hours (TWh), and the use of wind power increased by 18 percent, Ringgenbach-Solar-Farm-Rigeenbach-Germanyto 521 TWh. Although hydropower remains the world’s leading renewable energy, solar and wind continue to dominate investment in new renewable capacity and are quickly becoming the highest-profile renewable energy sources.

The report found that global solar and wind energy capacities continued to grow even though new investments in these energy sources declined during 2012. Global investment in solar energy in 2012 was $140.4 billion, an 11 percent decline from 2011, and wind investment was down 10 percent, to $80.3 billion. But due to lower costs for both technologies, total installed capacities grew sharply.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installed capacity grew by 41 percent in 2012, reaching 100 gigawatts (GW). Over the past five years alone, installed PV capacity grew by 900 percent from 10 GW in 2007. The countries with the most installed PV capacity today are Germany (32.4 GW), Italy (16.4 GW), the United States (7.2 GW), and China (7.0 GW).

Europe remains dominant in solar, accounting for 76 percent of global solar power use in 2012. Germany alone accounted for 30 percent of the world’s solar power consumption, and Italy added the third most capacity of any country in 2012 (3.4 GW). Spain added the most concentrating solar thermal power capacity (950 MW) in 2012 as well. However, Italy reached the subsidy cap for its feed-in tariff (FIT) program in June 2013 while Spain recently made a retroactive change in its FIT policies, meaning growth in solar energy will likely slow in these countries in the near future. Continue reading

Deep Water Wind Turbines Hold Energy Key

According to a new report from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), “Deep Water, the next step for offshore energy,” deep water wind turbines are key to unlocking the massive energy potential in Europe’s Atlantic and Mediterranean seas and the deepest parts of the North Sea.

The report finds that floating turbines in North Sea deep waters alone could power Europe four times over. Offshore wind in Europe could be providing 145 million households with renewable electricity and employing 318,000 people by 2030, while providing energy security, technology exports, and no greenhouse gases.

EWEA Deep Water Report“To allow this sector to realise its potential and deliver major benefits for Europe, a clear and stable legislative framework for after 2020 – based on a binding 2030 renewable energy target – is vital. This must be backed by an industrial strategy for offshore wind including support for R&D,” said Jacopo Moccia, Head of Policy Analysis at EWEA.

The report found that floating turbine designs are cost-competitive with fixed-bottom designs in waters over 50 metres deep and if challenges are successfully met, the first full-scale deep offshore wind farms could be producing power by 2017 up from the up from the two floating turbines currently supplying electricity from European waters.

Capturing Energy from Ocean Currents

Raul Delga Delgadillo, a soon to be senior this fall at Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside, has learned he will receive a $15,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA. The award is a result of his entry in the national sustainable design competition for his idea to capture energy from ocean currents.

Delgadillo will now build a small-scale turbine and buoy system and test it in a flow tank to determine the best way to maximize energy extraction. He expects the system will provide as much energy as an average wind turbine. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) believes wave and tidal energy, combined with other water-powered sources, could provide up to 15 percent of the country’s electricity by 2030.

“The ocean remains an untapped frontier as a renewable energy source,” Delgadillo said. “I’m hoping to change that.”

The idea for the EPA P3: People, Prosperity and the Planet Student Design Competition mobile-solar-003-603x400for Sustainability entry came out of project for the Sustainable Product Design course. Delgadillo’s project proposes several innovative designs: the buoy, which will allow the device to move around until an optimum location is found, and the telescoping feature on the turbine, which allows it to vary in height and remain stationary if waves are present. Current proposals to harness energy from ocean currents require the turbine be anchored to the ocean floor using cables or rigid supports. This adds a significant cost, disrupts the environment because the ocean floor needs to excavated and limits the mobility of the turbine.

Delgadillo expects several challenges, including varying flow rates from ocean currents due to seasonal fluctuations; the fact that depth and contours of ocean floors can affect ocean currents; and avoiding harming marine life.

In the coming months, Delgadillo will perform experiments in a flow tank in the lab of Marco Princevac, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. He will then use the data he gathers to write a proposal for a second round of funding, for $90,000, from the EPA. He will find out in spring 2014 whether he receives that money, which would allow him to take the design to a real world application.

RES America to Construct Minnesota Wind Farm

Xcel Energy Nobles 4RES America Developments Inc., a subsidiary of Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas), will be working with Xcel Energy to construct the 200 megawatt (MW) Pleasant Valley Wind Farm. The project is near Austin, Minnesota, adjacent to the Grand Meadow wind project owned by Xcel Energy.

“RES Americas is pleased to once again work with Xcel Energy to provide an additional 200 megawatts of affordable and clean energy to the region,” said Susan Reilly, president and CEO of RES Americas. “This is an excellent example of the realized benefits of the Production Tax Credit. This project will generate clean, renewable energy, and provide one of the lowest cost power resources currently available in the region.”

RES Americas will continue its role as developer and constructor of Pleasant Valley. Once the project is complete, RES Americas will transfer ownership of Pleasant Valley to Xcel Energy, who will own and operate the project. The development and construction schedules remain on track to be completed by the end of 2015, with development activities into 2014 and plans to break ground in mid-2014.

“The Pleasant Valley Wind Project along with the other wind purchases we are making will lower our customers’ bills, offer protection from rising fuel costs, and provide significant environmental benefits,” said Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company.

Pleasant Valley Wind Farm is part of 600 megawatts of wind power recently announced by Xcel Energy in its Upper Midwest service territory. According to RES, when combined, the projects will produce enough energy to serve 180,000 homes and over the lives of the projects, lower customer costs an estimated $180 million. At the same time, the projects will reduce carbon emissions by 1.2 million tons each year in Xcel Energy’s Upper Midwest service territory, where the company already is on track to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

European Wind Installs Double But Orders Weaken

europewindThe amount of new offshore wind energy installed in Europe during the first half of this year has doubled compared to a year ago, but a lack of future orders is troubling wind energy advocates there. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) says 277 new offshore wind turbines, totalling 1,045 megawatts (MW), were connected to the grid during the first six months of 2013, but the group also points to issues with future projects:

“Offshore wind power installations were significantly higher than in the first six months of last year” said Justin Wilkes, Director of Policy at the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “But financing of new projects has slowed down with only one project reaching financial close so far this year. This, together with a lack of orders being placed for offshore wind turbines, substructures and components, reflects the regulatory uncertainty in key offshore markets including Germany and the UK. It highlights the significant challenges faced by the offshore wind sector.

EWEA says governments in Europe need to provide a stable regulatory framework with a binding renewable target for 2030.

Nearly 60 offshore wind farms off European coasts now have a capacity at 6,040 MW.