Evance Wind Turbines Receive Certification

Evance_R9000_wind_turbineEvance Wind Turbines, a manufacturer of small wind turbines, has received full certification from the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) for its 5kW R9000 turbine. The SWCC is a U.S.-based independent body that certifies small turbines for performance and safety. The Evance R9000 successfully passed rigorous safety, function, performance and durability testing, in accordance with the American Wind Energy Association Standard (AWEA), to become one of only four turbines to achieve full certification from the SWCC.

Kevin Parslow, CEO of Evance Wind Turbines said, “It is great news that we have received full SWCC certification for our R9000 turbine. There are R9000 small wind turbines installed across some 17 states, and we’re looking to expand this significantly during 2013. Customers already know our turbine is highly efficient and durable; however, it’s good to receive independent confirmation from the SWCC – not only promoting consumer confidence and industry credibility, but also helping to establish pathways to qualify for incentives.”

Mike Langert, who lives in Montana, installed a R9000 to generate wind energy to power his home. “Our home has been built to be energy efficient – with well-planned windows, lighting, insulation, and a GSHP heating/cooling system – but we still use 12,000 to 15,000kWh of electricity a year. With the Evance turbine now generating up to 75 percent of our requirements, we are saving a substantial amount on energy costs and reducing our use of power generated from fossil fuels,” explained Langert.

The Evance R9000 is a UK-designed and manufactured 3-blade, upwind, horizontal axis wind turbine with a swept area of 23.8 m2. The AWEA Rated Annual Energy is 9,160kWh, for one year based on an average wind speed of 5 m/s (11.2 mph), and the AWEA Rated Power is 4.7kW at 11 m/s.

Renewable Energy Installed Capacity Grows by Leaps and Bounds

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects has released its latest “Energy Infrastructure Update,” and finds that renewable energy sources including biomass, geothermal, solar, water, and wind, accounted by 49.10 percent of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed during 2012. The total was 12,956 MW and more than a quarter of that new capacity, or 3,276 MW, came online during December 2012 alone.

geothermal-energyWind power led the way in 2012 with 164 new “units” totaling 10,689 MW installed. Solar power followed with 240 units totaling 1,476 MW installed. Biomass added 100 new units totaling 543 MW while geothermal steam and water each had 13 new units with installed capacities of 149 MW and 99 MW respectively. By comparison, during 2012, new natural gas generation in service totaled 8,746 MW (33.15%) followed by coal (4,510 MW -17.09%), nuclear (125 MW – 0.47%), and oil (49 MW – 0.19%).

New capacity from renewable energy sources in 2012 increased by 51.16 percent compared to 2011 when those sources added 8,571 MW. In 2011, renewables accounted for 39.33 percent of all new in-service generation capacity. Renewable sources now account for 15.40 percent of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: water – 8.47 percent, wind – 4.97 percent, biomass – 1.30 percent, solar – 0.34 percent, and geothermal – 0.32 percent. This is more than nuclear (9.24%) and oil (3.57%) combined.

“If there were still any lingering doubts about the ability of renewable energy technologies to come on-line quickly and in amounts sufficient to displace fossil fuels and nuclear power, the 2012 numbers have put those doubts to rest,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Not only has renewable energy become a major player in the U.S. electrical generation market, but it has also emerged in 2012 as THE reigning champion.”

January 15 is Iowa Wind Day

WindTurbineinIowa Photo Joanna SchroederJanuary 15, 2013 is Iowa Wind Day at the Capitol, in Des Moines, Iowa. Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad will be a featured speaker during the event and other speakers include Kathleen Law, the Iowa Wind Energy Association’s (IWEA) Board of Directors President, and Harold D. Prior, IWEA’s executive director.

The free event will feature more than 20 exhibitors representing many aspects of Iowa’s wind energy industry. Exhibits are open from 8 a.m. until 12 noon for legislators and renewable energy enthusiasts to learn more about the wide diversity of opportunity in the wind energy industry.

Iowa leads the nation in the number of wind manufacturers and wind related businesses and was the first state to exceed 20 percent of its electrical generation from wind. The state also leads the nation in the number of wind jobs and its ranked third nationally behind Texas and California in installed capacity. According to IWEA, Iowa is one of four states that would benefit the most from increased wind investment and has outstanding wind resources. Iowa’s central location, access to two navigable rivers and the U.S. Interstate Highway system are also distinct advantages leading to further growth of the wind energy industry in Iowa. Lastly, Iowa has many planned electrical transmission projects that will help move wind power (aka all power) to Iowans living throughout the state.

Los Vientos I & II Wind Farms Completed in Texas

Los Vientos I & II wind farms have been completed in south Texas and now operational, have the capacity to produce 402 megawatts of wind power. Both projects are owned by Duke Energy Renewables and the project marks the company’s largest wind-power project to date. With the geographic location, approximately 120 miles south of Corpus Christi and 20 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, the two wind farms will generate the majority of their power during the day, when peak power demand is highest.

Los Vientos wind farm“2012 was a very significant year for us,” said Duke Energy Renewables President Greg Wolf. “With five new windpower projects and three new solar power projects commissioned into service, we added 800 megawatts of clean, emissions-free energy to our fleet last year alone. Now that Los Vientos I and II are on line, our total renewable power capacity grows to more than 1,700 MW, enough to power about half-million homes.”

All of the output and associated renewable energy credits from the 200 MW Los Vientos I Windpower Project in Willacy County are being sold to San Antonio-based CPS Energy under a 25-year agreement. In addition, Austin Energy is buying all of the output and associated renewable energy credits from the 202 MW Los Vientos II Windpower Project, sited in Willacy and Cameron Counties.

Duke Energy Renewables Vice President Milton Howard added, “We’re proud to be partnering with CPS Energy and Austin Energy to bring renewable energy to this region. And, we couldn’t have done it without the foresight of the leaders, landowners and people of Willacy County. Thanks to them, we were able to bring 600 jobs to the area during construction, and going forward, the Los Vientos projects will continue to boost economic development, support the local school districts, and be a source of dependable tax revenue for years to come.”

Subsidies, Initiatives & New Efficiency Drive Profits

solarandwindAccording to a new report, companies that invest more money in the research and development more efficient means of producing renewable energy, the better able the company is to satisfy consumers and drive growth. Additional growth is, and can be continued, through government subsidies and initiatives. Recently, there has been an increase in investments in the renewable energy field, especially in solar and wind energy.  Companies such as First Solar and SolarCity prove that R&D drives both growth and greater profits.

Last week First Solar announced a partnership with Intermolecular to increase conversion efficiency. SolarCity has recently announced a 117 percent growth of the amount of energy the company installed in 2011 (72 MW). Early indications show that 2013 is expected to beat the company’s original projections.

The report concludes that if consumers continue to see the long-term benefits of renewable energy, green energy companies should expect to have a strong and stable position in the overall market. The report anticipates a strong macro trend towards companies focusing on renewable resources and “green” products. In addition, institutional funds are adding corporate responsibility, ethical investing and environmental concerns as priorities when screening for new investments. The report believes that this change in dynamic within the investment community will create a “mass exodus” of investment dollars from aggressive cost-cutting companies towards companies focused on ethical approaches to business, consumers and the environment.

Ocotillo Wind Project Online Via New Transmission Line

There is a new transmission line up and running between San Diego and the Imperial Valley in California. The 117-mile 500-kv transition line, “Sunrise Powerlink” is transmitting energy from the now operational Ocotillo Wind project to residents and businesses in Southern California. The 265 megawatt (MW) wind power project consists of 94 turbines with an additional 18 turbines to be installed in the spring. The project is owned by Pattern Energy, and the energy produced is being sold to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) via a 20 year power purchase agreement.

“The Ocotillo Wind project is a shining example of achieving local, state and national energy goals, while being the first renewable project to connect to the Sunrise Powerlink,” said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy. “Nearly 70% of the project was ‘made in America,’ producing local construction jobs, manufacturing jobs at the Southern California Ocotillo Wind Farm Photo: ALEJENADRO DAVILA PHOTOfactory where the towers were built and additional jobs in factories around the United States where the turbines and other components were made. The Ocotillo site has the strongest winds in the Imperial Valley, which results in attractive energy prices for San Diego County residents. We would like to thank SDG&E, California ISO, the local community leaders, and the Imperial County Board of Supervisors for their tremendous efforts in helping make the Ocotillo wind project a reality.”

The Sunrise Powerlink transmission line was completed in June 2012 and connects San Diego with the Imperial Valley – one of the most renewable-rich regions in California. The Sunrise Powerlink will eventually carry 1,000 MW of additional power into San Diego, or enough energy to serve 650,000 homes.

The project was selected by the Bureau of Land Management, and utilizes 112 Siemens 2.37 MW turbines, including American made wind towers, blades and nacelles. The Ocotillo Wind project was selected by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to help America reach its clean energy goals and protect its future energy security. The project is utilizing 112 Siemens 2.37 MW turbines, including American-made Siemens wind towers, blades and nacelles. The towers are made in California, manufactured by Ameron International, while the blades are made in Iowa and the nacelles are made in Kansas.

“When the Sunrise Powerlink was put into service this past June, it instantly brought reliability to a region with strained resources; one of the key reasons why the transmission line was designed,” said Michael R. Niggli, president and chief operating officer of SDG&E.  “Six months later, the line is carrying its first green contracted megawatts, solidifying another reason SDG&E proposed and built this project. We applaud Pattern Energy’s perseverance in seeing this project through and we look forward to the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility being the first of more than a half dozen other renewable projects in Imperial County to connect to the Sunrise Powerlink.”

Wind Power Makes Gains in China

According to Liu Qi, deputy director general of the National Energy Administration, wind power is the third-largest source of electricity in China. He proclaimed that there is no electric power to substitute the position of wind power as No. 3, during the 18th CPC National Congress. He added that China “is determined to promote the revolution of energy generation and consumption to control the total consumption of energy, to improve energy conservation, and to support the development of energy conservation and the low carbon industry as well as renewable energy in order to ensure the safety of national energy.”

Longyua Offshore Wind FarmLate last year, the State Council released the white paper, “China’s Energy Policy 2012,” stating that wind power has the greatest possibility of large-scale development and market utilization. The country’s development of wind power is the fastest in the world and China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, sets a goal of developing wind energy in both concentrated and distributed formats and the utilization of wind resources will be accelerated including the development of offshore wind power.

Qi also announced that China is committed to strengthening grid construction, improving grid dispatching, enhancing equipment performance, advancing wind power predictions and forecasts, more. The goal, by 2015, is for the country’s total wind turbine installed capacity to reach 100 million kW, including 5 million kW offshore.

On November 23, Longyuan Wind Power realized the completion of 150 MW in an offshore wind demonstration project in Rudong, Jiangsu Province. This is the largest offshore wind farm to date in China. As more projects continue to be developed, the county’s industry is hosting Offshore Wind China 2013 being held in Shanghai June 19-21, 2013. The event is being organized by the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, the National Renewable Energy Center, and Shanghai International Exhibition Co., Ltd.

Renewable Fuels Legislation Crib Sheet

Although the Taxpayer Relief Act is an all but done deal, stakeholders across numerous industries continue to pick at the legislation. This is particularly true for the renewable energy industry. Legislation can be hard to digest and so the law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy created a “crib” sheet, or alert, giving a brief overview of how the Act will Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 7.25.38 PMimpact current and future projects in the renewables space including wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, hydropower, cellulosic and advanced biofuels, biodiesel and even marine and hydro projects.

According to Millbank, the most important feature was the extension of the production tax credit for qualifying wind projects. A project must begin prior to January 1, 2014. The alert notes, “any such qualifying facility (or the electricity generated and sold from it)” that can get off the ground in the next year will be eligible for the tax credit – “regardless of when the facility is placed in service.” That suggests a big financial infusion into the wind industry during 2013 to jump-start projects that may have been put on hold pending the outcome of the tax bill.

Milbank points out in the alert that the legislation does not modify the eligibility requirements for certain types of projects, including those generating power through small irrigation, solar energy, refined coal, or Indian coal, rather keeps the same requirements in place. In addition, the alert takes a close look at tax allowances, including the special first-year allowance, otherwise known as “50% bonus depreciation” to qualifying property placed in service before next January 1.

Across the board for renewable energy, the tax extenders only stay in place for one year. This means that the renewable energy industry will need to take advantage of the tax packages this year while also looking at how to continue growth as uncertainty about industry tax incentives remain on the “cliff” beyond this year.

Production Tax Credit for Wind Energy Extended

Several wind energy tax credits have been extended with the passage of the bill to avert the “fiscal cliff”. The tax credits are estimated to save up to 37,000 jobs while reviving business at nearly 500 manufacturing facilities across the U.S. according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Both the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credits for community and offshore projects will help the wind energy industry continue to grow. The bill will cover all wind projects that start construction in 2013.

Energy produced from wind set a new record in 2012 with 44 percent of new electrical generation coming from wind energy according the Energy Information Administration. Despite this accomplishment, the uncertainty over the future of the tax credits caused many manufacturing companies to idle production lines and lay off workers. AWEA said uncertain federal policies have caused a “boom-bust” cycle in U.S. wind energy development for more than a decade. A long-term commitment to policy, including the PTC could end this cycle.

“On behalf of all the people working in wind energy manufacturing facilities, their families, and all the communities that benefit, we thank President Obama and all the members of the House and Senate who had the foresight to extend this successful policy, so wind projects can continue to be developed in 2013 and 2014,” said outgoing AWEA CEO Denise Bode.

Rob Gramlich, who becomes the AWEA interim CEO on January 2, 2013 added, “Now we can continue to provide America with more clean, affordable, homegrown energy, and keep growing a new manufacturing sector that’s now making nearly 70 percent of our wind turbines in the U.S.A.”

Ontario Home to New Wind Farm

NextEra Energy Canada has completed its first wind farm in Ontario Canada – Conestogo Wind Energy Centre. The 22.9 megawatt wind project is located in Wellington County, Ontario, and comprised of 10 Siemens wind turbines. The wind farm Conestogo Wind Energy Centrehas the capacity to generate enough energy to power around 5,700 homes per year.  All of the power from the project is being sold to the Ontario Power Authority under the Feed-In-Tariff program. Conestogo Wind, LP, an indirect subsidiary of NextEra Energy Canada, owns and operates the project.

“We are pleased to have completed our first wind project in Ontario,” said Mike O’Sullivan, NextEra Energy Resources senior vice president of development. “In addition to generating clean, emission-free energy, this project will have a positive impact on the local economy through the jobs created, taxes paid, lease payments to landowners, and goods and services sourced throughout the region.”

The Conestogo Wind Energy Centre is the first of eight wind projects NextEra Energy Canada plans to bring into service by the end of 2015 in Ontario. Combined, NextEra Energy Canada’s eight Ontario wind projects represent a capital investment in the province of approximately $1.5 billion.