In the wind-rich Tehachapi area near the town of Rosamond, California the 189-MW Manazana Wind Power Project, developed by Iberdrola Renewbles, generates electricity and sells it to San Diego Gas and Electric under a 20-year PPA. The project came online in 2012 and boasts 126 GE turbines.
If you build it, they will come – ‘they’ being all of those who will keep what you built working properly. And for the wind industry, they have arrived, the many companies emerging to operate and maintain the more than 318 GW installed worldwide.
Today wind project development in the U.S. is at an all-time high. The production tax credit (PTC) language was changed at the close of 2012 to allow projects to take advantage of the PTC as long as they began construction before the end of 2013 and finished it by 2015. As a result of that new language, developers are rushing to get all that wind in the ground. AWEA predicts that 2014 and 2015 will be great years for annual installed wind capacity in the U.S. But what happens next really is the big question.
Thousands of wind power professionals descended on Las Vegas in May to check out Windpower 2014, the annual wind energy conference and expo put on by the American Wind Energy Association. The expo hall was filled with both large and small wind companies showcasing the technologies, products and services that will help bring more clean energy to the U.S. and the rest of the world.
A long-term commitment to energy policy in the Midwest is transforming the region’s energy system, economy, and environment. By tapping into its enormous renewable energy potential and manufacturing know-how, the Midwest is poised to become a world leader in renewable energy.
One of the few highlights in an otherwise relatively muted 2013 renewable energy market has been offshore wind in the UK. Furthermore, 2014 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for the sector.
Utilities are putting a new focus on increasing the amount of renewable energy generation sources in their portfolio, both to provide the best service to their customers and to comply with regulations on the state and federal level. Renewable power resources have many differences from traditional fossil-based generation sources, though, and technology, as well as associated prices, is still unsettled in multiple areas.
A wind farm’s story is a little bit like a romantic comedy. It’s all about the buildup. We tend to rivet our attention on the development phase – the controversies over siting, the struggle for permitting, the landing of contracts.
Preliminary estimates suggest worldwide wind energy installations were 34-35 GW in 2013, "a substantial dropoff" from a record-setting 2012, according to Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). In fact 2013 will have been the first time in nearly a decade where global demand contracted, almost entirely because of softness in demand in the U.S. and China, added Steen Broust Nielsen, partner with Make Consulting.
According to Claus Rose, chairman of the Global Wind Organization (GWO) and environment, health and safety (EHS) officer for Siemens’ Wind Power Division, safety procedures are now becoming an integral part of OEMs’ commercial strategies and are increasingly business-critical. As well as wanting to keep its workers safe, he said the industry is responding to increased regulatory scrutiny: “Authorities in a number of countries are starting to ask how the industry can assure that it has a proper safety policy in place, and how we materialize that. These authorities want evidence that we have it under control.”