Project Roundup: Slew of Wind Projects Go Online

With developers having made their final end-of-year push through the last day of December, the January ritual of announcements concerning new projects entering commercial operation and new PPAs kicking in continued this week.

TVA taking electrons from four additional wind farms

Federal power agency the Tennessee Valley Authority has started the New Year with the addition of 535 MW of renewable power from four wind farms in Kansas, Illinois and Iowa. New renewable wind power sources that began delivery in January to the TVA power grid include:

  • 201 MW from ENEL Green Power’s Caney River wind farm in Elk County, Kan.,
  • 150 MW from NextEra Energy Resources’ White Oak Energy Center in McLean County, Ill.,
  • 101 MW from EDP Renewables North America’s Lost Lakes wind farm in Dickinson County, Iowa, and
  • An additional 83 MW from EDP Renewables’ Pioneer Prairie site in Howard and Mitchell counties, Iowa, which began producing wind energy for TVA in 2010.

 With the newly added wind power sources, TVA now has contracts with five operating wind farms in the Midwest. TVA’s total wind energy now activated is 950 MW.

Juhl Wind starts up community wind project for healthcare organization

Juhl Wind announced the commercial start-up and operation of a two-turbine project for Gundersen Health System in Winona County, Minn. According to the community wind developer, the 4.95-MW project is the first of its kind in North America to be constructed specifically to meet the energy needs of a large regional health organization.
“This unique wind project represents the continued activity by Juhl over the past two years and highlights our strength and diversity in the community wind energy market,” said Corey Juhl, vice president of development for Juhl Wind. “We are seeing an increased demand for large commercial and industrial organization projects such as Gundersen’s as they fit extremely well within Juhl Wind’s area of expertise. This community-based project will provide significant economic benefits to the region. As one piece of their Envision program, the wind farm project will help Gundersen Health System achieve their goal of becoming 100-percent energy independent by 2014.” 

Said Jeff Rich, executive director at GL Envision, LLC, “As a healthcare organization, it is important for us to lead by example. Creating renewable energy through programs, like the GL Wind project in Lewiston makes good business sense, creates local jobs during construction and ties directly to our mission of improving the health of the communities we serve. The money we generate from renewable energy projects, like the wind farm, and the money we save through energy conservation can be passed on to patients in the form of lower healthcare costs. The renewable energy projects are also allowing us to improve our environmental footprint in the communities we serve.”

OG&E completes Crossroads project 

Pointing out that the project will save consumers money, Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) announced the completion of the 227.5-MW Crossroads wind farm in northwestern Oklahoma. The project was a partnership between OG&E, Siemens and Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc.

The $451 million facility features 95 2.3-MW turbines in addition to 3 3-MW machines that use direct-drive technology. With the completion of the project, OG&E is now meeting approximately 10 percent of its customers’ energy requirements with wind generation.

“The Crossroads wind power project will meet the electrical needs of approximately 70,000 average homes,” said Jesse Langston, vice president of retail energy. “Crossroads also will deliver significant net savings to our customers for the balance of the project’s 25-year expected life.”

The Crossroads wind farm is located in Dewey County near Canton and connects with OG&E’s Windspeed transmission line, which was energized in 2010 and delivers wind power across OG&E’s 30,000-square-mile electric service area.

The project includes more than 100 landowners. Work activities at the wind farm site, which include site reclamation and demobilization of contractors and equipment, will continue for the next several weeks.

Edison Mission West Va. project’s power headed for Maryland

Less than a year after purchasing the project, Edison Mission Group commissioned the 55-MW Pinnacle Wind Farm at NewPage, located on Green Mountain in West Virginia near the Maryland border.

The 23-turbine project, which Edison Mission purchased from developer U.S. Wind Force last April, sells two thirds of its output to the Maryland Department of General Services and one third to the University of Maryland system. It is the second project to begin commercial operation under the Generating Clean Horizons program of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).

Through the Generating Clean Horizons program, the state and university system of Maryland have committed to purchase 78 MW of energy produced from two wind farms and one solar installation over 20 years. According to the MEA, Generating Clean Horizons powers 16 percent of the state’s electricity demand through renewable sources.

Carl Levesque is the communications editor at AWEA. This article first appeared in the AWEA Windletter and was reprinted with permission from the American Wind Energy Association.

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Carl is Editor & Publications Manager at the American Wind Energy Association, where has worked since 2006. At AWEA he oversees AWEA's online and print publications including the Wind Energy Weekly, Windpower Update, and other products. He has worked as a journalist in the energy industry as a staff writer for Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and in the association sector as senior editor at Association Management magazine. He also has covered the home-building industry, where his areas of greatest interest were sustainable development and "smart growth," and has written articles for numerous other publications as a freelance writer. Carl received his B.A. from James Madison University and spent some time in New Orleans teaching as well as working with homeless youth.

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