A NY based community-wind company installed a 2-MW wind turbine at the University of Delaware’s Hugh Sharp Campus in Lewes. The turbine, about one-half mile from the shore, will combine university level research as part of the University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, with the financial, energy, and environmental benefits of wind power. Sustainable Energy Developments Inc., Ontario, NY, (sed-net.com) says the turbine is its largest installed to date and the first community wind turbine in the state. Such community-scale wind projects are generally less than 20 MW and can help create jobs and economic development in local communities.
“The research function will include monitoring how this coastal turbine performs in a near marine environment,” says SED Senior Project Manager David Strong. “The R&D will involve how the paint and coatings on the turbine stand up because they differ from what might be used on a turbine farther inland.” In addition, the University plans a speakers forum, public outreach, and education around the turbine.
SED’s efforts helped define the college’s opportunity and convince university officials to move forward with the project. The company was responsible for protecting the interests of the University and guiding the project through its development stages. SED provided experience and technical expertise to the University by assisting with permitting, detailed engineering, turbine-procurement negotiations, the grid connection, construction, and commissioning.
The project chose Gamesa to supply the turbine because it had worked with the OEM through the university. “We concluded our due diligence on Gamesa, and found the company willing to partner with the University on the project,” Strong explains. The OEM was selected because it was also willing to write a contract for just one turbine. Many OEMs balk at such a small number. The project finished in June 2010, following the commissioning and electrical connection of the wind turbine.
College Dean Nancy Targett began pursuit of the wind project in March of 2008 when she hired SED to perform economic and technical assessments of the Lewes campus. The assessments included feasibility studies of the development and construction stages. A technology analysis involved putting a met tower on campus to evaluate its wind resources. Strong says that SED also does a utility derived, electricity-value analysis, which decides how the university could value the electricity. At the time, SED did a worst-case analysis from the university’s perspective, which assumed the University would put as much electricity behind the meter (use as much) as possible. Net metering values electricity the same, whether being purchased or sold. However, that cost had not been determined. The worst case is to combine as much load behind the meter as possible. Then the company does a time-of-use and time-of-prod-uction estimate, based on seasonal and peak loads to find a value for power used on campus (behind the meter) and a value out to the grid, which is a smaller figure. “Those two are combined into a sort of ‘implied’ PPA rate that provides a value for the revenue,” he says. “Then we look at the renewable energy credit markets, take that into account, and estimate a revenue stream. A high-level engineering study then examines the OEM equipment available and who’s at least playing in the single-turbine game.”
The company also assisted in fulfilling requirements of the Natural Environmental Protection Act (wildlife protection) before receiving funding from the DOE. “We submitted studies on an avian and endangered species where rotor shadows fell, as well as acoustics studies. That was part of the technology analysis a while ago,” Strong says.
SED’s other projects include the world’s first wind-powered ski resort (on a Berkshire mountain top), the first commercial scale wind turbine on Cape Cod (in the face of the heated battle to develop offshore wind), as well as the first commercial-scale wind turbine in New Hampshire. WPE