Wind energy production is growing rapidly, having doubled in just the past three years. As of May 2009, eighty countries around the world use wind power on a commercial basis. Here are a few of the latest projects in North America.
Shepard’s Flat, Oregon
A wind farm is under construction in Oregon. Shepherd’s Flat, spanning 32,000 acres through Gilliam and Morrow counties, will require dozens of miles of new power lines and roads. The project’s contractor Caithness Energy of New York says that once completed, it will be the largest wind farm in Oregon with total capacity of up to 109 MW. Once the project finishes, its turbines will supply electricity to Southern California Edison, which serves one of the largest power consuming metro areas in the U.S.
Transmission lines for Oklahoma
Proposed 345-kV transmission lines in western and southern Oklahoma are part of new priority projects approved by Southwest Power Pool. Most of the transmission lines will be completed by 2013 and 2014. The priority list includes double-circuit 345-kv lines from Comanche County, Kan., to Woodward in western Oklahoma, from Woodland to Hitchland, Texas, and from Valliant in southeastern Oklahoma to Texarkana. Also among the projects: an $840,000 reactive (protection) equipment for the Riverside power plant in Jenks, owned by AEP-PSO. In case a transmission line overloads, the reactive device can choke electrical flow and reroute power to other lines.
North Dakota and Google Plan 170 MW
State officials say two wind farms planned for North Dakota will spur more interest in the state’s growing wind-energy industry. What’s more, this is Google’s first direct investment in a renewable energy project. The farms — one in eastern North Dakota and the other in the central part of the state — are operated by NextEra Energy Resources LLC. Together, 113 turbines will generate about 170 MW. Although wind turbines have only been present in the state for ten years, they now generate 1,200 MW. An additional 95 MW are under construction.
Buffalo Wind, Texas
National Wind of Minneapolis and KRS Energy of Colorado have launched a utility-scale, community wind project in Randall County, Texas. Dubbed the “Buffalo Wind Project,” the companies plan to develop up to 300 MW of wind energy through 14,500 acres. The board of advisors consists of individuals from 12 area families who will participate in the project. Although Texas has more installed wind projects than any other state, it has little community wind development. Participants hope the project will help rural Texas communities add jobs, and provide a tax base and income to local landowners.
10 MW slated for Arthur, Ontario, Canada
Schneider Power Inc., a subsidiary of Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc., started construction of the Arthur Wind Farm in May. The farm will include five Enercon turbines with a combined generating capacity of 10 MW. It is located on 348 acres of private farmland near the town of Arthur, Ontario, Canada. Ontario is at the forefront of wind in Canada with almost 1,100 MW of installed capacity on the grid. Currently there are seven large-scale wind farms in operation in Ontario, dispersed across the province to help mitigate the impact of local weather on wind energy.
Offshore of Georgia
Southern Colorado has asked the U.S. Department of the Interior for ocean leases off the coasts of Jekyll Island and Savannah. The state wants to erect research towers to determine the feasibility of constructing offshore wind turbines. An Atlanta-based company wants to construct met towers to measure wind speeds and directions, hurricane resistance, and also to determine if wind turbines are viable as an alternative energy source in Georgia. A two-year study the company conducted with Georgia Tech found favorable conditions for wind turbines five miles off Georgia’s coast, where average wind speeds are 16 to 17 mph.
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