A National Renewable Energy Laboratory study found that obtaining 25% of electricity in the Western U.S. from renewable energy will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 34% and save $7 billion annually in fossil-fuel costs. The study found that one megawatt-hour of wind energy – the amount produced by a typical windpower turbine about every 90 minutes – saves 1,190 pounds of carbon dioxide on average. Here’s how the U.S. is getting there:
Wholesale power supplier Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has completed an expansion of its Colorado Highlands Wind Farm, bringing the facility’s capacity from 67 to 91 MW. The wind farm, which is owned by Alliance Power and GE Energy Financial Services, supplies power to Tri-State under a 20-year deal.
Goal surpassed, building continues
A public service commission green lighted Thunder Spirit Wind’s application to build a 150-MW wind farm, even though the state had reached is 10% renewable energy standard goal. “I don’t believe it was a floor or ceiling,” Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said. Building could begin this year.
Work begins on second stage
It’s been about one year since turbines at Fire Island Wind started turning. So far, they have produced a collective 51,800 MWh of energy – slightly above the project’s goal of 51,000 hours. Cook Inlet Region has begun work on the 11-turbine second phase of the farm, which will bring the facility to 35 MW, up from 17.6 MW.
Financing sealed for 200-MW project
Invenergy Wind has completed debt and tax equity financing for its 200.6-MW Prairie Breeze wind farm. The project will include 118 GE 1.7-MW wind turbines and will begin operation this year. Energy will be sold to the Omaha Public Power District
Smaller scale, greater progress
Mower County, Minn.
Officials reopened the permitting process for RES Americas’ scaled-down, 100-turbine Pleasant Valley wind farm, which was first conceived as a 300-MW project. Lack of demand and the economic downturn caused it to stall three years ago.
Developers go to the beach
Corpus Christi, Texas
As much as 1,300 MW of coastal wind projects are in the development pipeline as the center of the industry’s growth shifts from West Texas to the state’s 367-mile coastline. A bonus: Coastal winds peak when demand peaks, experts say.
Distibuted wind is booming
Over the past decade, Massachusetts has added more than 60 MW of distributed wind capacity, ranking fifth in the U.S. The state’s high population density and lack of wide, flat areas contribute to the trend. Mount Wachusett Community College is among the users of distributed wind. Its turbines supply most of the college’s electric needs.
“No” was unacceptable
The public will embrace small-scale wind the same as it has microwave ovens, says a man who recently won a fight with local officials to build a 100-kW turbine on his roof. The 72-year-old paid an estimated $50,000 in legal fees to build the $80,000 turbine.