More than 12,000 MW of windpower generating capacity was under construction in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the latest AWEA market report. At least 60 PPAs for nearly 8,000 MW were signed by utilities and corporate purchasers, of which 5,200 MW have not yet started construction. The U.S. wind industry installed 1,084 MW during 2013, with 1,012 MW installed during the fourth quarter. Here’s what else is happening:
Growing bigger in Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Mortenson Construction, a company that has built nearly 80 windpower projects in Texas, is opening a new office. Up to 40 team members will support hundreds of field positions throughout the state, and future employment needs are anticipated to be much higher.
Two turbines, installed by ConEdison Solutions, will supply 10% of the power at a Honda car plant. The GE 1.6-100 turbines make the plant the first major auto-making facility in the U.S. to get a big portion of its energy from turbines.
Ecogen has won in court – twice – and can proceed with construction of a 34-turbine wind farm. Prattsburgh had no rules on the books regarding wind project. In a 2009 court appearance, the town settled with Ecogen, allowing construction. A new town board, however, disapproved of the plan and attempted to void it. They lost.
No impact on home values
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Connecticut analyzed more than 122,000 home sales near 26 wind facilities – including the Berkshire Wind project with 10 GE 1.5-MW turbines – and found no impact on property values. Land owners near turbines are concerned by the so-called “nuisance stigma.”
Contract signals commitment
Alstom Power will supply four ECO110 and 25 ECO122 wind turbines for the 80-MW Fiber Winds Energy project. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2014, with commercial operations scheduled for 2015. “The contract is a sign of our commitment to the U.S. market,” says Andy Geissbuehler, who leads Alstom in North America.
Company seeks to test bird-friendly turbine
Alameda County officials and environmental groups are hoping a new “shrouded” wind turbine design will prove safer to birds and bats. Wind energy company Ogin Inc. is seeking the county’s approval to test a design by installing 40 turbines at Altamont Pass – one of the largest concentrations of wind farms in the country.
Saving energy for later
Santa Ana, Calif.
GE Energy Storage will participate in a load-shifting project at the Discovery Science Center. The 500-kWh GE storage and Princeton Power Systems inverter control system will shift up to 20% of the science center’s daily electrical load from peak hours to less expensive off-peak time periods and provide backup power.
Gamesa reinforces its U.S. presence
Gamesa, a global wind energy developer, will supply EDP Renovaveis (EDPR) with up to 225 of the company’s new G114-2.0 MW wind turbines. With a rotor spanning 114 m, the new turbine’s sweep area is 38% greater than that of the G97-2.0 MW, while it produces 20% more energy a year.
Vestas has received a 220-MW order for its V100-2.0 MW turbines from EDF Renewable Energy. The turbines are for two projects, Hereford 1 and Longhorn North, in the Texas Panhandle. To meet demand, Vestas is adding more workers at three of its Colorado factories.
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