News roundup: The industry competes, corn growers for wind, Siemens scores new orders

12 May 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

This first week after WINDPOWER 2014 is loaded with great news coming out of the industry’s annual conference: the industry shows its competitive edge, American corn growers see wind’s benefits, and Siemens’s Kansas plant scores big.

The PTC plays an important role in establishing fair terms for energy sources, old and new, to compete with each other. When wind power is allowed to flourish with the help of the PTC, American consumers win. Las Vegas Sun:

  • In 2012, more electricity was added to the grid from new wind power projects than any other source. Uncertainty about a federal tax credit, however, made the gears of the industry’s growth grind to a halt in 2013, and the slowdown persists today as Congress debates the reinstatement of the credit.
  • Defenders of the credit, such as Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, which gets more than a quarter of its electricity from wind, say wind power helps conserve the environment, lowers electricity bills and can compete without the tax credit as long as the tax incentives for gas and oil companies are also eliminated.
  • New technology is helping. According to the Department of Energy, the cost of wind energy has dropped 43 percent in the past four years. The DOE announced new targets for the percentage of electricity coming from wind power earlier this week at the conference. Today, about 4 percent of our power comes from wind, and the new goals are to reach 10 percent by 2020, 20 percent by 2030 and 35 percent by 2050.

Corn is an all-American crop, and corn growers understand that a little bit of homegrown wind energy supplements their traditional business quite well. High Plains Journal:

  • The American Corn Growers Foundation is advocating wind energy for the rural economy at WINDPOWER 2014 recently, said Dan McGuire, ACGF director.
  • “ACGF has led by moving both national and state wind development policy forward since 1999-2000 when we launched our Wealth from the Windpublic outreach and education program,” McGuire said. “Our impact on state policy includes Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska South Dakota and Maine. One of our largest state-level impacts is in Nebraska, the only 100% public power state, which announced 750 megawatts of new wind development during just the past three years, a big success. Nebraska will have over 1,200 MW of installed wind capacity by 2015. Considering that Nebraska had less than 15 MW of installed wind capacity when ACGF launched our wind policy outreach initiative there, this is major wind development progress. I am pleased to report this growth to wind industry and government officials at WINDPOWER 2014 this week in Las Vegas.”
  • “Just like the economic engine that ethanol plants represent for Nebraska, more wind and solar projects mean more rural economic development and more landowner and county property tax income. That’s a big boost for Nebraska’s economy and for all Nebraskans.”

Siemens left WINDPOWER with excellent news for its Hutchinson, Kansas plant, where three major new orders are keeping the nacelle facility busy. Hutchinson News:

  • Over the past week, Siemens Energy announced it has landed contracts to supply three separate new wind farm projects using Hutchinson-made nacelles, including a major order in Canada. The German-headquartered manufacturer also revealed it has reached agreement to provide service contracts on some 400 turbines at six different projects around the world operated by Pattern Energy Group.
  • The largest new order is for the 270-megawatt K2 Wind Ontario Project, located in Goderich in southwestern Ontario. Among the largest wind power plants in Canada, it will feature 140 of Siemens’ SWT-2.3-101 turbines.
  • The Carroll Wind Farm project, near the city of Carroll, will consist of nine 2.3-megawatt turbines, with 108-meter rotors made at Siemens’ Fort Madison, Iowa, plant. The customer is Carroll Area Wind Farm LLC, a company of NJR Clean Energy Ventures. Turbine installation should start in October, with commissioning in early 2015.
  • The final project is with Cobra Energia of Peru. The 97 MW Tres Hermanas wind power plant, to be located near the city of San Juan de Marcona and adjacent to the existing Marcona wind project, includes a combination of 25 direct-drive SWT-3.0-108 wind turbines and eight geared SWT-2.3-108 units.

Sources:

Tovin Lapan, “Wind power experts: All things being equal, industry can compete.” Las Vegas Sun. 9 May 2014.

Staff, “American Corn Growers Foundation advocates wind energy.” High Plains Journal. 12 May 2014.

Staff, “Siemens lands 3 new wind projects.” Hutchinson News. 10 May 2014.