It’s that time of year again: AWEA’s annual WINDPOWER Conference has begun! For this year, the conference has returned to the South. In 2012, this conference was hosted in Atlanta, and this year, we’re reporting from sunny (and windy) Orlando, Florida. Some folks may be wondering why the industry’s largest conference is hosted in the South, since our region only has one operating wind farm; but some of the presentations that have already made make a good case for doing business in the South.
The Department of Energy just announced $10.5 million in funding support for new marine hydrokinetic resources. Marine hydrokinetic (MKH) resources are ocean-based renewable energy resources that include waves, currents, tides and even ocean thermal conversion technologies. The federal funds are allocated for research to 1) increase survivability of wave energy generators and 2) reducing installation, operations and maintenance costs for wave and current energy generators.
Kentucky is currently home at least nine wind energy-related manufacturing facilities serving the domestic and international wind industry markets. In 2013, there were up to 100 direct and indirect jobs provided by the wind industry in Kentucky. Developing land-based wind in the state could greatly add to local economic benefits and create more wind energy-related jobs.
New wind speeds maps released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrate the greatly increased potential for wind turbine development in Mississippi with advanced turbines. As wind turbines increase in height, Mississippi’s wind energy resources become more available. The shading on the map above represents new available land for wind development with modern turbines with towers of 360 feet (110 meters) achieving a 35% capacity factor or greater. With these new wind turbines, over 43,000 megawatts (MW) of land-based wind potential currently exists in Mississippi. Developing just one gigawatt of wind energy capacity (1,000 MW) in Mississippi (one-forty-third of Mississippi’s potential) could power more than 255,500 homes a year!
Virginia is currently home to at least six wind energy-related manufacturing facilities serving the domestic and international wind industry markets. In 2013, there were up to 500 direct and indirect jobs provided by the wind industry in Virginia. Developing land-based wind in the state could greatly add to local economic benefits and create more wind energy-related jobs.
On the evening of February 19th, wind power in Texas reached a new record: the statewide capacity factor for all wind farms reached 83%. So much wind power was being supplied that Texas’ grid operator that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reported wholesale electricity prices reached near zero and, in some cases, rates went negative. Using the lowest cost energy resource available is vitally important to battery economics. Without low-cost wind power, utilities may shy away from Tesla’s battery system.
Nirvana Fallacies are ways to justify the status quo. Put another way, the “Perfect is the enemy of the Good.” In some bizarre sense, these fallacies implicitly claim that wind energy is worse than the status quo; and that therefore, fossil fuels are somehow the best option. Wind energy may not be perfect (no energy resource is perfect), but it certainly is lightyears ahead of the status quo.
TVA recently released its Draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). An IRP is a planning exercise to determine utility power plant needs 20 years into the future. The exercise depends on inputs (such as cost and performance data for various power plant types, including wind farms) to develop outputs and recommendations. Some of TVA’s most important inputs for wind power are a bit opaque – especially cost and performance data. But based on the IRP outputs, it appears that the inputs for wind energy are stuck in TVA’s wind energy glory days and are about a decade out of date.
This is the seventh post in a blog series discussing state-by-state highlights of wind energy throughout the South in the lead up to the WINDPOWER Expo in Orlando, FL, May 18 – 21. See the rest of the series here. New wind turbine technology is a game changer for clean energy opportunities in South Carolina. Taller turbines [...]
Although North Carolina has yet to develop a wind farm, the state is set to take flight with wind power. In 2011, Iberdrola Renewables proposed a 300 megawatt wind farm in northeastern North Carolina. Similarly in 2011, Invenergy also proposed a 300 megawatt project in a similar part of the state, and a separate 80 megawatt project near Pantego. In 2012, another wind project was proposed, but this time in Pamlico County. In 2013, Torch Renewable Energy Incorporated announced a plan to develop a wind farm near Mill Pond. Meanwhile, North Carolina has some of the best offshore wind energy resources in the country. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management may begin leasing tracts offshore for potential wind farm site assessment and planning as soon as next year.