Finally, the WIND Toolkit helps eliminate any guesswork by wind energy advocates regarding newly proposed wind farm projects. Using the old 50 meter, 80 meter or 100 meter wind speed maps use to be the only way the public had any sense of what “good” wind resources looked like. However, those maps always proved too coarse for the average viewer to interpret accurately. Anti-wind activists frequently used outdated maps, some even dating back to the 1980s, to make a case against wind energy. The WIND Toolkit can now provide better analysis for stakeholders interested in learning more about wind energy. As a quick case study, the image below shows the results of the WIND Toolkit query compared to a 100 meter wind speed map in Northeastern North Carolina. The WIND Toolkit shows an average wind speed of approximately 7 meters-per-second (15.7 MPH), but the 100 meter wind map shows speeds of <6 m/s (13.4MPH). That 1 m/s difference results in the difference between a 30% capacity factor and a 40% capacity factor, based on the WIND Toolkit's power curve. In real terms, that is a 33% improvement in capacity factor. North Carolina's first wind farm recently broke ground in that region, and reports suggest average capacity factors of that wind farm to be near 40% – very similar to the results of the WIND Toolkit.
Because of the PTC phaseout, there is a real urgency for wind farm development to begin as soon as possible. Electric utilities that delay purchase of wind energy resources may end up losing hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in ratepayer savings due to a reduction in the federal PTC value.
The American Wind Energy Association recently hosted its annual Siting and Environmental Compliance conference in Charleston, South Carolina, where birds, bats, and other wildlife took center stage. The conference was an excellent opportunity to learn about some of the contemporary issues with wildlife confronting the wind industry and progress toward solutions. Of particular note were two promising new technologies showcased in the conference expo that help detect birds and bats flying near wind farms and help wind farm operators curtail turbines when there is danger of collisions.
How can clean energy advocates best prepare for wind energy development in the South? During the beginning stages of a proposed wind farm, there may be some general information on the project, but not all details are made publicly available. Or, a proposed project is in such early stages of development that it has not yet been reported or announced. Without this information, advocates can struggle to prepare and answer key questions, concerns, and benefits of a project. Luckily, there is a simple online tool you can use to locate a proposed wind farm near you.
Huge amounts of wind power may soon make its way to Arkansas, Tennessee and the rest of the Southeast. Last Friday, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, announced that Department of Energy’s (DOE) participation in a new transmission project that will deliver low-cost wind energy to the South. The DOE issued their “record of decision,” completing Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 evaluation of the transmission project.
U.S. wind farms now pay $222 million dollars a year to farming families and other rural landowners, according to new data released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today, with more than $156 million dollars going to landowners in counties with below average incomes.
The Plains and Eastern Clean Line will connect up to 4,000 megawatts of high quality wind energy resources from Oklahoma’s western panhandle to two electrical converter stations, one near northern Arkansas and another near Memphis, Tennessee. High voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission technology is not new; however, the Plains and Eastern Clean Line’s use of HVDC technology is unique in that it is designated for wind energy resources. HVDC technology can move more power over longer distances with less electrical loss than alternating current (AC) transmission routes; by doing so, HVDC transmission preserves land resources and maximizes clean energy availability.
In the spirit of Lent, SACE has reflected on the past 40 days of Lent by showcasing 40 places of worship that put their faith to work by promoting solar and wind energy. Using these forms of energy presents opportunities too not only reduce the impact on the environment, but it also saves money. Many faith-based organizations really benefit from the reduced cost that these resources provide – and it helps in more ways than one by allowing them to advocate for creation care. Clean energy is a positive step forward no matter the faith one subscribes to! Even numbers are solar – odd numbers are wind!
With new turbine technology, proposed wind farms projects are starting to emerge across the Southeast. With only one large-scale wind farm in the region, wind energy is typically an unfamiliar energy source for local communities. How can local leaders, policymakers, and clean energy advocates streamline the permitting process to attract wind farms to their community? How can they ensure future projects will be sited responsibly and safely?
This week, March Madness kicks off as college basketball teams across the country prepare for the biggest tournament of the year. 64 teams will compete, but only one will take down the net. As you make your picks and finalize your bracket, we have another March Madness competition to bring to your attention: Megawatt Madness! Iberdrola Renewables launched the second annual Megawatt Madness tournament, which highlights 64 of their renewable energy sites across the county.