UCS “Dwindling Role for Coal” Report: Wind and Solar Could Help Replace Coal in the Southeast

We’re hosting a free webinar with UCS report authors at 12:30pm ET on Tuesday, October 24. Click here to register. The past decade or so has seen a dramatic shift away from coal for producing electricity in the United States. According to a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), that trend is [...]

Wind and Solar Power: Complementary Energy Resources

Here at Solar Power International, a number of attendees have openly wondered: how can wind power and solar power work better, together? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two resources pair together quite nicely, naturally.

With nearly 3.5 gigawatts of wind power purchase agreements, and over 5 GW of installed solar power, the South has begun to embrace renewable energy. Pairing utility scale wind and solar power in the South could improve renewable energy market share as well as relieve potential integration issues. For example, as higher levels of solar power penetration occur, several utilities have noted a trend moving towards higher winter peak generation demand.

Texas Wind Farms Survive Hurricane Harvey

Simply put, many wind farms in coastal Texas weren’t affected by Harvey’s highest-level winds. And the turbines that did experience those extreme conditions, performed as expected and shut down for self-preservation, or when the local grid system failed.

How Will Hurricane Harvey Affect Texas Wind Farms?

To date, no wind farm in the United States has been destroyed by a hurricane. Neither Hurricane Iselle (Hawaii, 2014), Hurricane Sandy (New Jersey, 2012), nor Hurricane Irene (Delaware, 2011) harmed wind farms. Wind farms in hurricane-prone coastal zones are frequently designed to withstand hurricane-force winds, up to level Category 3 hurricanes. For self preservation purposes, wind turbines automatically shut down when wind speeds reach excessive levels. Hurricane Harvey is slated to become a Category 3 storm, and may test the limits of turbine engineering.

What do fidget spinners and wind turbines have in common?

As I attended the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER 2017 conference in Anaheim this past May, a number of expo exhibitors were giving away fidget spinners as conference attendee swag. At first, I just thought these companies were jumping on a trend, but then began to think a bit about the similarities between fidget spinners and wind turbines. No, really.

North Carolina Proposes Wind Farm Ban, Defies Department of Defense

North Carolina legislators are proposing wasting potentially thousands of dollars on an unnecessary study to evaluate wind farms and military interactions, a duplicative effort given that the Department of Defense already evaluates renewable energy projects. “There is an existing Department of Defense (DOD) process to evaluate – and if necessary – block wind farms, that was strengthened in the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA),” according to the American Wind Energy Association.

How Can the Southeast Benefit from Wind Energy in Texas?

It’s true what they say, everything is bigger in Texas…and that includes the wind energy industry! Texas is number one in the nation for wind energy production with over 20 gigawatts of installed capacity. With such a fantastic and cheap wind resource, is there any way for the Southeast to reap the benefits? Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Development) has created a solution: Build a new transmission line that can deliver 2,000 megawatts of clean, abundant, and cheap wind energy to our region.

Wind Power in 2016? Jobs, Jobs, and More Jobs.

Last week, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released its 9th edition of the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report. It’s a comprehensive look at the U.S. wind industry’s market trends in 2016. The key takeaway? Jobs, jobs, and more jobs. In 2016, the wind industry added nearly 15,000 full-time equivalent jobs, helping the industry surpass over 100,000 total American jobs

Time for Virgin Islands to Transfer Power, to Renewables

There’s already a high level of self-sufficiency in St. Croix – where many, many homes rely almost entirely on rainwater cisterns for their freshwater supply. As batteries and residential renewable energy become cheaper, many residents may willfully follow Mr. Boyd’s footsteps, and begin to fully opt-out of the Virgin Island electric system by going off grid. But for economies of scale, utility-scale renewables and large batteries can pack a big economic punch. Lower systemwide power prices can help reduce electric bills, but also attract new companies seeking paradise on a dime. Meanwhile, brandishing ecological credentials could improve the islands’ largest industry: tourism. In the Netherlands, tourists readily pay for windmill and wind farm excursions.
As the Virgin Islands celebrate the 100th anniversary of Transfer Day, let’s hope it won’t take another 100 years for renewable energy.

Clearing the Air: Lamar Alexander, You’re Wrong About Wind Power

Sen. Alexander says that wind power is expensive. However, his information is outdated. With its considerable wind energy resources, Oklahoma had the lowest electricity prices in the country last year. Tennessee ranked #28. Analysis by Leidos Electrical shows that Plains and Eastern Clean Line project could more than likely reduce electric rates in the Tennessee Valley, and beyond. In November 2016, Lazard Associates published their annual Levelized Cost of Energy analysis showing that the lowest cost wind power resources reach $14/MWh (1.4 cents per kilowatt hour, kWh). A new report from Moody’s Investor Services reports wind power prices for $15/MWh (1.5 cents per kWh). In 2015, Georgia Power received wind power proposals with pricing of $15.77/MWh (1.577 cents per kWh). As an already-operating wind project, the Balko Wind project in western Oklahoma sold wind power to the Public Service Company of Oklahoma for $15.80/MWh (1.58 cents per kWh). HVDC transmission charges may add an additional 2 cents per kWh. Additionally, TVA can earn revenue by using their existing transmission system to “wheel” low-cost wind power to power-hungry neighbors.