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.
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.
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.
Although Florida has yet to develop a wind farm, the state is already taking advantage of the wind industry. In February, Gulf Power announced it would purchase approximately 180 megawatts of wind power from the Kingfisher wind farm in Oklahoma – the first wind power purchase for the Sunshine State.
Tennessee is home to the Southeast’s first wind farm, the Buffalo Mountain wind project. This wind farm was installed nearly a decade ago and is still meeting performance goals and expectations. Several other wind farms have been proposed in Tennessee. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Valley Authority is currently purchasing over 1,500 megawatts of wind power from the upper-Plains states. High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission projects, like the Plains and Eastern project, would inject thousands of megawatts of new high quality, low cost wind power for the Volunteer State.
Advanced turbine technology is a game changer for wind energy in the Southeast. In just five years, wind turbine technology has greatly evolved to be more suitable for lower wind speeds areas like the Southeast.
Solar photovoltaics, wind energy and solar thermal technology costs have all declined pretty substantially since Lazard’s analysis last year. Natural gas and energy efficiency costs have stayed the same, although to be fair, energy efficiency’s starting low cost of $0 per megawatt of energy saved is hard to beat. Meanwhile, coal, nuclear and integrated gasification combined cycle power costs continue to increase.