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.
A recent non-peer reviewed study evaluated the frequency of wind turbine fires around the world. The study found that every year there are approximately 11.7 wind turbine fires that are reported. Based on extremely limited data from an anti-wind farm activist group, the study went on to suggest that wind turbine fires could be ten times higher than what is reported, for a potential total of 117 fires globally every year. As of 2012, there were over 225,000 wind turbines installed globally; thus the chance of a single wind turbine catching on fire is 0.0052% – 0.052%. Stated another way, there’s a 1 in 1,923 to 19,230 chance that a single turbine may catch on fire.
Iselle (2014) now joins likes of Irene (2011) and Sandy (2012), as a case study showing that wind turbines can withstand tropical storms and hurricanes. It’s been a while since the United States has been hit by a Category 3 hurricane, or higher. Let’s hope that trend continues.
If Hurricanes Iselle and Julio make landfall, several wind farms will assuredly be in the storms’ paths. But, as we’ve documented with Hurricane Sandy (2012) and Hurricane Irene (2011), hurricanes rarely pose major threats to modern wind turbines. With both of those storms, no damage was reported for any wind farm on the east coast.