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.
The cost of wind energy will blow you away.
This morning, the Georgia Public Service Commission approved the state’s first wind farm proposal. About a year ago, Georgia Power announced that it signed a power purchase agreement with EDP Renewables for 250 megawatts of wind power from Oklahoma. With today’s decision, wind energy from the Plains will make its way to the Peach State early next year.
Creation Care merges faith with proactive solutions to protect God’s creation. Next week, the season of Lent begins for millions of faithful people around the world. To mirror the 40 days of Lent, here are 40 churches, religious schools and faith-based organizations around the world that are putting their faith to work by promoting wind energy.
Wind turbines and sailboats share many commonalities. Both are super advanced, highly popular and lovable, low cost and protective of the environment, but do you know all of the 19 1/2 ways wind turbines and sailboats are similar?