• DOE Announces Funding Opportunity for Enhancing Short-Term Wind Forecasting

    U.S. Department of Energy

    June, 2010 - Washington DC — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced funding for up to $6 million over two years to improve short-term wind energy forecasting. The funding will support projects that enhance the ability of utilities and electricity grid operators to forecast when and where generation from wind power will take place, allowing for improved utility operations. Electricity grid operators depend on accurate wind forecasts to predict and plan for the energy output of wind power plants in their system. By more accurately forecasting wind conditions up to six hours ahead, utilities operators can better predict the power generation of their wind plants, which reduces the cost and increases the reliability of integrating wind energy into the electricity grid. Improved wind forecasting has the potential to achieve substantial savings in annual grid production costs, and these benefits are expected to increase significantly as national wind deployment accelerates. Innovation in this area will help wind and other renewable energy sources meet more and more of the nation's energy demand.

    One to two competitively-selected funding recipient team(s) will work with DOE and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to deploy atmospheric measurement systems, make their data available for use in advanced weather prediction systems to improve short-term turbine-level wind forecasts, and demonstrate the value of these forecasting improvements for electric utility operations. The recipient team(s) will include wind plant operators, wind forecasting and meteorological services companies, electric utility system operators, and research organizations.

    DOE will provide $2 million this year to NOAA to fund its technical support of the selected projects and will provide an additional $1 million to the one or two competitively selected awardees. DOE also anticipates providing an additional $3 million in fiscal year 2011 to NOAA and the recipient team(s) for completing the project. Specifically, NOAA will support the project with research instrumentation, advanced weather modeling, and expertise in meteorology. NOAA will deploy and operate a network of sophisticated atmospheric instrumentation in the region identified and supported by the recipient team(s), and incorporate data from this network and other sources into an advanced weather forecast model to provide higher precision wind forecasts, allowing the recipient team(s) to improve wind plant power forecasts for more economic and reliable utility operations.

    The complete Funding Opportunity Announcement can be viewed at the FedConnect Web site.

  • Rural Summit on Capitol Hill Seeks Sustainable Solutions

    “Local ownership through Community Wind development not only provides initial construction jobs, but more importantly it provides long-term economic activity.”
    —Dan Juhl, Chairman and CEO, Juhl Wind, Inc.

    Washington, D.C., April 28, 2010 - U.S. Senators Harry Reid, Blanche Lincoln, and Debbie Stabenow were joined by former president Bill Clinton and wind energy developer Dan Juhl as they hosted a Rural Summit at the capitol. The event brought together stakeholders from communities around the country to focus on revitalizing rural America through economic development and job creation, and preserving the rural way of life for future generations.

    “Today was all about finding ways we can work together to create a sustainable rural economy,” said Senator Lincoln, Chair of Rural Outreach for the Senate Democratic Caucus. “I have worked diligently with my Senate colleagues over the last year and a half to pass historic legislation that will benefit rural America. From the Recovery Act...to working toward passage of the toughest financial reform legislation in our nation's history to put the needs of Main Street over the interests of Wall Street—I am working to make sure that rural America is strong and successful.”

    Panel discussions focused on creating jobs in rural America through investments in infrastructure and critical services, along with building a sustainable rural economy through increasing small business access to capital, small business development and workforce development.

    In his keynote speech Clinton offered a positive assessment of the job creation opportunities that exist for rural communities as the economy recovers and moves forward, particularly in creating new and sustainable sources of energy. “Manufacturing will make a comeback in this country, mark my words,” said Clinton. “It's going to be an enormous opportunity for small towns to get manufacturing jobs.”

    Dan Juhl
    Dan Juhl, Chairman and
    CEO of Juhl Wind, Inc.

    Dan Juhl, Chairman and CEO of Juhl Wind, Inc. represented the wind power industry and extolled the benefits of Community Wind. “Local ownership through Community Wind development not only provides initial construction jobs, but more importantly it provides the long-term economic activity for 20 plus years as our wind farms are owned and operated by our farmer partners,” said Juhl. “While it may cost $4 plus million to install one 2 megawatt turbine, there is only about $500,000 of local construction activity. However, that same turbine derives $500,000 a year in revenue—or $10 million over each 20 year period. That is why we are so committed to ensuring that our wind farms our owned by the people of rural America vs. larger utility conglomerates based hundreds of miles away—and sometimes from other countries.”

  • Vast Majority of Americans Want More Wind Power

    “An overwhelming majority of American voters, on a bipartisan basis, want more wind power.”

    —Bennett, Petts & Normington

    "Increasing the amount of energy America gets from wind is a good idea," agree 89% of American voters, according to a new poll released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The poll shows that only clean energy sources incuding wind, solar, and natural gas receive a favorable opinion, while coal and oil are given unfavorable ratings, and nuclear energy has split ratings with no majority opinion.

    “The poll's bottom line is clear: An overwhelming majority of American voters, on a bipartisan basis, want more wind power and support a national Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to increase its use,” said Anna Bennett and Neil Newhouse, partners respectively with Bennett, Petts & Normington and Public Opinion Strategies, the firms that conducted the poll.

    Poll highlights include:

    • An overwhelming, bipartisan majority—89%—of American voters (including 84% of Republicans, 88% of Independents and 93% of Democrats)—believe increasing the amount of energy the nation gets from wind is a good idea.
    • A majority of Americans—56%—disapprove of the job Congress is doing on renewable energy and 67% believe Congress is not doing enoughto increase renewable energy sources such as wind.
    • A majority of Americans—82%—believe the nation's economy would be stronger (52%) or the same (30%) if we used more renewable energy sources like wind.
    • A majority of Americans—77%—support a national Renewable Electricity Standard. This support extends across party lines and includes 65% of Republicans, 69% of Independents, 92% of Democrats.

    “Wind works for America and that is why voters want Congress to pass a strong national RES,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “Americans understand that an RES will mean new manufacturing jobs, less dependence on imported energy, and more pure, clean, affordable energy for our country.”

    The poll was conducted March 27-28 by Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies and Anna Bennett of Bennett, Petts & Normington. The poll sampled a national survey of 600 likely voters. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

  • Unprecedented Growth of U.S. and Global Wind Energy

    But Will the Growth Continue?

    United States wind power capacity increased by over 10 gigawatts (GW) in 2009, 20% more than was added in 2008, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). That brings total U.S. capacity to over 35 GW, more than any other country on the planet, providing 1.8% of our national electric power. Similarly, the demand for small wind systems for residential and small business use (rated capacity of 100 kW or less) grew 15% in 2009, adding 20 MW of generating capacity to the nation.

    “Even in the face of a global recession and financial crisis, wind energy continues to be the technology of choice in many countries around the world.”

    —Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General

    This is impressive as the largest single annual gain in U.S. wind energy capacity, but our nation still lags behind the pace of other countries in renewable energy expansion. Global wind power capacity increased by over 38 GW in 2009, an increase of 41% over 2008 according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

    “Even in the face of a global recession and financial crisis, wind energy continues to be the technology of choice in many countries around the world,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General. “Wind power is clean, reliable and quick to install, so it is the most attractive solution for improving supply security, reducing CO2 emissions, and creating thousands of jobs in the process. All of these qualities are of key importance, even more so in times of economic uncertainty.”

    China demonstrated a major commitment to renewable energy growth at a breathtaking pace, more than doubling it's wind capacity in 2009. According to the GWEC, China accounted for one third of the total annual wind capacity additions with 13.8 GW of new wind farms in 2009. This took China's total capacity up to 25.9 GW, narrowly overtaking Germany as the country with the second largest wind power capacity behind the U.S. The Chinese government has an unofficial target of 150 GW of wind capacity by 2020, and with the current growth rates, that ambitious target could be met well ahead of time.

    Economic uncertainty was a major challenge in 2009, and the U.S. responded to the challenge through new leadership in both the White House and the U.S. Department of Energy, bringing new policies and incentives to the forefront for renewable energy development, including the extension and expansion of tax incentives along with stimulus dollars in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. But will this be enough to foster continued growth?

    The forecast for U.S. wind capacity growth in coming years is not so clear. GWEC expects that the global installed wind capacity will reach 409 GW by 2014, growing by an average annual rate of 21%. Asia is expected to outpace both Europe and North America, with the U.S. and Canada as possible laggards in 2010 and 2011 due to legislative uncertainty.

    “Our annual report documents an industry hard at work and on the verge of explosive growth if the right policies—including a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)—are put in place,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “A national RES will provide the long-term certainty that businesses need to invest tens of billions of dollars in new installations and manufacturing facilities which would create hundreds of thousands of American jobs.”

    “Our annual report documents an industry hard at work and on the verge of explosive growth if the right policies—including a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)—are put in place,”

    —Denise Bode, AWEA CEO

    Clean energy and economic renewal are necessary partners for a sustainable future. It's time for U.S. policy-makers to determine how to make that more of a priority for our country. Many claim that Feed-In Tariff (FIT) policies, which have driven European renewable energy expansion with guaranteed grid access along with set prices on long-term contracts, just won't work in the U.S. However, the United States and Canada are the only major countries that don't even have federal policies for RES targets, which would drive incentives forward without the tight regulation of FIT. A patchwork of state-by-state (or province-by-province) RES targets doesn't present a clear national priority, and without that—clean energy expansion will lag along with the employment, environmental, and community benefits that come with it.

  • Massachusetts Community-Scale Wind Initiative Funding

    The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's (MassCEC) Community-Scale Wind Initiative awards grants for qualifying wind projects with a nameplate capacity greater than or equal to 100 kilowatts (kW.) A project is eligible for funding if it is located at a commercial, industrial, institutional, or public site, and if the electric system will be served by a Massachusetts investor-owned electric utility company or a Municipal Light Plant Department that pays into the Renewable Energy Trust Fund. MassCEC will provide financial and technical support to wind projects through the different development stages.

    MassCEC offers support for three stages of the Community Scale development process: 1) services for high level site assessment, available for public projects only (please submit a Public Wind Site Assessment Application); 2) feasibility study grant support for in-depth technical and economic feasibility analyses; and 3) grants for design and construction support. 

    Applications for Block 3 of Community-Scale Wind are due on May 4, 2010. Block 3 is projected to have $2 million available for grant funding. The Block 3 awards will be granted based on a competitive selection process.

  • Wind Resource Maps and Estimates Show Increased Potential for United States

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and consulting firm AWS Truewind, LLC have developed new wind resource maps and wind potential tables for the United States, the first comprehensive update of wind energy potential since 1993. The analysis indicates that wind resources in the U.S. are greater than previous estimates, up to three times more than previous estimates with the potential to generate up to 37 million gigawatt hours annually.

    U.S. Wind Resource Map

    Accurate information about the wind resource and the wind energy potential in each state is required for federal and state policy initiatives that will expand the use of wind energy in the United States. For planning installations of wind turbines and development of wind farms, it's important to know if the wind resource for a location is adequate. From wind resource maps, it can be determined if an area of interest should be further explored.

    Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 m/s and greater at 80-m height are generally considered to have suitable wind resource for wind development. NREL has conducted a preliminary review and validation of the AWS Truewind's 80-m map estimates for 19 selected states (6 Western states, 6 Midwestern states, and 7 Eastern states) based on tower measurements at heights of about 50 m and above from more than 300 locations.

    Wind potential tables, graphs, and maps are available for the contiguous United States and for each state. NREL also produced graphs showing the wind resource potential above a given gross capacity factor at both 80-m and 100-m heights.

    U.S. Total and State by State Wind Energy Estimates

    Wind Maps and Wind Resource Potential Estimates on the Wind Powering America web site

    US Wind Potential Estimates on the AWS Truewind web site

  • States Advancing Wind Peer Network

    Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) would like to invite you to join a new States Advancing Wind Peer Network group as part of the DOE's Wind Powering America State Outreach Project. The goal of this initiative is to create a peer-to-peer network for sharing information on the merits, approaches, best program practices, and policy tools available for states to accelerate wind project development. The information that will be provided will include briefing papers and notices of in-depth webinars on specific topics such as best siting practices, innovative policy tools, and emerging finance mechanisms for wind projects, as well as real-time information on state wind activities. The objective is to provide objective, quality, targeted information for state officials and those interested in state wind policy, not to overwhelm you with too much information too frequently - and to seed opportunities for collaboration.

    The goal of DOE's Wind Powering America project is to rapidly accelerate the market penetration of wind technology to secure the substantial energy, economic, environmental, and national security benefits for America. The Department has chosen to work with 25 diverse states and organizations to promote information sharing, including CESA - whose role is to work with state agencies and officials across the nation to advance outreach efforts and to provide targeted technical assistance.

    Clean Energy States Alliance is a nonprofit organization representing leading state clean energy programs across the country. Established in 2002, CESA works with over 20 state clean energy funds and programs. CESA assists its members in multi-state strategies to develop and promote clean energy technologies and to create and expand markets for these technologies.

    To join the listserv, please send an contact  Anne Margolis  with "Wind Listserv" in the subject line and include your contact information.


  • U.S. Wind Energy Expanded Nearly 10 GW in 2009

    Washington, D.C., January 26, 2010 - The U.S. wind energy industry broke all previous records by installing nearly 10,000 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity in 2009 (enough to serve over 2.4 million homes) according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) in its “Year End 2009 Market Report.”

    The 9,922 MW installed last year expand the nation's wind plant fleet by 39% and bring total wind power generating capacity in the U.S to over 35,000 MW. The five-year average annual growth rate for the industry is now 39%, up from 32% between 2003 and 2008. U.S. wind projects today generate enough to power the equivalent of 9.7 million homes, protecting consumers from fuel price volatility and strengthening our energy security.

    “The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,”

    —Denise Bode, AWEA CEO

    “The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “But U.S. wind turbine manufacturing — the canary in the mine — is down compared to last year's levels, and needs long-term policy certainty and market pull in order to grow. We need to set hard targets, in the form of a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), in order to provide the necessary stability for manufacturers to expand their U.S. operations and to seize the historic opportunity we have today to build up a thriving renewable energy industry.”

    America's wind power fleet will avoid an estimated 62 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to taking 10.5 million cars off the road, and will conserve approximately 20 billion gallons of water annually, which would otherwise be withdrawn for steam or cooling in conventional power plants.

    Texas again gained the largest amount of new capacity bringing the state past the 9-GW mark. Iowa now has a total of 3,670 MW installed, consolidating its position as #2, behind Texas and ahead of California. With several large wind farms added, Washington pulled ahead of Minnesota in the ranking of top five states. Thirty-six states, including Arizona for the first time, now have utility-scale wind installations and fourteen of them have more than 1,000 MW of wind power capacity. 

    The “Year End 2009 Market Report” along with wind energy projects information is available at the American Wind Energy Association web site.