The Cherokee Nation has agreed to partner with Chicago-based PNE Wind USA to develop a 90-turbine wind farm, located in Kay County, Okla.
The Cherokee Nation has approved plans to team up with four other tribes to develop the wind farm. The tribes will jointly operate the facility with 45 turbines on 3,000 acres of Cherokee-owned property and 45 more turbines on 3,000 acres owned by the Kaw Nation, Otoe-Missouria Tribe, Pawnee Nation and Ponca Nation.
According to the Cherokee Nation, the project is estimated to generate $16 million over the next 20 years. It is expected to provide 153 MW of power to the Southwest grid. Development of the 90-turbine wind farm will start immediately on 3,000 acres of the tribe’s Chilocco property, the site of a former Indian boarding school.
Once built, the Cherokee Nation says the wind farm will be the largest tribal wind farm in the U.S.
“The Cherokee Nation is playing a significant role in creating new green jobs and expects to play a key role in Oklahoma’s emerging wind energy industry,” said Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker. “The Cherokee Nation is committed to growing the Oklahoma economy, helping reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and creating sustainable jobs for our people in the renewable energy sector.”
Calgary-based Pteragen Canada, a subsidiary of Renovalia Energy Wind Canada, says it has received regulatory approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission to proceed with construction on its 120 MW Peace Butte Wind Power Project, located south of Medicine Hat.
According to Pteragen, construction on the C$200 million project is expected to begin in early 2014 and reach commercial operation by the end of the year. Transmission has been secured onto an existing 138 kV transmission line running directly through the property.
With more than six years of on-site wind data, Pteragen says Peace Butte is ideally situated in a well-defined and consistent wind resource with more than 3,300 productive hours per year that will provide some geographic diversity to the 1,087 MW of wind generation currently operating within Alberta.
Buys Storage System
The Wind Energy Institute of Canada, an independent research and testing institute, has chosen S&C Electric Canada Ltd. for the supply of a battery energy storage system (BESS) to be installed at the institute’s Wind R&D Park in Prince Edward Island.
The BESS will be composed of two primary components: a power conversion system supplied by S&C via its PureWave storage management system (SMS) and battery modules supplied by General Electric.
The PureWave SMS will convert the energy generated by wind turbines to direct current that charges the batteries and, when called upon, will reverse the flow to take the energy from the batteries and convert it into alternating current for use by utility Maritime Electric Co. Ltd. for sale to retail customers.
The institute says the project will help illustrate the benefits of using energy storage with wind power. The BESS will be delivered in September and is expected to be operational by the fall.
UpWind Deal Includes
Four Wind Farms
UpWind Solutions Inc. has signed operations and maintenance (O&M) service agreements for four wind farms.
The projects include the Trinity Hills, Sherbino 2 and Silver Star 1 wind farms in Texas and the Flat Ridge 1 wind farm in Kansas, representing a combined 485 MW of production. The four projects are owned by wholly owned subsidiaries of BP Wind Energy.
Under the contract, UpWind will perform O&M services on a total of 194 Clipper C-93 and C-96 turbines. Peter Wells, CEO at UpWind Solutions, notes that the company has five years of experience with Clipper technology.
S&C To Upgrade
S&C Electric Co. has been awarded a $2.6 million contract by Sweetwater Wind to upgrade a portion of the 585 MW wind farm in Sweetwater, Texas.
S&C says this upgrade will enable Sweetwater Wind to meet new renewable energy generation interconnection standards that have been enacted by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas; the new standards require Sweetwater Wind to provide a lagging power factor capability of 0.95 or less and a leading power factor capability of 0.95 or less at the point of interconnection.
S&C is engineering and constructing a complete system using mechanically switched capacitors in three substations at the site. S&C is also designing and installing the control system in the plant’s east substation to manage the capacitor banks and switches. The project is expected to be completed by June.
“S&C worked with Sweetwater Wind to evaluate the current system and develop the best long-term solution that can quickly meet the new requirements, which is critical to avoiding production curtailments,” says S&C’s Dan Girard. “This upgrade will help Sweetwater Wind maximize its wind project production while ensuring the grid is protected.”
Fergus Falls, Minn.-based Otter Tail Power signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to acquire the output from the 62.4 MW Ashtabula III wind farm, located northeast of Valley City, N.D.
Ashtabula III, owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources, consists of 39 1.6 MW GE XLE turbines. The wind farm began commercial operation in 2010. The contract includes an option for Otter Tail Power to own the wind farm in 10 years, notes the utility.
Harvey McMahon, Otter Tail’s manager of renewable energy construction and operations, says this energy purchase was below the cost modeled in the company’s biennial resource plan. In addition, the purchase positions Otter Tail to meet its renewable energy obligations in the three states it serves through 2025. Wind energy now supplies about 19% of Otter Tail Power’s retail sales.
PacifiCorp has begun construction of the high-voltage, 160-mile Sigurd to Red Butte transmission line to serve customers throughout six western states. In addition, the company announced the completion of its 100-mile Mona to Oquirrh transmission line. Both projects are located in Utah.
According to Natalie Hocken, PacifiCorp senior vice president of transmission and system operations, investment in new transmission lines is essential in the West for grid reliability and to improve access to both conventional and renewable generation resources.
The 345 kV Sigurd to Red Butte transmission line will stretch from the Sigurd substation near Richfield to the expanded Red Butte substation in Washington County. It is expected to begin serving customers in summer 2015.
The recently completed Mona to Oquirrh transmission line includes a new single-circuit, 500/345 kV line from the Clover substation in Juab County to the site of the future Limber substation in Tooele County. From there, the line continues as a double-circuit, 345 kV line to the existing Oquirrh substation in West Jordan. Construction on that line began in 2011.
UPMC Buys RECs To Power Data Centers
Healthcare provider UPMC has purchased renewable energy credits (RECs) from Pennsylvania wind power to equal the entire annual energy usage from its data centers.
According to UPMC, the company purchased 15,400 RECs generated by wind projects in Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh-based EverPower Wind Holdings. This purchase equates to 15,400,000 kWh of renewable electricity, accounting for 100% of the annual electricity usage by the company’s corporate and Shadyside data centers.
The so-called greening of the company’s data centers follows three years of efforts by UPMC to decrease the overall power consumption at the sites using advanced cooling methods and consolidation of computer systems, notes the company. The health system, a $10 billion global health enterprise with more than 55,000 employees headquartered in Pittsburgh, became the first in Pennsylvania to make such a commitment for its data facilities.
The REC purchase was greatly aided by ChoosePAWind, an initiative aimed to encourage energy consumers in the state to power their businesses and homes with energy from Pennsylvania wind farms, including those from EverPower.
In its second year, ChoosePAWind is designed to increase awareness of Pennsylvania’s wind industry and inform energy buyers about the options available to choose clean, renewable energy generated in Pennsylvania for their homes and businesses. Currently, ChoosePAWind lists 19 companies running on Pennsylvania wind energy, including six located in Pittsburgh.
Xcel Energy has announced an expanded agreement with the Boulder, Colo.-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) for renewable energy forecasting. NCAR previously designed a wind energy prediction system for the utility company beginning in 2009.
In the next two years, NCAR scientists and engineers will develop custom forecasting systems to enable Xcel Energy control centers in Minneapolis; Denver; Golden, Colo.; and Amarillo, Texas, to anticipate sudden changes in wind, shut down turbines ahead of potentially damaging icing events and help predict the amount of energy generated by private solar panels.
Xcel Energy says the systems will help it provide reliable power to its customers and reduce costs while moving to greater use of wind and solar.
GE’s 1.7-100 Turbines Slated For NextEra
GE will supply 59 of recently debuted 1.7-100 wind turbines to NextEra Energy Resources LLC’s wind farm planned for the thumb region of Michigan.
GE says the 1.7-100 wind turbine is the second “brilliant” wind turbine in its portfolio, following the 2.5-120. The 1.7-100 advances the company’s 1.6-100 wind turbine series by using electrical system upgrades and the industrial Internet to connect data points across the turbine’s ecosystem, GE adds.
“Wind turbine innovation is key to the continued growth of the wind industry, and we look forward to installing this new 1.7 MW technology machine,” says Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources.
California-based utility Imperial Irrigation District (IID) has chosen Abengoa to work on the Path 42 power transmission project.
The project is an extension of IID’s power network meant to help increase capacity and enable access to new sources of renewable energy in California.
The contract involves the reconductoring of a total of 32 km of a 230 kV transmission line, as well as the upgrade of existing substations. Abengoa will be responsible for the engineering, construction and commissioning, and the project is expected to be complete in April 2014.
Surpasses 8 GW
Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) has announced that RES Group’s global construction portfolio has exceeded 8 GW, of which more than 6 GW is located in North America.
RES Americas was founded in 1997, and RES Canada was founded in 2003. The two companies’ combined construction portfolio totals more than 6.2 GW of wind projects and more than 100 MW of solar projects in the U.S. and Canada, RES Americas says. The companies have also constructed 534 miles of overhead transmission lines.
Enters Phase Two
The American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) has announced its Research Information System (RIS) has entered phase two of development. The RIS is designed to be a centralized database to help wind industry companies, government staff and wildlife stakeholders evaluate the impact of operating wind projects.
AWWI anticipates RIS analysis and reports will have broad value and implications, from product design and application to landscape and impact assessment through project siting and turbine operations.
“The RIS will provide analysis with a high certainty of accuracy by including data from thousands of sites,” says Abby Arnold, AWWI’s executive director. “For the first time, comprehensive and uniform data analysis will be compared across multiple regions and species in one database.”
The RIS is being built for AWWI with technical support from Oregon State University’s Northwest Alliance for Computational Science & Engineering. A prototype pilot was completed in late 2012, and the system has integrated post-construction wildlife fatality data and literature.
Now, in phase two, AWWI is approaching companies to highlight system functionality, review measures to protect proprietary data/limit liability exposure and begin data collection. Following data collection, AWWI will select independent analysts to analyze the data.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) passed a resolution in support of the RIS at a 2011 board meeting.
“This is an important step forward in using the vast amounts of data collected by the industry over the past several decades,” said Rob Gramlich, interim CEO of AWEA. “It will help inform future siting decisions to further improve these practices and aid in reducing the industry’s already-low impacts on wildlife and their habitats. Creation of the RIS is critical to increasing transparency of the industry’s data while protecting the confidentiality of commercially or otherwise sensitive information.”
Georgia Power Buys
250 MW Of Wind
Atlanta-based Georgia Power, a Southern Co. subsidiary, has entered into an agreement with EDP Renewables North America to purchase 250 MW of wind energy from projects in Oklahoma.
According to the utility, the output from EDP’s Blue Canyon Phases II and VI wind farms will travel on the Southwest Power Pool via Entergy and be delivered to the Southern Co. system. Georgia Power says it will begin receiving electrons, as well as renewable energy certificates, from the projects in 2016.
“We are continuously evaluating energy options that provide the best overall economic value to our customers,” says Paul Bowers, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “Adding wind energy to our generation mix underscores our commitment to a diverse portfolio that offers clean, safe, reliable, sustainable and low-cost electricity for years to come.”
Utah Wind Project
Greenbriar Capital Corp., a Vancouver-based real estate and energy project developer, has executed a letter agreement to purchase a 100% interest in an 80 MW wind project located in Utah.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, and Greenbriar did not name the project or the seller.
According to the company, the acquisition will comprise permits and permit applications; various studies; on-site wind data and met towers; all applicable consents and approvals for the project; wind energy land leases; and the nearly completed power purchase agreement for 80 MW.
Greenbriar will commence the completion of the land entitlement process, invest in the real property, engage project lenders and place requests for proposals, contractors and turbine vendors. The agreement is subject to the execution of final definitive agreements; however, Greenbriar notes, the agreement does contain some binding provisions.
“We are pleased to be involved with helping Utah achieve energy independence and providing the Utah ratepayers with clean, reliable and affordable 100% carbon-free electricity,” says Jeff Ciachurski, CEO of Greenbriar Capital. w
Projects & Contracts
Cherokee Nation Develops Project
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