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AWEA_id1993

Let’s face it: This year has been as bad as predicted. Research firm SNL Energy recently noted that the 42.7 MW unit of Pattern Energy’s 265 MW Ocotillo Wind Farm was the only wind capacity to come online in the third quarter. That paltry sum comes on the heels of just a single 1.6 MW being installed for the entire first half.

Despite the meager totals, there are numerous signs of encouragement and optimism that bode well for next year and beyond. In that same SNL report, the firm noted that more than 7.5 GW is currently under construction or in advanced stages of development. Citing the extension of the federal production tax credit, many utilities plan to expand their wind portfolios by building their own projects or through power purchase agreements. In fact, the American Wind Energy Association says contracts in excess of 7.5 GW have been signed this year, which bodes well for 2014.

For example, MidAmerican Energy Co. says it wants to invest $1.9 billion to add up to 1.05 GW of wind generation in Iowa by year-end 2015. And combining the proposals in Xcel Energy’s Colorado and Texas/New Mexico service areas, the utility has proposed a total of 1.9 GW of wind resources this year – a 40% increase in company-wide wind capacity.

As a further sign of encouragement, the U.S. offshore wind industry has begun to demonstrate that the first generation of offshore wind projects is moving closer to construction.

Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, recently confirmed that he expects construction to begin next year at the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, located off the coast of Block Island, R.I. “We see a clear path to finalizing the contracts to start building the project.”

Hopefully, the recent spate of good news will begin to reverberate across the wind industry. Only time will tell, however, if this recent spate of agreements and contracts will satiate vendors and suppliers after a disappointing 18 months.

Lastly, NAW readers will note this issue includes more color and design improvements that were made to increase the magazine’s readability and general appearance as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Hopefully, such an achievement provides optimism for the wind industry and plenty of reasons for our gratitude.

 

Letter To The Editor

Editor’s Note: Ontario was the focus of the October 2013 issue of North American Windpower. Some readers disapproved of the cover headline, “Political Football: Ontario Sacks Large-Scale Wind,” and the Windbearings editorial, which was also critical of the provincial government’s stance on wind energy.

 

To The Editor:

 

We take issue with the most recent issue of North American Windpower, which painted an unjustifiably bleak picture for the future of large-scale wind energy projects in Ontario. In reality, we are expecting new procurement opportunities to emerge in 2014 and are confident that large-scale wind energy projects will succeed under Ontario’s proposed new competitive tendering process.

It is true that the Ontario government is currently reviewing its Long-Term Energy Plan and is seeking to craft an electricity supply mix that meets a host of important objectives, including affordability, reliability, environmental sustainability, diversification, economic development potential and rate base value.

As the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) makes clear in our submission to the Long-Term Energy Plan Review, Ontario is blessed with a range of viable options for new electricity generation, yet none of them meets the government’s multiple objectives as compellingly as wind energy. Our analysis demonstrates a need for the province to commit to another 2 GW of wind energy purchases by 2018. This would be consistent with the targets set in the original long-term plan and would help fill a supply gap of as much as 7 GW that will emerge later this decade as Ontario takes its aging nuclear fleet offline for refurbishment.

A commitment to new wind energy procurement in the short term and a new long-term target for wind energy deployment will send a clear signal to developers and manufacturers that Ontario is committed to wind energy over the long term. This will provide Ontario’s wind energy supply and value chains with a core domestic market that maintains and builds upon the investments that have been made to date. That will mean new manufacturing jobs, new money flowing into rural Ontario communities, new high-value jobs for local tradespeople and contractors, and new orders for Ontario steel and other raw materials. In short, CanWEA’s recommendations will help Ontario build a stronger, cleaner, more agile and affordable electricity system to power it into the future.

In the current context of reduced energy demand and a desire to keep a lid on future electricity cost increases, we believe it makes sense for Ontario to seriously consider new investments in cost-competitive, flexible and scalable wind energy generation over investment in new nuclear generation facilities. In fact, the Ontario government has subsequently stated it will not proceed with newly built nuclear power. Accordingly, the Long-Term Energy Plan should establish a long-term target that would see Ontario meet a minimum of 15% of its electricity demand with wind energy by 2031.

Wind energy is an undeniable Ontario success story. Now it is time to build on that success. CanWEA believes a balanced and appropriate mix of conservation, new wind energy and other renewable resources, and natural gas is the best path forward for Ontario.

 

Robert Hornung

President of CanWEA

Ottawa, Ontario

 

Wind Bearings

Wind Bearings