A late-year push is nothing new to the wind energy industry—in fact, companies are used to it. Through the years, the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), wind’s primary policy driver, has typically been extended in one- and two-year increments, and the extension often hasn’t come until the 11th hour or even after a December 31 expiration has passed.
That sort of history has meant plenty of long days for construction crews around the time of the winter solstice, and the flipping of switches on newly christened projects even on New Year’s Eve. Historically, of course, to qualify for the PTC, projects had to be online by the deadline.
In a sense, the final stretch of 2013—we’ll call it wind’s holiday season—was no different. Project activity was hot, and announcements were plentiful. Yet, while the industry turned a little frenetic at the end of the year, the nature of the activity was quite different from the usual holiday rush. Rather than reports streaming in about new projects going online, this year’s holiday news was filled with construction starts, turbine orders, and power purchase agreements.
The reason: the all-important tweak to the most recent PTC extension, which required that projects start construction, rather than be completed, by the end of 2013. The new start-construction language was crucial for the industry during 2013 and beyond because the latest extension did not come until Jan. 1 of last year. As a result, the industry operated for months during 2012 with the uncertainty of a scheduled Dec. 31 expiration.
As previously mentioned, the industry has had to deal with such late extensions before. But things were different this time. Wind energy had grown into a $25 billion industry, and the turbine supply chain infrastructure had planted roots here, creating an overall industry workforce of around 80,000. So as a result of the huge policy question mark, the entire supply chain and development pipeline virtually grinded to a halt, and so it took months for the now-sizable industry to ramp back up again in 2013. A one-year extension requiring that projects be completed by the end of 2013, therefore, would have had little impact on an entire industry that needed to start up again from a stationary position.
If you want to get a glimpse of what’s happening in the industry, look no further than the turbine manufacturers, which in a sense represent the heart of the business. Sure enough, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were announcing turbine orders at year’s end that will keep them and developers busy not only in 2014 but into 2015 as well. That’s the power of the start-construction language in the latest PTC extension.
Following are just a few news items highlighting the activity as most industries were quieting down and having holiday parties. The items are by no means comprehensive both in terms of the manufacturers that made announcements or orders placed, but they provide a sense of the activity that took place at year-end.
Vestas Finishes Strong
Vestas kicked off the holiday week of Dec. 23 with the announcement that it received a 150-MW order from First Wind for multiple U.S. projects. That’s a solid order, but it gets better: The company could ultimately supply First Wind with up to 568 MW of additional turbines for multiple projects, the turbine manufacturer said. As part of the master supply agreement, Vestas will supply 75 V110-2.0 MW turbines to the 150 MW Route 66 project near Amarillo, Texas. Deliveries are expected to occur for Route 66 in early 2015 with commissioning in mid-2015.
The next day, on Dec. 24, Vestas announced an order that it said made 2013 its second-best year ever for the region. The company received a 110-MW order for 55 V100-2.0 MW wind turbines for a new project in the U.S. That order put Vestas over the 1,700-MW threshold for the year in the North American market (including Canada)—second only to the 1,883 MW in sales the company recorded in 2010.
Gamesa Secures Turbine Order With EDPR
Vestas wasn’t the only OEM to add some late-year orders to its 2013 books. On Dec. 26, Gamesa said it has signed a framework agreement with EDP Renovaveis (EDPR) for the supply of up to 450 MW for EDPR U.S. projects that could go into 2016.
Under terms of the agreement, the OEM will supply up to 225 of Gamesa G114-2.0 MW wind turbines. The agreement represents the largest contract for Gamesa’s G114-2.0 MW turbines to date.
Siemens Celebrates Record
Perhaps Siemens Energy made the biggest splash of the year. The deal had already been announced, but nevertheless on Dec. 16 Siemens confirmed that the 1,050-MW wind turbine order it recently received from MidAmerican Energy Company is the largest land-based wind turbine order in the world. The news was announced at a commemoration event at Siemens’ blade manufacturing facility in Fort Madison, Iowa. Leading the Dec. 16 celebration were Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Mark Albenze, CEO of wind power Americas for Siemens Energy Inc., and AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan.
As with the other orders mentioned above, the order will keep Siemens busy for some time.
Other North American Turbine Orders
Tri Global Energy Selects Alstom For Texas Project
On December 30, Alstom Power, Inc. and Tri Global Energy, LLC entered into a turbine supply agreement under which Alstom will supply four ECO110 and 25 ECO122 wind turbines and provide 10 years of service and maintenance for the 80 MW Fiber Winds Energy project near Lorenzo and Ralls, Texas. This agreement, achieved prior to December 31, 2013 secures a “safe harbor” position on the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for Fiber Winds Energy.
Following a financial closing, construction of the project is expected to begin the middle of this year, with commercial operations scheduled to commence in 2015. Tri Global Energy recently acquired 100 percent ownership of Fiber Winds Energy and intends to be the plant operator, providing local employment and services, expanding upon the original Tri Global Energy business model as a community developer for local landowners and investors.
Acciona Receives 102 MW Order For Nova Scotia Project
Acciona has signed a contract to supply 34 turbines for a 102 MW wind farm in Nova Scotia. It will carry out the construction, internal electrical infrastructures and assembly and will also undertake the operation and maintenance of the facility.
The South Canoe wind farm—which will be the largest in the province—has been developed by three local companies: Oxford Frozen Foods, Minas Basin Pulp and Power, and the utility company Nova Scotia Power, to which the power generated will be sold. It will incorporate AW3000/116 turbines of Acciona Windpower technology, each with a capacity of 3 MW, hub height of 92m, and a rotor diameter of 116 metres.
The facility will supply electricity equivalent to the consumption of 32,000 homes and will help the province of Nova Scotia, on the eastern seaboard of Canada, to reach its renewable energy targets.
Vestas Signs Two Orders For Powerica Projects In India
Vestas has secured two orders in India from Powerica Ltd., totalling 51.8 MW. Both orders include delivery, installation, and commissioning of 25 V100-2.0 MW and one V100-1.8 MW turbines. The orders will supply wind turbines for Powerica’s Jangi and Charbara projects, both of which are located in Gujarat. Commissioning is expected in July for 21.8 MW and in March 2015 for 30 MW.
Vestas Receives 36 MW Order From Juwi Wind For German Projects
Vestas will supply German wind developer juwi Wind with 12 turbines totaling 36 MW for three different projects in Germany. The contract comprises supply, installation and commissioning of the turbines, along with a SCADA solution and 15-year full-scope service agreement.
Vestas and juwi signed a framework agreement for 52 turbines in 2012 and today’s order thus continues the positive cooperation between the two partners.
The 12 turbines will be deployed at three different projects in Germany in Göllheim, Niederhausen an der Appel and Alsenz this summer.
Uruguayan Project Chooses Vestas For 39 MW Extension
Vengano S.A. has signed an agreement for the extension of the Carape wind power plant in Uruguay using 13 Vestas V112-3.0 MW wind turbines. The wind turbines are scheduled to be delivered in the third quarter of this year, with commissioning set for the first quarter of 2015.
In September 2013, Fingano S.A. signed a contract for the first 50 MW order for the Carape wind power plant; and now Vengano S.A., owned by the same shareholders as Fingano S.A., has signed the contract for the extension of Carape wind power plant. Once installed, the complete Carape wind power plant will have an estimated annual production of more than 440,000 MWh, generating green electricity for 400,000 people in Uruguay, equal to about one third of the population of the city of Montevideo.
The 39 MW contract comprises delivery, installation and commissioning of the turbines, SCADA system, and 17-year service agreement.
Vestas’ V110-2.0 MW To Make European Debut In Poland
SPV – Nowotna Farma Wiatrowa and its parent company Taiga Mistral have placed a 40 MW order with Vestas for the manufacturer’s V110-2.0 MW model wind turbines, marking the first European order for that model. The order will supply the Ostazewo wind project—located in the Gdansk region of northern Poland. The contract includes delivery, installation, and commissioning of the turbines, which is expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2014. The project also includes a 15-year comprehensive service package.
Vestas has received a total of 950 MW of orders for the V110-2.0 MW in the U.S. since introducing the turbine on the market last April.
Vestas To Supply 117 MW For Jordan’s First Utility-Scale Wind Farm
Vestas has received a 117 MW order for Jordan. The project consists of 38 V112-3.0 MW turbines which will be installed about 180 km south of Amman, in the Tafila region, Jordan. Delivery of the turbines will start in the second quarter of this year, and the plant is expected to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2015.
The order has been placed by Jordan Wind Project Company (JWPC), a company set up by InfraMed Infrastructure, Masdar and EP Global Energy (EPGE).
The contract for the Al Tafila wind power plant includes supply, installation and commissioning of the wind turbines, civil and electrical works, a VestasOnline® Business SCADA solution as well as a 10-year custom-designed energy based service agreement for the entire wind power plant.
Nordex Extends Delta Offering Into Turkey
In the fourth quarter of 2013, the Nordex Group has been awarded three new contracts for a combined capacity of 37.6 MW in Turkey. Included in these are the first six N117/3000 generation Delta turbines for this growth market. The second contract also marks a new development as it is the first time that a customer from Turkey has ordered four N117/2400 light wind turbines.
This summer, Nordex will be supplying six of its N117/3000 turbines for the 18-MW Cesme RES project, which is located on a peninsular close to Izmir. Nordex only launched the N117/3000 in spring 2013. This turbine is specifically designed for medium-strong wind conditions and will achieve an above-average capacity factor of over 38% at Cesme RES. The customer and future owner of the wind farm is ABK Cesme Enerji Üretim A.S., which is already active in renewable energies.
Named Aliaga RES, the second project is also located in the Izmir region and comprises four N117/2400 turbines. Construction is scheduled for summer 2014.
In addition, returning customer Karesi Enerji has placed an order with Nordex for four N100/2500 turbines to extend the 45-MW Akres wind farm. Installed by Nordex in 2011, the farm currently has 18 N90/2500 turbines.
Nordex Receives Order For Coastal Wind Farm In Finland
Nordex SE received a contract from wpd europe GmbH for the delivery and installation of eleven turbines for the Mäkikangas wind farm.
The Mäkikangas wind farm is being built on the west coast of Finland close to the town of Pyhäjoki at a site with an annual average wind speed of approx. 8 meters per second. For this reason, N117/3000 Generation Delta turbines will be used and installed by Nordex during this year. The wind turbines have a hub height of 141 meters in order to generate the greatest possible electricity yield. The eleven turbines at the Mäkikangas wind farm will generate an annual yield sufficient to supply 24,000 homes.
In another order from Finland, Nordex has signed supply and maintenance contracts for a 27-MW wind farm with specialist investor Impax Asset Management. The “Joukhaisselkä” project will comprise nine N117/3000 turbines from the Delta series. Launched at the beginning of 2013, this series is specifically designed for locations with medium wind speeds.
Nordex will be installing the turbines at the “Joukhaisselkä” wind farm in Lapland near the town of Sodankylä in 2014. Given the cold weather conditions, Impax has also opted to have the turbines fitted with the Nordex anti-icing system, which prevents ice from forming on the rotor blades, thus ensuring optimum energy production during the winter months.
Acciona Awarded 57 MW Contract In Turkey
Acciona Windpower has been awarded the supply and assembly of the 57 MW Çerçikaya wind farm in Turkey, owned by the company ZT Enerji Elektrik Üretim Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Å. (Zafer Group). The contract includes the operation and maintenance of the installation for 10 years.
The wind farm, located in Hatay province in the south of the country, will be equipped with nineteen AW125/3000 turbines. These machines have a rotor diameter of 125 meters and will be mounted on 87.5-meter-high steel towers. This wind turbine is specially designed for sites with low wind speeds.
Supplies will be made in 2014 and 2015, and the entry into service of the wind farm is planned for the end of February 2015.
It is the first contract awarded to ACCIONA Windpower in Turkey.
Acciona To Supply 93 MW Of Wind Power For Brazil
Acciona has secured a turbine supply agreement for Brazilian wind farms. The agreement, signed with a joint venture between Voltalia, CHESF and Encalso, covers 31 wind turbines of 3 MW each – the AW 116/3000 and AW 125/3000 models – for wind farms located in North East Brazil.
In addition to the turbine supply contracts, the operation and maintenance of the wind farms has been contracted for a period of 15 years. To date Acciona Windpower has supplied, or has orders for 423 MW in Brazil.
Queiroz Galvão Taps Alstom To Supply 400 MW For Two Brazilian Wind Farms
Alstom has signed two contracts totaling around €400 million with Queiroz Galvão, one of the main infrastructure groups in Brazil, to deliver, erect and commission ECO 122 wind turbines at two large wind farms—Caldeirão Grande I and II, both located in the state of Piauí State, Northeast of Brazil.
The wind farms Caldeirão Grande I and II will generate 400MW; this amount of energy can bring electricity to around 600,000 people. The ECO 122 wind turbines will be produced at Alstom manufacturing unit in Camaçari (Bahia State) and will be delivered between 2015 and 2017.
Alstom has already signed contracts to install over 1,700 MW of wind power capacity in Brazil, making it one of the leaders in the Brazilian wind power market.
Vestas Receives 50 MW Order For UK Offshore Wind Project
Vestas will supply 15 V112-3.3 MW offshore turbines for the Kentish Flats Extension off the coast of the UK. Kentish Flats, owned by Vattenfall, was installed by Vestas in 2005. It currently consists of 30 V90-3.0 MW turbines, which Vestas services.
The order—with a total capacity of 50 MW—includes supply, installation, and commissioning of the wind turbines as well as a five-year AOM 5000 service agreement.
The Kentish Flats Extension is located approximately 10 km north off Herne Bay and Whitstable in Kent. The construction of the project will begin mid-2015. The existing wind farm and the extension will combined be capable of generating between 350,000 MWh and just over 430,000 MWh of clean electricity every year, which is equivalent to the total annual electricity needs of between 82,000 to 96,000 UK households.