Top News from WINDPOWER 2014


Energy Department announces innovative offshore wind projects
The Energy Department recently announced the selection of three pioneering offshore wind demonstrations to receive up to $47 million each over the next four years to deploy innovative, grid-connected systems in federal and state waters by 2017. These projects—located off the coast of New Jersey, Oregon, and Virginia—will help speed the deployment of more efficient offshore wind power technologies. Building on the Energy Department’s broader efforts to launch a competitive and sustainable offshore wind industry in the United States, these demonstration projects will help further lower costs, drive greater performance and clear hurdles to installing more utility-scale turbines in U.S. waters.

“Offshore wind offers a large, untapped energy resource for the United States that can create thousands of manufacturing, construction and supply chain jobs across the country and drive billions of dollars in local economic investment,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

In December 2012, the Energy Department announced seven offshore wind demonstration projects, which have focused on design, engineering, and permitting work. The three projects selected today are aimed at deploying offshore wind installations in U.S. waters by 2017:

• Fishermen’s Energy will install five 5MW direct-drive wind turbines approximately three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. This project will utilize an innovative, U.S.-developed twisted jacket foundation that is simpler and less expensive to manufacture and install than traditional offshore wind foundations. Fishermen’s project will act as a laboratory for researchers to learn about offshore wind and investigate interactions between turbines.

• Principle Power will install five 6MW direct-drive wind turbines approximately 18 miles off the coast of Coos Bay, Oregon. The U.S.-developed WindFloat semi-submersible floating foundation will be installed in water more than 1,000 feet deep, demonstrating an innovative solution for deep water wind turbine projects and lowering costs by simplifying installation and eliminating the need for highly specialized ships. More than 60 percent of U.S. offshore wind resources are found in deep waters, including the entirety of the West Coast. Deploying offshore wind technologies for deeper water can help capture resources that are found in waters too deep for traditional bottom-mounted foundations.

• Dominion Virginia Power will install two 6MW direct-drive wind turbines 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, utilizing a U.S.-designed twisted jacket foundation. Dominion’s project will demonstrate installation, operation and maintenance methods for wind turbines located far from shore. Additionally, the Dominion project will install and test a hurricane-resilient design to ensure that offshore wind facilities placed in hurricane-prone U.S. waters are reliable, safe, and cost-effective.

The proposals from the University of Maine and from the Lake Erie Energy Development Cooperation offered additional innovative approaches that, with additional engineering and design, will further enhance the properties of American offshore wind technology options. This includes concrete semi-submersible foundations as well as monopile foundations designed to reduce ice loading. The Department will continue to work with these teams to advance their designs to deployment readiness.

Texas Tech and Group NIRE welcome Gamesa to the Reese Technology Center
Texas Tech University System and Group NIRE welcome Gamesa Technology Corp., Inc., to its research facilities in Lubbock, Texas at the Reese Technology Center.  Group NIRE and Gamesa Technology Corp., Inc., have completed the installation and commissioning of the first 60Hz G114-2.0 MW wind turbine at the Reese Technology Center in Lubbock, TX.  Erection and commissioning of the prototype was completed mid-March.

The prototype is deployed near Texas Tech University’s National Wind Institute’s field site, and includes a wealth of instrumentation that will enhance collaborative research projects. NWI’s cutting edge facilities include an fully instrumented 200 m meteorological tower, SODAR, a radar profiler, multiple 80 m instrumented towers and other world renowned facilities.

The project is being implemented in collaboration with Group NIRE, whose research facility focuses on testing, certifying and validating the next generation wind turbines and other energy assets.  Group NIRE performs all testing in real world environments as part of their R&D partnership with Texas Tech University and the National Wind Institute.

“The Office of Corporate Engagement at Texas Tech is proud to work closely with Group NIRE to attract industry leading companies like Gamesa to West Texas, the top region in North America for wind resources and research expertise,” said Director of Texas Tech Corporate Engagement, Russell Thomasson.

“The construction of the Gamesa G114 2MW wind turbine is an important project for both Group NIRE and Texas Tech University System as we recruit more companies like Gamesa to our energy asset testing and certification facility.  This is the beginning of a long-term relationship with Gamesa and we welcome them to West Texas,” said Group NIRE’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Harral.

The turbine will be used for validation testing, certification testing and future R&D projects. Testing will include safety and functional tests, load measurements, and power curve measurements among others.  Slated for completion in 2014, Type Certification, a widely accepted industry certificate that is offered to signify a quality product, will soon become the  model for doing business  in this  sector.

GE reports 3.9 GW of U.S. orders since early 2013
GE’s renewable energy business announced a cumulative 3.9 GW of firm and unconditional wind turbine supply orders in the United States since January 1, 2013, the date of the Production Tax Credit extension. Of these orders, 1.1 GW of GE technology was placed into service in 2013. The remaining 2.8 GW will be commissioned or begin construction by the end of 2015.

In May 2013, GE announced it had 1 GW of orders in the U.S. since the January 1, 2013, PTC extension ruling. On May 6, GE announced that since January 1, 2013, the number of orders contracted has increased to 3.9 GW.

“We feel confident that, with our strong backlog of orders, we are strongly positioned for 2014 and 2015,” said Anne McEntee, president and CEO of GE’s renewable energy business. “As we continue to expand our brilliant wind product line, our customers are seeing efficiencies and capabilities greater than ever before in the wind industry. Through these advancements in technology, combined with strong execution and operations expertise, GE is continuing our commitment to our customers’ success and investment in the future of renewable energy.”

GE adds plant-level wind management tools to “brilliant” platform
On May 6, GE’s renewable energy business announced the expansion of its “brilliant” wind platform to include plant-level wind management software applications to improve overall wind farm output. Using the power of the Industrial Internet and turbine-to-turbine communications capabilities, GE’s new software allows the turbines within a wind farm to act as a cohesive unit, rather than individual assets. Wind plant wake management, from GE Predictivity™, is the first farm-level management application launched by GE and enables customers to recapture lost power output from waking effects.

When capturing wind, turbines create a wake that impacts the volume and condition of the wind reaching turbines sited behind. With the wind farm wake management application, turbines balance performance and loads throughout the entire wind farm. In turn, wind farms can achieve greater power output as an overall plant, and customers can expect to see 5-10 percent reduced wake losses and improved mechanical loads due to lower wake turbulence. This translates to up to 8 percent more profit for the wind plant.

GE successfully proves blade extension technology
GE’s renewable energy business has announced a technology demonstration of a 7-meter blade extension, taking GE wind turbines from a 77-meter rotor to a 91-meter rotor. The extension increases the swept area of the rotor by 40 percent and increases the energy production by more than 20 percent. There are currently two prototypes that have been in operation for 10 months, which were completed with Noble Environmental Power at Noble’s Clinton Wind Park in Clinton, New York. The technology upgrades GE 1.5-77 turbines to GE 1.5-91 turbines utilizing the entire existing blade asset. The program was developed by GE to help customers achieve significant increase in power output on their existing fleet while maintaining existing product life and acoustics. Throughout the development of the extensions, the GE team filed more than 16 patent applications and developed custom tooling for the extension installation. “The blade extension program for GE is a great example of the magnitude of technology advancements GE is capable of developing,” said Mark Johnson, engineering leader for GE’s renewable energy business. “At GE, we take big swings to help our customers reach their goals and operate more successfully. Achieving production gains of more than 20 percent for existing units is a challenging task, and with GE’s expertise in engineering aerodynamics, material science, structural engineering and controls, we continue to be able to help our customers operate more profitably and efficiently.”

Wind PowerUp* now operating on 1,000 GE turbines worldwide
GE’s renewable energy business announces that its Wind PowerUp* platform has secured more than 1,000 units under contract to date. PowerUp, a GE Predictivity™ solution, is a customized software-enabled platform that allows wind farm operators to increase annual energy production (AEP) on their turbines by up to 5 percent, taking into account environmental conditions. A 5 percent increase in energy output translates to up to a 20 percent increase in profit per turbine.

The more than 1,000 wind turbines with PowerUp translate to a potential 194 gigawatt hours of additional energy per year. Leading industry power producers such as E.ON and EDPR are some of the first to adopt the PowerUp platform and see improvements to the bottom line across their fleets.

Omega chooses GE’s newest turbine for 70-megawatt order in Brazil
GE introduced the latest in its line of brilliant wind turbines with the 2.2-107 and announced an order of 32 turbines from Omega Energia in the Piaui region of Brazil. This is the first order for GE’s 2.2-107 wind turbine, which was selected by Omega Energia in the A-5 Brazil energy auction on December 13, 2013.

The 2.2-107 machine is the latest in GE’s line of brilliant wind turbines, which harness the power of the Industrial Internet to analyze tens of thousands of data points every second, helping to manage wind’s variability and provide smooth, predictable power. The turbine is an evolution of GE’s 1.5-megawatt series of turbines and is well suited for Brazil’s wind regime. As part of the contract, GE will provide the operations and maintenance on the 32 turbines for 10 years.

ABB touts grid connection breakthroughs at AWEA Windpower 2014
ABB, a power technology solutions provider for the wind industry, promoted a series of new grid interconnection technology applications for wind farms from the show floor at the annual AWEA Windpower 2014 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Building off a very interactive, half-day, pre-show technical training session on May 5 entitled, “Wind Farm Best Practices: The latest developments in grid connected technologies,” in conjunction with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), ABB had “Smart Squad” experts in the booth to showcase an array of new technologies centered around better grid connections—managing reactive power to meet grid codes, as well as the latest breakthroughs in Statcom, microgrids and energy storage. ABB will also offer a full line of low voltage drives, switchgear, transformers and wind turbine converter solutions for wind farms of all sizes, as well as the Ventyx Energy Portfolio Management (EPM) solution for accurately forecasting wind patterns and collecting data.

Another advanced wind automation application ABB is launching is known as Symphony Plus for Wind®, a new SCADA offering designed for effective monitoring and control of fleets for wind plants. Symphony Plus is a robust automation system that is already implemented within a large number of thermal and hydro power plants, but is now available to meet the growing demand in the wind industry. In addition to real time monitoring and control, this solution includes unique features such as condition monitoring of assets and optimal dispatching of plants using a scalable SCADA solution; a single “pane of glass” for operations and maintenance of turbines and substation equipment; and central control room capabilities. This solution is supported both globally and locally for software updates and added functionality.

ABB microgrids to stabilize power grid, increase renewables for Alaska island
Also at WINDPOWER 2014, ABB announced it has received an order to deliver two PowerStore units as part of a microgrids solution to stabilize the power grid and increase renewable energy on Kodiak Island in Alaska.

ABB’s Microgrids Business in Raleigh, NC, worked closely with Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) to develop and deliver the microgrid solution. KEA, a rural electric cooperative which generates and distributes electrical power in Kodiak, Alaska, uses hydro, wind, battery energy storage, and diesel generation sets to produce power for the island.

The ABB PowerStore units will provide voltage and frequency support for a new crane to be installed at Kodiak Island’s port facility. They can also extend the life of the battery systems by up to 6 years, and provide renewables integration by helping to manage the intermittencies from a 9 MW wind farm on the island. Longer battery life will improve sustainability of KEA’s power system.

DWEA and AWEA enter formal partnership
The Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) has announced that it has entered into a formal partnership with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) that will enable the organizations to strengthen their representation of the small and community wind industry here in the United States. The two associations will collaborate on building the distributed and community wind markets nationally, as well as coordinating on federal and state policy initiatives.

Community wind is characterized by local participation, usually in the form of ownership and control. Individual landowners have a personal stake in the success of this industry and are looking for ways to maximize the value of wind for their communities. Local communities, including agricultural and rural economic development interests, can help build the industry’s success in their backyards. A variety of business models and applications have emerged in this growing form of wind energy development.

Applications can be "behind the meter" (providing electricity directly to the home /business/school), or mini-wind farms selling power to the local utility. Community wind projects usually range in size from less than 1 megawatt (MW) to 20 MW, and are sometimes larger. Wind projects owned by public power entities (cooperatives and municipalities) are considered community wind, as they are owned by the local electricity customers.

“This partnership will serve to strengthen our relationship with DWEA while better serving our collective members through efficiencies and communication,” said Tom Kiernan, AWEA CEO.

 “We are pleased to partner with AWEA on their distributed and community wind work,” said DWEA Executive Director Jennifer Jenkins. “We look forward to fostering a collaborative network of community and distributed wind members and continuing to build and expand this growing industry together.”

By joining forces, AWEA and DWEA will be able to more effectively secure and allocate resources to support the growing community wind energy market. As members of both DWEA and AWEA, distributed and community wind companies, will have even greater opportunity to take advantage of targeted publications, reports, policy initiatives and networking opportunities offered by both organizations.

Siemens, Pattern sign 10-year service contracts for North America
Underscoring growing customer confidence in the valuable benefits Siemens Energy can provide with its flexible, longer term wind service agreements, the company has been awarded 10-year wind service agreements encompassing over 400 onshore wind turbines in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The customer is Pattern Energy Group Inc., based in San Francisco, California. Combined, the scope of these long-term contracts represents one of Siemens’ largest agreements with a single customer in North America.

As part of a multi-project service agreement signed in 2014, Siemens wind service will provide an additional decade of service and maintenance for 400 wind turbines across six Pattern Energy projects in North America. The Santa Isabel Wind project in Puerto Rico has 44 SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines.

Pattern Energy is a leading independent power company with a portfolio of 10 wind power projects in the United States, Canada and Chile.

“This is an important milestone in the continued maturation of the wind industry in North America,” said Tim Holt, CEO of Service Renewables, a business unit of the Siemens Energy Service Division. “As more and more wind energy is placed into service, our commitment is to provide long-term added value to customers like Pattern Energy in order to help them realize favorable performance throughout the turbines’ lifecycle.”

“As an industry leader with vast experience, Siemens brings long-term reliability and technology enhancements to our wind projects, ensuring improved performance and lower operating cost risks from each and every turbine,” said Mike Garland, President and CEO of Pattern Energy.

Helping Pattern Energy obtain continued reliability, availability and performance of the turbines, Siemens will provide the long-term service and maintenance, as well as technology updates, for six Pattern Energy wind projects located in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico with a combined output of over 930 megawatts (MW).

The current operating projects included in the new service agreements are Pattern Energy’s St. Joseph Wind project in southern Manitoba with 60 SWT 2.3-101 wind turbines (138 MW); Spring Valley Wind in eastern Nevada with 66 SWT-2.3-101 wind turbines (152 MW); Ocotillo Wind in Southern California with 112 SWT-2.3s-108 units (265 MW); Hatchet Ridge Wind in Northern California with 44 SWT-2.3-93 wind turbines (101 MW); and Santa Isabel in Puerto Rico with 44 SWT-2.3-108 units (101 MW).

Siemens receives turbine and service order for largest wind farm in Ontario, Canada
Today, Siemens Energy announced a major wind turbine and service order in Canada at WINDPOWER 2014 in Las Vegas. Along with the South Kent Wind Farm in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, the 270-MW K2 Wind Ontario (K2 Wind) Project will be among the largest wind power plants in Canada. It is located in Goderich in southwestern Ontario and will feature 140 units of the Siemens SWT-2.3-101 wind turbines. The project owners are Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. (Samsung), Capital Power LP and Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Development). The transaction includes a long-term service and maintenance agreement, ensuring the reliability, availability and performance of the turbines.

K2 Wind will generate clean power for 100,000 Ontario homes with commercial operation expected in mid-2015. The blades for the project will be manufactured at the Siemens blade facility in Tillsonburg, Ontario. Towers for the project will also be produced locally in Canada. The nacelles will be assembled at Siemens' U.S. factory in Hutchinson, Kansas.

"Canada is one of the most important wind markets in the Americas," says Mark Albenze, CEO of Siemens Energy's Wind Power Onshore Americas business. "We are proud to once again collaborate with the leading players in this market to bring renewable, clean and reliable energy to the homes and businesses of Canadian residents."

"This is an important announcement for Siemens, their partners and the local communities that will greatly impact Ontario's economy while demonstrating the province's commitment to clean energy," underlines the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Energy.

Siemens receives Iowa wind turbine and service order
With another order announcement in the U.S., Siemens Energy continues its success in the Americas wind market. The Carroll wind power plant will be located in western Iowa near the city of Carroll, and will consist of nine 2.3-MW geared wind turbines. The customer is Carroll Area Wind Farm LLC, a company of NJR Clean Energy Ventures. Installation of the Siemens SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines is scheduled to begin in October, and commissioning is expected in early 2015.

The Carroll wind power plant will consist of nine SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines. The SWT-2.3-108 turbine features enhanced reliability and productivity in low to moderate wind speeds. With 108-meter rotors, the turbines provide optimized power output for the site-specific wind conditions in western Iowa. The contract also includes a service and maintenance agreement. Siemens will produce the major wind turbine components at Siemens' production facilities in the U.S.

"We look forward to working with NJR Clean Energy Ventures on this project in Iowa," says Mark Albenze, CEO of Siemens Energy's Wind Power Onshore Americas business. "All of the blades will be manufactured at our nearby Fort Madison, Iowa, facility, and all nacelles and hubs for this project will be assembled at our factory in Hutchinson, Kansas. This order is further evidence that the federal production tax credit continues to boost new economic investment in the U.S. and encourages development of proven renewable energy projects."

Wind power and energy service are part of Siemens' Environmental Portfolio. Around 43 percent of its total revenue stems from green products and solutions. That makes Siemens one of the world's leading providers of eco-friendly technology.

In addition to the projects currently in operation, Siemens has also signed a 10-year service agreement for the Panhandle 2 wind project in Texas with 79 SWT-2.3-108 turbines (182 MW), which Pattern Energy has agreed to acquire when the project reaches operation later this year.

Gamesa secures 144 MW supply contract in Brazil
Gamesa, a global technology leader in wind energy, continues to consolidate its presence in Brazil, where it is one of the leading wind turbine manufacturers, having just signed a new contract for the supply of 144 MW of its turbines to Eolicas do Sul, a subsidiary of the Río Bravo Investimentos y Eletrosul investment fund (in turn a subsidiary of Brazil's national power company, Eletrobras). With this new agreement, since the beginning of its operations in Brazil, the company has signed firm orders for the supply of more than 1.400 MW of its turbines to projects being built in the country's windiest regions.

Under the terms of the contract, Gamesa will supply, transport, install and commission 72 G97-2.0 MW turbines at six wind farms in the Chui complex being developed in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. The company will also perform the required civil engineering work and provide the facility's operation and maintenance (O&M) services for a period of 15 years.

The wind turbines, which will be made at Gamesa's local Camaçari factory, are scheduled for delivery during the third quarter of 2014, while the facility is expected to be commissioned during the first quarter of 2015.  

This is the second agreement between Gamesa and Eolicas do Sul, in the wake of the contract executed at the end of 2012 for the supply of 258 MW of turbines to 10 wind farms in Brazil.