Fishermen’s Loses Federal Funding
Citing the developer’s failure to secure a power purchase agreement (PPA) by Dec. 31, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is reportedly cutting funding from Fishermen’s Energy’s long-embattled offshore wind farm off the coast of New Jersey.
According to the Associated Press (AP), the agency said it has “initiated the close-out process for the project,” a 25 MW demonstration wind farm proposed approximately three miles off the coast of Atlantic City.
The AP says the DOE is withdrawing roughly $47 million of federal funding, which was given back in 2014. A portion of the grant – nearly $11 million – has already been used for the wind farm’s development.
Fishermen’s Energy did not immediately respond to request for comments; however, Chris Wissemann, the developer’s CEO, told the AP that it will continue to seek a PPA and continue on without the DOE funding.
If Fishermen’s doesn’t secure the power purchase deal, it plans to move the project forward at a later date – specifically, once “friendlier policies toward wind energy development” are in place in the state (e.g., when Gov. Chris Christie leaves office), the report says.
Gamesa Seals The Deal On Adwen Stake
Areva’s stake in Adwen – Gamesa and Areva’s 50/50 offshore wind joint venture – has officially been sold to Gamesa.
Thus, Gamesa has now taken over Areva’s offshore wind power business. The sale is part of the transformation plan Areva is undertaking to refocus its business on nuclear fuel cycle activities.
Adwen will retain its commitments made as part of the tender process for offshore wind farms in France.
In June 2016, Siemens and Gamesa signed binding agreements to combine their respective businesses. In turn, Gamesa – in alignment with Siemens – granted Areva a put option for Areva’s 50% stake and a call option for Gamesa’s 50% stake in Adwen. Several other turbine manufacturers expressed an interest in buying the business, but in the end, it went to Gamesa for $67.5 million.
Nova Scotia Turbine Collapses
Nova Scotia Power (NSP) is investigating the collapse of a wind turbine in Grand Etang, Nova Scotia, on Jan. 4.
The 660 kW Vestas turbine, owned and operated by NSP, was built in 2002 and was one of the first wind installations in the province, according to NSP, which adds that this particular turbine model is not used at any other site in Nova Scotia.
According to a report from The Weather Network, which offers footage of the collapsed turbine, the “famously strong” winds in the Cape Breton area could be to blame for the accident. All that remains standing is one-half of the turbine’s tower; the rest – including the nacelle, blades and other portions of the tower – is on the ground.
The area, which was under a wind warning that day, is situated in a part of Nova Scotia “often buffeted by strong Les Suêtes winds,” which can be calculated at up to 160 km/h (nearly 100 mph) – as high as those in a category 3 hurricane, The Weather Network says.
NSP notes that nobody was injured during the incident. The company plans to continue conducting a “detailed investigation.”
RES, Southern Power In U.S. Wind Deal
Renewable Energy Systems (RES) has announced a joint development agreement with Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co., to develop and construct approximately 3 GW of wind power across 10 projects in the U.S.
The companies expect the projects – to be situated in various regions of the country – to achieve commercial operations between 2018 and 2020.
RES says the agreement structure is a new approach for the company, which has previously engaged in development partnerships on a very limited basis. However, RES says the rapid growth of wind development across the Americas has presented new opportunities to pursue these types of relationships. The company notes that the new partnership may even provide a model for RES’ future collaborations.
RES will serve as the lead developer and balance-of-plant constructor for the projects. Southern Power has signed agreements to purchase wind turbine equipment from both Siemens and Vestas.
Just recently, Southern Power touted a milestone of more than 1 GW of owned wind power.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce served as financial advisor to RES for the transaction.
NYPA Finishes Jericho Rise Substation Work
The New York Power Authority (NYPA), the nation’s largest state public power organization, says it has completed work at a Franklin County substation that will help send 77.7 MW of renewable energy from the Jericho Rise Wind Farm to the New York power grid.
The wind farm, located in the towns of Chateaugay and Belmont, is owned by EDP Renewables North America. The NYPA energized the equipment, including 37 wind turbine generators, and placed the project into commercial operation in December 2016 after it was linked to the Willis substation in Chateaugay.
“There’s a significant amount of effort and coordination that goes into connecting these wind farms into our transmission system – from planning, all the way through to construction oversight, testing and commissioning,” says Gil C. Quiniones, the NYPA’s president and CEO. “NYPA is always looking to support the growth of renewable generation in New York state and find new and innovative ways to support the efforts of renewable energy developers.”
According to the power authority, the Jericho Rise Wind Farm is the sixth wind farm in northern New York that the NYPA has connected to its statewide transmission system. As reported, the effort is helping to bring more renewable energy to customers in the New York City area, where the majority of the state’s power is consumed.
Further, the wind farm also supports Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, which requires that 50% of all electricity used in New York come from renewable sources by 2030. It is also consistent with the governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy to build an energy system in New York that is cleaner, more resilient and affordable, as increasing access to renewables and other distributed energy resources is a major component of the REV initiative.
Southern Power Passes 1 GW Of Installed Capacity
Southern Power, a subsidiary of U.S. energy giant Southern Co., has acquired two wind farms in Texas from EDF Renewable Energy: the 174 MW Salt Fork Wind Facility and the 126 MW Tyler Bluff Wind Facility.
With these acquisitions, Southern Power says it now owns more than 1 GW of wind power. In addition, the energy provider now has more than 3 GW of renewable generation across 35 solar, wind and biomass facilities that are operational or under construction.
The Salt Fork Wind Facility, located in Donley and Gray counties, comprises 87 Vestas turbines. The electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the facility will be sold under separate, long-term contracts. The City of Garland, Texas, has signed a 14-year power purchase agreement for 150 MW, and Salesforce has signed a 12-year agreement for 24 MW.
The Tyler Bluff Wind Facility, located in Cooke County, consists of 52 Siemens wind turbines. The majority of the facility’s output is covered by an agreement with Procter & Gamble, which is offsetting 100% of its electricity needs for all of its North America-based fabric and home care plants. Southern Power will have the option to keep or sell the remaining RECs.
EDF Renewable Energy managed the development and construction of the facilities, which achieved commercial operations in December 2016. EDF Renewable Services, the operations and maintenance subsidiary of EDF Renewable Energy, will provide balance-of-plant services.
Corporations Surge Toward Buying Wind
As more and more Fortune 500 companies emerge as major customers of U.S. clean energy, a new report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is revealing exactly what, where and how they are buying renewable power.
Over the last four years, says AWEA, Fortune 500 companies have awakened to the potential of purchasing renewable energy. Recently, major corporate renewables announcements have flooded in: For example, Google announced it will run entirely on renewable energy this year; moreover, 95% of that will come from wind.
In addition, General Motors will use wind to power a Texas factory that makes 1,200 SUVs per day, such as the Tahoe and Escalade. Also, in 2016, Mars Inc., aiming to eliminate all fossil fuel use from its operations by 2040, opened a Texas wind farm, which now generates the equivalent of 100% of the electricity needed to power the company’s U.S. operations.
“In recent years, Fortune 500 companies have led an intense search for the best ways to buy more clean energy,” states Tom Kiernan, AWEA’s CEO. “And when big-name brands buy clean energy, they overwhelmingly choose wind because of our reliable, low cost. Survey after survey shows Americans want more wind, and we want them to know brands behind the well-known products they buy – Amazon, General Motors, Google, Walmart and many more – are already wind-powered.”
AWEA’s new report, “Evolution of the Corporate Wind PPA: Market Insights,” looks behind the recent headlines. The report shows how America’s big brands are powering their businesses with wind and, in turn, publishing never-before-collected details on corporate power purchase agreements (PPA).
Specifically, AWEA researchers surveyed 23 companies that have signed PPAs to power their businesses.
“Wind power is the energy source of choice among these companies by a factor of six to one,” notes Hannah Hunt, lead author of the report and senior analyst for AWEA.
According to AWEA’s report, companies have procured approximately 5,000 MW of wind through PPAs (out of a total of 6,002 MW purchased from specific wind projects). The remaining 1,002 MW were acquired through direct ownership or by other means.
In total, through PPAs and other methods, corporate customers have acquired 6,002 MW of wind and around 1,000 MW of solar through November 2016, the report adds.
“Members of the Fortune 500 know how to get results, and they have applied that mentality to clean energy,” adds Hunt. “We now know how and where they have gone about buying 5,000 MW of wind power through PPAs.
“The bulk of wind projects built to serve the Fortune 500 are located from Texas, up through the rural heartland and across the Rust Belt,” she says. “That’s where some of the best wind resources are. It also happens to be part of the country hurting for jobs and private investment.
“When these companies invest in a wind farm, they invest in a community. For example, when Iron Mountain brought a data center to southern Pennsylvania, they also invested in a wind farm in the state – that’s two multimillion-dollar boosts into the Rust Belt economy where previously there was one.”
Generally speaking, AWEA points out, companies need a lot of energy to power their retail stores, manufacturing facilities and data centers. Roughly 80% of wind capacity purchased by corporate customers is located in the same electricity market where at least some of the companies’ demand comes from, according to the report.
In addition, AWEA’s research finds that many corporate customers are moving from traditional PPAs, through which energy is delivered directly along power lines, to virtual PPAs, which are financial transactions.
In turn, AWEA says, this flexibility allows companies to invest in wind and other clean energy projects in parts of the country where they wouldn’t have been able to do so before due to regulatory limits.
N.Y. Offshore Wind Auction Breaks Records
An auction for the rights to develop a wind farm in federal waters off Long Island, N.Y., shattered records Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. After 33 rounds and more than a day of bidding, Statoil, with a bid of nearly $42.5 million, emerged victorious.
The auction was held by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Bidding by six initial parties was halted for the day on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and resumed on Friday at 8:30 a.m. The final bid of $42,469,725 was placed by Statoil Wind US LLC for the rights to develop an area of nearly 80,000 acres, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the whopping $42.5 million bid totals more than double the amount paid for all of BOEM’s 11 previous wind auctions combined.
Statoil says the lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than 1 GW of offshore wind; phased development is expected to start with 400 MW to 600 MW. The New York Wind Energy Area, located 14 miles-30 miles offshore, spans 79,350 acres and covers water depths of 65 feet-131 feet (20 meters-40 meters).
The DOI adds that the lease area consists of five full Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 143 sub-blocks.
According to the DOI, other participants in the auction included Avangrid Renewables LLC, DONG Energy Wind Power (U.S.) Inc., Innogy US Renewable Projects LLC, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and wpd offshore Alpha LLC.
Before the lease is executed, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission will conduct an anti-competitiveness review of the auction. The provisional winner will then be required to pay the winning bid and provide financial assurance to BOEM.
The lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which the lessee may submit a site assessment plan (SAP) to BOEM for approval. The SAP will describe the facilities (e.g., meteorological towers or buoys) a lessee plans to install or deploy for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease area.
Following approval of a SAP, the lessee will then have four-and-a-half years to submit a construction and operations plan (COP) to BOEM for approval. This plan will provide a detailed proposal for the construction and operation of a wind energy project within the lease area, says the DOI.
Once BOEM receives a COP, it will conduct an environmental review of the proposed project and reasonable alternatives. The DOI says public input will be an important part of BOEM’s review process. If BOEM approves the COP, the lessee will then have a term of 25 years to construct and operate the project. w