Related Posts for wind

By Ted Land | Channel 2 News: Alaska is about to get a boost of wind power. Project planners in both Kodiak and Anchorage are preparing for a busy summer of wind turbine construction.

On a breezy day, the community of Kodiak gets just under 10% of its power from three turbines atop Pillar Mountain, which rises high above downtown. The Kodiak Electric Association says the project has proven that wind energy is a reliable way to power homes and businesses on the island and so come September, if all goes as planned, there’ll be three more turbines churning in the sea air.

“In the first 2 and a half years of operation, (the project) saved the community about $5 million, so this will just continue that trend,” said Darron Scott, KEA president and CEO.

The turbines in Kodiak are quite similar to what people in Anchorage will soon see out on Fire Island. Anchorage’s 11 wind turbines are currently sitting at the port, while crews finish ground work.

Perhaps you’ve noticed changes along Raspberry Rd. into Kincaid Park. Workers have been clearing trees, getting ready to bury a transmission cable which will carry electricity into town.

“We’ll be going back and we’ll be fixing up the ground, we’ll be re-seeding it for grass to grow and all that work should be completed by the end of June,” said Suzanne Gibson, Senior Director of Energy Projects at CIRI, the native corporation which is in charge of the project. Read more

By Alex Demarban at Alaska Dispatch: Alaska’s alternative energy revolution will take a new twist this summer when 15 turbines spin to life over a trio of Southwest Alaska villages, in one of the most notable wind projects ever to reach the Bush.

Like so much heavy equipment in Southwest Alaska, the turbines are old-school hand-me-downs imported from the Lower 48 — in this case, the California desert. They seem small and stodgy by today’s standards, resembling Kansas farm ornaments with four-legged bases and lattice-work sides. But at 12-stories tall, they’ll tower over tiny Kwigillingok, Kongiganak and Tuntutuliak, home to about 1,200 residents total.

They’re a perfect fit for the small communities, experts said. And refurbished though they are, the turbines are part of a decidedly high-tech project that includes online meters residents can use to monitor electric use from home computers and electric heaters that automatically fire up when extra wind blows.

People are ready for relief from high costs in the Yup’ik villages near the Kuskokwim River mouth, where the diesel fuel that provides power and heat is barged up the coast at great expense, said William Igkurak, longtime manager of the local power company.

In Igkurak’s home village of Kwigillingok, the smallest of the three villages with 350 residents, hunters fill freezers with seal and fish because living there is pricey. To top it off, annual incomes average $10,000 a person — about one-fifth of Anchorage’s average wage — for those lucky enough to work.

Over the decades, Igkurak had grown tired of seeing heat and power swipe up to two-thirds of a family’s money during the coldest months. So he and other villagers formed the Chaninik Wind Group in 2005 to tap into alternative energy.

“We wanted to be reliant on ourselves, not someone else,” he said. “We wanted to build human capacity and train our people. Too many workers come from outside, get paid and take their money away. I’m trying to reverse that effect.”
State fuels a renewable boom

Key to the $10 million project has been Alaska’s renewable energy program, which provided about half the funding; another state program provided most of the rest. Launched in 2008 when oil prices spiked, the state’s renewable energy effort has provided almost $175 million to study 227 potential projects statewide. Of those, 84 were completed or are in development.

The projects will save utilities and other organizations about $35 million annually once they’re all online in two years, said Peter Crimp, head of the state’s renewable energy program. Some already provide energy.

In Juneau, the airport now uses underground warmth to heat the terminal and melt sidewalks. Wood-fired boilers heat the school in Tok and reduce fire hazards by using wood thinned from the forest. The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward heats its building with special pumps that grab warmth from Resurrection Bay seawater.

Those new projects join old ones like the dams and other hydroelectric facilities built in the 1980s during another state-funded boom sparked by skyrocketing oil prices. When oil prices crashed and electric bills fell, skeptics thought Alaska had tossed away millions, Crimp said.

But oil rebounded higher while the costs of the hydroelectric projects remained stable. “People thought, ‘Oh boy, that was a mistake,’” Crimp said. “Now here we are at $120 a barrel and things are looking just great.” Read more

By Kirsten Korosec | SmartPlanet— Alaska utility Kodiak Electric Association has aspirations to double the capacity of its wind farm project, which already provides nearly 10 percent of its power. To do that, KEA has to somehow bring stability to this sporadic source of power. Its answer: a battery farm.

Xtreme Power announced Tuesday an agreement with KEA to install a 3 megawatt battery storage and management system onto the Pillar Mountain Wind Project.  The 4.5 MW wind farm was completed in 2009. The rural utility decided last year to expand Pillar Mountain in an effort to wean itself off diesel-powered generation. But the intermittent nature of wind power on this scale can create grid instability issues, the electric cooperative noted in a release today. Ultimately, the electric cooperative wants 95 percent of its electricity to be generated by renewable energy by 2020.

Xtreme Power’s battery storage system, which has management software designed to control use and smooth out power fluctuations on the grid, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012. Read more

Alaska Dispatch– Three vessels from Tianchang, China, docked at the Port of Anchorage this week, the first visible step expected to lead to wind turbines on Fire Island contributing to Anchorage’s power grid.

For now, the wind turbines and related equipment will be stored at the port until all the ice is gone. Then a landing craft or barge will haul the equipment to Fire Island, where construction will get underway this summer. A company named Tetra Tech was the successful bidder to deliver 11 windmills for the Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) Fire Island Wind Project. The venture is the state’s first major power project owned by an independent power producer. Chugach Electric Association, Alaska’s largest electric utility, will buy the power.

Once construction of the turbines and undersea transmission lines are finished, the wind farm is expected to begin supplying power late this year. The Fire Island project is envisioned to eventually consist of 33 wind turbines able to generate 144,000 megawatts of electricity each year – estimated to be enough to supply 17,000 households. Read more

By Richard M. Rosenblum, President and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Company | RenewableEnergyWorld:  Hawaii is one of the world’s premier travel destinations. However, if visitors look beyond the views of Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, palm trees and the blue Pacific, they’ll see a renewable energy transformation under way that could be a model for others around the world.

Imported fossil fuel, mostly oil, supplies 90 percent of Hawaii’s energy for transportation and electricity – the highest in the United States. Skyrocketing and volatile oil prices have impacted the cost of electricity. Clearly, Hawaii’s dependence on oil, which powered these islands for nearly a century, is unsustainable.

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) is part of a broad public-private partnership to develop a clean energy future for these islands. Our partners include Hawaii’s people, the state and federal governments and the business and academic communities. Virtually everyone in Hawaii has a stake in our efforts and a voice in our course forward. The goal: reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imported fossil fuel, lower and stabilize electricity bills for our customers, and protect our environment.

Whether it’s using “green” biofuels to produce power, leading the drive to adopt electric vehicles, drilling for more geothermal energy, integrating more solar and wind power, or testing the latest smart-grid advances, HECO and its subsidiaries are developing a broad portfolio of solutions to create a clean energy future for Hawaii.

What makes this more than a local “good news” story is that Hawaii is a perfect laboratory for developing new renewable energy technologies and the grid modernization needed to make them all work together.

Although it may not yet be apparent to everyone, our portfolio of renewables is growing. In 2010, the Solar Electric Power Association ranked HECO third in the United States for growth in solar power. Hawaii has more solar watts per customer than all but a few U.S. states. Read more

CRN TechCurve: Electric generation from renewables like wind and solar is making dramatic inroads in many areas of the United States, with some utilities reporting penetration levels of 30 percent or higher on individual feeders. But as these variable power sources continue to expand their presence on the nation’s electric grids, power companies are seeking new and better ways to address the challenges of system integration and stability.

As is often the case with grid innovations, electric cooperatives in Alaska are ahead of the curve. Kotzebue Electric Association (KEA), a 1,200-member system located 30 miles above the Arctic Circle, has been steadily adding wind turbines to their power mix over the past decade. They currently generate 1.1 MW, or more than 40 percent peaking load, from wind. The remainder is covered by diesel generators. This spring, they’ll take their power mix to another level by adding two 900-kW turbines which will give the co-op 2.9 MW of wind power, more than 100 percent of average load. But, KEA still faces the challenge of harnessing the energy from this intermittent generation source. As part of the solution, KEA has taken a ground-breaking step: the installation of a TransFlow 2000, a huge zinc-bromide flow battery system that will allow the co-op to better balance its wind and diesel generation. Read more

By Lauren Maxwell of KTVA: Work on the Fire Island Wind Project may have slowed down for winter, but that’s only on the island.

On the mainland, crews are busy laying electrical transmission lines and most of the work is being done at a local dog park.

Connor’s Bog Dog Park, off Jewel Lake road, is well loved and well used. So when signs started popping up last fall that the Fire Island Wind Project was coming through, it had some people concerned.

“It was self-explanatory, “ said a regular dog walker. “They were going to make a big mess.“

Work has been progressing steadily through the winter, and “mess” may be in the eye of the beholder. In the past two weeks, heavy steel pilings were pounded into the ground.

This week crews began erecting 28 electrical poles. Read more

By Morgan Smith of the New York Times: BLACKWELL, Tex. — When people complain about the weather here, Abe Gott, the school superintendent, just smiles.  A visit to the campus of the school district of about 160 students shows why. Behind the 1930s-era facade of the Blackwell school 30 miles south of Sweetwater looms a distinctly 21st-century sight: a wind turbine.

Energy development capitalizing on the high winds in the area — which quickly turned sunshine to chill rain one afternoon in late October — has injected sluggish rural communities with new economic lifeblood. More than one local resident has called it the “windfall,” and it has bestowed hundreds of millions of dollars on West Texas schools.

By the 2018-19 school year, Mr. Gott’s district will have received about $35 million from a deal it brokered with a wind farm company in 2005. On the school grounds, $15 million from a combination of bond and wind farm revenue has paid for a new football stadium and academic complex attached to the original school building. About $28 million sits in a foundation earmarked for scholarships; graduates receive $3,000 for each year they have spent in the district, which they can put toward any type of professional advancement, from a beauty school certificate to a bachelor’s degree.

The influx of wealth has also enabled the district to buy an iPad for every student, starting in the seventh grade.

“What I wanted is, if you grew up in a town of 350 people in West Texas, that should not work against you,” Mr. Gott said. “We can send you to Harvard, we can send you to Baylor, we can send you to Texas Tech — we can send you anywhere because we have the pathway to get there.”

About 69 districts across Texas — mostly rural, tiny schools — continue to benefit from a now-extinct quirk in the state’s school finance law that has led to what some consider an embarrassment of riches. How they spend the money, however, could be a valuable experiment in innovation in public education. Read more

Richard Cockle of The Oregonian:  GRASS VALLEY — Every household in windswept Sherman County will soon get a Christmas gift in the mail: a $590 check.

The lonesome 831-square-mile county may lay to rest the adage about an “ill wind blowing nobody any good.” This is the third consecutive year that checks will go out for the people’s share of annual wind-energy revenues.

No other Oregon county makes similar payments and the $416,540 cash outlay may be unprecedented in the United States, says John Audley, spokesman for Renewable Northwest Project. His Portland-based coalition of companies and groups promotes renewable energy.

The checks are loosely modeled after dividend payments to Alaskans for oil gurgling through the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. The county also gives its four tiny towns — Wasco, Moro, Rufus and Grass Valley — annual checks of $100,000 each.

2011 wind payments

Wind companies will pay Sherman County about $9 million this year in wind turbine revenues in lieu of property taxes. The companies pay another $3.3 million to about 35 wheat farmers who have turbines on their land, an average of $6,000 per turbine.

The county will pay out $100,000 each to its four towns and $416,540 to residents ($590 to 706 households). That’s a drop from $426,570 last year, when 723 households received payments. Also, the county uses some of the money for capital improvements.

Roughly 550 wind turbines rearing 300-plus feet into the breezy high desert sky have brought dramatic changes here. Twelve wind farms are now on line, producing 1,000 megawatts of alternative energy — enough to power 100,000 homes — and providing the county government with $9 million annual revenues.

Under the county’s agreement with the wind companies, the payments will continue until 2025.

Officials in nearby counties sometimes express “shock that we are giving that much money to residents,” says Judge Gary Thompson, chairman of the county’s governing commissioners.

But the county leaders figured regular folks deserved a cut of the windfall for having to look at the gigantic structures — not just the 35 or so landowners who reap payments from the companies for allowing wind turbines on their wheat farms. The property owners receive an average of $6,000 a year per wind turbine — and some have up to 30 on their wheat farms.

“We felt if you are going to live with these wind turbines, people should benefit from them somehow,” Thompson says.

Read more

Matthew Ryan Williams of The New York Times: For decades, electric companies have swung into emergency mode when demand soars on blistering hot days, appealing to households to use less power. But with the rise of wind energy, utilities in the Pacific Northwest are sometimes dealing with the opposite: moments when there is too much electricity for the grid to soak up.

So in a novel pilot project, they have recruited consumers to draw in excess electricity when that happens, storing it in a basement water heater or a space heater outfitted by the utility. The effort is rooted in some brushes with danger.

In June 2010, for example, a violent storm in the Northwest caused a simultaneous surge in wind power and in traditional hydropower, creating an oversupply that threatened to overwhelm the grid and cause a blackout.

As a result, the Bonneville Power Administration, the wholesale supplier to a broad swath of the region, turned this year to a strategy common to regions with hot summers: adjusting volunteers’ home appliances by remote control to balance supply and demand.

When excess supply threatens Bonneville’s grid, an operator in a control room hundreds of miles away will now dial up a volunteer’s water heater, raising the thermostat by 60 more degrees. Ceramic bricks in a nearby electric space heater can be warmed to hundreds of degrees.

The devices then function as thermal batteries, capable of giving back the energy when it is needed. Microchips run both systems, ensuring that tap-water and room temperatures in the home hardly vary.

“It’s a little bit of that Big Brother control, almost,” said Theresa Rothweiler, a teacher’s aide in the Port Angeles, Wash., school system who nonetheless signed up for the program with her husband, Bruce, a teacher.

She said she had been intrigued by an ad that Bonneville placed in the local paper that asked consumers to help enable the grid to absorb more renewable energy, especially wind.

“We’re always looking at ways to save energy, or be more efficient or green, however you want to put it,” said Ms. Rothweiler, who worries about leaving the planet a livable place for her 21-year-old daughter, Gretchen. Bonneville paid for the special technology, which runs around $1,000 per home.

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