Report: Mid-Atlantic offshore wind industry would create 70,000 jobs, generate billions

RICHMOND, Va. — The large-scale development of wind power off the Mid-Atlantic coast would create more than 70,000 jobs from New York to Virginia, an industry-sponsored study concludes.

The study released Wednesday said those jobs would be created by a new industrial base needed to manufacture, build, operate and maintain the towering wind turbines, and an additional 40,000 jobs would be needed to serve the supply chain. The job growth would be realized over a 10-year build out of the offshore industry.

The study was conducted for the Atlantic Wind Connection and released during the American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference in Virginia Beach. It continues through Thursday.

“These findings highlight the unique opportunity our nation has for stimulating a brand new industry by developing this limitless, yet untapped, resource,” said Bob Mitchell, CEO of Atlantic Wind Connection.Backed by the Internet titan Google and other investors, the Atlantic Wind Connection is moving forward with the construction of a 380-mile power line that would enable up to 7,000 megawatts of electricity to be produced at offshore wind farms from Virginia to New Jersey.

The study’s economic projections are based on the development of 7,000 megawatts of wind power, or enough to power more than 2 million homes in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Besides the 110,000 jobs created directly by the industry and the supply chain, the study estimates that 50,000 jobs would be created by the effect of added economic activity — restaurants and groceries, for instance.

Large-scale wind development off the Atlantic coast would also have a combined economic impact for the states of $19 billion and increase local, state and federal government revenues by $4.6 billion, the study by information and analytics company IHS Inc. concluded.

Mitchell said the findings represent the “tip of the iceberg” of an industry that could have the potential of generating 330 gigawatts of electricity, exceeding the region’s current energy use. He cited a University of Delaware study that examined wind potential from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The study, of course, examines the potential for an industry that has little presence in the in the U.S.

No commercial wind power is produced in waters off the U.S., although a project off Cape Cod, Mass., could begin producing electricity in 2014. In Virginia, the industry is just beginning to stir with eight energy producers expressing interest in developing ocean bottom 25 miles off Virginia Beach. The state is seeking to survey the ocean bottom and collect surface data to move the industry forward.

Wind power advocates have said Virginia is uniquely positioned to nurture the industry because of the relatively shallow waters offshore and strong winds. It also has the coastal infrastructure — a shipbuilding industry and a deepwater port — to allow for building and delivering turbines.

Source: Washington Post

New Construction Methods Could Make Offshore Wind Turbines More Efficient

A Cambridge University engineer is urging the wind power industry to look at the designs for offshore wind turbines in an effort to increase their efficiency and decrease the amount of energy required to produce and install the massive towers at sea.

Jim Platts of the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge believes that the wind power sector could achieve much higher payback ratios if turbines were installed using guyed towers rather than the heavy free-standing towers currently in use.

“The development of the wind turbine industry, and the way in which it works with the civil engineers who make the heavy supporting towers and foundations, which are not visible out at sea once the turbines are installed, mean that we have ignored something which is almost embarrassingly obvious in our race to meet the targets set for renewable energy production,” said Platts.

“We urgently need to reduce the high levels of energy embedded in offshore wind turbines which make them both ineffective in energy payback and costly in financial terms. We can do this fairly easily if we invest in more innovative methods for making and installing the towers and foundations that support them.”

The effectiveness of a wind turbine is determined by one key figure: it’s harvesting ratio.

This ratio is a measure of the energy it provides compared to the amount of energy required to manufacture the tower.

Wind turbines comprise three main elements: the blades that harness the wind energy; the gearbox and generator mechanisms that produce the electricity; the tower that supports these moving parts; and the foundations that hold the tower in place. The tower is conventionally made of steel and the foundation in steel and concrete.

A turbine used on land will see two-thirds of the total energy invested to produce the tower embeeded in the moving parts, with the final third invested into the tower structure. Onshore turbines usually achieve a harvesting ratio of 40:1.

However, when you situate a turbine offshore, with the need for heavier towers and massive foundations, the harvesting ratio drops to 15:1. “When you look at offshore wind turbines you see a series of slim structures – what you don’t see are the far heavier supporting structures below the surface that they slot into,” said Platts.

“Steel is prone to corrosion and to fatigue,” Platts added. “This begs the question: could we do better with other materials. The answer is yes, we can use composites for towers just as we do for blades. They are lighter, stronger, corrosion free and more resilient than steel.”

A preliminary study conducted by the University Institute for Manufacturing suggests that guyed towers could offer significant advantages that conventional heavy towers lack. The use of steel cables fixed to the sea bed by screw anchors could result in significantly slimmer towers and less weighty foundations.

The study found that with the resulting reduction in steel and concrete, the harvesting ratio would increase to 25:1.

“The use of guyed towers is just the first step for the industry to take. The second step would be to make towers in composite materials which are less energy intensive to make than steel which relies on smelting and concrete that also depends on a chemical reduction process in manufacturing cement.  Composites also have a longer life than steel as they stand up to fatigue much better. Using these new materials could increase the harvesting ratio still further to 32:1 and extend the lifetime of a turbine installation from the present 20 years to up to 60 years,” said Platts.

“The Finnish wind turbine manufacturer Mervento has shown the way with a guyed turbine designed for use in the Baltic. Other producers – such as those making turbines for sites in the North Sea – need to take heed and invest in research into designs that take a similar approach to making the industry far more energy efficient and sustainable.”

Source: University of Cambridge
Image Source: Phil Hollman

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1liJr)

Urban Green Energy and GE Announce First Sanya Skypump Installation

BARCELONA, Spain–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Urban Green Energy (UGE) and GE (GE) have unveiled the world’s first integrated wind-powered electric vehicle charging station. The innovative Sanya Skypump pairs UGE’s cutting-edge vertical wind turbines with GE’s electric vehicle (EV) charging technology to offer completely clean energy to power electric vehicles.

Installed by UGE Iberia, the Spanish branch of New York-based Urban Green Energy, the first wind-powered EV charging station is located at Cespa’s global headquarters near Barcelona. Cespa is the environmental services subsidiary of Ferrovial Servicios, the world’s largest private transportation infrastructure investor.

More Sanya Skypumps will be installed later this year in the U.S. and Australia at shopping malls, universities and other locations.

The integrated system incorporates both the energy production capacity of UGE’s 4K wind turbine and the EV charging capability of the GE Durastation in a single unit, with all required electrical systems located within the tower.

Designed for commercial and government customers, the Sanya Skypump combines environmental benefits with a strong statement to customers and the public.

“Since launching the Sanya Skypump, we have received inquiries from companies around the world that are looking to embrace sustainability,” said Nick Blitterswyk, CEO of UGE. “The Sanya Skypump is one of those rare products that enable institutions to demonstrate their commitment to the environment while providing a really useful service as well.”

The Sanya Skypump delivers power through a GE DuraStation EV charger, which enables faster charging using higher voltages.

Charles Elazar, marketing director of GE Energy Management’s Industrial Solutions business in Europe, says, “GE is launching a family of electric vehicle charging systems in Europe offering domestic and commercial users a range of easy-to-use, flexible systems to help make electric vehicles a practical, everyday reality.”

GE is a keen supporter of electric vehicles and has announced plans to purchase 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015 for use as company cars and to lease to corporate customers through its Fleet Services business.

About Urban Green Energy

With installations in over 65 countries, including installations for several government agencies and Fortune 100 companies, UGE is changing the face of distributed renewable energy. UGE puts users in control of their energy source by designing and manufacturing more versatile wind turbines and hybrid wind/solar systems for use in applications ranging from residential to commercial, from suburban US homeowners to off-grid telecoms towers in rural Africa. Visitwww.urbangreenenergy.com today to learn how together we can create a greener tomorrow.

About GE

GE (GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ge.com.

GE Energy works connecting people and ideas everywhere to create advanced technologies for powering a cleaner, more productive world. With more than 100,000 employees in over 100 countries, our diverse portfolio of product and service solutions and deep industry expertise help our customers solve their challenges locally. We serve the energy sector with technologies in such areas as natural gas, oil, coal and nuclear energy; wind, solar, biogas and water processing; energy management; and grid modernization. We also offer integrated solutions to serve energy- and water-intensive industries such as mining, metals, marine, petrochemical, food & beverage and unconventional fuels.

Follow GE’s Industrial Solutions business on Twitter @GEindustrial and @GE_WattStation.

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SOURCE Yahoo

Walmart Reveals 1st Industrial On-Site Wind Turbine Project

The Red Bluff, California Walmart distribution center was revealed as its first on-site industrial sized wind turbine pilot project.

With a height of 265 feet tall, along with a diameter of 250 feet, the new GE 1.0 megawatt (MW) wind turbine will create close to 2,200,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) yearly, the statement said.

Foundation Windpower, as part of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Walmart, will manage, install and own the turbine. Meanwhile, Walmart will buy the power under the agreement.

It’s also expected the PPA will provide energy savings, along with a guaranteed price for the electricity created.

In the statement, Greg Pool, senior manager of renewable energy and emissions at Walmart, and project manager of the Red Bluff Installation, had this to say on the project:

“We are using every tool in the tool box as we work toward our goal to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy, and wind energy is an attractive technology for Walmart.”

“We found the perfect environment for an installation with the Red Bluff project – good wind conditions and open land that we own.  As a result, we expect to reduce our energy costs from the day we flip the on switch. Should the technology at Red Bluff prove successful, Walmart will evaluate the potential for large-scale turbine installations at other distribution center sites in the United States.”

The on-site wind turbine at Walmart’s distribution centre is just some of the sustainable development initiatives the large corporation has spearheaded lately in its drive to push renewable energy use. Some other projects include the recent 100th solar installation in California, 348 Mexican Walmart stores being supplied by wind power, and 26 fuel cell sites in California providing local energy to Sam’s club and Walmart stores.

Source: Stockhouse.com
Image Credit: Red Bluff, California Turbine via The Walmart Greenroom 

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1kjqr)

SUNY Cantun Campus to Get its Own Wind Energy Turbine

The Cantun Campus of State University of New York (SUNY) is all set to get a wind power turbine of its own. The ambitious project would provide about one-third of the total electricity demand of the entire campus. In this regard, the New York Power Authority has given $6.6 million to Northland Associates of Syracuse to study, design, and possibly construct a campus wind turbine.

The project will consist of a single wind turbine of possibly 2.8 MW. The University has a four-year course in renewable energy and the project would be a great opportunity for the students to have an on-field experience of designing, implementing, and operating a wind energy project.

“These students would be able to have a very strong academic component built into the project, to be able to see live data and analyze the outputs from the turbine. It would be a wonderful learning possibility,” said David Gerlach, SUNY Cantun vice president for advancement.

The project is currently in the design phase and the decision to manufacture the turbine would be finalised once detailed assessment on the feasibility and environmental impact of the project are completed.

Currently, the primary source of power for the campus is natural gas. After the installation of the wind turbine, the campus may even be able to export surplus electricity to the grid when its own demand is low.

Image: Harvey McDaniel/Wikimedia Commons

Source: Clean Technica

China to Spend $27 Billion on Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency This Year

Just confirming the easy bet Goldman Sachs is putting on cleantech (which I just wrote about), China is reportedly going to spend $27 billion this year alone on cleantech (energy efficiency and conservation, clean energy, and emissions reductions).

“The country’s finance ministry said it wants to promote energy-saving products, solar and wind power and accelerate the development of renewable energy and hybrid cars,” the Guardian reports.

hong kong china

Of course, this comes on the heels of a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) showing that China’s rapid growth was a key factor in bringing annual CO2 emissions up to a record and very concerning level in 2011, despite carbon emissions reductions in the US and EU. Nonetheless, as noted there, China’s carbon intensity has actually dropped 15% (from 2005 to 2011) due to its tremendous cleantech investments.

“In the long term, China is targeting to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40-45% by 2020, compared with 2003 levels and aims to boost its use of renewable energy to 15% of overall energy consumption,” the Guardian piece adds.

Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1cKhh)

UK’s Largest Community Wind Farm Takes New Step Forward

The largest community-owned wind farm project in the UK took an important step towards becoming reality this week, after the trust working on the scheme formally lodged a planning application with Bolsover District Council.

Roseland Community Energy Trust announced that it had filed a planning application for the £19m project, which if approved will see six wind turbines erected on a 450-acre site leased from The Chatsworth Estate.

Speaking to BusinessGreen, the trust’s director John Hudson said that the group had spent three years developing the plans and engaging with the local community and remained confident that the project can secure planning approval.

“We have three factors in our favour: we have good community support for the project, the Localism Bill makes local community benefits a material factor in planning decisions, and changes to planning laws make it more likely that community-owned projects will be consented,” he said.

Hudson acknowledged there was some local opposition to the plans, but stressed that as a community-owned project Roseland had a better chance of engaging with critics and would also ensure that the financial benefits that arise from the scheme would go to the entire community, including those opposed to the project.

If the project is approved, the trust will seek to raise the £19m of capital it requires from banks and a number of green investment bodies.

Hudson said early site assessments and negotiations with potential investors and energy purchasers confirmed that the wind farm could generate annual profits of over £750,000 a year, which would then be distributed through a Local Enterprise Organisation and Community Voluntary Partners.

The groups have drawn up a plan for utilising the revenue from the wind farm, which could see them provide advisory support for local start-ups, undertake refurbishments of local buildings and facilities, install renewable energy technologies at people’s homes, provide re-training for the unemployed, and fund university places for local children.

The Trust is hoping that it can gain planning approval by the end of the year, allowing it to begin construction work and start delivering power and income before the end of 2013.

Hudson said that if successful the Trust would aim to provide a template for other community groups to follow, offering advice on how to develop successful plans and raise the capital to support community-owned projects.

The Roseland wind farm is the latest in a series of community owned projects to emerge in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the Bristol Energy Co-Operative launched a share issue  designed to raise £90,000 for two local solar projects, while a similar £200,000 issue is due to be launched by the Brighton Energy Co-operative next week.

Source = Business Green