Community Wind News
2013 Public Power Wind Award
The 2013 Public Power Wind Award, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America initiative in partnership with the American Public Power Association (APPA) , will honor one public power utility (PPU) for its leadership in wind power. All PPUs that are APPA members and have not received the award in the past are eligible for nomination and there is no cost to participate. Anyone can nominate a PPU and AWEA members are encouraged to submit nominations. If you have a PPU in mind that is you feel should be considered for the award, please submit the nomination form via email to Randy Manion (manion@wapa,gov) by close of business on March 25, 2013.
The 2013 winner will be recognized at the APPA National Conference in Nashville, TN, June 14-19, 2013. Past winners are Palo Alto Utilities, Denton Municipal Electric, CPS Energy, Princeton Municipal Light Department, Nebraska Public Power District, Cowlitz and Klickitat PUDs, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Waverley Light and Power, town of Hull, Fort Collins Utilities, Austin Energy, and Aspen Municipal Electric.
- North American Windpower
February 27, 2013
Juwi Wind LLC has completed the construction of the Community Wind South Project in Nobles County, Minnesota. Approximately $67 million has been invested in the community to build the 30-MW wind project.
NREL Issues RFP to participate in inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition
January 8, 2013
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to participate in DOE's inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition. The National Collegiate Wind Competition is a forum for undergraduate college students of multiple disciplines to investigate innovative wind energy concepts.
For more information or to submit an RFP, visit the RFP website here.
Georgia Mt. Community Wind Project Completed - North American Clean Energy
Vermont's Georgia Mountain Community Wind farm is now fully operational and providing approximately 8% of Burlington Electric Department’s energy demand through a long-term contract.
Insight: How Communities Can Take the Lead in Green Energy - RenewEconomy
November 30, 2012
This is the second in a series examining issues affecting the development of the clean energy industry in Australia, and this article focuses on community wind projects.
Wind for schools...and property taxes - Into the Wind Blog
November 26, 2012
A new Wind for Schools project in East Central Illinois should is projected to lower homeowners property taxes as it raises the district's assessed value from $134 million to $158 million.
Juhl Wind Plans Midwest Project Acquisitions - Windpower Monthly
November 21, 2012
Community wind developer Juhl Wind has announced plans to buy up existing projects in the U.S. Midwest and is interested in becoming a partner in any community wind projects.
UK Company Good Energy Launches "First" Community Wind Farm Tariff - BusinessGreen
November 19, 2012
Good Energy unveiled a new electricity tariff offering people living near its wind farms discounts on their energy bills in a bid to boost the benefit communities get from hosting turbines. Good Energy plans to develop 100 megawatts of solar and wind power capacity by 2016.
Tallest Towers to Turn: Community Wind South to Celebrate with Ribbon Cutting - Worthington Daily Globe
November 15, 2012
In a little less than three weeks, juwi Wind and local investors will celebrate the completion of Nobles County’s newest and tallest wind farm, Community Wind South. The $70 million Minnesota project has approximately 30 investors, including each of the board members, those hosting towers on their land, and individuals living along the transmission line who wished to participate.
Paul Woodin Memorial Scholarship Fund honors Northwest visionary - Into the Wind Blog
November 15, 2012
A new scholarship for Northwest students announced to honor the late Community Wind pioneer Paul Woodin.
Smaller-Scale Renewable Energy Projects in Scotland Provide New Income Streams - Energy Live News
November 5, 2012
Scotland now has around 280 independent, commercial-scale renewable energy projects with a total capacity of 750 MW – equivalent to a small conventional power station and enough to power more than 500,000 households. The projects include wind, hydro, and marine energy and generate valuable income for communities, landowners and businesses.
Windfarms: Is Community Ownership the Way Ahead? - The Guardian
November 5, 2012
Could Britain implement the community wind model used on the Danish island of Samsø? Sixteen of the 21 turbines on the island are owned by local cooperatives or by individual farmers, with excess energy created by the turbines sold back to the national grid, providing an annual profit dividend for each local.
Hurricane Sandy Uncovers Strength and Simplicity of Renewable Energy Systems - Renewable Energy World
November 1, 2012
The Northeast’s wind and solar farms evoked little public anxiety this week when Hurricane Sandy hit – unlike the nuclear and fossil fuel infrastructure.
Community Energy is on the up. But Will the Government Hobble It? - The Guardian
October 29, 2012
Duncan Clark, Guardian blogger and author of The Rough Guide to Community Energy, discusses community projects in the UK.
UK public favours wind turbines over shale gas wells, poll finds - The Guardian
October 24, 2012
A recent ICM poll in the UK finds that the public would prefer to live near wind turbines, especially community-owned ones, over shale gas wells.
Community Wind Projects Poised To Take Off In Denmark - Forbes
October 22, 2012
Denmark recently launched a share buy-in scheme intended to help the country meet its ambitious wind energy goals and encourage local support of wind projects. The new community wind plan would advance the mature and growing wind sector in Denmark.
Second Wind Project in Liberty Detailed - Sullivan County Democrat
October 19, 2012
In addition to a community wind farm on a ridge overlooking Liberty, the Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Energy Developments are hoping to site a wind turbine above the county’s Social Services complex.
Bristol Community College Receives Funding for Wind Turbine - Southcoast Business Bulletin
October 19, 2012
Bristol Community College will receive $600,000 in state funding to help offset $3.2 million in costs for the installation of a wind turbine on its Fall River campus. The award is one of three grants totaling $713,814 made by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to community colleges for clean energy projects.
Millbrook & Eskasoni First Nations Collaborate on Community-Owned Wind Developments - Marketwire
October 18, 2012
Millbrook First Nation and Eskasoni First Nation announced their decision to join efforts and co-locate their proposed wind projects that are being developed in Colchester County under Nova Scotia's Community Feed-In-Tariff Program.
Green Power out of the Blue - Otago Daily Times
October 14, 2012
Scott Willis is leading the Blueskin Energy Project, which is working to create the first community-initiated and developed wind energy project in New Zealand.
Epic Systems plans six wind turbines northwest of Madison - Wisconsin State Journal
October 12, 2012
Dane County, Wisconsin is scheduled to install it's first commercial wind generation project. Epic Systems of Verona is building the 9.9 megawatt array to help offset utility costs.
New Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center Integrates Wind Power as part of Energy-Conscious Design - Southwest Windpower Press Release
October 12, 2012
Five small wind turbines are among energy-conscious features of the new Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center dedicated today. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, along with other state officials, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the 27,000 square foot, $12 million project, which houses a visitor welcome center, rest area facilities and Wyoming Office of Tourism offices.
Lake Region State College Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for Turbine - DevilsLakeJournal.com
October 9, 2012
Lake Region State College held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new 1.6-megawatt turbine, which has been planned since 2003 when the college researched installing the turbine to power the campus and launch a wind energy technician training program.
Bristol Community College in Massachusetts Receives $600,000 Grant to Fund Turbine Project - The Herald News
October 9, 2012
Bristol Community College received a $600,000 renewable energy grant to help fund a wind turbine project that will meet 25 percent of the school's energy needs annually.
Alaska's Largest Wind Energy Project Goes Online - North American Windpower
October 9, 2012
Seattle-based developer Summit Power Group has announced that the Fire Island Wind Project has entered commercial operation in Alaska.
Governor: Time for Fresh Look at How Vermont Sites Energy Projects - Burlington Free Press
October 3, 2012
An independent commission will consider changes in the way wind, solar, biomass plants are sited and approved.
ASC Renewables Providing Wind Power to Anglian Water - Power Engineering
October 3, 2012
ASC Renewables has completed the installation of a 2.3-MW wind turbine that will provide 25 years of low-cost green energy to Anglian Water's sewage treatment works in March, Cambridgeshire, UK. The turbine will generate approximately 4,500 megawatt-hours of electricity every year (which is equivalent to powering 1,000 homes).
Copenhagen Wind Farm Environmental Review Under Way - Watertown Daily Press
October 1, 2012
OwnEnergy Inc. is moving forward with an environmental review of its proposed community wind project in Denmark, New York.
Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm at the ACUA Wastewater Treatment Facility
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Project description: Five 1.5-megawatt turbines (producing enough energy to power 2,500 homes)
Application: The turbines power the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) Wastewater Treatment Facility via a 23-KV substation, thereby eliminating the need for additional transmission. Any excess energy is provided to the main power grid.
Owner: Jersey-Atlantic Wind, LLC (a partner with developer Community Energy, Inc.). The ACUA does not own the wind farm; it leases the land and purchases the electricity from the developer at a fixed rate of $.0795 per kilowatt-hour for 20 years.
Cost: $12.5 million
Financing: The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities provided a $1.7 million grant and Atlantic City Electric provided a $1.92 million customer supply grant. Remaining costs were funded by private party equity investment or debt financing. According to Eric Blank of Community Energy Inc., "The deal was structured as an A/B tax partnership flip, with a large U.S. bank providing the tax equity as the "A" investor, Babcock and Brown (now BluArc / Infigen) providing just over half the sponsor "B" equity, and Community Energy providing the remaining just under 50 percent with a subsidiary of Central Hudson."
Commissioning date: January 2006
Energy production: The ACUA facility requires approximately 2.5 megawatts of power each day, so when wind speeds are above 12 miles per hour all of the plant's electricity requirement can be generated by two of the five wind turbines. The wind turbines supply approximately 60 percent of the electricity required by the plant on an annual basis and saved the ACUA approximately $2.9 million in its first six years of operation.
Interview with Paul Gallagher, Vice President and general counsel of the ACUA
Q: Tell us about the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA).
The ACUA is a public agency that provides environmental and waste management services to the people of Atlantic County and southern New Jersey. Our wastewater facility in Atlantic City handles 31 million gallons of wastewater per day.
Q: Why did you decide to install wind turbines at your site?
We were examining our budget, and we saw three outliers: payroll, benefits, and energy. We already controlled for the first two items, so we focused on energy. Our local utility, which had been deregulated, was thinking about wind power at the waste facility. We were looking for someone who wanted to develop the land and give something in return, and so we issued an RFP to lease the land for a project. Brent Alderfer of Community Energy, Inc. responded, we negotiated a lease and a power purchase agreement, and the project was launched. I wanted to build a 7-MW project. Some said it wouldn't work, but Brent knew it could be done. I served as the project manager, and I kept pushing the rock up the hill.
Q: So you overcame one hurdle: It's not a common size for a project. What other barriers did you face?
Engineering and transportation issues. The community had three concerns: birds, jobs, and noise. As far as noise, the wastewater plant is located off Route 30, a fairly significant highway, so there's noise from that and then there's ambient noise from the plant. Brent arranged a tour of the Somerset Wind Farm in Pennsylvania. It was a six-hour van ride. Honestly, the turbines were no louder than my air conditioner. After the tour, people started calling the project "my turbines."
The town leaders — the mayor, the council — didn't really embrace them, but they don't mind them either. They don't care one way or the other. Atlantic City has never hesitated to accept new things, to be the first to do something.
Q: Did you commission a wildlife survey?
Yes, we performed avian impact studies, including the first leading-edge avian radar studies under agreement with the New Jersey Audubon Society. The studies projected two birds per turbine per year would be killed. Our permit took 15 months, to settle litigation. For three years people have walked the property to monitor avian deaths. About 26,000 people have toured the plant since 2006, and no one has been hit by a falling bird. Problems happen when turbines are built in the wrong place. If you commission your study, you can build them in the right place.
Q: Have you experienced any maintenance issues?
Two things. In 2011, they refinished the blade edges and had to come back and re-finish them. We also experienced software issues when the turbines first came online. But they've performed incredibly well, far beyond all projections. GE makes a pretty nice machine.
Q: What is your wind resource like, and how do the loads match?
Year-round, night is better than day. But our wind resource is really constant. It's averaged 14.7 over the past six years. Certainly the wind in March and April is unbelievably strong, but it doesn't change seasonally...just during a storm event.
Q: Tell us about Hurricane Sandy.
Let's go back to Hurricane Irene last August. When wind speeds exceed 45 miles per hour, the turbines shut down to protect the machinery inside. On Friday afternoon the turbines shut down, and on Sunday they came back on. But they would have been fine if they ran though Irene. Sandy, however, was a very different storm. It arrived on October 29. Three of the four turbines returned to service on November 1, and the last one came back on November 8. We had software issues when they started back up, but no physical damage.
Q: And how did the wastewater plant fare during Hurricane Sandy?
We were inches away from losing the plant, but it didn't fail. We were in the eye of the storm, and it made landfall two hours early, ahead of high tide, so we were kind of lucky. The real problem was the long duration, when the grid went down and we moved to emergency systems. They're fine for about three hours. We had a great inventory of replacement parts, and we used all of them. We lost a couple of major pumps, but you can't fix them in 12 feet of sewage.
Q: Any future plans to expand the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm?
We have no plans to expand the project because we're surrounded by wetlands and marsh. We hope to be a part of the future of offshore wind in New Jersey, but as for our site, we're maxed out. This is the best it will be. Although our blade length could be longer; someday our blades will be replaced.
Speaking of offshore, I don't think that New Jersey would be nearly as receptive to offshore wind without this project. There's lots of support for wind energy projects at the top. Our state has experienced environmental issues and terrible grid issues. We're worried about acid rain. Twenty years ago we had dead dolphins washing up on the beach. The idea of doing something clean and green is attractive. These turbines are a symbol of what works and what works right. You just have to decide to build it. The damn things work.
Q: Any last words?
We experienced many stops and starts. Make sure you structure a public-private partnership. In the case of our project, I don't think a public agency working without a private partner could have finished the project. If the project involves people in the public sector who will be running for election, realize that they can't stay with you through two election cycles.
Also, in response to the common question about whether wind farms harm tourism, I'll tell you that at Harrah's Resort here in Atlantic City, guests request rooms with a view of the wind farm. The rooms on that side of the hotel are always reserved before rooms on the other side of the hotel.
Click here to see previous Community Wind Projects of the Month.