News roundup: A wind power record for 2014, one Texas town's push for more wind, and a look at the world's biggest turbine

31 January 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

The weekend is nearly upon us, and AWEA highlights a record year ahead for wind power, a small town in Texas has a love affair with wind, and Vestas flips the switch on the world’s largest turbine.

The industry is headed into 2014 with the largest-ever amount of capacity under construction for new wind projects:

  • …[T]he federal production tax credit for renewable energy led to more than 12,300 megawatts of wind projects under construction by the end of the year. Another 5,000 megawatts of capacity are under long-term contracts and have yet to start construction, the American Wind Energy Association said in its fourth-quarter market report.
  • Congress let the credit expire at the end of 2012, but quickly renewed it and changed the rules so wind developers could start construction by the end of 2013 to qualify. Projects previously had to be producing electricity by the deadline to qualify.
  • “We knew when the PTC (production tax credit) rules came out early in the year that there would be a fairly powerful response from the industry ramping activity back up to qualify,” said Liz Salerno, the association's vice president of data and analysis. “The response we've seen in those numbers is pretty incredible.”

The town of Denton Texas might not be easy to spot on a map to an out-of-towner, but their love for clean energy like wind power is making waves nationally:

  • Denton’s electric utility company, Denton Municipal Electric (DME), has been municipally owned since 1905. Up until 2008, DME provided Denton with energy from a mix of equal shares gas and coal. But the advantage of being owned by its 48,000 customers means DME does what its customers want, which was more green energy.
  • In 2009, DME signed a multi-year power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy Power Marketing, which owns and operates the Wolf Ridge Wind Farm near Muenster, Texas, north of Denton. NextEra now sells 60 megawatts of wind power to DME, providing approximately 40 percent of Denton’s electricity needs on an average yearly basis.
  • All of these measures have helped Denton avoid the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of 61.3 million gallons of gasoline each year. It has also provided Denton residents with extremely reliable power. According to Daskam, a recent ice storm left a quarter million people in nearby Dallas-Ft. Worth out of power for days. “In Denton we had 160 people out of power; that’s less than one-third of one percent of our customers, mostly for under one hour.” 

In this video, Vestas showcases the assembly of its brand-new V164-8.0 MW offshore turbine, the largest in the world:

  • The prototype, with a 140-metre tower and a tip height of 220 meters, was installed at the national test centre for large wind turbines in Østerild, Denmark.
  • You can find the video clip here.
  • For more on the V164, see 'Close-up Vestas V164-8.0 nacelle and hub'

For more great wind power news, check out all of this week’s news roundups:

Sources:

Paul Monies, “Oklahoma, national wind farm construction boom underway with expiration of tax credit.” The Oklahoman. 30 January 2014.

Laurie Guevara-Stone, “How one Texas town is big, really big, on wind power.” Earth Techling. 30 January 2014.

Staff, “Video: first look at the V164.” Windpower Offshore. 29 January 2014.