Alabama Power took honors from AWEA for "Outstanding Commercial Achievement" recently as a result of its work with TradeWind Energy in helping to bring cost-effective wind power to the Southeast. The utility is purchasing wind power from Kansas-based TradeWind.
AWEA presented the award before over 400 leaders of the U.S. wind energy industry at its annual Fall Symposium, in Chandler, Ariz.
Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co., made its first wind power purchase last year. In signing off on the contract, the state Public Service Commission noted at the time that the “price of energy from the wind facility is expected to be lower than the cost the company would incur to produce that energy from its own resource…with the resulting energy savings flowing directly to the Company’s customers.”
John Kelley, Alabama Power's director of forecasting and resource planning, said that, including another recent deal, the company's energy mix now includes 404 MW of capacity from wind – enough to power the equivalent of 115,000 homes.
Under the contracts, Alabama Power has the flexibility to use the wind energy to serve customers and retire the associated renewable energy credits, or sell the energy and renewable energy credits to others, separately or bundled together. “These agreements are good for our customers for one very basic reason, and that is, they save our customers money,” Kelley says in a company video recently released on YouTube (at 2:21 in the video).
In accepting the award, Kelley said, “Alabama Power is doubling down on wind. We’re always looking for environmentally friendly ways to produce and obtain rights to reliable, cost-effective electricity. These two agreements represent a win-win for the company and the people we serve.”
AWEA gives the Outstanding Commercial Achievement Award each year to the individual or company responsible for outstanding commercial achievement in the areas of new financing structures; contracting; electricity market participation and grid operations; applications of technology; community relations; landowner relations; siting; permitting; or logistics. Winners are chosen on the strength of nominations from AWEA member companies.
This year, Alabama Power shared the award with the company from which it purchased its wind power, TradeWind Energy of Lenexa, Kan. TradeWind specializes in developing and managing wind energy projects in the U.S. heartland, which has a rich wind resource.
TradeWind CEO Robert Freeman spoke of wind's economic development benefits to the region. "Everyone knows that rural America is looking for ways to keep their young people and grow their economies," Freeman said in accepting the award. "I think it’s fair to say that there hasn’t been anything that has come along in recent memory that has the potential to impact rural economies like the development of wind power."
AWEA recognized TradeWind for navigating the complexities of obtaining long-term firm transmission service across three different transmission systems, each with different timelines and processes, to reach the Southeast with its wind-generated electricity.
It then successfully aligned the schedules for power sales contracting, regulatory approvals, equipment procurement, transmission service, and financing. The company has now completed three contracts for delivery of wind energy to the Southeast using this innovative model.
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