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Wind power growth moving us in the right direction

Wind power growth moving us in the right direction

In today's news: There’s a new American energy future on the horizon, Spain got a majority of its power from wind in 2013, and Texas wind power gets a cash injection.

John Rogers of the Union of Concerned Scientists is excited for 2014 and what the future will bring in renewable energy. The times, they are a-changing:

  • “This year, we saw strong signals that we’re moving in the right direction on energy, with renewables like wind and solar (going up), coal (going down), renewables integration (looking good), and energy storage (on its way).”
  • “Wind is getting cheaper all the time. Utilities keep finding wind energy at Black Friday-worthy prices, as my colleagues have noted (here and here, for example). Long-term wind contracts are now more than 40 percent cheaper than they were just three years ago.”
  • “Grid operators have continued to find, though, that they can handle much higher levels of variable renewables like wind and solar. A study by grid operator PJM, for example, found that they could get 30 percent of their electricity from wind and solar by 2026, with very little need for extra back-up generation.”

Greenhouse gas emissions dropped by more than 23 percent in Spain in 2013 as wind power was the year’s largest source of electricity for the country. All told, renewables made up 49.1% of Spain’s total generating capacity:

  • Red Eléctrica de España (REE) released a preliminary report on the country's power system late last month, revealing that for "the first time ever, [wind power] contributed most to the annual electricity demand coverage". According to the figures, wind turbines met 21.1% of electricity demand on the Spanish peninsula, narrowly beating the region's fleet of nuclear reactors, which provided 21% of power.”
  • “‘Throughout 2013, the all-time highs of wind power production were exceeded,’ the report stated. ‘On 6 February, wind power recorded a new maximum of instantaneous power with 17,056MW at 3:49 pm (2.5 per cent up on the previous record registered in April 2012), and that same day the all-time maximum for hourly energy was also exceeded reaching 16,918MWh. Similarly, in January, February, March and November wind power generation was the technology that made the largest contribution towards the total energy production of the system.’"
  • “The study follows news last year that Portugal had successfully generated over 70% of its power from renewables during the first quarter of the year, driven by a surge in wind and hydro power output.”

Finally, Enbridge, Inc. will invest $200 million into Renewable Energy Systems Americas’ (RES Americas) new Keechi wind project. The 110MW venture began in December 2013, with commissioning expected in early 2015:

  • According to Enbridge, Keechi Wind brings the total generating capacity of the green power projects in which the company has interests to more than 1.8 GW.
  • "As the nation's leader in wind energy – both in installed capacity and number of turbines – Texas represents a natural extension for Enbridge's growing U.S. renewable energy portfolio," comments Enbridge’s Don Thompson. “We're also pleased to continue building our relationship with RES Americas, which has developed three other wind facilities for Enbridge."

Sources:

John Rogers, “7 Reasons to celebrate a clean energy future.” Earth Techling, 6 January 2014.

James Murray, “Wind power was Spain’s top source of electricity in 2013.” The Guardian, 6 January 2014.

Enbridge To Invest $200 Million In Texas Wind Power Project.” North American Windpower, 6 January 2014.

 

 

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