WIND TRENDS 2010
Wind Power Trends to Watch for in 2010
Shawna Seldon, December 28, 2009 (American Wind Energy Industry)
"As the nation looks ahead to 2010, renewable energy will be central to the economic and energy issues that dominate the political agenda. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has identified some trends and indicators…
"… Wind Power: Second-largest Source of New U.S. Power Generating Capacity for Sixth Year…While wind makes up only about 2% of total electricity supply, it is [expected in 2010 to continue to be] one of the largest sources of new power generation…second only to natural gas… The most important job creation policy that Congress can enact is a national [Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)] which provides the long-term certainty that companies need to invest in new facilities and train workers to make the 8,000 components that go into a modern wind turbine….Whether it is in job legislation or in comprehensive energy and climate legislation…a strong RES is urgently needed…"
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"… With shop floors working single shifts or sometimes idling altogether for lack of contracts, U.S. wind turbine component manufacturing lagged in 2009. If an RES is passed early on in the year, however, it will work in synergy with the short-term [Recovery Act (ARRA)] incentives and provide the long-term signal that companies are waiting for in order to invest in new and expanded facilities… With climate and energy legislation or regulation looming, the stakes are higher than ever for the energy sector. Tighter limits on emissions reveal true cost, so efforts to pad climate and energy legislation with subsidies to ensure the survival of the more polluting technologies will continue. Lobbying efforts and spending could surpass  record levels…[A]nti-renewable energy communications campaigns [may] try again to use bogus studies funded by fossil fuel-backed groups…[and] other tactics.
"… Wind Turbines Get Even More Powerful…Over 1,000 wind turbines larger than 2 megawatts (MW) are already in commercial operation…and the year-end [2.5-MW turbine orders are] the harbinger of a shift [toward even larger turbines]…This forecast assumes [exhausted inventories]…a growing market…[and] a national RES. The trend toward larger turbines is driven by economics: taller turbines…produce more power at a lower cost per kilowatt-hour… While federal transmission policy is under heated discussion as part of pending energy legislation, states and regions are where key decisions are made…Texas and the Southwest Power Pool are beginning to see investment in new transmission lines and infrastructure [because of good policy]…[T]he Midwest Independent System Operator…[may adopt] similarly favorable cost allocation policy."
Good question. (click to enlarge)
"… As wind penetrations grow higher in the U.S. and Europe in 2010, utilities and grid operators should become more comfortable with [it]…Several major wind integration studies slated for release in 2010 are expected to add further evidence that wind can be reliably integrated with the grid at low cost…[T]he wind industry will be keeping its eye on…fossil fuel competitors [who may try to] impose new and unfair costs on wind plants… Another year of record growth is expected for the small wind market in 2010 due to a federal Investment Tax Credit that has been expanded to provide an 8-year, uncapped 30% tax credit for small wind systems for homeowners and small businesses…[A new] safety and performance standard will…help consumers compare turbines.
"… [T]he completion of the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee process (discussions on wind turbine siting held under the Federal Advisory Committee Act with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a broad range of stakeholders) [will] provide the industry with greater clarity on wildlife surveys…the siting process for wind farms…[and the] industry continues cooperative research programs with the Bats & Wind Energy Cooperative, the American Wind Wildlife Institute, and other organizations… Operational and Safety Guidelines…[are being] put in place…and AWEA is doing so on a number of fronts, including workplace safety…[in conjunction] with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)…to promote safety and health within the wind industry. AWEA will also develop best practices and safety awareness training programs…"