Wind Energy News
Now federally licensed to fly unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), a wind power technology instructor is bringing drone education to his students at Northern Maine Community College (NMCC).
According to the college, Wayne Kilcollins recently became commercially certified to fly drones. In turn, he will incorporate his knowledge in the classroom, such as by demonstrating how UAS can inspect wind turbine blades and nacelles.
“We always aim to provide our students with the latest industry practices to keep them highly competitive in the workforce,” says Kilcollins. “We frequently communicate with our industry partners to realize their needs. When we have an opportunity to anticipate their expectations, it definitely works in our favor.”
NMCC says it purchased a drone for Kilcollins to bring into the curriculum.
“As much fun as it seems to be to fly the drones, there are certain parameters and considerations I share with the students,” adds Kilcollins. “In order to legally fly over the college, we needed to request a Part 107b wavier from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA wavier, along with an agreement with the Northern Maine Regional Airport, allowed the manufacturer of our drone to open the airspace over the college for us to fly. Otherwise, our proximity to the Presque Isle airport restricts our abilities to enable drone flight training.”
The Wind Power Technology program at NMCC is designed to prepare technicians looking to enter the growing wind industry. The program offers training in the electrical, electronic and mechanical aspects of the wind power industry; specifically, it focuses on turbine maintenance and electrical power production. NMCC launched the program, the first of its kind in New England, in 2008, the college says.
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The Trump Administration’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP) is based on flawed analysis that understates its benefits. This action is part of this administration’s unfortunate pattern of dismantling sensible policies and rejecting the underlying science of climate change. Repealing the CPP would remove another federal protection meant to help Americans avoid damages from a changing climate.
Want to hover hundreds of feet in the air on an average work day? Then being a wind technician may be just for you. It’s the fastest growing occupation of the decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and employment numbers are expected to more than double over the next 10 years.
Though the legislative effort to strengthen New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) did not pass earlier this year, a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) finds that significantly increasing the state’s share of electricity from solar and wind would spur job creation, improve public health and benefit the environment.
The analysis concludes that adding more wind and solar power is the state’s cheapest option. However, some of the state’s largest utilities continue to plan for long-term investments in natural gas expansion, the group says.
“The looming question for policymakers is, ‘What replaces coal?’” says Julie McNamara, lead author of the study and energy analyst at UCS.
According to the group, New Mexico’s remaining coal plants are facing strong market pressure to retire early due to unfavorable economics.
“Utilities are building renewables but also are proposing much more natural gas,” McNamara adds. “Our analysis shows this would be the wrong choice. Major fossil fuel investments will be neither cheaper nor cleaner.”
In 2016, renewables accounted for 14% of New Mexico’s electricity production, says UCS. This amount is set to increase once several projects under construction or in development are completed.
The current state RPS, enacted in 2004 and strengthened in 2007, set a target of 20% renewable generation by 2020 for investor-owned utilities. The state electric utilities are on target to easily meet the current 2020 goal, says UCS. However, earlier this year, the New Mexico legislature proposed strengthening the requirement to 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2040. The bill did not pass, but legislative leaders expect to consider similar proposals during upcoming sessions, according to UCS.
The UCS analysis finds that with a strengthened RPS, New Mexico would nearly triple its 2016 wind capacity and more than double its 2016 solar capacity by 2030. This increased capacity would result in more than $6 billion in capital investment; nearly 2,400 new jobs in construction, operations, maintenance and other related fields by 2030; $21 million annually in state and local tax revenue; and as much as $9.5 million annually in land-lease payments. Furthermore, under a strengthened RPS, typical monthly electric bills for households in most years would be lower than they were in 2016, the analysis finds.
In addition to building renewables, the state’s largest electric utilities, including Public Service Co. of New Mexico, are also proposing a steadily increasing dependence on another fossil fuel: natural gas, says UCS. According to the group, expansion into natural gas risks ratepayer investments in stranded assets – e.g., infrastructure such as pipelines that would be abandoned due to the country’s expected shift away from fossil fuels; price volatility that can affect monthly bills; smaller reductions in carbon emissions; and fewer improvements to public health.
“New Mexico is truly at an energy crossroads,” says Jeff Deyette, report co-author and director of state policy and analysis at UCS. “Because investments in energy infrastructure last decades, what state leaders decide to do next will profoundly affect ratepayers, the economy and New Mexico’s communities for a generation or more.”
Deyette adds, “No doubt renewables will play a significant role in the state’s future. It’s time for New Mexico’s residents to also enjoy those benefits. Policymakers and residents must decide if they want to intentionally seize the considerable in-state job growth, community investment and public health improvements that come from turning towards a strengthened RPS and away from natural gas.”
More on the report can be found here.
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DNV GL has introduced Battery XT, which the global energy advisory and certification company says is a testing-based lifetime verification tool for lithium-ion batteries.
According to DNG GL, the independent verification tool compiles battery life cycle data and predicts battery degradation under different conditions and duty cycles, providing renewables stakeholders with an objective way to compare the value and reliability of types and brands of energy storage technology. The service incorporates the experience of 10 years of research and development in energy storage and has been developed in cooperation with industry stakeholders, DNV GL adds.
“As energy storage deployment reaches the gigawatt scale, the market is still challenged to overcome the self-certification approaches of the past,” says Davion M. Hill, DNV GL’s energy storage leader in the Americas. “No two markets have the same duty cycle, and no two batteries have the same performance. This bottlenecks project development because every project requires a unique verification of lifetime. To solve this, we calibrated legacy automotive life prediction models with a minimum dataset. Once tested, batteries can be sized to any duty cycle and developers can scale without waiting on data from suppliers.”
DNV GL says Battery XT offers independent third-party testing and verification of product warranties and performance guarantees before making a purchasing decision. Battery XT, which can also provide consulting on battery size and chemistry selection, aims to reduce risk and inform purchases and planning for energy storage asset management.
DNV GL notes it offers an interactive online demo to illustrate the way Battery XT works. Viewers can try three scenarios – fast charge electric ferry, hybrid genset and solar+frequency – by entering sample information such as system size, temperature and initial state of change, and then running a simulator to show how the factors apply.
“As the storage market continues to expand, the ability to manage risk at the point of purchase is becoming increasingly important,” says Rich Barnes, executive vice president and regional manager for DNV GL Energy in North America. “Battery XT will empower stakeholders to make better purchasing decisions based on objective, third-party testing.”
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Sleepless Ayrshire woman driven to distraction and forced to sleep in her car thanks to windfarm row #SCT
On Friday at the Piece Atwood Energy Infrastructure Symposium, keynote speaker and FERC commissioner Cheryl LaFleur offered insight into how she would be considering the recently proposed rulemaking (NOPR) that the secretary of Energy issued last month.
Kansas-based Tradewind Energy is partnering with Facebook and the Omaha Public Power District in Nebraska on the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project in Dixon County, Neb.
Once operational, the 320 MW wind farm will provide clean energy to Facebook’s Papillion, Neb., data center. Being developed by Tradewind, the project will be located roughly 100 miles from the facility.
Tradewind says 200 MW of the energy from the project will be used for the data center, and 120 MW will be available to other buyers. Facebook estimates the project will create up to 300 construction jobs.
“This wind project would not be built without Facebook’s commitment and the energy requirements of our data center,” Facebook says.
“Tradewind is proud to partner with Facebook and help lead our industry in the shift that is occurring toward sustainability in the power sector,” adds Tradewind.
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Denmark-based wind turbine installation and services company Global Wind Service (GWS) has been contracted by KranWind LLC to work on the Bearkat I wind farm in Texas.
The 197.6 MW project, consisting of 57 Vestas V126 3.45 MW turbines, is the first U.S. project for which GWS has been contracted to deliver the full installation scope. This includes installation; completion; tooling; health, safety, environment and quality; and project management. Notably, GWS also installed the wind turbines at the Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island, the U.S.’ first offshore wind farm.
The start-up of a local business unit in the U.S. during 2017 is part of GWS’ growth strategy, the company says. A local workforce of 60-plus technicians has been employed to support both Bearkat I and future projects. The new office will temporarily be located in Chicago while GWS looks for the right location. Michael Nielsen, co-founder of GWS, is acting interim area manager during the establishment.
“We are very excited about this opportunity. The U.S. wind market holds an enormous potential for development and growth, making it the natural next step for GWS,” says Nielsen.
The wind farm is owned by the Danish fund Copenhagen Infrastructure II K/S, and the craning work is being carried out by KranWind LLC, a joint venture between BMS of Denmark and Buckner of the U.S.
The Bearkat Wind Farm comprises 30,000 acres of privately owned land in Glasscock Country, Texas. It is being developed by Tri Global Energy using its proprietary business model, the Wind Force Plan, which gives local landowners and community investors the opportunity to partner with and have a substantial ownership in wind projects being leased on their land.
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