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Vineyard Wind Affirms Commitment to Deliver Offshore Wind Farm but with Revised Schedule

Vineyard Wind announced that company shareholders have affirmed a commitment to deliver a proposed 800 MW wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, albeit with a delayed project schedule. This decision follows the August 9th determination by the United States Department of the Interior to significantly delay publication of the Vineyard Wind 1 project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement and to instead undertake a supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement process.

Mr Lars Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind said that “We are very proud of the Vineyard Wind team’s achievements so far and we are disappointed not to deliver the project on the timeline we had anticipated. We were less than four months away from launching a new industry in the United States, so we thank the more than 50 US companies already awarded a contract or currently bidding on contracts, the financial institutions engaged in raising more than USD 2 billion in capital, and the first-class, global contractors that have joined us in planning for the first large-scale offshore wind farm in America. We remain committed to delivering that ambitious target and would like to thank Governor Baker, the Massachusetts legislature and our bipartisan backers in Congress led by the Bay State delegation for their collective support and courage in driving this industry forward.”

Mr Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer said that “We appreciate all the support and hard work from our community partners, from the Vineyard to Barnstable, to New Bedford, to the labor unions and environmental groups. We want to assure each of them that we remain committed to moving this project forward as quickly as circumstances allow, and realizing the many benefits that were so close at hand before federal regulators announced their decision.”

Publication of the FEIS was one of the final steps for Vineyard Wind 1 in the federal permitting process, representing an important milestone to cap a comprehensive public and regulatory review process that began in 2017, and had since been targeted for completion by August 16th. The review process has encompassed evaluation by more than 25 federal, state, and local regulatory agencies and commissions.

Vineyard Wind has not yet received any documentation as to the requirements for the expanded analysis that BOEM indicated in a public statement issued on August 9th. However, it is clear that the timing of such an analysis is not compatible with the original timeline that has been communicated to Vineyard Wind since March 2018, which Vineyard Wind used to build its delivery schedule. With this development, the shareholders must revise the project as the original timeline is no longer feasible.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
ALLETE Clean Energy Celebrates Record-setting Construction Year during American Wind Week

ALLETE Clean Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of ALLETE is in the middle of its biggest wind energy construction year as it celebrates this week’s American Wind Week. ALLETE Clean Energy is poised to nearly double its carbon-free wind capacity to more than 1,000 megawatts with three new wind farms under construction in 2019 and 2020. Its renewable wind projects will support the economies of local, rural communities in seven states with jobs, taxes, donations and volunteer activities.

New projects include the Diamond Spring wind site in Oklahoma that will sell renewable wind power to Walmart, Starbucks and Smithfield Foods; Diamond Spring will be the largest wind facility owned by ALLETE Clean Energy producing enough power for 114,000 homes, and increasing ALLETE Clean Energy’s total wind capacity to approximately 1,000 megawatts at 9 sites. Other projects are the Glen Ullin wind site in North Dakota that will sell energy to Northern States Power, an Xcel Energy subsidiary; and the South Peak wind farm in Montana that will sell its wind power to NorthWestern Energy.

ALLETE Clean Energy President Allan S. Rudeck Jr said that “American Wind Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the advances in renewable, carbon-free wind power across our company, our industry and our country. The wind energy industry is creating meaningful economic growth for state and local governments, landowner partners, vendors and employees across the country. These opportunities will continue to grow as society demands cleaner forms of energy. Our ALLETE Clean Energy team is committed to answering the call to transform the nation’s energy landscape while creating growth for communities where we operate and building value for ALLETE shareholders and our customers.”

Wind technician is the second-fastest growing occupation in America, and ALLETE Clean Energy’s continued growth and investment in clean energy means the company will soon need wind technicians in Oklahoma, North Dakota and Montana while maintaining its current sites in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Oregon and Minnesota. The company has grown from four employees in 2011 to more than 80 in 2019, while delivering increasing amounts of clean and affordable energy to its customers.

As a Yellow Ribbon company, ALLETE Clean Energy also is committed to hiring and supporting veterans, military members and their families. With their technical skills and team-oriented work experience, veterans and service members find jobs in the renewable wind sector at a 67 percent higher rate than in other industries.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Xcel Energy Celebrates Construction of Foxtail Wind Project

Xcel Energy, along with other construction partners and local landowners, will celebrate the construction of its Foxtail Wind Project, a 150-megawatt wind farm in Dickie County, near Kulm, N.D., that will be able to provide enough renewable energy to power nearly 80,000 homes. The wind turbines will have a red-light system that will automatically turn on at the approach of small aircraft, increasing safety for pilots and passengers, as well as having the goal of keeping the night sky dark. The aircraft detection lighting system was developed by Airtonomy, a Grand Forks-based technology company.

Mr Mark Nisbet, North Dakota's manager for Xcel Energy said that “There will be a radar tower set up there that will be able to alert the lights to come on if there’s an aircraft approaching the footprint of the wind farm. Normal position will be that the lights will be in the off mode unless there’s a plane within that area.”

The radar tower also will be used as a source of information for drones, as they assist in observing the wind facility for maintenance.

“Once we have those drones housed on site, like the plan is, then we could use them for other routine tasks, and the whole point of it is the idea of increased productivity and safety,” Nesbit said.

The Wednesday event also will feature children from the Kulm school district planting pollinator-friendly plants, such as prairie grasses, at the wind farm’s substation in order to create a habitat for bees, butterflies and other wildlife. Xcel currently has 2,100 acres of similar habitat in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
MBCP Signs Up for About 1,000 MW of California’s Future Floating Wind Energy

Monterey Bay Community Power and Castle Wind LLC a joint venture between Trident Winds Inc. and EnBW North America have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enter into future, long-term PPA for about 1,000 MW of renewable energy. The clean power will come from Castle Wind Offshore, a floating offshore wind project currently being planned off the Central California coast.

Castle Wind Offshore will consist of approximately 100 floating offshore wind systems off the coast of Central California. The MOU recognizes that offshore wind offers a long-term energy supply solution that complements MBCP’s potential energy needs. The proposed project is planned to be grid-connected at the Morro Bay substation in Morro Bay, California which is a great example of leveraging existing infrastructure for renewable deployment.

Alla Weinstein, CEO of Castle Wind said that “While the project is still several years away, we know that offshore wind is poised to play an integral role in California’s electricity portfolio, which will help the State meet its aggressive climate goals at the least cost. This MOU is a statement of commitment by MBCP to use 100% renewables and their desire to secure a supply of clean energy that closely meets their demand profile.”

In 2018, Castle Wind executed a community benefits agreement with the City of Morro Bay and a mutual benefits agreement with the local fishermen organizations to ensure the project would address the needs of the local community. As MBCP expands its electric service to the residents and businesses in San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay in early 2020 and potentially the rest of San Luis Obispo County in 2021, this project has strategic potential and importance for locally generated renewable energy and future job creation.

MBCP CEO, Mr Tom Habashi said that “Monterey Bay Community Power is committed to serving our local communities with cleaner energy. In addition to creating new, local renewable infrastructure and jobs, we recognize the tremendous potential benefits of economically priced offshore renewable energy, including offshore wind’s primary system value coming from its ability to serve the region’s evening load when energy prices and carbon emissions are highest.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
EON Invests in 440 MW Wind Farm in Texas

EON will build a new onshore wind farm in the USA. The 440-megawatt Big Raymond wind farm in Texas is the largest single phase project E.ON has ever completed in the United States. The investment amounts more than 500 million US Dollar. Under long-term power purchase agreement, E.ON has already sold the subscription rights from 200 megawatt of the plant for a period of 12 years. The customer is Austin Energy, the City’s community-owned electric utility.

The development is located in Willacy, Cameron and Hidalgo counties. Construction will start at the end of the year. Together with the current wind- and photovoltaic-projects under construction, E.ON is currently implementing more than 900 megawatts of renewable energy in the USA. E.ON has built more than 3,800 megawatt of solar, wind, and energy storage projects across the USA, others are in preparation.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Pacificorp Acquires Full Ownership of Foote Creek I Wind Project

PacifiCorp has acquired sole ownership of the Foote Creek I wind generation facility, a 41.4-megawatt renewable energy project in Carbon County, Wyoming, and is proceeding to repower the project with new turbine technology that will increase energy output of the entire facility by 60 percent. The repowered facility will produce enough energy to meet the needs of 19,500 typical homes in PacifiCorp’s service territory. It is anticipated that the project will generate an additional $14 million in tax revenue for rural Wyoming communities over the next 30 years.

Foote Creek I was the company's first wind facility and the first utility-scale wind project in Wyoming, a jointly owned demonstration project commissioned in 1999 with PacifiCorp and the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) as co-owners and supported with a power purchase agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration (Bonneville). The success of the facility and ongoing technological advancements led PacifiCorp to invest billions of dollars in low-cost wind energy, create associated tax revenue benefits and new wind energy jobs in rural communities in Wyoming, Washington, and Oregon. PacifiCorp is today the largest regulated utility owner of wind assets in the West.

PacifiCorp will begin the process of repowering the Foote Creek I facility by removing the 68 existing 600-kilowatt wind turbine generators originally installed between 1998 and 1999 and replacing them with 13 new modern turbines with a much higher output capability that will be supported by new foundations, along with new energy collector circuits, switchgear and controls. The result is significantly fewer wind turbines needed to produce an equivalent peak output, while dramatically increasing the energy production from the facility.

Repowering in 2020 will requalify the facility for federal production tax credits, which will be passed on as savings to PacifiCorp customers. It will also reduce ongoing operating costs associated with the older turbine equipment. The repowering project will extend the useful life of the facility by more than two decades, creating substantial ongoing benefits for customers when instead the facility would otherwise have been retired from service. The wind turbines only occupy about one percent of the land they are housed upon, thereby allowing the property to continue supporting traditional land uses such as grazing livestock.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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