Competing in the Inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition

2014-collegiate-wind-competition
This year, James Madison University (my school and neighbor to the Antares Virginia office) competed in the inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition hosted by the Department of Energy.
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The Production Tax Credit – What Now?

The federal Production Tax Credit for renewable energy expired on January 1st, 2014. This credit allowed renewable energy technologies including wind, open and closed-loop biomass, geothermal, municipal solid waste, incremental hydropower, and marine renewables to claim a tax credit* for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated during the first ten years of the project’s life. In addition, legislation passed in February 2009 (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (pdf), or ARRA) allowed projects that were eligible to claim the PTC to instead claim a 30% Investment Tax Credit (pdf), or ITC. With the PTC expiration, so goes their eligibility for the ITC.** [Read more…]

Why the East Coast is the Hotspot for Offshore Wind Development in the US

I was recently asked why all of the potential offshore wind projects being featured in the news these days are focused around the New England and Atlantic region, and not the other coastal areas of the US.  The reason is a combination of geography, current technology, and transmission accessibility.

Geography:

The continental shelf is broader in the areas off of the East Coast compared to the West Coast. You can see in this map where the relatively shallow waters of the extended continental shelf exist on the US sea boards (seen in light blue).

The Continental Shelf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technology:

Current technology limits wind turbine foundations to these relatively shallow water depths, since all of the commercially available offshore wind turbines available today require a foundation that is anchored to the sea floor.  Once you get into deep water, you’d require floating platform foundations.  This type of “floating” foundation for wind turbines simply hasn’t reached technological maturity yet.

Types of Turbine Foundations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transmission Accessibility:

The coastal area stretching from Boston to Washington DC has a large population and a high electrical demand.  This fact, when considered in conjunction with the shallower water required by offshore technology, makes the region an obvious choice for offshore wind farms.

Moving Forward

At the end of 2011, the total installed global offshore wind capacity stood at 238 GW.  None of that is in the US.  After ten years of development, the 454 MW Cape Wind Project, which is sited off the coast of Nantucket, is the first project in the US to receive all required permits and approvals.  Cape Wind is still in the project financing stage; once construction starts, it will take approximately two years to complete.  Deepwater Wind has proposed four projects ranging in size from 30 MW to 1,000 MW off the coasts of New Jersey and Rhode Island; the smallest of these projects has the potential to begin construction in 2013.  The 25 MW Fishermen’s Energy project, sited off the cost of New Jersey, has also received all its permits, but remains on hold pending decisions on the project’s eligibility for state renewable energy incentives.  The Great Lakes region will likely be another offshore wind hotspot, since this area also meets the key development criteria.

For more information:

The European Wind Energy Association’s Global Statistics page.

The American Wind Energy Association’s Offshore Wind page.

Cape Wind

Deepwater Wind

Fishermen’s Energy

Great Lakes Wind Collaborative

 

How Not to Monitor Your Wind Resource

The other day I was out for a run when I noticed this crazy setup:

Let’s look a little closer: [Read more…]