Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

For years, the interest in harnessing wind power has grown in Iowa to the point where our state is looked upon as a national leader in that alternative energy source.Recently, Iowa surpassed California to claim second-in-the-nation status in wind energy capacity, trailing only Texas. Large wind farms in rural areas have become a familiar site to motorists crossing Iowa.As technology has progressed, wind towers for neighborhood developments, even individual properties, are being considered. We've reached the point where many questions need to be answered, and ordinances discussed.The city of Cedar Falls is taking a proactive approach in keeping up with the advancements of wind power.The Planning and Zoning Commission first started crafting an ordinance on residential and commercial wind turbines six months ago. The Waverly and Waterloo zoning boards also are looking at ordinances regarding wind power.They are mulling over many issues. There are the obvious ones. Towers need to be high enough to be feasible, yet short enough to not impinge on neighboring buildings should the tower come down for any reason.Many other issues are not as obvious.Those include such considerations as noise, the throwing of ice from the rotor blades, interference with various types of communications, and shadow

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Data released Tuesday by the American Wind Energy Association show that Michigan's efforts to diversify into wind energy face some significant headwindsOrders for new wind turbines have slowed dramatically and the state lagged far behind others last year in the installation of wind turbines, the association's report shows. And any hope that production of wind turbines and parts will pick up this year largely depends on what happens in Washington."The manufacturers are not at all that optimistic," said Kathy Belyeu, AWEA's manager of industry information services. "There's a possibility 2010 could be a good year, but it could also be a slow year."Though installation of wind-generating capacity hit a record in 2009, Michigan only added 14 megawatts of capacity last year, ranking 26th out of 28 states.Michigan has only 143 megawatts of total wind-generating capacity, compared with 1,809 megawatts in Minnesota.This year, the state is supposed to gain 20.2 megawatts of capacity.Nationwide, the number of jobs associated with wind power remained flat last year, at 85,000. In 2009, 38 new wind-power manufacturing facilities came online, were announced or were expanded, one-third fewer than in 2008. 

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Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister is eyeing the potential for wind power along Haiti's coastline as part of the effort to improve the earthquake ravaged country's capacity for power production.Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Monday technology will be an important element of rebuilding in Haiti after its infrastructure was devastated in the Jan. 12 earthquake that has left most of the Caribbean country in ruins.Wind power could reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels, the minister said before a conference on Haitian reconstruction in Montreal.But experts say that while wind energy should be part of a long-term energy strategy for Haiti, it is too expensive and unreliable as a short-term source of power to fuel reconstruction.Andrew Thompson, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation,who specializes in Haiti, said Cannon was not the first person to raise wind power as an option for Haiti.The island's geography and a strong air stream makes wind power a viable possibility, he said. But he added, it requires a massive capital investment and a tremendous amount of infrastructure."There's no silver bullet for Haiti's energy needs. Wind would be one of a series of different options, I think its worth considering solar power

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A Texas-based wind energy company has chosen Clovis for its venture into wind farm operation and turbine manufacturing.Officials at Vert-I-Go, a subsidiary of Plano, Texas-based Abundant Energy, say they expect the New Mexico plant to produce 60 jobs by 2013.Vert-I-Go has reached a preliminary agreement with Clovis officials to purchase six acres south of the city's landfill, with an option for an additional 34 acres later, for a five-megawatt wind farm and manufacturing plant.Clovis Industrial Development Corporation executive director Chase Gentry says the company will bring six local jobs to Clovis in its first year. Gentry says Vert-I-Go picked Clovis because of high wind patterns and easy access to rail lines.

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On a mountain top 80 miles northeast of Bangor, Maine, in country where houses and gravel pits are mere pinpricks on a map green with forest, Paul Gaynor is making stimulus work.Gaynor, chief executive of First Wind, is using $40 million in federal funds to help build a wind farm that will produce enough power for 13,000 homes and has created 200 construction jobs.Without stimulus, First Wind's project -- and most renewable energy projects across the country -- may not have happened."To us, it's been essential to get through the nuclear winter of financing ability," Gaynor said, referring to the dark days of early 2009 right after the financial collapse. "The recovery act was the bridge that got us from a broken market to one where projects actually get done."Because of the way tax incentives worked prior to stimulus, few industries were more dependent on Wall Street profits than renewable energy.Pre-stimulus, renewable energy developments were funded largely by big banks. As an incentive to expand clean, homegrown power, the government offered generous tax credits.The credit wasn't limited to just big banks, said Ethan Zindler, head of North American research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a firm that tracks renewable energy

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After eight years of review, the future of a controversial wind farm off Cape Cod now rests in what would seem to be friendly hands - an Obama administration that's pledged to make the U.S. "the world's leading exporter of clean energy."But it's tough to tell if Cape Wind's prospects just got better or worse.Obama has never mentioned the project while talking publicly about renewable energy, despite his enthusiasm for the topic and the fact Cape Wind would be the nation's first offshore wind farm.Some Cape Wind advocates have chalked up Obama's silence to respect for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, an early and influential Obama backer. Kennedy battled the project fiercely, writing Obama of his opposition the month before he died in August from brain cancer.To add to the uncertainty, Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who pledged this month to decide whether to approve Cape Wind by the end of April, has called it "a good project." But two Obama appointees to agencies connected to the project's review have links to its chief opposition, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.U.S. National Park Service head Jonathan Jarvis is the brother of alliance consultant Destry Jarvis. And Federal Aviation Administration chief

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China Wind Power International Co Ltd, which was listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange, said in an update on its project pipeline in Du Mon County, Heilongjiang Province, including its Sino-Danish project, has been identified by the Heilongjiang Province Development and Reform Commission as one of the key development areas in the province.China Wind Power has filed the final application for its Sino-Danish project, which is expected to have an installed capacity of about 200 MW when completed, according to the statement."Heilongjiang government set up a magnificent goal for wind power development and has put huge efforts to promptly carry out its Master Plan." said Mr. Jun Liu, Chief Executive Officer of China Wind. "We are pleased and proud to be part of these efforts and to be identified as one of the key wind power projects. With the priority given by the government, we expect to obtain the approvals for our Sino-Danish project soon." The provincial government has also granted a subsidy totaling RMB 1 million to the company to support and encourage the development of is wind energy projects. In addition, the company has also been awarded an RMB 1.62 million subsidy from the Du Mon County Government

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Populations continue to swell. Cheap energy begins to fade. And rising oceans swallow urban lands.Such problems demand solutions to the current path of energy, according to scientists, business leaders and politicians who gathered at a recent public forum at UNC-Chapel Hill's William and Ida Friday Center.But it's still unclear what alternatives are viable, particularly with unproven technologies that require massive investments in an already strained economy."We are dealing with some relatively long-term issues, but they are becoming more pressing as time passes," said Thomas Meyer, director of UNC-CH's Solar Energy Research Center, which hosted this month's forum.In the relatively short term, Meyer and others said, we could turn to alternatives such as clean coal and nuclear energy. But the long-term plan should focus on a systematic transition that turns the 6 percent of renewable energy that we use - including wind, solar, and biomass - into our main power source."We have to do that before an economic dislocation," Meyer said.That goal will demand a combination of research in science and technology, economic planning and public policy that supports energy efficiency.Energy storage presents a major obstacle to that end."Basically, energy storage is needed for the grid of the future," said John

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PPG Commercial Coatings today launched its advanced "thin-film" HSP-7401 Polyurethane Primer and AUE-50000 Series Polyurethane Topcoat wind turbine blade coating system. The coating system is designed specifically for wind turbine blades and uses a thinner build to reduce labor, material use and weight while providing unparalleled adhesion, erosion resistance and flexibility protection properties. PPG technical teams from around the world collaborated in developing the system. "With the growing international demand for alternative, renewable energy forms, we know how important wind energy is," said Dave Chapman, PPG global marketing director, commercial coatings. "PPG is extremely active in supporting wind blade manufacturers through the development and application of superior coatings for their products. The HSP-7401 primer and AUE-50000 Series topcoat system sets a new standard for efficiency and will dramatically increase blade protection and durability while also lowering production and life-cycle costs." The PPG HSP-7401/AUE-50000 series system was developed through extensive global testing against a wide range of blade coating standards and specifications. The polyurethane primer and topcoat components were specifically designed to work together. Using up to 60% less applied film than conventional polyurethane multi-coat systems, they provide outstanding adhesion and flexibility. HSP-7401 primer delivers outstanding adhesion to the composite substrate,

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The head of one of the largest utilities in Massachusetts is not sold on the state's largest wind power project.NStar chief executive Thomas May said yesterday that although he believes in alternative energy, he's not counting on the proposed Cape Wind project.Cape Wind, which has been supported by the Patrick administration, would place wind turbines in Nantucket Sound to generate electricity. The plan has been mired in environmental, permitting, and other issues for nine years."We're agnostic,'' May said during a meeting with Globe editors and reporters. "We haven't done enough to research or analyze the issues that surround Nantucket Sound, so I don't have an opinion on whether it's the right place or not.''May, who described himself as an advocate of wind energy in general, said he also questioned whether Cape Wind's planned 130 turbines could provide energy at a reasonable price to customers. He predicted energy prices would remain stable in the next few years, but would ultimately be driven upward by the cost of renewable technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels. Massachusetts already has some of the highest electricity prices in the country."Clean energy isn't cheaper energy,'' he said.NStar competitor National Grid is currently negotiating a

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