Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cape Wind seeking investors

Windmill Point #2

Cape Wind is poking around for equity investors to fund part of the $2b needed to build their project. I believe Energy Management Inc., developer of Cape Wind, will keep a single-digit percentage of the equity; all of the equity together will amount to more than 30% of total capital; and at least 60% of the capital will come from debt, possibly backed by a DOE loan guarantee.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Deepwater RI in court / Siemens plans Cape Wind start this year / Fishermen's gets an OK

PGH2 27

Deepwater Wind's RI project looks like it's going to go to court over its high-priced PPA. Offshore wind is costly, but even the Conservation Law Foundation, by all accounts a legit environmental group, opposes the deal, so I'm a little skeptical of the project. The other US pilot project in the works, by developer Fishermen's Energy off Atlantic City, got its state environmental permits yesterday. They still face federal permitting and a deal with the NJ BPU to set up a power purchase agreement. Will NJ have the same problems with the higher cost of a pilot project that RI faced? How will the cost-effectiveness clause of the O-REC law play out?

Siemens thinks construction will start on Cape Wind this year. I tentatively agree.

A prototype of the gigantic Vestas V164 will go up in Belwind's second project on Bligh Bank. Anyone notice anything fishy about that big rotor? It looks to me like their Coefficient of Power is looooow...

AWEA released 2010 annual installation numbers today. Wind comprised a measly 26% of installed capacity, down from 40-odd percent in 2008. The rest is mostly gas. Question 1: does it make sense to install new gas power plants when we're trying to reduce carbon emissions? 2: What about when we're trying to convert to a carbon-free economy? Andrew's quick energy policy answers to go: Yes. 2: No.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wind doesn't beach whales / Turbine prices flat / MD senator attacks bill

Beached Whale
Newsweek said in its March 28 issue that offshore wind causes whales to beach, complete with an image of a dead whale next to a wind turbine. Then Media Matters tracked down the original source of the information (a blog at the UK Daily Telegraph) and found that they'd issued an urgent (with multiple exclamation points) retraction for the erroneous report two days after its publication. This is a big deal: from now on energy lay people will associate offshore wind farms with dead whales.

Windpower Monthly had this headline a few days ago: Turbine Price Index Shows No Sign of Recovery. I'd prefer Industry Growth Means Wind Power Is Even Cheaper.

Maryland republican state senator E.J. Pipkin put out a top-eight list of reasons he hates the MD offshore wind bill. Stupid reasons: the power line need not land in Maryland, and there's no guarantee the actual power will go to Maryland. Less stupid ones: no domestic content or jobs requirement (but would such a requirement even be legal under the federal Commerce Clause?); the $2 cap could be bypassed in various ways. Baltimore Sun columnist and blogger Jay Hancock adds that he thinks a $2 increase on electricity bills is itself a big problem. The house Economic Matters Committee could vote on the bill this week, according to the chairman.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Wrap

A wind-generator sneaking up on a nuclear power plant...
Little wind turbine, big nuclear plant

Nordex launches a 6MW offshore turbine with a Britannia-sized 150m rotor. Man those OEMs sure are gearing up for offshore. Could it be more than solid UK and German policies? Are there fears of a shrinking land-based market in the EU?

Germany pulls a bunch of their nuclear plants offline after Fukushima and long-standing protests.

Vestas goes out to bid for government support: Mr Engel told the Financial Times: “We are looking to create thousands of jobs somewhere in Europe, but we haven’t decided exactly where yet. ... We need commitments from customers and politicians."

Deepwater joins GSOE and Fishermen's in launching a LIDAR wind resource measurement system, in this case on a buoy in waters off Rhode Island. My money's on LIDAR as the offshore wind resource measurement standard, rather than super-costly offshore met towers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Suzlon buys the rest of REpower

REpower is now completely Indian, and Suzlon is now number 5 in world wind turbine market share.

News from O'Malley

In the Baltimore Sun, the MD Governor stands up for his offshore wind bill: "It is important to remember that the price of electricity from wind will not fluctuate. When the Public Service Commission approves the contract, we will know how much we will be paying for 2.5 percent of our State's energy load for the next 20-25 years, a claim we can't make about the other 97.5 percent of our energy needs."