New York wind power updates

First Wind secures loan for Cohocton Wind project.

First Wind, an independent North American wind power developer, today announced that it has secured a non-recourse term loan from HSH Nordbank AG and NORD/LB for its 125 megawatt (MW) Cohocton Wind power project in Cohocton, NY [in operation since January 2009]. This is the first non-recourse term loan extended for a project utilizing wind turbine power generators produced by Clipper Windpower. First Wind, 4/1

The New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) suspends NY Public Service Commission (PSC) transmission line application, citing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decision not to review its recent decision approving the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) transmission tariff. Per NYRI, that decision made making and operating the proposed 190-mile line uneconomic. Letter from NYRI CEO

GE capital infusion to Noble Environmental Power, per the two companies:

[Noble]  has received long-term capital for its 330-megawatt wind power projects in western and northern New York state. GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE (NYSE: GE), invested more than $200 million in the portfolio, which includes the Noble Altona, Chateaugay and Wethersfield Windparks. A syndicate of banks and financial institutions provided long-term debt, including letters of credit, totaling approximately $440 million. GE 4/6

North Harmony looking at wind law. Post Journal 4/5

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar touts offshore wind‘s potential:

“More than three-fourths of the nation’s electricity demand comes from coastal states and the wind potential off the coasts of the lower 48 states actually exceeds our entire U.S. electricity demand,” Salazar told a summit meeting of 25X’25 America’s Energy Future, a group working to lower America’s carbon emissions. DOI 4/2 See also http://www.doi.gov/ocs.

This blogger attended last week’s terrifically interesting MIT offshore wind technology workshop and left a believer in the potential of offshore wind to contribute to the nation’s energy mix.  Whether the turbines are anchored to the ocean floor or suspended in the water with buoyancy, offshore offers some significant advantages over on-shore projects including proximity to coastal load centers and NIMBY avoidance. If DOI and FERC can learn to work together, costs can be reduced some, and (especially in the case of monopile turbines) construction vessels built, we may be poised for an explosion of offshore wind activity. Nice write up of the workshop at RenewableEnergyWorld.com; and a video here.

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2 Responses

  1. What other advantages does offshore offer other than proximity to coastal load centers?

  2. My layperson understanding is that, generally speaking, the wind is steadier and stronger offshore and less prone to variation problems associated with topography and obstructions (e.g., buildings and trees). Remember also that power generation has a cubic relationship to wind speed. Furthermore, the NIMBY problem can be substantially mitigated. Nevertheless, proximity to the load center should not be underestimated. Not having to build hundreds of miles of transmission lines across land could be quite desirable.

    None of this is to say that offshore wind farming doesn’t present its own challenges or drawbacks.

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