The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Will the renewable energy engine be re-started?
Partnering for Acceleration Growth in Wind Power The Politics of Solar Siting PLUSâ€Ś
Geothermal Buyers Guide & WINDPOWER 2009 show in print
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RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR A COMPLEX WORLD Wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, and bioenergyâ€”these sources offer clean and sustainable alternatives to help meet the worldâ€™s rising energy demands. Tetra Tech supports energy projects from the earliest site investigation through operations and maintenance, with expertise in facilities siting, environmental studies, permitting, engineering design, and construction, including EPC and BOP. Tetra Tech provides clear solutions in consulting, engineering, program management, construction, and technical services worldwide. www.tetratech.com
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The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Will the renewable energy engine be re-started?
Partnering for Acceleration Growth in Wind Power
March/April 2009 Volume 3, Number 2
The Politics of Solar Siting
The Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Will the renewable energy engine be re-started?
Geothermal Geotherm Geother mal B Buyers Guide & WINDPOWER 2009 show in print
Partnering for Accelerated Growth: Developing a strong supply chain
Project Site Performance & Design: Achieving Quality Measurements in Anemometer Calibration
View from the Top: Fall protection and rescue during wind turbine construction
Small VAWT Technology: Ideal for urban settings
Preserving Ecology when Designing a Wind Farm: The evolution of renewable energy in the Galapagos Islands
The Race to Develop Utility Scale Solar Projects: Project siting, permitting, timing, and more
Reading Between the Lines: Solar Photovoltaic systems
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Waste to Energy
Beyond the Solar Panel: Building Integrated Photovoltaics
Biomass and Biofuels
Politics of Solar Siting
Making it Worth the Risk Risk transfer methodology for renewables
Advertiser Website Directory
WINDPOWER 2009 Show in Print
Part II: The Price of Geothermal Power
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North American Clean Energy is published bi-monthly by Action Media Ltd. Subscriptions: $48 per year. Foreign $89 per year. Editorial, Advertising, Production and Circulation are at 255 Newport Drive, Suite 336, Port Moody, B.C. V3H 5H1 (604) 461-6223. North American Clean Energy accepts no responsibility or liability for reported claims made by manufacturers and/or distributors for products or services; the views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of North American Clean Energy. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of
GEOTHERMAL BUYERS GUIDE
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2009 Geothermal Buyers Guide
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Photo by Michelle Moore
editor’s note Sometimes it seems all we need is right in front of us. The sun, wind, and waves (at least for those of us on the coast) are just outside. Organic matter surrounds us. Yet, it never fails to amaze me how scientists and researchers can turn the seemingly every day and ordinary into something extraordinary and powerful. Take butterflies, for example. One or two fluttering by might make the perfect summer day for you or me; but researchers have discovered that those pretty little wings may actually hold the secret to higher efficiency solar cells. Turns out butterfly wings have scales that act as miniature solar collectors, leading scientists in Japan and China to design a more efficient solar cell that could be used for powering our homes, businesses, and possibly more. Canadian company WhalePower, as their name might suggest, took inspiration for designing wind turbines from the ocean. They were intrigued by the flippers of Humpback whales, which are lined with irregular bumps or tubercles that would appear to promote anything but smooth sailing. Yet, these mammals—all 75,000-plus pounds of them—move with remarkable ease and agility, even swimming in tight circles to capture their prey. As a result of a complex combination of dynamics and biomechanics, wind turbines built with similar tubercles (or Tubercle Technology as WhalePower calls it) demonstrate reduced drag time, increased stable lift and pitch performance—much like the Humpback.
Yet another company is following in Mother Nature’s footsteps, albeit reproducing what in nature it takes years to grow: trees. Made up of “Nanoleaves,” each individual Nanoleaf on these synthetic trees is said to be much like a natural leaf, which flows back and forth in the wind. According to designers Solar Botanic, with multiple Nanoleaves and strong winds, “a tree can produce between 2000 and 12,000 kWh of energy per year.” Bear in mind, these trees don’t just use wind, but a combination of Nano photovoltaic-Nanothermovoltaic and Nanopiezo generators, which are said to convert light, heat, and wind energy into green electricity (learn more at www.solarbotanic.com). Certainly, we do not lack for ideas, research, or inspiration in the renewable energy sector. The answers to our environmentally conscious energy needs are, at least in part, found within the environment itself. Now the question remains as to how much research will be stunted as a result of a failing economy, at least in North America. For a breakdown of the new stimulus plan and its effect on renewable energy efforts in the US, turn to page 8. For the latest products and services that will be presented at WINDPOWER 2009 this May, the largest annual wind conference and exhibition in the world, check out page 38. And, this issue’s Buyers Guide, which focuses on geothermal energy, is on page 65. We hope this issue inspires even more new ideas, research, and project…from nature and beyond.
Sincerely, Michelle Froese
news bites Report forecasts 37 million jobs from renewable energy and energy efﬁciency in US by 2030
The renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) industries represented more than nine million jobs and $1,045 billion in US revenue in 2007, says a new report released by the non-profit American Solar Energy Society (ASES), which offers the most detailed analysis yet of the green economy. Accordingly, the renewable energy industry grew three times as fast as the US economy, with solar thermal, photovoltaic, biodiesel, and ethanol sectors leading the way, each with 25%+ annual revenue growth. Key conclusions from this report include:
• Renewable energy and energy efficiency currently provide more than nine million jobs and $1,045 billion in revenue in the US (2007). • 95% of the jobs are in private industry. • As many as 37 million jobs can be generated by the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries in the US by 2030—more than 17% of all anticipated US employment. • Hottest sectors include solar thermal, solar photovoltaics, biofuels, and fuel cells (in terms of revenue growth). • Hot job areas include electricians, mechanical engineers, welders, metal workers, construction managers, accountants, analysts, environmental scientists, and chemists. The vast majority of jobs created by the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries are in the same types of roles seen in other industries (accountants, factory workers, IT professionals, etc). • Renewable energy and energy efficiency can create millions of well-paying jobs, many of which are not subject to foreign outsourcing. These jobs are in two categories that every state is eager to attract—college-educated professional workers (many with advanced degrees), and highly skilled technical workers. • The renewable energy industry grew more than three times as fast as the US economy in 2007 (not including hydropower). Renewable energy is also growing more rapidly than the energy efficiency industry, but the energy efficiency industry is currently much larger than the renewable energy industry. The full report is at: www.ases.org/greenjobs 6
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Energy efﬁciency programs can reduce growth in electricity consumption by 22%
Energy efficiency programs in the United States could realistically reduce the rate of growth for electricity consumption by 22% over the next two decades if key barriers can be addressed, according to an analysis released by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The potential energy savings in 2030 would be 236 billion kilowatt hours, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 14 New York Cities. Stated differently, the demand for electricity over the next two decades could be reduced from the 1.07% annual growth rate projected by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its 2008 Annual Energy Outlook down to 0.83%, slowing the rate of increase by approximately 22%. The analysis comes at a time when utilities, regulators, and policymakers are aggressively seeking ways to meet growing electricity demand while reducing the nation’s carbon footprint. The key challenge is to maximize potential gains in energy efficiency while ensuring adequate new electric generation to maintain reliability and meet future demand. The EPRI analysis, entitled “Assessment of Achievable Savings Potential From Energy Efficiency and Demand Response in the US,” found that under an ideal set of conditions conducive to energy efficiency programs, the consumption growth rate could be further reduced to as low as 0.68% annually by 2030. However, achieving the ideal would require costly investments as well as political and regulatory support. The report defines a realistic achievable figure that includes a forecast of likely customer behavior, taking into account existing market, societal, and attitudinal barriers, as well as regulatory and program funding barriers. The barriers could reflect customers’ resistance to doing more than the minimum required or a rejection of the attributes of the efficient technology. A maximum achievable figure assumes a scenario of perfect customer awareness of utility or agency administered programs and effective, fully funded program execution. The maximum achievable number includes the effect of customer rejection of efficiency technologies. For its baseline assumptions, the EPRI study relied on EIA projections of growth in electricity consumption and peak demand for the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors from its 2008 Annual Energy Outlook. The EPRI report and its executive summary can be downloaded online. “This study is well suited to inform utilities, policymakers, regulators, and other stakeholder groups,” said Arshad Mansoor, vice president of Power Delivery and Utilization for EPRI. “Estimates of energy efficiency potential affect forecasts of electricity demand, and electric utilities must make prudent investments in generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure to reliably and cost-effectively address this demand.” Faced with the challenges of managing energy resources wisely, maintaining low-cost reliable power service, and reducing carbon emissions, utilities and policy makers are looking to energy efficiency as a means to achieve these objectives. Many states have established, or are considering, legislation to mandate energy efficiency savings levels. EPRI | www.epri.com
ENERGY STAR residential water heater program
EnerWorks solar water heating appliances are the first to qualify for the Department of Energy’s new ENERGY STAR residential water heater program. EnerWorks two, three, and four collector High Performance appliances, as well as all SpaceSaver single tank solar + electric appliances, bear the ENERGY STAR registered trademark. The ENERGY STAR program for residential water heaters went into effect on January 1st, 2009. Qualifying products are posted on the Energy STAR website. For more information, please visit www.energystar.gov/waterheaters. EnerWorks | www.enerworks.com
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The Group 3/11/09 1:36 PM
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Will the renewable energy engine be re-started?
Ed Feo is a partner in the international law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. He co-chairs the Firm’s project finance and energy practice and is a member of the Firm’s Global Executive Committee.
By Ed Feo | Milbank Tweed Hadley & Mc Cloy LLP
n my last column, I discussed the status of the discussion in the transition period on energy legislation and, of increasing importance, getting the economy moving again. The slow, downward spiral of the economy in 2008 turned into a sickening dive after the Lehman bankruptcy in September 2008, and the debate on restructuring our energy infrastructure was overwhelmed by the need to stimulate the economy. After the new administration took office, the drumbeat of bad economic news continued. With impressive alacrity, Congress debated and passed, and the President signed, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Act”), a $789 billion package of appropriations and tax benefits intended to get the economy back on its feet. Renewable energy fares extremely well under the Act in terms of grants, loan guarantees, and tax breaks. Among the notable provisions are the following:
The Act extends the section 45 production tax credits (“PTC”) for certain renewable energy generating facilities. Under the Act, to qualify for PTCs, wind energy facilities must be placed in service by year-end 2012. Qualifying closed- and open-loop biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic facilities (together with wind, the “eligible facilities”) must be placed in service by year-end 2013. No PTC extension is provided for small irrigation power, refined coal, and Indian coal production facilities. ITC Election
In lieu of claiming PTCs, the Act allows qualifying wind, closed- and open-loop biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic facilities placed in service after December 31st, 2008, and before the relevant PTC expiration date (year-end 2012 in the case of wind, and year-end 2013 for all others) to elect an investment tax credit (“ITC”) for 30% of the costs of new equipment. Prior to the Act, only solar facilities were eligible for the up-front 30% ITC. Geothermal facilities had been permitted a 10% ITC, but this is increased to 30% by the Act. Bonus depreciation, permitting an additional depreciation deduction equal to 50% of the adjusted basis of property, is extended to eligible property placed in service in 2009. Section 45 has also been amended to permit a lessor of an eligible facility to qualify for the PTC (or ITC). Previously, this financing device was only available for certain biomass facilities. Renewable Energy Grants
The ability to claim a cash grant in lieu of a tax credit is, perhaps, the most remarkable option afforded by the Act. Under the innovative new program, the monetization of tax credits is provided directly by the government: the Act directs the Department of Treasury to issue grants equal to 30% of the cost of facilities that would otherwise qualify for the ITC. The grant program is available for 30% of the cost of eligible facilities, 30% of the cost of fuel cell, solar, and small-wind energy properties that qualify for the ITC under Section 48, and 10% of the cost of qualified microturbine, combined heat and power, and geothermal heat pump property. No PTC or ITC may be claimed for facilities for which a grant was made. The program is designed to spur development in the near-term. As such, to be eligible for a grant, a project must either: 1) be placed in service in 2009 or 2010, or 2) initiate construction in 2009 or 2010 and be complete by the “credit termination date,” defined as 2013 for wind; 2014 for closed- and open-loop biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic facilities; and, 2017 for fuel cell, solar, small-wind energy, and other properties that qualify for the ITC under Section 48. 8
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The Act requires that grants be paid by the Treasury Department expeditiously, within a period of not more than 60 days after the later of: 1) the date of application, or 2) the placement in service date. However, because of the post-completion funding of the grants, the program will not directly provide construction financing. The Treasury Department is expected to provide guidance in defining what constitutes an application and how “begins construction” is defined. Finally, grants under the program are not taxable income: the Act specifically provides that the grant is not to be included in the recipient taxpayer’s calculation of gross income. Enhanced Loan Guarantee Program
The Recovery Act expands the current federal loan guarantee programs under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to permit loan guarantees for proven renewable energy, transmission, and biofuels projects. The new program makes loan guarantees formerly available only to “new or innovative technologies,” now available for: 1) “renewable energy systems, including incremental hydropower, that generate electricity or thermal energy, and facilities that manufacture related components,” 2) “electric power transmission systems, including upgrading and reconductoring projects,” and 3) “leading edge biofuel projects.” Loan guarantees under the new program are available for projects that commence construction no later than September 30th, 2011. In addition, the Act appropriates $6.0 billion to pay for the costs of loan guarantees under the new program. This appropriation to subsidize the cost of loan guarantees is expected to support $60 billion in loan guarantees. Furthermore, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has committed the DOE to begin offering loan guarantees under the augmented program by early summer 2009, and to disperse 70% of the Recovery Act investment by December 2010. Secretary Chu has indicated that he will streamline and simplify the loan application process, defer the payments of fees to closing, permit accelerated underwriting by outside partners, and allow rolling appraisals of applications. What are the Consequences for Financing?
A few of these provisions merit further discussion… The extension of the PTC for three years, the option to elect an ITC in lieu of the PTC, and the availability of a grant in lieu of claiming the ITC on a tax return are all good news for renewables relying on the federal tax incentive scheme. Tax incentives are fine if there are taxpayers able to use them. But the combination of restrictive tax rules, plus the financial services sector meltdown has meant that there have been only a handful of investors actually able to monetize these benefits. The grant in lieu of credit scheme means the federal government is replacing the tax equity investor in monetizing the ITC—and at a rate in excess of the value that a private investor would offer. The next challenge involves what to do with accelerated depreciation, the other federal tax benefit available to these projects. With the ability to engage in a financing lease for any renewable project, the optimal structure would appear to be a lease of the project, with the tax equity investor being the lessor and using the depreciation. We believe that these transactions can be structured such that either the lessee or the lessor may receive the ITC grant (and there may be better reasons in terms of tax efficiency for the lessee to take it). This lease could then be leveraged with debt. Although this approach seems the most efficient scheme, there is one problem: there are not enough tax equity investors in the current market willing to absorb the early year losses incurred with accelerated depreciation. So, what’s the solution? It may be that for many projects, the capital structure will be the ITC grant (think of this, essentially, as a buy down equal to 30% of the installed capital cost of the project) with the remaining portion of the capital structure covered by senior debt and any remaining gap filled with pre-tax equity or mezzanine debt. In this structure, the project sponsor, as the continuing owner, will absorb the deprecia-
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tion, booking losses in the years of accelerated depreciation, and carry those losses forward to later years when the project generates taxable income. Though this is not as efficient as a front-end monetization of the depreciation (if for no other reason than the time value of money to the sponsor), it may be the easier deal to do in the market of 2009. So, who isn’t excited about the ITC grant? Any project that qualifies for PTC and has a high capacity factor. There are a number of e-mailed tables circulating in the project finance world showing the crossover where the project capacity factor makes the PTC preferred to the ITC. The math can be simply stated as: 2.2 cents/kwh times high output has a higher net present value than 30% of the capital cost. Geothermal projects, in particular, are disadvantaged because they have very high capacity factors. What’s the upshot? There is a market of projects where private investors can provide a better deal than the federal government, and we expect that the tax equity world (as small as it currently is) will be focused on these projects. What about debt? The debt market actually seems to have hit bottom. There are a number of lenders still in business, although this number is reduced and their hold positions may be lower. The lenders include some of the companies formerly active as tax equity investors. The consequence is that deals currently are looking at $200 to $300 million as the maximum amount of debt. Although this level should rise as the financial sector recovers, for the time being the effect is that portfolio transactions (grouping together a number of projects into one transaction) are less likely, and mid-sized single asset deals are in the sweet spot of the market. Rates, of course, also reflect the financial times. Margins on senior debt are in the 300-plus basis point range compared to less than 200 a year or more ago. Mezzanine debt, a slice of current focus from private equity firms, carries a pre-tax rate in the mid-teens. Unless, of course, we consider the effect of the federal loan guarantee program. The existing federal loan guarantee program did not advance much of anything, as no guaranties were granted, mainly as a result of underfunding and understaffing of the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Office. But the current administration has made it clear that the guarantees and grants contemplated by the Act will move out the door briskly. The principle benefits of the federal loan guarantee will be to permit larger-scale financings, for a longer term and at lower rates on debt, than the current market will be able to offer without a guarantee cover. For larger projects, especially with newer technology, we expect the federal loan guarantee program to be the way to financial close in 2009. The interesting issues, among
others, will be how the Department of Energy decides to prioritize among very different competing technologies (commercialized large-scale wind versus less commercialized large-scale solar thermal, or for that matter even less developed technologies), and how the federal loan guarantee program will fare in terms of default risk given the current push to get money out the door.
What’s next? The Administration is moving forward with additional energy legislation to address other challenges to the conversion to a flexible, green electric system. We should expect the federal renewable portfolio standard to receive much attention. Transmission siting will be on the agenda. Bills are already circulating on both topics. And, of course, at some point in the next two years, climate
change legislation. How the politics of these portions of the energy agenda play out is not yet clear, in light of the extraordinary priority of economic recovery. Stay tuned! Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP www.milbank.com
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been an industry leader with 79 projects and more than 7,600 megawatts installed in North America, totaling over $2 billion. Since launching our children’s book, Catch the Wind, Mortenson team members have visited schools across the country, teaching the next generation about wind power and renewable energy. At Mortenson, we’re proud to serve the communities we work within.
Mortenson Renewable Energy Groups For more information contact: Elling C. Olson at 762-287-5489 or firstname.lastname@example.org www.mortenson.com
North American Clean Energy
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Partnering for Accelerated Growth Developing a strong supply chain By Juan Marin & Matthew Turnbull
We are experiencing a difficult eco-
nomic environment, and many manufacturers in the wind sector are evaluating long-term partnerships to position their businesses for short-term profitability and longer-term share growth. The ability to properly assess strategic partnerships and, ultimately, select preferred suppliers is critical for ongoing competitiveness and profitable growth. Strategic sourcing teams for turbine, tower, blade, and nacelle manufacturers are being challenged to contribute to the global growth of their companies. A need to develop a strong supply chain among diverse operations is becoming an important consideration in terms of market entry acceleration, competitive positioning, and long-term viability. Highlighted are a few key elements strategic suppliers should embrace when considering a partner for a supply chain. Every single component or service is reflected in the end product, the brand, the market position and, ultimately, in a customer’s perception. When evaluating
strategic partnerships, it is important to evaluate all of the company’s requirements, so as to establish a lasting relationship, to achieve competitiveness, and profitable growth. Global. With an interest in pursuing new markets and accelerating the efficiency of new operations, a global scale is increasingly important. Today’s requirement for the expansion of renewable energy, and the rapid expansion of new markets, demands a truly global partner that can help accelerate entry into these markets, while seamlessly integrating existing operations and associated business practices. Wind industry expertise. Partnering with a supplier that has industry expertise is of great importance. Considerations for existing suppliers, as well as for pending supplier qualifications, include: benefitting from those suppliers that can offer the best practices to accelerate localization, optimize
transportation and logistics costs, and reduce supplier and component qualification cycles. A good supplier proposes key benefits for an operation—this is a live process, one that continually seeks better ways and alternatives to improve operations. In short, identify and partner with suppliers that understand the wind sector, can aid with localization efforts, and transfer practices that positively impact operations. Healthy balance sheet. It is important to consider the financial condition of all critical or “tier 1” supplier relationships. Far too often, manufacturers are forced to terminate supply agreements due to under-capitalized manufacturers supplying critical path components, lacking the resource or capacity to scale, or meet the dynamic needs of turbine, tower, and blade manufacturers. Establishing long-term relationships, while ensuring key suppliers are well managed, have proven track records, and can support a company’s goals are important considerations. There are many operating risks in managing today’s global supply chain, and companies would be wise to eliminate or reduce as much credit and capitalization risk, particularly in the volatile financial markets we have now. Stable material supply. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) should focus on securing critical path components. Whether pursu-
We Know Renewable Energy Troutman Sanders LLP is one of the world’s leading energy law firms. We have represented clients in energy matters since the 1920s, and our climate change practice has been active for nearly two decades. From this foundation of experience, we have developed a dynamic renewable and alternative energy practice that advises clients worldwide at every stage, from investment and tax structuring to development, construction and operation. As your plans for solar, wind and other renewable energy projects emerge, put the energy of our lawyers to work for you. For more information, contact: Craig Kline 212.704.6150 craig.kline@ troutmansanders.com
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ing a vertically integrated strategy or securing critical components via an out-source model, resources should be focused on critical component supply. Supplier rationalization, which is common in many other industries, is becoming more important in the wind sector. Global sourcing and localization is essential to assure competitive pricing and the right mix in a product portfolio. Finding the balance to ensure resources are allocated strategically, while maintaining consistent quality and proper inventory positions of critical and noncritical parts that support manufacturing and project implementation, is becoming increasingly significant. Robust quality system. One of the most important decisions is material quality. Ensuring quality control and consistency in manufacturing routines is critical to ensure delivery of quality components. Eliminating any variation in results is key, so components or materials will perform as designed for the expected life of the turbine, significantly reducing field failure, and downstream costs associated with remediation. Increasing the importance of quality evaluation in the supplier selection criteria involves a delicate balance between localization requirements, resource constraints, and logistics constraints as OEMs expand into new markets. A prospective supplier’s quality infrastructure is an important consideration, one that with due diligence should evoke confidence that the product or service is meeting overall quality requirements. Working capital. Cash flow is a hot topic, particularly given the global financial crisis, and the impact on project and delivery delays. The ability to rapidly adjust to production and project schedule changes is vital. Equally important as the ability to react to demand changes is a capacity for global inventory re-balancing. Partners should improve working capital and accommodate changing global business conditions, while providing a significant operating and financial impact. Business practices. Integrity and ethical business practices are the foundation for sustainable business relationships. The aforementioned elements are all significant; however, ensuring your supplier selection closely evaluates general business practices and fosters a culture of openness will cement a lasting and mutually beneficial business relationship. Gexpro | www.gexpro.com
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Portable ﬁltration system
Designed with wind turbine maintenance in mind, the Donaldson Filter Buddy will help improve fluid cleanliness, helping to extend equipment life. It is a handheld portable system that enables kidney loop filtration on gear boxes or hydraulic reservoirs in tight and confined spaces. Its small size and light weight (approximately 45lbs) allows users to carry it up or downstairs, or lift with a hoist via the attached lift ring. The Filter Buddy features dual filtration utilizing Donaldson’s exclusive high-efficiency Synteq filter media. The filters are plumbed in series providing the option of coarse/fine particle removal or water removal/ particle removal. The Filter Buddy is available to pump hydraulic fluids and gear oils up to 8000 SSU.
Simulation tool for wind turbines
Donaldson Company, Inc. | Industrial Hydraulics www.donaldson.com/en/ih
Simerics, Inc.’s PumpLinx v2.4 is a CFD simulation tool created for designers of pumps, compressors, turbines, and other fluid devices with rotating or sliding components. Starting with a 3-D CAD design, PumpLinx enables the engineer to create a virtual test article and generate flow visualization and engineering output as accurate as a full-scale hardware test at a fraction of the time and cost. PumpLinx can be successfully used for the design of water and wind turbines, as well as other power-generation devices. PumpLinx helps improve efficiency, minimize cavitation, control pressure ripple, reduce noise, and predicts pressure, loads, and power. Key advantages are automated grid generation, a robust and accurate cavitation model, ease-of-use, and same day turn-around. The accuracy of the code has been thoroughly validated against production hardware. Simerics, Inc. | www.simerics.com
Drive train with optimized permanent magnet generator
The Switch offers a drive train for megawatt-class wind turbines that utilizes an optimized permanent magnet generator (PMG) and full-power converter package. The Switch Drive allows active power extracted from the turbine, and the reactive power produced, to be precisely controlled over a range of operating speeds. The Switch’s PMG maintains efficiency in partial load situations, producing high output despite variable wind speeds. It is available in traditionally geared, semi-geared, or gearless designs. The full-power converter allows for a 100% reactive power feed, even in the absence of wind. It features lightweight construction, modular power packs with liquid or air cooling, customizable software developed for a range of turbine designs and wind conditions, and a rugged design that provides grid support through FRT functionality. The Switch | www.theswitch.com
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Project Site Performance & Design
Achieving Quality Measurements in Anemometer Calibration By John Obermeier and Rachael Coquilla
ecent conferences and workshop presentations on power production have noted that, on average, actual power production has been 10% below predicted estimates. This difference may be driven by the uncertainties in wind power predictions and in the operation of the wind power plant. Accurate wind speed readings are important in wind project site performance through the use of wind turbine power curves and historical wind speed distributions. Fundamentally, wind power is proportional to the cube of the wind speed, translating small errors in wind speed measurements to a much greater error in the wind energy production estimate. To achieve required measurement precision, it is recommended that calibrated anemometers be employed and post-deployment calibrations be performed as a check on the process. Anemometer calibration is essentially the relationship of the anemometerâ€™s raw output to a reference wind speed measurement. Performing anemometer calibrations provide an important quality check on a resource assessment project, but it is equally important to assure the quality of the calibration performed. Factors to consider
when selecting a qualified test laboratory include: 1. Calibration test method 2. Test facility capability 3. Personnel background and experience 4. Quality management system accreditation 5. Participation in inter-laboratory comparisons
to recognized national standards, such as NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). As required by published standards, test methods should record and report all relevant variables during each test, including local test conditions such as temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity.
1. Calibration test method
Considerations for test facility capability should include investigations in the applicable test speed range, facility flow quality evaluation, and uncertainty for each measurement point. For wind energy applications, a recommended test speed range is 4 m/s to 26 m/s, which matches the typical range of wind turbine cut-in speed (4 m/s) and cut-out speed (26 m/s). It is particularly important to review the facility flow quality since the basic idea of calibration is to find a quality representation of wind speed to the signal output of an anemometer under test. Uncertainty is essentially the key value that represents the quality of the test lab, since it summarizes all the possible factors that could affect the calibration. Other important factors for evaluating
Anemometers are calibrated in a wide variety of test methods, including sideby-side sensors on a meteorological tower, outflow from a pipe or fan, moving vehicle, and multiple sensors in a wind tunnel. According to test methods defined in standards, it is generally accepted that only wind tunnels with one anemometer at a time provide the required level of control over experimental variables. Wind tunnel reference sensors can be Pitot tubes, hot wire anemometers, LDV (laser Doppler velocimetry), or model substitution. It is important to use reference sensors that are traceable to internationally recognized standards. Currently, most qualified laboratories in the wind industry use Pitot tubes (with related sensors and transducers) traceable
2. Test facility capability
the capabilities of a test facility include the method of sensor installation at the appropriate location, the ability to record the anemometer output signal along with other test variables, and the time required to complete the work. Regardless of the test method, a sensor is installed in a test facility so that its presence does not disturb the measurement of the local wind speed. To have a quality calibration, the reference wind speed is essentially a measure of the undisturbed wind ahead of the anemometer under test. For most rotating anemometers, output signals may present some type of a waveform whether a sine wave, square wave, or even an impulse. Consideration must be made to the method at which a test lab would read such signals, and converting the signal into a measured rotating rate or frequency. A final capability consideration is the time required to complete the work; customers involved in tower installations may require faster turnaround times to meet project deadlines. 3. Personnel background and experience
Experience of laboratory personnel should also be reviewed. Relevant experience includes wind resource assessment work, measurement and instrumentation experience, knowledge in atmospheric boundary layer meteorology, background and training in aerodynamics, and experience with experimental methods. To design the capabilities of a test facility for calibrating anemometers, laboratory personnel should have basic knowledge in fluid flow and laboratory instrumentation. To understand the application of anemometer calibration, background in field assessment and atmospheric meteorology is critical. Continuous participation in the wind industry would reflect the overall experience of the test facility. 4. Quality management system accreditation
A quality management system accreditation is recommended. The most commonly used accreditation standard in test laboratories is ISO/IEC 17025:2005. Laboratories use ISO/IEC 17025:2005 to implement a quality system aimed at improving their ability to consistently produce valid results. It is also the basis used by an independent accreditation body to assess test laboratories. Since the standard is about competence, accredita12
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tion is a formal recognition of a demonstration of that competence.
A new design of wing, based on aircraft technology, made it possible to provide a highly efficient, compact, and silent wind generator. It starts to rotate at 1.2 mph wind and reaches maximum output at 12 mph. Because of the high efficiency, even at lower wind speed, application is quite wide without constructing the high tower, which might have disturbed the landscape, Maintenance is quite easy.
5. Participation in interlaboratory comparisons
Participation in inter-laboratory comparisons is critical. Inter-laboratory comparisons provide an external check on the validity of laboratory results. For this case, it is critical to investigate a common sensor and the methods used to perform inter-laboratory comparisons. In the mid-1980s, a comparison program was started using an RM Young Propeller designated as the Round Robin 2 (RR2). This program continues to be active and has included test labs from all over the world. Inter-laboratory comparisons have also been performed by MEASNET, the international Measuring Network of Wind Energy Institutes. Some members of MEASNET include laboratories in Germany, Denmark, Spain, and Greece.
Riso Kagaku Corporation | www.riso.co.jp
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OTECH Engineering, Inc. www.otechwind.com
\M__U[ZR[^Na_UZQ__$ _[Xa`U[Z_R[^XUbUZS$ Addinol lubricants
Unicoatings Canada has been appointed a Canadian distributor for Addinol Oil products. Addinol is a line of long-lasting, environmentally friendly, oil products manufactured in Germany. Addinol also has a “Longlife x 4” program that warrantees the life of oil for gears for up to four years. For instance, Addinol lubricating oils for wind turbines carry a four-year warranty, and will not support oxidation, micro pitting, or allow sludge buildup. The low co-efficiency of friction (0.05 to 0.06) helps produce more power with less energy. Conversely, machinery will turn easier with less energy used (ex. either carbon fuels or electricity). Unicoatings is a worldwide distribution network, and Unicoatings Canada is part of this system, dedicated to supplying the highest quality nanocoatings (Unicoatings brand line of products), Rewitec Nanocoating, Kustom Shop Quality Automotive Products, and now the Addinol line of lubricating oils and greases. Unicoatings Canada www.unicoatings.ca | www.addinol.de
is home to the world’s largest producer of renewable energy— and many other companies that are generating better solutions to make renewable energy available for everyone. From advanced photovoltaics and high-yield solar parks to state-of-the-art wind turbines and biofuels, discover how Spain-based companies can help your business succeed.
BU_U`_\MUZ`QOTZ[X[Se$O[Y%QZQ^Se North American Clean Energy
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View from the Top Fall protection and rescue during wind turbine construction By Steve Jervis
he view from the top of a newly constructed wind turbine is spectacular. Standing atop the nacelle, the worker can see for miles around, a perspective that only those brave enough to work at extreme heights can enjoy. Along with the rolling vista, however, the ground—often hundreds of feet down—is only one spine-chilling glance away. For those who work in the wind turbine construction industry, fall protection is a primary safety concern. The world’s tallest wind tower reaches a height of almost 525 feet (160 meters), and with new construction continuing to push the limits, workers are exposed to a unique set of dangerous fall hazards. After the infrastructure and foundation work has been completed at a construction site, individual sections of a tower will be installed. This involves work from a ladder system installed within the tower sections, which may or may not have a vertical fall arrest system in place. If a cable or rail ladder safety system is not in place, one can be specified and installed onsite. A ladder safety system is designed to stop or arrest a fall should a worker slip or let go of a rung. Running the length of the ladder, this system can either be a stainless or galvanized steel cable, or an aluminum or stainless steel rail. A shuttle or sleeve connected to the system attaches to a worker’s full-body harness and follows the worker’s movements up and down the ladder. Should a fall occur, a brake will engage in the shuttle/sleeve to arrest the fall. Once a tower is complete, the nacelle (the structure at the top of a tower, housing the electrical control units and generator) will be installed. This will require installation of cabling that runs the length of the tower, which can be completed from a service lift or ladder. If using a service lift, a full-body harness connected to a lanyard and tied off to the lift should be worn. If working from the ladder, a restraint or work positioning device should be used to allow a worker use of both hands—and this should be in addition to the fall arrest system. When the rotor (the combination of the blades and hub) is lifted in preparation for attachment to the nacelle, workers will need to be outside, atop the nacelle. In almost all cases, built-in anchorage points will be available for connection of a shock absorbing lanyard or self retracting lifeline (SRL). Before a worker steps onto the nacelle, he or she should attach one end of the lanyard or SRL to the anchor, and the other end to the dorsal D-ring of his or her harness. Twin-leg lanyards and SRLs offer an advantage as they allow for 100% tie-off. Should a worker need to switch anchorage points, he can keep one leg of the lanyard connected to the first anchor point, while he connects the other leg to a second anchor point. Upon connection to the second anchor point, he would remove the leg connected to the original anchor point. Other anchorage options for the nacelle are tie-off adaptors, which can be wrapped around a structural member to create an anchor point, or self-contained vacuum anchors that operate with onboard compressed air to provide a secure anchorage point. Benefits of a vacuum anchor include its portability and ability to be placed anywhere on the structure. Though it is important to ensure the vacuum anchor is rated for fall arrest. One of the most important considerations for fall protection during wind turbine construction is rescue equipment. Should a worker fall from the top of a nacelle, rescue by conventional means will be virtually impossible. To compound the problem, speed is of great importance when it comes to rescue because a worker may have suffered an injury that led to the fall, or been injured during the course of the fall—or both. Furthermore, a worker suspended in a harness may develop suspension trauma, a condition in which lack of motion and constricted veins may cause blood to pool. Suspension trauma does not always result in long-term injuries, but the possibility demands prompt attention. The often remote location of wind farms necessitates trained rescuers be available at the job site as emergency services may not be able to respond very quickly. They may also lack appropriate equipment for the rescue, which is why equipment that is simple to use and quick to set up must be kept on site. Suspension trauma can be avoided by the provision of suspension trauma relief straps, worn by every worker on his or her harness. The straps also give rescuers a much more relaxed period in which to perform a rescue, preventing any potential accidents from rushed connections. Evacuation may become a necessity if a complete mechanical failure or fire occurs on 14
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the turbine. Rapid descent, available for multiple users, is an absolute must for construction crews. Equipment such as an automatic descent control device or evacuation device can be used for both evacuation and rescue. Pre-engineered pulley based rope rescue systems and remote rescue systems can be used to rescue fall victims. The turbine should be properly equipped with self-rescue, personal evacuation, and emergency evacuation equipment at multiple points, including the tower and nacelle. Fall protection equipment selection should be a part of a larger fall protection program, in which a hazard analysis is conducted, control methods are determined based on the fall protection hierarchy and workers are thoroughly trained. For more information on how to create such a program, take a look at ANSI Z359.2, a voluntary consensus standard covering fall protection for general industry in the US (the full publication is available, for a cost, at www.ansi.org. To read a related white paper, please visit www.nacleanenergy.com). Steve Jervis is the global product director for Systems and Anchors with Capital Safety Group, a designer and manufacturer of height safety and fall protection equipment under the DBI-SALA and PROTECTA brands. Capital Safety | www.capitalsafety.com
Electronic packaging protects electronics
Carlo Gavazzi Computing Solutions recently announced its enhanced 500 Series of CompactPCI/VME enclosures, used within the industrial and renewable energy sectors (including wind and solar sectors) to package sensitive electronics from their surrounding environments in SCADA, RTU, and Control Panel applications. The 500 Series includes four configurable models (505, 535, 545, and 555), each designed to meet VITA and PICMG backplane specifications. Each enclosure features the redundancy of hot-swappable N+1 power supplies and front-pluggable cooling systems for high reliability and low MTTR. The 500 Series enclosures can be configured for both AC and DC power inputs with a ground stud and ESD jack on the rear I/O panel to meet NEBS requirements. Available through Carlo Gavazzi Computing Solutions’ unique ‘Quick-Turn’ program, the 500 Series can be delivered within two weeks of order. Carlo Gavazzi Computing Solutions | www.gavazzi-computing.com
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Small VAWT Technology: Ideal for Urban Settings Traditional wind farm site disadvantages are advantages in urban settings By Tracy Twist
T Using our past to
connect to the
future Since its founding in 1924, FCI-BURNDY® Products has had a reputation for being a leader in innovation in the design as well as manufacturing of high quality compression connectors, tooling and grounding products. Today FCI-BURNDY® Products brings that rich tradition of product innovation to the renewable energy industry. To learn more about what FCI-BURNDY® Products can do for you, please call or visit our website today.
P R O D U C T S
US 1-800-346-4175 International 1-603-647-5299 Canada 1-800-387-6487 Mexico 011-52-722-265-4400 Brazil 011-55-11-5515-7200 www.burndy.com © FCI USA, Inc.
Experience. Technology. Answers.
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he propellers of large scale wind turbines have become the global icon for wind energy. Most clean energy publications and renewable energy websites feature images of towering, mega-scale propeller turbines. Large propeller turbines, also known as horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs), are the standard in the large wind industry due to their excellent efficiency in converting wind to power. However, what makes them ideal for large scale wind farms (large and remote open spaces with consistent wind direction) does not necessarily make them a great fit for urban sites. Conversely, the traditional limitations of vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) technology for wind farm applications can turn into advantages for more urban locations. Increasingly, homeowners and small businesses are considering VAWTs to help overcome the challenges associated with many small wind sites. It is important to recognize the difference between HAWT and VAWT technology to understand why each is well suited to particular applications. HAWTs have blades that rotate vertically around a horizontal axis, similar to a propeller on an airplane. Propeller turbines need to be oriented perpendicular to the direction of the wind to be efficient and, in variable or more turbulent wind conditions, they need to constantly re-orient themselves, losing efficiency in the process. Propeller blades are designed to use “lift” (differential air flow in front of and behind the blade) to propel themselves around faster than the speed of the wind. While the part of the blade near the hub turns at a reasonable speed, due to their rigid outstretched blades, the tips whir around at greater speeds (think of a parade line turning the corner). Typically, the tips of blades speed along at seven to ten times the speed of the wind (known as a “tip speed ratio” of 7-10). Although propellers are efficient in using lift to maximize energy transfer and electricity production, the main drawback in an urban setting is that their tip speeds can create high levels of noise, which can be bothersome to neighbors. More modern HAWT designs seek to lessen noise by employing special curvature in the blades. The high speeds also add strain on the blades so, to keep them safe, turbines (especially propeller style turbines) require use of special braking controls. One common method of braking is “furling,” when the propeller re-orients itself perpendicular to the wind to stop it from turning. As it turns, it makes a resounding roar—which is not a major problem if it happens occasionally, but it can be very noisy in high, gusty winds. Lastly, while wind direction in the open spaces of wind farms is fairly consistent, wind direction in urban settings is often changing. HAWTs are not able to adapt quickly to changing wind directions and, therefore, operate extremely inefficiently in more turbulent conditions, as compared with VAWTs. VAWTs include two main classes: a tall vertical airfoil style (Darrieus), and a solid winged style (Savonius). Darrieus Turbines come in a few varieties. Some have rotors with curved blades that look like an eggbeater and rotate about a vertical axis. Another variation uses straight-sided airfoils and is called a Giromill. Like propeller turbines, Darrieus turbines utilize some lift to capture wind energy and operate with tip speed ratios in the lower-middle range: their tips spin slower than propellers, but faster than Savonius designs. Savonius Turbines have rotors with solid vanes or “scoops” that rotate about a vertical axis, using “drag” to allow the wind to push them around. Savonius turbines provide very high starting torque and they typically start rotating in the slightest wind. The principle drawback of Savonius turbines is that drag produces far lower energy efficiency than the other
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Control Microsystemsâ€™ SCADAPack 330E and 334E are two of the latest additions to the SCADAPack family of telemetry and control devices. These cost-effective controllers are based on the popular SCADAPack 330/334 hardware platform and address the growing demand for secure and authenticated data. SCADAPack 330E and 334E provide multi-vendor interoperability and reliable communications through native DNP3 and IEC 60870-5. Data integrity for billable applications or critical operations is supported with AGA12 encryption. The E-Series controllers support a full-featured FAT32 (PC compatible)
types of wind turbines. Most anemometers (wind measuring devices) are a form of a Savonius turbine. Traditionally VAWTs are not recommended for large wind energy production because they are a little less efficient than HAWTs, and they do not scale as well to very large applications. However, the ability of VAWTs to operate silently and efficiently in variable and turbulent wind conditions make them a viable option for urban locations in which these are common site characteristics. The fact they operate at lower RPMs and with tip speed ratios only two to three times the wind speed means they can produce power without creating noise. VAWTs also readily capture wind energy from any direction, allowing them to work with the constant changing wind directions in urban settings. At the end of the day, the most important factor is power output. If a VAWT is able to provide ample energy output in an urban setting, then it is a real option for homeowners, small businesses, and governments to consider. For those considering urban installations, it is important to research the various VAWT and HAWT turbines. There are currently no standards in place for measuring performance in small wind turbines, so it is important to look for products with independent testing and realistic claims, based on how large the rotor is and how much energy the manufacturer is claiming the turbine will provide. It is also important to do a solid assessment of wind at the site by evaluating if wind speeds are adequate for decent power production, if the site is open enough to avoid huge obstacles, and what levels of turbulence and gustiness are in the area. With the right wind and siting conditions, small VAWTs offer consumers and small businesses the opportunity to participate in renewable energy on a more personal level. Tracy Twist is the vice president of marketing at Mariah Power. Mariah Power manufactures the Windspire, a small scale vertical axis wind turbine.
file system and command line, which is accessible over FTP, Telnet, DNP3, or local serial port. The command line provides direct access to the file system and configuration commands. An IEC 61131-3 programming environment provides support for two logic applications running simultaneously, which allows system integrators to introduce password-protected applications that offer value-added functionality in their chosen industry, all while leaving the second application open for the end-user to add custom control if required. All SCADAPack E-Series controllers come with a three-year warranty. Control Microsystems | www.controlmicrosystems.com
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