Midwest Wind Energy’s projects surpass $1 billion mark

Posted on December 2, 2008. Filed under: Wind |


From a media release posted on Yahoo!Finance:

CHICAGO, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ — Chicago-based Midwest Wind Energy, LLC (MWE), a leading developer of wind farms in the Central United States, announced today that it has completed development of its sixth wind power project, surpassing the $1 billion threshold in developed project assets.

The six projects, which total 568 megawatts in nameplate capacity, are located in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Nebraska, and generate enough electricity to supply an estimated 160,000 average households. The projects represent more than 30% of the total nameplate capacity currently operating or under construction in these States(1). In addition, MWE has an active development portfolio of more than 1,700 megawatts located throughout the Midwest.

As a project development company, MWE fully develops wind farms from “concept to construction,” and partners with well-known equity players to construct and operate them. MWE has sold its projects to Eurus Energy America, Corp, Wisconsin Power & Light Company, and Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA, Ltd.; and it currently enjoys an exclusive joint development partnership with Edison Mission Group. EMG recently purchased two projects from MWE totaling 320 megawatts.

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Wind Watch: Industrial Wind Energy News
News Watch HomePrint story E-mail story
posted: November 7, 2008 • Iowa
Wind supply not a magic bullet to energy crisis
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Billions of people worldwide are adopting energy-dependent lifestyles, outstripping the availability of cheap fossil fuels and threatening the environment.

Clair Moeller, vice president of Transmission Asset Management Midwest Independent Transmission Operator Inc., told an audience at Iowa State University’s Howe Hall on Thursday that accommodating energy supply and demand within the framework of environmental stewardship calls for drastic changes. Moeller’s organization is a nonprofit that manages power transmission and market factors in the Midwest.

The wind turbines altering the landscape of the Midwest are one example of producing energy in an environmentally responsible way. But Moeller cautions that the promise of wind energy is not a magic bullet.

In addressing the logistics, economics and politics involved in meeting energy demands for electricity and transitioning to renewable sources, Moeller focused on wind energy because wind is a Midwest resource. And it illustrates the complicated factors involved in bringing alternative energies to market at a rate outpacing their supporting infrastructure.

“If you take away no other message tonight, take away the fact that big wind is complicated,” he said.

Moeller, a 1979 graduate of ISU, told his audience of mainly engineering students and faculty that the United States needs an energy policy “lasting until 2050, and engineers need to step up into the public sphere so policy makers stop making uninformed decisions.”

According to Moeller, the local, regional and national politics of getting wind energy to market begin with individuals who want cheap electricity and don’t want transmission towers in their back yards.

At the state and regional level, governments want to know “what’s in it for them” when they allow transmission lines to cross their territory. They also confuse energy policy with job creation, he said.

“Most states think they’re building a jobs program. To them, it’s not energy policy, it’s economic development.”

At the federal level, short-lived policies and mixed messages about the role of carbon dioxide emissions make it hard to balance energy costs with environmental stewardship, he said.

Moeller said the technical factors informing wind energy decisions are myriad.

“You can’t control when wind shows up. Its availability pattern is opposite of the overall load pattern, ” he said. It peaks at night and it can’t all fit on the grid because the infrastructure doesn’t yet exist to carry it. Storage problems ensue and added costs for balancing load and generation variables kick in, such as cranking up combustion turbines or taking coal plants offline to compensate, he said.

“Coal plants have to go completely cold before they can started up again,” he explained. “That can take three or four days.”

A lack of transmission lines creates a bottleneck for queues,” he said.

When producers want to queue at the same time, drop out rates have been as “high as 80 percent.”

“It just shows how complicated it is to bring wind to market. When someone drops out, we have to study everyone else.”

The cost and footprint of the infrastructure needed for transmission lines is equal to that of an interstate highway, Moeller said, but the proposal lacks the political willpower that kept Eisenhower’s project alive for the 35 years it took to complete.

Moeller said there is good news in terms of initiatives among five Midwest states.

“We’re developing a new model for working together on the premise of meeting a state portfolio standard for five states.”

Moeller said there’s hope for the wind energy market to transition, but it will take time.

By: Kathy Hanson, Special to The Tribune

11/07/2008


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