Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page
How crazy is this? With Michigan’s long history of manufacturing, a single 200MW wind farm will more than double the amount of wind generation capacity in that state.
Big expansion soon for Michigan’s wind power grid
11:30 a.m. CDT, July 10, 2011
BETHANY TOWNSHIP, Mich.— An array of 133 wind turbines that will tower 46 stories over farmers’ fields and rural homes will begin taking shape in a few weeks in central Michigan’s Gratiot County.
The Invenergy LLC project is designed to produce 200 megawatts of electricity, starting in 2012. That’s more than the 164 megawatts made by all of Michigan’s wind turbines now in operation, according to the American Wind Energy Association. In all, 103 turbines now operate statewide.
How much crazier is it that Ohio has no utility-scale wind farms yet, and Iowa leads the country?
Here’s another story you won’t hear about in the news. The U.S. Energy Information Administration Monthly Energy Review for June 2011 shows that for the first time, domestic renewable energy (.pdf) production surpassed nuclear (.pdf) in the first three months of this year.
To make the head to head comparison requires converting nuclear generation in kilowatt-hours (KWH) to British Thermal Units (BTU). EIA uses a conversion factor of 10460 BTU per KWH, so nuclear generation of 203,194 million KWH equates to 2.125 quadrillion BTU (2.125 x 1015). Renewable energy (hydroelectric, geothermal, solar thermal, solar PV, wind, ethanol, biodiesel, and biomass) was 2.245 quadrillion BTU.
Renewable energy increased by 15 percent year-over-year, while nuclear generation has been fairly constant at 8.4 quadrillion KWH/year. The pace of additional renewable capacity should get another boost when utility-scale solar PV projects start coming online later this year, driven by a reduction of almost 60 percent in the cost per KW generated of solar PV panels. And as the market for solar energy heats up, (pardon the pun), a US company will continue to enjoy a major competive edge over its Chinese competitors, according to Standard & Poor’s Credit Analyst Swami Venkataraman:
First Solar Inc. (FSLR), based in Tempe, Arizona, is likely to remain the market leader because its cadmium telluride generators cost at least 30 percent less to produce than the polysilicon panels made in China, Venkataraman said. “Even if poly prices were to fall significantly below the current spot price of about $50 per kilogram ($22.70 a pound), First Solar would still have a significant edge over the lowest- cost Chinese players,” he said.
(h/t to Ars Technica)
(edited 7/14/11 to fix broken link to Bloomberg article)