With wind, progress is everywhere

The week is coming to a close, and coverage of wind power keeping the lights on abounds! Elsewhere, Kansans are excited for more wind energy and increased efficiency, and Vestas is readying their impressive 8-megawatt nacelle for testing.

Katie Valentine at ClimateProgress gives kudos to wind energy for helping to fill in the gaps left by unexpected failures at some conventional power plants. The cold snap, she says, is jump-starting the discussion about the state of the national power grid:

  • “On Monday, cold weather and shut downs of some power plants forced the Texas grid operator to begin implementing its emergency plan to meet demand. Demand remained high on Tuesday, but increased output from West Texas wind farms enabled the state to avoid an emergency scenario. It wasn’t the first time wind has helped Texas avoid power outages in extreme weather, either — in 2011, high wind outputs during peak demand helped Texas’s grid weather 100-plus temperatures.”
  • “But this week’s Polar Vortex is putting the vulnerability of the U.S. energy grid in focus. On Tuesday, electricity demand in parts of the Southeast U.S. was the second-highest it’s been in winter since the 1920s, according to the Tennessee Valley Authority. Parts of Tennessee lost power during the night, and parts of South Carolina instituted rolling blackouts to manage the electricity demand.”

Katie’s post cited a recent piece by AWEA’s Michael Goggin, who penned his own analysis of wind power’s assistance during the frigid few days.

After a long-fought struggle between stakeholders and Kansas City Power & Light, it looks as though the utility’s 270,000 customers will be enjoying more wind power in the future:

  • “This week, in part responding to the criticism [from the Sierra Club], KCP&L leaders announced new, aggressive programs that should benefit those customers for years to come, assuming eventual approval by the Missouri Public Service Commission by mid-2014.”
  • “The utility proposes to increase its use of clean wind energy and to help consumers reduce their use of electricity. A rate increase is not in the plans for at least the next two years, KCP&L said. The decision to back the construction of two wind power facilities — one each in Missouri and Kansas — is a vote of confidence in the growing importance of that form of energy in the Midwest.”
  • “Utility officials pointed out that these programs could help avert up to $1 billion in potential rate costs over the next 20 years, a significant savings.”

Finally, Vestas has revealed its prototype nacelle for its forthcoming 8.0MW wind turbine, to be the world’s most powerful, on the V164 platform. Denmark’s DONG Energy is collaborating with the firm to test the nacelle, which appears to be on schedule to begin in the second quarter of 2014.

  • “Unless you live in the suburbs, this nacelle is likely larger than your house, at 20 meters long, 8 meters wide and 8 meters high. It weighs around 390 tons with the hub including. ‘The V164-8.0 MW turbine will be the world’s most powerful, with one unit capable of supplying electricity for 7,500 average European households,’ Vestas said.”
  • “The V164-8.0 MW prototype will be installed at the Danish national testing center in Østerild, where further tests will be conducted to ensure the turbine’s reliability and performance to provide certainty to customers looking to make investments in offshore wind. Installation of the turbine is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.”

See the rest of the week’s big news below, and don’t forget to have a look at David Ward’s rundown of AWEA’s most popular blog posts in 2013.


Katie Valentine, “Thanks To Wind Energy, Texans Didn’t Lose Power During The Polar Vortex.” ClimateProgress. 8 January 2014.

Editorial, “Wind energy and efficiency finally get top billing at KCP&L.” Kansas City Star. 8 January 2014.

Pete Danko, “Supersized offshore turbine readies for test.” Earth Techling. 8 January 2014.


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