WindPower 2009 Gusts into Windy City

WindPower 2009 Gusts into Windy City

 
By Bill Lydon - Contributing Editor
 
The LARGEST WIND POWER EVENT IN THE WORLD
Chicago May 4 -7, 2009
 
WindPower 2009 proclaimed itself as the world’s largest wind conference with 1,280 exhibitors companies, over 290,000 square feet, and more than 23,000 attendees. This is a 77% increase over last year in Houston. Exhibitors from 48 states and representatives from all 50 states and from 70 countries were present at WindPower, demonstrating the industry’s national and international scope.
 
There was a lot going on at WindPower 2009 including exhibits, sessions, and political activities. In the United States, the stars seeming to be in alignment for wind power.  President Obama has stated, “…wind can generate as much as 20% of our energy 2030 and create a quarter million jobs in the process…”
 
WindPower 2009 is the key event for the AWEA (American Wind Energy Association). The AWAE is the national trade association of America’s wind industry, with more than 1,900 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers. www.AWEA.org
 
WindPower 2009 Kicked Off in Style with Blues Traveler Concert
 
 
Multidiscipline Engineering
 
Since the turbines are large and complex electrical/mechanical machines, wind power utilizes all the engineering disciplines.  In addition, the interface to power companies and the transmission of power presents other engineering challenges.
 
 Turbine Cut-away Photo by Joshua Lott
 
Building a Wind Turbine
 
The following 10 minute video record of the Vestas v82 wind turbine, erected on the St. Olaf campus in Northfield Minnesota, provides a feel for the size and scale of a wind turbine.
 
 
Wind Energy Basics
 
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Website is a good source for learning wind energy basics. Wind Energy Basics WEB Link
 
Wind Energy Facts
 
World wind energy generating capacity at the end of 2007 was 94,112 Megawatts with the United Stated capacity at 16,818 MW.
 
In 2008, the United States had an estimated 48 billion kWh generation capacity (just over 1% of U.S. electricity supply), enough to serve the equivalent of 4.5 million average households.
 
The amount of wind power generated in the United States has prevented the generation of 29 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) that would have been emitted from conventional generation plants, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Over 17,000 square miles of forest would be needed to absorb that much CO2. Carbon dioxide is the leading gas associated with global warming.
 
U.S. wind energy potential is estimated at 10,777 billion kWh annually—more than twice the electricity generated in the U.S. today (Source: Pacific Northwest Laboratory).
 
A single, utility-scale wind turbine provides $3,000/year per megawatt or more in income to a landowner leasing his wind rights. Farmers can continue to grow crops up to the base of the turbines located on their land.
 
A wind turbine runs 60% to 80% of the time, and operates at its full rated power output level 10% of the time. On an average day, it generates 30% to 35% of what it would generate if it ran at full power all the time.
State Rank - Installed Wind Power Capacity (as of 12/31/2007)
# 1 – Texas 4.356 MW
# 2 – California 2,439 MW
# 3 – Minnesota 1,299 MW
# 4 – Iowa 1,273 MW
# 5 – Washington 1,163 MW
 
Growing Industry
 
Investment in manufacturing facilities in the U.S. has accelerated over the past two years, with over 55 wind turbine and wind turbine component manufacturing facilities announced, added, or expanded in 24 states in 2008.
 
Siemens announced at the WindPower 2009 event that it will open a $50 million wind-turbine parts manufacturing plant in Hutchinson, Kansas, for the North American market. The company is planning to start construction on the facilities in summer 2009. The plant will employ 400 workers for the production of wind-turbine drive trains, known as nacelles, at the 300,000 square foot facility by the end of 2010.  An adjacent 80,000 square foot plant will provide repair and services for wind turbines. Nacelles are 90 ton boxes, which will sit atop the tower of a wind turbine and connect the turbine blades to a drive train and gear box. Siemens is planning to increase employment in its wind unit in U.S. by 25% to 1,000 employees in the U.S., for a total of 5,500 employees globally.
 
European Influence
 
The show had a European flavor, with a large number of suppliers from overseas where wind power has been refined and used for a number of years. The exhibition attracted a variety of exhibiting companies including those with an established position to companies looking to enter the wind industry. Wind turbine manufacturers comprised 12% of the exhibitors ( 6% Over 100 kw; 6% Under 100 kW) and 6% blade/tower manufacturers. Other exhibitor categories: Academic / non-profit, Component supplier, Computer software, Construction, Consulting services, Electrical equipment, Financial services, Hybrid System Integrator, Insurance, Legal services, Operations and maintenance, Project developer / operator, Service, Transportation, Wind forecasting / assessment, and Safety.
 
 Show Floor Photo by Joshua Lott
 
Since wind power looks to be a growth industry, many companies exhibited at this show for the first time to see if they could generate business in these tough economic times.
 
An Inside Look at WindPower 2009
 
 
Siemens Expert
 
Siemens hosted a unique ASK HENRIK! Question &Answer session Tuesday, May 5. with Henrik Stiesdal, the father of the "modern era" commercial wind turbine design and Chief Technology Officer of Siemens Wind Power. His achievements include installing an early version of the “modern era” wind turbine in 1978, R&D experience in all fields relating to wind turbines, and holds patents in approximately 50 patent families. It was a pleasure to listen to Henrik answer questions including why turbines typically have three blades and if direct drive will overtake geared systems. You too can listen and see him on the following YouTube Videos:
 
Hendrik Stiesdal answers Wind Power Questions (Part 1)
 
 
Hendrik Stiesdal answers Wind Power Questions (Part 2)
 
 
 
Politicians
 
The political nature of this topic attracted a number of politicians as illustrated by the opening and general session.
Opening Session
The Honorable Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois
The Honorable Richard M. Daley, Mayor of Chicago
The Honorable Ken Salazar, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Miguel Sebastian, Spanish Minister of Industry and Energy
 
General Session: Governors' Wind Energy Coalition Roundtable
Chair: The Honorable Chet Culver, Governor of Iowa
The Honorable Jim Doyle, Governor of Wisconsin
The Honorable Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan
The Honorable Ted Strickland, Governor of Ohio
 
Panel Discussion: Strategic Outlook for Wind Development
General Wesley Clark, (ret.) Emergya Wind Technologies, B.V. Director and Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
 
Five Governors (Governors Chet Culver of Iowa, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Pat Quinn of Illinois, and Ted Strickland of Ohio) addressed the conference. The Governors of Kansas and Pennsylvania were also present. States and their offices of economic development are competing to attract wind turbine supply chain companies and create jobs. At least 19 state or regional economic development offices were exhibiting at WindPower 2009.
 
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Energy Secretary Steven Chu (via a taped speech), and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff also addressed the conference. Secretary Salazar pointed to new rules for offshore wind farms that open the way for the U.S. to become a leader in offshore wind power. Both noted the value of a national Renewable Electricity Standard in creating jobs, helping to hold down costs for consumers, and diversifying the nation’s electricity portfolio. “At no time in our history has the time for a new energy policy been so urgent. This is an opportunity that Americans cannot afford to miss,” said Secretary Salazar.
 
Conversation with T. Boone Pickens
 
T. Boone Pickens has a consistent message delivered in a no nonsense way that the United States needs to use more renewable energy and natural gas for transportation to gain energy independence.
 
 T. Boone Pickens Interview Photo by Joshua Lott
 
In a unique conversational style, network news anchor Bill Kurtis interviewed T. Boone Pickens about his involvement in the wind industry and his plan for the U.S. to harvest its renewable energy resources. As founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, Pickens is principally responsible for the formulation of the energy futures investment strategy of the BP Capital Commodity Fund and the BP Capital Equity Fund. He is also the creator of the "Pickens Plan" which is working to raise a call for change and set a new domestic energy future for America with a focus on sustainability.
 
 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
 
There are a number of items in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that pertain to wind power and are available in a summary document from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).  More Information.
 
Other information of government stimulus money is available on Automation.com:
 
 
Snap-on Industrial Training Consortium
 
Snap-on hosted a meeting in January of the newly formed Wind Energy Training Consortium (WETC) to talk specifically with key members of industry, trade associations, labor groups, government officials and technical colleges about the future needs of both the American and global wind power markets. Some industry experts estimate that manpower requirements to service this market over the next several years could reach 200,000 workers.
 
“It was our goal to bring together in one room people who not only see the need to train the next generation of technicians in the wind power industry, but people who can make that happen,” said Frederick Brookhouse, senior segment sales support manager-education, Snap-on Industrial. “ At Snap-on, it’s our role to provide the forum and help with the industry perspective. We’ve done that and now this group promises to be a powerhouse in leading the charge toward maintaining those important sustainable energy resources that are on the drawing board today.”
 
Topics discussed during the conference included partnership development, implementation of wind technician training and tooling requirements. WETC members met for the second time during WindPower 2009.
 
For more information contact:
Dale Alberts, 1-262-656-6559, [email protected]
Steve Wilcox, +1-262-754-9550, [email protected]
 
Renewable energy standard RES
 
The passage of a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) to secure a stable and growing market for renewable energy is a big issue the Wind industry would like to have congress support. AWEA released a poll at WindPower 2009 showing over 75% of Americans, including 71% of independents and 62% of Republicans, support an RES requiring that 25% of the nation’s electricity be generated from renewable energy by 2025. In addition, instituting a national RES garners overwhelming support across the country, ranging from 84% positive in the Northeast, three-quarters support in the Midwest and West, and 71% support in the South.
 
The poll, conducted by Garin Hart Yang Research Group had a sample size of 801 people.  More Information.
 
YES to R.E.S.! -- AWEA WINDPOWER 2009