Southeastern Coastal Wind News

New Maps Highlight Evolution of Land-Based Wind Potential in Southeast

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2014

Media Contacts:
Brian O’Hara, Southeastern Wind Coalition, 252-506-9463, briano@secoastalwind.org
Ruth Baranowski, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 303-384-6973, Ruth.Baranowski@nrel.gov
Kevin Haley, American Council On Renewable Energy, 202-777-7584, haley@acore.org
Brydon Ross, Consumer Energy Alliance, 832-609-2088, bross@consumerenergyalliance.org
David Ward, American Wind Energy Association, 202-580-6455, dward@awea.org


Raleigh, N.C. – Maps of current wind energy installations in the U.S. are mostly blank in the Southeastern states, but that could change with the ongoing technological advancements in wind turbines.  As the lead organization for the Southeast Wind Energy Resource Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, The Southeastern Wind Coalition (SEWC) has created a new set of fact sheets to highlight the impact of those technology advancements on the potential for land-based wind energy in the Southeast. 

SEWC partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to create custom maps that show viable areas for wind projects based on past, present and expected future turbine technologies.  Wind turbine tower heights are increasing, with current hub heights up to 110 meters and projected to increase to 140 meters in five to ten years.  “Typically wind speeds increase as height above the ground increases,” said NREL Researcher, Owen Roberts.  “This effect is particularly strong in portions of the Southeast which can cause taller turbine towers to be cost effective.”

The length of turbine blades also affects performance and cost.  Since 2000, average rotor diameters have increased by 83% according to a report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.  “Longer blades allow a wind turbine to sweep a much larger area,” said Jen Banks, Director of Operations at SEWC. “That improves energy capture and lowers energy cost.”

Wind turbines were originally designed for the highest wind speed sites like the Great Plains and were not well-suited to some other regions.  But the combination of these technology changes is making wind energy more economically viable in frontier areas like the Southeast.  “While not all of these areas can or will be developed, these maps show that land-based wind has the potential to provide extensive clean energy and economic development to the Southeast region,” said the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) President and CEO, Michael Brower.

The 11 states covered in the fact sheets (VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, KY, TN, MS, AL, AR, LA) have over 110 facilities engaged in the wind industry supply chain despite minimal wind development.  “These fact sheets provide a great opportunity to inform decision makers about the wind industry assets that currently exist in the Southeast and to advance discussions regarding wind projects in the region,” said Emily Williams, Manager of Industry Data and Analysis at the American Wind Energy Association.

With no fuel cost and zero emissions, wind power provides clean energy with long-term, stable pricing and serves as a financial hedge against fossil fuel price volatility and potential future carbon pricing or regulations.

“As America continues to diversify its energy resources, wind energy – in conjunction with an “all of the above” approach – must be part of the equation,” said David Holt, President of Consumer Energy Alliance.  “Recent technological advancements in wind generation, sparked by American ingenuity, will undoubtedly lead to more power from wind to the benefit of consumers everywhere.”

To view all of the fact sheets, please visit http://www.sewind.org/resources/fact-sheets.  A webinar will be held on December 18th at 2pm ET to explore the data behind the maps and to discuss the implications for building the land-based wind industry in the Southeast.  Please register for the webinar here.

“Between existing manufacturing jobs and the potential for land-based wind, wind import, and offshore wind, this industry offers significant economic benefits to the Southeast.” said Brian O’Hara, President of the Southeastern Wind Coalition. “These fact sheets show that going forward, land-based wind can play a significant role in the region’s energy mix”

 

About the Southeastern Wind Coalition
The Southeastern Wind Coalition works to advance the land-based and offshore wind industry in the Southeast. We focus on supply chain growth, economic development, job growth, and wind energy development in the region with solutions that are beneficial to industry, beneficial to utilities, and result in net economic benefits to citizens and ratepayers.  For more information about the Southeastern Wind Coalition visit http://www.sewind.org.

About DOE’s WINDExchange
WINDExchange is the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Program’s hub of stakeholder engagement and outreach activities. The purpose of WINDExchange is to help communities weigh the benefits and costs of wind energy, understand the deployment process, and make wind development decisions supported by the best available science and other fact-based information. For more information about WINDExchange visit www.energy.gov/eere/wind/windexchange.

About the American Council On Renewable Energy
ACORE, a 501(c) (3) non-profit membership organization, is dedicated to building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE seeks to advance renewable energy through finance, policy, technology, and market development and is concentrating its member focus in 2013 on National Defense & Security, Power Generation & Infrastructure, and Transportation. Additional information is available at www.acore.org.

About Consumer Energy Alliance
CEA is the voice of the energy consumer, providing consumers with sound, unbiased information on U.S. and global energy issues. Their corporate and association members represent nearly every sector of the economy, including manufacturers, truckers, farmers, academics and local business groups. For more information about Consumer Energy Alliance visit www.consumerenergyalliance.org/.

About the American Wind Energy Association
AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry, with over 1,300 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world's largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Orlando, May 18-21, 2015. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA's blog Into the Wind. Join AWEA on Facebook. Follow AWEA on Twitter.

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