Winds Of Change: Rhode Island Hopes For First Offshore Wind Farm

August 3rd, 2015

Aboard a ferry off the coast of Rhode Island, state and federal officials take a close look at a steel structure poking out of the ocean. It’s the first foundation affixed to the seafloor for a five-turbine wind farm off the state’s coast.

It’s a contrast to what’s happening off the coast of Massachusetts. Developer Cape Wind has spent more than 10 years and millions of dollars there on a massive wind farm that it may never build.

Rhode Island’s project, Deepwater Wind, has sailed through by comparison, in part because of its great location, explains Chief Executive Officer Jeff Grybowski. The wind farm will sit three miles off the coast of Block Island, about 12 miles away from the mainland.

“The location off the southeast corner of Block Island has incredibly strong wind and it is quite far from the mainland,” Grybowski says.

The nearly 600-foot-tall turbines are far enough from the mainland that most people won’t be able to see them from shore. As Grybowski points out, the state of Rhode Island wanted to pioneer this project and chose where to build it.

“That was based on many years of research and public discussion,” Grybowski says.

Deepwater Wind underwent far more extensive impact studies than Cape Wind, and the company spent more time engaging important stakeholders. Not everyone in Rhode Island loved the project from the start, but unlike Cape Cod, Block Island wants to replace its expensive source of energy.

“We are one of the highest rates in the country,” says David Milner, general manager for the Block Island Power Company, which supplies all of the island’s electricity by importing a million gallons of diesel oil every year.

“We got up over 50 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is a huge burden on the businesses out here and the individuals,” Milner says.

In New England, the average rate is 16 cents per kilowatt-hour for all sectors.

Year-round Block Island resident Peter Baute stands on the iconic Mohegan Bluffs, which boasts panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

“That’s interesting there’s two platforms out there. Let’s just take a look,” Baute says.

Baute narrows his eyes as he lifts up binoculars to check out the construction of the offshore wind farm. It promises to reduce electricity costs by 40 percent. He says that will go a long way for an island whose economy relies on summer tourists, because it’s home to only about a thousand people for the rest of the year.

“You’ve got to work hard to make a living in June, July, August and maybe part of September. You’ve got four months max to break even,” Baute says.

When the turbines aren’t spinning, the island will draw energy from the mainland through an underwater transmission cable that’s part of the wind project. That cable could also bring high-speed internet to the island — another selling point.

Related NPR Stories

New Transmission Line To Carry Wind Energy Not Met With Open Arms
The Future Of Massachusetts’ Offshore Wind Farm Is Uncertain
Still, a vocal minority of island residents are skeptical about the anticipated benefits of the offshore wind farm. Edith Blane doesn’t think it’s worth trading in ocean views.

“So that the beauty, and the calm, and the stillness and the loveliness of a summer night — it’s never going to be the same again,” she says.

With construction underway, Deepwater Wind is on track to build the nation’s first offshore wind farm. It has everything Cape Wind doesn’t — a utility company buying all of its power and bank loans.

The federal government has auctioned off nine leases for more offshore wind farms. That means all eyes are on Rhode Island to see how it works.

http://www.npr.org/2015/08/01/428076271/winds-of-change-rhode-island-hopes-for-first-offshore-wind-farm

Facebook to use all renewable energy in its next data center

July 9th, 2015

Facebook is building a new data center in Fort Worth, Texas, that will be powered entirely by renewable energy.

The company will invest at least US$500 million in the 110-acre site, which is expected to come online late next year.

The new location will be the social-networking giant’s fifth such facility, joining existing data centers in Altoona, Iowa; Prineville, Oregon; Forest City, North Carolina; and Luleå, Sweden. It will feature equipment based on the latest in Facebook’s Open Compute Project data-center hardware designs, it said.

For sustainability, the Fort Worth data center will be cooled using outdoor air rather than energy-intensive air conditioners, thanks to technology it pioneered in its Oregon location. Those designs are now offered through the Open Compute Project.

It will also be powered entirely by renewable energy as a result of a new, 200-megawatt wind project now under construction on a 17,000-acre site in nearby Clay County. Facebook has collaborated on that project with Citigroup Energy, Alterra Power Corporation and Starwood Energy Group; it expects the new source to begin delivering clean energy to the grid by 2016.

Facebook says its infrastructure efficiency efforts have helped it save more than $2 billion over the last three years. The carbon impact of one person’s use of Facebook for an entire year, meanwhile, is now equivalent to that of a medium latte, Facebook said Tuesday.

The company aims to power its data centers with 50 percent renewable energy by the end of 2018, according to Jay Parikh, its vice president of engineering.

“Facebook’s new goal of using 50 percent renewable energy and commitment to powering its Texas data center with clean wind power demonstrates the kind of transparency needed to show that it is making steady progress toward its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy,” David Pomerantz, senior climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace, said in a statement.

In sharp contrast, Pomerantz added, is Amazon Web Services, which “has failed to explain how it will power its newly announced data centers in Ohio and India, despite the company’s commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy.”

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

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The Big Wind LLC welcome’s Pope Francis’s stand on Global Warming!!!!

June 18th, 2015

Pope Francis Takes a Stand on Climate Changehttp://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/18/415429852/pope-francis-climate-change-a-principal-challenge-for-humanity

Pope Francis today issued a sweeping 184-page papal letter, writing that climate change is a global problem with far reaching environmental and social consequences — especially for the poor. He blamed apathy and greed and called on developing countries to limit the use of nonrenewable energy and to assist poorer nations.

“Those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms,” Francis wrote of the impact of climate change in the encyclical titled “Laudato Si,” or “Praise Be.”

He called on humanity to collectively acknowledge a “sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.” And he wrote that climate change “represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

Francis said that developing countries, as the biggest producers of harmful greenhouse gasses, owe the poorer nations a debt. “The developed countries ought to help pay this debt by significantly limiting their consumption of nonrenewable energy and by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programs of sustainable development.”

In one particularly blunt passage, Francis writes: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish. … Frequently no measures are taken until after people’s health has been irreversibly affected.”

The letter has put the pope firmly on the side of the world’s climate scientists, an overwhelming number of whom say that the Earth is warming and that mankind is responsible for a substantial portion of the temperature rise. As we reported on Wednesday, that also places him at odds with “climate skeptics,” including many Republican lawmakers and GOP presidential candidates.

However, the encyclical is being praised by environmental groups. In a statement from WWF International, President Yolanda Kakabadse called the pope’s voice “a much needed moral approach to the climate debate. Climate change is no longer just a scientific issue; it is increasingly a moral and ethical one.”

Vincent Miller, who holds a chair in Catholic theology and culture at the University of Dayton, is quoted by The New York Times as saying that the encyclical “gives Francis a very traditional basis to argue for the inclusion of environmental concern at the center of Christian faith.images

HAPPY GLOBAL WIND DAY JUNE 15, 2015

June 15th, 2015

11111044_10152935943873775_7980147829569914036_nTHE BIG WIND LLC WISHES EVERYONE ON PLANET EARTH A HAPPY AND WINDY GLOBAL WIND DAY 2015

UGE’s MICRO-GRID SOLUTION IS WINNER OF RISE:NYC COMPETITION

May 19th, 2015

The Big Wind LLC tm distributor for UGE

UGE’s MICRO-GRID SOLUTION IS WINNER OF RISE:NYC COMPETITION

UGE was selected among 11 companies for a $30 million initiative funded by the Federal government to deploy cutting edge technology solutions to enhance NYC’s resiliency. The project will see UGE install 17 of its micro-grid systems with its proprietary SET software in communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Read more here.

READY, SET, GO!: THE FUTURE OF MICRO-GRIDS

UGE SET, our proprietary microgrid optimization software finds the best sizing and combination of energy resources for any site utilizing statistical weather modeling, Monte Carlo simulation of system configurations, OPEX forecasting and LCOE minimization.

Provides the most accurate design at the lowest possible cost of energy over the project lifetime
Keeps project costs low by being confident in optimal system sizing
Produces clear and concise graphs of system performance and projected costs, helping clients to understand how the UGE solution is saving them money — at The Big Wind LLC.emvideo-youtube-gBK1DVB48q0.jpg

The Eiffel Tower has new wind turbines, and they’re beautiful

March 2nd, 2015

0227-ResearchRoundup-Eiffel_tcm20-2190722The Eiffel Tower’s iron-clad frame turned slightly greener last week, with the installation of two new wind turbines along its lower deck. Perched some 400 feet above the ground, atop a ritzy, second-level restaurant, the slender turbines are part of a broader effort to make Paris’ most iconic monument more eco-friendly — even if only slightly. When they go into operation next week, the 17-foot structures will provide enough electricity to power the tower’s first-floor commercial areas — about 10,000kWh per year. Jan Gromadzki, an engineer who oversaw the project for New York-based Urban Green Technology (UGE), says that’s enough to power an average American family’s home for one year. But for the Eiffel Tower — which consumes an estimated 6.7 GWh a year — “it’s just a small drop in the ocean.” “A VISUAL STATEMENT” “This installation is definitely more symbolic,” Gromadzki says. “But it is still significant because the merchant spaces on the first floor do consume energy, and being able to offset that consumption is something people can really assimilate and understand.” The curved, tri-blade turbines were designed and installed by UGE, which has planted its crescent-shaped turbines and other renewable systems at sites across the globe. But the Eiffel Tower posed unique challenges. Each blade had to be hoisted by hand and pulley up to the second floor, and secured within the building’s tight lattice structure along its southwest corner. The entire installation had to unfold at night, as well, since the Eiffel Tower is open to the public until 11PM seven days a week. The Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, the organization that manages the Eiffel Tower, wanted “something that would make a visual statement,” Gromadzki says, without distracting from its distinct silhouette. So the blades were painted in a brown-grey hue to match the building, and extra vibration dampeners were added to make sure the turbines wouldn’t disturb diners at the upscale Jules Verne restaurant below. When running at full speed, the turbines only produce about 40 decibels of sound — about the equivalent of a whisper.http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/2/8128587/eiffel-tower-wind-turbines-photo-essay

Clean energy for stadiums: a winning combination

February 3rd, 2015

Lincoln_4On game day, thousands of sports fans flock to stadiums to see their favorite team battle it out, without paying mind to the immense resources needed to power the arena. What many visitors do not realize between eating, drinking, and cheering is the amount of power, water, and materials that are consumed to build, operate, and maintain these large facilities. Once large energy suckers, stadium and arena enterprises are beginning to see the viability of sustainability by reducing their carbon footprint and producing renewable energy.

With on-site renewable energy, stadiums and arenas become power producers rather than heavy energy consumers. In 2012, Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, installed 14 wind turbines above their end zones in addition to solar PV panels to help generate all of its electricity onsite and become net zero. The 3.1MW of on-site renewable energy capacity saves the stadium a staggering US$3m annually. Lincoln Financial Field isn’t the only one touching down in renewable energy. In fact, of the 126 American professional sports teams, 38 use renewable energy to supply some of their needs. This movement continues to build momentum, as the new San Francisco 49ers Levi Stadium is the first professional football stadium to achieve LEED Gold. A 375kW solar installation will be unveiled, providing enough power annually to offset power consumed during home games.

Solar and wind technology are becoming rapidly more cost competitive, with many financing options available to reduce upfront costs for stadium owners. Venues can save over US$1m in a single year due to greening efforts and furthermore attract $1m in new corporate sustainability sponsors. An added bonus of stadium-integrated wind and solar systems is the freedom from severe price fluctuations. For high impact users like sports venues, that means serious savings.

Many sports leagues around the world are already hitting it out of the park when it comes to incorporating sustainability into their overall operations, but given the unique high visibility of stadiums, the benefits of on-site distributed power generation extend even further. Solar panels and wind turbines draw immediate attention, allowing sustainability efforts to stand out from the crowd. At these high profile locations, on-site renewable energy is truly a win-win, spreading awareness and promoting sustainability among fans, who are increasingly asking venues, “Why haven’t you invested in renewable energy yet?”. Sustainability in sports is a clear home run, positively influencing both the bottom line and our energy conscious culture.

Shifting the way an entire industry consumes energy may sound like a lofty goal, but in practice, transitioning to renewable energy is now quite simple. An energy audit identifies opportunities to implement renewable energy, and allows a custom solution to be designed to target the specific needs of a facility. These solutions can be installed with minimal capital expenditures, thanks to financial tools such as Power Purchase Agreements. With so many compelling benefits, and such few implementation barriers, powering a stadium with clean, renewable energy is a goal worth setting. After all, if teams are making great strides on the field, why shouldn’t we expect the same of the fields themselves?

http://gettingtozeroforum.org/2015/02/02/clean-energy-for-stadiums-a-winning-combination/

Wind Turbines to Power Super Bowl

January 16th, 2015

 

images-1eagles-Lincoln-Financial-Field-turbines-urban-green-energy-537x411http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/super-bowl/2015/01/13/srp-providing-free-solar-super-bowl/21714831/

Salt River Project will light the Feb. 1 Super Bowl in metro Phoenix with electricity from wind power.

The municipal utility announced the energy sponsorship Tuesday, although the board of directors approved the deal in 2013 as part of a $1 million sponsorship of the Super Bowl Host Committee, a non-profit liaison between the league and the host region.

The power to the Super Bowl originally was estimated to cost about $200,000, but SRP spokeswoman Patty Garcia Likens said Tuesday the cost now is expected to be about $50,000 for the electricity, services to the stadium and renewable-energy credits.

SRP will provide $500,000 cash, $450,000 of in-kind services and $50,000 for electric energy, the related services and renewable energy credits for University of Phoenix game-day related period, a company representative said Tuesday. Originally, the utility was to provide $225,000 cash.

The sponsorship sparked a controversy two years ago over whether the non-profit utility should help support the game.

“We believe it is the right thing to do for a community member like SRP,” General Manager Mark Bonsall said at the time.

SRP officials said the true cost of the sponsorship was much less than $1 million because much of the deal was to provide in-kind services.

MORE: Super Bowl coverage

The influx of people visiting Arizona for the game is estimated to increase electricity sales for SRP that week by roughly $300,000, Bonsall said at the time the deal was approved, making the sponsorship almost a wash.

SRP, meanwhile, has been locked in a fierce debate over renewable energy. A proposal to charge higher rates to customers who install solar on their homes has drawn hundreds of people to public hearings in protest. The plan will be considered by the utility’s board in late February.

Managers at the utility contend that it is more cost-effective to build large solar power plants and allow customers to purchase a block of electricity from the facility.

Customers and rooftop-solar installers contend that such an arrangement does not give customers the same opportunity to cut their own electric bills by installing solar and generating much of their own electricity.images

January 16th, 2015

Big Wind Ad coast star

Happy Holidays from The Big Wind LLC

December 2nd, 2014

Big-Wind-Happy-Holidays1[1]To our friends, family, and associates:

Some folks may be wishing for a White Christmas this year, but The Big Wind hopes that the holiday you’re celebrating (whatever it may be) is joyous, fun-filled, and green!

Have a wonderful holiday season and a safe, prosperous New Year!

Your Friends at The Big Wind