Western’s service area is in the heart of our Nation’s renewable energy potential. Nine of the 10 windiest states in the Nation are in our geographic footprint. So it makes sense for Western to partner with the Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America initiative to present awards to public-owned utilities and cooperatives for their leadership in promoting wind energy development.
On Feb. 22, East River Electric Cooperative in Madison, S.D., received the Wind Cooperative of the Year Award for generation and transmission cooperatives at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association TechAdvantage Conference in New Orleans.
East River, a Western customer serving eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota, earned the award by creating a model for community-based, locally owned wind development that relied on South Dakota citizens rather than large equity investors.
Also, Western and DOE’s Wind Powering America initiative are currently accepting nominations for the 2013 Public Power Wind Award in partnership with the American Public Power Association. Nominations are due March 25. See the news release for more information.
This is the eleventh year for the Public Power Wind Award and the twelfth for the Wind Cooperative of the Year Award. You can see the year-by-year progression on installed wind capacity in the United States in an animated map on Wind Powering America’s website.
Thirty five utility groups, grid operators and renewable energy developers filled the Western Area Power Administration’s Electric Power Training Center in Golden, Colo., Feb. 22 to 24 to learn about interconnecting wind and solar energy into the bulk and distribution electric grid.
“I thought it was great. It was a nice forum with impressive speakers,” said Jay Caspary from the Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and on loan from the regional transmission organization Southwest Power Pool. “There were a lot of smart people there, and I enjoyed connecting with people in the area.”
Find out more at Western’s press release.
Western is teaming up with the Utility Wind Integration Group, American Public Power Association and the Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power, Solar Energy Technologies and Tribal Energy programs to present the sixth annual Distributed Wind/Solar Interconnection Workshop, Feb. 22 to 24.
The workshop, taking place at Western’s Electric Power Training Center in Golden, Colo., provides a comprehensive overview of wind and solar integration studies.
Expert speakers will use case studies to answer questions about interconnecting wind and solar plants and other distributed generation applications to electric distribution systems. Participants will get an introduction to UWIG’s Internet-based tools for assessing a distributed wind project’s impact on the local distribution system.
Registration and $300 is required to attend the workshop in person. Those interested can also attend four online sessions for just $99.
Find out more at Western’s Newsroom or the event announcement.
Renewable Energy Systems Americas employees continue work on the MATL line Jan. 12 near Sweetgrass, Mont. (Photo courtesy of Enbridge)
Taking another step toward bringing renewable energy to market, this month contractors got back to work on the Montana Alberta Tie Limited project.
After receiving a notice to proceed on construction Jan. 10, Renewable Energy Systems Americas employees, hired by Enbridge, got boots on the ground quickly and began remediation work on some existing structures and line near Sweetgrass, Mont.
With 60 percent of the transmission line and substations already completed, Enbridge and RES are continuing to make progress on the line north of Marias River.
Funded partially through Western Area Power Administration’s Transmission Infrastructure Program, Enbridge expects to complete the 214-mile, 230-kilovolt line in 2012.
“Enbridge is committed to quality construction of the line and timely completion of the project,” said Vi Michaelis, Western’s project manager for MATL. “We are very encouraged by the construction restart.”
Once completed, MATL will interconnect the 189-megawatt Rim Rock wind power project, which announced its notice to proceed on construction Jan. 9.
On Jan. 9, NaturEner announced its plans to construct the Rim Rock wind power project, which will bring 189 megawatts of renewable energy online through the Montana Alberta Tie Limited project.
NaturEner secured a $320 million construction loan with Morgan Stanley Jan. 9, putting the project on track to be commercially operational by the end of 2012. With the MATL line expected to be placed into service in 2012, Rim Rock will have the transmission access it needs to deliver renewable energy.
“The strong financial backing of the U.S. Department of Energy, carried out through Western, has enabled MATL which, together with incentives such as the Production Tax Credit, has allowed Rim Rock to proceed,” added Jose M Sanchez-Seara, CEO of NaturEner. “We greatly appreciate the U.S. Government’s support for renewable energy generation and the transmission lines that allow them to deliver the energy to markets across North America.”
Rim Rock is a 189-MW wind farm project located in Glacier and Toole Counties, Mont., that will consist of 126 Acciona AW-77 1.5 MW turbines. The project area encompasses about 21,000 acres of private land. The project is expected to generate enough energy to power more than 60,000 homes and will offset more than 389,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.