SOUTH DAKOTA GETS IN THE WIND GAME IN A HUMONGOUS WAY!
South Dakota is about to become host to the biggest wind farm ANYWHERE. This is the kind of humongous news the wind energy industry has been awaiting expectantly for some time.
As T. Boone Pickens has been so vigorously pointing out this summer (see Saturday Video: The Problem and the Pickens Plan), the Midwestern plains – from the Texas panhandle to the Canadian border – have the richest land wind assets in the world. It was inevitable they would be developed. The only question was: When? Now we know the answer: Now.
Clipper Windpower and BP Alternative Energy are going to add 3,500 megawatts to the previously announced 1,550-megawatt Titan (formerly Rolling Thunder) wind project. Although news reports indicate Titan will be ONE of the biggest wind installations in the world, NewEnergyNews believes it to be THE biggest now planned.
This is not the end of the story, however. This is the beginning. The next chapter: Transmission.
When John D. Rockefeller went into the oil business, he discovered he had to have a deal with the railroads in order to get his oil to markets. Likewise, the producing monsters now coming onto the wind energy playing field are going to need a way to get their product to market. That means a big new development of wires.
A big new development of wires means a big face-off with a lot of individuals who may like New Energy but aren’t necessarily going to like the idea of wires in their backyards. It’s called NIMBY: Not In My BackYard.
Just like New Energy needs new transmission, new transmission needs new ideas. Here are a pair.
Solution 1: Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZs). Texas wrote the book on CREZs. Localities can work out routes where New Energy and new transmission are welcome. Where there is no NIMBYism, just turn the entrepreneurs loose.
Solution 2: People are much more likely to welcome wires for wind if they are getting some direct reward for them, a share of the profits or reduced electricity rates forever.
When Big Oil went into the Middle East big time in the 1940s and 1950s, it ran roughshod over the local populations on the assumption it was doing them a favor by developing their natural resource. Result: Big Oil is still hated in the Middle East. So are the countries Big Oil came from.
Point: New transmission can either treat locals like partners or roll roughshod over them. Either way gets long lasting results.
Look at all that pink (good), purple (excellent) and red (outstanding) wind! (click to enlarge)
Clipper Windpower, BP to develop 5050 MW wind farm in US
July 30, 2008 (Thomson Financial via Forbes)
Clipper says strikes US windfarm pact with BP
Hsu Chuang Khoo (w/Greg Mahlich) July 30, 2008 (Reuters)
Clipper Windpower and BP Alternative Energy Form Joint Venture
Mary Gates, July 30, 2008 (Clipper Windpower)
Clipper Windpower (James Dehlsen, Chief Executive; Doug Pertz, Chief Operating Officer); BP Alternative Energy
Clipper and BP have formed a 50-50 joint venture to develop the Titan wind energy project, one of the biggest wind installations in the world.
click to enlarge
- Project development is underway.
- September 30, 2008: Official closing and final pricing of joint venture.
- 2007: Clipper produced 137 turbines, lost $192 million
- 2008: Losses of an equal amount expected.
- 2009: Expected to produce 350 turbines, profit anticipated.
- 2010: Dramatic increase in profits anticipated.
- The Titan project was formerly called Rolling Thunder.
- The Rolling Thunder wind project is in Miller, South Dakota.
- BP will acquire 1,750 MW of wind assets from Clipper for ~$26.25 million.
- Clipper will sell 2,020 of its 2.5-megawatt Liberty turbines to the joint venture.
- Clipper’s current financial difficulties are due to rising costs for steel. As the prices evens over the next 2 years and various startup costs flatten, Clipper’s financials are expected to improve.
- Clipper owns ~6000 other megawatts of capacity and is developing more major deals.
Texas will be at 6,000 megawatts by the end of this year. South Dakota will get over 5,000 megawatts from this new installation. (click to enlarge)
- James Dehlsen, Chief Executive, Clipper: 'Clipper has continued to grow its development portfolio; prior to this transfer of 1,750 MW, Clipper had 10,500 MW of development assets…Clipper remains aggressive and motivated to further build and optimize the full potential of its portfolio.'
- Doug Pertz, Chief Operating Officer, Clipper: "The tough times are behind us…We've turned the corner and anticipate breaking even in the second half. We still anticipate being profitable next year."