POWER [December, 1 2008]

Cover Stories

Map of wind power plants in North America

Courtesy: Platts Data source: Platts Energy Advantage and POWERmap. All rights reserved.

Top Plants: Covanta Onondaga Waste-to-Energy Plant, Jamesville, New York

Covanta Energy Corp. doesn’t believe in wasting waste. Since 1995 the Covanta Onondaga waste-to-energy (WTE) plant has converted approximately 4 million tons of solid waste into 3 million MWh of clean electricity. Additionally, unlike power plants that use wind or solar energy, this 39-MW WTE facility operates 24/7, making it and similar WTE plants among the most continuously reliable sources of renewable electricity generation currently in operation.

Top Plants: Far West Rice Mill with solar electric system, Nelson, California

Many companies are finding that with solar energy, the sky’s the limit. As costs fall and mandates for renewable energy rise, solar energy is becoming an increasingly competitive source of power generation. Far West Rice Mill is a forward-thinking business that is taking advantage of this economic opportunity by powering its operations with a 1-MW photovoltaic system.

Top Plants: La Collada Wind Farm, Tarragona Province, Spain

Ironically, the Spanish province of Tarragona — well known for its many Roman and Medieval ruins, archeological digs, and multiple World Heritage Sites — now has one of the most cutting-edge wind farms in the world. This wind farm recently added an innovative 3-MW wind turbine, which stands 140 meters (459 feet) high and is the largest nationally manufactured wind turbine installed in Spain to date.

Top Plants: San Cristobal Wind Project, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands, home of the unusual flora and fauna that inspired naturalist Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking work on evolution, are striving to promote clean energy that protects the area’s unique biodiversity. Part of that effort is the 2.4-MW San Cristobal Wind Project, which displaces diesel-powered electricity generation. This new energy source will cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the risk of devastating diesel-fuel tanker spills in a highly protected environment.

Top Plants: Thermo Plant, Beaver County, Utah

Geothermal energy projects are gaining steam in many parts of the western U.S., in large part because geothermal power has the advantage of being a renewable energy source that provides baseload power with no emissions and no waste by-products. One example of the latest developments in geothermal power generation is the recently completed 10-MW geothermal plant in rural Utah, which uses innovative modular power generation units.

Features

Prevailing winds: Trends in U.S. wind energy

Wind power is becoming a mainstream energy source that U.S. utilities are tapping into nationwide as a means of adding clean, domestically sourced energy to balance their generating portfolios. To identify where wind will take us,POWER’s senior editor talked to experts from diverse industry stakeholders about current and future developments.


The return of the Clipper Liberty wind turbine

The Steel Winds project in Lackawanna, New York, was selected as a POWER 2007 Top Plant because of its unusual location (a former steel mill and Superfund site) and because it was the first commercial deployment of the Clipper Windpower 2.5-MW turbine. That report was written just as the project entered commercial service but before a major gearbox problem was identified. For many new designs, it isn’t a question of if problems will occur but of how the manufacturer responds when problems inevitably do occur. For its handling of Liberty’s problem, Clipper Windpower gets an "A."

Transforming transmission is key to power industry’s future

Call it the "trillion dollar conundrum." Really big money is needed to equip the U.S. transmission system to handle a variety of new requirements and increased load, but it isn’t clear how to raise it, spend it, or recover it. Expect new renewables projects to die on the vine until the gridlock loosens.

Departments

Commentary

Commentary: Renewable energy lessons from Europe

Europe has seen tremendous activity in the development of renewable energy as a response to climate change. As a result, some of the most important renewable energy firms operating in the U.S. are based in Denmark, Germany, and Spain. Stable, high-level policy is one reason Europe dominates this sector.

New Products

A thermo-flowmeter

The new Model ST98HT Mass Flow Meter from Fluid Components International (FCI) is designed to provide highly accurate flow measurement in extreme process air/gas temperatures of up to 850F. The…

Corrosion-resistant flowmeter

McCrometer’s new Corrosion-Resistant V-Cone Flow Meter has been engineered to provide precise flow measurement in liquid, steam, or gas media, while requiring virtually no maintenance in the most demanding processes…

Multi-channel particulate monitor

FilterSense’s new multi-channel particulate monitor, Model PM 100, is suited for monitoring multi-compartment fabric filter baghouses, multi-chamber cartridge dust collectors, multi-clone cyclones, and clusters of bin vents. For large fabric…

Polysulfone flowmeters

A new line of injection-molded flowmeters from Dakota Instruments, Polysulfone Meters, meet the performance demands of a wide variety of industry-specific applications, including air-sampling equipment, water treatment and distribution systems,…

Touch-safe connector

The SBS75x Connector, the newest addition to Anderson Power Products’ family of Finger Proof products, is recommended for use with hazardous DC voltages in systems operating from 50 to 600…

Tough analog panel meter

Yokogawa Corp. of America introduced the ToughMeter series 270, a series of analog panel meters designed to operate in harsh environments. The 2½-inch and 3½-inch ToughMeter features an accuracy of…

Legal & Regulatory

Energy’s Articles of Confederation

An attendee at a recent industry conference made the cynical observation that the dysfunctionality of our national and state energy policies can be attributed to the fact that implementation of any program is subject to institutional limitations akin to those imposed by the "Articles of Confederation." Readers may recall that the Articles preceded the Constitution as the governing compact for the 13 original states.

Focus on O&M

Advanced batteries supply ancillary services

For the power engineer, delivering an instantaneous and consistent power supply can be an elusive goal. Yet without it, grid frequency regulation is impossible. Today, frequency regulation is an ancillary…

Oregon wind turbine loses its bearings

The generator bearings on a wind turbine located in Oregon (Figure 1) first failed in May 2006, only 11 months after the tower was brought on-line. The company that owns…

Global Monitor

AREVA inches closer to U.S. EPR construction

UniStar Nuclear Energy announced on Oct. 8 that it had awarded an AREVA-Bechtel Power Corp. consortium a multi-year contract to complete detailed design engineering for a proposed AREVA U.S. Evolutionary…

Bulgaria officially launches construction of Belene nuke

The Bulgarian government this September announced the official launch of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant, a project it has billed one as of the largest in the European Union (EU).…

Enel to build first industrial-scale hydrogen power plant

Italy’s largest energy company, Enel, is gearing up to build an innovative hydrogen-fueled combined-cycle power plant — the first of its kind in the world — in Fusina, near Venice,…

GAO finds impediments to CCS deployment

An underdeveloped and costly CO2 capture technology, as well as regulatory and legal uncertainties over CO2 capture, injection, and storage, are the some of the more critical factors that impede…

India prepares for frenzied growth of power demand

India is aggressively pursuing plans to expand — dramatically — its power generation capacity. In September and October, the nation inked lucrative deals to obtain nuclear technology from France and…

Ontario turbine gets pressure from natural gas pipelines

Enbridge Inc., a Canadian pipeline and energy distribution and services company, and FuelCell Energy Inc. opened what they say is the "world’s first" direct fuel cell – energy recovery generation…

POWER digest (December 2008)

News items of interest to power industry professionals. Economic slowdown delays Canadian IGCC plant, kills W.Va. coal-to-liquids plant. Canadian firm Alter NRG announced in late October that it would shift…

Solar thermal energy technologies make major strides

Since the early 1860s, when French engineer and inventor Auguste Mouchout used a glass-enclosed cauldron, a polished parabolic dish, and the sun’s heat to produce steam for the first solar…

UK takes offshore wind capacity crown from Denmark

Opening of the 194-MW Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms built by UK energy company Centrica off the coast of Skegness, in Lincolnshire, this October made the UK the worldwide…

Speaking of Power

Change is coming

An historic election is over and the people have spoken. President-elect Obama and an expanded congressional majority will now rebalance the economic and environmental importance of coal-fired generation in this country differently than ever before, and that change is unsettling to many. When the expected costs of the anticipated new policies are counted, I predict many voters will experience a severe case of buyer’s remorse.

GBR Reports