It's been so still here in northern New Jersey for the past week that I can't imagine using the technology that I'm going to mention in this post. And yet the wind has been known to bend the trees in my yard, like kelp responding to a tidal surge. So, you can imagine what's in the air out in the U.S. plains states, where National Wind, a developer of utility-scale, community wind projects, continues to woo local landowners.
This time, National Wind is in partnership with Dakota Wind Energy in Eden, S.D., which now has about 40,000 acres of land earmarked for a community wind farm. I wrote about National Wind in July, so you can read more about their business model in this posting. But what makes the group unique is that the landowners are actually investors in the completed project.
The company needs about 75,000 acres of land in order to create 750 megawatts of wind projects. The first phase is expected to be built in three to five years. Incidentally, the National Wind press release quotes a sort of interesting statistic, that it has in turn pulled from Wind Powering America and the National Renewable Energy Lab. That is, for every 100 megawatts of installed wind capacity, here are 10 to 20 permanent local jobs created as well as 40 to 140 temporary jobs (in the construction and survey phase).
Incidentally, now that the hard-core campaigning is under way, I'd love to hear both presidential candidates talk more about cleantech jobs and their economic vision. I haven't been focusing (yet) on this aspect of the election, but here are two decent posts from that outline both Obama's background and McCain's proposition via YouTube.
I digress. Here are the other two wind-related development that have crossed my inbox in the last week or two:
- Whirligig, a wind turbine vendor, has started working on projects in the city of San Francisco, which adopted back in late July an more streamlined permit process for getting residential and commercial wind turbines approved. Lo and behold as I search for relevant links to point out, I discover that local-ish paper, The New York Times, has actually written a story about small-turbine urban wind development projects in this morning's paper. Why regurgitate, when I can point? But the point is, interest is growing and aside from San Francisco, there are some relevant experiments happening in New York and Boston.
Utility companies are starting to do their part, as well. My own utility here in New Jersey includes wind within its alternative energy portfolio. Southern California Edison, one of the most progress alternative energy utilities, just signed a contract for a new project that is earmarked to generate 909 megawatts of wind power. The project is called Caithness Shepherd's Flat (run by Caithness Energy), and it will cover 30 square miles in Oregon, where 303 turbines will be installed between 2011 and 2012. Once operational, the facility should be able to generated up to 2 billion kilowatt-hours per year (which is slightly more than one-tenth of Southern California Edison's renewable portfolio).