NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | JUN. 16 | WWW.ECMAG.COM 18
Two Projects Help Midwest Ride the Wind
New York Is ‘Reforming the Energy Vision’
> THE DEBU T OF NEW YORK STATE’S
ambitious regulatory initiative, Reforming
the Energy Vision (REV), has generated
quite a bit of interest. REV is designed to
transform the energy sector in the state
by integrating high volumes of distributed
energy resources (DERs) into the electrical-power system, among other goals.
One critical element of the REV
relates to standardized interconnection
requirements (SIR), which, so far, have
made few headlines, according to Sky
Stanfield, special senior counsel for
Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, attorneys
for the Interstate Renewable Energy
“Nonetheless, SIR represents an
initial and important step to comply with
recent REV orders that explicitly call for
the streamlining of New York’s current
interconnection-approval processes to
assist with the integration of DERs into
system planning and operation,” she said.
Interconnection is critical to New
York’s REV goals and the state’s clean-energy future. The state’s solar-power
market is on the brink of massive growth.
The NY-Sun initiative received $1 billion in
funding to support the installation of nearly 3 gigawatts of new solar capacity over
the coming years. In addition, the state
wants to integrate a wide range of DERs,
including energy storage and combined
heat and power (CHP) technologies, and
nearly all of these resources will require
interconnection to the electricity grid.
“With such considerable growth
on the horizon, the New York [Public
Service Commission] has the critical task
of reforming and redefining the SIR to
both better manage the higher volume of
applications and help ensure that systems
are sited in locations that help achieve
REV its goals, while keeping project costs
down and maintaining grid safety and
reliability,” Stanfield said.
New York has made some initial
progress in its efforts to update the SIR.
The commission increased the size of the
systems covered under the SIR from 2
megawatts (MW) to 5 MW, thus ensuring
more midsize distributed-energy systems
will have access to a defined interconnection process.
While these changes are notable
and an important first step on the path
to bringing New York’s standards in
alignment with other leading clean-energy states and national best practices,
Stanfield believes that considerably
more work needs to be done to establish
interconnection standards that support
the achievement of REV’s goals.
Interconnection hurdles have been
identified as one of the key barriers for
energy-storage systems in the United
States, and energy storage is a technology
that is likely to be an indispensable tool in
the achievement of the REV goals.
“In addition, following Hurricane
Sandy, numerous efforts have emerged
that seek to tackle the enhanced
adoption of strategic solar and storage
systems on the grid for emergency and
resiliency functions in the event of future
devastating events,” Stanfield said.
> WHETHER IT IS THE SUN, WIND OR WAVES, every region is
blessed with renewable resources waiting to be harnessed for
power. Recognizing the renewable resources of their landscape,
two Midwest utilities recently announced wind-power plans.
In April, MidAmerican Energy Co. announced a major
project to provide clean energy to Iowa. The utility is filing a
request with the Iowa Utilities Board to build Wind XI, a project
that will add up to 2,000 megawatts (MW) of wind generation
in the state. The company said the proposed $3.6 billion wind
project is the largest it has ever undertaken and that it will be
done without a rate increase or state financial assistance.
The company has a vision of 100 percent renewable energy
for Iowa customers, and electricity from Wind XI will bring
MidAmerican’s total generation from renewables to about 85
percent, well within reach of the ultimate goal.
Wind XI will not just be a bragging point for the utility. It
will also be the largest economic development project in Iowa’s
history. According to Gov. Terry Branstad, the state currently gets
about 30 percent of its electricity from wind power.
Just to the south, wind power is also being placed in
Missouri. In April, Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L)
announced plans to increase its sustainability portfolio with the
purchase of an additional 500 MW of power from two new wind
facilities in its service region. The purchase represents enough
energy to power up to 170,000 homes.
The two projects are located in Osborn, Mo., and Rock
Creek, Mo. The former is a 200-MW wind farm that is being
constructed by NextEra Energy Resources. It is expected to
reach commercial operation by the end of 2016. In Rock Creek,
Tradewind Energy is building a 300-MW wind farm, which
is expected to come online by September 2017. Both projects
will connect directly to the Midwest Transmission Project
transmission line, allowing for easier delivery of the electricity
within the region.
The KCP&L said both projects also qualify for the federal
production tax credit, which allows the utility to keep rates
lower than would otherwise be possible.