They Call the Wind Maria

The U.S. Southeast, a wind power desert

Like the lovers of Paint Your Wagon's California gold miners, tapping the wind's energy remains more dream than reality in the U.S. Southeast.
In the middle of this wind power desert is the operator of 5% of the nation's wind generation capacity -- estimated by the Energy Information Administration to total some 82 gigawats.  
That is up from the more than 74 GWs of wind generation the EIA estimates were in operation at the end of 2015. During that year, wind facilities produced 190,927 gigawatthours (GWh) of electricity, accounting for 4.7% of net U.S. electric power generation. 
This represents a doubling of wind's generation share since 2010, when the share was 2.3%. Based on monthly data through July, wind has provided 5.6% of U.S. generation in 2016.
In 2015, 11 states generated at least 10% of their total electricity from wind. 
As recently as 2010, only three states had at least a 10% wind share. Iowa had the largest wind generation share, at 31.3%, and South Dakota (25.5%) and Kansas (23.9%) had wind generation shares higher than 20%. Two additional states, Texas and New Mexico, are on track to surpass a 10% wind generation share in 2016, based on data through July. Wind generation in Texas, the highest wind electricity-producing state, made up 24% of the national total wind generation and 9.9% of Texas's total electricity generation in 2015.
The big operator from the wind desert is Duke Energy’s Renewable Control Center in Charlotte, N.C. Registered as a generator-operator with the North American  Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the Control Center provides critical monitoring services for 4.5 GW of renewables from third-party and Duke Energy Renewables' sites. That's 4,000 megawatts of wind generation and 500 MW of solar, spokeswoman Tammie McGee said.
Last month Duke Energy Renewables announced it has agreed with Deepwater Wind Block Island to perform remote monitoring and control services for the first offshore wind project in the United States, the Block Island Wind Farm, located off the coast of Block Island, R.I.

Connecting Offshore to the Grid

The Control Center also will perform energy market and dispatch services for the Block Island Wind Farm, serving as point of contact with ISO New England, the regional transmission organization.
“We are currently implementing additional cyber security controls to meet NERC’s Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) requirements,” said Jeff Wehner, vice president of Duke Energy Renewable Operations. “Offering the advanced technology and security of a CIP-compliant control center to others in the renewables industry, like the Block Island Wind Farm, saves customers the significant investment of building a control center of their own.”
Deepwater Wind completed construction on the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm in August. GE Renewable Energy is the project’s turbine supplier, providing the five, 6-MW Haliade wind turbines for the wind farm.

Adding Maintenence with Siemens

Last week Duke Energy Renewables disclosed an expansion of its services, announcing an agreement with Siemens to offer North American wind farm owners operations and maintenance services for multiple brands of wind turbines. Siemens and Duke Energy will combine their complementary service capabilities on Siemens and other OEM equipment.
The agreement offers a one-stop shop for customers who are managing multiple brands of wind turbines in their fleet, helping them stay competitive and derive maximum value from their wind energy assets.
--Jim Brumm