Wind Energy Weekly #687, Vol 15, 4th March 1996


Vol. 15, #687, 4 March 1996, published by the American Wind Energy Association. The full text of the WEEKLY is available in hardcopy form for $595/year and is recommended for those with a serious commercial interest in wind (the electronic edition contains only excerpts). A monthly hardcopy publication, the WINDLETTER, more suitable for those interested in residential wind systems is included with a $50/year individual membership in the Association. AWEA's goal is to promote wind energy as a clean and environmentally superior source of electricity. Anyone sharing this goal is invited to become a member. For more information on the Association, contact AWEA, 122 C Street, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20001, USA, phone (202) 383-2500, fax (202) 383-2505, email Or visit our World Wide Web site at


AWEA has recently launched a new electronic discussion mailing list on small-scale energy systems that include wind as a component. It's the perfect place to find out more about the design, selection, installation, operation, and maintenance of small wind systems and other small-scale systems hardware such as photovoltaic panels and batteries.

To subscribe to the AWEA Home Wind Energy mailing list, simply write to


If you are a U.S. resident, please help us with our effort to keep Congress from making sharp cuts in U.S. federal wind and solar energy research programs. You can send a form e-mail letter to a member of the House Appropriations Committee with the click of a mouse button from The Committee is expected to act on the research budget within the next two weeks.



Australian utility plans to acquire 400 MW of renewables EIA sees renewables slowed despite improved technology


AWEA board endorses NREL plan for certification tests


The Queensland Transmission and Supply Corporation (QTSC) has called for the supply of 200 MW of electricity by the year 2001 from Queensland's sugar mills and has also committed to encouraging the development of other renewable energy sources with plans to purchase 400 MW of capacity by 2010, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Total generation for the State of Queensland is 6,600 MW. The state government will call for tenders early next year for the supply of renewable and alternative energy to produce 200 MW of power progressively over the next decade.

QTSC is one of Queensland's largest enterprises with fixed assets of A$5 billion and annual turnover of A$2 billion. The company employs 6,400 employees and supplies electricity to 1.4 million customers, mainly households, and owns 185,000 km of electricity transmission and distribution lines. It commenced operation on 1 January 1995 with a plan to coordinate and forecast the state's existing and future electricity needs. The company is a holding company for eight subsidiary corporations, responsible for major transmission and electricity distribution services in Queensland.

The group plans to sell its expertise to other Australian states and offshore, participate in competitive interstate markets, and use existing infrastructure to enter new markets as well as develop environmentally-friendly supply options.

Favorable progress has been made with the following alternative forms of energy:


Despite technological and economic advances, renewable energy sources held steady at about a seven percent share of total U.S. energy consumption throughout the early 1990's and continue to face strong competition from conventional energy sources, according to a new Energy Information Administration report. Renewable energy sources play a larger role in non-utility generation of electricity, where they account for about 25 percent of the electricity generated.

The Energy Information Administration released these findings and other key information on the current status and prospects for future development of biomass (wood, municipal solid waste, and liquid fuels), geothermal, wind, and solar resources in early February in the RENEWABLE ENERGY ANNUAL 1995, its first comprehensive report on renewable energy.

Other report highlights:

The RENEWABLE ENERGY ANNUAL 1995 is the first in an expected series of annual reports the Energy Information Administration intends to publish to provide a comprehensive assessment of renewable energy. For more information about the production of this report, contact Mark Gielecki, project coordinator, on 202/426-1141 or via Internet E-Mail at Copies are available from the U.S. Government Printing Office or through the National Energy Information Center, Room 1F-048 Forrestal Building, Washington, DC 1-505, 202/586-8800. The report is also available through the Energy Information Administration's Web Site at on the Internet.


In a meeting February 8, the AWEA Board of Directors gave unanimous support to a draft proposal from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop the capability to carry out certification testing of wind turbines and other equipment such as wind measuring instruments.

Under the proposal, NREL would acquire additional testing equipment and institute training of staff so that it would have the ability to perform tests on wind turbine blades and other components as well as complete turbines. Results of the tests would be reported to certification agents, who would be responsible for actual certification of the equipment tested.

The proposal comes against a background of gradually accelerating activity in the area of certification:

The NREL draft envisions a multi-year effort to acquire testing equipment, develop procedures, train staff, and get to the point where certification testing could begin.

Testing could take place either at NREL or at the turbine manufacturer's site. The draft projects costs of $15,000-25,000 for power performance testing, $5,000-10,000 for measurement of noise emissions, and $75,000-150,000 for loads testing.

AWEA Standards Chairman Tom Gray called approval of the NREL proposal "extremely encouraging," adding, "Over the past decade, a substantial base of wind technology expertise and equipment has been assembled in the National Wind Technology Center. The development of a certification testing program there will take advantage of that investment in a way that provides a vital function to the U.S. wind industry.

"As certification becomes an essential ingredient for international marketing, this program will help U.S. wind companies maintain the credibility they need to be strong competitors."


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For immediate release June 4, 1996

Contact: Jessica Maier or Karl Gawell, (202) 383-2500


A proposal by the federal government's Western Area Power Administration (Western) to purchase part of its electricity from renewable resources such as wind and solar needs to be dramatically reconfigured or it may do more harm than good, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said today.

In written comments on Western's plan, AWEA director of governmental affairs Karl Gawell called the proposed renewables purchase too small to allow a "cost-effective renewables contribution for Western's customers." If the program's poor design ends up producing high-cost power, Gawell argued, "This well-intentioned initiative could backfire, and instead of helping commercialize renewables, could reinforce the reluctance of some Western [customer utilities] to bring more renewables on line."

Western is one of several power marketing organizations established by the U.S. government to sell power from federally- owned hydro dams and other power plants to public and private utilities. Its service territory covers a broad area in the west central U.S.

Western's proposed plan to purchase renewable energy was announced in the Federal Register April 15. The agency said it might require each of six hydro projects it owns to obtain 5% of the power they purchase from renewable resources. This would amount to a total of some 78 million kilowatt-hours (kWh), or enough power to serve about 8,000 average American homes.

The problem with the proposal, Gawell said, is that "It chops up the proposed purchase into such small pieces that it will drive up the cost. It would take only about 30 megawatts (MW) of wind generating capacity, or 60 wind turbines, to provide the power required. But Western proposes to divide that 30 MW into six discrete purchases, and also says that it may set aside half of the requirement for solar electric, a substantially more expensive resource."

In addition, Gawell noted, while the proposal amounts to 5% of Western's power purchase, it is only equal to 0.3% of the agency's total electric power sales: "A considerably greater amount of renewable energy could be purchased without presenting systems reliability or other problems."

Other problems with the plan, Gawell said, include:

Gawell urged Western to develop a new proposal for power purchase from renewables that looks more closely at the renewable energy technologies and their characteristics and how they would best fit with Western's system. The federal government's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Boulder, Colo., he said, would be well equipped to assist the agency.

"Based upon the comments we have reviewed from the Land and Water Fund, Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy, and solar and wind companies," Gawell concluded, "there seems to be general agreement that Western needs to significantly increase its proposed renewable purchases, extend the proposed contract term to at least 15 years, and make other modifications to achieve success in this important initiative."

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