Turbine Talk: Windustry's August Newsletter
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind – Come check out the Wind Energy Center
This month has us busy preparing for the Wind Energy Center at the Minnesota State Fair! In this newsletter, we highlight a few of our partners and feature a new exhibit we’re super jazzed about – a model electrical grid by Recharge Labs!
Minnesota State Fair 2017
We are excited to be gearing up for yet another Minnesota State Fair. Running the Wind Energy Center in the Eco Experience building is always one of our yearly highlights. Over the 12 days of the fair, nearly 350,000 people will visit the Eco Experience. Such high foot traffic affords our volunteers and staff the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with Fair visitors about the benefits of wind energy further showcasing the wind resources that Minnesota and the Midwest have to offer. We hope to generate continued dialogue around the benefits and need for incorporating renewable energy sources into our daily lives. Through informational posters on wind energy, interactive activities, and knowledgeable staff we hope that everyone who visits will learn something new.
This year we are excited to showcase a new exhibit created by REcharge labs. It is a mini electrical grid system that allows users to connect different energy sources to a power grid. The aim of this activity is for people to understand the differences between renewable and non-renewable resources while also seeing how energy is transported to their homes and businesses. Individuals can use a hand crank to power an energy source such as natural gas, coal, and of course wind and see how energy is transported to its final destination through our electrical grid system. We don’t want to spoil all the fun, so come by and try it out! We hope to see you there.
Thanks to our generous partners we are able to continue to participate in this event. Our spotlight partners this year are Vestas, CEG, and Blattner Energy, while our sustaining partners are General Electric, 3M, and Great River Energy. Finally our allied partners are Geronimo, WindLogics, EDP Renewables, ATS, Inc., Wind on Wires, and EDF Energy. A huge thank you for your Partnership!
State Fair Spotlight Partner Highlight
CEG: Consulting Engineers Group
The Consulting Engineers Group (CEG) is an engineering firm based out of Farmington, Minnesota. The company is made up of a relatively small number of engineers yet they are licensed in 21 states across the US. This has allowed CEG to have a profound impact on renewable energy development in the last couple of decades. We spoke to Vice-President and senior electrical engineer Pete Malamen for further details on the company’s success.
Malamen says the real challenge in their work comes with making sure that, “all parties are happy.” This requires patience as well as careful attention to detail due to unique site conditions for every project. Factors such as drainage level, environmental regulations, and other land conditions must all be considered in order to bring a project to a productive future. With the complexity of these issues in mind it is impressive that CEG has interconnected a staggering 2.5 gigawatts of renewable energy since their founding.
Despite the success of CEG and their continued involvement in large-scale developments such as “The North Star Solar Project” the largest solar project in Minnesota, Malamen says large utility-scale projects are not their only focus. He says they still have a, “soft spot in our hearts for smaller projects because that’s where we got our start”. If you would like to know more about CEG’s current projects you can visit their website at www.ceg-engineers.com. CEG is also a proud sponsor of Windustry’s Wind Energy Center at the State Fair.
Another prominent hometown team member for Minnesota is Blattner Energy. Blattner has delivered over 250-power generation construction projects focused on increasing power delivery capabilities, improving energy storage and developing large-scale wind and solar projects across the country. Blattner’s corporate headquarters are located in Avon Minnesota.
As a company Blattner entered into the renewable energy market in 1997 through a construction project on Buffalo Ridge, near Lake Benton, MN since then Blattner has emerged as a leading installer of renewable energy in North America. A Blattner highlight is that they installed more than 30,000 megawatts of wind power across North America within this impressive portfolio Blattner is also responsible for having constructed the five single largest projects in the United States. As a company that delivers construction solutions across both the United States and Canada it is necessary for Blattner to develop strong community connections. From volunteering for Bridging a local twin cities nonprofit to organizing food drives and running a golf fundraiser in Avon, Blattner tries to build strong ties to its communities.
When asked what hopes or trends they see for renewable energy in the Midwest’s future Blattner expressed that they believe the, “Midwest Region will continue to see increased wind and solar construction activities that are driven by the low cost. Large utilities, such as Xcel Energy and MidAmerican Energy, are leading this charge. They are able to integrate renewables into their system and are enjoying their low initial cost position while eliminating any fuel volatility costs since they don’t have a fuel cost component. That beats gas, even at today’s prices.”
Vestas, a leading global energy company dedicated to wind energy, manufactures wind turbines ranging from 1.8 to 4.2 MW in size, for wind projects, on land and offshore, around the world. Their wind turbines are prevalent in Minnesota and Iowa and throughout the Midwest and US. In fact, MidAmerican Energy in Iowa has purchased many turbines from Vestas as part of its Wind X and Wind XI projects, the latter of which aims to install 2,000 MW of wind by the end of 2019. MidAmerican (2017) says that, “In 2016, the energy that we generated from wind equaled 55% of the energy sold to our retail customers in Iowa. That figure is expected to increase to 63% in 2017 with existing projects.” When looking at the Minnesota specifically, Chris Brown the President of Vestas America said, “Minnesota is a pioneer and leader in wind energy, and ranks 6th in the nation for wind as a source of electricity. Wind powers nearly 4,000 jobs and almost one million homes in Minnesota, and delivers millions of dollars in economic benefits to local communities, land owners, and businesses”
A Thank You to All our Partners!
This would not be possible without you
In Kind Partnership With
Interested in volunteering at the State Fair? We can still use your help! Spots are filling up fast please follow the link before and register online. All volunteers will get a Windustry t-shirt and a ticket into the fair. Join us!
To learn more about the Wind Energy Center and volunteer registration, head over to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080945afa922abf49-windustry.
Windustry has produced its first-ever podcast about wind and solar hybrid developments. Check it out here: http://www.windustry.org/hybrid-developments