From visionary idea to reality: Permitting Virginia's First Wind Farm Tal McBride Partner

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From visionary idea to reality: Permitting Virginia's First Wind Farm

  • Tal McBride

  • Partner


  • April 7, 2008

H.T. ‘Mac’ McBride, Jr. in 1958

    • McBride (right, with his nephew) recalls a day in the early 1960’s when he and an employee fed cattle on his Highland County land.

 As the two men tossed hay from the back of a truck it blew away faster than the cows could eat it. McBride asked his employee to get out of the wind. He says, 'You can't get out of the wind,' McBride said. “And right he was.” Though McBride researched wind at that time, it was something he would forget about for years. When he began to study the idea again in 1998, he said he realized that he was sitting on a good crop. "Let's harvest it," he said."

The US wind industry, d.o.b. October 19, 1941, Grandpa’s Knob, VT

Green Mountain Wind Farm

  • Green Mountain Wind Farm

Green Mountain Wind Farm….

  • …..was the first wind farm we toured.

What’s needed for a wind farm?

  • Wind, Land,Transmission,Roads

  • HNWD project site:

    • ‘Class 5+’ (16.8-17.9 mph average) wind,
    • 4000 acres of private property,
    • bisected by an existing 69kV line,
    • adjacent to US 250.

Mid-Atlantic Wind Maps

Virginia Wind Power

  • 38 Megawatt Limit on 69KV Line

    • 19 turbines – 2 MW each, or possibly
    • 12 turbines - 3 MW each
  • Hub Height – 80 meters

  • Not to exceed 400 feet in height

  • One substation

  • Underground wiring

HNWD Project Envelope

Karl Pfirrmann, Interim President and CEO of PJM on wind power:

  • New Question: How does the system accommodate wind generation when it comes onto the system as you have described?

  • Answer: When wind generation is available, in order to keep the system in balance, supplies from other sources are either reduced or are not brought on line. Almost always, it is the most expensive power which is “backed down” or “avoided”. In 2006, about 70 percent of the time coal-fired generation is the most expensive generation on the system and is displaced when wind becomes available. The other 25 percent of the time natural gas-fired generation is the most expensive.

  • New Question: Are there significant costs associated with this process of identifying and backing down generators when wind generation becomes available?

  • Answer: No. Wind generation does not pose significant costs as a result of its variable nature. The transmission system is sufficiently flexible that it can readily accommodate the change in power flows. And, most generators are sufficiently flexible that they can be backed down with minimal effects on their operating efficiency.

  • New Question: We hear questions about whether wind energy, because of its variable nature, needs to be “backed up” by conventional generation resources. For example, does having wind on the system increase the need for operating reserves?

  • Answer: The costs of managing wind as a variable resource are modest, and the owners of wind

  • generators bear their allocated portion of that cost.

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