Energy from the Wind
Developing a wind energy project is an involved process, yet one that will lead to lasting rewards. With the knowledge that you are producing the most environmentally friendly power comes great satisfaction. Folkedahl Consulting, Inc. (FCI) can guide you through all of the steps and help you achieve your goal.
Considerations for Wind Power Success
Wind: Average wind speed is the single most important factor in any wind development. On some sites the windiest locations are obvious; on others, conditions are complex. In Minnesota, initial assessments can be estimated from state-wide wind maps available from the Mn Dept. of Commerce. Later, on-site measurements are usually collected over a period of a year or more.
Land: Good wind exposure being established, secure rights to the land must be obtained. Many property owners are willing to lease their land for wind projects. Compensation most often take the form of annual cash flat rates, royalties on the power produced and sold, or some combination.
Transmission: A key consideration prior to selecting a site is access to suitable power transmission lines - many locations are now constrained due to excess wind energy production. Another consideration is the voltage of the proposed transmission line - transformers to step up the lower voltage of the turbines to the higher voltage of the transmission become (much) more expensive as the difference increases.
Market: A power purchase agreement, an agreement between the turbine owner and the electric utility company, must be completed. Negotiations require legal assistance and can be lengthy.
Finance: Wind turbines are expensive. Wind projects today use turbines in the 2 MW (2,000,000 watts) plus range, each costing well over $2,000,000, plus installation. Financial pro formas must be developed that are reliable and consider all of the many variables. Project financiers must be satisfied that the proposed project is viable.
Turbines: Today, it's a buyer's market. Wind turbine supply is high and manufacturers are hard pressed to find outlets for all available inventory. However, most often, projects still must involve multiple landowners and investors working together to bring economies of scale to bear. Turbines can be had but often there is a lengthy wait for delivery - 1 year plus is not unusual.
Permitting: Wind energy projects must go through a multi-phase permitting process. Permission to construct and interconnect a wind farm must be obtained from multiple agencies - local, state, and federal.
O & M: Once a project is permitted, constructed, and interconnected to transmission, it still must be operated and maintained. Today, the manufacturers can monitor their turbines from anywhere in the world, 24/365. Maintenance and control must still be available at the local level; however, a growing number of companies are available on a contract basis.
Developer: The descriptions above touch on only the basic considerations involved in the development of a wind energy project. Realistically, development of a wind project can take several years from start to finish. Obviously then a developer should be selected that understands the process and can reliably guide the project owner/investor through the steps required. Think FCI. (320-894-5471)