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It’s been a banner week for corporate purchasers. First, Iron Mountain, Microsoft and Walmart announced power purchase agreements (PPA) with five wind projects across the country. On top of that exciting news, Microsoft also announced a new and innovative solution for corporate purchasers called the volume firming agreement (VFA), which will help large companies power even more of their operations using wind.

Let’s look at the details:

Iron Mountain, Microsoft and Walmart continue to invest in wind

The three companies announced a combined 468 megawatts (MW) in PPAs across five wind projects this week:

  • Iron Mountain signed a 145 MW PPA with the Pretty Prairie Wind Farm in Reno County, Kan.
  • Microsoft signed a 90 MW PPA with the Big Level Wind Project in Potter County, Pa.
  • Walmart signed three contracts, including a 123 MW PPA with the 205 MW Bright Stalk Wind Farm in McLean County, Ill.; a 60 MW PPA with the 200 MW Headwaters II Wind Farm in Randolph County, Ind.; and a 50 MW PPA with the 200 MW Harvest Ridge Wind Farm in Douglas County, Ill.

The five wind projects are all expected to be operational by the end of 2020. An ever-increasing number of corporate purchasers are investing in wind energy because it provides stable, cost-competitive prices while also helping to achieve sustainability goals. Iron Mountain, Microsoft, and Walmart are similar in that they are all repeat customers with previous wind purchases, showing that companies buying wind see results that keep them coming back for more.

“Wind energy is an important part of our energy portfolio, and Walmart plans to continue our efforts to pursue renewable energy projects that are right for our customers, our business, and the environment,” said Mark Vanderhelm, Vice President of Energy for Walmart.

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“What is especially exciting is that … 100 percent of our data center business now operates on renewable electricity … it’s truly remarkable to hit these goals in a ‘business-positive’ manner that leverages renewable energy to help us reduce utility expenses, stabilize rates and reduce the business risks associated with fossil fuels,” said Kevin Hagen, Vice President of Environmental Social and Governance Strategy, Iron Mountain.

A new solution to enable more wind purchases

For companies seeking to purchase wind energy, signing a PPA continues to be one of the most popular tools available. To illustrate, AWEA data show that corporate and other non-utility customers have contracted for more than 10,000 MW of wind capacity through PPAs to date—more than the entire installed capacity of Oklahoma, America’s second largest wind state.

Both large and small corporate purchasers see the value in signing a PPA. These contracts allow purchasers to secure a long-term supply of renewable energy at a stable price that protects against future fuel price instability at the same time. It’s like choosing a fixed rate mortgage over a variable one. However, the road to understanding and signing a PPA can be incredibly complex.

To help simplify that process, Microsoft partnered with REsurety, Nephila Climate, and Allianz to design a solution called the Volume Firming Agreement (VFA). As with any contract, there are risks inherent to PPAs that need to be mitigated to secure the highest value for all counterparties. The VFA acts as a supplement to a PPA, isolating weather-related risks in the contract and allocating them to counterparties like insurance companies. These entities are experienced and eager to manage said risks on behalf of their customer. As a result, PPAs are made simpler and more valuable for the customer. We’re eager to see how this enables additional wind procurement moving forward for both large and small corporate customers.

Interested in learning more about the Fortune 500 companies and other non-utility customers investing in wind? Dive into our interactive map, which illustrates all public wind procurement with non-utility customers at least 20 MW in size.

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A new report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that wind and solar generated over 20 percent of the total electricity in 10 states last year. This offers yet another data point that renewables like wind power have become an important part of America’s electricity mix.

The 10 states include Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont, California, Maine, Colorado, and Minnesota. Together, they represent a diverse sample of Lower 48 states running on more affordable, reliable, clean energy than ever before.

In many of these states, wind power is the driving force behind the growing share of renewable energy. Iowa, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Kansas all generate at least 30 percent of their electricity using wind.

Wind makes up at least 13 percent of electricity generation in 9 of the 10 states, with only California below that mark. Overall, a whopping 14 states generate at least 10 percent of their electricity using wind, proof that it’s an increasingly reliable resource for millions of American families and businesses.

Notably absent from EIA’s report is Texas.

The Lone Star State is the largest wind producer in the country, with nearly three times as much installed wind  as runner-up Oklahoma. In 2017, wind produced nearly 15 percent of the state’s electricity, a notable achievement for America’s largest energy consumer. That is the equivalent of powering 6,235,000 American homes. Wind also helped carry Texas through the hot summer months of peak demand.

EIA’s report offers further proof that tapping into our abundant, natural wind resource is a dependable way to produce affordable, clean energy. As wind becomes a larger share of the U.S. electricity mix, more and more Americans will experience the many benefits of wind power, from the job creation and economic development to purer air.

October 16, 2018

Working as a Service Technician for the leader in wind:  Spend your day in a thrilling, yet safe environment working on turbines for the leader of the industry.

Service Technician II

Organization

Vestas Canadian Wind Technology, Inc., Service

Service Department

The Service Technician role is to maintain and troubleshoot complex hydraulic and electrical controls circuits to maintain a wind turbine.  The customer relies on our safe work practices, technical acumen, teamwork, leadership and fiscal stewardship to maintain the turbines in their best condition to generate power at the lowest overall cost.

Responsibilities

  • Closely adhere to all safety standards and procedures.  Act as a safety role model, encourage and recognize others completing safe acts, and intervene when unsafe acts are being practiced.  Identify gaps in safety standards and safety risks in the operational environment, implement effective risk mitigation, and provide recommendations to higher level technical staff and management.
  • Demonstrate and promote integrity, strong initiative, a no-compromise focus on safety, and quality of work on a continuous basis.
  • May assist with or perform basic quality audits of less experienced staff.
  • Perform intermediate level wind turbine maintenance and/or installation tasks as assigned, such as proficient operation and use of tools (including but not limited to specialized calibration, hydraulic, power tools) and basic turbine equipment.  Document tasks where required and enters data into company system (e.g. SAP).
  • Effectively gather information regarding turbine performance / issues.  May diagnose, recommend, and implement solutions up to intermediate routine issues.  Seek assistance when encountering turbine issues outside trained skill level to ensure success in resolution.
  • Follow basic structured problem-solving process to complete troubleshooting and diagnostic tasks to include the use of diagnostic tools (e.g. basic fluke meter functions, hydraulic pressure gauge).
  • Independently initiate and perform most work tasks, as well as follow defined instructions and maintenance schedules, executing plans as directed, and perform according to written and verbal instruction from higher level technical staff.
  • Effectively promote strong team environment by assisting teammates in accomplishing goals and mentoring lower level technical staff.  Visibly support and promote change initiatives and team spirit and cooperation.
  • Proactively look for improvement opportunities to job appropriate processes and procedures and communicate through appropriate channels or implement improvements using the appropriate control management protocol.
  • Interface with customer and may respond to customer inquiries.  Refer complex customer inquiries to higher level technical staff or manager.  Demonstrate strong customer focus at all times.
  • This role will require travel and working overtime, including working a flexible and variable work schedule as needed to meet business objectives.
  • Perform other tasks as assigned.

Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Minimum one (1) year technical wind industry experience, OR six (6) months technical wind industry experience and a certificate of completion from a Wind Technician program, OR in absence of technical wind industry experience, minimum three (3) years’ experience working with hydraulic, electrical, mechanical skills and/or composite skills
  • Demonstrated use and understanding of intermediate level power tools such as hydraulic, power torque and diagnostic tools (e.g. fluke meter functions and hydraulic pressure gauge).
  • Ability to demonstrate intermediate working knowledge of industrial safety practices / protocols (e.g. Confined Space, energy isolation).
  • Valid Driver’s License and ability to obtain a Passport.
  • Strong attention to detail and execution excellence.
  • Good interpersonal and customer relation skills.
  • Able to effectively collaborate with employees at all professional levels and ability to respectfully follow supervision and support initiatives.
  • Basic computer operation skills, familiarity with internet based program navigation, and ability to generate and interpret computer data.
  • Ability to read, interpret and understand drawings and schematics to validate work activity and ensure that risks are identified and mitigated.
  • Internal candidates must be certified to Task-Based Certification (TBC) level 200.

Competencies

  • Ability to constantly climb stairs and ladders 60-125 meters in height, in order to access work area.
  • Ability to frequently lift, push, pull, and carry items up to 50 lbs in weight.
  • Ability to frequently walk, stand, look up/down, balance, stoop, twist, kneel, and bend.
  • Ability to constantly grip and manually manipulate, often with repetitive motion, items such as, but not limited to, hand tools and turbine parts.
  • Comfort constantly working in confined spaces and at heights over 100 meters.
  • Ability to speak, read, comprehend, and write in English.
  • Ability to successfully participate in all training courses, including controlled decent.
  • Ability to hear and see, including the ability to perceive depth and distinguish colors, sufficient to perform job functions and use close range radios.
  • Able to work in demanding physical and inclement weather conditions.
  • Comfort working remotely in a Turbine as part of a team with limited supervisory interaction.
  • Ability to work in a respirator, including passing a respirator medical evaluation and fit test (required to be clean shaven)

What We Offer

As a member of the Vestas team, we offer a competitive salary and one of the most comprehensive benefits plans in the industry. Among the many amenities we offer: fully funded healthcare; dental; vision; vacation and sick time; generous 401(k) plan; tuition assistance; and much more.

Additional information

Permanent, full-time position located in St. Leon, Manitoba at 1 Labossiere Road Box 5006, St-Leon Manitoba, R0G 2E0. Compensation is $27.83/hour CAD.

It is the policy of Vestas to afford equal employment opportunity without regard to age, race, religion, color, gender, or national origin, and to afford equal opportunity to veterans and individuals with a disability, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, provincial, or local law. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application and/or interview process should notify a representative within the People & Culture department.

About Vestas

Vestas is the energy industry’s global partner on sustainable energy solutions. We design, manufacture, install, and service wind turbines across the globe, and with 92 GW of wind turbines in 79 countries, we have installed more wind power than anyone else.

Through our industry-leading smart data capabilities and unparalleled 78 GW of wind turbines under service, we use data to interpret, forecast, and exploit wind resources and deliver best-in-class wind power solutions. Together with our customers, Vestas’ more than 23,900 employees are bringing the world sustainable energy solutions to power a bright future.

We invite you to learn more about Vestas by visiting our website at www.vestas.com and following us on our social media channels.

News roundup: State of play for U.S. offshore wind

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The race for offshore wind leadership is heating up, and around the country a flurry of recent announcements from states and offshore developers are shaping the future of the industry. As the offshore wind community convenes for AWEA’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference, it’s a good time to take stock of where things stand.   

Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest highlights from the past few weeks.  

State of the U.S. offshore wind industry 

Currently, the only offshore wind project operating in the U.S. is a five-turbine, 30 megawatt (MW) installation off the coast of Rhode Island. But this project won’t be alone for long.   

According to the Department of Energy, as of June 2018, the U.S. offshore wind project development pipeline now exceeds 25 gigawatts (GW) of planned capacity.  

That means the offshore wind industry is poised to grow substantially over the coming years. States are making firm commitments to renewable energy, forming favorable policy landscapes, and advocating strongly for the development of offshore wind.  

Massachusetts  

At the close of Massachusetts’s 2017-2018 legislative session, the state passed Bill H.4857, An Act to Advance Clean Energy. The bill, signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on August 9th, included a higher renewable portfolio standard (RPS), increased energy storage and energy efficiency targets, and a goal to procure 3,200 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.  

This increased commitment to offshore wind comes as Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners develop Vineyard Wind, an 800 MW project 15 miles off the south coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyard Wind has secured record-low prices. The first 400 megawatts installed would start at 7.4 cents per kilowatt hour, and the second 400 megawatts would start at 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour. The average price over the 20-year contract is set to be 8.4 cents per megawatt. These prices sit well below expectations and are the lowest yet for offshore wind in the U.S. The project is projected to save Massachusetts customers $1.4 billion over its 20-year lifespan. Construction is set to begin in 2019, with the project producing electricity by 2021.  

In the race for Governor, both incumbent Charlie Baker and challenger Jay Gonzalez have signed a pledge saying that, if elected, they will continue procuring offshore wind energy in the region.  

Rhode Island  

Rhode Island’s offshore wind development won’t stop at the Block Island Wind Farm. In May, the state selected 400 MW from Deepwater Wind’s Revolution Wind project through a competitive process in collaboration with Massachusetts.  

The wind farm will be located 15 miles off Rhode Island’s coast roughly halfway between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.  

“We will be making very significant investments in Rhode Island port infrastructure,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said. “I think they will be historic-level investments that will help position Rhode Island in this growing industry. We will make Rhode Island a major center of construction and operations activity. There are many hundreds of jobs associated with this.” 

Connecticut  

This June, Governor Malloy and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced that Connecticut selected 200 MW of offshore wind as part of a recent Clean Energy Request for Proposals that DEEP issued in January. The offshore wind project will also be a part of Deepwater Wind’s Revolution Wind project, selected by Rhode Island in May.  

Construction on Revolution Wind could begin as soon as 2020, with the project in operation in 2023.  

New York  

Governor Andrew Cuomo has set a goal of generating 50 percent of New York’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, including 2,400 MW of offshore wind capacity.  

While the state plans to open a solicitation for the first 800 MW this fall, the Long Island Power Authority has already approved a power purchase agreement to buy 90 MW of electricity from the South Fork Wind Farm, a 15-turbine installation set to begin construction by 2020.  

New Jersey  

In the nine months since taking office, Governor Phil Murphy has made developing offshore wind one of his highest priorities. He aims to have 3,500 MW of wind capacity by 2030 – enough to power more than a million homes.  

Recently, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved the country’s largest offshore wind solicitation to date – 1,100 MW of new offshore wind capacity. The board also opened the state to two more solicitations within the next four years.  

In September, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) issued a Request for Ideas (RFI) for offshore wind port infrastructure. Stakeholders such as offshore wind developers, suppliers, port operators and other agencies are encouraged to respond.  

“Governor Murphy’s vision for a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy includes investment in clean energy infrastructure to support job creation in growth industries like wind energy,” EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said. “New Jersey is uniquely situated to assume a leadership position in the offshore wind industry, which presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for new, good-paying jobs in the state.”  

Read more about NJ’s offshore wind development here.  

Virginia  

Farther south, Virginia is emerging as a strong leader in offshore wind development. Last spring, Virginia passed Senate Bill 966, an omnibus energy bill which set a target for the state to develop 5.5 GW of renewable energy by 2024, including at least 2 GW of offshore wind capacity.  

Dominion Energy and the Danish firm Orsted plan to install two 6 MW wind turbines 27 miles off the coast as a pilot project. It will serve as a demonstration for stakeholders like the military, commercial and recreational groups, and government agencies.  

In September, Governor Northam stated that Virginia “has a clear opportunity to act as a change agent in driving the development of U.S. offshore wind.” 

Ohio  

The offshore wind boom isn’t limited to the East Coast. Icebreaker Wind in Lake Erie off the coast of Cleveland would be the first U.S. offshore wind project built in freshwater. The development includes six turbines, each 3.5 MW, located seven miles offshore. Icebreaker Wind would produce enough energy to power 7,000 Ohio homes.  

The Great Lakes have a number of advantages for offshore wind development. Shallow waters, small waves, less extreme weather and nearby electric grids make for lower construction costs. If Icebreaker succeeds, proponents say it could be just the beginning for offshore wind in the region.  

This summer, both the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Power Siting Board gave the project preliminary approval, with final approval expected this fall.  

On October 2nd, the Department of Energy released a final environmental assessment of the project which included what the agency calls a FONSI, or a finding of no significant impact. Lorry Wagner, the president of the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo.), called this “the most significant single approval Icebreaker Wind has received to date. We are eager now to earn state approval and move forward.”  

If all goes as planned, the turbines could be operating in the next three years.  

California  

In August, the California legislature passed Senate Bill 100, which calls for the state to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2045. Currently, California is at 30 percent renewable energy, so offshore wind could offer a much-needed boost to the state’s renewable energy capacity.  

On September 13th, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) submitted a lease application to the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to move forward on California’s first offshore wind energy project.  

The 100-150 MW project would consist of 10-15 floating turbines 20 miles off the coast of Eureka and could come online as soon as 2024.