Last chance to apply for Women in Wind 2019-2020!

Today is the last day for mentees to apply to the inaugural year of the Women in Wind Global Leadership Program Join GWEC and the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) in promoting best practices for gender diversity within the wind industry, and advancing the role of women as agents of change in society. Officially launched on 2 April 2019, the Women in Wind program includes:

  •  A dedicated program of training and mentoring, aimed at providing participants with multidisciplinary experience and global perspectives;
  • A network of mentors among leading women in the wind industry;
  • A comprehensive education program incorporating the latest technological developments and best practices from the industry;
  • A platform to assist leading companies in the sector in identifying talent and reaching new gender equality benchmarks; and,
  • A growing network of alumni who can serve as mentors for future generations of women entering the industry, as wind becomes one of the world’s dominant energy sources.

Interest has been high and applications have been received from all over the world. Don’t miss this chance to be part of this exciting program for future female leaders in wind, and apply at the link below. The application period will close tonight at 15 April 2019, 23:59 CET. 

 

Keep following the Women in Wind blog for program updates and features on our mentees. Next up on the blog – data-driven insights on the applicant pool.

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Have you seen how tall wind turbines are? Climbing to the top requires good physical fitness! That’s why the AWEA Fitness for Work Task Force has developed the new AWEA Fitness for Work document. This new resource helps employers establish and maintain guidelines to identify the fitness for work condition of wind technicians working onshore.

These new guidelines provide industry best practices to help employers and employees maintain the physical condition needed to work in the wind industry.

“Having a Fitness for Work program is a win/win,” notes Len Tully, Chair of the Task Force. “A potential candidate takes away the confidence that they can do the job and they get a good feel for what the expectations will be.”

“Requirements of your own internal Fitness for Work program may vary depending on what your company specializes in, however, the minimum practices detailed within the AWEA Fitness for Work Guidelines should be considered,” said Ryan Dove, a member of the Task Force. “The Fitness for Work programs in which companies develop based on these guidelines should not only encompass the minimum physical standards for the routine job tasks your company performs but also guidance on proper return to work protocol and management roles pertaining to this program.”

The Fitness for Work Guidelines document includes best practices, a new hire fitness assessment process flow chart, and a sample pre-climb fitness self-certification form. Check it out today as you get ready for the long climb up!

Shadow Flicker

How does science show wind power is safe for my community?

THE TRUTH: Shadow flicker is predictable, harmless, and passes quickly. It is based on the sun’s angle, turbine location, and the distance to an observer; it can be avoided by several methods.

  • With modeling, shadows from moving wind blades are predictable and turbines can be sited to minimize flicker to a few hours a year.
  • Shadow flicker typically lasts just a few minutes near sunrise and sunset and can be addressed through use of proven mitigation techniques such as screening plantings.
  • The rate at which wind turbine shadows flicker is far below the frequency that, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, normally is associated with seizures.
  • An expert panel for the National Academy of Sciences found shadow flicker “harmless to humans.” A study commissioned by the Massachusetts Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health found that according to scientific evidence shadow flicker does not pose a risk for causing seizures.

Fire

How does technology create safe wind farms?

THE TRUTH: A fire at a wind turbine is a rare event, and extensive precautions are taken.

  • Photos on the Internet consist of a handful of incidents over decades of operation of hundreds of thousands of turbines around the world.
  • Even such sophisticated equipment, subject to constant motion and sometimes challenging environments, can sometimes fail.
  • Safety measures to prevent fires include systems that change the pitch of blades to prevent over-speed, temperature monitors and automatic shut-off systems to prevent over-heating, lightning protection and arc-flash detection, and remote shut-down.
  • Emergency plans include advance planning and training with local responders.
  • Sensors and data acquisition systems make it possible to analyze why a turbine shuts down or fails. This leads to continuous improvement in technology, operation and maintenance, and very few such failures.

Sound

How loud is a wind turbine?

THE TRUTH: Independent studies conducted around the world, including the U.S. have consistently found no evidence that wind farms cause any negative physical health effects.

  • Typically, two people can carry on a conversation at normal voice levels even while standing directly below a turbine.
  • Thousands of people worldwide live near wind farms with no ill effects.
  • Emitting virtually no air or water pollution, wind energy is essential to reducing energy-sector public health impacts.
  • Studies and government health organizations around the world have given wind a clean bill of health. For example, a Massachusetts study found no evidence for a set of health effects from exposure to wind turbines or for the existence what some have tried to characterize as “Wind Turbine Syndrome.”
  • A major study in Canada of over a thousand homes confirmed this again, stating, “No evidence was found to support a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and any of the self-reported illnesses.”
  • Studies have found that a “nocebo” effect can take place, the opposite of the well-known “placebo” effect. The nocebo effect describes a situation in which individuals who are led to expect physical symptoms may actually experience these symptoms, whether or not the supposed cause of the symptoms is actually present. In this case, increased exposure to misinformation about wind actually seems to increase the likelihood that certain individuals will report negative health effects such as headaches or nausea, although no scientific evidence shows wind turbines cause any such health effects.

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Today, AWEA released its U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2018. It’s a historic time for American Wind power—our industry has never been busier.

Robust demand, record low costs, innovative turbine technology, and consumer preferences are propelling wind to new heights. Strong wind project construction, a maturing manufacturing sector, and the increasing need for wind turbine technicians and operators mean wind jobs grew 8 percent in 2018– a record 114,000 men and women now work in wind.

Technology advances resulted in more productive turbines, with recent turbine installations achieving average capacity factors over 40 percent while costs continued to fall. And wind generation is on a record-setting spree in organized electricity markets—all of which experienced new wind generation records in 2018.

There’s much more to come, with over 35 gigawatts (GW) of wind projects under construction or in advanced development. That’s like building out Texas and Iowa, the country’s long-time wind leaders, all over again.

Here are the top 11 wind industry trends in 2018.

WIND ENERGY BENEFITS EVERY STATE

Under the 116th U.S. Congress, wind projects or wind-related manufacturing facilities are present in 69 percent of U.S. congressional districts, including 78 percent of Republican districts and 62 percent of Democratic districts. With a footprint in all 50 states, the wind industry supports local economic development, investing more than $12 billion in new wind projects in 2018, employing a record 114,000 Americans, and paying over $1 billion to state/local governments and private landowners in tax and lease payments.

WIND SUPPORTS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The U.S. wind industry is an important economic development driver, especially in rural areas. Every year, wind pays over $1 billion to state and local governments and private landowners, including $761 million in state and local tax payments. The wind projects installed in 2018 represent more than $12 billion in new investment.

CORPORATIONS BUY RECORD AMOUNT OF WIND POWER

Thirty-seven corporations, including 21 first-time buyers, signed wind energy contracts totaling a record 4,203 MW in 2018. Cumulatively, C&I purchasers have signed contracts for more than 11,300 MW of wind power, more than all of the wind installed to date in Iowa, America’s number two wind state. In doing so, companies cite declining costs and the stable price of wind power as driving factors for seeking out wind power contracts.

ELECTRICITY MARKETS SET WIND RECORDS

Wind delivered 24 percent and 19 percent of the electricity generated in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) respectively in 2018, setting new records in both markets.

Wind output records were set across the country in every regional transmission organization (RTO)/ independent system operator (ISO) at some point in 2018. ERCOT experienced the most wind output at a single point in time at over 19 GW, while SPP set the second highest mark at 16.3 GW.

OFFSHORE WIND PIPELINE SWELLS

Improving project economics and establishing robust state policies led to a surge in offshore wind activity in 2018. At the end of the year, project developers had a potential offshore wind pipeline of over 25,500 MW. Project developers expect six offshore wind projects totaling 2,101 MW to be operational by 2023.

WIND POWERS AMERICA

Wind energy now delivers over 20 percent of the electricity produced in each of the following six states: Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota and Maine. In 2018, wind turbines generated 6.5 percent of the electricity delivered to consumers nationally. The U.S. now has enough installed wind capacity to power more than 30 million American homes.

WIND DEMAND REACHES NEW HEIGHTS

Utilities and commercial and industrial (C&I) customers signed contracts for a record amount of wind power in 2018. Announcements for the year totaled 8,457 MW. Utilities contracted over 4,300 MW of wind power—seeking to add the low cost, reliable resource to their generation mix— while strong interest from C&I customers drove record procurement of over 4,200 MW.

WIND POWER SET TO GROW 36 PERCENT

The near-term wind development pipeline grew 23 percent over 2017 to 35,135 MW at the end of 2018. Once complete, U.S. wind power capacity in operation will increase to over 131,000 MW and will be capable of generating enough electricity to power over 42 million American homes.

TECHNOLOGY INNOVATIONS DRIVE DOWN COSTS

The cost of wind energy dropped 69 percent between 2009 and 2018 as the industry continued to improve performance through new technologies. Improved siting techniques, more sophisticated controls systems, advanced operations and maintenance practices, and the ability of new turbines to reach stronger, steadier winds all helped boost energy production and lower costs.

WIND DELIVERS ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

Wind energy generation avoids over 200 million metric tons of CO2 annually—equal to 11 percent of U.S. power sector emissions. In 2018 alone, wind energy avoided $9.4 billion in public health impacts by cutting air pollution that triggers asthma attacks and creates smog. Meanwhile, operating wind projects avoided the consumption of 101 billion gallons of water, equivalent to 308 gallons per person in the U.S.

WIND SUPPORTS DOMESTIC MANUFACTURING

Wind energy supports a thriving domestic manufacturing sector with over 500 factories in 42 states producing components for the industry. At the end of 2018, the wind industry supplied 24,000 manufacturing and supply chain jobs.