In 2010 Iberdrola Renovables has signed long-term power purchase agreements in the US for over 700 MW of wind energy, more than any other company has secured, and is currently considering opportunities for up to a further 1,000 MW.
The US subsidiary of Iberdrola Renovables, the world’s leading wind power company, has entered into a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) for its New Harvest wind farm. This deal encompasses the sale to the US companies Commonwealth Edison and Ameren Illinois of the output of 75 of this facility’s 100 megawatts (MW) over the next 20 years.
Power purchase agreements ensure the long-term profitability of energy facilities in the US. They may cover only the sale of power, but may also include Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), which are tradable in some US states.
Iberdrola Renovables has signed contracts of this type for 700 MW so far in 2010 and has secured them at a higher price than in previous years. Moreover, it is currently analysing opportunities for contracts for a further 1,000 MW.
PPAs have been one of the cornerstones of the strategy of Iberdrola Renovables in the US. The company has already secured contracts of this type for around 80% of its US wind farms, having struck deals with some fifty local companies including Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Wisconsin Energy, Salt River Project and We Energies of Milwaukee.
Iberdrola Renovables completed the construction of three new wind farms in the US in December, with total installed capacity of 264 MW.
One of these is the 149 MW Elm Creek II, where 62 Mitsubishi wind turbines with unit capacity of 2.4 MW have been installed. This wind farm rounds off the Elm Creek Wind Farm, one of the largest in the US, with 250 MW of installed capacity.
The company has also finished building Dry Lake II, in Arizona, with 65 MW of installed capacity. This facility, which uses Suzlon (S88 model) wind turbines, has been equipped with 31 turbines with unit capacity of 2.1 MW.
Lastly, Iberdrola Renovables has brought on stream the Big Horn II, 50 MW wind farm located in Klickitat county, Washington, which has 25 Gamesa G87 wind turbines with unit capacity of 2 MW each.
The US leader
The start-up of these facilities has permitted the global leader in wind power to bolster its presence in the US, where it has consolidated its position as the second-largest wind operator. At the end of September 2010 the company had installed capacity of 4,314 MW, divided between 47 wind farms, and it expects to end 2010 with an output of some 4,590 MW. This means it will have installed 1,000 MW over the year.
The company has a US pipeline amounting to 25,000 MW, representing 41% of the total (62,000 MW. Iberdrola Renovables’ main focus in the US is on wind energy, where it was the world leader in 2009 after 1,241 MW began operating commercially. It has maintained this position in 2010 according to the latest data released by American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
To date, the company has received nearly US$1 billion in stimulus grants, ensuring growth in this market until at least 2012.
This year it has commissioned the Portland renewables control centre (CORE), the most advanced installation in the sector in the US, controlling the nearly 800,000 signals from the company’s 2,500 wind turbines there.
The company has also begun construction on its first forest biomass project in the US, the Lakeview plant. This new facility will have an output of 26.8 MW and is expected to be on stream by the end of 2012. It also has a portfolio of more than 400 MW of photovoltaic projects in the US, all developed in accordance with the company’s opportunity, sustainability and profitability criteria.
The company has a workforce of around 800 employees in the US –nearly half of its total headcount– and has created over 14,200 indirect jobs there since 2006. It has also made purchases from US companies over the last three years worth $5.5 billion.
With operations in 23 countries, Iberdrola Renovables is the world leader in its sector by both installed wind energy capacity (12,006 MW at the end of the third quarter of 2010) and output (nearly 18,091 million kWh in the first nine months of 2010).