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Big First Quarter Gains in New Wind Turbine Capacity in U.S.

LCG, May 4, 2017--The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released on Tuesday its new U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2017 Market Report. AWEA's evaluation concludes that a total of 908 utility-scale turbines were installed in the first quarter of 2017, adding 2,000 MW of electric generating capacity. According to AWEA, the installations represent the wind industry's strongest start in eight years. AWEA's CEO stated, "We switched on more megawatts in the first quarter than in the first three quarters of last year combined."

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San Diego County Water Authority Seeks Proposals for 500-MW Pumped Storage Project

LCG, May 3, 2017--The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors on April 27 authorized the Water Authority, together with the City of San Diego, to pursue proposals to build an energy storage facility that utilizes the existing San Vicente Reservoir. The Water Authority expects to advertise the Request for Proposals (RFPs) by this summer and to evaluate received proposals by the end of this year.

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Industry News

Southwest Power Pool Sets Wind Penetration Record of 52.1 Percent

LCG, February 15, 2017--Southwest Power Pool (SPP) announced earlier this week that it achieved a wind-penetration record of 52.1 percent at 4:30 a.m., February 12, when it became the first regional transmission organization (RTO) in North America to serve over 50 percent of its electric demand at a given time with wind energy. SPP set the previous RTO record of 49.2 percent on April 24, 2016.

The installed wind farm capacity and wind power generation in the SPP region has grown dramatically. Since the turn of the century, SPP's installed wind capacity has grown from a few hundred MW's to becoming the third most-prevalent fuel source in the SPP region. Wind capacity provided approximately 15 percent of SPP's generating capacity in 2016, exceeded only by natural gas and coal. Installed wind capacity increased in 2016 by 4,000 MW - from 12,000 MW to over 16,000 MW, and SPP's maximum simultaneous wind generation peak rose from 9,948 MW in 2015 to 12,336 MW in early 2016.

In concert with the installation of new wind farms, SPP has approved the construction of over 10 billion dollars in high-voltage transmission infrastructure over the last decade, with much of the construction designed to connect rural, isolated Midwestern wind farms to population centers hundreds of miles away.

SPP's Vice President of Operations stated, "Ten years ago, we thought hitting even a 25 percent wind-penetration level would be extremely challenging, and any more than that would pose serious threats to reliability. Since then, we've gained experience and implemented new policies and procedures. Now we have the ability to reliably manage greater than 50 percent wind penetration. It's not even our ceiling. We continue to study even higher levels of renewable, variable generation as part of our plans to maintain a reliable and economic grid of the future."

SPP's President and CEO said, "It's exciting to see the evolution of our efforts to maintain a reliable power grid. It allows for very different generation patterns than we've historically experienced. But for new day-ahead unit commitment procedures and market processes for managing congestion across a single balancing authority in fourteen states, these new records would not be possible."
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