Land-based wind farms expand in Northeast

Source: E&E • Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Technological developments that cut the cost of wind turbines while boosting efficiency are driving up the competitiveness of land-based wind power and expanding wind farms across the Northeast, despite ongoing controversy over offshore farms.

The cost of electricity, particularly in the Northeast, can be as much as 60 percent higher than the national average.

Boston’s First Wind Holdings LLC has installed enough land-based turbines in the Northeast to generate equal power to the long-awaited but controversial Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound offshore from Massachusetts. The price of turbines has decreased by about one-third over the past few years. Now, new turbines are more efficient, generating electricity at lower wind speeds.

“Some of the states in the Northeast have been some of the fastest-growing markets,” said Elizabeth Salerno, director of industry data and analysis at the American Wind Energy Association. “Power prices are relatively high [there], so by delivering wind projects, you can develop a pretty affordable source of generation.”

First Wind has wind farms across Maine, Vermont and upstate New York. Patriot Renewables operates two wind farms in Maine and one in Buzzards Bay, Mass., generating a total of 25 megawatts (Erin Ailworth, Boston Globe, July 9).