|Official name||Steel Winds I & Steel Winds II|
|Location||Lackawanna, New York|
|Commission date||April 2007|
|Construction cost||$40 Million|
|Units operational||14 X 2.5 MW Liberty Series|
|Make and model||Clipper Windpower|
Steel Winds (or Steel Winds I & Steel Winds II) is a wind energy project located on the coast of Lake Erie in Lackawanna, New York, just south of the City of Buffalo proper in Erie County. Prior to this project studies for solar power options were extensively studied. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind is the fastest-growing energy source in the world. American wind farms generated an estimated 35,000 megawatts of wind energy in 2009, just over two percent of the U.S. electricity supply, powering the equivalent of nearly 10 million homes. The project is situated on 30 acres (12 ha) of the 1,600-acre (650 ha) brownfield that was the former Bethlehem Steel Plant. The former Bethlehem Steel facility is being returned to productive use under the New York Department of Environmental Conservation Brownfield Cleanup Program.  A 2002 change in environmental laws gave the city and developers immunity from the costs of remediating the site-costs that had stymied redevelopment of the planned 1,600-acre site for public use under this cleanup program. Brownfields are low-level toxic waste sites concentrated mainly around abandoned factories. It was designed to produce 30-MW of electricity, enough to power 6,000 average American homes or 9,000 homes in New York. Power is being sold into the NYS ISO grid for sale to retail customers. It is one of the largest urban wind power developments in the world. These windmills are now harnessing the steady winds that blow off of Lake Erie.
The project is owned by First Wind, who will be selling energy, capacity and RECs to energy retailer Constellation NewEnergy through 2009. The project was built by Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group, of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is operated by First Wind. Operation and maintenance services will be provided by the manufacturer of the turbines, Clipper Windpower, for the first five years.
The project uses the old steel mill's roads and off-site transmission lines, requiring little new infrastructure. The initial phase of the project cost an estimated $40 million, and the most recent expansion added $25 million to $30 million to the project's overall price tag.
Construction was divided into two phases. Phase I called for the installation of 8 turbines by 2007, while phase II called for the installation of an additional 6 turbines by 2012.
The turbine components for phase I were manufactured in 2006 at Clipper's facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, shipped overland at high cost to the project site in early 2007, constructed, and placed on-line in April 2007. This marked the first commercial deployment of the 2.5-MW Liberty Series turbines. June 5, 2007 marked the start of full commercial operations, with an operational capacity of 20 MW.
The second phase of the project became active on January 27, 2012. This phase completed the 14-turbine project, adding an additional 15 MW for a cumulative 35 MW of power.
Norman Polanski, former mayor of Lackawanna, NY, was a supporter of the project, using it as part of his re-election campaign. It is hoped to have a positive effect on tourism and attract industry to the area, as well as the possibility of manufacturing turbine equipment locally to reduce costs for future projects. The project is used in other ways in addition to it's primary function as a source of energy. Steel Winds provides a backdrop for First Wind to raise awareness and solidarity for breast cancer. For three years one of the turbines have been illuminated by a pink light for the month of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The project consists of 15 Clipper Windpower 2.5-MW Liberty series wind turbines which represents the latest technology in the largest commercially viable form. According to a press release from the manufacturer,
- The Project's Liberty 2.5 MW wind turbines are designed to mitigate loads to components found in many of today's multi-megawatt wind turbine designs through Clipper's patented Quantum Distributed Generation Drivetrain ("DGEN-Q") and the use of four unique permanent magnet generators. Proprietary variable speed technology also enables operation in a simpler, more efficient manner than standard wind turbine technologies. Grid integration is achieved through power factor regulation technology with ride-through capability which exceeds current and planned standards for electric grid operation; a 2-ton on-board crane simplifies maintenance to significantly reduce service-related costs. The 2.5 MW Liberty turbine installation can be accomplished with a crane sized for standard commercial 1.5 MW units.
More detailed information can be downloaded from their site.
- The largest wind-generated electricity customer in the area is the University at Buffalo.
- "Green Energy: The answer is blowing in the wind" by Anna Miller, Buffalo Rising Magazine, May 2007
- 4.) http://www.firstwind.com/projects/steel-winds-I
- BQ Energy
- BQ Energy's Steel Winds Site - includes photo galleries, archived news articles and media coverage video clips
- Clipper Windpower
- UPC Wind