Wind farm management
Wind power managing owners
Over the past few years the global trend is toward public utilities and large Independent Power Producers (IPPs) developing and owning large scale (normally about 20 to 500 MW) wind farms. Wind power managing owners, along with other financing parties and equity partners, typically sell the electricity generated from wind farms to other public utilities under long-term (typically 20 years) Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) where they receive a fixed or annually adjusted price for the electricity. Renewable energy incentives (which vary by country) also play a role in the revenue stream of a managing owner.
Largest managing owners in the world
According to the April 2008 press release from Emerging Energy Research, Spain-based Iberdrola (with its acquisition of Scottish Power and its 2nd-ranking U.S. developer PPM Energy) surpassed U.S.-based FPL Energy to become the world's largest wind owner with over 6,900 MW of capacity. After Iberdrola and FPL, the largest wind owners in the world are Energias de Portugal (EDP), Spain-based Acciona, Australian investment bank Babcock & Brown, Longyuan, German utility E.ON, Spanish utility Endesa, U.K.-based IPP International Power, and EDF Energies Nouvelles.
Largest managing owners in the U.S.
The largest wind power managing owners in the United States as of May 2008 are given in the table below:
|Managing Owner||MW under managing ownership|
|Babcock & Brown||1120|
|Edison Mission Group||562.9|
|Puget Sound Energy||378|
|E.On (formerly Airtricity)||1420|
|Last Mile Electric Coop||204.7|
Research and development
Despite growing worldwide demand for wind energy, present wind technology is not optimized and there are still significant challenges. Most of the research has occurred in industry, and is not always easily shared. According to a research agenda from a coalition of researchers from universities, industry, and government, supported by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, wind energy research requires a drastic transformation. According to the report:
The gains that we are seeking require new innovations in fluid dynamics, control, materials, manufacturing, structures, and electric power distribution, as well of new ways of engaging the public in appreciating and accepting this technology, the associated transmission infrastructure and its effects on reducing climate change. Design and analysis tools need to be developed. Common computer codes need to be shared and refined in an open collegial way that cannot occur in industry. Researchers need to disseminate, debate, and share results openly, accelerating innovation in the subject.