Our Unique Development Process.
TradeWind Energy™ is a turnkey developer of wind energy projects. That means we can handle every aspect of any wind energy project. Our experienced team of wind developers is comprised of engineers, meteorologists, biologists, and GIS specialists. We take each new project through our state-of-the-art wind development process. Listed below are the main phases you can expect in the development of wind power on your property. We will be there to assist you every step of the way.
1. Initial Site Assessment
Our work begins long before you see any turbines spinning in the air, and often before you first hear from us. We continuously conduct research to find locations that have the right combination of consistent wind, topographic relief, elevation, proximity to high voltage transmission lines, environmental suitability, compatible land use, and more.
2. Land Leasing
Once we have identified a site we believe can become a viable project, we approach landowners to discuss a long-term lease agreement for the wind rights on their property. Projects often take many years from inception to construction, so we typically seek a development term that will allow us ample time to obtain all the wind data, permits, environmental studies, and customer agreements needed to complete the project. After construction, wind projects are expected to operate a minimum of 20-30 years.
3. Wind Measurement and Analysis
One of our first development activities is to install meteorological towers with anemometers and wind vanes to assess the wind on the proposed site. This process generally takes 1-3 years as the validation of the wind resource determines the viability of the project, the risk assessments of our financial partners, and the price of the energy. We collect and study wind speeds, wind direction, air density, and other data at multiple locations across each site.
4. Detailed Assessment
Once we have adequately assessed the wind resource at a potential site and conclude the site is viable, we begin to evaluate all aspects of the project design. This includes a detailed environmental survey, an electrical interconnection study to determine how the project will link with the local high voltage transmission system, positioning of each turbine across the site, and a detailed construction plan. In addition, we begin the process of obtaining all the necessary federal, state and local permits, working closely with all stakeholders throughout the process.
5. Contracting, Financing, and Equipment Procurement
Most wind projects in the Midwest require a contract with one or more electric power companies to purchase the output from the wind project before proceeding to construction. In some cases where the power market conditions are right, a project may be built as a “merchant” facility, selling power in the traded market without a contracted long term buyer. Enel, our investment partner, provides financing for the procurement of turbines, transformers and other equipment, as well as the entire construction process. In some cases, the utility itself may wish to own the wind project, so we offer a variety of flexible financial structures to meet their needs.
6. Project Completion and Maintenance
The construction phase involves building roads and foundations for the towers, and constructing the substation and interconnection facilities. The time spent in actual tower erection and assembly of the turbines is relatively short. The turbines are then tested and commissioned. From that point on, with regular maintenance, they will produce clean, renewable electric power for thousands of households for at least 20 years. Our projects typically have an operations and maintenance facility and full-time staff on hand to ensure reliable operations. Each project is also monitored remotely around-the-clock from our 24/7/365 operations center.