It has been made clear by the Obama administration that its efforts to support renewable energy in the United States is as much about strengthening and growing the nation’s economy and creating jobs as it is about reducing the country’s carbon footprint and warding off global climate change. One of the ways by which the US economy stands to be improved is by developing and manufacturing clean energy technologies that other countries want, then exporting them.
It now appears that progress of that sort is being made, specifically in Vermont, where a wind turbine manufacturer has made a deal that is being reported as the largest U.S. export of this type of wind turbine to date. According to a recent statement, Northern Power Systems has secured financing that will allow it to export 55 of its 100 killowatt, fixed magnet, direct-drive wind turbines to PurEnergy, a wind-energy developer based in Bisaccia, Italy.
The financing comes from the Export-Import bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and involves a total of $22.2 million in euro-denominated loans. The “distributed turbines” will be installed in independent wind towers that will generate power for local commercial use and supply power to the grid. The Italian government currently offers an incentive program aimed at smaller, grid-connected wind-power projects with a generation capacity of 200 kilowatts or less.
The energy these wind towers will produce is apparently eligible for a rather compensatory feed-in-tariff that is fixed for 15 years. Ex-Im’s financing supports the 15-year repayment terms that the borrowers need in order for the each wind towers to be eligible for the feed-in tariff. The financing is also said to have made it possible for Northern Power Systems to reasonably compete against European and Asian suppliers which were also backed by financing from their own governments’ export-credit programs.