October 31, 2007

Capacity calculations for wind on the grid

Operators of the electrical grid have to know how much power capacity they can county on when they need it. This creates a problem for wind energy, because only the wind determines its production rate and time. It's largely chance that wind and demand might coincide in any dependable way. Therefore, wind is largely a sideshow, or even an added burden, to the real work of the grid.

Here is how different grid operators look at wind power's actual value in their planning, as compiled by the Utility Wind Integration Group ("Wind Power and Electricity Markets", information compiled through September 21, 2007). For "Capacity Calculation":
  • PJM (Mid-Atlantic plus northern IN and IL) initially assigns a value of 20% of the rated capacity and then uses the average output over the previous 3 years ot 4, 5, and 6 o'clock p.m. from June through August.

  • NYISO uses the average capacity factor between 2 and 6 o'clock p.m. from June through August and between 4 and 8 o'clock p.m. from December through February.

  • ISO-NE (New England) uses the overall capacity factor.

  • Ontario IESO uses 10% of the rated capacity for long-term (e.g., seasonal) forecasting and 0% (zero) for 1 to 34 days ahead.

  • MISO (Midwest) gives wind a 15% capacity value for transmission planning purposes.

  • SPP (KS, OK, TX panhandle) uses the level of output equalled or exceeded for 85% of the top 10% load hours.

  • ERCOT (TX) uses 8.7% of the rated capacity in capacity reserve margin calculations.

  • CAISO uses the average monthly output over the previous 3 years between 12 and 6 o'clock p.m. from May through September.

  • Alberta Electric System Operator assigns a 20% value.
wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines

October 29, 2007

Bush Wants Another $46 Billion for Wars

[headline and blurb from Ironic Times]

Dems pledge to whine “even louder” before giving it to him.

October 27, 2007

Corrections re: wind turbine foes

A story late last month by Lydia DePillis from Greenwire stated that Lisa Linowes organized the meeting in May 2005 at which a national coalition (namely, National Wind Watch [NWW]) against industrial wind energy development was formed. Whether that statement was due to confusion on the reporter's part or misinformation provided by Lisa, the fact is that Lisa was but one of the dozens of invited guests at that meeting, which was conceived and organized by David Roberson.

A story early this month by Kristi Swartz in the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post stated that the Industrial Wind Action Group (IWAG) was founded in 2005. Again, whether that statement was due to the reporter's confusion or misinformation provided by Lisa, the fact is that National Wind Watch, not IWAG, was founded in 2005. Lisa Linowes left National Wind Watch (after a failed coup followed by stealing NWW's web site and domain) to work independently (as IWAG) in 2006.

The coincidence that two reporters at the same time made similar incorrect statements about Lisa Linowes and National Wind Watch strongly suggests that Lisa was indeed the source of these errors.

wind power, wind energy

October 18, 2007

Huge project takes huge parts

Report from the construction of the Smoky Hills Wind Farm in Kansas, on hills on both sides of state highway 14 south of Lincoln:

The crane standing atop a hill across the Ellsworth County line north of Interstate 70 soared 315 feet into the air.

Nearby stood two white tubes, one stacked on the other. These made up the bottom two sections of a four-section tower. When this and more than 50 other towers like it are operational, the Smoky Hills Wind Farm will go on-line ...

The wind farm is being developed by TradeWind Energy of Lenexa under the ownership of Enel North America, Inc., a subsidiary of Enel, SpA, the third largest utility in the world.

The components [that electricians, engineers, construction employees and others] are putting together to make the wind turbines are huge. For instance, each turbine will have three blades, each one 132 feet in length.

The towers, manufactured in Denmark, Canada and China, are shipped to the Gulf of Mexico, where they are loaded on rail cars and transported to Kanopolis, 10 miles to the south of the construction site.

Other information shared by [farmer, landowner (hosting 15 of the machines), and tour guide Richard Plinsky]:

• Ten special "low-boy trucks" were needed -- just to deliver the crane, which will hoist the tower components, including the nacelle or generation head, which holds the hub for the three blades.

• The turbines [are capable of producing] 1.8 megawatts of energy [sic -- megawatts are a measure of power], making them the largest producers in Kansas. The wind turbines at Spearville and Elk River, east of Wichita, are 1.5 megawatts.

• The cost of a finished turbine is between $3.5 and $4 million [$1.9-2.2 million per megawatt].

• Each base takes 500 cubic yards of concrete, which is poured 8 to 10 feet into the ground.

• Each tower has 77,000 pounds of reinforcement bar in the concrete. The towers stand 260 feet tall.

"It was such a large project that there was no way anybody local could handle it," Plinsky said.

• When construction started, about 140,000 gallons of water were needed daily to pour the concrete and build the roads. Plinsky said large amounts of water are still required to control the dust on the roads.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism

October 13, 2007

Searsburg wind output misstated by officials

To the Editor, Brattleoro (Vt.) Reformer [published Oct. 12, 2007]:

The article "Answers blowing in wind" (Oct. 11) states that the current annual output of the existing Searsburg wind turbines is 27 percent of their capacity. That is incorrect.

For the last four years for which data are available, 2002-2005, the annual output has ranged between 20.4 and 21.7 percent of capacity.

There is no reason to expect a new facility in the same area to perform any better. The new machines are just bigger; they do not rewrite the laws of physics.

Searsburg's output for 2007 is likely to be much lower, since one of the machines -- its blades destroyed by lightning some time ago -- has not been repaired.

Such abandonment after the tax benefits expire and manufacturers have moved on to bigger machines is typical. It should be noted that "decommissioning" is superficial: all such agreements leave the huge steel-reinforced concrete foundation behind, permanently altering the terrain.

The extensive destruction of otherwise protected habitat necessary to erect the giant new wind turbines would be done to produce an annual total of barely one percent of Vermont's needs. It would, however, be practically idle for a third of the time and produce at or above its average rate only another third of the time -- depending on the wind and not grid demand, making its actual value for providing power almost nil. (Its real product is tax avoidance and green tags.)

It's time to admit that wind energy on the grid is a failure, not to stubbornly expand the folly. The only result has been the destruction of rural and wild lands that we and the earth can ill afford.

Eric Rosenbloom
President, National Wind Watch

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, Vermont

October 10, 2007

Facts and figures about Jiminy Peak wind turbine

The giant wind turbine on Jiminy Peak in the northern Berkshires has been on line for 2 months and has already broken down. At this rate, they won't even save their (our) investment, let alone the planet.

Type: General Electric 1.5-megawatt model SLE

Heights and weights
Base tower section: 72', 64.5 tons
Midsection: 85’, 47.5 tons
Top tower section: 97', 33.5 tons
Total tower: 253' (77 m), 144.5 tones
Nacelle: 12'2" high, 61.7 tons
Blade (x3): 122' long, 9'2" wide, 11.2 tons
Hub: 11' radius
Total blade assembly: 249' diam. (81 m), 134.6 tons, swept area 1.27 acres
Total: 386' (117.5 m), 236 tons

Foundation: 412 cubic yards of cement; 40' diameter; 8' deep in rock; 25 tons of reinforcing rod; 140 8’ anchor bolts

Likely output of this behemoth (when not broken down): about 325 kilowatts annually, reaching that rate or above only a third of the time, essentially idle another third of the time

See some pictures at National Wind Watch.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism

October 8, 2007

NO industrial wind turbines in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom

Make sure the organizations listed below understand that they need to stand against industrial wind energy development in the Northeast Kingdom to protect the beauty and character of the area.

From "Vermont's Northeast Kingdom", National Geographic Geotourism Map Guide:

Also see travelthekingdom.com/geotourism.

Geotourism Travelers' Tips:

1. What is geotourism?

The formal definition is, "Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of the place being visited -- its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents." In other words, travel for people who like distinctive places and care about protecting them.

2. Who are geotravelers?

... they support local businesses and travel organizations that care about conservation, preservation, beautification, and benefits to local people.

3. How can I be a good geotraveler in the Northeast Kingdom?

The Kingdom got its name from its natural beauty. Residents are determined to retain that beauty. ...

9. What should I do, and not do, if I want to buy property or build a home in the Kingdom?

The Geotourism Alliance is committed to preserving sense of place in the Kingdom. If you decide to purchase a home or move to the area, please consider local values and the effect you and your house have on the landscape, culture, environment, and communities. ...

[Who makes up the Geotourism Alliance?]

National Geographic
Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism Association
Nulhegan Gateway Association
University of Vermont Tourism Data Center
Cabot Creamery
Connecticut River Byway
Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium
Kingdom Trails Association
Northeastern Vermont Development Association
Northeast Kingdom Collaborative
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail
NorthWoods Stewardship Center
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
USDA Rural Development
Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing
Vermont Fresh Network
Vermont Maple Foundation
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
Vermont WoodNet

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, Vermont

NO industrial wind turbines in National Forest

Dear Bob Bayer, Project Coordinator, USDA Forest Service --

Please do not allow the construction of industrial wind turbines on National Forest lands in Readsboro, Vt., as proposed by PPM Energy.

Such construction would be a permanent loss of the land for any other purpose. It would require acres of clearing for each turbine, new heavy-duty roads, and excavation (including blasting) for steel-reinforced concrete bases that would remain in the ground forever.

The motion and consequent noise and vibration of the giant turbines are a threat to flying animals -- birds, bats, and insects -- and would disturb the lives of animals on and in the ground.

Their height and required safety lighting would adversely transform the character of a rare natural landscape.

These and other impacts far outweigh the potential benefit of the facility as a source of nonpolluting renewable energy.

As you know, wind energy is highly variable, intermittent, and nondispatchable. Thus, integrating it into the grid is problematic.

Other sources must be kept available to balance the infeed from wind. They may continue to burn fuel in standby mode, burn fuel at lower efficiency in a ramped down state, or burn extra fuel in more frequent starts.

The beneficial effect of wind as a clean source of energy is therefore substantially diminished as a supplier to the grid.

In many cases, the infeed from wind may simply be absorbed as a tolerable variation in line voltage, thus not displacing any other source at all.

In sum, forest land and habitat should not be sacrificed for such a negligible potential benefit that will not measurably alter our energy use.

Reject the proposal of siting wind turbines in the National Forest.

The forest is not renewable.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, Vermont

October 6, 2007

Protected wolves and hyenas disappearing in Indian district

From newindpress.com, via National Wind Watch:

Three years ago, Gajendragad [in Gadag district] was recognised as a safe haven for highly endangered species like the Indian grey wolf and striped hyenas, but then came wind farming and wind mills with huge noisy fans and human traffic to maintain these machines. It drove away these species from their habitat.

Dr H N Kumara, wildlife biologist, observed the changes during his visits to the place. ‘‘Some years ago, I could sight huge packs of animals during my visits. My week-long stay here had revealed that these places were an ideal den for the wolves. But after a couple of years, the habitats were destroyed and wolves disappeared,’’ he explained.

The hills were destroyed for the construction of roads and huge mills by a private firm, replacing the dry decidous place. The only beneficiary is cattle, for they can graze free and without fear. ‘‘There were a lot of wolves here. And the sight of grazing sheep was rare. Now the situation is the reverse. The wolves have gone,’’ said Goni Basappa Koralahalli, a shepherd.

[Poachers also take advantage of the new roads. --Ed.]

Prashant Rathod says he had sighted wolves several times, but it was more than a year ago. Now no one comes across wolves. The status of the Indian striped hyena, an endangered species, is no different. They have disappeared since the past three years.

‘‘This is a significant habitat for these hyenas and we had seen some near goshalas around Kalakaleshwar temple. But they are gone. It is possible that too much human interference might have driven them away,’’ he said.

Power generation is permitted on this government land and about five megawatts of power is generated. Officials from the forest department were not available for comment on the alarming migration of animals. The forest department had reported many incidents where bears made life miserable for people in Arasikere and parts of Hiryur recently.

The Indian grey wolf (Canis lupus) is found in the Deccan plateau and differs from its Himalyan cousin. Though considered secondary predators with significant roles in the food chain, the numbers of this nocturnal and diurnal species is dwindling rapidly due to poaching, loss of habitat and threat from feline species.

The species is protected under Wildlife Act Schedule 1.

The Indian striped hyena, a scavenger species was sighted in places like Gajendragad, Chitradurga, parts of Tumkur region, around Doroji, Sandur and Bidar.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, environment, environmentalism,, animal rights

October 2, 2007

Corrosion grounding off-shore wind

From Environmental Data Services (U.K.), via Friends of the Irish Environment, comes a report of a Sept. 20 article in the Norwegian engineering journal Teknisk Ukeblad about off-shore wind energy facilities being shut down because of corrosion damage to gearboxes, rotor blades, and other mechanical components. Affected sites include Nysted and Horns Rev off the Danish coast, Barrow in the Irish sea, and Kentish Flats in the Thames estuary. Vestas has suspended sales of its 3-MW off-shore turbine.

The Swedish engineering journal Ny Teknik also carried an article on the subject on Sept. 19, confirming Vestas' problems and noting that the technology still needs a lot of work (how much more money will we throw down this dead end?) to withstand the harsh environment off shore.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines

October 1, 2007

Non Aux Eoliennes!

Demonstration this Friday, October 6, in front of the Environment Ministry in Paris at 2:00 in the afternoon

Community and environmental groups from all over France will be demonstrating against the madness of industrial wind turbine development. They will be demanding that the Environment Ministry protect the environment instead of wreck it.

For details, go to the Collectif 6 Octobre web site.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights