January 14, 2006

Close door on wind power developers

To the editor, Rutland (Vt.) Herald:

On January 6 a letter stated that big wind could provide up to 20 percent of our power needs. If all of the current proposals (up to 312 MW) around the state were built, they would provide at most only 10 percent or our current (ignoring future growth) power needs. Each of the facilities would drasticallyhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif alter the character of the landscape for miles around with visual prominence, distracting motion, noise, and all-night strobe lights, degrade and fragment miles of wildlife habitat, and threaten endangered bats. They are all being actively opposed (see www.rosenlake.net/vwv).

Since it is unlikely that we will reach 10 percent wind, it is even more unlikely that we would allow building even more to get us to 20 percent.

Even if it works as advertised, big wind will never be a significant part of our power mix. It is common sense, not the governor alone, that is trying shut the door on such fruitless industrialization of our ridgelines.

A letter from Pennsylvania on January 7 claimed that big wind is working in that state. The writer called support of large-scale wind power a "no-brainer" because it replaces dirty energy sources. Those of us who still use our brains, however, would like to see the data showing what energy sources have actually been replaced.

After researching this issue for 3 years, I have yet to see any such evidence that wind power on the grid reduces the use of other fuels.

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January 12, 2006

Whole Foods pays extra for same electricity

From the Jan. 10 AP story:
Natural-food grocer Whole Foods Market Inc. said Tuesday it will rely on wind energy for all of its electricity needs, making it the largest corporate user of renewable energy in the United States. ...

"It's a sales driver rather than a cost," [Whole Foods regional president Michael Besancon] said. "All of those things we do related to our core values: help drive sales, help convince a customer to drive past three or four other supermarkets on the way to Whole Foods."
Whole Foods will not be "relying" on wind energy any more than they were before. Their stores will be getting the same electricity as their neighbors, but Whole Foods will be paying more for it in the belief that they are supporting the construction of giant wind turbines.

That's fine, but, as The Stalwart, a pro-wind business blog, points out, isn't their good (however misinformed) intention cancelled out by the quoted calculation that people will drive farther for their groceries?

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Diminishing capacity credit of wind power

The more wind power capacity is in the grid, the lower the percentage of traditional generation it can replace

from "Wind Energy Report 2005," E.ON Netz

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January 9, 2006

The Wind Watchdog

National Wind Watch has begun to issue "The Wind Watchdog," a collection of recent news items, opinion pieces, and other documents. Click the title of this post for the inaugural issue.

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"Clouds gathering over wind farm plan"

From today's The Australian:
In Frank and Theresa Cicero's quiet, winding street in Foster North [in South Gippsland, Victoria], local opposition to the [Dollar] wind farm -- which will see a turbine built 800m from their bush retreat -- is easy to find.

Almost every property in their street, apart from those of the farmers on whose land the turbines are being built, is for sale.

"I've watched my husband work all his life to build this home," Mrs Cicero said. "We've never had loans, we've always worked and saved. And now we find everything that we've put in here, it's all worth nothing."

The Ciceros had their home valued at $410,000 before the wind farm was taken into account. Afterwards, the estimated value dropped to $270,000. They have not received one offer for their property in two years.
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January 5, 2006

"The Sham of Homeland Security"

"To a lucky few, the Bush administration and its corporate oligarchy among them, terror-war America has been the best of all possible worlds: Perpetual war for perpetual profits, with a war on regulation and oversight thrown in as a bonus. Today, West Virginia is ground zero in that war. Al-Qaeda is nowhere in sight. The victims are American. The perpetrators are American. The dots are all-American, and yet unconnected."

-- Pierre Tristam

January 4, 2006

Tea time

"Coffee is for winners, go-getters, tea-ignorers, lunch-cancellers, early risers, guilt-ridden strivers, money obsessives and status-driven spiritually empty lunatics. It is an enervating force. We should resist it and embrace tea, the ancient drink of poets, philosophers and meditators."

-- Tom Hodgkinson, How to Be Idle