November 18, 2008

Wisconsin "model" wind ordinance disappears from state web site

Here's an interesting bit of information from the press release announcing the unanimous approval of a large wind ordinance specifying strict noise limits and 1/2-mile setbacks:

An open records request from the town of Union study committee revealed that no medical or scientific data was used to set the 50 decibel noise limits or the 1000 foot setback the Public Service Commission recommends. Questions about the origins and authors of the State's draft model wind ordinance remain largely unanswered. The State has since pulled the draft model ordinance from its website and the Public Service Commission has been unable or unwilling to say who pulled the ordinance from the website and why. This draft model ordinance was used to site the turbines in Fond du Lac county where people are experiencing trouble with turbine related noise, shadow flicker and other negative impacts.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms

November 15, 2008

Gas and oil interests now openly in charge of American Wind Energy Association

Whose interests are being served? As many people have long pointed out, the industrial wind industry is not an alternative to but a symptom of big energy. . . .

On Nov. 14, the the industry trade group American Wind Energy Association announced a new chief executive officer (CEO) to replace Randall Swisher after nearly 20 years: Denise Bode, who will take over in January.

Denise Bode has been the CEO of natural gas lobby American Clean Skies Foundation. Before that, she was president of Independent Petroleum Association of America and legal counsel to former Senator David Boren of Oklahoma, who sits on the board of Conoco Phillips.

She was appointed to George W. Bush's Energy Transition Advisory Team, chaired by Dick Cheney, and has lectured at the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. When she ran for the Republican nomination in Oklahoma for U.S. Congress in 2006, she received almost $200,000 from oil and gas interests, the 6th highest amount in the entire country that year.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism

Graphic artists against big wind

Comeek artist Lynda Barry talks to City Beat in Los Angeles (via National Wind Watch):

The work I’m doing the most of to save the environment is getting the word out about the serious downsides of industrial scale wind turbines. If the goal of using renewable energy resources is to reduce CO2 emissions, industrial-scale wind turbines don’t do this. Because they need fossil-fuel burning power plants to function, and because those power plants are never powered up or down in response to the wind being there or not, the same amount of CO2 is going into the air. This conclusion was reached by the National Academy of Sciences and also a Norwegian study on Danish wind power. You will get more electricity to sell from wind turbines, but no real reduction in current CO2 levels. It’s the only renewable resource that keeps us completely dependent on power companies, fossil fuels (usually coal), and the grid. It’s the only one that doesn’t cause a loss of customers for the power companies. All the other renewable energy choices cause customer loss. Also, industrial wind is used as the justification for more and bigger transmission lines and use of eminent domain. Bigger and more transmission lines allow greater use of fossil-fueled power plants. So industrial- scale wind energy is just another way to say “MORE! MORE! MORE!” Most people don’t realize that unless the wind is blowing at a certain speed – at least 10 miles an hour – the turbines can use more energy than they produce. Most people don’t understand how much electricity it takes to run a machine that is 40 to 50 stories tall. Most people never even ask how the power is getting to and from the turbine. They don’t know about the thousands of miles of cables.

Apart from all this, consider the impact on flying creatures. Turbines are placed in migration corridors because that’s where the wind is. It’s maddening to me that wind developers are getting away with this, siting them in wildlife refuges, national parks, and other protected areas.

By the way, on-site wind turbines of the smaller scale are great. Small, on-site power generation is the best alternative, and it’s the one the power companies are going to fight the hardest against.

My favorite renewable resource option is manure digesters – for both animal and human manure. It’s the only renewable energy option that actually cleans up other environmental problems as it creates electricity. It’s also the least sexy of the choices and one no one wants to talk about.

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

November 14, 2008

Whitewave Foods Recognized For Renewable Energy Investment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has honored the owner of Silk Soymilk, Horizon Organic, International Delight, and Land O'Lakes, Whitewave Foods, for its green power purchases:

"To date, the company's total wind energy purchases are the equivalent of eliminating more than 450 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually."

The problem is that they have not been purchasing green power, only renewable energy credits. They are donating money to wind power companies, but they are not buying actual energy from them.

Whitewave is using the same electricity as their neighbors. It is not eliminating any greenhouse gas emissions. It is not even adding wind energy to the grid to be used by others, because that is already paid for.

It is only padding the portfolios of wind energy investors. For which service it gets an award from the EPA.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism

November 11, 2008

"Oceans of fluids"

An ad for Frontier Pro Services in the October 2008 issue of North American Windpower:

Running a wind farm is a massive task.
Scores of turbines, thousands of tons of metal and fiberglass, oceans of fluids. How does anyone keep up with it! ...

Protecting your assets is the most important job you have, and Frontier Pro Services is here to help.
Gearbox servicing
Fluids sampling
Oil and hydraulics changes
Blade repairs
Scheduled maintenance
Frontier Pro Servics
They keep your moneymakers spinning.

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

November 6, 2008

U.S. coal use for electricity, 2002-2007

Receipts of Coal Delivered for the Electric Power Industry -- Electric Power Annual, Energy Information Association, January 21, 2009
2002:   869,929,000 tons
2003: 949,191,000
2004: 965,057,000
2005: 986,213,000
2006: 1,043,681,000
2007: 1,016,236,000
Direct Use and Retail Sales of Electricity, Total Electric Industry -- Electric Power Annual, Energy Information Association, January 21, 2009
2002: 3,631,650,307 MWh
2003: 3,662,029,012
2004: 3,715,949,485
2005: 3,810,984,044
2006: 3,816,845,452
2007: 3,923,814,234
Coal delivered per electricity used (ratio of above figures)
2002: 0.2395410 ton/MWh
2003: 0.2591981
2004: 0.2597067
2005: 0.2587817
2006: 0.2734407
2007: 0.2589919
That doesn't look like less coal being burned because of increasing wind capacity (from 4,275 MW at the beginning of 2002 to 11,603 MW at the end of 2006), as claimed by the wind energy industry. In fact, the trend appears to be more coal burned per unit of electricity, a phenomenon seen in the U.K. as well, even as coal's share of electricity production is decreasing:
   GWh from coal--Total GWh--Proportion from coal
2002: 1,933,130 3,858,452 0.5010118
2003: 1,973,737 3,883,185 0.5082779
2004: 1,978,301 3,970,555 0.4982429
2005: 2,012,873 4,055,423 0.4963411
2006: 1,990,511 4,064,702 0.4897065
2007: 2,016,456 4,156,745 0.4851046
Wind on the grid may be having the exact opposite effect that its promoters claim.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism

November 3, 2008

Election endorsements

Vt. Governor: Anthony Pollina

Vt. Lieutenant Governor: Ben Mitchell

Vt. State Representative (Hartland–West Windsor): John Bartholomew

U.S. Representative (Vt.): Peter Welch