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« PETMAN: The DARPA Robot That Looks Human | Main | Do Rising Home Prices Signal A Bank Stock Rally? »
Friday
May032013

Why Wind Power Won't Work

Wind Wake Turbulence

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Scroll down for more photos

Guest post from 'Earth, Wind and Fire John'

The photo demonstrates turbine wake turbulence in large wind farm arrays and why the potential for wind energy is substantially overestimated by most sources.  The first turbine to catch the wind will produce appreciable energy, while turbines in its wake, down wind of that unit, produce exponentially less energy due to air turbulence.  The low level fog, known as sea smoke, clearly shows this and is one of the best photographs ever taken that demonstrates this effect.

The first 4 articles below pertain to how Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Independent System Administrators (ISAs) attempt to incorporate intermittent electrical sources onto the grid.  Pacificorp was purchased by Warren Buffet and several stories are included regarding Buffett's energy ventures.  I have also included a document from an ISO which defines Spinning and Non-Spinning Reserve, and a good piece from the LA Times explaining how renewable energy cannot reduce carbon or other emissions, and actually makes them worse.

 

Energy Imbalance Markets will raise prices in the West

Some western energy markets are currently challenged by the increased development of variable renewable energy resources (i.e., wind and solar that vary depending on the availability of the resource and therefore must be integrated onto the electric grid whenever they are available, day or night) promoted through federal tax incentives and renewable portfolio standards in some states.  Many of these resources are under development even though the economic recession has reduced the need for electric generation in many areas in the West.

While there are several efforts underway in the West to address integration of these variable resources at reasonable and affordable cost to consumers, creation of an “energy imbalance market” (EIM) is being touted by wind developers and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as the only way to handle renewable energy integration, and is being fast-tracked by DOE through its oversight of the federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) that own significant transmission and generation assets in the West (see APPA issue brief on March 16, 2012, memo from DOE Secretary Chu on his priorities for the PMAs).

As proposed, such an EIM would be a sub-hourly, real-time, centrally dispatched energy market intended to improve the integration of increasing levels of variable generation from renewable resources.  The theoretical benefit of an EIM is that the larger array of generation available for dispatch would provide a greater balance of intermittent resources and reduce the need for backup power.  For example, if the wind or sunlight is low in one region of the EIM it might be greater in another area, thus reducing the total variability.  But this benefit can only be fully achieved if there is adequate transmission capacity from the sources of generation to the demand for power.

 

California ISO and Pacificorp enter MOU on Energy Imbalance Markets

On February 12, 2013, the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO) and neighboring utility, PacifiCorp, entered a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on the development of an energy imbalance market (EIM) in each entity’s respective balancing authority areas, in the hopes of laying groundwork for a broader effort across the western region.  Hailed by the CAISO as the “first step in bringing PacifiCorp and ultimately other Western balancing authorities into an automated real-time [five]-minute dispatch system” the CAISO and PacifiCorp agreed in the MOU to work towards implementing the EIM by October 2014.

In statements issued with the release of the MOU, the parties noted their hope that the EIM will integrate resources efficiently and reliably, including, in particular, the significant renewable resources that have come online in the West in recent years.

 

Spinning and non-spinning reserve (California ISO)

Spinning Reserve is the on-line reserve capacity that is synchronized to the grid system and ready to meet electric demand within 10 minutes of a dispatch instruction by the ISO. Spinning Reserve is needed to maintain system frequency stability during emergency operating conditions and unforeseen load swings.

Non-Spinning Reserve is off-line generation capacity that can be ramped to capacity and synchronized to the grid within 10 minutes of a dispatch instruction by the ISO, and that is capable of maintaining that output for at least two hours. Non-Spinning Reserve is needed to maintain system frequency stability during emergency conditions.

 

Rise in renewable energy will require use of more fossil fuels - LA Times

The Delta Energy Center, a power plant about an hour outside San Francisco, was roaring at nearly full bore one day last month, its four gas and steam turbines churning out 880 megawatts of electricity to the California grid.  On the horizon, across an industrial shipping channel on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, scores of wind turbines stood dead still.  The air was too calm to turn their blades — or many others across the state that day.  Wind provided just 33 megawatts of power statewide in the midafternoon, less than 1% of the potential from wind farms capable of producing 4,000 megawatts of electricity.

One of the hidden costs of solar and wind power — and a problem the state is not yet prepared to meet — is that wind and solar energy must be backed up by other sources, typically gas-fired generators. As more solar and wind energy generators come online, fulfilling a legal mandate to produce one-third of California's electricity by 2020, the demand will rise for more backup power from fossil fuel plants.

"The public hears solar is free, wind is free," said Mitchell Weinberg, director of strategic development for Calpine Corp., which owns Delta Energy Center. "But it is a lot more complicated than that."  Wind and solar energy are called intermittent sources, because the power they produce can suddenly disappear when a cloud bank moves across the Mojave Desert or wind stops blowing through the Tehachapi Mountains. In just half an hour, a thousand megawatts of electricity — the output of a nuclear reactor — can disappear and threaten stability of the grid.

 

Buffett buys Pacificorp for $5.1 billion in cash - Background

Striking the second biggest deal of his career and making a major move in the energy industry, billionaire investor Warren Buffett agreed Tuesday to pay $5.1 billion in cash to acquire Western states electric utility PacifiCorp.

Buffet on Hydro

 

Buffett's MidAmerican starts wind projects before credits end

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., the power provider owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, completed 300 megawatts of wind farms in California ahead of the expiration of a tax credit at the end of this year.

MidAmerican Renewables LLC completed the 168-megawatt Pinyon Pines Wind I and the 132-megawatt Pinyon Pines Wind II projects near Tehachapi, the Des Moines-based company said today in a statement.  The 100 Vestas Wind Systems 3-megawatt turbines will supply Southern California Edison with electricity under long-term contracts.

 

Western Wind acquires 4000 mw wind project pipeline

Western Wind Energy Corp. is pleased to announce it has executed a Term Sheet with Champlin/GEI Wind Holdings ("CGEI Wind") to acquire the rights and title to a 4,000 MW wind energy development pipeline, with near term projects in Hawaii and Utah.  Additional large projects are in California and throughout the US in niche markets with strong Renewable Portfolio Standards and Power Purchase Agreement pricing.

Cost of the acquisition is $20 Million US, payable by the issuance of 8 Million common shares at a deemed value of $2.50 per share US.  The term sheet will be subject to completion of due diligence, formal documentation, board approvals and approval of the TSX and the applicable securities regulatory agencies including applicable escrow provisions.

 

Brookfield renewable gains control of Western Wind

We are referring to one of the more unusual events in recent Canadian corporate history: the bid by Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners to acquire Western Wind for $2.60 a share.  At the close of business Thursday Brookfield Renewable announced that it had acquired 59.7% of the shares held by the independent shareholders. Adding in the stake held by Brookfield – a stake it purchased last year – Brookfield said that it now has a 66.1% stake in Western Wind.

 

Apex buys right to wind energy project

Property intended for a wind farm south of the Hoopeston area has again changed hands.  Development of the Hoopeston Wind farm has been ongoing since 2008.  The most recent coordinator, GDF SUEZ Energy North America Inc in Houston, Texas, took over in 2011 when it purchased the previous wind farm developer, International Power.

Apex Wind Energy, Inc. is an independent renewable energy company based in Charlottesville, Va.  Since its founding in 2009, Apex has completed 10 acquisitions and has project sites in 20 states, including Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Related:

BP owns Greenlight and Apex

Maersk Line and Apex partnership

Maersk Climate Change

Apex Nevada

Jim Trousdale relationship map

BP to buy back $8bn in stock after Russian sale

 

 

Offshore wind resource substantially overestimated

Estimates of the global wind power resource over land range from 56 to 400 TW.  Most estimates have implicitly assumed that extraction of wind energy does not alter large-scale winds enough to significantly limit wind power production.  Estimates that ignore the effect of wind turbine drag on local winds have assumed that wind power production of 2–4 W m−2 can be sustained over large areas.

New results from a mesoscale model suggest that wind power production is limited to about 1 W m−2 at wind farm scales larger than about 100 km2.  We find that the mesoscale model results are quantitatively consistent with results from global models that simulated the climate response to much larger wind power capacities.  Wind resource estimates that ignore the effect of wind turbines in slowing large-scale winds may therefore substantially overestimate the wind power resource.

 

These images are worth the click.

3-D images of wind turbine wake turbulence (very cool)

 

Senators back breaks for offshore wind

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is co-sponsoring a bill to boost offshore wind energy generation, which is being aggressively pursued in the state.  Collins, a Republican, joins Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware in introducing the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act.  A House version of the bill is also being introduced.

The proposals provide financial incentives for investment in offshore wind energy.  They seek to extend investment tax credits for the first 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind facilities placed into service, or about 600 wind turbines.  The sponsors say the tax credits are vital for wind energy technology because of the longer lead time for the permitting and construction of offshore wind turbines, compared to onshore wind energy.

 

Biden caught with hand in cookie jar (Must Read)

BrightSource Is “Sustained By An Impressive Array” Of Subsidies

Brightsource Is “Sustained By An Impressive Array Of Federal, State And Local Subsidies, Including A $1.6 Billion Loan Guarantee From The Department Of Energy.”“Fortunately for BrightSource, its efforts are sustained by an impressive array of federal, state and local subsidies, including a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, one of the largest solar guarantees on record. The company notes federal provisions providing solar projects with a 30% investment tax credit through 2016, as well as accelerated depreciations of capital costs for solar entities, among other goodies.” (Editorial, “Secretary Of Subsidy,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/2/11)

Sany Electric completes first wind farm in Texas

News of the self-funded project first emerged in December 2010.  Sany has a development pipeline in the Texas Panhandle—in the north of the state--and in Central America. But it has no firm plans as yet to build a second US wind project, according to project development advisor Stacy Rowles. 

Fellow Chinese manufacturers Goldwind and Guodian have recently built or are developing US projects in an to forge a track record in the country's market.  In March, Guodian United Power signed a deal to supply six 1.5MW turbines to a small ‘distributed power’ project in Corpus Christi in south Texas.  Last year, Goldwind completed a 4.5MW pilot project in Pipestone, Minnesota - its first US project. 

 

 

Congressional oversight needed for wind rulemaking

After 20 years and many extensions, the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) was scheduled to expire at the end of 2012. Neither the House nor the Senate saw fit to extend this overly generous corporate benefit when it was considered on its own merits, and the PTC did, in fact, expire.

But in the final hours of the fiscal cliff negotiations, a provision in the American Taxpayer Relief Act surreptitiously added a $12 billion, 1-year extension of the PTC.  This move was done behind closed doors, without debate, any opportunity for amendment, or obligation of the Congress to find a way to pay for it.

The abuse of the Public Trust did not end there. With this extension, a critical change to the PTC was introduced that relaxed the eligibility requirements for the credit.  Renewable energy projects now need only ‘commence construction’ by January 1, 2014, to qualify for the credit, instead of the projects being ‘placed-in-service’ by that date.

 

Wind Turbine Fires

Forest fires and wind turbines; the danger no one talks about

Despite all that has been written about wind power, a vitally important issue has barely been mentioned.  When turbines fail, blades may fall to the ground or send fragments that land up to a mile away.  Turbines often catch fire, and when they do they often send flaming shards into fields and forests.

In California, one such fire burned 68 acres, another 220 acres, and in Palm Springs several “spot fires” had been generated in surrounding areas. In Hawaii, 95 acres were burned. Australia lost 80,000 acres of forests located mostly in a national park. Spain lost nearly 200 acres from one fire. A comment on a German fire mentioned that “burning debris” from a turbine had traveled several hundred meters from the site. In Holland, three burning blades from a mere 270-foot tower cast a 50-foot flaming shard 220 feet from the site.

The most dramatic report emanated from Wales where “great balls of fire” landed more than 150 yards away, causing a hillside to burn. Fearing more forest fires, an Australian province enacted a law banning placements of wind towers near wooded areas. Yet, in heavily forested Maine, all of our wind power sites have been approved without even considering that turbines have often caused forest fires.

That 220-acre California fire had been contained by 45 firefighters, two helicopters and two bulldozers. The 69-acre fire was contained with the help of 15 fire engines, four hand crews and four planes. A 5-acre California fire was extinguished by six fire engines, three water trucks, two helicopters, two tanker planes, a bulldozer and three hand crews.

 

 

Here are some photos of wind turbine fires and failures.

Wind turbine fires and failures - Must See Photos

 

The coming US carbon tax via the US Treasury (Must Read)

I sought emails and other documents from two offices: Environment and Energy (really), and Legislative Affairs. This action after the administration first ignored us, which they followed with an unfortunate stumble, trying to delay us with fees — even absurd and surely anti-’green’ ones, like $1,800 to photocopy electronic mail, typically copied on a disc for no charge — which fees, even when they’re not mindlessly trumped up like that one, not-for-profit groups which disseminate government information are exempt by statute from paying.

Delay can only work only so well once we file suit, and recently Treasury turned over a first production of approximately 770 pages of reports. Despite its better efforts Treasury managed to hand over some docs that in an attentive world should prove extremely useful, offering fantastic language if often buried in pointy-headed advice they received in Power Points and papers from the IMF, G-20 and, in graphic terms, an analysis from the World Bank on how to bring a carbon tax about.

These documents represent thoughtful advice on how to mug the American taxpayer and coerce them out of unacceptable and anti-social behavior, diverting at least 10% of the spoils to overseas wealth transfers. The major focus is language, how to sell it to the poor saps not by noting the cost or that it is a tax but as, for example, the way to be the leader in something like solar technology.

***

 

Read last week's story:

The Mafia Is Moving Into Green Energy

 

 

Note to readers

I have very serious reservations regarding financial and transparency issues surrounding the renewable industry.  These issues need to be addressed fully before permits are issued, offshore tracts are auctioned, and projects on federal/state lands, or any other project using taxpayer assistance (financial incentives, grants, etc) are given.  We must have full public disclosure of true ownership of developers and their partners and affiliates, with a particular focus on government agencies and employees.

john

 

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Reader Comments (106)

Of the two, solar is smarter than wind, but I'm willing to let the free market sort that out in time. That is, if my politicians do not trade taxpayer-funded subsidies for campaign bribes.

And thereby lies the problem: corrupt politicians!!! ONLY public funding of campaigns will fix America.
Mar 27, 2013 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Lohman
Well said, Jack.
Mar 27, 2013 at 1:46 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Most of the problems reported above are the result of the reliance by industry on the aggregation model of energy generation, which we have assumed would work for alternative sources as well. It doesn't.

The only way to avoid the problems mentioned in the article are by distributing power generation to such an extent that each house becomes its own generating station. Thus are physical and financial concerns addressed effectively, assuming non-interference by political powers (which is a huge assumption).

If 100% tax credits were given to homeowners to install both wind and solar (instead of being piped to the oil companies as production subsidies), the adoption rates would skyrocket, carbon emissions from centralized power plants would be greatly reduced, and the consumer would be released from dependence on easily manipulable large-scale projects, whose only real purpose is to provide a source of "green" wealth to big players.
Mar 27, 2013 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterbaindrain
Of course the answer is that every house should be its own power station.. The problem with centralized power has always been CENTRALIZED POWER!
Mar 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Dobbs
Wind power might work if the turbines were designed more intelligently,(even before seeing this article, I thought that a field of propellers looks like many different, & different kinds, of accidents just waiting to happen) & Bob Dobbs may have hit the bullseye, centralization of anything, is for control-freak, morons meddling in everything they don't understand...
(HAIL ERIS!!!)
Mar 27, 2013 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreAmeoba
Thanks Steve! Nicely done.

1). Jack, solar can be helpful in certain areas on a small scale. I argued for small scale distributed generation (wind/solar) during the electricity deregulation fiasco back in 1997-2000. This can provide voltage support to utilities but back then the cost of solar was prohibitive and wind is very site specific. However, super-sized installations can and will cause issues on the grid and our wallets.

I will do a piece later on small scale solar, wind and hydro...(no rest for the wicked)!


2). baindrain, back during the era of the second energy crisis, lots of 'entrepreneurs' with no real engineering or real field experience pushed ill designed equipment and exaggerated promises. I spent years fixing those messes, (the few that could), Now I see this super sized mess brought to you by wall street et.al. and here I am again...

3). Bob has a point but at times various home generators can cause problems on the grid. I have dealt before with problems with harmonics problems and in some instances the utility was the issue and not the generator. At other times radio or television radio frequency interference could cause problems. The power lines can also act as an antenna drawing in unwanted noise. That has been addressed over the last decade. However, improperly installed renewable system might be capable of energizing power line during an outage. That is a concern with lines crews who may be working on power restoration.

4). DreAmoeba, look at the main photo. There is nothing that can be done. I've worked in the industry a long time and all they have come up with are super sized financial derivatives etc... I will admit a very few have got it right with a unit or two for the purpose of customer self generation, but the photo says it all.
Mar 27, 2013 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
John, in all cases I expect that we'll get that which pays the politicians the most in bribes. I wonder why?
Mar 27, 2013 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Lohman
Jack, all I can ask is for your patience for the time being. There still is a lot more to come.
Mar 27, 2013 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
It seems a continuation of the extraction of wealth from this country by organized crime and corrupt pols. I wonder what Mr. Kings net worth was before all of this started and where he ranks now in wealth. I am pretty sure he drives a car that is somewhat better than my trusty f 250. In the meantime a golden eagle got bitch slapped by a wind mill. Serves the creature right being in such close proximity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4mBLSpqNNI
Mar 27, 2013 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
The problem is scale. Large, centrally controlled wind farms are ugly, expensive to build and maintain and most important of all, allow the rich to control your source of energy. I have seen in my travels a modern version of the old 19th century windmills on midwest farms and ranches. They are made of wood and work well, cheap to construct and maintain. They can be used as originally designed to pump water from wells or generate electricity for more modern usage. There are plenty of examples of people who have used convention car or truck batteries to run a home. As a student of electronic and electrical engineering, all the components are still easily available and simple and safe to build. Provided you get someone who knows what they are doing and there are plenty of people who can.
The elite and super rich want you to depend on them for everything, especially energy. The investment to power your home is invaluable and the elite know it. Edison had his Menlo Park burned down because he was working on a DC power plant for the home, which is not what the controlling elite had planned. Tesla also was working on an unlimited power source, the Tesla engine, which is becoming popular again. It is based on radio waves producing power, a source that is everywhere in the Universe and could easily be adapted to the home, again not profitable for the ruling elite.
The key point I am making is that technologically, we have the science to provide unlimited sources of clean energy for every human on earth, but having a private home energy source would not be in the interest of the ultra-wealthy, which in the long run have always maintained their power and wealth through energy sources.
The need to produce long lasting quality needs to return so the middle class can maintain their status. Central control is the issue which needs limits that are presently not in place. Make long lasting quality, provide an industry with spare parts for home power plants and a return to more family oriented values, such as micro farming would do us all well.
Remember, during the height of invention, (late 19th century) over 80% of the US population owned and worked on farms. A return to sound money such as Lincoln, Jackson and Kennedy were attempting to establish would be necessary as well.
Then we could eliminate the ugly central controlled 'wind farming' which is anything but productive.
Mar 28, 2013 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterKen Brodeur
Interesting piece by NPR... (from yesterday)

http://www.npr.org/2013/03/27/174820893/is-the-sky-the-limit-for-wind-power

[snip]

Wind power is growing faster than ever — almost half of the new sources of electricity added to the U.S. power grid last year were wind farms.

But is the sky the limit? Several scientists now say it's actually possible to have so many turbines that they start to lose power. They steal each other's wind.

Sailboat captains experience a similar phenomenon; they call it "dirty air." If you're sailing directly downwind of another sailboat, you'll slow down. That's because the lead boat creates a turbulent vortex of air behind it as the wind spills off its sails. As sailors know, "dirty air" means less power.

The blades on wind turbines make dirty air too, so engineers space the machines far apart. But wind developers want to bring the total number of turbines in the U.S. to more than 100,000, up from about 45,000 today. Would that spread the turbulent air far and wide?

Harvard physicist David Keith says that's possible. "[With] very large wind farms," he says, "we can now see long footprints that extend, in some cases, tens of kilometers downstream, where you have slower-moving wind."
Mar 28, 2013 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Wind energy moratorium to be considered
Tipton Plan Commission sets special meeting.

http://kokomotribune.com/local/x1499314799/Wind-energy-moratorium-to-be-considered

[snip]

Tipton — The Tipton County Plan Commission has set a special meeting for 4:30 p.m. today in the first floor conference room of the Tipton County Courthouse.

Included on the agenda is discussion of stopping any new wind farm applications on a temporary basis until lingering questions surrounding health and safety issues and protecting the property values of surrounding land owners are answered.
Mar 28, 2013 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Great article as usual John, off the wall question...

Does 103 still have a windmill at their training center in Beantown? I always wondered if that would pan out on the small scale. I think when they built it something like half the cost was picked up by a grant.

So far many of these technologies seem to be meant more for the wonderment of men...

Till unsrupulous businessmen and politicians crawl into bed together and creat avenues to siphon off the taxpayers money. Whoops, they already found that.

Happy Easter everyone!
Mar 31, 2013 at 6:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
Another stupid question from a dumb assed Irishman. When driving a large truck or even a smaller vehicle, there is a point where you can get close enough to feel the air coming off of the vehicle in front of you. It is more pronounced the faster you are going. There is a point where you actually can enter the stream of air coming off the vehicle in front of you, otherwise known as drafting. NASCAR does this all the time in an effort to save fuel and or go faster. Didn't know if this phenomenon could be used on windmills or not. Put them real close together to enable a shared push to generate more power.
Mar 31, 2013 at 7:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
Gomp, the unit is still at the training center next to I-93. It has been problematic though. I have seen on several occasions the blade tip (aerodynamic) brakes deployed on one or two of the 3 rotors. The unit is poorly sited for the prevailing winds from the west due to high landform/structural turbulence. I would love to see the production and maintenance records.

At times with no wind, the unit is seen operating (blades turning), but what people do not realize is that this induction generator can also draw power from the grid to turn the blades (operate like an electric fan), or they run it unloaded. I believe that is done for PR purposes.

There is also another unit nearby where I am,

http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/mass_roundup/2013/02/lumus-construction-scituate-wind-turbine.html?ana=RSS&s=article_search&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+vertical_29+%28Energy+Conservation+Industry+News%29

that is considerably larger at a municipal water treatment plant. It has been up for a couple of years and has never worked. All attempts to correct it have failed and one person was seriously injured from a fall inside the tower some weeks ago.
Mar 31, 2013 at 7:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Skin, that was a fair question, but drafting will not work with wind turbines for many different reasons.
Mar 31, 2013 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
So far many of these technologies seem to be meant more for the wonderment of men...
----------------------------

Toys for the rich.
Mar 31, 2013 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
Actually, when it comes down to it, you and I are toys for the rich (and the power-hungry and the well-connected).
Mar 31, 2013 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
+1 Dr. P.
Apr 1, 2013 at 4:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
John,

I always wondered if that was more of a gimmick or ploy to generate work as "qualified" installers. They also installed a solar array years ago, again I think it was more to market themselves as being on the "cutting edge" of the technology in an attempt to capture market share on installations.

I also noticed the geographic obstructions.
Apr 1, 2013 at 4:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
"So far many of these technologies seem to be meant more for the wonderment of men..."

Right on Pitch. Politicians building monuments to themselves. They gain by saying they created jobs, get political donations and then there are kickbacks. It doesn't matter if the installations are practical or not.

Gomp, they currently run ads using the words 'cutting edge'... Most homeowners utilize non-union installers for the few solar installations going up due to cost. 103/104 work mostly on federally funded projects.
Apr 1, 2013 at 7:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
I am aware John, I did some power plant work up there back in the day. Some of the studies I have seen give only a 20% efficiency for wind energy projects on the North Eastern coastal areas, Apparently the wind is just not of the quality needed to perform well in many areas up there..

If that is true the units would be worn out before they paid for themselves. And people even considering those offshore projects really make you wonder where there heads are at...

One good hurricane coming up the coast would make that into a mess like midget bowling back in the old bar hopping days. And of course the taxpayer would no doubt be put on the hook for that cleanup and "reconstruction" as well.
Apr 1, 2013 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
"One good hurricane coming up the coast would make that into a mess"

http://csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/#

Click on hurricanes on the toolbar located on top of the page to see historical tracks.


I should of added this to the main article. Thanks Gomp!
Apr 1, 2013 at 5:55 PM | Registered CommenterJohn
Has there been incidents of offshore windmills going under? I could imagine perfect storm scenarios where 100 ft seas just swallow those things up.
Apr 1, 2013 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that if the United
States is to generate 20% of its electricity from wind, over 50 GW
will be required from shallow offshore turbines. Hurricanes are a
potential risk to these turbines. Turbine tower buckling has been
observed in typhoons, but no offshore wind turbines have yet been
built in the United States. We present a probabilistic model to estimate
the number of turbines that would be destroyed by hurricanes
in an offshore wind farm.We apply thismodel to estimate the risk to
offshore wind farms in four representative locations in the Atlantic
and Gulf Coastalwaters of the United States. In themost vulnerable
areas now being actively considered by developers, nearly half the
turbines in a farmare likely to be destroyed in a 20-y period. Reasonable
mitigation measures—increasing the design reference wind
load, ensuring that the nacelle can be turned into rapidly changing
winds, and building most wind plants in the areas with lower risk—
can greatly enhance the probability that offshore wind can help to
meet the United States’ electricity needs.
probabilistic analysis ∣ wind energy Well there have been incidents of windmills breaking. Up north in cold heavy water is where these things should be, I'm guessin. However you get the occaisional freak storm that causes really heavy seas such as the perfect storm. Don't know about the effectiveness of the winds there though. This piece is a snip from a study done by a couple of guys from Harvard.
Apr 1, 2013 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
Here is the study Skinflint commented about.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3295275/
Apr 2, 2013 at 6:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Apr 2, 2013 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
If they would put those stupid windmills offshore, at least there would be plenty of water to put them out.
Apr 2, 2013 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
Skin, If they just paid people to go about with invisible poop scoopers cleaning up invisible dog shit....
Apr 2, 2013 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Apr 2, 2013 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Breaking:

BP puts US wind power arm for sale

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/03/us-bp-wind-idUSBRE93208B20130403

[snip]

(Reuters) - BP (BP.L) has put its U.S. wind farm operation, one of the largest in the country, up for sale, marking the continued retreat of big oil companies from renewable energy investments while oil and gas projects offer them better returns.
Apr 3, 2013 at 6:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Mafia probe nets $1.7bn in clean energy assets

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-03/clean-energy-developer-targeted-over-mafia-links/4608208

[snip]

The multi billion-dollar haul included the seizure of 43 wind and solar energy companies, 98 properties and 66 bank accounts belonging to Vito Nicastri, a businessman described by authorities as a frontman for the Sicilian Mafia.

Nicastri, 57, was once dubbed 'Lord of the Wind' for his holdings in wind farms which prosecutors say were funded by extortion, drug sales and other illicit activities.

Three years ago, investigators found the mafia was engaged in a massive eco-scam, claiming generous grants for investment in wind-power and environmentally- friendly businesses.

"This is a sector in which money can easily be laundered," Arturo de Felice, head of Italy's anti-mafia agency, told local media.

"Operating in a grey area helped him build up his business over the years."

The anti-mafia agency in a statement said it was the biggest seizure of mafia-linked assets.
Apr 3, 2013 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Wind turbine fire in Maine wilderness area.


http://www.fireengineering.com/news/2013/04/23/4-million-turbine-fire-at-kibby-mountain-puts-wind-energy-under-new-scrutiny-by-state-opponents.html

[snip]


04/23/2013
By Whit Richardson BDN Staff


A fire destroyed a multimillion-dollar wind turbine at the Kibby Mountain wind farm in northern Franklin County, which has generated concern about the safety and reliability of turbines, and the process by which these fires are reported to government officials and the public.

Companies that operate wind farms in Maine are not currently required to report turbine fires to any state agency.


Note: did you get that? They are NOT REQUIRED to report wind turbine fires.
Apr 25, 2013 at 6:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Want to be a better chief? Know when to stir the pot

http://firechief.com/mag/firefighting_better_chief_know

[snip]

What started me thinking about this topic was a discussion with a fire chief who has a reputation as a pot-stirrer. He was asking some pretty insightful questions about a particular issue in the contemporary fire service, which I won't disclose as it may prove more distracting than enlightening. When some of those present became angry at his questioning of the preferred point of view, he said, “I'm not stirring the pot to make matters worse — I'm hoping that we'll have a better outcome by asking the tough questions.”
May 4, 2013 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Wind forcing New England war

http://www.masterresource.org/2013/06/wind-forcing-new-england-war/

Mandating the North to Serve the South

By the end of 2012, only 44 MW of industrial-scale wind operated in Massachusetts with none in Connecticut and Rhode Island. In contrast, New Hampshire and Maine already have significant existing renewable resources within their borders to meet their 2021 RPS Class I obligations. (Vermont does not have a mandatory RPS.) However, most of the RECs and energy produced in these states are sold out-of-state. In 2011 89.2% of Massachusetts’ 2011 RPS Class I compliance was satisfied by out-of-state resources. Of that, 47% came from Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Bluntly speaking, the northern three states of New England are being sacrificed to meet RPS obligations in the lower three.

The only way to satisfy the RPS Class I requirements for Massachusetts and Connecticut, will be to build thousands of megawatts of new wind sited on ridgelines further north. But with wind comes infrastructure. Over 4,000 miles of new high-voltage transmission would be needed to deliver the energy from remote regions to points south. The cost of building wind-related transmission alone is estimated to be $11-15 billion. This is in addition to the $5 billion already approved in New England to address existing reliability requirements. None of this transmission has been proposed to date nor has any public discussion been initiated on who would pick up the tab.

It doesn’t end there. Connecticut’s current RPS amendments also create a set-aside for Canadian hydro-power, a provision widely seen as a ‘gift’ to the state’s largest utility, Northeast Utilities (NU). This gift will help NU with Northern Pass, a 1,200 MW merchant transmission line proposed to interconnect Canada to Massachusetts through New Hampshire and deliver hydroelectric power to the region. New Hampshire’s opposition to Northern Pass has been strident and unmovable.

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan is on record opposing Connecticut’s RPS amendments because of the harm to her state’s biomass operators, and the focus on Northern Pass.

A War of Policies

Earlier this year, both New Hampshire and Vermont sought statewide moratoria on wind farm development until the impacts could be better understood. Maine’s Governor LePage has long been critical of state laws he sees as favoring wind energy development and he has blamed wind energy for inflating Maine’s energy prices.

Feel-good politics and a desperate wind industry are driving Massachusetts and Connecticut policies, but at some point energy policies have to be grounded in reality. Opposition to wind energy in the northern New England states has settled in, and the residents are beginning to argue enough-is-enough.

The first shot-across the bow may come from New Hampshire if Governor Hassan denies Northern Pass in retaliation for Connecticut’s actions. In any event, the next few years are likely to see less unity in New England on the renewables front. As is typical in areas around the world, wind energy will once again bring division.


------------------

Offshore Wind: the enormously expensive energy alternative

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/07/offshore-wind-the-enormously-expensive-energy-alternative/

The US Department of the Interior announced the first offshore wind energy lease sale earlier this month. Interior plans a July auction of 164,750 acres off the southern coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts for commercial wind farms. But why are federal and state governments promoting expensive offshore wind energy?

The auction is a continuation of the “Smart from the Start” program for expediting offshore wind begun by former Energy Secretary Steven Chu and former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in 2011. Sally Jewell, the new Secretary of the Interior, has embraced the program, stating, “This is history in the making as we mark yet another major milestone in the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy. Today we are moving closer to tapping into the enormous potential offered by offshore wind to create jobs, increase our sustainability, and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness in this new energy frontier.”


Several governors joined the chorus for offshore wind. Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick supports the program, “The U.S. Department of Energy projects 20,000 jobs by 2020 in offshore wind. Why not host those jobs here in Massachusetts?” Maryland governor Martin O’Malley agreed, “Offshore wind is a potential win-win-win for Maryland. Today’s vote positions our State for greater job creation and opportunity, while moving us forward toward securing a more sustainable energy future.”

Governors also voicing strong support are Paul LePage of Maine, Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, and even Ted Strickland of Ohio, who would place wind turbines in Lake Erie. In 2010, governors from ten states, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to promote offshore wind development.
Jun 8, 2013 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
MUST READ:

Inadequate transmission lines keeping some Maine wind power off the grid
Ratepayers will likely bear the cost of future upgrades to fix the problem, which could get worse.

http://www.pressherald.com/news/there-is-a-problem-withwind-power-in-maine_2013-08-04.html
[excerpt]

After spending $1 billion in Maine to build 11 projects, wind energy companies have a problem: The transmission lines connecting them to the New England grid sometimes are too weak to carry all their power.

First Wind’s Stetson wind farm, in Washington County near Danforth, is among the turbine projects in New England that sometimes can’t send their power into the grid because local transmission lines are too weak. The problem is expected to become worse as more wind farms are built, and the regional grid operator is exploring ways to improve the situation.

When that happens, the region's grid operator orders the wind farms to reduce output or stop running, a process called curtailment. Letting them all operate at certain times could overload the grid and jeopardize reliable service.

The problem could get worse in the future, according to the grid operator, if many more wind projects go on line, as planned.

Wind companies knew about these constraints when they built the plants. But federal utility rules meant to encourage renewable energy let them install feeder lines that meet only minimum standards.

Upgrading transmission lines will take money, and that will come from ratepayers. It's too soon to say how much the upgrades would cost.

But the investors in wind farms still make money, even if the power isn't sold on the grid, because of how these projects are financed and the rates companies have negotiated for their energy.

Projects in Maine, where most of New England's wind output is located and where far-flung additions are planned, appear most at risk for being taken off line or cut back...
------------------


This morning, an article regarding transmission appears at Mcclatchey. Awea is pushing hard for upgrades.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/08/05/198428/newly-available-wind-power-often.html
Aug 5, 2013 at 8:00 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
NH utility can’t get enough people to pay more for renewables


http://www.concordmonitor.com/news/work/business/7856625-95/psnh-to-end-renewable-energy-rate-program

[snip]

After two years with low enrollment, New Hampshire’s largest electric utility is phasing out a program that allows customers to pay more to support renewable energy.

Utilities are required by law to offer customers the opportunity to support renewable energy by paying a higher rate – usually about 30 percent. But if not enough customers sign up, a utility can get permission from the state Public Utilities Commission to pull the plug. That’s what happened with Public Service of New Hampshire’s EarthSmart Green program, New Hampshire Public Radio reported.

The company said it would take just 1 percent of its total customers signing up to keep the program alive, but after two years, only 148 customers were enrolled, or about 0.04 percent.

Other utilities face similar situations. Unitil, which is weighing whether to continue its program, has just 25 people signed up, also about 0.04 percent of its customers.
------------

Here is the AWED newsletter for August 5th. Lot's of energy stories here:

http://www.masterresource.org/2013/08/awed-august-5-2013/

-------------

Weekly climate and energy news roundup

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/04/weekly-climate-and-energy-news-roundup-98/
Aug 5, 2013 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Deepwater Wind Withdraws Application for Wind Farm Electric Cable in Narragansett

http://narragansett.patch.com/groups/business-news/p/deepwater-wind-withdraws-application-for-wind-farm-electric-cable-in-narragansett

[excerpt]

Town Council members had yet to decide if they were going to approve the controversial underwater cable that would have been buried under Narragansett Town Beach…

…Prior to Deepwater’s application withdrawal, Narragansett Town Council members had not yet made a decision to accept the company’s $2.25 million verbal offer for the project. However, the final item on the Council’s Aug. 5 meeting agenda, was a motion “to deny the request of Deepwater Wind Block Island Transmission, LLC for permanent and temporary easements needed over property owned by the Town of Narragansett, including but not limited to the Town Beach, for the construction of the Block Island Wind Farm.”

Last week, the Providence-based company secured two offshore wind energy leases for the construction of commercial wind energy farms in federal waters off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Aug 6, 2013 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
U.K. Grants Offshore Wind Triple Market Electricity Price

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-27/u-k-to-pay-offshore-wind-companies-triple-market-rate-for-power.html

The U.K. will pay offshore wind developers triple the market price for electricity they generate under a subsidy program to boost renewable energy that by 2020 will cost consumers 7.6 billion pounds ($11.6 billion) a year.
Aug 7, 2013 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Administration Doubles Down on Expensive Offshore Wind

http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2013/06/04/administration-doubles-down-on-expensive-offshore-wind/


The Interior Department announced today that the administration will hold the nation’s first offshore wind lease sale in late July. The area scheduled for lease consists of 164,750 acres off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In response to this announcement, IER published a fact sheet on offshore wind energy development in the United States:

Offshore Wind Is Very, Very Expensive

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), offshore wind is 2.6 times more expensive as onshore wind power and is 3.4 times more expensive than power produced by a natural gas combined cycle plant.
On a kilowatt hour basis, offshore wind power is estimated to cost 22.15 cents per kilowatt hour, while onshore wind is estimated to cost 8.66 cents per kilowatt hour, and natural gas combined cycle is estimated to cost 6.56 per kilowatt hour.
Overnight capital costs (excludes financing charges) are 2.8 times higher for offshore wind than onshore wind power. According to EIA, an offshore wind farm is estimated to cost $6,230 per kilowatt, while those costs for an onshore wind farm are estimated to be $2,213 per kilowatt.

------------
Ok folks, these projects are in what can be a very harsh environment. Like The Big Dig, (some of the same contractors will be used), I expect huge cost over-runs.
Aug 7, 2013 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
BREAKING:

FirstEnergy paid $100 million too much for renewable power

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2013/08/firstenergy_paid_100_million_t.html
Aug 7, 2013 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Wind Energy Research Facility Launched To Boost Wind Farm Output

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/05/wind-energy-research-facility-launched-to-boost-wind-farm-output/

[excerpt]

Recent research suggests turbines in interior rows of a wind farm deliver up to 40% less power than those in front, meaning traditional turbine spacing leads to overestimated generating capacity and thus, output.

This “shadowing” effect not only reduces power output, but also increases fatigue on turbine blades. “Wind turbines are greedy, said Pat Moriarty of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “They will try to extract as much energy from the wind as possible without consideration for anything else around them, such as other turbines in a wind farm.”
---------------

Now that they are already built...
Aug 8, 2013 at 6:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
The powers that be will continue to beat this dead horse John until the maggots have completely consumed the carcass and the taxpayer once again will be standing holding the bag...
Aug 8, 2013 at 7:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
They probably took a clue from the photo that John had posted here a couple years ago. They had some splainin to do. There is just too many turds in the box to cover up anymore.
Aug 8, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT
Good to see you Gomp and thanks Skin. The developers should have known about turbulence interaction years ago. The polish has worn off and the smell is awful.
Aug 8, 2013 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn

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