Wind Power Talk

Resource site for links discussing issues around wind mill turbines - and particular focused on the Allegheny, West Virginia, projects and protest campaigns

Monday, May 30, 2005

Buying better power sources?

It's hard to differentiate on the power we purchase in our homes. Once it gets into the gird - it all looks the same.

However at least we are starting to get choices in how we pay for that. While the deregulation of the electrical utility industry has stalled and taken some back alleyways - the overall idea of giving consumers spending choices to be able to control this more - is a sound one.

provides links and resources for people want to select alternate energy sources for their homes.

New site regulations required for WVa Utility EWG projects

Order 255.1 has been revised and whole new requirements on siting, noise, environmental impacts to species and more added.

I could not find this online yet on WVa gov site - but its only been out a few weeks, so expect for them post it in due course.

Good to see the need to have minimum requirements being seen, and a first start made on this. I'm sure there will be much more to follow as experience is gained here.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Bat Death Research in Allegheny Ridge Top sites

“It was at least as high and it occurred at two locations and they are both forested ridgetops. We don’t know any forested ridgetops with turbines in North America where we don’t have a problem.” These findings suggest that any wind farm built on a forested ridgetop, such as two Grant County, WVa projects already approved by the state Public Service Commission, would be likely to kill large numbers of bats".

“If I were an investor and wanted to keep my green image intact, I would be deeply concerned about building turbines on forested ridgetops,” Tuttle said.

Wildlife and industry people have learned only recently about the problems wind turbines pose to bats.“It was definitely a surprise to us,” said Tom Gray, deputy director of the American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s main trade group. “It was upsetting.”

For full articles see:

Thursday, May 26, 2005

UK forum on windpower provides excellent insights

Check out the discussion forum and postings from the field.

Hopefully many of these questions will be addressed in future updates of the main report. They ask challenging questions, and also suggest alternative opportunities.

Comprehensive UK Commission report of Wind Farms onshore

This site and comprehensive reports just published from the UK on wind power provide the best information I have found yet.

It addresses areas I have not seen called out in detail on noise, and visual impact and telecommunications, along with case studies and how problems have been remediated - and it has been authoritatively peer-reviewed.

The one area of concern for us in the US is that of bat impacts - and this is highly specific to the mountain habitat in the USA where the planned Allegheny sites are.

The report offers little in the way of direct solutions for bats, but does talk about bat impacts and factors that are important in considering locations in regard to bat habitat.

Overall the report provides excellent data that can be used to ensure a whole range of other factors are required for projects here in the USA - that currently are not meeting these minimums.

Most telling from all this is the statement in the report that highlights that successful wind farm projects are those that involve the local community throughout the decision and planning process. That has been sadly lacking here in the USA in West Virginiaa to date.

The main report is here:

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Who makes wind turbines anyway? All shapes and sizes!

Found this enthusiasts website - great details on prices, types, equipment and more. New, used, refurbished, large and small. The one on the gantry type tower is interesting. This type is mentioned in the Swedish research as a possible better type to avoid bat strikes.

Anyway - the site gives lots of ideas for wind power for schools, homes and more.

They also have a great resource document on calculating power performance and types of sails.

I would like to see more on designs and specifications however - to include noise emissions, types of bearings, electromagnetic flux emissions, etc.

And if you want to build your own wind turbine - then this site from Peru has instructions in English and Spanish:

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

GreenPeace sponsored site on wind energy

GreenPeace and others have created an information site.

I find this rather too simplistic. We need more empirical data - rather than bland statements. Clearly the types of wind turbines can vary dramatically. Cheaper older designs are less capable.

What is clear in the case of the Allegheny projects is that the developers are being completely silent on where their devices meet the latest technical specifications and are state-of-the-art.

Lacking such a statement, and given the experience of people in PA and their wind farm, one has to question the approach to date in the USA.

Why the US needs ecologically sound energy sources

The combination of better energy sources and more efficient consumers is key here.

Just throwing up wind turbines, and ruining another piece of the environment, without effecting a systematic policy of change to reverse the ever upward spiralling energy use, is clearly not the answer.

However - it is sobering to view the scale of the problem and how addicted to cheap energy the USA has become.

This analysis is for a college campus in State of PA :

Monday, May 23, 2005

Two thirds of worlds resources 'used up',3604,1447863,00.html

A growing proportion of the world lives in cities, exploiting advanced technology. But nature, the scientists warn, is not something to be enjoyed at the weekend. Conservation of natural spaces is not just a luxury.

"These are dangerous illusions that ignore the vast benefits of nature to the lives of 6 billion people on the planet. We may have distanced ourselves from nature, but we rely completely on the services it delivers."

Social impact experience from Germany

gives insights into practical social and political effects of large wind farm projects.

Information about Wind turbine power

Wind power. Everything you wanted to know about wind power but had no clue how to find it..

Ecological footprint

a.. The construction of a large facility is also far from ecologically benign in previously undeveloped locations. It requires wide straight flat roads, a large hole filled with tons of steel and concrete to secure each giant assembly, clearing of trees in wooded areas, a transformer for each turbine, and power lines. The clearing of trees is necessary since obstructions within a distance ten times the height of the turbine reduceyield dramatically. A distance of twenty times is preferred.

a.. A wind farm that produces the energy equivalent of a conventional power plant would have to cover an area of approximately 300 square miles.

a.. Siting them offshore can address these objections in some cases, while raising other issues, such as dangers to navigation and the possible adverseeffect of low-frequency vibration on aquatic mammals.

a.. Another important complaint is that windmills kill too many birds, especially birds of prey, and bats. Siting generally takes into account bird flight patterns, but most paths of bird migration, particularly for birds that fly by night, are unknown. A survey at Altamont Pass, California conducted by a California Energy Commission in 2004 showed that turbines killed 4,700 birds annually (1,300 of which are birds of prey). The numbers of bats killed by existing facilities has surprised even industry personnel.

Bat deaths and Wind turbines - Swedish research, 2004 report

This is an excellent paper with many good references and work.

I particularly appreciate their focus on understanding why the turbine blades "smear-zone" is so deadly to bats; and why bats are attracted to fly close to the turbine blades hunting for food.

We definately need more work on this to discover what changes can be made to turbine structures so they do not function as insect and bat magnets, particularly when located on land on the tops of ridges.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

FOAF - Friends of Allegheny Front - Windpower study

Summary of current status of projects in Alleghany highlands area of West Virginia and impact on ecology and environment of building 450+ft high windmills.

Resource site on wind power and renewable energy

Excellent resource center for European efforts on alternate energy sources and use of renewable energy.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Ugly Face of Ecology?,2763,1470428,00.html

We need to be honest. Wind farms are a necessary evil, but they will not overcome the crisis of climate change.

Excellent article on the need for a complete policy not a short Mr. Fix-it approach to paper over the cracks.

Taking a balanced approach to wind energy

The link here provides a great set of points that need to be
considered when balancing the short term and the long term
environmental needs in deploying wind power

Good to see such thinking being articulated.

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