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

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Viewpoint - Wind Farms are Green Stalinism

"Electricity suppliers are being forced by law to buy power from wind farms. What this represents is a return to the planned economy in the name of environmentalism -a kind of Green Stalinism. The consequences are the familiar Soviet ones: centralised decision-making and localised devastation".

With the passing of the Energy Bill 2005 here in the USA this is a stark view on what is occurring. And the same metrics apply - the energy bill is about producing more energy, not about correcting the problems with the current systems, the pollution such as mercury and the CO2 emissions. In fact wind farms do almost nothing to correct these problems. The money being spent clearly needs to be diverted to address the root causes of the problems, not distracting and diverting attention away from them.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Canaccord Investment Report and true cost of Wind Power projects

Investing in wind power projects and the prospects of free energy does not actually measure up in practice this Canaccord report concludes.

Wind power is seen as costing from $67 to $105 a megawatt, including a return of capital, compared with all-in operating costs of $34 for coal, $47 for nuclear power and $53 for hydro, according to the report titled “All in, wind power is not cheap!”

Investment firms will surely now be re-evaluating wind power funding when it is clear that the payback period is extended and reliant not on solid economics but the whim of government subsidies over a 7 to 10 year timeframe.

This further spotlights the growing awareness that better alternative sustainable clean fuel solutions are needed, such as wood fuel generation programs that have shown promising results already in European field systems of up to 8MW generation capacity.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Understanding the Mid-Atlantic Power Marketplace (PJM)

The Power Joint and Common Market (PJM) operates North America's largest centrally dispatched control area and manages the world's largest competitive wholesale electricity market with more than 51 million people directly affected by the system every second of every day. There are also smaller regional PJMs across the USA.

Growth has been dramatic since 1993, when the PJM Interconnection Association had 10 members, served 22 million people in five states and the District of Columbia and had 55,575 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity. Today, with Allegheny Energy joining PJM in 2002, Commonwealth Edison, American Electric Power and Dayton Power & Light in 2004 and Duquesne Light Co. and Dominion in 2005, PJM has more than 350 members, serves a 164,260-square-mile territory in 13 states and the District of Columbia and has about 163,806 MW of generating capacity.

You can view realtime power demand and generation information by using the online tools from the PJM website -

This gives a direct view of power generation at work. It is impressive.

It also shows the scale and nature of this system, and what comparatively tiny impact wind power can have, even if potentially every open windy hill top in the mid-Atlantic has a wind turbine stuck on it! Remember - to generate the equivalent of a conventional fossil fuel station you need 300 square miles of wind turbines, and a solid windy day.

Clearly consumers need to look to other sustainable and alternative fuels, such as waste wood products and agricultural waste (such as chicken litter straw and droppings) from which West Virginia alone estimates it has available 3,500,000 tons of wood and sawdust annually that is currently just being discarded.

Consumers can make a difference, and by insisting on power from sustainable sources instead of white elephant wind mines with giant 450' high turbines disfiguring natural wildlife areas, that are in turn being polluted by run-off that could instead be used for high efficiency energy production.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Gale halts wind power in Idaho

Testimony by John R. Gale Idaho Power Company's Vice President of Regulatory affairs -

points up that grid power suppliers do not have the required ancillary equipment to mitigate fluctuations in wind power delivery. Consequently they cannot effectively use the power fed to them, and thus cannot recoup the costs they are being required to pay to wind energy suppliers.

In case people underestimate the impact of this problem - the experience in Denmark (one of the worlds leaders in wind power use) is sobering indeed:
and shows the potential scale of the issues on a countrywide basis.

The Denmark Eltra distribution agency even has this as an online realtime map with read outs on MWh:
and have developed regulations and models for intergating wind turbine power:

Consequently Idaho Power is seeking to suspend their obligation, with support from the Bush Whitehouse in this matter too:

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will hear oral arguments July 22 on Idaho Power Company s petition to temporarily suspend the company s federal obligation to buy wind power from independent developers of qualifying small-scale wind projects. Avista Utilities, headquartered in Spokane, and serving customers in northern Idaho, filed comments in support of Idaho Power's petition and asked that the temporary suspension apply to it as well.

Summary with links-

Press Release-

World perspective on wind power projects limitations

Preben Maegaard, President, World Wind Energy Association has this to say in the current issue of Wind-Tech magazine about developments worldwide:

Clearly combined renewable energy source strategies - wood fuel, wind, wave, hydroelectric - tailoring each based on their strengths - and avoiding deployments where they are unsuited - is the right approach.

Seems like the industry itself is beginning to acknowledge its own limits and talk about alternatives - and especially more community level solutions and dispersed, distributed power generation through use of smaller devices.


and discussion of hourly variablity of wind generation in Nordic countries:

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Cats, windows, buildings, airports and cars kill billions of birds annually

I keep hearing this offered as why deploying giant wind turbine mines in environmentally sensitive areas is acceptable.

And also why wind turbines should not be burdened with nets and shields that can make them safer from wildlife impact strikes. Since concerned citizens should first be solving the aforementioned cat, window, car problems to save birds and bats, and then worrying about wind turbines after that.

Now in the case of the premium "high wind yield" deployment areas under seige from the wind industry, such as Nantucket Sound, or Allegheny Mountain ridges - you will notice that there are very few cats, windows, airports, or cars mowing down hapless bird and bat populations right today. Clearly introducing wind turbines will have a major impact on fragile communities of animals that have been surviving in these isolated areas *precisely* because they have not had to endure such human induced stress on them.

See article on bird strike deaths in California:!nationworld&s=1037645509161

We need to keep it that way, by rejecting the wind industries insistence that these areas are the only practical locations for their wind energy mines. Fact is we do not need such high yield remote mines. What we need is more holistic micro-energy systems that can be deployed directly at the community level in urban marketplaces. Wind is everywhere, not just in these remote areas. By making devices that are adapted to urban wind patterns we can provide direct solutions that are culturally and environmentally sound.

Getting windpower done right - location, location, location

The wind industry is blinding itself by this obsession with both replacing traditional power stations and focusing in on building wind energy "mines" in locations that they have identified as being "high yield" - to be able to compete with power stations.

This is not the right long term answer. Most high wind areas are the worst possible places to locate wind energy devices. Here's a list of reasons:

1) They tend to be environmentally very fragile places - mountain top ridges, offshore ocean settings - where the impact on local and migratory wildlife is potentially devastating. And human asthetic and cultural issues make acceptance problematic.

2) These locations are remote and distant from actual major consumers and marketplaces.

3) The cost of erecting these wind mines on such a scale is massive, and thus creates an energy deficit that has to be recouped, making the project viability questionable.

4) Better alternatives exist for using the same real estate space that are more holistic, more predictable and work better with the environment, e.g. wood fuel programs for mountains; tidal energy systems for offshore systems.

5) Location, location, location - the problem is not with power stations persay, but rather with consumers habits and practices. Enpowering a switch to local micro-power devices will make consumers much more energy aware, and therefore effect a cultural change that will massively reduce the dependency on central power systems. Small scale high efficiency, low maintenance, wind turbine devices can make that transition a reality.

6) Certain industrial applications will always require high yield power stations. A proper mix of hydroelectric, and modern high efficiency fossil fuel and nuclear power systems can fulfil those needs, while still allowing the removal and rapid decommissioning of old problem power stations.

The money being invested in high profile large scale contentious wind energy mines needs to be re-directed at the real locations and points of use that can effect long term cultural changes - namely community level and industrial park facilities.

What the wind industry does not want you to know about

The old style Dutch and Danish upright wind turbine, up to 450ft high begs the question "Why?!"

Of course racks of smaller turbines is an alternative. Basically if you look at the mass of air moving across an open field, or block of water, how do you capture the most energy from out of it safely?

Clearly today the approach is akin to trying to hold water in a sieve. A very tall and expensive sieve, at about $1.5M each.

So why would anyone want to replace those with cheap small turbines that cost just a tiny fraction of $1.5M each? Of course they don't want to do that; what are you thinking?!? Then everyone would realize what albatrosses these 450ft high turbine towers really are! Better to wait till those are erected, then we can get more money to tear them down and dispose of them.

Not to mention if you can build a $10k solution instead of a $1.5M solution, where are all those windfall tax avoidance profits going to come from?

Check out this website for details on small is beautiful:

Coupled with this is the need to deploy windpower at point of use on a scale that makes sense. What if a company like Carrier was a major distributor of windpower solutions, like they install and service airconditioners today?

And windpower itself is not a single magic bullet, it needs to be integrated into a holistic approach to save energy, create better more efficient systems, and to leverage cultural and environmentally suited alternatives.

This is the message also supported by no less a figure than James Lovelock (of Gaia theory fame), see:

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Top Ten Myths About Wind Turbine Projects

This site has much to commend it - but this particular link has an excellent analysis of hazards and issues with wind mining.

These all particularly apply to the Nedpower wind mining project at Mount Storm. This is a clear cut of 14 miles long and half a mile wide across the top of the mountain chain, and erecting 200 turbines in groups of three along the backbone of the Allegheny Front. Each turbine is over 350ft tall.

I just returned from spending July 4th weekend at Mt Storm. Reading Jon Boone's notes on the bird and bat hazards I made the horrific realization that due to the prevailing weather conditions on Mount Storm these huge turbines will often be shrouded in low cloud making them even more dangerous to wildlife that simply will not be able to see them at all.

What species will be effected? Well these past two years on Mount Storm I personally have seen a breeding pair of osprey, then eagles, hawks, ravens, blue birds, long-eared and short-eared bats all within 500 yards of where turbines are to be located.

For sure the wind mining project will kill these animals in significant numbers. The study by the University of Maryland at Frostburg on the existing Parsons,WV wind mine turbines has already shown that to be a fact.

Learn more on the ten myths from this link:

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