Wind energy has been here for years. Most people don't realize this. There have been wind farms in California since 1985.
The state of California has the most right now, producing 2,096 MW with Texas ranking second at 1,293 MW. Other states with sizable wind plants include Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Wind plants are now operating in many regions of the country. For state-by-state totals of installed wind capacity, as well as information on wind projects in individual states, visit the AWEA Web site and click on Wind Projects. It is located under the Resources Tab.
(One megawatt of wind capacity is enough to supply 240 to 300 average American homes. Thus, the 2,096 MW installed in California is enough to supply 500,000 to 620,000 average households.)
That is quite a staggering amount I think.. Why is anyone fighting this? Why would you not want to help get this going more and more.. Yet people are.
When I was traveling to Chicago with my uncle we noticed some trucks carrying parts of Wind turbines and towers to a location in Illinois.. On our first trip, there was only one tower up that we could see. In the 3 weeks or so that separated our trips, they put up 6. We met trucks carrying the parts for at least 4 more heading in that direction on the way back home on our last trip.
According to the AWEA website, best I can determine the site we saw is building 67 units to produce 100.5 MW and should be operational this year. As I said, this is a quiet approach. There is no fanfare for any of this.
When we were still on our way home, we stopped at a rest area just inside the state line of Missouri and I went inside the Visitor's Center just to see what they had and to pick up new maps and such.. Well I also found some very interesting information about Wind Farms.. Right here in my back yard so to speak.
We have the 1st 100% Wind Powered Community here in Missouri. Yes, you read that correctly.. Missouri, red neck capitol of the world.. has the FIRST TOTALLY WIND POWERED COMMUNITY IN THE WORLD. Simply Amazing to Me, that no one has really made a big deal out of this.
The Loess Hills Wind Farm was named for the soil contained within the hills they are built upon. Four wind turbines (Suzion S-64's) are located on agricultural lands within the city limits of Rock Port, MO. Each turbine can produce 1.25 megawatts (MW) of electricity and sits atop a 250 foot steel tower. Wind speeds of only 9 miles per hour are needed to begin power and maximum power is reached at 14 mph.
These turbines are connected directly into the city's high voltage lines. Rock Port uses about 13 million Kilowatt hours (KwH) each year. The prediction is that Loess Hills Wind Farm will produce 16 million KwH each year. The excess not used by local homes and businesses will then be moved to transmission lines and purchased by the Missouri Joint Municipal Utilities for use in other areas of the state. This makes Rock Port, Missouri the first community in America capable of meeting its entire annual electricity demands from wind power!
Not far from this location, is another wind farm, called of all things.. the Cow Branch Wind Farm...lol Construction on this one began in 2007 and it consists of 24 Suzion S88s it spans about 7,000 acres, and involves 35 landowners. Each turbine has a capacity of 2.1 MW for a total of 50.4 MW. That is enough clean energy for 30,000 homes. Not only that but Atchison County will enjoy an increase in its tax base due the to wind farm and all the new jobs building the towers and maintaining them, and the power lines.
I am excited about this.. I think we all should be. Wind energy is plentiful and it is cheap to generate. The initial cost of building the towers and the blades are the main thing. Most of the power lines are already in existence. So it is just a matter of tying into them.
There is so much information out there it is hard to know what to include. There is also a lot of misinformation. Talk of how noisy they are, how terrible they are for birds, how much of a eyesore they are.. and so on and so on.
As for the bird kills.. They have studied this and have found the number is very low. Avian studies have been carried out at many wind farm sites. They show
that bird kills per megawatt (MW) average one to six per year or less, with
the exception of a single 3-turbine plant in Tennessee that has recorded 11
per MW per year. These include sites passed by millions of migrating birds
each year. At a few sites, no kills have been found at all.
A reasonable, conservative estimate is that of every 10,000 human-related
bird deaths in the U.S. today, wind plants cause less than one. The
National Academy of Sciences estimated in 2006 that wind energy is
responsible for less than 0.003% of (3 of every 100,000) bird deaths
caused by human (and feline) activities.
As for noise.. There is just too much information for me to type it all out. But there is basically no noise to be heard. You can access it at this link if you want to read all the details. But it says they have tested it, and even had a police officer go out and test it because someone complain, and the leaves rustling in the wind were louder than the wind turbines.. LOL
As for the eyesore part of it.. I guess that's for everyone to decide on their own. Most of these are out of the way, it is not like they are in the middle of a high traffic area, or in urban areas with lots of fancy stores and traffic, most are in rural areas, mountain areas and such as that.
The ones in Illinois I saw, were on farms miles from any major city and probably 5 miles or so from the interstate.
The ones here in Missouri I have written about.. Very small community, 1395 at the last census. So as you see, these are very small areas and not large cities, so again, I guess it is what you would say, the eye of the beholder... But to me they aren't that bad to look at. Besides at 250 feet tall.. how much are you going to be looking at...lol
Check out the web site and see what is being done in your state. You may be surprised. There are very few states which are not building wind farms.. and of course the states that aren't are the usual Utah and the other conservative Southern states mostly.. and just a couple of others.
I was blown away by the number of wind farms that have been built across the country quietly and without fanfare. I guess this is why no one has really pushed much about it. They want it done quietly so it can be done and the wing nuts won't be alarmed... lol
Well, lets get it done then.. it creates jobs, it helps the environment, it helps the tax base and it helps all of us because it helps lower the cost of our electricity. Sounds like a win win to me.
What do you think?