Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wind Energy, The Quiet Approach to Global Warming

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 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

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?


Sue said...

Great work Annette! I was so proud of my husband and son when they worked at Gamesa in PA. How could anyone in good faith dispute windfarms?? I think they are beautiful! This is just more proof that progressives must keep fighting the status quo obstructionists.

Annette said...

I too think they are beautiful. When I drove truck and used to go by the ones in California it was always neat to me to see them They just looked so neat lining the hills and they just seemed to go on for miles sometimes.

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Nice post Annette.

I saw you reply to a deluded right wing fool on Sue's blog and thought this would be an excellent place to visit. I was right.

Continued success to you.

Tao Dao Man said...

WELL WORTH SEEING, also check out the home page on this. pretty cool.

Annette said...

Thank you Truth, come back anytime.. I just get tired of Lisa and her nonsense.. I have told Sue she needs to just block them and be done with it.. lol

RZ welcome back.. I will check it out. I love this and the fact that it is being done very quietly and the wingnuts aren't really protesting it in the because they haven't caught on

mommapolitico said...

Great job, Annette! Been looking forward to this post, and you brought it home, Girl! Y'know, I think wind farms are considerably more aesthetically pleasing than offshore oil wells/natural gas platforms - and no oil or gas leaks to destroy the environment.

Gads, just seems like a no brainer, Girlfriend. Will be passing this link around - do you mind if I make a tiny url and tweet it on to my following? You always have such great links and research behind your well-written posts. Much appreciated.

Let me know if it's o.k. to tweet your post, my friend. I think many folks will be surprised at how far this terrific source of energy has come.

Annette said...

You may share with anyone you want.. I don't mind at all.. in fact I want it broadcast far and wide.. I think it is a good idea to push it.. both wind and solar.. it will only help the ACES bill..

Tao Dao Man said...
This is a MUST SEE. It will be available on the internet thru the 10th of this month. I saw it last night on pbs. Please watch this. very revealing. We are so behind the curve on this.

Tao Dao Man said...
Here is one on natural gas. A lot of unknowns when it comes to this energy. Especially the depletion of the water system. Just as coal, it takes a lot of water. Texas is already having problems with seismic activity due to N/gas drilling.

I live in Arizona, and have been to the four corners. Kayenta is a town on the Navaho reservation. It is like a third world country. America should be ashamed of themselves. Now we want to abuse these proud people even more. Please send the Independent Lens program on PBS to your friends. This has to be known by all the peeps.

Annette said...

RZ thank you so much for the information.. that film is very interesting and I will do a write up on it. I may not get it done until Friday afternoon.. Mother is having surgery Friday morning so am going to be busy till then.

Thanks again and the info about the Natural Gas is very interesting.. that will be a separate post.. that has been pushed so much as an alternative and now reading this, maybe it isn't the alternative we thought it was.

Thanks again... and I will give you Mucho credit..