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The Toecutter 06-28-2006 12:07 AM

Entrenched industries and corporate government fight wind energy, again
Read. You see, even though wind energy has gotten cheaper per kWh than coal since the late 90s/early 2000s, it has thinner profit margins. Doesn't need to be mined, extracted, processed, transported, or burnt, all processes which the coal/nuclear/natural gas/ect. industries line a profit margin into.

This also means reduced economic spending, and with a government hell bent on maximizing economic growth, this isn't in its best interest.

So of course these entities are helping to fight it.

But are they footing the bill for the personal and property damage caused by the pollution from coal plants or to dispose of nuclear waste? Nope. You and I get to, in the form of higher medical and insurance premiums, and higher taxes. Industry stays exempt.

Realistically with today's technology, wind energy could provide roughly 20% of our nation's electricity from large scale operations. Why that limitation?

A few things. Wind is an intermittent power source. Sometimes its blowing, sometimes it's not; turbines can be spread out over large areas and a variety of those areas, henceforth stabilizing the grid.

A large problem with them is that they don't produce any reactive power or VARs, which is needed for power factor correction(I can explain what these terms are, including mathematical concepts, for those interested). This is countered by the fact that other sources produce more than enough reactive power into the grid, but provides a limitation on the amount of wind energy that can be used. For a home installation with no significant transmission distance, the lack of reactive power from wind turbines is not an issue, which would certainly allow that 20% to be exceeded should most homes become more independent from large scale power operations.

But not even 1% of our nation's power comes from wind. Wind electricity from large scale operations after removing all subsidies can be made for $.03-.05/kWh, compared to $.04-.07/kWh for coal.

Why aren't we using it?

The article linked below explains a few reasons with a very pathetic and convoluted 'counterpoint' that looks to be created by lobbyists and crooked politicians. In light of peak oil and whatever chaos may or may not result, please keep in mind what world we could have had.


Unintended Consequences for Midwest Wind Power

Likely Political Opposition to Cape Wind Results in Widespread Impact on U.S. Wind Power

by Jesse Broehl, Editor, RenewableEnergyAccess.com
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Last week we reported on the latest hiccup facing the wind power market in the U.S. -- a sudden concern over how military radar installations are affected by current and future wind power projects. A back-story is starting to emerge, leading to accusations that politics have played at least some part in bringing as many as 15 wind power installations in the Midwest to a temporary halt. And ripples being felt in the farm belt may have originated over a thousand miles away in the waters off Massachusetts.

The current radar issue stems from The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, signed into law January 6, 2006 (PL 109-163), which contained a last-minute amendment inserted by Senator John Warner (R-VA) requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to study and report on the effects of wind projects on military readiness.

By all accounts, the original Congressional language was aimed at one project, Cape Wind, a 420 MW offshore wind project proposed off the coast of Massachusetts. However, DOD and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have decided to expand upon the original study directive and apply it to all proposed wind power installations in the United States.

Warner has been associated previously with legislation that would be harmful to wind power -- particularly the Cape Wind project.

"Senator Warner says he's for wind power, but his actions betray that," said Michael Vickerman, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin, a nonprofit group that promotes renewable energy in the state. Wisconsin is among the Midwest states where the radar issue has put some projects on hold.

"It's not just a military matter, that's what's really bothering us," said Vickerman, who reflects an opinion bubbling up in wind power circles that radar issues have been used to put the brakes on wind power development.
Since the proposed Cape Wind project falls within local radar view, it too may be put on hold at least until the DOD study is complete. But if political motivations were behind Warner's amendment, this entire issue may prove to be a case of unintended consequences because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) actions stalling wind projects have mostly occurred in the Midwest.

In light of the required study, regional FAA officials issued notices of "Perceived Hazard" to approximately 15 wind projects, putting the brakes on, at least temporarily, to well over 1000 MW of wind power. Vickerman says the stalled projects include 950 MW in Illinois, 570 MW in Wisconsin, and 200 MW each in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Why FAA officials in regional offices in the Midwest, not the Northeast, have been putting the most projects on hold is being chalked up to a simple lack of consistent interpretation of the law by these FAA offices.

Some wind power developers like Dave Luck, head of business development for EnXco, can see how people in the wind power industry came to the conclusion that politics have played a role in the radar issue.

"It's hard to dismiss that, given one of the sponsors of the bill," said Luck, referring to Warner. But Luck admits it would be impossible to prove the move was politically motivated. Furthermore, he doubts the FAA actions in the Midwest had anything to do with local, or NIMBY (not in my backyard) opposition because wind power faces relatively less local opposition in the Midwest than in the Northeast and coastal communities.

"I just don't see the rationale for this being a cloaked NIMBY issue," said Luck, in an interview at a recent wind power conference. "If that was the case, you'd have farmers up in arms. There would literally be a backlash."

Luck says farmers have been some of wind power's greatest supporters. Wind power, he said, is a curious new form of rural development that's being welcomed with open arms in much of America's heartland.

When asked if Luck would expand his operations into offshore wind power, where attitudes in the U.S. have been downright caustic, his face visibly changed as he said, "I'm not going to fight that battle, it's not worth it."

Someone who has been fighting that battle is Mark Rodgers, Communications Director for Cape Wind. He recently circulated some gumshoe reporting from a local Cape Cod publication, the Cape Cod Voice, that he says offers documentary substantiation on the political point many in the wind power business have been making with respect to the origins and motivations behind Warner's radar study amendment.

The article (link provided below) reports that a registered lobbyist for the organization that formed to oppose Cape Wind, The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, basically claimed credit for the Warner Amendment of last year on air navigation.

"It is truly unfortunate that Cape Wind opponents are having such a harmful effect on the entire wind industry," Rodgers said in an e-mail.

But while many in the wind power industry are busy trying to uncover, and prove, if any political motivations are behind radar concerns stalling wind power, politicians themselves are starting to feel the pressure from their local constituents.

Most recently, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), representing one of the states where the FAA notices has put projects on hold, succeeded in getting the Bush Administration to remove the hold on a North Dakota Project. Dorgan said many projects, including those that are unlikely to interfere with air navigation, have received the FAA notices.

At a recent Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Dorgan called on the Administration to work with wind turbine developers to address concerns in the future, saying he would offer legislation to fix the problem if officials continue to "needlessly delay" important renewable energy projects.

red91sit 02-22-2007 06:54 PM

Ugggh, the more you know about our goverment, the less I like it.

Silveredwings 02-23-2007 11:22 AM

I really no longer wonder why most folks don't want to keep up with our country's current events. From watching the administration's petro-kleptocracy raid our treasury and misallocate our military, to the ministry of truth managed by the vice president, I'm discouraged to say the least... but I think that's by design. They want everyone to lose all hope, and just let them rape the world with total impunity. By the time the culprits get indicted (if ever), they'll all be trillionares who've laughed all the way to the bank and back a thousand times.

omgwtfbyobbq 02-23-2007 11:40 AM

Good cop, bad cop.

Silveredwings 02-23-2007 04:38 PM


Originally Posted by omgwtfbyobbq (Post 41663)
Good cop, bad cop.

Who's the good cop?

omgwtfbyobbq 02-23-2007 05:27 PM

Whoever happens to be slightly left of center at the time.

cfg83 02-23-2007 06:44 PM

ToeCutter -

This is just what I heard once, but when I was on a plane going somewhere (can't remember), a steward saw an article I was reading on wind power in Texas. He was from Texas and told me that all the Wind Power was being installed on the cattle farms owned by rich SOBs. To make a short story long, the already rich cattle farmers are raking in another fortune off of Wind Power incentives in Texas.


The Toecutter 02-25-2007 12:07 AM


To make a short story long, the already rich cattle farmers are raking in another fortune off of Wind Power incentives in Texas.
Courtesy of Joe Taxpayer, no less...

Wind doesn't need incentives. The subsidies for coal and oil need to be removed. Wind by itself is more than competitive, and taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill for any energy source. If the market were truly free, the best solutions would win by default, but our market is rigged by entrenched industries and a government hell bent on maximizing consumption...

What clencher posted made me glad. At least some of our leaders are trying to do something, but 25% by 2025 isn't shit. By 2025, if energy consumption increases at the rate it is, 25% renewables will still mean that consumption of nonrenewables increases from today. Today's consumption as it is is not sustainable. We need to actually reduce consumption, and industry hates this notion. Horror of horrors, if we buy less, they won't make as much profit.

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