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Wind Power is not a Clean, Harmless Energy Source

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On Thursday morning, American Thanksgiving, I was driving north along Massachusetts Route 7. The scenery was stunning; snow frosted trees, beautiful mountain scenery as rhapsodized by James Taylor in "Sweet Baby James." Only one thing broke the idyll; a wind farm perched on the ridge-line near Jiminy Peak, just north of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. There were not fewer than nine or so ugly white turbines cluttering the view of the mountains just west of Route 7.

When I arrived, my in-laws had a copy of the Manchester Journal, a local paper. The paper was shown to me for an article of the one in history confluence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah, dubbed "Thanksgivukah." Less amusing was an article entitled Wind Forum Explores Concerns (excerpts, link below). It seems many Vermonters have had not only their scenery, but right to live in reasonable quiet, utterly wrecked. The noise requires people to close windows on beautiful summer nights. And many will have trouble selling now-valueless homes. Excerpts1:

Wind Forum explores concerns

Brandon Canevari - Staff Writer

Posted: 11/25/2013 09:25:05 AM EST

TOWNSHEND - Tears welled up in Larry Lorusso's eyes and his voice began to crack as he spoke about the environmental impacts the Hoosac wind project has had since it first went online last year.

"My mountain was out back," he said taking a moment to try to collect himself. "It was the enchanted forest. I loved going up there and [it was] a very beautiful place and I watched them wreck it little bit by little bit. So, I understand something was taken from us. Part of it is the noise, our peace and quiet."

Lorusso was part of four person panel that met at the United Church of Christ on Friday for a forum that attracted about 60 people for a discussion that focused largely on the noise and health impacts of industrial wind power.

******************

Michael Fairneny who lives about a half mile from the Hoosac site said that he did not have an idea about the impacts in terms of the noise of the project. He figured at three miles away on a ridgeline in the town of Florida - which is where 10 of the 19 wind turbines were placed - would be a safe distance away, but now realizes he was wrong.

"Now it's like living near the airport. The sound does change," said Fairneny. "My wife's ears ring whenever she's at home. She has tinnitus never had ear problems and we've been traveling up and down this mountain for 29 years. Never any issues with going up and down the mountain and we don't know what we're going to do yet."

Fairneny said that he and his wife are now considering leaving their home at least for part of the season.

*************************

The wind project that Iberdola constructed in Groton, N.H. has 24 turbines. Another panelist, Laurie Lerner from Bridgewater, N.H. said that there are now three other projects looking to site themselves in the area of Newfound Lake, which would increase the number of turbines from 24 to over 100. To give an idea of what the sound is like, Nancy Watson took a marble and slowly rolled it around the inside of a bowl. While that is the sound she says that some hear, she hears a sound that she says is more like the cycling of a refrigerator that never shuts off.

Stephen Ambrose, the principal consultant for SE Ambrose & Associates, a civil engineer and a member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering, said that by placing wind turbines on ridgelines the sound is channeled and he likened it to a sound going down a very long hallway.

At the beginning of the meeting, Galbraith also touched on the potential of the projects to impact the value of not only various towns grand lists, but the value of individual homes - something that will be the subject of the next meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 17.

It seems that wind is not a panacea to the energy problem, despite the sincerest wishes of the "global warming" crowd.

1. The newspaper is free and allows "open sourcing" of its content but I still excerpted the article)

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And you think it would be better if the area were covered in fracked gas wells?

The above ground footprint of gas wells is extremely small compared to windfarms. The added advantage is natural gas adds wealth to the economy instead of sucking it out.

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The above ground footprint of gas wells is extremely small compared to windfarms. The added advantage is natural gas adds wealth to the economy instead of sucking it out.

This was not the first time I've seen wind farms. I had the dubious pleasure of seeing and hearing them on an otherwise perfect hike in Whetstone Gulf State Park in upstate New York. The wind farm was directly adjacent to the park border about 50 meters from the trail.

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The OP is misleading, and intentionally so....we know for a fact that industrial blight is not in any way at issue.....so whatever genuine concerns there are about windpower (and I don't deny the concerns for one second)...we know that this topic is not a serious one.

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The OP is misleading, and intentionally so....we know for a fact that industrial blight is not in any way at issue.....so whatever genuine concerns there are about windpower (and I don't deny the concerns for one second)...we know that this topic is not a serious one.

Complete nonsense. Just because you don't like it, doesn't make it not serious.

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The OP is misleading, and intentionally so....we know for a fact that industrial blight is not in any way at issue.....so whatever genuine concerns there are about windpower (and I don't deny the concerns for one second)...we know that this topic is not a serious one.

yes, the OP is most misleading. He started a similar 'wedge play' thread in the past... I make note of it in this following reply I gave to him in another concurrently running thread - one where he similarly calls me out (as he did in his earlier thread).

What would you argue is a good solution, wind (link to thread on its serious environmental drawbacks) or solar? Or is your solution throwing rocks at posters on boards?

ya ya, already saw your new thread... was inclined to give it a pass, since you could have simply resurrected your earlier thread... the one you specifically called me out on:

or another MLW member's thread, where you flogged your same thread's article... where I summarized my earlier responses to you: here

your new thread includes an article with little substance... other than a couple of quotes speaking to noise and construction impact. I could play fetch and actually find related Massachusetts site placement process/approval documents... or see if there's an enforceable MOU between the developer and state authorities; one that might speak to enforceable restoration measures. In a quick googly I easily found a state sponsored noise study. I could do all that, but, uhhh... why don't you step-up this time and actually support your ongoing wedge plays. I mean, c'mon... anyone can cut & paste a superficial article like you just did in your new thread... in your earlier thread.

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The OP is misleading, and intentionally so....we know for a fact that industrial blight is not in any way at issue.....so whatever genuine concerns there are about windpower (and I don't deny the concerns for one second)...we know that this topic is not a serious one.

Explain how it's either misleading or not serious, please.

In the past I have been criticized for sarcastic or satirical posts, This one is quite serious. The newspaper that carries the article is in fact usually quite liberal.

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Explain how it's either misleading or not serious, please.

In the past I have been criticized for sarcastic or satirical posts, This one is quite serious. The newspaper that carries the article is in fact usually quite liberal.

Well, I concede fully that I am assuming....and if I'm proven wrong, then it's my bad.

I was only wondering if industrial blight, and all the terrible problems endemic to the energy industries generally, are truly an issue for you, but which you've never once mentioned....or if it's only when the sinister "enviros" are somehow involved.

Edited by bleeding heart

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Well, I concede fully that I am assuming....and if I'm proven wrong, then it's my bad.

I was only wondering if industrial blight, and all the terrible problems endemic to the energy industries generally, are truly an issue for you, but which you've never once mentioned....or if it's only when the sinister "enviros" are somehow involved.

those nasty turbines messing with my view as I motor by on Mass Route 7! Up there... up there on that mountain-top ridge!

up-TVG8ATCB9289T9JQ.jpg

I guess electric transmission line view/landscape 'blight' is acceptable!

rby4k1.jpgENR_CA_1203_CIVIL1.jpg

I wonder if the guy has any comment on the blight associated with mountain pine beetle infestations and global warming/climate change?

074840b39dd84493a43d999534c2ab5d.jpg

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I was only wondering if industrial blight, and all the terrible problems endemic to the energy industries generally, are truly an issue for you, but which you've never once mentioned....or if it's only when the sinister "enviros" are somehow involved.

My point has always been that there is no perfect way to produce energy. I am merely pointing out that the "enviros'" darling has its faults. Not that wind is better or worse than fracked gas. Though I suspect from other recent postings that wind takes more subsidies that its worth in terms of real productivity.

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I am merely pointing out that the "enviros'" darling has its faults.

Nobody promised wind farms would be rose gardens.

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Nobody promised wind farms would be rose gardens.

No, rose gardens don't slaughter hundreds of thousands of birds each year.

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The above ground footprint of gas wells is extremely small compared to windfarms. The added advantage is natural gas adds wealth to the economy instead of sucking it out.

What about the storage of the fracking waste? Sure it's trucked off site .. but to where? Is that foot print taken into account?

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No, rose gardens don't slaughter hundreds of thousands of birds each year.

here, gain some needed perspective:

notwithstanding the significant existing and future climate change related impacts/deaths to wildlife, relative to all other manner of direct deaths attributed to birds, deaths related to wind turbines pale in comparison:

from the National Academies (National Research Council - 2007): Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects

Collisions with buildings kill 97 to 976 million birds annually; collisions with high-tension lines kill at least 130 million birds, perhaps more than one billion; collisions with communications towers kill between 4 and 5 million based on “conservative estimates,” but could be as high as 50 million; cars may kill 80 million birds per year; and collisions with wind turbines killed an estimated at 20,000 to 37,000 birds per year in 2003, with all but 9,200 of those deaths occurring in California. Toxic chemicals, including pesticides, kill more than 72 million birds each year, while domestic cats are estimated to kill hundreds of millions of songbirds and other species each year. Erickson et al. (2005) estimate that total cumulative bird mortality in the United States “may easily approach 1 billion birds per year.”

Clearly, bird deaths caused by wind turbines are a minute fraction of the total anthropogenic bird deaths—less than 0.003% in 2003 based on the estimates of Erickson et al. (2005).

a more timely 2009 study - one that calculates the number of birds killed per gigawatt-hour (GWh) generated for wind electricity, fossil fuel, and nuclear power systems... a study that estimates wind farms and nuclear power stations are responsible each for between 0.3 and 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity, while fossil fueled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh. Given the studies expressed uncertainties of the data used, it estimates that, "wind farms killed approximately 20,000 birds in the United States in 2009, while nuclear plants killed about 330,000 and fossil fueled power plants killed more than 14 million birds."

1-s2.0-S0960148112000857-gr1.jpg

and given particular profiled attention to large raptor bird deaths, wind industry organizations have been actively working with wildlife groups/associations towards locating wind farms factoring bird migratory patterns... or 'raptor corridors'. Equally, technology advances have brought marketed radar detection options particularly targeted towards large migratory bird flocks and large raptors:

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Wind turbines need to be put where they can do the most good - up in the jet stream around 10km altitude. A heck of a lot more wind speed there, much more consistent wind, and it's out of the way of people seeing them, birds, and any other issues associated with building wind turbines on the ground.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_wind_turbine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-altitude_wind_power

Plus, there's actually enough energy up there to provide a good chunk of the energy needs of human civilization without majorly disrupting wind patterns - which is not true of surface winds.

Edited by Bonam

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What "wind pattern" is there to disrupt? I have never heard anyone say that wind turbines are somehow going to interrupt the Gulf Stream.

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Wind turbines need to be put where they can do the most good - up in the jet stream around 10km altitude. A heck of a lot more wind speed there, much more consistent wind, and it's out of the way of people seeing them, birds, and any other issues associated with building wind turbines on the ground.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_wind_turbine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-altitude_wind_power

Plus, there's actually enough energy up there to provide a good chunk of the energy needs of human civilization without majorly disrupting wind patterns - which is not true of surface winds.

That's not what skeptics say. I guess it should be no surprise there are even limits to high altitude winds compared to human demands not to mention impacts to our climate.

Jet stream wind power as a renewable energy resource: little power, big impacts Link
...jet stream motion is associated with very small generation rates of kinetic energy to maintain the high wind velocities, and it is this generation rate that will ultimately limit the potential use of jet streams as a renewable energy resource...
Too bad, that seemed pretty clever at first glance.
Edited by eyeball

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What "wind pattern" is there to disrupt? I have never heard anyone say that wind turbines are somehow going to interrupt the Gulf Stream.

There's a finite amount of energy in the wind. As you take that energy out, you create wind shadows (areas of reduced wind) downstream of the windmills. If you have a few windmills, the effect is negligible. If you have thousands of them in an area, you can alter the wind pattern, such that it is appreciably different from the pattern that would otherwise have been in this area.

Winds on Earth arise from two primary factors. Low altitude winds mainly result from temperature differences (and thus pressure differences) between areas, with air flowing from locations of high pressure to locations of low pressure. These winds are heavily influenced by weather, the day/night cycle, etc. They vary greatly in speed and consistency. On the other hand, high altitude winds result mainly from the Earth's rotation and thus are much more constant.

Both low and high altitude winds have finite amounts of power and energy, and converting more than a few % of the power in either to electricity would have substantial impacts. However, there is far far more energy in high altitude winds than low altitude winds, and so we can get a lot more energy out of them without appreciably affecting wind patterns.

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...jet stream motion is associated with very small generation rates of kinetic energy to maintain the high wind velocities, and it is this generation rate that will ultimately limit the potential use of jet streams as a renewable energy resource...

No energy source in the universe is truly "renewable". That comes straight from the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Wind energy is no exception. When you take energy out of the wind, you slow the wind down, and you either end up with less wind, or with whatever force was generating the wind having to work harder. In the case of high altitude winds, you are essentially tapping the energy of the Earth's rotation. The more you slow down the jet stream by taking energy out of it, the greater will be the velocity differential between the atmosphere and the Earth's rotating surface, the more friction will be applied on the Earth's surface to slow down its rotation. Fortunately, there is a LOT of energy stored in the Earth's rotation, and we don't have to worry about depleting it very much.

The same is true of the tides, whose energy comes from gravitational interactions between the Earth, Sun, and Moon. By using tidal energy, one is tapping the orbital energy of these bodies.

The same is true of geothermal energy, tapping the heat of the Earth's core, stored up over billions of years of the radioactive elements inside the Earth producing heat.

When people talk about "renewable" energy sources today, what they really mean is energy sources that arise from large scale interactions of the Sun, Earth, and Moon, rather than energy sources that arise from materials in the Earth's crust. But no energy source is really renewable, all will run out in time.

The closest thing we have to a truly renewable energy source is solar energy, as unless we do something to destroy the Sun, the Sun will keep shining for the next 5 billion years (and will in fact slowly get brighter over time).

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Winds on Earth arise from two primary factors. Low altitude winds mainly result from temperature differences (and thus pressure differences) between areas, with air flowing from locations of high pressure to locations of low pressure. These winds are heavily influenced by weather, the day/night cycle, etc. They vary greatly in speed and consistency. On the other hand, high altitude winds result mainly from the Earth's rotation and thus are much more constant.

How great is this effect compared to that produced by other man-made things though, such as waste heat from power plants or the urban heat island effect? The "lakes" created by dams must have an appreciable effect as well.

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...there is far far more energy in high altitude winds than low altitude winds, and so we can get a lot more energy out of them without appreciably affecting wind patterns.

Apparently the opposite might be true according to L.M. Miller, F. Gans, & A. Kleidon who wrote the paper I found in your link above.

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How great is this effect compared to that produced by other man-made things though, such as waste heat from power plants or the urban heat island effect? The "lakes" created by dams must have an appreciable effect as well.

At current levels of wind energy deployment, the effect is negligible. If low altitude wind energy was used to supply 100% of the world's electricity needs, surface wind patterns would be altered unrecognizably, and likely have adverse or unexpected effects on such ecological phenomena as the spread of seeds and pollen, potentially threatening numerous plant species with extinction.

Edited by Bonam

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