Wind Power: Issues & Developments
Cape Wind approved—this
controversial offshore wind project (opposed by, among others, the Kennedy family)
has won federal approval. The WSJ reported that it “will be laid out in a grid pattern
in the Nantucket Sound” with Siemens turbines.
Konrad, who posts to SeekingAlpha.com, makes the case that “geographic diversification
smoothes wind power” in this April 13 item.
Impacts—a crabby anti-wind power article (posted
in several places, including here) lists the various problems with this energy
Wind farms require
roads and 700- to 1,000-ton concrete-and-rebar foundations, which affect water
drainage patterns in farm country. The 300- to 500-foot tall turbines affect
scenery, interfere with or prevent crop dusting over hundreds of acres, and
kill countless birds and bats. Farmers who lease their land for wind turbines
receive substantial royalty payments; neighbors are impacted, but receive no
Market for wind towers—from
RenewableEnergyWorld.com: It is expected that the global wind
tower market will reach 22,399 units, representing around 55GW of capacity by
2015. That’s slightly lower than the 22,474 units representing 40GW of wind
capacity in 2010. However, the global cumulative installed capacity of wind
towers will increase to 275,902 units in 2015 from 162,474 units in 2010, at
a CAGR of more than 11%.
sound levels of 45dB to 50dB have been taken in stride by many, even most, places
where early industrial wind development took place, it’s becoming apparent that
for some types of communities, sound levels of even 40dB are triggering high
levels of community push-back. Read
Residential turbines—dealers have sold 100,000 units since 1980,
according to this
EcoHome piece—“and in 2009 the turbine market swelled 15% despite
the economic slump.”
sales piece (posted to a renewable website) makes the case for wind developers
using ultracapacitors instead of batteries.
Utilities sweat wind variability—from EnergyBiz.com:
Simply, the wind does not blow on demand. Ditto for the sun. So these resources
must be backed up with other “dispatchable” forms of generation. But such “firming”
or “cycling” creates two distinct issues: The first is that the power is not
free and the second is that if coal plants are “cycled” up and down, they release
more pollutants per unit of output than if they ran full steam ahead.
World’s largest wind battery
storage project—it will be built in Texas, according to Grist.org, by Duke Energy. The 36MW battery will
be installed at a 153MW windpower project near Kermit.