A question about power...
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JR
November 19, 2004
Member since 01/1/2003 🔗
276 posts
In these troubling times as we all see (mentally in anguish no less) Snowshoe's ambitious early season base melt away, One can't help but wonder how much this costs a resort. I remember last year I think some people discussing how much it cost to operate lifts, high speed lifts, and snowmaking equipment...but I'm too lazy to search for it. What I was wondering was, seeing the windmills up at Canaan Valley makes me wonder why resorts don't install one of these to help pay for snowmaking, lifts, and regular electricity around the resorts. They have the perfect locations on top of their mountains already. Does anyone know just how much power can be sucked outta one of these big windmills and if that could basically power the whole resort? It seems like for one large upfront cost of a mill, they could eliminate one of their biggest expenses. They could make snow whenever they felt froggy and not have to pay a dime. They could lower lift ticket prices. What are the restrictions on installing one of these I wonder. I'm sure there's huge studies that have to go into it and they have to make sure birds don't migrate through it and all. Any thoughts?
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
November 19, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
JR:

Those Windmills you are talking about sit at a very unique spot: the edge of the Allegheny Front. That's a uniquely windy area due to the huge vertical of the escarpment and the fact that it is th dividing line between East Coast and Midwest weather systems. The summit of Snowshoe, Timberline, and CV don't get nearly the same winds. However, ALMOST HEAVEN, if it ever gets developed, would be able to take advantage of wind power if the Forest Service grants them permits to use land on the summit of Mount Porte Crayon. Wind, btw, is a major reason why MPC is not the best location for a ski mountain. The low altitude base is the other problem.

Various environmental groups have been fighting windmills for years because the Allegheny Front is a major migratory path for birds and an IBA (important birding spot). I think the current compromise plan is for NEDPOWER, the owner of the windmills, to lock the turbines during peak migratory periods. However, I'm not sure, so do not quote me on that one. Anyway, more birds are killed by housecats and cars than by windmills, so the environmentalist argument against these clean energy sources is weak in my opinion.

NEDPOWER eventually wants to install 200 turbines on a 12 mile stretch of Allegheny Front. These windmills will produce enough renewable energy to power 60,000 households and will reduce CO2 emissions by 1,900 million pounds per year.

For more:

http://www.eren.doe.gov/windpoweringamerica/pdfs/workshops/2003_wv/niessen.pdf

PS The summit of Timberline sits on Forest Service property, and all of CV is state park land. I doubt either of those authorities would agree to windmills even if there was enough wind to justify developing them there.

PPS Some resorts in Europe use windmills to power lifts and snowmaking. St. Moritz in Switzerland is one of them.
DWW
November 19, 2004
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
Snowshoe may not be the Allegheny Front, but I can vouch for it's abundant wind, and I don't think birds are an issue. Early season attempts at snowmaking, may not be completely lost to warm weather. Manmade holds up remarkably well (it is drier). Also, the ground will be cooler than it otherwise would be, and will hold the new snow better when they are able to crank it up again.
JR
November 19, 2004
Member since 01/1/2003 🔗
276 posts
Thanks for the info johnfmh. While I realize that, say, snowshoe wouldn't have ideal wind conditions, I do recognize the fact that its pretty dang windy up there. It still seems to me it could work there or on many WV peaks, especially if peaks much lower on the way to 7 springs can support them. Does anyone else notice that you can't make every environmentalist happy. I'm all for lowering emissions, not driving Hummers, and just trying your best to be environmentally conscious but come on. You have a clean energy source with wind and someone is still upset. Lets outlaw solar panels because birds burn their feet on them. Speaking of which, has anyone here ever noticed the solar panel house on the way up Mount Storm from Petersburg/Shear? I've always wondered if that house was energy sufficient or if those things still even worked anymore.
jimmy
November 19, 2004
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
The Tucker County windmills are 1.5 megawatt generators. A typical fossil fuel generating plant runs a 600 megawatt generator and burns eight and one half BILLION pounds of coal in a year. 200 windmills x 1.5 mega watts = 300 megawatts and some dead birds. No coal, no pollution. Biggest problem i've seen with the Tucker windmills is all the people rubber necking to look at them and not paying attention to the road. I might feel a little differently if they wanted to put one in my backyard though.

jimmy
gatkinso
November 19, 2004
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
There are major wind farms planned (not proposed, planned) for Mt Storm, Dans Rock, and more on Backbone Mtn. Not to mention that the windfarms in Somerset County PA are going to be expanding as well.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
November 19, 2004
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,198 posts
A friend in WV says that the commercial interests building the wind farms could have silenced all their critics and built huge public support if they just put 0.1% of the profits into support of schools in WV. They never even thought of it. Instead they just come in, take what they want and either leave or turn a deaf ear. The state is in the death grip of mining and timber interests. For 150 years WV has poured out her riches and gotten nothing but contempt (e.g. WV jokes) in return.
tgd
November 19, 2004
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
I think it is too easy to over-generalize and lump people who prioritize environmental issues as "environmentalists" who see all environmental issues from a single dogmatic point of view. The windmill issue has really caused a lot of internal turmoil within the "environmentalist" community. Anyone following the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy over the past couple years knows that many people within the organization have widely different points of view regarding windmill development (though officially I believe the Conservancy has come out against windmill development until there are further studies on their impacts to birds and bats).

Unfortunately, the economics of windmill power are suspect. The cost per kilowatt generated by the windmills is quite high compared to coal-fired plants; however, energy companies are able to trade green (clean energy) credits earned from the windmills for relief on clean air standards for some of their dirtier plants generating far cheaper power. In essence using clean energy to subsidize pollution so the companies don't have to spend money to clean up their older plants.

I tend to assess the environmental impact of any project, development, or initiative and weigh that against its perceived or claimed benefits. In that sense, I could be called an enviromentalist. I am hopeful, however, that eventually clean energy from sources like windmills will become a viable energy option. Basically, I believe nothing comes for free. We can't expect to have plentiful energy without some cost - environmental, social, aesthetic, or otherwise. The total impact of the windmills on birds, bats, and viewsheds has to be weighed against the impact of coal on the air, water, streams, wildlife, and most importantly its social impact on West Virginia's communities. We are a long way from windmills replacing coal, but we have to start somewhere.
Roy
November 20, 2004
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
There are lots of energy replacements for coal and gas. But there are too many industries that rely on them and they are scared to see their business go away. These alternatives may be more expensive but who's to say that supply and demand will not eventually make it viable. I applaud Toyota and Honda for getting the hybrid initiative really going.

That being said, I also like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy and I give the environment and Mother Nature credit too. As far as windmills go, are we that conceited in the human race to think that bird's are that stupid and everyone of them will fly into these windmills just because that is the path they have used for years?! While deaths can be tragic, it is a part of the evolutionary process in all species. Some are sad, some are very necessary (like pink stretch pants worn by guys in the '80's. Ugh!)
WP_Employee
November 20, 2004
Member since 03/7/2004 🔗
83 posts
For what its worth some studies have shown wind power could affect the jet stream and actually change the climate...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/P...orce_login=true
[Free Sub Req to read article]

From the article:

"A cool if not quite cold wind is blowing over the ballyhooed environmental benefits of a big shift to wind power.

A group of Canadian and U.S. scientists reported Tuesday that computer simulations show that a large-scale use of wind farms to generate electrical power could create a significant temperature change over Earth's land masses. "
JR
November 20, 2004
Member since 01/1/2003 🔗
276 posts
Would this proposed temperature shift be in the negative direction, thus counteracting global warming and benefitting early season skiing in the mid-atlantic?

As for the environmentalists, I consider myself one to an extent. I just really dislike the ones that aren't happy about anything, ie. solve a problem and they complain about a few birds getting hit. Extreme environmentalists are like extreme pro-lifers in that they give all activists in their field, including the less extreme activists, a bad name and actually hurt their cause.
David
November 20, 2004
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
Quote:

Would this proposed temperature shift be in the negative direction, thus counteracting global warming and benefitting early season skiing in the mid-atlantic?




Has anyone seen the movie "Day After Tomorow"??? That could be some scary stuff...
Roy
November 21, 2004
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
It it means making it colder I'm all for it!
tromano
November 21, 2004
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
[sarcasm] I have always prefered the enviromentally sound hampsters in a wheel tech for power genertion. All you need is a big wheel, and a whole lot of hampsters and those lifts wont even need electricity. This is at least a great backup unit for days when the power goes out. No environmentalist could complain because hampsers natually run toward food. And the lazy bastards need exercise or thwey will get too fat. So its totally humane. [/sarcasm]

I decided to add som actual content to my post. Basicly, the whole cliamte change issue w/ wind mills only comes up if we cover the whole country side with the damn things.
KevR
November 22, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
It seems to me that all energy production systems have some effect on the climate/environment and that should be taken into account in term of the cost of the system. WHICH historically this facet has been largely ignored.

If so, it might turn out to even out some systems vs others...
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