Wind Power in West VA (Forgive me Scott)
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July 11, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Here is a great (and long) article about the politics of wind power in West Virginia. Actually, this is the most informative article I've read on the subject. Quite interesting bedfellows in this story - you'll never guess who is leading the outcry over the birds and bats being killed by the turbines.

The Bizarre Dance of Wind Power

I'm not trying to start a debate, but thought those of us with an interest in the mountain state might find this interesting. Anyway - marginal ski tie-in: quotes from Laura Reed of Canaan Realty and the fact that that Tucker County hosts the first wind farm in the state.

July 11, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
You are too nice, what with all the autocross posts...

anyway -- windmills, look cool. If you ever have a chance to drive past 29 Palms in CA (towards joshua tree) and you will find rows of them ... VERY COOL LOOKING.

what's the big deal?
Roger Z
July 12, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Interesting article. So the hippies have teamed up with Big Business to shut wind power down, eh?

I did like this quote though:

"According to the AWEA, today wind electricity sells for half the price of nuclear power about the same as electricity from coal, oil and natural gas."

I worked in the energy industry for five years, and that's about as stupid of a comment as you can make. That's like saying "hybrid cars sell at half the price as a Yugo and about the same as a Toyota Camry, a Lamborghini, or a Buick." For a guy who was eager to fact check bird kills and non-profit organizations he (seemingly) doesn't like, you'd think he could verify statements from the pro-wind organizations so as not to make them sound like morons.

Last I heard from turbine folks, most wind power was still being produced at a 10% premium or so to gas fired combine-cycles, which puts them on the high end of the cost curve. However, prices are coming down and are expected to be competitive in the next few years (which is a strong argument for continued subsidization- the subsidies appear to be having the intended effect of buying time for the innovation to become self-sufficient). The biggest problem right now is that state regulations have gotten ahead of the market- there is such a high state-ordered mandate for wind power (upwards of 10-15% in California alone) that the turbine companies literally cannot produce enough wind plants to meet state mandates.

My biggest beef with wind power isn't whether it's subsidized or not, it's reliability. Wind comes and goes. Worse, in some markets wind tends to arrive during off-peak and depart during peaking hours (that is, heat waves). You still need baseload to back wind power up, which means it's usually backed by traditional energy sources. Ramp rates on traditional power sources vary from 1-6% per minute, whereas wind power arrives almost instaneously (and leaves as quickly). If wind becomes a significant source of energy in our grid system (say, 10-15%), you're probably gonna start hearing stories about the fun transmission companies are having trying to keep the grid balanced. They're gonna have to create tripping systems to keep the powerlines from going belly-up.

Nothing the United States can't handle, we're pretty ingenious about figuring out engineering problems. And I'm not against wind power- it's just a word of caution about where things stand and where things could go if we let our enthusiasm get ahead of us. The "take care" axiom at the end of the article has some validity.
July 26, 2006
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
Bring on the wind power.

While some may complain about how they look... well ever drive over Rt 33 west on a clear winter day? The brown smudge from Mt Storm goes for miles....

... and that is a heck of a lot uglier, in many ways, than a spinning wind blade.

It isn't perfect - but it is clean, it is ours, it is unlimited, and above all... IT ISN'T FOSSIL!
July 27, 2006
Member since 10/18/2004 🔗
45 posts
I agree, those windmills are awesome! I never thought something that big could turn just from the wind itself.

I do not mind seeing them when I hike up the hill to Dolly Sods. Better than the plume from Mt. Storm.
July 31, 2006
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts

Ski and Tell

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