Wind Power: Is it what it's presented to be?
Scandia-Havgul's chosen name for the proposed wind power plant in Lake Michigan is the "Aegir Project." That's a shocking and revealing choice, since "aegir" in Old Norse means "terror" - exactly what the proposal has already caused and what it threatens to bring to our revered area permanently!
This ill-chosen name shows the care and concern the developers have for West Michigan and our environment, economy, property values, resources, and our beloved, irreplaceable Lake Michigan.
Can you believe it? Selecting the name the "Terror Project" ... how incredibly insensitive, ill-advised, incompetent, and telling!
(For their wind power plant - euphemistically called a "wind farm" - in Texas, the developers chose to name it the "Mariah Project" - after the song lyrics in "Paint Your Wagon" - showing far greater concern and sensitivity for the people of Texas than those of Michigan.)
If you believe wind turbines are safe, reliable, efficient, and truly green - click here to see the facts!
"The trouble with wind farms is that they have a huge spatial footprint for a piddling little bit of electricity ... ."
- Sir Martin Holdgate, former chairman of the British Renewable Energy Advisory Group
Background image: At wind farms where many towers are clustered together, turbulence generated by the massive blades can degrade the performance of other windmills by as much as 10-20 percent. The same turbulence can also trigger vibrations in turbines downwind, leading to component fatigue, excess maintenance costs, and premature part failure. The turbines' wake effect is clearly seen at the Horns Rev offshore wind farm in the North Sea west of Denmark.
In Norse Mythology, Ægir and his daughters brewed ale in a large pot.
In West Michigan, the proposed Aegir Wind Power Plant has brewed up heated controversy, contention, and divisiveness.
Fire at Hancock County, Iowa, wind facility, Oct. 3, 2007
Fire in The Netherlands, October 31, 2006
All the reasons given to support the Block Island wind farm project are wrong, says the consultant hired by island residents Michael and Maggie Delia to help them oppose the development of an eight-turbine wind farm southeast of the island.
The Delias, of Southeast Point and Whitehouse Station, N.J., who cite years of experience in the aircraft industry and as business consultants, are interveners in the Public Utilities Commission case involving the power purchase agreement between Deepwater Wind and National Grid.
They and their expert witness, William P. Short III of New York City, have pre-filed testimony for the PUC hearing which will come on in March.
In his testimony, Short touts an alternate site for the wind farm, east of the “shipping channel” to Newport. There, he said, a wind farm would be “largely over the horizon out of sight from Block Island and the Rhode Island mainland,” would face “considerably less intervener opposition and (have) less negative impact on the non-marketable values of the propose SAMP area.”
Quickly, the PUC asked Deepwater what alternate sites are proposed if the SAMP process finds Deepwater's proposed sites unacceptable. (The Ocean Special Area Management Plan study by the Coastal Resources Management Council and the University of Rhode Island is now in the works; one chapter is in draft form.)
Deepwater's answer is that it is “not aware of any alternate sites” in state waters that would meet the requirements of state law for an offshore wind farm.
Also probing the site issue, the Delias asked the state Division of Public Utilities and Carriers if the agreement between the state and Deepwater requires that “the 30 M/W project (the Block Island project) be sited in the near waters of Block Island rather than in the projected off-shore site for the 100 turbines” planned by Deepwater far to the east of the island.
The answer was no, “assuming that what is intended by the term `near water' in your question means within the three-mile limit of the territorial waters of the state of Rhode Island and its shores.”
The PUC also asked Deepwater for “visual simulations” of the wind farm from the Southeast Lighthouse, Old Harbor and North Light on the island, Watch Hill, Point Judith, Newport and Sakonnet Point on the mainland, and Gay Head on Martha's Vineyard.
Deepwater responded that it would have “renderings” prepared.
Short's views are not fleshed out to the extent that the principal players in the case have presented their testimony. In a series of summary statements, Short says that:
• The contract setting the rate at which the mainland distributor of power, National Grid, will buy the power Deepwater produces is not “commercially reasonable”;
• The wind farm “will not stabilize long-term energy prices at the lowest price,” as claimed by its proponents, but at two to four times future energy prices;
• The wind farm will “only minimally enhance environmental quality” compared to other renewable energy sources;
• It will “create minimal jobs” in the state (Deepwater claims the Block Island project together with the follow-on “utility scale” project farther out to sea will create 600 jobs);
• The project will “crowd out more economical renewable projects” in the state;
• It “will not provide any net economic benefits” to the state.
Michael Delia's testimony in large part echoes that of his consultant. The wind farm contract is “a lose-lose situation for the Rhode Island taxpayer and citizen,” he says. “We will be paying too much for our energy costs and we will be permanently and irrevocably altering our Ocean State's ocean.”
The federal and state governments, he says, “are on the brink of the monumental decision to place industrial power generation equipment into sacred waters, historic waters, recreational waters, commercial fishing waters, waters of extraordinary fisheries, tourist revenue-producing waters, waters of great beauty.”
Delia states that Deepwater is “paying millions for the SAMP process” as well as the fees of the town's attorney and consultant who are participating in the case and calls that a conflict of interest. Deepwater is in fact paying the town's lawyer and consultant fees. But the CRMC denied vigorously that it is receiving any funds from Deepwater for preparing the SAMP that is evaluating sites for offshore power generation.
Attached to his statement is an article from an unnamed journal and the chapter on recreation and tourism from the draft SAMP.
Maggie Delia's testimony is largely about island tourism and the environment. She says that the wind farm will change the “character, feel, viewsheds, ecology, tourism and economy” of Block Island forever.
She noted that, according to the draft SAMP, tourism accounted for $259 million in spending on Block Island in 2007. “I am surprised,” she testified, that with numbers like that, “the Town Council has not undertaken a survey or created a focus group of tourists to discover what impact the wind farm may have on the island and the state tourism dollars.”
She was asked, “If there are eight windmills built in front of your view at the Southeast light … will you leave Block Island?” She responded, “The problem is, where am I going to go? This is a place to stand for my family and I [sic].”
She attached to her testimony a lengthy Pew Ocean Commission report, “America's Living Ocean.”
The town's consultant, Boston-based Richard La Capra, filed a statement that the town does not object to the power purchase agreement. However, he points out, the state has created special conditions for evaluating the “commercial reasonableness” of the Block Island project and PUC approval should not be regarded as precedent for any other power purchase from a renewable source.
Also the state Economic Development Corp. and the state Building and Construction Trades Council have filed supporting testimony; both envision the development of the state as a “hub” of renewable energy infrastructure.
The Block Island Times,
On September 15, 2008, high winds at the Searsburg facility in Vermont caused a blade to strike the tower, bringing down the whole nacelle and blade assembly.
Just how safe and reliable are wind turbines?
The following data (compiled by Faither through 2009) are very revealing:
Do you still think wind turbine power plants are a good idea?
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