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Thread: Spruce Ridge (near Mt. Cardigan) Wind Farm...

  1. #76
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca M View Post
    What would it take to get rid of the federal tax credit? Would it take an executive order????? My understanding is that the POTUS isn't in favor of wind. Or, perhaps removing the waiver that allows X thousands of bald eagles to get killed by wind for the next XX years?
    This might help: https://energy.gov/savings/renewable...tax-credit-ptc I don't think an executive order would do it - I think it would have to be an act of congress.

    Also some interesting reading about turbines: http://science.howstuffworks.com/env...kill-birds.htm

    If wind turbines killed cats they might be a net positive for birds.
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  2. #77
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    I wouldn't bet that the loss of the federal tax credit will shut down the demand for wind power in the region. The New England States so far are sticking with the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative RGGI (usually pronounced Reggie). This indirectly establishes a minimum percent of the total power consumed in each state that will be renewable. This mostly impacts southern New England and they are consistently having to stretch to find new sources of renewable power. Mass elected to stop regarding biomass power as renewable so that only leaves solar (PV) and wind, both very intermittent resources. PV is highly seasonal even more so with industrial PV farms that are optimized for summer production at a cost of winter production. The winds do tend to be more reliable in the winter so most utilities want to buy wind production. The problem is the New England Power Grid was designed for local power plants close by the load and most of the wind resources are on the edges of the grid and require very expensive grid upgrades that no one wants to pay for. Thus the approach is to build wind farms where there is leftover capacity in the grid that coincides with ridgelines and thus the crosshairs are on the ridgelines in central and southern NH. Note that northern NH has far better wind resources but the grid is woefully over capacity and unable to be expanded as the only connection is through the WMNF.

    There is one other practically unlimited source of so called reliable "renewable" power and that's Hydro Quebec. Mass and CT both ban the use of HQ power as the use of the term "renewable" to describe this power is a very controversial debate. This type of hydro has landscape level impacts, impacts to lives of those who live in region and due to where its located and how its operated it is major generator of methane a extremely potent contributor to global warming. Even if New England is willing to pull an international NIMBY and let Canada take the environmental degradation in return for cash funneled to the Quebec economy, they need to get the power from Northern Quebec to southern New England and that means transmission lines through the border states including Northern Pass. Sadly let Mass and CT declare HQ "renewable" and let Northern Pass and a few other large scale transmission lines get built through ME, NH and VT and the demand for industrial wind will drop to the point where marginal projects propped up by the tax credits will drop out of the picture.

    Mass is giving offshore wind another go, even though the new offshore wind is out of sight of the coast it still suffers from very high front end cost. The ill fated Cape Wind managed to extract long term well above market rate guaranteed rates from utilities in Mass (under threats from the state) to swing the economics in its favor but even the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recognized that these forced subsidies were unfair and nullified them with the result that Cape Wind went away. Mass is now betting on 1500 MW or new offshore wind and to date I don't think anyone has figured out a way that FERC is going to approve the deal but given the shift in Washington maybe the FERC will change.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 03-20-2017 at 06:48 AM.

  3. #78
    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    hmmmm, regarding bird deaths, the data in the wind article in Science cited the AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) had no actual information... I'm sorry, but, without actual *unbiased data*, that isn't only FAKE news, but, it seems to me VERY fake news

    re: viability - several months ago a Union Leader article suggested actual output from the Groton Wind farm was around 17% below projections. Possibly that is due to the perpetual 1-2 broken turbines I count every weekend I am in the area staring out at the towers and red blinking lights - ????? I guess it is cost-effective to install them but NOT maintain them.. then, who pays when they fall down?
    Last edited by Becca M; 03-20-2017 at 08:15 PM.
    Yay for winter!!!!!

  4. #79
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    It's fair to be skeptical of the AWEA. It was estimated that the Altamont Pass wind farm was killing 4,700 birds a year, largely due to poor location and the older inferior design (smaller blades, lower towers). Newer turbines have proven less deadly on a per-turbine basis (but there are waaaay more turbines now). I was able to find that the ABC (American Bird Conservatory) estimate for 10-40k mentioned was from 2003. Their newer numbers are way higher (and supported here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...b.260/abstract). Interesting that it includes bats being killed in bigger numbers, which I hadn't heard before.

    The Audubon society has a nice write-up: http://www.audubon.org/news/will-win...-be-safe-birds

    Also, in case it's not obvious I'm not an expert on any of this - I find it interesting and it seems worth understanding better.
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  5. #80
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJsName View Post
    Interesting that it includes bats being killed in bigger numbers, which I hadn't heard before.
    Bats don't require contact with the blades to be killed--the air pressure changes near the blades can rupture blood vessels in their lungs. (This is less of an issue for birds.) Taller turbines also significantly increase the kill significantly. https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...nes-kill-bats/

    The blade tips also throw off vortices which can extend some distance downwind--such a vortex has a low pressure core with a rotating surface. I don't know how big a hazard these tip vortices are to bats. (Heavy aircraft wing tip vortices can be strong enough to flip a light aircraft over for some distance behind the first aircraft.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingtip_vortices

    It is conceivable that a mortally wounded bat could continue to fly far enough to be missed by a body count near the turbines.

    FWIW, a turbine blade tip can move at up to 200mph. https://windpowergrab.wordpress.com/...-calculations/

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 03-21-2017 at 01:23 PM.

  6. #81
    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    thank you DougPaul - very eye-opening info
    Yay for winter!!!!!

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca M View Post
    hmmmm, regarding bird deaths, the data in the wind article in Science cited the AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) had no actual information... I'm sorry, but, without actual *unbiased data*, that isn't only FAKE news, but, it seems to me VERY fake news

    re: viability - several months ago a Union Leader article suggested actual output from the Groton Wind farm was around 17% below projections. Possibly that is due to the perpetual 1-2 broken turbines I count every weekend I am in the area staring out at the towers and red blinking lights - ????? I guess it is cost-effective to install them but NOT maintain them.. then, who pays when they fall down?
    Most but not all new wind farms are required to have bonds or other financial instruments in place with a third party that when the farm goes out of service that the turbines will be taken down. That has not always been so and the Altamont pass in CA is littered with out of service wind turbines. Your observation regarding turbines being out of operation frequently is pretty much standard for the industry. The majority of turbines require large gearboxes to convert the slow speed of the blades to a speed that will match the grid frequency (called synchronous speed). Most gearboxes reduce speed which is pretty easy while wind turbine gearboxes need to speed things up which is a lot more difficult. The typical gearbox life is in the 7 to 8 year range and when the gearbox fails a crane similar in size to the one that installed the turbine is needed. This is quite costly and usually the owner will wait until multiple turbines are out of service before bringing a crane back. In some cases the owners dump the farms on unknowing buyers or elect to walk away rather than repair them. The gearboxes are equipped with all sorts of sensors to shut them down before they fail and as they get older the shutdowns are more frequent. The other issue is many repair and maintenance procedures require wind conditions that are below certain minimums and it may be quite awhile before those conditions line up with crew availability.

    In theory the wind turbine removal is supposed to include rehabilitating the site but I expect that even if there is an attempt the ridgelines are going to be permanently scarred.

    There is also the potential that local terrain conditions can cause one turbine to create interference with other turbines in a farm so one has to be shut down. On rare occasions local residents impacted by wind farms have won concessions from wind farm owners to shut down turbines if certain conditions exist.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 03-27-2017 at 06:53 AM.

  8. #83
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    It appears that the Spruce Ridge wind project has been withdrawn.

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