The Great Windfarm -vs- Lesser Prairie Chicken Fight

Just when the green energy movement thinks they have it all worked out, along comes a snail-darteresque moment that throws a monkey wrench in green plans. These are the big fanboys in the panhandle, which I snapped a photo of near the Oklahoma- Texas border when I was doing USHCN site surveys in December. – Anthony

windmills_TX-OK-panhandle-1024

Windfarm in the Texas panhandle - prime chicken habitat - photo by Anthony Watts

(From Bloomberg) — Iberdrola SA and E.ON AG’s turbine dreams for the windswept Texas Panhandle may be stymied by the mating rituals of the Lesser Prairie Chicken, a bird whose future could slow the pace of U.S. renewable energy growth.

Developers are scouring the sagebrush and grasslands of potential turbine sites for the ground-dwelling chickens, E.ON chief development officer Patrick Woodson said. Once plentiful in the southern high plains, the bird now has a high priority for listing under the Endangered Species Act, a move that will affect where as much as $11 billion in turbines can be built.

Federal protection for the chickens will hamper Texas’s plan to add 5,500 megawatts of wind power in the region by 2013, a 60 percent increase for the state. President Barack Obama wants to double all U.S. energy from renewable sources such as the wind and sun in three years to reduce dependence on imported oil and the greenhouse-gas emissions blamed for global warming.

“The windiest parts of some of these states seem to be the areas that still have bigger concentrations of prairie chickens,” Woodson said in an Aug. 13 interview. “We need to plan for a worst-case scenario, which would be a listing.”

There may be as few as 10,000 Lesser Prairie Chickens left in the U.S. from an estimated 3 million in the 18th century. Many are still found in the panhandle, Texas’s northern tip that also boasts the best prospects for wind power, said Heather Whitlaw, a biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Electric-generating wind turbines inhibit the bird’s spring mating rituals, Whitlaw said on Aug. 11. Males jump, fight and show off bright yellow eye combs and reddish esophageal air sacks as they court females in an elaborate dance. The chickens have learned to avoid such mating displays around structures like turbine towers or utility poles where predators may perch.

———-

Ouch, listing under the ESA?  That’s gonna hurt. Read the complete article here

———-

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept., the hunt is on for Lesser Prarie Chicken habitat.

Lesser_Prarie_Chicken

The Texas Panhandle area supports a large proportion of the remaining populations of Lesser Prairie-Chickens, so we all have an important opportunity to ensure conservation of the grasslands that support this icon of the Southern High Plains. It is important that we all work together to conserve and manage this unique grassland species. One of the challenges facing biologists and managers is the need to collect accurate census data in order to address the questions and concerns of whether Lesser Prairie-Chickens should be listed as a threatened species across their range. With your help and reports of observations, we will be able to determine how many prairie-chickens we have in Texas.

If you see this bird please contact any of the following:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.
(http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/habitats/)
Heather Whitlaw
Box 42125, TTU
Lubbock, TX 79409-2125

Please provide details of the date, location and number of individuals seen. If possible include GPS coordinates. Did you happen to get a photograph or digital image? Your information is valuable and will help ensure the continued survival of this unique
grassland bird.

I’m sure WUWT readers would be glad to help.

h/t to Jeez

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132 Responses to The Great Windfarm -vs- Lesser Prairie Chicken Fight

  1. John F. Hultquist says:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009727245_apwaspottedowlwindfarm.html

    And in the State of Washington:
    Spotted owls block Skamania wind farm expansion
    Plans for a wind farm on some state land in Skamania County are on hold because it’s spotted owl habitat.

  2. Tattymane says:

    I believe I have a current sighting of one – in my freezer. Delicious.

  3. noaaprogrammer says:

    In the windfarms in southeastern Washington state, ornithologists do a weekly count of the dead birds hit by the blades. The mounting toll does not sit well with the Auduban Society.

  4. kim says:

    The cure for the damages caused by wringing energy from the wind is always greater than the value of the energy thus wrung.
    ========================================

  5. Tattymane says:

    Freudian slip? . . . that would be Audubon.

  6. Jimmy Haigh says:

    noaaprogrammer (22:01:32) :

    Perhaps Anthony could put this running total of windmill-kill up on the site?!

    There is a well known rabid pro-AGW blogger who appears on sites such as Real Climate who has a thing about photographing wild birds. I wonder what his take on this is?

    REPLY: dhogaza is the handle he uses. Look up “dho gaza” and you’ll get why he uses it. He’s been banned from WUWT for one too many nasty denigrations he’s spewed about myself and others. He’s a bird photographer and sometimes SQL programmer. – Anthony

  7. APE says:

    There is always some kind of an effect on wildlife how about the desert tortise catching five in the shade of a heliostat or other solar power collector, the caribou huddling around the heated oil pipeline, raptors getting “cuisinarted” by the windmills and now windmills and transmission lines disturbing the mating habits of prarie chickens. Not to mention the deer raccoons birds etc that end up as road kill (you might even be more prone to hit them with a quiet electric car) We just can’t win. Perhaps mountain top removal for coal mining isn’t as bad as it seems.
    great article!

  8. Mark Duchamp, a British ornitologist living in Spain has been driving the resistance against wind turbines there:

    http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=1228

    His articles provides a lot of information on the subjetc of bird killings and other aspect of the green lunacy.

  9. Dave Wendt says:

    Between NIMBY and endangered creatures it’s going to be pretty difficult to find places to put 200 times more windmills than we already have, to replace just our current electrical demand, let alone provide for any growth in supply. And given the notoriously poor performance and intermittent nature of wind power we’d probably have to double or even triple those numbers to have any hope of adequate supplies. There has been quite a bit of enthusiasm around here lately for flywheel systems to provide the necessary buffer to tide the windmills through slack wind and I certainly hope the new ones workout but having looked at the sites for some of the manufacturers claiming breakthrough technology I usually find the BS detector in the back of my head going off rather loudly. The idea is eminently feasible, but the implementations have been difficult and a lot of info on the flywheel websites is of the form of “If we can just get a truck full of money, we’ll be banging these things out in no time”. I’m willing to be convinced, but haven’t been, so far. Even if they do perform as described, we’re still left with the problem of where to build all these beauties and since the wind power is already seriously expensive the additional cost of the, presumably not cheap, flywheels will add to the subsidy required. Of course, if you’re filled with pure motives and good intentions you don’t really need to worry about the little details. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

  10. anna v says:

    OT

    A small spot has formed at 22:24 , on the 26th, latest soho for the moment . On the 17:00 line to the left of the burnt pixel. magnetic signature 24.

  11. Dave Wendt says:

    BTW, now that [Ted Kennedy has passed on], maybe that big wind project in the Atantic off Hyannis Port can finally set sail. I think it would be the most fitting memorial possible for the big windbag, if it was named in his honor.

  12. RACookPE1978 says:

    Problem is also that these 5500 MegW’s of energy are “nameplate” ratings – reduce that a “on-line” factor of around 19 – 23 pert based on German, Denmark, and Spanish experience with their wind mills.

    And even what power is generated is at irregular, unpredictable times that don’t match actual demands.

    Compare also the hype and fear about bird deaths – which do occur! – to the hype and fears about CO2-induced global warming – which (at best) cannot be measured nor solved by nd turbines. Yet the wind turbines here cannot even be shown to threaten the actual numbers of these birds – the ecotheists are making press releases and runnig around trying to count birds in a prairie desert to make guesses about their impact.

    That is, the impact of the birds on the turbines? Or the turbines on the birds?

  13. Richard says:

    Jimmy Haigh (22:16:53) :
    noaaprogrammer (22:01:32) : There is a well known rabid pro-AGW blogger who appears on sites such as Real Climate who has a thing about photographing wild birds. I wonder what his take on this is?
    REPLY: dhogaza is the handle he uses. Look up “dho gaza” and you’ll get why he uses it. He’s been banned from WUWT for one too many nasty denigrations he’s spewed about myself and others. He’s a bird photographer and sometimes SQL programmer. – Anthony

    I know dhogaza well (online that is). I have tangled with him many a time on a site called “how to talk to a climate skeptic”, what an arrogant, condescending title! He and another guy there Ian Forrester called for me to be banned and eventually I was – the only way they could win an “argument” against me. dhogaza has a really foul tongue and specialises in abuse. I would love to meet up with him in person one day. He could do with learning some manners that he sadly lacks.

  14. tty says:

    Consiudering how scarce the Lesser Prairirie Chicken is nowadays it is weird that it isn’t already listed. It is certainly vastly more threatened than the Polar Bear.

  15. John A says:

    OT

    A small spot has formed at 22:24 , on the 26th, latest soho for the moment . On the 17:00 line to the left of the burnt pixel. magnetic signature 24.

    Dear me, we’ve become desperate.

  16. Mike McMillan says:

    Prairie chickens.

    Taste more like grouse than chickens. Cook the same, though. Perfect on a bed of wild rice with a mild Chablis.

    I gotta root for the windmill lobby on this one.

  17. Steve Reed says:

    The wind industry is in a very ironic position. It’s not financially viable on its own and thus requires the government to compel consumers to buy its product. The justification for forcing the public to buy the overpriced product is environmentalism. But then it turns out that the greens are killing off wind power about as fast as they’re building it up. It’s a bit like the dog becoming dependent on the ticks. A couple of links discussing specific instances:

    http://www.otherbrothersteve.com/?p=3263
    http://www.otherbrothersteve.com/?p=2962

  18. Claude Harvey says:

    The “lesser prairie chicken” episode was tediously predictable. I spent the final 20 years of my career developing the required technology and then designing, building, owning and operating renewable electric power plants (solar and wind excluded because I deemed them uneconomic without unsustainable subsidies). I can guarantee from bitter experience that any power plant or powerline proposed, regardless of the technology to be employed, will be vigorously resisted by environmental intervenors IF THE PROJECT IS INTENDED TO TURN A PROFIT.

    I got nothing but “negative declarations” (no environmental impacts perceived) during the years I was pouring money down a rat hole into experimental plants, trying to develope renewable technologies. I got nothing but vociferous environmental objections when I finally took those same technologies into commercial production. If it isn’t spotted owls or lesser prairie chickens it will be something else (I was once held up by “endangered grass” – I’m not making this up).

    In the case of wind and solar, the pathetic energy density of the technologies dooms them to enormous physical footprints and no hope that “economy of scale” can, in the foreseeable future, render them remotely competitive with fossil-fired or even nuclear power generation. Economics aside, that enormous physical footprint exposes large-scale wind and solar development to an unwindable war with “environmental intervenors”, thanks to the absence of any “cost versus benifit” provision in the Environmental Protection Act.

    As both Germany and Spain have learned the hard way, in addition to horrendous economics on its face, both solar and wind must be 100% backed up by conventional power generation if one expects the lights to come on when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Neither technology is then, by definition, a substitute for conventional generating capacity. Unless someone can devise a “magic flywheel” that will carry a windmill through several windless days or a solar plant that runs on moonlight, this fatal flaw cannot be overcome.

    CH

  19. Ron de Haan says:

    The windmills is not the problem if you build them on chicken farm territory.
    But wait until they make you wear wooden shoes (clogs) plant tulip and the Japanese come in to make pictures.
    That is the moment life starts to become pretty embarrassing and inconvenient.
    Ask the Dutch.

  20. wes george says:

    When you look at pictures of these mega-windmills you don’t really get a sense of their heroically monumental scale in real life.

    Each one is kind of Hoover Dam given the context of the sagebrush height spreading towards the empty horizon, albeit hardly as useful at generating base load energy. Nevertheless, they are truly colossi of modern techno-industrial engineering and at the beginning of their era, rather than mature and greying. Oh, to be a young and irrationally exuberant technology again, sighs the fossil fuel to the 1969 Camaro! Those were the days, my friend. Those were the days.

    Herculean wind turbines are both inspirational testaments of modern ingenuity – that American can-do spirit projecting itself beyond the envelope of the rationally mundane cost-versus-return economics – and terrifyingly sci-fi, pure white star ships parked in the back lot of Area 55. They paradoxically represent both the triumph of technology over nature and a Brave New World order where humanity is the mere servant of Gaia.

    I kinda like the audacity of the ever accelerating techno-cultural evolution that wind turbines represent — that centrifugal thrill of a floored Z-28, while the contents of the ashtray slowly vortex out the window at 125 miles per hour.

    Surely, that’s why a chicken that can’t really fly represents the only weapon neo-Luddites can wield as an axe to chop these beautiful machines down.

  21. JustPassing says:

    So what comes first. The chicken or the windfarm? :)

    The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.

  22. Gerard says:

    If wind farms worked they might be acceptable. In Australia our government has just passed a renewables bill that will see a proliferation of turbines across the country. The problem is that most who dont live near them see them as wonderful. Unfortunately some over 440 feet tall are within 800 yards of homes and we cannot get our pollies to force a buffer distance from residences to protect people from ultrasound, blade glint or shadow flicker, greenies care more about birds than people. In Macedon Ranges in central Victoria we have asked for a 2km buffer but this has been ignored by Roaring Forties and the State Government.

  23. Johnny Honda says:

    Now the real damages of the AGW-cult start to occur. I don’t speak of some stupid birds (Sorry for that….but it’s true).

    I speak of massive destructions of the environment by wind turbines. I don’t speak of wind turbines in the US where they have plenty of space, I speak about wind turbines in the dense populated areas in Europe!! They destroy beautiful landscapes by their 50-100m high tubines!! IN THE NAME OF PROTECTION OF THE NATURE!

    The “Greens” oppose everything, they oppose production plants, roads, everything to “protect the nature”. I even know about two cases where they killed two hydroelectric power plants, even they were planned at very remote areas!

    The day is very near where I start “civil disobedience”, but the other direction than idiots like J. Hansen

  24. Paul Vaughan says:

    Once when I was out sea-kayaking I came across a baby seal that had had its face ripped off by the propeller of a motor-boat.

    Too graphic an image for some?

    Wind power is not the answer.

  25. ralph ellis says:

    Great story. A great Green policy halted by a great Green policy.

    But that is the problem with the Green philosophy, it will never be completely sated until we are all back in mud huts and caves.

    .

  26. ralph ellis says:

    >>>Unfortunately some over 440 feet tall are within 800 yards
    >>>of homes and we cannot get our pollies to force a buffer
    >>>distance from residences to protect people from ultrasound,
    >>>blade glint or shadow flicker, greenies care more about birds
    >>>than people.

    You forgot to mention ‘flying blades’. You don’t want to be living within a mile of these ‘wind-elecs’. Any energy system, by its very nature, contains a lot of energy.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N4HQv-UyUo&feature=related

    .

  27. M. Simon says:

    They are playing a game of chicken with America’s energy supplies.

  28. M. Simon says:

    Perfect on a bed of wild rice with a mild Chablis.

    I don’t like to get that friendly with my chickens.

  29. Sandy says:

    What appals me is the over-design.
    Vertical windmills mount the generator vertically and avoid a lot of engineering as a result, and they’re gust-proof.
    These things will fail and there will be no money to mend them. In ten years their tattered hulks will stand testimony to an age of Hubris.

  30. ROM says:

    I gather that wind turbines are supposedly designed for an approximate operating life of about 25 years. It seems that a good percentage of wind turbines start to fail within a decade and by about fifteen years a high percentage of turbines have required rebuilding or have failed or even disintegrated.
    I have noted an increasing number of articles and photographs on abandoned wind farms in both the USA and in Europe.
    Is there a requirement anywhere that requires the wind farm operators / owners to contribute a statutory portion of their annual profits to a financial reserve that is independently administered?
    A reserve that will be used to dismantle and clean up after the wind farm has ceased operations or the operators / owners have gone bankrupt, a highly likely scenario if and when the massive tax payer subsidies are eventually reduced or eliminated.
    The sight and thought of a huge number of massive and deteriorating 250 foot high concrete towers topped by a hundred tonnes of scrap machinery and fan blades, spread for tens of kilometres across the country side, being left to the local land owners or local authorities to clean up, using their own or tax payer’s money after the operator’s executives have made off with all the profits is another rather nauseating scenario.
    It will be added to the lists of those whose sheer greed and complete lack of any ethics or morality is so being so notably displayed by the current crop of big business executives and no doubt a considerable percentage of politicians and bureaucrats as well.

  31. Geoff Sherington says:

    Meanwhile, in 2006 in Australia,

    “FEDERAL Environment Minister Ian Campbell has won a concession from the developer of the Bald Hills wind farm in Victoria, with the company agreeing to move six turbines out of the potential flight path of the orange-bellied parrot.”

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20469660-421,00.html

    We are beginning to see the sometimes irrational behavior of man interfering with planning & analysis. Here is another example, reported by World Nuclear News:

    ““Denmark trades power in the same Nord Pool, which has announced that from October the spot floor price for surplus power will drop from zero to minus EUR 20 cents/kWh. In other words, wind generators producing power in periods of low demand will have to pay the network to take it. Nord Pool said that “A negative price floor has been in demand for some time – especially from participants trading Elspot in the Danish bidding areas. … Curtailment of sales may give an imbalance cost for the affected seller and thus creates a willingness to pay in order to deliver power in the market.” This is likely to have a negative effect on the economics of wind power in the region, since a significant amount of Denmark’s wind power production is affected. ” WNN 1/4/09, Nord Pool 4/2/09.”

    Fancy wind farms having to pay people to take their power. Is this a way that non-subsidised competitors are getting even? Think of the enormous future consequences for projects that can be started only because they are subsidised beyond reason.

    Methinks that the lesser prairie chicken and the orang-bellied parrot are but symbols in this fight to claw back subsidies. Any comment, economic modellers?

  32. Jack Simmons says:

    If you’re upset with the multi-billion ton per year production of CO2 from coal plants, you can thank Jane Fonda and friends. Remember the movie “China Syndrome”? That and the hysteria triggered by the media coverage of Three Mile Island shut down the nuclear plant industry. As the US needed more electricity, as any growing economy does, this left no option but the coal option. Two other asides on Three Mile Island. A coal plant at the same location will emit more radiation than the nuke there now. And, more people died in the back seat of Ted Kennedy’s car than at TMI.

    If you’re upset with what happened at the World Trade Center, the fact the buildings came down so quickly, you can thank the hysteria induced by the asbestos ban of the early 70’s.

    The structural steel used in skyscrapers loses most of its strength when red hot. To provide thermal protection, buildings like the Empire State and others from that era enclosed the steel support columns in a couple of feet of concrete. This was effective but it added a lot of weight and cost, while also consuming a substantial amount of interior space. In 1948, Herbert Levine developed an inexpensive, lightweight, spray-on insulation composed of asbestos and rock wool, which played a key part in the postwar office-tower construction boom. Buildings using it would tolerate a major fire for 4 hours before structural failure, allowing time for evacuation below and airlift by helicopters from the roof for those trapped above.

    By 1971, when the two WTC towers were being built, the country was being beset by various environmentalist scare campaigns, one of which was the demonization of asbestos since shown to have been wildly exaggerated, with not a shred of evidence that insulating buildings with asbestos was harmful to human health. When the use of asbestos was banned, Levine’s insulation had already been installed in the first 64 floors. The newer lightweight construction didn’t permit traditional heavy concrete insulation for the remaining 54 floors, and so a nonasbestos substitute was jury-rigged to complete the buildings. On studying the arrangement, Levine said, “If a fire breaks out above the 64th floor, that building will fall down.” He was right.

    see http://www.jamesphogan.com/bb/bulletin.php?id=107

    How about the Challenger disaster?

    From the same source:

    In this connection, it’s also interesting to recall that the O-ring failure that was finally pinpointed as the cause of the Challenger shuttle disaster occurred with the first use of a replacement for the original sealant putty, well suited to the task, that had been used safely in all prior shuttle missions and 77 successful Titan III rocket launches. So why was it replaced? Under EPA regulations it had to be phased out because it contained asbestos, as if astronauts are going to climb out of a spacecraft and start snorting it. Isn’t it nice to know that our health and safety are in concerned and capable hands?

    While we’re on the shuttle disasters, you can blame the hysteria regarding freon and the ozone hole for contributing to all those loose tiles.

    It would not have been the first time that foam insulation damaged a shuttle’s tiles. It has happened often, according to space insiders.

    “The thing of this is, almost since Day One, the insulation has been a pain. Pieces break off,” said Seymour Himmel, a retired NASA executive who served two decades on an aerospace safety panel and looked into the potential dangers of the foam.

    In fact, soon after NASA stopped using Freon in the foam, for environmental reasons, Columbia sustained significant tile damage during a 1997 liftoff because of flyaway foam, according to a report by NASA engineer Gregory Katnik. He noted the same thing happened on the previous shuttle launch, that same year.

    From http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/foam_tiles_030204.html

    Of course there were warnings about this:

    The report went on to speculate as to why the foam dropped off. As it turned out, to be environmentally friendly, NASA had eliminated the use of Freon in foam production, Mr. Katnik reported. The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., later concluded that the absence of Freon led to the detachment of the foam.

    From http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/04/us/loss-of-the-shuttle-the-problems-97-report-warned-of-foam-damaging-tiles.html?pagewanted=all

    There are other outrages committed in the name of ‘protecting’ the earth. DDT bans come to mind.

    But notice a pattern here? The same people making these demands for change are never around to accept responsibility for the consequences. And the consequences of earlier environmental demands are ignored when new and improved demands are made. No costs-benefits analysis. No hearing from the other side.

    There just isn’t any room for people according to some in the environmental movement. No coal. No nukes. No natural gas. Now, apparently, no wind power.

    Sigh.

  33. Grant Hodges says:

    If I were the windmill people, the moment the prairie chicken’s name was raised, my breed and release program would have begun. For literally “chicken feed”, the Texas countryside can be flooded with miserable prairie chickens. There are inexpensive ways to fight back against enviro loons, when one considers the relative cost of the projects they are blocking. Animals like Mexican wolves breed quickly and need not be a development roadblock . . . if you like animals, and have alittle imagination. The enviro wackos see these animals as freebie keys to blocking development. It would be cheaper to raise a bunch of whatever is being touted at the moment than see billion dollar projects scotched.

  34. Curiousgeorge says:

    Fits right in with the basic agenda.

    “Study Warns of ‘Energy Sprawl’

    A paper published by the Nature Conservancy predicts that by 2030 U.S. energy production will occupy a land area larger than Minnesota, according to a New York Times blog, in large part because of the pursuit of domestic clean energy”. http://www.dtnprogressivefarmer.com/dtnag/common/link.do?symbolicName=/ag/blogs/template1&blogHandle=ethanol&blogEntryId=8a82c0bc231572590123579090740347&showCommentsOverride=false

    And a plan from EPA:

    “The EPA is drafting a rule to calculate the land-use effects of biofuels as part of ensuring the emission reductions that biofuels must meet versus gasoline emissions. CARB adopted its own standard earlier this year. The EPA and CARB rely on econometric modeling, but each uses different formulas and assigns different direct and indirect emission calculations to different fuels. Biofuel backers dispute the rationale, but it is unlikely arguments over indirect land-use change will just go away.

    “Yes, we know there’s a lot of uncertainty, but we also know you cannot take one-third of the U.S. corn crop and say there is no impact — zero,” Tyner said. ”

    http://www.dtnprogressivefarmer.com/dtnag/common/link.do?symbolicName=/free/news/template1&paneContentId=5&paneParentId=70104&product=/ag/news/topstories&vendorReference=b88006fa-b53c-4980-88e5-e3a4e3a4d33e

  35. Philip_B says:

    Problem is also that these 5500 MegW’s of energy are “nameplate” ratings – reduce that a “on-line” factor of around 19 – 23 pert based on German, Denmark, and Spanish experience with their wind mills.

    And those countries rely on base load generation from French nuclear reactors.

    The reality is that electricity systems are demand driven systems. Not enough supply (when the wind isn’t blowing) and the system or parts of it go down or are shut down. Too much supply (when the wind is blowing) is lost.

    Wind power is useless for mains electricity suppply. Although it may have a role where demand can be regulated to meet supply such as desalination.

    Passive solar is a much more promising technology because storage of power as heat is viable.

  36. tty says:

    Grant Hodges (03:39:36) :

    The problem is that Prairie Chickens need prairies. Without shortgrass prairies it doesn’t matter however many you raise and release, they will go extinct all the same.

  37. rbateman says:

    anna v (22:49:51) :

    Blinking pore, went ‘poof’ overnight. Single pixel.
    SWPC no count.
    All My Rotations.
    Days of our Pores.
    As the Sun Turns.

  38. Gary P says:

    “Electric-generating wind turbines inhibit the bird’s spring mating rituals, Whitlaw said on Aug. 11. Males jump, fight and show off bright yellow eye combs and reddish esophageal air sacks as they court females in an elaborate dance. The chickens have learned to avoid such mating displays around structures like turbine towers or utility poles where predators may perch.”

    Have you ever noticed how some new construction has some strange effect on the wildlife that sounds plausible, but is made up out of thin air? The spotted owl comes to mind. Somehow the spotted owls became an experts at dendrochronology and could only live in old growth forests where the trees had many rings. Logged over areas with lots of new growth some just wasn’t suitable.

    One has to wonder what technique was used to find that a wind turbine interrupted the mating dance of the prairie chicken and how this was verified. I don’t think there are going to be many hawks sitting on the wind turbines watching for prey.

    Of course no one should ever think that the biologists have their own agenda:
    http://www.awb.org/articles/environment/the_fur_should_fly_over_lynx_hoax.htm

  39. rbateman says:

    Saw a spotted owl once. It was stuck in my boss’s radiator.

    Point is: No matter where you go somebody can find a species to stop all progress.
    Green Energy is doomed.
    Look at the Dinosaurs: They went extinct when all that Fossilized Green Energy was produced.

  40. imapopulist says:

    The entire issue is becoming mute. Many are still operating under the assumption that electricity consumption will grow at historic levels. However we are in for a long term reduction in living standards and along with this will be a permanent drop in all forms of energy consumption. Many projects – alternative and conventional – will fall by the wayside over the next few years.

  41. thebuckwheat says:

    The left invented “endangered species” and they invented their use to stop projects they didn’t approve of. In a delightful turn about, they are now blindsided when projects they favor falter because of one of their own tactics.

    In truth, the left doesn’t know what it wants, except it is constantly yearning for a secular utopia, where resources are not finite, where hard choices do not have to be made and where everything is based only on good intentions. And worse, not only can they not bring themselves to be honest with the rest of us, I can only conclude they cannot be honest with themselves.

    When the left scolds us that instead of conventional energy we could use a little bit of the vast barren desert to build “non polluting” and “renewable” solar power plants, and yet quickly finds reasons to oppose the building of those plants when they are actually proposed, what did they really want all along? Not renewable power, now solar power! They wanted NO power! Indeed, when the left tells us that the earth would just be better off if humanity had never come alone, they really mean it. Such self-loathing foolishness. Indeed, such dangerous foolishness.

  42. rafa says:

    Philip_B is right, we have in Spain around 17.000MW eolic installed base while we get in a normal day no more than 20% of that. See here (https://demanda.ree.es/eolica.html) for real-time data of eolic contribution to the spanish grid. The backup is not the nuclear but the hydro infraestructure built many years ago, when the stupid alarmism on global warming did not exist (was it global cooling? :-)) Of course greenies say eolic is up to 40% of the total needs but that is cherry-picking, choosing carefully windy days near the equinox. There were days at the summer solstice where eolic contribution to the grid was 0 (no kidding, check the calendar on the link for late June 2009)

    best

  43. Official government and Greenstrife/Fiends of the Earth reaction to the toll on birdlife of their ghastly “wind farms” is to ignore it or to claim that the ornithologists and bird watchers are exagerating the problem. Of course none of them live anywhere near the damned things and so don’t have to put up with the noise from them or the bird carcasses.

  44. Stoic says:

    imapopulist (05:12:38) :

    “The entire issue is becoming mute” or moot even!

    Regards

  45. INGSOC says:

    Aren’t Bats a severely protected species in Old Blighty? I have heard that if they are in your belfries, you have to move! How many bats are being processed by these giant Cuisinarts? Seems bats would be particularly vulnerable to them. Wouldn’t the owners of these enormous rotating knives be subject to huge fines for every dead bat?

    Bat pie anyone?

  46. Jeff L says:

    There is always trade-offs with anything in life – There is no free lunch. Take your choice – chickens or wind power.

  47. sercan says:

    The problem is that Prairie Chickens need prairies. Without shortgrass prairies it doesn’t matter however many you raise and release, they will go extinct all the same.

  48. kim says:

    Richard 23:14:32

    I report a similar experience. Here’s the picture, he’s a large condor, repeatedly sticking his dripping beak into the rotting carcass of the alarmist paradigm.

    Claude Harvey 00:32:26 & 00:44:42

    Worth saying twice; particularly about the poor energy density of solar and wind ultimately mandating a large physical footprint. And how erratic and undependable wind it; solar, at least, tends to peak on hot sunny summer days, peak load time for the utilities.
    =======================================

  49. Nogw says:

    A very good business within a few years: A lot of scrap.

  50. kim says:

    Also, Claude, @ just past the witching hour; I’ve got your Magic Flywheel comin’ right up. I’ve long thought that when the government reaches the point where it can no longer pay for the drugs to treat obesity, diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerotic heart disease, it will tell us to ‘Work for Food’, and we’ll all cheerfully trundle on to the workroom treadmills to refresh the grid and recreate ourselves. Look, it’s worth a good meal at the end! And free, from the government and good for all of us. Who could ask for anything more?
    ============================================

  51. kim says:

    I suspect that all the harmonics drive the flying mice batshit crazy and away from windmills, but don’t birds have pretty good hearing, too? What does the wind sheer do to insects? I’ll bet toads sit under them, just like they do at streetlights. The thumping frog of Caliwindmill County.
    ===============================================

  52. Smokey says:

    If a coal plant was chopping up scarce raptors like this, the envirowacko lobby would go ballistic: click.

    That is only one windmill’s daily production of sliced & diced hawks and eagles. Add to that the thousands of bats killed by the turbine blades every day, and you can see how the food chain is destroyed in the name of alternate energy.

    But the AGW religion provides indulgences that forgive the raptor carnage, because windmills are in a good cause.

  53. kim says:

    nogw 06:00:47

    Yes, I’ve seen the trains go by; oversized cars carrying gorgeously shaped clubs sticking out fore and aft. Immense, blunt force instruments. The real damage is the weakened winds distal to the windmills; they create regional climate change and damage directly proportional to the amount of energy stolen from the wind, and worth far more. The cure for the regional destruction is worse and more than the benefit from the energy ripped off from the wind, one of the globe’s premier climate regulating mechanims.
    ===============================

  54. kim says:

    Well, at least I didn’t say mechanikims.
    ========================

  55. Myron Mesecke says:

    This story was out in Texas in early August. Notice how these headlines portray the native wildlife as the villian.

    “Native Prairie Chicken Threatens Wind Energy Expansion In Texas”
    “Prairie grouse could hamper wind energy growth”

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h1XABXkmxXarxZDRzr_IrO5FtkkgD99S7KU82

    And I don’t like this part of the story.

    “For energy companies, it’s a race. If transmission towers to bring the energy from the turbines to utility companies are up before the bird is listed, the structures would be grandfathered. If not, they probably would have to avoid the birds’ habitat.”

  56. Pamela Gray says:

    Balderdash. I have been an avid bird watcher all my life and especially of raptors. Ever see a hawk chasing pray through dense and tangled canopy on a windy day? They are amazing. Fighter pilots would give up their first born to be able to fly like that. Bats are exactly the same. Amazing flyers. Wind turbines do not kill hawks and bats. Period. Unless the hawk is just plain old and can’t see or the bat is daft. Cars kill WAAAYYYYY more birds in one day than wind turbines could in a century. Why? Most birds get killed because they refuse to leave the smashed and mangled deer hide they are feasting on when I come along with my car. Hell, I HAVE KILLED MORE BATS than wind turbines have.

  57. Pamela Gray says:

    Bats can fly outside all night long and I will not bother them. Sneak into my bedroom and their ass is mine. You knock um down with hornet spray than broom them to death.

  58. Pamela Gray says:

    And don’t even get my started on prairie chickens. Ever see a covey of quails in flight? They hate to fly. Its just an emergency mechanism to get them across the road when running isn’t enough. Prairie chickens are NOT raptors. They do not fly or soar high enough to be caught in wind turbine blades. The day I see a prairie chicken soaring will be the day I see pigs fly.

  59. bill says:

    Utility transmission and distribution lines, the backbone of our electrical power system, are responsible for 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year in the U.S.1 Many of the affected birds are those with large wingspans, including raptors and waterfowl. While attempting to land on power lines and poles, birds are sometimes electrocuted when their wings span between two hot wires. Many other birds are killed as their flight paths intersect the power lines strung between poles and towers. One report states that: “for some types of birds, power line collisions appear to be a significant source of mortality.”2

    Collisions with automobiles and trucks result in the deaths of between 60 and 80 million birds annually in the U.S.3 As more vehicles share the roadway, and our automotive society becomes more pervasive, these numbers will only increase. Our dependence on oil has taken its toll on birds too. Even the relatively high incidence of bird kills at Altamont Pass (about 92 per year) pales in comparison to the number of birds killed from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. In fact, according to author Paul Gipe, the Altamont Pass wind farm would have to operate for 500 to 1000 years to “achieve” the same mortality level as the Exxon Valdez event in 1989.

    Tall building and residential house windows also claim their share of birds. Some of the five million tall buildings in U.S. cities have been documented as being a chronic mortality problem for migrating birds. There are more than 100 million houses in the U.S. House windows are more of a problem for birds in rural areas than in cities or towns. While there are no required ongoing studies of bird mortality due to buildings or house windows, the best estimates put the toll due collisions with these structures at between 100 million and a staggering 1 billion deaths annually.4

    Lighted communication towers turn out to be one of the more serious problems for birds, especially for migratory species that fly at night. One study began its conclusion with, “It is apparent from the analysis of the data that significant numbers of birds are dying in collisions with communications towers, their guy wires, and related structures.”5 Another report states, “The main environmental problem we are watching out for with telecommunication towers are the deaths of birds and bats.”6

    This is not news, as bird collisions with lighted television and radio towers have been documented for over 50 years. Some towers are responsible for very high episodic fatalities. One television transmitter tower in Eau Claire, WI, was responsible for the deaths of over 1,000 birds on each of 24 consecutive nights. A “record 30,000 birds were estimated killed on one night” at this same tower.7 In Kansas, 10,000 birds were killed in one night by a telecommunications tower.8 Numerous large bird kills, while not as dramatic as the examples cited above, continue to occur across the country at telecommunication tower sites.

    The number of telecommunication towers in the U.S. currently exceeds 77,000, and this number could easily double by 2010. The rush to construction is being driven mainly by our use of cell phones, and to a lesser extent by the impending switch to digital television and radio. Current mortality estimates due to telecommunication towers are 40 to 50 million birds per year.9 The proliferation of these towers in the near future will only exacerbate this situation.

    Agricultural pesticides are “conservatively estimated” to directly kill 67 million birds per year.10 These numbers do not account for avian mortality associated with other pesticide applications, such as on golf courses. Nor do they take into consideration secondary losses due to pesticide use as these toxic chemicals travel up the food chain. This includes poisoning due to birds ingesting sprayed insects, the intended target of the pesticides.

    Cats, both feral and housecats, also take their toll on birds. A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) report states that, “recent research suggests that rural free-ranging domestic cats in Wisconsin may be killing between 8 and 217 million birds each year. The most reasonable estimates indicate that 39 million birds are killed in the state each year.”11

    There are other studies on the impacts of jet engines, smoke stacks, bridges, and any number of other human structures and activities that threaten birds on a daily basis. Together, human infrastructure and industrial activities are responsible for one to four million bird deaths per day!

    turbine deaths:
    The report found that over the study period, 25 bird carcasses were found at the sites. The report states that “the resulting mortality rate of 1.29 birds/tower/year is close to the nationwide estimate of 2.19 birds/tower.16- The report further states, “While bird collisions do occur (with commercial wind turbines) the impacts on global populations appear to be relatively minor, especially in comparison with other human-related causes of mortality such as communications towers, collisions with buildings, and vehicles collisions. This is especially true for small scale facilities like the MG&E and WPS wind farms in Kewaunee County.”17

    The report goes on to say, “previous studies suggest that the frequency of avian collisions with wind turbines is low, and the impact of wind power on bird populations today is negligible. Our study provides little evidence to refute this claim.”18

    So, while wind farms are responsible for the deaths of some birds, when put into the perspective of other causes of avian mortality, the impact is quite low. In other words, bird mortality at wind farms, compared to other human-related causes of bird mortality, is biologically and statistically insignificant. There is no evidence that birds are routinely being battered out of the air by rotating wind turbine blades as postulated by some in the popular press.
    http://www.awea.org/faq/sagrillo/swbirds.html

  60. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Richard (23:14:32) : and Anthony.

    Yes indeed. The individual, who chooses to go by the name of ‘dhogaza’, appears to be particularly unpleasant. I made a post on RC about him once saying that I thought that he seemed to have what are called ‘issues’ in these politically correct days.

    My question to ‘dhogaza’ still stands – I think that you probably continue read WUWT despite being banned from commenting here due to rule violations – what is your take on the huge bird-kill caused by wind farms?

    Why don’t you publish a peer-reviewed paper in a scientific journal on the subject? ‘Anthropogenic Global warming and its effect on wild bird populations.’ – there’s a working title for you. You could use your skills as a professional wildlife photographer to illustrate. I’m sure we’ll find the paper when it is published.

  61. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Pamela Gray (06:55:24) :

    “Bats can fly outside all night long and I will not bother them. Sneak into my bedroom and their ass is mine. You knock um down with hornet spray than broom them to death.”

    I spent a couple of years working in the mountains of North East Venezuela. One time me and a couple of other guys were staying in an old farm house and one of the guys was woken up by what he was convinced was a vampire bat. He ‘broomed’ it to death.

  62. Grant Hodges says:

    Frankly, I imagine prairie chickens will live a lot of places besides short grass prairies . . . if you let them. Hunting pressure is relaxing all over the country for various species, and those species are turning up in all sorts of unexpected places. A raccoon or 5 routinely tries to move in with us now. I have coyotes in my driveway looking longingly at my teenage daughter. Deer run down the street in front of my house.

    Put a million or two prairie chickens out there on their own, andsome of them are going to find niches in places that were unexpected and that will give them a solid hold on life that no greenie can grant them with some monolithic reserve waiting to be wiped out by a single plague.

  63. Nogw says:

    Time ago a poster here gave the figures of Finland´s windfarms actual yield of about 2.5% (two and a half per cent!). He gave a link. I would like to get that link again as it is a real important data.

  64. Dennis says:

    It’s fun to see the tables turn.

    A little over a year ago I served on a jury in a civil case here in Montana with an individual, a wildlife biologist, who worked for one of the many environmental organizations that infest this state. In a break conversation he told me, with unconcealed glee, how his organization was going to destroy any potential development of the Bakken Oil Formation by the use of this very same Prairie Chicken and the Endangered Species Act.

    More and more, it seems, the enviro’s are getting wrapped around their own axles. Their cumulative and reckeless excesses are now attacking friend and foe alike. The flush may have occurred and now they’re circling the drain (I can hope, can’t I?)

  65. Tim Clark says:

    wes george (00:52:49) :
    Surely, that’s why a chicken that can’t really fly represents the only weapon neo-Luddites can wield as an axe to chop these beautiful machines down.

    Prairie chickens are excellent fliers, highly wary of movement, and spook easily. In my experience in Nebraska, the actual numbers are vastly underestimated.
    For example, the American flying squirrel is a listed specie. In Arkansas there is a $500.00 penalty for cutting a tree down that contains a nesting site. The Ark. Game and Fish estimated, alledgely from field counts, that on average there was roughly one nesting pair/100acres. Unfortunately these nests are extremely hard to spot from the ground. When I owned a sawmill I followed BMPs and selective cutting (as opposed to clear cut) and instructed my crews to keep an eye out for nests. We found a nest or two a week or one nesting pair/10 acres (unfortunately usually after the fact). The point: the squirrels only come out at night, and do not fly when predators are around (read man). The numbers were seriously underestimated. There’s a simple solution if you want to increase Prairie chicken numbers,

    1.Improve the habitat. They like a 1-2 acre plot with short grass (2″ or less, ie buffalo grass or mowed area) surrounded by taller species to strut their stuff.
    Plant some forb food species:alfalfa Illinois bundleflower, prairie coneflower, etc and some wild plum, sumac, etc for nesting sites.
    2. Kill coyotes. The number of Prairie chickens is highly associated with the decline in sales of fur coats and price of pelts.
    Another unintended consequence of envirogreenie policies.

  66. Retired Engineer says:

    If the birds don’t kill the windmills (a nice about face), the Greens will block the transmission lines. Can’t have those big ugly things running across the open space, and everyone knows electromagnetic fields cause cancer and all sorts of other diseases that trial lawyers can use to extract big bucks from the power companies.

    Looked at flywheels for energy storage on my hypothetical retirement refuge. To store any decent amount of power, they need to be really big or really fast. Bearing failure (magnetic or mechanical) will bring new meaning to the phrase “All H— breaks loose.” Fun to watch. From a distance.

  67. Tim Clark says:

    bill (07:02:40) :
    1. Agricultural pesticides are “conservatively estimated” to directly kill 67 million birds per year.10 These numbers do not account for avian mortality associated with other pesticide applications, such as on golf courses. Nor do they take into consideration secondary losses due to pesticide use as these toxic chemicals travel up the food chain. This includes poisoning due to birds ingesting sprayed insects, the intended target of the pesticides.

    2. Cats, both feral and housecats, also take their toll on birds.

    1. If you add up all your numbers, the total exceeds the number of birds on earth (10, 11). But I’ll just take these two scenarios. Since the EPA eliminated the use of pesticides with an LD50 below 2500, I’ll have to see the actual reference and sampling techniques to believe this scrod.
    2. Colorado Game and Fish studies determined that feral cats (released or abandoned domestics) were the number one predator of quail and pheasants.

  68. Myron Mesecke says:

    Pamela Gray (06:54:23) :

    “Balderdash. I have been an avid bird watcher all my life and especially of raptors. Ever see a hawk chasing pray through dense and tangled canopy on a windy day? They are amazing. Fighter pilots would give up their first born to be able to fly like that. Bats are exactly the same. Amazing flyers. Wind turbines do not kill hawks and bats. Period.”

    So all those trees and branches in the canopy are moving at the 200mph that the tip of those turbine blades are moving?

    http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2009/04/20/turbine-blade-tip-speed-is-what-kills-birds/

  69. Douglas DC says:

    Split Atoms -not Birds…

  70. ralph ellis says:

    .

    Can we drop this ‘windmill’ business? Windmills grind flour.

    Technically, they are ‘wind turbines’. But since this is a bit wordy, can I suggest ‘windturbs’ or ‘windelecs’?

    .

  71. richcar says:

    ERCOT, The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is responsible for operating and regulating the Texas electric grid. They have now determined that the capacity value of all the wind farms in Texas is only 8.7%. Although wind promoters claim that 3.5% of the the electricity generated in Texas is from wind, ERCOT has determined that Texas will really only receive 1.2% from wind through 2014.
    http://bx.businessweek.com/green-energy/view?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.energytribune.com%2Farticles.cfm%3Faid%3D2159

  72. ralph ellis says:

    >>>So all those trees and branches in the canopy are moving
    >>>at the 200mph that the tip of those turbine blades are moving?

    Evolution has ill-equipped birds to escape man-made projectiles. With jet aircraft, birds try to dodge it, darting left and right. Useful with an eagle on your tail, perhaps, but not much use to evade a bl***y great RB-211 doing 400 kph (on take off).

    I imagine the blade problem is somewhat similar.

    .

  73. Reed Coray says:

    Geoff Sherington (03:13:39) :

    ““Denmark trades power in the same Nord Pool, which has announced that from October the spot floor price for surplus power will drop from zero to minus EUR 20 cents/kWh. In other words, wind generators producing power in periods of low demand will have to pay the network to take it…

    Wind generators may be losing EUR 0.20 per kWh, but they’ll make it up in volume.

  74. pyromancer76 says:

    Jeff L (05:46:22) : “There is always trade-offs with anything in life – There is no free lunch. Take your choice – chickens or wind power.”

    Jeff L, I apologize for picking on you, but you are way too simplistic, although I think your statement is probably tongue-in-cheek. I guess short-grass prairies should be lunched on either by chickens or humans. Simple choice. Chickens lose. How about regional land use change and its effects on the environment, natural energy distribution systems and, therefore, climate?

    Kim (06:43:06) speaks to the issue of natural energy distribution systems: “The real damage is the weakened winds [also read tidal and ocean current for other green energy projects] disital to the windmills; they create regional climate change and damage directly proportional to the amount of energy stolen from the wind, and worth far more.”

    A necessity for all energy-supplying corporations. They must restore the environment when their energy product ends/fails, e.g., windfarm owners must take down every out-of-commission windmill. They must post a bond to do this, i.e., part of the corporation’s “profit” must be put aside from the beginning for the end of this viable energy production project. (ROM 3:05:58 – “A reserve that will be used to dismantle and clean up after the wind farm has ceased oeprations or the operators/owners have gone bankrupt… [no more] massive taxpayers subsidies”).

    I also like this next one, mentioned many times in many ways on wuwt. Profit? Did someone mention profit? No major energy project should be built without a reasonable expectation of operating profit. No government subsidies to run a large-scale energy project. Government subsidies only for R&D.

    Given some other comments, I also want to add:

    1. Zero-population growth is not so bad. There are too many people on Earth for “quality of life” and preservation of regional variety and sustainable land use. How do we get there? Voluntarily. Affluence and opportunity. Proven.

    2. Sustainable growth is not a bad idea. Regulations are necessary for this possibility and corporations/entrepreneurs/individuals must have to live with a “no” that comes from community discussions (representative democracy- frustrating, however). Don’t let the marxist-maoists take away this interesting idea that enhances liveability, the second law of thermodynamics notwithstanding. We all know that their use of the phrase is only a cover for elite control of government ownership of all means of production — all profits and power into their pockets.

  75. Tim Clark (08:05:48) :

    wes george (00:52:49) :

    Prairie chickens are excellent fliers, highly wary of movement, and spook easily. In my experience in Nebraska, the actual numbers are vastly underestimated.
    For example, the American flying squirrel is a listed specie. In Arkansas there is a $500.00 penalty for cutting a tree down that contains a nesting site. The Ark. Game and Fish estimated, allegedly from field counts, that on average there was roughly one nesting pair/100acres.

    Sir Tim! You can have as many American flying squirrel species as you want in Arkansas – as long as you promise to move them from NW Georgia as soon as possible. They regularly and routinely infest attics and garages over here, so much that suburban exterminators are called more frequently for squirrel, possum, and raccoon problems than for rats.

    Threatened? BS.

  76. AnonyMoose says:

    All that’s needed to assure survival of the bird is repetition that they taste good. People will raise them, whether indoors or outdoors.

    And on behalf of the males of the Lesser Prairie Chicken, I suggest adding to the list of names to be changed.

  77. Robert Wood says:

    Dave Wendt (22:46:14)

    But all those flywheels will change the spin of the Earth.

    Oh, wait, New Scientist has already claimed that one.

  78. ralph ellis says:

    >>>Denmark trades power in the same Nord Pool

    And remember that Denmark has never used any of the wind energy it has produced (it is too variable to be useful). Instead, it exports it to Scandinavia, who can mix it with hydro power.

    http://incoteco.com/upload/CIEN.158.2.66.pdf

    This report is worth a read, as it has some interesting data and insights.

    .

  79. Chuck near Houston says:

    Steve Reed (00:12:46) :

    The wind industry is in a very ironic position. It’s not financially viable on its own and thus requires the government to compel consumers to buy its product. The justification for forcing the public to buy the overpriced product is environmentalism. But then it turns out that the greens are killing off wind power about as fast as they’re building it up. It’s a bit like the dog becoming dependent on the ticks….
    =============================================

    I’m coining a new word here: “Environy”

  80. Les Johnson says:

    I see richcar has already posted this link…

    From the regulator of power in Texas. Note that if Texas was a country, it would be considered the 6th largest producer of wind power in the world.

    Click here for Press Release

    Using 2006 data, ERCOT has determined that 8.7% of the installed wind capability can be counted as dependable capacity during the peak demand period for the next year. Conventional generation must be available to provide the remaining capacity needed to meet forecast load and reserve requirements.

    My emphasis.

    Which means, for every mW of power that wind generates, you also need to build 0.91 mW of conventional power generation (coal, gas or nuclear). Or you could build 11.5 mW of wind capacity, to ensure 1 mW of power.

    So, you could build 12 wind power plants;

    or 1 wind and 1 conventional plant;

    or 1 conventional plant.

    And generate the same power, when needed.

  81. Douglas DC says:

    Personally I wait with anticipation at the first good Columbia Basin ice event that
    will coat the Windmills with Ice-having experienced this over the years in aircraft from Piper Senecas to DC7’s,it will happen, and at the point where
    the power is most needed.
    BTW most of these events occurred in the 50’s,60’s&70’s-during the last cold PDO…

  82. Dave Wendt says:

    Robert Wood (10:16:11) :
    Dave Wendt (22:46:14)

    But all those flywheels will change the spin of the Earth.

    Oh, wait, New Scientist has already claimed that one.

    Hey, flywheels are great stabilizers. Maybe, if we just build enough of them, we can get rid of that pesky planetary wobble that’s rumored to be causing all those ice ages, or at least counter the 2.5 cm of polar drift, that the disappearing ice caused by AGW is causing, Come on, it MIGHT work!

  83. bill (07:02:40) :

    Utility transmission and distribution lines (kill between) 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year in the U.S.

    Collisions with automobiles and trucks result in the deaths of between 60 and 80 million birds annually in the U.S.

    (Buildings kill) between 100 million and a staggering 1 billion deaths annually.4

    Elecommunication towers in the U.S. currently exceeds 77,000.. (These kill) 40 to 50 million birds per year.

    Agricultural pesticides … kill 67 million birds per year.

    Cats .. (in Wisconsin alone) kill between 8 and 217 million birds each year. The most reasonable estimates indicate that 39 million birds are killed in the state each year.”11

    Together, human infrastructure and industrial activities are responsible for one to four million bird deaths per day!

    — Also, from your reply:
    “One television transmitter tower in Eau Claire, WI, was responsible for the deaths of over 1,000 birds on each of 24 consecutive nights. A “record 30,000 birds were estimated killed on one night” at this same tower.7 In Kansas, 10,000 birds were killed in one night by a telecommunications tower.8 ”


    Well, when asked “How long do birds live?” the most common answer varies a little, and depends on how many eggs are laid in each nest each year for each population of bird. For England, Europe, and the US, the following is accepted:

    “So, the answer to our question is that most adult small birds in temperate regions such as ours live for between 1¼ and 1½ years, but that only about 10-20% of young reach adulthood. Big birds, seabirds and tropical birds can live much longer. ”

    Basically – 80% of ALL birds die every year. Naturally die. Every year. If these birds DIDN’T die every year, the earth would shortly become over-populated with birds, many of which are migratory, and the net change in weight each season would soom tip the earth’s axis and cause massive flooding of the Greenland ice caps and ….

    Seriously, your numbers from those sources alone “prove” that man’s PASSIVE (not moving!) structures – where birds are occasionally known to rest and nest and perch every now and then – kill between 406 million and 1.592 billion birds per year. Do you actually believe those different researchers? Do you consider that they may have some biases that render the net result “:somewhat exaggerated”?

  84. Bats are, indeed, killed by wind turbines. According to a recent Canadian study involving post mortem examination of the bats, the turbines alter air pressure in a manner that causes bat lungs to explode. Because no one has taken a census of these bat populations, we aren’t able to put the numbers here into perspective. Do wind turbines represent a nominal or major threat to these populations? We have no idea.

    I wrote a recent blog post on this issue pointing out that ExxonMobil was recently fined $7K per dead bird (after they landed in wastewater pools). If the same standards were to be applied to windfarms, they’d all be bankrupt. Why is one kind of energy producer legally prosecuted for bird deaths but not others? Is this a looming liability that should discourage any sane business person from touching wind power with a ten-foot-pole?

    My blog post is here:

    http://nofrakkingconsensus.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-much-is-birds-life-worth-part-1.html

    Cheers!

  85. Henry chance says:

    One of the two secret expenses are the cost of a gathering grid and loss of power. A generator creates all it’s power in a single plant and is tied to a distribution grid. A wind farm is about gathering from a string of a hundred generators and shipping the electric elsewhere. The power loss of resistance is 10% per 60 miles. So if the farm is 200 miles from a city, we loose 2/3rds of the electricity.

    It does take wildlife and wildlife disruption to generate an emotional argument. Animals make a good political shield.

  86. Ray Reynolds says:

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Environmental groups have been using the declining number of prairies chickens and sage grouse as a bludgeon ( Endangered Species Act) to have cattle removed from public land throughout the west.

    Permits for power lines and fences have been refused due to the possibility raptors could use the perch to prey on the game birds.

    Sage hen at least can fly faster than shotgun pellets…I can attest to this!

  87. Nogw says:

    I am proud that recently my government, the peruvian government, has rejected offered investments for the installation of this “1st.world” non-sense, as we really have plenty of cheaper energy sources.
    Other countries which have accepted these “gifts” (w.bribes for sure included) have seen its energy bills increased by 25% for inmediately subsidizing these “clean energy” generators.

  88. Steve Schaper says:

    I don’t get it. Birds in general deal with wind-blown branches all the time. Windmills shouldn’t be an issue for them.

    Prairie chickens like other poultry fowl, do not fly very high off the ground at all. I doubt they could get on top of a Winnebago, let alone to the rotors of a power-generating windmill.

  89. Nogw says:

    Steve Schaper (11:50:30) :

    I don’t get it
    What it is for sure, that these mills will kill the american eagle, which flies high.

  90. Steve Schaper says:

    People, these are not airplane propellers. I live in windcharger country. They are all over the place. I wish they had brown towers and green blades for aesthetics, but anyway.

    I’d guess that the blade tips move at 20-30 mph based upon observation and car speed at the same difference. Certainly no more than twice that. Possibly 10-12 rpm.

    And they are nearly always in motion.

  91. Toto says:

    When will real environmentalists realize that they have been duped by the AGW activists to supporting something against their own best interests and that they have become so fixated on alleged global warming that they don’t see some real issues?

    The BBC published an awakening article today:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8223611.stm
    “Hijacked by climate change?”

  92. tty says:

    Pamela Gray:

    Bats use echolocation for avoiding obstacles. Unfortunately evolution has only provided them with echolocation to find obstacles in front of them, not ones coming in from the side at 200 mph. Further bats seem to be very sensitive to abrupt pressure changes and are apparently often killed without even coming into physical contact with the blades.

  93. Nogw says:

    Toto (12:33:42) : So you just felt hijacked by this tale of hijacking? Don’t you realize it is the same story told from other side. It is the same malthusian/green/gaia creed!
    What is for sure is that your once admired “civilization” is declining rapidly.

  94. John Galt says:

    If they were polar bears and not prairie chickens, this would be a world-class news story.

    What we need is pictures of little prairie chicken chicks to set this off. Be sure not to photograph and hawks or predators hunting the birds and be sure to also get ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of the prairie chickens documenting their encounters with the turbines.

  95. tty says:

    Steve Schaper (12:12:49) :

    10-12 rpm and 20-30 mph tip speed equals to a rotor diameter of 47 to 84 feet. Clearly you are living next to the world’s smallest wind generators.

  96. KLA says:

    Well, one German environmental minister once said:

    “Wind turbines will be seen as the cathedrals of our time”.

    He did not know how right he was. Just like the cathedrals of medieval times, they dominate their environment, have no economic function, but are monuments to the religious faith of their rich and powerful builders, and paid for by the peasants.

  97. Nogw says:

    KLA (13:24:08) :

    Well, one German environmental minister once said:

    It is good that you mention that country which during last winter almost froze up because russians cut the flow of natural gas. They, thanks to green policies, have now to beg, to implore for energy. Quite a different case is that of France which has nuclear power energy plants.
    Which “way” will you choose?, the way to be poor or the way to be rich?

  98. Douglas Taylor says:

    The main weakpoint with the operational life of a wind turbine is the gear-box. Gear Boxes fail after about 5 years. They are like the transmisson of a semi. There is no technical substitute (electronic/electrical) for the mechanical gearbox, since they must be the main component of transferring the extremely high torque, slow rotation speed of the spinning wind turbine to the 60 hertz grid requirements. This fact more or less limits maximum nameplate capacity of wind turbines.

  99. Nogw says:

    Douglas Taylor (13:49:57) :
    This fact more or less limits maximum nameplate capacity of wind turbines
    Which makes them a silly choice. Just compare the quantity of movable parts relative to power between a wind “farm” and a hydro power plant. 4, 6 to ten thousand?

  100. DaveE says:

    Steve Schaper (12:12:49) :

    I’d guess that the blade tips move at 20-30 mph based upon observation and car speed at the same difference. Certainly no more than twice that. Possibly 10-12 rpm.

    Mmmmmm…

    One of the limits on these monsters is the tip speed approaching the speed of sound!

    DaveE.

  101. DaveE says:

    Steve Schaper (12:12:49) :

    As for “nearly always in motion”

    I have passed subsidy wind farms in motion on totally windless days with the blade angles set to reduce the drag from being driven.

    DaveE.

  102. Douglas Taylor says:

    Nogw

    If I understand you correctly, your point is well worth taking. I’ve been on the platform overlooking the 8 to 10 generators in one room producing power from hoover damn. The 8 to 10 generators produce more electricity in one year than the proposed T. Boone Pickens giganic wind farm (4000 wind turbines) in the Texas Panhandle which cover hundred of square miles.

  103. KLA says:

    Douglas Taylor (13:49:57) :

    There is no technical substitute (electronic/electrical) for the mechanical gearbox, since they must be the main component of transferring the extremely high torque, slow rotation speed of the spinning wind turbine to the 60 hertz grid requirements.

    Actually yes, there is. There are gearbox-less wind turbines. In geared turbines the field in the generator is produced by rare-earth permanent magnets. Neodymium shortages in the near future will create problems for those though.
    Gearless turbines use electromagnetically generated fields like in a dynamo. That field can be electronically rotated so the output is 60 Hz, independent of rotor speed. However, this field generation requires quite a bit of electrical power. At low wind speeds such a turbine requires more electricity than it produces, hence the wind speed where they start to produce power is higher. But all wind turbines are electricity consumers at below start wind speeds. The controllers, blade angle mechanics and axis steering mechanisms do still need power even when the wind does not blow.
    Not something the wind industry likes to talk about.
    Neither do they like to talk about the additional fuel required in fossil backup plants because of the variable nature of wind.
    Just like a car requires much less fuel when running at steady speed compared to stop-and-go, so do (gas) power plants require more fuel when they constantly have to throttle up and down.
    A car in 30 mph average stop-and-go traffic burns more fuel per mile than on the freeway at 60 mph.
    And they also don’t like to talk about that the variable nature of wind requires fast reacting peaker type gas turbines that are much less efficient than combined cycle plants.

  104. Douglas Taylor says:

    When one compares the bird or bat kill from wind turbines with other structures, you should keep in mind the significant aerodynamic differences.
    The flow streamlines in wind turbines go through the wind turbine, which has the tendency to suck the birds into the blades, whereas the flow streamlines for stuctures point away from the structure which pushes the birds away from the structure.

  105. Mike Borgelt says:

    ROM (03:05:58) Re: the cleanup of wind power when sanity finally prevails won’t be too difficult. The worst of the visual pollution will be easily removed with relatively small amounts of C4.

    I find the green acceptance of wind power amazing. In Germany people have complained about the noise generated by the odd circling sailplane(a ghostly whispering sound which soon becomes inaudible as the sailplane climbs away in the thermal) and also complained that while hiking in the Alps their view of the pristine natural environment is ruined by passing sailplanes (some of the most beautiful functional machinery invented by man – but I’m biased). To return the favor, I’d complain about my view of the natural Alps being ruined by hikers in bright clothing.

  106. Douglas DC says:

    Pamela Gray (06:55:24) :

    Bats can fly outside all night long and I will not bother them. Sneak into my bedroom and their ass is mine. You knock um down with hornet spray than broom them to death

    Years ago I had this insane yellow maine coon mix-Hobbes, one night my wife was
    sitting in the living room of our old place in Port Orford,Or, and noticed Hobbes gnashing his teeth and looking up at the ceiling,then something large and dark flew
    across her line of sight.It was one of the large,local, south coast bats,Boone and Crockett candidate bats.Hobbes leaped up, and nailed the Bat, and proceeded to
    drop the still quite living and irritated bat at my wife’s feet.Now my wife, being
    the product of Kentucky hill people, didn’t freak, but grabbed the broom.The bat
    now is back in the exposed rafters, and is not about to co-operate with wife or
    cat.At this point I arrived.Taking a step ladder and armed with a smaller broom,I
    extricate said bat. that promptly does a nice immelmann,and flies out the door,
    cat and wife in hot pursuit.Never had that happen again.However, Hobbes was searched every time he came in to make sure he wasn’t carrying his evening’s entertainment…

  107. P Walker says:

    OK , for those of you who missed some of the earlier posts , prarie chickens are not barnyard fowl . In fact , they are a species of grouse . Grouse which live open country – as opposed to forest grouse – fly fast and as far as necessary to avoid percieved threats . Ask anyone who has ever hunted them . Or look them up .

  108. bill says:

    Douglas Taylor (13:49:57) :
    The main weakpoint with the operational life of a wind turbine is the gear-box. Gear Boxes fail after about 5 years. They are like the transmisson of a semi. There is no technical substitute

    Just so Wrong! Electronics can convert the output of a variable speed rotor into sychronous AC that can be fed to the grid via a transformer. This enables wind turbines to equal or better the performance of a standard generator under fault conditions. Resynchronization can be instantaneous.

    Total moving high power parts 1 plus feathering and pointing control.
    http://www.enercon.de/www/en/broschueren.nsf/vwwebAnzeige/A1F46D4783166914C125747B002DD858/$FILE/Netzintegration_Windpark_eng.pdf
    check the rest of the site for other detail.

  109. P Walker says:

    Actually , I CAN spell prairie – sorry .

  110. bill says:

    Henry chance (11:41:39) :
    One of the two secret expenses are the cost of a gathering grid and loss of power.

    Wrong. (unless the US grid is far inferior to UK)

    Wiki
    Uk gid power losses total:
    [edit] Losses
    Figures are again from the 2005 SYS.

    Joule heating in cables: 857.8 MW
    Fixed losses: 266 MW (consists of corona and iron losses; can be 100 MW higher in adverse weather)
    Substation transformer heating losses: 142.4 MW
    Generator transformer heating losses: 157.3 MW
    Total losses: 1423.5 MW (2.29% of peak demand)
    Although losses in the national grid are low, there are significant further losses in onward electricity distribution to the consumer, causing a total distribution loss of about 7.7%.[6] However losses differ significantly for customers connected at different voltages; connected at high voltage the total losses are about 2.6%, at medium voltage 6.4% and at low voltage 12.2%.[7
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Grid_(UK)

  111. M. Simon says:

    “The main environmental problem we are watching out for with telecommunication towers are the deaths of birds and bats.”6

    You have to wonder how many birds are killed by trees.

  112. M. Simon says:

    One of the two secret expenses are the cost of a gathering grid and loss of power. A generator creates all it’s power in a single plant and is tied to a distribution grid. A wind farm is about gathering from a string of a hundred generators and shipping the electric elsewhere. The power loss of resistance is 10% per 60 miles. So if the farm is 200 miles from a city, we loose 2/3rds of the electricity.

    .9^3.3333 ~= .7

  113. Douglas Taylor says:

    Gear Box

    Basic Physics: Large Modern 3 blade wind turbines for efficiency reasons require that the speed of the tip blade is about 4 times that of the wind velocity.
    Because of this factor, and the size of the wind turbine, the rotational speed is about 10 revolutions per minute(?), or about 1/6 Hz.

    The basic reason for the gearbox is newton’s Third law of motion applied to a rotational body. The TORQUE applied to the drive shaft of the by the wind turbine is extremely large, and that MUST be balanced by the electromechanical induced, inverse TORQUE from the generator. You either have a gigantic generator with many poles, or a reasonable sized generator with a small electromagnetic torque, which can transfer its small torque through the gearbox to balance out the torque of the turbine.

  114. Nogw says:

    Why many of you first world people have lost your reason?, you have made big advancements in science and technology, but this…, come on!, you just can´t imagine what the rest of the world think of you, with all these stupid ideas.
    Of course nobody will say you that. The cultural phenomena you are in is reflected in those silly movies made in hollywood, for mentally retarded!. All that nut´s “discovery channel” science, all those end of the world theories, which reflect not other thing but your own subconcious recognition that you are near the end…and now you want to plant all these “fans”, those mounstrous “transformers” kind of things all over the landscape….Believe me: You are about to kill the rest of the world, just by laughing at you!.

  115. Douglas Taylor says:

    Two Secret Expenses in Wind Farm Generation–

    Actual there is a third secret expense. Any Transmission Corridor has to be “sized” to the maximum power generated by the generators. Because of the supply size variability of wind generation, the average power delivered is at MOST 30% of the of the peak generation, this means that 70% of the time the transmission line is not being utilized.

    For a case study, one only has to look at Texas, which has the largest penetration of wind generation of any state in the US (3.5%). I’m speaking mostly about West Texas windfarms, around Abilene, and the T. Boone Pickens proposed ‘boondoggle’ near Amarillo Tex. Because the grid was not capable of integrating the maximum power generated during the spring and fall, the attempted grid integration caused grid congestion. They are now talking about spending about 5 Billion to upgrade the West Texas Farms, so that they can move the juice to the population centers in Texas. Pickens has had to slip the development of his monster wind farms for three reasons. One of these reasons is transmission costs.

    Here is some data about distances in Texas. Abilene is about 150 miles from the population centers in Texas, and Amarillo is about 300 mile from population ceters. This is in contrast to Comanche Peak Nuke Power Station (Within 35 miles of the population center), and the South Texas Nuke Project (50 mile). In addition, both Nuke stations are baseload so they are very efficient in using there transmission line

  116. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Chuck near Houston (10:47:56) :

    “I’m coining a new word here: “Environy””

    Nice one, Chuck!

  117. Pamela Gray says:

    P Walker, I have hunted prairie chickens. They sit tight till you nearly step on their tail feathers then rise in a flurry towards the next good hiding place not very far away and just out of sight. They are prey for raptors. Why? Cause they are easier to catch than rabbits. You will not ever see a prairie chicken take to wing to the heights of wind tower blades. Not unless you stuck a rocket up their hoo hah and set it afire.

  118. Douglas Taylor says:

    GEAR BOXES AGAIN: I copied this from the Web, from WindPower Magazine.

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    THE GEARBOX: WINDPOWER’S ACHILLES’ HEEL

    This month’s Windpower Monthly examines a little-known twist in the “mature technology” of large-scale wind turbines:
    Gearboxes have been failing in wind turbines since the early 1990s. Barely a turbine make has escaped. Six years ago the problem reached epidemic proportions, culminating in a massive series failure of gearboxes in NEG Micon machines. At the time, the NEG Micon brand was the most sold wind turbine in the world. The disaster brought the company to its knees as it struggled to retrofit well over one thousand machines. It has since been taken over by Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer. Vestas is still grappling with the aftermath of the gearbox catastrophe.

    The wind power industry and its component suppliers now believe that such major series failure of gearboxes is a thing of the past. Today’s far larger and more sophisticated turbines, they say, are safe from mistakes encountered in early phases of technology development.

    Bigger turbines, however, are proving to be far from immune to gearbox failure, as Windpower Monthly reports in its November issue. …

    The wind industry’s gearbox problem has for years been shrouded in secrecy. While blame for the failures has been spread far and wide, questions outnumber the answers by far. At Windpower Monthly we set ourselves the task of finding out the true scale of the problem. Why is it that gearboxes in wind turbines have so massively failed? What is the solution? …

    The good news is that understanding of the highly complex loads that gearboxes — and particularly their bearings — are subject to is being helped by a new industry willingness to co-operate and face up to the challenges of wind power’s rapid technological evolution. But only time will tell whether a definitive solution has been found — and whether it will stay the course as wind turbines get ever bigger and more demanding of engineering ingenuity.

  119. Geoff Sherington says:

    Here in Australia we have not been permitted to go nuclear, so the following economic analysis by Peter Lang is country specific. However, it provides a framework for analysis that the serious minded can apply to their own Countries or States.

    http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/wind-power.pdf

    There is a companion paper on solar at

    http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/solar-realities.pdf

    Peter has had long hands-on experience with power generation methods and costs. These are not ideological papers, they are real-world figures.

    Note in particular the cost of avoiding release of a tonne of CO2 into the air. It’s $22 if you use nuclear and $1150 for windmills. In Australia. For the difference, you could have quite a few takeout KFCs from millkills of prairie chickens.

  120. Roger Carr says:

    kim (06:43:06) : “The real damage is the weakened winds distal to the windmills; they create regional climate change and damage directly proportional to the amount of energy stolen from the wind, and worth far more.”

    Could you let me have more detail, perhaps a link, kim, so that I may gain an understanding of this? (My email is RogerCarr AT datacodsl.com)

  121. pyromancer76 says:

    Nogw, I like your dark humor. And you are probably onto unconscious meanings (or wishes) in the marxists who have been proliferating among us (see Glen Beck). The rest are after whatever handout they can swindle, like Boone Pickens. If the latter were financially responsible for cleaning up their messes when they fail, there would not be so many grand bandwagon projects.

  122. Roger Carr says:

    Nogw (11:48:09) : “I am proud that recently my government, the peruvian government, has rejected offered investments for the installation of this “1st.world” non-sense…”

    Clever Peru, Nogw! You have every reason to be proud… and relieved.

  123. ralph ellis says:

    >>>Personally I wait with anticipation at the first good Columbia
    >>>Basin ice event that will coat the Windmills with Ice-having
    >>>experienced this over the years in aircraft from Piper Senecas
    >>>to DC7’s,it will happen, and at the point where the power
    >>>is most needed.

    .

    Tip Speeds.

    Ok. Based upon a Vestas V44 windelec.
    http://www.windturbines.ca/vestas_v44.htm

    The 44m (1700inch) diameter blades at max 28rpm give a tip speed of 144mph.
    (Tip speed calculator)
    http://www.hoverhawk.com/propspd.html

    Ice.

    One problem with ice is the danger – flying ice is quite a hazard.
    http://web1.msue.msu.edu/cdnr/icethrowseifertb.pdf

    Then there is the loss of power, which can be quite significant.
    http://www.esc.gov.yk.ca/pdf/overcoming_icing_effects_wind_turbines.pdf

    Another is damage and failure.
    Ice build up can cause unbalanced loads/vibration. Although this is unlikely to cause failure, it may well worsen the gearbox problem discussed earlier. Another failure mode is the icing up of sensor equipment, which could lead to the blades wrongly spinning beyond their design speed, leading to complete failure.

    .

  124. Tim Clark says:

    bill (15:49:37) :
    Douglas Taylor (13:49:57) :
    The main weakpoint with the operational life of a wind turbine is the gear-box. Gear Boxes fail after about 5 years. They are like the transmisson of a semi. There is no technical substitute

    Just so Wrong!

    Apparently, the Department of Energy thinks you’re “just so wrong”.
    Current Obama money pit:

    A new U.S. large dynamometer facility is needed for the following reasons:
    • The long-term reliability of the current generation of megawatt-scale drivetrains has not yet been fully verified through field operating experience. As a result of fleet-wide gearbox maintenance issues and related failures, it is now becoming an increasingly standard practice to perform extensive testing of new gearbox configurations on a dynamometer to prove performance, durability and reliability before they are introduced into serial production.

  125. TonyB says:

    Roger Carr (00:58:27) : said

    “kim (06:43:06) : “The real damage is the weakened winds distal to the windmills; they create regional climate change and damage directly proportional to the amount of energy stolen from the wind, and worth far more.”

    Could you let me have more detail, perhaps a link, kim, so that I may gain an understanding of this? (My email is RogerCarr AT datacodsl.com)”

    Roger if you get sent further information or have some of your own I would like to hear of it as it is something I am interested in.

    The Uk is going to be relying considerably on wind farms as they have failed to plan for our energy future.

    I live a hundred yards ‘inshore’ and we are expecting large wind farms a few miles offshore. On shore or off shore, there must be some effect on the climate. Whether it is very local or very trivial, removing wind ‘at source’ is going to have a number of as yet unquantified ramifications.

    tonyb

  126. Grant Hodges says:

    TonyB,

    I think the idea that windfarms will steal the wind and change the climate is so bogus. It just shows how desperate the anti-development crowd is. What we see revealed is an anti-human movement going on here; NOT a pro-environmental movement. They use “holy lying” like the cults.

    Grant

  127. Roger Carr says:

    windfarms …create regional climate change…

    TonyB (09:40:12) : So far I have only this 2004 story, Tony. I am pursuing it, and hoping kim may have more, as well.
    Grant Hodges (17:21:40) of course may well be correct; but I would still like to know.

    In the Great Plains there is a nighttime stream of fast-moving air that separates cool, moist air near the ground from drier, warmer air above. The simulation found that the turbines catch this nocturnal jet, and the ensuing turbulence causes vertical mixing.

    The warming and drying that occur when the upper air mass reaches the surface is a significant change, Dr. Baidya Roy said, and is similar to the kinds of local atmospheric changes that occur with large-scale deforestation. “You might see some kind of convective clouds or scattered rainfall here and there,” Dr. Baidya Roy said.

  128. kim says:

    Tony and Roger, sorry I don’t have more, but conjecture from theory.

    Grant, I suspect you project. What we see revealed here is a bizarre sensitivity to motive. Because of losses of efficiency, and of energy transformation, the value of the energy taken out of the wind can never be as great as the value of the energy left in the wind.

    Now granted, there is a very great amount of energy in the wind, and even ‘significant’ amounts taken from it pale in comparison to the amount within it. You cannot argue that it has no effect, and the valuing of that effect is key. Obviously, the various actors in the play value it differently.

    An interesting example, but not directly climate related, is to consider what would happen to the fertility of the Amazon basin, which gets much of its mineral nutrients from Saharan dust blown across the Atlantic, if a wind farm were built in the mountain gap leading to the Boedele Depression, whence comes that dust. The ecosystem that is the Amazon rain forest would die from wind farms half way across the world. Don’t presume that the effects of windfarms are benign or merely local.
    ==========================================

  129. TonyB says:

    Roger and Kim

    Thanks for the comments. This is a fascinating area that seems very under researched. Who wants to prepare the grant application form?

    Seriously, if anyone comes across anything more concrete, this would be a worthwhile thread.

    Living by the sea as I do I can see two obvious possible effects.

    As far as leisure pursuits go this could affect sailing, and more indirectly surfing, through reducing waves. This latter is particularly intriguing as waves are a much underused source of renewable energy.

    Perhaps abstracting sufficient wind to power a battery of wind turbines will only have a marginal effect ‘down wind’ but it would be nice to know before they become too prevalent.

    tonyb

  130. TonyB says:

    Grant Hodges

    I am all for offshore wind farms as a far better (and more reliable) alternative to onshore wind farms. Many things have unexpected consequences though, and it would be good to see these examined BEFORE off shore farms become common place, not after.

    As far as on shore goes, I see them as a blind alley as in the UK circumstances I can’t see how trashing the countryside saves the environment, especially when the down time is so considerable.

    I’m all for wave power, but our development of this resource is around twenty years behind that of wind.

    tonyb

  131. Zeke the Sneak says:

    “turbine dreams for the windswept Texas Panhandle may be stymied by the mating rituals of the Lesser Prairie Chicken, a bird whose future could slow the pace of U.S. renewable energy growth”

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I am now deeply concerned about the mating rituals of these important chickens. The mood must be preserved in the Prairie.

    Now, let’s see. Where can the government put their little wind fan thingies?

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