General or Impact on Landscape
Concern over climate change has led the U.S. to consider a cap-and-trade system to regulate emissions. Here we illustrate the land-use impact to U.S. habitat types of new energy development resulting from different U.S. energy policies. We estimated the total new land area needed by 2030 to produce energy, under current law and under various cap-and-trade policies, and then partitioned the area impacted among habitat types with geospatial data on the feasibility of production. The land-use intensity of different energy production techniques varies over three orders of magnitude, from 1.9–2.8 km2/TW hr/yr for nuclear power to 788–1000 km2/TW hr/yr for biodiesel from soy. In all scenarios, temperate deciduous forests and temperate grasslands will be most impacted by future energy development, although the magnitude of impact by wind, biomass, and coal to different habitat types is policy-specific. Regardless of the existence or structure of a cap-and-trade bill, at least 206,000 km2 will be impacted without substantial increases in energy efficiency. ...The possibility of widespread energy sprawl increases the need for energy conservation, appropriate siting, sustainable production practices, and compensatory mitigation offsets.
The complete report available in sections.
The aim is to show that the fuel economy and emissions reduction in the power
systems consisting mainly of thermal power plants are not proportional with the
electricity production of wind turbines. Participation of thermal power plants in the
compensation of fluctuating production of windmills eliminates major part of the
expected positive effect of wind energy. A method for calculation of real fuel
economy and emissions reduction is described and a calculation example basing on
Estonian and Danish data is given.
Editor's Note: A worthwhile read in its entirely (attached pdf file). Selected extracts appear below.
The support of renewable energy sources (RES) is one of the key issues in
European energy policy. In order to cope with this challenge, European Transmission System
Operators launched a European wide grid study on the integration of wind power, focusing on
measures needed to be taken by legislators, regulators, grid operators and grid users, aiming at
establishing a harmonised set of rules for the integration of wind power. This set of rules is
vital for the secure and reliable operation of the electricity networks in presence of variable
generation. The scope of work covers all the technical, operational and market aspects related
to the integration of large scale wind power all over Europe. Attention will be later focused on
system interaction of various wind turbines types, the effects of their variable power output on
the system and their ability to provide system service to enable the stable operation of an
electricity grid. The final objective is to obtain the necessary information for the technical and operational measures for risk mitigation and the secure operation of the European electricity grid identified by the steady-state and dynamic investigations on electricity grid models which are established within the study. For this, market and regulatory aspects will be taken into consideration.
Rick Webb's presentation on October 17 at the Energy Virginia conference provides a thought provoking analysis of the costs and benefits of industrial wind energy.
Many people accept the well-publicized claim that windmills will be able to supply a significant share of our country’s growing requirements for electricity. They also believe that wind energy is environmentally benign and a way to avoid emissions from other sources of energy for electric generation. Political leaders in windy states have even been persuaded that “wind farms” will provide economic benefits, principally through rental payments to landowners.
As proposals to build “wind farms” have proliferated, however, the adverse impacts of wind energy are becoming clear to a growing number of citizens, consumers and taxpayers. They are learning that “wind energy” has adverse environmental, ecological, scenic and property value impacts. They are learning that many of the claimed benefits of wind energy are misleading or false, and that the true costs of wind energy are higher than advertised -- with those higher costs falling on taxpayers and electric customers.
Industrial wind turbine farms are proposed for the towns of Perry, Covington and
Warsaw, NY that will permanently alter the towns. Large turbines create strong noise
levels not only from wind through the blades but largely by the turbine mechanisms
themselves. To capture the wind these turbines are to be installed on hill tops around the
town and thus have significant potential to create a noise nuisance. Wind turbine noise
added to the prevailing ambient background sound is an important environmental
consideration when siting wind turbines since they are a permanent installation and may
significantly impair resident’s enjoyment of neighboring lands or even personal health.
Also, relevant consideration of noise impacts and mitigation measures are a specific
requirement of a NY State Environmental Quality Review procedure, required before
approval of permits.
Two industrial wind turbine farms are proposed by parent UPC Wind Partners for the
town of Cohocton, NY and will permanently alter the town. The large blades on MW
scale turbines can at certain times produce moving shadows on the landscape or create
distracting flicker on the scenery. To capture the wind these turbines are to be installed
on hilltops around the town and thus have significant potential to create a shadow flicker
nuisance at great distances from the turbines. All environmental effects of projects
require consideration and possible mitigation. Siting selection is important since wind
turbines are a permanent installation and may significantly impair resident’s enjoyment
of neighboring lands or even personal health.
This recent paper examines the impact of large-scale wind energy facilities on weather around the project site and globally. The abstract is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.