So, before we proclaim victory against our profligate use of fossil fuels in the last 50 years, politicians and environmental groups might ponder the huge costs in dollars and environmental damage before 20-storey windmills festoon our coastlines, our sea lanes and our beautiful Quebec hills.
Jon Boone addresses wind power for the Mid-Atlantic region.
This brief paper reviews and evaluates key aspects of energy policies and plans announced by New York State officials, and contrasts their electricity plans with those of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) which is responsible for the reliability of New York's electricity grid. Both sets of plans have major implications for the people of New York.
It is broadly accepted that wind turbines do not emit CO2 at the point of generation. However, in common with all types of power station, it is emitted during their construction and, through damage directly inflicted on the construction site, over a much longer period. The total debt will vary from site to site but will comprise some or all of the following;
• Emissions arising from fabrication (steel smelting, forging of turbine columns, the manufacture of blades and the electrical and mechanical components);
• Emissions arising from construction (transportation of components, quarrying, building foundations, access tracks and hard standings, commissioning);
• The indirect loss of CO2 uptake (fixation) by plants originally on the surface of the site but obliterated by construction activity including the destruction of active bog plants on wet sites and deforestation;
• Emissions due to the indirect, long-term liberation of CO2 from carbon stored in peat due to drying and oxidation processes caused by construction of the site.
It is important to recognise that peat is a major store of carbon accumulated from dead plant remains over many millennia. It is held in perpetuity because the bog’s wetness and acid conditions prevent the access of oxygen and inhibit the growth of bacteria which would otherwise rot the vegetation. Draining peat for construction reverses both these long-term processes: the soil is exposed to the air, the carbon is converted to CO2 and released slowly to the atmosphere.
Several papers from the wind industry in Denmark and the UK have addressed the first two points with estimates of payback time ranging from about six to 30 months.
However, the industry rarely, if ever, considers the last two. This is a fundamental omission as their contribution to the overall CO2 debt, in particular the last, can be far greater than all the others put together. This paper outlines a procedure for quantifying it.
The guide has been prepared to enable anyone with access to the Environmental Statement (ES) that forms part of a Planning Application (PA) for a wind farm to estimate its CO2 debt. (If some of the requisite information proves to be unavailable, this ought to provide grounds for postponing consideration of the application and the commissioning of further assessment.)
The results of the calculations described should be submitted to planning authorities or Public Inquiries as part of the arguments used in assessing the merits and demerits of an application.
Eric Rosenbloom, a resident of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, addresses why wind power does not live up to advocates' claims, why its impact on the environment and people's lives is far from benign and how money invested in wind energy could be better spent.
Editor's Note This is essentially a 'how to' guide for wind energy developers based on issues and problems encountered prior to July 2004.
Extracts from the attached promotional piece. The full report may be purchased from ABS.
...additional radar studies would be required to see if spring migration patterns are different than those measured in the fall. Typically spring migration is shorter than fall migration with fewer numbers in the shorter period of time. How this will affect the numbers of birds passing through the rotor swept volume is unknown. It is important to determine the seasonal timing, altitude and numbers of migrant birds passing over the proposed project site and the effects of weather upon their passage over a greater part of the whole year. In addition, it is possible to determine some of the bird and bat species passing through the project site by accoustical sensors to determine which species, that make vocal calls, are migrating through the site.
AES Wind vice president Paul Burdick sent this letter to leaseholders in Clinton County, Indiana informing them that their leases will be permitted to expire. The letter affirms that AES Wind has no near-term plans to proceed with wind development in the area due to current market conditions, a lack of demand for their product, and new requirements imposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service pertaining to the endangered Indiana bat.