Zoning/Planning and USA
Fearing noise and bad looks, some communities are banning them.
MELISSA, Texas - An orange flag marks where Gary Lisle planned to put up a 33-foot windmill behind his house. But that's about as far as his green idea got in this Dallas suburb.
Denied a building permit in March, Lisle joined the growing ranks of frustrated homeowners across the U.S. whose hopes of harvesting wind energy in their backyards have been dashed.
Some communities have outlawed residential turbines. Others entangle applicants in so much red tape that they simply give up.
Some wind industry officials say project standardization on a federal level might defuse opposition and smooth out kinks in the development process, but recently introduced legislation has been criticized.
Introduced last Wednesday in the House Committee on Natural Resources by Chairman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., the Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act includes, among other things, a section on wind energy that would implement strict regulations to be enforced by the Departments of Interior and Energy, imposing fines and even jail time for new and existing turbine owners who don`t comply.
'Wind power is an essential element of the climate change solution,' said Gregory Wetstone, senior director of government and public affairs for the American Wind Energy Association. 'Further increasing the percentage of electricity wind produces in America will provide much-needed price stability, generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for farmers and rural communities, and create tens of thousands of jobs.
'We should be looking for ways to accelerate wind energy`s growth rather than putting roadblocks in its path.'
The bill is being met with a 'hysterical reaction' from the wind industry, Rahall said.
Wildlife advocates hoping for a stronger voice in regulations concerning wind energy development on land and sea are expected to testify Wednesday at a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee in Washington, D.C.
While the Cape Wind proposal isn't specifically on the agenda, you can bet that folks on both side of the proposal will be interested in the aftermath of the hearing.
At issue will be the proposed "Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007," filed by U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.
MILAN, Italy, May. 11 (UPI) -- In order to continue its high rate of growth, the wind industry has many opponents to convert and obstacles to overcome.
From siting to operation, wind project developers face a barrage of challenges. First, though regulations vary, you can't put a wind turbine within a certain distance of an area of national, historic or natural value. Also, unless residents are offered a share of the project, locals sometimes oppose them, citing aesthetic concerns.
Meanwhile, as the nation considers options for future energy development, environmental questions have emerged as important considerations, the NRC report states.
Proponents point out that wind-energy facilities emit no atmospheric pollutants and are driven by a renewable source, addressing multiple environmental concerns such as air quality and climate change.
However, the NRC report also points out that the expansion of such facilities can carry adverse environmental impacts.
Wind turbines produce none of the pollution that contributes to climate change, a top priority among many environmentalists. But wind turbine projects in Texas have run into opposition from birding groups, who say the giant windmills kill birds, and from some ranchers, who worry that they could hamper hunting and tourism activities.
Although the report found "no evidence of significant impacts on bird populations," it suggests that policymakers consider aesthetic, cultural, human health and environmental impacts before approving wind power projects.
If wind farm, and or, wind turbine opponents had any doubt they are fighting an uphill battle in the debate on the Lancaster Wind Farm and EcoGrove Wind LLC, consider the opinions held by representatives at the federal level.
Contacted Friday, spokesmen for both Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Egan) steered clear of opinions on what they termed "local" issues.
Cape Wind's project has been rocky, with a vocal opposition expressing concerns about the effect off-shore wind turbines would have on fish and bird populations, tourism and property values and fighting the project in court. It is also the first proposed off-shore wind project in the country, raising many questions about the permitting process.
But whether the situation in Massachusetts will affect Bluewater Wind's project remains to be seen.
"I think it's too early to tell whether it helps or hurts, but any momentum will support additional off-shore wind projects," said Jim Lanard, a spokesman for Bluewater Wind. "We do not expect to run into the major hurdles that Cape Wind has experienced, and therefore predict that our approval process will be considerably shorter than theirs."
The future of several proposed offshore wind projects could be affected by upcoming U.S. Department of Interior hearings on the use of the Outer Continental Shelf.
The Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Alternative Energy Development and Production and Alternate Use of Facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf was released by the Minerals Management Service. For 60 days, the report is open for public comment through e-mail, letters, phone calls and public hearings in cities across the country.
A week after receiving a blessing from Massachusetts environmental regulators, the long-delayed wind farm proposed off Cape Cod has been dealt an apparent setback by the federal agency that will make the final decision on the controversial project.
The Minerals Management Service, which had been scheduled to deliver a draft environmental report that would signal its intentions for the project this month, said the report is "taking longer than expected" and will not be ready before late summer.
With more people showing interest in energy efficiency -- particularly renewable energy -- wind turbines are popping up to supply electricity to homes, businesses and even communities.
But unlike the options of purchasing a hybrid car or installing solar panels, wind energy is not viable for everyone.
Wind power could supply all the energy needs of much of the East Coast and then some, if a phalanx of wind turbines running from Massachusetts to North Carolina were installed offshore, a new study concludes.
President Bush might be talking about alternative energy, but he's not giving many types of green energy sources a financial boost.
Bush's $2.9 trillion budget proposal released Monday includes no funding for geothermal technology, a prominent industry in Nevada, or for hydropower research and development.
Bush's proposal also trims funding for wind energy to $40 million, nearly a 10 percent drop from last year's request. The 2008 request keeps funding levels stagnant for solar energy development: $148.3 million.
But some alternative energy industries are winners under the president's budget plan. Biomass, hydrogen technology and carbon sequestration at coal-fired power plants would see increases in funding.
The wind resource off the Mid-Atlantic coast could supply the energy needs of nine states from Massachusetts to North Carolina, plus the District of Columbia--with enough left over to support a 50 percent increase in future energy demand--according to a study by researchers at the University of Delaware and Stanford University.
Willett Kempton, Richard Garvine and Amardeep Dhanju at the University of Delaware and Mark Jacobson and Cristina Archer at Stanford, found that the wind over the Middle Atlantic Bight, the aquatic region from Cape Cod, Mass., to Cape Hatteras, N.C., could produce 330 gigawatts (GW) of average electrical power if thousands of wind turbines were installed off the coast.
The estimated power supply from offshore wind substantially exceeds the region's current energy use, which the scientists estimate at 185 gigawatts, from electricity, gasoline, fuel oil and natural gas sources.
A major report just released in Denmark finds negligible impacts to birds, fish and mammals from the two largest offshore wind farms in the world at Horns Rev and Nysted.
Editor's Note:Jack Coleman is a freelance writer, editor, blogger and former media adviser to the pro-wind farm Clean Power Now non-profit based in Hyannis. A link to the original report is available at the end of this article.
To meet the nation’s fast-growing demand for electricity, utilities are planning to string thousands of miles of high-voltage power lines across the USA in a building frenzy that could mar some of the country’s most precious open spaces.
The largest crop of transmission-line projects since the 1970s initially would deliver inexpensive, surplus electricity — much of it coal-generated — from the Midwest and Northwest to more densely populated urban centers along the East Coast and western Sunbelt. Eventually, other parts of the country could be crisscrossed by networks that begin to resemble the vast interstate highway system.
Wind power advocates see a series of recent approvals for major wind farms as proof that the burgeoning industry’s growth will not be stunted by U.S. Department of Defense concerns that turbines can interfere with radar.
However, additional scrutiny brought on by a defense department report may prolong the approval process of wind farms, said Laurie Jodziewicz of the American Wind Energy Association, an advocate group for the U.S. wind power industry.
November 2, 2006
by Katrina Irwin
It’s an issue that is cutting through upstate New York, much like the blades on wind turbines slice through the sky. Should these creators of energy be put up in our communities? Near our homes? In places where many go just to relax?
The U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture (USDA) today announced an updated list of distinguished speakers for Advancing Renewable Energy: An American Rural Renaissance, a conference jointly hosted by the two agencies. The conference aims to get the best minds together - key stakeholders in biofuels, wind, and solar energy - to discuss and ultimately help accelerate the research, development and deployment of alternative energy sources, the crux of President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative. Advancing Renewable Energy is scheduled for October 10-12, 2006, at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri.