Library from California
The 5,000 windmills that dot the slopes of Northern California's Altamont Pass are drawing fire from environmental groups who say pollution-free power isn't worth the price of killing thousands of birds.
..because the turbines produce power in response to the wind rather than actual demand, much of it -- 84% of western Denmark's wind production in 2003, by one analysis -- has to be exported (i.e., dumped) because it is not needed. Despite a landscape already saturated with turbines, it appears therefore that they produce only about 3% of the electricity Denmark uses.
If you really want to cut energy consumption, reduce pollution, improve public health and protect our environment, it’s time to contact your elected officials, educate them about the lessons of Denmark, Germany and elsewhere, and tell them you want tougher energy efficiency measures instead of wind power plants. Otherwise, in the next few years, you’ll be looking at wind turbines in some of your favorite places, with the knowledge that they’re doing little more than funneling your tax dollars to a few lucky corporations and landowners, and away from better solutions.
...some wind power facilities, such as the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in eastern Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, California, are causing severe environmental impacts to raptor populations due to bird kills from collisions with turbines and electrocution on power lines.
Wind turbines in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) provide on average 1.1 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of emissions-free electricity annually, enough to power almost 200,000 average households per annum, but these turbines also kill birds that are legally protected, and have been doing so for decades. This five-year research effort focused on better understanding the causes of bird mortality at the world's largest wind farm. Researchers studied 2,548 wind turbines and combined their data with results from 1,526 wind turbines they had studied previously. They sought to: (1) quantify bird use, including characterizing and quantifying perching and flying behaviors of individual birds around wind turbines; (2) evaluate flight behaviors and the environmental and topographic conditions associated with them; (3) identify possible relationships between bird mortality and bird behaviors, wind tower design and operations, landscape attributes, and prey availability; and (4) develop predictive, empirical models that identify turbine or environmental conditions that are associated with high vulnerability. Researchers concluded that bird fatalities at the APWRA result from various attributes of wind turbine configuration and placement, and that species-specific behavior plays a large role in how each contributory factor affects mortality. The report details numerous specific observations. Researchers identified and evaluated possible measures to mitigate bird mortality in the APWRA. They offer recommendations to discontinue or modify some current management actions, to implement new ones immediately, and to experiment with others. Data presented in the report support these recommendations. The results suggest that repowering with carefully placed, modern wind turbines mounted on taller towers may be the preferable means to substantially reduce bird mortality.
Center for Biological Diversity's demand for a jury trial, as plaintiff, vs. FPL Energy et al with respect to bird kills in Altamont Pass in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in California.
This report illustrates how a typical ISO might assess the capacity value of energy sources within an energy portfolio and the negligible capacity value accorded industrial wind. An excerot of the report discussing the limitations of wind is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on the page.
This image was captured by the Ikonos satellite on September 14, 2003. Turbine access roads branch out from numerous “handles”. The blades of the turbines cast black shadows on the ground.
Modern windmills, like these near an old-fashioned windmill in Birds Landing, Calif., stand hundreds of feet tall.
This web site provides performance data on wind turbines in California from 1985-2003.
Clouds hang over the mountains in 2002 near a wind farm outside Palm Springs, Calif.
The commission unanimously voted down the proposal after a five-hour hearing attended by more than 150 people at Santa Clarita City Hall. Zond Systems, the largest producer of wind energy in California, had hoped to erect more than 300 windmills--some as tall as 150 feet--on vacant, mountainous land near Gorman.
This status report released by the California Energy Commission discusses the status of the technology, current and proposed development, regulatory processes, issues hindering development, and recommended actions needed to resolve identified issues. The section of the report on Noise and Aesthetics is provided below. Audible and low frequency impulse noise were reported as problems with the turbines. The full report can be accessed from the links on this page.
Appendix B: Sample Local Government Requirements for Wind Energy Conversion Systems Appendix B of The National Wind Coordinating Committees' handbook contains summaries of nine California County ordinances dealing with wind facilities.