Library from Colorado
A plan to erect an array of windmills in eastern El Paso County won't be blowing a yearly windfall the county's way. That's because wind energy facilities are considered business personal property, and the county ditched its personal property tax about a decade ago.
This sign outside the Cedar Creek wind energy facility forbids the public to walk the land near the Pawnee Buttes in Colorado. After centuries of this land being open to people, this historic area now serves as an industrial power facility.
Wind turbines belonging to the Cedar Creek Wind Energy Project clutter the historic horizon once 'owned' by the Pawnee Buttes. Some of the wildest, most remote and magnificent landscapes of Colorado and elsewhere in the U.S. are quickly being dismissed as unimportant in the race to build wind power everywhere.
What I remembered most was the quiet solitude, listening to the gentle breezes brush though the grass against my tent. When I arrived at the trailhead I was appalled to see windmills as far as the eye could see to the north and west. Being sadly disappointed, I headed further east in search of more Chalk Bluffs that could afford some good photography. I drove all the way to Sterling and could not find one bit of the plateau without windmills.
European countries have been pushing a green jobs agenda far longer than America. Matthew Kahn, professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, summarizes their record in the May/June issue of the centrist journal Foreign Policy. While "an optimist can certainly find success stories" in green job creation, Kahn concludes, there's no doubt that the "subsidies are costly," and that they not only "distort consumption and investment decisions" but result in "a less robust economy."
But the project -- which comes with a $400 million to $500 million price tag and is pending large amounts of research to determine its viability -- is not without skepticism. Jackson and the 35 other local residents formed the group to protest the initiative because, they say, preliminary preparations for the project herald a largely unattainable goal, pitting the university's contractor against a mychallenges. The group cited a number of problems that threaten the legitimacy of the project.
Area residents got to air out their opinions on small wind turbines during a public forum last week. About 50 people attended the April 30 forum to ask questions and voice their opinions regarding small wind generators. Several homeowners in the community have installed or are thinking about installing, small wind turbines to generate electricity at their residences. Community Development Director Bob Joseph presented a slide show of small wind turbines that are being installed in Europe.
Former Colorado State University President Larry Penley garnered national headlines when he announced the plan March 29, 2007, declaring the CSU Green Power Project would be under construction in two years, providing all of the university's power needs and a valuable teaching tool. But today, the university's partner in the project has not yet requested the permits necessary to build the facility at Maxwell Ranch north of Fort Collins and is still determining how to get the power to CSU and other customers.
Despite its high-minded claims of providing research opportunities and powering the entire CSU campus, she contended, the Green Power Project actually is a massive commercial enterprise focused on raking in revenues. The claim of powering CSU is a sham unto itself, Milligan maintained, because it's impossible to deliver the wind farm power directly to the university. Instead, she noted, it will go to the substation where the power can be transported anywhere in the nation.
Danish company Vestas is catching some head wind. The world's largest wind-turbine maker on Wednesday said it might reduce jobs and scale back capital spending in Colorado and the United States, unless orders pick up, according to Bloomberg News. Vestas CEO Ditlev Engel said orders from the U.S. "came to a standstill" after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September tightened credit for wind energy developers.
U.S. Forest Service officials had a tour scheduled Wednesday afternoon to show off to journalists a pair of recently installed wind turbines. But they had to cancel the tour when 100 mph winds damaged one of the turbines Tuesday night. "We were kind of tickled" by the irony, acknowledged Maribeth Pecotte, a spokeswoman in the Forest Service's Boulder Ranger District office. ...The turbine project is costing the Forest Service $171,568 over a 15-year financing contract, Pecotte said.
Xcel Energy (XEL), the largest utility in Colorado, is trying to settle a case with the state over allegations that it oversold wind energy credits between 2005 and 2007. An administrative law judge is looking at the $2.6 million proposed settlement, reported the Associated Press. Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission said Xcel sold more credits for wind energy generation than what it actually produced from wind farms in its Windsource program.
In the 20 years I have lived in Colorado, I have seen the transition from a growing, functional economy into an economy that increasingly relies on obscure, "politically correct" subsidies such as solar- and wind-power generation that are touted as solutions to our economic woes. ...these partisan policies are undermining Colorado's economy.
Xcel Energy will use $2.6 million in shareholder money for a proposed settlement following a state investigation into the utility's voluntary wind- energy program. Under the pending agreement, Xcel will refund $1.6 million this year to Windsource customers and spend another $1 million to purchase renewable-energy credits that will ensure customers receive the alternative power for which they pay a premium price.
Xcel Energy oversold wind energy credits as far back as 2000 for a program in which customers voluntarily pay a premium for wind-generated power, according to an investigation by Colorado Public Utilities Commission staff. A settlement is looming related to Xcel's excess collections for the Windsource program from 2005 to 2007, which was disclosed earlier this week.
Xcel Energy overcollected more than $1.5 million from customers who voluntarily pay a premium for wind- generated electricity, according to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission staff. From 2005 to 2007, the state's largest utility sold credits for more green power than it generated at the wind farms in its Windsource program. Xcel knew it would have a production shortfall in the program but "failed to act".
The city of Durango is pulling the plug on green power because of problems with green -- or money. ...The La Plata Electric Association charges 80 cents more per 100 kilowatt hours for electricity from solar and wind power. LeBlanc says that adds $45,000 to the city's annual electric bill.
The state needs to come up with nearly 5,000 megawatts of electricity to satisfy the needs of the state by 2025 ...Northeast Colorado has been rightly billed as a wind energy mecca. The problem is wind energy cannot be the end-all, according to Sonnenberg. Supporting a statement made earlier by CREA Executive Director Ray Clifton, Sonnenberg said wind energy resources are available only 10 to 35 percent of the time. "Even if we estimate liberally, we still will not meet the 4,500 megawatts by 2025," he said.
Despite the recession, Denver oilman Philip Anschutz is moving ahead with his Wyoming wind farm project. ..."Nothing has really changed. We're still pursuing the transmission line and the wind farm," said Jim Monaghan, an Anschutz spokesman. "There's no change in our plans."
Xcel Energy has asked regulators to increase the amount it can charge consumers to help recover the cost of renewable-energy generation. ...If approved, the increase would take effect Jan. 1 and increase typical residential bills by 33 cents a month.