Articles filed under General from Colorado
Bats, not birds, might be more at risk from a wind tower at the top of the Snowmass ski area, according to a local forest service official. The blades of three potential turbines the Aspen Skiing Co. and the Forest Service are considering placing up from the Big Burn chairlift could be more deadly to bats if the agencies are required to place a light on the tower for aviation purposes, according to Jim Stark, winter recreation supervisor for the White River National Forest. The light could attract insects and therefore bats, he said.
Representatives from the Public Service Company of Colorado updated the city's Planning, Economic Development and Redevelopment Policy Committee Aug. 28 on plans for the Pawnee/Smoky Hill Transmission Line, a channel that would enter Aurora from the east just south of Quincy Avenue and end at the Smoky Hill power substation near south Gun Club Road. ...The proposed 345-kilovolt line would replace the current 230-kilovolt line and would originate in rural northeast Colorado, drawing on wind and solar energy sources.
An experiment to gauge the viability of wind turbines at the top of Snowmass Ski Area is expected to begin by the end of August, according to the U.S. Forest Service. A 164-foot tower equipped with four anemometers is en route to Snowmass Village and will be placed at the top of the Big Burn to start gathering data on wind speeds ...Nearly everyone agrees that visual impacts should be minimized and that a full-blown wind farm with multiple turbines wouldn't be appropriate. Forest officials also want to keep turbines away from land designated as wilderness, where permanent human presence isn't allowed.
The wind turbine erected in Wray in February contained a lemon of a power converter that hasn't been able to deliver the promised kilowatts, says Ron Howard, the superintendent of the town's school district that had the clean-energy windmill installed. ...The turbine was praised at a news conference in April featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the congresswoman from San Francisco, and Leah Daughtry, chief executive of the Democratic National Convention Committee, as an example of what carbon credits purchase.
For an East Coast liberal hoping to make it to Denver for next month's Democratic National Convention, air or car travel can create quite the carbon-foot printed nightmare. While the DNCC has attempted to help limit the number of guilty consciences by offering to sell delegates carbon credits alleged to help offset damage to mother earth, it turns out that a primary source of these credits is a sham. ...an eastern Colorado wind turbine "tapped for the [DNC's] carbon-offset problem has one problem: It doesn't generate any electricity."
The eastern Colorado wind turbine tapped for the Democratic National Convention's carbon-offset program has one problem: It doesn't generate any electricity. Convention organizers are now being questioned for their eagerness to market those credits to delegates. ...Despite the fact the wind turbine does not produce energy, that hasn't stopped the district from cashing in on the project. In addition to the carbon credits sold to the DNC and others through NativeEnergy, Howard says the district receives downtime compensation from Americas Wind Energy, Inc., the firm that built the apparatus. "The money that we're making isn't necessarily coming from production," he said.
Several years ago the Aspen Skiing Co. examined its four ski mountains and concluded that winds on top are just too gusty for wind turbines. Wind is best for producing electricity when it's strong but steady. But turbines are now strong enough to withstand blasts of 120 mph. If gusts that are even stronger arrive, new designs allow blades to fold. And so a 165-foot tower with a propeller is soon to be erected atop Snowmass, to better measure the wind potential there.
Colorado has lost out on a bid for a Vestas Wind Systems research center. Vestas, which opened a major blade-manufacturing plant earlier this year in Windsor, announced Monday it will locate the research facility in Houston. Colorado was the other finalist, according to Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.
FPL had invited all the landowners with which they currently have leases. "We just wanted to let people know we haven't forgotten them," said Mary Wells, communications specialist for FPL Energy. Each guest was given a sheet of paper and asked to write their name and address. At the bottom of the paper was space for comments. Company officials encouraged people to write down their comments, whether good or bad. They were assured that every single comment will be read and considered.
Windmills that Vail Resorts recently proposed to put at Eagle's Nest atop Vail Mountain are little more than "toys," one energy expert said. "They would have trouble running a 10th Mountain hut," said Randy Udall, former director of Aspen's Community Office for Resource Efficiency, in an e-mail, referring to the backcountry cabins near Vail. The new proposal significantly downsizes a 2003 plan that would have put four 100-foot-tall, 100-kilowatt windmills on Ptarmigan Ridge above the Back Bowls, creating enough power to run four chairlifts. ...The $400,000 windmills proposed in 2003 would have powered four chairlifts and paid for themselves within a decade, Vail Associates said. But the company withdrew the proposal shortly after it was proposed. The reasons are unclear, although the Division of Wildlife expressed concerns about dangers to birds. The project would have needed approval from the U.S. Forest Service, which owns most of Vail Mountain. "We decided not to pursue the 2003 wind turbine proposal for a variety of reasons that seemed relevant and practical at the time," ...
The coal burning power plant at Rawhide constructed 25 years ago provides PRPA with 70 percent of its energy needs. Of the remaining gap, 17 percent is generated through hydro projects in scattered locations with the remaining 13 percent gained by natural gas, wind and power purchases made from surrounding utilities. Pending federal carbon tax legislation could make coal plant operations increasingly more costly forcing many utilities, including PRPA, to turn to cleaner, albeit more expensive, energy forms suc wind. Historically, PRPA has bolstered its renewable portfolio through the purchase of renewable energy credits, or RECs, that allow it to invest in wind farms owned by others who pay for main-tenance and repairs. If a carbon tax were instituted, PRPA would not get credit for RECs and would only see benefit from its homegrown Medicine Bow wind project built nearly a decade ago. Last year, wind power generated 1 percent of PRPA's total energy, Moeck said. ..."Basically we're becoming more dependent on electricity every day, Troxell said. "It's not simply the plasma screens and air conditioners, either. We live in a digital world that is powered by electricity ..."
The company, owned by local Gerry Dameron, has sold renewable energy credits to individuals and businesses across Boulder County ...to allow the companies to offset their electricity use with clean renewable energy. ...Because it's difficult for a customer to know if the money they pay companies like Clean and Green actually make it back to the wind farms, most reputable brokers are certified by a third party. Dameron decided last fall not to renew third-party certification for his company's wind credits or file the proper annual paperwork with the Colorado Department of State. ...Besides acting as president of Clean and Green, Dameron is also president of Patriot Wind, another local company with the goal to "deliver 50+ successful wind-energy projects to progressive communities in the U.S. over the coming 10 years," according to the company's Web site. On Friday, the answering machine at Patriot Wind answered, "Hello, you've reached Village Power."
Green-e, the company hired by PRPA to track renewable energy credits, said it can't guarantee PRPA funds are actually going to targeted renewable projects. Renewable Energy Credits are essentially tradable certificates of proof that one kWh of electricity has been generated by a renewable source. Green-e, owned by the Center for Resource Solutions, audits the sale of renewable energy credits, ensuring that the value green electricity has on the environment is only purchased once through the sale of credits. But the company cannot verify money going to the owners of renewable energy projects such as Shell is actually being invested in the energy project and not going into the general fund.
Developers will take bids from power generators, distributors and others for space on a proposed power line to transmit electricity from eastern Wyoming to the Colorado Front Range. Developers of the "Wyoming-Colorado Intertie" project will hold an open-season auction in June, hoping to collect commitments for up to 900 megawatts of transmission. Wyoming wind-generated power is expected to make up a significant portion of the power committed to the line, according to officials. If the June auction is successful, the line could be built and put into operation by mid-2013.
Much needs to be determined, but the potential for an El Paso County wind farm already has some elected officials and residents discussing what role - if any - local lands and workers might play in the future of alternative energy. "It is not really up to me; it is up to the property owners," said Commissioner Amy Lathen, whose district would house the wind farm. "Some are very excited about it, and in others we have had owners ask us not to do that. Otherwise, obviously, it is another source of power and it generates that power and revenue for those property owners. And that is all great." Opposition to the project could be fierce. ...Clipper's turbines are 2.5 megawatts, some of the largest on the market.
Some components on Vestas Wind Systems-manufactured wind turbines at Platte River Power Authority's Medicine Bow Wind Project are failing more than 15 years earlier than expected, according to PRPA. Since the Medicine Bow, which is in southern Wyoming, went online in 1998, 30 major outages have occurred on the wind farm's nine turbines due to component failure, said John Bleem, PRPA division manager. Although outages vary, Bleem said repairs have led to turbines being down for as long as three months and costing as much as $100,000 - paid for by Vestas under its manufacturer warranty set to expire in 2011.
Clean and Green is one of many brokers in the United States selling renewable energy credits, or RECs, which allow customers with no direct access to wind power to buy the environmental benefits of renewable energy produced elsewhere. But at the end of last year, the Boulder-based company dropped its nationally recognized certification that lets customers know they're actually getting what they're buying. ...Clean and Green has no problem with the certification program, Executive Director Gerry Dameron said, but couldn't justify the cost anymore. "We called Green-e and said, 'Look, we appreciate what you guys do, and we'd love to be Green-e certified in the future, but we can't afford all the fees," he said. "We can't afford to spend $6,000 a year. Our company has never made a profit, and I've never drawn a salary, not one dime."
The Fort Collins City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night that will allow Platte River Power Authority to put two 60-meter meteorological towers on the city's Meadow Springs Ranch property to collect detailed wind-speed and other weather data during an 18-month period as PRPA investigates potential wind sites. ..."Wherever the wind is located, there is still a very complex transmission system that needs to be put in place," she said. "Putting the (meteorological) towers up is very preliminary to see if there is potential for a wind (farm) up there ... It's still far away at this point."
Austin Energy customers are one reason the agency is moving ahead so rapidly, he said. They're willing to pay more for renewables - so much so, the program had to close when all the energy was spoken for. When the program reopened this month, most of the available energy sold out within the first week to industrial companies, despite a price difference of 2 cents per kilowatt hour. ...He also noted that adding renewables doesn't change customer expectations. "They expect near-perfect reliability," he said, "and they expect it at a low price." Springs Utilities, which is heavily reliant on coal to power its electric plants, had planned to build another coal plant within the next decade. But in the past six months, City Council members have said they want to delay the plant or cut its size by supplementing with renewables or managing demand better. Councilman Randy Purvis, who attended Wednesday's session, said Colorado Springs customers are like Austin's - they've said on surveys they're willing to pay more for alternatives, such as wind. But so far, Springs Utilities has offered only a small amount of wind, about 1 megawatt, and sells it to customers who sign up to pay more.
While there are some small hydroelectric generation projects in Colorado, the bulk of renewable energy is provided by wind turbines. Under the law, solar electric is required to meet at least 4 percent of the renewable energy for investor-owned utilities. "The problem is, the wind doesn't blow all the time and the sun doesn't shine all the time," said Gary Schmitz, chief economist for the Energy Forum. "The purpose of the study was to look at how many of these will we have to build to get that amount of energy." The answer is somewhere between 1,700 and 2,000 more wind turbines that produce between 1.5 and 2 megawatts each, or roughly five times current numbers. Solar capacity would have to increase about sixfold from current levels. Power providers say they can reach those levels without much economic disruption, although requiring larger amounts of renewable energy would begin to strain financial resources, Smith said.