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Green Power and Energy Efficiency Opportunities for Municipalities in Massachusetts

Synapse_energy_thumb The purpose of this report is to identify and characterize the range of options available to municipalities for purchasing green power and improving the efficiency with which electricity is consumed. Municipalities have several viable options for purchasing electricity in a fashion that is consistent with the energy, cost, and environmental goals of the community. Municipalities are in a better position to achieve certain policy goals than are individual customers through their collective buying power. A municipality’s advantage lies in the size of its electricity load, in the potential for more sophisticated decision-making than individual customers can apply, and in the potential for reflecting more of the public interest in the decision-making process.
22 May 2002

Insects can halve wind-turbine power

Insect_debris_thumb This short report discusses the impact of insect debris build-up on turbine blades and the resulting reduction in performance. Questions remain regarding how the blades are cleaned, whether detergents or chemicals are used in cleaning, the source of water to be used during the process, and whether the waste water is treated.
5 Jul 2001

Darmstadt Manifesto

Darmstadt_manifesto_thumb Issued on September 1, 1998 by The Initiative Group and signed by more than 100 German University professors, the Darmstadt Manifesto On the Exploitation of Wind Energy in Germany demands the withdrawal of all direct and indirect subsidies in order to put a stop to the exploitation of wind energy. The manifesto claims that the exploitation of wind energy promotes the type of technology which is of no significance whatever for the purpose of supplying energy, saving resources and protecting the climate. The money could be put to far more effective use in increasing the efficiency of power stations, in ensuring effective energy consumption and in funding scientific research into fundamental principles in the field of energy. The Darmstadt Manifesto is directed in particular at politicians, environmental organisations and the media.
1 Sep 1998

The Sacred Hills

The Sacred Hills, by Don Coldsmith, a Bantam Books paperback, copyright 1998. Courtesy Protect The Flint Hills website. For whatever reason, perhaps because we feel closer to the divine or perhaps from a hill we can see farther and with greater clarity, human beings of all cultures seem spiritually drawn to high places. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help,” sang the psalmist: for Looks Far that statement was literally true. It was from a hilltop that the bison stampede both destroyed his enemies and provided winter food for his tribe. More important, it was the Sacred Hills that brought together, for the first time, two warring tribes; love for land proved stronger than human animosities. The Flint Hills were indeed a holy place for the People.
2 Jan 1998

Mountaineer (WV) Before

Mountaineer_before_thumb Site of a portion of the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in 1997, five years before the start of construction. This is a digital color infrared photograph, which explains the odd coloration. The red areas are the conifer tree species (spruce, pine and hemlock) which are highly reflective of infrared light. The photo was taken during the winter so the brown areas depict the bare deciduous forest, mostly northern hardwoods — maple, birch, cherry, and northern red oak. The green bar at lower left is a 100m [328 foot] scale. This study area was chosen to compare before and after conditions, illustrating the impact of this type of development. Jon Boone's Comments regarding Mountaineer (WV) Before (this image), Mountaineer (WV) After (1), and Mountaineer (WV) After (2). The first two images (i.e. Before and After 1) show the extensive forest-interior habitat that existed before the windplant was constructed and the resulting impacts following construction in late 2002. The third image (i.e. After 2) shows the southern half of the windplant (about 22 turbines) and identifies the boundaries of the study area for the pre- vs. post-construction analysis. It also shows that the study area I chose was fairly representative of the existing habitat conditions at this windplant and gives a better view of the magnitude of the development’s impacts on forest and especially forest-interior habitat. [Forest interior is the type of habitat that exists at more than 100 meters from a clearing. Forest interior is required for the survival of certain species and is the type of habitat most easily destroyed by any form of development.] On the portion of the site that I analyzed, the construction of this wind factory cleared over 42 acres of forest for the string of eight turbines (out of 44) that I analyzed. The extensive fragmentation of habitat resulting from the 50-ft-wide service road and the 5+ acres (average) that were bulldozed to erect each turbine caused the loss of over 150 acres of forest-interior conditions within this once-contiguous forest tract. My estimate is that a complete analysis of the entire project area, including 5.5 miles of ridgetop and 44 turbines, would find a total of nearly 200 acres of forest were cleared and over 750 acres of forest-interior habitat was lost following construction of the Mountaineer wind energy facility.
1 Jan 1997

Controversy over Maine approval

But the most eyebrow raising turn of events took place in June when King's conservation commissioner, Ronald Lovaglio, replaced LURC staffers who gave Kenetech's project a negative review. They had pointed out that the potential impact on the fragile mountainous soils and endangered birds were serious project flaws. Following the staff replacements, another LURC employee resigned, protesting against heavy-handed tactics.
1 Sep 1995

Wind Energy Potential in the United States

Nwtc_about_the_program_-_wind_resource_-_wind_energy_potential_thumb Although the nation's wind potential is very large, only part of it can be exploited economically. The economic viability of wind power will vary from utility to utility. Important factors not addressed in this study that influence land availability and wind electric potential include production/demand match (seasonal and daily), transmission and access constraints, public acceptance, and other technological and institutional constraints. Editor's Note: Though dated, this is a worthwhile read if read carefully.
1 Sep 1993

Wind Power: Capacity Factor, Intermittency, and what happens when the wind doesn’t blow?

Rerl_fact_sheet_2a_capacity_factor_thumb Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in moving air into rotational energy, which in turn is converted to electricity. Since wind speeds vary from month to month and second to second, the amount of electricity wind can make varies constantly. Sometimes a wind turbine will make no power at all. This variability does affect the value of the wind power……Editor’s Note: This ‘fact sheet’ is, on the whole, a comparatively fair report. The definitions provided for capacity factor, efficiency, reliability, dispatchability, and availability are useful. Its discussion of back-up generation, marginal emissions and Germany & Denmark, however, is disingenuous as is, to a lesser degree, its discussion of capacity factor and availability. IWA's comments (updated October '06) on these issues follow selected extracts from the 'fact sheet' below.
1 Jan 1970
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