Wind Power in Pennsylvania: It Isn’t Easy Being Green

The generation of electricity by wind is a growing industry in Pennsylvania. While wind energy is certainly an attractive alternative to the pollution produced by fossil fuel power plants, all potential environmental impacts must be measured if electricity produced this way is to truly qualify as “green energy.” Surprisingly, only minimal environmental studies need to be done to site a wind farm in Pennsylvania. Improper siting of some wind farms in the U.S. has impacted migratory bird, resident bird, and bat populations. We present bird-impaction data from an industrial facility 30 km south of a proposed wind farm in Luzurne County, Pennsylvania, that suggest caution in the blind embrace of this energy technology. Siting decisions are made at the local government levels and are primarily based on economic incentives. We argue (a) that this energy alternative must incorporate robust site-specific impaction studies at each wind farm to demonstrate effects throughout the Commonwealth, and (b) that local government officials be given the guidance necessary to encourage and provide environmental oversight to wind farms in their areas.
1 Jul 2005

Wind Farms: Frequently Asked (Legal) Questions

In community after community where industrial-scale "wind farms" have been proposed, mundane and sparsely-attended board meetings have been transformed into standing-room-only affairs. Residents and property owners are anxious to know whether rumored plans to construct twenty, fifty or even a hundred of the 400-foot tall wind turbines are "a done deal." Most significantly, the electorate wants to know the extent to which their town has the power to decide whether or not wind farms will dominate their rural landscape. /p
30 Jun 2005

Greenhouse Hypocrisy

Robert Samuelson writes in the Washington Post: "Almost a decade ago I suggested that global warming would become a "gushing" source of political hypocrisy. So it has. Politicians and scientists constantly warn of the grim outlook, and the subject is on the agenda of the upcoming Group of Eight summit of world economic leaders. But all this sound and fury is mainly exhibitionism -- politicians pretending they're saving the planet. The truth is that, barring major technological advances, they can't (and won't) do much about global warming. It would be nice if they admitted that, though this seems unlikely."
29 Jun 2005

The Truth: Industrial Wind Power is NOT the Answer

The_truth_wind_power_is_not_the_answer_thumb Londonderry (VT) resident, Hugh Kemper, wrote this paper to alert fellow residents to the probable impact on Londonderry's character and the quality of residents' lives of a proposed 27 turbine wind plant along 3.5 miles of Glebe Mountain's ridgeline. The paper argues that industrial wind energy is, at best, a symbolic gesture to halting climate change and a financial windfall for developers while the costs to Londonderry's environment, economy and quality-of-life are significant.
24 Jun 2005

Letter to Steuben County (NY) re. Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement by Ecogen, LLC for Prattsburgh/Italy Wind Farm

Bbbo-ecogenresponse_thumb I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors for the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory concerning the recent EIS issued for the Prattsburgh/Italy Wind Farm.....All BBBO Board members are trained ornithologists with extensive knowledge about local breeding and migratory birds. In addition, the Board has considerable expertise in methodologies and techniques used to assess and census breeding and migratory bird use of the local landscape (e.g. radar, breeding and migratory bird surveys, bird banding, population demographic, etc).... BBBO’s Board of Directors was surprised and shocked to see our organization’s data used in Ecogen’s EIS. We were not informed or consulted about the use of our data and, furthermore, we were not sent a copy of the draft EIS to review.
16 Jun 2005

Amended Direct Testimony of Kevin L. Zarem, MAI, Before the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin

Zarem_amended_tesitmony_wisconsin_public_service_commission_thumb Q. Even considering all of those factors or weaknesses, what is your conclusion regarding the impact on residential property values from the proposed project? A. Under certain circumstances as described in my report, the negative impact may be similar. Also, in significant view loss situations, as described in my report, I would conclude that, within a reasonable degree of professional certainty, land values may be negatively impacted 17% - 20%. Editor's Note: Mr. Zarem argues that the appropriate methodology for estimating the 'view' impact of industrial wind turbines on property values is 'paired data analysis'- defined in the The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal as: “A quantitative technique used to identify and measure adjustments to the sale prices or rents of comparable properties; to apply this technique, sales or rental data on nearly identical properties are analyzed to isolate a single characteristic’s effect on value or rent.” In the absence of relevant view/turbine data, he derived an alternative paired data analysis for determining view impacts on property values due to wind turbines from Transmission Line view impacts on the prices of single-family residential lots in paired data isolating the effects of view loss due to Transmission Lines exist in the marketplace to reach reasonable conclusions as to market tendencies. This data isolates impacts due to view loss associated with Transmission Lines.
10 Jun 2005

Towards A Wind Energy Climatology At Advanced Turbine Hub Heights

Nrel_wind_energy_climatology_thumb NREL has started to analyze the wind climatology at advanced turbine hub heights based on data measured on existing tall towers in Kansas, Indiana, and Minnesota. The highest measurement level at these towers was 90–110 m. There are two significant findings from the analysis: (1) the difference in wind resource at tall tower sites in the central United States seems to be controlled by the strength of the noctural and southerly winds; and (2) the average wind shear exponent of 50-100 m at tall towers in the central United States is influenced by strong southerly winds and is significantly higher than the 0.143 often used for conservative estimates of the wind resource at turbine hub height.
1 Jun 2005

Working Paper: Utility-scale Wind Power: Impacts of Increased Penetration

Dti3_20robin_20oakley_20atl_1__thumb This working paper is made available by the Resource and Environmental economics and Policy Analysis (REPA) Research Group at the University of Victoria. REPA working papers have not been peer reviewed and contain preliminary research findings. They shall not be cited without the expressed written consent of the author(s). Editor's Note: The authors’ conclusion regarding ‘effective capacity’, i.e. the measure of a generator’s contribution to system reliability that is tied to meeting peak loads, is that it “is difficult to generalize, as it is a highly site-specific quantity determined by the correlation between wind resource and load” and that ‘values range from 26 % to 0% of rated capacity.” This conclusion is based, in part, on a 2003 study by the California Energy Commission that estimated that three wind farm aggregates- Altamont, San Gorgonio and Tehachpi, which collectively represent 75% of California’s deployed wind capacity- had relative capacity credits of 26.0%, 23.9% and 22.0% respectively. It is noteworthy that during California’s Summer ’06 energy crunch, as has been widely publicized in the press, wind power produced at 254.6 MW (10.2% of wind’s rated capacity of 2,500MW) at the time of peak demand (on July 24th) and over the preceding seven days (July 17-23) produced at 89.4 to 113.0 MW, averaging only 99.1 MW at the time of peak demand or just 4% of rated capacity.
1 Jun 2005

Wind Power Facility Siting Case Studies: Community Response

National_wind_coordinating_committee_siting_studies_thumb BBC Research & Consulting's 2005 report for the National Wind Coordinating Committee that studies 9 wind plant sitings in an effort to identify circumstances that distinguish welcomed projects from projects that were not accepted by communities.
1 Jun 2005

Man Made Myth: Is Global Warming Mankind's Deadliest Creation- You Decide

Kyotomanmademythiee_thumb Billions of dollars are being spent to stop so-called manmade global warming. Already we have been told "it is a bigger threat to manking than international terrorism", with runaway warming, rises in sea levels and increases in the number of floods, hurricanes, droughts and tropical diseases predicted. Faced with this, a pragmatic technological society might decide it would get best value for money by modernising existing inefficient coal-fired stations, building nuclear power stations and efficient transport. But instead, we have poured sources into renewables.
1 Jun 2005

It’s Easy Being Green a Vermonter, I’m for preserving our ridgelines (as Act 250 was designed to do) and our natural landscapes. The integrity of our environment is not only a source of our strength and pride it is also critical to our economic wellbeing. It makes no sense to sacrifice who and what we are and what we have for no useful purpose.
31 May 2005
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