Library filed under Pollution
While capturing wind energy with Suzlon's giant wind turbine blades didn't pollute, the manufacturer of the equipment did, according to a consent agreement between Suzlon and the MPCA that was filed in Pipestone County District Court. The agreement detailed violations involving air quality, hazardous waste, solid waste and the handling of storm water runoff.
Wind power has the potential to reduce emissions associated with conventional electricity generation. Using detailed, systemic hourly data of wind generation and emissions from plants in ERCOT (Texas), CAISO (California), and MISO (Upper Midwest), we estimate the SO2, NOx and CO2 emissions offset by wind generation in those territories. Our estimation strategy implicitly captures both the marginal unit of generation displaced by wind on the electrical grid, and the marginal emissions reduction from that displaced unit. Our results reveal substantial variation in emissions reduction by territory, which appear to be strongly driven by differences in the existing generation mix. While the environmental benefits from emissions reductions in the Upper Midwest roughly cover government subsidies for wind generation, environmental benefits in Texas and California fall short. Finally, we provide back-of-the-envelope calculations for the average national reductions in emissions per megawatt-hour of wind energy.
Supporters and opponents of commercial-scale wind energy projects on Vermont's ridgelines use a lot of statistics and facts to argue their very different sides of the debate. So it's difficult to sort out how much carbon pollution might be cut if there were big wind turbines in the mountains. As part of a series on the future of wind energy in Vermont, VPR's John Dillon explains the complexities.
The reality is that, as Britain flaunts its environmental credentials by speckling its coastlines and unspoiled moors and mountains with thousands of wind turbines, it is contributing to a vast man-made lake of poison in northern China. This is the deadly and sinister side of the massively profitable rare-earths industry that the ‘green' companies profiting from the demand for wind turbines would prefer you knew nothing about.
Rare earth metals are key to global efforts to switch to cleaner energy -- from batteries in hybrid cars to magnets in wind turbines. Mining and processing the metals causes environmental damage that China, the biggest producer, is no longer willing to bear.
Annette Smith, the head of Vermonters for a Clean Environment (VCE), the only green group opposing wind power in Vermont (the other, Energize Vermont, is really a VCE spinoff) said she had spent a lot of time discussing the wind issue with officials of the other environmental groups, and suspects that one reason they are all so pro-wind is that a few of them have some financial connections with wind power companies.
The construction of industrial-scale wind turbines on forested mountain ridges will result in cumulative negative impacts to our regional water resources. The forested mountain ridges are the areas which receive the greatest amounts of precipitation and therefore serve as the most important areas for groundwater recharge and for maintenance of aquatic habitats in the headwaters of streams that are at the base of the aquatic food chain.
The construction of offshore wind turbines south of Kingsville could threaten the safety of drinking water for 60,000 people, says Union Water System advisory board manager John Kehoe. Kehoe said the construction could cause weeks of turbidity in the water. If the plant can't filter the muddy water and be sure it is getting out pathogens such as E. coli, it could be shut down, Kehoe said.
The report says that the greatly increased use of wind energy in the past few years may have raised pollution levels from coal and natural gas-fueled power plants owned by Xcel Energy Inc. That's because the frequent change in output asked of power plants, in response to the availability of wind and solar power, adds to pollution, the report says.
Individual members of the grassroots group Ridge Protectors Inc., filed an appeal in Vermont's Environmental Court arguing that more ground would be disturbed by the Sheffield wind facility than was approved in the storm water discharge permit issued by the State's Agency of Natural Resources (ANR). The wind developer, First Wind has been approved by the Vermont Public Service Board to erect sixteen 2.5 megawatt wind turbines along a ridgeline in Sheffield, Vermont. The final brief filed by the Ridge Protector appellants can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. An excerpt of the brief is posted below.
At what point does it become a matter of personal responsibility to stand up and speak out to preserve the priceless beauty and health of a God-given resource that once irreversibly damaged by corporate and political greed can never be replaced? ...Now after the introduction of industrial-scale wind turbines and high voltage switchyards and transformers to Sheldon, and the dumping of thousands of tons of industrial waste from the 100 year-old industrial steel site into the agricultural fields where food is grown or cattle graze ... we choose to exercise our rights as a democratic society and therefore stand up and speak out as necessary to preserve this land that is the Orangeville that we love.
Photographs taken at Meridian's West Wind project above the Makara coastline show how sediment has been overflowing from the construction site. The photos were taken by marine environmentalist Jim Mikoz, who wrote an article in the NZ Fishing Coast to Coast magazine with the headline: The dirt behind wind turbines.. your fishing is at serious risk. In response to the article, Meridian wrote a letter to the editor stating that there would be no mud runoff into the sea from its construction site.
This time the focus is Kibby Mountain in western Maine where Transcanada is in the process of developing a wind power project, and where related logging operations by Plum Creek and a sub-contractor have been linked to serious land use violations. Pictures taken at the site by an independent engineering firm and provided to the Land Use Regulation Commission in late October show a logging road so damaged by rain, logging activity and erosion that it created a mudslide described as nearly 900 feet long.
Despite the impending layoff of 184 blade production employees, Gamesa Inc. will install new equipment at its Falls plant as it moves forward with other areas of production. ...The DEP discovered several violations at the plant and Gamesa was forced to pay $639,161 in state penalties. A compliance consent order was issued to ensure the installation of the oxidizer.
The company building the wind plant on Wolfe Island has withdrawn an appeal it had launched to avoid being held responsible for a diesel spill that occurred last fall. Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. had appealed to the Environmental Review Tribunal, an independent provincial agency, after failing to comply with a director's order the Ministry of the Environment issued as a result of the spill. The firm launched the appeal in an effort to have its name removed from the order.
With two pipes beneath a road clogged in Noxen, Supervisor Carl Shook is concerned about runoff from a proposed wind farm in Wyoming County. "There is going to be a lot of water running off the mountain," Shook said. Shook was one of about 30 people last Wednesday who attended a public hearing ...The state Department of Environmental Protection held the hearing to receive public comment as it reviews an application from BP for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
Although the DEC has cleared the use of slag on wind farm access roads, the state Department of Agriculture and Markets has concerns. In a Sept. 8 letter to Invenergy regarding the High Sheldon Wind Farm, Agriculture Specialist Michael J. Saviola said ...the Department does not support the use of any adulterated industrial byproduct material (such as steel slag) as road base on, or adjacent to, structural lands used for the production of food and/or forage crops," Saviola wrote.
Ireland's failure to insist on environmental impact assessments before major development projects are carried out will be scrutinised by the European Court of Justice on Thursday. The European Commission brought an action against Ireland in May 2006, claiming that the government had failed to comply with its obligations under the 1985 Impact Assessment Directive. ...The commission alleged that ‘‘particular deficiencies'' in relation to environmental impact assessments for a wind farm at Derrybrien, Co Galway, amounted to ‘‘a manifest breach of the directive''. Work began on the 60-megawatt windfarm in July 2003. About 90 per cent of the site roads on the 300-hectare site and half the bases of the 71 wind turbines had been completed when a landslide occurred on October 16, 2003. The landslide destroyed trees, fisheries and an empty house, and blocked two roads, but nobody was hurt.
SILT run-off during the construction of a wind farm is believed to be the source responsible for the wiping out of valuable vegetation and a colossal decrease in wild Brown Trout fish stocks in one of Tyrone's hidden beauty spots. ...One source described the fish caught as "feeble and malnourished" and indicated that the "damage to the rare genetic strain was irreparable." Lough Lee has long been considered by angling tourists as one of the most unique freshwater fishing sites in Ireland or Britain. ...problems arose during the construction of the 9MW wind farm by leading company Airtricity, who was given planning permission to position turbines on the slope of Bin Mountain facing and in close proximity to the Lough.
With all the supposed truths out there about global warming, here's one that doesn't get reported very often. Europe isn't the climate-change champion that its leaders, and their American apologists, would have you believe.........European policy makers have plenty of motivation to goad Washington into going along with their approach before too many people realize it isn't working. At a summit in March, EU national leaders dramatically raised the stakes by pledging a 20% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020. That's a real laugher considering their scant chances of meeting their Kyoto commitment of 8% by 2012. Their move is best seen as a bluff intended to pressure the U.S. into the game. Here in Europe, the grand gesture is always the most appealing play.