Article

Reality falls short of expectations

Last week, the New England Governors' Conference raised green fantasy to new heights with the release of its Renewable Energy Blueprint, which said the region "has a significant quantity of untapped renewable resources, on the order of over 10,000 MW combined of on-shore and off-shore wind power potential." Neither the report nor the news articles about it bothered to do the math. At 7 MW, New England would need 1,429 E-126s to tap that potential. Though the turbines likely would be clustered in "farms," that's an average of 238 per state, or more than one for each town in Connecticut. The cost would be $221 billion that the states don't have, though they might get a bulk-purchase discount of a billion or two.

The Enercon E-126 is purported to be the world's largest wind turbine. Wind-power advocates say it's rated at 6 megawatts, but most likely will produce 7, or enough to power 1,776 - that's the spirit! - American homes.

The E-126 also is a NIMBYs nightmare. Now under development in Europe, the E-126 stands an imposing 650 feet - the tallest building in New England, Boston's John Hancock Tower, is 790 - and has three, 413-foot blades. Each E-126 goes for $15.5 million, installed, and comes with an engineered base that is 100 feet across and 13 feet thick to keep the wind from blowing the tower over. Because of the E-126's immensity, the world's largest crawler-type crane is required to assemble it.

Last week, the New England Governors' Conference raised green fantasy to new heights with the release of its Renewable Energy Blueprint, which said the region "has a significant quantity of untapped renewable resources, on the order of over 10,000 MW combined of on-shore and off-shore wind power potential." Neither the report nor the news articles about it bothered to do the math. At 7 MW, New England would need 1,429 E-126s to tap that potential. Though the turbines likely would be clustered in... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Enercon E-126 is purported to be the world's largest wind turbine. Wind-power advocates say it's rated at 6 megawatts, but most likely will produce 7, or enough to power 1,776 - that's the spirit! - American homes.

The E-126 also is a NIMBYs nightmare. Now under development in Europe, the E-126 stands an imposing 650 feet - the tallest building in New England, Boston's John Hancock Tower, is 790 - and has three, 413-foot blades. Each E-126 goes for $15.5 million, installed, and comes with an engineered base that is 100 feet across and 13 feet thick to keep the wind from blowing the tower over. Because of the E-126's immensity, the world's largest crawler-type crane is required to assemble it.

Last week, the New England Governors' Conference raised green fantasy to new heights with the release of its Renewable Energy Blueprint, which said the region "has a significant quantity of untapped renewable resources, on the order of over 10,000 MW combined of on-shore and off-shore wind power potential." Neither the report nor the news articles about it bothered to do the math. At 7 MW, New England would need 1,429 E-126s to tap that potential. Though the turbines likely would be clustered in "farms," that's an average of 238 per state, or more than one for each town in Connecticut. The cost would be $221 billion that the states don't have, though they might get a bulk-purchase discount of a billion or two.

Of course, the governors could go with more conventional 400-foot, 2 MW windmills; then, only 5,000 would be required, or five per town in Connecticut, for $12.5 billion that the states don't have. That still doesn't change the reality that Optiwind got run out of Goshen when it proposed a comparatively modest turbine because, as one foe put it: "When I look out my window, I want to see an unobstructed view of the hills, not a 200-foot concrete-and-steel monstrosity. And when I open that window, I want to hear the birds singing, not be tortured by the 24/7 whine of an enormous turbine." Now imagine her reaction to an E-126. But the governors' report barely nodded to the NIMBYism, noting only the "siting challenges" ahead.

Even if the states could overcome the siting and cost, other NIMBYs and Attorney General-for-Life Richard Blumenthal would fight to their last breath the special transmission lines needed to deliver the electricity to consumers. And nothing in the 47-page report addresses the clear-cutting of forests, the construction of access roads, the effects on property values and public health, the almost certain need for government to exercise eminent domain to seize property, or even the unreliability of wind power.

Still, the governors are so sold on this plan that they believe these windmills would allow the states to retire "existing coal- and oil-fired generation within New England without a meaningful impact on marginal energy prices" and perhaps generate a surplus of wind power that would permit the region to become a net exporter of energy. Like we said, fantasy.

One last point: After many decades of intensive, mostly government-subsidized research and development, it would take 175 of the most advanced windmills in the world spread out over 850 square miles to produce the same amount of juice as the Millstone 3 nuclear-power plant. But only when the wind blows.

Doesn't New England have some brilliant governors?


Source: http://www.rep-am.com/artic...

SEP 20 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/22267-reality-falls-short-of-expectations
back to top