Articles from Colorado

Ropin' the wind

Greenblatt noted that while wind power could produce impressive amounts of peak energy during strong gusts, the biggest problem was wind power’s intermittency. The problem could be addressed by a process called compressed air energy storage, where excess energy could be used to pump compressed air into underground storage facilities that could include abandoned mines. When the wind was not blowing, he said, the compressed air could be tapped and combined with the burning of natural gas to create high-efficiency electrical generators approximating the efficiency levels of coal-fueled power plants.
10 Nov 2006

Whole Foods selling credits for electricity

Want wind power? Just walk to the nearest Whole Foods and buy a Wind Power card. Whole Foods, one of the nation’s largest wind power purchasers, will sell wind power cards beginning today. The cards, priced at $5 and $15, will be issued by Renewable Choice Energy, the same Boulder company that sells wind power to Whole Foods. “This represents a brand new step in allowing a point of entry for any residential customer around the country to start getting used to renewable energy,” said Renewable Choice CEO Quayle Hodek. For $15, a customer can buy a wind power card worth 750 kilowatt hours - enough to power an average home for a month. For $5, a customer can buy a card for 250 kilowatt hours.
1 Nov 2006

Electrical worries looming - Utility execs fret about the future

When the country thinks about its energy problems, it often focuses on our dependence on foreign oil and the recent high prices of gasoline. Petroleum provides 40 percent of our energy and is particularly vulnerable to geopolitical swings in unstable regions of the world. But utility executives worry that Americans are failing to appreciate another aspect of the energy picture, namely that the power plants using coal, natural gas and nuclear power to produce electricity may soon not meet our growing needs. "My biggest fear is that we are running out of generation," said Michael G. Morris, chairman and chief executive of American Electric Power, with 5 million customers in 11 states. "That is an issue that the average person doesn't know a thing about. When we tell corporate America, they say, 'What do you mean you're running out of power?"' The executives' concern is echoed by the North American Electric Reliability Council, which last week said in its annual report that in two to three years, the margin between power supply and demand will drop below levels necessary for reliability in Texas, the Northeast and the Midwest. Other parts of the country could reach that point in the next decade.
21 Oct 2006

Wind-power prices may be spread to all

Colorado utility regulators are proposing to abolish Xcel Energy’s popular Windsource voluntary wind-energy program and instead have all ratepayers cover the slightly higher costs of the program. The staff of the Public Utilities Commission said in a filing that it no longer makes sense to charge a premium price for “green” power. The staff proposal says that spreading the Windsource costs among all ratepayers would create a “negligible” increase in rates, a small fraction of 1 percent. Customers who buy all their power from Windsource now pay an average of $58.55 a month, not including taxes and franchise fees. Typical customers using conventional power pay $52.58 a month.
4 Oct 2006

Forecasts vary on future of energy

BEAVER CREEK - While some of the world's leading geologists, physicists and investment bankers are saying a decline in oil production will soon change civilization as we know it, Scott Tinker recently told the Vail Valley there is no energy crisis. "We're never going to run out of oil," said Tinker, Texas' state geologist, as well as the director of the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin. "The Stone Age did not end for lack of stones, and the oil age will not end for lack of oil. We'll run out of ideas before we run out of oil." Tinker and 15 others spoke about their views on energy in the region, state and world during Forecast for the Future, an energy forum hosted by the Vail Symposium last weekend at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek.
25 Sep 2006

Wind turbines latest in urban chic

Not yet a trend, not even a fledgling movement, small-scale wind power in urban areas is beginning to grab the attention of a handful of committed energy-efficiency enthusiasts and environmentalists. Last year, 8,400 small wind-powered structures were sold, compared with 4,700 in 2004, according to the American Wind Energy Association. But don't bother if you're simply looking to save money on your electric bill. Urban and suburban corridors in Colorado generally don't have the strong breezes found in rural areas of the state that would make small wind turbines pencil out.
25 Sep 2006

The power of wind

DENVER — Mercury Cafe owner Marilyn Megenity, a self-styled energy activist, drives a biodiesel-fueled car, conserves electricity at her business and voluntarily buys wind power. But by the end of this month, she expects to have something rarely seen in Denver: two power-generating windmills atop her popular downtown restaurant. "I'm very concerned about our nation's energy use, and I want to do something about it," Megenity said. Not yet a trend, not even a fledgling movement, small-scale wind power in urban areas is beginning to grab the attention of a handful of committed energy-efficiency enthusiasts and environmentalists. Last year, 8,400 small wind-powered structures were sold, compared with 4,700 in 2004, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
23 Sep 2006

Credits help Utilities go green

Wind farms in Kansas, Nebraska and California will play a role in Colorado Springs Utilities’ compliance with a voter-approved mandate on renewable energy. But homes and businesses in Colorado Springs won’t be getting electricity produced by harnessing wind in those places. Instead, renewable energy credits will be logged into Colorado Springs Utilities’ books.
23 Sep 2006

Wind power may increase worth of Pinon Canyon

TRINIDAD - Local ranchers and concerned citizens filled the Massari Performing Arts Center Thursday night to voice frustrations over the proposed Pinon Canyon expansion. While many came with the same complaints and ideas, a new kind of voice emerged from the crowd when one man suggested the area’s potential for wind energy could substantially increase land values. "If it has the potential to be a wind farm, that could bring in a lot of money for the county and the property owner," he said. "If that makes the land too expensive, the army might just decide to go elsewhere. The potential for wind energy could raise the cost of the appraisal value. If that’s added in, it will raise the bottom line."
16 Sep 2006

Wind testing plant to be built outside state

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden is planning to build a multimillion-dollar wind- blade testing plant. But it won’t be in Colorado. Plans for the nation’s second wind research center include testing wind blades as long as 230 feet. Lack of adequate federal dollars and the difficulty of transporting long wind blades to an inland region such as Colorado are prompting NREL to build the plant somewhere else, possibly along the coasts or the Great Lakes easily accessed by ships and barges.
12 Sep 2006

Learn from Vail? You're kidding

For years Vail Resorts has claimed it would actually build wind turbines on its mountains. It appears that was all marketing hyperbole, or as environmentalists like to call it, "greenwash." I can only imagine that the recent wind power purchases of renewable energy certificates by Vail Resorts is their attempt to buy their way out of past environmental marketing claims.
27 Aug 2006

Energy group to test Baca County wind

SPRINGFIELD - A local energy group has received an $80,000 grant to install test towers for a proposed wind farm in Baca County. A group called Baca Green Energy, which consists of local farmers and landowners, is trying to establish a wind farm near Springfield. The group is hoping to build a large wind farm of 100 or more generators.
19 Aug 2006

Birders are fanning wind farm opposition

So far, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has documented more than 70 raptor nests in the project area. Among those species: Swainson's hawks, ferruginous hawks, golden eagles and prairie falcons. The area, along with the Comanche National Grassland, is recognized by the National Audubon Society as a Colorado site of "global importance," said Ken Strom, Colorado Audubon's director of bird conservation.
3 Aug 2006
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