Results for "fire" in Library from Colorado
These days we read and hear more and more about the exponential increases in renewable energy, particularly large wind farms such as those sprouting up on Colorado's front range and eastern plains. Colorado's Amendment 37 requires the state's largest utility companies to produce 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2015. A subsequent legislative action doubled that to 20 percent by 2020. ...This is all great news, right? Not if you are an independent grid system operator, and not if you're expecting all of this large scale wind power to help reduce global warming carbon emissions. Wind power is by nature a notoriously intermittent source of power. Wind simply doesn't blow steadily all of the time. Therefore, the power output of all large scale wind farms goes up and down dramatically throughout the day, regardless of the demand for power on the grid. ...Without energy diversity, the more renewable power we mandate, the more unreliable the grid will become. The laws of physics simply can't be amended.
Working on an object nearly 30 stories high can be a harrowing experience for anyone. For the crews that maintain the wind turbines in southeastern Colorado maintaining a safe working environment is paramount. ...He said one of the prevailing themes from the tour was the necessity of emergency personnel to be in top physical condition when attempting a rescue from a turbine tower. Cook said the rescue personnel have to climb over two hundred feet of stairs with equipment to reach the top of the towers, an exercise that can tire many rescuers and potentially detract from their ability to adequately perform their duties.
Clean and Green is one of many brokers in the United States selling renewable energy credits, or RECs, which allow customers with no direct access to wind power to buy the environmental benefits of renewable energy produced elsewhere. But at the end of last year, the Boulder-based company dropped its nationally recognized certification that lets customers know they're actually getting what they're buying. ...Clean and Green has no problem with the certification program, Executive Director Gerry Dameron said, but couldn't justify the cost anymore. "We called Green-e and said, 'Look, we appreciate what you guys do, and we'd love to be Green-e certified in the future, but we can't afford all the fees," he said. "We can't afford to spend $6,000 a year. Our company has never made a profit, and I've never drawn a salary, not one dime."
While there are some small hydroelectric generation projects in Colorado, the bulk of renewable energy is provided by wind turbines. Under the law, solar electric is required to meet at least 4 percent of the renewable energy for investor-owned utilities. "The problem is, the wind doesn't blow all the time and the sun doesn't shine all the time," said Gary Schmitz, chief economist for the Energy Forum. "The purpose of the study was to look at how many of these will we have to build to get that amount of energy." The answer is somewhere between 1,700 and 2,000 more wind turbines that produce between 1.5 and 2 megawatts each, or roughly five times current numbers. Solar capacity would have to increase about sixfold from current levels. Power providers say they can reach those levels without much economic disruption, although requiring larger amounts of renewable energy would begin to strain financial resources, Smith said.
Xcel's voluntary wind power customers in Colorado will be hit with higher bills beginning next year. But regular customers will benefit from lower electric bills, according to Xcel filings with regulators late Tuesday. The utility says fully subscribed customers of WindSource will have to pay higher premiums - about $13 more per month compared with regular customers - because they aren't benefiting from declining natural gas prices enjoyed by regular customers. Fully subscribed customers get all their electricity from wind power. Also, savings from wind power seen in past years, when wind farms were replacing old and costly natural gas-fired power plants, are declining as wind farms are replacing newer and more efficient power plants. ...However, wind industry advocates said the current lower price of coal and natural gas does not reflect their true price. Also, those fuels likely will pay a carbon tax in the near future that would make them a more expensive source of power generation compared to wind, a freely available source.
Rather than enjoying his role as an REC pioneer, Schendler felt increasingly anxious. In private, he pushed REC brokers for hard evidence that new wind capacity was being built. Their evasiveness gnawed at him. ...The trouble stems from the basic economics of RECs. Credits purchased at $2 a megawatt hour, the price Aspen Skiing and many other corporations pay, logically can't have much effect. Wind developers receive about $51 per megawatt hour for the electricity they sell to utilities. They get another $20 in federal tax breaks, and the equivalent of up to $20 more in accelerated depreciation of their capital equipment. Even many wind-power developers that stand to profit from RECs concede that producers making $91 a megawatt hour aren't going to expand production for another $2. "At this price, they're not very meaningful for the developer," says John Calaway, chief development officer for U.S. wind power at Babcock & Brown ..."It doesn't support building something that wouldn't otherwise be built."
Because of wind variability, there is no way of predicting exactly how much energy the wind turbines will produce at a specific time on any given day. Xcel Energy spokesman Tom Henley at the Denver office said Xcel adjusts for this variability with its Heat Rate Exchange Program, a centrally located part of the company's computer system. The program reads the input from Xcel's various power generating plants, from wind farms to coal- , gas- and water-powered plants. When the wind farms are going strong, the computer system will cause the most expensive power source to "back down." This will probably be one or more of Xcel's gas-fired power plants, Henley said. Coal-fired plants, such as the Pawnee Power Plant at Brush, won't be turned down. They are cheaper to operate than gas-fired plants, and also would take longer to get fired back up to full power when the input from the wind farms dropped. A gas-powered plant can be fired back up in as little as half an hour, Henley said.
Wind power has all the ingredients of a good brain-buster. The energy that windmills produce helps to preserve the environment, but the giant wind generators themselves have to be added to the environment. Wind power is making us redefine what we consider pollution. Windmills may not billow black smoke that requires scrubbing or leak hazardous radiation, but they make a lot of noise and can change a scenic horizon or ridgeline into a jumble of tinker-toy technology. Like dams in rivers, they interrupt the free flow of natural settings.
Permitting for the 550-megawatt gas-fired plant southeast of Fountain is underway, and officials with Invenergy, the company that wants to build the plant, hope construction begins in May with completion in 2009. The company will meet with environmentalists on Wednesday to discuss the plant. The Squirrel Creek Power plant would be able to augment energy from wind generation plants in eastern Colorado, said Doug Carter, vice president of development for Invenergy. “Once you get a plant like this, you can bring in more wind power,” Carter said. “When the wind is blowing, you can back the plant down. When it’s not, you can fire it up.”
BP’s year-old wind power business plans to launch a host of new projects by year’s end, showing how a major oil company can quickly move into the ranks of major wind companies. Power output from the individual projects, which the company will announce today, tends to be somewhat smaller than typical plants fired by natural gas or coal. But it’s another sign of the growing enthusiasm for renewable power. “This is a profitable business for us today,” said Bob Lukefahr, president of Houston-based BP Alternative Energy North America. “Finding resources and bringing them to market on a large scale is a core function of BP, so over time these will become even bigger projects.”
Xcel Energy is ahead of schedule with construction of its wind projects, but the utility backed off several others because it can’t get the power to customers’ homes. The reason: a shortage of transmission lines.
The state will need to produce an additional 4,900 megawatts of new power sources by 2025 - either by building new baseload plants, decreasing demand through conservation measures or a combination of both - in order to meet expected growth and avoid energy shortages.
Construction is scheduled for completion by the end of 2007.
A new coal-burning electricity plant is under construction in Pueblo. To the north, in Frederick, work is under way on another electricity plant, this one fired by natural gas. Solar and wind farms are cropping up in Lamar, Peetz, Grover and the San Luis Valley.
PEETZ — Xcel Energy and Invenergy Wind LLC have reached agreement on a power purchase contract for 200 megawatts of wind energy to be constructed in 2006-2007 by Logan Energy LLC, an affiliate of Invenergy Wind.
To be sure, we are at a crossroads in energy and need all kinds of ideas to supply the enormous demand that is now filled by fossil fuels; however, I’m not ready to surrender the last open prairies to this version of energy independence.
Wind energy is environmentally harmful and costly to taxpayers. Furthermore, its expansion could adversely affect the nation's electricity transmission system.