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Briarscratch

Windmills are a big topic of debate in the 1000 islands where my parents have a summer home.  I've been hearing both sides of the debate for several years.

The thing that rarely gets brought up is infrastructure lifecycle management.  

What's the long term plan for maintaining and ultimately decommissioning windmills once they're worn out?  

Is there a green market for used windmill parts of do they all just get thrown onto some giant scrap heap somewhere?  Are there environmental remediation plans (and funding) in place should a windfarm ultimately fail or be deemed economically unfeasible?

More simply put, who is responsible for the mess and the clean up after all the kegs are empty?

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  • Stuck in KS

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The ROI on them is poor, until there is some method of storage developed to deal with periods of little or no wind they should not be implemented.

Maintenance and the fact that you still have to operate traditional power at a very high percentage of demand eats up any savings they provide.

I think research should continue on them but until these glitches are solved we should be developing nuclear with the intent to transition to solar power. Solar power suffers from similar storage issues also.

WInd is a feel good non answer to our energy problems.

So far nuclear is the only reliable method of reducing carbon emissions. In france where they get almost all their power from nukes they have a series of sizes of plants that have approved designs, and long proven to be safe designs, that can be submitted for approval and start construction within two years or less.

We should follow that model IMO. IF we did we could be energy independent within 5 years and that would have huge ramifications politically help our economy and help the greenhouse gas issue if you believe it to be real.

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Almost Heaven GSP's

Wind: Ruin the skylines, make noise, kill avian's, storage issues, ad nauseum...

Hydro: Dams rivers, affects spawning fish, floods fertile valleys, ad nauseum...

Solar: Lower profile than wind, but unsightly none the less, large footprint, storage issues, ad nauseum...

Nukes: Spent rod disposal, risk of disaster, water usage, ad nauseum...

Do i need to go on or is the pattern pretty clear?

No matter what it is, someone isn't going to like it. Something that is all to clear to those in the industry, but has yet to be discussed here, is TRANSMISSION of the electrical power and the fact that our transmission grid is severely under-rated for the increasingly rapid demands being put on it....a grid that in large part was developed through the 40's & 50's with no idea as to the demands that were going to be put on it in 2010 and beyond.

Guess what? Transmission lines are ugly as hell too and nobody wants one of them through their backyard either....Guess we'll play NIMBY on that too....I know I sure as hell feel that way about the transmission lines, especially knowing that the 500kV it's carrying through my backyard is going to a bunch of pansy a$$ NIMBY's in a major city 150 miles to my east that I could care a less about. Oh wait, that may be the problem with the whole discussion..... None of us really care about the effects our personal agendas have on every other human within our country, including our children and our children's children....., just as long as it doesn't go against our wants or wishes. If this post "stings" to a few here, GOOD, it should!

There are ways we can address just about every negative to every alternative we have, but we don't seem to want to discuss those.... it's so much easier to just say Not In My Back Yard!

Biggest negative to Wind seems to be placement. Skyline views are going to change, there is no helping that as you have to get them up into the wind, but the effects on avian's can be reduced and the people/homes that are affected by noise and light patterns can be minimized. Footprint? How big is the footprint of a coal fired plant AND more importantly, the coal mines that are required to supply it? Anyone hear of mountaintop removal and ever seen just how much earth is moved? Storage issues only become heavily apparent when you move entirely away from all other sources of power on the grid that doesn't require storage and I suggest that we will be many years down the road before reaching that point, if ever, allowing time to look and study further into new and more efficient storage technologies.

Hydro could be made more "friendly" by using systems of "water races" vs. dams. How effective this would be seems to remain to be studied to the best of my knowledge.

Solar suffers some of the same issues with footprint and storage...see my opinions and thoughts above.

In almost every case, there are options, if we would only just get over ourselves long enough to discuss the actual solutions. The shortest route between point A and point B is not always the best route, but if we're not even willing to discuss the route at all, then it's kind of a mute point....

Just my wooden nickel.

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Windmills are a big topic of debate in the 1000 islands where my parents have a summer home.  I've been hearing both sides of the debate for several years.

The thing that rarely gets brought up is infrastructure lifecycle management.  

What's the long term plan for maintaining and ultimately decommissioning windmills once they're worn out?  

Is there a green market for used windmill parts of do they all just get thrown onto some giant scrap heap somewhere?  Are there environmental remediation plans (and funding) in place should a windfarm ultimately fail or be deemed economically unfeasible?

More simply put, who is responsible for the mess and the clean up after all the kegs are empty?

My wind lease company told me this. The above ground structure would be removed, but the huge block of cement is  your issue to deal with.

The original lease calls for a $10,000 one time payment per windmill placed on  your land. They may agree to move the footprint a little this or that way to suit you, but once your leased its up to them, not you.

Then every "footprint" in the wind farm is divided into the total $$ and distributed to the footprint leasees.

In my wind farm, the power lines are supposed to be buried along service roads or on a public road right of way. The windfarm will have a power sub station at the end of the farm, then it will be connected to the grid.

The "greenies" have pushed the State to require the power company to buy XXX kw of green power. Thus the push for this type of stuff.

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bosco mctavitch
I think the future is going to bring more decentralized power.  Storage and generation would be on an individual level and there would need to be far less transmission at all.
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The "greenies" have pushed the State to require the power company to buy XXX kw of green power. Thus the push for this type of stuff.

Let's send them all to guard merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden.

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I think the future is going to bring more decentralized power.  Storage and generation would be on an individual level and there would need to be far less transmission at all.

I hope so.

Would I put a small, personal windmill in my backyard to generate power for my own home?  You betcha!

Would I like a huge number of windturbines and the associated miles of access roads and transmission lines strung across miles of forest ridgelines?  Nope.

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Stuck in KS
Since you said they're "huge and ugly," I guess this is an aesthetics discussion. Personally, I don't find them "ugly." I think they actually look kind of cool. And if it's going to be located within view of where I live, I'd rather look at a field of windmills than a coal plant. All power needs to come from somewhere, and the NIMBY mentality is pretty silly and self-centered, imo.

I guess it takes the same amount of acreage to produce the same power with a turbine as it does a coal plant?

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The "greenies" have pushed the State to require the power company to buy XXX kw of green power. Thus the push for this type of stuff.

Georgia Light and Power owns a large wind farm near Ainsworth Nebraska. Improves (proves) their greeness.

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Almost Heaven GSP's
I think the future is going to bring more decentralized power.  Storage and generation would be on an individual level and there would need to be far less transmission at all.

I think Bosco has the Winner in what will and could work on a smaller Community basis.

Here is one example from a quick Google search:

Ellensburg Community Solar Power

I believe there is another larger one in New Mexico or Arizona that I'll take the time to look for later. Solar works well there, here in the East, Wind or Water could be more viable options and on a Community basis; not only can the footprint be reduced, but so can the need for new high tension transmission lines. Do the Power Co.'s want us to go this route? Probably not due to the loss of revenue and some elimination of jobs, but then I think we all win in the long term plan and we may actually create closer community based jobs.

It's only one very small piece of the overall picture, but the potential is there.

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calgaryrookie
I think the future is going to bring more decentralized power.  Storage and generation would be on an individual level and there would need to be far less transmission at all.

But then you have to really overbuild generation (very wasteful) as you don't have averaging of demand over a large consumer base. Imagine if each home had a generation unit rated for the PEAK power usage that home would ever need. You would have twice as much generation in a city than you actually need.

It's basically NIMBY for everything. The company I work for has nuclear assets, hydro, gas-fired, oil-fired, and wind projects, LNG, pipelines. There's always someone opposing something. I wouldn't like alot of it 100 yards from my house either, but we use power. It's gotta be somewhere. Solar panels on the roof don't cut it yet.

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brueggemanns

FWIW, IMHO, there is absolutely no documented evidence that I have run across that says these machines kill any more birds than cars do.  I believe water towers have more bird casualties.  I know a guy who has to clean the towers out.  It's enough to make you go off water - even chocolate!

We have wind farms out here.  I look at them as kinetic sculpture that is keeping our need for other energy at bay.

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The town I live in is trying to get legislation through that would allow wind turbines on private property.  It has met with nothing but heartache and pain since the amount of zoning regs that must be adhered to make rooftops the only option.  Then the "that is ugly and will ruin my view" folks weighed in and as of now, no personal turbines.  This would be a great place for one as the wind always blows and is tooting along as 20knts as I write.

It's not easy being green.

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I think the future is going to bring more decentralized power.  Storage and generation would be on an individual level and there would need to be far less transmission at all.

Each small town should bury the kind of small nuclear reactor that powers ships...  That would be cool.

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