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Thoughts on Wind Turbines

Ronnie

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I don’t know about those installed on the water but there is a wind farm near my job site And one close to one of the locations I boat at. The windmills near my job site have been upgraded several times over the last two decades now the smaller older windmills sit idle/retired in place and the newer / much larger ones are shut down when the wind speed is considered excessive. Finally, this wind farm has been up for sale for at least two years now. If it was very profitable I don’t think it would be for sale. I’ve heard each of the new windmills costs over $1M and I’d bet there are between 50 and 100 of them on this site. The windfarm that I boat near has been classified a no fly zone at least where DJI drones are concerned. I’ve never noticed how much noise they make as I’m either driving by in a closed car or boating by in an open boat. The rationale for the larger windmills is that they spin slower And the blades are easier to see so are less likely to kill birds, some endangered, local to the area.
 

Elliott

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If traditional power stations include hydroelectric...seen plenty of fish chum spit out of the turbines and spawning waters blocked by dams. But hey, I love coming home and turning the lights on.
I believe almost all of those hydro stations were built before people were as concerned about nature/wildlife, and many or most were also built for flood control and water sources. At least many dams now have measures (fish ladders, modified intakes and etc.) to lessen their impact.
 

zipper

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It is also troubling that wind farms get a pass on killing protected birds by the thousands. I doubt a traditional power station would remain open if the bodies of raptors and/or sea birds piled up around the plant.
I believe almost all of those hydro stations were built before people were as concerned about nature/wildlife, and many or most were also built for flood control and water sources. At least many dams now have measures (fish ladders, modified intakes and etc.) to lessen their impact.
Everything has pros and cons. The big turbines spin slowly and do not kill many, let alone thousands, of birds or bats, at least in my neck of the woods. The State's environmentallists have conducted impact studies on this and the NIMBY's pay close attention. Even after nearly 20 years of my fast spinning windmill, I have not found a dead bird/bat beneath it.

I speak about the 4 Hydroelectric power stations on the Lamoille River, 3 of which are in my town, another upriver. No fish ladders. Used to be big spawning waters for sturgeon, walleye and atlantic salmon etc.

I am not a tree hugger, well I do hug the big trees and look up to see which way they lean, just before I cut them down to either run thru my sawmill for lumber or my woodstoves and outdoor water boiler for heat.
 
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Gym

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I just installed an 8.64 kw solar system on my roof. It will eliminate my average $150/mo electric bill and pay me an average of $600 - $700 per quarter for the surplus power I put back into the grid. My payback will be 4.9 years given the government and state incentives. These incentives are going away as more people install systems as the economies of scale are reducing the cost of these systems.

Most new technologies face similar obsticles of cost, efficiency and public acceptance. Alternating current in the home was considered dangerous. People would be killed and Homes would burn to the ground. The automobile would never replace the horse and man was never meant to fly.

We need to keep pushing the envelope. There will be failures and compromises along the way but the days of using wood & coal as our primary source of heat and whale oil and kerosene as our primary source of light are gone for the better.

I'm not a devout tree hugger but I know we cannot continue to spew trillions of metric tons of carbon dioxide into our breathing supply with no consequences. We are terraforming our planet at an unacceptable rate.
 

Elliott

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My issue with Wind Turbines is not NIMBY; it is tax dollars subsidizing a technology that: does not make economic sense in most cases (it is unlikely that many wind farms would exist without tax credits) and has real issues (unreliable output, noise, visual impact, bird deaths and etc) - all because it is labeled Green / Renewable.

There is no reason to build economically unsustainable power generation plants of any type. Spend the tax dollars to research improvements to existing systems and new technologies, but do not simply waste the money giving tax credits/incentives (other people's money) to companies and individuals with no positive impact for society at large. California is a good model of what not to do. Their electricity costs double the national average for unreliable power (they just went through another series of rolling black outs - prior to the current fire issue) for a state grid that has a meaningless amount of renewable generation.
 

Miitch

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Near us in Oklahoma there are huge wind farms with hundreds of turbines, and more are being built like crazy. I never thought I’d see them so concentrated.
Having a farm way out in the water doesn’t seem to be practical to me, but I don’t know much about the business.
They stick them out in the water to pick up the lake effect wind. Where i live, they have a bunch out by Lake Erie for the same reason. On a larger lake, like one of the great lakes, it makes sense. On smaller lakes, i don't think the same effect can be achieved to make it worth wile.

Plus sticking them out on the lake creates an eyesore for us boat owners only (if they're far enough out). As opposed to having them along the highway for everyone to see on their daily commute.
 

zipper

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I guess I would call it "pick your poison" Big tax credits to oil for decades. I just don't want to see another BP disaster in the Gulf. And I live 1500 miles away.
 
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Elliott

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It is a pick your poison, but it is always important to know your poison. Oil industry tax treatment allows for rapid recovery of expenses versus deductions over the imputed life of the well, for example. This recovery of capital allows the oil company to drill more wells more quickly to produce more oil at a lower cost - for the company and consumers. In the end, the oil company pays the same amount in taxes presuming level tax rates - larger deductions early on against revenue with little or no deductions in the later years versus level deductions against revenue over the life of the well.

A person or company gets a tax credit for some renewable energy item or electric car is just a loss of tax dollars to the benefit of that person or company. A person buys a Tesla, and they receive a tax credit. They and Tesla are the only ones to benefit from the credit. An often claimed benefit is that subsidizing a company like Tesla fosters innovation, but that is a dubious assertion. The subsidy monies would be better spent on research than putting today's non-economical technology into production. The market is a much more efficient driver of innovation - look at the progress in electronics (cell phones, TVs, computers and etc.) all without subsidies.
 

mgmfrp

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interesting info on wind and solar
 

Gym

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It is a pick your poison, but it is always important to know your poison. Oil industry tax treatment allows for rapid recovery of expenses versus deductions over the imputed life of the well, for example. This recovery of capital allows the oil company to drill more wells more quickly to produce more oil at a lower cost - for the company and consumers. In the end, the oil company pays the same amount in taxes presuming level tax rates - larger deductions early on against revenue with little or no deductions in the later years versus level deductions against revenue over the life of the well.

A person or company gets a tax credit for some renewable energy item or electric car is just a loss of tax dollars to the benefit of that person or company. A person buys a Tesla, and they receive a tax credit. They and Tesla are the only ones to benefit from the credit. An often claimed benefit is that subsidizing a company like Tesla fosters innovation, but that is a dubious assertion. The subsidy monies would be better spent on research than putting today's non-economical technology into production. The market is a much more efficient driver of innovation - look at the progress in electronics (cell phones, TVs, computers and etc.) all without subsidies.
While I do agree with part of your position on tax incentives there is a big part of these incentives you have overlooked. With regard to tax incentives on renewable energy products such as solar, wind and electric vehicles. These credits are also used to offset the initial cost, to the would be consumer, for a socially beneficial product until economies of scale kick in to support the product without such benefits. As the public buys in to a product mass production, bulk component purchasing and engineering refinements kick in to lower cost to the consumer and allowing a product to support itself.

A good example is solar panels. Last year (2019) the federal government allowed a residential solar installation a 30% tax credit. This year it has dropped to 26%. I believe it goes away completely in 2023.

What these credits have done is allowed consumers to install these devices with an average 4 -7 year payback. Great for the consumer? It's also great for the power companies who now need to build fewer power plants to feed our growing electrical demand. That's why the power companies used to give rebates on CFL and led light bulbs and still give them on efficient appliances. Rebates also encourage people to consider a greener footprint. As I mentioned in my previous post, we can't dump trillions of metric tons of pollutants into our breathable atmosphere and expect no repercussions.
 

Elliott

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While I do agree with part of your position on tax incentives there is a big part of these incentives you have overlooked. With regard to tax incentives on renewable energy products such as solar, wind and electric vehicles. These credits are also used to offset the initial cost, to the would be consumer, for a socially beneficial product until economies of scale kick in to support the product without such benefits. As the public buys in to a product mass production, bulk component purchasing and engineering refinements kick in to lower cost to the consumer and allowing a product to support itself.

A good example is solar panels. Last year (2019) the federal government allowed a residential solar installation a 30% tax credit. This year it has dropped to 26%. I believe it goes away completely in 2023.

What these credits have done is allowed consumers to install these devices with an average 4 -7 year payback. Great for the consumer? It's also great for the power companies who now need to build fewer power plants to feed our growing electrical demand. That's why the power companies used to give rebates on CFL and led light bulbs and still give them on efficient appliances. Rebates also encourage people to consider a greener footprint. As I mentioned in my previous post, we can't dump trillions of metric tons of pollutants into our breathable atmosphere and expect no repercussions.
Your view is predicated on the notion that these technologies are "socially beneficial", and that informs your logic. I see it as government manipulation of the market place to achieve a political goal - just like ethanol. Ethanol was touted as a cure to the purported energy crisis and air pollution; it was neither. Using tax dollars to assist people buying yesterday/today's non-economical technology only benefits those people and the manufacturers. Power companies build power stations primarily based on commercial demand, and small reductions in consumer demand has virtually no impact. Whether it is California or Germany, schemes to increase use of renewable energy has not resulted in a reduction or curtailment of traditional power stations; in fact, both are slowly beginning to abandon their renewable goals.

As to a greener footprint, there are many studies that point to the dirty side of renewable energy, but I would just focus on the fact that it cannot provide the gigawatts of reliable power to sustain and expand a modern country or improve a less developed one. Economic development results in true ecological improvement; the US has never been cleaner since it industrialized. In terms of green house gases, fracking's explosion of natural gas has resulted in the US reducing its carbon footprint more than any other industrialized country. Fracking's impact dwarfs all the renewables combined; it is just another example of the government trying to pick winners with no success.

As to Malthusian movements (climate change), we will just have to disagree. I am in my late 50s, and I remember: the population bomb, the fresh water crisis, the pending ice age, the food crisis, the exhaustion of fossil fuels and etc. I remember President Carter telling us that we would all have to conserve energy, especially oil, to maintain (not grow) our economy. We are now energy independent with oil reserves that exceed any other country, and it had nothing to do with conservation or government subsidies for renewable energy.

I am sure that solar and other renewable power sources will eventually be worthwhile (economically and otherwise), and I will be pleased to use them at that time.
 

zipper

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Fracking's impact dwarfs all the renewables combined; it is just another example of the government trying to pick winners with no success.
Never have seen a renewable energy technology do this.
Fracking may be great for people in the suburbs and cities but the folks out in the country, where the fracking occurs, might have another opinion. I hope the political need for the US to be energy independant does not cause another ecological disaster in the fisheries let alone the water wells in the interior of the Country.
 

Enduro900

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Never have seen a renewable energy technology do this.
Fracking may be great for people in the suburbs and cities but the folks out in the country, where the fracking occurs, might have another opinion. I hope the political need for the US to be energy independant does not cause another ecological disaster in the fisheries let alone the water wells in the interior of the Country.
How widespread is this?

People with wells in most states do not get their water tested for contaminants.......in Michigan people are starting to, and finding PFAS as well as other serious stuff.

Have you ever researched how wind turbines (and their blades) are made? Or the manufacturing process for solar panels? None of that process is green.....none of it. And the used turbine blades cannot be recycled, so they are now transported thousands of miles by trucks to sit out in thousands of acres of land to decompose.....which can’t be good for that environment.......

Now that people are finally figuring out solar and wind cannot consistently provide power what is their solution?? Triple-down and build massive power banks (massive battery storage facilities)....is there a green battery manufacturing process? Nope. And then what are we going to do with the mega batteries once they can no longer be used? The third aspect is batteries slowly lose their capacity.....so each year these storage facilities will lose capacity....

The problem with green energy is its not that green, cannot be relied upon, and has front-end and back-end environmental issues as well.

And unless people want to live with rationed power and blackouts from time-time, it is just not a viable solution.

The “greenest” energy source that we have is hydro......but then than impacts the fish.....and we can’t have that....
 

zipper

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IDK how widespread it is...If it were any of my 5 water wells, I'd be pissed. Vermont banned fracking anyway. None of those reserves under us. Like I said above, Pick your poison...I take mine with a helping of personal wind, solar, wood heat and big hydro with sides of gasoline, diesel and propane to keep machinery moving. "A little bit of everything" for us works for now. Having 800+ah of "forklift" batteries as backup reserves when a power line goes down can be priceless. To each their own.
 

Enduro900

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IDK how widespread it is...If it were any of my 5 water wells, I'd be pissed. Vermont banned fracking anyway. None of those reserves under us. Like I said above, Pick your poison...I take mine with a helping of personal wind, solar, wood heat and big hydro with sides of gasoline, diesel and propane to keep machinery moving. "A little bit of everything" for us works for now. Having 800+ah of "forklift" batteries as backup reserves when a power line goes down can be priceless. To each their own.
An all of the above approach is fine. The complication is there are people misrepresenting solar and wind as the “be all/end all” and it just isn’t proving to be. So instead of admitting failure they are doubling down.

Personally I think there should be some form of solar on all homes and businesses in areas.....but not forced by the government. Maybe some type of requirement for new homes and buildings (as a cost to build new).

Btw look at the windows used in most new commercial building.....most use very inefficient aluminum windows.....
 

Elliott

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Never have seen a renewable energy technology do this.
Fracking may be great for people in the suburbs and cities but the folks out in the country, where the fracking occurs, might have another opinion. I hope the political need for the US to be energy independant does not cause another ecological disaster in the fisheries let alone the water wells in the interior of the Country.
Methane in the local water supply is part of nature, and it has been documented in the US since colonial times - including the flaming. Although a fracking well could be compromised and cause problems, fracking takes place very deep in the ground. I do not know the source of the youtube clip, but it looks like it came from the anti-fracking movie paid for by some actor. If you will notice the year of the clip, where are all of the stories of drinking water contamination since 2007?

FWIW, the earth burps more crude oil into the worlds' ocean than the contents of multiple super tankers each year. The areas around the Exxon Valdez and Deep Water Horizon spills are back to normal.

We should always attempt to safely harvest energy.
 
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