One Day at the Wind Farm

August 29, 2015

One summer day at Breckinridge Wind Farm nearby, a time lapse video went somewhat awry..
Wind Turbines, more economical, and beautiful, than ever.

For the video above, full screen and headphones advised.

Scaling Green:

  • After a “Lackluster” 2013, Wind Power Grew in 2014: “Wind power additions rebounded in 2014, with 4,854 MW of new capacity added in the United States and $8.3 billion invested.”
  • Wind power represented 24% of electric-generating capacity additions in 2014. Wind power was the third-largest source of new generation capacity in 2014, after natural gas and solar. Since 2007, wind power has represented 33% of all U.S. capacity additions…”
  • Lower turbine prices have driven reductions in reported installed project costs. The capacity-weighted average installed project cost within our 2014 sample stood at roughly $1,710/kW—down $580/kW from the apparent peak in average reported costs in 2009 and 2010.”
  • Wind PPA prices have reached all-time lows. After topping out at nearly $70/MWh for PPAs executed in 2009, the national average levelized price of wind PPAs that were signed in 2014 (and that are within the Berkeley Lab sample) fell to around $23.5/MWh nationwide—a new low” and “below the bottom of the range of nationwide wholesale power prices.”
  • Turbine nameplate capacity, hub height, and rotor diameter have all increased significantly over the long term. The average nameplate capacity of newly installed wind turbines in the United States in 2014 was 1.9 MW, up 172% since 1998–1999. The average hub height in 2014 was 82.7 meters, up 48% since 1998-1999, while the average rotor diameter was 99.4 meters, up 108% since 1998–1999.”
  • No commercial offshore turbines have been commissioned in the United States, but progress toward the first U.S. offshore wind project in Rhode Island continued in 2015 amid mixed market signals…A total of 18 offshore wind projects (15 GW) are in various stages of development in the continental United States. “
  • Availability of federal incentives for wind projects built in the near term is leading to a resurgent domestic market, but a possible policy cliff awaits…With the PTC now expired and its renewal uncertain, however, wind deployment beyond 2016 is also uncertain. On the other hand, the prospective impacts of EPA’s proposed regulations on power-sector carbon emissions may create new markets for wind energy. “
  • U.S. Distributed Wind Capacity Nearing 1 GW: Distributed wind cumulative capacity has reached a total of 906 MW from nearly 74,000 wind turbines.”
  • Distributed Wind Capacity Mostly “Grid-Tied”: “Off-grid small wind turbines continue to account for the bulk of wind turbine units deployed in U.S. distributed wind applications; however, wind turbines connected to the distribution grid, or “grid-tied” applications, accounted for more than 99% of the annual domestic distributed wind capacity (in terms of MW).”
  • Small Wind Turbine Manufacturers Look to Export Markets for Revenue: “Exports continue to provide a steady source of revenue for U.S. small wind turbine manufacturers who see growing potential in the opening and expansion of markets abroad, such as Japan and South Korea.”
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33 Responses to “One Day at the Wind Farm”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    Cool Photoshop techniques used here to remove the near-constant showers of songbird feathers and blood on that eerily pristine country road. Each of those 175-foot long scimitar blades should bear the “Cuisinart” logo.

    • jimbills Says:

      Sarcasm is so hard to convey on them internets.

    • jimbills Says:

      Each one is a giant Freddy Krueger, slicing and dicing with horrific precision:

      Meanwhile, coal, natural gas, and oil roll on merrily in a pristine world without care:

    • Alec Sevins Says:

      Pattern Energy’s Spring Valley wind factory that spoiled the view from Great Basin National Park is a classic example of what’s wrong with wind power. Remote species are being killed and unique scenery is tainted. Same old story.

      http://www.basinandrangewatch.org/SpringValleyUpdates.html (they’re likely under-counting dead birds and bats, with students hired by the industry)

      Nevada is one of the last truly wide open parts of America but wind (and solar) developers are eyeing it as “wasted” space that needs to be filled with industrial projects to satiate distant cities, including water-sucking Las Vegas, which really shouldn’t exist. They want their gambling and drinking and will doing anything to rationalize destroying the desert for it. I haven’t been there in years but I’m sure casinos included “clean energy” propaganda posters. “Go hog wild on weekends while protecting the environment!”

      That’s the opposite of true environmentalism. The solar industry could focus on existing roofs that don’t hog more land. Small wind turbines on city buildings should also be encouraged.

  2. fletch92131 Says:

    Gingerbaker is so right-on, Cuisinart is totally accurate. I wrote my own blog on why alternative energy sources are terrible, http://bit.ly/1Cww19w

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Nice cut-and-paste job on your “own” blog, fletch. Do you understand ANY of it? Is ANY of it original?

      And I hope you’re using the blunt kiddie type scissors so you don’t hurt yourself—-and don’t lick the glue stick either. (Back in my day we licked our fingers or the tongue depressor we used to scoop the white paste out of the pot).

      Look at the links in my other comment at 10:49 and see just how totally WRONG GB is and why you have embarrassed yourself by so “totally” agreeing with him.

      • fletch92131 Says:

        If you don’t understand that wind turbines are inefficient, costly, a terrible investor for the government (which means the citizens), not to mention how ugly they are, and will be left to rot when they cost more to maintain that they are producing, that’s when you’ll come around and understand this(but not until until, of course). No, it is a original stuff because I’m not an expert in this area, I can read and So the logon title of “dumboldguy” apparently applies to you very well!

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Hmmmmm! fletch says he’s “not an expert in this area”, and also that he “can read”? The logical follow on question to that is “Yes, but do you understand any of what you “read” and then so moronically cut and paste for us to mock?”.

          The answer is obviously NO, and all who have read your postings on Crock and in other places know that you are a poster child for Dunning Kruger.

          And I wear the title of “dumboldguy” with pride—apparently you have NO understanding of why I chose it—-and that figures.

          PS Is 92131 your zip code? Do you live in a somewhat upscale neighborhood in San Diego? How can you afford it? Did you inherit money? Or did your wife?

          • fletch92131 Says:

            Obviously, more than enough to recognize that what Richard Lindzen had to say when he Deconstructed Global Warming Hysteria, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sHg3ZztDAw, or Prof. Bob Carter, when he gives one of his talks on Global Warming Science, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRCISn1KfKQ, was far more swaying than anything being cited in the “true believers” camp. So I ask you and GB both, were you swayed by the intelligentsia telling you to move towards the global warming (AGW) argument, or did you just develop the herd mentality and decide that these mental midgets should be followed?

            You’re right, I have no idea why you chose the title “dumboldguy”,and personally I could care less, although it seems that you’re displaying quite a lack of intelligence, although you certainly don’t lack for vindictives.

            Yes 92131 is my ZIP Code and while some may call it upscale, upscale to me would be La Jolla, on the coast. I can afford it,because my 401(k) did extremely well. Neither I nor my wife inherited any particular money.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            You provide links to Lindzen and Carter? Two of the most notorious paid AGW deniers on the planet? And from four and six years ago? Yeah. fletch, your powers of “recognition” are positively awesome.

            And they were “….far more swaying than anything being cited in the “true believers” camp”?. LOL Do you have ANY background in science at all, fletch? I doubt it, or you would not be so easily “swayed”.

            I can’t speak for GB, but I myself was “swayed” by earning two degrees in science and spending ~60 years of my life studying what man is doing to this planet. I have followed the time-tested method of gathering facts, analyzing them rationally, and coming to conclusions based on those facts. I also listen to the scientists who operate the same way, rather than to those who are paid to lie and distort the facts, like your “heroes”.

            Someone like you who is “swayed” by the lying BS of the Lindzens and the Carters is the one with the “herd mentality”, and who is following “mental midgets”.

            Yes, I can easily imagine that in that foggy world you inhabit it seems that I’m “displaying quite a lack of intelligence”—-after all, I’m not agreeing with you, am I, and that makes me stoooopid, doesn’t it?. I do apologize a bit for the “vindictives”—-it is unkind of me to fight a battle of wits with someone like you who is only half-armed.

            RE: 92131, I asked because I have some small familiarity with San Diego, and have a fraternity brother who made it big and lives in La Jolla in a $2+ million house on the water, so I know what you mean by “upscale” there. 92131 may not be La Jolla, and I haven’t been there for a good while, but I looked at a map and my recollection is that where you live maybe 15 or 20 miles inland and a not-too-shabby area. Congratulations.

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    Lord love a duck, but G-Baker is into wild and crazy hyperbole today!

    “….near-constant showers of songbird feathers and blood…”?
    (WOW!—-Steven King would be proud!)

    “…eerily pristine country road…”?
    (ever been out in the farm country in the plains of KS, CO, the Dakotas, or NE, GB? Nothing “eery” about it, just no traffic and no trash).

    “….scimitar blades and Cuisinarts…”?
    (simply beyond comment)

    Didn’t Peter just post a chart on bird deaths due to different electricity generation sources?
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/08/25/3475348/bird-death-comparison-chart/

    Here’s one that shows all cuases of bird deaths.
    http://www.flap.org/pdfs/HierarchyofThreats.pdf

    Photoshopped and Cuisinart indeed!

  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    It’s a little technique I invented which I call “sarcasm”. ;>D

    Fletch, you are a moron.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Sarcasm? Could have fooled me.

      (And you’re correct in saying that fletch is a moron)

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        When is the last time you recalibrated your meter?

      • fletch92131 Says:

        Here’s another URL for you reading pleasure, http://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-science-is-not-settled-1411143565, Dr. Koonin, UnderSec. for Science in the DOE in O’s first-term.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          A link to an article in the Wall Street Journal? LOL That well-known NON-SCIENCE publication that is part of the denier world? LOL again.

          I’m sure Fletch is not equipped to understand the article he cites OR this response to it—-too bad

          http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/10/the_wall_street_journal_and_steve_koonin_the_new_face_of_climate_change.html

          (And does fletch have any idea of how many “undersecretaries” there are in the Department of Energy, what they do, and why Koonin is no longer there? No, you say? He just saw “climate science is not settled” and was “swayed” by that, so he cut and pasted it for us? Yep, that’s our boy!)

        • Alec Sevins Says:

          Sir, please don’t use global warming denial to fight wind turbines. They fail on their own ugly merits. Dunning-Kruger types like you just make it harder to stop their proliferation. CO2 is the main driver of radiative forcing (look that up if you claim to be educated). Cherry-picking random climate details misses the core problem of trapped heat. Zero percent CO2 would mean a frozen planet. It’s no mere trace gas; it has a lot of gusto for its volume.

          If someone pours used motor oil on your lawn and someone else pounds a bunch of ugly white stakes into it, the lawn just has double-damage. But the damage from the stakes ends up being the most visible from a distance. The problem with wind turbines is their size and unheard of proliferation into areas we thought would stay unspoiled. I have to explain this over and over to the Wind Tribe, who are as anti-environmental as climate deniers due to narrow focus. They take “pick your poison” too far and ignore the whole big vat of it.

          Rational discourse recognizes that Man is creating an industrial plague on many fronts. Picking sides while ignoring cumulative blight makes it impossible to address the overriding problem of human overload and economic growthism.

          • fletch92131 Says:

            Alec, how can you say that CO2 is the driving force of climate change when 4000 years of climate is described in one chart here, http://bit.ly/28RCUdi. I’d say these elevations in temperature did that for natural forcing’s,, not CO2, unless cavemen ddrove SUVs.

  5. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Beautiful. I could watch them all day.
    In fact, I would build an apartment on one if I could.
    Imagine waking up to that view every day?
    Seriously, live-in turbines would be cool!

  6. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Peter, ask for a tour and climb one for another video diary.
    A timelapse from the top behind the blades would also be interesting.

    • j4zonian Says:

      A tour of the tar sands sites first would be nice, for all those who disingenuously complain about the visuals and sound of wind generators.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        And then go off to visit the “reclaimed” mountain top removal coal mining sites. Nice and flat—just waiting to be used for golf courses and shopping malls (in places where few people live).

        • Alec Sevins Says:

          Wind pushers only recognize one or two types of damage. Coal, coal, coal! Or fracking; a better comparison, since it’s a much newer plague, like wind turbines. But fracking hardware is nowhere near as large, especially when the drilling rigs leave. Wind turbines stick around and loom on purpose. At night, the skies are rendered alien spaceports.

          You know that true, but white skyscrapers littering the countryside are somehow invisible to you, or you call them “beautiful” when forced to acknowledge that they actually disrupt the landscape. Why can’t you try to acknowledge what’s really going on? They won’t stop climate change or make much of a real dent in fossil fuel use. If turbines keep proliferating we’ll be stuck with an uglier AND hotter planet. You have to ponder moral questions of what’s really worth destroying. I’d like to see no more than 300,000 wind turbines, globally. Far fewer actually, but I’m pragmatic.

          The wise option is rooftop solar, serious conservation, and a shrinking human population with a lighter footprint.

      • Alec Sevins Says:

        That’s an absurd comparison, as you know full well most people don’t live that far north. Stick with one issue at a time. Wind turbines in Ontario should be the focus if you want to talk about Canada. They are directly affecting farmers and others forced to live among them. It’s a major policy blunder due to the obsession over one colossally-sized technology and a subsidy pipeline that rivals Keystone efforts.

        See my other post in this thread before assuming I’m a climate denier, etc. Man-made damage is occurring on many fronts; it’s just more hypocritical when it’s got a green badge.

  7. redskylite Says:

    Well after first checking your bit.ly shortened URL with software at “longurl.org”, I liked the huge font you have employed and the highlighted statements in red, could speed read it in under 60 seconds.

    Your links did not seem scientific at all, but you are advocating sticking on coal and oil. Bad, Bad man you are condemning my grandchildren to a life in a +4°C altered world, and still increasing. You are redrawing the atlas of the world. Very bad man. Nobody likes wind turbine caused bird deaths but at least a lot of effort is going in to modifying the technology to decrease the risk, and to make each turbine more efficient. Try following the progress and update your blog on that ….

    https://uwaterloo.ca/news/news/researchers-find-way-eagles-and-wind-turbines-coexist

    • redskylite Says:

      This should be indented under fletch92131 – my notepad is performing like a sick dog tonight, or is it me . .. ?

      Quote from my Grandfather

      “A poor workman always blames his tools”

    • Alec Sevins Says:

      Platitudes about miracle turbines that won’t kill birds (or bats) are ignoring physics. More of them keep getting built and the total body count will rise even if some high tech trick minimizes a few deaths. They also kill rarer species that don’t normally migrate through cities. The Spring Valley wind factory (I won’t call it a farm) which has spoiled the view from Great Basin Park, Nevada, is a prime example of blighting a remote area and taking out creatures that never faced such a threat before. If all you can do is offer vague condolences, you’re no environmentalist.

      http://www.basinandrangewatch.org/SpringValleyUpdates.html

      The idea that it was somehow inevitable we’d be covering the land with garish towers and calling them “green” is mind-boggling. Where have all the real environmentalists gone? They sure aren’t pushing wind power. Many in the solar mirror industry have their eyes on huge swaths of desert, which is nearly as bad as wind power, minus the vertical aspect. Rooftop solar makes infinitely more sense than thermal plants that turn desert floors into glass lakes.

      The notion that mainly climate deniers hate to see the countryside destroyed by skyscrapers is very tiresome (we aren’t all Donald Trumps protecting ocean views for Scottish golf courses). Monomaniacs who can only see one issue at a time are the real problem. We need to scale down human activity in general. Wind turbines are just a continuation of Manifest Destiny and endless construction projects, like all the crowing about “housing starts” which just keep pushing sprawl into the countryside. Wind sprawl is cut from the same cloth. The whole growthist system is a plague on nature.

  8. Alec Sevins Says:

    I used to respect Mr. Sinclair until I saw his zealous disregard for the landscapes wind turbines keep invading. Who are these neo-environmentalists and did they ever respect nature with minimal intrusions, or was it just because the intrusions hadn’t happened yet and they had no cause to rationalize? It’s odd to call one’s self an environmentalist and be so blind to desecration. Do these people ever hike the Appalachian Trail or lesser known places where turbines now loom in the near and far distance? They won’t address that except with platitudes about “careful siting” which is obviously not working. It’s always future wind turbines that they claim won’t ruin views, as if there are unseen places they could still be built.

    Here are the two main tactics used to rationalize the spread of rural skyscrapers:

    1) They show a photo of a coal mine or oil field, with no wind turbines in sight, or far in the distance, and ask with smug defiance: “Would you rather live near THAT?” They present it as only two choices; you’re somehow in favor of fossil fuel blight or you must see wind turbines as benign. They also ignore that wind turbines can be seen from many more locations than mines or drilling sites now. They act like a mere camera location renders wind turbines not as tall as city skyscrapers, looming with extra height from mountain ridges. The implication is that old man-made damage in the form of digging or drilling, is all that can possibly be ugly. Structures that jut out of the hills as permanent fixtures are magically benign. They wish-away the alarming spread of renewable energy sprawl in recent years. Over 250,000 wind turbines now litter the world, with over 45,000 in America. The UK, Germany and Spain are already visually saturated due to their smaller land areas, but America is fast becoming a pincushion (with fracking as well). Ignoring new blight and dwelling on old blight is a devious echo-chamber tactic, like climate deniers citing only cooler temperatures on random days.

    2) They keep repeating that “wind turbines are beautiful!” (see top of article) and offer their subjective opinions as a moral fact. Ugly or disruptive is the default reaction to wind turbines, minus hearing industry propaganda. One may be briefly impressed by a limited number of them, but when you see more and more spiking the land it’s hard to miss the total blight. Calling them beautiful is a mental exercise, not a gut feeling one gets when a landscape becomes industrialized. You can call anything beautiful and offer no aesthetic explanation. “They’re pretty just because I said so” is what it amounts to. A lot of people find gangsta rap music soothing to their souls but most don’t. That’s an imperfect analogy but it’s close enough. Also, if someone ran around the world’s museums spray painting white tridents on famous landscape paintings, the word “beautiful” would be be replaced with “criminal!” Why shouldn’t the same thing apply to actual landscapes?

    • Andy Lee Robinson Says:

      Beauty is subjective. Pollution from fossil fuels, global warming, ocean acidification and the threat to our civilization is not.
      Choose.

  9. dumboldguy Says:

    Alex, Alex, Alex—-our resident Don Quixote visits a long dead thread with another Gish Gallop of obsessive-compulsive ranting and raving. To what point?

    We all know that he is really a shill for the fossil fuel interests that is paid to cast doubt on wind power. He HAS to be a shill, because no one with a brain would come up with such a lame argument—-that the in-the-moment VISUAL impacts of wind turbines are somehow worse than the long-term environmental and health impacts of fracking, natural gas production, AGW, and the other negative and toxic impacts of fossil fuel use.

    And Alex neglects the fact that wind turbines can be dismantled and the environment fairly easily restored where they “live”, but that the effects of burning fossil fuels will linger for centuries and may actually never be “fixable”.


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