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Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.


Date added:  August 13, 2018
Health, Noise, Ontario, Prince Edward IslandPrint storyE-mail story

Derivation and application of a composite annoyance reaction construct based on multiple wind turbine features

Author:  Michaud, David; et al.

Abstract —
Objectives: Noise emissions from wind turbines are one of multiple wind turbine features capable of generating annoyance that ranges in magnitude from not at all annoyed to extremely annoyed. No analysis to date can simultaneously reflect the change in all magnitudes of annoyance toward multiple wind turbine features. The primary objective in this study was to use principal component analysis (PCA) to provide a single construct for overall annoyance to wind turbines based on reactions to noise, blinking lights, shadow flicker, visual impacts, and vibrations evaluated as a function of proximity to wind turbines.
Methods: The analysis was based on data originally collected as part of Health Canada’s cross-sectional Community Noise & Health Study (CNHS). One adult participant (18–79 years), randomly selected from dwellings in Ontario (ON) (n = 1011) and Prince Edward Island (PEI) (n = 227), completed an in-person questionnaire. Content relevant to the current analysis included the annoyance responses to wind turbines.
Results: The first construct tested in the PCA explained 58–69% of the variability in total annoyance. Reduced distance to turbines was associated with elevated aggregate annoyance scores among ON and PEI participants. In the ON sample, aggregate annoyance was effectively absent in areas beyond 5 km (mean 0.12; 95% CI 0.00, 1.19), increasing significantly between 2 and 5 km (mean 2.13; 95% CI 0.92, 3.33), remaining elevated, but with no further increase until (0.550–1] km (mean 3.37; 95% CI 3.02, 3.72). At ≤ 0.550 km, the average overall annoyance was 3.36 (95% CI 2.03, 4.69). In PEI, aggregate annoyance was essentially absent beyond 1 km; i.e., (1–2] km (mean 0.21; 95%CI 0.00, 0.88); 2–5 km (mean 0.00; 95%CI 0.00, 1.37); > 5 km (mean 0.00; 95%CI 0.00, 1.58). Annoyance significantly increased in areas between (0.550 and 1] km (mean 1.59; 95%CI 1.02, 2.15) and was highest within 550 m (mean 4.25; 95% CI 3.34, 5.16).
Conclusion: The advantages and disadvantages to an aggregated annoyance analysis, including how it should not yet be considered a substitute for relationships based on changes in high annoyance, are discussed.

David S. Michaud & James McNamee, Non-Ionizing Radiation Health Sciences Division, Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Health Canada
Leonora Marro, Biostatistics Section, Population Studies Division, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada

Canadian Journal of Public Health (2018) 109:242–251
doi: 10.17269/s41997-018-0040-y

Download original document: “Derivation and application of a composite annoyance reaction construct based on multiple wind turbine features

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Date added:  August 13, 2018
Health, Noise, Ontario, Prince Edward IslandPrint storyE-mail story

Association between self-reported and objective measures of health and aggregate annoyance scores toward wind turbine installations

Author:  Michaud, David; et al.

Abstract —
Objective: An aggregate annoyance construct has been developed to account for annoyance that ranges from not at all annoyed to extremely annoyed, toward multiple wind turbine features. The practical value associated with aggregate annoyance would be strengthened if it was related to health. The objective of the current paper was to assess the association between aggregate annoyance and multiple measures of health.
Methods: The analysis was based on data originally collected as part of Health Canada’s Community Noise and Health Study (CNHS). One adult participant per dwelling (18–79 years), randomly selected from Ontario (ON) (n = 1011) and Prince Edward Island (PEI) (n = 227), completed an in-person questionnaire.
Results: The average aggregate annoyance score for participants who indicated they had a health condition (e.g., chronic pain, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) > 5, tinnitus, migraines/headaches, dizziness, highly sensitive to noise, and reported a high sleep disturbance) ranged from 2.53 to 3.72; the mean score for those who did not report these same conditions ranged between 0.96 and 1.41. Household complaints about wind turbine noise had the highest average aggregate annoyance (8.02), compared to an average of 1.39 among those who did not complain.
Conclusion: A mean aggregate annoyance score that could reliably distinguish participants who self-report health effects (or noise complaints) from those who do not could be one of several factors considered by jurisdictions responsible for decisions regarding wind turbine developments. However, the threshold value for acceptable changes and/or levels in aggregate annoyance has not yet been established and could be the focus of future research efforts.

David S. Michaud & James McNamee, Non-Ionizing Radiation Health Sciences Division, Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Health Canada
Leonora Marro, Biostatistics Section, Population Studies Division, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada

Canadian Journal of Public Health (2018) 109:252–260
doi: 10.17269/s41997-018-0041-x

Download original document: “The association between self-reported and objective measures of health and aggregate annoyance scores toward wind turbine installations

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Date added:  August 4, 2018
California, Economics, TechnologyPrint storyE-mail story

$2.5 trillion reason we can’t rely on batteries to clean up the grid

Author:  Temple, James

A pair of 500-foot smokestacks rise from a natural-gas power plant on the harbor of Moss Landing, California, casting an industrial pall over the pretty seaside town.

If state regulators sign off, however, it could be the site of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery project by late 2020, helping to balance fluctuating wind and solar energy on the California grid.

The 300-megawatt facility is one of four giant lithium-ion storage projects that Pacific Gas and Electric, California’s largest utility, asked the California Public Utilities Commission to approve in late June. Collectively, they would add enough storage capacity to the grid to supply about 2,700 homes for a month (or to store about 0.0009 percent of the electricity the state uses each year).

The California projects are among a growing number of efforts around the world, including Tesla’s 100-megawatt battery array in South Australia, to build ever larger lithium-ion storage systems as prices decline and renewable generation increases. They’re fueling growing optimism that these giant batteries will allow wind and solar power to displace a growing share of fossil-fuel plants.

But there’s a problem with this rosy scenario. These batteries are far too expensive and don’t last nearly long enough, limiting the role they can play on the grid, experts say. If we plan to rely on them for massive amounts of storage as more renewables come online—rather than turning to a broader mix of low-carbon sources like nuclear and natural gas with carbon capture technology—we could be headed down a dangerously unaffordable path.

Small doses

Today’s battery storage technology works best in a limited role, as a substitute for “peaking” power plants, according to a 2016 analysis by researchers at MIT and Argonne National Lab. These are smaller facilities, frequently fueled by natural gas today, that can afford to operate infrequently, firing up quickly when prices and demand are high.

Lithium-ion batteries could compete economically with these natural-gas peakers within the next five years, says Marco Ferrara, a cofounder of Form Energy, an MIT spinout developing grid storage batteries.

“The gas peaker business is pretty close to ending, and lithium-ion is a great replacement,” he says.

This peaker role is precisely the one that most of the new and forthcoming lithium-ion battery projects are designed to fill. Indeed, the California storage projects could eventually replace three natural-gas facilities in the region, two of which are peaker plants.

But much beyond this role, batteries run into real problems. The authors of the 2016 study found steeply diminishing returns when a lot of battery storage is added to the grid. They concluded that coupling battery storage with renewable plants is a “weak substitute” for large, flexible coal or natural-gas combined-cycle plants, the type that can be tapped at any time, run continuously, and vary output levels to meet shifting demand throughout the day.

Not only is lithium-ion technology too expensive for this role, but limited battery life means it’s not well suited to filling gaps during the days, weeks, and even months when wind and solar generation flags.

This problem is particularly acute in California, where both wind and solar fall off precipitously during the fall and winter months. Here’s what the seasonal pattern looks like:

If renewables provided 80 percent of California electricity – half wind, half solar – generation would fall precipitously beginning in the late summer. Clean Air Task Force analysis of CAISO data

This leads to a critical problem: when renewables reach high levels on the grid, you need far, far more wind and solar plants to crank out enough excess power during peak times to keep the grid operating through those long seasonal dips, says Jesse Jenkins, a coauthor of the study and an energy systems researcher. That, in turn, requires banks upon banks of batteries that can store it all away until it’s needed.

And that ends up being astronomically expensive.

California dreaming

There are issues California can’t afford to ignore for long. The state is already on track to get 50 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2020, and the legislature is once again considering a bill that would require it to reach 100 percent by 2045. To complicate things, regulators voted in January to close the state’s last nuclear plant, a carbon-free source that provides 24 percent of PG&E’s energy. That will leave California heavily reliant on renewable sources to meet its goals.

The Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based energy policy think tank, recently found that reaching the 80 percent mark for renewables in California would mean massive amounts of surplus generation during the summer months, requiring 9.6 million megawatt-hours of energy storage. Achieving 100 percent would require 36.3 million.

The state currently has 150,000 megawatt-hours of energy storage in total. (That’s mainly pumped hydroelectric storage, with a small share of batteries.)

If renewables supplied 80 percent of California electricity, more than eight million megawatt-hours of surplus energy would be generated during summer peaks. Clean Air Task Force analysis of CAISO data.

Building the level of renewable generation and storage necessary to reach the state’s goals would drive up costs exponentially, from $49 per megawatt-hour of generation at 50 percent to $1,612 at 100 percent.

And that’s assuming lithium-ion batteries will cost roughly a third what they do now.

California’s power system costs rise exponentially if renewables generate the bulk of electricity. Clean Air Task Force analysis of CAISO data.

“The system becomes completely dominated by the cost of storage,” says Steve Brick, a senior advisor for the Clean Air Task Force. “You build this enormous storage machine that you fill up by midyear and then just dissipate it. It’s a massive capital investment that gets utilized very little.”

These forces would dramatically increase electricity costs for consumers.

“You have to pause and ask yourself: ‘Is there any way the public would stand for that?’” Brick says.

Similarly, a study earlier this year in Energy & Environmental Science found that meeting 80 percent of US electricity demand with wind and solar would require either a nationwide high-speed transmission system, which can balance renewable generation over hundreds of miles, or 12 hours of electricity storage for the whole system (see “Relying on renewables alone significantly inflates the cost of overhauling energy”).

At current prices, a battery storage system of that size would cost more than $2.5 trillion.

A scary price tag

Of course, cheaper and better grid storage is possible, and researchers and startups are exploring various possibilities. Form Energy, which recently secured funding from Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures, is trying to develop aqueous sulfur flow batteries with far longer duration, at a fifth the cost where lithium-ion batteries are likely to land.

Ferrara’s modeling has found that such a battery could make it possible for renewables to provide 90 percent of electricity needs for most grids, for just marginally higher costs than today’s.

But it’s dangerous to bank on those kinds of battery breakthroughs—and even if Form Energy or some other company does pull it off, costs would still rise exponentially beyond the 90 percent threshold, Ferrara says.

“The risk,” Jenkins says, “is we drive up the cost of deep decarbonization in the power sector to the point where the public decides it’s simply unaffordable to continue toward zero carbon.”

James Temple, Senior Editor, Energy

MIT Technology Review, July 27, 2018

I am the senior editor for energy at MIT Technology Review. I’m focused on renewable energy and the use of technology to combat climate change. Previously, I was a senior director at the Verge, deputy managing editor at Recode, and columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle. When I’m not writing about energy and climate change, I’m often hiking with my dog or shooting video of California landscapes.

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Date added:  June 30, 2018
North Dakota, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Sharp Hills Wind Farm: Assessment by Delta Waterfowl

Author:  Petrie, Scott; and Chouinard, Matt

As per your letter of engagement dated March 2, 2018, Delta Waterfowl has provided an assessment of the potential impacts of the Sharp Hills Wind Farm (SHWF) on breeding and migrating/staging (hereafter staging) waterfowl. We have reviewed all of the documents that you provided and have mapped the locations and extent of the proposed industrial wind development (Figure 1), proposed industrial wind turbine (IWT) locations in relation to wetlands in the region (Figure 2), breeding waterfowl densities (Figure 3), land-cover types (Figure 4), and a figure showing the waterfowl exclusion zones, avoidance zones (based on European literature – see below) and potential barrier effects if the proposed IWTs are constructed (Figure 5).

Based on our assessment, we have concerns that the proposed wind farm will adversely impact a number of avian (displacement and direct mortality) and bat (mortality) species. Unlike many species of passerines, birds of prey and bats that are killed by IWTs, waterfowl generally avoid industrial wind developments (Larsen and Madsen 2000; Desholm and Kahlert 2005, Stewart et al. 2005, Larsen and Guillemette 2007, Masden et al. 2009, Fijn et al. 2012, Rees 2012) which is problematic when IWTs are placed in and close to important waterfowl habitats, and/or across migratory or feeding flight corridors. This review pertains to the potential barrier effects and habitat loss (due to avoidance) that would be imposed on ducks, geese and swans if the proposed IWT development was constructed. It is our professional opinion that if the proposed industrial wind development is constructed, it will adversely impact breeding as well as spring and fall staging waterfowl. …

Scott Petrie, Ph.D., CEO, Delta Waterfowl
Matt Chouinard, M.Sc., Senior Waterfowl Programs Manager, Delta Waterfowl

12 April, 2018

Download original document: “Sharp Hills Wind Farm: Assessment by Delta Waterfowl

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