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What obstacles exist to the siting of wind generation?  

Author:  | Europe, Grid, Impacts, Siting, U.S.

Benefit–Cost Trade-Off

THE OBSTACLES
• Unreliable generation
• Noise and health effects
• Property value questions
• Wildlife and habitat impacts
• Aesthetics

Grid interconnection requests by region (as of 10/07):

New England (NE ISO): 2,100 MW
New York (NY ISO): 6,800 MW
Mid-Atlantic region (PJM): 24,500 MW (northern IN and IL)
Midwest region (MISO): 65,500 MW
Texas (ERCOT): 35,500 MW (most of TX)
South-central region (SPP): 19,300 MW (KS, OK, TX panhandle)
Western region (WECC): 11,200 MW (entire western US)

TOTAL: 164,900 MW
Notes:
a) rounded to nearest 100 MW;
b) some numbers may be inflated due to occasional multiple interconnection study applications;
c) entry in the queue does not guarantee a project will be built; however, it is an indicator of activity.

FROM WEST COAST:
• Intermittent resource.
• Can’t be counted on to meet peak load.
• Typically doesn’t blow on hottest days of the year.
• Less than 10% of nameplate at summer peak.
Source: California ISO integration of renewable resources report (Draft) 9/07

TO EAST COAST:
• Highly Variable: Wind speeds are highly variable hour to hour.
• Pay Real-Time Rates: Deviation from day-ahead schedule; pay real-time rate for energy imbalance.
• Reserve Charges: All energy produced above/ below day-ahead tolerance band assessed operating reserve charges.
Source: Independent Economic Assessment of the Proposed Bluewater Offshore Wind Farm 11/07

TO EUROPE:
Two major studies, identical conclusions:
• Wind energy provides 8% effective capacity.
• The relative contribution of wind power to Germany’s guaranteed capacity will fall continuously to 4% by 2020.
• Given forecast wind capacity of over 48,000MW, only 2,000MW of traditional power production replaced by wind .
Source: E.ON Netz GmbH Wind Report 2005

Noise? – Yes, unbearable and there’s no escape.

“The noise … is at times unbearable. At best we get a constant pulsating thump from the blades … During summer months it sometimes becomes impossible for us to sit out in our garden. When we go inside … the pulsating noise is so invasive.”
Letter in the Carmarthen Journal May 2005

“Noise and vibrations from the turbines penetrate our homes. At times there is no escape from it. It doesn’t matter which room you go to, there is no escape. [It] ranges from the sound of a high range jet to a fleet of planes … approaching but never arrive. When it’s really bad it takes on a repetitive, pulsating, thumping noise that can go on for hours or even days.”
W. Todd Testimony to ME Wind Power Task Force Sep 2007

Other issues: shadow strobe, flicker …

Noise: Lots of research; limited understanding

Property devaluation? Studies not conclusive; methodologies questioned.

Wildlife and habitat? Precautionary principle should prevail.
• Annual kill of bats by wind turbines in only the Mid-Atlantic Highlands region is projected to be 111,000 by 2020. (Kunz et al.)
• Thousands of birds/bats killed yearly at individual wind sites in WV, TN, PA, NY and Alberta. Altamont is not an anomaly! (post-construction surveys)
• Only modest investments in monitoring and data collection. In some cases, researchers locked out (NAS report 5/07)

Economic opportunity?
• Costs of industrializing rural America
• Inflated economic gain, jobs
• Costs for backup power and transmission
• Active lobbying for reduced tax burden myth

reality

Canada
Canadian project

Spearville, KS
Spearville KS

Elk River, KS -- before

Elk River, KS -- after
Elk River KS – the Flint Hills
[before and after]
100 – 1.5 MW turbines

What can you do?
• Recognize wind ‘farms’ and wind ‘parks’ for what they are – Electric generating facilities.
• Look before you embrace – Contradicting research should raise a red flag.
• Enable “public-friendly” proceedings – Participation should not be exempted – as recently happened in MD.
• Instigate state and local guidelines – Protect the public and the environment from negative impacts.

presented at
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC)
November 14, 2007
Anaheim, California
Panel:&nbsp: “What obstacles exist concerning the siting of wind generation?”

Download original document: “What obstacles exist to the siting of wind generation?

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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