Patterico's Pontifications

4/28/2010

Wind Farm Off Cape Cod

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 8:25 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration has approved a wind farm off Cape Cod:

“Plans for Cape Wind call for construction to begin within a year. Its 130 turbines would be placed in a grid pattern over a 25-square-mile area of Nantucket Sound. The closest turbine to land will be about five miles from Cape Cod . The turbines will supply a maximum of 468 megawatts of electricity, about the output of a medium-sized coal-fired electricity plant, or enough for about 200,000 homes in Massachusetts .”

The proposed wind farm has several opponents, many of whom joined with former Senator Ted Kennedy to block the venture in the past.

We have several wind farms in West Texas and I think they’re beautiful, but obviously West Texas lands aren’t the same as a Cape Cod seascape. Rather than appearance, I’d be more concerned about wind farms posing a danger to boats and shipping … but I’m sure that could be handled. So while renewable energy sources aren’t the only answer, they are part of our “All of the above” energy solutions. To the extent that’s the case here, I applaud this decision.

— DRJ

44 Responses to “Wind Farm Off Cape Cod”

  1. Here in New England, more good news: Ted Kennedy is still dead.

    Kevin R.C. O'Brien (01669e)

  2. If Ted wasn’t taking a dirt nap, I doubt this would have gone through. I believe it will be located pretty much offshore from the Kennedy compound.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  3. If only they could harness the energy generated by Teddy spinning in his grave right now, they would have it made.

    gazzer (7588eb)

  4. Back in the 90s, I worked for an electric utility that built a few, well three, wind turbines out near Fort Davis, Texas. That’s way out there, even by Texas standards.

    They were truly remarkable sights. When you stood underneath one as they were turning, they made a low-frequency whoosh sound that’s hard to describe, but memorable.

    I can’t remember the exact kilowatt output they generated, but it was enough to supply another small, nearby town, Marfa, with enough energy to last a day, if the wind blew at around 15 to 20 mph on that day.

    Now, Texas is a leader in wind generation. There are a whole lot more of those big whooshers, and every little bit counts.

    Even if you’re rich and live on Cape Cod.

    Ag80 (f67beb)

  5. Everyone always said that TX was full of a lot of wind…or was that Texans?

    Considering the Alternative Energy stance of most Leftists, this windmill farm in “The Sound” is long overdue, and is just desserts.
    I’m sure all of the Conservatives who live on The Cape, Nantucket, and The Vineyard will enjoy their new source of non-carbon energy.

    AD - RtR/OS! (ecaeda)

  6. Wind power is more expensive than conventional power sources, and at best, it can only meet a fraction of our energy needs. It also endangers birds. (video).

    Our natural gas resources, which modern technology has made far more accessible, is a much better investment.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  7. AD:

    Everyone always said that TX was full of a lot of wind…or was that Texans?

    Texas is full of blowhards.

    DRJ (d15e92)

  8. Ag80 – Those green liberal nimbys fought it long and hard.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  9. Although one feels badly for the birds, there is great irony in California, state of the protected everything (well, except it’s citizenry… but I digress…):

    A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birds—nearly all protected by the migratory bird act—are being whacked every year at Altamont.

    A classic greenie lib conundrum.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  10. wind power is a joke, as are the politicians who keep it alive through tax subsidies.

    when the subsidies die, so do the wind farms, and all that is left are the ugly towers and the corpses of the dead birds and insects butchered by bullsh1t.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  11. Altamont…they should just hire the Hell’s Angels to warn the birds, they already have a relationship to Altamont.

    AD - RtR/OS! (ecaeda)

  12. I remember running the numbers on some wind farm project financings in the early 1980s. The only thing that made them work was tax credits and subsidized (read above market) power purchase agreements. I’m not sure things have changed much since then.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  13. A Texas wind farm uses radar to calculate if weather conditions make the wind farm a threat to large groups of migrating birds. If so, they shut the wind farm down until the birds pass.

    The link above is from May 2009. I don’t know if the radar works but here’s the radar company’s website. It says there are over 50 bird radar systems in operation around the world.

    DRJ (d15e92)

  14. DRJ – If it sells bird radars, it works for the radar company.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  15. Heh. Texans have a soft spot for birds and bats, daley.

    DRJ (d15e92)

  16. I’m late to the party, but Teddy always said that wind turbines would be in the Cape over his dead body.

    JVW (08e86a)

  17. Obama turning around and (reference to all of the avian concerns expressed above) “flipping the bird” at one of the key people that got him elected? Priceless!

    He had to wait for Teddy to die, of course, but this is oh so Barcky. :p

    I’ve never ‘ran the numbers’ on wind farms; however, my layman’s brain thinks that there has to be a point — maybe after it has been in existence for several years — when a particular farm can become a financially solvent source of electricity. I know that the capital investment for building and erecting the towers is huge, but it seems to me that operational expenses must be rather low.

    Icy Texan (d7204c)

  18. So, when the first boat — probably piloted by a drunken Kennedy — smacks into one of these bird-whackers, and sinks, will the headline read thus?

    The Skiff Hits The Fan

    Icy Texan (d7204c)

  19. The wind farm is being built on large swath of shallow water (Horseshoe Shoal, I believe). It is outside the shipping lanes.

    The windmills will be inside the corridor where small aircraft currently fly around. So…we’ll see what happens there.

    The windmills will be, I believe about a quarter mile apart from each other. If a yachtsman hits one, then he’s an effing idiot, or drunk, or both).

    Xmas (073757)

  20. So while renewable energy sources aren’t the only answer, they are part of our “All of the above” energy solutions. To the extent that’s the case here, I applaud this decision.

    Because wind farms provide unreliable power there always has to be another conventional power plant to back up every megawatt of a wind farms theoretical output. That means an complete duplication of infrustructure from generation capacity to transmission lines to sub stations, and that backup plant must be manned 24 hours a day even when it isn’t running, just in case it has to fire up when the wind drops. And this is just the beginning of the tale when it comes to describing how inefficient and wasteful wind farms are. A little research of your own will turn up a lot more negatives.

    Mr Black (e49dbe)

  21. Interesting article in Forbes about a major oil strike – in a Bakersfield, CA oil field. Oxy Petro believes there are still major sources of oil and gas in historical fields to find.

    JEA (9f9fc9)

  22. #18 Icy Texan: You are sooo going to burn in hell for that one.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  23. The high variability of wind causes serious headaches for the power distributor, who is responsible for delivering a steady flow of power. For this reason, wind and solar can’t be more than 30% of a grid’s source, or the grid becomes unstable. Which wears out the light bulbs and motors running off of it.

    And the capacity factor of wind is around 20%, so on average that facility will only deliver 93.6 Mw.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  24. Because wind farms provide unreliable power there always has to be another conventional power plant to back up every megawatt of a wind farms theoretical output.

    It would be more accurate to say that the producer needs to buy power off the grid when the turbines are idle. In this case, Cape Wind hopes to replace a great deal of power being generated across the bay by a nasty old oil-burning plant.

    And do you know who this benefits? No, not Mitt Romney. He opposed Cape Wind for the same reason Dead Ted did.

    spongeworthy (c2e8fe)

  25. Just wondering—Are they going to name it the Dead Ted Kennedy Wind Farm?

    /snark

    Red County Pete (5828e7)

  26. I still wonder at the brilliance of locating wind farms in the midst of one of the most corrosive substances on earth.

    Aside from the shortcomings of wind *power* other have already noted.

    X_LA_Native (ce194d)

  27. The Cape Wind project is triangulated between the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport (9 miles away), 18 miles off US Senator John Kerry’s (his wife’s money, actually) house on Nantucket, and 20 miles northeast of many more Beautiful People on Martha’s Vineyard (like Walter Cronkite, RIP.)

    Looks like the power from this project will be available at 27 cents per kilowatt hour. Even with the most expensive electric rates in the US, that’s far above the 12- to 15-cents we usually pay. The ratepayers will take it in the neck.

    While I’m all for renewable energy, I’m not all for having to pay for it. Not even massive federal tax subsidies make wind power competitive with juice right off the grid.

    Boston Shepherd (a1bd0b)

  28. I wonder whether anyone’s analyzed some of the deeper environmental effects of the use of wind turbines.

    Aside from the obvious harm to birds, what do wind farms do to the wind itself? You’re taking energy out of the wind, so what is the effect of that?

    I know that wind is caused by air pressure differences, but do wind farms reduce the speed of the wind that passes through?

    I liken it to an electrical circuit, with the air pressure being voltage and the wind speed current. Would the turbines act as resistors, and limit the current through them? Would wind travel less of a distance than it would without the turbines? If so, what would the the long-term effect of that on the environment?

    Just musing, I haven’t researched this and don’t pretend to know the answer.

    Some chump (63ff1e)

  29. monuments to a champion blowhard.only the good die young,really. what does that make teddy ?

    clyde (64e04d)

  30. Excessive wind farms could lead to the slowing of the Earth’s rotation. The 24-hour day could rise to 30 hours or more; work productivity will sky-rocket. Hurricanes and other major storms will be a thing of the past. Temperatures will moderate over the entire globe; leading to huge increases in crop production. Cats and dogs will live in harmony.

    When he said he was going to radically change the world, he meant it.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  31. On Fox and Friends this morning they covered this story with an ardent activist opposing the project, and an industry flack supporting it. The activist put up all the usual suspect defenses: danger to boats and planes, the fact that the Cape Cod waters are a “National Treasure”, and of course the typical liberal trump card: the sound is “sacred grounds” for the native American tribes in the area.

    When the industry flack was asked about the “rumor” that if one looks at the all-in cost and energy consumption related to manufacturing and siting the windmills and running the power cables, etc. that such a project is a negative contributor – he demurred, saying he wasn’t quite sure if that was true for this project. Hah!

    Oh the irony of one liberal tribe (Obama administration)taking on three other liberal tribes (NIMBY elites; environmentalists; identity politics grievence mongers) and all over a iconic but ultimately counter-productive “green” project.

    All we need now is a sound bite of John Kerry after he slams into a windmill tower while windsurfing.

    in_awe (44fed5)

  32. Comment by Xmas — 4/29/2010 @ 1:06 am

    The local yachtsmen, even after all of their blustering about the disfigurement of the Sound, etc, will end up using the various towers as “marks” for their racing series, just as they do here in SoCal in regards to oil-islands.

    AD - RtR/OS! (3def68)

  33. My travels routinely take me through 2 large windfarms, one in central IN, and another in west central IL. They really are pleasant to look at, and rather fascinating.

    JD (3b62be)

  34. A local Catholic high school put a big ol’ windmill up in the middle of my city. It’s pretty, and pretty amazing to look at.

    http://www.holyname.net/green/index.html

    Xmas (c2193d)

  35. “Aside from the obvious harm to birds, what do wind farms do to the wind itself? You’re taking energy out of the wind, so what is the effect of that?”

    Some chump – I’m glad you asked. Wind farms obviously increase global warming, yet another unintended consequence of the green movement.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  36. #31 in_awe:

    and of course the typical liberal trump card: the sound is “sacred grounds” for the native American tribes in the area.

    And of course the Makah of Neah Bay have resumed their traditional whaling.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  37. It would be more accurate to say that the producer needs to buy power off the grid when the turbines are idle.

    No, it would not be more accurate to say that. That “power off the grid” as you call it is exactly what I described, a complete duplicate generation capacity. Whether the generator is sited next door or in the next state, someone has to have a generator available for when the wind doesn’t blow.

    What is currently occuring is that wind farms are eating into the reserve margin for the conventional grid, using those reserve generators as their standby power. In the event of a major generation failure that actually requires that reserve capacity to come online the wind farms will be a massive liability and the only thing standing between an operational grid and a total blackout will be the wind.

    We are taking a big risk with critical infrustructure here, hoping like hell that nothing ever goes wrong.

    Mr Black (e49dbe)

  38. actually it is not that hard to setup wind farms, the only problem is that it requires lots of capital investment.;”‘

    Dylan White (1518af)

  39. wind farms are great but they also take up a large land area**;

    Owen Murphy (a3e1d1)

  40. wind farms are eco friendly and can generate massive amounts of electricity-;-

    Anna Begum (05a08b)

  41. wind farms in germany are great! i hope that we could install those in every country;:”

    Kitchen Units  (ecfd51)

  42. daley- it’s not clear if windfarms increase or decrease global warming and whether strategic placement can offset the effects of rising CO2, so a moratorium on wind power should be placed pending further study. Legislation for the moratorium could be named the Kerry-Kennedy Act

    13.A Texas wind farm uses radar to calculate if weather conditions make the wind farm a threat to large groups of migrating birds. Comment by DRJ

    Sportsmen have long taken advantage of sonar in locating fish, now they can use radar to help locate ducks and geese!

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  43. Driving through a large windfarm at night is really cool. Each tower generally has a flashing light on top.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  44. our hometown already have wind farms and it is great to know that we have a reneawable electricity source,`;

    Scaffolding Boards : (8b29ed)


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