Some folks say today is a sad day for the environment. I’m an optimist, always looking for the bright side.
Today’s news is great news for hunter-gatherers! The Maryland Public Service Commission just approved a twenty turbine industrial wind installation for placement in the migratory path of endangered and protected Golden and Bald Eagles, Song Birds, Bats and other Endangered species on the high peaks of Backbone Mountain in Garret County. Known for their majestic beauty, dense woodlands and wide array of wildlife, these mountains located in far western Maryland should provide a bounty of feathers and body parts for collectors.
You folks upset by this approval have got to stop sulking. Don’t you realize in some areas it is still a crime to “take” (love that word – like going on a long vacation) endangered species. I was once told that an individual in possession of even one feather from an eagle could be fined thousands of dollars and even jailed. But, good news … from the looks of things, the lid is coming off that pot. Nowadays, if you’ve got an egg beater the size of a football field that occasionally twirls, you can not only receive massive government subsidies for producing nothing of value, you can kill stuff. How cool is that? Check it out –
But here’s what got some folks all tied up in their underwear – according to the Cumberland Times-News article today “More than five months after a public hearing in McHenry, the Maryland Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved a Synergics Wind Energy LLC project that will result in 20 turbines being placed atop Backbone Mountain. Skeptics are upset that it takes 20 turbines, producing at an efficiency of somewhere around 15 to 35% of their rated nameplate capacity, to produce the output of 3 to 7 turbines! They get all wound up about all that land and air consumed by these massive things. I say … so what! After all, how many eagles can you wack if you only put up 3 turbines?
Known as the Roth Rock Project, the 50-megawatt complex qualified for expedited review by the PSC. State law holds projects of 70 megawatts or more to a higher level of examination. The complainers would probably like every wind installation to meet high standards. C’mon guys! It’s not like they’re permanent or anything … chill out!
The project has long been supported by the Garrett County commissioners, according to County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt.” I suppose with all the new tax money promised, it was hard for these folks to pass on this deal. After all, it is a chance to get back a little of the money the members of the community were taxed to support construction and operation subsidies, after profits to the developer, of course. And hey! … no one will mind the higher electricity rates because these units will soon be replacing coal-fueled power plants. Wait … they won’t? You mean … “With nearly 100,000 huge wind turbines now in operation throughout the world—35,000 in the USA—no coal plants have been closed anywhere because of wind technology. And there is no empirical evidence that there is less coal burned per unit of electricity produced as a specific consequence of wind.”
The article reports that “Frank Maisano, a spokesman for a coalition of wind energy developers, said Thursday that Synergics has obtained leases involving four landowners including Interstate Hardwoods and will begin construction of the Roth Rock Project in the spring when weather conditions are favorable.” Frank Maisano … where have I heard that name? It will come to me … oh yeah … “Frank Maisano, a Washington, DC lobbyist and media spokesman for Nedpower and who lives near the Bay, said that any allegation that a wind-powered project will be an “eyesore” is generally a claim without merit.” However, when asked by a reporter, he declined to say if he would want such a project built within two miles of his home. “I’m not living next to one, so I’m not going to answer hypothetical questions for you just for the sake of answering them,” he said. (Charlotte, WV Gazette, November 30, 2005.) Well, I’d probably agree with Frank, but I don’t know what his answer was.
Anyway, to the article, “The PSC ruled Wednesday that Synergics must keep the power grid safe and reliable and meet international standards for building turbines.” See, you pessimists! They have to keep the power grid safe and reliable and, oh … darn, I almost forgot … I asked Jon Boone about that a little while back: But can’t the grid engineers somehow compensate for the variance? And why is it so important to balance supply and demand so precisely?
Boone: Given what is known of demand cycles, grid operators, using computerized automatic generation controls, bring supply to match demand on a less than second-by-second basis within plus/minus one percent. And this includes balancing on-going demand fluctuations. After more than a hundred years of experience, grid engineers can predict demand very accurately, which is possible because aggregate demand is not fundamentally random, unlike wind volatility. If there’s too little supply, widespread brown-outs and black-outs will occur; if there’s too much supply relative to demand, the surge can fry both transmission lines and appliances. Even brief dips, like surges, can harm sensitive electronics that many of our lives depend on. Excess supply is also sometimes dumped, which is a financial loss to all tax and ratepayers. Dumping excess wind energy and/or shutting down the turbines, is a common situation in Germany, Spain, and Texas, made necessary when large spikes of wind threaten the grid’s security.
Yes, engineers can make-work by adding wind flux to the system, which further destabilizes the match between supply and demand. They can lead a horse to water; but they can’t make it change its spots. By its nature, wind will require repeated flippering—lots of whips and whistles, even at small levels of penetration—in ways that will negate the very reason for its being—which is reducing CO2 emissions and backing down coal. This is why people quickly switched to steam 200 years ago. Retrofitting modern technology to meet the needs of ancient wind flutter is monumentally “backasswards.” It’s also a sure sign that pundits and politicians, not scientists, are now in charge. It will take much more than a smart grid to incorporate such a dumb, antediluvian idea successfully.
And it’s not just the engineers who would benefit, for there are many “suppliers” only too happy to profiteer from this situation. General Electric, which bought out Enron’s wind projects when the latter company went belly up in 2001 and is today one of the world’s largest wind suppliers, recently gave a presentation to the Canadian government detailing all the problems with wind—followed by a long list of products that would assist wind’s grid integration. Look for GE wind ads on its subsidiary, NBC.”
Ok! But the PSC did insist they meet international standards. There you go naysayers! You know they’ve been building these things in Europe for a long time. What could go wrong? –
Never mind that … what about tourism? Got you there, sad sacks! We know no one ever comes to the mountains to see the mountains, but now I’ll bet the buses are lining up. Again, where else can you go to see this for free –
It was so good I thought you might like to see it twice.
So, for all you complainers out there – knock it off! This is just one more in a set of turbines planned to grace the boring mountain tops of the Appalachians. As the article said “Backbone Mountain is also the site for another wind energy project that has already been approved. Clipper Windpower would build 28 wind turbines there.” Mt. Storm in nearby WV has a bunch of eagle beaters over there and US WindForce is seeking approval for an installation they already plan to sell in Mineral County. The race is on folks!
Remember what Rick Webb, senior scientist with the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, said “It would require more than 300 miles of wind turbines, stretching the entire length of the Blue Ridge Mountain chain in Virginia, from Mount Rogers to Harpers Ferry, to match the August peak-demand period output of Dominion’s controversial new coal-fired power plant in Wise County.” Darn, add in WV, MD and PA and shezaam! With a gauntlet like that, I’ll bet Canada will be wondering what the hell happened to the all the birds that used to show up.
And, here’s the best part of the joke – they’ll build thousands and thousands of these windmills and they still won’t replace any coal fired plants. Heck, China is putting up a ton of wind plants and, at the same time, building coal fired plants just to make sure when someone flips a switch the light actually comes on. Of course, China can afford to do so since a big chunk of the 85% of the stimulus package intended for renewables that blew overseas, landed there, and Europe is paying for the turbines China is making for themselves.
I mean, is this a great country or what? The government takes taxpayer money, gives it to for-profit companies to build something that contributes virtually nothing. The company then takes the taxpayer subsidy, proceeds to destroys the mountain’s environment, and kicks back a little to the locals for their troubles. They then charge higher electricity rates to the end user located far, far away from where the couple of kilowatts that might actually enter the grid, is generated. And everybody’s happy! Well, except for those nuts trying to stop the killing and destruction.
Now that’s so smooth it reminds me of what my Dad used to say about a local politician from long ago, “He could tell someone to go to hell and they’d look forward to the trip.”
Well friends, we’re on a Highway to Hell and it’s named Industrial Wind!
Full Cumberland Times-News article here.
Related links: “California has a novel idea to protect birds and bats. Don’t build wind plants where they fly! UPDATE: VIDEO SHOWS WHY!” … “A Conversation with Jon Boone – Toward a Better Understanding of Industrial Wind Technology” … “A Conversation with Jon Boone – Industrial Wind and the Environment” … “Agencies sworn to protect must not permit the kill.” … “The Allegheny Highlands – Where eagles dare!“