INDEX - ENERGY ID# 0614-09



POSTED: 5 JUNE 2006 - 6:00pm HST

Wind Power in Limbo

Blade lift at the Oklahoma Wind Energy Center in Woodward County in 2003. Click on image for more.

Study to examine windpower effect on military
by Andrea Frampton & Erinn Deshinsky 2 June 2006 in Peoria Journal Star

A study prompted by national security concerns involving radar will affect wind-power development in Illinois and around the country, an official for a wind energy company said Thursday.

"It's stopping the progress of literally millions of dollars of projects," said Tim Polz, site manager for Chicago-based Midwest Wind Energy. The company has two projects slated for construction in 2007 in the Bureau County region.

The study, prompted by a clause in the 2006 Defense Authorization Act, calls for an assessment of the effects of windmill farms on military operations.

The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security asked the Federal Aviation Administration to monitor possible wind farm problem sites, according to FAA spokeswomen Elizabeth Isham Cory.

The FAA began issuing notices of "presumed hazard" to wind project contractors in January for sites within 60 nautical miles of long-range radar installations, she said.

The study's main purpose, Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said, is to determine the effect wind farms have on radar systems' ability to defend the nation's borders.

"We just want to stop new construction (to find out if) it is affecting our nation's security," Lainez said. "We're not talking about the specifics of the study until it's submitted to Congress."

In McLean County, construction of the $600 million Twin Groves wind farm in Saybrook is behind schedule, but not because of federal intervention, according to a developer with Horizon Wind Energy.

Work has been delayed to finalize agreements with landowners, said Michael Skelly, chief developer with Texas-based Horizon Wind Energy. He said construction should begin the end of this month.
With 240 turbines, each 260 feet tall, planned to generate 400 megawatts, the Twin Groves wind farm will be one of the nation's largest and is estimated to provide enough power to light up 120,000 homes.

"The FAA order has affected a lot of wind projects around the country, but we got our wind permit two days ago," Skelly said Thursday. "They looked at it more closely, and (a solution) was found because we did get a permit."

The study on wind farms and radar should have been completed no later than 120 days after the Defense Authorization Act took effect in January.

Defense Department spokeswoman Lainez said she does not know when the study will be completed.

Polz said he hopes the study will be concluded soon, because without a resolution, his company cannot begin building the farms, which include a second phase of the Crescent Ridge wind farm near Tiskilwa and a new 200- to 250-megawatt Big Sky wind farm near Ohio.

Polz said his company is moving forward with both projects, but added that it's possible - if the study shows the turbines do cause interference - the FAA could shut projects down.

Other planned projects in the area include the 64-megawatt Eurus Crescent Ridge II wind farm near Tiskilwa, and an 84-megawatt GSG LLC wind farm in LaSalle and Lee counties near Mendota owned by Bruce and Joyce Papeich.

Michael Vickerman with Renew Wisconsin, a not-for-profit wind farm advocacy group, said four large-scale wind farm projects in Wisconsin are delayed because they are near airports. He said instances have been documented in which test planes lost radar for "a handful of seconds" while flying over a wind farm. But technology is now available to eliminate interference caused by objects such as cell towers and wind turbines, Vickerman said.

"It's absurd," Vickerman said. "There are wind farms operating near Air Force bases." Vickerman said contractors will have to delay buying turbines, and the high demand for turbines will increase prices by 20 percent next year.
"The economic damage is widespread from this policy. Just about everyone suffers," Vickerman said.

Polz added there are already wind farms within the area of facilities using military radars.

"So they should already know the effects," Polz said.

"We would hope, along with everyone else in this industry, what they come out with is reasonable," he said.

Rory Cox: Pacific Environment - California Program Director
311 California Street, Suite 650
San Francisco, CA 94104
phone: 415.399.8850 x302
fax: 415.399.8860

"Protecting the Living Environment of the Pacific Rim



Reaction to windmills from Maui

28 May 2006 - 1:00pm

map of Maui windpower at 50 meters above ground. Note intensity in West Maui below Lahaina.

Like a stitched wound catching the morning sun
by Steve Milewski on 26 May 2006

I saw the article below about the wind generated power and what the Kauai mountain ridge might look like should the plan go ahead.

Believe me - it WILL look like that and worse!

They are in the process of constructing those towers on the ridgeline of
the West Maui mountains and they stand out like you wouldn't believe. To me, it looks like a stitched wound when they catch the morning sun.

Now don't get me wrong. I am a tree hugger at heart. I fought for environmental causes back in Oregon and was the Central Oregon liaison for the Trojan Decommissioning Alliance back in the late 70's. I applaud the attempt to use wind power instead of fossil fuels.

However, as we discuss the plans in Kauai and deal with the implementation here on Maui, I fear we are all missing the greater issue. That issue is the allowance of unbridled growth in the islands which creates the need for those towers.

Read the letters to the editor over the last few weeks in the Maui News. Never before have I seen so many letters at once from mainland writers. They are all complaining about the blot on the landscape.

Here's my take on the situation...
The visitor industry on the neighbor islands is comprised mainly of people looking for a more rustic, unspoiled tropical vacation. Those people who like an urban environment visit Oahu. Destroy the remote island "feel" and visitors will look elsewhere rather than the neighbor islands as their first choice. Yes, people will visit - but, the feeling they leave with will not be the same and the urge to come again will diminish.

I believe that what needs to happen is that a law needs to be passed and ENFORCED that says, only Hawaiian residents can purchase property. No more
speculation, no more "investments". If you decide to make this place your home, Aloha. If not, thank you for visiting.

Windpower map of Kauai. Primary ridges Hanalei & Waioliali to to coast on Kipu Mountains

Wind Class in watts per sq meter. Click on maps for more state data on wind in Hawaii

If developers can build communities and then put up gates that say local residents can no longer have access to their own island, we can tell those people we do not accept this.

This one simple move will cause property values to return to more affordable levels and we will no longer have multi-million dollar homes taking away pristine oceanfront access from the locals.

This in turn will help reduce the urgency to get those towers up and give Kauai a chance to think about locations and alternative power methods before it's too late.
Here on Maui it already feels like we live in Southern California. I've even spoken with other ham radio operators on the mainland who told me they used to visit Maui but now it's too much like California so they visit Kauai or the Big Island instead.

The other stupid move is the Superferry. The benefit of the superferry is
only for Oahu residents. I've spoken with Maui residents who say the ferry is a good idea because now they can visit other islands and take their car. I try to make them read the superferry website and really think about the reality.

Let's say a Kauai resident wanted to visit the Big Island or Maui for the weekend. That person would have to wait for the boat to leave Oahu in the morning and the Kauai resident would be able to catch the boat back to Oahu in the afternoon. The Kauai resident would pay $60/person one way to Oahu and then $60/person one way to Maui ($70/person to Big Island). The car goes for $65 to Oahu and $75 to Big Island) In addition the trip to Oahu and then to Maui is 3 hours per leg and that doesn't even include queue times.

So you're talking at least 12 hours on the boat for a round trip from one neighbor island to another neighbor island. The minimum weekend cost is $240 round trip for one person and $260 for the car.

In addition, our tax dollars are paying a subsidy of how many millions of dollars just to get this off the ground. Consider also the other hidden costs. Quality of life - imagine 250 cars getting off the boat in Nawilliwilli at the same time. Superferry says their large staging area will mitigate the problem of getting these cars onto local streets. I don't care how large a staging area is - 250 cars at one time is alot of extra cars.

Goods and services - I'm not sure about Kauai, but here on Maui, in order to make room for the superferry, Young Brothers Shipping has to cut their dock space in half. As a result, they will no longer be accepting less than a full container load of goods for shipping from one island to another.

This will raise the cost of many products that ship to us. BTW, if Maui is not ready for Superferry on time - Hawaii has to pay THEM $180 / day. I can go on and on. It just amazes me how Oahu-centric everything is and how stupid decisions are being made to satisfy short term profits at the expense of preserving a very special place for future generations.

Well, next time I'll be more personal - just had to react to your story and pass on some opinions.



The look of wind power

13 May 2006 - 12:00pm

the view of Kipu mountains with several 1.6 megawatt windmills on ridge. Click on image for overview

by Juan WIlson & Jonathon Jay on 13 May 2006

This article does not make a judgment on whether wind power should be widely employed on Kauai as an alternative to fossil fuel as a source of energy. What it will examine is the aesthetic issues that are raised by the scale of operations that are being contemplated.

In the simulated illustration above the Kipu Mountain range is shown with a line of Vestas NM82 windmills. The towers supporting the generators are 262 feet high. Each blade of the wind turbine is 135 feet making the total height of the windmill 397 feet; about the height of a forty story building. Hokulei Peek, in the middle of this image is 1666 feet above sea level.

A closer view of this kind of ridge application might look something like the following. Mountain ridges are a practical location for windmills even though access may be difficult. Ridge are natural places to elevate generators into a steady flow of wind. Undoubtedly, efforts would be made by all concerned to reduce the impact on the beautiful and striking mountainous landscape of Kauai, but the aesthetic considerations will be an important aspect of an wind power implementation.

Each of the Vestas NM82s generates 1.6megawatts of power and costs about $1.6 million on the mainland. That's enough power for about 475 homes per unit. KIUC indicates that on average, Kauai consumes a peak of about 70megawatts/hour in the afternoon. THis would mean that about 45 windmills of this capacity could provide 100% of that load for a cost of about $70 million.

An alternative to mountain ridge locations are windswept plains. There are some that could be appropriate on Kauai. One such place that has been mentioned is Puolo Point between Port Allen and Salt Pond Beach Park. That is also the location of Burns Field runway and the conflict on interest with helicopter, and airplanes would make this location unlikely. The plain where the Lihue Airport is located has the same problem. A coastal location on the breezy east side near the Kauai Beach Resort might look like simulated image below. Note the scale of the building at lower left next to forty story high wind turbine.

The scale of effort needed for windpower to replace fossil fuels is enormous. The logistics will be difficult. Once installed, maintenance will be constant and costly. But there are few choices before us if we want to keep the lights on at night. One choice, a drastic reduction in power consumption, is not on the table yet and will not likely be until the economics of power are changed.