Monday, May 28, 2007

Shaffer Mountain Petition Online

Altoona Mirror, May 27, 2007, by Allison Bourg,
NEW PARIS — Concern over a proposed wind plant on the border of Bedford and Somerset counties is growing, with an online petition asking residents to speak out against the plans.

About 100 residents have signed the petition at, which was started by several citizens’ groups in both counties. The groups oppose Gamesa Energy USA’s tentative plans to build wind turbines atop Shaffer Mountain.

Gamesa officials said last week they plan to hold a town hall-style meeting in June in Somerset County to address residents’ worries. A date has not been set.
Sign the petition here.

Important 1st Step

The Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007 (see H.R. 2337), now before the House Committee on Natural Resources, includes a provision on wind energy that represents an important first step in enforcing necessary protections for the natural environment impacted by industrial wind energy development.

This provision will put into law what the wind industry and its proponents already profess to support, i.e. the proper siting of facilities in order to “avoid impacts, including cumulative impacts, on birds, bats, and other wildlife to the greatest extent practicable based on data gathered during preconstruction surveys”.

Your action is needed. Please go to for details.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Informed public scrutiny: Supporters of wind turbines need a reality check

By Arthur Hooton, The Charleston Gazette,, 16 May 2007

Advocates of industrial wind seem to fall into two camps: the dreamers and the schemers. The dreamers are engineers who think they can invent their way out of the inherent flaws of industrial wind by trying to make the turbines ever larger and more efficient, while hoping an industrial-scale electricity storage system will eventually present itself. They’ve had this same dream for over 30 years now. The schemers know it’s not going to happen, but they’re quite willing to lobby for legislation that guarantees a payoff to anyone with money to invest.

Imagine if Congress enacted a law requiring 20 percent of all goods coming into the United States be transported on cargo sailing ships to cut pollution caused by marine diesel engines. The dreamers would build massive, carbon-fiber-hulled ships equipped with titanium masts and Kevlar sails; and the schemers would make sure that investors got tax breaks, credits and subsidies for each ton of cargo hauled. When the wind didn’t blow, diesel powered, ocean-going tugboats would be dispatched to pull becalmed vessels into port with no net change in pollution and with major disruptions in product deliveries. Because the cargo sailing ships didn’t have engines on board, owners would still get tax credits, and consumers could blissfully believe that their goods were being delivered by clean and green energy. That’s the real story behind Big Wind. It’s called consumer fraud and the state of West Virginia does not have to be a party to that fraud.

HT: National Wind Watch

Monday, May 14, 2007

Local Wind Plants Linking to 12-State Grid

Background note: Pennsylvania is a net exporter of electricity.

Penelec, Gamesa vote near; Wind farms would be linked to electric transmission grid

HT: News Watch

The keepers of the regional power supply may vote next month on Penelec proposals to link area wind farms into the electric transmission grid.
About $13 million in projects are planned, mostly in Blair, Cambria and Somerset counties, as wind farms associated with Gamesa Energy USA sprout up.

A committee of PJM Interconnection received an update last week on the utility’s projects in Blair, Cambria and Somerset counties.

Utility companies make proposals to PJM, which conducts feasibility studies to estimate interconnection costs and construction time. The Transportation Expansion Advisory Committee must authorize new connections to the power grid before the PJM board gives its approval.

The PJM board is set to meet June 21.…

PJM oversees the power grid serving 51 million people in Pennsylvania, 12 other states and the District of Columbia….

By Mark Leberfinger

Thursday, May 10, 2007

90% Useless and Wasted


What if the electricity from a wind farm is generated mainly when there’s no economic use for it? It can’t be stored, so it is simply wasted.

As the California experience documents below, wind generation and grid load have different patterns.

A similar condition prevails in upstate New York, as admitted by General Electric. (See GE’s System Performance Evaluation to the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority.) Likewise in our area. The result is that even though a turbine or wind farm is usually touted for its rated capacity, only about 10% of that represents electricity that is usable.

That’s right. Not the 1.5 MW - 2.0 MW turbine capacity touted by wind brokers and pro-wind media. Not even 20-30% of that amount, which results after factoring in the lack of optimal wind (efficiency factor) prevalent in our area. But only about 10%, or 0.15 MW, will be expected to be usable from a 1.5 MW turbine, because the electricity it generates will be generated mostly at night and other times of least economic use for it, when electricity demand on the grid is lowest.

When you read that a wind farm of 40 turbines, each rated at 1.5 MW, will generate 60 MW of electricity, you should understand how misleading these numbers actually are, when it comes down to electricity that is actually usable. In our area, dividing by ten wil give more realistic estimates.

By using rated capacity as the basis for usuable generation estimates, wind brokers exaggerate by a factor of 10 or more.


Thanks to Moorsyde Wind Farm Action Group, an excellent resource on wind power.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Blades fall apart onto neighboring property at nearby wind farm

Wind Turbine Blade Safety Questioned After Damages

Blades fall apart onto neighboring property at nearby wind farm

March 22, 2007 by Mainline Newspapers

Download article and pictures: Gamesa_blade damage_22Mar07.pdf (1.62 MB)

Wind farms may not lower air pollution

May 4, 2007 by Matthew L. Wald in New York Times

Wind farms may not lower air pollution, study suggests

Reprint, Courtesy of Industrial Wind Action Group

Wind power could also reduce coal-plant carbon dioxide, which is thought to cause climate change, but the impact may be small, the report said. By 2025, wind turbines could cut carbon dioxide output by 4.5 percent compared with what it would otherwise have been, but this "would only slow the increase," said Dr. Risser. "It wouldn't result in a decrease in the amount of CO2."

Link to NY Times article here.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Living with industrial wind turbines...

Living with industrial wind turbines, testimony presented on April 30, 2007, to a Committee of the Maine legislature by Ms. Wendy Todd who, with her family, lives approximately a half mile from the Mars Hill (Maine) “wind farm,” which started operating several months ago.

Friday, May 04, 2007

National Academies Report

Environmental Impacts of Wind Projects,
National Academies Report

Released May 3, 2007

The National Research Council has released a report this morning on the environmental impact of wind turbines. The report is currently available at ; you have to download the report in sections. Below is a summary of "key points" about this NRC research publication, which was prepared by Rick Webb - a co-author of the report.

Thanks to Dan Boone

National Academies Report

- some key points from the report concerning benefits and risk, Rick Webb, 050307

Contribution to Electricity Supply and Emissions Reductions

Based on 3 DOE projections for U.S. onshore wind development by 2020:
· 19 - 72 GW installed capacity; or 9500-36000 2-MW turbines.
· 2 - 7 % of installed generation capacity.
· 1.2 - 4.5% of actual generation (less than installed capacity due to intermittency of wind).
· 3.5 - 19% of the projected increase in total generation from all sources (that is, 96.5 - 81% of new generation must be obtained from other sources).
· No reduction in NOx and SO2 emissions – pollutants regulated by emissions caps.
· 1.2 - 4.5% reduction in CO2 emissions from electrical generating units, which at present only account for 39% of total U.S. CO2 emissions from energy use.

· Given that the density of the wind resource is less for the Mid-Atlantic region than for the U.S. as a whole, the benefits in terms of electricity supply and emissions reductions will be proportionately less for the Mid-Atlantic region than for the country as a whole. [Boldface added]

Cumulative Impact on Birds and Bats

Based on two projections for wind development in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands and the range of mortality observed at existing Appalachian wind projects:
· National Renewable Energy Laboratory projection for wind development: 2,158 MW of installed capacity or 1439 1.5-MW turbines.
o 5,805 to 25,183 birds killed per year
o 33,017 to 61,935 bats killed per year
· Projection for wind development based on the PJM Interconnection Queue: 3.9 GW installed capacity or 2571 1.5 MW turbines.
o 10,372 to 44,999 birds killed per year
o 58,997 to 110,665 bats killed per year
· There is insufficient information to assess the potential for population impacts on birds in the eastern U.S.
· The potential for impacts on bat populations in the eastern U.S. is significant.

Rick Webb note: The committee was not charged with making a determination about the significance of the potential contribution of wind energy development. My personal perspective, however, is that wind energy development on Appalachian ridges carries great risk of environmental harm and very little potential for benefits.

Gamesa Nixed by Winber Area Authority

Winber Area Authority to Editor, The Daily American

Letter to the Editor, May 3, 2007 (Excerpt)

…On March 5, Gamesa filed its plans with Somerset Soil Conservation District. On March 14, before our meeting, a private citizen gave WAA the complete plans he got from Somerset Soil Conservation. We were shocked and dismayed when we saw the plans which consist of 400 or more pages and 36 large drawings and blueprints they wanted the Board of Directors and our Hydrologist to give approval on the project with only the first five pages that were submitted.

The destruction would change the face of the whole area of the Piney Run/Clear Shade watershed and recharge area forever.

A Gamesa representative then came in with a copy of the plans that we should have had months before. We the Board members of the WAA then went on public record and voted to oppose the placement of wind turbines in the Piney Run/Shade Creek watershed and recharge area by a 5 to 1 vote.

We have a fiduciary duty to our customers and our local governing bodies who also went on record as opposing Wind turbine development in the watershed. We cannot take any chance what so ever that would endanger the future water supply, which has always been of exceptional quality.

Walter A Drzal

Board of Directors of the Windber Area Authority

Full letter here.