The Answer May Be Blowing In The Wind


In this photo taken Thursday, May 12, 2011shows wind turbines along the Columbia River Gorge near Goldendale, Wash. The manager of most of the electricity in the Pacific Northwest is running such a surplus of power from hydroelectric dams that it put wind farms on notice Friday they may be shut down as early as this weekend. A cold, wet spring in the headwaters of the Columbia River Basin is sending downstream one of the largest spring flows in years. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Power Company of Wyoming (PCW) has predicted that North America’s largest wind farm, scheduled to be operational by 2015 will produce enough electricity to power between 600,000 and 800,000 homes per year. PCW said the wind farm could have as many as 1,000 turbines that would generate a combined 2,500 megawatts (MW) of cleaner electricity for about 30 years. US Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced that the renewable energy priority project for 2012 will be constructed south of Rawlins in Carbon County, Wyoming and covering nearly 225,000 acres of public land. It will be referred to as the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy facility and the construction will create green jobs for the region and will come at a cost of three to four billion dollars to construct. Presently, the largest onshore wind farm in North America is in Roscoe, Texas.

A wind farm may also be located offshore. Thanet Wind Farm, also known as Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, is an offshore wind farm which is 7 miles off the coast of Thanet district in Kent, England and is presently the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

The highly contested Cape Wind project could be dwarfed by the redrawn plans for the off shore wind farm slated for the Nantucket Sound. It could be home to 850,000 acres of wind turbines and would be the largest offshore windfarm in the world. An environmental assessment should be completed within the next 12 months and will determine the impact on fish and fowl populations. Cape Wind is seen as a long term hedge against rising fuel cost.

The utility industry is an important player in the wind farm future. They are needed to move finance and investment forward and create a commercial market for the energy.

It is argued that compared to fossil fuel power plants, the impact on the environment is minimal. A few of the major problems are that the wind sources is intermittent. Wind cannot be stored. Another of the drawbacks is that the best sites are usually remote locations and far from demand (like large cities). Though the wind turbines can be installed on land that is also used for grazing, some say that it scares the animals. The spinning turbines are noisy and have a strobe light effect. There are countless numbers of birds and bats killed each year as they fly into the turbines, and the wind farms are only an added beauty to the landscapes if you are profiting from them. Over 14,000 wind turbines in the United States have been abandoned. They are broken down and rusting. No one is showing up to dismantle them or scrap them.

But…that’s another story.

<< previous 1 2 3 4 5 6

Posted by on Mar 1st, 2012 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed