Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Update on wind and solar power (#35)

Photo taken at altitude while flying over North Dakota. Look closely to see strings of wind turbines, visible at 20,000 feet. Photo by James Ulvog.

Photo taken at altitude while flying over North Dakota. Look closely to see strings of wind turbines scarring the land, visible at 20,000 feet. Photo by James Ulvog.

Between some vacation, talking about things I learned in North Dakota, and following the trial of now-convicted human trafficker Keith Graves, I’ve not been talking about the devastation caused by wind and solar power for quite a while. Not to worry, there is a long backlog of articles on the destructive power of wing toasters and slice-and-dicers on my list of things to discuss.

Here are a few articles on dilute and intermittent wind power that caught my eye. Update on solar to follow in a few days.

7/31 – Million Dollar Way – Wind Energy Unable to Meet California’s EV DemandsApparently electric vehicles (EV) draw so much juice that recharging them during the day puts a significant drain on the grid. Also, apparently those transformers you see in your neighborhood only have enough capacity to recharge one or two EVs at a time. When (or if) EVs actually take off, all the transformers in the entire grid will have to be replaced.

How do we count new transformers everywhere into the cost of EVs to society? Who will pay for all the infrastructure needed to support recharging those coal-powered cars?

11/2 – Dickinson Press – Two-part NextEra project could bring wind turbines to Stark and Hettinger counties – NextEra Energy Resources is in planning stages for two more slice-and-dice farms in southwest North Dakota. They will be called Brady Wind Energy Center 1 and 2. First one is planned at 87 slicers generating 150 MW conceptual output plus undisclosed number of eagle deaths. Second farm is less defined, with number of slicers between 40 and 80. Article does not disclose the calculated output of killed migratory birds. First project will be in Stark county with exact location to be determined. Second will be in Hettinger county.

11/4 – Dickinson Press – Landowners discuss 87-turbine NextEra wind project in southern Stark County – NextEra held an open house to present Brady Wind Energy Center 1 and 2 to the community. They have focused their area to the southern part of the county after having been turned down for a previous project.

Disclosed economics for the 87 slice-and-dicer towers include payments of $24M to landowners and $20M to the county.

Here’s how that breaks out:

  • $24M – to landowners
  • $20M – to County
  • $44M – payments over theoretical 30 year production run
  • 30 years – expected lifetime
  • $1.47M – annual payments
  • 87 – number of turbines
  • $16,858 – annual payments per turbine

Here is how that works out for a landowner for each turbine:

  • $24M – payments to landowners
  • 87 – number of turbines
  • $275,862 – total payments per turbine over theoretical 30 year run
  • 30 years – expected lifetime
  • $9,195 – annual payments for each turbine

One quoted landowner thinks it’s a good idea, primarily because of the payout he and his children will get. He knows, but will not disclose, how many turbines will be on his property. The implication is he will have several on his property.

Various concerns were raised, including a 30 year term with unlimited extensions and the contracting cancelable at NextEra’s unilateral option. Related concern is lopsided rights going to the company.

Your view for the next 30 years. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Your view for the next 30 years. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Another landowner opposes the project for several reasons including the visual pollution, noise pollution, and possible drop in property values. I’m guessing the value of any homes within close eye-sight of the lines of turbines will drop substantially.

He points out the tallest structure on his property is 25 feet. Turbines would be 400 feet tall. They will be visible for miles on the flat prairies. I am guessing 30 years of severe visual pollution will get really old after a year or two.

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