Jim Pelley sent in some photos of a red-tailed hawk at the Ocotillo Wind farm in California. This is not the first raptor sighted in the wind farm, which straddles a migration flyway used by golden eagles.
The transition to renewable energy is coming faster than most people realize. The technological advances that make it the adoption of larger amounts of intermittent energy possible are also needed to reinvigorate North America’s aging grid. Though there is still much resistance from corporations and governments with vested interests, the future of the fossil fuel sector lies in finding ways to fit into a more environmentally sensitive economy. The struggle to avoid Climate Change is not over. There are still many battles ahead, but the outcome has been decided. The next big issue is social license.
The sheer number of wind turbines in Germany is overwhelming! When the clouds open, they are often visible from the windows of a jet entering the country. Though they are primarily a rural phenomenon, there are about 60 turbines in the city of Hamburg. Some of the behemoths in Mecklenbourg-Verpommern have a capacity of 7.5 MW, more than twice the 3 MW found in North America. Yet, speaking as one of a group of journalists touring renewable installations recently, unless you are standing directly underneath a turbine was difficult to pick out the “whoosh” of their whirling blades from other ambient sounds. Germany’s wind industry is an integral part of the nation’s energy revolution, which at least 56% of the respondents to a poll taken in 2013 said was “the right thing to do.” Only 10% were actually opposed. Germany’s Wind industry is not like Southern California’s.
Yesterday, Ohio’s Governor, John Kasich signed Senate Bill 310, freezing Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards for two years. The Ohio State House previously passed SB 310 by a 53-38 vote. This prompted the usual round of conspiracy theories about ALEC and the Koch brothers. It is really time to look at the other opponents of wind energy. Continue reading The Other Opponents of Wind Energy→
The “Tea Party” has been holding back approval of an $85 billion tax package since December, because it includes a $13 billion production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy. They claim that after “tens of billions of tax-payer dollars,” it is time to end “this sweetheart deal.” That’s an interesting sentiment, coming from people who apparently have no objection to letting oil producers continue to use “tens of billions of tax-payer dollars” every year. A broad spectrum of business leaders, and the governors of at least four states, are concerned about the impact delaying the PTC has had, and is having, on their economies. There is also opposition to wind farms from some environmentalists and many of the communities where they have been installed. The Production Tax Credit is a modern day Gordian knot.
The wind turbines at Ocotillo, in Imperial count California, were spinning for at least part of monday. That isn’t news, as they operate at least 15% of the time, but look at the dust in the video below. This project “went online” over 16 months ago and Ocotillo is still being hit by dust storms whenever there is a decent “blow.” Continue reading The Wind Turbines worked at Ocotillo→
The Ocotillo Wind Project may be one of the best documented “renewable projects” in the USA. Workers cannot even pee in the surrounding desert without having to worry about their being filmed by one of the village’s inhabitants. There is good reason for that. Many of villagers moved to Ocotillo because of tranquility. Only the village is surrounded by “public land” and, because of the Obama Administration’s push on renewable energy, they are now surrounded by 438 foot high wind turbines. Most of the time the blades are still, but when the turbines do turn they emit a roar which has been compared to that of a jet airplane. The towers have red lights that blink throughout the night. After the desert was torn up, a plague of dust storms., floods and white foam was unleashed upon the inhabitants. The project went online 15 months ago. Yet there are constant problems and the inhabitants of Ocotillo have filmed most of them. Continue reading California: Hide and Seek at Ocotillo→