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Wind power: Clean energy solution of the month

By Joe Romm on May 7, 2010 at 9:56 am

"Wind power: Clean energy solution of the month"

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Our favorite climate de-crocker, Peter Sinclair has now started putting together videos on clean energy solutions.  Here’s his latest:


Wind Power is truly a core climate (and peak oil) solution.  If you want to know more, here’s where to start:

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12 Responses to Wind power: Clean energy solution of the month

  1. Leland Palmer says:

    Wow, good video.

    I’m ashamed to admit that I bought some of the noise and bird mortality hype, even though I knew it must have originated from the fossil fuel industry, and I know better.

    Our core industries engage in institutionalized lying, and call it public relations.

    It’s no wonder we are so screwed up.

  2. Barry says:

    Sure wind is cool…but honestly wouldn’t you rather have the burning oceans and dying forests Big Oil is selling? That stuff is crude and oh so hot…what’s not to love?

  3. prokaryote says:

    This video contains content from SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. It’s no longer available in your country.

  4. If you’d like to have Peter Sinclair get some much needed funds to make his videos even more effective, you can vote for him on the Brighter Planet website: http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/138 . His project is currently in second place and you can give him up to three votes (after having registered at the website).

  5. substanti8 says:

    Peter Sinclair has made dozens of videos about climate change over the past 18 months.  My understanding is that he has created them all on his own time and at his own expense.  As Mr. Sinclair once quipped, “I’ve tried to get help from George Soros and the New World Order, but they won’t return my calls.”

    But now he has applied for a small grant to improve his work.  Here is where you can help.  If you like the work that Mr. Sinclair does, then please sign up and cast your three votes for his proposal.

    Voting ends on May 15.

  6. Prokaryote-
    till Sony comes to their senses, you can watch the vid at
    http://www.greenmanstudio.com/images/winduploadme.mov

  7. robhon says:

    If you like Peter’s work you should be sure to toddle over to Brighterplanet.com and place your votes for him to win a project fund to help support him producing this great series of videos.

  8. paulm says:

    Why isnt government do this also.

  9. homunq says:

    Good video. I’d still like someone to look at tethered wind power (kites) from a neutral stance – but as analysis, not as a mass video.

  10. jyyh says:

    since there are also natural overloads in the electrical grid at least in the northern locations due aurora borealis, what prevents wind turbines from acting as a flywheel to ease up the strain in the grid? i admit this mode of operating would have a very limited use due the demand of electricty, but is this (or could it be) part of the smart grid (I’m not familiar with the tech involved)?

  11. Larry Gilman says:

    I’m all for wind power, and I voted for Climate Crock over at Brighterplanet and all, but just a word of caution against the danger of mindless wind mega-development under the banner of “Climate Change Threatens Everything, So Anything Goes As Long as It Fights Climate Change!” It has become a little too easy for some climate-change-fighters (bless them!–seriously) to deride any local resistance to any renewable-energy project whatever, anywhere, for any stated reason, as “NIMBYism”.

    Re. wind power, the bird thing is indeed a crock, generally, but not necessarily the bat thing: the USGS says, “The general impact of wind turbines on the environment is likely far less than that of conventional power sources. However, recent evidence shows that certain species of bats are particularly susceptible to mortality from wind turbines.” (http://www.fort.usgs.gov/BatsWindmills/). Including endangered species. See also http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Effort+to+save+bat+may+halt+wind+turbines%3B+Green+vs.+green%3B+Case…-a0210392953. Ridgeline destruction in places like Vermont is also a nontrivial issue for wind. Nor is the noise problem, as this otherwise excellent video seems to say, entirely a dumb-ass myth: see the intelligent and balanced discussion of this issue at http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/03/listening-to-wind-farm-noise-concerns:

    ——————–
    “it’s clear that many people, in all parts of the country, have been dramatically impacted by the noise of wind farms near their homes, most commonly by sleep disruption when turbines operate in low winds aloft while the surface is calm and very quiet. While of course there are some contributing attitudinal factors, these are only part of the picture, and cannot be justifiably used to explain away the issue. Many of those now affected were wind farm supporters, and indeed would be happy to continue seeing turbines, if they were far enough away to be more consistently inaudible. To dismiss all these people as cranks, or as hyper-sensitive social outliers, does a disservice to constructive public discourse and short-circuits our opportunities to learn from their experiences as we continue to develop new wind farms.”
    —————————

    To insist on intelligent decisions about wind turbine siting is not necessarily a crypto-denialist attempt to undermine wind energy. The fact is, all energy sources do harm. Some do less harm than others. Wind, intelligently sited, can do relatively little harm. But it is not magic — it is big business, big technology, big money, and must not be exempted from scrutiny.

    The video’s take on “firming” or intermittency compensation for all power sources is right on the money, but I think its take on pumped-hydro storage is too facile. US sites for hydro storage do not co-locate with the vast Plains wind resource or, elsewhere, can only be developed at a rather high (local) environmental cost. Hence the US Energy Information Administration predicts zero growth for pumped-hydro in the US through at least 2030 (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/stimulus/excel/aeostimtab_9.xls). Storage is good for grids in general and renewables in particular but not so simple, in the US, as just bulldozing in a bunch of storage lakes.

  12. Larry has made sensible and essential points, many of which I would have expanded upon if not confined to a 10 minute video broadside.

    Most objections to wind power are not nearly as well informed as Larry’s, for instance, George Will’s assertion recently that wind turbines would kill far more birds than the gulf oil spill.
    It’s this kind of nonsense that I aim at, admittedly using a cudgel sometimes where a scalpel would be more appropriate.
    My bad.

    The Bat thing is real, and there are several approaches to mitigating these impacts. One is, the recognition that bats tend not to fly in high wind conditions, and selectively shutting turbines down when low winds meet criteria as “high bat” conditions. Experiments with such techniques have allowed impressive reductions in bat mortality with minimal impact on power production.
    http://www.batsandwind.org/pdf/Curtailment_2008_Final_Report.pdf

    there are also experiments under way to determine what sounds may attract or repel bats from turbine sites. http://www.batsandwind.org/main.asp?page=research&sub=operational

    Offshore turbines have no bat problem, and evidence suggests that, at least at offshore sites investigated by Danish researchers, bird impacts have been minimal to nil. None of this is to suggest that any kind of mortality should be ignored, or that good siting criteria should not be applied.

    My observations of noise at various wind sites, anecdotally suggest that the problem is generally overstated by opponents, but may at some sites be an issue.
    Certainly research is necessary in this area, but technical fixes for noise dampening don’t seem far fetched.
    Bottom line:
    According to a study at Lawrence Berkely lab, there is no impact on property values from wind turbine siting.
    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/study-no-impact-on-property-values-from-wind-turbines/

    Finally, it is understood that pumped storage is not the ultimate solution to energy storage and wider use of renewables.
    The fact is, load management and a better grid will be the main tools, as experience has already shown, and Stanford’s Mark Jacobsen has done the work to show that a wide array of interconnected wind farms produce base load power with out backup.
    http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/winds/aj07_jamc.pdf

    But “What do you do when the wind stops” is still a laugh line and showstopper on the teabag circuit, and John Q can’t always get the finer points of grid architecture in a 10 second sound bite. So I’m showing that energy storage is not science fiction, its off the shelf, and we have a number of approaches to do it, if we need to, that are already working, and have worked for decades.
    In my state, its more than a rhetorical device. It really is significant that we have the Ludington Pumped storage plant on Lake Michigan, which can pump out 1800 MW when needed (for comparison, the Hoover Dam is 2080 MW)

    It means we can press ahead with wind development, using storage as necessary, without waiting for the smart grid that is coming.

    CAES will likely be huge, and other variations on the theme, such as that from RiverBank power, are being constructed.
    http://www.riverbankpower.com/

    I should probably follow up with a reel of stuff that didn’t make the first cut of this vid, to address a number of these questions.
    I hope this helps.