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Windmills Take Toll on Wildlife
Los Angeles Times ^ | December 8, 2003 | Rone Tempest

Posted on 12/08/2003 11:20:40 AM PST by Willie Green

ALTAMONT PASS, Calif. — When the giant Altamont wind farm sprouted here two decades ago, the only major objections were aesthetic. Local residents didn't appreciate the forest of 7,000 ungainly wind towers cluttering their view.

No one, apparently, thought about the birds.

Since the phalanx of giant windmills began churning in the air above the Altamont Pass east of San Francisco Bay, an estimated 22,000 birds have died, including hundreds of golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, kestrels and other raptors, after flying into the spinning blades of the wind turbines.

Now, some environmental groups that routinely supported wind power as a clean, alternative source of electric power are opposing the renewal of permits for the wind farm until steps are taken to reduce the bird deaths.

(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; US: California
KEYWORDS: energy; environment; wildlife; windmills
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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To: Eala
Good math. That happens to be the numbers for the worst location for bird kill of a all wind farms. Modern wind farms produce the same power with about 1/25 as many windmills. They are much more carefull about not sighting them in the most densely populated raptor breeding ground in the world too.
51 posted on 12/08/2003 12:25:05 PM PST by biblewonk (I must answer all bible questions.)
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To: Willie Green
In Germany (and most of the E.U.) these things are going up all over the place. They are fast replacing power lines as the military chopper pilot's worst enemy when flying NOE.
52 posted on 12/08/2003 12:31:20 PM PST by armydoc
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To: biblewonk
Bring BBQ, Beer and some clay (to wrap the birds in) so when baked, removing the baked clay removes the feathers, remove innards, salt and spice to taste.

Just set up the BBQ under the biggest baddest windmill and wait for a suculent tenerised pre killed dinner to drop out of the sky.

If you are lucky will get a spotted owl.

Enjoy

53 posted on 12/08/2003 12:33:39 PM PST by spokeshave (Cancel the San Jose Merc and the one way truck to NV)
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To: Willie Green
Shouldn't this be in "Breaking Wind News"?
54 posted on 12/08/2003 12:34:45 PM PST by talleyman (God bless FR & Merry Christmas!)
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To: RightWhale; biblewonk
Wind power is a darned silly idea. What worked for a lone farm on the prairie in the 20s is nothing but a feel-good gesture now.

Hoping my friend biblewonk is still a willing evangelist, I'll defer to him.

55 posted on 12/08/2003 12:39:27 PM PST by newgeezer (A conservative who conserves -- a true capitalist!)
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To: Koblenz; biblewonk
Well said.

'Wonk, we have a friend here!
56 posted on 12/08/2003 12:41:23 PM PST by newgeezer (A conservative who conserves -- a true capitalist!)
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To: newgeezer; RightWhale
Wind power is a darned silly idea. What worked for a lone farm on the prairie in the 20s is nothing but a feel-good gesture now.

We've done this before I think. What numbers would it take to for wind to be ok in your opinion RW?

57 posted on 12/08/2003 12:43:39 PM PST by biblewonk (I must answer all bible questions.)
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To: Willie Green
There once was a man from Nantucket who told me that the rich and famous up there, like Robert Kennedy Jr. and Walter Cronkite, are all up in arms about a plan to build wind turbines off the coast. Look for more "Wind Power is Bad" stories as these folks manipulate the media in order to preserve their pristine views.

Windstorm; Why Are 'Environmentalists' Opposing Windmills in Nantucket Sound?

58 posted on 12/08/2003 12:43:40 PM PST by gridlock (ELIMINATE PERVERSE INCENTIVES)
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To: Slicksadick; biblewonk
Rush talking windmills right now...

Thanks for the heads-up!

'Wonk, please help me to remember to turn on the radio at ~3:45 for the tape-delayed broadcast.

59 posted on 12/08/2003 12:44:01 PM PST by newgeezer (A conservative who conserves -- a true capitalist!)
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To: rock58seg
It's not BS, it's just number games. 22,000 birds sounds like a lot. But the windmills have been there 20 years, that's roughly 1100 birds a year. With 7000 windmills that means 1 windmill takes out 1 bird about every 6 1/2 years. No way you'll get piles of corpses at that rate, so they wait 20 years for the numbers to look big.
60 posted on 12/08/2003 12:44:20 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: biblewonk
In Fairbanks, there is no wind. The question is moot.
61 posted on 12/08/2003 12:47:52 PM PST by RightWhale (Close your tag lines)
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To: newgeezer
Rush has never once "taken on" windmills. He just blathers about them and since he's Rush we're just spose to say "megga dittos". This is where he is just a big fat idiot.
62 posted on 12/08/2003 12:53:26 PM PST by biblewonk (I must answer all bible questions.)
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To: biblewonk
If wind power to generate as much power per acre as nuclear plants. Then it wouldn't be silly.
63 posted on 12/08/2003 1:02:41 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: biblewonk
This is where [Rush] is just a big fat idiot.

Uh-oh. Yer on yer own now, buddy! ;O)

I hope I remember to tune in to hear what he said about wind energy today. Maybe he's seen the light, now that he cleaned up his formerly oxy-stained brain, and cried, and all that other life-changing sh*t. :-))

(I still wonder why we never hear about Marta anymore...)

64 posted on 12/08/2003 1:04:12 PM PST by newgeezer (A conservative who conserves -- a true capitalist!)
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To: RightWhale
You are spot-on! Wind power is the most inefficent method
of generating power I know of. The next time you go over Altamont Pass, check to see how many turbines are not
functioning.
65 posted on 12/08/2003 1:04:14 PM PST by upcountryhorseman
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To: discostu; biblewonk
If wind power to generate as much power per acre as nuclear plants. Then it wouldn't be silly.

Every acre is sacred?

Coal-burning plants are silly.

Hydro-electric plants are silly.

Fission plants are silly; they don't generate as much as fusion plants.

I dunno, maybe it's just me. But, that measure sure seems silly.

66 posted on 12/08/2003 1:06:39 PM PST by newgeezer (A conservative who conserves -- a true capitalist!)
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To: discostu
Why is per acre important and not cost, renewability, or cleanness?
67 posted on 12/08/2003 1:09:58 PM PST by biblewonk (I must try to answer all bible questions.)
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To: upcountryhorseman
Windpower would be the choice when connecting to the grid is uneconomical. If somebody is on his homestead in remote Alberta and can't afford or the government can't afford to run 100 miles of power lines to his homestead, then a windmill might keep his Internet connection live. Windpower might be a backup up system on Mars. There could be times when the power grid goes down and the neighbor with a windmill is the only one with any kind of electricity. Windpower has its place.
68 posted on 12/08/2003 1:10:36 PM PST by RightWhale (Close your tag lines)
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To: newgeezer
Every acre isn't sacred, but efficiency is.

At this juncture yes coal-burning plants are silly, they're inefficient and highly poluting.

Since you wouldn't be able to put a nuclear plant where a hydro-plant is, and since they serve other purposes (making lakes) hydro are OK.

It is just you, there's never anything silly about efficiency.
69 posted on 12/08/2003 1:11:24 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: EggsAckley
"(..................."Dean's got Tom McClintock Eyes".........................)"

You people just can't give it up can you ..?? You won the damn election, you got Arnold .. why do you feel it necessary to disparage Tom McClintock ..?? I find your tag line very distasteful and misleading, as well as very offensive.
70 posted on 12/08/2003 1:11:30 PM PST by CyberAnt (America .. the LIGHT of the World)
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To: bwteim
- Vehicles: 60 million - 80 million - Buildings & windows: 98 million - 980 million - Power lines: 10,000 to 174 million - Communication towers: 4 million - 50 million - Wind turbines: 10,000 - 40,000

Note that above numbers do not include domestic cats and their damage..

I found a number on cats, 150,000 killed per day by cats in Great Britan alone.

71 posted on 12/08/2003 1:11:53 PM PST by Slicksadick
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To: RightWhale; biblewonk
In Fairbanks, there is no wind. The question is moot.

So, your declaration regarding prarie farms in the '20s and "feel-good gestures" was specifically in regard to the thought of harnessing wind energy in Fairbanks?

72 posted on 12/08/2003 1:12:37 PM PST by newgeezer (A conservative who conserves -- a true capitalist!)
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To: Roughneck
The last time is was in Texas I noticed a particular kind of black bird that followed other birds around and when they found food the larger black birds moved in to steal what the other birds had worked so hard to find. Does that sound familiar to today's politics?
73 posted on 12/08/2003 1:12:39 PM PST by oyez
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To: biblewonk
Cost is both a long term and short term issue, but in the long run the more space you need to generate power the higher the cost is going to be. Renewability is nice but isn't a real issue for any of our current sources of power. The problem with cleanness as a guide is that the two most clean methods we have right now for power (wind and sun) are grossly inefficient and you'd have to pretty much blanket the country with them to generate the power we need.
74 posted on 12/08/2003 1:14:40 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: discostu
It is just you, there's never anything silly about efficiency.

Efficiency isn't silly. Your "power per acre" test is an extremely silly measure of efficiency.

75 posted on 12/08/2003 1:14:52 PM PST by newgeezer (A conservative who conserves -- a true capitalist!)
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To: newgeezer
Of course in Fairbanks we don't give a darn how they do it Outside.
76 posted on 12/08/2003 1:15:17 PM PST by RightWhale (Close your tag lines)
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To: upcountryhorseman; biblewonk
Wind power is the most inefficent method of generating power I know of. The next time you go over Altamont Pass, check to see how many turbines are not functioning.

Walk past a junkyard sometime, and check to see how many cars are not functioning. By your measure, the automobile is the most inefficient method of travel.

77 posted on 12/08/2003 1:19:09 PM PST by newgeezer (A conservative who conserves -- a true capitalist!)
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To: newgeezer
If it was so silly you could refute it with facts instead of insults. You're reaction shows that you know I'm right. Windfarms take up far too much land for the power they give.
78 posted on 12/08/2003 1:20:42 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: newgeezer
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

You're disingenuous comparison of cars that have reached the end of their useful life and windmills that haven't shows how wrong your position is.
79 posted on 12/08/2003 1:22:20 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: RightWhale
In Fairbanks, there is no wind. The question is moot.

I Fairbanks there is not no wind. Wind conditions are part of the answer if you knew enough about the topic to form an answer.

80 posted on 12/08/2003 1:26:01 PM PST by biblewonk (I must try to answer all bible questions.)
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To: newgeezer
I hope he didn't dump Marta. I know how you hate that.
81 posted on 12/08/2003 1:26:59 PM PST by biblewonk (I must try to answer all bible questions.)
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To: biblewonk
Okay, Fairbanks gets dust devils in the summer. If that wind gets to the windmill it could pull it out by the roots. Otherwise the blades will just sit all the time.
82 posted on 12/08/2003 1:31:21 PM PST by RightWhale (Close your tag lines)
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To: discostu
Windfarms take up far too much land for the power they give.

Oh, is that what you meant? Here, I was under the impression you meant it when you said anything which didn't produce the power-per-acre of a nuke was "silly."

If it was so silly you could refute it with facts instead of insults.

I simply responded in kind. If you want to replace your previous answer to the "what would it take" question, go for it.

But, why take my word for it? You could Google wind energy efficiency and decide for yourself, instead of assuming all our "conservative" friends know what they're talking about, when they're just blindly following each other and toeing the "if it looks green, it has to be stupid" party line.

83 posted on 12/08/2003 1:33:05 PM PST by newgeezer (A conservative who conserves -- a true capitalist!)
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To: discostu
Cost is both a long term and short term issue, but in the long run the more space you need to generate power the higher the cost is going to be. Renewability is nice but isn't a real issue for any of our current sources of power. The problem with cleanness as a guide is that the two most clean methods we have right now for power (wind and sun) are grossly inefficient and you'd have to pretty much blanket the country with them to generate the power we need.

Ok that's a better answer. As you mentioned cost is not that simple either because there are long term costs. Renewability is an issue if there is a negative effect to any of our current methods or if the supply of any of our menthods is beginning to be an issue. We all know that we have plenty of coal and uranium.

Believe it or not public opinion actually counts for something and people want clean renewable energy. Most of us don't buy that nuclear energy is clean.

People misuse the term inefficient when they describe wind power. It is not inefficient, it is intermittant which is a totally different thing.

Texas, N Dakota and Nebraska could easily provide all the wind power this country uses which is 3 quads per year.

84 posted on 12/08/2003 1:36:32 PM PST by biblewonk (I must try to answer all bible questions.)
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To: DoctorHydrocal
"... I detect an opportunity to make millions of dollars selling and installing giant fan guards ..."

No, just mount an environmentalist at the end of each blade. Their constant screaming and gesticulating will scare the birds away, and there seems to be a nearly endless supply.
85 posted on 12/08/2003 1:36:43 PM PST by MainFrame65
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To: discostu
Windfarms take up far too much land for the power they give.

What? If Windmills were located in the center of Los Angeles, this would be a valid statement. But windmills are usually located in deserts, or even in pylons in the ocean. No land loss there.

The way you should figure out if windmills are efficient or not is simply this: don't give any tax breaks for building them, and allow private companies to build them. If windmills aren't efficient, they won't be built. If they are, they will be. In some cases, windmills will exist in farm areas, taking very little ground space. In the desert, the land can't be used for much else. Now, I know that there are certain tax abatements and other things that mess up (or, in John Kerry's parlance, "F--- up") the analysis a bit. But overall, I think you'll find that even without tax breaks, windmills make sense for some power. Surely not all power. Not even 10%. Probably not even 5%. But for a few percent, yes. It's low hanging fruit. Build some windmills in the middle of the desert. Check on them every now and then for failure due to turbine breakage, etc. In the meanwhile, they generate electricity. Probably not always, but if you locate them in a sensible place, almost always.

Environmentalists think that we can all have just solar, or just solar and wind and other renewables. We can't. There's not enough. Most other places can't. But a few places can, like Iceland, which has vast stores of geothermal energy, and a small population base. Makes sense for them to use geothermal. Just like for us, in the desert, makes sense to make use of the wind. But also use coal, natural gas, oil, nuke plants. Wind power isn't necessarily a bad thing.

86 posted on 12/08/2003 1:36:56 PM PST by Koblenz (There's usually a free market solution)
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To: Willie Green
an estimated 22,000 birds have died, including hundreds of golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, kestrels and other raptors, after flying into the spinning blades of the wind turbines.

I've heard these wind turbines referred to as aviary cuisinarts.

87 posted on 12/08/2003 1:37:25 PM PST by TheRightGuy (ERROR CODE 018974523: Random Tagline Compiler Failure)
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To: discostu
You're disingenuous comparison of cars that have reached the end of their useful life and windmills that haven't shows how wrong your position is.

There was nothing disingenuous about it. Those Altamont Pass turbines are 20 years old. Comparing those antique, 500 KW toys to the latest technology is like comparing today's cars to the Model 'T'.

But, it's becoming all the more apparent that you want very much for wind energy to be silly. If you read up on it, I'm confident you'll see that it isn't. But, if you're happy to go along with the crowd, there's nothing I can do about it.

88 posted on 12/08/2003 1:40:14 PM PST by newgeezer (A conservative who conserves -- a true capitalist!)
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To: newgeezer
Let's see we have an energy source that costs almost as much to build as a nuclear power plant, costs almost as much to maintain as a nuclear power plant, takes up much more space than a nuclear power plant (like 10 to 100 times the space), and produces an insignificant portion of the electricity (like 1/100 to 1/1000 the electricity). Sounds like a silly energy source to me.

Why take Googles word for it when I read the literature at the wind farm to see that wind power simply isn't a viable solution. Huge tracts of really expensive machinery with a peak production that's a fraction of what even a small gas turbine plant could produce are not the answer, when the technology gets to the point that it can at least keep up with yesterday's technology it's worth discussing going into production with. Right now wind power should still be relegated to the experimental stage. It's not that it won't ever be a good idea, it's that it's not a good idea now. Much like solar power, someday it'll be a good idea, but not now.

I'm not against wind power because it's green, nuclear power would be green if the liberals weren't generically against everything with the word "nuclear", I'm against it because the technology simply isn't there to make it a viable alternative energy source. Read your own link and see the painfully obvious data, wind power isn't there yet and is at least 2 leaps in technology from being there. That's not an anti-green position, that's an INFORMED position.
89 posted on 12/08/2003 1:41:43 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: biblewonk
Public opinion does count, but public opinion can be manufactured, tell people how great something is and they'll love it, tell them how bad it is and they'll hate it. The maleability of public opinion is the basis for the entire advertising industry.

I buy that nuclear energy is clean, there really isn't much to buy, just compare the size of a nuclear pile with the quantity of coal or oil used. It's gotta be cleaner just based on the amount of stuff used.

3 whole states, that's a lot of acrage. If we blanketed those in modern nuke plants how much more energy could we produce? Wind power can get there but right now our generating technology just isn't there for it.
90 posted on 12/08/2003 1:47:35 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: discostu; newgeezer
Let's see we have an energy source that costs almost as much to build as a nuclear power plant, costs almost as much to maintain as a nuclear power plant, takes up much more space than a nuclear power plant (like 10 to 100 times the space), and produces an insignificant portion of the electricity (like 1/100 to 1/1000 the electricity). Sounds like a silly energy source to me.

You have some series errors in this statement but the biggest error of all is in bold. The space is not "taken up". The farmland in Iowa with windmills still produces corn. Can you accept this and modify your statement?

The next problem is that you have mixed two different complaints making neither one correct. Either individual windmills cost the same as nukes and produce less power or a billion watts worth of windmills produce 1/100th to 1000th as much power. Neither of which is true. Not only not true but seriesly totally way off the mark.

91 posted on 12/08/2003 1:53:56 PM PST by biblewonk (I must try to answer all bible questions.)
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To: discostu
It's not BS, it's just number games. 22,000 birds sounds like a lot. But the windmills have been there 20 years, that's roughly 1100 birds a year. With 7000 windmills that means 1 windmill takes out 1 bird about every 6 1/2 years. No way you'll get piles of corpses at that rate, so they wait 20 years for the numbers to look big.

Greens really expose their real agenda with this one. They lie about this because they're really trying to avoid any success which would prevent them from saying "the sky is falling". I don't believe wind power would ever do more than supplement energy from fossil fuel, but greens are notoriously ignorant of these things, and they apparently fear it would work.

As to windmills killing birds, I can't believe there wouldn't be some light or sound emitting widget which would cause the birds to avoid these things, I own a body shop and in 15 years we have never worked on a deer hit when the car had deer whistles mounted on the front bumper. They emit a sound which deer apparently intensely dislike, AND THEY WORK.

92 posted on 12/08/2003 1:55:17 PM PST by wayoverontheright
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To: Koblenz
I live in one of those deserts, it's lost land. Other stuff COULD be done with that land, if nothing else you could build more efficient forms of energy.

The lack of tax breaks thing wouldn't work. For one thing it would create an uneven field that wieghs heavily against the windmills since just about every other method we use to generate electricity gets some form of tax break, as it should electricity generation is one of the most important things we do. It's the building block to Western culture and American wealth, and often interstate commerce (one of the duties of the fed as outlined in the Constitution).

Wind farms are a lot higher maintenance than you think. Those things are tall and potentially quite dangerous if something goes wrong. In the mean time you've to have them tuned to different wind speeds for smooth operation, and they need to be kept very clean. They aren't a fire and forget energy source, not even close to it.

Actually in the chunk of the desert I live in wind power makes no sense at all. We don't have the kind of consistent winds needed to set that up. Tucson suffers from dead air outside the monsoon season (really DEAD, only place I've ever been where the air outside around 9 AM can be described as stuffy), and during the monsoons the wind is horribly violent, way too fast for a windfarm. Probably get about 4 days a year of good windfarm weather. We kick butt for solar though.

I'm not saying wind power is a bad thing, I'm saying it's not ready for primetime. I envision a day when it actually can be a major if not primary energy source for large chunks of America, but that day isn't here yet. Our turbine technology isn't geared towards how windmills work, it's geared towards how gas or coal engines work; it's aimed at a much higher RPM and not efficient at lower speeds.
93 posted on 12/08/2003 1:57:19 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: newgeezer
they were jsut commenting on how many are turned off at any given time, no comparing. And even in the modern wind farms a lot of turbines are turned off at any given time because they need to be tuned to particular wind speeds and won't be on if the wind isn't going the right speed.

It's becoming all the more apparent that you use canned responses. I want wind energy to be good, but it's not there yet. I've read up on it enough to know that the tech still needs development. There's no shame in admitting the truth, the technology has a lot of promis, but right now it's all promise.
94 posted on 12/08/2003 2:00:26 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: discostu
The next problem is that you have mixed two different complaints making neither one correct. Either individual windmills cost the same as nukes and produce less power or a billion watts worth of windmills produce 1/100th to 1000th as much power. Neither of which is true. Not only not true but seriesly totally way off the mark.

In other words a either a 1 mw wind turbine costs the same as a 1 gw nuke plant or 1 billion watts worth of wind turbines produces 1/1000th as much power as a 1 billion watt nuke. This is the charge you have made and neither is correct.

95 posted on 12/08/2003 2:01:37 PM PST by biblewonk (I must try to answer all bible questions.)
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To: happydogdesign
You've heard the commercials ... McD's changed the recipe for Chicken McNuggets ... ? Now we all know!
96 posted on 12/08/2003 2:03:29 PM PST by Buell_X1-1200 (Can't think of anything cute to put here today)
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To: biblewonk
The only windfarms I've seen (which would be the ones inbetween Tucson and San Fransisco) have nothing but windfarm (and the freeway), the land is taken up. Maybe in other places that's not the case, though given the way agribusiness is working I'm betting land shared with a windfarm isn't nearly as easy to farm as clear land.

Whole windfarms (7000 windmills give or take depending on the specific farm) cost around as much as a nuke plant and produce very little in wattage compared to what a single nuke plant produces (which you could fit a lot of in the space of one windfarm).
97 posted on 12/08/2003 2:05:51 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: biblewonk
Your conclusion doesn't follow from your argument. Cost effective is a measure of the price of the windmill and supporting equipment vs the value of the electricity. Using that measure and allowing the 1.8 penny ptc, they are quite cost effective.

An argument absent any facts.

98 posted on 12/08/2003 2:07:01 PM PST by cinFLA
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To: biblewonk
No 1 windfarm (with thousands of turbines) makes megawatts but costs the same as a nuke plant that makes gigawatts. Which is the simple truth and is why windfarms are not ready for primetime.
99 posted on 12/08/2003 2:07:52 PM PST by discostu (that's a waste of a perfectly good white boy)
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To: discostu
3 whole states, that's a lot of acrage. If we blanketed those in modern nuke plants how much more energy could we produce? Wind power can get there but right now our generating technology just isn't there for it.

As I stated, the land is not "used up". You can still have cows and desert and wasteland or even corn fields. What more do you want from the technology? The bottom line is cost per kwhr. Earlier comments you have made show that you don't really know this part of the equation.

100 posted on 12/08/2003 2:09:43 PM PST by biblewonk (I must try to answer all bible questions.)
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