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View Full Version : Large Wind Turbines NIMBY



Steve McMahon
04-26-2012, 08:01 PM
The issue is starting to heat up around here. A company called Acciona has optioned a large territory on what we call the "North Mountain" which runs between the valley that I currently live in and the Bay of Fundy for possible placement of a number of large scale wind turbines. I assume they will be their new 3mW units. The local municipal gevenment is holding public meetings to consider all views. On the forefront is the existing by-law requiring 700m seperation from any existing residenses. The "anti" side is calling for 2500m seperation which would essentually eliminate the possibility of the project going ahead. My current position, subject to change is that 1000 - 1500m may be a bit more realistic. I have come to believe that a lot of the data being put forward by the "anti" side is based on the first generation turbines that did have some issues. My understanding is that the newer turbines, now considered to be third or fourth generation have come a long way in addressing these issues with better rotors, slower speeds etc...

I do make it a habit to stay abreast of the energy industry and developments. In the case of this development, my retirement property where I intend to build on the bay is about 5 km from the optioned area and isn't under consideration because it falls within the area that is out of bounds due to the local Air Force Base and the risk of radar shadow caused by wind turbines.

Does anyone have any personal expirience living near to a wind turbine? Any opinions?
Thanks

Mrleft8
04-26-2012, 08:27 PM
I think they're beautiful. I spent some time in Germany, outside of Dusseldorf, where they dot the landscape. They are amazingly large when you get close to them, but once you get even closer they almost disappear.
I tried to get one installed here on my property, but despite my willingness to pay full price (most of the energy companies want you to apply for all sorts of grants and waivers and blah de blah) for the installation, none of the companies wanted to do the job. I even offered to get all the special town variances approved before they lifted a finger, but they still weren't interested. They claimed (each and every one) that we "Didn't have enough wind".... What we discovered later was that in order for these companies to make the kind of profit they want, they have to have several turbines w/in a certain area....
All that said... The ones that I saw in Germany were exactly that. In Germany, not down the street..... I think I'd still be in favor of a wind farm in this immediate area, but I suppose it might require some more thought than a single turbine in my yard.....

Steve McMahon
04-26-2012, 08:43 PM
I also think they are beautiful machines. I wouldn't want one right in my back yard, but would love to be able to see one from my back yard. What amazes me is that the "anti crowd" seem to be the same ones who opposed coal and nuclear 25 years ago. They are also people who are connected to our grid which is supplied mostly by coal from distant generating stations and have no understanding of the huge losses suffered by transmitting AC power over such long distances or the environmental impact of the transmission lines that supply their power.

Ron Williamson
04-26-2012, 09:23 PM
There are lots of turbines near here.
We also have a large nuke.
For some local silliness,search around
http://www.saugeentimes.com/
The third item on the front page is typical.
R

Ian McColgin
04-26-2012, 09:25 PM
The most common and totally arbitrary two standards are either 1.5 times the height to rotar top, or 1,000 feet. But turbines are getting larger and larger and we're seeing two notions emerge: The town of Bourne in Massachuestts set a very sophisticated noise standard that will obtain even if other set-backs are met; and more jurisdictions are going for a mile set-backs (compare the 1.6 km in areas of Europe).

AndyG
04-27-2012, 06:25 AM
Does anyone have any personal expirience living near to a wind turbine? Any opinions?

I have wind turbines around me in several directions, both individual ones and farms of them. I'd like more.

I find them inspiring examples of kinetic art: on a daily basis their turbine direction changes, blade speeds vary, and - being so large - being embedded in the landscape and reacting to the differing quality of light that you get during the day and in different weather conditions makes them, to me, utterly beautiful.

What I particularly like is getting up close to them. Huge and dynamic: really awesome. And surprisingly not that noisy.

(Take that, Trump!)

Andy

Ian McColgin
04-27-2012, 06:53 AM
While I generally agree with AndyG, likeing wind turbines, I've come to see that there's no idea so good that we can't make it destructivly large. That can be hydro projects, like Hydro Quebec or China's Howevermany Gorges or the Bonneville System. Same happens with wind turbines.

There's that disasterous wind farm in a California canyon, the one they always film when the villian needs to get osterized as he floats in by parachute, with all the dead birds. OK, they learned how to not block a flyway and how to make the blades much less likely to slice birds.

But three issues remain with very large turbines and very large wind farms (excluding eco damage if they are not built right and fall over spilling oil (yes, lot's of oil in those things) all over):

Sound. The newest really big units produce turbulence that makes a field of ultra low frequency vibrations that appear to have some adverse health effects.

Flicker. The blades crossing the sun make a strobe like flicker that has made afternoons truely intolerable for people living to the eastnortheast of such towers.

Transmission. Like all large centralized generation facilities big wind farms mean additional land destruction devoted to the ultra-high KV transmission lines.

The solutions are all obvious and in one matrix - small decentralized turbines. Were we to ever reinvest to make a smart grid rather than rely on a transmission/distribution grid that's marching sedately into its second century we'd have many many energy plusses resulting.

Steve McMahon
04-27-2012, 09:03 AM
Thanks for the input. I am tending to believe that as long as appropriate setbacks are maintained that things should be ok. That being said I am still of the belief that we are in the model T stage of these things and they will improve dramatically as technology improves. I see that in Sweeden ABB has developed offshore turbines that are DC so it allows them to use single conductor underwater transmission lines to shore with very low losses. As power semiconductors improve I expect we will see much of the grids transforming to DC. As usual Europe and Asia are way ahead of us in developing smart grid technologies.

ron ll
04-27-2012, 09:31 AM
Actually there are things about them I like, not sure we know all the consequences yet tho. And I'll also add that I don't know the circumstances of this picture and not passing judgement one way or the other. Just like the picture.

http://www.popsci.com/files/imagecache/article_image_large/articles/horns_rev.jpg

Ian McColgin
04-27-2012, 09:36 AM
This picture was posted on this forum a few weeks back and I pointed out the date and time of the shot and the utterly unique conditions that led to those vapor trails. Surprised at the short memory.

SamSam
04-27-2012, 09:50 AM
As awesome as they are, the flicker could be a destroyer of quality of life if it bothers a person. A problem not mentioned is windfarms are sometimes the product of schemes to make a bundle of money by folks outside the community. They are proposed and expounded by manufacturers/salesmen, funded by municipal bonds and grants, sited in less than ideal locations and then the principals go away with the money leaving the local populace to pay for and maintain them.

ron ll
04-27-2012, 09:58 AM
This picture was posted on this forum a few weeks back and I pointed out the date and time of the shot and the utterly unique conditions that led to those vapor trails. Surprised at the short memory.

Gee. Sorry I don't hang on your every every word Ian.

(later)
Okay, maybe that was a little over-reactive. Sorry I missed your earlier post on this.

Concordia 33
04-27-2012, 11:03 AM
I do not find anything offensive about the wind turbines. I will be seeing them in the near future as I sail to Nantucket where a 100 or so are slated to be installed on Horseshoe shoals. Locally, several have cropped up. I was excited to see a very large one go up in a neighboring town - it is huge, but I was disappointed to learn that it could only power about 200 homes. I do have some practical concerns though:

1. Many of the developers get rate guarantees for building the turbines, and the rate is quite a bit more than the going rate - the folks in Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket will experience a substantial rate jump when the Horseshoe shoals project is complete. So the economics of it just doesn't seem to be there yet.

2. Some older wind farms have started to be abandoned as the maintenance of aging wind turbines can get a little pricey. This turns a once beautiful project into eyesore.

http://toryardvaark.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/abandoned_southpoint_wind_farm.jpg?w=604

I guess when you get down to it, issues 1 and 2 are both economic ones. Assuming these issues can be resolved, I would love top see more of them.

Concordia 33
04-30-2012, 01:03 PM
Just when you thought that all the good and bad aspects of wind power had been touched on, I just spotted this piece today..........




New research finds that wind farms actually warm up the surface of the land underneath them during the night, a phenomena that could put a damper on efforts to expand wind energy as a green energy solution.Researchers used satellite data from 2003 to 2011 to examine surface temperatures across as wide swath of west Texas, which has built four of the world's largest wind farms. The data showed a direct correlation between night-time temperatures increases of 0.72 degrees C (1.3 degrees F) and the placement of the farms."Given the present installed capacity and the projected growth in installation of wind farms across the world, I feel that wind farms, if spatially large enough, might have noticeable impacts on local to regional meteorology," Liming Zhou, associate professor at the State University of New York, Albany and author of the paper published April 29 in Nature Climate Change said in an e-mail to Discovery News.

Ian McColgin
04-30-2012, 01:23 PM
The study, unlike the WSJ article, makes clear that such effect as there is is due to mixing warmer higher air. It does not lead to greater total atmospheric heat. I could not find a model showing what, if any, effect this might have on earth surface temperature or the normal radiant cooling of the night. I could find no studies that show any difference in ground temperatures under a wind farm versus comperable areas with no wind farm. What is clear is that whatever it is could not possibly be comperable to the massive amounts of solar energy stored in the earth by parking lots and buildings, only a little of which is dissapated in the night. Human caused solar gain to the earth's surface temperature is locally interesting but globally but the tinyest fraction of what we're doing to climate through our atmospheric impacts.

In short, this is not a reason to be against a wind farm.

B_B
04-30-2012, 01:28 PM
That's what I thought too, Ian, but:

"The year-to-year land surface temperature over wind farms shows a persistent upward trend from 2003 to 2011, consistent with the increasing number of operational wind turbines with time," Zhou said.

Concordia 33
04-30-2012, 01:39 PM
The study, unlike the WSJ article, makes clear that such effect as there is is due to mixing warmer higher air. It does not lead to greater total atmospheric heat. I could not find a model showing what, if any, effect this might have on earth surface temperature or the normal radiant cooling of the night. I could find no studies that show any difference in ground temperatures under a wind farm versus comperable areas with no wind farm. What is clear is that whatever it is could not possibly be comperable to the massive amounts of solar energy stored in the earth by parking lots and buildings, only a little of which is dissapated in the night. Human caused solar gain to the earth's surface temperature is locally interesting but globally but the tinyest fraction of what we're doing to climate through our atmospheric impacts.

In short, this is not a reason to be against a wind farm.

I would think that Higher ground level temperatures would facilitate greater moisture loss. No?

2MeterTroll
04-30-2012, 01:58 PM
how much do those silly windmills cost from mine to disposal? my only problem with them is who's paying for them. out here the hydro was subsidized by the taxpayers. with the end of that subsidizing the power companies are happy to hang up the hydro and jump on the next big thing they dont have to pay for.

finally the pricks have to actually do maintenance on there own dime and sure as death those hydro plants are old and decaying.