Wind Power to the Rescue

Picture the liberal couple from Eugene on their way east through the Columbia Scenic Gorge. They are driving a Volvo, but it is for sale because Ford bought the company. They will be getting a Saab to replace it. They stop to admire a wind turbine that they actually helped to purchase through their green initiative choice on their monthly power bill. They are full of pride and standing tall — they actually have made a difference. A big difference.

They are amazed at the size of the massive rotor — 50 meters in diameter. The towering hulk silently spins high above their heads generating clean, renewable electricity for the surrounding farms and homes. Then they notice a high-pitched hum that begins to give them a headache. They get dizzy, but maybe that is from looking up for so long. It couldn’t be the wind turbine, could it? They have a slight feeling of nausea and some ringing in the ears. Maybe it is time to leave.

Just then, a red-tailed hawk swoops down from the sky looking for a meal and THWANK, it is slammed to the ground by the massive blade it never saw coming. Feathers litter the sky — blood soaks the ground. The hawk is no more.

The couple decides it is time to leave. They have seen the majesty of wind power close up and it is making them sick. But, hey, who lives out here anyway? And what does it matter if a few raptors are killed each and every day? We have plenty — and the field mice are at a disadvantage. Maybe the wind turbine will even things out for mother nature. And how could “free” power be bad??

Then, something totally unexpected happens. The wind stops blowing. Imagine that! The blades slowly spin to a stop. The hum is gone. The nausea is gone. Birds fly freely from harm. The field mouse scrambles for safety. But the lights go dark. The couple wonders why?

Storage seems to be the answer. And there is none. No storage system for the “free power” generated by the wonderful windmill. None, whatsoever. This could be a problem. The couple wonders, without storage won’t power companies need 100% traditional power sources as back up? Can those systems come on line instantly when the wind dies down? No, they can’t. So we have to keep them humming, burning fossil fuels and ruining the environment despite the hundreds and hundreds of wind turbines dotting the landscape. They have to be running and ready all day, all night, to supplant the loss of power when the wind dies down. The couple wonders, what have we gained? What have we done? We were so proud. So happy to know that we MADE A DIFFERENCE. Our higher power bills helped pave the way for the wind power that kills wildlife, causes sickness and misery for residents nearby, and that requires 100% full-on traditional power sources in reserve ALL THE TIME.

The drive back to Eugene is not quite so bold and strong and full of pride as the ride out was. The couple is disillusioned, dismayed, and out some serious coin. What did they do? Where did they go wrong? How could this happen? Anybody want to buy a Volvo?

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  • David Appell

    Climate change from burning fossil fuels has already made dozens of species extinct, and is displacing many more by modifying their habitat. But suddenly you’re worried about a few raptors because it helps make your argument? Please be intellectually consistent, at least.

    • Steve Plunk

      Please name one species that has become extinct from climate change. How about the ones that have been displaced? Since it seems more likely everyday that “climate change” is nothing more than natural climate cycles you are on thin ice with such claims.

      I think you are trolling in the wrong place. There are too many intelligent people here who can see through weak arguments. Jerry’s point is one of unintended consequences and realities of energy production, no inconsistencies there.

      As Paulie said, “Welcome to the NFL kid”.

      • Crawdude

        How about the unintended consequences of ethanol, there’s an example of brainless pandering to whacked out environ-fascists.

        Don’t you find it humorous that the very people who protested Nuclear power decades ago, are now admitting that its the best and most environmentally safe form of power production.

        31,000 scientists, 9,400 of which were PhDs signed a paper stating that they do not believe Global Warming is man made ( OSU has a copy, if you’d like to see it). On the other side we have Algore, his get rich quick scheme and a handful of UN hacks……………how is that for an Inconvenient Truth?

        A combination of alternative energy, drilling and exploration, increasing CAFE standards and the like will solve the energy question. None of which have any bearing on the naturally occurring changes in the worlds weather / climate.

      • David

        Over 2/3rds of more than 100 harlequin frogs species in the tropics of the Western hemisphere have become extinct as global warming has caused a fungus outbreak. (NYT, 1/12/06)

        • Steve Plunk

          David, It took about ten minutes of research to debunk the Times story you speak of. Dr. Pounds’ study showed a correlation and “suggests” a link but only through the higher incidence of a particular fungus. No definitive link was ever made. On March 35, 2008 the Times carried a story exposing the weaknesses of the original study.

          So no dice. I await the next nomination.

    • jim karlock

      *David Appell:* Climate change from burning fossil fuels ….
      *JK:* Hey, David. its been a month and we are still waiting for you to show us some of those peer reviewed papers that show that CO2 can actually cause dangerous warming.

      You have a doctorate degree and access to the journals as a science writer, so you must have many such papers at you fingertips.

      Show us just one or two.

      Please be intellectually consistent, at least.

      Thanks
      JK

      • David

        Jim, I have answered your question several times. To keep answering it is a waste of time.

        • jim karlock

          *David:* Jim, I have answered your question several times.

          *JK* No you have not. You have just provided a lot of other crap, presented as a peer reviewed paper.

          You have yet to produce a peer reviewed paper that shows that CO2 can actually cause dangerous warming. Come on David, just journal name, volume & page. You know what constitutes credible paper: real world original data, analysis, conclusions.

          *David:* To keep answering it is a waste of time.
          *JK* Please quit wasting our time until you can prove the very foundation of your wild claims.

          Thanks
          JK

        • jim karlock

          *JK:* Sorry to add more, but it is also standard practice to pull a quote from the paper proving you contention. It would also be nice if you choose a paper that met your own criteria (below): When this paper appears in the scientific literature, is peer-reviewed, is hashed out in scientific seminars and conferences, and is confirmed by other groups, …

          Since you are so convinced of your position, you must have such a paper at your fingertips as part of the information gathering process upon which you based you conclusions about AGW. So, I’m sure this will only take you a few seconds.

          Thanks
          JK

  • Eddie

    Way to do your research. The pereferred “power storage” method is hydro, as the power can be stored in terms of a water level. Wind replaces the fossil-fuel-burning sources, not hydro. No one’s suggesting we turn hydro off. No one reasonable, anyway.

    Though, I did laugh at the typical liberal couple from Portland. Haha! Geez, I know people like that.

    • Crawdude

      The dams need to be removed for environmental reasons, so hydro doesn’t work. Nuclear could be the back-up but then gain, if we had nuclear power we wouldn’t need the wind turbines…

    • Jerry

      I believe you may wish to do some research yourself before you comment here. If hydro could be the “storage” for wind, then you would not need the wind power at all. The point you are missing is that there is NO WAY to store the wind power, so when the wind stops blowing you need a way to immediately replace the lost power, which means you need enough power on line and ready to go as what the wind is adding. So you have saved little and done little to help mother earth.

      The point is that wind power is not as “green” as it is billed. Not at all.

      But you keep on believing what you want. You obviously have a deep and thorough understanding of power issues.

      • David

        Wind power is certainly much greener than fossil fuel power. It need not generate 100% of power needs to be useful and desirable. Every Watt generated by wind is one not generated by fossil fuel, saving carbon emissions, oil pollution spills, and nasty wars having to be perpetually fought in the Middle East.

  • John in Oregon

    David, this is a story about the disillusionment of a Liberal Enviro couple, supplicating at the feet of their goddess Green Mother Gaia, as their faith clashed with reality.

    I can imagine the rest of that story, that upon arriving in Eugene to find their home dark and hot, they called the PUC and demanded that the evil power company be forced to restore power NOW. But at least they could use the lap top battery to continue the fight to stop the new power lines destroying Eastern Oregon.

    I see you did get the talking points memo that its no longer global warming, its now Climate Change. But I was told that change was good. Change and hope, the center of a presidential campaign.

    As I look at history I thought change was the norm. Good to know that change is bad, at least when its humans getting energy from carbon fuels.

    David, I just have this one teeny question. What was it that evil humans did a 1,000 years ago to cause the world to warm so the Vikings could farm Greenland? Must have been the coming Protestant Reformation.

    Jerry did nail the central issue to the enviro utopia of wind and solar, the ability to store and release energy equivalent to a dozen Bonniville dams over a short period of time. If these renewables are to be viable we must face the real problems and look for solutions.

    The belief that humans are evil and faith in Green Mother Gaia wont do it. Shouting down common sense questions as Flat Earth mentality doesn’t make it.

  • Steve Buckstein

    What to do when the wind doesn’t blow? We can kill two birds with one stone (pardon the pun) if we simply hire hundreds of unskilled laborers to sit near the wind turbines, ready to hand crank them when the wind dies down. This eliminates the need for fossil fuel backup plants, and creates the “green jobs” Oregon says it wants.

    For more on this innovative, Oregon solution, see
    ”“Replace Job Creation with Wealth Creation”
    http://www.cascadepolicy.org/pdf/labor/2008_27.pdf

    • Tim Lyman

      I hear Portland’s day laborer hiring center that isn’t doing so well. Maybe we can kill three birds with one stone by using it as a source for the labor you propose.

  • Bob Clark

    Wind power is stored currently behind Grand Coulee dam mostly, but this storage mechanism is reaching its limits as the amount of wind generating capacity grows beyond current levels. Earlier, this year Grand Coulee did reach its limit when wind generation was at a peak, and BPA, operator of Grand Coulee, had to scramble to dump power and actually ended up spilling water without hydro-electric generation.

    Hopefully, plug-in electric cars and/or newer battery technologies might help store additional wind power. But this is going to take many years to evolve. What is appalling to me is how western states and most Democrats are willing to put peoples lives at risk betting on new power systems which to this point are largely untested and have been mostly novelties. People could literally endup freezing to death in another five to 10 years for lack of mainstream power supplies. Government generally has a very tattered history of picking winners in the energy industry, corn based ethanol being no exception.

    • Crawdude

      Good point Bob, one only needs to look to China for an example. Every section of each city in China has a scheduled 2 hour block in which the power is shut off. This is due to them not having the capacity they need, which, if the enviro-libs have their way maybe what is in store for all of us..

      • Steve Buckstein

        Crawdude,

        I’m not sure where you heard this, but according to a former Cascade Policy Institute intern who has lived in Shenyang and Guangzhou for a total of six years (and is there now), “The only power outage I ever experienced was in Shenyang and was due to inclement weather. China’s ability to produce electricity is being pushed to the max but there are no rolling blackouts.”

        • David

          Except for the blackouts of the blue sky caused by too many coal-fired power plants.

          • Crawdude

            I have to agree with you on this one! I’ve seen the satellite pictures of the huge cloud of pollution that floats across the Pacific at us from China. I’ve also read that the majority of their ground water is polluted.
            Last year, researchers found the 95% of the pollution hitting their sensors on Mt. Hood was of Chinese origin.

            I saw a report on CNBC today that said the Chinese economy is due a correction any time now, that will be an interesting situation to watch unfold.

        • Crawdude

          I’ve found articles from 2003-2007 describing the blackouts, thought this one said that they would remedy it by 2008.

          Power Outages Hit Chinese Production
          Chinese firms’ ability to deliver promptly and at low prices is affected by nationwide electricity shortages

          JEAN-FRANÇOIS TREMBLAY

          It’s never been easy doing business in China. And it became harder this summer when the country started to struggle with electricity shortages—shortages that have had a pervasive impact on China’s chemical industry.
          Whereas China used to be ultracompetitive in the supply of certain chemicals, prices for many items have risen to levels offered by overseas firms. Chinese producers used to be known for their promptness in executing orders, but they now often deliver late. And companies that went to China to conduct research have not been able to fully capitalize on the low cost of Chinese scientists as blackouts periodically made work impossible at their labs this past summer.

          Ajay N. Taskar, a Mumbai-based consultant who sources aroma chemicals and other materials from China on behalf of Indian clients, says it’s become nearly impossible for him to get hold of phenyl ethyl alcohol, a material that is often used in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries.

          “We were able to get PEA from China until about five months ago,” Taskar says. There are other producers in the U.S. and Japan, he adds, but they are either sold out or selling at a 75% premium over what the Chinese used to offer. Tianjin Freeworld Industry, a leading Chinese producer of phenyl ethyl alcohol, did not respond to a request for comments.

          ScinoPharm, a Taiwan-based manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients, sources drug intermediates from China and operates a research lab in Kunshan, a city near Shanghai. ScinoPharm’s executive vice president, Hardy W. Chan, who spends part of the year at the Kunshan site, says power was cut to the lab three out of every seven days last summer.

          As recently as four years ago, top officials in China were concerned about the country’s apparent glut of power generation capacity. That the Chinese economy would grow fast enough to outstrip supply in just a few years came as an unpleasant surprise. Last year alone, power consumption in China jumped more than 15%. Electricity consumption is highest in the summer, owing to sweltering temperatures in Shanghai, Wuhan, Nanjing, and other major cities.

          THE SHORTAGES, however, are unlikely to last beyond 2007. Fearful that the lack of power could harm economic progress, the Chinese government last year lifted investment restrictions in the power industry. This has resulted in a power plant construction boom with few precedents. Power plants, mostly coal-fired, are under construction throughout China, which is already the world’s second largest electricity producer. Moreover, the giant Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, will add 15 generators to the 11 now in operation on the Yangtze River near Yichang when work is completed in 2009.

          Even over the next two or three years, many Chinese chemical producers will be relatively unaffected by power outages. Some have installed backup generators. Others have set up their facilities in industrial parks that boast their own power stations. One purchasing manager at a major chemical company that sources from China adds that most Chinese suppliers will continue shipping to their best customers—those who settle payment promptly—even when power outages are affecting normal production.

          Kenichi Tokunaga, head of planning at Mitsui & Co. subsidiary Beta-Chem, says his company has had relatively few difficulties sourcing from China, even during the past summer. This may be the result of typical Japanese cautiousness. As part of their due diligence process, Beta-Chem executives routinely ask prospective suppliers in China where they get their power from. The company sources many of its raw materials from China, turning them into advanced intermediates or pharmaceutical ingredients at plants in Japan.

          China’s power shortages highlight the teething pains of a country that has been growing at a frantic pace since the mid-1990s. This pace cannot be sustained, a source tells C&EN. Too many plants producing all sorts of goods are being built. The number of Chinese households that own air conditioners, refrigerators, and washing machines has been growing too rapidly for electricity production to keep pace. In the past few months, the price of steel in China has rocketed, considerably increasing the cost of building plants in the country. The low cost of plant construction has been one of the main factors behind China’s ability to produce goods cheaply.

          Chinese companies have made great progress over the past few years in boosting sales and establishing their credibility internationally. But the power shortages will hamper their efforts to advance from the position of alternate to preferred supplier.

          • Jerome Cole

            What evidence do you have that China has implemented scheduled two-hour blackouts in every city? Do you have a source that you would be willing to reveal?

            BTW the article you posted offered very little support for your assertion. In fact, it seems to indicate the rolling blackouts you describe are not in fact happening. A few quotes:

            “Hardy W. Chan, who spends part of the year at the Kunshan site, says power was cut to the lab three out of every seven days last summer.” While this is not good it is not enough to support your assertion about rolling blackouts. This is one factory in one city. It also fails to mention why power was cut. China is in the middle of a building boom unprecedented in human history. Maybe they really just didn’t have enough power, but it is just as likely that power was cut off to facilitate some type of excavation or construction project.

            “THE SHORTAGES, however, are unlikely to last beyond 2007. Fearful that the lack of power could harm economic progress, the Chinese government last year lifted investment restrictions in the power industry. This has resulted in a power plant construction boom with few precedents. Power plants, mostly coal-fired, are under construction throughout China, which is already the world’s second largest electricity producer. Moreover, the giant Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, will add 15 generators to the 11 now in operation on the Yangtze River near Yichang when work is completed in 2009.” Shortages do not necessarily equal nationwide scheduled rolling blackouts. The article also points out the that the shortages were unlikely to last beyond 2007. Hmmm. We are more than halfway into 2008. I think you can put two-and-two together.

            Making sweeping generalizations about a large universe of facts, based on a small and unrepresentative sample will almost always lead to incorrect conclusions. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If you really want to stick to your guns about these so called scheduled two-hour blackouts in every Chinese city come up with some convincing evidence. What you have written so far only shows that China has an energy shortage.This is of course a far cry from your original claim.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    *The Fatal Flaw of Weather Dependant Power Generation*

    While windmills might seem to have potential, there is one singular aspect of them that dooms them from any consideration – The national security risk involved with them if one is an adherent of AGW. To wit:

    If one believes in AGW, then windmills pose a national security hazard so great that we dare not undertake any investment in them. This is based on the core principle that Global Warming is caused by man. If one accepts that precept, and I don’t, then by extension one must accept that if man affects the weather then man can quite possibly learn to control or at least purposefully affect the weather in the near term. Thus, windmills become unusable as an enemy could shut down our power grid in very short order by stopping the flow of wind in our hemisphere.

    Incidentally this also rules out solar power from consideration as well as it is also weather dependant.

    Sorry to point this out, but given the amount of study devoted to AGW, the knowledge base of mans influence on weather must be growing geometrically. If AGW is true, and if AGW is happening as a byproduct of mans enterprise, then it would be absolutely foolish to think that non incidental and purposeful action by a rogue nation could not have a serious affect on weather patterns in an enemy state. I will remind everyone that those very states that we are trying to gain oil independence from, have nearly limitless supplies should they limit production for solely their own needs. By controlling the weather, a rogue Islamic state could easily cease all winds on earth and block out the sun and wait it out. Those nations foolish enough to be dependant on such means of power generation would be brought to their knees in short order.

    Thus, if we decide as a nation that AGW is a reality, we need to entirely reconsider any power generation method that is at all weather dependant. Sorry to point this out but I notice no one else is bringing up this obvious consequence of the AGW theory.

  • Anonymous

    David, you are so naive.
    Your AGW claims are so ridiculous. You’ve now resorted to repeating the most ludicrous and imaginary affects out there.

    You do so as an alternative to facing the reality that AGW is complete BS.

    Modify your own habits, read this current piece, and know how misguided you are.

    https://www.libertyunbound.com/archive/2008_09/contoski-warming.html

    And if your cohort dean shows up here he needs to modify too.

    • David

      When this paper appears in the scientific literature, is peer-reviewed, is hashed out in scientific seminars and conferences, and is confirmed by other groups, this paper is not science at all. It is an opinion piece from a notably conservative organization. Its ignorance is demonstrated from the very first sentence. The second paragraph is wrong. The fourth paragraph is absurd — CO2 is a strong GHG, contributing about 9 C to the about 30 C of the earth’s natural greenhouse effect.

      Why believe some opinion piece over 20 years of peer-reviewed, rigorous science? Because you can read the former but not the latter?

      • jim karlock

        *David:* When this paper appears in the scientific literature, is peer-reviewed, is hashed out in scientific seminars and conferences, and is confirmed by other groups, …
        *JK:* Good description, David. Now show me the paper that meets your criteria AND proves CO2 can cause dangerous warming. (As you should know its effect has mostly reached saturation.)

        Thanks
        JK

  • John in Oregon

    Bob, I find I both agree and disagree with your comments. I suspect likely because a brief discussion often leaves out important details. However your basic point that wind uses the electric power grid as though it were a big battery is exactly on point.

    I would like to go into a bit more detail as I find the readers here are interested in more than the latest 30 second sound bite. First some basics.

    Power can’t be stored, not even for a second. The power companies must generate exactly the amount of power users demand, no more and no less. Generate too little and the lights dim in a brown out, too much and the lights burn out with over voltage.

    With thousands of users the demand can’t be easily controlled and that forces the power company generators to be well behaved. They constantly look at demand and adjust power generation to meet the current demand.

    Hydro generating plants can adjust quickly to changing load by controlling the amount of water flowing through the dam. Coal fired plants are slower, it takes time to heat more water to make more steam. Natural gas fired turbines are also fast, they can start to generate power in minutes. Clean pollution wise and quick to start up makes gas fired turbines ideal for sudden unexpected demand,

    By comparison, wind and solar power are like a spoiled child. Undisciplined they sometimes generate lots of power and other times go on strike and do nothing at all. They force the rest of the power companies generators to adjust to the random and unexpected changes in power they generate.

    But the question Bob raised is can hydro projects “store power” to make up for the unreliability of wind and solar power generation. Well it turns out the answer is a very unsatisfying maybe.

    In the late fall and winter when stream flows are low and the reservoirs half empty we can stop generating hydro power and store water for later use. But in most rivers there is a minimum flow that must be maintained. And that is water we can’t store and hydro power we couldn’t use. In the spring and summer stream flows are high its unlikely we can store more water at all.

    The point is we still have to have conventional capacity to back up when wind and solar power goes off line.

    And that is the problem for the liberal green couple Jerry described. They thought it was as simple as spending a few dollars on their power bill, building a bunch of wind and solar farms and like magic all the evil coal plants and dams could just go away.

    Imagine how they must feel when they discover that its not as simple as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the presidential candidates said it would be. Not as easy as passing a law. And that’s the point of Jerrys fictional couple in the story above.

    And what really makes it fiction is that liberal couple isnt ever going to notice any of those problems and if the power does go off they will simply lobby to pass another law. They probably wont take off their green tinted glasses. They wont notice the facts.

    When the power goes off they will complain to the PUC and look for the villain while never questioning their own behavior and reliance on government solutions.

    On the good side, ordinary people will see reality. Its those that work in the Salem capitol mall, come from inside Washington DC belt-way, or tilt at environmental windmills that are blind and will not see.

    • David

      > And what really makes it fiction is that liberal couple isnt ever
      > going to notice any of those problems and if the power does go ?> off they will simply lobby to pass another law. They probably wont > take off their green tinted glasses. They wont notice the facts.

      In my experience liberals are just as smart as conservatives, they just have a different political philosophy. They certainly notice problems. I know it’s convenience for you to imagine that your political opponents are Neanderthals who can’t think — saves you from having to prove your arguments. In my experience, most of the smartest people I know lean to the left. In any case, you aren’t going to win any arguments simply by disparaging “liberals” — this isn’t the Rush Limbaugh show.

    • John in Oregon

      David, as for your comment > *In my experience liberals are just as smart as conservatives, they just have a different political philosophy… for you to imagine that your political opponents are Neanderthals who can’t think — saves you from having to prove your arguments.*

      I assume by the term smart you are referring to what is generally called intelligence. I wasn’t actually addressing that aspect in my comments above although, baring evidence to the contrary, I would generally assume within subgroups, IE, Democrats vs Republicans, Baptists vs Catholics, liberal vs conservative, and ETC, that the distribution of intelligence within those sub-groups would be similar to the general population.

      While not addressing “intelligence”, neither was I imagining that enviro liberal couple as knuckle dragging Neanderthals. Nor was I saying they can’t think.

      Lets look at the couple again and see if what we know is consistent with what I did say. Well we know they drive a Volvo, but they are dumping it only because Ford bought the company and they don’t like Ford. They didn’t know about windmill infrasonic sound or bird kills. They didn’t know that power stopped when the wind didn’t blow and they thought the power was free once the windmill was built.

      That’s an elaborate image based on how they felt not on reality. I alluded to that as self deception. Obviously they can think and chose not to think, which is the greater shame.

      And that was the point of this piece. That for that couple, facts clashed with deeply held feelings. Reality challenged desires. There actually is a name for the missing quality, common sense.

      > *In my experience, most of the smartest people I know lean to the left.*

      Far be it for me to judge your experience. I am forced to ponder the self selecting prophesy. The possibility that the people you know are an over representation of leftness which exceeds the presence of conservative smartness. My own friends hardy represent an unbiased sample of the whole.

      > *Over 2/3rds of more than 100 harlequin frogs species in the tropics of the Western hemisphere have become extinct as global warming has caused a fungus outbreak. (NYT, 1/12/06)*

      I couldn’t resist responding to this one. The New York Times as an unbiased scientific source??? What evidence shows this outbreak was caused by temperature? But more importantly, AGW theory says that the bulk of the warming is in upper latitudes not the tropics. Seems to be a conflict doesn’t it?

      > *Coal-fired power plants are also a “pox” upon the land. So are the mountain tops they ruin to gather their product. So is the dirty air they produce, and the cllimate (sic) change. Oil spills are a “pox” upon the land — ask the people of Alaska. The wars we must fight and all the innocent babies and children and women and men we kill are also a “pox” upon the land. The is no free lunch.*

      This is the kind emotional construct I was talking about. That the Chinese are building coal fired plants based on 1940 standards because they are cheap and easy seems a more reasonable target for anger.

  • Rob Kremer

    JK:
    No fair asking Appell to provide evidence. They don’t need no evidence – it’s about the models, don’t you know?

  • eagle eye

    This article is basically correct about wind power. However, those on the right who are against it would do better to claim the environmental high ground, rather than mocking the pretenders. Daniel Henninger, in his weekly Wall St. Journal column, in addition to listing the other shortcomings of renewable energy, added that wind turbines are a “pox on the land”. Exactly right, and this is an argument that should be taken up with gusto.

    • David

      Coal-fired power plants are also a “pox” upon the land. So are the mountain tops they ruin to gather their product. So is the dirty air they produce, and the cllimate change. Oil spills are a “pox” upon the land — ask the people of Alaska. The wars we must fight and all the innocent babies and children and women and men we kill are also a “pox” upon the land. The is no free lunch.

      • eagle eye

        I would much prefer nuclear power plants over coal plants. However, coal plants are not the “blight on the land” that large-scale wind power would entail. And don’t forget, the wind turbine machines would be mostly build using coal-fired electricity. And they are no replacement for baseload coal plants.

        As for oil, nobody is talking about wind electricity as any kind of substitute for oil or gas. Except Boone Pickens. Who has his own agenda i.e. lining his own pockets.

      • Libs R Losers

        Sorry to tell you Eco Boy, but the Exxon Valdez oil spill was a very long time ago.

  • Scottiebill

    All this rhetoric about global warming, pro and con; all this rhetoric about hydro power and the removal of dams “to protect the environment”, pro and con; all this rhetoric about wind power and its bad effects toward humans, bats, birds, etc., pro and con; is getting quite tiresome at the very least. The people, such as myself, who are on the con side of the issue are trying to comprehend any reasonable argument contradictory to our beliefs, but are coming up short here. In my opinion, for there is no reasonable argument for breaching dams, for removing windmills because they “might” have a bad effect on someone living within 2 or 3 miles of one, or for the myth of “global warming.

    And, because the enviro-wackos have inserted themselves into just about everything pertaining to life as we know it and to prevent us from having the benefits we all have, they have all but established themselves as the fourth branch of Government.

    And eagle eye, in the post above denigrating wind power and the windmills, has conveniently ignored the fact that the Dutch used wind power for hundreds of years, primarily for grinding grain, etc. before electricity was introduced there, but for producing at least a modicum of electric power since then, and likely still do. Was that “a blight on the land” there, also? He and Daniel Henninger are sounding a lot like Teddy Kennedy when putting windmills in the Atlantic off Martha’s Vineyard. Any where else but not here. True NIMBYs all.

    • David

      There are documented studies that show there is a deleterious effect of wind mills on some of the people who live near them — it’s not a question of “might.” Consult the medical literature.

      I suspect you might well feel differently if *you* were living next to one of them…. Why disregard these people’s experiences and feelings?

      PS: Dutch windmills (~100 ft) are much smaller than today’s wind turbines (~400 ft), and spin much slower. You’re comparing a model-T to a Camaro.

    • eagle eye

      David is right about the Dutch windmills, but the Model T – Camaro comparison doesn’t really begin to come close. The Dutch windmills are closer to the windmills on great-grandpa’s farm than they are to the modern turbines. Which are high-tech, humongous monstrosities. The current big ones are over 400 ft (when you include the blade), but 600 ft. is in the works, and 1000 ft. may not be far behind.

      Yes, Teddy Kennedy was right about the windmills off Martha’s Vineyard. I certainly don’t want hundreds or thousands of them up and down Hwy 101 on the Oregon coast, or out in the ocean either. You call it NIMBY? Fine! There is no need for them, they are an expensive boondoggle, I don’t want them.

  • Anonymous

    I caught the latest enviro porn last night

    Life After Humans

    Can’t you just imagine the turn on that causes?

  • Anonymous

    Typical David,

    Here’s the first sentence and first few paragraphs that you claim are wrong. They demonstrate that you are a liar and propagandist who has no integrity whatsoever.
    This and the rest of the excellent piece covers most if not all of your cult’s false claims and it represents the mass of reality you repeatedly hide from as you continue spreading misinformation.

    You can’t even begin to address this collection of Global Climate facts and instead bank on your peer review canard as if none of the substance here can be found in peer reviewed work.

    You’re a phoney of the worst kind.

    https://www.libertyunbound.com/archive/2008_09/contoski-warming.html

    “During the 20th century, the earth warmed 0.6 degree Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit), but that warming has been wiped out in a single year with a drop of 0.63 degree C. (1.13 F.) in 2007. A single year does not constitute a trend reversal, but the magnitude of that temperature drop — equal to 100 years of warming — is noteworthy. Of course, it can also be argued that a mere 0.6 degree warming in a century is so tiny it should never have been considered a cause for alarm in the first place. But then how could the idea of global warming be sold to the public? In any case, global cooling has been evident for more than a single year. Global temperature has declined since 1998. Meanwhile, atmospheric carbon dioxide has gone in the other direction, increasing 15–20%. This divergence casts doubt on the validity of the greenhouse hypothesis, but that hasn’t discouraged the global warming advocates. They have long been ignoring far greater evidence that the basic assumption of greenhouse warming from increases in carbon dioxide is false.

    Edmund Contoski is a columnist for FORCES International Liberty News Network, a blogger, and author of three books. He is a retired environmental consultant.
    Manmade emissions of carbon dioxide were not significant before worldwide industrialization began in the 1940s. They have increased steadily since. Over 80% of the 20th century’s carbon dioxide increase occurred after 1940 — but most of the century’s temperature increase occurred before 1940! From 1940 until the mid-1970s, the climate also failed to behave according to the greenhouse hypothesis, as carbon dioxide was strongly increasing while global temperatures cooled. This cooling led to countless scare stories in the media about a new ice age commencing.

    In the last 1.6 million years there have been 63 alternations between warm and cold climates, and no indication that any of them were caused by changes in carbon dioxide levels. A recent study of a much longer period (600 million years) shows — without exception — that temperature changes precede changes in carbon dioxide levels, not the other way around. As the earth warms, the oceans yield more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, because warmer water cannot hold as much carbon dioxide as colder water.

    The public has been led to believe that increased carbon dioxide from human activities is causing a greenhouse effect that is heating the planet. But carbon dioxide comprises only 0.035% of our atmosphere and is a very weak greenhouse gas. Although it is widely blamed for greenhouse warming, it is not the only greenhouse gas, or even the most important. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas and accounts for at least 95% of any greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide accounts for only about 3%, with the remainder due to methane and several other gases.

    Not only is carbon dioxide’s total greenhouse effect puny, mankind’s contribution to it is minuscule. The overwhelming majority (97%) of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere comes from nature, not from man. Volcanoes, swamps, rice paddies, fallen leaves, and even insects and bacteria produce carbon dioxide, as well as methane. According to the journal Science (Nov. 5, 1982), termites alone emit ten times more carbon dioxide than all the factories and automobiles in the world. Natural wetlands emit more greenhouse gases than all human activities combined. (If greenhouse warming is such a problem, why are we trying to save all the wetlands?) Geothermal activity in Yellowstone National Park emits ten times the carbon dioxide of a midsized coal-burning power plant, and volcanoes emit hundreds of times more. In fact, our atmosphere’s composition is primarily the result of volcanic activity. There are about 100 active volcanoes today, mostly in remote locations, and we’re living in a period of relatively low volcanic activity. There have been times when volcanic activity was ten times greater than in modern times. But by far the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions is the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It produces 72% of the earth’s emissions of carbon dioxide, and the rest of the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, and the other oceans also contribute. The human contribution is overshadowed by these far larger sources of carbon dioxide. Combining the factors of water vapor and nature’s production of carbon dioxide, we see that 99.8% of any greenhouse effect has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions from human activity. So how much effect could regulating the tiny remainder have upon world climate, even if carbon dioxide determined climate?

    • eagle eye

      I’m afraid that these calims about human CO2 emissions being unimportant have long been considered, and are easily refuted. Here’s just one of countless sources where you can read about it:

      https://www.gcrio.org/ipcc/qa/05.html

      I’m afraid that very few if any scientists, even those who are skeptical about global warming, are skeptical about the human contribution to CO2 buildup in the atmosphere.

      False, irrelevant, or long considered, easily refuted arguments do not do anything to contribute to a serious scientific case against the human global warming hypothesis.

  • Anonymous

    Eagle eye, You should read it yourself and recognize there is no such refuting as you claim. Quite the contray.

    “This addition, [human] currently about 3% of annual natural emissions, ”

    The piece claims ths is sufficient to exceed the balancing,,

    But that is nonsense.

    The fact that “carbon dioxide has gradually accumulated in the atmosphere, until at present, its concentration is 30% above pre- industrial levels” is without the context of great forces and the other realities affecting the globe.
    You are misrepresenting that your link refutes the piece I posted.
    It does not. David does not.

    The full reading of my link exposes in great detail how you are peddling nonsense.
    https://www.libertyunbound.com/archive/2008_09/contoski-warming.html

    Combining the factors of water vapor and nature’s production of carbon dioxide, we see that 99.8% of any greenhouse effect has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions from human activity. So how much effect could regulating the tiny remainder have upon world climate, even if carbon dioxide determined climate?

    Since carbon dioxide is a very weak greenhouse gas, computer models predicting environmental catastrophe depend on the small amount of warming from carbon dioxide being amplified by increased evaporation of water. But in the many documented periods of higher carbon dioxide, even during much warmer climate periods, that never happened. During the time of the dinosaurs, the carbon dioxide levels were 300–500% greater than today. Five hundred million years ago, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 15–20 times what it is today. Yet the catastrophic water-vapor amplification of carbon dioxide warming never occurred. Today we’re told catastrophic warming will result if carbon dioxide doubles. But during the Ordovician Period, the carbon dioxide level was 12 times what it is today, and the earth was in an Ice Age. That’s exactly opposite to the “runaway” warming that computer models predict should occur. Clearly the models are wrong; they depend upon an assumption of amplification that is contrary to the climate record of millions of years. There is no reason to trust the computer predictions — or base public policies on them. Reid Bryson, founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin, has stated, “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.”

    There are other examples where the computer models fail to agree with reality. According to the greenhouse hypothesis, the warming should occur equally during day and night. But most of the warming that has been observed has occurred at night, thus falsifying the models.

    All of the models agree — for sound theoretical reasons — that warming from a greenhouse effect must be 2–3 times greater in the lower atmosphere than at the earth’s surface. This is not happening. Both satellites and weather balloons show slightly greater warming at the surface. These atmospheric temperature measurements furnish direct, unequivocal evidence that whatever warming has occurred is not from the greenhouse effect.

    • eagle eye

      Sorry, I read the piece, it’s very easy to see the simple fallacies if you read and understand the refutation — of the idea that humans have increased the CO2 level greatly. To repeat, I know of no serious scientist, including the greenhouse skeptics, who believes otherwise.

      The larger point — whether the human-caused CO2 (and other GHG) emissions are causing a significant rise in temperature, and how much, is certainly debatable. You quoted the ancient meteorolgy guy from the University of Wisconsin that the effect is zero (like spitting). Maybe he believes that, I don’t know of any serious researcher who does. The famous Richard Lindzen estimates the effect of a CO2 doubling at 0.4 degrees centigrade, last I heard. Others have other estimates, up to catastrophic levels. I tend to believe the lower end is probably correct, but I also believe nobody really knows.

  • Anonymous

    The total absence of cogent and substative responses to points like this, and many others, leaves Gore and the AGW alarmists without any credibility.

    “All of the models agree — for sound theoretical reasons — that warming from a greenhouse effect must be 2–3 times greater in the lower atmosphere than at the earth’s surface. This is not happening. Both satellites and weather balloons show slightly greater warming at the surface. These atmospheric temperature measurements furnish direct, unequivocal evidence that whatever warming has occurred is not from the greenhouse effect.”

  • Anonymous

    eagle eye,
    Your’e having problems reading and understanding the basic issue.

    Humans only contribute a small fraction of all CO2 so our increase from fossil fuels has NOT increased the CO2 level greatly. We’ve only increased our contruibution 35%. Which if you read the details in the science that means nothing.
    But it appears you have yet to grasp that humans contribute only a small fraction, a few percent, of all CO2?????

    Why not?

    The larger point is that human-caused CO2 could not possibly be causing a significant rise in temperature.

    You should print this out and re-hand write it yourself.
    https://www.libertyunbound.com/archive/2008_09/contoski-warming.html

    That’s a good way to comprehend.

    • eagle eye

      What I have grasped, and you haven’t, is that the natural “emission” of CO2 includes a huge amount from decaying plants, which is almost exactly balanced by “absorption” of CO2 by growing plants. With a net effect on the atmosphere of zero — an equilibrium.

      The increased emissions of the modern era are perturbing this equilibrium, which is why the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere has been steadily rising. It’s all a matter of pretty simple chemical kinetics. The increase in atmospheric CO2 due first to land use changes, and much more seriously direct output of CO2 mostly in the 20th century, correlates very closely with atmospheric CO2.

      If you want to believe otherwise, I can’t stop you. But you would do well to read up on what virtually all competent scientists say about this. Enough.

      As for “the larger point is that human-caused CO2 could not possibly be causing a significant rise in temperature.” Well, hardly any competetn scientist agrees with that. As I said, the low-end estimate of the result of doubling CO2, as far as I know, is 0.4 degrees centigrade. Which I would consider “signficant” but hardly cause for panic. On the other hand, most other credible estimates are higher. This, of course, is a small perturbation on the “background” temperature of around 300 degrees Kelvin. But it’s “significant” because a small deviation from background would lead to important climate effects.

    • David from Eugene

      Regarding significant; I can sink any size boat or ship with just a gallon of water as long it is the last gallon added to a vessel already awash. Sometimes it is not the amount contributed but when that is significant. Even a fraction of a degree change in temperature can be significant if it causes a change of state from solid to liquid or liquid to gas.

  • Anonymous

    Bone up eagle eye.
    You’re confused and lost in the muck of deceit.

    Your boiler plate, generic and shallow response to this

    https://www.libertyunbound.com/archive/2008_09/contoski-warming.html

    Is entriely typical and predictable.

    At the end of the day you have neither science or logic on your foolish side.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    One would think that if hardly any competent scientist disagrees with the notion that mans contribution to CO2 is causing higher temperatures that we wouldn’t constantly see scientists getting fired, taking out advertisements and holding conferences due to dispute with this idea.

    The final nail in the coffin for the absurd notion that few competent scientists disagree with the CO2 idea is the very fact that Jim Karlock points out quite regularly here, there simply is no peer reviewed literature showing CO2 is directly responsible for Global Warming. One would think if virtually all scientists agree on this idea, someone would have bothered a paper on it. Perhaps this consensus was reached by non traditional means? Holding a prayer circle? Harmonic convergence initiated by crystal gazing? Who knows, but if AGW believers wish to be considered as anything other than a religion, they would do well to have dogma that is based on something provable, and not simply a mantra. At this point that is all that the idea that CO2 causes warming appears to be. There really is very little separating AGW from Intelligent design. The former may get better press, but both clearly are based on myth and dogma surrounded with a scientific veil. The fact that AGW predictions ( such as the recent ocean temperature measurements ) tend to not square with projections of the theory, and the fact that AGW ministers such as Al Gore seem to make a lot of money off it while following none of its tenants does tend to make AGW a little less credible but no less theological than Intelligent Design.

    • eagle eye

      Rupert, it’s obviously impossible to have a serious discussion with you about the science of global warming, so I won’t try.

      I will point out to you that one of the leading global warming “skeptics”, Roy Spencer, is also apparently a proponent of Intelligent Design.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        Yes, I didn’t think you would want to take me up on it.

        Basically its simple, have your belief system, just please stop trying to force it on the rest of us either in the schools or legislatively. I would ask no less from Evangelical groups, I see no reason not to ask the same of AGW adherents.

        Faith based beliefs systems are perfectly fine in private, its when you start trying to force them on the rest of us that you are crossing the line.

  • Anonymous

    I will point out to you that many of the global warming alarmists are also 911 conspiracy nut cases.
    In fact I’ll wager that every single 911 nut case is a Global Warming loon too.

  • dean

    Nothing like contructing a straw man (couple) to have a clear whack at Jerry.

    Wind turbines produce electricity, which can be stored in batteries or hydrogen. But “storage” is not really the issue here. Learning to make good use of wind energy is the issue. Electricity is always needed, but at varying levels aross days and seasons. A fully integrated grid allows wind to always be in the mix, since it is always blowing somewhere given the size of our nation. And this is essentially free energy with no pollution minus the capital costs.

    If we are smart enough to avoid placing large wind turbine arrarys in our most scenic places, like the Gorge, then we can avoid traumatizing the make believe couple in Jerry’s make believe, and not very productive story.

    • Jerry

      So we are going to store the wind power using hydrogen. Great idea Dean. When will that happen??? 2050?? It makes a lot of sense, though, as hydrogen is a great storage means for wind generated power. I see it being used all over the world. Even in Europe, where they are so far ahead of us in so many ways.

      Great thinking. Solid, sound science triumphs every single time.

      I am ashamed I had not thought of hydrogen as a great storage device that we could implement immediately.

      And the batteries are an even better idea. I see those being used all time in most large power companies. Thousands upon thousands of D cells, all lined up and ready to go.

      Thanks so much for enlightening me. I was in the dark about this storage business before your post. Now I see so clearly how this all will work. It is so simple.

      Batteries and hydrogen. Why didn’t I think of that? Radio Shack is having a battery sale. Let’s get busy right now.

      And that hydrogen could power all our hydrogen cars, too. A perfect solution.

      Perfect, do you hear me??

      And don’t put those windmills in the gorge – it is too scenic. But, wait, that is where the wind blows. Darn.

      It’s always something.

      My story is looking better and better with solutions like yours….

    • John in Oregon

      > * Nothing like contructing (sic) a straw man (couple) to have a clear whack at Jerry.*

      Who took a whack at Jerry? He presented a picture of a couple with classic Cognitive Dissonance. When reality conflicts with a false image of the world. I agree with Jerry.

      Dean I understand your view that > *Wind turbines produce electricity, which can be stored in batteries or hydrogen. But “storage” is not really the issue here. Learning to make good use of wind energy is the issue.*

      My own view is that storage is exactly what will make good use of wind and solar. Storage is what will allow intermittent power sources to become dependable base load power and replace conventional generation.

      Dean you say > *If we are smart enough to avoid placing large wind turbine arrarys (sic) in our most scenic places like the Gorge…*

      I agree we should protect some places. Just as the Columbia River gorge is protected and there is no wind project in the gorge, only near it. The problem is that for many people every single place in Oregon is our most scenic place and any intrusion, even the smallest, is a total disaster.

      I found this interesting, you comment > *[T]hen we can avoid traumatizing the make believe couple…*

      True Jerry used a fictional couple to illustrate his point. That couple is representative of very real people who have built false constructs in place of reality.

      My question is this. Why is it the publics responsibility to protect these peoples delusions from a traumatic clash with reality?

  • John in Oregon

    David with regard to windmill sound you said > *There are documented studies that show there is a deleterious effect of wind mills on some of the people who live near them — it’s not a question of “might.” Consult the medical literature.*

    This discussion is about infrasonic (very low frequency) sound. First lets put on the table that there is a lot known about the deleterious effects of sound. For example the noise emitted by industrial machinery, appliances, transport and of course windmills. This knowledge has become workplace safety standards. The base safety standard number is 70 dB(A) SPL. For comparison the level of an average conversational speaking voice is 74 dB SPL. The workplace standard is a bit less than half as loud as a person speaking.

    These kinds of simple facts are often twisted beyond all recognition using the misapplication of good science combined with junk science, becoming the tool of public manipulation. For example, the media hypes fat calories are bad and others not. Breast implants poison women, DDT kills birds, Vaccine preservative causes Autism, and doctors cause Cerebral Palsy.

    A quick look at two of these.

    Cerebral Palsy can be caused by extreme oxygen deprivation and fetal distress at birth. Several large well conducted studies have shown that out of every 100 Cerebral Palsy cases the bulk are caused by genetic defects. Another large cause is infections during pregnancy. Way down the list, 1 or 2 cases of 100, are due to fetal distress.

    So, why do we have something like 80 of 100 Cerebral Palsy lawsuits against doctors?

    Similarly, the vaccine preservative was removed nearly 10 years ago. So why do we have lawyers demanding reparations for 3 year old Autism cases? It just must be something else in the vaccine? The list of the evils of vaccines is long, Chronic fatigue, Multiple sclerosis, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, central nervous system disorders, Rheumatoid arthritis, Motor delay, Diminished muscle tone, Failure to thrive, Apoptic neurons, Autism, Childhood asthma and type-II diabetes.

    The fact that some of the above maladies are genetically inherited is irrelevant in the hands of a skilled lawyer.

    Now back to the Oregon wind farm. The base workplace safety standard is based 70 dB(A) SPL. The standard precautionary principle would set public exposures at a factor of 10 lower or 60 dB(A) SPL. (The measurement of sound in dB is logarithmic.)

    A local Medical Doctor (surgeon) testified against the wind power project as an “expert witness”. The testimony opposed the farm and suggested extreme danger at levels considerably below 60 dB(A). Information obtained on the Internet of examples of disability claims were very scary.

    Now I could ask why Surgeons? Why are Audiologists and Neurologists not making these extreme claims? Why do examples of disability claims never mention the exposures were well above the workplace standard? This Medical Doctor wanted to stop the wind farm near him. NIMBY, Not In My Back Yard.

    As frustrating as dealing with NIMBY can be, its nothing like the danger of *BANANA.* Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. The BANANAS are well funded, well connected, and although small in number, are a very vocal and aggressive minority who intend to stop everything.

    In terms of energy, how is that working out for Oregon? Well lets take a quick look at the list.

    Private LNG; Opposed at the highest levels of state government..

    Wind Generation; Eastern Oregon, opposed by lawsuit. Columbia river wind, opposed.

    Power line support of renewable; Opposed by lawsuit.

    Tide power. Blocked by regulatory lawsuit.

    Geothermal power: Blocked, delayed, appealed.

    Save the fish plans: Blocked, delayed, lawsuit. A carefully developed, science based plan, sabotaged by one group because the plan depended too much on restoring habitat in tributaries.

    Wave Energy; Opposed and blocked.

    Existing Hydropower; Under constant attack of “breach the dam” campaigns. Fish enhancement plans blocked to force dam removal.

    In short. Every energy source is opposed. For this small and powerful group the only energy sources they like are the ones we don’t have.

    David you said > *I suspect you might well feel differently if you were living next to one of them…. Why disregard these people’s experiences and feelings?*

    This is exactly the problem and given your scientific background I am surprised that you said this. I know you are aware of the placebo effect and that feelings are not science.

    I touched on the sound science of workplace sound safety levels. Why substitute feelings for real knowlege?

    • dean

      John…Wind projects in the Gorge have not been stopped. One has been modified to address environmental issues. Another was withdrawn for unknown reasons, probably financing. A third is in the early proposal stage. These are large industrial projects and should be held to high standards, not rubber stamped. But I believe you are overstating your BANANA point.

      Jerry….the wind blows strongly and steadily in lots of places. Most of Oregon has strong enough, steady enough winds for energy generation. The Willamette Valley and most of Southeastern Oregon are the only places in our state without suficient wind. Given we have 98,000 square miles to work with, and Denmark, which currently gets 20% of its power from wind has only 43,000, we have more than ample space. The Gorge is attractive not only because of the wind, but because of the access to the BPA power lines that come off of the dams. The Oregon Coast has much better wind than the gorge, but is too far from the main grid.

      But the lager point is that your critique of wind power is like swiss cheese….full of holes. The US can get up to 20% of its total electricity from wind without building ANY storage or ANY additional backup. All we need is a better integrated grid, and we don’t even need that for the first 10%. Since wind is currently supplying only 1% of our total, we have a decade or two to worry about the issues you are raising. And since we have such a large country, most of it barely occupied, with many private landowners who are happy to take the $5K or more per year rent for each turbine, we have no shortage of places outside of our most scenic landscapes to put these things. Stop being a luddite on this issue. You are going to feel increasingly silly as others solve your energy problem for you while you remain stuck in the past.

      • eagle eye

        You are the one who is being a Luddite. Wind power is simply an abomination, it will fill the whole country with the giant moving noisy contraptions. Already it is running into trouble because the transmission infrastructure just isn’t there; your comments to the contrary are just fantasy. You may think it will only go “outside our mose scenic landscapes” (90% of the country) but it will be filling our coast and the Columbia Gorge and the Cascade crest (and the eastern Oregon ranges) sure as anything. If Ted Kennedy can’t stop it off of Martha’s Vineyard, a poor little hick state like Oregon is just going to get trashed.

        You think Oregon won’t be turned into a giant wind farm to feed California. Think again, the Oregonian this weekend had an article about how ALL the power from our major current wind farm is going straight to California.

    • JOhn in Oregon

      Isnt it interesting how some form of linguistic transmutation conflates obstruction into stopped. As though the failure to stop a project somehow negates obstructionism.

      If, as you believe, the banana problem is “overstated” then you can tell us of the many unobstructed projects.

      As to the ability in the absence of storage, of intermittent power sources to provide base power load. Who should we believe? Oh I know. I believe the Germans who actually built the projects and found reality of 20% to 30% capacity equates to 4% base load.

      Does this mean we should ignore wind and solar? Of course not. It means we need to be realistic about what they can and cant do. We need to develop storage!!

      • dean

        Eagle…I don’t care where the power goes. If the grid can be better integrated, then where it starts and where it ends is not really much of an issue. And California already produces more wind energy than any state except Texas. Maybe they will be sending some of their juice north.

        Having been involved in one gorge project as an expert who worked for the opposition, I do have a cautious optimism that Oregon’s energy facility siting process, and Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act, both have sufficient measures to allow stopping or modifying projects that are proposed for the wrong places. They don’t want to kill the goose. That does not mean some projects won’t get built where they shouldn’t, because it takes a well funded, well organized group to derail or force changes on a deep pocket energy project, and in some places those groups do not exist.

        The federally protected part of the gorge (about 230,000 acres) is mostly or fully off limits to wind turbines. The battle will be over areas that are outside the protected area, but visible from within it. My main concern is that both states Oregon and Washington) are pushing ahead on wind without first identifying the areas where it should not go, or where it should be subject to higher standards, such as the coast.

        John…from Princeton wordnet: Obstruction means to hinder or *prevent* the progress or accomplishment of.

        I equate preventing with stopping. I stand with Princeton.

        Like I said, large wind energy projects have impacts and should be subject to scrutiny and oversight. So I have no problem at all with them being held up to light and examined. I would be concerned if we simply green lighted them. If subjecting them to proper review delays some and stops others, then so be it. That is why we liberals invented regulations and tax you to pay the bureaucrats who do the oversight.

        The Germans may have run into problems, though their wind generation is still far below 20%. The Danes appear to be doing fine and have more than twice the wind energy on line as Germany. Maybe we should follow their lead instead. If we gradually adapt our auto fleet to plug in hybrids, and we charge those up during non peak times using evening winds, would that be sufficient as storage?

        Regardless, like I said, we currently get only 1% from wind. Storage of wind electricity is not going to be an issue for us for a while, if ever. Integration of wind while it is blowing into the grid is eventually going to be an issue, but fortunately very smart investors are working the problem while we banter. Meanwhile solar is catching up and may displace wind as the electric energy of choice in a few years. We live in interesting times, don’t you agree?

        • eagle eye

          The point is, it’s idiotic to be doing wind power at all.

          • dean

            Eagle…maybe so. But every utility company in America seems to disagree with you. They are building zero coal plants, zero nuclear, and as much wind as they can find places for. What do they, as business people know that we don’t?

            I urge you to have a look at the Economist Magazine’s detailed review of the future of energy, including wind, June 21 issue. They are not wooly headed liberals like me, and they conclude that at the moment, and for the next several years if not longer, wind is the best option for generating electricity.

          • eagle eye

            What the energy companies know is that wind is being subsidized to a huge tune, so they can make money the old fashioned way — with fat government handouts. Also, they know that in the current hysterical situation in the USA, they can’t build a coal or nuclear plant without the fear of losing their shirts — due largely to liberals like yourself.

            However, they also know that the actual cost of producing power is lowest with coal and nuclear power. But, being good capitalist pigs, the corporations will make a buck wherever they can.

            In other countries, they are building coal and nuclear plants like gangbusters. Examples that come to mind are China and countries in Europe.

            Some European countries are also pursuing the folly of wind power, in the process, ruining their landscapes. Denmark is perhaps the most extreme example. Another is Germany, but there they are having second thoughts.

          • dean

            The tax credits to wind power make it cometitive with coal. Costs are coming down steadily, and at the presently 8 cents per KWH is alredy on a par with gas fired power. Yet natural gas prices have gone steadily up and will probably continue in that direction. Coal remains cheap, but it is very dirty, and not just with CO2. When, not if a carbon tax or fee is set on coal in 09, it will be more expensive than wind. Nuclear is also heavily subsidized, and is still more expensive than coal or gas. It would be completely infeasible but for federal insurance underwriting. Economies of scale and technological improvements will push wind costs down further. And once they are up and running the energy is essentially free for the life span of the facility. And no terrorists can do much against wind energy, though they can against nukes.

            If the grid can be changed to DC from AC then electricity can be sent long distances with minimal loss, so you can power up on North Dakota wind and avoid travelling there is you don’t like the turbines. And when was the last time you went to N Dakota anyway?

            You can blame whomever you want for the lack of present investment in coal and nukes, but the fact of the matter is that the utilities have made their choice. And yep…they are in it for the money. Shocking that.

            Each wind turbine takes up about 1/4 acre of ground space and has 5-20 acres of free space around it. That is land that can be grazed or farmed. It isn’t ruined. I agree with you completely that there are aesthetic impacts, and that our more scenic areas should not become developed to wind energy. But Eagle….we have such a dang big nation. We have plenty enough amber waves of grain, so can save our purple mountain majesty.

            The Danes appear to love their turbines. The Germans less so.

          • dean

            I meant to add…your beloved Columbia River Gorge is being hammered aesthetically and ecologically by PGE’s Boardman Coal plant. The sonner we can get that plant closed the better off we will be, and the best alternative at present is the wind.

      • John in Oregon

        Dean, you can quote the dictionary all you wish but that does not change the linguistic slight of hand to imply that any project that does eventually get built was not obstructed.

        Dean an example of my definition of scrutiny and oversight is as follows;

        Environmental Scientists and biologists from BPA, Power companies, Federal fish and wild life, Oregon, Idaho and Washington state fish and wildlife, fisherman and environmental groups sit down at the table. They spend thousands of hours developing a fish enhancement plan. People like you who put a great deal of effort into producing an effective and balanced plan to boost fish numbers.

        The plan goes through multiple levels of review and public input before it is released.

        Dean, this is obstructionism;

        The day the plan is released a group like “Save Our Wild Salmon” leaves the table and petitions Congress to intervene. They back this up with letters to congress stating the biologists and environmental scientists are wrong. They also file lawsuit in court asking a Federal Judge with no scientific expertise to discard the plan to restore habitat in tributaries and instead remove the dams or spill water.

        In other words they couldn’t get their goal based on the science and the efforts of people with your expertise so they obstruct in the Political arena and the courts.

        Dean you comment about the Danish a lot. I quote the Germans only because they have provided firm numbers. The Danish numbers would also be relevant. However you will need to state the Danish numbers.

        With a Danish wind capacity of 20% to 30% what percent of base load do the Danish say wind will replace?

        So far as I can tell the Danish have not said. Most likely because their base load numbers are also disappointingly low.

        If wind can’t replace conventional base load then we have gained nothing by developing wind farms. I happen to believe wind can be a good resource. If, and only if, we develop the technology properly. Energy storage is huge factor in that goal and will be a key earthshaking breakthrough.

        • dean

          John…I use the Danish (nation, not pastry) example only because they are further down the road on wind than any other nation, yet have not reported the sorts of problems you cite for Germany. I don’t know what the Danes say about baseload. I think to some extent they rely on base loads of other nations they are connected with, but I am not certain about that.

          Its outside my technical depth, but the National Renewable Energy Lab, a division of DOE, says a 20% wind portfolio for the US is technically and financially feasible without adding any existing base load facilities. So your disagrement is with them, not me. They say up to 10% is easy because there is a lot of slack in the system. 20% probably requires better grid ties and/or better grid management.

          On your obstructionism example…let me offer a different perspective. Just because a set of parties sits down at a table to see if they can negotiate a compromise, that does not prevent any party from walking away at any point, or from opposing a compromise reached by the other parties. There are many examples on all sides where groups chose to fight it out in court. Resource industry groups also do this, which led to BLM trying to rewrite its management plan for western oregon forests. A conservation organization is almost always in a defensive position. That is, they are trying to prevent further damage, or in some cases hoping to marginally recover a damaged ecosystem or threatened species. “Compromise” is thus problematic. If we are down to say 10% of the historic runs of salmon in a given stream system, does compromise mean agreeing to go down to 5%? Its not like we are starting with pristine ecosystems and THEN sitting down to talk about how much to develop, how much to conserve. Conservationists only appeared well after the development horse was out of the barn and much more than halfway across the field.

          Also…your example is not scrutiny and oversight. Federal dam managers (BPA and the Core) are in effect being asked to scrutinize themselves. Their fisheries experts tend to come to conclusions that favor their core mission, which is to produce electricity as cheaply as possible, not to retain or restore native fish. I believe that what Wild Salmon and other consrvationists want is to rely on the findings of INDEPENDENT fishery scientists, who tend to be more objective.

        • John in Oregon

          Dean I think you understand what I am talking about and I don’t have any problem with using Danish numbers if we can get them.

          If alternative energy sources are to be worth doing the bottom line goal is this, to be able to retire existing conventional sources and replace them with alternative sources.

          When you first mentioned Denmark I researched their numbers and, like your experience, I found none. Denmark is small and I do suspect as you mentioned that they rely on base loads of other nations. If they can provide a higher base load than has been found elsewhere, the German utilities being the largest to publish actual numbers, then we need to know the conditions and what they did to get it.

          I don’t have any quarrel with the National Renewable Energy Lab findings as you presented them. It’s important to understand what they did and did not say.

          The key statement is this > In the United States it *is technically and financially feasible… [to accommodate] 20% wind… without adding any existing base load [conventional] facilities…*

          Notice what this does not say. It does not say wind can replace ANY existing conventional base load capacity. This is an important issue as the law passed by the Oregon Legislature requires a 25% renewable *replacement* by 2025.

          Dean, you say > *[Y]our example is not scrutiny and oversight. Federal dam managers (BPA and the Core) are in effect being asked to scrutinize themselves.*

          I think it is, but yes I agree that the administrators are biased, but then everyone is biased in one way or another. The reason I say that is an example of oversight is the process involved, public involvement, and the scrutiny of public exposure, public review. The ex parte rules are but one example. The process its self is structured to provide a fair and open result.

          Dean you said > *I believe that what Wild Salmon and other consrvationists (sic) want is to rely on the findings of INDEPENDENT fishery scientists, who tend to be more objective.*

          With this you are suggesting that “big power” fishery scientists are biased. Fair enough they may be biased.

          But then you cannot then simply turn the page and pronounce fishery scientists that work closely with the group “Wild Salmon” are independent. They also are also biased, just biased in favor of “Wild Salmon.”

          Your characterization of the fishery enhancement plan as a compromise that cuts fish numbers in half is not only inaccurate its grossly unfair. The goal of the plan is to INCREASE fish numbers. After considerable input the report focused on increasing numbers by improving habitat in tributaries

          Lets examine the extremes. You suggest the “big power” extreme is to produce electricity as cheaply as possible at the expense of the fisheries. I would suggest the “Wild Salmon” extreme is to develop the fishery at the expense of removing humans from the river system.

          Obviously both of those goal posts are very extreme and in reality few real people occupy either of those extremes. The plan demonstrates this by working to increase fish numbers through improved tributary habitat.

          • dean

            John…Alternatives can “retire” fossil fuel sources on a daily or weekly basis for the time being. That results in less use even though the plants are ocasionally on line. In dEnmark and Spain, on some days and weeks they get 100% of their electric from wind. Other days not so much. I agree, long term renewables need to be able to supplant fossil fuel plants altogether, though probably with continued existing hydro and nukes. To get to that point is decades off under just about any scenario, and I agree wind alone will not do the trick. A reasonable goal is to get wind up to 20%.

            One difference between us may be that you sem to expect to see all the problems solved before deployment, and I see problems solved as deployment goes forward. If the Europeans had not deployed any wind turbines 20 years ago, there would have been little research into improving the technology and we would be stuck on dead center. They bit the bullet and made the investments. Now we are starting to reap the benefits. I think it is a shame we have become folowers rather than lthe technical leaders and innovators we used to be. We have gotten stuck on our free-market ideology, in my opinion.

            I agree fisheries scientists working directly for Wild Salmon Center would be no more objective than those working for the agencies. That is why I stressed INDEPENDENT. We have a standing independent scientific panel that advises the governor and legislature. They, or a similarly convened group, would be the best to turn to for the closest thing we could get to unbiased analysis.

            I was using the 10-5% comparison only as an analogy. I did not mean to imply that was the correct number being discussed in your scenario. Sorry for any confusion on that point. I understand the emphasis is on undamned tributaries, but the fundamental problem remains the mainstem is a series of slackwater lakes filled with warm water predators, churning turbines, and lethal nitrogen. Migration to and from the upper tribs is problematic, even if the habitat within them is restored. Pre-Bush Administration studies were pretty clear that if the Snake River Dams stay put the native sockeye are likely doomed. And those dams are primarily for navigation and irrigation. They generate very little electricity.

            I don’t agree that Wild Salmon Center wants to “remove humans from the ecosystem.” They are well aware that humans have been part of this ecosystem for over 10,000 years. What they want to remove are several dams, not the people.

            Bear in mind that the undamed Fraser River system in BC, the closest analogue to the Columbia, has retained healthy salmon runs all these years. Yet BC has a thriving economy and lots of people.

  • John in Oregon

    What’s the category? Can’t win for loosing?

    This just in.

    *Wind Turbines Give Bats the “Bends,” Study Finds*
    National Geographic News
    August 25, 2008

    “Wind turbines can kill bats without touching them by causing a bends-like condition due to rapidly dropping air pressure, new research suggests. Scientists aren’t sure why, but bats are attracted to the turbines… The mammals’ curiosity can result in lethal blows by the rotors, which spin at a rate of about 160 miles (260 kilometers) per hour.”

    “But scientist Erin Baerwald and colleagues report that only about half of the bat corpses they found near Alberta, Canada, turbine bases showed any physical evidence of being hit by a blade. A surprising 90 percent showed signs of internal hemorrhaging-evidence of a drop in air pressure near the blades that causes fatal damage to the bats’ lungs…”

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