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"green energy"

got in a little pissing match with a guy pushing "green power" the other day.. I can see why you would sign up to make a political statement, but it really is the same electricity coming to your house.

I think that there is no subsitute for conservation.
I was indeed, asking for a guilt trip as I walked by the table outside one of those yuppie natural stores in Hillsdale, wearing my jacket from the Big Horn wind project last summer in Eastern Washington.

"Have you signed up for "green power" yet?"

"No!, it's all the same electrons, the wind farms are now the cheapest way to add to the grid and are going to be built anyways..."

"Not all electricity is created the same."

"Dude, we put in a 200kv substation and from there the wires tie in to the same grid as the coal plant in Boardman, and the dams.." unless theres some invisible wires I dont know about...

I forget the guys answer but he sent me on a pretty good guilt trip.

I view energy as a commodity. The more you use the more damage you do, and if you want to make a difference you either live in a small space, or wear a sweater.

Is the "green power" thing meaningful, or is it just to make you feel better about being a glutinous consumer?

I do see large scale wind projects as a good thing. I quit a good job just so I could go work on one for the summer (2006) and live in a tent in the middle of nowhere.

Furthermore I feel like these new "green" buildings, and the practice of wrapping houses up in tyvek and sealing them up tight isnt the best answer as it invites moisture problems... How you figure the energy costs of taking moldy sheetrock to the dump??? (Although a lot of this has to do with construction now following the money, not the seasons like in the past when they finished the outside of the building in the summer.)

So my question is. Am I just an old grouchy dinosaur?

By the way what is this "Carbon Neutral" stuff? I see an add from an SUV dealer saying their SUV's are "carbon neutral" for the first 50,000 miles. Someone explain to me how a 6000 pound fashion statement of an automobile equals a bicycle becuase someone wrote a check to save the whales? And then theres Al Bore's giant power bill.. Did you watch "Inconvienient Truth"? Al Bore in an airplane, Al Bore in a lincoln town car, Al Bore in a Helicopter, Al Bore in a sissor-lift. Dude, practice what you preach. ride a bicycle, walk, paddle a canoe, sail a sailboat in the next movie! ok the sissor lift was cool.

Somebody might be able to tell me how the "green power" thing is meaningful. Dont bother trying to explain the carbon-neutral thing unless you want me to publish my mad rant about the wasted energy involved in the internet infastructure.

Wheres the old-school turn-off the lights and put on your sweater conservation? Once I picked up my nephew at his green-certified grade school, and saw around a million pounds of automobiles that climbed up the hill to take kids home within a half mile. (walking distance) I dont remember ever going to grade school in a private automobile in the late 70's early 80's.

sorry for the long-winded post but I fear a painful surprise as energy becomes expensive rather than an easy slow transition to a sustainable lifestyle on the planet.


coffee break on top of the world 11.Oct.2007 19:23

fred fredf@nwlink.com

Heres a crummy picture I hope I can attach. If you look close you can see my white knuckle death grip on the tie-off rail. (They do sway in the wind a bit.) Mostly I spliced The turbines we worked on produce 1.5mw each. That's good for more than a thousand hippie-houses. or a couple hundred normal consumer-types.

are Global Warming and 9/11 mutually exclusive? 11.Oct.2007 19:54


to the typical official-story-believing American, yes they are.

Hillary Clinton will push the Bush administration's Iraq/Afghanistan agenda - and certainly the Pelosi Congress has done nothing but help it.

The only thing which will "solve" energy crises is a major or catastrophic collapse of existing infrastructure.

Until then, political windmilling about "green power" and "war on terror" cancel each other out 100%, both in financial expenditure and end-result (gas emission, power consumption, resource extraction, death/destruction) effort.

9/11 and free energy 11.Oct.2007 22:00

Stan Myers

www.freeenergynews.com has accurate information about developing and suppressed technology to produce CHEAP and CLEAN energy. We have fascist government AND fascist technology. Inventors have been murdered and threatened.

I fail to understand why green energy should cost more than dirty energy, even with present technology.

"Green" Industrialization of Wildlife Habitat 12.Oct.2007 01:39


When Fred says the turbine model that he worked with "produce(s) 1.5mW each", he means that the turbine has a _specifiction_ of 1.5mW (called "name plate rating", as Fred knows).

Promoters of the wind factories (they are_not_ "farms" or, even more colorfully, "parks" or "ranches") like to trumpet the boilerplate marketing and PR statement that 'X wind project is capable of producing Y mW . . . enough energy to supply Z homes!' When the math is done (Y mW divided by Z homes, the answer is at or about the name plate rating of the turbine model used for X project.

What the wind factory boosters, speculators, bankers, politicians and Big Green camp followers don't want to say as overtly is what is the 'capacity factor' for the project. (Capacity factor is a decimal fraction expression of actual energy produced by the project over some standardized period of time with respect to the theoretical maximum production, the number of turbines x the name plate rating of the the turbine model used, over that same period of time.) If the project is delivering _all_ of what its turbines are rated at, capacity factor is 1.0. If it is producing half of the maximum that all of the turbines are capable of delivering (name plate rating x number of project turbines), say when the wind isn't blowing as hard, then the capacity factor is 0.5 (or 50%).

A typical capacity factor for the area in Klickitat County (where Fred's mentioned Big Horn project is the first of a juggernaut of waves of miles-long, 400 ft high walls of moving machinery invading the shrub-steppe airspace and terrestrial habitat, on the ridges and plateaus overlooking both sides of the Columbia River) is less than 0.3 averaged over a year! That means that Big Horn is supplying 30% of the energy for those 'Z homes' (or 100% of the energy for 30% of those 'Z homes'). (Industry sources have determined the range of capacity factors for the wind resources of the Northwest --Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana--as from 28 to 36%.)

The hourly, daily and seasonal variability of wind speed at a project has other implications. Good management of the electrical grid requires that power sources be scheduled and balanced to coincide with the probabilisticly predictable needs of the grid load -- the societal uses drawing energy from the grid. Industrial scale wind energy variablilty, as a component of grid capacity, then, needs to compensated for with other sources when the wind declines -- hourly, daily, seasonally. Source(s) that are more _reliable_ than wind energy are required to be "paired" with the less-than-reliable production of the wind factories.

Now what do you suppose might be more reliable sources, that can be brought on and off line with some relative spontenaity, tweaked from one level of output to another with some agility, to keep a constant level of capacity on the grid when the wind factory contributions lurch around? Industrial scale gas, coal and nuclear powered generators!

Hydro sources might also be included in the pool of reliable, relatively flexible energy sources, but any more, the management of hydro operations include compromises to mitigate for the dams' disasterous effects on seasonal lifestage needs for abundant (not there, yet) anadromous fish stocks. Further, the hydro system is already part of the steady state legacy of the grid. The wind factories require _new_ reliable sources to compensate for their "green" variability--variablity that doesn't fit with a regional, multi-state grid system.

Who would have thought that "green" energy would require supplementation with polluting, fossil fueled energy production! Surprise, surprise! Not to worry the same corporations that brought you the "green" energy have gladly planned to "fix the problem". Just see global climate change arrested--hell, even plummet!--as the wind factory industrialization of the terrestrial and aerial habitat makes the world "greener".
'The growth "economy" is spared. Technology has yet again saved the day. No need to feel bad about not refraining from buying more novelties -- even "green" novelties--even "green" novelties that are feedstock for the landfill!

thanks nomad 12.Oct.2007 23:26


I do have a few arquements I like to use infavor of these kinds of large wind turbines in the columbia gorge.

I know that a 200mw wind farm does not consistantly produce 200mw. I'd argue the 30% figure for a couple reasons.

#1, the machines are designed to produce full power in light winds, I've heard 8mph and 12mph figures tossed around. As the wind gets stronger, motors in the nose cone "feather" the blades to let the excess wind pass. too much wind and they turn the blades to stop completely- I think at 45 mph. (Anyone who has done much sailing knows about reefing the sails- and the incredible amount of power available)

2. Summer afternoons when californians turn up the AC are pretty much always windy.

The dams on the columbia are used as giant batteries in that they can store the water behind them and release it when more power is needed. so they work well with the wind turbines in delivering reliable power.

People who complain about the view being spoiled need to show us thier sweater and a power bill proving they conserve energy.

I belive the "worst" kind of power generation is using natural gas or oil- due to political reasons... and therefore any other style of generation, (even atomic) is a good thing as long as one light bulb is lit by oil in the western US.