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Winds are caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth's surface, and rotation of the earth. Wind flow patterns are modified by the earth's terrain, bodies of water, and vegetation. Humans use this wind flow, or motion energy, for many purposes: sailing, flying a kite, and even generating electricity. The terms wind energy or wind power describe the process by which the wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power. This mechanical power can be used for specific tasks (such as grinding grain or pumping water) or a generator can convert this mechanical power into electricity. So how do wind turbines make electricity? Simply stated, a wind turbine works the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity. Take a look inside a wind turbine to see the various parts. View the wind turbine animation to see how a wind turbine works. This aerial view of a wind power plant shows how a group of wind turbines can make electricity for the utility grid. The electricity is sent through transmission and distribution lines to homes, businesses, schools, and so on.
Learn more about wind energy technology: Types of Wind Turbines Sizes of Wind Turbines Inside the Wind Turbine
Many wind farms have sprung up in the Midwest in recent years, generating power for utilities. Farmers benefit by receiving land lease payments from wind energy project developers. Types of Wind Turbines Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups: the horizontal-axis variety, as shown in the photo, and the vertical-axis design, like the eggbeater-style Darrieus model, named after its French inventor. Horizontal-axis wind turbines typically either have two or three blades. These threebladed wind turbines are operated "upwind," with the blades facing into the wind.
GE Wind Energy's 3.6 megawatt wind turbine is one of the largest prototypes ever erected. Larger wind turbines are more efficient and cost effective. Sizes of Wind Turbines Utility-scale turbines range in size from 100 kilowatts to as large as several megawatts. Larger turbines are grouped together into wind farms, which provide bulk power to the electrical grid. Single small turbines, below 100 kilowatts, are used for homes, telecommunications dishes, or water pumping. Small turbines are sometimes used in connection with diesel generators, batteries, and photovoltaic systems. These systems are called hybrid wind systems and are typically used in remote, off-grid locations, where a connection to the utility grid is not available. Inside the Wind Turbine
Anemometer: Measures the wind speed and transmits wind speed data to the controller. Blades: Most turbines have either two or three blades. Wind blowing over the blades causes the blades to "lift" and rotate. Brake: A disc brake, which can be applied mechanically, electrically, or hydraulically to stop the rotor in emergencies. Controller: The controller starts up the machine at wind speeds of about 8 to 16 miles per hour (mph) and shuts off the machine at about 55 mph. Turbines do not operate at wind speeds above about 55 mph because they might be damaged by the high winds. Gear box: Gears connect the low-speed shaft to the high-speed shaft and increase the rotational speeds from about 30 to 60 rotations per minute (rpm) to about 1000 to 1800 rpm, the rotational speed required by most generators to produce electricity. The gear box is a costly (and heavy) part of the wind turbine and engineers are exploring "direct-drive" generators that operate at lower rotational speeds and don't need gear boxes. Generator: Usually an off-the-shelf induction generator that produces 60-cycle AC electricity.
High-speed shaft: Drives the generator. Low-speed shaft: The rotor turns the low-speed shaft at about 30 to 60 rotations per minute. Nacelle: The nacelle sits atop the tower and contains the gear box, low- and high-speed shafts, generator, controller, and brake. Some nacelles are large enough for a helicopter to land on. Pitch: Blades are turned, or pitched, out of the wind to control the rotor speed and keep the rotor from turning in winds that are too high or too low to produce electricity. Rotor: The blades and the hub together are called the rotor. Tower: Towers are made from tubular steel (shown here), concrete, or steel lattice. Because wind speed increases with height, taller towers enable turbines to capture more energy and generate more electricity. Wind direction: This is an "upwind" turbine, so-called because it operates facing into the wind. Other turbines are designed to run "downwind," facing away from the wind. Wind vane: Measures wind direction and communicates with the yaw drive to orient the turbine properly with respect to the wind. Yaw drive: Upwind turbines face into the wind; the yaw drive is used to keep the rotor facing into the wind as the wind direction changes. Downwind turbines don't require a yaw drive, the wind blows the rotor downwind. Yaw motor: Powers the yaw drive.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Energy
Wind energy offers many advantages, which explains why it's the fastest-growing energy source in the world. Research efforts are aimed at addressing the challenges to greater use of wind energy. Advantages Wind energy is fueled by the wind, so it's a clean fuel source. Wind energy doesn't pollute the air like power plants that rely on combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas. Wind turbines don't produce atmospheric emissions that cause acid rain or greenhouse gasses. Wind energy is a domestic source of energy, produced in the United States. The nation's wind supply is abundant. Wind energy relies on the renewable power of the wind, which can't be used up. Wind is actually a form of solar energy; winds are caused by the heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the earth, and the earth's surface irregularities. Wind energy is one of the lowest-priced renewable energy technologies available today, costing between 4 and 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, depending upon the wind resource and project financing of the particular project. Wind turbines can be built on farms or ranches, thus benefiting the economy in rural areas, where most of the best wind sites are found. Farmers and ranchers can continue to work the land because the wind turbines use only a fraction of the land. Wind power plant owners make rent payments to the farmer or rancher for the use of the land. Disadvantages Wind power must compete with conventional generation sources on a cost basis. Depending on how energetic a wind site is, the wind farm may or may not be cost competitive. Even though the cost of wind power has decreased dramatically in the past 10 years, the technology requires a higher initial investment than fossil-fueled generators. The major challenge to using wind as a source of power is that the wind is intermittent and it does not always blow when electricity is needed. Wind energy cannot be stored (unless batteries are used); and not all winds can be harnessed to meet the timing of electricity demands. Good wind sites are often located in remote locations, far from cities where the electricity is needed. Wind resource development may compete with other uses for the land and those alternative uses may be more highly valued than electricity generation. Although wind power plants have relatively little impact on the environment compared to other conventional power plants, there is some concern over the noise produced by the rotor blades, aesthetic (visual) impacts, and sometimes birds have been killed by flying into the rotors. Most of these problems have been resolved or greatly reduced through technological development or by properly sitting wind plants.
Select board updated on local wind farm
By NATHAN LAMB | Milton Independent Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org Plans for a wind farm on the ridge of Georgia Mountain appear to be picking up steam and it could be a reality as early as 2010, according to representatives from the Georgia Mountain Community Wind Project. Having just entered the design phase, current specs call for two or three 400-foot-high wind turbines on the mountaintop, said project consultant Martha Staskus in an update to the Milton Select board on May 5. While details may change during environmental and wildlife permitting, she said recent results of a year-long feasibility study have sparked interest from both the proponents and renewable energy boosters. “We think that it would produce enough power to serve approximately 60 percent of Milton's residential…usage, based on the last census” she said. The update was largely informative and was treated as a courtesy by the Select board; as a utility project regulated by the state public service board, the project is expected to be exempt from local review. If things become operational, the electricity would be distributed through existing vendors---and Staskus claimed strong demand for that output, noting the state's recently legislated goal of producing 25% of Vermont's energy through renewable and in-state resources by 2025. Given the circumstance, Staskus said the project is likely to be viewed favorably at the state level, and could reap some tax benefits for the town, though no specifics were mentioned. In any event, consultants projected that 18 state and federal permits would be required, and that process is expected to run through 2009. The wind farm is being sought by the Georgia-based Harrison family. They contacted town when they began monitoring wind conditions on the mountain in late 2006, and were returning now as part of an outreach effort for the undertaking, said family patriarch Jim Harrison. Having met with neighbors of the project in recent weeks, Harrison said they're looking to engage the community, adding they plan to visit the Georgia and Fairfax Select boards as well. To date, most neighbors were concerned about upgrades to the cell phone access road, said his consultants. From a visual standpoint, Staskus presented several models of what the flat white turbines could look like from around town. The photo illustrations assumed turbine “hubs” some 262 feet high, with rotors 231 feet in diameter, though Staskus cautioned those figures and Illustrations were still subject to change. “These are very early assessments,” she said. “We're just trying to get a handle on what a 400 foot high turbine would look like from the Landscape of Milton.” The consultants ended by asking the Select board to pass along public feedback about the project, and they got some immediate comments from Selectwoman Diana Hoyt Palm. She acknowledged the wind power is an often controversial issue, and thanked the group for visiting when it wasn't required of them. “Personally I want to say Selectwoman Diana Hoyt Palm. She acknowledged the wind power is an often controversial issue, and thanked the group for visiting when it wasn't required of them. “Personally I want to say this is a fantastic idea,” she said. “I support wind power, despite what some people say is a ‘view' issue.” Afterwards, Harrison said it's too early to tell if neighbors will take objection to the project, but added renewable energy is the right way to go, given depletion of fossil fuels, pollution, and a host of related issues. “It's the right thing to do, given the nature of the world and where things are going,” he said. “I really think that, if
people can do things that matter, they should.”
Wind turbines on horizon locally Written By Michelle Monroe Thursday, August 14, 2008 Georgia family develops multi-million-dollar project GEORGIA — In late 2009 residents here and in surrounding towns may see wind turbines along Georgia Mountain. Jim Harrison and his family, owners of Harrison Concrete, have proposed the construction of 400-foot-tall wind towers on 700 acres the family owns on the southeastern summit of Georgia Mountain in Milton, along the Chittenden and Franklin County line. Harrison said his reason for undertaking the project is the need for renewable energy, describing the project as a “way a small family can make a difference.” Less than a half-mile of ridgeline is windy enough to support the installation of megawatt scale wind turbines, according to materials provided by Steve Bourgeois, CEO of Strategic Initiatives for Business, who is advising the family on the project. However, several companies have expressed interest in supplying turbines for the project, creating a range of possibilities for the final project depending on what is economically and environmentally feasible. The most likely scenario is for either three or four turbines. If four were built three would be on the Harrison land in Chittenden County and one would be on leased land in Franklin County. Wind generation would be 4.5 megawatts with three towers and 6 megawatts with four, according to Bourgeois. The industry standard for cost is $2.5 million per mega watt of capacity, Bourgeois said.
Applying that standard the cost for the project would be $11.25 million to $15 million. Generally one megawatt of capacity can supply the electricity for 430 homes for a year, according to John Zimmerman, of Vermont Energy Research Associates, an advisor on the project. The turbines would generate enough electricity to power roughly 60 percent of the homes in Milton, Bourgeois said. Negotiations are still ongoing with various utilities interested in purchasing the power. “The technology is improving, it seems, weekly,” Bourgeois said. By the time the project is through the permitting process the turbines actually placed on the mountain may generate more electricity than is being projected now. A study of wind speed in the proposed building area is now in its second year and environmental impact studies looking at the impact of the project on wildlife have begun. The project already has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Dept. of Homeland Security, Harrison said. All of the outstanding permits will come from the state, Janet Harrison explained. An Act 250 permit is not required. There are no residences located within a half-mile of the project, which Harrison said is the rule of thumb for how close others have to be to the project to hear the turbines. Bourgeois said the towers sound much like the hum of a refrigerator, and are about as loud. An existing gravel road located 2.5 miles from downtown Milton would have to be upgraded and extended for the project. A single cable will carry power from the turbines down the mountain and will be placed on poles the same size as those alongside most roadways Janet said. The Harrisons are “making it as aesthetically pleasing as they can,” Bourgeois said. The project has been presented to select boards in Milton, Georgia, Fairfax and Westford, where it has received a good response Janet Harrison said. The towers would be visible to residents living in those towns. The Harrison’s son, Kevin, said the family has not received a lot of feedback either way. “We’re just a local family trying to make the future better,” their daughter Kathy Harrison said. Others involved in the project include Cross Consulting Engineers, and Steve Terry of Addison Consulting LLC, a retired Green Mountain Power executive.
“Gearboxes have been failing in wind turbines since the early 1990s. Barely a turbine make has escaped. The problem reached epidemic proportions with a massive series failure of gearboxes in NEG Micon machines. At the time, the NEG Micon brand was the most sold wind turbine in the world. The disaster brought the company to its knees ; It was taken over by Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, which still is challenged by gearbox and rotor failures. As previously noted, a large number of gearboxes have had to be replaced “in large numbers.” Der Spiegel reports that the German Insurance Association is none too happy… “In addition to generators and gearboxes, rotor blades also often display defects,” a report on the technical shortcomings of wind turbines claims. The insurance companies are complaining of problems ranging from those caused by improper storage to dangerous cracks and fractures… The frail turbines coming off the assembly lines at some manufacturers threaten to damage an industry that for years has been hailed as a wild success.
At Spiegel Online, Simone Kaiser and Michael relay a concern about installed wind turbines: After the industry’s recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers’ promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years Fatigue Expertise when and where you need it Blowing in the wind Renewable energy is a hot topic today and especially wind turbines. A day hardly passes without some news of a new wind turbine installation being approved, or not! But one of the major issues for wind turbines is fatigue failure which also hits the headlines. Last month a wind turbine blade failed in Sheffield, England. You can read the story here … and indeed there are other instances of wind turbine failure on the internet – see this dramatic wind turbine failure for example, where the brakes failed on the wind turbine not exactly fatigue but linked. It demonstrates the need to consider all the possible load scenarios that might occur. Now I am not trying to scare you but the problem of fatigue can bite without any warning.
Catastrophic Turbine Failure At Vermont Wind Farm Raises Doubt Turbine #10 at the Searsburg wind energy facility in Searsburg, Vermont experienced a catastrophic failure when one of the blades came in contact with the turbine's tower causing it to buckle during high winds. This turbine's 28-ton nacelle and 3-blade rotor assembly crashed to the ground scattering debris several hundred feet from the structure. Approximately 20-gallons of heavy oil spilled from the unit when its fluid reservoirs were damaged. The 11-turbine Searsburg facility was brought online in 1997 and according to preconstruction documents, the Zond Z-P40-FS turbines had an expected lifespan of 30-years. Industrial Wind Action (IWA) Group's executive director, Lisa Linowes, was not surprised by the failure. "The Searsburg towers are located at an elevation of nearly 3000feet in some of the harshest weather conditions in New England. Performance issues and blade failures have plagued this project for some time, " she said pointing to incidences in May 2006 and again in May 2008.
While the eleven-year old Searsburg turbines are failing, newer models have not improved the safety record. "Wind developers today tout life expectancies of industrial wind turbines that exceed 20 years," Linowes said, "but the fact remains that estimates of the functional lifespan of modern utility-scale wind turbines are speculative and cannot be substantiated since so far very few have been operating for ten years."
Unfortunately, unless a person or property is damaged in a turbine failure, there is no obligation for the owner of an industrial wind turbine to report the incident. Information on the number and types of failures is sparse and poorly reported, and thus this vital data is not adequately incorporated into estimates of turbine longevity. The Searsburg failure occurred on September 15th. "What's more ominous," Linowes said, "is that reports of turbine failures in the United States are increasing. These failures include blade throws, oil leaks, fires, and collapse." IWA attributes the increase in reporting to the fact that the machines are more visible, being erected close to where people live, and also due to the growing interest in wind energy development. In the last year alone, IWA has tracked catastrophic failures in Idaho, Minnesota, California, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, raising concerns about public safety. While weather conditions and climate are taking a toll on the machines, reports from the industry indicate the rush to erect industrial wind turbines is being accomplished at the expense of quality assurance and safe installation practices. Business Week published a report in August 2007, which found, "The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting." A report this year found that turbine owners were not conducting regularly scheduled maintenance necessary to ensure the mechanical towers remain in good operating condition. An informal survey of approximately seventy-five wind farm operators in the United States found as many as sixty-percent were behind in their maintenance procedures. "Public safety should be paramount when siting industrial wind turbines," Linowes said, adding "there's a perception that the 400-foot structures can safely be erected merely a few hundred feet from property lines, public areas and rights-of-way." She pointed to a private high school in Massachusetts as an example where a massive turbine was installed just feet from the school's driveway. Barrington, Rhode Island is deliberating on the location of an even larger turbine that will stand within 200-feet of the public high school building, although that turbine might be relocated in response to parents and residents raising concerns over noise and safety. In both cases, the turbines exceed the size of the destroyed Searsburg tower.
Manufacturers recommend a safety zone with a radius of at least 1300 feet from a wind turbine, and that children be prohibited from standing or playing near the structures. "Green energy should not override common sense," Linowes said.
Fallen wind turbine in N.Y. Note signs of the forest fire. (Michael Fellion, www.windaction.org) Few details are out, but apparently a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine at an upstate New York wind farm collapsed last Friday, setting off a forest fire. Sewer Commissioners warn: Wind Turbine Placement Dangerous and Illegal
By Dan Sapir Editor, Kingston Observer Published Sep 4, 2008
If you ask the Sewer Commission how they feel about wind turbines, they would probably say, "great", but ask them how they relish the idea of placing such a structure hovering over the sewer plant and you will get a different answer. On August 27 the Commission wrote a four page letter to the Green Committee essentially tearing apart every aspect of the turbine, its placement and its financials. That correspondence outlines how the height of the turbine violates Kingston’s own by-laws and places the sewer plant directly under its fall zone "rendering it inoperable for an indefinite period of time. Such an accident could cause harm to the operators of the plant and displace the entire sewer district, including the entire length of Route 3A from the Plymouth town line to the Duxbury town line and side streets." The Commission questions the ability to insure a turbine at a location that does not meet minimum setback requirements. Sewer Chairman Elaine Fiore said that members of the Commission have attended numerous Green Committee meetings where their basic questions have not been address. Fiore said that that Green Committee Chair Brian Spires continually says that such answers are forthcoming. Fiore does not want to see the Town investing any more grant money for a bad plan. Other issues described by the Commission letter address what is known as Ice Throw which occurs when ice accumulates on the blades and can fall when still or moving. They fear the result of lightening strikes, power surges and fire. Wind Power Accident Pictures (539 KB) The Commission claims that the noise and rhythmic thumping of the turbine can cause health issues of homes living within up to 1.3 miles away and feel a 1.5 mile distance from homes could work. They also note that NSTAR must always be able to maintain
access to the turbine for electrical reasons and the Commission will "not permit unlimited access to a private company or anyone other than emergency personnel employed by the Town of Kingston." The Sewer Commission will once again take their concerns to the Green Committee when they meet again later in September. Text of Sewer Commission’s Letter The Board of Sewer Commissioners is writing to voice our concerns over the proposed location for the proposed wind turbine being researched by your committee. We feel that there is significant evidence to support our concerns and ask that you consider an alternative site for this project for the following reasons. · Fall Zone – All published information, including the Feasibility Study of June 11, 2008, states that wind turbine siting laws and recommendations require setbacks that take into consideration the potential for a worst case scenario to occur, such as turbine collapse or blade fracture during operation. This proposed site would violate our own by-law which states that the turbine would have to be located at least 1.5 times the height of the blade tip. The proposed turbine would be located about 100 to 125 feet away from the Wastewater Treatment Facility. Clearly, this is too close to our facility and the Transfer Station. A worst case scenario could potentially place the fall zone directly on top of the Wastewater Treatment Facility, rendering it inoperable for an indefinite period of time. Such an accident could cause harm to the operators of the plant and displace the entire sewer district, including the entire length of Route 3A from the Plymouth town line to the Duxbury town line and side streets, at great liability to the Town of Kingston. The close proximity to the MBTA line and the proposed new Cranberry Road, new highway ramp and Route 3 is an added liability. Blade fracture during operation and/or complete failure of the turbine could send debris flying hundreds or even thousands of feet from the site. Wind turbines must carry Liability Insurance. We anticipate that it will be difficult for the Town to obtain insurance that will sufficiently cover operating a turbine located at the proposed site, not to mention a worst case scenario, given the fact that the location does not even meet minimum setback requirements. · Ice Throw – In icing conditions a turbine should have safety mechanisms in place to shut it down. However, even when the blades are not in motion, chunks of ice will fall from the blades to the ground below and could be thrown a significant distance depending on wind conditions. If the blades are in motion, ice can be thrown for great
distances. The June 11, 2008 report suggests that access to the immediate area would have to be carefully managed until the ice has melted. Access to the Wastewater Treatment Facility must be maintained 24 hours a day. We cannot limit access to the grounds below the proposed site. Ice throw creates a very real hazard to the employees that are required to be outside daily. In addition, limiting access to the Transfer Station would inconvenience the public by the forced closing of the area and would displace the employees of that facility as well. The close proximity to the proposed new Cranberry Road and highway ramp would also pose additional risk for motorists. The June 11, 2008 report concludes that there is a potential risk to vehicles and people. · Power Surges, Lightning Strikes and Fire – Wind Turbines cause irregularities in power supply as wind speeds change. When the wind gusts it causes power surges. People living near turbine installations have had to replace small appliances and stove elements, etcetera, due to power surges. Lightning strikes have also been noticed to increase in the area surrounding turbines causing damage to TV sets and computers, even though they had surge protectors in use. We must assume that such problems could also occur with the equipment required to maintain the proper operation of the Wastewater Treatment Facility, posing a potential violation of our discharge permit and health hazard to the sewer customers should a complete shutdown of the sewer system occur. Should lightning strike the turbine tower, there is the potential to ignite approximately 200 gallons of hydraulic fuel contained within the nacelle, causing a severe fire hazard to the Wastewater Treatment Facility. In most cases the fire cannot be fought with fire apparatus due to the height of the nacelle and must be left to burn itself out. Should a fire occur it could also render the turbine controls inoperable making it susceptible to catastrophic failure (falling over). · Noise and Health Hazard – There is a great deal of information published stating that noise generated by wind turbines can have a very real negative impact on the health or residents living up to 1.2 miles or further away. The rhythmic thumping sound creates a low pitched sound and causes disruption in sleep even when the windows are closed. The low frequency sound created by the turbine travels through walls and other obstacles causing reverberation within the home. Such noise can cause sleep deprivation, dizziness and loss of balance in people, especially those with hearing damage. It also causes anxiety and depression. These health problems are magnified in the elderly. Those living within 1/2 mile (2640 ft.) are likely to experience very bothersome levels of noise. This annoyance continues to distances of 1 mile or more. There are documented cases of people abandoning homes due to the low frequency noise generated by nearby wind turbines. It is recommended that wind turbines should not be built within 1.5 miles of any
homes. The June 11, 2008 report estimates the closest residence to be about 790 feet from the proposed turbine site. This is far less than the previously noted distance. We expect the same impact on health would occur if a turbine were located at the proposed turbine site and could have an effect on our staff as well as those working at the Transfer Station. The June 11, 2008 report states there are potential noise related issues that arise from the proximity of the proposed location to residences. There will be perceptible noise and visual impacts on the surrounding community. · Flicker – Turbine blades cast a moving shadow across landscapes and homes causing a strobe effect. People with a history of migraines, vertigo and motion sickness are susceptible to adverse health effects. The strobe effect can also provoke seizures in people that suffer from epilepsy. · Turbulence and Wind Shear – The June 11, 2008 report documents significant wind shear and turbulence for the proposed wind turbine site. Such conditions cause higher levels of mechanical strain on the wind turbines blades and drive train causing fatigue and potentially decreasing the life expectancy of the turbine. It also poses a greater risk of blade fracture or complete turbine failure. · Distortion of Electromagnetic Waves – The June 11, 2008 report studied local radio, cellular and microwave transmitters and receivers. It states nowhere if a study has been done to determine if the proposed turbine would interfere with the communications systems in use at the Wastewater Treatment Facility and pumping stations. · Power Requirements – The June 11, 2008 report states that interconnection of a 2.0 MW turbine could be interconnected to the Wastewater Treatment Facility with minimal facility and distribution upgrades. A medium voltage cable or overhead line will need to be constructed and a new 1.5 to 2.0 Megavolt-ampere step-down transformer (13.8 kV to 480 V) will need to be installed at the turbine site. It states nowhere in the report whether this can actually be constructed without interfering with the operation of the plant. The report states that electricity production from a wind turbine should coincide as much as possible with electricity usage at the Wastewater Treatment Facility. It also states that with the expansion it would save 90.4 % or $289,469.00 in avoided energy costs. Nobody has been able to provide us with any information that can estimate our actual savings, although the report suggests we would be able to offset all costs at the Wastewater Treatment Facility. We also pose the question of how does an Enterprise Fund benefit from a project that is paid for by the tax payers? We ask that your committee seek assistance from the appropriate Town boards to help you obtain information regarding the
financial impact this proposed project will have on the Town’s tax rate and the savings it would generate for the Town and the Wastewater Enterprise Fund. · Access to Turbine – The June 11, 2008 report states that NSTAR must have access to the disconnect switch at all times in order to potentially disconnect the DG facility should it be responsible for interference in the power system. Where would this disconnect switch be located? Who is considered the interconnected customer, the Wastewater Treatment Facility or the Town of Kingston? Access to the turbine site must be outside of the restricted access fence surrounding the Wastewater Treatment Facility. The Sewer Commissioners will not permit unlimited access to a private company or anyone other than emergency personnel employed by the Town of Kingston. · Construction – The June 11, 2008 report suggests that construction of a turbine on the proposed site will not interfere with the current Wastewater Treatment Facility or its proposed expansion. There is a significant amount of underground and above ground structures existing and proposed for this site that cannot be relocated. We are very concerned that vibration caused from driving the turbine support structures into the ground would cause damage to the plant and the underground conveyance systems. They cannot be shut down and damage to any of the underground conveyance lines would result in wastewater being released. The construction of the turbine tower requires a large amount of space for lay down of the components. Access to the Wastewater Treatment Facility grounds cannot be restricted at any time. Our access road around the facility must be maintained at all times. · Public Awareness – The June 11, 2008 report states that the Green Committee should perform extensive community outreach efforts such as an abutters survey, mailing letters and or informational brochures to residents and conducting community meetings to inform residents of project updates. The Sewer Commissioners attended one public meeting held at the Kingston Intermediate School on March 25, 2008, which presented information about other types of energy generating options that are less beneficial to the environment than wind energy. There was not enough information provided regarding the proposed Kingston project and questions from those in attendance could not be answered. Adequate information, both pro and con, some of which is mentioned in this letter, should be provided to the public in order for residents to make an informed decision. Based on our careful examination of information provided to us by the Green Committee as well as research we have done on wind turbines, the Board of Sewer Commissioners finds significant hazards associated with the proposed project and we cannot support the
construction of a wind turbine on the Wastewater Treatment Facility site. We recommend researching alternatives sites for this project.
The Dangers of Wind Power
As wind turbines multiply around the globe, the number of dangerous accidents is also climbing, causing critics to question overall safety It came without warning. A sudden gust of wind ripped the tip off of the rotor blade with a loud bang. The heavy, 10-meter (32 foot) fragment spun through the air, and crashed into a field some 200 meters away. The wind turbine, which is 100 meters (328 feet) tall, broke apart in early November 2006 in the region of Oldenburg in northern Germany—and the consequences of the event are only now becoming apparent. Startled by the accident, the local building authority ordered the examination of six other wind turbines of the same model. The results, which finally came in this summer, alarmed District Administrator Frank Eger. He immediately alerted the state government of Lower Saxony, writing that he had shut down four turbines due to safety concerns. It was already the second incident in his district, he wrote, adding that turbines of this type could pose a threat across the country. The expert evaluation had discovered possible manufacturing defects and irregularities. Mishaps, Breakdowns and Accidents After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers' promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years. Gearboxes have already had to be replaced "in large numbers," the German Insurance Association is now complaining. "In addition to generators and gearboxes, rotor blades also often display defects," a report on the technical shortcomings of wind turbines claims. The insurance companies are complaining of problems ranging from those caused by improper storage to dangerous cracks and fractures. The frail turbines coming off the assembly lines at some manufacturers threaten to damage an industry that for years has been hailed as a wild success. As recently as the end of July, the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) crowed that business had once again hit record levels. The wind power industry expanded by a solid 40 percent in 2006, according to the BWE, and it now provides work for 74,000 people. Germany, moreover, is the global leader when it comes to wind power: More than 19,000 windmills now dot the countryside—more than in any other country. Green power has become a point of pride in Germany in recent years, and Environment Minister Sigmar
Gabriel would now like to construct vast new wind farms along the country's North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts. No Time for Testing Generous government subsidies have transformed wind power into a billion-euro industry within just a few years. Because energy providers have to purchase wind power at set prices, everyone, it seems, wants in. But it is precisely the industry's prodigious success that is leading to its technological shortcomings. "Many companies have sold an endless number of units," complains engineer Manfred Perkun, until recently a claims adjuster for R+V Insurance. "It hardly leaves any time for testing prototypes." Wind power expert Martin Stöckl knows the problems all too well. The Bavarian travels some 80,000 kilometers (49,710 miles) across Germany every year, but he is only rarely able to help the wind farmers. It is not just the rotors that, due to enormous worldwide demand, take forever to deliver, but simple replacement parts are likewise nowhere to be found. "You often have to wait 18 months for a new rotor mount, which means the turbine stands still for that long," says Stöckl. "Sales Top, Service Flop" is the headline on a recent cover story which appeared in the industry journal Erneuerbare Energien
American resident warns of dangers of wind farms PUGWASH - Opponents of a proposed wind farm on the Gulf Shore got more fuel for the fire Friday night. Mark Harris, a pastor from Bridgewater, Maine, spoke Friday night at the Ground Search and Rescue in Pugwash about how a wind farm in Mars Hill, Maine has terrorized locals. He bought property in Mars Hill roughly 1200 feet away from the turbines, but hasn't done anything with it because of how unbearable the sound and strobing from them is. "Many of the mills we have, on certain days when the wind comes from a certain direction and the humidity is such and such, it will be all but silent at 1200 feet away where my home site would be. But come back the next day and it'll pound until you can't tolerate being there and there's no predicting when that will happen," he said. He said the wind farm has wreaked havoc on the town, with many people now dealing with health complications allegedly caused by the turbines' sounds and shadows. PUGWASH - Opponents of a proposed wind farm on the Gulf Shore got more fuel for the fire Friday night. Mark Harris, a pastor from Bridgewater, Maine, spoke Friday night at the Ground Search and Rescue in Pugwash about how a wind farm in Mars Hill, Maine has terrorized locals.
He bought property in Mars Hill roughly 1200 feet away from the turbines, but hasn't done anything with it because of how unbearable the sound and strobing from them is. "Many of the mills we have, on certain days when the wind comes from a certain direction and the humidity is such and such, it will be all but silent at 1200 feet away where my home site would be. But come back the next day and it'll pound until you can't tolerate being there and there's no predicting when that will happen," he said. He said the wind farm has wreaked havoc on the town, with many people now dealing with health complications allegedly caused by the turbines' sounds and shadows. "Everyday (residents) deal with the sound. The intolerable levels aren't everyday, sometimes one or two days a week, sometimes it'll skip a week but the next week it'll be there for four or five days in a row, and there's no knowing until it happens," he said. "It's pretty frustrating." Harris thinks wind turbines being 500 meters away from property, which is currently the law in Cumberland County, isn't enough. He said turbines would be safe if placed at least two kilometers away from residences. "I'm in favor of wind turbines, but they should be appropriately sited," he said. "This needs to be done in the most responsible way so we keep it in good standing with the public. I think we need it. "The placing of them seems to be irresponsible far too often." Fire damages wind turbine near Garner By BOB LINK, email@example.com GARNER — Fire caused major damage to a wind turbine Wednesday morning at the Hancock County Wind Farm southwest of Garner. The large compartment holding the gear box and electric components more than 200 feet above the ground burned and two of the three 77-foot blades broke off, falling to the ground. No one was injured and damage was limited to the turbine, according to a spokesman for Florida Power and Light Energy, of Juno Beach, Fla., owners of the wind farm. The fire was reported shortly after 8 a.m., according to Hancock County Sheriff Scott Dodd. The turbine’s third blade remained connected and was hanging straight down. The sheriff’s office and Garner Fire Department were at the scene. The fire started near the rear of the equipment housing compartment and worked its way toward the blades, according to Garner Fire Chief Terry Jass. “We pretty much were on standby and when things fell to the ground we put them out,” he said. “The blades were burning when they fell.” Ken Engstler of Engstler Construction of Garner was working on a farm near the turbine when one of his crew members saw smoke coming from the turbine. “Smoke was rolling out of it,” said Engstler. “So we got in the truck and started heading
up that way.” He said the fire burned for half an hour to 45-minutes before the blades fell off. “When the blades fell, there was all kinds of debris flying all over the place,” he said. Steve Stengel, a spokesman for Florida Power and Light, said the cause of the fire is not known. “The damage was isolated to one turbine and the balance of the wind farm remained operational,” he said. “The turbines are all connected on different circuits,” he said. “So it is possible that four or five other turbines were taken out of service because of the fire.” Stengel said no Florida Power and Light customers would have had service interrupted by the fire. Stengel said there are 148 turbines in the 80-square-mile Hancock County Wind Farm. The wind farm went into operation in 2002.
April 13, 2009, 10:40 am When Lightning Strikes Wind Turbines II By Kate Galbraith
Shutterstock The National Fire Protection Association now includes wind machines in its handbook on lightning protection. Back in December, a Wyoming rancher described to me the terrifying fireworks that ensue when a bolt of lightning hits a wind turbine. “It will explode those blades, and they’ll throw chunks of blade several hundred feet,” said Ralph Brokaw, whose ranch accommodates both turbines and cows. After I wrote the post, I got an e-mail message from Kim Loehr of the Lightning Protection Institute. She wrote to tell me that the National Fire Protection Association has updated its handbook on installing lightning protection systems to include a new section on wind machines. Due to the proliferation of wind farms and the increasing heights of the turbines — some of them more than 250 feet tall — there is, she noted, a rising number of lightning-related incidents. Now that the thunderstorm season is rolling around (central Texans were roiled by lightning shows over the weekend), I thought I would share a few pointers. According to the handbook, wind turbines are particularly complicated to protect because they have so many different components — including non-conducting composite materials like glass-reinforced plastic. Any lightning protection system must therefore be sufficiently comprehensive to take account for all of the parts. “While physical blade damage is the most expensive and disruptive damage caused by lightning,” the handbook states, “by far the most common is damage to the control system.” The massive blades will often have a receptor at the tip, which can channel the lightning into the proper wires and onward to the ground. Two receptors might be necessary for larger blades. “Protecting wind turbine blades against lightning is not about avoiding strikes, but attracting them,” states LM Glasfiber, a global blade manufacturer, on a section of its Web site devoted to lightning. “This makes it possible to direct the flow of the lightning and ensure that the components exposed to its effects can withstand the forces involved.” The company says that it meets certification standards requiring blades to be capable of withstanding 98 percent of lightning strikes. Without the system, though, it’s not pretty: “A lightning strike on an unprotected blade can lead to temperature increases of up to 30,000 degrees Celsius, and result in an explosive expansion of the air within the blade,” LM Glasfiber states.
Many residents living in close proximity to these wind farms find the noise levels completely intolerable and are infuriated that assurances about noise given in advance turn out to be valueless. Doctors have suggested that turbine noise, which may be low key yet disturbing and unpleasant, may link to psychological effects, headaches and depression. Noise levels cannot be accurately predicted in advance. Authorities in Spain reported considerable numbers of birds of 13 species secluded under European Union law have been killed by wind turbines (Wind power monthly 2.2.94). Turbines in California have on average destroyed between 200-300 Red tail Hawks and up to 60 Golden Eagles every year, whilst it is estimated that 7000 migrating birds a year are killed at other wind turbine sites in Southern California. (Source -California Energy Commission). The wind turbine is regulated to generate power at low to moderate wind speeds, when the production is a trickle. As the wind strengthens and real power becomes obtainable, they have to be shut down or they may blow over. The two foremost European wind farms are close to each other in Powys, at Llandinam and Carno. Between them, they have 159 turbines and cover many thousands of acres. Jointly they take a year to manufacture less than four days' output from a solitary 2000 MW conventional power station. Together, they have a productivity averaging 20 MW (in winter, UK demand peaks at about 53,000 MW.) Turbines can interrupt TV reception. This was noted in 1994 when the BBC and the Independent Television Commission recommended the Department of the Environment to oblige wind farm developers to reinstate reception where wind farms caused intrusion. The main unfavorable impact that wind farm expansion is probable to have is on local economies depending on ‘tourism’. Wind speed sites are frequently positioned in the areas holding the premium landscapes. Wind developers are consequently targeting those localities where the sightseer trade consists of visitors seeking harmony and unspoiled countryside. One of the most dependable critiques of wind-generation of electricity to date is the Darmstadt Manifesto on the exploitation of wind energy in Germany. Its main influence develops from its signatories - over one hundred leading intellectuals in fields including - Medicine, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Mechanical Engineering and Thermodynamic Science, Land Administration, and Agricultural Science. Health and safety (apart from noise pollution) is a factor too. Apart from the hazard of blades becoming disconnected or even disintegrating due to fatigue etc, there is a real danger that chunks of ice can form on them in wintry conditions and then be thrown considerable distances when the wind picks up and the blades begin to rotate. Three of these wind turbine ‘factories’ in the UK were closed for safety reasons in
April 2000 due to metal fatigue. The RSPB has objected to 76 wind farm proposals (on and offshore) between 20002004 and has raised concerns about a further 129. The RSPB recently objected to a proposed 234 turbine wind farm on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, on an extremely fragile and special area for wildlife. Wind powered electricity is estimated to be two and a half times more costly than conventional sources. It would not be economic without a massive subsidy. This comes either from our tax or from the price we pay for electricity. Consumers in Denmark, which has the highest penetration of wind power in Europe, also pay the most for their electricity. Dr Amanda Harry, a local GP who did the research, said: "People demonstrated a range of symptoms from headaches, migraines, nausea, dizziness, palpitations and tinnitus to sleep disturbance, stress, anxiety and depression. These symptoms had a knock-on effect in their daily lives, causing poor concentration, irritability and an inability to cope." Similar problems have been found by Dr Bridget Osborne, a doctor in a village in North Wales, where three turbines were erected in 2002. She has presented a paper to the Royal College of General Practitioners detailing a "marked" increase in depression among local people. "There is a public perception that wind power is 'green' and has no detrimental effect on the environment," said Dr Osborne. "However, these turbines make low-frequency noises that can be as damaging as high-frequency noises. When wind farm developers do surveys to assess the suitability of a site they measure the audible range of noise but never the infrasound measurement - the low-frequency noise that causes vibrations that you can feel through your feet and chest. This frequency resonates with the human body - their effect being dependent on body shape. There are those on whom there is virtually no effect, but others for whom it is incredibly disturbing."
Collecting birds killed by a wind turbine Are Mr. Pugh and Tattersall (who claims to be 'concerned' about effects on his neighbors’) actually aware of the above? Will the council or whoever is responsible be happy to meet any legal claims against them for permitting the installation of wind turbines that may have adverse effects of other residents. Will they be faced with protests similar to those undertaken by irate anti-phone mast campaigners afraid of health risks in the community? Time will tell!