Tag Archives: Graphics

The World Turbine Tour

Google Earth has proven to be a good way to convey to people just how big modern wind turbines are.  For those running Google Earth (it is free and can be downloaded from Google) I’ve created kml and kmz files that can place pushpins or 3-d models respectively in Google Earth so you can fly around and see what they might look like.  My latest idea was to place a wind turbine close to several iconic and familiar landmarks.  Below are clickable screen snapshots of the results, but for the full effect I’d recommend viewing the kmz file with Google Earth itself, making sure you’ve got 3-d clicked on.

If you’d like to see something else, let me know and I’ll post it.

For those really into this stuff I can send all the source stuff to anyone who wants to mess around with it – like the sketchup files, the model and the underlying kml file.

UPDATE – I’ve created enough pictures that I decided they would be better kept in a online album.  So I installed Coppermine and included all the pictures I’m showing here, plus a few others.  I’ll keep adding them as I get the time.

WindFarmRealities Photo Album

The Bruce Peninsula

I recently posted about the eastern shore of Lake Huron and how a line of wind turbines roughly 20km deep snaked all the way up that coast.  Unfortunately the snake doesn’t end there; it continues onto the Bruce Peninsula.  Here’s a snapshot of the 200 turbines planned.

You’d think an area as unspoiled and scenic as the Bruce Peninsula would be safe from this type of industrialization.  You can imagine what would happen if just about any other industry set up shop over this large an area.  There are actually 2 projects included in the picture above:  Bruce Peninsula and Mar Silver Birch (or something like that).   One wonders how much of a transmission line will have to be built to carry it all to where people actually live and work.

As always the Google Earth kml files for the projects are freely available.  In addition I’ve created 3-D kmz files that can be downloaded from my reference materials – scroll down to the kmz’s to see my selection.  And if there’s any special requests for other projects I’d be glad to fill them also.

Lake Huron Pictures

Earlier I posted pictures of the wind turbine projects slated for the Chatham-Kent area.  I’ve continued onward, now creating pictures of the eastern shore of Lake Huron, specifically the Ontario counties of Lambton, Huron and Bruce.  As ugly as Chatham-Kent is, I think Lake Huron is even uglier.  The yellow cloud is 200km long and 20 wide and runs up the entire coastline.  The picture is clickable, but even at full size it doesn’t do justice to what is planned there.

And, like C-K, I’m not showing everything in play.  In Bruce and Huron I’m showing about 400 turbines each which is roughly 80% of those that have been publicly discussed.  There’s also another 200 up on the Bruce Peninsula that I’m not showing either.

One of the consequences of the wild west environment the Ontario government has created is that it is often difficult to get accurate information about the various projects. Secrecy and financial deals are rampant. To help me keep track of the ongoing mess, I’ve created an Excel spreadsheet with all the projects I’m aware of, their county, size, status and the status of any picture I’ve created for them. It is also available for the asking.

Here’s a larger picture of Bruce County, followed by a larger picture of Huron County.  You may notice a few gaps, like east of Goderich and north of Port Elgin.  Not to fear, I’d bet the other 20% that I’m not showing will be filling these gaps.  Nor am I showing the Middlesex County turbines, which fill in the corner between Huron and Lambton.


Windfall at the Little Art

The movie Windfall is showing at the Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs Ohio and I’m scheduled to lead a discussion on the movie and wind energy in general afterwards.  To help with that discussion I’ve created and gathered up some material which is displayed below.  If you are looking for a quick summary of my observations about the industry this collection might be useful.

First, the handout.

Little Art Theatre Windfall showing, April 7, 2012

Thank you for coming.  Details on these points and more are at windfarmrealities.org.

Fracking.  Windfall mentions wind displacing gas.  Operationally this is generally true.  Over the longer term wind’s variability starts excluding base load coal and nuclear.  This in turn forces an increase in gas usage to fill in for when wind isn’t blowing.

Emissions.  The industry has never demonstrated that wind energy has saved emissions.  All of the government and industry claims about emissions savings are based on models which ignore wind’s affects on the existing grid, of which there are two major ones.  (1) Wind’s variability and the inability to store electricity make the rest of the grid work harder, thus raising emissions. (2) Backing traditional generators down to accommodate wind makes them less efficient and raises emissions.  Shutting generators completely down causes problems when the wind dies.  Actual measurements and studies of real grid operations indicate that any savings are either very small or even negative.

Birds and Bats.  They try to minimize bird deaths with cars, buildings and cats, and also pretend to support the idea of proper siting.  In reality they will put their turbines wherever the government will allow them, and so far very little seems to be off-limits: the Great Lakes, IBA’s, known migratory routes, public lands and so on are all in play.  Some iconic species are threatened: raptors (eagles, owls, hawks, falcons, vultures, even condors), cranes, prairie chickens etc.  Bats are already under pressure from WNS, and the numbers of bats killed by turbines has been extraordinary.

Noise and Health.  Almost all the comparisons (refrigerators and quiet libraries) are created with models.  Actual measurements are rare, and generally show the models are optimistic, sometimes by significant amounts.  Wind turbines generate a characteristic noise that is more disturbing to neighbors than just about any other source.  Complaints are coming in from around the world, sometimes at large distances – up to several miles.  The ever-changing noise causes sleep disturbance and a host of other significant issues that end up translating into health problems.  The industry quotes a number of studies that claim there are no “direct” health effects, which lets them off the hook for all the indirect (but very real) effects.  None of these quoted studies has ever actually gone into the field and interviewed victims or their doctors.

Property Values.  The industry quotes a handful of studies that show no loss in property value.  All of these use regression analysis instead of comps and repeat sales.  All of them actually show losses, but the wide variance in house prices and relatively few sales leads to statistical insignificance and thus the claim.  Actual experience indicates a 25-40% loss in areas around wind projects, and sometimes a total loss.  Developers generally refuse to sign any property value guarantees.

Financials and Jobs.  The industry would not exist but for subsidies and mandates.  The number of jobs is overstated and the loss of other jobs due to higher energy prices is not calculated.  All independent studies, from several countries, show more jobs lost than gained.

Next, the slides.