Japanese wind farms survive quake, tsunami

Despite predictions to the contrary, the wind farms did well-

Battle-proof Wind Farms Survive Japan’s Trial by Fire. By Kelly Rigg. Huffington Post.

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Wind Development Threatens Iconic American Birds

Safeguards needed to prevent population declines in the Whooping Crane and Greater Sage-Grouse, and reduce mass mortality among eagles and songbirds

The American Bird Conservancy weighs in on wind farms and their concerns for many rare bird species.

Wind Development Threatens Iconic American Birds.
American Bird Conservancy Press Release

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Wyoming wind project offers grouse conservation plan

1000 turbine wind farm proposed in Wyoming “Core” Sage Grouse Habitat

Misplaced Wind Destroys Wildlife Habitat

It seems the Wyoming Governor’s “core” sage grouse habitat mapping doesn’t mean much. Removal of fencing or marking it with reflectors doesn’t get around the fact that there will be gigantic wind turbines in the middle of sage grouse habitat. Sage grouse don’t like such things and will likely quit using the area. But they will still call it “green” and people will buy it.

Wyoming wind project offers grouse conservation plan
By MATT JOYCE – Associated Press Read the rest of this entry »

Wind power industry and Western States create sage grouse research plan

Like so many other developments in what was  “sagebrush sea,” wind power impacts sage grouse-

I think that to the energy industry and many folks, including most Western politicians, the non-forested open spaces are just empty space where they could put “stuff.” The declining presence of sage grouse, and no doubt other wildlife in the face of this development is slowing down their plans.

Wind energy industry sets sage grouse research plan. By Dustin Bleizeffer. Casper Star-Tribune energy reporter
Just added ! Wildlife groups hail Canadian court ruling on sage-grouse. CBC News.

Coal plants checked by enviro campaigns, costs

Good news for energy and wildlife-

It is increasingly clear that the building of new coal plants is collapsing as this article indicates as a followup to my post of yesterday, Companies rethink coal plants.

While planning and some actual construction of wind, solar and geothermal plants in remote locations continues, with plenty of hype accompanyhing it, it seems to me that as in the 1970s energy crisis, it will be increased efficiency that wins the day. For example, read this story about building a “smart energy grid.” Stimulus Dollars Energize Efforts To Smarten Up the Electric Power Grid. By Peter Slevin and Steven Mufson. Washington Post.

Building new transmission lines is enormously expensive, and even large solar or wind farms do not supply all that much energy compared to a coal or nuclear plant. Therefore, I am thinking most of these wind and solar electricity facilities will be built next to, or near already existing transmission lines and in or near load centers such as on building roof tops.

The currently largest solar-steam electricity plant in the United States is Solar One. located just south of Henderson and Boulder City, Nevada. I drove by it the other day. See below. It takes up a lot of space and yet “largest” only means generation of 74 megawatts. The typical coal plant today is built in units of 500 to 750 megawatts. I also noticed that Solar One was located right next to a transmission line coming from Hoover Dam on the Colorado.

solar-one1

The Solar One steam-electric plant in Eldorado Valley, Nevada. Feb. 2009. Notice the big transmission line behind the plant. It comes from nearby Hoover Dam. Copyright © Ralph Maughan

Awful as the “great recession” has become, one bright side is that it decreases the demand for electricity from what it would otherwise be. This makes is so that lack of electrical energy is not a barrier to economic recovery.

The disruption to wildlife habitat will be less than many believe, despite some scary proposals on the table such as China Mountain on the Idaho/Nevada border, which may indeed be built.

Mega-wind project south of Twin Falls, Idaho progresses. Bulk of electricity likely to go out of state

Mega-wind project south of T.F. progresses. Bulk of electricity likely to go out of state [to Nevada]. By Matt Christensen
Times-News writer.

I’m sick and tired of Idaho being raped and Idaho poisoned for the sake of making money in Nevada.