Offshore wind sails forward, but a different story on land

Offshore wind sails forward, but a different story on land
In this Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 photo, a sign against a proposed wind turbine hangs from a neighborhood telephone pole, in North Smithfield, R.I. Even as Rhode Island makes history as the first U.S. state with an offshore wind farm, its people are not so fond of wind turbines sprouting up on land near where they live. Town leaders in North Smithfield are proposing a ban on any new wind turbines in the rural community near the Massachusetts border. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Even as Rhode Island makes history as the first U.S. state with an offshore wind farm, its people are not so fond of wind turbines sprouting up on land near where they live.

Dreams of a wind-powered nation sparked by the pioneering Atlantic Ocean project are running aground back on shore, where conventional battles over aesthetics and property values have stymied wind projects here and around the country.

Ruth Pacheco said she didn't expect so much hostility when she invited a developer to build a giant wind turbine atop a forested hill at her 52-acre family farm in rural North Smithfield.

The 86-year-old proprietor of the Hi-on-a-Hill Herb Farm believes harvesting wind energy is the best way to preserve the land her family has owned and cultivated since the 1840s. But she wasn't prepared for the dozens of "No Turbine" signs, erected outside nearly every home on the road leading up to her farm.

"We've lived here all our lives and seen people come and go," Pacheco said. "I guess you just can't take it personally. They've got tunnel vision out there."

Responding to the ire of Pacheco's neighbors, North Smithfield leaders are now drafting a town-wide ban on wind turbines, though it is too late to affect Pacheco's project because it already has a permit.

Offshore wind sails forward, but a different story on land
In this Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 photo, a car passes signs against a proposed wind turbine hanging from a neighborhood telephone pole and tree, in North Smithfield, R.I. Even as Rhode Island makes history as the first U.S. state with an offshore wind farm, its people are not so fond of wind turbines sprouting up on land near where they live. Town leaders in North Smithfield are proposing a ban on any new wind turbines in the rural community, though it might be too late to stop a turbine that Ruth Pacheco has a permit to build on her 52-acre farm property there. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Compared with the five-turbine, 30-megawatt offshore wind farm recently completed in blustery state waters and scheduled to switch on this fall, Rhode Island's 20 land-based wind turbines are more modest generators of energy, with a combined capacity of about 21 megawatts, enough to power more than 6,000 homes, or a small town about the size of North Smithfield.

They're becoming familiar landmarks in the nation's smallest state, visible from major highways and popular beaches, but Rhode Island still ranks near the bottom of the 40 states that produce some wind energy.

U.S. Energy Department records show Texas and California have the most turbines, each with more than 10,000. The two big states vie with smaller windswept Plains states in producing the most wind energy. Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas and Minnesota are the leaders.

Unlike those farm states, Rhode Island is tiny and densely populated. And people who like the idea of wind energy in the abstract rarely want it near their own backyards, according to a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Rhode Island that found that the turbines don't hurt property values.

Pacheco's neighbors said their concerns include noise, maintenance and "shadow flicker," the blinking effect that occurs during parts of the year when the sun rises or sets behind the spinning blades. They are also concerned about the height, which at 415 feet—when the blade is pointing up—would be almost as tall as Rhode Island's tallest building, a 26-story Providence skyscraper.

Offshore wind sails forward, but a different story on land
In this Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 photo, a couple walking their dog passes a sign against a proposed wind turbine hanging from a neighborhood telephone pole, in North Smithfield, R.I. Even as Rhode Island makes history as the first U.S. state with an offshore wind farm, its people are not so fond of wind turbines sprouting up on land near where they live. Town leaders in North Smithfield are proposing a ban on any new wind turbines in the rural community, though it might be too late to stop a turbine that Ruth Pacheco has a permit to build on her 52-acre farm property there. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

"To save her farm she's affecting all of her neighbors," said Sharon Mayewski, whose 17-acre lot abuts Pacheco's. Mayewski is president of a new group called COURT, or Conserve Our Unique Rural Town, that was formed to halt the turbine project.

On a recent visit to Pacheco's farm, a wild turkey strolled beneath a mulberry tree as the proprietor and her two daughters showed off the property where they all grew up and still live in three adjacent houses.

Cattle once roamed its pastures, but the farm is now focused on herbs, dried everlastings, chickens, beehives and educational programs. The family has also worked with the government to plant native grasses and wildflowers and tend the property's expansive woodland as part of a decade-long forestry management project.

None of the agricultural harvest can match the $54,000 annually promised by a 25-year lease agreement Pacheco signed with Wind Energy Development, the North Kingstown company that has installed many of the wind turbines in the state.

"It will ensure that the girls can maintain the land for future generations," Pacheco said. "We may not be here, but we hope the footprint will be here for someone to enjoy."

Offshore wind sails forward, but a different story on land
In this Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016 photo, a sign opposes a proposed wind turbine in rural North Smithfield, R.I. Neighbors are pushing for a town-wide ban on wind turbines after an 86-year-old farmer invited a developer to build one on the property her family has owned since the mid-19th century. (AP Photo/Matt O'Brien)

Town Councilwoman Roseanne Nadeau said she sympathizes with Pacheco but opposes wind turbines in the town. The town last year rejected the same developer's proposal for wind turbines on municipal land behind a big-box shopping center, not far from Pacheco's property.

Nadeau, a former real estate appraiser, doesn't believe most of the arguments that neighbors have made against the turbine, from concerns about property values to health worries. Instead, she points to maps that show her town, near the Massachusetts border and far from the ocean, just isn't very windy.

"We don't have the right wind flow," she said. "That's the only reason I'm against it. And also the burden of who is going to take it down."

The turbine developer said it's studied the wind in North Smithfield and is confident there's enough at Pacheco's site to make the project viable. It also insists that most people won't notice the turbine because it's quiet and will be in the woods.

"Once turbines are up, people don't complain about them," said Hannah Morini, a project developer for the company. "It's like anything new. It becomes part of your background after a while."


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Aug 30, 2016
a combined capacity of about 21 megawatts, enough to power more than 6,000 homes, or a small town about the size of North Smithfield.


Is not. On-shore capacity factor from small turbines is not that great, between 20-25% which gives between 4.2 - 5.3 MW actual output for the turbines. The average US household electricity consumption is 11,000 kWh a year, which translates to 1.26 kW and for 6,000 homes it would be 7.5 MW which well exceeds the output of the turbines.

The claim may be true in Rhode Island in particular, because they have one of the highest electricity prices and lowest household power consumption at around 0.8 kW (5 MW)
https://www.elect...o-homes/

In these states with high price and low household electricity consumption, use of natural gas is very high, so it's dubious to claim to "power a house" in the first place when most of the power comes from the gas mains and not the electric utility.

Aug 30, 2016
In contrast, to fully power a house for a year in the US takes somewhere between 15,000 kWh in the south to about 25,000 kWh in the north, not counting Alaska, with heating, cooling, lighting, hot water and appliances all accounted for. That's between 1.83 - 2.85 kW

That means the turbines can actually power between 1,500 - 3,000 households depending on location. A quarter to a half the number stated in the article.

The "number of households powered" metric is a deliberate half-truth for the purpose of propaganda. This is a pervasive problem with reporting about renewable energy: with this slight of hand the energy gains are consistently overstated by a factor of 2-4x to make it seem like a good bargain.

Aug 30, 2016
"Once turbines are up, people don't complain about them," said spokeswoman Hannah Morini. "It's like anything new. It becomes part of your background after a while."

Very true. You would not believe the NIMBYism that went on in the early years of wind power in germany. Today no one is bothered by them.

Aug 30, 2016
As for the capacity factor - before greenonions rushes in to claim that newer turbines have it better: capacity factor is mainly a product of turbine location and turbine hub height. There's nothing special in the technology itself that can make newer turbines turn with significantly higher capacity factor (except by faking it with an undersized generator and throttling the turbine).

It's all about where you put them.

http://www.windac...NrDVQRak
US Wind production and capacity factors 2011-2015

AZ 20%
RI 19%
NE 45%


In other words, if you got a great place for a wind turbine, put it there - but you can't make the generalization that wind turbines will make a whole lot of energy everywhere.

Aug 30, 2016
Today no one is bothered by them.


People still complain about them. You just choose to ignore it.

And at some point the complaints turn to silent resentment as the people find out the complaints are being ignored. The results of that will be seen in the upcoming elections, where they fuel populist right wing parties.

Aug 30, 2016
a better world
free of ugly unaesthetic noisy landscape destroyers bird choppers

Aug 30, 2016
If we let Eikka into Silicon Valley, it will all be over, and everybody will go home depressed.

Did he gripe about the needles used to save us from polio? Smallpox? Surely, they had dangers, and we should think many many times before we do anything.

Aug 30, 2016
If we let Eikka into Silicon Valley, it will all be over, and everybody will go home depressed.

Did he gripe about the needles used to save us from polio? Smallpox? Surely, they had dangers, and we should think many many times before we do anything.
Will you gripe when society finally decides to take the necessary steps to protect itself from psychopaths?

Just another sickness in need of a cure.

What do we do with rabid dogs george?

Aug 30, 2016
For Eikka:

https://cleantech...-normal/

Check the date.

Aug 30, 2016
For george:

"The point is, social factors and parenting practices only shape the expression of the disorder, but have no effect on the individual's inability to feel empathy or to develop a conscience.

"Robert Hare once submitted a paper to a scientific journal. The paper included EEGs of several groups of adult men performing a language task. The editor of the journal returned the paper saying "Those EEG's couldn't have come from real people."

"But they did. They were the EEG's of psychopaths."

-The date? Sooner than you think.

Aug 30, 2016
Outgrow it, otto. You can do it.


Aug 30, 2016
Outgrow it, otto. You can do it.

https://www.youtu...lvQXOt2w

ahaahaaaaa what a little cutie

Aug 30, 2016
ugly unaesthetic noisy landscape destroyers bird choppers
https://www.youtu...rRPrA7rg

Sep 04, 2016
If you want nuke articles you can go to utility power websites like I do, and see the articles on the shutting down of nukes.

The articles on new ones talk about the horrific costs, and wonder if they can ever be paid back. But that is the owner utilities speaking, not the hucksters and promoters.

Sep 04, 2016
"Very true. You would not believe the NIMBYism that went on in the early years of wind power in germany. Today no one is bothered by them."

Many are devastated by the ILFN (infrasound and low frequency noise) which can have psychological and physiological effects on humans and animals. Termed "vibroacoustic disease", the effect is similar to the effects from some industrial sites and from electrical substations. Low frequency and infrasound have been used as torture devices by some agencies, causing confusion and driving people insane eventually, and may be the cause of mental conditions such as schizophrenia. The "hum" heard in many places around the world, one being in Windsor, Ontario, negatively affect many people. Plus of course, there is the belief that mind control is possible with ILFN. Keep the turbines offshore, well away from people and animals.

Sep 04, 2016
If you want nuke articles you can go to utility power websites like I do, and see the articles on the shutting down of nukes
Sorry but sites run by nipponese ex-pat hypochondriacs living in Romanian basements, as presented here by lying cheating psychopaths, are less than trustworthy sources of valid info.

Even if they were posted by honest decent people instead of psychopaths who have thoroughly trashed their reps by lying and cheating every day they are here, they still wouldn't be trustworthy sources of valid info.

Sep 04, 2016
Thank you for your display of ignorance.

I suggest you go to Power Magazine online, Utility Dive, and the many other industry sites the real folk use.

Sep 05, 2016
Thank you for your display of ignorance
George the people here know more about you than you do. That's because, as psychopaths go, you're not a very talented one.

Sep 05, 2016
Many are devastated by the ILFN (infrasound and low frequency noise) which can have psychological and physiological effects on humans and animals.

there's a lot of studies still being conducted on this. The effects - if there are any - seem to be below the detection threshold. Some studies even show a Nocebo effect (i.e. that only those will complain of feeling any harmful effects that are aware of potential harmful effects)

In any case the wind farms aren't situated right next to houses. So it's a bit of a non-problem.

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