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Wind Energy in the Appalachians

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An objective Cost/Benefit Analysis of industrial scale wind energy in the Appalachian Mountains and more specifically in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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Wind Energy in the Appalachians

  1. 1. Wind Energyin the Appalachians<br />Cost / Benefit<br />Analysis<br />Blue Ridge Mountain Defenders<br />
  2. 2. Precautionary Principle<br /><ul><li>In 1982, the United Nations World Charter of Nature gave the first international recognition of the PP, stating that when "potential adverse effects are not fully understood, the activities should not proceed".
  3. 3. 1992 Rio Declaration states: The best environmental policy is to protect the environmental systems as a priority, in particular where the results of an action are unknown.
  4. 4. A principle of "no regrets".</li></li></ul><li>for REFLECTION<br /><ul><li>Can people choose to live more simply so that energy production may be reduced rather than expanded?
  5. 5. How are we responsible stewards of the earth if by attempting to conserve resources in one area (e.g., producing clean energy) we are at the same time causing destruction in other areas of the environment?
  6. 6. Does the placement of industrial scale wind turbines near rural communities benefit one segment of society, while exploiting vulnerable rural populations and ecosystems?</li></li></ul><li>Consider our legacy<br />to the<br />world of our<br />grandchildren.<br />
  7. 7. Island of Green<br />Mountain ridges are just as fragile as Wetlands<br />
  8. 8. Turbine Installation On A Vermont Ridgetop<br />
  9. 9. Water Degradation<br />Siltation of creeks and tributaries<br />Sediments clog streams<br />Harm aquatic life<br />
  10. 10. Water Degradation (cont.)<br />Contamination of groundwater aquifers will affect springs & wells, & ultimately rivers & reservoirs.<br />Contamination of surface water will affect spring water for homes.<br />AFTER<br />BEFORE<br />
  11. 11. Oil in Turbines<br />Leaking oil can enter soil & both surface & groundwater.<br />Oil will add fuel to forest fires caused by lightning, mechanical problems, or carelessness.<br />
  12. 12. Contrary to popular opinion, due to their inefficiency in energy production, wind turbine installations <br />DO NOT REDUCE THE CARBON FOOTPRINT.<br />
  13. 13. Turbine Construction = Habitat Destruction<br />Present<br />Honeysuckle Road<br />Future <br />Honeysuckle Road?<br />
  14. 14. Poor Mtn. Sugar Maples<br />Present Upland Forest<br />Roanoke County Ridges<br />
  15. 15. Tree Species of Concern<br />AMERICAN CHESTNUT<br />CAROLINA HEMLOCK<br />DISEASED HEMLOCK<br />CANADIAN HEMLOCK<br />
  16. 16. Native Fishes Will Suffer From Stream Siltation And PollutionBrook Trout , Roanoke Logperch & Madtom<br />
  17. 17. Habitats of Game Species will be Disturbed & Game Numbers Reduced<br />
  18. 18. Songbirds Restricted ToVirginia’s Mountain Tops Will No Longer Be Seen<br />VEERY<br />JUNCO (SNOWBIRD)<br />CANADA WARBLER<br />
  19. 19. Migrating & Resident Hawks Will Be Decimated Season After Season<br />OVER 2700 HAWKS WERE SEEN OVER POOR MT. ON SEPT 22ND, 2009<br />
  20. 20. Hawk Count—September 2010<br /><ul><li>From the Poor Mt. Hawk Watching Site, during 35 hours of observation, the tally was 813 raptors, which included:
  21. 21. 3 ospreys
  22. 22. 5 bald eagles
  23. 23. 23 accipiters
  24. 24. 2 peregrine falcons
  25. 25. 746 broad-winged hawks</li></li></ul><li>Bats are in trouble the world over. Let’s not send them over the edge.<br />ENDANGERED VIRGINIA BIG-EARED BAT<br />ENDANGERED INDIANA BAT<br />
  26. 26. Unusual Mammal Residents of the Blue Ridge Mountains<br />Jumping <br />Mouse<br />Eastern <br />Woodrat<br />Red-backed Vole<br />Long-tailed Shrew<br />Spotted Skunk<br />
  27. 27. Poor Mountain Ridgeline Trail<br /><ul><li>The VA Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries has added a 3.2 mile stretch along the top of Poor Mt. to the VA Birding and Wildlife Trail System
  28. 28. How are we responsible stewards of the earth if by attempting to conserve resources in one area, we are at the same time causing destruction in other areas of the environment?</li></li></ul><li>Benefits<br />Enhances community’s appreciation for extraordinary Blue Ridge living environment<br />Provides electrical energy without atmospheric pollution, with the exception of supply and maintenance service provider industries (heavy metals for generators, petroleum products, steel & fiberglass)<br />By reasoning of displacement, the wind developers suggest Metric Tonnes of elimination of “greenhouse gas production”<br />On Poor Mountain, March 2010, the wind developer stated that a proposed 15 turbines would produce enough clean energy for 10,000 Roanoke Valley Homes<br />and eliminate 98,ooo mT of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.<br />
  29. 29. Benefits, cont’.<br />Provides financial revenue … stream to the property owner.<br /> Estimate: $7,000 -$10,000 per turbine per year /gross<br />Provides financial revenue … stream to Roanoke County<br /> government.<br /> Estimate: $800,000 -$1,000,000 per year /gross<br />Provides jobs. One or two fulltime plus periodic maintenance and support personnel, annually. During construction, local graders, excavators and raw materials suppliers will be hired to assist the specialty construction workforce, who installs the turbines.<br />
  30. 30. Costs<br />ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS<br />for 15 wind turbines on Poor Mtn.<br />Funding?<br />30% Federal and other grants and subsidies ; not including annual maintenance subsidies or investment tax incentives<br />30% Federally-insured loans<br />30% private investment<br />10% wind developer & turbine manufacturer – “…they have no skin in the game.”Larry Summers, WSJ Oct 2010<br />
  31. 31. Costs, cont’.<br />PLUS<br />Higher Electricity Rates<br />Renewable Energy Credits<br />1 Mwh = 1 REC<br />31 States have Renewable Portfolio Standards enacted that require power companies to supply a designated percentage of electricity distributed in the state, to be from renewable energy providers. – A False Market<br />Power companies are routinely granted rate increases by the states, to pay for this relatively scarce electricity resource. <br />So, while the taxpayer provides the majority of the funding for this industry, the consumers pay still MORE!<br />
  32. 32. Costs, cont’.<br />Appropriated Land Area<br />~ 2000 A tract / 18 turbines x 2.5 MW = 44 ½ acres per Mw<br />in the Appalachian Mountains <br /> Poor Mtn.: 4.75 miles of new 100’ wide (minimum) access corridors on the ridges to connect each 3 to 5 acre turbine site. –Denuded Areas<br />Little or No CO2 benefit<br />in the Appalachian Mountains <br /> Wind is intermittent, therefore supplemental<br /> Coal will likely remain on line in the Appalachians for base load requirements. <br />Beech Ridge Wind Energy Center, WV<br />
  33. 33. Scope<br />15?, 18?, 36?, 54?<br />1.5Mw?, 2.5Mw?, 4Mw? <br />on Bent Mountain &<br />Poor Mountain in<br />Roanoke County<br />Are we considering 15 or 18 turbines on Poor Mountain...<br />or<br />…thousands on Appalachian ridges across Virginia<br />
  34. 34. Tools <br />for Evaluation<br />Roanoke County<br /><ul><li>DOE Wind Data Charts
  35. 35. 6 Years Data from local automatic weather station
  36. 36. Google Earth
  37. 37. Local & Statewide professional resources</li></ul>Blue Ridge Mountains<br />Floyd County<br />
  38. 38. In March 2010, Invenergy stated there proposed 15 turbine project would be capable of generating enough electricity to provide for 10,000 Roanoke Valley homes.<br />Our Finding: 5,104 Homes<br />LESS 10% <br />Transmission/<br />Distribution Losses (510)<br />4,594 Homes Annually<br />
  39. 39. Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area<br />Population: 303,200<br />Households based upon US Census Data: 2.2 per household<br />138,000<br />Electricity Requirement for RMSA<br />541 – 2.5 Mw Wind Turbines<br />44.5 x 541 x 2.5 = 6o,186 Acres of Mountain<br />
  40. 40. Can site basedgeneration systems be a better clean energy solution?<br />Vertical Axis Wind Turbines<br />Solar Panels<br />Bloom Boxes<br />All provide equal or greater supplement in both urban & rural locations and reduce transmission and distribution losses<br />Vertical Axis Wind Turbine<br />VAWT<br />
  41. 41. Does the placement of industrial scale wind turbines near rural communities benefit one segment of society, while exploiting vulnerable rural populations and ecosystems?<br />

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