Wind farms

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by orangehen1, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. orangehen1

    orangehen1 orangehen1

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    Does anyone live near a "wind farm", or have one of the huge things near them? Wind turbines have been proposed for this small county here in NW Illinois, and I've been reading some things (in Google) about them that make them sound very nasty. They might be okay if they were grouped together miles from the nearest dwellings, but this county is much too heavily populated, and the developers plan to string them out all over.

    I guess the biggest drawback is the noise, plus the flickering of the blades, not to mention the huge amounts of concrete that would comprise the bases, and the esthetics of seeing these huge things in one's back or front yard.

    Most articles said that the small amounts of electricity generated didn't justify the ugly things, and most of the money would go to the developers anyway - people who had to look at them the rest of their lives really wouldn't benefit at all.

    I'm going to a meeting Monday afternoon about it. Just wondered if anyone had any input.
     
  2. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    how would you feel if they put up a new coal burning power plant with it's large stack or maybe a nuclear reactor with a huge cooling tower?
     

  3. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    My vote would be for the windmills, thanks!
     
  4. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How neat! Would be great to have something positive go up nearby. The wind farms are about 100 miles SW of me, a little too far to see them. Bummer. Tho a few are getting closer, within 30 miles or so, but just a few individuals, not a real farm of them.

    Lucky you. I couldn't wait!

    --->Paul
     
  5. Explorer

    Explorer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There is a wind farm just west of Northwood, IA that I have driven thru a few times. They are the modern slow speed type (probably produces nearly a megawatt per mill) and I have not noticed any noise. The are scattered, in a line, in the crop fields. Very little seems disturbed, just a small service road to each.
     
  6. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    We live very near the Fenner wind farm in NY.
    The way I understand it, the family who posted the letter of complaint on the internet is literally almost right underneath one of the windmills, and they have some very real issues -
    what was a quiet rural farm now has noise, loss of wildlife, the flashing
    aircraft warning lights all night and the strobe light efffect caused by the blades during the daytime.

    On the other hand, we just watched a program on history channel that interviewed another farmer in the same area who found the income from renting her land to the mills a saving grace and she thought they were great.

    Our prospective from afar, was that they were surprisingly huge - we had no concept of the size until we saw them in person, but they eventually became a gratifying, almost charming thing to see in the landscape.

    We also have the option to buy our electric from the windmills instead of the nuke plant and other sources. It adds $5 to our bill per month and we do it gladly.

    Personally, I would welcome them in my community, but I would demand a reasonable buffer zone from residential sites. Perhaps you could write to the folks up at fenner and see how large they think a good buffer zone should have been? It would give you good ammo at local meeting.
     
  7. Rowdy

    Rowdy Well-Known Member

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    Texas is now the #1 producer of wind energy, and we are getting them alll around us here in West Texas. Being that most of my family is either in dirt work or electrical work, it seems like at least one of the family is working on a wind farm at some point or another these days.

    As for noise, they are using several different turbines here. Some are almost silent, others make quite a bit of noise. The wind farms I have been on that have been loud have been out in the middle of nowhere, down around the Ft Stockton area.


    The strobe effect is annoying, since usually the people that are getting it are not getting checks for leasing the land for it. A guy I used to work with (who is actually working on a wind farm) sued, and got a nice settlement since his livingroom window became a strobe light in the afternoon.

    That was true once. They were not that great to start out with, but these are like third generation turbinces now. They are not cheap, but they do produce power. As for money, everyone I have talked to that is leasing land for the projects are getting _Nice_ checks every year. Alot more than the little space the towers would have been worth for farming/grazing (esp since around here the turbines are usually sitting on rock.) Not to mention the taxes charged on them every year go to the school district. Lots of tiny school districts that have windfarms are finding themselves with money for once.
     
  8. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    A lot of interesting comments. One thing that the original poster mentioned really sticks out. I would really tend to question any research that claims that they barely generate enough electricity to justify the expense. In the last few years, thousands of the giant units have shown up across the country. I doubt that investors are sinking hundreds of millions into this industry to lose money? They may cost more per megawatt to build as compared to things like coal and oil plants, but I think they will prove to be a lot cheaper in the long run. The states are finally getting some control over the end run that the current administration did around the EPA, and are winning in courts. The coal industry is now spending tens of billions to install upgraded pollution equipment on their plants, and we are always just one problem away from major oil spikes. I wouldn't want to be living under the blades of one of the mega-wind mills, but they are one of the best things we have going at the moment.
     
  9. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you don't klike the machines that generate the electricity, show that you mean it and quit using the electricity. Lower the demand for energy and they won't have to build the generators.

    The attitude of "I don't want those (fill in the blank) where I can see it disgusts me--if you want the energy, be willing to have the generation source near you!!!

    Our wind generator is 400 feet from the house, and although it isn't as quite as the new huge ones, we seldom can hear it evenif we try..
     
  10. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My nearest wind farm is the Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County, NY. I've driven by it several times and go out of my way to do so when I go over to Lowville. I think they are stunningly beautiful, real works of modern art that are practical as well. If you are a farmer whose land got picked to put one up you get $1000 a month rent for the land the windmill sits on, compensation for the service road, and a royalty check for, I believe, 15% of the power produced. I know one of the farmers who was lucky enough to have 8 mills on his land and he just stopped milking cows and is going into beef just to keep himself busy. It's like winning a lottery. I hope they get them down here on the lake shore where I am sometime. The next township over, Cape Vincent, has a proposal up about it now, but it's a resort area and the dam*ed rich summer people may block it. I hope not

    They also pump a lot into the local economy, in the millions of dollars, so the local land taxes get lowered. That's a big thing in NYS.

    However, there are a lot of people who have to look at them who aren't making money off them, and I can see why they'd be ticked off over it. They are a big change to the area and they've got a lifespan of about 30 years, so if you are middle aged you're going to be looking and listening to them for the rest of your life.

    I do think the wind companies do put in cable if you have disrupted TV service.

    Anyway, I'd jump at the chance to have them on my farm!

    Jennifer
     
  11. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    I need to get more information on this for our country just had an article about these. It was mostly negative. I don't understand why..I did hear that birds sometimes get caught up in them. But...??? It was mentioned that if you don't like these..stop using electric. I understand that thought too. Use less electric and don't complain. But..in all reality most people don't even know where or how their electric gets to them. If that is the only complaints about them I'm sure they will continue. When does big business really care about what we think and how it disturbs our life style if there is noise etc near our homesteads. I do believe I would have welcomed wind mills in the hay fields near my house when they brough in large electric lines on my neighbors land. I can see them for "free"..not on my land and I did go to court to voice my thoughts because there were pleanty of other routes they could have taken but when you dangle the $$$ carrot at people...?? Politics has a lot to do about it also..promise better jobs for a new plant and need the electric.. :rolleyes: I think we all have to realize that if we continue to use as much electric as we do we have to pay the piper one way or another. As I said..I'm going to check into this in our county.
     
  12. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    2-3 MEGAWATTS per windmill,thats hardly insignificant,and the price for the power is now about as cheap as power can be produced for,I think the largest ones are the cheapest electrical generation there is.The larger the windplant,the cheaper the power.

    A single 1.5 MW windplant will supply 500 homes.
    -------------------------------------
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power

    The cost of wind-generated electric power has dropped substantially. Since 2004, according to some sources, the price in the United States is now lower than the cost of fuel-generated electric power, even without taking externalities into account.[1][2][3] In 2005, wind energy cost one-fifth as much as it did in the late 1990s, and that downward trend is expected to continue as larger multi-megawatt turbines are mass-produced.[4] A British Wind Energy Association report gives an average generation cost of onshore wind power of around 3.2 pence per kilowatt hour.[5] Wind power is growing quickly, at about 38% in 2003,[6] up from 25% growth in 2002. In the United States, as of 2003, wind power was the fastest growing form of electricity generation on a percentage basis
    -----------------------------------

    BooBoo
     
  13. d37fan

    d37fan Well-Known Member

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    There is a farm of them down the highway a piece from me. They wanted to put this one a few miles from my sister's place, but the locals threw a fit like you have never seen. The gentleman that owned the land they were to use, was going to donate all of the proceeds from the genny's to the local school dist, because he had been blessed with a fruitfull life. The land owner that allowed them to build it, (same county, 30 miles away) has only lost 2% usage of his grazing land and doubled his yearly income. This field makes 50 MW and supplies 30,000 homes. Where do these people think the juice comes from?
     
  14. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    I think wind farms are great! Here is a website about one near my place:

    http://www.fennerwind.com/

    I have been up there . . . almost drove in the ditch because I was so busy watching them. They are nice and peaceful to watch and to listen to . . . they make a nice slow shush-shush-shush sound. They bring in lots of folks who want to see them -- tourist business -- sell souvenirs, produce, crafts in a stand by the side of the road! I would take a row of them over a row of the big metal power line towers any day!

    MaryNY
     
  15. ldc

    ldc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There is a proposal for a wind farm in New Yrk State, not one of the locations mentioned above, where my parents live. They are looking at the reports from the Netherlands very carefully, as there are huge ones there. In the N., there has been death to migrating birds by the thousands, and to local bats, as well as some other problems. Apparantly, it matters HOW a field of them is configured. Maybe a google for this would help. As with any technology, maybe some kinks need to be worked out! (I know wind mills have been used for a long time, but not at these modern densities.)
     
  16. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Studies that I have seen (sorry, don't have any links handy) say that unless older faster windmills are located in the way of migrating birds, there isn't any significant bird kill--more birds are killed running into skyscrapers in cities and into stationary power lines and other kinds of towers with no moving parts. The moving blades have some tendency to alert birds to their prescence. The newer windgenerators turn slower, due to their larger size, and are often higher, and don't cause the problems with birds that older units might have.
     
  17. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    I'm in Montana, and we just got a large "wind farm" at Judith Gap.

    The are very large wind generators -- the individual blades appear to be over 100 ft long.

    We have been by a couple times now to look at them. This may sound a bit silly, but I think they are actually beautiful (I'm a hard headed engineer, and don't use the word beautiful very often :) ). The big ones turn fairly slowly and magestically -- a pleasure to watch (at least for me). The noise is hardly audible even when you are close to them.

    The power is significant. MT went from close to 0% of its power generated by wind to 8% almost entirely from the Judith Gap wind farm.

    Birds are not nearly the issue they used to be. The towers on the new ones are smooth and don't provide any place for the birds to set down (many of the old towers were lattice work and encouraged bird perching). The blades on the large generators turn more slowly and are more visible. On new wind fields they will do studies of bird paths through the area, and take that into account on sighting the generators.

    I think that overall, they make good neighboors -- I'd be happy to have one next to my place.

    Gary
     
  18. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wish my farm in SD were close enough to MN and other pop centers to be a wind farm.
     
  19. northstarpermie

    northstarpermie Well-Known Member

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    As you probably know by now from all the comments here...you need to do more research. I would feel much better if I knew my electricity was coming from a renewable source than an non renewable source. We don't have a spot up here where a wind generator is feasable to have...but we have solar instead & I sleep well at night.
     
  20. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Research James Lovelock concerning energy. I know he's got the info showing why wind is not a viable solution to our growing energy needs. The simple from memory (unreliable) version is this. Wind power would work if we only used electricity when the wind was blowing. The standard coal,gas,hydro,nuclear power plants have to keep running whether the wind is blowing or not to keep everything constant.