Wind energy

From The New York Times:

Lawsuits and complaints about turbine noise, vibrations and subsequent lost property value have cropped up in Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, among other states.

In one case in DeKalb County, Ill., at least 38 families have sued to have 100 turbines removed from a wind farm there. A judge rejected a motion to dismiss the case in June.

Read more in For Those Near, the Miserable Hum of Clean Energy by Tom Zeller, Jr., in The New York Times:

Have you ever stood next to a modern wind turbine when it’s generating power?  It’s louder than you’d think.  I wouldn’t want to have one of the big ones in my backyard – or neighborhood – let alone a bunch of them.

1940s artist concept drawing of what a new “windmill” in Vermont would look like in July 1941 issue of Popular Science

1940s artist concept drawing of what a new “windmill” in Vermont would look like in July 1941 issue of Popular Science – it actually looked very different (see below).

the 1.25 megawatt Grandpa’s Knob wind turbine that operated near Rutland, Vermont in 1941.

Illinois wind turbine, September 2008 Of course modern wind turbines look much different than the 1.25 megawatt Grandpa’s Knob wind turbine that operated near Rutland, Vermont in 1941.  In February, 1943, a main bearing failed and, due to the war, a replacement part took more than two years to manufacture and install.  The wind turbine was restarted on March 3, 1945, but, later that month, a connector failure resulted in one of the 8 ton blades being tossed over 700 feet, where it landed on it’s tip. Tip replacement was not feasible because of the war effort.  With the cost of coal generated electricity substantially the cost of electricity produced by the wind turbine, the project was dismantled.

The United States has added significant amounts of wind power generation in recent years, producing about 2.4% of the total electrical power generated.  The phenomenal growth has been largely due to government subsidies and tax breaks, without which, I’ve read, continued growth cannot be sustained as various studies estimate new wind energy production is more expensive than other sources such as new nuclear, clean coal, and carbon capture and storage.

And, as I’ve already stated, not in my backyard or neighborhood – it’s not windy enough here to make it feasible.

Have you been near any of the large modern wind turbines?

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