Yellow Canary

Wind Energy News 2006


Cape Wind project
Wind power is turned on at Maalaea
Wind power: Make your choice, turbine or carbon?
Los Angeles utility board approves deal for Wyoming wind power
BAE technology to Make Wind Power Stronger Option
Western cities, states rush for wind power
New Poll: 81% of state, 61% of Cape favor Cape Wind

Cape Wind project

Article published June 21, 2006
cite: The Cape Cod Times

Gov. Mitt Romney will not have veto authority over the Cape Wind project - nor will any other governor.

Congressional leaders today reached a compromise that strips language from a Coast Guard reauthorization bill that would have given the governor the power to stop the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm project specifically.

Instead, language would give the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard "definitive responsibility" to decide whether the project poses threats to navigation and craft terms that would eliminate adverse impacts.

The compromise is far less restrictive than an amendment floated last year by U.S. Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican, that would have banned all wind turbines within 1 1/2 miles of shipping and ferry lanes.

A later compromise would have given the Bay State governor the authority to veto projects on Nantucket Sound specifically.

That language caused a fire storm nationally, with renewable energy advocates predicting that the bill they called "anti-Cape Wind" would freeze the entire wind industry.

One federal lawmaker called the Cape Wind debate a "referendum on renewable energy" and numerous leaders from across the country stirred to stop the amendment.

U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Cape Wind critic who had lobbied for the original provision, expressed willingness to compromise after it appeared the logjam would jeopardize passage of the entire $8.7 billion Coast Guard bill.

"Safety is the top priority," said Melissa Wagoner, spokeswoman for Kennedy, today. "And that was the senator's greatest concerns."

Among other things, the Coast Guard would have authority to insist on project changes - including an alteration of turbine locations, arrangement or the size of the project - if the project poses a threat.

U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, said the removal of the governor's veto preserves the integrity of the siting project.

"It gives the Coast Guard and other federal agencies a voice; it gives local and state governments a voice," he said in a statement, "But it prevents local special interests from torpedoing a reasonable and much-needed energy project in federal waters."

The U.S. Department of Interior is already reviewing the Cape Wind project - a proposal to build 130 turbines on the sound - even as it crafts overarching guidelines for all offshore projects.

Wind power is turned on at Maalaea

Article published Jun 9, 2006

Honolulu: A mighty wind blows across Maalaea Ridge on the southern coast of West Maui, and now that wind generates power for Maui Electric Co.

Construction team members and corporate partners gathered there Thursday to mark completion of a project to build a 30-megawatt wind power farm.

Kaheawa Wind Power, the company that built the facility, is now partially online and supplying electricity to Maui Electric.

"This is one of the most ambitious projects I have ever worked on," Kaheawa Wind Power Vice President Mike Gresham. "Building a wind farm is difficult enough, but building it on a steep mountain on an island in the middle of the Pacific presents even more challenges."

Gresham said the company had to ship the very large turbine components and construction equipment to Maui from all over the globe, build an access road and then haul the components up a mountain with an average slope of 15 percent, and finally assemble the towers in winds that frequently exceed 35 miles per hour.

"Let's just say I've had a few sleepless nights," he said.

The wind power farm will generate, on average, 9 percent of Maui's electricity, enough to supply 11,000 households, eliminating the use of 244,000 equivalent barrels of oil annually.

Wind power: Make your choice, turbine or carbon?

Article published Jun 9, 2006

A front-page story in Tuesday's Journal traced the odyssey of a Town of Dryden couple trying to install a small wind energy system to help power their home. Still tender from an aborted Cornell University plan to build a small "wind farm" in the Mount Pleasant area, town officials are being cautious as they approach this request for a 10-kilowatt home system that comes with a 120-foot tower. Dryden's caution is understandable, and its lack of existing wind power regulations is not unique. A Journal survey found only the Town of Lansing has zoning language that deals directly with residential wind turbines. Public reaction to the concept of wind-generated electricity has been mixed, with many folks breaking into not-in-my-backyard fits when the specter of 50- to 100-plus-foot towers and humming rotors interrupts their bucolic bliss. Decades of cheap fossil fuels have also done little to help imprint this energy technology on the minds of most Americans.

Well folks, it's time to change the American mind.

Even if fossil fuels were to magically become cheap again, we can no longer afford their price. The environmental destruction linked to the acquisition, distribution and use of carbon spewing fuels cannot be ignored as acid rain kills forests, global warming melts glaciers and oil slicks keep turning marine life black. Beyond that damage, anyone with any sense of supply instability and increasing global competition must concede the politics of fossil fuels are a rich recipe for international tension and war.

Wind power is part of a palette of potential green solutions, led by conservation and including solar and hydropower, we must embrace if we are to escape fossil fuels. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, small residential wind energy systems can trim consumer energy costs by 50-90 percent depending upon a variety of factors including average wind speed, utility electricity costs and the type of generator installed. The American Wind Energy Association claims a small residential wind turbine can offset about 1.2 tons of air pollutants and 200 tons of greenhouse gases over its 20-year lifespan. Cost to buy and install wind turbines can range from $6,000 to $20,000 or more, but with low maintenance expenses, long lifespan and ever increasing oil, gas and utility electricity prices, residential wind energy is not likely to blow away.

Of course there are issues to address. Turbines cannot be hidden; the DOE recommends towers be at least 30 feet taller than their surroundings. Turbines make noise; a new residential unit creates an ambient noise level between 52 and 55 decibels, akin to the average kitchen refrigerator. Big turbines and towers in West Coast wind farms have been linked to bird deaths, although observations suggest small residential systems are far easier on avian life than the average house cat.

Local governments are right to consider these factors carefully.

But those drawbacks must be kept in perspective. In the name of progress, the American mind has embraced millions of utility poles, millions of miles of power and cable lines, giant smokestacks, engine and traffic noise, toxic fumes and endless rivers of expensive-to-maintain asphalt. If we do not alter course, the American mind will soon be confronted with vastly higher energy costs, unpredictable climatic shifts and geopolitical tangles that make today's conflicts look like sideshows.

Ready or not, the era of lean demand and green energy is upon us. Wind energy is part of that future. It's time we all get our mind around that.

To learn more:

  • The U.S. Department of Energy offers a broad range of information at it's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Web site:
  • Information on energy efficiency, alternate energy sources and possible state governmental assistance can be found at
  • Information about residential wind energy systems can be found at the American Wind Energy Association's Web site:
  • A wind energy atlas of the United States published by the USDOE can be found online at the department's Renewable Resource Data Center:
  • An analysis critical of wind energy can be found at the Web site of the not-for-profit, non-partisan, free-market research foundation Cato Institute at

Article published Jun 9, 2006
cite:, Associated Press

Los Angeles utility board approves deal for Wyoming wind power

LOS ANGELES: City utility commissioners voted for a 16-year contract worth between $236 million and $280 million to buy electricity generated by windmills standing on the plains of southwest Wyoming.

The deal requires approval by the City Council, which is expected in the next few weeks to endorse the pact approved Tuesday by the city Department of Water and Power board.

PPM Energy, which operates several wind farms throughout the West, would generate the electricity with turbines at its Pleasant Valley Wind Energy Center.

The 82 megawatts it produces would amount to less than 1 percent of Los Angeles' annual energy needs. But DWP officials said it is a step toward their goal of having at least 20 percent of the city's power supply come from renewable sources by 2010.

The wind power would cost about twice as much as the energy coming from a coal-burning plant in southern Utah that currently provides the city with almost half of its electricity, officials said.

"One of the key things to keep in mind is we have to balance everything with reliability and economics," said Kim Hughes, a DWP spokeswoman.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement that the city's ultimate goal is to own renewable generation, and the new agreement is a "jump start" to that end.

The DWP supplies water and power to 3.9 million city residents.

Article published June 09, 2006
cite: Manufacturing News, Source:

BAE technology to Make Wind Power Stronger Option

The RAF has tested two new systems developed by BAE Systems and Selex SI designed to overcome the interference problems caused by wind turbines and to enable civil and military air traffic control radar to function properly, which could free up a significant number of potential locations for wind farms around the world. . . (Wind turbines' rotating blades cause "radar clutter".) [Complete story]

Article published Jun 8, 2006
(Same story as above - but from Wyoming newspaper)
cite: Dustin Bleizeffer, Casper Star Tribune, Associated Press

Western cities, states rush for wind power

Wyoming energy officials hope a proposed contract for the city of Los Angeles to buy 82 megawatts of Wyoming wind power represents a trend across the West.

The 16-year contract with PPM Energy Inc. is the first such long-term deal for the Southern California metropolis.

The 82-megawatt power agreement with PPM Energy would supply enough energy to power 39,000 homes in Los Angeles each year.

Cities such as Los Angeles and states including California, Nevada and Colorado have self-imposed renewable energy portfolios which require utilities to get specific percentages of their electrical supply from renewable resources -- usually wind, hydropower, solar, biomass or geothermal.

Los Angeles, for example, is voluntarily trying to meet California's 20 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2010. Short on time and long on the need for clean energy, many states and municipalities across the West are more willing than ever to commit to wind energy.

"Also, the increase in customer demand for wind has been the volatility in fossil fuel prices," said Jan Johnson, spokeswoman for Portland, Ore.-based PPM Energy.

PPM Energy buys and markets wind power from Uinta County's Southwest Wyoming Wind Energy Center, which is owned and operated by Florida-based FPL Energy. Johnson said more wind energy is being sold on long-term contracts, between 15 and 30 years.

Wyoming ranked seventh in the nation for wind power generation, but has the potential to be among the nation's top wind power generators, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Wyoming energy officials hope the demand for Wyoming's wind will also create new electrical transmission pathways to export more coal-based power.

"That's the hypothesis that's driving our thinking," Wyoming Infrastructure Authority Executive Director Steve Waddington told the Star-Tribune in a recent interview.

If approved, the 16-year, 82-megawatt contract for Wyoming wind will bring Los Angeles' renewable portfolio to 6.5 percent -- still a ways from the goal of 20 percent by 2010, according to Carol Tucker, spokeswoman for Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power board.

"Still a ways to go, but we are steadily increasing our amount of renewables," Tucker said.

Tucker said Los Angeles expects to begin construction of its own wind farm in California this summer which would generate 120 megawatts.

Energy reporter Dustin Bleizeffer can be reached at (307) 682-3388 or

Article published June 7, 2006
cite: By Jack Coleman,

New Poll: 81% of state, 61% of Cape favor Cape Wind

New survey shows strong majority of Cape and islands' residents support Nantucket Sound project

The results of a new survey released today leave little doubt as to public support for Cape Wind - it is overwhelming.

More than four out of five people across the state - 81 percent - and 61 percent of Cape and islands' residents are in favor of Cape Wind's proposal to build the nation's first offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound.

The survey was conducted by the Civil Society Institute, a Newton-based non-profit and non-partisan think tank. The institute has conducted a half-dozen surveys since 2003 on global warming, renewable energy and fuel efficiency standards.

A detailed analysis of the survey and news release are available at the Civil Society Institute's website.

The May 25-28 survey found that 90 percent of Bay State residents want Massachusetts to be "a national leader in using cleaner and renewable energy on a large scale by moving ahead with offshore wind power and other alternative-energy initiatives."

The survey also found that just over a third - 36 percent - of Cape and island residents oppose Cape Wind, while 88 percent of those living on Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard believe it is important that "Massachusetts and other states take steps such as the development of clean alternative energy resouces -- including offshore wind power -- in order to help reduce global warming and our addiction to foreign energy sources."

Clean Power Now Executive Director Matt Palmer pointed out that each successive opinion survey on Cape Wind appears to show a stronger level of public support for Cape Wind, both statewide and on the Cape and islands.

"It validates what we've been saying all along, which is the more that people learn about Cape Wind, the more that people support it," Palmer said. "Our political leaders need to recognize that the citizens of this commonwealth want Massachusetts to be the leader in the renewable energy revolution."

Poll-takers urge Romny, Kennedy and Kerry to read results

Responding to the results of the survey, Institute President Pam Solo said "I would encourage Gov. Romney, Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry and the rest of the Mass. congressional delegation to look at these survey findings very closely.

"The notion that wind power and the other alternative energy sources are dividing lines in Massachusetts either in terms of politics or region, or both, is plainly mistaken and counterproductive for our state and for the nation," Solo said.

"What we see in this survey is a clear example of the people 'leading the leaders,' " Solo said. "Massachusetts residents want action now on clean, safe renewable energy sources, including Cape Wind and other alternative energy projects. They want the state to get out in front as a true national leader solving our foreign oil dependence and the threat posed by global warming."

About the survey - twice needed number from Cape & Islands polled

The survey consisted of telephone interviews with 600 Bay State residents, equally spilt by gender, on May 25-28. Of that 600-person sample, 9 percent lived on the Cape and islands, which comes to 54 people. The survey has a 4 percentage points margin of error, according to CSI.

The results also showed that political allegiances play little if any role in determining support for Cape Wind. Across the state as a whole, 88 percent of those identifying themselves as liberals are in favor of Cape Wind, compared to 83 percent for conservatives and 81 percent for independents.

Supporters were;
Conservatives 83%
Liberals 88%
Independents 81%
Just over third - 36 percent - of Bay State residents described themselves as political independents, compared to 26 percent conservative, 20 percent liberal and 14 percent "not political."

The 600-person sampling is representative of many opinion surveys, as is its margin of error. While 9 percent of those interviewed said they live on the Cape and islands, as a percentage this is double the percentage for the region's share of the state's population. Roughly 250,000 of the state's 6.1 million residents live on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, or 4 percent.

The survey results were released just one day after Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens formally withdrew his proposal to give unilateral veto power over Cape Wind to the governor of Massachusetts. Stevens prefers that such authority be given to the commandant of the Coast Guard in a funding bill that has yet to be approved in Congress.

Indications out of Washington are that the House and Senate could move forward on the Coast Guard bill with a possible resolution of differences over Cape Wind when they return next week.

US Dept. of Energy and wind industry plan 20% of energy from wind

Also on Tuesday, officials with the US Department of Energy and wind industry entrepreneurs said they will collaborate on an "action plan" aimed at "vastly increasing the amount of wind-generated electricity in the United States," according to a story published yesterday by the Greenwire news service.

"The effort - announced at a major wind energy conference in Pittsburgh - will seek input from environmentalists, utilities, policymakers, investors and others, according to the American Wind Energy Association," the story states.

The goal is to increase wind power's share of US electricity generation to 20 percent from its current level of less than half of 1 percent. AWEA expects 2006 to be a record year for new installed capacity.

Streaming audio of a media conference call held at 11 a.m. today is available at the Civil Society Institute's website

Jack Coleman is a former political reporter at the Cape Cod Times who blogs in support of Cape Wind at wind farmer's almanac. He also works as media adviser to Clean Power Now.