Friday, July 11, 2008

Wind power

The Grant and Garfield County OSU Extension hosted a public meeting on wind power in Enid last night.

The crowd was over capacity, and over flowed into a second room that was also over-full. The speaker was Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Assistant Professor, OSU Department of Agricultural Economics. The Enid News and Eagle covered this story, also.

Even though Twitter was blocked on the Autry Tech wifi, I used TweetDeck to report out live. Jean Warner found my tweets on Plaxo, and asked me to collect my random notes into a post. So here you are. Social media reporting.

Federal Production Tax Credit promotes wind power production. Scheduled to expire at end of 2008.
Oklahoma and Kansas are together in the Southwest Power Pool. Probably similar economic dynamics driving development.

The better the wind resource, the further we can afford to build out transmission lines to reach it. For example, wind resource is better around Buffalo area, but took more lines to reach it. Grant and Garfield Counties have less resource, but more power lines. That's why they are being courted now.

Turbines and install cost $2 million per megawatt of production capacity. Turbines are on back order.

Turbine production facility in Gainesville, Texas, has undergone major expansion, Twitter friend @vsnblogger reports. @GrantGriffiths (Kansas) reported, "We drove to North Dakota a week and half ago, and we met at least 10 turbines on I-29 heading south."

Blade span of wind turbine is about the same as the wingspan of 747.

If the wind speed doubles, the wind turbine generates 8 times more power.

1980's turbines spun at several hundred RPM, and blades were behind the tower, generating lots more noise.

Current turbine blades are never behind the tower, and spin at about 10 rpm, with lots less noise.

The higher speed and closer spacing of 1980's era turbines led to significant kills of migratory birds. Current turbines, not so much. Number of migratory birds killed by wind turbines in US in 2006 - 38,000. Killed by cats in Wisconsin in 2006 - 39 million.

Wind lease length is down to 30 to 50 years. Some used to lease for up to 150 years!
Lifespan of turbines is est. at 30 years.

Actually interferes very little with farming. Only 5% of ground is used for wind.
The farmers in this room are more worried about the land surface use, while wind developers worry about the wind 300 feet up. Conflict.

Average age of landowners in this room is grim. 70+. Big intergenerational shift is coming soon.

With generations of experience with less than honorable oil and gas development, we are a skeptical group here.

T. Boone Pickens is promoting huge wind farms in Texas -

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