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Wind turbines on far west side

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Wind turbines on far west side

Postby narcoleptish » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:16 pm

I guess Epic is responsible for the half dozen wind turbines that seemed to have gone up quietly on HWY 12. I just noticed them last week from the hill on 19 going into Waunakee. I thought they were IN Waunakee, they looked so close.

Was there no controversy?

They appear to be on or next to land that was once Gpa's family farm. Sure wish they hadn't sold that off all those years ago.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby massimo » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:22 pm

I thought the turbines Epic was putting up were going to be on their campus west of Verona?
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby kurt_w » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:46 pm

A good start, but pretty puny compared to the hundred-turbine wind farms springing up on China's "far west side". I visited a few of these recently and they're really impressive.

Gansu province:
Image

Dabancheng:
Image

In the past, Dabancheng was mostly famous as the setting for a folk song about a beautiful young woman. Now it's got one of the largest wind farms in the world. The pictures don't come close to capturing the extent of these things; the rows of turbines go on for miles.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby jjoyce » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:54 pm

I spotted those things taking P out of Cross Plains to Hwy. 12 north to Sauk City last weekend, too. Impressive. On a calm day they seem to be still, but if you look closely, they're moving slightly.

I made the same comment... must be new because I would have noticed them when I made that drive in the summer, right?
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:04 pm

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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby massimo » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:08 pm

Huh, you're right. I know they erected a tower on their campus to do a feasibility study for turbines, so this means that study is still in progress or the result was not positive, perhaps.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby narcoleptish » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:17 pm

I was just about to post that link too. The story is from October and I totally missed it. Says they could only do 3 on the property.

kurt_w wrote:A good start, but pretty puny compared to the hundred-turbine wind farms springing up on China's "far west side".


So that's where all their high quality steel goes. Cuz they're not exporting it.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby snoqueen » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:30 pm

Talking to people with first-hand experience, I'm hearing that the turbines, when spinning, create a very loud vibration/noise -- so loud as to be disruptive of any activities within a large radius. This is not from people who are super-sensitive to stuff like, well, the little batteries in their water meters. This is from people who found their homes and farms unliveable when the turbines are running.

Looks like in China, nobody lives next to that wind farm. That would be optimal.

I don't know if this is a problem fixable with engineering improvements, or something we will have to take into account whenever wind farms are planned. It's the one instance I can think of where Walker actually made a positive decision, even if he made it for the wrong reasons (in his case, being pro-coal). We need to know what we're getting into before we put wind towers all over.

I think the Epic towers are good if they help us understand the noise problem better, and if innocent people adversely affected are made whole.

Maybe little towers are workable but giant ones have to be placed a mile or so from human activity. We need to find out.

I was disappointed when I learned about the noise thing, but denial won't help any.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby narcoleptish » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:04 pm

I had heard of the noise issues before but had never considered the flickering effect of having the tower between you and the sun, until reading about it recently. I think that would bother me more than the noise.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:44 pm

snoqueen wrote:I think the Epic towers are good if they help us understand the noise problem better, and if innocent people adversely affected are made whole.
Sounds like it's time for a field trip, snoqueen.
snoqueen wrote:IMaybe little towers are workable but giant ones have to be placed a mile or so from human activity. We need to find out.
But we already know that little towers generate pitifully small amounts of energy compared to big tall ones. The higher you go, the stronger and steadier the wind. This is well-established in the energy community. Additionally, if you require that turbines only be placed at distance of 1 mile or greater from residences or workplaces, you'll soon find that there are vanishingly few places to put wind turbines at all. Wisconsin has little sun, no fossil fuels, a retiring nuclear fleet, and a bunch of coal plants that aren't going to last forever. If Wisconsin wants a low-carbon, local energy infrastructure, the options are wind, wood chips, and/or cow farts.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby snoqueen » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:25 pm

I'm not disagreeing with ya. Every set of comparison maps I've ever seen shows us near the bottom for geothermal, water, wind, gas, coal, and just about any other energy source except maybe biomass, where we're more toward the middle.

The least we can do is be near the top on conservation, which is more within our reach.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:06 pm

snoqueen wrote:Talking to people with first-hand experience, I'm hearing that the turbines, when spinning, create a very loud vibration/noise -- so loud as to be disruptive of any activities within a large radius. This is not from people who are super-sensitive to stuff like, well, the little batteries in their water meters. This is from people who found their homes and farms unliveable when the turbines are running.


I had read about this a while back and found some links on youtube. Seems to be two sides to that argument. Here are some video pro and con.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mablINxg3zE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKgN2G9d0dc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEnL7meW ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD0v9_zV2uk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78QwBM_A ... re=related

That last link really has it out for the wind farms. I'm thinking with better technology, they can become more quiet.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby doppel » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:58 pm

Pasted from the article Henry linked to, as usual, without any comment of his own:


"Dane County's first array of commercial wind turbines will rise hundreds of feet above the rolling hills along Highway 12 northwest of Madison under plans Epic Systems of Verona hatched over the last four weeks.

the company expected electrical savings to pay for construction within seven years.

The plan had to move quickly so that Epic can take advantage of federal tax credits that expire Dec. 31.

Epic claimed about $1.2 billion in revenues in 2011."

Plans hatched in four weeks? How does one railroad something so immense and that imposing so quickly in Dane County? Did anyone here know this was coming before it was going up? (This is news junkieland.) Why does Epic get a tax break on something that will pay back in seven years and then provide them free electricty for the foreseeable future? Who gets stuck with repair or decommission costs? Many questions. No answers. Many Towers. You write the haiku.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby kurt_w » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:24 am

narcoleptish wrote:I had heard of the noise issues before but had never considered the flickering effect of having the tower between you and the sun, until reading about it recently. I think that would bother me more than the noise.

You can find examples of this effect by googling "youtube wind turbine shadow flicker". It only happens when the sun is low in the sky, the wind is from the right direction, and a house (or whatever) is located too close to the turbine. When it does happen, it's really, really annoying.

Most turbines nowadays are sited so as to avoid casting shadows on any dwellings. A couple of years ago I had a student in one of my classes work on a project developing software tools to determine the potential range of shadow flicker, based on a 3D model of the turbine installation and a 3D model of the terrain. Now she's working for a renewable-energy company.

I think wind power is great ... in the right places. Not everywhere.
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Re: Wind turbines on far west side

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:33 am

kurt_w wrote:Most turbines nowadays are sited so as to avoid casting shadows on any dwellings.


Just read this article.

The blades will be stopped automatically whenever flickering shadows fall on any of roughly two dozen homes most likely to be affected, and the company promised to be responsive to complaints about noise, said Ed Englert, project manager for the construction contractor, The Morse Group.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/turb ... z2Dd73X2cs


The issues addressed are something people are aware of and are trying to fix. That's a good thing.

I don't really get the part about them ruining the view. Personally I think they look pretty cool and are no worse than power lines. I call bullshit on their property losing 10% of it's value JUST because of the windmills. Would they rather someone buy the land and build a Walmart.
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