Wind generation footprint and other issues
Wind generation footprint came to my mind as I drove across Indiana. It was amazing to see these structures. Then it started annoying me as I continued to drive through the farmland, seeing them over and over. Initially, I was thinking it was a unique and impressive structure, but if I had to see that all the time it would not be so impressive. I actually started missing the skyline.
I know one can build a 200MW gas plant in about 10 acres. In order to build the same 200MW for a wind farm you would need 12,000 acres – just about 60 acres per MW. If we assume it was built evenly, it would take almost 19 miles of driving parallel to the wind farm before your eyes could take a break. Whereas the gas plants, you can drive by it in fraction of the time and potentially not even know it.
Then I started to think about the farmers, since most of the blades were on farmland. Did these farmers get properly compensated? Did the farmers get compensated for loss of crop yield due to compaction of the soil as install and maintenance will likely cause long-term compaction? Did they account for their inability to do aerial spraying? I see there are reports of positive aspects of wind. They say they can increase the ambient lower temperature which could lead to greater crop yield.
I am not writing to bash wind generation, but only to point out to many of the proponents of wind that there are some reasonable objections. In addition, as with most things, there are pros and cons. The extent of development can only go so far when the technology does have cons. Too many studies conclude significant renewables can be developed without balancing some of the real issues that will limit renewables. A balance portfolio of generation will likely be the outcome with each area balancing out their level of pros and cons.
At All Energy Consulting we can help you run and model your resource options/plans to balance those pros and cons. We can either offer a third-party assessment or help design and build you a process plan for which you can manage yourself.
Your Energy Consultant,