Friday, June 27, 2003

I'd also like to point out that ENN has an "Environmental Marketplace" on the rigtht hand side halfway down their home page, subdivided by type of needs met. If you're looking for green solutions to your product or investment needs, you may well find them there.
I'm currently looking into the New Alternatives Fund as a way to invest in the future of clean renewable energy, which they state they focus on. I do not know enough at this point to endorse them, but I would love to hear from anyone with knowledge or experience about investing in this fund.
See General Electric's pages on their wind turbine offerings at: GE Imagination At Work - Wind Energy. It's pretty cool!
From ENN, how to greatly reduce energy wasted by your water heating systems: The ABCs of saving energy and cutting water heater bills.
In another article from ENN, the ACEEE has urged the Bush Administration to include efficiency and conservation as weapons in the battle against natural gas shortages.
Researchers in Wisconsin say they've found a viable and much less expensive way of using a catalyst to produce hydrogen from organic waste in this ENN article entitled Researchers find new metal combination for cheaper production of hydrogen as fuel. (One of the things they want to do is clean up and make money off of wastes from cheese processing plants!)
FRom ENS, a private foundation outlines why it will grant $8.1 Million in funds ti projects in states including Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin: McKnight Foundation Invests $8 Million in Renewables .

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Another from ENS, the League of Conservative Voters has issued it's "Report Card" for the Bush Administration's environmental performance. Read all about it in: League of Conservation Voters Slams Bush Record
From ENS, reports that the EPA's recent "State of the Environment" report are in a state of artistic fiction via omission crafting - read about it in-depth at: Doctored EPA Environment Report Raises Questions
Another from ENN, France is modifying their constitution to give the environment as much importance as human rights. Read about it at: French Cabinet approves plan for a new environmental charter.
From Changing World Technologies, a way to take the waste stream and convert almost anything other than spent nuclear rods into ~ gasp! ~ oil. The thing is, this oil is using carbon that is already above the ground, rather than sequestered in ancient underground oil reserves. Imagine flushing your toilet into an oil refinery pipeline...and your drainline, and your plastic containers, used tires, old computers, yard waste, spoiled food, etc, etc, etc...and using non-polluting wind to feed the energy input into the process that creates this oil. Oil which can be refined into gasoline, diesel, heating oil, plastics, etc. OH, and by the way? The process also creates extremely pure water and industrial grade minerals...
Also from ENN, the British are moving fast to take advantage of their huge wind potential - and plannning on moving even faster. Looks like the investment environment in Britain is very good for wind energy investors, too. Check it all out in this article: Gusty Britain is boosting wind power to fight global warming.
From ENN and the Earth Policy Institute, an article to light up our pages - Wind Power Set to Become World's Leading Energy Source.

Some bullet quotes from the above article:

"In 1991, a national wind resource inventory taken by the U.S. Department of Energy startled the world when it reported that the three most wind-rich states--North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas--had enough harnessable wind energy to satisfy national electricity needs. Now a new study by a team of engineers at Stanford reports that the wind energy potential is actually substantially greater than that estimated in 1991.

Advances in wind turbine design since 1991 allow turbines to operate at lower wind speeds, to harness more of the wind's energy, and to harvest it at greater heights--dramatically expanding the harnessable wind resource. Add to this the recent bullish assessments of offshore wind potential, and the enormity of the wind resource becomes apparent. Wind power can meet not only all U.S. electricity needs, but all U.S. energy needs."

"If the huge offshore potential is added , it seems likely that wind power could satisfy not only world electricity needs but perhaps even total energy needs."

"Wind is popular because it is abundant, cheap, inexhaustible, widely distributed, climate-benign, and clean--attributes that no other energy source can match. The cost of wind-generated electricity has dropped from 38¢ a kilowatt-hour in the early 1980s to roughly 4¢ a kilowatt-hour today on prime wind sites. Some recently signed U.S. and U.K. long-term supply contracts are providing electricity at 3¢ a kilowatt-hour. Wind Force 12 projected that the average cost per kilowatt hour of wind-generated electricity will drop to 2.6¢ by 2010 and to 2.1¢ by 2020. U.S. energy consultant Harry Braun says that if wind turbines are mass-produced on assembly lines like automobiles, the cost of wind-generated electricity could drop to 1-2¢ per kilowatt hour."

"Although wind-generated electricity is already cheap, its cost continues to fall. In contrast with oil, there is no OPEC to set prices for wind."

"Cheap electricity from wind makes it economical to electrolyze water and produce hydrogen."

"With the wind industry's engineering know-how and manufacturing experience, it would be relatively easy to scale up the size of the industry, even doubling it annually for several years".

"For energy investors, growth in the future lies with wind and the hydrogen produced with cheap wind-generated electricity."

"If the need arises to shift quickly to hydrogen-fueled automobiles, this can be done by converting gasoline-burning internal combustion engines to hydrogen with inexpensive conversion kits."

"The energy future belongs to wind. The world energy economy became progressively more global during the twentieth century as the world turned to oil. It promises to reverse direction and become more local during the twenty-first century as the world turns to wind, wind-generated hydrogen, and solar cells. Wind and wind-generated hydrogen will shape not only the energy sector of the global economy but the global economy itself."

And from us here at the Great Lakes Zephyr:

"The breeze always blows in the Windy City,
And all her sisters along the shores,
Could they but blow closed eyelids open,
How rich we'd see we are..."

Looks like it's starting to happen. I strongly recommend reading this article - it's telling us something we need to know and jump on. G.W.B. - take note and find a better place to invest your time and energy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Also from ENS, the latest on the state of carbon sequestration initiatives, in: Carbon Sequestration Focus of Leadership Forum.
From ENS, Brazil and the U.S have signed an expansive agreement on energy cooperation and collaboration, including developing President Bush's proposed hydrogen economy, and cooperation on new nukes and carbon sequestration. Brazil is the first Latin American country to sign up. Read all about it at: United States, Brazil Forge Closer Energy Ties

Monday, June 23, 2003

A group devoted to renewable energy in Wisconsin: Renew They have a wide range of renewable energy project listings and information on the state.
From the AWEA, a listing of the wind energy projects in Wisconsin.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

There are some things I'd love to write here in this space, but I don't think it's time just yet. I don't want to rob the idea of it's power by disclosing it too soon. There are things that could be done in this region to help drive making it a premier area for support and manufacturing for this industry, and I need to contact certain parties to put the wheels in motion before I talk much on it. Anyone that's read through from the early pages knows my resoning for why this area should be a leader in the field of renewable energy. There are many things that add to the bottom line potential of the Great Lakes region as a power-house of renewable energy. But how to get from point A to point Z?

That question could be debated for centuries, I suppose, but the opportunity is now, while the industry is still in it's infancy. First and foremost, the regional governments involved need to form an "Energy Union" to develope policy to move the region into position in the energy industry. That council needs to have real say over energy statutes in member states - and while that might give up some control, it would also create a powerhouse energy production entity that could drive the industry in the area, given the right talent and drive.

A question that needs to be answered, how much authority would such a body have to negotiate an international treaty? Canada also borders on these bodies of water, and the Canadian provincial governments in the region should rightfully be involved. That would not only avoid friction with our Northern neighbors, it would add to the ability of such a body to attract industry players to the region and generate local economic activity in renewable energy on a much grander scale. But how to get such a commission or union truly going?

One can't help but look at the example of the European Union for ideas. They're managing to drive governments that have been at odds for centuries to work together to achieve economies of scale in industry and commerce. If the Americas do not follow suit, they will be in time left behind by Europe and Asia. Already Europe and especially the Netherlands are taking a significant lead in energy independence by strong investment in developement of wind energy. They are running a nearly continuous 25% annual growth in wind power, and starting to get seriously involved in offshore wind farming. So what happens if the United States and it's neighbors do not follow this example, or better yet, take the lead?

Our national security is seriously jeopardized by continued reliance on Mid-Eastern oil. Our lines of supply are long and vulnerable to attack. Never forget the past colonial drives of European nations building empires, or the vast asian empires of the past. If we remain reliant on a power source that is produced halfway around the world, those who do not rely on it will have the ability to destroy it and crush our industry without suffering the same fate - and may in fact feel compelled to do so because the environmental impact of our continued use of such fuels is global in nature, and a threat to them as much as to us. This reliance is driven largely by a political coup pulled off by big oil interests in the U.S. executive branch and years of huge public utilities playing ball with oil companies because that's where the money is. Greed could literally destroy this nation, for no matter how powerful our military, it won't stand up to a world united against an environmentally monstrous bully. I have to wonder just exactly how much cross-ownership there is between oil companies and power utilities? Personally, I feel that any fuel suppliers should be forbidden to have ownership in utility companies. I believe that utility companies should be owned by the non-corporate residential customers they serve through stock ownership that is divvied up amongst the population in the area the Utility serves - and that every share should have the right to electronically vote on every issue. It would be interesting to see the results of the energy policy poll that would be...

This is not likely to happen in this country, however. There is far too little organization by the common man in the United States for the power base to be created, although internet based political action groups are making some strides in that direction. I still believe too many make their political decisions through either the inaction of a sense of hoplessness, or raw emotion rather than logic and candiates' voting records. It also is not easy enough to see who stands where on what issues and compare those statements with past voting records for career politicians.

Nevertheless, we are facing serious climate issues, and we MUST take immediate action to redeem our technology and align it with the natural processes that support life on this planet, or face global devastation, and even possibly render the planet lifeless through rapid and catastrophic climate change. In the face of that, it seems every nation on Earth but ours will make an attempt to address the issue. However, the time frames being looked at are in the range of better than a century to completely remove fossil fuels from energy production. This is not fast enough. We've ALREADY poured enough greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere to push the Earth's climate to the edge of habitability over the long term. And we're still turning the burner up on the stove.

We need several things to happen:

1. All taxes should be taken off of energy and equipment that is produced anywhere in the worldfrom renewable sources or for them. This should include any corporate income taxes on infome derived from renwable energy production, servicing, or equipment manufacturing. Tarrifs on such energy or equipment should not be alliowed to exist.

2. All income paid out by individuals in every country for energy from a renewable resource should be 100% tax deductible. So should donations to projects or groups that support or install renewable energy generation equipment.

3. All laws restricting the construction of renewable energy producing equipment other than for protection of endangered species should be rendered unlawful at a federal or global level.

4. Every utility customer should have the right to choose a renewable energy source if it's available, and all utility profits should be required to go into constructing renewable energy power plants until such time as their power plants are 100% non-reliant on fossil fuels.

5. NO utility should be allowed to deny transmission network access by a renewable energy producer, provided their equipment can meet the same network safety standards that current generation technology is held to. The renewable power producer should be required to split the cost of new transmission facilities with the utility company 50/50 and visa versa.

Put these policies in place, and our national security and domestic economic activity will surge, even as the environmental impact of our energy supply will plummet. There would be a huge domestic job market created at a very rapid rate - because the renwable resources are mostly local in nature - and it's cheaper to transfer the power or hydrogen produced than the intial energy source for power production. This would be a godsend for our battered workers and farmers.

Friday, June 20, 2003

From ENS, the Healing Our World - Weekly Comment: The Earth Is Heating Up Despite the Lies
Illinois Wind Energy is working on Illinois' first wind farm, Crescent Ridge in Bureau County. Read all the press so far at their Project News Page.
Native Energy has a program called Windbuilders that allows you to help fund construction of wind farms on Native American reservations and small family farms for a very modest yearly contribution. It's early in the game on this project, they're still putting up their first turbine on the Rosebud Sioux reservation in South Dakota, but it looks like a family-owned farm in South Dakota will be next. The company that is handling the farm-based mills specializes in wind farming on small family farms in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa. The first Minnesota project will make this an official Great Lakes region story, but joining is something you can do now to help. The grid that the South Dakota mills are being connected is the heaviest relier on coal in the nation, making the environmental impact of the wind turbines maximized in benefit.
ENS also has an article on a pact on hydrogen economy developement recently signed by the U.S. and the E.U. at: Trans-Atlantic Fuel Cell Development Pact Signed
ENS has noted the lack of renewable and conservation groups at the upcoming Natural Gas Summit, with these groups sending a lwetter requesting representation at the summit in order to put some of their potential solutions on the table. Read about it HERE.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

We're up to five mp3 recorded wind poems now at Our Wind Poetry Page, and there are several others viewable in text only format that will be recorded in time.
Couldn't help myself, I was inspired to a new poem by the way I feel about all this:

Becoming Druid:

You walk under the stars and changing skies,
The scent of the Mother slowly invades your heart,
Reaching in with tears and whispers and dreams,
Aspirations for cleaner lives flash burn in the heat of intuition,
And in that moment of inner light you feel her cry,
Saviors operating in bits and pieces,
Like ants we are many dispersed,
Like leaves we feel the wind and sun and they are good,
Working always to bury the detritus that beetles dig up,
This amazing awe in each place untouched,
Poetry is life and life has verses of it's own,
Hearing the whispers in a rainbow will tell you,
But when your un-trained inevitable vision quest comes on you,
There are no other choices because it's your nature,
Our nature but only so many achieve it,
Once the light shines down on you,
Learning to live it in some form of harmony,
Only on that path will the spells and whispers and words,
Add to the bones being shaken,
Bring the wave to crescendo and harmonic force,
Plant a bare foot upon the Earth and you are caressed,
Child and clan open your ears,
The green and the blue and the sky are in your eyes,
Crisp and clean is the common goal,
And the Mother is giving warning the undermind slowly hears,
The trees of her lungs are huffing loud,
Heat on the nape of every neck,
And the few first to notice are a named clan,
The Mother is calling them back home,
Under the stars the children with ancient souls,
Fast are becoming Druid,
And the stars in their eyes best we pray,
May save us all.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 06/19/2003

Author's Comments:
More and more I find that I want to learn how I can help
heal the Earth - and every day that I read about others
who sense the same urgent beat of time I do,
I realize that this is what my idea of Druid is. Were we
called to these births in this time by God? I hope the sum
adds up in time.
Also from ENS, Presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt is embracing wind, solar, and hydrogen: Gephardt Vows to End U.S. Foreign Oil Addiction
From ENS, an article on a new and broadly bipartisan coalition to move US energy policy in a direction more compatible with oil independence and renewable energy: Group Aims to Take Politics Out of Energy Policy

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

An in-depth series of articles and essays on Global Warming, the how's, why's, what will happen's, and what you can do to help reduce impacts and effects from ENN:

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Monday, June 16, 2003

Friday, June 13, 2003

From ENN, a Cal Tech study indicates there is potential for destruction of up to 8% of stratospheric ozone if an emerging hydrogen energy economy is not cautiously developed to eliminate hydrogen leaks. Read about it at: Ballyhooed hydrogen fuel cells may have environmental drawback. Even with ozone depletion a possibility, hydrogen is still far less impactive on the environment than fossil fuels.
An interesting discussion of issues with offshore wind plants, including some specific to such plants in the Great Lakes. Read it HERE.
How to buy green power certificates online and directly help increase renewable source energy production no matter where you live: Renewable Choice Energy.
October 2002 Energy Tidbits From the state government of Michigan outlining good energy news around the Great Lakes region. Well worth checking out.
Cargill Dow LLC, a Minnetonka, Minnesota company, is quietly building a green revolution in packaging and bedding materials made out of corn byproducts. How about a clear wrap that looks like the petroleum based plastics currently used for most products, and acts like plastic, but that composts into organic fertilizer in six weeks and is made from corn byproducts? Or bedding for your home that feels like cotton or silk but can be composted after it's worn out? Made right here in the Great Lakes region, and already marketed globally, read all about this fast-growing boon to the environment and our farmers at: In "green" container, corn replaces petroleum from Planet Ark.
It appears that Chicago Tribune commentary writer Molly Ivins feels the breeze; read her 06/12/2003 opinion letter: Here's How the Wind is Blowing.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

From EcoISP: Great Lakes shoreline developement protection fund...
An internet service provider that helps: EcoISP - donates 50% profits to ecocauses & shares econews...this is a great resource for dial-up. I'm still investigating if they have a broadband offering.
The Irish are building the world's largest offshore wind farm, 520 MW and when complete, THREE TIMES the current capacity of every existing offshore wind plant on the planet combined. Check it out! "Phase 1 of the project, when operational, will replace some €330 million of imported fossil fuels. The social benefit of avoided pollution is estimated at €25 million ($22.3 million). " We could be doing this.....

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

An excellent series of average annual wind resource maps well subdivided by region and state. From the looks of it so far, Minnesota has the best wind resource on land, followed by Michigan, then Illinois, then Wisconsin, then Indiana. This is not counting out on the lakes. Take a look-see for yourself.
Green Nature's pages on The Great Lakes' environmental issues and ecology is interesting and a good solid basis for understanding the natural surroundings of these lakes and their environmental challenges.
From ENN & The Green House Network: US Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-IL) to be Honorary Chair as Green House Network, in Partnership with The Field Museum, adds Chicago to its Environmental Awareness Raising Series of Runs/Walks. Check it out.
The Nuclear Free Green Energy Task Force - a Great Lakes region environmental group dedicated to energy conservation and clean renewable energy source developement in the Great Lakes region. Check them out!
Interesting and more interesting - a New York wind farm developement near the shore of Lake Eerie, with a wind developer considering putting turbines on the lake itself, and of course, mis-informed controversy over the project. Read all about it in the Great Lakes Environmental Directory article from January 2003...

Monday, June 09, 2003

Just an early FYI, but I am working on a possible project to document the stories of renewable energy suppliers in the region. I will so note any entries that become available.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Michigan residents - the benefits of purchasing green power from Bay Windpower - Equal to taking one car off the road and planting an acre & 1/2 of trees for every year you purchase it, keeps jobs and economic activity local, decreases foreign oil dependence, lessens economic support to potentially hostile foreign nations, and promotes further spending on renewable energy equipment installations. Check it out...
An interesting take on Great Lakes wind energy potential and current status from the Energy Star program. (Appliance efficiency and conservation certifiers.)
How much power can be produced?

Saturday, June 07, 2003

The 2004 American Wind Energy association's expo is coming to CHICAGO !!!!!

Find details:

"The World of Wind Energy is coming together at
Global WINDPOWER 2004
Chicago, Illinois, USA
March 28-31, 2004"
Other briefs from Windletter:

The wind Production Tax Credit is still under debate on the Senate floor, and a nation-wide RPS that would have required 10% of the nation's energy to come from renewable energy sources by 2020 was defeated entirely along party lines, with all Republicans voting against, all Democrats for. The AWEA is still actively lobbying both issues. (These are really important and huge drivers of renewable energy source generating capacity installation. If you feel renewables are good for our nation, PLEASE write your congresspersons in support of these measures.)

----------- Quote ----------------
"Thirteen business, environmental, and energy policy organizations, including AWEA, all members of the Sustainable Energy Coalition delivered a list of renewable energy priorities for the 108th Congress to the Majority and Minority leaders of the U.S. Senate as well as the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Committees on Finance and Energy and Natural Resources.

The organizations called upon the Senate, as it takes up consideration of national energy legislation, to support "a dramatic expansion of renewable energy production from our biomass, geothermal, incremental hydropower, solar, and wind resources." Such an approach, they argued, would "immediately benefit the economy and the environment as well as our energy and homeland security."

The priorities list includes production and investment tax credits for renewable energy sources, uniform interconnection and net metering standards, fair transmission access, a renewable fuels standard and a renewable portfolio standard, and a doubling of funding over the next five years for renewable energy research, development, and deployment activities.

The Sustainable Energy Coalition is a coalition of business, environmental, consumer, and energy policy organizations founded in 1992 to promote increased use of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies.

For more information, contact Ken Bossong, e-mail , or go to the CoalitionWeb site at ."

------------- End Quote ------------------------

The presence of commercial-scale wind turbines does not appear to harm property values, according to a study the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) presented at WINDPOWER 2003, AWEA’s annual Conference and Exhibition held May 19-21 in Austin, Tex. (Next one's in CHICAGO!!)

They used properties located within five miles of wind plants of 10 MW capacity or greater installed between 1998-current for the study. They found property values actually ROSE quickly after the projects came on line, and that property values in the areas near the wind farms outperformed those further away over the long term as well.

New projects:

------------ Quote ------------------------------

"AWEA reported at the end of the second quarter of 2003 that the U.S. wind energy industry is on track to install 1,100-1,400 MW of new capacity this year, despite the power generation industry's generally poor outlook. The growth that is underway across the country is expected to increase U.S. installed wind power capacity from current levels of close to 4,700 MW to approximately 6,000 MW (enough to serve 1.5 million homes)."

------------ End Quote ------------------------

In the Great Lakes region:

State Project / Total cap / Developer / Utility / Manufacturer / # turbines / Per turbine cap.

Illinois Crescent Ridge / 48 / Illinois Wind Energy / Com Ed / NEG Micon / 32 / 1.5MW
Minn. Chanarambie / 85.5 / enXco / Xcel Energy / GE Wind / 57 / 1.5-MW
Minn. Moraine Wind Power Project / 51 / PPM Energy / Xcel Energy / GE Wind / 34 / 1.5-MW
Minn. Farmers’ Cooperatives / 24 / DanMar & Associates / Xcel Energy / Great River Energy / Suzlon Energy / 24 / 1-MW
Minn. McNeilus Wind Farm / 22.8 / Garwin McNeilus / Xcel Energy / NEG Micon / 24 / 950-kW
Minn. Viking / 12 / enXco / Xcel Energy


Students at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn drove the installation of a 10kw Bergey turbine at the college. Siting is not the best due to a prominent urban setting and the associated chaotic airflow from surrounding buildings, but they are setting an example.

SOURCE: AWEA Windletter
Quoting This month's AWEA Windletter on how the cost of electricity is derived from operational figures for a utility scale wind plant:

"The main drivers that impact the cost of electricity from a wind plant are the following: the yearly amortized cost of building and maintaining the plant, divided by the amount of electricity produced.

This can be expressed through the following formula:
cents/kWh = (capital recovery cost + operations and maintenance cost)/ (kWh/year)).

Additional revenue streams, such as the production tax credit and a 'green' credit where available, further reduce the cost to the consumer that the wind farm owner must charge to gain a good return on investment.

Money In

In order to determine how much electricity a wind farm could produce, the first place to start is to get a good idea of the wind resource available. Since the energy in the wind is related to the cube of the wind speed [Power in the Wind (W/m2)= (wind speed)3 x ½(air density) x swept rotor area], small variations in the wind speed can lead to large changes in power output. For example, according to industry estimates from a couple of years ago, a wind farm at a site with wind speeds of 7.15 m/s (16 mph) would cost 4.8 cents per kWh, where one at a site with wind at 8.08 m/s (18.07) would cost 3.6 cents per kWh, a 25% reduction in cost.

In general, utility-scale wind farm developers look for wind speeds of greater than 7 meters per second (m/s, 15.66 miles per hour) at the height the generator will be placed. Wind speed measurement technology is improving, which helps developers more clearly define what the potential energy resource at specific sites and different hub heights will be.

Electricity production is also related to the swept rotor area, which is a factor of the square of the length of one blade. Since energy production is exponentially related to size, but the cost of the turbine is related linearly to size, the drive toward larger turbines has been one of the main factors behind wind power's dramatic reduction in costs.

Another main element in determining how much electricity a wind farm can produce is the reliability of the technology how much of the time the wind farm is available to operate. Where some of the early wind turbines that were installed in California were available to produce electricity less than a third of the time, today's technology is available to take advantage of good winds more than 98% of the time.

Money Out

After determining how much electricity a wind farm could produce, the next question is how much it will cost to build and maintain.

The benchmark figure that the wind industry uses to calculate costs for installing a wind plant is $1 million per megawatt of installed capacity. According to Gates, about 70% of a project's cost is the turbine itself. Other industry analysts confirm that about 10% goes toward legal and financing fees, and about 20% goes toward construction. In addition to the economies of scale related to turbine size discussed earlier, larger wind farms also bring economies of scale in construction and transaction costs. Assuming the same wind speed of 8.08 m/s, the same wind energy analysis as above estimates that a 3-MW wind farm would produce electricity that cost 5.9 cents per kWh, whereas a 51-MW wind farm would produce power for 3.6 cents per kWh, a nearly 40% drop.

A rule of thumb for operations and maintenance costs is about one-half to two-thirds of one cent per kWh generated.

The other main cost factor that must be put into the final cost of energy calculation is the capital recovery cost, or how much money needs to be returned to the debt and equity providers. For debt, the longer the term of the loan and the more secure the power purchase agreement, the lower the interest rates will be. For equity, returns vary with risk. According to Gates, because the technology is a relative newcomer, the perceived risk of a wind farm may be higher than the actual risks, which leads to higher requirements for returns on investment.

After calculating how much electricity the wind farm is likely to produce and how much it will cost to finance, build, and maintain it, one can get a good idea of what the electricity will cost to produce. Other revenue streams such as the value of the production tax credit and "green credits" help to provide an adequate after-tax income to the owner, while keeping the price of electricity low enough to compete with other resources.

In the best wind resource areas with the value of the production tax credit taken into account, wind has been reportedly selling on the wholesale market for prices less than three to four cents per kWh, a level that compares well with the cost of power from new coal or gas-fired facilities. "

--------- END QUOTE -----------------

Clearly proper siting is imperative in being cost-competitive with fossil fuel and nuclear, but also clearly, there are plenty of sites within the U.S. that meet the siting requirements for energy density of wind power - including the Great Lakes.

Friday, June 06, 2003

This is excellent - the Environmental Yellow Pages has a page on Canadian groups and firms. This is good to know, as we share this great resource with our Northern neigbors. See their listings for further info.
Another from ENN, this should really be helpful to the economy in our area, and also replace the use of approximately 250,000 barrels of foreign oil a day by 2015: Senate approves measure to double use of ethanol in gasoline.
From ENN, more on the fresh water issue, one in six people on the face of the Earth lack regular access to safe drinking water and a child dies every eight minutes due to foul water or dehydration. Here's what they want to do about it, for starters: "Dying for water," world marks environment day.
ENN just came out today with an excellent in-depth look at the ins and outs of political lobbyism for the environment, including limitations on non-profit environmental groups with various types of incorporation, where to get information on voting records, what groups are involved, and much, much more. This is an excellent information source, I highly recommend anyone who cares for the environment to read it at: With polluters in power in Congress, a green electoral strategy is gaining traction

Thursday, June 05, 2003

From Windpower Monthly: This month's focus: Fighting fear in the finance sector with the
lure of green tag trade; The wind sector should be overrun by financial institutions stumbling over themselves to get in. The fundamentals of the sector are strong, wind is moving to the mainstream and alternative investment opportunities lack appeal. But arranging finance for a wind project has become difficult, if not impossible. Why? Wind is... (Go to,#focus to read more about this article)
Also from ENN, a massive, $21 million effort by 500 scientists in over 70 countries: Upcoming Reports Link Human Well-being and Nature This is a global scale effort to assess the issues we face and attempt to find solutions. Interesting reading, indeed. They sure need what we could be doing...
Yet another from ENN today: Commission's 3-year study cites dire need for new approach to U.S. oceans It seems at least as much oil is running off the land into the oceans every eight months as was released by the Exxon Valdez tanker spill. Renewable energy combined with a hydrogen economy could also mitigate that problem. And we have a huge piece of the answer right here, sitting under our noses, waiting to make our local economy jump leaps and bounds if we open our eyes to it. Even as we help save the environment and people's very lives by doing it. If that isn't a win-wind proposition, I don't know what is. Go check out the article...
ENN also has another very important article: World's water supplies under threat from irrigation, says United Nations. This is no surprise to me, it's been going on for many years, but it's reaching critical stages that will begin to have huge impacts world-wide very soon. One thing before you go in, offshore wind plants producing hydrogen on the oceans could help offset this trend by increasing the world's fresh water supplies after the hydrogen is burned. Think about it - millions of tailpipes outputting steam instead of smog. Household fuel cells outputting distilled-quality water for residential use after they use their fuel to produce electricity to provide energy. These are some of the things renewable energy resources combined with a hydrogen economy can do for us all. And remember, the Great Lakes hold one fifth of the ENTIRE WORLD's supply of fresh water. Where are they going to look when they run the underground aquifiers dry if we don't make some moves, hmm? Considering we're talking millions of peoples' lives here, things could actually get very...aggressive.
Interesting article here, ENN is reporting that Three States Are Suing The EPA over failing to enforce carbon dioxide emissions laws, and others are acting on their own to reduce emissions.
Back to Kettler Ecological Design - there is a very brief background on their renewable energy posters, which were designed and published in 1984. Also pricing and purchase information. I also found out that Alan Kettler is an alumnus of the University of Michigan in Geology. That makes it an official Great Lakes story. You can find out more about the posters at his page: There are four posters covering solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal. If possible, we may have more on Alan Kettler's story in the future. These posters would look wonderful in any collection, and they remind me of the style used in the Southshore Line rail posters. Almost art deco, almost. Beautiful work here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

From the AWEA Small Wind News & Alerts Yahoo group today:


Group home page:


WASHINGTON, May 19, 2003-USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development
Thomas Dorr today announced that the deadline for applying for grants
under the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements
program has been extended from the original date of June 6, 2003 to June
27, 2003.

The deadline was extended to allow additional time for applications to
be developed and submitted for the $23 million in grant funds. The
notice extending the deadline for applications will appear in the
Federal Register on Monday, May 19, 2003. Also included in the Federal
Register notice will be information clarifying financial and other
requirements for the grants along with information on how to access
useful resources to assist in the applicant's preparation of the
application. Such resources include the Department of Energy and the
Agriculture Market Resource Center, funded by USDA Rural Development in
July of 2001. Resource information will be also be available on USDA
Rural Development website at

The grant program is available to eligible rural small businesses,
farmers, and ranchers to develop renewable energy systems and make
energy efficiency improvements to their operations. Applicants must be
U.S. citizens or legal residents and have demonstrated financial need.

Grant funds may be used to pay up to 25 percent of the project costs.
Eligible projects include those that derive energy from wind, solar,
biomass, or geothermal sources. Projects using energy from those sources
to produce hydrogen derived from biomass or water are also eligible.
The program was authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill, and is conducted in
collaboration with the Department of Energy.

The original Notice of Funding Availability for the grant program,
including detailed information about program requirements and how to
apply, was posted in the Federal Register on April 8, 2003.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that
will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of
life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development
provides equity, liquidity, and technical assistance to finance and
foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical
community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural
programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by
visiting USDA's web site at

Link to NOFA:

Instructions & template:

There's not much time left for this year.....and I strongly urge you to subscribe to this group. Many states have programs as well.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

An excellent article on some happenings in wind energy in Michigan. It seems Bay Windpower has been collaborating on the low speed turbine project with the DOE and others and they also have a manufacturing plant (since the 1980's) located in MIchigan for utility scale turbines. See the article for further details. (This one is really good.)
Borrowed from the alternatepower Yahoo group -

Message: 2
Date: Tue, 03 Jun 2003 08:20:10 -0000
From: "saunderj"
Subject: OT: Amory Lovins interview 8:00 PM, Tuesday June 3, KQED radio

This is a great interview, with lots of interesting perspective
on energy efficiency.

From the City Arts web site:

Amory Lovins is renowned for his wide-ranging intellect and unique
problem-solving approach, which he has applied to make breakthroughs
in fields ranging from automobiles to energy. His work has
consistently focused on harnessing market forces to promote resource
efficiency as a solution to a variety of economic, social, and
environmental problems. Trained as an experimental physicist, Lovins
rose to prominence during the oil crises of the 1970s when, still in
his 20s, he challenged conventional supply-side dogma by urging that
the United States instead follow a "soft energy path."

In 1982, Lovins co-founded the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado-
based applied research center that fosters the efficient and
restorative use of resources to create a more secure, prosperous, and
life-sustaining world. The institute has grown to include a 50-member
research staff that is working to protect and enhance natural and
human resources. He has authored or co-authored 28 books and hundreds
of papers, among them Natural Capitalism and Small is Profitable. The
recipient of numerous awards including a MacArthur Fellowship, Lovins
was named a "Hero for the Planet" by Time magazine in 2000.

Listen online at, or listen in the San Francisco
Bay Area at 88.5 FM.

These are some ideas that sound interesting and possibly could be of use to those in our region as well.
An interesting site - Kettler Ecological Design - these folk use artwork to promote ecological tourism ("Ecotourism"). Here is their page on wind energy, and their home page.
This is wonderful - the State of Michigan's Consumer & Industry Sevices (CSI) website page on renewable energy gives links to several specific projects' websites within Michigan, as well as a basic description of the most common sources of renewable energy. Well worth looking at further!
Please do not get the idea that this site is promoting any given religion - these reports are simply because those of faith I've recognized here bear common cause in their activities with this journal. My personal beliefs are very private and I feel strongly are a matter of personal choice that I am unqualified to direct anyone else on. My readers' relationship to the force or being that is behind our universe is their own business, not mine.
Remember I was mentioning inter-faith movements towards helping steward the Earth's biosphere with renewables and conservation in our region? (If you don't, simply look at yesterday's posts...) Here is an excellent site on just that from Minnesota: Environmental Stewardship Commission - Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota
The battle over ethanol's impact on the environment when blended with gasoline continues. Read all about at: Senate begins debate on increasing amount of ethanol in gasoline, ENN's latest article on the subject. This is important because it impacts farmers in Great Lakes states directly. The sad part is that at the end, they haven't realized they could eliminate half the criticisms by using wind energy and solar power to implement ethanol's production at several stages of the cycle - a move that would give an advantage to Great Lakes region farmers in ethanol crop production - and encourage ethanol producers to locate in the Great Lakes region where such clean power sources are available abundantly, and so are people all over the area that have seen other manufacturing jobs go to Mexico, South America, and China. But of course, that's my opinion on another drop in the regional economic impact bucket that still hasn't fallen from the tap yet...yet...come on, girls and boys, let's all make some noise - to bring those jobs home. Oh, and farmers - increase demand for local energy after they move here by migrating your farm equipment to ethanol and biodiesel fuels rather than oil...every such move pulls the economic activity closer to home...
One last item: ENN article on the Green House Network's upcoming workshop in Boston to combat Global Warming.

Monday, June 02, 2003

And on that note, it's time to say good night. Thank you for stopping by, and remember: Win-Wind!
An excellent article on the Great Lakes weather patterns and seasonal variations and what drives them.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's National Wind Technology Center is working hard to develope utility scale turbines that can market wind energy in the $0.03/kwh range in a class four wind environment at ten meters above ground level, instead of the current $0.05-0.06/kwh. This type of wind environment exists in great abundance along the shorelines of the Great Lakes as stated in the article. (Father off-shore on the lakes the wind resource goes up to class six...) See the article at: Low Speed Wind Turbine Project
Now, this is cool. There appears to be an interfaith cooperative of religious groups including several major single-deity faiths, such as Christians, Sikhs, Muslims, and others working together to help combat global warming through installing energy conserving equipment and renewable energy source equipment such as rooftop windmills and solar panels. From An Energy-Saving Mission For U.S. Churches By Rebecca Williams of the Great Lakes Radio Consortium. Awesome!
'Night, all...
The Ontario (Canada) Ministry of Energy page on wind power...
An interesting assesment of wind resources domestically by a teacher: Wind Page
Interesting - the 2002 tax rules for wind power production in Minnesota: Tax Rules MN.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

On that note, it's time for me to take a break for the night. I hope I've given you readers ample information to review and consider. So far, my primary activity is to bring content from multiple sources and concentrate region-specific articles, sources, theories, and data in one place for you. Being a new start up, we do not yet have the resources to travel the region extensively in search of local stories - so we rely on you, our readers to alert us to news and history about our region. Please, if you know anyone with a related story or experience, or site to share, remember us. Thank you for reading, and good night...

You have GOT to see this web page! It's published by the Union of Concerned Scientists at: UCS Article on Great Lakes States impact and opportunities on global power. According to this group, "Illinois has the potential to produce 83% of it's electricity from wind power and 35% from biomass sources." These guys aren't even speaking about the potential ON THE LAKES and it exceeds current power generation in the state! It also has some serious news about the other Great Lakes states - such as 12,000 wind energy jobs and counting in Minnesota - the current Great Lakes area leader in Wind Energy.
Traverse City, MI had the first utility scale windmill installed through a utility company-charged premium on power opted for by the utility's customers. See the July, 1996 story: Here. It was also installed on land leased from a family farm owner by Traverse City Light & Power...
An interesting ecological / geophysical study on the Great Lakes - wind and wave energy versus wetland protection. It sounds like the overall outlook is good, and conflict is minimal. Their findings seem to indicate wind and wave power intensive areas are not conducive to most wetland ecologies, and areas where these energy sources do not naturally exist in abundance typically are. God's Country, indeed... See the study page.