NorthWestern Energy's Wind Energy Deal and Project
Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
Here's a March 28, 2018 article about NorthWestern Energy's recent (1) deal to buy wind energy from a new 80 megawatt wind project called South Peak, to be located east of Great Falls; and (2) Northwestern Energy's plans to purchase a 9.7 megawatt Two Dot wind project located west of Harlowton.

As explained in the article, here's the free-market business math of NorthWestern's decision to purchase wind generated electricity and a wind farm:

"As a sign of how deeply the cost of wind energy has declined, the price mutually agreed to by the utility and the wind developer was jaw-dropping low. At $21.66 per megawatt hour (MWh), energy from this wind project will be three times cheaper for NorthWestern customers than the incredibly expensive and dirty coal-fired energy coming from Colstrip $74/MWh).

http://mtstandard.com/opi...8e35f.html

This story also made national news at:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018...money.html
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
Considering the source, it looks like a bunch of made up fake math.
What is the cost with out government subsidies. If wind is not constant, Where is the backup power coming from? Hos many eagles get killed. What does it cost too pick up the dead birds every day. I wonder who would ever build a home ose by..yes wind farms make an errie growling noice. Land is devalued for futue use weather it is farming or home building...Who in their right mind would enjoy the view of a setting sun over looking a wind farm eyesore?
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Posted by Bob Netherton III (+2029) 3 months ago
Snowy makes a good point about wind farms being an eyesore. I'd much rather look out across enormous mounds of displaced earth, a giant coal pit and a sky colored by now constant wildfire smoke from July through September.
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
Snowy: I hope the following addresses your concerns about birds and wind power. It is taken from the National Audubon Society's website and a link is provided below.

"Audubon strongly supports properly sited wind power as a renewable energy source that helps reduce the threats posed to birds and people by climate change. . . . .

Scientists have found that climate change has already affected half of the world's species' breeding, distribution, abundance, and survival rates. A review of more than 130 scientific studies found that if climate change proceeds as expected, one in six species worldwide could face extinction.

Audubon’s research shows a particularly stark threat for North American birds: Our Birds and Climate Change Report confirmed that 314 species stand to lose more than 50 percent of their current ranges by 2080. . . . .

Audubon and other leaders in the science and conservation space agree that that in order to help prevent species extinctions and other catastrophic effects of climate change, we must significantly reduce pollution from fossil fuels as quickly as possible. This will require rapidly expanding energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative fuels and making changes in land use, agriculture, and transportation. . . . .

Audubon strongly supports wind power and recognizes that it will not be without some impact; however, harmful effects to birds and other wildlife can be avoided or significantly reduced in the following ways:

Proper siting and operation of wind farms and equipment;

Development of new technologies that help minimize harm to birds and other wildlife;

Mitigation of habitat and wildlife impacts through conservation measures;

Strong enforcement of existing laws that protect wildlife, including the Endangered Species Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Audubon encourages wind developers and permitting agencies to consult with wildlife experts, including Audubon staff and chapters, to help inform study and siting decisions and to support efforts to improve wind siting and technological solutions to reduce harm to birds."

Read more at:

http://www.audubon.org/co...wind-power
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supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+8038) 3 months ago
Lee Enterprises and CNBC, vanguard of the new revolutionary order.

Burning coal isn't the healthiest thing in the world, but I fear that our friend snowy has started to snort it.
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
As a matter of fact, if you ever worked in a coal mine, you'll see black every time you blow your nose...plus the benefit of more than normal blackheads.
Vut hey it pays the bills.
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
Working in a coal mine pays the bills only as long as a coal miner's black lung disease is not too bad. Once black lung disease progresses, a coal miner cannot work because basically the miner cannot breathe. And, coal companies don't like workers' compensation claims either. As one coal miner put it, "mining disasters get monuments; black lung deaths get tombstones."

Take a look at this recent story: "Kentucky Lawmakers Limit Black Lung Claims Reviews Despite Epidemic." It appears the coal companies in Kentucky supported the politicians who passed this new legislation and may have even help write the bill. As usual, the coal miners will suffer.

https://www.npr.org/2018/...e-epidemic

https://www.npr.org/2018/...rs-disease

Coincidentally, I read in The Billings Gazette today (04-04-18) that here in Montana, Wesmoreland Coal is considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Read more at:

http://billingsgazette.co...786b5.html
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
Oh yea of little real life experience MCD Surface coal mines have very strict positive pressure operators cabs as atated by MSHA. If there is the slightest sign of dust coal or dirt the operator parks it. In the case of rolling equipment like haul trucks, maintence personal transfer it to equipment shop with full oxygen face mast. Under ground mines are even stricter. Yes MSHA has a 800 hotline too for miners report violations. Which usually results in an entire mine shut down until violations are addressed.
On inspection of routine by MSHA also checks all maintenance building and office building's for orderly and clean. Lesser infraction of a messy office they get a day to get it right. On one occasion I heard of the mine manager had MSHA VIOLATION on an Mine Engineer messy cluttered office. The entire office, less the office furniture, file cabinet and wall pictures were hauled to the dump.
Black Lung is long ago (40 years) a thing of the past. The same is true for power plants and train loading facilities except it is covered by OSHA.
But then you only know what you read or see on fake news
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
As for the Great Falls wind farm..good deal on 80 mega with government subs, we ONLY need 30 more with a back up source of....yup you guessed it...natural gas...
But heh MCD I hope your slum lord raises your rent by another $100 a month for utilities...oh me, I just put in a wood/coal burner stove, clothsline, and cellar.
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
As for Westmoreland $ problems. Worst case coal feeding Colstrip plants is a rail coal unloading facility. It was designed into the original design of Units 3&4. As dor shipping coal in from Wyoming for less $. I have no doubt Warren Buffet would cut a deal to put it in his rail road tracks. And he would beef up his Montana railroad workes. Just might be a Win Win. What will likely happen stock investers will bail. Bankruptcy will go forward and presto the Colstip mines won't loose 1 ton. I'd say there is likely very enforceable contract.
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
A friend in South Dakota sent this. Appearances of known area bird kill and danger to small air craft is not documenting they want out to the public..
Hummm Then could these developers be shifty characters...with that said, it is pretty obvious that reclamation funds MUST be held in trust BEFORE CONSTRUCTION BEGINS.

Most interveners can leave Crocker Wind Farm docket http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/article_9b463f6f-578c-5246-b550-4a5d3625ae33.html

Here is a nice little story about wind farm developer doesn't want their open knowledge of assessments of massive bird deaths and danger of small air craft in and around their wind turbines.
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
Good Ol Wyoming is proactive for energy.

http://www.kulr8.com/story/37889704/obama-era-clean-air-rule-on-methane-emissions-blocked-again

( Sent from KULR-8 News )

Wyoming Judge strikes against on Obama omissions.
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
"Coal's Energy Role is Diminishing, and It's Not Going to Bounce Back in the U.S., Panel Says" by Tom Lutey, Billings Gazette, April 6, 2018

"The Western coal economy is likely to continue on for a few decades in a much smaller scale, concluded panelists at a 'future of coal' conference in Billings on Friday."

Read more at:

http://billingsgazette.co...f1ca0.html
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
Given the fact that the world is continuing to consume tremendous amounts of coal to the tune of 9-plus billion tons a year and is projected to do that into the 2040s, then I think the most reasonable thing for us to do as a country is to invest heavily in advanced coal technologies, specifically carbon capture utilization and sequestration,” O’Hair said.

If the USA doesn't advance coal technologies, won't happen yet the world consumption will continue to GROW. With or without USA COAL
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supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+13712) 3 months ago
I probably end up with some deportment demerits here from the old growth progressives, but, I care more about truth and building systematic resilience than political ideology.

I have never understood the fascination with wind turbines. I suppose the uninformed are charmed by what seems like a simple "fan" that magically produces electricity. In actuality there are many factors to consider in analyzing whether this is a good deal.

First of all, the efficiency of land-based wind turbines is approximately 30%. This means that 70% of the time there isn't enough wind or there is too much wind for them to produce electricity. This inefficiency plays directly into the cost of ownership and operation. The Return on Investment takes 20 years and the lifespan is 22-25 years. They simply don't produce enough electricity on a consistent enough basis to be a good value.

There are many environmental issues. The gearbox in each turbine holds about 50 gallons of oil which much be changed frequently. So there is still a reliance on fossil fuels to make them function. The windings in the generation are the produce of mined metals we were getting from China. (The new tariffs probably screwed that up). There is a huge waste stream from the used oil and the decommissioning of these turbines when they reach the end of their life-span.

Another environmental concern isn't very well understood. Anything that disturbs the air enough to show up on doppler radar has to be impacting the formation of storm systems and impacting weather on at least a micro-climate scale. What little peer-reviewed exists on the subject, indicates 5 degrees warmer surface temperature at wind farm locations. That might not seem like much, but let's consider the wind farms in the Hutterite Colonies around Harlowtown and Judith Gap. With warmer winters,(they will come) an additional five degrees in surface temperature might be enough to keep winter wheat from sufficient vernalization which will in turn greatly impact yield and profitability.

And what about summer thunderstorm formation. It's possible wide spread atmospheric agitation from wind turbine could impact thunderstorm and precipitation further down the Yellowstone corridor. Before we jump whole hog into an energy production system like this, we should study it to understand the impacts and true costs. There must be a plan to address the waste streams that will be created 15 years down the road.

We've required this kind of study from coal and gas-fired power plants, even though the particulars of this kind of generation is fairly well understood. It seems like understanding the long-term ramifications of wide-spread wind generation should have to pass the same examination.

(MCD, there is no need for you to post a bunch of links attempting to refute my common-sense approach. I have reviewed most of the relevant peer-reviewed data on the subject. I really don't care about the opinion of some mouthy millennial in downtown DC. Give your fingers a rest. )
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
Richard, I see from your last comment about me posted above that you don't believe in women having free speech rights -- especially if they don't think exactly like you do. Thanks for giving us a textbook example of systemic sexism in action! Great work, Richard!
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+13712) 3 months ago
It has absofukcinglutely NOTHING to do with you being a women. Nice try on playing the victim card. Go fish.
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
Richard
I appreciate your knowledge of Wind Farms. As for MCD claiming your comment was female derogatory is B.S. and a cheap shot MCD must think her little research post carry the day rather than taking the time to really understand all of the science in Electric generation from all sources. Basic Electricity, Mechanical 101, Preventive maintenance.. The enegy sector uses all forms of scientific knowledge.
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
Breaking climate change news! Here is another reason, renewable energy is a good idea. (Of course, renewable energy is a good idea only if one believes what the climate scientists are telling us about the dangerous impacts of unmitigated climate change.

"Study: Global Warming is Weakening Key Ocean Circulation" by Seth Borenstein, Associated Press, April 11, 2018

https://www.seattletimes....rculation/
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
Nice try, MCD, We've all seen it before...So just rest in peace, In your lifetime you will you never see the end of carbon fuels, but if your real lucky, you will see clean coal power plants. The science is available AS Electricity Rates Increase from intermittent solar and wind, Primary carbon generation will be natural gas. Keep in mind your heating and cooling will take a bigger chunk of your living costs every month. These costs are rising now and will escalate, not in decades but in the next few years.
You can bet the OL TIME FIRE PLACE will be on high fire mode.

Never fear Colorado has an answer too that.
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/indoor-burning-frequently-requested-information,
Hey....and then the DEAD BEATS KICKED OFF goverment free stuff could be chimney COPs beating at your door.

CHEERS😛
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
Wind Power: It's Steady, Reliable Work Done Right Here in America!

https://www.facebook.com/...WHRaIn0%3D
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
Making junk NO THANKS
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supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+13712) 3 months ago
Reply to Mary Catherine Dunphy (#375833)
Mary Catherine Dunphy wrote:
Wind Power: It's Steady, Reliable Work Done Right Here in America!

https://www.facebook.com/...WHRaIn0%3D


On what planet is something that works only 30 out of 100 times steady or reliable? Land-based wind power in the Western US works only 30% of the time.

If you look around, most ranchers who had windmills have gone to solar. Why? Because wind can’t keep up with demand. Hauling water is a lot of work.
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
I'm not sure of the accuracy of the figures you cite. However, you may want to ask Warren Buffett who last year made a big investment in wind.

"Warren Buffett Is Rushing to Build Hundreds of Wind Turbines to Power the West" by Sammy Roth, The Desert Sun, April 5, 2017

https://www.desertsun.com...304642001/

Battery storage of energy is already being used in Australia and other countries and is a rapidly evolving technology. There are just a few of the articles I found on the subject.

http://time.com/4756648/b...enewables/

https://www.ucsusa.org/cl...s#bf-toc-1

https://www.greentechmedi...gs.l0705g0

https://cleantechnica.com...er-outage/
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
I just found this article about a 2000 meter solar highway just built in China. Amazing and impressive!

https://www.nextbigfuture...anels.html
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
All it takes is an executive order from Trump to cut the subsidies.
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supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+13712) 3 months ago
Here you go. 30% efficiency is a common standard, which according to the article below is generous. This study found wind turbines were only 22% efficient. And keep in mind this study is on the Coast of Scotland where the wind isn’t as ephhemerial as in Eastern Montana. My number stands regardless of your “certainty”.

https://www.telegraph.co....aimed.html

As for Mr. Buffett, he also owns BNSF, who has a lot of coal cars. So what’s your point? The diversification of his assets into wind still doesn’t address all of the challenges and waste streams a wind turbine creates.

[Edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (4/15/2018 1:16:47 PM)]
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
I think the point is that wind energy is less environmentally destructive than coal and Buffett is diversifying his assets and making a diverse energy play for the future. As President Obama used to say renewable energy is part of an "all of the above" strategy to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

To answer your very specific questions, I suggest you talk with wind energy experts who can address your specific concerns. I'm not in a position to help. You need to talk with a scientific expert in the field.
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
2018 is the Year of the Bird and for those of us who love birds, here's some encouraging news about birds and wind farms:

"How New Technology Is Making Wind Farms Safer for Birds: Raptors and wind energy have a fraught history. Could these innovations allow them to co-exist?" by Molly Bennett, Audubon, Spring, 2018

https://www.audubon.org/m...afer-birds
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supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+13712) 3 months ago
Reply to Mary Catherine Dunphy (#375851)
Mary Catherine Dunphy wrote:
I think the point is that wind energy is less environmentally destructive than coal and Buffett is diversifying his assets and making a diverse energy play for the future. As President Obama used to say renewable energy is part of an "all of the above" strategy to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

To answer your very specific questions, I suggest you talk with wind energy experts who can address your specific concerns. I'm not in a position to help. You need to talk with a scientific expert in the field.


You misunderstand (or maybe not)... I wasn't asking for your help. You seem to labor under the delusion that you are always the superior intellect in the room and no other poster here has anything meaningful to say. You comes off as rather arrogant.

My point was attempting to help you think about and understand why wind energy isn't as great as you would like every to believe. Yes, it may be lest destructive than coal. But it still has a lot of issues, creates waste-streams which need addressed, and may actually exacerbate desertification )climate-change). We should learn from the mistakes we've made with coal, and not make them with wind.
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
Your correct Richard. MCD, just posts. To debate her agenda with knowledge is beyond her abilities. Then flares off with threats of multiple accusation.
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
MCD SAYS
I think the point is that wind energy is less environmentally destructive than coal and Buffett is diversifying his assets and making a diverse energy play for the future.

Or maybe Buffett is just trying too sure up his losses after losing the fight on the KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE.
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Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2654) 3 months ago
Whatever made you think the Keystone XL Pipeline project was dead -- Not according to the latest news.

http://billingsgazette.co...ff470.html
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Posted by The man from snowy plains (-154) 3 months ago
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-pipeline-keystone/keystone-xl-pipeline-opponents-appeal-nebraska-route-approval-idUSKBN1EU275

I really don't know if it is going in now or not.

So far, not all if the land owners have sighned there easements. Those that refuse could face eminent domain.
The question might be, could Trump sign an executive order for eminent domain?
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