Of all the states, the greatest leader is Texas, with 4.296 GW in capacity --
and it's just warming up. Texas is not a state many associate with
alternative energy. It leads the country in fossil fuel production, both
for oil and natural gas, containing approximately one fourth of known oil
reserves in the U.S. Typically, alternative energy conjures up images of
California or Washington; both which do have strong wind programs.
However, these "green" states fall short of dusty Texas in green
energy, thanks to the state’s leading commitment to wind power. And Texas needs
it -- Texans consume the most energy in the country, both per capita and as a
Texas plans to aggressively
expand its wind capacity. Among its efforts, it just committed to the
largest wind power
infrastructure expansion yet, spending billions on power transmission lines
to pump power from the park, located in remote but windy west Texas, to urban
areas in eastern Texas. The project will solidify Texas' leadership
position in the world of alternative energy, according to Texas officials.
The state's Public Utility Commission Commissioner Paul Hudson, who approved
the move, states, "We will add more wind than the 14 states following
Texas combined. I think that's a very extraordinary achievement. Some
think we haven't gone far enough, some think we've pushed too far."
Patrick Woodson, vice president of E.On Climate & Renewables North America
is among the wind entrepreneurs benefiting from Texans' thirst for wind
energy. His company has 1,200 MW of capacity in operations or
planned. He states, "People think about oil wells and football in
Texas, but in 10 years they'll look back and say this was a brilliant thing to
Wind power has received a mixed response among the environmental community and
from landowners. Some believe the energy source to be an essential step to
generating clean energy and moving away from fossil fuel reliance, but others
argue that the designs are inefficient, that they interfere with migrating
birds, and that they bring down property values by marring the view.
Landowners have protested expansion at Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Idaho and
Texas' South Padre Island.
However, the new project is less controversial as it builds no new turbines in
desolate west Texas. Rather it merely seeks to add power lines to better
utilize the capacity, sending it to thirsty Texas cities. From five
scenarios ranging from $3B USD to $6.4B USD, the PUC decided on a middle-of-the
road scenario of around $4 to 5B USD. The PUC describes the timeframe
stating, "It is expected that the new lines will be in service within four
to five years."
Supporters laud the move saying it will encourage wind energy projects, grow
jobs, reduce energy costs and reduce pollution. They're terming the
project a "wind energy superhighway".
Citizens will be feeling a bit of financial impact from the project, paying
about $4 more, on average, a month on their electrical bills, or about $50 a
year. Tom Smith, director of the Texas office of the consumer advocacy
group Public Citizen says $50 a year is a small
price to pay for energy independence.
He argues, "We have all these wind plants up and operating. What we're
asking for is the superhighway to get the energy to the cities. This will
send signals to manufacturers all across the world Texas is ready to be a
world-class player in renewable energy."
Rate increases are expected to be a couple years away. The increases are
no different in structure to those used to pay for power line expansion from
traditional fossil-fuel burning plants. Wind does have the advantage of a
2-cents-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit from the national government, which is due
to expire in December. Congress is currently mulling over a permanent
extension. Tax credit or not, though Texas has made it clear that it
seeks to be the dominate leader in the wind power industry.
quote: but would a large nuclear plant use similar amounts of steel, copper, and concrete? Or at least similar amounts of construction materials?
quote: 110 [Gigawatts]
quote: Furthermore, the whole "keep it in the USA" is a bit of a red herring here. This wind power will, if anything, supplant coal...and the US has the largest coal reserves in the world.
quote: An extra 4GW is a drop in the bucket.
quote: As a general rule, wind generators are practical where the average wind speed is 10 mph (16 km/h or 4.5 m/s) or greater. An 'ideal' location would have a near constant flow of non-turbulent wind throughout the year with a minimum likelihood of sudden powerful bursts of wind
quote: verse someone
quote: how much land that's given up for so little return
quote: > "I agree it's small per turbine, but T. Boone is building a farm of 200,000 acres plus.Yes, I've been there and while not full of life it's not a desert either. "
quote: TextDo you think you can produce millions of tons of steel with no emissions? By some estimates, powering even half the US's energy needs with wind would require over 25% of the world's steel production.
quote: uneducated populace believes nuclear power is dirty and dangerous
quote: Rate me down all you want, but the point is still moot. They are building what.. 1 nuclear power plant right now?... the first in decades.. How is it a practical alternative?
quote: The public doesn't have the final say in what gets built. Utilities and the government have the final say. Do you actually think companies like BP and Edison would "throw their money away" on renewable energy for no reason? Don't you think they'd be lobbying hard for Nuclear power? How could they possibly offer Wind as power source if it was so unreliable and not cost effective? Why would they?
quote: It's impractical because we have regulations on nuclear power that are far more stringent than just about anything else we do. There are materials you can buy in a corner drugstore that are radioactive enough that in a nuclear power plant they'd trigger a full shutdown. Our coal plants currently put out as exhaust approx 3x the uranium and over 100x the radiation than the uranium that would be used inside an equivalent nuclear plant. Basically it's impractical because we decided to make it legally impractical, not because of engineering or financial reasons. The risk-to-regulation ratio is completely screwed up with nuclear in the U.S. due to a conflagration of environmental interests with anti-nuclear weapons sentiment.
quote: Right now there are a lot of incentives and subsidies for alternative power generation. Generally these are not a bad thing. But the idea is that they will spur development and advances which reduce the cost of operation to where it is competitive on its own merits. However, such improvements in efficiency are not guaranteed, especially for something like wind where the primary scale of the endeavor is outside of your control (i.e. you need to tap a large volume of air to get power - there's no way to make it smaller). You cannot take cost decisions made in the presence of these incentives, and assume that the projects will remain cost-effective when those incentives disappear.
quote: Good, then I'm glad we agree it is impractical-- at least until there are major changes in regulations.
quote: That's true, to an extent. But you have to look at other countries as well. Not all of them are quite as generous as the US with wind/renewable incentives, yet they are still building a lot of wind farms.
quote: "I never said it wasn't practical. I said it wasn't a practical alternative. Obviously, if it were an alternative, they would have built more than 0 in the last 2 decades... Make sense now?"
quote: If they would make tons of cash extra on Nuclear power-- or if it were cheaper for that matter, they'd do it
quote: 1) A new reactor has actually been developed that produces 0, yes, it produce NO nuclear waste. It turns the nuclear waste into INERT glass..... there goes that waste storage problem.... what what are we going to do with all that GLASS?! OH NO!!
quote: They are building what.. 1 nuclear power plant right now?... the first in decades.. How is it a practical alternative?
quote: Don't you think they'd be lobbying hard for Nuclear power? How could they possibly offer Wind as power source if it was so unreliable and not cost effective? Why would they?
quote: Incorrect again. The most recent cost data is $2.6B/reactor...exactly what NRG is paying to build 2 new ones in Texas:
quote: Such studies have been done countless times. I've posted many such before. Nuclear is always considerably cheaper. See the analysis by Peterson from Berkeley for just one such comparsion.
quote: "They" in the US aren't expanding nuclear power production because of an uneducated populace believes nuclear power is dirty and dangerous"
quote: Chernobyl is a horrible example to use.
quote: Just because something doesn't happen often doesn't mean it isn't dangerous.
quote: In terms of it being dirty, I would say so since the power it generates also generates a byproduct, a radioactive one.
quote: Well i can tell you for sure that, the Nuclear industry does have death cause by accidents. It might not be radiation related, but people have died inside power plants doing regular maintenance.
quote: Precisely! More people have died from commercial wind power generation in the U.S. than from commercial nuclear power generation. 3 wind turbine maintenance/failure deaths that I could find via google, vs zero for nuclear power.
quote: Power Plants The nuclear power plant is a particularly nefarious use of nuclear energy. Unlike conventional power plants, nuclear plants have a relatively short life-span -- 30 years -- before critical reactor components become irreparably radioactive. At that point the plant must be decommissioned (`mothballed'), or its entire reactor core replaced at great expense. To date, there is no solution regarding where to store spent power plant reactor cores. Compounding the storage problem is an accumulation of spent radioactive fuel rods, which have a life-span of only three years. 3 January 1961 A reactor explosion (attributed by a Nuclear Regulatory Commission source to sabotage) at the National Reactor Testing Station in Arco, Idaho, killed one navy technician and two army technicians , and released radioactivity "largely confined" (words of John A. McCone, Director of the Atomic Energy Commission) to the reactor building. The three men were killed as they moved fuel rods in a "routine" preparation for the reactor start-up. One technician was blown to the ceiling of the containment dome and impaled on a control rod. His body remained there until it was taken down six days later. The men were so heavily exposed to radiation that their hands had to be buried separately with other radioactive waste, and their bodies were interred in lead coffins. 24 July 1964 Robert Peabody, 37, died at the United Nuclear Corp. fuel facility in Charlestown, Rhode Island, when liquid uranium he was pouring went critical, starting a reaction that exposed him to a lethal dose of radiation. 19 November 1971 The water storage space at the Northern States Power Company's reactor in Monticello, Minnesota filled to capacity and spilled over, dumping about 50,000 gallons of radioactive waste water into the Mississippi River. Some was taken into the St. Paul water system. March 1972 Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska submitted to the Congressional Record facts surrounding a routine check in a nuclear power plant which indicated abnormal radioactivity in the building's water system. Radioactivity was confirmed in the plant drinking fountain. Apparently there was an inappropriate cross-connection between a 3,000 gallon radioactive tank and the water system. 27 July 1972 Two workers at the Surry Unit 2 facility in Virginia were fatally scalded after a routine valve adjustment led to a steam release in a gap in a vent line. [See also 9 December 1986] 28 May 1974 The Atomic Energy Commission reported that 861 "abnormal events" had occurred in 1973 in the nation's 42 operative nuclear power plants. Twelve involved the release of radioactivity "above permissible levels." 22 March 1975 A technician checking for air leaks with a lighted candle caused $100 million in damage when insulation caught fire at the Browns Ferry reactor in Decatur, Alabama. The fire burned out electrical controls, lowering the cooling water to dangerous levels, before the plant could be shut down. 28 March 1979 A major accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania. At 4:00 a.m. a series of human and mechanical failures nearly triggered a nuclear disaster. By 8:00 a.m., after cooling water was lost and temperatures soared above 5,000 degrees, the top portion of the reactor's 150-ton core collapsed and melted. Contaminated coolant water escaped into a nearby building, releasing radioactive gasses, leading as many as 200,000 people to flee the region. Despite claims by the nuclear industry that "no one died at Three Mile Island," a study by Dr. Ernest J. Sternglass, professor of radiation physics at the University of Pittsburgh, showed that the accident led to a minimum of 430 infant deaths. 1981 The Critical Mass Energy Project of Public Citizen, Inc. reported that there were 4,060 mishaps and 140 serious events at nuclear power plants in 1981, up from 3,804 mishaps and 104 serious events the previous year. 11 February 1981 An Auxiliary Unit Operator, working his first day on the new job without proper training, inadvertently opened a valve which led to the contamination of eight men by 110,000 gallons of radioactive coolant sprayed into the containment building of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Sequoyah I plant in Tennessee. July 1981 A flood of low-level radioactive wastewater in the sub-basement at Nine Mile Point's Unit 1 (in New York state) caused approximately 150 55-gallon drums of high-level waste to overturn, some of which released their highly radioactive contents. Some 50,000 gallons of low-level radioactive water were subsequently dumped into Lake Ontario to make room for the cleanup. The discharge was reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the sub-basement contamination was not. A report leaked to the press 8 years later resulted in a study which found that high levels of radiation persisted in the still flooded facility. 1982 The Critical Mass Energy Project of Public Citizen, Inc. reported that 84,322 power plant workers were exposed to radiation in 1982, up from 82,183 the previous year. 25 January 1982 A steam generator pipe broke at the Rochester Gas & Electric Company's Ginna plant near Rochester, New York. Fifteen thousand gallons of radioactive coolant spilled onto the plant floor, and small amounts of radioactive steam escaped into the air. 15-16 January 1983 Nearly 208,000 gallons of water with low-level radioactive contamination was accidentally dumped into the Tennesee River at the Browns Ferry power plant. 25 February 1983 A catastrophe at the Salem 1 reactor in New Jersey was averted by just 90 seconds when the plant was shut down manually, following the failure of automatic shutdown systems to act properly. The same automatic systems had failed to respond in an incident three days before, and other problems plagued this plant as well, such as a 3,000 gallon leak of radioactive water in June 1981 at the Salem 2 reactor, a 23,000 gallon leak of "mildly" radioactive water (which splashed onto 16 workers) in February 1982, and radioactive gas leaks in March 1981 and September 1982 from Salem 1.
quote: 9 December 1986A feedwater pipe ruptured at the Surry Unit 2 facility in Virginia, causing 8 workers to be scalded by a release of hot water and steam. Four of the workers later died from their injuries. In addition, water from the sprinkler systems caused a malfunction of the security system, preventing personnel from entering the facility. This was the second time that an incident at the Surry 2 unit resulted in fatal injuries due to scalding [see also 27 July 1972].1988It was reported that there were 2,810 accidents in U.S. commercial nuclear power plants in 1987, down slightly from the 2,836 accidents reported in 1986, according to a report issued by the Critical Mass Energy Project of Public Citizen, Inc.28 May 1993The Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a warning to the operators of 34 nuclear reactors around the country that the instruments used to measure levels of water in the reactor could give false readings during routine shutdowns and fail to detect important leaks. The problem was first bought to light by an engineer at Northeast Utilities in Connecticut who had been harassed for raising safety questions. The flawed instruments at boiling-water reactors designed by General Electric utilize pipes which were prone to being blocked by gas bubbles; a failure to detect falling water levels could have resulted, potentially leading to a meltdown.15 February 2000New York's Indian Point II power plant vented a small amount of radioactive steam when a an aging steam generator ruptured. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission initially reported that no radioactive material was released, but later changed their report to say that there was a leak, but not of a sufficient amount to threaten public safety.6 March 2002Workers discovered a foot-long cavity eaten into the reactor vessel head at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio. Borated water had corroded the metal to a 3/16 inch stainless steel liner which held back over 80,000 gallons of highly pressurized radioactive water. In April 2005 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposed fining plant owner First Energy 5.4 million dollars for their failure to uncover the problem sooner (similar problems plaguing other plants were already known within the industry), and also proposed banning System Engineer Andrew Siemaszko from working in the industry for five years due to his falsifying reactor vessel logs. As of this writing the fine and suspension were under appeal.
quote: Sternglass' research has been frequently criticized by local, state and federal environmental and health agencies, when the results of his research on the health effects of low level radiation could not be verified by peer review. Sternglass has been accused of using faulty methodology, including selection bias, in his research...
quote: The nuclear power industry in the US has never generated a single fatal accident, nor has anyone ever been killed in the entire Western world in an accident at a commercial nuclear power plant.
quote: As for the quack Sternglass
quote: Surrey, it's not listed on Wiki's list of nuclear accidents,
quote: it's not listed on Wiki's list of nuclear accidents, and its only reference appears to be from a few anti-nuclear sites.
quote: Do you even realize how nonsensical such a claim is?
quote: The nuclear power industry in the US has never generated a single fatal accident,
quote: > "1) No emissions"Do you think you can produce millions of tons of steel with no emissions? By some estimates, powering even half the US's energy needs with wind would require over 25% of the world's steel production.
quote: should learn to go around them, no? I'm sure it's not the first time something dangerous has popped up in the middle of a migration path.
quote: As of now, buildings are approaching the 2 mile mark."
quote: Land use planning is the term used for a branch of public policy which encompasses various disciplines which seek to order and regulate the use of land in an efficient and ethical way.
quote: And Texas needs it -- Texans consume the most energy in the country, both per capita and as a whole.