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Rick Needham (center) with partners Arielle Bertman and Matthew Stepka at the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm  (Source: The Official Google Blog)
Google has invested $100 million in the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Arlington, Oregon

Aside from running the successful Android operating system and the world's most popular search engine, Google has been making some environmentally conscious efforts as well. Just last week, the web giant invested $168 million in the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System located in the Mojave Desert in California.

Now, Google is investing $100 million in the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Arlington, Oregon. It will be joining this project with Caithness Energy, which is the project developer, and GE, an early investor and turbine manufacturer as well as an operations and maintenance supplier. Other investors include Tyr Energy and Sumitomo Corporation of America

The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is still under construction, but is expected to be the largest wind farm in the world. Once completed, it will produce 845 megawatts of energy, which can power over 235,000 homes. 

"This project is exciting to us not only because of its size and scale, but also because it uses advanced technology," said Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations for Google in The Official Google Blog. "This will be the first commercial wind farm in the U.S. to deploy, at scale, turbines that use permanent magnet generators - tech-speak for evolutionary turbine technology that will improve efficiency, reliability and grid connection capabilities. Though the technology has been installed outside the U.S., it's an important, incremental step in lowering the cost of wind energy over the long term in the U.S."

The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is expected to help benefit Oregon economically, and will also help California meet its renewable energy goals. In addition, the electricity generated at the wind farm will be sold to Southern California Edison under "long term agreements." 

The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm will be completed in 2012. 


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RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By heffeque on 4/19/2011 1:46:52 PM , Rating: -1
If you are concerned about birds being killed, you should consider banning domestic cats in the USA.

440,000 dead birds per year because of wind farms.
500,000,000 dead birds per year because of domestic cats.

Ecologically speaking, domestic cats are MUCH more harmful.

---

Meanwhile, lets speak about the clean and cheap energy produced by nuclear plants:

- The UE seeks for 630 million euros ($900 million) to cover up Chernobyl.

- The nuclear plant in Cofrentes (Spain) has been "leaking" 4,000 liters of nuclear water waste a day.

- The Fukushima disaster will cause a world wide increase of nuclear radiation that will spread throughout the whole food chain, us included.

- Increased levels of radiation have been found in the controversial Asse nuclear waste depot (Germany). Up to 240 times over the allowed limit. "In theory" there were 1,300 medium-grade nuclear waste containers, but after several serious problems, the German government took control (2009) and detected 13,500 undeclared medium-grade nuclear waste containers (2010). The Asse nuclear waste dump contains 127,000 radio active containers produced between 1967 and 1978.

- Higher rates of cancer are found in the area near Asse's nuclear waste dump. Twice the normal amount of leukemia in men and three times the amount of thyroid cancer in women.

- A total of 2,200 fuel balls are missing in Germany. They were supposed to be in Asse. They have no clue as to where they are or who took them. They could be used to produce "dirty" bombs.

- Chernobyl's food, 25 years later, is still highly poisoned. The amount of cesium-137 is still unacceptable for consumption.

- Merkel admits that Germany has to completely reverse their nuclear plans and "rethink" their national energy program so as to close their nuclear plants as soon as possible.

- Fukushima has already expelled as much nuclear radiation as Chernobyl. Not to the air, but to the water being dumped to the ocean. Were Chernobyl had 180 tons of nuclear fuel, Fukushima has 7,200 tons.

- Two people that were working in the Fukushima plant have been fund dead because of radiation poisoning. Their bodies have been left there.

- Japan considers nationalizing TEPCO, but just the Fukuchima plant so that the company can still work in the stock market and the Government can pay for the money that the disaster the plant cost and will cause from now on. This is also know as privatizing the earnings and socializing the losses, or the realistic way of saying it: rich people get the money, the rest of us pay for their wrongdoings.

- Japanese government says that dumping highly radioactive nuclear waste into the ocean is not illegal. Any health problems that come with this (for example: higher cancer rates all over the world) won't be their responsibility.

---

So... do you still think that producing nuclear power is "clean and cheap"?

We will be remembered as the generation that exchanged 70 years of "clean and cheap" electricity for 25,000 years of nuclear waste (not taking into consideration health hazards and nuclear disasters).

What about fossil fuels? Well... in my opinion we should stop using them as soon as possible, or at least find a substitute for plastics before we burn all the darn petroleum on Earth.

---

So, again... is wind farm electricity such a bad idea?

If it's the birds that you're worried about, ban domestic cats.

If its the whole f*cking world you're worried about: going "cleaner" is the way to go.
Say wind farm, solar… whatever, but what's certainly true is that we have to continue working on cleaner and more efficient energy sources and ways to store it.

Unless the ITER program is successful... nuclear power is NOT the way to go.


By EricMartello on 4/19/2011 2:16:32 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
So... do you still think that producing nuclear power is "clean and cheap"?


Fusion.

quote:
We will be remembered as the generation that exchanged 70 years of "clean and cheap" electricity for 25,000 years of nuclear waste (not taking into consideration health hazards and nuclear disasters).


We may also be remembered as the generation that allowed liberals to contribute their worthless points of view to political and social issues that affect the world.

quote:
What about fossil fuels? Well... in my opinion we should stop using them as soon as possible, or at least find a substitute for plastics before we burn all the darn petroleum on Earth.


We can always burn liberals for fuel when we're out of dino oil.

quote:
So, again... is wind farm electricity such a bad idea?


Yes, it's a terrible idea. It wastes space, it does not deliver consistent power and it is EXPENSIVE to maintain and operate.

quote:
If it's the birds that you're worried about, ban domestic cats.


You thought you were being clever by showing "stats" about birds being killed by house cats, but you fail to indicate the TYPE of birds. Cats are usually going after small birds like sparrows, maybe pigeons or robins. Wind farms are laying waste to ENDANGERED species of birds like falcons, hawks and eagles...in addition to being an eyesore.

quote:
If its the whole f*cking world you're worried about: going "cleaner" is the way to go.
Say wind farm, solar… whatever, but what's certainly true is that we have to continue working on cleaner and more efficient energy sources and ways to store it.


This "energy crisis" we keep hearing about doesn't really exist. It is largely propaganda...but that aside, using less energy would probably be a good first step.

quote:
Unless the ITER program is successful... nuclear power is NOT the way to go.


Nuclear power is the best form of power generation we have. The leftover waste can be dealt with and storing it doesn't take up nearly as much space as a fail wind farm.


RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By Iaiken on 4/19/2011 2:57:00 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Two people that were working in the Fukushima plant have been fund dead because of radiation poisoning. Their bodies have been left there.


Strike one! The two workers died of blood loss due to substantial physical injuries sustained during the original March 11th earthquake. Both had been missing for almost a month by the time they were found in an area where they would have been capable of seeking help if they were able. This means they were either killed instantly, pinned, knocked unconscious or injured so severely that they couldn't seek help.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42397653/ns/world_news...

quote:
They could be used to produce "dirty" bombs.


Strike two! They tested a large dirty bomb and found that it ONLY posed a significant health risk if the people present for the original blast remained there for one full year. Any cleanup efforts or people moving around quickly eroded the risks to practically zero. Even something as simple as going home, throwing out your clothes and taking a shower would be enough to reduce the risks to negligible. The real damage would come in the form of the terror it would inspire in the masses that remain ignorant to these facts to this day.

quote:
This is also know as privatizing the earnings and socializing the losses, or the realistic way of saying it: rich people get the money, the rest of us pay for their wrongdoings.


Strike three! Remind me again what just happened on Wall Street these last few years? The banks took on exorbitant risks protected only by a small amount of insured reserve capital and the government had to step in and bail them out. In many cases, the banks that survived actually wound up making money on both the housing crash and the subsequent market retraction. Many wound up using the "bail out" in order to make acquisitions, pillage them for pennies on the dollar and use their plundering to pay back the government. Where is the moral outrage over these injustices?


RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By Smartless on 4/19/2011 3:23:04 PM , Rating: 2
Uh maybe they wanted to make a real Gozilla?


By marvdmartian on 4/20/2011 8:13:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
by Smartless on April 19, 2011 at 3:23 PM
Uh maybe they wanted to make a real Gozilla?


I'm sure you meant to type Go d zilla.....or, as they say in Japan, GODZIRRA!!!!! ;)

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why no one has thought to build a wind farm around the outskirts of Washington DC. Certainly, it HAS to be the biggest source of hot wind generated on Earth!!


By Smartless on 4/20/2011 3:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks that was a typo. In any case, I think in Japan it was Gojira which makes a hill of beans difference. Sorry don't mean to be nitpicky but when I stopped to think about it, I thought of the crappy American version and laughed.

Speaking of hill of beans, no a windfarm in DC wouldn't be as efficient as methane gathering. We know they're talking through their @ss anyway.


RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By JediJeb on 4/19/2011 3:13:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
440,000 dead birds per year because of wind farms. 500,000,000 dead birds per year because of domestic cats.


There must be a very large number of dead birds in China because a recent estimate for birds killed by wind power in the US is between 10,000-40,000 per year. That is no where near 440,000.

If that number is over exaggerated, then how much else you listed is also?


By SPOOFE on 4/19/2011 5:51:28 PM , Rating: 3
The number itself doesn't tell the whole story.

Cats are all over. That means the birds they kill are also from all over.

Wind farms are in one place. That means the birds they kill are also in one place.

Killing 100,000 animals in one local environment is not nearly equivalent to killing 100,000 animals across the entire country or continent. We're talking orders of magnitude differences in terms of impact.


RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By dubldwn on 4/19/2011 3:32:43 PM , Rating: 3
Hi I believe you have a misguided (although maybe well intentioned) view of nuclear power, especially as it relates to the US power industry. The Chernobyl reactors design and the human reaction to the occurrence have been discussed on this site multiple times, and do nothing to further an anti-nuclear argument. Also, while I can’t comment on what is going on in Germany, I do know that cancer rates are not higher in the US and France among those living near nuclear facilities. And for the US these aren’t even Gen III reactors, which I assume is what we would build now. Also, radiation will not “spread throughout the whole food chain” in a measurably significant way. Don’t you think that that’s fear mongering? People get much more radiation from so many mundane activities. Finally, you surly know that solar and wind are not the answer. They supplement power at best, and we’re left with coal, ng, and nuclear.

I am interested in the German fuel balls, though. Perhaps you could provide a link so I could read more about these deadly German fuel balls.


RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By heffeque on 4/20/2011 6:21:43 AM , Rating: 1
Well... I'm not going to answer to the childish responses above, taking into consideration that when fossil fuels die out they propose to burn liberals (how mature).

As for misguided... how is raising cancer risks a misguidance? (with Asse's statistics in hand) Why is Chernobyl different from the US when Fukushima's nuclear plant is US designed and has already pored as much radiation as Chernobyl? Is poring it into everyone's water less damaging than releasing it to the air? Is having to store and maintain 25,000 years of nuclear waste worth it just so that a few birds don't die? As for Asse's problems, you could just google them, but here you go anyway:

Here's the radiation part:
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,14990661,00.h...

Here's the "new inventary" part:
http://www.taz.de/1/zukunft/umwelt/artikel/1/muell...

Here's the cancer part:
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6269113,00.ht...

And here's the "lost nuclear balls" part:
http://www.wdr.de/themen/politik/nrw04/atomkraft/1...

"Also, radiation will not “spread throughout the whole food chain” in a measurably significant way"
Actually it will. Facts are that radiation accumulates on the higher layers of the food chain, and we are actually pretty high in the food chain (unless you are a vegan, which I am not nor most people on earth).

"Finally, you surly know that solar and wind are not the answer."
Why not? They are the answer in other countries like Spain. Why can't they be in the US? Is the US inferior to Spain? In what way?

"They supplement power at best, and we’re left with coal, ng, and nuclear."
It is possible to power a country with clean energy, it's the energy industry that isn't interested in losing power (pun unintended). Actually it's ridiculous that people say that the reason for not using clean energy as a main energy source is its variability when nuclear's invariability (yes, it's also a problem) is solved the same way as clean energy's variability: storing excess energy by for example pumping water, producing hydrogen, etc.

I just don't understand why countries the size of Spain can actually produce cheap energy with clean plants and a country the size of the US can't. I know that the population concentration is higher in Spain than in the US, but still... I'm sure we can do better than what we are doing now.


RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By heffeque on 4/23/2011 9:48:22 AM , Rating: 2
I'll take a few of the negative votes as a "truth hurts" way of seeing reality, and that reality is that nuclear is neither clean neither safe.

Some people don't like the fact that I actually showed them true cases of why (traditional) nuclear plants should be avoided and phased out.

Some of them might think that by voting down the truth disappears, but the facts are there, you like them or not.

Responsible governments are starting to realize that and are actually going to phase out their nuclear plants (Germany and Switzerland) others that were planing on building new ones are actually taking a step back to rethink if it's actually a good idea anymore (Italy and Spain).

Better safe than sorry, or at least that's what some responsible governments think is best for their country.

It's a brave thing to do: publicly admit that their point of view on nuclear plants was wrong and that they're going to do whatever is possible to keep the country safe and clean.


By heffeque on 4/23/2011 9:59:51 AM , Rating: 2
Also... this goes for the UK too:

Documents show BP's involvement in oil exploration plans in Iraq a year before the invasion:

http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/d...

I'm pretty sure you won't see that on Fox News any time soon.


RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By Solandri on 4/19/2011 3:42:04 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
So... do you still think that producing nuclear power is "clean and cheap"?

You need to normalize costs to unit of energy generated. It makes no sense compare the cost of something generating over 2600 TWh/yr (nuclear) to something generating 270 TWh/yr (wind) and 21 TWh/yr (solar) as if they were somehow equals. You need to scale up wind's current costs by a factor of 10, and solar's current costs by a factor of 125 before you can make a valid comparison.

I don't have manufacturing and disposal pollution costs for wind and solar handy because I don't make a hobby of disparaging promising technologies. But in terms of accident statistics, if you scale up wind power to the current level of electricity generation by nuclear, wind would kill as many people as Chernobyl every 10-12 years. Rooftop solar installation scaled up to current levels of nuclear power generation would kill as many people as Chernobyl every 3-4 years.

The calcs I've done also say for the same amount of energy generated, the construction costs for wind range from the same to twice as expensive as nuclear (roughly $5-$10 billion per GW average for a year).

quote:
We will be remembered as the generation that exchanged 70 years of "clean and cheap" electricity for 25,000 years of nuclear waste (not taking into consideration health hazards and nuclear disasters).

We will be remembered as the generation that created 25,000 years of nuclear waste by banning reprocessing. If we hadn't banned it, we could have reduced it to a couple hundred years in addition to eliminating about 90% of the mining needed to extract new uranium fuel.

quote:
If its the whole f*cking world you're worried about: going "cleaner" is the way to go.
Say wind farm, solar… whatever, but what's certainly true is that we have to continue working on cleaner and more efficient energy sources and ways to store it.

Unless the ITER program is successful... nuclear power is NOT the way to go.

Again, any definition of "cleaner" must be normalized to the same amount of energy generated. Since most people have little concept of what a MW or kWh is, let's put it in terms they can relate to. How much electricity does a typical U.S. home use in 30 years? The average U.S. home in 2009 consumed about 11,040 kWh/yr. So in 30 years it would use 330 MWh.

According to the EIA, a ton of coal yields about 2000 kWh of electricity. To power a typical U.S. home for 30 years with coal will take about 165 tons of coal. You'll see this is so high I'm not even gonna bother calculating the steel and concrete needed for the coal plant itself.

Commercial solar panels generate about 125 W/m^2 peak. Factor in night, weather, angle to the sun, and they have a capacity factor of about 15%. So on average you're getting about 20 W/m^2 throughout the year. I'm feeling generous so let's say this house is in the Southwest and you're getting a 20% capacity factor. 25 W/m^2. One year is 8766 hours, so to generate 11,040 kWh in the year would require 50 m^2 of solar panels. They typically have a 20-25 rated life, but let's give them 30. And ignore any battery requirements - pretend there's another power source (like nuclear) providing base load. The stats I'm finding online say with support structure, solar panels are about 16 kg/m^2, so 50 m^2 would 800 kg of trash after 30 years.

How about wind? A 1 MW wind turbine needs about 150 tons of steel and concrete. It operates at a 20%-25% capacity factor, but let's go with the higher 25%. So the average generation from the turbine will be 250 kW. Over a year, that's 2192 MWh/yr. A typical home uses 11 MWh/yr, so the single turbine will provide for about 200 homes. They have a rated life of 30 years (U.S. accounting uses 40 years, but the rest of the world uses 30 years before they're expected to need to be replaced). So after 30 years of wind electricity generation for your home, you're talking about 150/200 = 3/4 ton of trash = 750 kg. I'll make the same assumption about batteries as with solar.

How about nuclear? The U.S. generated about 800 TWh of electricity using nuclear in 2008, producing about 2000 tons of nuclear waste in the process. That's about 2.5 tons per TWh. So the 11 MWh of our typical home in 30 years results in the production of 0.000275 tons, or 25 grams of nuclear waste. That's about 1.3 cubic centimeters - about a quarter of a teaspoon. If we reprocessed, the waste would be about 1/10th that amount.

The plant itself would be about 250,000 tons of concrete and steel, but it provides enough energy for 1.25 million homes. Most nuclear plants will operate for more than 30 years, but just to keep it simple let's pretend it'll be decommissioned after 30 years. That's 0.2 tons of steel and concrete trash per home.

So to summarize, to power a typical home for 30 years:

Coal: 165 tons of waste pollution
Solar: 640 kg of trash
Wind: 750 kg of trash
Nuclear: 200 kg of trash, a quarter teaspoon of nuclear waste

So... which one do you think is cleanest?


By Solandri on 4/19/2011 3:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
Oops, had to run in the middle of that. Multiply the amount of nuclear waste by 30x, or about 0.75 kg.


By heffeque on 4/20/2011 6:26:32 AM , Rating: 1
"The calcs I've done also say for the same amount of energy generated, the construction costs for wind range from the same to twice as expensive as nuclear (roughly $5-$10 billion per GW average for a year)"

That's not the case in other countries. Must be that the US doesn't know how to build cheap and efficient wind plants.

Also... having to pay for 25,000 years of nuclear waste storing and maintaining "has" to be more expensive than having to pay for more wind, solar and fusion power, don't you think?


By espaghetti on 4/20/2011 1:03:23 AM , Rating: 2
Give Al Gore back his FUD speech.


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