Click on the image above to go on a tour of a wind project being built in Washington state. Note the absolute lack of homes in this wind farm.
Contrast this with a video of homes in the Butler Ridge wind project in Dodge County, Wisconsin. Setback for this project is 1000 feet from non-participating homes. Click on the image below to see what that looks like and why this setback may not be adequate.
Alliant Energy, Madison, wants to build a natural gas-fueled power plant and a wind farm in Iowa.
In a conference call with analysts Thursday, Alliant chairman Bill Harvey said Interstate Power & Light, Alliant's Iowa utility subsidiary, probably will not renew its contract for electricity from the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant past its expiration in February 2014.
"The economics didn't work out" in negotiations with the reactor owner, NextEra Energy, Alliant spokesman Scott Reigstad said Friday.
In order to make up for that loss, as well as the expected closing of aging power plants in the coming years, IPL is studying the feasibility of building a 600-megawatt natural gas-fueled plant in Iowa by 2016. No location has been chosen but the project would cost at least $650 million.
Alliant also plans to build another wind farm in north-central Iowa, adjacent to its Whispering Willow-East site, with about 60 turbines bought in 2008 but set aside for future development. Instead of being owned by one of its utility subsidiaries, it would be owned by Alliant Energy Resources, the company's unregulated, non-utility arm. That means shareholders, not ratepayers would shoulder the cost.
Reigstad said because the utility already has met its renewable portfolio standard of 10 percent, regulators are not expected to let ratepayers pick up the tab for another wind farm. Construction is expected to start Monday and the turbines should start producing power by the end of 2012.
Harvey also said Alliant plans to submit an application later this year to buy the natural gas-fired Riverside power plant in Beloit when its contract to buy electricity from the plant expires in 2013.
It was a case of clean energy polluting the environment.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has slapped a $490,000 fine, one of its largest, on Suzlon Rotor, the Pipestone, Minn., manufacturer of wind-power electricity generation equipment.
While capturing wind energy with Suzlon’s giant wind turbine blades didn’t pollute, the manufacturer of the equipment did, according to a consent agreement between Suzlon and the MPCA that was filed in Pipestone County District Court.
The agreement, in which Suzlon agreed to correct its manufacturing problems at unspecified costs, detailed violations involving air quality, hazardous waste, solid waste and the handling of storm water runoff.
Brad Wiggins, Suzlon’s regional manager in Pipestone, couldn’t be reached for comment, and a Chicago spokeswoman for Suzlon didn’t return a call.
The fine comes as Suzlon’s parent company, based in India, has been laying off workers in Pipestone. After surging to nearly 500 workers as the market for giant wind turbine blades took off in the mid-2000s, employment has dropped to about 30 people at the plant. Suzlon laid off 110 workers there late last year.
The MPCA said that, in 2009, sandblasting operations at the plant “far exceeded emissions standards for airborne particles.” In addition to sandblasting without a permit, Suzlon did so without using air emission control equipment, the MPCA said. The company also stored sandblasting waste material outdoors in uncovered piles, where it was exposed to storm water runoff, without having the correct permit, the MPCA said.
In addition, Suzlon failed to properly evaluate its waste for hazardous substances, or to correctly handle hazardous waste, MPCA said. Included in those violations were claims that Suzlon improperly sent damaged turbine blades containing lead to a landfill; the lead was subsequently recovered from the landfill, the MPCA said.
The company was ordered to stop sandblasting, evaluate hazardous wastes, dispose of lead properly, prepare a storm water pollution prevention plan and obtain all necessary permits.
The $490,000 fine wasn’t Suzlon’s first. In 2008, the company paid a $19,000 fine for violating air quality rules by failing to obtain an air quality permit before the Pipestone facility was built.
The MPCA said the amount of the latest fine is based on the seriousness of the violation, whether it was a repeat violation and how soon it was reported to authorities. It also said fines are an attempt to recover the value of the economic benefit a company received by failing to comply with environmental laws.