Wind power

Looking to the future, the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power is adding more renewable energy to its power-generating mix.
Alex Doty
Feb 8, 2013

The public power provider recently announced that it struck a deal with Beebe Renewable Energy’s Phase 1B wind power project.

“We’re always looking at what would be good enhancements to get more diverse in our generation mix,” said Annette Allen, the Grand Haven utility's general manager.

The project is an expansion of the existing 81.6-megawatt Beebe 1A Project that was constructed in 2012 under a purchased power agreement with Consumers Energy. The project is owned and operated by Excelon Wind and is located east of Ithaca in Gratiot County.

“We’ve had this project come up before and it looked like it’d be a nice fit,” Allen said.

The Board of Light & Power will purchase up to 2.4 megawatts of energy from the Beebe project for 20 years. The agreement calls for a price not to exceed $48.95 per megawatt-hour.

“Although we don’t need it, it’s a good fit as it’s a good price for renewables,” Allen said. “It’s only a small piece, but it is a good first step.”

Grand Haven Mayor Geri McCaleb said that while the municipal utility has to comply with renewable energy standards, she is skeptical of wind energy’s potential to meet future power requirements.

“I don’t think it is a good, long-term solution to our energy needs,” she said. “I certainly don’t think this is a long-term solution to anyone’s energy requirements.”

In light of a new state mandate (Public Act 295), power providers are on the lookout for opportunities to consider additional renewable options. The act requires power generators to produce 10 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2015.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Comments

GH55

It would appear that Ms. McCaleb is not just skeptical, but entirely opposed to this as a solution for anyone to consider. That is not based on fact, neither here in the United States nor the rest of the world.
As of the end of 2011 the US was second only to China for installed wind generation capacity and by far number one in produced power from wind. The US produced over 25% of the world supplied power by wind, but relatively small Germany produced over 10% of that supply.
A 2011 report from the American Wind Energy Association stated, "Wind's costs have dropped over the past two years, in the range of 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour recently.... about 2 cents cheaper than coal-fired electricity, and more projects were financed through debt arrangements than tax equity structures last year.... winning more mainstream acceptance from Wall Street's banks.... Equipment makers can also deliver products in the same year that they are ordered instead of waiting up to three years as was the case in previous cycles.... 5,600 MW of new installed capacity is under construction in the United States, more than double the number at this point in 2010. Thirty-five percent of all new power generation built in the United States since 2005 has come from wind, more than new gas and coal plants combined, as power providers are increasingly enticed to wind as a convenient hedge against unpredictable commodity price moves."
Do we want to continue to import and burn 6,000,000 TONS of coal, for the Campbell plant alone, into our area? Then we wonder why there is mercury in the water and we can't eat the fish.
I don't think Ms. McCaleb's statement: "I certainly don't think this is a long-term solution to anyone's energy requirement", is not based in the facts. This is not what we should expect from our elected officials.

lnmc

Thank you, GH55. If only we all decided to educate ourselves on the facts, then maybe people like Ms. McCaleb wouldn't be an elected official with the power of making policy based on what she "thinks", not what actually is.

migpilot

Serious investors such as Wall Street banks wouldn't touch these projects were it not for the recently renewed tax credits and soon to be renewed project grants. Cut and pasted info from AWEA does not count when arguing wind turbines factually. That cost per kilowatt hour you are quoting is after you, the tax payor, have have already paid for 30% or more of its real cost. The industry is taking a long bet that the technology will catch up with the practical shortfall before the subsidies collapse. I wouldn't bet my dollar on it. Believe me, there is some room for skepticism.

horst

Hey Mig, you’re as ignorant about the facts as the Mayor. It's a 30% tax break on the taxes the wind farm owner must pay, so their tax liability is 70% of their rate. It is not a 30% break on the cost of the project or a 30% premium paid by the public for the power. I have worked in the wind industry for 7 years so I know the "FACTS". Also, the nuke, coal, natural gas and oil industries get tax concessions for power generation. Heck, with good accounts, every industry gets tax breaks. You and the Mayor fail to see the big picture. The environmental impact from wind is second only to solar but it is over 100% more efficient than solar. Why are we not burning high sulfur coal any more, it's a lot cheaper than the low sulfur coal the power plants are forced to buy. Let's just completely screw up the environment to save a few pennies per KwHr. How much have we paid and continue to pay for the after effects of burning coal. Your taxes pay for that but it doesn’t show up on your electric bill.
One more thing GH55 fails to mention. Wind, through engineering developments, has because so efficient in just the past 4 year the cost per KwHr is almost half what is was and now GE has just developed a new turbine that will operate in Type III or Class III winds, under 4 m/s. This new development is going to lower the cost by half again because these turbines operate in just a puff of wind. Steam turbines haven’t done squat in the last 20 years to develop more efficient systems. A steam turbine, whether powered by coal, gas, oil or nuke can only run so efficient. You can only get “X” amount of power out of it.

migpilot

More horst@%# from the wind industry!

migpilot

More horst@%# from the wind industry!

gordbzz231

consumers energy has been planning wind turbines and purchasing land even before the permitts are issued, but its looking forward to whats coming, the goverment is not allowing new coal fired plants, yep, how about the coal thats imported and how much is going to cost, japan is way ahead of us on turbine power because of the polution problems, bad air, bad water, we are headed that way if we continue, all i hear, we dont want this, we dont care, so the ones complaining about turbine power, i would like to hear thier plans for future power, good question

gordbzz231

oh sure, the turbines are made in china or japan, so what !!! they can build something and ship it here for half the price that we can build right here in america, its a shame

Vladtheimp

Why are we subsidizing wind energy and killing the coal industry? Global Warming - except that there has been no "global warming" for the past 15 years, per Phil Jones, former head of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia and one of the proponents of the global warming scam for decades. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/scien...

Furthermore, wind provides less than one percent of U.S. energy and less than one percent of global energy. A one-year extension of the PTC (wind production subsidy) would cost American taxpayers over $12 billion. The natural result of filling up a room full of uninformed environmentalists and feeding them beans for a week would produce a proportional amount of electrical energy, at a significantly cheaper cost.

But not to fear, our crisis driven president, bolstered by a Congress that's either in the pocket of the environmental special interests or afraid to confront them, will gladly waste our tax dollars on more wind, solar, and electric car boondoggles for their campaign donors while claiming they need to raise taxes to avert world wide tragedy. And yes, they will continue to thwart use of domestic oil and gas on public lands (belonging to the taxpayers, that is), and to try and inhibit the use of such resources on privately held land.

Try heating your house on the energy produced by wind within your budget, driving your car, or flying to Vail (unless, like the Feds, you can print money and don't even produce a budget). What a joke!

GH55

OMG, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, based in Luxembourg (LU), approximately, 6% of European electricity was generated by wind in 2011.
No Global Warming? Short periods of time can be used to demonstrate any trend you would like.
Twenty years from now, all the "conservatives" will be screaming, why didn't "you" fix this earlier! Vlad, its easy to deny and scoff at any new idea, its a bit harder to come up with the new ideas.
Yes, lets just continue to drive around in behemoths, and spew the CO2 and other heavy metals associated with burning coal into our atmosphere. We already are only supposed to eat a limited amount of the fish we catch in our waters, but hey, that probably comes from other unknown source.
The easiest alternative energy to implement is the energy you don't actually have to use. This country is in complete denial due to the under-priced energy we enjoy.
I get a smile on my face every time I drive up North on US31, and just know how cranked up so many people get when they catch sight of the new wind turbines just before Ludington! Wind it up baby! The future is coming whether you want it to or not!

Vladtheimp

If you had read the BBC link I provided, you would have learned that rather than 15 short years, the global temperature record relied on by the IPCC shows the rates of global warming for the periods 1860-1880, 1910-40, and1975- 2009 are so similar that the differences are statistically insignificant. You would also see that there is valid evidence that the Medieval Warm Period (950-1250 A.D.)was as warm, or warmer than today and covered a significant part of the globe.

Yet you and folks like you are willing to risk our standard of living, starve untold numbers of children by using corn for auto fuel instead of food, and squander our national wealth based on a theory that falls apart the more unbiased scientists examine it.

I believe in 20 years our children and grandchildren will be cursing us for having been so blindly and willingly flim-flammed by the Al Gores, Barack Obamas, and Enrons of the world by genuflecting at the altar of politically correct global warming, ignoring our own bountiful, God given natural resources of coal, oil, and gas, and believing in wind, solar, electric car, and similar Magic Beans.

Lanivan

"O - Now is the winter of our discontent"....

Vladtheimp

Made glorious summer by this sun of Chicago?

Lanivan

"Made glorious by this Son of Chicago"....

Lanivan

oops - "Made glorious summer by this Son of Chicago".....

Boater

I agree with Vladtheimp.
There was an article in the UK Daily Mail which reported that the Wind turbines are wearing out after 12 years of usage and that is HALF of what they claimed that they'd last. What a waste of OUR money. It's NOT the Washington's money.
I think we have a nation of pansies who need the Gov't to tell them how to think, what to think and when to think it and if they don't agree with Gov't they are mocked.
All of this propaganda is considered as fact by so many that they've lost the ability to think for themselves. It's a shame. We are losing our backbone.
As Ronald Reagan said "Government does not solve problems, it subsidizes them".
No truer words spoken...

Boater

Here are the first few paragraphs from the article:
Wind farms have just half the useful lifespan which has been claimed, according to new research which found they start to wear out after just 12 years.
A study of almost 3,000 turbines in Britain – the largest of its kind – sheds doubt on manufacturers claims that they generate clean energy for up to 25 years, which is used by the Government to calculate subsidies.
Professor Gordon Hughes, an economist at Edinburgh University and former energy advisor to the World Bank, predicts in the coming decade far more investment will be needed to replace older and ineffective turbines – which is likely to be passed on in higher household electricity bills.

Imagine that!

whatajoke

So what good does this do for us if the project is in ithaca? Am i understanding that correctly?

horst

Vald never offers solutions...his great grandfather was yelling about those darn newfangled automobiles getting in the way of his horse and buggy. And for your info the Wind industry is heavily supported by "BOTH" parties in Washington because it has relivence in both red and blue states and the PTC has so much "PORK" attached to it. The UK and BBC, what a joke, site a study from a country that is known for poor manufacturing and quailty. In 2010 spent 2 years decommissioning turbines (3000 of them) in California that were put up in 1980 and 1981 and over 80% of them were still running. In fact, they are rebuilding them and selling them to large farms and ranches to help off-set their high energy bills. Problem is they were not American made (Mitsubishi) Wind will never replace coal, it's not ment to but it's a lot cleaner and getting more efficient every year....Don't you people ever get sick of living in the stone age...educate yourselves. 30 Tech's that I work with are over in Wales right now trying to fix the UK's screwed up turebine problem. Just like the one in Traverse City..."YOU BUY JUNK, YOU GET JUNK" At least Consumers Energy is smart enough to put up the best engineered and manufactured turbines in the world (GE, Vestas, Nordex) Hey Boater, way to spin things to make a point (did you work for the Obama election) Hughes also said...quote By comparison, data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (2011b) put the figure slightly lower,
at around US$60-100 per megawatt-hour in 2010 (i.e. approximately 4-6.5p/kWh14). Estimates
vary because different assumptions can be made about uncertain parameters, such as the
discount rate (i.e. the cost of capital through time), the effect of the exchange rate, commodity
prices (e.g. for steel) and the cost of complying with national legislation. But, despite some
differences due to these assumptions, costs tend to be of the same order of magnitude. Overall,
onshore wind appears likely to be one of the cheapest energy technologies available in 2030

Lanivan

Horst - are you familiar with the French wind turbine invention that extracts water from the air? Apparently it can produce up to 1,000 liters of drinking water every day, depending on level of humidity, temperature, and wind speed, and is being marketed to towns and villages in 3rd world countries.

Vladtheimp

There's no need to offer solutions if there's no problem, unless your "problem" is nature itself. Before you beclown yourself any further, use a search engine to learn about Phil Jones, the CRU (Climate Research Unit) at East Anglia, IPCC, and "Climategate" - you might actually learn something.

I am no Luddite, and you can spin all the factoids you want about turbines and p/kWh14's you want, but you can't ignore the bottom line that electrical energy produced by wind is a yellow drop in the ocean, that global warming is being proven more and more likely to be simply a natural cycle, most likely tied to sun activity, and that folks like you are mortgaging the futures of our kids and grandkids betting on magic beans that even Jack wouldn't buy unless the Congress is bribed by environmentalist special interest money to hugely subsidize their costs. Sorry, but them are the facts.

horst

No need to offer solutions when one is incapable of offering one...the easy path is to sit back and criticize the progress being made (weak, real weak),keep the spin going Vald... It's a one step at a time process not a magic cure-all pill. Wind power is 200% more efficient than it was just 4 years ago which equates to lower cost per kHr…that’s progress. You’re so good at spinning things, sight one coal fired plant that has become even 50% more efficient with new technology…GOOD LUCK. You seem to have this great affixation with beans, that’s because you’re full of them

Lanivan

What a bunch of lame hollanders on this page! Wind turbines (mills) have been around for milleniums. Wind turbines as a source of 100% renewable energy are but one road on the map to sustainable energy solutions.

Natural gas is the golden girl these days. The US is sitting on vast reservoirs of the stuff, with so much drilling, there's a glut on the market and price has dropped dramatically (T. Boone Pickens and CO are not happy these days). Seeing as natural gas is the cleanest, most efficient burning fossil fuel, emitting NO mercury and minute amounts of other pollutants, and it's plentiful and cheap, it's a no-brainer for firing up our electric plants - which is happening all across the US. Those tall smokestacks emitting mercury and all the other nasty stuff are being replaced with nice short, clean-burning stacks. We should all contact our Board of Light and Power - I know they are conducting studies - and request a move to eliminate those (unsightly) piles of coal and mercury-spewing smokestack - or at least switch to technology that would allow the ability to utilize both natural gas and coal. It's be a win-win for everybody.

Vlad - promise me you'll dance a jig when I inform you (although I suspect a smart guy like you already knows) that anything with the word "energy" in it is up in spades - drilling of oil (on-shore and off) and natural gas, on public and private land, wind, solar, and hydroelectic applications - you name it, none of those God-given resources is being ignored - or taken for granted.

The fact is that, although some of you are still grumbling about global warming, the rest of the world is moving on. Energy exploration, innovation, harvesting - the whole energy spectrum is the new global growth and investment industry. When the US government, Wall Street, and China, and much of the rest of the world for that matter, puts vast quantities of big money behind it, it's a done deal.

Vladtheimp

Hollanders? How non-pc, how insensitive! Shame on you, Lanivan, you might as well as called us "Redskins."

Natural gas is just fine by me. Do you care if it is harvested through "fracking"? If not, good on you. If you don't support fracking, which is the big driver for increased natural gas production, you should be up front and say so.

We are producing far less oil than we could due to the restrictions placed on it by the Obama administration, including fewer leases and more areas closed off - if we are not taking full advantage of this natural energy source, we are indeed ignoring it. And I note in your litany of "the whole energy spectrum" you seem to have ignored the 500 lb. gorilla in the room - the natural resource that provides the vast majority of our electricity - King Coal. Surely this was merely an oversight, and not intentional to support your statement that all "energy" is up in spades and none is being ignored.

The rest of the world? Do we follow the "rest of the world" say, like Moslems, in our approach to how we treat women and homosexuals? Do we follow the rest of the world, say China and India, on our use of fossil fuels and our approach to worker's rights - try unionization. Do you really want to follow the rest of the world on how we approach our society, measuring the rest of the world by size of population - a sort of one man one vote analysis? Didn't your mother ever ask you, Lanivan, "If the rest of the world jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?" Probably not - too New Yawk a sentiment.

And please, let's keep the target in sight. I'm not grumbling about global warming - I don't believe in it - it is you and your fine feathered friends who are driving us to abandon our cheap and effective natural means for producing electricity because of YOUR grumbling about global warming. Let's keep it real to the extent we can.

horst

Vald, I don't believe in global warming either (the pied piper of which is the biggest hypocrite that ever walked the earth, Al Gore)...I believe in multiple energy sources. Your family must have been that group that said there was enough lumber in Michigan to last 200 years and it was “ALL” cut in 40. Please look past the end of your nose. It’s not all about you and how cheap you can get things at the cost of future generations. It's the 21 century. Come on in and join us, the water is fine!!!!

Lanivan

I am happy to have the opportunity to offer some reality and inconvenient truths. First off, I would never have left out American-Indians if I knew they had a tradition of wind mills.

1.) Coal is out. Too toxic, polluting, too much mercury. Of course it's still a major player among fossil fuels, but it no longer has the charisma it used to have, and is no longer the thing to invest in.

2.) "Restrictions on oil by the Obama admin". 131 oil & gas companies currently have 3,684 idle oil drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico alone.

The Big 5 oil companies are responsible for 40% of the 20.7 million acres currently NOT undergoing exploratory oil development or oil production.

Oil & gas companies are currently NOT using 72% of the total acres leased offshore and 56% of total acres leased on shore earmarked for oil drilling.

Oil & gas production from public lands is higher than it was during the last 3 years of the Bush administration. Plus, more oil is being produced from federal places in every year under Obama than the last 3 years under Bush, to the tune of 240 million barrels of oil.

As to my mother's admonishments, it was more like sit up straight, fly right, and quit breaking your curfew, or mayhem will follow. Always correct, I think these wise words sum up the situation more than the "follow the rest of the world" interpretation. I prefer to think we are more leaders than followers, and are doing the right thing for future generations. It does require more of us as individuals and as a country, though, than the easier and more immediate gratification of just keeping our heads in the sand.

Vladtheimp

No opinion on fracking which makes the huge increase in natural gas availability possible? Given your love affair with natural gas:

" Seeing as natural gas is the cleanest, most efficient burning fossil fuel, emitting NO mercury and minute amounts of other pollutants, and it's plentiful and cheap, it's a no-brainer for firing up our electric plants - which is happening all across the US. Those tall smokestacks emitting mercury and all the other nasty stuff are being replaced with nice short, clean-burning stacks. We should all contact our Board of Light and Power - I know they are conducting studies - and request a move to eliminate those (unsightly) piles of coal and mercury-spewing smokestack - or at least switch to technology that would allow the ability to utilize both natural gas and coal. It's be a win-win for everybody."

I'll take your silence as approval of the methodology that frees up this marvelous, natural, fossil fuel.

Lanivan

I don't so much approve of it, as accept it as necessary. In the past 4 years, there have been many technological advancements that are improving the safety/environmental profile of fracking, and reducing costs, as well. From what I'm reading, some of these improvements are dramatic. Makes acceptance easier.

horst

No, enlighten me...place. I know turbines that fill a reservoir in Ludington Michigan that the power company loves because now they don’t have to buy power to run the pumps to fill their reservoir; they just flip the switch from grid to internal use. Let's use those French turbines here and get Lake Michigan back to normal levels, I'm sick for wrecking props on my boat...Lanivan, info please!!!

Lanivan

http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/29/wo.... I hadn't thought of that application (water level restoration), but I suppose water is water!

Pages

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.