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THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Things that come up in the daily operation of a ranch.
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THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby Soapweed » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:15 am

THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Normally I am a strong advocate for private property rights, but Wind Energy brings different factors into play. Wind Farms being put into existence depend completely on government subsidies to have the illusion of being profitable. If and when these subsidies expire, so will the viability of wind energy. As a hard working American taxpayer, I resent the fact that my money would be donated to those who put wind turbines on their property.

Wind turbines are not very efficient. When the wind doesn’t blow, they don’t produce energy. They cost mega bucks to build, erect, and maintain, and without the government subsidies and tax credits, they would never produce enough electricity to pay for the initial cost and upkeep. If they are not profitable in the long term, it would be easy to walk away and leave them. Even when new and in working condition, they are a blight on the landscape. When they are left unattended and without care, they would be a real eye-sore.

Another factor to consider is that even though those erecting wind turbines on their property stand to make money, their neighbors stand to lose their quality of life. Most of the landowners seeking to put wind towers up in the Kilgore area don’t even live close enough to be personally affected. Nearby neighbors will be affected, and the value of their property will diminish. Is this an acceptable way to treat your friends and long-time neighbors?

Ranch windmills have satisfactorily pumped water for livestock for well over a century. They have served the purpose very well, even though on windless days other means of providing water must be implemented. These windmills standing sentinel over a water tank are very picturesque. Their wheels contain eighteen separate sections, which resemble the petals of a flower in bloom. Countless pictures have depicted the glory of these ranch windmills.

Before power lines on wooden poles brought electricity to the Sandhills, single primitive wind-chargers were used to provide very minimum amounts of 32 volt electricity. This would be enough for the simple things of life, such as lights, toasters, and food mixers. If the wind didn’t blow, you did without. Even though most ranches in this area had a 32 volt wind-charger, very few photographs exist. There is a simple reason for this—the three prongs on the fly wheel were not nearly as photogenic as the full wheel of a windmill that pumped water. Instead of looking like a flower in bloom, the wind-chargers at their best more closely resembled a weed after a hail storm. This is the same appearance of big wind turbines spread across the landscape. They all resemble horse weeds after a hail storm.

It has been mentioned that there was resistance to early electric power lines coming into the Sandhills, as well as pivot irrigation systems, grain elevators, communication towers, and the like. There is a difference though, as most of the other blotches on local scenery made our lives more abundant. The big wind turbines are a different story. They will not enhance the lives of most local residents at all, and will instead have way more negative effects than positive. Any production from these turbines will mostly be transported far away from this area. This brings another problem immediately to the fore-front. Large transmission lines will need to be built to transport electricity to where it will be used. Eminent domain will come into play, and private property rights will be trampled.

We already are receiving all of our electrical needs from other sources. The coal industry has served our power needs very efficiently and adequately for a long time. It could continue to do so, if politics weren’t stacked against it. “Green Energy” is mostly a buzz-word for justifying the liberal agenda. It is a glaring example of style rather than substance.

Even though water pumping windmills have long been used on area ranches, solar pumps are now becoming quite popular. They seem to be an improvement, as sunshine is more dependable than wind. A very likely future scenario is that solar energy will be replacing wind turbines on a large scale, and about the time Cherry County litters the landscape with Wind Farms, wind power will become obsolete and completely unprofitable. Solar developments could be here to stay.

Here are some attributes of solar versus wind.

A solar power system:

 Has no moving parts

 Has better reliability and a 25 year warranty

 Requires less monitoring

 Does not require expensive maintenance

 Provides more predictable energy output based on Bureau of Meteorology and National Aeronautics and Space Administration data.

 Better value for money in sites with average wind speeds less than 5 meters per second

 Is less conspicuous than a wind turbine

 Is totally silent in operation

 Allows for quicker installation

 Is less susceptible to lightning damage

 Is less susceptible to high wind damage.

 Requires less space in most cases

Possibly investors wishing to make more honorable profits from energy development should look at solar opportunities rather than wind.

Our unique and pristine Sandhills region is one of the premier locations in which to ranch in the whole world. The natives of this area love our Sandhills just as they are. Sometimes the wind blows too much, but we laughingly declare that if this wasn’t the case, everyone would want to live here.

There is always the question, “What would I do if I won the lottery?” If I didn’t already live in Cherry County, Nebraska, I would want to. It has everything that people desire, including a beautiful landscape, blue sky, pure water, an abundance of elbow room, and great neighbors. Why would we want to implement change that would jeopardize any of these wonderful attributes? What is the purpose of making more money, especially in a venture that has to be subsidized by the government to prosper, when we already have everything needed to be content? Before anyone gets too carried away with cluttering Cherry County with wind farms, we might want to pause, take a deep breath, and soak up the great blessings that have already been bestowed upon us.

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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby Traveler » Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:46 am

Another thing is, the main source of energy can't just be randomly turned off and on if you're going to have reliable electric service. But maybe that's what needs to happen. Areas so "sold" on wind energy need to have it as their only feed into the highlines. See how they really like it.

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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby Sandhills boy » Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:47 am

Amen!! :agree:
Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and
those who dare not are slaves. Lord Byron, poet (1788-1822)

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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby Brad S » Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:50 am

Moreland makes a most compelling condemnation of government subsidized windmills in Cherry County.


I'd like to direct attention to the subsidized element of windmills. Who can find equity taking from existing coal fired energy suppliers to subsidize financially insolvent suppliers? Windmills are insolvent from the drawing board on, and some want to seize taxes to build them?

Burning coal creates pollution, and the coal fired power industry continues to improve scrubbing - winnowing down emissions. The production of windmill fields begins with pollution in the manufacture of the insolvent windmills and would end with mechanical pollution knocking migratory birds from the air in the heart of the central flyway.

We live in an interesting time. We have enough old fashioned energy (coal, oil, natural gas) to act as a bridge to allow a comfortable transition to greater efficiencies in power conversion. Every week, solar conversion improves slightly by better collection and converters. We have time to let science do its thing. Mechanically harvesting wind is reverting back to a valid energy supply, but the opportunity for advancement isn't there with this already insolvent conversion method.

Cherry county is too far away from a population center capable of using production from a wind farm - hence the subsidy for the inefficient. Vast transmission lines would be the next filthy intrusion.

As long as we have a surplus of privately produced, cheap energy - for the foreseeable centuries, subsidizing an alternative insolvent energy source is at best folly. More than likely, the recipient of these proposed subsidies is a well connected few chrony capitalists.

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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby mrj » Sun Jun 12, 2016 3:37 pm

Thanks for sharing such good, logical thoughts on this subject, guys. Electricity.....how we make it, move it, and use are things most of us know too little about.

Where does the power produced by those hydro electric units on all the dams on the Missouri (and other) rivers go? I think we here in SD use power from coal brought from WY (which is some of the cleanest burning coal there is), while the power from the river goes through those huge sets of hi-lines running west to larger cities, so I've been told. Now, we are told we have to find different sources of power for our expensively updated coal burners because that fuel is too dirty. Meanwhile, some of the older of these plants are being dismantled, shipped to China and other places, and.....used to produce electricity, with no restrictions on air quality!!!!! So the stories go, anyway. I hope it isn't true, but fear it fits the agenda of too many 'leaders' in this country, which seems to be 'build others up, while pulling our own people down to a lower social level'.

I wonder.....those old 32 volt wind chargers were doing a pretty good job within a short time of their invention.....so why was the big move to eliminate those individually controllable systems pushed so fast, in favor of centrally/government controlled systems with their ever escalating costs? I know, I know, they run ads frequently claiming costs for electric power hasn't risen as fast as beef (and how wrong is it for those selling power to those of us who produce beef, insinuating we are raking in the money when we have little to no control over our costs of production????) so, with human ingenuity, where would those plants have gone, without govt. intervention to replace them????

What if......more simple low cost-high return systems for using solar and wind energy were designed by entrepreneurs; even getting more electricity from the water going through our dams by generators being placed in other places for currents to make more power from that same water while allowing other uses of the water to continue, too? Could it be because there isn't enough 'fast money' to be made by politicians and others skimming government activities for their own personal enrichment? The ideas of 'they guy next door' types and used and maybe sold locally by them probably are happening far more than we know....and should be publicized and refined, but probably too many regulations for that to happen often enough when too few can make big dollars on it.

So much time and energy spent on bad things gets depressing when there are so many needs for practical, low cost ways to make life better for more people.

mrj

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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby Sandhills boy » Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:16 pm

I was a electrician for 18 years and wondered the same thing. Why could we not have a water wheel in a river turn a generator in an area of need? Water flows pretty constant 24-7. I guess I am to much of a simpleton. Not enough money floating back and forth to get lost.
Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and
those who dare not are slaves. Lord Byron, poet (1788-1822)

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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby Big Muddy rancher » Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:13 pm

I concur on Soapweed's view of wind energy but as one who live between two coal powered generating station I don't really like seeing what they have done to the land that has been mined. I will concede that they are doing a better job of reclaim then they had done in the past.
Since here in Sask, the power corp is a "Crown" I didn't care for they way they dealt with landowners and how the rules didn't really apply to them.
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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby AC Diesel » Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:51 pm

Soap you hit the nail on the head, you couldn't be more right!

I work for an REA in Holt county and we have had to do a lot of work for a wind farm that is being built northeast of ONeill. When completed it's supposed to be the largest one in the state. These farms are a complete joke, a person cannot fathom the amount of money that is wasted until you work around one. You've never seen so many new pickups being driven up and down the road with only one person in them getting paid how much for doing what? They messed up the concrete on 7 of the bases and they had to be tore out at a ticket of 1 million a piece i'm pretty sure nobody lost their job for that booboo. I could give examples all night!
Most of these are built in heavier soil, I couldn't imagine the devastation they would cause at my place in the sandhills. And they try to tell you that the local economy will benefit from all the extra people that it brings in, well let me tell you, you don't want the riff raff they drag in for help. I'm a big guy and I feel like I need to carry a concealed weapon to keep my family safe while we are in town.
Stay strong and good luck don't let Cherry county get blighted like they did Holt!

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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby Traveler » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:51 am

Sandhills boy wrote:I was a electrician for 18 years and wondered the same thing. Why could we not have a water wheel in a river turn a generator in an area of need? Water flows pretty constant 24-7. I guess I am to much of a simpleton. Not enough money floating back and forth to get lost.
Imagine any of the hydroelectric dams of the past being approved by today's EPA.

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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby Sandhills boy » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:32 pm

Ya probably would not happen but where would we be with out them, up a creek.(it would take hell of a lot of money and years for approval) The EPA has a knife to our neck, just wonder if it will ever get any better. All we can do is do our best, and play the cards out.
Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and
those who dare not are slaves. Lord Byron, poet (1788-1822)

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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby EastWind » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:48 am

Nice post Soapweed. Another thing you don't here the windmill farms talking about is the Number of Bats (800,000 ) and Birds (500,000) that are killed annually by wind turbines. That's a lot of mosquitoes not getting eaten.

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Re: THOUGHTS ON WIND ENERGY by Steve Moreland, June 12, 2016

Postby Cedarcreek » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:53 am

Good post Soapweed. What a waste of taxpayer dollars, power companies invest in them only because of the subsidies. They have to have backup power for when the wind doesn't blow just as we have to for our stock water windmills. I wouldn't want them on my place or my neighbors.
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