Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Case for Wind Power

You may not have heard of Rock Port, Missouri, but it will go down in history as the first city in the U.S. to be totally, 100%, powered by the wind. In fact, the wind power generated is more than the city needs, and it exports 23% to nearby towns.

The Loess Hills Wind Farm is built on agricultural lands, with four 1.25 Megawatt Suzlon turbines, producing about 16 million kilowatt hours per year, more than enough to serve the entire communtiy of Rock Port - population 1,395.

The turbines need wind of at least 9 miles per hour to begin production and the maximum output of power is achieved at 14 miles per hour.

While the wind energy will not lower energy bills, it will hedge against rising energy costs in the future. One report claims that Rock Port residents will see stabilized energy costs for the next 25 years.

Hawaii is in good position to encourage similar alternative energy projects. The legislature passed HB2863 this year which establishes a renewable energy siting process designed to expedite the permitting process for facilities that generate at least 200 megawatts of electricity. It establishes a renewable energy siting special fund, with an initial appropriation of $100,000, for an energy resources coordinator in the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, to implement, staff, and manage the project.

Where are the windiest places in Hawaii? Check out this site which provides wind data with facility siting in mind. Seems like every major island has capacity for wind power, and the areas with the best potential are the south and north shores of Kauai; Oahu's mountain ridges; Molokai's west end; the south shore of Maui's middle; the north half of Lanai; Kohala mountain (north end) of the Big Island; and the southern tip of the Big Island.

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Vernon said...
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