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I did some diaries about great lakes wind power a while back.

Erie is doable with present tech, the bathymetry is right, with few deep waters.

Lake Michigan is the real winner if you can build in deep water, because the lake is extremely deep, bottoming out at 800+ feet.

This would be an excellent industrial promotion project.  THe skills and machines needed for turbine manufacturing are a sufficiently close match to the auto industry, that it begs the question why the skilled machinests and foundries left in the cold by the auto industry couldn't be used to do this.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Feb 20th, 2009 at 12:59:46 PM EST
I agree. And when I have talked with union members/union activists - especially Steelworkers union and UAW officials, that same sentiment is very apparent. But they still haven't got the need to make these projects financially free of tax credits and tax deductions (which lower the price of electricity made by these by 5 to 7 c/kw-hr, and thus competitive with polluting old coal facilities  (3 to 5 c/kw-hr), ancient depleted nukes whose costs have been sloughed off to ratepayers ("stranded costs"), and for now, cheap natural gas.

This veers into what I call "Schumer's Conundrum", named after NY's Senator. He wants cheap electricity  (and there is only so much of the ultra-cheap Niagara Falls and St Lawrence River energy to go around), but wants it green, wants the jobs from green electricity (and probably the financing jobs for green energy, too). But by wanting everything, he essentially gets nothing, and every year, the waters of the Atlantic creep up ever higher (he lives in Brooklyn, which is mostly near sea-level).

Cheech & Chong had a great saying about "if you have the time, you have no money for stuff and that was when there was stuff available, and if you have money for stuff, there was a dearth of stuff available". Well, a bit paraphrased, but close enough for government work. For renewables, if you don't have a price for the product, it might raise the price of the electricity product a touch, which is deemed verbotten. On the other hand, if you don't raise the electricity price to pay off the renewable investments, you get no renewables. Of course, if American's got more efficient with electricity, the cost of electricity going up would be more than compensated by less money paid for less electricity needed. But, the sale of the incandescent bulb is still allowed, and not taxed at $5/100 watt incandescent bulb. And buying more than 42" TV screens to earth the superbowl was still all the rage this year.

Meanwhile, reality  slowly keeps intruding. The big question is whether the hordes of unemployed smarten up, or the waters of the Atlantic reach the strets of Brooklyn

Nb41

by nb41 on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 09:06:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... there are no construction and manufacturing jobs in allowing polluting old coal plants to operate, and there is no guarantee that coal will continue to be cheap. Establishing the policy for a steady and rapid build up of wind power will create both construction and manufacturing jobs, and will give a guaranteed price for the electricity produced.

China can make noises about sustainable power, but they are not likely to really cut down their share of coal power before they hit their domestic peak coal ... and once they hit their domestic peak coal, the international price for coal is going to start heading up, and with it the domestic price for all coal-fired electricity.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 01:42:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any estimate of the time to peak Chinese coal?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 04:32:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... obscured by China's lack of any idea of Freedom of Information (after all, if Information was "meant" to be free, the regulating information would not be so useful in maintaining political control) ...

... but the last estimate I saw put it at ten to twenty years, and probably the short side of that ... so around 2020-2025 might not be a bad guess.

And expansion of coal supply will be increasingly difficult as they approach the plateau ... which the Chinese government seems likely to ascribe to "successful efforts to cope with CO2 emissions".

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 04:54:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bruce,

Good point! And since a new coal burner will make electricity at between 10 to 12 c/kw-hr with no CO2 trash-stashing, and 15 to 17 c/kw-hr with CO2 trash stashing....even offshore wind is competitive with new coal burners. Add in the social benefits to all the people put to work with wind and offshore wind, and this makes even more sense.

All that is needed is a Feed-In Law option....and they would be "ready to make some Gumbo". For both on and offshore wind.

Nb41

by nb41 on Sat Feb 21st, 2009 at 05:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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