NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, May 29: WIND WORKS FOR BIRDS; SOLAR POWER TOWER NEARING COMPLETION; UK NEW ENERGY WOULD SAVE RATEPAYERS BILLIONS

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    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    QUICK NEWS, May 29: WIND WORKS FOR BIRDS; SOLAR POWER TOWER NEARING COMPLETION; UK NEW ENERGY WOULD SAVE RATEPAYERS BILLIONS

    WIND WORKS FOR BIRDS Terra-Gen gets OK on wind farm in wake of condor decision; U.S. officials approve project, which is taking advanced measures to keep turbines from harming condors. Earlier, Terra-Gen was told it would not be prosecuted if a condor is accidentally killed.

    Louis Shahagun, May 24, 2013 (LA Times)

    “…[The Tehachapi Mountains] will soon bristle with antennas and listening devices designed to protect endangered California condors…[at] the future home of Terra-Gen Power's 2,300-acre Alta Windpower Development…[T]hat project will include equipment to detect incoming condors soon enough to switch off the company's massive wind turbines before they slice into one of the birds. [It is a new standard for wind energy facilities]…

    “…The high-tech equipment and other steps Terra-Gen will take to avoid killing the endangered condors is the chief reason that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has granted [the company’s 153-megawatt project, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles] a unique exception to the Endangered Species Act. For the first time, a company will not be prosecuted if it accidentally kills a condor. [Penalties for killing a condor can be up to $100,000 in fines and one year imprisonment for an individual, and up to $200,000 in fines for an organization. To date, there is no record of a condor fatality linked to a wind energy facility]…”

    “Fish and Wildlife officials say they believe the likelihood of killing a condor is low at Alta because it is outside the bird's historic range and it will be situated on the leeward slopes, where thermal updrafts are rare. Condors use updrafts to gain altitude and soar on 10-foot wingspans…To reduce possible harm to wildlife, including golden eagles, Terra-Gen voluntarily reduced the size of the project from 106 turbines to 51. The 450-foot-tall structures will be spread across four square miles, most of which is publicly owned…

    “…The system will include a telemetry system to track signals from radio transmitters already attached to tagged condors, radar to detect untagged birds and on-site biologists to report condor sightings. If a condor ventures within two miles, the speed of rotating turbine blades will be reduced within 2 minutes to about 3 mph. [The company plans to share its detection data with neighboring wind farms, an alternative energy hot spot in eastern Kern County with thousands of turbines that have been in operation for decades. The company also will provide $100,000 per year to condor recovery activities]…”

    SOLAR POWER TOWER NEARING COMPLETION Power in the Desert: Ivanpah on the Verge; Awesome or a blight on the desert? See Ivanpah, near completion in the Mojave, in all its glory.

    Pete Danko, May 23, 2013 (Greentech Media)

    “The giant Ivanpah solar thermal project in the Mojave Desert is now 92 percent complete…The 377-megawatt project consists of three 459-foot-tall towers encircled by arrays of garage-door-sized mirror sets. Those computer-controlled heliostats -- 153,990 out of 173,500 of which are now in place -- will reflect the sun onto the receiving towers, heating water to create steam that will drive turbines that produce electricity.”

    “The government-backed project has drawn criticism from some environmentalists, most notably for its impact on a fragile endangered desert tortoise habitat and, more recently, for dust problems linked to the development. But others view it as a remarkable step forward in the search for clean, sustainable energy…”

    UK NEW ENERGY WOULD SAVE RATEPAYERS BILLIONS Switch to low-carbon future would save households £1,600; A saving of £45bn should be good news, but the study’s conclusions clash with the pursuit of gas

    Tom Bawden, 23 May 2013 (UK Independent)

    “…Overturning the general consensus that green electricity is more expensive than gas-generated power, a parliamentary advisory committee finds that while ‘decarbonising’ the energy supply will cost more in the next few years, the expense will quickly become negligible and will save British households £45bn, or £1,600 apiece, after 2030…[And even if] Britain is sitting on vast amounts of accessible shale gas… – which won’t be clear for at least a few years - the case for a low-carbon energy revolution in the UK is still ‘robust’, adds the Climate Change Committee (CCC) report…

    “The report…provides by far the most [long term] comprehensive analysis of the relative cost of gas and low-carbon energy sources…It concedes that subsidies already in place to green Britain’s energy supply will add £100 to the average annual household energy bill between 2010 and 2020…[and that] a predominantly green energy supply - in which 90 per cent of electricity is generated from low-carbon sources by 2030 - would add a further £20 by the end of the next decade.”

    “But after that, the upfront costs of renewable energy plants such as wind and solar, will have been largely paid for, while developments in fledgling low-carbon technologies will dramatically reduce its cost – meaning that by 2050, consumers will be much better off than if the energy generators focused that investment on gas power plants…

    “…Britain is legally bound to generate 15 per cent of its energy – or about a third of its electricity – from renewable sources by 2020. But unless MPs vote through the 2030 decarbonisation amendment, there will be no low-carbon electricity target beyond 2020…The CCC’s £45bn [savings] estimate…could potentially rise as high £100bn – or more than £3,000 per household…”

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