Friday, November 17, 2017

When Alternative Energy Goes Wrong

Wind Turbine Syndrome Illustrated ๐Ÿ˜ฑ ๐Ÿ˜ต
Photo - Kevin Key /Oct 2017)

"War of the Worlds"  ๐Ÿ˜ต
Back this past October, San Diego California photographer, Kevin Key, posted on his Flickr page a night image of the eerie looking Ocotillo Wind Farm. He actually is very taleted on taking fascinating night sky images down in the Imperial Valley desert scenery. But this partcular image reminded me of some Hollywood remake of an H.G. Wells classic, "War of the Worlds." The latest film Martian machines used in the newer movie version are far different than those of the original 1953 classic. These newer version Tripod Martian machines looked like many of the countless modern wind turbines machines manufactured by Siemens from a distance. Especially at night. Only these new improved version of  Martian machines are more more sophisticated and efficient than those at the controversial Ocotillo Wind Farm Turbines which don't often move and function as originally advertised. 

Image - Kevin Key
By coincidence, Kevin Key, does uses a Tripod. Hmmmmm ๐Ÿ˜‰, just like those Martian machines. But the similarity to wind turbines is uncanny when it comes to their immense presence and scary noise. The environmental effects on human beings and wildlife by their mere presence is also uncanny with both the real and Sci-Fi machines. The ecogreen crowd will disagree of course. The majority of those folks claiming to champion and support wind turbines are generally not living within the vicinity of these wind farm locations (often over 100+ miles away) and their only real support has been clicking LIKE on some Facebook page. Go figure! ๐Ÿ˜’ This is not to bash the real need for alternative safer energy production, but thus far the responsible science has been grossly lacking here in favour of profiteering. Take a close look at Kevin Key's Ocotillo Wind Turbine night scenery and listen to this repetitive sound effects used by "War of the Worlds." Doesn't get anymore illustrative than that folks.

Okay Okay, so yeah I'm exaggerating a bit here. Surely real wind turbines are not even close to those spooky Sci-Fi sound-effects. Or are they ? The residents of Ocotillo were told in the beginning that those Pattern Energy Wind Turbines would be as quite as being in a Library. Well maybe you be the judge. Now think for a moment, could the reverberations at low frequencies really affect people's (or wildlife) inner ears ??? Check out this one single turbine video and imagine what an entire army of them must be like. Listen: Ocotillo Wind Turbine Syndrome ??? Wow, I think those Sci-Fi War of the Worlds version of sound effects are far easier to deal with. Aside from the human factor, can you imagine how this horrible noise must be effecting the sensitivites of wildlife like bats, birds and other animals ? Still, the Sci-Fi sound effect and the nightly red glow of the Ocotillo Wind Turbines speaks volumes. This isn't the first time I've made Ocotillo landmark comparisons to Sci-Fi world. Take another look below.
They Both Crashed & Burn to the Ground
Image - Kevin Key (Nov 2016)

Image - Stan Winston
And of course the Ocotillo Wind Turbine Facility has had it's share of problems with turbines crashing and burning. So on November 21, 2016 a 500-foot-tall wind turbine at the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility collapsed in the morning, spewing debris and three blades each weighing many tons across the desert floor. The cause of this failure is still being investigated. Perhaps a blade came loose and struck the tower - causing it to bend ? Maybe the transmission gears suddenly jammed and the force of the spinning blade suddenly stopping was too much for the tower to handle? Note that it was NOT exceptionally windy at the time of the collapse. Also, the tower did NOT bend at a seam. Interestingly they are also notorious for leaking massive amounts of gear oil and other lubricants. Funny, weren't these created to end petroleum ???But yet even here is yet another uncanny similarity with these turbine machines and the crashing and burning of those Martian Tripod machines. Go figure!

The people of Ocotillo were clearly upset from the very beginning with the move in of giant industrial business interests and with what has happened to their once picturesque desert scenery and lifestyle which now seems ruined forever. The industrial complex has been plagued from the start with all manner of breakdowns, fires, lubricant leakage, etc. These turbines are continually being worked on every day from sun-up to sun down. The original studies which were created pinpointed this particular geographical location as the prime spot for such an industrial business venture now appear to have been flawed from the start. These Turbines have been documented as being idle most of the time and to make matters worse, taxpayer grants and other subsides to the tune of  millions upon millions of dollars. Maybe when they admit defeat and failure and tear these things down, perhaps they'll create a token monument like the one above by sculpter Michael Condron's "The Working Martian,"  in 1998 which is made to look like the first alien capsule to hit Earth, half buried into the ground. This Martian Cylinder erected in Woking England to celebrate the centenry of H.G Wells' "The War of the Worlds" which the author, then a resident of Woking, set in and around the area he lived in. But it's a perfect fit to illustrate the story of an alternative energy scheme gone terribly wrong in Ocotillo, California.
The Other Imperial Valley Meltdowns - Solar Energy Farms
(Photo Credit: 8minutenergy)
"Imperial Valley agencies bet on renewable energy for jobs"
Image . Green Prophet
Or so read the headline in the California Economic Summit story. This is another alternative energy scheme gone wrong because it was not very well thought out because of the challenges it would face. Really it was doomed from the start because of the all too common, "You scratch my back I'll scratch yours ๐Ÿ˜Ž" political backroom dealing. I won't elaborate, but will post all the Desert Sun investigations on the subject at the end of this section and you can read it for yourself. I'll deal with a couple of major logistics problems regarding location, maintainance nightmares and why the existence of many massive farm settings actually works against reversing global warming. The reality is it can contribute further to it. Also, new research out of Germany finds big solar farms may be actually killing beneficial insects. First the dirty side of Solar.

World Bank Photo Collection

One of the biggest problems of massive solar farms in the desert is the maintaining of clean glass so that they are always kept at optimal performance. That's a tough job in the deserts because Dust is the biggest obstacle and it's #1 commodity after Heat. Research has found that Air Pollution & Dust cuts Solar Cell Energy output by over 25%. Of course cleaning with water works, but water is scarce and like gold in desert regions. In fact it's the biggest wasted resource. Although there are researchers looking to use Martian Technology proposed for zapping Dust from Solar Panels. Go figure, just can't get away from that Martian Technology. ๐Ÿ˜„ Another major issue believe it or not is that these massive Solar Farms contribute to huge rise in temperatures. Back in 2016 Nature published a study, The Photovoltaic Heat Island Effect: Larger solar power plants increase local temperatures

Seriously folks, if forest trees in snow create heat island effects, how much more so would a massive Industrial Solar Farm infrastructure complex create higher temperatures ??? Again, believe it or not folks, there are actually some scientists out there who believe that Cutting Down Trees Might Actually Help Save the Planet because trees cause snow to melt faster and that's a bad thing. I kid you not ๐Ÿ˜”. The point here is that these solar farms are supposed to reverse global warming, not increase it. Now another important negative is the fact that many solar farms depending on the type and technology used are killing all manner of birds that fly over head. We have glaring examples of numerous birds and insects being almost instantaneously nuked in the Mojave Desert regions like Ivanpah.

Source: Rolf Disch

Solar Housing, Freiburg, Germany
Moreover other research, like some done in Germany found that for many insects, Solar panels could be a threat to aquatic insects, which I find interesting because back in May 2017, I wrote a post about research from Germany again showing major decline in Bioabundance of all insect species in their Nations Forests and Parks. Now what's interesting is that Germany leads the globe in alternative energy, especially solar everywhere. Could this have been more of a cause insect decline than the usual suspect Agro-Chemicals ??? Then there's the scandalous news of Imperial Valley's alternative energy scheme, getting rid of actual agriculture and farming with Solar Farms. The Coachella Valley's online journal Desert Sun has been the watch dog here on Imperial Irrigation District's attempt at massive industrial Solar Farm schemes which benefit insiders with government approvals, funding & profiteering. Here's the latest article by Desert Sun (Public agency approves $5 million for solar farm amid allegations of financial conflicts) and you can google search more within their archive, but green energy has been plagued by scandalous behaviour from the beginning. There's really no reason for further comment other than something I've always found puzzling here. If Imperial Irrigation District was going to get into the Solar Energy biz, why not use existing irrigation canal infrastructure in building Solar structures over these canals as many poorer 3rd world nations have done ??? Like India ??? See this picture below ??? Try and think All American Canal or Coachella Canal, and Westside Main Canal, etc and why solar wasn't built over those water transporting infrastructures to take advantage of free water for cleaning which would immediately fall back into the canal ??? Why rip up new raw environmentally sensistive desert lands or destroy good farmland ??? Hello ??? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Solar Power Project - Vadodara Branch Canal, Hyderabad.

Further info on Solar, see - World's Catch 22 with Alternative Energy Schemes
While I'm on the subject of  Global Warming & Imperial Valley
US Gypsum Plant Plaster City - Getty Images

Images by Tony Hoffarth
This photograph above is of the US Gypsum Plant in Plaster City just west of Ocotillo. For years after working in El Centro and driving back home from work to San Diego, I'd drive past this place at night on the Olde Hwy 80 or Evens Hewes Hwy in Imperial Valley. This night scene always reminded me of that almost deadly accurate Sci-Fi masterpiece known as, "Soylent Green."  This photo on the right hand side is the refinery in the City of El Segundo that was the actual  location used as the Soylent Green Factory. This old refinery is currently an NRG Power Plant. It's located is at 300 Vista del Mar, El Segundo. Most older generation movie goers will remember the 1973 Sci-Fi movie "Soylent Green" that takes place in a 2022 overpopulated New York City on a environmentally disastrous global warming planet Earth. While most of the filming took place on a studio backlot, Los Angeles stood in for New York for a couple of locations. I wrote about the uncanny similarity of the movie's infamous Soylent Corporation & our real world infamous Monsanto and how both are obsessed with pusuing power and wealth much the same way. The other uncanny similarity (which is incredibly spooky) was the timeline in which this Sci-Fi Corporate entity bought up all of it's competition and monopolized it's supremacy in the food industry. The other uncanny component was the climate change timeline which is almost identical to our own present time. In both case scenarios (Sci-Fi & Real world), we also have bizarre sci-fi world technological concepts which attempt to deal with population explosion and climate change. No really folks, this is serious. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ But there's more, there are some legacy building billionaires who have ideas of their own utopian visions.
Bill Gates firm buys Arizona land for $80 million to create 'smart city'
Image by TechViral

TechViral: Bill Gates Is Building His Own Futuristic Smart City

Well, apparently the Arizona-based Belmont Partners, one of Gates’ investment firms, purchased close to 25,000 acres of land in Tonopah, around 50 miles west of Phoenix, to create a “smart city” which you pass when traveling on Interstate 10. Their futuristic scheme is to "create a supposedly forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs." So goes the utopian vision. But why the desert of western Arizona ? Why not some other location that has plenty more available water ? Arizona has so little water and the Colorado River drainage system hasn't exactly obliged in the recharge department over the last several years. How in the world will 80,000 new homes be serviced ? Also there are plenty of already existing depressed communities which could be rehabilitated and turned into his vission of a secular techie paradise. Well no mind. Below is a news video describing the location and vision of this city Bill Gates envisions. It starts off by means of a fly over describing the desert landscape saying, "It looks like a whole lot of nothing," which is the typical opinion of Wind Turbine and Solar Farms developers. Frankly I love deserts and don't find them offensive. Swedes over here in Gothenburg think I'm crazy when I tell tem I mis deserts and heat. Mostly I miss the monsoon season. But deserts have always been considered nothing worthless wastelands and have been viewed that way for 100s of years. 

This post isn't slamming the need for alternative energy, but the bottomline here again is that there was this rush to save the planet and obtain as much profit as early as possible. And incredibly not many of the proponents are even remotely willing to question anything when it comes to alternative energy's glaring flaws. Their knowledge of the subject mainly is often solely based on a virtual world of social networking hype from various eco-groups. This fear has allowed for recklessness in developing and actually perfecting the technology. It would seem nobody really bothered to look at the side effects and consequences on our natural world which it was supposed to save. It's also created unfortunate opportunities for greed and outright fraud by unscrupulous individuals who've taken advantage of government land grants and billions in taxpayer subsidies. However well meaning those policies & taxpayer subsidies were from the beginning, the entire program has become one giant train wreck where many hopeful ecology people are encapable of recognizing that. This past October 31st, it was reported that Germany no longer has the money for subsidies to keep these non-sustainable machinert running. t also appears their shelf life isn't as long as advertised.
Kaput!: German Wind Farms Set for Dismantling as Subsidies Dry Up

Source: Patrick Pleul / dpa (icon image)
"Several thousand wind turbines in Germany are likely to be phased out in the next decade because their state subsidies expire. "If electricity prices do not rise over the next decade, only a few plants will hold their own in the market," according to Berlin-based Energy Brainpool."
Frightening Stats to consider for our Planet 
US Department of Energy

Image -

Palm Springs Wind Turbines
The graph above showing percentages of differing types of energy used around the globe also illustrates a caution here. While clearly oil and coal are dirty technologies as are the means by which mankind's industrial science has invented extracting natural gas from shale in a technique known as fracking, the present alternatives show an equally frightening potential for maring the Earth's landscape, while at the same time being less than efficient as advertised. Sorry folks, much of this stuff just doesn't work as well without the subsidies and that's not how most real world viable businesses really work. Take a look at this picture on the right which is illustrative of where many prime wind locations show massive cluttering of industrial infrastructure which is said to be ecogreen. Yet when you look at the graph above, how much of the scenery would have to be carpeted with solar farms and wind turbine industrial complexes to be considered a viable replacement to conventional energy production ??? Scary isn't it. Sadly there are no satisfactory comforting answers to the world's energy crisis and reversing climate change or global warming from a human standpoint. ๐Ÿ˜จ

In the mean time take a look at some of Kevin Key's beautiful night phography below of desert night visions. ๐Ÿ˜Ž