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The “Skinny” on the “Big” Wind Turbine at Point Lookout.

By George Povall

 

Ok ok, so the previous poster here already straightened this out.  This is the SMALLEST of the “commercial” sized wind turbines.  At 156 feet tall and rated at 100 kw capacity, this is about 60% shorter and 1/15th the rotor diameter of the relatively current standard 2MW commercial turbines.

(Commercial Turbine Sizes)

So what’s the real information?   Enough of the rumors!

I think we need to clear the air, get down to the facts, and find out what’s real with little commentary so our neighbors know what they’re talking about. Maybe you’ll provide the commentary, I’ve held my tongue (mostly) in the interest of keeping this a legitimate news item .

Edited From the Draft Environmental Assessment:

Why did they build this?

“The purpose of the proposed project is to facilitate use of renewable energy resources to power the Town’s hydrogen and natural gas fueling station. The proposed project would ultimately assist in the reduction of reliance on fossil fuels and facilitate the use of renewable energy resources.

(TOH Wind to Hydrogen Station)

The benefits of wind energy make it the second largest new energy resource for the U.S. electrical grid. Wind power is a renewable energy source that is both abundant and not depleted by use. Environmental benefits include the lack of harmful air emissions and lack of water consumption. The Town’s proposed project supports the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy mission to invest in clean energy technology, improve energy efficiency, and increase available domestic sources of energy (DOE 2010).

The system would tie-in to the local electrical grid so that excess power, if any, would be available for other users.  Each year, the proposed project would replace about 200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually (at an average wind speed of 13 miles per hour), which the Town currently purchases from the local electrical grid.”

That’s enough for about 30 houses, maybe more if they’re energy conscious.  (I am able to use half the average and still live comfortably!)

The stats by the numbers:

So what the heck is it?

“The Northwind®100 wind turbine, a product of Northern Power Systems, weighs about 23 tons, has a hub 122 feet above the ground. The turbine has three blades, each about 34 feet long. The diameter of the rotor, which consists of the blades and the rotor hub, is about 69 feet, so the tips of the blades would extend from about 96 to 156 feet above the ground. The tower for the Northwind 100 consists of three sections of tubular steel, and the nacelle cover and blades are fiberglass composite.

 (Lido @ Loop Parkway Looking North)

The turbine operates with a variable rotor speed ranging from 0 to 59 revolutions per minute. The turbine would start to generate electricity when wind speeds reached 7.8 miles per hour, and would stop at 56 miles per hour to prevent damage from higher wind speeds. It can withstand winds as high as 133 miles per hour. The turbine has dual braking capabilities and can be stopped under any circumstances by using any two of the three brakes. The turbine conforms to all applicable wind turbine safety standards.”

Sounds pretty expensive!  Is that my tax dollars at work?

“The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is providing Federal dollars to States, territories, and eligible cities, counties, and American Indian Nations across the United States to reduce fossil fuel emissions, benefit local and regional communities, and reduce total energy use. Of the $3.2 billion, communities in New York are eligible to receive approximately $145 million in grants, and the State of New York itself is eligible for an additional $30 million.

DOE has provided an the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) Program grant to the Town of Hempstead, New York (the Town); part of which the Town is seeking to use for the design, permitting, and construction a 100-kilowatt wind turbine at Point Lookout, New York.”

I hear these things cause problems, what can we expect?

“Other than possible indirect visual impacts to historic or cultural resources, no other effects would occur.   Once in operation, the proposed project would be a vertical visual presence in the community.

There are many other tall structures visible in the proposed project area including a 190-foot water tower, several communication towers, weather towers, a traffic camera tower, flagpoles, and an existing 45-foot wind turbine that powers the Town of Hempstead’s shellfish farm. Therefore, the proposed wind turbine would not represent a substantially different visual presence to or from any historic resources in the area, including the homes and other buildings in the Town of Long Beach, which are 3.5 miles away.

(Size Comparison from Beach Parking)

Although there are some historic and cultural resources nearby, DOE has determined that operation of the wind turbine would cause no effect to historic or cultural resources in the Point Lookout area.”

What about birds and wildlife?

“No protected bird species reside primarily in the vicinity.  DOE determined there would be negligible effects to Federal or State of New York special-status species because they have not been observed in the project area and are not likely to be attracted to the project site. Although these species were observed at the Lido Beach Passive Nature Area over a quarter-mile away, their use of the proposed project site would be low because that area does not contain habitat or features to attract these species.   Due to the lack of presence in the area, the proposed project would have no effect on special-status mammal or plant life.”

(View From East Marina)

Don’t these things make a lot of noise and flickering light?

“This application-specific noise information is generally consistent with the general sound propagation rule-of-thumb of a 6-decibel decrease for every doubling in distance from the source.

… at the base of the proposed turbine tower the noise level would be 57 dBA, which would not be appreciably higher than the average day-night noise level of a normal suburban residential area (55 decibels; EPA 1974). … The nearest residential neighborhood is about a quarter-mile (1,300 feet) away; the potential turbine noise at this location would be less than 35 dBA. This level of noise is typical of a quiet library. As noted above, the EPA has determined that ambient noise levels of 55 decibels and lower do not present an annoyance in the outdoor environment (EPA 1978).  This information indicates that operational noise of the proposed turbine would be unobtrusive and unlikely to be an annoyance.

Shadow flicker is the effect caused by the shadows cast by moving wind turbine blades when the sun is visible.

(Dept Of Conservation & waterways 10kW solar roof with new wind turbine)

The location of the proposed project is advantageous for minimizing the effects of shadow flicker. .. the proposed location would not include any residences and few businesses or government buildings.  Drivers on the (Loop) parkway (Bridge) would notice these shadows for brief periods, but these would be unlikely to result in any impacts.  DOE concluded shadow flicker impacts would be intermittent and small.”

Potential Operational Turbine Events

“The nearest residential neighborhood is about one-quarter mile away; operational events would not affect it.

Ice Throw: the study developed an empirical equation to predict the extent of ice shedding based on hub height and rotor diameter. For the Northwind 100, the extent of ice shedding could reach as far as 300 feet.(the outer edge of which extends across the Loop Parkway entrance / exit).

Blade Drop or Throw: Estimated component reliability and failure rates for wind turbines indicate the chance of tip breakage to be 1 × 10-4 (1 chance in 10 thousand) per hour. Estimated probability of failure of the tower or anchor bolts of 1 × 10-7(1 chance in 10 million) per hour.“

(Bayview at the town dock)

Finding of No Significant Impacts (FONSI)

“The proposed project would have small cumulative impacts with existing activities at the proposed site. In combination with the proposed project, other elements of the Town of Hempstead’s Clean Energy Project would cumulatively reduce the use of carbon-based energy by over 300,000 kilowatt-hours per year. The proposed turbine would contribute small incremental impacts to local ambient noise levels. Cumulative impacts to visual and aesthetic resources would be small because of the existing vertical components of the viewscape.”

 

George Povall is a year-round Point Lookout resident who spends his little free time pursuing heartfelt interests like renewable energy.  Founder of All Our Energy, he writes – whenever he get the chance –  at his own blog at www.allourenergy.com/wordpress, and is currently building the coinciding website, due for launch in 2012.

18 thoughts on “The “Skinny” on the “Big” Wind Turbine at Point Lookout.”

    1. Hi there
      No, I’m not friends with Mr. Masters. I’ve only met him once for more information on the project.
      I wasn’t writing a blog at the time. He took an hour with an interested / concerned citizen which was all I was at the time in April 2011.

        1. only one turbine, but you can be sure that all of the turbines up right now are a ‘test’ for more…especially on the south shore.

          full disclosure, i’m heavily immersed in environmental issues on LI, so i know a bit from which i speak.

          1. Thanks for the response. I’m an advocate of renewable energy, even though I don’t know much about it. But I was amazed by how fast those blades were moving. I mean, that think is producing energy!

          2. yeah, amazing how much faster the wind blows when you get off the ground a bit. though relatively calm this morning when i headed out to work, that baby was churning.

  1. Interesting to me that town of hempstead went out of their way to let indian tribes and jones beach know this tower was going up, but didnt bring the residents of Point Lookout fully into the loop until after it was built.
    huge eyesore with little benefit to the residents that get to stare at it when watching the sunset.

    PS, where will they launch fireworks from now in July? Not 5 feet away from that things spinning blades…

  2. I’m an electrical engineer that takes the Loop to work everyday and I really look forward to seeing the turbine on the move!

    Side note: any update on the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative? The last thing I read was the NYPA had filed a preliminary lease application with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

    Thanks!

    1. The lease application was the most recent ‘official’ step for the project and nothing has occurred since. Based on what I’ve been hearing (read: rumors), there’s little to no shot of it actually happening. It was a move by LIPA to save face after canning the Jones Beach proposal and both ConEd and NYPA were just going along with it because it was the right thing to do politically. Bottom line, the proposal, unfortunately, is little more than talk. I would be stunned if it progress much beyond the permit being issued and a few minor feasibility studies being conducted.

      On another note, anyone know why the Lido turbine hasn’t been spinning for the past several days?

      1. I can’t say for sure but, I believe it was shut down last week during the power outage we had in Point Lookout. A car hit the pole in fromt of Marvel. In order not to electrocute the LIPA linemen restoring power the turbine would have to be off line. Also, turbines like that actually need an electric charge on the line to run. I imagine with the holiday week it requires some kind if re-start and the right person to do it is not available…. Just my best guess, all conjecture on my part.

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