Town of Hempstead Announces Another Larger Wind Turbine at Festive Press Conference

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE LOOK AT THE DATE THIS ARTICLE WAS POSTED. HINT: It was posted April 1st. Does that ring a bell?

Or just read this article first: The TOH didn’t LOL at my Wind Turbine April Fool’s Joke

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“Once again, Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead are true Long Island leaders in advancing wind power into Long Island’s energy portfolio,” said LIPA’s Chief Operating Officer Michael D. Hervey at a press conference today at the Conservation and Waterways in Lido Beach, NY. This second wind turbine, which will be located just 100 feet west of the first one that was installed late 2011, stands 2420 feet tall and is capable of generating up to 3600 megawatts of power per year. Hervey added “It has the potential to power every single nail salon in the Town of Hempstead.”

“The answer to clean and renewable energy is blowin’ in the wind…the answer is blowin’ in the wind,” said Town Supervisor Kate Murray who then took out an acoustic guitar and started playing the Bob Dylan song for the press. “Just like how I am performing unplugged, this turbine will help the Town of Hempstead unplug from fossil fuels.” In keeping with a wind-themed setlist, Murray also played “Wind of Change” by the German rock band The Scorpions and her version of Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary.” She concluded by smashing her guitar against a town-issue Chevrolet pickup truck. “Play ‘Free Bird,’” yelled Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who was caught up in the excitement, not realizing Murray’s guitar was already broken. Laughing about it later on, Mangano said, “Well, at least I caught a guitar pick.”

The wind turbine’s size was the big, no pun intended, topic at today’s press conference. Its enormous size will make it one of the tallest man-made structures in the world, just 297 feet short of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The other big topic was what officials are calling a barrier-island drift. The turbine will act like a giant propeller, responding to strong northwest winds and essentially moving the barrier island away from the mainland over the next 40 years [see diagram below].

“I am certain that the barrier island residents will welcome the change. Houses will become more exclusive which will result in higher property values and a stronger tax base. Boaters, fishermen and sea robins alike will love the expanded bay. It’s a win-win for all,” stated Murray. Ron Masters, Commissioner of Conservation and Waterways for the Town of Hempstead added, “The Island will move. Not slow like the ice age, but it won’t be fast enough for anyone to notice on a daily basis. I’m not worried. If you think about it, it really doesn’t matter. Have you seen the original Planet of the Apes? This barrier island will be underwater by year 3978 AD anyway.” “Those damn dirty apes,” added Murray.

Regarding the need to expand the existing bridges, the town also announced they’ll be utilizing new bamboo bridge technology, which slowly grows to accommodate the island drift from the mainland. “This technology is so advanced that we are unable to explain it without our bamboo expert present,” Murray said. “We do have bamboo already growing at our new Sen. Norman J. Levy Bamboo Forest over in Merrick. [Bamboo] will then be transported to the appropriate spots when the drift comes, but that’s still a few years away.”

The wind turbine is scheduled to be installed and in full operation by Summer 2013, pending the results of the turbine’s impact on birds and air and spacecraft.

The Long Beach Windmill (Friday Photography)

In the first installment of what I hope will be a weekly (or close to) occurrence, I’m going to be throwing up a photo set a week on some sort of topical, timely, or interesting theme.

Today’s installment is titled, The Long Beach Windmill.  Full disclosure, I took these photos last Friday.  I think if I took them today the windmill would probably be taking off considering how bad the wind is today.

Also, there was a lot of discussion two weeks ago wondering why the turbine wasn’t spinning.  I spoke with an electrical engineering expert familiar with wind power and he had a very easy answer for me.  “It was too cold.”  I was a bit surprised by the answer, but he explained that the extremely expensive lubricants that are required to keep the turbine spinning cannot operate in arctic conditions (unless special equipment is used).  Without a doubt, the days in question when the turbine weren’t spinning were bitterly cold (around 20 degrees at times).  I did some googling and found this to be a severe downside to some windfarms, especially when they are built not expecting cooler-than-projected weather, as was the case with much of Britain’s wind power farms.

Note: I’m aware the technical title of  this should be a “wind turbine” or “wind power generator,” but I think windmill is a bit more poetic and I’m going with it in the case of this photo spread.

 The temporary path up to the windmill… the beginning of something bigger?

 You come for the windmill, but you’re blown away by the massive solar panel array

 From the pier, a great view of the loop and the windmill

 The very active fishing pier next door, loaded with boats of all sizes

 Half of the solar array soaking up the sun

 Seeing its blades rotating from below tested my faith in modern engineering

 The machine that helped rebuild much of the pier the windmill is sitting on

 NOM OM OM OM OM

The fishing pier unaffected by the “green” energy rush

 The Northern Power Turbine

 Spinning into the sun

 From every angle, the move towards solar and wind was on exhibit

 The windmill whipping around, generating some of its 100kw potential

 Across the way, a man waits for a bite, unimpressed by the turbine behind him

After spending an hour or two down by the windmill I was really impressed by how well it fit into the skyline.  While walking around, I realized the turbine itself emits a low humming sound that blanketed much of the immediate area around it. What really surprised me was how much else was built on the site: Two full rows of solar power panels, a new fueling station (under construction), and what I assume will be some sort of classroom/demonstration building (also under construction), and you can’t forget the huge fishing pier and dock that has been there for decades.  On a nice Saturday or Sunday, I highly recommend heading down here and seeing this in person (parking is abundant).  Regardless of your opinion of wind power or “green” energy – seeing this in operation is pretty neat.

“You spin me right round, baby right round like a record, baby Right round round round”

(Photo Credit: All Our Energy Blog)

I’ll admit it. I’ve been enjoying the Wind Turbine Sideshow that’s been going on over at the Town of Hempstead Dept of Conservation & Waterways in Point Lookout, but for the past week the show has been on hold – the turbine stopped spinning!

Rumors abound as to why it’s this way: Apparently that wind turbine needs some electricity to operate and there was a power outage that occurred over in Lido Beach. When you pass Marvel (258 Lido Blvd) you will see a broken utility pole as well as a few broken flower pots – that could be related to the power outage that might have caused this. I don’t know anything about electricity to further elaborate, but it has to do with the grid being turned off and restarted (jump started?).

I’ll update this post if and when we find out more. In the meantime:

Somebody Please Spin That Damn Wind Turbine!!

RELATED ARTICLES:

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

It’s Working! (Point Lookout Wind Turbine)

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.

UPDATED: A Giant Windmill is Coming to Lido (like, really soon)

UPDATED (December 7th): The Town of Hempstead got a grant from the Department of Energy to build this Windmill. I’m now hearing that it will be used to power the Hydrogen Station that is on the Department of Conservation and Waterways property. And yes, the windmill is going up right now! I took this blurry snapshop from my car on the way to work this morning.

 

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Environmentalists rejoice! 

Those of you who drive the Loop everyday might of noticed the new bulkhead project that’s been going on at the Town of Hempstead Department of Conservation and Waterways. Sources are telling me that this work is being done to support the newest addition to the Lido Beach skyline – A Giant Windmill! How big will this windmill be? Well, I am hearing that it’s going to be HUUUUUGE!! Almost as big as the Lido Water tower (Lollipop, as I like to call it). I have no other info. Developing…