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Proposed 25-50 wind turbines 600 ft above ridge line just west of Fairbanks

Webfoot

FRIEND
Fairbanks, AK
Shovel Creek wind farm is proposed for ridge off Murphy Dome Road. If you fly west out of Fairbanks you are going to face a wall of wind turbine with blades to 600 feet above the ridge line. They are even planned for the “gap” in ridge floatplanes use to get to Minto Lakes. Wonder what they are going to do to bird populations including waterfowl flying out of Minto flats area? Comments can be sent to Alaska Renewables, by email: hello@alaskarenewables.com.
 
They’ve basically destroyed the land where they put up wind farms in many parts of New Mexico. The land is now scarred for thousands of years from the mounting pads, access roads and power line transmission routes… and they’ve also ruined the scenery.
 
Gets pretty rough downwind of them as well.
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I like things with propellors.
I bet you wouldn't like these if they built them on the ridge above your house and you could hear them all day long. A few years after they install them one of the blades starts coming apart and you can hear something rattle up and down the blade as it goes round and round.
 
There’s an early turbine farm on the Texas/Oklahoma panhandle line that I’ve flown over many times. I can’t seem to find pictures of it but it looks like a scene out of the walking dead. The turbines are all derelict and in various stages of disarray. Turbines heads that have caught fire, blades broke and hanging, some that look like they were slung. I’m guessing it was an early contract, companies have folded and the land owner is left with the disaster. I need to ask someone about it the next time I’m that direction.
 
My neighbors say that about airports and airplanes. We built a new house to get away from loud cars, Harleys, and sirens.

Seems like most people who complain about airports & airplane noise do so after moving near an existing airport.
Not when a new airport is built near where they settled well out & away from things.
 
The green is part of the field I farm. We have about 250 turbines in the area and my cousins have about 16 on their land and collect about $10,000 per turbine per year. The geese are migrating through right now and don't seem to be having a problem. My cousins even had a bird study and no problems because those blades are turning so slow you can see them unlike a prop on a plane. I'll admit, my crop duster friend had to think a little when he sprayed the field with insecticide a few years ago. Also, notice the black cattle in the one 1000 head cattle confinement. A straight line wind blew the roof off twice in the summer of 2022.Resized_20220922_122846.jpeg
 

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The green is part of the field I farm. We have about 250 turbines in the area and my cousins have about 16 on their land and collect about $10,000 per turbine per year. The geese are migrating through right now and don't seem to be having a problem. My cousins even had a bird study and no problems because those blades are turning so slow you can see them unlike a prop on a plane. I'll admit, my crop duster friend had to think a little when he sprayed the field with insecticide a few years ago. Also, notice the black cattle in the one 1000 head cattle confinement. A straight line wind blew the roof off twice in the summer of 2022.View attachment 67512

Actually, the tips of those blades are moving at in excess of 300 mph. The issue with birds is yes they can see the blades, but they LOOK like they're slow, but they're not. These things kill birds by the thousands every year, which is well documented.

MTV
 
Since they started feeding migrating birds at Creamer’s Field, that route to Minto Flats and back is very active. Bad idea to put giant windmills in there…
 
The only thing constant in life is change! Most people don't think of Alaska city having problems with smog and air pollution but Fairbanks is one of the highest in the country. Having cleaner energy would help a lot especially in the winter. The downside for pilots is having to adjust/avoid the area when clouds are low.
DENNY
 
The large wind farm east of Idaho Falls is getting expanded to the south, nearer to me, on a ridge that are on my "last lap" home that I often fly at very low altitudes as I am only 15 miles from my strip and don't need the extra height. So, I guess I'll have to fly it a few hundred feet higher, not a deal breaker. I've been watching all the crane work, all the other work crews, the truckers hauling the blades (HUGE) down the freeway, for the last several months. For whatever it's worth, if you're a blue collar construction worker type like me, I see a lot of money being earned amongst the various trades. I don't worry about the birds, if they were that slow and stupid, we'd be flying into them all the time, rather than very rarely. In 40 years of having small wind electric turbine myself, I found one dead bird under the tower, a woodpecker, and since they had been drilling holes in my wood siding, good riddance. The anti wind crowd loves that bird shredding arguement, but windows and cats kill a lot more than wind turbines, the death rate caused by them is neglible. For lack of a proper grid tie inverter to replace the one that failed, after 18 years, I took mine down 3 weeks ago, now all the 5 yard 8' deep concrete foundation is doing is holding up is a new windsock, (offset to one side as I was in the habit of looking that direction many times a day to see what the wind was doing. Also, I didn't know my strip was going where it ended up when I put the tower up, and only had about 3' off my wingtip clearance, no problem really on takeoff but if I ever overshot on landing it may have been, I'm liking having it down better. The pic is yesterday, waiting for the fog to lift, clear blue above and behind me.

BUT.... I am not at all sure all the embedded energy they represent is ever really "earned" back. All that steel and concrete, took a lot of energy to produce, transport, and erect, plus the resins to make the blades, and hundreds of gallons of gearbox lube (that must be changed on a regular basis), all the diesel burned transporting and erecting them, and of course it all has a finite lifetime. I don't like them overal, but don't lose any sleep over things I can't control. Fusion power is what we really need.
 

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The only thing constant in life is change! Most people don't think of Alaska city having problems with smog and air pollution but Fairbanks is one of the highest in the country. Having cleaner energy would help a lot especially in the winter. The downside for pilots is having to adjust/avoid the area when clouds are low.
DENNY

Ummmm, nope. Yes, Fairbanks has air quality issues, but only in winter, with hard inversions holding pollutants down low. Of course, the problem there is if there was sufficient wind to drive turbines, there might not be an inversion trapping that pollution. So, when the pollution is worst, there’s little if any wind.

Mostly. Just trying to recall how many times I’ve slunk through that gap in crappy conditions. Now, you’ll want to go to Nenana, and back north on the Tanana……if you’ve got the fuel.

I hate wind turbines, for all the reasons noted above.

MTV
 
What Fairbanks needs is fans to mix the surface temperature inversion during winter. But, unlikely.

What I'd like to see is the yearly wind data that's been collected for that site by the RFI responders per the local Utility Company's request. Then, it has to be forward funded by somebody before one KW is made available. Once established, the originators would likely sell their liability and maintenance obligations and move on, maybe to warmer climate.

The impact to aircraft would not only be at the farm site, but along the power distribution lines that cross common flight paths. Lots of talk, maybe some wind, we'll see where it goes.

Edit: Energy.gov for Alaska> https://windexchange.energy.gov/states/ak

Gary
 
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IMHO the major contributors to the winter smog/pollution is not electric generation - it's vehicle combustion engines and home heating systems frequently aggravated by temperature inversions which are not present if it's windy.

BTW, that 'notch' seems to be one of Alaska's major low-level flyways...by everything that flys....
 
Mid Amercan is the big Iowa utility that built most of the turbines.
MidAmerican used wind to produce 64.3% of the electricity that Iowans used in 2022; coal for 21.6%; nuclear, 7.9%; and natural gas, 3.5%, the company reported in its annual fuel-usage report. Other sources made up 2.5%. Oct 11, 2023
 
Ummmm, nope. Yes, Fairbanks has air quality issues, but only in winter, with hard inversions holding pollutants down low. Of course, the problem there is if there was sufficient wind to drive turbines, there might not be an inversion trapping that pollution. So, when the pollution is worst, there’s little if any wind.

Mostly. Just trying to recall how many times I’ve slunk through that gap in crappy conditions. Now, you’ll want to go to Nenana, and back north on the Tanana……if you’ve got the fuel.

I hate wind turbines, for all the reasons noted above.

MTV

Worse are the cable braced MET towers, 150' high, unlighted, grey in color. The older ones anyway, I spotted one on a ridgetop I had been flying low over for YEARS and never noticed. It was thrown up, and when the data shown it wasn't a good site the expensive telemetry equipment at the bottom was removed and it was abandoned. I found out who owned the property (a cattle grazing association), and got permission to take it down and did so, it's still there, no way to get in there as the road is washed out and/or overgrown. Another one I spotted on a gap in a ridge top, exactly where a low flying pilot would be when crossing that ridge, was put up by the city along with my local university, also abandoned. I tried for 2 years to find a responsible party that would give me permission to take it down and they all passed the buck, none willing to be the one that gave the go ahead. Another several months, and the thing came down...., years later now, nobody has ever said word one or even noticed. Newer MET towers are requried to be painted and lighted, anywhere near an existing wind farm is where you really want to watch out for them, as they seek to expand. there's one more on my list, but it's on Indian ground, that may or may not be easier to get permission. It's on my GPS, I need to stop by and have a chat with them about it, this thread is a good reminder. This tubular steel, lots of 3/16" cable and clamps, worth maybe 80 bucks in scrap metal, but alway super hard to get to so usually left where they fall. A DeWalt battery powered grinder with a cutoff wheel works great
A couple hours later: I found the tribal email address and sent them a proposal: my insured crane company, that has done work on the Res for the tribe and others, will take down the MET tower at NO CHARGE. As a public service, to help the tribe eliminate a potential liabilty, and maybe save someones life. I kinda glossed over the fact I'd be flying over to do it, not driving. I think there's a 20 % chance I'll get any response, 10% I get a yes, they tend to hang onto to what they already have.
 
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Another issue to resolve for Fairbanks will be VFR-FAR compliance near or over the proposed wind farm. Distance to structures (FAR 91.119 - 500' min.), and proximity of overlying Class E airspace, plus the surface based Class G at night, especially if clouds are present (FAR 91.155 - 500'b/2000'h). Terrain varies from about 2200 to 2900' MSL. Add the structure heights to them and subtract the field elevation in Fairbanks (~439 MSL), then go figure what cloud deck if present will allow flight over that farm. As for the supporting transmission lines....depends on how high and where they run, especially over Goldstream valley and surrounding terrain.

Gary
 
I see a colossal waste of money. It just take one high wind event when it’s 40 below to destroy them. If you won’t fly when it’s colder than 25 below because chit breaks why would you want big ole composite turbine blades spinning and flexing in gusty high winds? I considered taking my small village electric utility down this rabbit hole 15 years ago. Thought let’s find out if I can off set the high cost of diesel electric power generation with free fuel…the wind. Did a two year anemometer study. Results were an average wind speed of 13.1 mph. Perfect! Not. Installed a pilot turbine project, batteries, fancy grid tie inverter nice tall tower, data logger and an induction motor generator. It took just one winter, one storm in the middle of winter, 122 mph winds at 10 below. The frigg’n air density was so great the brake wouldn’t hold. Literally caught fire and the blades disintegrated. Thing is, the amount of Capitol it would take to just purchase and construct one 100kW wind turbine was more expensive over a 20 year period than all the diesel my electric utility consumed, replacement generators, generator consumables and labor for 20 years.
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It works well in Anchorage. https://fireislandwind.com/
I would be curious as to the cost to construct and maintain those turbines and break that down to the 7,000 homes that they can power when the wind blows. That data is not easy to find for our local wind farms. They get tax abatements from the local entities and promise direct money to the school system and then the companies sell and don't honor those agreements. My wife use to do audits on the schools. The promised money cuts into their state money. I think getting energy from the wind is great but I want to see the true numbers and I want to see the infrastructure kept up for coal, gas or nuclear because the wind doesn't always blow and there are no batteries on these systems.
 
Worse are the cable braced MET towers, 150' high, unlighted, grey in color. The older ones anyway, I spotted one on a ridgetop I had been flying low over for YEARS and never noticed. It was thrown up, and when the data shown it wasn't a good site the expensive telemetry equipment at the bottom was removed and it was abandoned. I found out who owned the property (a cattle grazing association), and got permission to take it down and did so, it's still there, no way to get in there as the road is washed out and/or overgrown. Another one I spotted on a gap in a ridge top, exactly where a low flying pilot would be when crossing that ridge, was put up by the city along with my local university, also abandoned. I tried for 2 years to find a responsible party that would give me permission to take it down and they all passed the buck, none willing to be the one that gave the go ahead. Another several months, and the thing came down...., years later now, nobody has ever said word one or even noticed. Newer MET towers are requried to be painted and lighted, anywhere near an existing wind farm is where you really want to watch out for them, as they seek to expand. there's one more on my list, but it's on Indian ground, that may or may not be easier to get permission. It's on my GPS, I need to stop by and have a chat with them about it, this thread is a good reminder. This tubular steel, lots of 3/16" cable and clamps, worth maybe 80 bucks in scrap metal, but alway super hard to get to so usually left where they fall. A DeWalt battery powered grinder with a cutoff wheel works great
A couple hours later: I found the tribal email address and sent them a proposal: my insured crane company, that has done work on the Res for the tribe and others, will take down the MET tower at NO CHARGE. As a public service, to help the tribe eliminate a potential liabilty, and maybe save someones life. I kinda glossed over the fact I'd be flying over to do it, not driving. I think there's a 20 % chance I'll get any response, 10% I get a yes, they tend to hang onto to what they already have.

Absolutely, met towers are dangerous.

good for you for helping take them down!

MTV
 
Absolutely, met towers are dangerous.

good for you for helping take them down!

MTV
SJ and I took off out of a friends ranch in a valley like I had done 100s of times and he spotted one of those towers right in front of me. Got my attention for sure. That ridge is now lined with wind turbines.
 
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