Submitted by Jeff Buster@rea... on Tue, 01/17/2006 - 19:52.



After about a bit more than a century Cleveland will soon have its second (*see the first here: ) substantial wind powered electrical generator. The pre-owned Danish-made Vestas turbine will stand on its 100+ foot high tower centered in the front lawn of the Great Lakes Science Center, just east of, and next to, Browns Stadium.  The foundation for the tower has just been installed. 

This will be the first “modern”  wind turbine in Cleveland, although much smaller (225kw) than the 2 megawatt + turbines in present commercial wind farm installations.  Almost everyone who visits the Browns, the GLSC, the ore ship Mather, and the R & R hall of fame – as well as everyone in downtown Cleveland - will see and experience the  turbine.     Since the tower will be in a far from an ideal location for producing power from the wind - because of the poor location in the lee of the Brown’s stadium (prevailing winds are from the SW)  - it will be up to the GLSC to demonstrate the true potential of the latest generation of wind turbines when placed optimally. 

To experience more modern turbines, visit the 20 GE 1.5mw turbines in Fenner, New York (off the NY Thruway near Syracuse) or the 4 Vestas 1.8mw turbines in Bowling Green, Ohio (south of Toledo).


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I love wind power... but I

I love wind power... but I also love to discuss a good counterpoint.  Wind power is MEGA green source of energy no doubt and with each revolution of its blades, the turbine will probably turn another Cleveland kid onto sustainability but the ecological impacts of turbines as far as avian species go should not be ignored. Rather they should embraced from the very get go.   You see while coal burning power plants may emit ethyl methyl death on a regular basis people do not usually go looking for dead birds under the smoke stacks and stir up bad PR because stacks are on private property.. and the owner may be less than likely to share that sort of information with anyone.


Wind turbines have, on the other hand been attracting the bird huggers attention for quite some time now.  I have never heard of them going as far as to say that wind turbines are worse than coal or say nuclear power plants because it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is not an apples to apples comparison.   What I am saying is that when such noted downtown residents such as the Peregrine falcon, (Falco peregrinus) whom just happen to be on the endangered species list gets whacked out of the sky by a rotor blade don’t say I did not warn you. 


Do you know what happens to people that kill endangered species? 


Has the GLSC legal team put together a contingency plan?


For quite some time now people (especially out west) have been rallying against wind power, all the while others are working to determine the best way to reduce night time avian impacts via LED's and other sorts of doo-dads.  One of the better academic web sites on this clearly negative impact of wind power is the North Carolina Wind Energy site run by Appalachian State University.


 Heck, Beech Mountain Wind Farm even has its own carcass monitoring program available for download in PDF format at And while I am sure the program is not without flaws there it is out in cyberspace and freely available for download by the folks at our lovely Great Lakes Science Center.


I for one would like to go on record as stating that I sincerely hope the GLSC embraces its hard earned and brand spanking new ecological impact with open arms and moves to formalize a transparent avian impact monitoring program... after all have you seen how many species have been identified over at Dike 14? 


 This sort of makes me wonder if there is going to be an emerging market for avian impact credit trading at the Chicago Climate Exchange ;-) 

ps - I am not an alarmist. 



Hello   Zebra Muscle,


Thanks for the informed feedback and the links.  I hope GLSC takes the mortality study to heart.


Several thoughts:


 I think that you should be harder on the fossil industry. Your quote  “You see while coal burning power plants may emit ethyl methyl death on a regular basis people do not usually go looking for dead birds under the smoke stacks and stir up bad PR because stacks are on private property.. and the owner may be less than likely to share that sort of information with anyone”  (my underlines) is not accurate and lets the fossil industry (and energy consumers) off much too lightly.


We don’t need to look on private generation property for dead birds.  The gases that come out of fossil plants (constantly – not occasionally)  are killing birds, - and everything else - including humans – around the globe.   Fossil generators and gasoline burners use the world’s atmosphere as a septic tank.   Every bit of gas which comes out of smokestacks, chimneys, and tailpipes is poison.  That’s the reason for those expensive tubular structures – move the poison away from the machine that produces it, so it won’t be so concentrated that it will kill the operators and users nearby. 


All these fossil plants and machines which burn fossil fuels are actually poison atomizers,  turning coal and oil into aerosol sewerage spewed into the global atmosphere.  Consider the 1950’s photos of health workers spraying cloudy mists of DDT on the public beaches for mosquito control – when we see those photos today we are freaked out by how stupid we were then. Well it is just a matter of time till we look back at fossil chimneys and tailpipes and are freaked out by how stupid we were (i.e. are now). 


My point is that we are killing birds  - and everything else that is living - right now around the globe – but don’t want to see it.    But dead seagulls or pigeons under the GLSC turbine will be hard negative PR.  To balance this negative PR the GLSC needs to demonstrate to the public the avian deaths caused by fossil fuels, highway bird collisions, building glass bird collisions, etc etc. in order to put the carcasses under the turbine into a fair context. 


We also need to continue to improve turbine design and warning systems to help birds and bats avoid turbines.


Coal is totally from nature

Coal is totally from nature Jeff.  100% organic and comprised of all natural ingredients, no?  As you can see from the photo above some people even feed it to their family ;-)  

 Dont get me wrong.. I am familure with air quality emmissions standards, particulate emmissions standards, the Clean Air Act, as well as the Permit to Install and Permit to Operate process from say the folks that handle the air permitting enforcment... you know the ones not doing anything about GEM.


Now I did not mean to say that Coal burning power plants are not bad.  I think they are bad.  Bad, Bad, Bad.   ;-)   To see how bad I suggest surfing into and looking up some of our local pollut-o power plants.  Or you could wait until Judith Helfand's new film "The Melting Planet" @ is released.   Some of her best footage yet in my humble opinion was shot at one of the countries most polluting coal burning power plants... located right here in Ohio.. on the Ohio river.  


Perhaps we should discuss clean coal and clean coal technology.  If coal can be utilized with zero net emmissions does that make it less bad?  More good?  After all it is still an extractive non-renewable source of energy... but then again it takes alot of toxic processes to make a solar panel ay?.     Oi.. someone get me a lifecycle analysis modeling software package for my birthday.

Pollution result of federal policy

Just like with auto emissions, coal-related pollution is determined by what is allowable by Federal standards, and those have been lax in America (as has been the case with controlling most "industrial-complex hazards"). When they started monkeying around with pollution allowances scrubbing became a joke. Now the power infrastructure is in poor condition, underbuilt, and over-polluting. Worse, the energy crisis, war in Middle East and overall instability of oil and natural gas markets is driving the Fed to more lax regulations on coal emissions, as with everything else energy related.

There are good scrubber technologies but they require investments (driven by incentives and regulation - paid for by ratepayers), and time to build and install (years). Right now, the trends are not good for rapid expansion of scrubbing - that may change with litigation and the next President. But, regardless, with coal-related emissions things will get worse before they get better, over a period of decades.