Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sun, 02/04/2007 - 16:27.
Hull, Ma.  High School wind turbine

When I read Ed Morrison's "too much money in your wallet" (so blow it with Super Bowl ads) on RealNeo today,  Ed's discussion got me thinking about incremental change vs dramatic radical change.   The Cleveland Foundation’s President Ronn Richard and the Foundation’s energy advisor Richard Stuebi want Cleveland to be the first City in the US to have “about 10 wind turbines 3 miles out in Lake Erie”.   On January 18, 2007, Mr Richard spoke to the public about the Foundation’s turbine installation aspirations at Levin Urban College at CSU.   In the public discussion period following Mr. Richard’s insightful and forward-looking energy outlook, Holly Harlan, of E4S (Entrepreneurs for Sustainability) asked Mr. Richard to put a date on when the wind turbines could/would be operational in Lake Erie.  Mr. Richard paused, told the audience that in preparing for the speaking engagement he had asked Mr. Stuebi what he should say if he was asked, as Holly was asking, for a realization date.   Mr. Richard said that Mr. Stuebi’s advice was “don’t give a date”.   And in fact, in responding to Ms Harlan, Mr. Richard did not give a date.  That told me that the water based turbine installation plan was too radical for NEO.  Incidentally, another key principal of the Kaizen manufacturing philosophy is to avoid radial changes, preferably make only incremental changes in process. Now it surprised me to find that the Cleveland Foundation has 5 (five) full time  public affairs staff.   (Go to  http://www.clevelandfoundation.org/page1447.cfm and click on “Cleveland Foundation Expands Communications Function” under “Press Releases” ) The publicity staffers are experienced and have quality CV.  It would seem reasonable that this publicity staff could present a positive image for land based wind turbine use in NEO, and wind turbine manufacturing in NEO, rather than contacting the PD to run press releases about installing Lake Erie marine turbines for which no one can fix a realization date.  I’ll bet the Town of Hull, Massachusetts, (a few miles south of Boston) which now has 3 large turbines supplying tax saving power to its infrastructure, doesn’t have one public affairs staffer.  Hull has had a turbine powering its High School (photo above I took from a commercial flight into Logan Airport last summer – photo shows newest turbine adjacent to brick HS buildings)for a decade or more  Land based wind turbines can be a reality in NEO immediately.  Setting a dateless goal of dramatic turbines in Lake Erie in fact has a negative result for NEO, because it puts off indefinitely improvement that we can incorprote into our region today.  (and by the way – who would own those lake turbines?)  Let’s take the simplest, least radical nuts and bolts approach to our wind turbine aspirations. See the $ numbers on Hull's turbines at this Boston Globe link http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/02/24/wind_turbines_gaining_power/ 
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If you are the wind Czar, what do you do next?

Okay, Jeff. Let's get down to specifics. What size turbines would you put where - be as specific as possible, including how the land can be acquired, and what business models make sense. I want to start picturing in my mind what wind will look like in NEO next, and for the next 10 - 20 - 50 years.

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Every kilowatt hour  of electricity that flows into NEO and Cleveland means that cash is flowing out of NEO and Cleveland to pay for the electricity.  That means that billions of dollars of cash are leaving the area.  (State wide it is my understanding that over 6 billion annually is moved out of Ohio to pay for the coal and other generating sources for the State’s electricity.)  Our region's "balance of trade" is constantly running a huge energy expenditure deficit. 

SO WHAT?  Let's say we could staunch even 10% of our region’s cash outflow for energy and instead keep that cash in the local communities' economy.  The money remaining in  our local economy would create a multiplying effect by being available to be spent on, and invigorate other local business.   


By local electricity generation – what is termed “distributed generation” - huge efficiencies are obtained because:

<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.                  <!--[endif]-->No wheeling charges need to be paid to the owners of intrastate and interstate high tension lines to transport the electricity from distant generators to our point of use.  Wheeling charges are more than 25% of the cost of the power Cleveland buys.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->2.                  <!--[endif]-->Construction of, and servicing of, local  power plants keeps those salaries  local.   

<!--[if !supportLists]-->3.                  <!--[endif]-->No perpetually ongoing fuel energy charges paid to coal, oil, gas, or nuclear suppliers – none of whom are significantly based in NEO – so presently all the cost of the fuel which produces our electricity leaves to other states – mainly Virginia for coal. 

<!--[if !supportLists]-->4.                  <!--[endif]-->Now if NEO actually produced the local power machinery (say wind turbines) the salaries for that production would also stay local. 



So here’s the upshot of “distributed local generation”: even if wind turbine electricity (amortized out over the life of the turbine) costs the same per KWH (or even if it costs slightly more) than coal fired electricity,  if the wind turbines are IN NEO, our overall economy will be much better off than if we export our energy dollars all out of the region.

who will manufacture them and where will they go?

OK Jeff,
This is good reasoning for citizens and policy makers to consider.
Next questions --
(what corporations/businesses) locally have the means to manufacture the components of the wind systems
Who will pay for their manufacture and installation?
Where (if not first in the Lake) would turbines be placed initially?
How will they be linked to my light switch? (I pay the Illuminating Company for my electricity)
What will be wind powered and what will be coal powered? Are we talking percentages of total power costs here and if so do we as consumers drive that market by electing to purchase green energy credits? Just how can consumers support such a plan?
What needs to happen first, second, etc?
We have all had thoughts about the studies (crib anemometer) and demonstration projects (lawn ornament at GLSC), but what will it take to launch both ends of this plan -- one being having wind power in Northeast Ohio and two becoming a manufacturing center for wind energy generation?

Excellent wind economics analysis

I hadn't really thought about this cost factor in this way before. You are building a good case for solutions rooted around wind power. Now for the answers to Susan's questions...

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