Here is a tale of a world class wind turbine manufacturer (now located in Vermont) who now makes one of the highest quality small (100 kw) turbines in the world. They decided to design (and with lots of US Government money, too via various grants) a commercial scale product. But, the PTC expiration happened, among other things, and so the company is for sale. It’s a really amazing unit - fearless, permanent magnet generator, quiet, and there are two of these operating in Michigan for almost 3 years. Can I have one for Christmas….?
So, in order to make these big boys they need a bigger set of factories other than this tiny town just south of Montpilier, Vt. And this is the Earth Day riddle for environmentalists. To go green means manufacturing, job creation and rich enviros are going to have to pony up some of those trust dollars or other stashed money from music, movies and lucky business deals and actually make things.
NY will need about 45 MW of newly installed wind turbine capacity in the next one to two decades to go “all renewable”. That would be around 20,000 wind turbines equivalent to the NPS2.3 units. And $100 billion or so is 1.54 million job-years of labor (mostly manufacturing) or about 77,000 new jobs for NY State, plus all the “multiplier effect jobs”. Somebody has to create conditions where this $100 billion plus investment could make money/be reasonably profitable, and then stand back and let the good times roll, UNLESS no capitalists will step up and make these within NY State. If that happens, maybe the state of cities should just step up and do it themselves. And one of the benefits is that the many billions of dollars now exported or many tens of billions when the price of natural gas finally achieves a price needed to make fracking profitable in neighboring Fracksylvania that would be exported are no longer exported from NY State, we will be a LOT better off. Shedding that fossil fuel economic parasite would be good for NY’s people. Instead of shoveling part of our income and wealth down the drain/out of state/out of the country, it would get recycled, and in the process of recirculating, lots of jobs - all kinds of jobs - get created. At its core, that is what renewable energy from commercial scale wind turbines could do for this state. NO OTHER renewable or non-renewable energy technology can do anywhere as much and yet still provide affordable electricity. That’s one of the reasons why the Cuomo administration and its Republiican backers must feel such joy at the fact that there will be no significant wind turbine installations in the next two years AT LEAST in NY State.
Nationwide, the wind industry should be doing $200 billion per year in sales, almost all of them for domestic customers. That is the equivalent of where the US auto industry is now. This would be 1 million direct and another 4 million indirect jobs. Given our nations wind resource and our potential to store electricity for short and medium terms via pumped hydro, it is quite the crime upon the world that this is not happening right now. There is no technological reason we could not do this. And there are TRILLIONS of dollars just owned by US citizens looking for a decent home for investment.
But, only about $3 billion worth were installed in 2013, $25 billion worth in 2012, and looks like $20 billion worth in 2014. But it is really sad that so few are being installed compared to the need. So maybe on this Earth Day you need to find solace in serious mental oblivion, the kind that drinking way too much which is done to try and put out of your mind something horrific, the kind that leaves you feeling really bad for days. The kind that takes your mind off of the immense failure that is Earth Day 2014. We are at least $180 billion PER YEAR shy in wind turbine sales this year, close to 4.5 million fewer employed people thanks to what passes for our wimped out attempt to live in some kind of harmony with our planet. That’s a LOT of FAIL. And pretending a neighborhood cleanup or a beach front trash picking session is anywhere up to the task - well, that ALSO should be enough to drive any human being in America with cognitive skills to drink. Lots of oblivion inducing drink.
After all, if we carry on in this country with the “LACK of business as the usual state of affairs” arrangement, oblivion will be a fate that comes a knocking a lot sooner than “is expected”. The CO2 pollution caused by all that fossil fuel combustion will induce the ice equivalent of a landslide in Greenland. And when that slides into the Atlantic and melts within a few years, ocean levels will rise by 20 feet. That will pretty much toast the viability of NY City, and without that sugar daddy, there goes the state. Unless, of course, we start a massive wind turbine instillation program. And if private industry either won’t do it or is going to gouge us too much for it, we could have NYPA do almost all of it. Maybe this way they can at least attempt to make up for the evil they did when they bought 2 nukes (FitzPatrick and Indian Point 3) for such a long time.
So, buying NPS and bring a lot of the manufacturing to NY State - that would be a good thing to do. But, goodness is in really short supply in this state these days, even if it could make lots of money and employ lots pif people and less our CO2 pollution rate something fierce.
NY state has more billionaires wandering around than any other state in our country. And that may also be true of millionaires, or close enough. A common theme is nowhere to invest the money, even at crappy yields. Part of the reason for the regional "hotel bubble", too. The amount of money needed to buy NPS and to do actual manufacturing in NY State is not that great, and it is ONLY a rich persons game.
Like Elliott Spitzer, an inheritor of a $500 plus million real estate fortune. But he is just one small example of this....
In order to go green, NY needs around $100 billion worth of wind turbines installed as long as they are MOSTLY onshore (more money if a higher percentage of offshore are done). And the response of most enviro organizations and their rich people backers is....
Too bad there is no App for that. Oh, there is - it's called the status quo. Because expecting corporate America to remedy things and get on with the making the hundreds of billions in profits from a few trillion in sales as it exists now is just not adequate, nor up to the task required.
Picture from http://www.northernpower.com/products/nps2x/. If you are interested in buying these, or buying the company, here is the website: http://www.northernpower.com . Maybe you'll get there before the Chinese or Indians do so.