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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No Boo-Hoo Over Big Stone II: Iberdrola Announces 170 More Megawatts of Wind

[Lest I incur any Glenn Beck comparisons, let me disclose that my mutual fund managers like to carry Iberdrola stocks. So theoretically, this news could make me a millionaire!]

Oh woe unto us! When we treehuggers and looney lefties killed Big Stone II, we shot ourselves in the foot by killing prospects for the added transmission necessary to support our beloved if quixotic wind power development.

Oh, wait a minute:

An open-house meeting on yet another regional wind energy project will be held in Clear Lake this Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Project leaders will outline the scope of the proposed Buffalo Ridge III Wind Project and begin the process for an environmental impact statement (EIS).

The session runs from 6-8 p.m. at the Clear Lake Community Center, 216 Third Ave. S.

Heartland Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, proposes to build a 170-megawatt wind generation facility and 115-kilovolt transmission line in Deuel and Brookings counties. The wind farm area would occupy about 30 square miles near Toronto and White [staff reports, "Heartland Wind Proposes Fourth Wind Farm for Area," Brookings Register, 2009.12.15].

The Register notes that Iberdrola plans to have another 306 megawatts of wind power online with its Buffalo Ridge II wind farm by the end of 2010. Capital outlay: $620 million.

Hmmm... that's just under $2.1 million per megawatt, and Iberdrola starts recouping 13 months from now. Didn't I read somewhere that Big Stone II would have cost $2.5 million per megawatt, and they wouldn't have produced any new power until 2015? I—and Iberdrola's board—can't be the only one seeing the business case for more wind here.

Don't believe the GOP/dinosaur-fuel naysayers. Hippies didn't kill Big Stone II, and killing Big Stone II didn't kill wind power in South Dakota. Watch for more windmills, coming soon!


  1. There's a difference between wind power and baseload power. Wind power is available when the wind blows. Power from a power plant (baseload) is available whenever it's needed. Both are good, but we need BOTH. It's not an either/or situation. It can be 20 below zero and no wind, right? Well, that's when the power plant kicks in to keep you from freezing. I'm an environmentalist, too. But I don't live in a fantasy land. Also, have you noticed all the folks who are installing the external wood burners? They're great, but there's no emission controls on those. I see people burning toxic garbage in them along with their wood. The power plants have extremely strict emissions controls.
    Just a couple thoughts I wanted to share. Thanks
    Roberta Reed

  2. Roberta, there is no need for emission controls on pellet stoves because they reduce green house gases by over 95%. That is why the pellet fuels market went up 3000% in Europe in 2008 and the growth continues.
    Slide #18 shows that emissions are over 1000 times lower.

    John Kelley


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