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The Midwest utility, KCP&L (Kansas City Power & Light) has just announced building/financing two more wind-generating electricity farms. One will be in Kansas and the other one in Missouri. This part of country has typically good wind experiences to take advantage of in putting more electricity on the grid. This generators are huge, bigger than a city bus and some are suspended on towers 400 feet high. Their wind collecting blades are 100 feet or more in length. Some of the wind farms I visited are huge numbering hundreds of towers mounting electric generators turning by the wind it collects.
One of the jobs I had in the office was analyzing the locations for wind farms, which I studied to insure that they would not impact aircraft operations. The engineers and their companies that were designing placement of these wind farms didn't perform good engineering to refrain from impacting aviation. They would only pick locations that wind statistics showed an area ripe for placing a wind farm. The FAA would often inform these companies that they would not be authorized to build in specific locations. One example, a wind farm had several towers planned on an approach into an airport. When you determine the glide slope (typically 3 degrees) on an approach and the location of the tower plus the radius of the rotating blade, it clearly had an intrusion into the approaching aircraft. Airport approaches and severe impacts to navigational aids in certain areas were the reason we would study planned development of wind farms. These companies want to put them everywhere possible.
I had a discussion with farmers that allowed leases on their property for these wind farms. They were happy. One farmer had over a 500 on a large ground he farmed. This lease still allowed him to farm and graze his cattle. The Energy company paid him $3000.00 per year on each tower. No wonder this farmer was happy. I asked him if the energy company gave him free electricity. He responded that was issue that wasn't a negotiated deal.
These wind farms, I believe, put more into the power grid than solar farms. Could more hydroelectric plants be built? I am a supporter of Nuclear Power Plants. You get more "BANG" for your buck and managed properly are safe enough for a nearby childcare facility. I understand that Black & Veatch, which in Kansas City are gearing up for more building of Nuclear Power plants in America. They are currently hiring additional engineers for the demand for employees supporting the new plant building. If you think America has had enough of Nuclear waste, I agree. However, there is a method that is being used to deplete much of the radiation remaining in material. I just know how expensive it is, but I do know that the Military uses depleted uranium bullets and recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bullets are made from reactor material no longer able to use in generating power. These bullets were the reason why some GI's reported health issues, rashes and other, during Iraq and Afghanistan missions.
I still have a concern for batteries in vehicles and toxic material. Hydrogen if you look at the periodic table is extremely light in its molecular form, so this makes it difficult to contain. Hydrogen can leak from the smallest of holes in containers and it's highly flammable. K....Boom. Makes you think differently having hydrogen in the car your driving. Natural gas is much easier to contain, but can contribute to a large explosion also. k....boom (smaller case)