WAPA Taking Comment on Proposed Butte County Wind Farm thru Sept. 9

The Western Area Power Administration has posted for public review and comment its draft environmental assessment of the Willow Creek Wind Energy Facility, a $210-million, 45-turbine, 103-megawatt wind farm proposed for Butte County. WAPA is taking public comment through September 9.

Proposed Willow Creek wind farm, approx. 10 miles NE of Newell, South Dakota. From WAPA Draft Environmental Assessment, July 2016, Figure 1-1.
Proposed Willow Creek wind farm, approx. 10 miles NE of Newell, South Dakota. From WAPA Draft Environmental Assessment, July 2016, Figure 1-1.

The most southerly towers would be about eleven miles northeast of Newell and about 25 miles north-northeast of Bear Butte. The nearest airfields are the private Bruch Airfield 23 miles away near Sturgis and the Sturgis Municipal Airport 28 miles away. Ellsworth Air Force Base is 45 miles to the south.

Each turbine tower would be about 262 feet tall, with turbine blades about 177 feet long. With upgrades, the turbines have a lifetime of 40 years. The turbines cut out when the wind reaches 56 mph, but they are designed to withstand winds up to 133 mph. Getting to the turbines will require 26 miles of access roads, some new, some upgraded from existing roads. All power from the turbines will be carried by underground cables (at least four feet deep) to the new substation along Highway 212.

land cover Willow Creek
WAPA Draft EA, Willow Creek project, July 2016, Table 3-1

Over three quarters of the 35 square miles affected by the wind farm is high plains grassland. A sixth is used for hay or pasture. There’s more scrub land than cropland; less than 3% of the terrain is cropped. The project area includes one occupied rural residence. Construction would disrupt 331 acres in the project area; the wind turbines and other permanent facilities would occupy 109 acres, about 0.5% of the total project area.

If the Willow Creek turbines were to displace power generation from fossil fuel facilities, it could reduce pollution emissions from South Dakota power plants by 4% to 24%.

The switchyard and substation would be more than a mile from the nearest residence and thus would be inaudible. Wind turbine noise at the nearest residence would be 43.3 decibels, within the current background noise range of 33–47 decibels and below the PUC-recommended 55 decibels.

An average of 580 vehicles pass by the site on Highway 212 each day. WAPA surveyors also spotted three turtle species and five snake species in the area, none endangered or threatened. Surveyors also spotted 118 avian species, including 20 raptor species, and several bat species. Surveyors recorded no endangered whooping crane or threatened northern long-eared bat and found no critical habitat for either species in the project area. Surveyors spotted golden eagles and bald eagles in the project area, but the draft projects that the wind farm would kill no more than three eagles over thirty years. (170 sheets of the 342-page document make up the wildlife inventory and bird and bat conservation strategy.)

WAPA estimates the project will bring temporary construction jobs to the area—125 on average, 200 at peak—filled mostly by out-of-towners, since Wind Quarry, the company proposing Willow Creek, “Wind Quarry anticipates that there would not be sufficient trained local labor to fill the number of jobs available.” Lasting effects will be six wind farm jobs paying a total of $300K, plus increased property tax revenue.

Avoiding the prospect of tribal protests like those currently holding up the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Cannonball–Missouri confluence in North Dakota, WAPA contacted 25 tribes last year to seek input on possible project impacts on religious and cultural sites:

Only one tribe, the Santee Sioux, responded and accepted Western’s invitation to participate in the Section 106 consultation process (email from Rick Thomas, July 20, 2015). Western responded that same day acknowledging the Santee’s participation and asked if the tribe had any concerns or general information regarding properties of traditional religious or cultural importance that Western should consider as part of the undertaking. The tribe did not respond to Western’s request for information.

On July 28, 2015, the Oglala Sioux (email from Loni Weston cc to Dennis Yellow Thunder) requested participation in monitoring [during cultural resources survey]. On July 29, 2015, Western forwarded the tribe’s request on to Wind Quarry to make arrangements for monitoring; however, their request came too late and the survey was already completed. That same day, Western responded to the Oglala asking again if the tribe was interested in participating in the Section 106 consultation process. Although the tribe did not respond to Western’s question, Western assumed the tribe’s interest.

Representatives of the Cheyenne River Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, Santee Sioux, and Standing Rock Sioux Tribes all participated in the cultural resources survey, site recording, interpretation, and NRHP evaluations. On October 15, 2015, Western (via email) contacted these tribes and the Oglala Sioux stating that the cultural resources survey report would be available for review and comment in the next few weeks. None of the tribes acknowledged the email. On November 9, 2015, these tribes were provided a copy of the cultural resources survey report for review and comment (Enclosure 3), as well as comment on NRHP eligibility and Project effect findings. None of the tribes provided comments [WAPA Draft EA, July 2016, pp. 6.2–6.3].

Again, you can provide your comment on the Willow Creek wind farm project to WAPA’s Billings office through September 9.

247 Responses to WAPA Taking Comment on Proposed Butte County Wind Farm thru Sept. 9

  1. Robert McTaggart

    Six permanent jobs?

    Any mention of recycling or disposal plans for the wind turbines after the 40 years? Or fire protection?

  2. Don Coyote

    No surprise but I see no estimates of the amount of grid electricity consumed to power the yaw mechanisms, heat the turbines, de-ice the blades, heat the gearboxes, run the lights and communication systems, operate the hydraulic brakes, power the thyristors, and magnetize the stators. The wind industry seems reluctant to reveal electric use (most likely fossil fuel generated) by the wind turbines while extolling only their generation capabilities. An honest calculation of generation capabilities should include the subtraction of parasitic consumption of grid electricity. A closer look reveals that there are times (especially in winter) when wind turbines are consuming more electricity than is being generated.

  3. Douglas Wiken

    My guess is that the steel or aluminum in the tower and other machinery is easily recyclable and fiberglass and plastic may be another thing, but my guess is that can also be recycled more easily than spent nuclear fuel. Have any wind generators spontaneously combusted?

  4. Don Coyote

    Good luck recycling those composite glass/carbon fiber blades. Some blade assemblies weigh 36 tons.

  5. Most excellent possibilities! 200 workers spending mney in Belle and Newell as well as other points, means more tx revenue and more money at local business. 300 grand in salaries, that ain’t hay. Underground lines, beautiful. Note, the lines from these beautiful machines will not fall down in a snowstorm.

  6. Good news Don! They have a life expectancy of 40 years, long past your time to be concerned. By then, we will be able to recyle everything if we do not take this warming seriously.

  7. Robert McTaggart

    Douglas, yes wind turbines can catch on fire (not too hard to find a video on youtube). If they are not shut down in very high winds they can break. Proper maintenance helps prevent those things from happening, and they do not happen often, but they do happen.

    Of interest are really (a.) fire for nearby crops that use the same land, and (b.) projectiles from any break-up of the blades. But I do not think safety requirements are as strict for wind as they are for nuclear.

    Found this article that may be helpful in the discussion. Process heat from nuclear may assist in future recycling efforts.


  8. Wow, a prairie fire might happen, woe is me. They are so rare in western South Dakota too. After they are put out, there is a very beautiful green landscape that returns. With only 6 dudes or dudettes around, the likelihood of a casualty is between slim and none.

  9. Robert McTaggart

    Yeah, a man-made prairie fire. On top of the natural ones that occur. Does that affect crop insurance?

  10. Paul Seamans

    One of my main concerns about wind towers are the powerlines used to transport the electricity. I am concerned if these powerlines will use eminent domain to gain an easement. At least the wind tower people do not use eminent domain. That is good.

  11. Troy Jones


    We don’t have virtually a single highway, telephone line, railroad, internet data cable, pipeline or electricity transmission line that isn’t here but for eminent domain.

  12. I recently spoke with a lady from Alberta that leases land for two pump jacks on her property. She said that there was no eminant domain there that she knew of but when we finished, she said she would take another look at her contract. The devil is in the details in all of this.

  13. Douglas Wiken

    Make use of the so-called “stranded wind” energy with local manufacturing of methanol and anhydrous ammonia or other manufacturing which does not require continuous power to work efficiently…or use the fuels produced to generate a stable power output. Considering wind-generated power as only something to export is short-sighted.

    Combining wind with solar also makes sense.

    Nuclear power from conventional Uranium-based systems is probably about dead and searching for a suitable burial ground. Costs have grown so high and utilities are scamming customers by charging for future nuclear plants which will likely never be built unless the US shifts to Thorium-based systems.

  14. Robert McTaggart

    Widespread use of large reactors that are based upon uranium will become less likely…maybe near large population centers. You will see more of the small reactors to either replace coal plants or serve as an alternative to natural gas.

    We should have been replacing nuclear plants with upgraded models for the last 20 years, or replace coal plants with nuclear. Doing that on a regular basis would have been cheaper in the long run.

    Until the small reactors are deployed, we are left with operating existing plants longer to maintain carbon-free emissions and delivering the power we need. Those are unanticipated costs, but not as big as building a brand-new power plant.

  15. Paul Seamans

    Troy Jones, you are wrong. The massive Mni Wiconi rural water line did not use eminent domain. My local REA does not use eminent domain. Intrastate pipelines do not use eminent domain. Goldenwest telephone has not used eminent domain.

    Troy, I believe that you are thinking of out of state, and out of country, corporations like TransCanada and Energy Transfer Partners who are using eminent domain to get their product on the world market who are using eminent domain.

  16. Cameco, just got zinged for a nuke sludge spill in Wyoming. Ah, the joys of the glow.

  17. mike from iowa

    Alliant Energy wants to triple its output of wind driven electricity and does not plan to use eminent domain in iowa. We shall see.

  18. mike from iowa

    What ever happened to all that un re-usable waste water from Wyoming’s fracking for nat gas?

  19. Been there done that nuke junk in South Dakota. We have plenty of wind and bob to take care of all we need and then export the rest.

  20. Robert McTaggart

    So, whomever you export it to has to deal with the costs of intermittency instead. Nice.

  21. Belle Fourche is a lot more business savy than Avon, the industrial park area and the willingness to attract business, make for good relationships.

  22. Robert McTaggart

    With regard to the sludge, sounds like the NRC is doing their job. Nobody is glowing however. Not sure how much was leaked or what concentrations were found. Remember that detectors are really good at finding trace amounts of radioactivity.

  23. I am very happy for the area as they were going to get a wind farm in the past but Black Hills Power dropped the deal. 200 wprkers coming into the area to build this farm will mean a lot of sales and sales tax, a wind win for the entire state.

  24. Robert McTaggart

    You mean a wind win-win? :^)

  25. No, a wind win.

  26. Richard Schriever

    Coyote – – we ate , of course, stuck with today’s recycling technology and there will be NO more scientific advancement of any kind in the next 40 years. Right?

  27. Great pictures Don. Those were of the same type of chargers that were built in the late 70’s and early 80’s. There were even some located near Bear Creek community, I believe, on the Cheyenne River Reservation. There were also pump jacks there for oil production close to Lantry. Thanks for bringing those up as I had totally forgotten about those on the roadways through that great part of South Dakota. BTW, I never saw the wind chargers ever work, as they were just siting there motionless each time I drove by, but I did see the oil pump jacks working, all those years ago. So, what is your point on how that relates to 2016 and renewable energy for the Belle Fourche area? Soon, you will find old prints of Lincoln sitting by a window getting some sunshine so he can read and then complaining that the sun really does go down and poor Abe would have to light the candle.

  28. Robert McTaggart

    So much for restoring the landscape.

  29. Here is what the new turbines look like. http://www.windpowermonthly.com/10-biggest-turbines
    you might note that they have some distance between each turbine, they do that for a reason.
    Size really does matter Don, so does technology. Get a real good look at the base of the pictures you submitted.

  30. Here is the beauty of a nuke incident http://worldlandscapearchitect.com/video-landscapes-of-chernobyl/#.V8jtn5grLIU

    Nature moves on in a different manner than the people that had to move on out from there and leave it all. Of course, that could never happen here, oh wait, it did http://www.ecowatch.com/36-years-of-three-mile-islands-lethal-lies-and-still-counting-1882023488.html

  31. Robert McTaggart

    Jerry, you forget that nobody is around Chernobyl any more, so no maintenance is done. The weather is allowed to attack the buildings. You will find similar scenes in Detroit.

    The containment systems worked at Three Mile Island. The public didn’t get any measurable dose. There was some partial melting of the core, but they got water to it. Biggest impact of Three Mile Island was on the nuclear industry itself. Much stronger safety culture, and no new nuclear plants.

    Think of all the carbon that was emitted by burning coal, let alone the radioactivity released from burning coal, because people couldn’t get over Three Mile Island.

  32. If people want to argue with the details of this proposed project, fine… But let it be in the context of improving the plan – not in/of objecting to wind power in that location.

    For you old folks: no longer do wind turbines use break pads to compensate for super high winds. So, wind turbine fires are a thing of the past because – to make a long story short – computers and polarity adjustments are waaay better than break pads.

    McTaggart marginalizes everything but nuclear in every convo he takes part in. Anti-wind people are silly.

  33. Robert McTaggart

    I am not anti-wind. I am for using the energy produced by renewables to reduce the use from other sources, and to focus on applications that do not mind the intermittency. Master those, and then add in more with energy storage if it becomes feasible. But right now the cart is before the horse.

    To use an analogy, I am not anti-car because I think students should not drive from one building to the next building on campus. Use the car for longer distances, walk across campus.

    Because energy storage has not been solved at commercial levels, we burn natural gas to make up the difference when we try to impose the use of renewables for everything. That means we emit more carbon. And it is carbon above all else that is the biggest challenge we face in the next 200 years.

    Yes, I am pro-nuclear. It can scale up to the demand for the U.S. and the rest of the world. It produces less waste, and the issues with our waste today are solvable. We need lots of energy to solve the global issues with clean water and to provide a similar standard of living across the globe.

    Other energy sources have their issues…they are not perfect. Nuclear and renewables can work together to solve their internal issues and meet the global carbon challenge.

  34. Darin Larson

    Dr. McTaggart–this maybe a tangent and outside of your area of expertise, but is there any technology out there that could be used to sequester some of the carbon that is already in the air? In other words, we have put all of these greenhouse gases in the air; could there be a feasible technology to remove some of them?

  35. Robert McTaggart

    I think there is, but it is in development. If we can’t stop emitting carbon, then the other route will be to take it out of the air. Certainly plants do this already, but you would want to accelerate this process. But like desalinating water, it is bound to be an energy-intensive process.


    I have advocated in one of my recent newspaper articles that if nuclear plants cannot operate in the marketplace (due to challenges from natural gas and interest in renewables), then we should buy them out and just have them power carbon removal 24-7.

  36. Darin Larson

    You have touched on what I was really getting at exactly: nuclear plants could power the carbon removal process.

  37. Don Coyote

    Adam: “So, wind turbine fires are a thing of the past …”

    Probably not since lightning strikes are the #1 reason for turbine fires. FYI, the main “braking” system for modern wind turbines is a spring triggered aerodynamic system which turns the rotor blades or tips approximately 90 degrees along the longitudinal axis capable of stopping the rotor in a couple of rotations. Reversing the polarity (using the turbine as a motor and it’s load as a brake) is not fast enough to stop the rotor in an emergency. Also it is dependent on supplemental electricity from the grid. What happens to your computer and reverse polarity if the turbine gets disconnected from the grid?

    For you youngsters, better bone up on your mechanical, hydraulic and electrical engineering to better understand the limitations of wind generated electricity.

  38. Robert McTaggart

    I agree. One of the bigger benefits is that they would not have to be hooked up to the grid to focus on carbon removal. Whether it is a new small reactor or a current reactor with a new mission, it could just run full out, which is the most efficient way to use a nuclear reactor.

  39. Great article, the money paragraph is at the end that argues that with solar and wind becoming more and more on line, carbon collection is a moot point. BTW, where does it show nukes doing anything about carbon removal?

  40. Robert McTaggart

    Nuclear power plants could power the carbon removal systems. Carbon removal, desalination, process heat for industrial applications are fine off-the-grid applications for nuclear.

    Solar generates .6% of our total energy, and wind produces 1.9% of our total energy. So solar and wind have a lot of work to do to replace the 81% of our energy that comes from fossil fuels…or even just to provide 25% of our total energy.

  41. Yes, once they figured out how to get rid of break pads in wind turbines, there is only one possible remaining way for them to catch on fire. Not only is lightening the #1 cause of wind turbine fire, it’s the only possible cause of a wind turbine fire nowadays, and it’s so rare that it shouldn’t sway anyone’s opinion about anything.

  42. And OMG – folks better talk about what happens when a coal, or nuclear plant gets disconnected from the grid too.

  43. Robert McTaggart

    Nuclear plants are being taken off the grid….prematurely…due to the marketplace. We will replace them with something that emits more carbon. OMG.

    Some shutdowns are planned in advance. Plants are refueled every 2-3 years, so during a shutdown utilities have to produce their power through other means. Lots of maintenance and upgrades are performed during a fuel outage as a result.

    Nuclear plants are designed to shut down under various circumstances and stop the fission chain reaction. It must handle various unanticipated scenarios, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, airplane strikes, whatever.

  44. Robert McTaggart

    Why isn’t there a zero tolerance policy on bird strikes from wind turbines?

  45. Fukashima is what happens when a nuclear reactor gets the power cut during a extreme weather or earthquake.

    For the same reason you don’t have a zero tolerance policy on 3 eyed fish, McTaggart.

  46. Under your logic doc, if my grandmother had wheels, she could be a bicycle. Belle Fourche is getting the power and Avon is getting the shaft, thanks to stoneage Ed and the rest of the stooges

  47. Robert you claim you aren’t anti-wind…. but one wouldn’t know it from most of your comments on these threads.

    I’ve seen your negative comments about the materials that need to be shipped in from elsewhere for the construction yet you’re ignoring the same scenario for nuclear reactors and their fuel.

    I’ve seen your complaints that the blades of wind turbines aren’t able to be recycled while ignoring the same arguments for nuclear reactors or any piece which is contaminated by radioactivity.

    I’ve seen the comments about the potential fires while ignoring the disasters caused by nuclear facilities and trying to minimize them by claiming there have been advancements in technology (but ignoring the advancements in wind turbines).

    I’ve seen the comments about the small number of jobs being created while ignoring the fact this suggests they require less upkeep and maintenance than alternatives, and unlike nuclear facilities they won’t require armed security 24/7.

    I’ve seen the comments about not restoring the landscape after a wind farm is decommissioned while ignoring the beautiful landscape that is now part of the exclusion zone around Chernobyl which stetches 30km in all directions (just a tad larger than some old wind farms I’m guessing).

    Now you’re even making comments about bird strikes as if that is a legitimate issue, but in reality that hasn’t been a major concern and is only used by the anti-wind crowd as they push alternatives.

    You might claim you’re not anti-wind… but from what I’m reading it surely sounds like you are. Nuclear has a lot of potential, but the barriers don’t have much to do with the viability of wind or solar. The real barriers include public perception, storage of spent fuel, potential for disaster, and a potential target for terrorism. Each of these can be addressed to some degree, but there are political debates that will involve a lot of strong opinions and it is doubtful much will change in the next few decades.

    That is why wind will continue to be something we should be investing in. It won’t replace a majority of our fossil fuels anytime soon, but if we are honest neither will nuclear. Instead of arguing against such alternatives you should be embracing them as being part of the solution, because attempting to point out the negatives of wind energy is never going to help you get a new nuclear facility built.

  48. mike from iowa

    Save birds-rid the world of feral cats.

  49. Eloquently said Craig

  50. Douglas Wiken

    Don’t skip Craig’s latest post.

  51. Robert McTaggart

    True, if someone says something negative about nuclear, I can easily find something negative about wind or solar.

    Using wind when it is available for targeted applications without having to store it is a legitimate way to use wind energy. Please enlighten me how that is anti-wind?

    I am anti-carbon. Burning natural gas to make up for the intermittency of renewables still releases carbon, no matter how many wind turbines you operate. So please stop emitting carbon in the name of reducing carbon, and use wind energy when it is available.

    I guess you conveniently ignore my statements when I say that wind, solar, and nuclear should be working together. I’ll take all the clean energy you can muster, mister.

    But yes, I believe that nuclear should play a much bigger role than it does today, but wind and solar should too. If they are going to grow, why is it terrible that I want them to deal with their waste issues?

  52. Robert, you started this whole comment chain out with, “Six permanent jobs? Any mention of recycling or disposal plans for the wind turbines after the 40 years? Or fire protection?” You didn’t need anyone to attack nuclear to be all negative right from the start.

    You might try being in favor of a particular proposed wind or solar farm in South Dakota, and then it wouldn’t seem like you only push the nuclear option out here.

  53. Robert McTaggart


    There are two kinds of wastes. The first deal with items like steel that has been activated (which means atoms have been converted from a stable atom into a different unstable one). Half-lives due to activation tend to be short-lived, and much of that problem can be dealt with a short stay in isolation. But the shielding is pretty strong so that doesn’t happen much for systems outside the core.

    The other deals with fuel elements in which uranium is being converted eventually into a suite of isotopes with relatively long half-lives.

    Oh by the way, some of those stable isotopes are rare earth elements needed by wind power and battery storage technologies….the only place on earth where brand-new rare earth elements are being generated today.

    Today we use the once-through cycle and try to simply isolate these isotopes from the environment. Waste repositories must therefore guarantee that isotopes do not get into the water table, which impacts the design of the facility (particularly the space needed underground to avoid overheating materials from decay heat).

    I would rather we get rid of plutonium altogether by consuming it to produce electricity. But we have chosen to keep the fuel in a mixed state to provide some self-protection via the irradiation of anyone who would try to take it, and not produce fuels with plutonium that have some proliferation concerns.

    Both kinds of waste would benefit from some form of reprocessing that removes unwanted isotopes that are either long-lived or do not have any further utility. Decay heat could also be captured for industrial purposes, including process heat for things like biofuel production.

  54. Robert McTaggart


    Every job is critical and important, so six is better than zero. But I was just disappointed that the projection was only six given the need to have a clean energy economy with lots of high paying jobs.

  55. Robert McTaggart


    I would support solar and wind projects that remove the energy burden from schools. Install those systems, and maybe geothermal systems too, for every school in South Dakota. Keep the funding formula the same, and use the difference to improve education in South Dakota.

    I don’t think you can do that with the universities today…they may have long-term contracts that they must abide by.

  56. Robert McTaggart

    For that matter, if solar and wind are really that great, you should be able do the same thing with state and local government offices. Use the monies you would have spent on energy on other items that serve the people.

  57. McTaggart is like Fox News claiming they’re “fair and balanced.”

  58. what is really neat is that Belle Fourche, along with the area surrounding it, has continued to grow in population and importance. This project will succeed, and we will all be better for it. I can’t help but think of the loss Avon has suffered in the same kind of offering. The decline of the small towns is mostly a matter of shooting themselves in the foot. Oh well, their loss is Iowa’s gain as the project will be built there.

  59. I think Dr. McTaggart’s really neato idea of using renewable, yet inefficient energy, to store kinetic energy in the form of heavy plugs, we will probably call them pigs or nuggets, in The Borehole to be able then unleash this power when needed is brilliant.

    It is not, for those of you less aware of this stuff than I or some others, perpetual motion or anything of that sort. I know there are some libbies out there insaner than most, and some people like the pretty young Ms. Hubbel, who believe in that sort of bunk. I am here to tell you it is bunk.

    But this is a really swell conversation to have. Let us drill The Borehole soon, somewhere.

  60. Douglas Wiken

    Batteries may not be the best way to store wind energy. Fuel cells have been proposed for converting carbon and hydrogen in the air into methanol. Other systems produce anhydrous ammonia which can also be used for a fuel. Combining the wind energy with a generating system that uses the fuel produced by the wind energy would not be the most efficient, but it could be used to produce a stable output which might be better than high peaks and lows with higher efficiency. Another system would be to use the electric energy from the wind system to pump water up to a reservoir such as Red Lake near Chamberlain or construct a dam such as was proposed near Fort Randall dam if my memory is correct. The water can be released to produce whatever electricity is needed. There is plenty of research that can be done by South Dakota Universities that might be for example more beneficial than time spent on making nuclear systems less of a problem.

  61. Mr. Wiken, lead pigs hoisted in The Borehole are the cheapest way to store wind energy. I, myself, could design you a device to crank the pig up the shaft. Smarter fellows than I exist and could design even more efficient ones to the point we could raise these pigs to the high heavens on a sunny day. It is, damn near, like free perpetual motion energy. My french math on the back of a napkin shows a 0.0004% net gain in energy, vs. an energy loss. That means, with enough boreholes…

  62. Douglas Wiken

    A friend of mine thought that would be a good idea Grudznick. He contacted the REA. They did the math and it is not at all easy to generate much useable energy.

  63. Mr. Wiken, perhaps Dr. McTaggart and I have better math than the REA. Perhaps the REA uses French Math and doesn’t want this free energy to cut into their profit margins. I’m just sayin…

  64. What a better place to store the energy than in the perpetual motion of moving railroads. The rails will be powered by renewable wind and solar with the kinetic energy collected and utilized in a magnetic field in the rail system. Rail systems would partner with trucking unions to supply the demands that we now place only on trucks and the beaten up highways of our country with a grid system that would the existing one we now use. Yes, even the abandoned rail systems in South Dakota could get new life with clean and abundant energy while putting millions of fossil fuel trucks off the roads. REA brought much needed power to the masses, the rail systems could do the same.

  65. Let’s put wind turbines on trains. Turbine makes electricity, electricity makes train go faster, turning the turbine faster, making more electricity… just watch out for that bridge!

  66. Douglas Wiken

    Grudznik, start with a 1000 kg of lead. Then figure out how many pounds of cable needed to slowly drop that down a 30,000 foot deep hole. Then realize that if the slug of lead drops into the hole (assuming zero air resistance), the slug would reach nearly 1000mph by the time it hit bottom.

    Potential energy is mass times height (or depth in this case) times acceleration of gravity. You can work out all the energy available as the mass drops assuming you extract 100% of it. I have forgotten the conversions to foot-lbs, horsepower, newton-meters per second, etc. Have at it and show us how many kilowatts of electricity can be stored and produced by dropping a ton of lead down a multi-million dollar 30,000 foot borehole. Of course, you will also have to toss in the efficiency of the lift process too.

    My guess is that compressing air over water in a huge tank and using the water for power generation might cost less and also be more efficient.

  67. mike from iowa

    About every 12 hours your earth rotates halfway, meaning your lead pig should slide right back up the borehole and right back down-perpetual motion.

  68. Portugal generated all of its electricity from wind, solar, and hydro dams for 107 hours last May. Now for the other 8,653 hours in a year….

  69. Richard Schriever

    McTaggart – something like 800X more birds dies from running into buildings and windows. How about we tear down everything over one story tall and remove all building windows as part of a zero tolerance of any structure killing said flying dinosaurs.

  70. Richard Schriever

    Wiken, up in Canadia, they are already incorporating the idea of using water reservoirs as storage batteries for excess production along the North shore of Superior. Have been doing it for decades in fact.

  71. mike from iowa

    Let’s put wind turbines on trains. Is his where the idea of wind tunnels came from?

  72. Sales opportunities abound for coastal vistas here in South Dakota as the new storms have shown the damage done to our east coast caused by the melting of the ice caps, or as right wing nuts call it, global cooling. Let the windmills rise up.

  73. alternative energy is going to be fascinating, now that we have fossil fuels decades of obstruction about out of the way. the sky’s the limit and storage in pressurized salt domes, ect. and other options are starting to flourish. I blame Obama.

  74. Robert McTaggart


    There are a lot more buildings than wind turbines. Build more wind turbines the old way, more bird strikes will occur.

    A zero tolerance bird-strike policy is not any more silly than worrying about the release of one radioactive atom from nuclear energy. Yet the burning of fossil fuels to make up for the intermittency of renewables continues to release radioactivity into the environment unchecked.

    Nuclear must account for the man-made radioactivity it generates. Coal, natural gas, and renewables that rely upon coal and gas, are not called into account for the reconcentration of NORMs due to the use of fossil fuels.

  75. Robert McTaggart

    You need a wide assortment of energy storage solutions because each has a different environmental impact, storage capacity, and speed at which the demand may be satisfied. Molten salts are one of those, but it has its limitations as well.

    Energy storage solutions will also require manufacturing and recycling. Too bad there isn’t much thought into how communities without suitable wind or solar resources could participate in that side of a clean energy economy.

  76. Richard Schriever

    McTaggart – I thought you wanted ZERO TOLERANCE!! I personally have seen several birds commit suicide against my front picture window. Window impacts are actually the LEAST of bird-doms worries. Cars kill even more – IU probably get one everu couple of days. And then there’s the cats – my cat drags in a dozen or so birds every summer. Proportionally, Wind turbines’ airspace displacement will NEVER even come close to the windows, cars and cats – not by a factor of 1000.

  77. Richard Schriever

    Greatest energy storage/source on earth – the oceans. Tidal energy – 100% reliable, predictable and constant, is the absolute best solution.

  78. Richard Schriever

    Earth – Powered by the gravitational force of the moon.

  79. Robert McTaggart

    Except that adding energy to the oceans will heat up the oceans.

  80. Robert McTaggart

    I guess you should turn yourself in for all of those bird strikes….

    They could re-design turbines so that bird strikes would happen less often. They could implement fire protection systems that would reduce the risk of fire from lightning strikes. They could also re-design wind turbines to make them more palatable by communities. But that would make wind power more expensive and reduce their efficiencies. Which is why those things will not happen.

  81. Robert McTaggart

    Nuclear uses a concept called ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable). It does not mean that you shouldn’t do any work with radioactivity or nuclear energy. It means you should get the work done, but plan on minimizing the exposure of workers and the public to radioactivity.

    ALARA is an off-shoot of the linear-no-threshold theory of the biological response to radioactivity. So there is a ZERO TOLERANCE to unnecessary exposures to radiation.

    Likewise, the wind industry could implement a similar ALARA concept with regard to its environmental risks. But once again, that would cost money, so I doubt people would be in favor of it.

  82. Everyone would have a glowing persona in doc’s world of the nukes

  83. Robert McTaggart

    Nope. Everyone would have all the clean energy they want.

  84. Just like being in a clean microwave on medium, nothing quite like the smell of your own cooking. Pass the gravy

  85. “A zero tolerance bird-strike policy is not any more silly than worrying about the release of one radioactive atom from nuclear energy.”
    – Dr. McTaggart

    OM… [cough] OMF… [throat clearing] OMFG… LMAO!!! Bahahahahaha!!!

  86. To dislike apples is no more silly than to dislike oranges. LOL

  87. Robert McTaggart

    So, you are in favor of designing wind energy to generate more bird strikes per kilowatt-hour?

    And you are in favor of generating more carbon and releasing more NORMs from fossil fuels as long as they back-up wind energy?


  88. What is even more nice or nice more is that public comments are being taken on this project until 9/9/16. Let’s get this renewable peace train on the rails. Iowa should not have all the fun

  89. Robert McTaggart

    Yes, it is pro-renewable. Just not anti-carbon when natural gas is consumed.

  90. Richard—tidal power! Yes! And since climate change is making the oceans rise, South Dakota should be able to cash in on tidal generators in a century or two.

  91. To be extra clear, I am ‘for’ SD taking more part in the renewable marketplace in the same tried and true ways that other states and communities have proven to benefit. Right now, we are basically the biggest losers compared to other states with plenty of wind and solar capacity. Excuses for status quo on renewables in SD are unacceptable.

    That’s what I am ‘for.’

  92. Robert McTaggart

    If you are doing this to make the energy here and keep all the jobs here, then great. If you can generate a whole trumpload of energy, and make it cheaply, then that would be terrific for business, agriculture, and the homeowner alike.

    But I thought the whole point of renewables was to reduce carbon, or at least be carbon neutral. You lose that when you burn natural gas. I guess folks are not really that concerned about carbon.

    True, the combination of renewables and natural gas is better than coal for both carbon and non-carbon emissions. But when you try that with nuclear you end up adding more carbon than you were before.

    Additional costs incurred by a solar or wind farm occur when the intermittency must be dealt with, or the demand for energy has not been met. Correct me if I am wrong, but the 103 MW is a peak number, not the average. And we are still not including recycling in those costs.

    In theory they could try to capture the carbon from their natural gas, such as with algae or something to make biofuels….but that is not part of the proposal.

  93. If every renewable energy based business took such pause as you, no one would would be experiencing the benefits of wind or solar power in America today.

    If you really think that the only ‘point’ of renewables is to reduce carbon emissions, then you are incorrect. There are many clear benefits to renewable energy and I’m not going list them all here just for you.

    Try supporting a wind project, just one in your whole life, and you might not come across so anti-wind/solar.

  94. Robert McTaggart

    I have already stated my support for a wind system to reduce the energy costs for schools. If you cannot supply schools with all the energy they will need without emitting carbon, how are you going to do that for a community, a state, or the nation with renewables? You also help the teacher salary issue at the same time.

    Even if you could simply provide secondary cooling and heating with wind power when it was available, that would be beneficial and would reduce the need for battery storage or the consumption of natural gas.

    That doesn’t align well with the concept of imposing wind and solar on everybody because you think it is a good idea. But it does support dedicated applications that do not emit carbon.

  95. Your comment on ‘imposing wind and solar on everybody’ makes me think of all the new nuclear waste you’re trying to impose on everybody.

    If a property owner wants to put a wind farm in, and if the community respects private property rights like the true radical conservative culture out here boasts, said property owner should be able to do whatever the heck you want on their own property – including make more money by producing electricity.

    The double standards conservatives have on property rights vs. public good, in terms of wind and solar, are simply hypocritical.

  96. No one wants to glow doc. We all love the cool breeze from the fan

  97. Robert McTaggart

    Um, sorry….you cannot do anything you want on your property. If you grow a tree that overhangs onto my property, that is a problem. If you have a wind turbine that generates noise and flicker for the next door neighbor, that is a problem. You would also have to check local zoning rules for installing any such device also.

    Sorry again, but the public would have to vote on any nuclear waste repository. So it would have to be invited/agreed to, not imposed.

    If carbon is not a problem any more, then why not simply build more natural gas plants instead? No intermittency issues, 24/7 power, probably would cost less than trying to integrate more wind and solar in with it.

  98. Go complain then, the project will go on. You are one dude, go have some cheese with your whine

  99. Robert McTaggart

    No problem building the wind farm. Good American energy. But please don’t say that it fights climate change when your wind/gas combo meal emits carbon. Don’t complain about nuclear waste that is contained when NORMs are released into the environment via fossil fuels to make up for the failure of wind and solar.

    Why not build the wind farm AND reduce carbon at the same time? Do it right the first time, not 40 years from now.

  100. Robert McTaggart

    I should say reduce carbon as much as possible. True, the wind/gas combo is going to emit less carbon than a coal plant would….however nobody is going to build any new coal plants these days. Apply ALARA to carbon emissions.

  101. As long as we keep reproducing, there will climate change. When the climate changes so much that we have soiled our water and our lands to the acidic point, our descendants will finally understand that we could have done something about it all and failed to do so because we thought that fossil fuels and nuke power would automatically make it all better for us. Nuke power to clean the carbon? Please. Then dig boreholes to bury the crap left over is not a solution when the earth cracks. Let us do the right thing to stall the process we have begun to buy some time. Let us move forward with renewable’s as quickly as possible.

  102. Robert McTaggart

    ….but renewables are going to ADD carbon as they are being used today, primarily through the use of natural gas to make up the difference.

    Nuclear does not add carbon to the atmosphere during the generation of electricity.

    In terms of life-cycle emissions, the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted by each energy source per Gigawatt-hour of energy is

    coal – 979 tons
    gas – 462 tons
    biomass – 253 tons
    Solar PV – 53 tons
    Geothermal – 42 tons
    Hydro – 26 tons
    Nuclear – 13 tons
    Wind (onshore) – 12 tons

    So if you could simply avoid using natural gas, wind and nuclear would have equivalent CO2 emissions over the entire life-cycle.

  103. Forget the natural gas and use strictly wind and solar, problem solved. I thought you were some kind of scientist, figure it out. We educated you for this purpose, go get’um tiger.

  104. Robert McTaggart

    That is what I have been saying. Energy storage at commercial levels is not viable today. Instead we burn natural gas when solar and wind don’t work.

    Without energy storage, you either need to develop new applications that do not mind intermittency (and would not need to burn natural gas), or find other methods for generating energy that do not emit carbon. Nuclear energy fits the latter.

    If energy storage were to ever work, you would need to overbuild your solar and wind capacity. At best you would recover 50% of the energy you try to store.

  105. Robert McTaggart

    Carbon capture, if successful, would help address my carbon issues with the current ansatz of wind energy plus natural gas back-up. But if you could capture the carbon from natural gas, you would still need to consume extra energy to compress the carbon into a liquid form. Nuclear could provide that extra energy without emitting more carbon.

    Personally, I would rather use any captured carbon for various applications on the surface instead of burying it. Likewise, I would rather recycle our nuclear wastes to reduce them and get the most benefit out of them.

  106. All projects are supposed to be designed overbuilt. Write a white paper on it, then submit it for consideration.

  107. Robert McTaggart

    I think carbon capture for coal would need to expend 40-50% more energy, which is one reason why carbon capture has not caught on yet. Using it for other purposes would essentially sequester it on the surface.

    “All projects are supposed to be designed overbuilt.”

    The amount of overbuilding would increase above and beyond current designs to cover losses due to storage.

  108. Doc, for being in a science feild, you truly say a lot of nothing repetitiously.

    For instance, “renewables are going to ADD carbon to the atmosphere primarily through the use of non-renewable energy to make up the difference.”

    It almost BEGS the question, “are you a fool?” Did you ever take an English class? Do you realize that you just blamed renewable energies for the power they don’t yet generate. But most ridiculously, and with complete dishonesty, you actually assigned significant carbon production to the renewables technologies which by their nature are the lowest outputers of such.

    You are clearly dishonest when you talk about energy outside of how a nuclear power plant works.

  109. Saying, “renewables are going to ADD carbon” really says a lot about you. It’s almost as reckless as Trump is with words, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

  110. Robert McTaggart

    You fail to recognize that because you use renewables, other forms of energy that emit carbon are being used to make up the difference. There is a difference between the way you want the world to be, and the energy that the world demands today.

    Fail to fix the problem, then as the energy pie grows we will eventually emit as much carbon from solar/wind/gas as we do from coal today. Especially if wind and solar move from say 2-3% of our total energy to 50% of our total energy.

  111. Robert McTaggart

    Yes, I happen to think that nuclear energy is part of the solution to growing the energy pie without emitting more carbon.

    But other things such as new applications that don’t mind intermittent power, energy storage, more energy efficiency, extracting carbon from the atmosphere, and carbon capture can also be part of the solution.

  112. Daniel Buresh

    Adam, what sort of credentials do you have? I’m just curious if such criticism and insults from you holds any weight. After reading this thread I feel more like you are a toddler having a hissy fit because they didn’t get a red popsicle.

  113. I’m not sure that any amount of credentials could satisfy you Darin. If your sold on McTaggart’s ideology, then you are lost.

    It’s apparent that he’s studied nuclear to the point of neglecting renewables. You can assess a persons expertise via the truthfulness and professionalism of public statements. I am now clear on how asking the Doc for expert advice on renewables is like asking a geologist about how molecular biologists develop vaccines.

  114. Robert McTaggart


    I haven’t said “let’s not do renewables”. I have said “let’s not do renewables in this way.”

    You have just focused on the first part. Renewables with nuclear would be just fine with me as that would avoid more carbon.

  115. Douglas Wiken

    Wind and solar will not be overbuilt until they supply all the power used. The Danes have used wind power by storing it in batteries of electric cars. That removes some of the storage costs from the utilities and utilizes existing technology for a better use and prevents waste of energy generated by wind when there is a surplus for usual purposes.

    Systems not bothered by intermittancy ? can be used to store energy which can be used to supply power when wind or solar is not sufficient. Fuel cells can work for this purpose.

    More research on solving the problems with wind and solar would serve more social and scientific purposes than pushing expensive nuclear systems which produce a raft of pollutants other than carbon pollution.

    Researchers are also working on converting carbon to minerals which are stable. I don’t think that is economically feasible currently, but some of the processes are working.

    More hydro power could be generated if generation systems were improved. The design of most main stem dams was made before WWII and much of it was obsolete before it was installed.

    A note of no significance, but one I think some might find mildly amusing anyway. The huge generators at Gavins Point dam near Yankton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavins_Point_Dam are probably 30 or 40 feet across. A brass plate on them read or reads if it has not been removed, “Please read instruction manual before assembly.”

    Whatever we do, it would be better than squandering more $billions on unnecessary military equipment, fool’s errands, and boondoggles.

  116. Mr. Adam, are you advising we all run those Iowa-style wind-powered trains?

  117. Robert McTaggart

    Disagree on the pollutants from nuclear. They have to track and collect everything, but are not allowed to permanently dispose of what they have collected, nor allowed to reduce the amount to be disposed by recycling (aka reprocessing).

    Would agree on the expense of nuclear systems as they stand today. Today’s large nuclear designs only make sense near larger population centers. The newest ones are being built in the Southeastern United States where the population is growing.

    With regard to its own electricity demand, South Dakota will only be suitable for the smaller reactors that reduce the upfront costs of construction. They could coexist in a distributed grid that helps renewables, or to provide process heat for industries like biofuel.

  118. When asked if he has ever supported a wind project, McTaggart answers “I would support a wind project if….” But he can’t point to one single wind project that he ever thought was a good idea. If that doesn’t demonstrate clouded judgement, I suggest one get aquatinted with what “clouded judgment” and/or “bias” means.

  119. Mr. Adam seems to be expert in wind, and Dr. McTaggart is a proven expert in things nuclear. I would like for Mr. H to post some papers from both for us all to digest.

  120. Okay Doc, a question on the materials that go into the making of a nuke plant. What are these mysterious carbon free products that are produced by the gods that are carbon free? Is concrete, carbon free? How about the crushing of limestone? How about the kilns that are used to make the powder? Are all of these carbon free? To drill the boreholes, will carbon be used? How about the guarding of the installations, will carbon be used? What is the secret ingredient that goes into making a carbon free nuke installation? You don’t have to tell me because I know your secret.

  121. Doc knows that wind energy is powering Europe as noted by other comments. The Dutch, who have a history of living with rising seas, are all in on wind energy. Here ya go Mr. Grudz, as is said in the Deadwood gambling halls, read’m and weep. http://www.theplaidzebra.com/all-dutch-trains-will-run-on-wind-energy-by-2018/

  122. Jerry, their too busy to read that stuff – too busy self fufilling the prophecy that renewables aren’t as good as liberals think they are.

  123. Adam, you are wrong. They are not to busy to read that stuff, they are to lazy and to complacent to do so. The problems we face in this country are not from liberals or conservatives, it is from a population that has dumbed down to the point that people like the good doctor will do whatever snake charm they have to sell the poison of nuke energy as well as fossil energy to the gullible. The travesty that is happening right now in Cannon Ball reflects that head in the sand mentality we can see.

    BTW, what the hell is a liberal or a conservative these days? Neither exists. We are all surviving in a bubble of manipulation conjured up by charlatans with only control on their minds. Renewable energy is the biggest threat to the pocketbooks of the titans of power, make no mistake. Watch when your utility comes hat in hand to Pierre for their 7.5% rate increase that they really want, so they ask for 15%. Same old song and dance with the same dance card that gets the same result, our loss.

  124. Robert McTaggart


    All energy sources have a carbon footprint due to their life-cycle. That data is included above, but I guess you didn’t see it. If you are using heavy machinery that uses diesel, then there is a carbon footprint associated with that.

    I note also that the data is per Gigawatt-hour. So if you are generating more power, you are producing more carbon. This impacts wind and solar more if they contribute a larger percentage of the energy pie.

    Actually, concrete in nuclear power plants can be one way to sequester carbon from coal fly ash. Concretes can be enhanced as a result of mixing in some of that ash.

    Be careful Jerry. Adam may object if you suggest that solar and wind are not suitable for heavy industrial uses, like the crushing of concrete. Or that you would have to turn to fossil fuels if nuclear is off the table.

    Adam is certainly allowed to favor his own energy source and promote it as he sees fit. Whether his ideas will produce the energy we need while limiting carbon is another story.

  125. Robert McTaggart

    The article you quote does not say where the backup power is coming from, nor what the energy capacity is for said wind farm. Onshore wind farms have a capacity of roughly 30%, but since this is the Netherlands, I assume it may be offshore.

  126. Whatever, man, there are wind and solar projects worth supporting, but you don’t care to locate, or talk about, any of those. You just wax on and on and on about nuclear power on an article that’s about a specific proposed wind project. You’re just a nuclear shill – or a wannabe.

  127. Jerry, a liberal has ideas on how government should work; conservatives just want to make government continuously smaller untill it maybe one day ceases to exist. [my opinion of course].

  128. Robert McTaggart

    If the trains run more often when the wind is more available, then that falls into the category of using wind while reducing the need for gas backup. If they are running trains round the clock…they will need more backup.

  129. Doc, did you read the part, in the title, about how 100% of Dutch train power will be wind powered by 2018?

    If so, why are you so curious about natural gas backup power? Articles on this project don’t mentioned anything about natural gas as “100%” wind powered means ALL.

  130. Robert McTaggart

    100% may also mean that they are planning to overbuild. Where is the excess energy going?

    How reliable is their wind source? Do you think the wind will blow all the time at a rate suitable for producing power?

  131. 100% definitely means ‘ALL’ no matter what context it’s in. For your thoughts to immediately go to natural gas backup power was less than relevant and again proves that expertise in one feild (perhaps yours) does not translate to expertise in terms of vision for a renewable energy future. You, sir, are definitely not immune from spewing a less than educated opinion on topics outside of your feild.

    I trust the Dutch people, and business community, on renewable energy profitability and feasibility more than I can trust yours or even my own – thus far anyways.

  132. Robert McTaggart

    I don’t trust everything I read, particularly when promises of 100% are being made, and this has not happened yet. We are waiting for 2018 for this to occur, and I haven’t seen any performance data for the wind speeds at those locations over time.

  133. Robert McTaggart

    But since I am not an expert, I guess I won’t need to know what the actual capacities of the wind turbines are, nor how much energy the wind farm produces throughout the day/year, nor what energy the trains will require to assess the feasibility of the project ;^).

  134. Dr. McTaggart, these fellows cannot hold a carbon-free candle to even my slight knowledge of such matters, let alone your vast proven expertise.

    I think such fellows should debate my proposed use of the self-propelled wind trains like Mr. Mike says they have in Iowa here in South Dakota, but I am sure they see the problem when these trains would have to keep going faster and faster like Willy the Wonka’s train to make the power generation work. I suspect they don’t work in Iowa either.

  135. Robert McTaggart

    The perpetual motion machine business is a tough one to get into. Especially when you can never meet expectations.

  136. Doc, based on how you try to steer blog conversations (from what I can see), I cannot help but doubt that you might care enough about wind speeds in micro-regions to study those types of numbers in your personal time.

    If it takes an extra year (a whole 50% longer) to finish the Dutch train project, so what. They have a stated goal of being a role model for the E.U. They’ve hired TEAMS of experts in all the applicable fields, who’s recent direct experience towers over yours – to do the correct cost/benefit analyses, profitability and feasibility studies. You, on the other hand, are just one man with a physics focus and a person infatuation with nuclear.

    The smartest business people in the world know how to delegate expertise, or contract it out. I think you can trust the Dutch on this one, over yourself.

  137. Robert McTaggart

    I would like to see a graph of the energy that the wind farm produces. If that number is always bigger than the energy the trains need, then you have your 100%. If it isn’t, then forget the 100%.

    It took one physicist, Richard Feynman, to see through the fog that surrounded the space shuttle disaster and explain what happened. There were a whole lot of teams and millions of dollars being thrown around there too.

  138. Still, to doubt the Dutch at first glance on this one – gosh – you must really think a lot of yourself.

    I think you gotta trust the Dutch until you have personally calculated otherwise. Even then, you better get that thing double checked up the wazoo.

  139. Robert McTaggart

    Yes, let’s believe everything on the internet. We’ll start with the Dutch web sites and go from there.

  140. Is Popular Science magazine mainstream and perhaps ‘American’ enough for you?

    In Just Three Years ALL Dutch Trains Will Run On Wind Power – Popular Science

  141. Troy Jones


    Is that really your argument. I should trust the Dutch because you say so? Why should I trust you telling me to trust the Dutch. If you are able to share your thoughts, information, analysis, go ahead. I am curious and like to hear new and contrary ideas. But comments that are essentially “I know a guy who knows a guy who heard a guy say in a bar that _______ and you should trust it as true” is just gibberish.

  142. Don Coyote

    Ohh, ohhh! Looks like the Dutch wind industry has run into a problem competing with cheap carbon fuel (natural gas and oil).

    “Hundreds of wind turbines in the Netherlands are operating at a loss and are in danger of being demolished. The main cause is the very low energy prices, which mean that the maintaining the turbines cost more than what the generated energy bring in”


  143. Troy, I very specifically detailed why we should trust the Dutch one this one, and it’s not “because I said so” either. You might try reading before you claim you read and then bust out all crazy style in disagreement.

  144. Government driven industries, like this one, will always require adjustments to subsidies based on a variety of factors. No one wants them running at too high of profit margin, and they should be protected from running at a loss for extended periods. It’s an interesting article though Don. Temporary problems with reasonably easy solutions.

  145. Troy Jones


    Is your post on 9-6 @ 23:33 your “specific detail?”

    So if I said the French, to build a nuclear plant to generate electricity, hired a team of experts in all applicable fields to do as you said the Dutch did, you would become a proponent of nuclear energy?

  146. Robert: “True, the wind/gas combo is going to emit less carbon than a coal plant ould….however nobody is going to build any new coal plants these days.”

    Exactly – and thus you are agreeing that a wind / gas combination is a step in the right direction since it reduces carbon emissions. Nobody has suggested that wind energy is the solution to our problems and this is not meant to be the final transition.

    We can build wind farms and if we need to use natural gas as a backup then we are still improving the situation by lowering carbon emissions in comparison to what exists today (primarily due to coal). In the next several decades, energy storage solutions will continue to evolve. Ultimately the problems we see today will be solved tomorrow and we have already started to see the changes.

    Yes nobody is likely to build a new coal plant today, but as long as the existing coal plants are still in operation we still have a problem. The coal industry likes to use the marketing speak of “clean coal” but we know better. Coal is never clean, and the damage done by burning it for energy is only part of the problem. The disappearing mountains and growing pits which are a result of mining for it aren’t something we can ever reverse.

    Last I heard there were over 550 coal plants in the US. If we can replace even 25% of those plants with a mixture of solar, wind, and natural gas we are better off than we were before.

    Also keep in mind the energy produced by renewables can be used for the upcoming crop of electric cars, which has the added benefit of reducing oil imports and carbon emissions from the burning of gasoline and diesel fuel.

    Is this the final solution? No – but it is a hell of a big step forward and far better than the status quo. Nuclear is fine and dandy, but if we wait until the public is convinced that it is safe and until you find enough political support for the construction of new reactors we will have wasted several decades where we could have been using renewables like wind power, and by then we may have solutions for the energy storage issues and will most certainly have a new generation of wind turbines which are far more advanced than what exists today.

    What this means is by the time you convince the public and the politicians that nuclear is the answer, we may not even need nuclear. You’re welcome to keep trying though.

  147. Daniel Buresh

    “You can assess a persons expertise via the truthfulness and professionalism of public statements.”

    In other words, Adam, your statements are anything but professional and your avoidance of any criticism towards your ideas is anything but truthful…..therefore, by your own definition, you have no expertise.

  148. Douglas Wiken

    Assuming costs of wind and solar must be less than that off nuclear and coal, natural gas, etc. ignores the environmental costs associated with older technology. We may have to pay significantly more for energy just to save our own hides. Higher energy prices also drive development of alternates. Increasing gasoline taxes and using revenue to fund alternate transportation systems may not be the true capitalist, retrograde Republican way to do things, but it might be the truly rational way.

    Attacking Adam’s credibility is a kill the messenger approach when you don’t like his message. The links that are posted to be critical of Adam’s info are no more reliable than his and often even less so.

    The US government dumps huge tax and other subsidies into fossil fuels and inefficient transportation systems. Heavy trucks destroy highways, but the fuel and licensing of those vehicles doesn’t cover even a pitiful fraction of the cost of those vehicles to society and light car users. This huge subsidy has destroyed the rail systems and made highways more expensive to maintain every year and also much less safe for riders in smaller vehicles.

    It is not rational to ignore subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear industry and simultaneously be hyper-critical of subsidies to wind, solar, and improved hydro, to battery technology and other energy storage systems.

  149. Robert McTaggart


    If the demand for electricity did not increase, and nature would be fine with the carbon levels that are already baked in over the next 200 years, and you maintained the same amount of zero-carbon nuclear energy, then simply replacing coal plants with the wind/solar/gas combo meal would be fine.

    However, I do not think that is what is happening. Nature may not be fine with present carbon emissions, or any new carbon. The world’s demand for energy will increase, particularly if transportation replaces a lot of fossil fuels with electricity or hydrogen made from electricity. The energy pie will increase as more nations want our standard of living (even if that is just clean water and no poverty).

    So we may emit less carbon per kilowatt-hour than we do today via the displacement of coal plants in the United States, but we could emit the same amount of carbon or more due to increased demand.

    In addition, nuclear plants that could operate for another 40 years could be replaced by the same wind/solar/gas combo, which means more carbon would be emitted.

    So I think that if you are going to follow the route of solar/wind/gas, you will need to deal with the carbon. That will drive the cost up of installing and operating solar/wind/gas. Coal got away with not dealing with its carbon for a long time, solar/wind/gas should know better.

    Or you could build new nuclear that doesn’t emit carbon in the first place. Cost, carbon, available power, reliability, energy diversity will force a mix of different technologies at the end of the day.

    If the rest of the world uses more fossil fuels to obtain our standard of living, it may be up to us to remove that carbon. You’ll need nuclear to power that effort.

  150. Robert McTaggart

    With regard to subsidies, we need a revised energy policy to address them.

    One of the issues may be that everybody wants power on demand, but nobody wants to really pay for it. So we have backfilled with energy subsidies instead of paying for things upfront.

    Another issue is that each energy source can be very different regarding the financing that is necessary.

    No subsidies for anyone will be very popular politically, but that will not deliver the infrastructure we will need. Nevertheless, I am all for reducing subsidies and doing things correctly the first time across the board.

  151. Troy, when grownups are talking, kids aren’t supposed to interrupt.

    Daniel, when you’ve worked with professionals around the country like I have, only then can you get a feel for true professionalism. It takes a lot more than just a nebulous claim that I’m not professional for me to consider what grain of truth you could be talking about.

    To be extra clear, for a guy like Dr. MacTaggart to claim he’s pro wind and solar, but also to be completely unable to point to one wind or solar project that he’s ever supported in his whole life, is disingenuous at best. I think it’s dishonest to the people who read his words.

  152. Troy Jones


    Your response is a blatant deflection. You do no service to the cause of wind energy. Only harm. Wind has great potential to fill a significant place in American energy supply but over-stating its strengths, ignoring its weakness or issues yet to be resolved, and splashing mud on other sources raises questions about wind options.

    Because we have no idea what your experience is with working “with professionals around the country” your statement is just another version of “I trust the Dutch, now you trust me.” Your over-selling without real information is not helping the cause you purport to support. Makes me wonder if you are trying reverse psychology in an effort to turn people against wind energy.

  153. “In addition, nuclear plants that could operate for another 40 years could be replaced by the same wind/solar/gas combo, which means more carbon would be emitted.”

    This appears to be the major problem – you have an issue with the public. The public doesn’t like nuclear due to the history of failure and although those incidents are few and far between, it is easy to perform a google search to see the horrific images and exclusion zones that look like a Mad Max movie.

    We also know the true impact of carbon emissions, but the public has a harder time seeing it with their own eyes. For a lot of people, seeing a melting glacier or seeing some weather anomalies is just too separated from the source of the issue. You also have a multi-billion dollar fossil fuel industry which has done a fantastic job of fooling the public and making them doubt that climate change is even a legitimate issue.

    So really what you have is a marketing issue. You can list the merits of nuclear all day long, but it won’t change public perception because at the end of the day people are still aware of the dangers, and those dangers are part of the reason why some nations are actually shutting down their reactors or making the decision to not replace them when they reach end of life.

    Whether the public can be convinced is an unknown. However what we do know is that sources of energy such as wind can supplement what we already have. Maybe those turbines won’t help reduce carbon, but they can help stabilize it. Also, with enough wind farms across a wide area, there is a greater chance of stable energy production. The wind is almost always blowing at some point, so enough wind farms connected to the grid and suddenly we minimize the risk.

    If the argument against wind is that it sometimes needs to be supplemented with other non-clean sources that is fine, but we should be flipping that response by saying the benefit of wind is that it reduces the amount of time those carbon producers are required.

    That said – I’m convinced if we have a desire we could meet all of our energy demands with a combination of renewable sources. It won’t happen overnight or even in the next few decades, but it can happen. Once the energy storage tech catches up it will be more feasible.

  154. Hang tough Adam, Troy is just angry because he and Doc got their asses handed to them in Spink County. Now they want to come after the messenger, typical.

  155. Out of the park Craig, killah statements of fact

  156. Robert McTaggart

    Illegal mining in China for rare earth elements continues….The problem is that the more efficient wind turbines and hybrid car batteries use things like neodymium and dysprosium.

    And once again, recycling efforts need to be improved so that more of these elements are available without resorting to illegal mining.


  157. Rare Earth signed with Motown in 1970 I think. Only all white band to do so

  158. Robert McTaggart

    If you go closer to where the nuclear power plants actually are and interactions with personnel and students and the public occur, the perception of nuclear is much different.

    So I will keep listing the merits. Facts are stubborn things. Decisions should be based upon the best evidence.

    Wind/solar/energy storage could deliver a lot of the peak power while nuclear provides the clean base load energy to produce the energy people use. Together with stand-alone applications that do not mind the intermittency, renewables can thus be used wisely.

  159. Robert McTaggart

    And to remind Adam on another renewable system I have favored, you could collect solar energy from space 24-7. Would be quite expensive today and faces additional issues like radiation effects on mirrors or solar cells, but you could collect as much as you want without the intermittency.

    Maybe it is time for Adam to support at least one nuclear project….since I have come up with several ways to incorporate renewables into the grid or use them for stand-alone applications.

  160. Robert McTaggart

    Jerry, don’t forget Earth, Wind, and Fire. Also relevant for these discussions….

  161. Grateful Dead in line with nukes

  162. Robert McTaggart

    The Grateful Dead are not Motown.

    “Nuclear Juice”….Marvin Gaye

  163. But they have soul.

  164. Robert McTaggart

    They have a good Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor.

  165. Doc, that’s not a specific proposed project. You poo poo every renewable proposal you claim to assess. You would support a renewable project if all your thoughts were behind designing it (in theory) but none that anyone else has ever proposed has been good enough for you.

    Troy, all I ask for your credentials is your age. I suspect you’re a very – very young man.

  166. Robert McTaggart

    Seems pretty specific to me.

    The best that most wind/solar projects can do regarding carbon is state that they will emit less carbon than coal. Everything emits less carbon than coal! They can do better.

  167. Don Coyote

    @mlia: Jeebus! Costa Rica is about half the size of Kentucky and generates 80% of it’s power from hydroelectric which is a whole hell of a lot more consistent than freaking wind or solar especially in a country that can receive 150″+ rainfall in the mountains. Costa Rica with only 4M people had to generate only 10,713 gigawatt-hours of electricity last year while the US with 319M people had to generate 4 million gigawatt-hours (373X more). Apples to oranges. Try again.

  168. coyote: you said “cheap carbon fuel (natural gas and oil)”, so why ignore:

    “externalities, the hidden costs of fossil fuels aren’t represented in their market price, despite serious impacts to our health and environment.

    Externalities are sometimes easy to see, such as pollution and land degradation, and sometimes less obvious, such as the costs of asthma and cancer, or the impacts of sea level rise. Many consequences are far removed from our daily lives and may only affect a minority or marginalized subset of the population.

    Costs accrue at every point of the fossil fuel supply chain. Extraction processes can generate air and water pollution, and harm local communities. Transporting fuels from the mine or well can cause air pollution and lead to serious accidents and spills. When the fuels are burned, they emit toxins and global warming emissions. Even the waste products are hazardous to public health and the environment….”

    yahdahyahdahyahdah. google it.

    you’ve heard of CARBON TAX?

  169. Ok Don – how about Germany or Denmark. Are you going to make excuses for them too?

    Neither of these nations are able to meet energy demands with 100% renewables, but they are making significant progress on doing so. Germany has went from 6% renewable in 2000 to around 30% in 2014. Denmark is ahead of schedule to supply half of their needs from renewables by 2020.



    We can continue to explain why this can’t or won’t work in the US – but other nations are proving us wrong.

    @ Robert – if you aren’t anti-wind as you claim, then surely you have submitted your pro-wind comments in regards to the Willow Creek wind farm project correct?

    Meanwhile you justify your dislike of wind turbines by claiming there is illegal rare earth materials mining in China. I guess mining uranium or rare earth materials needed to build nuclear reactors is perfectly ok though?

    What’s next Robert – are you going to claim the strobe lights on the top of the turbines have a negative impact upon light pollution?

  170. Robert McTaggart

    Hi Craig,

    I continue to bring up ways in which nuclear and renewables could work together. But somehow bringing up ways to improve the use of renewables makes me anti-renewable.

    For instance, the only place in the world that brand-new rare earth elements are being produced is in a nuclear reactor. Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel could have a side benefit for wind, solar, and battery storage. That would reduce the need to mine rare earth elements, as would recycling rare earths from multiple industries.

    It is likely that if you could extract uranium from seawater, rare earth elements may also be available from seawater. That would also reduce mining across the board.

    In situ mining is an improvement over what they used to do. But let’s face it, if you are anti-nuclear the goal is to starve nuclear energy of its primary resource regardless of the technique and regardless of the benefits.

    During the borehole discussions I promoted the use of solar and wind to continually clean and process the water for in situ operations. It seems like water could be collected and then processed whenever the power was available.

    What you should be arguing for is that we can’t do coal, nuclear is too expensive, but we can do the wind/solar/gas combo cheaper than gas by itself while reducing carbon compared with pure coal or pure gas. However, some form of carbon mitigation is not typically addressed in these projects for which you want my support.

    That’s why I support dedicated uses for tasks that do not mind intermittent electricity, like secondary heating/cooling.

  171. Are there not barriers to the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel? It seems that if it were that easy we would already be doing it would we not?

    Extracting uranium from seawater also sounds great, but why do I suspect this isn’t yet in practice and is merely a theory?

    I’m all for nuclear energy and have been for years, but I don’t want to hold back other renewable projects while we wait for society to wake up. It would be nice if it were a package deal, but I don’t find it a necessity. We can continue to move forward with wind and solar projects with or without nuclear reactors being part of the mix. If those reactors do come then great… but I’d rather not wait 20 years until we are allowed to start building one.

    We saw how ignorant and fearful the public is in respect to nuclear in Spink County. Can you imaging the outrage if someone proposed an actual nuclear reactor? As long as we need public approval for these types of projects I don’t see nuclear being viable. We have seen some new reactors being added to existing facilities, but when is the last time there was a totally new nuclear facility built on American soil? Wasn’t it back in the late 1970s? Do we really think it is possible to change the opinions of the public to make it happen – and if so, do we feel comfortable waiting around for it to happen?

    I’m sure the oil and coal companies would be ok if we suspended all wind and solar projects until we had support to pair them with nuclear projects, but I don’t think we can wait that long.

  172. Robert McTaggart

    I don’t think you have to hold up renewable projects, but there should be accountability for the carbon that is emitted. If you do not do that, then you are not any better than coal.

    I get the impression that just because you left one-third to one-half as much trash at the park as before, that we should all be happy :^). But you keep coming back to the park and leaving trash.

    France already reprocesses their nuclear fuel. So it’s not a technical issue. We could be reprocessing in the United States today, but choose not to. One issue is cost, the other is that you need to site and build a new dedicated facility (which we have seen is an issue), and another is that it would be better to incorporate recycling directly into a different fuel cycle than we use today.

    I’m trying the best I can to explain nuclear and discuss its issues :^). Some K-12 teachers are including some nuclear, but many run out of time before they get there. There is not a whole lot of room for anything new in K-12 with all of the mandates.

    Just like many people are not aware of where their hamburger comes from, there are those that think the power comes on when they flip on the light switch or turn on the TV. That is a hurdle.

  173. “there should be accountability for the carbon that is emitted”

    There is no carbon emitted from wind or solar power. Yes it is true that if the sun isn’t shining or if the wind isn’t blowing you’ll need alternatives and those alternatives might be natural gas which emits carbon – but the actual wind turbines don’t emit carbon. it seems dishonest to automatically link them with carbon producers when we could eventually get to the point where renewables were able to operate independently via a large network (the wind is always blowing somewhere) and via storage options. In short – wind power doesn’t have to be linked to carbon production. That may be our solution today, but it doesn’t have to be tomorrow.

    “I get the impression that just because you left one-third to one-half as much trash at the park as before, that we should all be happy”

    Your analogy is flawed. It should be that we are happy because every time we go to the park we remove one-third to one-half of the trash with was left behind by others, and slowly we are banning the polluters from the park so that one day there won’t be anyone leaving trash behind.

  174. Robert McTaggart

    Yes, carbon is being emitted when wind and solar fail right now because there is no viable energy storage. Until then, they should be accountable for the carbon that must be emitted when they are used.

    Even if the wind is blowing somewhere, you haven’t solved intermittency, you have just sent it elsewhere for someone else to deal with.

    As more people visit the park, they too will leave behind trash. Maybe less trash per person than before, but the total will accrue. Why leave your trash for someone else?

    Also, your analogy is flawed. Ban all the polluters, you will ban everybody. You should deal with the pollution.

  175. Robert McTaggart

    Technically they could install some form of energy storage. But that is too expensive today.

    Isn’t requiring somebody else to emit the carbon to make up the difference, or someone else to address the environmental costs of extra carbon, a form of cost-shifting?

  176. Douglas Wiken

    Isn’t requiring somebody else to store nuclear waste a form of cost-shifting.

    There is no “extra” carbon from wind and solar. There is zero extra carbon from producing solar and wind energy and claiming that because it is intermittent there is “extra” carbon is not really honest. Anytime a carbon producing utility is shut down because of energy availability from wind or solar is less carbon. Running a carbon producing utility when wind and solar energy is not sufficient is not “extra” carbon…except instantaneously which makes claiming it is extra carbon is deceptive at best.

  177. Robert McTaggart

    No, nuclear actually has to pay to store its waste on site. They don’t emit it into the air and let somebody else take care of it.

    I am not advocating to do nuclear for everything, because they would run into the same problem. Today nuclear is better at baseload applications and slow changing demand curves. Something else is needed to meet the peaks and valleys of demand….and if it isn’t wind and solar, then it would be natural gas. Tomorrow’s nuclear will do much better at demand response, but it still won’t be perfect.

    Maybe instead of “extra carbon” a better phrase is “unnecessary carbon”. We could be using more wind and solar with more nuclear instead. We could dedicate some wind and solar to tasks that do not mind the intermittency and simply skip trying to use fossil fuels as a backup. We could develop energy storage. We could do some tasks when the supply of wind/solar is greatest through energy management.

    Outside of those, more energy efficiency and carbon capture are your alternatives.

    So there are ways to reduce carbon while using wind and solar. But I am not sure that we are doing much in this regard beyond generating electricity from wind and solar. We can do better.

  178. Robert McTaggart

    I would reserve “extra carbon” for when the energy pie increases, the shares of wind and solar increase, and the amount of carbon emitted by natural gas backup exceeds the total we are emitting from our energy use today.

    The key is whether absorption methods by nature or carbon capture can exceed what we emit. The closer we are to carbon-zero emissions, the quicker the carbon curve can be bent.

  179. So, with all your multi-feild genius, Bob, and with your far superior ability to single handedly replace teams of experts with your own assessment(s), as well as your false claims of natural affinity for renewables – do you support this specific Butte County wind farm as it is proposed?

    You’ve had some time to look at it. If you care about things like microclimate wind speeds and such, as you’ve claimed, sure seems like you’d have concluded by now if you like this project.

    Either that or you’re just trying out for someone’s team with your relentless long winded repetitive droning nuclear push. FYI: I don’t think you’re going to make the team.

  180. If we could generate wind power from McTaggart’s hot air, we’d be set for life.

  181. Robert McTaggart

    Are they proposing any measures to reduce the need for natural gas backup?

    Yes or No?

  182. Adam, Doc wants to be a career wannabe politico nuke stooge. Getting him to answer your question is like corralling jello with a pin.

  183. Robert McTaggart

    Are any industrial users partnering with the wind farm to take the wind energy in its intermittent state. Is anyone committing to use wind energy from this wind farm when the wind energy peaks?

    Yes or No?

  184. Doc, if a guy was waiting for you research the wind farm proposal in order to make up their own mind on the thing, you offer no research, just questions about what you still don’t understand. If you actually researched this stuff like you claim, you’d have some answers here, not just continuous questions.

  185. Bob only studies within his narrow feild.

  186. Robert McTaggart

    Adam doesn’t really want to reduce carbon as much as possible. He just wants the wind farm built regardless.

    Yes, it would cost more money upfront to consider carbon-reduction mechanisms and practices. But it would cost less in the long run.

  187. Robert McTaggart

    False. I am studying the effects of radiation on solar cells.

    Dr. McTaggart 7, Adam 0.

  188. Robert McTaggart

    I guess that is a no to both questions.

    Dr. McTaggart 14, Adam 0.

  189. Sure, just like you studied the effects of radiation on concrete, and just like you loose touch with scientific due diligence when you “research” a specific wind farm proposal.

  190. Robert McTaggart

    Yes, I have also studied the effects of radiation on concrete. Concrete could have a mixture of biomass incorporated into it…helps some of the curing properties. In any event, for the current nuclear power plants to last longer, they need to know more about when the concrete will fail so proper maintenance can be performed.

    But “research” in this context means I have tested concrete with a radioactive source and examined its mechanical properties. With solar cells it is optical/electrical properties.

  191. Robert McTaggart

    Don’t forget the effects of radiation on shielding materials for electrical cables. Even if you are not using these cables at a nuclear power plant, the durability under radiation testing has some utility to long-term performance for any power source.

  192. Research in the context I brought it up in is regarding your lack of insight and research on the Butte County wind farm. A topic you’ve boasted about how your research trumps all other experts on. And still, you have nothing but questions and no answers on the topic of this article.

    How much more time do you need? Perhaps you should spend less time trying to push the nuclear option and research the topic of the article?

  193. Robert McTaggart

    So, I should keep doing research until I agree with you?

  194. Robert McTaggart

    I would rather have more nuclear, wind, solar, and energy storage at the end of the day. That would actually generate the power consumers demand without emitting carbon.

    But that is our politics in a nutshell. Solutions exist, but there is little willingness to compromise.

  195. No, “silly disingenuous Bob,” you should do enough research on this Butte County wind farm proposal to give it your thumbs up or down – and stop pushing the nuclear option like a soul-less robot.

    You don’t have agree with me, just take the time to look at the Butte County proposal, and maybe take a Polly Sci 101 course while you’re at it.

  196. Robert McTaggart

    I cannot support it without some kind of carbon reduction measure to reduce the need for burning natural gas. Show me that there is some kind of demand management to shift things overnight by some company or state/county/town entity. Relying upon natural gas may be a mistake.


    “There never was 100 years of natural gas. The Barnett and Fayetteville plays that began a little more than a decade ago are dead at today’s prices. No horizontal wells have been drilled in either play since January of this year.”

  197. Robert McTaggart

    And yes, I did take a political science class in college :^). I majored in Physics and Math, but I was in the Honors program too. So I took a lot of foreign language and literature above and beyond the general requirements for the degrees.

  198. So, there you FINALLY have it folks, Mactaggart is against this wind project too, just like every other wind project proposal he’s ever looked at. My God that was tough to pull out of him through all the noise he generates about his nuclear conceptual baby.

  199. Robert McTaggart

    Sorry, I am for wind projects that ACTUALLY reduce carbon in the way they are used. Or at least try to….for all of Adam’s bluster I still haven’t seen where he would reduce the carbon that others need to emit.

    The wind turbines do not start turning when you flick on the light switch. There is a disconnect between the energy from wind and the size and shape of the demand from consumers. If you want to shift some demand to when the wind is a maximum, fine…show me where that is in the plans.

    If you try to do everything with wind while still satisfying paying consumers, then Adam will be fine with emitting more carbon to do so.

  200. When you replace a current produced high carbon MW of electricity with a super-low carbon MW of wind power, you are reducing carbon output.

    You totally know better than what say out loud. I hearby formally declare you a “nuclear propagandist” and a “wanna be demagogue.”

  201. mike from iowa

    196 more comments and you will have tied the post with the most comments. If memory serves would be on Sept 23-24, 2014 about Ki-Yi Days in Watertown?

  202. Sorry mfi, I will add one more http://www.ieac.info/IMG/pdf/20140914olnpp2-lr.pdf South Korea was going to go all in for the nukes, but then, they saw the danger straight ahead. So now, they figure something else. Smart thinking.

  203. Robert McTaggart

    Sure, you would reduce the amount of carbon emitted. But in trying to use wind and solar for everything instead of what it is best suited for, you are still emitting carbon at a rate that adds to the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere.

    You haven’t solved the problem.

  204. Doc, you said, “I cannot support it (wind power) without some kind of carbon reduction measure…” while you simultaneously admit that, if you add wind power to the grid, “you would reduce the amount of carbon emitted.” The fact that you cannot see the hypocrisy in your view makes me LOL and ROTF

  205. Robert McTaggart

    You don’t even recognize that using solar and wind engender the use of other fossil fuels that keep emitting carbon. That rate is still greater than what is needed to stop predicted increases in global temperatures.

    Nuclear emits no carbon during the generation of electricity. How much carbon do we save if we replace a nuclear plant with the equivalent amount of power from wind/solar/gas? We don’t.

  206. Robert McTaggart

    Worse yet, you are not in favor of ANY measure that would ameliorate the production of carbon via the wind/solar/gas approach.

  207. I was told about this. More proof the good Dr. is the most educated and rightest of most people blogging on this. I am for more nuclear at this Plaza, and no more wasteful wind.

    Vertical Wind Turbines Removed From Dolly Reed Plaza

    Wednesday, September 7, 2016
    A pair of vertical wind turbines that has been a staple of the Dolly-Reed Plaza in Pierre was taken down Tuesday evening.

    The South Dakota Bureau of Administration hired a company to remove the turbines, which will be sold as surplus property at a later date.

    BOA Commissioner Jeff Holden says the turbines cost more to maintain then they provided in energy cost savings. Holden adds that there was no place to buy parts for that “old” piece of equipment.

    South Dakota State Engineer Kristi Honeywell says the turbines were put up in 2010 due to the state receiving federal money for the incorporation of renewable energy initiatives.

    Although the turbines didn’t cost any local taxpayer dollars when they arrived in Pierre, the maintenance costs were too great, and that is why they were removed.

  208. I can see how, with your common over-generalization overly-assumptive debate techniques, you would want to make it look like I don’t support carbon production amelioration. The thing is (and again – you know better than you argue), by supporting wind and solar power, I am supporting less carbon output in the atmosphere.

    Perhaps sitting through a logic course would be more appropriate for you than polly sci.

  209. Robert McTaggart

    We agree that solar/wind/gas is better than coal and better than gas alone.

    We do not agree that simply building more wind farms is enough to solve the carbon dilemma: How wind and solar are used by consumers, and when they are used, matters.

    I favor an ALARA approach with respect to carbon emissions (as low as reasonably achievable) that reduces the use of fossil fuels. Methods that are cost-effective and reduce carbon should be considered as part of the normal operating procedure.

    ALARA is important for another reason. Today gas is plentiful and cheap. Tomorrow it may not be….we are becoming overdependent on gas to facilitate the way we use wind and solar today.

  210. Douglas Wiken

    How do wind and solar increase the use of fossil fuels?

    I don’t remember anybody here suggesting that currently running nuclear plants be shut down so they can be replaced by wind and solar.

    Grudz, vertical turbines are not the same as the wind generators most often used. Some of them apparently work better than others. It would also not surprise me that any excuse to get rid of wind generation would be good enough for conservatives much like Reagan removing solar panels from the White House. Solar panels (may just have been water heaters) that are still working at as New England school or college.

  211. Mr. Wiken, I expect to hear about you bidding on those surplus wind generators. And if you don’t win them, I bet they’ll get gobbled up by some libbie somewhere, probably for a couple of hundred bucks, and get mounted on their roof.

  212. Since McTagart does not support this Butte County wind project, we must all conclude that he prefers Butte County to continue to using coal power.

    If the Doc actually supported ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) in terms of carbon emissions, he would be in favor of a renewable energy project in South Dakota at least here and there.

    Lowering carbon production down to his veiw of ‘reasonable’ output entails making renewables jump through more hoops than should be reasonably allowed. I think the hoops he’s carefully staked out for renewables, were selected by him and other nuclear physicists to stymie renewables in order to artificially bolster the value of nuclear power in America.

    ALARA seems to be a specific policy from the old 1950’s nuclear era that few people think should apply to all power plants today. Unfortunately, today is a much different world, and I’m not so sure anything we developed in the 50s is viable for use today.

  213. Robert McTaggart

    ALARA as applied to radiation safety is based on the assumption that there is a linear relationship between the radiation dose and diseases like cancer. However, the evidence at low doses (and our annual dose is a low dose) is at best inconclusive. Nevertheless, we follow ALARA in order to be conservative.

    I don’t know why you think I would be advocating for more coal. Coal plants should take responsibility for the carbon they emit. Build your wind farm, but take care of the carbon you are responsible for.

    Adam: “I’d like one kilowatt-hour of clean wind energy please.”
    Utility: “Sorry, the wind isn’t blowing right now. Can we give it to you later?”
    Adam: “No, I pay my energy bill like everyone else, I would like that energy right now.”
    Utility: “OK, here is one kilowatt-hour of energy from natural gas.”
    Adam: “But I clearly asked for one kilowatt-hour of wind energy.”
    Utility: “Then you will have to wait until the wind blows.”
    Adam: “No, you built the wind turbines. You have the wind energy. I know it is there.”

  214. Robert McTaggart

    Renewables and nuclear energy are not incompatible. If energy storage were viable, then one could use existing nuclear power plant designs for the baseload, and wind/solar/energy storage for the peaks and valleys. Plus you wouldn’t be emitting carbon.

  215. Every MW of wind power consumed, that would have otherwise been generated by coal, decreases carbon output. Everyone knows it. For you to be against this Butte County wind project means you prefer towns like Belle Fourche to keep on consuming coal power. You are not living up to your own standards by pushing for ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Acheivable) on carbon pollution, while standing against the development of this wind farm.

    ALARA is still suitable for nuclear regulation, but not recognized as a means to lowering carbon output of coal, gas, wind and solar.

  216. Mr. Adam, did you get a C- in Dr. McTaggart’s class or something? He’s outbraining you at every turn, who do you keep humiliating yourself? I bet you got a C-. Maybe a D.

  217. Grudz, try Googling “ALARA” and “carbon” together in the same search and see what YOU find.

  218. Douglas Wiken

    No need to check by Grudz, he KNOWS. Just ask him.

  219. Douglas Wiken

    No need to check by Grudz, he KNOWS. Just ask him.

    This is not spam even if WordPress assumes it is

  220. Robert McTaggart

    If the wind farm is being built to reduce carbon, then why isn’t an ALARA approach to carbon being undertaken to reduce it even further? Why would it be terrible to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels when using renewables plus ALARA?

    To answer my own question, it would be an extra expense to set up things like carbon capture, energy storage, deferred demand by consumers, or asynchronous applications. Long-term it is the smart thing to do even if energy storage comes to fruition.

    Carbon emissions from fossil fuels today are controlled as much as peeing in the pool is. Thanks for doing less of either one of those, but some things are better avoided in the first place.

  221. Mr. Wiken, you have certain credibility just by the fact that you have been right in the past a couple of times much like I have vast credibility from being right almost all of the time, plus I like your name a lot. But Mr. Adam has no credibility at all. Dr. McTaggart is a doctor, and there are eggheads all over who ascribe to his expertise. I bow to these eggheads and appreciate having Dr. McT’s vast knowledge shared with us for free. Adam finds it threatening.

  222. Go ahead and trust Mactaggart over, for instance, all the wind expertise in the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia. Those teams of seasoned experts don’t shake a stick to all that your Doc brings to the table – saying no to all wind projects like the one in Butte County, way out here in one of the least tapped US states for renewable energy.

    IF he truly believes in the spirit of reducing carbon for all power generation to “as low as reasonably achievable” levels, then taking a stand for at least one real actual proposed renewable project in ones whole little life would sure make sense to me. So far, all I can see is that his Health Physics Society is just a bunch of not so moderate Republicans. However, I am very glad to now have them on my radar.

  223. Robert McTaggart

    What is one step that you would propose to reduce the carbon produced by an energy grid that focuses on wind, solar, and gas?

  224. Coal dependency is far more of a problem in South Dakota. Hypothesizing about solving problems in the very distant future (one where the US is wasting so much renewable energy from over-supplying the market it’s seen as unconscionable) is like being infatuated with every possible micro-reality within a wild and crazy sci-fi story.

  225. Robert McTaggart

    If I am committed to the ALARA concept for carbon, then I would support the energy source that reduces it as much as possible. And I do: Nuclear energy.

    If you are going to use wind and solar with fossil fuels, then you should also be in favor of using wind and solar wisely.

  226. Robert McTaggart

    I would support new nuclear in South Dakota to replace coal. That would be fine with me.

    New nuclear however would need to compete with natural gas or advanced coal with carbon capture. I’m sure more wind and solar will be in the mix. You have to produce the power that people demand when they want it, while reducing carbon.

    Carbon taxation would throw a wrench into those discussions, but it is clear that new nuclear would then have some advantages for reducing taxes and improving grid reliability.

  227. This is just another reason why when you say things like, “I would like to see a graph of the energy that the wind farm produces.” I say things like, “I cannot help but doubt that you might care enough about things like wind speeds in micro-regions to study those types of numbers in your personal time.”

    You should state your position, “If we replace coal with nuclear, only then would I support wind and solar.” But calling yourself pro-wind/solar is just bonkers.

  228. Robert McTaggart

    Members of the Health Physics Society promote the safe use of radiation for beneficial purposes.

    For example, a medical X-ray or a CT scan will deliver a small dose. You can calculate the risks involved from that dose based upon epidemiological data. Then compare the risk of disease and death from having to open up a patient to look around, or to do the surgery the first time without any roadmap provided by a scan instead.

    In every case, the medical X-ray or CT that avoids an invasive procedure generates the best outcome for the patient. Fear of radiation in this case would lead to a higher death rate. Health Physicists track the radiation doses and test/calibrate all of the equipment to see that everything is working.

    So I don’t know why anyone would be against the Health Physics Society…they are a radiation safety organization, not a political one.

  229. Yes, mostly they do what you just said they do – and they are good in those areas. But the nuclear power branch of the group has a clear rightwing agenda. The context for most everything they say is, “regulations are too strict on nuclear power in the US” and “current regulations are built on hysteria more than science” and “we need to deregulate the nuclear option.” It seems the nuclear power department of the Health Physics Society has been infiltrated by industry-backed radicals. This can happen in government.

  230. Robert McTaggart

    Run your dishwasher at noon, maybe the wind isn’t blowing and you need to emit carbon. Run your dishwasher at 3 a.m., maybe the wind is at full force and you do not need to emit carbon. So just because the turbines are connected to the grid, that doesn’t mean you will be living the carbon-free life.

    Build the grid with nuclear, renewables, and storage, then everybody can run their dishwasher whenever they want without emitting carbon.

  231. … and it can happen in non-profits and the private sector

  232. Robert McTaggart

    Everyone agrees that at very high doses, the risk of disease/cancer due to radiation is linearly related to the dose received.

    At lower doses the data is less clear…just due to statistics. So there is disagreement within the society. Many other chemical effects obey a threshold hypothesis, where you need a certain amount before toxicity becomes apparent.

    Some postulate a hormesis effect for radiation at the very lowest of doses, whereby low radiation doses are actually good for you. In essence what this means is that human biology would successfully repair any damage done by radiation at this low rate, and perhaps low levels help by stimulating immune responses to radiation. At higher doses, the repair mechanisms themselves may be affected, resulting in the linear curve.

    Each hypothesis, hormesis or linear/no-threshold (LNT), have their sets of studies that they can point to, but the government conservatively uses the LNT hypothesis.

    On one hand, LNT significantly increases the costs of siting a nuclear power plant. There is a lot of concrete shielding and other design issues that come into play in order to reduce dose whenever possible. On the other hand, all of that shielding makes a nuclear power plant impervious to things like airplane strikes, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. The same thing also applies to the vessels that transport nuclear waste…they are heavily shielded, but can survive most attacks as a result. So it depends on how you look at things.

    Many of the studies from the 40’s and 50’s and 60’s have one particular issue….the rate of smoking was much higher than today. Smoke particles are great for delivering radioactivity (like Radon) to the lungs, and it is difficult sometimes to separate the effects from smoking vs. the effects due to radiation (lots of uranium miners also smoked for example).

  233. I am oh-to-familiar with those radiation hormesis pseudo “Doctors.” No institution of any academic standing is funding research on the remote possibility of radiation being anything like a vitamin that the body needs for optimum health.

    I can see, through the power and magic of the Internet, that your organization has a considerable number of hormesis nuts.

  234. Robert McTaggart

    I should add that health physicists are involved with non-radiological safety as well. Often the person doing the health physics for a company is also involved with laser safety, occupational safety, and industrial hygiene.

    If someone trips while working in a radiation zone, then the time they spend there can unnecessarily increase. This is why a dry run in the laboratory setting is so important to identify any hazards and reduce slips, trips, spills, falls, etc. I could go on in this regard ;^).

  235. Robert McTaggart

    Well, there is a long history and a lot of politics behind the LNT hypothesis and why it is being used. I suspect the debate will continue for a long time.

    If you are going to trust our new Dutch masters in the area of wind due to their expertise, don’t forget that the health physicists have as much if not more expertise with working with radiation every day.

    The bottom line is that LNT has driven upfront construction costs for nuclear power, but it has also driven safety….not just radiation safety. A mechanical problem that causes a radiological release will receive the attention of the health physicists and many other staffers. Fix the mechanical problem, avoid doses, but also decrease shutdowns and boost efficiencies.

  236. Radiation hormesis has always been a religion, not a science. And you really gotta be ‘a believer’ to buy into it.

  237. Robert McTaggart

    Well, they can say that about a lot of things.

    Just look at the on-going debates regarding dark matter. Is it a particle? Is it due to rogue planets? Is it due to microscopic black holes? Do we have general relativity wrong? All of the above? Each area has its defenders, and it is up to the others to knock the other competing philosophies off of the mountain top.

    But at the end of the day for dark matter they need more data, and repeatable experiments…same thing with hormesis.

  238. Adam, are you a scientist?

  239. Robert McTaggart


    “Vine agreed that given the importance of keeping global temperature increases under 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit—the goal set by the Paris climate agreement—reliance on natural gas for energy would not be a good long-term strategy for the U.S.”

  240. Dark matter and rogue planets are something we just started looking at – or trying to look at – compared to radiation we’ve been studying for decades. We as a humanity are just about certain that radiation hormesis is a garbage theory – pretty much only promoted by uranium companies in order to trivialize the hazards of potential radioactive hazardous waste.

    There is not a competition between hormesis and linear no-threshold. The science community simply recognizes LNT as the best we have, and hormesis as so ridiculous that it’s not worthy of research funding.

  241. Robert McTaggart

    I would agree that there is not a competition at the federal level, and they make the regulations. That doesn’t stop people from disagreeing.

    Largely I think the studies are not being done any more in bulk on hormesis due to budget cuts. They could spend a whole lot of money and not make a whole lot of progress in distinguishing theories due to the statistics at lower doses. Too much statistical noise from background radiation that interferes with the analysis.

  242. Robert McTaggart

    Another quote from that article:

    “There is a lot of uncertainty about how much methane is leaking and from where. I’ve seen estimates from 1 to 9 percent of total production escaping,” said Jeff Deyette, a senior energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It doesn’t take much methane to leak before it becomes on par worse than coal from a total emissions standpoint. That’s another risk factor of utilities continuing to switch from coal to natural gas and policy makers pushing for more use of natural gas.”