Cohocton Wind Watch: House passes $1 billion wind energy bill
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Friday, September 11, 2009

House passes $1 billion wind energy bill

The House passed legislation on Wednesday that would initiate a $1 billion program to make wind turbines more efficient and reliable.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., aims to ensure that huge wind-generating turbines - some with blades spanning 100 yards - can be more cost effective in harnessing power from the wind.

Wind power makes up about 2 percent of the nation's electricity portfolio. But the Energy Department last year predicted that with the development of more efficient and cheaper turbines, wind could provide 20 percent of U.S. electricity supplies by 2030.

"Tonko said more research is needed to overcome the "many significant technical issues" facing wind-generated electricity.

One of the biggest barriers is the high cost of transporting ever-growing rotary blades and heavy tower components from assembly plants to wind farms in gusty but often remote regions.

Under Tonko's bill, the proposed wind research, development and demonstration program would get up to $200 million annually over five years to spur the creation of low-cost transportable towers and larger, lighter and more affordable blade materials.

Tonko said the initiative could leverage nanoscience research by businesses and research institutions that are working at the molecular level to create lighter and more durable materials.

The Energy Department program also would be tasked with improving gearbox reliability and developing cheaper automation and assembly techniques for large components. It also would support research on the computational modeling and simulation of wind-energy systems - a direct response to the challenge of generating power from erratic, unpredictable wind.

Scientists testifying before Congress earlier this year said that improved forecasting and modeling techniques could lead to big gains in generation by guiding decisions about where to place turbines.

The legislation passed the House by a unanimous voice vote.

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