Weather report: Wind picks up on the mild Plains
Brad Rippey, Agricultural Meteorologist | Updated: 01/18/2013
In the West, a freeze warning is in effect in the San Joaquin Valley, although temperatures are considerably higher than those observed at the height of the cold snap last weekend and early this week. The remainder of the West continues to experience dry weather and a gradual warming trend.
On the Plains, mild, dry, breezy weather prevails. Nearly all of the hard red winter wheat crop, from Montana to Texas, has no snow cover and is exposed to potential weather extremes. Today’s high temperatures will exceed 50°F as far north as Montana’s High Plains.
In the Corn Belt, some light snow is falling across the far upper Midwest, mainly across northern Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin. Elsewhere in the Midwest, mild, dry weather prevails.
In the South, snow covers the ground this morning from the southern Appalachians into the southern Mid- Atlantic region. Current snow depths include 3 inches at Bristol, Tennessee; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Roanoke, Virginia. Cool weather covers the South in the wake of the departed storm system. However, the storm did not provide much rain in Florida, where unfavorably dry conditions persist.
Outlook: A blast of Arctic air will reach the northern Plains and the Midwest during the weekend and the Northeast early next week. Temperatures below -20°F can be expected early next week across the far upper Midwest. However, no freezes are expected in winter agricultural areas of southern Texas or peninsular Florida. Meanwhile, mild weather will expand across the High Plains and much of the West. Much of the U.S. will experience dry weather during the next 5 days, although periods of snow can be expected from the Great Lakes region into the Northeast. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for January 23-27 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for colder-than-normal conditions in the Northeast. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across the nation’s midsection and from California into the Southwest will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in much of the Northwest, the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and from the Great Lakes region into the Northeast.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:44 am
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The infant-industry argument claims that tariff protection is needed so that fledgling industries can grow up and fend for themselves. History taught us that these industries rarely, if ever, grow up. Today, due to the rules of the World Trade Organization, tariff protection is no longer a viable policy tool. So what’s an infant industry to do? Seek subsidies, of course.
The year 2012 marked the 20th year of subsidies for the U.S. wind-energy industry. After twenty years of subsidies, the industry remains in diapers. I became personally involved with wind energy when I explored the installation of a wind turbine on my property in northern Minnesota. Turns out that even with a 50 percent subsidy—30 percent from the federal government and 20 percent from the state—the personal investment would still lose money.
The infant solar cell company, Solyndra, cost taxpayers around $385 million in losses from federal loan guarantees. Fortunately for taxpayers, Solyndra lasted only a few years before going belly up otherwise she might have been on the public dole for years to come.
Energy subsidies do not stop with the infants. Subsidies go to the mature gas and oil industries and are estimated to be around $41 billion annually. Ivan Eland estimates in No War for Oil (The Independent Institute, 2011) that adding the cost of “protecting” the Persian Gulf to our price of gasoline might add another $5 to each gallon.
All the subsidies going to the energy sector, both hidden and explicit, have two things in common. First, they distort the true cost of energy, lowering the price and leading to inefficient overconsumption. Second, they provide politicians with grateful friends who fill campaign coffers with cash to keep the bad-policy machine well lubricated.
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Brazil Bets Big on Wind Power
Looking towards the future, one of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) is seriously investing in wind power.
According to the Brazilian Association of Wind Energy ABEEolica, Brazil is already Latin America’s leading wind energy market, with a current wind power capacity sector of roughly 1,400 megawatts, which is projected to grow within the next three years nearly eight-fold by 2014. Supporting ABEEolica statistics, a study by IHS Emerging Energy Research states that Brazil is expected to have 31.6 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2025, which would make it Latin America’s leading producer of electrical energy generated by wind power.
International investors are already lining up to exploit the market, as lower production prices, government incentives and the country’s relentlessly increasing electricity demands open up opportunities for foreign investors.
Four months ago, at a government-organized power auction, developers of 44 wind farms won 39 percent of the total capacity, contracting for an average price of $62.91 per megawatt-hour, offering for the first time a price below the average for natural gas and hydroelectric bids for power generation.
German group Enercon subsidiary Wobben Windpower, established the first wind turbine factory in Brazil in the 1990s and under current contracts projects installing 22 wind farms with a total output of 554 megawatts by the end of next year.
Other companies joining the Brazilian wind power gold rush include Spain’s Gamesa, Argentina’s Impsa, Germany’s Siemens, Denmark’s Vestas, the U.S. firm GE Wind, India’s Suzlon and France’s Alstom.
What is extraordinary about the southern hemispheric wind power rush is that Brazil is already in possession of massive hydroelectric and fossil fuel resources, but Brazil’s progressive government sees a diversification of the country’s energy mix to include an increasing amount of wind power production. Further supporting governmental policies, Brasilia is providing attractive incentives to entice a growing number of foreign companies to invest there.
Building on its already substantial indigenous presence, Alstom, with its current 40 percent market share in Brazil’s hydropower sector, earlier this month inaugurated a wind turbine manufacturing plant in the north-eastern state of Bahia in the industrial complex of Camacari near Salvador, Bahia’s state capital. The $27 million Camacari facility will have an output capacity of 300 megawatts annually and generate 150 direct and 500 indirect jobs, providing an important contribution to the regional economy.
Alstom’s Brazilian unit president Philippe Delleur said that while his firm’s intention is to equal its current 40 percent market share in Brazil’s hydroelectric sector, ”We won’t achieve that tomorrow, but in 10-15 years we can. We are very ambitious in this (wind) sector, not only in Brazil but in the rest of Latin America.” Alstom Chairman and CEO Patrick Kron noted, “Today, Alstom reinforces its strategy of investing in renewable power and proves great interest in expanding markets, such as Brazil. This is just the beginning of a path we want to follow in the wind industry in Brazil and over Latin America.”
Currently most of Brazil’s wind farms are located on land, and the nation’s greatest potential is in the country’s northeast, particularly in the states of Bahia, Rio Grande do Norte and Ceara, one of the nation’s poorest regions, whose suitability is due to fast wind speeds and low incidence of tornadoes or hurricanes.
And Brazil’s renewable energy future looks sunny-err, windy. According to Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB4) analyst Marcos Severine, Brazilian power distributors may sign contracts to buy from developers as much as 2,000 megawatts of new capacity during the A-5 auction scheduled for 20 December, and wind farms may receive the majority of contracts to sell electricity the government’s organized auction due to a lack of projects using other energy sources.
IN COMPARRISION ALBERTA HAS APPROX. 800 MEGAWATTS OF WINDPOWER CURRENTLY.
By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:21 am
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