A wind-powered Statue of Liberty

Go help peakguy out. A while ago on Peak Oil NYC he suggested that maybe the Statue of Liberty should be run on wind power. More concretely, he thinks GE should take some of their new-found ecomagination and volunteer a wind turbine for the project. He sent them a letter, and while he hasn't gotten a response yet, he's noticed new traffic on his site from the GE domain. Could it be that they're interested? His post today encourages us to give GE some feedback telling them what a good idea we think it is. Go read his post, and then tell GE you think it's a great plan.

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Sounds like a great idea. I have to admit my first mental image was one of Lady Liberty holding a pinwheel instead of a torch.
Hmmm, I kind of like that image :-)
Thanks for the plug Ianqui! Maybe at the ribbon-cutting we can get 5 minutes with Sen. Schumer and talk about the SPR... :)
Wind is the future.  This is a great idea - especially since it would put to rest those stupid "wind turbines are taller than the Statue of Liberty" talking points.

Installed wind capacity will grow nearly 40% in 2005.  Growth has averaged almost 30% for the last five years.  At that rate, it will nearly double every two years.  Although only 0.3% of total US capacity this year, it could hit 8% within 10 years!

Oil only accounts for 3% of US electrical demand, but that 3% is going to be easy pickings for the wind power industry.

Yep, that 3% is a soft target for wind, but there's an even more pressing need to push heavily on wind power: As oil continues to rise in price, people will become desperate to find a substitute energy source, and that means electricity.  The use of plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles will grow dramatically beginning in 2 to 3 years, putting a huge additional demand on the grid and generation capacity.

(And to all of my fellow energy geeks reading this, yes, I know that technically electricity isn't an energy source.  But to a consumer it sure is--he or she will soon be able to choose between running a car on one form or another of liquid fuel (gasoline, diesel, ethanol, biodiesel) or charging it up with electricity.)

Also--expect to see garage roofs in suburbia sprouting solar panels, as a way to partially offset the electricity cost of topping off those hungry car batteries.

Didn't I read that photovoltaic panels are in short supply?
Yes, Germany, Japan and now CA and NJ are sucking up all available supply. That should stimulate supply! The market still works for some things!
Take a look at http://www.solarbuzz.com/ for a chart showing retail prices of solar electric systems. The costs bottomed out about a year ago and have been climbing ever since, probably due to increased demand.

Bill Gross's Sunflower system from http://www.energyinnovations.com/ claims that it will undercut current prices by about 30%, but that's still going to be pretty expensive.

I considered adding a bunch of panels / batteries here a few years ago and guesstimated it would cost $20,000 at a minimum.  We have lots of sun so this area is considered "okay" but not "great."

I recall thinking "that's a car payment!"

Now, my electric bill, on a good month, is $200.  Perhaps it's time to check my math again...

Indeed - but wind gets cheaper every year, while gas and coal do not.  That's why it's growing so fast already and will keep on going.  Within 5 years the economics for wind will be accepted fact.  In ten years, wind will have at least 5% of the US market, and will keep growing like crazy.  Right now, installed capacity is doubling every two years!
Wind is limited both by available sites and by the fact that it destabilizes the grid if there's too much of it because it's so unpredictable and uncontrollable. I think the utility people believe they can't take more than about 10% of the total in wind power. Note that it's current economics will tend to worsen in a post-peak world since the steel for the turbines won't be subsidized by being mined and smelted with cheap energy.
Yes, this is exactly why we really need to think about peak oil as "peak energy". We will be slowly (or dramatically) be losing our most heavily used fuel source. All the plug-in hybrids are going to consume a vast amount of electricity - they will make air conditioners seem like a drop in the bucket of electricity usage.

That's why it is important to get all of these alternatives ramped up as quickly as possible.

Personally, I would love to drive around the city in one of those GEM cars or an electric golf cart. Just imagine 5th Avenue bustling with all these little electric cars with bicycles (maybe with power assist) wizzing by them!

Dont get me wrong i entirely agree that plug in hybrid and electric vehicles powered by renewable power is the way to go. I disagree that as the as these vehicles come on to the market that electric generation capacity will be ridiculously overstrained. The vast majority of vehicles will be recharged overnight, a time when power demands are much lower than daytime when A/C etc. is all going. Thermal power plants (eg coal and gas) cant just turn an and off at the blink of an eye. So currently large amounts of potential electricity are wasted at night keeping plants warm for peak demand, This is called spinning reserve. As a result introduction of electric vehicle charging at night could significantly increase plant efficiency without leading to many capacity problems.

Longer term, introduction of centralized AND distributed renewable generation will provide the power. One of the "problems" often cited with renawable power is intermittency, seems to me charging EV and PHEV vehicles is a bloody effective way to store this energy when its available without touching peak demand.

Rob Melbourne Australia

Mmm. You can charge it at night to get to work in the morning. You need to charge it at work to get home again. The infrastructure to conveniently charge cars where we park them is going to take a little while.
Having just looked at buying a microturbine, I'm a little depressed that its predicted lifecycle is only 20 years. I know that could be company BS but can't they make those things last as long as a century and then we might really be getting somewhere. If the throwaway society is making throwaway windturines then we might as well forget about energy transitions and just go to the Olduvai Gorge now.