Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : letters June 28, 2016

2/9/2012 1:05:00 PM
Letter: This project is not all it’s cracked up to be


Is this Big Chino hydroelectric project related to NextEra’s proposal for a wind farm on Yavapai Ranch land? NextEra (now calling itself Yavapai Wind but still headquartered in NextEra facilities in Florida) desperately wants to start construction before lucrative federal subsidies expire at the end of 2012. Without the subsidies, it’s questionable if that wind farm would be worth building.

Wind turbines are not only a noisy, raptor-and-bat-killing, maintenance-intensive blight on the landscape, they are very inefficient. They typically average less than 30 percent of rated output and produce less than half of their average output more than half the time. Electrical grids are not designed for intermittent power input, and much of the energy produced is wasted without some form of storage. The cheapest form of storage is pumped hydro. When the wind blows while energy demand is low, the pumps pump. When demand is high and wind is calm, the water flows back down through turbines.

So, I won’t be surprised if this pumping project is used as justification to funnel tax dollars to NextEra, GE, and Fred Ruskin to supply the pumping power. In the end, the major effects will be devastation of wild habitat and the demise of the Verde River.

To supply water to Prescott Valley and keep the river flowing, wouldn’t it make more sense to sequester precipitation that would otherwise flood the Verde, e.g. hydro dams in narrow canyons and diversion into deep settling ponds? Occasional flooding is necessary for the river’s health, but surely more water could go into the aquifer.

David Perrell


    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Two people shot in Lake Montezuma; one dead (8416 views)

•   Jerome Declares Emergency: Town under mandatory water restrictions (6144 views)

•   Sedona's Midgley Bridge the site of another suicide (3605 views)

•   26 wildland fires currently burning in Arizona (2917 views)

•   Cottonwood forum explores long-term solutions to Verde homelessness (2165 views)

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Article comment by: David Perrell

@ confused:

My letter was written in response to the 1/20/2012 Verde Independent article: 'Proposed hydroelectric plant would use Big Chino groundwater'.
My sources of information include the 5/26/2009 Verde Independent article: 'Big Chino: The big water bank', which shows the NW extent of the aquifer being close to 30 miles from Paulden. Note that I wrote "about." Whether the proposed wind farm is directly over the aquifer or not is immaterial the hydro plant that would require electricity must be, and the wind farm would be relatively close. Do you know my speculation that the wind farm could be used to power the pumping is flawed? Do you know where the hydro plant storage reservoir would be relative to the wind farm and why it could not possibly be a water source for the proposed subdivision? If yes to either, please explain.

To the editor: please link to these relevant articles:

Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012
Article comment by: A little confused

OK David, 30 miles NW of Paulden is beyond the Big Chino aquifer and there is not enough nearby topographic relief for pumped storage power generation.

Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012
Article comment by: David Perrell

@ confused: The proposed wind farm location appears to be about 30 miles northwest of Paulden, over the Big Chino aquifer and only a few miles from the proposed Chino Grande Ranch hydroelectric pumped storage facility. Does that help?

Hmm, that brings up another question: Will those uphill storage reservoirs help water the planned 30,000 acre Yavapai Ranch subdivision? Might want to factor that into the water loss equation.

Posted: Sunday, February 12, 2012
Article comment by: A little confused

Do David and Richard really know where Yavapai Ranch (aka Fred Ruskin) is?

Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012
Article comment by: David Perrell

I agree that solar energy, especially when generated close to its end use to avoid transmission losses and infrastructure costs, makes more sense for Arizona. But I see potential pressure for pumped hydro on Chino Grande Ranch.

NextEra has the largest wind generating capacity in the US and the second largest in Canada. They, along with GE (the largest US manufacturer of wind turbines), benefit from $ millions in government grants, tax subsidies, and guaranteed loans. NextEra's CEO sits on President Obama's Jobs and Competitiveness Council, along with the CEO of GE. When NextEra wants to build a wind farm they seek ways to overcome opposition by gaining influential support. Increasing the apparent viability of the Chino Grande hydroelectric project could be one way. Buying the necessary 21,000+ cubic yards of concrete from the underutilized Drake Cement plant in Paulden could be another.

Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012
Article comment by: Richard Hileman

It appears that the purpose of this project is to collect government money. Pumping water uphill to release it back downhill thru a turbine doesn't seem very efficient. Also storing the water in a open pond is going to require continuous refilling due to the evaporation rate. It's all in all a wasteful boondoggle. It would be far more efficient and less environmentally harmful if they would use the land for a solar collector system.

Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012
Article comment by: Win Hjalmarson

As a mechanical and registered civil engineer I tend to agree that wind energy is not reasonable at Yavapai Ranch. Not that much wind and it is highly seasonal and variable. Small "hydro dams" are also nutty mostly because of the variable precipitation, topography and geology. Arizona is an ideal place for solar energy.

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, verdenews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved