Wind and Steel...

Submitted by Charles Frost on Mon, 01/28/2008 - 20:30.

I was just thinking about the fact that the steel industry here in Cleveland has been declining (okay dying) for decades, well, we do call ourselves a "rust-belt city, don't we....

.....and I was thinking about our possible future in terms of wind tower, turbine, blade, turbine housings, etc. manufacturing.

Okay... Just what did the "founding fathers" (and "founding mothers") have to do to get "steel" here in the first place?

"Take one iron ore mountain in Upper Peninsula Michigan, stir with massive earth moving machines, transform into little pellets (for ease of transportation) drop into a fleet of massive ships designed expressly for handling these little pellets, unload them from the ore freighters with specialized equipment (read Hulett Unloaders) load them into rail cars (that just happen to have a track that leads to the steel mill)..."

...repeat most of the above with both coal and limestone.

"Blend at 2000-3000 degrees in blast furnace (after Mr. Bessemer invented it), then pour it out into a processing facility that transforms the molten metal into I-beams, rolls of sheet steel, and a whole collection of other products." (cooling c/o the Cuyahoga River)

That is quite a recipe.

I then  wonder, what might our current generation of "founding fathers & mothers" might be willing to do to re-vitalize our "rust-belt" economy by promoting, endorsing, inventing, designing, investing in, potential sustainable economic industries such as wind, solar, fuel cells, hydrogen, biofuels, etc....

Exhibit "A", the steel example, would probably be a multi-billion investment in today's dollars.

Do we currently have anyone bold enough to even be considering such investment here in Cleveland?

....and, if not here, where will these folks be taking their moneys for these sort of investments? Do they all have to go to China? Can't we manage to get at least a couple of them to promot, endorse, invent, design, invest, here?

Who do we ask?

Who do we need to "network" with?

Who do we need to have conversations with?

Who did Marcus A. Hanna talk with when he wanted to start Hanna mining?

Who did the founders of Cleveland-Cliffs take to lunch?

Who were the early steel pioneers who saw that Cleveland would make a great place to open a steel plant?

Who were the railroad people who "arranged" to get the land in the flats between Whiskey Island and the steel mills?

...and how do we get their current incarnations "to the table" (or want to take each other to the table) to discuss our renewable energy future?

Needless, I hope this generates some discussion/conversation... ...and maybe, if we all are really lucky, "the" conversation.

Wistful Bill



U.S. Wind Power Capacity Surged Up 45% in 2007

U.S. Wind Power Capacity Surged Up 45% in 2007

The U.S. wind energy industry installed 5,244 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity in 2007, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The rapid growth shatters all previous records and boosts the total U.S. wind power capacity by 45% in only one year. The growth even exceeded AWEA's expectations for 4,000 MW of new capacity, a prediction made just two months ago. In fact, wind power provided 30% of the new generating capacity installed in the United States in 2007. The total U.S. wind power capacity is now at 16,818 MW, with wind projects located in 34 states. AWEA estimates that in 2008, U.S. wind power facilities will generate 48 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, or about 1% of the nation's electricity needs. AWEA expects similar capacity growth in 2008, although factors such as the availability of new wind turbines could have an impact on growth. The trade association tallies 3,520 MW of new wind power capacity currently under construction.
Texas leads the states in terms of new wind power capacity installed in 2007, with 1,618 MW of new capacity, further cementing the state's lead in total installed wind power capacity. Among the largest projects built in 2007 are the 198-MW and 161.7-MW Twin Groves I and II wind plants in Illinois; the 264-MW Peetz Table and 300.5-MW Cedar Creek wind plants, both in Colorado; the 232.5-MW phase II of the Buffalo Gap wind plant in Texas; the 205.5-MW Fenton Wind Power Project in Minnesota; the 221.1-MW Klondike III wind plant in Oregon; and the 204.7-MW White Creek Wind Power Project in Washington. The Bluegrass Ridge wind farm is also noteworthy, as it's the first utility-scale wind facility in Missouri. AWEA also estimates that at least 14 new wind power manufacturing facilities either opened or were announced in 2007. See the AWEA press release and the accompanying market report (PDF 238 KB). Download Adobe Reader.
Wind turbines are also getting bigger, as the largest turbines employed in last year's wind projects was a 3-MW Vestas turbine, installed in California and Texas. Of the projects now under construction, one in California is employing a 4-MW Mitsubishi turbine. In October 2007, Clipper Windpower established the Centre of Excellence for Offshore Wind in the United Kingdom to develop a 7.5-MW offshore wind turbine, called the "Britannia Project." At about the same time, American Superconductor Corporation teamed up with TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company to develop a 10-MW generator for use in offshore wind turbines. See the press releases from Clipper Wind and American Superconductor.
From a US DOE Department of Energy Efficiency newsletter