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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who has seen enough?

Portland Commish Dan "Big Pipe" Saltzman -- courageous swing vote behind the SoWhat aerial tram [rim shot], tenacious watchdog over public property, and master architect of street renaming -- wants to cast tens of millions of city tax dollars to the wind, literally. They're talking $33 million for a wind farm, all borrowed of course, and we all know that means more like $50 million. I'm all for renewable power, but one would be hard pressed to name a less promising entity to construct and run a system than the City of Portland.

Comments (12)

With this crew, you know we'll end up spending $75 million to build this thing and then it'll turn out that the turbines don't function in the rain.

I thought the enviros didnt like wind power because it hurts migrating birds?

We cant have dams because they hurt fish, but going with wind farms is ok?

Five windmills in council chambers ought to do it - aim a BIG one at Randy's chair.

While we're at it, a biogas facility adjacent to the windmills would go a long way toward dealing with the solid waste generated in that room.

Liberte', Egalite', Sustainabilite'!!!

What do these guys do all day every day?

They better wake up and smell the fiscal ineptitude in SoWa real quick.
Because the writing is on the wall for SoWa being completely broke, only partially finished and a hole much bigger than $33 million in need of filling.

SoWa will need a $150 million bail out, OHSU will need an immeasurable bail out and Sam's infrastructure/maintenance backlog is approaching an $800 million shortfall.
On top of everything else.

Why don't they believe that if it is such a for sure thing that someone in the private sector wouldn't build it? I forgot, Randy must have read a book this weekend.

I mean, they can always go to PGE and buy green power (I know Erik wouldn't like funding Satan's empire.)

The Tribune talks of a 10 year payback estimate by the city. I think a 10 year payback is pretty mediocre by private enterprise standards (it should imply a 10 percent annual return which is like the rate you have to actually beat in most private endeavors). Given the city's track record on other projects though, the actual payback is probably more like 15 years or more. Also, wind energy is not a baseload generating resource whereas the city's electricity demand is probably pretty stable diurnally and seasonally. So, the city still needs to buy other electricity when the wind isn't blowing.

This city should be bracing itself for slower economic times and conserving its access to capital and revenues. A lot of the recent growth is due to the migration of Californians to the Northwest who sold their homes during their housing boom. We all know California now has a housing bust. So, the migration of Californians with big bucks should be already slowing.

Damn those fat cats!

The way the article reads it sounds as though Saltzman is proposing that they passively invest in a joint enterprise situation. Since they have issued a requirement that a certain percentage of their energy come from renewable resources it seems to make sense that they get the power from a partially tax payer source that brings a maximum return to the tax payers vs. buying it from a private utilty at full cost.

Liberte', Egalite', Sustainabilite'!!!
{milk spewing out my nose} Heh, heh.

Sadly, Big Pipe is what passes for a "moderate" on the Portland City Council.

Just gotta do somethin' so that people will remember him in the future for it.


I have seen some indications that windmills really don’t contribute much because their intermittent nature mucks up the rest of the power system. I haven’t looked at it, but I do know that big power plants require time to change output, so as the wind comes and goes, the excess/shortage must be made up by other, more expensive means.

I saw the claim that the problem becomes serious when wind is above 5-10% of the total generation.

Can anyone supply real numbers for things like ramp up time, costs, standby power costs and the like. (I don’t need any quotes from advocacy literature.)


Bob Clark; my recent discussions with several real estate brokers and agents who don't use spin, confirms your opinion that all other real estate markets besides the NW (and that is changing fast) have reduced substantially the migration from Calif. and others coming to Oregon/Portland. Anything above $350,000 is finding few interested buyers.

The Commissioners are not being responsible in reading the indicators, and likely fiscally inept; and if in the private sector, sued on fiduciary grounds.

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