Wind & Solar Energy

BESS Bombs, Part 1: The huge explosive toxic batteries the wind & solar companies are sneaking into your backyard

BESS Bombs (Part 1) The huge explosive toxic batteries the wind & solar companies are sneaking into your backyard.

Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

August 28, 2019

This is the

Lithium-Ion Batteries

(huge numbers of them, tightly packed into these innocent-looking white containers)

What are these things designed to do?

Basically, utility-scale Battery Energy Storage Systems smooth out the delivery of electricity from solar panels to the regional grid. Think of it as getting rid of electricity “hiccups” from industrial-scale photovoltaic (PV) panel installations. (Lithium-ion batteries are also used with home and commercial building PV panels, along with cell phones, laptops, and of course electric cars.) Older solar arrays used lead-acid batteries. Li-ion are now preferred, since they are far superior at storing electricity.

In an article published in April of this year, “Large-Scale Solar Plants Require Large-Scale Battery Systems,” energy expert Willem Post explains why BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems) are essential for large PV solar arrays.  His key points are the following, all of which is quoted verbatim:

"Still having problems with the hiccups, Mrs. Hill?"

“Clouds are the main reason PV solar generation experiences intermittency (excluding the normal nighttime disappearance).”

“PV solar generation can rapidly decrease by 60% within seconds, due to a cloud passing over the solar panels causing a reduction in solar insolation.”

“Batteries have quick reaction times, i.e., can quickly charge and discharge electricity. Any rapid solar output decreases (downward spikes) due to clouds are quickly offset.”

“The upward and downward spikes of wind output are much slower, MW/min, instead of MW/sec. Gas turbines (and hydro plants) can easily adjust their outputs to offset any wind up/down spikes.”


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BESS Bombs, Part 2: The huge explosive toxic batteries the wind & solar companies are sneaking into your backyard

BESS Bombs (Part 2) The huge explosive toxic batteries the wind & solar companies are sneaking into your backyard.

August 28, 2019

Watch this PowerPoint (right) made several years ago by the Senior Laboratory Safety Coordinator, Pam Koontz, at the Univ. of Tennessee (Knoxville). The cover image was added by me.

Play Video

Notice this slide (#32) from the PowerPoint.

The video, below, evidently taken by a security camera at a chemical plant in So. Korea, graphically illustrates the horrors of HF.  (There is no soundtrack.)  Everyone you see in the video, died.  Immediately.  Read the details, below on the left. Use the + (zoom in) button to expand the text or, better yet, click on the pop-out icon in the upper right corner.

Play Video

In case you’re thinking this can’t happen with these BESS Bombs — think again. The article below, published in Nature, the world’s most prestigious science journal, will disabuse you of any such notion.

Focus on the article’s conclusions (pp. 6-7), shown here. (You can pause the carousel by hovering your mouse over the text.) 

 "If extrapolated for large battery packs, the amounts [of HF] released would be . . . e.g., a small stationary energy storage [system]." 

As it happens, the township next to mine is about to allow a 20 MW BESS to be built sometime this fall:

(1) 20 x 20 kg = 400 kg = 882 lbs of HF

(2) 20 x 200 kg = 4000 kg = 8,818 lbs of HF

the energy industry has always been reckless with hydrogen fluoride. One might call it

The Law of Conservation of Corporate Evil (Judith Shapiro)

This has long

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Is Burke hopelessly corrupt?


— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

The wind hucksters are back.  In Chateaugay, Belmont, and maybe Burke.

Just when it seemed the statewide Wind Energy gig had run its course, it wheezed back to life when Gov. Cuomo unexpectedly threw several hundred million dollars its way.  (My guess is Cuomo did it to appease all the people he pissed off by banning natural gas fracking.)

What’s killing wind energy, nationally, is Congress’s refusal to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC), the wind companies’ chief source of income — taxpayers’ money.  At the moment, Congressional die-hards have only managed to extend the “wind” PTC retroactively through December 2014.  Their opponents are holding the line.  (It’s a partisan tug-of-war.  Republicans argue that wind energy is little more than corporate welfare.  Democrats say wind energy is an answer to Global Warming, a bogeyman many Republicans consider vastly overstated if not outright bullshit.)

Regardless of which argument you support, without reliable federal subsidies (PTC), there’s no financial future for wind energy.

Congressional Republicans, incidentally, have a point.  Wind energy is intermittent, not “dispatchable,” and requires 24/7 “spinning reserve” power backup from coal, nuclear, natural gas, or hydro.  It’s absurd to imagine wind power as a contender in the nation’s energy mix.

Wind power will go the way of 19th-century sailing vessels.  All 29 sails on this schooner are obsolete for anything but recreational purposes.  This isn’t Politics 101, it’s Physics 101.

In any event, Cuomo’s generosity brought the Jericho Rise wind project back from the dead — and the Burke Town Board wants some of the action.  To get in on the windfall ($206 million), Burke had to — and just did — pass a wind law permitting turbines in this dairy-farming slice of paradise.

Here’s where the cow manure hits the proverbial fan.

Burke’s problem is straightforward.  It has nothing to do with the merits or demerits of wind energy.  Disregard whether you think they’re “ballerinas” in the sky or a monstrous eyesore.  In its heyday, the wind salesmen made all sorts of extravagant claims for their wares, including “getting the USA off foreign oil” and

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They’re Back!

Just when you thought you’d seen the last of Hinckley & Quirke—they’re back!  No kidding!  Same two guys.  New gig.  Different wheels.  (We hope they bring back the Hummer.  Made them real easy to spot.  They were worth keeping track of.)

"Chuck" Hinckley
Charles “Chuck” Hinckley, lately of “Noble Environmental LLC”

They call themselves American Wind Capital.  Check it out.

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“The Wrong Way to Get to Green” (Wall St Journal)

Robert Bryce
Robert Bryce

Once you’ve carpeted the wilderness with wind-farm turbines, and crushed any guilt about the birds you’re about to kill, prepare to be underwhelmed and underpowered.

—Trevor Butterworth, Wall St. Journal 4/27/10 (with appreciation)

Al Gore has a dream, a dream increasingly shared, according to opinion surveys, by people all over the world. It is that the 19th century, the age of steam and iron and coal, will finally end and that, as Mr. Gore wrote in an article for the New York Times in 2008, the time will soon come for “21st-century technologies that use fuel that is free forever: the sun, the wind and the natural heat of the earth.”

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Town Councilor regrets High Sheldon Wind Farm (Sheldon, NY)

“I would compare my relationship with the wind developer to a relationship with the Devil himself.  [Sheldon] is another example of why industrial wind farms do not belong anywhere near people”—Glenn Cramer, Town Councilor (Sheldon, NY).

High Sheldon wind farm

Editor: The following letter was written 10/30/09 by Sheldon, NY, Town Councilman Glenn Cramer, responding to a letter (click here) by a Cape Vincent landowner trying to sell his town on industrial wind turbines.

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—Op-Ed by Calvin Luther Martin

Update (March 27, 2009)

The article below (scroll down the page) was published March 17th.  It features (former) Noble employee Cheryl LeClair, whose home in Altona has been ruined by turbine noise (including low frequency noise) and maddening shadow flicker.  In Cheryl’s words:

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National Wind Watch supports European call for wind energy moratorium

European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) also calls for study of wind power’s record to determine its true benefits, costs, and adverse impacts

The Sandry home, Thompson, Iowa, 2008

Rowe, Mass., Jan. 15, 2009 — On the morning of October 4, 2008, before the second national protest against industrial wind energy development in Paris, several groups from France and other European countries agreed to form the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW).

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Dirty truth about “clean” windpower? What the critics are saying

 —Eugene Goodrich (New Brunswick, Canada)

“Deer River Flow,” watercolor by Sandra Hildreth

RiverCityMalone was sent this essay by a reader.  It’s a concise correction to many of the exaggerations and half truths routinely expressed by the wind developers and slavishly repeated by the newspapers in Franklin & Clinton counties.  Anyone who has attended a town meeting over the past four years, where wind salesmen were pitching the benefits of their product, will resonate to Mr. Goodrich’s essay, which we reprint with appreciation. 

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“She didn’t count on the noise”

Painting by Grant Wood (1930), with adaptation

—Calvin Luther Martin

“I recently spoke with a homeowner who lives on the Number 5 Road in Chateaugay, NY.  Her farm is surrounded by the newest crop of turbines.”   So begins a letter by a lady named Flossy Powell.  Ms. Powell submitted her letter to RiverCityMalone around Christmas time.

Flossy’s letter is disturbing.  It describes the experience of an acquaintance in Chateaugay (NY) who now finds herself surrounded by (what appears to be) the Noble Chateaugay Windpark.

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Industrial Wind Turbines for New York?

 —Op-Ed by Jack Sullivan, MS

Editor’s note:  This article is reprinted with minor revisions from The Empire Page, 12/13/08.  Our appreciation to Mr. Sullivan and TEP. 

Adapted from, with appreciation

Many NYS politicians, members of the media and environmentalists see wind power as an all-encompassing solution to global warming, energy independence, and much needed job creation.

But are these rosy expectations supported by scientific fact and wind project performance?  Or is this merely feel-good public policy and wishful thinking?

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Feds release Noble production figures

—Calvin Luther Martin

Visit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) website, where you can see all the power production figures for NYS, quarter by quarter throughout the calendar year.  This includes output from coal-fired plants, nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar.  The works.  Any electricity sold to the NYS Independent System Operator (“the grid”) shows up on the FERC website. This is known as “transparency.”

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Terrestrial Energy?

—William Tucker

The following text and images are all taken from a weblog by William Tucker, author of Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Energy Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America’s Energy OdysseyTucker is a seasoned journalist.  He has done us all a great service by demythologizing nuclear power. 

Tucker thinks it’s time to retire the name “nuclear power,” loaded as it is with frightful connotations, and start using the more realistic and palatable name, “terrestrial energy.” 

The following is a crash course on the subject, courtesy of Bill Tucker.  The Editor.

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“Wind power statistics often wrong”

—Op-Ed by Jack Sullivan

The following was published in the Press Republican 9-7-08.  Jack Sulllivan subsequently submitted it to RCM for publication.  The Editor.

Mr. Colin Read claims in an August 12th Press Republican “Opinion” column that the 217 wind turbines scheduled for Franklin and Clinton counties would produce enough “permanent and sustainable electric power for 200,000 homes.” Impressive, except it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

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“Wind energy bumps into power grid’s limits”

—Matthew L. Wald, New York Times

“Barn & wind” (Rock Port, Missouri, photo ©Back Stage)

The following article appeared in the NY Times 8-26-08, written by Matthew L. Wald. RiverCityMalone thinks it’s worth reading.  The Editor.

When the builders of the Maple Ridge Wind farm spent $320 million to put nearly 200 wind turbines in upstate New York, the idea was to get paid for producing electricity. But at times, regional electric lines have been so congested that Maple Ridge has been forced to shut down even with a brisk wind blowing.

That is a symptom of a broad national problem. Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.

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“In rural New York, windmills can bring whiff of corruption”

—Nicholas Confessore, New York Times

Kathy LaClair, Churubusco, NY (Photo ©Christinne Muschi for the NY Times)

The following article appeared in the NY Times 8-17-08, written by Nicholas Confessore. RiverCityMalone thinks it’s worth reading.  The Editor.

BURKE, N.Y.–Everywhere that Janet and Ken Tacy looked, the wind companies had been there first.

Dozens of people in their small town had already signed lease options that would allow wind towers on their properties. Two Burke Town Board members had signed private leases even as they negotiated with the companies to establish a zoning law to permit the towers. A third board member, the Tacys said, bragged about the commissions he would earn by selling concrete to build tower bases. And, the Tacys said, when they showed up at a Town Board meeting to complain, they were told to get lost.

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“Windmills split town and families”

—Helen O’Neill, Associated Press

John Yancey, Tug Hill
John Yancey, Tug Hill (Photo ©AP, Heather Ainsworth)

The following article describes the impact of the wind plant on the people of the Tug Hill plateau (Lowville, NY).  It appeared in Yahoo News, 8-16-08, by Helen O’Neill of the Associated Press.  RiverCityMalone thinks it’s worth reading.  The Editor.

“Listen,” John Yancey says, leaning against his truck in a field outside his home.

The rhythmic whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of wind turbines echoes through the air. Sleek and white, their long propeller blades rotate in formation, like some otherworldly dance of spindly-armed aliens swaying across the land.

Yancey stares at them, his face contorted in anger and pain.

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