Owning a Wind Power Farm

Image Credit: WindTechnica
Image Credit: WindTechnica

We have been harnessing the natural wind in our atmosphere to supply us with power since 2000 B.C. China and Persia were the first countries to develop it. Windmills have been used to mill grains and pump water from Holland to the farms in the United States. Wind power to generate electricity is the highly evolved version of the windmills.

Wind is America’s number one credible source of electricity production. The heyday dates as far back as the 1870s. The wind can produce five times more electricity than what the U.S. is currently using. Farmlands in the plains states are the best wind resource.

Wind power has exponentially increased as an inexhaustive source to generate energy with an average of 32 percent every year from 1998 to 2002. California used to be the only state where wind power was concentrated. However, as of May 2014, 80 percent of U.S. wind power capacity is also generated in Washington, Oregon, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota.

Wind turbines also have varieties for residential use. It can be used as a stand alone application for communication and water supply. However, many homeowners, ranchers, and farmers use it to cut their electricity bills. Electricity providers connect it to a utility power grid system to supply power to their customers.

Wind Power Farms

Wind power farms function like a power plant. They are a group of large 7.5 MW turbines. They are mounted on towers made of concrete or tubular steel and anchored in a platform ranging from 30 – 50 feet across and 30 – 40 feet deep. They should be higher in the ground where the wind is less turbulent and the turbine energy production is greater.  The blades and are made of fiberglass reinforced with wood-epoxy.

The towers are between 80-140 feet or higher, but 80 or 100 foot tower is sufficient for most situations.  The blades will turn when the turbine catches the energy in the wind and converts it to electricity. Ninety five percent of wind turbines are installed in private lands where there is a wide and open area in the prevailing wind direction. A single turbine can power up to 500 homes.

Small and Medium scale wind turbines

Small and medium-scale wind turbines is an environmental friendly option for off-grid applications. There are over 200 companies manufacturing small turbines in 26 countries. The largest manufacturers are in the U. S. The majority of these turbines is built on freestanding poles. The installation includes a permanent magnet generator.

Residential wind turbines have been installed in all 50 U.S. states. A wind turbine is a rather large device so it is not suitable for a small lot suburban home. You need about an acre or more land area and about 10 mph average wind speed. In its 30 year nominal life, a single turbine can offset about 1.2 tons of air pollutants and about 200 tons of greenhouse gases.

The upside potential

Wind energy is a clean and renewable type of energy which is also important for our future.  It is cheaper and could help in the electrification of many rural areas in developing countries. In the U.S, it provides billions of dollars into the economy every year.  Wind power accounts to 55 percent of all new electricity generating capacity in 2012 representing $25 billions dollars in investments in rural America. By 2010, electricity generated from wind power farms will be cheaper compared to conventional power plants.

A 250 MW project can create 400 positions in manufacturing, 500 in construction, and  125 jobs in operations, planning and development,  and sales. Today, the wind industry is currently employing over 75,000 employees across 550 manufacturing facilities in the United States.

Downside risk level

The steady growth of wind power and the increase of energy price has turned wind into a viable option for large scale production. However, they are not without risks and dangers. Wildlife near the installation area. Values of real estate prices are reduced, making it almost impossible to sell.

Industrial wind factories can be destructive to local environments because the ecosystem is destroyed. Vibrations and sub-sonic noise of turbines can cause health problems for people like headaches, dizziness, and depression. While blade throw is rather a rare occurrence because of design improvements, it could pose danger. In cold climates, ice can form and be thrown from turbines endangering properties as well.

Companies investing in Wind Power

Google has been recognized for their commitment in using 100 percent renewable energy to reduce the overall environmental impact. They already made agreements to invest $1.5 Billion to 16 renewable energy development projects. Rick Needham has been in charge of Google’s headlong renewable energy as Director of Energy and Sustainability since 2008.

GE is the largest manufacturer of wind turbines in America. It has a long track record in renewable energy investment with focus on wind power. GE has invested $8 Billion in wind turbines with capacities ranging from 1.5 MW to 4.1 MW. GE is also considering buying wind power projects in Chile, Japan and Ireland. Its financial services plans to invest $1 Billion in wind energy projects.

Facebook, Microsoft, and Starbucks are also investing in wind farms because of the fluctuation of fossil fuel price.

How much learning is involved

 If you want to invest in wind development, educate yourself about the industry so you will know what options are available your you. Get involved in the wind energy projects by networking and talking to people about their experience to get you a better idea about the right way to participate. Learn more about the best practices related to business opportunities and processes. Contact your state legislators and let them know your interest in developing a wind power plant in your area.

 Where to further educate yourself

 The wind industry has developed resources to help you make informed decisions about your land and the wind power farm developers. You can attend wind energy summit, attended by the industry’s thought leaders from different countries who shares their expertise and information. There are sets of guidelines containing information, recommendations, and things to watch out for. The Internet is also a rich resource of wind power learning center you can explore.

Investment options

If you are not familiar with the wind power generation industry, you can invest in ETFs or mutual funds. Or, you can invest in your local wind turbine projects and take advantage of the long term returns in one of the fastest growing industries in the world. They have either purchased electricity generated by wind farms or have their own wind farms.

The profitability of generating electricity using the wind power is increasing because it produces half the cost of electric utilities. In 1993, the power cost was 7.5 cents per kW but with newer and better technologies it can cost half of that. It also pays attractive dividends so if you reinvest your dividends it will be easier for you to accumulate stocks down the road. It provides a professional stock selection as well as diversification of assets.

However, since the wind power investment is fairly new, and investing in a few companies could be risky. Owning a wind power farm can actually turn out to be a more conservative investment .

Minimum investment level

A commercial size wind turbine can cost around $3.5million to install. Alternatively, a 50 MW wind power farm would require approximately 150 acres per turbine and can cost about $65 million, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

A 10KW wind turbine will cost about $50,000 to 65,000 to install and another $40,000 for the equipment. If you are installing a wind turbine large enough to power a home, it can cost $30,000 – $55,000 on average depending on the system of the installation. Off-grid turbines would generally cost between $4,000 – $9,000. However, there are generally zoning and height restrictions in the residential areas.

You can buy at any authorized dealer for a complete turnkey installation. This  requires less work on your part and you have a high level of after-sales support. Alternatively, you have the option to purchase it directly from the factory and install it yourself. Self-installation can provide meaningful savings. You can choose whatever route fits your requirements.

Long or short term investment

As the fastest growing energy source, the growth trend is expected to double over the next five years. Wind power farming is a huge business because of the competitive costs and proven technology compared to fossil-fuelled power generation. The growing number of wind power farm investors is attracted to:

  •  The social responsibility of clean, renewable energy investment.
  • Low operational risk.
  • The long-term demand driven by the declining fossil fuel sources.

It offers wind investors very attractive returns over 25 years average life of a wind farm. Farmers and ranchers can greatly benefit from the wind industry by leasing their land to wind developers or become wind power producers. This can give them a stable supplement to their income. Annual royalties are typically $5,000 to $8,000 per turbine for each 1.5 – 3 MG turbine.

ROI during the holding period

It is important to calculate the ROI, payback period, and cost of generated electricity to determine whether the installation is a worthwhile investment. Installation cost should also be included.

Wind turbines can decrease your electricity bills up to ninety percent. It will take about 6 – 30 years to fully recover the cost of a small turbine depending on the installation sites, financing, incentives, and electricity rates. But, after that whatever energy it will produce is virtually free. Many people buy wind systems because they are worried about the increasing utility bills.

Wind developers normally offer a combination of single up-front payment, fixed annual payment, or shared revenue. Arrangements can be done between the landowner and the developer.

Best exit strategy

The wind power business is as volatile as the wind because it is always changing direction. However,  is is one of the most exciting sectors in terms of opportunities.

It is not enough to launch a business. You also have to make sure that you have the best exit strategy so you can get the positive return on your investment. Exit strategies in the wind industry have been enhanced by the growing energy technology and the growing venture funds. And, there have been successful exits for business in the wind industry.

Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas

Sources:

UCSUSA 

Windustry 

Wind Watch

Bloomberg

Money Morning

Substance Abuse Counselors Relapse: Can They Keep The Patient’s Best Interest?

Image Credit"Guardian Liberty Voice
Image Credit:Guardian Liberty Voice

More than 100,000 individuals who work as substance abuse counselors have some kind of personal connection to the problem which makes them perfect for the position. While most of them have family or friends who were addicts, 50 percent of the counselors, administrators, social workers, therapists, and others who help addicts achieve sobriety are recovering addicts themselves.

While personal connection to the client means that these professionals are dedicated and passionate, there is also a downside. It’s no secret that alcoholics and addicts even those who enjoyed sobriety for some time, relapse.

Most substance abuse programs as well as licensing boards require applicants to have at least two-year significant free time. When they relapse, they lose their license because they violate the condition of their licensure.

What happens if a substance abuse counselor relapse?

Some employers may be reticent about rehiring those who have relapsed; their biggest concern is the safety of the client, particularly those who are in an early stage of recovery. The problem lies in the fact that when people relapse, they may begin to cross boundaries, and it is doubtful those counselors who are in the throes of their own addiction can keep the patient’s best interest foremost in their priorities.

Chuck Rice, an attorney and instructor at a nationally recognized graduate school of addiction studies, said that “The counselor would just be gone.”  While relapse of substance abuse professional may be dangerous to patients, the biggest threat is actually to the person who relapses. Many counselors and clinicians are difficult to work with because they are in serious denial.

Then again, the greatest challenge for a counselor who relapse is financial, so they hide their addiction for fear of losing their license and their job so their use escalates. By the time co-workers and friends recognize what’s going on, the person  has already experienced a full-blown crisis.

Reasons behind the relapse and fall out

Many counselors and clinicians complain that it is easy for them to blur the lines between job demands and personal recovery. They get used to being the one with the experience, the credibility, and the answer, so it is not difficult to confuse their work when they attend meetings for their own recovery.  Burn out becomes a major issue.

The challenges facing an individual who decides to make a career in substance abuse is that it is difficult for counselors to attend 12 steps meetings because they may ultimately find themselves sitting beside a past or current client. What would they say to a client in the room when they become a member of a recovery group?

Experts strongly recommend that these substance abuse counselors should have a support program outside the job. The irony of it all is that no safety nets or support exist for professionals who work in the field. Most professional and healthcare organizations have monitoring system to help members deal with addiction issues. Monitoring is needed for substance abuse professional. NAADAC was underused because people don’t want to be identified for fear of losing their job. However, without a formal system, NSAADAC can only deal with the relapse informally. A national system agreeable to the addiction world is needed to assist people in recovery.

California failed to screen substance abuse counselors

The state of California failed to meet such a requirement. The California State Office of Oversight and Outcomes ordered an investigation for 36,000 substance abuse counselors. The State Senate investigative arm announced Monday that it found almost two dozen substance abuse counselors presently working in California who are registered sex offenders. The Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs do not keep track of the counselors’ criminal history or arrest records. The report says that these counselors are still dangerous even after their time and rehab have been completed.

California and Pennsylvania are among the nation’s 15 most populous states and are the only two states that do not have a system to weed out criminal records of  applicants. Other states require counselors to report their background and check their fingerprints against criminal records.

A bill by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord requiring background checks and licensing died in the Legislature in 2010. The California State Office of Oversight and Outcomes recommended that state lawmakers try again.

Recommendation

If a national monitoring system is not created, these professionals who work to help others keep a clean life will go without the support system they need. Professionals must help make the system work as the recovery field continues to grow to ensure that the foot soldiers in our battle against substance abuse will remain straight and narrow.

Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas

First appeared in Guardian Libety Voice

HIV Vaccine Possible?

 

Image Credit:Guardian Liberty Voice
Image Credit:Guardian Liberty Voice

Researchers and scientists all over the world believe that an HIV vaccine to prevent HIV infection is possible. They have been creating them and are working to speed up the process.

In the U.S., the NIAID at NIH enrolled over 28,000 volunteers to be tested for 70 different vaccine in over 117 HIV vaccine clinical trials. To date, the research hasn’t been successful because HIV doesn’t behave like other viruses for which we already have vaccines, which makes it difficult to create a vaccine that works.

How Is HIV Different from Other Viruses?

What makes HIV different is the fact that the immune system never fully gets rid of the virus. With influenza, when people get infected and recover they develop immunity, meaning they won’t get sick the next time they are exposed to it.

With HIV, the human body can’t fully clear the virus and develop immunity. The antibodies that your immune system is making to fight HIV, is actually, targeting, invading, and destroying your immune-system cells and ultimately damage your body’s power to fight the disease.

So far, no person with HIV infection has naturally managed to clear the virus. This is why it is hard to develop a vaccine, because scientists are yet to discver how to encourage a person’s body to fight HIV once it is infected.

Researchers on the brink of finding HIV cure?

Several news has circulated on May 9, 2013 that Danish researchers are on the brink of finding HIV cure. These reports concern the ongoing histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors research conducted by a Danish research team.

HDAC inhibitors were historically used as anti-seizure and mood stabilizer drugs and even as cancer-fighting agents and HIV cure research. Danish, non-Danish collaborators and researchers are in the middle of a Phase I human trial which involves 15 participants.

The trial is ongoing and Ole Søgaard, MD, a senior researcher at the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark and one of the research team’s leaders, said they hope to help inform HIV researchers how to get closer to a cure for HIV.  While researchers believe that HIV cure is achievable, it will take years of science discoveries and several HIV cure to get it done.

Legal help for Mississippi AIDS patients

The Mississippi Center for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm, is partnering with the University of Mississippi Medical Center to provide free civil legal services at the Crossroads Clinics Central to people living with AIDS.  The assistance will focus in housing and employment on AIDS status related discrimination.  The collaboration includes the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Crossroads Clinics Central and the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation.

UMMC officials say that they want to make sure that individuals with AIDS can be reintegrated into society. Presently, there are 97 medical-legal partnerships in the country serving 54,000 patients a year.

Drug assistance program

Every year, the US AIDS drug assistance program (ADAP) is providing over 110,000 individuals living with HIV who has no medical insurance to have access to prescription drugs, including antiretrovirals to help them enhance the quality of their lives and are less likely to transmit HIV to others.

Currently, there are 97 FDA approved retroviral drugs for HIV treatment. However, treatment alone will not stop the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  The best hope to end the pandemic is by developing a safe, effective, and affordable therapeutic vaccine. An HIV vaccine will help delay the progression of the disease.

Latest on HIV Vaccine Research?

Scientists continue to create and test HIV vaccines in animals, laboratories, and even in human subjects in an effort to learn whether they can be given to people.

In the researchers published finding on HIV vaccine trial in Thailand involving over 16,000 adults showed that a combination of vaccine has lowered the HIV infection by 31.2 percent. Researchers and scientists are now attempting to take what they learned from the Thai trial in order to make a better and more effective vaccine.

Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas

First appeared in Guardian Liberty Voice