The Stranded Wind Initiative conducted a survey of the Iowa Lakes region last summer and have identified two locations that are suitable for a wind driven ammonia plant and the associated follow on businesses. The first one to be developed will be located in Graettinger, Iowa, producing over fifty full time professional, plant operations, and greenhouse/aquaculture management jobs along with several hundred hourly greenhouse and aquaculture production jobs.
Although not so visible in day to day activities, it should be noted that one Jerome Guillet, a rabble rousing French investment banker, has much to do with the events leading to this grievous insult to the nation's vital oil industry.
It all began innocently enough last summer with this message.
I read everything you write on DailyKos. I must say I'm very
worried about this whole Saudi oil field collapse stuff and I've been sharing your news with my friends. I think the light is starting to come on over here ...
I just returned home from a month on the high plains of New Mexico. The 100 meter cliff at the edge of the llano estacado (palisade plains) is sprinkled with gigantic windmills. This is a nice start but we need more of this sort of thing. One of the things I notice is that the region is covered with power lines on wood or metal poles. Has there been any work done on a sort of 'micro' windmill deploy, where the power company places small modules atop these poles?
I would think the construction cost would be a large portion of the capital expense and if the pole and power lines are being run anyway this would be a good way to expand the inputs to the grid. I understand wind at 10 meters isn't the same as wind at 100 meters ... this idea will require some serious analysis but I would hope an order of magnitude or two in additional unit sales would drive down the cost of the wind gear itself.
Stranded Wind editor guy
Ten months on I look at this and I'm a little embarrassed at my completely clueless approach, but one has to start somewhere. I got a nice response from Jerome on where to start, not long after that I followed his lead to The Oil Drum, where I got schooled on the fossil fuel industry and made a couple of contacts who've helped me understand what must be done. I found that we've got the best wind in Iowa and the best school for wind farm operations in the world just a few miles north of me, and that triggered a second message.
We've had one tiny email exchange about wind energy many months
ago, but since then I've moved right smack in the middle of wind energy
central - northwest Iowa.
Today I had a talk with a local company that manufactures a flex fuel engine that can be run with ammonia. I am liable to end up in a grant writing or technical sales role with them. I'd very much like to get involved with EA2020 - I think it makes sense for there to be a regional wind energy to ammonia infrastructure here. How do I get involved?
Stranded Wind editor guy
Things got serious after this. I was introduced to Jerome's co-conspirator, A. Siegel, and then from there to the Energize America 2020 wind ninjas. Among the ninjas I found a guy with the ammonia as a fuel solution to much of our agricultural energy concerns and another guy who knew a bit about getting wind farms built and who happened to be a black belt industrial chemical process guy.
Once all of the players came together the rest of it has been a simple entrepreneurial exercise; the need was obvious - ammonia for fertilizing our crops, fueling our farm machinery, and good paying greencollar jobs laid out to fit the lives of those who will work them. The solution, once laid out clearly as we are doing now, always elicits this response from those who live here: "Why didn't we build this twenty years ago?"
We've got a lot of IT folks around and that helps. The Stranded Wind web site is up and rolling, later today when new people sign up they'll automatically get routed to our SalesForce.com customer relations management system. We love this tool - rock solid, web accessible, open API so we can integrate our news site to it, and we've filled it up with farmers, cooperative employees, bankers, college instructors, state and federal politicians, and we're using it to make our interaction with them coherent and focused as we march towards our goal(s).
The Bush administration, which after eight years is quite obviously a sock puppet for big oil, is scared to death that there will be a "mad rush to renewables". We're here to facilitate just exactly that and I must say I love being involved in what will become the thing under the bed for big oil.
I've had a couple of unstructured contacts with folks from DKos who've said "How can I do what you're doing?" Now that SalesForce is up and the Stranded Wind web site is rolling we're ready to answer that.
The organization has conceptual design abilities in wind, solar, biomass, electric generation & transmission, renewable power generation firming, a good grasp of renewable ammonia production and the follow on greenhouse and aquaculture businesses, we've got policy help from Energize America 2020 as well as many other less visible sources, and we've just signed up with a little grant writing operation that is known for knocking the cover off the ball when they step up to the plate. They've told us they're available for other engagements that have a high chance of success ...
250 greencollar jobs is a big deal for a town of a thousand, but we need 25,000,000 of them to really make a difference in a country of three hundred million. If you're a local organizer for such ventures, or you're the internet literate contact for such a person, we'd love to hear from you. This country is awash in unclaimed wind resources and wind driven ammonia will permit us to not only time shift the generation but to also export energy from windy areas to places that do not have it, all the while producing fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and providing hundreds of stable local jobs in a time of great uncertainty.
If you're liking the sound of this the best thing to do is head over and have a look at the Stranded Wind FAQ which will give you a bit of information to allow you to get started. We're working on a local survey tool which will help you determine if your area has what is needed to do such things and this should appear in the FAQ later today.
Quit griping about it and build your own damned wind farm!
I heard that message loud and clear. Have you?