Recent Wind Power News

Today I wanted to mention a couple quick notes about some interesting developments in wind power. First, Katherine Ellison of Salon.com recently wrote an article about Peter Mandelstam, the founder of Bluewater Wind, and a proposed offshore wind farm in the state of Delaware. If the project is approved, it would become the largest wind energy project of its kind in the U.S.

Ellison says:

The tireless founder of Bluewater Wind, a wind energy developer, Mandelstam has been right before, having built a wind farm in Montana that provides power to more than 45,000 homes. And Delaware is no Cape Cod, where an offshore wind plan has stalled amid bitter controversy for the past six years. Polls show that offshore wind is overwhelmingly popular in this state, graded F for air pollution by the American Lung Association, whose coastal residents aren’t griping about their ocean views being ruined.

One a global note, EDP, Portugal ‘s largest industrial company, recently purchased U.S.-based Horizon Wind Energy for $2.2 billion. Here’s some info about the transaction:

Today, EDP – Energias de Portugal, S.A. (“EDP”) signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the share capital of Horizon Wind Energy LLC (“Horizon”), a leading developer, owner and operator of wind power generation in the United States, from The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

The transaction values the equity of Horizon at USD 2.15 billion. Horizon’s net financial debt as of December 31, 2006 was USD 180 million. The total cash consideration to be paid at the closing of the transaction will be adjusted for capital expenditures, which are currently estimated to amount to an additional USD 600 million.

The acquisition will be funded by debt raised at EDP and proceeds from a tax equity partner, which are both fully underwritten.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including certain federal and state regulatory approvals and clearance. The transaction is targeted to close by the end of the 2nd quarter 2007.

You can read a complete report about the transaction at the Horizon Wind Energy Website.

Any news to share with us about wind energy? Please leave a comment! Hate wind energy? Leave a comment!


More Cool Projects with the Cacao Tree

The Rainforest Alliance website has a great article with information about the Cacao tree. It has information on its significance to humans, its habitat and its botany. It also has some fascinating information about the fruit itself and how it has been used over the centuries.

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There is also a link to the Conservación y Desarollo (Conservation & Development) project, which is working in sustainable forestry projects using the cacao tree. Here’s some info from the Rainforest Alliance website:

The Rainforest Alliance is working with cocoa farmers and a conservation group in Ecuador called Conservación y Desarollo (Conservation & Development) to help the local cocoa farmers shift from growing cocoa on full-sun, high input farms to using shade-covered and more sustainable farms. This has dramatically increased the quality of their cocoa beans and in turn helped these farmers earn better prices for their cocoa. In this way, the people, the environment, and the animals that live in the shade trees of these farms all benefit from sustainable practices.


An interview with Ron Mader of Planeta.com

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Photo courtesy of Planeta.com’s Flickr collection

Today we are featuring an interview with professional journalist and activist Ron Mader.

Mr. Mader is a journalist, photographer and founder of the award-winning website Planeta.com, which for over thirteen years has served to explore ecotourism and sustainable tourism around the world.

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Based in Oaxaca, Mexico, Ron organizes grassroots tourism fairs and co-founded a local rugby club. Ron received his Masters Degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas in 1990 and his Bachelors Degree from Indiana University. His work has garnered numerous awards and Ron is profiled in the book American Environmental Leaders (Abc-Clio, 2000).

This interview is part of a new feature on the Practical Environmentalist called “People Making a Difference.” If you know of someone working in the environmental community who would like to share their story, please leave a comment!

Now to the interview….

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved in sustainable tourism.

Let’s see. I’m a US expat who lives in Mexico. I conduct workshops and give presentations in Latin America, the United States and Australia.

Some background. In the late 1980s I embarked on a radical change — exploring and explaining Latin America to a Gringo audience. Something was pulling me South, so I decided to pursue my interest in Latin America at the Institute of Latin American Studies in Austin, Texas.

The focus of my studies was the then new buzzword ‘ecotourism.’ This was a great window into the culture of a region that otherwise does not receive much coverage in U.S. media.

Austin was a great place to study and later on I developed a long-standing friendship with Bill Christensen who developed the Greenbuilder website.

I have written for numerous publications, including Transition Abroad and have written nature guidebooks to Mexico and Honduras.

What was your role during the International Year of Ecotourism?

Eco-Friendly Cow Pie Floors?

This week’s Living on Earth program on NPR featured a new technology using cow pies that could be used as an eco-friendly flooring material.

Michigan State University is researching the idea of combining “digester fibers” with plastic by applying heat and pressure to create a kind of fiberboard. From the Living on Earth website:

There’s a surplus of animal waste in the United States; livestock on U.S. farms produce enough manure every year to fill a convoy of trucks stretching from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.

While farmers use cow pies in some quantities for compost, there is still a lot that doesn’t get recycled. The idea is that this new material would suppliment compost and help to manage waste.

It doesn’t smell, either. So don’t you worry about stepping in those cow pies!

You can read more about the research at the Environmental News Network.


Celebrating and Protecting a Unique Landscape: Baja California Sur

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One of the most beautiful and fragile landscapes in our hemisphere is Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. Around 50% of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur is designated as a biosphere reserve or as national parks.

It is a land full of rare, endemic species and home to dozens of migratory birds, and of course, it is an important mating territory for the grey whale.

Today I have the pleasure to present a review of a book called Oasis of Stone: Visions of Baja California Sur. Oasis of Stone is a book of photography and fascinating essays about the natural history and landscapes of the southern Baja California peninsula of Mexico. It is also a call to action to protect this fragile land.

The essays are by Bruce Berger whose work has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Orion, and Sierra. The photographs are by Miguel Angel de la Cueva, an award-winning photographer and founder of Planeta Peninsula, an organization that works to promote and protect the rich natural and cultural treasures of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.

Oasis of Stone is co-published by Sunbelt Publications and Planeta Península.

The book is arranged in four chapters, “Rock that Flows,” “A Stroll through the Thorns,” “Creatures of Mirage,” and “The Newcomer.” The order of the book is very important. This is a journey through a unique land, from its geological formation to the present. During this journey we get a sense of the impermanence of landscapes, and of their fragility.