Skip to comments.Look out! PEAK WIND is COMING, warns top Harvard physicist
Posted on 02/27/2013 11:22:49 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
The realistic limits on wind power are probably much lower than scientists have suggested, according to new research, so much so that the ability of wind turbines to have any serious impact on energy policy may well be in doubt. Even if money were no object, the human race would hit Peak Wind output at a much lower level than has previously been thought.
The wind power future ... where the lights never even turn on
This new and gloomy analysis for global wind power comes from Professor David Keith of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The prof and his collaborator, Professor Amanda Adams of North Carolina uni, have weighed into a row which has been taking place for some years between crusading pro-wind physicists and their critics.
The pro-wind boffins, led by such figures as Harvard enviro-prof Michael McElroy and Mark Jacobson of Stanford, have long contended that if there is any upper limit on the amount of energy that could be extracted from the Earth's winds it is well above the amount the human race requires. They further contend that extracting these vast amounts of power from the atmosphere will not have any serious impact on the world's climate.
Both these assertions, however, have been called into doubt - and the first one, that there's plenty of wind power to meet all human demands, is particularly shaky as it ignores the thorny issue of cost. McElroy, Jacobson and their allies tend to make wild assumptions - for instance that it would be feasible to distribute massive wind turbines across most or even all of the planet's surface.
Professor Keith has some scathing criticism for these ideas. To start with, he says that most large-scale wind potential calculations thus far have simply ignored the problem that the possible massive wind farms of the future are going to result in much less powerful winds for long distances behind them. He and Professor Adams write:
Estimates of global wind resource that ignore the impact of wind turbines on slowing the winds may substantially overestimate the total resource. In particular, the results from three studies that estimated wind power capacities of 56, 72 and 148 TW respectively appear to be substantial overestimates given the comparison between model results and the assumptions these studies made about power production densities ... To cite a specific example, Archer and Jacobson assumed a power production density of 4.3 W m-2 ... production densities are not likely to substantially exceed 1 W m-2 implying that Archer and Jacobson may overestimate capacity by roughly a factor of four.
Next page: Peak Wind
Well we still have solar power and biomass...and algae.
Is shoveling up the dead birds a green job?
Given that wind is only result of differences in pressures at different locations, how does any additional drag on wind decrease future wind sources? That is not making in decrease in the source for wind.
Wind has plenty of problems with subsidies/mandates. But I find little support for claim we will run out of it.
Is shoveling up the dead birds a green job?
With these windmills you make sure they sink into the water. You could generate from the heat gradient and have a more steady source of power. Next they will want fat people to ride exercise bikes to generate power like in Glenn Beck’s “Agenda 21”
The solution is obvious. All wind turbines must be clustered within a 1/2 mile radius around Capitol Hill.
Plus, isn’t there some concern that the whole continent will take flight with so many propellers going?
Peak oil; peak gas; peak coal; and now, peak wind.
One thing that there will always be an oversupply of, is the hot air from the global warming scientists and liberals. So, why not harness that? Gore alone could power a whole town.
Crap is known to be an energy source, so, why not go to Washington and harness all of the crap that comes out of there?
That sounds like a great idea. Can these wind turbines handle the speed (rpm’s) that would be created by those ill winds?
That is a concern although a sufficient number on Guam might prevent a capsize.
Well, there is conservation of energy to be reckoned with, no matter what the source of the wind is. You are taking energy out of a system, so if the system is a closed one, the total energy is decreasing, and if it is not a closed one, then you still need to be careful that you are not drawing off energy faster than it can be replaced from outside the system.
Taking all that power out of the wind may affect the climate! Conservation of energy presumably still applies. Is a slow-wind weather our future?
Predicted many centuries ago:
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”
I can see how this could be a problem.
I don’t think they are saying a wind turbine that turns on a Monday is taking away from Tuesday’s wind....what they are saying is that a wind farm on parcel A will reduce the near ground wind speed for a parcel B immediately downwind.
So, you can’t just take a map of a state and add up the acreage of land that has good wind speeds and calculate the potential energy output. There has to be a loss...every wind farm cannot be as efficient as the one upwind of it (at least immediately upwind).
“Well we still have solar power and biomass...and algae.”
And ocean tides, ocean thermal gradient.
I remember reading during the early 70, in “The Oil & Gas Journal” about the range of potential energy sources and methods—from real engineers and honest scientists.
Surprisingly in the 40 subsequent years, very little has changed.
—Nuclear remains a boogyman
—Oil, coal continue to be main sources of energy-science and profit motive equals huge increases in recovery/yield and environmental clean attributes
—Significant experimentation with wind, solar
—not much effort on ocean related energy potential, but there IS a lot of energy there (capture, convert, transmit it)
—I heard of using mirrors on satellites to focus sunlight more directly onto solar panels
For this system, it is open, not closed. Energy is supplied by the sun, along with coriolis effect from rotation. Causing a drag on the wind flow effects neither input to the system. Think of as two pressure tanks, at different pressure, connected by a pipe. The pressure differences are created by outside sources. Changing the choke setting on a valve between the can reduce flow rates and effect the ability to capture more energy downstream, but it does not in any way affect the energy potential between the two different pressure sources
I know its huge.
I’ve read the feasibility studies for hydroelectric retrofits on two small dams in Ann Arbor. The cost of the project is around $5 million each with an estimated service life of 40 years (with a possible service life closer to 70 years) the dams would produce an estimated 500,000 to 750,000 kwh each. And they work all day every day.
Compare that to a windmill which costs as much to erect, has a service life in the range of 10 to 20 years with 30 years at the outside and only produce electricity intermittently. Then you have the approx. $5 million cost of tearing the old one down and erecting another in its place for another $5 million.
Good lord what a disaster this will be.
I want to know when the hot air coming out of universities will peak.
If we connected professor’s jaws to generators we wouldn’t need any other wind power.
So when is some one going to do a research project on peak bull shit.
ocean thermal gradient
Always a favorite topic of mine. In high school, my science fair project on this topic went to a state competition with good results.
During the evolution of design models, I had two different explosions. One during the initial class demonstration, the other in our basement which included embedding a portion of the turbine housing into the cinder block wall.
I just watched the video ,,,,it is a Study of how much energy can be generated in a local area....the decrease in power from additional turbines in a given area.
Very good ENGINEERING STUDY:
Each windmill costs $5 million dollars????? Good grief, how could so many people be taken in by them?
Cost depends on where they’re erected as well. They generally cost twice as much to erect offshore or on inaccessible mountaintops.
The story out of MA. yesterday said that it was going to cost $5 million each to tear them down.
I can still remember in about 2006, or 07, a good friend of mine emailing me that stupid epistle declaring, no, screaming "PEAK OIL!" It even included a video with charts and graphs with farts (that a-rhymes as my grandson says)!!!
A few years back I would NEVER have given this much thought BUT since this regime I have learned that there are 57(58?) states, J O B S is a 3 letter word, A sitting Congressflake is a freed slave, Another sitting congressflake thinks an island will sink from too many Marines, yet another congressflake tells me that sharks are patrolling the routes the slave ships took 200 years ago in search of a meal, People drawing unemployment/welfare checks actually grow the economy (from another SR congressflake), a Former President said there is NO difference between a person drawing Ret Military pay, ret Fed Svc Pay, SSA and welfare as they are all Government issued checks and such, also am amazed that a person can take a # - say 50 billion and be able to address every ‘group’ in the country like that 50 billion is coming out of the job/classification/Dept that the person is addressing, not that if split up amongst ALL agnecies would be a start...
And the co-conspirators of the Media carry the water and keep the ‘Chicken Little’ game up...
So, in light of my new book learning,
I will start worrying if they get enough windmills erected, in synch etc will the planet fly off to another galaxy?
Thanks for that explanation, it does make a lot of sense. The way I am thinking about it, the air circulation system is really in a state of harmonic equilibrium with the motions of the planets and the sun, and the sun’s energy output. Meaning, if you tinkered with those variables, a new equilibrium would have to be established in the movements of the atmosphere, and different weather patterns.
When we take the energy out of that system with wind power, the equilibrium is disturbed, but the system, as you say is still under the same pressures, so it will try to return to the same point of harmonic equilibrium, and not change to a new pattern, as it would if you changed the driving variables.