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When Windmills Donít Spin, People Expect Some Answers
NY Times ^ | February 5, 2010 | MONICA DAVEY

Posted on 02/05/2010 7:48:37 PM PST by neverdem

For those who suspect residents in places like Minnesota of embellishment when it comes to their tales of bitterly cold winter weather, consider this: even some wind turbines, it seems, cannot bear it.

Turbines, more than 100 feet tall, were installed last year in 11 Minnesota cities to provide power, and also to serve as educational symbols in a state that has mandated that a quarter of its electricity come from renewable resources by 2025.

One problem, though: The windmills, supposed to go online this winter, mostly just sat still, people in cities like North St. Paul and Chaska said, rarely if ever budging. Residents took note. Schoolchildren asked questions. Complaints accumulated.

“If people see a water tower, they expect it to stand still,” said Wally Wysopal, the city manager of North St. Paul. “If there’s a turbine, they want it to turn.”

No one knows for sure why these turbines do not. Officials believe there may be several reasons, but weather is the focus of much speculation. It is not as though turbines cannot function in cold places; thousands of them work perfectly well throughout Minnesota and the Midwest, the American Wind Energy Association is quick to note.

But the 12 turbines in question, each 20 years old, spent their earlier years twirling in California...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; Technical; US: Minnesota
KEYWORDS: energy; windmills
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What's the problem with these fair weather, transplanted windmills? The answer will be interesting, IMHO.
1 posted on 02/05/2010 7:48:37 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

One possible moral of the story: Don’t buy old used junk from California. There is probably a reason its for sale.


2 posted on 02/05/2010 7:53:43 PM PST by Western Phil
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To: neverdem

Algore and his enviroloonies have some ‘splainin’ to do. LOL!


3 posted on 02/05/2010 7:55:07 PM PST by FlingWingFlyer (If the CIA and NASA are going to "monitor climate change", why the hell do we need the EPA?)
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To: neverdem

If you’ve ever driven through West Texas (north of Lubbock, towards Amarillo), you might be astounded by a couple things:

1) How many wind turbines there are, and
2) How many of them are NOT TURNING.

I’m not sure why. I’d like to know.

However, I wager that when enviros quote some big honkin’ number of megawatts of wind power available in Texas, they’re talking POTENTIAL. Not actual.

Food for thought. I think the whole wind power contribution to the grid is MUCH less than is touted, and not just in Minnesota.


4 posted on 02/05/2010 7:55:54 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
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To: neverdem
... and also to serve as educational symbols...

I'm glad these morons finally admitted what these damn things are really all about. They're "educational symbols" for the "great unwashed masses". I suspected this all along.

5 posted on 02/05/2010 7:57:35 PM PST by FlingWingFlyer (If the CIA and NASA are going to "monitor climate change", why the hell do we need the EPA?)
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To: Nervous Tick

>> Food for thought. I think the whole wind power contribution to the grid is MUCH less than is touted, and not just in Minnesota.

Is his name Pickens? Anyway, he’s pushing gas now...


6 posted on 02/05/2010 7:58:02 PM PST by Gene Eric (Your Hope has been redistributed. Here's your Change.)
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To: neverdem
“If people see a water tower, they expect it to stand still,” said Wally Wysopal, the city manager of North St. Paul. “If there’s a turbine, they want it to turn.”

I can see it now. They'll install motors and heaters to keep them turning through the winter. It would make about as much sense as installing them in the first place.

7 posted on 02/05/2010 7:59:31 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: neverdem

If this is the same turbines that was reported on earlier in the week, they are stopped by the extreme cold. The fluid that is part of the working mechanism didn’t stand up to the extreme cold in Minnesota. The contractor said it would. The city is set to sue for non-compliance to their contract. Stupid city government. Build a freaking coal fired power plant and stay warm, and run lights and machines and tools. They bought into the crap of global warming. Suffer you idiots. November 2010 we start taking our country back!


8 posted on 02/05/2010 8:00:05 PM PST by Doulos1 (Bitter Clinger Forever)
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To: neverdem
Windmills ... educational symbols S U C K E R S !
9 posted on 02/05/2010 8:01:16 PM PST by ricks_place
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To: neverdem

They are an eyesore and I have heard the noise they make can drive you insane. It sounds like they are a money-pit. We have plenty of oil. DRILL IT!


10 posted on 02/05/2010 8:01:37 PM PST by beefree
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To: Gene Eric

>> Is his name Pickens?

Heh... yeah, that’s a lot of it. Maybe MOST of it. “T-Bone” also has a pipeline and water rights thing going.

>> Anyway, he’s pushing gas now...

Yep. And not running wind power ads anymore either.

So sad... I’m “pushing gas” too, but unlike T. Booone, it doesn’t seem to make ME any money, just makes Mrs. Tick gag now and then. If you know what I mean (and I think you do). ;-)


11 posted on 02/05/2010 8:03:42 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
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To: neverdem

I’ve seen several wind farms out here in So. Cal., and every one of them have a percentage of non turners. I’ve wondered why some turn, and others immediately next to them don’t.


12 posted on 02/05/2010 8:06:11 PM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists...Call 'em What you Will, They ALL have Fairies Living In Their Trees.)
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To: beefree

>> We have plenty of oil. DRILL IT!

Isn’t it funny? We spent thousands of years figuring out that petroleum is a darn good, efficient, cost-effective source of energy... and then, with a little pressure from the left, we FORGOT all that in a couple DECADES!

What the heck is wrong with us anyway??!?


13 posted on 02/05/2010 8:06:27 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
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To: neverdem
... serve as educational symbols...

Here are a few "educational symbols" they can use in the classroom without going outside...


14 posted on 02/05/2010 8:06:29 PM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: neverdem

I think the Good New senator from Massachusetts should spear head a project fo a wind farm out by teddys old place and call it the Ted Kennedy memorial windfarm


15 posted on 02/05/2010 8:09:36 PM PST by al baby (Hi Mom sarc ;))
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To: neverdem

These windmills ARE educational.

They teach children that government is not to be trusted to make good choices.


16 posted on 02/05/2010 8:09:44 PM PST by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: neverdem
How much time, man hours, energy and fossil fuel was wasted dismantling, transporting and rebuilding these things when they bought them from California?

Feelings beat out common sense every time in Liberaland.

17 posted on 02/05/2010 8:10:08 PM PST by Kickass Conservative (There is nothing Democratic about the Democrat Party...)
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To: Nervous Tick
What the heck is wrong with us anyway??!?

Nothin' is wrong with "us."

But everthing is wrong with "them." :)

18 posted on 02/05/2010 8:10:59 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: neverdem

Why can’t they just take the wind turbines to a local airport and get them de-iced (stated in my most nerve wracking, know it all, greenie-environmental voice)


19 posted on 02/05/2010 8:12:49 PM PST by libertarian27 (Land of the FEE, home of the SHAMED)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

Sic semper “green technology.”


20 posted on 02/05/2010 8:13:21 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

Sic semper “green technology.”


21 posted on 02/05/2010 8:14:26 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: Nervous Tick
I’m not sure why. I’d like to know.

They are inherently unreliable and require tons of maintenance to stay on-line. They just can't do what their promoters claim.

And since their contribution to power on the grid is so spotty, people running grids don't really care if they are working or not, so nobody bothers to fix them when they break.

22 posted on 02/05/2010 8:14:39 PM PST by Minn (Here is a realistic picture of the prophet: ----> ([: {()
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To: neverdem
What's the problem with these fair weather, transplanted windmills? The answer will be interesting, IMHO.

The answer is simple, and not very interesting: Nothing works when it is cold. Anyone from the Rockies on up to Alaska will tell you that one.

23 posted on 02/05/2010 8:15:36 PM PST by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

Thanks for the pics.


24 posted on 02/05/2010 8:16:23 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: Gene Eric
Is his name Pickens? Anyway, he’s pushing gas now...

Funny... So was I, just then...

25 posted on 02/05/2010 8:17:14 PM PST by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: Nervous Tick

Our problem is that we should have taken the green-weenies to the woodshed before they demonized all of our natural, God-given, resources.


26 posted on 02/05/2010 8:18:23 PM PST by beefree
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To: Minn

Thanks for the insight. Especially the “people running grids” part. I hadn’t considered that part of the equation.


27 posted on 02/05/2010 8:19:14 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
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To: FlingWingFlyer
They're "educational symbols" for the "great unwashed masses".

Correct.

And feel-good symbols that kill tens of thousands of birds annually.

Makes me wonder: Why do "Greens" hate birds?

28 posted on 02/05/2010 8:19:23 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: Flycatcher
Yes indeed! Sic Semper Windmillus...


29 posted on 02/05/2010 8:19:34 PM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: beefree

>> Our problem is that we should have taken the green-weenies to the woodshed

Better late than never. And we can spank ‘em twice as hard now to make up for lost time.


30 posted on 02/05/2010 8:20:34 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

Love it!


31 posted on 02/05/2010 8:21:49 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: Flycatcher

“kill tens of thousands of birds annually”

Are you making that up, being sarcastic, or serious?


32 posted on 02/05/2010 8:22:33 PM PST by beefree
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To: neverdem

bump for later


33 posted on 02/05/2010 8:22:41 PM PST by NaughtiusMaximus (Science:exploring the mystery of universe. Scientism:wearing labcoats and getting grants.)
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To: dr_lew

Maybe they should just motorize the damn things in the summer, to give folks a nice cool breeze.

I’ve decided that the proper sendoff for Ted Kennedy will be to dig him up when the Nantucket wind farm he opposed (because it was in HIS back yard —you don’t underSTAND; I can SEE it from MY HOUSE!!!!!!!!) is finished, power them all up, and blow his ashes all over the Sound.


34 posted on 02/05/2010 8:24:37 PM PST by Humble Servant (see y'all in the Gulag.)
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To: Flycatcher

>> Makes me wonder: Why do “Greens” hate birds?

Birds ==> Eagles ==> America ==> Tea Parties

It’s simple when you view it from the right angle. :-)


35 posted on 02/05/2010 8:24:41 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
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To: Humble Servant

>> Maybe they should just motorize the damn things in the summer, to give folks a nice cool breeze.

ROFLMAO!


36 posted on 02/05/2010 8:26:06 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
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To: neverdem

Twenty year old wind turbines is probably the answer to this problem, because the technology has changed considerably since these turbines were designed and built. Blade technology alone makes an enormous difference in how much wind is required to get the turbine moving in the first place, and there are many more factors that will affect technology this old, including low temperatures.

Classic example of the Law of Unintended Consequences in action in my view.

For the record, we have a large number of windfarms here in Washington and Oregon, and when you drive up the Columbia River Gorge, it is not unusual to see a significant number of wind turbines feathered, and not turning.

Any down time at all that a windfarm spends in favorable winds costs money and lots of it...


37 posted on 02/05/2010 8:26:27 PM PST by Bean Counter (Stout Hearts...)
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To: dr_lew
They'll install motors and heaters to keep them turning through the winter.

Already been decided install the heaters, and change the fluids. The only delay is that they have to hire Union Contractors to do that work.

38 posted on 02/05/2010 8:28:49 PM PST by UCANSEE2
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To: beefree
“kill tens of thousands of birds annually” Are you making that up, being sarcastic, or serious?

I'm being conservative, actually. At one mountain pass -- Altamont in California -- they average almost 5,000 dead birds a year from windmills. That's just ONE mountain pass covered in windmills.

However, the numbers are all over the place. Some estimates range as high as a quarter million (I think that's high), but others think it's closer to 80,000 dead bird per year. There is a lot of politics in dead bird numbers, and I don't know who to trust.

I can say this though: tens of thousands of birds are killed every year thanks to the tree-hugger green technology. And for what reason?

Seriously: for what reason...?

39 posted on 02/05/2010 8:33:39 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

Runaway prop LOL! They could not feather it.


40 posted on 02/05/2010 8:44:16 PM PST by valkyry1
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To: Flycatcher

>> tens of thousands of birds are killed every year thanks to the tree-hugger green technology And for what reason?

To avenge the pterodactyls that died to make petroleum, you right-wing nazi.

... Wait! That doesn’t even make SENSE! Crap! The cognitive dissonance is overwhelming! Where’s my bong...


41 posted on 02/05/2010 8:48:41 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
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To: Nervous Tick
LOstinkinL!

I love Fridays!

Wait... is this Friday...?

42 posted on 02/05/2010 8:52:07 PM PST by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: neverdem; All
"What's the problem with these fair weather, transplanted windmills? The answer will be interesting, IMHO."


43 posted on 02/05/2010 8:53:50 PM PST by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

What the heck happened to those windmills?


44 posted on 02/05/2010 8:55:26 PM PST by Patriotic1 (Dic mihi solum facta, domina - Just the facts, ma'am)
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To: neverdem
Fortunately, new technologies for wind turbines may eliminate a lot of the downsides of traditional models.

One company, WindTamer Corporation, developed a sophisticated wind turbine that looks like a ducted fan, automatically steers into the wind, won't harm birds (because birds see it as a solid object and will avoid it) and runs at a much higher range of wind speeds than conventional wind turbines. Sales have been strong, and with even more emphasis on wind power expect WindTamer to start scaling up the technology.

The controversial wind turbine off the coast of Massachusetts would works superbly with WindTamer turbines, mostly by eliminating the need for tall, unsightly wind turbine installations. They could assemble hundreds of WindTamer turbine towers located only 25 feet above the ground, dramatically reducing visual impact (and making it real easy to service, too).

45 posted on 02/05/2010 8:56:14 PM PST by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: Flycatcher

>> Wait... is this Friday...?

Yeah, for a couple more minutes on the east coast... longer here in flyover country!


46 posted on 02/05/2010 8:57:31 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
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To: Patriotic1

Variety of things. Structural failure. Control failure leading to overspeed causing structural failure. Hydraulic failure leading to oil fires. Icing leading to imbalances causing structural failure. Materials failures leading to loss of blade causing imbalance and destruction of machine. You name it!

It is a REALLY CRAPPY way to generate power. Disclaimer — I spent 30 years in conventional power generation burning everything under the sun to make electricity and steam (except liberals!).


47 posted on 02/05/2010 9:01:39 PM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
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We have a bunch of them around here as well and I can’t for the life of me figure out how they are connected to anything. They all sit out in the middle of cornfields and I see no transmission wires, no junction boxes, no trenches. I mean surely at some point the wires need to hook into the grid through high power lines, but I certainly don’t see any, anywhere. As far as I can tell these things just sit out in the field and spin.


48 posted on 02/05/2010 9:08:03 PM PST by TruthBeforeAll (To liberals, if something is a complete and utter disaster, it's because there's not enough of it.)
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To: Western Phil; neverdem; steelyourfaith
Well, you see, the problem is .... Wind mills need wind to move (efficiently enough to make power at least...)

And lots of wind to make a little power. Regardless of what “the legislature passes” I will assure you before God and mammon that they need LOTS of wind - and LOTS of expensive maintenance to turn.

They follow, you see, Newton's Law - NOT Gore's Law. Or Obama’s Law. Or the democrat's “law”.

At best, you're going to get 20 - 23% percent run time. More likely, 12 to 17 percent running time.

49 posted on 02/05/2010 9:09:42 PM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Kickass Conservative
How much time, man hours, energy and fossil fuel was wasted dismantling, transporting and rebuilding these things when they bought them from California?

I live near I-94 in Michigan, which runs from Detroit to Chicago. We see a lot of weird stuff on the interstate.

The strangest? Two flatbeds carrying windmill blades.

The irony? One truck was attempting to make a 90-degree turn to get on the entrance ramp. It didn't make the turn. The entire bridge and ramp were shut down by a windmill blade.

50 posted on 02/05/2010 9:12:07 PM PST by Kieri (The Conservatrarian)
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