Skip to comments.Wind farm efficiency queried by John Muir Trust study
Posted on 04/11/2011 12:51:36 PM PDT by neverdem
The study has challenged industry assertions about the output of wind farms
Wind farms are much less efficient than claimed, producing below 10% of capacity for more than a third of the time, according to a new report.
The analysis also suggested output was low during the times of highest demand.
The report, supported by conservation charity the John Muir Trust, concluded turbines "cannot be relied upon" to produce significant levels of power generation.
However, industry representatives said they had "no confidence" in the data.
The research, carried out by Stuart Young Consulting, analysed electricity generated from UK wind farms between November 2008 to December 2010
Statements made by the wind industry and government agencies commonly assert that wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year, it said.
But the research found wind generation was below 20% of capacity more than half the time and below 10% of capacity over one third of the time.
It also challenged industry claims that periods of widespread low wind were "infrequent".
The average frequency and duration of a "low wind event" was once every 6.38 days for 4.93 hours, it suggested.
The report noted: "Very low wind events are not confined to periods of high pressure in winter...
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
"Denmark, the worlds most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind powers unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone)."
I sure wish I had kept an article that I had read a few months ago where an envirowacko openly admitted that wind farms aren’t worth a ****. The main objective of these wind mill fiascos is to remind us to save da planet. I could not believe what this envirowacko had admitted to in the article.
So, who has the operational plot output as a fraction of installed capacity vs. system % of peak demand?
Periods of low wind can be avoided here in the U.S. by constructing wind mills on the White House lawns, next to the Capitol building and outside all senate and house office buildings.
Several weeks ago I was listening to an “energy expert” and global power requirements. He says it would take 7,500 Hoover Dams - of 52 million wind farms to equal today’s needs.
Fact is, reliance on wind capacity builds in a structural requirement to burn more fossil fuels to make up for the time that the wind capacity is unavailable. The need for quick-start capacity when the wind generation goes down means natural gas, which simply gives the Russians, as the major supplier of NG, a greater stranglehold on the European economy.
Whenever you drive through one you will notice that less than half have blades turning. The upkeep and maintenance is difficult and unpredictable.
The article that you referenced has some excellent commentary, most of which agrees with the author. I will use it to rebut the leftists on the Denver Post blogs.
It's not that easy to find people who are willing to climb up and down 150 feet of ladder in order to check out the latest rattle.
I am thinking of the Ann Coulter quote in which she states that she wishes she was a liberal so that she could be constantly surprised by the obvious.
Anyone who actually thought through this stuff would know that you simply cannot run a modern society on wind power.
A system based on the consistancy and predictability of weather being undependable and inneficient? Who could have known?
Can’t idle one boiler due to wind or solar. Ask any power engineer what he thinks of the wind farms (might need to get him drunk first).
Sweden is big into wind generated electricity. Unfortunately it must be supplemented by gas. My friend in middle Sweden pays approximately 52 cents per kwh. That compares to our 8-12 cents per kwh. These prices include generation, transmission, taxes, etc in both countries.
Sorry, I misspoke about gas supplement. Here is verbatim the Swedish story.
When the wind is not so strong it it compensated by waterpower. We need power on sunny summerdays without wind so we use waterpower. On cold winterdays without wind it is the same but the water is gone. So Germany start their coal and oil power plant and rise the price. The result is: billions ov money to the companies and bankrupcy to the people.
Wind energy might be better used to spray ocean saltwater into the air to create more cooling clouds, rainfall, and hydro power. Old tires could be floated out to sea to also increase evaporation. Tires are black so absorb sun heat plus wave action causes rubber to heat. A large tire island off Saudi Arabia might cause enough evaporation to turn some desert into farmland.
Amazing. One could co-generate at home for less.
True, but coal fired plants don't need to run at 100% capacity to routinely cover our peak demand periods and they also provide backup power when the wind mills stand idle.
Hot days tend to generate peak demand due to the need for Air Conditioning. These are precisely the days when you don’t have a measurable amount of wind. Imagine that?
You don’t have to ask only POWER engineers.
I have to plan my route to avoid the sight of windmills whilst my grandkids are in the vehicle to keep from teaching them too much Chief Petty Officer speech, and I’m merely an Aero engineer.
Wind farms = M$ + BS
Thanks for the link!
>>Whenever you drive through one you will notice that less than half have blades turning. The upkeep and maintenance is difficult and unpredictable.
I noticed that driving from LAX to Palm Springs 8 or 10 years ago, at the big wind farm at the pass though the mountains entering the Palm Springs area from the west.
Clearly you mistakenly think there is logic and analysis involved in this. Sorry, this is all about Watermelon Greens *feeling* good about themselves regarding the things they have forced on the public.
It is a sad state of affairs. Those who were paying attention during the Carter years saw much of the same nonsense with huge subsidies for “alternative energy”, as it was called at the time.
Nah, I just think it's a religion, and have thought that for quite some time.
There is a reason for windpower's low capacity factor: That is, the power put out by a windmill is proportional to the windspeed cubed. To better undertand this, consider the case where the wind is blowing just strong enough to get 100% power from a windmill (with most windmills this is at about 22 mph). If the wind then diminishes to half of that windspeed (say 11 mph) the windmill does not produce half of the power but instead produces one-eighth of the power (1/2 X 1/2 X 1/2 = 1/8) that it was producing. Thats a huge dropoff and is precisely why utilities need to keep a backup power supply online at all times.
It used to be farmland without the tires before.
If they only generate 30% of their rated capacity,
shouldn’t that be their rated capacity?
Worse, their is a cadre of Liberals who’s main client is uncle sugar. Their are those who are working the land leases, selling the concept to the farmer and then call the Utility for a free hook-up. My guess they are skimming all the cream off the top and leaving everyone hanging....
I concur wholeheartedly on that. It has become a replacement religion for those who have foresworn religion.
Great thread! Need to take a look tommorrow at this as well.
I agree. We’ve got some greedy ranchers doing it around here and enjoying the lease money. However, I DO NOT TRUST MY GOVERNMENT! I’m waiting to see what happens when Barry and his boys tell the Jolly Ranchers that BIG Gov’t is taking control of ALL energy sources AND THE LAND THEY ARE ON. Ain’t gonna be pretty.
Here’s the future, but it’s now politically untenable due to Fukishima.
Thorium reactors would be cheap. The primary cost in nuclear reactors traditionally is the huge safety requirements. Regarding meltdown in a thorium reactor, Rubbia writes, Both the EA and MF can be effectively protected against military diversions and exhibit an extreme robustness against any conceivable accident, always with benign consequences. In particular the [beta]-decay heat is comparable in both cases and such that it can be passively dissipated in the environment, thus eliminating the risks of melt-down. Thorium reactors can breed uranium-233, which can theoretically be used for nuclear weapons. However, denaturing thorium with its isotope, ionium, eliminates the proliferation threat.
Like any nuclear reactor, thorium reactors will be hot and radioactive, necessitating shielding. The amount of radioactivity scales with the size of the plant. It so happens that thorium itself is an excellent radiation shield, but lead and depleted uranium are also suitable. Smaller plants (100 megawatts), such as the Department of Energys small, sealed, transportable, autonomous reactor (SSTAR) will be 15 meters tall, 3 meters wide and weigh 500 tonnes, using only a few cm of shielding.
Because thorium reactors present no proliferation risk, and because they solve the safety problems associated with earlier reactors, they will be able to use reasonable rather than obsessive standards for security and reliability. If we can reach the $145-in-1971-dollars/kW milestone experienced by Commonwealth Edison in 1971, we can decrease costs for a 1-gigawatt plant to at most $780 million, rather than the $1,100 million to build such a plant today. In fact, you might be able to go as low as $220 million or below, if 80% of reactor costs truly are attributable to expensive anti-meltdown measures. A thorium reactor does not, in fact, need a containment wall. Putting the reactor vessel in a standard industrial building is sufficient.
Because thorium reactors will make nuclear reactors more decentralized. Because of no risk of proliferation or meltdown, thorium reactors can be made of almost any size. A 500 ton, 100MW SSTAR-sized thorium reactor could fit in a large industrial room, require little maintenance, and only cost $25 million. A hypothetical 5 ton, truck-sized 1 MW thorium reactor might run for only $250,000 but would generate enough electricity for 1,000 people for the duration of its operating lifetime, using only 20 kg of thorium fuel per year, running almost automatically, and requiring safety checks as infrequently as once a year. That would be as little as $200/year after capital costs are paid off, for a thousand-persons worth of electricity! An annual visit by a safety inspector might add another $200 to the bill. A town of 1,000 could pool $250K for the reactor at the cost of $250 each, then pay $400/year collectively, or $0.40/year each for fuel and maintenance. These reactors could be built by the thousands, further driving down manufacturing costs.
Smaller reactors make power generation convenient in two ways: decreasing staffing costs by dropping them close to zero, and eliminating the bulky infrastructure required for larger plants. For this reason, it may be more likely that we see the construction of a million $40,000, 100 kW plants than 400 $300 million, 1GW plants. 100 kW plants would require minimal shielding and could be installed in private homes without fear of radiation poisoning. These small plants could be shielded so well that the level of radiation outside the shield is barely greater than the ambient level of radiation from traces of uranium in the environment. The only operating costs would be periodic safety checks, flouride salts, and thorium fuel. For a $40,000 reactor, and $1,000/year in operating costs, you get enough electricity for 100 people, which is enough to accomplish all sorts of antics, like running thousands of desktop nanofactories non-stop.
Even smaller reactors might be built. The molten salt may have a temperature of around 1,400°F, but as long as it can be contained by the best alloys, it is not really a threat. The small gasoline explosions in your automobile today are of a similar temperature. In the future, personal vehicles may be powered by the slow burning of thorium, or at least, hydrogen produced by a thorium reactor. Project Pluto, a nuclear-powered ramjet missile, produced 513 megawatts of power for only $50 million. At that price ratio, a 10 kW reactor might cost $1,000 and provide enough electricity for 10 persons/year while consuming only 1 kg of thorium every 5 years, itself only weighing 1000kg - similar to the weight of a refrigerator. Im not sure if miniaturization to that degree is possible, or if the scaling laws really hold. But it seems consistent with what Ive heard about nuclear power in the past.
The primary limitation with nuclear reactors, as always, is containment of radiation. But alloys and materials are improving. We will be able to make reactor vessels which are crack-proof, water-proof, and tamper-proof, but we will have to use superior materials. We should have those materials by 2030 at the latest, and they will make possible the decentralized nuclear energy vision I have outlined here. I consider it probable unless thorium is quickly leapfrogged by fusion power.
The greatest cost for thorium reactors remains their initial construction. If these reactors can be made to last hundreds of years instead of just 60, the cost per kWh comes down even further. If we could do this, then even if there were a disaster that brought down the entire industrial infrastructure, we could use our existing reactors with thorium fuel for energy until civilization restarts. We could send starships to other solar systems, powered by just a few tons of thorium. We will simultaneously experience the abundance we always wanted from nuclear power with the decentralization we always wanted from solar power. We will build self-maintaining eternal structures that use thorium electricity to power maintenance robots capable of working for thousands of years without breaks.
Source: A Nuclear Reactor in Every Home
Think of the positive effects of distributing the power sources. If by law you would have to build to 120% of community needs you’d have plenty of additional power built in across communities.
It would take pressure off the grid and render acts of terrorism against the grid useless or easily repairable.
We’ve got to get the word out.