Skip to comments.Big Wind Meets an Ill Wind - The answer to our electricity needs is not blowin’ in the wind.
Posted on 12/28/2012 7:31:01 PM PST by neverdem
Four years ago, Shell Wind Energy, a unit of the oil company, looked for a suitable site for a wind farm on the Northern California coast. Its scouts found a large acreage cattle pastures high on the hills about six miles from the town of Ferndale. They secured permission from the rancher-owners to use the land and announced the project. All hell broke loose.
The local weekly in the tight-knit town was flooded with concerned letters to the editor: One of two narrow roads into the hill area carried all the daily traffic of a large hinterland; the other was largely dirt. They would be clogged for months with construction trucks. Wind turbine blades will kill thousands of birds. The constant noise of the turning blades will keep local ranch families awake. The wind farm will spoil the view and forever alter the bucolic nature of the land.
If one believes the global warming (climate change) theory, it follows that one believes humans are causing it by their use of hydrocarbons. Thus, wind farms reduce emissions.
Can they produce enough energy to reduce the use of natural gas, oil, nuclear?
In a word, no. The International Energy Agency estimates that the worlds demand for electricity will grow every year over the next two decades by the equivalent of Brazils annual usage. (Brazil uses about 475 tetrawatt hours a year.) The worlds total wind turbine energy output in 2011 was 437 tetrawatts, of which the U.S. share was a little under 20 percent. So, just to keep up with demand (without displacing any of the traditional energy sources) the worlds wind energy industry would have to develop five times the 2011 U.S. capacity every year for years to come. Thats a definition of Mission Impossible.
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...
Big Wind doesn’t blow, it sucks.
We used to have a 5’ diameter propeller raised in the main triangle. There were times when it was spinning too fast to take down...yet the power generated didn’t keep the deep cycle batteries charged for long, and our electrical needs on the boat were few.
How’s that for anecdotal?
anyone have a ping list for wind?
I’m facing the very real possiblity of having them built within 1250 ft of my house.
they build some 15 miles away that I can see from here.
Need any and all input to pass on to anti-wind movement before Zoning Appeals Mtg in Feb
The opposition needs to sue over the bird deaths. A huge part of Exxon’s Valdez settlement was based on bird kills.
Follow the money. Money laundering industries.
not to mention that our locals just got hosed by Obama and Abound Solar.
he’s detemined to pland hundreds of these 450 foot middle fingers on the best cropland in the country. (no drought here this year, no irrigation either)
they’ve been throwing lots of big checks to anyone willing to sign over the rights to the land their ancestors homesteaded in the 1840s.
Make the check big enough and they can put one in my back yard. What the heck, the government will eventually mandate it anyway. Just say’n
“Increasingly, this seems to be the fate of Big Wind, one of the two mainstays of President Obamas alternative energy plan. “
One of the reasons that Republicans keep getting their heads handed to them as they’re continually forced on to defense, is that they simply CANNOT understand the bigger picture.
In this case, the groups doing the suing are environmental groups, which are some of the many front groups for Democrats. In other words, it’s one group of Democrats stopping the Democrat president from carrying out his policy.
So why doesn’t he simply stop that? Because President Obama doesn’t actually want the windmills built - but he needs them discussed as a way to buy time as coal plants are shut down.
What if I’m wrong? If he REALLY wanted those windmills built, he could do one of the following: (1) Call up the groups and tell them to knock it off. Or, if you don’t believe he has that power, then he could (2) simply demand federal pre-emption of these lawsuits - and that would likely roll right through the Rubber-stamp Republicans.
But he has done neither, and the lawsuits continue, so one MUST conclude that this IS their policy, for sure.
If you don’t own 80+ acres, it ain’t you getting the check.
You just get your home value slashed by 25-50%
You might rent the DVD “Windfall” from Netflix or check it out from your local library. It’s a 2010 documentary exposing the downside of wind turbines and how the issue pitted the residents of the small community against each other. If I recall there were also some discussion about the financial aspects of these projects.
Ironically, the town across the county from me where they already built these things is named “Windfall”.
Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
Here are a few highlights: Meeting the UK Governments target for renewable generation in 2020 will require total wind capacity of 36 GW backed up by 13 GW of open cycle gas plants plus large complementary investments in transmission capacity at a cost of about £120 billion. The same electricity demand could be met from 21.5 GW of combined cycle gas plants with a cost of £13 billion, i.e. an order of magnitude cheaper than the wind scenario. Under the most favourable assumptions for wind power, the Governments wind policy will reduce emissions of CO2 at an average cost of £270 per metric ton (at 2009 prices) which means that meeting the UKs renewable energy target would cost a staggering £78 billion per year in 2020. The key problems with current policies for wind power are simple. They require a huge commitment of investment resources to a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is certainly very expensive and inflexible. Unless the current Government scales back its commitment to wind power very substantially, its policy will be worse than a mistake, it will be a blunder, Professor Hughes said.
Don't tell biblewonk.
He's as bad about wind as Willie Green was about trains.
Maintenance issues are not considered either, things break down and they are waaaaay up there, needing expensive tower monkeys to fix the bird blenders.
Mrs. JohnnyP and I drove through that area on vacation in the late seventies and I remember those beautiful hills above the ocean.
Years prior to that I had been a sonar technician in the navy, and I had learned there was a “Naval Facility” (NAVFAC) in Ferndale.
A NAVFAC was one of the land based sonar sites that formed part of the SOSUS system. They were connected to hydrophone arrays on the continental shelf.
These were very hush hush at the time so I wanted to do a “drive by” to see what I could see. There was another one at Point Sur, but it was separated from the coast route by a long spit of land so you couldn’t get close at all.
Very informative history at this link:
From the text:
“Naval Facility Centerville Beach, was located in Humboldt County, Northern California,
near the cities of Ferndale and Eureka. The base at Centerville Beach was the site
of a Naval Air Station, and the Eureka airport. Centerville Beach was a thirty-acre
U.S. Navy base used for oceanographic research and undersea surveillance. The site
was decommissioned in 1993. Through the historic town of Ferndale, past idyllic
farmhouses and picturesque landscapes with cows grazing, past Centerville Beach
and up a winding road, overlooking the Pacific Ocean was the Centerville Naval
Facility. As of 2006, the base is a ghost-town and is completely deserted, with
boarded up buildings still standing, and no plans for its future use.”
A view of the facility from the ocean is at the end of this link:
Related to the Point Sur facility:
“Not only aren’t the maintenance issues of the wind turbines considered, neither is the maintenance impact on the existing coal and gas fired units... those units used to go up and down slowly over the course of a day to reflect the increasing/decreasing demand of the grid. Now with wind entered into the mix, the coal and gas units are expected to go up and down like yoyos. Metal and thermal fatigue is a fact of life and like it or not, dragging wind into that mix will greatly shorten the life of these other power units.”
Excellent, excellent point! I had never considered that aspect, but had only considered the raw loss of efficiency as the major cost of cycling those units, as they require a certain amount of time at any given output level to attain best efficiency at that level.
The basic problem with wind turbines is that its almost impossible to step back far enough to grasp the big picture
metal fatigue being a case in point since it is typically not something that happens immediately. You mentioned the raw loss of efficiency as the major cost of cycling
.Ive been studying overall efficiency as well but just ran into a new aspect of that this past year that I had never heard discussed before. The issue works like this
. Most jurisdictions with wind turbines also have other sources of electrical supply i.e. coal, gas, hydro, nuclear etc. and each have their characteristics (such as the one for gas that I mentioned in Post 15 which in that instance is so significant, it virtually negates all the electrical supply by wind turbines
but I digress). The problem with nuclear is that it does not lend itself to being increased or decreased in terms of output
it is only good for flat line base load supply. The problem is the spring and the fall for many jurisdictions
.demand drops because air conditioning isnt required and it is too early to need winter electrical heat. It is also the time that the wind typically blows hardest. Since almost all jurisdictions give wind power priority to the grid, this means that the electrical systems are way over supplied and because most nukes are quite large, it means having to pull units off line. This isnt good and if you know something about nuclear power, the reasons are obvious
.pull a nuke off line in response to a temporary spike in wind and you will be 3 days trying to put it back on line. Trying to run a grid with this kind of unpredictability as a fact of life makes for a highly inefficient system and in fact, once again a review of the big picture will tell you that operating under this condition with wind is significantly less efficient than having no wind at all. If the wind dies and the grid has nukes down, it means putting coal and gas back on line to make up the shortfall and if all of the headlong rush into wind was to try to reduce greenhouse gases, all of that benefit is long gone. This gets back to a fundamental issue
. Should the control strategy for grids be driven by the available supply? Or by the instantaneous demand? I think the answer is obvious. Incidentally, here is a short section out of a program on Ontarios publicly funded television network where this issue was discussed
. http://ww3.tvo.org/video/176598/green-energy-act-green Incidentally, the fellow describing the problem is with the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (an organization that has a vested interests in all this as they are looking for engineering jobs amongst other things that they do)
first they lobbied for the engineering jobs that they thought the rush into wind would bring and now they are looking for the engineering jobs that involve solving all the problems that wind has wrought.
Your example of bringing a nuke up and down is an extreme case of the raw loss of efficiency I intended to portray. That type of situation applies with any drastic change of output of a coal or any other generation unit. Some more, some less, however, there is always an extended period of time when efficiency is significantly lower any time a base unit has drastic change of output. For gas units, the time and efficiency loss is on the low end. Nukes are on the high end.
Thanks for bringing this all up, and thanks for the links. I will be checking them out later on.