Wind Turbines are White Elephants!

Read the hilarious story of a wind-turbine in Suffolk.

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6 Responses to Wind Turbines are White Elephants!

  1. Lazarus says:

    I don’t see the joke. The turbine in question was a prototype that basically didn’t work. This says nothing about wind turbines in general but what is a joke but not in a good way is that recently some wind turbines have been so efficient that they were shut down so as not to overload the grid – but the operators they still had to be paid.

    The real travesty is that most wind farms and not UK owned or funded and the money they do generate leaks out to other countries.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/8770937/Wind-farm-paid-1.2-million-to-produce-no-electricity.html

    • They were not “so efficient”. On-shore wind farms are producing less than 25% capacity, off-shore not much better. The problem is (as I have said ad nauseam) that wind power is inherently intermittent and unpredictable, and is therefore difficult to integrate into the grid. When you need it, it’s not there. When you don’t need it, the wind blows and you have to turn them off.

      Another scandal: if the wind had been blowing, the operator would have been paid the regular rate. But because of a bizarre bidding process, they were paid many times the regular rate for turning the damned things off. It should be a principle that the compenastion paid should never exceed the wholesale value of the electricity foregone.

      • Lazarus says:

        Saying that wind turbines are only X% efficient is misleading. Coal power stations are only about 30% efficient but the fuel has to be paid for and is increasingly coming from abroad and prices are increasing.The fuel for wind is free.

        The integration argument is also misleading. Technologies exist to store energy when not needed and then use it when required. It doesn’t have to be used as it it generated any more that oil has to be used as refined. But wind (and solar etc) form such a small part of our energy mix that these technologies have not generally been applied.

  2. Lazarus, You are so out of touch with reality that I am quite concerned for you. Wind is not “free”, and more than coal is free. Coal is just lying there in the ground — but it costs money to convert it to electricity. Wind is just blowing around — but it also costs money to convert to electricity. The problem is (A) in the case of wind, it costs much more than coal or gas or nuclear; and (B) unlike coal etc, the output for wind is uncontrollable and therefore much less useful. Please, try to get your head round the reality of it.

    • Lazarus says:

      Roger I’m an engineer who has studied renewable energy at uni. Wind output is not uncontrollable. Technology allows it to be as useful as any other method of generation.

      You are also wrong about your; ‘Coal is just lying there in the ground — but it costs money to convert it to electricity. Wind is just blowing around — but it also costs money to convert to electricity.’ analogy.

      Wind is free. Electricity from a turbine may presently cost more than that from coal but it is because of the cost and limited scale of the technology. None of it is reliant on the cost of the fuel to power it.

      I’m probably talking to myself but all the technical problems that you continually bring up with regard to renewables as a reliable future power have solutions.

  3. Gary Morinville says:

    Lazarus, So, you are an engineer who has studied renewable energy at uni. Another useful idiot. The only accurate in your post is “Wind is Free”. After that you only continued to prove your ignorance. Electricity generated from wind is very expensive. If the wind were blowing all the time, the costs would be much less. But as we know the wind isn’t consistent. There two things that happen on the coldest day of the year and the warmest day of the year. First is, the electrical demand is the highest, and the second thing is the wind doesn’t blow. Power generation capacity must be calculated for the highest demand. If you have studied wind turbines, you know that they don’t begin to generate any significant energy until the wind is at least 8mph and maximum power output isn’t until the sustained winds are upwards to 15 to 20 mph. How often is that? Typically wind farms generate electricity about 40% of the time, however; the generate full rated capacity less than 1/2 of the time. Rated power output =>20% of the time.
    Wind turbines engineered life expectancy was 30 + years, again there is a however as there are many reported failures in less that 10 years. How is that for engineers knowledge?
    And then comes the question of savings. Wind energy actually works well with replacing hydro power. Wind energy does supplement natural gas generated power fairly well. Energy from wind results almost no energy savings when wind replaces energy from coal or nuclear power plants.
    Let me explain. Since the wind is variable and undependable, the power consuming public wouldn’t stand for electricity only when the wind isn’t blowing. Hydro power and to a degree, natural gas powered power plants can quickly return on-line when the wind stops blowing. Coal and nuclear power plants are much slower to build steam and any lag between the wind stopping and the coal or nuclear plants being on-line would be unacceptable. So, during times while the wind is blowing, coal and nuclear powered electrical generating stations are required to dump steam, steam that could have been used to generate electricity. Thus almost no savings.
    There isn’t a power company in the United States that has freely invested in wind energy. The only way they have is thru coercion and/or tax incentives.

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