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Image courtesy Reuters
Back to the Future

In the automotive industry, manufacturers are looking for alternative ways to conserve energy with hybrids and hydrogen-fuel cell technology. Aircraft designers are using lightweight materials and more efficient engines to cut down on fuel consumption. Now we're seeing that a German company is looking to the past to conserve energy with today's cargo ships.

SkySails GmbH & Co. KG has undertaken four years of trial runs with its 160 square-meter "SkySail." The SkySail is attached to a mast at the front of the ship and is said to reduce fuel costs by 15 to 20% by using wind power.

"I got the idea on a sail boat a few years ago. I love flying kites and found sailing rather slow. I thought the enormous power in kites could somehow be utilized," said Stephan Wrage, inventor and founder of SkySails.

Beluga Shipping is a believer in the technology and is currently having its "MV Beluga SkySails" vessel outfitted with a sail and a computer-controlled central steerage unit. The ship will make its maiden voyage early next year. Beluga Shipping CEO Neils Stolberg estimates the SkySail will drop his company's $7,500 daily fuel bill to $6,000.

"You've got to look at new ideas to cope with developments in oil prices," said Stolberg. "When energy prices double in such a short time, you've got to innovate. We won't be able to switch the engines off. But we're confident we can reduce fuel usage -- and cut emissions."



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An old idea
By number999 on 12/5/2006 11:56:02 AM , Rating: 3
Actually seen this type of modification done to large Japanese freighters awhile ago. It's fine for bulk goods, where time constraints are not that important but I can see some problem for example where winds are not favourable and having to go all engine or worse trying to tack.

As for wind power, although I'm in favour of it, there are limitations to it's use like 20 year lifespans to the towers and the intermittancy of the wind in most areas. In areas that do support it, I do favour it's developement. Most studies show limited impact on bird populations and very little noise pollution nearby. It actually increases the value of the land it's on since the owners lease the land at various prices ($1000-3000 per windmill per year).

As for cluttering the landscape, that is a not a good question. What's worse, the windmills turning in the breeze where farmers can still use the land, or a large industrial complex to generate the megawatts modern society needs? What's the worse eyesore? I don't hold a Thoreau-like devotion to these pastoral areas which aren't wilderness but agricultural land or land that is already impacted by people.




RE: An old idea
By Griswold on 12/5/2006 12:24:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Actually seen this type of modification done to large Japanese freighters awhile ago. It's fine for bulk goods, where time constraints are not that important but I can see some problem for example where winds are not favourable and having to go all engine or worse trying to tack.


As it is now, they use it to reduce fuel cost, not to replace engines. If theres no wind, they just use the engines instead.


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/5/2006 12:34:04 PM , Rating: 3
> As for cluttering the landscape, that is a not a good question. What's worse, the windmills turning in the breeze where farmers can still use the land, or a large industrial complex to generate the megawatts modern society needs?"

Considering that it require tens of thousands of extremely large and massive windmills to equal the power output of a single commercial reactor-- I'll take the reactor hands down. It'll require a tiny fraction of the available land space, it doesn't kill millions of migratory birds per year...and it works 100% of the time, not just when the wind is blowing.


RE: An old idea
By Live on 12/5/2006 1:36:52 PM , Rating: 2
Have you ever been to a site where they extract the fuel for your reactor? Or a factory where they process the uranium?

I take wind any day over that.

But I think this idea is just what is needed. Everything must change. There is no ultimate solution until fusion comes around. So we need to conserve energy and use it much more wisely then we do today. Not just make more of it.


RE: An old idea
By saratoga on 12/5/2006 2:50:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Have you ever been to a site where they extract the fuel for your reactor? Or a factory where they process the uranium?


You realize one such site can provide fuel for dozens of reactors right? The fuel consumption of even a large reactor complex is tiny in terms of volume, so the output of a refineing plant can easily supply mid sized countries with energy, alone, so I don't really see your point.


RE: An old idea
By ADDAvenger on 12/6/2006 4:13:19 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention that 95% of the 'spent' fuel rods can be reprocessed back into normal fuel rods. That's because fission makes a bunch of crap that poisons the reaction, so if you take that out, you've got a good-as-new fuel rod, and a twentieth of the nuclear waste to dispose of.

Unfortunately, there has been no nuclear fuel reprocessing in the US since the Carter administration; they thought it was too likely that weapons-grade material would end up floating into the wrong hands. (By the way, IIRC, fuel rods are enriched to ~4% purity, and bombs are enriched to ~90% purity, so don't go telling me that some nuclear power plant is going to detonate into a mushroom cloud...)

So anyway, getting back to the original article...
I like it; it's simple and it works.


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/5/2006 3:36:54 PM , Rating: 2
> "Have you ever been to a site where they extract the fuel for your reactor? Or a factory where they process the uranium? "

I have, yes. In fact, I interned at a yellowcake reprocessing plant in Chita when I was in graduate school. Have you visited any such sites...or are you just working off emotion and hysteria?


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/5/2006 12:35:18 PM , Rating: 2
> As for cluttering the landscape, that is a not a good question. What's worse, the windmills turning in the breeze where farmers can still use the land, or a large industrial complex to generate the megawatts modern society needs?"

Considering that it require tens of thousands of extremely large and massive windmills to equal the power output of a single commercial reactor-- I'll take the reactor hands down. It'll require a tiny fraction of the available land space, it doesn't kill millions of migratory birds per year...and it works 100% of the time, not just when the wind is blowing.


RE: An old idea
By Oregonian2 on 12/5/2006 3:20:44 PM , Rating: 2
Our local power company is starting to put up windmills of it's own rather than getting third party wind power. We've massive wind farms in eastern Washington and Oregon where there's a lot of constant wind and hardly any people (but does have big power distribution lines passing through). They're supply limited (manufactures of the turbines are cranking them out as fast as they can, more would be installed if they were available).

Ones being installed are 1.65 Megawatts apiece. Nuclear reactors in the U.S. produce a bit less than a Gigawatt each on average (I looked it up). A bit of math shows that a nuclear reactor produces about that of only 600 windmills (at least in areas here that are almost constantly windy). When we did have a nuke plant ("Trojan") it had to be shut down periodically for maintenance too, so it wasn't 100% full power either.

I'll take the windmills (We've lots of hydro power here too) but also think that going nuke is inevitable in the long run, preferably fusion.



RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/5/2006 3:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
> "Ones being installed are 1.65 Megawatts apiece. Nuclear reactors in the U.S. produce a bit less than a Gigawatt each on average (I looked it up)..."

What you failed to look up, however, is that 1.65 MW value is a peak output figure. In low or moderate wind conditions, the output is lower. Except in truly phenomonal sites, the mean output is about 35% of peak, and that ignores periodic maintenance which, for a windmill, is high.

That changes your 600:1 figure to more like 1800:1. And a 1.65MW windmill is a truly massive structure. 1,800 such windmills do have a large negative impact on the environment-- noise pollution, millions of migratory bird deaths, and a mining & manufacturing cost associated with the hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete and metals required to build and maintain such a windfarm.

> "When we did have a nuke plant ("Trojan") it had to be shut down periodically for maintenance too, so it wasn't 100% full power either."

Even with periodic maintenance, a nuclear plant still averages 95%+ of its peak capacity.


RE: An old idea
By Oregonian2 on 12/5/2006 5:27:43 PM , Rating: 2
When trojan was down for maintenance it was down for a month or more. Don't see how it could have done 95%. But then I saw it in it's older years, maybe it was up a higher percentage when it was young (it's now gone, they imploded its cooling tower a year or two ago).

As to the wind levels, the windfarms in eastern Oregon have high winds
almost constantly, I understand. I'll admit it's probably not a "typical" site in the U.S. generally speaking. Also is why (further west), the Columbia gorge is reputed to be one of the best, if not the best sailboarding places in the world. Warren Miller (some time ago) used to come to Portland for his show's opening in person yearly (despite being a small market relatively speaking) just so he could go sailboarding here.

The area where the windfarms are is one where any noise would not be relevant. It'd be like having them in Northern Canada. Just not very many people there. Probably more than 90% of the states's population (which isn't that big anyway) is within 100 miles from the Ocean. Is there noise pollution if there is nobody to hear it?

In any case, it was claimed to take tens of thousands of windmills to equal a nuke plant. True only if they're put where there is little wind at all.

P.S. - I expect the windmills are intended to be profit making. I suspect it's fuel costs are less than the cost of nuke fuel, processing it, and the long term costs of burial in Nevada (if it ever happens). Not to speak of capital costs where just getting through the planning and approval stages for a nuclear plant has to be insanely expensive.

P.P.S. - Our sites also don't have salty ocean spray being thrown at it. Can't imagine that one on Hawai'i (I was born on Oahu).


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/5/2006 8:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
> "In any case, it was claimed to take tens of thousands of windmills to equal a nuke plant. True only if they're put where there is little wind at all."

True for an average windmill in an average location. There are certainly places where windspeed is more consistently high. These are good candidates for wind farms...but such spots are rare. You cannot satisfy even a small fraction of the nation's power needs from such locations. Thus, windpower may be useful to reduce slightly the need for additional generation capacity...but it will never replace conventional sources.

> "P.S. - I expect the windmills are intended to be profit making."

Then they'll be a unique situation. So far, no largescale commercial windfarm has ever shown a profit, except when government subsidies or tax credits are included.

> "P.P.S. - Our sites also don't have salty ocean spray being thrown at it"

The last time I researched maintenance costs for windfarms, the results were truly horrific, even for those sited in a desert location. That's been several years though, so I admit technology may have improved in the interim.



RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/5/2006 5:29:06 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
moderate wind conditions, the output is lower. Except in truly phenomonal sites, the mean output is about 35% of peak, and that ignores periodic maintenance which, for a windmill, is high
The power output to wind speed is an elongated s shape. Wind beyond a certain speed is not designed to be captured it so it just goes by. In those terms, it is far more likely that it generates in the 80% range for most wind conditions rather than the lowball figure that you give. As for the maintenance costs associated with wind turbines go to
http://www.windpower.org/en/tour/econ/oandm.htm

I've read, and from personal experience, turbines make little noise (I've stood under one and a nearby car driving by was loader). As for killing birds, millions of migratory birds is an outlandish unproved figure. More birds die striking lit skyscrapers at night than are killed be wind turbines.

Is there an associated cost to building it? Of course, but then there exists a cost to everything including the cost of sequestering the nuclear waste and the dangers of handling and transporting it.


RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/5/2006 8:44:59 PM , Rating: 2
As an ajunct to the information
At the huron site
Power is generated at windspeeds between 14.4 km/h and 58 km/h with auto shutdown at 90 km/h. Capacity factor ranges between 27-35%.

Capacity factor-
It compares the plant's actual production over a given period of time with the amount of power the plant would have produced if it had run at full capacity for the same amount of time...A conventional utility power plant uses fuel, so it will normally run much of the time unless it is idled by equipment problems or for maintenance. A capacity factor of 40% to 80% is typical for conventional plants.

This would vary also if the plant was providing base load power or being used for peak power. For base load power, high capacity factors are wanted (and are used to spread out the costs) but for peak power, low capacity factors are typical.

Basically by mixing capacity factor with availability with cost per kilowatt, we try to optimize the output. Given the fact that conventional plants opterate in the 40-80% range, wind turbine capacity factor seems acceptable even putting factors such as peak times and such and the vagaries of conventional power generation. A more detailed explanation of peak power can be found at:
http://www.awea.org/faq/wwt_basics.html#What%20is%...



wind turbine basics - a good site
http://www.awea.org/faq/wwt_basics.html

A good source of facts from an ongoing project in canada
http://www.huronwind.com/huronwind/factfiles.asp

http://www.awea.org/faq/basicen.html


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/5/2006 8:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
> "The power output to wind speed is an elongated s shape...it is far more likely that it generates in the 80% range for most wind conditions..."

Sorry, but this just isn't true. According to one the largest manufacturers of high-powre turbines, Siemens, the minimum wind speed to generate any power at all is 9 mph. From there, it is a linear ramp up to maximum power output at 31mph and above. (figures taken from www.powergeneration.siemens.com) Very few sites have winds consistently in the 25+ mph range.

> "I've read, and from personal experience, turbines make little noise "

Rather hard to explain all the lawsuits against them for just this reason, eh? One windfarm in California had to purchase and demolish over 100 nearby homes, due to losing a noise pollution suit.

> "As for killing birds, millions of migratory birds is an outlandish unproved figure..."

Once again, incorrect. The Altamonte Pass windfarm alone kills several thousand birds per year. Over the course of its expected lifetime, thats 100,000+ birds...and thats just one farm. Here's a link with details, along with the obligatory lawsuit by environmental groups: http://www.rppi.org/groupsues.shtml.



RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/5/2006 9:58:46 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Sorry, but this just isn't true. According to one the largest manufacturers of high-powre turbines, Siemens, the minimum wind speed to generate any power at all is 9 mph. From there, it is a linear ramp up to maximum power output at 31mph and above
One it varies according to the size of the turbine among other things, which you did not take into account. Does a home wind turbine have the characteristics as a 5 MW turbine designed for offshore use. Of course not. Heavier larger turbines require higher winds to generate electricity. As for the curve being an stretched out S, what else am I to say it looks like. Check out this.
http://www.windpower.org/en/tour/wres/pwr.htm

Also the numbers you seem to ignore are from an actual company producing power for an actual grid. Power drops geometrically with wind speed. Going from 5 to 10 m/s means going from 5-10 KW to 200 but going from 10 to 15 m/s means going from about 200 to 600kW on a 600kW Danish turbine.

quote:
Very few sites have winds consistently in the 25+ mph range.
Obviously, you did not see the work I have referenced already. This was just land winds in the US. Offshore wind speeds are more cosistent. Also, there is a difference between ground air speed and the speed of the air where the turbines are, which is of course greater.

quote:
hard to explain all the lawsuits against them...for noise

..a recent study done by the Danish research institute DK Teknik seems to indicate that people's perception of noise from wind turbines is governed more by their attitude to the source of the noise, rather than the actual noise itself.
http://www.windpower.org/en/tour/env/sound.htm
or
According to the British Wind Energy Association, the audible noise produced by a wind farm is approximately 35-40 dB at a distance of 350 meters. For comparison, the noise level in a quiet bedroom is approximately 35 dB. At the perimeter of most wind farms, the noise associated with turbines is not sufficiently greater than ambient noise (ie. wind blowing over tree tops, rustling leaves, etc.). In most cases, the noise from road traffic is enough to drown out the sound of wind turbines/farms.
http://www.social.mtu.edu/GORMAN/WindTurbinesandNo...


Being objective and standing underneath one and having no bias against them helps. Maybe being objective would help you.

quote:
Altamont Pass windfarm alone kills several thousand birds per year.
Leslie Evans Ogden, "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) estimates that at least 4 million to 5 million birds are killed annually in communication tower collisions in the United States" Add this to the estimated 98 million birds killed annually by collisions with glass windows, especially those of tall office buildings, and it becomes clear that tall structures pose a very real threat to bird populations

Maybe because of Altamont with it's old turbines is the problem.
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/04/common_mis...

How about a comparison of bird kills, which shows how modern turbines compare and how Altamont stats are unique.
http://www.awea.org/faq/sagrillo/swbirds.html

National Wind Coordinating Committee(NWCC)report that "data collected outside California indicate an average of 1.83 avian fatalities per turbine (for all species combined), and 0.006 raptor fatalities per turbine per year. Based on current projections of 3,500 operational wind turbines in the US by the end of 2001, excluding California, the total annual mortality was estimated at approximately 6,400 bird fatalities per year for all species combined

Are birds going to be killed? Yes, but then we're killing a heck of a lot more birds with other aspects of our civilization.



Ogden, Leslie Evans "A Deadly Obstacle Course", Defenders of Wildlife, Fall 2000, pgs. 27-31


RE: An old idea
By ATWindsor on 12/6/2006 8:06:03 AM , Rating: 2
"According to the British Wind Energy Association, the audible noise produced by a wind farm is approximately 35-40 dB at a distance of 350 meters. For comparison, the noise level in a quiet bedroom is approximately 35 dB."

35 Db is by no means a quiet bedroom, maybe if you live in the middle of a busy city it would be more or less quiet for that noisy enviroment, overall, it'snot very quiet.



RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/6/2006 11:54:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
35 Db is by no means a quiet bedroom


Library 40 Quiet
Quiet rural area 30 Very Quiet
Whisper, rustling leaves 20 Very Quiet


http://home.netvista.net/hpb/dblevels.html
or any other site to compare Db levels.


RE: An old idea
By ATWindsor on 12/7/2006 3:33:35 AM , Rating: 2
Have you been in a library an listened? Or a rural area? Thats not quiet for a bedroom, a bedroom in a rural ara is a quiet bedroom (and thats much more quiet than outside in a rural area). The recommended max level inside a bedroom for no sleep disturbance is 30 dBA. I woud say a quiet bedromm is >25dBA



RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/7/2006 9:48:05 AM , Rating: 2
The plain and simple fact is, he's wrong. Wind turbines are indeed quiet at low speeds...in a high wind, however (when they're most efficient), they produce incredibly high volume levels. Small turbines in the KW range have been tested at over 100db, the large 1+MW ones louder still.


RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/12/2006 2:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
Lets see the your references. If not, then it is only your heresay.


RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/5/2006 4:57:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
tens of thousands of extremely large and massive windmills to equal the power output of a single commercial reactor
In nowhere did I say nuclear power plants be shut down in favour of wind power.

I did state some of the limitations of wind over nuclear, which I also support, but let's not forget the limitations of the nuclear option. Reactors are extremely expensive and with the present system of not being able to charge for the reactor till completion in many jurisdictions, cost overuns can run into the billions of dollars. A windmill like smaller coal/gas generators have a much lower liability. It is much easier to build stadardized designs and create institutional(generational) knowledge on windmills and their operations than for the few unstadardized nuclear reactors that were built over 30 years ago (for the US).

There is still a question of what to do with nuclear waste which I think should be reused but won't due to proliferation and cost issues. Consider Vegas suing the federal gov't over waste going through it's jurisdiction. This doesn't obviously exist with wind turbines. Considering their lower impact they are easier to put up. They require lower maintenance than reactors and less catastrophic results if something does happen.
quote:
kill millions of migratory birds per year

There is little impact on migratory birds in most of the studies I've read and they don't even get near that figure. More birds die every year hitting skyscrapers lit up at night then are killed by windmills.

Most of the studies put the cost of electricity from windmills in the 4-5 cent/KWH which is cost competitive to most other competitve sources.
quote:
it works 100% of the time, not just when the wind is blowing
As I said, where appropriate. In Scientific American Sept 1990, pg.148 is a map showing the best places to put windmills in the US where the wind blows consistantly all the time. 90% of the potential lies in just 12 states captioned with the fact that US electricity demand in 1985 could be satisfied by placing 4 million 500KW wind turbines spaced half a kilometer apart over 10% of the US where the wind is favorable. Spaced at those kind of distances they would be insignificant aspects of the landscape.

Windmills are local. They can be put up in localities where infrastructure is limited to supply local needs cheaply and can later be connected to the larger grid later on if neccesary to supply heavier local conditions or to add the windmills' power to the larger grid.

Some have written of windmills becoming garbage. That is a problem of everything. Utilities should properly dispose of them when the windmills operational life is over but then that is true of everything ever created as well as the coa/gas/nuclear options.

There are reasons, some of them bad some good, that has limited the nuclear option. In the meantime, turbine and generator design has made the wind turbine a viable option in the today's power mix and should be exploited.


RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/5/2006 8:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
US electricity demand in 1985
Sorry bout that, should've read "1990". The wind information was taken from a study from PG&G around that time.

I'm not advocating massive buildup of wind turbines - this is just an illustration of the amount of wind power out there and it's concentration in a few states.


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/5/2006 9:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
> "US electricity demand in 1985 could be satisfied by placing 4 million 500KW wind turbines spaced half a kilometer apart over 10% of the US where the wind is favorable"

You just highlighted the reason why wind power will never satisfy even a small percentage of our power needs. Covering 10% of the us with a carpet of four MILLION windmills would run tens of trillions of dollars in a fixed onetime cost, perhaps a trillion dollars annually in maintenance costs...and that would supply our energy needs from 20 years ago, not counting all the growth since then, or future expansion.


RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/5/2006 10:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Covering 10% of the us with a carpet of four MILLION windmills
Stop taking things out of context and blowing examples way out of proportion.

For one it said where the wind was appropriate which means 10% over the 12 states where it was. Not blanketing everything, which you seem to be thinking.

Also, look at the figures. Its for 500kW turbines on land. It ignores the water and it ignores the fact that larger turbines are being used today.

Thirdly, it maybe 15 years old, but the data is still useful. Energy uses and production haven't changed all that much during that time. In fact some of the advanced methods of production in the magazine are just recently being put into action like fluidized burning of coal or even CO2 sequestering. I've keep my eye out and nothing quite yet matches it included the more recent scientific american magazines.

Lastly, it's an illustration of the amount of power in the wind and it's potental for exploitation, not a map of what should be done. It's not appropriate for you to take an illustrative example and take it out of it's context especially so ludicrously. In nowhere did my example or I advocate the wholesale adoption of this technology to the exclusion of everything else. In fact, if you look, I don't. I do advocate it should be in the mix.

Some people are environmental fanatics, I am not since I also said I advocated nuclear, but you obviously are some sort of fanatic for going so overboard and filtering out what you did not like or could not make "points" against. Did you even read everything I wrote or did you feel so outraged that you couldn't bother. It's a pretty sad commentary on the level of discourse available but no surprise.


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/6/2006 1:05:06 AM , Rating: 2
> "Stop taking things out of context and blowing examples way out of proportion."

The example, sir, was your own. And yes, there are larger turbines available. However, your example also failed to account for the fact that those turbines would be lucky to average 35% of their peak rated power, as well as the fact that at least 10% of those turbines would be down for maintenance, and ignored the fact that our power needs have grown dramatically in the past twenty years. And the fact that larger turbines require correspondingly more land area. And-- most telling of all-- it ignores the fact that carpeting even ten percent of ONE state just isn't practical, much less the 12 or (more likely) even more that such a scheme would require.

Commercial wind power generation just isn't anywhere close to cost-effective yet. If it were, power companies would be more than happy to sell it to us....and if they weren't, you and I could get rich selling it back to them. Perhaps that situation will change in the future, but for today and the near future, windpower is a fringe source. Not because of politics, or scheming power companies...but because of the limitations of technology and the basic laws of physics.

> "Lastly, it's an illustration of the amount of power in the wind"

By that you mean its not meant to be a practical example. A sentiment in which we both are agreed. Yes, there is a huge amount of energy available in wind. However, there's more still in the heat of the earth's core, tidal fluctuations, or even solar flares. Harnessing that energy in practical form, however, is a different matter.


RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/6/2006 3:46:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
example, sir, was your own
Yes and as usual you take it out of context of what it was designed for which was to show potential and exploitability . Not as a guideline to what to do. You continually fail to realize that even as the posts say what it is. Pay attention. How dense are you? You keep trying to make it as a point where you say the author says the direction people have to go and it does NOT . Understand that? NOT. I don't think anyone else would be as dense as to not figure that out after 2 replies. If a doctor gave an example of the lung's surface area being equal to a tennis court, that doesn't mean the doctor is suggesting to go rip up someone's lungs to compare it, to actually see if they're equal so stop being dense.

quote:
would be lucky to average 35% of their peak rated power,
And you have obvious read the stats wrong. Again. The only thing that I've ever seen is a 35% capacity factor which I've already stated and referenced and compared to the 40-80% of conventional sources. The cost per kilowatt is around 5-6 cents/kWh. Even using your figure for the Siemens turbine, it can easily operate at full rated capacity in the appropriate locations, which are not as scarce as you make them out to be. It is the Capacity factor that would be around 35%, which makes a heck of a lot more sense more than your rant. It means that there exists downtime for the turbine. It doesn't mean that downtime exists because of lack of wind. It could mean that it shuts down in the middle of the night (which would account for 33%+ unused capacity factor) because the local nuclear reactor is sufficient to supply the base load, or a host of other reasons.
quote:
...well as the fact that at least 10% of those turbines would be down for maintenance

For newer machines the estimates range (maintenance costs per kW installed power) around 1.5 to 2 per cent per year of the original turbine investment...These economies (of scale) are related to the semi-annual maintenance visits, surveillance and administration, etc.
http://www.windpower.org/en/tour/econ/oandm.htm

So where does the 10% down for maintenance come from? It says semi-annual. In a large farm, you would expect staggering the maintenance so maybe in a large 100+ farm you would see a number of them down but overall costs are fairly low, which is not surprising since it doesn't have the same stresses as conventional generation.

quote:
but for today and the near future, windpower is a fringe source
...wind energy growth over the past 35 years in terms of turbine size and power output has increased in Europe one hundredfold since the first turbines. The 25 countries that make up the EU currently have a share of almost 3%, which is equivalent to the total consumption of Portugal and Denmark
http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/stor...
http://www.ewea.org/index.php?id=4
Right, it's a fringe source of power that supplies 3% of EU countries and growing. How parochial of you.


quote:
Not because of politics, or scheming power companies
Uhh did I even mention politics or power companies? You did, I believe in saying that wind is not economical without tax subsidies or something from the government. Can we say ... paranoia, or maybe trying to defensively deflect the post? I will say something now, and that is a simple question? Does the coal/gas/oil/nuclear have governmental advantages? If you don't think so, I have a bridge in New York to sell you.

For those actually interested in facts and growing their knowledge, the US generates approx. 4.5 trillion kWhrs compared to about 3.1 in 1990. The majority of it from coal and natural gas plants. Nuclear output has gone up from the upgrade of existing plants but the total number of plants in the US have actually declined.
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/ep/ep_text.html#12


Additional info from the British and their costs.
http://www.bwea.com/ref/econ.html


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/6/2006 9:04:52 AM , Rating: 2
> " it was designed for which was to show potential and exploitability . Not as a guideline to what to do..."

There is a vast difference between potential and exploitable potential, however. As I said earlier, there is potential in many things, but if we lack the means to exploit it, that potential is meaningless.

? "And you have obvious read the stats wrong..."

The windfarm at Altamonte operates at about 35% of peak. Another poster here mentioned the Judith Gap farm, which operates at 40%. How about the Foote Creeke Wind Farm, the most succesful installation in the Northwest? Let me quote from Tacoma Power, the farms operator:

The flat rimrock is one of the windiest places in America, with average winds speeds of 25 mph -- 25 to 70 percent faster than other good wind sites. Strong, steady winds mean that the Wyoming Wind Energy Project can provide power more reliably than almost any other wind farm in the country, delivering an average of 43 percent of its peak power year-round .

(www.ci.tacoma.wa.us/power/greenpower/resources_f ootcreek.htm)

My facts are correct. No wind farm in the world operates at even 50% of peak power output. A good rule of thumb is 35%...and were we to build tens of millions of such windmills to power the entire nations, we'd be forced into suboptimal locations which would be lucky to reach 25% efficiency.


RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/6/2006 11:44:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
No wind farm in the world operates at even 50% of peak power output. A good rule of thumb is 35%

The project can provide power more reliably than almost any other wind farm in the country, delivering an average of 43 percent of its peak power year-round. Most wind farms average only 25 percent to 35 percent of peak capacity.

The excellent wind conditions allow Foote Creek Rim to deliver power at between 3.8 cents and 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, comparable to most new natural gas-fired power plants being built today.

http://www.eweb.org/Home/Windpower/wyoming/index.h...

See that, it refers to peak power capacity which is inheritably alterable by the people controlling it.

Capacity factor-
It compares the plant's actual production over a given period of time with the amount of power the plant would have produced if it had run at full capacity for the same amount of time...A conventional utility power plant uses fuel, so it will normally run much of the time unless it is idled by equipment problems or for maintenance. A capacity factor of 40% to 80% is typical for conventional plants...

See that definition. I can actually name nuclear reactors that have close to zero in their yearly histories. That means for whatever reason they are not run/or designed to run at peak capacity, mostly because it was designed to produce electricity the most cheaply. For a nuclear plant that means it should run most of the time for base power. For a plant designed for peak power, it means intermittant use. Most than likely, wind turbines are designed as 600kW turbines with a peak capacity of 1.5MW to run within specific wind speed envelopes. They are not design to run at peak capacity. You keep quoting "peak power" like a mantra when the real issue is cost per kWh

It is important to note that while capacity factor is almost entirely a matter of reliability for a fueled power plant, it is not for a wind plant—for a wind plant, it is a matter of economical turbine design . With a very large rotor and a very small generator, a wind turbine would run at full capacity whenever the wind blew and would have a 60-80% capacity factor—but it would produce very little electricity. The most electricity per dollar of investment is gained by using a larger generator and accepting the fact that the capacity factor will be lower as a result. Wind turbines are fundamentally different from fueled power plants in this respect .
See cost. So I can have a turbine run all the time inefficiently at a high cost per kWh or have it run all the time more efficiently at a lower cost. This isn't surprising since this isn't being run at high pressures. See how much it costs to generate a kWh at Foote Creek 3.8-4.5 cents.
quote:
potential and exploitable potential
The limit of exploitability is cost and the cost is comparable in many sites.

quote:
and were we to build tens of millions of such windmills to power the entire nations
The example and I never said to just build turbines , which you can't seem to get through that skull of yours. Even though through multiple replies, I've said it. When I gave it, I said it. I said it before that where appropriate it should be part of the mix . You obvious are only remembering what you want to know. I said,
quote:
I'm not advocating massive buildup of wind turbines - this is just an illustration of the amount of wind power out there and it's concentration in a few states
and I said it 3 posts ago , because I knew from past experience someone might take it wrong and it was still taken out of context even though I said not too, which shows how well some people actually read. In my earlier post I even said I supported the nuclear option and gave some reasons why that had problems but no you focus on an illustrative example that I said was not to be taken as a plan. Talk about dense and shortsighted. The only thing you seem to see is what you want.

quote:

..Wim van der Weegen, a spokesman for the Dutch environment ministry, said: "This is a very densely populated country
... Last month, The Sunday Telegraph revealed that proposed Scottish windmills were threatening to push one of Britain's rarest birds, the golden eagle, into extinction. The rapid spread of wind farms in Britain also threatens species including osprey, red kites, merlin and falcons....

Ah yes the NIMBY(Not In My BackYard) contingent of arguements with self justified reasons. You should also have included this from the article:
A spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry, which oversees the energy production, said that Britain would not be deflected from its own aim of producing 10 percent of power from renewable sources by 2010.
"Regardless of what other European countries do, we firmly believe in this for the future," she said

but then that would've hurt your own arguement. I also refer something from my earlier post which you ignore so glibly
...a recent study done by the Danish research institute DK Teknik seems to indicate that people's perception of noise from wind turbines is governed more by their attitude to the source of the noise, rather than the actual noise itself.
This would inlude the visual aspects as well, since a pre-disposed bias is still affecting the person. I notice you didn't include the quote by the artist on how the turbine breaks up the landscape.
http://www.windpower.org/en/tour/env/sound.htm

As for showing protests about wind and how much people hate it for different reasons, why don't you do a search on protests on something you actually support and see whate happens. Everything is supported and protested against in the world. It's the validity of the protests that should be addressed in a rational way. You support nuclear power, why don't you search that for protests and what do you get? A heck of a lot more than wind. Do a search for the building of any power project and there is someone opposing it.

As for the bird kills, again I refer to where the so called huge numbers are shown to be what they are.
http://www.awea.org/faq/sagrillo/swbirds.html

As for the eagle, I'm sorry for it like I'm sorry for every species pushed to the brink by mankind. People demand developement and power and it's going to effect nature. It was already pushed to the edge by other developements by people. It's easy to blame something so big and out there as the turbine but other things like chemical use had probable way more effect and how much do you protest over that.

...Over the years the golden eagle has suffered a great deal at the hands of man. In the nineteenth century, many eagles were killed by farmers and gamekeepers in the belief that they killed large numbers of sheep and grouse.

Golden eagles certainly do kill grouse, but research has shown that they do not eat nearly as many as gamekeepers used to suggest...

Pesticide Pollution
During the 1960s many golden eagles, as well as most other birds of prey, were affected by pollution from dangerous chemicals, such as DDT, which entered the food chains in their habitat... Another chemical, dieldrin, used as a sheep dip to kill ticks and fleas, had the same effect when the eagles fed on dead sheep. Fortunately, when the danger of these pesticides was realised, they were banned and since then the eagle has recovered in numbers to some extent.

Threats Today
...A few eagles are killed when they eat poisoned sheep carcasses put out to kill foxes. A serious threat is habitat destruction when forestry plantations take over the open areas over which the eagle likes to hunt.


http://www.yptenc.org.uk/docs/factsheets/animal_fa...

Like I said, people doing way more overt things have pushed it to the edge but it's easy to blame the windmill.

Most interestingly, is the fact that you, Masher2, keep referencing sites that have moved or no longer available. Who the heck keeps links on a subject that he/she doesn't support as a reference to support his/her arguements and fights all the time? Either you're trolling or ...you know what, I'm not going say it because frankly it's not nice but people can guess at what it takes to be that kind of dogmatic mentality.


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/6/2006 12:03:50 PM , Rating: 2
> "The project can provide power more reliably than almost any other wind farm in the country, delivering an average of 43 percent of its peak power year-round. Most wind farms average only 25 percent to 35 percent of peak capacity."

An excellent point worth repeating. Thank you for reiterating it.

> "See that, it refers to peak power capacity which is inheritably alterable by the people controlling it."

In the case of windfarms, their delivery ratio is not lowered by the operators, but due to lack of sufficient wind velocity.

A conventional plant will have its output throttled back when its producing more than demand. Since these plants consume fuel to produce electricity, this saves money. However, every windfarm built so far on the plant has only been a small fraction of supplemental power added to an existing grid. Running them continually at maximum capacity would not exceed demand, and would allow fuel savings in other plants.

In short, windfarms are not throttled back artificially. The figures I gave-- and those you repeated above-- are correct.





RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/6/2006 2:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
windfarms are not throttled back artificially. The figures I gave-- and those you repeated above-- are correct
They operate within their designed criteria producing power at their designed price or would you dispute that fact.

Taking a look at the power curve of most of the sites that provide one including that siemens one, it is designed to operate at a maximum wind speed, which is achievable so how do you reconcile the fact that maximum generation is achieved at the top of the curved but peak capacity is not. And those windspeeds are easily achievable. Larger turbines are put in because of cost effectiveness to get the lowest cost of electricity over the different windspeeds of the area. Which I italisized and linked and which you obviously didn't look into.

quote:
output throttled back when its producing more than demand. Since these plants consume fuel to produce electricity
So it's perfectly fine to have a low peak capacity for a conventional plant but not for a wind turbine. As stated in an earlier post which you have not bothered to look at it is explained there.

In the end it comes to price. The operational time of the plant and it's cost is divided by the power it generates regardless of your obfuscating maneouvers with peak demand arguements and as stated it can get as low as 3.5 cents/kWhr, which is low enough to be competitive. Or would you argue that point?





RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/6/2006 3:00:16 PM , Rating: 2
> "So it's perfectly fine to have a low peak capacity for a conventional plant but not for a wind turbine..."

I've tried to explain this as clearly as possible. A wind turbine rated at, say, 1MW **cannot** produce anywhere near that value on a consistent basis. A nuclear reactor rated at 900MW can produce that value consistently and reliably. Whether or not the wind is blowing.

Given you've already agreed with my main point-- that wind power is not a solution to fill the majority of our energy needs, I'm not sure why you're still here arguing.

> "The operational time of the plant and it's cost...can get as low as 3.5 cents/kWhr"

Unfortunately, that cost figure includes government incentives and tax credits, which substantially reduce the cost of generation. That's also at one of the very few 'ideal' sites for windpower generation. Largescale production is a different matter entirely.


RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/6/2006 5:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
In the end it comes down to price. The expanation of the turbines and peak capacity has already been placed by me and no cogent replies as to the contrary have been placed. Peak capacity is more revelvant to conventional production than to wind turbines as explained before but it's best relevence is to the eventual price of the electricity, which is already stated.

quote:
cost figure includes government incentives and tax
Where does it say that, and in what amount? Nowhere. Are they there, probably.

Now you're going to tell me that there are no tax credits or incentives in other conventional production? Right, and pigs fly.

So unknown amounts of tax credits for both wind turbines and conventional sources skewing the market value (which changes on what the market is and what it values) but you only wish to penalise wind turbines because of their presence. Oh yeah, what is going to get better incentives from the government the established industries (with taxpayers and workers already) or the burgeoning one?

Why don't you just say you're biased all the way through and leave it at that. This is a dead point especially because of the fairness you seem to apply to the question.


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/7/2006 12:05:37 AM , Rating: 2
> "Peak capacity is more revelvant to conventional production than to wind turbines "

What sort of nonsense is this? You're going far, far astray here. The whole issue of peak capacity came from your simplistic assumption that, if you had 500 kW turbines, that you could simply divide the nation's power usage by 500K, and determine the number of windmills needed it power it.

I pointed out that a "500 kW" turbine is likely to produce more like 35% of its rated power...and thus you'd need three TIMES as many windmills as your original estimate stated.

Now...tell me again how this is "irrelevant"? You originally claimed my figures were incorrect, but when faced with the evidence, were forced to agree with them. But this latest objection of yours is truly outrageous, and smacks of someone clinging wildly to straws.

> "Oh yeah, what is going to get better incentives from the government the established industries (with taxpayers and workers already) or the burgeoning one?"

The windpower industry sees the incentives and tax credits. Not coal and nuclear. This is simple, indisputable fact.



RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/12/2006 3:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
No. If you paid attention, I quoted that peak power for conventional plants is more or less of measure of it's operational time. At high steam pressures there is a limit to the amount of power one can extract thermodynamically. The turbines are measured for that. By the same token, those turbines cannot extract the same measured power from something as diffuse as the wind. As can be seen from the power graphs at winds of just 15m/s a peak output of 600 kW is produced. Therefore, it is prudent to try to maximize the cost benefit of the wind that can be captured reguardless of the peak capacity.
http://www.windpower.org/en/tour/wres/pwr.htm
There is a difference in peak output and the output that you keep stating. Get that straightened out. Many plants don't operate at high peak capacities. If a gas fired power plant designed for peak capacity were to be used at 99% peak capacity, the price of electricity would be in the 10-15 cent/KWhr range.

Actually it's in the definition of terms which seems to be loose here on both sides. There should have been a better definition of terms and conditions by which things operate. I'm willing to admit some error in that respect. But in the end the price quoted seems to have flustered you, which you still can't explain.

quote:
windpower industry sees the incentives and tax credits. Not coal and nuclear. This is simple, indisputable fact

The Energy Policy Act of 2005
Provides for $1.65 billion in tax credits for clean coal projects

Nuclear-specific provisions:
Extends the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act through 2025;
Authorizes cost-overrun support of up to $2 billion total for up to six new nuclear power plants;
Authorizes a production tax credit of up to $125 million total per year, consistent with renewables;
Authorizes $1.25 billion for the Department of Energy to build a nuclear reactor to generate both electricity and hydrogen;
Updates tax treatment of decommissioning funds;
A provision for the Department of Energy to report in one year on how to dispose of high-level nuclear waste;

Yah, looking at the recent passed provision, coal and nuclear don't get any breaks....boo hoo. Too bad you didn't look past your bias to actually look up anything. These were passed as incentives to build nukes. It is givin a production credit equal to renewables as well as incentives for the actual construction. Ya, just wind is getting breaks.


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/6/2006 12:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
> "See cost. So I can have a turbine run all the time inefficiently at a high cost per kWh or have it run all the time more efficiently at a lower cost"

Exactly so. A small turbine will run at lower windspeeds. However suggesting this as a solution is ludicrous, as it would literally take hundreds of millions of such smaller devices to meet US power needs. Smaller turbines are vastly more expensive to run per kw-hour, generate correspondingly more noise pollution, and would require perhaps 20 times the land surface to site them. You were already asking for 10% of twelve entire states with the larger turbines...now you want far more?

> "When I gave it, I said it. I said it before that where appropriate it should be part of the mix"

And I've said from my first post that wind power will never be able to meet our energy needs, or even supply a large percentage of them. Since I've never once stated it cannot be "part of the mix", I'm not sure what you're arguing about.

> "Ah yes the NIMBY(Not In My BackYard) contingent of arguements with self justified reasons..."

You mean the same people that have shut down all attempts to give us clean nuclear power, the ones who gave us high gasoline prices by preventing the construction of a single new gas refinery in over 30 years? Yes, they're a real problem, aren't they?

> "Most interestingly, is the fact that you, Masher2, keep referencing sites that have moved or no longer available"

Now you're just being silly. The only "site" I referenced directly was a link to Tacoma Power, a link which is still valid. I also mentioned a story in the Sunday Telegraph, but then you found that one online yourself.

In any case, if you somehow feel that peppering your posts with links to advocacy sites such as "windpower.org" or "Bwea.org" (motto: championing the wind and renewables industry") somehow lends you credibility, you're mistaken. I trust I don't need to explain why.



RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/6/2006 5:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Since I've never once stated it cannot be "part of the mix", I'm not sure what you're arguing about
no but then earlier you go and you keep going like that inanely
quote:
literally take hundreds of millions of such smaller devices to meet US power needs
You never did said it could be part of the mix but then you take it to extreme stupid lengths giving out ludicrous examples of it being the only thing. You can take that length with any of the different kinds of power generation and make it look stupid or in fact anything. No one in their right mind would advocate a single source of power because you would lose the flexibility of a diverse supply so stop being a zealot and measure the known advantages and how they can fit in and they do exist.

In the end, as I've said before is the cost of the electricity which is simply of cost of the materials/upkeep/maintence/construction divided by the amount of power you can expect from the facility. And for all your braying, the cost is around 4-6 cents per kWhr , which makes it cost competitive depending on the local conditions.

As for wind turbines not being competitive or other external factors getting in the way, I suggest looking at the nuclear power boon of the late 50's and 60's. The pricing was not cost competitive with conventional at the time but because of nationalism and pride between the utilities and the Atoms for Peace initiative, many reactors got built. Wind wouldn't be the first to get help from public perception.

Half the websites are from industrial sites trying to sell turbines and their tech. They are trade associations. Open disclosure ensures that they don't get sued, so is it biased yes, can it be trusted, more or less. As for peak power capacity it is exactly the same definition that I've read up before in a nuclear power site. One on my links is to a university.
http://www.awea.org/about/board_of_directors.html
has a GE VP for instance.
The members that did the bird study:
http://www.nationalwind.org/workgroups/wildlife/me...
What they're paid off? Biased? The majority look to be conservationists, who would be biased towards protecting the birds. Don't like it? Why because they diagree with you? How about the history of the british bird or do you even give a hoot, you only put it in to make a point and it's past history and how Man screwed it up for years anyway doesn't count.

Yes I did link up a lot of sites, and they were used to shore up my arguements, which is why they were put there and they readily exposed the cracks in your arguements, which by the way came from where? Or are you a wind power expert whose praises should be sung because we are in your mere presence, and should be taken as canon. (Yah, like Aristotle in the middle ages, "the sun goes around the earth"). The links are for openess and disclosure, a necessary part of any academiac discussion that is done for the various points to be checked. Why object? You don't think rigorous exposure to the source of your arguements can past muster? Don't use those arguements then .

Are the majority of my sites biased? The majority of them were businesses but then you used Siemens so there. Factually, they are open to be checked, but yours?

Ah yes, websites like Wendell Cox's Reason Public Policy Institute
http://www.rppi.org/groupsues.shtml
are impartial? Yah right, just do a search on it and the people behind them and see how impartial they are.
...(it) is a public policy think tank promoting choice, competition, and a dynamic market economy as the foundation for human dignity and progress.
Yah, I wanted to gag but I had to check a mirror, so I could see if someone was going to knife me.

And linked with a right wing religious political organization?
http://www.seekgod.ca/ICES.htm

And Robert Poole linked to the Reason Public Policy Institute? That's impartial? You've linked to this gentleman's various websites, which have been generally derided as partisen for all it's talk about being non-partisen, before. I've already read up on this site, been in the site and read about the gentleman in question. He's a joke and about as impartial as the Cardinels' who threatened Galileo at his trial. Or Bush on gay marriage and abortion.

The Cato Institute. The Thoreu site. A history of right wing advocacy for urban sprawl and road building over public transport(which I remember you lowballing road construction costs esp in developed areas after a link to a university paper stated otherwise). Why not choose institutions/websites with less controvery? But then you don't advocate middle of the road anthing or openess or the impact it has on others or worse, real discussion. It's your way only or the highway.

You don't acknowledge facts that have external links for references unless you can use them yourself. You frankly don't have an open mind. You've already decided, your position. In fact I don't think you even looked into any of the links provided and just labeled them as left and propagandists. What makes you think that the sites and gentlemen you listed aren't or don't have their own agendas? Because their beliefs dovetail so nicely with yours? How naive. It doesn't take long to see how problematic they are as sources. Believe what you want to believe but your arguements are a joke.

Lastly, you want usuable links don't end them in periods or put spaces in them. And one of them did end in a page not found (it redirected when I concatenated at the source url) but I'm not going to look for it on my own time. Do it yourself because I betting that you keep at list of them to spout out whenever the opportunity arises.

For anyone interested in links, esp against Poole and link to the cost of the highway, just look at my history of posts.


RE: An old idea
By masher2 (blog) on 12/6/2006 9:26:14 AM , Rating: 2
> "Right, it's a fringe source of power that supplies 3% of EU countries and growing. How parochial of you."

Story: "Huge protests by voters force the continent's governments to rethink so-called green energy", Sunday Telegraph (London).

Denmark, the world leader in wind technology, is preparing to scale down the number of windmills in the countryside ...

A Danish plan to scrap 900 existing turbines and replace them with with 175 new windmills has also failed to placate the public. The turbines will produce twice as much electricity between them, but will be taller and noisier, critics say...

[Germany:] ... some of Europe's "greenest" countries are under pressure to backtrack on wind farms in the face of public anger over their impact on the countryside. Voters are outraged by the unsightly turbines, the loud, low-frequency humming noise that they create and the stroboscopic effects of blades rotating in sunshine..."The dream of environmentally friendly energy has turned into highly subsidised destruction of the countryside," Germany's influential magazine Der Spiegel pronounced last week...

[Netherlands:] ... Dutch government officials fear that public hostility will force them to shelve plans to expand Holland's wind farms.

Holland had hoped to increase onshore windmill capacity to 1,500 megawatts - enough energy for 1.5 million homes - by 2010.

Wim van der Weegen, a spokesman for the Dutch environment ministry, said: "This is a very densely populated country. Whatever infrastructure you want to put up people will oppose. People say that they don't want it in their backyard...

[England:] "As our continental neighbours have discovered, and we in the UK are quickly learning, the infrastructural costs needed to support wind power generation appear to hugely outweigh the advantages . It provides a trickle of green energy but is against all the principles of sustainable development."

... Last month, The Sunday Telegraph revealed that proposed Scottish windmills were threatening to push one of Britain's rarest birds, the golden eagle, into extinction. The rapid spread of wind farms in Britain also threatens species including osprey, red kites, merlin and falcons....





RE: An old idea
By Ringold on 12/6/2006 7:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
It fills me with joy to read those, masher.

Finally I can tell my unfortunately misguided socialists friends that once again, capitalism is proving its prudence and efficiency by not leaping forward at some new-fangled idea before the markets say its ready. Socialists did, and were so convincing, even I wavered. But capitalism prevailed, and now it's blowing up in their faces. Or rather, driving them mad with noise, blinding them with reflected light, and splattering birds all over the admittedly beautiful countryside in some of those places.

On the other hand, they do have one thing right. I thought I read France gets a large chunk of its energy from nuclear power. Bravo for them. Damn NIMBY holds it back domestically here. I'd let them set up a cooling tower in my back yard, especially if they wanted to pay me nicely.

Oh, not that France probably decided on nukes via the free market, but alas, broken clocks are correct twice a day.


RE: An old idea
By number999 on 12/12/2006 4:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
capitalism is proving its prudence and efficiency by not leaping forward at some new-fangled idea before the markets say its ready
If you actually read about the history of nuclear power in the US, you'd have realized that it was adopted BEFORE they were actually really ready for the market. Even before 3-mile island, projects were being dropped left, right and center because coal powered plants were just that cheap. Companies, like people, buy things beyond prudence and efficiency and early nuclear power may have been a marvel but it was an expensive one.

And you obviously didn't read the fact that the wind power can produce electricity as low as 4 cents/KWhr. I'm not a freaking socialist but at least I read enough to know my history of actual things and that is cost competitive to other conventional methods, especially during peak demands. Check it out yourself. People ARE building them due to capitalism. It is cost effective.

Try actually reading the posts with some sort of openess to new ideas. Considering I actually have proved references to studies that disprove some of the so called objections, the only reason that I can see wholehearted rejection of my position is a pre-existing opinion.

As for capitalism. Read any economics book. All economies are mixed economies. In the US, a small amount is socialized in communist states, small amounts have capitalistic elements. US Industrialist Armand Hammer helped Lenin and the Soviet Union put some free market farming in and took it back later. In China, all those enterprises are 51% owned by the state. In the US, medicare and old age pension are socialistic to name but a few. The way people parade capitalism around, it's synonomous with the US, patriotism, democracy, apple pie and religion when the facts are otherwise.

It's a great soundbyte but I doubt people actually known its full implications and use it patriotically to represent their belief in the "American"/democratic right way of doing things as opposed to the "Communist"/socialist - wrong way of doing things when the thing proposed should be discussed on it's merits instead of politicized. Or is that too much too ask for?


Waterworld?
By therealnickdanger on 12/5/2006 11:17:24 AM , Rating: 2
Next week on DailyTech:

International Oceanic Shipping Companies Begin Tests Using Fabric Wind-Catchers - aka "Sails"

Wind power at sea is about the only place wind-power actually makes sense and doesn't clutter the landscape.




RE: Waterworld?
By Le Québécois on 12/5/2006 11:42:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Wind power at sea is about the only place wind-power actually makes sense and doesn't clutter the landscape.


Yes because Smog and air pollution does make a good view for a beautiful landscape...and your health.

Not that you are wrong about the fact that Wind turbine technoligy doesn't help for the view but it still is a really good source of non polluting energy.


RE: Waterworld?
By therealnickdanger on 12/5/2006 11:55:10 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Yes because Smog and air pollution does make a good view for a beautiful landscape...and your health.

Well, in all my travels (many coastal cities and oceanic vistas), I have yet to have a view or my health ruined by air pollution. However, when I visited the south side of Hawaii (The Big Island), I saw many rusted and broken wind generators. I honestly can't say that I'm a fan of wind power. Not that it doesn't have it's place...


RE: Waterworld?
By Le Québécois on 12/5/2006 12:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said, not that your point of view isn't valid but where I live(Montreal), it gets pretty ugly at some point in summer and we have smog alert so that people with breathing problems don't go out those day. And Montreal isn't even a very big city. Around 1.5 millions of populations.

I've been in China for some time (3 weeks) and when you have problem breathing all the time from the air pollution or when I can tell you that I did see a blue sky for about 10h maximum in the whole time I was there. It really ruins the landscape view, much more than wind generators. Hek, one day I couldn't even see clearly from one side of my hotel room to the windows because of the Smog in my "air conditioning room with no windows open at all".


RE: Waterworld?
By animedude on 12/5/2006 6:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
Try picking your nose in those China cities :D. Your nose will be stuffed by black dried stuff. On other hand, in Vancouver, it is a totally different world.


RE: Waterworld?
By creathir on 12/5/2006 12:14:37 PM , Rating: 1
You have never been to the City of Angels, have you?

That is one of the most disgusting cities on earth...

- Creathir


RE: Waterworld?
By Le Québécois on 12/5/2006 12:46:13 PM , Rating: 2
If by that you mean Los Angeles, no I have never been there sadly. But it just can't be worst than some cities I have been in China ;).

That's why I say go for it when it come to wind generators or any kind of alternative way or generating energy like the one in this news. I just don't want to see that kind of air pollution every where I go or to see my (future)children grow in that environment.


RE: Waterworld?
By keiclone on 12/5/2006 2:04:24 PM , Rating: 2
never been to Hong Kong or other cities in teh south side of china? Really sad how you can barely see across the harbor these days


RE: Waterworld?
By therealnickdanger on 12/5/2006 1:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
I have been to LA a couple times, and that is probably the worst of U.S. cities in terms of air quality, but there isn't much there I like to see anyway... ;-) Seriously though, it was never that bothersome on the beach or in some of the parks. I generally only use LA as a hub to get to other areas anyway.

Like Le Québécois said, even the worst areas can have their good days. However, wind generators don't go away... ever. The work until they are no longer maintained, then they decay and look even worse. So I guess I would still rather not have them. There are plenty of other power generation methods that don't pollute and don't intrude further on the environment.

While still expensive and not yet the most efficient, just imagine every house in the U.S. with solar shingles!


RE: Waterworld?
By CascadingDarkness on 12/5/2006 5:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
I really think more money should be put into this instead of other (less practical) power research. Just think if they could get this tech down so it was only slightly more than normal re-shingling. (where power bill returns would make it a no brain choice)

People already need to re-shingle ~ every 20 years anyway. If these could be manufactured with lower cost and not contain anything more harmful then normal ones who wouldn't want them?

I've heard of big hippies in area with these who claim they have surplus power gain being fed into grid on sunny summer days.


RE: Waterworld?
By saratoga on 12/5/2006 2:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes because Smog and air pollution does make a good view for a beautiful landscape...and your health.


Smog is produced by cars. Cars cannot be easily powered by wind, so I don't really see your point. Yes smog sucks, but we're talking about pollution from coal plants, not smog.


RE: Waterworld?
By Oregonian2 on 12/5/2006 3:22:58 PM , Rating: 2
Could be powered by wind though, even now. Electric car (they're rare but are coming) plus use of the windmills to produce power that goes into charging that car's batteries.


RE: Waterworld?
By Le Québécois on 12/6/2006 12:08:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Smog is produced by cars.


But still Wikipedia seems to say :
quote:
Smog is a kind of air pollution — the name is a portmanteau of smoke and fog. Classic smog results from large amounts of coal burning in an area


And :
quote:
Nitrogen oxides are released in the exhaust of fossil fuel-burning engines in cars, trucks, coal power plants, and industrial manufacturing factories.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smog

So unless you have some kind of coal powered car ;).

Not to say that cars have nothing to do at all with smog, but why not try to reduce it every way we can? While I have yet to see my Mazda 626 run on coal OR wind, I don't see why trying to reduce other source of smog and air pollution like coal power plants is a bad thing.


I have a great idea!
By Spivonious on 12/5/2006 11:24:17 AM , Rating: 3
Instead of using engines on boats, let's use canvas sheets to capture wind! I was flying a kite the other day and was like "hey, this is pretty hard to hang on to...maybe I could generate some energy from this." So I made a big kite and put it on a pole on a boat. Miracle of miracles, it worked! It's amazing that no one has ever thought of this before!




RE: I have a great idea!
By Griswold on 12/5/06, Rating: 0
RE: I have a great idea!
By Spivonious on 12/5/2006 12:30:30 PM , Rating: 2
That's why I mentioned kites...


RE: I have a great idea!
By oTAL on 12/6/2006 5:24:24 AM , Rating: 2
Don't be a bad boy! Maybe Griswold isn't adapted to the subtle intricacies of satiric discourse...


My 2 Cents
By evonitzer on 12/5/2006 6:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to comment on some rather erroneous claims made earlier about wind power, but they seem to have been addressed already. However, I do see a large wind farm on a regular basis, and think it is pretty sweet. In a fairly remote area of Montana (near Judith Gap) a 90 turbine, 135 megawatt farm was installed about a year ago. So yes, that's 1.5 megawatt per fan. Someone earlier did mention efficiency, and that is a problem with wind power. The farm at Judith Gap spent it's first year at about 40%, which is considered quite good for for wind power. I can personally attest to the fact that the wind does blow almost constantly at Judith Gap, so this is an especially good spot.

Along the coast is also a great place because of the sea breezes. I don't really need to tell people who live there I suppose, but the wind in and out from the ocean are some of the most constant to be found. However, more people live along the coast than in Montana, so there are more people to complain about the black (although they are white) mark they make on the landscape. Remote towns in MT are generally happy to have more business to keep the little town alive.

Another advantage is wind generators allow the land to remain viable. The wind farm in Montana was right on top of a regular farm/ranch, and now, a year or two after installation, there are cows wandering amongst the towers, and farming continues in between the towers. So for the owner of this land, he/she is still able to continue life as it was before the wind farm, with the added income of the lease.

Last is the downside of putting up wind farms in remote Montana or remote Canada (as I heard someone mention previous to me). Power that is generated must be transported to the areas that need it. So there is a massive cost besides the construction of the farm itself. Transmission lines must be either expanded or constructed if capacity is exceeded or there aren't lines any near the site. There is also a loss of power in transmission which is on average about 15%, but this does depend on the distance traveled, so the power produced is less valuable if it is required to traverse the continent. And while I don't really believe that wind mills themselves are a black mark, transmission lines aren't very attractive, and where there's generation, there must be transmission. So it does make a lot of sense to construct wind generators along the coast where the power is needed so the transmission needs are much less.




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