A shift of wind

Where I live on the outskirts of Chico, I have an almost constant supply of wind. I’ve considered a wind turbine as a way of getting closer to being “off-grid” so that I don’t have to pay PG&E the exorbitant rates. After reading this ChicoER story, I think I’ll pass on a wind turbine and focus on more solar. – Anthony

On Tuesday, neighbors complained to county supervisors about a windmill on Stilson Canyon Road, as seen from Humboldt Road Wednesday. Photo: Bill Husa - ChicoER

From the Chico Enterprise-Record: Disturbing the silence: Wind turbine not sustaining to neighbors’ sleep

By HEATHER HACKING – ChicoER Staff Writer

CHICO — A year and a half ago when Don Steinsiek installed a wind turbine at the top of Stilson Canyon Road, he was excited to harness the wind.He had been interested in the technology for a while, and when tax credits and rebates became available, he went for it.

The wind will vary, but he figured with the incentives, he could pay off his $82,000 investment in six or seven years.

When energy generation is greater than his use, he can sell electricity to the grid for 5 cents a kilowatt. But overall, he said the turbine provides energy for about two-thirds of his energy use.

It sounded like a good plan, and fit with the trend toward renewable energy sources. But neighbors say the wind turbine ruins the quiet nature of the neighborhood, lowers their property values and deprives them of sleep.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting there was a lengthy discussion of Steinsiek’s turbine.

The state is passing new rules that will make it easier to install small wind structures, explained Tim Snellings, county development services director. Unless Butte County passes its own rules before Dec. 31, the new state rules will apply, he continued.

Neighbors took the opportunity to talk about the wind turbine.

O.J. Sutherland lives at the bottom of the hill from the turbine. He described the sound as similar to a “hovering helicopter to a whining or moaning sound.”

He told the supervisors some neighbors have changed the rooms in which they sleep, others wear earplugs and some just can’t sleep.”We no longer have a quiet neighborhood. There is only one acceptable relief — to remove it,” Sutherland said.

Farther down the road is Gary Marquis, who said for 20 years he has heard frogs and crickets. “Now I listen to a wind turbine,” he said.

Read the full story here at the ChicoER

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144 thoughts on “A shift of wind

  1. Your current comfort and enjoyment of life are a small price to pay for your future comfort and enjoyment of life.

    /logicfail

  2. I’m convinced. Those that say wind power is silent have never listened to a turbine before.

  3. Windmills are fine. As long as we can’t see them, or hear them. So, tell me again where you want those wind farms?

  4. I’ve heard these stories about people saying wind turbines ruin their sleep… I’ve read them and tried to understand but I can’t because my bedroom sits within 300 meters of a 2 MW turbine and my sleep has never been interrupted. I’ll be honest, the first week thats all I could hear but my brain has shut the sound off… I really dont know that its there anymore.

    What issue I do have with the windmills is the ice formation during the winter….. these things are supposed to shut down when the icicles forming on that blades becomes too heavy….. I’ve seen with my own eyes the ice shards shatter and are thrown into the fields.

    If you’re standing anywhere near that turbine … you’re dead.

  5. Well, if i buy a big racing car and run it at 6000 rpm the entire night i am also going to ruin my neighboors sleep. This case sounds to be like a case of bad engineering of the wind turbine. Building a wind turbine is always a compromise between price and sound level. If you use a big generator you can run the wings at low rpm and a low sound level but a big generator is expensive and heavy. If you use a small generator the rpm will be high with a high sound level but the price will be low.

  6. Yes, wind turbines are noisy as hell. I know it well, after visiting several massive installations here in Spain. Maybe they don’t pollute in a chemical sense, but oh man, they do pollute with sound!

    The difficult thing for this technology is that, for it to give the best of benefits, you have to put them somewhere high, at the top of a high hill or a mountain, where wind will blow stronger, and in order for them not to disturb people with the terrible noise it has to be a rather issolated area. So far, it doesn’t look difficult to achieve. But you also need to have a very good road leading there. I mean, two wide lanes, and no big turns, because some of the pieces of those huge towers need to be taken there in one piece. And you need huge lorries to do that. And they have to reach the installation site. And who has very good roads leading to the top of mountains where nobody lives? The logistic problems are a very big headache.

  7. I find it hard to believe that a turbine that size would bother the person in the house let alone the neighbors. It looks to be fairly rural so I would assume that he could have easily built it a hundred feet from the house. Unless there is something wrong with bearings, that shouldn’t be that loud. Some people just work hard at finding something to complain about.

  8. Anyone who has ever been to Tehachapi knows of this nightmare. You can hear them half a mile away. The technology is totally fragile, so the optimal turbines are simply unreliable as well as unsightly and noisy. Everyone I know who has installed a wind system has shut it down, often with a very expensive lawn fixture rusting away, that will require much more money to take down. It is a scam.

  9. I assume most of the noise comes from the vortex generated at the tip of each blade. Airplanes put winglets at the tip of their wings to reduce the vortex generated by the airplane wings. Couldn’t winglets be put on the tips of the generator blades to reduce the strength of the vortex generated and thus reduce the sound level?

    REPLY:
    Perhaps, could also be the gearing and shaft too. I stood next to one like this and noise seemed more mechanical in origin. -A

  10. I frequently ride my bicycle past two wind generators which I think are about the same size as the one in the picture, and I’ve never noticed any particular noise even when I’ve stopped to check them out. Since they sit just a little way off the road in someone’s yard, any unusual noise should have been evident. Of course, that doesn’t mean the wind generator in Chico isn’t producing obnoxious sounds; just might mean what someone else suggested which is that it’s not functioning correctly. Since I find my sleep disturbed often enough by the barking dogs and loud cars in my neighborhood, I have a lot of empathy for anyone bothered by noises.

  11. Solar technology certainly has a future but not wind technology. There is something decidedly archaic about wind tech. While the usefulness of solar technology has long been proven in space, all wind powered instruments (sail ships, windmills) have become icons of romantic history. Fifty years from now people will look back at wind turbines as one of the most Quixotic attempts to to help us deal with the AGW hysteria.

  12. Just imagine a neighborhood full of wind turbines. Hopefully the collective savings in electricity costs will equal the depreciation in property values!
    I can tell you where I wouldn’t buy a home!
    Give me clean, reliable, cheap and QUIET natural gas!

  13. I visited an area in Kansas. They claim to have high average wind speed.
    I looked at Wunderground and saw the last 2 days had wind and the 7 days before did not. When the wind dies in July and August, the towers relax.
    Wind is great. For some reason, farmers try to avoid using windmills for water wells unless the well is just to far from electric power. I also don’t see the Navy returning to sailing vessels.
    There is no doubt that wind power has some strong disadvantages. I suspect neighbors will raise a stink like they did in australia with the farms.
    The purchase rate of electric put back into the system is far to low.

  14. Ah I think that sort of large setup is inconsiderate for an urban location, there will always be someone that has a problem with constant noise, others can turn their minds off, but for some its difficult. I guess over time, some would be driven/turned to direct action – and after all it is a pretty large target!!
    These sorts of neighborhood niggles have a great potential for turning sour in the worst way, I don’t think I would like to be the owner if they do.

    I would have thought that the smaller vertical (axial) style wind vanes might be better on an urban power generator and quieter to operate and less intrusive on the eye.
    As I said that thing is hard to ignore visually!

  15. Not very cost effective yet, if you consider the *cost* the neighbors are paying for no power to them. Even the owner only gets 2/3 of his power from the turbine. Way too much investment for a poor return. This technology isn’t completely cooked yet. It is not going to solve all our energy needs.

  16. How many warning were ignored? Scadenfreunde is understandable here. Windmills will go the way of the once ballyhooed high rise housing projects, which promised to deliver modern and affordable housing to everyone. Today, like the windmills will be 20 or 30 years from now, they are nothing but big eyesores.

  17. My decision on wind turbines was made simply by looking at my local power station and a little arithmetic. This plant was a disaster as a nuke but was re-purposed to natural gas. I will be conservative and guess that it covers about 100 acres, although it is probably much less than that.
    It generates a Gigawatt on demand. Now imagine the number of turbines to required to produce the same amount of power. Even using the “rated at” numbers for a Vestas V80 (1.8MW), that’s 555 turbines. Multiply that by the footprint of each, and you cover a huge amount of acreage.
    While the land underneath can be used for crops, it’s not much good for anything else. Wind turbines shed ice, produce noise, and require maintenance. Here in the west, pivot sprinklers are used extensively for crops, and it would take a lot of coordination between farmers and power companies to co-exist on the same land.
    I will keep my little gas fired power station, thank you.

  18. I am surprised that there has been no mention of the damage to wildlife that large turbines may cause.

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/wind-turbine-kill-birds.htm/printable

    The argument that more birds are killed flying into windows is true but think how many windows there are compared to the number of wind turbines.
    The mortality rate per turbine has been put at two birds per year. How many birds have been killed flying into your windows? We had a sparrowhawk killed two years ago. One bird for more than twenty windows in forty years.

  19. This is exactly what is happening in Sweden also but in large scale.
    I am not talking about wind turbines for 1 house but hughe ones up to 100m in the nature. People are furious about thos turbinees when they get installed near their calm enveironment lowering the values of their houses while having to listen to the sound day and night, no more sleeping with open windows on hot summer nights.
    Several independent local organizations pop up all over sweden nowdays trying to stop industrialization of the nature.

  20. I’ve been to Wild Horse windfarm in Washington State.
    It’s located two miles from the nearest residence.
    I personally wouldn’t live any closer then that to a wind farm.

    Of course all the electricity from the Wild Horse Windfarm is sold to Californian’s as they apparently enjoy paying for transmission losses and excessive rates.

  21. We’ve had a mechanical noise problem from an apartment building’s ventilation extractor fan for years. I’ve been aware of it for a very long time because for some reason my house sits at a focal point for the noise, while many neighbours claimed they could not hear it, or only noticed it if I point it out. The sound disappeared the closer one got to the apartment building (from my house) as the spread of the building’s rooftop prevented soundwaves from travelling downward. Fortunately I was not the only person who lives at a focal point for this sound; a neighbour on another street had also suffered for years (losing sleep at night over this), and we carried on a joint complaint campaign to get the noise taken care of, with unsatisfactory results. The building superintendent eventually just hung up if we called, so my neighbour and I put together petitions and a notice of lawsuit, and he plastered the neighbourhood with information about the source of the irritating high-pitched mechanical sound (sort of like a faulty alternator) and what to do about it. Finally we are enjoying a quiet summer! The point is that just because someone cannot hear a sound at a certain location does not mean that it does not exist or does not constitute a major problem elsewhere. Solar increasingly sounds like the better option, from a noise pollution perspective.

  22. Ever heard propeller driven airplanes? Solar, bring lots of money.

    There is a reason no one ever talks about how cheap wind and solar generated electricity is. Solar is great for satellites.

  23. I live within a half block of a hospital ER and its heliport. I can sleep through ambulance sirens and hovering helicopters. If the wind turbine manufacturers would just add air-raid sirens to their windmills then people wouldn’t notice the turbine noise.

  24. Wind power will only produce on average about 20% of its nameplate rating.

    Wind power is not environmentality friendly. It takes a lot of dirty energy to manufacture and install a wind turbine facility.

    If 20% of our electric generation capacity was replaced by wind power, it would reduce our dependency on foreign oil by a paltry 0.292%.

    In theory, if 20% of our electric generation capacity was replaced by wind power, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a measly 0.00948%. In practice, like in Denmark, CO2 emissions have actually increased.

    Wind power cannot replace fossil fueled generating plants to any degree. Germany predicts that by 2020, 96% of its wind turbines will have to be backed up by new dependable, dispatchable, coal fired power plants. Why pay for one electric generation system when the electric bill payers and taxpayers can pay for two!

    The sad truth about most alternative energies like solar and wind is that they are unsustainable. Wind power has an Energy Returned On Energy Invested ratio of 0.29. Solar photovoltaic is 0.48. The manufacture, installation and operation of a wind turbine facility will consume more than 3 times the energy it will ever produce.

    Take away the subsidies, grants, production tax credits, and double declining balance accelerated depreciation, and wind turbine facilities would never be built!

  25. Climate craziness in the Chicago suburbs.

    “School districts get state’s blessing to build wind farms”
    Read more here:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=391087

    So, taxpayers are paying school officials, that are going to run a taxpayer subsidised wind farm.
    Time to close the “free” money tap, it is out of control.

  26. Plus all those bird collisions raining down on your roof…
    Not to mention the cost of repairs and eventual removal of the tower…
    And the neighbors’ complaints and/or laughter at your folly…

    In the end, the energy density of wind is too impractical for most applications. But it can work in some places like offshore marine laboratories (http://soot.sr.unh.edu/airmap/IS_north.jpg) where transporting diesel fuel for generators is costly.

  27. Years ago the local elementary school had a grant supported project to put a windmill in the playground. I think they kept a couple of pigs in the enclosure as well, fed with left over lunches from the school kids. It was a teaching thing I think. The turbine bothered the close by neighbors quite a bit but people living more than a few hundred yards away didn’t care much and nothing was done until one day in a tremendous wind storm the thing broke loose and began free wheeling at a frantic rate. All over town you could hear it, even upwind. It was like a jumbo jet flexing its mechanical muscle on the tarmac. I mean it was FANTASTIC!!! It’s been so long now that I can’t remember if it was only a few hours or a few days, but it was a while before the thing flew apart and the racket stopped. It was never repaired or replaced. The pigs were taken away as well. I guess all those thrown out lunches just go into the land fill now.

  28. From the article,

    ‘Grant said of the 160 similar turbines his company has installed, there have not been noise complaints.’

    That, of course, depends on where those others were installed. Or if Mr Steinsiek got a faulty turbine which err when wind speed picks up.

    ‘Enterprise-Record staffers visited Stilson Canyon at 3 p.m.’

    Like noise from everyday day life isn’t going to drench most high and low frequencies.

    lol, maybe they should get an expert in home theater sound proofing to measure exactly where the unwanted noise hits and also wherefrom it bounces off of. :p

  29. Some other reports on noise from industrial wind turbines…

    UK noise association which recommends 1 mile as a minimum distance from a wind farm to a dwelling

    the National Medical Academy of France, which recommends setbacks of 1.5 kilometres for 2.5 MW turbines to dwellings.

    the independent Kamperman and James study (simple guidelines for siting wind turbines to prevent health risks 2008) 2 kilometres to peoples homes….’some residents living as far as 3 kilometres from a windfarm complain of sleep disturbance from the noise)

    the independent Styles et al. report (microsiesmic and infrasound monitoring of low frequency noise and vibrations from windfarms 2005)….’There is clear evidence that wind turbines generate low frequency sound (infrasound) and acoustic signals’

    The Portuguese study ‘Industrial Wind Turbines, infrasound and Vibro-Aucoustic DIsease 2007’….Which concludes ‘These results irrefutably demonstrate that wind turbines in the proximity of residential areas produce acoustical environments that can lead to the development of VAD in nearby home-dwellers.’

    the white paper prepared by the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering University of Massachusetts Amherst ‘Wind Turbine Acoustic Noise’ amended January 2006

    Dr Amanda Harry M B Ch B P G Dip E N T february 2007 study of wind turbine health effects

    the Frey and Hadden 2007 report ‘Noise Radiation from wind turbines installed near homes: Effects on health

    the Nina Pierpoint MD PhD independent report (New York) ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome…..recommendation 2 kilometre setbacks

  30. Many windmills are currently being buil in Washington State. At least all the ones I’ve seen so far are in remote areas – wind farms – rather than residential areas.
    That reduces the noise – but not the unreliability. Between the two winters, many windmills were added to the BPA system, increasing the capacity from 1695 MW to 2692 MW. This is a 58 % increase — yet the amount of power produced decreased by 29 %. See: http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/WindEnergy.htm#bpa

  31. The wind turbines in the Vineyards near me are very very quiet, but they never spin!

    Infact, there actually there to GENERATE WIND, should the odd frosts come along they spin to protect the grapes – they run in reverse! And yet to the un-informed passer, by the Vineyards appear to be upstanding businessess utilising wind power for the good of the earth.

    Still, the turbines are more efficient than the days gone by when they used to assemble 20 helicopters to hover over the grapes and dissipate the frost from forming!

    So many people planted vineyards in cool regions here are the governments incessant forecasts of warming, how irronic that for the vineyards to survive they now have to fight frosts each year, that according to the govt and their scientists shouldnt exist!

  32. This is not unique. There was a story in the UK Telegraph a while back about a woman who was told to take her wind turbine and stuff it because of the noise. If your house orientation has a sloped N-S roof, solar is fairly simple these days. If you live where there is a flat roof, it is trivial. There are turnkey Grid-Tie systems available from Outback Power and other folks. Cost of cells is about $2 a watt now. I run one side of my duplex plus my computer and communications from my system.

  33. The town I live in, Lewes DE, has a University of Delaware campus just adjacent to our neighborhood. This year they’ve installed a wind turbine on the campus that they say will provide all of the University’s power needs. So far their hasn’t been any noticeable noise but the thing doesn’t spin very fast and is a monster compared to the one you’re talking about. UDel wind turbine

    Turbine model Gamesa G90
    Generator power 2 MW
    Tower height 256 feet
    Tower weight 203 tons
    Blade length 144 feet

  34. We, at one point in the early 80s, had the largest and noisiest windmill in the US here in NC on Howard’s Knob in Boone.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard's_Knob

    Not only was the windmill audible (by vibrating EVERYTHING), it was electically noisy as well, causing communication issues.

    It was not missed once it was decomissioned and dimantled in1983….

  35. A shi(f)t of wind

    He had been interested in the technology for a while, and when tax credits and rebates became available, he went for it.

    Does it mean the Gentleman has his eco-folly financed by his neighbors who has to pay their taxes in full?

    He should be [snip] for the mere fact, not only for spoiling the serenity of the area…

    Regards

  36. A strongly recommended book:

    The Wind Farm Scam

    by John Etherington.

    He writes from a UK perspective – and actually began writing as an ecologist with a strong conservative viewpoint – but is accurate, entertaining, and yet frightening in relating how the wind industry has scammed their data, the amount of power actually produced, the bird deaths that occur, and the acreage required. Best part is the good analysis of the power grid imbalances and turmoil created as wind power grows from a harmless trivial random “variation” to a country-wide, grid-wide debacle costing billions to the “rest of the world” – but paying millions to the politically-connected politicians and wind energy corporations.

    He does little about house-sized units – if you are near the grid, in any place where you do not need overhead cables run at 10,000.00 dollars (and many permit meetings!) per mile of new wires, there is no justification economically.

  37. If we pass a hat around can we get enough money together to build one of those puppies next to Al Gore’s mansion?

  38. About 8 years ago I commuted up to the Gold Country from Oakland for several months. Two round tips a week. Those wind turbines at Altamont are butt-ugly, inefficient and dangerous to raptors.

  39. PP, that’s right. He soaked his neighbors for his green energy boondoggle. Just a quick guess, but at the prices I pay for electricity $82k would have a payout of 40-45 years. Probably less in California. Not only does it bother the neighbors, it has about zero economic viability unless he can dip into their pockets to pay for it.

    Bad deal all around

  40. Real estate agents trying to sell a house near a 6 lane freeway will try to convince a prospective buyer that the traffic noise sounds like a mountain stream. BS. It sounds like traffic. Same with turbines.

  41. We decided to go geo-thermal heating and cooling this year. It is currently being installed. I wish we did it last month to beat this heat!

  42. Here in NJ, I am now paying over $0.19 per kWh plus additional demand charges. The rate went up drastically in part to pay for all these solar and wind installation. My utility bills to run some hall lights (all CFL’s) in an apartment building and a laundry have become staggering.

  43. The most popular windmill brand is “Masochism Tango” after Tom Lehrer’s title.

    Which sane person would pay a fortune, knowingly violate property rights, generate electricity at more than 3 times the grid price … all because a few vested interests with deplorable science say you’ll go to Hell if you do not.

    What a scam!

  44. I live on Stilson Canyon Road near the wind turbine. In the past year it has bothered me once, for about 1 minute!

    Sick of the “Not in my back yard” attitude. Next my pool pump will be deemed too loud.

  45. I thank fenbeagle for citing my paper on wind turbine noise and sleep disturbance.
    Wind turbines, especially the large 2.5Mw+ monsters now being erected, are noisy. It’s not the gear box noise, that’s only audible for a couple of hundred metres, it’s the aorodynamic noise from the blades. They generate a spectrum of noise that is probably unique with a large element of low frequency noise that travels a long way, disturbance at up to 3.5km has been documented and they are extremely annoying, several times more annoying than road, aircraft and aviation noise. They wreck sleep.

    Not everybody is affected, but at least 15% of the population is noise sensitive, more in rural areas because such people seek quiet locations, and they are vulnerable. Sleep disturbance is not trivial and is strongly associated with ill health. If you don’t believe me, check out Nissenbaum’s study of the residents of Mars Hill, Maine http://www.windaction.org/documents/27985 and described in my paper. The results of this small study are sobering.

    Wind turbines fail on almost every front, electricity production, CO2 reduction, environmental protection and human health. They are the idols of the modern religion of AGW and they demand sacrifices.

  46. dave ward says:
    July 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm
    “Solomon Green says: “The mortality rate per turbine has been put at two birds per year.
    Try 14 in six months! – as this UK primary school found out:”

    Most think that bird kill is a statistical calculation, but on a WUWT post of some months ago, a You Tube video showed a hawk circling back and around through the blade swath a dozen times until it did get killed. They like the drafts from the thing, especially soaring birds. Re the noise, I think I’ll will corner the market on quiet windless land areas – a good niche business for the brave new future.

  47. I just mentioned the work of Victor Schauberger with water, on the comment-of-the-week thread. Schauberger found ways to harness the mechanics of water so skilfully that conventional designers said it was impossible. But it worked.

    OWLS FLY SILENTLY.

    I feel that within the remit of the Universe there’s got to be subtle, sensitive different kinds of windmill design that, working with the spirit of Air, would produce power not only more efficiently, but also with more beauty and silence or even musical sound. Why not? Or does this already exist somewhere – pooh-pooh’ed by academia and the greenies?

  48. Moderators – Snip if this is already up

    From

    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/13728

    Jeff Id at The Air Vent posted this excellent summary about energy sources and why the fossil and nuclear fuels work and the so-called renewables are too limited to support our modern society. Jeff brings to the debate an understanding of the general physics behind energy use, that is important in understanding why liberal fantasies about energy are based mostly in ignorance (if not, misinformation).

    links to

    Greenthink
    Posted by Jeff Id on July 9, 2010

    First there is no such thing as renewable energy, it’s kind of fitting that the very word greenies have coined is itself a lie. I say that because there are so many lies and exaggerations in the world of green energy that it makes ‘renewable’ a perfectly fitting term.

  49. Car tyres are difficut and expensive to dispose of properly. 20 years ago I visited a plant which was on less than 1/2 acre. It was generating a megawatt by burning 40 tyres an hour. The clever combustion system meant it was within the acceptable emissions standards of the day. The waste heat from the turbine was heating a small sheltered housing complex nearby.

    A larger proposed system was turned down by the enviro lobby 3 years later. The project has not been revived.

  50. The irony on this website is that wind is likely carbon increasing! Wind does not blow all the time, let alone when you are likeiest to run your AC. As a result there have to be power plants on in case the wind dies down (happens all the time and screws up the Texas grid). These power plants burn natural gas to stay “hot” for a quick response time. Wind is intermittent and will never be a reliable source of power until the electricity can be efficiently stored.

  51. DR – a review on your geo-thermal experiences and economics would be appreciated.

    Here is a useful product for those that:

    1. Have too much money
    2. Want to save the planet
    3. Need to lose weight

    http://www.windstreampower.com/

    ($600 for a pedal powered generator – where you supply the pedals)

    (I’m in the wrong business).

  52. i should add… at least with solar you get the electricity when you are most likely to need it (hot, sunny, summer days). solar genuinely reduces peak demand from fossil plants.

  53. BarryW says:{July 15, 2010 at 1:45 pm}
    “The town I live in, Lewes DE, has a University of Delaware campus just adjacent to our neighborhood. This year they’ve installed a wind turbine on the campus that they say will provide all of the University’s power needs.
    Turbine model Gamesa G90
    Generator power 2 MW
    Tower height 256 feet
    Tower weight 203 tons
    Blade length 144 feet”

    Barry, that makes the “damage circle” surrounding the base about 800 feet in diameter. Anything under the machine within that circle?

  54. Nuclear is the only sane solution.

    Even some alarmists are coming around to that point of view.

    Wind power is ridiculously expensive and inefficient. This morning I drove from Seville in southern Spain to Granada, a distance of about 300kms. Hundreds of windmills spoiled the view and only five were actually turning.

  55. It is not really the audible sound, it’s infrasound.

    Responses of the Ear to Infrasound and Wind Turbines
    Cochlear Fluids Research Laboratory, Washington University in St. Louis
    Alec Salt Ph.D., Revised June 17, 2010

    The highest power comes below 1 Hz. It can’t even be measured by microphones, you need a microbarometer. There is no insulation against it and no regulation covers this frequency range. Also, health effects of infrasound below 1 Hz is a neglected field so far.

    It’s a good idea to keep at least 2 km safety distance from any human habitation or workplace. Even that might be insufficient if wind turbines are installed en masse. Man-made microbaroms can get global eventually.

    There is an ongoing discussion of the topic here. Read backwards.

  56. hell_is_like_newark says:
    July 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm
    “Here in NJ, I am now paying over $0.19 per kWh plus additional demand charges.[...]”

    Thanks! It’s good to hear that it’s not only us Germans who pay idiotically high prices (about 20 Eurocent == 25 US cents generally; expected to rise by 10% next year due to a large increase in solar cross-subsidies).

  57. I wonder what the noise level is like, compared to sitting here about 1/2mi away from a freeway and 15mi south of SFO Rwy 28L.

    I’ve got the fairly gentle background hum of the freeway, punctuated by periodic clouds of aluminum overcast of varying decibel levels.

    Been here for two decades and it’s not a problem.

  58. The economics of these machines are not even remotely plausible. As noted in a number of comments, there will always be a negative cash flow associated with small scale wind turbines (and likely for large as well). When realistic economic inputs are used (ie real cost of capital, tax credits, depreciation, maintenance, replacement/standby power cost, etc), there will always be a negative payback. Reality; face it. I think the same “guidelines” used to produce climate models are used to produce economic payback scenarios for wind/solar, ie, twiddle the inputs/model until the “desired” output is produced.

    I installed a thermal solar hot water heater at my house in Maine a number of years ago. I did so because of engineering interest, and I could get the equipment (with my own installation) for under $1000, ie about a third what a new installed system would cost. At the $1000 (ie 1/3 off real cost), the system would have a real payback in about 4-5 years. At $3000, there is a negative payback.

  59. some residents living as far as 3 kilometres from a windfarm complain of sleep disturbance from the noise

    Yes, but they are making it up, albeit unconciously.

    The big windmills are very noisy, although the ground hum would bother me much more. However a couple of kilometres and its gone. Smaller turbines are far less noisy, though still irritating close up.

    Not so long ago some people were complaining that cell phone towers gave them headaches and prevented them from sleeping. That is because some people can’t sleep when they know about something that bothers them. I bet if we look back virtually all new technologies “spoiled” sleep in the overly sensitive.

    Once the freaking out about the current new thing has passed, which it will, we will get used to them. Like all the complaints that a new hydroelectric dam will spoil the landscape, only to find that the new lake is actually quite pretty. We put up with ugly motorways and power pylons right up close, but apparently the clean lines of a windmill on a hilltop is the ugliest thing ever seen! (It’s very funny seeing places that allow monstrous great billboard advertising along the roadside complaining about “visual pollution” from windmills.)

    They will eventually be cost effective too, though I grant you that few are at the moment.

  60. This guy has money to burn! So, let’s set aside that he is annoying his neighbors, lowering their property value.

    Let me assume, he uses 12,000 annually (that’s what I use in Texas for a large house). Assume the $82,000 cost is inclusive of all startup costs. Assume zero maintanence and a life of 20 years. Assume the cost is not subsidized with tax credits or tax deductions – ie, that it is indeed the true installation costs. Of course, he also gives up the opportunity costs of using that money over the 20 years. This is not insignificant to the economics.

    So, in 20 years, his wind turbine provide 2/3 of his usage which is 160,000 kw which works out to $0.51/kw! Add in an estimate of the lost opportunity cost, and the cost goes up to maybe $0.60-0.75/kw depending on tax assumptions and investment returns. Even giving the wind turbine zero life cycle maintanence costs, and a 2o year life, it is still, what I consider, very, very expensive – in Texas, I’m paying $0.11/kw. I just don’t see how this can be good for anyone unless one is expecting the government to artificially and dramatically increase the cost of electricity. Even then, I’d be surprised if it even got to break-even.

  61. 1DandyTroll says:
    July 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    From the article,

    ‘Grant said of the 160 similar turbines his company has installed, there have not been noise complaints.’

    Possibly because the contracts the company makes the landowners sign specifically prohibits noise complaints. And note that the wind developers’ lobbyists always make sure all reports and regulations are in terms of dBA, which is rolled off heavily at low frequencies, instead of dBC, which is flat. The WHO recommends that all noise measurements where there is substantial low-frequency content be made in dBC, for obvious reasons. And it is the low-frequency noise that is most disturbing, that causes health problems in humans, livestock, and any wildlife that sticks around (most doesn’t; deer, bear, and even squirrels clear out for two to three miles in all directions).

    As to crops, each tower has a heavy-duty access road leading to it. Chops up the fields something fierce.

    As to clean, these things are notoriously unreliable and each holds between 60 and 100 gallons of industrial lubricant for the bearings and transmission. Wait till they start to fall apart in eight to ten years.

    They generate no actually useful power whatever, but they very nicely dump taxpayers’ money into financiers’ pockets. While simultaneously turning vast swaths of countryside, wilderness, and wildlife habitat into surreal War-of-the-Worlds nightmares. How very, very ecologically responsible of them.

    Wind power, like the other “renewables”, is completely delusional. Since when is peaceful wilderness a “renewable resource”?

  62. I really think these things are unsightly and not the way to go with our energy production needs, however I also never hear the subtle noises at night like dogs, cars etc…because I create a little white noise with a small fan in my room; year round. I get great sleep.

  63. sHx: July 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm
    Fifty years from now people will look back at wind turbines as one of the most Quixotic attempts to to help us deal with the AGW hysteria.

    You did that on purpose, didn’t you…

  64. Ale Gorney says:
    July 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm
    I’ve heard these stories about people saying wind turbines ruin their sleep… I’ve read them and tried to understand but I can’t because my bedroom sits within 300 meters of a 2 MW turbine and my sleep has never been interrupted. I’ll be honest, the first week thats all I could hear but my brain has shut the sound off… I really dont know that its there anymore. [--snip rest--]

    You might consider yourself fortunate to be able to ‘tune-out’ noises. But I’d like to share with you an anecdote. While I served in the USN, the shipboard environment was shocking experience every time I’d gone ashore for a few days rest.

    The first few nights back aboard are a nerve wracking experience, and getting sleep was always something of a trial. Some people are more inclined to ‘focus’ on sounds than ignore them. I wasn’t the only one, as most of the other sailors had that same complaint.

    After a while, that metal energy expended in forcing yourself to ignore one or another sound –or several of them– will have a deleterious effect on the physiology by way of induced stress. The more energy you expend ignoring a sound, the less energy you have for other intellectual tasks, and it does indeed tend to wear you down.

    So, I can really empathize with the neighbors in the news story.

    The other thing which you mentioned regarding ice formation: That problem could easily be solved by installing a teflon film over the blades. Remember: Nothing sticks to Teflon™.

    Teflon film is made for road signs and comes in rolls and sheets.

    http://ptfe-sheets.com/

  65. Peter Miller- you got it- Pebble Bed/Thorium, heck Fast Breeders are a step up.
    We need to ge toff the dime and reprocess- France, Britain, Russia, China, Japan,
    see a pattern here? I really don’t want a half Civilization. We’d have at best North
    Korea under wind and solar alone.
    “Split Atoms, not Birds.”
    BTW for off grid I do not have a problem with that. Admire those who do.
    Been abused by PG&E and Pacific Power. I’d love to tell them to cram it….

  66. pat says:
    July 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm
    >>>> Just in time for summer, the Warmists announce 2010 is the hottest year in the history of the planet.

    Why do people believe GISS? Look at all that artic heat, when the DMI has been average. Watt’s up with that?

  67. To some level, the sound might be bearable but one major problem with windmills is the stroboscopic effect (also known as flickering effect) for those living in the shadow, when the sun rises or goes down.

    This however, could be an alternative design for windmills…

    or this one…

  68. Amongst the many problems associated with wind-generated power is the question of energy storage. Fear no longer – it seems the answer may have been under our noses all the time….literally!

    http://www.reuk.co.uk/Storing-Wind-Power-with-Compressed-Air.htm

    Claimed up to 75% efficient, too.

    Now, if I could just find that old ’30’s hardback, ‘Practical Mining Techniques For The Beginner.’ Neighbours need never know…..

  69. $82000 investment pays for itself in 7 years with the turbine supplying 2/3 of his demand? How much were the “incentives”? Or I should ask how much did his neighbors pay to be kept awake?

  70. Douglas DC says:
    July 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Peter Miller- you got it- Pebble Bed/Thorium, heck Fast Breeders are a step up.
    We need to ge toff the dime and reprocess- France, Britain, Russia, China, Japan,
    see a pattern here? I really don’t want a half Civilization. We’d have at best North
    Korea under wind and solar alone.
    “Split Atoms, not Birds.”
    BTW for off grid I do not have a problem with that. Admire those who do.
    Been abused by PG&E and Pacific Power. I’d love to tell them to cram it….
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Darn it the EU has done all the experimentation for us, now we need to get the idiots in DC to LISTEN

    Wind Power – Spain – FAIL

    Solar Power – Germany – FAIL? It still can not compete in price but is better than wind

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/05/germanys-solar-pv-industry-a-victim-of-its-own-success

    Nuclear Power – France – SUCCESS
    Check out http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=948&idli=3
    for the newest technology – small nuclear plants.

    “…the International Energy Agency (IEA) has calculated that for France – the country with the largest production of nuclear energy (as a per cent of the total output of electric power) – the average person is responsible for 6.3 tons of carbon dioxide, which e.g. is one-third of the US average.

    …law has been passed in France stipulating that toxic waste is to be stored in such a way that it can be comparatively easily accessed and recycled if, at some point in the future, technologies appear which will allow it to be used as a satisfactory input in the nuclear fuel cycle.

    The latter provision is, as the reader might guess, partially intended to appease or possibly bewilder nuclear sceptics, because technology is already available for recycling this ‘déchet’, and in the event that the price of newly mined and processed uranium escalates, it would almost certainly be utilized without further debate…” http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=3698

    The ONLY reason for not going nuclear is it creates individual prosperity and does not allow the vultures in DC to fleece us and put us into serfdom.

    This is what Obama’s Science Adviser, Holdren wrote in a 1973 book with Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies:
    “A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States”

    “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.” – Maurice Strong, Rio Earth Summit

    “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” Maurice Strong, Father of the environmental/Global Warming movement.

    That mentality is what we are actually fighting – a hatred for humans.

  71. At my place we get to enjoy the quiet of the country as well as noiseless solar electricity coupled with the peace of mind of never having to pay another electricity bill, with or without added carbon taxes.

  72. Elizabeth says:
    July 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm
    *
    *
    Never underestimate the greed of an out-of-control government.

    Here in Washington, the greedy have taken to putting water meters on community wells in the rural areas.

    You read that correctly: If you and one or more neighbors make use of a common drilled well, the county will put a meter on that and charge you to use your own water.

    So then, don’t for a moment think that such a scheme wouldn’t happen in the future with solar power.

  73. Wind turbines are being forced onto rural folk here in Australia despite any real research as to their long term health effects on those same rural people who have to put up with the turbines.
    When wind turbine farms are installed in the suburbs of the big cities right where the power is required then I will accept wind turbines.
    Until then keep your bloody wind turbines as when all the health costs to the rural folk who have to live with them and get nothing in return, the energy costs of manufacturing, transporting and installing the turbines, the power grid extensions required and finally the energy losses across the numerous and long power grids needed by wind turbines plus the huge taxpayer funded subsidies, they are one of the most inefficient and most costly, most expensive and unreliable forms of energy generation known.

    One wind turbine is interesting
    Five wind turbines are a photo op.
    Fifty wind turbines are an abomination across the land scape.

  74. Two comments:

    1. In western Scotland they hated the windmills so much because of the noise that they finally ended up putting them offshore.

    2. @ Bern Bray July 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm:

    While the land underneath can be used for crops, it’s not much good for anything else. Wind turbines shed ice, produce noise, and require maintenance. Here in the west, pivot sprinklers are used extensively for crops, and it would take a lot of coordination between farmers and power companies to co-exist on the same land.

    Just a thought, but I can foresee fairly light structures spanning between the towers – rails on beams and the sprinkers, instead of being pivot-type just running along the rails, back and forth. I am a design engineer and would think it is a pretty straightforward design project. I hate pivots sprinklers for the wasted land between the circles, even though the sprinkling is obviously pretty efficient. I also see the long gantry ones (no idea what they are called) on wheels, and they seem much less efficient. But get that off the ground and on beams and rails 15-20 feet up and it would run much smoother. With this pattern, the crops are planted in straight rows and planting and harvesting are pretty much standard for farmers, except the small areas at the towers. Since with pivot types at least 21.5% of the land remains uncultivated, it is a huge waste of arable. That is like having almost one acre out of four lying fallow all the time.

    That said, I hate the windmills, too. They give people the idea we are solving the energy and other problem of fossil fuels, when they aren’t doing anything of the sort. False hope is hard to get people to give up on.

  75. @ Elizabeth July 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm:

    At my place we get to enjoy the quiet of the country as well as noiseless solar electricity coupled with the peace of mind of never having to pay another electricity bill, with or without added carbon taxes.

    Yes, we should all six-and-one-half billion of us move out to country estates and live like the landed gentry we all are.

  76. Tom in Florida

    The UDel campus is outside of town and the turbine is in an otherwise protected marsh area. There aren’t any structures or buildings near it. The campus is the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. I’m about a half mile or so from the site and there are people that are closer. Like I said, so far I haven’t heard anything about noise complaints. The company that built it is splitting the cost with the University. They’re trying to get an offshore wind farm build in the area.

  77. feet2thefire says:
    July 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm
    Yes, we should all six-and-one-half billion of us move out to country estates and live like the landed gentry we all are.

    Snide much?

  78. The state is passing new rules that will make it easier to install small wind structures, explained Tim Snellings, county development services director.

    FANTASTIC!

    I can put up a nice shiny new tower for the 442.550 MHz Amateur radio repeater -er- put up my own state-sanctioned wind turbine and make secondary use of the structure as a high position for antenna mounting (something I could not otherwise do!)

    WONDERFUL
    .

  79. I like the the Loopwing wind turbine – they’re pretty much silent from the ones I’ve seen, even when they’re going to full chat. I live right on the west coast of Oz in Perth and have a steady supply of wind from the sea – if I could get a small one of these for reasonable money to put on the roof next to the evaporative air con unit, I would. Mind you, today I’d be better off with some kind of mini hydro electric system, its pissing down!

  80. ZT said:

    DR – a review on your geo-thermal experiences and economics would be appreciated.

    The system will not be completed for another week or so. We are being held up by the power company (DTE) doing the survey. The furnace is smaller than the old propane furnace which hasn’t run for at least 15 years. I’ve burned wood since and for the last 5 years corn, of which both are a ball and chain.

    It wasn’t difficult to figure out geo-thermal is the way to go. In years past they were a novelty for those with money to burn, but since LPG and NG prices have been rising and Geo prices dropping, the ROI will be 5-7 years. Also the COP (coefficient of performance) has improved to 5 nowadays.

    Estimated total cost to heat (including water) and cool: <$500/yr.
    Neighbor's cost of propane alone last year: $2500

    Case closed.

  81. 899 says:
    July 15, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Elizabeth says:
    July 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm
    *
    *
    Never underestimate the greed of an out-of-control government.

    Here in Washington, the greedy have taken to putting water meters on community wells in the rural areas.

    You read that correctly: If you and one or more neighbors make use of a common drilled well, the county will put a meter on that and charge you to use your own water.

    So then, don’t for a moment think that such a scheme wouldn’t happen in the future with solar power.
    ___________________________________________
    Towns in the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts have you beat. They come onto your PRIVATE property and place a meter on the well you have drilled and paid for!

    Oh and do not forget that towns are now selling off their Municipal Water Authorities to foreign investors. So you could drill a well and have to pay a Saudi for your water…..

  82. dwb says:
    July 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm
    The irony on this website is that wind is likely carbon increasing! Wind does not blow all the time, let alone when you are likeiest to run your AC.

    In Great Britain they are actually paying windmill owners to not generate electricity. It seems they produce most reliably at night when the grid cannot take their output because there is far less demand.

    They subsidize their construction and then pay for non-production. Brilliant!

  83. when tax credits and rebates became available, he went for it.

    When he found out someone else would pay he went for it.

  84. BarryW says:
    July 15, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Tom in Florida

    The UDel campus is outside of town and the turbine is in an otherwise protected marsh area. There aren’t any structures or buildings near it. The campus is the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. I’m about a half mile or so from the site and there are people that are closer. Like I said, so far I haven’t heard anything about noise complaints. The company that built it is splitting the cost with the University. They’re trying to get an offshore wind farm build in the area.
    ______________________________________________________________
    Ahah, So this wind turbine is a poster child. I am sure it was precision balanced, QCed and well lubricated to make sure there would be no possibility of complaints.

  85. He described the sound as similar to a “hovering helicopter to a whining or moaning sound.” He told the supervisors some neighbors have changed the rooms in which they sleep, others wear earplugs and some just can’t sleep.”We no longer have a quiet neighborhood.

    Stuff your concerns. We’re talking about global warming here.

    (I believe this is where I’m to say “sarcasm off”)

  86. The issue of sound is a classic case of an economic externality; that is, an instance in which one party is engaging in an activity some of the costs of which are borne by an unrelated party. (For instance, consider a paper mill situated on a river that is polluting the water upstream from a fishing resort. The resort suffers an externality of the mill’s operation.)

    The two remedies are abatement or compensation. The owner of the windmill must alter the device such that it produces a reasonably low level of noise, or he must compensate the affected parties directly, or pay for soundproofing, etc.

    It is an all too common tactic for those in favor of these types of programs to ignore the externalities associated with the favored project. (They’re green after all, and green is doubleplusgood!) For instance, in the case of rail transit, the supposed carbon savings of operating the system as compared to automobile traffic always ignores the carbon emitted during construction of the system. When that is taken into account, the timeline to recoup the added emissions is often on the order of 70 or 80 years, during which time the system would have to be rebuilt several times anyway.

  87. Gail Combs says:
    July 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Towns in the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts have you beat. They come onto your PRIVATE property and place a meter on the well you have drilled and paid for!

    Oh and do not forget that towns are now selling off their Municipal Water Authorities to foreign investors. So you could drill a well and have to pay a Saudi for your water…..

    Amazing: The place in which the ‘shot heard ’round the world’ was fired, has finally sunk into the miasma of rank apathy.

    Will they next sell their children into slavery? That can’t be far away …

  88. @feettothefire: This way of life is not for everyone, although I wouldn’t go as far as saying it would be an impossibility. However, it is a personal choice, not a moral proclamation. I would argue that running a full-time solar system like ours has no benefit to the environment, due to GG emissions involved in the manufacture of the panels as well as disposal of batteries in the long term. We were paying among the highest for property taxes + ultilities in Canada, with no end to future increases in sight. Added to this, the political agenda to monetize carbon was the impetus for us to get off the grid and live self-sufficiently. (Incidentally, most people do not consider this lifestyle to be even remotely elitist, particularly when they learn you have to give up the crock pot and dishwasher, just to name a few electricity-draining luxuries.)

    @899: Sadly, I do not doubt your account, but I would argue our Alberta government would have more of a fight on their hands if they attempted to pass such ludicrous laws here as they have done in your “green” state. In fact, we are entitled to a reduction in property taxes because we are not tied into the electric grid or natural gas.

  89. Lots of negative features to consider about wind and a few are mentioned on this page. There are a lot more and here is one….a serious one because it hits everyone in the wallet. It’s called metal fatigue and it will hit every thermal power plant out there on every grid that is also trying to accommodate wind as part of the mix of power supply options.

    It works like this…..One upon a time, we lived in a predictable world where every day, power requirements would ramp up starting first thing in the morning corresonding to about when folks jumped in the shower, put on the coffee maker and made some toast. Within a few hours, the grid load would hit its peak and with some variations, it would stay there all day. Then in the latter part of the afternoon, load would start to drop off and from the dinner hour on to say 11 pm, it would continue to drop at a fairly regular rate. From 11 pm to the next morning while most people were in bed, the overall load stayed at its lowest point and then the next morning, the cycle started all over again.

    The grid itself is of course supplied by various generation sources…nuclear, hydro-electric, thermal power plants etc. The important thing is that some of these can adjust to load quite easily and some do not. For example, nuclear doesn’t adjust much at all and therefore, it is normal for a grid operator to consider this to be part of what is referred to as the base load. If hydro-electric is available, this is also consider to be suitable for the base load since the same amount of water goes over the falls regardless if it is day or night. Thermal has historically been the generating capacity that is used for what what would be termed the fluctuating load… put more gas or coal in a boiler, get more power out. Oh…..power demand is going down, start slowing down the rate for burning coal or gas. What this has meant for thermal power plants is that once a day, load would go through a complete cycle from low to high demand.

    Against the above backdrop, now add wind into the mix. Nuclear and hydro-electric will still handle the base load since they can’t fluctuate. Wind can fluctuate but not predictably…. thus the onus will be on the gas and coal fired plants to pick up the slack. This presents endless problems…. the first is simply that if we assume that there is a very high capacity of wind installed, the thermal plants will be in idle mode most of the time and this is their least efficient operating point. The real problem though is load fluctation…. whereas the plants used to go through once cycle of load variations a day, now they will be asked to go through a much larger number as wind comes and goes all day long. Ask any power engineer what she/he thinks it will do to the power plant to ‘load follow’ in this way and I guarantee that the answer you will get is that it will create a maintenance and reliability nightmare for them. Fluctuating loads cause much reduced equipment life due to fatigue.

    The ASME Power Conference is on in Chicago this week and this is the hot botton topic at this conference… http://www.asmeconferences.org/power2010/ I know because my chief engineer is there presenting a paper and this is his firsthand observation.

  90. Gail Combs says:
    July 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    “Towns in the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts have you beat. They come onto your PRIVATE property and place a meter on the well you have drilled and paid for!

    Oh and do not forget that towns are now selling off their Municipal Water Authorities to foreign investors. So you could drill a well and have to pay a Saudi for your water…..”

    _____________________

    Again, maybe things are different in Alberta, but I cannot imagine our government thinking they could attempt this and not face a coup d’etat by a bunch of redneck, gun-toting, libertarian Albertans. lol

  91. How do we know that pulling all of this energy out of the atmosphere is not changing circulation patterns and aiding and abetting “global warming?” The whole idea of using these things to do more than pump water picked up in the ’70s when we were in the midst of “global cooling” and look where we are now!

  92. 899 says:
    July 15, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Amazing: The place in which the ‘shot heard ’round the world’ was fired, has finally sunk into the miasma of rank apathy.

    Will they next sell their children into slavery? That can’t be far away …
    ______________________________________________________
    It is worse than that, in 1991 I was at a dance in the Concord Scout House (a revolutionary war building) and actually had someone scream in my face “we will kill people like you when we take over” because I was wearing a T-shirt that said:

    WELCOME TO MASSACHUSETTS
    Check your guns!
    Put your helmets on!
    Fasten your seatbelts!
    Leave all personal liberties and rights at the border

    YOUR FREEDOM ENDS HERE!

    I guess the T-shirt was correct and the guy was upset I had figured it out.

  93. Sound propagates in unexpected ways.

    Several years ago a new oil well was being drillled at a nearby farm. For at least 2 weeks we heard the drone of the drilling (but weren’t exactly sure where the sound come from). My husband and I both had rig experience, but we could not figure out the location of source. I called around (including local law enforcement), and nobody else heard, complained, or could explain the ever-present (slightly irritating to me) noise.

    I had to know the source. I got in the car and drove around. Turning off the engine, I sat and listened at several places in between our house and where we thought the sound originated. Nothing was to be heard…..

    A few days later, frustrated by the drone, I drove off again. I found the rig at a high spot only a mile from our house (off a private drive) located on the vector I had thought the sound originated from. Days earlier, I sat and listened at the halfway point but didn’t hear a thing (that spot was in a valley between the rig and our house.) Eventually, the drilling stopped, and the sound “intrusion” did as well.

    I don’t think they hit oil, (too bad), but I’m glad we no longer have to put up with the noise.

    My point is, while I haven’t had to deal with problems from a wind mill, I would not be surprised if the vibrations and sound are felt or heard where conscientious planners don’t expect.

  94. @vern says (July 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm), I agree with everything you said and the same also applies to individual, part-time solar systems. A family member who is working in for a US company involved in the grid restructuring project shares your opinion. He said the N. American grid can’t handle more than 10% of individual homeowners acquiring pt, tied-in systems because of the consequent unpredictable fluctuations. It would wreak havoc on the entire system.

    Soon, in my opinion, the same government who is now pushing green technology on the american consumer, will be enacting laws to prevent consumers from setting up solar systems (or wind, etc) unless they are 100% off grid systems. Production and distribution of these larger systems, in lieu of the smaller, more affordable tied-in systems, will be a benefit to the industry, no doubt. Not the consumer so much.

  95. The economics of these machines are not even remotely plausible.

    A flat out lie.

    The town of Palmerston North in New Zealand has a wind plant above it. The plant was, and is, not subsidised. Yet it makes money, albeit not very much.

    This in a country where electricity is cheap, since it is blessed with hydroelectric power plus a bit of geothermal. We don’t burn coal, except in peak times, because it isn’t economic, despite having quite a lot of it. Nuclear isn’t even close to economic, even if Kiwis would put up with one.

    I know many of you hate wind turbines, but at least stick to the truth. Wind power can be economic, in ideal circumstances.

    The economics of wind turbines depends on many factors – wind reliability, location of nearby users, the cost of the land etc. In most places at most times it is not yet economic. But to say that it can never be economic is just your hate talking.

  96. 899 says:
    July 15, 2010 at 7:36 pm
    “Amazing: The place in which the ‘shot heard ’round the world’ was fired, has finally sunk into the miasma of rank apathy.

    Will they next sell their children into slavery? That can’t be far away …”
    ===========================
    Some, it seems, prefer slavery over freedom.

  97. Who can calculate the tip speed of one of these turbines? In the movie Dog of Flanders the villain is killed when he absentmindedly walks into the path of an oncoming windmill vane. The same thing happened in real life to a reconstructed windmill in Fulton Illinois – except the guy was only seriously injured. I have to think that the same happens to birds and bats from time to time.

  98. Here is a video that I saw from Wisconsin that had me really questioning wind for suburban use.

  99. Mamikon Spinner design for wind turbines

    A safe addendum to many scientific conclusions is this: Further research is needed. It may be possible to improve the overall performance of wind rotors by tweaking their design. I’d like to see more research on the Mamikon Spinner.

    “Hi-Q Products has been awarded a grant from the California Energy Commission to develop “cutting-edge‿ advanced wind rotor system. The Mamikon Spinner, based on single strip geometry, is stronger and more stable than 3 blade designs. Able to spin in the slightest breeze, it is designed for sites with a high percentage of low wind days.”

    Read the patent description here. 
http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6524073/description.html

    You can make your own small-scale version of the Mamikon Spinner with tin snips, a used soda pop can, super-glue, and a few other household items.

    Mamikon has shown me toy versions of his Spinner; they really do respond to faint breezes. A small advantage is that Mamikon Spinners are more visible to birds than conventional wind rotors. And if the small-scale Spinners are any indication, commercial-size ones may be quieter than the 3-blade turbines.

    Last year, Mamikon was involved in litigation with Hi-Q, but I don’t know the outcome. Mamikon Mnatsakanian is a physicist and mathematician from Armenia.

  100. plenty of oil in Alaska. we could have gas at $1.00 a gallon if we wanted. Saudi Arabia has that.

    plenty of coal in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, etc. We could probably cut electricity bills 66%, or even more, if we wanted.

    lots of options in life :-)

  101. Anthony,
    You might want to reconsider Solar as well.

    After spending 10 million on a solar panel array on his Nashville mansion, Gore’s public energy use was another 10,000 KW more than the 250,000 that caused him grief the year before.

    If you want to get off the grid I can tell you some nice mountain sites in Washington or Alaska that you would enjoy much more than all that headache. :-)

    If you want, our families could share neighboring caves and I could be your assistant and pedal the bike so you could have energy to run your laptop and we could go halves on a satelite wireless system for internet access. :-) I’m a good fisherman if you’re a good hunter.

  102. Mooloo says:
    July 15, 2010 at 8:54 pm
    The economics of these machines are not even remotely plausible.
    A flat out lie.

    “A flat out lie.”

    You don’t know the poster, yet you crassly accuse him of prevarication.

    Mooloo says:
    July 15, 2010 at 8:54 pm
    The town of Palmerston North in New Zealand has a wind plant above it. The plant was, and is, not subsidised. Yet it makes money, albeit not very much.

    And you’re an ‘authority’ on this matter?

    Mooloo says:
    July 15, 2010 at 8:54 pm
    This in a country where electricity is cheap, since it is blessed with hydroelectric power plus a bit of geothermal. We don’t burn coal, except in peak times, because it isn’t economic, despite having quite a lot of it. Nuclear isn’t even close to economic, even if Kiwis would put up with one.

    I know many of you hate wind turbines, but at least stick to the truth. Wind power can be economic, in ideal circumstances.

    And where you reside happens to be the most IDEAL place in the universe, right?

    At this point, should we consider that you’re either a prevaricator, or someone prone to exaggeration?

    Mooloo says:
    July 15, 2010 at 8:54 pm
    The economics of wind turbines depends on many factors – wind reliability, location of nearby users, the cost of the land etc. In most places at most times it is not yet economic. But to say that it can never be economic is just your hate talking.

    Yeah, and we –the rest of us– can see you own as it ~blows~ across the Internet …

  103. This guy is spending in the neighborhood of ten figures annually for electricity for a house?

    Is he growing weed in the basement or something? I pay the highest electricity rates in the country, use energy-hogging appliances and I can barely drive my monthly bill to $250. I don’t need air conditioning, but even if I did, I could hardly double the bill.

  104. Larry Fields says:
    July 15, 2010 at 10:50 pm
    Mamikon Spinner design for wind turbines

    My goodness, man, it’s a Möbius strip!

  105. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    July 15, 2010 at 10:53 pm
    plenty of oil in Alaska. we could have gas at $1.00 a gallon if we wanted. Saudi Arabia has that.

    plenty of coal in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, etc. We could probably cut electricity bills 66%, or even more, if we wanted.

    lots of options in life :-)

    You are MOST correct!

    Funny thing: If it came right down to it, and the BIG PRESS was on, the PEOPLE –you and I– would go for drilling and digging for all necessities, whilst the green weenies would be screaming and pulling their hair out.

    They would be doing that for only as long as there was food on the table, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their respective heads.

    BUT, as soon as that ended, they would drop all pretenses in less than a heartbeat, and embrace the ‘NEW’ way of living, which would be the OLDER way of living.

    As my grandfather once said to me: “Kid, some people bitch every chance they get, but when reality hits home, they become speechless!”

  106. HankHenry says:
    July 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm
    Who can calculate the tip speed of one of these turbines? In the movie Dog of Flanders the villain is killed when he absentmindedly walks into the path of an oncoming windmill vane. The same thing happened in real life to a reconstructed windmill in Fulton Illinois – except the guy was only seriously injured. I have to think that the same happens to birds and bats from time to time.

    See this: http://www.algebralab.org/lessons/lesson.aspx?file=Trigonometry_TrigAngLinVelocity.xml

    Go down to the second example: Angular Velocity.

    I hope that helps!

  107. @RACookPE1978 says: July 15, 2010 at 1:56 pm
    “A strongly recommended book:
    The Wind Farm Scam by John Etherington.”

    This book is a fine source of information on Big Wind. Strongly endorse RA Cook’s recommendation.

    We have around 3000 turbines in the UK. During the first 6 months of the year they actually produced 0.8% of our electricity (and zero percent of our non-electricity energy use). Over the coming decade, the Government energy Regulator OFGEM predicts an average domestic electricity bill will rise to £5,000 per year.
    The maximum state pension for old people is (from 6 April 2010): Single person – £97.65 per week; Married Couple – £156.15 per week. The reason for this predicted rise in electricity bills is almost entirely the projected cost of moving to “low carbon” energy.

    Readers are advised to speculate on how much “carbon” we are saving with our 3,000 turbines and the reduction in the alarmists’ prediction of global temperature rise that will be achieved. (clue:- the square root of bugger all). You may also care to guess whether the Government’s planned expenditure of £100 Billion in the next decade in building a further 6,000 turbines will (a) reduce the global temperature even more (clue:- 2x the square root of bugger all) and (b) represents a sensible investment at a time when all Government expenditure is due to be slashed by 25% or more and unemployment stands at two and a half million. (and before you pipe up, it has been estimated that 90% of Big Wind jobs generated will be overseas.)

  108. Brad aka 1personofdifference says:
    July 15, 2010 at 11:00 pm
    Anthony,
    You might want to reconsider Solar as well.

    After spending 10 million on a solar panel array on his Nashville mansion, Gore’s public energy use was another 10,000 KW more than the 250,000 that caused him grief the year before.

    If you want to get off the grid I can tell you some nice mountain sites in Washington or Alaska that you would enjoy much more than all that headache. :-)

    If you want, our families could share neighboring caves and I could be your assistant and pedal the bike so you could have energy to run your laptop and we could go halves on a satelite wireless system for internet access. :-) I’m a good fisherman if you’re a good hunter.

    So, Brad, do you ‘chew’ your laundry, or pass it off to the old lady? ;-)

    When I was I kid, for a while I had to hand-launder my own clothes because my parents couldn’t afford the electrical bill. It was fun: I got to know my own clothes in ways I would never have otherwise!

    My old man related to me a story about some forty-niners’ who –lacking local water– decided to chew their clothes clean, because the effort of carrying water up a steep incline was seen as too much of a waste of effort for clean clothes.

    I always figured he was putting me on … :-)

  109. 899 says:
    July 15, 2010 at 11:17 pm
    Larry Fields says:
    July 15, 2010 at 10:50 pm
    Mamikon Spinner design for wind turbines
    “My goodness, man, it’s a Möbius strip!”

    Close! A Möbius has one half-twist. In contrast, the Spinners that I’ve seen have three. And the viewed from the top, this version of the Spinner is the famous recycling symbol!

  110. Larry Fields says:
    July 16, 2010 at 1:50 am
    *
    *
    Larry,

    I’m wont to declare that if one were to take that design to the ‘nth degree, why they’d wind up with a conventional small wind mill, or something not unlike the compressor in and axial flow jet engine.

    The only difference is that the center of mass would be closer to the periphery of the device instead of at the hub/spindle.

    At high-speed, the hummer could be deadly!!

  111. I experienced this-

    “She reports also that all adult subjects reported “feeling jittery inside” or “internal quivering”, often accompanied by anxiety, fearfulness,”

    From Pierpont as quoted in Dr Hanning’s paper. This was in a large office about 1km from a 2MW wind turbine, and it’s a very odd sensation. First time I wasn’t sure what it was, or if I was imagining it but saw ripple patterns in a coffee cup I had on my desk. Not everyone in the office could feel it either. Initially I thought our gennies had kicked in, but those weren’t running. After it happened a few times, it seemed to be when we where directly downwind from the turbine and dependent on the wind speed. The office was square on then and assuming resonating due to the disturbed air as the effects were less noticeable outside the building.

    I certainly don’t agree that there are no effects and think a lot more research needs to be conducted, not just on human and wildlife effects from low frequency vibrations, but also for potential property damage, and risks to things like pipe and cable joints.

  112. I like wind turbines. That said, it is abundantly clear that they do not operate very well on a utility scale. I think that ultimately they will be relegated to isolated installations. They would be wonderful serving a small community out in the desert or on an isolated island. They would probably be just fine in Puerto Rico where the power is very intermittent anyway.

  113. Elizabeth says:
    July 15, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Soon, in my opinion, the same government who is now pushing green technology on the american consumer, will be enacting laws to prevent consumers from setting up solar systems (or wind, etc) unless they are 100% off grid systems.

    Absolutely, the addition of solar just adds to the cocktail of problems for the grid. Obviously, the negative points to make about this are legion and I was only referring to the impact on thermal power plants that have historically always been ‘load following’ but now will be forced to do it in an extreme way… a comparison might to look at the speed trend of a car following right behind a big truck on a freeway that has very little traffic on it versus the speed trend of me following my son when we are off road biking on terrain that has both steep inclines, steep declines and flat spots on it. The first trend is relatively flat but the second is as jagged as a shark’s tooth line.

    One related issue that I can’t believe doesn’t seem to come up all that often is that the grid itself has to have fully coordinated integration of all the generation sources with respect to the 60 Hz waveform for AC power. When it was all major power plants with sophisticated equipment, this wasn’t a big deal to make sure that the addition of power on to the grid was properly integrated. But what about when all these thousands and thousands of small generating sources are inputted into the grid? How is electrical phase coordination being handled, how reliable is it and what are the consequences if a number of generators start inputting power on to the grid which is electrically not in phase? The electrical side of this issue is not something that I can claim experience in but it would seem logical that this is an area that has the potential for very serious problems to the grid.

    Incidentally, as a result of simply being too close to the action on this issue (some of my major clients are electrical generators), I am already taking my steps to protect myself and this means that I’m going totally off grid. My reasoning is very simple…. I believe that the future of the grid is bleak and my prediction is that it will become increasingly unreliable in the coming years (one other issue is that it has become stretched beyond the capacity intended when it was built). Being off grid at least puts the reliability of power supply under my own domain as opposed to those that are trying to deal with all these unrealistic demands that are being forced upon them – mostly by politicans who are pandering to the envirowackos.

  114. I’m sure that many on this site have seen the video of the large utility wind turbine that blew up and took down its tower… I think it was in Denmark. Bits and pieces were found enormous distances away and as a mechanical engineer, I can’t believe that there aren’t better regs in place as far as separation distances between ‘people and machines’. Clearly, the minimum distances should relate to size and generation capacity metrics but in my view, for property owners in areas where consideration is being given to installing large wind turbines, I would be fighting tooth and nail for a minimum separation distance of 5 miles….and not one foot less.

  115. Steve in SC says:
    July 16, 2010 at 5:48 am
    I like wind turbines. That said, it is abundantly clear that they do not operate very well on a utility scale. I think that ultimately they will be relegated to isolated installations. They would be wonderful serving a small community out in the desert or on an isolated island. They would probably be just fine in Puerto Rico where the power is very intermittent anyway.

    Steve,

    It is my considered opinion that said ‘wind turbines’ would work wonderfully well around Washington, D.C., and likely as well around just every state capitol too!

    You know, all that hot air and all?

    Just say’n …
    ;-)

  116. vern says:
    July 16, 2010 at 6:31 am
    I’m sure that many on this site have seen the video of the large utility wind turbine that blew up and took down its tower… I think it was in Denmark.

    I had never seen it — very dramatic!

  117. I’ve been all over Indiana and the length of Illinois recently, I thing I saw four of those ugly bird killers actually rotating.

    What a waste

  118. Brad aka 1personofdifference says: “Anthony, You might want to reconsider Solar as well. After spending 10 million on a solar panel array on his Nashville mansion, Gore’s public energy use was another 10,000 KW more than the 250,000 that caused him grief the year before.”

    Do you have a source for these numbers? 10 million on a solar outfit seems extreme. To be sure, Gore’s place is a tad more exorbitant than our little pad, but I can’t figure out why he would need that much solar and, more so, how this set-up would not be sufficient for his energy needs.

    We spent less than 50K on our system and it is a large off-grid system. It serves us well, particularly in the summer months where sunlight hours extend to 12 hours average, peaking at 15 hours in late June. Winter is a bit more of a challenge, but currently we have more electricity than we can use.

  119. vern says:
    July 16, 2010 at 6:23 am
    …the grid itself has to have fully coordinated integration of all the generation sources with respect to the 60 Hz waveform for AC power. When it was all major power plants with sophisticated equipment, this wasn’t a big deal …But what about when all these thousands and thousands of small generating sources are inputted into the grid? …what are the consequences if a number of generators start inputting power on to the grid which is electrically not in phase? …this is an area that has the potential for very serious problems to the grid.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    I agree. When I was at school someone fed the output from a signal generator back into the mains, which took out the local sub-station. I’m not sure how it had enough beef to do that, even through the step-up auto-transformer I think they used, but there it is. Maybe the phase factor was already out of wack and this took it over the edge.

  120. Elizabeth says:
    July 16, 2010 at 9:37 am
    Brad aka 1personofdifference says: “Anthony, You might want to reconsider Solar as well. After spending 10 million on a solar panel array on his Nashville mansion, Gore’s public energy use was another 10,000 KW more than the 250,000 that caused him grief the year before.”

    Do you have a source for these numbers? 10 million on a solar outfit seems extreme. To be sure, Gore’s place is a tad more exorbitant than our little pad, but I can’t figure out why he would need that much solar and, more so, how this set-up would not be sufficient for his energy needs.

    We spent less than 50K on our system and it is a large off-grid system. It serves us well, particularly in the summer months where sunlight hours extend to 12 hours average, peaking at 15 hours in late June. Winter is a bit more of a challenge, but currently we have more electricity than we can use.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Keep in mind this is a man who spent over 30k for a homes power consumption and expended enough energy to power 2500 homes for a month.
    His mansion is almost as big as some state capitals, there are offices for staff and family and everything else you’d expect for an austentatious pompous windbag like Al “The Baptist” Gore.

    I suppose I should have given the caveat that the 10mil wasn’t just towards the solar system it was towards a state of the art electronic control system that controls when the panels track the movements of the sun, when power turns on and off, the IT staff that it takes to maintain the system, and it controls all electrical devices from any pc in the home (mansion).
    All this information is readily found by googling. The state of Tennessee advertises his expenses regulary under FOI and Tennessee hates him with a passion and they are always showing what a complete gasbag and hypocrit he is.

  121. 899 i’m not sure about chewing on laundary but I thought the part about being Anthony’s assistant and rowing the bike to provide electricity for his laptop so he can maintain WUWT would be pretty cool.

    I mean what an honor.
    :-)


  122. Karl Maki says:
    July 15, 2010 at 7:17 pm
    In Great Britain they are actually paying windmill owners to not generate electricity. It seems they produce most reliably at night when the grid cannot take their output because there is far less demand.

    They subsidize their construction and then pay for non-production. Brilliant!

    Same thing happens in ERCOT and the midwest (especially IL)… power prices are sometimes negative meaning there is too much generation. As another reader noted, wind is rated anywhere from 5-30% of installed capacity and often the wind blows at night when it is least needed.

    Wind would not be viable without existing tax subsidies (investment tax credits) and (in some states) renewable energy credits and requirements that a certain % of power be supplied from wind.

  123. @Brad aka 1personofdifference (July 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm post): Thanks for that. I did google this, but did not come up with any specific numbers associated with the cost of this solar system. I found an article on Snopes discussing the installation of their solar system and, at the same time, a rainwater collection system and geothermal. (http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/gorehome.asp). I still fail to see how all of this would add up to $10 million, even with the cost of annual maintenance and staff. Moreover, it defies logic why someone would pay out this kind of money with no long-term pay-off. It would seem that publicity would come at a cheaper price.

    That said, I completely agree the man is a hypocrite. Quoting the Snopes article: “… they are in the midst of installing solar panels on their home, which will enable them to use less power. They also use compact flourescent bulbs and other energy efficient measures and then they purchase offsets for their carbon emissions to bring their carbon footprint down to zero.”

    This supports what I’ve been saying all along. These carbon trading schemes are designed to drive the average person further into debt (as essential services will be all that they can afford) while the elite classes will continue to live however they choose because they can afford it (in carbon offsets).

    Al Gore exudes a pretense of environmental responsibility whilst consuming way more than the average North American. The Gores, “purchase offsets for their carbon emissions to bring their carbon footprint down to zero.” Purchase offsets from where? Their own company?

    Gore makes a better businessman than ambassador. Anyone who can’t see this is either witless or naive.

  124. Harry Eagar says:
    July 15, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    This guy is spending in the neighborhood of ten figures annually for electricity for a house?

    Is he growing weed in the basement or something? I pay the highest electricity rates in the country, use energy-hogging appliances and I can barely drive my monthly bill to $250. I don’t need air conditioning, but even if I did, I could hardly double the bill.
    ________________________________________________
    Depends on the area and the price per KW. In 1979 I had a small one bedroom in northeastern MA and it cost me over three hundred a month in electric for just one person. No A/C, no washer/dryer, no dishwasher, no TV, no computer. The blasted electric bill was the same as my rent!

  125. HankHenry says:

    In the movie Dog of Flanders the villain is killed when he absentmindedly walks into the path of an oncoming windmill vane. The same thing happened in real life at a reconstructed windmill in Fulton Illinois – except the guy was only seriously injured. I have to think that the same happens to birds and bats from time to time.

  126. The main source of unavoidable “noise” with a “normal” wind turbine is the blade-passing frequency with respect to the tower. This produces an ambient pressure pulse that is also transmitted via the ground through the tower’s footings.

    Other aerodynamic nose is chiefly from the blade geometry relative to the direction of wind. The blades are designed to achieve maximum “lift”, resulting in the highest possible torque at the hub. Maximum lift means maximum pressure difference. That pressure difference diminishes towards the tip of the blades where the “pressure spill” at the end produces an end-vortex.

    A “winglet” does little more than to move the vortex and reducing it slightly as it functions as an extension of the “wing”. However; the winglet typically restricts the spilling of air off the low-pressure side of the section near the end, which reduces lift and therefore torque at the hub. If the winglet were instead to be mounted “upside-down” so as to crank “down” to the high-pressure side, then the lift would not be substantially impaired and vortex-generating flow would still be at the tip of the winglet.

    Winglets and trailing edges could be Engineered to minimise psycho-acoustic impact. Blade-passing past the tower remains the main problem.

    Similarly, other mechanical noises can be Engineered for a minimum at the source, and the transmission to resonant/radiating surfaces minimised. But the industry is too busy raking in subsidies to manufacture instead of only having tangible R&D subsidised.

  127. alGore says they are required for carbon free energy by 2015.

    It takes 1,350 tons of coal to run thru the furnace to make 850 ton tower.
    It takes about that much energy from petroleum to create the steel and concrete base.
    The nacelle is 56 tons. Fiberglass reinforced PLASTIC from oil.
    alGore can lie all day long and any engineer can show his false claims.
    The steel for the massive cranes and the huge trucks to haul the pieces to the site are carbon intense.
    Someone mentioned noise can be reduced by decreasing rpm on the turbines. Please do the math. The velocity of the tip of the blade is over 100 mph when the rpm is not very high.
    (takes little energy for my throw away solar calculator to tell me these wind projects have millions of tons CO2 in the footprint on the front end)

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