Wind Power FAIL

This seems like a candidate for the FAIL blog, hence my caption.

Here’s the story:

“We can’t control the weather,” Julie Vitek said in an interview from company headquarters in Houston, Texas. “We’re looking to see if we can cope with it more effectively, through the testing of a couple of techniques.”

She says the conditions in northern New Brunswick have wreaked havoc on the wind farm this winter.

“For us, cold and dry weather is good and that’s what’s typical in the region. Cold and wet weather can be a problem without any warmer days to prompt thawing, which has been the case this year.

“This weather pattern has been particularly challenging.”

Full article here

h/t to a whole bunch of WUWT readers, “TomRude” being the first.

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184 thoughts on “Wind Power FAIL

  1. Anthony

    It would be useful to have a reference page on wind so as to collate all these interesting posts in one place.

    Good to see another example of how hopeless these things are. The public need to organise a petition seeking to ban them.

  2. As the name suggests, I am from around those parts. In 46 years I have never been tempted to describe our typical winter as cold and dry. Dry? Did they notice that little thing called the ocean just across the way?

  3. To be fair, which I admit is boring, having time to sort issues like this out is a reason for pushing pilot wind projects: the argument is that they won’t become profitable until their proved technology, but they won’t become proved technology until we really use them for a while, so they need to be subsidised for now. That’s reasonable as far as it goes.

    The real objection to wind power is the sheer quantity of engineering and fragile machinery needed to produce a very small amount of power — there are bound to be better ways.

  4. Oopsie.

    A second part of the (numerous) failures of wind power’s inability to maintain generation output over time is the effect on the conventional very large power plant machinery: The turbines, generators, boilers, pumps, motors, and the extreme loss of machinery lifetimes due to excess cycles.

    These are very large, very heavy, very thick-walled and very closely toleranced dynamic machines – but paradoxically – very fragile pieces of extremely high speed gear. The extra up-and-down cycles of the wind power machines “break” the planned long-term running of the regular power plants – so their life cycles are dropped, and maintenance costs increased, by 1/3 to 1/4.

    It’s equal to requiring 30% MORE operating costs (or a 30% shorter lifetime) of the rest of the grid.

  5. My favorite line is “We can’t control the weather”, yet the purpose of all these wind farms is supposedly to control the entire climate. Which seems to me a little harder to do.

    They probably don’t even comprehend the irony of the statement.

  6. What a joke wind turbines are. No sane engineer would touch such a ridiculous way of generating electricity with somebody else’s bargepole. Take away the subsidies and sanity would prevail.

  7. Why don’t they put electric heaters in the things, so that when the wind stops and the frost comes they can keep the units from freezing?
    Well, they have to have back-up generating plants anyway, don’t they?

  8. If only we could burn more fossil fuels, increase CO2, warm the planet….then these renewable low carbon energy producers would still work.

    /sarc

  9. What do you suppose will happen when these monuments to economic illiteracy are no longer subsidized by a gullible public and are decommissioned? My late Uncle owned a great deal of farmland in Illinois and refused multiple offers to lease land for wind turbines. His neighbors thought he was crazy as each lease pays $8K to $10K per year. His great fear was that he would end up owning them and would have to pay decommissioning costs or that the structures, if left standing, would increase his property tax rates.

    He was a very wise man…….he’s been gone almost 3 years now.

  10. A perfect illustration of why you have to do the science right. If you don’t, mother nature will kick your butt, sooner or later. I don’t have any problem with “green energy” per se, as long it is backed up with solid science, solid engineering & solid (ie non-subsidized) economics.

  11. Don’t worry, with Global Warming coming soon to a landscape near you, it’ll never happen again, Al says so, anyway.

  12. “The shutdown has not had any effect on employment at the site, which provides 12 permanent jobs.”
    =======================================================

    lol, well, one can view it as a jobs program that sometimes generates electricity. Not when people need it, mind you, but when things are pleasant, dry and breezy. Must be well worth the $200,000,000 .

  13. “We can’t control the weather,” Julie Vitek said in an interview from company headquarters in Houston, Texas.

    Isn’t this the underlying reason to have windmills, because we think we can/do control the weather.

  14. A couple weeks ago, there was a post here that speculated that wind power was to blame for the rolling blackouts in Texas.

    Turns out that wind power was doing just fine during the critical times in Texas; it was gas and coal units that were down.

    Quoth Trip Doggett of ERCOT:

    I would highlight that we put out a special word of thanks to the wind community because they did contribute significantly through this time frame.

    Previous to these facts coming out, the author and Anthony had pivoted with some “what I/he really meant was” talk about a hypothetical world in which the money to build wind turbines had instead been invested in coal/nukes/etc.

    This was quite a pivot, given that the original post was very specific about speculating that the wind wasn’t blowing in Texas at the right times, and the word “reserve” (as in “spinning reserve”) wasn’t even mentioned in the original article.

    So, we had a post about the failings of wind power, even though it was in fact fossil plants that had failed.

    So, for those keeping score: At WUWT:

    If a windpower source stops producing due to cold weather: Wind power fail
    If fossil sources stop producing due to cold weather: Wind power fail

    (PS- the article notes that these problems are specific to this wind farm, and that other more northerly wind farms don’t have this problem. Interesting).

  15. “We cant control the weather”, Julie Vitek said in an interview from company headquarters in Houston, Texas.

    We’ll we can’t control the weather be we CAN control the climate! RIGHT?? \sarc

  16. ” “We can’t control the weather,” Julie Vitek said in an interview from company headquarters in Houston, Texas.”

    Maybe someone needs to tell this to Al Gore and camp!
    Yes, we can’t control the weather and most likely we will not be able to do so for at least a few hundred more years!

    If these wind turbines have been completely shut down for several weeks the blades will most likely warp. I understand that they are slowly rotated when there isn’t enough wind so that the blades don’t warp!

  17. Who will take down this crap? Or will it just be left for the public to take down, like they do in California.

  18. “We can’t control the weather.”

    Funny, aren’t these people always claiming the weather isn’t a problem with wonderful wind?

  19. Maybe they could get some coal, build a power plant, install some heaters….

    Oh!. Wait! What happened to all the smudge pots (aka “orchard heaters) that used to keep us in oranges and grapefruit and lemons and stuff? Do they still do the “Fruit Frost Service in Pomona” thing on KFI at 8:00 P.M.? What was his name?

  20. I remember reading, years ago, about a coal plant that had been shutdown because the pile where coal was staged between delivery and use had been frozen solid by wet, cold weather.

    Solar doesn’t work very well when it’s cloudy, and dust has to be cleaned off of the concentrators/solar cells.

    Wind power also requires wind be within a range of speeds, too much wind is as bad as to little wind.

    About the only three generation methods I can think of that can be weather proofed, are gas, geothermal, and nuclear.

  21. This is what happens when contracts for construction are awarded based on politics and government policies rather than engineering and realistic performance analysies.
    Wind-thrbines work best outdoors, not in government offices!

  22. Just think of all the wasted man hours and money blown on these green statues to ignorance.

    Can you imagine how well our economy would be doing if windmills were oil wells in ANWR?

    And oil wells don’t kill birds, windmills do.

  23. People in N.B. should be hopping mad. Climatologists tell us they knew all along that the warming arctic causes cold and snow, but they never shared this with us until…..well, until after all of the cold and snow. Had they told our friends in N.B. before they installed the pinwheels that they would most likely freeze up because of the hot, then they may have installed a different energy generation scheme.

  24. Durability seems to be a challenge for wind turbines.
    While in Ireland last year, I noticed a number of them built on coastal headlands.
    None were turning and the locals said they had broken down fairly soon after installation.
    Given the high installation cost per KW, this is very uneconomic.

  25. Last I heard, wind power costs 1.20/kwh. Nuclear plant power costs about three cents/kilowatt hour. Coal, maybe four or five. These insane windmills are greatly beloved by the Chinese. They don’t use them, but they make and sell them to us. They take the money they make selling windmills to saps and build liquid thorium (atomic) reactors so they can utterly destroy any country whose manufacturing depends on more expensive wind power. A frequent topic on catholicfundamentalism.com is wondering what percentage of enviro budgets are provided by China and OPEC.

  26. Just read the whole article. It just gets worse.

    “But with energy market prices changing constantly, she says there’s no way to know if NB Power is paying more or less for replacement power.

    “It can be more expensive. It can also be cheaper,” she says, but fluctuations in production at other sites can make up the difference.”

    LOL! With management like this, who needs management?

    “Despite running into problems in consecutive winters, Morton says NB Power doesn’t have concerns about the reliability of the supply from the Caribou Mountain site.”

    How do you spell ‘denial’?

    “David Coon, executive director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, says winter tends to bring higher winds to the province, which would push wind farms to produce more power.

    He says the problems at Caribou Mountain are confusing, as other projects in cold climates haven’t had similar ice issues.”

    Poor Coon. He’s confused. He thinks all “cold” climates are the same, even, presumably, the warmcold ones.

  27. Retrofitting a blade heating system would be expensive but it takes a huge amount of power to run the heaters. A veritable shed load of ninety foot blades with enough heating elements and run for the duration of a cold spell would not make sense, its cheaper to shut the whole farm down until the weather improves. But wait theres more! Composite blades cannot be heated because it affects the lifespan of the blades, makes them too flexible and therefore prone to setting up a particular vibration pattern that eventually tears the blade apart fibre by fibre or shakes the turbine into an early oblivion.
    Twenty turbines running heating elements in steel/alloy blades would consume more power than the farm generates on a good day, they could bring in a portable generator but that would consume an awful lot of fuel and make even the generous subsidies disappear faster then Al Gore at a press conference.

    Rock? meet hard place!

  28. Modern, MW-scaled wind turbines are among the most highly sophisticated and well-engineered pieces of power generating equipment on the market. If properly cared for, these devices work quite reliably for years and provide a good rate of return for the owners. The wind turbines shown are designed and supplied by a very experienced and capable company. Icing is an issue that has been addressed as well as possible for years through heaters on control anemometers, in gearboxes, etc., but blades have been a challenge. Ice reduces blade production effectiveness by a few tens of percent and can lead to deleterious vibrations due to imbalance. Typically, blades will ice up under the right environmental conditions and will often lose their ice within a day or two of an icing event – if the sun comes out. In ice-prone regions, project production and economic pro forma estimates take these factors into account. Some years, icing is worse than others. This may be a particularly bad year.

  29. bill says:
    February 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    “Last I heard, wind power costs 1.20/kwh…”

    Here’s another way of looking at it, from the U.S. perspective:

    “the relative subsidies for various energy sources… wind and solar get in the neighborhood of 100 times the subsidy that oil and gas do, per unit of energy produced (according to the Energy Information Administration): $23.50 per MwH for wind, $24.50 for solar, $0.25 for oil and gas, whereas coal gets $0.44, nukes about $1.60, and dams $0.60)”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/planet-gore/231257/yes-lets-give-renewables-chance-compete/chris-horner

    Not sure how much more that subsidy effectively is when no power is produced.

  30. AGW is responsible for more snow, so i heard from climate scientists, because there’s more moisture in the air. Wouldn’t this lead to more ice on the wind turbine blades and an increase in wind power failures; prompting us to use more fossil fuels – a positive feedback! A tipping point! So wind power is obviously incapable of stopping AGW. Same for snowed-in PV panels.

    Leaves only nuclear and man-sized hamster wheels.

  31. “the company that owns and operates the site, is working to return the windmills to working order”

    With the help of fossil fuels, no doubt.

  32. Soak the wind turbine with vinegar and sprinkel baking soda on it. The resulting CO2 should produce the heat to get rid of the ice.
    If this doesn’t work then call Al Gore.

    /sarc

  33. A link to an official UK site which gives electricity generated by fuel source.
    http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/~dcurtis/NETA.html
    Installed wind = 4.2 GW. Note the % contribution of wind to total consumption cf to the interconnector from France (nuclear) and the % of headline installed capacity.
    There must be similar information for the US.


  34. erik sloneker says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:16 am
    What do you suppose will happen when these monuments to economic illiteracy are no longer subsidized by a gullible public and are decommissioned?

    It appears that they will look like this:

    Dead Wind Power Installation

  35. I’m agnostic on AGW, but believe there’s a moral case for reducing consumption of fossil fuel (it can’t be right for three or four generations of mankind to consume all that was ever laid down. I can therefore grit my teeth and stomach paying towards wind generation subsidy – so long as it isn’t in fact making the situation worse! Can anyone point me towards a thorough Carbon Benefit / Cost analysis for (particularly) some low load-factor turbines? Will they ever displace enough fossil fuel consumption to outweigh that embedded in their manufacture, installation, maintenance, dismantling and recyling; plus that consumed in maintaining spinning backup during their operational life?

  36. OK, let’s do the numbers.

    Experience of (now defunct, replaced by a new name) Northern States Power:

    In my tenure there, for over 10 years they had 100 MWe of wind turbines at the windiest place in the State of MN. Sys-Op recorded an average capacity of 8.7 MWe.

    Thus it’s a 12:1 ratio. SO, for 100 MWe, they have 12 employees. WAIT to have a REAL 100 MWe, they’d need 12 * 12 = 144 employees.

    Now if you had 1000 MWe, like a major coal plant….you’d have: 144*10 = 1440 employees.

    Wait, wait..don’t tell me. We know how many employees there are at various 1000 MWe Coal plants. Approximately 300 to 350.

    Therefore the labor cost of the wind power is 3.5 times that of the coal power. Now, if you work out the CAPITAL COST you come up with a factor of about 10 on that realm.

    You work them ALL out and the wind power is about 15 times more expensive than the coal power. (Oh, I forgot, you do have to put in the 20% of the coal power cost that is the cost of the fuel. So the wind is only 14 times the cost of the coal power.)

    SO let’ take my Mother’s, APS (Arizona Public Service) levelized cost of $60 a month. That would to up to about $1000 a month. That would leave her with NO RENT for her double wide and NO money for food.

    Naughty girl she is, putting her A/C to 88 F during the summer when she’s gone (for reasons of keeping some items below 120 F in her double wide, I’ve figured the A/C runs about 1/4 as much as her neighbors. And being “comfortable” (that’s 82 F, dry) during the transition in the spring and the fall…I’m so ASHAMED of her at 90 years old, not being willing to make the SACRIFICE of letting her electric rates go up by 10 times to “save the enviroment”….

    But then, what does she have to say about it? If the GREENS have their way, NOTHING. That’s why the Green Dragon needs to be slain.

  37. Ya, I live in NB and feel embarrassed by all this stupidity. There is plenty of hydroelectric power and also loads of uranium and coal to mine.

    But what do we do??? This crap. Makes me sick.

  38. Wind power isn’t hopeless. It just doesn’t make economic sense today. It has problems for two reasons: it’s new and it’s subsidized by the government. People who risk other people’s money don’t bother to be as thorough as people who risk their own money in a business venture. At some point in the future, wind power might make economic sense, but it doesn’t now.

  39. Why do folks, even here, keep referring to these megaliths as “farms?” Farms have such things as corn, wheat, tractors, cows, etc. last time I checked. All I see are _(fill in) acres of scorched earth! I vote for “_ acre industrial complex from hell!”

    Also, using some form of steam as the heat transfer fluid ensures equipment bays & people spaces remain cozy no matter what the weather outside does that day!

    Always a good argument favoring heat engines versus gigantic egg-beaters!

  40. @ Bill: “Modern, MW-scaled wind turbines are among the most highly sophisticated and well-engineered pieces of power generating equipment on the market. If properly cared for, these devices work quite reliably for years and provide a good rate of return for the owners. The wind turbines shown are designed and supplied by a very experienced and capable company. ”

    And yet, almost no power is produced, so really, that’s all beside the point, isn’t it. No one cares how fancy the gear is, if it doesn’t do the job.

  41. Bill: “Typically, blades will ice up under the right environmental conditions and will often lose their ice within a day or two of an icing event – if the sun comes out.”

    Why are the blades white? You’d think if they made them black solar energy would defrost them quickly.

  42. tarpon says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Who will take down this crap? Or will it just be left for the public to take down, like they do in California.

    No worries! Scrappers will take care of these monuments to climsci insanity, and they will work at night pro bono.

  43. @Al Gored,

    Regardless of whether Coon is competent or foolish, the icing problem does not seem to be a major issue for wind power in general. I doubt wind power will ever be one of the larger sources of energy, but it is an option that needs to be explored and encouraged. The big push needs to be for nuclear power although switching from coal to gas can help reduce CO2 emissions in the meantime.

  44. Ken S says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:37 am
    If these wind turbines have been completely shut down for several weeks the blades will most likely warp. I understand that they are slowly rotated when there isn’t enough wind so that the blades don’t warp!

    Ken-
    It is my understanding that turbines are turned slowly when there is no wind in order to prevent the shaft from taking a “set”. (The same thing is done with the generator at our local nuclear power plant during a shutdown, and it is probably standard procedure at all power plants.) I don’t think it is as likely that the blades would warp if kept idle.
    There is a story of a festival – maybe in California – to celebrate the opening of a new wind farm. What the attendees didn’t know was that the turbines were being driven in the wind-free conditions by electricity from a nuclear power plant

    IanM

  45. Wind power supremacy: Our wind turbolator generators will whack for you mostly when you don’t need power!

    “We can’t control the weather,” Julie Vitek said. Well I’ll be damned, I didn’t know that.

    How silly can we skeptics be, the answer is obvious! Those turbines were designed for when “global warming” hits. We won’t have anymore-cold days so there was no point in engineering for sub-zero capability operations.

    Eco-engineers are a rich wise lot in deed!

  46. When I have a generator which will not start, I trash it and buy a new one.

    What part of “reliable” do they think is not needed for a power source?

  47. Remember the picture of the fallen windmill from a week or two ago? I drove by the Foote Creek Rim where that occurred last Friday. Winds were around 40 mph according to the overhead highway signs warning of the winds, yet none of the nearly 200 turbines were turning. Same thing on the way back.
    According to the BLM’s site for that project, the turbines should run in winds up to 65 mph.
    I’d love to know what the ACTUAL efficiency and amount of electricity these things produce, rather than the potential capacity.

    Web site for BLM: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Rawlins/wind.html

  48. They knew the numbers before they even built the stupid things………

    Not profitable, vastly expensive to maintain, just a handful of jobs created, etc

    …and we are paying for them, just like everything else the government does, out of our pockets

    and even when they know the costs, we will still be paying out of our pockets to maintain then and keep them running – forever

  49. I wonder how the windmills will be affected when the inevitable forest fire sweeps through those pines in the photo.

    Is there any data of how they will respond to the 500 degree, ember laden, 100 mile an hour wind that arrives with a 300 foot conflagration in tow.

  50. @Bill

    “Modern, MW-scaled wind turbines are among the most highly sophisticated and well-engineered pieces of power generating equipment on the market. If properly cared for, these devices work quite reliably for years and provide a good rate of return for the owners. ”

    Sophisticated? Yes they’d have to be to support the design that has been chosen. But for ease of maintenance and maintenance cost (and noise) it is a poor design, and that just adds to it having to be very sophisticated. The US space shuttle is very sophisticated however the cheaper soviet designed rockets are more reliable to get the job done. So things being sophisticated superbly engineering doesn’t necessarily mean much other than that it has to be superbly engineering to be working sophisticated hardware. :p

    They will, if, and only if, it is economically feasible, work for as long as the economical life time has been chosen to be. Which, weirdly, uhu, just happens to be for the maximum amount of years one can get subsidizes for. I believe it is 20 years in EU now, down from 25. Apparently they downed it because no commercial viable wind farm has yet to make it for even 20 years. Ironically the physical life expectancy went down to 15 years, although one has to take this with a grain of salt for it only means it is not economically to maintain after 15 years, but even after 10 years it is too costly (wind mills can only change to new generators if they fit the old design and what not, apparently even the foundations set today won’t be able to handle a larger version in the future.) so when new updated hardware hits the scene they can’t be interchanged for the old crap and who wants to keep squandering maintenance money for stuff that keep generating less for each revolution?

    So yes, of course wind power is very lucrative for the . . . owner! Especially in EU where they get subsidies for generating electricity, for not generating electricity, for not being able to generate electricity, and even for just thinking about expanding the business.

    A Swedish power company is helping putting up a wind farm in East Anglia, no less, and will take part of the £100 million per year hand out for 20 years. However in a short period of time since the project is expanding the subsidies also expands to £200 million per year.

    Thanks to the ever so kind hearted british tax payer a 100% foreign 100% wholly state owned power company will be receiving about three times more than the cost of building the whooping number of all of the 341 green mills without even generating one single watt, and on top of that they get general EU subsidies as well.

    The only reason for why that state owned company are building wind mills in the british isles is to reduce its own CO2 foot print, and by doing so, being 100% state owned, reduces the CO2 foot print, not the British isles CO2 foot print, but that of Sweden and the beauty is it’s all being payed for by the bleeding micks themselves. It’s the socialists wet dream: if there’s no more taxing of your own people start taxing the foreigners in their own countries. o_O

  51. From the full article:

    “The facility has enough capacity to power about 19,000 homes.”

    Just not in winter.

  52. Look at the energy that 1200 MW of turbines in Ireland is creating today.

    http://www.eirgrid.com/operations/systemperformancedata/windgeneration/

    What is the cost? According to this wind industry article 1.2 to 2.6 million per MW. http://www.windustry.org/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost
    So that is about 2 billion dollars worth of equipment sitting completely idle in Ireland today. Well, I guess it depends on how you look at it. Because for sure the turbines might not be spinning but the money is still flowing. Out of the consumers and citizens pockets and into the scammers pockets.

  53. Mike says:
    February 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm
    @Al Gored,

    The big push needs to be for nuclear power although switching from coal to gas can help reduce CO2 emissions in the meantime.

    Can you give me any reliable data that conclusively shows CO2 emissions are a problem? (Sorry, but the IPCC AR4 doesn’t count, unless you want to be laughed out of the stadium.)

    Increased levels of CO2 are actually a good thing–there’s hardly a plant alive (along the animals which benefit from their largess) that would lobby for less CO2.

  54. erik sloneker says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:16 am
    What do you suppose will happen when these monuments to economic illiteracy are no longer subsidized by a gullible public and are decommissioned?
    —————-
    And this

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/wind_energys_ghosts_1.html

    Look at Tehachapi’s dead turbines – that is the goal of the post normal environmentalists. That’s the legacy we will be leaving our wide-eyed children to deal with and pay for in 30 years.

  55. I live in New Brunswick. Last week there was a letter in the Telegraph-Journal supporting wind power. I wrote a reply, which was published the 16th. I enlarged that abbreviated telegram for a free-distribution newspaper, the River Valley News, which prints anything that isn’t salacious or violent. The following is the text that I sent to the RVN. There’s nothing new to those who follow the wind power question closely, but the article might be of use to somebody.

    Ian

    THEIR WIND FARM, YOUR MONEY

    by Ian L. McQueen

    In the Feb 11 Telegraph-Journal
    [http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/rss/article/1379513], Peeter and Tom
    Vihvelin of “Wind Dynamics Inc.” reassured us that wind turbines are a
    worthwhile way to generate much of our electricity, apparently only slightly
    behind sliced bread among great inventions. Unfortunately, facts and reality
    are against them.
    The major problem that the brothers Vihvelin did not acknowledge
    was that electricity from the wind is unreliable simply because it is as
    variable as…..the wind. Immutable science tells us that power output from a
    wind generator varies with the cube of the wind speed- if the wind strength
    doubles or halves, the output goes up…..or down…..by a factor of eight. And
    there are many days with no wind whatever, often at times of maximum
    electrical demand in mid-winter.

    This means that wind cannot be used for our base load without a
    means of storing huge amounts of electrical energy- so far that is only a
    dream. The result is that every kilowatt of wind capacity must be backed up
    by an equal amount of conventional thermal or hydro capacity. Wind plus
    hydro is fine, because hydro electricity can be increased or decreased
    quickly. But a thermal plant must be kept “hot and spinning” even if wind
    were providing all required energy. (This almost never happens,
    incidentally- average output from wind farms is typically only 20-30% of the
    nameplate rating.) This means that fuel is being consumed even when the
    plant is producing nothing, and any new wind generating capacity must be
    backed up by conventional capacity of the same magnitude. Fuel savings with
    wind turbines are minimal. The turbines of Denmark are often pointed to as
    examples, but not a single thermal plant has been closed in that country (or
    elsewhere) as a result of installing wind turbines.
    Electricity must always be available from the grid at a constant
    frequency and (nearly) constant voltage. But electricity generated by wind
    power is irregular, erratic. Wind power advocates talk about “the grid” as
    if it were able to level out variations in input from different generators.
    The reality is quite different. The electrical grid must itself be protected
    from instability. To prevent such instability, wind power can be fed in only
    in limited quantity – definitely less than 20%. German experts prefer no
    more than FOUR percent. Controlling the grid can become a nightmare with
    erratic inputs.
    There are other problems with wind turbines, like chopping up
    flying wildlife, their stark appearance, and the health effects of
    flickering light due to the blades, audible noise, and infrasound that can
    be felt, disturbingly.
    And if the only raison d’etre of wind power is to reduce CO2
    emissions, it is a non-starter because there is no scientific proof that CO2
    determines temperature or climate. Frequent repetition of a factoid does not
    make it true. If that were so, then Prester John would have come to life
    over the five centuries when people sent him letters to enroll his help.

    Wind power has been tried and has failed to live up to
    expectations in any number of places, including Denmark, Spain, Britain,
    USA, Australia, and on and on. Experience with the Bricklin ($23 million),
    Atcon ($50(?) million), Atlantic Yarns/Atlantic Fine Yarns (nearly $80
    million), and Caisse populaire de Shippagan ($37-50 million or more) should
    tell us that our governments have a poor record of picking winners. And so
    it will be if the present government is persuaded to give any financial
    support to wind power schemes.

    Contrary to what the brothers Vihvelin assert, wind-generated
    electricity is more expensive than conventional power. Quite a bit more
    expensive. Every extra wind turbine raises the risk of increasing your
    future electrical bill. It is not free! Unless the installers of wind farms
    agree to sell electricity to NB Power at the latter’s cost of generating it,
    our government should declare a moratorium on the construction of any more
    wind turbines. The results of using the existing wind capacity should be
    studied for several years before we even think of building more of them.

    We, the electricity consumers, should not be held hostage to the
    money-making desires of developers.

    Ian L. McQueen

    Glenwood

  56. February 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

    A couple weeks ago, there was a post here that speculated that wind power was to blame for the rolling blackouts in Texas.

    Turns out that wind power was doing just fine during the critical times in Texas; it was gas and coal units that were down.

    Previous to these facts coming out, the author and Anthony had pivoted with some “what I/he really meant was” talk about a hypothetical world in which the money to build wind turbines had instead been invested in coal/nukes/etc. …

    Well, we know that the nukes had absolutely no problem that day (so in a ‘hypothetical world’ we would have been better off having one more base-load nuke on line since they didn’t kick off-line like the ‘conventionals’ did) ; while their are ERCOT confidentiality agreements (I can quote chapter and verse if you like) that restrict the information about what conventional generating coal and nat gas plants were on line that day and failed the information about the nuke plant status is federally regulated and available near real-time (1) on the nrc.gov website.

    (1) Current Power Reactor Status Report: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/reactor-status/ps.html

    .

  57. Al Gored perceptively said:

    “LOL! With management like this, who needs management?”

    Profound, as much as funny.
    Kinda like California’s Energy ventures lately and what we have to face.
    Hang on tight for the ride we are going to be on shortly.

  58. Wind does not compete on price unless the market is distorted and cannot be stand-alone as back-up is required for occasions such as described at the head of this post.

    They are better described as subsidy farms. Subsidies can be lowered through the ballot box. Two days ago in one area of Spain there was a half-hour switch-off by households protesting at high electricity costs – a direct result of the Spanish government’s distorted market.

    That is one way of voting and in large enough numbers, is bound to be noticed.

  59. Turn the base part of the defunct turbine into a small country cottage. The city slicker greenies would snap them up like hot cakes and use them for their weekend pot parties.

    Give them to controlled demolition guys who can use them for research and training. After they bring a tower down, it could be cut up and sold for scrap.
    These guys could also recover any copper which now goes for $10,000 per tonne.

    Cut some big holes in the mid section of the tower so bats could enter and use them as a roost. After some years, the bat guano could be removed and sold for fertilizer.

    The military could use them for artilllery or jet plane smart bomb target practice.

    Use them for free housing for hippies.

    Take off the turbine housing and remove machinery. The platform could be used by raptors for nesting sites or by hang gliders for launching pads on windy days.

  60. BCC says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

    “A couple weeks ago, there was a post here that speculated that wind power was to blame for the rolling blackouts in Texas.

    Turns out that wind power was doing just fine during the critical times in Texas; it was gas and coal units that were down.

    Quoth Trip Doggett of ERCOT:

    I would highlight that we put out a special word of thanks to the wind community because they did contribute significantly through this time frame.”
    ======
    I, for one, am suprised that the output of said “wind community” is not being played up. I am sure it was near the rated capacity, and a bargain to build it.
    I am suprised the cost/benefit ratio is not being pushed as an example of tax subsidies paying off, with a detailed study of money involved.
    Oh wait…

  61. “How many windmills
    must a simple snow storm shut down
    before they’re forever banned?
    The answer my Friend
    is blowin’ in the wind….
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”
    };>)

    Green guy says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:10 am
    “I don’t care because I don’t have a job and it cost me nothing. BTW I hate people.”

    Welcome to WUWT, Gg, where even normal progressive ‘green guys’ are welcome!
    As a tip, if you intended that as sarcasm, it is good practice to follow it with /sarc or a similar identifier

  62. Am I the only person left who knows that the past tense of “wreak” is “wrought”?

    [Reply: Too esoteric. We're still trying to get folks to correctly use lose/loose and effect/affect. ~dbs]

  63. BCC says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

    “A couple weeks ago, there was a post here that speculated that wind power was to blame for the rolling blackouts in Texas.

    Turns out that wind power was doing just fine during the critical times in Texas; it was gas and coal units that were down.”

    Okay, so I get your point about that post. But this post is not speculative. Wind power did fail. What point ARE you trying to make here?

  64. AtlanticJim, I’m from the area too and that’s the first thing I thought of as well. Dry? WTF are they talking about? It’s never been dry here? It’s certainly not typical.

  65. Do a search using BC Hydro wind power, and BC Hydro wind power projects, interesting studies..

    BC Hydro is the main electrical utility for British Columbia in Canada. Our power rates are on the increase to pay for these Independant Power producers, which includes run of the river plants.

  66. From DirkH on February 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm:

    (…) So wind power is obviously incapable of stopping AGW. Same for snowed-in PV panels.

    Leaves only nuclear and man-sized hamster wheels.

    Thus I think of One Great Benefit of having a home alternative power system, with inverter and batteries and electricity stored from PV or wind or whatever.

    Instead of having home exercise equipment that blows air, makes heat from friction, or even uses electricity like a motor-driven treadmill, you can have equipment that drives a inexpensive DC generator and directly charges the batteries.

    Heck, that can even be scaled up. Want to fight the obesity epidemic? How about an exercise center where people can work out for free, maybe even make some pocket change, and get healthy? Just divert the government money wasted on wind turbines, build those exercise centers, and the economy will be saving lots of money.

    Those man-sized hamster wheels don’t sound all that bad.

  67. re :AMcguinn says: February 17, 2011 at 11:06 am

    To be fair, which I admit is boring, having time to sort issues like this out is a reason for pushing pilot wind projects: the argument is that they won’t become profitable until their proved technology, but they won’t become proved technology until we really use them for a while, so they need to be subsidised for now.

    Which of course overlooks boring little details like wind power being a several thousand year old technology which was swiftly replaced once more predictable, reliable power sources became available. Nothing can solve wind’s fundamental problem of being at the mercy of the weather, which our climate scientists tell us will get calmer, or stormier. Neither of which are healthy for wind turbines, but present little concern to a well sited reactor hall, or even coal/gas generation plant.

  68. RoHa says:
    February 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm
    Am I the only person left who knows that the past tense of “wreak” is “wrought”?

    [Reply: Too esoteric. We're still trying to get folks to correctly use lose/loose and effect/affect. ~dbs]
    ===
    Ok , Al Gore is afloat in a CO2 caused storm, the anchor comes lose and threatens the loose of the ship, the affact of the loose of anchor my mean the ship will be wrought upon the rocks, but ………

    As far as I could get, snip at will. :)

  69. I’m seriously torn. I can’t decide which is the the more foolish, wasteful and destructive pursuit – ethanol or wind. No sane engineer would recommend either. I am in vehement, passionate opposition to ethanol (except in adult beverages) but wind power may be even more foolish. I moved to Amarillo, TX when I was 27 and lived there until I was 38. I wear hard contact lenses and I swear the wind blew incessantly. This is one very windy area. I always thought that harnessing the wind would make perfect sense. In close proximity to the fabled “Cadillac Ranch” on old Route 66 one of the Texas Universities had a large, vertical ‘eggbeater’ wind turbine. In ten years I never saw that sucker turning but apparently the prospect of wind power had been explored long before I ever moved there (back in the late 80s). I had to move away, grow older and wiser before I realized why wind power was folly.

    If one had the means one could set up a personal household array of a wind turbine and banks of PV cells with extensive banks of batteries, charge controllers and voltage inverters and live the life of an energy pig free of charge and completely off the grid. Those without $100K in up front investment capital and hours and hours of spare time to service their system were out of luck. Wind works. Especially in Amarillo. But in the real world it just isn’t practical. Wind sucks for commercial energy generation for a lot of obvious reasons. Even under the best of conditions it is intermittent and diffuse and the necessary equipment and infrastructure is (usually) prohibitively expensive.

    Wind power is the demon spawn of crony capitalism, PC and political clout exerted by environmentalist concerns. In practical terms it is sheer stupidity. It’s a classic example of “you can’t there from here”.

  70. RoHa says:
    February 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Am I the only person left who knows that the past tense of “wreak” is “wrought”?

    [Reply: Too esoteric. We're still trying to get folks to correctly use lose/loose and effect/affect. ~dbs]
    __________________________________________________________
    While you’re at it you might want to work on “there, their and they’re”, “your, you’re and yore” and “to, too and two”…I have little hope for effect and affect…not to mention the most despised verb, “impacted” (as in colon).

  71. “The facility has enough capacity to power about 19,000 homes.”

    And this has an environmentally small CO2 footprint per house how?

  72. From RoHa on February 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm:

    Am I the only person left who knows that the past tense of “wreak” is “wrought”?

    After you wreak havoc, you have wrought havoc.
    Noun substitution:
    After you wreak iron, you have wrought iron.
    Something seems off there…

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/wrought

    A past tense and a past participle of work.

    Collins English Dictionary entry:

    Usage: Wrought is sometimes used as if it were the past tense and past participle of wreak as in the hurricane wrought havoc in coastal areas. Many people think this use is incorrect

    I would normally use wreaked myself, unless going for an effect as with really old wording: What windswept madness hast thou green fools wrought?

    [REPLY - What hath God reeked? ~ Evan]

  73. Where I come from, a new $200 million industrial wind farm development was recently announced in the newspaper. Fifty new jobs for up to twenty years, don’t you know. We don’t need the power, so the $200 million, plus cost to hook up to the grid, plus return on investment to the promoter will simply get added to our our energy bills, like some big credit card.

    Then, in the same paper there is a story about how a brand new processing plant may not be located in the area (we could lose out on maybe 1,000 highly skilled technical jobs – for a few generations) because our energy is twice as expensive as other competing jurisdictions. Go figure !

  74. Quoting about the Texas rolling blackouts:
    ” Wind was blowing, and we had often 3,500 megawatts of wind generation during that morning peak, which certainly helped us in this situation.”
    Commenting:
    Texas has the largest wind power capacity of any state – more than #2 and #3 combined. That capacity is touted as over 10,000 Megawatts. So, if the coal, natural gas and nuclear plants were producing at 1/3 of their capactities, would that “certainly help…in this situation”?

  75. Solar power FAIL.

    Brought to Ontario, Canada, by Red-Green Liberal-socialist McGuinty, et al.

    “The province’s long-term energy plan calls for $9-billion to be invested in solar, the bulk of it in the next few years – all so that solar can eventually comprise 1.5 per cent of the power supply mix. (By comparison, wind power is supposed to make up 10 per cent of supply, at a cost of $14-billion.)”

    …-

    “Ontarians pay price for Liberals’ backfiring green energy plans”

    “At a certain point, the excuses start to wear a little thin.

    Yes, Ontario entered largely uncharted territory with the most ambitious alternative-energy strategy in North America. Sure, it was inevitable that a few mistakes would need to be corrected along the way. The price of moving urgently, and all that.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/adam-radwanski/ontarians-pay-price-for-liberals-backfiring-green-energy-plans/article1912364/

  76. I agree with AtlanticJim, I live in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The winters are definitely not dry, and they are always cold.

  77. #
    #
    Dr. Dave says:
    February 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    RoHa says:
    February 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Am I the only person left who knows that the past tense of “wreak” is “wrought”?

    [Reply: Too esoteric. We're still trying to get folks to correctly use lose/loose and effect/affect. ~dbs]
    __________________________________________________________
    While you’re at it you might want to work on “there, their and they’re”, “your, you’re and yore” and “to, too and two”…I have little hope for effect and affect…not to mention the most despised verb, “impacted” (as in colon).
    ————————
    OOOOps!!!
    You’d better check that whole “knowing” thing. You don’t wreak iron to make a fancy fence.

  78. We had a similar situation here in Minnesota last winter. I think it was a subject of a post here at WUWT. The problem here wasn’t icing but improper lubrication in units that were supplied by a vendor from warmer climes.
    Then there was the story out of the UK of the wind turbine erected in close proximity to a small community which resulted in the local residents not being able to go out on the public streets in the winter months because they were under constant bombardment from semi-lethal ice shards being thrown off by the turbine’s blades.
    Most telling for me though were the stories about how many of the major players in the EU alternative energy market were mafia figures. I know the old Don’s were stereotypically portrayed as often trying to look like public benefactors, but I kind of doubt that that is the reason for their involvement in this area.

  79. Oliver Ramsay says:
    February 17, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    “OOOOps!!!
    You’d better check that whole “knowing” thing. You don’t wreak iron to make a fancy fence.”
    __________________________________________________________
    Damn it! Now I have to tear down my wreacked iron fence. I wonder what ‘affect’ it will have on me. This is to much to bare. Their is going to be hell to pay. Your going to have to bare with me…

  80. I was, with my sister & brother driving backwards down the Alaskan highway after the Alaskan Marine Highway System dropped us off at Valdez. In Whitehorse in the Yukon they had two wind generators they were developing. Last time I checked it gets a wee bit colder in the Yukon then in New Brunswick. This was in 2005. In lieu of the amount of time the private sector and populace has been given to reduce their CO2 emissions I would think NB should’ve had this problem solved. But, then, it’s always easier to issue edicts.

  81. Again, for all the nay-sayers on wind-power. It works, where properly located and where properly designed. California’s Banning Pass (near Palm Springs on Interstate 10) is a prime example. It has worked in California for decades. Note that the wind-turbines here generally don’t contend with ice or snow. At least, not yet. Stay tuned on that one.

    One can click on this link to see the variations in wind power for the day in California.
    http://caiso.com/outlook/SystemStatus.html This graph is updated daily.

    Or, click here to see the daily MW generated by the several forms of renewable energy in California. Wind on 1/16/2011 produced just more than 4 percent of the total power.

    http://www.caiso.com/green/renewrpt/DailyRenewablesWatch.pdf

    Wind does not create undue stress on the natural-gas fired power plants here. Greater stresses are created when 30 million people turn on the lights at roughly the same time each morning, and when automatic systems turn off millions of street lights when the sun rises. See the red “blip” at approximately 5:15 a.m. on the System Status link above.

    Wind is also not intended to be a replacement for fossil-fueled power because “everyone” knows that wind is intermittent. Only when wind is coupled completely to an energy storage system will that type of power be reliable.

  82. @LarryD who said:

    About the only three generation methods I can think of that can be weather proofed, are gas, geothermal, and nuclear.

    In the Texas instance, gas-powered plants failed because the controls on supply pipelines lost electric power. I guess that leaves nuclear as the only source that can be used anywhere.

  83. Wind is being pushed in the same way that perpetual motion machines were:
    They ignore the throughput calculations.
    For the reverse analogy, look at the energy consumption required to run a prop-driven airplane. Add in the cost to design, build and maintain that airplane.
    For the windmill producing power, it’s a loss.
    For the airplane, it’s all about accomplishing specific travel at an acknowledged high energy cost.
    That’s not to say that using a windmill to accomplish a specific task is a bad idea (grinding your grain).

  84. Found in kadaka (KD Knoebel) on February 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm:

    [REPLY - What hath God reeked? ~ Evan]

    Reeked?

    The atmosphere, the depths of the oceans, just about every bit of land with preferences for forests and grassy plains… Acts of God indeed! When God reeks, He doesn’t mess around.

  85. Here in Ontario, where ‘Green’ is king courtesy of provincial legislation, wind power must be dispatched prior to other generation. This lunacy leads to interesting times whereby we spill water at Niagara and pay importers (export at a loss) to take our power in an effort to maintain reliability. We have a chance to change government here in October of this year and, hopefully, it will invoke changes to ensure: that adequate base load and peak generation is installed; that the grid is reliable and can manage, contain and recover from contingencies; that power is produced at least cost. That is all, as a taxpayer and consumer, that I require of the government. In this environment, renewable energy may be implemented as micro projects for farm, home and business which is, given the technology, its appropriate domain.
    And pigs will fly (Sigh).

  86. Wind Power – EPIC FAIL

    Just be thankful these bozos didn’t install de-icers in their wind turbines… de-icers need electricity… and de-icing draws electricity from the grid… and if the cold wind isn’t blowing then de-icing wind turbines is a net drain on the gridMan proposes – Nature disposes seems a fitting epitaph for Wind Power

  87. In the UK the idiot Coalition Government is aiming for 50% renewables [mainly Wind as Solar is a joke in cloudy/wet Britain] All that subsidy should be going into Thorium Power. Instead we will have a landscape covered in pathetic Green Gargoyles that will have bankrupted the National Grid long before 2050!

    So say the WWF and Greenpeace and a few other fundraisers [raising funds for their execs]

  88. Mark Luedtke says:
    February 17, 2011 at 1:54 pm
    Wind power isn’t hopeless. It just doesn’t make economic sense today. It has problems for two reasons: it’s new and it’s subsidized by the government. People who risk other people’s money don’t bother to be as thorough as people who risk their own money in a business venture. At some point in the future, wind power might make economic sense, but it doesn’t now.
    /////////////////////////////////////
    It is very unlikely to make economic sense in the future since it suffers from a number of fundamental flaws. First and foremost, the unreliability and variability of wind. Second, that in relative terms, wind has little force meaning that it is necessary to have large scale farms and even then, only modest amount of energy (even when all going well is produced).
    Further, unlike many other industries, there is unlikely to be much in the way of benefit of scale resulting in cost cutting. Additionally, it is relatively unlikely that there will be substantial increase in eficiency of the blades/generators.
    Outside subsidies, these things will never make sense. They will never result in any significant reduction in CO2 until such time as an efficient energy storage device is produced. There is absolutely no sign that the later is on the horizon any time soon.

  89. Karen Dozier says:
    February 17, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    From the full article:

    “The facility has enough capacity to power about 19,000 homes.”

    Just not in winter.

    Or when the wind doth not blow.

    Or when the wind doth blow too hard.

    Or when the wind is too variable

    The modern world is full of wonders too numerous and brilliant to number, windmills are going to go down in history as the biggest most expensive blunder humanity has ever created.

  90. RACookPE1978 says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Oopsie.

    A second part of the (numerous) failures of wind power’s inability to maintain generation output over time is the effect on the conventional very large power plant machinery: The turbines, generators, boilers, pumps, motors, and the extreme loss of machinery lifetimes due to excess cycles.

    These are very large, very heavy, very thick-walled and very closely toleranced dynamic machines – but paradoxically – very fragile pieces of extremely high speed gear. The extra up-and-down cycles of the wind power machines “break” the planned long-term running of the regular power plants – so their life cycles and maintenance costs are dropped by 1/3 to 1/4.

    It’s equal to requiring 30% MORE operating costs (or a 30% shorter lifetime) of the rest of the grid.

    That sounds like something someone made it up out of thin air and posted to a blog. Got a link to some kind of legitimate study attesting to it?

  91. I wonder if this global rush to install failing windmills at taxpayers’ expense has anything to do with the subconscious desire to crush all those Don Quichotes out there…

    It reminds me of a thievish Russian tycoon buying up some patently ugly modern art at Sotheby’s for 40 million dollars. He does it not only because he can but because it’s an ultimate insult to those honest, hard-working people who appreciate rare beauty but cannot afford it. This gives our primitive mountebank a satisfaction above any other pleasure: it is this satisfaction, not some repulsive run-of-the-mill Picasso that he is paying for.

    There are sometimes amazing coincidences between literature and real life (though Sherlock Holmes would have a different opinion).

    In his classic SF books written in 1960s, the blind visionary and all-American native genius, Jack Vance, invented a secretive interplanetary organization that took upon itself a responsibility for deciding, what science and technology would be beneficial to the humanity, and what breakthroughs would be dangerous, since most of the humanity hasn’t grown up enough to handle such things. Inventors of dangerous things would mysteriously disappear, their publications would not be found in libraries or databases, and those who would attempt to re-create such inventions would be dealt with quickly and ruthlessly…

    Half a century ago, Jack Vance named this cosmic thought police… IPCC.

  92. “I” do not need ANYBODY else’s “peer-review” by any so-called self-interested “paid scientist” to validate the numbers and machinery destruction “I” have pwesonally witnessed first-hand over the past 37 years of repairing nuclear, coal, solar, wind and gas-turbine power plants.

    No so-called climate “scientist” have ever been held liable for false statements, lies, and exaggerations he or she has ever made. Engineers ARE held to such economic, professional, and ethical standards by each state’s legal and professional bodies.

  93. B.O.B. says:
    February 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    “Where I come from, a new $200 million industrial wind farm development was recently announced in the newspaper. Fifty new jobs for up to twenty years, don’t you know. We don’t need the power, so the $200 million, plus cost to hook up to the grid, plus return on investment to the promoter will simply get added to our our energy bills, like some big credit card.”

    Where I live (Texas) we have twice as much wind power as France.

    France has ten times as much nuclear power generation as Texas.

    The average cost of electricity in Texas is $0.12/kwh

    The average cost of electricity in France is $0.19/kwh

    Any questions?

    all of Canada. Average cost of electricity in Texas is $0.12/kwh which is 10% below the national average. Average cost of electricity in Canada is

  94. Plenty of material here for Josh, eg Cassandra King’s:
    ‘..or when the wind doth not blow
    or when the wind doth blow too hard…’
    and Alexander Fecht’s comment re science fiction writer Jack Vance’s name for his cosmic thought police, the IPCC. :-)

  95. Dave Springer says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    RACookPE1978 says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Oopsie.

    A second part of the (numerous) failures of wind power’s inability to maintain generation output over time is the effect on the conventional very large power plant machinery: The turbines, generators, boilers, pumps, motors, and the extreme loss of machinery lifetimes due to excess cycles.

    I cannot point you to a paper. What I can do is point out that IESO ignores wind power when it schedules its power generation in Ontario.

    This has been noted by several technical people that study power generation and wind power contribution in Canada.

    Have a look at one guest post here…

    http://ontariowindperformance.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/chapter-3-1-powering-ontario/

    See the reference to the original paper/study at the end of the article. Note that there are links to where raw data can be downloaded. All the claims can be verified against the data by using a spreadsheet or a simple program. The original paper was reviewed by power engineers and technical people.

    Note that the graphs show that the Exported Power is always more than the Wind Power. Why? Even with weather modeling you can’t get output predictions for wind power exactly right… So the solution is to ignore wind power in the scheduling. Ontario always has a surplus now. The wind power contributes to the surplus at a rate of $125.00 – $195.00 per MWH (WHOLESALE RATE) cost to the Ontario consumer. This is the range of the FIT (Feed In Tariff) rate. So we pay up to eight ties the value of the power that is subsequently sold at the going wholesale rate…

    This power is then sold to all of you wonderful folks in the good ol’ USA at a rate of (typically) $25- $45 per MWH. Sometimes we PAY you to take the power allowing you to shut down your generation facilities! Such a deal. We are subsidizing the power companies that then charge you $$120 to $200 per MWH.

    Use the power ourselves? How? It is truly surplus power due to the scheduling algorithm which ignores contribution of wind power (and Solar Power for that matter).

    I am not criticizing the decision to schedule in this manner. The wind power in Ontario is highly correlated. The output level changes across the entire province in synchrony — often with little warning. The article should make that very clear!

    I suppose we should feel grateful for this opportunity — but we do not.

    Google Wind Concerns Ontario and read a great deal of discussion on this and other related matters.

    Cheers! …and I hope that helps people understand the frustrations in dealing with “Green Energy” — which I now refer to as “Black Energy”.

  96. Can anyone think of a world wide engineering project that will fail as bad as these wind tubines?

    Zepplin travel?

  97. racookpe1978 says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    ““I” do not need ANYBODY else’s “peer-review” by any so-called self-interested “paid scientist” to validate the numbers and machinery destruction ”

    Yeah, that’s about what I figured. Thanks.

  98. Chas says:
    February 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    “Here in Ontario, where ‘Green’ is king courtesy of provincial legislation, wind power must be dispatched prior to other generation.”

    Canada’s electricity is close to the lowest cost in the industrial world at some $0.6kwh.

    Evidently wind generation isn’t doing much harm there. The cost of electricity is the bottom line as far as I’m concerned and so far I can’t find any correlation between higher cost electricity and wind capacity. Nuclear is what appears to drive up the cost of electricity and natural gas drives it down. Electricity in France costs 3 times as much as it does in Canada and France is notorious for having more nuclear power generating capacity (as a percentage of total capacity) than any other large nation in world. Numbers don’t lie. People do. Especially people with an agenda. I have no agenda other than I want cheaper electricity and transporation fuels and I really don’t give a flying fig whether it comes from wind or soybeans or nuclear or offshore oil rigs as long as the price is low and getting lower (or at least not getting higher).

  99. The anti-green sentiment on this blog is more knee-jerk reactionism than cold sober analysis. It’s like anything and everything that ecoloons embrace is automatically loony. Even a blind squirrel finds an occasional acorn. In science and engineering things should be judged by their merits not by their political or religious associations. In fact it’s a well known logical fallacy called guilt by association. It’s hard to claim the high ground when this kind of behavior is so dominant. It’s no different than the CAGW camp who also automatically judge things by political and religious associations rather than by fact and reason.

  100. Maybe they could fit trace heating to keep them clear of frost- all they need to hope is that the wind is blowing when it gets cold to power the heating, although they then may just use all the power that they are generating!
    This could go round and round for ever and produce nothing of any value.

    James.

  101. I haven’t read all the postings previous to this contribution so maybe someone else has already made a similar comment. As an aeroplane pilot I am rather familiar with the effects of ice or even frost on aerofoils. Even a barely discernable layer on the wing will adversely affect lift. I’ve spent many an hour or so on a cold morning de-icing before take-off. Apart from ice, the wings get dirty and need regular cleaning to maintain efficiency. Wonder how much regular attention the aerofoils of wind generators get and at what cost.

  102. @ Dave Springer,

    Your 6 cents a kwh is a little out of date for Canada.
    Ontario has a bunch of wind power and Alberta has some, but it’s insignificant.
    We have lots of government regulation on price and a lot of hydro.
    I like France but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they had muddled up their deltas and their wyes, or maybe they’re still pricing their nukes in old francs.

  103. Henry chance says:
    February 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    “Paint them black and the sunlight can warm them.”

    Sorry that won’t work I’m afraid. The blades are composite and need to be protected from heat and UV hence they are painted white. Same as gliders and composite aircraft.

  104. Shevva says:
    February 18, 2011 at 12:19 am

    “Can anyone think of a world wide engineering project that will fail as bad as these wind tubines?”

    Yeah, that’s an easy one. Fusion power. Fifty years of dumping money into research programs and it isn’t any closer now than it was 50 years ago. It’s perpetually 20 years away from commercial application. No one’s acheived break-even and even if they do there are no materials that can endure for anywhere near long enough in the reaction chamber to make it economically feasible.

    One that already earned an epic fail just recently is ethanol from corn. Lots of people, including me, called that a monumental boondoggle years ago. The frontrunner for me for the last 25 years (ever since I read “Engines of Creation” by K. Eric Drexler in 1987) has been synthetic biology harnessing the proven ability of living things to convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into liquid and gaseous fuels compatible with current infrastructure that uses fossil fuels. I’m more convinced this is the future now than ever as the advances in synthetic biology have reached a point where it’s now just a matter of years away instead of decades – near as I can tell if you started planning a new advanced nuclear power plant today it would be a dinosaur before it had sold enough electricity to pay for itself. Meanwhile advanced biofuel pilot plants are coming online this year producing fuel competitive with oil at $30/bbl using nothing but wastewater, sunshine, air, and about 1 acre of non-arable land per 15,000 gallons of diesel. Even if they only get $60/bbl that’s still 33% less than the current price of crude oil.

    Here’s a quick survey of companies leading the pack:

    http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2011/02/15/algae-keep-on-rockin-in-the-free-world-pt-2-get-this-party-started/

    Genetically engineered algae that thrive in sea water, brackish water, and municipal waste water on otherwise non-arable land with genes inserted into them so they’ll produce any hydrocarbon products from methane (natural gas) to diesel, ethanol, and jet fuel. Sounds too good to be true but it isn’t. Synthetic biology has truly awesome potential and cheap energy is just the beginning – the low hanging fruit – because it doesn’t take much tweaking of the genome to produce simple hydrocarbons. In principle almost anything that can be built by humans can be built by microscopic biological robots – the really cool part is that these robots can build more of themselves too. Microscopic living things are nothing more than tiny self-reproducing programmable machines. An incredible technology handed to us on a silver platter. The only work we have to do is learn how to mix and match desirable capabilities and insert or our own programmatic control. We’re getting really, really close. Genetic engineering is at a point that reminds me of where computer engineering was at in the 1960′s and advancing at the same pace.

  105. Dave Springer,

    What you see as a “knee-jerk reactionism” is, in many cases, a very understandable exuberance of the people who are totally gagged on other sites, whenever they are trying to say something. Give them a break, they deserve it — if only because most of them have that precious commodity, common sense.

    Meanwhile, there is more than enough “cold and sober analysis” on WUWT, if you care to look for it. Deepest thoughts, on the other hand, are not necessarily cold and sober. Hot and drunk people have extremely useful ideas once in a while.

  106. EVAN.
    Your wit is a delight, Thou or is it tho or thee or yea or thy wit is a delight. This english is a bugger.

  107. Sorry, folks – got distracted before.
    As I was about to say – here in the UK, under the ‘greenest government ever’ (the irony not lost on me, but it may be on them) – I recently had an exchange of e-mails with a guy at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (the two still linked – why, I’ve no idea). He proudly announced that the UK had ‘overtaken Denmark in offshore wind farm capacity’. Well – we all know I’m sure by now, just what the Danes think of wind farms – the cost of their electricity bills; the blight on property; and the zero impact on fossil-fuelled generating capacity.
    As I write, the UK is producing 1.5% of its electricity demand from wind – up from 0.8% overnight – and up from a laughable 0.1% during our coldest weather just before Christmas. Still a bit shy of the intention of 30% by 2030..!
    The problem here, of course, is that – contrary to what the politicians think, isolated in the Palace of Westminster:
    a) Its windy, but not THAT windy
    b) Its extremely intermittent – and bears no relation whatsoever to demand.
    Have they learnt nothing from history..? Have they not spotted that windmills were abandoned in a big hurry 200 years ago when steam power began to provide reliable and controllable energy..? Do they think that the wind pattern around these islands has suddenly changed to suit their policies..?

  108. Andrew30 says:
    February 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I wonder how the windmills will be affected when the inevitable forest fire sweeps through those pines in the photo.

    Is there any data of how they will respond to the 500 degree, ember laden, 100 mile an hour wind that arrives with a 300 foot conflagration in tow.
    =======
    well I sure hope someones round to take some pics and post them when it does happen, theyd interfere with water bombers too I guess?

  109. Dave Springer says:
    February 18, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Chas says:
    February 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    “Here in Ontario, where ‘Green’ is king courtesy of provincial legislation, wind power must be dispatched prior to other generation.”

    Canada’s electricity is close to the lowest cost in the industrial world at some $0.6kwh.

    Oh please! That is the Retail Price number they put on the bill to confuse small children and gullible green policy lovers. It will not confuse you for an instant if you review a Hydro One (Ontario) invoice!

    The real cost is about $190 -$220 per MWH. ($0.22 per KWH). Depending on the state of the tide, the mood of the bureaucrats and the phase of the moon.

    They (The Electric Utilities) have broken out the bill and itemized it into delivery and Debt Reduction and GAM charges… many of the categories are fantasy mechanisms for increasing the bill. See articles by Parker Gallant in the National Post and also carried on Wind Concerns Ontario.

    The Global Adjustment Mechanism (GAM) is a Fudge Factor which lumps in various inefficiencies payoffs and any other charge that comes to mind. It makes up the difference between the actual wholesale cost of power and whatever they figure the market will bear. It guarantees a certain minimum profit to an retailer of electric power. We can only guess at that minimum as there is great secrecy surrounding some issues.

    Never underestimate the ability of bureaucrats to dream up money collection schemes. They make the world go round — or something…

  110. In the case of Dave Springer vs the Consumers of Ontario…

    Please note that while Dave Springer wrote $.6 kWH — I think he meant $.06 per KWH which is often stated as the “Retail Price” of power. This is versus the wholesale price of power which is often $0.025 – $0.025 these days. The wind Power addition lowers the value of the power exported, while raising the price that must be charged on the home front.

    http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/infoCentre/ic_index.asp

    At the time of posting…
    Current hourly price: 1.97¢/kWh at 8:00 a.m. EST

    … or $0.0187 per KWh —It was BELOW my stated range

    I hope that that is more clear.

  111. Judd says:
    February 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm
    I was, with my sister & brother driving backwards down the Alaskan highway …..

    This bothered me all night. I just have to know why? Was it a transmission problem? A dare? A new ‘extreme’ sport?

  112. Dave Springer says:
    February 18, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Shevva says:
    February 18, 2011 at 12:19 am

    “Can anyone think of a world wide engineering project that will fail as bad as these wind tubines?”

    Yeah, that’s an easy one. Fusion power. Fifty years of dumping money into research programs and it isn’t any closer now than it was 50 years ago. It’s perpetually 20 years away from commercial application. No one’s acheived break-even and even if they do there are no materials that can endure for anywhere near long enough in the reaction chamber to make it economically feasible.
    ====================

    As the late Doctor Bussard humourously noted in his Google lecture – Fusion works, you only have to look up into the sky to see it, and not a single one of them is toroidal!

    Doctor Bussard, like yourself, was scathing about the big fusion projects – JET and Tomahawk. After 50 years of working with toroids, he said, the one thing we’ve learned is that they are no damn good.

    However. . .

    Dr Bussard was working on inertial electric containment fusion – a completely different beast. So far, laboratory experiments have been promising, and the verdict on feasibility has been touted to be given in the next couple of years. If it does work, it will have proved more than anything, the prescience of Eisenhower’s farewell speech – that the nations scholars on government paychecks is indeed gravely to be regarded.

  113. In regard to Dave Springer says:
    February 18, 2011 at 12:46 am

    Dave, the more people, the more chance for not well thought out comments. However there are many good comments as well.

    In regard to wind power you have a long way to go to convince me. I have found many aritlce on how wind has raised the cost of power in europe and here.
    In deciding what something costs so many factors must be looked at.

    Wind is subsidized in many ways. Nationaly and by states. Also by the fact that when wind does not meet its commited grid production their failure costs are carried to conventional power plants, but not vice versa. Thye biggest subsidy however is in the capitol costs of building conventional power plants. The higher your percentage of wind power, the greater the need for conventional back up. This ratio is FAR higher with wind then any other conventional source, therfore it is logical that some of the cost ofconventional power must be ascribed to wind. Even in an existing power grid, as you add wind you must increase the percentage of your backup, due to the highly fluctaing nature of wind. This means other conventional plants may be producing much less when the wind blows, and recieving less revenue relative to there FIXED overhead, and so have to increase their rates, while wind rides for free on their necessary back up and rising conventional rates. In the previous thread on wind many good comments had numerous links to examples of where and why wind raised rates in Denmark and Europe. Rates have risen rapidly in Texas due to many many factors, wind is one of them. Remmove the false financial support, and wind generators would not be built except in very rare cases.

  114. *****
    1DandyTroll says:
    February 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    They will, if, and only if, it is economically feasible, work for as long as the economical life time has been chosen to be. Which, weirdly, uhu, just happens to be for the maximum amount of years one can get subsidizes for. I believe it is 20 years in EU now, down from 25. Apparently they downed it because no commercial viable wind farm has yet to make it for even 20 years. Ironically the physical life expectancy went down to 15 years, although one has to take this with a grain of salt for it only means it is not economically to maintain after 15 years, but even after 10 years it is too costly (wind mills can only change to new generators if they fit the old design and what not, apparently even the foundations set today won’t be able to handle a larger version in the future.) so when new updated hardware hits the scene they can’t be interchanged for the old crap and who wants to keep squandering maintenance money for stuff that keep generating less for each revolution?
    *****

    Interesting. The coal-plant where I worked had units built in 1920, 1944, & 1957. The 1920 units had been scrapped, but some of its auxiliary equipment is still in use. The 1944 unit was overbuilt like it could survive a bombing attack (remember, 1944). It still runs reliably today (but not base-loaded) after 65+ yrs despite nothing “new” on it other than the precipitator — even the boiler tubes are original (many were pad-welded & shielded to combat flyash erosion). The 1957 unit runs reliably & is base-loaded during relatively high-demand periods. The whole 345-MW plant including 100,000-ton coal pile takes up a mere 25 acres along the river.

    They are kept running because it’s too expensive to replace them w/new generation (and there are distribution-system voltage support reasons, too). The new EPA rules could force them to shut down.

  115. RACookPE1978 says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Thanks for that. I hadn’t seen that factor explicitly mentioned, only the inefficiencies of fast ramp-up/ramp-down. But it makes sense that added stress = added wear and maintenance.

  116. oldseadog says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Why don’t they put electric heaters in the things, so that when the wind stops and the frost comes they can keep the units from freezing?
    Well, they have to have back-up generating plants anyway, don’t they?

    They already need power to keep turning when winds are too low, etc., so they don’t seize up.

    And — it’s the BLADES that are icing up. Do you want to try to electrically heat the BLADES?!?!?! What a joke that would be.

  117. The wind turbine engineers and planning managers I work with expect no more than 5-7 years lifetime for the generator machinery (hydraulics, oil and lubrication, bearings, speed reduction gearbox, blade gearing, housing yaw controls, control hydraulics, brakes, etc.) internals; 7-10 years (maybe!) for the little 1.0 to 1.5 MegaWatt generators themselves before needing replacement or major overhaul, and 15-20 years for the towers and base bolts and the pod housing itself. All is not “lost” however: The structural engineers figure 400 – 1000 years for the concrete base. 8<) (Though the rebar will rust out sooner than that.)

    Nobody knows about blade lifetime: The newest, largest, heaviest, most flexible and most complex blades are also the most highly stressed blades with the most vibration and the highest dynamic loading. These are also the blades in the most exposed conditions at the possible highest towers that increase the dynamic vibrational movement with each rotation. We "think" the new composite blades will last more than 5 years. Maybe.

    Unfortunately, all wind turbine machinery maintenance takes place inside the little pods at the top of a 150 foot to 250 foot climb up a single ladder. Any parts or tools you need need to be brought up with you as you climb. Makes repair hard, dangerous, and expensive. (No porta-potties up in the tower either – kinda tough for a 12-hour shift.)

    And all of this means that repairs and maintenance – which are NOT subsidized by tax incentives and property tax reductions and construction subsidies – will be skipped or ignored or simply "be forgotten" as windfarms are abandoned when the initial "take a picture of my taxpayer-funded green energy windmill" breaks in 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 years. And, unlike current coal mines where very-expensive enviro refilling and careful re-landscaping is mandatory, there is NO legal requirement to strip down abandoned windmills and restore the property to its original condition.

  118. More comments. Relative to baxter75 and other comments: For years, wind energy researchers have worked diligently to make airfoils relatively insensitive to leading-edge roughness so that dirt and ice have a minimal affect on lift and energy production. However, the airfoils are still affected to some extent. Prior to the evolution of the recent, improved airfoils, blades were cleaned of insects and dirt by spraying – when needed. Black blades have been used, but don’t seem to produce much help. The major effort has been to use hydrophobic coatings that impede ice buildup. This helps.

    The cost of energy from wind turbines varies with the winds, cost of money, turbine costs etc. Without subsidies, the cost of energy for land-based machines ranges from about 7 to 11 cents per kWh. It used to be less until commodity prices went up and many of the best wind sites were used up. These cost numbers are levelized over 20 years, and include a levelized operation and maintenance cost that can range (in the early years) from 1 cent per kWh to more than 2 cents/kwh in year 20. 20 years is the design life of turbines, but they often last longer if properly cared for. Subsidies of on the order of 2 to 3 cents/kWh (PTC, grants, Renewable Energy Certificate, etc.) help reduce the above costs of energy.

    Wind Turbines generally can retain close to their normal prodcution effectiveness for their lifetime – if blades are given care and the control systems checked. The turbine output variation due to variations in wind speeds is often accommodated by electric utilities in the same manner as variations in loads, such as when lights are turned on in the morning or off at night, etc. It is often seen as a “negative” load, and very often helps to improve the reliability of meeting the utility load and (where used in abundance) leads to the purchase of fewer fossil-fueled plants in the long run.

    So, these systems work, are a decent investment, and help the environment. That’s why governments, researcher and decision-makers who understand the benefits and costs of wind energy have been supportive.

  119. Someone mentioned Bussard’s PolyWell project, now carried on by Emc2, under contract to the US Navy.
    Another (even smaller) outfit (no gubmint funding whatsoever) is LPPhysics.com — and it may achieve break-even this year. Would likely have already done so if the switches they purchased as state-0f-the-art 45kV gear weren’t actually only able to handle 25kV. About 9 of the last 12 months were eaten by hand-engineering of upgrades, now complete.
    If it clicks, electricity prices would crash by a factor of 10-50X (depending on market), about 6¢/W to install, and 0.3¢/kwh at source. Tiny generators (ship in standard containers), ~5MW each, no radiation, direct power output (no steam turbines!). Timeline is now about 3-5 yrs. out. LPP would sell licenses to mfrs. world-wide for local marketing and use.

    At which point every wind and solar plant on the planet becomes pricey scrap; economic road-kill. Hurrah!

  120. Bill;
    your numbers are just the wind industry’s PR.

    Energy extraction from ANY low-density source requires large commitments of real estate and capital, and maintenance is a horror show just because of proliferation of units and dispersal.

    (To cap it off, turbine infrasound wrecks people’s health and quality of life. Google WTS (Wind Turbine Syndrome). There’s a reason every community with actual or threatened local siting goes ballistic in opposition. )

  121. Roger Sowell says:
    February 17, 2011 at 7:40 pm
    … It has worked in California for decades. Note that the wind-turbines here generally don’t contend with ice or snow. At least, not yet. Stay tuned on that one.
    One can click on this link to see the variations in wind power for the day in California.
    http://caiso.com/outlook/SystemStatus.html This graph is updated daily.
    ==================
    Look at the output today(2/18). All those wind turbines in Ca produced today was an ave of 300 MW. On small NatGas plant in someone’s backyard could produce three times that much.

  122. Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
    February 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Wind power besides being unreliable and undispatchable, is unsustainable.

    But what do you really think? lol

    I will see that this link is passed along to the “right people”!

    Maybe we will talk at length some day. :-)

  123. @Ian L. McQueen says:
    “It is my understanding that turbines are turned slowly when there is no wind in order to prevent the shaft from taking a “set”. ”

    A large Indian gas powered generating station built by Bechtel, the subject of possibly the largest ever international private law suit, suffered from this fate. Realising that the increase in natural gas prices made the project econmoically unviable by the time it was commissioned, they refused to pay for it and the generators sat from some time while the gov’t of India rushed through laws forbidding payment. The generators, which can be turned by hand, large as they are, cannot sit for long in one position. No one bothered. They soon became hopelessly bent, never to run. Bechtel eventually won the suit ($500m) but the station still hasn’t run as far as I heard.

    It seems the wind machines are all in this league with the major difference that they are at present hopelessly uneconomic from the get-go.

  124. Dudes, just wipe those blades down with RainX, after that the ice comes off easy. Sometimes you need less Engineers and more Duct tape & Bailing wire people.

  125. @nofreewind on February 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I invite you to have a look at the SONGS (San Onofre Nuclear Generating System) and its power output. Absolutely zero. Has been that way for quite a while, too, while they replace one of the steam generators.

    Wind power works when the wind blows. This is nothing new, and nothing to get all excited about. Nuclear doesn’t work so well when the pieces wear out and have to be replaced.

  126. Yeah. Just like you can with a nuke, you can schedule the wind for down-time and make arrangements for the next windmill up the road to pick up the load. Or schedule the wind down-time to coincide with a water release driven by irrigation needs. Or a lot of stuff.

    Is “dispatcheable” a word? (Speell chooker doesn’t think so.)

  127. Larry Sheldon says:
    February 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Is “dispatcheable” a word? (Speell chooker doesn’t think so.)

    No, and neither is “dispatche”; try “dispatchable”. It’s a trade-specific term:

    DFE2009 Energy Storage for Wind Power Generation
    As well, wind power is non-dispatchable, meaning that it must be consumed as soon as it is produced and its production cannot be reserved …

  128. Roger Sowell says:
    February 18, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Wind power works when the wind blows. This is nothing new, and nothing to get all excited about. Nuclear doesn’t work so well when the pieces wear out and have to be replaced.

    Duh. Neither does anything else. Especially wind turbines; they burn up or explode if the repair dudes don’t climb that 150-250 foot ladder with tools and parts and a few meals and a chamber pot in time. And nobody knows how long they’ll last; the first couple of generations went about half as long as expected, with wide variations.

    Pricey, fussy, unproductive garbage tech on stilts.

  129. Recently found (and promptly lost) some interesting official statistics on a group of wind farms in the UK (northern Scotland, obviously from the name) called Caithness Wind Farms.
    Since commissioning (around ten years ago):
    Nearly 1000 accidents.
    73 deaths.
    Anyone got any equivalent statistics for other wind farms..? These are onshore – offshore ones might prove quite ‘illuminating’…

  130. Texas Wind Power: Reality vs. Hype (despite burdensome state mandate, only a 1.2% share projected for 2014)
    by Robert Bryce
    August 24, 2009

    http://www.masterresource.org/2009/08/texas-wind-power-the-numbers-versus-the-hype-despite-mandates-1-2-share-by-2014/

    “The first great requisite of motive power is, that it shall be wholly at our command, to be exerted when, and where, and in what degree we desire. The wind, for instance, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear.”

    - William Stanley Jevons, The Coal Question (1865), p. 122.

    ———————–

    Conclusion

    The growth of windpower capacity in Texas is not the result of consumer choice and natural economics but mandates from the Texas legislature. And despite all the hype, the reality is that the Lone Star State will continue to rely on the same fuels for power generation that it has relied upon for decades: natural gas, coal, and nuclear.

  131. David says: February 18, 2011 at 4:34 am
    Have they learnt nothing….
    Do they think….

    It is a big mistake to assume the British political class suffers from either of these maladies…. they just know what is best for everyone… the concepts of learning and thinking simply do not apply in this context.

  132. Why Wind Won’t Work?
    - it’s Weaker than Water.

    http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/why-wind-wont-work.pdf

    Executive Summary.

    Wind power is very dilute, and thus a large area of land is required to gather significant energy. Wind energy needs a wide network of roads, transmission lines and turbines which degrades any area containing wind farms. It has a huge land footprint.

    The operating characteristics of turbine and generator mean that only a small part of wind energy can be captured.

    Wind power is also intermittent, unreliable and hard to predict. Therefore large backup or storage systems are required. This adds to the capital and operating costs and increases the instability of the network.

    Wind farms are uniformly hated by neighbours and will not be willingly accepted without heavy compensation payments. Their noise, flicker, fire risk and disturbing effect on domestic and wild animals are well documented.

    The wind is free but wind power is far from it. Its cost is far above all conventional methods of generating electricity. Either taxpayers or consumers will pay this bill.

    Wind farms are promoted as a way to decarbonise energy generation. This is supposed to reduce global warming. There is no evidence that there is any need or benefit in chasing this rainbow.

    There is no justification for continuing the complex network of subsidies, mandates and taxbreaks that currently underpin construction of wind farms in Australia. If wind power is sustainable it will be developed without these financial crutches.

  133. The best, secure, grid is one with multiple generation points using various generating technologies. Windmills do add redundancy. In event of a grid disaster (CME?), every generator will be required to restore our power grid. We were able to restart the grid in ’65 because of a couple of CTU (jet engines) installed at a coal station by Sarnia, Can.

    They were able to power up the coal station, which powered up another nuke, which got everyone else going. Now everyone has them, but mixing generation sources, increases security. However, the mix must be correct. It is mainly government subsidies, for wind generation which is distorting a healthy mix.

    Having said that, I have 200 windmills surrounding my farm. My land is the only land for miles where one does not have to stare at rotating windmills. I am beginning to feel like the little old lady who owns a tiny house in the middle of Manhattan skyscrapers. So far, I have been able to keep them off my land. I think armor piercing rounds, in my cupboard, may have been the reason? GK

  134. Naysayers should look at the reality. Wind is not “hard to predict.” Oddly enough, we DO know how to install wind measuring devices (anemometers) a few miles ahead of the wind turbines so that it is no surprise when the wind-power output changes.

    Here’s a link to California’s Energy Commission levelized cost data for 2009 installation for several types of power generation. Note the very low cost from wind, onshore. One can download the pdf at the link below, for more details.

    wind, onshore class 3/4 — $77 per MWh (average)
    wind, onshore class 5 — $70 per MWh (average)

    Note that the only system with lower levelized cost is an upgrade to an existing hydroelectric plant, at $65 per MWh.

    http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/levelized_costs.html

    What is truly instructive, however, is the CEC’s information on nuclear power costs in the pdf’s graphs. The new nuke has a levelized cost of 31.4 cents per kWh ($314 per MWh) for 2018, based on a Westinghouse AP1000 of 960 MW capacity. (see Figures 13 and 14). This is consistent with what I have written on the extremely high costs of new nuclear power.

    Also, for a visual depiction, see Figure 11 for Baseload Technology, and Figure 9 for Conventional Technologies cost comparisons. The new nuke is almost off the charts in Figure 11, and is easily twice the cost of natural-gas fired combined cycle technologies shown in Figure 9.

    link to the pdf document:

    http://www.energy.ca.gov/2009publications/CEC-200-2009-017/CEC-200-2009-017-SF.PDF

  135. Roger Sowell says:
    February 18, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    @nofreewind on February 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I invite you to have a look at the SONGS (San Onofre Nuclear Generating System)

    Talk about Cherry picking. No mention of the fact it has been producing 2200 MWe. year in year out since 1984. Show me a wind farm that has got any where near that.

  136. RoHa says:
    February 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm
    “Am I the only person left who knows that the past tense of “wreak” is “wrought”?

    [Reply: Too esoteric. We're still trying to get folks to correctly use lose/loose and effect/affect. ~dbs]

    Wow, I’m glad to know you guys were even trying. Maybe you could add “practise” (verb) and “practice” (noun) to the list. I don’t hold out much hope though, considering 93.6% of Americans under 55 can’t discern between “then” and “than.”

  137. @A C Osborne.

    No, they don’t produce year in and year out. They are brought down and taken off-line at regular intervals, just like any other piece of machinery. They are also forced to shut down any time the regulatory agency says to.

    Nuclear plants must be cherries, then. Show me any one of them that doesn’t have to replace a major component, and is down for weeks or months to accomplish that. And, they remove a full 900 to 1200 MW from the grid when they go down. Not like a wind farm, where there are dozens or hundreds of wind turbines with one or two out for routine maintenance. This is an inconvenient fact that nuclear proponents like to gloss over, that there must be full, 100-percent backup capacity (usually by natural gas power plants) for that nuke.

    What say you as to the published costs of new nuclear plants? 31 cents per kWh is not what this country needs. Ever.

  138. According to this article, “…six of 104 [nuclear power plant] units were offline.”

    That is during the heart of one of the most bitter, coldest winters we have had for a long while. Right when we need the power the most, nope, the old nuke is not available.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-14/u-s-nuclear-plant-output-falls-as-southern-shuts-alabama-unit.html

    These things shut down all the time. This particular story just happened to be at the top of the search list today.

  139. 6 of 94 nuclear plants down?

    Overall, over ALL times of the year, over ALL recent years, over ALL kinds of weather and over ALL temperatures, the capacity factor (actual delivered power divided by nameplate rating (the maximum amount of power that can be produced) for nuclear plants is 90%.

    So if 6 nuclear plants are down for refueling outages and repair outages? About right. That IS what can be planned over the long term.

    Now. Windpower.

    Hmmmn. 10,000 MegaWatts of wind power HAS BEEN already installed in Texas. (That is, already paid for by current and future taxpayer subsidies.) But, during a recent crisis when every kilowatt that could be generated was needed, wind delivered less than 1800 Meg’s. Which is actually UNDER the real-world, real-time delivered capacity factor of 23%. (In the UK, things are worse: There, wind delivers 15 – 18% of its installed capacity. Except during cold spells. Then wind is 1 – 2% deliverable in the UK.)

    Earlier in the Texas power crisis? When wind power was NOT needed but when it was displacing conventional plants that should have been already warmed up and with their piping hot and flowing? Well, then, when wind power was NOT needed and excess power WAS available from conventional generators but when the winds were at their maximum? – THEN wind power “only” could deliver 3800 MegaWatts! Wow! At its “best” times, wind can only really deliver 38% of its installed power. Gee.

    So? Pay for and install 5 times the amount of generation power you think you need. Then, maybe, just maybe, you might get some of the power you really need. Some of the time.

  140. Slacko says:
    February 19, 2011 at 11:52 am
    “Wow, I’m glad to know you guys were even trying. Maybe you could add “practise” (verb) and “practice” (noun) to the list. I don’t hold out much hope though, considering 93.6% of Americans under 55 can’t discern between “then” and “than.”
    ————————
    You must be a pedant of British extraction (like myself), but you are a careless one. It is “accepted” American usage to spell both the noun and the verb with a c.
    What’s horrible is your mistaken use of the transitive verb ‘discern’ where you should have used an intransitive, such as ‘discriminate’, a direct object to make sense of your verb or the transitive ‘differentiate’, which has the semantic value that would impart meaning to the sentence, as long as your prepositions were adjusted accordingly.

  141. @racookpe1978 on February 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Yup. That’s exactly how wind power works at this time. And, it won’t get any better until somebody figures out an economical way to store the wind power that is generated, then release it back when and as it is needed. Of course, you being a PE you will understand that there will be some loss from the storage and re-generation. That loss could be as much as 50 percent. Thus, instead of an effective capacity factor of 38 percent, it would be on the order of 20 percent.

    A similar problem was solved with flooding rivers, having too much water when we didn’t need it, and not enough when we did. We build dams and reservoirs behind them to store the water until it was needed. However, there isn’t nearly as much loss involved – only evaporation and perhaps some seepage. Someday, we will figure out how to do the same with wind power: store it and retrieve it with little loss.

    In the meantime, it is quite unfair to blame wind for the recent troubles in Texas. If they had done their winterizing properly, no problems would have occurred. Texas has cold winters and the people know how to deal with them. Somebody dropped the ball this time.

  142. How does this compare to nuclear power maintenance downtime periods in length?

    Can you do a NUCLEAR FAIL story next time they are off the grid? Just to be fair. And no I don’t care if it is planned or unplanned, just whether they are producing power.

    Andy

  143. From AndyW on February 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm:

    Can you do a NUCLEAR FAIL story next time they are off the grid? Just to be fair. And no I don’t care if it is planned or unplanned, just whether they are producing power.

    Like when the hair-trigger safety systems execute an automatic shutdown if there might be a possibility of any sort of radioactivity release, even a puff of steam? Which leads to days of safety inspections before the nuclear plant is allowed to be restarted?

    Strangely enough, there are no equivalent systems for wind turbines. Indeed, it’s been repeatedly shown how they can be destroyed rather quickly, torn apart and disintegrated, by the energy source they are trying to harvest. Thus it’s not a fair comparison.

    Perhaps you should complain as to how nuclear plants are not as tolerant of insignificant hiccups while running as wind turbines. Maybe you could get them to back down those safety measures just a bit, to keep those plants up and running and supplying the grid. Because keeping the grid supplied as much as possible as long as possible is what’s most important, and nuclear plants should be at least as reliable an electricity source as wind turbines, right?

  144. [Reply: Too esoteric. We're still trying to get folks to correctly use lose/loose and effect/affect. ~dbs]

    When you’ve sorted that one out, can you turn your attention to correcting the misuse of amount/number and fewer/less?

    Yes, I know, I should get out more …

  145. I fail to see how wind and solar power have a smaller carbon print/cost than other forms of power. And I include initial construction as well as continued maintenance and long term reliability in my thinking. If you were to include hydro dammed water, you get a bigger footprint at first glance, but the area under the dammed water continues to be productive, thus reducing its out-of-production footprint. Plus the energy produced is far more efficient per household than solar or wind. Furthermore, the large tracts of land under solar and wind that is needed to equal hydro ceases to be productive.

    Coal powered plants are another issue. In terms of the total carbon print/cost of energy production, the extraction of coal adds quite a bit to its carbon print.

    Strong tides are another potential energy source but initial installation will be huge. And if an earthquake takes it out, you lose big time.

    So I seem to be cycling back to hydro and nuclear-type energy generation. I prefer small scale/high numbers over large scale/small number but am not entirely convinced about that issue.

    As for fuel to power road vehicles, train, and air travel, I really don’t have a favorite.

    Now if push comes to shove and some hamper headed country bottles up the energy it exports, then all bets are off and we dig. This country is filled with able bodied men and women who will sign up to dig for our own energy. That activity is as good as putting a gun in our hands and shipping us over to hamper head country to free up energy supplies.

  146. Oliver Ramsay says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm
    “You must be a pedant of British extraction …”

    Quite right, Oliver. Thankyou for your corrections.

  147. Pamela:

    The problem with wind and solar power is one of electrical storage. Batteries is not a good solution. Where the boat was/is missed is the execution of such power generation.

    If such power generation was used for electrolysis of water into H2 and O2, this problem would be essentially solved. Each windmill and solar panel could become a fueling center for trucks and cars.

    In fact, all our generation should run flat out… ALL THE TIME. Grid load supply could then be regulated by diverting power into/out of H2 production. This solution is so obvious, I must conclude, that there is an ideological agenda, somewhere, preventing such practical solution. There is not a power station that does not wish for flat out generation. The wear and tear of large generators load cycling is terrible and expensive. Proper grid design and operation is all that is needed. GK

  148. G.K.;
    Uh-huh. And then you deal with hydrogen. The tiniest of all atoms, able to slip through materials and seams like nobody’s business. Dangerously explosive, and burns with a hot, nearly-invisible flame. Huge volumes required for each mass-unit transferred or stored. (It’s actually more concentrated hanging onto a carbon in methane than in liquid or solid form.) Etc.

    Hydrogen is tough for even elaborate space launch sites, with huge bucks dedicated to it, to handle. It is hopeless for commercial and consumer use.

  149. Sorry Brian H, I missed your reply. These threads here pass quickly.

    Yes H2 handling is somewhat difficult. However, you might be surprised to learn, that all of our large generators are actually cooled by copious quantities of pure hydrogen gas. This H2 is delivered by tractor trailers of long bundles of gas cylinders, using our current public highways. Hydrogen in it’s pure state is a non-flammable, non-explosive gas. It is only when mixed with O2 that it becomes dangerous, like propane and dozens of other gases.

    Leakage is a problem, but I hardly would regard it as insurmountable. We are transporting and storing it extensively already. Still, your highlight is important information. Thx GK

  150. Lindsay;
    I know that a cleaver cleaves (meat), but are you clever enough to tell us what a clever cleves?

    Maybe not …

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