Energy sucking illuminated wind turbine may be torn down to make way for a coal loader

Oh the irony…

First, a flashback from  June 18, 2010:

I was in Newcastle, NSW AU on Wednesday night to give another lecture as part of the Australian speaking tour I’m doing. I had the pleasure of following David Stockwell in a presentation, and David Archibald followed me.

We were a bit late getting there due to airplane scheduling snafus, and as we rushed from the airport at 6:15 pm we passed the coal loading terminal at Newcastle. There, as if there was some madcap attempt at sustainability, was one of those huge wind turbines like I’ve seen on the US plains. I attempted to get a  photo, but my camera misfired with bad focus due to the car window, and I missed the shot.

The next morning, on the way to the airport again at 6AM, the windmill was still there, just like it was before. My driver (Anthony#2 of Team Anthony) gladly pulled over to allow me to get this shot as dawn crept in. I was incredulous that the shot hadn’t changed.

Ummm. I thought windmills were all about generating electricity, not using it. So why put torches on it that run all night? Want to bet the lighting power is coming from coal? While the turbine probably generates more power than it uses most nights, it sure seems odd.

Of course, maybe the people that run it really didn’t want a wind turbine in their coal town, and this torch lighting is their form of silent protest. Or, maybe they are proud of it and felt it needed to be illuminated all hours of the night. Maybe the lights are to warn off birds and small planes. Nobody seemed to know. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t help but be amused.

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Bruce from Newcastle writes in today to tell me:

Anthony – our lonely windmill which you liked so much when you visited (you know the one helpfully lit up at night) may be about to pay the ultimate price – to be reincarnated as a coal loader:

http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/coalloader-expansion-may-squeeze-out-wind-turbine/2111826.aspx

Ultimate in irony. Windmill makes ultimate sacrifice to ship coal from Newcastle to China…ah, just think of all the heads exploding in the EDF.

The Kooragang Island wind turbine has stood at the Newcastle Port Corporation since 1997. Anyone want to place bets on whether environmentalists will chain themselves to it like a tree about to be cut down?

57 thoughts on “Energy sucking illuminated wind turbine may be torn down to make way for a coal loader

  1. That is the funniest story I have seen all day. I only wish I could be there to watch the funeral ceremony.

  2. I’m just waiting for some bunch of whack jobs to try climbing up to the top in an effort to “save” the wind turbine from being chopped down. People like that generally have lots of time on their hands – should be fund to watch.

  3. When they cut it down, they could take it to Canberra, weld the blades so they cannot turn (to save the birds) and put it outside the Australian Museum on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, as a tribute to early 21st century voodoo science.
    It would be grand.

  4. Ah, The windmill, Its always been an oddity, a curiosity, and a rather pointless one at that.

    I live in Newy, and I wish I’d known you were in town, Would have liked to attend.

    Any way I can find out if you are ever here again?

  5. Yer changed energy companies today, pretty young mermink said they aint got much of that green enviro electricity and so they can cut their cost, the warp and woof about 8 per cent.
    Also seen me first Ipad. Did not check her out, just taught her some trade craft and let her out me cave.

    Tole peroxie doxie, yer talk dollars not per cents and punters will listen, get yer palaver right yer will hunt good.

    Yer cutta deal with ol Jack, yer cutta deal.

  6. Don’t teach a dutchie ships master on loan, coal to Newcastle, in van Diemen’s land.

    Red ranga wants it she has it.

  7. Surely it’s done well, it must be at least fourteen years past the end of it’s useful life.

  8. The wind turbine would look good on a nuclear power station.
    It could be a chimney for when radioactive gases have to be vented.

  9. Maybe we should put forward the idea that that are building the new loader because they have to export more coal to cover the CO2 tax burden.

  10. yesterday we had JuLIAR running from the No Carbon Tax rally by educated citizens they insist on portraying as deniers ignorant etc etc..where did she go to avoid the questions?
    a nice windfarm for publicity shots.
    how come a blade never flies off when you want it to?

  11. A sterling opportunity to start practicing and training for the next decade’s boom occupation: windmill salvage.

  12. It’ll be very interesting to follow this story to its end…
    From another part of the world, Scandinavia/Norway, where the wind turbines are being plastered around in superbly sensitive areas, below documentary from the ‘NRK’ (Norwegian Public Service TV) was aired in 2006:

    http://www1.nrk.no/nett-tv/klipp/193197

    (min 5 MB bandwidth)

    http://www1.nrk.no/nett-tv/klipp/282395

    (min 0,5 MB bandwidth)

    Although in Norwegian language I hope the message will come through.

    Brgds from Sweden
    //TJ

  13. The greenies will be able to get jobs cleaning up after the mess the windmill constructions driveways etc have made to the landscape, by revegetation etc (although that would require some actual work)

    Salvage rights on the steel and neodymium could be quite lucrative.

    Unfortunately we cannot bring back the sliced birds, nor is there much hope of ever remediating the area in Baotou, China where the magnets originate.

  14. There was a time when it all made perfect sense but then I started reading. No wonder the Ranga and the cadarverous Combet, or is that Brown? would dearly like to silence the shock jocks and the few rebellious journos. They are livid that some Australians can read and research. They forget that the voters they insult may well be their constituents and won’t forget the slur come the next election.

    Farewell windmill.

    Don’t forget to turn your lights on for Earth Hour this Saturday. We want a big spike at the generators. Childish I know but it’s a little and obvious protest against the merchants of guilt. It will also be a little celebration of the end of 16 years of leftoid government here in NSW.

  15. Wind TURBINE or wind MILL? One sounds really smooth, fast and impressive; the other more agricultural, plodding. When I think of ‘turbines’ I have a mental image of aircraft jet engines; 20,000 to 30,000 rpm whining furies.

    I have seen some very small wind TURBINES which really do ‘sing’ as they spin at very high speed, but wind MILL is certianly the appropriate name for these slow-grinding bird-munchers.

  16. Recently I followed up a comment posted by a WUWT reader about two turbines installed atop their local council offices ‘to increase awareness of renewables’ by Kirklees Council in Huddersfield

    “COUNCIL officials have admitted: “We can’t get our wind turbine repaired”. More than FOUR MONTHS after one of the two turbines on top of Civic Centre 3 broke down, it is still out of action…The two turbines only generated enough energy to cover a third of their upkeep in 2008.The two turbines brought £2,078 into Kirklees Council coffers, but cost £6,431 to maintain and repair.They cost the council £101,000 to buy and install.” (31.7.2010)

    http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/local-west-yorkshire-news/2010/07/31/kirklees-council-s-wind-turbine-woes-deepen-86081-26967147/

    “A KIRKLEES Council wind turbine is still out of action – 11 MONTHS after it broke down.One of the two turbines on top of Civic Centre 3 has not worked since last March. This week the 27ft windmill was still slumped over on the roof of the town centre building.” (9.2.2011)

    http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/local-west-yorkshire-news/2011/02/09/kirklees-council-civic-centre-turbine-still-broken-86081-28138298/

    So I was amazed to come across this piece on a local government website which cited this installation as a case study in an article dated 24.1.2011 and claimed under ‘Achievements’
    “• The wind turbines have performed well given their urban location and have required minimal maintenance”. [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

    http://www.sustainablegov.co.uk/local-government/energy-and-climate-change-local-government/civic-centre-3-case-study-energy-from-the-sun-and-the-wind

    The typical disconnect between Government claims and reality!

  17. It must be saved because it is an Old Growth Wind Turbine! ;) Where is the Sierra Club when they are needed? I know, they are getting stuck in late Blizzards due to Global Warming!

  18. People need to understand that wind turbines are really just symbolic. They are a symbol of the environmental left. Think about it; they don’t generate much power; they don’t reduce carbon emissions so why do the environmentalists love them so much? Because they are tall, white, they spin and they are always located smack in the middle of conservative territory. When they are spinning away they give the greens a warm and fuzzy feeling and the also say “We arew here!”. That’s about it. Geothermal power for example, is a far better form of alternative energy than wind; they can be placed anywhere and they generate power 24/7. But the power plants are stark and industrial looking. The greens don’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling from geothermal. Thus Geothermal is ignored. Wind turbines are a symbol of the left, that’s all they really are. Until the public realizes that wind turbines are really just symbolic we are all going to continue to pay and pay for them.

  19. There is a wind turbine downtown Toronto rotating softly all on it’s own. Looks very green and adds to the modern city feel. The reason i mention this is that my brother works for Ontario Power Generation and he told me that it doesn’t even function. That in fact it is powered to turn. It is a marketing ploy to make the province and city look greener.

  20. If history treats the environmentalists, greens, and global warming advocates fairly they will be labeled either as political revolutionaries or idiots. Maybe both.

  21. Here’s a bit of “green” irony. In the “Ads by Google” section under this story we see this:
    Discover ENMAX’s Vision
    ENMAX Wants to Say Goodbye Coal… …Hello Future. Learn More Here.

    Enmax is the electrical untility for the city of Calgary. Maybe they are trying to say goodbye a little too quickly as they tried in Newcastle. They just closed the Wabamun Lake coal-fired electircal plant and they are demolishing it. Albertans are fortunate that Alberta is swimming in natural gas. Unless Enmax wants to say goodbye to that too? Global warming stupidity know no bounds. I sure hope that rolling black-outs are not in our future.

  22. Stan,

    I live in Alberta as well and I am getting very concerned about our supply situation. We just lost 2 large coal units (Sundance 1 & 2) totalling close to 600 MW of supply. There is no intention to repair these units as they were nearing the end of their normal life. Our load growth over the past couple of years has been remarkable given the global economic situation. Much of our load growth is due to (evil) oilsands projects so, given the current price of oil, I don’t see this changing. We have a large (Keephills 3, 450 MW) new coal unit in the commissioning stage right now but that doesn’t even replace the units we just lost. Apart from that, much of our new generation growth has been, and will continue to be, wind generation. This does not bode well for our supply security. Wind is currently providing 37 MW out of a total installed capacity of 777 MW (a whopping 5% of design). We regularly import close to 700 MW from our neighboring provinces. In my opinion, we are setting ourselved up as the next California with brownouts and blackouts. We need to start building more real generation or we could be in trouble.

  23. Lighting the windmill at night is probably to prevent the embarrassment of finding dead birds on the dock or floating the harbor. Most birds have poor night vision, but fly when startled. Without light there is a higher chance of being struck by a windmill blade.

  24. Andy G says:
    March 24, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Maybe we should put forward the idea that that are building the new loader because they have to export more coal to cover the CO2 tax burden.

    Bwahahahaha! Andy G wins the thread.

  25. Wind turbine farms need about 80 acres per 1.5 MW to operate efficiently. This comes in at 4W/m^2, the equivalent of a nightlight. I wonder what the equivalent is for this one. How much land area was devoted to powering that very large spotlight?

  26. I think that picture look as ominous as that picture with the hills all covered with thousands of crucified people just before Masada fell, err, windmills (before scientific society fall?)

    I get the distinct feeling that the building of wind driven propeller machinery is naught but the mere arrogant hubris of thinking that it is possible to ward off evil-doers and at the same time pacifying the Gods’s wrath-to-come (while earning a pretty penny.)

  27. Marion says:
    March 24, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Marion, thanks for that. I’m from real close to Huddersfield originally. I’m sure my friends there will get a laugh, albeit an ironic one, out of your comment, which I’m posting on a local site.

  28. Andy G says:
    March 24, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Hi Andy,

    You must be referring to that Neodymium stuff. Commonly used in Wind Turbines where a high power weight ratio is required. It’s also used in loudspeakers microphones etc, computer hard drives and window manufacture. So, sadly, you are also part of the problem.

    Maybe you should write to the mine managers and express your concern about their poor environmental treatment, or recycle your computers to reduce demand. Being the concerned citizen you obviously are, you could always write to BHP complaining about the Ok Tedi mining disaster or Freeport about the mess they made at Tembagapura, all in the search for gold and copper. Then there’s the damage left from any oil spill you’d like to mention. Don’t forget the mud volcano at Lusi, Indonesia as well: there’s a real tragedy.

    It’s sad about the birds, so maybe you should write to Sir Alistair Pilkington. Many more birds die flying into highly reflective float glass windows. Or Henry Ford: the number of birds that die after being struck by mass produced automobiles must number in the millions each year. Then there’s the Albatross that die as a result of long line fishing, the by-catch from trawlers or the turtles, dolphins and whales that die in ghost nets carelessly cast adrift.

    I assume you are concerned about environmental damage so you wouldn’t just pick on the Wind Turbine industry because it suits your ideology, would you??

  29. Lawrie Ayres says:
    March 24, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Don’t forget to turn your lights on for Earth Hour this Saturday. We want a big spike at the generators. Childish I know but it’s a little and obvious protest against the merchants of guilt. It will also be a little celebration of the end of 16 years of leftoid government here in NSW.

    ===========================================================

    Childish, true, but I love it when the “Nuff-Nuffs advertise themselves. It’s so much easier to pick you out.

  30. Anthony says:

    The Kooragang Island wind turbine has stood at the Newcastle Port Corporation since 1997. Anyone want to place bets on whether environmentalists will chain themselves to it like a tree about to be cut down?

    Much better to have one chained environmentalist per blade. Of course, differing weights of environmentalists would call for calculations to be made to position them correctly along blades to ensure balance. Oh, never mind.

  31. klem says:
    March 24, 2011 at 7:06 am

    People need to understand that wind turbines are really just symbolic. They are a symbol of the environmental left.

    ****************************

    ryan says:
    March 24, 2011 at 7:17 am

    There is a wind turbine downtown Toronto rotating softly all on it’s own. Looks very green and adds to the modern city feel. The reason i mention this is that my brother works for Ontario Power Generation and he told me that it doesn’t even function. That in fact it is powered to turn. It is a marketing ploy to make the province and city look greener.
    *******************

    Absolutely spot on. These wind turbines are nothing but a symbol of the “Love Earth; Hate Humanity” religion.

    Years from now they will be nothing but broken-down relics of a past superstition generating awe at how so much effort could have been dedicated to a totally useless unproductive effort.

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

  32. For those interested in comparing the actual output of wind turbines located in the UK as opposed to their capacity the report below is an excellent source.

    http://www.ref.org.uk/images/PDFs/REDs10/Wind%202010%20v1.pdf

    Interesting to note how many of those wind turbines installed at schools and initially trumpetted as a great success are now displaying a load factor of less than 5% (in some cases considerably less!!)

  33. @Gerry

    “It’s Green Recycling!!!”

    Yes, you are uncanny unequivocally totally absolutely correct, every new revolution is a recycling of the last, that’s why so many of them are at a stand still, utter moot, because there’s nothing to recycle. :p

  34. URKidding… yes YOU obviously are…

    The topic here is about windmills.

    Yes there are small amounts of neodymium , a few milligrams in computers, and maybe a few ounces in loudspeakers, but in windmills, the Neo magnet can be measured in TONNES !!! This huge difference in size, linked with the moronic proliferation of these most in-efficient of energy producing dynosaurs in Europe and elsewhere is the absolute main contributor to the pollution problems in China.

  35. ps.. It will be good when they start ripping these things down, it will ease the toxic pollution increase from rare earth processing in China, plus provide a good source of magnetic material for use in much more efficient coal and gas powered generators.

  36. Where’s Josh?

    Josh, see this:
    @ Schadow 3:43 pm

    “Much better to have one chained environmentalist per blade. Of course, differing weights of environmentalists would call for calculations to be made to position them correctly along blades to ensure balance. Oh, never mind.”

  37. Andy G says:
    March 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Hi Andy,

    The topic was about Wind Turbines actually.

    But if you are so concerned about the damage caused by mining neodymium, you should extend your concern to those areas I noted. The damage caused by mining for iron ore gold and copper is far in excess of that caused by mining for neodymium.

    You gotta get your priorities right to be effective.

    As I said, you only mentioned the Wind Turbine industry because it suits your ideology. Your response only confirms that.

  38. “The damage caused by mining for iron ore gold and copper is far in excess of that caused by mining for neodymium. ”

    Now I know UR Kidding !!

  39. And since you obviously think that it is OK !!!! for a GREEN technology to make such a MESS of the environment both in production and implementation, as well as being a money sink, one has to seriously question your ideology.

    It obviously is NOT one of an environmentalist, so what is it ?????
    Please enlighten us !!

  40. Andy G says:
    March 24, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    And since you obviously think that it is OK !!!! for a GREEN technology to make such a MESS of the environment both in production and implementation, as well as being a money sink, one has to seriously question your ideology.

    ===========================================================

    Where did I say it is OK to mine Neodymium on the basis it is used in “Green” Technology. It would still be mined even if Wind Turbines did not exist, as it has many other applications.

    You’re the one who claimed Neodymium mining was harming the environment and I agree. And if it comes down to money, clearly the mine owners don’t want to diminish their profit by spending some of that profit on cleaning up the mess they made.

    I just gave you a few more examples of damage caused by mining for materials you and I use every day (and in Wind Turbines for that matter). Strangely enough you are so blinkered by your ideology you can’t even see that.

  41. A 1997 wind turbine? I believe that qualifies it as ‘old growth.’ It must be saved.

    Maybe they could relocate it to some DoubleGoodNewGreen National Park where the AGW gang can marvel at it, with a substantial team of researchers to monitor the effects of climate change on it. Could still be something for Big Green Inc. to milk out of it.

    But replaced with a coal loader! That’s almost too much. Bound to effect this turbine’s self esteem.

  42. You still don’t get it do you..

    NO ONE is trying to pass of these other pollution incidents as being the poster child for “Green energy” !!

    Even coal mines can be remediated, but that lake at Baotou is now totally destroyed.
    It, and a huge area around, of what was use productive farm land can NEVER be remediated !!!

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