Giant 7 megawatt sea fan announced

New from Vestas, the company that gives you roto-splode:

…comes this super gnarly giant sea wind turbine. No, not an April fools post.

Artist rendering - no giant sea wind turbine has yet been built - rotor diameter 164 meters (538 feet)

Here’s the details from Vestas:

With reference to Vestas Wind Systems A/S’ company announcement No. 10/2011 of 30 March 2011, Vestas has earlier today at a press conference in London revealed the details of its next generation dedicated offshore turbine. To ensure the lowest possible cost of energy, this new machine, the V164-7.0 MW, boasts an entire 7.0 MW – and a rotor diameter of 164 metres. 

A dedicated offshore turbine – specifically designed for the roughest North Sea conditions.

Lowering the cost of energy in relation to offshore wind is essential for the industry. Some of the major stepping stones in achieving this are size and subsequent increased energy capture, which means a need for much bigger turbines that are specifically designed for the challenging offshore environment.

With the introduction of the V164-7.0 MW Vestas is taking a major step towards meeting these needs.

CEO Ditlev Engel says of the new turbine: “We are very pleased to be able to serve the market and show our commitment to the offshore wind industry by introducing our dedicated offshore turbine – the V164-7.0 MW. Seeing the positive indications from governments worldwide, and especially from the UK, to increase the utilisation of wind energy is indeed very promising. We look forward to this new turbine doing its part in making these political targets a reality.”

According to Anders Søe-Jensen, President of Vestas Offshore, the offshore wind market is set to really take off over the coming years, but more so in some parts of the world than in others: “We expect the major part of offshore wind development to happen in the Northern part of Europe, where the conditions at sea are particularly rough. Based on our broad true offshore experience and our many years as pioneers within the offshore wind industry, we have specifically designed the V164-7.0 MW to provide the highest energy capture and the highest reliability in this rough and challenging environment. This makes our new turbine an obvious and ideal choice for instance for many UK Round 3 projects.”

Based on the potential market size, the V164-7.0 MW business case is based on Europe and primarily the Northern European markets. Should market demand require so, Vestas is however also prepared to take the V164-7.0 MW to other parts of the world in due time.

Combining innovation and proven technology to ensure reliability

Having pioneered the offshore wind industry, Vestas has over the years gained extensive experience and knowledge which we continuously use actively in our research and development activities. Vestas works intensively to ensure that lessons learned are combined with new and innovative solutions to eventually provide the highest possible business case certainty for our customers. This newest addition to our offshore product portfolio is no exception.

The innovative part of the new turbine is, along with a wide range of technical features, its size and consequently much increased energy capture whereas the proven technology is represented by, among other things, the medium-speed drive-train solution.

“We actually kept all options open from the start, running two separate parallel R&D development tracks; One focusing on direct drive and one on a geared solution. It soon became clear that if we wanted to meet the customers’ expectations about lowest possible cost of energy and high business case certainty we needed a perfect combination of innovation and proven technology and so the choice could only be to go for a medium-speed drive-train solution,” says Finn Strøm Madsen, President of Vestas Technology R&D on this particular design choice and concludes: “Offshore wind customers do not want new and untested solutions. They want reliability and business case certainty – and that is what the V164-7.0 MW gives them.”

To ensure alignment between customer needs and the features of the next generation offshore turbine, a number of experienced offshore customers have been invited to provide their input during the development process – resulting in a match between turbine specifics and customer business cases.

Paving the way for the next generation offshore turbine

Construction of the first V164-7.0 MW prototypes is expected in Q4 2012. Serial production is set to begin in Q1 2015 provided a firm order backlog is in place to justify the substantial investment needed to pave the way for the V164-7.0 MW.

About Vestas Offshore

Vestas has been a pioneer within offshore wind since the birth of the industry and has installed 580 offshore turbines equalling 43 per cent of all offshore turbines in the world. In 2010 alone, Vestas installed a total of 555 MW at the Robin Rigg, Thanet and Bligh Bank offshore wind farms and the overall number of installed capacity has now surpassed 1,400 MW.

In the UK alone, Vestas employs more than 550 people.

Slides from today’s press conference can be found here

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From their press conference slide show (link above), this thing is HUGE:

I had to laugh though, when I looked at this slide:

They forgot the most important element of the 7 megawatt triad:, “wind”.

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157 thoughts on “Giant 7 megawatt sea fan announced

  1. Not much new here. Lots of people are talking about offshore turbines in the 5-7MW range, and there is significant design and testing work under way for a 10MW machine. A mid-speed drive-train is an interesting choice; probably the least-proven of the drive-train options in turbines and an awkward compromise in a lot of ways; you still have a gearbox to deal with (with is associated flexibility, vibration and reliability problems) and you still need bigish rare-earth magnets for a mid-speed generator. Not sure what the thinking is.

  2. Imagine the power they would generate in a gale, tornado, tsunami, hurricane or volcanic eruption !!!!!!!!!

  3. I love that video, especially the “splash” when 20 tons of copper and rare earth magnets meet the ground.

  4. They forgot the most important element of the 7 megawatt triad:, “wind”.

    No Anthony they did mention wind, hot air wind that is… from politicians!

  5. I have commented many times on how stupid these things are and I cannot see why any sane person would give even passing consideration to electrity generation from this method.

    I wonder whether anyone has considered how much less reliable and how much more maintenance will be required for windmills sited at sea compared to those sited on land. Salt water spray causes quite some problems with equipment on ships and much more maintenance is required. Further, maintenance at sea will be more difficult (and hence more expensive and indeed more risky) compared to maintenance on land.

    I suspect that all of this will add considerably to the costs of electricity generation from windfarms sited at sea which will make these things even less cost effective. It would not surprise me if proper cost estimates have not been carried out.

  6. The real failures are yet to come and will be when the US electrical utilities are forced to accept the requirement of adding a 20% contribution to the power grid from wind plants, when the unreliability and variability of wind plant electricity produces brown outs like they had in Texas in February, when the wind farms become a financial burden because they do not produce the revenue needed to cover the loans of the wind plant owners, when demand for foreign oil doesn’t decrease because the utility power plants use very little oil, when the US has another 100 billion dollars added to the debt, and when the power plants that should have been built to supply electrical power are missing so that everyone freezes in the dark.. The subsidies for wind plants are nothing more than a carbon taxes on the people of this country.

  7. jon shively, April 1, 2011 at 8:10 pm :

    The real failures are yet to come and will be when the US electrical utilities are forced to accept the requirement of adding a 20% contribution to the power grid from wind plants, when the unreliability and variability of wind plant electricity produces brown outs like they had in Texas in February

    You do know, that was due to extreme cold that had not been experienced before at a number of plants (including low natural gas pressures due to system wide residential use) – standard thermal plants (coal, nat gas) – that caused problems at those thermal plants (sub-freezing temps causing issues like frozen pipes)?

    IOW, it had nothing to do with wind … is that your understanding?

    .

  8. No matter how big the turbine, you still need wind.

    That means that there is no way that these giant behemoths can provide any kind of reliable energy. I’d love to see the cost of maintenance on these monsters. They still have a limited lifespan, the salt will win, and then there is the energy losses in transporting the energy so far to shore. It’s a no win(d) situation.

  9. Okay, kids. I’m old, and a little dense, and maybe I’m missing the joke, but what kind of expendable moron could they possibly hire to do the very frequent service calls on this device which is “specifically designed for the roughest North Sea conditions”?

    Wait, don’t they have lots of non-green aerospace engineers unemployed now?

    Forget I asked.

  10. I propose we install one of these in front of the US Capitol Building and another in front of the White House. We should be able to satisfy the entire nations energy needs from the hot air blowing from those chambers.

    Henry, the service will likely be done by the surplus north sea oil rig workers, since output from those fields is dropping.

    Actually, if they were smart, they’d build undersea turbines to draw energy from the ocean currents in the north sea and english channel.

  11. I wonder what the lil’ American Redstart pictured in the other thread has to say about this obscene monstrosity.

    But wind farms, because they save the planet from doom, are OK, even if they destroy migrating songbirds, right?

    Harold Ambler’s earlier quote is right on, repeated here for effect:

    “I’m pretty sure these people HATE nature.”

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  12. @mikelorrey
    Thanks, Mike. That’s a relief, for a grampa whose twin sons work for a major aerospace corporation, and, yup, they’re both engineers. Sure feel bad for north sea oil rig workers. I met some of those guys long time ago. Wild and great humanoids, barely civilized, but wonderful. Never met one that was “surplus”. Hope they do the undersea idea you mentioned. Don’t know any divers yet. Maybe I should avoid getting acquainted. Not easy on the elderly to watch this happen, you know.

  13. Erik Anderson,
    Humid air carries less momentum than dry air.
    It seems counter-intuitive, but water vapor is less dense than nitrogen and oxygen at STP. Dry air is denser, cold dry air the most dense. Humid warm air the least dense.

  14. Speaking to the idea of wind power:

    If the climate is so fragile, how would the jet stream respond to the amount of wind farms we need to be energy neutral? Can I get a modeler on this?

  15. Wow O Wow… that 7 MW sucker will power 1166 air conditions like mine at 6000 W each, 1200 sq.ft. home size, and, as Anthony pointed out, when the wind doth blow.

    Wait… and doesn’t blow too much. And… blows in the day. And… blows enough. With that probably being the 15 m/s boilerplate output, what is the average output, something like 30%, better back that up to 350 home air conditioners. So, how much does this four Airbus A380 sized model cost to drive 350 simultaneous air conditioners? Oh, I forgot, they are going to make air conditioners illegal, keep your electric bill the same and pay for the sucker with that. $$%#%@#$#@$@#!!! Crooks.

  16. “They forgot the most important element of the 7 megawatt triad:, “wind”.

    The other element is:, “holding itself together rather than exploding in all directions when the wind arrives”.

  17. Jim;
    He was specific about the deflection of resources into low-output high cost windmills. Which did perform during the night’s storm at their usual best 30% of nameplate, but were useless the next day during the daylight recovery, when most needed.

    mikelorrey;
    ALL dispersed low-intensity energy sources (yes, that includes ocean currents) require massive real-estate and capital commitment. Unanticipated Costs and Unintended Consequences quickly make them deadweight when attempted on much above the small niche scale.

    Long-distance and complex connection and transmission infrastructure from widely distributed and remote locations are not least of the “unseen” that overwhelms the “seen” (apparent and/or promoted) benefits. As for maintenance: undersea generators and high-voltage transmission lines? RU serious?

  18. Moron solutions.
    Small wind mills don’t make the rated power output.
    Let’s make them bigger…

  19. Here is some numbers that convert Wind Power into Barrels of oil.

    First, convert 1 bbl of oil (BOE) into MWhr.
    Oil = 44 MJ/kg = 44 GJ / toe (ton equivalent)
    1 toe = 7.11 BOE
    0.28 MWhr = 1 GJ
    So Oil = 1.73 MWhr/BOE.

    Take your average 1.5 MW Windmill on in the Sweetwater Wind Farm.
    1.5 MW Windmill * 24 hr/day * 30% capacity factor (% of time wind blows to generate 1.5 MW)
    1.5 MW Windmill = 6.2 BOE/Day.
    Think of each wind turbine as a stripper well.

    so, lets take the subject 7 MW Windmill * 24 hr/day * 40% capacity factor
    = 39 BOE/day for each 500′ offshore windmill.

    How does that compare to offshore oil production?
    Brent Oil Field, discovered 35 years ago, still produces 20,000 BO/day + 3 MMCF/day. So over 500 windmills will be needed to replace Brent, which supplies 2% of UK’s needs.

    Lets go to a more recent platform: Thunderhorse, deep water Gulf of Mexico.
    one platform 150 miles from shore, rated for 250,000 BOE/day production
    equivalent to over 6400 seven-MW windmills that have to be
    built in Coastal shallow water and survive Cat 5 hurricanes

    How much area would have to be forested with these windmills?
    One number I heard was square the height * 10 to avoid interferring turbulance.
    (500 feet high)^2*10/43560(sqft/acre) = 57 acres/turbine
    57 (acres/turbine) *6400 turbines/640(acre/sqmi)
    = 570 Square miles to replace 250,000 BO/day from 1 platform.

    It is 250 miles from New Orleans to Destin, FL.
    You need 26 turbines for each mile of coastline in a swath 2 miles deep, horizon to horizon.

    I’m no ‘fan’ of wind turbines, but I was shocked at how poor the numbers were.

    http://bioenergy.ornl.gov/papers/misc/energy_conv.html

  20. Iowa, Mn, the Dakotas seem to be tickled to death with their considerable wind generation. California is now getting 19% of its electricity from non-hydro, non-nuclear renewables (the lowest cost utility in LA is also the one that utilizes the most renewables.

    When the coal and nat gas plants in Texas “froze up” the turbines just kept on twirling. When the Japanes Nuke blew, their wind turbines just kept on putting out gigawatts.

    When the present coal mines in the Powder River Basin are pretty much played-out in 2030 California’s Wind, and Solar plants will be paid-off, and, presumably, happily putting out multitudes of millions of watts of power.

    The 20th Century is past history, time to move on.

  21. Ocean based wind turbines are a simple business case.

    Take the all up cost to manufacture, install and commission.
    Take the market value of the anual average electrcity output.
    Subtract the annual average cost of operation, maintenance and end of life dismantling.
    Submit it all to a discount cash flow analysis, at a suitably high discount rate to allow for all known-knowns, known-unknowns and unknown-unknowns, including length of effective economic life and changes in future governmental policies, tax rates and subsidies.

    If it’s a goer, then go!
    If not, don’t go.
    All energy is clean, whether washed by the oceans or not.

  22. It gets rather cold in the North Sea. Didn’t wind mills that are meant to provide power for England freeze up this past December? Who would want to climb up a monstrosity like this to squirt WD-40 in its armpits. I think the Brits had to import nuclear energy from France when the mills failed.
    I wonder if such monstrosities could do harm to sea life or affect cloud formations and other weather.
    I say give it a whirl anyway.

  23. It appears from their website that most all of Vestas recent orders are for the 2MW size. Could not find much detail on their products. Maybe 2MW is all they have.

  24. Stephen Rasey gets it!

    It’s about energy per unit of surface area.

    Wind, solar, hydro, coal…..none hold a candle to oil & gas for environmental conservation.

  25. Personally, I would want to be assured of an extremely hight discount factor to compensate for all the unknowables involved, before risking my hard won retirement savings into untested new technology, like wind farms planted in the open ocean.

    But that’s just my viewpoint.
    When capital is gone, it’s, well, gone!

  26. Totally renewable energy was commonplace within living memory.

    My grandmother told me how, back in the 1910′s and 1920′s, the only electricity they had was a generator attached to the windmill used to pump water for the cattle on their farm.

    The wind generator made just enough current to power their radio. This was their main source of entertainment: after sunset, after supper, they would retire to the living room and listen to the radio for an hour or two before bed-time.

    All other energy use was totally renewable and harvested locally. They cooked on a wood-fired Franklin stove. They plowed with mules, and used the mules to crush the sorghum to make molasses. My mother remembers picking the cotton crop by hand. They pumped their water up from a well in the back yard by hand and carried it into the house in buckets. The ice man came twice a week to replenish the big block of ice in the icebox.

    It was a hardscrabble life, hot in the summer, cold in the winter. My aunt remembered, to her dying day, my grandmother’s anxiety each night at supper time, worrying about how to find enough food to feed a family of eight.

    This is what wind power will take us back to: the energy poverty of the early 20th Century.

    I for one am not enthusiastic about the process.

  27. Kum Dollison, you wrote in part “the lowest cost utility in LA is also the one that utilizes the most renewables”.
    I would like to see the audited figures to back up your claim.

    For long term viability they need to be lowest cost witout government subsidy and without penalties, taxes and restrcitions handicapping their opposition.
    If wind is most economic then I’m all for it.

    In Australia wind is proving to be the most uneconomic and the most unreliable.

  28. Kum Dollison says:
    April 1, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    When the Japanes Nuke blew, their wind turbines just kept on putting out gigawatts.

    If the Japanese coast had been lined with beauties what do you suppose the result would have been?

  29. It would have to be made of non-ferrous alloy, meaning Chromium/Nickel. An order of magnitude more costly than stainless steel, yet more brittle. Uh-oh, I don’t like that brittle bit…

  30. “In the UK alone, Vestas employs more than 550 people.” …. thanks entirely due to generous subsidies wrenched forcibly from the British taxpayer….

  31. On the plus side, these wind turbines over water, when they roto-splode, will not be near any people, so the risks should be lower.

  32. My question is, what happens to the micro climate down wind? A field of 2000 wind turbines in the North Sea must have some effect on the surface wind speed to the lee of the field. Does this effect the amount of water vapour picked up by the air and subsequently effect rainfall or does it have no effect at all. It’s hard to believe that taking all that energy out of the wind wont have some effect somewhere.

  33. Keep one thing in mind regarding cost: Compared to what?

    Oil got as low as $10.00/bbl one month in, IIRC, 1999. Today, Louisiana Sweet was selling for $120.00/bbl.

    Fossil Fuels get more expensive as time goes on. It’s just the nature of the beast. Wind, and Sunshine don’t. The largest part of the cost of wind, and solar is, by far, the Capital Cost of building, and installing. This is a fixed cost that is normally amortized over 20 yrs., or less.

    These could be little (big) “Cash Cows” in the year 2034. Maybe, sooner.

  34. Dave, I have a hunch they would have just kept on spinning. One thing I’m positive of is that they wouldn’t have started to “glow in the dark.”

    And, the groundwater would have still been potable. And, the vegetables, edible.

  35. WUWT now famous
    I turned on the PC early today, and had a look down the global warming news, and what .. or watt did I see.

    At 5th place behind a load of old dross was an article about an article that had been printed in WUWT. http://www.salon.com/news/global_warming/?story=/tech/htww/2011/04/01/climate_skeptics_betrayal

    You are now so famous, that some third rate journalist in need of a story can just turn to your blog and know they can hang on your coat tails by making pithy comments on your latest hairstyle dress lover work.

  36. Kum, I can’t make up my mind whether you are still playing an April Fools Joke.

    \\ Fossil Fuels get more expensive as time goes on. // Uh, no, certainly not in a constant dollar basis. Professionally I survived at least two period < $25/bbl. Even for oil, we are not at the peak price today.

    But your statement is falsified by Shale Gas. Now every LNG project in the world is going to make minimum dollar unless it has a Japaneese or S. Korea destination.

    But let's take that 7 MW Windmill which is equivalent to 39 BOE/Day
    39 bbls/day
    365 days/year
    30 Years (double it, it won't make a scrap of difference)
    427,050 bbls/windmill

    An economically marginal development cost for oil would be <$40 BOE.
    So to economically compete with oil, the capital cost of the
    500 foot, Cat 5 rated, offshore windmill needs to come in at
    < $17 million.
    I venture they cannot do the environmental impact statement and foundation for that money.

    It may be a Green Project, but economically it is well in the Red. From the vantage point of the Destin beaches, it doesn't look like a Blue Project, either.

  37. And, please, don’t get me wrong; I am Not anti-nuke.

    I am not exactly pro “nuke-on-an-active-fault,” however. Nukes at Salinas, Ks? I think so. At San Onofre? Not so much.

    It seems like the “trick” to Wind is several wind farms spread out over a Wide geographic area. Of course, it seems only logical that you would include solar, biomass, and something conventional (like nukes.)

  38. Kum Dollison says:
    April 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Those are totally unnecessary precautionary measures. I guess you’ve never heard that the linear no-threshold model is false and I guess you’ve never heard of radiation hormesis. Look them up for your education.

    Anyone who introduces “glow in the dark” is showing their ignorance.

  39. Enthalpy says:
    April 1, 2011 at 8:05 pm
    The wind is provided by the politicians

    Humm?, actually the requirement they forgot, besides wind, was OPM, other peoples money.

  40. Big Wind is probably the biggest con going. Despite Kum Dollison’s disinformation, we Brits only have to look back to December 2010 (the coldest in 70 years) when Coal was producing 40% of our electricity (helped out with a significant amount of French Nuclear) and BigWind (3000+ turbines) gave us less than 0.2%.

    No freezing up of coal & gas plants. Plenty of frozen turbines and no wind.

    We have seen the cost of this nonsense. We look at our power bills (and taxes).

    Dollinson says:- “The 20th Century is past history, time to move on.”

    Yeah, right. Move on to a 14th Century power source? You must have a LOT of shares in these things.

  41. I must assume that monstrosity is standing on a very stable base.
    Just what is going to be built under the sea surface?
    Lets have some figures for that part of the project.
    Like quantity and quality of steel and cement.
    Here is something much, much better:

    http://www.tidalenergyltd.com/

  42. Kum Dollison says:
    April 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm (Edit)

    “Oil got as low as $10.00/bbl one month in, IIRC, 1999. Today, Louisiana Sweet was selling for $120.00/bbl.

    Fossil Fuels get more expensive as time goes on. It’s just the nature of the beast. ”

    This is entirely false, as any economist can tell you. Your numbers are typical Hockey Team goal post setting. Firstly, todays dollar is worth about 1/2 of a 1999 dollar, so in constant dollar values, todays crude oil price is equivalent to about $50/bbl in 1999 dollars.

    Secondly, todays oil prices have a lot more to do with political instability, wars, etc in crucial oil producing countries: Nigeria, Libya, Iraq, Venezuela, Qatar, Oman, combined with Obama’s illegal refusal to issue any offshore drilling permits despite court orders finding him in contempt for doing so. If these sources of instability did not exist, then oil prices today would be somewhere around $50-60/bbl in current year dollars or about $25-30/bbl in 1999 dollars.

    Thirdly, if you look at the long term price of oil from the 19th century onward, you would actually see that the long term smoothed average price of oil has always gone down over time.

  43. Won’t the Queen make a fortune out of these monstrosities? No doubt Prince Andrew will do the marketing!

    Daily Record
    “THE Queen is set to coin in many millions a year in a windfarm windfall.
    The Royal Family’s jackpot haul was slipped into the measures Chancellor George Osborne announced last week – as he slashed jobs and benets for millions.
    The Royals will pocket 15 per cent of the profits from the Crown Estate’s £6billion portfolio in return for the Civil List being scrapped.
    As the seabed within UK waters is owned by the Crown Estate, they will earn millions from a huge expansion in shore windfarms.
    And experts say offshore wind farms could bring profits of £250million a year within a decade …”
    So the UK taxpayers are yet again subsidising the Queen and her brood………

  44. Wind Power Generation on a cold Day in Alberta

    March 1, 2011 was an extremely cold day in Alberta.

    On that day the total wind power generated at any time was between 0 and 2 MW for most of the day and never any larger than about 30 MW, out of an installed wind-power generating capacity of 777 MW.

    Details about power generating sources for that day (actually an instant around 9 a.m.) can be seen in a screenshot (linked to source) at http://lce.folc.ca/2011/03/01/wind-power-generation-on-a-cold-day-in-alberta/

    However, as you can see in the weekly report for the week of February 27 to March 5, 2011, identified farther down, wind-power generation was that low during most of that week, which is quite normal for most weeks of the year. Moreover, wind-power generation is totally erratic at almost any time — just like the wind, of course.

    The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) shows hourly statistics for weekly intervals at their website. Looking at any of those reports, it is easy to see that when wind-power generation drops to near-zero during peak-demand hours, demand for spare generating capacity climbs to close to $1,000 per MWhr. Here is an example of that:

    Wind Power Operational and Market Report
    Week of Feb 27, 2011 to Mar 05, 2011

    http://www.aeso.ca/downloads/Weekly_Wind_Report_Feb_27_to_05_Mar.pdf

    Look for: “3.0 Wind Generation and System Load
    The purpose of the graph is to illustrate how wind power varies with system load and the hourly pool price.”

    If you wish to look up any of those reports for other weeks, go to the index at

    http://www.aeso.ca/gridoperations/14246.html

    It seems to me that it is extremely unlikely that any of those price fluctuations and steep increases during intervals of low wind-power generation are taken into account when feasibility studies for wind farms are being done. That simply means that the true costs of wind power are most likely enormously higher than even the most pessimistic cost estimates that float around lead people to believe.

  45. “Moira says:
    April 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm
    …….
    I say give it a whirl anyway.”

    Very funny!

    By the way those legs would never hold it.

  46. The largest part of the cost of wind, and solar is, by far, the Capital Cost of building, and installing. This is a fixed cost that is normally amortized over 20 yrs., or less.

    The actual largest cost of wind and solar will be the operational and maintenance costs. As for amortization over a fixed period of years, you are making an assumption that the physical plant will last for the fixed period of amortization.

    I ran the calcs on that voltaic solar plant in Florida, amortized over 50 years (not at all likely to last anywhere near that long) at 5% interest (very low rate), and the cost of electricity for 4,000 homes and small businesses per month for about 8 hours of electricity per day was in excess of $260/month, far more than the cost for 24/7/365 electricity from coal-fired plants. That $260+ cost per month did not include any operating and maintenance costs.

    All pie in the sky, funded not by private money, but suckered taxpayers. When private investors are willing to put ALL the money up for any of these absurd “alternative energy” schemes, without a trace of subsidy, I will listen, but not before then.

    Pie in the sky, never to actually come by, but taxpayers and ratepayers sure to get the “servicing”.

  47. Has anyone thought about the cost and engineering required for building the foundations required for one of these things, especially in the North Sea, with its deep water, strong tides, high winds, freezing temperatures etc.

    The corrosion from salt spray will be a huge problem and as for the maintenance of one of these things – possibly creating some of the highest paid jobs in the world.

    And what about their stability in +80mph winds?

    Interesting to note that none have yet been built – any bets the politicians will order huge amounts of these things before they are actually tested in a real North Sea environment for a couple of winters?

  48. I note that in the Vestas presentation they claim to have a factory in the Isle of Wight which employs over 600 workers. The past tense of the verb should be used in that sentence. The Vestas factory in the IoW closed in 2009 with the loss of all jobs.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/5988852/Isle-of-Wight-occupation-of-Vestas-wind-turbine-factory-ends.html

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article6188962.ece

    The only wind turbine blade manufacturing in the IoW is now carried out by ex-Vestas employees who manufacture blades for micro-turbines.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/27/vestas-wind-turbine

    No doubt the remainder of Vestas’ claims are equally as trustworthy.

  49. Before making ever bigger windelecs, how about making them run for more than 2 years without breaking. The number of gearbox failures in windelecs is becoming a hugely expensive epidemic. Take a look at any large windfarm, especially an offshore windfarm, and count the dead ones. (I think this is why they now prefer offshore windfarms, it keeps them out of sight and stops the general public from seeing how useless these things are.)

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/06/wind-turbine-gearbox-reliability

    http://www.powergenworldwide.com/index/display/articledisplay/337582/articles/power-engineering/volume-112/issue-8/features/keeping-wind-turbines-spinning.html

    Windelecs have very asymmetric loads on them. The winds are higher at the top of the blade circuit than the bottom, continuously stressing the blades and the hub. Add some asymmetric ice to that, and you have a recipe for blade, hub and gearbox failure.

    Making a bigger windelec will make the situation worse, not better. And I wonder how much extra wind power you can collect with these – the bigger the the windelec, the further apart you have to place them.

    .

  50. >>Richard111 says: April 1, 2011 at 11:48 pm
    >>I must assume that monstrosity is standing on a very stable base.

    You mean like these?? Oh, wait a minute….

    .

  51. Note one part of the triad, polititians. What that really means is, they want subsidies, ie. they want your tax dollars, your money taken out of your pocket and put into theirs. When doing a scam, if you want the really big bucks, do a big, grandious looking sceme. That is all this is.

    It doesn’t matter if it fails to produce reliable energy, it doesn’t matter if it needs too much maintainance, and it doesn’t matter if it blows over. After they get all those lovely tax dollars out of your pocket, THAT is what matters.

  52. Folks, I have got to know – how the heck do they get the turbines, and then blades, UP there? I mean, I have a hard time picturing how they even manage that one when its a large ground based unit… let alone one in the ocean, let alone a monstrosity like this planned one (if it isn’t an April Fools’ by Anthony!). Would someone enlighten me please?

  53. >>Jim says: April 1, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    >>jon shively, April 1, 2011 at 8:10 pm :
    >>The real failures … will be when … variability of wind plant
    >>electricity produces brown outs

    >>You do know, that was due to extreme cold … that caused problems at
    >>those thermal plants? IOW, it had nothing to do with wind … is that
    >>your understanding?

    Notwithstanding what happened in Texas, brownouts are a continuing problem across Europe, because of the variability in wind power. Spain is particularly effected, and this has nearly brought down the entire electrical grid on numerous occasions:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article384768.ece?token=null&offset=12

    And look what happens, when the lights go out. Space-Age to Stone Age, inside a couple of days:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_Blackout_of_2003

    Strangely enough, the only European country NOT facing any brownouts, is Europe’s largest producer of windpower – Denmark. And how does it achieve this remarkable feat? Well, it does not use any of its wind power, of course. Windpower in Denmark is so strong, that it would bring the Danish grid down in a trice – so in an ingenious and duplicitous leap of conviction, politics and religion, Denmark has decided not to use any of its windpower whatsoever, and to sell to Scandinavia instead. (Scandinavia can throttle its large hydro facilities to compensate.)

    http://www.thomastelford.com/journals/DocumentLibrary/CIEN.158.2.66.pdf

    Mind you, this costs Denmark an arm and a leg – about $300 million a year, to sell the windpower that they cannot use (plus the huge cost of creating this vast wind ‘carpet’ in the first place). You know this renewable energy religion makes sense….

    .

  54. I confess I’m baffled by the flimsy platform they are proposing to put this thing on. I mean if they were building this on a rock platform like Rockall, then this might work.

    But a thin platform stuck to the seabed?

  55. Remember every niobium magnet made helps to pay for the civil war in the Democratic Congo Republic.

    Using wind kills people!

  56. This will be rolled out as usual – guaranteed subsidies that make it profitable even in the face of frequent breakdowns.

    Wind power in Germany probably has a negative EROEI – the industry has the habit of replacing still-working wind turbines with bigger ones when this makes economic sense, this is called “repowering”. They effectively get paid for scrapping still usable equipment, and replace it with bigger ones to maximize the ratepayer milking.

  57. When the windmills eventually, against all expectstions, become the prime movers of industry and energy users, the cost per KWH will be just what you can afford to plug into. It is not an issue that you have a mega mega sized house with airconditioners in each room and the basement too, if”n you can afford to pay for the kWH rate the windmills will “generate”, you’ll be a preferred user, and those that can’t afford to “plug in” will just have to burn candles. There will be no such thing as a “brown out” or a “black out” or any other reduction in supply once the wind and water power thingy’s get going and oil/coal/Nuke etc drops away, as soon as the demand exceeds supply the last in first out will apply and you will automatically be disconnected from the company’s books, standing in line until more windmills get made and get connected. The Government, who have a mandate to serve the people who prefer them, will serve those that put them into office best, and the other side will become the end of the line mob, waiting in queues for the next supply of their energy ration allotment. One could of course go it alone, and insatll a small wind generator in the back garden or roof top, (with the permission of the Government), and if’n the output gets to about 1KW you can expect to be able to watch the telly while the battery bank is charging up.

  58. Relevant questions.
    1 Period to first maintenance and design life underwater steel platform
    2 ditto the superstructure and blades
    3 ditto the engine and parts

  59. Stephen Rasey – thanks for all the calcs. Pls can you do one more : if we replaced all our energy needs with wind power, by how much would it slow the Earth’s rotation?

  60. The Warwick Wind Project in the UK did a test of micro turbines located on buildings and found that the capacity factor was 0.85% , yes that is an output of less than 1% of capacity !!! Which is remarkedly different from the advertising blurb we get from the manufacturers and the many govt. sites which support them.

    http://www.warwickwindtrials.org.uk/resources/Warwick+Wind+Trials+Final+Report+.pdf

    But here in the UK we are used to government spin hyping up the performance of these wind turbines. One example I came across when 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

    For those interested in following up output figures for UK windfarms this is an excellent site

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

  61. They forgot to mention another important ingredient in constructing these cathedrals of human insanityas well: green subsidies.

    Windfarms don’t run on the movement of air.
    They run on the movement of vast amounts of money.

  62. >Erik Anderson says: April 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm
    >It’s not an entirely bad idea really. Humid wind carries more momentum than desert >wind.

    Why is that? Water vapor is less dense than air so humid air is less dense than dry air.

  63. Anthony,

    Have you ever calculated out how much wasted energy there is in this wind turbine configuration? What wind actually does not touch the blades?
    It is 20,632 Square Meters. Power generation has yet to conceive that it uses all that space but only takes out 492 square meters of energy.

    7 years ago, I learned that all the energy in that circle can be used but the configuration is totally foreign to current power generation. The science that was never conceived shows how the density in the material shifts in motions as well, depending on the speed of rotation.

  64. Height doesn’t much help. David Mackay’s excellent book “Sustainable Energy” shows how taller turbines need more area, so fewer turbines per acre/hectare. In addition sea based turbines cost much more to install, much more to maintain, and you can’t use the area to install photo-electric generation (whose minimal capacity is hardly affected by the turbine shadows. Quadrupal Whammy.

  65. 164 metres diameter? Wow! Think how much energy that thing could produce if they flipped it upside down, and tried intercepting ocean currents at a ton per cubic metre rather than wind at a few grams!

    (For the sake of general wonderment, I’m ignoring the logistics of keeping the thing running, but then so do the proponents of operating them this way up.)

  66. There is an ongoing government sponsored competition to resolve a dangerous problem of offshore wind turbine access:

    http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/emerging-technologies/current-focus-areas/offshore-wind/pages/offshore-wind-access-challenge.aspx

    The following is all hearsay and rumour, and I cannot be bothered to investigate in depth but:

    One of the competitor companies informed me that there were six fatal accidents (six separate incidents) offshore Denmark in 2010 caused by personnel trying to transfer from a workboat to wind turbines in order to carry out emergency repairs/maintenance.

    The deaths are recorded as maritime accidents and do not appear as wind turbine related accidents.

    The average wave height at the main wind farm offshore denmark is 3 ft and the existing transfer system requires individuals to jum across a 3-6ft gap from a heaving work boat deck onto a vertical ladder- insane! and banned in every other industry working at sea.

    Currently there is a moratorium imposed by the Danish Maritime Authority on personnel accessing the offshore turbines due to the risk involved, and about 10% of all offshore turbines are now offline because of this.

    They have also found it is impossible to replace a worn or broken main rotor bearing because the rotor has to be removed and this requires a floating crane that costs US$90,000.00 per DAY to rent.

  67. If only Freud were alive today, I’m sure he’d have something to say about bigger being better, and size not being everything.

    One side effect of the rush for wind looks like creating jobs for crane makers. Enercon even ended up buying Liebherr to make crawler crane capable of handling their erections. But there still aren’t many of these massive cranes in Europe and presumably site access for the larger crawler cranes can be a challenge.

    For offshore access is presumably less of a problem but availability of very large crane barges I’m guessing is. I’m also guessing that the barge cranes would need good weather to operate safely, which would increase downtime and costs or losses. Vestas may get some good PR on the “mine’s bigger than yours” front, but not convinced it’ll help operators O&M cases. Smaller may be better in that respect.

    • Atomic Hairdryer
      2011/04/02 at 4:54 am

      One side effect of the rush for wind looks like creating jobs for crane makers.

      My understanding is that they use ones already used in the oil industry. Ironically hurricane Katrina, caused a lot of them to be tied up in the gulf for a while.

  68. When a wind turbine explodes you do not get a 20km radius of land made uninhabitable for generations.
    When a wind turbine explodes you can go and reclaim the rare earth magnets (if used), steel and copper and recycle them.
    UK gov subsidies creating 550 jobs – if these jobs were not created then there would be 550 more people claiming benefits from the same gov. What is the differential?
    Wind turbines do not all use rare earth magnets (see the Enercon technical manual.)
    Wind turbines do not all use gear boxes (see the Enercon technical manual.)
    Wind turbines can be low noise (see the Enercon technical manual.)
    Wind turbines in Japan are still operating well after the earthquake.

    No wind supporter expects massive reduction in conventional generating capacity – you will still need some generators idling ready in seconds (just as at present- nuclear plant scramming in seconds requires replacement capacity available to fill the hole in seconds), some ready for action in hours and some as long term backup i case of gas/oil/nuclear failure.
    However as gas becomes more scarce (coal, nuclear, oil generators can be phased out) it seems sensible to use low cost, low pollution sources of energy to preserve the reserves of gas until someone comes up with a fusion reactor!
    Wind turbines do not suddenly remove GW of capacity from the grid – wind does not suddenly stop over vast areas

  69. “positive indications from governments” = governments willing to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise Vestas’ profits?

  70. Dang,
    I thought the 500′+ span each way was pumping oil free of human enterprise until I realised that the artefact was absent of real workers.

    That’s some beast in the ocean, even if it is at dream-state. I don’t recall passing port to tankers around that size which were loaded with base minerals, but then those tankers had a load piloted and captained that was to be of greater utility.

  71. I might not get the “glorious” logic of windmill construction, but ought it not make more sense to build a 2.5MW windmill that actually delivers 2.5MW than have to build a much bigger 7 MW that at best will deliver those 2.5 MW?

  72. I don’t disbelieve Mr. Kum Dollinson, but if he is really passionate about wind power, I would suggest that he sell all of his possessions (car, house, financial investments – everything) and invest in the proceeds in wind power. He can also start his own wind power company and show us all how it is done profitably and without subsidies. Are you up for that challenge Mr. Dillinson?

    As for the offshore wind turbines (aka wind powered seagull grinders), I think we could hire Greenpeace and NASA GISS to do the maintenance – it would be a great career change for them both…

  73. What will be the impact on shipping in the North Sea if there are windmills every 57 acres of sea surface? Can’t imagine that industry will be very enthused about having to thread their way through those things in the dark in rough seas.

    Slightly O/T, there is an interesting book about the construction of lighthouses off the Scottish coast in the 1800s–The Lighthouse Stevensons. Seems Robert Louis Stevenson trained as a lighthouse construction engineer before he became an author. The book describes the challenges of construction on rock outcroppings in the seas around Scotland. Not for the faint of heart. While today’s technologies may be better, I can’t imagine the seas are calmer.

  74. Why is it that so many artists are so totally clueless when it comes to science? The turbine is obviously not headed into the wind. It’s off by about 45 degrees. What does that do to the efficiency? Maybe it’s stopped.

    It’s bad enough for the artist to make a rendering that’s obviously flawed, but somebody at Vestas paid for it and accepted it and published it in their press release. What does that say about Vestas?

  75. As young kids they play with inexpensive mechanical toys, then they grow up (physically) and become politicians and continue playing with very expensive mechanical toys.

  76. Which part of the word “replace” is not understood by promoters of wind power, as used thusly:
    Can intermittent wind power replace continuous power provided by conventional means?
    ~~~~~~~

    In the original text of the post: “the offshore wind market is set to really take off . . .”

    take off As the supplied opening video suggests the proper phrase should be crash land.

  77. handlewanker says:
    April 2, 2011 at 2:12 am
    When the windmills eventually, against all expectstions, become the prime movers of industry and energy users, the cost per KWH will be just what you can afford to plug into. It is not an issue that you have a mega mega sized house with airconditioners in each room and the basement too, if”n you can afford to pay for the kWH rate the windmills will “generate”, you’ll be a preferred user, and those that can’t afford to “plug in” will just have to burn candles. There will be no such thing as a “brown out” or a “black out” or any other reduction in supply once the wind and water power thingy’s get going and oil/coal/Nuke etc drops away, as soon as the demand exceeds supply the last in first out will apply and you will automatically be disconnected from the company’s books, standing in line until more windmills get made and get connected. The Government, who have a mandate to serve the people who prefer them, will serve those that put them into office best, and the other side will become the end of the line mob, waiting in queues for the next supply of their energy ration allotment. One could of course go it alone, and insatll a small wind generator in the back garden or roof top, (with the permission of the Government), and if’n the output gets to about 1KW you can expect to be able to watch the telly while the battery bank is charging up.

    Can we have more discussion of chemtrails, and less insanity please?

    /sarc

    But seriously.

  78. Giant? A 7 MW fossil-fuel or nuke unit would be a joke as base-load. Hardly worth building except as a peaking unit.

  79. Aren’t these wind turbines slowing down the rotation of the Earth ?
    Hey, if we don’t ask now they will stick us with only these, then declare them unsafe.

  80. wayne (April 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm) when you state “that 7 MW sucker will power 1166 air conditions like mine at 6000 W each, 1200 sq.ft. home size, and, as Anthony pointed out, when the wind doth blow.”

    You are forgetting that the duty cycle of A/C is 1:10 or 1:20 at the most. So you need to multiply the number of homes serviced by 10 or 20. However other commenters are correct that offshore energy is outrageously expensive compared to onshore which is merely expensive. But I believe onshore wind can work efficiently in some circumstances.

  81. The North Sea is not exactly friendly to machinery of any kind. Who the heck is going to climb that to repair the frozen gear box?

  82. The corrosion and maintenance will cost millions. This is a great way to get rid of excess money that the gubment has laying around.

  83. In the “Artist rendering” at the head of the article, any sailors care to speculate which way the wind is blowing, from looking at the clouds and the waves? No wonder the rotor is stationary!

  84. Does anyone think we are smart enough or technically advanced enough…
    …to pull this off?

  85. Kum Dollison says:
    April 1, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    California is now getting 19% of its electricity from non-hydro, non-nuclear renewable

    California imports 30% of it’s electricity.
    Washington State gets 15% of it’s electricity from fossil fuel.
    But we export 20% of our electricity to California.

    So in creative accounting I could say Washington State gets 100% of it’s electricity from renewable and exports all it’s fossil energy to California.

    But some people in California aren’t interested in buying fossil energy. So we export our renewable energy to California and burn coal for ourselves.

    But not to worry, when the inevitable drought year occurs, and the Hydrodams in Washington State can’t load balance Californian renewables Californians will be enjoying rolling blackouts.

  86. I read on another blog (so sorry no references) that if a windmill out at sea suffered mechanical failure requiring substantial repair, by the time a large boat was hired with a suitable crane, crew, engineers, replacement mechanism and H&S etc etc then ….. most important of all, waiting for a fine day to fix it, it wasn’t worth fixing, even if it could be fixed.
    Not proof, but certainly needs to be added to the list of “must check it out” before spending any cash!

    A 7 MW unit would require an even bigger boat, bigger crane etc … and probably better weather for longer!

  87. Two comments:

    1) Rational Debate says:
    April 2, 2011 at 1:22 am
    Folks, I have got to know – how the heck do they get the turbines, and then blades, UP there?

    They have developed “self-erecting” wind turbines, where the tower is used to support the assembly. A link to one type is below, there are others with the same concept.

    http://www.windpowerengineering.com/construction/tested-technology-with-a-compact-powertrain-and-self-mounting-crane/

    2) I work for a large U. S. electric utility and our numbers indicate that offshore wind is by far the most expensive power in terms of capital and O&M, on the order of $250 per megawatt hour. It is 2-3X more expensive than on-shore wind due to the costs of assembly at sea and the aggressive/corrosive environment, even if the “fuel” is “free”. Nothing is too expensive as long as you are using other people’s money.

  88. walt man says:
    April 2, 2011 at 5:27 am
    “UK gov subsidies creating 550 jobs – if these jobs were not created then there would be 550 more people claiming benefits from the same gov. What is the differential?”

    Interesting question.
    According to the Telegraph, wind power subsidy tops 1bn GBP a year.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/7061552/Wind-farm-subsidies-top-1-billion-a-year.html

    Looks like there are about 10,000 wind energy jobs in the UK.

    http://www.mywindpowersystem.com/2011/03/skill-shortage-uks-wind-industry/3087/

    So we get about 100,000 GBP or about 154,000 USD per wind energy job in the UK per year. This cost is slapped on the ratepayer bills; depriving said ratepayers of disposable income, reducing demand and thus jobs in the private sector.

    How many jobs in the private sector would a consumption of 154,000 USD be able to create? My hunch would be about 3, with another 2 public sector jobs created just to micromanage and regulate these 3 private sector jobs.

  89. Perhaps I missed it somewhere in the info presented, but I did not see anything related to a rpm maximum. I calculate that at 40 rpm these blade tips are at mach 1. Airplane propeller design experience shows that blades become very unstable at speeds in excess of 0.88 mach. So my question is “at what rpm (and related wind speed) is the rated power being developed?” I am aware that the manufacturers have cutoffs to prevent high blade revs.

  90. DirkH says:
    April 2, 2011 at 8:01 am
    “How many jobs in the private sector would a consumption of 154,000 USD be able to create? My hunch would be about 3, with another 2 public sector jobs created just to micromanage and regulate these 3 private sector jobs.”

    This estimate is based on the assumption that GDP per capita in the UK should be about 35,000 USD per year; a private sector job should cost about 50,000 USD a year including taxes, and the tax share contained therein pay for the 2 public master/servant jobs.

  91. How much will one cost . . . . any estimates . . . cost to maintain . . . cost to connect to grid . . . time to make a return of investment . . . et cetera . .et cetera . .et cetera . .

  92. I’m still puzzled by why the wind turbine folks insist on using gearing. If it’s only for feathering the blades, then it would seem that another design would be better, and there are numerous alternatives. As far as the generator goes, electronic commutation is far easier to do and wouldn’t require much other than more poles on the rotor. But if it’s just about showy, marginally useful stuff, then they seem to have it well in hand.

  93. “In the UK alone, Vestas employs more than 550 people.”

    I’m glad to see the revolution in green jobs is working out.

  94. What about Icing? that huge blade dynamic just screams “RIME ICE” Icing is the enemy of all lifting surfaces, unless there is no icing due to the anticipated AGW…

  95. Walt man,

    “Wind turbines do not suddenly remove GW of capacity from the grid – wind does not suddenly stop over vast areas.”

    Of course it does. This is exactly what happens within a blocking high, and did indeed happen over the British Isles last December, with no wind to be had over a radius of hundreds of miles. The UK wind energy production was near zero then. In the event of ever achieving 20% wind power penetration, there would need to be spinning backup to fill these gaps.

    But it gets worse. Even when the wind is blowing, the power output over a single wind farm varies minute by minute leading to fluctuations on the grid. The larger the wind farm and the more power being generated, the greater the impact of these fluctuations. This is not a good thing.

  96. Walt man,

    “UK gov subsidies creating 550 jobs – if these jobs were not created then there would be 550 more people claiming benefits from the same gov.”

    Unfortunately, this is enviro spin. Any jobs created are at the expense of more jobs lost in the private sector, as was shown in the University of Madrid study (2.2 jobs lost per ‘green’ job created).

    There is nothing difficult to understand about this. If you increase the cost of producting something, it must take resources from the rest of the economy to produce it, hence reducing wealth. You can certainly create jobs, but there is always a hidden cost to society. Jobs that require subsidy means taking money from the wealth creating sector leaving less available for investment and less for people to spend on goods and services that they value. The net result is that society as a whole has less wealth which would manifest itself in people enjoying less disposable income and less purchasing power.

  97. Don Quixote comes to mind, I am not sure why.
    Maybe it is the renewable energy part about a wind turbine that is manufactured, maintained and supported with conventional energy? And more important, will these machines drive the local population nuts and run off the tourist trade?

    Worse yet politicians in the US are committed to wind farms, away from where they live and work of course, in low population areas that have less political power. And the regulations to conserve the energy the turbines don’t produce will precede the bad service. Actually the worse is the reason is based on a fraud.

    If these farms are near shipping lanes a headline could read ship sank by windmill, sailors rescued from water littered with dead birds.

  98. @ Olen

    People and politicians in the US are committed inexpensive reliable sources of energy . . . . period . . .

  99. Who do I sue when I can’t stop laughing after they strike oil, driving the pilings for that sucker?

    In my (limited) experience, the people designing the turbines have little idea of the forces involved; especially the dynamics of the structure when they are operating. Yet they keep on scaling up the size, apparently ignorant of the assumptions which they can get away with on smaller stuctures.

    Figuring out how they are to be erected in the real world is seldom of any concern. Maintenance? For a 7MW unit more than 100 metres above sea level? Doesn’t bear thinking about for about 8 months of the year.

    The first 7MW (nameplate) will likely cost as much as a 1GW nuclear power station to build.

  100. David L says, April 2, 2011 at 2:31 am:

    Where have I heard “it’s too big to fail” before?

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

    This is how I read it: “it’s too big to fall” …

  101. Kum Dollison says:
    April 1, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Kum, you must not live in California. The largest chunk of its energy (http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/total_system_power.html) comes from nat gas (47%) and only 12% of nat gas comes from in state. The balance is imported from Southwest(41%), the Rocky States(25%), and Canada(22%). The renewables you cite wind and solar is quite small. In fact, Wind and Solar count for less than 3% of power, with GeoThermal(60%) and Biomas(35%) and to a lesser extend small hydro plants (5%) accounting for the balance of 97%. California’s problem is that we will hit over 50% of our energy from out of state this year and this is likely all natural gas. When the shortages hit, California will be a basket case because they have not built a new power generating plant in some decades. Wind and solar will not help us when they have to shutter the factories and turn off you ovens.

  102. This is really a great idea. We can not get small to large wind turbines to work correctly so let us build a huge one.

  103. hstad says:
    April 2, 2011 at 11:47 am

    ….The renewables you cite wind and solar is quite small. In fact, Wind and Solar count for less than 3% of power, with GeoThermal(60%) and Biomas(35%) and to a lesser extend small hydro plants (5%) accounting for the balance of 97%….

    I looked up the URL you identified, http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/total_system_power.html

    The table shown there seems to identify installed generating capacity. Actual figures for power generated would be substantially lower and vary by the minute, hour, day. week, month and year.

    The variations are not that large for conventional sources of power generation but can be as low as Zero percent (very often) to as high as 100 percent (rarely) of installed wind generation capacity. Keep in mind that wind turbines will not generate power when the wind speed is too ow or too high. Seeing that wind turbines turn is not proof that they are generating power.

    Average power generation per year from wind turbines is generally estimated to be about 28 percent of generating capacity (depending on location, give or take a little), but measured power generation delivered into the grid per year is in reality lower than that figure.

  104. So they have installed 1400MW of wind generators – considering they run at 25% efficiency the have produced 350MW of power. That is half the output of a modern coal burning power station.

    What a waste of time and money.

  105. Stephen Brown says:
    April 2, 2011 at 1:01 am

    I note that in the Vestas presentation they claim to have a factory in the Isle of Wight which employs over 600 workers. The past tense of the verb should be used in that sentence. The Vestas factory in the IoW closed in 2009 with the loss of all jobs.
    Stephen’s post has a familiar ring to it.

    Back in August 2005 Vestas established a turbine blade factory at Portland, Victoria, Australia. The media release by minister responsible in the Victorian, Labor Government at the time trumpeted:

    “The $9 million Vestas facility has already delivered major benefits to the local economy through increased employment and paves the way for further development opportunities in and around the Portland region,” Mr Theophanous said.
    “Already 60 new jobs have already been created with each employee receiving TAFE accreditation for a Certificate II in Plastics, bringing a new skill base to the region”.

    In August, 2007 Vestas announced the closure of it’s Portland turbine blade factory with the loss of 130 jobs.

    The sad fact is that the only “green jobs” likely to eventuate, despite the spin of our Labor/Green politicians, will come from re-employing all the displaced manufacturing workers as unproductive green bureaucrats. These jobs will include the likes of green police to look over your shoulder and fine you if you don’t put your recyclables into the correct bin of the nine provided, who see that you fill in the appropriate forms in triplicate when you come to dispose of your used compact fluorescent light bulbs or who fine you if you exceed your electric power ration for the month.

  106. Hi Rational Debate,
    I won’t presume to know how these snake-oil salesmen propose to erect their uber-turbine, but when Statoil erected the Hywind floating turbine, it was erected while the hull was floating upright in a fjord in Stavanger. The lifting was accomplished using the same type of crane barges used to erect oil/gas production platforms at sea.
    Statoil is currently in the process of erecting the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind park off the Norfolk coastwhich will involve the same construction methods as employed for decades in the offshore oil and gas industry (which is precisely one sales pitch Statoil uses to demonstrat their credibility in offshore wind).

    http://www.statoil.com/en/TechnologyInnovation/NewEnergy/RenewablePowerProduction/Offshore/Hywind/Pages/HywindPuttingWindPowerToTheTest.aspx

    This 7MW(P) fan might be a large wind turbine, but it won’t be too taxing for anyone used to lifting the topsides of platforms into place of a prepositioned steel jacket or concrete tower.

    From a purely technical point of view, this 7MW(P) uber-fan idea should be a non-starter since by employing a fixed tower it is limited to coastal waters – surely such a monstrous turbine is better placed on a floating/semi-submersible spar and moored in deep water at the edge of a continental shelf, where winds are more predictable (and typically stronger), where there are no nimbys complaining about the spoiled view and also removing the need to trouble structural engineers with designing a bolted mating surface between the legs which are pile driven into the seabed and the tower which has to withstand the bending moment of such a large impellor (which if I recall correctly is practically considered to be a disc when calculating the drag it indices).
    All things considered, the best use of the sea in generating energy has to be tidal, which is at least predictable.

  107. Hi W S Briggs, et al,

    The sensible money is on Hydraulic transmission, which also allows the alternator to be mounted at the base of the tower, as a result the nacelle is considerable lighter than the typical configuration today which has a mechanical gearbox plus an alternator sitting in the nacelle.
    A lighter nacelle needs a lighter tower and also expedites maintenance since the ‘works’ are accessible by opening a door at ground (or in this case water) level.

    http://www.chapdrive.com/technology/

    This sort of technology could also allow the alternator to be coupled to a hydraulic wave generator like this:
    http://www.pelamiswave.com/our-technology/pelamis-wec; and et voila, two sets of bogus carbon credits to supplement the subsidy income for one’s shareholders.

    None of which makes wind energy any more sensible for base load contribution, but it might lead to an improvement in capital cost per turbine and the HSE performance of wind which is currently piss poor.

  108. One thing is for sure, with wave energy, you get two cycles of predictable and renewal energy each day, whereas with wind you can go for days with hardly anything at all, and wave generators are not so intrusive or real estate hogging as a whirling windmill in a gale.

  109. i think that the hydraulic system is not good in this application. its the dirty little details that get you in this stuff and in hydraulics is the inevitable leaks. for those of you that want to whine about modern sealing technology look at the machine tool industry. they went to electrical systems for every thing when the hazardous waste regulations went into effect specifically for this reason.

    another thing.
    the costs of building the foundation for these things is one of those pay me now or pay me later things. seawater acts as a middling acid. so if you build the foundation/underwater component on land out of the structural steels currently in favor then you will have to do considerable underwater work in corrosion repair out in the water. (don’t pay any attention to the anticorrosion coatings people as their stuff doesn’t work and they are only fly by night salesmen.)

    i have heard no discussion of the term “wind pressure” when the advocates tell us that the structure is sufficient to withstand storm damage. as a matter of fact in this discussion i have not seen any reference to sea states and wind velocities in the terms that the professionals in that world use which makes me wonder about the professional background/abilities of the advocates.

    the fellow that mentioned the business of the mach number at the tips of the blades being held below .88 mach 1 has a very important point. the steam turbine people discovered this in the 1930′s and by observing it the incidence of turbines bursting dropped off tremendously. another matter in this world is that the tips of the blades are not confined/supported. high aspect blades like this (another conspicously missing term from these discussions) may need a much higher safety factor (another conspicously missing term from these discussions) than expected. for those that watch the videos the tip off would be the windmills that the blades fall apart at the start of the catastrophic failure (another conspicously missing term from these discussions).

    of course there is the advantage (for the public relations types) that when one of these fails it will probably sink beneath the surface of the water and there won’t be any embarrssing wreckage pictures for the press to shout about.

    remember, these things are only built to last until the check clears the bank.

  110. Erik Anderson says:
    April 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm
    It’s not an entirely bad idea really. Humid wind carries more momentum than desert wind.

    Not so, as long as the vapor doesn’t condense. Whereas H2O vapor is lighter than N2 or O2, so is humid air. But I love the big windmills, profitable or not. I love watching them crash too.

  111. for the rabid slathering advocates of wind power:

    why are there no sailing ships in SERIOUS commercial use these days????

  112. “””””Kum Dollison says:
    April 1, 2011 at 9:44 pm
    Iowa, Mn, the Dakotas seem to be tickled to death with their considerable wind generation. California is now getting 19% of its electricity from non-hydro, non-nuclear renewables (the lowest cost utility in LA is also the one that utilizes the most renewables. “””””

    And the Total population of Iowa and the Dakotas is ???

    Wonderful endorsement ! ; one of my central vballey farmer friends, just loves the wind turbine that he has on his property. That thing has been pumping water for him for free for the last 35 years, and he doesn’t
    even know how long it has operated since his grandfather first built it.

  113. Gees, They are after the albatroses now !

    The bats and smaller land bird obviously aren’t big enough,

    they want MORE !!!

  114. In response to an article in the UK Sunday Times on 27th March, I wrote a letter which got published in the Business section yesterday (3rd April) on this subject (a shortened version, anyway). My main point was that wind is erratic, unreliable, and unpredictable; always was, and always will be.
    The reporter had obviously been fed the standard guff about all the ‘advantages’ and the number of homes these huge turbines ‘could’ power – but as I pointed out, wind turbines are a complete nonsense economically without government subsidies (i.e. our money) and Renewable Obligation Certificates (i.e. our money).
    As pointed out by others, maintenance is going to be a massive problem – oil rigs in the North Sea do at least have maintenance personnel permanently stationed on them – how long would it take to repair (say) the gearbox on one of these monsters..? Three months..? A year..? Two years..??
    I also pointed out that, as I was writing, contribution to electricity demand from wind in the UK was the same as before Christmas 2010 – 0.1%.

  115. And now for the $64 question: What is the projected Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI) for this project? Don’t hang by your thumbs waiting for Vestas to give you an answer. They either don’t have one, or – more likely – it is one they do not want you to know.

    Let me assist in this endeavor. The answer is about 0.29! It will take more than 3 times the energy to design, fabricate, erect, operate, maintain and decommision this project than the energy it will ever produce.

    http://www.windpowerfraud.com

  116. Eric (skeptic) says:
    April 2, 2011 at 6:34 am

    You are forgetting that the duty cycle of A/C is 1:10 or 1:20 at the most. So you need to multiply the number of homes serviced by 10 or 20. However other commenters are correct that offshore energy is outrageously expensive compared to onshore which is merely expensive. But I believe onshore wind can work efficiently in some circumstances.
    ——–
    But Eric, you are speaking as if they could store all of that night-time generation power and then use it during the hot summer days at peak loads. That is why they will at best lower the base load, but never lower it very close to zero during minimum pulls, most large-scale plants just can’t turn on and off like that. It just won’t happen. They are expensive suckers unless power storage, as pumping water back into hydro-generation lakes is factored in, and that can only happen but in a very few special case. My statement still holds.

  117. Why store it?….surely somewhere around the World there is someone wanting to plug in to get his toast cooked or TV show on the go, so the answer is an International grid that allocates the generated power available to the first in last out mob, or at very worst, to those prepared to pay any price when the only means of energy production is what Nature provided.

    Having lived in a time in the UK when the coal miners strike brought a government to it’s knees, it made alternative means a reality when the rolling power cuts just turned off the electricity…. period…..for 8 to 10 hours at a time.

    We made do with anything that you could use, and the easiest method was a 12 volt car battery or 2, charged up in the on period and hooked up to a couple of 12 volt globes for the evening meal by fairy lights….very romantic…..another baby boomer epic in the making….LOL.

    Anyway, the thread is about the feasibility of the 7 MW monster in the sea, and even if’n it gets mounted on it’s platform and does perform as planned, the ramifications of Murph’s law is a factor that cannot be ignored….If it can happen it most definately will happen.

    Supposing this particular mill, the 7MW one, not any common or garden land type, were to be mounted on a disused oil drilling platform…….oil is going out……wind is coming in…….new life for old platforms etc……and most of them are standing the test of time, apart from the few that because of the volatile substance they drill for, went up in smoke big time.

    There’s plenty of area on a platform for storing maintenance equipment and a crew too, and the platform does not have to be too fussy in it’s tethering spot, +- a hundred metres is good enough, unlike a drill rig that must maintain precise position over the well head.

    The plus is also, that if the location proves to be a bit less windy than anticipated the platform can be relocated without having to rip up the foundations.

    It was quite an awesome sight to see one of those platforms being towed into position upside down, and then turned over 180 degrees to stand upright above the sea on it’s legs which were deep in the water.

    With the fall off of oil or demotion, whichever, there will be lots of iron real estate going for scrap prices around the world, and those that buy them up will make a killing.
    Ian.

  118. handlewanker:

    i would speculate that old oil platforms will be precisely at the point where they would need massive welding underwater to keep them from falling over. the oil patch gang are pretty good at running out equipments string just as the hole runs dry.

    c

  119. Assuming of course that someone has predicted the life expectancy of an oil field and made a platform that expires as the last drop of oil is pumped and then just let it sink into the abyss to rust away quietly and dissapear for all time, disposal problem solved, but it doesn’t happen that way.

    Granted that some parts deteriorate faster than others, probably the more exposed undersea parts which eventually make it dead in the water, but that would apply to any new structure as well, so ongoing maintenance on a structure already in place would be feasible provided there was enough design to allow replacement of vital partys as the break.

    As the said windmill is going to be the prime electricity producer for the future, so say, then longevity is the first criterior for any design, the method is already decided.
    Ian.

  120. [Note: Change your screen name. ~dbs, mod.]

    Wind turbines on average take 6 months to produce the energy it takes to MAKE them. If that were not true, it would not make sense to make them!

    You obviously have no true understanding on the subject you are talking about, and to use this site to advertise your ‘book’ is a sham in itself. Even calling yourself a Professional Engineer with only a BS is laughable.

    I am neutral in the wind debate, and know for a FACT that your stats and figures are wrong. Quit feeding lies.

    REPLY: That [screen name deleted] was childish. You are entitled to your opinion, but not other’s screen names in a derogatory way, especially when hiding behind a moniker. I’ll give you one chance to come up with a screen name that doesn’t insult the other poster, or its the permanent bit bucket for you – Anthony

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