Oh, thank heavens wind power will be safe

This academic pushing this PNAS paper thinks wind turbines don’t break, but get obsoleted in about 30 years. Boy is she in for a reality check. That and anyone who thinks they can accurately predict wind power density 30-50 years into the future might not pay attention to details like that. I wonder what makes the great lakes special but not the upper peninsula of Michigan in between? – Anthony

Global warming won’t harm wind energy production, climate models predict

 

Results from the Canadian regional climate model (CRCM) show the difference in energy density (power in the wind) between 2041-2062 and 1979-2000. If the grid cell is red the future energy density is higher than the historical values and if it is blue the future energy density is lower than the historical values. Solid squares show differences above 10% while the open symbols show changes of plus or minus 5-10%. The white grid cells show that the future lies within 5% of the historical values.2011Image by Sara Pryor, IU BloomingtonFuture U.S. wind density - click to enlarge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Source Indiana University
May 2, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The production of wind energy in the U.S. over the next 30-50 years will be largely unaffected by upward changes in global temperature, say a pair of Indiana University Bloomington scientists who analyzed output from several regional climate models to assess future wind patterns in America’s lower 48 states.

Their report — the first analysis of long-term stability of wind over the U.S. — appears in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

“The greatest consistencies in wind density we found were over the Great Plains, which are already being used to harness wind, and over the Great Lakes, which the U.S. and Canada are looking at right now,” said Provost’s Professor of Atmospheric Science Sara Pryor, the project’s principal investigator. “Areas where the model predicts decreases in wind density are quite limited, and many of the areas where wind density is predicted to decrease are off limits for wind farms anyway.”

Coauthor Rebecca Barthelmie, also a professor of atmospheric science, said the present study begins to address a major dearth of information about the long-term stability of wind as an energy resource. Questions have lingered about whether a warmer atmosphere might lead to decreases in wind density or changes in wind patterns.

“We decided it was time someone did a thorough analysis of long term-patterns in wind density,” Barthelmie said. “There are a lot of myths out there about the stability of wind patterns, and industry and government also want more information before making decisions to expand it.”

Pryor and Barthelmie examined three different regional climate models in terms of wind density changes in a future U.S. experiencing modest but noticeable climate change (warming of about 2 degrees Celsius relative to the end of the last century).

The scientists found the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM) did the best job modeling the current wind climate, but included results from Regional Climate Model 3 (created in Italy but now developed in the U.S.) and the Hadley Centre Model (developed in the U.K.) for the sake of academic robustness and to see whether the different models agreed or disagreed when seeded with the same parameters.

All three state-of-the-art regional climate models were chained to output from one of four atmospheric-ocean general circulation models to derive a complete picture of wind density changes throughout the study area — the lower 48 United States and a portion of northern Mexico.

Comparing model predictions for 2041-2062 to past observations of wind density (1979-2000), most areas were predicted to see little or no change. The areas expected to see continuing high wind density — and therefore greater opportunities for wind energy production — are atop the Great Lakes, eastern New Mexico, southwestern Ohio, southern Texas, and large swaths of several Mexican states, including Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, and Durango.

“There was quite a bit of variability in predicted wind densities, but interestingly, that variability was very similar to the variability we observe in current wind patterns,” Pryor said.

The Great Lakes — Lakes Michigan, Superior, and Erie in particular — consistently showed high wind density no matter what model was used.

Such predictions should prove crucial to American policymakers and energy producers, many of whom have pledged to make wind energy 20 percent of America’s total energy production by 2030. Currently only about 2 percent of American energy comes from wind.

“There have been questions about the stability of wind energy over the long term, ” Barthelmie said. “So we are focusing on providing the best science available to help decision makers.” Pryor added that ‘this is the first assessment of its type, so the results have to be considered preliminary. Climate models are evolving and improving all the time, so we intend to continue this assessment as new models become available.’

Wind farms are nearly carbon neutral, and studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production. A typical turbine lasts about 30 years, Pryor says, not because parts break, but because advances in technology make it desirable to replace turbines with newer versions.

“Wind speed increases with height, so turbines are also getting taller,” Pryor said. “One of our future projects will be to assess the benefit of deploying bigger turbines that extend farther from the ground.”

This is also the week of the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, the largest such energy conference in the world, which has increasingly focused on offshore wind energy production in recent years.

Last month, Pryor was appointed to the National Climate Assessment and Development Committee, convened by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help the U.S. government prepare for and deal with climate change. She also contributed to a special report used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Barthelmie is a widely respected expert on wind energy, particularly in northern Europe, whose wind farms she has studied for years. She was the winner of the European Academy of Wind Energy’s 2009 Academy Science Award. Both Pryor and Barthelmie are faculty in the IU Bloomington Department of Geography, a division of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Center for Research in Environmental Science.

Pryor and Barthelmie’s work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (BCS 1019603), the International Atomic Energy Authority, and the IU Center for Research in Environmental Sciences. The model output they analyzed were provided by the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP). NARCCAP is funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development.

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

The full paper: Barthelmie- nas-wind-paper

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99 thoughts on “Oh, thank heavens wind power will be safe

  1. Sara, Rebecca! Say it ain’t so! You were two of my favorite professors (well Sara was… Rebecca didn’t teach anything when I was there… [trimmed, Robt] Just look at this sentence: “Wind farms are nearly carbon neutral, and studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production.” Really? REALLY? So all that uber-pollution in China is “carbon neutral?” All that glorious 0-5% efficiency will allow your government subsidized wind farm boondagle to pay itself off in 3 months? Really? How is that logical?!?

  2. Let’s see. Because of AGW, temperature will get warmer (or colder, depending) and precipitation will decrease (or increase, depending), BUT wind will remain the same!
    Of course it will, because we need to it to stay the same to justify our push for wind power.

  3. Wait-wait-wait. Forget the comment about [OK - It's trimmed. Robt]… wrong person. Sorry! I did like Sara Pryor though… she was a good teacher.

  4. I live and work in the Upper Peninsula. The federal and state agencies are deeply committed to the agenda as our environmental groups. One, the Lake Superior Watershed Partnership gave away free CFL light bulbs. Here’s a supposedly environmental organization that’s giving away something that could potentially contaminate our water with mercury. Then they got a grant to study the feasibility of wind power. They want to erect these monstrosities that will blight our landscape. Insane!

  5. Doesn’t the wind decrease > 10% to the east of Florida mean that winds are going to be less, the winds less because of a lower thermal gradient across that part of the ocean, which means that hurricanes will be less…..?

  6. I have to wonder (and have wondered for many years) if anyone has considered the ramifications of removing that energy from the atmosphere. Will it affect weather patterns? Some other consequence not yet considered?

  7. Grants and models, grants and models. I am disgusted because this is all these type seem to come up with-another model and another grasp for grants.

  8. So, according to a prediction of a climate model that has yet to demonstrate predictive ability, wind farms that don’t work will not be affected by climate changes.

    And before the cliamre trolls and the shills for windpower companies jump in, I point out the following.

    The climate model has not existed for 30 years so it is impossible for it to have made a correct prediction for a 30 or 50 year period: hindecasting is not forecasting. So, the climate model and the casting of chicken bones have the same demonstrated ability to predict winds 30 to 50 years in the future.

    Windfarms are expensive, polluting, environmentally damaging bird swatters that produce no useful electricity at any time: they merely displace power stations onto standby mode (when the power stations continue to consume their fuel and to produce their emissions) during the periods when the wind is strong enough but not too strong for the wind turbines to generate electricity.

    Richard

  9. “studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production.”

    Therefore, even if all subsidies are dropped, they will still pay for themselves in about a year so investors will be lining up to enjoy all the profits from 29 years of free electricity.
    I hope the pension funds for the professors are taking full advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

  10. The United States has not been affected by Global Warming that’s why are wind patterns are not affected. Just go to GISS and look at US temps. Global Warming does not affect this country so I do not know why global temps were even mentioned.

  11. Let’s continue to use computer games…
    …they have such a perfect track record so far

    This wouldn’t have anything to do with Canada considering trashing their windmills…
    …would it?

  12. After reading this I had to respond: “Wind farms are nearly carbon neutral, and studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production. A typical turbine lasts about 30 years, Pryor says, not because parts break, but because advances in technology make it desirable to replace turbines with newer versions.” A quick web search confirms my initial reaction.

    “Studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months” According to Answers.Com Capital costs for wind projects are $1,500 – $2,000 per kilowatt of nameplate capacity. The average price of U.S. residential electricity is $0.11 per kilowatt hour. There are 2,208 hours in the longest three month period. So at 100% capacity the wind turbine could generate 2,208 kilowatt hours and be paid $242.88 if all the money paid by a resident goes to the wind turbine owner. However, the price paid to a generator is a fraction of the total cost, there are operation and maintenance costs in addition to the capital cost, and wind projects do not operate at anywhere near 100% over any three month period.

    “A typical turbine lasts about 30 years, Pryor says, not because parts break, but because advances in technology make it desirable to replace turbines with newer versions.” Another quick web search notes several sources with a bias towards the high end. National Wind (the leading developer of utility-scale, community owned wind farms) “We expect that today’s turbines will have a life span of 20-30 years.” Ehow.com – Wind turbines have a life expectancy of between 20 and 25 years, according to Wind Turbines UK and Wind Energy Solutions of Canada. Both claim they can be refurbished for another 15 years. My impression from other sources is that wind generating factories will be lucky to get 20 years of service before major overhauls are required.

  13. …and studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production.

    I think they left “with taxpayer subsidies” off the end of that sentence.

  14. If, and only if and when we can harness the wind and BS coming from these eco-nuts will wind turbines produce any near 20% capacity. And yes….here in Canukistan,we are getting rid of all these bird and bat killers…BUT…wait for it…to start CO2 sequestration. Are all politicians and eco-nuts brain dead?

  15. Wind farms are nearly carbon neutral, and studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production.

    I wonder 1) what flavor Kool-Aid she’s drinking, and 2) where does she find these ludicrous numbers?

    With a normal installation of a 2MW turbine at $3.5 million, even an ideal location providing constant wind speed 24/7, and an FOB the turbine price of $100/MWH for the ‘lecky, it would take more than 1400 days to pay out. But! And it’s a big but, the wind is neither constant nor continuous. A good, not prime, location will require a design speed of twice the average wind speed. Since power is proportional to the cube of the wind speed, only 12.5% of nameplate capacity would be delivered, except … . Except that speeds above the design speed give no additional power, and wind speeds below a threshold, about 5MPH, deliver no power at all. Giving the benefit of doubt, 12.5% actual output 24/7 with no days off for maintenance, yields 3MWH per day, or 32 years to pay off.

    Major fail.

    cheers,

    gary

  16. …studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production.

    I was torn between spewing coffee on the monitor and keyboard, or a hard head-desk action. But I wasn’t drinking coffee and I’m seated at the table. So I settled for closing my eyes, lowering my head, and praying for the stupid to quickly go away.

    No such luck. Does this mean studies are showing a $10-15,000 (plus installation) residential wind turbine system will pay for itself in three months? If it’ll take longer, which wind turbines pay for themselves in less time?

    Well, besides the ones that self-destruct or otherwise are destroyed so insurance pays for them…

  17. Guys…the increase in wind speed projected from modeling over the Great Lakes shows up (and not the UP of Michigan in between) because wind itself is much stronger over the open lakes than it is over land…thus the magnitudes of the wind are more changeable over the lakes than over the land.

    I know we all want to be skeptical…but it does help to have some basic knowledge of actual weather science before asking annoyed questions like in this article in re: the lakes.

  18. I imagine what she meant to say (but, obviously, said it poorly) was that the energy output after 3 months will equal the Energy used in its manufacture.

    I’ve read similar numbers, although this one IS on the low side.

  19. So the model predicts winds are going to be less in the Sacramento Valley?
    Har de har har. They sure don’t check up on thier history like they used to.
    I hope the same folks that assume windmills are foolproof aren’t into auto design.
    Murphys Auto Sales, there’s one born every second.

  20. “All three state-of-the-art regional climate models were chained to output from one of four atmospheric-ocean general circulation models”

    This is just getting ridiculous now. Models are being treated as evidence now without a second thought.

    Reality left town long ago…

  21. The problem with these studies is that the authors generally never really believe what they write. If they did, they would sell everything they own and invest the proceeds in wind turbines. They could, in fact, start their own power company, and show us all how it is done. Sadly, that won’t happen – instead OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY (i.e. you and I, the taxpayers) will be risked used to invest in unreliable wind power. It is always OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY!

  22. Richard S Courtney says: May 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm
    Wind farms are expensive, polluting, environmentally damaging bird swatters that produce no useful electricity at any time: they merely displace power stations onto standby mode (when the power stations continue to consume their fuel and to produce their emissions) during the periods when the wind is strong enough but not too strong for the wind turbines to generate electricity.

    What do you not understand about conservation of resources. A power station runing without producing power (spinning reserve, warm start) consumes very little energy to when fully loaded. This surely is obvious? Otherwise where does the excess fuel energy go?

    The RSPB consider a correctly placed windturbine to be OK.
    How many birds do windows on your house wipe out (we get perhaps 4 deaths/year despite stickers on the panes).
    How many birds/animals does your traveling in road vehicles wipe out?

    What is the “bird slicers” to vehicles/homes ratio?

    What evidence do you have that wind turbines are polluting. According to Vestas 80% of a turbine can be recycled.

    From Vestas web site:
    For example, a V90-3.0 MW offshore wind turbine will pay for itself more than 35 times during its lifetime – producing 284,600 MWh over the course of 20 years in

    The complete life cycle analysis of a wind turbine:

    http://www.vestas.com/Admin/Public/DWSDownload.aspx?File=%2fFiles%2fFiler%2fEN%2fSustainability%2fLCA%2fLCA_V112_Study_Report_2011.pdf

    Neodymium is not always used:
    ENERCON news ENERCON WECs produce clean energy without neodymium
    29.04. 2011
    ENERCON wind energy converters (WECs) generate electricity in an environmentally friendly way without the use of the controversial element, neodymium. The gearless WEC design on which all WEC types – from the E-33/330 kW to the E-126/7.5 MW – are based includes a separately excited annular generator. The magnetic fields required by the generator to produce electricity are created electrically. By design, and unlike the majority of competing products, ENERCON WECs do without permanent magnets whose production requires neodymium.

    No one thinks that a 1kW generator will produce economic electricity to the grid. But connect up a 3+MW generator and for the 28% of the time it produces power it is saving an equivalent in fossil fuels that future generations can use. Is this a bad thing?

    No one expects a few hundred turbines to REPLACE fossil/nuclear generators. All know that there are times of no wind. BUT they do displace convenient energy to the future. And they do reduce all pollution.

    All those you tube videos of burning and destructing turbines are good propaganda but one has to compare the permanent exclusion zone round a failed turbine to the exclusion zone round a failed reactor.

  23. @ Deekaman

    No, removing that energy from the wind will not affect anything. Of course, putting the CO2 in the atmosphere that we’ve been putting there isn’t going to affect anything in a significant way, either.

    But, what doe facts have to do with this debate?

  24. @walt man

    Who’s going to pay for that power station operating in spinning reserve (in your utopia)? Sooner or later you’ve got to factor that cost into your equation (wind generation has to be backed up by fossil or nuclear one for one). Not a problem, either of those replace about 5000 of the state of the art windmills, at less cost.

  25. Wow, they determined where the wind blows. They also determined it will most probably continue to blow there.

    Likewise, they determined where the wind doesn’t blow, and most probably won’t blow in the future.

    Quite the model. It confirms the null hypothesis.

    Really? R E A L L Y?

  26. Is there anything a model can’t predict? I am sure glad we live in a world of models. Where would be without these blessed models? There are clearly infallible and if your common sense says otherwise, well your common sense is wrong.

  27. no maintainability problems ?? ..they were said to have a 20 year life but the gearboxes and bearings are failing in 2 years.

    ……and it cost 300,000 to fix

  28. We have reliable and affordable electrical power from conventional sources and the models say the new renewable sources are better, but so far that has not been proven. And worse the justification for this new unproven energy is based on an unproven theory with no evidence of reality.

  29. “studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production. A typical turbine lasts about 30 years”

    Well, then. Wind turbines clearly need no subsidy since they apparently deliver power virtually too cheap to bother metering.

  30. I stated that poorly. The “Output” was remarkably consistent (about 2.5 GW/hr all day, and night.)

  31. mike g says: May 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm @walt man

    “Who’s going to pay for that power station operating in spinning reserve (in your utopia)? ”

    The same people who pay for the spinning reserve now.
    The reseve is required to back up 1GW nuclear stations which can cause a sudden loss on the grid when it scrams. In comparison the spinning reserve for a Turbine is 3MW!!

    Wind does not suddenly stop over the whole catchment area so slower start conventional generators can be brought on line to cover failing wind.

    “Sooner or later you’ve got to factor that cost into your equation (wind generation has to be backed up by fossil or nuclear one for one). Not a problem, either of those replace about 5000 of the state of the art windmills, at less cost.”

    5000 state of the art windmills (currently 7.5MW) equates to about 7.5GW at 20% production (normally 28% in UK) which equates to about 3 nukes.

    Can you show me figures that backup your statement – i have not seen the costs from a reliable source.

  32. “Models show that……”
    About the only thing that models show us is that the twentysomething female in the western world wears really strange clothes, and their anorexic frames cause them to walk funny. Beyond that, you need data.

  33. Doug Proctor: Either that or winds near Florida will decrease BECAUSE of a decree in hurricanes.

  34. Willis is “It’s models all the way down”

    Just models built on models built on models.

  35. Considering how little “Atmospheric Science Sara Pryor” knows about the cost and return of real wind turbine systems. Nothing she has to say can be of any value. pg

  36. “…a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production. ”

    Wow ! I didn’t know that. Look at her qualifications … it must be true !

    Makes you wonder why all those silly people are burning that nasty coal. Makes you wonder why all those other silly people invest in shares when they can get a return like that !

  37. Say no more, mention the words IPPC, Europe, EU, Wind or Solar & my hair stands on end, The Horror The Horror! Pryor/Barthelmie are Eco watermelon’s = Rent seeker’s. They have been on the backs of taxpayers for to long – Wind farm madness is a road to bankruptcy, wherever they are installed it becomes a financial & ecological fiasco.

    How many bad examples do we need!

    These two are professional grant seekers with little of no concern for the environment or the country’s they help push into bankruptcy with green energy insanity!!!

    Reading about their involvement with the bird-shedder industry is enough to make me sick!!

    Pryor was appointed to the National Climate Assessment & Development Committee, convened by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help the U.S. government prepare for & deal with climate change. She also contributed to a special report used by the IPCC. Barthelmie is a widely respected expert on wind energy, particularly in northern Europe, whose wind farms she has studied for years. She;s winner of the European Academy Wind Energy’s 2009 Academy Science Award. Both Pryor & Barthelmie are faculty of IU Bloomington Department of Geography, a division of the College of Arts & Sciences, & the Center for Research in Environmental Science.

  38. The word model or models appears fifteen times in the press release.

    Reality, confirm, confirmed, confirmation, verify, verified, verification, validate, validated, or validation? Zero.

    Support or supported? Once:
    Pryor and Barthelmie’s work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (BCS 1019603), the International Atomic Energy Authority, and the IU Center for Research in Environmental Sciences.

  39. Several points…
    1. My reading is that the windmills repay their embodied energy within 3 months – not the capital/money.
    Briefly, say for a 3MW turbine, the nacelle comes in at 60 tons, Call that made of steel =60,000kg which takes 10kWh per kilo to make so total nacelle=600,000kWh or 600MWh
    Say the tower weighs the same and is also steel and (total guess) say the same energy goes into a concrete slab to plant the thing.
    Overall= 3 times 600MWh =1800MWh – call it 2000MWh between friends.
    The thing has therefore to work for 2000 divide by 3 = 666 hours flat out or 4 times that at 25% comes to about 2700 hours, or, 3 months as they suggest.

    2. Their models really are fantastic in the true sense of the word – stuff of fantasy. Power density goes as the cube of the wind speed, so a 10% error band on power density means a (roughly) 2.5% accurate prediction of wind speed.
    They really can predict wind speed that accurately that far into the future?!
    Fantastic.
    /sarc
    3. Someone above kinda alluded to the ‘wind is always blowing somewhere’ argument.
    Those ruthlessly efficient Germans (whose national grid has been crashed by wind turbines) have researched this and the conclusion was, that over an area the size of Germany, ‘wind balancing’ could only be relied upon for (less than 5) minutes at a time and certainly not hours or even days.
    Basically, the cube law scuppers everything, even a 10% variation in wind speed gives a 50% variation in power output.
    One possible place where wind balancing might work for days at a time would be the eastern seaboard of the USA where, basically, a near constant stream of low pressure weather systems are pumped out of the GoM. Such a wind-farm would need to be a minimum of 2,500 miles long so as to guarantee an active weather system somewhere along its length.

    The UK wind madness reached new extremes recently in Scotland where they were paid NOT to produce electricity, but you knew that.
    If not, get a load of this.. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-13253876

  40. The national academy of making it up as they go along? So they claim CAGW and they claim massive climatic changes along with positive feedbacks and changes to weather patterns but they know that despite these massive climate and weather pattern shifts the winds will still be just where the windmill carpet baggers require them to be. It just so happens that the windmill fraud needs to assure investors that the winds will still be there to power the bird manglers and right on time here is a report confirming that very thing. Perfect timing I would say, perhaps too perfect.

    But hey folks, in the modern world of science today if you need a report that the moon is made of cheese and the earth is hollow all you need to do is buy one, science for sale.

  41. “Wind farms are nearly carbon neutral, and studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production.” Only studies by wind developers come up with results like that. Independent lifecycle emissions studies studies show that they never pay back the emissions they are responsible for.

  42. walt man: You must be in on the wind farm scam as you are just repeating their propaganda and lies. Clearly you have no engineering background.

  43. ‘studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production’

    Umm…the Magnificent Erection in Sandwell, England cost about £5,000 and generated about £22 worth of juice in its first year (see story below on WUWT). In that case,

    experiment showed that the windmill would pay for itself after only two thousand seven hundred months of production

    Somewhere around 220 years. Plant one now and start making a profit in 2331!

  44. Ian L. McQueen says:
    May 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I give up. Twice I’ve been well into a message and it either froze or vanished.

    IanM

    Hint: if you use FireFox, install the Lazarus add-on. It saves your entries as you type, so you can recover anything that goes “poof”!
    ;)
    There are versions out for Safari and Chrome, too, but aren’t yet full-featured.

  45. @walt man says: May 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm
    @walt man says: May 2, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I’m sorry walt man. But you are mind bogglingly naive or you have a direct financial interest in BigWind.

    (Quoting a technical report from Vestas does rather give the game away.)

    Amongst all the other bold assertions and bare faced porkies in your two comments, I’d like to focus on just a couple of little points.

    Firstly you say “According to Vestas 80% of a turbine can be recycled.” You don’t say whether this is by weight, volume or value.

    Well, if you turn to the Vestas’s propaganda to which you gave a link, you will find at Table 9 that they actually claim recyclability of METALS by weight to be >90%. Well, no surprise there then. I would expect almost 100% of metals to be recyclable in almost any large plant item or structure. But they also suggest 28% of polymers by weight to be recyclable. This is a bit more improbable but may be right if you are looking at stuff which is physically capable of being recycled regardless of cost.

    But, you know, walt man, there is something missing. Can anyone guess?
    Well, how about the foundations for the tower, for a start. That’s likely to be at least 100 cu.m. of heavily reinforced structural concrete, below ground level. How much of that is going to get recycled and at what cost?
    And that’s before you even start to look at the access and maintenance roads to the turbine.

    My (informed) guess is that you can ‘recycle’ as much or probably much more of a coal fired power station or even a nuclear plant than you can a wind (=subsidy) farm. And much more economically and with less environmental damage whilst you are doing it.

    Now lets take a look at another of your sales pitches:-

    “The reseve (sic) is required to back up 1GW nuclear stations which can cause a sudden loss on the grid when it scrams. In comparison the spinning reserve for a Turbine is 3MW!!”

    Well, stripe me surprised! Just one tiny detail. Shouldn’t you be comparing the spinning reserve for several wind farms (in the UK for all 3,100 turbines across the entire country, if you look at December 2010) when you compare with a 1GW nuclear station? And just how often does a nuclear station “scram”, anyway? You have figures for that? Whereas anyone who is interested can download the generation data and see for themselves how often spinning reserve has to come to the rescue when BigWind output crashes.

    If BigWind is so good, how come it only gets built by Government Diktat and / or financed by enormous hidden subsidies from taxes and electricity bills?

  46. Was this paper peer reviewed? If it was, you have to ask why no-one questioned some of the more ludicrous claims such as a three month payback on investment.

  47. Do a search for “off-shore wind turbine foundation failures” and then tell me that these windmills will last 20 years without maintenance or repair.

  48. Don K: Are you the evil twin or am I? We think alike, at least on this subject. If the pay-back time is so short, why the need for subsidies?

  49. That paper is very funny. I like a good laugh first thing in the morning.

    Not a word, though, on why the predictions for wind power generation based on current data have all exceeded reality. That’s also funny, but funny peculiar.

  50. Interestingly, the UK government has quietly (why quietly..?) reduced its proposals for offshore wind farms in 2020 from 30GW to 12GW. No explanation – but their pie chart for the makeup of generating capacity in 2020 still contains a HUGE slice of ‘renewables’…
    Fairy breath, elf dancing and nubile virgin sacrifices, perhaps..??

  51. walt man:

    At May 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm I said:

    So, according to a prediction of a climate model that has yet to demonstrate predictive ability, wind farms that don’t work will not be affected by climate changes.

    And before the climate trolls and the shills for windpower companies jump in, I point out the following.

    ….

    Windfarms are expensive, polluting, environmentally damaging bird swatters that produce no useful electricity at any time: they merely displace power stations onto standby mode (when the power stations continue to consume their fuel and to produce their emissions) during the periods when the wind is strong enough but not too strong for the wind turbines to generate electricity.”

    But you could not resist jumping in, so at May 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    You assert and ask me:
    “What do you not understand about conservation of resources. A power station runing without producing power (spinning reserve, warm start) consumes very little energy to when fully loaded. This surely is obvious? Otherwise where does the excess fuel energy go?”

    Your question displays as great an ignorance of the subject as is demonstrated by Kum Dollinson .

    I answer;
    It goes OUT OF THE COOLING TOWERS along with most of the energy from the fuel whether or not the power station is generating electricity.

    I have twice explained the matter on this blog during the past week, but you members of the windpower lobby keep ignoring it and posting twaddle in hope that ‘new’ readers will be fooled.

    My most recent explanation of the matter on this blog was on the thread at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/30/why-windmills-won%e2%80%99t-wash/

    and was as follows.

    Richard

    Richard S Courtney says:
    April 30, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Kum Dollinson:

    It is bad form to repeat a post from another thread. However I write to conduct such bad form because
    (a) your comments in this thread pretend that I did not refute them earlier
    and
    (b) several commentators have mentioned the issue of my previous post.

    Please note that above (at April 30, 2011 at 9:12 am) the Noble Lord has pointed out that the matter is not directly pertinent to the analysis in his article above, but my previous post answers both your point and questions from several others.

    My previous refutation of your spurious assertions was in the thread at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/27/blown-promises/

    and it was as follows.

    Richard

    Richard S Courtney says:
    April 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Kum Dollinson:

    Wind turbines operate when the wind is sufficiently strong but not too strong. Hence, there are significant periods when they do not operate because the wind is not in the appropriate range of wind speeds.

    To date no country has managed to operate its wind turbines for more than 30% of a year, but at April 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm you assert;

    “Okay, when all else fails, do the research. It seems like Iowa generates about 52 Million Megawatt Hrs (According to EIA.)
    It looks like they’re producing 10.7 Million Megawatt Hrs of Wind, which would be about 20.6%.”

    OK. That suggests
    (a) the turbines are providing all – or almost all – of Iowa’s electricity at times
    or
    (b) the turbines are operating for significantly more than 30% of the time.
    Either of these performances by Iowa’s wind turbines is an amazing achievement: all countries with large numbers of wind turbines would be interested to know how it was achieved.

    Importantly, the wind power was an extravagant, expensive waste whatever the proportion of Iowa’s electricity was supplied by the wind turbines.

    The wind power displaced thermal power stations from the grid, but the power stations continued to operate – and, therefore, to burn their fuel and to make their emissions – while waiting for the wind turbines to stop providing electricity when the wind changed. That fuel would have provided electricity if the wind turbines were absent.

    Thermal power stations take days to start from cold so cannot be shut down while waiting for the wind to change. Therefore, they have to operate at reduced output or on standby while waiting for the wind to change.

    Thermal power stations usually operate at optimum efficiency. If a power station is required to provide less electricity then its efficiency reduces so it provides less electricity but consumes MORE fuel (this is like trying to drive a car at 10 mph in fifth gear: it can be done but it uses a lot of fuel). And a power station operates at optimum efficiency when on standby, so it then uses similar fuel to that needed for it to efficiently provide electricity (although it provides no electricity when on standby).

    In other words, the only effects of the wind turbines are to increase the fuel consumption and the emissions of the power stations which provide the electricity when the wind turbines don’t. And those power stations would have provided the electricity if the wind turbines had not. Also, it should be noted that the increased emissions from power generation are caused by the wind turbines although those increased emissions are from the power stations.

    So, the wind turbines provided no useful power but provided significant additional cost to the power generation and additional emissions from the power generation. This is true wherever wind turbines are used to provide electricity to a grid supply.

    Richard

  52. Wind Power! not only oxymoronic but the biggest waste of resources ever invented!

  53. If, and it’s probably a big if, there are any smart politicians out there, they have a glorious opportunity to use their favourite trick and move the goal posts. Having signed up to producing X % of power use, by renewables, by a certain date, they could simply use the turbine team’s trick of refering to installed capacity all the time and thereby reduce the number of windmills needed by 75%.

    There’s only one windmill operator that I have any trust in.

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

  54. Willis put it brilliantly a short while ago; ‘Models all the way down’. Not even a hint of field work or even a brief glimpse of the cruelly negative reality of the actual costs of extracting energy from wind and supplying electricity to a grid-based reticulation system. The idea of a mere three-month period to amortise total installment costs has no basis in fact, despite the bizarrely irrational pleadings of wind-power enthusiasts on this thread.

  55. Richard S Courtney says:
    May 3, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Richard
    Perhaps the conventional turbines, whilst idling, could be used to power big electric fans upwind of the windmills, thereby guaranteeing a reliable source of wind for them and ensuring the energy doesn’t go to waste!

    I’m sure the logic of this suggestion would appeal to the “green” mentality.

    And looking up synoyms for green I found:
    green
    adj
    ………..
    3 conservationist, ecological, ecologically sound, environment-friendly, non-polluting, ozone-friendly
    4 callow, credulous, gullible, ignorant, immature, inexperienced, inexpert, ingenuous, innocent, naive, new, raw, unpolished, unpractised, unskilful, unsophisticated, untrained, unversed, wet behind the ears (informal)
    5 covetous, envious, grudging, jealous, resentful

    ………..

    Take your pick.

  56. Wishing the two scientists that they are sitting in 2062 on the Lakes enjoying their prediction that there is still wind blowing comes to life.

    On the biased view on wind energy paying off after three months etc. and some comments here (e.g. by “walt man”) – big wind should not ask for governmental support, nor any kind of cross-funding that this paid by the customer. If the Vestas,
    Greenpeace or whatever story is true, wind energy will be cheaper than anything, and despite the ugly views, other side effects be the key source. But it is not, withouit government funding, subventions etc there would be nothing but the wind blowing
    over Lake Michigan. Why is that, is reality false, or a type of evil blocking green today.

    I am from Germany, which is advanced on its green path into the future…. The only thing you can see when passing by these giant parks is that most turbines are not working – availability is low, and when they are working the grid gets stability problems – certainly everyone would understand that local environmental activists are blocking efforts to construct additional grid lines to balance that off. Wind energy is a joke – but a costly one. Allows follow the money, the interests of the people involved.

    The two scientists are to grab the funds for senseless studies – hope their pension is invested into wind energy parks to make them rich in a couple of years, after the turbine has paid itself off. Good luck.

  57. A typical turbine lasts about 30 years, Pryor says, not because parts break, but because advances in technology make it desirable to replace turbines with newer versions.

    Apparently the technical life span of a wind turbine is 20 years.

    http://www.copperinfo.co.uk/power-quality/downloads/pqug/851-wind-farm-case-study.pdf

    While the wind turbine manufacturers, Vestas, puts it at 20 – 25 years. [They would say that won't they.]

    http://www.vestas.com/en/about-vestas/sustainability/wind-turbines-and-the-environment/life-cycle-assessment-%28lca%29.aspx

  58. Karl says:
    May 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm
    I live and work in the Upper Peninsula. The federal and state agencies are deeply committed to the agenda as our environmental groups. One, the Lake Superior Watershed Partnership gave away free CFL light bulbs. Here’s a supposedly environmental organization that’s giving away something that could potentially contaminate our water with mercury. Then they got a grant to study the feasibility of wind power. They want to erect these monstrosities that will blight our landscape. Insane!

    I also live in da UP. Every day I cross the Mackinaw Bridge to work and gaze at two windmills in Mackinaw City. The blades were removed and replaced last year so zero output for an extended period. The winds are very low during high pressure systems in the winter. So low to no output. Sheer folly of windmills.

  59. Been looking for something all my life that pays off in three months. Never did think of of an 18th Century windmill.

  60. I can tell you that none of the windmills in N. Iowa/S. Minnesota are producing a lick of energy right now. Dead calm. As cold high pressure settled over the area the windmills are probably using energy rather than producing it.

    This follows a couple of days where the windmills were probably shut down due to high winds gusting to 40 mph at times.

    May 1st set a new record low high as well and I suspect last night was very close to a record low. Thanks to coal, gas and nuclear the lights remained on.

  61. Forgot to mention, the “gales of November”. If they can sink lake freighters da ya think they can wreck windmills?

  62. “…a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production. ”

    Having been involved in the installation of a 10KW wind turbine at a friend’s place in southern California I have a problem with that number.

    We got a great deal on the unit. Because we bought it unused from a dealer who’d gone out of business a couple of years before. Except for the crane, and crew of riggers. We did the complete installation ourselves. And we put it on top of an 80’ monopole tower. With tax incentives, and California’s immerging renewable buy-down program, the net cost was still somewhere in the ballpark of $25,000.

    10 KW is a hell of a lot more power than 1 house needs. But even if that unit were powering enough houses to run it at full capacity, the minimum buy-back time is still something like five years.

    I wonder how much they need to charge for their power in order to pay off a much larger, and more expensive, machine in a matter of months.

  63. I can’t wait for the report on the effect AGW might or might not have on sunny v. cloudy hours per year. I predict no effect and the solar energy industry will rest easy knowing they kill fewer birds than those evil wind people.

  64. If wind is cheaper, why does my electric company want to charge me an additional premium of “$2.16 per 100 kilowatt hour block” more than if I just use the coal/natural gas plants? It’s not cheaper if the electric company can charge me more for it.

  65. Deekaman says:
    I have to wonder (and have wondered for many years) if anyone has considered the ramifications of removing that energy from the atmosphere. Will it affect weather patterns? Some other consequence not yet considered?

    Deekaman – you don’t understand. NO energy will be removed from the atmosphere. Green science has managed to suspend the laws of thermodynamics. Now, not only can you break even, you can even win, as long as you’re ‘green’ enough. (but you still can’t leave the game)

  66. Rucio says:
    Aren’t wind turbines supposed to end global warming?

    That’s why they put them in the CA desert – to cool it off…

  67. @TonyG says: May 3, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Yes, that’s a good point about this “paper”.

    If the two Professors have gone to all this trouble to fine their three “state of the art” models to try to predict variations in wind caused by Global Warming, it begs an obvious question.

    As no-one outside a padded cell would even contemplate installing wind turbines if they weren’t supposed (with absolutely zero evidence) to combat global warming, then why would BigWind be at all interested in what happens to wind if Global Warming is going to happen anyway?

    “There are a lot of myths out there about the stability of wind patterns”

    Yeah, that’s one thing they got right. But they forgot to mention that the myths they refer to have almost all been dreamt up by BigWind and its dishonest supporters.

  68. Incredibly, the opening sentence of the IU news release states the production of wind energy will be unaffected by upward changes in global temperature.

    Did I miss something in college? Has Boyle’s Law been repealed? Is air density a constant? sarc.

    The wind turbine manufacturers assuredly rate their machines at a specific air temperature and density. Any increase in temperature or elevation higher than sea level will result in a decrease in rated wind turbine output. This loss, which could be as high as 15%, is mute, since wind turbine facilities have an EROEI of about 0.29.

  69. It seems to me the economics (based on the physics of wind power generation) are ample reason to discontinue pursuit of wind power on any large scale with public finds. So the logical solution is reduction of the tax payer sustenance. Those who desire wind power for their own reasons are free to fund it themselves. I hope the newly elected House of Representatives will “grasp this nettle” as Steve M would say.
    Cheers and strong thermals to you glider pilots out there.

  70. When I showed this paper to my college educated (MA in English/education) MSU grad
    wife, who spent a lot of time in the Upper Peninsula -her cousin’s married to an “Oopie”
    -she said: “What about Ice storms?” Snow?- do they believe there is only wind there?”

  71. Letter I posted to our esteemed Minister for Energy and ‘Climate Change’, Chris Huhne.

    Dear Mr Huhne,

    Can you kindly explain this?

    “Scots windfarms paid cash to stop producing energy.
    Windfarms at six sites across Scotland were paid to stop producing electricity. Six Scottish windfarms were paid up to £300,000 to stop producing energy, it has emerged. The turbines, at a range of sites across Scotland, were stopped because the grid network could not absorb all the energy they generated. Details of the payments emerged following research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF).
    The REF said energy companies were paid £900,000 to halt the turbines for several hours between 5 and 6 April. According to the REF research, the payments made cost up to 20 times the value of the electricity that would have been generated if the turbines had kept running. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-13253876

    I now see why you think windmills are so beautiful (BBC Any Questions 29/04/11) – it’s the money they can get you from out of the pockets of the poor! Silly me! Why don’t we ALL buy windturbines and get paid for NOT producing electricity at 20x the normal cost of a unit? In fact, better still, why don’t we NOT build wind turbines and not generate electricity and get paid 20x for not producing it?

    It’s so daft and corrupt that it begins to look like a bog-standard EU scheme.

  72. The ridiculous statement “Wind farms are nearly carbon neutral, and studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production.” appears in the press release, but not in the paper itself.

    What the paper doesn’t say much about is the ability of the models to hindcast the observed wind. There is only some very vague statements, with a ref(28) the I’m having trouble following back to the referenced map.

    The authors simply say that they picked the best models, without any real info on how bad that model is.

  73. My Dad started Wind Engineering – for about 30 years the only journal devoted to the technology of wind power – in 1977. There was a small launch party, attended by, among others, some people from the CEGB, the UK electricity supply authority. They came along to scoff at the idea of wind power as any kind of ‘solution’. And of course they were right, for the wrong reasons. In those days no-one was talking about wind providing 10, or 20, or 30% of national needs. The idea was simply that if you lived on a windy Welsh hillside, you’d be mad not to have a turbine. Likewise, if you had a 1000 unit pig farm, why not have a methane digester to turn all that poo into power, if only to heat and light the pig sheds? But to heat half a city on wind and pig poo? Indeed, a ridiculous idea, and the CEGB people were quite right to scoff at their own straw man. Yet its the very same kind of people who now seriously putting forward these bonkrs ideas. Wind Engineering is, I am pleased to say, still being published, concentrating on the technology, regardless of what the fantasists make of it or not; and in case anyone thinks I am an apologist for green battiness, my company also publishes Energy & Environment which the greenies really hate (and will hate even more now its in ISI).

  74. “”””” Luke of the D says:
    May 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm
    Sara, Rebecca! Say it ain’t so! You were two of my favorite professors (well Sara was… Rebecca didn’t teach anything when I was there… [trimmed, Robt] Just look at this sentence: “Wind farms are nearly carbon neutral, and studies show that a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production.” Really? REALLY? So all that uber-pollution in China is “carbon neutral?” All that glorious 0-5% efficiency will allow your government subsidized wind farm boondagle to pay itself off in 3 months? Really? How is that logical?!? “””””

    Well Luke del dia; you have to read what they say to understand what they say.

    To whit:- “”””” after only three months of energy production “””””

    NOTE:- it does not say :- “”””” after only three months “””””

    Kapiche !!

  75. When I started my career in Industry, I often contemplated what I would be working on 5 years hence. In other words, how would my job have changed as to the technologies I was working with (competently or relatively so).

    There NEVER was a time when I wasn’t so wide of the mark, in the sense of underestimating how much technology would have advanced or changed.

    I can remember letting my eyes get dark adapted, in a darkened Monsanto Chemical R&D Technology Seminar in St Louis Mo (county) at their corporate R&D labs, and gaze into an binocular assembly microscope, and observe that the tiny piece of semi-conductor material under the probe, was indeed glowing a dull red color; and not from being hot. That was in 19 66; and today, modern red and especially yellow LED products have to conform to international standards of “brightness” limitations similar to laser products to prevent eye damage from too high a light intensity.

    What did your cell phone look like in 1966; or your PC for that matter. How was trading on e-Bay done in those days ?

    Come to think of it, what were commercial wind farm power stations like 30 years ago ?

  76. “”””” Dennis Cox says:
    May 3, 2011 at 7:41 am
    “…a turbine pays for itself after only three months of energy production. ”

    Having been involved in the installation of a 10KW wind turbine at a friend’s place in southern California I have a problem with that number.

    We got a great deal on the unit. Because we bought it unused from a dealer who’d gone out of business a couple of years before. Except for the crane, and crew of riggers. We did the complete installation ourselves. And we put it on top of an 80’ monopole tower. With tax incentives, and California’s immerging renewable buy-down program, the net cost was still somewhere in the ballpark of $25,000.

    10 KW is a hell of a lot more power than 1 house needs. But even if that unit were powering enough houses to run it at full capacity, the minimum buy-back time is still something like five years. “””””

    What are you smokin man ? 10kW is about the size of a decent hi-fi boom box these days.

    Most new houses (USA) are supplied with two phases giving 230-240 Volts at 200 Amps, at the main breaker box. Thats 46-48 kW, and depending on what you are smoking, you will likely use all of it on your indoor garden.

    My son uses maybe 12 Watts, of blue and red LED power to goose his indoor garden. But his garden is entirely carnivorous, so he has to keep it inside an enclosed humid environment. With the LED power, those darn things are taking over the whole house. Pretty soon it won’t be safe to be inside; well inside and asleep anyway.

  77. Aesthetics anyone?

    I can’t stand looking at these fields of spinning hypno-ugliness. I get a headache every time I drive by them. There a has never been a visual blight imposed so quickly on the earth since the development of power lines. And power lines don’t move.

    How can anyone justify this massive act of destruction of panoramic views?

    I have no doubt that these spin-fields are mass psychological stressors. I guess if you have your TV on 24 hours a day you won’t notice.

    So urban blight is bad, but rural blight is fine?

  78. Richard S Courtney says: May 3, 2011 at 1:45 am
    … Windfarms are expensive, polluting, environmentally damaging bird swatters that produce no useful electricity at any time: they merely displace power stations onto standby mode (when the power stations continue to consume their fuel and to produce their emissions) during the periods when the wind is strong enough but not too strong for the wind turbines to generate electricity.”

    But you could not resist jumping in, so at May 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    You assert and ask me:
    “What do you not understand about conservation of resources. A power station runing without producing power (spinning reserve, warm start) consumes very little energy to when fully loaded. This surely is obvious? Otherwise where does the excess fuel energy go?”

    Your question displays as great an ignorance of the subject as is demonstrated by Kum Dollinson .

    I answer;
    It goes OUT OF THE COOLING TOWERS along with most of the energy from the fuel whether or not the power station is generating electricity.

    The internet is a wonderful thing:
    From GE

    http://www.gepower.com/prod_serv/products/aero_turbines/en/downloads/lms100_brochure.pdf

    The LMS100 is the Right Solution:
    Outstanding full- and part-power efficiency
    Low hot-day lapse rate
    High availability – aero modular maintenance
    Low maintenance cost
    Designed for cycling applications
    No cost penalty for starts and stops
    Load-following capability
    10 Minutes to full power
    Improves average efficiency in cycling
    Potential for spinning reserve credits
    Reduced start-up emissions
    Synchronous condenser capability

    At reduced output:
    39% efficiency at 50% load compared to 50% at 100% load

    For a CCGT (more efficiency) not intended for anything other than base load the efficiency drops by 40% (of 60%) when running at 40% base load.

    and from the House Of Lords.

    http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeconaf/195/19507.htm

    101. The first cost imposed by intermittency is that more plant has to be held in reserve to cope with short-term fluctuations in output. At present, National Grid, which operates the electricity system,[34] keeps a number of power stations running at less than their full capacity, providing about 1 GW of spinning reserve—that is capacity which can automatically respond to any shortfall in generation within seconds (Q 293).[35] The company also contracts with other stations to start generation quickly and has arrangements with industrial consumers to reduce their demand at short notice, in order to restore the level of spinning reserves as soon as possible after they are used. The company holds about 2.5 GW of this standing reserve (Q 293); 70% of this comes from generation, and 30% from industrial consumers (p 144).

    102. As the amount of wind generation rises, the potential short-term change in wind output will also increase, and National Grid will have to hold more reserve to cope with this increase. The company told us that if renewables provided 40% of electricity generation—the share the company believes would be needed to meet the EU’s 2020 energy target—its total short-term reserve requirements would jump to between 7 and 10 GW. Most of this would be standing rather than spinning reserves. This would add £500 million to £1 billion to the annual cost of these reserves—known as balancing costs—which are now around £300 million a year (Q 293). This is equivalent to around 0.3 to 0.7 pence per kWh of renewable output.

    103. Estimates of balancing costs vary widely. The government has commissioned research from the consultancy SKM,[36] which estimated that if renewables provided 34% of electricity by 2020, with 27.1% from wind power, the extra cost of short-term balancing would be about 1.4 p/kWh of wind output[37] (Q 481). This equates to a total cost of £1.4 billion, well above that assumed by National Grid. Several pieces of evidence cited a 2006 report by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC),[38] which had estimated the balancing costs with up to 20% of intermittent renewable output in Great Britain at 0.2-0.3 pence per kWh. Although the share of renewables in the SKM study was less than double that of UKERC, the balancing costs per unit were more than five times higher. In part, this may reflect higher fuel costs since the studies surveyed by UKERC were performed; but it will also reflect the greater challenges of dealing with larger shares of intermittent renewable generation.

    So the costs of up to 20% wind is between £0.002 and £0.014 per kWh
    The UK cost per kWh is approx £0.11

  79. bill:

    Your comments at May 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm are not “battiness”: they are eminently sensible.

    Yes, windpower does have useful niche markets: e.g. pumping water at remote locations, providing electricity to the batteries on small boats, etc..

    The problem is that snake-oil-salesmen supported by idiots are usurping electricity grids with windpower and – as I have repeatedly explained, see above at May 3, 2011 at 1:45 am – that is plain daft.

    Richard

  80. Models all the way down indeed. I was recently at the most southernly point of the USA, if the signs were true, South Point, Hawaii, Hawaii, there are 3 rows of windmills with rust oozing down their peeling white paint, all very dead, most with blades missing. About a mile SW there are arround a dozen newer models almost all turning in what was a stiff breeze at the time. Poster children for the question who pays to remove these subsidised eyesores? I am promoting the use of the human hampster wheel for experts such as the above, to repay their debt to society, at fractional kW/h outputs they will take several reincarnations to pay back their current debts. But in the interests of social justice I feel even this insane concept should be used. Retributive justice for promoting a malicious fraud/or for being insanely stupid.

  81. The production of wind energy in the U.S. over the next 30-50 years will be largely unaffected by upward changes in global temperature

    I would venture a guess that wind patterns in the lower 48 and more impacted by temperatures in the lower 48 which according to NCDC have been dropping like a rock since 1989.

  82. w:

    At May 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm you conclude from calculations you conducted on data you found on the internet:

    “So the costs of up to 20% wind is between £0.002 and £0.014 per kWh
    The UK cost per kWh is approx £0.11.”

    The UK government’s OFGEN (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) begs to differ.

    They developed and used a financial model to estimate the trajectory of unit costs (progress curve) in the period from 2005 to 2020 for wind power, wave power, tidal lagoons, and tidal streams. Their estimates for each technology were in terms of the premium required (in £/MWh) over the cost of new CCGT power to enable each technology to earn required return on capital.

    According to these OFGEN estimates the required premiums for windpower (i.e. costs additional to the cost of gas-fired CCGT power station electricity) are:

     wind power 41 £/MWh (i.e. £0.o41 £/kWh)
     off-shore wind power 62 £/MWh (i.e. £0.o62 £/kWh)

    ref.
    Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEN), ‘Assessment of the Benefits from
    Large-Scale Deployment of Certain Renewable Technologies’, Cambridge Economic
    Policy Associates, April 2005.

    Please note that OFGEN is a UK government agency and, therefore, is likely to provide a low estimate of the cost of windpower. Indeed, their “trajectory” factored in a high estimate for the rate of increase to the cost of gas over the next 20 years and, thus, provided low estimates of the premiums needed for windpower.

    You can read an explanation of the problems of windpower for electricity generation in a Prestigious Lecture I had the honour to provide a few years ago which can be read at

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/courtney_2006_lecture.pdf

    Richard

    PS You use a good name by the way.

  83. Hmmm.
    Did you look at the gas turbine data?

    100MW elect requires 185MW heat
    50MW elect requires 106MW heat

    Same 100MW turbine starts in 10 mins to give full output.

    Even the more efficient CCGT is at full power after 3 hours.

    Not bad in my books!

    Hmmmm!!!! 1/10 your figures from the same gov source:

    http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Sustainability/Environment/Policy/Documents1/Renewable%20Energy%20Strategy%20response.pdf

    The scale of the challenge today
    1.39. According to NGET, an increase in intermittent forms of generation such as wind will increase its balancing costs through reserve costs, frequency response, and constraints costs.2 NGET did not specifically measure the contribution made by wind to its System Operator costs in 2007-08, but it estimated that the reserve costs associated with the 2.5GW of installed wind capacity were around £17m. It further estimated that the additional costs of the 500MW of extra wind capacity that are expected to be operational in 2008-09 will increase its costs by a further £10m. The majority of this increase (£8m) would be spent on ensuring sufficient reserve generation, which is required due to the high error factor associated with wind forecasting, £2m of the increase would result from fast reserve and frequency response costs, and around £70k would be spent on constraint costs3.

    1.40. It is likely that the annual cost of reserve will increase significantly as the proportion of wind generation increases. Predictions for future costs range from £4-£7.50 for each additional MWh of wind placed on the system4. A cost of £7.50/MWh applied to the projected level of wind capacity of 14 GW by 2014-15 would cost an additional £275m in balancing costs in that year (assuming a 30% load factor). By way of comparison, balancing costs for the whole system in 2008/09 are forecast to be around £530m. The challenge therefore, is to ensure appropriate incentives are in place to ensure these costs are managed and the available reserve capacity is used in the most efficient way. This is manageable under current arrangements.

    Perhaps you would care to share the URL of your older paper?

  84. walt man:

    I am assuming that your post at May 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm is addressed to me.
    If that is assumption is an error, then I apologise.

    Yes, I quoted OFGEN because it has a strongly pro-renewables bias and, therefore, OFGEN cannot be claimed to be other than conservative in its estimates of the cost of windpower for electricity generation. I could have cited other analyses which indicate that the cost of windpower for electricity generation is much higher.

    Indeed, OFGEN’s assessment assumes that during the 15 year future the cost of windpower would reduce a lot while the cost of CCGT power would increase a lot, but it still came to the conclusion that windpower would be between 40% ad 60% more than CCGT power over the period.

    Those are the facts, and your sales pitch cannot obscure them.

    Also, I cannot cite any individual paper of mine without a reference to which one you want.

    Richard

  85. Richard S Courtney says: May 5, 2011 at 4:13 am
    Yes, I quoted OFGEN because it has a strongly pro-renewables bias and, therefore, OFGEN cannot be claimed to be other than conservative in its estimates of the cost of windpower for electricity generation. I could have cited other analyses which indicate that the cost of windpower for electricity generation is much higher.

    Those are the facts, and your sales pitch cannot obscure them.
    Also, I cannot cite any individual paper of mine without a reference to which one you want.

    Your quote of ofgen from 2005 does not agree with my referenced ofgeM from 2008

    I was hoping you could give me a reference to check for your ofgeN document

    my reference gives £0.007/kWh
    My earlier ref to house of lords gives £0.004/kWh cost of balancing. (same ball-park)

    You state a figure of 10 times that!!!

    I gave references you did not – who is correct?

    from:

    http://blog.silverford.com/2011/02/balloo-enercon-wind-turbine-bangor-northern-ireland-stats-figures-and-price/

    £889,650 turbine cost
    £434,583 planning and consultancy
    maintenance cost €0.0055 per kilowatt hour – 12 year guarantee
    As reported to Council in December 2009 a pay-back period of approximately 7-8 years has been calculated. This is based on a full capital cost of £890,000 and a basic provision of £30,000 to cover routine expenditure

    Lots more info in link

    Again these figures from a FOI request seem to disprove your assertions.

  86. walt man:

    Windfarms are expensive, polluting, environmentally damaging bird swatters that produce no useful electricity but disrupt an electricity grid.

    Those are the facts.

    Obfuscate as much as you want. But everybody who assesses the matter determines those are the facts.

    If your cost figures were anything like the truth then there would be no subsidies for windpower, but no windfarm could survive in the market without subsidies.

    You are fooling nobody, so post whatever else you want: I will ignore it.

    Richard

  87. walt man:

    As an addendum for the information of onlookers, I point out a simple demonstration of your attempts to mislead that anybody can check in seconds.

    Your most recent post (at May 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm ) that has induced my refusal to address any additional posts from you said to me:
    “I was hoping you could give me a reference to check for your ofgeN document ”

    My post that cited the OFGEN document is at May 4, 2011 at 5:14 am and includes this:

    “ref.
    Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEN), ‘Assessment of the Benefits from
    Large-Scale Deployment of Certain Renewable Technologies’, Cambridge Economic
    Policy Associates, April 2005.”

    Richard

  88. Richard S Courtney says: May 6, 2011 at 1:37 am
    Windfarms are expensive, polluting, environmentally damaging bird swatters that produce no useful electricity but disrupt an electricity grid.
    Those are the facts

    I have given you referenced documents to show this is not the case. You have provided words with no references.

    (by the way the RSPB supports wind farms when correctly located out of flight paths)

    My post that cited the OFGEN document is at May 4, 2011 at 5:14 am and includes this:
    I think this is ofgem not ofgen
    I too supplied a more recent ofgem document, a House of Lords report and a FOId response all showing that figures for the cost of windpower is less than 1% of cost.
    I am sorry that you feel unwilling to back up your claims – I would like the opportunity to learn.
    Cheers
    Walt

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