Wind turbine FAIL – school left holding the bag for £53,000

It all started when the Gorran School got the bright idea that a wind turbine would solve all their electrical bills while doing some feel good environmentalism. The BBC was ecstatic when they reported on it back in 2008:

A Cornish primary school could soon be almost completely powered by a single wind turbine.

School to create own wind power Friday, 29 February 2008
Wind turbine

The turbine should be up and running by the end of March


Gorran Primary School on the Roseland, has secured more than £50,000 from different agencies to carry out the work on the 15m (49ft) high turbine.

It should be up and running at the end of March at the school made famous by Anne Treneer’s autobiography The Schoolhouse in the Wind.

The head teacher Matthew Oakley says it should save the school £5,000 a year.

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

And then, reality came crashing down to Earth:

Wind brings down turbine 02/12/2009 The Newquay Voice

THE eco-dream of a village school  turned into a Friday 13th nightmare when high winds destroyed their wind turbine.

Two blades flew off from the 15m tall turbine in Gorran School’s playing field during the bad weather earlier this month. The turbine was part of the school’s £53,000 plan to generate its own electricity,

On the afternoon of Friday, November 13, the school was advised to turn on the brakes to stop the turbine, but the brakes failed, causing two blades to detach in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A concerned parent said: “Thank God it happened when the children were not out on the field. Looking at the size and weight of those rotor blades, I dread to think what would have happened if they had snapped off while they were there.”

This is not the first problem Gorran School have experienced with their wind turbine. Only seven months after it was erected in July 2008 it went on the blink. It was repaired by the manufacturers at the time at no cost to the school, and they were reimbursed for the lost generation while the turbine was not working.

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

Now today, the company has walked away from the mess according to the Telegraph, and the school has a pile of scrap:

Eco-friendly school left out of pocket after ‘unproven’ wind turbine breaks

An eco-friendly school has been left £55,000 out of pocket after its wind turbine broke – with governors admitting that it was based on “completely unproven technology”.

The company that installed the turbine has gone bust leaving the school with a pile of scrap.

The Gorran School in Cornwall revealed its 15 metre turbine in 2008 which was designed to provide it with free electricity – and sell any surplus power to the National Grid.

The system was seen as a green blueprint for clean, sustainable energy for schools nationwide and received grants from various bodies including the EDF power firm.

But soon after being installed the wind turbine became faulty and after a few months seized up – showering the school’s playing field with debris.

Since then the school has been locked in a battle with suppliers Proven Energy which has now gone into administration leaving the school with little hope of any money being returned – and a pile of scrap in their field.

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

Having learned nothing in Gorran, they are still at it, from the BBC on August 19th:

19 August 2011 Last updated at 03:31 ET

Wind energy for Gorran community

Turbine being built at Gorran
The turbines at Gorran may be generating power within a matter of weeks

The small community of Gorran in south Cornwall will soon be generating its own energy and exporting surplus to the national grid.

Work to erect two community wind turbines at a cost of £500,000 is well under way.

Community Power Cornwall, a local co-operative, is behind the project.

The organisation has helped the villagers in Gorran to look at its energy needs and developed a renewable energy scheme.

‘Big symbol’

Villager Ella Westland, from Transition Gorran, said clean energy production and low carbon living were “things many villagers have been working towards for a long time”.

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

Yeah ‘Big Symbol’ alright – of FAIL. Just look at all the FAIL in California.

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192 thoughts on “Wind turbine FAIL – school left holding the bag for £53,000

  1. What’s the old saying about fools & their money parting ways?

    Well there is no fool like a greenie fool.

    The perfect mark for the AGW con artists and eco-grifters.

  2. I suspose someone will pay to have the garbage carried away and also perhaps for a hazardous material spill if any of the gear oil leaked.

  3. What a shower of “windbags” these people really are. No other idustry would be allowed to erect industrial buildings this tall all over the scenic countryside, riding roughshod over planning regulations. Euro MEP Roger Helmer almost explodes when talking about these turbines, as do many of his Conservative and UKIP colleages in Brussels.

    See some videos on the subject of winfarms at the Fraudulent Climate website (see the Audio & Video index). See also this article written by Roger Helmer, when describing a new book by Struan Stevenson MEP, “The Rape of Britain”, about the proliferation of turbines in the UK.

    http://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/the-rape-of-britain/

  4. Two blades flew off from the 15m tall turbine in Gorran School’s playing field during the bad weather earlier this month.

    No doubt, an extreme weather event caused by CAGW. (You’ve got to learn to read between the lines.)

  5. I can’t help but see the similiarity between the word scrap and crap. “the school has a pile of _____”

  6. Last year another primary school in the area had a similar problem. It was killing so many passing sea birds that the head teacher had to come in before school each morning to collect up the carcases so as not to offend the kids sensibilities.

    Mr McLeod said he worried about the impact on the birds and his pupils, who got upset when deaths happened during playtimes and lunchtimes. “We’ve tried so hard to be eco-friendly but now we can’t turn it on. We can’t get rid of it either because we bought the turbine we had to apply for grants and the grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change states that it has to stay on site for five years.”

    Hmm, I think I know where the Gorran School can get a replacement turbine cheap.

  7. epetitions.direct.gov.uk%2Fpetitions
    repeal the climate change act
    all uk bloggers on wuwt might feel like adding their name to this

  8. But the dam fools want my money to pay for it here in the US…. and Obama is killing coal and oil by fiat through the EPA.. shooting us in the foot for a failing miserably green weenie… stupidity should be painful and were about to find out..

  9. I’ve heard about people who try the same thing expecting different results. But what about people who not only double down, but go in ten times bigger than before expecting different results?

  10. What surprises me is that they are now considering a solar power scheme as a replacement, despite the hard lessons from their mechanically failed wind turbine and its financially failed producer, ‘Proven Energy’.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2045862/Schools-green-dream-blown-away–55-000-wind-turbine-breaks-firm-installed-goes-bust.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    Are we looking at a repeat failure here with the solar scheme? Maybe the only thing that will come out of this is that the school’s pupils will have a better view of the true infeasibility of renewable power, rather than the official line from the educational system.

  11. quote: “The system was seen as a green blueprint for clean, sustainable energy”

    And so it remains.
    Its just that what the blueprint describes, is foolish to implement.

  12. Unlike these wind turbines, the world will continue to turn and this spiteful ideology will be consigned to the dustbin of history where it will exist as an example of how, for all our modern cleverness and supposed evolution, the human species is fundamentally no different than it was centuries ago.

  13. Did anyone do any investigation before plunking down the schools cash?
    Such as looking at the record of the supplier, apparently nil, based on the article, or at least perhaps getting a performance guarantee for some years.
    Based on seeing many wind turbine installations, it is rare that even half of the units are running. Most of the time, it is a few out of the dozens that are built.

    So pinning the schools hopes on a single unit of technically fragile equipment is just foolish.
    Perhaps it will cause the parents to be a little more skeptical of the school’s dicta in the future.

  14. When I saw the headline I thought of this school wind turbine in South Dakota, down the road from where I live. It’s not exactly about catastrophe like the above story, but it’s interesting to ponder as an educational tool: http://articles.aberdeennews.com/2011-03-07/news/28667593_1_wind-energy-wind-for-schools-program-turbine

    “The Andes Central school district participates in the South Dakota Wind for Schools project, which promotes wind energy through project development and education. Andes Central and Charles Mix Electric officials recently dedicated the 60-foot turbine.

    “A website records the wireless data, which is transmitted off the turbine to a computer, he said. Twice since its Jan. 13 installation, on Feb. 1 and 14, the turbine has produced 25 kilowatt-hours of electricity in a 24-hour period, he said.

    Mueller acknowledged the turbine hasn’t cranked out a huge amount of electricity, averaging around 60 cents’ worth of power daily.

    But the lessons learned by the students are worth far more than 60 cents, Mueller said. The project familiarizes students with wind energy and other forms of “green” power, Mueller said.

  15. Schools should not be investing money in fashionable energy policies/projects. Such spare money that the school may have should be invested in education, more teachers, smaller class sizes, more books and equipment, updating old infrastructure etc. That said, a useful lesson has been learnt, green technology at its present level will never financially pay for itself and is a waste of valuable resources.

  16. In fact this could be a fine opportunity for a realistic education for the kids.

    They could all learn the bitter truth about these flimsy ‘green’ projects.

    Except I doubt they will.

  17. It never ceases to amaze me how willing so many people now seem to be to take advantage of OTHER peoples money. I mean, who’s really going to wind up on the hook for the £55,000+? The article says: “secured more than £55,000 from different agencies to carry out the work.” So, were those private ‘agencies?’ I’d bet government, but maybe just different use of the term over there vs. here across the pond… So who will really wind up paying for the ‘unproven technology,’ the school? or the ‘agencies?’ Which, of course, if agencies means government then this really means all the other taxpayers who would never benefit for a second from the school’s ‘savings.’ And why in the world did they go for ‘unproven technology’ instead of at least some long established company with some history at least of reasonably reliable service and product? (are there any actually with wind?)

  18. Does anyone happen to know just how far one of these can throw a blade or turbine housing/blades when they blow to peices? I know, it will vary by size, type, etc., but I wonder what the furthest is that’s been calculated as a risk. I can’t help but think of large industrial turbines, such as you’d see at electrical power stations, where turbine ‘missiles’ are a very serious consideration and the facility layout and design has to factor in that possible problem.

  19. When faced with the prospect of losing future monies, by not spending the current monies, what is a taxpayer funded entity to do ?

  20. £53,000 worth of PV solar panels on thr school’s roof would have been a better investment IMO. Wind is too high maintenance, too many moving parts to go wrong.

  21. Ken Smith says:
    October 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm
    ———————————————-
    Quick back of the envelope calculation on the school in South Dakota suggests that the school will NEVER even recover the interest on their investment never mind the capital. So if the teacher thinks the kids will learn a lesson about the wind power industry in South Dakota, they should teach the children about Return on Investment. If the kids learn anything, they will run as fast as they can from wind power. 60 cents a day is $219 per year. The school invested $12,000 EXCLUDING donated materials and labour. At 5%, the interest alone is $600 per year and most investors expect a better return on capital.

  22. reply to: Edward Bancroft says: October 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    What surprises me is that they are now considering a solar power scheme as a replacement, …

    Oh for cryin’ out loud! What was that school or government building a while back that decided to go solar, it was going to be such a huge cost savings, and they wound up unable to heat even a single room much of the time with it? Or they built the thing to be green, maybe a library? I probably shouldn’t even mention it because I can’t recall enough of the details, but someone else here might…. it was pretty striking. Anyhow, I can’t believe after having this turbine demolish itself, that the school would now be seriously thinking of solar. Schools ought to be teaching kids how to learn and how to think critically – instead at least some are acting as prime role models of the exact opposite – sheer idiocy and lack of the most basic due diligence and research. It’s the old tale of “look before you leap.” Only these surely aren’t.

  23. “It was repaired by the manufacturers at the time at no cost to the school, and they were reimbursed for the lost generation while the turbine was not working.”

    If it had fallen while the kids were near it, there would have been a different kind of Lost Generation, with no reimbursement possible.

  24. The punchline in the Telegraph article:

    “The school says it will look at solar panel as an alternative in the future.”

  25. reply to: Ken Smith says: October 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    …Mueller acknowledged the turbine hasn’t cranked out a huge amount of electricity, averaging around 60 cents’ worth of power daily.

    But the lessons learned by the students are worth far more than 60 cents, Mueller said. The project familiarizes students with wind energy and other forms of “green” power, Mueller said.

    And Atlas Shrugs Yet Again

  26. Many of the “upper greens” have alot of disposable cash and if something like this happens to them they can just write it off. But unfortunatly they have pushed this agenda on the common person and community and when there is a fail like this people do suffer.

  27. I see that they received £6,530 from the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership towards this investment. How could anyone think that erecting tall concrete and steel towers would enhance the beauty of Cornwall? (or anywhere else for that matter) They should pick up the demolition tab for encouraging such nonsense.

  28. Rational Debate says:
    October 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    “ Does anyone happen to know just how far one of these can throw a blade or turbine housing/blades when they blow to peices? “

    Some countries require a 2km separation. This site:

    http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/page4.htm

    quotes 1300m as the furthest documented throw.

    Worrying!

  29. @u.k.(us) says: October 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    When faced with the prospect of losing future monies, by not spending the current monies, what is a taxpayer funded entity to do ?

    Yep, the “use it or lose it” syndrome. Best if you can even manage to spend a little MORE than your annual budget, because then you can justify a budget that much larger the following year.

    Many years ago I worked for a quite large company with many different divisions that made the very transition that governments desperately need to. They made each management level actually justify every bit of their requested budget, promised the managers AND each employee in each division a bonus if they could shave X% off the budget – and also promised that if during the year something occurred that really needed more funding, they’d be able to get it. Said bonuses were large enough to be significant to most people, yet in total, would be a far less than the X% saved.

    Management was very leery at first, didn’t believe that if more $$ were needed during the year, they’d really be able to get the funding… so they were awfully hesitant to let annual expenses wind up being less than the previous year. But the carrot was awfully tempting, particularly when your entire work force is itching for it also. Then when they actually were able to get more funds ass needed, when well justified, they starting thinking it might just work and began really trying.

    There were also interim goals with benefits possible for major projects, with the bennies going to every employee who contributed tho scaled by both their level and degree of contribution. Things such as if a huge project was brought in under time and on budget – and functioned properly for the next X months, everyone got, say, half a day off work or a day off work.

    After just a two or three years, the cost savings was enormous – and the entire company was working more efficiently, being more productive, and getting demonstrably better quality and end results on major projects to top it off. Everyone was happy – and actively looking for better ways to do everything and anything!

    That’s the sort of transition that our government desperately needs.

  30. It’s irony on irony – “unproven technology” supplied by Proven Energy, and the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership contributes £6,530 to help plant this blight on the landscape. I imagine they’ll chip in some more cash to assist with the cleanup.

  31. I used to visit Gerrans, it is a beautiful place, usually windy, often very windy so if anything would work, short of a tide mill (and there is the site of one of those near there too!) there a turbine should, they would have to use those Spanish photo voltic cells that produce usefull power at night as the sun is quite shy in Cornwall.

  32. This proves one thing and that is green energy is more important than children. What consideration did they give to the safety of children when they set up the turbine near a school and it is known that the turbines create a loud noise that would detract from study and the blades can rip off and possibly kill anyone that might be hit by the blades?

  33. From the post;

    “advised to turn on the brakes to stop the turbine, BUT THE BRAKES FAILED”

    Well isn’t that just special…. How many other technologies had FAILED BRAKES;

    Early railroads killed lots of employees before they installed improved air brakes to replace the hand brakes.

    Anybody want to drive an older car without Anti-Lock Brakes on a wet or frozen road today ?

    Making something GO is fun and mostly useful, but making it STOP is MUCH MORE USEFUL.

    Sad about the Headmaster having to remove the dead birds before the young folks showed up each day.

    Here in New York State USA we have spent the better part of three decades reestablishing the Bald Eagle population. It is slowly coming back from the days when there were just a few mating pairs in the whole state. And no the decline had nothing to do with DDT, it was because folks SHOT them believing they preyed on their chickens, etc. Eagles reproduce very slowly producing about 1 replacement pair every 5 years or so, thus it takes a decade for a new mating pair to appear.

    So what do the “wise” people want to do now ? Well of course they want to fill up Lake Erie and Lake Ontario (two of the Great Lakes which hold about 10% of the world’s fresh water) with windmills.

    Luckily the BRAKES have been applied to this plan. Last week the New York State Power Authority (a quasi government agency that operates the Hydro Dams at Niagara Falls NY) announced that they are dropping their plans to install bird shredders in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. They claim it is because they cannot afford it. But we hope that the reason is because of the blowback from us measly citizens.

    We hope the brakes on this plan DO NOT FAIL.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  34. jonjermy wrote;

    “It won’t be too long before someone gets killed by one of these.”

    This has already happened, many times.

    I don’t have the link at this moment, but there is a list of all wind turbine fatalities already out there.

    Anybody want to fill in the blank here ?

    Mostly maintenance workers falling off the things, but traffic accidents transporting these monstrosities have claimed lives as well. I think there have been fatalities from ice flung from the things and at least one case of a skydiver hitting once. Ouch, bird and human shredders.

    And since they are so tall most local fire department have no equipment to fight a fire at the top level. So they have to worry about flaming debris being blown quite a ways away from a failed unit (they usually fail during high winds) igniting other nearby structures.

    Also it has been found here that they interfere with BOTH the weather radars and the air traffic control radars producing FALSE signals that can be interpreted as a non-existent big storm, or blocking out the observation of a airplane that might be on a path to intercept another airplane.

    They are much more than useless, they are harmful.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  35. The wind turbine on one campus of my ex-employer hasn’t spun a blade since last year at this time. It cost $200,000+ to purchase and erect, and was approved by a Board of Trustees in 2004 or thereabouts, without sufficient information. I now teach engineering econ at another school and use this as an example problem. The students are able to show without any difficulty at all that the turbine, under the most wildly optimistic assumptions, has a benefit cost ratio less than 0.5. It currently stands at 0.00. Can no one think their way through these issues? Is “green energy” dependent on an ignorant public for its implementation?

  36. I think you Brits should demand that the Met Office run their forecast center EXCLUSIVELY on these wind turbines (no coal, no oil, no nukes, no fish-killing hydro).

    “Hey Joe, do you know what the weather forecast is for today?”

    “Sorry – no forecast – no wind today…maybe tomorrow.”

  37. @RobWansbeck says: October 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    …This site: http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/page4.htm quotes 1300m as the furthest documented throw. Worrying!

    Man-Oh-Man!! 1.3km or 0.8 miles – worrying indeed!! I thought it would be a pretty good distance (and god help anything in its path), but no idea it would be that far. Plus, with that being furthest documented, one would have to guess that it’s possible for them to go further in some cases. I sure wouldn’t want to be around one that lets go – or have anyone or anything I cared for in the vicinity.

    Thanks so much for the info and the link.

  38. Here is another school teaching our kids to be stupid.

    http://pahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=154845

    Quotes from article
    “The taxpayers of the community will receive the benefits from this project for many years to come.”
    then a few sentences below
    “The $2.5 million project comes courtesy of federal, state, and local grants. ”
    Somehow the school infers that the taxpayers will get a break. Apparently they understand that inevitably it is the taxpayers that PAY supply the money for the grant!

  39. The current administration promoted money to community colleges to no end; and alternative energy is a common theme. At my ex-employer, for instance, our wind-energy tech program got a nearly one million dollar “research” grant from NSF. Now NSF was once a respectable organization that examined research proposals rigorously. This “wind energy” research project proposes to do nothing that is especially useful, and nothing that ought to cost a million; and, is run by retired ex-military maintenance personnel–in other words, no research experience at all.

    I thought this was a fluke until we began a CEO search recently and among the applicants there was bragging about a one-million dollar NSF grant here and a couple million there and so forth. NSF has shoveled who knows how much money out the door for “alternative energy”, “wind”, “solar” projects: and I wonder to what end. If NSF has an inspector general this would be a worthy investigation. I simply cannot see how community colleges will produce anything of value from these hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditures.

  40. Ok, here is the data on wind turbine deaths;

    http://www.wind-works.org/articles/ASummaryofFatalAccidentsinWindEnergy.html

    http://www.inquisitr.com/18588/wind-power-causes-more-deaths-than-nuclear-power/

    Here is a detailed list;

    http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/accidents.pdf

    If this much carnage was going on in our coal fired power plants there would be an immediate cry to SHUT EM DOWN………….

    Or to quote John Connolly (Former Governor of Texas circa 1976);

    “More people died at Chappaquiddick than died at Three Mile Island”

    Cheers, Kevin.

  41. KevinK says:
    October 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    I’ve read various versions of the Chappaquiddick comparison over the years, attributed to all sorts of people, but the Three Mile Island accident occurred in 1979.

  42. Rational Debate:
    Thanks. I went to the Caithness site report and the number of protected birds killed is astonishing. If one were setting up a coal fired plant and this number of endangered raptors were killed one could expect riots and draconian legislation!

    ++++++
    “Environmental damage (including bird deaths)

    “97 cases of environmental damage have been reported – the majority since 2007. This is perhaps due to a change in legislation or new reporting requirement. All involved damage to the site itself, or reported damage to or death of wildlife. 39 instances reported here include confirmed deaths of protected species of bird. Deaths, however, are known to be far higher. At the Altamont Pass windfarm alone, 2400 protected golden eagles have been killed in 20 years, and about 10,000 protected raptors (Dr Smallwood, 2004). In Germany, 32 protected white tailed eagles were found dead, killed by wind turbines (Brandenburg State records). In Australia, 22 critically endangered Tasmanian eagles were killed by a single windfarm (Woolnorth). Further detailed information can be found at: http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=3071 and at: http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=1875.”

  43. One good thing, its nice to know that a grid still exists to supply power when the wind doesn’t blow and where the sun don’t shine. I just do not understand the mindset of allowing power to be sold back to “the grid”. Seems akin to shooting one’s foot half way off, and then reloading for more target practice.

  44. To Kevin Kilty;

    Ok, I was off by a few years, my bad. Ted Kennedy challenged James Earl Carter for the Democratic nomination for the the presidency of the US in 1979-1980. John Connolly was trying for the the GOP nomination at the same time. He did in fact make the above quoted statement, I remember it distinctly.

    I do not remember if it was during a televised debate, or during a TV interview, but He (J. Connolly) did in fact say it. I heard him say it on my TV (back then we only had the TV and the radio for political info, Big Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet).

    I’m sure that with enough time we could track down exactly who said it and exactly when they said it.

    The more important point is that the real purpose of RISK/REWARD analyses is as a useful process whereby persons that are hopefully objective look at the likely benefits occurring from a path of action versus the likely determents from said course of action and weigh each dispassionately.

    When done properly this should result in a HIGH QUALITY DECISION PROCESS.

    The deployment of wind turbines to solve whatever nebulous problem they are alleged to solve is a textbook example of a POOR QUALITY RISK/REWARD ANALYSIS. It will show up in textbooks for years in the future as an example of HOW TO POORLY SOLVE A NON-EXISTENT PROBLEM.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  45. Yeah, but that was the old “Proven Technology” company. The new company says on their website:

    “SHARE CERTIFICATES: Completion of money laundering regulations and printing of share certificates before the end of September 2011.”

    Looks like an interesting… (searching for a non-libelous word…) “arrangement” they’ve got there!

    http://www.communitypowercornwall.coop/

    Best,
    Frank

  46. wonder if taxpayers know they are helping BP put up hundreds of turbines:

    6 Oct: LA Times Blog: Kansas gets wind farm, BP gets tax credit — just in time
    Kansas is to wind as Saudi Arabia is to oil. So it makes sense that energy conglomerate BP recently announced plans to build an $800-million, 262-turbine wind farm in the southern part of the state…
    The move comes just in time to take advantage of a stimulus-funded federal tax credit that’s set to expire next year…
    BP’s job-creating project — as it has been touted by state officials — will take advantage of an expiring provision that had previously been extended by President Obama’s politically unpopular 2009 stimulus.
    The provision offers either a 10-year, 2.2-cent production tax credit for every kilowatt-hour generated, or a onetime 30% investment tax credit paid to companies starting wind projects before 2012 and finishing before 2013 — two deadlines that the BP project exactly meets…
    BP will also pay more than $1 million a year for 20 years to the 200 landowners where the turbines will be built, according to a report from The Wichita Eagle, plus another annual $1 million to local governments…
    The investment tax credit for new wind projects has been popular too: It has awarded more than $8.4 billion in renewable-energy tax credits since 2009, with roughly $6.7 billion going toward wind projects alone, according to U.S. Treasury award data.
    The American Wind Energy Assn. has said that continuing uncertainty about whether the credit will continue beyond 2012 has already led to layoffs in what has been a boom industry: The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service estimated in a Sept. 23 report that nearly 400 U.S. manufacturers produced turbine products in 2010, up from 30 in 2004…

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/10/kansas-gets-wind-farm-bp-gets-tax-credit-just-in-time.html

  47. That Kansas Wind Farm should churn out about 3 GWatt/Hrs/day or 1,000 Gigawatt hrs/Yr. (figuring about 30% of nameplate capacity.)

    No Dead Coal Miners. No Coal Trains. No Pollution. No depending on a Depleting, and steadily more expensive resource. Money for the Local Farmers, and Municipalities/Counties.

    And, at about $1.90/Watt, installed (before any subsidies,) not a bad price.

    Looks pretty good to me.

  48. Rather than paying for the school’s power, these wind projects should pay for the administrators’ pension plan. I’m sure that will put an end to it.

  49. What a missed opportunity! The children should have been taught about the benefits of wind power, by being shown the schools bank statements showing the costs of electricity to power the school. They could have then been shown the costs involved in building the windmill, followed by the zero costs of electricity as the school disconnected from the National Grid. Finally they could review the interest and capital repayments of the initial outlay and ongoing maintenance to see how their investment compares with conventional means of powering the school.
    They would then have been able to learn about schooling in VictorIan times by having class sizes of about 70 using chalk and slates and candlelight because the windmill didn’t (note the past tense) have the power to adequately heat more than two or three rooms at once and light them at the same time. On the days when the wind doesn’t blow and the building is too cold to use at all, they could have sent the children out to find and bury the heads and bodies of the decapitated birds littering the playing field.
    Welcome to the world of wind power!

  50. I’ve given evidence at wind farm public inquiries about the risks of wind turbines. Turbines should not be built anywhere near where people live, work or play. Of course ‘elf and safety go out of the window when you’re saving the planet!

  51. Rational Debate says:
    October 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Does anyone happen to know just how far one of these can throw a blade or turbine housing/blades when they blow to peices [sic]?

    As I recall from discussions/articles/books back in the late seventies or early eighties, for safety on a 25ft dia. turbine, allow 200 yards for potential flying blades. The turbine speed should be aggressively, centrifugally governed, and a steering wind vane should be trippable to turn the turbine normal to the wind. In no case should the turbine be allowed to spin when blades were iced.

    These precautions were the norm for homestead wind generators of 3 hp capacity. Most of these 3kW turbines were built with automotive power transmission parts designed for small trucks; massively over-engineered, yet the power of the wind was still to be feared.

  52. £53,000 defenestrated for silencing their conscience… for a while.
    Priceless!

    I’m waiting for the next headline “Wind turbine parts hit nearby PV solar plant”.

  53. If my sons school was close to water (it is), and I had something to say about energy-supply, (I have not), I would demand that energy was extracted from that water. Even when water is close to only +4 degrees, there is a lot of energy in it. Almost for free. All you need is a pump, a heat exchanger and some tubing. But you must plan for it BEFORE you build the school.

  54. Kum Dollison says:

    October 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    That Kansas Wind Farm should churn out about 3 GWatt/Hrs/day or 1,000 Gigawatt hrs/Yr. (figuring about 30% of nameplate capacity.)
    ….the inoperative word here being “SHOULD”….whereas coal,oil,natural gas,and nuclear WILL churn out the 75 t0 98% rated capacities,come wind,sun,or especially calm days and winter clouds. And if you think $1.90/KWH is not a bad price,you can only be from Calfinnished.

  55. “etudiant says:
    October 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm
    Did anyone do any investigation before plunking down the schools cash?
    Such as looking at the record of the supplier, apparently nil, based on the article”

    Actually “Proven Energy” has quite a good record. It has been supplying small-scale wind turbines for isolated locations without electrical power for many years. This is about the only case where wind power is a reasonable proposition.
    However recently they decided to cash in on the “green power” bonanza and to start building larger turbines.
    They have now once again proven something that engineers have known for a long time: simply scaling up existing technology rarely works.

  56. There a good idea in the right situation but when you get a car sales man selling you items like this well……

    Best I’ve seen though is 100 user licences for 1 user, that was the NHS though.

  57. #
    #
    Edward Bancroft says:
    October 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    What surprises me is that they are now considering a solar power scheme as a replacement, despite the hard lessons from their mechanically failed wind turbine and its financially failed producer, ‘Proven Energy’.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2045862/Schools-green-dream-blown-away–55-000-wind-turbine-breaks-firm-installed-goes-bust.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    Are we looking at a repeat failure here with the solar scheme? Maybe the only thing that will come out of this is that the school’s pupils will have a better view of the true infeasibility of renewable power, rather than the official line from the educational system.
    __________________________________________________________________________
    A rather expensive education but hopefully a good one.

    The kids will probably remember the school and “Eco-friendly” teachers as crazy well meaning spaceshots. Sort of the way my very conservative friend thinks of her 1960’s hippy type parents.

  58. Today kids were going to do one of the most expensive experiments we can think of, we’re going to spend 10 years of our electricity budget on wind power. We are going to put a heavy turbine on top of a large lamp-post that gradually gets thinner at the top, stick propellers to one side of it and expose it to the unpredictable force of the wind, then we will wait for it to pay it’s self off (Bald teacher holds right pinkie to the side of his mouth while maniacally laughing and stroking a white cat), and the turbulence.
    Unfortunately Kids, as previous attempts at this experiment have proven disastrous and it should take 15 to 20 years of nonstop electricity production that we sell back to the national grid at an over inflated price that gets passed on to the sucker, cough, cough, I mean tax payer, to receive any benefit, we will have to postpone normal education until such times when lessons become less expensive, So everyone meet back here in the assembly hall on Monday morning at 9:00am 2025.

    Dear parents,
    It is with great disappointment and sadness that we must inform you that due to the unforeseen circumstances coinciding with the loss of income from our venture with ‘proven technology’ the schools financial situation has taken a considerable loss, we no longer have the funding to restore electrical power for the continued high level of education of our pupils, therefore as a result we have had no choice but to postpone all lessons indefinitely, please feel free to browse through the enclosed brochure of other local schools.

    Yours Sincerely.
    A.K Gullible
    South Eastern school of Pipe Dreams.
    1 Laughingstock Road.

  59. Andrew Harding says: “…The children should have been taught about the benefits of wind power, by being shown the schools bank statements showing the costs of electricity to power the school. They could have then been shown the costs involved in building the windmill, followed by the zero costs of electricity as the school disconnected from the National Grid. Finally they could review the interest and capital repayments of the initial outlay and ongoing maintenance to see how their investment compares with conventional means of powering the school….”

    That, of course, would be the last thing that would ever be allowed to happen. In a country where principals hide dead birds to keep children from seeing the reality of Green politics, they certainly won’t let children see the books on their boutique propeller toys. I think England’s gene pool was damaged in WWI by German mustard gas, a mutagenic chemical. That and sending the best and brightest to the Front, where sadistic sociopath Generals churned the mud with pointless, deadly attacks to “maintain an aggressive stance.” Ever read “Now it Can Be Told?”

  60. You may have noticed a reference to “Transition” in the main story. This is an insidious bunch of communist eco-loons trying to subjugate school children and their teachers. They have the same vision of a sustainable future as Mao Tse-Tung. Beware.

  61. I found the time capsule the amusing part of the 2008 BBC news story:-

    “To coincide with the start of the project the children will be sealing their aspirations for the future of the Earth in a time capsule.

    The capsule will be buried by the foundations of the wind turbine until 2058, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the turbine. “

  62. The reason this madness spreads as easily and as widely as it does is right there in the text of the article, of course:

    … designed to provide it with free electricity – and sell any surplus power to the National Grid.

    That’s “something for nothing” not just once but twice, and if you wave “free” £$£$£$ in front of enough people, you’re going to net at least some of them. Bear in mind, in this context, that less than a month ago, another huge price increase (in my case almost 20%) has just been slapped onto our electricity bills to pay for subsidising this BS – which will no doubt help other “brave pioneers of clean energy” to make this, er, “bold step into a carbon-free future”. I’m sure the deal also comes with congratulatory letters from various “authorities” and favourable coverage (as seen above) in the local media … wow, who doesn’t want to be a hero? Not just a hero, either … you make a profit out of it, too! Yeah, so you’ll be left all on your ownsome looking a right idiot when it all goes belly-up, but then even mentioning that would be so negative.

    Moral: Never trust politicians. Rider: Particularly when they’re offering you more money than makes any sense to go along with their brain-dead policies.

  63. To Axel: It isn’t just that Gorran is a beautiful area, but it is quite small and those windmills are very, very tall. If they are likely to fall all over the place, a lot of people could get hurt/killed. As someone else said, thank goodness the children weren’t in the playing fields when the school turbine keeled over.

  64. To Pauline: Ref solar panels, yes they have a part to play but don’t forget that they stop working at night, and that here in Britain we don’t get that much sun. One source of power that I am surprised is not being investigated more fully is that which could be obtained by drilling down into the ground to tap the heat below. Yes, I know it would be a long, long drill, but the heat is there below, especially in Cornwall (where Gorran is situated) which is on granite and this would produce more heat than, say, drilling into limestone..

  65. pauline says:
    October 7, 2011 at 2:11 am
    “what is the problem with solar power panelsn…or have i missed something?”

    Well they don’t kill you (provided the inverter doesn’t explode due to H2 accumulation while you’re standing next to it; and you don’t touch the approx. 1 kV lines; and you don’t fall off the rooftop while doing installation or maintenance) but they’re way more expensive than wind. So, let’s assume onshore wind is twice as expensive as fossil fuel electricity, then you can assume solar to be eight times more expensive than fossil , at the moment.

    And of course, like wind, it’s highly intermittent so if you need a steady supply, who doesn’t, you need battery banks, doubling your price again – and they will only get you through the evening; if you need storage capacity for several cloudy days, you can always add more batteries, driving the price completely into the ridiculous.

    But there’s always subsidies.

  66. “pauline says:
    October 7, 2011 at 2:42 am
    I am also suprised that water power is not used more extensively”

    Very little water power potential in the UK. Though a number of scottish glens are now being destroyed to produce miniscule amounts of electricity

  67. Wind generators were once a very desirable product and totally reliable. They were also self governing and self feathering in high winds and maintenance was a decadal thing. They were also very efficient and powered hundreds of thousands of homesteads and farms. That was seventy or eighty years ago. Jacobs in America produced the best and his pioneering in propeller design catapulted the aircraft industry into the modern age. WTF the experience of propellors from high performance airliners in the 40 ties to sixties is available to all. It is not rocket science and I can only conclude that these builders of shonky propellors are like a protected species. It is not hard to govern and protect a propellor even tho it is working as an impellor, we have the technology. The green thing is a scam, with scam companies that have no responsibility. Rant over.

  68. Water Power: Very useful, very efficient, very low cost, very low “fuel” costs – once the original dam and power plant is built.

    Drawbacks?

    BECAUSE it is so useful, so efficient, and so low-cost … ALL of the useable (practical and cost effective!) dams and hydro-electric power plants are already built. Many of those in place are being blown up and the dams destroyed – BY ENVIRO’s – in their idealistic, anti-human efforts to “cleanse” the earth of human influence. (The dams being blown – I understand some 200 so far – are lower-level dams, mostly in the arid west – that served both irrigation and power generation. Even those that produce (store) only water – such as California’s Hetch Hetchy dam near Yosemite – have been targeted for destruction by the enviro’s. Seems they’d prefer seeing the canyon walls bleak and mud-scarred and empty rather than drink water……

    Worldwide, there are about 4 or 5 dam sites left “open” for that have not been used yet. Pump storage? Worldwide, US-wide, and across the English-speaking world, enviro’s oppose those pumped storage sites perhaps even more viciously than they do “regular” lakes. And the potential pump storage sites are even MORE restrictive than simple block dams, since you need a constant source of water below in the river to “pump up”, an empty “lake” high up above the river, and power available from something else during off-peak hours to run the pumps. Further, if you have a pumped storage site, the mountains and hills are going to increase expense and land purchase costs as well. Even the 1930’s power storage ponds near Niagara were opposed by the Indian tribes up when only a few hundred acres from their reservation were needed.

  69. pauline says:
    October 7, 2011 at 2:11 am
    what is the problem with solar power panelsn…or have i missed something?

    How about the UK’s reputation for dank gloomy weather?

  70. Sonya Porter says:
    October 7, 2011 at 2:29 am
    “To Pauline: Ref solar panels, yes they have a part to play but don’t forget that they stop working at night, and that here in Britain we don’t get that much sun. One source of power that I am surprised is not being investigated more fully is that which could be obtained by drilling down into the ground to tap the heat below. ”

    That’s hydrothermal, it is done, and it often fails because you have to do all the drilling just right before you can test whether you did it correctly. Often, instead of the projected, say 75 MW you’ll only get 35 MW because the water just doesn’t seep as fast through the hot rocks as you thought it would, so you start drilling all over again…

    Again, it’s a cost problem – you can produce electricity that way if you throw arbitrarily high amounts of money at it.

  71. A few miles East of Norwich’s UEA lies the village of Acle. It was reported in the local paper that they are in the middle of a £250,000 project to install solar & wind power. I couldn’t find the story online, so I’ve scanned it and uploaded here: http://i52.tinypic.com/4tttog.jpg

    Unfortunately the figures quoted in the article don’t add up. The claimed savings only come to £108,000 over the 20 year contract. So that must mean that Solarventus gets the remaining £142,000 – which is coming from the pockets of the rest of us energy consumers.

    I don’t know what make and size turbine is being used, but I imagine it’s going to be similar to those discussed in this post.

  72. Bertram Felden says:
    October 7, 2011 at 1:38 am
    “It’s a two year old story – what has happened since I wonder?”

    The news is that Proven Energy has folded now. They were in the news over the past weeks because they had to recall one of their products, a 10m diameter turbine. Looks like the cost broke their neck now.

  73. Belay that last remark about the link disappearing….it has ‘magically’ appeared after refreshing Chrome. Ooops

  74. i am not an energy expert, but have considered alternative power sources, (I like to be prepared and not over rely on what comes from the plug) hence coal and logs store for winter. But all the reports regarding solar power seem rather over-hyped and I am not sure I believe any of it, so is there an idiots guide to solar energy that is not from interested parties like the UK government or energy companies? We do get some sun sometimes in UK, It was sunny yesterday for a bit..
    I totally take your point about water power. but I had read about very small scale proposed water generation schemes in National Parks turned down because of the environmental effects.

  75. pauline says:
    October 7, 2011 at 2:11 am

    what is the problem with solar power panels…or have i missed something?

    Well, let’s look at them. Without forced subsidies or fake political pressure.

    Solar hot water for heating water for household heat and pools can work – IF you are patient and can afford cutting the trees around your collectors.

    Solar panels for power fail.

    The sun’s power is limited by your latitude: It does NOT matter what you might want to do, you can never get more power than what’s available at noon. Call that 100 watts.

    So, with an ideal collector, you can almost get 100 watts from your collector from 11:00 to 1:00. I’m being generous here, it actually slumps down a little bit more than that. So, 2 hours receiving 100 watts = 200 watt-hours so far on your perfectly clear day with no clouds. No rain. No humidity. No haze. No dust. No sea spray or salt. Perfectly clean collectors. No scratches, perfectly aligned with the sun every minute of the day.

    Now, from 10:00 to 11:00 and from 1:00 to 2:00 you will get less power. About 85 (maybe 90%) percent of your maximum max on average. From 9:00 to 10:00 and from 2:00 to 3:00 even less, figure about 75% to 80% of your noon maximum. Before 9:00 am and after 3:00 pm you get very little for a very basic reason: The sun’s energy is being absorbed by ever-increasing atmospheric thickness. For example, you can’t even briefly glimpse towards the sun near noon for even a second, but can look for long minutes at sunset with no discomfort.

    So, your 100 watt, perfectly directed and controlled solar panel is now getting the following from its theoretical 24 hours of 100 watts production = 2400 watts. 80+90+100+100+90+80 = 340 watts received. Out of 2400 watts that you paid for. You are getting power for 6 hours per day. And NOTHING the rest of the day.

    If you want 100 watts of power the rest of the day and night, you need not a 100 watt solar panel, but a 400 watt solar panel. And a storage system. And you must convert the 400 watts of maximum power at noon to stored power delivered at a 100 watt rate at midnight.

    But, to deliver that 100 watts at midnight, you need to deliver 110 watts from your convertor at midnight, which means you need to deliver 140 to 160 watts to the battery at noon (since batteries lose much of the input energy when converting it from electricity to chemical energy and back to electrical energy), which means you need to deliver 160 to 170 watts FROM the solar converter at noon …all this to to get 100 watts back from the device at midnight.

    So, we have established you need to install 180 watts of panels to get 100 watts back from your system. You can get effective power only 1/4 of the day, so you need to install 4 x 180 = 720 watts of panels to deliver 100 watts all day.

    But it gets worse.

    Now, you had to pay for a very expensive electronic converter to change that received power from sunlight to electricity. But that converter and charge controller needs to be sized NOT for 100 watts, but for your maximum charge and discharge rates: you have to pay for 730 watts of converter and storage and cables capacity to get 100 watts out! (And remember, you loose about 85% of your received power to conversion losses going both ways.) You need to buy a very dangerous, very hazardous power storage system. Very expensive high-current cables, plugs, connections, wiring panels, breakers, fuses, and switches. Very expensive grounding system – or risk you house getting burned out from lightening strikes and battery fires. A battery charging system, venting system, and secure (fire safe,hydrogen safe, vented storage room.

    Now, all the above assumed you have paid for a very expensive solar tracking system to mount and aim your collectors directly at the sun all hours of the day. Use a less-expensive passive tracker, or a simple flat panel at a fixed position, and you lose even more potential power.

    Clouds? Spray? Dirt? Dust? Storms? Most areas, you need to multiply your receiver capacity by another factor of 3 to 4…

    But that’s OK. The taxpayers are paying for all of this waste. Just to make you feel better.

  76. “Anybody want to drive an older car without Anti-Lock Brakes on a wet or frozen road today ?”

    Heck yeah. I learned how to drive without antilock brakes. What begat the “need” for antilock brakes was the idiotic pumping technique that started being taught in the late 70’s.

    The proper way to apply brakes on a car is to learn to modulate the pressure you apply to the pedal to hold the brakes just before the point where they lock, then push a bit more right as the car is at the stopping point. It’s easy with some practice. The pumping method can put you off the road in a half second when conditions are slick. Since almost nobody aside from racers, self taught and professionally instructed, and people like me who apply critical thinking, has been taught proper brake application for 30+ years, there came a “need” for a technological fix. So now instead of pumping your brakes, which can make stopping distances with ABS even worse, drivers are taught “stomp and steer”. Just mash the pedal and let the computer do it.

    There’s a huge problem with ABS. They work by testing for large differences in the rotational speed of one or more wheels, and for when one or more wheels stops rotating while others are still rotating. The problem comes along and clobbers the vehicle with physics when all four wheels stop rotating but the road is so slick the tires will slide. The ABS assumption is that all wheels stopped = vehicle stopped so ABS stops pulsing the brakes.

    Meanwhile panicked drivers clutch their steering wheels and keep the brake pedal mashed down, waiting for a computer to save them while they’ve become the ball in a game of Seattle Winter Street Pinball. They haven’t the foggiest notion that their fancy ride’s electronics have come a cropper and that the only way they can possibly avoid a collision is to *get their feet off the pedals and steer*.

    Antilock brakes are a “solution” to a failure of education. Brake pressure modulation can be done with or without ABS. If your car has ABS and it kicks in during a stop on a slick road, you need more practice with stopping your car.

    I have a special setup on one of my cars, a 1977 Mustang. It originally had manual brakes and I upgraded it to power brakes, but I didn’t swap in the different brake pedal which has a different pivot point. The result is a pedal with around double the travel of the normal pedal used with power brakes. That makes fine brake control even easier.

    So there’s another technology failure. Car manufacturers pitched power brakes as “easier” and requiring less leg strength. They made the application range very short so there’s little pedal movement required to apply full pressure. That was oh so much the wrong thing to do! They should have kept the pedal travel the same as with manual brakes and designed the power systems to apply the boost gradually.

    But ABS tech to fix earlier power brake design fails and driver education fails is here to stay, mandated by governments. So just remember is the ABS bumping and banging *stops* but you’re still headed for the ditch – FEET UP AND STEER!

  77. Thank-you RACookPE1978
    It is what i suspected, essentially the only way it can be profitable is as the taxpayers expense, this could change anytime, so will be abandoning this current idea in total and going back to my coal and log store.. The trouble is all the information general public can find is from the power companies and government backed bodies such as Energy Trust (which all sound too good to be true) etc and we all know from reading this site that their calculations may be off somewhat.
    So thank-you for your answer
    It is still sunny ish in UK, it was even sunny in Yorkshire last week which is even rarer

  78. Kevin Kilty says:

    Is “green energy” dependent on an ignorant public for its implementation?

    Oh yes absolutely. If my impression from forum discussions here in Germany is any measure, the majority think that wind turbines and solar panels must be cheaper than coal plants because they don’t consume fuel. They don’t get it that this fact alone means nothing, that the overall costs involves maintenance, write-downs, real estate, staff and many others. They certainly never get the consequences that the augmented costs of “green energy” mean GDP losses & ultimately job losses in all sectors of the economy.

  79. pauline says:

    what is the problem with solar power panelsn…or have i missed something?

    The cost. According to many studies on the subject, the cost per kilowatthour solar power is about ten times the cost of the same kilowatthour from a coal plant. The main cost factor is write down of the original investment – but there are others such as maintenance, grid, real estate, electronics – , while the power output for that investment is modest. So that gives a very bad cost to output ratio, in fact the worst of all common electricity generation methods. Coal and nuclear are among the best.

    I am also suprised that water power is not used more extensively

    It is actually used, and its cost ratio can be competitive especially from large reservoirs. But the geography is not suitable everywhere, so there are limits to its development.

  80. RACookPE1978 says:
    October 7, 2011 at 3:34 am

    An awful lot of problems with your post on solar power, Cook. The biggest is you describe a system for getting off the grid. If you’re going to do that it pretty much means you’re going to get radical in other ways too like ditching 120vac appliances and going to 12vdc like you find in travel trailers.

    Most people are already connected to the grid so they don’t need to go gridless. The economic advantages of grid-ties are enormous. You don’t need to overbuild your generating capacity and you don’t need storage systems. You simply put up your solar panels, AC convertors, and hook this up to a grid-tie. When the sun’s shining you’re using your own generated electricity or if you’re not using as much as you’re generating the excess if fed back onto the grid so someone else can use it. If the sun isn’t shining you draw your power from the grid.

    This is very nearly economical in many circumstances today. There are a few major impediments. Grid-ties are prohibitively expensive mostly due to lack of standards and lack of scale in manufacturing. AC convertors are also rather pricey again due to lack of manufacturing scale. Solar panel cost/efficiency needs to improve. This seems to be mostly manufacturing issues compounded by too many competing technologies but this is normal in infant industries. Eventually winners are sorted out from losers in both technology and manufacturers and those that remain standing plummet in price as economy of scale in the winning technologies takes hold.

    Yet another problem is the cost differential between price you pay for electricity and the price you get paid for electricity. Electric companies offer only a small fraction of the retail market price of electricity for any excess that individuals with grid-ties feed back into the system. If they were willing to pay what they charge it would actually be profitable to generate your own solar electricity for sale in ideal situations. The main justification for paying only a fraction of the retail market price is that the electric company owns the distribution/metering/billing infrastructure which has a substantial capital, maintenance, and operating cost associated with it which individuals supplying electricity to the grid would be getting for free. Regardless of this, though, at least for electricity you use as you produce it, you save the full retail cost of it.

  81. The article describes one isolated failure in wind systems. This is hardly representative of wind power everywhere. It’s a description of a proverbial lemon – the rare automobile that atypically has problem after problem beginning when it is brand new.

    Why don’t we see any stories here about how China has more installed wind power than any other country on the planet? China doesn’t dally with wind power due to silly environmentalist whackoism. China’s a communist country and they’ll round up silly environmentalists and send them to re-education camps or worse. Texas has become the leader in wind power in the United States and Texas is also not well known for allowing silly liberals to interfere with what’s best for businesses.

    The fact of the matter is that wind power makes a certain amount of sense and when deployed in a sensible manner it’s a good thing. Where it goes wrong is when governments are driven to do stupid things by environmentalist whacko lobbies and constituents that problems happen. The case described in the OP is an example of environmentalist whackoism in action and sensationalist cherry picking of wind-related stories by the author whose confirmation and political bias compels him to publish these things while pointedly avoiding reporting on wind power success stories like what’s happening in Texas and China where business sense rules the day rather than environmentalist stupidity.

    • I kind of agree with this, diversity in energy production must be good thing, but is has to be sensible and cost effective. Unfortunately, finding sensible unbiased advice is tricky and over the top claims for alternative energy sources obscure the debate and mislead the public.

  82. Rational Debate says:
    October 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    “ I sure wouldn’t want to be around one that lets go – or have anyone or anything I cared for in the vicinity. “

    This will give some idea of the damage potential:

    This was a relatively small (~ 200 ft) turbine by today’s standards but even here the scale hides the speed that the parts are travelling at. The clouds of earth thrown up when the parts hit the ground give a good indication of the forces involved.

  83. Thanks DirkH for the update on why this is appearing now.

    The UK’s installed wind capacity is about 5.2gw. So at the nominal 30% we can expect from them they would produce ON AVERAGE 1.56gw. The proposed nuke at Hinkley Point C would produce 1.6gw CONTINUOUSLY.

    So every single stupid overpriced windmill can be replaced with one nuclear power plant. The lunatics really are running the asylum.

    BTW, the usual suspects were blockading the site for Hinkley Point C earlier this week. Makes me so sad.

  84. Oh – the irony – the thing failed due to ‘unproven technology’…
    ….Supplied by a company called ‘Proven’…
    Now they want to try solar panels – in Cornwall..? Have they really got so much money to waste at that school..??
    something else which made me chuckle was that the kiddywinks buried a time capsule which was to be opened in 2058 – on the FIFTIETH anniversary of the installation – did they REALLY think it would last that long..?
    Conspicuous by its absence is any BBC article reporting the failure of the wind turbine – surely, in the intersts of balanced journalism, equal weight should be given to this event..? Ah, but I should know better – this is the BBC we’re talking about…

  85. There are plans to build one of these wind monsters on the waterfront of Bayonne, NJ. The local paper has been hailing it as something wonderful. I am dreading what it will do to the local wildlife. Since the Hudson and Hackensack rivers have cleaned up (modern sewage treatment), birds such as ospreys have come back. Now they will get pureed by the blades of a wind turbine.

  86. @TimTheToolMan

    If they’d have invested the money in a typical US regulated utility, they’d earn a nice return, while actually helping to generate useful energy.

  87. Don’t blame this on renewable energy, remember there are witches in that part of England and you will note it happened on Friday the 13th. Coincidence? I think not.

  88. @jonjermey says:

    October 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    It won’t be too long before someone gets killed by one of these.

    At that point, the death toll from wind will have surpassed the death toll from nuclear (in the free world).

  89. @pat says:

    October 6, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    wonder if taxpayers know they are helping BP put up hundreds of turbines

    What’s wrong with BP. They have a proven track record of bring in massive oil wells. It’s a damn shame the Obama administration over-reacted and made them cap and seal off that well in the gulf. That oil could be displacing imported oil going into a refinery somewhere. Here’s hoping we get back to full throttle production and exploration in the gulf soon (at least after November, 2012).

  90. Pat Frank says: October 6, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Supplier of the downed wind turbine: “Proven Energy.” Perfection in inadvertent irony.

    As the only person here who probably built a part of the Proven windmill (control boards), I can tell you that in 2003 Gordon Proven’s windmills had a reputation second to none. And this was nothing to do with global warming, it was because they had been tried and tested in Scotland supplying remote off-grid crofts and smallholding.

    Unfortunately, I stopped supplying them, Gordon Proven became ill and a bunch of venture capitalists took over. I’ve no doubt they just poo pooed the 2 or 3 engineers from the original team when they told them that reliability was critical and I’ve no doubt they thought they could just cut corners and costs.

    Gordon Proven, wasn’t the easiest person to work with, but there was no question that Proven was the turbine for 600w-15kw machines. Unfortunately a lot of individuals and small groups have lost out, and the real truth is that if the original engineering team had still been running the company, they may not have been so large, but they certainly wouldn’t have got into this mess.

  91. Geotherm is quite practical, in places like Iceland and Hawaii, where the hot magma is close to the surface.

    Where it’s deep, one of the issues has been that pumping water down deep drill holes seems to encourage tremors. This has pretty much killed the research, no one wants the liability risk for an earthquake.

    IER comparison of energy production technology here, based on EIA data. Solar is more expensive than wind, and both have low capacity factors (meaning they seldom produce at full capacity).

    Article on the economics on solar PV here

    Denmark. case study on wind here.

    German study here

  92. wayne Job says: October 7, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Wind generators were once a very desirable product and totally reliable.

    What planet are you living on?

    Wind turbines have always been highly unreliable and it is only those companies that recognised the critical nature of making them as reliable as possible that survived.

    E.g. The UK and US had huge research budgets, they built enormous “efficient” machines. The Danes had a research budget that involved going down to the scrap dealer and finding a lorry gear box. Danish windmills were ugly, heavy and built by agricultural companies. UK and US machines were beautiful high tech and never working, whereas the Danish machines kept going (relatively).

    I know the facts, because I made the effort to go and visit one of the windmill maintenance companies in Denmark and spent a few hours touring their plant. I’ve still got one of the bearings from a windmill that I use as a paperweight. I heard first hand all the problems they had.

    The figure worth remembering is that a turbine blade tip travels around 1million miles a year. That compares to your average car driving 5,000-10,000 miles between services and the stresses are not dissimilar because of the wind stress and buffeting. Indeed, if anything the stresses on a windmill are much greater as the blades constantly go from the high wind zone at the top to the lower speed windzone at the bottom.

    The reason almost every new windmill producer goes out of business is precisely because they underestimate the engineering problems overcoming failures, reliability and maintenance

  93. Galane says:
    October 7, 2011 at 3:44 am

    “Anybody want to drive an older car without Anti-Lock Brakes on a wet or frozen road today ?”

    Heck yeah. I learned how to drive without antilock brakes. What begat the “need” for antilock brakes was the idiotic pumping technique that started being taught in the late 70′s…..
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Thanks for that comment. I too learned on manual brakes. The idiocy I see on the roads today makes me shake my head. (Especially all the tailgating in bad weather) I learned to stay off the $#@# BRAKES when driving on frozen roads. You think ahead, down shift and use the brake sparingly.

  94. RobWansbeck says: October 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    “ Does anyone happen to know just how far one of these can throw a blade or turbine housing/blades when they blow to peices? “

    I had two small marlecs (around 1m across). These were on a hillside and we had a storm. When I arrived there was not much left of one windmill and the other had burnt out. I spent half an hour looking for the blades and found some parts as far as 50m downwind.

    I used to have a windmill on our house (when I did design work). I’ve since realised that they could do serious damage and I advise anyone having a windmill to get insurance to cover damage to people and property from blades shearing, as well as structural damage to the building from vibration and shearing stresses.

    In 5-10 years, as the bearings start going on these household windmills in the UK, we are going to start hearing a string of stories about how 1000s, if not 10,000s of damage was done to buildings and possible incidents of blades going through windows of house and parked cars … and will any of the companies be in business to be sued?

  95. polistra says:
    October 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    “It was repaired by the manufacturers at the time at no cost to the school, and they were reimbursed for the lost generation while the turbine was not working.”

    If it had fallen while the kids were near it, there would have been a different kind of Lost Generation, with no reimbursement possible.

    Now, that’s no laughing matter. But I laughed anyway. :D

  96. pauline says:
    October 7, 2011 at 4:52 am

    “I kind of agree with this, diversity in energy production must be good thing, but is has to be sensible and cost effective. Unfortunately, finding sensible unbiased advice is tricky and over the top claims for alternative energy sources obscure the debate and mislead the public.”

    Yes. There are places where wind power is so heavily subsidized and faddish that people from consumers to manufacturers and installers make foolish decisions and live to regret it. When a deeply conservative business oriented state like Texas takes the lead in US wind power (surprisingly now Iowa is second to Texas with California in third place) it must be cost effective. Even more noteworthy is when a no-nonsense communist nation like China is the world leader in installed wind power that’s also compelling evidence that wind power can be done in a cost effective manner. The on the other hand you’ve got the environmentalist whacko dominated nations like Great Britain, Spain, and Australia whose wind exploits are more along the lines of a consortium between The Three Stooges, The Keystone Cops, and Monty Python… grand comedic failures.

  97. “What is the problem with solar panels?” For starters, the average capacity factor across the UK for the last year was <5%. That's so near to zero that it is hardly worth taking them out of their packing cases and going to all the trouble and mess of ruining your roof and connecting them up, with all the attendant risks to your house. Will your insurance cover your house burning down when the inverter fails?

  98. Out on Whidbey Island, WA where I live a new “Child Development Center” was created next to an existing elementary school. They put in 4 small wind turbines (rough estimate, 6 foot total blade rotation diameter each). Problem is, they left all the tall trees around the Center, which means the turbines are sheltered from most normal winds. We do often get high winds here, which means when it gusts up over 50mph, they’ll have to shut them down, even though they won’t be receiving the brunt of the wind. Completely useless.

  99. I noticed a private wind turbine badly damged from wind just yesterday. This is the reality of owning a wind turbine, sure they can make you money when the wind blows, but if there is no wind you lose money and if there is too much wind you lose money. And that’s no including the maintenence costs like replacing bearings and bushings, repairing rust and other damage. I say that wind turbines are still too expensive and are not ready for prime time.

    Its too bad this has happened to a school who built this thing with good intensions. Its a shame.

  100. anorak2 says:
    October 7, 2011 at 4:07 am
    pauline says:

    “The cost. According to many studies on the subject, the cost per kilowatthour solar power is about ten times the cost of the same kilowatthour from a coal plant. ”

    Studies I actually believe (US Department of Energy) peg it at 4 times the cost of the lowest cost alternative (combined cycle natural gas).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source#US_Department_of_Energy_estimates

    These are total levelized costs ($/megawatt hour) including depreciation & amortization for new capacity going into service in 2016:

    conventional coal $95
    advanced coal $109
    coal w/carbon sequestration $136

    ng conventional $125
    ng advanced conventional $104
    ng advanced combined cycle $63
    ng convetional combined cycle $66
    ng advanced CC with carbon sequestration $89

    advanced nuclear $114

    conventional wind $97
    offshore wind $243

    solar photovoltaic $211
    solar thermal $312

    geothermal $101
    biomass $113
    hydroelectric $86

    There are some surprises in there for most people and it needs to be kept in mind that some of these generating methods are quite limited in where and when they may be employed, how scalable they are, and the upper limit on practical capacity.

    As you can see conventional wind is one of the cheaper sources of electricity but it can only be effectively employed where winds are steady and brisk and not too far removed from the grid to limit new transmission investment. And of course wind is one of the least predictable sources over the short term which causes some supply/demand matching headaches but as far as cost to generate it is cheaper than nuclear, competitive with coal, and only exceeded by advanced combined cycle natural gas.

  101. pauline says:
    October 7, 2011 at 3:27 am
    “But all the reports regarding solar power seem rather over-hyped and I am not sure I believe any of it, so is there an idiots guide to solar energy that is not from interested parties like the UK government or energy companies? We do get some sun sometimes in UK, It was sunny yesterday for a bit..”

    The insolation in the UK is equivalent to about 800 hours of full sunlight a year. A solar installation will cost you about 2.40 EUR (I think that’s about 2 GBP) per Watt-peak; this buys you the necessary solar panels and the electronics (the inverter) and the installation. That means that an investment of 2 GBP will produce 0.8 kWh per year. I don’t know about British energy tariffs, guess they are somewhat cheaper than here in Germany, but let’s assume 15 pence/kWh, so your investment of 2 GBP will return about 0.12 GBP a year without subsidies. Run it for 20 years, hope that it lasts that long, and you get 2.40 GBP for your 2 GBP investment.

    Prizes for solar panels and inverters have been going down by 20% a year during the last 2 decades; so it will at a certain moment become economically viable if that trend continues, even in shady climes like the UK or Germany. But what we see right now is only subsidy-driven installations.

  102. I do have to give the school credit for trying to find a creative way to share science with their students. I know there is failure and expense, but not involving the students leads to boredom and that leads to minds being wasted. Hands on creativity of some kind increases involvement from students who may otherwise be bored. I think trying to make a dent should be an attribute. Many times we are criticized for noisy classrooms, and excited students who can’t settle. What exactly was wrong about involving the students. That is high order learning.
    You do have to mix the types of learning, because some students won’t learn unless they are made to write, and listen one to one. I found in my teaching that if I involved the children, they learned more, and their scores were wonderful, compared to the year before when they were uninvolved, quiet, and like zombies in the classroom. I am retired, but I believe more science projects, more hands on projects, and reality in the school would make it a good one. The students should not just learn facts, they should experience what they learn also.

  103. Dave Springer says:
    October 7, 2011 at 7:35 am
    “Even more noteworthy is when a no-nonsense communist nation like China is the world leader in installed wind power that’s also compelling evidence that wind power can be done in a cost effective manner. ”

    “No-nonsense communist”? Dave, think about this contradiction in terms.

    While the communists in China let free market capitalism thrive and those companies flood the West with cheap products, the rulers are still technocrats bent on showing off; their ill-fated high speed trains run largely empty but it’s a prestige project. They misallocate capital on a grand scale and build much to much infrastructure to keep the economy going (creating an artificial building boom but piling up debt in the process – yes, debt; a lot of Chinese banks sit on mountains of non-performing credit).

    What tells you that their own wind power installations are “no-nonsense”, hard-nosed communist economic savvy and not just another technocrat extravaganza? The rulers still run a lot of centrally planned schemes there…

  104. You may have noticed a reference to “Transition” in the main story. This is an insidious bunch of communist eco-loons trying to subjugate school children and their teachers. They have the same vision of a sustainable future as Mao Tse-Tung. Beware.

    I’m not a member of the Transition movement, I don’t really share their views, but I do know well a few people who are involved and to say they a bunch of commies, eco loons and Maoists is simply untrue. Why is it that such stereotypes are put about? Is it because scaremongering, even self scaremongering, works?

    Pete H

  105. Dave Springer says:
    October 7, 2011 at 4:29 am

    ……..The fact of the matter is that wind power makes a certain amount of sense and when deployed in a sensible manner it’s a good thing. …..”
    _______________________________________________________________________

    And that Dave, is the key. Get the blasted government, con-men and others out of the equation.

    A windmill moving H2O up hill in the middle of nowhere makes a heck of a lot of sense. A windmill grinding grain in the middle of nowhere (Africa?) makes a lot of sense. That is why the USA had a lot of them a century ago. However shoddy hard to maintain monstrosities that use up more energy to produce and transport then they will make in their life timeare nothing but a con.

    My personal choice is Thorium Nuclear. If it is ever approved here in the USA I will be trying to get a mini nuclear plant brought into my town. Right now I look out the window at the neighboring county’s Nuclear plant. So I am not a NIMBY.

    (China had plans to build 60 nuclear reactors over next decade)
    REFERENCES:
    Reintroducing Thorium: Chem & Eng News: http://pubs.acs.org/cen/email/html/8746sci2.html

    Journal of Energy Security: Thorium as a Secure Nuclear Fuel Alternative http://www.ensec.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=187:thorium-as-a-secure-nuclear-fuel-alternative&catid=94:0409content&Itemid=342

    World Nuclear Assoc: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/default.aspx?id=448&terms=thorium

    Change.Org: Thorium Nuclear Energy’s clean little secret: http://news.change.org/stories/thorium-nuclear-energys-clean-little-secret

    MiniFuji Thorium Reactor Group Talks (includes possible nuclear ships) http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/10/minifuji-thorium-reactor-group-talks-to.html

  106. Proven liars?

    On the Chinese front, they’re exporting windmills and building their own coal fired power stations, every week. No wonder they can bankroll the world.

  107. quote: “The system was seen as a green blueprint for clean, sustainable energy”

    I’m sure they’re pretty BLUE, now!

  108. What? No warmist have the guts to appear here to defend wind power? Not even with “the consensus” on your side?

  109. Dave Springer says:

    “The cost. According to many studies on the subject, the cost per kilowatthour solar power is about ten times the cost of the same kilowatthour from a coal plant. ”

    Studies I actually believe (US Department of Energy) peg it at 4 times the cost of the lowest cost alternative (combined cycle natural gas).

    The study I quoted is from the University of Stuttgart, Germany from 2008. It computes the raw productions costs of several electricity generation technologies for conditions in Germany. [Source see end of posting]

    As you see I misremembered, the factor is closer to 20 (60 EUR-cents solar in the worst case vs. 2.5 cents for lignite). The factor for wind is in the range of 5 (10 to 17 EUR-cents vs 2.5 cents). Obviously conditions vary among countries and differences in factors will result. Even assuming the 10 cents/kwH for coal and nuclear in the US is plausible (3 fold more than in Germany, I wonder how that comes about), solar is still “merely” 4 times more costly, which still makes it uncompetitive beyond hope, don’t you agree?

    Furthermore there are implicit cost of solar and wind not added in those computations, namely either a conventional power plant on standby which buffers irregularities in the “green” sources’ outputs, or God forbid enormous storage facilities. You have to add those, unfortunately we have no solid figures, because there are many unforeseeable variables, except a reasonable assumption that those additional costs will be enormous.

    Another point: If your quoted figures were true, subsidies and regulations in favour of wind turbines could cease even from the point of view of its supporters, because it would be genuinely competitive. So do you advocate the cessation of such subsidies? Come on :). The greens in this country certainly don’t. Among you and me, it’s because in their hearts they know that wind is not competitive on its own merits. ;)

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

    Source for Stuttgart study:

    http://www.ier.uni-stuttgart.de/publikationen/arbeitsberichte/Arbeitsbericht_04.pdf

    Warning German language, but there’s a graphic on page 18. Translations for anyone interested:

    Braunkohle = lignite
    Steinkohle = hard coal
    Erdgas = natural gas
    DWR = pressurised water reactor
    Laufwasser = running water
    Wind onshore/offshore = (same)
    PV = photovoltaics

  110. ” and the fool’s burnt, bandaged finger wobbles back to the flame.” R. Kipling, please forgive if my memory is not perfect.

  111. Its not the school that will pay for this loss. It’s not the government – its the poor bloody taxpayer as usual. And as usual there’s no recourse against the decision makers.

  112. Think about all the energy wasted on this project.

    What is the carbon footprint of all of these type of failed projects?

  113. And the Greens think that nuclear power is dangerous??

    Try Googling for ‘wind turbine fire’, ‘wind turbine fail’, or ‘wind turbine collapse’ and just see how many of these things are falling over.

    Here are a couple, just for starters.

  114. Anytime anybody anywhere proposes a solar or wind project be built with public money, people need to stand up and ask what will it really cost? Are there really any savings? Which is longer the payback of the purchase, installation and maintenance (through energy savings) or the useful lifespan of the equipment?

  115. I do work for a supplier to the windmill industry. Until 2008 I was amazed by incredible increasing demand for equipment. Prices and costs were not an issue. I started to ask questions about this and the usual answer was that money was plentifull in the world of windmill construction, enjoy it!
    Since 2008, the big projects are gone and I experienced that the windmill construction industry has become “pushy”.
    They, the windmill industry are now pushing the “smaller” prospects, who don’t have much (financial and technical) experience to purchase a windmill and at the other hand they’re squeezing suppliers and prices and hence quality.
    Well, the company I am working is reacting: what you want is what you get!

  116. If it didn’t have the potential for injury or death, this would be really quite laughable. At least we see teachers putting into practice what they preach. Then we see all too obviously why some teachers should stick to teaching. They can’t recognize a scam if it jumped up and bit them on the nose.

  117. What? No warmist have the guts to appear here to defend wind power? Not even with “the consensus” on your side?

    Oh, I’d happily see more windmills in the right, windy, places of the UK. Having visited a few wind farms I find them to be rather pleasing to the eye actually, unlike say pylons, I think they generate electricty when we need it and I think they add to electricty generation options.

    Can expect roses for daring to have that view?

  118. I’ll bet that the directors of ‘Proven Energy’ are still in their big CO2 guzzling cars and CO2 unfriendly mansions? I wonder how much government grant money they ‘used’ up too?

  119. One day soon the birds will have their day.
    The inoperable turbines can be converted into great nesting box condos
    What a view!

  120. Are you keeping tabs on all the setbacks in energy production? Burning railroad tank cars and LNG terminals? Tankers breaking up in storms? Coal mine disasters? disasters in the Gulf of Mexico and other drilling rid disasters? Exploding transformers? Railroad derailings that spill and burn oil?

    No matter how it is done, harvesting energy is dangerous and error-prone.

  121. Septic Matthew says:

    “Are you keeping tabs on all the setbacks in energy production? Burning railroad tank cars and LNG terminals? Tankers breaking up in storms? Coal mine disasters? disasters in the Gulf of Mexico and other drilling rid disasters? Exploding transformers? Railroad derailings that spill and burn oil?”

    Shades of Chicken Little! There are always ‘setbacks’. That’s why there is an insurance industry. But in fact, the developed world is getting safer, not more dangerous. Afther the massive hand-wringing following the Deepwater Horizon blowout, which resulted in endless, universal predictions of ecological doom, there are only faint traces of the 3 month long event.

    Luddites who believe the worst are always proven wrong.

  122. Smokey: There are always ‘setbacks’.

    That’s what I said. Falling wind turbines (what I responded to) are not signs that anything is fundamentally wrong with wind turbines. The city government of Austin TX gets all of its power from a wind farm. There is nothing “Luddite” like in a modern wind turbine.

  123. I suggest they place the generator on its back in the middle of a field. Tie 20 mules to each blade with a carrot dangling just in front of their noses. Will generate in any weather.

  124. Only 659 names on the Repeal Climate Change Act.
    Get signing!!

    [Reply: Posting a hotlink would be helpful. ~dbs, mod.]

  125. >>RA Cook
    >>Solar hot water for heating water for household heat and pools can work
    >>IF you are patient .

    But it may have unintended consequences.

    Friend of mine installed solar heating, and rather stupidly (and idealisticly) removed the gas heater. Result? Three years of no heat in the winter, a thumping electric bill three times the size of the original gas bill, and a divorce to boot.

    Thus his solar heating actually cost some £450,000, when the divorce was factored in.

    .

  126. Dave Springer says:
    October 7, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Studies I actually believe (US Department of Energy) peg it at 4 times the cost of the lowest cost alternative (combined cycle natural gas).

    LCOE cost analysis is a simplistic starting point in evaluating the relative costs of various energy sources needs to accommodate not only base-load, but seasonal and time of day generating mixes.

    The cost that the ‘consumer’ pay is what is the cost going to be to deliver reliable on demand electricity generation 24 hours a day/365 days a year.

    While solar has some ‘seasonal’ value for the summer ‘peak load’, it has zero value for winter ‘peak load’. DOE Generating statistics show January Solar power to be 1/6th of June Solar Power.

    http://205.254.135.24/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec7_5.pdf

    So in determining the cost of any intermittent energy source one must also determine the costs of the sources that will be delivering reliable power and whether the intermittants are ‘complementary’ or not.

    Exelon, one of the US’s largest electric utilities , in 2008 and again in 2010 made a hypothetical plan to ZERO their carbon foot print and what technologies would be employed in what quantities and at what costs to achieve a reliable, carbon free energy mix.

    You can see the results on page 8 and 9 of this presentation.

    http://www.exeloncorp.com/assets/newsroom/speeches/docs/spch_Rowe_ANS_110815.pdf

  127. >>Septic
    >>The city government of Austin TX gets all of its power from a wind farm.
    >>There is nothing “Luddite” like in a modern wind turbine.

    And what do they do when there is too little or too much wind – close down the entire government??

    Don’t try to fool us that they are running on wind power, we are not naive wet-behind-the-ears Greenies here, you know.

    .

  128. Peter H says:
    October 7, 2011 at 9:48 am
    “I think they generate electricity when we need it.”

    Not during the coldest part of the last 2 winters in the UK, they didn’t… Have you not seen the BM Reports website { http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm } and the numerous screen captures posted showing wind contributing less than 0.1% of the demand. This lasted for several days due to an anticyclone covering the whole of the country.

  129. harrywr2: While solar has some ‘seasonal’ value for the summer ‘peak load’, it has zero value for winter ‘peak load’. DOE Generating statistics show January Solar power to be 1/6th of June Solar Power.

    Solar power right now is a niche product, in the U.S., basically to offset summer air conditioning. As far as I can tell, it is not cost-effective for other uses. Since I don’t use A/C, I have not bought the solar panels.

    But to supplement your point: solar power in places that have sunny winters can be used through a heat pump to offset winter-time gas consumption. For my neighbors who do use air conditioning, they could cut costs in summer (full cost, not just net after tax rebates), and winter heating would be a bonus.

    There is a heavy irony (if not duplicity) for Californians who support both “equity” and solar subsidies. The solar subsidy is a tax credit: reduced state and federal income tax for installing solar power. So it is only cost-effective for people who have high tax bills and high electricity bills. Rich People, what we sometimes call “limousine liberals” mostly back this plan. (Unless it’s changed — sometimes I am behind.)

  130. Ralph: And what do they do when there is too little or too much wind – close down the entire government??

    Well, last winter the wind farms kept generating electricity when a bunch of coal-fired and gas-fired power plants shut down due to unexpected cold. It was a thread here at WUWT. Gas-fired plants everywhere have trouble in cold weather because it becomes hard to maintain the gas pressure in the lines. Albuquerque had a power crisis of sort when the pressure fell in the gas lines from Texas.

    In San Diego and southern Riverside Counties there was a 16-hour or so electrical shut-down caused by a small problem in a generator in Yuma AZ. People who had roof-mounted PV power had a few more hours of electricity than others. My neighbors had a back-up generator, so they were set. In another neighborhood there was a fight and an injury because one neighbor objected somewhat too strenuously to the noise of a generator.

    In the summertime, nuclear power plants in the U.S.often have to reduce power output when the cooling water runs low.

    On the whole, solar, biofuels and wind are not ready for open competition in the U.S. market. But you need to abandon the idea that the fossil fuels are without serious problems.

  131. TimTheToolMan says:
    October 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm
    £53,000 worth of PV solar panels on thr school’s roof would have been a better investment IMO. Wind is too high maintenance, too many moving parts to go wrong.
    Brilliant idea! We could then give hands on experience of Victorian times as an educational tool and instead of sending little children up chimneys to clean them we could sent them onto the roof to clean the panels.
    Oh my dear! How Dickensian! Dress them as Smike and rename the school Dotheboys Hall!

  132. Dave Springer says:
    October 7, 2011 at 4:29 am

    The article describes one isolated failure in wind systems. This is hardly representative of wind power everywhere……
    _________________________________________________________________________
    “Summary of Wind Turbine Incidents (December 2008
    • 41 Worker Fatalities, 16 Public- Includes falling from turbine towers and transporting turbines on the highway.
    • 39 Incidents of Blade Failure- Failed blades have been known to travel over a quarter mile, killing any unfortunate bystanders within its path of destruction.
    • 110 Incidents of Fire- When a wind turbine fire occurs, local fire departments can do little but watch due to the 30-story height of these turbine units. The falling debris are then carried across the distance and cause new fires.
    • 60 Incidents of Structural Failure- As turbines become more prevalent, these breakages will become more common in public areas, thereby causing more deaths and dismemberment’s from falling debris.
    • 24 incidents of “hurling ice”- Ice forms on these giant blades and is reportedly hurled at deathly speeds in all directions. Author reports that some 880 ice incidents of this nature have occurred over Germany’s 13-years of harnessing wind power.
    Source: http://www.inquisitr.com/18588/wind-power-causes-more-deaths-than-nuclear-power/
    Original Source: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/02/wind-vs-nuclear-energy-wind-power-deemed-far-more-dangerous.php“>Treehugger

    This article may describe one failure in wind systems but it is not isolated and Worst these are relatively new systems. What is going to happen to these expensive monstrosities as they age? WHO is going to take them down before some one is hurt? WHO is going to pay for it?

    The “investors” are going to grab the money, declare bankruptcy and run.

    I and my neighbors prevented the same type of scam involving a GREEN refuse composting facility that was slated to be built on a swamp near me. We (the town) would have been left to clean up the mess not to mention the health hazard from the run-off leaking into our wells.

    Unlike the idiots in this story we listened to the story and then did our homework and investigated not only the company but the investors. We were able to show the town council that the “Technology” was completely unproven. Everyone agreed to give the company thumbs down.

  133. Kum Dollison says:
    October 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    That Kansas Wind Farm should churn out about 3 GWatt/Hrs/day or 1,000 Gigawatt hrs/Yr. (figuring about 30% of nameplate capacity.)

    No Dead Coal Miners. No Coal Trains. No Pollution. No depending on a Depleting, and steadily more expensive resource. Money for the Local Farmers, and Municipalities/Counties.

    And, at about $1.90/Watt, installed (before any subsidies,) not a bad price.

    Looks pretty good to me.
    ______________________________________________________________________
    Kum, HOW do you think the wind mills are MADE????

    I worked for a manufacturer of the ceramic molds used to make aircraft engine parts. You are talking about massive amounts of energy JUST to produce the ceramic molds! Heck the furnaces were so hot they were never shut down except for maintenance. And that does not include the mining and smelting of the various ores that goes into the steel. Or the transportation of the various sands and clays for the ceramics…..

    How come everyone forgets just what goes into producing an ingot of pig iron much less a turbine blade.

    Here is a forum with discussions on turbine blades: http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=376471

    Just as an example of the problems, we had to be very careful of the lead and bismuth content of the ceramics because they made the blades brittle and caused three airline crashes.

    A Professional Engineer looked into what it takes to build a windmill vs the energy output: http://www.windpowerfraud.com/

  134. hell_is_like_newark says:
    October 7, 2011 at 5:59 am

    There are plans to build one of these wind monsters on the waterfront of Bayonne, NJ. The local paper has been hailing it as something wonderful. I am dreading what it will do to the local wildlife. Since the Hudson and Hackensack rivers have cleaned up (modern sewage treatment), birds such as ospreys have come back. Now they will get pureed by the blades of a wind turbine.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    The statistics on what these monsters can do are out there. Gather them up get a bunch of other concerned citizens and form a “group” and PAY for ads in all the papers in the area.

    It is necessary to form a “Group” since only “Groups” have clout. Something like the Bayonne “save the birds” foundation or what ever. (A concerned lawyer would be very helpful)

  135. You really find the article A Cornish primary school could soon be almost completely powered by a single wind turbine to be an expression overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement?

    For a really ecstatic article, try ‘The Sunday Times':
    Stiff sea breeze blows away school’s electricity billOne of Britain’s most windswept schools has taken advantage of its position on an exposed Cornish headland to reduce its electricity bills by up to 90 per cent.

    Gorran School, near St Austell, has attracted £55,000 in grants to install a 50ft (15m) wind turbine in a corner of its playing field. When the wind blows the turbine produces 3.5kW of power, enough to meet nearly all the 100-pupil primary school’s energy needs and to help to heat its outdoor swimming pool to a bath-like temperature.

    When the school is closed at night, at weekends and during holidays, or if the turbine produces more power than it needs, the surplus electricity is sold to the national grid for 10p per unit.

    Gush, gush, gush, …

    And they are not really holding the bag for £53,000. They don’t have to pay the grants back. It’s we tax payers who should be suing those concerned for lack of due diligence in the selection of the wind turbine.

    Still the Gorran High Lanes scheme have learnt a lesson, they. “chose a Canadian system that’s been tried and tested across the world”. They now have “two amazing Canadian-built turbines that work beautifully”.

  136. Lex says:
    October 7, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I do work for a supplier to the windmill industry…..

    They, the windmill industry are now pushing the “smaller” prospects, who don’t have much (financial and technical) experience to purchase a windmill and at the other hand they’re squeezing suppliers and prices and hence quality.
    Well, the company I am working is reacting: what you want is what you get
    ______________________________________________________________________
    Gee, just what we wanted to hear after reading what Scottish Sceptic says. The quality is going to get even worse….

  137. Ralph says:
    October 7, 2011 at 11:46 am

    >>Septic
    >>The city government of Austin TX gets all of its power from a wind farm.
    >>There is nothing “Luddite” like in a modern wind turbine.

    And what do they do when there is too little or too much wind – close down the entire government??

    Don’t try to fool us that they are running on wind power, we are not naive wet-behind-the-ears Greenies here, you know.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Actually it is more a special case, Ralph and a bit of “Accounting”

    The city is purchasing energy Austin Energy. Austin Energy purchases SOME of its energy from a wind farm which supplies 30% of the energy of the the whole city. http://www.austinenergy.com/About%20Us/Newsroom/Press%20Releases/2011/largestLocalGvtGreenPower.html

    Also Texas is big flat and windy with no snow and therefore a very good place for solar or wind farms. My neck of the woods, Mid North Carolina is NFG for wind power. Too many people and not enough wind. See map: http://www.usasolarwind.com/USA%20Wind%20Maps/

  138. Klem says

    Its too bad this has happened to a school who built this thing with good intensions. Its a shame.

    H’mmm. I have to disagree. The school did not build it. The UK taxpayer did. All of the finance came from taxpayer grants along the way. The school’s only role was to decide on which hare-brained ecoscheme the money should be wasted forever.

    So as a UK taxpayer I am furious that our cash has been lost. This is compounded by the hapless schmucks now suggesting that they should replace the broken windmill with solar panels…no doubt wanting another £50K of public money to do so. And I guess they’ll discover the hard way that solar doesn’t work at night, that it’s often cloudy in Cornwall and that it’ll probably fill through the roof on a governor’s meeting, flattening all concerned. Good!

  139. Gail Combs says:
    October 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm
    Dave Springer says:
    October 7, 2011 at 4:29 am
    ============================================
    Gail,
    We will shut down all the mines, smelters and refineries (and especially the hot furnaces that make ceramic moulds) and just use wind turbines (we’ll take them from the wind turbine tree).
    Singing kumbaya my lord…
    If we can find enough people to spend £55,000 for 3.5 kW of power than we’ll be rolling in dough. The taxpayer at work making you money.

  140. More on pounds per kilowatt:
    £55,000 to purchase 3.5 kW of peak power
    £55,000 is $122,000 US dollars.
    3.5 kW generator burns 0.75 gal/hr.
    1 gallon costs $4.00
    assume 8 hrs per day (of 3.5 kW use – note the 3.5 kW is peak supply so we assume 33% duty cycle)
    assume 365 days per year
    0.75 x 4 x 8 x 365 = $8,760 per year of fuel
    add $250 in maintenance
    buy a brand new unit each year for $1,750
    $1,750+$250+$8,760=$10,760 total cost
    $122,000/$10,760 = 11.3 years to break even (assuming wind turbine never needs servicing or replacing)
    Unknowns:
    1. What is the service cost of the wind turbine?
    2. What is the replacement cost of the wind turbine?
    3. How long will the wind turbine last (10, 15, 20 years)?

  141. Steve from Rockwool says

    1 gallon costs $4.00

    and “

    £55,000 = 122,000 US

    If only! Please rework with the more realistic $9.00 per gallon which is the prevailing UK price and at the exchange rate of £1 = $1.55 US

    and also compare with just buying the juice off the National Grid at about 14p per KWh.

  142. 55,000 pounds buys a LOT of electricity readily available 24/7/365 through an electron hose already attached to their school.

  143. A reasonable interpretation of the article is that the school did not pay 50000 pounds of it’s own money. It was given the money in the form of grants.

    It seems most likely that the public purse and not the school is down 50000 pounds,

  144. Industrial (red) diesel in the UK costs around £3 per Imperial Gallon or $3.70 per US Gallon.

    Unfortunately you need to more than double that for road use.

  145. “…Mueller acknowledged the turbine hasn’t cranked out a huge amount of electricity, averaging around 60 cents’ worth of power daily.

    But the lessons learned by the students are worth far more than 60 cents, Mueller said. The project familiarizes students with wind energy and other forms of “green” power, Mueller said.”

    Let’s give the kids some credit. They are learning. If they are anything like we were in school, they can do the math, and they surely realize that the turbine is nothing more than a stunt by overzealous “educators”. These students are getting a social studies lesson.

  146. Apologies, forgot to factor in US still using wet ounces.

    Industrial (red) diesel in the UK costs around £3 per Imperial Gallon or $3.87 per US Gallon.

  147. 1st: Aren’t there several tried & tested types of windmills on the marked where to choose the best offer from? (And by “best offer” I don’t mean the cheapest junk money can buy, but the best quality for a given sum of money!)

    2nd. Haven’t they bought an insurance against failure?

    The people responsible for this chaos on the sides of the school and administration ought to be fired due to proven lack of competence beyond doubt!

  148. Figured this article was the place for this bit of news. might even deserve its own header.
    (Reuters) – An Obama administration appointee at the Energy Department pressed White House analysts to sign off on a $535 million loan to Solyndra even though his wife worked for the failed solar panel maker’s law firm.

    heated political battle over government backing for Solyndra, which has filed for bankruptcy and has been raided by the FBI.

    But this might be so sensitive, carrying it might have repercussions.

  149. Is the party responsible for the order-of-magnitude spending increase named Chu, perhaps? I think one’s gone missing over here, though rumor has it that he’s just under a bus somewhere.

  150. If you think this is bad, last week my son’s school showed The Day After Tomorrow in his Ethics class….

  151. For this interested, £55K buys enough juice from the grid to provide 3.5KW continuously between now and about August 2024.

    Reliably – at the flick of a switch. 24x7xx365. Not too much sometimes and none at all at other times.

    Tried and tested technology, very low maintenance, and – if treated with respect – unlikely to injure any children or adults.

    Certainly no chance of a catastrophic parts failure causing the school to be showered with high-speed kiddiwink destroyers. No special insurance required.

  152. TimTheToolMan says:

    £53,000 worth of PV solar panels on thr school’s roof would have been a better investment IMO. Wind is too high maintenance, too many moving parts to go wrong.

    Probably better to heat water. This gets around the issue of availability not matching demand.

  153. Mark writes “Probably better to heat water. This gets around the issue of availability not matching demand.”

    Yes although I would think hybrid systems ought to be doing better than they seem to be. Typically PV solar is only 10-15% efficient leaving 85-90% of the energy as heat which could be used to heat the water. Best of both worlds. Plus, I imagine, there ought to be additional efficiency benefits to cooling the panels.

  154. Waste not, want not. I say the school should start teaching metal shop classes and have the kids make useful projects out of the scrap from the turbine.

  155. KevinK says:
    October 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I agree that people ought to use a careful benefit/cost analyses–and don’t. The Trustees at the college didn’t when they were talked into putting up on at the satellite campus. Windmills are not a total waste. There are places where they are the economical choice for power. The trouble is, in most places they are not even close, and so the more of them we put up, the poorer we become.

  156. I have noticed some negative comments regarding solar panels on this site (not just in this thread). We live completely off the grid and our solar system furnishes pretty much all of our needs. It’s really is all about location, location, location. South Australia must be one of the better ppaces on earth to run a stand alone solar setup. I wouldn’t dream of trying it in England

  157. The first question that must be asked of wind power (or any other alternative energy) is: will it return more power than went into its fabrication? If the answer is no, then do not proceed.

    The sad fact about wind power is that it has an Energy Returned On Energy Invested ratio of no more than 0.29.

    Wind Power is unsustainable, yet politicians keep pooring the taxpayers’s money into this foolish scam.

  158. I was a child of the seventies. I was taught that wind and solar were going to save us because fossil fuels would be exausted by the year 2000…Now, we have discovery after discovery resulting in fossil fuel finds that can power our economies for hundreds of years…The politicians are the fools, charlatans and grifters who have wrought havoc on our way of life. They keep fighting the free market and they lose every time, with our money!

  159. The western politician model for prosperity:
    1. Destroy traditional energy and replace it with green energy costing multitudes more than fossil fuels.
    2. ???
    3. Prosperity

    The chinese model:
    1. Build a coal fired electric generating plant every week.
    2. Build nuclear plants as fast as possible.
    3. Use profits from selling cheap goods to westerners to purchase rights to world energy resources.
    4. Remain the world’s manufacturer with cheap energy.
    5. Prosperity

    You decide which model makes sense…

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