There’s a reason the modern age moved on from windmills

Volendam Windmill in Holland Township New Jersey - Image: James@ somethingsighted.blogspot.com

In the UK, the CIVITAS group has just released an economic analysis of wind power. The scathing report confirms what we have been reporting for years here on WUWT: wind power is expensive, inefficient, does little or nothing to offset CO2, and isn’t economically viable without taxpayer funded subsidies. Oh, and they kill birds and bats, plus blight the landscape too.

They report:

[Wind-power] is expensive and yet it is not effective in cutting CO2 emissions. If it were not for the renewables targets set by the Renewables Directive, wind-power would not even be entertained as a cost-effective way of generating electricity or cutting emissions. The renewables targets should be renegotiated with the EU. [p. 30]

Energy experts warn that unwarranted support for wind-power is hindering genuinely cleaner energy 

The focus on wind-power, driven by the renewables targets, is preventing Britain from effectively reducing CO2 emissions, while crippling energy users with additional costs, according to a new Civitas report. The report finds that wind-power is unreliable and requires back-up power stations to be available in order to maintain a consistent electricity supply to households and businesses. This means that energy users pay twice: once for the window-dressing of renewables, and again for the fossil fuels that the energy sector continues to rely on. Contrary to the implied message of the Government’s approach, the analysis shows that wind-power is not a low-cost way of reducing emissions.

Electricity Costs: the folly of wind-power, by economist Ruth Lea, uses Government-commissioned estimates of the costs of electricity generation in the UK to calculate the most cost-effective technologies. When all costs are included, gas-fired power is the most cost-efficient method of generating electricity in the short-term, while nuclear power stations become the most cost-efficient in the medium-term.

Besides the prohibitive costs, the report shows that wind-power, backed by conventional gas-fired generation, can emit more CO2 than the most efficient gas turbines running alone:

In a comprehensive quantitative analysis of CO2 emissions and wind-power, Dutch physicist C. le Pair has recently shown that deploying wind turbines on “normal windy days” in the Netherlands actually increased fuel (gas) consumption, rather than saving it, when compared to electricity generation with modern high-efficiency gas turbines. Ironically and paradoxically the use of wind farms therefore actually increased CO2 emissions, compared with using efficient gas-fired combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) at full power. [p. 30]

This means that the cost of having wind is not just carried by consumers but by the environment as well.

The report concludes:

[Wind-power] is expensive and yet it is not effective in cutting CO2 emissions. If it were not for the renewables targets set by the Renewables Directive, wind-power would not even be entertained as a cost-effective way of generating electricity or cutting emissions. The renewables targets should be renegotiated with the EU. [p. 30]

More here (and the report itself):

http://www.civitas.org.uk/press/prleaelectricityprices.htm

h/t to Brian H.

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254 thoughts on “There’s a reason the modern age moved on from windmills

  1. Ah but if we don’t believ in how effective wind power is, we are all cranks, according to RenewableUK (BWEA), the trade body which profits from the huge wind subsidies. According to Dr Edge, Director of Policy at RenewableUK:

    “It is surprising that a think tank such as Civitas has published a report based on the work of anti-wind cranks, repeating the same discredited assertions. The UK’s energy policy over the next ten years will play a critical part in our economic success – offshore wind in particular has the potential to revitalise our manufacturing sector, with the promise of over 70,000 jobs. This report, based on outdated and inaccurate information, does nothing to advance the debate.” Dr Edge concluded.

    We’re cranks to think that wind power is intermittent, doesn’t reduce CO2 emissions, doesn’t ruin the countryside and needs huge subsidies to make it viable.

  2. There are some problems with the assumptions used in the study. The results over-estimate the inefficiencies. There are, without question, significant inefficiencies, but the study has been seriously criticized for the assumptions and this takes away from the utility of the study.

  3. To understand our efforts to combat AGW, just look up China’s “Great Leap Forward.”

    GPlant

  4. Be thankful we were ever prosperous enough to contemplate windpower. It’s not going to last. I shall be very pleased if we’re still having this squabble come April/May.

  5. This is when the word “folly” is used not just as a synonym… And once the madness is over, the taxpayer will still have to pay the decommissioning costs…
    Chris Huhne wants to build 32,000 of windmills here in the UK – the nation will face ruin if he succeeds.

  6. Good luck changing the whole windfarm ethos in UK, when all the main parties suport it, and so does the media. Even evil right-winger Murdoch supports Cameron and will never go against the Prime Minister in his propaganda media.

    There’s too much money involved, and I doubt this whole expensive fad will ever go away.

  7. A man from the British Wind Energy association stated that this report was obviously written by a stupid skeptic in the pay of the fossil fuel companies and that his association’s data were the only true facts about wind power.

    The irony of his statement was lost on him.

  8. Next, they have to determine that solar is not a viable replacement at all. Thus, they will nt run off in a useless direction again.

    And, finally, they need to learn a little science and discover that CO2 is NOT warming the climate, but is actually feeding the people, greening the planet, and fertilizing the oceans.

    There is no downside to CO2. We need more, lots more!

    “And once the madness is over, the taxpayer will still have to pay the decommissioning costs…”

    Aw, let the windmill owners deal with that part. After all, they reaped huge subsidies from the people, they should give some back.

  9. “offshore wind in particular has the potential to revitalise our manufacturing sector, with the promise of over 70,000 jobs.”

    Most of these jobs will be maintenance for the wind towers and the ridiculous related infrastructure and distribution network and back up power and lobbyists. These are not real jobs as they create no wealth of any kind.

    The “Green Jobs Revolution” is all about creating busy work with no product; a society of janitors and repairmen.

  10. Wind, geothermal, and solar power generation are most effective on-site and at a small scale. It works quite well if your goal is to stay off the power grid or are in a location where electrical power is not available (and there are several areas in NE Oregon where this is the case). On a larger scale, the inefficiencies multiply and the environmental footprint enlarges, overwhelming advantages. That this escapes environmentalists and green power advocates speaks to their rose colored glasses. That it became a part of large power generating company speaks to their willingness to swallow knowledge in order to gain subsidies. Money trumps truth and belief trumps facts.

  11. D. W. Schnare says:
    January 10, 2012 at 6:03 am
    “There are some problems with the assumptions used in the study. The results over-estimate the inefficiencies.”

    Who says this? What are the real inefficiencies? According to whom? Links? Sources?

  12. It’s interesting that proponents of CAGW are quick to throw pull out the precautionary principle, but those sharing their beliefs are not willing to do so when it comes to issues like wind and solar energy.

  13. higley7 says:
    January 10, 2012 at 6:15 am

    “And once the madness is over, the taxpayer will still have to pay the decommissioning costs…”

    Aw, let the windmill owners deal with that part. After all, they reaped huge subsidies from the people, they should give some back.

    Unfortunately, when their windfarms go bust, they too are gone with the wind. There’s not there there to “deal with” anything.

  14. @Pamela Gray:
    Wind, geothermal, and solar power generation are most effective on-site and at a small scale. It works quite well if your goal is to stay off the power grid or are in a location where electrical power is not available (and there are several areas in NE Oregon where this is the case).

    You succinctly state what I think of wind power generation.

  15. We will hear, once this report is accepted, that skeptics had nothing to do with this realization. But at the same time, we will be told that the problem is actually the fault of skeptics.

  16. Unfortunately they way the UK power industry is structured and the way the renewables obligation works, means that Electricity companies benefit from renewable subsidies so they are happy to build wind farms and pass the excessive costs to customers. Worse still, the additional power network infrastructure requirements to support wind farms are part of the industry’s regulated income. They are therefore allowed to make a virtually guaranteed rate of return on these assets. What this means is that the electricity generation and distribution industry supports something that most electrical engineers recognise as fundamentally flawed.

  17. There is a reason why T Boone Pickens, who controls lots of Natural Gas, is a big supporter of Wind. They are co-dependent on each other.

    At its root, wind is both a maintenance headache – lots of and lots of big structures that must be maintained – and has a very low ROI – unless the wind blows ALL THE TIME.

  18. Eventually a report like this might spark the media blitz that will make windfarms an election loser rather than a winner. Nothing quite like trying for re-election in a marginal with an albatross hanging round your neck to show you the error of your ways. Probably not this time if the Mail is the only taker, but one day, maybe…

  19. The Superfund cleanup program will be the final chapter of wind and solar panel farms. And yes, it will come out of our pockets. The government has become the biggest credit card carrying 16 year old I have ever seen.

  20. 1) In Holland the windmills have been employed to pump water out to sea to keep flooding from happening. It does not matter if this stops for hours or even days.
    2) In India (and other places) where power is intermittant, apartment blocks and businesses set up their own diesel generators–not exactly the cleanest unintended consequence of intermittancy.

  21. Pamela Gray says:
    January 10, 2012 at 6:25 am

    You are spot on Pamela. I have no problem with wind, solar and geothermal used locally and for specific sites where they make economic sense. For large scale use, they are not economically viable without huge subsidies.

  22. Wind energy is no energy at all.

    What we need is base load energy capacity.

    The big lie is in the fact that people are told wind is a replacement for coal, gas, nuclear and hydro. Unfortunately it’s far from that.

    And there are those unpleasant side effects.
    A California wind farm jest celebrated the killing 3000 Stone Eagles.

    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fclimategate.nl%2F2012%2F01%2F06%2Fdrieduizend-steenarenden-gedood-door-een-californische-windfarm%2F

    and

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394945/The-green-killer-Scores-protected-golden-eagles-dying-colliding-wind-turbines.html

    Today bird kills have become part of the permit

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2017179273_apuswindfarmeagles.html

    Environmentalists must be proud of their achievement.
    What a useless bunch of clowns.

  23. Anyone using a hand-held calculator and in possession of a rudimentary understanding of “capacity factor” and the effects of “energy density” on “capital costs” could have reached conclusions similar to those in the subject report years ago. Further, it can be easily demonstrated that there is no conceivable solution to either the “capacity factor” or “energy density” problems for both solar and wind generation. That brings into focus the following disturbing questions:

    “Have the government institutions of the advanced nations of the world no concern for the economic survival of their citizenry?”

    “Is it possible that entire civilizations are periodically destroyed by bizarre fads and fashions?”

    “Has a cat got a tail?”

  24. I see Nick Molho, WWF’s head of energy policy, is already trying to trash the report. Well, he would, wouldn’t he?

    Then there is Tim Edwards, editor of ‘The Week’ (who always loves a story that promotes the AGW meme) who has written an article entitled ‘Top scientist savages think tank’s wind power hatchet job’. The ‘top scientist’ is Dr Robert Gross, Director of the Centre for Energy Policy and Technology at Imperial College in London (ICEPT) and Senior Lecturer in Energy and Environmental Policy at Imperial, who also runs the Technology and Policy Assessment theme of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC). Gross says that the report “ignores the findings of a large body of credible, peer reviewed and professional analyses and selects extreme estimates which have not been peer reviewed, do not emerge from credible engineering/economic simulations or models and are widely out of step with the scientific consensus.”

    Pot calling kettle black: Gross was a contributor to the Stern Review, which is economically bogus and not credible, and this makes his criticism of this latest report as using ‘extreme estimates which…do not emerge from credible engineering/economic simulations or models’ sound extremely hollow and hypocritical.

    Ah, but then he can play his trump card by calling upon the tyranny of the ‘scientific consensus’, and his self-promoted ‘large body of credible’ findings.

    When we look at Robert Gross we find that he is no disinterested commentator. He is Chair of a Technical Advisory Group of the Carbon Trust, which has as its objective ‘commercialising low carbon technologies’. UKERC itself, set up at the initiation of Sir David King, has a vested interest in promoting the sillier means of power generation, so that it can get the generous research handouts associated therewith. ICEPT, by its own admission, is in collaboration with the Grantham Institute, and is heavily biased towards attracting funding for non-carbon or low-carbon generation.

    Any institution can freely decide what it wants to research, of course, but people associated with such institutions may not be properly objective. The old carnard about oil shills, that taking funds from oil companies generated reports and findings that favoured fossil fuels, should come crashing down on the heads of the likes of those academics who are looking for the state-funded and other well supplied feeding troughs to stick their snouts in.

    Gross lists his research interests as energy policy and climate change; the economics of low carbon energy technologies; the integration of renewable energy; the evolution of energy infrastructure towards low carbon technologies; and emerging technologies, particularly low carbon and greenhouse gas mitigation. Although some researchers have to work in these fields, just looking at the descriptions reveals that he has swallowed the ‘anthropogenic climate change’ meme.

    It is very difficult for someone trying to attract funding for study of rubbishy power generation not to overstate the benefits of the rubbish – they have to give some expectation that the research will be profitable. Case studies demonstrate that academics deliberately talk up their unpromising research fields and talk down much more promising research fields (effectively defunding them) in order to get their hands on available funding. They are often hugely partisan and mean spirited. By this often self-serving method academics hinder progress and, wasting taxpayers’ money, impede economic development, negatively impacting us all.

  25. It’s probably worth mentioning that wind power is not cost-effective TODAY, relative to conventional non-renewable power sources (gas, coal, nuclear, etc.).

    Since non-renewable fuels are, by definition, finite in quantity, as they are gradually depleted they will become increasingly scare (and more expensive to extract), and their prices will almost certainly rise in the long-run under almost any demand scenario.

    If fuel prices increase materially, then wind power MAY become cost-effective at some point in the future. Even this is not certain, as rising energy prices will inevitably increase the cost of building and maintaining windmills, diminishing any relative gains in cost-effectiveness.

    The hope that wind power MAY become cost-effective in the future is inadequate justification for public funding and subsidies. (That said, private investors are entirely welcome to do whatever they want with their money, but without the benefit of taxpayer subsidies, guarantees, or bailouts.)

  26. Pamela Gray wrote: “Money trumps truth and belief trumps facts.”

    While I’m convinced that money does indeed trump truth, at least for long periods of time, as we see in the global warming scam and the difficulty dealing with its adherents, when it comes to the latter comment that “belief trumps facts,” a study (that, unfortunately, I can’t cite) was done that, I believe, gives reason for optimism in that regard.

    People who with long-held beliefs in terms of what policy worked, or what condition prevailed, actually were shown to rather quickly revise their beliefs when presented with the evidence, i.e., the clear facts that the situation was different than they imagined (believed.) I found this encouraging.

    As clear facts become available to the public, public perception can change quickly. But, money trumps truth (those 70,000 jobs are money in someone’s pocket), so it can take a long time for the facts to become both available and acknowledged.

    Climategate was an example of a sudden introduction of previously hidden facts, for example, that quickly brought the global warming scam to heel. It’s adherents toil on, since money does indeed trump truth, but the public belief in the worth of their efforts plummeted rapidly in the face of the fact of their duplicity.

    WUWT does a tremendous service by dealing primarily in facts, the money be damned.

  27. Postdated Memo to Chris Huhne, UK Energy Minister and wind enthusiast:

    I met a traveler from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

  28. Something I’ve noticed as the wind capacity has gone up now to 4,006Mw is that the Open Cycle Gas Turbines, which have always been there to combat the vagaries of wind power, are now actually being used

    DaveE.

  29. “There are some problems with the assumptions used in the study. The results over-estimate the inefficiencies.”

    The left loves to scold the rest of us about “sustainability”, yet not a single one of their schemes is ever economically sustainable. But worse than that, because many of their scheme cannot pass the smell test, they must be forced on the rest of us using armed agents of government. So, we are not free to decline using technology that sucks our limited economic resources dry in a way that precludes us from investing in proven technology that is far more cost effective.

    But polite people know to not mention that when we allow government to dictate that we also imply the use of coercion and deadly force. We can only say that experts have decided, or the panel has ruled, or the law is such and such. We have ruled, legislated and regulated ourselves into a corner- we have consumed, dissipated and used up our limited economic resources in a way that wastes them far faster than we can create new resources. The result is that we not only will not have enough power for our industry and our homes, but we will be left struggling to pay the interest on the debt left by this foolish adventure into Statism.

  30. It makes no sense to me that they compare wind coupled with old-fashioned gas generation against the latest gas-turbine generation to measure CO2. Was there a reason for that? To me, it would make more sense to compare wind-with-gas-turbine against gas-turbine alone.

    Ha! I love Roy’s comment that we have been blessed to be in a position where we can worry about solar and wind and global warming and so forth. In the “real world” we’d be worrying only about where the next meal comes from.

  31. Wind power has always been my big pet peeve.
    Windpower was originally intended to be backup power, not primary power. It’s great if all you are trying to do is charge up banks of batteries for use during peak hours, or if it’s being used as a single generator to help a single house stay off the grid.
    All wind turbines have flaws, and all have some advantage, as well; see this link for the 3 main types: http://me1065.wikidot.com/types-of-wind-turbines-and-associated-advantages

  32. Why are engineers trumped by green activists? I’m not a power supply engineer, but even I can calculate the madness. 15% of rated output, shutdowns when the wind blows too strong or idles, the size of the subsidies tell us what is required to make an investor get involved – and yet we rely on green accountants to tell us that nuclear is uneconomic using 1960s data. Give the market 1/4 of the wind and solar subsidies and it will be happy to supply nuclear power – the anti-nuclear cranks have scunnerd 40 years of tech development on nuclear or it wouldn’t need any subsidy.

  33. Well, wind power advocacy was never about green energy, but rather about making certain people with government connections a lot of money.

    BTW, let me know when the wind power advocates go off the grid with their own private wind turbines…[LOL]

  34. Those windmills in Holland actually were used to pump water, keep the land from flooding, drain swamps, grind grains, make gin, etc. They were quite useful and pretty.

    But windmills which add 170pounds per year to the avg household expense, just to meet arbitrary Renewables Obligations, isn’t so pretty.**

    The English certainly won’t be planning on being appreciated or thanked by anyone for driving up their living costs, destroying domestic production, or driving down average household income, based on their experiences in the EU, either.

    http://ukip.org/content/latest-news/2566-britains-great-escape-on-the-cards

    **source: “Current renewable electricity policies intended to meet the EU Renewables Directive in 2020, will impose extra consumer costs of approximately £15bn per annum, which is roughly equivalent to 1% of current GDP. This annual total is comprised of approximately £8bn in subsidy, £5bn in grid integration, and a further £2bn in VAT charged on these extra costs. http://www.ref.org.uk/press-releases/243-climate-change-policies-put-fuel-poor-in-jeopardy

  35. Energy experts warn that unwarranted support for wind-power is hindering genuinely cleaner energy

    This quote illustrates a great lesson — when government picks winners and losers, better solutions are overlooked, often deliberately.

  36. By all means, let us end all subsidies for wind power.

    However, let’s make an exception for the wind farm planned offshore for Cape Cod, just so the environmentalists who live in that liberal precinct get the benefits of dead birds and unreliable power.

  37. D. W. Schnare says:
    January 10, 2012 at 6:03 am

    There are some problems with the assumptions used in the study. The results over-estimate the inefficiencies.

    Not when you look at how capital is invested or how gas turbines work.

    A high efficiency combine cycle gas turbine running in baseload mode can get as high as 60% efficiency, drop that down to load following peaker duty and you are down to something in the neighborhood of 45%.

    But if you are only doing peaker duty then is probably isn’t economic anymore to install a combined cycle gas turbine, so you install a simple single cycle peaker turbine instead. So now your efficiency is in the high 30% range.

    To make an analogy
    If I take the bus to work twice a week and my car three times a week my incentive to invest in the most fuel efficient car is 40% less then the incentive of someone who is taking their car 5 days a week. So the fact that the bus runs twice a week doesn’t save 40% of the fuel, because I have less incentive to purchase the most efficient vehicle.

    That’s ‘market forces’ in the real world works.

  38. Becalmed at sea is a very old term. I have spent the past 30 years dismantling wind mills used to pump water for cattle and replacing them with diesel fired gen-sets powering submersible pumps.

    Even in remote areas where water (in this case) is crutial on a daily basis wind fails to compare with the dependabliity of carbon based energy.

  39. Its like deja vu all over again.

    Wind power feel out of favour when the steam engine came along for very good reasons.

    And renaming windmills to ‘wind turbines’ in the hope of fooling us that something has changed is stupid. Nothing about the fundamental problems of wind power has changed one iota. No matter how many prayers to Gaia the greenies offer up. Nor how much of our money they are prepared to sacrifice.

  40. My grandad and his boys, the oldest of which is now almost 100 years old, installed thousands of windmills in the prairie. Rural electric removed the demand for windmills at farms. My relatives also were avid travelers by rail. None want to return to rail travel. The list of disadvantages for wind power are hard to deal with. For ideologists, anything makes sense. The windmill was 40 dollars and installation was 25 dollars. No subsidies.

  41. Ethanol is a crime against humanity,worse than DDT suppression. Cheap food has disappeared and world order is at stake.

  42. The problem with wind power is that it isn’t available when you need it most.

    When it is 110 in the shade there is never a wind. So we would have to build enough redundant power generation capacity to carry this peak load.

    Does that make any sense ?

  43. Shhh, don’t tell the loons in Indiana and East Misery (Missouri for those who wouldn’t have caught that.) We’ve got them convinced they want to buy all of the energy coming from our whirly gigs and pinwheels out here in Kansas. They’re going build us a HVDC transmission line! http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/kansas-to-export-wind-fantasy/

    I think if we keep a lid on all of this, we can still scam people for a few $ billion here and there!

  44. Energy experts warn that unwarranted support for wind-power is hindering genuinely cleaner energy

    ^^^ That is a headline I would expect from a centrally-planned communist nation during the cold war. Isn’t it amazing just how far the world has devolved back into de-facto central-planned socialism without so much as a blink? Suddenly everyone just accepts our leaders telling us how to get our energy and our goods, and we just whine more when there’s problems.

  45. Love the picture! The new ones are high maintenance and throw blades just like the old ones.

    You’d think we’d have figured out a way around that by now.

  46. “It is surprising that a think tank such as Civitas has published a report based on the work of anti-wind cranks, repeating the same discredited assertions. The UK’s energy policy over the next ten years will play a critical part in our economic success – offshore wind in particular has the potential to revitalise our manufacturing sector, with the promise of over 70,000 jobs. This report, based on outdated and inaccurate information, does nothing to advance the debate.” Dr Edge concluded.

    Would he kindly link to those “discredited assertions”, no I thought not, because if he was right he’d do it immediately! Just claim after claim. Yes indeed they will “play a critical part over the next 10 years”, but in our success? I think not! 70,000 manufacturing jobs? in the UK, when all the technology is based abroad in mainland Europe. Sure I know of companies designing the reinforced concrete bases (there’s a carbon footprint & a half) for these, & yes they’ll need people to build them, but 70,000 sounds a tad too high, & the turbines will have to be built abroad! Big Guvment presided over the closure of the only UK based wind turbine manufacturer on the Isle of Wight! AND he talks about debate, when he could have silence the Civitas report with several actual links & references to prove his point!

  47. My problems with wind power is that it is a fragile source of power and aren’t particularly environmentally friendly. Turbine generally don’t last 5 years before they experience a gear box failure, lightning strike, or other failure. A major storm can take out a regions entire wind generation capacity. This subject was the topic of conversation on another blog yesterday and it was pointed out that lightning is such a major issue that it causes many insurance companies to pull out of insuring the turbines in Germany:

    http://www.nachi.org/wind-turbines-lightning.htm

    According to a German study, lightning strikes accounted for 80% of wind turbine insurance claims.
    During its first full year of operation, 85% of the down time experienced by one southwestern commercial wind farm was lightning-related. Total lightning-related damage exceeded $250,000.
    The German electric power company Energieerzeugungswerke Helgoland GmbH shut down and dismantled their Helgoland Island wind power plant after being denied insurance against further lightning losses. They had been in operation three years and suffered more than $540,000 (USD) in lightning-related damage.

  48. Tad says:
    January 10, 2012 at 7:38 am
    “It makes no sense to me that they compare wind coupled with old-fashioned gas generation against the latest gas-turbine generation to measure CO2. Was there a reason for that? To me, it would make more sense to compare wind-with-gas-turbine against gas-turbine alone.”

    The “latest” (combined-cycle) gas turbines, which are highly efficient (up to 60% these days) cannot easily be ramped up and down as other supplies vary. They are suited to base-load supply, but not peaking supply. The “old-fashioned” single-cycle gas turbines are much easier to vary, but have a much lower efficiency — around 40% now when really generating. To be ready for a really quick response, though, they must be idling like a car engine at rest, with very low efficiency during that time, bringing down the overall efficiency of the system. This is why the report’s comparison is valid.

    I like to point out to windpower enthusiasts that many utilities do not consider wind-produced electricity as any kind of supply, base-load or peaking, due to its high unpredictability. Instead, they consider it a “negative variable load”, just as air conditioning is the classic (positive) variable load.

  49. “and yet it is not effective in cutting CO2 emissions”

    Why haven’t we been able to put to rest the useless notion that a minuscule rise in CO2 is bad???
    We must stop making irrational and important decisions based on CO2 !!!!

  50. Matthew W says:
    January 10, 2012 at 8:52 am

    “and yet it is not effective in cutting CO2 emissions”

    Why haven’t we been able to put to rest the useless notion that a minuscule rise in CO2 is bad???
    We must stop making irrational and important decisions based on CO2 !!!!
    ============================================================
    Matthew, I don’t think that’s what they were trying to convey. I think they were merely addressing the original impetus for the reliance on wind generation. Perhaps it should have included a caveat, something along the lines, ‘even if you believed the nonsense about CO2,’ the whirlygigs don’t decrease CO2 emissions. Or something similar.

  51. higley7 says: The “Green Jobs Revolution” is all about creating busy work with no product; a society of janitors and repairmen.

    While I agree with your sentiment in general your example of janitors and repairmen totally fails to illustrate it. The better example would be “a society of insurance salesmen and hedge fund managers”. Those are truly the types who truly produce absolutely nothing at all. Repairmen are simply second tier manufacturers whether it’s a new roof for your house or solenoid on your washing machine. There’s not much difference between producing something new or restoring something that already exists – both have more value than what you started with.

    Less so with janitors but their service is far more essential than insurance. If there were no janitors then ~somebody~ else would have to do the work or we’d all eventually end up in a big pile of ****. If there was no such thing as insurance – life would would go on for most and they might be a little more careful about it as well. Insurance took the place of charity but charity always did a better job at helping those who really need it.

  52. D. W. Schnare says:
    January 10, 2012 at 6:03 am

    There are some problems with the assumptions used in the study. The results over-estimate the inefficiencies. There are, without question, significant inefficiencies, but the study has been seriously criticized for the assumptions and this takes away from the utility of the study.

    Citation? Source? Link?

    I cannot judge the veracity of your statements as you provide no sources to back them up. If there are problems with the report that are “without question,” citations should be easy to provide.

  53. The simple answer to the pro-wind campaigners is — if the report is wrong, then do it without the subsidies and prove it incorrect. Adam Smith’s Hand is stern taskmaster.

  54. Wind power has some small uses – the problem is really government interference. Non government wind power was low-tech and worked on pumping water where variability in wind strength wasn’t a problem. Once government added monetary incentives to promote “wind-power” then “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” take over and wind-power’s failures and limitations become more and more obvious.

    Where I grew up there had in previous centuries been dozens of factories running on water power. The water continues to flow yet there is now ZERO usage of it as an energy source, absolutely no power is being taken from a river that runs fairly consistently all year round. For negligible environmental “damage” many small manufacturing businesses could be run on the old factory sites, using updated technology akin to the old factories. It would difficult to find a more easily obtainable “green” tech – yet its not even being considered! Instead, in accord with true bureaucratic genius, the countryside has sprouted lots of grant aided bird choppers.

  55. Since wind energy is solely based on formula that includes a varible “v” that can be zero, how can anyone over estimate inefficiency. What percent of time is v=0? Actually there is a minimum that velocity must be attained before output is larger than requirement to run internal electronics of the wind mill itself, etc.

  56. If wind turbines are so wonderful (as per the BWEA), why can’t or don’t they support themselves. Why don’t they do ‘useful work’, as intimated by Pamela Gray above in the comment about ‘on site’.
    Somewhere, a wee while ago, I read that 30% of all UK electricity goes into crushing rocks or compressing gas(es). So why aren’t the wind turbines put at roadstone/building stone/cement works to crush these rocks. They could work when the wind blows and hopefully be suitably sized to cover demand for crushed rock when the wind doesn’t blow. The pile of roadstone/aggregate/cement would be effectively your method of storing energy. Nopt very romantic or newsworthy but very practical/useful/sensible.
    Likewise with compressed gas, presumably liquid nitrogen, oxygen argon etc for medicine/industry and agriculture. Get the turbines to make plenty for when the wind doesn’t blow – liquid nitrogen only ‘goes off’ very slowly and compressed bottles last forever. A major by-product air-distillation would be Dry Ice – give the stuff away to supermarkets and other big food stores to lighten the load on their refrigeration plant. Even give the stuff to shoppers – a home fridge need only be an insulated box that you feed with dry ice every week or so. No need for electrickery at all.
    Doing things like that would take a huge load off the grid and be an effective store for surplus energy when the wind is blowing strongly.
    I guess they don’t do things like that because they’ve no imagination, crushing rocks is not exciting enough or – It Doesn’t Pay
    Therein is the problem, Government interference. Why else does a 5kW wind turbine, delivered from China via Seattle cost about £5,000 and a similar turbine coming 100 miles from Glasgow cost £30,000? Ans: The latter is ‘approved’ for the Feed in Tariff scheme. That speaks volumes don’t it, but getting anyone on the ‘wind side’ to admit it is harder than getting blood from a stone.

  57. How ironic. A non-profit “think tank” decries wind power economics on the same week that arch-capitalist Warren Buffet lays down a huge business bet in the opposite direction:

    Warren Buffett increases wind energy bet
    Hanuary 6, 2012

    Warren Buffett’s energy company MidAmerican Energy Holdings will build 176 turbines in Iowa by the end of the year, an investment that will push its wind power capacity to 2,284 megawatts, the most of any investor-owned U.S. utility.

    Today’s announcement comes a year after MidAmerican Energy — a unit of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) — helped lift the wind industry out of stagnation with plans to build 258 turbines in Iowa, which would add 593.4 megawatts of capacity. Those wind-generation projects were completed at the end of 2011.

    Hmmm … working the numbers, it appears that Buffett’s Iowa wind turbines are sufficiently reliable and profitable, as to induce Buffett to triple his 2011 investment in Iowa wind power. WUWT, indeed?

    So, whom should WUWT readers heed? Ruth Lea’s skeptical “nay” or Warren Buffett’s nonskeptical “aye”?

  58. Funny note but my son had to do a renewable energy presentation in school. He wanted a subject that was different than all the other kids were doing so I told him to look up LFTR and gave him the Google Tech Talk video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZR0UKxNPh8&feature=player_embedded).

    When the presentation was done and the class was asking questions he was told that thorium wasn’t renewable and his comeback was “it is as renewable as the magnets in the wind turbines, the silicone in solar cells and the lithium in batteries”. He got an A :)

    As long as you need base load to cover for the intermittent nature of wind & solar you save nothing. If you can come up with a cheap, scalable, long term (days) method of storing the energy for them they may be workable in some cases.

  59. What a fallacy to imply that wind power would consume more fossil fuels than without it. And to say not to use it because it’s not always available. Next, you’ll say solar is no good because it doesn’t provide electricity at night. Appropriate use where wind, sun, and waterflow is local and plentiful will and should offset the use of dwindling oil supplies which need transportation.

  60. I live in west Texas and there are THOUSANDS of windmills out here. Unfortunately, at the present time, they are incapable of self support. Until they can be erected and integrated PROFITABLY (no gubbmint subsidy) into the existing grid, they are USELESS

  61. Pete in Cumbria UK: A major by-product air-distillation would be Dry Ice …. Even give the stuff to shoppers – a home fridge need only be an insulated box that you feed with dry ice every week or so. No need for electrickery at all.

    Great idea! Then I can start a business delivering it in a wagon pulled from my solar powered horsey! Think of all the new jobs that will create for hay, fly squatters and nose clips?

  62. A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 9:40 am

    “So, whom should WUWT readers heed? Ruth Lea’s skeptical “nay” or Warren Buffett’s nonskeptical “aye”?”

    Ahh yes, the corrupt Mr Buffet. The man who makes the brunt of his money off of capital gains rather than a salary, then complains that his income tax is lower than his secretary… who is salaried.

    Lying sack of [expletive deleted] comes to mind.

  63. I am a still-working hydro engineer with 45 year experience. Naturally, I despise the obsession with taxpayer/consumer subsidised power supply options. (Biofuels are another and more despicable matter).

    Nevertheless, what we need are facts and stats. E.g: for a few given systems with substantial wind/solar installations what are the following:
    – installed capacities (nameplate) – should be a bit more precise that the usual “enough to supply 560 billion homes)
    – what is this as % of system capacity
    – real costs (including transmission and distribution lines, substations, subsidies, etc)
    – energy generated in an average year in GWh and as % of system generation
    – actual capital and annual (maintenance) cost in $US/MWh:
    – availability
    – payments to not produce
    – bird kill figures
    – loss of tourism revenue
    – incremental cost of summlementary generation to meet peaks,
    – % of time when system is unable to meet peaks (brown-outs).

    Etc., etc.: – just saying its bad and too cheap is no argument. One can easily say same about nuclear.

  64. “Hmmm … working the numbers, it appears that Buffett’s Iowa wind turbines are sufficiently reliable and profitable, as to induce Buffett to triple his 2011 investment in Iowa wind power. WUWT, indeed? – A Physicist”

    There is no doubt that Buffet’s Iowa wind turbines are profitable FOR HIM. Our concerns should be with the rest of us. I live just across the border, in Southern Minnesota, a place ripe with the folly of wind turbines and our power bill would shock the average consumer – that is WITH all of Buffet’s generous subsidies.

    Face it, “sustainable energy” is not economically sustainable.

  65. Mike P, get a clue. If wind power was worth the money wasted on it, the free market would have already provided windmills. But as we all know, except in extremely unique situations, windmills cannot exist without taxpayer subsidies.

  66. Let us not forget that Holland’s windmills were employed in processes where intermittent power availability was ok. You pump water out of swamp land, or grind grain into flour. when the wind blows. If it doesn’t blow, you do something else that day. Wind is great when urgency is low.

    Moving a commercial ship with with wind (a windjammer) only works when the wind blows in the general direction of your travels. Wind doesn’t blow or blows in a headwind, you loose money.

    To generate electricity 24/7/365 at 60 Hz frequence locked to the grid is asking wind to do precisely what it is most ill suited.

    Wind could be used for pumped storage of hydropower, but the places where you have wind and sufficient reservoir capacity are few, and irronically, hydropower is not considered a renewable under Califormia Law.

  67. I’ve just done a calculation whose result is so amazing, that I challenge WUWT readers to repeat it for themselves (because I can scarcely believe it myself).

    Background: Our family’s Iowa farm is underlain by a coal seam, at shallow depth, that is one meter thick (yes really, and during the Depression our family mined that seam).

    Question: If we leased our farm to Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings how long would it take Buffett’s windmills to generate electrical energy equal to the all the electricity that could be generated by strip-mining the entire farm, and burning its coal?

    Hint: My answer is one of the following (but you should check it yourself!):
       (a) One year (meaning, coal mining is economically senseless)
       (b) Ten years (meaning, coal mining is economically senseless)
       (c) One hundred years (meaning, coal mining is economically senseless)
       (d) One thousand years (meaning, coal mining is debatable)

    All I can say is, the numbers from my personal calculation make Warren Buffett’s investment look like genius, and Ruth Lea’s analysis look moronic.

    WUWT indeed! Perhaps some wind-power engineer could weigh in with a comment? :)

  68. The 19th century economist Bastiat wrote about “That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen”. He used the example of a broken shop window. Passers-by see the destruction and conclude that it is not so bad because it creates work for the glazier who will repair it. But they are only looking at the immediate and visible effect of the breakage. They forget that the money that the shopkeeper must now spend with the glazier would still have been spent somewhere. The glazier’s gain is balanced by some other tradesman’s loss, but that loss is “Unseen” and therefore forgotten.

    In fact there is a net loss. If the window had not been broken the shopkeeper would have had a window plus whatever he might have brought with the money that must now be spent on repairs. After the repair is done he will only have a window.

    The “70,000 jobs” promised by Dr. Edge are “That Which Is Seen”. Like the work for the glazier, the new jobs are a visible benefit to a particular group of people. But somebody has to pay for all those extra workers so the price of electricity goes up. Consumers are forced to spend money on electricity that they had intended to use for something else. The turbine installer’s gain is balanced by someone else’s loss. But the gain is concentrated and visible. There are new workers and factories for politicians to be photographed with. The loss is dispersed among all the thousands of busineses that lose some of their trade so it remains “That Which Is Unseen”.

    There is also a net loss in this case. If wind power was not used the consumers would have electricity plus whatever they wanted to buy with their remaining money. If wind power is used they must give up some (or all) of those things in order to have the same amount of electricity. Wind power offers all the economic benefits of a broken window.

  69. Ray R. says:
    January 10, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I’ve seen a few windmills replaced with solar panels. I presume that the panel recharges some type of battery pack used to power the pump. Fortunately, it’s not too far off the highway and someone can get a generator to it to pump water if (when) it fails. Worth noting is that there are no electric power lines nearby. It is very rural!

  70. “A physicist” asks

    So, whom should WUWT readers heed? Ruth Lea’s skeptical “nay” or Warren Buffett’s nonskeptical “aye”?

    Answer: Ruth Lea is showing how wasteful and uneconomic it is for the country, the ordinary taxpayer – addressing public morality, in a sense. Buffet is looking at how lucrative it is for him and his shareholders personally.

    Buffet is doing it because he can cash in on huge amounts of taxpayer grants and benefits. Without that he would not touch it. Four years ago it was reported

    “Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy should be able to deduct from taxable income its entire $386 million capital investment in its 360 megawatt (MW) “wind farm” in Iowa during the period from 2004-2010. Assuming marginal tax rates of 35% for federal and 12% for Iowa corporate income tax, the depreciation deductions would reduce tax liability by $181 million during the period from 2004-2010. That is in addition to the roughly $300 million in tax benefits over 20 years from the project due to the federal Production Tax Credit, ($175 to $195 million) and forgiveness of Iowa property tax ($130 million)”

    The Production Tax Credit, the Federal subsidy, has steadily increased to 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour. Not to mention the guaranteed markets and guaranteed higher prices mandated by law for selling all those electricity units. And the rest.

    Buffet is not looking at the economic cost for the country, he is looking for the bucks he can make at the expense of the country. Sure, it’s a LEGAL scam, reaming the backside out of the American people.

  71. “Question: If we leased our farm to Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings how long would it take Buffett’s windmills to generate electrical energy equal to the all the electricity that could be generated by strip-mining the entire farm, and burning its coal? – A Physicist”

    Why would anyone in their right mind want to do that?

    Why would anyone in their right mind want to pollute Iowa’s night-sky with red blinky lights from windmills when they can have cheaper, cleaner power burning natural gas from North Dakota?

    To keep electricity flowing when those crucifixes to eco-religion stop spinning, we have to build natural gas power plants like the one in Faribault MN. Why not just keep it running full time? It is cheaper, cleaner and does not pollute the night sky.

  72. @a physicist:
    “Hmmm … working the numbers, it appears that Buffett’s Iowa wind turbines are sufficiently reliable and profitable, as to induce Buffett to triple his 2011 investment in Iowa wind power. WUWT, indeed?”
    this is another fine example of pretzel.logic.
    sufficiently reliable waste of money is what you left off in your speciousness.
    you are abusing language when you give loot or plunder the name ‘profit’,
    did warren buffet tell you why he salted the mine? or was that a divine revelation that you heard from a cloud?

    you can’t get a word out that isn’t contrived to deceive. my question is not if, but why are you such a liar? at least jon lovetz was endearing. you’re just foul.

  73. Once again, ‘a physicist’ demands answers – but when asked for his own explanations, he tucks his tail between his hind legs and runs for the hills. For example, recently Steven M. Allen asked ‘a physicist’ how he can defend the following Climategate email:

    Phil, Here are some speculations on correcting SSTs to partly explain the 1940s warming blip. If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I’m sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean — but we’d still have to explain the land blip. I’ve chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips — higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from. Removing ENSO does not affect this. It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”. [Tom Wigley, to Phil Jones and Ben Santer]

    The same question was asked repeatedly of ‘a physicist’, who as usual ignored questions put to him. It would be a step toward restoring ‘a physicist’s’ missing credibility if he would answer a question, rather than always demanding answers to his questions.

  74. A Physicist,

    The utility I work for is one of the bigger producers of wind energy. We have invested in it for two reasons;
    1) A government (state) mandate for renewables (which excludes hydro)

    and

    2) State and Federal subsidies and tax incentives.

    Since we have exceeded the mandated percentage, as a bonus we get to sell the excess to California at premium rates. So for our rate payers it isn’t a bad deal – if you ignore the lost opportunity costs of the govt subsidies & tax revenue. I can’t speak for Californians however.

    That said, wind generation isn’t the panecea some seemed to have expected. Turns out peak wind generation coincides with peak hydro. During peak hydro, it is not unusual for generators to be asked to idle their facilities (includes the nuclear plant in the region) so that water can be run through the turbines. (There are federal restrictions limiting releases through the spillways to protect fish.) In exchange, the transmission authority provided free replacement power, so no one loses revenue. Except, as it turns out, wind energy producers. The federal government pays them for each kilowatt produced, on top of what they get selling the electricity. The transmission authority gave them special treatment by putting them at the bottom of the curtailment list – ie they were the last to be forced to shutdown. Want to guess what happened? They sued because they were not given “negative” rates – paid to accept free electricity.

    This might explain why Warren Buffit is bullish on wind energy. Where else do you get tax breaks to build something and then paid to sell your product? With more states adding renewable mandates, you also have a guaranteed market.

  75. A physicist says: “coal mining is economically senseless…coal mining is economically senseless…coal mining is economically senseless…coal mining is debatable”

    The true motive is unveiled.

  76. I noted in an earlier post that since Wind plated capacity reached 4006Mw, for the first tome I have seen the OCGTs in use generating power.

    Why use OCGTs?

    Because like the primary stage of a CCGT, they can be ramped up to full power in ~15mins from cold.

    The combined stage of a CCGT takes upwards of an hour to reach capacity, The OCGT buys you time to reach full efficient capacity with your CCGT.

    DaveE.

  77. A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I’ve just done a calculation whose result is so amazing, that I challenge WUWT readers to repeat it for themselves (because I can scarcely believe it myself).

    Background: Our family’s Iowa farm is underlain by a coal seam, at shallow depth, that is one meter thick (yes really, and during the Depression our family mined that seam).
    ===================================================================
    I’m beginning to think your moniker is only that. Surely you’re not that dense as to make that comparison.

    First of all, you didn’t give any information or calculations to make any determination, but worse, you’re dwelling in intentional ignorance. Read Lea ‘s arguments.

    The question isn’t, nor was it ever, how much energy a windmill generates. It isn’t relevant. The question is how do you utilize the energy generated. So, in the scenario you presented, the question would be: How much utility would you gain in coal generation vs wind generation? This is the madness of the fringe. What good does it do to generate electricity at times when you don’t need it? And what disasters occur when the need for electricity is present but generation is not?

    After you honestly answer those two questions, then you need to view the effects of the alternate energy advocacy has had on society. Its been horrible. It has caused unmeasurable harm. And this has occurred because of the vacant intellectual integrity of the lunatic fringe.

  78. Re:A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 9:40 am

    “So, whom should WUWT readers heed? Ruth Lea’s skeptical “nay” or Warren Buffett’s nonskeptical “aye”?”

    If you understood tax credits and accelerated depreciation, you wouldn’t ask that question. Buffet will never turn a profit operating those wind machines. However, he will make very large, up-front profits by avoiding taxes on his other activities over the next five years simply by virtue of his investing in windmills. After that five years is past, he couldn’t care less what happens to those windmills. His avoided taxes on other, actually profitable, endeavors will be several orders of magnitude larger than his capital investment in windmills thanks to financial “leveraging”. Those taxes that one of the world’s richest men will thus avoid must eventually be made up for by the likes of you and me.

  79. Stephen Rasey says: You call yourself, “A Physicist”? Do you think the acreage of “your farm” is a necessary parameter of the calculation?

    LOL … good thinking, Stephen … if you check my calculations, you’ll see I’m thinking the same as you!

    ————————————-
    windPowerEnergyRules = {
      paybackTime -> totalCoalEnergy/
          windPowerMeanCapacity,
      totalCoalEnergy ->  iowaFarmArea *
          iowaCoalSeamThickness * iowaCoalDensity * 
          iowaCoalEnergyDensity,
      windPowerMeanCapacity -> iowaMeanWindPowerDensity *
          iowaFarmArea,
      iowaFarmArea -> theSizeOfTheFarmIsIrrelevant,
      iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 350 W/m^2,
      iowaCoalSeamThickness -> 1 meter,
      iowaCoalEnergyDensity -> 2.0 kW hour/kg,
      iowaCoalDensity -> 1506 kg/m^3
    };

    paybackTime//
      ReplaceRepeated[#,windPowerEnergyRules]&//
        ConvertToSI[#,year]&//
          (Round[100*#/year]/100.0 years)&//
    Print["Iowa wind power versus strip-mine-the-farm payback time = ",#]&

    Iowa wind power versus strip-mine-the-farm payback time = 0.98 years
    ————————————-

    WUWT folks, that’s a one year payoff for wind-relative-to-Iowa coal … WHICH IS AMAZING!

    Seriously, there’s not a single farmer in Iowa who wouldn’t appreciate that Warren Buffett’s energy company is offering a terrific deal.

    That’s why my bet is, Ruth Lea’s so-fancy report is going to find mighty few Iowa readers. :)

  80. “Critics were enraged at the decision, saying it would wreck miles of beautiful countryside, need vast public subsidies for years to come and have [a price] that would be too expensive for most”

    A comment about wind farms? No, a comment about the new High-speed rail (HS2) announced in the UK this morning. Quote was taken from the front page of this morning’s Metro.

    It is funny how the green brigade can use these words against a transport infrastructure project (which may or may not be a good idea) but not use them against wind farms when they are applicable.

  81. Windmills are good for pumping water out of the ground.
    The Dutch figured that out, and American farmers did too.

    As long as you don’t care WHEN the water is pumped, and have a big tank.

  82. If coal mining was unprofitable it would be subsidized by the U.S. Government.
    Comparing the cost of coal to wind energy is impossible without talking of storage and availability. The coal is always there, ready to go. How do you place a price on that obvious value?
    Why would anyone strip-mine their farm for a one meter seam of coal? I’m not an expert in coal extraction but you wouldn’t strip the surface unless the coal was only a few meters underground. And if that was the case you’d have stockpiled a few years supply of coal before the concrete on your wind turbine pad had even dried.

  83. “iowaCoalSeamThickness”

    Mr. A Physicist misses the obvious. Why would anyone mine coal in Iowa when they can buy coal from the Powder River Basin for less?

    Perhaps, he is seeking a government subsidy for mining coal where it is not economical… that certainly would be consistent with his worldview.

  84. …….
    iowaFarmArea -> theSizeOfTheFarmIsIrrelevant,
    iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 350 W/m^2, iowaCoalSeamThickness -> 1 meter, iowaCoalEnergyDensity -> 2.0 kW hour/kg, iowaCoalDensity -> 1506 kg/m^3};

    paybackTime// ReplaceRepeated[#,windPowerEnergyRules]&//
    ConvertToSI[#,year]&// (Round[100*#/year]/100.0 years)&//
    Print["Iowa wind power versus strip-mine-the-farm payback time = ",#]& ………
    ====================================================
    Dude, you do realize that’s simply a bunch of gibberish, right?
    Gleaning what I can from your word salad, you’re not making a proper comparison anyway. Watts do not equate with watthours.

    Why is this so hard for warmists to understand?

  85. Wind, solar and ethanol (and other biofuels) all suffer from the “stupid factor.” No sensible engineer would ever pursue these sources of energy while we’re sitting on mountains of coal, gobs of natural gas and nearly unlimited nuclear capacity. Start with some basic assumptions: 1) mankind’s emissions of CO2 will NOT cause catastrophic climate change or widespread environmental damage, 2) we have a boatload of available fossil fuels and nearly unlimited nuclear capacity and 3) that we have a very real and ever increasing need for electricity. Given these assumptions how can ANYONE make a logical case for pursuing wind, solar or ethanol? They are “stupid” technologies.

    These technologies are not viable without taxpayer subsidies and mandated use (i.e. artificial demand). None could survive in a free market economy. These are economically non-viable technologies. The concept of “sustainability” is complete BS. I don’t even buy the concept of “renewable”. Windmills are probably the worst. Wind “turbines” are incredibly expensive and they’re very complex mechanical devices…that wear out. Imagine having a “green job” of servicing a wind turbine in Texas in the summer. I wonder what the internal temp is an a 400 ft. tower when it’s over 100 deg F outside and you have to climb up 400 ft to change the oil in the turbine’s transmission. If you ask me that’s a $100/hr job at least. Yeah…but wind is “free”…if you don’t count the costs to harvest it. If we accept assumption #3 listed above, the only logical conclusion is to make necessary electricity available as economically as possible. There is no valid reason to pursue wind, solar or ethanol. I don’t care if folks want to pursue these technologies. I just don’t want my tax dollars paying for them. The current situation reeks of crony capitalism…and neither party is innocent.

    Finally, why are we so concerned about a future where all of us will be dead? I sometimes ponder what my grandparents were concerned about 90 years ago. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the availability of early 20th century energy and resources. It was more along the lines of food on the table, potable water, sanitation and prevention of disease. All things their children figured out.

  86. From A physicist on January 10, 2012 at 10:13 am:

    Question: If we leased our farm to Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings how long would it take Buffett’s windmills to generate electrical energy equal to the all the electricity that could be generated by strip-mining the entire farm, and burning its coal?

    Hint: My answer is one of the following (but you should check it yourself!):
    (a) One year (meaning, coal mining is economically senseless)
    (b) Ten years (meaning, coal mining is economically senseless)
    (c) One hundred years (meaning, coal mining is economically senseless)
    (d) One thousand years (meaning, coal mining is debatable)

    Answers c and d are nonsensical as the turbines won’t last that long. For one hundred years the wind farms will have to be rebuilt at least three times.

    By your wording, if it took one hundred years for Buffett’s windmills to make the electricity the coal would generate, coal mining would still be economically senseless. Yet that coal could be burned just about as soon as it’s dug up, the energy would be available now when it’s needed, rather than waiting 100 years for all the electricity you needed one hundred years ago. You know, you don’t seem to understand economics much.

  87. JoeH says:
    January 10, 2012 at 9:32 am
    Where I grew up there had in previous centuries been dozens of factories running on water power. The water continues to flow yet there is now ZERO usage of it as an energy source, absolutely no power is being taken from a river that runs fairly consistently all year round. For negligible environmental “damage” many small manufacturing businesses could be run on the old factory sites, using updated technology akin to the old factories. It would difficult to find a more easily obtainable “green” tech – yet its not even being considered!
    ——————————————–
    That time may come again. I believe we – the masses – are going to be forced back to low-tech, whether by economic collapse, or whatever.

    I actually think free energy from wind is great, eg pumped water storage for agricultural use. That’s real innovation. The wind farm scam where the rich get richer and the pensioners die of cold in their homes is outrageous though. Perverted, in an economic and moral sense.

    Will the scam (as mentioned by other commenters) fail? Really? I’d love to think so. I’d love to think sanity will be restored. There are a number of big scams going on which their controllers have no intention of giving up on, until something makes them collapse, probably all at the same time (think global derivative debt ponzi scheme implosion). If that time comes, then low-tech, small-scale power generation – including wind – will be a great idea, possibly a life-saver. Who knows what the future holds?

  88. I looked at the complete report and unfortunately it did not break down the maintenance costs. The consulting firm Mott McDonald came up with the cost figures; I did not see specific details or a link to the raw data. Costs were separated into capital, fixed operating, variable operating, fuel, “carbon”, and decommission&waste. The “carbon” cost is strictly the UK/EU tax on CO2 production, so it is not a real cost in any engineering or technical sense.

    We have a lot of experience with operating coal, gas, nuclear, and hydro facilities over a considerable period of time. We have much less experience operating large scale wind generation, and I suspect the maintenance costs are not as firmly established. Simply because wind generation is dispersed over a much wider area per megawatt than the other technologies, I would expect the labor component of maintenance to be higher per megawatt. The cost comparisons cited clearly show that both fixed and variable operating costs are higher for wind than combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT), ACS coal, or nuclear, but I expect the actual maintenance cost for wind is higher than the estimates.

    Spent Christmas in Hawaii (the big island) and at South Point there is a defunct windfarm of 39 older turbines installed in 1984 (250 KW each, if I recall), and a new farm of 17 1.5 MW turbines. The older turbines are an eyesore and probably a hazard as well — many missing blades, some with lost housings, most with rust. The write up said the operator had managed to keep some of the older units running by salvaging parts from other dead ones, so clearly maintenance was a problem for a number of years before the new turbines were brought online.

    I’d be interested to see the 10-year actual cost on the most modern turbines installed around 2000.

  89. A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 10:13 am
    I’ve just done a calculation whose result is so amazing, that I challenge WUWT readers to repeat it for themselves (because I can scarcely believe it myself).

    Background: Our family’s Iowa farm is underlain by a coal seam, at shallow depth, that is one meter thick (yes really, and during the Depression our family mined that seam).
    ——————-
    I don’t claim to be a physicist, but how can I make this calculation without knowing the acreage for the farm? I suppose I could create a computer model and make a number of runs with various assumptions, then take the average of the results. That sounds like a robust methodology.

  90. A physicist said:

    Background: Our family’s Iowa farm is underlain by a coal seam, at shallow depth, that is one meter thick (yes really, and during the Depression our family mined that seam).

    Question: If we leased our farm to Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings how long would it take Buffett’s windmills to generate electrical energy equal to the all the electricity that could be generated by strip-mining the entire farm, and burning its coal?

    Hint: My answer is one of the following (but you should check it yourself!):
       (a) One year (meaning, coal mining is economically senseless)
       (b) Ten years (meaning, coal mining is economically senseless)
       (c) One hundred years (meaning, coal mining is economically senseless)
       (d) One thousand years (meaning, coal mining is debatable)

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: Answers c and d are nonsensical as the turbines won’t last that long. For one hundred years the wind farms will have to be rebuilt at least three times.

    Kadaka, your argument is good and correct, but none-the-less it is moot, because the (incredible!) answer is that in Iowa, wind-versus-stripmine energy breakeven arrives in just one year.

    And this is why Iowa’s farmers just love Buffett’s windfarms.

    You’ll find mighty few Iowa farmers with anything good to say about Ruth Lea’s white paper, compared with Warren Buffett’s cash payouts ! :)

  91. @ a physicist. Using my fancy computer algorithm (Excel), I come up with $1,250 per year of coal (or $0.025 per kWh) to satisfy an energy pig such as myself.

    a = Coal energy density = 2.0 kWh/Kg
    b = Coal density = 1506 Kg/m^3
    c = My Annual energy use = 50,000 kWh

    d = No. of Kg of coal needed per year = c/a = 25,000 Kg
    e = Metric tonnes of coal = d / 1000 = 25 metric tonnes
    f = volume of coal = d / b = 16.6 m^3
    g = price of coal per tonne = $50.00
    h = price per year of coal = g * e = $1,250
    i = area to strip for one year’s worth of coal ~ 4.1 m x 4.1 m

    Coal seems very cheap. If you owned 100 acres you would have 24,000 years of coal? That can’t be right. 1 acre = 4,046 sq meters. 100 acres is 404,600 sq meters. One year requires 16 sq meters assuming a one meter thick zone. 404,600 / 16 = 24,373 years. Hmmm.

    Assuming your coal bed is close enough to surface to dig up with a back hoe, I would be using the coal, at least until you run out in the year 26,384.

  92. Here’s an alternative problem for Physicist to work on:

    How much money would Buffett be throwing down a black-hole if we ended the subsidies, mandates and tax breaks for wind power?

    Remember, Warren Buffet is a big Obama supporter. Maybe the 99%-ers are right — all that money does buy you some dandy politicians!

    ~More Soylent Green for Everybody!

  93. A physicist says: I’ve just done a calculation whose result is so amazing, that I challenge WUWT readers to repeat it for themselves (because I can scarcely believe it myself).

    Background: Our family’s Iowa farm is underlain by a coal seam, at shallow depth, that is one meter thick (yes really, and during the Depression our family mined that seam).

    Alan Watt says: I don’t claim to be a physicist, but how can I make this calculation without knowing the acreage for the farm? I suppose I could create a computer model and make a number of runs with various assumptions, then take the average of the results. That sounds like a robust methodology.

    It’s a whole lot simpler than that, Alan.

    Iowa’s average wind energy potential is (about) 350 Watts per square meter. And under one square meter of our Iowa farm, there’s enough coal to provide 350 Watts of electrical power for exactly … one year.

    So over any time span longer than just one year, Iowa wind power makes a whole lot more energy sense than mining that Iowa coal. Not to mention, Iowa’s farmland doesn’t get destroyed!

    The point being, that’s true no matter what the size of the Iowa farm, with no fancy models needed.

  94. Wind energy on itself is not a bad thing, it lead to a very prosperous time for the Netherlands which we call the “Golden Century”, but yes it was that we did not need windpower constantly, but given the efficiency of those wooden windmills we still needed quite a lot of them for indeed milling water to keep our feet dry, milling grain and stuff. Sawing wood into planks, using windpower kicked of shipbuilding during the 16th and 17th century making that small collection of provinces called the states of holland a global naval player and economic powerhouse.

    Still too much wind and a failing brake and this will happen (note: this is a watermilling type, the grainmills are a lot taller and the woodmills are usually build on top of large shed),

  95. the UK just had terrible winter storms if I remember correctly. How many of their new beaut turbine were damaged, destroyed, put out of commission I wonder? and at what cost to the consumer and the environment

  96. Well I am on record for some fairly opinionated statements; which I will defend: –

    1/ We get NO “heat” from the sun.
    2/ It should be a felony offense to use electricity to heat.
    3/ Most energy is used to heat, so solar energy should be gathered and stored and used as “heat”.

    Hey Mate ! what the hell happened to #1 ?

    Ooops !

    So there is the secret. Theoretically, in principle, if not yet in practice, it is possible to convert 100% of the solar electromagnetic radiation energy that arrives at the earth surface (1kW/m^2) into ELECTRICITY. Well gimme a break Mack; of course there’s always going to be a little bit of slippage.

    So what about those cheese mixers/ wind turbines ? They don’t run on electricity do they; they are supposed to put out electricity, not use electricity to make wind.

    Wind is made from “heat”; and we don’t get any of that from the sun (#1). We get damn good electromagnetic radiation from the sun, and we immediately waste most of it, by burying it in the oceans and rocks and stuff, so we end up with just a few dregs of waste “heat”, which messes with the atmosphere and eventually makes WIND for our turbines.

    A wind turbine, is basically a gas turbine engine. You have a working fluid (air) which you HEAT; Pacific ocean does that for us Californians out of what is left when it gobbles up all that nice solar EM radiation energy and simply wastes it. The heated wind comes whooshing through the Golden Gate, over San Francisco and Berkeley, and thousands of acres to the rotor of our turbine, and it exits out the back as a cooler waste exhaust wind after having dropped 1/2 mv^2 of kinetic energy in the rotor, into more thousands of acres of open unusable ground.

    You can’t use the Gosinta or Gosouta ground for high rise sky scrapers, because that would mess up the streamlined wind flow. You can grow rabbits on it though.

    Give a little thought to the Carnot efficiency of this gas turbine engine, and try to decide whether the energy losses from the sunlight are 99% or maybe 99.9%. Well whichever, this is a very INEFFICIENT use of that original beautiful, pristine electromagnetic radiation energy which we received from the sun, and simply wasted.

    Yes we get NO “heat” from the sun; we simply make all we have, right here on earth by wasting the EM radiant energy, instead of convering it, in theory or in principle; or as best we can into electricity, using the Photo-electric effect.

    The only thing that matters in solar energy, is conversion efficiency (to electricity), and wind turbines are a long winded round about way of doing that. It is inherently impossible, no matter what, to convert 100% of “heat” into electricity, so even the finest solar boiler steam turbine type solar energy plants, will always be limited to something in the 40% range; and not really even that, because you have space between the reflectors, so they don’t shadow each other, so in reality the conversion is nowhere near 40%, as you can’t use the land in between the mirrors for anything.

    Wind energy is suitable for occasionally stirring cheese, or pumping water, when you have both water, and wind.

  97. A physicist says:

    iowaFarmArea -> theSizeOfTheFarmIsIrrelevant,
    iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 350 W/m^2,
    iowaCoalSeamThickness -> 1 meter,
    iowaCoalEnergyDensity -> 2.0 kW hour/kg,
    iowaCoalDensity -> 1506 kg/m^3

    350 W/m2? Really? 24 hours per day? 7 days a week?

    Doesn’t really matter. Instead of comparing energy output, try comparing dollar output. 1 KW hour = $0.12 retail. How long does the windmill have to turn before it is paid out?

  98. One aspect of these relative value calculations that never gets much mention is the very significant transmission line losses between generation and end user. This makes a certain amount of sense since the losses are pretty much the same for all sources, depending only on the distance between generator and user. But it is potentially a large positive for modern high efficiency gas generation because, unlike almost all of the other alternatives. they can be done with a small enough footprint and level of environmental innocuousness that they can be deployed directly in areas of high population and high usage thereby eliminating much of transmission line losses from their total cost.
    Large wind farms and photovoltaic plants are on the other end of this factor. Most must of necessity be deployed at considerable distance from end users and when you add the transmission losses that result along with their already dismal production ratios the negative verdict on their ultimate utility is strongly reinforced.

  99. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    January 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    “You know, you don’t seem to understand economics much.”

    A leftie’s budget is always funded with other people’s money. When they need more money, instead of creating wealth as the rest of us have to do by being producing something of value, they simply demand more from the producers. It *IS* for the greater good, don’tyaknow! LOL!

  100. A physicis says:

    iowaFarmArea -> theSizeOfTheFarmIsIrrelevant,
    iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 350 W/m^2,
    iowaCoalSeamThickness -> 1 meter,
    iowaCoalEnergyDensity -> 2.0 kW hour/kg,
    iowaCoalDensity -> 1506 kg/m^3

    Russ in Houston asks: 350 W/m2? Really? 24 hours per day? 7 days a week?

    Yes, that is indeed the Iowa wind-power number, Russ, averaged 24/7 as per your question.

    To see that it’s a reasonable number, ask how yourself “How much electric power would I need to run an electric fan powerful enough to make the wind blow 24/7, at some moderate speed, within a 1×1 meter column of air, 50 meters high?”

    Gee, maybe Anthony should have titled his post: “There’s a reason the modern age moved on from coal”.  :)

    So, Russ, what is your next question?  :)

  101. Question: which method produces cheaper electricity? Iowa windfarms or Iowa treadmills driven by Iowa mice?

    Answer: it depends upon the government subsidy.

  102. It’s a whole lot simpler than that, Alan.

    Iowa’s average wind energy potential is (about) 350 Watts per square meter. And under one square meter of our Iowa farm, there’s enough coal to provide 350 Watts of electrical power for exactly … one year.

    So over any time span longer than just one year, Iowa wind power makes a whole lot more energy sense than mining that Iowa coal. Not to mention, Iowa’s farmland doesn’t get destroyed!
    ===========================================================
    Oh…… .my…….. goodness…….. that’s the dumbest…..
    YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!
    First of all, energy potential and energy realized are two entirely different things.
    Secondly, and again, you are confusing energy and energy over time!!! STOP DOING THAT! It’s that sort of expression that confused people into believing this babbling bs.! But, worse than that, you’re starting in the middle of the equation! Its the force that does the work that generates the energy.

    I would have thought someone purporting to be a physicist would have known this. Physl, once you’ve gotten your head around what I’ve just shared with you, you can then come back and I’ll explain how windmills work. Their energy output doesn’t correlate with average anything. So, even disregarding your confusion of energy potential and energy over time, you’re still wrong. I think you’re going for a record on the amount of levels a person can be wrong on, in just a couple of simple statements.

  103. A physicist says:

    So, Russ, what is your next question? :)
    I have already asked it.
    1 KW hour = $0.12 retail. How long does the windmill have to turn before it is paid out?

  104. “It’s an ill-wind that blows no good!” I look forward to quite a few photos of blazing and wildly flailing windmills just prior to their explosion, before the whole scam grinds to a halt. Someone should come up with a use for all those abandoned rusting windmill ruins in the future.

  105. James Sexton says: … So over any time span longer than just one year, Iowa wind power makes a whole lot more energy sense than mining that Iowa coal. Not to mention, Iowa’s farmland doesn’t get destroyed!

    James Sexton says: … Oh…… .my…….. goodness…….. that’s the dumbest….. YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG! … I think you’re going for a record on the amount of levels a person can be wrong on, in just a couple of simple statements.

    Well, James, at least you and I agree on this: someone’s calculations are goofy.   :)

    And my bet is, those goofy calculations are Ruth Lea’s. `Cuz definitely I trust the economic common sense of Iowa farmers — as verified by my plain, simple, and easily checked calculations — much more readily than I trust the long-and-fancy arguments in Ruth’s oh-so-complicated white paper.

  106. A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Coal energy density is not your wikipedia figure of 2kWh/kg; that figure is given for a coal plant with 30% efficiency. The correct figure is around 5 times the figure you have used.

    Your wind energy potential is just that; potential. To extract all that potential your windmill would have to have a blade swept area around an order of magnitude greater than the area of your farm.

    Good luck with that.

  107. The picture that starts this thread hurts me because it is deceptive. The old windmills are loved very much in Holland, there are still plenty of them around and maintained for their beauty and historical value. Having both sailed on a ship and been inside a working windmill – they are still used sporadic for practical uses – there was this similarity, staying in this working windmill gave me the sensation of being inside a big sailing ship – this big wooden construction cracking and moving along with the changing wind. Yes, it is a fixed construction, but also it moves somehow. It was an amazing experience. As for the new onces, these giant three-bladed monsters for electricity, they also are everywhere in our landscape now. I just hate their ugly shape, with or without economic calculation. The old windmills were pretty efficient, as all they did do was transform one form of kinetic energy (wind) directly into another by mechanical means. Pumping water, grinding wheat, sawing wood… For this reason you cannot compare them with the modern mills for creating electricity. There is this fundamental difference. But even on the outer appearance of being a windmill there is not much similarity with the modern turbines. It’s not only these three blades (would have been very difficult to construct like that with wood) – they are just plain ugly monsters. Does that tell something also? Reading the calculations here there is still hope they will be gone one day.

  108. A physicist says: So, Russ, what is your next question? :)

    Russ in Houston asks: I have already asked it. 1 KW hour = $0.12 retail. How long does the windmill have to turn before it is paid out?

    Yer question ain’t hard to answer, Russ. Let’s take a one-section farm (one square mile). What’s the annual dollar value of the energy in the wind potential of that Iowa farm? And how many windmills will that annual dollar value buy?

    ————————————–
    windPowerEconomicsRules = {
      farmRevenuePerYear -> 1 year * iowaFarmArea *
          iowaMeanWindPowerDensity * iowaRetailPowerPrice,
      mile -> 5280 * 12 * 2.54 cm,
      iowaFarmArea -> (1 mile)^2,
      iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 350 W/m^2,
      iowaRetailPowerPrice -> 0.12 dollar/(kW hour)
    };

    farmRevenuePerYear//
      ReplaceRepeated[#,windPowerEconomicsRules]&//
        ConvertToSI[#/(10^6 dollar)]&//Round//
    Print["Iowa wind power = $",#,",000,000 per square mile per year"]&

    Iowa wind power = $954,000,000 per square mile per year
    ————————————–

    Now, it’s true that windmills placed too close together start stealing each other’s wind. Nonetheless, that nine hundred million dollars per year leaves plenty of economic headroom, eh?

    So, Russ, maybe Warren Buffett ain’t so dumb to triple-down his Iowa windpower investment, eh?

  109. Crosspatch says on January 10, 2012 at 8:43 am, that lightning damage is a major cause of damage to wind turbines.

    This sounds to me fairly easy to solve. Perhaps with suitable conductors along and within the blades, and suitable brushes on a suitable grounded ring. Or with a lightning rod that reaches higher than the blades do. Or with whatever engineers who are actually involved in protection from lightning would actually use …
    Don’t the builders of wind turbines consult experts in protection of structures from the weather hazards that structures will be subject to?

    There is still the matter of gearbox failures, getting people into high places for replacement of wear items and any lubrication and dust/debris removal, and ability to survive the various severe thunderstorm winds when they hit once-per-century class. If windmills can’t survive 100 year class wind gusts, then a majority of them will be blown down within a century.

  110. “A physicist”: “Seriously, there’s not a single farmer in Iowa who wouldn’t appreciate that Warren Buffett’s energy company is offering a terrific deal.”

    Yea, for farmers, who just love subsidies. Yea, I think the farmers in Iowa just love all those subsidies for ethanol as well. They are in on the scam as are all those who own vast tracts of land that they can prostitute to perpetuate the scam. Of course, Buffett has to throw you a few crumbs to keep you sweet. But look at the bigger picture – you’re reaming the backside out of your country. Taking bribes to destroy your nation’s inheritance and its capital.

  111. Reply to Pete-in-Cumbria.
    Sorry to spoil the concept but modern air separation does not produce CO2 as a by-product. Intake air is drawn through molecular sieve beds which trap CO2 and moisture. The beds are regenerated alternately and the captured gases are vented back to atmosphere.

  112. A physicist says:

    “Iowa’s average wind energy potential is (about) 350 Watts per square meter. And under one square meter of our Iowa farm, there’s enough coal to provide 350 Watts of electrical power for exactly … one year.”

    The potential might be 350 Watts/m^2 but in our beloved reality of today Iowa only produce, what, some 0.03 Watt/m^2.

  113. “A physicist” is neither a physicist or an economist. And certainly not an engineer.

    Responding to his peurile, ignorant taunts is a waste of time (I know, I know).

    He doesn’t seem to know the difference between power and energy. He doesn’t understand the difference between exploitable and marginal resources (and neither do many of the respondents here).

    He probably doesn’t know (as does anyone in the power industry) that the true cost per kWh of primary energy (base load) for a modern 2000 MW coal-fired plant (without taxes and other penalties) will be about 2cents/kWh. The best that you can do with wind (secondary energy – back-up required) is 10 times as much.

    Obviously, nobody is going to develop an non-viable coal resource when it would be cheaper to import from Australia. Equally, nobody would develop wind power anywhere that can be attached to a regional grid with a mix of of coal/gas/hydro.

    I would have ignored this idiot, but too many respondents were feeding the troll with incorrect answers and demonstrating a lack of understanding of energy resources, supply and economics.

    I promise I will not respont to further provocation from this F***wit.

  114. From A physicist on January 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm:

    Iowa’s average wind energy potential is (about) 350 Watts per square meter. And under one square meter of our Iowa farm, there’s enough coal to provide 350 Watts of electrical power for exactly … one year.

    You had previously said that seam was 1 meter deep. So now you’re talking about a cubic meter of coal.

    From A physicist on January 10, 2012 at 11:18 am:

    iowaCoalEnergyDensity -> 2.0 kW hour/kg,
    iowaCoalDensity -> 1506 kg/m^3

    By this chart you have selected the density of solid anthracite coal, which is such a “premium” coal it is not generally used for electricity generation. Anthracite has an average heat content of 29 mega-joules per kilogram. Your cubic meter of coal would yield 29*1506=43,674 Mj. Figuring with an electrical plant efficiency of 30%, that would be an electrical yield of 43,674*0.3=13,102Mj. Converting joules to watt-hours, that’s 3639 kW-hrs of electricity from that cubic meter of anthracite coal.

    Now I could use your figure of wind energy potential of 350 W/m^2, except I realized you didn’t know what you were talking about.

    The map you linked to shows “Wind power density at 50m”. It is explained here thusly:

    A quantitative measure of the wind energy available at any location is called the Wind Power Density (WPD) It is a calculation of the mean annual power available per square meter of swept area of a turbine, and is tabulated for different heights above ground.

    So if you had a turbine whose blades swept an area of one meter mounted 50 meters off the ground, then you’d get about 350W.

    By your statements, your numbers, by saying the acreage didn’t matter, it’s clear you were thinking that was 350 watts per square meter of flat ground.

    Thus your calculations, subsequent statements, your defense of wind power in comparison to coal… Are meaningless. And your “knowledge” is revealed as seriously flawed.

  115. “A physicist” ‘Iowa wind power = $954,000,000 per square mile per year’

    I’m sorry, but you’ve really blown it. Real physicists don’t make such fools of themselves as that.

    If you think available wind power revenue (even ‘potential’ revenue) in Iowa could be anything remotely like one billion dollars per year from a one square mile farm, and you don’t realize that you must be orders of magnitude out then you must be mighty gullible there in Iowa and in desperate need of common sense, never mind physics.

  116. A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    James Sexton says: … So over any time span longer than just one year, Iowa wind power makes a whole lot more energy sense than mining that Iowa coal. Not to mention, Iowa’s farmland doesn’t get destroyed!

    James Sexton says: … Oh…… .my…….. goodness…….. that’s the dumbest….. YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG! … I think you’re going for a record on the amount of levels a person can be wrong on, in just a couple of simple statements.

    Well, James, at least you and I agree on this: someone’s calculations are goofy. :)

    And my bet is, those goofy calculations are Ruth Lea’s. `Cuz definitely I trust the economic common sense of Iowa farmers — as verified by my plain, simple, and easily checked calculations — much more readily than I trust the long-and-fancy arguments in Ruth’s oh-so-complicated white paper.
    ============================================================
    Physl, I haven’t seen any calculations. I’ve just seen silliness on your part. your 350w/m2 doesn’t mean anything. That’s just blowing wind. As far as trusting Iowa farmers, aren’t those are the same people who told us ethanol didn’t cause food prices to rise? Kansas farmers like the windmills as well, they get paid nice lease payments. It doesn’t have a damn thing to do with energy or ROI. I haven’t looked at Lea’s calculations, yet. But, I’d say they’re closer to reality than whatever you’re trying to state. But, here are some truths……

    your 350w/m2 doesn’t mean anything. What’s the efficiency of turning it to real electricity?
    The wind blows at varying rates. Typical wind generators have a fairly narrow band of wind speed in which it operates at optimal efficiency.
    The density of coal doesn’t mean much either, because your not discussing how it get converted to useable electricity, either.
    Lea is absolutely correct in that redundant gas generators are necessary to back up the windmills and they must be kept idling.
    Because of wind variability, electricity providers can’t use it in the base or peak load equation. This alone renders wind energy essentially useless.
    Coal is used only for base load generation. Comparing wind to coal is laughable. If we were to use wind for base load, we’d have to use exactly the same amount of coal we’re already using.
    Utilizing gas to back up wind increases demand for gas. This increases the cost of gas for everything including cooking and heating. Given the newly found abundance of gas, we can thank wind advocates for ensuring natural gas prices stay higher than what they would be without wind. Thanks.

    Well, there are countless more truths. Physl, here is a sincere offer. I’ve got some simple primers about our energy issues, here in the states(they would also apply abroad). If you were to wish to understand why wind and some of the other quixotic ventures are costing us, and dearly, pop by. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Here are a couple that address difficulties which I haven’t touched on here….
    http://suyts.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/a-primer-about-residential-energy-generation-and-net-metering/ http://suyts.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/acdc-and-typical-talking-points/

  117. AAAAA physicist:

    Iowa wind power = $954,000,000 per square mile per year.

    are you sure that you don’t have a bunch of xtra zeros in that answer: like probably three and quite possibly six.

    C

  118. A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 350 W/m^2,

    Now, it’s true that windmills placed too close together start stealing each other’s wind. Nonetheless, that nine hundred million dollars per year leaves plenty of economic headroom, eh?

    So, Russ, maybe Warren Buffett ain’t so dumb to triple-down his Iowa windpower investment, eh?
    —————————————
    Reality check time.

    Average usable/recoverable power density?
    Wind farms run 20-150 acres per megawatt of installed capacity. Some engineering firms use 60 acres per megawatt for prelim calculations.
    Square meters per acre? just over 4000.
    Average efficiency of a wind turbine? just under 25%
    Math time, 25% of a MW equals 250,000 watts and 60 acres times 4000 m2 equals 240,000.
    So now tell us how many delivered watts per square meter you have, and how many years it takes to offset that insignificant coal seam your folks were sitting on.

    And that, is the reason that windmills are dead if the subsidies are killed.

  119. Donald L. Klipstein:
    last a century. ygtbkn.
    thesethingsare built to last until the check clears the bank.

    C

  120. A Physicist said: Now, it’s true that windmills placed too close together start stealing each other’s wind. Nonetheless, that nine hundred million dollars per year leaves plenty of economic headroom, eh?

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: Your calculations, subsequent statements, your defense of wind power in comparison to coal… Are meaningless. And your “knowledge” is revealed as seriously flawed.

    ScientistForTruth says: If you think available wind power revenue (even ‘potential’ revenue) in Iowa could be anything remotely like one billion dollars per year from a one square mile farm.

    Lol … You two fellahs musta overlooked my little caveat that I posted earlier … reminding folks that Iowa windmills placed too close together will start stealing each other’s wind.

    Definitely I stand by my main number, which everyone can check for themselves, and is easy for the public to remember: one square mile of Iowa windblades yields, each year, one billion dollars worth of electric power.

    How closely one wants to space those blades depends very strongly on how eager farmers are to lease their land for windmills; the more eager the farmers are to lease, and thus the cheaper the leases, the more widely it pays to space the windmills. And Iowa’s farmers are very eager to lease.

    That’s the simple-to-understand engineering reason why Warren Buffett is tripling-down his windpower bet, and that’s why yearly US windpower generation looks just like a big ol’ Hansen/Mann hockey stick.

    It seems to me this trend can’t be stopped.

  121. Babsy wrote,

    “I’ve seen a few windmills replaced with solar panels. I presume that the panel recharges some type of battery pack used to power the pump. Fortunately, it’s not too far off the highway and someone can get a generator to it to pump water if (when) it fails. Worth noting is that there are no electric power lines nearby. It is very rural!”

    Any excess power generated by solar panels is better used to pump/store more water instead of saved in batteries when the objective is to water livestock.The solar units I”ve installed all had generator backups. Neither wind nor solar are used as a primary drink of water…otherwise the cowboys have a 911 wreck to attend.

  122. A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm
    A physicis says:

    iowaFarmArea -> theSizeOfTheFarmIsIrrelevant,
    iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 350 W/m^2,
    iowaCoalSeamThickness -> 1 meter,
    iowaCoalEnergyDensity -> 2.0 kW hour/kg,
    iowaCoalDensity -> 1506 kg/m^3

    Russ in Houston asks: 350 W/m2? Really? 24 hours per day? 7 days a week?

    Yes, that is indeed the Iowa wind-power number, Russ, averaged 24/7 as per your question.

    To see that it’s a reasonable number, ask how yourself “How much electric power would I need to run an electric fan powerful enough to make the wind blow 24/7, at some moderate speed, within a 1×1 meter column of air, 50 meters high?”

    Gee, maybe Anthony should have titled his post: “There’s a reason the modern age moved on from coal”. :)

    So, Russ, what is your next question? :)

    The wind power density does not consider any conversion efficiencies. Betz’s Law says we get at best 16/27 (59%) of the available power. Modern windmills get about 70-80% of that. Now convert to electricity (loose another 15%). Now you’re comparable to the 2.0 kW/kg for coal. Ignoring that you really only get good energy output when the wind is above average for the site, and no, you don’t get that power density 24/7. See this for all kinds of fascinating stuff:

    http://css.engineering.uiowa.edu/~ie_155/Lecture/Energy_Output.pdf

    And what about capital costs? Maintenance? Equivalent Life? Using your method, only an idiot wouldn’t build a nuclear power plant because the fuel is so cheap and you need so little of it. We know it’s a lot more complicated than that. Seriously, did you ever take a course in Engineering Economics?

    Of course the farmers are happy, local rate payers and taxpayers across the fruited plains are handing them money by the bucket loads. If it weren’t for the subsidies and credits, Buffet wouldn’t touch this technology with a 50-foot turbine blade. Drop the corporate tax rate to 0% and see how long this scheme lasts.

  123. “A physicist” doesn’t know what he’s talking about. 350 watts per square metre mean wind power density has got nothing whatsoever to do with real estate – this relates to the area swept out by the rotors.

    Just think about it and do a sanity check – since the wind is produced from solar insolation, which at top of atmosphere averages 350 watts per square metre, and at ground is around 200 watts per square metre, and around 2% of this flux ends up as available wind power, this gives a limit of around 4 watts available wind power per square metre of real estate. Real wind farms extract around 1 watt per square metre of real estate. I very much doubt that Iowa achieves an average of better than 2 watts per square metre of farmland.

    “A physicist”‘s calculations are thus at least two orders of magnitude adrift.

    His ‘one year payback’ compared to coal becomes a few centuries etc etc. Thus, no-one (without massive subsidies) is going to invest in wind power when it has a payback of a few hundred years compared to readily available alternatives, and the service life of the investment is around 15 years. Obviously, our forefathers weren’t stupid in moving from wind powered mills and wind powered ships to coal powered – there was a very compelling economic case. Wind is still wind and coal is still coal, and wind will never be economic.

    Don’t waste any more time on this ‘physicist’. He hasn’t a clue.

  124. Just an engineer says: Some engineering firms use 60 acres per megawatt for prelim calculations.

    Thank you for your well-reasoned post. Let’s use your “wide stance” sparse-spaced windmill density to compute the Iowa wind-versus-coal payout time:

    —————————————————
    windPowerEnergyRules = {
      paybackTime -> totalCoalEnergy/
          windPowerMeanCapacity,
      totalCoalEnergy -> iowaFarmArea *
          iowaCoalSeamThickness * iowaCoalDensity *
          iowaCoalEnergyDensity,
      windPowerMeanCapacity -> iowaMeanWindPowerDensity *
          iowaFarmArea,
      iowaFarmArea -> theSizeOfTheFarmIsIrrelevant,
      iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 1 MW/(60 acre),
      iowaCoalSeamThickness -> 1 meter,
      iowaCoalEnergyDensity -> 2.0 kW hour/kg,
      iowaCoalDensity -> 1506 kg/m^3,
      mile -> 5280 * 12 * 2.54 cm,
      acre -> (1 mile)^2/640
    };

    paybackTime//
      ReplaceRepeated[#,windPowerEnergyRules]&//
        ConvertToSI[#,year]&//
          (Round[#/year] years)&//
    Print["Iowa wind power versus strip-mine-the-farm payback time = ",#]&

    Iowa wind power versus strip-mine-the-farm payback time = 83 years
    —————————————————

    Only 83 years? Most Iowa farmers live longer than that. Heck, our farm’s been in the family for 140 years. And we intend to keep it another 140.

    Not to mention, even that little 60 acre field of windmills will yield a million dollars worth of electrical power each year. So if we can negotiate a lease royalty of, say, five percent, why that will pay for every farm kid’s college education, with plenty left over—and keep the land healthy to pass on to the kids too.

    So we’ll just say “yes” to Warren Buffett’s good deal, and “no” to Ruth Lea’s bad deal, eh?

    That’s the way Iowa’s farmers see it, for sure.

  125. >> A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm
    Iowa’s average wind energy potential is (about) 350 Watts per square meter. <<

    According to the link below a typical wind farm gives 0.7 watts per square meter. That assumes about 15% of full capacity. Even assuming full capacity 24/7/365 gives you less than 5 watts per square meter. Using the more realistic number takes your calculation to 500 years of wind energy to equal the energy from coal. How many times do you need to rebuild those windmills in 500 years?

    http://www.energyadvocate.com/fw84.htm

    If you're a physicist you just flunked your PhD qualifying exams.

  126. .
    Yes, we have been saying this for some time here on WUWT.

    Here is my 2009 WUWT article ‘Renewable Energy, Our Downfall’, and this was originally written back in 2004.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/25/renewable-energy-–-our-downfall/

    Clearly there were many lay-people who understood that wind power would be a disaster, so why did nobody within that huge body of ‘wisdom’ known as accademia understand this? So the question becomes, are accademics:

    a. A brain-dead waste of space?
    b. Eutopian fantasists with no link to reality?
    c. So timid and sheep-like, that they will not tell politicians and the media the truth?

    In my dealings with a renewable energy professor who is an advisor to the UK government, the answer is b., and that is probably the most scary of all the options here. Here is a respected and highly intelligent scientist, and he is telling the government lies from the bottom of his heart – and politicians are making disasterous and expensive policy descision based upon those lies. Scary.

    .

  127. >>>A Physicist
    >>>So, whom should WUWT readers heed? Ruth Lea’s skeptical “nay” or
    >>>Warren Buffett’s nonskeptical “aye”?

    Warren Buffet is farming the governemnt subsidy, not wind energy. His investment is a sure fire bet – not because Buffet is going to generate any useful energy or save the planet, but because he is going to fleece the taxpayer.

    This is the trouble with physicists – absolutely no common sense and absolutely no link to world reality.

    .

  128. Ralph says:
    January 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    This is the trouble with physicists………….
    =====================================================
    He’s not a physicist. All of the ones I’ve ever known would easily spot his logical flaws and flaws in his physics, which are many. Further, most, in spite of their enormous egos acknowledge proof against their winsome posits.

  129. A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm
    “So we’ll just say “yes” to Warren Buffett’s good deal, and “no” to Ruth Lea’s bad deal, eh?”

    You do understand that Warren is in it for the money, i.e. the subsidies, and that he wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing if there were no subsidies? Nobody questions that feeding in the public trough makes you fat, nobody, A Physicist.

  130. “A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm
    ————————————–
    windPowerEconomicsRules = {
    farmRevenuePerYear -> 1 year * iowaFarmArea *
    iowaMeanWindPowerDensity * iowaRetailPowerPrice,
    mile -> 5280 * 12 * 2.54 cm,
    iowaFarmArea -> (1 mile)^2,
    iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 350 W/m^2,
    iowaRetailPowerPrice -> 0.12 dollar/(kW hour)
    };

    farmRevenuePerYear//
    ReplaceRepeated[#,windPowerEconomicsRules]&//
    ConvertToSI[#/(10^6 dollar)]&//Round//
    Print["Iowa wind power = $",#,",000,000 per square mile per year"]&

    Iowa wind power = $954,000,000 per square mile per year
    ————————————–”

    I’m no physicist, but it looks like your formula converts miles into centimeters — Not Meters. So you’re off by a factor of 100 there.

    Then you multiply the iowaMeanWindPowerDensity (in Watts) times the iowaRetailPowerPrice (in Kilowatts). So you’re off by a factor of a thousand there.

    $954,000,000 / 100,000 = $9,540 per square mile per year.

  131. Physicist-

    I think the Wind Energy Density 350 W/ms is perpendicular to a vertical plane, i.e the plane of of the rotor disc, not the horizontal surface area of your farm. Figure out the spacing of your turbines and try again.

    Would you sell the coal on order, or randomly and arbitrarily reduce or cut off the supply to your customers?

  132. Reg Nelson says: I’m no physicist, but it looks like your formula converts miles into centimeters — Not Meters. So you’re off by a factor of 100 there.

    Reg, that’s a reasonable concern, however the near-end routine “ConvertToSI” converts all non-metric units to metric units.

    So the final result is correct: each square mile of Iowa windblades can catch one billion dollars worth of wind energy per year.

    To be sure, one square mile of windblades is a lot of windblades … and that’s why Iowans are manufacturing a lot of windblades.

    Which is mighty good news for Iowans, eh?

  133. Of course, fossil fuels also are not “economically viable without taxpayer funded subsidies.” Both direct payments (about $4 billion last year in the US) and, mostly, indirect, via the damaging pollution it dumps into and onto the property of others and of the Commons. Without this massive subsidy — a form of socialism, really — fossil fuels would not be (so-called) competitive. A recent paper by Nordhaus finds that power generation by coal causes more damage than value added….

  134. How I wish everyone would wake up to the fact that an atmospheric greenhouse effect is a physical impossibility, as Prof Claes Johnson’s “Computational Balckbody Radiation” proves. No one has proved Johnson wrong, so there is no basis for assuming carbon dioxide has any warming effect. Backradiation from a cold atmosphere cannot warm a warmer surface.

    I didn’t think I’d ever quote DeWitt Payne in support of my case, but there’s a new post of his on SoD* which reads …

    “If you have an IR absorbing gas in a cell and put a black body emitter at the same temperature as the gas at one end of the cell, you won’t see absorption or emission lines or bands regardless of path length. You only get absorption if the emitter has a temperature higher than the gas.. ”

    … and thus gives a real life example confirming Prof Johnson’s conclusion, namely that only radiation with frequencies above a cut off frequency (determined by Wien’s Displacement Law and proportional to absolute temperature) is absorbed and converted to thermal energy. In other words, the only warming comes from direct incident solar radiation.

    Let me also quote two subsequent posts on the same thread by a certain “Jack Frost” whom you will no doubt recognise.

    (1) ” … The cut off frequency determines whether absorption and subsequent warming can occur, as obviously does for SW radiation. The cut-off falls approximately between the spectra of SW absorption and LW emission and, as you know, the spectra barely overlap for this very reason.

    There is no proof of the contrary in any standard physics documentation. There are just wishy-washy “explanations” of the assumed greenhouse effect, none of these backed up by any proof whatsoever that radiation from a cooler source can warm a warmer surface.

    It simply doesn’t happen in nature, which is why the GHE is a physical impossibility.”

    (2) “Have you ever really thought about why radiated heat transfer is always from warmer to cooler bodies?

    What is the actual mechanism that determines this? How does one body “know” that the other is cooler or warmer? We can easily construct examples in which the intensity of radiation from the warmer body is less than that from the cooler body, eg a polished silver warm body and a black cool one. So why doesn’t the cooler one warm the warmer one if the radiation intensity from it is the greater?

    The ONLY answer lies in what Prof Johnson has proved.”

    * http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/07/31/the-amazing-case-of-back-radiation-part-three/#comment-15206

  135. Erinome says:

    “Of course, fossil fuels also are not ‘economically viable without taxpayer funded subsidies.’ Both direct payments (about $4 billion last year in the US) and, mostly, indirect, via the damaging pollution it dumps into and onto the property of others and of the Commons. Without this massive subsidy — a form of socialism, really — fossil fuels would not be (so-called) competitive.”

    What a flat wrong statement. Fossil fuels are the gold standard of energy production. Everything else is compared with fossil fuels, not vice-versa. And since people must pay for energy with or without subsidies, fossil fuels will always be the energy supply of choice.

    The best way to test that would be to eliminate all energy subsidies. But that won’t happen, because the immediate result would be the elimination of alternative energy sources, leaving only fossil fuel energy production. Face it, alternate energy production fails without subsidies; not so with fossil fuels, which can easily pay their way without subsidies of any kind.

    Finally, subsidies are more a form of fascism than of socialism. Fascism is government control and direction of business, while socialism tends toward government redistribution of earnings and wealth. Both are the result of big government, and thus both are anti-freedom.

  136. I see ‘A physicist’ shuffled off to hide in the wake of his numerous huge calculation errors. Maybe he’ll be back as ‘A climate scientist’ The allowance for error is much larger in that religion, as long as it is in the direction the high priests allow.

  137. Smokey says:
    Fossil fuels are the gold standard of energy production.

    Only if their damages are ignored.

    But those damages are real, and are paid elsewhere than at the gas pump or electric meter. Coal doesn’t price out at any level (Muller, Mendelsohn, and Nordhaus, 2010).

    > The best way to test that would be to eliminate all energy subsidies.

    Then that should include the large subsidies fossil fuels receive by being allowed to emit their pollution cost-free onto the property of others. That, too, is a form of socialism, and it skews the free market and leads to economic inefficiencies.

  138. Erinome says:

    “Doug Cotton: Oh, please. Arguments like Johnson’s have been debunked again and again. More importantly, there is stark evidence of the greenhouse effect…”

    Erinome: Oh, please. Those are just unproven conjectures. Opinions. If the putative ‘greenhouse effect’ could be quantified, there would be no more discussion; the issue would be settled. But the endless debate shows decisively that the issue is not settled. There is not even agreement on the basic question of climate sensitivity to 2xCO2.

    There may be an effect from added CO2. But it has certainly not been proven.

  139. Smokey, the greenhouse effect *has* been quantified — simple measurements of the radiation spectrum at the Earth’s surface and the top of its atmosphere demonstrate it.

    And the effect from added CO2 has also been proven:

    “Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997,” J.E. Harries et al, Nature 410, 355-357 (15 March 2001).

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

  140. Erinome says:
    January 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Of course, fossil fuels also are not “economically viable without taxpayer funded subsidies.” Both direct payments (about $4 billion last year in the US) and, mostly, indirect, via the damaging pollution it dumps into and onto the property of others and of the Commons. Without this massive subsidy — a form of socialism, really — fossil fuels would not be (so-called) competitive. A recent paper by Nordhaus finds that power generation by coal causes more damage than value added….
    ========================================================
    Lmao! Ok sis, start quoting Nordhaus. Are you really comparing the $4 billion tax easement to the uncountable subsidies to renewables? That’s a riot. How much, in direct payments have gone to alternatives? $4 billion seems like a pretty good bargain from any perspective. While I agree this is a form a socialism and it shouldn’t be necessary, you comparing the $4 billion to the hundreds of billions thrown at lunatic alternatives make me wonder how steady of a grasp on reality you have. The DOE gave $65 billion away last year alone on fantasy sources of energy! Now, consider the returns.

    If you want to speak of science, specifically delineate the “damage” coal causes. I put cheap, reliable, abundant electricity above any fantasy any day, all day. You can have refrigerated food, or, you can fantasize about it. You can have light at night, or you can fantasize about it. You can have air-conditioning in the heat of the summer or you can fantasize about it. (This includes air-conditioning of hospitals) You can have refrigerated medications or you can fantasize about it. (If you don’t think that’s a big deal, just go to an electrified hospital and ask) …… I could and probably should go on, but if you’re too dense to understand what I’ve just stated, there isn’t much point in going further.

    The point would be, read the damned report. Think for yourself for just a second and understand what the hell you’re advocating. Here’s a reality. With or without alternative energy, this world requires carbon based fuel for our energy. Every delay on this reality kills people.

    Consider the contrast. We could, if we collectively chose to, deliver technology and money to a place which had no electricity. We could show them how to burn coal transfer that power to energy. Suddenly, these people would have what we have.

    Or we can show them how to plant pinwheels and sun catchers and they can have electric, sometimes. Of course, sometimes still spoils food, the medicine still turns to being ineffective or poison. Planning, of course, is impossible. What person advocates such a thing?

  141. Erinome says:

    “…that should include the large subsidies fossil fuels receive by being allowed to emit their pollution cost-free onto the property of others.”

    If, as I assume, you are referring to CO2 as “pollution”, then we need not take this any further. Because you, as a gross ‘pollution’ emitter, must accept the moral imperitive to eliminate yourself as a source of CO2 “pollution”.

    OTOH, if you’re only referring to such things as carbon soot as pollution, then we can be in agreement.

    Because CO2 is not “pollution”, no matter what nonsense you have been spoon-fed. CO2 is essential to the biosphere. More is better. CO2 is harmless and beneficial. Those are provable facts: no global damage or harm can be credibly attributed to the increase in CO2 – and that increase has raised agricultural productivity significantly. Those who want to reduce CO2 emissions also want to kill off the poorest cohort of the planet’s population.

    But if you accept that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere, then we are in agreement. And of course it follows that increased use of fossil fuels, in place of their alternatives, is the only ethically acceptable road to global prosperity. In fact, it is the only means, period, if government subsidies are eliminated.

    So let us eliminate all government subsidies of every kind of energy production, and observe which survives – and which is winnowed out by the free market.

  142. James Sexton says:
    If you want to speak of science, specifically delineate the “damage” coal causes.

    Really? You haven’t seen that mercury is a neurotoxin; that SO2 emissions cause acid rain; that soot and particulate matter damages lungs; that CO2 emissions cause climate change; that mountaintops are being removed in West Virginia, polluting streams and ruining ecosystems?

    I’m sure you know about these things — but you want to ignore them. Nordhaus, a professional environmental economist who skeptics favor for his analysis of climate impacts, has taken a crack at adding all these damages up. He finds that coal causes more damage than value-added.

  143. Tom_R says: I see ‘A physicist’ shuffled off to hide in the wake of his numerous huge calculation errors. Maybe he’ll be back as ‘A climate scientist’ The allowance for error is much larger in that religion, as long as it is in the direction the high priests allow.

    LOL … Tom there were no errors … it’s rather that the WUWT moderators have determined that WUWT’s readers sometimes need to be shielded from facts and explanations that might distress them.

    REPLY: Bull, Dr. Sidles, you are treading on thin ice sir. If you want to denigrate the volunteer moderators, you are free to do it elsewhere since you seem to take displeasure that your thread bombing here is not always successful. First warning, you are coming close to being exiled, and no I’m not interested in discussing it. – Anthony

  144. Smokey says:
    Because CO2 is not “pollution”, no matter what nonsense you have been spoon-fed.

    If you want to ignore science, why not simply claim that the 1st law of thermodynamics doesn’t hold, and then you can generate all the energy you want from a perpetual motion machine. Problem solved.

    If your only response to an argument is to revert to the position that the science is incorrect — science accepted by the vast majority of scientists and by every scientific academy in the world — then you have admitted you have no real response.

  145. I challenge anyone on this thread pushing the idea that the oil industry receives massive subsidies from the US goverment to cite one specific subsidy unique to the oil industry.

    Early last year the Democrats in congress floated a bill to eliminate those subsidies. However if you actually read the bill every single item in the bill was one of the following.

    GAAP accounting rules followed by all manufacturing buisnesses
    Tax deductions available to all manufacturing businesses
    Tax credits available to all manufacturing businesses.

    Not one item in the list was unique to the oil industry nor was any item in the list a true subsidy.

    Note: Basic infrastructure such as roads do not count as subsidies to the oil industry. Roads are open to all vehicles meeting certain criteria. The vehicles power source is not one of them.

  146. “At a public inquiry, some self-righteous councillor told them they had no right to object, since millions of Bangladeshis would drown in floods unless we all converted to wind power.”

    Why doesn’t someone at these public inquiries shout out the truth and shout down the clown… and make such words the laughing stock of the town. At most we are speaking of about a millimeter or two a year, if any, and people are going to DROWN? Man has managed just fine the slow encroachment of the seas over the last 10,000 years. If the water is getting over your soles, move, and cuss your ancestors from moving to that damn low laying island in the first place. T’aint my fault. Go beg to the charities, I give, but not to my government.

  147. After having read all this comment traffic, I’ve concluded that “stone madness” is contagious. Throw one raving nut-case into the mix and the the entire pile goes completely bonkers. Lordy!

  148. GregS says:
    January 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    “iowaCoalSeamThickness”

    Mr. A Physicist misses the obvious. Why would anyone mine coal in Iowa when they can buy coal from the Powder River Basin for less?

    Perhaps, he is seeking a government subsidy for mining coal where it is not economical… that certainly would be consistent with his worldview.

    True, but “a physicist” hasn’t provided enough information about the coal to make an informed decision. Having helped mine a few million tons of the stuff myself, I have to ask:

    1. What is the stripping ratio? (overburden depth /coal thickness, along with material type)
    2. What is the quality of the coal? Give it to us in BTU/ton. (this will help determine the value of the coal)
    3. What’s the market for coal in the region?
    4. What’s the access to a major haul routes in case it has to be hauled significant distances to market.
    5. What’s the areal extent of the coal? Are we talking acres or sq miles?
    6. What’s on top of the coal–are there buildings that obstruct the extraction, or farm land that must be reclaimed? Are their right-of-ways that can’t be touched and impede the mining operation?

    Some of these same questions can be asked about this “sure-fire” wind farm, which value can’t be ascertained without specific answers, even if Buffet thinks it’s a wonderful idea (why would he let a fantastic investment like this out of the bag unless he’s somehow making money betting against it).

  149. Erinome says:
    January 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    James Sexton says:
    If you want to speak of science, specifically delineate the “damage” coal causes.

    Really? You haven’t seen that mercury is a neurotoxin; that SO2 emissions cause acid rain; that soot and particulate matter damages lungs; that CO2 emissions cause climate change; that mountaintops are being removed in West Virginia, polluting streams and ruining ecosystems?

    I’m sure you know about these things — but you want to ignore them. Nordhaus, a professional environmental economist who skeptics favor for his analysis of climate impacts, has taken a crack at adding all these damages up. He finds that coal causes more damage than value-added.
    ===================================================================
    Yes, I’ve seen those things. And, I’ve read Nordhaus. And, the posits are vapid. Yes, mercury is a neurotoxin. Acid rain is as much as a dark fantasy as ocean acidification is. Being a smoker, I’m well aware of soot and particulate. I don’t give a rats ass about a mountaintop. I asked for science and you gave me hyperbole.

    I would address each one individually, but I don’t believe your attention span would last that long, given your deft regurgitation of tripe. So, I’ll approach this in a different manner. You assume, apparently, that there is no value in the electricity coal provides. Apparently, you also assume that electricity would be available without coal. And, perhaps it can be now. Without the recent discovery of abundant natural gas, it would not have been possible for cheap and continuous electricity. And even with the natural gas, replacing coal as a source of electricity is senseless. Most of the issues you bring up as a point regards the human condition. I ask you to stop and think. Consider all of the things coal brings to us in the form of electricity. Now, understand, all of what should have been considered which is not possible without coal.

    Consider the poor souls in impoverished parts of the world without electricity. Some burn dung in their homes for heat. Tell me, how much soot and particulate are they breathing compared to having coal fired electricity? Some places of this world can’t refrigerate food properly because they’ve no electricity or it is so sporadic that they can’t properly store their food. Tell me, would you rather live near a coal plant or eat rancid food? I propose we show them how to burn coal and use electricity as opposed to eating rancid meat. What do you propose? Should we give them a pinwheel instead?

    Yes, with everything there is a cost. And everything without, there is a cost. This discussion has carried on too long for this to be novel information. If you need clarification, just ask. If you don’t desire clarification you should know I despise willful ignorance, especially when lives are in balance. You do realize most of the hyperbole you’ve absorbed was made possible through coal, right? Still today, nearly half of the electricity provided in the U.S. is provided by coal. Hospitals, grocery stores, air-conditioners, water treatment plants, refrigerators…… yeh, that bastard coal is killing people. Lunatics!

    My aunt recently passed, she was nearly a centenarian. Do you think it was the coal that finally did her in? Or, is it that the coal allowed her to expand her life expectancy? If we had just dug up more REE instead of coal our lives would be so much better. Or maybe if we fracked just a bit more, we’d have been fine. Or maybe, just maybe if we laid out some more nuke plants…….. short sighted lunatics…….

  150. Smokey says:
    Because CO2 is not “pollution”, no matter what nonsense you have been spoon-fed. CO2 is essential to the biosphere. More is better. CO2 is harmless and beneficial.

    Like essentially all substances, it is sometimes beneficial and sometimes harmful, and can have degrees of each in different circumstances. It can be advantageous in one situation, and polluting in another.

    CO2 makes plants grow faster, but in doing so some of them have fewer nutrients. CO2 is essential to making the planet habitable for humans, but more of it warms the oceans and atmospheres and alters the climate, to which civilization must adjust — too high a rate of change and adjustment becomes problematic. Canada would benefit from a longer growing season, but rising sea levels can damage coastlines and invade water tables. Warmer temperatures mean less frigid cold snaps, but hotter heat waves. CO2 changes the pH of the oceans, which can threaten species like coral that can’t migrate or shellfish reliant on certain bays and estuaries. But it could conceivably hold off another ice age or aeroform Mars.

    The world is not black-and-white. One label does not fit all.

  151. James, yes, coal was almost certainly a net benefit to your grandmother (unless her husband died mining it).

    Is that all that matters? What about other’s grandmothers? Those who lived downstream from a strip mine, or downwind from a power plant that burned coal? What of the grandmothers who died in the 2003 French heat wave, or are losing income from this year’s drought in Texas?

    Should people in the future have the same chances your grandmother did? Affordable energy is certainly important, but so is clean air and water. Depending on where you live, so is a stable sea level or snowpack, and so on.

    Coal was once an important new way to generate power. But we now have technologies that didn’t exist 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago, and we are wealthier now too. We can therefore avoid to pay more to avoid damages that were once acceptable, and to avoid damages that our children’s and grandchildren’s generations will incur on our behalf. This is the history of the advance of civilization — to make the world cleaner and more efficient. Why should it stop now?

  152. James Sexton, can I use your words when I get into such an argument? That is one of the best responses I have ever read. And, sorry to hear of your aunt, I have one still here at 97 years old and I thank every day for the electricity that allowed her to live so long.

    Coal has lifted mankind out of the gutter of life, kill coal right now and you are a killer, literally. We need something like thorium reactors now and need them fast.

  153. No amount of subsidy or cost reduction can compensate for the fact that there is no electrical load that can function on a variable and intermittent power source. Wind or solar battery charging is feasible only if the battery is not required to be recharged in a timely and reliable manner. Why would you even buy an expensive battery if you don’t need it to be charged and available?

  154. It is so ironic that we are reminded of how bad coal is almost daily by so-called environmentalists who want to tell us how bad off we are today. Over half of the power in the US is still generated by coal. And yet we have cleaner air today then we have had in over 100 years. This fact often escapes these fanatics who have lost the plot.

    We have the longest life-span today then ever before. Our healthcare is better then it has ever been in this country. I could of course go on about how great life is compared to 100 years ago, but I think unless someone has stuck their heads in the sand, we could probably all agree on this. And if you do not agree, go read up on the Copper Wars in Montana and how a lack of environmental regulations (which is ironically how China does it today) was done back 100 years ago…..

    And the only thing you hear about is how bad we are poisoning our planet and how the costs of coal are going to kill us all. And how bad mercury is. Of course Mercury is perfectly acceptable inside the house around children in lightbulbs which can break and cause a toxic episide, but coming out of a smokestack….no way man!

    But if you look at the facts, coal has gotten the US to where we are today. Sure, oil, nuclear and other power sources have provided a secondary source of power over the last century and have helped us out as well. But over the last 100 years, the US has risen from a back-water country to the number one world power with everything I listed due to coal as our primary power source and that is true today just as it was 100 years ago.

    Progress has been made and the most ironic thing of all of this is that if you look at pollution levels since 1900 to today, you can not even pick when the Clean Air Act was first passed or further passings were done or when the EPA was first installed. The air pollution by any regard has been heading downwards since around 1900 at a downward slope as our society has moved up in progress.

    Some may herald this as an achievement as we moved from burning wood and other stuff to coal as the main reason that our society has flourished and gone from a society where the average life is now double what it was 100 years ago. While others cry about mercury, acid rain and other evils that they claim exist instead of looking at our society with optimism and hoping to achieve more through progress and putting their own work into making society better.

    Society does not get better by these leeches. They will drag us down and eventually progress will grind to a halt. Who will want to make a better invention if there is no motivation or no reward for doing so? Communism and socialism do not work. Any example from the 20th century can show us this.

    Our only hope is to remember the lessons of the past and move forward. Obviously, obsolete technology that is romanticized like wind power is worthless and not even worth discussing.

    People did use this form of power for themselves. Look up wind turbines in the 1930’s in rural settings. These were used and were MORE EXPENSIVE by orders of magnitude back then even then say coal. They were a luxury and were installed and used with expensive batteries for people who could afford to build them to power their homes where no power was available.

    It was sure nice to have the extra money to do that, but these “expensive luxuries” died out as the grid expanded and covered most of the US. Now wind power is so sporadic to be all but useless except in very limited locales where as before the GRID DOES NOT COVER IT.

    As I have said once and will say again, unless you want to pay the additional money to pay for your own power to be from solar, wind etc, shut up and do so. Let us choose what we want to use.

    I don’t want you forcing your beliefs on me. So don’t force yours on me. I want the cheapest form of power, and I don’t want to pay higher taxes to do so.

    I don’t want Warren Buffet and other billionaires getting tax breaks to put these monsters up. If you believe this is right, well go ahead and keep believing that is the right path. Your religion is obviously set in stone. Just don’t shove your religion down my throat. I won’t shove mine down yours.

    Because the second you start that….turnaround will come about.

  155. Much as I despise all think-tanks, I suppose it’s inevitable that occasionally one will actually say something semi-intelligent, as in this case, just by the laws of chance.

    It also says something about the UK that I’ve just sat through an hour of the BBC’s morning news propaganda programme on the radio and there has been not a word about this. Now, that’s ‘objective and impartial’ (ho ho).

  156. Erinome: You say: “Arguments like Johnson’s have been debunked …” I call your bluff. Read what Johnson’s argument actually is regarding the cut off frequency as determined by Wien’s Displacement Law, and show me just one single “debunking.” There has been absolutely none in over 6 months, my friend, because it is true physics – what happens in the real world. You’ll find links on my page here: http://climate-change-theory.com/RadiationAbsorption.html which is a “preview” of a chapter in my book soon to be published.

    What does NOT exist is any proof whatsoever that radiation from a cooler atmosphere can warm a warmer surface. I suggest yuo get your facts right before arguing physics with myself or Professor Claes Johnson.

  157. The biggest problem with these oversized windmills is huge levels (up to 100 dB SPL) of low frequency noise (infrasound). It is of course outside the range of human hearing, but it does interfere with our ability to hear proper sounds, nonetheless (feeling like deafened by too much noise, even in apparent silence). Also, it can easily overexcite the vestibular sytem, making life next to impossible if exposed for extended periods (symptoms like seasickness).

    As infrasounds can’t be perceived directly, there are no regulations in place for them, so irresponsible developers are inclined to place those monsters too close to human habitation and workplaces. Auxiliary infrastructure for construction and maintenance is much cheaper that way.

    Also, infrasounds of such low frequency are impossible to attenuate, there is no protection against them whatsoever, they travel freely, circumventing barriers and penetrating buildings.

    Hearing Research Volume 268, Issues 1–2, 1 September 2010, Pages 12–21
    doi: 10.1016.j.heares.2010.06.007
    Responses of the Ear to Low Frequency Sounds, Infrasound and Wind Turbines
    Alec N. Salt and Timothy E. Hullar
    Department of Otolaryngology, Washington University School of Medicine, Box 8115, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
    Cochlear Fluids Research Laboratory, Washington University in St. Louis

  158. Doug Cotton: Did you notice the basic experimental observation of the GH effect?

    I’ve read Claes Johnson. He has disproven just about ever major finding in science, usually at a rate of 2-3 per week. He’s what they call a crackpot (see http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html), and he’s not worth wasting a lot of valuable time on. There is too much good science to learn, and both of us should be spending our time on that.

    If Johnson wants to be taken seriously, let him submit his work to the science journals like everyone else. There real experts will dissect it, and journal readers can work through it. I guarantee you it won’t hold up — even Roy Spencer disagrees that the GH effect violates the 2nd law:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/07/yes-virginia-cooler-objects-can-make-warmer-objects-even-warmer-still/

    Of course, Claes Johnson won’t do any such write-up, or journal submission. It would shatter his illusions.

  159. I would like to bring readers’s attention to the post on Bishop Hill in regard to George Watson.
    The post Abuse of power against anti-wind farm movement can be read here:-

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2012/1/10/government-surveillance-of-windfarm-protestor.html#comments

    I remind readers of Matt t& Janet Thompson, and of their Operations Manager, Lindley Boseley who committed suicide, Peter Spencer, Dr Tim Ball and many many others.
    Thompsons: http://www.familyfirst.org.au/files/The-Story-of%20Matt-and-Janet-Thompson.pdf
    Spencer: http://www.abc.net.au/rural/content/2009/s2778535.htm
    Ball: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/08/help-asked-for-dr-tim-ball-in-legal-battle-with-dr-mann/

    I will be posting this comment also on Tips n Notes.

  160. ‘A physicist’
    “Definitely I stand by my main number, which everyone can check for themselves, and is easy for the public to remember: one square mile of Iowa windblades yields, each year, one billion dollars worth of electric power.”

    Total and utter rubbish. If you stand by that number, even after the debunking I and others have shown then you are disgracing the title of physicist.

    You can check it out yourself simply by looking at acreage and average (not peak) power output from installed wind farms. As a rule of thumb for coarse comparison one can work on the basis of 1 watt per square metre of real estate employed. That’s the order that wind farms actually achieve.

    One square mile is approximately 2.6 million square metres, so one square mile of windfarm in Iowa can be expected to produce 2.6 megawatts of electricity. I’m sure there would be a lot of power generation companies interested in getting a revenue of one billion dollars a year for generating a mere average 2.6MW, and I’m sure you can see that the prospect is so ridiculous as to be untrue. This power output is only sufficient to run a small town of a few thousand homes. Do you think that a small town could be fleeced with 1 billion dollars per year in electricity charges? Each home charged hundreds of thousands of dollars for electricity per year? Get real.

    If you stand by your number then, sir, of one billion dollars of electricity per year from one square mile of Iowa, and are promoting that ‘easy for the public to remember’ number then there is a word for you, and it’s not physicist.

    Stop peddling falsehoods.

  161. WHY IS BRITAIN BEING BLANKETED IN WIND TURBINES? …A FEW FACTS

    1.) The Prime Minister’s father-in-law is getting over £3m a year in subsidies for putting up a few bird shredders on his farm.

    2.) Wind turbines need backup sources of electricity generation called “spinning capactiy” for those occasions when the turbines can’t operate, thus negating any argument that increasing the number of bird shredders decreases our dependence on fossil fuels.

    3.) The costs of generating electricity in Britain can be summed up like this:
    a quantity of electricity priced at £1 which has been generated from coal from conventional power stations costs £22 when generated from wind turbines.

    What is being done to address this situation? …why putting up more wind farms of course!

  162. One problem there’s no argument about: Iowans are so outstandingly successful at generating wind power, they now have to build new high-tech transmission lines to export that power.

    And that’s a mighty good problem for Iowa to have, eh?

    REPLY: Oh, there’s an argument. It’s like building a railroad line. You can build it, but there’s no guarantee you are going to always have enough freight to make it economically viable. Special power lines were built to to Tehachapi, Palm Springs, and South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii too. Look what happened – Anthony

  163. wayne says:
    January 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    James Sexton, can I use your words when I get into such an argument? That is one of the best responses I have ever read.
    ======================================
    Yes, and thank you.

  164. A physicist says:
    January 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm
    Just an engineer says: Some engineering firms use 60 acres per megawatt for prelim calculations.

    Thank you for your well-reasoned post. Let’s use your “wide stance” sparse-spaced windmill density to compute the Iowa wind-versus-coal payout time:

    —————————————————
    iowaFarmArea -> theSizeOfTheFarmIsIrrelevant,
    iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 1 MW/(60 acre),
    Iowa wind power versus strip-mine-the-farm payback time = 83 years
    —————————————————

    Only 83 years? Most Iowa farmers live longer than that. Heck, our farm’s been in the family for 140 years. And we intend to keep it another 140.

    —————————————————————

    Sorry, you are confusing “installed” capacity with energy conversion, the average energy output of the typical wind turbine is 25% or less. you will need to multiply your 83 years by at least 4. That would be somthing like 332 or more years. You can use any computer model you want but GIGO is the result when reality is ignored.

    The sole benefit of wind farms is wealth transfer by way of subsidies based on science fiction driven politics.

  165. wayne says:
    January 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    James Sexton, can I use your words when I get into such an argument? That is one of the best responses I have ever read. And, sorry to hear of your aunt, I have one still here at 97 years old and I thank every day for the electricity that allowed her to live so long.

    Coal has lifted mankind out of the gutter of life, kill coal right now and you are a killer, literally. We need something like thorium reactors now and need them fast.

    James does indeed have a way with the English language, and you are right about coal. In fact, if people were to think the system through, they’d have to agree with Limbaugh that the Chevy Volt runs on coal. Yes, I said coal, because the thing has to be plugged into the coal-fired electric grid to charge the batteries (ok, ok, there’s contribution by natural gas, nuclear, hydro, and a touch of wind farm, too).

    But the energy conversion rate that eventually gets to the tires where the “rubber meets the road” is roughly 5% on the Volt. Why, the Rankine Cycle Cyclone Engine gets better than 30%, and you don’t have to worry about plugging the thing in or limitations on distance. (http://www.cyclonepower.com/works.html) Windmills and electric cars are hard to justify when you consider the whole system.

  166. A physicist says: “Definitely I stand by my main number, which everyone can check for themselves, and is easy for the public to remember: one square mile of Iowa windblades yields, each year, one billion dollars worth of electric power.”

    ScientistForTruth says: Total and utter rubbish. If you stand by that number, even after the debunking I and others have shown then you are disgracing the title of physicist.

    I’m happy to show my calculations, ScientistForTruth. Keep in mind that I’m computing the power generated by one square mile of windblade area, without regard for whether those windblades are close or far apart. Moreover, this time I’m putting in an efficiency factor of 1/3, to cover downtime, generator losses, etc. So check for yourself:

    —————-
    windPowerEconomicsRules = {
      revenuePerYear -> 1 year *
        generationEfficiency *
        windBladeArea *
        iowaMeanWindPowerDensity *
        iowaRetailPowerPrice,
      generationEfficiency -> 1/3,
      mile -> 5280 * 12 * 2.54 cm,
      windBladeArea -> (1 mile)^2,
      iowaMeanWindPowerDensity -> 350 W/m^2,
      iowaRetailPowerPrice -> 0.12 dollar/(kW hour)
    };

    revenuePerYear//
      ReplaceRepeated[#,windPowerEconomicsRules]&//
        ConvertToSI[#/(10^6 dollar)]&//Round//
    Print["revenue from one square mile of windblades = $",#,",000,000 per year"]&

    revenue from one square mile of windblades = $318,000,000 per year
    ———————

    Note the the now-assumed efficiency of 1/3 lowers the revenue to “only” three hundred million dollars per year, per square mile swept by windblades.

    Gee, no wonder Warren Buffett thinks this windpower business makes sense.

    ScientistForTruth, do you have any further questions?

  167. Erinome says:
    January 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    James, yes, coal was almost certainly a net benefit to your grandmother (unless her husband died mining it).

    Is that all that matters? What about other’s grandmothers? Those who lived downstream from a strip mine, or downwind from a power plant that burned coal? What of the grandmothers who died in the 2003 French heat wave, or are losing income from this year’s drought in Texas?

    Should people in the future have the same chances your grandmother did? Affordable energy is certainly important, but so is clean air and water. Depending on where you live, so is a stable sea level or snowpack, and so on.
    ====================================================
    Sigh, Erinome, you really need to read up and quit believing everything you’re told. You’re basing your views on false assumptions.

    Do you really believe coal plants caused the European heat wave of 2003? Or even the drought in Texas? Here is a news flash for you. Extreme weather conditions happened before, during, and will continue after we’re done using coal for electricity. If you want to see a plethora of extreme weather examples at various times in our history, go here. http://www.real-science.com/

    Yes, clean water and air is important. I assert the environmental regulations imposed on the coal industries ensures the air and water is clean enough.

    Here is another news flash. There has never been a time in history where the sea levels or snowpacks were stable. Never. But, while you are worrying about such stuff, go here…… http://suyts.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/its-all-over-except-for-the-shouting-and-more-on-sea-level/

    There you’ll see 5 1/2 years of lowering sea levels, 20 years of northern hemisphere snow extent increase and some other neat stuff. All verifiable.

    The biggest determent to human health is poverty.

  168. Matt says:
    I challenge anyone on this thread pushing the idea that the oil industry receives massive subsidies from the US goverment to cite one specific subsidy unique to the oil industry.

    Well, we just spent $900 billion on a war — plus 4,000 US lives and untold tens of thousands of Iraqi lives — in large part to ensure a place for oil companies to drill and profit from.

    Besides that, a CBO study (http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/67xx/doc6792/10-18-Tax.pdf) released in 2005 found that capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry. (See Table 2, p. 11)

    For many small and midsize oil companies, the tax on capital investments is so low that it is more than eliminated by various credits. These companies’ returns on those investments are often higher after taxes than before. (NY Times, July 4, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/business/04bptax.html)

    Also, see the statement of Alan B. Krueger, Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy and Chief Economist, US Department of Treasury Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure, June 10, 2009: “Current law provides a number of credits and deductions that are targeted towards certain oil and gas activities. The Administration proposes to repeal the following tax preferences that are currently available for certain non-integrated oil and gas firms: (1) the use of percentage depletion with respect to oil and gas wells; (2) the exception to passive loss limitations provided to working interests in oil and natural gas properties; and (3) two-year amortization of non-integrated producer’s geological and geophysical expenditures, instead allowing amortization over the same seven-year period as for integrated oil and gas producers.[3] Eliminating these three tax preferences is projected to raise revenues by approximately $10.3 billion from 2010 to 2019.”

    http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg284.aspx

    Continue reading lower, too.

  169. James Sexton says:
    Do you really believe coal plants caused the European heat wave of 2003? Or even the drought in Texas? Here is a news flash for you. Extreme weather conditions happened before, during, and will continue after we’re done using coal for electricity. If you want to see a plethora of extreme weather examples at various times in our history, go here. http://www.real-science.com/

    I believe that anthropogenic factors are now influencing all extreme events, that no one can (or will ever be able to) separate any event into YES-or-NO, and that statistics show a rise in the number of such events.

    Yes, clean water and air is important. I assert the environmental regulations imposed on the coal industries ensures the air and water is clean enough.

    Asserting is proof of nothing. A detailed, rational analysis of the issue comes to the conclusion that power generation via coal causes more damage than value-added.

    Here is another news flash. There has never been a time in history where the sea levels or snowpacks were stable. Never.

    Sea-level has been relatively stable for about 5000 years, but has changed in the last 150 years and its long-term rate of change is rising too (http://www.skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise-intermediate.htm). It is bound to rise more by the laws of science.

    There you’ll see 5 1/2 years of lowering sea levels, 20 years of northern hemisphere snow extent increase and some other neat stuff. All verifiable.

    Talk about a lack of thinking! 5.5 years is not a climatically significant period of time, nor it is true that sea-level is falling over that time:

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/2011rel4-global-mean-sea-level-time-series-seasonal-signals-retained

    Almost no scientists in the world agree with Nils Axel-Morner. Citing only him and failing to note the disagreement of so many others is biased reporting.

  170. Erinome:

    When you can produce EMPIRICAL proof that heat (thermal energy actually) can be transferred from a cooler body to a warmer one by radiation, then we may start listening to you on this forum.

    Unless and until you can, there is absolutely no empirical evidence for any atmospheric greenhouse effect because the “explanation” of such depends upon the critical assumption that backradiation from a cooler atmosphere somehow warms the Earth’s surface.

    Bear in mind that it has been shown that the atmosphere at night is colder than the surface and is COOLING FASTER than the surface all through the night. Just click the ‘experiments’ link on this page of my site for further details on this point http://climate-change-theory.com/RadiationAbsorption.html

  171. Veblen’s Theory Of The Leisure Class explains why efficiency and cost calculation are irrelevant to the AGW movement and why my poor Mr.Watts will never get a rational discussion by it’s proponents no matter how much science we read here. Remember,not only can global warming not be disputed in polite society,but apparently any possible remedy cannot be questioned either.Try telling a alternative medicine believer about double blind studies; it won’t work.Try telling a progressive that their bird shredders waste energy? Who cares.They don’t even accept money and cost as a marker for efficiency.

  172. Erinome says:
    January 11, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Almost no scientists in the world agree with Nils Axel-Morner. Citing only him and failing to note the disagreement of so many others is biased reporting. ……..
    ================================================================
    Erinome this is why we know you’re simply parroting without thinking. I wasn’t citing Nils Axel-Morner. I was citing the numbers from Envisat. If you’d had bother to ask or look, you would have known this. You can’t possibly be using that graph of spliced data to show sea level rise, are you? If you know someone at Colorado, would you be so kind as to tell them it isn’t proper to conflate separate data sets? Go here to see the dishonesty of conflating the data sets. http://suyts.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/alarmist-owes-me-a-keyboard/

    You would be the first to consider an EPA report as detailed and rational.

    I’d like a look at the “statistics” showing a rise in those weather events. Could you link them for me?

    And no, assertion isn’t proof, but according to the EPA themselves, coal emissions are 80% cleaner than they were in 1970. Considering that people were able to pursue normal, happy, and healthy lives in 1970, and coal emissions are 80% cleaner now than then, I think we’ll be ok if they continue as they are.

    Lastly, despite my better judgment I went to your link at SS. I couldn’t find a reference to 5000 years of stable sea levels. Don’t feel bad, it could be that they’ve retracted such a silly statement without saying anything about it. They do that at alarmist blogs. The sea levels have not been stable in the last 5000 years. There are many examples of once coastal cities which are now underwater and areas of land with have ocean artifacts. Instead of simply assuming climatology is correct about sea-levels, you should probably seek out archeologists and geologists. I think they are in a better position to answer that than some silly dendrophrenologist or whatnot.

  173. [crossing my fingers; this is my first attempt at using HTML tags on this blog, using Ric Werme's guide]

    MichaelEdits says:
    January 11, 2012 at 7:18 am

    The windmills aren’t the real problem. Rather, it’s the cranes. This problem can be overcome by the Tethered Aerostat Crane system which is described at http://www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/detail/15955

    I’d love to see how this makes sense. According to the link a “Tethered Aerostat Crane” is basically a hot air balloon. Windfarms are located where there is wind. Balloons tend to move when there is wind. One major requirement for cranes is positional stability. Another is lifting capacity. In both respects under windy conditions, balloons fall flat. If not balloons, how about aerial cranes (helicopters)?

    The largest lift capacity in the world is the Russian/Soviet Mil V-12 : 231,485 lb (105,000 kg). This design was deemed a failure and only two prototypes ever built; none flying today so scratch that. The replacement was the Mil Mi-26 : 123,455 lb (56,000 kg) and still in service. The largest US-built helicopter is the Sikorsky CH-53E : 73,500 lb (33,340 kg).

    Details here

    OK, according to another site (here), the specs on the current generation wind turbines are:

    In the GE 1.5-megawatt model, the nacelle alone weighs more than 56 tons, the blade assembly weighs more than 36 tons, and the tower itself weighs about 71 tons — a total weight of 164 tons. The corresponding weights for the Vestas V90 (1.8MW) are 75, 40, and 152, total 267 tons; and for the Gamesa G87 (2 MW) 72, 42, and 220, total 334 tons.

    So the Mi-26 could lift the nacelle and the blade for the GE model in two separate operations, but not the tower. Nothing else flying today could lift the nacelle, and the US Sikorsky could just barely lift the blade under ideal conditions. Nothing flying today could deal with the weight of the Vestas V90 or the Gamesa G87.

    It looks like part of the cost of major wind power deployments is the development of new super-lift helicopters, preferably ones that run on biofuels.

    Somebody want to calculate how big a hot air balloon would be required to lift 56 tons? And how much fuel would we have to burn to maintain the necessary volume of hot air?

  174. Then again there is a reason why the Dutch build so may of these wooden things… they actually worked.
    So I guess we could argue that instead of advancing, technology has actually regressed. Since many of the modern equivalents do not appear to be working.

  175. Alan Watt:

    the crane gang is pretty cagy about heavy lifts. for the enlightened, doing a lift with a helicopter is the really neat way to go but the traditional riggers shy away from it like the plague.

    they like to build roads up the hill to the site and then if its a fairly light lift put xxx number of boom extensions on the crane and then put it up there.

    if its a heavy lift then they gather several of the biggest truck cranes they can get and put them all on the load at once.

    bear in mind that truck cranes are rated at xxx tons lifted ten feet out from the centerpin of the machine and so if you are trying to pick a load 100 feet out then you can only get 10%of the rating.

    as a result of the lifts needed for erecting windmills the crane builders have been building some truly monster machines lately.

    one thing that must be taken into account is that helicopters are much more unstable than standard cranes, if the wind comes up in the middle of the lift helicopter pilots have a tendancy to drop the load to save their skins.

    helicopters are fast. my company wanted to move a huge antenna from one building roof (140 feet up) to another about a mile away (180 feet up). the job was to be done at 0900 on a saturday morning. we had people on both buildings at 0855 and the helicopter showed up at 0856. the job was done and the helicopter flying away at 0915.

    c

  176. In Montana it was just announced that a $320 million loan has been arranged to build another wind turbine farm. See: http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/california_company_gets_320m_loan_for_montana_wind_farm/26123/

    Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and the state’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, said they welcomed the company’s announcement. It would increase the state’s wind power generating capacity to more than 600 megawatts, Schweitzer said.

    Commercial operations could begin by the end of the year. When that happens, San Diego Gas & Electric Co. will make a $285 million investment in the project to gain credits toward potential tax breaks.

    Baucus took credit in a statement for helping pass tax credits for the wind energy industry, such as those that San Diego Gas and Electric hopes to get through its pending investment.

    Funny how tax breaks are the grease to make these projects go.

  177. From A physicist on January 11, 2012 at 9:11 am:

    I’m happy to show my calculations, ScientistForTruth. Keep in mind that I’m computing the power generated by one square mile of windblade area, without regard for whether those windblades are close or far apart. Moreover, this time I’m putting in an efficiency factor of 1/3, to cover downtime, generator losses, etc. So check for yourself:

    revenue from one square mile of windblades = $318,000,000 per year
    ———————

    Note the the now-assumed efficiency of 1/3 lowers the revenue to “only” three hundred million dollars per year, per square mile swept by windblades.

    Decided to double-down on stupid, eh? At least you’re admitting your earlier mistake of misusing Wind Power Density as if it related to ground area instead of area swept by the turbine blades.

    1 mi² = 2,589,988.110 m² (ref)

    http://www.windustry.org/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost

    The costs for a commercial scale wind turbine in 2007 ranged from $1.2 million to $2.6 million, per MW of nameplate capacity installed.

    Most of the commercial-scale turbines installed today are 2 MW in size and cost roughly $3.5 Million installed. Wind turbines have significant economies of scale. Smaller farm or residential scale turbines cost less overall, but are more expensive per kilowatt of energy producing capacity. Wind turbines under 100 kilowatts cost roughly $3,000 to $5,000 per kilowatt of capacity. That means a 10 kilowatt machine (the size needed to power an average home) might cost $35,000-$50,000.

    With those nice strong Iowa winds, the Vestas V80-2.0MW wind turbine looks like a good choice. “Swept area: 5,027 m2″

    For your square mile of swept area, 2,589,988.110 m² / 5027 m² = 515.2. You would need Five Hundred and Fifteen Vestas V80-2MW wind turbines to get (very close to) that square mile of swept area.

    From “Just an engineer” we get:

    Wind farms run 20-150 acres per megawatt of installed capacity. Some engineering firms use 60 acres per megawatt for prelim calculations.

    Using the 60 acres per MW installed figure, which you have used before, your square mile of swept area would consume 61,800 acres, which converts to 96.6 square miles.

    So that would be your $318,000,000 per year divided by 96.6 square miles, yielding $3.23 million per square mile. With 1 mi² = 2,589,988.110 m², each square meter of ground would yield just $1.27 a year from wind power.

    As I previously calculated, that coal under a square meter of your farm, one meter deep, would yield 3639 kW-hrs of electricity. At residential pricing of $0.12 per kW-hr, that cubic meter of anthracite coal is worth about $437 of electricity.

    The coal converted to electricity is worth 344 years of wind power electricity. Looked at another way, each cubic meter of that coal is worth now what you’d get from 344 square meters of ground with wind power installed on it over a year.

    That’s the real economics. It makes far more sense to dig up coal and burn it in a power plant for electricity than it does to put up windmills.

    BTW, if Iowans are having such great success with wind power, why do they pay so much for electricity? The figure used here is $0.12/kW-hr for residential. Here in Pennsylvania, our local supplier PPL is charging only $0.07769 per kW-hr currently, when the rates change for the next 3-month period on March 1, residential is estimated to be only $0.07299. Of course, Pennsylvania hasn’t bought into the “promise” of “free wind energy” or renewables in general, we primitives just keep burning some coal and splitting some atoms for our dirt-cheap electricity…

  178. >>Doug Cotton
    >>When you can produce EMPIRICAL proof that heat (thermal energy
    >>actually) can be transferred from a cooler body to a warmer one by
    >>radiation, then we may start listening to you on this forum.

    And I suppose you think that the outer shell of a thermos flask heats the interior, and that’s why the contents stay so warm…!!!

    LOL, you do get them on this forum sometimes.

    .

  179. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: [after a lengthy calculation] … each square meter of ground would yield just $1.27 a year from wind power.

    LOL … $1.27 per square meter?

    Kadaka, please get back to us with an estimate of the annual value of the corn/soybeans that can be grown on one square meter of farmland.

    Oh yeah … and please let us know whether you still think Warren Buffett and those Iowa farmers are making a foolish investment?

  180. you guys that calculate the milliwatts per square mile are missing something.

    farmers have a vested interest in having hundred foot high windmills at least 200 feet from the house. that is so if/when they fall down they will not destroy the house, barn, pigpen, chicken coop…….

    it would seem as though that would affect the “power density” figures that some of you use.

    Jess thinkin……

    C

  181. It appears the thread was hijacked by “A physicist”. So, what is the final score, here?

    A physicist has made a calculation of nearly one billion dollars worth of wind energy derived from each square mile of Iowa real estate per year, a figure so far divorced from reality that a real physicist might have noticed, and then made a comparison of wind versus burning coal. Along the way he has:

    1)Confused swept area of rotor with area of real estate, apparently.
    2)Uses an energy density of coal that is about 1/3 the accepted average value. (Was this after some assumed efficiency of a power plant?–who knows?)
    3)Over-looked all of wind energy factors, such as Betz’ limit, typical utility factor of 1/6 and so forth, but apparently applied these factors to coal. Then later tossed in an arbitrary factor of 1/3 to the wind generation to reduce his completely unbelievable figure of one-billion dollars per year, into 1/3 of an unbelievable value.
    4)Did all of this at high speed using Mathematica.

    Point four proves the old adage that to err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.

  182. The study is flawed because it compared apples (wind) + rotten oranges (old gas fired technology) to fresh oranges (gas turbine technology). What is needed is a study comparing only gas turbines to wind + fewer gas turbines. And see how much wind is needed to break even or do better. Only then decide whether it’s really not worth it.

  183. Mike P. says:
    January 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    The study is flawed because it compared apples (wind) + rotten oranges (old gas fired technology) to fresh oranges (gas turbine technology).
    ===========================================================
    Mike, they can’t. The newer gas turbines are for base load. In other words you can’t use them to back up the wind. One must use the old gas tech. The reason is because the old tech allows for quick alteration in the output, whereas the newer tech cannot. I believe that was one of the many points the study was trying to make.

  184. A physicist says:
    January 11, 2012 at 4:57 am

    One problem there’s no argument about: Iowans are so outstandingly successful at generating wind power, they now have to build new high-tech transmission lines to export that power.

    And that’s a mighty good problem for Iowa to have, eh?

    Considering all the subsidies wind farms get, that’s no feather in their caps.

    By the way, “physicist”, you never did answer my questions about your coal deposit. As such, any comparison you make with wind is null and void until you do.

  185. “A physicist”

    You goofed. You hijacked this thread with ridiculous and false calculations based on real estate, and since I’ve pointed it out that you confused swept area with real estate you’ve tried to wriggle out of it without admitting it. But you can’t. You said:

    “Iowa’s average wind energy potential is (about) 350 Watts per square meter. And under one square meter of our Iowa farm, there’s enough coal to provide 350 Watts of electrical power for exactly … one year.”

    So you were talking about real estate. The 350 watts per square metre relates to swept area, not real estate. In real estate terms it is around 1 watt per square metre for wind farms. By the way, physicists know that watts as a unit of power don’t have a capital ‘w’ when spelled as a word, unlike what you have written. That’s a very telltale sign, methinks.

    So, as I said at the start, you haven’t got a clue. As I and others have shown, you are between two and three orders of magnitude out in your calculations, whether revenue or payback.

    You goofed big time. To keep coming back and trying to justify your ignorance makes you look ridiculous.

  186. A physicist says: One problem there’s no argument about: Iowans are so outstandingly successful at generating wind power, they now have to build new high-tech transmission lines to export that power.

    And that’s a mighty good problem for Iowa to have, eh?

    RockyRoad says: Considering all the subsidies wind farms get, that’s no feather in their caps.

    RockyRoad wind power ain’t a “feather in their caps.”

    It’s “money in Iowa’s pocket.” And “power in Iowa’s wires.” And “jobs in Iowa’s counties.”

    That is why, when all the costs of wind are compared to all the costs of coal … as facts-on-the-ground based upon real-world experience … why, wind comes off looking pretty good.

    As Warren Buffett and all the good citizens of Iowa have figured out, eh?

  187. The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. ~ Albert Einstein.

    Warren in Minnesota says:
    January 10, 2012 at 6:43 am

    “@Pamela Gray:
    Wind, geothermal, and solar power generation are most effective on-site and at a small scale. It works quite well if your goal is to stay off the power grid or are in a location where electrical power is not available (and there are several areas in NE Oregon where this is the case).”

    Who is going to make our global scientists understand an easy point.
    Generally speaking, they are quite right of course, but there are many exceptions around the world that should be considered in place. Formulating, fixing and expanding a package to the whole world without any chance for the exceptions is not acceptable for such a community.
    %4 of energy consumption in US houses and buildings is for warming the water. This or part of that can be given by solar cells. What is the problem?
    Japanese produce electricity from an even small water fall to light a short alley. Small business plans are as important as the large scale projects. There are many reasons that make something feasible in somewhere, that it never can be feasible elsewhere.

    It is obvious that all other resources are BABY energies. At the time being and for the near future at least, they can never be able to compete with fossil based fuels (FBF). As soon as any reliable source of energy can provide us all our requirements economically, there would be of course no chance for (FBF) anymore.

    And about subsidies; Governments are responsible for many things against the people. Mostly in new fields the government should provide the requirements that private sector can dare to step forward and start a new business. The instrument here are TAX Exemptions, Low Taxation Rates and Subsidies. After some times and when the market can handle itself, the legal instruments are no longer extended. Same as a baby until the time that he/she can go on individually. These baby energies would never be a real threat but they may have some positive consequences and at least they can provide us some (%) of our energy demands, something is better than nothing.

    Almost all the friends here in this debate, are not positive to windmills. Mostly want to cut the subsidies from this ORPHAN. I have a simple question; really do we have anywhere else, that receives subsidy and you never talk about it? I heard in DC there are subsidies on electricity or something else. The records are in recent WUWT posts (R/P, Nothing is sustainable.. ) Now let’s agree together NO SUBSIDY ANYWHERE. The market can find what to do, this is fair.
    I saw the photo of the old windmill at the top of the post. It worked for many years satisfactorily. They! did not have enough studies on windmills. Apparently the first result is that we cannot have any expectation on large scale production form windmills, but it does not mean that it is dead, still there are locations that have necessary conditions to go on, and if somebody likes to follow up without any subsidies, what is the problem then? Who knows what would happen tomorrow? Robert Hirsch said Oil is going to be $500/b. More Hirsch On Peak Oil. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGHpWOSsDZk&feature=share

    Somebody said here, windmills are against birds!! What sort of argue is this? ASTUTE! Man-kind is killing more, isn’t it?
    One more thing; For those that would like not to be mislead-ed:
    1) The most effective power plants (GAS-LIQUID FUEL) generators output is %46;
    2) Steam or Gas turbines single cycle output is max %25-%33;
    3) Steam or Gas turbines combined cycle output is max %43;
    all depends on weather conditions and altitude from free sea levels, let’s make %10-%20 less and take the safe factor of %80 of the above max outputs. This is to clarify that DON”T THINK here we are in LAS VEGAS! with our hero the FOSSIL.

    And again:
    The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. ~ Albert Einstein.

  188. A physicist says:
    January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm
    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: [after a lengthy calculation] … each square meter of ground would yield just $1.27 a year from wind power.

    LOL … $1.27 per square meter?

    Kadaka, please get back to us with an estimate of the annual value of the corn/soybeans that can be grown on one square meter of farmland.

    Oh yeah … and please let us know whether you still think Warren Buffett and those Iowa farmers are making a foolish investment?

    ———————–

    Ok let’s play the “retail corn game”. Using your methodology an 18oz box of cornflakes retails for $4.65, and takes 0.8 lb of corn. Since a farmer can produce 180 Bu of corn an acre at 56 lb per bushel you have approximately 1.5 boxes per square meter.
    So there you have it $6.97 per square meter per year for corn vs $1.27.

    Isn’t fiction fun?

  189. Someone calculated Iowa wind power = $954,000,000 per square mile per year.
    This converts to $89,437,500 for a 60 acre area.

    Wind turbines need to be spaced 3-7 blade diameters apart.
    Using a GE 1.5 MW 77 m (rounded to 80 m) blade diameter costing $2 million we have:

    80.0 x 3 = 240 m is the closest placement possible
    240 m is 57,600 sq m
    57,600 sq m is 15.7 acres
    60 acres / 15.7 = 3.8 equals number of turbines on a 60 acre area (round to 4)

    1 GE turbine generates 1.5 MW peak power. Assume 25% average power 24/7 365 days per year
    1.5 x 0.25 x 8,760 hours in 1 year = 3,285,000 kWh in 1 year

    Assuming $0.12 per kilowatt hour (not a subsidized rate) gives $394,200 per unit or $1,576,800 in yearly gross revenue for a 60 acre wind farm (not exactly $89 million).

    Cost of 4 turbines is 4 x $2 million = $8 million.

    Years to recover initial purchase is $8 / $1.576 = 5 years.

    • Dear Steve,
      Your comment is not just a simple note. It is a short feasibility study when you go to a bank and ask for facility. Good Job, and thank you.
      I have very good feeling on that, because I had a 25MW gas engine independent power plant (3unitsx9MW), and with the same results, I could get a 7 years repayment package, and I’m quite satisfied of that. I want to say that with your calculations you showed the right figures and those misleading dimensionless calculations by some of our friends were not acceptable, they would make the right corrections.
      Now let me tell you that in combustion engines you know that air pressure due to altitude above free sea levels varies and this would affect the output by around %10. If you are in hot climate then there is less output that’s about another %10. There are still to come. Your best efficiency at sea level is %46, if you have any fault that makes your output below %41 then you should pay for the appropriate cost of the lost gas(natural gas) due to your inefficient output. when the network is not at peak then about another %10 is reduced because your engines are not working and you should not get paid for depreciation. This is just like we say when there is no wind then no income. Same problems. I have the experience of not to buying GAS as fuel. The contract is based on ENERGY CONVERGENCE AGREEMENT (ECA). So the fluctuation of FUEL is not a risk and the Government/Customer is sure that @zero rate for the fuel and the best output above %41 would get the required efficient power at the right time. Now what is the difference of a gas engine that is the most efficient CARB power generator and the WINDMILLS as you showed and proved in simple words, my package is a 7 years facility and you showed it is available in 5 years for the windmills. For such contracts the banking system is more satisfied to have a 7 years arrangement. The sound is good and congratulation to you for your excellent job. I hope our friends would get it, they have abilities far above of such simple things.

      Regards.

  190. I should add that if I was offered this business I would pass. Without taking into account permits, land purchase, constructions costs, ongoing maintenance etc, it would take me 5 years to get just the purchase price back.

    However, if someone were to guarantee me four times the normal rate, this would be an excellent investment. My capital would be tied up for several years, but there would be no risk to my capital and the high returns would continue several years after my original investment was paid back to me.

    • ACCKKII says:
      January 12, 2012 at 8:47 am
      ————————————————–
      “I live in the country and use a lot of electricity and propane (much of it work related). I looked at alternative power sources to save money (solar, heat pump, wood pellets, diesel). The cheapest was diesel at about twice the rate I was paying. Plus there are laws for how much fuel you can legally store on your property and how it is stored (a double enclosed tank with a berm, for example). It’s easier to just pay the government rates I’m afraid (but they are working on that as well).”
      Steve,
      Sorry,
      This was not my comment. Maybe there are some misunderstandings both sides. This is your calculation:
      “1 GE turbine generates 1.5 MW peak power. Assume 25% average power 24/7 365 days per year
      1.5 x 0.25 x 8,760 hours in 1 year = 3,285,000 kWh in 1 year”.
      Do you have anything hidden in your mind not disclosed here?
      Take the rate (4 cents)—–> 3,285,000KWh in 1 year X $0.04= $131,400—-> assume 100,000.
      And you said:
      “Cost of 4 turbines is 4 x $2 million = $8 million.”
      So:
      – one should sell the power @ 4 cents;
      -one should buy GE @ $2 million (this is not the right price- $1.5 million/MWh is the min rate for combined cycle power plants not for the windmills);
      – The government gets %13 its share;
      The “ONE” should be crazy to do. And…Where is the subsidy?

      About what I wrote earlier:
      Oil/Gas market is risky. You always should pay as an end user the oil/gas prices for your power plant/generator. This is impossible because there is no place in your pocket for such huge variations in base prices. Your contract with your off taker is for:

      1- a period that can be short/long term;
      2- saving against energy rate fluctuation, otherwise you are gone;

      Less the price and cost for the fuel, you have removed your risks. Energy Convergence Agreement ECA is for this purpose and it means you are just a Mobilized Labour (ML), and you get only your wage for converting energy (labour+machine+depreciation). Then the rate (4-8 cents/KWh) is okay. If you add the fuel cost to that, then min 12 cents is something still risky (material included rate). Here again, where is subsidy? The fuel is subsidized not the ML, who is this ML to SUBSIDIZE the people and why?
      4 cents is the market value for electricity. There must be something missing in your assumptions. 5-10 years is fair for any job plan. GE never makes generators that there is no chance to sell it.

  191. From A physicist on January 12, 2012 at 4:36 am:

    That is why, when all the costs of wind are compared to all the costs of coal … as facts-on-the-ground based upon real-world experience … why, wind comes off looking pretty good.

    You could have used this link to the abstract, which also hints as to what lies beyond the paywall (bold added):

    Keywords:
    coal; environmental impacts; human and wildlife health consequences; carbon capture and storage; climate change

    The paper is available here. From the introduction it is clear it’s looking at mythical costs such as those from climate change (global warming), there’s computing of costs and dangers from carbon capture and storage (CCS), etc. Conclusion #5 mentions eliminating mountain top removal (MTR) coal mining. Really, the whole thing amounts to nothing but a Green declaration against coal, seriously biased. For example:

    Acknowledgments

    The authors would like to acknowledge Amy Larkin of Greenpeace, who commissioned Kevin Eckerle, then an independent consultant, to perform work similar to this that is currently unpublished, and subsequently gave permission to make use of their work for this report. We would also like to thank James Hansen, Mark Jacobson, Jonathan Levy, John Evans, and Joel Schwartz for their helpful comments throughout the course of this work. The genesis for this paper was a Conference–“The True Costs of Coal: Building a Healthy Energy Future”–held October 15-16, 2009 in Washington, DC, supported by the Energy Foundation and the Rockefeller Family Fund.

    Approved by Greenpeace and James Hansen, the federally-funded anti-coal activist who has willingly been arrested to oppose coal as an energy source. Yup, you have indeed selected a great source for your wind-over-coal argument. Truly.

    Now then, do you actually have any “facts-on-the-ground based upon real-world experience” that support your assertion?

  192. Steve from Rockwood

    You don’t need to do those calculations and make assumptions about efficiency and optimum spacing. There are lots and lots of windfarms out there in the world, and we know their acreage and their average power generation. From this data we can determine that, as a rule of thumb, one can expect around 1 watt of electricity on average from one square metre of windfarm. Your 60 acre windfarm would thus produce little more than 2 million units per annum, give or take a bit. It’s not going to be wildly different from what anyone else can generate per acre, is it?

    $0.12 per unit is way too high – that would have to be to a rigged guaranteed market with guaranteed pricing. Electricity suppliers can’t get anything like that as a wholesale price using normal free market means. You would only be able to get that price when there is very high demand, but not for most of the day, most of the year. $0.04 per unit as a wholesale price would be more realistic, but for the sake of argument, let’s be generous and say $0.05 per unit as it gives us a nice round figure gross revenue of $100,000 per year. And, remember, that’s GROSS – you have some running expenses to pay.

    The notional payback on your turbines then becomes many decades – exceeding the life of the units themselves, not to mention your own lifespan. Thus you can never recover your capital investment with wind power EXCEPT IN A RIGGED MARKET. Rigging markets in favour of the inefficient at the expense of the efficient is a huge waste of the nation’s capital. In such markets a small number of people get very rich at the expense of the vast majority, and the overall impoverishment of the nation.

    If the USA wants to hobble its future and destroy its wealth then a massive rollout of windpower would certainly do the trick.

  193. Steve from Rockwood says:
    January 12, 2012 at 7:49 am
    I should add that if I was offered this business I would pass. Without taking into account permits, land purchase, constructions costs, ongoing maintenance etc, it would take me 5 years to get just the purchase price back.

    However, if someone were to guarantee me four times the normal rate, this would be an excellent investment. My capital would be tied up for several years, but there would be no risk to my capital and the high returns would continue several years after my original investment was paid back to me.
    ————————-
    In reality, the wholesale price for electrictity (what you would receive with out subsidy) is half that quoted or 5.5 to 6 cents. So figure 10 years not five for the purchase price. Yep, the consumer/taxpayer is getting taken to the cleaners every time one of those things gets erected.

  194. ScientistForTruth says:
    January 12, 2012 at 10:03 am
    ———————————————————–
    Just an engineer says:
    January 12, 2012 at 10:24 am
    ———————————————————–
    I tried to approach this from first principles in an attempt to not immediately discredit a certain physicist’s calculations. $90 million per year for anything on 60 acres seems impossible (except for certain banned substances).

    So I started with the number of wind turbines. Perhaps 4 is too low. But even with 40 turbines and a generous selling price for electricity the $90 million is out by more than a factor of 10.

    I used $0.12 per kWh to be generous. After all we know these projects are subsidized. And yes the actual price (to compare against a competitive form of energy) should be lower, less than half.

    Another approach would be to deconstruct an actual wind farm. On the Cape Wind Farm in PEI there are 16 units operating on a footprint of 250 acres for a total power generation of 10 MW.
    This means 23 GWh per year. At a more reasonable price of $0.05 these units will produce $1.156 million in gross revenue. Operating costs are estimated at $250,000 per year (I doubt this is true because there are 2 people employed full-time and that alone would eat half the budget, but I’ll go with their lies – in fact I suspect they hired only 2 people and the rest are on contract – but I digress). This produces a net income of $906,320. The cost of the 16 units was not disclosed. Let’s assume they cost $1 million each, so the initial investment was $16 million, plus the land cost, plus construction. I’m going with $20 million.

    The pay back period on this installation is 20 years (if at all). A hint about the longevity of these systems can be found in the agreements wind farms have with the land owners. They typically run for 20-25 years at a value of up to $10 per acre (wow, what a deal). So over the life of the wind turbine, at normal market rates, you would be lucky to get your money back without interest.

    Again, if I were to participate in something like this, I would want 4 times the going rate or I wouldn’t even be talking about tying up my money for so long.

    But an even greater evil lurks. My electricity bill (which has gone up about 38% over the past few years) has a base rate for electricity of $0.062/kWh. Then there is a peak use rate and then a rate when I exceed a certain limit of kWh. Then a delivery charge and finally a 13% tax (the electricity company is owned by the provincial government which gets 8% of the 13%, the remainder going to the federal government). If I divide my electricity bill by my usage, my actual “all-in” rate is $0.12 / kWh. On a brighter note, the provincial government introduced a green energy rebate just before the last election so that I receive 10% of my money back. Final note: the $0.12 calculation is after the rebate.

    ACCKKII says:
    January 12, 2012 at 8:47 am
    ————————————————–
    I live in the country and use a lot of electricity and propane (much of it work related). I looked at alternative power sources to save money (solar, heat pump, wood pellets, diesel). The cheapest was diesel at about twice the rate I was paying. Plus there are laws for how much fuel you can legally store on your property and how it is stored (a double enclosed tank with a berm, for example). It’s easier to just pay the government rates I’m afraid (but they are working on that as well).

  195. A physicist says:
    January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: [after a lengthy calculation] … each square meter of ground would yield just $1.27 a year from wind power.

    LOL … $1.27 per square meter?

    Kadaka, please get back to us with an estimate of the annual value of the corn/soybeans that can be grown on one square meter of farmland.

    Oh yeah … and please let us know whether you still think Warren Buffett and those Iowa farmers are making a foolish investment?

    Here’s the bottom line question: what is Mr. Buffett offering for the right to put a wind turbine on your property? What are the terms? Your earlier post claimed a square mile of Iowa farm land was good for roughly a billion dollars of annual wind power earnings. If you assume a 10% cap rate, an investor would be willing to pay 10 billion dollars for an income stream of 1 billion dollars a year. So then the question becomes what is the capital investment required to turn that square mile into a super windfarm: deduct that from the 10 billion value of the developed property and what is left is what an investor would be willing to pay for the use of the land. Divide that by 640 and you have the purchase price per acre.

    Don’t let your family and neighbors sell out cheap just so Warren Buffet can move up a place or two in the list of the world’s richest people: hold out for what it’s really worth. If the above calculation is significantly higher that Buffett is offering there are only two possibilities: (a) Buffett is a really, really greedy capitalist, or (b) you’ve over-estimated the reasonable income potential for that use of the land. If (a), eventually a just ordinarily greedy capitalist will come along and meet your price. If (b), you’re stuck growning corn/soybeans (thank you by the way; I consume them both).

    If wind power makes economic sense, then even if you take away all the subsidies investors will be able to offer landowners a better price for the land than its current use and still make a buck for themselves.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter what analysts like Ruth Lea say: in a free market some investors with a higher tolerance for risk will try a new idea. If the fundamentals are sound, eventually they will find a way to make it work. Once something is shown to work the more timid follow. Having some supposedly wiser central authority subsidize a particular technology just distorts decision making.

    It is rarely necessary to subsidize a good idea; it is usually essential to subsidize a bad one.

  196. From A physicist on January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm:

    LOL … $1.27 per square meter?

    Kadaka, please get back to us with an estimate of the annual value of the corn/soybeans that can be grown on one square meter of farmland.

    The $1.27/m² figure is full-blown retail, at a retail residential electricity rate that seems exorbitant to me here in Pennsylvania. So it represents the displacing of energy the farmer would be otherwise getting from the utility and requires owning their own wind turbine and equipment.

    For what the farmer would actually be getting, this document from the Union of Concerned Scientists, of which Kenji Watts is a beloved member, puts annual payments to farmers by the wind turbine owners at “…around $2,000 to $5,000 per year for each turbine, depending on its size.” However this document could use some updating, as seen down in the “Successful Wind Farming” section where they have an example of a retired Iowan farmer whose turbines are owned by Enron Wind Corp.

    There is a November 21 2011 article on a site clearly advocating wind power, “Iowa Town reaps windfall from turbines”:

    http://governorswindenergycoalition.org/?p=423

    For some it was an easy sell: an opportunity to make thousands of dollars each year. MidAmerican doesn’t share information on how much it pays property owners, but one said the going rate was $3,000 per megawatt. With each turbine producing 2.3 megawatts, that’s $6,900 per turbine per year — plus a 2 percent rate increase each year.

    At 60 acres a megawatt, which converts to 242811.385 m² (ignoring significant digits), that’s $3000/242811.385m² = $0.012355269/m². Yup, the farm owner would see just over a penny for every square meter.

    Oh yeah … and please let us know whether you still think Warren Buffett and those Iowa farmers are making a foolish investment?

    It’s undoubtedly a good deal for Buffett, he’s a seasoned investor who’s ridden bubbles before. And that’s what wind power is, a bubble, buoyed by government support including subsidies and mandated use of renewables. With tax credits and depreciation write-offs, the invested capital is not out there for long before being reclaimed. With utilities being forced to buy renewable energy, the market is assured for the moment.

    But when carbon trading refuses to materialize, and as exasperation over high electricity prices continues to show up at the ballot box, policies will change. It’s already started in Greener-than-thou Europe and elsewhere. True conservationists are speaking out about the effects of the bird choppers, as well as the bats they kill, etc. The bust will come.

    Businesses have shown how they protect themselves with renewable projects. The assets get transferred to a subsidiary. When hitting the end, after the investment is recouped and profits go away with increasing maintenance costs, the subsidiary goes bankrupt.

    So yeah, it’s a good investment for Buffett.

    For the Iowa farmers, they have invested nothing. Yup, it looks good for them now. From an investment of nothing they get some steady income, hopefully they got a per-turbine deal rather than with revenue sharing. Farming alone can be more profitable than wind-farming alone, but generally they can farm around the turbines and access roads, so it’s like they’re getting paid twice.

    But as the turbines start breaking down and the owning company sees the profit go away, as the bust commences, the farmers could be stuck. With the turbines increasing the profitability of land, the property values are going up, which means the property taxes are going up. If the owning company goes bankrupt and the payments stop, the farmer has turbines he can’t touch as he doesn’t own them, which may well affect the rest of his property as they deteriorate. There are still the property taxes to pay.

    And as payers of property taxes find out, government will willingly raise property taxes but will outright refuse to lower them without judicial intervention. You build a shed, “improving” the property, your property taxes go up. Tear one down, they don’t go down. Build another, they go up again. After the turbines are carted off for scrap, even if everything doesn’t go belly-up and it’s a “normal” termination of the arrangement, those higher property taxes will remain.

    Short term gain, long term pain. Plus there’s the not-mentioned slimier aspect, family farmers as a group are normally on the desperate end of the financial spectrum, one or two bad years away from total collapse. It’s a given some of those signing agreements feel they can’t afford to not sign.

    Tell you what, you come back in ten years and tell us how great a deal it turned out to be. I’ll bet at least some will have wished they’d mined the coal on their property instead.

  197. Simple answer on the dependability of wind power: When was the last time any warship or passenger liners powered strictly by sails built?
    QED

  198. Actually Rascal the changeover from sail to steam and later motor power was much slower than people generally suppose these days.

    By the 1840’s the British colonies were clamouring for steam navigation because of its reliable mail schedules.

    But these early steamships were very expensive both in terms of capital and operating costs so they had to be subsidized. And of course ocean going steamships used auxiliary wind power both for propulsion and stability..

    The commercial trade stayed with sail for much longer, the famous or infamous Mary Celeste was a typical example of her day. The reason was simple, wooden ships were cheap to build and man compared to steam: and many passengers preferred them for their stability and silence. And with the types of cargo of the day schedules were not that important.

    And well handled in favourable weather they could be much faster than steamships, clippers like the Cutty Sark could manage eighteen knots or so to a steamship’s eight. The fast liners did not appear for another thirty years and even then were not much faster. for instance the Titanic. The truly fast steam liner such as the Queen Mary is a product of the 1930’s.

    It took until the 1880’s, the invention of the scotch boiler, the triple or later quadruple expansion engine and so on before the iron hulled steamship began to dominate the cargo trade. Even then the sailing trade remained a diminishing but important part of the business until German U boat piracy of the First World War put an end to them in the Atlantic: they accounted for the bulk of the tonnage sunk.

    In the Pacific they survived until the Second World War did much the same but by then they were a very small part of the trade.

    Kindest Regards

  199. More on the North Cape Wind Farm. Their annual report 2009/2010 is here:

    http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/PEIEC.pdf

    They bought 16 Vestas 660 kW turbines at a combined cost of $16.5 million and spent $3.6 million on construction.
    Total investment $20.1 million.
    They generated 32.42 GWh of electricity for gross revenue of $3.2 million. This equates to $0.099 per kWh which is a subsidized rate paid by the Province (taxpayers) to the provincially owned utility.
    Annual direct costs are $225,000 but do not include maintenance of the turbines. This is done through a complex arrangement with Vestas which includes a penalty if the turbines fail to operate at their plate efficiency. In fact in 2010 Vestas paid the utility over $400,000 in penalties due to lost electricity production.
    The installation covers 250 acres. Gross revenue per acre is $12,800.

    When I look at the financials of this company it is obvious it could not exist on its own (without government financing and ongoing subsidies). They have $60 million in assets, $40 million in long term debt and seem to have gone through $3 million in cash last year despite net earnings of $4 million.

  200. General Electric:
    July 25, 2011

    http://www.endurancewindpower.com/products.html

    “Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest Provide Financing for Endurance E-3120

    Vancouver, BC July 25th 2011 – Endurance Wind Power, manufacturer of advanced wind turbines for distributed applications, has been approved for financing on their E-3120 50kW wind turbine under the Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest’s new green fund.”

    The Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest have created a renewable energy team equipped with a £50 million green fund to meet the growing demand of businesses looking to install wind turbines and solar panels. Their renewable energy team, each independently accredited to advise customers by the Chartered Institute of Bankers, will help customers deal with uncertainties around planning, feasibility studies, and making environmental impact assessments in order to speed up the application process. The fund will allow customers to borrow up to 100% of the total investment value and can also be secured with alternative assets.”
    A sample of investment:
    How is that? When the banks are going to take back the money? Do you think the banks are charities?

  201. Steve from Rockwood says:
    January 13, 2012 at 6:28 am

    “More on the North Cape Wind Farm. Their annual report 2009/2010 is here:

    http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/PEIEC.pdf

    They bought 16 Vestas 660 kW turbines at a combined cost of $16.5 million and spent $3.6 million on construction.
    Total investment $20.1 million.
    They generated 32.42 GWh of electricity for gross revenue of $3.2 million. This equates to $0.099 per kWh which is a subsidized rate paid by the Province (taxpayers) to the provincially owned utility.”

    Although I have some questions about “combined costs”, “which is subsidized rate” and “$0.099″ but I leave it “as terms that I understood now”.

    Let’s try and make some points clear, because I think we are talking about same things:
    We have two systems on the table, A and B.
    A- gas engine powered generators
    B- windmills

    system A is: investment on gas engines generator(G)+ fuel consumption+ depreciation+land+construction+infrastructure —-> price A= a
    system B is: investment on windmills (W) + 0 rate for fuel consumption+ depreciation+land+construction+infrastructure(here is the Wind)——-> price B= b
    Price in the market is= M
    The market satisfying rate KWh is M which is equal to a. Why? because we assume that still there is not the system B, somebody is going to invest on it.

    As you said earlier the investment on a windmill GE 1.5MWh is $2 million that is $1.33 million/MWh. For system A purchase rate is $5.0 million for 8.4MWh one gas engine (Hyundai) or $ 0.60/MWh.

    As we see investment ARunning Cost B ; depreciation A> depreciation B ( A is fast moving) ; Land A < Land B ; Construction A ~Construction B.

    If I give you the rate b same as the rate a same as the market rate M, what is your answer, you want electricity I'll give you @ rate M or a.
    If the rate M is 6 cents/KWh then this would be a problem for system B and it should be subsidized. But if you are paying KWh for system A and you are saying the rate for system B MUST BE 4cents ( I don't know why), then my question is where it has come from? Where is the subsidy?
    Here the ruler is the market price not the system that produces electricity. There are many more factors like existing infrastructures. If you don't have the required infrastructures for a fossil based fuel power plant then you should add this to your costs, wind in acting like an existing infrastructure.
    I should add here, I cannot believe that the electricity from a fossil based fuel is 6 cents/MWh. Here I see something is subsidized.
    Somebody said "electrons are not for buy/sell they must be under the government control" and "we should not pay for idle times in power plants".
    Isn't this subsidizing?
    If we ask the government to provide us the electricity @ 6 cents/KWh from all available sources, do you believe it means " the no more subsidizing"?

  202. @ACCKKI.
    There are many diesel powered generating systems in operation in Canada. They seem to be the most efficient and reliable choice for remote communities and industrial operations (mines etc). I have leased facilities based on diesel power and can tell you the price is much higher than what I pay at my home (about 10 times). But in areas with existing electricity infrastructure diesel cannot compete on any scale. It is unlikely that the public utilities are subsidizing the base rates for electricity as many large electricity users (Inco Limited and Falconbridge Limited come to mind) have dropped their independent generation facilities and moved onto the public grid 100% several years ago.

    The rate being offered to the wind turbine company at $0.099 / kWh is 50% higher than what the provincial utility is charging so it has to be a subsidy. When you look at the books of the wind company that is 100% owned by the province you can easily tell it is losing money by the truck-load. Gross revenue was $19 million, cash paid to employees / contractors was $9.8 million, interest paid on debt was $1.9 million, repayment on long term loans $6.2 million, repayment on short term loans $3.8 million. These costs alone total (9.8+1.9+6.2+3.8) $21.7 million which is consistent with the utility burning through $3 million in cash. The utility is spending 112% of its revenue and has been in business for almost 10 years.

    The assets of $50-$60 million are very unlikely to have that value as they are using a 20 year linear depreciation model. But the $40 million in debt is very real. Without direct cash injections AND a subsidized electricity rate of more than 50% the normal rate PLUS the fact that ALL of their assets were purchased for them by the Federal and Provincial governments makes this “company” insolvent if it weren’t for the fact that everything is guaranteed by the Province. It is essentially a make-work project for a province with historic high unemployment.

    The fact that Warren Buffet would buy into such a scheme just shows how willing governments are to give the publics money away in the name of job creation. Check out Vestas, the company that manufactures the wind turbines and guarantees the plate efficiency. They have cut their guidance for 2012, laid off 10% of their workforce, note a drop in government support (for subsidizing the industry) and their stock price is in the toilet, down over 40%.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/12/wind-idUSL6E8CC1RG20120112?type=companyNews&feedType=RSS&feedName=companyNews&rpc=43

    http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=VWS.CO#symbol=vws.co;range=5y;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=;

    You mention that the ruler is the market price and I agree. In Ontario the market price starts at $0.06 / kWh. This price represents all types of electricity – nuclear, hydro, gas, coal. I am not aware of any gasoline or diesel generation plants that feed into the public system. If you believe these numbers are subsidized then check out Trans Alta, a publicly traded Canadian producer of electricity (TA). The rates they receive would be public. I am not aware that they receive special subsidies (direct cash or higher rates) to generate electricity like the wind farms have. Recently they have bought into wind power – so maybe they have their hand out too. Nice dividend though.

    Governments would never allow a privately owned gasoline or diesel power plant to feed into the public grid as these fuels are seen as “dirty”. This is why they are subsidizing wind and solar in the first place – not because they are competitive but because they are (supposedly) environmentally friendly.

    • Steve from Rockwood,
      Says:

      “@ACCKKII. There are many diesel powered generating systems in operation in Canada. They seem to be the most efficient and reliable choice for remote communities and industrial operations (mines etc). I have leased facilities based on diesel power and can tell you the price is much higher than what I pay at my home (about 10 times). But in areas with existing electricity infrastructure diesel cannot compete on any scale. It is unlikely that the public utilities are subsidizing the base rates for electricity as many large electricity users (Inco Limited and Falconbridge Limited come to mind) have dropped their independent generation facilities and moved onto the public grid 100% several years ago. The rate being offered to the wind turbine company at $0.099 / kWh is 50% higher than what the provincial utility is charging so it has to be a subsidy.”

      I was thinking there should be some missing points between us, untold/unfolded points did not let us proceed, I was carrying water in a sieve!

      First: let’s clean up what so ever we have discussed about:

      1- I wrote “GAS ENGINES…” I should make it clear for you that my point was about NATURAL GAS not gasoline. From every 1 m^3 of this natural gas you gain 4KW electricity at sea level/ 25°c.
      2- Natural Gas Engines can provide us @ %46 the output and the fuel rate is more reasonable and CLEAN ( I hope they don’t blame us for this one).
      3- As you said; Diesel and let’s say combustion engines are generally the best for power generating due to their % output. Diesels engines are used as temporary or in industries where the grid is not available.
      4- My package is based on ECA (an agreement without fuel- fuel is given by the customer that is normally a public authority).
      5- The reason of ECA is to let the utility just do its job without risks of fuel rate changes.
      6- ECA is not a short term contract. So it is obvious the utility (power plant) can never handle the contract unless it is clarified “the fuel rate is escalated” when any changes happen. It is preferred to let the material is provided by the government/authority.
      7- ECA defines you as only a UTILITY nothing more nothing less. You are getting paid for just CONVERTING energy. You don’t have anything to give to the people as SUBSIDY. You are getting paid for wages and machine. This can be calculated easily in a feasibility study.
      8- If the Government has to subsidize this part of electricity rate, THIS IS A MUST FOR THEM, we are part of the people that, they must support us to make jobs. Apparently there would be no difference between a government CONVERTING ENERGY UTILITY and OURS, that I am sure there are differences, we do it cheaper than ever.

      Second: let’s agree together on some important issues:

      1- The government is subsidizing electricity rate.
      2- The government has made companies stop producing electricity because of the subsidized rates.
      3- The government could give the companies their fuel @ reasonable rates even ZERO! Because that 4-6 cents are just for the utility not the utility + fuel.
      4- The government has put a new pressure on the shoulders of the taxpayers to build up new power plants to provide and substitute for the lack of electricity production by independent companies.
      5- As long as there are any subsidizing system, we cannot blame any CONVERTING ENERGY UTILITY including WIND MILLS.
      6- Electricity Subsidizing is inevitable.

      Third: we must consider and analyze the real base price for 1 KWh without any subsidies.

      1- The base price is the power rate that we gain from fossil based fuels/hydro. We may have 4 rates, coal based, oil based, natural gas based and hydro, depending which one can be available @ end users site. Here we may have mean gravity electric rates by sources of production as well.
      2- Windmills should be compared with above available base prices @ end user’s site, even when there are no chances to have electricity according to (Third-1) above, the rate is defined by windmills.
      3- Utilities can not be part of subsidies. Because they are part of the people, they work for the government/public authority.
      4- Government should provide all the necessary supports as facilities, this would reduce the amount of subsidies. Actually the government is subsidizing the electricity as I understood from your comment. This is a reality everywhere. When the they are the owner of the utility you can never find how many (%) of the subsidy is for the utility and what part of that is due to the fuel. But when you have a contract as a private sector utility owner and under ECA terms & conditions, then the subsidy is applied to the fuel for sure. In this action, the government gain is the utility cheaper investment, operation and maintenance which is achievable under TENDER and competitive conditions.

      Forth: Wind should be known as part of INFRASTRUCTURE (same as the oil fields). The reason is; it is not available everywhere by its relevant definitions.

  203. Breaking News Buffett’s MidAmerican Utility Buys Three Iowa Wind Farm Projects.

    Hmmm … that brings Buffett’s Iowa wind farm investment to four billion dollars.

    And yet, Iowa’s energy prices are among the lowest in the nation.

    Why is that, we wonder?

    Hmmm … maybe that’s why Big Carbon has no liking for Warren Buffett?

    Is it `cuz Buffett’s locking-in low energy prices for Iowa families, and sharing the wealth with Iowa farmers?

    Hmmm … so maybe Buffett’s windpower engineers know more than they’re letting on?

    As Buffett himself has said: “Energy utilities aren’t for getting rich; they’re for staying rich.”

  204. Austin says:
    January 10, 2012 at 6:52 am

    There is a reason why T Boone Pickens, who controls lots of Natural Gas, is a big supporter of Wind. They are co-dependent on each other.

    At its root, wind is both a maintenance headache – lots of and lots of big structures that must be maintained – and has a very low ROI – unless the wind blows ALL THE TIME.

    More than that: not too strong, not too weak, not too cold, not too hot, from the right direction.

  205. Dr. Dave says:
    January 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    that wear out. Imagine having a “green job” of servicing a wind turbine in Texas in the summer. I wonder what the internal temp is an a 400 ft. tower when it’s over 100 deg F outside and you have to climb up 400 ft to change the oil in the turbine’s transmission.

    An experienced high-steel service mechanic weighed in on this. Few are able to handle the heights, and it’s extremely hazardous even for those who don’t “freeze” partway up. (And rescuing those who do is a whole ‘nother story; it’s damn near impossible.) The tools and supplies must be backpacked up, every time, and a single slip means probable death. There aren’t enough high-steel mechanics and techs in the country, much less the world given the huge plans for building monster windmills, to service them.

    $100/hr doesn’t begin to cover it.

  206. <Brian H says: There aren’t enough high-steel mechanics and techs in the country, much less the world given the huge plans for building monster windmills, to service them. $100/hr doesn’t begin to cover it.

    The highest Iowa radio mast (of several) that I ever personally climbed was only 600 feet. And so yep, my two high-school buddies and I can testify from personal experience (at 3:00 am on a moonlit Iowa night) that those prairie winds blow strong, smooth, and steady, at that altitude.

    `Course, no one was paying us $100/hour. Heck, no one even know we were up there.

    The point being, Brian, if you’re offering $100/hr for high steel work, then I don’t reckon there will be any shortage of Iowa farmboys wanting the job. Cuz there are folks who do like that view.

  207. A physicist says:
    January 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm
    —————————————
    Meanwhile, in other breaking news, the cost of electricity in Iowa has increased more than 50% over the past decade from $0.06 to $0.0975 per kWh and Buffet’s MidAmerican Utility is seeking a further increase in those rates to cope with the expensive environmental requirements being imposed upon them by the State government.

    “The increase is necessary in order for us to comply with expensive environmental requirements and because of increasing energy production costs,” Potthoff [MidAmerican spokesperson] says.

    Not exactly locking-in low prices for Iowa farmers is it?

    Article here:

    http://www.radioiowa.com/2011/12/07/midamerican-seeks-iowa-electric-rate-hike-parent-company-buys-california-solar-farm/

    Prices were low at around ($0.06 for years):

    http://www.iowapolicyproject.org/2010docs/100303-IPP-wind.pdf

    Now they’re over $0.095 on average and rising rapidly.

    http://www.energyboom.com/policy/special-report-us-eia-data-provides-state-electricity-generation-price-scoreboard

    Buffet sure is smart. Just as governments have started raising electricity rates to help sinking renewable companies, he jumps in and buys solar and wind farm projects at a substantial discount and then petitions the government to raise rates even more. No wonder the guy pays less tax than his secretary.

  208. A Physicist, if you live in Iowa don’t feel bad. Every state in America is getting fleeced. It’s OK if you think Iowa electricity rates are low and if it makes you feel good, well that’s even better. You don’t have to question why rates have increased by more than 50% in less than 10 years, before which rates were quite steady. It shouldn’t bother you that MidAmerican is asking for higher rates to pay for unproven infrastructure (wind, solar) that is more expensive to operate than conventional infrastructure (fossil fuel). I’m sure Obama really is pro-business and that Warren Buffet is basing his decisions on how to offer the lowest electricity prices to well deserving and hard working Iowa farmers.

    As was written so well in 1949 by George Orwell (not H.G. Wells):

    “He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

    Have a great and very non-skeptical day. Everything is all right…

  209. A physicist says:
    January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm
    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: [after a lengthy calculation] … each square meter of ground would yield just $1.27 a year from wind power.

    LOL … $1.27 per square meter?
    ————————————————————–
    A real example (above) gave $12,800 per acre. With 4,047 sq m per acre gives $3.16 per square meter. So he was a little low. I should add that the $12,800 per acre is nicely subsidized by the government.

    Someone with a physics degree calculated $89,437,500 for 60 acres. This works out to $368 per sq m or out by a factor of 100. Not bad for a physicist.

  210. A Physicist says:
    January 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    The point being, Brian, if you’re offering $100/hr for high steel work, then I don’t reckon there will be any shortage of Iowa farmboys wanting the job. Cuz there are folks who do like that view.

    Teenagers have non-functioning frontal lobes. As the ability to anticipate more than 2.3483672 minutes into the future matures, things change. The mechanic/tech was citing his experience on the job, as an adult.
    (I clearly remember loving crazy rides at the amusement park in my youth. Decades later, I rode a couple of the medium to milder ones, and barely managed to avoid voiding my belly. Things change.)

  211. Rascal says:
    January 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Simple answer on the dependability of wind power: When was the last time any warship or passenger liners powered strictly by sails built?
    QED

    QED = Queen Elizabeth 500?

  212. A physicist says:
    January 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Business Week says different: “Wind energy keeps Iowa power costs down”

    WUWT?

    The article sez rates went up less than elsewhere. I.e., wind power costs hosed Iowans less than other consumers. Aren’t you lucky?

    Also, getting a breakout of what portion of what state’s costs are from wind is non-trivially difficult. “One shortfall the study found was determining how much of the electricity produced in the state is actually consumed within its borders. When power is shipped into the electrical grid it is pooled together and it’s difficult to determine which portion of the power comes from which source.” So quite possibly Iowans were externalizing their wind costs onto others.

  213. Kevin Kilty says:
    January 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Rascal says:
    January 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Simple answer on the dependability of wind power: When was the last time any warship or passenger liners powered strictly by sails built?
    QED

    QED = Queen Elizabeth 500?

    Mathematical proof completed. Quod erat demonstratum, That which was to be domonstrated.

  214. A Physicist says: The point being, Brian, if you’re offering $100/hr for high steel work, then I don’t reckon there will be any shortage of Iowa farmboys wanting the job. Cuz there are folks who do like that view. Brian H says: Teenagers have non-functioning frontal lobes. As the ability to anticipate more than 2.3483672 minutes into the future matures, things change. As someone who’s done both &mdash climbed an Iowa tower and gone down into an Iowa coal mine &mdash I have to say that for $100/hour, my personal preference (by far!) would be to work everyday in the sky, versus go down every day into the ground. And I will bet you that the overwhelming majority of Iowans would say the same.

  215. No, AP, YOU”RE missing the point. What teeners think is a lark is not so much when your brain grows up. People who thought they could/wanted to do it have routinely “frozen” halfway up similar structures. The % who can actually handle it is small. Maybe the Mohawks could provide quite a few, but they’re already manning much of the high-steel construction work in the country. And high-windmill work is FAR riskier and less organized. No safety rigs, no elevators, no cranes, no portapotties, no ladders even. Rope-climbing the whole way up and back, with a long difficult-access repair job, with nowhere to set aside parts and pieces …

    Your opinion is bootless. The professionals think it’s a nightmare.

  216. VESTAS SLASHES THOUSANDS OF JOBS

    The wheels are coming off the $500 billion a year global warming racket as the true costs of so-called “renewables” start hitting home.

    Danish wind turbine maker Vestas will cut 2,335 jobs in a bid to restore profitability after rising costs wiped out its 2011 earnings. Vestas said the cuts, about 10% of its workforce, would help it reduce costs by more than €150m (£125m) by the end of the year. The world’s biggest wind turbine maker is facing competition, particularly from China.

  217. about maintainence problems and seawater.

    the windmills situated near or in the ocean will have a grade a bitch of a time with corrosion.

    seawater acts as a mild acid. then there is this condition (very much like fretting corrostion) where by a particle of corrosion forms and the seawater washes it away. another particle forms and it washes away also. after enough of this there is a hole/crater that has to be replaced. if there is electricity involved or dississimiler metals present the process is accellerated.
    the results can cause massive structural failure.

    this can be avoided by constructing the structure out of nickel alloys or coating the construction with corrosion resistant paints, metalized aluminum, whatever.

    guess which works the best and which is cheapest.

    C

  218. Steve from Rockwood Says:
    ” These costs alone total (9.8+1.9+6.2+3.8) $21.7 million which is consistent with the utility burning through $3 million in cash. The utility is spending 112% of its revenue and has been in business for almost 10 years….. ”

    The problem is subsidies neither this poor company nor the windmills. All your accounting figures are correct. These all results are the aftermath caused by an energy source which is subsidized even when we are in a glorious golden rates era of fossils.The windmills are comparing with a subsidized electricity rates, which is not fair at all, I’m sure you know it. Cheap fossils have their own benefits and the other sources can never live together with them at all.
    I have some news for you:
    1- GE is celebrating for its 15,000th 1.5MW wind turbine.
    2- Siemens is launching its new 6.0MW offshore wind turbine with direct drive, it was specially designed for tough offshore conditions.
    3- We know “design” would go on and technology solves many things.
    4- If we have a shock in fuel rates like what Robert Hirsch is claiming, where is the place of windmills. Although we know windmills can never provide us our demands.
    Wind Fields, same as oil fields should be considered as a source.
    All my above assumptions are based on:
    Electricity rate produced by Hydos/Fossils primarily is subsidized by the government. The taxpayers are not paying the real costs of this energy. If you confirm this matter, then we can go on.

  219. Caroline says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:15 am

    “VESTAS SLASHES THOUSANDS OF JOBS

    The wheels are coming off the $500 billion a year global warming racket as the true costs of so-called “renewables” start hitting home.

    Danish wind turbine maker Vestas will cut 2,335 jobs in a bid to restore profitability after rising costs wiped out its 2011 earnings. Vestas said the cuts, about 10% of its workforce, would help it reduce costs by more than €150m (£125m) by the end of the year. The world’s biggest wind turbine maker is facing competition, particularly from China.”

    The true costs is now defined by China not the so-called “renewables”. As you said it is because they are facing competition particularly from China.

    I’m sorry, but this has been the problem for the Italian Shoemakers as well! Isn’t it?

  220. ACCKKII says:
    January 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm
    ——————————————————
    I agree that electricity rates are being subsidized. It becomes clear when you compare which states in the US have high rates and which have low rates. In general, rich states have high rates (less subsidy needed) and poor states have low rates.

    I think natural gas is an excellent fuel – cheap and abundant.

    China is now heavily subsidizing its “renewable” exports and this is hurting North American and European manufacturers.

    The problem I have with renewable subsidies is the fact that they are so high (suggesting there are no limits to subsidies), governments are running high deficits and still support these programs, and in some cases semi-public companies are being formed, or monopolistic private partnerships with groups that live from the government trough. The result has been an increase in the cost of electricity that is unprecedented. In Ontario the government was so aggressive in raising rates that it gave back 10% as a green energy rebate just before the election in 2011.

    • Steve from Rockwood says:
      In reply to “ACCKKII says: January 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm ——————————————————”
      “I agree that electricity rates are being subsidized. It becomes clear when you compare which states in the US have high rates and which have low rates. In general, rich states have high rates (fewer subsidies needed) and poor states have low rates. I think natural gas is an excellent fuel – cheap and abundant. China is now heavily subsidizing its “renewable” exports and this is hurting North American and European manufacturers. The problem I have with renewable subsidies is the fact that they are so high (suggesting there are no limits to subsidies), governments are running high deficits and still support these programs, and in some cases semi-public companies are being formed, or monopolistic private partnerships with groups that live from the government trough. The result has been an increase in the cost of electricity that is unprecedented. In Ontario the government was so aggressive in raising rates that it gave back 10% as a green energy rebate just before the election in 2011.”
      Steve from Rockwood,
      This was a successful surgery on ELECTRICITY and SUBSIDIES by now.
      I would like to show the ANATOMY of the above title and what we have discussed :
      1:A-Power Plants Line of production:

      !!! NO SUBSIDIES.
      UTILITY FOSSILS

      2:A-MAX tendency(MIN Rate):

      !!! MAX SUBSIDIES.
      UTILITY FOSSILS

      3:B- Windmills:

      !! NO SUBSIDIES.

      4:B-MAX tendency(MIN Rate):

      !!(1)——>! (2)

      Line 1: We have analyzed no subsidy rate for 1KWh from a fossil based power plant assuming as Base Price.

      Line2: The max tendency of line 1 is when the government can put the rate of fossils as ZERO. That part of the unit price that is for the utility cannot be subsidized.

      Line3: Windmills for 1 KWh as we agreed together can be max same as line 1.

      Line4: The MAX tendency of windmills can be; position (1) that is the same rate as line 2 (utility + zero fossils) and or position (2) that is greater than line 2.

      The difference between { line 2} and { line3 position (2)} is the definition of your OBJECTION. This must be subsidized as well, but a fewer than the line 2! What is your objection about?
      There is one important issue; the fossil part of electricity rate, makes the rate as high as enough that the line 3 would remain always in a safe condition. And the share of fossils is increasing time to time, and this makes better prices for windmills. Or, it means the government should pay more subsidies on fossils and maybe no subsidies for windmills in the future, because we agreed together this is the market that is the ruler, and we know the market is the colony of fossils.

      Now I want to find more about fossil power plants and windmills:

      1- We know that ON/OFF of a power plant is in our hand. In peak time we work by full force and in low/down condition no.
      2- We know that the ON/OFF of a windmill is not under our control.

      So what:
      1- In both cases we have IDLE TIMES. That makes sense.
      2- Power plants are considered as FAST MOVING systems, it means more maintenance fees.
      3- Windmills are not fast moving, it means less maintenance fees.
      4- Power plants need a huge amount of cash flow, windmills never.
      5- In both cases the availability is the main factor, if there is no wind then no way out we need to have fossils.

      The government performance is very important here. I’m not going to write a white cheque to the beneficiary of the government, but it is clear that subsidy and all other instruments are for regulating the rates for keeping the life style of the people and saves the society away from economical impacts. You said there are low/high rates of power for poor/rich people in the states, it is a regulator. Even there are different rates for hot climates in summer and in cold weather.

      Finally, subsidy is subsidy…we have reached to this point that in a SUBSIDIZING ENVIRONMENT, we can never formulate the subsidies and expand it to all apparently the same systems. The reason is the involved factors and their nature is completely different. You know how many turbines are necessary to blow the same wind which we are trying not to believe it? If our technology is not the one that we need it, this is not a proof for “wind is not an energy source”, we should pay for it same as what we did in the past to flying, same as what happened to go to the moon and many more.

      Only GE with 15,000 the 1.5MW wind turbines and Siemens with 700 offshore wind turbines and now launching 6.0MW new offshore with direct drive, although all these are not a powerful rival against power plants with fossils and nuclear but this baby energy is most welcome.

  221. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

    Caroline says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:15 am

    “VESTAS SLASHES THOUSANDS OF JOBS

    The wheels are coming off the $500 billion a year global warming racket as the true costs of so-called “renewables” start hitting home.

    Danish wind turbine maker Vestas will cut 2,335 jobs in a bid to restore profitability after rising costs wiped out its 2011 earnings. Vestas said the cuts, about 10% of its workforce, would help it reduce costs by more than €150m (£125m) by the end of the year. The world’s biggest wind turbine maker is facing competition, particularly from China.”

    China has come up with a much improved version. It is selling the rope to the West with which it is hanging itself! Efficiency squared …

  222. I regularly monitor generation by fuel type here…

    http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm

    I noted in the last couple of days, generation by wind dropped to ~5% of installed capacity, I’ve seen it as low as 1%.

    Something that is not available anywhere is bi-directional metering information., ie how much power is consumed versus power produced? It’s not available by FOIA as these are private companies, though someone with more imagination than I may think of a way around this.

    As I noted earlier, I also noted OCGTs being used, never seen that before.

    DaveE.

  223. Steve from Rockwood says:
    In reply to “ACCKKII says: January 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm
    “I agree that electricity rates are being subsidized. It becomes clear when you compare which states in the US have high rates and which have low rates. In general, rich states have high rates (fewer subsidies needed) and poor states have low rates. I think natural gas is an excellent fuel – cheap and abundant. China is now heavily subsidizing its “renewable” exports and this is hurting North American and European manufacturers. The problem I have with renewable subsidies is the fact that they are so high (suggesting there are no limits to subsidies), governments are running high deficits and still support these programs, and in some cases semi-public companies are being formed, or monopolistic private partnerships with groups that live from the government trough. The result has been an increase in the cost of electricity that is unprecedented. In Ontario the government was so aggressive in raising rates that it gave back 10% as a green energy rebate just before the election in 2011.”
    ——————————————————————-
    Steve from Rockwood,
    This was a successful surgery on ELECTRICITY and SUBSIDIES by now.
    I would like to show the ANATOMY of the above title and what we have discussed :
    1:A-Power Plants Line of production:

    !!! NO SUBSIDIES.
    UTILITY FOSSILS

    2:A-MAX tendency(MIN Rate):

    !!! MAX SUBSIDIES.
    UTILITY FOSSILS

    3:B- Windmills:

    !! NO SUBSIDIES.
    UTILITY

    4:B-MAX tendency(MIN Rate):

    !!(1)——>! (2)
    UTILITY
    Line 1: We have analyzed no subsidy rate for 1KWh from a fossil based power plant assuming as Base Price.

    Line2: The max tendency of line 1 is when the government can put the rate of fossils as ZERO. That part of the unit price that is for the utility cannot be subsidized.

    Line3: Windmills for 1 KWh as we agreed together can be max same as line 1.

    Line4: The MAX tendency of windmills can be; position (1) that is the same rate as line 2 (utility + zero fossils) and or position (2) that is greater than line 2.

    The difference between { line 2} and { line3 position (2)} is the definition of your OBJECTION. This must be subsidized as well, but a fewer than the line 2! What is your objection about?
    There is one important issue; the fossil part of electricity rate, makes the rate as high as enough that the line 3 would remain always in a safe condition. And the share of fossils is increasing time to time, and this makes better prices for windmills. Or, it means the government should pay more subsidies on fossils and maybe no subsidies for windmills in the future, because we agreed together this is the market that is the ruler, and we know the market is the colony of fossils.

    Now I want to find more about fossil power plants and windmills:

    1- We know that ON/OFF of a power plant is in our hand. In peak time we work by full force and in low/down condition no.
    2- We know that the ON/OFF of a windmill is not under our control.

    So what:
    1- In both cases we have IDLE TIMES. That makes sense.
    2- Power plants are considered as FAST MOVING systems, it means more maintenance fees.
    3- Windmills are not fast moving, it means less maintenance fees.
    4- Power plants need a huge amount of cash flow, windmills never.
    5- In both cases the availability is the main factor, if there is no wind then no way out we need to have fossils.

    The government performance is very important here. I’m not going to write a white cheque to the beneficiary of the government, but it is clear that subsidy and all other instruments are for regulating the rates for keeping the life style of the people and save the society away from economical impacts. You said there are low/high rates of power for poor/rich people in the States, it is a regulator. Even there are different rates for hot climates in summer and in cold weather.
    PLEASE NOTE: I made some simple linear schematic shapes to show the start-end of RATE of electricity. I posted my comment but I did not see the lines. So I tried once again, in case of any problem please accept my apology.

    Finally, subsidy is subsidy…we have reached to this point that in a SUBSIDIZING ENVIRONMENT, we can never formulate the subsidies and expand it to all apparently the same systems. The reason is the involved factors and their nature is completely different. You know how many turbines are necessary to blow the same wind which we are trying not to believe it? If our technology is not the one that we need it, this is not a proof for “wind is not an energy source”, we should pay for it same as what we did in the past to flying, same as what happened to go to the moon and many more.

    Only GE with 15,000 the 1.5MW wind turbines and Siemens with 700 offshore wind turbines and now launching 6.0MW new offshore with direct drive, although all these are not a powerful rival against power plants with fossils and nuclear but this baby energy is most welcome.

  224. Steve from Rockwood says:
    In reply to “ACCKKII says: January 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    SCHEMATIC LINE OF PRODUCTION AND THE RATE OF ELECTRICITY (hope it works)

    This was a successful surgery on ELECTRICITY and SUBCIDIES by now.
    I would like to show the ANATOMY of the above title and what we have discussed:
    1:A-Power Plants Line of production:

    !!! NO SUBSIDIES.
    UTILITY FOSSILS

    2:A-MAX tendency(MIN Rate):

    !!! MAX SUBSIDIES.
    UTILITY FOSSILS

    3:B- Windmills:

    !! NO SUBSIDIES.
    UTILITY

    4:B-MAX tendency(MIN Rate):

    !!(1)——>! (2) MAX SUBSIDIES
    UTILITY subsidized

  225. pk says:
    January 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

    “about maintenance problems and seawater.”

    pk,
    SIEMENS solved this problem. Please see their website.

  226. General rule when reading blog comments:
    Anyone who CAPITALIZES a lot is an IDIOT!

    And anyone who CAPITALIZES his “NAME” is a RISIBLE IDIOT.

  227. I would like to know where to find the out put data on what wind turbines produced historically from the power companies that own them? Here in Colorado it is not uncommon to see them not moving. Also would need to know how much power they require to maintain themselves when not moving. Seems like there should be a real time website showing their production of power. I suspect this info is top secret.

  228. greg says:
    February 17, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I would like to know where to find the out put data on what wind turbines produced historically from the power companies that own them? Here in Colorado it is not uncommon to see them not moving. Also would need to know how much power they require to maintain themselves when not moving. Seems like there should be a real time website showing their production of power. I suspect this info is top secret.

    I’ve seen a few sites, e.g. Ontario, and the UK.
    e.g. http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/marketdata/windpower.asp At the moment, 1,500MW capacity producing 486MW.

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