The Guardian Appears Ready to Power Glasgow 100% From Wind (Part 2)

By Steven Goddard
In Wednesday’s Guardian, their lead environmental story made this bold claim about The Whitelee Wind Farm:
Europe’s largest onshore wind farm, which is already powerful enough to meet Glasgow’s electricity needs

There was no discussion in the article about how Glasgow would handle extended periods of cold and calm winds, such as was often seen this past winter.  

If the wind isn’t blowing, the turbines aren’t spinning and no electricity is being generated.  This tends to happen on the coldest days, when the electricity is needed the most.
The flaw in The Guardian’s logic is a failure to acknowledge that Glasgow needs a consistent power supply 24x7x365.  The fact that Whitelee has a lot of windy days and a high annual energy potential, does no good on the cold, calm days.  I’m going to try to help The Guardian out with their logic using a few analogies they should understand.
  1. On average, there is lots of ice in the Arctic during the year – but that doesn’t stop The Guardian from being concerned about the possibility of a few ice-free days.
  2. Penguin chicks may get plenty to eat most of the year, but during the times when they don’t, many of them starve to death.
  3. Getting a pay check nine months a year would not pay the bills for the other three.
  4. Having toilets available only five days a week would not be satisfactory to most people.
  5. Having only five days a week without being in an automobile crash would not be satisfactory to most people.
  6. The rainy season in Australia may produce floods, but that doesn’t stop animals from dying of dehydration during the dry season.
  7. Having your watch functional 90% of the time would not be adequate.
  8. The fact that a restaurant is not responsible for food poisoning on most nights, may not make you want to eat there.
  9. Being careful on the edge of the Grand Canyon 90% of the time may not be enough.
  10. Practicing safe sex 90% of the time is not recommended.
It would be disastrous for Glasgow if they did not have the ability to obtain 100% of their energy from conventional sources on any given day of the year, when the wind isn’t blowing.  If The Guardian is attempting to propose that Glasgow could cut off their supply of conventional electricity sources, they should just come out and say that.  The implication is both clear and incorrect.  “already powerful enough to meet Glasgow’s electricity needs”

https://i0.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1306/3267631720_2280bb7d4e.jpg?w=700
Is The Guardian part of the Climate Industrial Complex?
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208 thoughts on “The Guardian Appears Ready to Power Glasgow 100% From Wind (Part 2)

  1. Now if the excess electricity could produce, say, hydrogen which would fuel a conventional power plan on windless days, that would be something. But I don’t believe we have mastered Hydrogen production and storage, have we?

  2. While I don’t know the specs of the turbines being used at the Whitelee Wind Farm, typical commercial wind turbines need a wind speed > than 6 mph just to get the blades to start turning, and a wind speed > 20 mph to achieve their rated performance. If this is true of the Whitelee turbines the wind graph shown above suggests that that wind farm will provide, on average, only a small percentage of it’s rated capacity and then only for short periods of time.

  3. Suppose you could buy a car that didn’t need gasoline, or other fuel.
    Would you pay $100K for a wind-powered car just so you could save on gasoline? Oh yes, the car goes faster and slower depending upon the wind speed and doesn’t run when the wind doesn’t blow. So you also buy conventional car for those days. And the wind-powered car also needs twice as much maintenance as a normal car and needs expensive overhauls every 15,000 miles or so.
    Who in their right mind would buy this car? But that’s what we are planning to do with electricity.

  4. What I have come to expect from the Guardian, the paper that runs George Monibit’s fantasist global warming blog.

  5. i dont think people understand wind turbines enough.
    not only are they inefficient and un reliable for base load power, they need wind speeds of at least 8-10 mph to even work. thus making them completely obsolete for 90% of the time period that graph was taken in.
    now it seems to me that that kind of power wouldnt even be able to supply a hundred people for a whole day much less a whole city. People need to learn that the only way wind will be effective is as a supplemental power source to reduce costs on consumers

  6. But the Guardian knows that thanks to global warming / climate change, there aren’t going to BE any more cold days! Therefore there’s no reason to plan for them!
    That and the magic batteries that will be developed any day now are more than enough reason for Glasgow to bet it’s future on this plan. What could go wrong?

  7. I have long maintained that wind and solar energy will be limited by the desire to meter it. Wind and solar work just fine in isolated areas where some electricity on an intermittent schedule is better than no electricity.
    Due to their intermittent nature they just do not lend themselves to utility scale deployment. Now if we had a way of storing the electricity that might become a different story. Currently, the only way to do that reliably is the pump/storage reservoir. There is a distinct shortage of those on the great flatland.

  8. Sentinels of the new age – the anti-industrial revolution.
    You can’t operate a business – ‘power permitting’. If you must depend on the vagaries of weather, you move your business to a location where there is reliable power.

  9. I have often wished a reostat could be hooked up to the lights and camera’s during a congressional meeting on wind power. Then run a few days based on the actual wind speed. Watching the lights flicker on and off would change a lot of these idots minds.

  10. Think back to the half hour of no electricity in the original movie The Day the Earth Stood Still
    Seems to me some lessons are hard to learn.
    I think Glasgow should go ahead with its wind powered scheme with the following provisos:
    No back-up diesel [or other] power for any elected officials.
    No back-up diesel [or other] power for government buildings.
    No back-up diesel [or other] power for government employees.
    No back-up diesel [or other] power for any environmentalists, etc.
    Individuals not in the above groups could have private generators.
    Other allowed back up power would be for hospitals, doctors, and other emergency uses.
    Feel free to add more provisos.

  11. I think stories like this gain credence is that the public at large generally not understand how electricity is produced and used. The general impression I get from a lot of people is that electricity is made via powerplant, windmill, solar panel …ect and stored in some manner and is there when you need it. Kind of like a giant battery.
    Once this misconception is corrected, these supplimental energy sources lose their appeal.

  12. Great analogies though it won’t stop them from spewing garbage. You have the best site on the web keep it up.

  13. A devastating attack on a straw man, Goddard.
    Won’t they be surprised when they complete the project only to find they hadn’t taken into account calm days, I sure hope they have lots of warm clothing.
    It is fine to point out the limitations of green energy. hypotheses about climate changes, and scientific methodologies and conclusions scientists make.
    Will there not be a cumulative decrease in C02 emissions overtime with this project and others like it? Like Spain’s and Germany’s wind farms and solar projects?
    Solar has a significant contribution to make. Middle Eastern oil producers realize its potential.
    Wave energy has good potential and will contribute to sustainable energy especially in UK, Ireland, and other countries and it is becalmed less than wind power.
    Together, the alternative energy sources are our first steps towards sustainability. I don’t believe coal or oil will ever be completely replaced as desirable as that may seem. Coal and oil use will probably always be necessary.
    The more sustainable our energy sources the better. Better for our planet, our environment, and our and our children’s futures.
    Strawmen don’t have a home at WWUT.
    The Boy of John

  14. just to give everyone some perspective….
    a wind turbine with 20m long blades only has 2.7 kw of wind energy hitting the blades and any given time with an 8 mph wind speed. not that much.

  15. I have read that to replace one megawatt of fossil fuel generated electricity it requires 4 megawatts of wind powered turbines. This would consume 60,000 acres or 88 square miles of land for every megawatt.
    Using the State of Maryland as the example, 58% of the state’s land area would need to be used to construct wind turbines to replace the state’s 65 megawatt consumption. I assume the population would need to relocate to the othe 42% of the state, since this assumption is that the towers are located as compactly as possible.
    Most of the State’s conventional power sources still could not be replaced due to periods when the wind does not blow. We should hook Al Gore’s house up to a wind turbine and see how he likes it.

  16. Please explain:
    The flaw in The Guardian’s logic is a failure to acknowledge that Glasgow needs a consistent power supply 24×7×365
    Should’nt this be 24×365 or 24x7x52 ?
    Or is this simply 24 hours a day?
    7 days a week?
    or 365 days a year?

  17. Experience is a great learning process but very expensive as we will find out once this tax swindle has run its course, but what else can one expect when politicians think they know more about science than the scientists.

  18. I know what would really help the Guardian’s case… If they would just commit to being powered only by the Whitlee Wind Farm.
    They could rightfully brag about being 100% green-powered and not having to rely on fossil-fueled plants for the 75% of the time the farm produces no power.
    They could publish only when the wind blew.
    They could stay warm or cool only when the wind blew.
    They could eat food from their canteen fridge only when they were sure the food hadn’t spoiled.
    The could editorialize why they could only print during the random, unpredictable times that there was enough wind to turn the blades, but isn’t it just great how easy it is being green!
    Here is a national windpower output curve from Denmark a few years ago. Remember this is the combined, large area, multi-hundred windtower output curve. Also, remember this is why Denmark has a massive grid energy exchange with Norway, Sweden and Germany to blend the output of Nuclear, Hydro, Natural Gas and other AE’s just to provide some semblance of ‘smooth, reliable’ power. Denmark utilities have also requested a halt to ne windpower as trying to control the variability is quite problematic as they pass the 30% windpower contribution level.
    http://media.photobucket.com/image/denmark%20wind%20power%20output/Nick_Rouse/Danishwindpower.jpg

  19. Europe’s largest wind farm is big enough to power one city, except when the wind doesn’t blow. How many other cities the size of Glasgow are there in Europe? Excuse me if I’m not impressed.

  20. Why do we hear nothing of the geothermal energy that is powering much of the city of Southampton, U.K.? It might well be worth examining the economics of this unheralded project that seems to be almost completely ignored by the media here.

  21. Another thought, has anyone any statistics on how many birds are killed per turbine per year when they are operating. Syncrude in Alberta is facing a $500 000 fine because about 500 ducks died in their tailings pond.

  22. The more sustainable our energy sources the better. Better for our planet, our environment, and our and our children’s futures.

    Of course, but an intermittent energy source is not sustainable.

  23. Well Steve, I think part of the problem, is that in most legislative body workplace establishments; the toilets only work on two days a week; those being the weekend when the legislators are all out on the golf course; and of course you know what they do during the week days, they dump all their **** out on us; the taxpayers.
    A bridge that only goes 80% of the way across the gorge, is another useful public convenience.
    George

  24. Dear Guardian: Please disconnect your buildings and presses from the grid and connect them directly and exclusively to the wind farm. If you do this, I’ll eagerly subscribe.

  25. It is clear that John Boy knows how to string words together:

    Together, the alternative energy sources are our first steps towards sustainability.

    It is just as clear that he knows little about practical matters.

  26. The greenies are always talking about sustainability. Where’s the sustainability in wind?

  27. Trash that straw man by intentionally not understanding,
    Jeff Alberts (09:48:53) :
    The more sustainable our energy sources the better. Better for our planet, our environment, and our and our children’s futures.
    Of course, but an intermittent energy source is not sustainable.
    Oil and coal will eventually run out.
    Sun and wind will not, not in any time frame that will matter.
    The Boy of John

  28. Not only can the Whitelee Wind Farm not power Glasgow on clam days, it can be expanded to also not power all the other cities of the world on clam days too.
    With capabilities like this, we will have Anthropogenic Global Warming entirely under control in less than a millennium.

  29. Re: MartinW (09:44:21) :

    Why do we hear nothing of the geothermal energy that is powering much of the city of Southampton, U.K.?

    Probably because it isn’t. According to wiki the scheme provides 16 GWh of heat per year which is used to heat buildings, not generate power.

  30. AnonyMoose (09:54:19) :
    Beat me to it though I would add their homes and autos (they do use all electric cars don’t they?). I would also suggest the politicians and government agencies do the same. Of course they’re in the dark already so they might not notice when the lights go out.

  31. Wind farms take up very little actual space. You can easily farm around them. So the argument of how much space they take up is bogus. As is the claim that wind is the answer to our problems.

  32. Perhaps we could persuade the Guardian to go truly green and power it’s presses 100% with wind generated energy, then we would only have to put up with this nonsense, say, one day in ten!

  33. Compare the frosty photo above to the one in the Guardian article –
    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/5/20/1242816478797/Whitelee-Wind-Farm-Scotla-001.jpg
    It looks as though global warming has struck. The ice cap (now reduced to a puddle) has evaporated to the point where the tundra isn’t being held down.
    .
    There was no discussion in the article about how Glasgow would handle extended periods of cold and calm winds, such as was often seen this past winter.
    My ancestors handled it by moving to Illinois.

  34. john boy,
    Suppose that the electrical needs of Glasgow were to double over the next twenty years, but they did not also double the conventional electrical generation capacity. Also consider that many existing UK power plants are due to be decommissioned over the next 5-10 years, which will cause a net decrease in dependable capacity.
    How would they supply the grid on low wind days? BTW – good luck with that solar energy idea in Scotland. Ever wonder why Scots have such fair skin?
    I’m not trying to kill your cuddly, lovable straw polar bears. This is an exercise in logic.

  35. Other than visually polluting natural vistas with big windmills instead of using tiny ones that go on rooftops and parking lots, I don’t see how they would supply anything on a calm day unless they had ultracapacitors.
    We can just keep powering our cities with good-ole-coal, it will emit CO2 and the plants take it in, no concern if you look at this link (the top)
    http://www.iceagenow.com/Record_Lows_2009.htm
    165 Record lows tied or broken in 28 states, you practically need something special to pull that off O.o

  36. We already know how to generate enough energy from fusion to power the entire world.
    The problem is that the spatial and temporal distribution of energy from thermonuclear explosions might not be ideal for generating a safe, consistent supply of energy.
    The point being that the total amount of energy available from an energy source, may not be particularly useful information.

  37. I see proponents of AGW using the abbreviation WWUT. I am curious as to what this is supposed to represent. Boy of John, I’m looking at you.

  38. For all industries, machine down time is unacceptable and every minute of down time is lost of revenues. For the industries it is unacceptable, why should it be for people.
    Here is another one: Having an open-heat surgery done at 90% is not recommended.

  39. I could be mistaken , but aren’t wind turbines shut down during periods of excessive wind speeds ? It seems I read that somewhere .

  40. Not only can the Whitelee Wind Farm not power Glasgow on clam days, it can be expanded to also not power all the other cities of the world on clam days too.

    And probably wouldn’t on frog or cat/dog days either 😉

  41. I think it was Bismarck who said something to the effect of “only a fool learns from his own mistakes. I learn from the mistakes of others.”
    Anyone believe that American policy makers will learn from the mistakes of the Europeans?

  42. I lay a million dollar bet on the table that the only windfarms that will exist a century from now will be privately owned by small scale farmers for their own personal use.
    Our power will come from fusion within 5 decades and expand worldwide from that point. All this solar panel and windfarm crap we’re seeing now is politicians gifting their friends with lots of taxpayer’s money. It will all be knocked down and scrapped for being inefficient junk.

  43. Please make mention often that the Guardian is a loss making publication. Its parent company owns AutoTrader which does turn a profit. Thus traditional gas guzzling cars (and the food, cars, travel and technology sections of the Guardian) subsidise the newspaper’s environmental columnists.

  44. This bit of wishfull thinking shows how much people want this whole alternative energy thing to work. What will we be told next? That the flex-capacitor really does exist?

  45. John Boy (09:24:51) :
    A devastating attack on a straw man, Goddard.
    The more sustainable our energy sources the better. Better for our planet, our environment, and our and our children’s futures.
    Strawmen don’t have a home at WWUT.
    Goring each other’s strawman, er, bull? Do you honestly believe that the warmist crowd is simply setting a goal of “more sustainable energy sources”? Is that why they seek to shut down fossil fuel use by either making it illegal or excessively expensive? Is that why they distort scientific findings in order to frighten the public into accepting these actions?
    You seem a bit too intelligent to excuse this disingenuous argument. You have to know that if the primary goal was presented as you say – making energy production more sustainable – the political and economic momentum required to make significant advances in the short term would never be realized.

  46. For Alan the Brit ,,, Err .. Sorry but I posted that link a few days ago in the comments on the “Cap-andTrade” article.
    First!!

  47. As is being done elsewhere, Glasgow should just charge a voluntary premium for “green power” from those who have feel strongly about environmental matters, like John Boy/The Boy of John.
    Through the 15% to 25% green power premium, you cover the extra cost associated with the wind power and you also alleviate the guilt feelings of a large proportion of the population.
    We need more win-win situations for the green movement – voluntary taxes are the way to go until we develop some new physics that will provide for new cheap energy sources – notice I did not say new technology.

  48. Oil and coal will eventually run out.
    not for another 100 years or so. by then we will have fusion, or positron gravitators, or some other as yet un-thought-up technology. This is what the market does. We didn’t leave the stone age because we ran out of stones.
    Sun and wind will not, not in any time frame that will matter.
    Irrelevant. The relevant issue is cost. Today. Wind and sun are intermittent. Why would you build two power plants: one that is only available but 10% of the time and another that is available 100% of the time, but is only used when the first one is unavailable?
    You have one expensive boondoggle that CAN NOT be used 90% of the time. You have one fine plant that is being underutilized. It makes economic sense to fully utilize the 2nd, and thereby eliminate the need for the 1st.
    To have both is a waste of finite resources. And money.
    And somebody has to pay for all this.

  49. Oil and coal will eventually run out.
    Sun and wind will not, not in any time frame that will matter.

    Oil should last for several more decades, coal, several more centuries.
    Whereas the sun runs out everyday at sundown.

  50. Steve in SC (09:05:01) : “Currently, the only way to do that reliably is the pump/storage reservoir. There is a distinct shortage of those on the great flatland.”
    A few days ago I supplied this link to such a solution, which because of the scale issue doesn’t seem to me to be a true solution.
    An actual example can be seen using Wikipedia and Google Earth. Of interest is the “pumped storage” associated with Kinzua (kin-zoo) Dam in northern Pennsylvania. Read about it here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinzua_Dam
    Use these coordinates [ 41.839736 n, 79.002619 w ] to get a better look. Zoom out until you can see the entire reservoir and compare it to the small circular storage basin on the ridge-top to the south. Can you scale this up to be really helpful? In whose back yard?

  51. As already stated, the biggest problem is that people are clueless about where their energy comes from and how much energy we actually consume.
    From an environmental standpoint, windmills can and do work with a few hurdles to overcome. If a wind farm can produce, overall, 10% of the energy requirements of any load, that’s a potential 10% less energy being generated by coal/oil. In and of itself this is a good thing, but not for reasons even remotely related to global warming.
    But, as we all know (and stated repeatedly), there are technical issues, as well as fiscal issues. Articles like the above are simply a bait-and-switch strategy.

  52. Mark Wagner (11:34:53) :
    “…not for another 100 years or so. by then we will have fusion, or positron gravitators, or …”

    …not to mention di-lithium crystals!

  53. “Suppose you could buy a car that didn’t need gasoline, or other fuel.
    Would you pay $100K for a wind-powered car just so you could save on gasoline? Oh yes, the car goes faster and slower depending upon the wind speed and doesn’t run when the wind doesn’t blow. So you also buy conventional car for those days. And the wind-powered car also needs twice as much maintenance as a normal car and needs expensive overhauls every 15,000 miles or so.
    Who in their right mind would buy this car? But that’s what we are planning to do with electricity.”
    Actually if hydrogen fuelled cars become common, the easiest filling station will be a turbine hydrolysizing into a gasometer. The gasometer acts as a capacitor to even the flow. Although there is an energy loss in hydrolysis, I suspect that ease of pipeline transport and storage in existing gas facilities, makes it an on demand power source.
    However I would suggest they answer the question “How do you get a hydrogen filling station infrastructure in place quickly?”.
    Hydrogen powered farm equipment from a free filling station may work too?

  54. Could the people who say that wind turbines don’t produce energy unless the wind blows at x mph or more provide a link? thanks.
    By the way, I live in a place where wind turbines were built about 11 years ago, and they are still working, as far as I know, they have already generated enough power to cover its building costs (As I read it in the local newspaper some years ago), the extra power they are generating is almost gratis, and most important, we haven’t suffered any power outages due to not enough power being generated.
    I don’t know how much power they produce, how much does it cost to build one, how percentage is being subsidised by the local/central government or anything. I am only saying that almost every time I gaze at the blades they are spinning and we don’t suffer from power shortages.
    I guess we have back up power generators, or we may buy nuclear power from France. I don’t know how much does it cost to build a nuclear or a coal power station.
    Some people here seem to believe that coal power stations don’t cost anything to build/maintain.

  55. For those of you that claim oil and coal will eventually run out .. . .
    This seems like a good idea until you read “the stone age did not end because we ran out of stones.” I have lots of stones on my few acres – they are free but bring your own carrier and you load. Likewise, we still have bronze, arrows, whale oil, buggy whips, radio, and so on.
    Oil and coal will become less important for energy purposes over time as other sources of energy replace them for this purpose. But run out they won’t.

  56. John Boy (09:24:51) :
    The more sustainable our energy sources the better. Better for our planet, our environment, and our and our children’s futures.
    Hogwash. Wind energy is both expensive and unreliable. It is both apt to provide energy when it is not needed (like at night) and not provide it when it is needed. Sustainable? Hardly. Try foolish. Yes, I realize “sustainability” is the new buzz word for the Alarmists. Whatever energy sources they are against are conveniently labeled “sustainable”, while all others are labeled non-sustainable. They seem to think that by continually changing the language, they will keep on pulling the wool over people’s eyes which is pretty pathetic, really.
    Better for our planet? No, not unless you’ve guzzled the AGW/CC fruit punch, which you obviously have. Better for our children’s futures? I guess. If you like the idea of them having to struggle financially because of our idiotic and hugely expensive war on “carbon”, and sitting in the cold and dark a lot because of unreliable sources of (very expensive) power.
    “Oil and coal will eventually run out”. Sure, maybe in 100 years or more. Did you forget natural gas? Nuclear? The point is, there is no reason on earth to run willy-nilly into our energy future, out of fear and ignorance. Indeed, that way is insanity.

  57. I don’t take anyone seriously if they use ‘children’ and ‘future’ in a single sentence. My BS detector goes wild when I hear or read such a thing, and then all the evidence pointing towards a charlatan pours out.

  58. Steven Goddard, the Whitlelee wind farm is situated about 370 metres up on on the hills some 9 miles SSW of Glasgow. However Glasgow is situated beside the river Clyde near to sea level, in the lee of said hills and thus sheltered from prevailing winds, indeed Glasgow is ringed by hills… The Whitelee windfarm is bound to be much more windy than Glasgow – whatever the synoptic situation.
    Will you please make that reality clear to any readers – I’m sure it’s not your intention to let anyone think the wind climate of Glasgow and the hills 370 m higher to it’s south south west are the same. As a start can you please post wind data for the wind farm and not Glasgow.

  59. I’ve been trying to inform people I know about windfarms via facebook. Mostly I focus on what they might do to wildlife, taking for granted that people do not understand that these things end up costing the rate payer more money. One of my friends comes on and says, “I do not care about about the bats, the birds or the views so long as my electricity bill goes down.” People still believe that wind power is free, somehow. My friend like most people does not understand how electricity or electric companies works, and really who has the time to self study electrical grids well enough to know what is really going on opposed to the hype put out by the government and the wind industry.
    99.99% of the people are too ignorant to have a meaning input as to how an energy grid should be operated. I, like my friend, just want my bills to be as low as possible, and really do not care how the power company achieves this. I also want to be able to use as much electricity as I please, when I please. When I flip a switch, I want something to happen. As long as I pay my bill, the amount of electicity that I use seems to be my own business, and I do not want anyone telling me how much electricity I should be using. If I want to crank my AC to 60 on a hot day, that is my business. If the power company needs more juice, then they should build new generation stations and pass the cost on to me. If I cannot afford the bill then, the power company can shut the service off. For my entire life, the power company was out of sight and out of mind. How this ever became a political issue is beyond me.
    Over the last decade, we saw gasoline and diesel skyrocket. As I understand it, these wind power things, require generation for regulation electricity from generators which run on gasoline and diesel, thus increasing demand while prices are already high on a commodity that we have to import. I feel like the last sane man on Earth, which makes me wonder if I am really crazy, because it seems to me that everything that we are doing is the exact opposite of what we should be doing, while a bunch of ignorant people are having conversations which are way beyond their pay grade expecting results which are precisely the opposite of what they should realistically expect.
    If anyone knows where the spaceship back to Bizarro World (or Earth?) please take me home.

  60. In a few years the only difference with Banana Countries that you will have is, that instead of banana trees, you will have windmill “trees”…
    Your politicians are already the same.

  61. John Boy said;
    “Wave energy has good potential and will contribute to sustainable energy especially in UK, Ireland, and other countries and it is becalmed less than wind power.”
    Alas the word potential is all it is. I have just carried out a major study of wave energy in the UK and it is startling how little is being done. There is good work at the Wave Hub in Cornwall and the Wave energy Centre in Orkney is great, but the sad fact is that wave energy is at least 10 years behind wind power, which itself is only at a very early stage of development.
    The Govt have realised that wave, tide and solar are not going to provide a measurable power supply for twenty years and so are betting the house on wind power.
    As a proponent of wave power I greatly regret that it is not the saviour I had hoped. The only thing that will turn it around is a massive research and development programme akin to the US Apollo programme.
    As for the Severn tidal barrage (I have assumed you are British) unless you are much less than middle aged I doubt it will be seen in our lifetime.
    There is a yawning energy gap and I dont think those in authority have any real grasp as to how much power a modern economy needs. Hire a small generator and boil a kettle from its output. It is likely to trip out or at least complain. Try it with an electric oven. It won’t work. We need lots of power and renewables have potential buit are not a practical proposition unfortunately for our next generation needs over the next twenty years.
    Tonyb

  62. Peter Hearnden,
    I’m sure you are aware that during a temperature inversion (like the first week in February) the winds tend to be calm at either location. On a cold winters day, you can see the steam from the coal fired power plants moving upwards nearly vertically. Be grateful they are there – they may not be in the future if the government doesn’t get a grip on reality.
    Note how still the pond is in the photo from The Guardian article :
    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/5/20/1242816478797/Whitelee-Wind-Farm-Scotla-001.jpg

  63. This isn’t a straw man argument. Wind generators need a 1:1 back up generating capacity. The wind stops and as Goddard explains it stops at the most inconvenient times. Their is nothing hidden or exaggerated about this article. No reverse logic or misrepresentation. Its very simple, the advocates of wind energy are not being truthful about the practicality of alternative energy. Your going to waste huge amounts of money for something that will give you very little in return. People need to wake up to that. Demonizing fossil fuels is the straw man argument. Peak oil is another. We have been running out of oil since the 70’s and we have more demand and supply than ever. The lefties can visit this site all they want but no ones buying their straw man arguments particularly when the pot is calling the Kettle black.

  64. Peter Hearnden
    I think you are from Dartmoor (much of which is a beautiful upland area in Southern England at 370 metres or more for those that don’t know).
    I am not making any point here, but would genuinely be interested in your view as to whether you would want such a wind farm on Dartmoor that would be big enough to power Exeter? Transmission lines would be needed as well, where there are none at present.
    Personally I dont think you save the environment by trashing the countryside and in the UK so many inland ‘suitable’ sites are in beautiful areas.
    Tonyb

  65. Aron (11:15:00)
    Our power will come from fusion within 5 decades and expand worldwide from that point. (Wind turbines) will all be knocked down and scrapped for being inefficient junk.
    Aron,
    I hope you are right. But we need to take steps in that direction – even steps that are not as efficient (as we’d like)or convienent (and cheap) as coal and oil. Then some of those turbines could go to museums and heritage sites. With respect to political gifting associated with coal and oil. I doubt ‘green energy’ will never equal THAT.
    Daniel M (11:26:25) :
    Do you honestly believe that the warmist crowd is simply setting a goal of “more sustainable energy sources”? Is that why they seek to shut down fossil fuel use by either making it illegal or excessively expensive? Is that why they distort scientific findings in order to frighten the public into accepting these actions?
    Apparently, you are aware of ‘diabolical motives’ of GWers. They certainly have political and societal agendas because they could not create solutions to the danger they percieve as it necessarily entails challenging the existing Kings, oil and coal. (Yes, I know -no warming for the last ten years.)
    What diabolical motives are you aware of?
    I sure would like to know. Place them next to some of the diabolical things done in pursuit, exploitation, responsibility delay, evasion, obfusaction associated with oil .
    A few off the top of my head – Chevron/Ecudaor, corrupting leaders of countries so as to be able to exploit their oil resources, Iran (Shah), Saudia Arabia, Iraq (Sadam – then we got him to buy our weapons systems!), etc. That’s just to name a few.
    Maybe, the intentions of ‘greeny/GW Alarmists’ are AS or perhaps even MORE diabolical than that has already been perpetrated.
    Even today (though making some small gains after years of raising the alarm), they lack the politcal and financial power to seriously challenge coal and oil industries (and their political puppets – Dingel for one).
    Coal and oil attempt to thwart them (often successfully) at most every turn. (Kansas, Sebelius out, new governor compromises and the coal plant she resisted gets approved – albeit scaled down some, but still very large and not illegal.)
    Or maybe GWers are naive and misguided – having been misled by a 25 year old, worldwide conspiracy across nations/languages masterminded by scientists/activist with diabolical intentions – into believeing that CO2 is changing climate in a dangerous way. Perhaps.
    I am open minded. I’m not saying GWers have it all right – but I can’t dismiss them completely.
    The Boy of John/John Boy/John’s Boy

  66. Good Lord; You people sound like a bunch of old oil, and coal men. What are you all afraid of? If the stuff works as badly as you say people will figure it out pretty quick, and quit building it.
    In the meantime, it’s not costing much; and, we’ll probably learn a little bit. Chill.

  67. RMS Titanic, unsinkable 90% of the time…
    That anniversary is coming up, by the way, which is perhaps rather fitting, given the direction our national leaders seem to be taking at the moment with regards to energy policy.

  68. John F. Hultquist (12:19:50) :
    For those of you that claim oil and coal will eventually run out .. . .
    This seems like a good idea until you read “the stone age did not end because we ran out of stones.”
    A good chuckle – (perhaps you are an inadvertent comedian?)
    We didn’t burn stones in the stone age. We didn’t remove mountain tops, mine them, drill, blast them etc. OR build a society dependent on a supply of finite stones.
    Oil and coal won’t run out. We will be forced to switch over because they will be increasingly difficult and expensive to get to. And LONG before that prices will skyrocket – perhaps that will be one of the kick in the pants that really gets us moving.
    Bruce Cobb (12:23:44)
    Wind is only part of the picture, solar, etc. and yes, oil and coal will for continue to be our biggest energy sources. A shift – gradual and measured will occur. In all likelyhood, no one will be left sitting in the dark or without an internet connection.
    Aron (12:31:43) :
    I don’t take anyone seriously if they use ‘children’ and ‘future’ in a single sentence. My BS detector goes wild when I hear or read such a thing, and then all the evidence pointing towards a charlatan pours out.
    I wonder does that apply when our governments budget deficit is being discussed.
    The Boy of John/Johns Boy/John’s Boy

  69. Aubs (12:39:24) :
    Hamsters. Those little spinny wheels and hamsters.
    You made me laugh out loud.
    Who knows, there may be something mightier than the mightiest hamster out there yet.
    “In 2007 taxonomists – experts in the classification of species – recorded 18,516 species new to science. Professor Quentin Wheeler, director of the IISE, said: “Most people do not realise just how incomplete our knowledge of Earth’s species is or the steady rate at which taxonomists are exploring that diversity.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/5368701/Top-10-newly-discovered-species-unveiled.html
    Nature is awesome (but of course the science is settled)

  70. It is interesting that people who claim to be worried about the environment are so happy to clutter it up with wind mills that kill birds and leaves large areas unusable for much of anything.
    It seems that many of those who claim to be so sensitive to the environment are actually very urbanized people who spend little to no time actually in the wild open spaces.
    They are driven by ignorance and a nostalgia for something they know nothing about.

  71. Steven Goddard,
    I very much doubt you think the wind climate 370 metres up a Scottish hill is the same as at sea level, if you do you need to visit said places in Scotland!
    Tony B
    Fwiw, I like windfarms, and I find them visually unobtrusive, and I wouldn’t oppose one if the case was good. However, if you look at the Whitelee site it’s clearly very well exposed to prevailing SW winds and I suspect there isn’t such a site ( Haldon Hill the closest perhaps) that is suitable in our part of the world.
    Anyway, I don’t know why it is that a blog from California seems to spend so much time over UK issues and one UK newspapers. But, hey, there we are.

  72. I have found it difficult to talk or explain electricity to people. So if the concept of (best case) 30% capacity factor does not bother people then, as painful and fruitless as this experiment will be, it will just have to run it’s course. An aside would be, what would happen if we did find a unlimited power source? I would say, that it would be the greatest calamity that environmentalist could ever envision.
    And I would also wish, all stop this unending pompous attitude about saving it for my and your children. STOP it !! my descendants will be quite capable to fend for themselves….if not, evolution will run it’s course…..Go weave your dream catcher mubo-gumbo to someone else…..

  73. John Boy,
    You see this as “diabolical”:

    Chevron/Ecudaor, corrupting leaders of countries so as to be able to exploit their oil resources, Iran (Shah), Saudia Arabia, Iraq (Sadam – then we got him to buy our weapons systems!), etc.

    I see it differently. I see countries that were not capable of extracting oil on their own, going into partnership with technologically advanced companies to produce that oil. Both partners benefitted enormously from their voluntary partenrship. The extremely expensive infrastructure was paid for entirely by the oil companies, but it is under the jurisdiction and control of the countries with the oil. The country has new assets and a steady income stream, and it didn’t cost them a penny.
    The Left wants you to believe that this is “exploiting” poor countries. That is no different from saying the company you work for “exploits” you. It is a dishonest characterization, because neither the foreign country, nor the U.S. company, nor the company you work for, can compel that mutually beneficial partnership. It is in both parties’ interest, and both parties benefit from it.
    The same dishonest Left [redundant, I know] constantly screamed “No War For Oil” and “No Blood For Oil” before, during, and after the Iraq war. You can still see the hypocritical bumper stickers on the Leftist useful fools’ cars. Which, incidentally, run on petroleum products.
    But the U.S. never took the oil from Iraq that was truly there for the taking. Who could have stopped us? The corrupt UN? Some dollars in the right pockets would have shut them up fast. And Saddam, whom you refer to, used bribery for twelve years to buy off the UN, Russia and others: click. Everyone took Saddam’s bribes, then turned their backs on him and sold him out.
    It just galls me when people uncritically parrot the anti-capitalist Leftist nonsense that U.S. companies “exploit” entire countries. It is insulting to portray the leadership of those countries as being so stupid that they allow themselves to be controlled and exploited. The truth is that they eagerly cooperate; they want the benefit of oil income. That’s how business is done, and it benefits everyone to produce new wealth where there was none before.
    The fact that people repeat the bogus charge of “exploitation” shows how far down the corrupt socialist road the media and education system has taken a once great, “can-do” country that put men on the moon using only primitive vacuum tube computers and slide rules.

  74. Kum Dollison (12:51:54) :
    Good Lord; You people sound like a bunch of old oil, and coal men. What are you all afraid of? If the stuff works as badly as you say people will figure it out pretty quick, and quit building it.
    In the meantime, it’s not costing much; and, we’ll probably learn a little bit. Chill.

    It’s costing plenty and we’re learning the reality of wind power is far removed from its hype.
    There are many technical problems to be solved and I’m sure most will be. Until then, wind power is an experimental, expensive, feel-good novelty.
    Did Ford petition the government to force people to give up their horses and carriages in order to get more cars on the road? No, people bought automobiles because they wanted them. As cars became less expensive and more reliable, more people wanted them and eventually horses became expensive pets or hobbies.
    But with these unreliable, expensive alternate energy sources, various environmentalist and industrial groups are trying to slam it down our throats, cost, reliability or practicality be damned. The former just want to feel better about themselves and control how everyone else lives while the latter just want to get fat at the public trough.

  75. Kum Dollison
    Not costing much? It’s putting 15% on my electricity bills. And that’s only so far.

  76. Wind farms linked together can provide dependable baseload power, according to Stanford University:
    “The findings are published in the November issue of the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. ”
    “The researchers used hourly wind data, collected and quality-controlled by the National Weather Service, for the entire year of 2000 from the 19 sites. They found that an average of 33 percent and a maximum of 47 percent of yearly-averaged wind power from interconnected farms can be used as reliable baseload electric power. These percentages would hold true for any array of 10 or more wind farms, provided it met the minimum wind speed and turbine height criteria used in the study.”
    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2007/december5/windfarm-120507.html

  77. No matter how many wind turbines are used for Glasgow the same amount of conventional capacity will be necessary for periods when the wind does not blow or is so strong above 25m/s that they have to be shut down. That conventional capacity will be either fossil fuel or nuclear. A huge increase in cost(£billions) will be the result as to obtain 100% electricity then 200% of installed capacity is needed so as to include wind power. Also wind power has at most a 20% load factor so if there is 1000MW of installed wind capacity there will be at most 200MW of actual electricity! note that the Dutch government has stopped all subsidies for wind power regarding it as too costly. also Germany has 17000 wind turbines which produce the grand total of 6% of its electricity. However debt struck Britain carries on regardless
    even if there is overwhelming scientific evidence that humans are NOT the cause of climate change.

  78. I see the “conspiracy theorists” argument an awful lot lately. Still seeing “call to authority” and “do it for the children”, as well. Thankfully less of the “payroll of big oil”. “Pollutist” , although inventive, is still way off the mark. Still waiting for an explanation of WWUT, boy of John. Please don’t say typing error.

  79. Peter Hearnden,
    I’ve been to several of the large wind farms in Scotland, and during a winter inversion, like the first week in February this year, the winds are scarcely different from sea level. If you have spent any time on the west coast of Scotland, you know that it is normally windy there too – but not during an inversion.
    http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/histGraphAll?day=4&year=2009&month=2&dayend=10&yearend=2009&monthend=2&ID=EGPK&type=6&width=500
    You are making the same mistake as the Guardian.

  80. Terri Jackson,
    No generation source is 100% reliable, so there has, for example, to be backup for a coal fired power station in case that fails, or back up for nuclear when they are shut down for maintenance.
    The idea that it’s only wind power that needs backup is thus a myth.

  81. Jeff Alberts (11:09:38) :
    Not only can the Whitelee Wind Farm not power Glasgow on clam days, it can be expanded to also not power all the other cities of the world on clam days too.

    Type . more . slooowly.
    .
    Steve Goddard (10:51:09) :
    . . . energy from thermonuclear explosions might not be ideal for generating a safe, consistent supply of energy.

    Marinaman (10:26:36) :
    Wind farms take up very little actual space. You can easily farm around them. So the argument of how much space they take up is bogus.

    P Walker (11:05:55) :
    I could be mistaken , but aren’t wind turbines shut down during periods of excessive wind speeds ? It seems I read that somewhere .

    And here’s why –

  82. Terri, you are wrong about the numbers, wind farms in West Texas have production capacities that exceed 40% of rated capacity.
    “In Texas, the average capacity factor of wind farms
    installed in 2004 through 2005 is 39 percent,”
    “The West Texas wind
    farms that generate power for the city of Austin’s
    utility company, Austin Energy, have capacity factors
    ranging from 35 percent to 40 percent.”
    http://www.seco.cpa.state.tx.us/re_wind-reserve.htm
    “THE ENERGY REPORT • MAY 2008 Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts”
    *** to access the .pdf click on Wind Energy Overview link under Additional Resources

  83. Slightly OT…
    Speaking of costly energy-related boondoggles, I heard about this carbon dioxide sequestration project that’s going on RIGHT NOW in Ohio.
    http://216.109.210.162/userdata/Fact%20Sheets/MRCSP_Greenville%20Fact%20Sheet%2008-04-08.pdf
    So how would you like pressurized CO2 being pumped underground in your small town? Great huh? They say it will never leak and they can put the land back to normal once they’ve pumped it full!
    Also, for your safety, it will be “compressed into a supercritical state (i.e., a dense, liquid-like form)”. For you thermodynamicists out there, check out the pressures involved in putting a gas like CO2 into the supercritical state…(hint it’s about 73 atmospheres or 1073 psi at 30 C). Better put that well cap on tight!
    Remember now that our country is broke and that we are running massive deficits…guess who’s going to pay for these?? I’ll let the AGW folks like Flanagan calculate for us how much lower the earth’s temperature will be when we’ve pumped all of our CO2 into these wells…

  84. Let them do it and soon. It’s better to have only one city as a guinea pig than the whole country.

  85. Wind turbines work mostly at night. Solar is good during the day. The Germans are working on biomass/biogas for buffering.
    Honestly, some of you speak, reverently, of “decades” of fossil fuel availability as if it were Eons.

  86. Steven Goddard “If you have spent any time on the west coast of Scotland, you know that it is normally windy there too” exactly!
    Of course the wind doesn’t blow relentlessly. But normally it’s windy in these places. Now, given that, given also that no power source is 100% reliable and I think wind power needs to be part of the mix of generation in the UK.

  87. “Also, for your safety, it will be “compressed into a supercritical state (i.e., a dense, liquid-like form)”. For you thermodynamicists out there, check out the pressures involved in putting a gas like CO2 into the supercritical state…(hint it’s about 73 atmospheres or 1073 psi at 30 C). Better put that well cap on tight!”
    Too bad they can’t use that compressed gas in a closed-loop system to drive a turbine or two. Sequestered CO2 and energy from the storage, too.
    Someone should run a model to see just how much of a hole there’d be if that tank ever blew.

  88. They have plenty of biomass, there, I believe.
    Look, Steve, if this post is “all about” Wind in Glasgow, fine. There are, probably, better places for Wind Turbines.
    Unfortunately, this blog is turning into a rabid, anti-alternatives, every where, all the time, day in, day out rant. I think that’s a mistake. I think poll after poll tell us that the “People” mostly think AGW is bunk, but “alternatives” to coal, and petroleum are something that are of interest to the everyday Joe.
    You can’t just be “Agin” Everything. You’ve got to be For “Something.”
    Otherwise, regular people just tune you out as a “Collection of Cranks.”

  89. I like Bill Illis’ voluntary tax idea. The problem is that it has always been possible to pay voluntary taxes for (supposedly) better healthcare, education etc, but so far, no volunteers.
    In trying to understand this phenomenon from the point of view of the reluctant volunteers, it is clear that making tax compulsory for all is more important to them that actually paying it.
    This seems illogical on two counts. Firstly, if anyone pays more tax, then more is available to the government to spend on projects which the typical reluctant volunteer generally endorses (defence and nuclear power excepted). Secondly, we are constantly being told that it is important to set an example to China and India by reducing our carbon emissions. Why does not the same principle apply to voluntary taxes?
    But even from the point of view of the class-warrior, compulsion can only be taken so far. A particularly thorny issue for those with authoritarian tendencies is their awareness of similar inclinations exhibited by their political polar-opposites. Best not to make one’s authoritarianism too obvious for fear of awkward comparisons.
    I therefore suggest the following modification to Bill’s proposal: the masses should be forced by law to wear a brown feather if they do not pay the voluntary green tax – brown being the universally accepted colour of pollution. Naturally, those that do pay can wear a green feather if they so wish.
    Unfortunately for my idea, it may not be possible in practice to constrain its consequences within reasonable bounds of civilised behaviour. It may, for example, become socially acceptable to spit on the brown-feather-wearers in the street, or slash the tyres of their SUVs/4x4s (which incidentally has just happened to a few dozen car owners in Manchester, England).
    But for some, justice will be done, and Mother Earth will indulge a wry smile. After a good day’s posturing and brown-feather-wearer-bashing, green feather-wearers will be able to enjoy a few pints of organic real ale and relate to each other merry tales of retribution for the greater good. (The carbon dioxide resulting from the beer’s transportation and secondary fermentation can be ignored as any released through the actions of those pure in motive doesn’t contribute to climate change.)
    The next few years will be tough.

  90. I know I posted this a few days ago, but it was right at the end of the topic’s discussions, and many may not have seen it.
    .
    .
    Renewable energy – our downfall?
    The government, under pressure from a disparate confederation of environmentalists and greens, have agreed to press ahead with a host of renewable energy sources, including wind, tidal and wave power. Yet, despite the vast sums of public money that will be allocated to these projects and the fundamental enormity of the decisions that have been made, there has been very little in the way of open debate on the subject. Like many aspects of today’s governmental system, the powers that be appear to have made a decision about future energy production based upon image, spin and the number of votes the policy will capture, while ignoring the basic truths and science that should be the foundation-stone of any policy. Nobody has even debated the absolutely fundamental question of whether any of these energy generation systems actually work. The media’s reaction to this steamrollered, image-based decision-making process has been muted to the point of being inaudible, and I can only assume that either very few in the media have any grasp of the calamitous implications of the government’s policy, or they are cowering behind their desks for fear of losing their jobs.
    So why, then, do I consider renewable energy to be a danger to the entire nation, both economically and socially? This is, after all, ‘free energy’, and what can be the problem with a free resource? Well, as readers will probably be fully aware, no resource is free even if it appears to be so, and this is the first of the many lies about renewable energy that have been peddled by industry spokesmen and government ministers. Oil is not free, despite it just sitting in the ground; water is not free, despite it falling from the sky; nuclear power is not free, despite the raw materials being ridiculously cheap, and neither is any renewable energy resource ‘free’. In fact, the conversion process from ‘free’ renewable energy to usable grid electricity is remarkably expensive and its enormous costs are being subsidised by the consumer. In the UK, this subsidy is achieved through Renewables Obligation Certificates, the cost of which are eventually passed onto the consumer. In 2006 the cost to consumers was £600 million, and this is predicted to rise to £3 billion in 2020. 1 That is about £200 per household per annum, on top of current energy bills, for the privilege of using of ‘free’ energy.
    Now one might argue that that is not very much money to demand from the public, given the advertised prospect of clean, renewable energy that will fuel our homes and our economy for the next few generations. Power at the press of a button, and not a drop of noxious emissions of any nature in sight – just an array of perfectly silent, gently rotating wind-turbines stretching towards the horizon – it is dream-world picture direct from the cover issue of an environmentalist magazine, and the answer to a politician’s prayers. In one master-stroke the environment is magically healed, and votes are captured by the million – roll on the next election.
    However, it is my belief that this sublime day-dream actually holds the seeds for our economic decline and for social disorder on an unprecedented scale. Why? Because no technical and industrial society can maintain itself on unreliable and intermittent power supplies. In 2003 there were six major electrical blackouts across the world, and the American Northeast blackout of August 14th was typical of these. The outage started in Ohio, when some power lines touched some trees and took out the Eastlake power station, but the subsequent cascade failure took out 256 power stations within one hour.
    The entire Northeast was down onto emergency electrical supplies, and the result was social and economic chaos. Nothing, in our integrated and automated world, works without electricity. Transport came to a grinding halt. Aircraft were grounded, trains halted and road traffic was at a standstill, due to a lack of traffic lights and fuel. Water supplies were severely disrupted, as were telecommunications, while buildings had to be evacuated due to a lack of fire detection and suppression systems. Without any available transport, many commuters were forced to sleep in offices or in Central Park, and while the summer temperatures made this an office-adventure to remember, had this been winter the results of this electrical failure could have been catastrophic.
    This is what happens to a major technical civilisation when is life-blood, its electrical supply, is turned off. Chaos looms, people die, production ceases, life is put on hold. Yet this was just a once-in-a-decade event, a memorable occasion to laugh about over dinner-parties for many years to come, but just imagine what would happen to a society where this happened every week, or if the power was cut for a whole fortnight or more. Now things are getting serious. Without transport, refrigeration, computers and key workers, food production and distribution would cease. Sleeping in Central Park on a balmy summer’s night is a memorable inconvenience, whereas fifty million empty bellies is getting very serious indeed. In fact, it is a recipe for violence and civil unrest.
    But what has all this doom and gloom got to do with the government’s drive for renewable energy, you might ask? Well, the entire problem with renewables – almost all renewables – is that they are dangerously intermittent power sources.
    Perhaps the first renewable source we should discuss is tidal power. Unfortunately, while tidal power initially looks like a dream power source of cheap, renewable energy, it suffers from massive variability in supply. The energy that it produces is tidal, and the tides are, of course, linked to the orbit of the Moon, with there being about two tides every day. This sinusoidal tidal pattern produces four slack periods during each day when the tide is turning, either at high tide or at low tide, and during these slack periods the tidal power system will not generate any electricity at all. Unfortunately, the energy that is produced is therefore delivered at set periods of the day which are connected to the orbit of the Moon, rather than our daily lives, and so the electricity produced is in no way synchronised with the electrical demand cycle. If these slack periods coincide with the 7-am and 7-pm peak demands for electricity, as they will several times a month, then the whole generating system is next to useless.
    Since the energy produced earlier in the day cannot be stored, as will be explained later, extra generating capacity will have to be brought on-line to cover the deficiency. This means that for every tidal system installed, a conventional power station will have to be either built or retained to ensure continuity of energy supply. But this power station will have to be up and running all the time, what is known in the industry as ‘spinning-reserve’, as it takes up to 12 hours to bring a power station on-line from a cold start-up. Thus if we are to maintain continuity of supply, this wonderful ‘free-energy’ tidal source actually results in twice the cost and saves very little in the way of hydrocarbon fuels. So, unless we are prepared to accept rolling power cuts across the country, which would result in the same chaos as the Northeast blackout, it is unlikely that we could ever successfully integrate large tidal power systems into the National Grid.
    While tidal power may be predictably intermittent, wind power is even more problematical. Recent EU directives have stipulated that some 40% of electricity should be powered from renewable resources by 2020. If this were to be predominantly produced from wind turbines, as is likely, then we would need some 30 gigawatts (gw) of wind generating capacity. To put that figure in perspective, the UK currently has about 0.5 gw of wind capacity. However, that is not the full story, for UK wind turbines are only currently delivering about 25% of installed capacity, due to wind fluctuations and maintenance issues. That means we actually need some 120 gw of installed wind generation capacity to cover just 40% of total UK electrical demand. If the turbines being constructed average 2 mw rated capacity, then we shall need some 60,000 wind turbines to be installed over the next twelve years. And where shall we erect all those? – Certainly Not In My Back Yard.
    But building thousands of wind turbines still does not resolve the fundamental problem, for the real problem here is the enormous scale of wind variability. I saw a wind-power spokesman the other week on the flagship BBC Hardtalk series, who claimed that the number of days without wind power in the UK were as rare as hen’s teeth – a comment that went totally unchallenged. Well all I can say, is that the hens in the UK must look like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
    The truth of the matter is that there are numerous days without significant winds across the UK, and when those conditions occur it doesn’t matter how much installed generating capacity we have, for it all goes off-line. A report from Denmark 2 indicates that the Danish ‘wind carpet’, which is the largest array of wind turbines in Europe, generated less than 1% of installed power on 54 days during 2002. That is more than one day every week of the year without electrical power. However, if we broaden the definition of ‘without power’ slightly, the same Danish ‘wind carpet’ generated less than 10% of installed capacity for some 16 weeks during 2003. Yet Denmark has the same kind of northerly, maritime weather systems as does the UK. Thus the wind-generation industry is lying to us, once more, for a ‘wind carpet’ that generates less than 10% of installed capacity it next to useless, for the national electrical grid will never cope with such a massive reduction in power supply. In fact, wind generation is so useless, that Denmark, Europe’s largest wind generating nation by far, has never used any of its wind-generated electricity – because it is too variable. It is almost impossible to integrate wind power into a normal generating grid, and so Denmark has merely exported its variable wind supplies to Norway and Sweden. 3 These nations can cope with these electrical fluctuations because of their abundance of hydro-electric power, which can be turned on and off quite rapidly, unlike most other generating systems.
    This revelation, that wind power is totally unusable, brings us onto the other great lie of renewable energy proponents – the lie that renewable power can somehow be stored to cope with power outages. The first of these miraculous energy storage facilities, that is said to come to the aid of the thousands of wind-turbines that lie motionless across the entire nation, is the pumped water storage system. However, this claim is utter nonsense, and for the following reasons:
    a. Our present pumped storage systems are already fully utilized in overcoming variability in electrical DEMAND, and so they have absolutely no extra capacity for overcoming variability in SUPPLY due to the unreliable wind and tidal generation systems.
    b. Pumped storage systems currently only supply a very small percentage of the grid (about 5%) for just a few hours, while wind generation systems can go off-line for days or weeks at a time, as the Danish generation report clearly demonstrates. To put this argument into figures, the Dinorwig power storage system, the largest in the UK, can provide 5% of the UK’s power generation requirements (2.9 gw) for up to 5 hours before it runs out of water. (Thus the total capacity of Dinorwig is 14.5 gwh). If the UK was entirely dependent on wind power, a wind outage lasting just two days would require 140 storage stations with the same generating capacity as Dinorwig to maintain normal power supplies (assuming average UK demand of 1,000 gwh/day). As the Danish report confirms, power outages lasting a week or more are the norm, rather than the exception, and so if the UK generated a significant proportion of our electrical capacity from wind-turbines, as the EU has argued, the lights and heating systems would be going out, the computers going down and transport systems failing all over the country.
    c. Pumped storage systems are not only hugely expensive to construct, the topography of Britain ensures that very few sites are available, and so we will never be able to store significant amounts of our energy requirements. These storage systems also tend to be situated in areas of outstanding natural beauty, and so – you have guessed it – the Greens oppose the very storage system they are promoting.
    The same kind of argument can be sustained for flywheel energy storage, compressed air storage, battery storage and hydrogen storage – for each and every one of these systems is highly complex, very expensive, hugely inefficient and limited in capacity. The much hyped ‘Hydrogen Economy’ is one of these technological cul-de-sacs. It should be stated from the outset that hydrogen is not an energy source, but an energy storage system – a ‘battery’. The hydrogen has to be created before it is used, and it merely stores the energy that is flowing through the normal electrical grid. Unfortunately for the proponents of this clean ‘energy system’, hydrogen powered vehicles and generators are only about 5% efficient. A huge amount of energy is wasted in the production, liquification and storage of the hydrogen, and so hydrogen will not be propelling our cars, nor will it be storing energy for when the wind stops blowing. In addition, hydrogen storage vessels are highly flammable and potentially explosive, and I for one would rather have a nuclear power station on my doorstep than a hydrogen facility. However, the final unsayable truth about hydrogen powered vehicles (and electric vehicles) is that we would have to double or treble the number of power stations to cope with this electrical demand. The fact that many cars would recharge overnight would be useful in evening out electrical demand, but the number of power stations in the UK would at least double. Now what would the Greens have to say about that?
    In short, it would appear that some of the proponents of these storage systems simply have no concept of the huge amounts of energy that a nation like Britain uses within a normal week. There is no energy system available that can remotely be expected to replace renewable energy resources, while they lie dormant for weeks on end. These and other delusions that are being being peddled by renewables proponents are downright dangerous, as they give ignorant ministers in government the impression that we can maintain this nation on renewable energy supplies. But nothing could be further from the truth, and the 2003 blackouts demonstrate the seriousness of the consequences if we do run out of electrical power.
    Nuclear
    But if the large-scale use of renewable energy systems is utterly impractical, there has to be a solution to our energy supply problems; because even in the short term our dependance on foreign oil and gas places us at the mercy of oil and gas owning despots, who will seek to gain every leverage possible over us. Look at the current situation in the Middle East and Russia and multiply that by ten, and you have some idea of our future political situation if we become solely dependent on foreign energy supplies.
    In addition to this – for every year we delay in getting reliable and internally sourced energy supplies, millions of tonnes of a valuable mineral resources are literally going up in smoke. Nearly everything we need in our modern world needs oil as a raw material to make it – no oil supplies not only means no energy, but also no raw materials too. When the last barrel of oil comes out of the ground – and if alternate energy provisions are not already in place – human civilization as we know it will cease to exist. That is neither an exaggeration nor a joke, for absolutely nothing in our modern world will work without adequate energy supplies and petrochemical raw materials to make the things we so often take for granted.
    What ever you may think about the technology, the ONLY reliable answer to our energy supply and global warming problems for the foreseeable future is going to be nuclear power (either fission or fusion). Ok, so nuclear power has got a bad name through Chernobyl and a few other incidents, but the Chernobyl plant in particular should never have been allowed in the first place. The RBMK design was (and still is) a rudimentary graphite moderated steam cooled plant with no containment vessel – indeed, it was no better that the original ‘graphite pile’ in the Manhattan Project (circa 1943). Remember that graphite and steam are an explosive combination if they get hot enough, and that’s exactly what happened at Chernobyl (this was NOT a ‘nuclear’ explosion). This arrangement should never have been allowed at the design stage, which is why the British AGRs (Advanced Gas Reactors) used an inert gas coolant. In addition, both the AGR and the the USAs PWRs (Pressurized Water Reactors) are naturally fission-stable, and their very nature will resist and counter a runaway thermic event like that which occurred at Chernobyl.
    While the early designs of nuclear power stations have highlighted the problems that poor design or construction can pose, our design and technological capability has moved on in great strides. The Russian RBMKs are the equivalent of a model T Ford, the British AGRs represent Morris Minor technology from the ’60s, but we are now capable of producing Bugattis and Ferraris – which provide a quantum leap in terms of safety and efficiency. The point is that there are methods of reducing nuclear risks if we put our minds to it, and the latest design from Westinghouse – the AP1000 – will be able to deliver ten times the efficiency of the reactors in current use. (Which makes it odd that the UK government have just sold Westinghouse to Toshiba of Japan, just as orders for new power stations are about to be signed.)
    Therefore, we could supply Britain’s entire current and future energy requirements with nuclear power, while only using the same amount of nuclear material that is in circulation today (and which produces just 20% of our needs). Remember also that nuclear power is non-polluting in terms of greenhouse gasses, acid rain and other noxious emissions, and thus all of the reductions that we aspire to make in these pollutants could be achieved in a stroke if we turned to nuclear power.
    And when it comes to nuclear safety issues, let us not forget that thousands of people in ships and submarines live in close proximity to nuclear plants with no ill-effects. Also remember that while nuclear power has acquired a bad name, courtesy of some sections of the media, far more ecological damage has been done and many more people have died though oil and coal extraction, over the past decades, than in nuclear power incidents. Remember Piper Alpha, Aberfan, Torry Canyon, Exxon Valdes, etc: etc:? The list is almost endless, especially if one includes all the coal-pit disasters in Russia and China, from which much of our energy, in terms of finished products, is now sourced. If a nuclear power station had killed a whole school full of children the environmentalists would never let us forget it, but because it was the result of the coal industry they let the memory fade. If 6,000 workers were killed every year in the nuclear industry Greenpeace would go ballistic, but because these are coal mining deaths in China they are ignored. Why do some people exhibit these double standards? What is it about technical progress that they so despise? In some respects, some of these anti-nuclear demonstrators appear to be portraying themselves as the world’s very own technological Taliban, and in this guise they must be vigorously opposed.
    However, it should be borne in mind that fission power is only a temporary stop-gap that will maintain our economy and civilisation over the next century until something better comes along. Nuclear fusion may well be that brighter future, but for all the reasons already given we need a solution now, not in 30 year’s time. Nuclear fission will provide a stop-gap for that vital century, but fission power on its own is a non-renewable energy resource. The way forward has to be fast-breeder fission, where the nuclear core creates its own fuel supply, a technique that has already been demonstrated and perfected. This energy source would provide the world with 1,000 years of energy, a large enough stop-gap to allow all kinds of new exotic energy sources to be discovered and exploited.
    We have about 30 or so years before the shortage of oil becomes acute and our economies and societies begin to falter, and that is not very much time in which to alter our entire energy production industry. It is like relying on the Victorians to plan ahead and ensure that we still had a viable civilisation in the 1930s. And while the Victorians were both successful and resourceful, history demonstrates that new sources of raw materials were never actively planned until the old sources were in desperately short supply or worked-out completely. However, the introduction of a new, nationwide power generating system is an extremely long-term investment, and if we are to make this change without a dramatic interruption to our energy supplies (and our society) we need foresight, vision and a quick decision. What we need is a tough, educated, talented, rational leader to take a difficult but responsible decision to dramatically increase our nuclear energy production capability. However, what we have in the UK is Gordon Brown!
    Ralph Ellis
    June 2004
    1. David Derbyshire, Daily Mail 5th Feb 2008.
    2 & 3 Hugh Sharman, Why wind power works in Denmark.

  91. The EIA did a study of the subsidies that various forms of energy receive in the US. All figures are per mega Watt hour.
    Natural Gas – $0.25
    Coal – $0.44
    Fission – $1.59
    Wind – $23.37
    Solar – $24.34

  92. The story of Glasgow is a tragedy. The demise of Britains second city is due to to chronic governmental incompetence stretching back for generations. It needs power and how, because it’s lifeblood is the politically incorrect heavy industry steam and shipbuilding, (Clydeside built meant world best once), and before that rum, tobacco and sugar trading. But the Ayrshire coalfield on its doorstep was politically sacrificed in the 70’s. There was a feeble attempt to plant the head office of the doomed national Britoil’s offices there, to resurrect the city centre, for a few years. Now its back to a city with high unemployment supported by benefits, waiting for a saviour. Its not windmills.

  93. What arises more often now is the idea that energy independence requires a broad portfolio of new energy sources. The standard renewables should be engaged but they appear incapable of meeting growing baseload in most countries. So the mix needs to include newer ideas, indeed as (Steve?) points out, perhaps new physics. A reasonable proposition unless we think we’ve settled the physics of the known universe. But then there are perplexing problems like the sun’s corona, dark matter, and singularity effects.
    However, there is new physics in the offing. We’ve got the Navy folks at SPAWAR doing LENR research:
    http://tinyurl.com/pzfkes
    And Randy Mills at Blacklight also producing excess heat:
    http://www.blacklightpower.com/papers/WFC112108Web030509citupdS.pdf
    And newer work concentrating on nanoscale capture of energy from vacuum. These are all new physics proposals and as such will meet a great deal of skepticism (a good thing.) But in light of the emerging need for growing baseload and resistance to conventional (coal and nuke) generation – it seems the time is right for new physics. And newer ideas of how to implement energy generation. For example supporting combined heat and power units (CHP) for residential energy needs. If the U.S. could offload residential energy demand to individual residential power units, it would reduce grid demand by fully one third.
    The trick would appear to be how to bring these projects into mainstream R&D funding so the most promising can be put on a fast track. Obama’s Admin would do well to build a blue-ribbon panel to investigate these areas and report back within 12 months on which should receive a significant boost in funding.

  94. kum,
    When you go to turn on the lights now, do you have a problem obtaining electricity?
    “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”

  95. Your wife pledging to be faithful 90% of the time may not result in a happy marriage.
    A sexual predator behaving themselves 99% of the time would still result in the same level of sexual crime.
    A politician not taking bribes from special interests 99% of the time would result in no change in the amount of corruption.
    A spacecraft capable of safely returning its crew to Earth 97% of the time would result in…. the Space Shuttle.

  96. ralph ellis (14:55:46) :
    Respecting the effort and energy you put into your post, the Victorian era was first and last about coal. We all of us should bow to King Coal and the miners who hewed it for us.
    The Victorians may or may not have planned ahead but, in the wash, we will never now because their childred died in the most frightening numbers in the first world war.
    Oil came into its own in the twenties and thirties as access acclerated spurred by invention and helped by the collapase of the Ottoman empire.
    Go google if you don’t believe me.
    “What we need is a tough, educated, talented, rational leader to take a difficult but responsible decision to dramatically increase our nuclear energy production capability. However, what we have in the UK is Gordon Brown!”
    Can I suppose you are volunteering for election?

  97. Kum Dollison (14:42:39) : ” You can’t just be “Agin” Everything. You’ve got to be For “Something.”
    Otherwise, regular people just tune you out as a “Collection of Cranks”
    Actually, in America, you don’t have to be for anything. That’s what makes us special.
    For what it’s worth, however, I’m for fossil fuels until viable alternatives can replace them without creating economic hardships for my countrymen and me — I’m for using every drop of oil, every lump of coal, every slab (?) of shale, and every vapor of natural gas under American soil until then.

  98. John Boy (12:47:46) :
    Apparently, you are aware of ‘diabolical motives’ of GWers. They certainly have political and societal agendas because they could not create solutions to the danger they percieve as it necessarily entails challenging the existing Kings, oil and coal. (Yes, I know -no warming for the last ten years.)
    What diabolical motives are you aware of?
    I sure would like to know. Place them next to some of the diabolical things done in pursuit, exploitation, responsibility delay, evasion, obfusaction associated with oil .
    Maybe, the intentions of ‘greeny/GW Alarmists’ are AS or perhaps even MORE diabolical than that has already been perpetrated.
    Or maybe GWers are naive and misguided – having been misled by a 25 year old, worldwide conspiracy across nations/languages masterminded by scientists/activist with diabolical intentions – into believeing that CO2 is changing climate in a dangerous way. Perhaps.
    “Diabolical” must be in the eye of the beholder.
    It seems you readily acknowledge that doing something that may be bad now is OK because others have done bad things in the past. Kind of hackneyed, but haven’t you heard that two wrongs don’t make a right? You tip your hand that this AGW crusade is very much about socking it to the “evil” oil and coal companies and seem to care little about the ultimate sacrifices we all make to assure your “victory”.
    You may call their actions “naive” or “misguided”. I believe they are intentionally exaggerating and falsifying circumstances to further an agenda that DOES NOT serve the general population. Nevertheless, intent will not lessen the blow. Much like the demonization of DDT, the banning of which has led to the needless deaths of MILLIONS globally, or the hamstringing of the nuclear energy industry, which ironically could have been providing us with a substantial and reliable carbon-free energy source that would largely render these arguments moot, the actions of environmental extremists is, at the very least, dangerously and willfully ignorant.

  99. David Ball (10:58:46) :
    I see proponents of AGW using the abbreviation WWUT.

    Dyslexia seems a common complaint among warmists – probably why they feel at home at the Grauniad. One of the more persistent posters on George Monbiot’s thread constantly refers to this site as WATTSUPDOC, which might have been mildly amusing the first time he used it, but is now just laboured and gratuitous. In keeping with his comments, I suppose.

  100. henry (14:36:57) :
    “Also, for your safety, it will be “compressed into a supercritical state (i.e., a dense, liquid-like form)”. For you thermodynamicists out there, check out the pressures involved in putting a gas like CO2 into the supercritical state…(hint it’s about 73 atmospheres or 1073 psi at 30 C). Better put that well cap on tight!”
    Too bad they can’t use that compressed gas in a closed-loop system to drive a turbine or two. Sequestered CO2 and energy from the storage, too.

    Two problems with the turbine idea. (1) you’d have to let the CO2 escape back to the atmosphere in order to extract work from a turbine (since it requires a lower pressure at the exhaust) and (2) it’s still an energy loser since it takes more energy to compress the CO2 that you would get back out of it (i.e. the second law of thermo).
    Maybe they could sell the CO2 to Coca Cola or Pepsi – at least we’d be able to drink it before it escaped back into the atmosphere…

  101. Kum Dollison (14:42:39) :
    You can’t just be “Agin” Everything. You’ve got to be For “Something.”
    Otherwise, regular people just tune you out as a “Collection of Cranks.”
    I think the hue and cry you hear is necessary to slam on the brakes before we head over the cliff. After that, we can calmly and collectively come to an agreement on the best course to follow.
    Personally, I don’t have anything “agin” alternate energy sources like wind and solar when they are seen for what they are – supplements to more reliable and LESS EXPENSIVE energy sources. And as technology improves, those alternate sources will become less expensive and more reliable – truly viable alternatives.
    If warmists would drop their crusade against carbon, then we might be able to move the lion’s share of electrical energy production towards natural gas (and increasing the numbers of diesels and NGVs vs the convention gasoline vehicles). And while we have relatively inexpensive energy, invest in nextgen nuclear reactor research, perhaps providing the technological critical mass to achieve practical, large-scale fusion, providing us with the ultimate SUSTAINABLE, low environmental impact energy source.
    Is that “fer” enough for ya?

  102. Marinaman (08:32:55) :
    Now if the excess electricity could produce, say, hydrogen which would fuel a conventional power plan on windless days, that would be something. But I don’t believe we have mastered Hydrogen production and storage, have we?
    Marinaman,
    Do we master hydrogen production and storage: Yes we have, but not at a competative level.
    Please understand that the objective of the current AGW Doctrine is aimed to tax carbon fuels. This is most effective if alternative energy sources are NOT reliable.
    There are two hoaxes:
    1. The hoax of Anrtopogenic Global Warming.
    2. The hoax of reliable alternative energy.
    In the mean time the current ‘Consensus’ which only exist because WE THE PEOPLE ARE TOO PASSIVE AND DON’T USE OUR BRAINS. We have arrived at a point in history where we are about to lose our civil rights and our freedom to a gang of MAFIOSI.
    That is how it is.

  103. Ralph Ellis: “technological Taliban”
    This deserves wider exposure.
    On wind power: It is extremely unlikely that wind turbines are going to get much better. There is a large technology overlap with sailplane wings (epoxy – carbon composite construction, custom high tech airfoils) and these things appeared 30 years ago. In the time since there has been little progress except that you can run the structural and airfoil design codes on your desktop instead of the university mainframe.

  104. Look, all I’m saying is: the anti-AGW community needs to “Focus.” We’ve allowed the watermelons to conflate CO2 with “Pollution.”
    NO ONE likes “dirty.” “Dirty” Air, “Dirty Water,” “Dirty Skivvies:” It’s all anathema. The average person lives in a “Clean” home, drives a “Clean” Car, “Cleans” their dishes after supper, and makes their kids “Clean” their fingernails.
    They like the idea of “CLEAN ENERGY.” If you spend half your time ranting about the idiocy of “CLEAN” Energy, and championing “DIRTY” Coal, and Oil by the time you get around to Explaining how “CO2 isn’t Pollution” they WON’T BE LISTENING.
    You’ve got to “Pick your Fights.”
    The lyrics of the Beatles’ Song: “If you’re carrying a picture of Chairman Mao, You Won’t Make It, Anyhow.”

  105. Kum Dollison (14:42:39) :
    Unfortunately, this blog is turning into a rabid, anti-alternatives, every where,
    all the time, day in, day out rant. I think that’s a mistake. I think poll after poll tell us that the “People” mostly think AGW is bunk, but “alternatives” to coal, and petroleum are something that are of interest to the everyday Joe.
    Why and when we rant.
    When green agenda articles promote energy production sources that are reliant on the prevailing weather conditions as an alternative to those that aren’t.
    Deep desperation for an actual viable alternative energy source that is beyond the control of a cartel.
    Frustration that our rich Western societies have been manipulated into believing that wealth generation and prosperity are great evils, right about when this evil wealth was on the cusp of spreading to the 80% of the Earths population who live in poverty.
    Knowing that 25% of the population of the planet live without electricity and that bogus, weather reliant pseudo alternatives are never going to remedy that.

  106. This site calls into question the statistical competence of Mann, of Steig and so forth. The same site publishes this …
    The flaw in The Guardian’s logic is a failure to acknowledge that Glasgow needs a consistent power supply 24×7×365
    Anybody else puzzled?

  107. “David Ball (10:58:46) :
    I see proponents of AGW using the abbreviation WWUT.”
    They might be using it so that others won’t be able to google it. Maybe “WWUT”
    needs to be added to the search terms here so WUWT comes up first on google searches…
    Mike

  108. Paul R (17:46:09) :
    Kum Dollison (14:42:39) :
    Unfortunately, this blog is turning into a rabid, anti-alternatives, every where,
    all the time, day in, day out rant. I think that’s a mistake. I think poll after poll tell us that the “People” mostly think AGW is bunk, but “alternatives” to coal, and petroleum are something that are of interest to the everyday Joe.
    Why and when we rant.
    When green agenda articles promote energy production sources that are reliant on the prevailing weather conditions as an alternative to those that aren’t.
    Deep desperation for an actual viable alternative energy source that is beyond the control of a cartel.
    Frustration that our rich Western societies have been manipulated into believing that wealth generation and prosperity are great evils, right about when this evil wealth was on the cusp of spreading to the 80% of the Earths population who live in poverty.
    Knowing that 25% of the population of the planet live without electricity and that bogus, weather reliant pseudo alternatives are never going to remedy that.
    Paul R,
    You are right.
    Development starts with availability of affordable energy.
    Local food production is possible with modern agricultural techniques.
    Both are denied by policies of the United Nations, the same organiyations that demands the West to shut down our economies.
    We have nothing against alternative energy but it must be reliable, competative, and safe.
    Today’s alternatives are not viable.
    There are much better ways to spend our money.

  109. Paul,
    I appreciate your frustration, but sometimes you just have to let the kids play. Someone mentioned upthread that their electricity bill went up after, I presume, his utility started buying some windpower. Well, the thing is, anytime a new electric plant of any kind gets built electricity rates go up. The utilities have, it seems, almost everywhere managed to get dispensation to raise their rates on the “front end.”
    Someone else mentioned that federal subsidies for wind was $23.37, I think it was, per Megawatt hr.. Well, heck, that’s about two, and a third cents per kilowatt hr. It’s not a big price, and maybe we’ll learn something.
    People might be pre-occupied with other things (making a living?) but, they’re not stupid. They know the wind doesn’t blow all the time, and that the sun “goes down” every night; but, they, also, like to see people trying new things. They’re Americans. (at least, the ones that live in “America” are:)
    They know that coal is dirty, and that oil, being a finite substance, can’t last forever. In fact, they saw gasoline go to $4.25/gal last year, and they’re watching it start to climb again.
    And, they respond to “Positive” Messages. They will respond to “The Earth’s Climate is just fine.” They’ll respond well to, “It was hot two years, ago, and it was cool last year, and we think it’s going to be “mediumish” this year, but “Hey, it’s the Weather.”
    People will respond to, “CO2 is GOOD for the Earth.” “It’s Plant Food.” “The Earth is 6% Greener than it was a couple of decades, ago.” “We’ve been in a warm period, but now we’re probably heading into a cooler period.”
    But, when they see Wind working in Texas, and Iowa you’re going to lose their interest when you start telling them that Wind is Stupid, Period.
    When they see Millions of Solar Panels getting installed, they might be a little skeptical about it paying for itself on their own roof; but they might like the idea that someone else is doing a little work on it. Again, they’re Not Against Progress, and Coal is Finite, and “Dirty.”
    In short, you need to “Sell” your own product, and let the doomsayers pitch theirs. And, keep an open mind, and “Stay Focused.” You’ll Win.

  110. The hypocrisy of the greens is astounding.If birds were being killed by oil rigs there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.Windmills do nothing for the environment,I am glad that they haven’t taken off in Tasmania,imagine fouling our scenery with those horrible eyesores.If they delivered what is promised,then it would be a case of the good outweighs the bad.The greens are to stupid to see they are being used by big business and politicians.They help them make money,and they help politicians get elected.If they were amoral,they would be making money,they’re not,but they have been compromised.Somebody should print a poster of that beautiful dead bird(it’s in the link),and caption it”sold out by the greens”
    http://www.ecogeneis.com/reports/commentsondgeis/we_june012005.pdf
    If half of what is stated is true,the price is too high.

  111. It would be enlightening to study/discuss the real purposes BEHIND alternative energies promotion, BEHIND global warming, etc. i.e. BEHIND all UN regressive agenda, WHO are the ones and WHICH organizations and people are BEHIND that agenda. Discussing or studying isolated items, as climate or energy it is simply useless, it does not affect THEM and their up to now world success. The world is in need of a kind of “Glasnost”, of transparency, of exposing those blood sucking gnats BEHIND these agendas and scientifically demonstrate their mental disability which causes them to compensate this pathology by such a mounstrous and at the same time stupid conspiracy.

  112. I seem to remember reading books about and seeing old fotos of ships that carried cargo. These ships had large masts and sails – and no engines.
    Golly, I wonder what happened to them?
    I wonder if a sane government would actually commission a sailing ship fleet in this day and age. It’s got to be the future – surely.
    Tidal power. Might work fine until one of those once in a century storms comes along and destroys the infrastructure. Isn’t it also funny that these once in a century storms seem to come along every ten years or so?

  113. I am really thinking lately about Energy = xVelocity cubed. The trouble with wind is that the energy produced is a factor of wind velocity cubed. So the energy output curve is very steep. You can’t tell how much power a turbine is producing by looking at it, because they generate power by torque, not speed of the wheel. So there is enormous fluctuations of power output as the wind goes from 15mph to 20mph to full output at 28 mph. Now a very, very interesting paper from Germany, referenced in this post.
    http://nofreewind.blogspot.com/2009/05/how-often-does-turbine-produce-power.html
    to the right of the red/green chart under Now for the Bad News.
    measured grid feed-in from wind in 15 minute intervals, but measured the high and low. And found that the fossil wasn’t able to follow those very, very wide intra 15 minute fluctuations. So there was nothing like a 1:1 replacement of wind for fossil. On page 6 of the study the author states “For 8.3 TWh of electricity feed in by the EEG mechanism, compensation and regulation power of 3.2 TWh were necessary within the Vattenfall grid area.”. What this means is that the wind only replaced fossil by 62% or 38% of the wind was lost!
    A grid manager today told me grids rebalance every 15 minutes, the don’t really follow the wind around all day, up and down up and down. For the most part it is just part of the load since it usually represents a small part of total energy in the grid. So this results in a different calculation to achieve real capacity factor. In a good location a turbine might have 30% capacity factor, or 30% of it’s possible output. But this study shows that only 62% fossil is actually replaced because the fossil still have to compensate for part of these random fluctuations. So the REAL capacity factor for good location is 30% times 62% = 18%. !!! Or in many poorly suited locations capacity factor is 20% so it is really 20% times 62% or 12%. This makes a huge difference when figuring Capital construction costs etc for who pays for construction, usually the taxpayer, or shall i say ALWAYS a taxpayer! Anywhere! And the turbine company could care less how much fossil is used to try to follow his output, because the Grid is FORCED to buy the power, and it is their problem. Us CHUMPS, the consumer, we pay for it. I guess a real greenie couldn’t care less, 10%, 20% or 30%, because “every little bit helps”, especially when it is someone else’s dime who is paying for their red dreams.

  114. Philip Johns,
    Apparently you have never heard the saying “24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.” You also didn’t bother to read the posts. So here it is again.

    The extended phrase 24/7/365 (”… 365 days a year”) specifically denotes a service that is available year-round, such as police, firefighters, and emergency medical services.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24/7

  115. The components of those West Texas turbines were shipped through our town regularly a few years back. Big ol’ things, the generator housing was the size of a large mobile home. I wonder if the steel mill and metal-processing facilities that made those were powered by wind? Even in windy West Texas, where I spent my college years, 40% availability isn’t enough to run a steel mill.
    Part of the reason that coal and oil lasting for decades or centuries is “like Eons” is that a century ago most people travelled at the speed of a horse, or a walking man, unless they took a train for a longer distance. A century before that the fastest thing was a ship — then as now, assuming the wind was blowing. A few decades makes a big difference in the 20th and 21st Centuries. If Polywell/Bussard fusion pans out, CO2 ceases to be a problem, except for environmentalists, whose drive to control will now have them arguing that the EPA should regulate deuterium. It’s always something.
    Big, ugly wind towers are actually an improvement on most of the West Texas landscape, I welcome them. CO2 sequestration can be helpful if it’s sequestered into oil wells to improve production yield, trash to treasure. I don’t have a problem with wind power advocates, I do have a problem with bad math and excessive moralization regarding sustainability, especially when that mantra is used to forcibly cut us off from energy sources that are available to us. Subsidized wind power is not cheap wind power, despite centuries of research and technological progress there is still no free lunch. If there were, we’d be using perpetual motion machines rather that futzing around with windmills. Somebody always pays, and hardcore AGW advocates are all about externalities until you point out the exceptionally toxic byproducts of silicon solar panel lithography, or the fact that it’s taxpayers taking a bath so some people can feel justified in buying wind power.

  116. Kum,
    Your confidence is misplaced. The UK government has no plans in place to create the conventional backup which will be required five to ten years from now as a number of old nuclear plants go offline.

  117. Look at Irish Wind Now:
    http://tinyurl.com/qtvowa
    page back from today to May 5th and notice they were at 940 MW of output, but they haven’t come close to that and have been below 500 MW most days.
    As far as the gal saying “chill out”. Do you know who is paying for this? WE ARE. Do you hear Obama saying we are going to create Green Jobs. Do you think we are going to loose any jobs? Do you think they are going to close a coal or gas or nuclear plant knowing full well that ANYDAY next week, ANYWHERE, there could be no wind, esp with summer highs moving in! Turbines ONLY go up, in any country, because there are enormous subsidies to build them, then the Electric grids are FORCED to buy the energy, usually at a premium, and then to add to the misery in the US and most other places there are behind the back production tax credits, that the federal gov’t gives. Here in the US that PTC is 2.1 cents or 20% of my electric rate! Chill? I pay $12,000/year in electricity with my home and two business’s. I am going to be paying $20,000/year soon enough in a bad business environment. That is the Obama plan? Why doesn’t he create jobs by just hiring more guys at the water company to play cards instead of junking up my landscape with thee beasts.
    The poster above who talked about blackouts. He Knows!! The grid is going to fight like hell to keep the fossil ready to balance the crazy constant wind fluctuations, see Ireland as great example, and the fact that in 24 hours they may well be no wind whatsoever. Look here for North Dakota, claimed to be wind capital of the USA. Every other day, no wind, no wind, no wind.
    http://basinelectric.com/Energy_Resources/Wind/Basin_Electric_Generation/index.html
    Here is a video about the intermittency of wind.

    see top post of blog, and more charts here.
    http://www.nofreewind.com/Charts.html THIS IS INSANITY AS AN ELECTRIC SUPPLY.

  118. You can easily farm around them
    Yeah, sorta. YOU try to farm with 25-50 foot equipment with a big ole windmill every 500 feet, big ole concrete pier, etc, etc. Not to mention the access roads, maintenance crews, etc, etc. It’s doable, but it ain’t easy, and there are going to be times when multiple parties feel like choking someone.

  119. Smokey (13:20:51) :
    ralph ellis (14:55:46) :
    Hats off to both of you. Well and clearly written.
    But infinitely more difficult is: how do we get entrenched, greedy, self-serving] politicians to learn from what you have so well written and do what’s best for their countries? I surely don’t know.

  120. Ok, hopefully the last one:
    A doctor with a 99% success ratio only drops one baby in 100 on its head during delivery.
    I wish we could get the gobment out of this and allow private enterprise to solve our problems.

  121. Wow !!! Another great thread with great posts by great posters. When one reads a novel it is written by one or two authors. This blog has the interesting aspect of having a multitude of posts by highly intelligent posters. Vast demographic as people of every age and education level provide many points of view on any given thread. Usually in a unique way. Makes for some good reading !! Cheers to all !! ……..

  122. John Boy (10:04:05) :
    Oil and coal will eventually run out.

    Yes, in about 100+ and 300-400+ years respectively. Uranium from mines in about 10,000. Thorium (usable today in reactors) from mines in about 30,000 years. Uranium from sea water (usable today) in about 2,000,000,000 years (due to sun evaporating ocean as it turns into a redder and larger star).
    Sun and wind will not, not in any time frame that will matter.
    Nor do “non-renewable” sources run out in any time frame that will matter.
    See:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/there-is-no-energy-shortage/
    and there never will be.
    The Boy of John

  123. John Boy (12:47:46) : But we need to take steps in that direction – even steps that are not as efficient (as we’d like)or convienent (and cheap) as coal and oil.
    Why?
    We are not in danger of running out of fossil fuels for at least a few hundred years. (Recently we figured out how to crack the “tight shale” problem. Natural Gas is now in glut in N. America and will be for a very very long time…)
    AGW is just wrong. CO2 is not a problem at all.
    There is simply no need what so ever to move away from oil, coal, and natural gas until such time as their price is too high. Say about 300+ years.
    The only issue I see is the need to burn them cleanly, and we already do that under existing law.

  124. Kum Dollison (12:51:54) : Good Lord; You people sound like a bunch of old oil, and coal men. What are you all afraid of?
    The Dark.
    Oh, and the cold and heat. And no TV, fridge, radio, computer, fan, washer, dryer, dishwasher, oven, stove, power tools, water pumps, freezer, …
    I’ve been through the rolling blackouts caused by the California Loony Left scheme that had us buying all our electricity from power brokers at mini-bar prices on the spot market because somebody had a theory that said it would be good for us. Keep the theories, give me a decent power company with decisions made by power engineers. No “social engineering” or other oxymoronic things need apply.
    If the stuff works as badly as you say people will figure it out pretty quick, and quit building it.
    Nope. Maybe in a free market, but once something is a political decision with subsidies and such, it can be funded for a lifetime no matter how daft.
    Example? Start a peanut farm in the USA. Just grow 2 acres to feed your own livestock. Nothing to sell. Nothing ever leaving your dirt. You will be shut down by the peanut police… It’s a hereditary right now. No hereditary peanut license, no peanut farm. Why? Because a herd of decades ago someone thought it would be a good idea. ( This happened to a farmer in Texas not that many years ago, per family who were friends of his.)
    Now play that forward to “hereditary fossil fuel license”. That’s what we’re looking at.
    In the meantime, it’s not costing much; and, we’ll probably learn a little bit. Chill.
    It’s only costing $MILLIONS…
    BTW, since we’ve had windmills in California for at least 30 years that I know of, ought we not to have pretty much learned it by now? If we’re learning that slowly it isn’t good to depend on it much…
    FWIW, I’m not “anti-wind”. More times than I care to think about I’ve done the exercise of figuring out the alternative energy system I’d like to have when I finally get to live out in the boonies (“off the grid”). But I am anti-stupid. I know full well that wind is workable — up to about 20% MAX of your capacity and then only if part of a very large continental scale grid (or you have your own batteries off grid). Otherwise it is too destabilizing.
    I’m also not keen at all on the birds they kill. That folks who call themselves “green” tolerate this speaks volumes about their duplicity…
    “Chill”? I think that’s what folks are trying to avoid…

  125. They might be using it so that others won’t be able to google it. Maybe “WWUT” needs to be added to the search terms here so WUWT comes up first on google searches…
    Mike

    There’s a thought. Do you think George Monbiot would get more hits if he had ‘Moonbat’ in his meta-tags… 🙂

  126. Breeders
    Fifty years of intensive research in seven countries (USA, UK, France, Germany, former USSR now Russia, Japan and India), with investments of many of tens of billions of dollars so far have failed to demonstrate that the breeder cycle is technically feasible (see Appendix A). Even if the breeder cycle starts working flawlessly next year, the share of breeder power could become significant only at the end of this century. The high fissionable fraction of natural uranium theoretically achievable by the breeder is the source of the old nuclear dreams from the 1950s: the ‘all nuclear society’ using energy ‘too cheap to meter’. Today these unproven figures still give rise to the technical dreams of untold quantities of cheap, clean nuclear energy for all mankind for the coming
    In 2005 the world nuclear fleet consumed about 68000 Mg of natural uranium. Of this amount about 40000 Mg has been actually mined. The remaining 30000 Mg comprised depleted uranium and HEU (highly enriched uranium) from military inventories. Within a few years reserves of HEU will be depleted and from then on all needed uranium has to be mined. When the very rich ores in Canada will get depleted within a decade, the uranium has to be recovered from leaner ores. Likely the uranium prices will rise sharply in the near future.
    An example may clarify the consequences of the dilution factor. Assume that common granite, with an average content of 4 grams of uranium per Mg granite, were to be used as uranium ore. The amounts of granite on earth are immeasurable and so the amounts of uranium. What’s the problem?
    To fuel one reference reactor with a nominal capacity of 1 GW(e) each year about 162 tonnes natural uranium have to be extracted from earth’s crust. The mass of 162 tonnes uranium is in 40 million tonnes of granite. The rock has to be crushed, transported, ground to fine powder and chemically treated with sulfuric acid and other chemicals to extract the uranium compound from the mass. Assumed an overall extraction yield of Y = 0.50, a very optimistic assumption, 80 million tonnes granite have to be processed. This is a block of 100 meters width, 100 meters height and three kilometers length. Each year, for one reactor. For comparison: a coal-fired power station of 1 GW(e) consumes about 2 million tonnes of coal each year.
    How much energy (fossil fuels) and chemicals would be needed for processing 80 million tonnes granite?
    To fuel the current world nuclear power plant fleet of 400 GW – supplying 2.5% of the world energy demand –, each year 12 cubic km of granite would have to be processed each year. That would be a mountain with a base of 4×4 km and a height of 2.3 km
    As it turns out, the grade at which the energy consumption of the full nuclear fuel chain equals the gross energy production and the net energy production falls off the cliff and plunges into the sea of zero, little depends on the size of the energy debt. Between ore grades of 0.02 and 0.01 the nuclear system meets its zero net energy limit.
    Consumption and supply of uranium
    The current world nuclear fleet of 367 GW has an annual natural uranium consumption of about 68000 Mg/a. How long will the currently known uranium resources last?
    The largest known resources have ore grades below 0.05% U3O8 and are more or less near the verge of the energy cliff. The sum of the resources of Olympic Dam, South Africa, Namibia and Kazakhstan is about 2.6 Tg uranium. These resources are marginal is respect to their net energy content and would cause a significantly higher specific CO2 emission than the currently mined ores.
    The remaining higher-grade resources have a mass of 1.9 Tg and will be sufficient to feed the current nuclear capacity for 28 years. Then the specific CO2 emission will rapidly rise and may approach the value of a gas-fired station in about 65 years, when the poorest ores will get exploited. However, the net energy production of the nuclear system will approach zero in the same time.
    Thorium breeder
    The thorium breeder is based on the conversion by neutron capture of non-fissile thorium-232 into fissile uranium-233, by a similar system as the uranium-plutonium breeder. The feasibility of the thorium breeder is even more remote than that of the U-Pu breeder. Besides, only minute quantities of U233 exist in the world at this moment. It would take decades to obtain sufficient U233 from special reactors to start up the first operating Th232–U233 breeder system. It would take 9 doubling times to attain a thorium breeder capacity equalling the current nuclear capacity. Even with an unrealistically assumed short doubling time of 20 years that would mean two centuries.
    A directory to read
    http://www.stormsmith.nl/report20071013/

  127. Kum Dollison (14:16:47) : Wind turbines work mostly at night. Solar is good during the day.
    Uh Huh… sure…
    Kum, you need to learn to apply numbers to that kind of statement and you need to get better basic data. The wind varies greatly by where you are on the planet. Many places do not have much of a day night cycle to the wind. In many places it dies down at night. Hot air balloonists are up at dawn for the simple reason that the winds are least and turbulence is least just before sun up. As the sun rises, the wind kicks up a bit more and the turbulence starts. (Admittedly a special case, what happens near zero wind, but that’s when you have a problem with wind turbines…)
    So, unless you don’t particularly need power between 4 am and 9 am, I think you need to rethink that statement about wind “at night”.
    Similarly, solar doesn’t do you much good during an overcast and rainy day and it falls off dramatically in northern latitudes in winter. So as long as you don’t need power in winter, it’s great…
    Now the two do tend to be a little complementary, but not enough to matter a whole lot to a grid. Enough for an off the grid system with a few days of batteries, but not enough for a country without storage. That is just a technical fact. In very small amounts, the nat gas and coal plants can cover this deficit, but with more than 10% it’s a problem and with over 20% you are looking at system failures. Often.
    The Germans are working on biomass/biogas for buffering.
    Fine, as soon as it’s proven to work on an industrial scale then you can proceed to plan it into a system. AFTER that, you can build out the wind system…
    BTW, if you have biomass/ biogas, you might as well just run it directly into the burners of your coal plant and be done with the problem. All biomass is in this context is expensive coal with a green label. There are plenty of places in the world today running biomass into generators (as total fuel or as a diluent in coal). It’s been done in sugar refining for many many decades. The problem isn’t doing it, the problem is getting enough of it. (HINT: It would take a tree farm roughly 1000 miles x 200 miles to come close for the USA in the best possible theoretical case). Britain has more people / sq.km and less available sq.km for biomass. Germany is worse…
    Honestly, some of you speak, reverently, of “decades” of fossil fuel availability as if it were Eons.
    No, we speak clearly of “centuries” of fossil fuels because that’s what the numbers run out to. For “Eons” we need to use Uranium.
    Kum Dollison (14:42:39) : They have plenty of biomass, there, I believe.
    Do The Math. BEST case is we can grow 50 tons / acre of trees. (Theoretically more from algae, but not shown to work). That’s 50 WET tons. About 25 dry tons. That has to be down rated to get coal equivalent based on all the OH in the COH units that make up the carbohydrate that is cellulose / lignin. So just take the national coal usage and work out the acres. Then ask: What will you STOP growing to grow this fuel? Food? Wild forests? What?
    It’s theoretically possible in places like Brazil (tropical, lots of “empty”), but not in places like Scotland and Germany.
    Look, Steve, if this post is “all about” Wind in Glasgow, fine. There are, probably, better places for Wind Turbines.
    West Texas is about as good as it gets. Sustained winds most of the time. Grid connected for the USA, it’s a decent idea. The problem is that as you move away from that “wind corridor” and especially onto a group of small islands with limited “grid” and vastly more variable wind; you lose ever more value to a wind farm. That’s just the way the technology works out. Nothing political. No agenda. Just turbines, wind charts, and grid capacity.
    And THAT is why it is legitimate for the UK folks to complain about the silliness of wind farms there, yet for T.Boone Pickens to advocate for a large farm of them in West Texas. A different set of technical numbers…
    I think poll after poll tell us that the “People” mostly think AGW is bunk, but “alternatives” to coal, and petroleum are something that are of interest to the everyday Joe.
    “Of interest” – until they find out the cost of the bill.
    You can’t just be “Agin” Everything. You’ve got to be For “Something.”
    I’m not sure what “Agin” is, but presuming you mean “against”:
    I’m against bad decisions based on flawed reasoning and lacking the numbers essential to proper engineering. I’m for market driven reliable power systems uncontaminated by politics, graft, and government weenee grandstanding.
    Otherwise, regular people just tune you out as a “Collection of Cranks.”
    Odd. I “tune out” the radical greens who don’t do decent engineering as a “Collection of Cranks”…
    @ralph ellis (14:55:46)
    Ralph, while I agree with much of your posting, please see the “no energy shortage” link I posted. We don’t need oil for “petro”chemicals.
    The major step in most synthesis starts with “synthesis gas” – a mix of CO and H2 that can be made from coal, trash, lawn clippings, tree farms, algae ponds, etc. etc. … We use oil because it is convenient. We used coal originally (Eastman chemical EMN never converted away from coal and still uses it today). Rentech RTK makes fertilizers and synthetic chemicals using trash as feedstock.
    The notion that we need to “save the oil for petrochemicals” is broken.
    Also, on nuclear, we have a functionally infinite lifetime for Uranium. A clever Japanese fellow worked out a plastic that absorbs it from sea water. Price is a small percentage higher than from mines on land, but not significant (other than making it not competitive in a free market – about $150 / lb vs $120 / lb or so; but prices vary). The amount needed to run the whole planet for a year erodes into the ocean each year; so we run out of U when we run out of planet. Literally.
    The notion of running out of energy is also broken.

  128. Pragmatic (15:10:13) : The trick would appear to be how to bring these projects into mainstream R&D funding so the most promising can be put on a fast track. Obama’s Admin would do well to build a blue-ribbon panel to investigate these areas and report back within 12 months on which should receive a significant boost in funding.
    You had me right up to this paragraph. Now just WHY ought the government be picking winners and losers? They’ve backed GM and Chrysler so far. Not exactly stellar choices… The government chose MTBE – that didn’t work out so well; then corn based ethanol, that they are now turning against.
    IMHO, the best thing the government can do is get out of the way and let markets decide with no interference. No quotas, subsidies, panels, commissions, tax breaks, tax penalties, etc. etc. ad nauseam
    The notion of government as decider of what R&D to back is also broken…
    Their decision to mandate System V then POSIX didn’t exactly work out so good… So now we have BSD, Linux, SysV, POSIX and a few dozen other variants, and the government kind of lost interest in the whole issue… Anyone remember ADA? Boy, that sure set the standard for programming languages…
    As soon as the government starts being significantly involved in an industry, I dump any stocks in that industry and use them as trade vehicles only. It’s bad enough if they are a major customer (like defense companies) but when they are “deciding” things for an industry, dump stocks and run away. Fast. The industry will never be better than it is at that moment and it will get progressively worse from that point forward.
    What your interesting tech stuff needs to do is make a ‘pitch’ at a venture capital firm. They fund things with tons of money and have all the technical chops needed to make sound decisions (and with their money on the line, they don’t make stupid political decisions that are going to suck cash and die if they can at all avoid it.) Government makes a very crummy venture capital firm.

  129. bill (20:53:59) : Not all uranium is available with a net energy production:
    http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/4262/energycliffij9.jpg
    i.e. seawater uranium is NOT viably extracted

    Bill, that is not a valid conclusion from your graph. That graph is for ore bodies, not adsorption via polymer mats from seawater. That path (adsorption) has already been demonstrated at very viable energies and coss. Sea water extraction is real, energy rich, and viable (at price over about $150 in US dollars (but needs adjustment for time, Yen, etc.) and dropping.

  130. The BBC while in Europe made a big deal of this. When the announcer asked the builder of these wind turbines how efficient they would be the CEO of the company which built the system said it would operate at a maximum of 35 percent efficiency. That was an answer that I did not expect. The CEO added that they could have never built the system without government help. (Apparently Shell pull out of the project based on pure economics) Personally as someone who relies on electricity, 35 percent efficiency is not reassuring. As an investor, betting on 35 percent efficiency, when there are more efficient ways of producing electricity at a much cheaper cost is a tough sale. Now you know why governments have to “assist” in their construction.

  131. As for the Guardian, this newspaper is publishing an entire train of articles that don’t tell the truth about AGW and contain a high percentage of ‘hyped’ content in regard to climate and renewable energy. We know that for years now.
    They are not the only ones.
    The chore of the message is that we must reduce CO2 emissions as soon as possible in order to prevent runaway Global Warming and that we can do this because there are alternative energy sources like wind.
    Today, a large chunk of the General Public believes wind is a direct replacement of fossil fuels. The fact is that they are not.
    Therefore any legislation to reduce and control the distribution of fossil fuels without a viable alternative represents nothing more but economic suicide.
    People are made to belief that if wind power is mass produced, the costs will come down.
    The production process of a windmill however can’t be reduced by mass production.
    The raw materials of the blades are based on composites (glass cloth and two component resins) which are applied in a mould. A blade is build from the outside to the inside. This means that the first step in the process is to spary the coating into the mould. This is a gell coat or a polyetiurin based coating.
    The next step is to apply the glass cloth according to fixed patterns and drensh the cloth with the two component resin. This is a job made by hand and the only automated processes are the mixing of the resins and the cutting of the cloth. All the other work is made by hand. A single blade consits of two molds and after the the laminating proces the mould is put into an autoclave to bake the material and get rid of airbubles and air pockets that could reduce the structural strength of the blade.
    After the autoclave the two arts are glued togeteher and taken out of the moulds which are than ready for the net production run.
    The moulds are made from aluminum and last a series of maximum of about 100 units before they have to be replaced.
    It must be clear that a major chunk of the manufacturing costs are labour costs, the costs of the raw materials (based on the oil price) and the costs of the autoclaves.
    In case of mass production, the production speed depend on the availability of moulds and autoclaves, both capital intensive tools.
    The manufacturers of energy plants that make use of Natuaral Gas and the energy companies love the boom in wind energy.
    They recieve huge Government subsidies and calculate the true costs to bill the end user.
    In Great Britain ever more people can’t afford to pay for their energy bills anymore. Energy poverty already has become a fact and last winter showed that it kills people.
    We can thank the Guardian, the ignorant politicians and all the collaborators of the AGW scam outside and inside the industry for that.
    And this is only the beginning!

  132. bill (03:11:56) :Breeders Fifty years of intensive research in seven countries (USA, UK, France, Germany, former USSR now Russia, Japan and India), with investments of many of tens of billions of dollars so far have failed to demonstrate that the breeder cycle is technically feasible
    Bill, I don’t know if you have an agenda in all this or if you are ‘just wrong’ but even a 30 second google turns up a lot of history of built, run, and functioning today breeder reactors.
    The major issue has never been technical feasibility, it has always been weapons fears. BY DEFINITION weapons grade production reactors are a kind of specialized breeder where your goal is to fast cook some U into specific isotopes of Pu. BY DEFINITION the extraction of that Pu from the fuel bundle demonstrates the technical ability to extract fuel for power reactor use should you wish.
    The problem is that this demonstration also states the other truth:
    A breeder program is capable of making bombs.
    I won’t bother citing all the pages that turned up on the history of working breeders. Anyone interested can do a google of “breeder reactor production” and stand back.
    I’m going to focus in on Thorium, because it’s just odd enough to be interesting and probably not too many folks have looked into it. First off, we have an existing company running fuel bundles today in Russian reactors as part of their qualification for licensing:
    http://www.thoriumpower.com/default2.asp?nav=technology_solutions&subnav=thorium101
    http://www.thoriumpower.com/default2.asp?nav=technology_solutions&subnav=fuel
    In the second of those pages you will notice they talk about “seed” and “blanket” parts of the fuel bundle. That “blanket” is where the Thorium is “bred” into U233 …
    FWIW, I held stock in these folks for a while, but have sold out of it for now. I will likely buy back in at some point. It’s a penny stock, so not for anything but your “play money”.
    I notice also that you ignored the CANDU reactor and its ability to run on very unenriched fuels… The Indians have made a variation on the CANDU that can burn Thorium. The US tried to talk Canada into not shipping the CANDU because it’s very easy to run, and once running easy to breed fuels… including bomb grade.
    Thorium breeder
    The thorium breeder is based on the conversion by neutron capture of non-fissile thorium-232 into fissile uranium-233, by a similar system as the uranium-plutonium breeder. The feasibility of the thorium breeder is even more remote than that of the U-Pu breeder. Besides, only minute quantities of U233 exist in the world at this moment. It would take decades to obtain sufficient U233 from special reactors to start up the first operating Th232–U233 breeder system.

    This is just flat out wrong. You can breed U233 from thorium in any reactor you want to use. Just stick (a properly engineered) fuel bundle in. AND IT HAS BEEN DONE. In fact, many fuel bundles are in reactors today in Russia and India among others.
    Both the USA (I think it was “teapot”) and India have set off nuclear bombs that used U233 during their development programs. I can dig out the links if forced to, but frankly don’t think this is an appropriate place for a long diatribe on nukes. A google of “U233 nuclear bomb” will get you there.
    That means, BY DEFINITION, that Thorium breeding was done. Decades ago.
    It would take 9 doubling times to attain a thorium breeder capacity equalling the current nuclear capacity. Even with an unrealistically assumed short doubling time of 20 years that would mean two centuries.
    Wildly speculative and flat out wrong. Since the mixed fuel bundles can go into present reactors today and the fuel cycle is faster than 20 years. Again, see the Thorium Inc pages. Drop fuel bundles in existing reactors. Done. No 20 years needed.
    Even the wiki pages cite working breeders:
    India has an active development programme featuring both fast and thermal breeder reactors.
    India’s first 40 MWt Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) attained criticality on 18 October 1985. Thus, India became the sixth nation to have the technology to build and operate an FBTR after US, UK, France, Japan and the former USSR. India has developed the technology to produce the plutonium rich U-Pu mixed carbide fuel. This can be used in the Fast Breeder Reactor.
    At present the scientists of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), one of the nuclear R & D institutions of India, are engaged in the construction of another FBR – the 500 MWe prototype fast breeder reactor – at Kalpakkam, near Chennai.
    India has the capability to use thorium cycle based processes to extract nuclear fuel. This is of special significance to the Indian nuclear power generation strategy as India has large reserves of thorium — about 360,000 tonnes — that can fuel nuclear projects for an estimated 2,500 years. The higher construction expense of the Fast Breeder Reactor in comparison with the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) in use is one of the main reasons why India is looking at the cheaper option – uranium fuel.

    And here we catch clue as to why breeders have not taken over the world. CHEAP uranium fuel. We just don’t need them yet since we have so darned much cheap Uranium that the “one and done” cycle is, well, cheap!
    That does not mean it can’t be done, that just means folks do the cheapest thing first. Just like they don’t bother using Thorium unless they have darned near no Uranium, like India…
    The USA ran all over the world talking folks into going with ‘one and done’ as an attempt to stop bomb technology from spreading. Well, those days are behind us now, so expect to see lots more breeders. Especially if Uranium prices rise much.
    BTW, the numbers you quote for fuel resource quantity seem to indicate about $40 / lb price assumptions. Prices are much higher now (about $120 / lb last I looked, but that was a while ago and the price has been moving). At about $150 sea water extraction is economically competitive (it is already net energy positive competitive).
    Be aware that as the price rises, what is an “economic resource” increases. Part of the way it is defined. You really need to look at “ultimately recoverable reserves” and that’s a lot higher.
    Given the Japanese adsorption technique, functionally infinite.
    A fuel pellet about the size of 1/2 your little finger is the same energy as a barrel of oil, so you can see that a pound of Uranium is quite a bargain, even at $150.
    You should also be advised that mineral extraction techniques improve as price rises. Gold is now recovered via a “heap leach” process that was not done when I was a kid. That lets us use vastly poorer ore than before, at the same cost to recover and with much less energy. So I would suggest that your speculation about the recovery costs for U are at best speculation.
    I, personally, have heard folks trot out the “U is scarce and going to run out in 10 years and it’s being hushed up” story line for about 30 years, maybe longer, it’s hard to remember that long ago… It has never been true, and it isn’t now.
    Last big time was when U hit about $100+ in the ’80s? IIRC… Then U dropped back all the way to the $30s/lb. Somehow I’m not surprised that the story is coming around again now that U has finally gotten out of the $40-$50 trap it was in for so long.
    So, bottom line, you need better information sources. There is no shortage of nuclear fuel, and there never will be. Thorium works fine too.

  133. I am looking into virtual wind turbines as a sure-fire buiness opportunity.
    The advantages would be;
    – zero pollution/carbon emissions
    – no carbon emitted during manufacture
    – no environmental impact whatsoever
    – 24/7 power
    – zero maintenance
    – massively profitable
    Well, it seems that all wind turbine sites need a grid supply to operate the lights and the administrator’s PC, etc. when the wind does not blow. This supply is fitted with an electricity meter which provides the reading for the bill.
    On these sites there is also another meter, which clocks up the power exported to the grid, and the reading is used to calculate the payment due for the wind-power supplied. The price per windpower unit is higher than the price of grid electricity.
    So, by using a simple cable link to connect the output of the grid meter to the input of the export meter, both meters ought to whizz away at the same rate. At the end of the month, of course there will be an enormous electricity bill, but an even more enormous cheque!. The difference between the two is of course the profit.
    Why bother with those great ugly whirling devices at all? A couple of bits of wire is all that is necessary … and so discreet!
    There! A really non-polluting industry, providing unlimited righteousness to the AGWers 24/7 at a decent profit!
    Makes me feel virtuous just thinking about it! You could install one anywhere … even in your utility cupboard at home.
    Do you suppose George Monbiot or Al Gore would help with the product lunch?

  134. bill (21:01:36) :
    Wind power is already storing useable power for the future –
    each kWh generated displaces an amount of energy being generated by oil/gas (at 30-60% efficiency) thus saving this for use in the future.
    ———————-
    This is why Greens cannot do math and had to invent Green Math to validate their pie ( or giant rotor ) in the sky energy poicies. Wind energy displaces nothing, ZERO, fossil fuel load generation must be maintained to be available on demand, that is the simple fact the supply is unreliable and it is not feasible to man and maintain generation plants and “spin them up” on NatGas or other as needed because the delay, demand spikes are commom.
    Wind is an energy company’s best tradable production but is kind of like selling ice cream from a moving truck, right place right time and you may get a cold treat on a stick (or some elctrons made by wind power) diverted to your grid when a spike in demand occurs. Then there is the price…
    In Texas there has been documented periods where the cost of Mw\h of production has spiked to $4,000 per unit due to demand requests and a lull in generation and Texas has been forced to create a Conservation Alert to warn people when supply is unavailable.
    This is why the National Smart Grid is so important to the Administration, they think they can produce just the electrical demand and no more and shunt it around the country at will, sending wind power from the middle to the coasts as needed. The logic is demand moves across the country in waves and we can just move the capicitty with it. Problem is that is not a very secure Energy Grid, not a very efficent energy grid when addressing regional demand issues and transmission distances, and poses the potential for service intrerruptions impairing the entire National Grid.

  135. Most of Glasgow’s electricity comes from Hunterston nuclear power station. Nuclear is the least flexible system so if it gets “switched down” by a fewe hundred mw (actually only its electricity production & transmission will be cut off since nuclear reactions don’t do such fine tuning) it will not save a penny or a gram of the scarce material (a mere 4.6 billion tons of it remaining in seawater.

  136. Steve Goddard (10:51:09) :
    “We already know how to generate enough energy from fusion to power the entire world. The problem is that the spatial and temporal distribution of energy from thermonuclear explosions might not be ideal for generating a safe, consistent supply of energy. ”
    That’s it! Put a huge ring of wind turbines around ground zero and drop a nuke every few minutes. Huge power generation from the wind blast. Maintenance could be a small problem, along with fallout.
    Breeders: The Russians build a bunch of them. Chernoble for example. Make lots of Pu. (enough for upwards of 70,000 nukes) I don’t think anyone has made a power plant that runs off of Plutonium.
    As for the Smart Grid: You can’t ship electricity all that far, line losses kill you, as does phase shift. 60 Hz has a long wavelength, but after 1000 miles, a major problem. You can phase correct it, with a pile of money. Really high voltage DC takes care of some of this, but is very expensive and the ecos strongly object.
    “Nothing is impossible for those who don’t have to do it themselves.”

  137. Apologies for misinterpreting the x as a multipication symbol. Clearly the sentence in The Guardian was meant to be taken literally rather than as journalistic shorthand for an expression of capactity. Clearly the Guardian is unaware of such issues as capacity factors, the need for base load backup and wants its readers to believe that the intermittent nature of Wind Energy is no barrier to it prowering a whole city 100% of the time. The odd thing is their Q&A says the opposite ….
    The major problem with wind power is that it is intermittent, so it can only be used to generate electricity when the wind is blowing strongly enough
    So inconsistent, these Greenies. Clearly the answer is a European HVDC supergrid linking Icelandic geothermal, Scottich Wind, Scandanavian hydro, North African Concentrated Solar etc.
    http://claverton.wikispaces.com/European+supergrid

  138. >>Do we master hydrogen production and storage: Yes we have,
    >>but not at a competative level.
    Question:
    What would you like to live next to, a hydrogen storage facility or a nuclear power station? I’ll go for the latter, thanks!
    .

  139. >>But, when they see Wind working in Texas, and Iowa
    >>you’re going to lose their interest when you start telling
    >>them that Wind is Stupid, Period.
    I’ve just flown over the 2,000 windelecs** of Denmark, and not a single one was turning. Now I hope all those renewable proponents across Europe turned off all their electrical supply today and did not use any third-party electricity (trains, traffic lights, shops etc:)
    Or are they all hypocrites?
    .
    ** A wind-mill is a device for grinding flour (a mill powered by wind). Thus an electrical generator powered by wind should be a wind-elec.
    Can we standardise on ‘windelec’, or something similarly simple?
    .

  140. Philip Johns,
    Thanks for pointing out the poor editing in the Guardian. If they know that wind intermittency is a problem, how could they possibly put out a lead story which starts with this incorrect sentence?

    Europe’s largest onshore wind farm, which is already powerful enough to meet Glasgow’s electricity needs

    Whitelee clearly can not “meet Glasgow’s electricity needs.” Having a disclaimer somewhere else on their web site is no excuse.

  141. >>I seem to remember reading books about and seeing
    >>old fotos of ships that carried cargo. These ships had
    >>large masts and sails – and no engines.
    And I also remember when ships were bottled up in port for weeks or months, waiting for a favourable wind – or mercilessly dashed to pieces on a lee-shore, because of no other means of power.
    Will you happily wait six weeks for the next delivery of flour and thus the baking of your morning loaf? No, I thought not.
    Stop trying to take us back to the Stone Age.
    .

  142. Try going to court and telling the judge that you meet your children’s “food needs” four days a week.
    Try telling your mortgage company that you meet their “payment needs” nine months a year.
    Try telling your wife that you meet her needs eight years out of ten. I’m sure you will get a very polite response.

  143. Retired Engineer,
    Please pardon my ignorance, but doesn’t Mixed Oxide fuel contain Pu? If MOX contains Pu, and MOX works in many if not most reactors then wouldn’t it be most accurate to say that fuel rods could not be made out of Pu alone but would have to be mixed with Uranium?
    As I understand it, uranium becomes enriched during its life in the reactor, then the fuel rods can be reprocessed effectively making the amount of energy that could be created via atomic power infinite. If we do have an infinite energy source, then we need to change our thinking away from most efficent towards what we could do with all that extra power.
    Perhaps we should think about what else we can do with nukes aside from just generating electricity. Could we use all that waste heat to distill sea water? Heck, could we build dedicated nuclear reactor which would do nothing but distill sea water? Could we make enough water to give desert dwellers a drink? Could we make enough water to recreate the California agriculture miracle in other deserts around the world?
    I’ve read about processes where sewage can be turned into crude oil with heat and pressure. Could it be possible to hook a nuke up to a municiple sewer or a big hog operation to make a fuel with the same energy density and ease of use as good ol’ oil?
    My thinking is, that the powers that be are wasting time and money with all of these various alternative energy ideas, conservation and new technology when we already have an infinite supply of energy at our finger tips.

  144. >>The world is swimming in energy, there is no energy shortage.
    >> http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/there-is-no-energy-shortage
    This site gets mentioned a lot, and I don’t believe a word of it. The oil supply graph is NOT going to be symmetrical. The upslope includes all the world’s biggest deposits of oil, while the downslope has all the worthless puddles that nobody really wants. ie – the slope will be much steeper on the way down than the way up – so I think we are at or nearly at Peak Oil.
    All these other fossil energy sources are pretty useless. The last estimate I saw indicated that you burn one gallon of oil for every two gallons of shale-oil extracted. Now that’s a great way to pollute the environment.
    Let’s face it, our only viable intermediate energy supply is going to be fast-breeder nuclear. The Greens are just going to have to swallow their pride, or drop out of rational society completely.
    .

  145. You are still reading way too much into a single sentence, which is already powerful enough to meet Glasgow’s electricity needs can equally well be interpreted as meaning that the wind farm’s output on average is equal to Glasgow’s requirements on average, both figures varying over time. I speculate that your average Guardian reader is well aware of how an electricity supply grid works and the need for backup for when the wind does blow and a spinning reserve at all times, and that this does not need to be explicitly spelt out in every article ….

  146. I’ve signed a lease to have 3 wind towers put on my farm. A few salient points:
    The developer collects data for at least six months from meteorological towers before financing is possible.
    While it may be said that “20m long blades only has 2.7 kw.” The kw increases as the square of the blade length – such that, nameplate power on turbines currently being produced is over 2 megawatts per tower and is getting greater with each passing year.
    While there is depreciation expense on towers – THERE IS NO FUEL COST!.
    The local county will collect almost twice as much in property tax on each tower as the landowner collects in rent.
    The rent offered is high enough to make most landowners consider it a good deal – almost comparable to the kind of rent that one earns from cash rent.
    The power from the wind varies as the cube of the wind speed – meaning power curves of wind turbines (which are very well studied) are very steep.
    The engineering involved in designing a wind tower is much better understood that the engineering involved in a creating a climate model …… Wind tower’s have been tested in real situations. For example Betz’ law (which states that you can only convert 59% of the energy in the wind) was formulated in 1919.
    An important design consideration is sheer – meaning difference in windspeed between the low and high end of the turbine.
    Local nature groups will oppose a wind farm (greatly irritating property owners) for capricious reasons largely having to do with simpleminded notions about corporate greed or personal aesthetics.
    No American soldiers lose their lives defending wind towers.
    In general wind is stronger and more sustained over flat treeless areas such as the Dakotas ( or over seas ).
    And, of course, the higher the tower the better, since wind speed improves with height above the ground.

  147. ralph ellis (11:17:39) :
    Or are they all hypocrites?

    A resounding Yes!

    ralph ellis (11:17:39) :
    ** A wind-mill is a device for grinding flour (a mill powered by wind). Thus an electrical generator powered by wind should be a wind-elec.
    Can we standardise on ‘windelec’, or something similarly simple?

    How about “wind-elector,” “wind-watt-or,” or “wind-amp-or” or [for when the wind is not blowing] “wind-down-or”? Without the -‘s of course.

  148. Hank,
    While, I respect your property rights including your right to make as much money as possible from the land that you own, I do not believe that these windturbines represent capitalism as usual. Pumpjacks are not pretty, neither are oil refineries or transmission lines, but these things increase the efficiency and the energy supply which makes everyone wealthier. Wind Turbines do not make everyone wealthier through an increase in energy supply and would not exist in a free market. They only exist because of government. They are not better, faster or cheaper than what came before, nor do they decrease the demand for coal or nuclear energy, they do not decrease the demand for oil or lower costs to ratepayers. You might make money, the wind company might make money, and even the county might make money, but us common folks who are paying higher rates are getting the screws, which decreases our purchasing power and makes domestic manufactoring less competitive and more expensive so in aggregate we all become collectively less affluent while being forced to look at these ugly things.
    Worst of all, these things are redundant and completely unnecessary. They are nothing more than an added expense which gets passed on to us. Yes, the government might try and shift around the burden by taxing so called polluting industries to subsidize these things, but that is only going to increase their operating expense increasing the incentive to move their operation offshore costing jobs, or suffer the financial loss which will force them to decrease the dividend payments to shareholders decreasing their purchasing power, it will limit the company’s ability to attract new capital which will limit their ability to expand, hire more employees and compete to their ultimate potential. The result is going to be higher unemployment, less productivity, more social welfare and we all end up less wealthy than we would be if these things did not exist.
    If someone were to design a machine to destroy wealth while presenting the illusion of creating wealth, one could do no better than a wind turbine. I’m certain that you, Hank, are an honest man, and are just trying to maximize your earnings, just as I am certain that the men building these things are honest men just trying to do a days work, but the corporations and governments that are putting these things up are destroying wealth by doing so. Since the monsters are destroying wealth in aggregate, much like a parasite sucking the life out of the beautiful animal of capitalism that created it, it is righteous to seek to prevent these things from going up and try to have the ones that already exist be destroyed, since they cost the rate payer the most money when they are working.
    To create another analogy, suppose that we are both on an island and one of us has fishing tackle. That fishing tackle is capital because it creates our means of survival. All is fine and good until the one of us finds a club and learns that he can bonk the other on the head and take the product of the fishing tackle (fish). It would be perfectly righteous to for the owner of the tackle to seek to destroy the club since the club destroys wealth. These wind turbines are identical to violence, although they are not obviously violent they use the force of government to redistribute the wealth of of capital while providing no benefit in return.

  149. For those nuclear proponents, who advocate that nuclear power plants are the answer to future energy needs due to their reliability:
    The Prairie Island Nuclear Plant was shut down unexpectedly for three days this week — taking off-line more than 500 MW of generating capacity.
    Hmmm… does this mean there is a requirement for backups to nuclear power plants, just like is required for wind-power plants?
    Which is worse, instantaneous loss of a few MW of wind generation, or 500 to 1,200 MW of nuclear generation? (the amount produced by a single reactor)
    http://www.twincities.com/business/ci_12429271

  150. gblittle (05:36:50) :
    The BBC while in Europe made a big deal of this. When the announcer asked the builder of these wind turbines how efficient they would be the CEO of the company which built the system said it would operate at a maximum of 35 percent efficiency. That was an answer that I did not expect. The CEO added that they could have never built the system without government help. (Apparently Shell pull out of the project based on pure economics) Personally as someone who relies on electricity, 35 percent efficiency is not reassuring. As an investor, betting on 35 percent efficiency, when there are more efficient ways of producing electricity at a much cheaper cost is a tough sale. Now you know why governments have to “assist” in their construction.

    When I first read this I thought that you were being sarcastic but on second thoughts perhaps you meant it? You do realize, I hope, that the efficiency of power generation from fossil fuels is typically less than 35%.

  151. is a European HVDC supergrid linking Icelandic geothermal, Scottich Wind, Scandanavian hydro, North African Concentrated Solar etc.

    Oh really? In the meantime, the Germans don’t want to develop their weak grid to cope with peak electricity from the northern windmills that must be preferentially accepted by law and transferred to the southern industry, where it is in fact needed. They prefer to ram these excessive watts through Czech or Polish grid, which is due to the commie regimes still a bit oversized. However, such an impulse might damage the grid and indeed both Czech Rep. and Poland experienced blackouts due to German overdrive. Therefore Czechia installed at the borders sort of fuses, to protect the grid, but Germans complained at the EU because of blocking the free transport of goods. Incredible.

  152. Philip Johns,
    I absolutely am not reading to much into the article. Policy makers in the UK are not preparing the conventional capacity requirements for next decade, because they believe that simply by increasing “green” energy peak capacity, they can rid themselves of coal. The country is going to be caught in a serious bind if they don’t start having an honest discussion of issues like these. There are a number of nuclear plants going off-line in the UK during the next decade.
    The Guardian is quite open about their desire to influence government, and their belief that they do just that. If the key people in the UK understood the problem as you claim, why aren’t they taking necessary steps – or even talking about it?

  153. 1. We’ve used Pu239 and high-enriched U235 reactors since the early 50’s – the second nuclear submarine (SSN 575) tried a liquid metal reactor back then, an dfound it couldn’t compete from a maintenance and reliability standpoint.
    2. Th and U233 have long been viable fuels. Recycling and fast flux breeder reactors have been running in Idaho Falls since the early 1970’s. Carter – a democrat eco-illogically mis-guided liberal president in the mid-70’s if I remember correctly – pulled construction funding from a breeder reactor that had a commercially-viable design for a breeder-electrically-generating power reactor 40 years ago. There is NO technical reason why we are not running those now.
    3. Soviet-era Pu239 fuel was bought from the Soviet bomb storage sheds many years ago, shipped to the US by the Bush administration, and was used for many years as a nuclear fuel in US power reactors. No modifications needed to the reactors – but their fuel refilling plans were slightly (and quietly) changed.
    4. Could we burn nuclear fuel to heat (assuming brackish and dirty – assuming it is available) salt water to condense into fresh water to water deserts? Well, yes. BUT IT ISN”T COST EFFECTIVE. It costs more to produce that “fresh water” per gallon than it does to buy and burn gasoline. Some places are deserts for a reason. They have no water natureally – and they should NOT be turned into farmlands BECAUSE they are NOT economically viable as farms and livestock producing areas. CA canals “work” because they have billions of tons of naturally pure fresh water falling as ice and snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountians, which – relatively slowly – runs off downhill into collectable areas, and which can be run “downhill” most of the way to the south and east to be used for irrigation and people. The mountains in the way can (just barely) be pumped over, and some of that recovered energy be picked up as the water flows downhill from the high spots.
    There are few other areas where those combinations can be duplicated.
    5. The AGW extremists DEMAND higher energy prices and reduced energy availablility as a fundamental part of their justifications for the tax-and-cap and oil drilling restrictions. It can be correctfly argued that Pelosi’s oil production restrictions, and her (deliberate) meddling in international oil markets between 2007 and 2008 FOR her AGW extremism CAUSED the high energy prices and economic recession we now face worldwide. The ECO-extremists WANT high energy prices and more (human) deaths. They see each humans as a pollution soiurce themselves, and – since the mid-70’s – have been trying to limit (Western) population growth and economic expansion.
    6. No one (on this site) “wants” to deny alternative energy systems their place. But … significant pause … to date, NO “alternative energy source” is an “economical energy source.” EVERY alternative energy source is in place because of government intervention in the market – even Israel’s alt energy efforts stem from the fact that “they” are denied realistic oil and coal imports BECASUE of the regional religious hatred.
    NO wind energy can make it economically on its own. NO solar power installation can make it without government intervention – artificially raising electric rates to “force” utiliities to subsidize the installation and use of photovoltaics. Do coal and nukes use government intervention?
    See DOE and TVA for examples. Yes, but now – Those PAY the more ineficient wastes of money (ethanol, wind, solar, tides). Doesn’t make wind attractive: it is a waste of time, money, and valuable resources. For nothing.
    7. A 7 or 13 megawatt generator at the top of a wind tower still needs maintenance and servicing. LOTS of servcing. That’s why less than a 1/5 of CA’s vaunted wind farms are ever turning: over the past years, even at very low powered (low failures, low loads) older wind turbines, MOST CAN’T RUN past their first 2-3 years. You simply can’t afford to spend 2-3 weeks shutdown having people climb a 200 foot tower hand over hand to go up and take them apart and reopair the d*mn things. So maintenance is reduced and they fail. And a 7 or 15 MW wind turbine takes just about as many people to fix and just as long to fix as a small ground-based 125 MW CT’s. You just have to repair 20 TIMES as many wind turbines to get as much power out (40 % of the time) as ! large combustion gas turbine.
    BUT – today’s wind energy “guru’s” will have sold their plans and their concepts to gullible cities and states and nations and investors – made their money (like GE and Pickens) from the first three years of (almost 38% operation) then sell out before the next twelve years of 15% operation. Then you have go take the things down and destroy them as a liability for failure during for next year.
    8. A modern gas turbine running a heat-recovery steam turbine gets 68% fuel efficiency at 100% availability generating over 360 MW. 24x7x365. (I’ll grant I need to shutdown for 4 weeks a year every second year to replace things.)
    All that on 5 acres of land. Including the parking lot. Give me 2 more acres and I’ll give you an extra 360 MW. And use the same control room. And the same number of operators.
    9. Unneeded starts and stops DESTROY converntional power plants: heat up stresses, water entrapment erodes baldes as systems heat up, thermal cycles stress pipes, supports, pumps, turbines, lube oil systems entrain acids and waters when they are cold, steam systems are less efficient as they heat up – and hurt pipes, boilers, water chemical systems, thermal resistance paints, pipe supports, boiler supply piping and economizers entrap chmicals as they heat up in the gas pths … There are LOTS of “bad things” from a maintenance standard and length-of-plant operations standpoint as an engineer that are very, very destructive each start and stop cycle.
    Wind farms exaggerate EVERY start and stop cycle, because, as the Danes and Germans and Brits and CA’s have found out, you can’t rely on them. So we have CT’s here up north that have 8000 and 12,000 running hours, but have also 2200 starts. EACH RUN cycle is a very short amount of time: lifetime maintenance goes up, plant life goes down. But Mass and CT and NH democrat politicians don’t care: they proudly point to their states’ SUBSIDIES of hundreds of (unprofitable) wind plant as evidence of their stupidity (er, caring.)
    And then demand nationally that more states act that irresponsibly. Wasting tax money on energy policies that do nothing but waste money and destroy power plants.
    10.
    In 1908, if you were told to build a runway and flight support for an airplane, you could take a flat grass pasture 200 feet long, 50-75 feet wide, and put up a tent and a wooden pair of saw horses holding a vise as the “maintenance facility.” No need for electric power – there were no radios, radars, flight control towers, or taxiways. AND YOU COULD NOT HAVE PREDICTED THEM. You couldn’t have predicted landing lights, nor hangers, nor cranes, nor fuel tanks farms nor crash truck stations either. Your BEST airplane was a modified Wright Flier carrying two people for a few minutes, flying 200 feet high at about 35-50 mph, that could (just barely) make controlled turns. And that passenger would shortly be killed – in a plane crash.
    So, 38 years later, a B-29 would be capable of flying around the world. A B-36 wold be taking off on concrete runways 300 feet wide, 8 feet thick and 12,000 feet long.
    Bristol Brabazon 1949 290,000 lbs
    Hughes Flying Boat (Spruce Goose) 1947 300,000 lbs
    Convair XC-99 1947 320,000 lbs
    Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing 1947 194,000 lbs
    Convair B-36 1946 370,000 lbs
    Lockheed R6V Constitution 1946 184,000 lbs
    Douglas DC-6 1946 97,200 lbs
    Douglas C-74 Globemaster 1945 145,000 lbs
    Blohm und Voss BV-238 1945 176,400 lbs
    Boeing 367 Stratocruiser 1944 120,000 lbs
    Lockheed 049 Constellation 1943 86,200 lbs
    Martin JRM Mars 1942 144,000 lbs
    Douglas DC-4 1942 73,000 lbs
    Douglas XB-19 1941 164,000 lbs
    Tupolev Ant-20bis 1940 99,200 lbs
    Blohm und Voss BV-222 1940 108,000 lbs

    Y aknow what’s “funny” about all of those government-sponsored, big-business-supported, BEST-IN-THE-WORLD designed airplanes?
    None were flying commercially and successfully 5 or 10 years later.
    EVERY ONE had been replaced by pair of a simple commercial products from Boeing: The 707 and the B-52. Slide rules and profits. That’s what you need to produce power.
    Now, tell me – what will be invented in the next twenty years. The next 40 years.

  154. Johnnyb (11:29:19) : Plutonium doesn’t work by itself, it just isn’t that radioactive. Put a bunch of it together and nothing happens, unlike U235. To make it go boom, you have to compress it with some really high power conventional explosives and you still need an “initiator” in the middle to provide a burst of neutrons. A conventional reactor (using 8-10% pure fuel) will produce PU as a by product. That was the reason Jimmy decided not to build a reprocessing facility in the late 70’s. Didn’t want to risk diversion by bad guys. Tried to convince France of the same. They ignored him and have reprocessed for 30 years, without any obvious disasters.
    We have a vast amount of spent fuel rods at existing nuke plants and far more left over from weapons production. We could reduce the volume of bad stuff by 90% with reprocessing, making it far easier to bury somewhere and gain a whole lot of useable fuel in the process. There is more to a spent fuel rod than plutonium. We even had a test reactor in the 90’s that ran on spent fuel rods. BC shut that one down.
    Nukes are evil, we can’t have them.
    So we let the nutcases in the third world separate the Pu and build crude bombs that will someday make it across the puddle for an above ground test on our side of the pond.
    Without electricity to run the hospitals to care for the survivors. (unless the wind is blowing hard enough)
    That makes sense.

  155. Roger Sowell-that nuke was taken off-line in a controlled manner of -MW/hr, not instantaneously tripped-but it could have been if needed. The grid does have sufficient reserves for the largest unit on-line at any given time to be taken off-line. It does not have sufficient spinning reserves to accomodate a multitude of rapidly fluxuating 2-2.5 MW units going from full on to full off in minutes. To accomodate that kind of fluxuation, gas-fired or coal fired generating stations with very fast ramping capacity will have to be installed to accomodate anything more than about 10-15% of wind generation mix and that 10-15% will have to be mirrored with coal, gas, or nukes at heat and of equal capacity at all times to maintain demand. So, wind generation doesn’t even replace an equivalent amount of conventional generation as fossile (or nuke) fuel is expended just to have sufficient spinning capacity to allow the wind units to connect to the grid.

  156. Polymer mats to collect yellow cake from sea water – have you calculated how many mats you would need and where you would place them to catch current(or are you going to pump water over them?
    A small pellet of uranium may contain as much energy as a barrel of oil. BUT refining oil does not require much refining.
    To get uranium suitable for reactors leaves mine tailings, chlorine/flourine, enriching etc, etc.
    In the UK one small scram on a nuclear plant wiped out a large part of the grid about 5 years ago. nuclear reactors have an availability of about 80% (cf wind at 30%)
    Backup is always required.
    Climate Heretic (07:55:39) :
    Wind energy displaces nothing, ZERO, fossil fuel load generation must be maintained to be available on demand, that is the simple fact the supply is unreliable and it is not feasible to man and maintain generation plants and “spin them up” on NatGas or other as needed because the delay, demand spikes are commom.
    You are totally wrong! Many plants are already on warm standby many are on spinnig reserve. These plants use much less fuel generating no power than if thew were generating 500MW. That MUST be obvious.

  157. Read this alarmist article.
    The BBC has based an yet another article based on a computer model prediction.
    “But new studies by Chilean scientists suggest climate change could pose huge challenges for the country.
    The scientists say their models show projected temperature increases of at least 1C to 1.5C and a drop in rainfall of at least 10 to 15% in the next 40 years.”
    Then there is the nonsense claim that such a rise in temperature, if it were even to occur, would wipe out Chile’s wine industry. It’s warmer in California, South Africa and Australia yet their wine production hasn’t ever been affected negatively.
    I stopped reading when I came across this photo with caption
    http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45806000/jpg/_45806168_007311287-1.jpg
    “The rate at which Chile’s glaciers are melting has increased in recent years”
    The photo shows the fragile surface of an iceberg or sea based ice sheet (which do not exist in Chile) cracking off. It does not show a glacier or even melting.

  158. >>Hmmm… does this mean there is a requirement for backups
    >>to nuclear power plants, just like is required for wind-power plants?
    Of course, everything needs a backup. The difference is that a good nuclear plant may get 90% run-time every year, and the 10% or so that is missing is most often PLANNED. You know when the energy outage will occur and plan for it.
    Windelecs run only 20 – 25% of the time and you have no idea when they will stop. Indeed, they may stop five times in one day and the owner will say that ‘we generated for 50% of today’, but that energy was totally useless because it was too variable – a gas-fired station had to be burning and turning the whole day to take up that variability.
    Just what is the point of a windelec?
    >>Which is worse, instantaneous loss of a few MW of wind
    >>generation, or 500 to 1,200 MW of nuclear generation?
    >>(the amount produced by a single reactor)
    But the whole point of windelec proponents is that they want 30% of UK energy from windelecs. That is 20gw of sustained electrical production, or 100gw of windelec installed capacity.
    So here we have the problem that when the wind is blowing steadily we will have more energy than the UK needs (UK demand is about 70gw). Energy coming out of our ears. But then the Sun goes down, the sea-breeze stops, and the country looses 100gw of energy all in the space of 30 minutes. (All wind in the UK is more or less in step, there is no great difference between north and south – and a sea breeze is a sea breeze, it is generated by the mid-day Sun.)
    There is no normal energy source in the world that can instantly take up 100gw of supply, so all the UK fossil and nuclear plants will have to be running all day anyway – just in case.
    So what is the point of windelecs?
    .

  159. >>You are totally wrong! Many plants are already on warm
    >>standby many are on spinnig reserve. These plants use
    >>much less fuel generating no power than if thew were
    >>generating 500MW. That MUST be obvious.
    No, you are wrong.
    With fossil and nuclear, you only need about 5% or less on standby, because power stations are reliable and most downtime is PLANNED. And in the UK we have Dinorwig, a pumped storage system that is always on standby and can run 5% of demand for five hours. (Although it has to be said that Dinorwig is mainly there for demand increases, not supply decreases).
    The problem is that with windelecs producing 30% of UK power, you can then lose 30% of the grid – and lose it two or three times in one day. Thus you will need a huge number of conventional stations on spinning standby.
    And as for cost, you have to include all the costs of spinning standby. A prime component of electrical cost is not the fuel, but the capital, maintenance and manpower costs. These will have to be met whatever is happening. So you may use 80% less fuel on spinning standby – big deal. The cost of these backup systems is still HUGE.
    Yes, electrical costs will have to treble, in my opinion. And take all the government subsidies into account, because you pay for these too.
    .

  160. More “science” from the BBC
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8063000/8063392.stm
    Yosemite’s giant trees are disappearing because of climate change! Yes, the article is literally saying giant trees are magically disappearing. They provide no evidence for such a conclusion except to say that aged giant trees are scarcer, but do not offer any relative evidence. It seems in the world of manmade climate change alarmism if something isn’t melting or catching fire then it is magically disappearing without a trace.

  161. MikeinAppalachia (21:02:04) :
    Only the AGW true believers, and their duped politicians believe that wind-power or solar-power can replace fossil power. The engineers know better.
    Until we have economic solutions for energy storage systems, intermittent power plants of any type will not replace fossil power. There are plenty of workable, practical storage solutions, but none are yet economic.
    My point is a deliberate jab at the crowd who maintain that “nukes will save us all.” It is pure rubbish to employ nuclear power, as if it is always available (it is not). One of those going down unexpectedly, as happened here, puts a serious strain on the entire grid. Just ask Japan…where they had to restart many fossil fueled plants recently after their nukes suffered damage from an earthquake.

  162. ralph ellis (01:37:47) :
    Of course, everything needs a backup. The difference is that a good nuclear plant may get 90% run-time every year, and the 10% or so that is missing is most often PLANNED. You know when the energy outage will occur and plan for it.

    There is no way of predicting the unplanned as occured in 2003 (i think) = grid shutdown in large area. and I think you will find the uptime nearer 80%.
    Windelecs run only 20 – 25% of the time and you have no idea when they will stop. Indeed, they may stop five times in one day and the owner will say that ‘we generated for 50% of today’, …
    There is no normal energy source in the world that can instantly take up 100gw of supply, so all the UK fossil and nuclear plants will have to be running all day anyway – just in case.

    they do not stop everywhere simultaneously. The wind speed allows hours of warning.

  163. False: Up time on large nukes is much higher than your (guessed ?) very false 80%.
    yes, unplanned outages are just that: unplanned. We (the power industry) work very hard to keep them “unplanned” and “infrequent” – trying to base or justify a (false) wind power energy theory based on a single (large) power failure in 2003 shows just how scared wind advocates are of the truth.
    2003 – 2009. Figure 5-1/2 years x 365 days x 24 hours just to FIND one large outage.
    But NO wind power PRODUCTION can even be “planned” – Look at the Danish example where they only had 5-1/2 DAYS in an entire year when they WERE producing “almost nominal rated” power from their huge wind mill farm on the most beautifully productive wind area in the world: the flat sea coast off the North Sea!
    And all of the money going into windmills is wasted – there is NO productive value in spending that money. No “gain” in reducing AGW gasses nor in “replacing” fossil fuels either – since there is no demonstrable link between temperatures and CO2.

  164. Nuclear Energy Institute, from their press release about reliability:

    Nuclear Power Plants Set Reliability, Output Records in 2002, Industry Tells Wall Street
    NEW YORK—The nuclear energy industry posted another year of record-high operating performance in 2002, underscoring the crucial role that nuclear power plants play in the nation’s diverse portfolio of energy sources, industry executives told Wall Street financial analysts today.
    Although final performance figures are not yet available, preliminary estimates for 2002 show that the nation’s 103 nuclear power plants set an electricity production record for the fourth straight year, increasing their output 1-2 percent to about 778 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh). Nuclear power generation in 2001 was 769 billion kwh.
    The plants’ average capacity factor—a measure of efficiency—reached a record high for the fifth straight year, climbing to about 91.5 percent in 2002.
    “By any measure—reliability, productivity, safety, economics—the nuclear energy sector has achieved major gains in recent years,” said Don Hintz, president of Entergy Corp. and chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute’s (NEI) board of directors. “We’ve achieved these results by concentrating on safety, by continuing to share the best operating practices across the industry, and by further sharpening our management skills.”
    Since 1990, the industry’s sustained excellence in operating performance has enabled the nation’s reactors to increase electricity production equivalent to what 25 new reactors would add to the electricity grid, NEI President and Chief Executive Officer Joe F. Colvin said.
    “In just the last five years, the increase in output is equivalent to 13 new 1,000 megawatt power plants,” Colvin said.
    With improved productivity and reliability leading to better economic performance, the average production cost (fuel costs plus operations and maintenance) in 2001 stood at a record low of 1.68 cents/kwh. The average production cost for 2002 likely will set a new record when those figures become available later this year, Colvin said.

    Hmmmn. 91.5 percent capacity factor, eh?

  165. Steven Goddard:
    I did not know the Weather Underground has wind speed measurements at 80m and 100m ??
    Most weather stations (unless they are a lighthouse) measure wind speed at 5m or 10m height, or at a height not significantly different.
    The hub height of modern new installation wind turbines is usually ~80m.

  166. http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:gPLB1FJXaHAJ:www.energyscience.org.au/FS01%2520Economics.pdf+uk+nuclear+capacity+factor&cd=14&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk
    when the UK electricity industry was privatised the British Government had to impose a Fossil Fuel Levy to subsidise nuclear electricity through the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO). In the 1990s this subsidy peaked at £1.3 billion per year, equivalent to a subsidy of 3 pence for every kWh of nuclear electricity generated, making the total cost of nuclear power about 6 p/kWh . The last British nuclear power station to be built, Sizewell B, ended up with a capital cost of £2500/kW in 2005 British currency
    New build proposal:
    http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/elibrary/Content/Internet/538/755/2146/38832122637.pdf
    The second key driver of nuclear generation is how many hours per year each
    plant is operational (measured by the “availability factor”). Figure 3.6 shows
    that this factor has increased significantly over the past 15 years. The increase
    from 71.0 percent to 83.2 percent from 1990-2004 is equivalent to an increase of 17 percent in capacity.
    The capacity factor of UK nuclear plant is shown in Figure 3.12. The period
    1975-1990 showed capacity of just over 50 percent, which is low by
    international standards and is not high enough for nuclear to generate
    electricity competitively. The introduction of competition into the electricity
    industry, and the retirement of some of the worst performing plant (the
    Magnox GCRs), has led to this figure improving significantly (it averagesapproximately 75 percent since 1993).

  167. Today a windmill in the Netherlands lost a blade.
    The blade landed on the A6 highway without hitting a single car.
    That’s what I call luck.
    http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/1970377/wiek-van-windmolen-valt-op-snelweg.html
    It looks like the exploding windmills and breaking blades make a continuing hazard that won’t be solved in the near future.
    It shows that wind energy is unreliable, not only from it’s dependance on weather conditions but also from a technological point of view.
    The lis of incidents is growing.

  168. From Bloomberg:
    Exxon Mobil Says Transition From Oil Is Century Away (Update1)
    Share | Email | Print | A A A
    By Joe Carroll
    May 27 (Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest refiner, said the transition away from oil-derived fuels is probably 100 years away.
    Petroleum-based fuels including gasoline and diesel, as well as hydrocarbons such as coal and natural gas, will remain the dominant sources of energy for factories, offices, homes and cars for decades because there are no viable alternatives, Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson told reporters today after Exxon Mobil’s annual shareholders meeting in Dallas.
    In the U.S., which burns a quarter of global oil supplies, consumers probably face higher fuel prices if lawmakers impose greenhouse-gas rules that inflate fuel-production costs, Tillerson said. A plan introduced by Democrats this month would allocate a limited number of emission credits to refiners and electricity producers, with the aim of curbing greenhouse gases.
    “The oil-gas-refining side of the business received a very, very small amount of the allocations, which means that sector will bear more of the costs more immediately,” Tillerson said. “If we’re going to place a price on carbon, let’s do that in the most efficient way. A carbon tax is more efficient than a tax that’s applied by way of a cap-and-trade mechanism.”
    Tillerson, 57, said lawmakers are hurrying to restrict greenhouse gases when many scientific questions surrounding the global warming issue remain unresolved.
    “The point of conflict that I find more often than not are the projections that some make regarding how serious the problem may become and at what pace of acceleration it may occur,” Tillerson told investors at the shareholders meeting. “All of those models have deficiencies in the way they’re constructed and the assumptions that go into the models and the limitations of the data.”
    Tillerson, a University of Texas-trained engineer, said climate change is a “serious risk-management issue” for Exxon Mobil. The company will continue to fund scientific research into climate science and the impact of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere, he said.
    “We’re going to be very forthright in not accepting something that is not completely scientifically proven,” Tillerson said. “We’re not skeptics. We’re just approaching this the way we would approach any scientific challenge, and it’s a serious challenge.”
    To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Carroll in Chicago at jcarroll8@bloomberg.net

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