Saturday Silliness – Josh's wind energy fact sheet – global wind power 'to the nearest whole number'

Hi all!

Following this week’s Twitter exchange between Matt Ridley and Mark Lynas I thought a helpful fact sheet about Wind Energy would be useful. People can print it out, send to their relatives, MPs, Senators etc etc.

Thanks!

Josh

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Let’s look at that big zero in the context of world energy. According to this Bloomberg article (cited by Wikipedia) Wind power capacity now totals 238 gigawatts worldwide at end of 2011

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-07/wind-power-market-rose-to-41-gigawatts-in-2011-led-by-china.html

China leads the world in installs in 2011, That figures, as they have all the rare earth metals needed.

Total world energy generation in 2011…can’t seem to find that yet. EIA/IEA reports don’t seem to be out yet for 2011. Last figure I can find from Wikipedia is:

132,000 TWh for 2008 with growth of 5% in 2010. so figure 140 Terawatt hours.

140 terawatt hours = 140 000 gigawatt hours

wind power in 2011 = 238 gigawatt hours (installed potential capacity, actual output is far less)

% of 238/140,000 = 0.16999999999999998  ~ .17 %

(Update, I misread the Wikipedia data, conflating Gigawatt hours with gigawatts, totally different. Thanks to HaroldW and others for pointing out my unit error. – Anthony

Harold W adds in comments:

The installed capacity of wind power is 238 GW.

Average efficiency is perhaps 20% (arguably a little higher or lower).

At that rate, energy produced annually is 417 TWh.

Fraction is still 0%, to the nearest whole number.)

417 TWh at 20% efficiency, calculates to 0.32% (417/132,000) This matches the Wikipedia chart below

Nearest whole number then is, zero.

Matt Ridley’s excellent essay, The beginning of the end of wind, in the first line says:

To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero.

That links to this Wikipedia graph:

Again, the nearest whole number to 0.3% is zero. But that data is from 2006, rendered in 2008, the citation says:

An attempt at showing world energy usage types with a bar graph. (Meant to replace w:Image:Cascading Pie charts.png by User:Mierlo, which uses a pie chart with misleading numbers like 41% for solar heating, when it’s actually 41% of 9% of 14% = 0.5%.) Values are taken from the pie chart, which is originally from the data in REN21 2006 global status report on renewables and the BP 2006 Statistical review (most recent data available at http://www.bp.com/statisticalreview)

I suspect the growth in other energy sectors pushed wind back a bit since then.  And remember, these numbers are for installed capacity, which assumes the wind blows and the turbine functions at 100%, which we’ve seen in practice never happens at 100%.

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onlyme

This is expected, after all it appears that the total percentage of honesty in the presentation of the CAGW case from the usual suspects, rounded to the nearest whole number, is also zero.

DirkH

Re the “precious rare Earth minerals”: They’re not that precious but rather abundant, the problem is that the Rare Earths occur only in tiny percentages so a lot of processing is required. Involving lots of chemistry, frowned upon by Western enviros. It’s also perfectly possible to build wind power generators without permanent magnets containing Neodymium but you get a heavier and less efficient generator.
Hey, let’s make the Greens campaign for Neodymium-free wind power! Should work – they always love it when they can bring down the efficiency of a technology.

Clive

Excellent cartoon … thanks Josh.
Regarding “(installed potential capacity, actual output is far less)” Apparently the efficiency in Alberta is above world average, and here output is 32 to 35% of capacity. Installed capacity is 6% of demand and actual delivery is 2%. (Figures changing fast.)

A few points.
Turbines might kill a few birds, but a few birds were also killed by high voltage power lines. Are birds that dumb that they can’t see the stonking huge turbines spinning round and round. There is one video of a eagle being downed by a turbine but it’s a fake. If you want to say the turbines kill birds, then you have to get rid of cats first who kill more birds.
Area of outstanding natural beauty is a subjective term. A lot of these areas of outstanding natural beauty were set up by small groups lobbying governments to protect their favourite place. Or the areas were set up by government mandate for no real reason. For instance why is the Dordogne area of France a UNESCO Hertiage Area? Because it brings in more tourists who believe the authority of the UN even though its no more special than other areas of France. Many of these “areas” are man made or at least man managed. Farms are factories that just happen to look green. Sites of SSIs in the UK have to be continually managed to keep them in a certain state and not let nature do its nasty business of occasionally wiping out a certain species due to a particularly bad winter or summer or drought or whatever.
Turbines aren’t that noisy. I’ve stood under some big ones and there was more wind noise than turbine noise. There might be VLF noise which upsets people some distance away but they aren’t audibly loud.
Rare earths aren’t that precious. It’s a bit of a misnomer to call them rare. Nor are they earths. They are pretty common metals. It’s just that they are very hard to extract, requiring nasty processing with nasty chemicals. China’s taken over the market for them with it’s cheap labour but now that they have restricted their export the prices will rise and places like Canada will find it cost effective to start mining rare earths again.
Turbines are only sometimes used in areas where there are forests but such locations are bad ones for turbines anyway due to turbulence. If turbines are in forest areas then it is only small clearings around the base of the turbine that are cleared.
The other points are perfectly true though. Turbines are crap at power creation. They cost too much taxpayers money for the power they generate. If there were no government grants then power companies wouldn’t be installing all these turbines as it wouldn’t be worth while. They do need gas or coal power stations to provide backup for the times when they aren’t turning and this is never included in their costs. The only time turbines are good are for small isolated communities where it is too expensive to install electrical cables – very few places. I like looking at turbines, very theraputic, but given a choice when the power cuts start happening I would much prefer a nuclear power station.

Curiousgeorge

Yeah, but it’s really, really expensive; which is the stated goal. “Under MY plan, energy prices will necessarily skyrocket.” Remember that? It’s never been retracted. US Energy Secretary Chu also stated something similar lately, in Congressional testimony, to reinforce that: “The goal is not to reduce gas prices, but to encourage alternative energy.” Anybody see a pattern here, besides me?

Siliggy

The risk that sucking so much power out of the wind will change the climate is not worth taking. Even if you hate trees,birds, bats, scenic country side and jobs. So just for the ability to cut free airborne fertilizer to the poor and have lovely noisey/flicker that comes from rare earth mineral mining pollution we get ….nearly nothing.
Hang on none of those are reasons. Its all to stop warming that stopped already 15 or more years ago!

HaroldW

Sorry, Josh, math errors here. You’ve confused a capacity of 238 GW with an equivalent number of GWh per year.
The installed capacity of wind power is 238 GW.
Average efficiency is perhaps 20% (arguably a little higher or lower).
At that rate, energy produced annually is 417 TWh.
Fraction is still 0%, to the nearest whole number.

DirkH

SadButMadLad says:
March 10, 2012 at 9:26 am
“Turbines might kill a few birds, but a few birds were also killed by high voltage power lines. Are birds that dumb that they can’t see the stonking huge turbines spinning round and round. There is one video of a eagle being downed by a turbine but it’s a fake. If you want to say the turbines kill birds, then you have to get rid of cats first who kill more birds.”
Raptors look down, not forward when hunting for rats.
Also, house cats don’t kill rare eagles.
Not all birds are alike; and not all species of birds are equally threatened.
Wind turbines don’t kill penguins, for instance.
They’re not on the same continent, that’s why.
“Rare earths … China’s taken over the market for them with it’s cheap labour but now that they have restricted their export the prices will rise and places like Canada will find it cost effective to start mining rare earths again.”
Not necessarily. During the mining Thorium is a byproduct. Thorium is radioactive so your local enviros will fight tooth and nail against any attempt at mining for Rare Earths. They love to fight all mining projects and use any pretence they can find. My plan to make them campaign for larger, heavier, more inefficient wind power generators looks better by the minute.

Toto

The beauty of landscapes with or without wind turbines may be subjective. Ask yourself, if each of those turbines were replaced with an oil-well derrick, would that decorated landscape still be beautiful in green eyes? It is time for environmentalists to fight for the unadorned landscape instead of their glorious-future visions.

DirkH

SadButMadLad says:
March 10, 2012 at 9:26 am
“Turbines are only sometimes used in areas where there are forests but such locations are bad ones for turbines anyway due to turbulence. If turbines are in forest areas then it is only small clearings around the base of the turbine that are cleared.”
During some storms in Nov 2011 two of the turbines in a wind park near my home town, Braunschweig, Germany, were damaged. They were idle during the winter, and one of them was now repaired two weeks ago. This required a heavy crane which worked for a week until that turbine was running again. The other one is still out of order.
Conclusion: You need a road capable of carrying a heavy crane for access to each and every wind turbine. You need to maintain that road.
There is also “repowering”; the habit of exchanging the entire nacelle and blades of a turbine tower for a better/larger design. This is done to maximize the subsidy harvested during the lifetime of your license and doesn’t require going through the licensing process for that site from scratch. You need the road and the heavy crane for that.
“Only a small clearing round the base”, yeah, sure…

Julia Townsend-Rose

Turbines are very noisy. if you stand right under one they are not that noisy but the awful low frequency boom can be heard for thousands on metres away making homes uninhabitable for as much as a kilometre away. They are vile pointless useless appalingly expensive and not helping with any reduction in carbon emmissions as well. When is this perfecly clear simple truth going to sink in.

Anthony – it looks like you have a couple major units oops below:

Let’s look at that big zero in the context of world energy. According to this Bloomberg article (cited by Wikipedia) Wind power capacity now totals 238 gigawatts worldwide at end of 2011

No problems there, but note it’s faceplace capacity, a value guaranteed never to be exceeded, and the units is in watts, one of the units we use for measuring power.

Total world energy generation in 2011…can’t seem to find that yet. EIA/IEA reports don’t seem to be out yet for 2011. Last figure I can find from Wikipedia is:
132,000 TWh for 2008 with growth of 5% in 2010. so figure 140 Terawatt hours.
140 terawatt hours = 140 000 gigawatt hours

No problem with the concept, energy generation is terms of watt-hours. If all those wind turbines produced at 100% of their rated output, they’d contribute 238 Gw * 365 days * 24 hours/day = 2.08 Twh of energy. (Ok, including leap days, 2.09 Twh.)
However, your math is off by a factor of 1,000. 140,000 Twh….

wind power in 2011 = 238 gigawatt hours (installed potential capacity, actual output is far less)

Big problem here – your figure would be right if they produced full power for 1 hour each year and sat idle the other 364.2425.

% of 238/140,000 = 0.16999999999999998 ~ .17 %

In Twh: % of 2.09/140 = ~ 1.5 %
Keep in mind, that’s only if they produce full power all the time.
You need another cup of coffee!

DirkH

Josh has forgotten one interesting fact:
The blades can’t be recycled.
They can be shredded. Trials are underway to find out what one can do with mountains of shredded blades.
“Currently wind turbine blades follow the life cycle as displayed by Figure 6.0, currently with landfill being the most popular option.”
http://www.appropedia.org/Recycling_of_wind_turbine_blades
(A kind of wikipedia on eco-steroids, it seems)

Richard T. Fowler

Harold is right. I get 417 TWh at 20% efficiency, and a final percentage of 0.32% (417/132,000).
Someone should fix the running text ASAP or they’ll be all over us saying this means we don’t anything about electricity or we’re trying to dock them their extra 0.15% or some such nonsense.
RTF

Allan MacRae

The cartoon is correct – score it 9 out of 9.
Wind power – It doesn’t just blow – It sucks!

Bill Treuren

Have we now officially reached “peak wind”.

SandyInDerby

UK Electricity Generation
10-Mar-2012 18:05 GMT
Gas 11200MW 27.7%
Coal 19200MW 47.6%
Nuclear 5800MW 14.3%
Wind 1600MW 3.9%
Hydro 650MW 1.6%
With 30% of the coal generation to shut down in the next 2 years (run out of the time allowed by the EU to continue operations) it’s just as well all those windmills we have work so well, and produce huge amounts of power all the time. /sarc

PMH

Can someone please clarify what energy this is referring to? It is my understanding(?) that only a small % of electricity is generated from oil. If that is true then this is referring to all energy (e.g. oil used to make gasoline for automobiles) and the “23% gas” refers to natural gas(?). If these numbers don’t apply to electricity only that what are the numbers for only electricity generation?

Allan MacRae

OT, but please note the final words of the Abstract:
“the carbon cycle is essentially driven by solar energy via the water cycle intermediary.”
Read this sentence again and again.
Regards, Allan
Coupling of water and carbon fluxes via the terrestrial biosphere and its significance to the Earth’s climate system
Paul R. Ferguson1 and Jan Veizer
Received 17 January 2007; revised 14 June 2007; accepted 13 August 2007; published XX Month 2007.
Terrestrial water vapor fluxes represent one of the largest movements of mass and
energy in the Earth’s outer spheres, yet the relative contributions of abiotic water vapor
fluxes and those that are regulated solely by the physiology of plants remain poorly
constrained. By interpreting differences in the oxygen-18 and deuterium content of
precipitation and river water, a methodology is developed to partition plant transpiration
(T) from the evaporative flux that occurs directly from soils and water bodies (Ed) and
plant surfaces (In). The methodology was applied to fifteen large watersheds in North
America, South America, Africa, Australia, and New Guinea, and results indicated that
approximately two thirds of the annual water flux from the ‘‘water-limited’’ ecosystems
that are typical of higher-latitude regions could be attributed to T. In contrast to
‘‘water-limited’’ watersheds, where T comprised 55% of annual precipitation, T in high-
rainfall, densely vegetated regions of the tropics represented a smaller proportion of
precipitation and was relatively constant, defining a plateau beyond which additional
water input by precipitation did not correspond to higher T values. In response to variable
water input by precipitation, estimates of T behaved similarly to net primary productivity,
suggesting that in conformity with small-scale measurements, the terrestrial water and
carbon cycles are inherently coupled via the biosphere. Although the estimates of T are
admittedly first-order, they offer a conceptual perspective on the dynamics of energy
exchange between terrestrial systems and the atmosphere, where the carbon cycle is
essentially driven by solar energy via the water cycle intermediary.
Citation: Ferguson, P. R., and J. Veizer (2007), Coupling of water and carbon fluxes via the terrestrial biosphere and its significance to the Earth’s climate system, J. Geophys. Res., 112, XXXXXX, doi:10.1029/2007JD008431.

Joe Zwers

The formula here is confusing installed capacity measured in GW with output measured in GWh. Note that one of these measures includes the time element – hours – and the other does not. If you want to create a useful formula, you can divide the output by the capacity – 140,000 GWh/238 GW. This gives you 588 hours, which means that the wind turbines were operating at 100% capacity for, on average, 588 hours per year. This figure is certainly lower than baseload coal and nuclear plants, but much higher than many peaking gas turbines.
Note also that the 140 TWh (or 140,000 GWh) output figure is probably far too low. Global wind capacity nearly doubled from about 121GW in 2008 to 239GW in 2011 according to the World Wind Energy Association (http://www.wwindea.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=345&Itemid=43). If the output grew at a similar rate, the turbines were operating at full rated capacity. on average, closer to 1000 hours per year.

Larry Logan

Toto, you’re incorrectly equating an oil drilling derrick with a windmill in terms of visual blight. An oil derrick is only on site for the initial drilling, a time measured in a few months. After that it is removed. To the contrary, the wind farm is a visual blight for decades.

HaroldW

Anthony –
The installed capacity is given as 238 GW, meaning that if all the turbines were operating at peak simultaneously, they’d produce an instantaneous power of 238 GW. As there are 8766 hours per year, that would come to 2086 TWh of energy per year. However, the wind isn’t always blowing (and the turbine isn’t always at maximum efficiency); on average, energy is produced at a rate about 20% of the stated capacity figure. [I’ve seen values from around 10% up to around 30%.] At 20% of the maximum figure, wind energy would produce 417 TWh per year. This is 0.3% of the 140,000 TWh per year of global energy consumption.

hstad6

SadButMadLad says:
March 10, 2012 at 9:26 am
“Turbines might kill a few birds ….” Don’t know where you live, but the Tehachapi Wind Farm in Southern California, now has the dubious distinction of killing 80 + golden eagles (a protected species) per annum, plus hundreds of additional bird species. This wind farm has been around since the ’80s. So please revise your statement “….might kill a few birds….”, unless you have additional facts refuting my information?

SadbutMad:
one video? I found 6 videos on youtube in 5 minutes. I lived in California for 50 years (birth to move), and as some who has ridden horses near these incredibly poorly designed bird choppers I could tell you quite a bit about the chopped Golden Eagles, Vultures, and even one California Condor that I found under the spinning deathmasters. I could tell you that I was on site for a week for an archeological field survey (shellmounds) but I found this video, which is a bit more informative.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtgBWNKwBkE&feature=related
Golden Eagles and Vultures use updrafts to gain speed and altitude. Wind turbines are placed in areas to take advantage of updrafts. The turbines actually create an updraft while turning, and this updraft is apparently strong enough to attract soaring birds, to their destruction. I’ve actually been interested in this problem since finding my first injured Eagle in ’79, and my first beheaded one (beheaded eagles are more common than beheaded vultures don’t know why) in ’82.

DirkH

Ric Werme says:
March 10, 2012 at 9:59 am
“No problem with the concept, energy generation is terms of watt-hours. If all those wind turbines produced at 100% of their rated output, they’d contribute 238 Gw * 365 days * 24 hours/day = 2.08 Twh of energy. (Ok, including leap days, 2.09 Twh.)”
Ric, that’s 238*365*24= 2084880.0 GWh or 2,084 TWh or roughly 2 PWh.
Let’s use a capacity factor of 17% (German experience) right here:
2,084 TWh *0.17= 348 TWh
“However, your math is off by a factor of 1,000. 140,000 Twh….”
No, he’s right with the 140,000 TWh – world energy consumption.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption
Remember that only a few Western countries have already installed large amounts of wind power. Germany alone, a small country, has bigger than 20GW, probably about 10 % of the whole installed capacity. So we produce about 3 TWh a year alone already.
Also remember, ‘leccy is only a fifth of all energy needs in Western countries.
348 TWh/140,000 TWh = 0.002486
So it’s 0.2 % – next whole number is 0.

DirkH

Joe Zwers says:
March 10, 2012 at 10:27 am
“If the output grew at a similar rate, the turbines were operating at full rated capacity. on average, closer to 1000 hours per year.”
Joe, nobody beats Betz’ law. The capacity factor is STAGNATING around 17% as the wind speeds are getting lower from year to year. This is what drove the head of RWE’s renewables arm, Fritz Vahrenholt, to examine global temperatures, discover the lack of warming in the last decade, and he went on to write the German best-selling book Die Kalte Sonne (The Cold Sun)…

Bob Diaz

RE: Bill Treuren says:
March 10, 2012 at 10:14 am
Have we now officially reached “peak wind”.
————————————————————-
Not really, there’s no limit to the amount of hot air coming from environmentalists promoting this abysmal technology. :-))

kbray in california

Carbon isn’t the only element that can oxidize and generate heat.
Magnesium burns very well.
Recycling some old Deloreans into the boiler furnace could replace coal as long as they are available…
Mandate that windmill blades be constructed out of magnesium too… then their fiery end in the furnace would actually make a reliable contribution to the electrical grid.
Why not go in that direction?

DirkH says:
March 10, 2012 at 11:09 am

Ric Werme says:
March 10, 2012 at 9:59 am
“No problem with the concept, energy generation is terms of watt-hours. If all those wind turbines produced at 100% of their rated output, they’d contribute 238 Gw * 365 days * 24 hours/day = 2.08 TWh of energy. (Ok, including leap days, 2.09 TWh.)”
Ric, that’s 238*365*24= 2084880.0 GWh or 2,084 TWh or roughly 2 PWh.

Sigh, I was afraid I’d screw something trying to post something definitive quickly. I may have been trying to think in giga-kilowatt-hours, which would only confuse matters too much.

Let’s use a capacity factor of 17% (German experience) right here:
2,084 TWh *0.17= 348 TWh
“However, your math is off by a factor of 1,000. 140,000 TWh….”
No, he’s right with the 140,000 TWh – world energy consumption.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption

I was responding to Anthony’s:
132,000 TWh for 2008 with growth of 5% in 2010. so figure 140 Terawatt hours.
140 terawatt hours = 140 000 gigawatt hours

The first energy value, 132,000 TWh, agrees with Wiki. The 140 TWh and 140,000 GWh figures are 1/1000th of what they should be.

Remember that only a few Western countries have already installed large amounts of wind power. Germany alone, a small country, has bigger than 20GW, probably about 10 % of the whole installed capacity. So we produce about 3 [sic – should be 30] TWh a year alone already.
Also remember, ‘leccy is only a fifth of all energy needs in Western countries.

The Wiki figure is for total energy production, the site has a graph that shows electricity generation, about 19,000 TWh in 2008. That may have been the more meaningful comparison, but let’s stick with the 140 PWh.

348 TWh/140,000 TWh = 0.002486
So it’s 0.2 % – next whole number is 0.

I’ll agree with that. Hmm, if we use the 19,000 TWh in 2008 electrical generation, things work out to 1.74%. I suspect the 17% capacity factor includes all installed turbines, and doesn’t include those shutdown for being obsolete or caught fire, to stuff like that.
Oh – I converted all my “w”s that should have been “W”s to “W”s. Sigh.

DirkH

Ric Werme says:
March 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm
“The Wiki figure is for total energy production, the site has a graph that shows electricity generation, about 19,000 TWh in 2008. That may have been the more meaningful comparison, but let’s stick with the 140 PWh.”
I disagree. The German greens have, after Fukushima, enforced the closure of half our nukes through protests. Now we’re burning more coal; and they protest against that as well. And we’re exploring fracking; they protest against that as well. Modern coal and gas fired power plants deliver heat as well. Also, greens promote electric vehicles, so we’d need electricity for them as well where we at the moment use oil. So, the only favored means of energy production by the greens, wind and solar (Big Hydro is evil), would necessarily have to provide for all our heating and transport as well. So the comparison with total energy consumption is fair game.

Bart

SadButMadLad says:
March 10, 2012 at 9:26 am
“Are birds that dumb that they can’t see the stonking huge turbines spinning round and round.”
The blades are moving VERY fast at the tip. Yes, they are that dumb, or at least, evolution has not prepared them to anticipate an encounter with such an unnatural object. Should we determine which animals die and which shall live based on some sort of intelligence scale?
“There is one video of a eagle being downed by a turbine but it’s a fake.”
One? All of them?
“If you want to say the turbines kill birds, then you have to get rid of cats first who kill more birds.”
Bird kills by domesticated (and feral) cats are a genuine problem. But, the birds they catch are at least generally plentiful. The birds killed by wind turbines tend to be rare and reproduce slowly.

Kum Dollison

South Dakota, and Iowa get 20% of their electricity from Wind.
The next move seems to be Solar Farms in the vicinity to take advantage of the Transmission Infrastructure already in place.

DirkH

Kum Dollison says:
March 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm
“South Dakota, and Iowa get 20% of their electricity from Wind. ”
I’d easily believe an “up to 20%” – Germany manages that – but I have difficulty believing that a grid can be stabilized with an average of 20% wind – because that would mean that during peak wind times you have 100% wind. Do you have a link to production statistics by power source?

Kum Dollison

Wednesday, Mar 7, Texas got 22% of its electricity from Wind.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/09/utilities-texas-wind-idUSL2E8E9C0U20120309

Kum Dollison

Kirk, just google “wind energy – Iowa.” or, South Dakota.
The trick with wind energy is accurately predicting, and reacting to changes in wind forecasts, and having the transmission lines to “import/export.” That Texas article I linked goes into this.

Richard S Courtney

Kum Dollison:
At March 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm you say;
“South Dakota, and Iowa get 20% of their electricity from Wind.”
Obviously you made a typographical error and intended to write:
“South Dakota, and Iowa get 20% of their electricity from Wind obtained when the wind is blowing fast enough but not too fast so Wind displaces thermal power plants from the grid and these plants must continue to operate while waiting for the wind to change with the result that the Wind Power provides high cost and no benefit to the electricity supply.”
There, I fixed it for you. There is no need to thank me because making the correction was a pleasure.
Richard

bernie1815

I have quoted these figures elsewhere but if you go to http://www.ieawind.org/annual_reports_PDF/2010.html
and check Table 3, you can see that they indicate that in 2010 there was approximately 169.7 GW of capacity that produced an estimated 298TWh of electricity. This means that the efficiency across all reporting countries was 20%. Interestingly the range in efficiency was significant with China and Germany attaining 13 and 15% respectively, while Australia, Canada, US, Greece and Portugal ran at over 25%. That spread in efficiencies strikes me as problematic assuming that similar siting criteria and target efficiencies are in place. The Danes who rely heavily on wind for electricity generation manage 23%.

Jimbo

Wind turbines have also created a massive toxic lake in China.

This toxic lake poisons Chinese farmers, their children and their land. It is what’s left behind after making the magnets for Britain’s latest wind turbines… and, as a special Live investigation reveals, is merely one of a multitude of environmental sins committed in the name of our new green Jerusalem
On the outskirts of one of China’s most polluted cities, an old farmer stares despairingly out across an immense lake of bubbling toxic waste covered in black dust……
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html

and…

But at Baotou, 100 miles away, we found the frozen tailing lake where rare earth mixes with mud, waiting for processing at nearby factories. Technologies we all use, like computers, mobile phones and energy-saving light bulbs use rare earths processed here. And local villagers whose farmland has been ruined by seepage from the lake pay the price.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/july-dec09/china_12-14.html

1DandyTroll

In Sweden they have now found the secondlargest deposit of rare earth metals or some such, anyways, during the recent winter, starting last year in Oct/Nov, wind power did real good, really amazingly so, way above expectations. Which, of course, is trumpeted by the crazed hippies.
Thing is though wind power only did so good because of the above normal, read warm, temperature for those months at the same time most nuclear power stations was some how down for maintenance.
So, essentially, if wind power is so good so must be the warmer temps too, since they only work when its warmer, read above 0, an usual in during winter.
If this year turns out, for us in my country, to keep being a bit warmer an normal with the above normal projected precipitation, we’ll effectively get a whole extra growing season, but apparently, that’s not good according to the maniac environmentalist partists. That we spent less, hardly any, coal and oil on energy this winter, due to the slightly above normal temps for us, was apparently bad as well, I mean, since, warmer cliamte is so bad and all.
Although, they did sport the whole we “might” get a bunch of new insect species that might “could” be so bad for us it spells our doom… Apparently there’s no people living in central europe due to the horrors that theses bugs spell, oh wait they’re kind of thriving now a days less the communist yoke.
Imagine that, you green slime, that for wind power to be succesfull, we need a warmer climate come winter time. :-()

DirkH

1DandyTroll says:
March 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm
“So, essentially, if wind power is so good so must be the warmer temps too, since they only work when its warmer, read above 0, an usual in during winter.”
Wind speeds increased up to 50% over the last 150 years.
http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/fletcher.htm

Reblogged this on Klein Verzet and commented:
All the talking points on the pipe dream (and a harmful one at that) that is wind-energy, gathered in one handy cartoon. Josh is a hero!

Phil Clarke

And six human beings die a day on average digging coal, and hundreds of thousands died in the wars to secure the oil supply…..

Kasuha

There’s a lot I don’t like on this comic.
Killing birds and bats … any human technology causes unadapted specimens to die out in the area and make room for adapted ones. Wind turbines are no exception and I believe they are not even the worst ones in that.
Built in areas of outstanding natural beauty – there are only three kinds of areas in the world, city areas, industrial areas, and beautiful areas. And as you can’t really build any new industry (including wind) in the city or where some industry already exists, you use the beautiful ones.
They are noisy – that’s true but there are lots of other industry branches that are noisy as well, it’s only about proper selection of location.
They require permanent fossil fuel back up – not really. They require permanent backup, that’s it. But it does not really have to be fossil fuel based, actually nuclear plants are better suitable as backups.
They use precious rare earth minerals – that’s true but they don’t burn them.
I don’t really understand the point about deforesting so I skip that. And I agree with jobs and fuel powerty.
Now a little bit about 0%:
I am quite sure they’re responsible for 0% of bird and bat deaths compared to other bird and bat death causes all over the world.
And they sure take up 0% of world’s beautiful areas.
They’re also responsible for 0% of world population being exposed to increased noise.
And there’s only 0% of world’s power they need as backup.
This is a kind of propaganda I dislike. An attempt to beat an opponent with his own weapons. I can understand it but I can’t agree with it.

SadButMadLad says:
March 10, 2012 at 9:26 am
“A few points.
“Turbines might kill a few birds, but a few birds were also killed by high voltage power lines. Are birds that dumb that they can’t see the stonking huge turbines spinning round and round. There is one video of a eagle being downed by a turbine but it’s a fake. If you want to say the turbines kill birds, then you have to get rid of cats first who kill more birds.”
One little problem with this argument. Wind is advertized as eco friendly. Cats, vehicles and powerlines are not advertized as eco friendly.

SadButMadLad said, “Turbines aren’t that noisy. I’ve stood under some big ones and there was more wind noise than turbine noise.”
We do not live under them, where the sound is projected away, duh!. We live near them, and the noise is terrible. Street noise is better as it is more like white noise. Turbine noise is a constant drum beat that has all of the aspects of something coming at you, woosh, woosh, woosh. It is mind numbing and louder upwind than downwind. Furthermore, as wind varies in direction, the sound comes and goes from day to day, or day after day.
The tips of the big turbines (140 m blades) can almost reach the speed of sound (700 mph) at 650 mph. Often running at 200 mph, birds have no conception of these speeds and cannot avoid the blades.
This is just like deer and cars. They are wired to look across a glen at a cougar, assess its body language, and flee it it’s not good—there is time to stop, look, and flee as the cougar has a limited top speed. They do the same with cars but have no clue that the car can be on top of them so quickly.

Phil Clarke says:
March 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm
“And six human beings die a day on average digging coal…”
Really? I would have thought that number would be in the news…
…oh, I get it. You’re including China, India, Russia, etc. Not the U.S., Canada and Western Europe.
. . .
And SadButMadLad,
You’re mad. Sad. You’re also fabricating. This is not a “fake”.

Reg Nelson

Kum Dollison says:
March 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm
Wednesday, Mar 7, Texas got 22% of its electricity from Wind.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/09/utilities-texas-wind-idUSL2E8E9C0U20120309
******
From the ERCOT (The Electric Reliability Council of Texas) website: http://www.ercot.com/news/press_releases/show/495
“At the time of Wednesday’s record, wind was supplying 22 percent of the total system load, 34,318 MW.”
******
Kum, I think you’re confusing peak load with total usage. Wind contributed 8.5% of 2011 energy used on the ERCOT grid (note: the grid only covers 75% of Texas users).
The bigger point, of course, is what was the un-subsidized cost of that energy?

DirkH

Phil Clarke says:
March 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm
“And six human beings die a day on average digging coal, and hundreds of thousands died in the wars to secure the oil supply…..”
Very good point, let’s compare the mortality in different energy sources, shall we? Hmmm… What measurement would be fair? How about… deaths per TWH, yeah, that sounds ok.
http://notrickszone.com/2011/03/24/nuclear-is-the-safest-form-of-energy-opposition-is-a-glaring-denial-of-reality/
You were right, at least for coal diggers. The hundreds of thousands dying in “the” wars to secure the oil supply I don’t know, could you provide a source for that? And what wars are “the” wars, BTW?

Jim Turner

Bart says:
March 10, 2012 at 12:14 pm
“The blades are moving VERY fast at the tip. Yes, they are that dumb, or at least, evolution has not prepared them to anticipate an encounter with such an unnatural object”.
The stats for the largest turbine I can find are for the Northern Power Systems of Vermont NP100 Turbine; a 100kW design with a 21 metre rotor diameter and a maximum safe rotation of 59 rpm. I make that a tip speed of about 60 metres/sec, or about 135mph.

Phil Clarke

No cheap Chinese imports in the US huh Smokey?
DirkH. We could start with Iraq. http://web.mit.edu/CIS/pdf/Human_Cost_of_War.pdf