Renewable fail: Weakest US winds for 40 years

wind-turbine[1]

The Financial Times reports that the USA is experiencing the weakest wind speeds for 40 years, which is having a dramatic impact on wind energy businesses.

According to the FT (subscription may be required);

US clean energy suffers from lack of wind

A lack of wind is making the US clean energy sector sweat, with consequences for investors from yield-hungry pensioners to Goldman Sachs.
Electricity generated by US wind farms fell 6 per cent in the first half of the year even as the nation expanded wind generation capacity by 9 per cent, Energy Information Administration records show.

The reason was some of the softest air currents in 40 years, cutting power sales from wind farms to utilities. The feeble breezes come as the White House is promoting renewable energy, including wind, as part of its Clean Power Plan to counter greenhouse gas emissions.

“We never anticipated a drop-off in the wind resource as we have witnessed over the past six months,” David Crane, chief executive of power producer NRG Energy, told analysts last month.

Read more: http://on.ft.com/1N73bQP

In my opinion this once again demonstrates how useless wind power is, as an energy solution for an economy which requires a reliable, biddable supply of electricity.

It might one day be possible to create an affordable energy storage solution which can provide economical backup for the entire electricity grid for a few hours, or even a few days. But an energy storage solution which can hold enough energy to supplement the entire country’s energy needs for months, or even years, on one charge, is utterly implausible.

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163 thoughts on “Renewable fail: Weakest US winds for 40 years

      • We know that CO2 is the all-powerful mystery gas the heats and cools the air, while bringing floods and drought to the heathen. (depending on location. Past actions may not be indicative of future responses).

      • Sandy In Limousin
        September 5, 2015 at 8:25 am

        Did you look for Climate Change may mean stronger winds? Bet you can find that too.

        I don’t know about the USA but here is one of their superb models.

        Abstract – 2000
        Changing cyclones and surface wind speeds over the North Atlantic and Europe in a transient GHG experiment
        A 240 yr run of the ECHAM4/OPYC3 coupled ocean-atmosphere model with transient greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing according to the IPCC IS92a scenario is examined with respect to simulated changes in boreal winter cyclone activity and 10 m wind speeds over Europe, the North Atlantic and Eastern North America. It is found that simulated cyclone activity undergoes a pronounced north- and eastward shift over Europe and the Northeast Atlantic. This shift is accompanied by a decrease in the number of weak cyclones and an increase in deep cyclones (with core pressures below 970 hPa) in this area. The cyclone signal corresponds to the changes in storm track activity and upper-tropospheric baroclinicity. Increases of mean wind speeds and of wind speed extremes are identified over Northern Europe and parts of the East Atlantic. The wind signal is due to an increase in wind speed variability and an intensification of the westerly mean current connected with an enhanced mean pressure gradient. It is shown that the rising number of extreme wind events in the GHG simulation is connected to the augmented occurrence of deep cyclones over Northern Europe and the adjacent ocean areas. There are also strong wind speed increases over Hudson Bay and the Greenland Sea. They are restricted to the planetary boundary layer and appear to be connected to the reduction in winter mean sea-ice cover, which leads to locally decreased static stability and‹over the Greenland Sea‹also to a reduction in surface roughness.
        Published in CR Vol. 15, No. 2. Online publication date: July 20, 2000
        http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/cr015109

      • Jimbo!,

        Damned good to see you again.

        I know we don’t know each other from a bar of soap but where the hell have you been?!

        Eh? Eh?

        Compiling your lists into a publishable format I would hope……

        Jones

      • They (warmers) are all over the map = 360 degrees off ares coverage.Here is another:

        http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2106.html

        ***** Here we show that a pronounced strengthening in Pacific trade winds over the past two decades,,,,,,,,, ********

        Recent intensification of wind-driven circulation in the Pacific and the ongoing warming hiatus.Despite ongoing increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases, the Earth’s global average surface air temperature has remained more or less steady since 2001. A variety of mechanisms have been proposed to account for this slowdown in surface warming. A key component of the global hiatus that has been identified is cool eastern Pacific sea surface temperature, but it is unclear how the ocean has remained relatively cool there in spite of ongoing increases in radiative forcing.

        ***** Here we show that a pronounced strengthening in Pacific trade winds over the past two decades,,,,,,,,, ********

      • > The[y] did already back in 2009 ….

        The article says:

        The decline has the potential to be especially pernicious because turbines are exponentially sensitive to changes in wind speed.* If the wind blows just 15 percent faster, a turbine will produce 50 percent more power.

        Nice to see that they have readers who don’t like SA’s innumeracy:

        *Clarification (11/24/09): This expression was not intended literally. Turbine power generation is proportional to the cube of wind speed.

      • >>Here is a paper that says windspeed will speed up
        >>then slow down each year in Nebraska.

        Is there one saying it will get warm and then cold each year?
        Just wonderin’. Sounds like easy money, if you can get it.

        R

    • Well I would blame it on Kevin Trenberth’s isothermal Earth model. With every point on earth at the same Temperature (288 K), how are you going to get winds ??

      Well I suppose you could apply fossil fuelled electricity to all of those big electric fans, and make some wind that way. And you can point those fans in any direction, so you could make the wind blow any way you want to.

      Well maybe. Good luck on getting two people to agree on which way the wind should blow. They can’t even agree on what is the best temperature for the earth, so what would we set it at if we could ??

      • Almost always when I comment on K & T, I point out that if the energy budget was as described in that cartoon, we would not get weather as we know it.

      • They said it was renewable but it is obvious we are using it up faster than it is being replaced.

        OK I’ll get my coat.

  1. The graph below further illustrates the lack of wind out west how the EIA data for calculating levelized cost of electricity is distorted.
    http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=22452

    This graph clearly shows that the average monthly or yearly capacity factor is not 35% which EIA use for their levelized electricity calculations and comparisons for wind turbines vs conventional options like coal and nuclear . Using the 35% factor instead of 20- 25% lowers the cost per kwh and makes it look more competitive when in fact it may not be so.

    • Cost of wind power is determined almost entirely by wind speed, except that more is not necessarily better – too high a wind speed and the windmill must shut down to protect itself from destruction

      • and too low a speed and blades are parked and use grid electricity to slowly rotate to prevent bearing and shaft distortion. so when not generating they actually are a parasitic draw.
        its always been my opinion that smaller (ie household size) units should have been where the research went to augment the grid and help the individual household.

      • dmacleo

        September 5, 2015 at 8:16 am

        Smaller wind units have been tried in the UK. At a price of £45.000 the payback period ROI was longer than the lifetime of the average house. Reliability was poor, output was varied and delivery of power was insufficient to go off grid. Hence one has to pay the standing grid charge, maintenance charge and borrowing costs = loss of money. W>ind just doesn’t work where ever you put it.

      • I heard they were also quite annoying due to constant noises. Whooshing of the blades, humming of generators…all way up high so the sound carried and spread way out.

    • California’s wind resources and generator output tends to peak during the summer at a time when electricity demand in the state is also relatively high. However for more northern regions like Ontario, the winds are stronger during winter/spring/fall when the winter peak heating demand occurs ,but the winds are out of sync in the summer being at their lowest levels when the electricity peak demand due to AC’S occurs for the summer . More back up for wind energy are required during the summer period..

      • “Because wind is an intermittent resource, it can not be counted upon in California to meet the peak loads on the hottest days of the year. […] The wind typically does not blow on the hottest days of the year so the wind generation production is usually less than 10% of its nameplate capacity at the time of the summer peak load.” (California ISO integration of renewable resources report , August 2007).

        “Typically during the summer months, the CAISO simultaneous peak demand occurs during hour-ending 1700. As shown in Figure 7, the actual wind generation for the period of the July 2006 heat wave averaged less than 200 MW during the hour of system peak demand.”

        Haven’t looked at more recent CaISO reports, but I doubt they’ve changed.

    • There is another cheat in the EIA levelized cost of wind. They assume 30 year life for everything. The actual life of wind turbines is between 20 and 25 (sources vary). The actual life of CCGT and coal is at least 40. Posted on this over at judith Curry’s a few months ago. Redid all the calculations correctly. Wind is about double CCGT or USC coal.

      • If you also read the IER report called WHAT IS THE TRUE COST OF ELECTRICITY
        Electricity from New Wind Three Times More Costly than Existing Coal

        WASHINGTON – Today, the Institute for Energy Research released a first-of-its-kind study calculating the levelized cost of electricity from existing generation sources. Our study shows that on average, electricity from new wind resources is nearly four times more expensive than from existing nuclear and nearly three times more expensive than from existing coal. These are dramatic increases in the cost of generating electricity. This means that the premature closures of existing plants will unavoidably increase electricity rates for American families.
        http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/what-is-the-true-cost-of-electricity/

      • ristvan

        There is another cheat in the EIA levelized cost of wind. They assume 30 year life for everything. The actual life of wind turbines is between 20 and 25 (sources vary). The actual life of CCGT and coal is at least 40.

        Now, we do know that trains are the most efficient transportation.

        Including ONLY “operating costs” (and excluding maintenance AND construction AND demolition AND true “how long will it operate?” AND “How much total pollution and energy and money (with interest!) does it cost to construct, build, and continuously generate electricity for the entire life cycle of this turbine?” ) means that I should demand the federal government must build me a train to go from my house to hardware store, to the baseball field for my grandkid’s games and to the grocery store and battery store and cleaners to carry me around all day.

        Wait. CA democrats already did demand that, didn’t they?

    • If the wind speed drops to just half of the design wind speed, you only lose 87.5% of your power level.

  2. H2 from electricity plus CO2 to make methane, then store it underground = technically plausible year scale energy storage.

    Economically ludicrous, though.

  3. A wind shortage! There was plenty of that during the much warmer 1930’s hot weather cycle.

    Of course, when we descend into the sort of weather we had during the Little Ice Age 1970’s, there will be lots and lots and lots of wind at least for those of us living east of the Mississippi.

    California has lots of hot air, it is blowing on TV. Can’t harvest that!

    • I have calculated there is a direct correlation between the number of wind turbines (increasing) and the speed of the wind (decreasing) therefore i conclude that wind turbines slow down the wind and should be banned …save the wind, save the wind….

  4. The CEO of a major wind power utility never anticipated that winds could be changeable?
    If idiocy was a professional sport, this guy would be in the major leagues.

  5. …We never anticipated a drop-off in the wind resource as we have witnessed over the past six months…

    I’ll bet that independent experts covered that possibility – but the wind company would have been stupid to have ‘anticipated that drop-off’ to the extent of putting it in their projections – after all, their grants were dependent on projections that they could provide 100% of the USA’s energy at some point…

  6. Cause and Effect. As the higher latitudes become warmer the polar\equatorial delta T – hence delta P decreases. Since the forces driving air masses decrease, then it logically follows that wind driven phenomenon will decrease. Why are so so-called climatologist surprised when observations confirm exactly such an effect occurring?

    Unfortunately, for us all – cooling will reverse this effect and weather will become more severe. We will be completely confounded due to the misdirection and fraaud, aiming to the repressive policies hoped for, in Paris. Resistance must defeat this coup. GK

  7. OMG…..the wind changes speed! The horror! And the sun comes up in the east. How do these clowns keep getting away with calling themselves “Scientists”?

  8. Once again the claim that batteries can save unreliable power generators : batteries STORE ENERGY, THEY CAN’T MAKE ENERGY. Where is the power coming from to charge those batteries? When they are depleted and require recharging, you can’t count on the wind to both power the grid and recharge the batteries.

  9. “The Financial Times reports that the USA is experiencing the weakest wind speeds for 40 years, …”

    What can I say? Seven years of Obama has taken the wind out of our sails.

  10. http://earth.nullschool.net/

    There is an earth wind map and yes, the winds this fall are definitely less than normal. Not the only hurricant-type rotation in the Atlantic Ocean west of Africa. Antarctica has high winds, with a tad of this pushing on England which is having a very cold early fall.

    • Well living here in England I wouldn’t describe it as very cold. High temperatures are currently around 18 C and lows dropping to 6-7 C overnight which is not that uncommon. The coldest place was Tulloch Bridge in the Scottish Highlands

  11. As always, what are they referring to when they say “windmill capacity” ? Are they talking nameplate capacity, which is meaningless , but usually used by wind proponents to exaggerate the amount of power their windmills can produce (by 200%), or are they talking some estimated average actual power production? Which, as can be seen here, can also be very optimisitic.

  12. They’d be whining even if the wind were stronger than usual; too many windmills would be shut down to avoid damage. The wind, like Goldilocks’ porridge, has to be ‘just right’.

  13. US “clean energy” suffers from a lot of things, but mainly affordability and usefulness. Now with a lack of wind, mother nature is just kicking them while they are down. Ma Nature can be cruel.

  14. There was another article in WUWT that mentioned (quite rightly in my view) that the Earth’s atmosphere has a finite amount of energy. If a wind farm then removes some of this energy to turn the blades and generate electricity, then there will be less energy downwind and any wind turbines there will run more slowly. Could this be part of the problem?

    “In my opinion this once again demonstrates how useless wind power is, as an energy solution for an economy which requires a reliable, biddable supply of electricity”.

    Totally agree with you Eric, I have said many times that the developed world is totally dependent on computers and hours or even minutes with no power will destroy Western economies. Forget CO2,, the major worry is a Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun which will destroy the world’s computers.

    • Fortunately there is an upper limit to what a windmill can extract from the wind: 57% max, theoretical. Below a certain speed there is no practical power to be had. The zephyrs of truth are gentle but immutable.

      • @John F. Hultquist
        “Its turbines can produce electricity at wind speeds as low as 9 mph”
        Yes but how much can they produce at 9mph?

        If george e. smith
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/09/05/renewable-fail-weakest-us-winds-for-40-years/#comment-2021825
        is right, then at 15.5mph they will be producing 12.5% of the nameplate rating.

        There will be a wind speed (presumably just below 9 mph) that has sufficient energy to turn the blades & the mechanism, i.e. to overcome the machine’s resistance, but not enough to generate any electricity. So at 9mph I would not be surprised if it was generating at well below 1% of the nameplate rating.

        And bear in mind that electricity generating plants with moving parts (of whatever type, gas, coal, nuclear, hydro) use several per cent (AFAIUI, often 10%) of their nameplate output internally. So with the wind at 9mph I would expect this plant still to be taking electricity from the grid.

      • REPLY to James at 3:43

        You are correct. As noted, the peak is at 31 mph. During a tour some years ago the guide said at at near 6 mph they become users of energy from the grid. I don’t recall ever seeing how much and wonder if this is subtracted from the amount reported as generated.

      • My computation may not be correct on the power versus wind speed.

        We know that the flat plate pressure due to incident wind goes as the square of wind speed. In the case of a moving vehicle ( aeroplane/car etc) the drag would go as the square of the air speed, so the power would go as the cube of the air speed.

        And that was the factor of eight drop I referred to (7/8 of power lost at half wind speed.)

        But there is a difference with wind turbines. Their rotation velocity is absolutely constant, when producing output electric power.

        So it might be just a square function, so only 75% power loss at half speed.

        In any case, it is NOT a favorable output versus wind speed characteristic.

        The perfect use for wind power is driving one of those 18 or so blade farm windmills, that mechanically drives a reciprocating long stroke pump to pump up some water to keep the cattle water trough full. When the wind blows, it pumps some water. When it doesn’t , then it doesn’t pump water; but overall, the cows do usually get water.

  15. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/19/renewables-industry-fury-at-new-wind-commissioner-appointment/#comment-1968338

    The Capacity Factor of wind power is typically a bit over 20%, but that is NOT the relevant factor.

    The real truth is told by the Substitution Factor, which is as low as 4% in Germany – that is the amount of conventional generation that can be permanently retired when wind power is installed it the grid.

    http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf
    (apparently no longer available from E.ON Netz website).

    Re E.ON Netz Wind Report 2005 – see especially:

    Figure 6 says Wind Power does not work (need for ~100% spinning backup);

    and Figure 7 says it just gets worse and worse the more Wind Power you add to the grid (see Substitution Factor).

    Same story for grid-connected Solar Power (both in the absence of a “Super-Battery”).

    This was all obvious to us – we published similar conclusions in 2002.

    Trillions of dollars wasted dollars later, the rest of the world is waking up.

    “Wind power – it doesn’t just blow – it sucks!”

    • And this is why wind power does not result in any meaningful reduction in CO2.

      Whilst I am not saying that it is necessary to reduce CO2 emissions, the raison d’etre for wind is not that it produces reliable energy, or cheap energy, but that it reduces CO2 emissions. If it fails on this objective, as it does (because of the need for conventional fossil fuel backup generation), then there is simply no point at all to wind farm generation.

      Any school child would appreciate that due to the intermittent nature of wind and the need for conventional fossil fuel back up which back up is not burning at its most efficient due to the ramp up/ramp down nature of the back up power being extracted, wind power does not solve the CO2 issue, and therefore merely adds to the cost of energy production with no other benefit (indeed, it causes problems to grid stability) so leaving aside the price, it is a negative on that ground as well.

      When this edifice crumbles, the politicians will have a hard job explaining to the electorate why they supported wind when it was obvious that it would put up the cost of electricity and would not in any meaningful manner reduce CO2 emissions.

      It is one thing for a politician not to understand the science of AGW, and to be guided by scientists, but quite another not to appreciate the misguided nature of the policy response given that any 14 year old school child would readily appreciate that wind power does not significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

  16. Wind speed is dropping, even as more turbines are going up.
    Can’t help but wonder if there is a relationship there.

  17. Never anticipated…Right!! This is what happens when technology is driven by lefty agenda rather than by hard-nosed engineering. Haven’t we already also read here that adding more windmills reduces efficiency of the existing ones.

    • Very easy to do for railroads, long distance haulage by electricity has been occurring for more than a century. Downside is high capital cost to put up the wires.

      More of an issue for over the road transport. Short distance haulage of people and cargo by electric vehicles has been around for a century, but only recently has it been practical to make a car run more than 100 miles between charges.

      A real challenge for aviation. Short haul (under 500 miles) may be possible with further development of Li-S batteries, long haul requires hydrocarbon fuels. Liquid hydrogen generated by electricity might work for long hauls, but I won’t live long enough to see that come into being.

      Also a real challenge for ships, though LH2 would be easier to graft on a ship than an airplane (much easier to put an optimally shaped dewar on a ship than a plane.

      • Yeah, if you leave the H2 in gaseous form, you could store it in a bladder that would provide extra lift. Actually, I think the Germans tried that before WWII;-)

  18. From Wattsupwiththat in 2013:

    Rethinking wind power – Harvard study shows it to be overestimated

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/02/25/rethinking-wind-power-harvard-study-shows-it-to-be-overestimated/

    Quote:
    Each wind turbine creates behind it a “wind shadow” in which the air has been slowed down by drag on the turbine’s blades. The ideal wind farm strikes a balance, packing as many turbines onto the land as possible, while also spacing them enough to reduce the impact of these wind shadows. But as wind farms grow larger, they start to interact, and the regional-scale wind patterns matter more.

    Could it be that the windmills themselves may be the cause of lack of wind further downwind?
    lol, that would be the joke of the century.

  19. The coast wind speed will significantly increase, if I understand what is currently happening to the sun and how solar cycle changes affect planetary climate. The current reduction in coastal wind speed which is if I am correct, is also the cause of the blob of higher temperature water on the surface of the ocean off of the west coast of the US and Canada is a transient condition which is caused by the current abrupt change in the sun which causes there to be temporarily long lasting high pressure systems on the west coast of North America which reduces coastal wind speed.

    It appears, based on the extraordinary current changes to the sun (there is now obvious quarter by quarter changes of almost all solar parameters, this is an observational fact not a theory) and based on the correlation in time with past abrupt solar cycle changes, with past abrupt climate changes, that we are going to experience an abrupt change in climate due to the abrupt onset of the cooling phase of a Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle.

    Paleo data indicates that during the cyclic Dansgaard-Oeschger events the jet stream speed increases which increases the amount of dust (factor of 10 more dust during the Heinrich events) that is deposited on the Greenland ice sheet (analysis indicates that the dust is coming from China). The wind speed over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans has started to increase which along with increased cloud cover in the same regions is the reason for the sudden appearance of large anomalously cold regions on surface of the two oceans. This is the same reason for the sudden cooling of the Southern Ocean and high sea ice in the Antarctic.

    What has held back the cooling and is the reason for the sudden temporary reduction in Antarctic sea ice are solar wind bursts from a never ending stream of low latitude coronal holes on the surface of the sun.

    The solar wind bursts are caused by the strange phenomena on the surface of the sun that is called a coronal hole. The solar wind bursts cause a space charge unbalance in the earth’s ionosphere which in turn causes a electric current flow to flow between high latitude regions of the earth to the tropics. This charge movement in high latitude regions and in the tropics causes a change in cloud cover, cloud lifetimes, and cloud albedo in both regions.

    As the effect of a solar wind burst lasts for 5 to 6 days, a train of long lasting coronal holes on the surface of the sun which continues to produce a string in time of wind burst has a larger effect on the global electric current movement and planetary cloud cover/temperature than a single very large sunspot generated wind burst.

    It appears based on correlation in time and correlation of the strength of periods when there are persistent, regular wind bursts caused by coronal holes with El Niño events and vice versa when there are not with La Niña events , that the solar wind bursts are the primary cause of the El Niño/ La Niña cycle.

    There are still a steady string of coronal holes in low latitude regions of the sun, however, the coronal holes in low latitude regions have started to abruptly shrink.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-13/surging-jet-stream-winds-hinder-u-s-bound-flights-from-europe

    Surging Jet-Stream Winds Hinder U.S.-Bound Flights From Europe
    Stronger westerly headwinds for U.S.-bound flights are stretching out travel times, forcing some planes to stop for refueling. Trips such as London to New York, a busy business route, are running almost eight hours — 45 minutes longer than voyages in September.
    Two Philadelphia-bound American Airlines flights, one from Brussels and the other from Amsterdam, had to touch down on Jan. 11 to refuel in Bangor, Maine, said Scott Ramsay, the carrier’s managing director of its integrated operations center. The journey from Brussels took 9 hours and 16 minutes, about an hour more than three months earlier, according to industry data tracker FlightAware.

    Higher Costs
    Flights across the Atlantic to eastern U.S. cities in December 2013 averaged 19 minutes later than a year earlier, according to industry data tracker MasFlight.com. Travel times in December 2014 were similar to those in 2013, MasFlight’s data from more than 1,300 flights a year showed.
    With the threat of increasingly strong headwinds every winter, airlines face higher costs on those westbound flights with the use of extra fuel and the crew’s time.
    “When you were planning to fly non-stop, stopping for fuel costs money,” said George Hamlin, president of Hamlin Transportation Consulting, who has more than 40 years of experience in commercial aviation and aerospace.

    Comments concerning the sun and cause of coronal holes:
    Curiously what causes coronal holes to appear on the sun and the location where they appear is not known.

    The coronal holes’ rotational speed unlike the rotational speed of sunspots and the rotational speed of the ‘surface’ of the sun, does not change with the solar latitude at which they appear.

    At high latitudes on the sun the coronal hole rotational speed is 40% faster than as compared to the rotational speed of the surface of the sun and sunspots at that same latitude which provides support for the assertion that cause of the coronal holes is due to something that is happening deep within the sun which is extraordinary as this indicates something deep within the sun is producing the ‘coronal hole’.

    The surface of the sun is a plasma (ionized gas). Higher latitudes of the sun rotated 40% slower than the equatorial region of the sun. Sunspots which float on the surface of the sun rotate at the same speed as the plasma on which they float. As noted in below paper coronal hole rotational speed does not change with solar latitude.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0004-637X/763/2/137/pdf

    ROTATION RATES OF CORONAL HOLES AND THEIR PROBABLE ANCHORING DEPTHS
    From 2001–2008, we use full-disk, SOHO/EIT 195Å calibrated images to determine latitudinal and day-to-day variations of the rotation rates of coronal holes (CHs).We estimate the weighted average of heliographic coordinates such as latitude and longitude from the central meridian on the observed solar disk. For different latitude zones between 40◦ north and 40◦ south, we compute rotation rates and find that, irrespective of their area, the number of days observed on the solar disk, and their latitudes, CHs rotate rigidly. Combined for all the latitude zones, we also find that CHs rotate rigidly during their evolution history. In addition, for all latitude zones, CHs follow a rigid body rotation law during their first appearance. Interestingly, the average first rotation rate (∼438 nHz) of CHs, computed from their first appearance on the solar disk, matches the rotation rate of the solar interior only below the tachocline.

  20. Now that we’re past many sensible comments:- Why don’t you build some giant fans, say 500 feet in diameter, and aim them at the turbines?

    • Seem to remember a cartoon about this very idea – it looked like a fabled perpetual motion machine….very funny.

    • No, no; you’ve got it all wrong. The solution is to make mobile wind turbines, self-powered of course, that are able to move to where the wind is blowing.

      “Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.”

      I suggest this, entirely tongue-in-cheek of course, only to show that the full potential of the Green Idiocracy is yet to be reached.

      It is a well-known maxim that nothing can be made fool-proof because fools are too ingenious. If, for example, we happened to find ourselves on a planet with abundant natural fuel, some moron or group of morons would devise some scheme, some plan, some argument to prevent us from using it.

      The whirligigs are monuments to morons.

      It must be time for a song:


      Catch the Wind – Donovan – 1965

      • Great singer. I actually went to a concert by him circa 1968. He talked between songs. He was completely incoherent.

      • The great Cannabis Generation hero who was innocently busted naked and on drugs, and who innocently attacked the police officer.

        These events generated so much sympathy for the poor little rock star that it helped with re-classifying cannabis as a soft drug, without any studies being completed, and without even knowing what receptor it acted on the brain, or knowing any of the longterm psychotic effects – which were violently displayed in hashish users in Middle Eastern countries in the 30’s.

        However, Donovan gets credit for admitting that they all went running to swami gurus so that they wouldn’t seem to be just pushing sex and drugs. Remember the photo ops with the Natives?

      • I didn’t notice any indignation here on my recent post featuring the song “North to Alaska,” where I mentioned that crooner Johnny Horton was killed by a drunk driver in 1960, at age 35, just when his career was taking off.

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/09/02/quote-of-the-week-obamas-climate-claim-in-alaska/#comment-2019694

        All the statistics & studies show that it is drunk drivers, not stoned drivers, who are among the great dangers on the highway.

        I recently watched “The Silencers,” with Dean Martin and the fabulous Stella Stevens. The booze flowed as the couple cruised down the highway in Matt Helm’s trick station wagon. Dino was a great singer too, and made a 2nd – or was it 3rd? – career of portraying the lovable lush. Drunks were commonly portrayed on the silver screen as laughable, but harmless, and of course it’s OK to be drunk if you’re saving the world, and – how to say? – cozying up to the likes of the stellar Stella.

        And it’s not just on the highway where booze poses a threat to life. According to the CDC: “Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2006 – 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years. Further, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2006 were estimated at $223.5 billion, or $1.90 a drink.

        http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm

        Meanwhile:

        Marijuana Drastically Shrinks Aggressive Form Of Brain Cancer, New Study Finds

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/18/marijuana-brain-cancer_n_6181060.html

        “The term medical marijuana took on dramatic new meaning in February, 2000 when researchers in Madrid announced they had destroyed incurable brain tumors in rats by injecting them with THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.
        […]
        The ominous part is that this isn’t the first time scientists have discovered that THC shrinks tumors. In 1974 researchers at the Medical College of Virginia, who had been funded by the National Institute of Health to find evidence that marijuana damages the immune system, found instead that THC slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice — lung and breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.

        The DEA quickly shut down the Virginia study and all further cannabis/tumor research…”

        http://www.alternet.org/story/9257/pot_shrinks_tumors%3B_government_knew_in_%2774

        NBC News: Marijuana Compound CBD Fights Cancer; Human Trials Next

        “If this plant were discovered in the Amazon today, scientists would be falling all over each other to be the first to bring it to market” ~ Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of oncology at the University of California San Francisco.

        https://patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/nbc-news-marijuana-compound-fights-cancer-human-trials-next/

        The problem with demonization and all propaganda is that the myths and false beliefs linger on, ‘same as with glorification. I don’t know anything about Donovon, other than the fact that he was a good singer who made some good songs.

        I played “Catch the Wind” because I thought it tied in well with Eric Worrall’s post, and I thought a few of the brighter minds here might recognize it as a pretty good anthem for those of us who are skeptical of the value of wind turbines.

        But no, ‘can’t let a chance go by to dis the evil weed with anecdotal evidence.(Wiki: “.. It was quickly shown some claims were false”). I’ve been around drunks and stoners. I’ve never seen potheads get into fights, but I’ve seen plenty of fights, violence, and verbal abuse where the booze flows. Booze gives people a false sense of bravo and invincibility. Pot makes them introspective, and cautious.

        I’m not recommending anyone try booze or pot, but if you’re going to make an issue of it, at least tell both sides of the story.

        Now, back to the wind.

      • And Zeke, I appeciate your post
        Zeke- September 5, 2015 at 3:08 pm

        My post was already in moderation before I saw it, so please don’t think I was disdaining, or trampling on your olive branch.

        Opinions may vary, but we are all in this together.

        Peace,
        -sp-

      • ++Steve P

        Your original post was insightful and worked great with the column by Eric Worrall. Hypocritical to the end, I listened to Catch the Wind several times and drank my psych treatment of choice, coffee.

    • Already been done.

      There was a technology park in the UK, that was caught using electricity to power its wind turbines, just to look good and Green.

      R

  21. Wind, solar, micro hydro and wood burning generators have their place. They are the only solution in off grid locations (www.otherpower.com) but as base load the are not going to cut it until cheap, efficient, long term method of storing massive amounts of energy is invented. We’ve been putting the cart before the horse way too much.

  22. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    While the canonical view is that global warming will increase average wind speeds, other studies conclude it will fall. Of course, none of that matters to the real world. The real world will simply minimize Gibbs Free Energy, form dissipative systems [no matter how complex they need to be to maximize efficiency from the system and tools available], and the real world will run down. Of course, the windmills run down too.

    Overall, winds blow but windmills suck.

    We need to wise up and quit wasting effort building bird-bat blenders.

  23. http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org/us-military-veteran-courageously-speaks-out-about-geoengineering/

    On August 14th, 2015, there was a major event in Northern California that was organized for the purpose of exposing and halting global climate engineering programs that are decimating our planet and the entire web of life. Numerous experts spoke out at this event including former government scientists, a former defense industry technician, former military personnel, a prominent Northern California Neurologist, and a CEO for one of the largest environmental and engineering consulting firms in the world. Approximately 1000 people attended this event. Mario Ramirez is a US Navy veteran who has shown tremendous courage by speaking publicly about the tyranny that is rampant within the ranks of our own government and military. I have great respect for Mario, he is setting an example of honesty that will help to compel other honorable armed services personnel to step forward and tell their story

  24. ” “We never anticipated a drop-off in the wind resource as we have witnessed over the past six months,” David Crane, chief executive of power producer NRG Energy, told analysts last month. ‘

    Well duhhh! That would be your problem right there Dave. You just didn’t think it through, did you? Got a diesel backup?

    Morons.

    • Call me cynical, but I would want to see the production and particularly the maintenance records for the whole installation before accepting the explanation “The wind went away” from the CEO.

    • John

      Thanks for the earlier link to PSE’s Wild horse. For those who do not know PSE was building wind farms in Eastern Washington before there were subsidies because of the high cost of natural gas and the pipelines being near capacity. Natural gas generation was here to backup before the first wind farm. The BPA links show that using hydro to balance works great.

      Wind farms in Eastern Washington are built in dryland wheat fields or shrub steppe habitat and do not endanger birds. Very good for the local economy.

      I use the link BPA to predict good times to go sailing on the Columbia River when going from no wind to good sailing. 35 mph; gust 47 is not good sailing.

      • REPLY to Retired at 8:35
        When PSE’s Wild Horse was being built one of the blades was damaged and they have it next to the visitor center – about belt-high and horizontal. At the nearest tower visitors can go into the base and see what is there – no climbing the ladder. They also have a solar array – fixed. Inside the visitor center there are lots of displays and, also information about the shrub-steppe environment. Much of that was done by the students and instructors at Central Washington University. All this makes for an informative tour.

  25. Intriguingly, as someone who lives off the grid in the UK – I have been exempted from access to the generous subsidy payments which have relied mainly upon a person “selling” electricity back to the grid at several times the wholesale market price.
    Back in 2011, the subsidy for solar PV installations was set at 43p/kWh for 25 years (inflation adjusted and backed by govt. bonds). This means that anyone who jumped on the bandwagon at the time is now receiving TEN TIMES the market rate for their measly intermittent output.
    Admittedly, such people are also payed for electricity which they use themselves, so I could potentially have drawn some trivial income from that aspect of the deal.
    BUT – how ironic that in an off-grid situation where Solar PV would have made some genuine economic sense – the principle source of subsidies is not available.

    • Fifty years ago you’d see cotton planted that was never tended or harvested. They called it subsidy cotton. Now you see these big wind farms where most of the windmills are not turning — subsidy wind power.

    • Mostly because you can’t smelt ores to make new worthless wind turbines.

      Kind of hard to make cement without the coal/coke providing the temperatures needed.

      Tis foul shame and waste of cement, which it can never ever produce.

      • Reachers do not build nuke plants. For the record, LWR nuke plants with containment building are safe even if the fuel rods are damage.

        If you want to read about something really interesting that works very well, checkout the fleet of US reactors that provide 20% of US power. What are the the Chinese building lots of? LWRs!

    • A couple of former MIT grad students have formed Trans Atomic Power. Yes they have a web site. And yes, 10 years is about right. The NRC charges more than $400/hr for approval. Kind of adds up after a few years.

  26. Solar, Wind and all energy generation technologies are as useless as the proverbial mammaries on a male bovine without storage so that energy can be delivered on demand. So lets look at the indicative storage technologies.

    We could start by considering the energy storage density of various fuels or devices, the higher the density the more compact the energy store and vice versa. The lower density storage means the biger size of storage device and thus the more capital required leaving aside the level of technology and associated cost profile.

    Units are in MJ/Kg

    Uranium (in reactor) 80.6 x 10^6
    Methane / NAt. Gas 55.5 ( less than one miiionth!)
    Diesel 48.0
    LPG & Kerosene 46 ish
    gasoline 44 ish
    Ethanol fuel 26 ish
    Coal 24
    Methanol 20 ish
    Wood 16 ish

    Lithium ion battery 0.36 – 0.88 i.e ~1% of Diesel – gasoline
    Alkaline battery 0.67
    Nickel-metal hydride 0.29
    Lead Acid battery 0.17 i.e ~0.35% of Diesel – gasoline

    Bit of a no brainer as to what is prospective – and what is not.

    • “Solar, Wind and all energy generation technologies are as useless … without storage ”

      That is not how it works it works for supplying electric power. We only produce what is needed. Having more capacity than needed is a very good thing. If a windfarm is producing more power than is needed (everyspring in the PNW because of low demand and spring run off). Just shut down the wind turbines, refuel the nuke, turnoff the coal plant ect.

      The windfarm owners whine a little bit about not getting subsidies. Making power is a regulated public service. If you thought you were going to get rich by overbuilding, you made a bad business decision.

      • Quantifying and matching “what is needed’ to what is being produced at the material time is what is at issue and whether you can actually do it economically. Having storage is just a way of being able to properly integrate systems that have otherwise poor interactive compatibility. Cars driven by IC engines are pretty much useless w/o transmissions and clutches. Its about having a viable technological package not about
        one ‘sexy’ aspect of one part of a system.

        You can’t readily run coal fired plants up and down with the wind and even if you could do so with appropriate response time why bother with having the coal fired plant on standby? You are still up for the standby costs, the capital cost and the maintenance costs all of which should be put to the account of the wind/solar plant. At the end of the day it still passes to the consumer’s account.

        If you ant to address CO2 then go and plant shiploads of trees because there is little doubt that way too many have been cut down. They will soon such up the excess. Might bring on an ice age too but there you go.

      • Actually, making power became deregulated with the advent of mandatory Net Metering. As long as the Interconnect [Inverter output connected to grid] meets the utility standard — every consumer with solar panels or a wind turbine is a producer.

  27. Oh – how could I forget this graph? It’s worse than you think! This is the average annual wind speed at the weather observatory at the top of Blue Hill, Massachusetts. I’m not convinced by any of the suggestions why there has been such a prolonged wind decline. There is one correlation – after fairly frequent flooding of homes along the Mass coast in the late 1970s and 1980s, there was long period with very little flooding.

    • That’s really interesting.

      Distance is about 10 miles from BH to Beantown. Without knowing the prevailing wind direction at Blue Hill, I suppose there is the odd, slim chance that high rise construction in/around Boston has deflected/altered/blocked N wind to some degree, although I’ll quickly acknowledge that is a stretch. Maybe a role being played by UHI to diminish winds?

      The big drop begins in the late 70s or thereabouts. Boston’s tallest building – 241 m John Hancock tower – was built in 1976, and there has been a lot of high-rise constuction since. The observatory itself is at 193 m.

      http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/maps/?cityID=145

      http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/?cityID=145

      Further, if you go here:
      http://skyscraperpage.com/
      and enter ‘Boston’ in the SkyscraperPage Diagram search box, you’ll get a graphic representation of the city’s tall buildings sorted by size – orthographic drawings that are elevation views of the buildings.

      “n 1962, a metal tower containing a siderostat for collecting the sun’s rays and directing them by mirrors to an optical bench inside the observatory, was erected adjacent to the west wing for studies related to the upper atmosphere. This project was abandoned after a few years. This tower, with its mirrors still present, is no longer in use

      In 1981, the Metropolitan District Commission transferred responsibility for the observatory to the Blue Hill Weather Club

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Hill_Meteorological_Observatory

      ‘Grasping at straws, really. A much more likely explanation is a shift in prevailing weather patterns. It was climate change what done it.

    • Could the reduction of the wind be related to the changing solar conditions? Perhaps an indicator of an upcoming solar grand minimum. Being that modern science has never observed a GM in action, it would certainly be possible that a relationship exists. This is a time to pay close attention to shifts in natural patterns.

  28. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    So is evil “carbon pollution” aka CO2, meant to cause more “extreme” higher wind speeds or lower ones?

    I’m confused. I thought the “science was settled”?

  29. Once it was carbon, “we can stop the warming!” Now it is wind, “we can make the wind blow harder!”

  30. The only constant in nature is change. Two out of ten years hydro production is low in Washington State because of droughts based on 59 years of records. Eastern Washington is semi-arid and was a natural dust bowl before irrigation.

    I see no reason why wind would not vary too. There is likely a correlation between wind and snow pack. However, we only have a few years of records for west coast wind generation. First they have to wind turbines running before we can get more data.

  31. The weaker winds are the result of all the extreme weather, which is blowing harder winds, but canceling each other at the wind farms. It’s global warming playing its latest vile tricks on us

  32. To my mind the term “extreme” encompasses both ends of the spectrum, low as well as high. Maybe it’s a good idea if anyone who uses the term “extreme weather” should be mandated also to add a health warning as is the case with financial products – “X may fall as well as rise”.

  33. Too many wnd turbines has resulted in world wide wind speed decline.
    They have altered the climate.
    I will need several hundred million dollars and an unlimited amount of time to prove my theory.

  34. The levelized costs are a crock. To account for the cost of AE the cost of batteries or back up power stations needs to be assigned to AE. It is not.

  35. In response to M Seward, “Quantifying and matching “what is needed’ to what is being produced at the material time is what is at issue…”

    There is always confusion between energy for transportation and energy for power plants supplying the grid. Storage is critical for transportation, not so much for stationary power plants. I first made electricity with steam in 1971 on WWII combat ship. An automatic control valve would maintain the turbine speed to match demand. More WWII combat ships were lost at sea due to running out fuel oil in a typhoon than to Japanese torpedoes. A few later as a nuclear trained officer supervising operation of the nuke plant. The steam turbine generator worked the same way it was just bigger but we were not worried about running out of fuel in a typhoon. Later I worked at nuke plants. The steam turbine generator worked the same way it was just a little bigger still.

    “You can’t readily run coal fired plants up and down with the wind and even if you could do so with appropriate response time why bother with having the coal fired plant on standby?”

    BS, sure we can and do. All steam plants are designed to load follow and they do so readily. Here is how it works. Plants with the lowest fuel cost are dispatched first. Since nukes can not meet 100% of demand, they become base load plants. In France, nuke plants load follow except when demand is very high.

    Next coal plants are dispatched or very efficient CCGT natural gas. Finally the most expensive oil and SCGT are fired up. Demand variations and wind generation variations are predictable.

    “because there is little doubt that way too many have been cut down.”

    In the US, there are a lot more trees than in 1930. There is enough waste biomass in a 25 mile radius to fire a 25 MWe power plant. An example is the plant at Kettle Falls, Washington. Waste from sawmills used to be burned causing local air pollution. It is now burned cleanly to produce electricity economically.

    The most significant environmental problem in the US is forest health issues in semi-arid forest of the west. Too much wood of poor quality that causes a forest killing and watersheds destroying fires.

    In the east, if you drive the Blue Parkway in Virginia or NC; you will see a subtropical jungle. A new 500 MWe steam plant that burns waste wood and waste coal from old strip mines.

    There are many examples of power projects that make the environment better and provide good jobs for folk who do not like the city environment.

  36. Set’s see, you don’t think less wind speed would have anything to do with less sun spots do you? Oh that’s right, the sun doesn’t have any effect on the weather!

  37. A firm in Australia called Pit & Sherry calculates an index of carbon emissions in Australia. Last year they issued a report talking about how carbon emissions had risen. The American green energy zealots went ballistic talking about how horrible Australian prime minister Tony Abbott is for allowing it to happen.

    But I dug into the report. It turned out that Australia had continued to expand its base of wind turbines. But despite the larger base in 2014, it still produced less electricity from win because the wind just didn’t blow enough. So the electric utilities had to use the always reliable carbon based fuels to meet electricity demand – causing emissions to rise. (page 5, second bullet point)

    http://www.pittsh.com.au/assets/files/Cedex/CEDEX%20Report%20Sept%202014.pdf

    The builders of these projects all around the world seem to have overestimated how much the wind will blow. Why did they get it wrong? Was their judgment clouded by taxpayer subsidies?

    • One thing you can be pretty sure about is that when they were doing the initial sale to governments they did not point out that the wind turbines would not deliver there nameplate capacity, but rather, on average throughout the year, they would deliver only about 20 to 25% of their nameplate capacity.

      I do not think that politicians were aware of this fundamental point when they first signed up to the push to renewables. They did not realise that they would have to build (and subsidise) at east 4 times as much wind generation/capacity that they were hoping would replace conventional fossil fuel generation on a 1 to 1 basis (ie., a I GW of wind replacing 1GW of conventional fossil fuel generation).

      Of course they now realise this, but it is now rather late in the day. It is difficult for them to acknowledge this basic blunder, since this is a school child error and shows how incompetent they were when listening to the green dream.

      In the UK, we hear politicians claiming that we need to install say 16GW of wind to meet the UK’s forthcoming targets, But in reality they need to install upwards of 70GW because wind is on average only producing about 22% to 23% of its nameplate capacity.

      There would be uproar if one bought say a car that was sold on the basis that it had a top speed of say 110 mph and in practice it rarely achieved 25mph.

      The politicians have been sold a pup, the problem is how to get out of it since they are now in far too deep. It is one of the hardest things to do is to admit that one was wrong and that one was naively fooled, and didn’t take enough time to properly scrutinise the sales pitch.

  38. If one reads the various climate reports like the CLEAN POWER PLAN , UNITED STATES CLIMATE ACTION REPORT 2014 OR THE PRESIDENTS CLIMATE ACTION PLAN , 2013 , You come away with one impression . They seem all over hyped and focused primarily on greenhouse gas reductions as the only important issue or criteria for considering planning for the future climate . It is like the car salesman who tries to sell you the car with the least emissions only. Never mind that it is the most expensive car to operate and run and you can only buy it with a government grant . or that the car is the least reliable car and unpredictable when it will run and you need a second car when the your purchased car will not run, or that it has the shortest life expectancy, or that it is affected by every wind and climate variation for performance or efficiency.
    Yet this is the only car that seems to be offered ( really legislated) to the public . Would you ever buy such a car if you were given free choice.

  39. Have we really and truly been measuring and recording wind strengths over a REPRESENTATIVE area of the USA for 40 years?
    It sounds like an Oh Bummer/Hillary Clinton type story to me.

    • That is correct. Did you figure it our all by yourself? The real question is if it is good policy and is it working. There incentives for all kinds of things that may not be the cheapest alternative but may be better in the long run for the county.

      Resource planning for making electricity is a 20, 40, and 60 year exercise. Governor Bush is Texas was successful while Governor Davis failed in California.

      Some examples of good policy that were successful. West Texas wind farms that resulted from a very modest renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) under Governor Bush establishing the economics of modern wind turbines. Thus the renaissance for wind. Five large nuke plants are under and many more are being prepared for construction that to various incentives under POTUS Bush and unthinkable with anti-nuke Clinton. E10 gasoline. American farmers said the could do it and they did.

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