LIVE at 1PM EST – Friday Funnies: Wind Power Fails

Wind is among the most popular renewable energy sources, but the truth is, wind power really blows. From collapsing or burning turbines, to snapped lines, to plastics pollution and the need to burn fossil fuels to keep turbines running, Wind Power is failing on every front except government funded subsidies.

It was recently discovered that in Scotland, several windfarms were connected to diesel generators to keep turbine blades spinning during cold weather to prevent bearings from freezing up. The irony is thick, and there are even more examples that we will cover.

On this week’s episode of Climate change Roundtable, Host Anthony Watts is joined by H. Sterling Burnett and Linnea Lueken to dive into the folly of wind energy. Tune in to Climate Change Roundtable live every Friday at 1PM EST 12pm CST.

Watch below or here by direct link.

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February 10, 2023 7:56 am

My own problem is not with having a reliable source of power generation here in central Indiana. We have had no brownouts or blackouts, and I foresee no such problems coming.

My problem is with reliable transmission.

Lord grant me patience and understanding because I’m fresh out!

Yesterday we lost power for the THIRD TIME THIS YEAR already! Tree down across the line. Took about 5 1/2 hours to get our power back.

What is really getting my goat is that I’m pretty sure I know exactly what is going to happen. Not long after my neighbor Steve, and I each invest the better part of $10,000 each to get standby whole house generators installed, the utility company will no doubt decide it is time to put in new lines.
That is the way things generally work.

The decision has already been made to go for a whole house on demand. 27 Kw is what I will need for my existing but I am planning on adding on. So I will have the output requirement re-evaluated. But when I buy, it will be new, and I will have a service contract for maintenance also.

My nephew is an electrician that installs them and the transfer box. My home, though in a semi-rural area, has a big underground gas main running along the opposite side of the county road we live on and so I doubt that fuel will ever be an issue during my lifetime.

The plan is for Steve, my neighbor, and I to buy and have them installed at the same time to try and get a little discount.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  rah
February 10, 2023 9:22 am

“Tree down across the line.” Power companies often fail to do preventive maintenance regarding trees/limbs that are potentially going to fall on lines. And when they do, they seldom have arborists on the crews who have a good idea of which trees need trimming or removal. You’d think they’d learn after major outages caused by trees costs the company a fortune and aggravated customers. It’s much cheaper to have crews out there all the time.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2023 1:25 pm

They use outside contractors to clear around here. Or at least that is what they did when they did clear along a part of the line about 8 years ago. But I kid you not, at one point in our line it is nested between the trunk and a big branch of a tree that is actually supporting the line there.

Reply to  rah
February 10, 2023 5:01 pm

 it is nested between the trunk and a big branch of a tree that is actually supporting the line there.”, oh man, that will be trouble at some point! I was driving home from work thru rural Iowa and turned onto the county road to our small town. I could see what looked like a very large welding arc about 2 miles up the road. It got more amazing the closer I got and when I finally reached it, I could see a line pole near a creek had rotted off at the bottom and tipped into the trees along the creek. I pulled to the shoulder to call 911 and report the incident and was stunned to feel the ground vibrating hard enough to move my truck around!

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2023 8:05 pm

I live in a hobby farm area with 1000 small holdings in a 50 Sq mile area in precisely the middle of nowhere. We have many more horses than people. Thus our power supply comes from a couple of different areas through some rugged bush land. Trees & branched taking out the power was constant.

For years we lost our power every time there was a thunder storm, which is often in south east Queensland Oz. It turned out the manager of line maintenance for the district was a greenie. The supply authority sent him along to try to pacify some very upset residents at a comunity meeting. These goaded him untill he shouted that he was not going to turn the area into a desert just so some people never lost their power.

Hr was gone in a week, & the new bloke has cleared sufficiently so power outages are rare. We have to keep attacking all this nonsense as long as it takes to get some sense back into the world.

Reply to  rah
February 10, 2023 11:29 am

27kW? That seems high. Maybe you’ll need 27kW if you were to turn on every light, and heater, and two AC units, etc. in your house all at the same time … that’s the energy of 270 100 watt bulbs.

Go pull your power bill, see if you can look at your usage plot. I’ll bet you never exceed 10kW.

Reply to  Michael
February 10, 2023 1:20 pm

220 well pump, water heater, stove, clothes dryer, single A/C unit. That sums up the major reasons along with the fact that I am planning on adding on a 4 season room, with a separate motel type heating and cooling unit other wise I might get by with a 25kw.

Last edited 1 month ago by rah
Reply to  rah
February 11, 2023 10:37 am

Same for me except for the water heater. To make up for it, I have to heat the well house or it will freeze up. Then, no water.

February 10, 2023 8:18 am

To be fair, Anthony, the need for the gennies here in Scotland was, for once, not the fault of the windmills, it was due to a fault in the grid wiring.

Last edited 1 month ago by Oldseadog
Joseph Zorzin
February 10, 2023 9:16 am

Here’s the electric power sources for New England as of 12:10 PM Friday, Feb. 10. Wind and solar together make up about 7% after billions of dollars of investments. Now all we have to do is add a few million vehicles, all industries, all heat and cooling, then add backup. A few more trillion ought to do it.

electric grid.JPG
February 10, 2023 11:14 am

Ball and roller bearings are subject to “brinelling”, the forming of dents in the bearing race (where the balls sit) when the bearing is not rotating. They are also subject to load-related failure. Ball bearings were tried initially in podded ship propulsion motors which are electric motors mounted in large water tight pods and suspended from the outer surface of the ship to avoid the need for long internal propeller shafts. Roller bearings were initially tried because no high pressure oil pump is needed for such a machine. The internal spaces of such a bearing are quite open and a low pressure pump can be used to pump oil from the sump below up to the top where discharges into the bearing. The ball bearings failed mainly because at any instant in time of the bearing’s operations, the entire mass and momentum of the very heavy motor was concentrated on one or two of the balls and not spread out among all of them in the race. Hence, a ball will unpredictably fail followed by the failure of the entire bearing. In a wind turbine, the weight of the blades and structure of the rotating parts must be supported by a bearing. A ball bearing is probably the worst possible choice. Navy ships usually use sleeve bearings to support rotating machinery (a rotating shaft within a fixed shaft or race) lubricated by high pressure pump(s) to force oil in the space between the rotating and fixed parts ensuring lubrication and a very thin fluid surface to spread the load to all of the outer race. Even the Navy has made this mistake with ball bearings in some of the new Littoral Combat Ship vessels. Those using ball bearings are essentially inoperable and too expensive to fix. The Navy wants to retire them.

Alastair Brickell
February 10, 2023 11:25 am

Story Tip: Possibly the most serious problem with these beasts is BPA pollution from erosion of the leading edge of the massive blades:

Not only do they pollute the ground when they go to be chopped up for landfill but the blades also shed potentially harmful microplastics onto our farms and croplands and these also blow into our water supply dams. Not a good idea one would have thought.

February 10, 2023 11:33 am

Regarding the Texas freeze-up, Stirling didn’t mention that the electric pumps in the affected gas pipeline were originally equipped with gas-powered pumps as specified by the gas line engineers. These pumps used a small bit of the gas being pumped for power because this was the most efficient, reliable and lowest-cost option. Such pumps are needed every 100 miles or so in a pipeline to keep the gas flowing. The Obama administration had the “climate change” idea to replace the gas-powered pumps with electric pumps powered by the grid to “eliminate” CO2 emissions from the pumps. This was done in the pipeline of concern, probably without consideration of the emissions from generating the electricity for such pumps. The Texas ERCOT organization failed to write down the circuits used to power the electric pumps and when they instituted blackouts in their ignorance, some of the electric gas pump circuits were shut down as leading to multiple gas power plant shutdowns as Stirling noted. Over 200 people died as consequence. I don’t know how far this bit of Obama insanity has spread, but to that extent, our electric grid is a bit more fragile because of it. Politicians should not be allowed to do engineering.

February 10, 2023 4:52 pm

I found this roundtable very interesting. Currently we have only 2 windturbines operating here in Iceland, but several have failed. I am afraid that many are now on the drawing board.

Agust Bjarnason

Reply to  agbjarn
February 11, 2023 4:07 am

So long as they stay on the drawing board that will be fine. The problems will start if / when they appear in the field.

February 10, 2023 6:24 pm

you guys have no idea, how wind will grow.

are there growing pains? sure
every tech has them

Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 10, 2023 10:17 pm

YOU don’t get it when wind drops greatly 13 million homes goes dark the bigger the wind power production design the greater the problem when it doesn’t get enough wind creating a giant shortfall that has to be picked up IMMEDIATELY to keep the transmission lines stable or the whole grid collapses.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 11, 2023 3:58 pm

Dunkelflautes of up to 48 hours duration, where the wind energy drops to below 10% of nameplate, occur regularly across the entire eastern half of Australia, on an average close to one every three days. You could carpet an entire country with wind farms, yet still regularly suffer massive wind droughts.

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