Energy Options > Wind Power

U.S. says wind could power 20 percent of eastern grid

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Good point David.  Before they strap me with a "carbon tax" they damn well better have their own house in order.


--- Quote from: David in MN on February 01, 2014, 10:36:53 AM ---I always thought the problem was the limit on transmitting power over distance. The highest energy need just isn't where the wind is...

The depreciation schedule on turbines seems to be bogus. Without the gov propping up the industry it probably wouldn't exist. That's not to say it's a bad idea or will never work, it's just not there yet.

Lastly, I get rather pissed off when my government comes up with schemes to save energy. They want to save energy? End a war or two. I'm not sure about the gas mileage on an M1A1 Abrams, but it ain't a Honda Civic. Maybe shut down those big gov motorcades? Does the presidential limo conform to CAFE? How about some telecommuting instead of flying back and forth from a home state to Moscow on the Potomac? Maybe the NSA could turn off a computer or two. Maybe the Library of Congress doesn't need to record every tweet. I'd love to know the annualized energy costs for the white house, congress, senate, capital, pentagon, Air Force 1, Marine 1, Camp David, and every building housing the FBI, CIA, NSA, EPA, FCC, FDIC, FED, etc.

I'm sick of these asshats trying to make me feel guilty about using my toaster while they squander energy constantly.

--- End quote ---

I think affordable small wind and solar makes more sense than Big Wind and Big Solar.  Of course, those give too much self-sufficiency to individuals and communities while cutting into the profits of Big Utilitiesa d their Big Influence on K Street.  Just my $0.02


--- Quote from: Bonnieblue2A on February 01, 2014, 02:00:35 PM ---I think affordable small wind and solar makes more sense than Big Wind and Big Solar.  Of course, those give too much self-sufficiency to individuals and communities while cutting into the profits of Big Utilitiesa d their Big Influence on K Street.  Just my $0.02

--- End quote ---
I agree.
It's interesting to me how this Dinosaur technology is touted as a modern alternative energy source.

I find myself partially agreeing with a bunch of different points made in this thread.

Firstly, wind absolutely has the potential to provide a large proportion of electricity for a properly developed grid - just not yet. I'm not a huge fan of wind turbines, simply because they're a pain in the ass. They require so much more maintenance and don't have the same reliability as other types of turbines. The fact that wind power isn't consistent in both power and direction isn't just problematic for power production consistency, but also a problem for wear on the machines. I work as an asset engineer for a power production company, working on gas turbines, coal plants, wind farms, solar thermal and PV arrays, the wind farms are mostly just a publicity thing, we get "green-credits" (its a thing in Australia) which gives us better tax breaks when using our fossil fuel plants, as opposed to any real power production profits. 

The idea that renewables can't be used as a base load system is mostly true (except for solar thermal, that's functionally the same as any fossil fuel burning steam turbine). However, I recently attended a Power Productions User conference, and there was some very interesting presentations about the development of batteries, and their feasibility as an industrial electricity storage device. The general opinion is that in the next 7 years, it will be a practical business model for people to simply be able to sell power from very large scale battery banks during peak demand (There are markets here where you get charged different amounts for drawing power at different times of the day). The idea was that you charge your batteries from the grid during the off peak period, and then sell it during the peak periods for a higher price. Kind of a dick move, if you ask me, you're not producing power, just on selling other people's production, but, I suppose, business is about making money, fundamentally. The point is that as greater investigation is made into battery development and manufacture, its looking to be a feasible idea to implement battery storage of renewable generated electricity to sustain the grid when demand increases or generation drops. This is especially true as you see the greater stability of interconnected smart grids, and consider that just because wind isn't blowing where you are, wind can be blowing a couple of hundred miles away, where the systems can be connected to the same grid - the production would almost never stop, just have rises and dips, which would have to be dealt with by having a spinning reserve of gas and hydro peaking stations, battery banks and load shedding banks.

In terms of transmission, that's not too much of a hurdle. HVDC transmission systems are being used more and more frequently, and being found to have really good results. I'm a big fan of Tesla, and AC has a very special place in my heart, but the efficiency of new HVDC systems is undeniable.

Also, in terms of the small scale renewables, they're cool, I like them a lot, I find something really romantic about the idea of having a completely off-grid RAPS system. The truth of the matter is that its simply not as reliable and consistent as a smart-grid connection system, for the fact that consistent generation in one place isn't ever going to happen, and you don't have the same spinning reserve reliability in an off-grid system. A single back-up generator is not the same as 25 gas turbines which can come on almost instantaneously if any other fails.

Finally, about the turbines killing birds. I read that article, I'm not convinced of the evils of gas turbines. It was talking about google results of birds dying near turbines, in particular with collisions. That's birds being stupid and flying into the things. It makes them no different than birds flying into any building, or tree for that matter. You have to remember, a typical rotational velocity for an industrial wind turbine is 17 RPM. They're not chopping birds up as they fly pass, the things are just flying into the towers. I think the reason that you can see the amount of birds that fly into turbines, and not hear about bird fatalities in the woods is because no-one is out in the forrest with a clip-board counting all the birds that fly into trees. When you only have one set of data with nothing to compare it to, its irresponsible to make conclusions from it.


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