Sunday, March 21, 2010

How Much of a Scam is Big Wind Energy?

From the viewpoint of power grid managers, constantly maintaining the delicate balance between power supply and power demand, the unpredictability of big wind energy is the equivalent of sabotage.  In fact, it would be easier to deal with an eco-terrorist dynamiting a high voltage tower, than to deal with the violent fluctuations of power output from large scale wind. (Source PDF)
In America, some wind-farms are now being built solely for tax credits, and to fill renewable energy portfolios.  
Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy project calculates that it can break even after six years, without ever producing any electricity. And Boone Pickens is offering his investors a 25% return on a 4000 MW wind-farm based entirely on federal tax credits.
Energy Facts PDF



The video below illustrates the wind industry's huge dependency on fossil fuels, every step of the way.

And I am not mentioning one of the worst facts of all:  the massively expensive machines are constantly breaking down -- requiring expensive repairs amounting to millions of dollars, every few years, for each giant turbine.

For much more information, consult this slideshare presentation on Wind Energy Facts

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6 Comments:

Blogger amadi_construction said...

Great article
Surveys have proved that no wind farm can produce 100% of its maximum power output - the realistic operation output is about 50%. Many wind farms fall well below that. The norm for onshore wind farms is 25% - 30%. That represents a very low output added to the high cost of wind generation

11:04 PM  
Blogger Ronduck said...

The idiocy over wind energy reminds me why nuclear power is the only long term energy source I feel I can support.

Wind energy, bioenergy and conventional semiconductor solar collectors all serve to collect solar radiation and convert it into either electricity or liquid fuel. Of these three sources bioenergy might serve to give us small amounts of liquid fuels in future where such fuels are only needed in small amounts. Solar panels are the most rational of the three, but their cost is high enough that they can only serve to supply homesteads and other structures away from the regular grid. Wind energy is at best a religious movement intended to purify Gaia and at worst a massive Chicago/Latin-American style case of theft by politics.

Since all of these energy forms originate as nuclear reactions, I feel that the most efficient way to generate our energy is to obtain it directly from our own nukes, avoiding the intermediate step of converting it into switchgrass, hemp, or wind.

7:53 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks, AC.

Ron, when you express a multi-paragraph opinion, it helps to provide support for your POV.

On a blog, a writer can bloviate all he wants, as long as somewhere in the post -- or in his archives -- he provides support for his POVs.

One reason blog comments are often worthless is because commenters somehow get the idea that readers will take them seriously. It doesn't work that way. The best blog comments are those that provide sources and limit comment to facts that can be tested.

If you want to write opinion pieces, blogs are free to start and run at several websites.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Ronduck said...

Al Fin, I want you to read this comment I posted over at n/a's blog. I know my comment there marginally qualified as spam, and posting a link to it here does as well. I think my comment relates to your constant focus on the downfall of America so you might be interested in it.

I even provide a link to to my source PDF, which I highly recommend you read.

3:10 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes, that was a good comment at n/a. Because you were generally relating facts that could be tested. And because you did provide a link to support your argument.

Your comment here, however, underestimates the impact that bioenergy and microbial fuels will have -- without any support.

Bioenergy promises to provide a lot more than small amounts of liquid fuels. It promises to provide moderate amounts of liquid fuels at thousands of locations around the world. That will have the effect of decentralising energy wealth and rejuvenating a lot of rural economies.

Bioenergy will also provide a lot of modular and decentralised electrical power generation.

Bioenergy is solar energy with built in storage. That makes it more rational than photovoltaics or solar thermal. Bioenergy is scalable baseload AND dispatchable energy. That puts it above both solar and wind any day.

Solar energy may well become a useful part of the power plan for local utilities in dry desert areas, where power grid managers can fairly predictably plan for solar power output throughout the peak sunlight hours. That makes solar 100 times more useful than wind, for such locales.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Ronduck said...

Bear in mind that I tend to associate all attempts at bio-energy with the ethanol scam. For a while I used to subscribe to Mother Earth News, and while the articles on rural living were useful, that rag constantly published leftist articles that hinted we needed to engage in some "green" action in order to save the earth or exterminate humanity.

Well, not so much to exterminate humanity, but I thought the general trend was clear.

MEN also had constant articles and advertisements on how the readers could make their own biodiesel. Most bioenergy projects are products of the Left that seek to convince the readers that we can move beyond oil and power our vehicles with love. In line with my previous sentence I can't shake the feeling that many of the oil companies pursuing these bioenergy projects are either receiving tax credits for such projects or are doing so out of misguided idealism. Related to this any bioenergy technology that gains traction in the US will need to deal with the USDA of it uses switchgrass or some other ground crop. Even worse than having the USDA oppose the the planting of such crops would be to have the USDA embrace the feedstock crops and destroy the bioenergy project by trying to help it.

Having unloaded by prejudice on this matter, I will admit that there is a possibility that the bioenergy projects you are reporting on will yield an economical substitute for oil. In the event of a global collapse the definition of affordable may go up significantly.

Related to my point on bioenergy was my ill-conceived comment on arcology. Generally, attempts to herd large numbers of people together in structures like that is an attempt to control them. Megastructures may be necessary in space, but they are not even necessary at the US research station at the South Pole (link, link).

Behind all of the searching for alternative energy and the desire to build city-states completely contained in a megastructure is the reality that we are in a legal environment hostile to progress and our survival. If any project is to survive we must secure the acquiescence of the US government, since if we build a project designed to liberate ourselves and our posterity in America we will need the feds to leave us alone. If we build the project overseas we will need the American-led international order to leave us alone. Judging by the US government's three decade project to get Israel to give up all of its territory we will either need to be inconspicuous, we will need to have political protection or we will need to be able to defend ourselves from attacks.

In the absence of a stable political and legal order in which to build these projects we are just dreaming.

6:47 PM  

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