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Give up on Wind Farms they are useless Watch

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    (Original post by twl)
    I saw it on a precipitation-type radar.
    At what height? I don't think it was seen on the ground. In any case it's only a problem you've speculated, and you're no expert.

    These are reliability questions you don't ask about regular power-stations that actually produce electricity.
    Actually, there's plenty of reliability issues with thermal power stations, they're just not mentioned. In some ways wind turbines are better in that you've got many more discrete units for a given power rating, so if one fails it's only a small proportion, unlike thermal.


    Interesting that you mention the brake. The hydraulic brake requires electricity from the grid. It's a realistic scenario that seriously high winds that make the brake necessary - to stop the turbines spinning for their own safety - might also bring down power-lines and cause a power cut. The brakes would be released again and all the Wind Turbines would be at risk of spinning out of control.
    Nah. Brakes don't need constant power to stay activated, and even if they did battery and onsite backup generators would cope in the event of grid connection failure. You don't see cars with electric handbrakes running off when the battery's disconnected (and in fact for IVA or TT approval they must not be able to). Offshore windfarms and a lot of onshore wind farms use underground power lines in any case. There's also the fact that you don't need to use hydraulic brakes in any case - rheostatic braking as a slightly unusual alternative.


    There is youtube video which shows a predatory bird getting killed. It has nothing to do with the colour of the turbine.
    Not sure why this one's so difficult to get across. I've already said the colour doesn't directly affect birds. However, research has shown it does attract insects. Insects attract birds. Those birds may in turn attract other birds. Stop attracting the insects and the birds will also not be attracted. Surely you'll agree that if less birds are near the turbines less birds will be killed? Anyway plenty of things kill birds - planes would be a good example - are you calling for them to be scrapped as well?
    It works in a different way for birds. The change in air pressure makes the air near the fast-spinning blade rough. The instability can draw birds toward the turbine.
    Erm.. you're not aware of how a turbine works are you. Higher pressure one side, lower the other, energy extracted from the movement of the working fluid by passing across the blades. Turbulence will only occur near the tips, and the only instability taking birds towards the blades is commonly known as the wind. In any case large turbines turn very slowly - if the tip speed exceeds 330m/s they go supersonic and that's a whole new can of worms, so they stay well below that. Your video didn't show the bird unable to control it's direction, did it?

    Wind Farms aren't suitable for providing power to a large number of customers because the demand is variable and the supply is variable. With regular power-stations the demand is variable but the supply is dependable.
    Thermal power stations take a very long time to ramp up or down (days) in order to avoid issues relating to thermal expansion and contraction. That's why some electricity rates offer lower cost electricity at night, and why pumped storage is used - it's to make use of energy that would otherwise be wasted, as the thermal plants can't be ramped down when demand drops. It's not ideal but there are methods of storing power. Having said that, this is one of your better arguments.

    As I said... not arguing a specific use cannot be found for a Wind Turbine, just their use in Wind Farms is useless... nothing but a scam.
    It's comments like this which don't help - they're not a scam. They're not useless. They're just not all they're cracked up to be, and that's different.


    Doesn't produce up to its installed capacity... the graphic I had showed 0.2% when there is capacity to provide 10%. "Capacity" is a headline figure that is not matched by actuality.
    This is the problem with people not understanding the figures they're shown. Rated power is only produced under certain conditions, not whenever there's a bit of wind. Thus a 10GW wind installation cannot be directly compared to a 10GW thermal power station - thermal are designed for constant rated power output, wind is not, and no one has claimed they are. In any case, you said that graphic shows wind power contributed only 0.2% of power generation in December, but that's only true for half an hour - in that 24 hour period the contribution was 0.5% (150% more), so either you don't understand it very well or you were being disingenuous.

    Would you therefore agree Wind Farms are useless? We're not discussing individual turbines.
    Not useless, but certainly not the solution to future electricity production. For what it's worth, nuclear would be my preferred solution. Having said that, I'm not an expert in wind energy - although as part of my degree I've done quite a bit of study on them and produced reports on a possible turbine design, blade design and design of a microgenerator for emergency use, so I'm not just making this up as I go along.



    You've not shown my arguments are seriously flawed. At worst, it sounds like you are gold-plating the basics that I am laying down about the uselessness of Wind Farms.
    I'd have to disagree - I think some of your arguments are flawed, and I think I have shown that. Not entirely sure what you mean by gold plating them, as I've been telling you a lot of your arguments are full of holes!
    Good arguments against wind turbines:
    - They have a high carbon footprint in the production and commissioning stages. One of the principle arguments for them is that they're a low carbon form of power generation, so this high carbon cost largely mitigates this argument for them.
    - They require a very large physical area to generate meaningful amounts of electricity
    - They need some form of energy storage to smooth out fluctuations in production. This induces losses, and either doesn't store much energy or requires a large area (pumped storage)
    - They can fail catastrophically for a number of reasons, throwing chunks of debris a long way - I think it may be Germany where large turbines may not be sited within 2km of housing for this reason. Also fires in the nacelle cannot be fought as they're so high up, although halon-esque extinguishant systems can probably negate that.
    - At transition wind speeds there is a risk of feed in from the grid exceeding power generation
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    At what height? I don't think it was seen on the ground. In any case it's only a problem you've speculated, and you're no expert.
    At the height that hits the ground. I frequent weather forums and there are occasionally reports of freezing rain from around the British Isles. It's not unusual locally. Something on the scale of 1940 would be unusual. The UK also frequently gets tornadoes. Not the same size as you get in North America but still destructive.


    Nah. Brakes don't need constant power to stay activated, and even if they did battery and onsite backup generators would cope in the event of grid connection failure. You don't see cars with electric handbrakes running off when the battery's disconnected (and in fact for IVA or TT approval they must not be able to).
    I'd be surprised a) if this is true and b) if this would work if it's true. I wouldn't be surprised by c) it's true and it won't work; because Wind Farms are useless.

    The largest Wind Turbines have a blade diameter over 100 meters... these things weigh tonnes. The battery would have to be very powerful to withstand the forces generated by the weight of the blades in these high winds, over many hours without access to grid electricity.

    Offshore windfarms and a lot of onshore wind farms use underground power lines in any case.
    I'd expect that but unless they run underground right to the power-station then there is still a risk.

    There's also the fact that you don't need to use hydraulic brakes in any case - rheostatic braking as a slightly unusual alternative.
    A lot of Wind Farms have already been built.

    Not sure why this one's so difficult to get across. I've already said the colour doesn't directly affect birds. However, research has shown it does attract insects. Insects attract birds. Those birds may in turn attract other birds. Stop attracting the insects and the birds will also not be attracted.
    I'm suggesting you think painting wind turbines another colour will solve the bird kill problem. No it won't. If you look at the video with the predatory bird, there were no prey birds.

    Predatory birds are attracted to Wind Turbines for many reasons. One you've not mentioned - surprisingly because you're lecturing me so expertly - is location. Wind Farms are placed on top of hills. Birds of prey soar up hills on up-drafts to gain height and unexpectedly smack into a Wind Turbine.

    Not just predatory birds that are killed. In the open sea rare migrating birds ram into the turbines on their flight paths. Again, this has nothing to do with the colour of the turbines, everything to do with Wind Farms being useless, except at killing birds.

    Surely you'll agree that if less birds are near the turbines less birds will be killed? Anyway plenty of things kill birds - planes would be a good example - are you calling for them to be scrapped as well?
    This thread doesn't care about planes, only that Wind Farms are useless, except at killing lots of birds.

    In any case large turbines turn very slowly - if the tip speed exceeds 330m/s they go supersonic and that's a whole new can of worms, so they stay well below that. Your video didn't show the bird unable to control it's direction, did it?
    When there is wind, no they don't - the tip speed travels at 200 mph. Want to be hit by a piece of metal moving at 200mph? That's not slow. Birds can't dodge out the way of that in mid-flight.

    You're trying to educate me but you're misleading me at the same time with words like "turn very slowly" so it's difficult to gain trust.

    Thermal power stations take a very long time to ramp up or down (days) in order to avoid issues relating to thermal expansion and contraction. That's why some electricity rates offer lower cost electricity at night, and why pumped storage is used - it's to make use of energy that would otherwise be wasted, as the thermal plants can't be ramped down when demand drops. It's not ideal but there are methods of storing power. Having said that, this is one of your better arguments.
    This thread is not specifically about alternatives so I don't really care about your opinions on this. The thread is about whether Wind Farms are useless.

    Nothing else should come into it.


    It's comments like this which don't help - they're not a scam. They're not useless. They're just not all they're cracked up to be, and that's different.
    Hand-wringing.


    - They have a high carbon footprint in the production and commissioning stages. One of the principle arguments for them is that they're a low carbon form of power generation, so this high carbon cost largely mitigates this argument for them.
    - They require a very large physical area to generate meaningful amounts of electricity
    - They need some form of energy storage to smooth out fluctuations in production. This induces losses, and either doesn't store much energy or requires a large area (pumped storage)
    - They can fail catastrophically for a number of reasons, throwing chunks of debris a long way - I think it may be Germany where large turbines may not be sited within 2km of housing for this reason. Also fires in the nacelle cannot be fought as they're so high up, although halon-esque extinguishant systems can probably negate that.
    - At transition wind speeds there is a risk of feed in from the grid exceeding power generation

    These are good comments. You might have added that it supports the main thesis of this thread.
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    (Original post by twl)
    *******s
    OK, as you're such an expert, in a system consisting of a shaft fitted with a hydraulic disc brake driven by a master cylinder actuated by a leadscrew with thread angle such that backdriving is impossible, driven by an electric motor, controlled via relays by an electronic control system, what is the power required to maintain braking pressure indefinitely? I'll give you a clue: the size of the system has no bearing on the power required.

    Anyway, I give up. When you're presented with a balanced argument you just deny it with your own ignorance or ignore the bits you can't answer/don't understand. You're as bad as the environmentalists that go round telling everyone wind turbines will provide all the power we need.
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    (Original post by twl)
    As December 2010 showed, the "intermittency" can last up to four weeks - historically, 3 months. In the meantime the coal, gas and nuclear power stations would have to take the strain. What, therefore, is the point of Wind Farms? When Wind Farms are needed, they are nowhere. Bonkers.

    Their one big effect is killing the poor who can no longer afford to heat their homes because the price of energy has gone up because the industry has to subsidise Wind Farms.
    Houses are mostly heated by natural gas so that's not so much an issue, but electricity prices with a pure wind grid would go up significantly.

    There is a good discussion here including a number of possible (technical) solutions: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/w.../page_32.shtml

    They are not costed, however, and building all that pumped storage or, worse, battery storage is going to increase electricity prices 4-5x or more. More likely is that the subsidy schemes will be cancelled when it gets too expensive, like happened in Spain, which is why I regard wind and solar as wasted money before we're forced to build nuclear in 5-10 years or so anyway.
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    OK, as you're such an expert, in a system consisting of a shaft fitted with a hydraulic disc brake driven by a master cylinder actuated by a leadscrew with thread angle such that backdriving is impossible, driven by an electric motor, controlled via relays by an electronic control system, what is the power required to maintain braking pressure indefinitely? I'll give you a clue: the size of the system has no bearing on the power required.
    Yay for brakes in individual Wind Turbines!

    Anyway, I give up. When you're presented with a balanced argument you just deny it with your own ignorance or ignore the bits you can't answer/don't understand. You're as bad as the environmentalists that go round telling everyone wind turbines will provide all the power we need.
    Your main criticism is that I'm not as smart as you, rather than Wind Farms aren't useless. One can in fact conclude from what you've written that Wind Farms are useless. You've set out a position very much like my own but more expertly done.

    - If you are leaving this thread, thanks for your contribution. What expertise you have been able to bring has been most appreciated.
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    (Original post by Hilux)
    Houses are mostly heated by natural gas so that's not so much an issue, but electricity prices with a pure wind grid would go up significantly.
    On a pure wind grid your electricity would come in fits and spurts. You'd need to get used to working intermittently. That doesn't make social or economic sense.

    There is a good discussion here including a number of possible (technical) solutions: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/w.../page_32.shtml

    They are not costed, however, and building all that pumped storage or, worse, battery storage is going to increase electricity prices 4-5x or more. More likely is that the subsidy schemes will be cancelled when it gets too expensive, like happened in Spain, which is why I regard wind and solar as wasted money before we're forced to build nuclear in 5-10 years or so anyway.
    We need to stop wasting time and money on Wind Farms and start building alternatives now. What do you think is going to replace the electricity from the coal fired power-stations that are due to close over the next five years? Not electricity from Wind Farms... they are useless. That is why this subject is actually rather important.
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    (Original post by twl)
    On a pure wind grid your electricity would come in fits and spurts. You'd need to get used to working intermittently. That doesn't make social or economic sense.

    We need to stop wasting time and money on Wind Farms and start building alternatives now. What do you think is going to replace the electricity from the coal fired power-stations that are due to close over the next five years? Not electricity from Wind Farms... they are useless. That is why this subject is actually rather important.
    You seem to be incredibly emotionally involved w/this issue. You'd be a lot more persuasive if you approached it objectively, since you are basically right, just come across as a bit nuts.
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    (Original post by Hilux)
    You seem to be incredibly emotionally involved w/this issue.
    What do you mean? I started the thread, I'm involved that way.

    I don't live near a Wind Turbine, Wind Farm or near land that is even suitable for it... I live in probably the most Wind-less area of the country.

    To the extent emotion is involved, I'm worrying about how the children of poor families are going to stay warm, how old people are going to afford to cook heated meals. That kind of thing.

    You'd be a lot more persuasive if you approached it objectively, since you are basically right, just come across as a bit nuts.
    It is unusual for a thread to have gone on for 9 pages without yet being derailed. That's not nuts, though, that's just textbook OP thread-management.
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    (Original post by Dumachi)
    Geothermal Plants seem the best free energy, weakness is they aint cheap to setup
    That and you need a volcanically active area....
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    (Original post by wheelyjoe)
    That and you need a volcanically active area....
    There are places in Britain that fit the bill, iirc my gcse geography. Just a matter of drilling deep enough, i think- and that may negate the energy gains from heating the water you send down....
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    (Original post by wheelyjoe)
    That and you need a volcanically active area....
    http://www.gizmag.com/raser-low-temp...-online/11612/
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    I eat my words!
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    http://www.gizmag.com/windstalk-concept/16647/
    http://www.gizmag.com/boeing-to-mass...r-cells/17028/

    Very interesting. Opinions?
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    (Original post by wn4)
    You say the price at £4 billion, its actually £2.8, ~40 nuclear power plants would be needed to provide more power than the entire potential production the UK currently has, that is £112 billion, to provide build enough turbines with an equivalent power output would cost £240 billion, and nuclear power is also cheaper to produce by about 15-20% than wind power so cost isn't really a valid point in this.
    £2.8 billion before the inevitable budget over-runs, and safety issues you mean. All experience of nuclear builds shows us that serious budget over-runs are an inevitability, especially with the lack of construction experience currently available. Certainly with the recent Olikuoto experience we can expect at least a 50% budget overrun, and that is certainly in-line with the last stations built in the UK.

    And, cost is only one factor and you compare the costs of two technologies at very different points in their life-cycle. It would also take the companies involved decades and decades to get through their order book to completely nuke the UK up. What do we do in the meanwhile?

    No-one suggested trying to build a full demand-meeting set of wind-farms as a solution to our problems (like your nuclear suggestion), in fact I specifically said that even wind levels to match our EU commitments would be far too much.

    And nuclear power stations are easier to screen than wind farms as having lots of nearby trees isn't an issue, as for off shore, they are even more expensive to build and the electricity produced costs even more once they are made.

    Screening off nuclear power plants with trees? Are you serious? Local people tend not to object to nuclear plant because they provide jobs, not because a few trees can hide their hulking mass.
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    (Original post by twl)
    You use the term "more expensive" very freely... like a rich person who doesn't need to count the pennies.



    You're trying to change the subject. This discussion is about Wind Farms; specifically how useless they are at generating electricity for the grid. I'm pro- investment in technology.




    Your position that Wind Farms aren't useless deserves to be mocked... for the sake of all the poor children who go cold this winter, and in future winters.




    Excuses, excuses. The fact is unless we get Goldilocks Weather, when the wind blows at just the right speed Wind Farms don't have a product.



    It was an observation that the phrase "feed-in tariffs" suggests the movement of £s from point A to point B; where point A is the purse of an old granny shivering in her living room next to ancient books she is burning for heat and point B is the pockets of rich landowners (among others whoprofit from the Wind Farm industry).




    This thread is not about energy prices. What I will say is this: Wind Farms raise the price of energy. That you are not denying.



    They hire smart graduate students don't they? They'll think of something.



    This thread is not about carbon neutrality. It is about whether Wind Farms are useless or not.



    Why? They don't produce electricity when the wind doesn't blow and they kill rare birds. Wind Farms are useless. Surely the Landowners, Bankers, Engineers and Industrialists have had enough money from us for this scam.



    I have got the impression you are sold on this and have all the statistics to support your case at your fingertips. Yet none of them explains how Wind Farms produce electricity when there is no wind.
    Your answers really just highlight how little you know about the actual issues in the UK and European generation markets tbh and also it's clear that as your other posts below you are prepared to cherry-pick data to actively make wind power look much worse than it actually is (i.e. creating a strawman).

    I don't see why you are so dismissive of arguments that point out that the regulatory framework, current investment and renewal scenario and decarbonisation are important considerations in the discussion of renewable energy usage.

    Luckily I have the benefit of working in the Energy Sector so I know that most of your arguments are over-exaggerations at best and also that there are no 'magic' bullets and also that sitting there and doing nothing isn't an option either.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    Your answers really just highlight how little you know about the actual issues in the UK and European generation markets tbh and also it's clear that as your other posts below you are prepared to cherry-pick data to actively make wind power look much worse than it actually is (i.e. creating a strawman).
    The wind doesn't always blow. That's not cherry-picking data. That's meteorological fact.

    I don't see why you are so dismissive of arguments that point out that the regulatory framework, current investment and renewal scenario and decarbonisation are important considerations in the discussion of renewable energy usage.
    It makes poor people poorer. Wind Farms are a scam. Remember I'm not talking about renewable energy, just Wind Farms.


    Luckily I have the benefit of working in the Energy Sector so I know that most of your arguments are over-exaggerations at best and also that there are no 'magic' bullets and also that sitting there and doing nothing isn't an option either.
    That says a lot about our "Energy Sector". With your depth of knowledge on this subject you will go a very long way to the very top.
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    (Original post by twl)
    The wind doesn't always blow. That's not cherry-picking data. That's meteorological fact.
    And that fact alone doesn't destroy the business case for wind power. The data you have shown here isn't representative over time, but just a snap-shot - that's cherry-picking and is the antithesis of proper evidence-based debating.


    It makes poor people poorer. Wind Farms are a scam. Remember I'm not talking about renewable energy, just Wind Farms.
    Then you really need to demonstrate this claim with a comparative example of a viable technology and how its through-life costs are past on to customers. That's a big piece of work. Moving towards cleaner energy whilst maintaining current energy usage will be expensive, regardless of the choice of source.


    That says a lot about our "Energy Sector". With your depth of knowledge on this subject you will go a very long way to the very top.
    To be honest, I've tried several times to point out the bigger picture and how important it is to judge the merits of wind in that context and you say you aren't interested and continue to pursue a narrow, single-issue argument (namely that wind farms take money from poor people). I don't really see how you can appraise wind farms without considering the political, economic, social and technological context that they are in.

    That's my final thoughts on the matter.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    And that fact alone doesn't destroy the business case for wind power.
    We're discussing Wind Farms, not wind power. I believe individual turbines could have a use. Wind Farms for the grid, mass consumption, is fundamentally useless because it is only as reliable as the wind.

    The data you have shown here isn't representative over time, but just a snap-shot - that's cherry-picking and is the antithesis of proper evidence-based debating.
    The wind doesn't always blow. You need evidence of this? Look out the window.


    To be honest, I've tried several times to point out the bigger picture and how important it is to judge the merits of wind in that context and you say you aren't interested and continue to pursue a narrow, single-issue argument (namely that wind farms take money from poor people). I don't really see how you can appraise wind farms without considering the political, economic, social and technological context that they are in.

    That's my final thoughts on the matter.
    Talking about "judging the merits of wind" a Californian court has just ruled that Wind Farms are useless.


    Court decision in italics

    "We reject the application because we find that the Manzana Wind Project is not cost-competitive and poses unacceptable risks to ratepayers. We find that the proposed cost of the Manzana Wind Project is significantly higher than other resources PG&E can procure to meet its RPS program goal. Moreover, it will subject the ratepayers to unacceptable risks due to potential cost increases resulting from project under-performance, less than forecasted project life, and any delays which might occur concerning transmission upgrades and commercial online date. As a proposed utility-owned generation project, ratepayers would pay a lump sum cost rather than a performance based cost for the Manzana Wind Project. Therefore, ratepayers would be at risk if the project underperforms. In particular, if the Manzana Wind Project fails to achieve production as expected for any reason such as construction delays or curtailments as a result of a collision with a California condor, shareholders face no risks while customers could incur increased costs. In contrast, under a power purchase agreement, project owners rather than ratepayers bear the risk of project performance....

    "In short, although the project would contribute to the California renewable generation goals, given the availability of other lower-priced renewable projects in the competitive market that could impose far less risks on ratepayers, PG&E has failed to demonstrate a need for this project."


    So you've got every problem with wind energy in one judgment: high costs, unreliability, underperformance, and bird-battering. This runs counter to what environoiacs and alternative energy schemers tell us on a daily basis. What's that matter -- can't California and the federal government find enough taxpayer dough to subsidize this boondoggle too, to make it "feasible?" A wind farm of this size should be the environmentalists' dream.
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    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...

    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. He remembers it as fields of wheat and corn.
    Yan Man Jia Hong is a dedicated Communist. At 74, he still believes in his revolutionary heroes, but he despises the young local officials and entrepreneurs who have let this happen.
    ‘Chairman Mao was a hero and saved us,’ he says. ‘But these people only care about money. They have destroyed our lives.’
    Vast fortunes are being amassed here in Inner Mongolia; the region has more than 90 per cent of the world’s legal reserves of rare earth metals, and specifically neodymium, the element needed to make the magnets in the most striking of green energy producers, wind turbines.
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    This is - was - a multi-million pound wind turbine proudly fighting for the "Earth" against the horror that is "Climate Change". That was before a 100mph + wind gust hit.

    This is not an unusual occurrence, and will get more frequent as more useless Wind Farms are built. In the last four years there have been over 400 wind turbine accidents.
 
 
 
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