As far as Germany being able to produce renewable energy at a
competitive price, they already do it.
Much of it using equipment built by an in-house outfit by the name of
A) yes, B) not so much...it's pretty heavily subsidized.
They (Siemens) also have a facility in KS building for the US market
(also quite heavily subsidized).
Problem still is that wind doesn't blow 100% of time either here or in
Germany. Baseload is still an issue.
There's got to be _something_ generating baseload...as much as the wind
blows here in SW KS, the capacity factor of wind here is only about 40%
of installed capacity. Take that baseload away from the nukes where's
in coming from?
For the nearest of the large wind farms there's >80% correlation of
local wind speed to output over the 7 years' of operational data so far
so the limitation is real, not a decision to not operate.
Indeed, altho it's much more predictable/repeatable than wind. I'd
think the random component from storms, etc., would be a very small
fraction for them. OTOH, the averages are fairly consistent over the
long term w/ wind, but the short term random variations are quite large.
Like last couple of days--we had 18 hours of 30+ mph sustained wind w/
50-60 mph gusts until roughly 8 PM last night. Within an hour sustained
winds dropped to under 10 and stayed there until just within the last
hour or so today they've come back up to near 20 after being 15 or under
the last 24. Of course, of the previous 12 hours prior to the time that
they exceed 30 mph at roughly 1 PM, roughly 9 hrs were under 10 mph
while the minimum generation level is 9 mph. That's hardly a consistent
fuel source even if it is cheap. :)
Yet this area has one of the highest annual average wind speeds in an
accessible location that makes building large scale wind farms as
economical as they're going to get from the physical side (unlike places
like, say, Mt Washington, etc., that have incredible winds but are a)
very isolated areas and b) highly impractical to get the power from even
if had the turbine.
Do you have any links that might have convenient data to look at for the
tidal generation output? I know where US EIA data links are; not sure
what there is up north.
First thing a sailor learns is how to productively deal with winds
that vary widely.
"Reef early" is something the prudent sailor learns early, if he is
going to survive.
Same principle applies to windmills.
Design for 100% output from 10MPH-20MPH wind velocities.
From 20MPH and up, start feathering the blades.
Good grief, it's not the end of the world.
It is very old technology.
That would, indeed, be very old technology and would reduce the 40%
installed annual average capacity factor to something under 20% just
raising the cost/MWe _another_ factor of 2X (which is already 2X that of
conventional generation for us and 3X that of our nuclear)
I looked at the wind data for the nine years I had previously correlated
to the output of the Gray County wind farm. I have only daily averages
(24-hr sustained wind speed averages) and a maximum sustained daily wind
speed on hand; going to the finer resolution would require downloading
more data than I care to deal with on a dialup link.
If one were to feather so that no extra energy were extracted above 10
mph, 97% of the days over those 9 years you would be leaving something
on the table for at least a portion of those days.
At 20 mph, the ratio is lower, of course, but my guess of 2 probably
wasn't too terribly far off. The 9-yr average for that threshold is
right at 60%.
While they do feather the turbines (and shutdown speed is something
around 55 mph iirc, I've not been able to find a specific criterion
documented on whether that is sustained or measured gust or for what
length of time to require shut down nor what time/threshold releases the
rotor again), they are more sophisticated than to simply feather the
blades at constant power at some relatively low windspeed. That's
another aspect I've not seen the full details on that I'd like to know
more about but as previously noted, there's an almost perfect 1:1
correlation w/ wind speed and generated output over these nine years so
it's clear they extract more energy w/ more energy input (as one would
expect and again demonstrating that the low average output isn't one of
simply not operating at capacity as then the output would be essentially
independent of the wind speed).
It's unfortunate that there isn't a way to generate the maximum or a
desired setpoint and have the output match that like a conventional
generation device; that then would be the cat's meow, I'd agree. But w/
the fickle fuel source it requires a redundant generation source (or
sources if those are also not highly reliable) and the fixed capital
expense of those facilities means the real cost of the "free" fuel is
actually quite high. And, of course, since all of these other sources
are low density fuels, the capital cost for them per MWe is also pretty
Engineering details that are being resolved.
Nobody said it was going to be easy, but we're are gaining on it.
Afterall, it took almost 10 years to get to the moon.
If you look at the cost of ownership equation, wind power has a very
front end cost, but after that operating costs drops drastically.
As every sailor knows, the wind is free, but putting it to use gets
There aren't enough locations with reliable wind sources to make wind
power a viable option for ore than a small fraction of existing energy
isn't a major consideration, solar heat is more viable. The sun shines
everywhere. Build a massive solar heat powered steam turbine generator.
Give it enough excess capacity to convert water to hydrogen during the
day. Store the hydrogen and burn it when the sun isn't shining. Repeat
But what are the consequences of interrupting surface wind flow? Will it
affect the weather? Crop pollination? A dog's sense of direction?
It's said that in some parts of Texas, one can't have more than one windmill
per acre or all the wind will get used up!
I'd guess that is minimal. Possibly the biggest drawback is hitting and
killing flying creatures.
Given the size of the propeller, I would suggest the same, if indeed an
acre is ~208 feet squared. Since the biggest rotors have a diameter of 400
feet, more than 4 acres seems better
Engineering can't change that the basic fuel energy density is extremely
low and variable.
And where did that get us? (On the same vein as the sidebar about W,
GE, etc., ...)
Well, but it doesn't. It still has the reliability problem that
requires the conventional generation facilities be maintained and
operational to make up for the shortfall when it isn't up to the task.
That makes the cost the cost of the wind investment _plus_ the other
standby investment cost anyway. It can _never_ be even equal.
Again, if it weren't for the alternative sources req'd to be around
because it isn't reliable, that would be basically true.
In reality, it is nuclear that is expensive initial capital cost but for
which fuel costs are near minimal over time--which is what makes our REC
shared ownership of a fraction of Wolf Creek Nuclear by far the cheapest
power we have.
OK, I found the annual meeting minutes program I was looking for--we're
in process of trying to build a new coal-fired plant in W KS for future
demand for us and secondarily as an exporter to CO in return for the
revenue the extra power will bring to the local economies.
In there the current estimated construction costs are--
Coal $2500-$2600 /MWe
Nuke $5000-$5200 /MWe
Wind $2400-$2500 /MWe (including tax credits)
The kicker is that w/ wind we can only expect roughly 40% of that
installed capacity to be available (on annual capacity of 112 MWe
installed observed over nine years of actual production) so the actual
average installed cost is roughly 2.5X the above or $6000 /MWe-ongrid.
So, when one factors that into the overall operating cost of the
facility to satisfy a given load demand, the cost for wind is well above
any of the alternatives and this doesn't account for the capital cost
needed to ensure reliable backup from conventional or imported purchased
from an alternate-source to ensure the necessary reliability.
One has to consider what it actually requires to run a utility grid in
toto and simply the fact that one has X number of installed wind
generators of Y MWe rated capacity really has surprisingly little to do
with the Z number of MWe one can count on putting onto the grid at any
given instant. And, the bottom line is that one has to be able to do
the last 24/7 come wind or no.
BTW, just for comparison--for the time period the overall average
capacity factor for Wolf Creek Nuclear Station was 87.1% w/ a peak
annual capacity of 95.8% in '07; the _lowest_ being 81.5% in '05 owing
to an extra week (roughly) longer outage duration costing roughly 2% on
Can we zoom back and look at the big picture, rather than get buried
under copious amounts of detail?
When I played waterpolo, varsity level, we had a play called "******'s
Washup". I would make so much froth, that the refs could not see that
I was elbowing some poor opponent in the chops.
In politics it's called obfuscation.
Everybody is so busy looking at some tracks, going: Mmm doesn't look
like bear tracks, mmm doesn't look like moose tracks.... could it be
deer tracks??? then the train hits them.
YES, YES, YES, we KNOW about all the fog, we KNOW about the insane
amounts of details.
WHERE is the solution?
Too many engineers vying for perpetual employment by clouding issues
with bullshit details. I know. I was one.
Instead of pummeling each other with lofty 'educated' crap, why not
stop this bullshit train and look at what makes sense?
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