The reasons why windmills wont work...

Up till recently I was of the opinion that thiugh i didn;t lIKE windmills, like foregoing a 6 liter V8, or taking frequent holidays in te south sea, it was probably part of the price one had to pay for the Greater Good..until certain people started shoving windmills down our throats and procalaimming them as the One True Solution to carbon free energy.
So as you know, along with all the other greenwash, I decided to take a look. The initial thrust was to simply see what energy policy was feasible for a carbon neutral UK.
The answer was ultimately that as far as I could see, there was only one practical option. Nuclear power and electric transport.
However the windmillers started to scream and create and say that windpower could in fact do the job.
And for very sceptical report there are ten glowing 'windpower is the answerer' articles on the net..so I looked deeper.
The more I looked the more deeply sceptical I became.
The negative issues surrounding wind power were simply not addressed by its proponents.
This article contains a good summary
http://www.turbineaction.co.uk/wind-turbine-facts.htm
essentially blowing the gaff on the hidden costs associated with large scale introduction of wind power.
Not to mention the rank subsidies
"According to Ofgem, the Labour government's wind subsidies currently stand at 485 million a year."
"Wind farms get around three times as much in subsidy - a mixture of selling ROCS [renewable obligation certificates] and a share of fines paid by non-renewable plants - as they do from selling electricity"
A rather more scholarly and dry critique is here:-
http://www.oxfordenergy.org/pdfs/comment_0605.pdf
and as far back as 20004
http://www.windaction.org/documents/225
A totally unexpected downside comes from here:-
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3300814.ece
You may THINK that its unlikely the Iranians or the Russians would come in low across the North sea, or up the thames estuary.. but a hijacked airliner? no problem.
It seems that pretty competent people are starting to cry out against this monumental waste of taxpayers money
http://www.glassclash.info/pdfs/Telegraph050326.pdf
But leaving that aside, and leaving the fact that the power actually generated by windmills is estimated to be (at the point of generation) somewhere between 20% and 400% of the cost by any other means (including carbon free nuclear) the real downsides only become apparent at high levels of wind farm generation..typically more than 20% of total capacity.
This is because windfarms don't operate at full capacity. Indeed at windspeeds below 9mph, they don't operate at all, nor can they be used at over 55mph. They disintegrate if not shut down.
So although the AVERAGE load capacity - the AVERAGE output with respect to the peak is somewhere around 35%, for a significant proportion of the time any given windfarm is not producing anything at all. Possibly up to 15% of the time.
The windfarm proponents will counter this by saying that that is fine, because when its flat calm in Feltham, its a gale in Galashiels..
And skip the most fundamental points: that a gale in Galashiels is all very well, but the power needs to get down to Feltham. This means some pretty hefty upgrades to the Grid..at somebody else's costs. Because the grid is required to take their energy, whether they want it or not.
As wind power gets an even higher proportion of the total it gets even worse. Even if on a calm cold winter's - or a blazingly hot summer's - day some power IS being produced somewhere, and even if its coming down a massive supergrid from Orkney..it still wont be enough..unless the total generating capacity is so over specified that in order to cover the shortfalls of calm weather, it has to be overspecified by a factor of many times. Probably around 6:1. So instead of your windfarm load factor being a nice 35%, in reality it has to be operated much lower than that - say 16% or so, OR you have to back it up with conventional gas turbines, run at disadvantageous cycling, and efficiencies.
So not only does the wind power suddenly double in actual costs, since as it reaches a high proportion of grid capacity it has to be operated at a lower factor, it also needs far more infrastructure to transport the energy from where the wind blows (typically scotland) to where its needed (typically the south east). OR it has to be backed up with a huge amount of conventional and fast cycling capacity, which probably menas that in the end the carbon gains are negligible: Certainly this seems to be the Danish and German experiences.
I can only conclude that, like so much else in the climate change lobby, the whole thing is driven by politics. Nuclear energy is never considered 'renewable' and huge subsidies are given to 'renewable' to meet self imposed targets..and the only 'renewable' source that is remotely feasible is wind, so we have wind.
The fact that at a national level it probably does nothing for fossil fuel consumption at all, looks ugly, is bloody expensive, and reduces the value of local houses to nil,. is never mentioned..
We seem to be, essentially, paying taxes - or higher electricity bills - in order to meet paper targets that don't and wont affect CO2 production at all!
Sigh. Just like every other climate change initiative the governments of Europe have come up with in fact.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Nuclear power rules - that is the only logical and reliable option for electricity.
*NOW* what have I said?
BRG
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You may be right for the short term. Unlike TNT I think there may be some credibility in the notion that if nuclear power generation is widespread the supplies of Uranium may run out pretty quickly.

Your head is now on the block. Be on the lookout for marauding greenies looking for someone to sacrifice at feet of Arch Druid Porritt before the altar of the SD-Commission.
--
Roger Chapman

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

What I would like to know is why is there no push for nuclear fusion reactors. Because I may be wrong, and I often am, but I believe that fusion does not produce radioactive isotopes but fusion was put to one side as a source of electricity back in the 1950s because the technology for fission looked easier to achieve in the short term. And so far as I can see it has never been taken up since
Because there are problems with fission - supplies of uranium are limited and controlled by a small number of countries and there is the problem of containing the waste products whereas hydrogen for fusion is readily available
The other option which AFAICS has not been exploited much is water power. OK it has been exploited a bit with hydroelectric but tidal / wave power doesnt seem to be used much at all and I would have thought that a good source of energy
Hm and being a devils advocate, there was lots of government money put into nuclear when it was new tech so I think its only fair that lots of government money should be put into wind power too
Anna
--

~ ~ Anna Kettle, Suffolk, England
|""""| ~ Lime plaster repair and conservation
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 06/03/2008 23:24, Anna Kettle wrote:

There *is*, it just hasn't got to the point where you get more out than you need to put in to get/keep the reaction going, and can't be kept going for a particularly long time.

Essentially you're not wrong, there is no radioactive product, but the equipment itself does get irradiated so will need a lesser form of de-commisioning.
Search for TOKAMAK and/or JET
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Anna Kettle wrote:

It has not had much profile since, however work has been going on with JET and other similar projects. There are now moves afoot to try and build a big enough experimental reactor (ITER) for the first time to see if it can be made to produce power on a commercial scale.
Some details here:
http://www.iter.org / http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2244574,00.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER

Much depends on the environmental disruption you are prepared to tolerate... but it does superficially seem preferable to wind power in many cases.

"Wind" and "government" seem to go hand in hand!
--
Cheers,

John.

/=================================================================\
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 6 Mar 2008 21:57:22 GMT

I was under the distinct impression (from physics in the 1970's so it might be out of date) that some nuclear reactors could generate fuel. They were called Fast Breeder Reactors, IIRC.
R.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
TheOldFellow wrote:

There's plenty of radioactive material. And you can as you say make more.
Its really a question of cost, thats all.
You can pull uranium out of seawater, if you process enough of it.
Hardly economic at todays prices..
BUT its like desalination ..if te price is right, its viable.
Thats a thought..use off peak nuclear power and waste CO2 and heat to desalinate and carbonate sea water, and then bottle it as..'Atomic Fizz'.
should sell like hotcakes.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Surely your anti-green stance is predicated ENTIRELY on price, since no-one in their right mind could argue, absent considerations of cost, that nuclear power was preferable to renewable energy. In other words, ignoring considerations of cost, tidal/wind/solar etc. would be better in all possible respects than nuclear. Plus you can't make WMD out of the by-products of tidal energy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Eh?
Nuclear: It produces power all the time at a predictable and controllable level. And it produces a lot of power in not a lot of space.
Renewable: Power as and when it's windy or sunny, and a lot of space for a little power.
ISTR reading that the fly ash from coal power stations is about as radioactive as nuclear waste, but nobody worrys about that much becase it's not come out of an evil nuclear power station.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 7 Mar 2008 11:36:38 -0000 someone who may be "Doki"

Using a search engine will reveal any number of stories which show that this claim is incorrect.

I am most interested in what is able to predict the level of output in a nuclear station, when they have a history of sudden failures. Like any other bit of equipment they can suddenly fail for a host of reasons. The unpredictability of nuclear stations is the main reason why the pumped storage schemes were built, at considerable cost. However, the pumped storage schemes are one of the few good things to come out of the nuclear electricity programme. Their flexibility is vital in dealing with sudden failures, for example when the coal conveyor fell down at Longannet (the second largest coal fired power station in the UK and perhaps Europe).

They can be controlled in a fashion, though if one of many things have gone wrong it is not possible to make them generate electricity by willpower alone.
One of the main problems with nuclear stations is that their output cannot be varied rapidly, which is the main reason they cannot be used to backup other forms of generation. They can be operated at reduced output after some faffing about, of which Hunterston B is an example <http://www.british-energy.com/pagetemplate.php?pid >. This means they are not as controllable as say a coal fired power station.
There are claims that newer designs of reactor are more controllable. This has yet to be proved, but I'll take them at face value for the moment.

They do indeed. That means that if something goes wrong, with the plant itself or the connections to it, then there is a big hole in the supply. That is in marked contrast to wind generated electricity, where the failure of single items will leave afar smaller hole in the supply.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I see some MP has yet again proposed double summertime for England, one of the supposed benefits being to align us with Europe. I wonder if he's really thought through what will happen if our morning rush hours are aligned.
MBQ
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Man at B&Q wrote:

Frankly, 'MP' and 'thinking things through' have never, to my mind, belonged in the same sentence without some interpolated negative.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

What do you mean? What is the problem with the rush hour in France happening at the same time as the rush hour in England? I'm all in favour of BST*2. And if the Scots dont like it then they can du different. Thats what devolution is for
Anna
--

~ ~ Anna Kettle, Suffolk, England
|""""| ~ Lime plaster repair and conservation
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8 Mar, snipped-for-privacy@home.co.uk (Anna Kettle) wrote:

Having lived through the fiasco of British Standard Time I'd like to see GMT as standard throughout the UK. I live in the UK but not Scotland. I didn't like the mornings being dark until after 9, and nearly came a cropper as a result.
--
B Thumbs
Change lycos to yahoo to reply
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I really can't see any point in BST or whatever. Why not just stick to GMT and alter the time you do things like going to/returning from school/work/etc? There's nothing set in stone that schools, for example, have to start at 900am (or 840am in our case!).
--
Frank Erskine

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
had this to say:>

Indeed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Me too. In fact our clock (the only one we use in this house) is never changed.
Mary
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 08 Mar 2008 23:18:54 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

I didn't like either and I woz only a nipper at Junior school. We were all issued with "free" orange jackets so we could safely walk to school.
--
Cheers
Dave.




Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 07 Mar 2008 16:24:02 +0000, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

It was also built as a "black start" facilty, man with big handle and a torch... (well not quite but you get the picture...)

Or simply asking for another 100MW from each of stations remaining, you don't run a station right at 100% you have a bit of spare capacity, "just in case"...
--
Cheers
Dave.




Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.