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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  02:19:09  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
I put this in politics because the future of this type of technology is surely in the hands of our politicians....

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7955412/

I knew there was great potential in wind power, but the following made me sit back in my chair and raise my eyebrow in a Spock-like expression of suprise.

quote:
In putting together a global and U.S. map, researchers found that wind power could provide 40 times more electricity than is needed worldwide.



(emphasis added)

Going to have to see if I can find the May issue of The Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. It should prove an enlightening read.

If wind can provide so much, then what (beyond political favor) would leave us using massively polluting sources like coal for anything except emergencies?

I hade been under the impression that wind power generation would not be capable of meeting the demand, and that it would be very cost prohibitive to try and make the changeover from fossil fuels.

But if wind could provide such a surplus, then how could it not be cost effective to exploit it? Obviously our demand for energy will only increase, and the supply will be forced to keep pace.

What we choose to use for that supply is, unfortunately I think, going to be decided by inept politicians who have some third party's interest in mind over the public good. Or I could jst be overly cynical....

It seems obvious to me that we should begin tapping this resource immediately, on a large scale. I'd wager that this won't get more than cursory media attention however, and zero political attention.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth

BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  05:21:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
Well there are some concerns as many wind farms kill birds by the thousands and they dont discriminate. But the primary concern is constant wind, wind is not a totally reliable source and with the warming problem places that were once windy enough to generate may become less so...

[BPS checks on his oil futures}

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  05:38:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by BigPapaSmurf

But the primary concern is constant wind, wind is not a totally reliable source
That is why wind energy needs to be complemented with other more controllable sources. Wind will never be the sole source of energy, but it might be a valuable part of it.
quote:
and with the warming problem places that were once windy enough to generate may become less so...
Higher temperatures should generally mean more wind (more energy), but maybe not in all places.
Edited by - Starman on 08/16/2005 05:55:35
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  06:14:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
I had heard that wind farms change the airflow to the point of having an affect on the weather...anyone know about this?

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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woolytoad
Skeptic Friend

313 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  06:20:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send woolytoad a Private Message
I wonder how much land must be covered with wind mills to produce that 40 times more electricity.
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Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  07:21:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
Yea, I wonder what that figure comes from.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  10:53:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
This page claims an average of 17 acres per megawatt. Who wants to do the math?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  11:55:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
Well there are some concerns as many wind farms kill birds by the thousands and they dont discriminate. But the primary concern is constant wind, wind is not a totally reliable source and with the warming problem places that were once windy enough to generate may become less so...



But if the potential for 40 times the needed power of the world is out there, from wind alone, then how much of a decrease in fossil fuels could we achiave by using whan we can? I understand that wind power depends on, well, the wind, and that it isn't a totally constant supply. But in combination with other non fossil fuel sources, we could probably eliminate coal use entirely instead of having some jackass trying to sell us a bill-of-goods (CleanCoal<tm>).

And there are ways to keep birds clear. Just consult any large airport near any large body of water.

quote:
average of 17 acres per megawatt. Who wants to do the math?


Adds up to alot of acres, yes. But is there any question that the technology would improve if the incentive was there? Same for the efficiency of solar voltaic cells.

It just aggravates me that we should be able to easily free ourselves from the burning of fossil fuels for power, without sacrificing any of the convenience and power we now have, but the effort is blocked and/or ignored by politicians.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  12:08:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
Thats 83 square kilometers of wind farm to send one Delorian through time.

As for the world x40, in 1993 I got some number (not sure if accurate)of 1.888.888 MW used * 40 * 17 = (roughly) 5.200.000 square kilometers. By today Im sure thats closer to 7 million, about the size of Australia.

However wind farms cant be put just anywhere, under 20KPH and they are useless I thinks.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Fripp
SFN Regular

USA
727 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  12:52:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Fripp a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dude


But if the potential for 40 times the needed power of the world is out there, from wind alone, then how much of a decrease in fossil fuels could we achiave by using whan we can? I understand that wind power depends on, well, the wind, and that it isn't a totally constant supply. But in combination with other non fossil fuel sources.

quote:
average of 17 acres per megawatt. Who wants to do the math?


Adds up to alot of acres, yes. But is there any question that the technology would improve if the incentive was there? Same for the efficiency of solar voltaic cells.




This reminds of a figure that I read from Martin Lewis's "Green Delusions". He quoted that putting solar panels over .7 percent (seven tenths of one percent) of Arizona's deserts would also provide enough power for the U.S. but the radical environmentalists were against that (solar panels covering any of the desert). Lewis's book is an excellent dissection of radical, back-to-primitivism environmentalism by an environmentalist.

I will look up the figure tonight and verify it.

"What the hell is an Aluminum Falcon?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought my Dark Lord of the Sith could protect a small thermal exhaust port that's only 2-meters wide! That thing wasn't even fully paid off yet! You have any idea what this is going to do to my credit?!?!"

"What? Oh, oh, 'just rebuild it'? Oh, real [bleep]ing original. And who's gonna give me a loan, jackhole? You? You got an ATM on that torso LiteBrite?"
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Dry_vby
Skeptic Friend

Australia
249 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  15:41:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dry_vby a Private Message
Wind harnessing technology, and the instillation of wind harnessing technology is a political football down my way.

No one wants to have them put on their properties.

The government is buying up farms, from those willing to sell, where the wind turbines are being intalled, and calling them "Wind farms".

Traditional farmers are refusing to sell up, and see it as an attack on their way of life.

It has taken on a "Not in my back yard....." feel, similar to the Nuclear waste issue.

Other than that, I haven't heard an argument against wind farms.

The bird thing is never mentioned because it is the conservationists that are pushing for acceptance.

The argument pretty much divides down the red neck/ tree hugger line.

"I'll go along with the charade
Until I can think my way out.
I know it was all a big joke
Whatever it was about."

Bob Dylan
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  15:44:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dry_vby
Traditional farmers are refusing to sell up, and see it as an attack on their way of life.

It has taken on a "Not in my back yard....." feel, similar to the Nuclear waste issue.
Really? That's surprising. Most of the articles I've read said that farmers love the extra income the windmills produce. And since they can still plant all around them, it doesn't affect their crop yields.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 08/16/2005 15:45:06
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Dry_vby
Skeptic Friend

Australia
249 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  16:58:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dry_vby a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by H. Humbert

quote:
Originally posted by Dry_vby
Traditional farmers are refusing to sell up, and see it as an attack on their way of life.

It has taken on a "Not in my back yard....." feel, similar to the Nuclear waste issue.
Really? That's surprising. Most of the articles I've read said that farmers love the extra income the windmills produce. And since they can still plant all around them, it doesn't affect their crop yields.





Oh, you know, the traditional objections.

Unsightly.

Noisy.

Construction concerns.

I saw a report on Telly, where this farmer was saying that he was the only one in his area to agree to install the turbines, and he was copping heaps from his neighbors.

It seemed to me like they were holding out for more, and he decided to settle.

"I'll go along with the charade
Until I can think my way out.
I know it was all a big joke
Whatever it was about."

Bob Dylan
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Randy
SFN Regular

USA
1990 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  17:14:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Randy a Private Message




Here's a couple of photos of the first wind farm going up near my hometown of Abilene, Texas a few years ago. These beomouths are rated at 1.5 megawatts each and stand near 328 feet tall. The property they're constructed on is leased.
When all are complete, they'll be nearly 1,000 across a three county area.

Here's the site for the first wind farm in the area....
http://www.trentmesa.com/default.htm

p.s. when you leave the room, turn the damn lights out!

"We are all connected; to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically."

"So you're made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?"
-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  17:26:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by pleco

I had heard that wind farms change the airflow to the point of having an affect on the weather...anyone know about this?

Hardly much more than say... A Redwood forest.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2005 :  18:34:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message
I think wind power should definitely be a part of the electric generation mix, but no single fuel / source should be relied upon exclusively (remember that saying about eggs and baskets). While wind has some good points, such as being "free", and no emissions, it has it's downsides:

As already mentioned, there are ecological costs, mostly to bird populations.

Wind takes a lot of room for the amount of energy produced. US electricity consumption was 3.66 trillion kwh in 2002. Assuming a 1.5 MW wind turbine with a (very optimistic) 50% capacity factor, you would need more that 557,000 wind turbines to supply the US needs. If Dave's figure of 17 acres/MW installed generation is correct, then you need over 14,000,000 acres for those wind turbines.

If you live near a wind farm, you may be unfortunate enough to encounter the stroboscopic effects of the sun rising or setting behind a 100 foot long rotor blade.

Wind is not dispatchable. It takes an enormous amount of energy to support the US electric grid. That electricity must be produced when it is demanded, as we have no economical means of storing large amounts of electric power (there are some pumped storage and compressed air salt dome sites, but there total contribution is very small). Generation and consumption must be balanced fairly closely in order to keep the grid stable. When the grid is unstable due to insufficient generation, then transmission lines and generators can trip off line to protect themselves from damage, and you wind up with a blackout. Part of the protection against such an event is known as "spinning reserve", that is generation that can almost instantly be brought on line to support the grid. Wind does not have the ability to support the grid in such a fashion.

The places where wind power is feasible are for the most part far from large population centers. That means transmission lines must be built. This increases costs, and nobody likes the damn things anywhere near them, so they are hard to get built.

There's no free lunch. Every form of power production has its pros and cons. Relying on any one source exposes us to too much risk, so we need to use all available technologies in the right mix. Wind and solar have the potential to reduce our use of fossil fuels, but I think it is unrealistic to think that wind and solar alone can replace fossil fuels in the foreseeable future.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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