It’s an ill wind.

WM01

This is a guest post by one of our regular commenters, Graeme No.3

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Electricity is available to many people at the touch of a button, so more people live in greater comfort and security than ever before in mankind’s time on earth.  Without electricity life is very basic, and then your life resembles that of a medieval peasant.  Despite this boon, people have started to yearn for ‘the simple life of the past’.

This nostalgia is played on by self-appointed “prophets”, some of whom may be sane, making various doomsday predictions and impossible demands.  Decarbonize the Earth! Renewable energy! Sustainable buildings! Local food supplies!  Many of these phrases are incapable of definition, yet the response is Pavlovian, although drooling is optional.

These self-appointed prophets claim that sunlight and the wind can generate “clean, green and sustainable” energy.  The methods that have worked to make electricity for over 100 years are unacceptable. Coal and oil-fired plants emit carbon dioxide, and while nuclear and hydroelectric don’t, they get ruled out because they’re too cheap and affordable.

The basis on which these dreams depend is wind power.  Used in Denmark, Spain, Germany and increasingly in the UK.  A number of claims are made about cheapness, reliability etc. designed to mislead the gullible and the unwary.

Wind power is claimed to be the cheapest method to build, usually with figures showing the same capacity of wind as a coal-fired power station is cheaper.  The trick is in the word, or as Humpty Dumpty put it, “it means whatever I want it to mean”.  A coal-fired power station can run at 100% capacity, as and when wanted, whereas wind turbines deliver only 20-25% of their claimed capacity on average.  So you need 4 or 5 thousand to ‘replace’ a conventional power station, yet you still won’t get that power when you want it.

Why is their output so low?  Firstly, they don’t operate all the time, as can easily be seen if there is a wind farm within view.  Turbines don’t work in soft winds, nor in high winds, when they are shut down, if not blown down. They only make a noticeable amount of electricity about 35% of the time.  To counter this, the advocates claim we just have to add more wind farms, because the wind will be blowing somewhere.  Study after study has refuted this, although none with the wind farms spaced more than 1500km. apart.  So assume the UK will have a smooth supply once it is connected to Mongolia.

Then there is the claim that wind doesn’t use fuel, so must be cheap.  This relies on people not knowing that coal is only 10-12% of the costs of a normal power station.  Elementary economics says that those turbines have to pay for themselves, and their very high maintenance costs, by the amount of electricity generated. If the cost to build a wind farm is 4 times that of similar output in a conventional plant, then free fuel makes little difference.  The real cost of wind power is 3-4 times that from coal, as can be seen by the rise in electricity prices as it is introduced.

Every so often some zealot rises to his hind feet and claims that wind is cheaper than coal or gas.  Does it mean that subsidies for wind are no longer needed? Apparently the zealot, like St. Augustine, would prefer the divine gift to be delayed.  Spain has discovered that when the subsidies are higher than the cost of diesel fuel, solar cells will generate electricity at midnight.   Another renewable miracle!

Consumers are starting to realize that the more wind farms, the more their power bill rises.  Denmark led the race to the highest prices in the world, and Germany, which used to have cheap electricity from coal, now has wind and equally expensive power.

Then there is the no CO2 emissions claim, but this too is a “Humpty Dumpty”. The problems of varying supply are all loaded onto the conventional generators.  When wind isn’t working (most of the time) conventional plants have to supply.  When wind is working some of them have to be shut down rapidly to avoid oversupply and blackouts.  The usual  way of responding to changes in the wind output is Open Cycle Gas Turbines which are fast enough to come ‘on line’ as the wind drops, and quick enough to stop when the wind blows, so maintaining a smooth supply.   They are cheap to build, expensive to run, and give off lots of CO2.   Since they cover for the 75% that wind farms don’t supply, their emissions should be, but aren’t counted as caused by wind.  If by some impossibility, the UK relied exclusively on wind farms and OCGT, there would be very little cut in CO2 emissions. 12,000 wind turbines haven’t enabled Germany to close one coal-fired power station, rather they are building more.

The Danish wind farms can only operate because they are connected to Norway, Sweden and Germany.  Surplus electricity can be exported and shortages covered with imports, like hydro, or nuclear from Sweden or coal-fired and nuclear from Germany, so claims that Denmark is “nuclear free” are nonsense.  The CO2 emissions from those imports aren’t counted, yet despite its large wind industry Denmark has one of the highest emission rates per head in Europe.   The Danes are facing difficulties; the increasing number of wind farms is straining the system, so at times some wind farm operators (with older turbines) have to pay to have their electricity used.  Newer turbines come with a shut down feature to prevent that destabilization happening.

The trouble with renewable sources is that they are variable and unpredictable.  You don’t know what they will deliver at some future time.  How much electricity will all the wind farms in the UK deliver on, say, January 12TH or February 5TH 2014?  Very little, if the last 5 years in the UK are any guide.  Anyway, wind farms can’t do without the grid; they must be connected at all times or they stop working.  The turbines need a small supply of electricity to act as a standard reference, and use electricity to rotate the nacelles into the wind.  In light conditions wind farms can actually use more electricity than they generate.

Renewables are an addition not a substitute.  To ensure continuous supply means that there has to be enough capacity in conventional generation to supply demand if the wind isn’t blowing.  So why build wind farms if all they do is push up the cost, and make the system unstable?  In the UK wind farm companies are paid for NOT making electricity, a measure of how much a sudden surplus of wind power can destabilize the system.

A little bit of wind power is bearable, if expensive. More, and the grid becomes unstable and blackouts occur ‘in the blink of an eye’.  Few consumers like their heater, TV, lights and computer not working for 3 days or so, yet some morons has come up with a “solution” for too much wind – deliberate blackouts using ‘smart meters’.  When that day comes, they should be connected to the terminals, wondering when the power will come back on.

That and the higher cost affects the less well-off; hundreds of thousands of germans have had their power cut off because they can’t afford it.  In the UK the grim statistic was 4,000 excess deaths in March among those who couldn’t afford to keep their home warm.  When General Pinochet was in charge in Chile the official death toll was 3,090.  Pinochet was excoriated by the Left.  Will there be the same outrage from the Left about these deaths?

Will the architects of this murderous policy,  Ed Millibrand or Chris Huhne, be called “many times worse than Pinochet”?  Both are wealthy and obviously care not for “the little people”.  Will there even be an official Inquiry?  Put in place by another millionaire M.P. like David Cameron?  The answer is blowing in the wind.

Those who are nostalgic for the past, should learn rather from Charles Mackay in 1841.

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

©Graeme No.3

Related articles by Pointman:

Green myths : We have to get back to a natural life.

The sun is setting on solar power, the money’s gone and nobody’s asking any questions.

Examples will have to be made : Germany.

Click for a list of other articles.

Comments
37 Responses to “It’s an ill wind.”
  1. Blackswan says:

    Graeme,

    Charles Mackay was certainly a perceptive observer of the human condition.

    Given all the facts about Renewable Energy that you’ve outlined here, it beggars belief that any person in possession of two working brain cells could remain an advocate for this Fraud. The only inference to be drawn is that everyone involved, from heads of government down, have knowingly participated in the deception and must be held accountable for the consequences.

    However, they’ll never hold anyone to account because it would only expose their own culpability.

    This week in Tasmania the MSM covered the opening of a new wind turbine outbreak at Musselroe Bay on the island’s northeast. The Green/Labor government was delighted to announce that 53 turbines were under construction in Stage 1 with several hundred to follow.

    The worst thing is that these contracts have no provision for the removal of the towers and rehabilitation of the farmland at the end of their 25 year life.

    http://toryaardvark.com/2011/11/17/14000-abandoned-wind-turbines-in-the-usa/

    It seems these wind crucifixes will stand as mute and rusting testimony to the madness of the human herds of the 21st century.

  2. Petrossa says:

    I don’t think they knowingly participate in a fraud, At least not the decision makers. Decision makers depend on their staff to feed them the information on which they base their decisions. Over the last 40 years the governments in Europe have been infiltrated by the erstwhile youth who was raised with the 1970 Rome study and Greenpeace zealotry.

    So they get only information which shows the upside and not the downside. So in their own minds they make a very good decision. Based on the biased information they get wind and solar is costfree energy for a onetime capital outlay and ‘creates’ 1000’s of jobs building the mess.

    Unfortunately the jobs get created in China, the installations aren’t cost free and the energy is not even 25% of projected rating.

    But that part disappears in some burocrat’s drawer, the decision maker for sure isn’t going to ask for information that would make his decisions look like crap so the merrygoround merrily turns.

    The only thing that can save our hides now is the economic crisis, money is scarce. Let’s hope the crisis lasts long enough to ride out the ill wind blowing from the brainwashed eco-generation.

    • Blackswan says:

      What a convenient argument against ‘decision makers’ being accountable for their decisions. Let’s blame their delusional/misinformed ‘advisers’. These people, either elected to political office or appointed to positions of authority in the disbursement of taxpayer funds are supposedly highly educated and qualified individuals.

      Bureaucrats hiding the facts in their top drawer is no excuse for a politician who should be making it his or her business to educate him/herself about issues across their portfolio of responsibility. Accurate information isn’t that hard to come by.

      The excuse doesn’t wash I’m afraid.

      • Petrossa says:

        You’d be amazed how little decision makers know about the subject. Without their vast apparatus of functionaries they’d be lost in space. Most decision makers aren’t in their position because they’re so expert at the matter, but because they have certain personality traits that make them float to the top in management. Hardly any government minister has a formal education in the subject they have to manage. Such art historians as ministers of technical departments.

  3. nzrobin says:

    Hello Mr Pointman, I am an electric power engineer. I’ve been so all my working life. I’m pretty old now, just completed 40 years service. I agree with all the sentiments in your article, so no problems there at all. Keep up the good work.

    I’d like to point out though, that nearly everybody involved in this debate do not seem to know anything like enough about how an electric grid works. Especially the young turks that think its just a matter of pumping in the kilowatts at one spot and expecting it to come out somewhere else. They seem to think it is all about kilowatts. They don’t know about the mathematically complex (and I mean that in terms of real and imaginary numbers) of electric grids. Every impedance, voltage and current is a complex number. We work in the Aargand plane with sets of rotating vectors. It is not just about kilowatts.

    Well, kilowatts are only part of the story. It’s an important part, but not the only thing required. In order for the network to be stable it has to be balanced in terms of reactive power too. Real power, ie kilowatts is VICosphi. Reactive power is kilovar, ie VISinphi. If reactive power is not balanced voltage stability cannot be achieved. Real power manages the frequency of the network. Reactive power manages the voltage of the network.

    The usual generators on the network, hydro, gas or coal thermal, nuclear, are all governor controlled for frequency droop, and excitation controlled for voltage. These units all run synchronously with the system frequency at a leading delta angle. The delta angle can be thought of as a spring connecting the the rotating magnetic field of the generator with the rotating magnetic field of the system. These machines are able to provide both sorts of energy, ie kW and kVAr, at the right instant for the network to operate. The delta angle is managed to ensure stability.

    Wind turbines are not synchronous machines. They cannot provide reactive power, in fact they absorb it, much like an induction motor. This is one reason why that can not operate in an islanded mode and need to be connected to a live grid. Several of the wind farms connected on the network I manage in New Zealand have had to have special arrangements made, like added automatic voltage regulators and reactive compensation to make up for these basic inabilities.

    Your comment about the grid becoming more and more unstable as these units are added is very true. But it is not just due to sudden coming and going of kilowatts. It is also due to these machines not being able to provide reactive energy, to contribute to system stability when perturbations occur, which is needed almost cycle by cycle.

    Hope the comments help. Hope the rambling is understandable.
    Very kind regards
    nzrobin.

    • Blackswan says:

      Thanks NZRobin. Far from “rambling” I found your explanations understandable and they do help – a lot.

      It begs the question – if the truth of Renewable Energy is such an accepted fact within the Industry, what possessed such experienced people to go along with the Fraud? I guess the answer is money, and lots of it.

      No excuses there. The Industry should have told the Greenies to shove off, go pat a polar bear. With people on limited incomes huddled in their unheated homes incapable of paying power bills, all the decision makers involved are responsible.

      And they cover-up and perpetuate the Fraud with all their misinformation about “gold-plated line maintenance” with never a mention of the subsidies being paid. Shameful.

      • nzrobin says:

        Thanks Blackswan,
        Some more rambles –
        I don’t know for sure what has come over the industry to allow this. But my interpretation goes something like this.

        Gradually, in the desire to become commercial and competitive, over the last decade or so the industry has changed from being engineer led, to accountant, lawyer, or economist led. Energy companies have far more of these other skills now, than experienced engineers.

        I think too, that being ‘environmentally conscious’ seems to hold some sort of fashionable intrinsic value. That if the company embraces these new forms of generation, then that is an inherently good thing. Or if we are modern, and get ‘the new vision’ with smart networks, we a keeping up and showing every one how good we are. I hate that jargon.

        But for me, probably the most experienced engineer in our company ( the second largest electricity distributor in New Zealand) I do find that as a lone voice, while trying to explain limitations and problems, one comes across as negative and critical. In these days of the ‘can do’ attitude, such querying and challenging comes with a personal cost. The smart ideas come from all over the place. Full of gaps and flaws; they just leave it to the engineers to fix up the problems. Which we obligingly do to the best of our ability.

        These days seem to be more about appearances and spin, than security and quality.

        In the words of Don McLean, ‘they did not listen, they did not know how, perhaps they’ll listen now’ – after the lights go out.

      • Graeme No.3 says:

        nzrobin:
        thank you for your expert comments. They go further and deeper than I would dare, but back up my point that wind turbines aren’t suitable for grid connection.

        Re phases: Germany is building large wind farms in the Baltic, based on new larger turbines (5-7MW). So far they are behind time and above budget, and already maintenance is proving a problem. Their isn’t sufficient transmission capacity for the generated power back to middle Germany, and the Germans proposed to route it through Poland and the Czech Rep. The Poles were so annoyed at the proposed disruption to their coal fired system, that they instituted a ‘phase change’ on their grid to stop it. No doubt you are aware of this.

        Re solar: being in South Australia which is the (mainland) state with the dumbest politicians, I installed a 2.9kV system, purely because the feed-in tariff was so absurd and the price rises likewise. Line voltage is supposedly 240 (5% variation). My unit outputs 249/250 V. Both my neighbours have larger PV units and 2 of the 3 the other side of the street have smaller systems. So far no problem, and ROI about 19%.
        But SA has 22% of capacity as wind and highest rate of solar PV. When would be a good time to buy a diesel generator?

      • nzrobin said:
        “The smart ideas come from all over the place. Full of gaps and flaws; they just leave it to the engineers to fix up the problems. Which we obligingly do to the best of our ability.”

        As an engineer, one is indeed often cursed by one’s competence.

        Arguments against those who refuse to do arithmetic are pointless. They trust only those who support their opinion; not necessarily those with demonstrated competence.

      • Graeme No.3 says:

        Bernd Felsche:
        I think most of us who’ve worked in industry have met this.

        Imagine (if you need) the result of applying vacuum to a 20,000L reactor, not designed to withstand vacuum.
        Said reactor being 4 stories up, and production needed at maximum rate (the vacuum idea was the “solution” to the last).

    • kakatoa says:

      NZRobin,

      Thanks for the summary of how (and I guess what) actually is used to keep my lights on, or more importantly for me my well operating. I am going to miss one measurement from my SMART meter. At the meter I can now see the variation in the voltage coming into my service panel. The voltage data is not tracked on the database available for my use at my service provider. We had our first rather warm day (upper 80’s) out here in Northern California recently and low and behold my incoming voltage jumped up from a 2 month historical average of 242 (at noon) to 247. More normal spring time temperatures have prevailed over the last couple of days and our incoming voltage has dropped back down 242 at noon. My poor little solar system inverter seemed to be a bit taxed on the high voltage day as it said it was having to send 250 volts out to move the wattage being generated by my PV system through my service panel to the grid. I can’t wait to see what happens (not) later this summer once my area hits the 100F temperature mark.

      • nzrobin says:

        Kakatoa,
        You have raised another very interesting related issue. Low voltage network voltage regulation. I am not sure what the legislated voltage range is where you are, but it sounds similar to NZ, which is 230 volts +/- 6%, ie about 216 to 244. The network has been planned to run with an unloaded voltage of around 240 volts, and fully loaded voltage 220 volts, or current carrying thermal limits depending on which one you strike first. Long lines get to volt limit first. Short lines get to thermal limit first.

        The voltage drop from 240 downwards is caused by the load current flowing through the impedances of wires and transformers. Now when it comes time to export it becomes necessary to increase the voltage at the point of injection, above the system voltage at the time, so that the current will flow into the system. It is very much like your water supply. If you wanted to pump water back into the your water supply you would have to do it at a pressure above your present mains pressure. Pressure being analogous to voltage. And flow of water equivalent to amps.

        A further difficulty will arise when your neighbours also have solar panels, which will export at the same time. If it is sunny for you, it will be sunny for them. Typically solar panel inverters have a maximum voltage cut out, so if the voltage gets to 250 volts the unit will shut down. If your neighbour has raised the voltage to maximum and you cannot export, who agrees the access right?

        However, there is a temporary fix. To reduce the voltage, use some more power locally by turning the air conditioning up to full power, which no doubt you’ll appreciate, especially if the temperature is 100F.

        Cheers
        nzrobin

      • kakatoa says:

        RZRobin:

        Thanks for the suggestion on how to mitigate, reduce, the incoming high voltage from my service provider- before it gets high enough to hit the cut off voltage for my PV system! We have had a time of use rate schedule for half a dozen years so it will take some changing of our behavior to turn on the Air Conditioner during peak times. At this time of year there is minimal economic benefit for us ($.114 kWh) for our exporting to the grid. During the high system wide load summer months at peak times our economic benefit does go up ($.32 kWh) for exporting to the grid. My wife currently refrains from running our electric dryer during peak times as it takes a lot of energy to operate, but if we need to load balance using the dryer is an option for us as well. It’s been almost 7 years since we have purposely tied to balance our use to our generation. Our net meter was programmed incorrectly for a few weeks by our service provider after we installed the PV system. Our peak time generation which was supposed turn the kWh metric on our meter backwards actually did the opposite until we had the meter reprogrammed. We had all our Air Conditions (n=3) on max cooling during our max generation. We had to set the thermostats at 65F, or so, to use up all the output of the PV system for part of the day.

        Interesting question on who has the option/right to export. The housing density in my area is rather low and the majority of my neighbors do not have self generation (only one other system is within a mile from our place). My area has lots and lots of very tall trees and most of the homes constructed over the last 30+/- years in my area took don’t have any roof area that gets much sun. Hence, I don’t think I will be completing with my neighbors to export. I can see where higher density housing tracks that have PV could lead to more then a few issues in regards to load balancing!! I am kind of glad I don’t live anywhere near Lancaster, CA as I can envision the scenario you brought up being more then likely: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2013/04/mandate-requires-solar-on-new-homes-could-expedite-nationwide-adoption

        We have so much utility scale PV coming on line (that someone has to pay for) in CA that requiring it of home developers without making sure the grid can deal with it seems a little nuts to me.

    • J Martin says:

      @nzrobin

      My mains voltage in the UK is meant to be 230V but is rarely below 246V and measured over the course of a week peaked at over 255V. They are legally allowed up to 253V. I have had some domestic equipment failures and am not making much progress in getting them to reduce the voltage. I read somewhere that it was in their financial interest to provide excess voltage as the meter would spin faster.

      • nzrobin says:

        Hi J Martin,
        I have done a little research and found the voltage range in the UK is 230 +10%, -6%, ie. 216.2 to 253. So going over 253 would be deemed unacceptable. Although 2 volts is not much to quibble over. Regarding the meter reading. The meter registers kilowatt-hours, which is the result the calculation if volts * amps * Cos (phi). Phi being the phase angle between the voltage and current. As such, a correctly calibrated meter will record the correct amount of power and energy.
        Some appliances, such as incandescent lamps which are effectively just a resistance will be affected by the increased voltage. If the voltage in increased by 5%, the current will also rise by 5%, giving a power use increase of just over 10%.

        Other resistive appliances with thermostatic control will likewise use more power too, but these devices being under the control of a thermostat will not necessarily use more energy, because the on/off duty cycle will reduce due to the increased power input, ie temperature rise time. Note the important difference between power and energy. Energy is Power * time.

        Then when it comes to induction motor loads the opposite will happen. These devices are constant power devices because the motor speed is tied to system frequency. As the voltage rises these devices will draw less current, reducing their internal losses. So your fridge and heat pump will actually become more efficient with the higher volts.

        Cheers
        nzrobin

      • Graeme No.3 says:

        This high voltage has been a problem in Australia.
        We have a 240V standard, not sure of range but does at times go over 250V.

        Many appliances made for a 230V standard, with a plus or minus 10V tolerance. The result in Australia of high voltage is loss of said appliance.

      • J Martin says:

        nzrobin

        Thank you for your unexpectedly detailed and enlightening answer. Today I have received a letter from the electricity company saying;

        “We have now completed our investigations and can advise that we plan to make some adjustments, including the possibility of network reinforcement (strengthening / upgrading) to improve the supply voltage.

        I can assure you that every effort will be made to rectify the problem as soon as practicable and will contact you when the work has been completed to assess the improvement to your electricity supply.

        In the meantime, I apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

        I shall be intrigued to see what they do and what result this produces, I would certainly like to see my mains voltage go down nearer to the 230V it is meant to be.

        Perhaps part of the problem is that the voltage in the UK was historically 240V and it was decided to lower it to agree with the European voltage, but perhaps its just not that simple to change all the electricity generating hardware and transformers to run 10 volts lower. Though they have had many years to do this now.

      • nzrobin says:

        Hi again J Martin,
        It will be interesting to hear what they do. Maybe you could let us know.

        It could be as simple as changing a tap position on the local distribution transformer, or as extensive as reconstructing a section of network.

        As you say, the change from 240 down to 230 was to align Europe and UK voltages. I expect the old voltage 240 would have had a plus 5%, minus 5% tolerance, which on the top end would be very close to 230 plus 10%. However, even though the so called nominal voltage changed many years ago, I doubt the distribution companies have made any physical change to the network at all.

  4. Alex says:

    The warmist boondoggle pushers claim that wind is free. The truth is that everything is free. The fish in the oceans are free but the fisherman does not give away his catch for free. So is coal. Coal is free as long as it is still in its place of origin, but the coal miner needs his wages and the mining company needs a profit. So coal comes at a cost. So is wind. Wind is free as long as it is still blowing freely, but once it is caught by the sails of a ship or the blades of a windmill, then the miller will ask for money and the wind turbine owner will want to cover his investment plus profit. That’s why wind-generated electricity is very costly.

    Great post b.t.w.

  5. Thanks for your article. I am using it in tweets to help counter the nokxl campaign: nokxl ill wind to poverty 4 Ugandans US poor http://wp.me/p1dBWz-5Tc cfact.org/2013/04/24/poo… … … … … youtu.be/rORiooCvMa @

  6. nzrobin says:

    Hi Graeme,
    Thanks. I had heard that Germany had built some massive offshore wind turbines, and that the transmission cables were proving a problem. And if they do ever get those machines running, the ongoing maintenance cost will be a major problem. Imagine being offshore, in high winds, hundreds of feet up. I sure as anything wouldn’t risk my life doing it.
    I had heard about the phase shifting transformers to control the flow of German excess out of Germany. Sounds like the Poles and Czechs have some good electrical engineers. Good on them! As I mentioned earlier, the flow of electricity is about vectors and phase angles. You don’t just poke some kWs in at one place and hope.
    When to buy a generator? Hmm.

    Hi again kakatoa,
    Your comment “the incoming high voltage from my service provider” implies that you think it is under his control. The incoming voltage is not completely under the control of your service provider. Your solar generator will work to increase the voltage too. As you said in your earlier comment “My poor little solar system inverter seemed to be a bit taxed on the high voltage day as it said it was having to send 250 volts out to move the wattage being generated by my PV system through my service panel to the grid.” The generator, in the process of trying to export would have been lifting the voltage too.
    Solar PV and feed in tariffs is nuts to me too.
    Cheers
    nzrobin

  7. hazze says:

    Whats da pic showing ? Is it real ?

    • Petrossa says:

      it’s real. It shows how windmills throw up a lot of watervapor in the sea.

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      hazze says:

      Yes, it is real. It shows the Danish Horns Rev 1 off shore wind farm, and the ‘wind shadow’ effect. The turbulence from the turbine blades is causing condensation.
      If you Google Horns Rev 1 as images, you will see several versions of this picture.

      If turbines are spaced too close the wind shadow effect reduces the output of the next turbine down wind. There are 8 by 10 rows in this array, obviously too close. There are calculations showing that removal of some rows would actually increase the total output. Unfortunately no link at this time.

      The distance between turbines is 560 m in both directions; think of a square plot of land of 31+ hectares (77.5 acres) with a 2MW turbine at each corner, as too small. Such an array should cover an area about 16 times bigger for best efficiency. This is one of the problems of wind power, it is a low energy density source, like sunlight. Yes it is ‘free’ but the cost of collecting that energy is high.

  8. mosomoso says:

    Great post. I’ve spent much time hiking across northern Spain. The scale of wind power is enormous, the turbines are spread out over huge areas, lines are even more visually intrusive than the actual towers. The land leasing arrangements are, for some reason, very expensive. People are not just paid enough to house wind-farms, they are paid exorbitant deal-breaking amounts. It’s a kind of super-welfare in some places.

    Wind in Spain has two things going for it: someone else paid or lent generously for it, and the material is new. What happens when the material has aged another ten years in wind, rain, snow, salt etc and it’s no longer possible to get money by some hustling in Brussels? What if there’s no EU?

    Bring back the adult, an endangered species if ever there was one!

  9. NoFixedAddress says:

    So called ‘renewable’ energy production is State endorsed theft.

  10. Pointman says:

    There’s what I suppose you could call a video blogger called Topher Field, some of whose stuff you may have seen. He’s articulate, funny and knows how to make his point. He’s looking for some crowd sourced finance to make another video. Details here –

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/02/help-launch-climate-skeptic-film-project-50-to-1/

    You can find a list his previous videos here –

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=TophersUnpopularView&oq=TophersUnpopularView&gs_l=youtube.12..0.12695.12695.0.26731.1.1.0.0.0.0.238.238.2-1.1.0…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube.3CI7QYtI4rE

    I’ve already contributed and would also call on fellow skeptics to contribute a modest donation.

    Thank you.

    Pointman

  11. Asmilwho says:

    ” 12,000 wind turbines haven’t enabled Germany to close one coal-fired power station, rather they are building more.”

    At the end of 2009, there were 21 164 wind turbines in Germany.

    http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/en/topics/wind-energy/general-information/?cHash=816f8cc23fe06c8f81ed0897140ba585

    and there are now approx. 23 000.

    It’s worse than you thought.

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      Thanks for the up-date. It still shows how useless wind turbines are, if you can (nearly) double the number and still not get a reliable supply.

      And I see that Germany is wanting to build even more coal fired power stations, but that may be more to do with economics and the shut down of most of their nuclear plants.

  12. Pointman says:

    “A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year. They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job. ”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/10122850/True-cost-of-Britains-wind-farm-industry-revealed.html

    Pointman

  13. There is no save distance for wind Turbines, NOT GREEN , NOT CHEAP , NOT RELIABLE , and come with a very BAD side EFFECT to People and the ENVIRONMENT. there is Nothing GREEN about TURBINES. SAY NO TO WIND TURBINES .

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