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Windmill Generators

Tony Conner
Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
Check out this link to see what the "Danish Society Of Windmill Neighbours" has to say.

http://www.naboertilvindmoller.dk/index_uk.html
«1

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,837
    But

    they don't cause acid rain, or make you glow.

    And think about this- if we Americans didn't waste so much energy, would we have to think so much about where to find new energy sources?

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  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,425
    Don't you just hate it

    when that happens?
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,425
    Don't you just hate it

    when that happens?
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,425
    Don't you just hate it

    when that happens?
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,425
    Don't you just hate it

    when that happens?
    Retired and loving it.
  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
    Far And Away, The Main...

    ...thing generated by windmills, is government subsidy money for whoever builds them, and/or owns them.
  • I'd hate to be the guy

    that's in that outhouse.....
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,837
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  • Fred Harwood
    Fred Harwood Member Posts: 261
    windmills

    Get a copy of The Solar Fraud:  Why Solar Energy Won't Run the World, by Howard Hayden. It includes wind machines.
  • doug_10
    doug_10 Member Posts: 102
    Fraud, Subsidies and Renewable Power

    Gentlemen,

    And now for a differing opinion (Steamhead excluded)...

    I haven't read this book, but would be interested in doing so. I could show lots of books/articles to show the other side of the story as well, and I'm sure there's several Wallies out there (HR, ME and Duncan come to mind) who could outdo me by miles on this...

    If you would like to discuss "subsidies" how about the cost of our military presence in the Middle East for the last fifty years? Do you honestly believe if there wasn't so much oil over there we would care? Add that to the cost per barrel of oil in all of the imports we bring in, and it will be more realistic...and don't forget the unreachable pricetag of our casualties. While we are at it, how about a percentage of the money we are currently spending (lives included) in Iraq...

    If you would like to discuss fraud, how about the meetings our top leaders had behind closed doors with certain companies who gave millions to campaigns to decide our energy policy three years ago? How about the fact that we use less than 1% of the possible solar energy available to us...while we can never achieve higher than 20% or so, it IS the future energy source of choice.

    Natural gas, anyone? You poor folks with this fuel are already getting set-up for a huge increase in cost this fall...this could be described as fraud IMHO.

    Just imagine if we started and stayed down the "clean" path twenty five years ago...and remember that air bags and anti-lock braking were around in the 70's but the big three thought they would be too costly and consumers didn't need them. How many cars DON'T have these two items out of the factory today?

    Renewable power should be slowly but surely increased in use...sorry to get a bit political with all of this, but our great grand-children are the ones who will benefit.

    Oil and gas drive our economy and are needed, but conservation and the slow and steady push to renenwables should not be ignored IMHO. With 20/20 hindsight, too bad we didn't take some of that extra money from the nineties and put it into this technology...

    While wind power (like anything else) has it's problems, it does 12% of the power grid in that country...not too shabby. Imagine if our country did that... would be more than twelve times the <1% we do now for renewables.

    By the way...I'm a military veteran and son of a career officer, and use oil conservatively to hydronically heat my home (with passive solar) and hot water with an eye towards solar supplementation. I have three kids, which keeps me looking into the future and how I can make it better. I follow Dan's advice and hug them at least once every day, and hope I can live long enough to see my grandchildren using 100% renewable energy.

    Food for thought...sorry for the rant, I feel better now :-)

    Thanks for your time. Take Care, PJO
  • Einsiedler
    Einsiedler Member Posts: 61
    a sound

    If a windmill falls over and there is no one there to hear it... did it make a sound??

    EIN
  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
    But The...

    ...Danes have no legacy of cheap energy and middle-east entanglements. If this technology can't fly in Europe, with it's relatively very high energy costs, without big government handouts, then...

    I'm well aware that pretty much every group has it's axe to grind, and will spin all of the info it can get hold of to match it's particular position. Big business does it, the green-types do it, governments do it. It certainly appears that in spite of the statistics (remembering, of course, what Mark Twain said about statistics) that Denmark generates a significant amount of it's power by wind, not nearly every Dane thinks that it's a good thing.

    And if natural gas goes up, #2 oil will be dragged along, right behind it.

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,425
    I've been all over Denmark

    and the windmills are absolutely everywhere.
    Retired and loving it.
  • doug_10
    doug_10 Member Posts: 102
    Remember....

    that the Danes also don't have the ridiculous thirst for energy our country has...which is the largest reason we are in this situation IMHO. Europe has to conserve due to high prices, but they conserve nonetheless.

    Also, note that many of the older windmills are still used very often for pumping water to avoid flooding/move irrigation water/etc...not directly tied to power, but still a pollution-free substitute.

    Yes, oil will also get expensive as gas rises (I thought that was intringent in my last post - sorry), thus raising even higher the cost. My arguement was more in the "true cost" category comparing the subsidies to renewables.

    In reference to "not flying" I believe a government that pushes the public toward renewables isn't so bad in the long run (maybe in the short run it hurts sometimes!). The Germans enforce efficiency standards on boilers for the same reason; emissions. Imagine if this country did that...you Wallies would get so much work you may actually all get what your worth! I say this with tongue partially inserted in cheek depending on who's reading this :-)

    Very good discussion going here...and distantly related to hydronics I hope. After all, the words "boiler" and "oil" and "gas" are pretty popular 'round these parts.

    Take Care, PJO
  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162
    All that's needed to fix that problem.....

    is a good dose of Viagra!

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  • Tony_8
    Tony_8 Member Posts: 608
    politics aside

    I'm starting to seriously investigate Ground/water heat pumps. They now make them suitable for radiant requirements and domestic HW. Sounds VERY versatile. Any experience out there on the Wall ?
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928
    But also remember...

    ...that any "renewable" form of energy is ONLY effective it is produces more energy over its lifetime than it took to create the tools required to harness AND utilize it.

    In the case of wind power it appears there is a LONG WAY TO GO BEFORE THIS REQUIREMENT IS SATISFIED. Actual manufacturer data professes an expected service life of ALL components to be no more than 25 years AT BEST with 15-20 years MUCH more typical. Transmissions in particular seem to the the biggest trouble point with an entire "cottage industry" devoted to trying to identify minor problems (so REPLACEMENT parts can be ordered and available) so that "disruption" of an already rather unreliable source is minimized. These geared transmissions require VERY high-quality material and extremely tight manufacturing tolerances--consequently they consume LOTS of energy to produce.

    I found scanty reference to some "gearless transmissions" but they seem quite new and I have no idea if they are more reliable, longer-lived and/or less energy-intensive to produce in the first place.

    It appears that three groups are the major proponents of wind power:

    1) The manufacturers of the components.

    2) Environmentalists whose "green-colored glasses" are obscured by ANYTHING that ANYONE calls "green" for the FLIMSIEST of reasons.

    3) Companies receiving VERY generous subsidies (both direct and indirect) from ALL levels of government in (it appears) EVERY country where they have any appreciable use.

    It is VERY IMPORTANT to note that this equipment seems to be produced ONLY in countries noted for subsidizing research and development in CIVILIAN industry--unlike the U.S. that ONLY seems to subsidize research and development of better ways to kill other people while limiting casualties on our side.

    At least wind power does seem WAY ahead of the most absurd "renewable energy" source of which I am aware--PV asphalt shingles. Anyone buying those things who sincerely believe that they in ANY way "help the planet" are truly BEYOND HOPE!

    Those "green-colored glasses" get AWFULLY thick and cloudy sometimes!
  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
    You Wanna Talk \"Thick Green Glasses\"?

    A couple of weeks ago, a politician was on the news, cheerfully awarding "green" tax status to ...wait for it...

    The freakin' nuclear power industry here in Ontario!!!

    That TV event ranks up there with only one other for me. That was surfing up the dial one night and come across one of the music channels showing Celine Dion doing a live cover of AC/DCs "Shook Me All Night Long". It paralized me...I couldn't look away, or change channels. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. A ghastly, surreal image, burned into my memory. The horror...the horror. It was worse than when Pat Boone did his heavy metal/leather thing. Far, far worse.

    NOBODY could make this stuff up.

    I'll see your PV asphalt shingles, and raise you a "green" fuel bundle.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,837
    But

    was Celine's band wearing those schoolboy uniforms like Angus Young does...... I saw some of AC/DC (Brian, Angus and I forget who the third guy was) play an acoustic version of "Shook Me" on the Howard Stern show once. That was pretty surreal too (especially when Artie tried to sing it) but you could tell they were having fun.

    Speaking of conservation, here's an example that might interest you:

    Four-bedroom house located in Baltimore, built in 1924, with hot-water gravity system using cast-iron radiators: In 1980, the boiler in this house was set up to burn 1.65 GPH of oil- and ran quite a bit. Through the use of insulation, weatherstripping, storm windows and a better boiler, burner and piping techniques, the same house now burns 0.75 GPH and is just as comfortable. That's a reduction of just over half!

    Whose house, you ask?

    MINE!

    Think of how much fuel we could save if everyone did this.

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  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
    What...

    ...you did is real. If they're going to be handing out tax breaks, do it for stuff like you did. Don't go down the fantasy technology route that is wind and solar. (And, as it turns out, nuclear.) Should there be research money for wind and solar? Sure. Who knows what will turn up? It could be nothing, or it could be great.

    They still permit the installation of electric resistance space heating here. Except for very exceptional circumstances, that practice should be banned.
  • doug_10
    doug_10 Member Posts: 102
    Wind Power...

    is much less useful than solar from what I've gathered due to many factors...I think everyone would agree to that at least :-) but in certain situations it is appropriate.

    The statement of "any "renewable" form of energy is ONLY effective it is produces more energy over its lifetime than it took to create the tools required to harness AND utilize it" is confusing me (easily done BTW)...by "producing energy" do you mean the total kW/BTU's/whatever?

    If so, then it really is apples to oranges when comparing (for example) the making of a boiler to a solar HWH panel because the boiler can't "produce" energy...it transfers it from fuel (which held the potential energy) minus the efficiency rating and has pollution as a side effect.

    A solar HWH panel converts the sun's enrgy directly into warm water I believe...less loss of efficiency and NO pollution. Both systems need pumps (get a PV powered one for solar!) and similar things...

    If that is the case, then a boiler would certainly take less energy to make, but it doesn't "produce" any energy without fuel to burn.

    Am I right on this?

    Steamhead, you are right on the money with what you did to your house...the bottom line in all of this is to conserve. The "cake icing" is the money you save over the years as well as the lowered pollution. As many have said here, insulating correctly is probably the best money you can spend.

    Take Care, PJO
  • I agree

    insulating doesn't cost, it PAYS.

    Noel
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928


    It took energy to MANUFACTURE that windmill. LOTS of it. Probably mostly coal--directly for the steel, indirectly via electricity for the aluminum. While the electricity it produces may be absolutely "clean and green" the energy that produced it wasn't. It will only have a NET "clean and green" benefit if it produces more energy in its life than the "dirty" energy that built it.

    The manufacturer-stated service life of the wind equipment is in REAL-WORLD OPERATION. Remember that wind equipment IS NOT CONTINUALLY OPERATING AND EVEN WHEN OPERATING IT IS FREQUENTLY PRODUCING MUCH LESS POWER THAN POSSIBLE. Manufacturers have been able to "play" with numbers by assuming that the equipment won't actually be working much of the time--and even when working often at less than full stress (capacity). By doing this the life of the equipment is GREATLY exaggerated.

    It is VERY generous to say that wind equipment will produce 50% of its "nameplate" power in a given year. (I can't even find proponents who claim that much.) By that measure it's "real" life is not 20 years as it did not produce 20 years worth of work--it only produced 10 years.

    I'm not saying that a steam turbine expected to last 50 years will be working at full capacity for every minute of those 50 years, but it is RATED to do so. Big, big difference!

    You can apply the same principle to boilers, furnaces or most anything. While a super-efficient model may burn less fuel than a "standard" model for the same effect it is generally much more complex, uses more exotic materials and very often took MUCH more energy to build in the first place.

    It only REALLY begins to save energy when the amount of energy saved by burning or working more efficiently EXCEEDS the difference of the energy required to produce it over the less efficient model. I'm not certain that any [current super-efficient] boilers will do this but I do good suspicion about ones that won't.

    Fuel cells sound wonderful, green, clean and all of those things but the SAME THING APPLIES. Liquid hydrogen isn't just "lying around" out there. It's energy for work was TRANSFORMED from another form of energy--and of course some energy is always lost in the transformation. Let's see--they say it will come from "clean burning" natural gas. BULL CRAP! The increased demand for natural gas will only result in the burning of less "clean" sources to produce the energy previously produced by natural gas. (i.e. it is currently cheaper in my area to heat structures (winter ONLY) with ELECTRIC RESISTANCE than natural gas! I'm NOT joking!)

    The subsidies don't bother me too much because any fledgling technology WILL go through "growing pains" and it takes some help, for which I'm willing to give my share. COMMERCIAL wind power however seems to be destined to stay forever linked to subsidies and more of a "feel good" thing than a truly clean source of energy.

    Dam the Mississippi--there REALLY were plans in the 1970s. Phenomenal amount of hydroelectric power--like MULTIPLE Hoovers.

    Instead of having individual states go in to energy crises or energy gluts we REALLY need comprehensive NATIONAL policy that 1) GREATLY subsidizes the development of products/methods/lifestyles that TRULY reduce energy consumption 2) realizes that "promise" of electricity too cheap to meter with REASONABLE safety. 3) Creates a SINGLE set of rules instead of 50.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,837
    But

    with ongoing research and development, will they get better? I think they will. Look how much effort has gone into making more-efficient boilers in the past 40 years. If the same effort goes into solar, PV, wind, fuel cells etc. we should be sitting pretty.

    For now, conservation is the key. Insulate. Weather-strip. Install better windows. Make your heating (and cooling, if needed) system as efficient as you can (and yes, you CAN do this with steam). Install energy-efficient lighting (such as compact fluorescent or outdoor motion sensors) and appliances- and turn them off when not needed.

    Sure, you'll spend some money to do all this. But the energy savings will add up as the years roll on. Ask me how I know that.

    How about we make this a challenge? How efficient can you make YOUR house? I know I'm not done yet!

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  • doug_10
    doug_10 Member Posts: 102
    My question...

    was about trying to directly compare the two different types of "energy sources", and I agreed that windmills were not the best of renewables. I still say that you cannot compare the two items mentioned above in the way you state, and maybe this will help (let's go back to the boiler and fuel vs. solar HW panel);

    a solar HW panel is giving energy with only the sun as its partner...

    a boiler is giving energy with a fuel as it's partner, so how about adding-in the REAL cost of getting the fuel to the boiler...from deep within the Earth and pumped out from a well that was drilled...pumped to a ship and taken across the ocean or pumped through miles and miles of pipe...pumped again within a refinery and processed to make it a certain grade...pumped to a tank...pumped to a truck and delivered to your house...

    All else remains the same from the source of hot water...

    Do you see where I'm coming from now? Add to this the cost "subsidies" mentioned before by our military, etc. for the oil PLUS the cost of producing the ships, wells, refineries, trucks, etc. and ONLY THEN will you have apples to apples versus a solar HWH.

    For coal and gas, maybe the arguement isn't as strong, but can someone please elaborate if I'm off the mark here?

    By the way, guess what the most efficient "traditional" form of power generation is...hydroelectric. Just sucks to see those dams! Seems like every source has it's ups and downs.

    Take Care, PJO




  • Cliff Brady
    Cliff Brady Member Posts: 149
    Economics of the Arrowsmith Wind Farm

    Would anyone like to comment on the economics of this project at http://www.zilkha.com/whatweredoing.asp?id=26

    Here are the numbers form the website:

    Project Fact and Figures

    Anticipated Construction Date: 2004/2005

    Construction Time Frame: 6-8 months (in 2 or more phases)

    Project Size: 400 megawatts

    Annual Power Generation: 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours

    Number of Turbines: Up to 267 wind turbine generators, with a rated capacity of 1.5 megawatts each

    Approximate Total Project Cost: $400 million

    Zilkha Renewable Energy plans to install up to 267 turbines over approximately 21,000 acres of land leased from landowners. The wind farm is expected to remove only about 150 to 200 acres of land from crop production.
  • Geno_10
    Geno_10 Member Posts: 2
    Energy

    How many of you remember the time when the Govt. let you deduct from your taxes any energy improvements made to your home??? Who took that away?? Was it not the Reagan/Bush era??? Remember all the solar systems going in then?? I heard recently that a company wanted to build a huge windmill farm off Nantucket. I also heard that all the rich in that area crushed it because it would spoil their view of the ocean. We are but pawns. That old tax incentive plan really worked and moved a lot of equipment. To people that were hemming and hawing about new equip. you'd just say" you can deduct off your taxes", SOLD!!!
    Geno
  • Jackchips
    Jackchips Member Posts: 344
    I don't believe President

    Reagan or Bush "took" the incentive away. It was a law that had an expiration date and when it passed so did Solar.

    The wind farm is still in proposal and it is the "rich" liberals from the islands who are pushing to get it stopped. Would you believe Mr. Environmental, Walter Cronkite, who has a home on Martha's Vineyard, is against it?

    Even Sen. Liberal (Ted Kennedy), who has been silent on the issue, is proposing a law in Congress to make it harder to put them in.

    Go figure.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,837
    By not letting that law be renewed

    they killed it. The Reagan-era buzzword was "let the market decide". And since the oil, gas and electric infrastructures were in place and running while the others needed lots more research and development, guess who won that round.

    As I understand it, the windmill debate mostly centers on where to build them. There are some who don't want them near where they live, the same as any other type of generating station. When I was out west three years ago, I saw lots of windmills but they weren't built near residential areas.

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  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
    \"There Once...

    ...was a politician from Nantucket..." Make up the rest of the limerick for yourself. It's the old story - "Do as I say, not as I do." Politicians here are the same. There was a big stink here about 10 years ago regarding the quality of public enducation. The head of the party in power (way to the left on the policial scale) carried on at great length about how wonderful things were in the field of public education. Then the story came out about how HIS kids went to a PRIVATE school.

    Everybody thinks wind turbines are just GREAT, until somebody wants to install them near YOUR house. I wouldn't want a wind farm near my house, so I can't really tell somebody else that THEY should have to have one near theirs. Especially when they don't actually DO anything of consequence, except generate government subsidies and grants for the builders/owners. They don't benefit anyone else. To me, the large scale windfarms, as compared to the much smaller windmill pumps that used to be used on farms, is like the family farm down the road having a couple of dozen pigs 50 years ago, vs the industrial pig operations of today with 5,000 or 10,000 animals. Nobody, but nobody, wants to live near these things. (At least the pig farms actually produce something.) Politicians only support them - like they support anything - not because it's a good idea, but because they think will get them some votes. Look to Nantucket for proof of that.

    A ton of money to install, in order to generate very little power, and you still only get juice when the wind blows. At the currently level of efficiency of wind turbines, it makes no sense whatsoever to install large scale operations to generate electricity.
  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549


    Where's the $400 million coming from? All private money? (I very much doubt it.)

    How is the electrical output being calculated? What wind speed are they using? What % of the year are there winds at this speed? (Compare actual, historical weather data vs the figure used in the projection.)

    "...it takes only a few months of operation for a wind turbine to generate the amount of energy used to build and operate it." Show me how THAT was calculated. Basically, show me how all of this has been calculated. I srongly suspect that there have been a significant number of optimistic "assumptions" made in the course of running the numbers.

    Print that web page, Cliff, and hang on to it. Compare what acutally happens over the next few years to the glowing projections. I could be wrong, but I strongly suspect that the reality will fall somewhat short of the dream. The battle cry of the '60 nuke proponents - "Power too cheap to meter!". Yep, that worked out, didn't it?
  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
    Windmill Spin

    Where's the $400 million coming from? All private money? (I very much doubt it.)

    How is the electrical output being calculated? What wind speed are they using? What % of the year are there winds at this speed? (Compare actual, historical weather data vs the figure used in the projection.)

    "...it takes only a few months of operation for a wind turbine to generate the amount of energy used to build and operate it." Show me how THAT was calculated. Basically, show me how all of this stuff has been calculated. I strongly suspect that there have been a significant number of optimistic "assumptions" made in the course of running the numbers. This has the aroma of the "AFUE values, and how they're calculated" discussion of a few months ago. As I get older and more cynical, and ask that question a LOT, on a variety of topics - "How, exactly, did you calcuate this?" 9 times out of ten, I get no response at all, or the response is just gibberish. Most of the numbers published for public consumption are not put together for any kind of factual engineering purposes, but for marketing reasons. The number that gets thrown around for the wind power generation in Denmark is "13% of their power". 13% of what - the actual power generated in the country, or 13% of the installed generating capacity? There's a BIG difference. You could have a total generating capacity of 1000 megawatts, and 500 of those could be wind turbine. But how much of that 500 wind turbine value gets used? Say the wind only blows hard enough to make any power at all, for 6 months a year. Even then, maybe actual average wind speed only drives the turbines at half power. 500 / 2 = 250. 250 / 2 = 125. So even with 500 INSTALLED megawatts, there's a real good chance that you'll only get a quarter of that as actual OUTPUT.

    Print that Zilkha web page, Cliff, and hang on to it. Compare what acutally happens over the next few years to the glowing projections. I could be wrong, but I strongly suspect that the reality will fall at least somewhat - and probably considerably - short of the dream. See if you can find any info for comparison on the Danish sites. Remember he battle cry of the '60 nuke proponents - "Power too cheap to meter!". Yep, that worked out, didn't it?
  • Cliff Brady
    Cliff Brady Member Posts: 149
    Arrowsmith, IL Wind Farm - 1000 Feet

    The Arrowsmith project agreements allow a Windmill as close as 750 Feet of a participant's residence and 1000 feet for a residence not participating.

    I am posting this agian to the more active part of the topic:

    Economics of the Arrowsmith Wind Farm

    Would anyone like to comment on the economics of this project at http://www.zilkha.com/whatweredoing.asp?id=26
    Since nobody has yet commented I will. Here is my analysis given the figures below:

    $400 million capital cost / 1,200 million kwhrs per year

    = $0.3333 per kwhr per year

    Over 15 years its

    $0.3333 / 15 years = 2.222 cents/kwhr

    Add maintence costs and it still appears quite a lot cheaper than we pay at the meter.

    Comments and challenges to my simple analysis encouraged and welcome.

    c


    Here are the numbers from the website:

    Project Fact and Figures

    Anticipated Construction Date: 2004/2005

    Construction Time Frame: 6-8 months (in 2 or more phases)

    Project Size: 400 megawatts

    Annual Power Generation: 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours

    Number of Turbines: Up to 267 wind turbine generators, with a rated capacity of 1.5 megawatts each

    Approximate Total Project Cost: $400 million

    Zilkha Renewable Energy plans to install up to 267 turbines over approximately 21,000 acres of land leased from landowners. The wind farm is expected to remove only about 150 to 200 acres of land from crop production.
  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
    I Posted...

    ...a response above. I suspect the people living that close to the wind turbines are going to complain about the noise, and flicker factor. Especially the non-participating folks.
  • Cliff Brady
    Cliff Brady Member Posts: 149
    Probably over optimistic assumptions bu

    Public money for this if any is probably very limited. I looked around and about all that is availble might help subsidise a farmer going semi off-grid or feeding into the grid if their supplier pays well.

    I am hoping the post space-age technology helps but there is still the nuts and bolts and towers and wires that adds a lot to the capital.

    Rhetorical question: To compare, what are capital costs for a new NG generating plant or coal or oil or nuclear?

    -c
  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
    I'll Bet...

    ...there's a gov't subsidy or loan guarantees, or some kind of tax angle for Arrowsmith. All kinds of "spins" on this aspect. It's like the gov't here granting "green" tax status to the nuke stations.

    It's been a while, but the figure I remember for fossil fuel power generation was about $1 million/megawatt. There are certainly operating costs attached, but remember that THAT power (and all of it) is available literally ANY time, regardless of the weather. Think of it this way - how many factories can run production around wind speed? How many people will cheerfully tolerate having their refrigerator operate only on windy days? You can stretch this out into a very long list. Nobody will put up with it, even those who insist that they will.

    If the powers that be want to do something that is much more rooted in reality than wind turbines, they should push district energy. You can hit some very impressive efficiencies. The downside is, the electricity costs more than it does from base load stations. The upside is, there's very low cost steam/hot water/ chilled water available from these operations.
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928


    Numbers as presented look reasonable.

    Then I found that they based their calculations on previous farms using "Enron Wind TZ turbines".



  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
    Ah...

    ...Enron - that glowing example of the "figures don't lie, but liars can figure" philosophy that can be applied equally to engineering or accounting.

    Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

    I don't remember the exact numbers, but several months ago, I looked at some windmill generators, just small ones. The thing that struck me was just how little power you got out of these things, even with a good, stiff wind. The upfront purchase/installation cost made the payback stretch into the twilight zone. It was so out to lunch that I just tossed all the info, thinking "Nobody will ever do this, unless it's the ONLY WAY to get any electricity at all."

    There's a table in the old Audels' Plumbers & Steamfitters Guide #3 that shows for a 12 foot diameter back-geared windmill, in a 15 mile per hour wind, you can expect one horsepower. For a 4 diameter mill, it's 1/12 HP. Not much for the size, really.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,837
    But

    if one unit goes bad, the others stay on line.

    I don't know how much horsepower a modern mill would make, but it's probably more than those old Aermotors.

    Obviously more research and development is needed here, but the basic idea of generating electricity from wind is a good one.

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  • Tony Conner
    Tony Conner Member Posts: 549
    They're Still...

    ...in business. www.aermotorwindmill.com They've got a 6 foot diameter unit for $3,000 US, or an 8 foot for $3,200. No pump for that price, though. They do have pumps and other bits for sale on the same site. If you need to pump water for livestock out in the middle of nowhere, then these would be a great thing to consider.
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