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Poll

Is wind energy (mainly wind turbines,not our own wind) really the energy of the future or is all the hype just a load of hot air. >?

Yes, its a good energy source of the future.
5 (71.4%)
No, its not worth the money and time.
1 (14.3%)
Not Sure, havent really bothered about it.
0 (0%)
Other, we have to give it a shot anyway.
1 (14.3%)

Total Members Voted: 7

Voting closed: 03/06/2012 22:03:18

Author Topic: Are wind turbines a viable alternative energy source?  (Read 10778 times)

Offline Geezer

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Re: Are wind turbines a viable alternative energy source?
« Reply #25 on: 13/05/2012 00:30:49 »
I think I heard that there is already excess wind energy capacity along the Columbia. Is that true?
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Are wind turbines a viable alternative energy source?
« Reply #26 on: 13/05/2012 01:48:22 »
I think I heard that there is already excess wind energy capacity along the Columbia. Is that true?
I don't think that is entirely true.
One of the links I posted on the previous page:
http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2011/05/bpa_says_it_will_tamp_down_win.html

So, there are issues for peak wind energy, and flood stage hydroelectric occurring at the same time.  That may be one of the reasons that the Northwest uses less natural gas heating than other parts of the country, as peak water flows occur during the winter when the heating is needed the most.

In fact, wind my compliment hydro in that it is less seasonal, nor is there a reservoir to draw down prior to spring floods.

If you look at electricity derived from renewable energy sources,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_electricity_production_from_renewable_sources

Rank State % Renewable Renewable electricity (GWˇh) Total electricity (GWˇh)
United States 12.7% 520,067 4,105,734
1 Idaho 92.3% 14,739 15,968
2 Washington 86.8% 101,974 117,481
3 Oregon 78.8% 47,730 60,568
4 South Dakota 77.1% 9,300 12,056
5 Maine 49.8% 7,851 15,778
23 Kansas 8.2% 3,759 45,565
25 Nebraska 8.2% 2,862 34,950

So, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon hit #1,2, and 3 for renewable energy production in the USA, closely followed by South Dakota, then a big gap to Maine and the rest of the USA.  But, the renewable electricity production is still not 100%, thus the states are not net exporters of renewable electricity.

Driving through Kansas and Nebraska, they can have some wicked winds.  Yet, those states only have about 10% of the renewable energy production of the Northwest.
 

Offline damocles

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Re: Are wind turbines a viable alternative energy source?
« Reply #27 on: 13/05/2012 23:51:10 »
"Wicked winds" are a problem for wind power generation. What is ideal is reliable steady winds. If the wind speed gets too high, the blades must be feathered or furled. Full braking and feathering is needed to shut down the system in fluky, gusty situations. Partial braking and furling can be used in steady strong wind situations to maintain high rotation but prevent over-rotation, and continue optimum power output.

The power available to a wind generator varies as the cube of the wind velocity -- if the wind speed is double the design optimum, then the power available will be 8 times the rated power. That also implies faster rotation, and stresses on various parts of the structure that it probably would not be able to handle without some form of feathering, braking, and/or furling. Those who have used wind energy for marine transportation have been aware of this particular problem for millennia!

It is most unlikely that enough wind power could be exploited for it to become the major source of energy on the electricity grid. However it does have the potential to make a large minor contribution, probably of the order of 10-20% in my view. Its most problematic feature is that it is an unreliable "opportunity load" source. It is not always available, and unlike solar or tidal power, its availability is irregular and unpredictable.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Are wind turbines a viable alternative energy source?
« Reply #28 on: 14/05/2012 00:12:29 »
Ahhh.
So, while solar power varies, potentially one could predict the output a week or so in advance with the long range weather forecast.
Wind can also be somewhat predicted, but perhaps not as precisely.
 

Offline Geezer

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Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: Are wind turbines a viable alternative energy source?
« Reply #30 on: 14/05/2012 01:11:46 »
Some countries already have 20% of their power from wind, so anything below that is extremely conservative.

Sure, sometimes it blows extremely hard and you have to shut it down, and sometimes it blows hardly at all and you get no power.

But there are technologies for storing power now; some of the molten salt batteries are looking like they will be extremely inexpensive for large scale use; and hydro schemes can also be constructed for that.
« Last Edit: 14/05/2012 01:17:09 by wolfekeeper »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Are wind turbines a viable alternative energy source?
« Reply #31 on: 14/05/2012 01:39:00 »
Another point is that most of the newer wind turbines are hundreds of feet tall where the wind is much more regular than that down at the surface.
 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: Are wind turbines a viable alternative energy source?
« Reply #32 on: 14/05/2012 01:52:27 »
I think that the molten salt magnesium-antimony battery looks quite promising; it's something like a kilowatt hour of storage for about ten pounds or not a lot more. Given that it probably costs a few thousand pounds to provide a kilowatt of generating capacity of any type, it's not too bad.
 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: Are wind turbines a viable alternative energy source?
« Reply #33 on: 14/05/2012 03:27:34 »
Denmark is already up to 28% apparently, and they're aiming for 50% by 2020.

Thing is though, they have little other native energy, and their neighbouring countries have plenty of hydro, so they can export and import as needed.
 

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Re: Are wind turbines a viable alternative energy source?
« Reply #33 on: 14/05/2012 03:27:34 »

 

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