Friday, December 18, 2009

Wind Power is Stupid

There is a book out that for me is a must read: "The Wind Farm Scam" by John Etherington.

The following is my comment on wind farms:

Wind power is such a stupid idea it is no wonder it is so popular with the left. It is expensive, unreliable, requires 100% conventional generation backup, kills endangered species birds, visually pollutes scenic vistas, and must be located far away from population centers.

To “solve” this last objection, the most ludicrous plan I’ve seen for wind power was first for New York city, and recently for San Francisco, to install urban wind turbines – with no apparent appreciation to their noise and vibration characteristics, loss of generating capacity because of wind drag from buildings and the necessity to use relatively small wind turbines, and the unsafe conditions caused by mechanical stresses on the buildings upon which they are erected.

In farcical attempts to design ways to overcome the intermittent power generation factor – it is an exceptional wind farm that produces at 25% of rated capacity – there are proposals to use excess energy generated during the night to compress air (or to store energy in some other mechanical way) to generate power when the wind doesn’t. Of course these alternative power schemes will be very expensive and, as yet, have not been created to operate in the real world.

I lived nine years within sight (but thankfully not sound) of the wind farm at the Altamont Pass, California, and observed that most of the time none of the turbines were turning, and when some were, a lot were not because they were down for maintenance. About the only thing they did well was kill eagles and hawks – thousands each year. I would hazard a guess that more energy went into creating the Altamont Pass wind farm than was generated by it, and that its operation never made, and never will, make economic sense.

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