Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power United States Technology

US Dept. of Energy Wants Bigger Wind Energy Ideas 252

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-wonder-what-brought-this-on dept.
coondoggie writes "The Department of Energy wants to kick up the research and development of offshore wind projects as it looks to achieve its goal of producing 20% of the country's electricity from wind farms by 2030. The DOE Wind Program is looking to focus on what it calls specific advanced technology, gigawatt-scale demonstration projects that can be carried out by partnerships with a wide range of eligible organizations and stimulate cost-effective offshore wind energy deployment in coastal and Great Lakes regions of the country. The agency is also looking for more research that can help address market barriers in order to facilitate deployment and reduce technical challenges facing the entire industry, as well as technology that will reduce cost of offshore wind energy through innovation and testing."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Dept. of Energy Wants Bigger Wind Energy Ideas

Comments Filter:
  • Geez, first we offshore our jobs, now our energy production. When will it end?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I'm just waiting for some Calamity to hit. I mean, Offshore drilling is an entirely different ballpark, but we've put a lot of research into that and we still mess it up.

      I mean, how do these platforms cope with hurricanes? I've always wondered. I have a feeling that since a windmill will have most of its machinery above water level, it'll be more susceptible to high winds (which is the idea I know, but I mean twisting metal high winds)

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:05PM (#32604030) Journal

        I'm just waiting for some Calamity to hit. I mean, Offshore drilling is an entirely different ballpark, but we've put a lot of research into that and we still mess it up.

        I mean, how do these platforms cope with hurricanes? I've always wondered. I have a feeling that since a windmill will have most of its machinery above water level, it'll be more susceptible to high winds (which is the idea I know, but I mean twisting metal high winds)

        Might seem counter intuitive but a 2007 article in Wired [wired.com] said:

        Hurricanes could be a problem, so they decided to outfit their windmills with hydraulic lifts scavenged from oil-industry machinery; the system would lower the turbines in the event of a squall.

        I think under the water is the safest place during a hurricane. Oh, and the timing is too perfect so I cannot omit this paragraph:

        But first they needed to secure government approval. Their first stop was the state of Louisiana, but the bayou bureaucrats rejected the proposal. “They saw us as competing with oil and natural gas,” Schoeffler recalls.

        Perhaps Schoeffler should ask Louisiana now if it's alright for them to compete with offshore oil?

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by jonadab (583620)
          > I think under the water is the safest place during a hurricane.

          North Dakota would also be a pretty safe place to ride out a hurricane.

          HTH.HAND.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Dan Ost (415913)

            Sadly, while North Dakota has the most potential for wind power in the US, its grid was built and designed by a bunch of Co-ops that were interested in getting power to farm houses. As such, it isn't sophisticated enough to be able to be able export any significant amount of power.

            If they can upgrade their grid, then North Dakota could be a huge exporter of wind power.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by russotto (537200)

          Perhaps Schoeffler should ask Louisiana now if it's alright for them to compete with offshore oil?

          You can read that as "They wouldn't pay nearly the bribes the oil companies would pay".

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Perhaps Schoeffler should ask Louisiana now if it's alright for them to compete with offshore oil?"

          I dunno if that is even possible.

          I mean, we know that the oil rigs can survive a hurricane (which as you know, in LA we are prone to get on occasion). I kinda doubt a windfarm could stand up to that kind of force...we really don't need huge propellers flying at us here in NOLA, storm surge is quite enough thank you.

          :)

      • by LoudMusic (199347)

        I'd think they handle a hurricane fairly well, and generate a shit tonne of power in the process ;)

        Actually they probably get tossed around a bit, but the real key is that they don't install them in hurricane prone areas. Lots of research goes into placing them in areas that get consistent high winds but not gale force craziness.

        • by ArhcAngel (247594)

          Windmills can only spin so fast before the inertial, or effective, force tears them apart! [youtube.com]

          • by Joce640k (829181)

            The reason that one broke is because the blade-pitch control mechanism failed.

            Believe it or not, million dollar windmills are designed by proper engineers who think about things like hurricanes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Amouth (879122)

        For oil rigs.. they cap the well and disconnect the umbilical and move away from the well to weather out the storm - most of them are quite large and handle well but they don't want to be static during a storm.

        as for Wind farms - the high waves would be more worrying.. during high winds the blades turn into the wend and then adjust so that they don't catch the wind. as for taking the impact of the high waves that is an engineering question - as it has to take that impact no way of avoiding it.

        Over all hurr

      • by Khashishi (775369)

        Well, it seems the worst that can happen is that the platforms could be destroyed. Not a huge loss, compared with a destroyed oil platform.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Well, it seems the worst that can happen is that the platforms could be destroyed. Not a huge loss, compared with a destroyed oil platform."

          Well, so far....oil rigs have a great record when it comes to surviving hurricanes.

      • Hurricanes... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:29PM (#32604336) Homepage

        Wind turbines constantly adjust their blade angles to match the wind. The idea is to keep them turning at a constant rate no matter what the wind speed is (i.e. they *don't* spin faster in high winds then in low winds). In a hurricane they just turn the blades to minimum angle and keep right on generating.

        • Not really. Wind turbines have a cut-out speed. This is usually 20m/s or so. The cannot continue to produce power at higher wind speeds because the loads on the tower and blades will be too much to handle. Also, the speed of the turbine is surprisingly variable. There is a "rated speed", but the turbines operate outside this level much of the time. For offshore applications, the wind must blow up to 15m/s before rated speed is reached. That means any wind speeds below have a nearly linear relationship to th
      • by rgviza (1303161)

        Another issue is that offshore windmills are much more easily attacked by an enemy. If we are generating 20% of our electricity using them and we get attacked by an enemy, we could be crippled on the coasts if they took out the windmills, which could be done very easily with submarines and torpedoes.

        This is unlikely now, but much of the world views the US (and I can understand why) as being on a downward spiral, and we have a LOT of enemies. If we continue to weaken our economic and political position in th

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I think that if 20% of your electricity was generated in a green manner you wouldn't have such a dependancy on oil, so you could pull out of the middle east, and you wouldn't have such a bad political position.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Wyatt Earp (1029)

            Oil doesn't produce much electricity in North America. Gas, coal and nuclear does.

            The United States would be better off pushing out 20% more electricity production with fission

        • 'more easily attacked'

          as opposed to say, the Saudi's simply turning off their pumps?

          We can't remotely control that, but I'm pretty sure we can protect our own coastal waters pretty damned well.
  • There's over two hundred Z-750 windmills (the largest turbines made in the USA when they were put up in the 90s) on farmland in Minnesota along Buffalo Ridge [wikipedia.org], my father helped pour the foundations for them. As far as I know [state.mn.us] (and Wikipedia state):

    Xcel has contracted an additional three hundred megawatts of wind energy by 2010 and must obtain ten percent of its own electricity from renewable sources by 2015. Xcel is expected to increase its wind power contracts from 302 megawatts to one 1125 megawatts by 2010.

    If you're worried about avian species, Wikipedia quotes two studies that found in seven months a death of 1.1 to 1.4 birds killed per windmill. Bats are higher but it's lower than bat deaths related to lighthouses, communication towers, tall buildings, power lines, and fences. So while unfortunate, it could probably be viewed as acceptable.

    The advancements in turbine technology and infrastructure will always be needed but to answer the DOE's "Annual installations need to increase more than threefold." Why don't they just buy up a bunch of (relatively) cheap farmland in Minnesota? I think you can get away with negotiating the small plot of land they use and service roads through fields while still letting the bulk of the land be used for farming. Farmers already maneuver around sloughs that rise and fall with the water table. I don't know how the rights to offshore wind farms work or what the costs to permits are but it seems like you'd just have a strip of them so why not just do a huge block out in the middle of nowhere instead?

    You can see which states really took off with wind power [wikimedia.org], I don't know why you're highlighting coastal areas and the Great Lakes when Colorado and Texas have demonstrated an equally large potential.

    • by ibpooks (127372) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:12PM (#32604140) Homepage

      Why don't they just buy up a bunch of (relatively) cheap farmland in Minnesota?

      Because it is almost impossible in the current legal climate to build the power lines from rural areas into the cities where the power is needed and can be sold at a price high enough to finance the project. There are a LOT of transmission line projects on drawing boards across the country all tied up in endless legal disputes and injunctions. There are complaints from environmental groups about lines going through wetlands, forests, and virtually any other habitat. Complaints from pseudoscience scaremongers about lines going through populated areas giving off "toxic radiation". Complaints from towns, villages, homeowners associations about nearby power lines decreasing property values. Endless permits, plans, documents, studies to upgrade the lines on existing right-of-ways. Every inch of the process is an uphill battle for the power companies, and a huge multi-hundred million dollar project can be held up or torpedoed by any judge in any district along the planned path of the line forcing expensive delays or re-designs. The few major lines that have been built in recent history have taken decades from the first plans to in-service and actually cost more money in legal costs than the cost entire planning, engineering and construction combined.

      It is terribly frustrating for those of us in this industry. We know what needs to be done and many ways that it can be done, but our hands are tied.

      • by Shakrai (717556) *

        BANANA: Build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything.

      • Because it is almost impossible in the current legal climate to build the power lines from rural areas into the cities where the power is needed and can be sold at a price high enough to finance the project.

        Okay so apart from that Buffalo Wind farm project, there's another one by Geronimo whereby they built nine Suzlon turbine windmills next to my hometown [geronimowind.com] (PDF) to produce enough electricity for 6,500 homes and that electricity goes to my hometown where there are ~9,500 residents.

        That's nine windmills. Nine.

        Let's say Minnesota is an ideal place and that you could maybe get that same energy from almost anywhere else in the country for 3 or 4 times the number of windmills. My question for you is simp

        • But if you're in the industry, you're telling me that's not a good business plan?

          Actually no it isn't a good business plan, not financially at least. The problem is that the competing power sources, coal/natural gas/nuclear, don't have to pay for the effects of their emissions. As such the price they can offer power is much lower than renewable sources likely ever will be able to achieve.

          Once you price in the costs of fossil fuel emissions and nuclear fuel storage for 1000 years, *then* renewable s
        • by ibpooks (127372) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @03:00PM (#32605414) Homepage

          Geronimo whereby they built nine Suzlon turbine windmills next to my hometown (PDF) to produce enough electricity for 6,500

          I have heard of this project in some industry publications. I think it's a good one, but I will add some comments. The stated output of the wind farm is 18MW nameplate. That means under ideal wind conditions, so on the average day it will probably produce something like 12MW and maybe single digits on a bad day. A small coal plant produces 600MW rain or shine and a large plant can do 1200W; a nuclear plant can do 2000W. It takes a lot, lot, lot of turbines to offset one traditional plant making wind more expensive per megawatt.

          My question for you is simply whether or not you think small towns across the US would want nine to forty windmills next to their town so they could have cheap renewable power nearby?

          I would. A lot of people do not for many reasons.

          The first is that it's more expensive. Try raising electrical bills 1% to raise capital for a major wind project. Again hearings, lawsuits, studies, public meetings, congressional acts, it goes on and on. It would be an unnoticeable amount of money on the average bill and huge groups will fight tooth and nail to block it. Regardless of the long term advantage.

          Second is the environment, scenic, conservationist, NIMBY groups who all have factions that hate wind turbines for a myriad of often conflicting reasons and ideology. When you pose the option, "would you prefer coal or NG?" They always reply with canned bullshit about everyone should conserve and use less therefore requiring no new power plants, which is a reasonable goal to reach for, but is not a realistic energy plan given population growth and basic freedoms.

          Third are the entrenched power plant owners who do not want competition in markets where they have enjoyed near monopolies for decades. They are a major force of lobbying against wind development both in government and "grass roots" efforts to clandestinely support the first two groups. If you follow the money that the first two use to hire their lawyers a lot of it comes indirectly from power plant owners.

          But if you're in the industry, you're telling me that's not a good business plan?

          Compared to producing the equivalent power with coal or natural gas, the distributed wind option is more difficult and expensive. One major reason is that it's harder to operate because the output of wind generators is not constant, consistent or controllable. That means you also need "back-up" generation powered by traditional fuels on standby and expensive power electronic control devices to correct the power factor on line-commutated turbines. What this essentially means in less technical language is that the way wind turbines work is somewhat passive to the grid; they cannot operate without the larger generators online to regulate and control the voltage level. Given a stable voltage and frequency, wind generators can inject supplemental power into the grid but without large generators nearby to provide control and regulation the wind turbines are essentially useless. The equipment that allows wind generators to stand-alone and self-regulate is very, very expensive and not worth the relatively small amount of power wind turbines produce.

          It's a complicated balancing act that is harder to set up and manage than a coal or NG plant which essentially has a knob the operator can set and that plant will kick out that much power, voltage and frequency 24/7. There is also the issue of having many more assets out in the field that require annual maintenance and skilled labor.

          This is why I'm a huge advocate of nuclear power with wind and solar supplements. Nuclear power is fantastic at supplying base load generation and stability in the grid without the pollution of coal or NG. Wind and nuclear compliment each other very well and reduce the emissions to basically zero while providing ple

      • by Kaboom13 (235759)

        Seems to me the first step is designing a new high voltage power line that doesn't look like something out of a science gone horribly amok science fiction movie. I realize the when building these things they consider function over form, but the reality is the complete lack of aesthetics is a big factor in why people fight them so hard. They look like big industrial machinery, and in peoples minds that equates to scary and dangerous, especially from their comfy suburban house. Along I-4 here in Central Fl

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by eln (21727)
          I dunno, I guess it's a matter of taste. There are a few large wind farms in west Texas, and I find them quite beautiful. There's something majestic about a sea of giant windmills stretching off into the distance.
        • by ibpooks (127372)

          Physics is really at play here. The towers must be very strong to hold up the heavy lines during the highest wind/snow/ice load predicted for the area. They also must be relatively narrow to fit inside the right-of-way, and they must hold the lines high enough and with great enough separation from each other and from the tower so as to not allow arcing under the maximum expected sway and sag. They also must be durable and last outdoors with little or no maintenance for decades.

          Add on top of that people w

      • by Thagg (9904)

        If you're in the industry, I have often wondered about this, and would like to ask a question. There are plenty of extremely power-hungry industries that might well adapt to wind power. Think, say, of aluminum smelting. Right now, the big Aluminum companies site their plants near hydro power, but could there be a wind farm with an aluminum plant in the middle of it? They might vary the rate of production as the wind rises and falls, but if that is taken into account during the design of the plant it sho

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Graff (532189)

          Right now, the big Aluminum companies site their plants near hydro power, but could there be a wind farm with an aluminum plant in the middle of it? They might vary the rate of production as the wind rises and falls, but if that is taken into account during the design of the plant it shouldn't be a devastating problem.

          No, they can't. Aluminum smelters are near hydroelectric dams for a reason: enormous amounts of consistent, inexpensive energy. Wind generators can not provide this.

          You can't easily stop or slowdown a smelt in the middle of performing it, we are dealing with enormous amounts of energy and molten metal salts [aluminumsm...rocess.com]. If there are huge inconsistencies in the power then the process can be very inefficient and possibly even dangerous.

          Wind power is extremely variable and can only be used to supplement the base load of a

        • by ibpooks (127372)

          big Aluminum companies site their plants near hydro power, but could there be a wind farm with an aluminum plant in the middle of it?

          Wind farms cannot produce even close to the amount of energy that an aluminum smelter or steel mill requires. As soon as the smelter struck an arc it would stall every turbine in the field. Metal processing plants already have a lot of specialized electrical distribution often with dedicated power plants, massive capacitor banks, harmonic filters and the like to provide them with the power they need.

      • Seems like there are two options:

        1) Use a form of power generation that's decentralized and require everyone to come up with their own power.

        2) Have all the decisions made by someone central who has the authority to push things through.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ibpooks (127372)

          1) Use a form of power generation that's decentralized and require everyone to come up with their own power.

          This is reasonable, and is already in practice through what is called "distributed generation". It is the generation that is provided by rooftop solar panels, backyard wind turbines, sewage/landfill gas turbines and similar small generators. Virtually all power companies have a DG program that allows small producers to connect to the grid and sell power if they choose to.

          2) Have all the decisions made by someone central who has the authority to push things through.

          I think we need more of this. There is one authority recently granted to the DoE (I believe in the 2005 energy bill) called National In

    • by skine (1524819)

      The other major issue with building offshore windmills/windfarms is the cost of servicing.

      On land, you can drive/walk up to the windmill and as long as it's not storming, climbing it is no problem.

      At sea, even the slightest bit of weather can make it unsafe to send the boat out.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Perhaps an electrical or mechanical engineer out there could explain for me why they can't or don't put windmills on top of high voltage power line towers? [greenjersey.org]

      • by russotto (537200)

        Perhaps an electrical or mechanical engineer out there could explain for me why they can't or don't put windmills on top of high voltage power line towers?

        Mechanical is right. Those towers are strong enough to support themselves and the power lines. They probably couldn't support the static weight of a windmill, and they certainly couldn't support the forces an operating windmill would put on them.

        • by Graff (532189)

          Those towers are strong enough to support themselves and the power lines. They probably couldn't support the static weight of a windmill, and they certainly couldn't support the forces an operating windmill would put on them.

          Right, and building them stronger means that they are heavier, which means they need to be even stronger to support their own extra weight. You are usually better off building multiple, smaller structures rather than one huge structure that does many things.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        Because you site a transmission line in low wind corridors.

      • I'm sure there's no electrical or mechanical reason it can't be done. However, installing a moving rotor that can (and has) disintegrate in high wind on the distribution mechanism is probably a significant risk to the operation of said distribution system.

        More practically, the current towers certainly weren't designed for the extra loads. Perhaps new ones could be installed as we upgrade the grid itself, but I still think the added risk to the lines isn't worth the gains such a combination might provid
    • Expected value of wildlife killed by windmills if the most expansive plans are realized: what, a few thousand per year?

      Wildlife killed from oil spills (Exxon Valdez, the Santa Barbara spill, the Mexican spill of a few years back, Deepwater Horizon, etc): uncountably large, even on an annualized basis. So, anti-wind people: spare me the "won't someone think of the birds" line of reasoning.

      On offshore wind farms: both the Great Plains and offshore areas have the advantage of strong, sustained winds. But offsh

  • by CaseM (746707) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:58PM (#32603932)

    And who can blame them, right? I wondered when I'd start to see fresh pleas for alternative energy sources. If you've got that card, now is the damned best time to play it with the BP disaster fresh in everyone's minds.

    • by eln (21727)
      The problem with playing to a crisis is eventually the crisis ends and suddenly nobody cares about your proposals anymore. Nixon and Carter both talked big about getting off of foreign oil during the oil shortages in the 1970s, even creating a whole new Cabinet-level department for that purpose. Then the crisis passed, people stopped caring, and before you know it everyone is driving giant SUVs and we're using more foreign oil than ever before.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        You ise the crisis to educate people.

        That crisis didn't stop, Reagan actively killed it. Coincidently people he appointed had deep ties to the oil industry.

        Just keep neo-cons out of office, and it will more forward.

        Before responding, please not I said Neo-Cons and not republicans. Granted the republican party is mostly neo-cons now.

      • by Bemopolis (698691)

        The problem with playing to a crisis is eventually the crisis ends...

        Yeah, that might not be an issue this time around.

  • In hot climates, people should put windmills outside their houses to cool themselves off. I hear that's how windmills work in Holland.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      your just trying to get a futurama quote, aren't you?

      You should have just posted the quote yourself.

      "Windmills do not work that way!" - Morbo

      So after this post, you wanna go kill all humans?

  • I got one.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:05PM (#32604036) Homepage

    Spend money on designing a Very simple.. I.E. single moving part. and efficient design that can be replicated in a garage with trash for nearly nothing.

    Some of the vertical turbine types that do not follow the wind are interesting but need work.

    make wind power super cheap to build out of trash or common materials, easy to build yourself....

    That will be the BIGGEST wind idea to ever exist. make it so anyone can build a couple of 500watt generators in a weekend and you suddenly will have every farm and suburbia home with them.

    Lots of smaller ones providing power for local sources are far more efficient than a single HUGE one trying to produce enough for a community.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      I doubt you could reasonably build a complex system from trash in a weekend, but it's quite possible to build small-scale wind turbines (a bunch of info here [builditsolar.com]).

    • by Graff (532189)

      make wind power super cheap to build out of trash or common materials, easy to build yourself....

      And horribly inefficient with lots of downtime and high maintenance costs.

      The problems with wind power are manifold:

      • They are under variable loads and have lots of moving parts so they need to be precisely engineered and maintained.
      • They often need to be placed in inconvenient areas in order to capture enough wind, which makes them difficult to service.
      • The power output of wind generation is unpredictable and can't be used for base power.
      • Because the generators are put in out-of-way areas you have significant p
      • Hey, thx for the concise summary of Wind.

        Options:
        - Wind (maintence = too many moving parts)
        - Hyrdo (maintence)
        - Wave (maintence = , corrision an issue?)
        - Solar (still too inefficient ATM, good potential once more efficient)
        - Geothermal (initial cost & maintenance has poor ROI)
        - Fission (nuclear) - too much of a terrorist threat
        - Fussion (pending, +50 years away)
        - ZPE (pending, +10-20 years away at least, at the earliest)

        The two big problems:
        - batteries suck
        - NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) / BANANA (Build ab

    • ... if it weren't for those pesky laws of physics. Wind turbine efficiency goes up with the square of the radius of the turbine [wikipedia.org]. So small turbines are way, way less efficient than big ones - which really means that household sized wind turbines are unlikely to ever win out over industrial sized ones. Solar PE and solar thermal you can do on a single home basis, but wind... not so much.
  • I wonder if a large enough wind turbine could be installed in conjunction with cell towers for the turbine to power the cell and charge up batteries for low wind periods. Then cell towers could communicate with each other wirelessly and they could be 'daisy chained' into remote areas.

  • Stick to oil, nothing could possibly go wrong if we just drill for more oil!

    Or at least do it in developing countries where nobody cares if it goes wrong.

  • NIMBY (Score:5, Interesting)

    by reSonans (732669) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:10PM (#32604118) Homepage

    I hope the offshore aspect solves the NIMBY mentality I often encounter whenever wind energy comes up.

    Here's an example. One of my colleagues bought a lakefront property in rural Ontario. A couple of years later, a farmer on the *other side* of the lake leased land to a wind energy provider. They pay $10k per turbine per year, so ten of them went up. My colleague sold his property shortly thereafter, saying that he couldn't stand the turbines.

    Can anyone explain this? I'm genuinely curious to know why some people dislike turbines.

    • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:48PM (#32604534)

      Hahahahaha!

      Dude, we've been trying to put up a wind farm off the shore of Massachusetts for over ten years now, and they _still_ don't have the permits.

      It turns out that their site, six miles offshore, would still be very slightly visible from the Kennedy compound. So suddenly every democrat politician in the state became flamingly anti-wind-power. They've suffered through lawsuits and protests claiming that they'd kill birds, that they'd kill fish that would swim into the bases so hard that they'd die, that they'd cause hearing loss for the poor little rich kids on the shore (six miles away...), that they'd be used by drug smugglers to hide from coast guard radar (all those drug smugglers that sail up the entire atlantic seaboard hoping to sneak ashore in MA), that they'd screw up aircraft radar systems (despite the FAA saying that no, their radar can ignore stationary targets just fine)...

      When Obama finally pushed through the first part of the approval earlier this year, they immediately got slapped by a lawsuit by an indian tribe, asserting that this particular piece of the Atlantic Ocean is a sacred space to their tribe, and windmills would disrupt their freedom to practice their religion there. Despite most of the tribe testifying that they've never heard of any sacred patch of ocean, and there being no written records referring to any sacred patch of ocean, one of the tribe's leaders recently recieved upwards of ten million dollars from an anonymous donor to pursue the lawsuit, and regards the suit as his holy duty, much more important than using that money to do silly things like actually help the tribe members stuck in crushing poverty. It's expected to take at least a decade to grind that one through the courts, because with that sort of funding, stall tactics become really easy.

      So, no. Offshore isn't going to help with NIMBY folks. Even NIMBY folks named Kennedy and Kerry who like to lecture the rest of the world on how important the environment is, and rake in millions in donations from environmental groups.

      A couple years back, the company trying to put up this wind farm decided as a publicity stunt that they'd apply for a permit for a different type of power plant. They decided on an oil fired one of a type known to dump all sorts of carcinogens into the air, to be located in the middle of a city, across the street from an elementary school. It took under 48 hours from when they filed to when they had all the permits to legally begin construction... Compared to the _ten_years_ they've been struggling to get the permits to do wind power.

      • while you are correct that it's been fought long and hard by the Kennedy's and others it did recently get it's final approval to go forward with construction

        linky [slashdot.org]
    • by geekoid (135745)

      They are loud, disrupt wind patterns, and destroy the natural view.

      Plus you don't really get that much out of them. When you look at energy to produce and maintain.

      • Loud? Not really. I've been to many wind sites. I actually have to focus to notice the noise. At worst it's equivalent to a car driving down some distant highway. I would concede that offshore designs I've seen are a bit loud, but they don't have the constraints here because they are separated by miles to any population.

        Disrupt Wind Patterns? What is the problem with this? Wind turbines certainly don't change weather patterns. Are you sad you can't fly a kite? I guess that could be a problem.

        Natural View

    • They're actually kind of beautiful - giant, graceful kinetic sculptures. I really don't understand the problem.
    • I think that some of the older windmills caused a pretty audible 'thumping' as the blades turned. Newer and larger systems rotate much slower and use gearing to generate the same amount of power and so don't have the same issues. Same sort of issue with bird strikes, older ones killed more due to faster rotation, newer ones are pretty good - since they are slower the birds can avoid them better.

      That said, really distant windmills won't have this problem anyway. The Kennedy's opposition to Cape Wind w
  • Washington DC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Silly Man (15712) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:10PM (#32604122) Homepage Journal

    Place the wind farms around the Beltway. There is plenty of hot wind coming from Washington.

  • by icebike (68054) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:11PM (#32604126)

    Well as soon as DOE can convince FAA and the Air Force [aero-news.net] to stop blocking projects [bizjournals.com] perhaps we can make some progress.

    Its a little frightening that a non-emitting source could so easily fool radar and the best solution either agency has is to block wind farms.

    Then there is the BLM and their restrictive access polices, not to mention the Kennedy clan.

    There are some obvious problems with wind (hot calm days), but tied to an efficient national grid much of these should be manageable.

     

    • by geekoid (135745)

      RADAR has noting to do with a source emitting anything. reflecting is a another matter.

      • by icebike (68054)

        The point is that the radar in current use is effectively jammed by nothing more elaborate than a windmill.

  • Why do that?
    USA is too small?
    USA is too full?
    Just buy a load of Enercon E-126 mills at 7.5 MW peak each.
    If the Belgians can have 11 (yes, Estinnes...) why can't the USA place a few more?
    Why not 'allow' private participation?
    Why not stimulate people taking care of their own energy?
    (yes, that is not their agenda...)
  • and obligatory "wind turbines at BP headquarters" comment here

  • Go nuclear.
    -Modern reactor designs won't meltdown.
    -There are no transportation risks
    -There really are no long-term storage problems with storing it in the earth.
    -There really are no long-term storage problems once we get reliable and inexpensive orbital insertions. (Hurl it at the Sun, or other body)
    -There is little risk from radiation problems if material burns up on accidental re-entry. This can also be addressed in packaging.

    Really the whole wind farm thing is a ploy by special interests to get governmen

    • by jfengel (409917)

      There really are no long-term storage problems once we get reliable and inexpensive orbital insertions.

      Why not just feed it to your unicorn instead?

      It seems to me that "It's no problem, once we've invented technologies that are not even on the drawing board" isn't much of an argument. Neither is "Probably safer than the other designs we thought were safe."

      I'm all for adding more nuclear power, but trivializing the difficulties and dismissing alternatives with conspiracy theories (what, nuclear power doesn't have "special interests"?) makes the case weaker rather than stronger.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Really the whole wind farm thing is a ploy by special interests to get government subsidies for building these things, which they can then bill you at a higher electric rate.

      Yeah, because it doesn't cost an order of magnitude more to build a nuclear plant... and that's ignoring ongoing disposal costs, maintenance and inspections, security-related costs, etc.

      Lastly, they aren't as green as you think.

      Wow, way to lose all credibility. High-rise towers and house cats kill far *far* more birds than any wind far

      • by scorp1us (235526)

        I'm not a fan of cats either. They are feral pests that should go. High-rises are stationary. Windmills are natural. The bird brain has eveloved some capabilities: Either it is a tree, rock or land and is largely stationary. Or it is alive and highly mobile. Wind mill blades never deviate from course. It falls between a tree and being alive, and the birds lack sufficient understanding/collision avoidance systems. I am open to the possibility that these may be learned over the long term.

        Ah, yes, but what abo [usgs.gov]

        • by Abcd1234 (188840)

          I'm not a fan of cats either. They are feral pests that should go. High-rises ... blah blah blah

          Wow, way to say a lot and yet say nothing. Well done!

          Ah, yes, but what about bats?

          What about them? There's already research into approaches to drive them away [allaboutwildlife.com]. And at least that involves cheap technology we already have.

          You have all those same costs with wind farms. Have you considered the Toshiba 4S Reactor?

          You mean the design that isn't even in the prototype phase? Shit, why don't we just move to fusion, i

    • by geekoid (135745)

      4th Gen nuclear Plants produce very little waste, and it take 200-500 years for the waste to be at background radiation levels.

      Plus the added benefit id we would use current waste to produce energy.

    • by Graff (532189)

      -There really are no long-term storage problems with storing it in the earth.
      -There really are no long-term storage problems once we get reliable and inexpensive orbital insertions. (Hurl it at the Sun, or other body)

      The cost of lifting it to orbit and sending into the sun would be prohibitive, not to mention the risks if there were some sort of incident before it reached escape velocity.

      These are both moot anyways. If the ban on breeder reactors was lifted then most of the waste could be recycled and re-bred into new fuel. The remaining waste from a breeder reactor has a very short lifetime and doesn't need to be stored for thousands of years, thus it has much lower cost and requirements to dispose of.

    • ... nuclear power is definitely a part of the solution to our power issues. But you kind of blow your credibility on the subject out of the water when you say stuff like this:

      -There really are no long-term storage problems once we get reliable and inexpensive orbital insertions. (Hurl it at the Sun, or other body)

      The point here is that your "solution" is essentially magic - you've just made the problem of getting inexpensive orbital insertions disappear by waving your hands. Not to mention the fact that the

    • The reason why America is in the situation that we are, is because we depended so much on just fossil fuel. WHen you include Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas, it probably accounts for about 85% or more of our total energy usage. Now, you want to depend on JUST Uranium. It shows that you are not learning from the lessons.

      For those of your who want to learn from our current situation, then QUIT PUSHING ONE ITEM. We need a MATRIX of energy, with none above 1/3 of our total energy input (and that may be too much).
  • More wind (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:44PM (#32604484) Homepage

    So can we just everyone to eat more curry?

  • * - with foreign turbines.
  • It seems to me that we could have a lot more windmills if we doubled up on the use of the area at the base of the turbines. For example, at sea, the base of the windmill might be the center post of a floating fish farm. On land solar collectors or fish ponds could be built. The generation of food underneath the towers could pay for the construction and maintenance of the windmills.
    Sprawl and use of materials can be better managed if we make ce

  • It seems to be part of the bugaboo with wind -- when the wind blows and nobody needs your power, you're just, well, tilting at the wind.

    Producing hydrogen seems appealing because it can be burned cleanly, either at a facility at the wind farm or at some other aggregating site at some other time or for some other purpose (heat, motor vehicle fuel, methane production, etc).

    And if hydrogen were the standard, it would lower the overhead costs of equipment, enable regional aggregation (ie, no production quantity

    • when the wind blows and nobody needs your power,you're just, well, tilting at the wind.

      Just thought I'd clear up your metaphor... that should be "tilting at windmills", a reference to Don Quixote (to tilt is to joust). Perhaps you've mixed it up a bit with "pissing into the wind", which is a metaphor for avoidable self-destructive behavior.

      Sorry. It just triggers my OCD when I see good metaphors gone bad.

  • Wind is sort of a nice idea for future, but there are things, which can be done right now. I mean producing by reducing consumption.

    For example, limiting the weight of a personal car by a universal international law.

    Now there are cars, which weigh 3000 kilograms and more. It can be limited, say, by 1500 kg. Still it can be quite a comfortable car.

    Limiting area of a air-conditioned (heated) house or apartment by 100 square meters per one person. There are houses of hundreds of rooms, tens of thousand of squa

  • Why are we attempting to create more stress on our electric grid with more sources of unreliable power? Shouldn't we be focusing on making the power grid better with reliable power sources? Why not build more nuke plants that will create more jobs and reliable power?

    • by blair1q (305137)

      It's always windy somewhere. The grid distributes the energy from where it's windy to where it's not.

      I agree we need more nuke plants, but wind generation has risk of creating mass casualties, so the more nuke plants we can omit in favor of wind plants, the better.

      Besides, the wind is going to be around a lot longer than the fissile material is.

      As for "more jobs", it doesn't matter what you build. It creates some construction jobs up front, some maintenance jobs in the back, and the operator is going to au

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him. -- Arthur R. Miller

Working...