Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Archive for the tag “wind power”

More on the downside of unreliable wind power: paying for decommissioning costs

I count 64 turbine towers in that view. Photo by James Ulvog, somewhere southwest of Williston, en route to Denver.

There will be major costs involved in decommissioning wind turbines. Who will pay?

3/8/17 – Stop These Things – Farmers “Hosting” Wind Turbines Faces Massive Clean Up Bills & Other Legal Liability – Legislation is under consideration which would force wind power companies to set aside money to decommission the turbines. At the moment the corporate shells holding the producing assets have nothing set aside. Without some requirement for accumulating reserves, neither the holding company nor the entity’s parents will have any responsibility to clean up the site. There will be no recourse by landowners or regulators to force the then-empty shells to clean up the sites.  That will leave the landowner or the local government or the national government holding the bill for decommissioning.

Disposing of a wind turbine means finding some way to get rid of the toxic blades, the generator containing large amounts of rare earth metals, and 1000 metric tons of buried concrete.

Situation is similarly bad in Australia. Read more…

More articles on the downside of intermittent power

The heat on that rooftop during a hot day degrades performance.   “Solar Panel” by Marufish is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A few articles over the last month on the substantial problems from trying to rely on intermittent power sources.

  • Heavy use of wind and solar in Germany is also destabilizing the grid in Poland and Czech Republic
  • New words to use when discussing intermittent energy:  energy from weather; wind plants (not farms); corporate welfare recipients
  • Effective capacity from energy sources in US (actual output compared to theoretical nameplate rating):  wind 13%, solar 38%, natural gas 87%
  • Solar panels lose output when it is really hot on the roof

2/16/17 – Wall Street Journal – In Central Europe, Germany’s Renewable Revolution Causes Friction / The country’s surplus power, a byproduct of its shift to green energy, is spilling over into Poland and Czech Republic, straining their electrical grids – Germany’s grand plan of Energiewende (meaning energy revolution) involves generating massive amounts of unreliable and unpredictable power from solar and wind sources in the northern part of the country for use in the industry intensive southern region. An additional problem (beyond massive surge and drops in production) is the country does not have enough power lines to transmit the electricity from the north to the south. As a result the power is transferred into Poland and Czech Republic and then in turn transmitted to southern Germany. Essentially the electricity is rerouted a couple hundred miles east before it is routed 400 or 500 miles south.

The complication is that on those days with lots of sunlight and those hours when there happens to strong wind (but not too much) the Polish and Czech energy markets are overwhelmed with surplus energy.

Read more…

More explanation of the serious downside of wind power

Part of the cost of wind power is externalized with great force on the wings and torsos of critters like this. Image of Golden Eagle in flight courtesy of Dollar Photo Club before their merger into Adobe Stock.

Two recent articles point out the serious limits and negative consequences of wind power.

5/13/17 – Matt Ridley at The Spectator – Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy – There are many economic, ecological, and environmental problems with wind power. Author focuses on three issues:

  • Tiny portion of total energy consumption provided by wind
  • The massive number of new turbines needed just to keep up with growth in energy use, let alone reduce the amount of fossil fuels consumed
  • The massive amount of natural resources needed to manufacture that many new turbines

I will summarize the article with my expansion on select points.

Amount of wind production worldwide

Close up of following view. Compare the size of the turbines to the roads. Photo by James Ulvog.

How much of the total consumption of energy across entire planet do you think came from wind during 2014?

Read more…

Update on environmental damage from wind power

WInd farms will soon get 30 year long permits to take out those birds. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub prior to their merger into Adobe Stock.

WInd farms will soon get 30 year long permits to take out those birds. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub prior to their merger into Adobe Stock.

Just a few of the recent articles providing updates on slice-and-dicers damage in general and status of North Dakota wind farms plants in particular.

  • Wyoming project may get specific permission to kill eagles
  • All wind farms plants get broad permission to kill eagles for 30 years
  • Massive subsidies for wind power, which is intermittent and unreliable, meaning it is often unavailable when needed
  • Updates on two N.D. turbine farms

12/8/16 – Denver Post – Wyoming wind project may get permit to kill eagles – The Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm plant, which will start with 500 slice-and-dicers and may expand to 1,000 bird-choppers, could get two critical permits by next month (January).

The first permit will allow destroying eagle nests that are currently unoccupied. I’m guessing that will chase away eagles from the kill zone.

The second permit will allow the facility to kill 14 golden eagles a year for five years. They can also off 2 bald eagles a year for five years.

The slicer farm plant will have to do mitigation for the golden eagles they expect to kill, but not the bald eagles.

Read more…

Massive experiment to store electricity will add massive cost to consumers

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The Gordon Butte Pumped Storage Hydro Project in Montana is moving forward, having previously received an assessment of no significant impact on the environment from FERC and having just received a 50 year license to operate the facility.

Looks to me like the project will substantially increase the cost of electricity.

Stored water concept

The concept is that electricity generated by wind farms plants or solar farms plants when there is no need for the electricity can be sent to the Gordon Butte facility. The otherwise unusable electricity will be used to pump water from a reservoir uphill to a reservoir at a higher elevation. That “stores” the potential energy.

Later, when consumers want more electricity than the slice-and-dicers and wing-toasters can produce, water will be drained from the upper reservoir to the lower reservoir through turbines thus generating electricity from the stored water.

Read more…

Updates on renewable energy

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before it merged into Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before it merged into Adobe Stock.

A few of many articles of interest for unreliable energy.

  • Very large solar farm completed in snowy Minnesota
  • Fighting over taxes on wind power

10/21 – AP at Reuters – Construction wraps up on largest solar facility in Midwest and 1/21/16 – Star Tribune – Largest Minnesota solar array wins approval from utility regulators and Community Energy Solar – North Star Solar

The North Star Solar facility in Minnesota has over 440,000 solar panels with theoretical capacity of 100 MW. Reported cost is $180M.

Read more…

Exquisitely expensive offshore wind farm to begin turning in October

To understand the size and extent of visual pollution, notice the small size of that work basket which would hold many people. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

To understand the extent of visual pollution and danger to navigation, notice the small size of that work basket which is large enough to hold many people. The rails are probably about four feet high. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

New York Times reports on 8/22 that America’s First Offshore Wind Farm May Power Up a New Industry – In a very upbeat puff piece, the NYT describes the Block Island Wind Farm project, which is expected to start producing electricity in October, after construction was recently completed. The turbines will start turning in October and after weeks of fine tuning (to get the phase output from each turbine identically matched and to resolve other technical issues), will start pumping out electricity.

Photo in the article shows the turbines are extremely visible from the island. If you didn’t know they are about 589 feet tall, you might guess the turbines are a half mile or mile offshore. They are actually three miles away.

Read more…

Two new wind power farms in North Dakota

Operational condition of wind turbines in California for 86% of the time in first quarter of 2015. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Operational condition of wind turbines in California for 86% of the time in first quarter of 2015. This is a still photo but visual would be the same if this was an hour-long video, other than a few coyotes wandering around wondering why their avian lunch wasn’t delivered to the usual spot. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

More articles on wind power in North Dakota.

  • Background on why wind cannot provide base load of electricity we need to live a modern life.
  • Capacity info for a new wind farm.
  • Capacity for another wind farm and worries from regulators that the increase in power from wind and decrease in power from coal may soon create instability in the electricity grid.

8/5 – Dickinson Press – Power generated by wind adds to grid, but it’s still backup to coal in North Dakota – If you are just tuning in to energy issues, check out this article. It provides background to the idea that the electricity we need all the time is from what is called base load, which comes primarily from coal plants in North Dakota.

Read more…

Wind turbine fails, or, why they earn the title slice-and-dicers

Here are merely two of the many published videos showing wind turbines as they fail. Watch for the burning hunks of rare earth metals getting spread across the prairie. Look for the reason wind turbines rightfully deserve the name slice-and-dicer.

8-3 – Gizmodo – A Malfunctioning, Flaming Wind Turbine Is Actually Quite Beautiful – Video catches two burning turbines that won’t be slicing-and-dicing any more. One in foreground produces pretty smoke patterns when the tip catches fire. Fire slows down when turbine throws a blade a few hundred feet away.

Title of video: Windmill Fire Live Video Palladam Tamilnadu 2016; link:  https://youtu.be/Q5COAi6KM8o?t=38

Another video demonstrates why every turbine needs to constructed many hundreds of feet away from anything of value, like houses, farm buildings, livestock, transmission lines, or roads.

With luck, the turbine, tower, and massive blades will fall straight down upon failure.

Without luck, those hundred foot long blades will go airborne like a javelin. In the video, when launched at a roughly 45 degree down angle, it looks like one blade travels 4 or 5 times its length, which would be somewhere between 400 and 700 feet. How far would a blade travel if launched at a 45 degree up angle?

At worst, the three blades disintegrate into small chunks of shrapnel, flying every direction, imitating an explosion from World War II anti-aircraft artillery.

Warning: the clip of a vulture getting hit, falling to the ground mortally wounded, struggling to regain its footing, is nauseating. That only happens to raptors, what, many thousands of times a year in the U.S.?

Yeah, wind turbines have worked hard to earn the well-deserved title of slice-and-dicer.

Title: Best Wind Turbine Crash/Fail Compilation HD 2016; link: https://youtu.be/wfzgIxMEo8g?t=19

Oh, tornadoes and wind turbines don’t play well together. Ponder the overlap of where tornadoes and wind turbines are concentrated.

More media outlets are catching on to the damage caused by wind power

Nice photo from Palm Springs, but unforunately this is not symbolic of the sun setting on destructive wind power. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before merging into Adobe Stock.

Nice photo from Palm Springs, but unfortunately this is not symbolic of the sun setting on destructive wind power. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before merging into Adobe Stock.

Check out the following articles showing two more media outlets finally catching on to the economic, environment, and wildlife damage caused by intermittent, expensive wind power.

7/19 – New York Times – How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course – Article explains how massive subsidies to renewable wind and solar plants along with brute force efforts to require utilities to buy the expensive electricity is pushing nuclear energy out of business.

The severe disruptions to the grid which are expected as a natural consequence of wind and solar power are now of concern to this author.

Here are just two of the massive distortions from the current push for artificially increasing reliance on renewables.

Read more…

More wind power coming on line in North Dakota

Above party did not speak at hearings which approved 159 wind turbines. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Above party did not speak at hearings which approved 159 wind turbines. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Several articles on the increasing number of slice-and-dicers in the state.

Also, ethanol lobbyists want the feds to force customers to buy more of their food-based power; this is cronyism in action. That customers don’t want to burn more corn in their cars and don’t want the higher prices and don’t want to risk damaging their engines is not a factor in the lobbying.

6/16 – Forum News Service at Bismark Tribune – N.D. utility regulators approve wind farm project – The state PSC approved the Brady Wind Energy Center I near Dickinson. There has been a lot of public opposition to the project for quite some time.

Read more…

More news on the environmental and ecological damage caused by unreliable renewables.

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

FWS proposes to allow 4,200 incidental takings (that means killing them) of the above bird each year. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

The bad news just keeps rolling in on how much damage is caused by wind and solar power. An update on the proposal to allow wind projects to kill off a bunch of eagles, more followup on an Ivanpah tower starting itself on fire, and negative electricity prices in Germany.

5/15 – Robert Bryce at Wall Street Journal – An Ill Wind: Open Season on Bald Eagles / Sacrificing 4,200 of the birds a year for green energy sounds fine to regulators.

Proposed rule will extend to 30 years from 5 years the amount of time that wind farm operators are allowed to kill eagles. This will allow taking out up to 4,200 bald eagles a year out of the estimated 72,400 living in the US today.

Read more…

Proposal to give wind farms permission to kill eagles for 30 years

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

FWS calculates killing 4,200 of the above birds per year will not put the species in danger. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Proposal from the Fish and Wildlife Service would allow 30 year permits for ‘incidental taking’ of bald eagles and golden eagles. A few other articles provide more news on the damage from unreliable energy.

5/4 – AP at FoxNews – New administration rule would permit thousands of eagle deaths at wind farms – After previous rules allowing killing of eagles for 30 years at wind farms plants were struck down, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced a new set of proposals.

Wind farm plant operations now will be able to get permits to kill off bald and golden eagles up to 30 years.

Read more…

More disruption from unstable renewable energy

Unreliable energy. Notice turbines are facing many different directions as indicator of low, irregular output. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Unreliable energy near Palm Springs, CA. Notice turbines are facing many different directions as indicator of low, irregular output. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Renewable energy sources are unreliable because the output is variable and unpredictable. They also require massive subsidies to underwrite installation and production. Here are a few articles I’ve noted that describe the economic and environmental damage from unreliables.

Subsidies

3/26/16 – Wall Street Journal – Solar-Panel Installers Face Clouded Future / Solar-power incentives for homeowners shrinking as local utilities pressure state regulators – Let’s go through the economics again.

Residential solar power only works because of massive subsidies. Federal taxpayers must provide subsidies through federal tax credits, state taxpayers must provide subsidies through state incentives, and electricity users must provide subsidies through net-metering. If any subsidy goes away, the economics of residential solar collapse.

Article makes the point one more time: unreliable renewables only with heavy subsidies. When Nevada announced plans to cut back the massive cross-subsidy from other consumers, solar installers closed up shop in the state.

Here’s why. Look at the payment given to solar-customers for electricity their site produces but doesn’t use:

Read more…

The energy revolution driven by fracking isn’t over – 2 of 2

Training rig. Photo by James Ulvog.

Training rig. Photo by James Ulvog.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have turned the energy world upside down. The massive transition isn’t over. A few articles on the massive benefits of fracking. Part 1 of this discussion here.

2/14 – Matt Ridley, Rational Optimist – Low Oil Prices Are a Good Thing / The shale revolution has changed the world  – Article explains that low oil prices are an incredible benefit for consumers across the world.

Pointing out news that is not news to anyone who has paid attention to the energy business in the recent years, article explains the current volatility is currently disrupting and will continue to disrupt many producers. A lot of producers will go out of business. Keep in mind that the drilling rigs, equipment, and especially the oil under the ground will not vaporize as a result. The know-how to more efficiently drill more productive wells more quickly more cheaply will be around a long time.

Article explains a cited book which makes the point that the shale revolution is just getting started. The improved efficiency producing higher output in the last two years has brought many producers to the point where they can be productive in the $30 or $40 range.

The technology has increased to the point that if prices rebound to slightly higher levels than where they are now would make it possible to bring horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing into conventional oil fields and produce increases there.

The net effect of all these amazing advances is that shale oil will put a cap on how far oil prices can rise. As prices go up a whole bunch of undrilled locations become lucrative.

3/1 – Mark Perry, Carpe Diem – Charts and Updates on America’s Amazing Shale Revolution, It’s Not over yet – Astounding graphs, as usual.

Read more…

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