July 02, 2013

Fourteen THOUSAND!?

I...I don't know what to say about this. via

The US experience with wind farms has left over 14,000 wind turbines abandoned and slowly decaying,

Let's go to the Brickmuppet's crack team of science babes for commentary.

I find myself in complete agreement.
Windmills are NOT the future. Build...more...nukes.

'Science Babe' is actually Misha, from Katawa Shoujo.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 11:21 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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1 Don't you know, the liberal solution to every modern problem is 100+ year old ideas.

Energy = Windmills
Political System  = Marxism.
Labor = Unionization.
Transportation = Trolly cars (called "Light Rail")

Posted by: Mauser at Wed Jul 3 03:36:52 2013 (cZPoz)

2 As recently as last week I've been seeing people say that in a hundred years all of our energy will be renewable.
That's certainly not the case unless there's some kind of breakthrough  like scrith.

Posted by: RickC at Wed Jul 3 12:02:19 2013 (A9FNw)

3 And, since I have mentioned that, we can solve the long-distance transmission issues through room-temperature superconductors.

Posted by: RickC at Wed Jul 3 12:04:31 2013 (A9FNw)

4 Honestly, this isn't all that surprising.

It would be great if every good potential site for a wind farm was open to wind farming, but that just isn't the case. The environmentalists worry about bird kills. The locals worry about noise and losing their view (or having it include a lot of windmills, which I guess lowers property values...) It was almost inevitable that some wind farms would be set up in less-than-ideal locations, where there's just not enough energy available to justify the installation. This is doubly the case due to the heavy subsidies that are occasionally available.

On top of that, it's not like wind turbines are a mature technology, and so you're going to get duds. Even in good locations, wind farms are something that only works out if your MTBF is at least as high as expected. If someone in your parts chain decided to go cheap Chinese on you, it's entirely possible that you'll get a high rate of breakdowns, with no likely economic return from attempting replacements. (Compact fluorescent light bulbs had a lot of the same problems initially - they only make sense if they last a lot longer than a regular bulb, but a lot of the initial offerings on the market didn't have that kind of reliability. Along the same lines, this makes me skeptical about the utility of home solar... for the math to work out it actually has to last as long as it says on the label, but especially with new types of panel, we just don't have the experience to tell us whether those estimates are realistic.)

There's a lot of rusty derricks out there too.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Wed Jul 3 14:09:59 2013 (GJQTS)

5 The need for metal would, one would think, drive the owners-of-record to rip these sorts of things down for the scrap value.  Unless the alloys in question are such that it isn't worth the cost to dismantle, transport and recycle them?

Posted by: Mitch H. at Thu Jul 4 08:32:18 2013 (jwKxK)

6 There really isn't that much metal there, and tearing them down would be difficult, dangerous, and expensive.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thu Jul 4 11:23:01 2013 (+rSRq)

7 You know, one really interesting thing about home solar, is that people always question the ROI.  I don't know firsthand, but I used to read Home Power regularly in the 90s, and according to them, a lot of solar panels had effective lives well beyond their design lifetime (they're rated for 20 years, but many provide something like 80-90% of rated power for 27-29 years or longer.)  I don't think mainstream people take that into consideration.
The other thing, of course, is you can't economically use solar to live a modern lifestyle unchanged:  you'd need a $20-40K setup if you expect to be able to provide the kind of power most of us use.  Most people who live off-grid do it with a few hundred to a thousand watts of PV, and couple that with things like rammed-earth or underground homes, so, for example, you don't get as hot or as cool and need less heating/cooling.  I think it would take a lot to get most people to change to live like that.

Posted by: RickC at Thu Jul 4 22:27:56 2013 (WQ6Vb)

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