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Windmills in our mountains. What's so bad?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by save$, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    It shouldn't be "please, mister developer, if this batch of turbines (shopping mall, factory, etc.) isn't going to be used anymore, would you kindly restore the site?". They should be legally bound to do so.

    Unlike a coal (or NG) plant, wind generation needs no fuel delivered so that's not a valid comparison. Transmission line losses are real and can be greatly reduced by local usage. So put the damn things in Westchester if that's where they need the juice.

    Ehouse
    eclecticcottage, raybonz and ScotO like this.

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  2. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Ray, it's OK for us to disagree on things, no grudges here. I can see why some people are fully "bought into" the windmill thing. I fully agree that we need an alternative, I just disagree that windmills are the way to do it. Like Ehouse stated, just the transmission loss alone (transporting it long distances to the useage site) saps alot of the benefit out of it. And there are much better ways, IMO. Solar, for the homeowner, will eventually be the way to go I think. And the technology is there, it's just unaffordable to the average Joe. We would have to become much less wasteful to make it feasable. I'd love to be able to put solar shingles on my entire workshop roof to generate at least SOME of the electricity we go through here at home, but cannot afford the initial cost yet. Have you looked into tidal power generation? That would be far less of an eyesore, and a never-ending constant (unlike the wind) source of energy, all under water and out of sight. I also like the idea of magma powerplants, using the core power of the earth to generate steam for power. There's also clean gas technology (they're using it in Europe), we need to get off of big oil and start using that here. But we also NEED coal........like it or not. Not to mention we sell an ENORMOUS amount of coal to China, and they (unlike us) pump the emissions directly into the air, no scrubbing or cleaning of it whatsoever. That poison (the stuff that most of our power plants are regulated to clean out before it leaves the smokestack) is going into the same global air that we breathe......until they regulate theirselves (which they probably will NEVER do) our efforts to kill global warming are futile.

    Anyway, I'm good with a difference of opinion, bud........I just see it differently than you. In the end, I want this world to be cleaner for my children and eventually my grandchildren.
    Realstone likes this.
  3. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    That's my stock price going up;)

    No more PTC in 2013=no new wind turbines in US.
    Solar is the new wind.

    Guess how much of a fine it is to even possess a bird of prey - wether shot or not in the US - 10k
    Guess how many you can kill on a wind farm and not pay any fine? all you want to
  4. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    We have windmills over here, they are spreading like wildfires.

    I don't have a problem with them per se, but they only produce power when the wind blows.

    Everybody I know wants power when they get up in the morning and want to boil a kettle for coffee.......;)
    Realstone likes this.
  5. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    That's right. It doesn't need fuel delivered. That should be counted as a plus, especially since the price of wind doesn't change when the Gulf of Hormuz blows up. Even a domestic fuel (like coal or NG) will skyrocket when stuff like that happens, for no reason other than greed. Personally I feel that's why the elites are so afraid of renewables, because you can't OWN the wind, or the sun. There's no way to monopolize it so there's no reason to invest in it. Who is King Coal? Old money, that's who.

    As far as transmission losses go that's always been the case. Transportation is rarely anything over 8%, whether you're talking lamb from Australia or hydro power from Quebec. Most people live in valleys where the land was fertile and they're closer to water. Wind is up on the mountain where only crazy people would want to build a house (myself included). You have to put them where the wind is, but I'm sure I'd change my mind if I had to deal with it and received no benefit.
  6. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    The fact that the general public is becoming aware is important and that is happening. The bottom line is we need to wean ourselves off fuels that can be depleted and also we should focus on the cleanest and most reliable methods. The trouble with coal is tends to be very dirty no matter how many pollution controls are placed on it. Another downside is it requires lots of heavy equipment and labor to harvest and transport it which further increases out dependance on oil plus adds the cost of labor. On the upside it creates jobs but I question if this is work I would want to be doing. Whatever is done needs safeguards and studies done to evaluate any impacts that may occur. If solar ever became affordable it would be great to harvest our own power and this too would create good jobs especially on a local level as in small businesses. I am trying to keep an open mind and respect your opinion as well as anyone else. What the public needs are facts not fiction from impartial 3rd party experts (scientists, engineers and conservationists). This will be the challenging part to achieve..

    Ray
  7. Monosperma

    Monosperma Member

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    Government subsidizes petroleum, big time, but many folks refuse to acknowledge that. Domestically, via non-competitive bidding on cheap and low-royalty permits on federal lands. Imported petroleum is subsidized too, via military/intelligence/diplomatic actions, infrastructure, security of facilities, etc. By the way, can you say "tax breaks" for oil companies? If that's not a direct subsidy, I don't know what is. Government subsidizes coal too, for example, every time coal is transported "cheaply" on a railroad. And don't forget about the huge un-accounted-for externalities of carbon fuel emissions (disease to living things) which are generally not included in the accounting. If you were to include these very real factors (there are not the only subsidies, by the way) in the computation of ROI, suddenly wind is competing.

    I agree, wind producers should be required to restore one day, same as mining. Re fuel delivery, I think that is EXACTLY the comparison, EXACTLY the point. No fuel required for operation. Re transmission line losses, does physics exact a greater tax on wind-generated electricity than on coal or NG-generated electricity? Isn't that more or less a constant which increases at the same rate over distance, regardless of energy source, be it solar, nuclear, wind, fossil, etc.?
    raybonz likes this.
  8. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    I got right up to them and couldn't hear a thing. but then my wife says I never hear her either. You know one of the reasons your gas cost so much is that there is the undercurrent to keep gas prices up so alturnative power will be competative. As for Tidal power, just mention that in ary area and the fishermen will take up arms. They are sure it disrups their trade.
    Fact of the mater is that about the only user friendly power is solar. The rest has a lot of people messing their pants for what ever reason they can come up with.
    raybonz likes this.
  9. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Gas is not expensive. It's incredibly cheap compared to almost every alternative. It's a miracle it's not higher than it is.
  10. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Give it time it will be!

    Ray
  11. skyline

    skyline Burning Hunk

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    Haven't been on here in a while but thought I would post a few pics I took last year over Eastern WA & OR. Power generation is a tradeoff. You can't just say you don't want one kind without saying what you do want, even though folks do it all the time. While I wouldn't want one of the towers above my house, I sure think they look great from a distance. That and knowing a bunch of US farmers are getting a serious bonus check instead of some sheik feels a lot better to me. That they are also clean, domestic and that the more distributed our power resources are, the less vulnerable we are to any single event feels better too.
    DSC_2929.jpg DSC_2942.jpg DSC_2943.jpg
    Poult, Monosperma and raybonz like this.
  12. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Wow cool pics!

    Ray
  13. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    If only that were true. Any piddly amount that the government subsidizes 'Big Oil' is eclipsed by the sheer amount of revenue they pay out to governments through job creation and taxes at multiple levels.
  14. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    Here is the problem with wind and solar:
    Nicely put woodchip. The power from both these sources is sporadic and intermittent; unreliable. Our society highly depends on reliable power, on demand.

    But I think there is a solution. The shortcoming of these two power sources is that there is no efficient (read: cost efficient) storage of energy (by the way, it is grossly inefficient to just feed the power they generate into the grid). So, what to do? What we really need is a better battery. A battery is simply a store of potential energy. What I suggest is to use the windmills for their original purpose which was pumping water uphill. Store the water in a large reservoir and use it to create clean hydro electricity on demand. The spent water could also be released to a lower storage pool so that there is little eco damage.

    With both wind and solar, it would be useful to generate hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis on site, right at the source of power. The hydrogen could be transported to a more urban location to avoid transmission line loss. This method also has a near zero eco impact.
    ScotO and raybonz like this.
  15. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    The Athabaska oil sands
    The Bakken shale formation
    The Bazhenov formation
    Gasification of coal.

    Don't think so.
  16. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    This x1000000000000000000000

    They keep talking about putting them in the lake. OMG do they not understand what's probably in the mud that will be stirred up (retorical question-they do, they don't care, I know...I've followed the LOOW enough to know better)?! Plus the effects visually. If NYC need the power, then they can have the generators whatever they are.
  17. Monosperma

    Monosperma Member

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    All you have said here is that Big Oil and Big Coal are very, very, big. Not that they don't presently receive subsidies (which they cling to and jealously guard), and not that they received even more government help early on. But I think your thoughts on energy storage are spot on. Solve this, and the world will change. Personally, I think splitting water into H2 and O2 is indeed the way it will go; the main question being how many intermediate steps, e.g. battery-operated automobiles, will we have to go through to get there. I'd like to see some research now into how would large-scale release of these gasses, particularly hydrogen, affect our atmosphere.
  18. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    When i drove across country years ago i loved driving through Wyoming along rt 80. The windmills on the tops of the mountains looked awesome. The little oil rigs along the highway were neat to see also
    bfunk13 likes this.
  19. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    They won't look so awesome when they start to rust and fall over, and the taxpayer is handed the bill for getting rid of them.
    eclecticcottage likes this.
  20. sesmith

    sesmith Member

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    Wow, you sure can tell from the responses that it's an election year! It's really unfortunate that energy policy, climate change policy, and the need to switch to renewables is such a politically charged partisan issue.

    I've stopped to visit several windmill sites in NY and don't have a problem with them. As long as the appropriate setbacks are used, there is no noise issue.

    To the guy from Pa., the disturbance cause by windmill development (that can only be located on hilltops) pales in comparison to the disturbance they're causing down there with gas development! Now, that's something to get riled up about. As far as deer go, some breakup of the landscape, actually benefits those critters, giving them more browse (yes, the same could be said of gas well sites once they are left alone). Those overgrown rodents will get used to anything. My daughter lives in Ithaca, where the overpopulation of them go from yard to yard eating ornamentals and gardens. You have to physically shoo them to get them to move.

    A recent NREL study had the following key point:

    "Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country."

    http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/re_futures/

    Wind should be a part of that. It's a locally sourced supply of energy around here. That HELPS with line losses.

    Another very good energy read is the book "Sustainable Energy- without all the hot air" by David MacKay, which can be read online for free here:

    http://www.withouthotair.com/Contents.html

    It's an eye opener. The take home message I got from that book is that the US has the potential to supply all of it's electrical needs with renewables. It makes no sense that we don't work toward that goal as quickly as possible. It's a no-brainer, shouldn't be partisan in nature, and needs to be done.
    woodgeek likes this.
  21. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I looked into setting up a windmill at my house and it was just not cost effective at all. By the time it would be near it's payoff, it would right around the end of it's service life.
    AND that was assuming it would be producing near it's output yearly. It gets windy here, but when we get those storms, it would be TOO much wind for most turbines!

    I went with solar panels instead. 30 year warranty, 50ish year expected service life. No noise, no moving parts, really no maintenance minus maybe cleaning them every year or two.
    Realstone and eclecticcottage like this.
  22. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    If wind is the future, then put it atop all of the skyscrapers in the big cities that are sucking the power anyway.

    Someone should invent solar panels that work as windows, then they can put those in all those city buildings instead of the reflective films and DO something instead of flapping their lips about how everyone in rural areas should put up with whatever ugly technology comes along that's "green" so THEY can have their AC and 10,000 little electronic devices and plug in cars.

    And that has nothing to do with election year politics.

    Nate, we don't have the room for a windmill here, but looked into it when we were looking at a larger property. I agree, they are WAY too expensive. I'd like to add some solar here, eventually. I wish they'd take all the subsidies they give the companies and give them to individuals, I bet more people would have solar (I think Ontario did something like this? I saw a LOT of solar arrays up there along the lakeshore when we drove around the lake a few weeks ago). I would love some of the solar shingles-we don't have enough room for the ground mounted arrays.
  23. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    30% rebate right now for solar panels. Probably wind turbines as well. Just claim it on taxes.

    2x the juice in solar (4k of panels) vs wind (2k turbine) cost me under 1/2 the price. I don't know exactly how it'll do this winter with the minimal light we have, but the nearly constant light in the summer should balance it out.
  24. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    What did you estimate the solar panels ROI at?

    *Edit* and is that without subsidies?
  25. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    Here's the difference: Big Oil and Big Coal could do very well without tax breaks and subsidies. Big Wind, Big Solar, even Big Eco? Not a chance. Don't get me wrong, I am all for better, cleaner, less invasive ways to do what we do as a society. But it has to be sustainable. Economically sustainable. Believe it or not, it is more important to be sustainable on Wall St. (and Bay St.) than anything else.

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