Post by Christine Brook on Apr 30, 2012 17:42:42 GMT 9.5
Wind farms in the wrong places are turning the public against fighting climate change
Not in my backyard seems to apply to windfarms as well as nuclear power. According to author Bill Bryson there is a backlash against windfarms among countryfolk in the UK with a total of 8,851 already built/approved and awaiting approval.
Wind is likely to suffer from NIMBYism worse than nuclear because of the fact that it actually is annoying to those who live near it (e.g. the noise pollution and strobe light effect, whether they cause direct health effects or not that'd still be very annoying) while a nuclear plant pretty much just sits there providing high paying jobs.
Some state national parties have been trying to get a moratorium on wind farms so it does seem that opposition to the things is appearing in Australia.
Post by David B. Benson on May 10, 2012 14:12:16 GMT 9.5
A compilation of various information about wind turbines which I wrote for a blog where it was clear the commenters understood rather little about the technology and the integration problems:
(1) Wind turbine generators are induction machines, rather similar in design to the induction motor which runs your refrigerator compressor. Because of variable speed, between the induction generator and the transmission lines there is power electronics so that the resulting electricity is an constant frequency, either 50 Hz or 60 Hz depending upon the grid standard. [For example, Japan has both, Europe uses 50 Hz, North America uses 60 Hz.] The power electronics makes wind generators highly controllable; enough wind generators operating enhances grid stability at around the 1 second range when properly controlled as in Spain. Source for some of this is in an IEA Wind Power Study www.vtt.fi/inf/pdf/tiedotteet/2009/T2493.pdf
over 100 pages long.
(2) Since wind is variable the wind turbines absolutely require a balancing agent so that the total power provided by all the generators on the grid match, rather precisely, the instantaneous demand. When hydro is available the hydro resource provides the best balancing agent. Otherwise, natgas burners are adequate while coal burners are terrible in that those units cannot ramp adequately except for certain placements of sufficient wind generators, a situation rarely met as it depends upon the geography. Even when natgas burners are used the extra ramping caused by the wind generators results in burning more natgas, indeed failing to completely burn the methane so releasing some to the atmosphere when ramping up quickly.
(3) In the USA from 2001 to 2011 the power produced by all sources of fossil fuel burners, including natgas burners, feel by close to 3.5%. In 2011 wind generators provided 3% of the power so there is a correlation between wind generation and declining fossil fuel usage. However, at the same time manufacturing declined in the USA and that may explain much of the drop as heavy industry, such as aluminum smelting and electric arc iron operations consume vast amounts of power.
(4) The amount of steel and concrete needed per unit of power for wind generators is many times greater than that required for nuclear power plants (NPPs). However, with the current production tax incentive, the LCOE for wind is less than the LCOE for NPPs.
(5) Direct environmental impacts of wind farms include stirring down warm air during inversions, heating the ground and promoting evaporation, raptor displacement and bat kills. Raptors avoid wind farms and fields a long way down wind as it is impossible to fly in the turbulent air; raptors often don't turn up even when the wind isn't blowing. With no predators the rodent population explodes with deleterious effects on the ecology of the avoided areas. [This from a anecdotal report; I have yet to see a proper scientific study.] Bats have no means of avoiding the turbines and worse, the turbulent air downwind can have sufficient pressure differences to rip the lungs out of the bats.