Thu
Aug 21 2008
11:08 pm

Somewhere between Lincoln and Russell County Kansas we saw these gigantic windmill farms that went on forever. Well, for at least 15 or 20 miles. There were hundreds if not thousands of them. I don't recall seeing these the last time we were through here a few years ago.

According to this article, a 100 turbine Kansas farm that went online in 2006 generates enough power for 42,000 homes.

Of course, Republicans in Kansas are opposed to them. In this 2005 press release, Frank Miller, Republican Representative for the 12th District of Kansas, complains about all the tax breaks they get (without mentioning all the tax breaks oil companies get), and cites environmental concerns (without mentioning coal fired power plant pollution or nuclear waste disposal). Maybe it's just me, but these windmill farms look a lot less harmful than a coal fired power plant.

(Rep. Miller notes in his press release that a "100 tower farm with a rated capacity of 100 megawatts running at 30 percent capacity would generate an income in 10 years of approximately $47 million." Sounds like a pretty good supplemental income for farmers.)

More photos (taken from a moving vehicle)...


Graceful


Wind turbines as far as you can see


Past meets future

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R. Neal's picture

P.S. I just checked, and

P.S. I just checked, and Douglas Dam has a rated capacity of 165,600 kilowatts. If my arithmetic is not mistaken, at 100MW per 100 wind turbines, that equals about 165 wind turbines*. How many acres of land would 165 wind turbines take up v. Douglas Reservoir?

(*It is late, and I'm tired from driving all day, so I could be confused.)

Johnny Ringo's picture

Of course, a lot of people

Of course, a lot of people get a lot of recreational pleasure from Douglas lake. Having said that, I think that the windmills are beautiful. It's a shame they suffer from the same NIMBY problem as many other useful utilities, but let's be fair - it's not just Republicans that have opposed them.

lovable liberal's picture

Most times I say something

Most times I say something nice about Ted Kennedy - and over the past ten years I've really come to appreciate him - I add, "except for Cape Wind."

Liberty and justice for all.

My home

Anonymous's picture

Wind Power

The problem with wind is that you cannot control when you will get power and when you will not. With few exceptions, you can control the power generation of a hydro plant. Wind is not very good at offsetting the need for other generators (coal, gas, nuclear, etc) but is good at offsetting fuel consumption. Since wind is not controllable, you may save on the amount of coal you burn in a year, for example, but you will not eliminate the need to build the coal fired plant since you will need it to run when the wind is not blowing (or blowing too hard).

Wind generation has other problems as well: bird kills, noise, voltage flicker (makes your lights look like you are in a disco). These problems are not insurmountable, but they are not trivial either. Many of these problems become much more of an issue when you increase the amount of wind generation in a given area.

I support wind generation but think the news media does a horrible job presenting its capabilities in a realistic fashion. An illustration: scientists will tell you that they can make gold. You use a particle accelerator, smash some atomic particles together and like magic you can get almost unmeasurable quantities of gold. If the media covered this fact the way they cover wind power you would think that we could be buying gold machines at Walmart in the next few years if it weren't for "big gold" holding the technology back. While the truth is that it is scientifically possible to make gold, but terribly impractical. Wind power is not quite this extreme but the talking heads and news reporters sure do a good job of overselling it.

SteveMule's picture

Actaully ...

Uh, actaully Anonymous what is clear is that you don't live in a place Kansas, or anywhere on the Great Plains. I've news for you: The wind ALWAYS blows. Sometimes alot, sometimes less, but it ALWAYS blows. That's why they're building the Wind Farms out here and not along Middlebrook Pike.
Secondly, no one expects Wind Power to provide 100% of our energy needs. I've heard the number of 10% and that seems realistic to me.

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!

SteveMule

bizgrrl's picture

In Kansas, on the

In Kansas, on the plains:

The wind ALWAYS blows. Sometimes alot, sometimes less, but it ALWAYS blows.

That's exactly what we said to each other after reading that comment.

Is Kansas long term for you, Steve? Beautiful country, a little remote.

SteveMule's picture

Yes, Kansas is long term.

Yes, Kansas is long term. That might change if I win the Lottery (which I don't play - I've more sense than to waste my money on it) and I could convince my family to move back with me)

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!

SteveMule

YankeeDoodleDandy's picture

Wind always blowing?

Your statement isn't quite accurate. I live on a 4th-geneartion cattle ranch near Emporia, Kansas. The wind does not always blow. It blows more consistently than in other regions as you state, no doubt about it, but to say it is always blowing is akin to saying it is always sunny. It's factually incorrect. The idea of wind-generated power is exciting to anybody who cares about keeping the world livable. But those huge towers do generate some considerable headaches for the locals. There's a very good documentary out about it, "Winds of Change." The massive wind farms across the mostly uninhabited deserts east of Los Angeles are a very good example of placing turbines where they will have a minimal impact on humans and wildlife. That's a gigantic farm and it generates massive amounts of power due to relatively consistent (like Kansas) winds. Solar power is another massive resource. According to the EPA enough solar power strikes earth daily to fuel current annual global needs for 28 years. Why we aren't putting massive dollars (with the exception of the insane tax-payer ripoff of Solynra) behind finding ways to create inexpensive and very efficient solar capture devices is beyond comprehension. Fossil fuels are just that, a relic from the past that need to die.

Rob's picture

Math

Sir your math is wrong. Regardless of a wind turbines rated capacity they can only operate at about 25% efficiency. This means you would need considerably more than your projected number.

Anonymously Nine's picture

More than just Republicans...

Plenty of other people have concerns about windmills.

(link...)

(link...)

Windmills can cause significant noise pollution. There are claims the noise level can be a irritant for a mile or two away. Sometimes MIMBY makes sense.

(link...)

(link...)

EricLykins's picture

Not near my goat ranch

windmills cause decreased sex drive and potentially fatal insomnia for goats.

"People will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy." -President Barack Obama

Anonymously Nine's picture

correction

MIMBY=NIMBY

SteveMule's picture

Income has already started coming in

Neal, Folks,
I recently moved to Kansas, not that far from the Wind Farm you saw. I have relatives (by marrige; my brother's in-laws) that have property that is part of this. They were in danger of losing that land a while back. Now thaty are set for the rest of their lives.
On a recent trip to Manhattan, KS, I took some pix of this wind farm, but yours, Neal, are much better :-)

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!

SteveMule

Brian A.'s picture

If coal prices continue to

If coal prices continue to rise as they have been, wind power will be a more viable alternative.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

tin cup's picture

How many acres of land would

How many acres of land would 165 wind turbines take up v. Douglas Reservoir?

Don't know. Can't wait to tie my boat up to a wind mill though. Maybe the crappie are biting between turbine 121 and 128.

Aren't there some serious moving parts on these wind mills that require frequent OILING?

metulj's picture

Question: What's your

Question: What's your opinion of eminent domain?

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Factchecker's picture

The evil wind!

Aren't there some serious moving parts on these wind mills that require frequent OILING?

It's almost negligible, smartass. And yes, to get to them, service personnel even have to drive trucks that burn oil!

smalc's picture

Watch out, apparently they

Watch out, apparently they explode:
(link...)

Up Goose Creek's picture

Variable power supplies

I think the solution to varying power is to design power outlets that can be turned on by remote control. That way a cusomer with an electric vehicle could get a break on electricity that is used when KUB or whatever power supplier has excess capacity. Once such a device were invented, it would be easy to retrofit water heaters so that the upper element functions as usual and the lower element is fed by "surplus" power.

____________________________________
"Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse."

SteveMule's picture

Vairable Voltage

Voltage variation is taken care of in the power grid before it reaches it your house. Because the US power Grid is AC (60 Hz) it is vitally important that it be in balance at all times. The 2002 (?) North East black out is example of what happens when it isn't in balance; that Grid was unable to comensate fast enough for the cascading effects and ... well, we saw what happened.
The only way you'd need any kind of control (remote or otherwise) would be if, and only if, you had a wind turbine hooked up directly to your house. That isn't happening.

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!

SteveMule

ATSF616's picture

Noise and vibration

I must confess I can see how it might be a real issue. We stumbled on our first view of operational wind turbines near Kentland, in western Indiana, back in April.

They do generate a distinct, almost sub-audible, visceral thump...thump...thump, sort of like slow-motion helicopter blades, that could conceivably get old after a while if you had to live with it 24 hours a day.

Mike Reed's picture

Truly, truly Great

Truly, truly Great Pictures (you should offer them to KS tourism board) & thanks for noticing KS on your way thru. So many just ignore the "bread basket" of the US or make disparaging comments.
Truth is, KS is not a fabulous place to visit, unless you know people here. But it is a great place to live, to rear and/or have family. Most of our "treasures" are hidden away on secondery & dirt roads.
The wind has powered KS for over a century. First to drive water wells, then to provide rudimentary electricity (generators & batteries) before Rural Electrification Assoc. came into being in the 1930s.
These new monsters utilize a renewable natural resource and require subsidies... to off-set the many existing & pre-existing subsidies provided to oil, NG & coal - and their purveyors, Public/Regulated Utilities.
Modern wind generators are much more efficient supplemental providers that require little maintenance (sealed bearings, central computer controls, and extremely durable construction, e.g. - they're expensive).
I live within 40 miles of your photo location and would welcome them into my backyard any day. There is sound, but it's much like the relatively constant wind itself ...and immeasurably more pleasant than traffic or the neighbors' air conditioners.
Thanks again, and stop back by KS whenever you're on the move. We try hard to be friendly and helpful to all foregners.
Mike

bizgrrl's picture

Thanks, Mike. We have driven

Thanks, Mike. We have driven I-70 through Kansas twice now and actually enjoyed it both times more than we thought we would. Some of us truly do appreciate the beauty of the crops.

Couple of questions regarding the crops. It looked like there was two different crops of corn, one planted later than the other. Is this true or is the shorter plant just look like corn but is something else? There was a lot of a low lying crop, some sort of bean we guessed. Do you have an idea as to what it is?

We thoroughly enjoyed the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum we visited the first time we passed through Kansas. It is a highly recommended stop.

Nobody's picture

The farm

What is the name of the wind farm in question? That is one big project.

I believe it is about 30 miles west of Salida, correct?

Noooobody's picture

How about politically green?

As one of many conservatives who also happen to be very much interested in green energy, I was put off by this blog entry's statement "Of course, Republicans in Kansas are opposed to [wind turbines]." This kind of rhetoric is very divisive, even from a "by liberals for liberals" blogger (is that where you're coming from?).

Building coalitions has always been the only effective way to instigate lasting, speedy change--even more so now. If green supporters ever hope to gain consensus from opposition, our collective mindset will have to change from one of "us versus them" to "we're working together to achieve environmentally sustainable, economically sound and globally independent energy policy."

Throwing rocks in the form of broad characterizations and negative assumptions only sets us all back.

R. Neal's picture

I think most folks would

I think most folks would agree that the Republican record of the last eight years on energy policy pretty much speaks for itself.

As for "divisive rhetoric," hey, I was just quoting the Republican in Kansas. Did you read his press release?

At any rate, environmentalists and others interested in sustainable energy policies welcome any support from anyone any time, anywhere they can get it.

Nobody's picture

The last time I checked,

The last time I checked, windmills do not cause cancer. They might cause global cooling by slowing down the wind. As for bird killin', perhaps we could install bird whistles along each blade (like deer whistles). Oh no, then there would be more noise about which someone would complain. But seriously, how can one complain about a freakin' windmill? It is a less-destructive form of energy than even hydro. Unless, perhaps, you try to project all of the forms of air transportation that will crash into the towers over the next 1000 years. Please, zero-point energy, save us from these irrational activists to whom everything is either too much or too little--but nothing is ever just right.

Nobody's picture

windmill

Don't think this energy is free, don't assume this is even near less expensive than burning coal. Funny how we see something new and think there is the answer, why isn't this everywhere? There is no free in energy.
These are one of the most riskiest jobs on the earth to put up and repair. Actually an AE episode on the worlds toughest fixes were on these windmills and the crews that put them up and repair them. Very, very expensive and risky.
One windmill takes two of the largest crane's built to put the fan blade up. About four men (that are usually near daredevils) are inside the tube and bolt this down. Now, the transformer that is behind the prop does not last forever, they need to be replaced on a regular basis, does not last for the rest of our lives. Where does all that magnetic energy an engine's go (your local recycle bin?). No, you have a large piece of crap that is dangerous and toxic material. You want to talk about an expensive fix, with almost the highest fatality jobs? One gust of wind over 25mph can cause the prop to shift and take bodies and split them in two like breaking a toothpick.
The cost to operate is not cheap, don't think you just put one of these up and you have free energy (which most tree huggers think).
Just like the electric car, there is coal burnt to feed that electricity when that baby is plugged in all night.
Oh, you say Prius, we should all drive those? That nickel battery is one of the most toxic that is known (actually made by panasonic). A Camry from birth to death leaves less a carbon footprint.
The nickel battery is made in Canada, shipped to Japan, then shipped back to the U.S. for sale in your prius. Very expensive to dispose of, and now we have over 1 million of them on the road. Leakage from an accident, your toast! One study had a Hummer H2 with less a total carbon footprint, I think that may be a stretch. Best bet is a cheap Kia or Honda Fit or Chevy Aveo. Just cause it's innovative, doesn't make it less expensive. Dust to Dust for a Prius is way more pollution to our big Rock than a Scion, little Chevy, or Kia. But, we just like to look cool and progressive, like all the hollywood stars (with no better than a high school education) driving up making their "cool" statement how we should live. Then they hop on their jet to go watch the Indy 500. Don't listen to politicians, listen to engineer's!
One has to look at the total equation, that not too many people but engineers really know the truth. A lot of emotional propaganda. Every goes after Hummer H2, only 150,00 have been sold in the last 9 years. 4 Million Land Rovers, what do think is going to leave more pollution? Alternative, yes, actually saving energy and being more efficient for the globe, not even close. Jobs for 400 Americans at American General (not GM) in Indiana, yes. All the trucks, cranes, workers cars and gas that is spent maintaining this field make the difference not too great. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no free energy tree huggers, look at everything involved, these things do not grow out of the fields of Kansas. I will say they are cool looking though, or maybe the first 300 miles west in Kansas brought me to near death for scenery that anything is a wellcome site. This type of engineering is not my field, I am old and retired, but I can tell you this from doing some simple math on a cafe napkin, A vehicle at 15 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 800 gallons a year of gasoline. A vehicle at 25 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons a year. So, the average clunker transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year. They (OBAMACITES) claim 700,000 vehicles – so that's 224 million gallons/year. That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil. 5 million barrels of oil is about ¼ of one day's US consumption. And, 5 million barrels of oil costs about $375 million dollars at $75/bbl. So, we all contributed to spending $3 billion to save $375 million. Too bad those old cars could not have gone to some poor people to get to a job instead of destroying them. Tour China, South America, we are 5% of the globe, their standards for pollution are zero, China still uses Benzyne.
How good a deal was that cash for clunker? Wait until they serve as your healthcare provider.

reform4's picture

Coal plants

.. are generally shut down every year for major overhauls and repairs (retubing the boilers, etc). I've known people killed in boiler explosions, and just missed a collapse of a brick stack that killed several people. How many people have been killed so far in the wind turbine business?

The Prius/Hummer thing is all myth that has been debunked by numerous neutral agencies.
(link...)

Anonymously Nine's picture

help me out

Why would anyone place a 400 foot tall propeller design nacelle that is the size of a school bus in tornado alley? How do you maintain such a structure with any reasonable cost?

This design has a problem with braking in high winds. Isn't this like placing a power plant on an earthquake fault?

Your thoughts on this:

(link...)

(link...)

There are superior designs. Why the reluctance to use the better designs that are closer to the ground, more efficient, much quieter, and much less of a threat to birds? Not to mention much better return on investment?

reform4's picture

"Turbine Accidents"?

The chart just says turbine accidents- not wind turbines. Methinks somebody is playing loose with the facts, I suspect they decided to lump in steam turbines.

The second video is stupid- no one ever said wind would replace base load power. There are some outright falsehoods in the video, too (how could Germany have 'halted' wind power, when they are planning 7,000 new units over the next 3 years??)

I don't understand the issue with high winds- the blades are designed to 'feather' in high winds.

I smell the influence of the coal industry at work, with this many falsehoods and exaggerations.

Nobody's picture

no free energy, do the math, ask question, not politics

Factchecker's picture

You're nuts.

You're nuts.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Unintended consequences, again

No, he had some valid points. Like so many green fantasies wind power was not well thought out. The vertical windmill designs have proven to be superior on electrical generation with less wind, much lower sound levels, and much less threat to birds. Another benefit is vertical windmills do not have to be as tall to maximize wind power.

(link...)

A superior design:

(link...)

But like most closed minded followers FactChecker you do not seem to have the ability to understand unintended consequences. Like so many things green, the wrong design was chosen and the mass herd implemented a poor concept. The herd is the problem. Not the science. Stop helping, you're doing it wrong.

metulj's picture

You have no credibility.

You have no credibility.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Stimulating the economy as best we can!

Further stimulation with Yoga Wear!

Anonymously Nine's picture

from the man with 20 sock puppets

Creditability is not using sock puppets.

metulj's picture

Again, what are you talking

Again, what are you talking about? If it is the Blab, then please take it back over there. I haven't posted on the Blab in months. This is the adult table.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Stimulating the economy as best we can!

Further stimulation with Yoga Wear!

Factchecker's picture

Oh, Gallant, is there anything you don't know best?

Yeah, the wind industry doesn't know what it's doing. Only you and the good people at that Oregon denier website know this stuff.

BTW, Tom Tomorrow wrote a cartoon about you. I don't who the part of Goofus is based on, but I'm envious.

Anonymously Nine's picture

so what?

You are happy to see an old inefficient design that has less return on investment plus requires much higher heights and is so loud that it must be placed far away from people? Why embrace a failed design? Can you see the forest for the trees? If it has a propeller, it's old school. Catch up.

You're not helping. It's a herd thing.

Factchecker's picture

I'm all for wind power. I

I'm all for wind power. I didn't know you were, given all your disparagement of it. And I'm all for small, local grid producers. Even if these are all they are advertised to be and more, though, you're way out of your league (nothing new there) making blanket statements (who? you?) on the scalability of these types of designs. Why don't you convince the utilities and your friends at GE that they're idiots for using their old designs? I guess they don't want to change because they're in bed with Obama or something.

Good luck in your efforts to advance wind technology. I'm behind ya' on this!

Anonymously Nine's picture

yeah, I'll get right on that

Why don't you convince the utilities and your friends at GE that they're idiots for using their old designs?

Actually, they are idiots. That part you have right.

I take you are not an engineer, accountant, or politician?

The correct term is "not invented here". The propeller dinosaur technology will continue unimpeded. You really have no idea do you?

Factchecker's picture

Honestly, you show the naivete of a child

Let me get this straight. So GE invented the conventional HAWT, and they'd really love to use the superior VAWT design but these little home kit market startups have ex post facto cornered the VAWT market. And all the other HAWT mfrs like Vestas can't get a leg up on GE because they are locked into the same deal with the devil (or Obama--but same thing, right?).

I happen to be an engineer, but that doesn't make me a wind turbine expert. Why do you think those three fields qualify anyone to be an automatic expert on anything?

I take it you would be the accountant, always the smartest.

Anonymously Nine's picture

learn something

if you are an engineer then you will understand this:

(link...)

metulj's picture

Capturing a maximum 59.3% of

Capturing a maximum 59.3% of kinetic energy from wind is better than capturing 0%, ceteris paribis.

I will give you credit for posting something factual for once, problem is that the fact only supports increased efficiency in a wind power system, not the lack of viability of a wind power system.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Stimulating the economy as best we can!

Further stimulation with Yoga Wear!

Anonymously Nine's picture

yeah ceteris paribis

An analogy would be the amount of time it took for car manufactures to understand that front wheel drive was more efficient than read wheel drive. Same thing with fuel injection. Same thing with car computers. Same thing with low wind coefficients.

Never was against wind energy. I was against the politics of wind energy. Isn't it interesting that the same people who favor propeller wind energy are against nukes and improved coal designs? Talk to them about improved wind design and you are a redneck cracker.

Some day just like with automobiles we will have the efficient wind power designs. Until then we will have politics. Nothing is more inefficient than green politics.

metulj's picture

"Nothing is more inefficient

"Nothing is more inefficient than green politics."

You are a knownothing through and through.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Stimulating the economy as best we can!

Further stimulation with Yoga Wear!

Factchecker's picture

Take a stand

I guaran-damn-tee you that if VAWTs were more efficient and cost effective at producing power (cents/kW) in large scale installations, they would be used. What is your point anyway? Certainly every technology can be improved upon. Should we bitterly oppose anything until it's absolutely perfect? How efficient is a gasoline ICE? (Not damn very.) Should we abandon cars until they're 100% efficient? I certainly don't like the risks to wildlife, for example, with HWATs, but on balance they're MUCH easier on the planet than burning fossil fuels and they're cost effective. I'm for them.

What is YOUR profession and are you for wind power in its present, proven HAWT form? Your turn to lay it on the line.

Anonymously Nine's picture

it is a poor design

(link...)

Do you live near one? Or is that too much to ask?

Anonymously Nine's picture

Unintended consequences, again

(link...)

They can throw a blade a mile away. Does that sound safe to you, engineer?

Anonymously Nine's picture

More unintended consequences, again

(link...)

Still sold on the old design? Isn't what you really are saying is it is fine for the people of Kansas to suffer for your green guilt?

Anonymously Nine's picture

the really bad part

Poor return on investment. Best quote, "Wind Power runs on taxes".

(link...)

metulj's picture

It's funny that someone who

It's funny that someone who constantly tilts with them has an ax to grind against them.

Countdown to a claim that "coal is clean" in 3..2..1.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Stimulating the economy as best we can!

Further stimulation with Yoga Wear!

Factchecker's picture

Answer the question

OK, you're against wind power, obviously preferring the risks of oil refinery blasts, mountain removal watershed destruction, constant air pollution, ash storage floods, and the like.

Now answer the other part of the question: What is YOUR profession?

Anonymously Nine's picture

No, pay attention if you have the capacity

I do not favor the wind power we have now. It runs on taxes. Not wind. It is an inefficient dangerous loud design with pitiful return on investment.

You remind me of people in the 70's who were against energy efficient 4 cylinder cars because they were not made by General Motors.

I favor efficient designs that runs on wind not taxes. The 400 foot towers made by GE are a joke. How do you do PM's on something 400 feet tall? How is that economical? They have great difficulty braking in high winds and then geniuses put them in tornado ally. That is stupid. Your green guilt endangers innocent people in Kansas.

You could have watch any of those YouTubes. I made it as easy as possible. You demonstrate the classic closed mind. If you are an engineer, you are stuck in the past.

gonzone's picture

crap argument

runs on taxes. Not wind.

Taking that approach, then so do coal plants and anything that burns oil, both heavily subsidized with tax dollars. And then, there's your food subsidies, so I guess you run on taxes too.

Next!

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

reform4's picture

Those videos are hogwash.

Those videos are hogwash. See my post.

We do PM on tall things all the time. Radio towers. We wash high-rise buildings, even here in Knoxville.

We have 25,000 windmills operating in the U.S. How many have failed? The video people show over and over are one unit in Denmark and one in Germany (there has to be over 250,000 windmills in Europe).

Gosh- cars catch on fire all the time, maybe you should stop driving.

Use facts, and don't be a pawn of Big Coal.

Factchecker's picture

Show some integrity

Answer the question: What is YOUR profession?

Factchecker's picture

P.S. There are easy answers

P.S. There are easy answers to your last post, but they await a response that goes to the heart of your credibility.

Factchecker's picture

Can you answer a very simple question in kind, please?

Nine: What is YOUR profession?

Nobody's picture

Need to retaliate because

Need to retaliate because you can't win an argument? That's pretty creepy.

Buffy's picture

I just drove from Oklahoma to

I just drove from Oklahoma to Washington a few weeks ago and while on I-35 going north toward Wichita I saw hundreds of these windmills, is that the interstate these were taking from? I wanted to google them when I got home to see what the deal was and I found my way here. Great pictures!!

Rob's picture

Sir I think you have

Sir I think you have demonstrated the truth behind the low information voter bit that Rush Limbaugh is always touting.

Wind turbines cannot replace coal, natural gas, or nuclear power plants and here is why.

Wind turbines can only operate at a 25% efficiency, sometimes the wind is too calm to generate power and sometimes it is too strong to operate turbines safely, on those days power generation is zero and would require supplementation. Make sense?

A wind turbine requires 7 to 15 blade diameters separation between other turbines requiring huge expanse of land. In fact an 1154 MW Nuclear Power plant requires about 56 acres of land. To generate that kind of power with 2 MW wind turbines it would require 2077 of them. I don't think that is attainable considering that land is needed for farms, homes, industry and they're ugly.

Either way wind is a good supplement to our power needs and could help curb the waste produced by coal, natural gas, and nuclear but it cannot replace it entirely.

Low information voter? I think so.

Mike Knapp's picture

Energy policy and wind turbines - how much of the portfolio?

In the threads above does anyone say that wind turbines can wholly replace fossil fuels? Glad to see that you do think however of wind as a

good supplement to our power needs and could help curb the waste produced by coal, natural gas, and nuclear

There are a few here who understand Betz's law, etc and are interested in constructive discussions re: energy policy.

Rob(nonverified) - perhaps you could educate us about low information voters and Rush Limbaugh's pronouncements on energy policy. Is there a connection between these two?

Here is Rush on climate change from 2001 via on the issues

For years I’ve pointed out that global warming is bogus. It’s contradicted by the most technologically advanced data [showing] no warming trend over the last 60 years. But listen to the reasons why the UN scientists have raised their global warming predictions so dramatically. The chairman of the panel says the main reason for expectations of faster global warming is an anticipated fall in cooling agents such as sulfur dioxide, a bi-product of coal. Now, why pray have sulfur dioxide levels been falling? Because the Clean Air Act was enacted. Yes, regulations have reduced sulfur dioxide in order to supposedly fight the dreaded acid rain. But now the UN report says that less sulfur dioxide has had the unintended effect of actually reducing particles in the air which help deflect the sun’s rays. So, in other words, we’ve got more global warming because we’re burning less coal. So, the environmental wacko UN is actually blaming global warming on environmental wacko’s.
Source: Wednesday Morning Update , Jan 24, 2001

In reference to the quote above - would you consider this quote low or high info? If neither what in your opinion would be low info? Is low info referencing wind power as an energy alternative?

redmondkr's picture

The Island of El Hierro,

The Island of El Hierro, population slightly more than 10,000, has announced its upcoming total energy independence through its use of wind power.

Factchecker's picture

There are studies that

There are studies that outline how wind power along with other non-fossil fuel technologies, including hydroelectric but not including nuclear, can completely replace fossil fuel sources of energy. Look up "wind water and sun." Yes, there would be a lot of turbines, but there is plenty of land in this country to build wind turbines that would produce 10,000GW of power at 30% capacity (which is what I believe you are erroneously referring to as efficiency). That's roughly 10,000 nuke plants. You can find these things out at easy to google places like this one.

Incidentally, LAMAR wants to build 1000 nuclear plants. How do you think that would fly, at something like $20 billion each, and in virtually everybody's backyard?

Then you say wind turbines are "ugly." Really? Is that the best you can do? I, along with many people, believe they're attractive and certainly no more ugly then nuclear plants, and far more attractive than any fossil fuel plant.

As to the large number needed, I would echo Reagan's famous line: "Let's get busy."

I suspect you are just a common troll.

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