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Is the Answer Ablowing in the Wind?
Posted on Saturday, January 26, 2002 @ 19:38:00 GMT by vlad

General The latest IRI Future Energy "enews" edition (Thomas Valone - Integrity Research Institute) states the following:

"When countries like Ireland and the UK decide to build hundreds of 3 MW windmills offshore (see below), some of us start thinking about how many such free energy machines are needed for the entire US energy needs. "

This exercise is interesting, but I cannot believe IRI was serious when endorsing a Manhattan Project type effort to advance windmill technology and build wind turbines! Here are the calculations for US Electrical Energy Independence only, for your enjoyment:



"US ELECTRICAL ENERGY: Addressing the US total electrical energy consumption annually, the DOE/EIA states it is about 4 trillion kWh. Converting it to simple wattage by dividing by hours in a year, we find the total US electrical generation power needs to be about 450 thousand MW. Dividing by 3 MW per windmill, we find that the US needs a little more than 150,000 windmills to supply all of its electricity. A square mile hold about 60 mills, so about 2500 square miles or 50 miles x 50 miles is all the space that is needed. Furthermore, with the capital cost of $4.3 million per windmill, only $650 billion total expenditure is required to for the US to become ELECTRICALLY INDEPENDENT of fossil fuels! Over ten years, this amounts to an investment of only $65 billion per year, or about $18/month per person in the US for ten years. (Note this dollar amount just happens to be about the same as the UK estimate above per household.)". (end quote)
Numbers for US Total Energy Independence are also presented (they are 6.5 times higher) in the e-news letter. The conclusion is that total energy independence is possible with today's available windmill technology. IRI endorses a national program to end fossil fuel usage and suggests that a couple thousand windmills could be installed off the coast of major cities around the US, also minimizing distribution losses.
I have also seen similar calculations for supplying America's energy needs with solar power only. These numbers are speculative and they do not account for other aspects related to the inherent limitations of wind and solar power generation technology.
Indeed, the US Energy Association states in their policy recommendations, Toward a National Energy Strategy, that "Investment in energy technology...should focus on energy sources that can realistically expect to have a significant impact in meeting US energy needs over the next 20 to 30 years." Some called for an "Apollo Project" type effort (Natural Resources Defense Council in their Ending America's Oil Dependence report), and other called it a Manhattan Project.

No matter haw you call it, to mount a national effort and put billions of dollars in windmill technology is absurd when we are so advanced in extracting clean, nonpolluting energy for peanuts directly from the vacuum that would be available day and night, at any place in the world, windy or not, and most importantly, everywhere in space, allowing us to start on the path of our destiny and become real space explorers, at last!
Why are we not demanding Tom Bearden's proposal for a Manhattan type project (see The Unnecessary Energy Crisis: How to Solve it Quickly posting on this site)?


 
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"Is the Answer Ablowing in the Wind?" | Login/Create an Account | 1 comment | Search Discussion
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Re: Is the Answer Ablowing in the Wind? (Score: 1)
by Anonymous on Monday, February 04, 2002 @ 20:52:00 GMT
vlad (vlad@zpenergy.com) writes: Reality Check on Windpower (IRI, Feb 04, 2002)

January 28, 2002 Correction to Jan. 21 eNews: The Environment News Service, who reported on the Irish Sea and United Kingdom windmill installations, apparently believe that a 3 MW windmill will generate full capacity all of the time! My calculations also fell into the same trap. Instead, Jed Rothwell (Infinite Energy staff writer) points out that a 3 MW turbine usually generates 1 MW average. The ones in the Irish Sea may produce as much as 40% of nameplate capacity. A nuclear or coal reactor, in comparison, usually produces 80 to 90% of nameplate capacity. It cannot produce 100% because demand fluctuates (and the wind fluctuates). Generator capacity has be enough for peak demand, not average.
', 'Therefore, instead of the ideal number of 150,000 windmills, the reality is more like 300,000 to 450,000 windmills to reliably generate 450 thousand MW for the proposed US Energy Independence scenario, because they generate 25% to 40% of the nameplate rating, assuming no losses in transmission.

Minimizing transmission nightmares that presently plague the electric power industry is essential, by placing windfarms offshore from major cities. However, if transmission losses were encountered (see attached chart from the US Energy Association) as normally is the case, maybe 1,500,000 windmills would actually be needed. This is the necessary OVERKILL with traditional centralized power: Two-thirds buffer for generation and two-thirds loss during transmission!




 

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