Ambrose in the Torygraph

Can Wind Power meet the energy needs of Britain in the 21st century or is it just a lot of overblown hype?

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stumuz1
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Ambrose in the Torygraph

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Little John
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Post by Little John »

1) Where is the energy coming from to mine the raw materials, process them into components, ship them to site, erect them, maintain them and, eventually dispose and recycle them?

2) How much of the shorelines of the world are we talking about here? If we are talking about the majority, apart from any other ecological impacts that may have, I would have thought it would likely have an unpredictable impact on global weather systems, sucking that much energy out of those systems.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.
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adam2
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Post by adam2 »

Hopefully renewable energy will be used for manufacture of wind turbines and the materials contained therein.
Even if fossil fuel IS used, the position is arguably no worse than the building of new fossil fuel power plants. A vast amount of steel, copper, aluminium, cement and other energy intensive materials are used in the building of fuel burning power plants.

If we are to consider the fossil fuel used to manufacture wind turbines, then we should also consider the fossil fuel used to manufacture fuel burning power stations.

The energy absorbed by any foreseeable number of wind turbines is minute if compared to the total energy in the wind.
There might be very slightly reduced wind speeds down wind, but I doubt it would even be detectable in most cases.
It would be swamped by the increased wind speeds resulting from a warming climate.

Wind power is the future, not everywhere and not under all conditions, but I do expect a lot more use of wind power.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

I'm pretty much in agreement with Adam here. Once you have enough of them built they can provide the energy to build out the rest. But I don't think the total electric energy supply and use of the world is an insignificant figure and having that many blades dragging on the wind will probably have a measurable effect on cooling the atmosphere. We thought burning coal and oil would not be a problem until decades of burning millions of barrels a day showed us it was. Enough wind turbines to replace those millions of barrels would likely have a comparable effect.At first of course it will help to balance out the damage we have done but if we replace fossil fuels totally there may come a time where we have extracted all that excess energy in the atmosphere and begin cooling it. It might be decades out or even centuries but it is something to consider and study.
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Post by clv101 »

Little John wrote:1) Where is the energy coming from to mine the raw materials, process them into components, ship them to site, erect them, maintain them and, eventually dispose and recycle them?
Today, fossil fuels mostly, but a tiny proportion compared with using the fossil fuel directly. It's more like a dramatic improvement in efficiency. In the future (if we get there) a significant proportion of the mining/manufacture could be powered by renewable electricity.
Little John wrote:2) How much of the shorelines of the world are we talking about here? If we are talking about the majority, apart from any other ecological impacts that may have, I would have thought it would likely have an unpredictable impact on global weather systems, sucking that much energy out of those systems.
Of the world? A tiny fraction. Of the UK? A significant fraction - but new wind farms are going a lot further out, into deeper water and even floating. The ecological impacts are generally positive due to the prevention of fishing and the complex sea bed infrastructure providing habitat for young fish. The proportion of energy 'sucked out' is really tiny - and the energy all gets returned pretty much instantaneously albeit a few hundred miles away as heat from your toaster etc.
Little John wrote:There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Indeed, but some lunches are considerably cheaper than others.
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Post by woodburner »

The point about fish nurseries is one of the benefits. The amount of turbines to power mining and manufacture will be colossal, as they are not known for being a dense energy source. Mining and manufacture is still plundering resources, and so we continue with making more “stuff�. So you have to cover the world with turbines just as Germany has done in the north, and with solar panels as they have done in the south.

The problem of all the environmental groups is they think “renewable� energy has no costs, and energy input is tiny compared with what is needed to set up the infrastructure in the first place.

“Governments need to do more........� meanwhile those making the demands are still happy to carry on buying more “stuff�. Much of which has a questionable need, or even benefit, nevertheless, they buy it.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Uk wind electricity production has already surpassed nuclear production, at 20%, and will increase significantly with wind farms already planned offshore.

Wind could easily prodyce 100% of demand if enough storage and grid stability can be supplied.
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Post by adam2 »

Extracting energy from the atmosphere by use of wind turbines can not produce any general cooling effect.
A slight reduction in downstream wind speeds, and a consequent reduction in frictional heating would result.
However all commonplace or large scale uses of electricity turn the electricity back into heat thereby returning the heat to the atmosphere.
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Post by emordnilap »

And few people in the 'real' world ever mention the huge amounts of energy that can be saved simply with agressively insulating premises. This is far more important than any energy-generation issue.

The trouble is, once a place is insulated, fuel companies lose out. Fossil energy production should be in state hands, with a mandatory (enshrined in law) remit to reduce this energy production year-on-year - such as by using profits from sales to insulate buildings for free.
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Post by Little John »

adam2 wrote:Extracting energy from the atmosphere by use of wind turbines can not produce any general cooling effect.
A slight reduction in downstream wind speeds, and a consequent reduction in frictional heating would result.
However all commonplace or large scale uses of electricity turn the electricity back into heat thereby returning the heat to the atmosphere.
Changes to wind speed and direction will affect precipitation distributions, surely.

We already know what adding energy to the climate does. So, how come removing it will not have an effect?
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Post by adam2 »

Wind power does not remove heat from the climate.
It simply turns some of the wind energy into electricity, which is then turned back into heat where the electricity is used.
All large scale or commonplace uses of electricity put the energy back into the enviroment as heat.
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Post by stumuz1 »

clv101 wrote: Of the world? A tiny fraction. Of the UK? A significant fraction -.
Did you write on the oil drum years back that the west coast of Britain has X percent (40?) of Europes wind energy?
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Post by clv101 »

stumuz1 wrote:
clv101 wrote: Of the world? A tiny fraction. Of the UK? A significant fraction -.
Did you write on the oil drum years back that the west coast of Britain has X percent (40?) of Europes wind energy?
Urm... Might have done, that was a long time ago. But yes, UK has a huge wind resource. Disappointing really that we didn't develop the technology, could have been a major export industry.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

The problem the UK has is that the City finds it more profitable to make money from money and bits of useless paper, derivatives, rather than invest is capital producing industry. That is why so much of the technology invented in this country goes abroad for exploitation. The twats in the city should be taxed out of existence if they invest in anything other than UK technology.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

What is also needed in a change in the taxation system to encourage the manufacture of long lived items rather than the short lived crap which is served up at the moment. A tax on new raw materials, enough to discourage their use, would be a start but this, like a properly functioning carbon tax, would likely have to be a world wide tax so that manufacture doesn't migrate to low materials tax countries like it has done to low wage countries.

This change would also result in mass production being reduced and batch manufacture replacing it and energy use in manufacturing being considerably reduced. It would also probably further reduce the number of shops required to sell smaller quantities of stuff. It would hopefully increase skill levels required in manufacture, reduce working hours and bump up wages somewhat. We can but hope.

Curtailing the fashion industry would also severely cut the amount of energy wasted according to many. There is no doubt that mass consumption of stuff has to be reduced in the future.
Action is the antidote to despair - Joan Baez
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