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Old 08-27-10, 11:48 AM   #1
Daox
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Default Wind's latest problem: it . . . makes power too cheap

Heres an interesting article on why power companies don't like wind power. Most of us here know wind has already been shown to be cheaper than nuclear power. Recent reading has also mentioned that wind is now cheaper than coal in certain areas. So, its no real big surprise, but the utility companies don't like this because they make less money. Cheaper AND cleaner energy, imagine that.

The Oil Drum: Europe | Wind's latest problem: it . . . makes power too cheap

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Old 08-27-10, 12:34 PM   #2
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It's exactly for this reason that I plan on using wind power in my home when I finally can build it.

The gas companies are rampant around here, and they've clear cut sections of land to make room for wells. (Granted, they're being pretty nice about it, and saving more land than they cut.)

Part of that land can currently be used for nothing because of proximity to wells and dangerous equipment... so why can't it be used for windmills?
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Old 08-28-10, 02:01 AM   #3
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I heard or read somewhere that when demand dropped in the Spanish electrical grid, it was the wind farms that were taken offline, not the conventional power plants. The reason was that the process of stopping, then starting, a conventional pp is time and money consuming, while turning a wind farm off is pretty much just the flip of a switch.

This undermines the argument that wind power helps reduce emissions, and also hurts the payback time of the wind investment. Hopefully, as wind becomes even cheaper it will finally make conventional power less appealling.
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Old 08-28-10, 09:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piwoslaw View Post
I heard or read somewhere that when demand dropped in the Spanish electrical grid, it was the wind farms that were taken offline, not the conventional power plants.

That's not likely to happen in America. We don't have very many wind farms built (2% of our total generation).

We are becoming too vested in going 'Green' to do cut off our green power,
even if the cost of shutting off other power plants is excessively expensive.

Our reduced demand is likely going to be a lot higher than 2% in the coming years.
The average drop for the next decade really depends on the political situation after 2012.

We dropped 5% last year.. U.S. energy use in record drop - Aug. 26, 2010

2008:
Surprise Drop in Power Use Delivers Jolt to Utilities - WSJ.com

Just guessing, 2010 will show a 7 to 10 percent drop, with 2011 up around 15 percent.

As we cut our usage, the rates will climb, encouraging more conservation,
thus causing higher rates.. Creating a runaway feed-back loop.
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Old 08-28-10, 09:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xringer View Post
That's not likely to happen in America. We don't have very many wind farms built (2% of our total generation).

We are becoming too vested in going 'Green' to do cut off our green power,
even if the cost of shutting off other power plants is excessively expensive.

Our reduced demand is likely going to be a lot higher than 2% in the coming years.
The average drop for the next decade really depends on the political situation after 2012.

We dropped 5% last year.. U.S. energy use in record drop - Aug. 26, 2010

2008:
Surprise Drop in Power Use Delivers Jolt to Utilities - WSJ.com

Just guessing, 2010 will show a 7 to 10 percent drop, with 2011 up around 15 percent.

As we cut our usage, the rates will climb, encouraging more conservation,
thus causing higher rates.. Creating a runaway feed-back loop.
Where does dereg fit into the loop?
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Old 08-28-10, 05:58 PM   #6
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so if you have a wind turbine off it's not burning any fuel, but a coal power plant that is "off" is still burning fuel and in a way that it's most likely not burning as clean so if you want to use the least amount of fuel and keep the air clean why not turn wind turbines on and off on a whim?
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Old 08-31-10, 10:39 PM   #7
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Christ, check out the average wind speed at your proposed location before putting a bunch of work into a wind turbine. I do not know the current number but in 1984 it was estimated that you needed an average wind speed of 15mph (24/7) to pay for a wind turbine.
Of course if you are more interested in the ecology than in the $$$, hey build one, it is not that hard.
Kinda like my PV panels, they will never pay for themselves, but I would not give them up for anything, making yourself energy sufficient gives one really good feelings.
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Old 08-31-10, 10:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nibs View Post
Christ, check out the average wind speed at your proposed location before putting a bunch of work into a wind turbine. I do not know the current number but in 1984 it was estimated that you needed an average wind speed of 15mph (24/7) to pay for a wind turbine.
Of course if you are more interested in the ecology than in the $$$, hey build one, it is not that hard.
Kinda like my PV panels, they will never pay for themselves, but I would not give them up for anything, making yourself energy sufficient gives one really good feelings.
I'm gonna build it myself, so cost isn't such a problem. In addition to (possibly) micro-hydro, I should be able to generate a fair share of, if not all of, our necessary power requirement.
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Old 08-31-10, 10:54 PM   #9
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If you have a running stream available you can build a very inexpensive micro hydro unit that will not degrade the stream. eg a 6hp outboard propellor on a shaft immersed in a stream of 5knot water will generate around 100 watts (that is from 1983 info so it may be more), fish can swim around it and it needs no diversion of water, given sufficient volume of stream water.
It is not efficient, but it is cost effective as it is less expensive to make, and 100 watts 24/7 is a ton of power.
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Old 08-31-10, 10:57 PM   #10
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Well, thanks for that.

The stream I plan on using doesn't have fish in it though, and I'll already be diverting water for home cooling. I'll be using the (then heated) water to power a turbine type generator. The only problem is that the creek, lately, has gone underground. I may need to figure out another method, because it could be completely underground by the time I actually build the house.

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