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Old 03-29-11, 12:49 PM   #11
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Wow, 35% average! Thats awesome. 100k jobs is great too. I know unemployment in Spain is pretty high these days.

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Old 03-29-11, 01:00 PM   #12
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What baffles me is that at least here in Wisconsin, our Governor has been pushing first for changes in the law and now changes in the public service policy saying that wind turbines have to be 4 times the blade tip high from the property line, current law gives a distance setback from houses, because it looks like these changes might take place investors in wind power in our state are working on canceling $1.8 billion in investments, scraping plans to build factories that would produce wind turbines and their parts, scraping whole projects and moving there investments to other states.
That $1.8 billion is not stimulus money, it is corporate and private investment money, people who see a 3 to 7 year return on investment as a good investment, if I had the money to invest and these projects were not being canceled I would invest in them as well! but sad to say our governor had some large contributions from big oil.
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Old 04-03-11, 03:30 PM   #13
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Ryland, you hit the nail on the head. Big Oil = big money

In Europe, the cost of living is much higher in almost every way. They are trying to get off all the imported resources they can. They are expensive and they know who controls them. Brazil's autos are ran primarily on sugarcane based ~100% ethanol.

The US on the other hand, is fighting more wars that are being financed by tax money. Who is buying our national debt? Primarily China

Even if big US businesses control the major solar and wind farms here, we would still be better off.
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Old 03-12-12, 01:05 PM   #14
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at which point it's likely too late.
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Old 03-12-12, 08:10 PM   #15
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That news is about 4 years old.. What's going on with Wind these days in Europe?


Here's a recap of 2011. It looks like they are really growing the industry over there..
EWEA Communication Director on 2011 wind energy statistics - YouTube

It's a bit surprising to hear they are doing so much..
Maybe they aren't having a Great Depression over there.?.
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Old 03-13-12, 12:28 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xringer View Post
That news is about 4 years old.. What's going on with Wind these days in Europe?
This article from respected science journalist, Matt Ridley, was published last week:

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To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine — despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide.

If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often wilfully deaf. The good news though is that if you look closely, you can see David Cameron’s government coming to its senses about the whole fiasco. The biggest investors in offshore wind — Mitsubishi, Gamesa and Siemens — are starting to worry that the government’s heart is not in wind energy any more. Vestas, which has plans for a factory in Kent, wants reassurance from the Prime Minister that there is the political will to put up turbines before it builds its factory.

This forces a decision from Cameron — will he reassure the turbine magnates that he plans to keep subsidising wind energy, or will he retreat? The political wind has certainly changed direction. George Osborne is dead set against wind farms, because it has become all too clear to him how much they cost. The Chancellor’s team quietly encouraged MPs to sign a letter to No. 10 a few weeks ago saying that ‘in these financially straitened times, we think it is unwise to make consumers pay, through taxpayer subsidy, for inefficient and intermittent energy production that typifies onshore wind turbines’.

As the saying goes, read the whole thing.

It really boils down to this - alternative energy works well for fanboys like us who like to tinker with our own power generation and it's a godsend for people who live off the grid, but considering alternative energy as a viable replacement for more traditional energy sources is akin to wishing unicorn farts could power the world.
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Old 03-13-12, 03:17 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Xringer View Post
It's a bit surprising to hear they are doing so much..
Maybe they aren't having a Great Depression over there.?.
The Crisis (or whatever else the media and politicians want to call it) is still in the headlines, but the EU has pledged to produce 20% of its power from renewables, and reduce pollution by 20%, by the year 2020. Wind is only part of that program, as is solar (hot water), biomass (most power plants have at least one of their furnaces converted to biomass), etc.

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To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero.
On a global scale this is true. But locally, there are regions and countries which would be in trouble if the wind suddenly stopped blowing. The precent of wind in the power grid of countries like Spain and Denmark, for example, is in the teens or higher, while their neighbors still get power from other sources (France has ~70% nuclear, Poland and Romania get ~90% from coal).
How much is wind worth in China, Russia, Vietnam, Congo, Brazil? I don't know, but those probably aren't countries which raise the global wind average.

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... is akin to wishing unicorn farts could power the world.
But they can, we just don't know how to harness that power yet
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Old 03-13-12, 04:00 AM   #18
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But locally, there are regions and countries which would be in trouble if the wind suddenly stopped blowing. The precent of wind in the power grid of countries like Spain and Denmark, for example, is in the teens or higher, while their neighbors still get power from other sources (France has ~70% nuclear, Poland and Romania get ~90% from coal).
The devil is, as the saying goes, in the details. From the Danish think-tank Center for Politiske Studier. Below is the entire Executive Summary of their report. I include the full summary because they're a public think tank and I'm assuming that they're more interested in broad exposure for their report than they are in protecting copyright. This is a fair use excerpt.

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Denmark generates the equivalent of about 19% of its electricity demand with wind turbines, but wind power contributes far less than 19% of the Nation’s electricity demand.

The claim that Denmark derives about 20% of its electricity from wind overstates matters. Being highly intermittent, wind power has recently (2006) met as little as 5% of Denmark’s annual electricity consumption with an average over the last five years of 9.7%.

In the absence of large-scale electricity storage, any modern electricity system must continuously balance electricity supply and demand, because even small variations in system voltage and frequency can cause damage to modern electronic equipment and other electrical equipment.

Wind power is stochastic,especially in the very short term (e.g., over any given hour, 30 minute, or 15 minute period). This has created a completely new challenge that transmission system operators (TSOs) all over the World are only now learning how to handle. Some draw from Denmark’s experience. But Denmark’s special circumstances make its experience of limited
transferability elsewhere.

Denmark manages to keep the electricity systems balanced due to having the benefit of its particular neighbors and their electricity mix. Norway and Sweden provide Denmark, Germany and Netherlands access to significant amounts of fast, short term balancing reserve, via interconnectors. They effectively act as Denmark’s “electricity storage batteries”. Norwegian and Swedish hydropower can be rapidly turned up and down, and Norway’s lakes effectively “store” some portion of Danish wind power.

Over the last eight years West Denmark has exported (couldn’t use), on average, 57% of the wind power it generated and East Denmark an average of 45%. The correlation between high wind output and net outflows makes the case that there is a large component of wind energy in the outflow indisputable.

The exported wind power, paid for by Danish householders, brings material benefits in the form of cheap electricity and delayed investment in new generation equipment for consumers in Sweden and Norway but nothing for Danish consumers. Taxes and charges on electricity for Danish household consumers make their electricity by far the most expensive in the European Union (EU)1. The total probable value of exported subsidies between 2001 and 2008 was DKK 6.8 billion (€916 million) during this period. A similar amount was probably exported prior to 20122 and larger quantities will be exported following the commissioning of 800 MW of new offshore wind capacity in 2013.

The wind power that is exported from Denmark saves neither fossil fuel consumption nor CO2 emissions in Denmark, where it is all paid for. By necessity, wind power exported to Norway and Sweden supplants largely carbon neutral electricity in the Nordic countries. No coal is used nor are there power-related CO2 emissions in Sweden and Norway.

Wind energy has replaced some thermal generation in Denmark. It has saved an average emission of about 2.4 million t per year CO2 at a total subsidy cost of 12.3 billion DKK or an average cost of 647 DKK (€ 87 or $124) per ton CO2. Wind power has proven to be an expensive way to save CO2 emissions3.

The cost of Denmark’s wind capacity to Danish consumers is exacerbated by its inability to use so much surplus electricity. The surplus will increase in 2013 when 800 MW of new offshore capacity is commissioned, increasing Denmark’s wind production by 2.7 TWh per year. Nearly all the additional wind power will be exported and this will further depress prices; nearly all the subsidies paid by Danish consumers will also be exported without achieving any significant fossil fuel use nor any CO2 reduction. Achieving own-consumption of all its wind power is technically impossible in the short term and will remain entirely hypothetical until electricity consumption rises and new technical and demand-side solutions have been developed and implemented. In most cases, these have yet even to be invented, let alone proven and costed.

Notwithstanding its many disadvantages wind power’s one striking advantage is that, like nuclear, its marginal costs of operation are very small once the capital has been paid. However, unlike nuclear, many ten to fifteen year-old turbines are past their useful life. By contrast, most conventional rotating power plant can enjoy a working life of 40 to 60 years, as evidenced by most power plants in Europe today. This puts into question the strategic, economic and environmental benefits of a power plant that may have to be scrapped, replaced and resubsidized every ten to fifteen years.

The Danish Parliament reached a political consensus during 2008 that in 2025 50% of Denmark’s electricity demand must come from renewable resources, mostly wind power. The Ecogrid Study Group has concluded4 that if the extra wind power is to achieve this aim, drastic re-engineering of the whole energy system will need to take place, including the retirement of much expensive, high quality, existing capacity. Wisely, it has not tried to estimate the costs of doing this. In any case, Sweden and Norway will be unable balance the extra wind capacity planned that is also planned for Germany and Netherlands.

PART 2: Wind Energy’s effect on employment

Denmark has been a first-mover in the wind power industry for over ten years, and its leading wind turbine manufacturers have been able to maintain a very strong global position. This has been a consequence of a concerted policy to increase the share of wind power in Danish electricity generation. The policy has only been made possible through substantial subsidies supporting the wind turbine owners. This indirect subsidy has in turn generated the demand for wind turbines from the manufactures. Exactly how the subsidies have been shared between land, wind turbine owners, labor, capital and shareholders is opaque, but it is fair to assess that no Danish wind industry to speak of would exist if it had to compete on market terms. This paper documents the experiences gained in Denmark with regard to the employment effect of subsidizing the wind industry.

Substantial subsidies have been directed to the Danish wind mill industry over years. From 2001-2005 the yearly subsidy has been 1.7-2.6 billion DKK.

The Danish Wind industry counts 28,400 employees. This does not, however, constitute the net employment effect of the wind mill subsidy. In the long run, creating additional employment in one sector through subsidies will detract labor from other sectors, resulting in no increase in net employment but only in a shift from the non-subsidized sectors to the subsidized sector.

Allowing for the theoretical possibility of wind employment alleviating possible regional pockets of high unemployment, a very optimistic ballpark estimate of net real job creation is 10% of total employment in the sector. In this case the subsidy per job created is 600,000-900,000 DKK per year ($90,000-140,000). This subsidy constitutes around 175-250% of the average pay per worker in the Danish manufacturing industry.

In terms of value added per employee, the energy technology sector over the period 1999-2006 underperformed by as much as 13% compared with the industrial average.

This implies that the effect of the government subsidy has been to shift employment from more productive employment in other sectors to less productive employment in the wind industry. As a consequence, Danish GDP is approximately 1.8 billion DKK ($270 million) lower than it would have been if the wind sector work force was employed elsewhere.
The lesson here is that even when you put lipstick on a pig, the pig is still a pig. Wind power is an old technology so it stretches credulity to imagine that this primitive technology has been overlooked all these years and is now some golden technology which can be rolled out in mass wind farms and power society into a golden renewable energy future.

Denmark "benefits" from being able to export below cost electricity to Norway which stores that electricity by pumping water up to a higher level so that later, when the wind isn't blowing, Norway can release that water and sell the power generated to Denmark for higher prices due to demand scarcity for electricity at the moment of sale. What happens to national systems which don't have neighbors which can store the electricity for later use? The solution is that the national system has to overbuild dramatically in order to have a minimum generating capacity available at all times and then find a use for surplus electricity.

As I already noted, wind and solar are good for people who have the mindset of the regular blog visitors here - tinkerers and those who seek self-reliance. Proposing wind and solar for the masses is crazy talk.
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Old 03-13-12, 04:15 PM   #19
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Wow, thanks for that report

As mentioned, large-scale wind works well only when there is a means to store its energy until later. In this case the "hydro-battery" happens to be on the other side of national borders, which means that there are extra costs and problems with buying/selling electricity. If the hydro and wind plants belong to the same owner, then costs should be much lower, and storing/using that power simpler. Europe's national power grids are becoming more interconnected, and more is being controlled by European-level red tape, (hopefully) making international power transfers easier.

I can understand that at the moment power exchange politics may not be fair for all involved, but let's look at it globally: Surplus wind power isn't wasted, it's only stored somewhere else, increasing its price, and gets used later. So it does reduce fossil fuel use, though not necessarily where intended. It's still a win, though the politics behind it could be improved... And, of course, wind by itself isn't the answer to all power problems, it's only a part of the solution.
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Old 03-13-12, 06:18 PM   #20
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I can understand that at the moment power exchange politics may not be fair for all involved, but let's look at it globally: Surplus wind power isn't wasted, it's only stored somewhere else, increasing its price, and gets used later. So it does reduce fossil fuel use, though not necessarily where intended. It's still a win, though the politics behind it could be improved... And, of course, wind by itself isn't the answer to all power problems, it's only a part of the solution.
This comes across like this: "I love the idea so much that I'll twist the logic any way I have to to make it sound appealing."

-Hey Danish power consumer, you need more wind power.
-But we don't reduce the burning of fossil fuels and it costs us more for power, in fact we're already paying the highest rates in Europe. Paying more for power means that everything that uses power as an economic activity becomes more expensive and thus lowers our standard of living.
-But even if you don't replace fossil fuels, some else does by your using wind power.
-No, it's not like that at all. The buyer of our cheap power, which we sell at a loss, has to store that power because if we're producing a surplus at a given time of day, it's likely that they're also experiencing a surplus, and the only buyers who can do this are those with hydroelectric plants which can be switched on and off on one second's notice and those who have pumping facilities to push water up hill. If these buyers have these facilities then they're not burning oil and coal, so no, us using wind power doesn't reduce Norway's reliance on oil/coal. For the effect you describe to happen the buyer of our wind power would have to be using coal/oil but if that were the case what would they be doing for storage of that surplus power at that time of day? They don't have lakes and hydro to use as batteries, that's why they're using coal/oil.
-Well, you don't understand my baby, he's a good kid, he's just misunderstood. He couldn't have done the bad thing you say he did - - - oops, I mean wind power is just misunderstood.

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