Greg Yount comments

Posted in: Huge wind farm turbine snaps near Kyoto See in context

Asybot, please define massive government subsidies! Subsidies for the wind industry still pale by far in comparison to the tax breaks given to traditional energy sectors like gas and coal...

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Posted in: Huge wind farm turbine snaps near Kyoto See in context

Hmmm, some misconceptions and misinformation here it seems. First, although wind does not have a lot of mass, when applied over a large surface area that small mass is amplified. Yes, rolling friction of the bearings and gearbox must be overcome, as does the resistance of the generator to turning (due to magnetic forces), but the concept does work, that much has been proven. Further, the driving force, wind, is a completely free commodity, it's not taxable, so the only cost is in capital equipment and transmission lines. Once those are put in place then the amount of wind used to create energy is somewhat less important since one mustn't pay more if more wind is used to create that energy, if the operating cost calculations and ROI are proper. As for wind being a reliable energy source, I'm sure there are a lot of farmers around the world, particularly in the Midwest and Western parts of the US who will attest to it. In fact, the cultivation and settling of those huge tracts of land would not have been possible without harnessing wind energy, since it was a matter of life or death to be able to harness wind to pump irrigation water from wells out to cattle and to crops in the days before internal combustion engines and electricity. Second, who is this "Dutch" wind turbine manufacturer? I'm not aware of any who are currently in business. Do they mean Danish, since I often hear people intermingle Dutch and Danish like they do Swiss and Swedish because they are uneducated as to the difference. As far as the collapse of towers, it may have nothing to do with poor steel quality, but rather something like fatigue from unexpected vortex shedding, which has been known to bring down smokestacks. That's why you see what looks like fences running up the side of steel smokestacks any more. Could this technology be useful on wind turbine towers, perhaps, or perhaps it would cause turbulence issues with the airflow across the rotor. As for fires, although those incidences are higher, the total number repaired since 2002 is 184 (according to AREPA, which represents turbine repair and remanufacturing companies), hardly staggering given the number of turbines installed, which was around 199,000 in 2011 (0.09%) This is not all that staggering, when you consider the voltages and amperages that the equipment is handling, handling high voltages and currents is inherently dangerous. Further, fire suppression systems are quickly catching up technology-wise, so that if a control module does overheat and arc in a nacelle, the fire can quickly be extinguished and either way, is still contained inside a metal nacelle structure which is isolated from structures and plants/fuel as well in most applications. COULD a wind turbine catch fire, and emit sparks which start a grass or forest fire, of course, anything is statistically possible, no matter how well you plan for a mishap. But here in the west, I am FAR FAR more worried about the constant stream of fires started by idiots throwing cigarettes out the window of their car, or starting campfires when the underbrush is bone dry, or folks using fire pits on their back patios than I am of a turbine nacelle EVER bursting into flames.

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