Archive for the ‘wind’ Category

The Murmansk wind park that collapsed

Posted: November 8, 2017 by oldbrew in News, turbines, wind
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Murmansk harbour [image credit: Martin Lie / Wikipedia]


Too much wind for these wind turbines near the north Russian coast to cope with. The solar panels at the same site also face technical problems. Back to diesel again.

It was an innovative project which was to power several local villages with green energy. Two years after it opened, the strong Arctic winds have knocked down the turbines, says The Barents Observer.

It was cheering and rejoice in Chavanga and Chapoma, the villages on the coast of the White Sea, as a unique small-scale power generating complex was officially opened in late summer 2015.

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Hurricane Katrina, 2005 – The air pressure, another indicator of hurricane strength, at the center of this Category 5 storm measured 902 millibars, the fourth lowest air pressure on record for an Atlantic storm. The lower the air pressure, the more powerful the storm.
[image credit: Jeff Schmaltz, NASA/GSFC]


This is supported by Hurricanes – Science and Society, which says:
‘It is well accepted that the most influential factor in storm surge generation is the central pressure deficit, which controls the intensity of a hurricane, i.e. wind velocity and stress over the ocean surface and inverse barometric effects.’

The system for categorizing hurricanes accounts only for peak wind speeds, but research published in Nature Communications explains why central pressure deficit is a better indicator of economic damage
from storms in the United States, reports Phys.org.

“Sandy is the classic example. It was a very big storm, but in terms of maximum wind speed it was arguably not a hurricane,” said Dan Chavas, an assistant professor of atmospheric science at Purdue University who led the study. “If you looked at the central pressure deficit, you would have expected it to cause a lot of damage. But if you used maximum wind speed, as people usually do, you wouldn’t expect it to do the damage that it did.”

Central pressure deficit refers to the difference in pressure between the center of the storm and outside it. Pressure and wind speed have been used interchangeably to estimate potential damage from hurricanes for years, but the relationship between them has been a long-standing riddle in tropical meteorology.

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The head of a turbine is lying on the ground at Australia’s Mawson Antarctic base [image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard]


Flying turbines ahoy! Fossil fuel to the rescue as usual.

The blades of a wind turbine at an Australian Antarctic base broke off and narrowly missed a storage building as they crashed to the ground, reports Phys.org, forcing the icy outpost to switch to backup power.

The head of the turbine, one of two at Mawson station, plunged 30 metres (100 feet) on Tuesday evening, despite there being only moderate gusts of wind at the time.

All 13 members of the expedition at the station are safe, and were inside their living quarters at the time, said Rob Wooding, general manager of support and operations at the base.

The second turbine was deactivated as a precaution, with the base switching to its diesel generators.

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The short working life of wind turbines compared to power stations, plus their lack of commercial viability, will likely put the brakes on German renewables expansion according to this GWPF report. Where do used wind farms go to die?

Wind power is the most important component of Germany’s green energy transition.

The end of subsidies for older turbines, however, threatens countless wind farms. By 2023, more than a quarter of Germany’s onshore wind farms may be gone.

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Windy enough today?


One possibility is that ‘it could be due to ageing wind speed instruments producing inaccurate results’, says the GWPF. If not – bad news for wind turbine operators.

Wind speeds around the world seem to be decreasing in a phenomenon known as ‘stilling’ and European scientists are hoping to find out why.

Few people have probably noticed, but the world’s winds are getting slower. It is something that cannot be picked up by watching the billowing of dust or listening to the rustle of leaves on nearby trees.

Instead, it is a phenomenon occurring on a different scale, as the average global wind speed close to the surface of the land decreases.

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Image credit: BBC Scotland


In the world of wishful thinking, everyone will drive wind-powered electric cars and run their homes entirely on electricity. In the real world wind power is variable from hour to hour, right down to near-zero sometimes. Relentless carpeting of the countryside with expensive wind turbines is unpopular with people living near them, but not with profit-chasing power companies.

Britain will need to boost its generation of electricity by about a quarter, Scottish Power has estimated. The energy firm said electric cars and a shift to electric heating could send demand for power soaring, reports BBC News.

Its chief executive also said there would have to be a major investment in the wiring necessary to handle rapid charging of car batteries.

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There are robust and reliable electricity supplies, or the other kind.

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Texans have been in the news for all the wrong reasons, over the last week or so.

Hurricane Harvey belted the Texan coast with 130 mph (209 kph) winds and delivered a deluge of biblical proportions.

For some time now, Texas has been the pinup girl for American wind worshippers. With some 21,000 MW of nominal capacity spread over 40 projects, like everything in Texas, wind power is ‘big’.

Except, of course, when the weather turns nasty.

Modern industrial wind turbines do not operate when wind speeds hit around 25 m/s (90kph or 55mph) – Hurricane Harvey dished up a gale double that speed, and more.

In order to prevent their catastrophic disintegration (as seen in the video below) Texas’s turbines downed tools, en masse, (as they are deliberately designed to do) leaving the critical work of providing power to storm battered Texans to its fleet of nuclear power plants.

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German wind farm [image credit: Dirk Ingo Franke / Wikipedia]


If the flood of subsidies looks like turning to a trickle, the backers of renewables soon get cold feet – in Germany at least, as Pierre Gosselin explains (via GWPF).

While Germany likes to fancy itself as being among the “global leaders” in tackling climate change by expanding green energies, the country has in fact taken very little action recently to back up the appearances.

If anything, Germany is more in the green energy retreat mode. There are good reasons for this.

German flagship business daily “Handelsblatt” reported yesterday how Germany’s wind energy market is now “threatening to implode” and as a result “thousands of jobs are at risk”.

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21st Century Scottish landscape


John Constable and Matt Ridley at Capx deliver the lowdown on how Scotland gets UK taxpayers to pay for its windfarms, even when there’s no wind – or too much wind.

Imagine a sausage factory – the luckiest, most profitable sausage factory in the world. Its machines crank out their sausages, and lorries carry them to supermarkets. So far, so normal.

But this particular factory makes as many sausages as the management and staff choose. If they feel like taking the day off, the lorries and shelves stay empty. If they want to go a bit wild, they sometimes make so many sausages that there aren’t enough lorries to take them away. Or they carry on cranking out sausages even if the shelves are already full.

And here’s the really amazing thing: even when the lorries can’t cope or there is no demand for sausages, the factory gets paid.

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Bottlenose dolphin [image credit: NASA]


H/T Wind Energy News

Ideally these studies should have been done years ago, but better late than never.

Scottish scientists are set to gain new insights into the lives and habits of the world’s most northerly resident population of bottlenose dolphins and how they are coping with wind turbines in the North Sea, says The Scotsman.

The study is one of four new scientific projects selected as part of a pioneering £2.7 million investigation into the potential impact of offshore wind farms on society and the environment launched by the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

The £300 million scheme, Scotland’s largest offshore wind power testing facility, will trial cutting-edge renewables technology in Aberdeen Bay. Experts say the innovative programme, which is jointly funded by EOWDC owner Vattenfall and the European Union, will put Scotland at the forefront of research and development in the sector.

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The Catch-22 of Energy Storage

Posted: July 27, 2017 by tallbloke in Analysis, Energy, Maths, wind
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H/T @hockeyschtick1 for this great article on the non-viability of wind/solar as large-scale replacement for fossil/nuclear. Now can we scrap the CCA please?

 

Brave New Climate

Pick up a research paper on battery technology, fuel cells, energy storage technologies or any of the advanced materials science used in these fields, and you will likely find somewhere in the introductory paragraphs a throwaway line about its application to the storage of renewable energy.  Energy storage makes sense for enabling a transition away from fossil fuels to more intermittent sources like wind and solar, and the storage problem presents a meaningful challenge for chemists and materials scientists… Or does it?


Guest Post by John Morgan. John is Chief Scientist at a Sydney startup developing smart grid and grid scale energy storage technologies.  He is Adjunct Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at RMIT, holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry, and is an experienced industrial R&D leader.  You can follow John on twitter at @JohnDPMorgan First published in Chemistry in Australia .

Several recent analyses of the…

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Whitelee wind farm, Scotland [image credit: Bjmullan / Wikipedia]


Wherever onshore wind turbines are built there will also be networks of electricity pylons to carry the power away. Tourism is big business in windy Scotland.

A survey carried out on behalf of the John Muir Trust (JMT) found that 55% of respondents were “less likely” to venture into areas of the countryside industrialised by giant turbines, electricity pylons and super-quarries, reports The Times (via GWPF).

Just 3% said they were “more likely” to visit such areas, while 26% said such large-scale developments would make “no difference”. The poll has rekindled calls for Scottish ministers to increase protection for wild and scenic areas that, it is argued, will protect rural tourism businesses.

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Governor on the wind power fiasco: ‘Decisions made now will affect, and perhaps destroy, our state government financially over the next 14 years.’

You couldn’t make it up.

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As Mark Twain put it: “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” And, even when the dupe accepts his folly, sorry seems to be the hardest word.

Frank Keating was governor of Oklahoma 1995-2003 and is responsible for its wind power calamity, as he calls it.

Uncharacteristically of a modern politician, Keating taps into that fast disappearing virtue – grace – not only admitting that he was fooled, but sincerely apologising for the harm caused to Okies and their State.

Frank Keating: I signed wind industry tax breaks, and I was wrong
Tulsa World
Frank Keating
25 February 2017

In 2001, when I served as governor of Oklahoma, I signed legislation creating the Zero Emissions Tax Credit for industrial wind energy. The tax credit was designed to give a jump-start to a wind industry in its infancy in Oklahoma at the time. It was…

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Credit: Kite Power Systems [click to enlarge]


It may be hard to imagine large scale use of kites to generate electricity, but this is the concept being tested in Scotland with some big name backers behind it.

Kite Power Systems (KPS) has secured £2 million equity investment from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) says Utility Week.

The Scottish economy secretary, Keith Brown confirmed the news yesterday (22 June), following a visit to Kellwood Engineering in Dumfries, where KPS’s latest 500kw demonstration model is being built. Brown said the company’s approach to wind energy “shows great promise”.

“The company has recently relocated from Essex to Glasgow and this £2 million investment from the SIB will enable it to expand further and demonstrate the latest iteration of its kite power technology in Scotland,” he added.

KPS has developed a power system that features two kites, which fly up to an altitude of 1500 feet. Both kites are attached by tethers to a winch system, which generates electricity as the winch spools out. 

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Anyone who fondly imagines that wind and solar power are about to become as cheap as chips in some glorious renewable future, should read this tale of Australian woe.

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No way back from here: Malcolm muddles & Frydenberg fudges.

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Australia’s energy crisis is a self-inflicted calamity with no apparent end in sight.

The PM, Malcolm Turnbull seems intent on protecting his son, Alex’s investment in Australia’s most notorious wind power outfit, Infigen (see our post here).

While his gormless Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg behaves like a punch-drunk boxer, who cannot land a punch and with absolutely no idea what’s going on around him.

Into that mix strides Alan Finkel; a boffin tasked with trying to rescue Australia’s power grid from imminent collapse, the consequence of loading it up with intermittent, chaotic and erratic wind and solar power.

Some see Finkel as the Great White Hope.

STT will reserve its judgement on that matter: bright and shiny ideas are one thing, implementing them over a pack of rabid, salivating rent-seekers out to prevent you from doing so is…

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Cartoon of the day: Josh on Wind energy

Posted: May 12, 2017 by tallbloke in Big Green, Energy, humour, wind

c_kgcchuiaaptnn

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Icebergs in the North Atlantic [image credit:
maritime-executive.com]


H/T Paul Vaughan
Whether admittedly stronger than usual winds have led to more iceberg material and/or some of the ‘normal’ icebergs have broken up into smaller ones, is not clear, perhaps not known. A record 953 icebergs were observed in April 1984.

More than 400 icebergs have drifted into the North Atlantic shipping lanes over the past week in an unusually large swarm for this early in the season, forcing vessels to slow to a crawl or take detours of hundreds of kilometres, reports CTV News (via AP).

Experts are attributing it to uncommonly strong counter-clockwise winds that are drawing the icebergs south, and perhaps also global warming, which is accelerating the process by which chunks of the Greenland ice sheet break off and float away.

As of Monday, there were about 450 icebergs near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, up from 37 a week earlier, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s International Ice Patrol in New London, Connecticut. Those kinds of numbers are usually not seen until late May or early June. The average for this time of year is about 80.
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View from Titan [artist’s impression]


‘The grains that cover Saturn’s [largest] moon act like clingy packing peanuts.’ An obvious question might be: where is Titan’s electrical charge coming from?

Experiments led by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology suggest the particles that cover the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, are “electrically charged.”

When the wind blows hard enough (approximately 15 mph), Titan’s non-silicate granules get kicked up and start to hop in a motion referred to as saltation. As they collide, they become frictionally charged, like a balloon rubbing against your hair, and clump together in a way not observed for sand dune grains on Earth — they become resistant to further motion.

They maintain that charge for days or months at a time and attach to other hydrocarbon substances, much like packing peanuts used in shipping boxes here on Earth. The findings have just been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“If you grabbed piles of grains and built a sand castle on Titan, it would perhaps stay together for weeks due to their electrostatic properties,” said Josef Dufek, the Georgia Tech professor who co-led the study. “Any spacecraft that lands in regions of granular material on Titan is going to have a tough time staying clean. Think of putting a cat in a box of packing peanuts.”

The electrification findings may help explain an odd phenomenon. Prevailing winds on Titan blow from east to west across the moon’s surface, but sandy dunes nearly 300 feet tall seem to form in the opposite direction.
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Artist’s impression of Dogger Bank island [credit: The Independent]


The construction agreement is planned to be signed on 23 March 2017, reports The Independent.

A vast artificial island is to be built at Dogger Bank in the North Sea, complete with a harbour, airstrip and homes, to help provide a vast new supply of renewable energy, under plans drawn up by two companies with the blessing of the European Union.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub would act as a hub for offshore wind turbines and a new place to put solar panels, according to the German and Dutch arms of electricity firm TenneT and Danish company Energinet. The firms will sign a deal creating a consortium to develop the plan further in Brussels on 23 March in the presence of European Energy Union Commissioner, Maos Sefcovic.

Torben Glar Nielsen, Energinet’s Danish technical director, said: “Maybe it sounds a bit crazy and science fiction-like, but an island on Dogger Bank could make the wind power of the future a lot cheaper and more effective.”
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The tide is starting to turn, in America at least.

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James Delingpole has been slugging it out with lunatics from the Greenblob for more than a decade. Now, as the world wakes up to the scale and scope of the great wind power fraud, Slim Jim finds himself on the right side of history. Here he is letting the world know about it.

Why Renewables Are Doomed and Fossil Fuels Are the Future
Breitbart
James Delingpole
9 February 2017

We’re on the verge of a new energy revolution. Except it’s the exact opposite of the one the “experts” at places like BP, the International Energy Agency and – ahem – the Guardian are predicting.

For years we’ve been assured by politicians, energy industry specialists and green advocates that renewables such as wind and solar are getting more and more cost-competitive while dirty fossil fuels are so discredited and wrong and evil we’ll soon have to leave them in the ground.

But…

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