In the dying days of 2016, three serious wind turbine malfunctions occurred in a small corner of Europe.
Originally posted on STOP THESE THINGS: STT has a ‘thing’ for the English language. In the hands of adept practitioners, our mother tongue is capable of conveying all manner of complex concepts and ideas, and doing so with verve and wit. However, in the hands of the well-paid spin doctors and useful political idiots that…
A single gigawatt of electricity is enough to power 700,000 homes. Government statistics show that 33.9 billion kilowatt-hours of wind-power, or about 15 percent of all Chinese wind power, was wasted in 2015 alone.
Chinese wind power [image credit: clearwinds.co.uk]
Even if the turbines themselves are in working order, unreliable intermittent wind power remote from the areas of densest population can cause havoc to China’s power grid system, as Andrew Follett reports in the Daily Caller.
The government stopped approving new wind power projects in the country’s windiest regions in early March, according to China’s National Energy Administration statement. These regions previously installed nearly 71 gigawatts of wind turbines, more than the rest of China combined.
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By Paul Homewood
I often look at the performance of renewables in the UK. Ed Hoskins has analysed EU performance, which is clearly no better than ours.
There are a couple of interesting graphs below. The full post is here.
In a report by WH Kircher, titled Acoustical Communication in Honeybees on 02/05/1993, finds that airborne sounds and vibrations play an important role in honeybee communication. It is also coming to light that honeybees use sound vibrations to navigate, similar to sonar used by marine life and bats.Since vast areas are within affective range of low frequency sound levels emitted by wind turbines, it becomes clear that there is a connection between low frequency sound produced by wind turbines and the disappearance of honeybees. The areas with the most disappearances of honeybees directly correspond with that of operating wind farms.
It is hard to understate the implications of the UK’s growing exposure to wind for its electricity. According to the Royal Academy of Engineering, which is sympathetic to renewables, it requires ‘a fundamental shift in society’s attitude to and use of energy.’ Success, the Academy says, depends on the ability to manage demand to reflect the output from wind, going on to note that despite increasing efforts to research demand management techniques (to match consumption to the variability of the weather), ‘there is still much uncertainty on how effective it will be and at what cost.’ So called ‘smart grids’ will be vital, the Academy says, but their potential and effectiveness at scale ‘are yet to be proven.’
Electricity has a set of uniquely demanding characteristics:
◾It cannot be stored, except to a limited extent, with batteries and pumped hydro, and that storage is limited and incurs a cost;
◾Supply must respond almost instantaneously to demand;
◾If too little is produced, there is a danger of degraded quality and, eventually, of power cuts, which are costly to users;
◾Too much production can damage the transmission system, leading to wires becoming deformed or even melting;
◾Failing to equalise demand and supply can also lead to changes in the frequency of the power supply – too high, and it can damage appliances; too low, equipment can underperform.
Wind and solar technologies pose huge integration challenges. They are difficult to predict, particularly wind, which is highly variable – on gusty days, wind speeds can vary enormously over a few minutes or even seconds. According to Malcolm Grimston of Imperial College, London, low wind speed tends to be weakly correlated with high power demand (cold, windless winter evenings and hot, windless summer days). Depending on how wind-generated electricity is connected to the grid, large amounts of wind power can reduce system inertia and make it less stable.
The word on renewables is not much better out of Europe. One recent report showed despite generous support that dwarfs the subsidies given to the wind industry in America, Germany’s wind farms are failing to deliver much power. The country has more than 25,000 turbines with a rated capacity of nearly 40,000 megawatts. However, over the course of 2014 they delivered just 14.8 percent of their rated capacity – or less than 6,000 megawatts, the amount of power one could get from just six coal fired or nuclear power stations. And, of course, unlike the power from the coal power or nuclear power plants, the power delivered by the wind turbines was so volatile and unpredictable that it could not be counted upon to provide baseload power.
With numbers like this, it is little wonder why windpower is quickly falling out of favor in Europe. Across the EU green energy subsidy programs have been slashed causing the rate of wind farm installations to plummet. The Financial Times reports new wind installations fell precipitously in much of Europe: by 90 per cent in Denmark; 84 per cent in Spain (Europes largest wind power market) and 75 per cent in Italy. The fact that the decline in new wind farm construction comes as subsidies have been slashed is not a coincident and shows just how “not ready for prime-time” wind power still is despite 40 years of support. Wind still can’t compete on price, and may never be able to compete on reliability with the much abused and criticized electric power staples — coal, natural gas and nuclear.