OT - Wind Turbines

Discussion in 'UK DIY' started by John, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. John

    John Guest

    It just occurred to me after reading of a local utility wanting to erect a
    wind turbine on its site:

    As we have a National Grid, why do organisations see a need to have their
    own turbine on their own property? Why don't they sponsor a large and
    efficient one elsewhere.

    I guess the answer is to look good to the local green people.
    John, Oct 1, 2010
    1. Advertisements

  2. It might be too complicated to sort out the buying and selling of
    kWh units the sponsored one would generate. If they have their own,
    then all the kWh it generates which they use themselves is free,
    and if they generate more than they need, they can sell it back
    to the grid (making the meter run backwards).
    Ronald Raygun, Oct 1, 2010
    1. Advertisements

  3. John

    Tim Streater Guest

    I suppose the answer is locally produced locally consumed. But you are
    right in that the investment payback time reduces quickly as the turbine
    size goes up.

    My niece who is keen on these things and works in that business says
    that the 200k people to be supplied by the new Thanet offshore jobby is
    about right and based on about a 30% load factor. I've asked her to
    quote me a business case that one might make to build such a setup -
    i.e. all the figures involved so we can see how it stacks up. She also
    said that the cost of Thanet (about £750M, as I recall) was a bit high
    but not too far off (I think she was expecting about £600M).

    She also made the point that:

    It is often said that as wind is intermittent, we need backup for all
    wind sourced electricity. But gas/nuclear have non-100% load factors
    too, so there is extra capacity to cope with that. She felt that the
    backup issue wouldn't become significant until such time as 15% or so of
    our leccy came from wind.

    My feeling is having built e.g. Thanet we can then see how it works,
    whether 30% is reached and whether it costs trillions in ongoing
    maintenance. Point is that bullshit greenwash will - if it exists in a
    particular case - be found out in the long run. Just saying "No more
    boom and bust!" don't actually make it so.
    Tim Streater, Oct 1, 2010
  4. These days FITs (Feed In Tarrifs) get paid 40 odd p/unit(*) for every
    one you generate wether you use it yourself or export it to the grid
    (if you do export you get a few pence more).

    (*) Sliding scale depending on the capacity of the set small ones, up
    to 15kW IIRC, get 40+p/unit, big ones (mega watt) are down to few
    Dave Liquorice, Oct 1, 2010
  5. John

    harry Guest

    When it comes to the harsh economics, they are a waste of space. The
    gov. is trying to encourage private individuals to buy PV panels and
    windmills by making elecricity supplyers offer high prices for "green"
    electricity generated (whether you use it yourself or feed it into the
    grid.) We all pay for it through our electricity bills.
    The thinking is that at present, if you have money in the bank, you'll
    get a bigger income from a windmill. There are lots of pitfalls
    however, I have looked into this.
    harry, Oct 1, 2010
  6. They cant trade carbon certificates if its someone elses. These are
    trading at high value.

    Well that as well.
    The Natural Philosopher, Oct 1, 2010
  7. There is no point in using the electricity themselves. It is worth three
    times or more as much if sold to a unsuspecting grid. Its cheaper to buy
    nuclear and resell it as wind.
    The Natural Philosopher, Oct 1, 2010
  8. Your niece needs to study some engineering.And get a new job. Nuclear
    is 95% or more uptime and load factor, and it rarely suffers unscheduled
    downtime. Ditto CCGT etc etc.

    Wind is always unscheduled downtime, every minute of every day. Means
    the backup plant has to be at least partly spinning reserve. Burning
    gas, going nowhere.

    And carbon fuel to put in the helicopters ad boats. And backuyop generators.

    The experience of Denmark is with 100% plus wind CAPACITY, at best they
    are generating 6-10% AVERAGE from windpower, and burning MORE gas to do
    it than if they had no sodding mills at all.. And electricity is 2-3
    times the price it is anywhere else.

    Total disaster on cost, carbon reduction and efficiency.

    Point is that bullshit greenwash will - if it exists in a
    But far too late to save a nations power supply sadly.

    Just saying "No more
    Renewable energy is a complete waste of time and money, and should be

    Apart from waste burning, which makes complete sense.
    The Natural Philosopher, Oct 1, 2010
  9. Indeed they do. It STILL doesn't make for any useful carbon reduction.

    If they can't do it, we haven't a cats chance in hell.
    The Natural Philosopher, Oct 1, 2010
  10. John

    Another Dave Guest

    The reason conventional power sources have non-100% load factors is that
    they are turned down or even off when nobody wants the electricity, e.g.
    at 2 am.

    Pixie power can produce 100% power at 2 am and zero power at 6 pm when
    everybody switches the kettle on.

    It is also hugely expensive. IMO it is also dangerous in that
    well-meaning people think they are doing something about climate change
    when it is irrelevant.

    We only need a mix of power sources if we come to depend (God forbid) on
    wind and solar. The French are all nuclear with some hydroelectric (they
    have the Alps and Pyrenees, we don't).

    Another Dave
    Another Dave, Oct 1, 2010
  11. John

    Tim Streater Guest

    Source pls. And is that on or off-shore wind they have. I'll see what
    she says about it :)
    Tim Streater, Oct 1, 2010
  12. Cant remember now..some danish reports on average actual windpower
    generated in the last three years, taken up by the danish grid. ad their
    actual last 5 years gas imports.

    here we go
    CEPOS Center for Politikishe studier
    Sept 2009

    "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%."

    "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

    "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."

    Or if you prefer the German viewpoint:

    RUHR economic papers
    Economic Impacts
    from the Promotion of
    Renewable Energy Technologies
    The German Experience
    NOV 2009

    "Although renewable energies have a potentially beneficial role to play
    as part of Germany’s energy portfolio, the commonly advanced argument
    that renewables confer a double dividend or “win-win solution†in the
    form of environmental stewardship and economic prosperity is
    disingenuous. In this article, we argue that Germany’s principal
    mechanism of supporting renewable technologies through feed-in tariffs,
    in fact, imposes high costs without any of the alleged positive impacts
    on emissions reductions, employment, energy security, or technological
    First, as a consequence of the prevailing coexistence of the
    Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme
    (ETS), the increased use of renewable energy technologies triggered by
    the EEG does not imply any additional emission reductions beyond those
    already achieved by ETS alone, if the two instruments are not
    coordinated. This is in line with Morthorst (2003), who analyzes the
    promotion of renewable energy usage by alternative instruments using a
    three-country example. If not coordinated, this study’s results
    suggest that renewable support schemes are questionable climate policy
    instruments in the presence of the ETS.
    Second, numerous empirical studies have consistently shown the
    net employment balance to be zero or even negative in the long run, a
    consequence of the high opportunity cost of supporting renewable energy
    technologies. Indeed, it is most likely that whatever jobs are created
    by renewable energy promotion would vanish as soon as government support
    is terminated, leaving only Germany’s export sector to benefit from
    the possible continuation of renewables support in other countries such
    as the US.
    Third, rather than promoting energy security, the need for backup power
    from fossil fuels means that renewables increase Germany’s dependence on
    gas imports, most of which come from Russia. And finally, the system of
    feed-in tariffs stifles competition among renewable energy producers and
    creates perverse incentives to lock into existing technologies.
    Hence, although Germany’s promotion of renewable energies is
    commonly portrayed in the media as setting a “shining example in
    providing a harvest for the world†(The Guardian 2007), we would instead
    regard the country’s experience as a cautionary tale of massively
    expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of
    economic and environmental benefits. As other European governments
    emulate Germany by ramping up their promotion of renewables, policy
    makers should scrutinize the logic of supporting energy sources that
    cannot compete on the market in the absence of government assistance."

    The most tragically telling comes from this scholarly Estonian study

    "The following questions are analysed:
    - How much wind power capacity will it be technical possible to
    inte grate into the Estonian power system and the Baltic power system?
    - How to deal with uncertainty about forecasting of the wind power
    - What are the additional costs for the system of wind power
    - How does wind power deployment influence the electricity prices in
    the region?
    - What is the role of the electricity market in the integration of
    wind power?

    Other aspects regarding wind power integration are the technical
    requirements for connection of wind power to the grid (grid code
    issues), and the economic viability of wind power deployment from a
    socio economical viewpoint and from a stakeholder viewpoint (economic
    evaluation). These aspects are not dealt with in detail in this study."

    Note that nowhere is the question ASKED, let alone answered 'what impact
    on fossil fuel use (if any) will all this windpower have?

    Ther are so many studies I have read, that its hard to track down any
    given factoid out of the miles of verbiage. Suffice to say the most
    optimistic estimate was irish, that you might be able to use half teh
    windpower you generated to save fossil fuel. The most pessimistic was
    that you would in fact burn more fuel backing up windmills than not
    having them at all. I think that as in the context of Lithuanian oil
    shale existing plant, which does not dispatch well. Alternatively they
    could install new gas turbine plant, and become dependent on Russian gas...
    The Natural Philosopher, Oct 1, 2010
  13. John

    harry Guest

    The Denmark scheme has the advantage that they can export surplus
    power to Germany/Sweden/Norway. (They have far more windmills than
    they need for home consumption.). Not an option open to us. There is
    one small link to France & another in the offing.
    Windmills also create instability in the system that is hard to
    harry, Oct 1, 2010
  14. John

    harry Guest

    harry, Oct 1, 2010
  15. France is 78% nuclear. They turn their nukes down at night too. 100%
    nuclear is possible although its less than an ideal way to run the
    plant, by modulating the reactors. In many ways its better simply to
    waste the steam into the sea. Its costs no carbon to make it after all,
    and the nuclear fuel is a trivial cost compared with the rest.

    Or sell off peak energy at such low prices its a no brainer to put in
    heat banks to store it for the next day.

    My winter heat requirements peak out at 10KW. let's say I need to store
    8am to midnight worth of heat. in a tank that never drops below 60
    degrees, but I will allow to go to 90 degrees.

    that's 160Kwh oh heat. so I will be charging at night at a healthy 20KW
    rate. Pretty hard on my 100A supply and transformer, but doable just.

    It would shag the grid if everybody did it mind you, but heck if we are
    using electricity, not fossil to heat houses, that's gonna happen
    whoever generates it.

    Let's say I have a 30 degree working range, and ignore heat losses. Lots
    of lovely celotex round my underground tank of hot water...with its heat
    exchangers.In fact all it is is a concrete cast tank with 6 3KW
    immersion heaters stuck in it on three rings. And a bloody great coil of
    copper pipe coupled to a pump..that replaces my boiler and pump, and
    heats my rads at anything up to 60C as well as my DHW.

    I can store 30 calories per gram. 30 kilocalories per kilogram and 30
    megacalories per cubic meter of hot water, with that temperature range.

    30 megacalories is about 35 Kwh, and I only NEED 20.. So a 1 meter cube
    tank buried in insulation, under the middle of my house, plus some DIY
    pipework and readily available standard parts enables me to completely
    replace a domestic 10KW oil boiler with totally cheap rate electricity.
    And completely meet a large house heating and DHW requirements.

    This is energy storage that really works. Make that a bath 7 meter long,
    1 meter wide and 1 meter deep, and it will run me for a WEEK . Now the
    ground plan of my house is about 160 square meters Put a 1 meter deep
    tank under that lot, heat it to 90C and I have enough heat for 200 days
    of full winter output!!

    That's cost effective low grade energy storage. If I could then buy spot
    power at a scalable price, I could take summer off peak and use it in
    winter..pre buying my winter fuel in summer, and storing it up for the

    Would I get a subsidy? Would I ****. Its simple, cheap and would really
    help. Ergo its not eligible for a grant, which only goes to expensive,.
    complicated and 'is no damned use'.

    Lyn, Patent this if you read it.

    IF such large scale hot water storage was implemented broadly, and off
    peak electricity was made a little cheaper - this is cost neutral at an
    offpeak price of about 4p a unit, excluding capital costs - this one
    wins hands down.

    Now add heatpumps..

    (Note: fully utilised nuclear plant is about 4p a unit anyway: So it
    works for that. Wind is about 10p-40p a unit, so you are screwed with
    that of course.)
    Finally, if there is a teeny bit of control gear that only cuts the
    heaters in as the grid frequency rises above 50Hz, which essentially
    signals that the grid is 'looking for load' you have a marvellous load
    balancing system on the grid.

    You will charge your heatbank when there is power surplus only. Or if
    your heatbank is desperately cooling..But even that is actually doable
    another way..if a weeks ultra cold weather is anticipated, the power
    management can call on generation kit to keep the frequency a wee bit
    high during each night, ensuring good charge, and drop it back hard for
    short periods during the day to recover overall synchronisation. This
    ensures everyone's heatbank is nice and hot..and during the cold spell,
    run long periods of under frequency, and only shorter periods of very
    high frequency to shorten everyones charging period.

    Don't take this as a marvellous way to make wind power work though. The
    idea of this is to try and reduce demand fluctuations to optimise
    efficiency on nuclear and conventional sets, not to balance generation
    instability by throwing massive circulation currents round a metastable
    grid massively over specced grid subject to the random input of wildly
    geographically dispersed totally unpredictable sustainable energy
    sources..Oh no. we don't want that wind driven waste of grid capacity
    thank you. The ideas is to make better use of what we have (already paid

    The idea is not to store windpower when you can, because you still have
    to get it to the consumer. The idea is to fully utilise the grid and
    steady generation capacity you have online, running at close to its best
    efficiency ...

    It's so simple cheap and clever that it has no chance of being adopted
    The Natural Philosopher, Oct 1, 2010
  16. see earlier posting. For sources.

    The MORE gas comes about because they aqre running into issues: a lot
    of Denmark uses CHP for district heating. This cant use electricity
    offpeak or otherwise, so they cant eat into that, nor can the switch it
    off when the windblows cos they need the HEAT it produces. So although
    they can ramp down coal, they have to then backup with gas instead,
    because they need a LOT of backup.
    Essentially what happens is that when the wind DOES blow, they either
    simply dump the electricity, because no one wants it at all, or sell it
    at uber low prices to Norway and Sweden, who simply switch off a few
    hydro plants, which doesn't save any carbon either.

    So no possible savings in carbon there, anywhere,.

    When the wind doesn't blow, they have to import shitloads of hydro from
    the interlinks, which is fine, but there isn't enough hydro to fully
    back the sodding mills up, so they end up pusging the go button on some
    gas turbine kit. And running that at part load and crap efficiency, and
    Russian gas.

    It's what happens when you let marketing dictated engineering policy
    mate. A complete balls up.

    Twas ever thus.
    The Natural Philosopher, Oct 1, 2010
  17. yes, but not nearly enough. And it doesn't save any carbon there anyway,
    because they aren't using any (much) to start with.

    So you have the position that an excess of windpower is thrown away or
    exported, subsidised heavily by the Danish consumer, and saves no
    carbon. It doesn't even generate DANISH carbon credits

    A lack of windpower causes new expensive fast start gaq turbines that
    never were used or needed before, to be swung in.

    meanwhile Denmark's base load CHP kit, which really works and is very
    efficient, would have to be replaced by something no ones invented yet,
    and a load of heatpumps that probably would require completetely new
    buildings to take advantage of the, and yet more expense.
    The Natural Philosopher, Oct 1, 2010
  18. that isn;t actually what I disputed.

    I merely noted that a surplus of windpower exported into a 100% hydro
    country saves no carbon in that country. And saves no carbon in the
    country of origin either.

    It merely displaces a cheap efficient form of carbon free energy
    (hydropower) with an expensive inefficent one (wind power) run across
    long expensive and not 100% efficient interlinks.

    It's a lose lose situation really.

    It would be nice if the hydropwer could then be used to back the
    windmills up, but there isn't enough interlink and besides, the Swedes
    and so on rather want to use it themselves, especially in dry (and
    rather windless) years.

    And don't probably see why they should turn it into pumped storage at
    their expense merely to make Danish stupidity seem less so.

    The Danes are free to make their electricity only 4 times as expensive
    as they need be, and rent a bit of Sweden to build a measly couple of
    gigawatts pumped if they want, I suppose, and their two billion Euro
    interconncetor to it, but it's not the Swedes problem, really it's not.
    The Natural Philosopher, Oct 1, 2010
  19. John

    Lyndsay Guest

    TNP, wonderful!
    We will discuss tomorrow face to face!

    Lyndsay, Oct 1, 2010
  20. John

    Lyndsay Guest

    I am running this bit of excellent kit
    (Cambridge company)
    for just £29, an AC clamp around the electricity in my house is sent
    to web browser.
    I guess I have knocked off 10 to 20% of elect bill just seeing
    It's also good when I'm away from home and can spot what's happening
    in my house, e.g. daughter getting up.
    Kitchen activity, e.g. kettle on, oven, dishwasher. If my Mum had one
    I would know Mum was safe and active at home.

    Highly recommended (I have no association with the company)
    Lyndsay, Oct 1, 2010
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.