Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Learn about Wind Power and Air

This week's column at The National Anxiety Center is devoted to the issues and facts surrounding wind power and an excellent book on the subject of the earth's atmosphere, "An Ocean of Air." Click on the link and spend a few minutes learning about why wind power is a very trendy, expensive, and inefficient way of providing America's massive need for electrical power.

The Center got its name in 1990 based on the way "scare campaigns" are used to influence public opinion and policies.


Unknown said...

The fact is that wind power will be effective only if you accept it's most important drawback, the inconstancy and unpredictability of wind, and work around it. It's effective for isolated communities of low electrical consumption that have no practical way of getting electricity from the grid.

But if you can pair a wind power farm with some form of energy storage, so that you can store energy while the wind blows (if there isn't enough demand at the moment) and use it while it doesn't blow, you're halfway there. The ideal pairing would be a wind farm and a water reservoir, such as an artificial lake formed by a dam. While the wind is blowing, you use that energy to pump water into the lake. When wind speed is too low to cope with the electricity demand, you use the stored water to run turbine driven generators. Repeat the cycle as needed. The greenies, of course, don't like dams and artificial lakes so that's that.

The next step is to develop a battery good enough to store energy generated by the wind. For example, a 1 Megawatt turbine can be paired with a 4 Megawatt-hour (MWh) battery. Working at half capacity, the battery will be charged in eight hours. If the wind slacks, then you use energy from the battery.

Some battery! A typical car battery is rated at 50 ampere-hour, which at 12 Volts nominal means that it can store 12x50= 600 watt-hours or 0.6 kilowatt-hours. This means that out mythical 4 MWh battery would be equivalent to 4 million divided by 600 or 6,667 car batteries! I'm not holding my breath waiting for it.

And the greenies don't like batteries, either. Too many "deadly" chemicals stored there.

Congrats on your new blog.

Hal said...

Good stuff, Alan. Enjoy your blog.

Unknown said...

Alan, I am still trying to get my Google account to work.

bill fallin

Alan Caruba said...

Thank you, gentlemen. Jaime, as usual, you have to stand accused of common sense and good science.

Hal, I salute you! Why? Because as a former Air Force General you outrank me and because you have earned mine and the nation's respect and regard.

Bill, you will soon be leaving comments here daily once you get passed the Google gates. And you will always be welcome!

Unknown said...

Alan, I got here through a link John sent me. I want to see if this will post. Google is slowly driving me totally nuts.