Wind Farms

Image stolen from Greenpeace...

From todays Climate Change report in The Australian comes this little gem. EARLIER this month, the first Australian order for wind turbines for 2010 was made. It was also the first in three months and just the second since the bottom fell out of the market for renewable energy market in October.
The order was for just two wind turbines, with a capacity of 4 megawatts and a likely cost of $10 million. It was made not by a commercial wind farm developer, but by a 1100-strong community group in Victoria's Hepburn Springs, who have decided to chip in anything from a few hundred dollars each to make their shire carbon neutral, at least on the energy front.
$10 million divided by 1100 comes to $9,090.90 per man, woman and child living in Hepburn Springs suggesting anyone chipping in a few hundred dollars is a tight arse. Whether they 'chipped in' out of their wallets or the council spent their rates on the wind farm is neither here nor there. The point is they are up for the cost and will have a long wait before their capital expenditure is regained. If we presume the winds at Hepburn Springs blows day and night 365 days of the year then they might get their money back just before they retire or die but it doesn't. Weather patterns suggest Hepburn Springs is a windy town but the residents will still need base load power from the terrible coal fired power stations. So $10,000 capital investment and periodic base load costs. I'm obviously missing something here. Are the residents all Greenies, mathematically disadvantaged, endowed with more money than sense or just happy to see the wind turbine supply company make a lot of money at their expense. Maybe a Greenie dropping by this site accidentally (I wouldn't expect them to deliberately visit) can explain in monosyllabic terms just what it is I'm missing.

3 comments

  • Kev
    What you’re missing is that there’s more to count than the dollars. Time will come, long after you and I are gone, when fossil energy will run out. This will not be a catastrophe for our great grandchildren if someone with smarts has done the necessary research and development of alternatiive sources.
    Our descendants might just be grateful.
    There’s more than 750 of these farms in operation in Oz. Go see Stanwell’s installation at Windy Hill near Herberton next time you’re on the Tableland.
    See – http://windenergydesign.com.au/wind_farms_australia.htm
    “Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted” – Albert Einstein

  • Neither wind nor solar generate electricity reliably enough to replace coal fired or nuclear plants. Europe’s fling with wind has been an economic disaster – sure a few jobs are created during the construction of ‘renewable’ generators, but once they are constructed the jobs disappear as the Spanish have discovered to their cost.

    In fact, because wind in particular is so unreliable & uneconomic, Spain has lost significant parts of its steel industry which once employed over one hundred thousand people to South Africa and the USA because those countries offered cheaper and more reliable power.

    The possibility of replacing coal fired power with wind in Australia is also a fantasy; this review (http://marvellousmelbourne.org/drupal/sites/default/files/Wind%20Farming%20in%20South%20East%20Australia.pdf) of wind power in SA & Vic reveals that: “Wind farms in South East Australia are not likely to supply any significant reliable power.”

    It concludes that annually wind farms can only be relied upon to generate 10% of their installed capacity 90% of the time, a pathetic result from the billions spent, hundreds of kilometres of disfigured landscape, noise pollution and wasted resources.

    So much for “no adverse effects on the planet”, the failed wind power experiment in Australia will result in graveyards filled with rusting towers just like California.

  • Apart from the obvious cost of subsidising wind farms there is this problem as well:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9srPoOU6_Z4&feature=player_embedded

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