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"Colorado State University's Rocky Mountain Collegian reports that, "as of June [the price of wind power] dropped to 1 cent per kwh." Even without further expected improvements in turbine technology, the U.S. would now need to use less than 3% of its farmland to get 95% of its electricity demand satisfied by wind power. Plus, wind power is the only mitigation of global warming, because if the whole world converted to wind power in 15 years, the amount of power being extracted from the atmosphere would be more than the increase in greenhouse gas atmospheric energy forcing since 1600." (from slashdot.)

 

The only problems with wind power are, of course,

 

(a) that wind doesn't blow all the time, and it is hard to store electricity, so other fuel sources would be needed to provide power on "low wind days" until energy storage tech catches up.

 

(b)for things like vehicles we (again) have no decent way to store energy, so oil might still be needed until fuel cell tech catches up.

 

Its still an interesting factoid though...:D

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well the quote says wind power at 1c/kw.... but i haven't looked into the details of what that includes. I'd bet it is still more expensive than traditional forms... but it is getting cheaper and cheaper... and the other ones are only as cheap as they are because they are mass produced and costs have fallen... as they would with wind power.

 

But still, cover 1.5% of US farmland with them and get 50% of the country's electricity... can't be bad...

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Another problem with wind for an energy source is that windmills are noisy. Noise pollution, while not directly damaging to the environment, does create an interesting caveat for those that want to supplant their energy: some may wish to move away from neighbors that have windmills, but I think that if a home is properly built, it can filter the frequency of the noise.

 

Another problem with windmill noise is that windmill farms or a significant number of windmills may affect bird migration, though this isn't completely clear. There have been birds found dead from collision at bases of windmills.

 

Still, I think that if high numbers of rural homes (farms, ranches, homes) and businesses had windmills on their properties, this could create a nationwide subgrid that could be plugged into main power grids and offer returns to the entire grid. Windless days would be offset by other regions that continued to have wind.

 

@ RayJones: that's a pretty speculative assumption, is it not? I'm not saying you are wrong, but I think that it seems unlikely.

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Originally posted by SkinWalker

Another problem with windmill noise is that windmill farms or a significant number of windmills may affect bird migration, though this isn't completely clear. There have been birds found dead from collision at bases of windmills.

 

We find dead birds that have flown into our windows quite often, so i doubt it's effect woul be any greater than a big glass building.

:D

 

The US is a pretty big country, and a lot of its farmland is MASSIVE. Gigantic fields that cover hundreds of acres or more. Stick a few windmills in the middle and they are unlikely to disturb anyone IMHO.

 

I don't know enough about weather patterns, but you'd think that if they spread them ove rthe whole country, plus maybe some out to sea, they would be guaranteed that at any given moment a lot of thm would have wind.

Possibly not the same for smaller countries though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Poking in a few windmills here and there is not an efficient use of space and would not be cost effective. In order to work one would have to install a large amount of mills in a field. One indication that this form of energy is not a valid form is that it is not being used. If it was then we would be inserting it into our technology system in some manner. When, or if, it becomes a viable energy source it will be incorporated into society. More likely it will be forced into society because some entrepreneur will want to make as much money as possible.

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Originally posted by SkinWalker

but I think that if a home is properly built, it can filter the frequency of the noise.

that may be possible for smaller windmills, but i dont think it will work with those big ones with 15+ meter rotor blades.

that's a pretty speculative assumption, is it not? I'm not saying you are wrong, but I think that it seems unlikely.

well, i am not saying i am right.. BUT..

 

fact is: windmills do influence the wind streams, since they use them to gain energy. so it's probably less unlikely than it seems that large windmill farms can have an measureable influence on ground winds and thermal at specific places/regions. noone can say what happens if we "change" winds/thermal lifts near a mountain which normally "blocks" or whatever certain winds/streams. of course it would be a longer process, i dont think anything will happen one day after building the farm..

 

it's too late anyways, we have large cities which have it all: channeling/straightening winds, producing upstreaming warm air or keeping the sun from reaching the ground and warming it.

 

on the other hand.. the climate is changing every day since err.. there is climate.. and i think there were a couple of climatic extremes, so it could be worse even if we never had influenced climate..

 

and maybe those windmill farms (accidently) "eliminate" what we "did" to the climate before..

 

who knows?

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Using a mixture of different enviromentaly freindly power sources is a better way to go. As for water power being cheaper, dams do a lot more damage to ecosystems than wind power does. Just look at what's happened to the salmon population in the last few years due to dams and you'll see what I mean. The point is to make power without screwing up the planet and its processes.

In the end I think all the current enviromentaly friendly power sources are temporary measures until we make nuclear fusion a viable power source.

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I think it's prudent to point out at this juncture that some places are better suited to house windfarms than others, and some places are better for solar and hydro power than others. Environmentally friendly power sources MUST by definition be tailored to the landscape in which they stand.

 

Debating the pros and cons of each system is futile as they are merely suited to different situations and are therefore practically and effectively incomparable.

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It doesn't matter what type of energy source you use you are altering the environment by definition. What you are doing is collecting and removing the energy from the environment and displacing it, thus altering it. Windmills take the energy out of the wind, oil burns the energy out of the oil, solar power absorbs the energy that would otherwise head for the Earth and so on.

 

The great thing about energy is that by natural law it is neither created nor destroyed only changed. Thus making fusion power a possible theory. One problem is creating a devise that losses no energy during its creation, meaning having a generator that is 100% efficient.

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Nuclear fusion power is when you collide to atoms together to create power. Nuclear Fission is what current nuclear power plants use which splits atoms and creates nasty byproducts. Fusion wouldn't have such byproducts, but the temperatures needed to create a working fusion reaction means it won't be viable for a while. The sun is an example of a natural fusion reactor.

Also, what about hydrogen power? Does anyone know how viable that is?

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Originally posted by Nairb Notneb

The great thing about energy is that by natural law it is neither created nor destroyed only changed. Thus making fusion power a possible theory. One problem is creating a devise that losses no energy during its creation, meaning having a generator that is 100% efficient.

 

I wouldn't say that's the GREAT thing about the conservation of energy. I mean, it's nice that energy isn't destroyed, but if you could CREATE energy I think that would make the world's problems alot easier.

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It doesn't matter what type of energy source you use you are altering the environment by definition. What you are doing is collecting and removing the energy from the environment and displacing it, thus altering it. Windmills take the energy out of the wind, oil burns the energy out of the oil, solar power absorbs the energy that would otherwise head for the Earth and so on.
Self-evident. But the point of "environmentally friendly" power sources is that they're less catastrophically damaging to the particular ecosystem in which they're placed, than current power generation methods. As for fusion power generation, let's think about using that when it actually exists.

 

One indication that this form of energy is not a valid form is that it is not being used.
Bit of a fallacy there. Possible new energy sources constitute a threat to the established interests of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. That's certainly a top suspect for the reason why they're not more widely used or developed to be even more efficient.
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ET-Warrior, the fact that energy isn't created nor destroyed is great because that means that energy in the universe will never run out, it will always be there in some form. The problem for us is that we must learn how to manage it properly and in its best forms in efficient manners in non threatening, non harmful ways.

 

And Spider, are you implying that big oil companies actually might be "hiding" new ideas and technology for using energy sources? (In sarcastic tone) "I don't believe it!" They have been accused of this and it is true I'm sure. Look at it from this perspective. They are in a gigantic business in an effort to make trillions of dollars. If they had an additional source that could potentially provide them with that type of profits, they would be fools not to go after it because they have the sources to invest in the research needed to develop the technology needed.

 

This is the problem with hydrogen power, fusion power, etc. They are great ideas, but they are not currently practical because they require more energy to run then they can generate. Right now they are not viable. Right now being the key. What must happen in order for us to use them is for tons of research and advances to be done. Government alone won't get this done. Private groups looking to make money on their investments, looking for some way to market their product to the public will get it done. History tells us this.

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They are in a gigantic business in an effort to make trillions of dollars. If they had an additional source that could potentially provide them with that type of profits, they would be fools not to go after it because they have the sources to invest in the research needed to develop the technology needed.
They're in a gigantic business THAT MAKES trillions of dollars. Why spend the necessary money to develop a new technology to make it profitable when you can sit on it and use the old technology to make you incredibly rich for your entire life without having the headache? Most of the current executives will be dead before the environmental impact of using non-replacable fuel sources will come to fruition anyway, so what do they care?

 

Sorry, but the fact that big oil companies don't advocate eco-friendly technologies more than they do is NOT an indication of the impracticality of these technologies, your reasoning is flawed.

 

ET-Warrior, the fact that energy isn't created nor destroyed is great because that means that energy in the universe will never run out, it will always be there in some form.
Not necessarily in a form usable by humanity. And "great"? Bit enthusiastic isn't it? Energy just is. Like a brick is. We don't call a brick "great" do we? Maybe we should, it holds our house up after all. :)
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  • 3 weeks later...

arable land: 19.13%

total: 9,631,418 sq km

 

9,631,418 sq km x 19.13% = 184290.2634 sw KM arable land.

 

Now lets say you bought this '3% of americas farmland' in order to build wind power plants, now cheap land is atleast $200 an acre. And thats land that is garbage. That is like toxic waste inhabited land. That is about $8000 a square kilometer.

 

So just to buy the land would cost $44 million (maybe in your socialist communism you can rob land from the people, but not in the real world.) Then an average windmill farm with around 30 windmills costs between $150-180 million.

 

So then lets say the only places there is enough wind is where land costs 500 times what that land costs.

 

The cost of wind is astronomical to the renewable resources of hydrogen adn hydroelectric.

 

Also, if you are so concerned about pollution maybe you should quit eating. Living organisms create more green house gasses than all of the power plants on earth combined.

 

Also: The united states has an 11 trillion dollar GDP, agriculture amounting to 1.4% of that, which is $154 billion dollars a year.

 

Bottom line: Wind power will never power all of the united states.

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Originally posted by toms

The only problems with wind power are, of course,

 

(a) that wind doesn't blow all the time, and it is hard to store electricity, so other fuel sources would be needed to provide power on "low wind days" until energy storage tech catches up.

 

(b)for things like vehicles we (again) have no decent way to store energy, so oil might still be needed until fuel cell tech catches up.

 

That's called Hydrogen fuel cells.

 

Wind power costs too much to produce. Compared to the other one, companies won't want to invest in it.

 

It costs 12-15 cents CAN to make 1 kilowatt/hour of electricity with wind power while it costs way less with hydro power(something around 2-3 cents CAN). At least here it does.

 

That calculation only holds as long as you don't look at the whole-life cost. The disposal systems are not taken into account in that calculation, nor are the environmental effects.

 

Which in turn means that proper government 'incentives' can turn the entire calculation around.

 

Another problem with wind for an energy source is that windmills are noisy. Noise pollution, while not directly damaging to the environment, does create an interesting caveat for those that want to supplant their energy: some may wish to move away from neighbors that have windmills, but I think that if a home is properly built, it can filter the frequency of the noise.

 

For once you don't seem to be up to date on this, Skin. Only old windmills make significant noise. Modern windmills don't have this problem.

 

Another problem with windmill noise is that windmill farms or a significant number of windmills may affect bird migration, though this isn't completely clear. There have been birds found dead from collision at bases of windmills.

 

And bats, as well. Yes, that is a problem that needs investigating.

 

Still, I think that if high numbers of rural homes (farms, ranches, homes) and businesses had windmills on their properties, this could create a nationwide subgrid that could be plugged into main power grids and offer returns to the entire grid. Windless days would be offset by other regions that continued to have wind.

 

Possibly. But there is a wee little transportation problem. It's hard to transport electrical energy over long distances.

 

One indication that this form of energy is not a valid form is that it is not being used. If it was then we would be inserting it into our technology system in some manner. When, or if, it becomes a viable energy source it will be incorporated into society. More likely it will be forced into society because some entrepreneur will want to make as much money as possible.

 

The main gripe that I have with this argument is that it requires significant investments to make wind energy a viable resource. Thus you need to do a lot of unproductive (and hence government-funded) footwork before you can reap the benefits.

 

It doesn't matter what type of energy source you use you are altering the environment by definition. What you are doing is collecting and removing the energy from the environment and displacing it, thus altering it. Windmills take the energy out of the wind, oil burns the energy out of the oil, solar power absorbs the energy that would otherwise head for the Earth and so on.

 

However, energy is not just energy. Taking energy out of the wind is less interfereing than taking it from oil, mainly because the regeneration time of oil is 3mill+ yrs while the regeneration time of wind is - well, overnight.

 

The great thing about energy is that by natural law it is neither created nor destroyed only changed. Thus making fusion power a possible theory. One problem is creating a devise that losses no energy during its creation, meaning having a generator that is 100% efficient.

 

*cough*thermo'ssecondlaw*cough*

 

Fusion wouldn't have such byproducts,

 

'Cept that it also creates strong radiation, which does leave an afterimage...

 

Also, what about hydrogen power? Does anyone know how viable that is?

 

Hydrogen power is actually a bit misleading as a term. It is not technically a power source, but rather a means of storing energy, hence solving the two problems pointed out in the first post. However there are several technical hurdles, such as efficiency, storage, etc. to be overcome before it will become readily available. Add to that the fact that we will need to replace a great deal of our oil-based fuel infrastructure.

 

ET-Warrior, the fact that energy isn't created nor destroyed is great because that means that energy in the universe will never run out, it will always be there in some form. The problem for us is that we must learn how to manage it properly and in its best forms in efficient manners in non threatening, non harmful ways.

 

You're overlooking a slight problem. Thermo's second Law. The relevant concept here is not the amount of energy in the universe. It is the amount of enthropy.

 

And Spider, are you implying that big oil companies actually might be "hiding" new ideas and technology for using energy sources? (In sarcastic tone) "I don't believe it!" They have been accused of this and it is true I'm sure. Look at it from this perspective. They are in a gigantic business in an effort to make trillions of dollars. If they had an additional source that could potentially provide them with that type of profits, they would be fools not to go after it because they have the sources to invest in the research needed to develop the technology needed.

 

Look at the track record of your big tobacco companies. These things are mariginally more expensive, and hence are of no interest to these big businesses. And besides, they can't use their White House connections to grab wind fields.

 

This is the problem with hydrogen power, fusion power, etc. They are great ideas, but they are not currently practical because they require more energy to run then they can generate. Right now they are not viable. Right now being the key.

 

Sorry to say so, but that's bull, at least where hydrogen is concerned. As mentioned before it's a storage system - and while there is of course conversion loss, it is a very effective one at that.

 

What must happen in order for us to use them is for tons of research and advances to be done. Government alone won't get this done. Private groups looking to make money on their investments, looking for some way to market their product to the public will get it done. History tells us this.

 

That being bull aswell, I'm afraid. In Denmark we pumped tons of government money in wind mill research and we came out as the leading producer of wind mills. Government funds alone can go a long way. Assuming, of course, that you start actually taxing those oil companies of yours.

 

Now lets say you bought this '3% of americas farmland' in order to build wind power plants, now cheap land is atleast $200 an acre. And thats land that is garbage. That is like toxic waste inhabited land. That is about $8000 a square kilometer.

 

Doesn't work that way. The land never changes hands. People pay windmill companies to place windmills on their land, because the government pays for the electricity.

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The government would never get away with supplying all of the united states' power, companies would protest it.

 

Even if the government did take it over, there is still the fact that over 5 billion dollars would be lost every year, so i dont think that it would be a capable situation. Thats not even considering the general loss of power production yearly income, mineral resource factory and processing, and any other unaccounted for business that would be wiped off the face of the country, possibly 100s of billions of dollars a year.

(also why government should stay out of peoples lives and especially companies. )

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i don't want to get off topic, but since when has the government been "for the companies?" THe government is supposed to make decisions on behalf of the people, not big business. Anyway, back on topic....

 

Many things require a massive initial investment and take a while to see returns... almost everything infact. But as the technology takes off efficiency increases and costs fall. That is the way of things. There just needs to be some incentive to kick things off.

 

You could think of it like pensions or something. You are better off in the short term if you just keep on having fun and not investing for the future, but at some point you are gonna run out of money and be in trouble.

The government could wait until you get to that point and then try and bail you out with welfare, healthcare etc... (which would be bad for you, and expensive for them) or it could try to give you incentives to plan for the future now... which leaves you both better off.

 

If 3% of the US farmland could produce almost all it's power, then 0.5% of it's farmland, plus the same amount offshore would supplement it's power by 30%, costing no more than the planned mission to mars, allowing fossil fuels to last 30% longer, while we work on ways to make it cheaper, more efficient and easier to store.

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Originally posted by toms

 

i don't want to get off topic, but since when has the government been "for the companies?" THe government is supposed to make decisions on behalf of the people, not big business. Anyway, back on topic...

 

Here is how government works:

 

the polititions are no longer for the people! the polititions that run the government do what the rich people want and the rich people are the ones in charge of big business!

 

why would they do that? they are getting PAID OFF by the companies! the polititions are in it to make money and they do that by selling out! even if it is NOT to the best of our people!

 

What do you think of THAT?

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i think i know all that. There was a fairly cool documentary on channel 4 last night called "White House for sale" that showed what all politicians (republican, democrat, president down to local level) have to do in order to get funding. The government is no longer for the people, it is for the 2% of people who donate to political parties. People's voices are no longer all equal.

 

But that is all off topic, which is why i didn't want to get into it...

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