Wind Turbines Spoil the View But less so than Fracking

Wind turbines do spoil the view. These huge revolving one legged creatures do have an impact on the countryside in terms of changing what people call its visual amenity.  However, power stations have a bigger impact on the visual amenity of the countryside and fracking operations will also have a visual impact on the countryside and they will Continue reading

Pollution on the Streets of London

On Monday and Tuesday of this week when I walked the streets of London I noticed an orange dust had settled on cars. I also noticed that I coughed and sneezed, putting this down to a cold coming, although the orange dust I put down to mere pollution. In fact I had no cold coming and pollution was not mere pollution, but had reached 10 on the DEFRA scale of air pollution, which is the UK government’s highest scale reading. It is probably time to re-adjust the scale, perhaps to 20, as there is more pollution to come. Continue reading

Subsidising Global Warming

We hear much about the large subsidies paid for renewable energy. In Many countries a feed in tariff system have been developed to subsidise the production of electricity from photovoltaic panels and large subsidies are paid to landowners and electricity generators who install wind turbines. Both PV and wind turbines do produce electricity but what they produce cannot be stored easily and the production is intermittent. Nevertheless governments, who regard energy as electricity, are happy to spend taxpayers’ money on these measures, rather than on measures, such as solar water heating, which can produce renewable heat at a cheap cost; unlike electricity heat can be stored.

Subsidies come in different guises. In essence any measure or favourable tax treatment which distorts the market or provides an un-level playing field is a subsidy. The Overseas Development Institute thinks that as a whole the governments of the world spend half a trillion dollars in subsidising…fossil fuel! Continue reading

Today is Energy Day

According to the BBC today is energy day. The BBC radio 5 programme has a number of gimmicks to mark energy day. They have a temporary studio powered by renewable energy including photo-voltaic panels, wind turbines and exercise bicycles, but these things are merely gimmicks; no doubt more fossil fuel energy has been expended in erecting the temporary studio than will be saved by all these devices. Continue reading

A Fond Hope

Both the nuclear energy industry and the tidal energy industry are prepared to build new generating capacity but only if the taxpayer guarantees the return of their investment. This is a new kind of capitalism – one which will only take risk if every conceivable risk is covered. The risk reward ratio for these projects, if implemented with a taxpayer guarantee would be virtually 1:100,000. Continue reading

Wind Turbines and the foolishness of subsidising them

About ten miles north of Ramsgate, in the middle of the Thames Estuary some 175 offshore wind turbines have been installed and are now operating, as wind turbines operate, in their own misunderstood fashion. If it is windy, and not too windy, the turbines generate electricity. The publicity claims that the wind turbines will generate enough electricity for 470,000 homes but the publicity is imprecise. There are only 22.5 million homes in the United Kingdom and to power them all will need another 50 arrays of similar turbines but unfortunately it is not as simple as that. Continue reading

Time to Kick Start the Renewable Heat Incentive?

I do not have much time to write a considered essay today, Luckily I have a lot of work to do and tonight will listen to what Mr Greg Barker, the Minister responsible for the Renewable Heat incentive, has to say about it. There will be many people concerned in microgeneration that will listen with interest to what he says.  Continue reading

For warmer soil, farm next to a wind farm

The world’s climate is created and influenced by heat which is a form of light. Heat energy, as the laws of thermodynamics show, moves from a hotter place to a colder place. When you do anything to stop or interfere with heat and light moving where it will, you potentially change the climate, even though the change may not be noticeable.

Texas has plenty of wind farms. It has many more turbines than are situate in Britain. Texas has a windy corridor and there are many turbines exploiting the energy that the wind can bring to us, in a relatively benign way. Those turbines, it seems, are making the neighbouring ground warmer, but only at night.

It seems that this warming is caused by the turbines pushing warm wind to the ground. The effect was noticed when data for Texas ground temperatures was examined for the years 2003 to 2005 and was compared with the years 2009 to 2011. All the ground temperatures in the second later period rose, compared with the earlier periods, but temperatures close to wind farms rose more. The rise over a ten year period was 0.72⁰C, although it is important not to extrapolate that across the whole world. Thermodynamics is, by its nature dynamic and a rise of temperature in one place may create a fall in another place, although that rise gives the lie to the claim that global temperatures have not risen for the past ten years; clearly things are much more complicated than that.

If you visit the Argos district of the Peloponnese in Greece, you will see poking out of orange groves what look like small wind turbines. In fact they are turbines that drive warm air downwards to protect the trees against the frosts of early spring. In the United States, where they have more money, orange farmers fly helicopters over the orange orchards to achieve the same effect.  The warming effect is well known.

We might be able to use this by growing crops which grow better with warmer night-time ground temperatures close to wind farms.

The Trump View of Ugly

I expect most will agree that wind turbines are not pretty things. They stand very high, usually knee deep in sea water, and slowly turn using the wind power to make electrical power. A wind turbine is not the most aesthetically pleasing sight, but it is hardly the least aesthetically pleasing sight made by humanity in the world. I can think of many ugly buildings that to me look far worst and much more vulgar than a gaggle of off shore turbines. Continue reading

Wind Turbines on Windy Days

When it comes to wind turbines, which rely on wind to generate electricity,you can have too much of a good thing.

In the past few days hurricanes have swept through Scotland causing much damage. There are many wind turbines in Scotland and wind turbines cannot operate in hurricanes, because the wind speeds are too high, so turbines have system of preventing the turbine blades operating when wind speeds exceed a certain level, which is much lower than hurricane level and lower than gale force wind levels.

Generally wind turbines do not produce electricity in winds above the range of 40mph and 80 mph, (depending on their design) and have a device, usually electrical brakes, to prevent the blades turning when the wind exceeds the limit for that particular turbine.

In the wind one turbine in the Adrossian wind farm which is 100 metres high caught fire when hurricanes struck it, the blades had been stopped by the brakes, but clearly the force of the wind was so high that friction on the brakes was too much to cope with and the turbine burst into flames.

You can see a picture of this at