The wind energy business is booming!

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The wind energy industry is rapidly expanding in our nation. In 2012, wind installations increased by 90 percent over the previous year. And, because more wind power is available, the average price of a wind power purchase agreement down to half of what it cost in 2009. This lower cost and increased availability made our nation the global leader for annual wind-energy capacity in 2012. Federal tax incentives, and state and federal policies that promote renewable energy played a major role in the success of wind-energy, and led to a boost in domestic manufacturing.

According to the Department of Energy, we're building more wind farms, but importing much less wind turbine equipment. More of that equipment is being manufactured here in the U.S., providing good-paying jobs for our fellow citizens. All-in-all, wind energy is very profitable for the renewable energy industry, and it's very good policy for our nation. New jobs, cleaner energy, and cheaper electricity prove that good science is also good business.

Thom Hartmann Administrator's picture
Thom Hartmann A...
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Europe has much to teach us about wind and renewable energy. Unfortunately, we insist on ignoring the lesson and emulating their example; ultimately suffering the same economic harm I believe.

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stwo
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I have mixed feelings about wind farms and their bird killing turbines. The noise they generate makes people go crazy if they live close enough to hear it. If they catch on fire (and they do) they are left to burn, spewing out toxic smoke and fiber glass. You can't recycle them when they get to old to be useful. If they would truely do a REAL avian study to be sure they are not placing them in a migratory path and use distressed lands that would be a start in the right direction but in their rush to put these farms all over the place I am afraid they have made many mistakes that could have been avoided.

They need to come up with new bird friendly designs. Anyone out there got an idea for one? And BTW, I don't want to hear from those of you that just want to insist that more birds die crashing into cars and windows or get killed by domestic cats.

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am

I dont know about a "bird safe" design. I do know that one province in Denmark creates all of its electricity through wind turbines...and sells excess production to adjoining provinces.

However, no energy disappears. It's either converted into mass (like CO2, plant life, etc.), or remains as heat.

E=MC2.

Energy = Mass times the speed of light squared. Conversely, Mass times the speed of light squared = Energy. The basis for the A-bomb.

Oil energy (the mass called oil ) used to fuel an auto is: 1.... converted into heat (touch your engine) and 2.... some is converted back into mass upon burning...emissions.

Energy exists as heat or as mass. Energy as heat or as mass is a closed system . It exists is one of its two forms neither increasing nor decreasing and some energy as heat is reflected back into space....it doesn't disappear, it just changes location.

Most of the U.S. east of the Mississippi used to be covered in forests. Heat energy striking the planet was converted into mass (forests). I sometimes wonder how much forest removal around the globe has effected planetary temperatures over time.

Removal of much of the vegetation of the Sahel through over-grazing turned much of the African Continent into a heat-generating desert.

Global warming is perhaps a bit more complex than just CO2 emissions.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I was inspired when, last night, I watched six JFK speeches, where he explained his vision of projects to bring power production and water access to the entire country.

It's and 88 minute video.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm
Quote polycarp2:Oil energy (the mass called oil ) used to fuel an auto is: 1.... converted into heat (touch your engine) and 2.... some is converted back into mass upon burning...emissions.

Energy exists as heat or as mass. Energy as heat or as mass is a closed system . It exists is one of its two forms neither increasing nor decreasing and some energy as heat is reflected back into space....it doesn't disappear, it just changes location.

Interesting....

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stwo
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote stwo:
Quote polycarp2:Oil energy (the mass called oil ) used to fuel an auto is: 1.... converted into heat (touch your engine) and 2.... some is converted back into mass upon burning...emissions.

Energy exists as heat or as mass. Energy as heat or as mass is a closed system . It exists is one of its two forms neither increasing nor decreasing and some energy as heat is reflected back into space....it doesn't disappear, it just changes location.

Interesting....

Einstein was an interesting dude.....in science, religion and social constructs.

E=MC2 was one of mankind's most fascinating discoveries.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

WELL...

First about bird strikes:

Older wind turbines rotated the blades at high RPM. The assumption used to design them were faulty in terms of maximum conversion efficiency. There is a thing called tip velocity and tip velocity has a limit based on the wind speed... That is why more advanced, newerturbine blades spin at much more leisurly pace). The three blade design is near optimal and with slower rotating speed, birds generally are able to avoid a direct hit with the blade.

The problem is on the down wind side. The trubine blades generate a circulating vortex behind the blades and can cause the birds to crash into the ground. Again most birds are smart enough to deal with turbulent airflow. Also the newer turbines are rated for higher power 500KW to over a 1MW and these monsters turbine blades are mounted much higher off the ground. Not too many birds fly so far off the ground.1MW generator has a rotor diameter of 60metre and tower height of 70metre lowest point of the rotor blade is 40metre off the ground. 5MW turbine has a rotor diameter of 112metre and tower height of 100metre lowest point of the blade tip is around 44metre off the ground.

Total direct bird kill by the turbine is much less than the death that can be attributed to habitat loss and by pollution I would think so this really should not be viewed so negatively. Bird kills from pollution is less obvious but I think its lot more serious than a direct kill.

E=MC2 stuff:

Well the equation basically says that mass is highly condensed form of energy. And yes its part of special theory of relativity that almost all undergrad physics students learn. As to its derivation that's another thing all together.

Relating to mass generated or lost in chemical reaction is bit pointless BECAUSE it is so miniscule in terms of total mass. Even at a beaker size. Energy released from single nuclear reaction is measured in Mevs while energy released from chemical reaction is only in eV. And it is the 6 orders of magnitude or greater difference in energy is what drives the desire for nuclear.

if 100 ml of liquid were to be converted into total energy, I would think off top of my head, that it could power all of human activity for quite some time.

BTW, general theory of relativity says that Omega = 4* pi. I'll let you figure out what it means. And no Dr. Einstein did not receive the nobel prize for his relativity theories. He also almost didn't get his PhD.

smilingcat
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Sep. 23, 2010 9:14 am

Regarding the three blade design you mentioned in your above comment......please watch the video. WARNING....IT'S GRAPHIC. VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED!

http://www.epaw.org/multimedia.php?lang=en&article=b2

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am

I think you'll find that energy as heat is related to the atom density of the mass. Transmuting energy as mass back into heat is what powers nuclear reactors and is sometimes used to melt cities.

Probably if we could find a way to split the atoms in oil releassing all of the energy as heat, there wouldn't be waste as mass...just a lot more heat to power our cars and electric generating plants.

Chemical transmuting of energy is pretty inefficient, isn't it?

Human beings aren't efficient at all. We consume energy as perhaps an apple, convert it into heat (a corpse is cold), mass ( tissue) and mass as waste.

The energy contained in the apple is neither added to nor subtracted from. Thankfully the chemical process isn't as efficient as transmuting energy is on an atomic level, or we'd evaporate...leaving a radioactive transmitter of energy with a mass density of ziltch and a whole lot of energy as heat.

Einstein barely passed grade school. It bored him. I'm not surprised he had difficulty getting a Phd. Challenging professors and known science is a sure way to flunk.

Personally, I found the way to challenge nonsense is to do it in a way that makes the professors appear brilliant. Credit them with giving you the proven challenge, and thank them for it, and they'll give you an A.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote MrsBJLee:

Regarding the three blade design you mentioned in your above comment......please watch the video. WARNING....IT'S GRAPHIC. VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED!

http://www.epaw.org/multimedia.php?lang=en&article=b2

yes Mrs. Brenda Lee. Unfortunately, it does happen on rare occasion. And the poor vulture paid for it with its life. The point I was making is that when it is a direct, and tangible with immediate result, we are reminded of the negative impact.

You see a hunter shoot a duck. but you do not see the duck dying of lead poisoning slowly. So that you do not notice the death from lead poisoning (BTW, lead pellets for shotguns fo use in waterfowl hunting is illegal in most places).

What you don't see is the hundreds of birds, hundreds of flocks with thousands of birds are affected by pollution from coal fired plants, loss of habitat from water being diverted to run the powerplants and it effects on the birds. More birds die from pesticides DDT, still used in the world, to toxic mine tailing ponds, to toxic build up such as selenium in the central valley of California. Much of the marshlands near the Sacramento delta has high level of heavy metal and is of serious health risks. Water birds make nests, lives and swim in it. birth defect rate amongst new chicks in the area is alarmingly high. These birth defects are death sentence to the chicks as it is so debilitating that they can not walk nor swim. Selenium causes bones to malform.

What you don't see can kill you is rather appropriate and if comparison is to be made, one needs to look at morbidity rate of birds from other human activity then compare against wind turbine. maybe I will be shocked that wind turbine has higher kill rate than other human activity such as coal fired powered plants... to driving a car. But I don't think so.

And oh tens of thousands of migratory birds die each year from slamming into high rise building in the evening. Many offices still keep the lights on even after hours and after all the personnel have gone home. The lit offices on 20th floor (as an example) is a great attractor to the birds flying in dusk. Many crash into the window and die.

smilingcat
Joined:
Sep. 23, 2010 9:14 am
Quote polycarp2:... Einstein barely passed grade school. It bored him. I'm not surprised he had difficulty getting a Phd. Challenging professors and known science is a sure way to flunk.

Personally, I found the way to challenge nonsense is to do it in a way that makes the professors appear brilliant. Credit them with giving you the proven challenge, and thank them for it, and they'll give you an A.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

You do not need to remind me of this when I stumped a Nobel laureate professor in my classical thermodynamics class. quote "you are lucky I don't flunk you" I'm just as obstinate. I could care less about my grades and I could care less about my final exams. Bottom line for me was do you really understand the subject matter. You know if you do or not without having to take a final exam. If you have to find out from your finals, you really don't have any grasp of the subject. But this is all under the bridge well over 30 years ago. Before even electronic calculators and such. Actually almost 40 years ago yikes!! Yes the innocense of grad student (slaves).

smilingcat
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Sep. 23, 2010 9:14 am

Problems crop up when you need to pass a pre-requisite to take the next class. In that instance, it's best not to cross the prof. by making him appear stupid.

If I took any economics course at Chicago Univ., I'd flunk out the first semester. Their instructors are twits and the Economcs Dept (as with many universities) is heavily financed by none other than the Koch Bros. Surprise, surprise.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote polycarp2:

Most of the U.S. east of the Mississippi used to be covered in forests. Heat energy striking the planet was converted into mass (forests). I sometimes wonder how much forest removal around the globe has effected planetary temperatures over time.

Removal of much of the vegetation of the Sahel through over-grazing turned much of the African Continent into a heat-generating desert.

Global warming is perhaps a bit more complex than just CO2 emissions.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

The process is called desertification. Spain was all forrests 6 centruies ago. The need to build ships require lumber, they needed ships to be a superpower. Syria, and Lebannon were forrests too. They cut down the trees to grow crops except the soil was not good for farming, today they're deserts.

Arizona's Southern river valleys were vast grasslands prior to 1700. Spanish ranching led to overgrazing, no more grasses. That resulted in more erosion, less grass to hold water in the region. Green grass keeps an area cooler than brown rocks and sand. That turned grasslands into arid deserts. Then the Americans in the late 19th cent. reopened Hohokam irrigation canals, and cotton fields and hay fields replaced barren deserts. That cooled the region. Then those farmers became genuis land developers, and replaced farm fields with suburban sprawl with saltilo tile roofs. Concrete roofing tiles and asphalt roads do not hold water like cotton, and in fact absorb heat through the day and release it through the night.

The only good news about the process is that eventually the desertification that man creates will lead to a collapse in food production, and require greater energy than produced leading to conditions of scarcity and want, driving famine, war and plague, reducing the numbers of people needing food, water and shelter.

Even if our economic and political system is unable to self correct, nature will.

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Phaedrus76
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