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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Quote of the Day

This really stupid person wants Republicans to be Democrats:

"To my Republican friends, take back your party so that it doesn't matter so much who wins the election because we have shared values."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, April 8, 2011

So Much For Wind Power

The environmentalists among us cling to the hope that wind and solar power can ...somehow ... replace fossil fuels in this increasingly energy-crazed world.  Or supplant a significant portion of fossil fuel usage, at minimum.

Well, it seems, as time goes by and data continues to stream, that theirs is a forlorn hope indeed:
Wind power: Even worse than you thought
By Lewis Page, The Register

A new analysis of wind energy supplied to the UK National Grid in recent years has shown that wind farms produce significantly less electricity than had been thought, and that they cause more problems for the Grid than had been believed.

The report (28-page PDF/944 KB) was commissioned by conservation charity the John Muir Trust and carried out by consulting engineer Stuart Young. It measured electricity actually metered as being delivered to the National Grid.

In general it tends to be assumed that a wind farm will generate an average of 30 per cent of its maximum capacity over time. However the new study shows that this is actually untrue, with the turbines measured by the Grid turning in performances which were significantly worse:

"Average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive."

In general, then, one should assume that a wind farm will generate no more than 25 per cent of maximum capacity over time (and indeed this seems set to get worse as new super-large turbines come into service). Even over a year this will be up or down by a few per cent, making planning more difficult.

It gets worse, too, as wind power frequently drops to almost nothing. It tends to do this quite often just when demand is at its early-evening peak:

"At each of the four highest peak demands of 2010 wind output was low being respectively 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity at peak demand."

And unfortunately the average capacity over time is pulled up significantly by brief windy periods. Wind output is actually below 20 per cent of maximum most of the time; it is below 10 per cent fully one-third of the time. Wind power needs a lot of thermal backup running most of the time to keep the lights on, but it also needs that backup to go away rapidly whenever the wind blows hard, or it won't deliver even 25 per cent of capacity. [link]
The primary problem with wind is its inherent nature.  It isn't consistent.  Which means it is unreliable.  Researchers are working to circumvent this problem with creative solutions that call for supplementing from other sources when the turbines stop turning (frequently).  But the endeavor, as it plays out, becomes ever more costly.  And unreliable.

We'd all like to see this technology succeed.  But not by changing the definition of the word succeed to mean something it's not.  Right now - like it or not - fossil fuels are reliable.  And cheap.  They're just not particularly "clean."  Wind is clean.  But exceedingly unreliable.  And increasingly expensive.

So, it looks like it's back to the drawing board.  Thorium anyone?

It Doesn't Get Any Zanier Than This

A Democrat telling the most government-dependent constituency in America that it needs to sever ties with government?

If only.

But here she is, for all the world to see:
D.C. Delegate Tells Congress to Go 'Straight to Hell' Over Budget Battle
Fox News.com

Lawmakers' tempers are flaring on Capitol Hill over the possibility of a government shutdown, and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is no exception.

"We are absolutely outraged. This is the functional equivalent of bombing innocent civilians," she said, according to MyFoxDC.com. "It's time that the District of Columbia told the Congress to go straight to hell." [link]
Understand, this "delegate" is in Congress for only one reason (and it's not to vote on legislation; she hasn't that authority).  She's there to strong-arm members into forking over government cash for her God-forsaken district.

So she wants to void the relationship with Congress?  Is she to be believed?

Can we hold her to her rant?