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View Diary: The simple innovation that could make wind power a big player (230 comments)

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  •  Actually bats might be a bigger problem (11+ / 0-)

    They're already facing White Nose Syndrome, which is spreading across the country and seems to be unstoppable.

    We don't want 'em ground up in turbines too.

    I want wind energy, but not at the expense of endangered species, especially if solar panels can solve the energy problem. Bats are enormously important to the environment.

    And they're as intelligent as dolphins, and they are emotional, and they live for 20 years plus. The only flying mammals.

    And they're cute.

    Cornelius

    Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! Now with new baby panda! And support Bat World Sanctuary

    by Fonsia on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 11:15:19 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •   (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      filby, Agathena, Fonsia, KenBee, Calamity Jean

      YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

      by raincrow on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 11:27:16 AM PST

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    •  They are so useful in consuming insects (5+ / 0-)

      and so harmless to us, on top of that they are cute. But if we emphasize their cuteness we will be accused of being emotional and therefore irrational.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 11:54:32 AM PST

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    •  Fonsia, it's not ground up that gets the bats (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena, jam, Fonsia, raincrow

      they're sensitive to bariatric shock....

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:07:02 PM PST

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      •  And noise polution. They put little whistles (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raincrow

        on the edges of the blades to divert flocks of birds, disorients the bats.
        And though the blades on modern turbines are spinning slowly, the tips are moving nearly the speed of sound. But worse,  99% of the time it's not there, 1% of the time it is, and it's moving! Site placement is a real challenge for windpower and one of the reasons huge installations far away from their users are a problem. Distant unpopulated areas with good steady wind characteristics are too often also flightways.
        There are better designs in development, more bird friendly and they are better suited to smaller/closer.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:54:08 PM PST

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        •  I beg to differ (7+ / 0-)

          1. I've worked on over 2,000 MW of wind and I've never heard of putting whistles on blades.

          2. The tip speed of the GE 1.5-77 (the most popular utility scale turbine in the US) is approximately 80 m/s or less than 25% of the speed of sound.

          Javelin, Jockey details, all posts, discontinue

          by jam on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:06:41 PM PST

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        •  CwV, your comment that the tips move (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          raincrow

          at nearly the speed of sound just doesn't sound right.

          I searched the internet and came up with this quote from wikipedia.

          A wind turbine is designed to produce a maximum of power at wide spectrum of wind speeds. All wind turbines are designed for a maximum wind speed, called the survival speed, above which they do not survive. The survival speed of commercial wind turbines is in the range of 40 m/s (144 km/h, 89 MPH) to 72 m/s (259 km/h, 161 MPH). The most common survival speed is 60 m/s (216 km/h, 134 MPH).
          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          That is roughly 1/6th the speed of sound.  Do your sources differ?  Is wikipedia just wrong on this?

          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

          by theotherside on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:25:20 PM PST

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          •  different thing entirely (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            badger, KenBee, raincrow

            survival wind speed is the max wind speed that the turbine can withstand without damage - i.e. hurricane force winds.

            Tip speed is how fast the very tip of the blade is going. For example, a turbine with an 80 m rotor diameter spinning at 20 RPM has a tip speed of 84 m/s (187 MPH). The tip of the blade goes around a 250 m circumference circle in about 3 seconds.

            So, it's 1/4 the speed of sound, not 1/6 the speed of sound.

            Javelin, Jockey details, all posts, discontinue

            by jam on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:38:33 PM PST

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            •  Fast enough to hurt if it hit you (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Agathena, PrahaPartizan, raincrow

              At a truck stop in Indiana, I saw a single blade about 100 feet long on a wide-load truck. The fat end was 9 feet in diameter and hollow, all composite material, a beautiful and very impressive casting. Out toward the tip there were little,  1 inch high, fins, like guitar picks, embedded in the edge, a whole bunch of them in the outer 30-40 feet.
              I followed up with a friend that is way into wind (working on getting Cape Wind installed) and his explanation was that they were high pitch whistles that didn't carry very far but were audible to birds far enough out that they would avoid the danger zone.
              I can't remember how much RPM I was figuring for at 100 foot radius, but it was a shock to come up to such a high number.
              Even 1/4 mach is really moving and as I said, the intermittency is the real danger, the birds don't see it coming.
              The spiral cone design eschews that problem, it's always visible in the space.
              Please don't get me wrong, I'm all for weaning us off of Petro, all for renewables and the sooner the better. Just the jobs factor alone is worth it, but I also see some problems with current technologies and promise in some that are in the pipeline.
              I guess I mostly have problems with the Big/Distant approach. It concentrates the power, literal and figurative, in the hands of major corporations where small/close can be more equitably distributed.
              Big lossy systems offend my pennypinching soul and the ecological damage of big transmission lines present problems.
              There is no easy answer.
              There are much better answers than we have now.

              If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

              by CwV on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:36:15 PM PST

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      •  Ah, see, that's why I asked the original question (4+ / 0-)

        I see references to this problem on bat websites (yes, there are bat websites), but never anything specific.

        I wonder if this problem can be solved. Hope we don't have to choose between birds and bats!

        Thank you for the information!

        Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! Now with new baby panda! And support Bat World Sanctuary

        by Fonsia on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:06:59 PM PST

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    •  Every spring thru fall we have a (4+ / 0-)

      bat family that lives between our house's exposed beam and roof ( we have an a-frame house).  My office is on the third floor and I love watching them 'go to dinner' at dusk.  Also, we never have a mosiquito problem sitting on our deck compared to friends who live down the street-free pest control!

    •  Progress is being made on bat kills. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fonsia, JeffW, raincrow

      http://www.batsandwind.org/... (pdf).  

      ...changing turbine “cut-in speed” (i.e., wind speed at which wind-generated electricity enters the power grid) from the manufactured speed (usually 3.5–4.0 m/s for modern turbines) to 5.5 m/s resulted in at least a 50% reduction in bat fatalities compared to normally operating turbines.
      Considering the dire danger that climate change poses to all life on earth, this is an important difference.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 07:23:49 PM PST

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      •  Great news! Thanks! n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, raincrow

        Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! Now with new baby panda! And support Bat World Sanctuary

        by Fonsia on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 08:27:09 PM PST

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        •  I'm glad you liked it. The turbines can be run (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, Fonsia

          at the lower wind speed from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset without affecting the bats, which sleep during the day.  And the wind has much lower power at lower speeds anyway.  In other words, the wind power company doesn't lose much, and the bats gain a lot.  

          Renewable energy brings national global security.     

          by Calamity Jean on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:02:45 AM PST

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          •  Let's hope they can make it even better (0+ / 0-)

            So many bats were being killed that a 50% reduction still leaves many thousands dead.

            The best news here is that they're trying to fix this problem. The fossil fuel industry not only wouldn't even try, they'd scoff at the idea.

            Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! Now with new baby panda! And support Bat World Sanctuary

            by Fonsia on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:20:24 AM PST

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