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View Diary: A Fired up Al Gore Calls for Civil  Disobedience (348 comments)

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  •  well (2+ / 0-)
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    k9disc, john07801

    how about if we not build new coal plants, but supplant that capacity with new solar and wind energy outfitting (both commercial and residential)? I'll have to see the math/tech details, but that doesn't seem out of realm of realizability.

    Go Obama/Biden! Throw the bums out!!

    by NeuvoLiberal on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 12:19:59 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  NL - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NeuvoLiberal, flight2q

      Probably the best way to avoid building any new coal-fired plant is conservation.  The refrigerator is one of the biggest electricity users in any house - and there is at least one in practically every U.S. house - including the old one in the garage for the beer.  Replacing every old fridge in the U.S. with new energy efficient ones would be the equivalent of a couple of coal or nuke plants.

      But, then again, if you are in the business of selling electricity - and if you make more moolah by selling more and by manipulating the price like Enron did - then reducing consumption isn't on the drawing board.  That's why electric utilities should be public entities.

      For wind to equal the generating capacity of one new mega-coal plant you would have to cover huge number of acres.  For example, the controversial Dominion coal-fired plant in Wise, Virginia is rated at 585 MW - as is the Sweetwater Wind Farm in Texas.  At 2 acres per turbine in direct site usage and with more than 200 turbines that is 400+ acres.  When you add spacing, the ranch actually covers nearly 30,000 acres - 47 square miles, twice the size of Manhattan, in prime wind country.  And that's for one moderate-sized coal-fired generation plant.

      Wind is an essential component to any future energy structure, but it simply cannot be the primary producer.

      •  why does one need that much spacing? (2+ / 0-)
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        john07801, flight2q

        How may mills would feed into one turbine (rated at 3MW(~=585/200) per turbine?) in your estimates? Can you supply more detail at the wind mill level (eg, what is the prescribed radius for each mill of a given wattage generation capacity?)

        On solar, my intuition says that each house (of a given area) does get plenty of incident solar radiation perhaps to cover say half (or at least a third) of the energy needs of the house.

        Your point about efficient appliances is, of course, very apt. That and good insulation and better new building standard would/should form a very important part of any new greener energy vision.

        Go Obama/Biden! Throw the bums out!!

        by NeuvoLiberal on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 01:04:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Spacing - (0+ / 0-)

          Is necessary so that each receives as undisturbed a wind flow as possible.

          •  going from 400 acres to 30K acres (0+ / 0-)

            to space them out, i.e. 75 times expansion sounds extremely high. I can understand 2x-5x spacing, but 75x, the figure that you have sounds too high.

            Go Obama/Biden! Throw the bums out!!

            by NeuvoLiberal on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 03:48:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  400 Acres - (0+ / 0-)

              Is the actual physical footprint -
              2 acres per tower plus ground equipment.

              30,000 acres is what the towers need for proper spacing -
              i.e. 4 per square mile.
              Otherwise nearby towers significantly reduce airflow.

              •  images of these seem to show (0+ / 0-)

                wind mills/turbines spaced close to each other:
                apparently far different from your figure of "4 per square mile".

                I'm trying to look up and familiarize myself a bit on the state of the art on this, but here is a question I have. does each rotor unit come with it's own turbine/generator under it? Can several closely spaced (ignoring the wind flow issues for the time being) rotors drive a single turbine/generator?

                Go Obama/Biden! Throw the bums out!!

                by NeuvoLiberal on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 04:40:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The New, Huge Turbines - (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Are often 300 ft high with close to a 300 ft rotor diameter.  Reduced airspeed and disturbance increases geometrically with increase in size.  Turbines tend to be placed closely in one linear direction - perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction - and widely spaced with alternating placement in the direction of the prevailing wind.  Local topography also dictates placement - with ridge lines being ideal locations.  Ridges, however, are not uniformly spaced in any given area.

                  The photos - esp. the professional ones, often use foreshortening and other photographic effects to encompass an entire wind farm.  In addition, the size of the rotors is immense - see photo below -  notice the workers.  And those blades are only mediums.

                  Super large towers need to be placed at least 4x to 5x rotor diameter in the perpendicular direction and 8x to 10x in the prevailing direction.  These numbers may approach 6x and 12x with the newest generation of wind turbines.  Some of the earliest wind farms - notably Altamont Pass was one of the earliest wind farms and had excessive packing which is not only inefficient, but also quite dangerous to wildlife.

                  Article on siting -

                  The editor would not accept the link.
                  Please copy and past the address with "http://"

                  •  if the turbines are that widely (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    spaced, then I don't see why the land in between can't be used for farming and other things, as eg, in this ND wind+corn farm:

                    Another possibility in uninhabited + unfarmed land is to cover most of the land with solar panels so we can get both wind and solar from the same land that's divested for this purpose. I am still holding onto the thought that combined with conservation, we can meet a good portion of our non-automotive energy needs from a wind+solar+wave energy mix in the future (say 10-20 years from now.)

                    Go Obama/Biden! Throw the bums out!!

                    by NeuvoLiberal on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 08:23:40 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I'll bookmark (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    and go over your material as time permits. Thanks for the discussion.

                    Go Obama/Biden! Throw the bums out!!

                    by NeuvoLiberal on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 08:24:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  So? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        What's the problem?

        Graze cattle under them.

        Start a hog farm under them.

        Do it on the prairie, in the great lakes - offshore.

        McCain/Palin '08 - Government Sucks and We'll Prove It!

        by k9disc on Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 01:20:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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