Documents filed under General from Europe

Less For More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development

Less_for_more_thumb Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.
20 Dec 2006

UK Renewable Energy Data: Issue 1 (08.12.06): Vol. 5: Wind

Uk_renewable_energy_data_thumb Editor's Note: The following are selected excerpts from the Renewable Energy Foundation press release describing this research. The full press release is available via the link below. Using the new research it is now possible to assess how renewable generators up and down the country are performing. This data, published in five online files; Biomass, Hydro, Landfill Gas, Sewage Gas and Windpower, shows that firm generators are producing high load factors with carefully designed resource use and load following. However in the wind sector, far and away the most active of all the technologies at present, results vary enormously due to location. The capacities offshore are encouraging, whilst those onshore are generally only superior in locations very distant from the populations requiring the electrical energy. Although most sites were built on expected capacity factors of around 30%, results include; 19% (approx) capacity factor for the wind turbines at Dagenham, Essex. 9% (approx) capacity factor at the Barnard Castle plant, County Durham. The best performing wind sites are in the north of Scotland, and on Shetland the wind turbines are producing capacity factors of over 50%. Using this analysis of the Ofgem data, researchers have also calibrated a model predicting how a large installed capacity of wind power built across the UK would actually perform. The project used Meteorological Office data to model output for every hour of every January from 1994-2006. The startling results show that, even when distributed UK wide, the output is still highly volatile. The average January power variation over the last 12 years is 94% of installed capacity. It is an uncontrolled variation decided by the weather. The average minimum output is only 3.7% or 0.9GW in a 25GW system. Power swings of 70% in 30 hours are the norm in January. The governments’ expectation is that three quarters of the 2010 renewables target, and the lion’s share of the ‘20% by 2020’ target will be made up of windpower.[2] However, the new research offers predictions which are in keeping with Danish and German empirical experience and demonstrate the need for a broader spread of investment in the renewable sector. The report was commissioned from Oswald Consultancy Limited and funded by donation from the green entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz. Campbell Dunford, CEO of REF, said: “This important modelling exercise shows that even with best efforts a large wind carpet in the UK would have a low capacity credit, and be a real handful to manage. This isn’t the best way to encourage China and India to move towards the low-carbon economy. As a matter of urgency, for the planet’s sake, we need to bring forward a much broader range of low carbon generating technologies, including the full sweep of renewables. Wind has a place, but it must not be allowed to squeeze out other technologies that have more to offer.”
8 Dec 2006

Mynydd-y-Gwrhyd Planning Inspector's Report

Gwrhyd_appeal_thumb This is the report submitted by the Planning Inspector appointed by the National Assembly for Wales that dismisses the appeal by the Awe Amman Tawe quango for a wind farm on Mynydd-y-Gwrhyd. Of particular interest are the Inspector's remarks on Landscape and Visual Impact (paragraphs 16-20 on pages 5-6) with respect to how 'developers photomontages' do not give the true visual impact of actual wind farm sites.
28 Sep 2006

A guide to calculating the carbon dioxide debt and payback time for wind farms

Hall-co2payback_thumb It is broadly accepted that wind turbines do not emit CO2 at the point of generation. However, in common with all types of power station, it is emitted during their construction and, through damage directly inflicted on the construction site, over a much longer period. The total debt will vary from site to site but will comprise some or all of the following; • Emissions arising from fabrication (steel smelting, forging of turbine columns, the manufacture of blades and the electrical and mechanical components); • Emissions arising from construction (transportation of components, quarrying, building foundations, access tracks and hard standings, commissioning); • The indirect loss of CO2 uptake (fixation) by plants originally on the surface of the site but obliterated by construction activity including the destruction of active bog plants on wet sites and deforestation; • Emissions due to the indirect, long-term liberation of CO2 from carbon stored in peat due to drying and oxidation processes caused by construction of the site. It is important to recognise that peat is a major store of carbon accumulated from dead plant remains over many millennia. It is held in perpetuity because the bog’s wetness and acid conditions prevent the access of oxygen and inhibit the growth of bacteria which would otherwise rot the vegetation. Draining peat for construction reverses both these long-term processes: the soil is exposed to the air, the carbon is converted to CO2 and released slowly to the atmosphere. Several papers from the wind industry in Denmark and the UK have addressed the first two points with estimates of payback time ranging from about six to 30 months. However, the industry rarely, if ever, considers the last two. This is a fundamental omission as their contribution to the overall CO2 debt, in particular the last, can be far greater than all the others put together. This paper outlines a procedure for quantifying it. The guide has been prepared to enable anyone with access to the Environmental Statement (ES) that forms part of a Planning Application (PA) for a wind farm to estimate its CO2 debt. (If some of the requisite information proves to be unavailable, this ought to provide grounds for postponing consideration of the application and the commissioning of further assessment.) The results of the calculations described should be submitted to planning authorities or Public Inquiries as part of the arguments used in assessing the merits and demerits of an application.
1 Aug 2006

CAP 764 - CAA Policy and Guidelines on Wind Turbines

Cap764_thumb Neither aviation nor the wind energy industry is at a steady state and both can be expected to evolve in ways which may impact the other. Therefore, it is expected that this CAP will be a living document, which will be updated to reflect the outcome of any further research into the interaction between wind turbine developments and aviation. It will also be revised at intervals to take account of changes in regulations, feedback from industry, and recognised best practice.
1 Jul 2006

The Energy Challenge: Energy Review Report 2006

..neither renewable energy nor greater energy efficiency can provide the complete solution to the shortfall we face. This will depend on securing energy supplies from abroad, in new nuclear power stations to replace those becoming obsolete and replacing older coal-fired stations with cleaner, more efficient technology.
1 Jul 2006

Location, Location, Location- An investigation into wind farms and noise by The Noise Association

Noise_association_thumb Noise - ‘unwanted sound’ – can ruin people’s well-being and environment “Peace and quiet is the single most important factor people have in mind when buying a home – with one in five prospective homebuyers rating it as the most important consideration when choosing where they will buy.” Alliance and Leicester Survey, 3/6/02 The Noise Association, which published this report, is the research arm of the UK Noise Association. Both organisations are based at 2nd Floor, Broken Wharf House, 2 Broken Wharf, London EC4V 3DT, tel 020 7329 0774, email Editor's Note: The complete report is available in the attached pdf file 'Noise Association'. A smaller, edited version that excludes two pages of photos (pages 7 & 11) is also available. Selected Extracts from this report appear below.
1 Jul 2006

Appeal Decision - Edder Acres Farm, Shotten Colliery

Appeal_decision_thumb A7 Energy's appeal against the Easington District Council for refusing to grant planning permission with respect to a wind plant consisting of 2 x 2.3MW turbines was dismissed by D. L. Burrows, an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The principal reason for dismissal was adverse impact the turbines would have on the activities of Shotten airfield.
2 Jun 2006

UK Wind Energy Resource: Variability, Intermittency and Dispersal

Ukwindenergyresource_thumb Comments from the CLOWD website: The Government has been misled in the past by the wind energy industry into believing that wind turbines offer a viable method of producing energy. The variability and intermittency of wind energy has been underestimated because the wind statistics used have been unscientifically and misleadingly presented. The paper ‘UK Wind Energy Resources (Variability, Intermittency, Dispersal)’ shows the more realistic situation for mainland UK and in particular the situation that is likely to occur should wind farms be built inland far from the coast and at relatively low elevation.
6 Mar 2006

Whinash Decision Documents

Whinashwindfarm_thumb The Secretary of State accepts the Inspector’s [David M H Rose] findings on the section 36 application. He agrees with the Inspector’s conclusions that the Whinash site is an important and integral part of a far reaching landscape which is highly sensitive to change and that the adverse environmental impacts of the Development would conflict with the aims of Planning Policy Statement 22 which is, in part, to minimise the impacts of wind generation and to achieve environmental safeguards. He also agrees with the Inspector’s conclusion that the environmental harm to this particular landscape outweighs the benefits of securing renewable energy at the Whinash site. The Secretary of State therefore accepts, taking account of the further comments below, the Inspector’s recommendation that consent be refused. Editor's Note: The pdf file contains the complete report.
2 Mar 2006

UK Energy Policy: The Small Business Perspective & The Impact on the Rural Economy

Sbcenergyreport_thumb This report surveys the intense debate now taking place as to why the chosen strategy is not achieving its objectives. We believe that a principal factor is to be found in the increasingly controversial renewable energy policy, which is widely criticised for its lack of balance and its over-emphasis on onshore wind at the expense of other technologies.
1 Feb 2006

Clean Coal Technology and The Energy Review

Clean_coal_energy_review_thumb This report is based on data provided by the International Energy Agency, the Department of Trade & Industry, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Princeton University and a number of other respected sources. It sets out an agenda for Government in the short term and the long term, answering the key issues raised by the Government's current Energy Review related to power generation: the economy, the environment and security of supply.
1 Feb 2006

Grid Impacts of Wind Power Variability: Recent Assessments from a Variety of Utilities in the United States

Ewec06gridpaper_thumb In this report we discuss some recent studies that have occurred in the United States since our previous work [2, 3]. The key objectives of these studies were to quantify the physical impacts and costs of wind generation on grid operations and the associated costs. Examples of these costs are (a) committing unneeded generation, (b) allocating more load-following capability to account for wind variability, and (c) allocating more regulation capacity. These are referred to as “ancillary service” costs, and are based on the physical system and operating characteristics and procedures. This topic is covered in more detail by Zavadil et al. [4].
1 Jan 2006
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