Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

No offense taken. I thought your comments were right on target as were Nb41s as well.

As noted, feed-in tariffs are on the table in several states and provinces of North America and I wouldn't rule out a federal policy (Inslee) in the USA.

The Unthinkable is now thinkable here in the USA and the people who thought we were "absolutely nuts" are now history.

I also took exception to the LBNL/DOE study because it was too conservative in the potential for wind and at the same time too optimistic about performance projections.

My thought piece on the subject can be found at http://www.wind-works.org/LargeTurbines/OneMillionMegawattsofWindCapacity.html where I outline a, shall we say, more ambitious goal.

Paul Gipe

by pgipe (pgipe(at)igc.org) on Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 at 05:50:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice to see you here Paul.   So how many languages can you speak now?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 at 06:06:10 PM EST
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No, just an Anglophone. As Jerome knows I dabble in French and a bit of German, but just enough to get into trouble.

I am a newbie at posting using this software but I do try to read all of Jerome's wind articles as soon as he puts them up.

I do appreciate the mention that we are trying to do something over here with feed-in tariffs. Indiana's rep Matt Pierce putting in a bill in Indianapolis is quite a development, being a former Hoosier (a person from the state of Indiana).

The idea is gaining momentum, and as I said, the folks who were so diametrically opposed are moving on.

As you know there's been a change of management at AWEA. That may not mean a change of direction, but then again it doesn't rule it out either.

Paul Gipe

by pgipe (pgipe(at)igc.org) on Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 at 07:38:15 PM EST
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I make my living selling books, including yours.

I was at the AWEA supply chain conference in Des Moines in April of last year, and spent a day at the Wind Energy program at Iowa Lakes Community College. The result was this article I wrote on DailyKos: Can the U.S. achieve 20% wind energy by 2030? http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/5/14/17722/3424/955/515691

If I recall the numbers correctly, the DoE report on 20% wind energy by 2030 calls for building 100,000 wind turbines of 2.5 mw to 5.0 mw each. Correct me if I'm wrong, but your goal of ~1,000,000 MW of wind generating capacity is only twice that of the DoE, though you are looking at a 10-year goal.

I'm thinking more in terms of 50% wind energy by 2020, which means 250,000 wind turbines built in 11 years. If I have the numbers correct, using an average of 4.0 mw, you and I are talking about pretty much the same goal. If you concur, may I use your numbers and cite your name?

by NBBooks on Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 at 11:22:56 PM EST
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Be careful scaling up turbines from the current land based 2.5 to 3 MWs.  For a host of technological reasons, 4-5 MW turbines on land may not be in the cards.  The bigger the rotor diameter, the less efficient the turbine, offset some by capturing stronger winds at the top of the swept area, but still dealing with lower speed higher turbulence at the bottom of the blade circle.

Most offshore environments have far less turbulence than on land, allowing for a larger scale-up.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 09:46:26 AM EST
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that above 3MW, you start bumping into incredible difficulties to transport the components on land (the blades are more than 50m long, and the nacelles gets to be above 100 tons).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 10:12:16 AM EST
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So if we were to adopt the goal in Ohio of carpeting "our" part of Lake Erie with wind turbines, does that mean that the shores of Lake Erie would have a very strong geographical advantage in the construction of large components to go very directly onto ships for transport to the construction site?

{Quoting internal accompaniment: Say yes, please say yes, please say yes ...}

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 01:10:29 PM EST
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Yes, although more accurately yes, maybe.  somewhere in my disorganized inbox is a new study on offshore potential in Lake Erie.  it didn't seem large enough to justify turbine manufacture, but assembly, laydown and foundation/tower production could possibly fit.

the game changes if the canals allow shipping to other Great Lakes, because turbines will not come in through the St. Lawrence.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 03:17:00 PM EST
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Ah, so it makes a difference the size of vessel that can pass the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers, which connect Erie to Huron.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 03:54:20 PM EST
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I think the Detroit River is around 500m wide at its narrowest, so I get the impression that largish ships have no trouble between Erie, Huron, and Michigan. There are locks connecting Huron to Superior, which could act as a bottleneck similar to the St. Lawrence ... I don't know the capacity of the Soo Locks off the top of my head.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 04:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Lake shipping is not a problem. Minimum depths are usually more than 26 feet in harbors/Welland Canal/and especially the Sault (Soo) Locks. The Sault locks were built for massive shipments of bulk commodities like iron ore, limestone, cement, coal and grain. Lake ore freights are typically over 1000 feet long, but some of the smaller 700 ft ones (Edmund Fitzgerald fame) also haul ore. There are even some smallish grain freighters only 500 ft in length.

Oswego is a small town in NY on lake Ontario. When Vestas was delivering the 198 V82 units for what eventually was named the Maple Ridge wind farm, they used that tiny port quite a lot - all major parts were delivered to Oswego by ship - towers, blades and nacelles (and probably a lot of concrete, too. The same goes for many of the turbines installed along the Lake Huron shoreline - ship delivery to either at Sarnia, Kincardine or especially Owen Sound. It's a natural.


by nb41 on Sat Jan 24th, 2009 at 10:38:39 AM EST
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Tah, I didn't think it would be a challenge for channels that could cope with the iron ore boats Superior, but its well outside my area of experience, let alone expertise.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jan 24th, 2009 at 10:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... they are not canals between Erie and Huron, they are rivers. And hydrologically, Huron and Michigan are one body of water. So Erie / Huron / Michigan are a single zone as far as shipping is concerned ... the canals are downstream of Erie, and between Huron and Superior.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jan 24th, 2009 at 12:03:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jan 24th, 2009 at 04:26:26 AM EST
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There are a few reports on Great lakes wind potentials. A recent one from the State of Michigan gave their offshore potential as 131 GW - but that involved the use of deep turbine foundations (spars, jack-up rigs), since Lake Michigan's average depth is about 200 to 300 meters.

Of course, the real answer is the wind potential is often a function of what price you can get for the electricity. Trying to compete with an old polluting coal burner like the one near Ludington is hopeless (less than 4 c/kw-hr production cost). That's a big hurdle to get over. States like Michigan are pretty hooked on supercheap coal based electricity. Besides, Michigan is over 180 meters above sealevel - raising ocean waters by 20 to 40 meters is not immediately their problem......

Anyway, another source of information on Great Lakes wind potential can be found at http://www.greengold.org/wind/engineer.html ---> "A Great Potential". For 0 to 20 meters, maximum potential is about 150 GW, and for the 0 to 40 meter depths, about 250 GW. It's definitely enough to power up the US North Coast/Canadian South Coast.

One of these days I should update it.


by nb41 on Sat Jan 24th, 2009 at 10:51:07 AM EST
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Oops, I forgot - Lake Superior averages 400 meters in depth, and it gets really deep really fast. The Lake Superior coastline is over 400 miles long (640 km), and the average distance to Canada is over 100 miles. Splitting the difference gets you a lot of area (over 30,000 square miles. Lake Superior winds are almost to North Sea scale, close to Baltic Sea (average about 8.5 to 9 m/s at 100 m heights. And, there is 31,820 mi^2 of area, and only 1 million people live around it (mostly near Duluth, Minn, the least windy zone). Or 82,400 km^2 - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Superior. And since most of that water away from shore is still directly drinkable...corrosion is not much of a problem. Thanks to Global Warming, not much ice anymore, either.

So, lets split the difference and say there is 30,000 km^2 of usable Michigan area for the Big Cold One. At 8 MW delivered per km^2 (Horns Rev value, adjusted for the lower wind speed). There's 240 GW of average output all by itself - or about 50% of the entire US demand. Of course, this is deep water foundations here (in some cases, over 400 meters), and it is cold and not very friendly waters (one (and perhaps 2) of Jacques Cousteau's sons died in these waters), so its is not a trivial matter like, say, Lake St Clair, which has lower winds but an average depth of 6 meters.

And the Michigan UP is a great place to store electricity via pumped water, especially in the Western part - lots of 500 to 1000 ft drops, and largely uninhabited. That same goes for a lot of the Wisconsin and Ontario coastal areas (maybe only 300 feet for Ontario, but that encompasses a LOT of area. The best storage site would probably be Northern Minnesota - the Mesabi Iron Range, for example.

These could easily store the peak supply for the Chicago-Milwaukee-Minneapolis-St Paul-Detroit and Cleveland regions. Just add HVDC and away you go, although it's best to distribute the pumped hydro in a more dispersed patter, But still, Lake Superior could be the battery for much of the Midwest US, pumped hydro speaking. And I bet it would require a lot of employment to do that...cool.


by nb41 on Sat Jan 24th, 2009 at 11:13:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there was talk of offshore turbines being built up to 10 mw in the next few years. 450 meters and higher, if I recall. Am I remembering correctly?
by NBBooks on Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 10:56:27 PM EST
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Certainly on the drawing boards.  I believe there will be test turbines (prototypes) built around 140m diameter (7.5 MW +-) within 2-3 years.  Whether they will ever be commercial entails a serious round of testing.  We've still got much to learn with 120m rotors.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jan 24th, 2009 at 04:30:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, you can use my material. I consider it in the public domain, except that I restrict commercial use.

And yes, keep selling those books. You should have a new one out in April.

My thinking has evolved since that 1 million MW piece. That was done for a special event. Since then I've upped the ante in response to Gore's challenge. This will be in the new book but is on the web site as presentations. Check the piece I did for ASPO-USA in Sacramento last year. I am up to 2.5 million MW for both the USA and Canada, but that can be dramatically reduced with "conservation", an absolute must here in North America.

Because I don't always follow these exchanges, it may be best to correspond directly.

Paul Gipe

by pgipe (pgipe(at)igc.org) on Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 12:35:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
welcome, paul!

your thought piece is great, and should be on obama's desk, if i had my druthers.
One Million Megawatts of Wind Capacity for the USA

Theoretically, it can be done. There's more than ample land area in the US for such a large number of wind turbines.(6) Even with a very open spacing, for example 8 rotor diameters by 10 rotor diameters apart, ~1 million MW would require little more than 3% of the land area of the lower 48 states.(7) And of this land, the wind turbines would only use about 5% for roads and ancillary facilities.

Moreover, the US has the manufacturing capacity to build such a large number of machines within less than two decades.

Every year America manufacturer's of heavy trucks churn out ~300,000 vehicles.(8) Each heavy truck is the equivalent of a ½ MW wind turbine. Thus, heavy truck manufacturers alone build the equivalent of ~150,000 MW/yr.

If two-thirds of truck production were diverted to manufacturing wind turbines, the industry could build ~100,000MW/yr. Thus, it is theoretically possible that the American heavy truck industry could provide 1,000,000 MW in about one decade.

Clearly one million MW of wind capacity in the United States alone is an ambitious target, but it's a target worthy of a great nation.

it's all right there!

when i read about the big three bailout, this idea was screaming in my head too. they have the tooling industry, supply lines for raw materials, real estate, willing workers, where's the problem?

obviously retooling dozens, nay hundreds, of factories is not a piece of cake, but it is so feasible, and when i see how much tech and human energy, not to mention precious resources like water, it takes to produce another SUV, and the hundreds and thousands of unsold ones lining the docks world wide, it increasingly seems like a no-brainer.

once the bullet was firmly bit, it would have the same positive influence on industry , unemployment and the economy, both at local and federal levels, as the marshall plan did for europe.

the real obstacle, i think, is that you can't sell a wind turbine to consumers as as status fetish, upgrading every two years, like you could till recently with SUV's...

now that the texas oil and roads mafia lobby bush madministration has helicoptered off to plan their next raid, perhaps the general public (plumbers with sixpacks?) will glom on to the blindingly obvious, eg that decentralising energy will have as big a social effect as rolling out broadband, especially when twinned with it.

and that means many, many tollbooths are going to get circumvented.

at the head and foot of every valley here in the umbrian appennines, there is a ruined fortification, where travellers had to pay for the privilege of trading, or even merely passing through. nice work if you can get it!

of course we are taxed in much subtler ways now, and the burdens are probably heavier in that and many other ways too ( back then we weren't frying our planet, fr'example), but they serve as grim reminders of a darker age, and as i drive by their impressive masses, it always makes me wonder how many other tolling mechanisms are going to end up as useless relics.

as we continue to mature as a species, it should follow that we should seek ever less top down, centralised, heirarchical solutions to our problems. the old way takes too much of a toll, in capital rent.

too many valves in the pipes, flow slows and shuts down, too many parasitic intermediaries in the food chain, less healthy the ecology, too many centralised energy companies, higher prices and systemic stress, federalise smart grid, decentralise as much as possible energy inputs, so many coal mines could shut down, so much gas could be used for other better purposes than creating electricity, and people could use the monthly capital bleed of energy bills they'd save financially to invest in other parts of the economy.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 06:37:27 AM EST
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