Author Topic: Blot on the landscape  (Read 2553 times)

Offline nicneufeld

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2011, 09:28:26 AM »
I've driven a few times through California and I am always impressed/amused when I pass through the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm...amazing how many windmills they have there!

Last time I drove by it seemed only some of them were turning, and I had an amusing thought of a bureaucrat proposing this brilliant idea to install hundreds of windmills...and then neglecting to budget for maintenance...and then all these expensive tax-payer funded windmills just start rusting and freezing up.  Probably just not a windy day, but it was an amusing thought that I wouldn't put past CA government, or most any government or bureaucracy!  :D

I don't mind them so much because usually when I see them I've just driven through hundreds of miles of similar looking terrain, so it doesn't seem a big loss, but I can see this being a huge NIMBY issue.  Sure, I don't mind seeing them on my roadtrips through the west, but if some government or power company decided to ruin the skyline from my backporch were I to live in such a beautiful place, I can understand the displeasure.

Offline bo

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2011, 09:52:29 AM »
If I could afford one, I'd order it today.

Offline punatic

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2011, 11:55:29 AM »
If I could afford one, I'd order it today.

First you need to determine if you live in an area that justifies the capital outlay.

US Wind Resource Map

Wind Resource Assessment Handbook
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Offline maxieboy

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2011, 05:30:23 PM »
I also would like to see an increase in rooftop solar. It would be able to greatly lower our dependence on using fossil fuels for energy generation. Especially as the efficiency of them increases, and the tech for making them improves.
<rant>Mining will always be necessary, just not very pretty. There are many areas around PA that are more or less permanent eyesores because the area had been strip mined and the mining company never reclaimed the land. And now we're getting all these shale drilling operations going on. At the moment there are 5 wells less than 1/2 mile from my house. (I check every now and then to see if my water catches fire) Also, just because I realize it's necessary, doesn't mean I'm going to like it.</rant>

Ah, yes. "Fracking", and the Halliburton loophole that doesn't require companies using this technique to disclose the chemicals used in the process. Scary...
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Offline woadwarrior

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2011, 06:15:32 PM »
Oh yeah. There's also at least 1 holding pond within that 1/2 mile also. And on top of all that, despite a budget deficit like pretty much every other state out there, PA is the only state not taxing them.

[Mod Edit]Play nicely! Politics and the internet are a flammable combination.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 11:23:55 PM by dbeechum »

Offline phillamb168

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2011, 10:48:09 PM »
If I could afford one, I'd order it today.

First you need to determine if you live in an area that justifies the capital outlay.

US Wind Resource Map

Wind Resource Assessment Handbook

Hey, nice resource, thanks for posting.

@woadwarrior, You're new so you get a pass, but remember, try to keep politics out of the forum.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2011, 11:20:32 PM »
Occasionally we wander into a topic that I know something about.  Depending on the day, and how much homemade Very Old Dark Kilauea Ale I've consumed I might choose to mix work with pleasure and wade in.

I've tried wind power generation here at the house.  I sold my turbines to someone who lives where it makes sense to have them.  You have to mount them pretty high for them to work. PV power generation and solar water heating does work here.  

Working on PV to hydrogen (electrolisis) energy storage to fuel cell power generation. (oops... did I say the out loud?)

A parallel thread of interest:
Cleaning Air From Factories

+1 on the political thing.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 11:29:57 PM by punatic »
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2011, 12:41:09 AM »
Occasionally we wander into a topic that I know something about.  Depending on the day, and how much homemade Very Old Dark Kilauea Ale I've consumed I might choose to mix work with pleasure and wade in.

I've tried wind power generation here at the house.  I sold my turbines to someone who lives where it makes sense to have them.  You have to mount them pretty high for them to work. PV power generation and solar water heating does work here.  

Working on PV to hydrogen (electrolisis) energy storage to fuel cell power generation. (oops... did I say the out loud?)

A parallel thread of interest:
Cleaning Air From Factories

+1 on the political thing.

In terms of all this, how 'sustainable' is this solution? I'm not thinking in terms of x cost to the environment, but rather in terms of how long the equipment will last, how often it needs to be replaced, etc... One of the benefits of, say, an old-school gas generator is that pretty much everything in it could be replaced with a re-tooled part and you could keep it going just on know-how for a long, long time. I realize that windmills at their simplest are quite easy to build (it's just a wind-powered dynamo) but what about the fuel cell stuff?

I'm keen to invest in something renewable if for no other reason than I want to try to be as off-grid as humanly possible, but I don't want to have to keep buying things every three years.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2011, 01:42:28 AM »
Currently (pun intended) lead-acid batteries are rated for ten years of useful life.  If maintained properly they may last even longer.  PV panels can last more than 20 years (perhaps way longer).

It's the payback period that makes it work.  Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) charged me 48₵ per kWh on my last bill.  756 kWh cost me $363.  Can you live on 756 kWh/month?

At that rate, and with tax incentives, it doesn't take long to pay off PV panels, batteries and an inverter.

On sunny days we often over-generate what we are using and can store in our batteries.  Plus, lead-acid batteries are ineffcient, and pretty nasty technology.  PV to hydrogen into fuel cells (just like the space shuttle) back to electricity (and pure water) has promise, albeit expensive promise at this time.  

Another path along the same lines is hydrogen to fuel an (polution free) internal combustion engine that turns a generator, or hydrogen as a fuel for a combustion turbine generator...  Space shuttle main engines were hydrogen combustion powered.

A big problem with that is H2 is it is a really small molecule and can leak through some really small spaces when in pressurized storage.

But again  I say, biodiesel produced by algae storing energy from the sun in fatty acids is the future.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 01:44:35 AM by punatic »
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2011, 01:52:42 AM »
But again  I say, biodiesel produced by algae storing energy from the sun in fatty acids is the future.

I keep seeing mention of this and think it would be really cool.

Of course, I'm still a fan of inertial electrostatic confinement fusion. Props to the Navy for continuing to fund what Bussard spent his life working on.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2011, 02:36:09 AM »
And there is always zero point energy to consider too.
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2011, 02:53:31 AM »
And there is always zero point energy to consider too.

I wasn't joking about IEC... In my opinion as a student of theoretical physics (a long time ago), it's a perfectly reasonable approach to fusion.
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Offline woadwarrior

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2011, 04:03:55 AM »
My apologies to the board. Was not trying to be political.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2011, 04:44:27 AM »
When I was a kid in the Midwest, windmills were everywhere in farm country.  Those were often the tallest thing on the farm, and the first thing you would often see as the car went down the road.  What is old is new again.  You can still get replacement parts.

I don't remember seeing one of these in years.  Many farmers went to electric motor pumps once they got electicity.

First hit from a Google seach.
http://www.windmills.net/
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Offline Kit B

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Re: Blot on the landscape
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2011, 06:32:44 AM »
I like rooftop solar. I have a dream that every horizontal or semi-horizontal man made surface will have solar panels on them.

We get enough large hail & tornadic winds in this area, there's just no way I can commit to that.
...Not on my personal dime, anyway.
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