Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Gone With The Wind

Three stories from WUWT that I've been saving for a while regarding the problems of wind power. First, from Washington state, Witnesses say broken wind turbine caused several hundred acre fire
The Juniper Fire is now 40 percent contained, according to a press release. The fire is mostly burning in the Pine Creek Drainage area south of Bickleton, WA.

As of Sunday evening, the fire has burned 242 acres.

39 structures are threatened by the fire but no structures have burned. The Pine Creek Drainage area is under a level three evacuation. Crews fighting the fire are up against 28 mph wind gusts and low humidity.

201 total people are working the fire. Resources will continue to arrive overnight, according to a press release.

Officials said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Full article here.

Burning wind turbines is not a rare event.

A small town in Michigan gives up on it's wind power agenda: Zeeland removing wind turbines after several issues
Wind turbines in Helder Park in Holland Township are being torn down. The city of Zeeland built the turbines in 2009 in an effort to use more sustainable energy. The turbines were placed outside the city limits due to zoning issues. The park was chosen by engineers who believed it was the best place to generate wind. It cost the city about $457,000. Right after the turbines went up, the city says things went downhill.

“Shortly after that, the manufacturer of those units went out of business,” said Andrew Boatright with the city’s public works department. Boatright says it made finding parts to repair the turbines nearly impossible and incredibly costly.  “The maintenance issues were a big problem. In 2014, there was a significant period of no operation,” Boatright added. “It just got to a point where they became a maintenance concern and a safety hazard.”

Boatright says there was an instance where break tips fell off one of the turbines and landed in a nearby field. He says on top of safety and maintenance concerns — the turbines were barely generating energy.

Over a 20-year period, the turbines were expected to create enough energy to pay off the almost half-million dollars used to build them. At the near halfway mark, it’s not even close to that goal, Boatright said.
And finally, Collapse of Wind Power Threatens Germany’s Green Energy Transition

The expansion of wind power in the first half of this year collapsed to its lowest level since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in 2000. All in all, just 35 wind turbines were build with an output of 231 megawatts. “This corresponds to a decline of 82 percent compared to the already weak period of the previous year”, according to the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) in Berlin.

“This makes one nearly speechless,” said Matthias Zelinger at the presentation of the data. The managing director of the Power Systems division of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) spoke of a “blow to the guts of the energy turnaround”. This actual development doesn’t match “at all to the current climate protection debate”.

“On the one hand the Federal Government speaks of its achievement of ambitious renewable expansion and climate protection goals for the years 2030 and 2050. On the other hand, the perspective is missing,” said Hermann Albers, President of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE): “The discrepancy between claim and reality is growing.”

The federal government wants to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity supply from around 40 today to at least 65 percent in 2030. But when in 2021 thousands of wind turbines come to the end of the 20-year subsidy period of the Renewable Energy Act, more wind turbines will be demolished on balance than new ones will be added, the wind industry fears. The government’s green energy and probably also its climate targets would fail.

The reasons for the slump in new construction figures are manifold. Unlike in the past too low subsidies for wind power is not the cause this time. “It’s not about the money,” said Albers: “The energy transition is being slowed down on a small scale.”

The most important cause lies in the legal resistance of wildlife and forest conservationists fighting new wind farms. The BWE President referred to an industry survey of the onshore wind agency. According to its findings, more than 70 percent of the legal objections are based on species conservation, especially the threat to endangered bird species and bats. Wind power president Albers called many complaints unfounded. He claims that the population of the red kite raptors has actually increased in parallel with the expansion of wind power. However, the nature conservation federation of Germany would not support this claim when asked by Die WELT.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not "anti-wind power", but it's clear that wind power alone, or even wind and solar power come with significant environmental costs, and will never be sufficient for the needs of an advanced civilization. If we're serious about reducing the use of fossil fuels (and it's not clear to me we need to) we must relight the fire under the nuclear industry.

But you have to admit, they make great scenic backdrops.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Homeko At The Beach up at The Other McCain.

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