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Old 3rd May 2012, 18:37   #41 (permalink)
 
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The problem with Greens/Antis is that they never come up with any reasonable compromise or idea. Its their way or no way. For example, despite all the vast improvements in fuel economy, noise pollution etc. the Antis are still completely opposed to aviation and in their view the only way to "solve" he "problem" is to, and I quote from the notorious organisation "Plane Stupid", "Bring the aviation industry down to Earth". And so it is with their view on nuclear power.
I think that's unfair - environmentalists such as James Lovelock have spoken out in favour of nuclear power. If you try to put a wind turbine on the roof of your house, the people asking whether you've installed insulation first are likely to be environmentalists. George Monbiot has written articles condemning the tiny wind turbines you see installed all over sheltered industrial estates in an attempt to 'greenwash' them.

But the truth of the matter is simply that the majority of people, environmentalist or otherwise, have a pretty poor grasp of reality and are generally unaware of it.

Personally, I used to support nuclear power... The worst that can happen if it all goes belly-up is that you get an unplanned wildlife sanctuary. But these days some of the alternatives such as wind and solar power really do seem to be becoming more viable. There are plans for intelligent grids where large cooling plants and factories shut down during times of high demand, that may counter some of the issues with continuity of supply. Alas I have to admit that I'm simply not capable of determining the difference between viable technologies and the hype any more. At least, not all of the time.

Incidentally, googling around I'm seeing values of 1.5% (2007) to 3.5% (2013, projected) for the proportion of the UK's energy that's generated by wind. I don't know where the 1% figure came from. Personally I find wind turbines attractive, in moderation, and at some point I'd like to fly out over some offshore wind turbines. One of the things I enjoy about flying is seeing the industrial infrastructure that the planners have worked so hard to hide.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 18:40   #42 (permalink)
 
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Backpacker

I am just guessing I suppose anything above FL55 and they consider that to be enroute to somewhere below could be taking aunt Matilda for an eyeball view of the power station.
The second reason is they have to show a law you have broken should a conflict ever occur.
Entering a restricted zone would be cited whether your an innocent PPL or a Greenpeace intruder.
But just guessing

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Old 3rd May 2012, 19:44   #43 (permalink)
 
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Personally I find windfarms useful as navigation points

Up here in the Heelands King Alex loves wind power and often blaws about how much energy we are producing; whatever it is, its nowhere near the stunning level of thermal & excremental energy that King Alex farts out of his facial orifice with his constant talking of pish, perhaps we should wire him up to a big turbine and connect him to the national grid, he could power the whole of Europe, never mind Scotland. Anyway, to get back to the point, politicians and Greens love to chuck figures at us about the stunning vast energy that is produced by windfarms, yet nobody is so forthcoming about how much power getting produced by the things when they are stationary, the wind's not blowing, or how much of the energy actually gets lost in the conversion to good old AC Amperes and distribution into the grid. Which is what makes Smithy somewhat skeptical of said technology.

Brilliant idea, all for it in principle, but at current seems rather useless. Much like King Alex, come to think of it.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 19:46   #44 (permalink)
 
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Thing is the wind isn't constant so you still need all the unfriendly enviromental stuff sitting in standby for when there is no wind. Also the wind isn't very good at picking up up just around lunch and dinner time. Mind you Nukes arn't very good at that either hence why they are best paired with a pump storage scheme.

So by the time you have built the wind turbine which produces loads of CO2 from making the materials and the concrete etc and then built the backup generation capability your actually not really saving any CO2.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 19:49   #45 (permalink)
 
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Ah but you see Mad Jock its Green and keeps the sandal wearers happy so its good, y'see?
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Old 3rd May 2012, 20:14   #46 (permalink)
 
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Mad Jock

Just think if we stuck them all up in the jetstreams 200 mph winds all waiting to be tapped into and converted into electricity

Did not realise you are a Scuba diver too

The biggest Gobbler up of CO2 is plants and trees so why are not all these so called greens and invironmentalists not spending the huge revenues from green taxes on developing genetically modified plants designed to grow in deserts and saving the rainforests instead of filling the national debt coffers?
Its all a Con with self interest.

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Old 3rd May 2012, 20:19   #47 (permalink)
 
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Personally I find windfarms useful as navigation points
In Scotland at the moment, the number of wind farms has doubled, if not tripled since the last map edition was out. As such, half the wind farms you see aren't on the map thus making them useless, or even add to confusion if you expect a wind farm on one side, and one which isn't on the map is on the other.

When the next map comes out in June I think some people will be shocked at how many wind farms there are now. Ultimately Scotland could become one giant wind farm...
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Old 3rd May 2012, 20:32   #48 (permalink)
 
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Thing is the wind isn't constant so you still need all the unfriendly enviromental stuff sitting in standby for when there is no wind. Also the wind isn't very good at picking up up just around lunch and dinner time. Mind you Nukes arn't very good at that either hence why they are best paired with a pump storage scheme.

So by the time you have built the wind turbine which produces loads of CO2 from making the materials and the concrete etc and then built the backup generation capability your actually not really saving any CO2.
Hmm... The wind power lobby claims that in practice it's not too big an issue. There are pilot projects looking at shutting-down energy intensive industries for short periods (e.g. industrial refrigeration plants, aluminium smelting) to deal with peaks in demand, rather than keeping large gas fired plants stations in reserve. Even home freezers may soon be able to to shut down for brief periods to the same effect. Ditto for air conditioning. Long distance powerlines may mean that if all of Britain is becalmed, we may still be able to import power from the continent (and vice-versa). Obviously, this all has costs which ought to be factored into the price of renewable energy.

A distant relative had a scheme for powering the world by generating energy whenever vehicles passed over sleeping policemen. There are fairly fundamental reasons why this simply won't work. Likewise for a recently-opened department store which has a 'green' program to generate a few hundred watts of energy as shoppers walk over energy-producing tiles on the floor.

When it comes to all the wind-power schemes though, none of the examples I gave seem to break any laws of physics. Perhaps they would work, but would be inordinately expensive. Or perhaps they simply can't make a big enough difference to make larger-scale wind power viable. They're quantitative questions, and the only way to answer them will be through extensive computer modelling. But modelling is only as valid as the data it's fed and the methods chosen to perform the analyses, and it's easy to get silly answers by doing something wrong.

As a layperson I simply don't feel that I have any valid intuition about whether or not these windpower schemes are feasible and I'm not certain that anybody else truly knows either. However, I certainly can't dismiss them outright either. It seems to me that the best plan of action is to proceed gradually, without over-committing to any single power source.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 21:05   #49 (permalink)
 
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The biggest Gobbler up of CO2 is plants and trees so why are not all these so called greens and invironmentalists not spending the huge revenues from green taxes on developing genetically modified plants designed to grow in deserts and saving the rainforests instead of filling the national debt coffers?
Well, most 'greens' would quite like to save the rainforest though it's not so obvious that this would reduce greenhouse emissions hugely. As for greening the desert... Are you sure it would it work? Both in terms of managing to get plants to grow in desert conditions, and in terms of managing to grow sufficient plants sufficiently quickly to make a difference.

Read the following article on biochar, and also contemplate the train-wreck of a policy that biofuels have proved to be:

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Biochar: Is the hype justified?

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Old 3rd May 2012, 21:39   #50 (permalink)
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Just ponder on this one.
As gas gets exhausted as eventually it may, it is estimated that domestic use of electricity in the UK will quadruple, never mind industrial use.
This will have a huge effect on generation requirements and the transmission and distribution networks.
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Old 4th May 2012, 02:59   #51 (permalink)
 
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There are pilot projects looking at shutting-down energy intensive industries for short periods (e.g. industrial refrigeration plants, aluminium smelting) to deal with peaks in demand
Its really not a good idea to cut the power on smelting and high temp processes for a wee while while the nation cooks there dinner. You can do all sorts of damage to the machinery/protective cladding by cooling it down for even 30 mins in an uncontrolled manner. And a controlled manner can take over 2 weeks to make sure the thermal gradients don't cause anything thing to go "bang" never mind the 4 weeks you would need to make sure you don't shag the material properties.

So I suspect that these industrys would have some big generators on standby to cover when they couldn't use the grid. So some big nasty inefficent CO2 belching generators will be getting used anyway.

Tidal has always seemed a great plan to me with some very interesting engineering problems to be over come.
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Old 4th May 2012, 04:45   #52 (permalink)
 
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Its really not a good idea to cut the power on smelting and high temp processes for a wee while while the nation cooks there dinner.
And yet it can be done:

certs.lbl.gov/pdf/dr-alcoa.pdf
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Old 4th May 2012, 07:48   #53 (permalink)
 
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Tidal has always seemed a great plan to me with some very interesting engineering problems to be over come.
The problem with Tidal is the damage they can cause to marine life! Seals, Dolphins and fish.
One area I do back Greenpeace is the massive damage we do to the marine world with fishing practices and the criminal way some of the beautiful creatures are killed just for a fin or gill as in Sharks and manta rays as well as beautiful whales.
Fishermen drag huge nets across the sea bottom destroying everything that lies in its path from corals to creatures just to fish one type.
We cannot loose sight of what constitutes protecting the environment by covering our beautiful countryside in huge man made contraptions or turning green fields into black solar panels in the name of green.
Neither can we stick everything out of sight in the sea without realising that that world needs equal protection.
While I am all for being efficient with the use of our energy supplies I still feel that Nuclear has to supply the majority.
For me Modern technology Nuclear located in the right areas is green energy.
The biggest problem is waste and dealing with that safely and securely maybe blasting it into space is not so far fetched? Ie Nuclear waste rockets.

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Old 4th May 2012, 14:13   #54 (permalink)
 
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Offshore wind farms are apparently fish-havens - not good places for trawlers. I don't know how tidal schemes compare - there are so many different types on the drawing board.
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Old 4th May 2012, 15:12   #55 (permalink)
 
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From the program I saw with a trial in Scotland they are placed in very fast tidal flows.
The tide turns at high speed some large turbine type blades below the surface sucking and chopping into bits anything unfortunate enough to enter its suction range.
Pretty big contraption.
In the program it referred to damage to Marine life.
Dont think I would go diving or swimming near one

The above water wind farms would create shelter for marine life below the surface as Sunken wrecks already create a haven for such life.

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Old 4th May 2012, 15:53   #56 (permalink)
 
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.

A little background...

France is the world's largest net exporter of electricity due to its very low cost of generation, and gains over EUR 3 billion per year from this.


France has been very active in developing nuclear technology. Reactors and fuel products and services are a major export.

Nuclear Power in France | French Nuclear Energy

I wonder where the greenpeace muppets get their money from ? ...wouldn't be some nuclear 'income' in the dole check eh..





.
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Old 8th May 2012, 19:35   #57 (permalink)
 
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rarely does one find such enlightenment on a prune forum

interested in the Scottish Army's views on wind power and King Alex ( failed labour party spin man as I understand - just found a more amenable audience in Scotland with too many Scots already over the border in politics- as I see it)

Anyway the consensus seems that something must be done - I mean what happens to electricity demand once we all start driving electric cars

two five pennyworths -
1) I have a friend who is bigwig at Cern and over a wine soaked tutorial on physics he said they would crack fusion but it is about 30- 50 years away - it currently works but y'need more energy in than y'get out but it offers a real green prospect - in the meantime his view was that fission plants are a necessary evil
2) another friend - citation driver invested in a tidal power project - apparently one big machine dropped in the Humber was able to power a third of the city - the money went in, they dropped the machine -- and lost it !! ha ha not very funny if you are an investor pioneer putting yer money where yer mount is. but seriously if a compact generator could work like that surely it would do less damage than chinese medicine harvesting sharks fins or whatever.

would mad jock or one of the other engineers care to enlighten us as to why tidal power has not been the X Factor darling of the media that wind has? and what are the engineering issues ? (there y'go that's respect for engineers )
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Old 8th May 2012, 20:07   #58 (permalink)
 
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I had a hydrodynamicist friend working on tidal and wave energy. Basically, it's hard. Everything gets rusty, barnacled and breaks in storms.

Funding... If you throw money at hard problems you have a chance of solving them. If you don't, you don't. Nobody will be making money from tidal schemes for a little while.

Then you need to get power back to the shore which is very expensive... It's interesting to see that offshore wind-farms are only just starting out, even though much of the technology was proven on land long ago. A big problem is simply getting maintenance people on and off the turbines.
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Old 8th May 2012, 20:08   #59 (permalink)
 
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Wind wasn't really a hard problem to crack.

They screwed up the bearings on the first one in Orkney, did a bit of vibrational analysis and basically everything was cracked.

Tidal is orders of magnitude harder to engineer.

One of the big things is getting the plant to stay in the same place.

The forces involved are hurenous because you dealing with a liquid.

But because there are huge forces there is loads of energy available but when things go wrong it tends to destroy everything.

It doesn't help matters though that there is so much crap floating around in sea water. Then you add in corrosion etc and you have quite a difficult engineering problem to crack.

The media used to take an interest in wave and tidal. Its just they have turned up so many times to get soaked while the boffins fanny around trying to get it to work. Then nearly always it sinks or floats off or just disappears when its rips its anchor lines.
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Old 8th May 2012, 20:45   #60 (permalink)
 
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I was hoping for more Mad J
especially 'bout King Alex :-)
but seriously do I take it that it's really not an insoluble engineering problem - counter intuitive thinking here - I mean accepting that the engineering is a mite more difficult (for that read orders of magnitude) then the deep sea oil exploration has handled if not sorted getting things to stay where they are and corrosion and forces so therefore it is an economic issue - the returns are there for oil but not for tidal and - not that I know - but I suspect that incentives for wind power are easier to give and give quicker returns - so are you saying tidal could be cracked with the right incentives but these would make the wind power sweeteners look like a fraction of a T Dan Smith expense account (points for all who got the historicals there) it's about short termism?
has anyone got tidal power working well anywhere in the world ?
after all tidal is a lot more reliable than wind
reminds me of the story about an engineer, a chemist and an economist washed up on a desert island .......'nuther glass of wine and I'll tell you
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