View Full Version : Windfarms

7th Apr 2005, 13:52
Just been reading the local rag about the protests against windfarms in cambridge. Whats the bloody problem with them? Its clean energy for christ sake. Would people rather start burning coal again or even still have a nuclear power station built.I don't think so. I personally think that these giants look very elegant and that wind power is the way forward. The wind will always blow and its clean.

7th Apr 2005, 13:53
The wind will always blow and its clean.

Sounds like a girl I used to know :E

I think they're a little spooky. That noise they make gives me the creeps.

Apart from that, gotta be part of the way forward :ok:

7th Apr 2005, 13:54
I agree with your feeling about a windfarm (ecology, elegance etc) But have you ever walked around one or even within a KM radius during a mildly windy day? The noise emitted by these massive blades is really something!

I would have something to say about that as well...........

7th Apr 2005, 14:00
The wind will not always blow. So a back up power station has to be kept in readiness anyway.
The capital outlay is enormous. For these reasons no energy provider is erecting windfarms voluntarily. Only because there is enormous subsidies paid by guess who, and the Government is putting a gun to the heads of the power companies.
On aesthetics my opinion and yours are of equal value. I think they are hideous additions to our upland areas.

7th Apr 2005, 14:04
Yep I totally agree with you about the noise but like everything else we will get use to it as time goes by. Its just a great feeling knowing that when you switch a light on or watch the box the electricity is being supplied by the most powerful force on earth,Mother nature.

7th Apr 2005, 14:21
Large wind farm to norh of A7, as you drive towards Gibraltar from Estepona. It is in the middle of nowhere, but lets you know you will be in Gib within 30 Mins.

7th Apr 2005, 14:30

I drive to Madrid regularly.
About 1 hour north of Madrid (E7 near Zaragoza) there are two extensive windfarms, also in the middle of nowwhere amist very strong winds (due to landscape profile?)
The noise is deaf'ning. Doesn't seem to worry the bulls. :}

Onan the Clumsy
7th Apr 2005, 14:54
Sounds like a girl I used to know but he said "clean" as well :}

The wind will not always blow. No problem, you could have another wind farm next door and switch that one on to create a draft to power the first one :ok:

I think they are hideousTHat's a personal taste, but they don't have to look like windmills. They could also use squirrell cage fans and thereby have a simple column that rotates around a vertical axis.

Whilst wind and wave power is far and away better than oil, gas, nuclear, hyrdoelectric etc etc, AND I am a supporter it's not without cost, or a least effect.

If the wind turns the blade, then energy is removed from the system and cannot effect the area behind it. Consider those bobbing things that absorb wave energy, there are fewer and lower power waves breaking on the shore or river banks behind them, which will change the ecosystem a little.

I think energy would be better spent (ok, bad pun) in developing and building green houses. Better insulation, better products, better appliances etc etc. The structures we build to live in are a joke really.

7th Apr 2005, 14:55
She was clean..........she used to shower at least twice a week.

Flip Flop Flyer
7th Apr 2005, 15:08
Best placed off-shore, for those countries with a shoreline and relatively shallow water not too far from the coast.

25-30% of all electricity iin Denmark is produced by windfarms; the latest and biggest sports around 80 mills, each producing around 2.5MW. That was, by some, seen as an impossible goal to reach when the plan was unveiled some years ago. Now the talk is whether the next goal should be 50 or 75%.

Those of you flying into CPH will probably have noticed the windfarm just outside Copenhagen Harbour. Those 20ish mills produce 15% of all electricity consumed in the greater CPH area.

Saw a program on windmills the other day; noone is willing to bet how big they can, or will, get. Biggest mills currently on the market are around 100 meters high and sports a 65 meter wingspan. Biggest challenge is not building them any bigger, but the logistics of transporting them to destination. 200 meter mills with 120 meter wingspan is on the drawingboard, capable of producing almost 6MW. Thinking seemed to be that it would be prudent (for noise reasons) to disbandon the "smaller" mills and replace them with big off-shore units. It was said that the roughly 3000 landbased windmills in Denmark could rather easily be replaced by 1000 3MW off-shore units which would produce the same amount of energy.

Yes, wind power is heavily subsidised. So is a lot of other, less environmentally friendly, industries. In my opinion, spending money on an improved environment and reduced CO2 emissions is a worthy cause, and one that will pay off if future generations are to enjoy a clean nature.

As a sign that wind energy is getting accepted by incumbent energy producers, Siemens bought Bonus Energy (3rd largest windmill producer) last year.

By far the biggest market for windmills is Germany, accounting for roughly 50% of all production. German windmills produce around 2100MW per annum, or roughly 5% of the total output. Renewable energy made up around 9.5% of total output in Germany.

7th Apr 2005, 15:10
the noise is spooky you're right.... driving back one night from Portugal to Malaga, came up on the ones near Estopona. Pitch black, dying for a pee stopped and got out.... lets just say it was the shortest and most erratically aimed pee of my life.... the noise was awesome. Funnily though those on the east coast of Tenerife just past the south airport aren't so noisy or so it seems.

7th Apr 2005, 15:23
There is a proposal for a large windfarm on the Outer Hebrides, a particularly rugged, rural and unspoiled part of the world. It will totally ruin the attraction of the area.

I feel that we should be looking more at micro-energy generation, e. g solar panels to preheat water. The last time I looked, it would cost me about 2000 to have one installed, which means that to build one into a new house it would probably add an on-cost of maybe 500. But if the pre-heater cuts only 10% off of the heating it will pay for itself in a few years as well as cutting a significant amount from the UK energy bill, with no environmental issues.

7th Apr 2005, 15:25
Here's something you don't see very often. An oil and gas company investing in clean energy (although it is to provide power to offshore oil platforms).



7th Apr 2005, 15:36
The wind will not always blow

Well if it doesnt blow then it's not wind. :8

7th Apr 2005, 15:37
Have a looksy here


7th Apr 2005, 15:52
Noisy ugly things that ruin the views in some of the most beautiful parts of the Highlands, IMHO.

7th Apr 2005, 15:57
Good word:
but a green thwump! :}

Darth Nigel
7th Apr 2005, 16:11
Noisy ugly things that ruin the views in some of the most beautiful parts of the Highlands, IMHO.

Scotsmen? :p

7th Apr 2005, 17:57
And of course power stations are beautiful aesthetically pleasing things aren't they......

Wind power, wave power whatever for sure we have to do something but I do find myself agreeing with Onan that we should spend more time and money as a priority on saving energy through more efficient usage.

Erwin Schroedinger
7th Apr 2005, 18:47
.....solar panels to preheat water
The sun does not always shine. :uhoh:

7th Apr 2005, 19:40
The sun does not always shine. But it does! And will continue to for another few billion years by all accounts :ok: The trouble is that most governments and companies prefer to take a short-term view...a bit dim if you ask me :}

7th Apr 2005, 19:46
Quite rightairship

But aren't all governments and senior management of companies always taking short term views?

Totally dim, blinkered and only interested in their individual pension funds!

7th Apr 2005, 23:45
As much as many love to bash fossil fuels, the fact is wind farms for most applications will probably never match the cost effectiveness of conventional fuels without subsidies. There could be exceptions, such as the Hebrides or the Faroes or the Aleutians, and other areas where the fuel cost is compounded by the transportation cost -- but that will depend on how high fuel costs go (don't expect them to plummet anytime soon), and in the big picture the amount of power consumed in these places is rather slight...

Onan the Clumsy
7th Apr 2005, 23:51
The sun does not always shine. It doesn't necessarily have to. All it has to do is provide energy, which it will do, admittedly reduced,even on a cloudy day.

As much as many love to bash fossil fuels, the fact is wind farms for most applications will probably never match the cost effectiveness of conventional fuels without subsidies. Depends on you you do the maths really. Do you include the hidden costs of pollution? the defrayed costs of digging mines etc etc.

In any event we shouldn't pit fosil against renewable - that's what they want us to do. We should coordinate a policy that uses both wisely and efficiently.

8th Apr 2005, 01:24
Depends on you you do the maths really. Do you include the hidden costs of pollution?Gee, that's what the windbackers always say when they're going after government subsidies.

I have seen maths done by those a bit more objective, academics with a realistic viewpoint towards these things but nevertheless environmentalists at heart. I don't profess to be an expert, and perhaps their maths are flawed, but their consensus is that wind power will never meet the demand for energy whilst being very expensive at the same time -- it's pretty much a "feel good, look good" type of reaction to a pressing problem.

As far as pollution goes, I see that as largely a separate issue from the cost of fuel. Governments by and large have always had the power to impose restrictions on the type of fuel used. Many have, and automobiles in most Western countries today run with far fewer emissions than older models.

However, those same governments are wary to put in place any restrictions which are also likely to damage their own economies, which high fuel costs inevitably do. It's political suicide, and when prices rise on their own volition due to supply and demand the situation is dicey enough.

On top of that, as long as most of Asia continues to generate its perpetual brown haze and emissions on vehicles are unfettered in places like Latin America and India and Indonesia, on a global level any gains made to reduce pollution will be slight at best. I'm not saying that's a good thing -- it's not -- I'm just trying to point out why there's little incentive for significant effort by the political powers that be to do much more than amounts to window dressing...

Such is the world in which we live...:sad:

In any event we shouldn't pit fosil against renewable - that's what they want us to do. We should coordinate a policy that uses both wisely and efficiently. On that I agree. The same profs I referred to earlier, as many do, take a "100-year" view towards the future. They prophesise that "gasification" of coal and petroleum products will be the next viable phase of energy production. Due to the infrastructure required, we're not likely to see any meaningful efforts on that front for 20-50 years...

Yeah, what gasification means is not exactly familiar to me either, but of course Mr. Google can lead the curious down many paths...

8th Apr 2005, 01:58
I am sure the ones near the airport in TFS are wind generators. You know, when you get the +20kts at 700'.

Loose rivets
8th Apr 2005, 05:27
How much do you have to put in the meter to make them blow?:rolleyes:

8th Apr 2005, 07:07
I think they are a hideous blot on the landscape and will never come close to supplying the energy requirements of a small, reasonably densly populated country like Britain.

A Bessemer Converter which is the furnace like machine used to convert scrap steel to molten liquid for recycling, uses GW of power. You'd have to cover large slices of the country with windmills to run one.

How much power do you think our nice clean electric railways use per day? Oops, there goes another slice of the UK covered in windmills.

Sorry people, these things are paying lip service to the concept of renewable energy as far as the UK is concerned. It might work in somewhere like Denmark which has a much lower population density and large areas where nobody goes to look at the view. It won't replace conventional power generation for the forseeable future in the power hungry UK

PS Not that it colours my view but I have worked in the nuclear and oil & gas industries :ok:

8th Apr 2005, 07:46
Can someone please explain "renewable energy"?
How does it work?
Do you use the energy to, lets say, boil a pan of potatoes, then eject the steam through a venturi to replace the wind that you 'borrowed'?
How does the energy get back to its source - the sun?
These windmills. How are they made? How much energy does it take to make one? How long do they last? How do you dispose of them when they're worn out?

Questions, so many questions...
I drove my Mum mad as a kid. :ouch:

Sorry to be a sceptic, but this Renewable Energy stuff sounds a bit like perpetual motion to me... :hmm:

8th Apr 2005, 08:14
The wind will always blow and be able to turn extra-large propellor blades and generate electricity. Capital costs will be exceeded by value of power after a time. Not especially pretty on the landscape but neither is Didcot. Solar cells will be developed to a point where they are more efficient and cheaper and powerfull. Hydrogen fuel cells will improve. Oil will disappear eventually and reappear in a few million years from our bones.

8th Apr 2005, 15:41

Google is a wonderful thing, here's what it offers when I ask it to define Renewable Energy:




8th Apr 2005, 17:03

Not many Bessemer Converters left in the Uk now.

http://www.simt.co.uk/collections/collections-2-2.html (http://)


tony draper
8th Apr 2005, 17:16
Alus thought there must be some way we could derive energy from the pressure difference betwixt the surface and say a mile below the surface of the sea.
One shall fire off a general patent forthwith.just in case somebody comes up with a method.

8th Apr 2005, 20:51
Confused :confused: - does that mean that you can plant wind, and water it, and it will grow into a big hurricane ? :eek:

Darth Nigel
8th Apr 2005, 20:58
Well, Drapes, there's plenty of coal mines around for you to experiment with.

There must be a couple up your way that burrow out under the 'oggin. Heck, if memory serves me right, there's probably at least one up your way that's still smouldering.

8th Apr 2005, 21:10
At least three of my German colleagues have shares in "wind generators" they claim to get a return slighlty above bank interest rates on their investment. They also have a "feel good" factor and a hobby to boot (monitoring the output of their particular blades!!)

If I recall correctly it cost about 5000 Euros to get in.

tall and tasty
8th Apr 2005, 21:16
I do agree with those who say they may be an eye sore on beautiful parts of the world.

but I would prefer the elegant lines of one of these over open case mining holes and electrical power stations anyday.

But at the end of the day it is better to conserve the energy we do have and utilise it more efficently, then create more because of excess demand.


7006 fan
8th Apr 2005, 21:20
A little concerned here that, apart from the landscape issues no-one seems particularly bothered about these giant prop's.
They cause a problem with radar, creating ghost images on the screen and 'whiting-out' areas so that as aircraft fly into the area they become 'lost' to radar whilst the 'plane flies through it.
Also these things can be 120m high and not necessarily easily visible.
Would not fancy one near my flight path!!


PPRuNe Radar
9th Apr 2005, 01:08
A little concerned here that, apart from the landscape issues no-one seems particularly bothered about these giant prop's. They cause a problem with radar, creating ghost images on the screen and 'whiting-out' areas so that as aircraft fly into the area they become 'lost' to radar whilst the 'plane flies through it. Also these things can be 120m high and not necessarily easily visible. Would not fancy one near my flight path!!

CAA and UK Wind Energy Authority Guidance Document (http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/renewables/publications/pdfs/windwnergyaviation.pdf)

Do you work for the 'Sun' then ?? :yuk: :confused:

9th Apr 2005, 01:33
I am a little suprised that no-one from our friends in the ATC community have not said much ;


7006 fan
9th Apr 2005, 07:57
Do you work for the 'Sun' then

God forbid! No I DO NOT. Happen to work in the industry and have grave concerns that these wind farms may cause a hazard.
FYI that document link is a DTI document and guess what, they WANT wind farms. -by the by the link is no longer available, one has to purchase the document. So much for Freedom of Information.

Also looked at another publication by BWEA that draws no conclusions apart from suggesting:

'...using certain materials MAY have a mitigating effect, single turbines are unlikely to effect radar, depends how many there are etc...'

Pprune Radar, by your handle you have no doubt seen the screen grabs of the interference caused by these things.

May cause all sorts of problems for the military hardware jockeys as most of their low level flight area is where these things are being suggested to go.

Is flight safety being put second to Government energy targets and promises. Would not be the first time a Government has mis-used information to achieve an ambition.
What was the quote:

"...OK, so I might have been wrong, but in my heart I felt I was right and I believed it and it was right to do what we did, even if the information was wrong, because we did it for the right reasons..." or something like that.

So if ...and it is a very big if, these turbines do interfere and cause a plane to impact what sort of response can we expect.

"...this type of incident is very rare and unforseen, we have complete confidence in the safety of wind turbines and have a report that says so..." heard that before as well.

If everyone in the UK put a jumper on rather than turn up a radiator thermostat, or switched off the light in a room no-one is in, or shut the door so that heat doesn't escape into the corridor, we might not be having an energy crisis!

Wondered into an office the other day. There were 2 interlocking office compartments, both were un-occupied (it was lunch-time), all the lights were on, 3 computers on stand-by with screen-savers bouncing around, interconnecting door open, radiator in one room on, main door open and air-con going 19 to the dozen!
Ergo the throw-away society!

Just remembered seeing a documentary way back in the 70's on environmentally friendly cars, they boffins in the US had developed Hydrogen pellets that were poured into the fuel tank like marbles, something was added and created the vapour to make the engine go 'VROOOM'. The by-product was H2O. Dunno what happened to this project, seeing it was 30 odd years ago would have thought it well advanced given the leaps and bounds in the fossil fuel powered car. But there again an energy source such as this would cause problems for the fossil fuel boys and George W and his mates would end up poor -I heard a rumour the patent was bought by an Oil Company and the research quietly dropped

9th Apr 2005, 08:44
The sad truth is that a sizeable chunk of society only cares about eating, sleeping, working, saving for a bigger car, buying a bigger house, and pro-creating more of themselves. They don't care two hoots about the government or political issues let alone the impact they might have on the wider environment.

9th Apr 2005, 09:59
Wonderful indeed X-QUORK. So now the laws of thermodynamics have been suspended and the principle of conservation of energy abolished. Was it a UN Commission or a religious fatwah?

And now we can safely extract as much energy as we need from the wind without any consequences.

And why not indeed. Sailors have done it for centuries. You have to admit though, that a 'white dove' cresting the waves is a far more beautiful sight than a bloody wind farm. :ok:

Capn Notarious
9th Apr 2005, 10:14
I would quite happily vote it 4.5/5.
As for Westra wind turbines made on the Island of White, one thinks they is tall and tasty.
May the curse of darkness, fall on those so short sighted that they wish to curtail the green energy producers.

7006 fan
10th Apr 2005, 07:32
Lifted this from the BWEA summary document.

"...The key factors influencing the effect of wind farms on radar are:

Spacing of wind turbines within a wind farm needs to be considered in the context of the radar cross range/down range resolutions
Spacing the turbines such that only one turbine can appear in any range cell has advantages in identifying the wind farm, filtering out the turbines and in tracking aircraft over the farm area;
In a circumstance where a single wind turbine in clear line of sight to the radar is undetected, it is highly likely that a wind farm of similar wind turbines would also be undetectable;
No optimal layout or format has been prescribed as each wind farm will have its own specific requirements dependent on many factors..."

Now I don't know about you but this all reads a bit wooley to me, the third key factor for example is a bit like saying "...one car engine is quiet, therefore 10 cars will not increase noise levels..."
The fourth factor sums it up...they have not got a clue what the effect will be!

Again it must be pointed out that the reasearch paper was funded by DTI and BWEA both have an interest in wind energy, although the document was provided in association with the CAA there is one small point that is missed off, that being the CAA statement concerning safeguarding.

Quote from CAA's safguarding web-site

With effect from the 10 February 2003 the CAA ceased to be the contact point for safeguarding consultations falling within the safeguarded area of an officially safeguarded aerodrome.

Also, try this link


If you click the link contained in the document which should take you to the DTI wind farm document, it creates an error page.

:{ :suspect:

10th Apr 2005, 12:45
How about putting all the windfarms on Saturn (equatorial jetstreams of upto 1,700 kph - the surface winds should be impressive too?)...

We could use superconducting power transmission cables.

No neighbours to complain about the noise or view. And if there are, we could always offer them free high speed internet access and cable TV in exchange. :8

tony draper
10th Apr 2005, 13:16
Treadmills??? why not, seems to be plenty of yobs hanging about the street corners whinging they have nowt to do, six hours a day in a treadmill connected to a generator would occupy their time in a usefull manner.

10th Apr 2005, 13:20
A few trillion hamsters would do the trick...

11th Apr 2005, 21:40

It's the place where they breed young winds to be sold to our political leaders when they are big enough, so they can radio or tv them into each and every house............

I wonder what they give them to eat, hope it isn't bone powder.