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given the respective capacity factors (4,000 full load hours for offshore wind, and around 2,000 for the Hoover Dam, you'd need only 3 or 4 such wind farms to replace the Hoover Dam's net output (I was going to say you needed more, but the capacity factor of hydro can be quite low, depending on location and usage).

You have onshore wind farms which are larger than that in the US, so if you're not hearing about it, it means you're not paying attention! Offshore wind is not yet happening in the US, because it is more expensive than onshore, making it difficult for politicians to put in place the necessary regulatory framework, and NIMBY seems even worse than onshore (cf Cape Wind).

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 09:55:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No doubt the topic is beyond me.

Read these interesting stats:

"California produced 4,258 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, about 1.5 percent of the state's total electricity. That's more than enough to light a city the size of San Francisco.

More than 13,000 of California's wind turbines, or 95 percent of all of California's wind generating capacity and output, are located in three primary regions."

Does make you wonder. In order to generate 10% of California's electricity needs, about 100,000 wind turbines would be needed.

by shergald on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 10:18:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually most of the turbines in Cali a very old and very small, many less than 750 kW, and thousands less than 150kW. today's modern turbines are 2-3 MW.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 10:45:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of California's wind turbines are 30-years old and very small. Modern turbines are 50 times more powerful than the majority of those installed today.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 11:06:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I add to what Jérôme and Crazy Horse said that California does not have much wind resource, it's only that the industry started there. The Central Plains and Texas are much better. Overall, the last estimate I saw for the entire USA (49 continuous states) was a wind potential that is about an order of magnitude greater than current consumption.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 at 12:15:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From AWEA's Windpower Outlook 2010 (pdf!):

U.S. winds can supply 9 times electricity demand
Estimates of the U.S. wind resource have consistently found it to be abundant. That conclusion was underlined in early 2010 when the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a new assessment finding that U.S. winds could generate 37 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, or nearly nine times the nation's total electricity use (see map). NREL's findings revealed sharp increases in several Midwestern states (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri in particular), owing to the wind speeds at higher elevations in those states that can be tapped with taller turbines.

Indeed if you check this document, which indicates a wind potential twice the current US consumption, you'll see it is based on 1991 data for wind speeds at 50 m hub height. But typical hub heights today are more like twice of that, and turbines can be supplied with blades and gear ratios optimised for lower wind speeds.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 06:39:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what could be holding back the US government from initiating a massive program to put the entire nation on a wind energy footing?

The oil lobby?

by shergald on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 07:58:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, that initiating a massive program to put the entire nation on a wind energy footing would be "socialism".

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 08:02:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Migeru said. At last year's rate of expansion, it would take something like 75 years for wind to give half of consumption.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 09:21:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
At last year's rate of expansion, it would take something like 75 years for wind to give half of consumption
How do you figure that?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 09:25:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Total US consumption is was 4,119 TWh in 2008. (Wind was 55.4 TWh.) Last year 10 GW were added, if we can assume an average capacity factor of 30% (this being the US), they should be good for 26.3 TWh, or an annual increase of market share by around 0.66 percentage points. 48.7/0.66 = 73.8.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 09:52:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The relevant figure is 26.3TWh/55.4TWh = 47% increase each year (or, x1.5 per year). The model of growth should be logistic and not linear (see Marchetti's curves by Luis de Sousa).

In other words, if in 2009 the installation was 10GW, in 2010 one should expect 15GW, in 2011 22.5GW, and so on, and the rate should slow down only when penetration is a substantial fraction of the total...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 10:29:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can expect logistic growth if market conditions are stable. But the development of the US market is anything but regular, more like stop-and-go. This year it should be another massive drop.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 10:53:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's also an argument against your extrapolation.

I guess you can always do a moving average.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 12:16:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My 'extrapolation' was merely intended to give a picture of what last year's growth rate means relative to total consumption, i.e. that it is not insignificant but even greater growth would be desirable.

Regarding real long-term trends, I would agree that a logistic curve fits both emergence/maturing and phaseout best, but Marchetti curves seem too simplicistic. In Luís's diary, the oil shocks are named as explanation for deviation; on one hand, methinks a lot more reasons can throw development off the Marchetti track (rule changes being one, see wind power in Denmark), on the other hand, I rather doubt that all significant energy modes will peak at the same market penetration level (50%).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 03:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really conductive to any advanced monotonous trend fitting:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 11:00:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and the coal and nuclear lobbies are more relevant to wind's expansion (oil is primarily used for transport, gas is primarily used for heating and peak power generation, neither of which is detrimentally affected by wind power).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 2nd, 2010 at 09:23:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The oil lobby is more preventing the US from pursuing a massive program to put in long haul electric rapid freight rail and local electric rail and trolleybus transit ... preventing the US from massive investment in our massive wind resource is more the coal lobby.

Huh, vested interests with massively lucrative cash flows in dead-end industries holding a nation back from moving into the future. So this is what it was like to be Hapsburg Spain.


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 Jul 3rd, 2010 at 03:13:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, being Hapsburg Spain was spending all your blood and treasure fighting wars of religion... Oh, wait!

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 3rd, 2010 at 03:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... "hit it on the nose".

I was referring to the other side, the lucrative but ultimately unsustainable mining of the mountain of silver in Mexico and the mountain of silver in Peru ... but the analogies keep spinning on for a while.

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 Sun Jul 4th, 2010 at 12:09:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be like the savings glut...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 4th, 2010 at 12:38:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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