PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
SkerP
 
Comments: 49
Article views: 1076
 
 
Latest Badges:


 
View all SkerP's badges.
 

On wind turbines...

08 March 2014, 07:45
Given the parlous state of Eskom and the electricity network, it is natural for citizens to wonder about alternative means of electricity production.

This is also quite topical considering Eskom has awarded something like 1,600MW of renewable power contracts, recently. Mostly wind, but a bit of solar too.

Of course, I have heard some absolute clangers on this subject recently. First prize goes to the muppet who suggested that solar farms (photo-voltaics, or PV) generate during daylight hours, but also be used to charge some large batteries, that can then be used to run through the night.

The other oft talked about technology is wind turbines. Indeed, many people have noticed the massive development of wind farms in recent times, especially in the Eastern Cape.

Allow me to say something unpopular. Wind turbines are the proverbial plaster, when you've just had an arm amputated. As an engineer working for a supplier to that industry, I have worked on a number of wind farm projects. And it is my goal today to tell you why these turbines are a rubbish idea.

First, let's get the subjective stuff out of the way. To me, they are ugly. Other people think they're just pretty windmills. I would far rather cast my gaze over pristine Eastern Cape countryside, stretching to the sea in the distance, than be faced with 50 lots of whirling blades.

Secondly, they are noisy. This is not something you'd notice from your car on the N2. But the residents of places like Jeffrey's Bay and Cape St Francis are going to find out soon enough, that a farm of 50 or more turbines, all at full chat, is enough to disturb the sleep.

Third, those spinning blades may seem to be turning quite gently, but because they're so long (45m from hub to blade tip, typically), even to achieve a very modest rotational speed (revolutions-per-minute), the tips are moving through the air at hundreds of km/h, almost the speed of sound. And at those speeds, the local bird life does not stand a chance. Wind turbines absolutely decimate local populations.


I guess that all of the above could be forgiven, if they were providing a useful quantum of power to our grid. Here's the thing though... each turbine can provide a maximum of 2.5 to 3MW. A collector of ten units is thus good for (say) 25MW. Compared against an Eskom shortfall of 2,000MW, that is peanuts.


But that's not all. A typical large windfarm of around 150MW capacity, occupies an enormous tract of land. Very similar in fact, to that occupied by a coal-fired power station. Yet the coal installation can deliver 3,600MW. In other words, wind has an energy density, in terms of the land it occupies, only 1/25th that of coal.


And lastly, when it comes to wind power, ironically, it needs the grid to be there, in order to generate. Yes, wind turbines are unable to supply a small "island" of load, unless the greater grid is present and stable first. This is due to the technology used to manufacture the generators inside the turbine nacelles.


So, the next time someone suggests that wind turbines are the solution to the energy crisis, you can tell them that they're just plain wrong. Wind turbines only serve to keep the emotional environmentalists happy. The rational, realistic environmentalists are going to suggest something else. Something safe, clean and with an extremely high energy density. Nuclear.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
49 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Ryan_Ruffgrain
Manchester City Season in Review

Manchester City finished the season in a distant second behind Chelsea. While that may not seem a particularly ignominious fate, it’s their midseason dip in form that would be of most concern to the City faithful. Read more...

0 comments 0 views
Submitted by
Madelyn Bekker
Unabridged birth certificate chao...

Home Affairs is completely unprepared for the law that comes into effect 1 June that all minors travelling internationally will not be allowed to travel without an unabridged birth certificate.  Read more...

0 comments 0 views
2015 Year of the Raging Rabada

Rabada is a cool, calm collected youngster who takes in all the experiences his premature cricket career is delighting him with. He is also a star in the making. Read more...

0 comments 98 views
Submitted by
SkerP
So very disappointed...

The 2010 World Cup in SA was magnificent. Who can ever forget the fan parks, Football Fridays, a sea of yellow jerseys, Siphiwe Tshabalala's opening goal, Madiba putting in a cameo appearance? Read more...

1 comments 231 views
Submitted by
Losing_Hope
FIFA in South Africa: $10 Million

Let's all be crystal clear here, FIFA is one of the dirtiest organisations on the planet, illustrated by numerous books and documentaries easily accessible to the general public. Read more...

2 comments 238 views
Submitted by
SharksterII
A good day to ridicule

Over the weekend, I had this urge to turn the cards on some annoying debaters. Read more...

21 comments 163 views
 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2015 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.