[Tweeters] RE Wind Power

Richard Carlson rccarl at pacbell.net
Mon Aug 18 07:57:24 PDT 2008

Whoa! Small wind systems are the most dangerous for birds -- they spin
so fast they are invisible. Those are the Altamont Pass eagle
choppers. In addition, if a blade breaks off, they become deadly
missiles. Are you sure you want one near your kids?

water heating works fine at a small scale but other small scale solar
systems have problems. Solar thermal electric is feasible only in
large scale plants. Photovoltaic is appealing on a small scale, but
the back-up and grid integration problems are ugly. (An issue we
missed back in 1977). If you use hydro for back-up to solar, you get
nasty intemittent stream flows that are intolerable to most aquatic
life. All the major solar and wind electric plans for the western US
would require much more extreme daily cycling of of the Pacific
Northwest dams. Fish don't do well in streams that go nearly dry every
day, and I doubt birds would do much better. (Name one politician that
has mentioned that problem.) Another back-up alternative is pumped
hydro storage, requiring new dams. Please nominate where you want new
dams. Norway is already worried about the more extreme cycling of their
hydro system and resulting intermittent stream flows caused by using their hydro to back-up Denmark's wind system.

other possible back-up to solar electricity, natural gas, is exactly
what we're supposed to be trying to save. Coal and nuclear work only
as base load plants -- they are either all off or all on and take days
to restart-- so solar and wind electricity can't really substitute for
them unless you want to use even more expensive natural gas for solar
back-up. Note that translates as Boone Pickens is nuts. You need 100%
natural gas or hydro generation capacity as back-up for either wind or
solar electric. Cloudy windless days happen all the time, especially
in the Pacific Northwest.

Small scale photovoltaic used widely
gets power surges whenever a cloud moves over a neighborhood. No one
has demonstrated a grid control system that works for universal
decentralized solar photovoltaic, unless you want to fill everyone's
garage with banks of batteries. A few solar homes are easy, but it's a
problem if everyone is on solar and all their generation suddenly goes
down as a cloud moves in. Try everyone in your neighborhood turning on
all their appliances at exactly the same time and watch your
transmission lines blow. The solar integrated grid control problem is a
piece of research that is long overdue.

Solar is hard. The
politicians that propose waving magic wands and going all renewable
electric overnight are clueless. The cost is in the trillions and at a
large scale the environmental costs would be staggering. Modest
amounts of solar and wind energy are feasible, but the environmental
and fiscal costs of solar and wind soar if you move above 20-30 % of
total energy use.

Energy conservation just beats this all.
Richard Carlson
Full-time Birder, Biker and Rotarian
Part-time Economist
Tucson, AZ, Lake Tahoe, CA, & Kirkland, WA
rccarl at pacbell.net
Tucson 520-760-4935
Tahoe 530-581-0624
Kirkland 425-828-3819
Cell 650-280-2965

----- Original Message ----
From: Randy Hill <hill at smwireless.net>
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 11:47:09 PM
Subject: RE: [Tweeters] RE Wind Power

A last note before this is put to bed for the night. Doug hit on an
important issue. Solar power has best efficiency as widespread use by
individuals rather than as centralized collection and distant distribution,
but that is not something that power companies are going to profit from.
Maybe the PUDs and other power companies can issue rebates for individual
solar installations to reach the green power percentage mandated by the last
initiative. I would love to put heavily subsidized solar panels on my home
and hold down the number of power lines that also impact birds during
migration and daily movements, especially when fog settles in. Can you
imagine solar panels on every business and home, at least in sunny environs
where a/c demand can be high (like this weekend!)

Randy Hill

-----Original Message-----
From: tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Doug
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 4:50 PM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] RE Wind Power


I also must take Richards tact and thank Scott for posting thought
provoking and informative information. We should truly take his advice and
do our homework.
I encourage you to read up on this most important issue. While we
worry about birds, and rightly so, it may be our very future that depends on
our decisions in the next few years.


Doug Schonewald
Moses Lake, WA
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