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Oil Billionaire Building World's Largest Wind Farm

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the at-the-round-earth's-imagin'd-corners-blow dept.

Power 661

gadzook33 writes "CNN is reporting that oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens is planning to invest billions of dollars in what will probably be the world's largest wind farm. It will eventually generate 4 gigawatts, enough to power 1.3 million homes. The first 600 GE wind turbines are scheduled for delivery in 2010. Pickens says that each turbine will generate about $20,000 in income annually for the landowner who hosts it."

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In other news (5, Funny)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482012)


In other news... Oil companies erect large billboards to block naturally generated windpower in an effort to negate the power generated.

In all seriousness, I really hope this works out, as any effort to lessen our carbon footprint is a good move in the right direction.

Re:In other news (5, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482156)

They are in the business of selling energy. Why should they not want to move into selling different types of energy?

Re:In other news (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482300)

because that doesn't fit the template that I've been fed of <scaryvoice>evil capitalists</scaryvoice> that hate planet earth.

Re:In other news (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482406)

Don't worry. After there are enough windmills, they'll find out how much the energy removed from the wind will affect the climate, and wind energy will be the next big evil ...

Re:In other news (5, Funny)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482630)

we have removed enough trees to counter that effect

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482690)

Even more disconcerting is the effects of the shadow cast on the crops in the field below. The reduced yield will result in higher food prices! The horror, the horror.

Re:In other news (3, Insightful)

CrayHill (703411) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482362)

Because it would require a significant infrastructure change, which might, just might, put a small dent in the oil companies' massive record profits....

Re:In other news (0)

LordEd (840443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482540)

If their profits start dropping, they might have another excuse to raise prices?

Re:In other news (5, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482558)

Not really.
Very few new power plants are going to built that burn oil. The majority of new plants now are coal, followed by natural gas, and soon I hope Nuclear.
Wind farms will replace the Coal fired plants first so it really is a win for the oil companies to expand their revenue base.
Same reason that BP makes solar cells.
The Oil companies would like nothing more than to make more money selling wind power at the expense of coal. Which will make coal cheaper so the oil companies can use cheap coal to make expensive gas and diesel fuel to sell us to run our cars and trucks.

Re:In other news (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482570)

You should start an oil company and try to run it at a massive loss.

I can understand why people get upset about the level of the profits, but don't bitch and complain, stop buying oil products.

Re:In other news (0, Flamebait)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482586)

> ...small dent in the oil companies' massive record profits....

I know most people who post on /. aren't exactly what I'd call educated folk.... especially the ones who have a piece of paper..... and logical reasoning is so 19th Century. But try reading some actual facts before you open yer piehole and repeating drivel stuffed into your head by bad people pushing an anti-human agenda.

First, go and compare the profit margin of the oil companies to other large industries. Their profit margins are pretty much in line with those other heavily capitalized industries. Their profits are puny compared to real monopolies like Microsoft who have to go to extreme efforts to make profits disappear lest they attract the attention of regulators.... even after writing off billions a year on perennial money losing operations like the Xbox.

Fact is most of the money you pay at the pump goes to taxes and terrorists, which are both good reasons to be looking for alternative energy sources. Of course as soon as an alternative actually becomes profitable Democrats will be right there with their hand out. Hey, somebody has to pay for millions not to work. :)

Re:In other news (4, Insightful)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482648)

Well if you like conspiracies...
1) Wind is too easy. With oil they could hide fake costs and over inflate real ones.
2) Wind is everywhere. By getting exclusive drilling rights they can squeeze out the little guy so they have no new competition.
3) It's new. Big corporations HATE new. New is work and new is learning. CEO people hate work and learning.

Personally reason 3 makes the most sense, But the others are possible. The fact that this guy is trying to move to wind shows that he's at least trying to move foward. Good for him

Re:In other news (3, Informative)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482172)

In other news... Oil companies erect large billboards to block naturally generated windpower in an effort to negate the power generated.

Pickens made his initial big money in oil and is still heavily invested in it.

Re:In other news (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482182)

American Oil companies are changing to energy companies. They're not stupid and they can see the writing on the wall.
I wish he would do solar collectors(not panels)

Right now they are the most promising clean alternatives, and they can store energy for night time use.

Re:In other news (3, Informative)

digitrev (989335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482378)

Actually, if you read the article, he said there's a "solar corridor" (whatever that means) in the States from Sweetwater, Texas to the West Coast which he thinks can be developed.

All in all, it seems like some people are trying to be realistic about this whole energy thing. Maybe. If we're lucky.

Re:In other news (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482184)

I really don't understand why people think things like wind, solar, and nuclear power compete with oil. They don't. Natural gas makes a small amount of electricity, but oil fired plants are very rare and almost only used for peaking power. You can build as many wind turbines as you want but it is not going to appreciably affect oil usage because you are not making highly energy dense, transportable fuel. There is no conflict of interest whatsoever that a oil billionaire would want to build wind farms. A coal billionaire on the other hand ...

-1 TROLL! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482686)

u can store electricity in superconductors. The Japanese do this. This is why their not importing oil. They have better technology.

Mod parent Troll!

Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482196)

What happened to my milkshake?

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482256)

There's money in them thar wind farms.

Who is responsible for maintenance? (2, Interesting)

Me-The-Person (852147) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482026)

Will land owners have to spend the $20,000 per year of income on repairs?

Re:Who is responsible for maintenance? (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482140)

No, they are just leasing the space to the energy consortium. The consortium pays them money for the use of the land, and that's about it.

On a side note, every time I see Boon Pickens, I think of a Michael McKean/Norm McDonald SNL sketch where they were Vincent Price and Slim Pickens, and Norm kept saying Sliiiiiimmmm Pickens. I always think to myself Boooooooooooon Pickens in the voice that Norm was using in the sketch.

Re:Who is responsible for maintenance? (4, Informative)

quax (19371) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482234)

Very good point especially since these things can literally burn and crash.

This PDF [spiegel.de] contains some scary pictures. And there is nothing you can do if the turbine catches fire. It is to high up to put it out. Don't get me wrong I like wind energy but if these things are conventionally designed each one of them will be a bush fire waiting to happen.

They are industrially designed (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482464)

But they will never be 100% reliable. Like any other machine, all will break, sooner or later, and they all can fail in catastrophic ways. Airplanes, cars, trains, TVs, bycicles... all fail, even simple things like pulleys.

If they would catch fire all days, it would be a problem, and you can be sure they would be redesigned or not used at all. So please stop making a big issue from a sub 1% thing.

Re:They are industrially designed (5, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482700)

But they will never be 100% reliable.
I never seem to find such quotes about nuclear power. I'd rather live next to a windmill burning than a nuclear power plant melting.

Re:Who is responsible for maintenance? (5, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482578)

There was actually a car on fire in the parking lot this morning. Just sitting there, parked.

Those things can literally crash and burn too.

Totally off topic but it was the most exciting thing to happen at work in forever.

Re:Who is responsible for maintenance? (2, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482372)

No, they are just leasing land for a tower -- which farmers have been doing since the invention of radio.

Tower maintenance is handled by the owner.

$20k profit? (2, Funny)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482038)

Hell, sign me up for 5! I'll give up work, and just tend to these all day. Sure, it'll be cramped on my .20 acre plot, but hey!

Re:$20k profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482484)

Hell, sign me up for 5! I'll give up work, and just tend to these all day.
That's right Lennie, we'll just live off the fat of the land.

I own land! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482040)

Well, an apartment actually.. And I can also provide wind!

Doc Brown ain't all that impressed (5, Funny)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482072)

That's only 3.3 time machines worth of power.

Yes, but are the blades fast enough? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482124)

Will there be a point on the blades where the linear velocity is 88 miles per hour?

If the angular velocity is fast enough and the blades are long enough, then yes, otherwise the flux capacitors won't work right.

Re:Yes, but are the blades fast enough? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482192)

It will send the blade tips back in time!

Which would be..odd.

No.. it's not-- (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482746)

you've never heard of spontaneous combustion of human beings?

now you know the cause....

'Bout time... (1)

Ceiynt (993620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482090)

For the big oil companies to realize the need for other types of energy, as oil is finite. Maybe next they can start on the long road to getting nuke plants approved.

Re:'Bout time... (5, Funny)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482160)

Sim City taught me that cold fusion is the way to go.

Re:'Bout time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482188)

What they should really do is invest in oil production. Cut down trees, kill animals, harvest plankton, and dump it all in one big pile.

Whoever said we'd run out of oil..

its time to take notice!! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482098)

when oil billionaires are getting out of the business then there might be something to this thing called peak oil.

Re:its time to take notice!! (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482240)

Who said they were getting out of the oil business? He surely didn't.

Re:its time to take notice!! (5, Insightful)

jkmartin (816458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482322)

Pickens is on record as saying that Peak Oil is not only real it's now. As one of the last wildcatters it's not wise to bet against him. Then again he really likes Oklahoma State football so he's not right about everything.

Re:its time to take notice!! (1, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482424)

Oklahoma? Only two things come from Oklahoma, and I don't see any horns in that picture...

Re:its time to take notice!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482354)

Please feel free to cite the mechanism that will do this. Giving the numbers on oil usage in the electrical grid [doe.gov] and wind power in the transportation grid would be very helpful in your answer (hint: the only type of transportable wind power is with electric cars).

Building wind turbines will do nothing to reduce oil usage until electric cars become commonplace. And then it wouldn't really matter if the electricity to charge the cars came from coal, nuclear, solar, or wind.

Re:its time to take notice!! (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482664)

> when oil billionaires are getting out of the business

Not exactly. Oil billionaries can't drill for oil anymore in the first or second world so they are looking at new sources. Drilling for some terrorist despot in a third world hellhole and hoping the regime lasts long enough to pay you the percentage they promised before the next revolution nationalizes the fields isn't all that enticing.

Owning windmills in Texas is a solid moneymaking proposition now and since Texas isn't likely to experience a revolution anytime soon and seize your assets long term investing makes sense.

just a few thoughts on clena energy (3, Interesting)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482132)



just playing devils advocate as from a environmental point of view how could this be a bad thing. First off the US needs to do something like Germany and give economic incentives, ie a fixed price on energy. This way your not competing dollar for dollar with oil and coal.

This is a capitalist country after all, nothing happens unless there is a profit to be made. My only other concern is the amount of land that these wind farms gobble up. With the growth in population especially in energy craving areas like southern california land is at a premium, which makes dedicating hundreds of acres to a wind farm also cost prohibitive. Considering no only likes high tension lines running through their neighborhood it is reasonable to think that systems like wind and solar will have to think seriously about competing with local land needs.

just a thought

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482220)

You can farm around them.

However a lot of problems with wind power need to be addressed.

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (1)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482350)

Such as...?

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482498)

Plant placement: only goes where there is wind, which may or may not be near the people that actually want to use the energy

Plant construction: not every design is actually energy-positive over the expected lifetime

Variability of wind even in windy areas

Energy transport and storage to non-windy areas/times (if you want to go more than 10% wind)

Kennedys: don't want their "view" spoiled. Unfortunately, Joe was both prolific and very wealthy.

Just to name a few.

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482536)

In most areas of the world, the wind blows not steadily. Electrical grids are very sensitive for sudden changes in power generation of consumption. At every moment, the energy consumed must equal the energy produced, or the system may fail (yes, generating too much power can cause a blackout!). Since you cannot control the wind, you have to compensate the varying power generation otherwise. The more wind energy is produced, the more important those instabilities in power production get.

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (2, Insightful)

Blahgerton (1083623) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482226)

Have you ever been to Texas? There's easily enough empty land that no one is using for this to be suitable. And if there's no electricity in SoCal, move somewhere else. Do you like the climate enough to live in candle light at night?

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (0)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482312)

I imagine that you would end up consuming a rather astonishing number of candles.

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482266)

My only other concern is the amount of land that these wind farms gobble up.
This is only a problem in residential areas. Farmland can still be farmed. In the case of California, perhaps a deal with Nevada could work out.

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (2, Interesting)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482272)

here's another thought: there is really a staggering amount of empty land in the US that would do just fine with wind power. As it stands, we'll run out of water long before land, especially in SoCal.

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (5, Informative)

aengblom (123492) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482308)

Just playing devils advocate as from a environmental point of view how could this be a bad thing. First off the US needs to do something like Germany and give economic incentives, ie a fixed price on energy. This way your not competing dollar for dollar with oil and coal.

Wait, so you think that developers are building these without incentives and that's a bad thing? Sadly, wind still does need incentives -- and gets it in the U.S. -- but the whole idea is for incentives to jump start the technology to where it becomes competitive without the incentives.

And these turbines, at least, aren't really gobbling land -- a lot of them get placed on ranch land, so it's essentially multi-use.

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (1)

thealsir (927362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482580)

I dont want my cows to be burned to death by falling turbine blades you insensitive clod!

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482624)

Wait, so you think that developers are building these without incentives and that's a bad thing?
Cut him some slack, he did preface his post with a devil's advocate warning.

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (1)

starflyr (164236) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482326)

Really? Millions of billions of acres of desert and mountain ranges that can't be used for anything else. Just in the US alone. And you're worried about taking up "space"?

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (1)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482618)

The problem is that these things aren't build it and forget it. They have moving parts and need maintenance. And maintenance means you need them to be easy to get to. Also deserts will have a tendency to make things break more often.

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (5, Insightful)

Pyrrus (97830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482458)

I am all for renewable energy, but I disagree with the idea of economic incentives. There have been a large number of potential renewable energy sources, and many people seem to have one that is their favorate. None of these (except hydroelectricity) have become major sources of power, due to various obstacles that still must be overcome. I think that once these ideas are economically feasable (*if* they are feasable) they will get investment and be implemented.

Incentives and subsidies rush products that are not yet ready into the market because they are made artificially cheaper. The problem is, instead of using whatever technology can profitably produce energy, we end up using whatever technology is the favorate of the most people, or the pet project of a particular legislator or lobbying industry (corn ethanol, I'm looking at you).

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482646)

Do you know how much energy SoCal sucks from Hoover Dam outside Las Vegas?
Have you seen the millions of acres of empty desert between Las Vegas and Los Angeles? Have you experienced the winds that run up and down the Sierra Nevadas in that stretch of desert?

How many acres of wind farm would it take to match the energy output of Lake Mead?

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (3, Insightful)

cshoes (459798) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482750)

just playing devils advocate as from a environmental point of view how could this be a bad thing. First off the US needs to do something like Germany and give economic incentives, ie a fixed price on energy. This way your not competing dollar for dollar with oil and coal.

This is a capitalist country after all, nothing happens unless there is a profit to be made. My only other concern is the amount of land that these wind farms gobble up. With the growth in population especially in energy craving areas like southern california land is at a premium, which makes dedicating hundreds of acres to a wind farm also cost prohibitive. Considering no only likes high tension lines running through their neighborhood it is reasonable to think that systems like wind and solar will have to think seriously about competing with local land needs.

just a thought
windmills gobble up land like streetlights gobble up a parking lot. I think the cows & corn will be able to intermingle with some windmills.

Re:just a few thoughts on clena energy (1)

opieum (979858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482792)

To be honest, building a wind farm in a place like Nevada or a place where actual farming is not possible seems like a good use of land and resources to me. Seeing as land like that is good for little else why not? Also looking at more urban setups, why not just build windmills on the rooves of buildings. One large windmill on the top of say a NY Apartment building built circa 1950 with 200 units, could likely have enough power to keep people's electric/gas bills down to a minimum. You want to jump start the economy and pull us out of a recession? This is a good way to do it. In places where the area is not so geophysically stable like California, they can be built into the lots. But this can be done and gain profit for both the builder and the owner. Give people a profit sharing incentive and you will see how quick adoption will happen. And save them more money on their monthly electric/gas bills and it becomes more widespread.

Footprint? (2, Interesting)

trickno (1227142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482210)

I wonder how much land this takes up? It's a great deal for farmers, who, if willing to sacrifice a little bit of farmable land, could make some serious extra cash. How many windmills can you get on a 1000 acre plot? 10,000 acre plot? Seems like a good deal.

Re:Footprint? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482352)

The article makes it sound like ~100 acres of footprint per tower. That's probably mostly the wind footprint though, I imagine the ground footprint is a bit smaller.

Good wind land (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482650)

is typically not prime agricultural land. THerefore farmers will often not be giving up their best lands for this anyway.

Re:Footprint? (2, Informative)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482708)

I've heard numbers like 1,500 - 1,800 foot radius being a minimum recommended spacing for this size turbine (the GE 1.65MW turbines which my utility is currently constructing 100 or so in my state). That would work out to about 162 acres per turbine. Of this, about a 30 foot circle is all that is taken out of use for the actual turbine. Disclaimer: No hard references on this, just my personal observations.

Don't bring up "killing birds" (5, Insightful)

British (51765) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482260)

Please don't bring up "what about the birds?" in regards to wind turbines. Just don't. Sure, some may fly into one and die. Some won't. It's called survival of the fittest. Eventually, evolution will program birds so they will know "wind turbine ahead = death". The ones that don't pick up on it will be dead, and thus not to worry about.

You see, if air pollution from oil/coal/whatever happens, that affects the birds too, dumb and smart.

Re:Don't bring up "killing birds" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482314)

But what about the birds?

(just to annoy you)

Re:Don't bring up "killing birds" (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482338)

Please don't bring up "what about the birds?"

but, you just did!

by the way, birds fly into tall buildings and die; so, tall buildings = death!

Re:Don't bring up "killing birds" (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482366)

If it sucked up grackles and turn them into an aerial slurpee, I'd invest in the company.

Re:Don't bring up "killing birds" (1)

Red Storm (4772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482412)

What's sad is this shuts down the Wind farms up on the Alimont pass in the SF Bay Area every year.

Re:Don't bring up "killing birds" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482470)

It isn't the birds I care about it's the obnoxious strobe lights they mount on the blade tips to keep the Cessnas from being swatted down. Between the cancerous growth of suburbia, cell phone towers and these monstrosities it is nigh on impossible to find a pristine dark sky in the US.

Re:Don't bring up "killing birds" (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482520)

Please don't bring up "what about the birds?" in regards to wind turbines.

Was your post meant to be ironic, or what?

There are huge areas of open land in the US where birds are relatively uncommon. Turbines should be avoided in environmentally sensitive areas, but other than that, bird deaths are minimal.

People didn't stop development of automobiles because some birds would get killed... People didn't stop clearing wild land for homes just because some birds (and many other animals) would die.

Such problems could be almost entirely eliminated by putting something like chicken wire over the blades. It was done with early commercial passenger jets.

Re:Don't bring up "killing birds" (0, Flamebait)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482626)

Henry Ford didn't have eco-terrorists and environmentalists to deal with.

Nor did the pioneers who homesteaded newly opened territories.

We, on the other hand, do. And they have lawyers, congresscritters, and the media on their payroll.

Re:Don't bring up "killing birds" (1)

rujholla (823296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482756)

But they stop drilling for oil because of the polar bears? Maybe his point was that it would be too easy to stop based on bird "protection."

Re:Don't bring up the noise as well (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482768)

Wind Turbines can be rather loud as well, especially at night.

Dear Mr. Pickens: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482276)



Please DO NOT build your wind farm in the United States of America.

Let them eat OIL.

Cordially,
Kilgore Trout, ACTIVIST

P.S.: For more information about your addiction to oil, please read The Oil Drum [theoildrum.com]

Early adopter (5, Insightful)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482298)

And this is why the guy is a billionaire.

Re:Early adopter (2, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482480)

Right.

The guy knows that the writing's on the wall with respect to fossil fuels. He's just moving on to the next challenge.

Pickens is not a good guy (5, Informative)

rhadamanthus (200665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482328)

This is the same guy planning to drain the Olligalla (sp?) aquifer to supply southern texas with water. Private water rights being abused, right before your eyes.


FWIW, these two projects (the wind farm and the water system) are really the same [texaskaos.com]

Re:Pickens is not a good guy (4, Funny)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482420)

He also drank my milkshake!

Nameplate? Or actual? (2, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482346)

I have a feeling this is just nameplate generation, something the story doesn't tell you. Figure actual capacity is about a third of this because of wind variability.

Sigh... (1)

LucBorg (853592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482388)

Yet another man with so much money that he's gone insane.

Why not buy a nuclear plant... (2, Insightful)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482400)

His money would be much more well spent, and given long term value, if he spent it on a nuclear power plant.

Re:Why not buy a nuclear plant... (2, Interesting)

LucBorg (853592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482494)

Yes, one nuclear power plant would provide more energy, be cheaper, have lower running costs, be safer, be more reliable, would not blight the landscape, would not create massive noise pollution, would not kill hundreds of thousands of animals and just be far better than 600000 wind turbines. Oh well. It's his money I guess, but then again, it's our land he's ruining and our lives he's making miserable (for the aforementioned reasons).

Re:Why not buy a nuclear plant... (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482510)

Nuclear power plants are notoriously unprofitable without government subsidy.

Now he's rich, so he's got a good shot at that subsidy and nuclear may prove to be profitable if fossil-based fuels rise in cost, so you may have a point.

Re:Why not buy a nuclear plant... (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482622)

The only reason they are so expensive is the public being fucking dumb and not knowing jackshit about nuclear power other than seeing the word nuclear and thinking OMG TIMEBOMB IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD or OMG TERRORIST TARGET!! even though a nuclear reactor containment vessel is one of the most impenetrable things ever built. It can survive a direct hit from a 747 with very little damage whatsoever, let alone breaking.

Re:Why not buy a nuclear plant... (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482668)

Assuming you're correct (and I don't doubt that you are, on the whole), that still doesn't change the fact that they aren't profitable.

Whining about peoples' misconceptions doesn't magically put more money in your account.

Wow! (1, Insightful)

pottymouth (61296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482432)


"eventually generate 4 gigawatts"

Four whole gigawatts! Man, that must be like, almost 1/4 what a typical nuclear plant generates for 10 times the price and environmental impact! What a deal! Maybe for his next project he can invest billions in a solar farm of 50 square miles to generate a 500 kilowatts!! I love green technology. It goes so well with the moldy green brains that push to advance it in the face of cleaner more efficient technology that's existed for over 50 years.

I wonder how this genius became a billionaire. No, don't tell me, let me guess... stock trader or corporate raider? Maybe a lawyer or politician?

Re:Wow! (2, Interesting)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482600)

Man, that must be like, almost 1/4 what a typical nuclear plant generates

Example of a nuclear plant with 16 GW of electrical output, please. Else I'll call BS.

Re:Wow! (2, Informative)

Nit Picker (9292) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482748)

Actually, a typical new nuclear plant will have a capacity of only 1 to 1.5 GW. The catch is that it should produce that power about 90% if the time. Typical wind farms product much less than 90% of their rated capacity. The installation near me (SE USA) only produces on average 25% of its rated capacity, although I understand the project in question is in a better location. Nevertheless, no one seems to want to stand up and give the actual percentage.

What is the Capacity Factor on These? (1)

Nit Picker (9292) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482434)

If a 1000 MW plant produces 1000 MW 7/24 for a year, it would produce a little under 9 GWHr of energy. This is at least the second article I have read on this project, and I can't find out what percentage of the 9 GWHr is expected to be produced each year.

Some notes (5, Informative)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482496)

I live close to the Waymart Wind Farm. [orion-energy.com] Just a few notes:

I totally support wind energy and think the turbines have done good for the community.

They make noise. Even at 1/2 mile away, low whooshing sounds are clearly audible, especially at 4AM.

They are HUGE. Pictures don't do it justice. By the time your next to one, it's an awesome site.

The community here gets jobs and money from them. The government pays 1.8 cents per kilowatt hour for wind energy, netting the community here $150,000 a year. Also Florida Power and Electric pays about 12 employees here to service them. I've known a few that have worked on the turbines, they have some amazing pictures of being on top.

They significantly interfere with off-air television. I work for the cable company, and we had to build a giant antenna in another site because our first giant antenna was to close to the windmills. Local houses have trouble getting off-air signals, digital HD included.

They are a tourist attraction. The first few years they existed here, many people tried to sneak onto the private land to snap pictures etc..

Re:Some notes (0, Flamebait)

angelasmark (856143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482658)

Wow you are so making me not want anything to do with wind power...

They're huge and blight the landscape...
They make noise...
Induce tourists to violating private property to take pics...
They interfere with off air signals...
Generated a whopping 12 jobs...

So versus nuclear we get less power, less jobs, and more annoyance...wonderful tech.

Fast Company magazine (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482514)

I read a great article in Fast Company magazine the other day about this same thing. The article there is much more candid if you ask me, here's the online version:

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/126/a-mighty-wind.html [fastcompany.com]

Interesting to note that I'll RTFA if it comes to my door in paper format but I would care less about this online.

An Oil Billionaire building a wind farm? (2, Informative)

Swe3tDave (246955) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482598)

He is probably running out of oil.. Must be it.. Need to invest in something else..

Why do they have to be in one place? (1)

glgraca (105308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482632)

I know not all places are good for wind turbines, but wouldn't it be better to put them closer to where the energy is needed instead of having one big farm? Distribution would be cheaper and more efficient. Maintenance might not be easier to organize, but you have to have maintenance for your distribution lines anyway.

Wind farming = greater climate change? (2, Interesting)

hobb0001 (989441) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482696)

I can't help but wonder how much of an affect we will have on climate change once we start sapping energy from the wind currents on a massive scale.

Microsoft Filth Farm, America's Fat Lazy Cows (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482698)

In my opinion, the only way well ever see Microsoft come clean is if the DOJ ever gets some real balls and decides to go after it with a real punishment for its monopoly, which continues today on desktops, and seeking to start on the web again with Silverblight (Silverlight), just google for LOC and the deal with Microsoft which happened within the past few months. IMO its the same as Microsoft Windows in libraries and classrooms, once you get the people hooked with something they feel that they need, in this case more Microsoft shitware, people perpetuate the lock-in cycle. Look at how you feel you *need* DirectX? This is another artificially created need by Microsoft.

It should be argued, at least for PC gaming, they have a monopoly on the desktop with gaming, as most people need to use DirectX properly in order for the games to work. Sure Wine, Cedega, and other projects are making some progress and some games may work, and believe me I try every few weeks to see how it is coming along, but again Microsoft still continues its dirty deeds. They lie about Linux and Windows interoperability, They said it couldnt be done! Novell agreement bullshit just like the Corel agreement in 2000 or 2001, where Corel Linux was promptly spun off and money/support from Corel to Wine apparantly dried up. Time and time again they come in and either buy out or pollute the environment with thier proprietary crap, and we read another dismal Microsoft article after article every few weeks or more.

If Microsoft is so devoted to bringing Linux and Windows together, I dont see anything on their vast labrynth of shit at Microsoft.com indicating this. Where is the repository of interoperability Linux and Windows software on Microsoft.com? Oh, but you can still get their bullshit Facts on Windows and Linux, and thats about it. At least Google has a repository you can add to your Linux install for software from them. In my opinion, dont think Moonlight (Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? I ask that of all my friends) will last much longer or work well for Linux users should Silverblight (Silverlight) suddenly become popular through payoffs and slight of hand corporate tricks.

If you ever want to have Microsoft come clean, no, I dont believe it would ever happen unless the DOJ finally came down hard and raided their offices, took their hardware and software and forced them to release the code and all of the various undiscovered backdoors waiting to be found, it just wont happen. IMO, Microsoft has demonstrated time and time again it will fight tooth and nail against any punishment against them.

Remember: : Microsoft Office raid in Hungary [abcmoney.co.uk]
You like that, monkey boy? : http://boycottnovell.com/2008/05/19/steve-ballmer-eggs/ [boycottnovell.com]

We will all be cleansed if true justice were ever to prevail, but in the United States of Advertising, most of the people in power are paid off, with big pharma and other corporate overlords always padding the handshakes and votes. It is a lost cause, you know it, I know it, but youll still piss away your vote to one of the two parties who bend over for big pharma to slide in the money and the overpriced medications pop out the other end as we all struggle under the yoke of this dismal fucking world.

Come clean? Microsoft? The whole system is mired in filth.

Good luck.

We now return you to your normal life, ostrich head in the sand, millions of tokers/beer drinkers who raise their fist while watching Fight Club and return to their soap opera pitiful lives of slavery as the credits roll.

Vote for Wesley Snipes for President in 2008, neither one of the big parties will get anything done, they are a part of the problem.

Can someone help me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482734)

Can someone offer some specifics here? By my figuring, he's planning on eventually having 2,400 of these turbines. The 2,400 turbines are supposed to supply 1.3 million homes. Assuming an average of $200 per home per month that puts a single turbine's earnings at $1.3 million per year and they are paying $20,000 in "royalies" (what I would call a land lease). It seems like he is looking forward to a massive profit.

Can a single turbine really produce $1.3 million worth of electricity per year?

1st Law of Thermodynamics (4, Interesting)

john_anderson_ii (786633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482790)

If we accept that the actions of human beings can impact the climate, and we accept the first law of thermodynamics, what impact will wind farms have on the environment? Imagine if every home and factory in the U.S. were powered by wind farms. How much energy would these farms be pulling out of the wind? How would that impact weather patterns? Something I've always wondered about. As we jump off fossil fuels and move on to other sources of energy I sure hope someone thinks ahead this time.
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