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Giant Floating Windmills To Launch Next Year

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the we've-tried-earth-and-fire dept.

Power 162

pacroon writes "StatoilHydro is building the world's first full-scale floating wind turbine, Hywind, and testing it over a two-year period offshore of Karmøy, Norway. The company is investing approximately $80 million. Planned startup is in the fall of 2009. The project combines existing technology in innovative ways. A 2.3-MW wind turbine is attached to the top of a so-called Spar-buoy, a solution familiar from production platforms and offshore loading buoys. A model 3 meters tall has already been tested successfully in a wave simulator. The goal of the pilot is to qualify the technology and reduce costs to a level that will mean that floating wind turbines can compete with other energy sources."

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Transmission? (3, Insightful)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534747)

TFA does not talk about transmission. How exactly they are going to manage a good reliable power transmission with the kind of floating power station, Any idea?

Re:Transmission? (4, Informative)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534779)

A power cable.

The raft wont be floating freely, it will be anchored to a specific spot where the conditions for wind is good. However its much cheaper to use than construction something from the sea bottom in deep water. Most sea wind power are close to shore wind power plants that is build where the water is shallow or on islands. With this techonolgy a wind farm can be set up in deep water where the wind conditions are good.

Re:Transmission? (5, Interesting)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534849)

Indeed, Denmark already has extensive offshore windfarm resources, and they produce a good percentage of their power from wind as well. A small country like Ireland could well produce most or all of its power with this technology.

This also solves the issue with noise from wind generators anchored in deep water, which the Danes have estimated could cause problems for whales - sound travels much farther in deep water.

And can we please spare the feckless comments on injuring birds, large size windmills move much too slowly to cause a bird damage unless they ploughed into it headlong, and any bird that would do that will have difficulties with flying into cliffs as well.

Re:Transmission? (1)

Weh (219305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535065)

i didn't know there was a "noise" problem but if there was; how is this going to solve it?

one of the problems I can see is that there will be a lot of torque/forces on the turbine hubs/axes due to the gyroscopic forces/spar motion combo. I'm sure the engineers thought of that already though, I'm just wondering how they solved it.

Re:Transmission? (4, Informative)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535167)

i didn't know there was a "noise" problem but if there was; how is this going to solve it?
Apparently there is a problem [wikipedia.org] at greater depths...

Tests carried out in Denmark for shallow installations showed the levels were only significant up to a few hundred metres. However, sound injected into deeper water will travel much further and will be more likely to impact bigger creatures like whales which tend to use lower frequencies than porpoises and seals. A recent study found that wind farms add 80â"110 dB to the existing low-frequency ambient noise (under 400 Hz), which could impact baleen whales communication and stress levels, and possibly prey distribution.

As far as I understand it, towers will transmit the noise directly to the ocean floor, but a floating platform, even if anchored, distributes most of the noise at the surface, although I could be mistaken in that.

Re:Transmission? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535337)

I have to guess these versions of them still have the NIMBY problem tho....I doubt they'll let you put these up off the coast of cape code...they don't seem to like them there [grist.org] .

Re:Transmission? (3, Informative)

grizdog (1224414) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535255)

And can we please spare the feckless comments on injuring birds, large size windmills move much too slowly to cause a bird damage unless they ploughed into it headlong, and any bird that would do that will have difficulties with flying into cliffs as well.
I don't object to windmills, but the tip speed of the large windmills is quite fast. The article said these would be 80 meters in diameter, so if they rotated at one revolution every three seconds, that would be almost 200 miles per hour at the tip. I think that one of the main reasons large turbines do rotate so slowly is the high tip speed is difficult to deal with - at the speed of sound (340 m/s) shock waves become a problem, and structural problems show up at slower speeds. And of course, there are the birds.

Re:Transmission? (4, Informative)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535333)

And of course, there are the birds.
Borrowed from here [treehugger.com] :

To help our understanding of turbine hazards to birds we'd like to make an analogy, to your bicycle. Turn your bike upside down or put it in a work rack, set it to the highest gear...the one you use to go fast on a level slope.... and now move the wheel slowly with your hand. The chain moves rapidly with only a few degrees of wheel rotation. This symbolizes today's cutting edge 1.5 mW turbines, which have a very large surface area of blade exposed to the wind and a gearbox that turns the dynamo quickly while the blades move slowly. Birds dodge these slow moving blades relatively easily.

Now put the bike in the lowest gear...the one you use to climb hills...and move the wheel with your hand fast enough to turn the chain as fast as before. That symbolizes the 20-year-old "bird-o-matic" wind turbine design. Small blades with small surface areas have to turn rapidly to overcome the magnetic force of the dynamos, which generate electricity.

Recapping: small blades, low surface area, lots of dead birds possible; very big blades, with large surface area exposed to wind, very few dead birds.

Re:Transmission? (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535857)

Nice, but I think they mixed up the gears. The first one should be low gear (chain goes fast, wheel goes slow) and the second high gear (chain goes slow, wheel goes fast). Or maybe it's some weird bike thing.

Re:Transmission? (1)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536325)

No, they got it correct you are just looking at it from the wrong side. They are talking about moving the wheel and watching the chain. You are talking about moving the chain and watching the wheel.

Re:Transmission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536493)

No, they got it correct

No, they got it wrong.

you are just looking at it from the wrong side.

The side is irrelevant:

High gear = fast rotating wheel, slowly moving chain. This is identical with slowly moving chain, fast rotating wheel.

Low gear = fast rotating wheel, slowly moving chain. Identical with slowly moving chain, fast rotating wheel.

They are talking about moving the wheel and watching the chain. You are talking about moving the chain and watching the wheel.

Either perspective doesn't change the gear ... They mixed it up, but the example is still valid, of course.

Re:Transmission? (1)

JJ (29711) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535721)

I wonder about your phrase "most or all". That seems very ambitious.

Re:Transmission? (2, Informative)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536379)

Ireland is one of the best locations in Europe for wind power as it is situated on the Western edge of Europe and is exposed to high winds from the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea. Wind power utility factors tend to be higher in Ireland than anywhere else. By the end of 2006 the installed capacity of wind power in Ireland was over 745 MW, or around 6% of the total power production in the country (which climbed 50% in 2006).

So its not really that much of a stretch to see 80% or 90% of the power in the country being generated by offshore wind platforms over the coming two decades, although there are no concrete plans to do so, unfortunately.

Re: flying rats (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536099)

And we should be concerned with fly rats because ....? SPLAT!!! **Rem** every dead seagull is one less cr*p-blob on your beach and one less screeching salmon_eating fool in the air.

Re:Transmission? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23534959)

A power cable.
Anchor's aweigh. [slashdot.org] Shocking news at eleven.

Re:Transmission? (5, Informative)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535193)

The raft wont be floating freely, it will be anchored to a specific spot

Thanks.

I found a better article [azom.com] that explains the concept with better pictures.

Re:Transmission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536651)

Looks like the 3D artist have some fun. Never mind all the comments here about bird deaths cause by windmills - did you notice how close the helicopter seems to be flying to that thing? And on a dark, stormy night, no less! I think I'd rather take my chances with an albatross than be on that chopper.

Re:Transmission? (2, Interesting)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536525)

Or you can use the windmills to electrolyze water and compress the hydrogen so that we wont be dependent on foreign oil to run our cars. Hell, it would be good to have individual generators running on it so you don't face the power loss from the cables.

Power cable to sweden (4, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534881)

How exactly they are going to manage a good reliable power transmission with the kind of floating power station, Any idea?


They've discovered that a relatively unorthodox technology, known as "peer to peer" is a good solution. Unfortunately big corporations have made it illegal in every country but sweden. The upshot is that, instead of using the natural infrastructure of a p2p network that already exists, the company will be based in sweden, and all of the floating windmills will be directly tied to their HQ, by long cables. From sweden, the company will then export it back to your house, beside the windmill, on trucks.

But don't worry, you will get a shiny plastic wrapper for your 1-ton battery, and an insert with lots of credits to the corporations who made it possible, and copyright notices.

Re:Power cable to sweden (1)

jeps (700879) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535153)

No,no - that was the old scheme. Thanks to DVD John (from Norway), they have now found a way to remove the DRM on the power in real time, so instead of going through the HQ of StatoilHydro (a Norwegian company) it may flow directly to the Norwegian power grid from the west coast of Norway, where the wind mills are located.

- jeps (Oh - I'm from Norway, in case you wondered :)

Re:Power cable to sweden (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23535665)

Wouldn't that be pier-to-pier?

Windmills (5, Funny)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535133)

TFA does not talk about transmission. How exactly they are going to manage a good reliable power transmission with the kind of floating power station, Any idea?
Well, the summary says they're windmills, so I assume it will be transmitted in the form of flour.

Re:Windmills (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535615)

Well, the summary says they're windmills, so I assume it will be transmitted in the form of flour.

That's why they call it a flourishing industry.

Re:Windmills (4, Funny)

Adriax (746043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536041)

That pun was rather half baked.

Powdered water (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536401)

Obviously they will be distributing powdered water. The main market is expected to be drought prone areas like Barcelona. Quite a concept really.

Re:Transmission? (1)

tomtomtom777 (1148633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535325)

How exactly they are going to manage a good reliable power transmission with the kind of floating power station, Any idea?

Water, especially sea water is an excellent conductor...

Re:Transmission? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23535489)

>How exactly they are going to manage a good reliable power transmission
>with the kind of floating power station, Any idea?

The subsurface structure:
Water depth: about 220 m (approx. 720 ft); buouy is a cylinder standing vertical in the water, the draft is about 100 m (305 ft);- buoy diameter, say 10 m.

Topside structure/turbine data:
Operating wind speed: 3-27 m/s; about 40 m long blades; rated capacity and speed: 2.3 MW; 5-15 rpm.

Mooring system:
Attached to buoy at about mid-point (say at depth 50 m); 3 mooring lines.

The power transmission system, the electrical cable:
The cable is attached to the buoy at either depth 50 m or at buoy bottom. The buoy will be subjected to both dynamic and static motion due to waves, currents and wind. The static motion is mainly horizontal offset caused by the static loads that are counteracted by the mooring system. The cable arrangement is able to adjust to these buoy motions without mechanical overload, this is achieved by the following methods:
1. Bend stiffener in the interface with the buoy (a 2-3 m long conical plastic thing which main purpose is to avoid overbending and associated fatigue damage in the interface with the buoy.
2. The cable is arranged in a compliant riser configuration between seabed and buoy, this allows the spar buoy to move without causing excessive tension and bending in the cable. This effect is achieved by "storing" over-lenght in a buoyant cable section. Hence - when the buoy moves - cable lenght is simply "paid" out (or in) from the buoyant section. Starting at the buoy there is a bend stiffener followed by say 150 m cable, then perhaps 60 m cable equipped with buoyancy until eventually there is cable to the seabed. There is of course an anchor somewhere at the seabed to keep the cable fixed.

The above technology is well known from the oil industry, the described riser configuration is a so called "pliant wave" or "lazy wave configuration". The main challenges with this concept is that it is new uncharted territory and that we do not yet know the actual parameters. Our experience is from the oil business, where such cables between platform and seabed are routinely used.

Greetings from a member of the engineering team within Nexans Norway AS, the Halden plant, which will design and manufacture the power transmission for the Hywind project.

Floating... (4, Funny)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534787)

Will make them a little hard to tilt against. A charge on horseback is nearly as dramatic when they are out at sea.

Re:Floating... (2, Funny)

fmarkham (1091529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534859)

Ploughing the ocean waves is always difficult when the horses keep sinking.

Re:Floating... (4, Funny)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535257)

Use horses trained for water polo.

Re:Floating... (3, Funny)

cmacb (547347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535597)

...or seahorses.

Birds? (3, Interesting)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534803)

One of the arguments against wind farms on land has been that they take out the odd bird now and then. Would bird activity be lower out to sea at the altitude that these things sit at?

Re:Birds? (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534829)

Taking out an albatross could be bad luck.

Re:Birds? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23534889)

considering the bird thing was never really a problem on land either, lower bird activity might even push it into the negative range; i.e. new birds would occasionally pop into existence around it or become healthier by flying near it.

Re:Birds? (5, Interesting)

Tracy Reed (3563) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534905)

I don't get this bird killing thing. I've spent lots of time walking amongst the giant wind turbines around Tehachapi, CA where I grew up. I never saw a dead bird out there nor had I ever heard of these things killing birds until just a few years ago. Does anyone actually have any data on this? So far it sounds like an urban legend.

Re:Birds? (3, Interesting)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534937)

Just environmentalists looking for a reason to hate the technology. We have tons of the power windmills here, and even when the wind is howling those things move slow as a glacier. The old water pump windmills of the plains would have been a bigger threat, but I'll bet the birds loved the water from the horse troughs.

Re:Birds? (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535007)

See? The electric windmills don't give the birds water. They are BAD! :-)

Re:Birds? (4, Funny)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535129)

See? The electric windmills don't give the birds water. They are BAD! :-)
I think you missed one of the fundamentals when it comes to "floating windmills".

Re:Birds? (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535259)

Actually, just anti-environmentalists looking for ways to paint every environmentalist as a raving lunatic.

Most of us who like the idea of wind technology don't particularly care about the handful of birds it might effect, and resent getting stereotyped by the people who want to marginalize everything we stand for.

Re:Birds? (1)

Peaker (72084) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535451)

What about nuclear energy?
Do you support that or do you prefer existing solutions?

Don't label all critics as anti-environmentalist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536061)

Actually, just anti-environmentalists looking for ways to paint every environmentalist as a raving lunatic.

The world isn't made up of just environmentalists and anti-environmentalists. It also contains rational non-advocates, who look at a line of reasoning or evidence and analyze it logically and/or scientifically, regardless of its source.

And when such a non-advocate comes across an environmentalist who is gibbering a load of nonsense, it should come as no surprise when the wrath of the gods descends upon the guilty party.

You need to distinguish between the latter scenario and being attacked by gibbering anti-environmentalists.

Re:Birds? (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535571)

"Just environmentalists looking for a reason to hate the technology."

People who shun technology are called Ludites.

The last time I heard of a windfarm cancelled because of birds was here in the state of Victoria in Australia, it was about 2yrs ago. It was a right-wing government minister that killed the project, obsetnsibly because of concerns by experts over "rare birds". This proffesional anti-environmentalist trawled the environmental impact statement and found a mention of (IIRC) the orange-bellied parrot. He was the one who chose to kill the project there were no prosteters, and the impact statement had given the project the thumbs-up.

The "environmentalists" have been ranting about wind farms since the 1970's, the vast majority of people (green or otherwise) knew the bird thing was bullshit and wanted the farm. However when the minister cancelled the project because "experts said rare parrots were found breeding in the area", mass-media dutifully blamed "environmentalists".

Re:Birds? (0, Flamebait)

LucBorg (853592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535705)

Oh yeah, those poor, poor environmentalists, they are treated so badly by the media.

And what about the whole "ban plastic bags" campaign also led by the enviros? The reason we have plastic bags now is because those same powerful environuts cried and whined that having paper bags would destroy the forests. So we switched to plastic. Now the envirofascists say plastic is bad for the climate, or whatever their favourite cause/animal of the day is, and tell us to go to paper bags. The evil media that hates you environuts so much never seem to remember it was your fault in the first place.

It's left-wing idiots like you that cause so many of the world's problems, and then blame everyone else for it. Thankfully the fascist green lobby is losing power now as the truth slowly comes out.

Hippie hunters (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536397)

Your troll is about as mind-numbingly senseless as bouncing your head off a Koran and chanting "kill all infidels".

This particular "envirofacist" once supported a young family in the early 80's by working/living at an old growth sawmill [google.com.au] in Australia. The logs from the trees we were cutting were up to 14' in diameter, I left the job becuse the forestry lease was running out and the area was to become a national park. We had some problems with people up trees, chained to dozers, ect, but they pale in comparison to professional "hippie hunters" who went and busted up protester camps.

BTW: I was implying the media (and it's readers) are generally lazy, not evil.

Re:Birds? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23534991)

Studies show that the number of birds killed by wind turbines is negligible compared to the number that die as a result of other human activities such as traffic, hunting, power lines and high-rise buildings...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Birds

Re:Birds? (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535029)

Of course the windmills will produce traffic (a service technician coming to control them every now and then), power lines (obvious) and high-rise buildings (for the companies who build and operate those windmills). Possibly they'll also produce hunting (I can't currently find any link, but I'm sure with enough creativity, you'll find one). So you have to add all those birds killed by those activities to the numbers of windmills. You'll see immediately that the resulting sum is larger than the effect of any activity you mentioned.

And don't tell me that this calculation is not serious. After all, the RIAA gets away with this type of calculation all the time!

Re:Birds? (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535619)

Studies show that the number of birds killed by wind turbines is negligible compared to the number that die as a result of other human activities such as traffic, hunting, power lines and high-rise buildings...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Birds [wikipedia.org]
What about human activities like ... eating? The most obvious problems are often overlooked. Given a highrise with 10K people inside, it really doesn't matter if one or two birds crash into it, if they are renting the ground floor to KFC.

Re:Birds? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536125)

Somehow or another (there are a lot of different and sometimes contradictory mechanisms at play) most people associate "chickens" (and eating chickens) with an enormously different set of concepts and moral ideals than they do wild birds of all sorts -- especially the big pretty ones like herons and such, but somewhat for any bird outside. Even pigeons and seagulls fare better, I think.

Random vaguely-offtopical bonus link: Polish chicken! [flickr.com]

Re:Birds? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536655)

This is a project of mine and I have researched it too. The number of bird deaths is about the same as the number of birds killed by a house cat allowed outside. So one cat = one windmill. The further important information here is that the already sick or injured bird is really the only likely bird to be caught by a house cat.

Bats seem to have a real problem with them (5, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535177)

Here is an old article I remembered about and fortunately google brought it up http://www.coxwashington.com/reporters/content/reporters/stories/2005/11/13/BC_WINDMILLS_BATS_ADV13_COX.html [coxwashington.com]

From the article
" Towering up to 228 feet above the Appalachian Mountain ridge, far above the tree line, windmills are lined up like marching aliens from War of the Worlds.
Up close, they emit a high-pitched electrical hum. From a distance of a few hundred yards, their 115-foot blades make a steady whooshing sound as their tips cut through the air at up to 140 mph."

"A study conducted at FPL's Mountaineer Wind Energy Center here this year indicated that its 44 turbines may have caused between 1,300 and 2,000 bat deaths in a six-week period. That study was led by Edward B. Arnett, a scientist with Bat Conservation International, and financed largely by the American Wind Energy Association and its 700 member companies."

Re:Bats seem to have a real problem with them (1)

nfk (570056) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535473)

That's quite interesting. I wonder if the bats that are getting killed have their echolocation system working at such a frequency that it matches the rotation of the windmills, thereby always sensing they have a clear path ahead.

Re:Birds? (1, Informative)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535281)

You don't get it because it makes no sense.

It's complete bullshit.

Note the following facts:

The original "wind turbines kill birds" campaign used several outlets to say the same thing, using the same four dead birds picture with no evidence.

Glass buildings in cities, radio towers (lights at night), cars all kill way more birds than wind power ever could.

"Fluffy" the house-cat let out at night, and feral cats kill 10,000 times the estimated bird kill from 100% of the US power needs from wind.

In other words, it's hippy bullshit created by folks with (now) lots of money and a bad case of NIMBY-ism. Ex-hippies lie just as much as any other baby boomer does.

Re:Birds? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23535551)

It's not pure urban myth. One of the early wind farms--at Altamont Pass, I think--was "built along a major raptor migration corridor in an area with high wintering concentrations of raptors and in the heart of the highest concentration of golden eagles in North America" (http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/PROGRAMS/bdes/altamont/factsheet.pdf). Oops.

Altamont did kill a lot of eagles, and since it was one of the first, the reputation stuck. The reality is that Altamont has "has the highest numbers and rates of raptor kills of any wind facility in the world." (same source). Since then, the wind industry has learned a lot about siting (don't put them in the endangered species nesting area, duh) and construction (shape the nacelle so it's not an attractive place for birds to land/nest). Probably most important, the infrastructure industry in general takes the stakeholder process a lot more seriously now--when you start talking with biologists, the Audbon society, whoever early on, you can avoid things like this rather than having to fight them in courts.

These days, bird kills are pretty negligable. The last factoid I heard is that a typical housecat kills as many birds as two wind turbines.

(Oh yeah, to those posters who said the turbines turn slowly: I think that's an optical illusion because they're so big. A 70m diameter rotor spinning at 15-20 rpm may look slow, but the blade tips are going over 100mph).

Re:Birds? (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536251)

Yes, the tips are fast. But the issue is not the speed per se, but whether they can be avoided. Since the rotational speed is lower, they are simply not fast enough for persistence-of-vision to make them invisible (to humans. I suppose studies would need to be done as to bird persistence of vision...)

Also, the time in between blades to pass through the gap depends solely on rotational speed, not tip velocity. That's what people mean when they say they turn "slowly."

It depends on how you model the danger. Is the problem birds hitting the blades (bird velocity causes the actual damage to bird) or blades slicing through the birds.

Re:Birds? (1)

ComputerGeek01 (1182793) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535643)

In this case Darwin says the bird must die

Re:Birds? (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535719)

In this case Darwin says the bird must die
No, Darwin says the bird will die. The theory of evolution isn't a system of demands, but a scientific theory. It doesn't tell you how things should be, it tells you how things are, to the best of our knowledge. Just like the theory of gravitation doesn't tell you that things should fall down, it just tells you that they do fall down (under certain conditions).

Norway, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23534839)


I'm sure those windmills with keep them cool...

Re:Norway, eh? (1)

Brieeyebarr (938678) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534987)

Windmills don't work that way!

Just out of interest (1, Interesting)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534843)

Why is it that wind turbines aren't augmented with solar panels on them? I'm talking either in the base stem or actually on the blades, seems like a no brainer in so much that you save space and it would be useful for the those areas which are windy and sunny. I don't mean to suggest that their power generating capabilities are linked either, just why can't they take up the same space and whatever energy either of the technologies generate can be fed into that country's electrical grid.

Re:Just out of interest (4, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534871)

because solar panels can easily be fitted onto roofs, and looking out of my window, i can still see hundreds that don't have 'em yet, so putting solar panels out into the sea sounds a waste of time.

Re:Just out of interest (3, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534997)

Look out of my window all I see are large apartment buildings and I can't help but to think they could be cutting their overall energy consumption with solar panels. The tops of these building are flat and wide and raise above the landscape, I look out and see an energy farm.

I think there should be a city ordinance that states that each apartment building with more than 10 subunits should be forced to either install a set of solar panels or allow the local utility to do so. The surface area in my city alone could help the resident imprint. Make the law at the city level so it can be chosen to be followed by the local residents and if the property owner installs the system themselves allow their panels energy to impact the residents bill. I think there are forces in this type of legislation that could drive the market for panels and attracting residents with energy savings.

Putting panels sky scrapers don't make sense because they simply use too much energy compared to their top surface area, their impact would be minimal - but look around, there are many places these things could go. In some buildings during the day there is absolutely no one too, they are off somewhere else using energy but the building where they live is just feeding into the grid (or paying off their evening's usage).

It would be costly and would need to be implemented over some time frame; but the market would drive for the cheapest - and eventually most efficient of hardware.

Re:Just out of interest (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535025)

Solar power should be required by the design standards for commercial air conditioning systems.

Re:Just out of interest (4, Informative)

Cally (10873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535327)

The costs of manufacturing p/v (electricity-generating) cells is still high enough that they're not yet a mass-market item. Solar water heating, however, is getting pretty mainstream here in the UK. Unsolicited testimonial: to my left I have a view out the window of a misty, grey, drizzly and damp prospect (a typical English summer, in other words.) To my right, a bathroom with gallons of free hot water. Result, happiness :)

On the other hand -- I've noticed very small p/v and wind turbine installations popping up on the roadsides in our area in the last few years - powering things like illumination lights for traffic signs, lights at bus-stops, speed-triggered LED speed warning signs and the like. The wind turbines are dinky things with rotor diameters of perhaps three or four feet. (Note, this is along the shore of the Severn Estuary, which is presumably more reliably windy than most places inland.) I'm curious if manufacturing economies of scale have brought such small devices down to the point that they're cost effective, as well as green, anyone know?

British Solar Water Heating (3, Interesting)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536047)

There are some great devices for solar water heating produced in Britain. If you treated this as a water preheat, you could use this with a Stirling engine and have your own solar-thermal unit with solar energy storage.

The big problem there is getting your hands on a Stirling engine.

Re:Just out of interest (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536231)

It appears they are suitable for small things along the roadside where the cost of installation of electrical service far outweighs the cost of electricity - signs along the highway, and such - and moreover things which aren't exactly the most critical infrastructure (like, oh, stoplights).

When it comes to things that chew lots of power, though, I'm sure there's no contest.

It reminds me of those solar garden-lights that they sell that you can just stick in the ground instead of digging trenches and running out conduits and getting the services of an electrician and such. They're not quite as bright as the wired kind, and they don't last the whole night (so you can't have them running in the early morning), but they're good enough for the job of glowing for a few hours in the evening after it gets dark and before you head indoors. They wouldn't exactly work to light up the inside of your house.

Re:Just out of interest (1)

Archades54 (925582) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535117)

However minimal it may be, it still is a saving. It adds up, each little tiny bit.

Re:Just out of interest (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535987)

California is doing this now... heard a report on NPR about it a couple weeks ago, with a 10 year timeline to get something like 3000 MW online....

http://gov.ca.gov/index.php?/press-release/3588/ [ca.gov]

Re:Just out of interest (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536185)

I disagree - while the skyscraper may not have all its demands met by solar, it would be a fine candidate, because it may enough consumption that it could guarantee that all the solar is being used, and seems more likely to have the capital for it than a smaller complex would.

The problem is that these things still do not make enough sense from the purely financial perspective. Electricity is cheap. Solar panels have a big up-front cost, and when you consider interest, maintenance, and such, the pay-back period is generally inferior to decent investments of the ordinary variety (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc).

Why spend money to save money, when you could spend money to make even-more-money? The answer has to be some sort of moral impulse, and that's not really a way to get the backing of people who only want money from their investments.

Re:Just out of interest (1)

grizdog (1224414) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535289)

It doesn't make sense to put a solar panel in a place that doesn't get a lot of sun, which, relatively speaking, is most of the world. I'm not sure that a lot of thought has gone into putting solar panels at sea, if you look at a map, like this one [solar4power.com] , they don't seem to care about the ocean. It would seem that the air over the ocean would be more humid, in general, than air over land, and thus worse for solar collection. I agree with your basic premise - there are lots of places where it would be a lot easier to place solar panels than the sea. Buildings in the desert, or power lines crossing the desert immediately come to mind.

Re:Just out of interest (5, Insightful)

phreeza (1071714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534887)

the majority of the surface area on a wind turbine is tilted at an angle unsuitable for that. the only place that would make sense is probably the top of the cabin. The Blades are subject to a lot of stress/deformation, might also be that solar cells don't handle that well.

Re:Just out of interest (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535137)

A windmill is made up largely of vertical surfaces, which wouldn't get much direct solar energy. I'm guessing they don't stick solar panels all over them because for the same cost they could build another windmill, or put those same solar panels on a horizontal surface somewhere where they'd actually do some good.

Re:Just out of interest (1)

smallfeet (609452) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535195)

What is the pay back on solar panels these days? They do have a limited life span and used to be expensive to install. Have they gotten to a break even point yet? I guess it depends on which sun zone you are in.

Re:Just out of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23535741)

Here in Belgium, people are expecting a ROI after 7 years, and that the panels yield 80% of their maxium after 25 years.

Weather is crap in Belgium, and shit is expensive, so if break-even is at ~7 years here, it must be quite good somewhere sunny!

Are the masts designed to fold under extreme winds (1)

distantbody (852269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534893)

...or are they designed to 'fight' them (i.e. stand strait at all costs)? Cthulu help them if it's the latter...

Re:Are the masts designed to fold under extreme wi (1)

phreeza (1071714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534897)

submerging them in a controlled manner would be a cool solution to that, not sure if its feasible though...

Re:Are the masts designed to fold under extreme wi (5, Informative)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534955)

the latest generation of windmills produce electricity by wind speeds up to 30m/s, and at higher speeds, they just turn the blades out of the wind, so they won't get damaged.

Re:Are the masts designed to fold under extreme wi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23534965)

The blades can rotate to optimize the for the wind angle. If the wind is too strong, they can just position them in a very "unoptimized angle".

When the force on the blades is minimized I should think the rest of the mill is pretty aerodynamic.

"Planned startup is in the fall of 2009" (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534957)

Am I only one who read it as "Planned startup fail is in the 2009" ?

Probably not (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535185)

Considering the number of Slashdotters who must have had experiences being in failed startups, I rather doubt you're the only one.

But if you still need to hang on to that feeling of uniqueness, don't worry --- I personally didn't read it that way!

Re:"Planned startup is in the fall of 2009" (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535241)

Am I only one who read it as "Planned startup fail is in the 2009" ?
Yes, the rest of us are able to read. Maybe you need to have your glasses checked up?

Steady winds (4, Informative)

nadaou (535365) | more than 6 years ago | (#23534963)

Critically offshore winds tend to be much more steady than winds on land, where topography, trees, and buildings combine to create turbulence and resulting gusts. At sea the winds have nothing to slow them down meaning higher output, and nothing to make them subject to sudden gusts meaning less wear and tear on the gears (a squall or frontal gust mainly has a single onset and slow relaxation) and more predictable output.

* Being able to go deeper means further offshore, which means less people on land looking for an easy pay off due to bogus eyesore / property value complaints.

* In a massive storm these ones lean over, spilling away the force of the wind and reducing exposed surface area as cos(tilt).

* The bird cuisinart effect is largely debunked. Many more are killed flying into windows (home or glass box buildings), stationary bridges and radio towers, and hit by cars while attending to roadkill. Many studies out there to back this up. "Homepower magazine" does a nice job of collecting peer reviewed studies (they had a great writeup on it, but I can't find that now). Also need to balance against the more dilute effect of wildlife killed by a coal plant's SO2 etc emissions. Granted most studies are not looking at sea birds.

Re:Steady winds (2, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535217)

"The bird cuisinart effect is largely debunked."

Not debunked. Solved. Early wind turbines were small and very fast. Too fast for birds.

Re:Steady winds (4, Funny)

Digestromath (1190577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535291)

I vaguely remember reading about 'early' wind turbines... they were mostly made of wood and dotted the picturesque country side (I hear the Dutch ones were particularly pleasant). I imagine we would have noticed the wholesale avian depopulation in the interveining 800 years of vertical axis wind turbines.

Re:Steady winds (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535585)

Dutch windmills or not that high. I think modern electricity windmills are more along the flightpaths of windmills.

Re:Steady winds (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536293)

windmill != wind turbine

Re:Steady winds (2, Insightful)

nadaou (535365) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535621)

Not debunked. Solved. Early wind turbines were small and very fast. Too fast for birds.


While the newer ones turn at a much lower RPM, they are so much bigger that speed at the tips of each blade are easily moving in excess of 100 kph.

Math: Say 100m diameter turbine, takes 5 sec to turn once. circumference = PI*d = 314m which means the tip has to travel 314m/5sec or 62.8m/s = 226 km/hr. I just made up the 5 sec, I don't really know the standard RPM would be exactly.

Even so, the new monster turbines are so big they are pretty hard to miss. (har har)

But none the less the problem is still very much debunked vs. popular ideas on the matter.

Another big problem with the first big farms in California is that they put them in the middle of a mountain pass well known as a thoroughfare for migratory birds. So particularly bad placement. Of course some birds will fly into anything you stick up into the air. The idea is to understand how many will, and how to minimize the strikes.

creators' newclear power available now (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23534973)

perfected eons ago, it's way user friendly, & not subject to control/destruction by nefarious greed/fear/ego based glowbull warmongerers. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

I for one (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23535105)

Welcome our giant floating windmill overlords.

to launch? (1)

nih (411096) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535205)

what use will they be in space?

Re:to launch? (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535235)

Never heard about the solar wind? :-)

Floating in sky? (1)

jm1234567890 (888822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535243)

Am I the only person who thought this meant floating in the sky?

Re:Floating in sky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23535645)

No, you're not the only one.

Since it is alway out among the waves . . (5, Interesting)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535277)

Why not include a wave generator as part of the system?

For the rare individual who does not know. A wave generator in this context does not make waves but uses the motion of waves to generate electricity.

Re:Since it is alway out among the waves . . (3, Funny)

nfk (570056) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535421)

"A wave generator in this context does not make waves but uses the motion of waves to generate electricity."

It's a good thing you clarified, otherwise the rare individual would imagine this company has the department of "Let's make this thing work", which tries to harvest energy, and the department of "No you won't", which sabotages their efforts.

Re:Since it is alway out among the waves . . (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535801)

Better yet, install a wave motion gun.

Re:Since it is alway out among the waves . . (2, Insightful)

andersa (687550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536081)

Because wave generators are difficult to build. Much more difficult than windmills. Actually nobody has yet to build a succesfull full scale wave generator. There are just too many things that can go wrong. Seawater is very corrosive and its much more difficult to harness the wave energy in a way that doesn't destroy the mechanism of the turbine.

Re:Since it is alway out among the waves . . (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536283)

Probably because they can get more power for their money out of building another few windmills than they could by strapping on a few wave generators.

These things are probably not optimized for wave-generation anyway. You'd be more concerned that your windmills can stay in one spot despite waves, and storms, and such. Otherwise, you're liable to lose windmills.

Video (3, Informative)

MrZaius (321037) | more than 6 years ago | (#23535909)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0oN5G3WVf0 [youtube.com]

Check out the last minute of the above to see their mock-ups.

Gorillaz (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536265)

I thought you were going to link to this video [youtube.com] .

Good close-ups of an interesting floating windmill design at 1m21s and 2m36s. I'm not too sure how it works though...
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