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First Floating Wind Turbine Buoyed Off Norway

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the good-for-when-the-icecaps-melt dept.

Power 265

MonkeyClicker writes to tell us that the world's first large-scale floating turbine has been installed off the coast of Norway. A combined effort between Siemens and StatoiHydro, this marks the first foray into deeper waters due to restrictions in place that require offshore turbines to be attached to the sea bed. "The turbine in Norway will be 7.4 miles offshore where the water is 721 feet deep. It will be utility-size turbine, with a hub height of about 100 feet, capable of generating 2.3 megawatts of electricity. To address the conditions of the deep sea, the turbine will have a specially designed control system that will seek to dampen the motion from waves."

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265 comments

Reminds me... (3, Funny)

nhytefall (1415959) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317635)

Of an old saying... "There's power in the motion of the ocean". Though I think that quote referred to something completely different.

Re:Reminds me... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317771)

Reminds me of the time Kathleen Fent gave me a blowjob. And Rob Malda walked in. It got a little weird when he asked if he could suck on my ass.

Re:Reminds me... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317799)

Shut the fuck up Neil. Your ass is so fat I had to use a 2 - foot pipe of 1" I.D. conduit and some monkey shit [urbandictionary.com] to keep your fat ass from leaking. Don't tell anybody I'm a nullo or I'll fire your ass.

-- Rob

Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317669)

Can someone provide me with a credible reason why we shouldn't stack these things on every coast in the world to provide nations with clean electricity? Or is nuclear power still too sexy to give up?

Re:Why not (5, Informative)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317705)

A nuclear power plant generates about 1000 times as much power as this thing and costs only about 10 times as much (although some built in the 1970s cost only about twice as much).

Re:Why not (3, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317785)

It's the first of its kind, if we are to believe the headline. I'd expect the efficiency/cost ratio to increase with further R&D. Also, a wind turbine doesn't require the mining and transport of radioactive isotopes, nor does it require the disposal of radioactive waste. If we are to look for a "clean" source of energy, wind power is one of the first alternatives that spring to mind.

Re:Why not (4, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317821)

Minor quibble: The mining and transport of fuel for a nuclear reactor is a negligible cost. Uranium ore and fuel pellets are relatively safe items, at least as far as heavy metals go, and you don't need very much fuel for a reactor. Even processing it needn't be that costly, since you can use a heavy-water reactor with un-enriched or minimally enriched fuel. If you are using enriched fuel, it's still fairly cheap in terms of dollars spent per megawatt generated.

Reprocessing the waste does have a cost associated with it, and storing or disposing of the waste you can't or won't reprocess even more so, so that part of your post was correct. And of course the operational costs of a nuclear reactor are pretty high. But then, we don't know the operational costs of these new turbines yet (which is going to be higher than it ought to be, given it's a prototype).

Re:Why not (4, Informative)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318157)

For a course on nuclear power, we had to analyse the lifecycle cost of a nuclear plant. The operating costs are about half of the capital costs. Decommissioning was taken as a capital cost in this context, which it at least behaves a lot like. The decommissioning has a low cost in the context raising capital for the project because it happens 30 years or so after the initial investment, so it is heavily discounted, leaving a very small contribution.

Let me see if I can dig out the spreadsheet for this...here we go. The capital costs came to 67% of the electricity generation cost (p/kWh) and the rest was taken up with operation and maintenance, including fuel purchase and waste disposal. The cost we calculated was 2.62p/kWh total, excluding the profit (cost of capital). If you ignore the initial capital investment then the cost is only about 0.8p/kWh.

Re:Why not (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318011)

We've been putting off nuclear energy for thirty years now. The chickens continue to come home to roost as our costs rise and our options dwindle. As my new President is fond of saying, [google.com] let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Re:Why not (2, Funny)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318191)

But wind is crazy dangerous. It can bury cities in sand, obliterate houses, knock down bridges and blow planes right out of the sky. And there is the lingering issue of what to do with all the spent wind. We should first solve the problems with wind before trying to harness such a volitile energy source. At least a nuclear reaction is reasonably predictable, and we can just bury and forget about the waste. /sarcasm

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317825)

http://www.apnastory.com/out/celebs-in-macau-for-the-iifas

Re:Why not (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317831)

A nuclear power plant generates about 1000 times as much power as this thing and costs only about 10 times as much (although some built in the 1970s cost only about twice as much).

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Re:Why not (3, Insightful)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318063)

A nuclear power plant generates about 1000 times as much power as this thing and costs only about 10 times as much (although some built in the 1970s cost only about twice as much).

Where did you get the numbers for the windmill? I was unable to find them.

I am all for nuclear (and wind! let's spread out! In different directions!) Anyway, as far as I can tell, the cost of a nuclear plant is very different from a windmill (flotilla, I suppose in this case).

Costs includes construction, fuel, security, maintenance and deconstruction. Of these, it seems likely that nuclear has lower construction and maintenance cost, while windmills (rather obviously) wins in fuel, security and probably deconstruction cost (I suppose they could simply be emptied and sunk, reusing whatever parts are reusable.).

Does anyone know a sensible comparison of these cost? I tried to read one of Bjorn Lomborg's, once, and I nearly fell of the chair laughing. Now there is a man who cannot use a calculator.

Re:Why not (3, Insightful)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318069)

WHAT??? Only ten times more expensive? You've gotta be kidding.

Oh, you were ... 400 million NOK for a prototype v.s. 4500 million Euros (e.g. Olkiluoto 3).

Re:Why not (1)

LinkFree (1112259) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318221)

This is all infinity more cleaner than a nuclear power plant, you are missing the point.

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28318385)

In what sense? Both produce no pollutants and no greenhouse gases and although I haven't got the numbers to back it up, my guess is that the amount of energy required to build either a nuclear power station or an amount of windmills with the same average electricity production is roughly similar.

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28318237)

someone please mod this shit down. it's like a game of how many fallacies can you fit into one sentence after pulling numbers out of your ass.

Re:Why not (4, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317709)

Well, too many could be a hazard to navigation, plus there's the whole cost-benefit business, and the high maintenance costs associated with anything left in saltwater. But I'm inclined to think such an energy solution is probably worth using where available - it certainly offers an answer to the question of where we're going to fit enough windmills to be useful. This is a problem that all forms of passive energy collection suffer from to some degree.

That being said, I could put your question back at you. Can you give me a credible reason not to build nuclear power plants? And don't just trot out Chernobyl or waste issues without elaborating - show some depth in your reasoning.

Re:Why not (3, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317949)

Nuclear power is complex. Maintaining a reaction takes experts with decades of education and years of training. Calculate the cost of education into the cost of nuclear power? You should.
Compare "the worst that can happen" in nuclear power to the same with solar, wind, geothermal, or hydroelectric power. This alone should be enough to deter us from nuclear power, because no matter what, mistakes are always made and the unexpected occurs. Currently, the only method of cleaning a nuclear accident is to package and store all the radiated stuff underground. Did you see the article recently about the irradiated mud wasps? That is seriously messed up.
Before sending astronauts into space, every conceivable scenario is considered and plans are made for the just in case. Nuclear proponents never seem to want to finish solving the problems before plunging headlong into them.
Nuclear power isn't perfect. It does have serious problems. These problems need to be definatively solved before the concept as a whole is a valid solution to the energy crisis we face. Cheap power now is NOT worth the deadly problems it WILL bring. Solve the waste problem, solve the security problems, solve the what-if problems, THEN build your nuke plants. In the meantime, we can schlep our way through the problems of other truely clean energy alternatives and not sweat so much when tge mistakes are made. So power is a little more expensive, but the risk of a wind turbine taking out an entire region for generations is non-existant.

Re:Why not (3, Interesting)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318101)

Nuclear power is complex. Maintaining a reaction takes experts with decades of education and years of training. Calculate the cost of education into the cost of nuclear power? You should.

Unless "decades of education" was meant to include their high school diploma, I think you're exaggerating. Not that I disagree with your fundamental point; a nuclear plant does pay good money for qualified staff, and that does include paying for some of their training.

You're correct that the level of expertise needed is particular to nuclear power, but it is part of a larger cost associate with staff. No means of power generation is fully automated. Even a system like the one in TFA presumably pays somebody's wages.

Compare "the worst that can happen" in nuclear power to the same with solar, wind, geothermal, or hydroelectric power. This alone should be enough to deter us from nuclear power, because no matter what, mistakes are always made and the unexpected occurs.

"Worst that could happen" for a hydro dam is a major flood. I'd call that unlikely, assuming the engineers and construction team did their jobs right. But then, I'd say the same about nuclear.

I'd agree that nuclear is dangerous, but disagree that the danger should deter us from using it at all. Like all technology that can go awry, caution must be used, safeguards put in place.

I'd suggest reading up on passive safety mechanisms in nuclear power. Look up "pebble bed reactors", which have the means to make the fuel fly apart if it gets too hot, halting the chain reaction. There is never a total absence of risk, but the risk can be made small enough for our purposes. The question is not: is it perfect? - the question is: is it worth it?

If the choice came down to a mix of passive power collection, coupled with either nuclear or coal, which would you pick? Assuming we could not meet all our energy needs with alternative energy alone and we needed one or the other.

Currently, the only method of cleaning a nuclear accident is to package and store all the radiated stuff underground. Did you see the article recently about the irradiated mud wasps? That is seriously messed up.

Didn't see the article. Got a link?

I am very much aware of the risks associated with radioactive contamination. I am also aware that it isn't the end of the world. There are living things in closer proximity to Chernobyl than we though possible; the assumption 20 years ago was that the reactor site and all around it would be sterile for centuries. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both rebuilt and are home to people today, a bare sixty years after being nuked (and it's not like they were rebuilt yesterday either). Yes radiation is scary. No it is not reason enough to convince me that we must abandon nuclear power.

Before sending astronauts into space, every conceivable scenario is considered and plans are made for the just in case. Nuclear proponents never seem to want to finish solving the problems before plunging headlong into them.

On this... I actually agree with you. If new reactors are going to be built, they need to be designed with the utmost care, even if that means raising the cost considerably.

What you may not realize is that even the older, less safe, water moderated reactors currently in use have an excellent safety record. The major accidents - Chernobyl and Windscale - used designs known at the time to be less than safe. The sole accident I can think of for a light water moderated design was Three Mile Island, where the safety systems actually worked. Nobody died, no contamination was released - the worst problem was actually the hysteria associated with the words "nuclear" and "accident" in the same headline.

Nuclear power isn't perfect. It does have serious problems. These problems need to be definatively solved before the concept as a whole is a valid solution to the energy crisis we face.

Agreed on the first statement. What I wish to impress upon you however is that the problems are not as unsolved as you seem to believe. It is quite possible to build a reactor, now, today, that is vastly safer than any of the ones currently serving the United States. And those reactors that it would replace still have a quite good safety record.

In the meantime, we can schlep our way through the problems of other truely clean energy alternatives and not sweat so much when tge mistakes are made. So power is a little more expensive, but the risk of a wind turbine taking out an entire region for generations is non-existant.

No, I'm sorry, this is where you are wrong.

We do not have the alternative energy sources in place yet, nor are we going to soon, to give up our existing sources. "Truly clean" sources are a rarity, and even when they exist, they will not account for more than half of our power needs in the next fifty years (and that is a phenomenally optimistic statement - 20% would be more likely).

The gap in generating capacity versus demand will have to be met somehow. Fossil fuels or nuclear power are what we've got. I'll take the latter over the former, without a seconds hesitation - better the risk of disaster than the certainty of it. In the long run, I'd like to see power sources still on the drawing boards take over for nuclear - fusion and orbital solar energy would be my picks - but I'm a realist. We won't see a genuine alternative to nuclear for another fifty years, might be more like a hundred.

Re:Why not (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318389)

Nuclear power is complex. Maintaining a reaction takes experts with decades of education and years of training. Calculate the cost of education into the cost of nuclear power? You should.

Unless "decades of education" was meant to include their high school diploma, I think you're exaggerating. Not that I disagree with your fundamental point; a nuclear plant does pay good money for qualified staff, and that does include paying for some of their training.

You're correct that the level of expertise needed is particular to nuclear power, but it is part of a larger cost associate with staff. No means of power generation is fully automated. Even a system like the one in TFA presumably pays somebody's wages.

Actually, I did mean to include the hs diploma, and ... I was also exaggerating. Sry, I often speak in hyperbole to make the point easier to see. I believe groups with barely a 6th grade education could probably maintain a wind farm.

Compare "the worst that can happen" in nuclear power to the same with solar, wind, geothermal, or hydroelectric power. This alone should be enough to deter us from nuclear power, because no matter what, mistakes are always made and the unexpected occurs.

"Worst that could happen" for a hydro dam is a major flood. I'd call that unlikely, assuming the engineers and construction team did their jobs right. But then, I'd say the same about nuclear.

I'd agree that nuclear is dangerous, but disagree that the danger should deter us from using it at all. Like all technology that can go awry, caution must be used, safeguards put in place.

I'd suggest reading up on passive safety mechanisms in nuclear power. Look up "pebble bed reactors", which have the means to make the fuel fly apart if it gets too hot, halting the chain reaction. There is never a total absence of risk, but the risk can be made small enough for our purposes. The question is not: is it perfect? - the question is: is it worth it?

If the choice came down to a mix of passive power collection, coupled with either nuclear or coal, which would you pick? Assuming we could not meet all our energy needs with alternative energy alone and we needed one or the other.

How dangerous does something have to be to deter you? btw, I'm not suggesting we dismantle all the 110 or so US plants and replace them with alternatives. I'm merely trying to stave off the flood blindly screaming for cheap nuclear power (no, you are not included in this flood, but they like you). My point is that one way has serious risk to human (and other) life (even if risk is reduced to tiny), and is complex, takes serious intellectual capital to pull off, and only appears cheap because much of the R&D was paid for by war/preparation for war; and another way that will eventually be crazy cheap, is so simple children play with working models, and the risk does not involve decades to centuries to clean up if something unfortunate occurs. A dam breaking and flooding a populated valley is small potatoes compared to a melt-down or a terrorist group stealing the bad stuff and doing stuff with that stuff. A flood is over within days to weeks, and (hopefully) the damage is repaired within a few years. I don't think is nuclear power is ever worth what happened at Chernobyl, and I understand that the plant was flawed in ways new reactors are not, however... a mad nuclear scientist, I bet, could still get a pebble reactor to hurt or terrorize lots of people, while a mad windmillist... is just funny.

Currently, the only method of cleaning a nuclear accident is to package and store all the radiated stuff underground. Did you see the article recently about the irradiated mud wasps? That is seriously messed up.

Didn't see the article. Got a link?

a few [google.com]

I am very much aware of the risks associated with radioactive contamination. I am also aware that it isn't the end of the world. There are living things in closer proximity to Chernobyl than we though possible; the assumption 20 years ago was that the reactor site and all around it would be sterile for centuries. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both rebuilt and are home to people today, a bare sixty years after being nuked (and it's not like they were rebuilt yesterday either). Yes radiation is scary. No it is not reason enough to convince me that we must abandon nuclear power.

You have a point. Space is scary and dangerous... but I believe space exploration and commercialization is necessary. However, is it possible the history of nuclear power has been more hazardous than you've been lead to believe? [lutins.org] Maybe what we need to do is abandon any idea of a quick fix to the energy crisis.

Before sending astronauts into space, every conceivable scenario is considered and plans are made for the just in case. Nuclear proponents never seem to want to finish solving the problems before plunging headlong into them.

On this... I actually agree with you. If new reactors are going to be built, they need to be designed with the utmost care, even if that means raising the cost considerably.

What you may not realize is that even the older, less safe, water moderated reactors currently in use have an excellent safety record. The major accidents - Chernobyl and Windscale - used designs known at the time to be less than safe. The sole accident I can think of for a light water moderated design was Three Mile Island, where the safety systems actually worked. Nobody died, no contamination was released - the worst problem was actually the hysteria associated with the words "nuclear" and "accident" in the same headline.

see that link above at lutins... there might be more accidents or close calls than you know.

Nuclear power isn't perfect. It does have serious problems. These problems need to be definatively solved before the concept as a whole is a valid solution to the energy crisis we face.

Agreed on the first statement. What I wish to impress upon you however is that the problems are not as unsolved as you seem to believe. It is quite possible to build a reactor, now, today, that is vastly safer than any of the ones currently serving the United States. And those reactors that it would replace still have a quite good safety record.

Right now, at every nuclear power plant in the US, every single one of them has their temporary containment tanks full of spent rods. At capacity. And the problem is we haven't figured out exactly what to do with them. They stay dangerous for a while... so... stuff them under a stable mountain is the best idea... except that transporting them is really very problematic, considering how likely there will be some accidents and leaking during transportation. 3000 train accidents a year in the US, btw.

In the meantime, we can schlep our way through the problems of other truely clean energy alternatives and not sweat so much when tge mistakes are made. So power is a little more expensive, but the risk of a wind turbine taking out an entire region for generations is non-existant.

No, I'm sorry, this is where you are wrong.

We do not have the alternative energy sources in place yet, nor are we going to soon, to give up our existing sources. "Truly clean" sources are a rarity, and even when they exist, they will not account for more than half of our power needs in the next fifty years (and that is a phenomenally optimistic statement - 20% would be more likely).

The gap in generating capacity versus demand will have to be met somehow. Fossil fuels or nuclear power are what we've got. I'll take the latter over the former, without a seconds hesitation - better the risk of disaster than the certainty of it. In the long run, I'd like to see power sources still on the drawing boards take over for nuclear - fusion and orbital solar energy would be my picks - but I'm a realist. We won't see a genuine alternative to nuclear for another fifty years, might be more like a hundred.

It doesn't have to be this way, I didn't mean we should abandon current sources, just not dig further down that hole until we nail it, and we haven't nailed it yet. We were able to get nuclear power up and everywhere in like 15-20 years (hmm... excluding most of the development of theory, a lot occurred between 1941-1961), so its reasonable to assume that we could get wind farms and solar farms underway and efficient in less than that the time (as these technologies are so much simpler). The US Gov't said "We need The Bomb" and within a few short years it was done. Getting to the Moon took a bit longer, but, wow, it got done too. The same determination could get it done for any of the alternative energies (including the neato ones you've just suggested).

Re:Why not (2, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318441)

Nuclear power stations are driven to improve safety, not to cut costs. Nuclear power will always be crippled by over-regulation and excessive conservatism, because the risks are just too high if things go pear (or mushroom) shaped.

Wind generator manufactures can be a lot more aggressive in cost cutting, because the consequences are a lot less severe.

In the long run, wind generators will drop in price a lot quicker.

Re:Why not (1)

cjsm (804001) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318533)

Nuclear power is complex. Maintaining a reaction takes experts with decades of education and years of training. Calculate the cost of education into the cost of nuclear power? You should.

Ha ha ha. Got you there. Homer Simpson operates a nuclear power plant, and he doesn't seem like he got past the 8th grade. You need to watch more TV, you might learn something, and not be quite so ignorant of how nuclear power plants are really run.

marinelife greater threat than saltwater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28318037)

marinelife greater threat than saltwater

Re:Why not (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317755)

You mean other than the fact that they're like 100x more expensive than nuclear?

I'm an Australian.. we have one experimental nuclear reactor [ansto.gov.au] , 20 MW. It uses about 30 kg of uranium a year. It's used for research.. but not into power reactors. The majority of Australians are afraid of nuclear power. If you ask people on the street why they don't want nuclear power, they'll all say the same, we don't want to have to deal with the nuclear waste. Of course, this doesn't stop us from selling shitloads of uranium. The international community has threatened to prohibit the sale of Australian uranium because we don't store the spent rods, but we do reprocess them. This has non-proliferation consequences. That threat prompted the National Repository/Store Project [ret.gov.au] .. but in 2004 Scrooge McJohnny Howard killed that as he did to every other infrastructure project.

Nuclear is the only option for affordable and ecological responsible power.

Re:Why not (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317797)

The international community has threatened to prohibit the sale of Australian uranium because we don't store the spent rods, but we do reprocess them. This has non-proliferation consequences.

Okay, now I'm curious. What non-proliferation consequences are there to this policy?

Re:Why not (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317861)

The international community has threatened to prohibit the sale of Australian uranium because we don't store the spent rods, but we do reprocess them. This has non-proliferation consequences.

Okay, now I'm curious. What non-proliferation consequences are there to this policy?

At a guess: someone other than the Australian government looking after the spent fuel (and it's load of weaponizable plutonium). Nobody in the West is too concerned about the Aussies embarking on a secret program to develop nuclear weapons. The same can not be said for every nation that is buying low-enriched uranium fuel for its power reactors.

Re:Why not (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317945)

Americans are fucking stupid. They just have lots of money to throw at people. Their government dogs will throw money at your government to prevent alternative energy while the majority of Americans will be sucking the Arabs' dicks for petrol this coming summer. I predict that their gas prices will rise to 6 dollars a gallon. Sit back and laugh.

Re:Why not (3, Insightful)

Sundo (1050980) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317847)

You mean other than the fact that they're like 100x more expensive than nuclear?

Building a single windmill prototype like that and sticking it alone in the ocean (with a 10 kilometer power cable) is bound to be lot more expensive per MW than building a whole farm of them. The original article also does not specify how much of that money went into development and how much went to actually building the turbine. The cost should come down quite significantly if that thing actually works as advertized and they start building them by dozens.

Your claim that nuclear is the only option for affordable and ecological power is either pure trolling or rather incredible stupidity and ignorance. I agree that it's propably the best current short term option, but it definitely isn't the only or best one in long term.

Re:Why not (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318155)

Agreed. Nuke proponents always use the "its cheaper" card. But is it, really?

What was the cost of developing nuclear power. Just because we already paid for it doesn't mean it wasn't expensive. How many cumulative years of education does it take for a nuclear power plant to be designed, built and maintained? Why is this cost always ignored? What is the possible cost of something going terribly wrong? Another ignored cost is insurance... surely accident insurance for a nuclear plant is much higher than for a wind farm (an entire wind farm catching on fire and getting knocked over onto a bunch of solid gold Rolls Royces will undoubtedly cost astronomically less than a single nuclear reactor fully melting down).

Re:Why not (1)

Bjrn (4836) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318301)

but it definitely isn't the only or best one in long term.

Unless we go with breeder reactors, I don't even think you can call it a long term option since there is a limited amount of uranium.

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317995)

"It's used for research.."

It's major role is for the production of short half-life medical isotopes

Re:Why not (2, Informative)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318039)

Nuclear power is the only option for affordable and ecologically responsible power

The only reason nuclear power is cheap is the bajillions the governments poured into researching the best way to make fuel for bombs. If a tenth of that had been spent researching solar power, then solar power would be cheap.

Nuclear waste, btw, really isn't all that eco-friendly. The waste is only one problem, and today this particular problem is not solved, but the solution has been postponed. Maybe someday we will be able to safely turn nuclear waste into car tires or something. Or maybe we'll never come up with a better idea than burying it. No one can say. But we are guarunteed that the cost of wind power plants and solar plants will get cheaper. Its an economic fact. But only if we embrace and develop and use the technology. This is how nuclear power got cheap (ignoring the expensive educations needed for nuclear engineers... those costs only go up over time).

No, the only ecologically responsible choice is just about anything but nuclear. And "affordable" is always a relative term. What made nuclear power affordable can be applied to any new energy technology. Take your pick, and pour equal resources into developing it and costs will look better for most of the alternatives because they're all much simpler, easier to understand, and will be to build and maintain.

Re:Why not (1)

amn108 (1231606) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318177)

Send it off into space. Plenty of space in space.

Re:Why not (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318397)

Send it off into space. Plenty of space in space.

I always said that too... send the waste into the Sun! But its really heavy, so getting to space is really expensive. And if something goes wrong on the way there, its much worse than if we just left it lying around.

Re:Why not (1)

amn108 (1231606) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318429)

Well, hopefully, as with many (not all though) other things that cost money, the process will perhaps get cheaper?

Re:Why not (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318447)

But we are guarunteed that the cost of wind power plants and solar plants will get cheaper. Its an economic fact.

The cheaper they get the more it will cost to put them somewhere. There are only so many spots where you can harness natural energy. Offshore is a good idea but somehow I doubt miles upon miles of turbine wind farm buoys are going to do wonders for marine ecology.

If you want to convince people these things can work you need to explain where we'll put them all. Show numbers explaining how we can supply 3x our current power needs 40 years from now without choking the surface of our planet with alternative power generation methods.

Re:Why not (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318473)

If you want to convince people these things can work you need to explain where we'll put them all. Show numbers explaining ...

Not really. I could just convince them that it must work because there is no other alternative.

Whose idea was centralized power, anyway? Why not decentralize power to the individual units that need it? If a single home can be built to be off grid, then all homes could be built that way. If, for the next 40 years, all new homes built were required to generate all the power they need, I think that'd get it done.

Re:Why not (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318703)

Why haven't we found a way to capture energy from the radioactive waste and convert it to power?

Also: I'm going to keep saying it - combine wind and solar. We have technology available that could be adapted into a hybrid wind/solar installation, a wind turbine coated with thin-film solar panels would harness loads more energy in pretty much the same footprint. In Southern California, there's a wind farm just down the I-10 that would benefit greatly from this idea because of the location, up high with no obstructions, and lots and lots of sunlight. So much potential energy gathering capability gone totally unused.

Re:Why not (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318149)

Nuclear is the only option for affordable and ecological responsible power.

Yeah, accidentally drop some nuclear waste in your water supply and see how affordable and responsible it is then.

Or better yet, let a terrorist get his hands on some and do it for you.

With history as my witness, humans are not responsible. We mean well, but we have very short memories and radioactive material has a very long life.

Widespread nuclear power would be a fucking catastrophe. You think third world countries run by dictators are going to be "careful" with their reactors or their waste?

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28318347)

The majority of Australians should not be afraid of nuclear power, it can be safe if engineered properly, long-term waste-disposal is planned in from the start and included as part of the cost. Most importantly good quality MANAGERIAL expertise needs to be put in place at all stages of the construction and running process to ensure safety standards are maintained over time spans of decades to 100s of years. This is NOT trivial in any industry let alone big engineering projects, to suggest people are just afraid of nuclear is ingenious, what they are afraid of is poor planning, lack of experience, incompetence, or over-emphasis on profits leading to shortcuts in safety standards that can have real effects.

Australians should therefore be afraid of power plants if they were built right now by the current Australian nuclear organizations - they still need to prove themselves competent for the task. The HIFAR and OPAL reactors Australia has built are both simple open-pool research reactors that are mainly teaching aids and producers of radioisotopes. Compared to a nuclear power plant they are the equivalent of a tricycle teaching a child how to ride his father's Harley Davidson. Australia's handling of the most recent OPAL reactor was poor at all stages: there were multiple rounds of planning and bidding before the final design and company were decided upon; when the Argentinian company INVAP finally got the job it was because their bigger competitors had gotten sick of being jerked around so were no longer putting in reasonable bids. INVAP then did a mediocre job of construction, loose fuel plates caused the newly commissioned OPAL reactor to be shut-down immediately for a year. The solution was to REDESIGN the fuel plates after the reactors construction - that is still simply staggering no matter how you spin it.

Australian companies will someday be capable of large scale, high-technology engineering projects. If we didn't have first-world expectations of safety we could build such reactors right now. However, for comparison look at the construction of the Collin's class submarines or the Boomerang synchrotron - they both sort of work but lots of mistakes were made in project planning, contracting and construction. The results are projects that have a slightly unplanned and inexperienced feel about them, as long as we learn the correct lessons and resolve to do better next time then fine. Once we achieve this, we can think about contracting the construction of nuclear power plants to *competent* foreign firms and put in place the incentives that ensure they build them correctly.

Re:Why not (1)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317805)

Can someone provide me with a credible reason why we shouldn't stack these things on every coast in the world to provide nations with clean electricity? Or is nuclear power still too sexy to give up?

Because we don't yet fully understand our atmosphere. How will this impact air currents? Will that alter climates? We don't know.

Re:Why not (2, Insightful)

Phurge (1112105) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317989)

Because we don't yet fully understand our atmosphere. How will this impact air currents? Will that alter climates? We don't know.

I daresay that you would have to put up a ridiculous number of turbines before they have any effect. I mean, the world seems to have done ok with those other large scale wind blockers commonly known as office buildings....

Re:Why not (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317895)

We probably should do exactly that. When the wind is blowing, we can offset combined cycle natural gas powerplants (which ramp up or down easily). To offset coal (by far the majority of US electricity comes from coal -- it's plentiful, cheap, and the utilities don't pay directly for the environmental consequences of burning it by the trainload), you need BASELOAD generating capacity.

Baseload is the "always on" demand for energy, 24/7. Coal and nuclear are ideally suited to meet this demand: large powerplants that operate most efficiently running at 100% capacity all the time. Solar and wind are great. We should be roofing houses with photovoltaics, building solar thermal plants in the deserts, and sticking windmills in the ground everywhere it's appropriate. But intermittent power sources like renewables can't supply the baseload demand... barring some astonishingly unlikely advances in battery technology or super-conducting electrical cables, or other technological breakthroughs that might as well be labeled "magic" or "Star Trek."

Yeah, nuclear has some issues, but they're largely political (i.e. Yucca Mountain phail) and not technical. The WHOLE WORLD'S nuclear waste could be stored outside of Carlsbad, NM at the Waste Internment Pilot Project (WIPP). I've toured the place. It's amazingly robust, and a cunning mixture of low-tech (salt mining is EASY fer chrissakes!) and high-tech (radiation monitoring that regularly detects the fallout from dust storms in the Gobi Desert, but no emissions from WIPP). Frankly, I was impressed.

So, yeah. Energy. You want to limit greenhouse gas emissions? Replace natural gas with renewables wherever possible. Replace coal with nuclear everywhere. Close the nuclear fuel cycle, and push for energy efficiency standards that matter. Transportation energy requirements? That's where things get a little bit tougher...

Future Bond location (2, Interesting)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317691)

Well obviously there's potential there or they wouldn't have gone as far as they have, but I just don't understand how it doesn't tip over instead of spinning, or how they keep it pointed in the right direction. I'd love to see it in person. And I bet they use them in a future Bond film.

Re:Future Bond location (3, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317743)

You do know that using wind power on the ocean goes back a ways, right? If we hadn't solved that tipping over problem some time ago, we'd never have build sailboats :-P

All that it takes is a wide keel and some ballast. You just need to be bottom heavy enough to have a low centre of gravity, and be wide enough that if one side starts to sink, buoyancy automatically corrects by lifting that side back to the water line.

For a non-moving station, these problems are simple, since you don't need to worry about maintaining mobility. Your buoy can be an air-filled plastic sphere with a lead weight bolted to the bottom. Easy. On a boat, you need to keep a more slender shape than a sphere in order to lower resistance, and you want your ballast to be as light as you can safely get away with to keep the keel fairly shallow (both for reducing resistance and weight, and allowing the ship to enter shallow water without grounding).

Re:Future Bond location (1)

Plunky (929104) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317985)

You do know that using wind power on the ocean goes back a ways, right? If we hadn't solved that tipping over problem some time ago, we'd never have build sailboats :-P

You do know that sailboats heel over, right?

All that it takes is a wide keel and some ballast. You just need to be bottom heavy enough to have a low centre of gravity, and be wide enough that if one side starts to sink, buoyancy automatically corrects by lifting that side back to the water line.

Deep keel. Also your views one bouyancy are really quite awry and your ignorance of offshore conditions is showing, sorry.

Re:Future Bond location (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318159)

Bah, I typed that in a hurry. For starters, I meant to talk of both hulls and keels and conflated them. My bad.

Wide hull, deep keel. Better?

And how exactly have I got buoyancy wrong? If you're listing sideways buoyancy is (part of) what rights you. The dipping side is tries to rise up, while the rising side tries to fall down, both because they've changed in depth from where they ought to be. This is an oversimplification, but not an inaccurate one.

Re:Future Bond location (3, Interesting)

Plunky (929104) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318555)

And how exactly have I got buoyancy wrong? If you're listing sideways buoyancy is (part of) what rights you. The dipping side is tries to rise up, while the rising side tries to fall down, both because they've changed in depth from where they ought to be. This is an oversimplification, but not an inaccurate one.

A wide hull would only hinder your stability, until the width is a significant multiple of the wavelength (which btw can be hundreds of metres). What you need for stability is a narrow tower structure that extends deep into the sea so that the surface waves don't have any appreciable affect on it. The surface of the sea is chaos and a structure like this needs to endure it rather than adapt to it. See Spar Platforms [globalsecurity.org] for example.

Am I off base (2, Interesting)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317733)

For suggesting that a measure of tidal power could be harvested as well here? After all, kites can be used to harvest power through the tension exerted on their cables, if I'm correct. Similarly, these turbines are going to be tethered, right? How about it?

Re:Am I off base (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317925)

This particular turbine isn't tethered. That's what makes it special - the earlier models work the way you describe.

The advantage of tidal is that it's cyclical and predictable; the drawback is that it's expensive and hard to maintain. I don't think attaching it to a wind based system would lessen the drawbacks much.

Now, attaching a wind turbine to some sort of nifty power storage device to equalize it's variable output, that would be useful. Wind power would pair nicely with a hydroelectric dam, since the reservoir can be used to store power during periods of low demand by pumping water back up into it.

Re:Am I off base (2, Insightful)

Plunky (929104) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317999)

This particular turbine isn't tethered. That's what makes it special - the earlier models work the way you describe.

In fact it is not fixed to the seabed, it definitely is tethered otherwise it would float away. Also, wireless power transmission has not been developed yet (on this scale).

Re:Am I off base (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318255)

True, but he referred to "tension exerted on their cables" as a means to generate power. I visualized his proposal as something like an buoy anchored to the seabed, which has in fact been done for previous offshore wind power systems. I'm not positive, but I don't think his idea will work if the tether is simply a line to keep the buoy from floating away.

Re:Am I off base (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318081)

If there is a current, then you could use a similar underwater structure to get power from water current together with wind. Either use a long pylon or floats on the cable tethers to clear the underwater blades.

Re:Am I off base (1)

charliebear (887653) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318715)

For suggesting that a measure of tidal power could be harvested as well here? After all, kites can be used to harvest power through the tension exerted on their cables, if I'm correct. Similarly, these turbines are going to be tethered, right? How about it?

Kites harvest power with keys tied to their strings, not tension.

Extension cord (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317737)

All you need now is a 7.4 mile long extension cord that can survive the ravages of the open sea to plug the dang thing into a power grid.

Re:Extension cord (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318033)

We have massive cables running across the oceans making the global internet possible... I'm pretty sure we can find a sturdy enough solution based on what we already know.

What a waste. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317745)

2.3 Megawatts is fucking nothing, and for $63 million?
I fucking hope the maintenance is low, it won't ever pay itself off otherwise.

Re:What a waste. (4, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317775)

You do know it's a prototype, right? The first design to float freely (as opposed to earlier designs that were anchored)?

The first version always costs more. Later versions are built at a fraction the price. Such is the nature of R&D.

So, patience. Expect a solution immediately, cheaply and bug-free, and you will be endlessly disappointed with what real life has to offer. But hey, it'll open up a career in management for you :-P

They set up this big ginormous windmill by my.... (0)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317787)

place and it never runs because when there is a breeze it doesn't work when its windy it blows over. I have only seen it working twice in two years (and it blew over twice) and it only cost 1 millions dollars already. I could make cheaper power with my 3500 watt Honda generator we use at work.

Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (5, Informative)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317791)

According to a researcher [latimes.com] at the University of California, solar power, wind power, and nuclear power have the following costs in 2006 and 2016. The first cost is for 2006. The second cost is projected for 2016.

1. solar power: more than 20 cents/kwh, 10 to 14 cents/kwh

2. wind power: 5 to 7 cents/kwh, 3 to 6 cents/kwh

3. nuclear power: more than 3 cents/kwh, more than 3 cents/kwh

Here, "wind power" refers to wind turbines on land. A wind turbine at sea would surely cost more than a land-based one.

In other worse, nuclear power is still the best solution until we can significantly improve the efficiency of generating solar power and wind power.

We should also address the major reason for the growing demand for energy. That reason is overpopulation. However, no American politician has the guts to touch that topic. It is too closely tied to illegal immigration. When a faction [nytimes.com] in the Sierra Club tried to address that issue, the members of that faction were accused of being "racist".

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317859)

3. nuclear power: more than 3 cents/kwh, more than 3 cents/kwh

 
  So if it costs $100000/kwh it is cheaper than "wind power" because it only costs "more than" 3 cents/kwh?

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (3, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317865)

I fail to see what immigration has to do with overpopulation. Or rather, I do see, but what I see is only shortsightedness.

A person moving from place A to place B does not increase the net population of AB, but does make their negative impact on the environment B's problem. So the attitude of "if we curb immigration, we reduce pollution" omits the reality that pollution does not obey national borders. It's the attitude of "somebody else's problem", which I could frankly do without.

Of course, you could argue that immigrants moving from a poor country to a rich one will use more resources once there. That is technically correct. But the counterpoint is that richer populations have fewer children, and in the long run that immigrant is going to assimilate. If not them, then their children. And part of that assimilation is the reduction in birthrate that comes from living in the developed world.

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (3, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317969)

The problem is that if you use fiscal measures to "encourage" having fewer children you are, by definition "punishing" those who have more. At the very least you are questioning the wisdom of having so many children.

Immigrants typically have more children. Since questioning anything that is typical of immigrants is racist, much less actually punishing, this topic is verboten.

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (1, Interesting)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318153)

The problem is that if you use fiscal measures to "encourage" having fewer children you are, by definition "punishing" those who have more. At the very least you are questioning the wisdom of having so many children.

You misunderstand. The reduction in birthrate I speak of has nothing whatsoever to do with punishment. No program is in place to ensure people like myself do not have many kids, and yet I can't think of a single person I've known within ten years of my age with more than 3. 1 or none is more often the case.

The cause isn't government programs, or social stigma, or any such bullshit, it's a reflection of reality. If you live in a developed country, you have an incentive (several actually), not to have as many kids. That's true whether you've just moved there from some other part of the world, or whether you've always lived there.

It takes time for culture to catch up to the reality. It always works that way, no matter what the reality and culture clashing with it are. But when it does, an immigrant or their offspring will cease to have as many children. This has happened before and will happen again, no matter how loudly both the immigrant groups and their opponents claim otherwise.

Immigrants typically have more children. Since questioning anything that is typical of immigrants is racist, much less actually punishing, this topic is verboten.

I can't think of a single way for a government to punish having kids that wouldn't be borderline totalitarian. Forget "racist" - "tyrannical" springs to mind. Better to let cultural assimilation do what it has always done, and assume they'll be at the average birthrate in a generation or so.

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (2, Informative)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318477)

I can't think of a single way for a government to punish having kids that wouldn't be borderline totalitarian. Forget "racist" - "tyrannical" springs to mind. Better to let cultural assimilation do what it has always done, and assume they'll be at the average birthrate in a generation or so.

What you're missing is that we currently pay people to have children. In our modern society, removing a benefit is considered punishment.

Since immigrants tend to have more children... well, you can do the math.

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (3, Interesting)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318071)

What is exactly the cost of a Chernobyl scale accident? Unless the possibility of such an event is reduced to zero, we should really define this figure, and be prepared to spend it if the need arises.

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318225)

Chernobyl was really only possible at Chernobyl. It wouldn't effect modern plants around the world.

If I remember right, it had something to do without the same safety concerned and most every where else implemented along with half of the plant not knowing what the other half was doing so they reacted incorrectly when people were running a drill or a test on parts of the system.

It really isn't repeatable. At best, we will get minute leakage somewhere that will most likely be detected soon and contained.

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (2, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318411)

You missed my point. Not talking about precisely what happened at Chernobyl... but a nuclear accident, any nuclear accident, that had the scale of Chernobyl. Maybe what happened at Chernobyl can't happen again, but other stuff with exactly the same results can happen.

take a look at this [lutins.org]

Anyway, I'd like to know what Chernobyl, and any nuclear accident of that scale, might cost, and I'd like this figure taken into account when considering the cost building more nuclear power plants. kthx.

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (4, Insightful)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318723)

That's a lovely list you have there. It appears, though, your premise in posting it has two questionable basis:

1) That all the knowledge required to prevent any of those incidents was freely available to humanity before we started experimenting with nuclear power.

2) That people in the nuclear power industry don't learn from these events and design & train against them.

The acquisition of knowledge isn't 'free'- sorry, no one is smart enough to foresee everything. Once the knowledge is acquired, however, it spreads rapidly throughout the industry.

Plus, a number of the items on that list are exaggerated, and their importance 'played up' for ignorant readers. Ignorance is of course rampant on the anti-nuke side: ignorance of the specifics of radiation, lack of perspective, the inability to evaluate realistic alternatives, ignorance of the political issues (not technical ones) that dominate the 'waste debate', etc, etc.

For most anti-nukers, all they have left is 'RADIATION BAD!!!!'. If they've got anything more than that, it's "WASTE BAD." In both cases a substantial level of ignorance and the accompanying fear are an intrinsic part of the equation.

Anyway, I'd like to know what Chernobyl, and any nuclear accident of that scale, might cost, and I'd like this figure taken into account when considering the cost building more nuclear power plants.

Now multiply it by the probability, and I'm just fine with that- Because the added dollar cost of this figure is utterly insignificant.

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318621)

It [Chernobyl] really isn't repeatable. At best, we will get minute leakage somewhere that will most likely be detected soon and contained.

By which you mean a huge leak draining the reactor pool into the sea [telegraph.co.uk] which would likely have been detected 10 hours later after the fuel rods had caught fire if it not for blind luck in this incident?

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (2, Interesting)

chefren (17219) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318133)

Still another point to make is the efficiency of distribution. Not many of those watts produced at the power plants actually make it to your wall outlet.

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (4, Insightful)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318147)

We should also address the major reason for the growing demand for energy. That reason is overpopulation. However, no American politician has the guts to touch that topic. It is too closely tied to illegal immigration.

Overpopulation in North-East US, Western Europe and Japan is not due to immigration. Most of the people living there are breed and born there. The major reason for growing demand for energy is not overpopulation - it is technological development. In the West as well as in the developing world.

Cheapest does not equate to 'best' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28318199)

But you are correct about overpopulation. There is no point reducing consumption per person by 10% if the population increases by 50%.

The scale of nearly every environmental problem we face is directly proportional to the size of the population. Politicians think that the slice of the cake that they will be left with after the profits, driven by those extra workers, have been disproportionately distributed, will be large enough for them to live a good life. They don't care what effect it has on those who will be less well off.

Blame evolution for population growth (0, Offtopic)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318569)

Politicians think that the slice of the cake that they will be left with after the profits ...

We also have war to blame. Cultures and nations at war attempt to out-breed each other in order to produce more soldiers and laborers. The cultures that reproduce the most stamp out the others, and thus we evolve, becoming cultured to reproduce and exponentially more numerous until we stamp out all other life on the planet.

Hopefully someone puts the brakes on human reproduction before it goes that far. We've come a long way in the past couple of centuries, even though we grow more numerous; condoms are a good start.

For a real solution to population growth, check out VHEMT.org -- their argument is compelling.

Re:Costs of Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Power (2, Insightful)

johannesg (664142) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318281)

In other worse, nuclear power is still the best solution until we can significantly improve the efficiency of generating solar power and wind power.

The word "best" is not solely defined by price. When you buy a new car, do you always get the cheapest pile of shit you can get your hands on? Or do you look for something with a certain range, speed, capacity, and maintainability, in addition to it being in your budget?

We should also address the major reason for the growing demand for energy. That reason is overpopulation. However, no American politician has the guts to touch that topic. It is too closely tied to illegal immigration. When a faction [nytimes.com] in the Sierra Club tried to address that issue, the members of that faction were accused of being "racist".

Sending all the immigrants back just moves the problem of energy generation to another place in the world - but it will still be there, and the ecosystem is a global one.

Of course, americans use more energy per head of the population than everybody else. Scaling that back a little would be trivial, and wouldn't have any impact on your quality of life.

navigation maps (2, Interesting)

Max_W (812974) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317851)

I hope they will put it on new navigation maps. But how to update existing maps?

I would be a nightmare for a captain to meet such things in high seas. As far as navigation is concerned it is a new island.

Re:navigation maps (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317973)

It is comparatively small, even when compared to an island, and it is almost definitely detectable by radar, and very few ships travelling in that region don't have radar.

Re:navigation maps (2, Insightful)

Max_W (812974) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318057)

A radar is a good thing. But practice,teacher of fools, shows that even satellites in orbit do collide.

In the navigation school, where I studied, we were taught that a radar and GPS are very good things, but they tend to get unserviceable at the times when you need them most. Sometimes just because a battery is low.

Yes, there are ships, which do not have a motor running all the time. In future more and more ships will use sails. Even cargo ships. This is where the wind will really work.

Putting hard things in the navigable waters is the bad idea as far as I am concerned. If we want to use the wind and solar energy - do not forbid, but promote, drying linen and clothes outside, in the open air, as opposite to electrical driers. Sun-wind-linen-cloth-drier is the most effective green power device. Still in some European and North America countries it is the tabu.

So we put hardware items in the open fields and in the navigable ocean to produce electricity and then use this electricity to for electrical driers, which consume enormous amounts of energy. But the Order is kept.

This is an attempt to solve a social problem with an engineering means. Instead dry clothing and linen outside, get over it, use energy saving lamps, small cars, and leave oceans and nature fields alone. This is the real solution, real thing.

Re:navigation maps (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318623)

Sun-wind-linen-cloth-drier is the most effective green power device. Still in some European and North America countries it is the tabu.

While I disagree with pretty much everything you wrote up until this point, I figured I would support this point and mention that many HOA's (home owner associations) in the US have rules forbidding the use of clotheslines in their neighborhoods. They think it makes the neighborhood look cheap and thus brings down property values. Like much of the way HOAs operate, those rules against clotheslines are just fucked up.

Re:navigation maps (5, Informative)

Plunky (929104) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318055)

I hope they will put it on new navigation maps. But how to update existing maps?

This problem was solved a long time ago, chart updates are made available regularly and large vessels will be obliged to subscribe to the service. In these modern times of electronic charts (most ships use them though they are still required to carry paper charts) updates are easily applied.

Also ships have RADAR so they can see obstructions (other vessels are not marked on charts) plus another more modern invention called AIS [wikipedia.org] which allows vessels to broadcast their position, heading, course and speed and have it overlayed onto the radar plot (and the charts). You can be sure that massive floating platforms will have lights, radar reflectors and an AIS transmitter.

Re:navigation maps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28318647)

This is Norway. One of the largest oil exporter in the world.

All the oil production in Norway done on offshore oil rigs. Objects in the sea is nothing new. You will find Norwegian oil, oil technology, oil tankers, oil supply vessels, and oil related workers all over the world.

Norway has also been one of the leading shipping nations of the world for hundreds of years or more.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_merchant_marine_capacity_by_country

Consequences for long-term Earth settlement (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317857)

In the very long-term (barring global catastrophes) humanity will have to start to settle the oceans, and this experiment will give us information as to how we might be able to do that in the far future.

I've always been fascinated if it might be practical to build a floating ocean settlement which could also submerge to a relatively shallow depth for relatively short periods to avoid the dangers of ocean storms.

Re:Consequences for long-term Earth settlement (2, Interesting)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317901)

In the very long-term (barring global catastrophes) humanity will have to start to settle the oceans, and this experiment will give us information as to how we might be able to do that in the far future.

Why?

Habitable space won't be the reason. To settle the ocean would require a fully artificial environment - one where we build every square meter we live in from the ground (or sea) up. If we're going to do that, we might as well build arcologies, and save ourselves the trouble of plugging leaks. Plus, the population growth rate is levelling off, lessening pressure to find new places to inhabit.

Because it's there? Space would be a better choice. Absence of pressure is easier to live with than overabundance of it. Solar energy is plentiful in the inner system. And an offworld colony has the virtue of surviving global catastrophes that would wipe out land and sea based habitats. Added bonus - no local ecology to damage, something the ocean most definitely has. We can colonize both of course, but I'm not sure I'd say we "have to".

Apart from all that, I'd say we already "colonized" the ocean, ages ago when we started building long-haul ships. We just don't live there all the time, or without land-based support. I doubt that will change.

Always good to see third world getting cheap power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28317863)

Can only help them in one day becoming a citizen on the EU which I hear it is trying to do but have yet to be accepted.

Think of the whales :( (1)

tiger32kw (1236584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317947)

One whale will die, whole project will be shot.

Re:Think of the whales :( (4, Funny)

bentcd (690786) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318091)

One whale will die, whole project will be shot.

This is Norway. We kill whales for a living.

Re:Think of the whales :( (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318471)

But seriously, is the whale killing business profitable. Perhaps you can burn the blubber to generate energy.

Re:Think of the whales :( (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318535)

Great idea! And if we run out of whales we can just burn harp seals, Florida panthers, pandas, polar bears, manatees and bald eagles!

Wind... what about ocean currents? (2, Informative)

carlzum (832868) | more than 4 years ago | (#28317967)

I missed the word "wind" in the summary and thought they had developed a current turbine [anl.gov] . Ocean currents have incredible potential, but maintenance challenges make underwater turbines impractical today. But unlike wind and solar power, ocean currents and waves could actually displace fossil fuel as a primary source of energy.

dampen vs. damp (2, Funny)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318245)

...dampen the motion from waves...

So the waves aren't wet enough yet? Norway has strange oceans.
On the other hand, I think for the first time "inertial dampeners" is the right term to use...
(Yes, to damp is a verb too. Heavily underused. As is "dampers")

Initial costs are the only realistic problem (1)

wisenboi (1154441) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318475)

I think someone mentioned this earlier, but the overall initial costs/building requirements will be the most expensive point in these turbines lifetime. Just like any major capital investment, the cost is static/ one time. After it's paid off in generating enough electricity at a given price, the long term results are more beneficial - yes this means less waste compared to nuclear reactors in service, also mitigating down potential hazards from previous known incidents and close calls. You can't ignore these measurable and discernible results and effects - they are part and parcel of the energy source. People need to remember that the long term and general picture of alternative energy sources is what needs to be considered - cost is irrelevant in that any new capital is expensive initially and that it gets paid off eventually through the function it serves (or functions).

Wouldn't it be possible... (2, Interesting)

LunarEffect (1309467) | more than 4 years ago | (#28318693)

to harvest the wave energy as well as the wind energy with something similar to this? I guess you could also slap some solar cells on it. =)
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