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World's Largest Wind Farm Gets Green Light

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-windy-tomorrow dept.

Power 388

cliffski writes "According to the BBC website the UK govt has just given the go ahead to two large offshore wind-farm projects. Between them the schemes would produce enough renewable electricity to power about one million households. The larger London Array project covers 144 sq miles (232 sq km) between Margate in Kent and Clacton, Essex and will be the world's biggest when it is completed. The £1.5bn scheme will have 341 turbines rising from the sea about 12 miles (20km) off the Kent and Essex coasts, as well as five offshore substations and four meteorological masts"

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388 comments

Slashdot got a green light? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286486)

From whom?

Re:Slashdot got a green light? (1, Funny)

Kagura (843695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286944)

Won't somebody please think of the birds!

Re:Slashdot got a green light? (3, Funny)

butterwise (862336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287092)

They already have. [ecofriend.org]

Originally meant to be a white light (0, Offtopic)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286512)

The light is not green, it was originally meant to be a white light
But the green cloud coming from all the produced wind obscured it.

Re:Originally meant to be a white light (0, Offtopic)

duguk (589689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286794)

I live in Clacton and can confirm our clouds are NOT green! :D

WooO! My hometown mentioned on /.

Expect this'll annoy a lot of the old people living around here but I'm all for it.

DugUK

Re:Originally meant to be a white light (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287006)

Annoy? It's 12 miles offshore. You can barely see them at that range let alone hear them.

Personally I think they're great when I'm sailing along as they usually mark sand banks and make navigation much easier. I like the look of them too.

144 mi^2 !=232 km^2 (4, Insightful)

SNR monkey (1021747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286530)

Last time I checked, 144 square miles would be 373 square kilometers. Remeber is 1.609*1.609 *144...

Re:144 mi^2 !=232 km^2 (5, Funny)

smaddox (928261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286594)

thats the Imperial-Metric square mile. Oft' confused with the strict Imperial square mile.

It was invented solely for the purposes of this article, and has yet to reach widespread use.

Re:144 mi^2 !=232 km^2 (2, Informative)

SNR monkey (1021747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286602)

Ignoring my typos (must use preview), when I RTFA, it says

the larger London Array project covers 90 sq miles (232 sq km) between Margate in Kent and Clacton, Essex.
So, the 232 km^2 is correct, but the summary is wrong about the 144 square miles.

144 mi^2 != 103.5 mi^2 (2, Informative)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287016)

From the article:

The larger London Array project covers 90 sq miles (232 sq km) between Margate in Kent and Clacton, Essex.
The second wind farm, called the Thanet scheme, will cover 13.5 sq miles (35 sq km) off the north Kent coast.


I'd call it 103.5 sq miles (267 sq km).

Re:144 mi^2 != 103.5 mi^2 (1)

SNR monkey (1021747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287308)

I'd call it 103.5 sq miles (267 sq km).
And you'd be wrong. You're right that the total area is 103.5 sq miles, but the summary says:

The larger London Array project covers 144 sq miles (232 sq km) between Margate in Kent and Clacton, Essex
The wording is right out of the article, but 144 square miles in the summary is wrong. It should probably say 90 square miles (and refer only to the London Array, which is the world's largest wind farm) or 103.5 sq miles and indicate that it is the total. Or both, and indicate that the London Array is 90 sq miles.

What about our fine feathered friends? (1, Interesting)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286534)

The Law of Unintended Consequences in full effect: http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=14562 [heartland.org]

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (3, Funny)

tomknight (190939) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286568)

Hopefully it'll kill off a few bloody seagulls. Maybe we should have a wind farm in central London to cut down on the vicious bastards.

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (1)

notaspunkymonkey (984275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286628)

There is a wind farm just off the coast where I live - and as u bird friendly as this may sound - we have noticed a distinct drop in the number of seagulls in the area - a good side effect of wind farms.. I say yes..

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286620)

Where are the percentages in that article? If the turbines are killing ~1% of the population a year, I would be not that concerned, but 10% would be a big deal. "Thousands" just doesn't mean anything, hell "thousands" of people are killed by something or other everyday, and we seem to be getting by.

What about scavengers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286658)

Don't they LIKE the increased bird kill rates?

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (0)

morboIV (1040044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286674)

Yeah, and what about Steve the janitor [bash.org] ?

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (5, Interesting)

SNR monkey (1021747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286698)

Compare the number of bird deaths from those windfarms to the number of bird deaths (and non-bird deaths) that would result if it was a coal burning power plant instead. Every project has costs (not all costs are $$). Hopefully the people in charge weigh the environmental costs as well as the monetary costs (sometimes the environmental costs end up being monetary costs anyway). Most large scale power generation techniques have an environmental impact.. The question is - do the benefits outweigh the costs?

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (2, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286864)

God, I wish the environmentalist would take the same position with regards to nuclear power!

Many environmentalists do! (2, Insightful)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287050)

Of course, many do not. Probably more do not. However, Al Gore (the anti-enviros favorite whipping boy) does. That was one of the things I really liked about him in 2000. He understood technology and respected the environment. (Not that I want him to run in '08. I think it would detract from his current campaign.)

Re:Many environmentalists do! (1)

phaggood (690955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287186)

> anti-enviro's whipping boy

I thought that was Jane Fonda? Or maybe it's Donald Sutherland?

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (3, Insightful)

Inda (580031) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287144)

Eagles, Hawks and Owls. Three types of birds with eyesight ten times better than mine.

I can see the blades spinning...

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (1)

Mad Dog Manley (93208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286712)

Survival of the fittest my friend.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that birds adapt very quickly to windmills. We built skyscrapers, and birds die when they fly into them, yet we haven't torn down our buildings. The stupid ones either die, breed in sufficient numbers to replace those lost, or adopt behavior such that they do not fly into them.

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (4, Funny)

randallman (605329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286720)

Scarecrow. Duh.

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (1)

Elegor (866572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286756)

Nah. Given time they'll evolve their way around the problem. Just like bunnies, where the ones who don't stand staring at oncoming headlights have a much better chance of producing the next generation.

Seriously though, has anyone ever done a study to see if roadkill numbers have declined over the years as animals evolve the skills needed to avoid traffic?

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287236)

Any decline in roadkill numbers due to evolution has been more than eclipsed by the dramatic increase in incidents of Squirrel Hazing [squirrelsinblack.org] .

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (3, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286798)

I guess there has to be, or has already been, a decision about the acceptable tradeoffs before it is built. For a given amount of power from wind versus coal, which method is best overall, not just to birds or the pocketbook or the ozone layer.

Typically in order to find out what the Unintended Consequences are things have to be built first, and while wind farms aren't exactly new neither are they common. As with most things the more widespread they become the more effort will be focused on correcting whatever problems they have.

A friend and I had a similar discussion about cell phone towers while hunting this weekend. He was complaining that the woodcock population has been down lately, and I mentioned that one factor might be the continued proliferation of cell phone towers in our area. Towers were going up with solid beacon lights that screwed up the navigation systems of some migratory birds. A simple change to blinking beacons seems to be fixing the problem. Of course we had to find piles of woodcocks dead around cell phone towers before we even knew it was necessary.

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286850)

It really helps to have some perspective.
Mans activity contributes to a vast number of bird deaths every year:
  1. Utility transmission and distribution lines, the backbone of our electrical power system, are responsible for 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year in the U.S.
  2. Collisions with automobiles and trucks result in the deaths of between 60 and 80 million birds annually in the U.S
  3. Tall building and residential house windows also claim their share of birds. Some of the five million tall buildings in U.S.
  4. Agricultural pesticides are "conservatively estimated" to directly kill 67 million birds pe year.

In December of 2002, the report "Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin" was released. The study was completed by Robert Howe and Amy Wolf of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and William Evans. Their study covered a two-year period between 1999 and 2001, in the area surrounding the 31 turbines operating in Kewaunee County by Madison Gas & Electric (MG&E) and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Corporation.


The report found that over the study period, 25 bird carcasses were found at the sites. The report states that "the resulting mortality rate of 1.29 birds/tower/year is close to the nationwide estimate of 2.19 birds/tower.16- The report further states, "While bird collisions do occur (with commercial wind turbines) the impacts on global populations appear to be relatively minor, especially in comparison with other human-related causes of mortality such as communications towers, collisions with buildings, and vehicles collisions."

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287216)

5. Birds that fly into my large window that either die from impact or get their knocked out carcasses picked up by larger, predatory birds : approximately 15 a year.

I know when it's time to clean the window then the outline of said bird is left on the window.

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (2, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286988)

From what I've been reading, the largest turbines hardly kill any birds. Apparently the larger propellers move slower, giving birds time to avoid a collision.

I'm much more curious to know the impact to the waters. Hundreds of pillars built into the sea floor might affect sea life or water currents.

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286994)

It's very sad, but considering that most of the houses I've lived in seem to kill something like 0.1 birds per window per year it's hard to consider this a serious objection. And what about people with cats!

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287038)

Before any windfarm is approved in the UK there is a tremendous amount of debate about the effect on birds, particularly where the farms are close to migratory routes. The exact sites would have been chosen with this in mind.

Re:What about our fine feathered friends? (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287252)

Aw go fook yourself already.

Fluffy the neighborhood kitty kills way more songbirds, exotic birds, rare land mammals, rare land reptiles than any wind tower every will yet there is no one bitching about that.

Radio antennae for Clearchannel do the same damn thing, nobody ever complains about them.... not to mention glass covered sky reflection having every goddamn downtown in every goddamn city on the planet kill more birds in a friggin day than all the wind towers in the world in a single day.

Yeah, because the coal plant these things prevent is SO CLEAN that it never harms any wildlife, in fact, they go there and roost in the smoke stacks to get clean fresh air and drinking water.

Let's tear all that stuff down too.

At least that bunk-ass article you linked to didn't use the same black and white picture of the same four birds that every other radical greenie rag uses to prosetylise the same lame issue....

You hypocritical fucktards will only be happy when everyone lives in a mud hut and dies by the age of thirty. Everything is a compromise. A few dead birds to feed the local worms won't make a big impact.

"renewable" energy? (5, Funny)

syrinx (106469) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286558)

Lisa, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Re:"renewable" energy? (0, Offtopic)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287336)

Nice Simpson's quote!

An aeroplane wasn't enough (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286562)

These guys are now trying to cross the channel with the whole island!!!

E9P!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286600)

knows that ever e7ected, we took else to be an very sick and its on baby...don't of its core the wind appeared questions, then could sink your

England.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286612)

About time!

Predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286630)

Sea birds in the area start to die in large quantites due to collisions with rotating blades. Large sea creatures temporarily florish to eat the dead birds, but also eat all fish in the area. Large sea creatures die horribly suffering from brain hemmorages due to the low frequencies emitted by the turbines.

Environmentalists are miffed.

Re:Predictions (2, Funny)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286696)

But it will only kill off the stupid sea birds. I for one welcome our... oh god just shoot me....

Such specific numbers, blah. (3, Insightful)

mobiux (118006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286636)

"Enough to power about 1 million homes."

How about a MW output. That's a specific number that can be compared to other forms of electric generation.

Is that one million homes in the late spring (mildest time of year), when no one is running a/c or heat?

Or is that one million homes in the middle of summer when whole power grids collapse from the strain?

Specifics please.

Re:Such specific numbers, blah. (3, Informative)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286684)

How about a MW output.

1.3GW according to the Register article.

Re:Such specific numbers, blah. (4, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286830)

Just enough to run my Delorian.

Re:Such specific numbers, blah. (2, Informative)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286760)

Following the link to the london array project gives 1GW peak power for 271 turbines which could power 750,000 homes (I assume the other array must produce 500MW to power the other 250,000

This should mean that the new media mesurement of 1Hp (House power) is equal to 1.33KW peak power....

Re:Such specific numbers, blah. (1)

radl33t (900691) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287326)

1 - 1.5 kW is a standard average number used for home electricity demand (void of natural gas heating energy)

The numbers are interesting. Wind is typically rated in peak capacity. The capacity factor for excellent wind resources is about 40%.

Re:Such specific numbers, blah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286832)

Most houses in the UK do not have air-conditioning as it simply does not get hot enough, often enough to warrant it ;) Also, most use natural gas based central heating systems in the winter. So generally speaking the electrical usage of most homes would remain fairly constant through the year with maybe a smallish increase in winter due to additional lighting etc.

Re:Such specific numbers, blah. (5, Informative)

NSIM (953498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286858)

> How about a MW output. That's a specific number that can
> be compared to other forms of electric generation.

According to the Register, it's 1.3GW

> Or is that one million homes in the middle of summer when
> whole power grids collapse from the strain?

You are confusing US power requirements with UK. Vast majority of UK homes don't have A/C so you don't see that massive summer energy consumption spike, in fact quite the reverse, with fewer houses needing heat and daylight from 6am-10pm (give or take) the electricity requirements in the UK typically drop during the summer.

Re:Such specific numbers, blah. (2, Funny)

bdonalds (989355) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286862)

"Enough to power about 1 million homes." How about a MW output. Specifics please.
Maybe I can help. It will supply enough power to fill the Library of Congress two times over.

Re:Such specific numbers, blah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17287068)

Is that one million homes in the late spring (mildest time of year), when no one is running a/c or heat?

Or is that one million homes in the middle of summer when whole power grids collapse from the strain?

Barely any homes in the UK have air conditioning. Domestic power usage decreases in the summer.

Wind Farms != an answer (1, Insightful)

jibster (223164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286642)

From TFA this is the worlds biggest windfarm but will generate 1% of the UKs electricty needs. If you want a viable answer to the worlds energy needs I think we need to think outside this particular box.

disagree (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17287030)

The global energy market disagrees with you, that is why you are seeing this article instead of your alternative which is ...nothing. Ignoring the problem doesn't work, actually doing something about it beyond talking is the only solution that can possibly work right now.

  The alternative energy solution is "all of the above", solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, etc, etc, all of it in total. There will probably not be any one solution any time soon, we need the combination of vastly more energy efficient buildings and vehicles (really the number one place we should be working on) combined with alternate sources of energy combined with the traditional energy sources. That's the only silver bullet. Backyard mr. fusion is here if you recognize that the Sun works, it just works, and it is our only practical fusion power. Solar PV, Solar thermal, biofuels, and wind are all mostly factors of the Sun's output. If you are waiting for man-made ITER type reactors to save you you'll be shivering in a cold dark house for decades to come. Not to say we shouldn't still try and develop it, but reality indicates we need solutions to start now, not wait until it hits OMG crisis mode.

Re:Wind Farms != an answer (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17287078)

Wind farms may not be THE answer but they may well be PART of the answer. Coupled with modern nuclear power, hydro electric damns, tidal power and solar panels we might well have workable solution for the UK.

Re:Wind Farms != an answer (1)

jibster (223164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287332)

I'm tired of hearing this repeated. What part of the answer are they? 1%? I hope only 1% of our research funding is going to this crack pot idea.

I see wind being useful in the countryside for self generation on a small scale. Large scale developemnts will eat out coastline and our birds.

I agree we need an answer, that's why we need focused, data driven research and less blue skies PR stunts.

Re:Wind Farms != an answer (1)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287082)

Yep, the biggest wind farm has a peak - yes peak, ie only when there is wind which is not all the time - output that would barely match 1/4 of Drax (the UK's largest coal power station)

Not to mention the question of what to do on a no wind day... or worse several days of no wind (since for short term lapses gavity batteries using hydro electric generators could be used, pumping water up hill when power is plentiful, using it when power is needed, a system already used to provide peak power boost in the UK)

Re:Wind Farms != an answer (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287372)

I always thought Drax was a great name for a power station, especially such a big powerful one.

Wind farms are part of an answer (5, Insightful)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287432)

In Denmark around 20% of our power come from wind, expected to grow to 25%. That is probably the maximum, as you need power when the wind isn't blowing as well. Wind power is not the answer, or an answer, but can be a significant part of answer.

I wonder why so many people (in particular Americans for some reason) feel that such a complex issue as energy supply need a single source as an answer. Some even dismiss all discussion of conservation with the "argument" that you can't totally eliminate the need of energy that way. Even though just going to EU/Japan level of conservation would eliminate 50% of the energy consumption. Maybe it is because people have been brought up in a world where only answers that can be expressed as sound bites are considered relevant by the media.

Good (0)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286664)

I hope this really really annoys a lot of the anti nuclear crowd who campaign eternally for "alternative energy" until someone comes and builds a wind farm outside their delightful rural cottage within commuting distance of London.

Personally, at the moment, I quite like Wind Farms because they're unusual and interesting to look at but once every square metre of the countryside is covered in them I suspect this opinion might change.

I really wish our government was brave enough to invest properly in a predominantly nuclear soloution to our energy problems but I fear they will do too little and what they do do will be far too late.

Re:Good (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286902)

Personally, at the moment, I quite like Wind Farms because they're unusual and interesting to look at but once every square metre of the countryside is covered in them I suspect this opinion might change.

They're also a great place to get "chicken" burger. Catch it before it hits the ground, so you know it's fresh.

Re:Good (0)

neimon (713907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287198)

As someone who lived within glowing distance of Three Mile Island when it leaked, I say this with the best of intentions:

Fuck you.

Re:Good (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287340)

I'm sorry this experience seems to have stunted your brain growth but with modern technology events such as 3 mile island will be an awful lot less common.

Also in the news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286682)


238 rural residents of Cleve Hill, UK, gain powers of electromagnetic flying, shooting lightning from their fingertips

Re:Also in the news (1)

exspecto (513607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286742)

Maybe Stephen Hawking will be called in to battle them...

Mobile Farms (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286694)

Why don't they put these wind farms on barges floating around the seas offshore, where the winds blow steady and reliable? Relocated when economical according to satellites tracking the seasonal winds.

Barges covered with solar cells. And reverse-gyroscopes that generate power from waves and currents. They anchor landmines, don't they?

Re:Mobile Farms (2, Insightful)

Mad Dog Manley (93208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286876)

Why don't they put these wind farms on barges floating around the seas offshore

Hmm, maybe you should have read the submission text, let alone the article. Let me quote for you:

According to the BBC website ehe UK govt has just given the go ahead to two large offshore wind-farm projects

Offshore, meaning, you know, not on land. On the water.

Re:Mobile Farms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286966)

I think the point he was trying to make was regarding mobile windfarms not offshore windfarms.

Re:Mobile Farms (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287200)

Cables?
 

Re:Mobile Farms (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287262)

The point is not so much the offshore location, as their mobility, as you could tell if you read my post's Subject. Mobile, as in moving. On the water.

Side point: solar/gyro. Power stations capturing all the power passing through its point, not just the wind.

Re:Mobile Farms (1)

Mad Dog Manley (93208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287076)

Sorry, I misinterpreted you on my first reply.

I believe that the additional cost of installing windmills on a barge would not be economically feasible.

To mount a windmill on a seaworthy barge is no small feat. These windmills are very, very heavy and require a very stable surface to be mounted on. Most large windmills require thousands of tons of concrete as a base. You would require the same foundation for a barge with a windmill on it.

To relocate thousands of tons of windmill x 1000 windmills as the seasons change would be a massive undertaking. The energy cost would be enormous, and would cut into the small margin of efficiency that windmills currently enjoy.

Re:Mobile Farms (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287402)

I'm sure they ship the windmills on barges. Making those barges anchors for erect windmills is just more engineering. The kind that makes the current expensive immobile anchors work.

I'm not so sure that the windmills can't retain generating efficiency while bobbing up and down, so long as they're facing the wind and remaining perpendicular to its direction. If anything, it's just more engineering to accommodate the extra degrees of freedom of motion for capturing its energy.

As for relocation energy, they can use sails. That gets maximum wind efficiency, more than electrical generation, without external power input.

I envision several "colonies" of heavy solid anchors rooted in the sea floor, chained to topple-proof docking barges at the surface. With windmills on light barges sailing among them through the seasons. The tradeoff is the energy to sail among them, vs the energy to manufacture redundant windmills that sometimes stand in calm.

The real question is the difference in available energy in different places, or whether there's one place that gets that energy passing through year round. Satellite wind graphs in the article's map could make my whole vision moot.

Re:Mobile Farms (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287188)

From what I've heard, the sea is too aggressive an environment to build windmills in. Well, you can build them, but you'll have to repair and replace them so often that it's, effectively, not a good idea.

Re:Mobile Farms (1)

Elessar (8997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287388)

One of the biggest problems with offshore electricity generation is how you hook the power you generate back into the grid. Obviously there has to be some kind of cable going from where you are generating back into some form of onshore infrastructure to distribute the electricity to where it needs to be to be useful.

Re:Mobile Farms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17287430)

Why not just fill France entirely with them. They seem to blow a lot of hot air over there. It could raise the bar from 1% to something more substantial.

Tides (4, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286728)

I've never understood why the power of tides is not exploited more. In a short streach of coast around the UK, hundreds of millions of tons of water must be moved every 24 hours. I'm sure there must be a lot more energy in that than in the wind in the same area. Why isn't that exploited? Anyone know?

Re:Tides (1)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286804)

iirc it is. In scotland

However I also beleive that there is a huge engineering challenge in order to anchor the generators effectively and economically

Re:Tides (4, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286820)

The best place to harness tidal power is in river estuaries which tend to support large eco-systems dependant on the tides.

Unfortunately I think most devices capabale of turning tidal energy into electricity tend to need to be built on a pretty large scale to worth while and this tends to totally destroy the eco systems in the immediate vicinity.

At least that is what I learned in Geograpgy lessons 15 years ago so things may have moved on since then !

Re:Tides (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286890)

But tides also act off shore (i.e. the depth of water changes), so I see no reason why the energy shouldn't be harnessed their. Of course, it might be easier to do it on a rive, but of course there are the problems you mention.

Re:Tides (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287116)

I'm not sure but I suspect most of the energy is created from tidal currents rather than the simple height difference of the water at high and low tide so there are some areas which have much stronger currents than others based on their geography which make it far more economical to site generators where nature has naturally concetrated a lot of power than build a massive generator over a wider area to capture a similar amount of power.

Re:Tides (3, Interesting)

Mad Dog Manley (93208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286962)

Most of the water that is being moved by tides isn't moving very fast, or very far. Tidal power is most efficient where the world's largest tides can be found, such as the Bay of Fundy in Canada.

There is tidal power being generated in the Bay of Fundy, there has been a 20MW generator operating for the last 20 years. However, it is expensive (operating in salt water isn't the most friendly enviromnent), and expanding it would put a large strain on the ecosystem.

This isn't a lot of power though. 20 large windmills could produce the same or more power, for much less cost. Incidentally, Nova Scotia, which borders half of the Bay of Fundy, has some of the world's strongest and most consistent winds.

Re:Tides (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287170)

Most of the water that is being moved by tides isn't moving very fast, or very far.

No, but there is a lot of it.

Re:Tides (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287108)

I'm sure there must be a lot more energy in that than in the wind in the same area.

Maybe that's part of the problem. Building a structure that can withstand tidal forces for 30+ years, including watertight compartments for the electrical parts, isn't cheap.

moD uP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286752)

thi4s explOitation, Problems with

Towing London (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286802)

Personally, I'd stick the windmills on barges, tether them to the Houses of Parliament and wait for a good strong westerly - release the anchors and tow the politician buggers to Holland.

Re:Towing London (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17286854)

Nah,

Put them inside the Houses of Parliament, plenty of hot air in there!

Re:Towing London (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287160)

Put them inside the Houses of Parliament, plenty of hot air in there!

And lock all other exits. If the MPs want to leave, it's through the blades. Arrrrr, matey!

-b.

Um. (2, Informative)

neimon (713907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286860)

Gee. Take that much power out of a surface wind? Makes you kinda wonder what happens when you take that much energy out of a system that determines a lot of weather and water temperature and moves it inland to, say, make toast.

Doh.

Re:Um. (2, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287242)

Gee. Take that much power out of a surface wind?

Don't worry - the windmills aren't actually that efficient, nor do they cover a large percentage of vertical cross-section. They're spaced quite a bit apart and aren't that tall, vertically speaking. Chances are they don't end up being more disruptive to air currents than, say, the skyscrapers in NYC. And the weather in Brooklyn isn't *that* different than in the rest of the region.

-b.

Horror movies? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17286984)

Will we be getting hundreds of horror movies from this, like they do with nuclear power plants?

"Sheltered from the destroying wind by the turbine farm, the flesh eating larva thrived in the darkness created by the solar panels, coming out at night to feast on human flesh...."

ehe UK govt (1)

SlayerDave (555409) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287014)

Uhhhh... Run that by me again.

House SI Unit (1)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287018)

Learn it, use it, love it -- the incredible new unit fresh from the SI, the house.

One house is roughly equivalent to 1 kilowatt, but here the resemblance to the watt ends.

Because, if the reporter likes the way the energy is made, a house can be as little as 500 watts. So the reporter can double the number of houses powered by the project!

"One million households" sounds like a lot. But, using the maximum allowable value of 1kW/house, it is really only about 1 gigawatt, which is stupidly tiny by today's standards.

Using the minimum discovered value for house, the windmill scheme might be as small as 500 megawatts.

I am looking forward to the fair and balanced press to begin using the "blow dryer" and "microwave oven" SI units, which are bigger (!) than a house, and used only to describe coal and nuclear plants.

Re:House SI Unit (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287292)

A gigawatt, while small in the scheme of things, is still a respectable power plant output. Many of the units that go up in the US are between 500MW and 1GW. Hopefully, in the next few years, we'll see nuclear plants coming online at the 1GW per reactor level (like we used to see), with two or three reactors per plant.

Re:House SI Unit (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287322)

So by that logic a house uses half the power of a kettle. Modern fast boil kettles use 2kW. That'd be a good way to get people thinking about conserving power.

Sure would be nice if the editors would EDIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17287070)

"According to the BBC website ehe UK govt"
Dear editors: is this, or is this not, WHAT YOU ARE PAID FOR?

Chrissake, it's not some obscure homonym or esoteric finer point of grammar you could be forgiven for missing; it's a typo which leaps out at you on first glance, and would take you about 0.2 seconds to correct. And you ask people to subscribe to this site? LMAO.

Such an environmental nightmare (0)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287074)

When will people realize that being "alternative" is not the same as "environment friendly" as power sources go? At 144 sq.mi. for 1.3GW, I cannot imagine how this could be considered a viable alternative. This is at least one thousand times as big as a nuclear plant with the same capacity.


Think of all the materials processed in building this windfarm. One would think that making all the concrete, metal, plastics, etc, involved in the manufacture of all the generators will put a large burden on the environment. Not to mention, as many already have, all the birds that will die during the operation. And what about long term effects? Suppose we start to drain a significant part of the wind energy. How will this affect the weather in those regions?


No, I cannot imagine how people can equate wind energy with "environment friendly". It may not be as harmful as burning coal, but it's certainly worse than nuclear power.

Re:Such an environmental nightmare (1)

spacefight (577141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287320)

but it's certainly worse than nuclear power
Facts, anyone?

Another Idiotic decision... (2, Insightful)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287090)

... made by people who refuse to think clearly!

Talk about immediate environmental impact. WAKE UP people - wind farms take energy directly out of a very complex self-regulating system. Let's see how long it takes the greenies to realise this is NOT a long term solution,

As I have repeated said, energy efficiency is the only soultion to our energy problems. Until manufacturers are required to produce more efficient products, we are on the wrong path.

What, Pray Tell ... (1)

bperkins (12056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287210)

will power this green light?

The Problem with Wind Energy (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287274)

The problem with wind energy is that it's output is unreliable and unlikely to match demand. For electricity, it is essential that supply match demand very strictly. Essentially, this means that wind farms have to be backed up with other, reliable, fast-switching power sources. This, of course, means you've still not solved the energy problem - what do these other plants run on? Also, it adds to the cost of electricity from wind - which is already very high.

Re:The Problem with Wind Energy (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17287442)

I think they will store energy when the wind is strong and get the stored energy out when the wind is weak. There are many ways to store energy, my question is which one do they use and why?

Economical! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17287360)

Okay let's do a little straw math.

Let's convert the funny money into real money. To make it easy, say, three billion dollars to build this puppy.

Now, let's divide that by the number of customers served. One million.

So that makes a cost of $3,000 per customer.

Spread that cost over only one year... $250 a month. That's about 2-3 times my current electricity bill. And after the first year there is only maintainence and salary to pay...

Shoot! Where do I sign up?

Wind power NOT significantly harmful to birds (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17287408)

Birds don't really often get killed by wind turbines, the blades move quite slowly and predictably and are clearly visible so the birds can avoid them. Some birds even have nests on top of turbines.

Rather birds tend to fly into ordinary power lines and die. Climate change and pollution are also big threats to birds as other wildlife too, and their effect is often global.

Furthermore, bird enthusiasts even in America are supporting wind power, here is a link to a statement from the Audubon Society:
http://personals.salon.com/blog/1976/post_32241.ht ml?dcb=personals.salon.com [salon.com]

It's one of the perpetual myths against wind power that surface every time the public discusses about it, I was sure it'd pop up here on slashdot...
Now just waiting about the "will the turbines ever recoup their construction energy cost?" (They will in a few months.)
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