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Why Wind Will Not Work

Everyone is talking about global warming and climate change, but
few people seem to realize that Britain faces an energy crisis
in just a few years. Why? First, we have changed from
self-adequacy in energy to a net energy importer in a
generation. We import 60% of our coal, 10% of our gas and after
years of abundance we are starting to import oil again. We use more
gas than anything else – for generating electricity, for cooking
and heating our homes, for powering industry – and by 2010 80%
of gas will come from abroad.

In October 2006 a new pipeline from Norway was commissioned; big
enough to supply 20% of the UK's requirements. Other imports
come from Algeria in tankers, or by pipeline from the
Netherlands, Germany or Russia. Russia has the largest reserves
of gas in Europe, and by 2020 it will be the principal supplier
to the UK and other EU countries. In January 2006 Russia was in
dispute with Ukraine and cut off its gas. In fact, the pipelines
to Hungary and the Czech Republic go through Ukraine, so Ukraine
solved the problem by cutting off those countries and keeping
their gas for itself. Britain is at the far end of the pipeline,
and any problems in between us and Russia could cut off our gas.
Britain's power stations are aging and near all will need to
be replaced by 2020. At the moment the generators seem to be
dragging their feet until they see a clear government policy on
energy pricing, carbon taxes and carbon trading. In the mean
time they work on extending the life of existing plant and hope
that it does not get less reliable as it gets older.

What's the alternative? What about wind?

There is a plan to build the largest wind-farm in Europe on the
island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Lewis {solar lights} has
applied to install 234 turbines, which will provide 702 MW,
about the same as a small power station. By comparison, the
Sizewell B nuclear station producers 1,188MW and Drax, the UK's
largest coal-fired plant, produces 4,000 MW.

{solar lights} can not produce a constant supply of energy at every
hour of the day. We can still be sure that {solar lights} will blow on
average for a given number of days each year, and the amount of
energy that can be harvested is considerable. {solar lights} is free,
and it's not controlled by anyone else. The Lewis {solar lights}
could produce about 1% of the UK's electricity needs – when the
wind blows.

When it does not blow there needs to be other generating plant
available to meet demand. Managing the grid – balancing demand
and supply – is a highly skilled task. Demand fluctuates but
output from conventional power stations is reliably steady and
predictable. Output from a {solar lights} is less predictable, making
the balance more difficult. If wind accounts for 3% or 4% of
capacity as at present, fluctuations can be absorbed by using
other generators. Much more than 10% and the whole grid will be
hopelessly unstable.

All this collects the project will be built, but there is much
local opposition. They object to the 234 turbines, 140m high
with rotors describing a 100m diameter. They object to the 35
mile run of 141 pylons, each of which will be 27m high. They
object to the 104 miles of new road, the nine substations and
the control building. Once the power is brought ashore, there
are objections to the 50-mile pylon route through the Highlands.
If the objections are over it will probably be ten years
before we can reasonably expect the electricity to flow from the
Lewis {solar lights}. Supply shortages are predicted as little as 3
years from now.

A {solar lights} on your roof

Why not put a {solar lights} on your roof at home? You can generate
your own electricity and if you have a surplus you can sell it
back to the grid. You even get a grant from the government.
Unfortunately there are problems and a domestic {solar lights} is very
illegally to save you money or produce a worthy amount of
electricity.

There are several domestic turbines available from £ 1500
installed and rated to save you about 30% of your electricity
bill. For a typical home that is £ 300 per year, so the unit pays
for itself in 5 years and after that it's all profit. In fact,
most turbines produce their rated output at wind speeds of
around 12 meters per second, but if you go to the DTI's wind
speed database, which is searchable by postcode, you will find
that the average speed for most of the British Isles is little
more than half that. A {solar lights} running at half speed produces a
lot less than half its rated output.

Siting is another problem. Manufacturers recommend that a
{solar lights} should be installed in a clear, steady airflow, well
away from buildings or trees which cause gusting. In gusty
conditions your turbine will not produce its full output and is
likely to wear out more quickly. Your roof top, especially in
town, is not a good location!

If you are not at home to use your electricity it's difficult to
store but you can sell it back to the grid. However, the price
paid is about 5p / unit or less than half what you would pay to
buy it from your electricity supplier. Your payback time will be
extended.

You will save more money, more electricity and more greenhouse
emissions by upgrading insulation and buying low-energy light
bulbs, than by installing a turbine on your roof. {solar lights} is
not a solution to Britain's energy gap. Be prepared for
blackouts!



Source by Anthony Day

{solar lights} & Wind EBooks
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