I see it now. Windmills, soon to be an endangered species.
Other than the slicing and dicing of endangered species not to mention all the regular birds, windmills can make lots of clean electricity. Catch is though, the wind doesn't always blow so you need the old reliable fossil fuel power plants right beside them ready to go. Catch with this is these things can't sit idly by unmanned and unpowered ready to go at a moments notice. They have to be up and running 24-7 so the windmills are basically just expensive and unreliable extra electricity. The fossil fuel plants need to be able to provide 100% of the power needed when the winds not blowing so the windmills become rather redundant.
As an electrical engineer alternative energy has always fascinated me. Love the idea of harnessing the wind or the sun to provide power. But I am well aware of the practicality of doing so. Technology and necessity have to evolve. I don't mind a few grand experiments to prove or disprove the worth of wind power. Hell, look at the money we used to explore space. The use of wind power will grow but I don't see it ever being a major contributor. If it got up to 10% I think that would be amazing. A big country like the U.S. needs a big power source. Nuclear seems to be the only viable source to replace coal, oil and natural gas. I think we can only use wind a solar as a supplement to that and we should.
The big issue with AE is storage, which more than one person has pointed out in this thread. Folks are right to bring it up. Well there's many ways to handle that problem. The kneejerk solution people suggest is batteries. I think that's fine for cars, but I hate it as a grid solution. The best battery tech we have requires Lithium, and that's another finite resource, which puts us back where we started. So I say, leave the Lithium for cars (until we find a better idea) and apply different solutions for grid storage. Here's some ideas:
First, battery solutions are getting better all the time:
Battery Technology - Galvanic cells that store chemical energy
Next, here's a top-level "executive view" of many AE storage solutions (settle in, there's LOTS of them):
Energy storage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Here's another one:
Energy Storage Industry Grows To Integrate Wind, Solar | Renewable Energy News Article
My favorites are:
Hydro-electric storage (Water):
Grid energy storage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pumped-storage hydroelectricity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Since the best wind is in the mid-west and most of the mid-west is flatter than a pancake, hydro-electric may not be the best solution.
So then you use...Air (compressed that is):
Compressed air energy storage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not that I am anti-nuke mind you. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than hare-brained corn ethanol, for example.
Last edited by nijato; 10-20-11 at 01:47 PM.
"A witty saying proves nothing." Voltaire
Supposedly the energy made from this process is self sufficiant and this plant could completely run itself on trash. Ive seen people stick trash into gaint furnaces and harness steam power. But this seems far better than that. (BTW, inspecting metal integrity inside a gaint burnt trash furnace IS NOT FUN)
Last edited by dirtpoorchris; 10-20-11 at 02:05 PM.
Is society was made of coral our world would be floral.