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Archive for Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wind won’t solve energy crisis

August 2, 2008

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The legendary oil entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens and Nobel Laureate Al Gore have announced bold plans to radically reduce America's use of fossil fuels. Both Pickens and Gore want our country to rely much more on wind energy for electricity production. Pickens envisions wind generators across the Midwest, from the Texas Panhandle to the Canadian border. But despite the attraction of wind as a nearly pollution-free energy source, its performance is disappointing.

Even with heavy subsidies from ratepayers and taxpayers over the last two decades, wind supplies only about 1 percent of America's electricity and 2.3 percent in Kansas. A study by the National Center for Policy Analysis determined that wind energy and other renewables and conservation received between $30 billion and $50 billion over the last 20 years. This represents the largest governmental peacetime energy expenditure in U.S. history, outranking the Strategic Petroleum Reserve program as well as spending on the synthetic fuels program during the mid-1970s.

A short-term threat to the growth of wind energy is the looming expiration of federal tax credits at the end of this year. But the wind industry should not ask for more government support. It should be made to stand on its own.

The disadvantage of wind-generated electricity is poor reliability because the weather doesn't always cooperate. The most demanding need for energy is in the afternoons and during air-conditioned summers, but wind works best at night and during the other seasons, though intermittently. Even when the wind is blowing, it takes a 13 mph wind to power a large turbine.

Kansas has 364 megawatts of wind energy. But most of the year the wind is not blowing nearly hard enough to make 364 megawatts.

Last year wind generators nationally produced only 30 percent as much energy in a year as they would if they ran at full tilt, every hour of the year, a measure called "capacity factor." Unlike nuclear power plants such as Wolf Creek, which achieve capacity factors of 90 percent or more, the wind operator cannot decide when the wind generator will run.

Texas has more wind energy than any other state, and bigger problems as a result. Last year the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said that wind power could be counted on as being reliable only 8.7 percent of the time during periods of peak demand. The rest of the time electric utilities were forced to use backup power generation, usually high-priced natural gas.

During a summer heat spell two years ago in California, another state with a lot of wind energy, wind generators operated at only 5 percent of capacity or less, setting off a Level 1 emergency in which people were asked to conserve power by using less air conditioning. Blackouts were barely averted when utilities decided to use gas turbines to provide emergency power.

Another problem with wind farms is their location. Where the wind is best is often hundreds of miles from cities that most need the power, so high-cost transmission lines must be built to transmit the electricity.

Even if the wind industry could overcome some of the obstacles and survive without tax credits and government mandates, the capital cost of installing wind generators - now pushing $2.6 million per megawatt - is likely to continue to rise. What's more, there is a danger that failure of the bold plans of Pickens and Gore could be taken incorrectly as proof that the job of radically cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and reducing U.S. dependence on imported oil cannot be done at all, when, in fact, a real commitment to nuclear power could help achieve both objectives.

No matter what happens, the end message will surely be that there's no real substitute for concerted national action to bring about a balanced mix of low-carbon, domestic energy sources. Simply put, though Pickens and Gore deserve praise for attacking the problems of climate change and oil addiction head on, they may be counting too much on wind.

Russell Mesler is a Lawrence resident and an emeritus professor in Kansas University's department of chemical and petroleum engineering.

Comments

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 4 months ago

Ret: "How about breaking wind?"You have to break wind with free neutrons if you want to make a dent in the energy crisis.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Not sure where you came up with the $1 trillion for that bill, asbestos, but, regardless, at least that does have some possibility of a positive bounce in the economy. Too bad that both Republicans and Democrats were so blinded by their political slush funds that they did away with securities regulations that would have prevented this."Did none of you read that even at 100% utilization of wind energy in Kansas is is 384 MWatts? "Please explain-- what I've read is the true 100% utilization of wind energy would meet all of Kansas's energy needs, with plenty left for export.

geekin_topekan 6 years, 4 months ago

Well Russ,you gotta start somewhere.Did Henry Ford's fisrt car solve transportation woes?What if the Wright brothers quit the first time they crashed?How bout if Being quit developing and designing after the Comet's fiasco?Quit thinking in black and white!It shows ignorance more than anything.If a good idea or viable idea exists then it will grow,expand and the technologies will develop over time.Probaly not in OUR time though so your arrogance and self serving will get you nowhere but you may get an ulcer out of the deal if you really want something to complain about.Begin thinking about future AMericans instead of yourself.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

Alan posted:"- Wolf Creek 1.1 GW (it loses capacity on hot days)- Manitoba HV DC line up to 4 GW (they do have that much water for peaking, some new generators will need to be added to existing hydropower stations)- Wind 1 to 3 GW- New Nukes 1.2 GW to 2.4 GW"I am with you on the conservation but where did you get the idea that Wolf Creek "loses capacity on hot days" where did that come from, I have never heard that before. I don't think it is true. As for your wind, it shows just how crazy you are with your "-wind 1 to 3 GW". Sorry dude but that was the point of the article, there is only 386 MW available in Kansa "to convert" to electricity, far short of the "1 - 3 GW" Wishing in one hand and pooping in the other just gives one dirty hands.

Ragingbear 6 years, 4 months ago

Looks like somebody is worried about the viability of his educational credentials being made obsolete.

ralphralph 6 years, 4 months ago

Clean. Safe. Reliable. Nuclear.There it is.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

He also neglects to mention the many, many $billion ($trillions?) the War/Defense and Energy Departments have spent on nuclear research since the 1940's. Or the unsolved (unsolvable?) problem of nuclear waste.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

The subsidies to the development of wind energy pale in comparison to those supplied to petroleum and nuclear."Russell Mesler is a Lawrence resident and an emeritus professor in Kansas University's department of chemical and petroleum engineering."I guess we can understand why Mr. Mesler has a vested interest in supplying this bit of disinformation.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 4 months ago

Asbestos, I stand by my statistics--I'm talking about per capita energy consumption, and California per capita consumption has stayed flat for the past 30 years--look it up--while US per capita consumption has gone up 60%, and could have decreased 40% if it had followed California's lead and implemented the same measures as it has. This says nothing about additional energy efficiency measures, like the McKinsey Institute study I cited above. Utilities still have no incentive to spend money to make their customers buy less energy. Until this changes, energy efficiency investments will continue to languish while they chase higher cost, less effective investments like new power plants, especially nuclear. I have no idea what your point was about how uranium is a dangerous, controlled substance. The point is that it also receives huge federal subsidies that no private investors will touch, while wind is receiving lots and lots of private investments with comparatively small federal subsidies. As a taxpayer, this is a poor use of my monies, and I might add, it' a poor use of my monies collected by utilities as a ratepayer.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

SOme of these "department of chemical and petroleum engineering" are actually doing the reasearch on the alternative fuels such as oil shale and coal gasification. Just because someone works at a place that has "petroleum" in it is not the enemy. And you so called "open minded" liberals should know that. He also has the "chemical engineering" part and that is the part that looks at molecular formatin, and are the materials scientists that are going to be designing the enzymes to digest wood and and other cellulose materials to methanol and ethanol at a much beter conversion rate than 1.2 btu in per 1 btu of energy produced.This is a "learned" academic and the response here so far shows the liberal academic bias resident in our universities. Rsuu was stating that wind is not the only energy, and even if we could harness all the wind in Kansas there is only 364 MW per year of available wind. That is one half of the coal power plants that were recently rejected, and we are harnassing only a small fraction of that, possibly 10 per cent. So all the billions of wind will never get us out alone.And Russ was clearly not against alternative energy.

BrianR 6 years, 4 months ago

If the wind stops blowing, just place Nancy Grace in front of the turbines and it'll be back up and running in no time.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps it was merely misinformation-- but when someone passes themselves off as an expert in a guest editorial, I think disinformation is the correct term.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

Now if GLobal Warming is so much a threat we need to do the smart things with the available money, which is much more scarce with a downturning economy and the $1,000,000,000,000 dollar bailout for 4000,000 homeowners in the Housing Bailout bill. Yeah the Democratic leadership was a little off on that one. IF the bill was about the "individual" that would mean only 400,000 are potentially eligible for the program, so more than $2,000,000,000, that id 2 billion for each person. (Yes I know it is a bialout fotr the mortgage companies and FHA, but that is not how it was sold to the Public that opposed it, and $25 million for La Raza to boot!)However I digress, if you are going to institute Al Gore's "Apollo Project" for Global Warming get ready to spend, and that money needs to be spent on the issues of energy.There are only a few applications for these technologies/solutions. Wind energy rebates and tax credits should be given to every American that owns their home to put up wind turbines and PV's in a hybrid system. That woudl be a massive offset for energy and is our stop gap. Nukle Plants for electricity.However we still have the same problem with liquid fuels for the trasportation and passenger car sector, and a current fleet of 250,000,000 vehicles. We need to convert the large heavy lifters that consume lots of fuels to alternative liquid fuels, and alternative methane NG, and Propane comp[ressed gas fuels. In the meantime to extend the "fleet service life" and to aleviate some consumer pain, some "hybrid" technology using methane and h2 to "boost" gas vehicle effeciency with a natural gas or h2 or even acetylene boots conversion "bolt on" converters. IT works and is easy, but people are going to have to learn about handling compressed flammable gas containers (bombs). Not just every idiot can merit one of these.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 4 months ago

OK, now that the knee-jerk comments and the knee-jerk responses are out there, does anyone care to actually have a discussion about the issue? I certainly respect the author's evidence-based approach, and think it deserves a measured, respectful discussion.What I would like Mr Mesler to do is look more clearly at the alternatives that he is suggesting to wind, i.e. nuclear power, with more information. I invite all readers to do the same. Consider the following questions and issues:-where does uranium fuel come from? Canada, Australia, the former Soviet Union and Africa, the last time I checked. How does this make us less reliant on foreign sources?-how long is the uranium supply supposed to last at current consumption? 50 years?-Mr. Mesler discusses the "heavy subsidies" that wind receives and the paltry production we have seen as a result, and yet he says nothing about nuclear subsidies: didn't they just get $10 billion from taxpayers in the 2005 Energy Policy Act to jump-start the moribund industry in an attempt to squeeze out 6000 MW of new nuke electricity? In addition to these loan guarantees, cost sharing arrangements and risk insurance agreements, there is a series of deadlines: companies must submit an application by the end of 2008, begin construction by 2014, and be in service by 2021. Several issues come up in my mind over this:-this is Free Enterprise?-how much private investment has actually been committed to nuclear, or is this a commitment of taxpayer and rate payer monies?-why isn't anyone saying anything about the fact that last year 71 BILLION was privately invested in wind?

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 4 months ago

Given the rising demand for petroleum products and the ever-diminishing sources of oil and coal, it is not unimaginable that these resources will be used up in the near future (one or two generations, even if we drill in ANWR, off the coasts, etc.).New energy reaches the earth by one way only: sunlight. Sunlight energy can be captured directly using solar panels. Sunlight energy (heat) drives wind patterns. Sunlight energy is captured by plants to produce new organic molecules that store the sunlight energy.Sunlight is the only truly renewable energy source, and humans had better find a way to efficiently capture it or our lives on this planet will get rather nasty.

devobrun 6 years, 4 months ago

Asbestos says:"Wind and PV systems should be installed in every house in the United States (for those people that want to participate) to offset their energy bill."Have you conducted an energy audit on your system? Capital, operational, maintenance, revenue........all in joules. If your system doesn't produce more energy than it took to make, maintain, operate, and dispose then don't bother.Orwell, the reason that nuke folks can't come up with a waste solution is because the criteria keeps moving. We are becoming increasing worrisome about all risk. The Apollo moon shots would never be undertaken today, given the much higher requirement of safety.Light bulbs would never be allowed given the danger of fires and behavior modification. Dangerous business, this engineering.

Orwell 6 years, 4 months ago

The Nukies have had about half a century to come up with a safe, reliable long-term solution to the disposal problem. In the absence of a solution, they've turned instead to claiming loudly and repeatedly that there's no problem. Pardon me if I don't accept that assurance quite so readily.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

We're spending $1 trillion a year on the war department-- reduce that by about 2/3, and make it a real "defense" department, and, voila, there is nearly $700 billion a year available to find real solutions to our energy needs.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 4 months ago

Alan, I like your "thinking outside the box" ideas that actually involve numbers crunching, unlike so many other posters here, who seem more interested in degrading the quality of the conversation. I'll check out your website and maybe contact you more directly, sans the garbage. Someone asked how we are supposed to come up with all the extra energy we are going to need in the future, and the bulk of the answer, like Alan intimated, can be by mining our own energy inefficiencies, tho this is almost never given the attention it deserves. Check out:www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/ccsi.greenhousegas.asp-in the past 30 years, US energy consumption has gone up 60%, while California's consumption has stayed practically flat the entire time. The reason? They took energy efficiency much more seriously and did something about it. If the entire US took the same steps as California did during that same time, total US consumption would have DROPPED 40%. Think about it.-utilities are paid more to sell more electricity. Why should they spend money to get their customers buy less? That's what putting utilities in charge of energy efficiency measures does. Think about it.-Asbestos and the columnist talked about the subsidies that wind gets. I challenge nuclear to do without their subsidies. They just got 10 billion taxpayer dollars in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to jumpstart the moribund industry, and utilities were given until the end of 2008 to sign up for a new nuke and qualify for the huge taxbreaks, cost sharing, and risk insurance protection in the package. Think this might be a reason we're hearing all this cheerleading about nuclear right now? -Despite all the heavy subsidies for nukes, how much private investment has occurred last year into nukes? Zero. Zilch. Just our taxpayers dollars and ratepayers dollars at work.-How much private investment in wind last year? Seventy one BILLION dollars. Geez, is the marketplace making some choices here? Isn't this how the system is supposed to work?

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 4 months ago

Nuclear power is part of a short-term solution.The problem with nukes is the waste. Radioactive waste means that the waste still has energy that is given off as radioactivity.The nuclear industry has failed to put the dollars and effort into extracting all of the energy from fissile material. Rather, they can make money by using most of the energy and disposing of the waste. This is not a long-term solution.The nuclear industry must be incentivised to extract all of the energy to produce safe, non-radioactive waste.There is also the problem of mining uranium and other fissile materials, which can be an environmental nightmare.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

Nightware:you don't like gas, oil, nuke, drilling, converting corn to alcohol (I argee on that one). What are we going to get our energy from? Thin air? There is that little problem of "Energy cannot be created or destroyed", thingy. You cna't get something from nothing. ANd if you are going to uses "next to nothing" on the energy scale, ie dilute such as wind or solar (which I am for on houses) you have to concentrate it.Making PV panels is not so "environmentally sensitive" either, and batteries will be an ecological nightmare with exotic and heavy metal contamination if the producers are not watched.Energy is a difficult issue. Putting yourself behind the eight ball is unwise.Nancy and Harry are the ones with their heads up their rears. They should have not left on "vacation" before coming up with some energy policy other than the slogan "we can't drill our way out of it". That is as dumb and not supporting the utilization of wind energy and solar energy, or energy conservation issues.For instance, How many of you replace your "light bulbs"?Bully for you, but the real energy is in the heating and cooling of the house and the water heater. How many of you have put in a radient barrier? An "on demand" H2O heater? Newer energy efficient windows and doors? A more efficient air conditioner and heater?Well the water heater is about $300-700 depending what you get, and a new AC unit is around $3000-5000, depending on the house or apartment.How many apartments and Property managers are going to replace to more energy efficient units?My point? People are not replacing these now until they wear out, and they are far less cost than most peoples cars. So if they are not replacing windows and HVACs what is the chance they will replace the car with a hybrid?Gotta drill is the point!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

"Bozo, your ad hominem comment directed against Professor Mesler is not only out of line,"There was nothing "ad hominem" about it. He supplied disinformation, and I was merely trying to identify his motivation for doing so.

devobrun 6 years, 4 months ago

From wiki: "Disinformation is the deliberate dissemination of false information."Bozo, what did he say that was false?If you mean that his perspective is different than yours, then you are engaged in a personal attack.If you mean that he left stuff out, well of course he did. It's a big subject, with lots of angles. And you are engaged in personal attack. Where is the falsehood in Prof Mesler's article?

jonas 6 years, 4 months ago

"This is a "learned" academic and the response here so far shows the liberal academic bias resident in our universities."start program - liberal bias/universitiesP = positionA = Acceptable positionsU = Unacceptable positionsa = academics = subjectr = responsesIf s = a Then access PCrosscheck P on pre-rendered AIf found A Then start subloop Diffuse01If not found A Then assume U - apply label LBU01 "Liberal bias universities"Diffuse01Apply label "learned academic" and crosscheck r for pre-rendered UIf found U Then apply label LBU01 "Liberal bias universities"If not found U then start subloop Diffuse0202Assume U apply label LBU01 "Liberal bias universities"end program - liberal bias universitiesIf s =/= a Then execute program - liberal bias: media

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

"Please explain- what I've read is the true 100% utilization of wind energy would meet all of Kansas's energy needs, with plenty left for export."Physics, plain and simple. There is only so much energy in "wind". Once it pushes agains a turbine blade, that energy is transfered, so the wind downstream has "less" energy. For the monolythic wind blowing across Kansas at the average rate of 20 mph 75% of the days, that wind can only impart 384 MWatts of energy to anything. You will loose some in the generation to heat and mechanical efficiency, but that is all the energy in the Kansas wind. You can try to make generators more efficient, but you still have to start with energy from some start.What you guys yelling about "wind energysolves all" are not realizing, it the finite amount of energy from wind there is to convert to electricity. I am getting ready to install a VAWT on my house in about 6 months, that is where it is needed. I will be developing a "hybrid" system of PV and VAWT (2 of those) over time. But this is "offset, and with all the availble energy you can only offset 20%. Yes, we need to go in that direction, but it is not "wind energy only, and the countries with wind energy are using it to "augment" not replace generatiing capacity.Wind and PV systems should be installed in every house in the United States (for those people that want to participate) to offset their energy bill. We should not be giving tax incentives to corps only to build large windfarms, they should be on your house and mind, we are the taxpayers for God's sake!NIghtmare, the oil and gas, and coal are needed to tansition to this "energy utopia" you guys invision but have no idea to implement or develope. Go with what we have, offshore oil, wind, nuke, clean coal, and wean ourselves off the non-renewables. But not developing energy resources now whatever they are is idiotic, that includes oil. remember the 250,000,000 automotive fleet that is totally gas and deisel right now.Do you actually expect everybody to junk their cars and spend $30K on the current tech. cars, (which cannot be produced at that rate anyway)?Opposing drilling is cutting your nose off despite your face. Remember we also use oil for all the damn plastics we have that generally end up in landfill or in the ocean.We need better dialouge, and opposing drilling, or "transitional energy and fuel sources" is ignorant closed minded, and simply not realistic. The rest of the world is going to drill and burn oil anyway. Bad behavior does not justify bad behavior, I know.SO often the liberals and progressives look to the "rest of thw world", but in this case, the rest of the world is just as petrol addicted as we are and probably worse.Nuke Plants, wind energy farms, and binary LPG/gasoline or acetylene/ahcohol gas/liquid fuels for transportation are necessary now.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

"Have you conducted an energy audit on your system? Capital, operational, maintenance, revenue::..all in joules. If your system doesn't produce more energy than it took to make, maintain, operate, and dispose then don't bother."Yes you are correct Devo. In Kansas where the cost per consumer kilowatthour is much lower, 7-9 cents, there is no way to use these systems, but other states such as Texas where the kWhr rate is 12-15 cents, the payout with the maintenence and payback time is now around 5 years. Offsetting say a 106 degree Texas day AC use is pretty nice at that rate and peak charge. Texas electricity is Natural Gas dominated.Dougie wrote:"Asbestos, I stand by my statistics-I'm talking about per capita energy consumption, and California per capita consumption has stayed flat for the past 30 years-look it up.." That is not what you said, you said consumption. Well per capita with a doubling in the demand, is still an increase in burning fossil fuels, and shows that California is not the way to go. Look at Texas, higher rates, lower percapita use **per unit of energy produced", ie Texas net energy producer and exporter. California, power consumer and not so much in the way of a producer. California needs to do it's fair share energy speaking, and then California would be the worst polluted place in the United states to cover the needs of it's 40 million citizens."while US per capita consumption has gone up 60%, and could have decreased 40% if it had followed California's lead and implemented the same measures as it has."Who wants to follow "California's Progress and lead". The only people that think California has all the answers are poorly informed Kansans who judge the world by what they see o TV. Californians are leaving California in Droves because of Taxes, energy prices, housing prices, illegal aliens, depression of wages, etc. Don;t blow the horn too loudly for California, they are in big trouble. I think the reason they have these "studies" is that nobody is actually takning measurements.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

"-where does uranium fuel come from? Canada, Australia, the former Soviet Union and Africa, the last time I checked. How does this make us less reliant on foreign sources?-how long is the uranium supply supposed to last at current consumption? 50 years?"The U.S. has plenty of Uranium, and is at production limits because of price. Here is the world's production in 2006:http://www.uxc.com/fuelcycle/uranium/production-uranium.html Yes it is correct that the U.S. does not produce much, but that is because like oil, the "easy stuff" is not here, but YES we do have great Uranium reserves, they will be difficult to extractm, but it can work.and a Wiki Article on Peak Uranium:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_uraniumSo I am taking form your post, DougCountry, that you don't like Nuke energy and are using a pretty weak argument by asking question instead of looking at facts. Fact is, that in units of energy, nothing beats a nuke plant other than Hydro which is best if you have falling water, and there is no CO2 output with hydro, ... but you do have to build a dam, and evo-devo groups are not going to like that one bit.

JSDAD 6 years, 4 months ago

but, windfarms look so cool we should subsidise them by making them a tourist attraction and charge admission

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 4 months ago

I think it's pretty clear that hot air, in general-no matter how fast it's moving-won't solve energy crisis.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

"As a taxpayer, this is a poor use of my monies, and I might add, it' a poor use of my monies collected by utilities as a ratepayer."So is bailing out the mortgage broker slimeballs, and the giving services and Social Security and all the rest to ilelgal aleins, but you don't seem to have a problem with that.Look, all congress is doing anymore is giving taxpayer money away.The solution is to make yourself self sufficient, that includes power.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

"We're spending $1 trillion a year on the war department-"Yes and the Democratically lead house and senate passed a $1 Trillion "Housing Bailout Bill" for 400,000 people that qualify. That is about $1.25 Billion per person. In the Senate the GOP members voted with the spendthrift liberals, but in the House the majority of GOPers opposed the bailout as a gimme to the irresponsible mortgage holders.So yes, you can "blame Bush" for the $1 Trillin in the war, but adding a pork driven bill of $1 Trillion does not help.Back to the article, wind power can "supplement" and is necessary in the mix, but so are the other sources of energy.The Dems are yelling "we can't drill our way out of this mess."Well yeah, but we cannot "wind generate" opur way out either. Did none of you read that even at 100% utilization of wind energy in Kansas is is 384 MWatts? It is a part, but not the whole solution.

hipper_than_hip 6 years, 4 months ago

National wind production was at 30% of capacity; at what capacity did KS wind turbines produce?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy00osti/28085.pdfIn-State Wind Energy Potential: 235,200 MW capacity after land use and environmental exclusions 391 billion kWh per year electric energy

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Actually, DougCounty, that was my link. But you won't shake Asbestos from his unattributed 364 megawatt max."That means that the state has 235 gigawatts of wind energy potential. 1 Gigawatt is 1000 megawatts-look it up."Which means 167 times the generating capacity of the proposed Holcomb plants (2 X 700MW.) http://www.awea.org/faq/wwt_potential.html#How%20much%20energy"According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the world's winds could theoretically supply the equivalent of 5,800 quadrillion BTUs (quads) of energy each year--more than 15 times current world energy demand. (A quad is equal to about 172 million barrels of oil or 45 million tons of coal.)"

AlanfromBigEasy 6 years, 4 months ago

ContinuedSome rough calculationsPeak demand in Kansas 10 GW. With conservation (more efficient a/c, better insulation & windows, more efficient lighting, computers, refrigerators, etc.) this could be cut to 8.5 GW. On a hot August afternoon- - Wolf Creek 1.1 GW (it loses capacity on hot days)- Manitoba HV DC line up to 4 GW (they do have that much water for peaking, some new generators will need to be added to existing hydropower stations)- Wind 1 to 3 GW- New Nukes 1.2 GW to 2.4 GWBalance from natural gas that runs for a few hours (perhaps 250 to 500 hours/yr).On a cold January blizzard night, a peak at 6 to 7 PM, 9.5 GW (people moving to geothermal heat pumps, much more efficient cooling and non-gas heating).- Wolf Creek 1.17 GW- Wind 5 to 11 GW- New Nukes 1.2 GW to 2.4 GW- Manitoba HV DC line likely shipping surplus power to Manitoba (certainly will later that night) but might pull 1 or 2 GW south for a few hours.Kansas sells a lot of wind power during the winter to Manitoba (when MB needs it), and buys it back in the summer. In addition there is a daily cycle to get rid of 3 AM surplus nuke & wind and buy it back at peak.Good for Kansas, good for Manitoba !More of my ideas athttp://www.theoildrum.com/node/4301Best Hopes,Alan Drakealan_drake@juno.com

devobrun 6 years, 4 months ago

Notice the first three responses above are personal attacks. They don't disagree with the author on the basis of any engineering or business merit. As if Al and Boone don't have their fish to fry.Windmills are crappy. I flew to Chicago last Saturday. About 100 miles SW of Chicago, we passed over a wind farm. Dozens of windmills with a conventional fossil fuel plant located on the NE corner of the farm. 4:00 in the afternoon, peak energy use, not a single turbine spinning. Smoke coming out of the smoke stack.So lets put up a wind farm out west, add a coal-fired plant next to it for back up, and run the coal-fired plant full time.Never mind the wind mills, they suck.

AlanfromBigEasy 6 years, 4 months ago

No Silver BulletNew Nukes smaller Silver BB than WindThere is no one solution to our energy problems, and I support building as many new nukes as we can safely and economically build, but wind is a bigger and faster solution than new nukes.-A Dept. of Energy study concluded that we can build no more than 8 new nukes in a decade because of a lack of skilled labor and moribund industrial capacity. Dr. Mesler failed to mention that nukes require massive amounts of spinning reserve (hot plants that can ramp up generation within a few seconds) in case they suddenly go off-line, wind requires almost no spinning reserve since they are small and go off-line slowly. Spinning reserve is required to prevent blackouts if reactors "scram", a fire in the transformer yard, tornado knocks out a transmission line, etc.Nukes have their own problems. They come in giant units and the grid and other generation must adapt to them. 90% capacity factor is reached only after decades of operation, many new nukes had 70% and lower (<50%) capacity factors in their early years, and one can never count on a new nuke being on-line when you need it.Nukes cannot be turned up and down (the French tried and failed, they sell power at 3 AM at giveaway prices to neighboring nations, the only way they support a high % nuke. Without Swiss hydro, etc. France could not run much more than 50% nuke). This means that nukes generate power when you do NOT need it (4 AM in April).The solution to both the problems of wind and nuke is pumped storage and/or hydroelectric power. Pumped storage stores power by pumping water uphill and letting it down when needed (81% real world efficiency). Both hydro and pumped storage are good spinning reserves (no wasted energy like a half or zero capacity coal or natural gas plant) kept hot). Kansas is flat and has little potential for either.HV DC loses only 5% per 1,000 miles. Manitoba has 5,000 MW (4x Wolf Creek) of hydroelectric power that they want to develop. They just sold 750 MW of new hydro to Wisconsin (not THAT much further away than Kansas).The ideal for Kansas might be to:1) Build 8,000 to 12,000 MW of new wind generation2) Make a deal with Manitoba for 500 to 1,000 MW average (peak 3,000 MW) of new hydro with a 3 to 4 GW (3,000 MW) HV DC line. Kansas sends surplus wind power to Manitoba (which stores it by holding back on their hydro, like Switzerland does for France). When the wind does not blow, bring down hydropower from Manitoba.Kansas wind is strongest in the winter, and that is when Manitoba hydro is frozen (lots stored in Lake Manitoba that they draw down for winter heating). So a good seasonal match.3) Build a new nuke at Wolf Creek, 1,200 to 1,700 MW. Maybe two if smaller 1.2 GW nukes are built (my preference). Surplus nuke power could also be sent to Manitoba for storage.These three steps could move Kansas to an almost carbon neutral electrical generation. More below

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Now that was an information-packed post, devo. (sarcasm)

KsTwister 6 years, 4 months ago

Hype, do your research people, other countries have proved it works(Denmark,France,Australia to name a few). When the coal runs out, when the oil runs out alternatives will be needed and wind WILL help. http://seekingalpha.com/article/66218-western-wind-energy-powers-california

cato_the_elder 6 years, 4 months ago

Bozo, your ad hominem comment directed against Professor Mesler is not only out of line, but again demonstrates your serious of lack of judgment. Professor Mesler is one of our most distinguished faculty members of long standing. Just because he doesn't agree with you and the rest of your radical environmentalist comrades on this doesn't justify your questioning his credentials or motivation, especially when one considers the many extraordinary services for humanity that engineers have performed throughout recorded history. There are many unanswered questions about "wind power," and Professor Mesler's comments are quite salient, especially at this time.

humblecommentator 6 years, 4 months ago

Wind, Biofuels, Solar, Nuclear, Oil, Natural Gas, Geothermal, New Oil Futures Rules, Anything Else: We Need Them All. We Need Boone Pickens But We Don't Need Him Exclusively. The Only Thing We Don't Need Is To Send Nearly One Trillion Dollars To Foreign Interests Every Twelve Months. And Once Again Congress Has Adjourned Without Doing One Thing About It.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

"http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy00osti/28085:.In-State Wind Energy Potential: 235,200 MW capacity after land use"Thank you Bozo, you blew Alan, and Dougies "1 -3 GW" wind energy away. Pretty clear that the author was correct, and he was stating in the 300 MW range. SO wind energy in Kansas alone will not do it as there is 235,200 MW capacity to begin with.That is less than one third of the proposed holcomb powerplants.

Quigly 6 years, 4 months ago

WOW where has he been for 20 years, WE FREAKING KNEW THAT!! THANKS FOR NOTHING!

Ken Lassman 6 years, 4 months ago

Asbestos, thank you very much for bringing up this link--"http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy00osti/28085:.In-State Wind Energy Potential:235,200 MW capacity after land use"That means that the state has 235 GIGAWATTS of wind energy potential. 1 Gigawatt is 1000 megawatts--look it up. I'm tired of trying to follow your bringing up my points and arguing with completely irrelevant information--all I can say is you seem to like you position better than listening or researching carefully/pushing the pencil yourself.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 4 months ago

To dismiss wind energy by the current state of the industry is very short-sighted. Like any technology, it will improve as investment rises and the technology pushes forward.Maybe wind is not the future. However, we absolutely know that oil and coal are not the future. these are non-renewable energy sources that will eventually be depleted.

devobrun 6 years, 4 months ago

From wiki: "Misinformation is wrong or inaccurate information. It is distinguished from disinformation by motive misinformation is simply erroneous, while disinformation, in contrast, is intended to mislead."So, if Prof. Mesler is erroneous, but not intended to mislead, what about your implication:bozo_ said:"I guess we can understand why Mr. Mesler has a vested interest in supplying this bit of disinformation."In other words, he has a motive for his misinformation?I'm confused, Bozo. Maybe you should start over.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 4 months ago

"-Asbestos and the columnist talked about the subsidies that wind gets."No I did not say anything about subsidies, my points I was agreeing with the author is the limited amount of energy that actually exists in the entire amount of wind in Kansas, 386 Mwatts."-in the past 30 years, US energy consumption has gone up 60%, while California's consumption has stayed practically flat the entire time."No way in heck did California energy comsumption remain "flat" for the last 30 years! That is absurd, and I want to know where the heck you got that little piece of misinformation. California went from 22,800,000 in 1978 to 40,000,000 in 2008. You can look that up anywhere in the Census. WIth 20 some million excess population the energy consumption did not remain "flat". NO WAY did "conservation such as "changing light bulbs" make the energy consumption stay flat when demand would double. That is beyond belief that anyone would actually post something otlandish like that. That is wha happens when you divorce yourself from facts for a political/social agenda, ... the science doesn't mean a damn thing then.Back to Cali., California also does not produce enough energy to meet it's own needs, and does not refine their gas they use. Texas is lampooned as the "dirtiest air around" especially in Houston, but that is where 30% of the nations gas is refined. California doesn't "pay the price" in air pollution, as Texas does.So you have to analyze your so called "facts" a little better."They just got 10 billion taxpayer dollars in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to jumpstart the moribund industry, and utilities were given until the end of 2008 to sign up for a new nuke and qualify for the huge taxbreaks, cost sharing, and risk insurance protection in the package."Dougie! Uranium is a "controled material" unlikie wind, and it is a helluva lot more dangerous that "the wind". As you pointed out before you just cannot run down to the local mine and get some uranimu, however you can just go outside and get dilute energy in the form of wind. It is just not as concentrated as uranium, and Uranium is regulated and there a whole lot of safety issues to go through, so it needs the subsidy, unless you want raqctors buit by "low bid contracts". I don't!

camper 6 years, 4 months ago

I still like the possibilities of wind, geothermal, and psoosibly hdro from our coastlines. I think nuclear is also a solution. Does anyone know if there has been any advancement(s) in disposing the nuclear waste?Also, I think a good start may be by beginning to build all new cars that can run both on gasoline and ethanol. The catch....ethanol should be derived from sugar...not corn. If there were not such high trade restricitions on sugar, it could be viable.

camper 6 years, 4 months ago

Good idea. Solar and wind are both steps in the right direction. I think the problem with solar right now is that it the panels take up too much space. Maybe we can utilize rooftop area on current structures somehow? Encourage solar installation?

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