His Divine Shadow wrote:
Well you know wind power? It really sucks when it can't do something on days when there is low demand and lots of wind.
It also sucks when there is more wind than the system can handle and you either need an automatic shutdown or risk catastrophic failure. One such instance lead to an amusuing Celtic tune called The Man Who Shot the Windmill
, relating the tale of a man who installed a windmill on the Isle of Skye for home power. A big storm came up, overloaded the system, and in a panic over the fiery result the owner/operator apparently resorted to shooting said windmill twice with a shotgun to get it to stop. Clearly, this is not the ideal method of controlling one's electical production.
In the American Midwest we can get winds on clear days - that is, under sunny skies - of 70 mph per hour, around 110-115 kph. Nevermind during a real storm. There are systems that, if generating more than the home/building/whatever requires can put the excess into the local grid, descreasing demand on the big commercial powerplants. Past even that point, where things are going into genuine overload, some sort of governor will come into play and either limit rotor speed or shut the thing down
(assuming it works) to CNN recounts a tail of a man who installed a windmill for his home power needs. Of course, it doesn't supply it steadily - some days he does tap into the grid. Other days, he supplies
power to the grid. However, some of his neighbors object, calling it an eyesore and claiming noise violations (when I saw the video on TV I didn't think it looked bad at all, kinda neat in fact, but then I'm evil enough to like things like airplanes so nevermind). One of is neighbors is suing to have it removed. Why? Damn if I know - concerns about property values, it's too new and strange, jealousy, he's and asshole, could be most anything.
But that's why I've argued in other threads that it's not just
a problem of energy and technology - there are social
issues, too. We need to change minds as well as energy sources.
Installing a home windmill wherever such systems have utility would enormously
reduce our dependence on petroluem, even if we left road vehicles alone! Yes, we'd still need the grid for consistent power, and for where/when the wind doesn't blow, but a lot of the time the demand would be much, much lower. We might not need new powerplants. It might buy us more time before a truly serious crash. But only if we can get people to accept windmills the way the accept powerlines - another item frequently described as an eyesore, but it's a price we pay for our extensive power grid.