Here's where you forget about "wind power" as an alternative source of power.

Monday, 25 January, Year 8 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Intro :

BingoBoingo mod6: When do you think it would make sense to dam the Mississippi river to generate hydroelectric power for mining?
mod6 Yesterday.

BingoBoingo Nah, need more Hodl first. Also friendlier locals to work with.
mod6 There are dams already, There is one I was just looking at in Minneapolis while standing outside in -20 weather. Looked reasonable to me! haha.

BingoBoingo Those dams are weak though. I'm talking south of the Ohio river confluence
assbot Hennepin Island Hydroelectric Plant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ... ( )

mod6 Ah, yah, I'm sure bigger and better ones would be a good thing, at some point. Around here, and especially in southern MN & all over Iowa they have HUGE wind turbines in place.
BingoBoingo I'm talking make 3 gorges look like Hennepin island.

assbot Wind power in Iowa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ... ( )

mod6 Apparently 5688 MW in '14
mircea_popescu Cool, 5GW over their lifetime will be just enough to cover the energy cost of hauling in replacements.

Mathro :

  • 5688 MW over a year comes to 9 * 10^16 Ji at a perhaps overgenerous 50% average capacity.
  • meanwhile the GGEii is 1.2 * 10 ^ 8 J and the freight ton-km per GGE comes to about 100iii.
  • So therefore if wind power additional capacity takes 110 tons per newly installed MWiv and that tonnage has to be moved on average 10`000 kmv, then the installation in question took 5688vi * 110vii * 10`000viii / 100ix * 1.2 * 10 ^ 8x = 7.5 * 10^15 J in transportation energy costs alone. That's right.

Read it and weep : newly installed wind power generating capacity costs 8.33 % of the energy it will produce in the first year to merely transport the parts throughout the supply chain (should it work that full year at 50% installed capacity on average and require no servicing or part replacement).

Basically - it has to work the first month just to cover the taxi fare.

If you're at all familiar with how industrial processes have worked throughout the history of human civilisation, you have to be aware transportation costs have been historically quite stable at about a tenth of the manufacturing cost. And no, we didn't count any of the energy costs involved in you know, actually manufacturing anything, we're just counting moving parts around.

The reason it works economically is because you're running the whole thing out of oil. That's it, and that's all. Wind power is alternative in the sense that begging mommy for more money is an alternative to daddy's allowance. Should daddy move on, your "alternative" is going to be worth exactly as much as the dysfunctional brain that propels you through life on the dubious strength of strong convictions formed on a single data point.

  1. The Joule, I'll have you know, is the unit of measure for energy, which is what everything is all about. No, not power. Forget power. []
  2. Gasoline gallon equivalent. []
  3. Ie, you can either move 100 tons one km or one ton 100 km for a gallon's worth of standard gasoline. Actually, the correct figure is 98, but whatever. []
  4. The average turbine delivery comes to something like 2MW / unit, and the average weight thereof comes to about 221 tons. One of the more commonly deployed items - GE's 1.5 MW is 164 tons. (And for the record : the thing consists of a 35.5 m blades spinning atop a 64.5 m tower, for a maximal clearance of 100 m. The blades sweep a vertical airspace just under one acre.)

    By the way, ever wondered why there's ten billion sources on the webs about how much power is involved in wind generation, but scarcely any discussion of the weight involved ? Must be due to #totallynotacult, weight just doesn't matter like power does. Right ? Discussions should always be kept safely within, and decisions must be always made on, the safe basis of a single data point. Don't go for two - you might find things you don't want to hear in the storm of racist confusion & domestic terrorism that might well ensue. Be safe out there! []
  5. This figure seems to you exaggerated merely because you think in terms of moving the finished product from the manufacturer to the final location. While it's true that that distance is usually under (if close to) to 1000 km, it is also true that the parts have also be moved to the factory, and yes that cost counts (and yes for the whole weight - it's not like GE magically enacts matter out of the void). Those parts would not be freighted around if the turbine weren't being made, and the metals and other raw materials from which they were made similarly wouldn't be carried from wherever meteors deposited them in the crust to wherever it was convenient to erect the steel plant and so on. A fair "transportation only" figure would probably be futher still in the five digit range (as real-life industrial processes are even more complicated than their Euloran counterparts), but let's let it be. []
  6. MegaWatt count []
  7. Tons needed for each installed MW. []
  8. Distance each ton has to go. []
  9. Ton-km per GGE factor. []
  10. GGE energetic equivalent. []
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14 Responses

  1. Ditto photovoltaics.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 25 January 2016

    Yeah somebody should write down the math for that stuff.

    Nevertheless, as far as photovoltaics are concerned there's at least the hope, however faint, that better materials may be discovered that'll turn the math on its head, a hope backed by the absolute certainty that the only way to find those is through spending money.

    The same argument can't really be brought about a fully mechanical oversized windmill.

  3. Yes. Except maybe for the implied part that other ways to generate electricity are by some order of magnitude better.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 25 January 2016

    Nuclear is better by about five orders of magnitude. Hydro by about four.

  5. Indeed wind power on earth is not so powerful any more after invention of steam engines.
    While we're around energy what's your opinion on metastable hafnium 178? 2,5MeV sounds like loads of fun for everybody.

  6. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 25 January 2016

    I dun know enough to have one. For that matter, pretty much nobody does yet.

  7. > hafnium 178

    Infamous 'atomic bullet' crackpottery.

    Even supposing it works precisely as described, the economics of making it resolve to those of operating a classical fissile reactor.

  8. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 26 January 2016

    Incidentally, Ro NATO bezzle.

  9. Smelting aluminium is 15MWh/ ton. Seeing how most of the turbine is Al by mass, 1650MWh in smelting expenditure per installed MW of generating capacity means a further 3300 hours or ~ 4.5 months of the assemblage's useful life goes to cover smelting Al. One month here, four-five months there, soon enough it's all gone, gone gone.

  10. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 26 January 2016

    Something like that.

  11. michael landers`s avatar
    michael landers 
    Saturday, 30 January 2016

    So a 2MW wind turbine turns a gallon of gas into 250 gallons of gas, assuming a 20-yr useful turbine life. Thanks for the information! Quite Biblical, this miracle.

  12. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 30 January 2016

    Yes, and unprotected sex turns a spoonfull of goo into at least two or even three pounds of usable meat within the year! Another Biblical miracle in the same vein.

    What are you, stupid ?

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