Fri, 24 Jun 2011 12:59 pm
Will wind power ever make a meaningful contribution to the UK's energy supply? Are problems with intermittency unsurmountable?
To get you started here are some comments from readers of The Engineer:
"Renewable energy is not cost effective compared with conventional electricity generation. The huge subsidies will eventually drain the economy."
"The huge subsidies paid to the renewable generators will end up crippling the UK."
"The whole wind power farce is built on subsidies,paid for by industry. Without subsidies not one turbine would ever be built"
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Thu, 30 Jun 2011 4:42 pm
The idea of combining wind and wave power is being pursued by Danish firm Floating Power Plant, which has been developing its Poseidon device since the 1980s. It has just formed a US company to sell the turbines over there.
But with waves being largely dependent on wind, this doesn't really solve the intermittency problem.
Of course tidal energy is at least regular if not constant so perhaps a floating wind turbine with a tidal element would be a good way to go.
Is anyone aware of any company pursuing this idea?
Mon, 4 Jul 2011 1:12 pm
Sorry, I should have been more specific - tidal is what I meant.
I live on the kent coast and there is a very strong ebb and flow on most tides,
I couldn't see why someone wasn't looking at fitting a tidal turbine at the
base - to use the regular movement as well as the wind.
Let's hope someone gets on it soon!
Mon, 21 Nov 2011 3:59 pm
After listening to views regarding how they hate wind farms and what a waste of time they are, and negative views about renewables.
There needs to be more development of renewable, over years, to actually find out just what is feasible, combined with teaching us to use less power. But my main point is that if Wind farms are really unsightly and a waste of time, then we can take them away and think of something else, probably like most renewables. On the other hand if the coal is all dug out and the oil is all sucked up and we have more nuclear power, this can't be reversed with what we know now.
Fri, 9 Mar 2012 4:43 pm
Renewables draining the economy?!? and the Banks have nothing to do with it... I suggest a glass of orange juice to get those Neurons moving tomorow morning and perhaps the realisation that our children are doomed if we keep thinking (and doing) what the politicians what us to. An 'Engineer' in denial is nothing but a mere caretaker with fancy toys..
Sat, 17 Mar 2012 3:33 pm
Electrical giant, Samsung is to pioneer a European offshore wind farm on the Fife coastline, testing and building a 7 Megawatt turbine. They are demonstrating a real commitment to low-carbon energy, investing £100 million into the project and creating 500 extra jobs in renewable energy. As an added bonus, Scotland's profile will be elevated as they ensure Samsung's new surge in sustainable power.
Mon, 14 May 2012 6:35 pm
I am more than a little surprised at the attitude taken by so many of your contributors and correspondents on the subject of renewable energy, an attitude verging on the quasi religious, which has been adopted by the popular media, but one which I would not have thought would have found favour with your readership.
The engineering challenges presented by renewable energy are clearly very exciting, but this excitement should not overshadow the undeniable fact that renewable energy will be, for the foreseeable future, very much more expensive than generation by conventional means.
It is therefore prudent to step back a little from the engineering aspects of this to look at the broader picture. If we accept, for the moment, that mans carbon dioxide emissions will cause significant climate change, reducing the output from the United Kingdom, which contributes some 5% of global emissions, will have no perceptible effect whatsoever on climate change, but will have a very significant effect on the nation's economy, and seriously reduce the ability of this nation to compete in world markets.
It would seem logical that since we, as a nation, have no prospect of influencing climate change nor of persuading the rest of the world's nations to take appropriate action, it would best serve our interests to use whatever spare resources we have to mitigate against the effects of climate change if and when it happens.
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 4:34 pm
The arguement that our contribution is insignificant, therefore we shouldn't concern ourselves is a fallacy. By denying our industry any chance to compete against other countries that are developing the technology is to throw away the opportunity badly need jobs and income.
Even without subsidies wind and solar PV are starting to become economic against fossil fuels, despite the major subsidies and hidden expenses associated with fossil fuels. Coal burning power stations release more radioactive dust than the nuclear industry (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste), they cause breathing problems (http://www.ersnet.org/eu-affairs/item/4636-43-billion-the-health-cost-of-coal-fired-power-stations.html), and receive higher tax subsidies (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/27/wind-power-subsidy-fossil-fuels).
The main issues with renewables are intermittancy, and immature technology. Both will be improved by using a diversity of sources and development of more powerful and reliable wave, and tidal generators, storage technologies, and a modern HVDC spine for the grid. Some of these developments are going to have to be made anyway as parts of the grid become outdated and require re-furbishment, upgrade or replacement.
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