Author Topic: Wind turbines and politics  (Read 12608 times)

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Offline zapta

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #75 on: February 27, 2016, 02:58:36 PM »
The ones I don't like are those who tout the benefits of wind power, but don't want it generated anywhere near anyplace they go.

Such as the Kennedys

http://grist.org/article/capecod/

Quote
...Greenpeace USA staged a demonstration against well-known eco-activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who’s been an outspoken opponent of the proposal for a 130-turbine wind-power project in Horseshoe Shoal
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Offline Mechanical Menace

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #76 on: February 27, 2016, 05:08:14 PM »
The ones I don't like are those who tout the benefits of wind power, but don't want it generated anywhere near anyplace they go.

I agree 100%. But that type generally don't want ANY generating capacity or visible distribution network anywhere between themselves and the horizon, don't want traffic running past their house but don't want any more roads built, don't want to see their neighbours children on the street but don't want "juvenile gangs*" playing in the park, want to live near a good school but want to ban the kids playing in the schoolyard at break and lunch**, want their easy foreign holidays but never want to see a plane in the sky, and on, and on...


*i.e. more than one child.
**actually happened where I recently moved from |O
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Offline Keridos

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #77 on: March 01, 2016, 11:06:20 PM »
Usually people complain about things they never really saw/met in projects like those. @Mechanical Mance: Yes those, sorry, idiots are annoying here in germany as well. Double standards everywhere.

You won't get a trauma just from seeing a few Wind Turbines. Ok, they are not that pretty most of the time, but I personally kind of like them. Can't say much about the noise they produce though. Here in germany we got a lot of those, mainly in the north near the sea though, so not much where I live. It is substituted at this moment but in the future I think it might get more attractive to build them.
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Offline Marsman1

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #78 on: August 11, 2017, 01:23:00 PM »
I was reading through this thread and saw several posts about renewables vs fossil fuel.  From an operational stand point renewables can not replace fossil fuel plants in all cases.  Fossil fuel plants (gas, coal) are needed to produce base load power because they can run 24/7.  Renewables can't fill this role because of their intermittent nature e.g. Wind does not blow continually at a constant speed, the sun does not always shine and a hydro plant may have too much or too little water.  Renewables can help to fill the need for power during peak times to offset any extra fossil fuel generation.  The only other source of base load generation currently available is nuclear, and who wants that.  All sources of electric generation have their own environmental impact.  So how do we balance our want for power and our need to protect the environment?
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #79 on: August 11, 2017, 04:52:18 PM »
Oh you just happened upon this thread right after joining despite the fact it is over a year old and very buried ?

You make some peoples standard case and the case depends on what your assumptions are. There are various scenario's, one includes storage, I have just started looking into this myself and storage solutions are already available that are cheaper than using the grid, I could charge up during the day and then come home and use my power instead of giving it away during the day, the battery bank with built in inverter costs a little less than the power it can store over it's life time times the current cost of electricity before we talk about price rises some already guaranteed to us when a certain nuclear plant comes on line, over budget and late. I hope by then to be fully off grid.
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Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #80 on: August 12, 2017, 04:58:43 PM »
Basic problem is that climate change activism has become a kind of religion with the windturbine as its crucifix. We have to separate the engineering from the politics and the preaching if we want to see the real picture.

Leaving aside whether climate change is real, the key question is whether mass-erection of turbines over the whole planet will solve it. The best answer we can give to that, is no. Forty years of turbine building have not reduced carbon dioxide emissions at all.

They were sold to governments on the strength that mass deployment would give continuous power 'because the wind always blows somewhere' and that wind energy would be cheaper than that from fossil fuel. Neither has turned out to be the case. Denmark and Germany with the greatest deployment, have the most costly electricity of anywhere in Europe. Denmark has to rely on imported electricity when the wind doesn't blow, and that puts them at the mercy of producers who can charge whatever they like.

On average, the turbines do provide a fair proportion of our electricity supplies. However (and contrary to the promotional claims on which deployment started) that contribution is very variable. Even with nationwide deployment, the UK has seen intervals of three weeks over which wind's contribution was as near to zero as gives a damn, and two months over which it was negligible. Thus, if (as the Greens propose) we were to build a battery storage system to overcome the wind outages, it would have to supply the entire demand of a country for at least three weeks. Now, that is one tall order. Can you imagine a battery that size? Definitely won't fit in an AA holder, that's for sure.

As a hill walker I've visited quite a few windfarms, and noted that the noise problem is greatly exaggerated. Even downwind of a turbine in strong wind, it's not greatly noticeable. In fact the noise from the hydraulic oil cooler at the base of the tower is much louder than that from the blades. Early designs produced a very objectionable whine from the gearbox or generator, but the new ones seem to have that fixed. 

A more serious problem than noise is sun strobing. This is very objectionable, and could even trigger epilepsy in susceptible people. It would only be a problem where houses are within a few hundred yards from the turbines though, and in certain orientations. 

Hilltop installations do involve considerable damage to fragile ecosystems, in the form of roads driven in and vegetation stripped from the entire site. This may recover over time, but I can't see the operators allowing trees to grow back as that would probably affect performance by shielding the turbines. Offshore installations, meanwhile, are hideously expensive. You're basically building an offshore platform to produce only a few MW of power at best.

An issue which the promoters don't seem to have considered is that the life of a turbine is rated at about 20 years, yet the plan to solve climate change requires us to keep deploying turbines at the current rate until about 2050. By that time, the ones being erected now will have worn out and had to be replaced at least once, if not twice over. This could end-up being asymptotic, like a capacitor charging curve, where the demands of repair and replacement eventually take up all of your resources before you reach your deployment goal.

We also know that the vendors have employed dubious tactics like employing NGOs as shills to promote their products. Here's an example of a fake 'activist' website that was actually owned by the UK windturbine installers' consortium. It's since been taken down.

So overall, whilst they're not entirely useless I do feel that they are a hyped-up product which falls short of the vendors' advertising claims. Perhaps the stupidest aspect is that our government didn't seek any contractual penalties to cover this shortfall arising. A further crazy situation is that constraint payments have to be made in respect of all wind energy which could have been provided, even though it was surplus to requirements. In high winds that amounts to (cue Dire Straits..) Why on earth they ever signed-up to such conditions, heaven knows.

So, I've tried to be objective and avoid the rants. Most of this info is available on our website.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 05:33:46 PM by IanMacdonald »
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #81 on: August 12, 2017, 06:43:48 PM »
The electricity price in Germany is only high for consumers and small businesses. Large consumers get rather low rates as they don't pay much for the renewables. Much of the high cost is for subsidies for old installations and especially solar. The price of electricity is rather political set in many countries - not so much a true market price. New wind turbines don't get much money any more - and they still build them. Especially new offshore wind-farms are now build essentially for future market price.  They were initially rather expensive, but now seem to be competitive.

Storage is a problem in the future and will increase the costs, but there are no good alternatives. France needs quite some peak power from Germany, because their nuclear power plants can't deliver it. Batteries are not that suitable for longer time storage, but there are alternatives to this (water, gas from electricity - low efficiency, but low storage costs). Also a stronger grid can help - the UK might get peak power from Norway (with plenty of flexible hydro), just like Denmark does. Especially off shore wind is also more predictable than on shore wind and thus less storage needed.  At least for the next few decades we will need some fissile energy to support storage.

At least in Germany wind gives most of the power when it is actually needed: before the installation of wind and solar power, electricity was most expensive around noon - now we tend to get a lower price at noon.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #82 on: August 13, 2017, 04:20:00 AM »
Unfortunately no one in government is a technical expert or understands anything about technology and so is easily duped. I keep hearing from people "someone said and it's not true that such and such" ok so that person lied, why blame the technology. Things will continue to improve and obviously wind cannot be the ony answer, to suggest that is foolish. I work "across the valley" form my most local wind farm and can see them from out office window. I often go to the window to draw water from the tea urn for my regular cuppa's, the turbines are usually always going round.

I have 1.5KW of solar panels dumped in my back garden often in the shade yet i make 30% of my annual usage. If I put them on a frame pointing at the correct angle and cut down the tree in front of them I could easily make 1/2 of my annual usage if not more, at this point a battery pack with which I would break even if electricity stays at 17p/KW looks attractive and the batteries will only get better.

Yes we need to protect from long term power shortages and we may need to rely on some older technology but we are still moving in the right direction. We are building a nuclear power plant that in todays terms will produce the most expensive electricity ever made and is likely to be built over budget and arrive later than promised. By that time the pure facts of the price of renewable may have overtaken it's capability and/or that electricity will only go up in price as the plant will be over budget. Who wants to buy electricity from nuclear at 4 times the price renewable's can deliver, and now with gas plants the price keeps going up. Over the next 5 years I can see myself going off grid, and I'm in the UK!
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #83 on: August 13, 2017, 06:40:03 AM »
People predict the future with far more confidence than is warranted.  This is true across the board of energy source advocates.  It is fortunate that various people and places are pursuing a variety of strategies.  Some of them will be successful.  Others will be less so, and others may even prove to be disastrous.  That is the description of evolution in technology.  Contestants are chosen looking forward.  Winners are determined by looking backwards.

Fortunately this process will answer my general concern.  All of our best answers for a long term renewable energy strategy have only been deployed at a relatively small scale, and for a relatively short time.  Many of the problems of existing technologies only became apparent when the scale grew and time had passed.   I am sure that for some of these technologies our grand-children will be doing face plants and saying how could they have been so stupid and short sighted.  Hopefully not for all of them, or at least not for some that have yet to be invented.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #84 on: August 13, 2017, 10:36:47 PM »
As you say it takes time to prove technologies, I sit opposite a guy at work that is a steam and pushrods guy, if it's electrical it's the devils work and he does nothing but criticise every new idea and play the industry expert when he is clueless what he is talking about and is skewed in his views, usually he will quote a renewable energy clegyman and point out the flaws and all I can say is yes, that particular person is lying but there are benefits. He expects not to replace stuff with new technology but have new technology perform miracles whilst it is in it's infancy.

I bought solar panels when I thought the price was right, I am now looking at storage but the price might not quite be right and again most storage solutions are based on feed in tariffs and are willing to waste the solar power through excessive conversion processes whilst assuring the feed in tariff holder they will not loose out as the power is metered at the panels and who gives a stuff if we put an extra step of power conversion in and waste that power, the consumer is still being paid, it's all about the money still  :palm:
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Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #85 on: August 14, 2017, 05:23:06 PM »
People predict the future with far more confidence than is warranted.  This is true across the board of energy source advocates.  It is fortunate that various people and places are pursuing a variety of strategies.  Some of them will be successful. 

That is true, although we are seeing a dangerous situation arise where some industry cartels are trying to stifle development of any competing products. Prime example is the disinformation campaign against shale gas, spearheaded by NGOs who are in the pay of the wind industry. Though, this has even extended to Greenpeace trying to get fusion research stopped. Basically if it's a competitor, or even a potential competitor to their product, they want  it banned.

Latest manifestation is a French law banning the sale of anything BUT battery-powered cars after 2030. Nobody knows what technologies will be invented by 2030, and the implication is that the battery car manufacturers want to ensure they have no competition. This sort of thing could be extremely damaging both for the human race and for the environment, since it effectively makes it pointless to develop other, possibly better, technologies. For example fuel cells.

This kind of market-manipulation skulduggery arises whenever an industry based on government subsidies grows to the point where it can call the tune on the policies of the same government providing the subsidy. 
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #86 on: August 14, 2017, 09:43:31 PM »
People predict the future with far more confidence than is warranted.  This is true across the board of energy source advocates.  It is fortunate that various people and places are pursuing a variety of strategies.  Some of them will be successful. 

Latest manifestation is a French law banning the sale of anything BUT battery-powered cars after 2030. Nobody knows what technologies will be invented by 2030, and the implication is that the battery car manufacturers want to ensure they have no competition. This sort of thing could be extremely damaging both for the human race and for the environment, since it effectively makes it pointless to develop other, possibly better, technologies. For example fuel cells.


Hasn't the UK banned anything with a petrol or diesel engine at similar dates ? This stuff should be taken with a pinch of salt as it's a long way off and we know that 4+ governments later political will will be different. I think they are trying to respond to general concerns about emissions. You don't seem to think combustion engines are a problem. Either way we will thankfully run out of oil or it will become so expensive that electric will just take over as the market force. If I had a driveway I'd buy and electric car now but I don't so I can't charge it. Due to the regenerative braking they are vastly more efficient than combustion engine and that is just a fact of physics. I am against new technologies being positively discriminated, lots of people in the UK are making a mint of us tax payers with feed in tariffs when all we had to do was wait for the technology to mature and come down in price as it has. I think the government should have done more to protect the price of a feed in tariff but instead they now only force energy companies to pay so little assuming they are paying that much that it's not economically viable. FIT's should be set at the market wholesale rate, and I doubt that is 1.67p/Kw when I pay 15+p/Kw
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #87 on: August 15, 2017, 01:48:28 AM »
Actually the French law is ideal - as long as everyone doesn't join them.  Here in the US we had a similar thing where California passed a mandate along these lines, with a due date of around 2005 as I recall.  It caused intense development activity and was a prime driver for the EV-1.  But time showed that it wasn't ripe yet and the mandate was modified and then effectively died. 

Having countries try different directions is just what I was talking about.  There will be loser and winners and eventually the winners will be copied.

The things I am worried about are much more subtle.  Wind generators for example take only a tiny fraction of the total energy from the air mass and everyone assumes that it is negligible.  But is it?  If you look at the plots of energy radiated to space with a pre-industrial atmosphere and our current CO2 enhanced atmosphere the differences are tiny.  Same thing goes for large scale solar.  When we pave the equatorial deserts of the world with solar cells, reducing their albedo by a fraction and shipping that energy north to the industrial zones will that have measurable impact on weather patterns?  What byproduct of large scale manufacture of Lithium ion batteries will turn out to be un-manageable?

 
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Offline Simon

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #88 on: August 15, 2017, 02:23:30 AM »
Again politicians haven't a clue what they are doing because they took funnily enough politics degrees or business ones which don't teach you about technology. I'm not sure what you are saying about past and present levels of CO2 but often subtle changes have a large effect, few systems are linear in response.
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Offline schmitt trigger

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #89 on: August 15, 2017, 03:44:25 AM »
I was reading through this thread and saw several posts about renewables vs fossil fuel.  From an operational stand point renewables can not replace fossil fuel plants in all cases.  Fossil fuel plants (gas, coal) are needed to produce base load power because they can run 24/7.  Renewables can't fill this role because of their intermittent nature e.g. Wind does not blow continually at a constant speed, the sun does not always shine and a hydro plant may have too much or too little water.  Renewables can help to fill the need for power during peak times to offset any extra fossil fuel generation.  The only other source of base load generation currently available is nuclear, and who wants that.  All sources of electric generation have their own environmental impact.  So how do we balance our want for power and our need to protect the environment?

What you said  :-+ :-+
I have an acquaintance working for an utility. They are investing in renewable energy, but at least they do have a very clear understanding that renewables cannot support on its own the base load. It would be foolish otherwise.
The strategy they have chosen is to add quick-starting gas turbines to support the renewable generators.
The advantage of a gas turbine is that they may be divided in smaller sections and don't require the immense investment a thermal plant all at once.

Having said that, it does increase significantly the total investment. Part of that investment goes to the actual renewables, the other part to the standby gas turbines.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #90 on: August 15, 2017, 03:47:22 AM »
No renewables are not always going to work, think of an electric tractor, no regenerative breaking sitting in a field running a piece of machinery.

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Offline fourtytwo42

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #91 on: August 15, 2017, 05:02:43 AM »
I want to bitch about FIT's, basically the technology they apply to wind, solar, chp are all mature and should not require subsidy particularly as it is added to everybody else's energy bills. Most of all I hate the fact it was guaranteed for such stupid lengths of time (25 years). By my reckoning if a piece of technology cannot become self supporting within 5 years it's not worth proceeding with and as for lumbering everybody else with ever increasing energy prices to support it  :palm: Another piece of political junk were being lumbered with is so called smart meters, I have heard so much rubbish about what they are going to do for us I find it hard to understand even politicians being taken in, it's actually a money saving scheme for the utilities (save on meter readers) but were gonna pay for it. Now don't get me going on politicians and batteries  :rant:
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #92 on: August 15, 2017, 06:02:22 AM »
Yes I don't like feed in tariffs, or rather not what we currently have. I think that if I send energy onto the grid I should get the same wholesale rate as the power is traded at, I know it won't be what I pay as a consumer and certainly not the stupid 3x what everyone else was promised. All I'd ask is the going rate and be happy to buy it back at the going consumer rate. Instead I will be pushed to install my own batteries when they become viable. I also don't agree with the fixed price guaranteed to EDF to run a nuclear power station, again the market has been fixed.
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Offline Someone

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #93 on: August 15, 2017, 08:46:29 AM »
Yes I don't like feed in tariffs, or rather not what we currently have. I think that if I send energy onto the grid I should get the same wholesale rate as the power is traded at, I know it won't be what I pay as a consumer and certainly not the stupid 3x what everyone else was promised. All I'd ask is the going rate and be happy to buy it back at the going consumer rate. Instead I will be pushed to install my own batteries when they become viable. I also don't agree with the fixed price guaranteed to EDF to run a nuclear power station, again the market has been fixed.
You're a drop in the ocean, they don't want to setup a complex metering and billing structure for your small number of kWh per day. The wholesale price is well known:
http://www.energybrokers.co.uk/electricity/historic-price-data-graph.htm
averaging around 4-5p/kWh but it goes above as high as 50p/kWh in extreme conditions and down under 2p/kWh. If you start moving enough power then you can get access to the wholesale market, once smart meters are available widely it will be possible to create "virtual" plant operators aggregating many small solar installs into a large enough entity to trade on such terms but you need an extremely cheap way to account for all the power flows correlated to the market pricing to do this.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #94 on: August 15, 2017, 09:53:16 AM »
Again politicians haven't a clue what they are doing because they took funnily enough politics degrees or business ones which don't teach you about technology. I'm not sure what you are saying about past and present levels of CO2 but often subtle changes have a large effect, few systems are linear in response.

Stated simply, it appears likely that our climate is changing due to increased CO2 levels.  The widely quoted greenhouse effect is the cause.  When dumbed down for the popular press it is made to sound as if we are throwing a down quilt over the earth.  When you look at the actual data it is more like changing the thread count in the existing blanket from 400 to 401.  Not something that most people would panic over.

Now, in light of that explanation, think of the negligible effects of wind turbines on atmospheric flows, or the effects of solar farms on heat distribution.  It has taken years of study and modelling to come up with our current incomplete understanding of the effects of changing CO2 levels.  It will probably take a similar level of time and effort to answer similar questions about "clean" energy.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #95 on: August 15, 2017, 10:47:05 AM »
Same thing goes for large scale solar.  When we pave the equatorial deserts of the world with solar cells, reducing their albedo by a fraction and shipping that energy north to the industrial zones will that have measurable impact on weather patterns?

Measurable? Possibly. Significant? No.

Covering only 0.5% of land area with 15% efficient PV panels would produce power equivalent to annual world needs. And they would not all be located in equatorial deserts.

That is not to say that PV alone can or will ever fully replace fossil fuels (it can't and won't for several reasons) but there is no basis form arguing that if it did, that it would have a some sort of significant impact on weather patterns. Similarly, large wind farms, while having small local effects, would have negligible effects on global weather. Practically speaking we'd never realistically even be able to approach the amount of installed wind needed to fully replace fossil fuels (see link above).

A combination of wind and solar could replace a large percentage of current fossil fuel based electricity production but IMHO it is unlikely that it ever will.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 10:53:20 AM by mtdoc »
 

Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #96 on: August 16, 2017, 04:19:47 AM »
I've met with quite a few politicians and basically they are nowhere near as dumb as the public seem to think. In fact, most are highly intelligent. The issue is that no-one can know everything about all subjects, so in order to form policies on issues they don't they have the expertise to tackle themselves, they have to rely on advice from various research committees.

Now, for politicians it is mostly a no-no to have business interests which would sway their decisions toward benefiting themselves at the expense of the country.  However, there is nothing to stop the research bodies they rely on from having such interests, and especially in the energy market above all others, that is where the problem lies.

Though, there have been a couple of rather scandalous cases of UK energy ministers having personal interests in wind energy companies. This should not have been allowed, and yet it was. Not sure why. In almost all similar cases the offending politico would have been given the Order of the Size 10.
 

Offline Marsman1

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #97 on: August 16, 2017, 01:21:36 PM »
In my area of the U.S. some of the personal renewable systems have been marketed as being able to supply your needs and still have capacity to sell back to the utility so that you get a check instead of a bill each month.  Some people have assumed that when they install these systems that they will sell power back at the same rate as what they buy it for.  I don't know anyone personally who has installed one of these but I wonder after you add up the installation cost and the life span of the equipment versus the actual power produced where is the break even point?  These consumer based systems can also cause issues with the utility with load balancing since they are typically single phase units and are relatively far from the load.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Wind turbines and politics
« Reply #98 on: August 16, 2017, 09:45:02 PM »

You're a drop in the ocean, they don't want to setup a complex metering and billing structure for your small number of kWh per day. The wholesale price is well known:
http://www.energybrokers.co.uk/electricity/historic-price-data-graph.htm
averaging around 4-5p/kWh but it goes above as high as 50p/kWh in extreme conditions and down under 2p/kWh. If you start moving enough power then you can get access to the wholesale market, once smart meters are available widely it will be possible to create "virtual" plant operators aggregating many small solar installs into a large enough entity to trade on such terms but you need an extremely cheap way to account for all the power flows correlated to the market pricing to do this.
[/quote]

Indeed, but like you say a system can be setup. With a smart meter or other metering device that reports back automatically it is a small matter to give credit when you export and debit when you consume, you pay the balance at the end of the month. Yes it would be complicated to do do one individual and not worth it but for thousands of customers it's worth it but then the big energy companies want to sell power not buy it. sadly with a privatised energy system only government policy can drive policy and change.
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