Another consultation is announced for an offshore wind farm:
Public consultation dates for a planned wind farm project off the coast of Aberdeen have been announced.
The application for 11 turbines is being made by the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) in cooperation with Vattenfall and Technip.
The project is called the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).
The public consultation starts in Peterhead on 29 August, followed by Newburgh, Balmedie, Ellon and Aberdeen.
The Peterhead event is in the town's Palace Hotel, and the following four days will see the event in Newburgh's Udny Arms (30 August), Ellon's Kirk Centre (31 August), Balmedie's White Horse Inn (1 September), and Aberdeen's Double Tree Hilton at the beach on 2 September.
A wind farm with only a tiny objection from the RSPB that will have even that eliminated if the developer addresses the society's concerns.
I wonder if that means this one will drag on for years?
(I just seem to recall a case from the past, where there was a problem, and I think the cause was that although the RSPB claimed all sort of concerns over bird strikes and bird deaths as a result of hitting the turbine blades... there was not actually any evidence in support of the claim - there was only the claim that this could happen.)
RSPB Scotland has lodged an objection to a major wind farm plan on Lewis, but said it would drop the action if layout and other concerns were addressed.
Lewis Wind Power, a joint venture between Amec and EDF Energy, has applied to build a 42-turbine wind farm to the west of Stornoway.
The RSPB said the site could lead to the loss of golden eagles through collision or displacement.
It also fears the black-throated diver could be adversely impacted.
The RSPB acknowledged Lewis Wind Power had made "considerable efforts" to find a suitable site for the wind farm, but said there were still unresolved concerns.
An RSPB spokesman said: "We have been unable to verify the applicant's assessment of the impacts of proposals using information in the environmental statement, so we have requested additional information from the developer, but this has not yet been forthcoming.
I know this one's not strictly qualified, but I couldn't resit adding in light of the Mackie's ice cream wind power story:
Ecotricity has erected a third wind turbine at Ford’s expanded Dagenham Diesel Centre in the UK.
By Kari Williamson
The Ecotricity wind turbine could generate close to 5 million units of energy annually. It joins two other wind turbines that have been operational since May 2004.
When the first two wind turbines were erected, every Ford diesel car or van engine made was built entirely using wind energy. As demand at Ford has grown, the plant has expanded, requiring more energy to run it – hence the third wind turbine, Ecotricity says.
The three wind turbines will provide 100% of the Ford Dagenham Diesel Centre’s (DDC) energy needs, which produces engines for a range of vehicles including the Focus and Transit van.
Superconductors have long had their advocates from various fields, but few - if any - have materialised as anything other than small specialist devices (such as various body scanners that depend on superconducting magnets), or novelties.
I found an old articles - only two years old - that promoted the idea of superconductors to be used for wind turbines, and the transmission of power from wind turbines, as their use was claimed to make sites there perhaps not viable, into viable sites for smaller turbine installations.
I haven't specifically looked for any practical or commercial superconducting wind turbines or transmission systems from them, but have not seen any references to such things in any of the Scottish developments reported in media headlines over the past year or so.
It's a long article...
Could superconductors transform the economics of wind power?
Compact electrical generators of stunning power, wind turbine head weights halved, super-efficient power transmission with negligible line losses; it's a tantalising vision for the renewables sector. Making it a reality could transform the economics of wind energy, and that is a key aim of a number of forward-looking companies now bringing a new technology to market.
These firms, along with academic partners, have tackled the issue of electrical resistance, the phenomenon that accounts for massive aggregate power losses – mainly in the form of waste heat – in humankind's technological infrastructure. If resistance could be eliminated, or nearly so, more current would flow in a given wire or machine and more work would be done by a set amount of energy. The technology that could make it happen is superconductivity.
Ever since Dutch physicist Heike Kamlerlingh Onnes discovered, almost a century ago, that the metal mercury could, under certain conditions, lose its resistance to direct current and become a near-perfect conductor, there has been excitement about superconductivity. The sting in the tail was that mercury must be cooled to 4.2 degrees Kelvin – that is within a few degrees of −273 deg C, the absolute zero of temperature – before it will exhibit its quirky behaviour. Achieving this, for mercury and similar low-temperature superconductors (LTS), is an expensive high-tech undertaking that has held back the application of superconductivity ever since.
However, efforts to develop materials able to superconduct at higher, more achievable, temperatures have latterly borne fruit. The 1986 discovery by two IBM scientists that barium-doped lanthanum copper oxide becomes a superconductor at 36 K, some 12 K above the previous highest superconducting temperature, was considered a breakthrough. Other cuprates have since demonstrated transition temperatures of up to 130 K, and several of these can be sufficiently cooled by liquid nitrogen, which liquefies at 77 K, rather than by liquid helium and the expensive cryogenic coolers previously required. Liquid nitrogen is a widely accessible industrial cooling medium and can be used with these materials, dubbed high-temperature superconductors (HTS).
I had to include this pic for a bit of 'light' relief
But I also wondered about the suggestion after the original item regarding the lights, and whether or or not the good folk that reside around wind turbines would be impressed or dismayed if all the turbines around them actually did light up like Blackpool when the wind blew?
(It's a tongue-in-cheek question, lest anyone take it too seriously and give themselves a wedgie! )
I also wonder what it really looks like to the naked eye, without the benefits of the effects that the long time exposure gives to it, by adding features that are not really visible to a live observer - just have to imagine it.
It was disappointing to read of the demise of a small wind turbine manufacturer which began in Ayrshire just over 30 years ago, in 1980.
It seems that a design flaw in one of its designs was enough to bring the company down and force it to cease trading. Although the flaw is thought to minor and repairable, the company had been concentrating on development recently, making difficult for it to deal with the cost of rectifying the defect.
Of some 75 employees in sites at Stewarton and East Kilbride, 55 were made redundant almost immediately, and receivers appointed by the directors. Potential buyers for the business are being sought.
Given the company had recognised and respected products, some recognised by the UK Microgeneration Certification Scheme, it seems to be a bit of shame that the Scottish Government - often blowing its own trumpet about how it wants more and more renewables - couldn't step in and do more than just offer assistance for those who have been made redundant by this problem, and keep this business afloat.
Read an interesting paper that added some figures to an earlier story...
I don't know the outcome, but there was a case a few years back where one (land based) wind farm operator (in Europe I believe) brought an action against another for erecting a new wind farm nearby. The claim was that the second farm 'stole' energy from the first, leading to a loss of output and therefore income.
There were no details given, so I couldn't tell what the distances involved were like, but within a farm it seem that the usual 'ten times' rule works, and that each turbine should be about ten diameters away from another to minimise interaction - but that;s a generalisation, and I would expect the topography of each site to cause a more accurate separation to be determined in practice, but it provides a usable rule of thumb for estimated a farm's size.
A new report I just spotted announced more research into this aspect of separation, and work is being carried out to model downwind turbulence and other wake effects in a broad wedge of air up to 7 km (4.3 miles) long and 1 km (3280 ft) high in front of and behind a multi-MW wind turbine, in this case, and actual 130 m high wind turbine.
The ultimate aim is to identify the interactions so they can be designed around, and allow turbine efficiency to be increased.
These projects are intended to be developed on previously mined land owned by SRG, and comprise of a two wind turbine scheme at their Poniel site, 8 wind turbines at Broken Cross, and 15 wind turbines at Dalquhandy.
Proposal are due to be presented to the local communities in each area during a series of consultation events which will begin in late October.
I had to have a dig to find this one, attributed to the inventor of the Segway:
The animation - and videos it leads to - are NOT the same system, but they do allow one one to actual inflatable wind turbines, so they are not just imagination, or impossible to build or use.
An inflatable mobile wind turbine, dreamed up by the inventor of the Segway scooter, could generate power by packing up and following the breeze - while also providing an eye-catching advertising platform.
Inventor Dean Kamen recently filed a patent application for a horizontally-rotating turbine with an inflatable rotor made from plastic fabric, which allows the turbine to be deflated and moved to new locations. The patent suggests the turbine could be mounted on a vehicle or trailer for transportation, while also charging the vehicle's battery. Its lighter frame would also allow it to be installed on roofs where more traditional turbines would be too heavy.
Previous inflatable wind turbines, such as the Magenn Air Rotor System, are designed to float at high altitudes to take advantage of faster wind speeds, but Kamen's turbines will be more down-to-earth so they can be used as advertising billboards. The patent describes a version of the turbine with embedded LEDs running on wind power that could light up to display text or an image.
Although it seems to be a good idea for certain applications and sites, it's a shame the best idea they came up with for using the power generated was to put illuminated advertising into the sky - some people (I know) would just want to use such things for target practice
What a wast of helium - which is actually becoming rare as we use it and it is dissipated into the atmosphere! - and of the energy produced.
I see the smaller wind farm proposals are still arising, and spotted one that that appeared while I was busy elsewhere.
This is the Bad a Cheo wind farm, which had an exhibition to introduce it to those around the proposed site, 15 km south of Thurso. this being at the Achkeepster site adjacent to the existing Causewaymire Wind Farm. The new proposal is for a 13 turbine installation with a capacity of 33 MW by RWE Power, in conjunction with of Caithness Renewables Ltd.
I'm sure there will something online if you look for links, I don't have any as this is just from a old flyer.
Regular readers may have noticed a trend in some of my advice, and one such gem I offer is 'Never listen only to a group with an agenda or one point of view'.
I don't say that maliciously, and many such groups are outwardly honourable, and even if unintended, provide a biased presentation. You should ALWAYS seek out alternates, either from other side (which suffers from the same problem of course) or an independent source, if there is one.
You may remember I recently posted articles relating to a survey commissioned by the John Muir Trust into wind power, for example...
Where I happily rubbished it, as it was pretty poor when looked at closely, and surprise surprise, provided the JMT with just the finding it would want to hear, that wind turbines are less efficient than claimed. In my reading, it didn't do any such thing, merely presented the known information, but spun it in such a way as to imply inefficiency.
Well, now there is a new body out to correct things, and far from finding that wind turbines are less efficient than claimed, it provides the mythbusting 'fact' that wind turbines are actually more efficient than claimed, and provide electricity for 70-85% of the time, rather more than the nominal 30% that they are expected to do by the sane, and considerably more than the John Muir Trust would have us believe.
For more on the new magical wind trubines (or maybe just the artful spin doctors that have written about them, see:
Unlike the agenda-driven group mentioned in the previous post, RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. (OK, it still has an agenda, but can't fantasise, and has to report responsibly.)
It's reports recently noted a significant event in UK wind power.
The record-breaking amount of electricity from wind power was generated on 6 September with a peak of 3021 MW as wind power supplied 7.2% of the total amount of electricity on the grid.
When the remnants of Hurricane Irene hit the UK earlier this month, a record-breaking amount of electricity from wind power was generated on September 6, with a peak of 3.021 GW, meaning that wind power supplied 7.2% of the total amount of electricity on the grid.
The number becomes more interesting when account is taken of the fact that about one-third of all wind turbine capacity in the UK (32%) is connected directly to local electricity networks, and not the National Grid. Once that extra 1.5 GW is taken into account, the amount of electricity being generated from wind reached 4.5 GW, supplying more than 10% of the UK’s electricity needs.
It could be simply dismissed, and the naysayers will probably just say that it's only a freak peak, but there are two serious observations to note: the figure could not have been achieved if the capacity had not been both installed and working; and the absence of 1.5 GW of that figure from the National Grid shows that 'we' are sadly deficient in our ability to actually use what we make.
A few posts back, I mentioned the unfortunate case of Proven energy, a small scale wind turbine manufacturer that entered voluntary liquidation after a defect affected one its designs, and it did not have the reserves to cope with the cost of dealing with the cost, having tied its funds up in R&D.
There was a slightly odd addition to story, in that it is now reported the Health and Safety Executive advised customers not to use the affected design. I couldn't track down an online story or report on this aspect (might just be bad searching on my part), but I don't see how the HSE comes to be offering such advice since: "HSE is the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness. We are an independent regulator and act in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain’s workplaces."
The key element being the remit to work-related death and injury in the workplace, not products and their use by customers after purchase. Perhaps the stretch that to the installation and use of a wind turbine.
Regardless, the story continues with a report that a second company has gone into voluntary liquidation since Proven was bought by Kingspan Renewables, which acquired it business and assets.
Icon Energy was a wind turbine installer, and had been one of two buyers seeking to purchase Proven.
Icon said it had gone into voluntary liquidation as a direct result of Proven ceasing to trade, and then said it had gone into voluntary liquidation after losing out to Kingspan in a bid to take over proven. (Yes, I know that twice, but that's what the new report says.)
Although I had previously come across the flicker effect of wind turbines when the rotating blades impinged on radar coverage, I can't recall coming across the same name being applied to an optical effect, however shadow flicker does exist, and is serious.
The problem arises when the sun is low and the blades fall between the sun and inhabited places. The long shadow leads to highly irritating strobe effect as the shadow passes over windows, momentarily cutting off the sunlight. Numerous videos shot inside affected homes can be found on the web.
Planning should take this into account, but for whatever reason, there are clearly numerous instances where this effect has been missed, or ignored.
Vestas has designed a system which can be fitted to turbines and takes account of four risk factors: the position of the sun; the distance of the turbine to any properties than might be affected; and the height and radius of the turbine blades. Two light meters assess the conditions to determine if shadows are likely to be cast when the sun is low, and temporarily shuts the turbine down during the risk period.
While it seems like a handy feature to be incorporated into turbines located in areas where the risk shadow flicker is identified, the Green Loony award has been dusted off again, and I present it on this occasion to the ant-wind-turbine pressure group that "Any price would be too much" and Vestas should be offering it for free.
Watching the wind power press brings some unlikely surprises.
It looks as if wind power is now using more composites - carbon fibres, carbon nanotubes, and graphene – than the previous consumer of such things, aerospace, and is a huge market set to more than triple to US$25.8 billion by 2020, when wind power is expected to form 60% of the market (currently it is 35%).
It seems that the reality is that although aerospace consumes lots of composites, the volume is limited (by aircraft numbers since they are built to order), so the potential for growth is small, despite the arrival of aircraft that use more of these materials than before.
The relevant report says that more than 1,000 wind turbines are being built (American figures of course) per month, and the current growth rate for composites is 16% per year to 2020.
It also added that 18,405 MW of wind power capacity had been added in the first six months of 2011.
Interesting. I may have mentioned this already, but one reason Tata are investing in Clydebridge and Dalziel steelworks is that there's a new demand for steel plate for turbines. Because, while the turbines may be made out of carbon nanotubes, aerogels and other esoterica, they still need a hefty lump of steel to bolt the thing to
I don't know if steel plate from Clydebridge will end up in turbine bases, since they quench the plate there to harden it, and that would make it tough to roll later, when it is curved to form parts for the base.
According To Clydebridge itself, it is not part of the renewables market, but want to be:
Quenched and tempered steel plate from Clydebridge is mainly used in the mining and energy exploration sectors, in products such as underground mining structures, on offshore oil and gas platforms, and in what are known as yellow goods – cranes, excavators and dumper trucks. The majority of Clydebridge's products are exported.
Its steel plates were used for many of the most famous ships built on the River Clyde, including the Lusitania, Mauritania, Queen Mary, HMS Hood, Queen Elizabeth and QE2.
Looking to the future, Clydebridge hope that the creation of renewable energy sources, such as windfarms, is an area they can benefit from.
Colin Timmins, works manager of the Dalzell and Clydebridge steelworks, said: “Emerging markets are the renewable energy sector, which is very important for British plants, going forward.
“Hopefully we can be a part of that.”
Interview and tour of the Clydebridge works in May, 2011:
Looks like another Scottish manufacturer wants to follow the lead of a certain Scottish ice-cream maker, and power its UK stores by wind - and that not one or two, but some 300 across the UK.
Renfrewshire based Mackays Groupd, trading as M&Co - no, never heard of them, they're apparently and independent fashion retailer running a chain of high street shops - would appear to be looking for an overall total of some 20 MW to supply its stores, and this will be provided by creating a number of small wind turbine/farm sites with between one and three turbines on each, with a capacity ranging from 500 kW to 5 MW.
Developments in renewable energy collection systems are interesting, and there was already recent mention of of the coming boom in composite material, being lightweight and incredibly strong, for use in turbine blades.
I've just read another intriguing article about a Chinese company which has started mass production of its permanent magnet direct drive (PMDD) 1.5 MW wind turbine for deployment at high altitude.
Its first two high altitude 1.5 MW prototype wind turbines were successfully built up and connected to the grid in Xi Tie Mountains at about 3,000 metres above sea level this spring, in Qinghai Province. The turbines have maintained an average availability of 98.5% or above. Each can generate 2.8 GWh per annum, with an air density of .88 kg/m3 and average wind speed of 6.5 m/s.
They feature larger blades than normal, enhanced thermal insulation, and strengthened protection against lightening and radiation.
The manufacturers has stated that these new features enables this family of wind turbines to withstand differences in wind density, frequent strikes by lightning and thunder, strong radiation from the sun, and other challenging conditions.
I bet the come with a price tag that makes the eyes water, even without the high altitude.
Impressive stuff, but I wonder how long they would last at the top of some of Scotland's mountains, especially Ben Lomond.
(Yup, that's the one that the LLNPA looks after - if the board installed turbines up there, it could be years before anyone noticed, and asked for an audit of where the feed-in tariff cash was going ) Of course, before anyone reaches for their lawyers, I'm only having a laugh at the expense of this esteemed and highly respected authority.
I read an article about a 'new' idea for wind turbine blades, intended to make them more effective over a wider range of wind speeds.
As with most machines, bigger really is better in terms of efficiency, as the gains will usually grow faster than the losses as size is increased.
Wind turbines are good example and demonstrate the compromise designers have to make between efficiency and durability, since larger blades are more efficient (and we all know how the anti-brigade likes to point at turbines de-activated in high winds, to prevent damage), but their increasing weight with size eventually leads to excess stress on the the system. They are also feathered in high winds to prevent overloading.
Someone in New Zealand has built a small (nay, tiny 1.5 kW) with extending blades that can change its size to suit prevailing wind conditions, and claims it can generate twice the power of a turbine with standard size blades.
I will be prepared to eat a sizeable slice of Humble Pie if we ever see a 2.5-5 MW wind turbine with this technology - unless it's a video of it thrashing itself to pieces thanks to the hardware needed to make extending and retracting blades. We are already struggling to keep the weight of blades down as it is, with more exotic and expensive material being use for each metre the blade length extends.
There are lots of great designs for altering the blades on small turbines to make them more efficient, but I don't think I have ever seen them on a large-scale turbine. The forces on the larger structure just become too great for the materials available, and while the work fine for something a metre or two across, when it heading towards 100 times that size, the force and energy equations just say - RUN!!!
I mentioned the unfortunate tale of Proven Energy a few posts back, a small wind turbine manufacturer and designer in Stewarton, Ayrshire, which was brought down by the discovery of a defect in one of its turbines, and was not able to secure funding to subsequently, having apparently just sunk its available reserves into new development,
The sale to Kingspan Renewables has just been confirmed, so it looks as if the 20 jobs that survived are now secure as the 3 kW and 6 kW turbines will continue in production.
There is a 15 kW design, but it's future is unknown, and no decision in it will be taken until 2013.
At least we didn't lose what was at least a little success.
And hopefully a lesson about putting a little something away for a rainy day
It's interesting to see what someone who suffers from delusions can do when also blessed with a personal fortune that runs into the billions.
The only good thing about this interview that gives him a platform to speak freely is that it shows that all he has to do is open his mouth, and rubbish pours forth...
He said: "Thousands and thousands of birds will be killed by these big fans. The birds fly right through them and they get killed. They lay underneath by their thousands. Frankly the energy is not very efficient, which is a problem because when you need the wind isn't blowing."
He also stated "I know a lot about these wind farms", and then went on to quote all the anti- wind farm lies that used to be used to argue against them - until the were proven false.
This 'exclusive' interview by the man himself, direct from Trump Towers (which he probably thinks is the capital of Scotland now ) is worth a watch, as this self-appointed spokesman for Scotland delivers his words of wisdom on 'windmills' and their detrimental effect on the view from his 18th hole Scotland:
Given the way some wind farm developments are fought over by those for and against...
Or are they really? Now that I have most of these fed to me, I am beginning to wonder if the 'great battles' are invented by the reporters, while the two parties concerned are really just exercising their rights to apply and challenge.
I think there is a case for dispensing with the media's comments, and just sticking to the relative merits and facts of such stories when they are reported.
While we have Donald Trump spouting drivel, and currently implying that cargo vessels will be needed to take away the carcases of birds that fly by the thousands into the wind farm to be built within sight of the 18th tee of his golf course in Aberdeen, we have RSPB Scotland actually applauding in public a decision by SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) to withdraw its application for a 29 turbine wind farm at Waterhead Moor near Largs.
Reading most stories presented by the media, it's hard to imagine that RSPB would even think of being quoted as saying:
For the most part, the renewables industry acts responsibly and does not propose development in areas that are important for wildlife. Today's announcement by SSE illustrates that responsible attitude.
Or, for that matter, that a wind farm developer like SSE would say:
This site had the wind resource and the site dynamics to be a very good project, but having listened to the concerns of the key consultees we have concluded that the reasonable action to take is to focus our resources on onshore wind farms elsewhere. We are grateful to all those who took part in the project consultations.
The more I watch these stories, the more I begin to suspect that there is a hard core of activists, or extremists, who have no room for compromise, and they are the ones "yanking everyone's chains" and fuelling the conflicts which the news and documentary makers are keen to ride on the back of, as they know a good fight always draws a crowd.