Wind farm towers: They're taller, slower with more power

  • Article by: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 10, 2012 - 9:09 PM

Wind farm towers rise higher above the landscape to capture more wind. Yet their blades turn more slowly.

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davehougSep. 11, 12 6:58 AM

BECAUSE wind power was subsidized the industry was able to build better and more efficient models. IF total cost of wind power gets to equal coal, we all benefit. BUT you can't get there in one single leap. Each model uses knowledge gained on previous models and adds to the knowledge base too.

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supervon2Sep. 11, 12 7:20 AM

Every one that goes up is more taxpayer dollars spent and higher energy prices. Explain to me why I should love these?

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ranger78Sep. 11, 12 7:39 AM

But we still need to have coal or gas powered plants to equal all of our electrical demand because wind is not a reliable source of energy. We can't simply say we now have X kilowatts of wind power, we don't need a power plant. If we were to rely on wind for even a significant percentage of our demand (say 10%) we'd still need a back up source to keep us from having brown outs our rolling blackouts when wind is down.

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jcinmnSep. 11, 12 7:47 AM

supervon2 "Every one that goes up is more taxpayer dollars spent and higher energy prices. Explain to me why I should love these?" How is that?How does that compare with the price supports for sugar beet farmers and milk producers? Every corporation in America gets some form of welfare through the tax code. Exempting the renewable fuel sector from the same welfare that the farmers get is prejudicial and unconstitutional

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jcinmnSep. 11, 12 7:53 AM

ranger78 "But we still need to have coal or gas powered plants to equal all of our electrical demand because wind is not a reliable source of energy. We can't simply say we now have X kilowatts of wind power, we don't need a power plant. If we were to rely on wind for even a significant percentage of our demand (say 10%) we'd still need a back up source to keep us from having brown outs our rolling blackouts when wind is down" you are partially correct. The wind doesn't blow constantly but the wind doesn't stop blowing everywhere in the continental United States at the same time. With wind generators scattered throughout the country and a COMPETENT TRANSMISSION SYSTEM. the towers receiving wind can distribute power to the areas that are windless. With a MODERN INFRASTRUCTURE we can distribute power to areas when they need it. Rolling blackouts are usually caused by failure of the infrastructure not wind towers that have no wind powering them.

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rickbmnSep. 11, 12 7:55 AM

"They're taller, slower..." and still more than 10x as expensive as coal or natural gas. Look at your next electric bill. What if it were 5 to 10 times higher and you had blackouts and brownouts a few times a year. Keep in mind, those normally happen during peak-usage times like on those 95 degree summer days when everyone has their AC on. Is this what you really want?

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yabobSep. 11, 12 8:47 AM

I love the first line..."The newest wind turbines gracing the nation's countryside". These things do not "grace". Theya are an eyesore, cause thousands of bird/eagle deaths, and cannot be built anywhere near a residentail area because of noise and safety. This is another example of the Strib, and their bias going into a news story. clearly,the Strib wants people to think these things going up all around MN are great idea and it is good for the MN economy and energy policy. Form your own opinion, but their reporting tricks are subtle, but still very telling.

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Mplsuptown1Sep. 11, 12 9:03 AM

The nice thing about wind generators, the wind isn't a commodity that can be traded or even manipulated to capital gain at consumers expense. Now if they could only add solar panels to those blades.

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bosshogSep. 11, 12 9:12 AM

rickbmn: that is total hogwash and you are obviously speaking more from a political perspective then a factual one. The price of wind power is actually as cheap or cheaper then coal in many cases. The problem is is that we have such a poor infrastructure for distributing the power where it needs to go. Coal has also received billions of dollars in subsidies over the years. Your electric bill based on coal generation also does not take into account the costs due to the pollution emitted, such as mercury, which is the reason why we have fish eating advisories in all of Minnesota for women of child bearing age, pregnant women, and young children.

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bosshogSep. 11, 12 9:24 AM

Most if not all electric co-ops in Minnesota adamantly oppose wind power because they view it as a competitor. Just like any industry fighting against a potential competitor they send out propaganda ( conveniently included with your electric bill) promoting only their position to convince their constituents that the current way of producing power with coal is the only feasible way. People should be more discerning when they are only hearing the "facts" from one side.

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