108 turbine windfarm

Discussion in 'The Science Forum' started by crabby, Jun 3, 2006.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. BBC

    I'm actually a fan of wind power (when appropriately used), especially off shore. I don't see how there can be objections to the scheme other than from potential loss of fishing areas - yet I am sure these turbines will be placed on sandbanks. They're going to be located about 9 miles from the coast (the nearest ones) and up to 12 miles away (international water line).

    These turbines will be about 100-120m high and 108 makes them one of the largest wind farms in the country and also in Europe (Llandinam has 103 turbines of about 1/10th-1/15th the output each). However even given their size and number of them you do have to wonder if the scheme will be economically viable. Should we be prepared to pay more for our electricity or subsidise their running through government? They will reduce the quantity of carbon dioxide produced compared to if gas or coal were used and also lower levels of other pollutants (sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides). However we'd need 250-350 turbines of this size to equal the output of one nuclear reactor (based on Sizewell B) and whereas Sizewell B has a load factor of about 80% (it runs flat out for about 18 months then needs a month off) these turbines have a load factor of about 30%, with wind speeds not being constant, sometimes too strong, sometimes not blowing and obviously when down for maintenance.

    Further details including visualisatons

    So... what do people think?

    Editted to adjust turbine quantity required, the turbines planned are larger than anything currently running in the UK (3.5MW-7MW), and so could be as high as 150m-200m depending on the design they go for. The largest in the UK is about 2.5MW - 3MW at Lowestoft and one in the Orkneys. Something that size the actual crane needed to assemble the machines would be incredibly difficult to find
     
  2. Dear Crabby,

    Erecting such large (high) offshore windfarm masts is not a problem. Google EWC Cuxhaven GmbH and have a butcher's at their offshore windfarms. They range from from 2.5 to 7MW.
    Some time last year, I did a German/English translation for them with all the tech specs for a further 5MW tower to be built by Vestas. If you're really interested, I can e-mail it to you.

    MsG
     
  3. Cheers, I'd not seen that before. Part of what I was forgetting is that for landbased cranes you generally need to look within the UK, but for offshore I suppose it's fine just using any ship going. 7MW is huge, the technology and materials going into the gearbox must be something else
     
  4. The local Michelin Depot just put up 2 HUGE windturbines less than 1/2 a mile away from me.

    I must admit when i saw them at first i was shocked and thought they were a monstrosity (i was severly hungover and walking the dogs in the park). After 3weeks of viewing them from all the different angles around my city, i have come to like them. They are almost alien in their apperance, but quite hypnotising to watch. They are alledgedly the tallest in the UK at the present (400+feet methinks) and can be seen from Barry Buddon which is about 10 miles away.

    Obviously there was a real stink kicked up by the local busy-bodies at first but people have grown to appreciate them. I am in favour of them, as long as they don't interfere with the splendid views we get up North.
     
  5. What about the conventional power that will have to be built to take up the slack from these new wind turbines when the wind is either not blowing or is blowing too hard, and will be sitting idle but turning and burning the rest of the time? The only reason these things exist at all is due to huge subsidies and to be seen to be being "green".

    A mate of mine works for Shell who operate lots of turbines in Germany, and he confided in me that sometimes when there is not enough wind they run the turbines off the grid to make them look like they're generating power, when in fact they are using it.
     
  6. Apparently, it's not the gearbox or reduction machinery that causes the problems at that size, but the vane adjustment mechanisms. The vanes are so long that the torsional forces increase exponentionally (particularly considering the wind-gust factor). However, they can actually replace the lot from within the hub itself, which is about eight metres (some 25 feet) in diameter. Very interesting technology.

    MsG
     
  7. I can assure you that although a fossil fuel powerstation may be idling to cover for when the wind does indeed drop a powerstation at idle produces far less carbon dioxide than a powerstation running at full tilt. This can quite easily fit into the grid systems as our powerstations have times of low activity (in low demand when the demand is met mainly from nuclear and the newest coal etc) and at times of high demand they'll be running almost flat out (most of them). Therefore they are an environmentally sound idea, they DO reduce carbon emissions. They also reduce our dependance on fossil fuels, mainly gas, which we will be have to import 90% of our needs by 2020.

    Running turbines of the grid may be a good way of controlling the grid - To maintain a steady current and voltage - with coal (which changes it's load slowly) and renewables in abundance the ability to literally "dump" surplus electricity (when it can not be sold to france etc) could be a useful assest. As far as I know that is not done in this country.

    Wind power is becoming more and more economic, remember we saw the prices of wholesale gas rise by 75% over the winter and the overall trend suggested for energy prices is upwards, while the cost of wind reduces through economies of scale and maturing technology.

    The final thing to remember re. wind is that the wind does not suddenly stop all over the country, it does not suddenly go to gale force all over the country. Offshore wind also has higher load factors as it less influenced by local topography and so has higher wind speeds generally which are also more consistent
     
  8. Well, that sounds really believable. Excuse me while I busy myself with a pinch of salt. :D :D :D

    There are loads of technologies available to take up the slack. All of them environmentally friendly. Quite apart from the fact that offshore windfarms (and windfarms in general) are where they are BECAUSE the wind blows more or less constantly.

    MsG
     
  9. We should meet down the pub sometime for a chat. Although I've studied pretty much everything to do with wind turbines (socially) and also looked into the physics of windspeed etc I've hardly touched on the actual physical properties of vane adjustment etc. I understand the theory of feathering blades etc
     
  10. Crabby and Bugsy7,

    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]
    Are you 2 wind-up merchants or what???
    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. why? Because we have experience of what we're talking about? As opposed to the rubbish that spouts forth from anti-wind groups about "keeping powerstations running" etc. There are many problems with wind power to admit to, just as there are about any fuel source. But ignorant and inaccurate cr*ap doesn't do anyone any good.
     
  12. Ah, Crabby. I think you bit there. Sounds to me like it should read WIND up merchants. :D :D :D

    Of course, I could be wrong. In which case I've managed to make a bit of a tit of meself. Oh well!

    MsG
     
  13. *sigh* I'm stupid, you're blatantly right... damnit
     
  14. Top of the class Bugsy.
    Bottom of the class Crabby.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. All electricity grids of any scale have to maintain a "rotating reserve". This allows for failure of any other generating stations whether fossil-fuelled, nuclear or renewable. This is necessary because the time to start generators from cold cannot be afforded in most cases. Even if the rotating reserve is ready to go there is a certain lag in response time.

    In the case of turbines, I was visiting a hilltop windfarm when it "lost the grid" and all the turbines automatically carried out emergency stops. As we watched they restarted automatically one by one. Within a few minutes they were all turning again.

    As for load factor, nuclear stations by their nature are more of a song and dance to start and stop so they tend to be used for base load running constantly at optimum output. This also tends to be the case with older fossil fuel stations.

    The problems system operators face integrating wind turbines are not novel. The whole thing is a constant balancing act between supply and varying demand. Everyone standing up and making a cup of tea during the adverts has to be allowed for and so does the variation of supply if there are substantial numbers of turbines involved in the system.

    IMHO what is missing from the UK systems ( and I realise they are no longer standalone) is more pumped storage (or some of the newer alternatives), more solar and more Combined Heat and Power.