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December 29, 2006





its amazing what 3$/gal gas will do. imagine what we could accomplish if gaz was 10$/gal?


Looks like the higher oil prices go, it would not be the west that will suffer, but the poor nations who depend on middle eastern oil. The west can easily install gigawatts of wind/hydro/nuke/solar power on demand. But the poorer nations will be unable to raise such capital due to lack of infrastructure and economic security.

This sure puts a huge dent into post-colonial theory taken for gospel in much of academia, that history can be reduced to America and Britain's thirst for muslim oil.


I wish they would move offshore with wind/wave power. California is the trendsetter.

The people's republic of Venice ought to be able to do it.

Does anyone know the average water temperature in the ocean there? ocean water cooling as a replacement for air conditioning would save half their current electric use is my guess.



Before you get too carried away with flag waving, the capital for this wind turbine farm is coming from Australia. "Can easily install"? It'll be four years before any power is produced from this wind farm and much longer for the whole 1500 megawatts. Chances are the turbines will not be US-made. GE is the only US turbine manufacturer. A lot of towers are made in S Korea.

Wind and other alt energies are only going to put a small dent in our oil addiction for some time to come. Our daily oil consumption of 21 million barrels is equal in volume of the water going over the Niagara Falls in 18 minutes. And 12 minutes of that comes from another country.

IMO, the worse off countries will be the bottom ones and us, since we are the most spoiled [suburbanized] with cheap oil.

Then we'll be buying our plug-ins hybrids from Toyota while GM and Ford sink under the weight of their poor business decisions.

That said, we have no choice be to do these projects. I just hope we have enough time to switch.

Kent Beuchert

Don't get too excited. That 3800 megawatt farm MIGHT produce 1000 actual megawatts,
but nowhere near that much when it gets hot and you really need it, meaning the existing powerplants not only can't be retired, but we still need to build new ones every year. Wind can't even provide 5% of just the INCREASE in yearly demand. Oh,yeah, wind's a big savior, all right. Let's spend that money on something that will reduce demand by far more than wind can produce, like geoexchange, and reduce COSTS , not increase them as wind does. As usual, the public has been whipped up and stampeded into accepting
far from the best energy strategy. AT this point, wind has become mostly a political
solution - you can see the turbines, they are huge, and everyone believes they are actually doing a lot of good. If the public only understood the basics of capacity megawatt ratings and that 100 megawatts of wind capacity actually means 25 to 30 megawatts, they wouldn't be so sanguine. The public hasn't a clue as to how much electricity this country uses and how little of it is provided by wind. Just once, I'd like to see this country(and the world) stop and think things thru before going off half cocked and underinformed.


Wind farms can sure be ugly - and that makes a difference if there is another way to go. Waves, advanced nuclear and maybe some concentrated solar might be better.


Well Kent, when the time comes we'll just be forced to conserve, since any and all new installed capacity isn't brought on-line overnight. Wind power seems to be working out for Europe and they are way ahead of us -- as usual.

One of the great attactions to the utility owners of gas-fired electrical turbines was/is that they are simple as can be to operate compared to coal combustion, coal gasification, and nuclear. The wind turbines are even simplier and there's no fuel charge. Granted wind won't be for peaking.


Good point, Kent. The CF (capacity factor) of wind is one of the lowest for all renewables - 25% to 30%. Wind today can only survive due to various subsidies. But if you agree that green renewable energy has a higher value than lets say coal (the carbon tax will make clean coal 10% more costly, for example), then wind may actually become competitive.

The volume limitation is certainly real - unless the nimbies can be defeated or until offshore becomes economical.


Harrison, I am everything but nationalistic. I am not even American and do not live there.

Globalization should be welcomed and its good to see the Koreans getting in. But dont buy Chinese generators (yet) - still not up to snuff.

I think BEV can cut down oil imports by about 50%, assuming 0% growth in energy demand.


Jim, is it possible to turn off the incessant centering of text in the comments column? Thanks for the fine blog.


There was a similar proposal on Long Island, where I live, ... and it did not pass. I assume because of the capacity factor?


Please note the caveat in the final paragraph: "...depends on SCE receiving authorization from utilities regulators and other government agencies to build high-voltage transmission lines..." On recent experience, this obstacle will be far and away the most difficult and time-consuming to overcome.

Thorsten Brandt

the cpacity factors of offshore windframs planned in germany, denmark and the uk is around 50% - this is similar to a coal plant - and significantly more than any gasturbine does - so what's you're problem ?

the potential of windenergy using around 30% of the us-coastline with 5mw turbines like the ones that repower systems and enercon build is around 200-300GW - this means production around 1000 TWh of potential generation per year - this would realy make a difference when you look at what you consume ;)

and if you absolutely need baseload current and peak load - what is quiet reasonable - than think about using hydro or aa-caes - aa-caes is not more expensive than using gasturbine plant according to studies made in Germany for generating peak load - enbw - a Germany utility is willing to build and testdrive one 600mw-plant in Germany until 2010 - offshore windsites will be set up in the northsea in the same time - in the US also one plant with up to 1.8 gw is planned - as far as I know ...

wind is an option - and you should also be aware that it doesn't realy depends where a company comes from - when you like to be specific - the windpower department of ge is still a department at salzbergen in germany with production sites worldwide (but this also fits to other european companies who have build production sites and source in the US or canada) - this is the case because ge has inherited the winddepartment from enron - and enron bought tacke - which constructed originaly the famous 1.5mw-turbine ...

the main dource of employment - an this is something many people don't realize - is the service - this is the most personal-intensive area - for example one german company employs as far as i know around 30% percent of their employees in the service area - and these jobs are local jobs ...

just my 2 cents ...

ML Chasteen

ENERGY? What about the endangered burrowing owl or the almost extinct desert squirrel? I guess it always comes down to what we want as greedy self centered you know whats!

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