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January 28, 2007



Isn't it amazing that a discussion on mining seawater for uranium can have hundreds of posts and one on nuclear power the same yet this one about the rise of a TRULY clean and safe power source can go uncommented.



The reason that wind power tends to be dirtier and more-lethal than nuclear power is that it is less dense.

Paul Gipe at BreathLife says, for wind-generated electricity, 0.15 deaths per TWh in 2000; others including this have occurred since. The UIC says 2005 nuclear electricity production was ~2600 TWh, so at the same 0.15 deaths per TWh rate that industry would have killed 390 of its workers in that year. There was that steam accident in Japan, but I'm not sure it was in 2004. If not, the body count was zero that year.

--- G. R. L. Cowan, boron combustion fan


Worldwide deaths per TWy of electrical energy (1970-1992):

Coal: 342 workers
Natural gas: 85 workers & public
Hydro: 883 public
Nuclear: 8 workers

(Nuclear figure includes Chernobyl.)


By the way, the above figure of .15 deaths per TWh of windpower works out to 1,315 deaths per TWy of windpower. That is almost four times the death-rate of coal-power, and 164 times the death-rate of nuclear power, including Chernobyl.

If we consider only the safer nuclear-reactors that are being built right now, and are proposed to be built in the near future, we can see that windpower may be somewhere on the order of billions of times more dangerous than nuclear power.

Again, it is the diffuseness of windpower that is the heart of windpower's safety problem.


Because this isn't really a controversial energy source, Ender. I doubt that wind will supply more than a small fraction of our energy needs due to its intermittent nature, though.


According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, wind-generated electricity equalled 0.36% of the total in 2005. with AWEA's 27% growth and an estimated 2% growth in the total, that got up to 0.4% in 2006. Not much promise there.


That would be 0.45%. Let's not sell this promising technology short!

Joe D

Yeah... not much promise if you have 26 or 27% growth...

25% annual growth would increase wind generated electricity to 10+ % of 2005 electricity total in the year 2020. If that growth rate could be maintained up till 2050 wind could provide over 8000% of 2005 electricity generation.

not much promise there....


It kind of speaks for itself ender. But I get your point. Most of the comments are negative also!

The only thing holding wind power back is "conventional wisdom". An oxymoron like "military intelligence".

Rosa and others commenting here do not seem to understand the concept of exponential growth. Oh well.

26% annually is a huge exponential growth rate! That fact counters the nonsensical contention that since wind is a tiny percent of baseload generation now, it can't be a solution to our energy problems.

It's the old horse versus the horseless carriage argument. Once again. Too silly to comment on anymore.

I bet the assembled anti-wind power crew thinks that wind is too variable to provide baseload power, a myth dispelled just recently by a wind farm study.

Or they think it kills too many birds, a myth dispelled recently by The Audobon society.

But no one will ever believe wind power is dangerous. And especially that it could ever be more dangerous than nuclear power.

Brian Wang

I am glad that there is more wind power.

However, the assumption of consistent 25% growth over several decades seems to be a very big assumption. Are you projecting that Google will maintain 300% earning growth for decades? Then they will have more than the world's GDP.

china has been averaging close to 10% growth for 30 some years. Are we predicting that to continue to 2050? They would then be a 180 trillion dollar economy.

Scaling issues start to happen more and more as you expand the industry.

Sufficient siting locations.
Building out more grid.
The expansion projects of the scale needed in the outlying years are making over 1 million new large scale wind turbines that are the size of the largest high rise buildings.

Large scale wind does have environmental impacts

Already examples of problems around peatbogs. Possible weather pattern issues. It is only prudent to run some environmental simulations.

I think there is plenty of potential but it will still take decades to scale out and getting more non-conflicting clean energy sources is prudent.

Joe D


I was really just tryng to illustrate the power of exponential growth and the fact that wind does show promise.

Previous comment had said:
"According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, wind-generated electricity equalled 0.36% of the total in 2005. with AWEA's 27% growth and an estimated 2% growth in the total, that got up to 0.4% in 2006. Not much promise there."

Look at:

Electricity produced by wind will actually account for about 0.6% of total electricity generated... almost 40% more than 2005. Total electricity generated by wind has grown by a factor of 8 since 1998 !!

As you stated it is not possible or practical for these growth rates to continue for the next 45 years. However, I think that we can have a few more large growth years and then some strong growth over the remaining years. Electricity from wind will definitely pass 10% and it definitely has a lot of promise.


The EIA projects that wind will produce 0.89% of the total electricity generated in the U.S. in 2030. That's down from an earlier projection of 1.09%. That's 0.13% of the total energy projected to be consumed in 2030.

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