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Why Wind Won't Work

Aug 19, 2008 (EIRNS)—This release was issued yesterday by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC). Below is the final segment from the concluding article in the new LPAC/LaRouche Youth Movement pamphlet, Covered in Gore. By Larry Hecht, the title of the full article is "You Can't Get to Heaven on Solar Skates." The segment is on wind power.

The fundamental problem with wind energy is the same as that of solar. It is intermittent and the energy flux is too low. In a study of the problem in Texas, where T. Boone Pickens is receiving huge government boondoggles for his wind energy scheme, 21st Century Science & Technology writer Gregory Murphy compared the energy flux density of the Comanche Peak nuclear plant, south of Dallas, to a wind installation. The Comanche Peak nuclear plant, has 2 units with a combined generating capacity of 2,500 megawatts (MW). Comanche Peak is sitting on 4,000 acres, which includes a man-made cooling lake that also serves as a recreation spot.

How many 1.5-MW General Electric wind turbines (the kind Pickens has chosen for his wind farms) would it take to produce the same amount of energy that the Comanche Peak reactors produce? As Murphy elaborates:

"First, we divide the amount of energy that the reactor produces, 2,500 megawatts, by the nameplate rating of the wind turbine, which is 1.5 MW. That gives us the number of wind turbines that would be needed to produce that same amount of energy as the nuclear reactor: 1,667 wind turbines.

"But not so fast ... Since we are looking at the energy density of wind energy, we need to know how that capacity factor is figured. The capacity factor represents the amount of energy actually produced by the wind turbine, divided by the amount of energy at which the wind turbine is rated. The average wind turbine has a capacity factor of 25%, which means that it will take four wind turbines to equal the nameplate-rated output of one wind turbine. Given that fact, we must now multiply our 1,667 wind turbines by 4, which gives us 6,668 wind turbines, rated at 1.5 MW each.

"Now, let us look at the amount of land area that would be needed for these 6,668 wind turbines. General Electric, the producer of the 1.5-MW wind turbines used in this example, recommends spacing the wind turbines at three times the diameter of the wind turbine rotors, so that the wind trailing off the rotor doesn't affect neighboring wind turbines. GE also recommends that the spacing between rows of wind turbines be five times the diameter of the wind turbine rotor, so that the next row of wind turbines can make use of the available wind.

"The General Electric 1.5-MW wind turbine has a rotor diameter of 77 meters (262.6 feet). To get an idea of the size of the wind turbine, the area that the rotor sweeps out is big enough to place a 747 jumbo jet inside. So keep that in mind as we continue.

"To figure the spacing of the wind turbines, let us multiply the rotor diameter of 77 meters by 3, which gives us 231 meters as the spacing between the wind turbines. Now let's figure the distance between the rows of wind turbines by multiplying the rotor diameter of 77 meters by 5, which gives us 385 meters between the rows.

"If we multiply 231 by 385, it will give us the total area required to site one of our 1.5-MW wind turbines. This comes out to 88,935 square meters or 22 acres of land for one 1.5-MW wind turbine. If we now multiply the 22 acres by the 6,668 wind turbines, we get 146,696 acres, which is 229.21 square miles (about three times the size of the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area). So it appears that it will take 146,696 acres of land covered with wind turbines, to have a part-time generating capability equivalent to that achieved on 4,000 acres of land for the nuclear power plant (which includes a lake used to provide water to the cooling towers)."

Murphy's study also points out that there is a common fraud in the statement of the availability factor for wind turbines, which is the percentage of time that the wind turbine or any other power source is available. Writes Murphy, "Wind energy advocates purposely confuse the availability factor and the capacity factor in their promotional materials, to try to demonstrate that a certain number of wind turbines can produce the same energy as a nuclear power plant. In truth, although the availability factor of the wind turbine is 100% because it is available to produce power at any time, wind turbines actually produce power less than 25% of the time, and that is only when the wind blows. Compare this to the nuclear power plant, in which the availability factor and the capacity factor are the same—about 95%. The only time the nuclear reactor is not producing power is during maintenance periods."

Solar and wind power share another problem. As they are intermittent sources, they require backup power systems and a complex relationship with the power grid, whereby the power flow can be switched on and off at various times. As they are placed, by necessity, in remote locations, wind generators incur an added expense of many miles of additional transmission lines. In the case of the Texas wind boondoggle, the cost of hundreds of miles of high-voltage transmission lines for the unneeded wind installations is going to be incurred by the consumers, who will have already subsidized the wind farms through huge tax givebacks to the wind energy speculators.

Neither wind nor solar are serious solutions to the world's energy needs. They are, rather, prescriptions for the destruction of progress and the genocidal reduction of the human population. What is really under attack in the proposal by Gore, the front man for the Anglo-Dutch oligarchy's wish to return to a new Dark Age, is science itself. Having largely destroyed the nuclear capability of the United States, the intent is to channel what remains of the next generation's scientific impulse into the pursuit of better solar cells, climate frauds, and cataloging extinct species of which the fastest accelerating is mankind.

We can secure a better future. For the first time in history, we have the means to lift all mankind out of the misery of backbreaking toil, disease, and ignorance. But first, we must overcome the irrational fear of nuclear power, and indeed, of science in general, which the controllers of Al Gore have attempted to impose upon us, from motives which are hideously evil.