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Energy Dept. Wants Big Wind Energy Technology In All 50 US States 256

coondoggie writes: Bigger wind turbines and towers are just part of what the U.S. needs in order to more effectively use wind energy in all 50 states.That was the thrust of a wind energy call-to-arms report called "Enabling Wind Power nationwide" issued this week by the Department of Energy. They detail new technology that can reach higher into the sky to capture more energy and more powerful turbines to generate more gigawatts. These new turbines are 110-140 meters tall, with blades 60 meters long. The Energy Department forecasts strong, steady growth of wind power across the country, both on land and off shore.
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Energy Dept. Wants Big Wind Energy Technology In All 50 US States

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  • (insert joke about needing to install wind turbines near locations where there's a lot of hot air, i.e. politicians)

    • Nah, for maximum power you pay Henry Winkler [] to move to the politicans and harvest energy from the delta caused by his coolness and the hot air from the politicians. We could power the world!

  • "CALL TO ARMS" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    .. should alert the alert reader to the DOE's approach on things. Unfortunately the US public hasn't yet been hammered with sticker shock yet unlike the UK and German ratepayers. (Well, Maine rates jumped 19.6 percent last year due to "upgrades" "required" to ease a transmission choke near a wind facility whose power gets shipped to Massachusetts- Maine doesn't need the excess power by they pay for it nonetheless.) The US public as a whole doesn't yet understand that wind turbines GUARANTEE simple-cycle gas

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      Wow, you managed to get just about every fact wrong there.

      UK, electricity price - not much change over the last decade - renewables are helping to the price down.

      Modern wind turbines are at about 40-50% capacity factor. If a wind turbine is getting 6% capacity factor then someone made a mistake in placing that turbine.

      "scamming well-meaning environmentalists into thinking these things are going to save the planet." Yeah, because the better option is to do nothing, allow temperature to rise up to 10deg C and

      • SolStats shows a chart from UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, that says UK electricity prices have jumped 50% higher than five years ago []

        Just curious which one of you is lying - the UK trying to scare people into buying more alternative energy as ,energy prices rise (though of course they don'y say WHY they have risen...) or you trying to avoid scaring people from realizing wind power is quite a lot more expensive?

        • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )


          Note the chart you linked is 5 years out of date, 2010 vs 2015, it looks like prices have fallen back.

          If you look at the prices on the page I linked you'll see that you can purchase electricity for about 10p per kwh now - very similar to ten years ago.

          Onshore wind costs about 3-4p per kwh - the same as coal if you ignore the massive external costs of coal. Nuclear is being offered 9.25p per kwh and they are still not sure if they want to build. Offshore wind is now closer to

        • Likely Solstats.

          Like the parent my energy bill is dropping every year, but the news claim the price per kw/h would increase.

          For me it did not increase since ten years or more.

        • there are factors causing the price rises like the utilities ripping us off as at the moment due to their cartel like practices. They generate the power and sell it to themselves at inflated wholesale rates and then charge us. A few of the power companies are also owned by by foreign companies and there is suspicion they are charging us more to subsidize their own domestic market. there is also a green levy charged to speed up the creation of green power.
  • Question on EROEI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @07:57PM (#49730925) Homepage Journal

    Can someone help me understand EROEI ("Energy Return on Energy Input").

    All the research on future sources of energy (that I can find) say that we're doomed as a civilization [] because the EROEI for renewables isn't as large as that of fossil fuels.

    Okay, EROEI is the energy you get out minus (or divided by) the energy you put in, I get that. Fossil fuels take relatively little energy to gather, and generate lots of energy so their EROEI is rather large.

    Wind and solar require a larger energy input per energy out, so it's EROEI is smaller but still greater than 1, even after accounting for mining the raw materials.

    I'm not clear how the economic conclusion is reached that solar and wind cannot power our civilization. If we have enough rooftop solar and wind farms to generate all the energy we need as a civilization, and if there's enough left over to make *more* solar and wind installations over time (to replace the warn out bits), then why does EROEI matter?

    Assuming that EROEI is a net energy positive (with a reasonable margin of error), why does it even matter at all?

    (Also note: world population growth is slowing [], and is steady or decreasing in all industrialized nations (including the US if you deduct immigration). The standard economic model assumes infinite consumption, but is that assumption correct? Is there be an upper limit to personal comfort in terms of energy use? Or at least diminishing returns? Would finite population and finite consumption invalidate the standard economic model?)

    • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:31PM (#49731141)

      EROI still matters as that basically tells energy investors where they will get the biggest return for their money.

      The trick is that the EROI for fossil fuels is decreasing as all the easy reserves have been tapped. We're mucking around with high tech dynamically positioned rigs for deep water drilling, oil sands, etc... that require more energy and effort to obtain. The EROI for coal has been depressed artificially due to environmental regulations and CO2 rules, but there are still ample reserves. The EROI for wind and solar should be relatively flat, even rising slightly if the technologies improve.

      At some point the fossil fuel EROIs will fall below the EROIs for renewables. It's just a matter of when. Whether you invest in renewables now or later really depends on your perception of the outlook for these energy sources.

      The thing to keep in mind is, low EROIs mean low net power production. An EROI of 1.01 is energetically feasible, but it means you are only getting a net surplus of 0.01 units of energy for your 1 unit of effort. That 0.01 is what you get to power your society with. If you are using a technology with an EROI of 1.01, it means you will need a LOT of that technology to power society. You will actually need nearly 2X a LOT of that technology as you need nearly the same amount of power to simply make the technology.

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      Wind and solar require a larger energy input per energy out, so it's EROEI is smaller but still greater than 1, even after accounting for mining the raw materials.

      This is now completely untrue by a large amount, it may have been true many years ago but it certainly isn't now. Solar's energy payback time [] is now as little as 6 months for a panel that lasts 30-100 years*, that's a EROEI of 60-200 not less than 1!!!

      Because the manufacturing of solar panels has evolved hugely:
      Price history of silicon PV cells si []

    • Perhaps you should google?

      And use different terms, no one actually says: EROEI

      But rest assured, for solar panels the time needed to regenerate the energy used to build them is about 6 months, for big wind turbines not more than a year.

      So: we are not doomed :D

  • not the wind, is not the turbines, and not really the way the grid works, it's the fact that the grid doesn't run to where the turbines are likely to be built, where the wind energy is most available. Boon Pickens had a similar idea about 10 or so years ago, and his ideas got shot down for this reason.

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @08:27PM (#49731117)
    Wind is already generating a significant amount of power in windy locations. For whatever reason, this report goes on about what it would take to build more towers in parts of the country where there just isn't much wind. Seems like a lot of wishful thinking.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.