[ RadSafe ] Wind power

Neill Stanford stanford at stanforddosimetry.com
Thu Feb 23 11:18:41 CST 2006

As I see it, the big draw for exploring/deploying wind power is diversifying
our energy sources. After 5 yrs of off-the-grid sailing with solar, wind and
diesel generated amps, I can attest that a multi-source approach makes a lot
of sense. Just because it isn't feasable to generate all of our power from
wind, doesn't mean there is no place for it. My small-scale experience is
that wind power can be very effective, clean, and satisfying; but at the
same time loud, dangerous, inconsistent, and very maintenance intensive (esp
in a salt water environment on a moving platform). Diesel is dirty with
moderate operating costs but generally reliable. Solar is blissfully
maintenance free but often inconsistent with relatively low output. That
said, it is a great feeling to have the security of three different sources.
I think that is really what is needed.
Put the solar panels in the desert, put the windmills on the ocean bluffs
and use them to augment, not replace, the large capacity "traditional"

Neill Stanford, CHP
Stanford Dosimetry, LLC
PO Box 935
921 S. Fourth St.
Suite B
La Conner, WA 98257
360 466-1090 (voice)
360 466 5141 (fax)
360 770-7778 (cell)

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf
Of Flood, John
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2006 4:34 PM
To: James Salsman; radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] World's Biggest Wind Park -Capacity Factor vs.

James Salsman wrote:

>New wind power installations with shaping currently cost, on a 
>per-kilowatt-hour basis, about the same as new coal plants, within a 

>Both wind and coal are substantially less expensive than new nuclear 
>plants on a cents/kWh basis, in some cases by half, and that's not even 
>counting the externalities of Price-Anderson indemnification, toxic 
>waste storage, and toxic byproduct disposal.

What cost are you talking about?  Any cost analysis that includes operation
and maintenance will find wind power costs more than coal, gas, and hydro,
even more than nuclear unless you get into worst case spent fuel storage
scenarios.  The cost of maintenance and repair of hundreds or perhaps
thousands of small individual generators spread over hundreds of square
miles in all kinds of weather is remarkably higher than maintenance and
repair of large turbines in indoor facilities.  It is that maintenance cost
that has driven so many wind farm operations into bankruptcy.  Even the
operators that acquired wind farms from bankruptcy sales at ten cents on the
dollar go bankrupt themselves.

Also, bear in mind that the load on a regional grid increases and decreases
in a diurnal pattern that changes with the seasons.  A wind-based national
system is incapable of following the demand curve, whch means that a
comprehensive regional or national wind system with fairly steady output can
serve as base production, but must be combined with adjustable production to
follow changes in demand that are commonly a factor of 2-3 within one day
for the hottest and coldest days.  If the wind system cannot achieve a
reasonably steady state output, it realistically has to be limited to less
than the margin above load for the system.  Otherwise it becomes an
immediate threat to the stability of the grid.

Bob Flood

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