Wind Farms do you think they are ugly?

Discussion in 'Energy' started by Mark, Jul 12, 2015.

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Wind Farms do you think they are ugly?

  1. Yes

    2 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. No

    4 vote(s)
    66.7%
  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Do you think wind fams are ugly or even further "bad technology" for renewable energy?

    I'm personally not a fan of wind energy and don't find wind turbines pleasing to the eye - I certainly would object to a wind farm next to my property.

    Interested in what others think :)
     
  2. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    They can establish them where people don't tend to live (remote NT, SA, Qld, Broken Hill come to mind) and just hook them up to the grid.
    Yes, they would be a disturbing view from the home window, but some research points to possible low frequency waveforms being emitted by these wind turbines that may have some effect to health of living organisms if in close proximity (some similarities to high voltage power lines).
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yeah, that's another controversial topic about wind power. It can't be discounted until it is totally proved otherwise either.
     
  4. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    I don't mind the look of the big ones randomly scattered over the rolling hills kind of country, large properties. I like the "gadget-ness" of them. As Ash has said there's lots of debate about health effects but so far no one seems to have any concrete info about it, but I'd rather not live underneath one either. But I've also read that farmers that benefit financially from them don't have any negative health effects :popcork:

    I've had a little look in to the small backyard ones a couple of years ago but found that i probably don't have enough high wind in my area to make it work as they need a minimum wind speed until they will start to produce electricity. I'd still like to try it one day though.
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Unfortunately that cannot happen without a large scale randomised controlled trial, which is unethical in this setting.
    It can only be through observational studies that we can get any information about their effect, and even then we would only get associations, not causes implicated.
    Anyway, it's the large scale ones that have the spotlight, not the windmill type generators.
    As for windmills, they're a lot more nostalgic, and okay to look at (as well as being safe to be around). Only they are less efficient at energy generation.
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I don't mind a windmill - especially if I'm travelling by train in Holland... with a beer in my hand - done that :cheers:
     
  7. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    Did everyone see the Denmark story the other day?

    Big headlines "Wind Power generates 140% of Denmarks electricity demamd"

    So you'd get the impression of wow that's amazing and everyone likes and shares on FB and wonders why we aren't doing that. But if you read the details, it was an unusually windy day, and the supply was 116% in the evening, possibly when demand was low, and the 140% figure was at 3am!! when there's no demand. I can probably power five houses at 3am with my little offgrid system :rolleyes:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environm...wind-windfarm-power-exceed-electricity-demand

    *this post isn't against wind power, just the sensational news stories that get spread around.
     
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  8. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Aha. And that's the problem with using 'science' to report such inappropriate facts. A single time point should never be used to analyse demand vs. supply in something like wind or hydro or solar electricity generation. Get them to report on a 24 hour period in the middle of winter and viva la difference.
     
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  9. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    The Guardian :D

    That paper is full of wind :p
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member

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    I agree with Stevo's comments.
    Personally I don't mind the look of them but I've never lived close to one either.
    I certainly like the theory of them and the load they take off reaping the earth of natural resources.

    I've always been interested in sailing and living aboard a yacht, which I've never done and probably never will, but most cruising sail boats will normally have a wind turbine to keep the batteries topped up for when the sun isn't shining on their solar panels. They are fairly small and can be a bit noisy but when the wind is blowing it's normally noisy anyway so really its not that bad.
    Like Stevo i'd be interested in having a small wind generator on my block but that is something for down the track....I need a house built first!

    I did hear something on the news the other day about some politician saying they dont like the look of them and therefore they should go. I dont see any reason why they couldn't be put in a back paddock and do their thing with little impact to the population.
     
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  11. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Just bringing this thread back to the present.

    I was emailed a photo which I duly read then trashed. Then realized I should have kept it to post here.
    It was of a humungus wind turbine that has a working life of 20yrs but will take until year 19 to pay for itself leaving only several months to make a profit.
    Firstly, why on earth would someone design something that darned big if it cant pay for itself quicker?
    Secondly, why would you invest in such a grotesque blight on the seascape? It was an ocean turbine.
    Thirdly, what gov't in it's right mind would allow such mechanism to be deployed knowing it cant pay for itself?
    The intrinsic energy value puts turbines on the edge of not being able to be considered in the green energy category.
    Just because wind is harvestable, doesn't mean it is worthwhile harvesting on a large scale.
    Until recently solar panels could be put in that category too. It took as much energy to produce & move them to their location, as they were capable of producing over the time frame of a reasonable life span.
    At least now there are advances around the world making solar panels & materials worthwhile manufacturing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  12. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I think the answer to why @ClissAT is unfortunately "politics" rather than sensible or rational evaluation :)
     
  13. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    If they're that inefficient then it hardly seems worth it...and I believe there's a few questions about the health impact of having the persistent low tone noise that affects some people. And to be honest, I think I'd be a bit of a "NIMBY" about them, though I did find these ones in Canada to be kind of majestic. But you could argue that perhaps the landscape would be more beautiful without them.
    I would definitely have a wind turbine if I was living off grid though...at least until solar batteries become more a bit cheaper! DSC_0644.jpg
     
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  14. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    42yrs ago I lived on an outstation in central western Qld. The electricity for the house was 12v from a little Dunlite turbine which charged 2 truck batteries & a 32v system charged by an old Southern Cross single cylinder thumper & generator with a bank of 16 ex Telecom 2v batteries.
    It also had 2 kero fridges (one run extra cold for a freezer) & a wood stove with hot water jacket. Not that the house needed more hot water considering the water coming directly from the bore right beside the house was slightly less than boiling & stunk to high heaven!
    The dunlite ran the lights unless there was no wind where upon I could turn on the one 32v light fitting in each of the 2 main rooms. It was a very dull poor quality yellow light. If I wanted light in other rooms it was the much brighter kero lamp. The 32v was mostly for the kitchen appliances & the washing machine. The gennie ran for only 1-2hrs some nights & on one morning a week to do washing in the Simpson wringer washer. Room heating in winter was kero heaters or the stove in the kitchen.

    Haven't things changed?! Yet now people complain bitterly about every little thing to do with their power supply. The dunlite was a small 2 prop turbine on a very tall narrow tower. When the wind was blowing & it really got going, it made a hell-av-a whine. But it was reassuring to know there would be white lights at night to read or sew by (there being no TV) & on winters mornings to cook breakie & make lunches.

    If only modern wind turbines could be made to look like Southern Cross windmills. Funny how we accept the old mills in the landscape although maybe not in the numbers we see modern wind turbines & of course not the same gigantic size.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  15. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Imagine how much water a windmill that size could pump :p
     
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  16. StuartGrows

    StuartGrows Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I find Wind Turbine's to be very relaxing. They are almost hypnotizing to watch. It's rhythmic even. I also find solace in knowing that we are moving towards a better future by using them.

    In response to ClissAT, I'll go by number
    1. It's not ALWAYS about profit (or in this instance, profit now). Consider that they are looking at the bigger picture.
    2. Because there are more air currents over the ocean, and less people see them.
    3. A smart government. THIS iteration of the turbine might not have such great specs, but it literally fuels innovation in the green technology realm. Governments are some of the only institutions with pockets deep enough to fund such things, and innovation and iteration are not cheap. This one might only make money for the last few months, but the next one might be leaps and bounds better. We can only get to the next generation wind turbines if we bother to discover the first generation ones. Think of it in terms of cars. The first cars were slow and had terrible mileage. They weren't very practical, but because we kept throwing money at the industry it improved vastly and now look at us.
    4. I don't mean to offend, but I think you are absurd in saying this. Even if they didn't produce more energy than they took to make, you still need to consider that the device itself is generating green energy, even if the processes that went into making it are not. Eventually, after enough iteration the device will generate more green power than it took to create.
    5. It absolutely is. When you scale up, you get much more energy for less "effort". You don't need so much more wind to turn a huge turbine as you would to turn a small turbine. The cut in speeds are low. The larger the turbine the better advantage can be taken of gearing in the generators.
    6. You are saying the same thing I am saying above, which tells me you already kind of agree with the notion that iterative processes yield better results over time. We just need to put the time , effort, and money into the crappy stages of wind energy to get to the meaningful stuff.


    Ash, I would like to take this time to reassure you that Wind Turbines do not emit low frequency waves that would impact living organisms. I happen to work for an electrical testing laboratory that performs EMC testing and Safety Testing. While the government (at least the US Government) allows for very minimal emissions, they aren't nearly strong enough to do anything to a living organism. Additionally, if the Government were to buy a turbine it sure as hell would have to pass EMC regulations (which are set by the FCC) before it could be sold. It's just not true. I have first hand experience with witnessing these types of tests. There is no gray area. If it goes over the allowable spectrum by even a little..FAIL. Back to the drawing boards.
     
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  17. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Great to read your differing opinion @StuartGrows - very interesting!
     
  18. StuartGrows

    StuartGrows Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Like this video, for example. I could just toss down a blanket and lay down and relax for a few hours. Slow breeze, the sound of the grass swishing in the wind. The Turbine, diligently working away in the background. I think it is something about how slowly it turns., and perhaps the scale of it.

    It's just so nice, almost hypnotizing. Takes my mind off of other things.

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/MSYTmhDin9s

    Also this video. It's just so cool to me.

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/9X4c3RdH-vM

    Note this guy says living off the grid, but it is not correct. The turbines feed the grid. You could have your own personal small turbine, but I don't find those as relaxing as they spin much faster.
     
  19. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hey stuartgrows...you raise a lot of good points. And personally I also don't really mind the appearance or "hum" from turbines. We pulled over and took pics of the wind farms in Canada because I actually really liked the contrast of technology and cropping. (Still don't know if I would want one next door though!)
    So I ask this out of genuine curiosity and not to be argumentative (I am the first person to admit that physics, and in particular sound waves...and electricity for that matter...are not strong points for me!) but because the turbines emit low frequency waves that we can hear...are we not therefore "affected" by them?
    I get that what you're noting is that the government has determined what it believes is a "safe" level of emission, and the turbines are assessed against that...but from a health point of view (Ash and I are both doctors) there are already people claiming their health is affected by these things - rightly or wrongly. (Despite the research there will be similar claims made about overhead power lines and mobile phones too.) The problem I see going forward for turbines will be whether we can ever categorically prove that they don't cause health issues - because unfortunately, the perception that they may cause a problem is often enough to stop further progress (a la Tony Abbott's blanket declaration about wind farms).
     
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  20. StuartGrows

    StuartGrows Member Premium Member GOLD

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    From the Government's standpoint they describe the affect of those emissions as a physiological one, not a psychological one. Indeed , those people who believe they are affected by those things will think they are affected by cell phones and other things. They are affected because they CHOOSE to be affected. There is a key difference. Really the only solutions for situations like that are for a) them to get counseling b) to go on medication or c) to move!

    In my opinion they have no right to stifle the progress of humanity as a whole because they have trouble believing in science.
     
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