23 September 2005

A Good Renewable Energy Idea

"Micro" wind turbines atop tall buildings? I mentioned the idea over a year ago to someone and got a very funny look. But it makes perfect sense: it's always windy up there (make a visit to the Carew Tower deck), so why not harness it?

Now a building in Manchester, England is doing just that.

Another good idea: putting solar panels onto all car rooftops. I think the Audi A8 had this feature once, and it used the energy to cool the car while it sat in the hot sun.


Brendan said...

These turbines are usually made with aluminum, which requires massive amounts of electricity to produce. And because of variable wind speeds and the fact that 2/3rd of the time it's dead calm, other energy sources are required. Or you can use large-scale, expensive rechargeable batteries which create a disposal problem and eventually need replacement. Finally, these wind farms are notorious for scattering a huge wake of shredded, bloody bird parts.

This is not a political statement, but science. Another useful exercise is to calculate the energy usage of a city like Manchester, UK -- hell, even estimate low by 20% -- and then calculate the size of the wind farm necessary to support it given the variable nature of the resource. I can tell you it would be massive.

These things are never discussed publicly by the people who have been doing "test runs" with alternative energy projects for the past 30 years.

WestEnder said...

Your statement that your comments are science and not a political statement appears disingenuous. It does not seem that you understand the utility and applications of wind power in general, or in this specific case. Yet you have an opinion. That smacks of politics, not science.

Phrases like "massive amounts", "the fact that 2/3rd of the time it's dead calm", and "huge wake" are fairly clear giveaways that you have some kind of emotional opposition to alternative energy and not an objective, scientific opinion.

Brendan said...

What are you talking about? Talk about an ad-hominem attack. You can’t seem to respond with any sort of informed scientific opinion. Of course it's a political opinion pal - the question is whether or not it's supported.

Research it yourself, if you want to impugn my credibility. It's not difficult to get hard numbers about ANY of the things I mentioned. Google it. Look for average KW/hour or number of hours of daylight or wind - or how large concentrations of these resources relate to city centers and population density. You could start with the Department of Energy. If you think those numbers are suspect, search for studies done before 2000. Try not to recite the marketing dross of activists - at least without giving it some kind of critical eye first.

But somehow, I don’t think you will bother. Typical, misinformed “debate” - ignore the substance, switch topics to the person delivering them.

The Dean of Cincinnati said...

Geo-thermal. That's pretty cool, and I bet it would be hard to politicize it.

WestEnder said...

"This is not a political statement, but science."

"Of course it's a political opinion pal..."