Minnesota wind turbines won’t work in cold weather

posted at 12:00 pm on January 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Minnesota invested itself in alternative energy sources years ago, and so the revelation that the state spent $3.3 million on eleven wind turbines hardly qualifies as news. However, the fact that they don’t work in cold weather does. KSTP reports that none of the wind turbines work, prompting the Twin Cities ABC affiliate to dub them “no-spin zones.”

Special hydraulic fluid designed for colder temperatures was used in the turbines, but it’s not working, so neither are the turbines.

There is a plan to heat the fluid, but officials must find a contractor to do the work.

How will the heaters work? They’ll have to use either electricity or natural gas at each turbine to keep the mechanism lubricated. That will drastically reduce the net energy gain from each turbine, depending on how much heating the turbine fluid needs to stop congealing in the winter. Since cold weather here lasts anywhere from 4-6 months, that makes it mighty inefficient as an energy resource.

In this case, though, the state may not be entirely at fault. The manufacturer certified these turbines to work during the harsh winters of Minnesota, and the state took them at their word. KSTP reports that the state may sue the manufacturer for either failure to perform or perhaps misrepresentation, so we could get at least some of our money back. However, the state also could have mitigated the issue by purchasing just one or two and monitoring their performance through a winter before buying the rest.

Wind power makes a lot of sense as a secondary or tertiary power source, a way to harness extra power without necessarily relying on it as a consistent source. I have no problem with its deployment under that kind of strategy, but as this shows, it’s simply not reliable enough as a primary energy resource replacing coal- or natural gas-generated electricity.


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But luckily enough, it never gets cold in MN.

/

artist on January 30, 2010 at 12:01 PM

now that is funny, if not for the criminal waste of tax dollars, manpower hours, and resources.

rob verdi on January 30, 2010 at 12:03 PM

So we’re going to need fossil fuels or nuclear power to make the wind turbines work. Brilliant.

amerpundit on January 30, 2010 at 12:03 PM

High Pressure system = NO WIND

They also didn’t work in Britain this COLD winter.

Caper29 on January 30, 2010 at 12:03 PM

We Wind turbines won.

OmahaConservative on January 30, 2010 at 12:04 PM

LOL. This reminds me of the LED stoplights freezing over. Unintended consequences, the eternal enemy of dopey liberals.

Missy on January 30, 2010 at 12:04 PM

All those problems go away when the world heats up in the next 10…30…or sorry, 50 years.

ConDem on January 30, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Put a field of solar cells next to the turbines to power the heaters for the turbine fluid.

When the solar cells get covered with snow and can´t collect sun energy, then build a coal-fired plant next to them to power the heater to melt the snow on the field of of solar cells which then collects the sun to power the heater for the wind turbine.

albill on January 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

KSTP reports that the state may sue the manufacturer for either failure to perform or perhaps misrepresentation, so we could get at least some of our money back.

May sue? Amazing how they MAY attempt to get satisfaction from the manufacturer.

Jeff2161 on January 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Can we drill for oil and gas now?

BetseyRoss on January 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Solar power! Just attach a solar panel on top of the wind turbine to heat the oil. Renewable energy to sustain renewable energy. Efficient! /s

Electrongod on January 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Paging fatso Algore.

OmahaConservative on January 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Rush read a great piece the other day about wind turbines built 1/2 mile from a subdivision which were a nightmare. 24/7 thump thump thump noise which ranged from annoying to unbearable.

I missed the beginning so I didn’t catch where this was exactly, but the woman quoted in the story had initially been filled with hopium about the idea of wind turbines as an alternative to dirty coal.

Buy Danish on January 30, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Let’s raise some additional taxes, say on the rich and on corporations, to make some additional investment in green technology and green jobs. That should solve this minor problem.

GaltBlvnAtty on January 30, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Put a field of solar cells next to the turbines to power the heaters for the turbine fluid.

When the solar cells get covered with snow and can´t collect sun energy, then build a coal-fired plant next to them to power the heater to melt the snow on the field of of solar cells which then collects the sun to power the heater for the wind turbine.

albill on January 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

This is genius.

Missy on January 30, 2010 at 12:08 PM

This is right up there with the school buses that don’t work in winter, either. The eco-diesel gels. Wind mills are 13th century technology we’ve moved way past.

Kissmygrits on January 30, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Other dangers of wind turbines (to birds): http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/12/twenty-story-bird-grinding-death.html

Mervis Winter on January 30, 2010 at 12:09 PM

It would appear that all the Left’s plans to keep the earth from getting any warmer are being foiled by the fact that the earth in general is already too cold.

keep the change on January 30, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Didn’t Minnesota have a problem a few years ago with some enviromentally friendly school busses that ran on veggie oil or something? Congealed into glue in the sub-zero cold?

Wethal on January 30, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Mervis Winter on January 30, 2010 at 12:09 PM

We’re eeeeeeeeeevillllllll republicans, we don’t care about birds.

OmahaConservative on January 30, 2010 at 12:10 PM

What we need is a little global warming. Then everything will be OK except that when we go to all wind turbines, the globe will cool and they won’t work again! My, my, my what’s a environmentalist wacko to do?

Christian Conservative on January 30, 2010 at 12:10 PM

albill on January 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

You, my friend, have a bright future in environmental and public management.

aquaviva on January 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Good points, Ed. But, what about the ‘whop, whop, whop’ effect? Is that an issue in MN? Sounds like having a Huey (UH1 helicopter) permanently circling over your house to me. A Huey at least was a welcome thing, back in the day.

JimP on January 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Not working because it is cold. This showed up some weeks ago in Britain where they hope to have 4 or 5% of the nations power generated by wind turbines.

Turbines please the tard mind but the quantity needed to be minimally practical are enormous and they will not work in very cold weather not just because of unsuitable lubrication but because in extreme cold weather there is very little wind.

Tard towers are a passing fad and when you see them chopping up large raptors, you know that won’t please any one.

BL@KBIRD on January 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Bio-fuels gell up in extreme cold too don’t they? I thought I remembered a story here about a whole fleet of school busses breaking down because the fuel was a jelled up.

Mord on January 30, 2010 at 12:13 PM

So wind turbines can’t cure global warming enough to actually function or maybe there is no global warming.. Maybe 15 acres of solar panels can heat the fluid to keep the turbines running.

fourdeucer on January 30, 2010 at 12:13 PM

But what would Van Jones say? “We’re not going to put a new battery in a broken system. We want a new system. We want a new system.”
Translation: Don’t heat the damn oil in a broken turbine, Replace the turbine, replace the turbine.

Electrongod on January 30, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Since the town of Chasca is now a “No Spin Zone” I wonder if O’Reilly will deride their decision to put up the turbine as “Pecksniffian”???

FloridaBill on January 30, 2010 at 12:13 PM

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thomasaur on January 30, 2010 at 12:14 PM

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Al Gore: “But..bu bu but, when AGW kicks in, these will be working fine all year round. C’mon Minnesota! How about a little TRUST is us?”

LOL

viviliberoomuori on January 30, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Always wondered if I could use that “Word of the Day” in a sentence.

FloridaBill on January 30, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Will the people who work for the electric company who fix the turbine problem then be considered to have green jobs?

myrenovations on January 30, 2010 at 12:15 PM

There is a plan to heat the fluid, but officials must find a contractor to do the work.

How will the heaters work? They’ll have to use either electricity or natural gas at each turbine to keep the mechanism lubricated.

So winter’s a bust. Then how about summer, when electricity demand is highest (mainly because of air conditioning)… and wind levels are lowest?

Is there also a plan for when the wind doesn’t blow… like on the hot days of summer when everyone who has an air conditioner is using it? Will they install giant electric fans to make wind enough for the wind turbines to turn?

petefrt on January 30, 2010 at 12:16 PM

KSTP reports that the state may sue the manufacturer for either failure to perform or perhaps misrepresentation, so we could get at least some of our money back.

Sorry, but when inferior technology is subsidized by the public dole, I have little sympathy. I hope the shareholders and executive officers are flaming liberal Dems who contributed the maximum to Obama. And I hope the lose their shorts in litigation.

BuckeyeSam on January 30, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Buy Danish on January 30, 2010 at 12:07 PM

I heard him reference the noise from these things on the radio. Sometimes people need a painful lesson to really get it.

ThePrez on January 30, 2010 at 12:17 PM

And then for people prone to motion sickness, there is this.

BL@KBIRD on January 30, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Hey, sounds like a job for “The New NASA!”

ThePrez on January 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Rush read a great piece the other day about wind turbines built 1/2 mile from a subdivision which were a nightmare

I perked up at that story. It was in Vynalhaven Maine, an island off the coast. A guy on my ship was from there, and he would always have the community/church newsletter mailed to him. The sort of “Mrs Smith was visited by her grandchildren on Thurs, and they played Candyland” type of stories.

Felt like I knew the whole island by the end of Desert Storm.

JamesLee on January 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

This is just poor design. One could build a turbine that is better insulated and self-powers a heater for the hydraulic fluid. A couple of solar panels mounted vertically on the side of the structure would do the trick too.

On a windy day in Southern California there’s always more windmills still than moving and the temperature is just fine there. More of your money wasted.

Mojave Mark on January 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

a boom for trial lawyers.

kelley in virginia on January 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

cue Rush’s YUGO song…….

huskerdiva on January 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Actually, for the lesson plans put on hold…i’d say, the lesson plans should be revised…the students might actually learn something.

r keller on January 30, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Bio-fuels gell up in extreme cold too don’t they? I thought I remembered a story here about a whole fleet of school busses breaking down because the fuel was a jelled up.

Mord on January 30, 2010 at 12:13 PM

The Student Town Council in our little town thought that bio-fuels would be great for our small fleet of shuttle busses. The only problem was they jelled in the extreme cold which for where we live is 1/3 of the year. Then the maintenance for these hogs is ridiculous.

thomasaur on January 30, 2010 at 12:20 PM

With green and other liberal ideas, it is the thought that counts, not the practicality.

Vashta.Nerada on January 30, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Put a field of solar cells next to the turbines to power the heaters for the turbine fluid.

When the solar cells get covered with snow and can´t collect sun energy, then build a coal-fired plant next to them to power the heater to melt the snow on the field of of solar cells which then collects the sun to power the heater for the wind turbine.

albill on January 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

This could create millions of government jobs. (The beauty is that even windmills would have to trade carbon credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange.)

dtestard on January 30, 2010 at 12:22 PM

How will the heaters work? They’ll have to use either electricity or natural gas at each turbine to keep the mechanism lubricated.

Wow! Reminds me of the city, I think in Indiana that uses led traffic lights. They get snow covered, and no one can see the lights, and know how to proceed in traffic. Their remedy? Use electric heaters to melt of snow, and ice.

Maybe a little more research, and testing is in order, before cities, and states blow a wad of cash, doing the ecological thing, when in the end, it’s going to end up costing more anyway.

capejasmine on January 30, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Is there also a plan for when the wind doesn’t blow… like on the hot days of summer when everyone who has an air conditioner is using it? Will they install giant electric fans to make wind enough for the wind turbines to turn?

petefrt on January 30, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Trees are a renewable resource right? Just design these turbines to be mobile and place them around a forest. Lite the forest. The high winds created by the forest fire should be adequate for wind power generation.

Electrongod on January 30, 2010 at 12:22 PM

a boom for trial lawyers.

kelley in virginia on January 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

The tricky part is to convince these vultures there will be more money to be made suing folks in the “green” energy industry than the medical field

huskerdiva on January 30, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Oh the irony.

Cindy Munford on January 30, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Recently a local Indian Reservation had to have ALL of the blades replaced on their 22 turbines after they were damaged during a high wind storm. ALL were down at the same time. As you pointed out, it works as a secondary source, not a PRIMARY source. Now if we could only get the sun to shine 24/7.

GarandFan on January 30, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Probably made by the same company whose blades were cracking in California a while back. That company is located in Minnesota and came from India. I wonder if there is any Gore money in this venture and if that head of the IPCC has an interest.

Buddahpundit on January 30, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Boy, I’ll bet that’s blowing a cold breeze up some people’s knickers. Oh, wait… they’re not turning?

Yoop on January 30, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Guys! You gotta plug ‘em in!

BKeyser on January 30, 2010 at 12:25 PM

“Might they fail to harness wind?”

“Not on your life, my Hindu friend!”

/monorail

greggriffith on January 30, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Ed concluded with:

Wind power makes a lot of sense as a secondary or tertiary power source, a way to harness extra power without necessarily relying on it as a consistent source. I have no problem with its deployment under that kind of strategy, but as this shows, it’s simply not reliable enough as a primary energy resource replacing coal- or natural gas-generated electricity.

That sounds like a standard disclaimer to please the Greenies. A more objective conclusion would go something like this:

“If wind turbines make economic sense without subsidies, then more power to them (heh). If, on the other hand, wind turbines are nothing more than a ‘stimulus program’ (putting the taxpayers further into debt for inefficient technology in an attempt to buy votes), they ought to be labeled as such and then dumped until such time as they can compete in the free market.”

Splashman on January 30, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Felt like I knew the whole island by the end of Desert Storm.

JamesLee on January 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

I love those kinds of small town newsletters. It amazes me that some of them are still around.

Missy on January 30, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Big Wind ripping off the US taxpayer.

BobMbx on January 30, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Hilarious as this is, it garners only breif chuckle as the you could see the punchline coming a mile away.

For those interested in the energy issue (And I mean really interested, because I’ve found no one else refute the efficacy of “alternative” energy more thoroughly.) there is an Aussie who has done yeoman’s work on this issue.

TonyfromOz over at http://papundits.wordpress.com/ has dissected and destroyed the myth of “Alternative Energy” perhaps more than anyone else. Along with Andrew Bolt out Melbourne’s Herald Sun, he does a pretty fair job against the AGW meme as well.

Andrew is weel know to most of us “deniers” and eloquently captures things in a nutshell. On the other hand if you want to utterly destroy with a deluge of facts & stats, a Warm-monger at the next cocktail party. TonyfromOz is your man.

*Disclaimer, I also write occaisionally over at PAP’I.

Archimedes on January 30, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Acknowledgement: I am not much of a writer before my morning coffee, and an atrocious typist in my best of form.

Archimedes on January 30, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Electrongod on January 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Close but no cigar. You would need batteries to store the energy to run the heaters at night. After all it is coldest when the sun goes down.

chemman on January 30, 2010 at 12:30 PM

“But what about us brain-dead slobs”?

“You’ll be given cushy jobs!”

greggriffith on January 30, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Apparently the windmill lubricant doesn’t respect the fraudulent temperature reading data from NOAA.

ray on January 30, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Other dangers of wind turbines (to birds): http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/12/twenty-story-bird-grinding-death.html

Mervis Winter on January 30, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Where are the naked PETA protesters?

redridinghood on January 30, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Put a field of solar cells next to the turbines to power the heaters for the turbine fluid.

When the solar cells get covered with snow and can´t collect sun energy, then build a coal-fired plant next to them to power the heater to melt the snow on the field of of solar cells which then collects the sun to power the heater for the wind turbine.

albill on January 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

This is genius.

I will move to MN. to be in charge for say . hmmmmmmmmm 250K per year. But I expect to have at least 3 sub directors getting each 140k . Then we need at least 6 sub-sub dir.at 105k. they will over see the rest of the 500 people in the dept. who each receive at least 85k.

BruceB on January 30, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Maybe they can pack a bunch of smelly hippies inside each turbine house…all that body heat and burnin’ pachouli oil should keep the gear oil warm.

Here in Oregon, the legislature is backing off the bio-diesel mandate. Seems that all our trucks and heavy equipment in most parts of the state gelled up when it got to 15°F this winter…

Wyznowski on January 30, 2010 at 12:35 PM

That’s right Ed. Let’s use fossil fuels forever.

Seven Seas on January 30, 2010 at 12:35 PM

I’m no fan of windmills, but this problem should be very simple to solve. The temperatures must be very cold, because hydraulics on there own create heat.

A very low voltage electric coil would heat the fluid to a usable viscosity. Would be negligible drain on output.

Why not question those who work with hydraulic equipment in the arctic? They’ve been doing it for years.

donh525 on January 30, 2010 at 12:35 PM

FAIL

Flyboy on January 30, 2010 at 12:36 PM

And yet again, the greenie-goons charge ahead before the technology is ready. How I tire of these people! They make the embryonic tech look totally unusable and a fraud of their cause.

Dark-Star on January 30, 2010 at 12:36 PM

This looks to be the maker. Wesley Clark is on the Board of Directors.

http://www.juhlwind.com/

Buddahpundit on January 30, 2010 at 12:37 PM

donh525 on January 30, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Additionally I would think ice might be a culprit. Causing to much grip for the wind force to overcome.

donh525 on January 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM

This looks to be the maker. Wesley Clark is on the Board of Directors.

http://www.juhlwind.com/

Buddahpundit on January 30, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Who is Wesley Clark?

OmahaConservative on January 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Didn’t Minnesota have a problem a few years ago with some enviromentally friendly school busses that ran on veggie oil or something? Congealed into glue in the sub-zero cold?

Wethal on January 30, 2010 at 12:10 PM

It was/is not veggie oil it is the new Ultra low sulfer diesel fuel that EVERYONE has to use now, it will gel at a much warmer tmp than the old regular diesel and the anti gelling agent doesnt really work all that well. School kids were getting stranded on busses in the freezing weather and the district was not able to get a waiver to exempt them from the fuel.

Koa on January 30, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Ha Ha oh well everyone knows its Windy!

sonnyspats1 on January 30, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Solar power! Just attach a solar panel on top of the wind turbine to heat the oil. Renewable energy to sustain renewable energy. Efficient! /s

Electrongod on January 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Wait, probably gonna need some geo-thermal to keep the snow and ice off of the solar panels. There, that’s the ultimate answer.

PaCadle on January 30, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Yeah, but you fail to take into consideration that by 2011 global warming will have those windmills thawed and humming right along.

TheSitRep on January 30, 2010 at 12:40 PM

The problem may indeed be easy to solve. But that is not the point. The point is we are sinking a hell of a lot of taxpayer money into technologies that, at least at the moment, are not working well. At this rate we will run out of money well before we run out of cheap fossil fuel.

So can we at least wait until we’re out of beta mode before making enormous investments of public funds?

Missy on January 30, 2010 at 12:40 PM

chemman on January 30, 2010 at 12:30 PM

I was being sarcastic. This oil temp problem can be solved with another source of renewable energy as to not remove the efficiency of the wind turbines but it will make for a more complex system and higher maintenance fee.

Electrongod on January 30, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Put a field of solar cells next to the turbines to power the heaters for the turbine fluid.

When the solar cells get covered with snow and can´t collect sun energy, then build a coal-fired plant next to them to power the heater to melt the snow on the field of of solar cells which then collects the sun to power the heater for the wind turbine.

albill on January 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

With that kind of thinking thier’s a job waiting for you in the current administration./sarc

heshtesh on January 30, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Guys! You gotta plug ‘em in!

BKeyser on January 30, 2010 at 12:25 PM

LOL. The winnah!

For a good time, watch a wind turbine explode.

petefrt on January 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM

fixed Windy! link

sonnyspats1 on January 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Drill Baby Drill!!!

sonnyspats1 on January 30, 2010 at 12:42 PM

All we have to do is to let global warming take effect by burning as many fossil fuels as possible, then they will work fine.

NoDonkey on January 30, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Even in Texas – where the wind always blows – and it seldom gets below 32, much less sub zero, T. Boone Pickens abandoned his multi-billion dollar wind farm plans because it was simply not cost effective, or “viable” as they so carefully word it.

Reminds me of the disappearing headlights that were all the rage back in the day. They disappeared alright….and never reappeared when it was twenty below. Frozen colder than a witches teat in a brass bra!

GoldenEagle4444 on January 30, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Good points, Ed. But, what about the ‘whop, whop, whop’ effect? JimP on January 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Even goofbally California is having problems with wind turbines. Seems PETA and environmentalists are upset that the turbine ‘whop, whop, whop’ is doing ‘chop, chop, chop’ to innocent fly-by birdlife.

marybel on January 30, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Yeah, but you fail to take into consideration that by 2011 global warming will have those windmills thawed and humming right along.

TheSitRep on January 30, 2010 at 12:40 PM

You got to laugh the problem of global warming is so severe the only solution is more of the problem.

fourdeucer on January 30, 2010 at 12:45 PM

All we have to do is to let global warming take effect by burning as many fossil fuels as possible, then they will work fine.

NoDonkey on January 30, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Your on the right track. These wind turbines used in cold climates are for the future. Just store them away with those Styrofoam Pillars and when the time is right, viola!

Electrongod on January 30, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Electrongod on January 30, 2010 at 12:40 PM

I know.

chemman on January 30, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Meh. The electricity needed to keep the fluid thawed should be negligible, in my semi-ignorant opinion. If the cost of a retrofit is paid by the manufacturer, then MN isn’t out anything significant.

There will always be bugs, and we should acknowledge that. Now, let the alternative energy proponents admit that replacing our current electrical supply with windmills is absurd and stupid.

Jaibones on January 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Put a field of solar cells next to the turbines to power the heaters for the turbine fluid.

When the solar cells get covered with snow and can´t collect sun energy, then build a coal-fired plant next to them to power the heater to melt the snow on the field of of solar cells which then collects the sun to power the heater for the wind turbine.

This is really a great idea. I think you should be in line to become the next wind czar ;-)

jgdp on January 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM

petefrt on January 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM

That was an awesome video! Just think of all the electricity it was generating right up until the turbine exploded! And think of all the ‘green jobs’ generated to put up another turbine!

Ed,

The solution to the problem is obvious – more wind turbines. Which don’t work in the Winter. Which drives the need for – more wind turbines. Which don’t work in the Winter. Which drives the need for – more wind turbines…

Oh, and Blame Bush…

catmman on January 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM

chemman on January 30, 2010 at 12:46 PM

:)

Electrongod on January 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Two interesting thoughts about wind turbines:
1) The extremely long cost-payback on these devices versus the incidence of mechanical breakdown or natural disaster makes a prospect of break-even on cost less than clear. In other words it’s a toss-up if they will ever turn a profit-let the government run it and it becomes a money pit like the Post Office.
2) I had an engineer friend tell me that wind power needs a 90% back-up from a more reliable source such as coal fired, nuclear, or hydroelectric. This relegates wind power to more of a novelty status than a useful resource.
Based on these two points this is a perfect project for the Dems to pour a few tens of billions into.

mad scientist on January 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Put a field of solar cells next to the turbines to power the heaters for the turbine fluid.

When the solar cells get covered with snow and can´t collect sun energy, then build a coal-fired plant next to them to power the heater to melt the snow on the field of of solar cells which then collects the sun to power the heater for the wind turbine.

albill on January 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

If your comment comes to the attention of the Obama administration, you are sure to become Obama’s new environmental czar!

Basil Fawlty on January 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM

albill on January 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM

If Rube Goldberg were still alive, he’d be chief of the wind division of the US Department of Energy.

petefrt on January 30, 2010 at 12:49 PM

All these ideas for alternative energy should be looked at. In less cold areas, windmills may be a fine idea.

However, it’s all dwarfed by nuclear energy. We should be building 5-10 plants per year for the next decade. That’s an “investment” as Obama would put it, that I could get behind. Jobs + less costly, more reliable energy.

Jill1066 on January 30, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Double Heh.

Maybe those clever Lefties in Minn. should’ve contacted their Russian comrades for a catalog of Low-temp Fluids. They whipped those pesky tech issues years ago.

As to it being extra-cold, there’s plenty of that to go around.

Get used to it.

Sunspots aside, Sol’s magnetic [Ap] index is still as close to zero as you can get without it going to zero.

Unless that changes . . . well, let’s just say . . . learn to love this brand of Winter.

For a decade or two.

Or three.

CPT. Charles on January 30, 2010 at 12:50 PM

For a good time, watch a wind turbine explode.

petefrt on January 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Good Lord.

RushBaby on January 30, 2010 at 12:51 PM

I perked up at that story. It was in Vynalhaven Maine, an island off the coast.
JamesLee on January 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Vinylhaven? Ha! That makes perfect sense. I know exactly where that is too. I go to a nearby island off the coast, and I know the mentality – most of them are environitwits.

Buy Danish on January 30, 2010 at 12:52 PM

That’s right Ed. Let’s use fossil fuels forever.

Seven Seas on January 30, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Let’s see, I’ve got two choices:

1) Continue to use fossil fuels until they are no longer economically viable, at which point other power sources will, by default, become more economically viable.

2) Pretend that “alternative” (code for “inefficient”) power sources are actually economically viable, and disguise their huge costs with taxpayer-funded subsidies in a vain attempt to make myself feel morally superior to the troglodyte masses.

I’ll take door #1. Only self-righteous, delusional eco-morons take door #2.

Splashman on January 30, 2010 at 12:53 PM

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