Thursday, November 06, 2008


A fun email from Paul Biggs [p.m.biggs@bham.ac.uk] below:

The October edition of Which? Magazine [in the UK] reported on domestic wind turbines in an article entitled 'Wind turbine blows cold.' Which? installed one in a house and monitored it from December 2007 to June 2008. The result was that it used more electricity than it generated. This is because the turbine includes an "inverter" that converts the energy into electricity to go into the mains, and the inverter needs power which it draws whether the wind is turning the turbine or not. If the 'greens' want to 'save the planet' with domestic wind turbines, then they will have to make sure that they live somewhere very windy. Given the energy used and costs involved in manufacturing, installing, maintaining, plus eventual decommissioning - there may not be anywhere that is windy enough!

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1 comment:

ooGcM taobmaetS said...

As a retired power system designer who's designed many high-power inverters for "variable"-to-AC conversion, I can confidently assert that if they had no net gain in power throughout a day then the wind generation portion of the budget had to have been pretty pathetic.

Those converters don't pull all that much idle power, and most of 'em go into smart-power-down mode if the conversion "yield" will be net-negative.

However, if they saddled the system with a bunch of monitoring equipment and remote sensing stuff, then their local power budget (not the inverter) is the culprit.

I'm a solid AGW skeptic and am very much pro-windpower, but I call bull - or at least "fudged" - on this report.

...and I rarely do that at this site. TAB is usually a damned accurate source.