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I'm Just Sittin' Here Watchin' the Wheels Go Round and Round

Watching Wind Turbines in the Snow turns out to be a clever solution to the practical reality that wind farms are simply too large to study in a wind tunnel. This holds promise for improving the efficiency of wind farms, which are steeply on the rise in the U.S. in recent years. Curiously, the rise in wind power is being facilitated by more flexible gas power plants that can pick up the slack on a moment's notice, helping to make up for one of wind power's biggest problems: It's lack of consistency. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Jul 13, 2014 - 9 comments

A little sunshine on a rainy day...

The Virtual Power Plant: "Critics of renewables have always claimed that sun and wind are only intermittent producers of electricity and need fossil fuel plants as back-up to make them viable. But German engineers have proved this is not so." A pilot program funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment offers a rebuttal to critics who claim renewable energy sources have an insurmountable variability problem.
posted by saulgoodman on Apr 5, 2013 - 24 comments

Because those giant turbine blades aren't gonna clean themselves

"Companies like Rope Partner exist because rope access is the cheapest way to maintain the surfaces of wind turbines." [more inside]
posted by Quietgal on Feb 21, 2013 - 19 comments

Liquid-metal battery holy grail

A few nights ago MIT scientist Donald Sadoway (Time 100) was on Colbert Report to discuss a new cheap high-capacity liquid-metal battery that could be the holy grail for solar and wind power to store electricity for on-demand use. The Colbert show is an intro but sort of dumb (by design), the TED talk gives some more detail, or the company page Ambri has more info.
posted by stbalbach on Oct 24, 2012 - 31 comments

High-altitude wind power

In honor of the opening of Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon this week, the largest wind farm in the United States, let's take look at 'high-altitude wind power', HAWP: [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Sep 24, 2012 - 35 comments

US windpower milestone, 50GW powers 13M homes

While you'd never know from the US media, the US wind energy industry has breezed past a 50GW milestone. That's enough to power 13 million homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association. [more inside]
posted by Twang on Aug 18, 2012 - 136 comments

The answer, my friend, is blowing in Wyoming

The best wind in America is in Wyoming. It is a door-snapping, heart-pounding wind that barrels in from the west, chasing the truckers along Interstate 80 as they race to make Omaha by nightfall. It is sometimes described with words ordinarily associated with dark chocolate or exceptional pinot noir. It has been called dense, world-class, consistently extraordinary, special, and fabulous.. Advocates of wind power though are faced with a conundrum. [more inside]
posted by storybored on Oct 3, 2011 - 29 comments

You want me to blow on your what?

Is wind power bad? Many people think so. Americans are by far the largest energy user in the world, so why all the backlash ?
posted by woodjockey on Nov 15, 2010 - 135 comments

"Ecology is not just an urgency of the economy and protection of our world but also creativity and elegance"

A Philippe Starck designed Wind Turbine?
posted by Artw on Jul 2, 2008 - 35 comments

Can Two Engineers and Some Elbow Grease Save The World?

Planet Mechanics Dick Strawbridge and Jem Stansfield have been travelling Europe (for National Geographic UK) on a mission to lower energy consumption (and make interesting television). Air Propelled Sandwich | Cow Power | Lake District Dilemma | Solar Paella | Electric Water Taxi | Surf Power | Heavy Metal House | Tree Powered Truck
posted by chuckdarwin on May 27, 2008 - 32 comments

Windmill output of up to one MegaTrumpton

Could giant magnetically levitated windmills be the solution to the worlds energy problems? Chinese scientist have reported 20 percent increase in capacity over traditional wind turbines using maglev turbines, and now Arizona-based based Maglev Wind Turbine Technologies claims their turbines will have 1000 times the capacity of a traditional turbine. Not everybody is convinced.
posted by Artw on Nov 26, 2007 - 84 comments

Polution hobillion; Earth 1

So with global warming being linked to all sorts of bad things lately, and our illustrious leaders doing nothing about the problem because they don't want to slow down the economy, its good to see someone doing something about the problem, Whole Foods is the first fortune 500 company to go 100% green. And I for one am happy as a clam. This just goes to show you that you can have a wonderful, profitable business, without raping the earth, your customers, or your employees.
posted by stilgar on Jan 11, 2006 - 54 comments

How Green is Green?

Unexpected Downside of Wind Power - Wired reports on the shutdown of wind power turbines along Altamont Pass in California. Wind power is seen by some as an alternative to burning fossil fuels; yet these turbines are being shut down over environmental and ecological concerns. Some of the concerns about turbines are that they endanger bird migrations, yet others say that they are not a problem for bird migrations. It's not just a question of the ecological footprint, though. The entire environmental impact has to be assessed for any project. Hydroelectricity is not without its effect on ecosystems, either (Scroll down to "Ecosystems and Large Dams", about 40% of the way down).

If even green or renewable energy sources cannot be accessed without a significant adverse environmental impact, how can we meet our energy needs? Reducing consumption is only approaching the problem from one side. How do you properly gauge the environmental impact of a project and when is it okay to give it the green light? Or are we being oversensitive and should we let natural selection handle the birds that can't adapt?
posted by Eideteker on Oct 14, 2005 - 43 comments

Tapping the Sky

45,000 pounds + four 130 foot rotors + up to 200 mph Jet Stream winds = Energy Problem Solved
Like the monster mother of all kites, a company called Sky Windpower (which sports an excellent website about high altitude wind power) has been founded by an Australian engineer with three others to attempt to harness the near limitless windpower of the jet stream with a machine they call an FEG (Flying Electric Generator).
They're currently seeking $4 million to build a 200 kilowatt prototype but still need to get FAA clearance to fly it. The production models would generate 20 megawatts each and would be flown in farms of up to 600 turbines to generate enough power to light up two cities the size of Chicago. Power and control of the huge machines would be handled by a three inch thick tether connected to a winch on a ground station.
Man, I love Popular Science!
posted by fenriq on Aug 19, 2005 - 35 comments

Final Frontier, the space between our ears.

A viilage to reinvent the world : Gaviotas "In 1965 Paulo Lugari was flying over the impoverished Llanos Orientales, the “eastern plains” that border Venezuela. The soil of the Llanos is tough and acidic, some of the worst in Colombia. Lugari mused that if people could live here they could live anywhere.....The following year Lugari and a group of scientists, artists, agronomists and engineers took the 15-hour journey along a tortuous route from Bogota to the Llanos Orientales to settle."

"...they would need to be very resourceful. So they invented wind turbines that convert mild breezes into energy, super-efficient pumps that tap previously inaccessible sources of water [powered by a child's playground seesaw!], and solar kettles that sterilize drinking water using the furious heat of the tropical sun....They even invented a rain forest!" (from "Gaviotas - A village to reinvent the World", by Tim Weisman) Amidst the strife of war torn Columbia, Gaviotas persists and even flourishes. " "When we import solutions from the US or Europe," said Lugari, founder of Gaviotas, "we also import their problems."....Over the years Gaviotas technicians have installed thousands of the windmills across Colombia....Since Gaviotas refuses to patent inventions, preferring to share them freely, the design has been copied from Central America to Chile."

Gaviotas is real, yes, but it is also a state of mind - as if Ben Franklin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Leonardo Da Vinci - all of the great those giants who reinvisioned the possible - were reincarnated : as a small Columbian village on a once-desolate plain. "Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez has called Paolo Lugari the "inventor of the world." "
posted by troutfishing on Apr 16, 2004 - 12 comments

So, umm.....about that oil in Iraq....

Wind Power cheaper than coal, electric car does 0 to 60 in 3.7 w/300 mile cruising range

It's official: wind power is now cheaper than electricity from Coal, Stanford Researchers report in a study published in the Journal Science. Quiz for Metafilter science wonks: how much of current US energy consumption could be supplied by spending 200 billion dollars on wind turbines?

Meanwhile...Powered by 6800 lithium-ion batteries, the Tzero "from zero to 100 and through the quarter mile, will run with, or beat, the $281,000 Lamborghini Murci
posted by troutfishing on Sep 24, 2003 - 53 comments

The building of this

The building of this has kept the average car driving commuter of my fair city enraged for 18 months. Not one person who complained to me, the token non-driver, knew that they were going to be wind-powered musical bus stops. Aren't they going to be happy when they find out? :) There's also an audio (RM) link here.
posted by vbfg on Jan 30, 2002 - 16 comments

WTC Replacement...

WTC Replacement... This would be sweet, imagine a 2000ft version of this puppy
posted by zeoslap on Sep 17, 2001 - 14 comments

Wind power vs. hot air?

Wind power vs. hot air? Shamelessly purloined from ms. nut: wind farms in the Mojave are being left idle because the power utilities won't upgrade the distribution lines. Instead, they buy in power from neighbouring grids, at inflated prices, with the state and the consumer underwriting the cost. (more inside thread)
posted by holgate on Apr 3, 2001 - 3 comments

Flying Windmills and Whirlygigs. As the windy month comes to a close, these two stories seem appropriate. Two men on opposite sides of the globe, each a bit of a cross between Edison and Quixote.
posted by gimli on Mar 30, 2001 - 2 comments

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