“Wind power works great, if . . .”


Jim Wiegand, Naturalist (California)

Just remember, wind power works great if you are being paid to sell it.

Wind power works great if politicians can help the wind industry food-chain steal tax credits from taxpayers and then turn around and reward them again with carbon credits.

Wind power works great if ridding the world of species like whooping cranes and eagles is not a concern.

Wind power works great in PowerPoint presentations, animated clips, and sappy commercials.

Wind power works great if you would rather see an industrial landscape over god-given beauty and productive ecosystems.

Wind power is fantastic if your goal is to waste time and resources on a non-solution to society’s energy needs.

But wind power works best of all when Democracy takes a back seat to an assembly-line of corruption allowing outsiders to plunder and pillage communities.

I would take any other energy source over wind.

It is essential that people realize that no energy source comes anywhere close to killing as many raptors as wind energy does. No other energy companies are allowed to pick up bodies of rare and protected species from around their production sites on a day-to-day basis, year-in and year-out. No other energy producer has a several-thousand-mile mortality footprint (the highly endangered whooping cranes’ migratory corridor), like what wind energy has.

Wind is not clean energy. It is nothing but a filthy, disgusting excuse to bleed taxpayers.


Wind Turbine Syndrome is forcing elderly woman to abandon her home (Australia)


“Wanted: Five acres to bury dead birds” (Michigan)


Editor’s note:  Since posting this, I have corresponded with the writer, Ella. She has given me the specific, blow-by-blow details of her claim that a wind company employee indeed approached a local resident, inquiring about renting 5 acres to use as a surreptitious burial site—for turbine-slaughtered birds. The resident declined. I will take the matter further and, if given permission by Ella and her associates, will reveal more. Suffice it to say, for now, that I have verified the accuracy of her claim—to my satisfaction, at least.  (See my earlier comment, at the bottom of this posting.)

—Ella (last name withheld)

Need some cash, anyone? (Sarcasm!)

In Gilford Township, Michigan, 75 newly installed turbines that went on line in December 2012 are looking to rent 5 acres to bury birds.

They are trying to install 3000 IWT in the Thumb of Michigan, which is rated as the 3rd best agricultural soil on this planet.

“Please Lord Jesus, help us all!”  Why do these farmers not realize their soil is Black Gold, the Saudi Arabia of soils on the planet?

I can only pray someone will read this. I can only pray someone will document the slaughter in Gilford. I can only pray this madness stops.

owl 3

Editor’s note:  Some readers are contacting me privately and wondering why I posted this, with nothing more than this woman’s “say so.”  I don’t want to dismiss her claim out of hand. It’s an intelligently written comment, and the remainder of it seems sound. I have contacted her for clarification.

My gut leads me to credit, more or less, this kind of statement. Largely because it’s obvious birds are getting whacked. It’s also clear that bodies are being hidden. What’s surprising is not (a) birds being slaughtered, or (b) an effort made at “cover-up.” What’s novel is the company passing the word around that it needs a burial site. There is so much chicanery by wind developers (“chicanery” is putting it politely: These people are pathological liars), that I’m gonna assume this woman’s right till proven wrong.

Incidentally, there is nothing to say the wind company intends to “fill” 5 acres with birds.  Be that as it may, I’ll be interested to hear the writer’s reply to my request for more information.

Do you really believe corporate claims of getting “all” their energy from “renewables”?

Editor’s note:  The following illustrates how corporate claims about getting 100% of their energy from “renewables” is “rhetorical trickery” joined to “political appeasement.”   Read Chesser’s editorial and you will never again fall for this nonsense.


“Apple’s 100% Renewable Claim Fails the Sunlight Test”

This is America, where the rich and politically powerful can cut deals for their own benefit and shift the costs onto those less able to afford it.

Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, 03/26/2013

Apple, Inc. has grown into a widely admired and one of the most valuable companies in the world, producing terrific products that generate long waiting lines every time a new innovation is announced. You would think executive leadership would not feel the need to bow to environmental pressure groups to appear it is eco-friendly.

But apparently acceptance by the likes of Greenpeace, and a warm reception at Silicon Valley liberals’ cocktail parties, still ranks high in importance in the corner offices in Cupertino, Calif. – even though their boastful claims aren’t true.

The latest example surrounds Apple’s absurd assertion that its electricity-sucking data centers, which support services like cloud computing and iTunes, are powered completely by renewable energy. Why the Mac-makers would brag about a phony achievement that is so easily debunked makes you wonder how smart they really are.

“Our goal is to power every facility at Apple entirely with energy from renewable sources…,” the iCompany proclaims on its Web site. “So we’re investing in our own onsite energy production, establishing relationships with suppliers to procure renewable energy off the grid, and reducing our energy needs even as our employee base grows.

“Our investments are paying off. We’ve already achieved 100 percent renewable energy at all of our data centers, at our facilities in Austin, Elk Grove, Cork, and Munich, and at our Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino…. We won’t stop working until we achieve 100 percent throughout Apple.”

The iCompany is particularly proud of its new computer server farm in Maiden, N.C., where it has built what it calls “the nation’s largest end user–owned, onsite solar photovoltaic array” on land that surrounds the facility. The supposedly eco-friendly project – which spurred the London Daily Mail to label it “Apple’s NC iSore” last year – killed 100 acres of trees, which the clear-cutters initially burned until the smoke and soot inhalation got to be too much for the neighbors. Apple has embarked on another round of forest cleansing to build a similar-sized array on adjacent property, to generate more erratic power (only when the sun shines) by the end of 2013.

Calling the Maiden solar swath “end-user owned” is about as far as you can stretch the truth without calling it the opposite. If Apple truly depended on the electricity generated from its solar farm, customers would be smashing their iPods and iPads in frustration over sporadic cloud computing services. Instead what Apple does is sell much of the sun power to Duke Energy, which puts it on the grid where dependable sources – coal, nuclear and natural gas – provide the consistent electricity that Apple actually needs.

The same kind of arrangement exists for Apple’s 10-megawatt fuel cell facility – also adjacent to the Maiden data center – the nation’s largest such project to generate electricity that doesn’t belong to an actual utility. Apple contracted with Bloom Energy, a start-up company with big investor friends (including Al Gore) in Silicon Valley, to build the power generation project. As The News & Observer of Raleigh reported last April, “According to a recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fuel cells are among the world’s most expensive forms of electricity, costing $6.7 million per megawatt….”

Fuel cells are considered “renewable” because they require natural gas, but can use “biogas,” which can be captured from landfills and animal waste. Only Apple won’t be using biogas in its cells, but instead will buy renewable credits for landfill gas that is injected into natural gas pipelines. Gigaom.com reported in December that the fuel cell electricity and the renewable credits Apple earns will also be sold to Duke Energy.

So what’s on the surface – and what Apple wants everyone to believe – is that these large renewable projects are powering its massive data center in the foothills of Western North Carolina. But in reality, Apple is generating the very expensive electricity and selling it to Duke Energy, which will then recapture the cost in the overall rates it charges Tar Heel State businesses and residents. Meanwhile the power that Apple is actually using – which must be uninterrupted, round-the-clock and cheap – is sold to them at a sharply discounted rate by Duke.

If there was any doubt about that, it evaporated when Wired.com discovered on Duke Energy’s Web site a four-page paper (since removed, but saved by Wired) from its business development team that explained how they were able to convince Apple to come to North Carolina. As Wired recounted:

“Data center operators such as Apple are ‘the type of customer where the meter spins and spins at an exponential pace,’ said Clark Gillespy, a Duke vice president of economic development, according to the paper. ‘It may be the most ideal customer we could have.’ Their top concerns include ‘power cost and reliability,’ Gillespy said. ‘We were able to convince Apple that we were capable of providing the low cost and reliability they needed for their operations.’”

Besides the attractively priced electricity rates, Apple also was granted $46 million in special tax breaks from state and local government for the Maiden facility, which added to the savings. But no aspect of the location could have been more important than the power cost, which represented the single greatest ongoing expense they’d need to control in perpetuity.

So Apple’s claims that its massive server projects are “100-percent renewable” can be attributed to rhetorical trickery and political appeasement rather than reality. Duke gets 98 percent of its grid power from nuclear and coal plants, which is the real reason Apple was drawn to North Carolina and has been joined there by Google and Facebook, which also have been big cloud computing support facilities there. As Wired noted, Greenpeace in 2011 called the three tech giants the “dirty data triangle.”

The sale of solar and fuel cell power to Duke also helps the crony capitalism cause. As NLPC has reported, Apple worked with Bloom Energy to build the costly, otherwise unjustified fuel cell project. Al Gore, an Apple director, is a senior partner with Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, which in 2002 helped launch Bloom on its independent mission to “make clean, reliable energy affordable.” Kleiner Perkins and its high-profile partner John Doerr – a friend of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs – are identified by Bloom as its first investors, and Bloom is also credited as Kleiner Perkins’s “first clean tech investment.” Thus Gore has a conflict of interest in his dual roles as an Apple director and as a beneficiary of a sales deal with Kleiner Perkins client Bloom Energy.

In a world without cronyism, renewable mandates, and utility monopolies, electricity-hungry Apple would have laughed at Bloom Energy after hearing its sales pitch about some of the most expensive power on the market. But this is America, where the rich and politically powerful can cut deals for their own benefit and shift the costs onto those less able to afford it.

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center and publishes CarolinaPlottHound.com, an aggregator of North Carolina news.

Wind energy’s stupendously false claims (United Kingdom)

fat lie

“Call for Full Facts on Wind Turbines”

—Tony Wakefield, Rutland & Stamford Mercury (UK), 1/9/13

In the 60s I was professionally involved in the design of wind turbines for electricity generation. Even then it was clear that they could never be an economical source of energy for the Grid.

It is always inefficient to convert low-level energy into high-level energy.

Our applications were confined to pipelines in remote desert areas. I have consequently taken a peripheral interest in their development and application ever since, regarding their only good feature being that, unlike nuclear power plants in particular, their decommissioning is cheap and easy.

The picture has been muddied by the apparent environmental implications, both pro (possibly) and con (definitely).

In particular I would mention that it can be argued that anything that increases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is to be encouraged since that is where virtually 100 per cent of our food supply comes from.

A letter appeared in Professional Engineering in 2012, the organ of the UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers drawing attention to a report listing the five common assertions made by the wind industry, Government representatives and agencies.

(1) “Wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year.”

(2) “The wind is always blowing somewhere.”

(3) “Periods of widespread low wind are infrequent.”

(4) “The probability of very low wind output coinciding with peak electricity demand is slight.”

(5) “Pumped storage hydro can fill the generation gap during prolonged low wind periods.”

An analysis using publicly available data for a 26-month period between November, 2008 and December, 2010, and the facts in respect of the above assertions are:

(1) Average output from wind was 27.18 per cent of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14 per centin 2010, and 24.08 per cent between November, 2008 and December, 2010 inclusive.

(2) There were 124 separate occasions from November, 2008 til December, 2010 when total generation from wind farms metered by National Grid were less than 20MW. (Average capacity over the period was in excess of 1600MW).

(3) The average frequency and duration of a low wind event of 20MW or less between November, 2008 and December, 2010 was once every 6.38 days for a period of 4.93 hours.

(4) At each of the four highest peak demands of 2010 wind output was low being respectively 4.72 per cent, 5.51 per cent, 2.59 per cent and 2.51 per cent of capacity at peak demand.

(5) The entire pumped storage hydro capacity in the UK can provide up to 2788MW for only five hours then it drops to 1060MW, finally runs out of water after 22 hours.

The myths surrounding wind energy’s contribution have to be scotched.

The analysis is very detailed and show that in the period from November, 2008 until December, 2010 wind power generation was below 20 per cent of capacity for more than half the time.

The extremes are revealing. At 3am on March 28, 2011 the entire output from 3,226MW of installed capacity was 9MW. Three days later at 11.40am the output was 2618MW, the 
highest ever recorded. So discussions about energy balance and availability efficiencies are pretty meaningless in the face of such wild swings in output.

One must read the report to fully appreciate how using average wind speed to infer average power output has been very misleading. The instantaneous values are what really matter.

The assumptions that periods of high pressure are confined to summer and that the wind is always blowing somewhere in the UK is wrong. High barometric pressure and low or no wind can occur at any time over the whole of the UK.

In Northamptonshire there are planning applications in place for no less than 53 windmills out of a total of 94 new windmills currently projected for the UK.

Northants does not have any areas of outstanding natural beauty, National Parks, big cities or major airports, which makes it relatively plain sailing for windfarm developers to defeat local concerned groups.

It also has relatively low wind speeds—about 6m/s—but that doesn’t stop the use of average values hoodwinking the gullible into believing some inflated projections for electrical energy production.

During the Industrial Revolution when the steam engine and electrical power generation appeared, local cereal millers became less cost effective and went out of business because their windmills were an unreliable source of power. Nothing has changed.

It is disturbing to find Government policy still, in defiance of irrefutable evidence freely available from National Grid still pushing ahead with a policy discredited at every level.

Claims made by vested interest, in which I have to include Government members, are demonstrably at variance with the facts. We have a right to expect integrity, at least from our Government, but we are not getting it.
Tony Wakefield, who lives in Little Casterton Road, Stamford, is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a Fellow of the Association of Consulting Engineers.

Wind Turbine Syndrome: Physician tells couple to leave their home (Ireland)


Stamp out wind turbines (Scotland)


“Ten ways to kill Big Wind” (Hawaii)


Mike Bond, Professional Writer (3/8/13)

Despite many victories, communities around the world are still facing a plague of industrial wind projects that like hideous War of the Worlds steel monsters are destroying communities, mountains, and wildlands, slaughtering birds and bats, sickening people and driving them from their homes.

Even though these wind projects do not reduce greenhouse gases or fossil fuel use, they have dreadful environmental, social and economic impacts on whole regions. But they are a tool for energy companies and investment banks to make billions in taxpayer subsidies that get added to our national debt.

The good news is that communities worldwide are learning how to defeat these dreadful projects. More and more laws and moratoriums are being passed against them, while other projects are defeated on legal grounds or by overwhelming public opposition.

In Hawaii, an industrial wind project that would have constructed ninety 42-story turbine towers across seventeen square miles of Molokai has been defeated by a determined two-year effort of the island’s residents. In the process we learned many tactics, which I’ve tried to summarize below and are further described in Saving Paradise:

Show wind projects for what they are: industrial. Not environmental, not green, not renewable, and cause no reductions in greenhouse gases or fossil fuel use, no long-term jobs and few short-term ones.

Don’t be nice. These wind developers are your enemies: they want to destroy where you live, steal your money (property values), and are quite happy to literally drive you from your homes. They will lie, cheat, bribe, buy politicians, and do whatever else they can to win. They won’t be fair and you can’t trust them.

Create a group and get your community behind you. Point out property value loss, human health issues, environmental destruction, tourism impacts, and all the other dreadful results of industrial wind. If you have a homeowners’ associations, make them aware of the danger so they can join the fight.

Publicize your case. In the newspapers, TV and radio, on blogs and in nationwide petitions. Use good graphics. Go viral, worldwide. Develop a good professional website with lots of information and ways for viewers to participate. Community members should write op-eds and letters to the editor. A very powerful tool is frequent press releases that pass on news reports from National Wind Watch and other groups about the devastating impacts of industrial wind. These press releases should be sent to all relevant media outlets and local, state and national legislators.

Do mailings to everyone. In Molokai we sent two mailings to all the island’s 2,700 addresses. The first mailer described the dangers of the project and included a survey with a stamped return envelope. We had a massive response, with 97% of responses against the project, and our group gained hundreds of new members. A year later we sent a second mailer with photo mockups showing how the turbines would tower over homes and landscapes. This mailer also included a bumper sticker which many residents then put on their cars.

Be visible. Put up lots of signs, both homemade and professionally done. Put up billboards if you can. Professional signs show you mean business, and are taken more seriously.

Find legislators who will help you. On the state level, Republicans are often more responsive and more concerned about the environment than traditionalist Democrats who have bought the idea that wind is environmental (or who are receiving contributions from wind companies).

Litigate. Find every avenue to impair or slow the wind developers. Once the Washington industrial welfare subsidies are removed, industrial wind companies will vanish overnight.

Get property value loss appraisals. Average losses of 40% or more are being reported; in Molokai, one of the reasons the landowner planning the project cancelled it was they estimated a 75% property value loss on their lands near the project. Publicize the loss of assessed value at county level, and how that will reduce tax revenues. In most cases, property value loss far exceeds any revenue the county might receive from the project.

Civil disobedience. Politicians and energy companies are terrified of this. Don’t be afraid to go to jail to protect the land and homes you love. On Molokai we planned if necessary to start a hunger strike on the island, and there were people ready to starve to death to protect our island. The level of your commitment is equal to the level of your success.

Doctors blow the whistle on wind turbines (Global)

Editor’s note:  The following is a news release from the European Platform against Windfarms (EPAW).


An impressive number of health practitioners, researchers and acousticians around the world are voicing their concern about the effects of wind turbines on people’s health.  The list was just published by the Waubra Foundation, the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) and the North-American Platform Against Windpower (NA-PAW), the latter two representing over 600 associations of windfarm victims from 27 countries.

These health professionals should be honored, assert the three NGOs:  it takes courage to uphold the rights of victims against the powerful coalition of vested interests which supports the wind industry.

In Australia, where the controversy is reaching new heights, a wind industry executive has been singling out Dr Sarah Laurie in a bid to make the public forget the many other health professionals who alert to the dangerous effects of wind turbines:  “. . . the largest public relations issue for the industry at the moment is the theory of an ex-doctor [“ex-doctor” is false—Ed.] that infrasound or low frequency noise from wind turbines is likely to make anyone within 10 km of a wind turbine sick.”

The Australian blog, Stop These Things, which rose to prominence denouncing the wind industry, responded:  “So, the largest public relations issue for the wind industry is Sarah Laurie?  One woman against the deep pockets of the pro-wind lobby.  One woman speaking with local communities.”

Click here to read the entire article.


Marine wind turbine construction harms porpoises’ hearing & survival (Germany)


“Wind park building noise ‘can kill porpoises’”

—Unsigned article, The Local:  German’s News in English 2/26/13

German scientists are working to prevent the noise from building oceanic wind parks from damaging the hearing of whales and dolphins, after it emerged that the noise could be deadly for sea mammals.


Anja Gallus, from the German Oceanic Museum in Stralsund, said the noise created by hydraulic hammers used to ram the steel base pipes into the sea bed, could kill in particular porpoises in the area.  (Editors note:  You may contact Ms. Gallus at anja.gallus@meeresmuseum.de.)

“Damage to hearing means the loss of their navigation and thus the possibility of hunting. If the hearing damage remains, the animals mostly die,” she told Die Zeit weekly newspaper.

Porpoises navigate, hunt and communicate with each other with echolocation, making clicks and other noises and hearing the reflection of the noises off objects such as fish, to create an understanding of what is around them.

But the level of noise created by underwater building sites needed to set up the wind parks drown out these subtle noises. Each wind turbine requires an 800-tonne steel base which must be fixed 30 metres deep into the sea bed – and is simply hit with a huge hammer to ram it in.


“The construction work is very noise intensive,” [Professor] Otto von Estorff, from the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg told the paper. “The particularly conductive quality of the water means the noise can be clearly heard for several kilometres.”  (Editor’s note:  You can reach Prof. Estorff at estorff@tu-harburg.de.)

He and his research team have measured around 200 decibels at the construction site – and it remains at around 180 decibels within 750 metres of the work.

“The maximum noise levels as prescribed by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency for underwater are at 160 decibels – which is about the noise level of an Oktoberfest band on land. The average noise level around the German coasts is around 90 decibels,” von Estorff said.

The most effective way to keep the noise at site is to create a bubble curtain around the work which acts insulation against the sound waves in the water – effectively breaking them up so they do not travel so well.

The bubble curtain – created by laying a pipe with holes in it on the ground around the foundation work and pumping air through it – can be badly affected by heavy seas though, as strong currents can simply whip the bubbles away, leaving no noise barrier.

Von Estorff and his team are working to try to evaluate other possible methods of reducing the noise pollution from the construction, Die Zeit said. Delays due to adverse conditions preventing the bubble curtains working can easily cost €90,000 for each wind turbine, but there is not yet any other way, said Cay Grunau, from Hydrotechnik Lübeck, a firm which lays the bubble curtain pipes.

“If we are deciding upon environmentally friendly energy, we also have to protect the environment with the building measures necessary. Anything else would be a big contradiction.”


Why the wind industry’s turbine noise measurements are worthless


Why dBG, dBC, and dBA “hide” the true “dose” of infrasound below 10 Hz

The actual level of infrasound in this figure at 1 Hz is above 90 dB. Measuring infrasound with dBG at 1 Hz gives a level of only 50 dB.  Thus 40 dB is “hidden.”  Forty dB is a huge amount of sound energy, which will not be heard at that level, but may be perceived.

The graph also demonstrates why dBA is useless at accurately measuring below 200Hz.  Measurement with dBC likewise fails to measure the true low frequency noise and infrasound level once you get below 100 Hz.

The figure below came from the following sources:

» Salt, A.N. and Kaltenbach, J.A. (2011). Infrasound from Wind Turbines Could Affect Humans. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Science. (Aug 2011). 296-302.  (Downloadable from here.  Scroll down to the fourth article.)

» Van den Berg, G. P. (2006). The sound of high winds: The effect of atmospheric stability on wind turbine sound and microphone noise.  PhD dissertation. University of Groningen, Netherlands.

dB graph


The “Waterloo Wind Farm Refugees” (Australia)

Waterloo refugees


Wind turbines at sea get Wave Resonance Syndrome (Norway)

Editor’s note:  Turns out ocean waves create a phenomenon called “ringing.”  Ringing makes a resonance (vibration) which can break turbines and other such structures (oil rigs) “like matchsticks.”

The problem is, turbine towers are just the right size to be “vibrated apart” (my term) by ocean wave resonance.

Thus far it has not been possible to measure the force exerted by ringing. Laboratory measurements show that the biggest vibrations in the wind turbines occur just after the wave has passed and not when the wave hits the turbine. Right after the crest of the wave has passed, a second force hits the structure. If the second force resonates with the structural frequency of the wind turbine, the vibration is strong. This means that the wind turbine is first exposed to one force, and is then shaken by another force. When specific types of waves are repeated this causes the wear to be especially pronounced. This increases the danger of fatigue.”

—Professor John Grue, University of Oslo

This is akin to what happens inside a house. Turbine infrasound creates a resonance (vibration) within certain-sized rooms, in some cases shaking the house apart.  (Witness the home of Anne & Mark Cool, Falmouth, MA, where nails are coming out of the walls in a relatively new home.  Annie Hart Cool is a Sotheby’s realtor, incidentally.  WTS.com has heard similar accounts from homeowners, elsewhere.)

Can you see the irony?  Turbines at sea being vibrated apart by a resonance from ocean waves!  Turbines getting Wave Resonance Syndrome (WRS)!

How many marine turbines do you think will want to, er, abandon ship?  I can imagine the Australian sociologist, Simon Chapman, arguing turbines are faking WRS because they’re envious of land-based turbines, which get most of the media attention.  Others might counter that marine turbines are getting WRS because of a nocebo effect.

Wind energy has entered the realm of slapstick. Three Stooges comedy. Except, it’s so tragic.

row of match sticks

“Windmills at sea can break like matches”

Medium-sized waves can destroy wind turbines at sea, causing them to break like matches. Mathematicians are trying to explain why.

—Yngve Vogt, Apollon:  Research Magazine, University of Oslo (Norway) 2/26/13

When waves above 13 metres hit wind turbines, an unfortunate force arises at the rear of the turbine. This is called ringing.  Professor John Grue is now looking for a general mathematical formula that can explain the special phenomenon.

Medium-sized waves can break wind turbines at sea like matches. These waves occur even in small storms, which are quite common in the Norwegian Sea. “The problem is, we still do not know exactly when the wind turbines may break,” says Professor John Grue from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Oslo. Grue is one of the world’s foremost experts on wave research. In 1989 he discovered an inexplicable wave phenomenon called ringing, which is a special type of vibration that occurs when choppy waves hit marine installations. The discovery was made in a 25-metre long wave laboratory located in the basement of the mathematics building at Blindern Campus.

Prof. Grue

So far scientists have studied ringing in small and large waves, but as it turns out, ringing is more common in medium-size waves.

For wind turbines at sea with a cylinder diameter of eight metres, the worst waves are those that are more than 13 metres high and have an 11-second interval between them.

Financial ruin

The ringing problem may increase significantly in the years ahead. There are plans to build tens of thousands of wind turbines at sea.

“If we do not take ringing into consideration, offshore wind turbine parks can lead to financial ruin,” warns John Grue.

Today, the largest windmill parks at sea are outside the coasts of Denmark and Great Britain. They are nevertheless like small miniatures compared to Statkraft and Statoil’s enormous plans on the Dogger Bank outside Scotland. This windmill park is to produce as much electricity as 60 to 90 Alta power plants. A windmill park with the capacity of two Alta power plants will be built outside Møre og Romsdal.

“Thus far it has not been possible to measure the force exerted by ringing. Laboratory measurements show that the biggest vibrations in the wind turbines occur just after the wave has passed and not when the wave hits the turbine. Right after the crest of the wave has passed, a second force hits the structure. If the second force resonates with the structural frequency of the wind turbine, the vibration is strong. This means that the wind turbine is first exposed to one force, and is then shaken by another force. When specific types of waves are repeated this causes the wear to be especially pronounced. This increases the danger of fatigue.”

It is precisely this secondary force that creates ringing and that the mathematicians until now have not managed to calculate.

Unfortunate vibrations

All structures have their own vibration frequencies, whether they are wind turbines, bridges, oil rigs or vessels.

When the vibration matches the structural frequency, things get tough. This phenomenon is called resonance, and can be compared to the steady march of soldiers on a bridge. If the soldiers march in time with the structural frequency of the bridge, it can collapse.

Unrealistic calculations

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have already made a number of calculations of ringing. Ecole Centrale Marseille and the French Bureau Veritas have also made such calculations. Det Norske Veritas is among those who use versions of these models.

“Current models are the best we have, but the estimates are too rough and erroneous. The theories are applied far outside of their area of validity. This means that we cannot calculate the fatigue adequately.”

Ringing is not related to turbulence. Ringing is systematic and is about high underpressure at back of the cylinder.

Difficult mathematics

Internationally, very little has been done on this phenomenon. John Grue now has two Doctoral Research Fellows calculating these movements. He also collaborates with the Danish research community on wind power at Risø National Laboratory and the Technical University of Denmark.

“Ringing is very difficult to calculate. There is great uncertainty. We want more precise descriptions of the physics of ringing. We are now trying sophisticated surface elevation models and complex calculations to reproduce these measurements accurately. We want to show that the ringing force arises systematically according to a general mathematical formula.”

Saga Petroleum has previously conducted an extensive set of measurements of the ringing force in waves.

“These fit our measurements very well”, says Grue.

Differences between deep and shallow waters

The scientists must also consider whether the installations are in deep or shallow waters.

“The structural frequency also depends on the conditions on the seabed.

You can compare it to a flagpole in a storm. The flag pole vibrates differently depending on whether the pole is fixed in concrete or on softer ground.”

“There has been no research on the connection between vibrations and the conditions on the seabed.”

Oil rig damaged

Ringing does not just harm wind turbines. Ringing has already been a great problem for the oil industry. The designers of the YME platform did not tak ringing into account, and lost NOK 12 billion.

“It is possible to build your way out of the ringing problem by strengthening the oil rigs. However, it is not financially profitable to do the same with wind turbines”, says John Grue.

Improves the models

Arne Nestegård, Chief Specialist in hydrodynamics at Det Norske Veritas, confirms to Apollon that wind turbines at moderate depths may be exposed to high-frequency resonant oscillations if the waves are extreme, but they safeguard against this. Nestegård says that in the past twenty years, Veritas has developed ringing models and that they now work on improving the models for wind turbines at sea.

Video: Suffering from windfarms (Australia)


Hard data on why wind energy is bullshit (New York)

toilet paper 3

“Lessons from New York”

—Jack Sullivan, MS (Nuclear Physics, Cornell University), Rutland Herald 2/14/13

As Vermonters grapple with the pros and cons of industrial wind power, many of their questions may be answered by studying the track record of northern New York wind projects.

This area has been host to hundreds of turbines for nearly five years. The wind resource of northern Vermont is very close to that of northern New York. We can certainly expect nearly the same performance from turbines in both locations. I have tracked four northern New York projects since their inception with a comprehensive study centered on the Noble Chateaugay project, which has 71 GE 1.5 SLE turbines and is capacity-rated at 106.5 megawatts. The capacity rating is the maximum sustained output of the project.

The actual annual output of the Chateaugay was only 23 megawatts, giving an efficiency (capacity factor ) of 21.6 percent. The other northern New York projects had similar capacity factors. This is quite far removed from the 30 percent to 35 percent commonly predicted by wind developers.

All northern New York wind projects had more than 1,200 hours annually that they produced no electricity at all (that’s the equivalent of 50 24-hour days) or 14 percent of the time with zero generation. It appears wind developers notoriously inflate expected capacity factors to entice investors and increase chances of permitting approvals.

Both Vesta and GE turbines have a manufacturer’s life expectancy rating of 20 years, yet no northern New York wind project is on track to sell enough electricity in 20 years to pay for itself. There are few locations in the Northeast that have a sufficient wind resource to support a viable wind generating project;; not only are area winds light compared to the Midwest, but they have a huge problem of being very intermittent.

Wind power can never supply a steady base-load power, nor can it supply reliable and predictable electricity in any amount. This is especially true in marginal wind areas like New York and Vermont. Large-scale power storage is only a future dream, so a huge influx of wind power only increases its inefficiency.

Vermonters must look carefully at the current rush to cover their ridgelines with giant industrial wind turbines. Wind advocates, including Gov. Peter Shumlin, claim Vermont must switch to wind power in order to avoid another Hurricane Irene.

If this wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable. Irene originated in the Caribbean, so I find it hard to believe that a few wind turbines on Lowell Mountain can stop a major storm forming in the Caribbean. If storms of Irene’s ilk are caused by climate change, then Vermont’s electrical generation is a very minor concern, since 96 percent of its carbon dioxide is caused by heating and transportation. It might make more sense for Vermonters to concentrate on conservation and energy efficiency rather than destroy their ridgelines with inefficient wind turbines.

An in-depth study done by the prestigious Pacific Research Institute found that a wind project needed to have a capacity factor of 35 percent before it could erase its carbon footprint within its life expectancy. Manufacture, transport and construction of a wind project produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide emissions;; for example, just moving a single turbine across northern New York produces nearly five tons of carbon dioxide.

Even if Vermont wind projects produced less emissions, little reduction would occur since most of Vermont’s electricity comes from hydro and nuclear, both already emission free.

A driving force behind the Shumlin administration’s strong support of wind power seems to be the desire to destroy Vermont Yankee. The fact of the matter is that it would take more than 1,000 3-megawatt wind turbines to produce the average output of Yankee, and that output would be erratic and unpredictable.

Since Vermont electrical generation produces an infinitesimal part of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, there is no way they have any measurable effect on climate change.

The Lowell Mountain project is interesting in that Green Mountain Power claims its 21 three-megawatt turbines will produce an annual average of 20 megawatts. This would mean a capacity factor of approximately 32 percent, rather unbelievable for a Northeast installation. I fear the people of Vermont are being sold a bill of goods not unlike what happened in northern New York.

Other considerations in the northern New York wind projects were changes in the rural ambiance of the landscape, a major factor for Vermonters as ridgelines are scalped and bulldozed. Here in northern New York woodlot and meadow scenery gave way to an industrial array of 500-foot turbines. The landowners who were near turbine sites found their property values decreasing. Studies in New York, Texas, Wisconsin, the United Kingdom and Ontario all agree that sites in view of turbines less than a mile away lost 20 percent to 50 percent of their value once they were installed.

Additionally, we have had cases of ill health caused by neighboring turbines, a condition known as wind turbine syndrome and verified by medical professionals worldwide. A further negative effect that wind developers in northern New York have generally denied is the death of birds and bats due to wind turbines. It has been alleged that some projects have employees who scour the areas around turbines and remove carcasses, thus literally “knowing where the bodies are buried.”

Vermonters should remember that once their ridgelines are dynamited, bulldozed and covered with giant wind turbines they will never be reclaimed.


Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan is a town councilor in Malone, N.Y.