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Massive Coastal Wind Turbine Array

economies of scale
  [vote for,

Along the top of Canada at the Arctic ocean, build millions (maybe tens of millions) of wind turbines, the array stretching inwards for a few hundred kilometres to get adequate spacing.

Use that to power North America.


Remote area means:
- no eminent domain issues
- minimum environmental damage
- minimum opportunity for sabotage
- no aesthetic issues.

Mass production means:
- ridiculously low cost per unit : 24/7 factori(es) would be built right up there, refined raw materials shipped up via rail and cargo-ship.

An east-west rail line would be built for unit emplacement to start, and for maintenance later on, feeder roads stretching out from it

- all built by a low-to-modest hourly-waged 'captive' population of workers, with free room, board, medical and education benefits; pension investments are in the project.

High density means minimum support structuring on a per unit basis.

Long timeline (say 10-15 years prep, then 20 years construction to complete @ 500 emplacements per day) means turbine design and production can be optimized on the fly, as can maintenance routines.

Disadvantages: surprisingly few

- power corridor(s) have to be built to transport the electricity to the existing continental grid.

- massive investment.

While you'd think there'd be a large amount of leftovers (personnel, equipment) after the project, most of those could be folded back in for operations and maintenance.

FlyingToaster, Aug 30 2016

World Windspeed Map http://www.3tier.co...obal_wind_speed.jpg
[FlyingToaster, Aug 30 2016]

"Sustainable energy - without the hot air" https://www.withouthotair.com/
This book (freely available on this website) is very good on the potential of different kinds of energy generation. The problem with wind is that there isn't enough wind energy to match the energy demands of a country, even if you have very efficient wind turbines covering a really large area of land. The author (David MacKay FRS, chief scientific advisor to DECC within the UK Government) has proper scientific credentials. Anyway, read the "Wind" and "Offshore wind" chapters. [hippo, Sep 01 2016]

Page 33 https://www.without...om/c4/page_33.shtml
Covering the windiest 10% of the country with windmills generates, per person, about half the energy required to drive a car 50km a day - so basically, not the answer to our energy needs. This is for the UK, but will roughly apply to any country - scale up the land area and population [hippo, Sep 02 2016]


       Forget the turbines. Just get those newfangled style that use vibration to create electricity. Maybe set 'em up on Easter Island and shape them like faces or something...
RayfordSteele, Aug 30 2016

       A super tanker full of batteries, that can easily broken up and distributed, might be the go for reaching the uncabled corners of the globe.
wjt, Aug 31 2016

       /Disadvantages/ Transmission costs. Canada is big. Wolves. Poutine. Quebecois.   

       Why not build on Newfoundland and undersea cable power to the eastern seaboard? Closer to people who want power. Windy. People feel less passionate about seagulls running into whirling blades. If the cable is deep enough the wolves will be no bother. I am sure those clever Canucks will figure that out very eventually.
bungston, Aug 31 2016

       see link...
hippo, Sep 01 2016

       //Newfoundland// The Rock is (arguably) scenic and, while mostly populated by moose, there's enough people there to complain about scaring the fish. Also, a couple hundred kilometres thick of windfarm would probably extinctify any trans-oceanic bird populations, and the trees would tend to cut windspeed down somewhat. Though, now that you mention it, it'd be neat to give them (the people, not the birds) something to do in the winter.   

       [hippo] Maybe, but that link refers to an offshore farm, and (if I've got the right page) seems mostly concerned about corrosion from salt. Polar climate operations pose some unique materials challenges, but corrosion isn't the primary one, AFAIK.
FlyingToaster, Sep 02 2016

       [FT] see page 33, linked. Covering a massive area of a reasonably densely populated country with windmills gets you about 20kWh per person per day, which isn't much. Every person in the UK uses about 195kWh per day (see page 103).
hippo, Sep 02 2016

       What [hippo] said. Wind turbines are gross, ugly steampunk dressed up in aluminium.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 02 2016

       Well, not that I'm one to usually bother with little things like realistic figures but... from "page 33"   

       "...20 kWh/d per person, which is half of the power used by driving an average fossil-fuel car 50 km per day."   

       Most drivers would be shocked to find out their "average fossil-fuel car" is getting 33 litres / 100km fuel economy (6mpg).
FlyingToaster, Sep 02 2016

       This is the kind of mistake that happens when you start using stupid units like "kWh/d" (which, to translate, means "thousands of Joules per second times an hour divided by a day".
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 02 2016

       actually I've no problem with kWh/day, but I can do math. Translating the book's claim into km/100litres wasn't more than mildly painful. And that didn't include the 3x better efficiency of electricity (ie: if electric cars were used).   

       I recently read a "news report" on food-wasteage where apparently I throw out 50lbs of food per month. Sleepwalking, I suppose.   

       Ditto the cubic-metre per day water usage claims.   

       I gotta admit though "192 kWh/day" is the "best" one yet. How can you even read that stuff ?
FlyingToaster, Sep 02 2016

       It's odd, but the author needed a single unit of energy which everything (electricity, natural gas, petrol/gasoline, tidal/wave power, etc.) could be converted to for adding up and comparison.
hippo, Sep 02 2016

       All well and good if the figures stack up, but the aforementioned 6-7 miles per gallon doesn't seem to : I mean he did specify "cars", there wasn't mention of jumbo jets included in the average.   

       Hehehe, p.102 "the average American consumes 250kWh per day". Slobs, the lot of ye. No wait, arguably I'm "American".   

       For my tastes, thing is these kind of books/articles go for the shock value rather than informative: the article of my aforementioned "50lbs per month food waste" calculation for starters included (in the fine print) pest and disease loss at the farm. To my way of thinking that's not food in the first place (the article's point was that ugly food is still food).   

       Given that bit of hyperbole, I then assume that some of the other "waste" must include bones, gristle, stalks, inedible roots, et cetera, all the way back to the south 40.   

       Perhaps they included my bowel movements in the calculation. Are they subtracting the weight of the feed a cow consumes from the final weight of the cuts of meat that end up in the 'fridge, to get more of a "wasteage" figure ?   

       For starters, I think most of the authors should stop saying "the average person", when they actually mean "the country's total usage, including government and industries, divided by the population". Or, better still, divide usage into categories, so it makes more sense, and is not easily discarded as sensationalism.
FlyingToaster, Sep 02 2016

       2012 world power consumption 12.3 TW
2013 North America accounted for 22%
<source Wikipedia>

       So let's say North America uses 4 terawatts of energy. Not exactly peanuts.   

       ("per person" that'd be about 175kWh/day... so not too far off your book [hippo] [edit: 112kWh/day actually, so less than half], but I maintain that saying "the average person" and the like suggests only individual direct domestic usage)   

       So 1 million installations would have to continuously produce 4 MW, each. Not happening. But, call it 10 million and we're down to a not totally unreasonable 400kW - for those looking for a frame of reference that's about 550hp.
FlyingToaster, Sep 02 2016


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