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(Grist)   In 2007, 25% of wind turbines installed in America were made in America. In 2012 it was 72%   (grist.org) divider line 104
    More: Spiffy, wind turbines, anchors  
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1210 clicks; posted to Business » on 14 Aug 2013 at 2:23 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-14 04:22:27 PM  

sirgrim: Getting my degree in wind energy technology so getting a kick.. really it's pretty cool.



So about five years ago at my old gig, just around the time the economy was going to hell, the company was bidding on a project to test some hydraulic-based wind power generation systems that prospective customer was thinking of building. Instead of a generator each tower had a hydraulic pump, and the flow from multiple towers would power a hydraulic motor driving a generator located at ground level.

It seemed like a really clever idea but a.) we never got the project, b.) I've changed jobs since then. Have you ever heard of anything like this?
 
2013-08-14 04:24:15 PM  
spacebison.com
 
2013-08-14 04:25:33 PM  

brap: I signed up for this thing where all my electricity is wind-generated so my electric bills are like twice what they used to be because I am a stupid hippie.  I feel like I have personally paid for at least two of these got damned things.  I at least want a climb up one of them and scream through the blades so I sound like Darth Vader.


Uh....how could that possibly work? Electricity is the mother of all fungible resources. There's no separating your "green" electrons from my "dirty" electrons once they hit the grid. Did they give you your own power lines too? Because that smells like a scam designed to fleece enviro-nuts to me.
 
2013-08-14 04:27:14 PM  

lousyskater: My company put up 250 2MW wind turbines last year in the US alone, which literally doubled our count here in the states. Being a fairly small company, that's farking huge. But yeah, turns out it's cheaper to manufacture the larger components here in the states than it does to outsource it and then pay out the ass to ship it and then pay for damages during overseas shipping.


That and there is that one company that moved manufacturing to China and literally had the Chinese competition steal every single about production from them (including the firmware).  So it likely cheaper in the long run to keep manufacturing here when you consider that cost.
 
2013-08-14 04:28:33 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: brap: I signed up for this thing where all my electricity is wind-generated so my electric bills are like twice what they used to be because I am a stupid hippie.  I feel like I have personally paid for at least two of these got damned things.  I at least want a climb up one of them and scream through the blades so I sound like Darth Vader.

Uh....how could that possibly work? Electricity is the mother of all fungible resources. There's no separating your "green" electrons from my "dirty" electrons once they hit the grid. Did they give you your own power lines too? Because that smells like a scam designed to fleece enviro-nuts to me.


Your money goes into the pool, then they buy energy from another company that produces wind energy.

The actual electrons might have been produced at a nuke plant, but overall a purchase was made from someone producing wind energy.
 
2013-08-14 04:33:37 PM  

meat0918: Your money goes into the pool, then they buy energy from another company that produces wind energy.

The actual electrons might have been produced at a nuke plant, but overall a purchase was made from someone producing wind energy.


Okay, I didn't think of it that way.

Still, it seems like just an excuse to get you to pay more without actually helping the environment in a significant way. If you're using electricity, you're still contributing to the peak load that requires them to fire up the fossil fuel plants. Unless maybe the higher rates are a social engineering tactic designed to make you use less juice.
 
2013-08-14 04:34:30 PM  
www.whitehouse.gov
 
2013-08-14 04:39:00 PM  

wingnut396: That and there is that one company that moved manufacturing to China and literally had the Chinese competition steal every single about production from them (including the firmware).  So it likely cheaper in the long run to keep manufacturing here when you consider that cost.


Canon's battery grip extension:
g-ecx.images-amazon.com


3rd party's battery grip extension - rumored to be made in the same Chinese factory, from the same molds:
ecx.images-amazon.com

I think I have the models right.
 
2013-08-14 04:42:13 PM  
That blows!
 
2013-08-14 04:50:37 PM  
they're returning our jerbs!
 
2013-08-14 05:08:44 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Uh....how could that possibly work? Electricity is the mother of all fungible resources. There's no separating your "green" electrons from my "dirty" electrons once they hit the grid. Did they give you your own power lines too? Because that smells like a scam designed to fleece enviro-nuts to me.


I think it's nuts that we're so far behind on alternate and renewable energies.  The money goes towards supporting the development of these technologies, which has actually finally started FINALLY making major leaps forward in the NY area.
 
2013-08-14 05:09:22 PM  

SpaceBison: [spacebison.com image 850x637]


Whar Muriel and Eustace?
 
2013-08-14 05:10:13 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: meat0918: Your money goes into the pool, then they buy energy from another company that produces wind energy.

The actual electrons might have been produced at a nuke plant, but overall a purchase was made from someone producing wind energy.

Okay, I didn't think of it that way.

Still, it seems like just an excuse to get you to pay more without actually helping the environment in a significant way. If you're using electricity, you're still contributing to the peak load that requires them to fire up the fossil fuel plants. Unless maybe the higher rates are a social engineering tactic designed to make you use less juice.


I'm sure that it's part of it, but I wonder if it's canceled out by "Well, it's green so I can still use the same".

The larger point though is to get more money to those wind farms and increasing demand for the electricity they produce.
 
2013-08-14 05:17:14 PM  

James!: brap: I signed up for this thing where all my electricity is wind-generated so my electric bills are like twice what they used to be because I am a stupid hippie.  I feel like I have personally paid for at least two of these got damned things.  I at least want a climb up one of them and scream through the blades so I sound like Darth Vader.

Is that those kids at the blue tables all over the place?


No.  I it was some company I researched a few years ago when I decided to make the leap.  I'd have to look at my Con Ed bill to see who the provider is though.
 
2013-08-14 05:21:53 PM  
farm5.staticflickr.com

What a wind farm in the dirty, liberal bastion known as Montana might look like.
 
2013-08-14 05:29:46 PM  

lousyskater: ferretman: 72% of 5 units sold....is not very good.

My company put up 250 2MW wind turbines last year in the US alone, which literally doubled our count here in the states. Being a fairly small company, that's farking huge. But yeah, turns out it's cheaper to manufacture the larger components here in the states than it does to outsource it and then pay out the ass to ship it and then pay for damages during overseas shipping.

See this picture?
[i.imgur.com image 850x637]

All of those went up in the past 4 years and a vast majority were manufactured here in the states.


Shipping from overseas is a nightmare sometimes. I swear some of the ocean cans we get have been spun around and dropped a couple times before we unload them.
 
2013-08-14 05:49:22 PM  
Within about a half hour of my house right now there are at least half a dozen full-sized turbines.  To hear some people around here talk, you'd think they were the work of the devil or something.  Probably doesn't help that the anti-turbine people in the area had Ted Kennedy on their side for a while.
 
2013-08-14 06:26:26 PM  

Dog Welder: dywed88: The wind energy industry sure is booming. I still can't understand the people that object to them over appearance, I would love to have a windfarm out my back door, they are amazing to watch.

I find them relaxing unless you stare at them for too long.  And then it's always with the spinning...and the turning...and that creaking noise just creaking and spinning and turning.  And then when there's some sort of a storm THE CREAKING AND SPINNING AND TURNING...it's worse and faster and NEVER CEASING.

But I digress.


Oh, cut the bleeding heart crap, will ya? We've all got our switches, lights, and knobs to deal with, Striker. I mean, down here there are literally hundreds and thousands of blinking, beeping, and flashing lights, blinking and beeping and flashing - they're *flashing* and they're *beeping*. I can't stand it anymore! They're *blinking* and *beeping* and *flashing*! Why doesn't somebody pull the plug!
 
2013-08-14 06:31:49 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: meat0918: Your money goes into the pool, then they buy energy from another company that produces wind energy.

The actual electrons might have been produced at a nuke plant, but overall a purchase was made from someone producing wind energy.

Okay, I didn't think of it that way.

Still, it seems like just an excuse to get you to pay more without actually helping the environment in a significant way. If you're using electricity, you're still contributing to the peak load that requires them to fire up the fossil fuel plants. Unless maybe the higher rates are a social engineering tactic designed to make you use less juice.


Actually, those utility programs contribute directly to the construction of more wind/solar projects.  The additional money collected is tracked/segregated, and used specifically to purchase energy/RECs from renewable projects, or to build/buy new projects directly.

Those programs allow the utilities to install extra wind/solar to diversify their resource mix without hitting their shareholders (or convincing the regulators to let them hit the ratepayers).

Not quite as powerful as a true RPS, but they have had profound effects in some utility areas.
 
2013-08-14 06:48:57 PM  
Put one infront of Rush Limbaugh, one infront of Sarah Palin and one infront of the Teabaggers. Ta da! Energy problem solved
 
2013-08-14 07:21:33 PM  

ferretman: 72% of 5 units sold....is not very good.


Republican math you do to make yourself feel better?
 
2013-08-14 07:38:32 PM  

phaseolus: Instead of a generator each tower had a hydraulic pump, and the flow from multiple towers would power a hydraulic motor driving a generator located at ground level.

It seemed like a really clever idea but a.) we never got the project, b.) I've changed jobs since then. Have you ever heard of anything like this?


I don't see how high pressure fluid (oil?) would be more convenient to run from tower to tower than electricity would be.
 
2013-08-14 07:41:40 PM  

Dog Welder: I find them relaxing unless you stare at them for too long. And then it's always with the spinning...and the turning...and that creaking noise just creaking and spinning and turning. And then when there's some sort of a storm THE CREAKING AND SPINNING AND TURNING...it's worse and faster and NEVER CEASING.


imgs.xkcd.com
 
2013-08-14 07:42:45 PM  
2/3 of all wind turbines in America were installed since January 2011.
 
2013-08-14 07:53:12 PM  

flondrix: phaseolus: Instead of a generator each tower had a hydraulic pump, and the flow from multiple towers would power a hydraulic motor driving a generator located at ground level.

It seemed like a really clever idea but a.) we never got the project, b.) I've changed jobs since then. Have you ever heard of anything like this?

I don't see how high pressure fluid (oil?) would be more convenient to run from tower to tower than electricity would be.


I would assume the point is to only have one generator for a large number of towers. In addition if you put the generator and pumps on the ground and you probably make maintenance somewhat easier.
 
2013-08-14 08:04:52 PM  
encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com
Good old American windmill to support the real 'Mericans working the land

i1.trekearth.com
Dirty hippy windmills that are taking American jobs and spoil the view for our wonderful representatives in their multi million dollar homes.
 
2013-08-14 08:18:53 PM  

dywed88: flondrix: phaseolus: Instead of a generator each tower had a hydraulic pump, and the flow from multiple towers would power a hydraulic motor driving a generator located at ground level.

It seemed like a really clever idea but a.) we never got the project, b.) I've changed jobs since then. Have you ever heard of anything like this?

I don't see how high pressure fluid (oil?) would be more convenient to run from tower to tower than electricity would be.

I would assume the point is to only have one generator for a large number of towers. In addition if you put the generator and pumps on the ground and you probably make maintenance somewhat easier.


How would the energy be transfered from the top of the wind turnbine to he hydraulic pumps on the ground? A shaft? If that was feasible then the electrical generators would already be on the ground.

The reason I see a hydraulic system being impractical is it adds additional conversions of energy and its inefficiencies. Current technology extracts power from the moving air, converts it to mechanical shaft power which then turns it into electrical power. A hydraulic system would extract power from the movig air, convert it to shaft power, convert it to hydraulic power, convert it back to shaft power and finally to electrical power.

In the end it would less efficienct and would required maintence of a hydraulic system (pumps, turbines, piping, valves, ext.)
 
2013-08-14 08:36:11 PM  
That is impossible, 72% of them made in America, really? I thought it was to expensive to manufacture in America because you know employees want a living wage and what not.
 
2013-08-14 08:36:24 PM  

lousyskater: ferretman: 72% of 5 units sold....is not very good.

My company put up 250 2MW wind turbines last year in the US alone, which literally doubled our count here in the states. Being a fairly small company, that's farking huge. But yeah, turns out it's cheaper to manufacture the larger components here in the states than it does to outsource it and then pay out the ass to ship it and then pay for damages during overseas shipping.

See this picture?
[i.imgur.com image 850x637]

All of those went up in the past 4 years and a vast majority were manufactured here in the states.


Where the hell is that? It looks like a Windows background
 
2013-08-14 09:16:29 PM  
But where are the rare earth magnets for the generators made?  Where are those materials sourced from?  Manufacturing those is environmentally costly, especially when it's done in China where environmentally safe manufacturing is merely a low-priority suggestion.
 
2013-08-14 09:26:51 PM  

MadCat221: But where are the rare earth magnets for the generators made?  Where are those materials sourced from?  Manufacturing those is environmentally costly, especially when it's done in China where environmentally safe manufacturing is merely a low-priority suggestion.


You do understand that is does not matter if generators utilize wind or hydro or coal or natural gas or nuclear they all contain magnets?

If you want electricity generator by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, you need magnets.
 
2013-08-14 09:42:30 PM  

NateAsbestos: lousyskater: ferretman: 72% of 5 units sold....is not very good.

My company put up 250 2MW wind turbines last year in the US alone, which literally doubled our count here in the states. Being a fairly small company, that's farking huge. But yeah, turns out it's cheaper to manufacture the larger components here in the states than it does to outsource it and then pay out the ass to ship it and then pay for damages during overseas shipping.

See this picture?
[i.imgur.com image 850x637]

All of those went up in the past 4 years and a vast majority were manufactured here in the states.

Where the hell is that? It looks like a Windows background


I just made it mine.  There's something surreal about it.  I don't know if it is the scale or juxtaposition of technology against natural.  It just strikes me as something 'not right' and a little mind-bending.  Of course, I get that reaction from that Bugs Bunny episode where he is fighting Marvin the Martian on his home turf, and everything is all weird border-line acid trip.  Weirdly, the famous Escher print doesn't trigger my brain that way.

\obligatory Futurama 'don't want to pay for a dimension we're not gonna use' quote
 
2013-08-14 09:57:39 PM  

max_pooper: If you want electricity generator by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, you need magnets.


dude..
 
2013-08-14 09:59:45 PM  

sirgrim: Getting my degree in wind energy technology so getting a kick.. really it's pretty cool.


So why doesn't the U.S. produce more sophisticated turbines?
 
2013-08-14 10:22:01 PM  

pmdgrwr: That is impossible, 72% of them made in America, really? I thought it was to expensive to manufacture in America because you know employees want a living wage and what not.


We solved that problem with robots.

/srsly, US manufacturing makes a similar amount of stuff as China, we just don't employ many humans to do it
 
2013-08-14 10:42:50 PM  
I will only support these if we actually sharpen the blades. I like the idea of giant whirling razor blades that leave comical chunks of birds, parachute jumpers, and stray kites in evenly bisected pieces.
 
2013-08-14 10:47:54 PM  

acohn: sirgrim: Getting my degree in wind energy technology so getting a kick.. really it's pretty cool.

So why doesn't the U.S. produce more sophisticated turbines?


The "article" and accompanying video are light on details.

The video says that there are no moving parts. Maybe so for the "generator" but it requires a constant supply of water. A systems of pumps and valves is required to deliver the water to the "generator", not to mention a source for all that water.
 
2013-08-14 11:40:20 PM  
www.windpoweringamerica.gov

www.njcleanenergy.com
...in less than 12 years.  Imagine it in 2025!
 
2013-08-14 11:42:04 PM  
www.windpoweringamerica.gov

sorry, more updated map.
 
2013-08-14 11:49:43 PM  

max_pooper: How would the energy be transfered from the top of the wind turnbine to he hydraulic pumps on the ground? A shaft? If that was feasible then the electrical generators would already be on the ground.


Yeah, I don't know where that came from. It was really stupid.

But I would assume there is an advantage to have only one large generator that is easy to access rather than a large number of small generators that are difficult to access. Whether the benefits outweigh the cost is another question.
 
2013-08-14 11:53:16 PM  

NateAsbestos: lousyskater: ferretman: 72% of 5 units sold....is not very good.

My company put up 250 2MW wind turbines last year in the US alone, which literally doubled our count here in the states. Being a fairly small company, that's farking huge. But yeah, turns out it's cheaper to manufacture the larger components here in the states than it does to outsource it and then pay out the ass to ship it and then pay for damages during overseas shipping.

See this picture?
[i.imgur.com image 850x637]

All of those went up in the past 4 years and a vast majority were manufactured here in the states.

Where the hell is that? It looks like a Windows background


Norcal, specifically Bird's Landing, CA. I wish it always looked like that out here, it's green for a good 3 months and then everything turns to a dead brown for the rest of the year because it doesn't farking rain. Don't have any pictures with dead grass because it's ugly, but I've got this one to show just how big ours are:
http://i.imgur.com/L9Y1w61.jpg


acohn: sirgrim: Getting my degree in wind energy technology so getting a kick.. really it's pretty cool.

So why doesn't the U.S. produce more sophisticated turbines?


Because those aren't nearly efficient enough for large scale energy production.

Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: I will only support these if we actually sharpen the blades. I like the idea of giant whirling razor blades that leave comical chunks of birds, parachute jumpers, and stray kites in evenly bisected pieces.


The small ones still chop birds into tiny little bits. The big ones move slow enough that I've seen the hawks and vultures around here seemingly play games out of avoiding the whirling turbine blades. Been doing this for almost 2 years now, and could count the amount of dead birds I've seen around ours on a single hand.
 
2013-08-15 12:21:55 AM  

acohn: sirgrim: Getting my degree in wind energy technology so getting a kick.. really it's pretty cool.

So why doesn't the U.S. produce more sophisticated turbines?


GE wind turbines are state-of-the-art, fantasy-driven futurist articles notwithstanding.
 
2013-08-15 12:37:48 AM  
Etch out a future of your own design
Well tailored to your needs
Then fan the flame and keep the dream alive
Of a continent
A continent a continent a continent a -
 
2013-08-15 01:21:56 AM  

Flying Lasagna Monster: [www.windpoweringamerica.gov image 820x615]

sorry, more updated map.


Holy shiat, Texas. I bag on you a lot, but when you go in on something, you go in BIG.

/Course that goes for both good things and bad things
//Installing wind power, great!
///Electing shiatty governors, bad!
 
2013-08-15 01:41:42 AM  

Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: I will only support these if we actually sharpen the blades. I like the idea of giant whirling razor blades that leave comical chunks of birds, parachute jumpers, and stray kites in evenly bisected pieces.


They can't sharpen the blades, that would make the wind move too fast...
 
2013-08-15 03:28:08 AM  
I was driving out in Blackfoot country in Montana a couple years back, and looking across the vast plains, I couldn't help but think that if the Blackfoot worked with wind and solar energy companies, they could raise their people out of poverty and move to the forefront of green energy technology. The land is vast and flat and protected from the weather by the Rocky Mountains. The wind blows all year round and the sun is unimpeded by trees and hills.

It was a great land, but the crushing poverty in the shadow of the casino was disheartening. A gas station. A casino. A Subway sandwich shop. All that opportunity was slipping past these people. And I with it.
 
2013-08-15 06:17:10 AM  

JayCab: Flying Lasagna Monster: [www.windpoweringamerica.gov image 820x615]

sorry, more updated map.

Holy shiat, Texas. I bag on you a lot, but when you go in on something, you go in BIG.

/Course that goes for both good things and bad things
//Installing wind power, great!
///Electing shiatty governors, bad!


No dispute about the current governor, but I'd note that I live next to the densest coverage of wind generation in the world (Abilene to Midland), and they actually stopped putting up turbines around here a couple years back because they're already producing so much power the grid can't transmit it. If we could get a new transmission corridor built (a la Pickens), it'd be nonstop turbines for hundreds of miles.
 
2013-08-15 06:19:18 AM  

Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: I will only support these if we actually sharpen the blades. I like the idea of giant whirling razor blades that leave comical chunks of birds, parachute jumpers, and stray kites in evenly bisected pieces.

They can't sharpen the blades, that would make the wind move too fast...


Don't be an idiot. The reason they can't sharpen them is that they'd slice up the oxygen molecules and we'd all suffocate!
 
2013-08-15 02:18:31 PM  

dywed88: max_pooper: How would the energy be transfered from the top of the wind turnbine to he hydraulic pumps on the ground? A shaft? If that was feasible then the electrical generators would already be on the ground.

Yeah, I don't know where that came from. It was really stupid.

But I would assume there is an advantage to have only one large generator that is easy to access rather than a large number of small generators that are difficult to access. Whether the benefits outweigh the cost is another question.


True for the generator but there would be hydraulic pumps atop each turnbine tower that need to accessed for service as well.
 
2013-08-15 02:26:21 PM  
In my lifetime the US is going to produce at least 50% of its energy from wind. We are the Saudi Arabia of wind power and this is one field where progressive technological innovations have an immediate effect.
 
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