Today the wind is blowing 48 mph at the airport. Cool, you think, those turbines are making electricity. Except they aren’t. Many have hit cutout speed and are not moving at all. A week ago going to Utah, I notice that phenomena in the turbines near Evanston. Many were not turning, probably due to the blizzard and high winds that had recently occurred.
“Average” wind speed in no way indicates the possible productivity of turbines. In fact, some states with lower average wind speeds actually produce more electricity because the turbines don’t cut out.
The forecast is for gusts over 65 mph and at least one semi tractor trailer has already blown over south of town. This is NOT good for wind plants. It stresses all the turbines and produces no more electricity than a 30 mph wind. Yet even those who should know better seem to insist putting turbines in 60 mph areas is okay. It’s only okay because they get government handouts. Private industry on it’s own could never afford this waste of resources.
Not all turbines stop turning in high wind. This gives the illusion that something is being generated when it is not and feeds the idea that high wind is desirable. The turbines cut-out and remain cut-out until the wind drops below a certain threshold. This costs production time but helps protect the turbines. In high wind areas, like Casper, Wyoming today, all the turbines are doing is cutting out and not moving or spinning uselessly in the 48 mph wind.
Wind is NOT a good way to generate electricity. Never was, probably never will be. It’s just not practical, even with storage. It lacks energy density and requires huge stretches of land, damages the environment and is a return to nostalgia that is only designed to make money for those on the government dole. It’s a feel-good idea that actually dooes a lot of damage.
Remember that next time you’re tempted to say “can’t we use the wind for generation?. The answer is NO.