Windy Fantasies – Why I miss Steven Den Beste

Every time I read something like this, I think about how much I miss Steven Den Beste’s USS Clueless.


A recent Energy Department report said wind power could supply 20% of the country’s energy needs by 2030.

Steven has the ability to slice through engineering nonsense like a Ginsu knife:

Wind: It isn’t where we need it, and it isn’t when we need it, and there ain’t enough of it. The power grid has to adjust its energy generation to match consumption, and we can’t turn the wind on when we need more energy. The source is diffuse and it requires a massive investment to make and install all the windmills. There are not all that many appropriate sites where the wind is regularly strong and a lot of the places where that’s true (e.g. the Columbia River Gorge) are protected areas. Windmill farms are an eyesore, and they kill a lot of birds. (A lot of birds.) The equipment is large, complicated and will require a lot of repair to keep working; the resulting energy will be inadequate and unreasonably expensive per unit energy yield. And I’m still not convinced that it won’t take years before any given windmill finally yields as much total energy as it took to make it, transport it and install it. Ireland is making a massive investment in wind power, but when they’re finished and have fully deployed all sites it’s only going to generate 520 megawatts, when the wind is blowing. That’s one eighth of the power generated by The Dalles Dam.

I suppose he’s happy with his Anime site, and I understand why he stopped, but I wish he’d start the USS Clueless posts again.

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