Wind energy: wind energy

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Wind energy and its issues.

wind farm
wind farm superpower

1) What is the wind?

C’est l’énergie renouvelable « à la mode » mais pas forcément la plus efficiente.

The blades of wind turbines used to capture the mechanical energy of the wind. One can choose to operate directly or transform it into electrical energy.

1.1) The mechanical energy

Elle est utilisée directement par exemple pour le pompage, pour faire remonter l’eau d’une nappe phréatique. Ce sont les éoliennes de « Western ».

1.2) Electrical energy

This is called wind generator, wind speak is an abuse of language we also do!

The mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy by a generator and sent to a transformer that will put the power grid standards.

The electricity produced can be made to the network in its entirety, in part or not at all. In the latter two cases, the electricity will be directed to sites that have chosen wind power as an auxiliary source, or not connected sites to the network that depend entirely on their wind and their other sources of renewable energy.

The electricity can be used in continuous flow but it can also be stored in batteries. The continuous flow being more profitable and more affordable especially technologically. Batteries are expensive and are unimaginable solution beyond a certain wind power.

The main disadvantage of this renewable energy source is its lack of flexibilityThe wind may not blow when it is needed. The purchase by EDF is then the only possible solution.

There are other batteries that storage methods (see document how to store energy?) But they are still difficult to implement.

For smaller sites, while batteries take over if the wind is stopped, but their efficiency is very limited. We will not discuss the environmental problems associated with the use of large quantities batteries.

wind power curve
power curve characteristic of a small wind turbine

2) Issues

2.1) What benefits?

Two big advantages: it is clean, renewable energy. During its operation, it does not entail any rejection (no greenhouse or acid rain) and no waste (toxic or radioactive). As for the energy expended to manufacture and installation of wind, it would be "caught up" after six months of running around. Some other sources claim that wind never compensate their CO2 cost of their construction.

For the duration of the wind field of life is still usable for agriculture for example. Then the system can be dismantled quickly and leave the premises in their original state.

Small facilities can electrify remote areas and give some independence to small communities (a village, a group of industries ...)

2.2) And the disadvantages?

Rather than disadvantages, it must talk constraints. They involve large wind turbines.

2.2.1) Energy and Power

The main drawback is the lack of flexibility of this renewable energy (as is the case for most renewables). We do not need energy only when it is windy! The act of selling energy by a large provider (EDF or other) allows financially (but not environmentally) to compensate for this major drawback. It is admitted, in general, a wind turbine running at its rated power 1 / 5 time over a year. So should be divided by 5 installed capacity for the actual average power, So the energy supplied by the installation.

Il est a noter que le Danemark, modèle européen pour l’éolien, a un des kWh électrique qui rejette le plus de CO2 car, en absence de vent, le relais est pris par des petits et moyens groupes électrogènes qui sont très « polluants ».

In addition to the lack of wind power turbines is limited by the low mass of the air: the recoverable power per square meter is not high. Thus a wind farm considered high power, say 20 MW, represents just 1 / 50 of the power of a nuclear reactor and therefore 1% power of a central 2 with nuclear reactors. More: Wind power and nuclear power comparison.

This lack of power is a major drawback of the wind against the nuclear eg. But has the priceless advantage of being renewable and leave no ecological bills for future generations. But in the best case, wind power offset by France in 2010 best increase our energy consumption.

2.2.2) The initial cost

Le coût d’étude, de fabrication et d’installation est, selon nous trop élevé. Il en résulte que la plupart des parc éoliens ne s’amortissent, tous coûts confondus, que quelques années avant la fin de vie des éoliennes. On parle de 15 ans de retour à l’investissement sur les 20 ans de durée de vie d’une éolienne annoncé. Ces faits sont malheureusement systématiquement constatés sur les projets d’énergies renouvelables ( Voir le dossier : « Pourquoi ça coince ? » ) et ceci quelque soit la technologie employée…

2.2.3) Gigantism

In wind power, it is an undeniable fact: the fact of wanting to create wind farms increasingly large, with an installed unit power and more important.

Thus wind turbines MegaWatts 5, 100 60 m high and m rotor diameter emerge. If these projects are remarkable technological challenges (design, material strength ...), we can ask the question of econological efficiency. These projects are obviously not financially accessible to individuals or small businesses. Most companies in this field are content to do economic feasibility study for resale to a customer who has the investment resources. Also some do not hesitate to land speculation in this area which can block projects during the years.

Thus the wind seems reserved for big companies already have the energy monopoly while the solution is rather a micro-wind energy available to all, see participatory associations (as in Denmark) to the average power projects.

But there is even worse: we look at the montage for Bouin Park.

There are some years, under pressure from the state, EDF agreed to buy wind power at a very good price, until 7,5 € cents per kWh. This high price to redemption is possible by public subsidies (ADEME and others) financed by large companies that are punctured on their energy consumption and to a lesser extent by our taxes and various taxes.
Without these subsidies, wind power (great power) is not currently profitable in France.

The financial package for EDF is simple: the wind farm Bouin approximately 20 MW installed through ADEME grants and the Region and is operated by SIIF 70% which is nothing more than a subsidiary EDF.

EDF therefore buy an overcharged but heavily subsidized electricity. Obviously the public receives the classical discourse of sustainable development without knowing it largely was he who pays what sustainable development by increasing its bill (for the recall of nuclear power).

A system where the consumer would pay in total transparency and knowingly real price of wind power would be more sustainable without financial shenanigans ... as is currently the case.

We're betting that wind turbines would disappear quickly if subsidies were cut! Where is the logic in that econological?
Please note that speech is only valid for France or the price per kWh nuclear unbeatable!

2.2.4) The visual impact

Beaucoup d’associations ou de particuliers vitupèrent contre l’implantation d’éoliennes prés de chez eux. L’argumentaire est simple et constant mais rarement justifié : « C’est moche, ca fait du bruit ! Laissez nous tranquille ! ».

It is noted that the biggest anti-wind Association (ventdecolère) held by retired EdF is probably not a coincidence!

But where does this movement of associations (often green) so that nobody ever say anything against: 1) the more ugly high voltage lines and which, moreover, electromagnetic pollution is more harmful 2) the visual impact of large plants or nuclear plant cooling towers are seen at km ... etc etc. The question needs to be asked!

2.2.5) Wildlife

It is true that the rotation speed of the blades at the tip may surprise some birds (see the example of wind farm Bouin). Avoid the installation of wind turbines on migratory corridors. Compared traffic, windows (residential) and electric lines in Denmark kill saturated wind country 200 times more birds per year. (20 000 4 500 000 against)

2.2.6) Noise

Wind noise is audible on the blades and above all it is permanent. The movement of the nacelle which turns into the wind is louder but still exceptional: to 500m, noise is no more than 25-30dBA or the sound of an office environment. It prudent to allow this distance between wind turbines and the nearest dwellings.

especially for wind
A small wind power for individuals

3) Costs

The most important argument of opponents is that the cost of wind kWh is higher than that provided by traditional power plants: they do not include in their calculations of environmental costs which are excluded from production costs because they are not borne by producers (or dealers). Secondly, as regards France, our country has accumulated such delay in renewable energy that successive governments have imposed on EDF buys back at high prices to encourage investment. A price increase EDF is quick to pass on the bill of individual end consumers or businesses. This phenomenon contributes to the reputation of "too expensive" wind. This applies to large wind farms but also small individual installations have similar problems. The facilities are sold at such high prices that they can not be profitable in the current context except for isolated sites (but in this case it is a marginal development)

Yet nothing can justify such high prices ... except converging interests which EDF holds not that escapes customers who produce their own electricity, the state that wishes to save tax that brings in the centralized sale of electricity and on-manufacturers charge for their products.


The turbines have a source of energy among the cleanest and inconvenience they may have are easily preventable if they are the subject of a precise and intelligent management. The problems of the costs are largely artificial, results of political and financial choices that most of the wind principle itself. For example, we recall that wind power supplied 30% of the Ruhr industrial facilities 2ieme just before World War II.

Wind turbines are perhaps not ideal (but none is) but reversibility makes them champions of sustainable development. Generally it is the combination of several techniques for renewable energy which is a better solution. And solar and wind are complementary because, generally, the sun is shining when the wind is not blowing.

The problems of billing by professionals can be offset by an assembly by oneself a little wind but it is reserved for good handymen. For this a reference site: Mini Aeolian

solar and wind
Solar-Wind Energy Association in a particular

More details

- Forum wind, wind and renewable energy
- For or against the wind? Debate!
- wind power against nuclear: an unequal battle
- Cost and electricity prices
- Technical and Economic Forum


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