Join Date: Jun 2006
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I think wind power is generally a great idea.
There are some concerns with the fact that the best wind patterns tend to also be the most favoured bird migration pathways, a big concern on Lake Ontario, where two of the four North American "skyways" for birds converge.
But I can live with a few bird strikes if it keeps a few fossil fuel plants from being built, because these plants are obviously the source (if not the only one) of particulates, sulphur and C02 emissions. The "brown band" around the Toronto skyline in summer is largely due to American coal plants southwest of here, although there is a large coal plant on Lake Erie that contributes a portion.
One of the criticisms of wind turbine power is its intermittant nature. If used to feed directly into the electrical grid (after transformation to AC, one assumes), this criticism is correct. What needs to be built is a storage facility that includes co-generation in concert with the wind power.
This could take the form of electrolysis of water and the storage of hydrogen in fuel cells (static fuel cells are far more practical at the moment than the ones being developed for cars), or for use to boil water for steam turbines. Another use would be to power the pumps involved in geo-thermal extraction of heat energy, which would also power traditional turbine generators. A less desirable method would be to use the wind power to reform natural gas.
In other words, when the wind blows, you convert the power gathered into some medium that is able to be stored and used when the wind isn't blowing.
Of course, this is precisely how it works on a boat with a large battery bank.