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Thu May 10, 2018, 11:47 PM

Total Energy Production, Capacity Utilization of Danish Wind Turbines Over 30 Years Old. [View all]

Recently in this space, by reference to the Master Register of Danish Wind Turbines and appeal to the 3,232 of them that had been decommissioned, I reported that the average life time of Danish Wind Turbines was 17 years and 240 days, a figure that has risen from 16 years and 310 I reported elsewhere by appeal to an earlier version of the same Register accessed back in mid July of 2015.

Average Lifetime of Danish Wind Turbines, as of February 2018.

Because the wind industry is inexplicably popular - inexplicably because after having more than a trillion dollars expended on it in the last decade alone it has done nothing to arrest climate change or even to slow the increases in the use of dangerous fossil fuels - I was met with the usual rhetoric showing that denial is not just a river in Egypt, and that's only the posts I could read.

(Some I couldn't actually read because of my increasingly active use of the "ignore" function here for the most appalling defenders of the so called "renewable energy" faith, faith because it emphasizes soothsaying over observation: The wind industry is mature, as mature as any industry involving trillion dollar sums, and its performance can be measured. Dogmatic ignorance renders me purely apoplectic for no good reason; I have too little time left on this once beautiful planet to focus on the ignorance that has destroyed it and is still destroying whatever is left. The "Ignore" function is a beautiful thing.)


To be fair however, I realized that there was a flaw in my argument inasmuch as I focused on the 3,232 wind turbines in Denmark that failed, and said nothing about the 6220 that still operate, all the operating wind turbines producing about as much electricity as two nuclear reactors produce in two comparatively small buildings in Virginia.

Well, perhaps the words "still operate" are too generous.

There are 96 commissioned wind turbines that are more than 30 years old, and combined with the 16 decommissioned wind turbines this means that 110 wind turbines out of the 9452 turbines (or, since renewable enthusiasts like "percent talk so much, 1.16%) lasted on the "commissioned" list for more than 30 years. It wouldn't however, be fair to state that being on the commissioned list is quite the same as being functional.

For example, the commissioned 18.5 kW wind turbine at Faxe, still on the commissioned list, suffered a rapid fall of in production in the year 2000, produced zero electricity in 2006, was briefly restored to produce roughly 40% it of its previous output, broke down again, and has not produced any electricity since 2009. A 22 kW unit at Bard hasn't produced electricity since 2002, but is still "commissioned." There are other examples of the same thing, including turbines that were out of service for years and then were finally repaired to service again. For example the 22 kW wind turbine at Bornholm produced no electricity between from 2004 to 2008, was repaired and produced electricity - albeit at nowhere near its capacity its earlier years of operation - until 2016, which was the last year it produced power.

One of the big lies told by the so called "renewable energy" industry to misrepresent its failure is to announce their facilities in terms of peak Watts, a "Watt" being a unit of power, not energy. If someone announces that the world has installed 4 "Gigawatts" of solar power, this is not equivalent to four 1000 MW nuclear plants, since the nuclear plants typically run at 90-100% of capacity utilization whereas the 4 GW of solar operate at 10%-20% of capacity utilization. Thus the "4 Gigawatts" of solar is, at best, the equivalent of a single small nuclear plant.

So if one wants to be honest about energy, a statement about peak power must include the percentage of time that the power was actually available.

One can easily calculate what the capacity utilization of the 94 commissioned turbines that have lasted for more than 30 years is, by multiplying the time it operated (in seconds) times the peak power to get the 100% capacity utilization figure in an energy unit (I use Joules in my calculations), and use it to divide the actual energy produced.

It turns out that the total capacity utilization of the Danish wind turbines that have operated for more than 30 years is 14.22%. Combined, these turbines have produced 0.7 petajoules over their >30 year lifetime combined, or about 1.3 one millionths of the energy production of the entire planet (576 exajoules as of 2016) in a single year. The rated (peak) power of these 96 turbines combined is 4782 kW or 4.782 MW meaning, that in view of their actual capacity utilization they are the equivalent 683 kw diesel powerplant.

To give a sense of scale the subject always missing in the grandiose discussions of so called "renewable energy," here is a photograph of a 600 kW natural gas generator on the bed of a truck:

I hope you have a pleasant Friday.

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