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Wind turbines could put the brakes on hurricanes

Wind turbines could provide a front-line defence against cyclones and hurricanes, by slowing damaging winds and reducing…

How do you stop a hurricane? Put a wind turbine in the way. Wessex Archaeology/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Wind turbines could provide a front-line defence against cyclones and hurricanes, by slowing damaging winds and reducing storm surges.

New modelling, published today in Nature Climate Change, shows large arrays of thousands of wind turbines could theoretically cut wind speeds by nearly 150 kilometres per hour and reduce storm surges by 79%.

The study modelled recent US hurricanes — Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012 — and how their impacts might be mitigated by wind turbines. There was a close match between the modelled hurricanes, and wind speeds and storm tracks recorded during the storms.

Peak wind speeds during Hurricane Katrina were reduced by 130-160 kilometres per hour when wind turbines were included in the models, while winds during Hurricane Sandy were reduced 130-140 kilometres per hour.

Professor Cristina Archer, author on the study from University of Delaware, explained:

“It is well known that wind turbines reduce the winds locally and downwind. This is because the turbine converts the motions of air into the motion of the blades (and then the spinning of the generators). This transfer of momentum basically means that the air flow is left with less energy and therefore with lower winds.”

Professor Mark Jacobson from Stanford University, who developed the wind turbine model over two decades, expanded:

“Local wind speed reductions reduce wave heights, which reduces friction, which reduces the redirection of air toward the centre of the hurricane, which reduces air spiralling up in the eye wall, which reduces divergence aloft, which increases central pressure, which reduces the pressure gradient in the hurricane, which reduces overall wind speeds in the hurricane.”

Reducing wind speeds also reduces storm surges — which caused significant damage during Katrina and Sandy. The models found storm surges in Hurricane Katrina could have been reduced up to 79%, while surges during Hurricane Sandy up to 34%.

Offshore wind farms could reduce hurricane winds by 150 kilometres per hour. Sean_Marshall/Flickr, CC BY-NC

The study modelled hundreds of thousands (up to 543,000) of wind turbines off the coast, a number Professor Archer said is “not practical”, adding that further research is needed to find the minimum practical number.

The study modelled lower numbers of turbines and still found a significant reduction in hurricane impacts. Professor Jacobson suggested 20,000-40,000 turbines for moderate to high reductions in wind speed and storm surges. Currently, the largest offshore wind farm is the London Array, consisting 175 turbines.

The researchers also tested the cost of building wind turbines versus the avoided costs of hurricane damage. At a cost of US9.4c per kilowatt per hour, wind turbines avoided up to US0.68c per kilowatt per hour of damage in New Orleans, and US0.13c per kilowatt per hour along the US eastern coast. When other costs were factored in, building extra wind turbines cost US4c per kilowatt per hour — cheaper than costs for fossil fuels.

The authors propose wind turbines as a more cost-effective solution than building sea walls, as proposed for defending New Orleans from storm surges following Hurricane Katrina.

Simulations of wind turbines and hurricanes, from Stanford University.

A wall of wind turbines for Australia?

But Australian experts question the practicality of building thousands of wind turbines in cyclone-prone areas of Australia.

Dr Nigel Martin at Australian National University, who has studied renewable energy in Queensland, said the key is likely to be the speed at which wind turbines can run.

“Turbines need to operate at safe speeds otherwise – like we saw in Scotland on 8 December 2011 – they will cook the generator wiring. Those speeds were up near 73 metres per second [262 kilometres per hour]. Cyclone Larry was doing 67 metres per second [241 kilometres per hour] when it made landfall in north QLD and Cyclone Ingrid was doing 62 metres per second [223 kilometres per hour] when it made landfall.”

The study modelled wind turbines that could handle speed up to 180 kilometres per hour. Dr Martin said a wind turbines would need more robust generators and blades to handle higher wind speeds.

There would be significant social and political hurdles to cross in building wind turbines off the coast of Queensland. Dr Martin said concerns about aesthetics, tourism, and indigenous land would be a stumbling block — particularly as modelled turbines were within 100 kilometres of the coast.

Join the conversation

97 Comments sorted by

  1. Garry Baker

    researcher

    Meanwhile back in the real world, most of today's turbines put the brakes on at 90kmh (and wear their expensive pads out in the process), then they turn side on to the wind to lower their profile. ie: High winds do not produce electricity

    Yes, maybe turbines could be re-engineered to serve a double purpose, and as I understand, GE do in fact make a high speed capable device, but turbines are usually sited by historic wind criteria, and that demands constant and steady flows (not roaring 40's winds…

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    1. John Campbell

      farmer

      In reply to Garry Baker

      Thanks Gerry, I was wondering pretty much the same thing and was about to ask how could wind turbines moderate hurricanes for precisely the same reasons.

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Garry Baker

      I see the usual suspects chiming in here though I have to agree that the practicalities are a real issue. Still, I think it is positive to consider the merits of what seems a rather "out there" concept.

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    3. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      London has flood barriers to mitigate storm surges and this proposal is analogous to that concept perhaps.

      Consider proposals such as these without dismissing them out of hand.

      A modified turbine system specially designed to cope with cyclone strength winds could be a disaster mitigation system.

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    4. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Actually I find many of the comments below more out-there than the concept itself. Who knew the traditional wind break seen in many parts of rural Australia could alter world wide weather patterns. This is pointing out the obvious, a wind-break for ground-speed winds further back from the coast. I've done a similar thing, and live on the side of a hill cap. the wind break was right over the house. I removed it and put it back at the beginning of the cap close to the steep part of the hill. The wind is deflected well before it hits the house and sent up over the house so I keep my view. I see no reason to believe this isn't a wind break of a different kind, absorbing wind energy, but would be interested to know if off-shore turbines in Europe have been seen to do the same. Yeah, a physical model would be needed to show the impact. Turbines aren't trees.

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    5. Jason Watson

      Engineer

      In reply to Garry Baker

      Turbines shutdown above 25m/s (90kph), but by pitching their blades, not with brakes, or by turning side on. The blades are much more effective aerodynamic brakes, and the mechanical brake is typically only used in emergencies or to achieve full rotational stop.

      The 30% factor is the capacity factor (percentage of full rated power over a given time), not the "on time" Wind turbines typically generate more then 95% of the time (not at full power), with the 5% "off time" being for maintenance, low wind and high wind.

      Interesting idea, but areas prone to cyclones tend to have more variable winds, wwhich does reduce power generation.

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    6. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Garry Baker

      Meanwhile back in the real world, it is always helpful to find out what the research actually says.

      I appreciate that the above report missed the obvious issue that you picked up on Garry. But the question I skeptically asked myself is why would the researchers avoid addressing that issue.

      It turns out that they did not avoid the issue at all.

      "They found that, as the hurricane approached, the wind farm would remove energy from the storm’s edge and slow down the fast-moving winds. The lower…

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    7. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      I think the usual suspects are invested in the sh^t canning of anything positive to tackle climate change. This article was made for them though as it is bit more of an imaginative way to reduce the severity of cyclones and perhaps generate some electricity too.

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  2. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    " Peak wind speeds during Hurricane Katrina were reduced by 130-160 kilometres per hour when wind turbines were included in the models, while winds during Hurricane Sandy were reduced 130-140 kilometres per hour. "

    How about suggesting it is the theory that thousands of wind generators in the path of a hurricane could lower the peak wind speeds of a hurricane.

    Is the next step to have the wind generator flotillas fitted with sails so they can be drawn by the wind towards where the path of the hurricane or cyclone is.

    I think what is more pertinent is to ask if it is thoughts on nature that go in to other modelling on climatic issues!

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    1. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Greg North

      Fact: Wind turbines are automatically shut down in high winds to prevent self destruction.
      Fact: Shut down wind turbines do not generate electricity.
      Fact: Wind turbine installers prefer strong consistent winds without excessive hurricane risk. Ideal areas are typically places like the Great Australian Bight where there are strong consistent winds without risk of cyclone velocity gusts.
      Fact: Models are models - hurricanes are real, they destroy man made things.

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    2. In reply to Greg North

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Fatima Karroun

      Fatima, there are certainly many people on the planet that could be provided with better housing and all manner of services.
      Only problem is that we would just have difficulty keeping up with the increasing populations needs.
      That aside, another issue that the modelling might be difficult to replicate reality in is that hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons do not just have their winds at wind generator or even skycraper levels and just what sort of turmoil could be caused after the skyscrapers would be more than interesting.
      Skyscrapers are not such a great living environment btw.

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      @Gerard Dean

      Fact: you should read about the research before commenting,

      "While the wind farms would not completely dissipate a hurricane, the milder winds would also prevent the turbines from being damaged. Turbines are designed to keep spinning up to a certain wind speed, above which the blades lock and feather into a protective position. The study showed that wind farms would slow wind speeds so that they would not reach that threshold. "

      http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2014/feb/hurricanes-wind-turbines-022614.html

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  3. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    Seriously, is today the first of April?

    Firstly, wind farmers (for want of a better term), look to locations with consistent moderate winds. They don't like cyclone prone areas in northern Australia because they know a ferocious cyclone would destroy their turbines without generating a jot of power.

    A windfarm in a hurricane generates no electrical energy because the turbines are computer programmed to shut down in high winds. The blades are turned parallel with wind direction to reduce energy…

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    1. Jason Watson

      Engineer

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Gerard,

      The reason the tropics and cyclone prone areas are avoided for wind turbines is that they have more variable wind, with more periods of low wind. Its not because of the cyclones, the turbines cope with these fine. They do shutdown in windspeeds above 25m/s (90kph), but do this by pitching the blades, which aerodynamically unloads them, not by brakes. The pitched blades are aerodynamically stalled and also act as air brakes in the rotational axis.

      Brakes in wind turbines are typically only applied in emergencies and to stop low speed rotation for maintenance.

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    2. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      The Dunning-Kruger is strong with this one.

      "They found that, as the hurricane approached, the wind farm would remove energy from the storm’s edge and slow down the fast-moving winds. The lower wind speeds at the hurricane’s perimeter would gradually trickle inwards toward the eye of the storm.

      “There is a feedback into the hurricane that is really fascinating to examine,” said Archer, an expert in both meteorology and engineering. "

      "While the wind farms would not completely dissipate a hurricane, the milder winds would also prevent the turbines from being damaged. Turbines are designed to keep spinning up to a certain wind speed, above which the blades lock and feather into a protective position. The study showed that wind farms would slow wind speeds so that they would not reach that threshold. "

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  4. Bruce Shaw

    Retired Hurt

    James,

    An interesting concept but no doubt sure to draw out all sorts not understanding the benefit of basic science.

    Just as an observation I make in the spa that water rushing from the sides as a surface wave always diminishes when meeting the turbulence created from the jets in the base of the spa. This leads me to ponder the possibility of the effectiveness of underwater turbines firing up in the event of a Tsunami alert.

    Anybody care to comment?

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    1. Ivan Quail

      maverick

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Bruce. Last week on Strip the City Tokyo (I think) their was a segment showing new floating wind turbines which have tidal current turbines below. Ch 72/73 in WA

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    1. Jackie Rovensky

      logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

      In reply to Sandor von Kontz

      Ensuring I am confirmed as one of those who doesn't understand the science so have no right to comment - I comment, what if changing the way air moves around the world using Industrial Wind Turbines actually makes things worse by changing the movement to an extent it changes where wind and rain falls and alters the environment by altering the hydrology of areas so it becomes useless for cropping. Perhaps even causing more hurricanes, tornados, storms both dust, wind and rain?
      I wonder just how much money has been spent on this research - when it could have been better spent on things like finding ways to find better ways to grow food or cure diseases?

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    2. Sandor von Kontz

      farmer

      In reply to Jackie Rovensky

      I couldn'tagree more Jackie. The problem seems to be the lack of a wholistic perspective of us and our impact on the planet.

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    3. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Jackie Rovensky

      Right on cue?

      When will George join the party?

      Jackie do you know how many lives Penicillin has saved and if so do you know what led to the production of the "wonder drug".

      This article has nothing to do with your self interested Waubra so please rescind your presence and do as Molly used to say.

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    4. In reply to Greg North

      Comment removed by moderator.

    5. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Very decent of you Alice but I fear your sense of altruistic knowledge sharing make be unable to penetrate the force field of fiscally induced distraction.

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    6. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Agreed.

      If we really wanted to limit storm damage we should never have cleared away coastal mangroves and should do what we can to recover them. We absolutely know their protective value on coasts. And growing them does not cost billions as does erecting vast numbers of very expensive infrastructure, and even then not knowing where along our immensely long coastline a hurricane may strike.

      This sort of discussion does have one value, as Alice points out. People naturally gravitate to trying to adapt to any given situation. However, when this is applied to catastrophic climate change they can only come to one conclusion. Adaptation is totally impossible. The risks are too many and varied. The costs are too great. Minimising risk has to be within practical bounds. Meanwhile most of our efforts should be to reduce our emissions.

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    7. Steve Phillips

      Nurse Practitioner

      In reply to Sandor von Kontz

      Very good point here and one that has been overlooked. Much of what we do to the environment comes back to bite us in the arse.
      Just look at the damming of rivers worldwide.

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    8. Ross Barrell

      Aikido Student

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Yup. Sure should, Chris. Mangroves, amongst other things, are the nurseries of the sea wherin all manner of sea critters originate. I think we'd solve many problems all at once simply by having our noble government's "Green Army" nip up the Queensland coast and re-establish all those mangroves that have been drained and removed. Not expensive to do and not a shabby idea.

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    9. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Steve Phillips

      Just look at what all that coal-mining does ... to say nothing of the loss of artesian recharge that ensued when farmers were paid to clear so much brigalow scrub.

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    10. Jackie Rovensky

      logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Sorry Bruce

      I thought I was saying money would be better spent on research into food production and finding cures for diseases. After all not all cures are discovered by accident.

      Did I mention Waubra, which you appear to mention in a derogatory way, or just comment on research I consider superficially useful.

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    11. Jackie Rovensky

      logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice thank you for 'putting me straight'. Though I thought the article was talking about changing the way in which the weather systems can be altered to reduce the occurrence of Hurricanes etc.

      Though I am confused as apparently no weather occurs in the Stratosphere which is above the Troposphere which reaches 10 - 20km above the surface.

      So just how tall would the turbines have to be to make the impact discussed in the article, or does it just rely on the quantity of turbines?

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    12. Steve Phillips

      Nurse Practitioner

      In reply to David Arthur

      If you feel inclined, go to the WA Water Corporations site look at their graph of historical flows into catchments.http://www.watercorporation.com.au/water-supply-and-services/rainfall-and-dams/streamflow/streamflowhistorical
      This dramatic and measurable drop happened at the end (and I believe as a result of) the massive land clearances of the sixties and early seventies.
      This combined with the reforestation and lack of hot burns in catchments has left WA at least with a severe water problem.

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    13. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Jackie Rovensky

      Oh sorry I missed the point.

      Yes, lets save that money and divert it into saving the millions of people affected by well documented verifiable wind farm syndrome.

      LA LA LA

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    14. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Steve Phillips

      While the proximate cause for dramatic drop in SW WA rainfall around 1970 was land clearing, there's also the underlying poleward shift of winter rains. The rain bands that moved north to the latitiudes of southern Australia in winter up until early 20th century? They don't move so far north anymore - so Perth now gets rainfall that was once typical of Geraldton, and the rain that Perth used to get now falls ~100 km south of Cape Leeuwin.

      That's not to say that reafforestation isn't desperately needed in WA, of course it is. Trees stick up and disrupt airflow in the boundary layer near earth's surface, a point to which you allude. The trees do this inland of the coast line.

      When cyclones come inland, they lose energy - it wouldn't be surprising if cyclones lose energy faster over forested areas than over cleared areas.

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    15. Jackie Rovensky

      logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Bruce
      Your comments re my concerns about IWT's energy production and its reported effects, has nothing to do with my comments re this article. Perhaps you could keep such remarks to when I do comment on that subject.

      You must be so focused on trying to ditch dirt on people you cannot see the trees for the turbines.

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    16. Jackie Rovensky

      logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Putting back what we have taken away I very much agree with, it's certainly one way to clean the emissions already in the air, and that is as important as reducing further input. If we don't clean what we have then we will be getting no where.

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    17. Blair Donaldson
      Blair Donaldson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher & Skeptic

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice, you nailed it. And of course, stopping further development of wind energy only aggravates the problems faced by first world and third world countries who need energy without doing additional damage to the environment and climate. It's easy to say no but much harder to provide realistic and feasible answers.

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  5. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Fatima Karroun

      It is probably more feasible to dig trenches and grow bananas in them, probably help with the watering and moisture retention/drainage too.

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Fatima Karroun

      But what about the macadamias ? They love strong winds and produce their heaviest crop after cyclones.

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    3. Sandor von Kontz

      farmer

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Too true. Where I grew up there was a saying: Whatever it is it is good for something but never good for everything. See my point above.

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    4. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Sandor von Kontz

      I was using a bit of sarcasm there but I hope in a polite way. I think ideas like this are to be encouraged, even if they ultimately do not bear fruit.

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    5. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Fatima Karroun

      Fatima,

      I can appreciate you being busy with the chillun's an all but I think you are misconflagulating "peer researched paper" with "peer reviewed research" and as such your attempt at salacious ridicule falls short.

      Might I suggest you concentrate on matters that Tony would prefer to see you doing.

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    6. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Well, now I don't know whether to describe myself as a fruit, or a nut! Thanks for confusing me, Alice. I think I'll take a Bex and have a lie down.

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    7. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      We already have plenty of nuts here, of the inedible variety.

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  6. Chris Harries

    logged in via Facebook

    Far fetched ideas can sometimes become real, so all mad cap ideas should be entertained, but... this article is so absurd it looks like it was put out there as a spoof.

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    1. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Chris Harries

      The clue is always in the source and if you look you will see this is far from a spoof.

      Do you know how long it took for Galileo to challenge Aristotle and then for Galileo's ideas to be accepted?

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  7. Sanja Gineva

    Analyst

    I've read all the comments on this article and everyone is honestly missing the point. The wind turbines would not be there necessarily to produce double outcomes of slowing down the damaging winds of hurricanes etc, and to produce electricity. They will be there soully for the first purpose. Secondly, the wind turbines would be built to be stronger than normal wind turbines, so it won't succumb to the damaging high winds. Thirdly, you need to ask yourself whether lives lost and damage caused by hurricanes and cyclones etc is worth not trying out the idea which could potentially save lives and save costs?? Loved ones should live, and insurance shouldn't go up. So think about this before you comment...

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    1. Sandor von Kontz

      farmer

      In reply to Sanja Gineva

      Sanya I think you missed my point. If I am right with my fear putting wind turbines in the way of hurricanes to protect us might just in the long run have worse consequences than the hurricane in the first place.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Sanja Gineva

      Your thoughts for lives to be saved is in the right place Sanja but the suggestion that the stronger wind turbines would just be there with no generating raises another design issue for wind speed loss is occurring because of that energy converted to energy generated by a wind turbine.
      Without the turbine having a load resistance in the form of generation, the blades would just " free wheel " for want of a better term and that will mean the possiblity of destruction because of no control over the free wheeling speed and secondly there would be minimal wind loss occurring with such a set up.
      There would be no point in having these non generating turbines so far off shore so as blades coming adrift did not penetrate structures or people onshore.

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    3. Sanja Gineva

      Analyst

      In reply to Sandor von Kontz

      Fair point. But I'm sure the people modelling this and researching this, have already considered the possibility of changing the climate/weather etc. Such is scientist/research work job to list all risks and analyse them. Since the article doesn't mention any risk to the wind turbines changing the climate/weather, I'm guessing there is either no risk, or it's very minimal. My knowledge of climate is generally that something physical like wind turbines or sea walls won't have the potential to change…

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    4. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Sandor von Kontz

      I suppose the only realistic way to either allay or confirm your very realistic fear is to also model the likely impacts on rainfall etc.

      I tend to doubt negative impacts as we are talking about mitigating cyclonic strength winds, which we know can result in huge damage.

      A comment by the authors on such issues would be worthwhile I think.

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    5. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Sanja Gineva

      Sanja, please accept my humble apologies for those unable to think outside their narrow universe.

      As they rattle on about wasted money I am yet to hear criticism of spending 320M to throw a party celebrating the death of many young hands sacrificed in the name of those who would not fight.

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    6. Sandor von Kontz

      farmer

      In reply to Sanja Gineva

      Sanja, I wish you were right, but I have not heard of one study or modelling of windfarms effect on the weather or climate.

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    7. Sandor von Kontz

      farmer

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      you are probably right in the specific case of cyclones, but my thought was more general, what happens if we satisfy our enormous need for electricity with huge windfarms on a scale which will tale a noticable amount of energy out of the weather systems. When I was in Europe last, some people were complaining about the visual pollution through wind turbines. It occured to me it is only making our insatiable appetite materially visible. Coal generators are in one location and CO2 cannot be seen smelt or felt.

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    8. Ross Barrell

      Aikido Student

      In reply to Sandor von Kontz

      I quite like the sight of wind turbines. They remind me of our need for clean energy (and are actually doing something about it) and, quite frankly are much prettier than any coal fired power station I have ever laid eyes on.

      Oh, yes... and though we can't see or smell or feel CO2, we're sure going to feel its effects. Are already, in fact. And that isn't pretty at all.

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    9. Sandor von Kontz

      farmer

      In reply to Ross Barrell

      Ross I like the look of them too, but hve to admit I would hesitate buying a farm under one of them. Yes I know hypocritical! And tell me all about feeling the effect of CO2, and yes it ain't pretty.

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    10. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Sandor von Kontz

      I think they are quite majestic but understand if you do not agree. I live close to coal-fired power stations and I can tell you I would rather many of them than the power stations.

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    11. Sandor von Kontz

      farmer

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      You might have gotten me wrong. I find them majestic too and would never go anywhere near a coal fired power station or nuclear. But I have lived close to windtowers and they are noisy and one can feel the vibrations. They are a powerful thing and one can feel it. I am very sensitive to noise and other sorts of physical manifestations of power. I cannot sense my solar system on the roof though and find the look of solar anels rather attractive.

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  8. Ian Saffin

    logged in via Facebook

    April the 1st is a little early this year.
    This is about as practical as pissing in the wind.

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    1. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Sanja Gineva

      Sanja

      You think this is bad, you should have seen the treatment dished out to Gallileo, Newton, Darwin, Florey et al.

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    2. Sanja Gineva

      Analyst

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Yes I know. That is why I dislike negative comments, negative criticism etc. If you want to comment it is best to provide a nice comment, constructive criticism, positive feedback, or just don't write anything at all. We have enough negativity in this world. And in general no one knows what someone is going through at the moment. That one negative comment/criticism could be that person's tipping point...

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    3. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Sanja Gineva

      Sadly Sanja, it is far easier to ridicule than it is to discern just as many prefer fear to understanding and it pains me to say we live in a society with vastly different priorities that we should aspire to.

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    4. Sanja Gineva

      Analyst

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      That is true. But it doesn't mean we all can't aspire to learn from our mistakes, and grow and become better individuals. If we can at least do that, then we could learn to help out each other more.

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  9. harry oblong

    tree surgeon

    if they built curved 180 degree wind funnels that directed the air back at the storm front surely this would slow it as well........

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    1. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to harry oblong

      Harry,

      I am sure you are aware that Cyclones have an eye.

      Do I need to go on? Please play nice.

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    2. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to harry oblong

      Yes Harry thanks for pointing that out to me. What confuses me about your 180 degree wall is what happens after the eye has passed.

      I mistakenly presumed you were taking the pi...

      Therefore although I am a champion of new ideas I cannot support your idea unless of course you are proposing it be built in the shape of an S.

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    3. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Bruce, you think Harry is serious? I assumed his op to be a Poe, so recommended it.
      Of course, if the tubes were built vertically, so they deflected the wind straight down into huge underground caverns, the resulting pressure gradient could be used to drive a turbine, to produce electricity in more peaceful times. Now, we just fit one of those swivelling tops, like you see on chimneys, but designed to point INTO the wind, we can do without the S bend. Never mind the physics, think of the beauty of the design!

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    4. harry oblong

      tree surgeon

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      once cyclones hit land they weaken after a few ks.we could build our funnels on turntables or at sea,if someone wants pay me money i could think it out better..

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  10. Doug Hutcheson

    Poet

    "The study modelled hundreds of thousands (up to 543,000) of wind turbines off the coast". Well, that's straight forward: just build enough turbines to cover the globe and we can have no wind at all.
    Alternatively, we could build our structures on land in such a way as to mitigate the damaging winds and storm surges - not as much fun, but a tad more practical methinks.

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    1. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Of course Doug there is another alternative as an adjunct to what we already do as in building codes for cyclone rated dwellings.

      We COULD stop sending CO2 into the closed system already out of equilibrium. We COULD advance the reliance on clean sustainable energy technology. We COULD allow the planet to repair itself whilst suffering the sting from what will be a far more nasty tail than we have created should we not do what we COULD.

      The question is not what we COULD do it is what we SHOULD do.

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    2. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Bruce, the question is not even what we should do, but what we will do - what we have the will to do and actually put into practice. We should be terminating CO₂ emissions, we could be transitioning our civilisation to a lower-powered version, but what will we do - that is the question.

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    3. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      We will do what we have done since the dawn of time. (I would argue our indigenous brothers and sisters not be included in the following).

      Aspire to selfishness and survival of the fittest.

      Once the markets collapse and the food decreases the war for water begins and we descend into chaos. (pick any apocolyptic movie you like).

      The only ones to survive are the very cadre of fools that got us into this mess in the first place. Thus the continuation of the species stupidus greedius and the commencement of free trade agreements for the villagers of Tasmania who shall forever be forced to wear blue ties to remember the lessons of the past.

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  11. Michael Coleman
    Michael Coleman is a Friend of The Conversation.

    IT Manager at SME Manufacturing

    A resident of Far North Queensland, I had a ringside seat as the eye of severe TC Yasi passed overhead just over three years ago.

    The winds near the eye wall of a severe TC are anything but constant. You could hear the higher velocity gusts coming and the shock waves produced when they hit our house were terrifying.

    Afterwards, when we surveyed the scene, it was obvious that there were tracks of intense damage, indicating the presence of tornado-like vortexes with extreme velocity.

    It would be a tremendous technical challenge to build turbines that could handle a category 5 storm.

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    1. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Michael Coleman

      Michael,

      Did you notice the ferocity of the wind just before the eye arrived far exceeded that when the wind recommenced after the eye passed?

      I have photos of Tongans picking up mangoes in the eye after the last one I went through albeit only a cat 2.

      I shudder to think what a cat 5 must feel like.

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    2. Michael Coleman
      Michael Coleman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      IT Manager at SME Manufacturing

      In reply to Bruce Shaw

      Yes, Bruce, after 'intermission', the winds were noticeably less ferocious. So much so that I was able to get some exhausted, fitful sleep during the second half.

      All of the bent road signs I saw were leaning in the direction of the first half.

      We had a glancing blow from Larry and a direct hit from Yasi. Very frightening to witness, but I'll take a TC any day over an earthquake. We knew they were coming and had time to prepare.

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    3. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to Michael Coleman

      That of course depends on what kind of building you are in at the time.

      Give me a straw hut and a earthquake anytime over a tinned roof shack in a cyclone.

      Of course we are probably thought of as wimps by those living in Tornado Alley in the mid west USA

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  12. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    As reported here at 'The Conversation' ("Global warming stalled by strong winds driving heat into oceans", http://theconversation.com/global-warming-stalled-by-strong-winds-driving-heat-into-oceans-22954), Matthew England and colleagues has recently reported on how an intensification in near-Equatorial Pacific trade winds over the last couple of decades has intensified water overturning in the upper ocean, which has in turn increased heat transfer from atmosphere to ocean.

    Thos may not, however…

    Read more
    1. Bruce Shaw

      Retired Hurt

      In reply to David Arthur

      Now that's what I like, an original thought flowing on from basic research. Thanks for the references David.

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  13. Albert Rogers

    logged in via Facebook

    Wind turbines capable of winds 180 km/hr? At the most mostrous wind farm in Scotland, they have turbines said to produce 2.3 MW at a wind speed of 11-12 m/sec, and feather steadily up to 25 m/sec, to give constant power. Then they cut out, i.e. at 90 km/hr. The Siemensturbines sweep a circle of diameter up to 100 metres.winds of 180 km/hr carry four times the force, and eight times the power, of a mere 90 km/hr gale.
    And PLEASE, Queensland, let's not put any such thing as a hundred concrete footings for wind turbines between the Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef.

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