The headline was: FPL poll: 80 percent support wind turbines.
Wind, solar, wood chips, cow chips and corn (biofuel) might be good supplements, but they will not solve our energy problems. It is now being reported that generating fuel from food sources (corn, for example) is causing “global hunger.”
Back to wind turbines. Local topography can enhance or restrict wind flow. Downslope winds off mountain ranges represent ideal locations as do narrow mountain passes and river canyons. (I do not think Florida qualifies.) Wind is a renewable energy source, but an erratic one.
Windmills can’t operate at 100 percent efficiency because the structure itself impedes the flow of the wind. The structure also exerts back pressure on the turbine blades as they act like an air foil (a wing on an airplane). Efficiency depends on the actual wind speed.
The maximum efficiency of 44 percent is reached in winds of 18 mph and falls sharply at higher wind speeds. For a reasonable range of winds, the average efficiency is around 20 percent. Why? Simply put, the power capacity in the wind will greatly exceed that which can be obtained by the generator.
Bottom line? For our purposes, windmills are not cost-efficient and would be a waste of money.
Our nuclear power plant on Hutchinson island is quiet, safe (been using nuclear-powered subs for 60 years) and extremely efficient. It can service about 500,000 homes, a lot more than we need at this time.
Port St. Lucie
7 April 2008
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