Hot air and OBP's

Subject: Hot air and OBP's
From: "Evan Beaver" <>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2006 14:18:13 +1100
To clarify:

I'm not really making any money from the wind industry. For one there isn't
really one in Australia, and my interest is purely academic. Through 8 years
of Uni I've written read a lot of papers on renewable technology and my
support of wind farms is based on this; not the other way around.
They represent a superb engineering solution to the problem. CO2 payback and
Energy payback time are both lower than Solar. They also produce AC power,
albeit at unregulated frequency. They are much cheaper to produce per kW
than solar. Note also that I am a big advocate of solar and geothermal, none
of the other technologies (biomass, tidal, wave) will actually put a dent in
CO2. Wind and solar are great; they're portable, pretty easy to install and
work quite well in hybrid systems. The weather is such that when there is no
wind there is often a lot of sun, and vice versa. I suspect that these
hybrid systems will become more common in the future, particularly in remote

To answer some questions I have received and read.

I know of no industry website or body in Australia to deal with residential
wind applications. Unless you are in an unusual area, say on a ridge top or
right on the coast boundary flow conditions are such that you would either
need a VERY high tower to reach the wind or a massive turbine. Solar is much
more useful at home and less likely to kill birds or your house when it goes

Wind speed occurs in line with a Rayleigh distribution of shape factor about
2, for those who are interested. This means that peak wind, and therefore
peak noise, occur only .001 of the time at best. This is not very often. In
general the turbines will spin fairly quietly in a 5-10k breeze. Most
descriptions of the noise produced by turbines describe it as being similar
to living near a road or even the ocean. it is 'pink' noise and can actually
be quite soothing to some people. Further to this the amount of noise
perceived at distance will depend greatly on environmental factors and will
drop off sharply with respect to distance. If you're a couple of k's away
you probably won't hear a thing.

As far as I know there is no cure for tinnitus.

Or short-sightedness as far as I know.

To close all I ask is that people be open minded. I've been working on a
project recently to determine how climate change will proceed and what needs
to be done to mitigate the worst effects. The short answer is that we've
already missed the first cut off and the weather is going to get pretty
hairy over the next 5-10 years. Don't believe me? 95% of the worlds glaciers
are in retreat, category 4 and 5 cyclones have doubled in the last 10 years.
Australia continues to be in drought coupled with 10 of the hottest years ON
RECORD including the geological record occurring in the last 14 years. We
have broken the climate, and it needs to be fixed now. Put aside your petty
concerns about a little bit of noise or the odd bit of technology being
dotted across the country side. Something must be done. RIGHT NOW. Yes
nuclear power produces low emmissions power, if you discount the time it
takes to build, commission and mine the necessary fuel. Some estimates
actually put it CO2 positive once transport and storage are taken into
account. Even if it's not, Energy Payback and CO2 payback is in the order of
12-15 years. Clearly not a solution for the moment. We have plenty of good,
easy to install technology at our fingertips right now. Why not use it?

Phew, sorry about the rant, but it's been building for a while and thursday
is traditionally rant day. Birds you say? Yes they're going to be affected
too. A paper on the cusp of release, which has been reviewed by at least 200
scientists estimates that species loss due ONLY to climate change will be in
the order of one species per week for the next 50 years. And they're not the
chooks of the world, it's the specialists that will go first, regent HE's,
Sooty Alby's, the big Owls, Cassowary, on and on. If we're not careful
pretty soon a Crimson Rosella might turn out to be a pretty good tick.


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