Wind-turbines on a track? cheaper even than other forms?

Above, is an interesting video done by one of the more popular youtubers in this space. It looks at a fascinating new idea about how we could harness the wind.

You might well ask, why do we need a new way? and that is a good question. The simple fact is that in the current model that we use with the standard wind turbine, they are reaching the biggest size that they can possibly be (there is a wind turbine in China, which is 50 storeys high). It is likely the simplest way to harness wind power at sea, but what about power for a single building or a small village? This new way of harnessing the wind has got Bill Gates attention with a cost of roughly 1/3. Being only 25m tall rather than the normal height, it could be placed in far more places, without reducing the power given. Furthermore, on this system, the whole of each blade actually helps pull around the track, rather than just the tip. It is true that these are early in their process, but why is this useful. Well with this idea, you could for instance put a track over a long terrace of houses, or even over a stretch of motorways. Furthermore, it is possible to put all of the parts of an 2.5mw turbine inside a single lorry.

Installation costs are Airloom energy $0.21  per watt installed, vs wind farm $1.25 per watt on standard wind turbines. Multiplying that up, Airloom would cost $210,000 per megawatt hour, while a windfarm would cost $1,250,000. Looking at it differently, if Airloom succeeds, you would be able to install almost 6megawatt hours of Airloom for every megawatt hour of normal wind turbine. It should be noted that in recent times, solar has overtaken wind as the cheapest form of electricity generation. This to reverse this gain for a very long time. 



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Largest offshore windfarm just powered up, and its just off UK

This vast wind farm can produce around 3.6 gigawatts of power when turned on. To put that in perspective, peak demand in the UK is currently around 61 gigawatt hours, This means that even at peak demand, this wind turbine is capable of providing roughly 5% of the UK power demand. By contrast, the average house in the UK has a low-point in power demand, during the night, when around 0.2kwh is used an hour. This equates to around 5gigawatt hours. In other words, this single wind farm is likely to be able to deal with all baseload demands of the UK housing. Of course there is other demand, from shop lights being left on, to night shifts in factories.

However, what is clear, is that this is a significant amount of power, and is likely to greatly reduce the amount of gas required to be burnt for power production.

Given that this adds to the already installed stock, we now can create around 30gwh of electricity from wind – when it is at its peak.

Now, of course the wind does not blow at this required rate to produce the maximum amount of power 24 hours a day, so these numbers are not available all day.

To put these numbers in context, in 2022, wind delivered around 26% of UK electricity. Given all the large wind farms planned, this will grow.

Reducing gas reliance in the UK power sector from 40% down to 1% in 7 years, and saving money? Really?

A new analysis shows that Britain can cut gas use from the power sector by 2030 (5 years early compared to current targets) and that this would save large amounts of money.

A gas power plant: could these be a thing of the past in the next 7 years? photo credit David Price

How much do you say? it is thought to amount to £93 billion saved, by avoiding fossil gas consumption.

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Wind and solar will soon be cheaper in all markets than coal powered electrical generation

First of all this statistic is quite astounding. The drop in the cost of both wind power and and solar has been so significant over the last few years that once the preserve of wealthy countries it will soon be cheaper than anything else.

The astounding thing about this statistic though is that this is not only where you are building a grid from scratch, but wind and solar will soon be cheaper even if you have a prebuilt coal power plant. It is thought that this date will occur around about 20:30

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