Decommissioning wind turbines: a growing problem!
wants to be all electric by 2030! The way things are going, they won't
have anywhere NEAR enough power to charge millions of car batteries. A
bureaucratic disaster in the making.
It has long been a pioneer in the field of renewable energy, generating a
record 78 percent of its power consumption from renewables in July of
this year. In fact, Germany is one of the very few countries in the
world that is actually struggling with too much renewable energy. The
latest testimony to this fact is the new issue of decommissioning its
old wind farms.2011
was a turning point for the European giant as it started moving away
from nuclear energy (post Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster) and began
to replace it with renewables. However, wind energy made its foray in
Germany well before 2011. Germany started building wind turbines in the
mid-1990s and now there are almost 25,000 wind turbines in the country.However,
the problem now is that a large number of the 25,000 odd turbines have
become too old. Close to 7,000 of those turbines will complete more
than 15 years of operation by next year. Although these turbines can
continue running, with some minor repairs and modifications, the
question is whether it makes any economic sense to maintain them?Efficiency is the keyBeyond
a period of 20 years, the guaranteed tariffs that are set for wind
power are terminated, thereby making them unprofitable. “Today, there
are entirely different technologies than there were a decade ago. The
performance of the turbines have multiplied, the turbines are also more
efficient than before”, said Dirk Briese of market research company
called Wind- Research. It therefore makes sense to replace old turbines
with newer ones. However, it is not very easy to dismantle an existing
turbine and, while there are companies like PSM that specialize in
dismantling of wind turbines, the costs of decommissioning can run
upwards of $33,500 per turbine.The
process of decommissioning a wind farm is a complicated one as it
requires at least two 150 ton cranes which are used to dismantle the
turbines, tower houses, rotor blades and other related equipment and
parts. In fact, offshore wind decommissioning is even more intricate
and expensive, as the availability of shipping vessels, cost of
shipping the components back on shore and cost of removing steel
pillars form seabed need to be considered too.Wind
farm decommissioning is indeed going to be a universal problem,
especially for countries like the United States where a large number of
wind projects are being developed. The U.S. has more than 48,000
utility operated wind turbines and more than 18 million American homes
are powered every single year by the country’s installed wind capacity.
Even corporations such as Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, IKEA, Mars,
Walmart and Amazon have invested in the U.S. wind energy sector.The
numbers above suggest that the U.S. is going to face a similar problem
that Germany is now facing may be in the next 8- 10 years when its
oldest wind farms become outdated. However, a lot depends upon the
efficiency and technology of turbines that are in use. Even if around
30 percent of U.S. wind turbines need decommissioning in the next five
to ten years, the total decommissioning costs could reach up to $1
billion (when we consider a decommissioning rate of $55,000 and above
History repeats itself? Tucker vs Tesla.
Tucker launched a car company shortly after World War II. Those who saw
"Tucker: The Man and His Dream," starring Jeff Bridges know the general
outline of the man who raised millions in a stock offering only to be
dragged into federal court and tried for fraud. Tucker was acquitted
but his business was ruined.
Someone who should study the Tucker story
is Elon Musk: His actions with Tesla mirror some of the things for
which Tucker got in trouble. Musk and Tesla have done nothing wrong,
mind you. But remember that Tucker was ruined by the government and he
had done nothing wrong either.Preston
Tucker was a long-time car guy, spending much of his time selling cars
in the years leading up to World War II. During the war he ran his
company, Ypsilanti Machine & Tool.
At the time, the U.S. government
commandeered the auto industry and turned it into the Arsenal of
Democracy. For a few years, no new civilian cars were built. When the
war ended, there was an opportunity for an upstart car company. Preston
Tucker decided to jump into the fray and announced he would build an
all new car using the latest technology: disc brakes, fuel-injection,
rear-engine/rear-wheel drive. And he said he would sell the cars at a
competitive price. The news media ate it up and Tucker soon became a
clamored for the cars and so did would-be car dealers. To set up his
sales force, Tucker began selling franchises across the country. The
dealerships he sold required dealers to pre-order cars. And those
pre-orders cost dealers $20 for each car they reserved. Between dealer
fees and preorders, Tucker raised $10,000,000. When he later did an IPO
of Tucker stock, he raised another $17,000,000. He then set about
lining up suppliers and building cars.Around
this time, the SEC began investigating Tucker. His chief antagonist at
the SEC was Harry McDonald, a long-time bureaucrat from Michigan, with
close ties to Detroit. Just as the first cars rolled off of Tucker's
assembly line, federal agents showed up at the Tucker factory and
demanded to see everything within it. Records, blueprints,
correspondence. In a time before copiers, the request was chilling.
worse: Someone leaked the story of the investigation to an influential
newsman. Drew Pearson announced on his radio show and his syndicated
newspaper column that the feds were investigating Tucker and the
results would blow Tucker sky high. The problem? The investigation had
just begun and had not revealed anything yet. Pearson was speculating
on what the feds hoped to find.The
investigation resulted in no SEC charges but it created a 600 page
"secret" report. The report was leaked to the press by Harry McDonald.
Later, he admitted he had done it and that it had been illegal for him
to do so, but he thought he was "protecting" Tucker's investors by
leaking the information to the public.
Of course, all the various leaks
caused Tucker's stock to crash and eventually, Tucker and several of
the corporate executives were tried for fraud after a grand jury
indictment. In one of the largest failed prosecutions in American
history Tucker and his co-defendants did not even need to mount a
defense. After the prosecution rested, they simply went to closing
arguments after which the jury found all the defendants not guilty on
the damage had been done. Tucker's plant had been closed for most of
the trial and the company had become largely worthless. Almost 50 cars
had been built but the assets of the factory and most of the cars were
sold off in a bankruptcy auction. Preston Tucker would never recover.Fast
forward to the present. Tesla is an upstart automaker, building
electric cars and selling them directly to the public without the use
of dealerships. Enemies–or opponents–would include: established car
companies, auto dealerships, and those with a vested interest in the
use of fossil fuels. It's a longer list than Tucker's.What
has Tesla done recently which might draw attention?
deposits from customers for its Tesla Model 3, with customers plunking
$1,000 to reserve a car which has not been built yet. Tucker had only
taken money from dealers–not customers–so one would think his future
car sales were not as dangerous as Tesla's.And,
like Tucker, Tesla has butted heads with bureaucrats. Various states–at
the behest of auto industry lobbyists–have passed "anti-Tesla" laws to
keep Tesla from selling cars directly to consumers. Tesla has lobbied
heavily in the states most opposed to its entry and continues to fight.
This kind of against-the-grain action seems familiar to those who have
studied Tucker and how he bucked the established auto industry with
many of his ideas.These
are just the kinds of parallels which might cause some to wonder.
if the feds decide to investigate Tesla and its "scheme" to sell cars
that haven't been built yet? After all, how can he pre-sell cars
without even promising a delivery date? Or, what if the states fighting
Tesla decide to go one step further than merely passing laws regarding
direct sales to consumers? What if they–for example–decided to come to
the "rescue" of the poor consumers who have fronted $1,000 a piece for
a car with no firm delivery date?The
threat looms large: The government can outspend and outlast anyone in
a legal or regulatory battle. And as we saw with Tucker, "winning" is
not enough. One has to survive to enjoy the victory.
And if Trump makes it to the Whitehouse, all taxpayer subsidies for electric cars are toast.
Hydro Quebec has spent a fortune persuading consumers to conserve energy.
For the sake of the planet, you assume?
of the kind. Hydro can sell its' surplus energy to the US states for
much more money than the subsidized price they charge at home and
THAT's their motivation.
Norway wants to sell its oil into the open market at much higher
prices, while it sells off its' hydro power to the unfortunate, locked
in, Norwegians who will have no choice but to buy an electric (not
No indication as yet, whether gasoline
burning cars from other countries will be stopped at the border, but
most likely not, since the fuel being used has already embellished the
Norwegian coffers! However, they won't be able to stay too long since
presumably, there will be no gas stations in Norway anymore.
motors are not as futuristic as many think. They were around in the
late 1800s and lost to internal combustion technology then because of
their inferior practicality. Still, General Motors Company, Ford Motor
Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and, of course, BMW, Mercedes,
Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, and many others all have some version of a
zero-emission car in their pipelines.
While the GMs and Fords of this world
acknowledge they have to offer electric cars to meet market demand,
the Tesla is different. The company embodies its founder’s messianic “save
the earth” vision. Yet there’s evidence to suggest Elon Musk drinks his
a vociferous and overly gullible group of people goes on about Tesla’s
superior environmental rigor, there is an ugly side to electric cars in general. Doubtless, 375,000 pre-orders for the as yet unavailable Tesla “Model 3” in just
72 hours speaks loudly: there is a market for a cheap electric
mid-sized sedan that announces to the world, to borrow from Birdman, “I
put some respek” on the environment.But
if you were really one to put respect on the environment, you would do
the planet a bigger favor by buying a used car. Indeed, “reduce,”
“reuse,” and “recycle,” are the buzzwords of environmentalism.Those
who drive classics cut back on imported steel, rare earths, and
graphite to make the cars. They put much less pressure on the power
grid and the coal power and oil fracking that fuels it.While
the Model 3’s $35,000 sticker price is unrealistic, it would still be a
good value at $50,000. However, fewer people (i.e. fewer budding
environmentalists) will be able to afford it. GM, Ford, and others will
have cheaper electrics out before Tesla. Why did their stocks not rise
on the Norway 2025 plans?There’s
also the fact that electric vehicles can create major environmental
damage with their lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, which are not easily
which proposed similar legislation to Norway’s a few weeks ago, has
already experienced the boomerang effect of placing too much credit on
electric cars’ alleged environmental superiority.Holland
wants to improve the environment, reducing pollution and emissions. All
of this is good, but it could backfire. Those who buy electric cars for
environmental goals might end up finding themselves in the same
situation as those who bought a Volkswagen before the recent scandal. Indeed,
the boom (no pun intended, hinting at the frequent battery fires) in
electric cars will actually increase the energy needs of the country.
That’s great for Norway, which has a small population that is barely
the size of Manhattan’s and plenty of hydroelectric power. However, how
realistic is it for the United States or any other dense European, let
alone Asian or African, country?
A single so-called green car with one
charge consumes as much electricity as a refrigerator in a month and a
half. The Dutch government, to cope with its poorly considered
legislation, has opened three new economic super-polluting coal-fired
power plants, two of which were built in Rotterdam.
cars have simply shifted the responsibility for polluting from the city
to the suburban environment, where most coal—or in some cases,
nuclear—plants are located. As for the CO2 emissions everyone is so
keen to cut back on, nothing changes.Eventually,
someone will wake up to that reality and electric cars won’t appear as
cool anymore. They will actually have to compete in the market as cars
rather than methods to correct their rich human drivers from
environmental sins like some charlatan preacher.
you've ever visited the centuries old cities of Europe, where many of
the side streets were designed for the passage of a couple of people on
horse back, you will have noticed that cars which park facing both ways
on two way streets, have their mirrors folded in.
mirrors, which may not be around for much longer as cameras take their
place, take up another 10% of car width and crashing mirrors are a
major source of insurance claims in Europe and probably in Asia too.
folding mirrors are NOT provided for this reason of widening the
passageway in the middle of narrow streets with cars parked on both
Most vehicles (95 per cent) fitted with
these outside mirrors that fold in. Some say to better go through car washes,
others say the design is to break-away from any kind of impact others
say it’s for narrow streets.
All of these answers are wrong. It has to
do with shipping.One
of the behemoths in vehicle carrying ships is the 20,000 ton “Hoegh
Target”. It has the deck space the size of ten football fields and can
carry 8,500 vehicles. Cars need at least 10 centimeters, or about 4
inches, of overhead clearance, so their height determines which deck
they are stored on.
The spacing between the cars is just as critical.Just
30 centimeters, about a foot, separates the front and rear bumpers of
the cars, and there is a gap of some 6 inches from side to side. The
mirrors are folded in to make more room. If these same vehicles did NOT
have swing away mirrors, that number would be reduced by some 500 less
cargo means more money. These super carriers ply the oceans 24/7 and
depending on the destination can do three, sometimes four trips a
month. That’s about 25,000 cars a month or over 300,00 a year. If
multiple factors are used and the extra cost of shipping fewer cars is
passed onto the manufacture, they save money by bearing the extra
expense of swing-away mirrors on all of their vehicles.
you ever wondered why there is enough space in the wheel-well of your
car for a real spare tire but the manufacture has opted to short change
you and has substituted a temporary or what is known as a compact spare
haven’t been short-changed, there is a reason and obviously it’s not to
save space (these tires used to be called “space-savers”) as there is
ample room around your compact spare tire to accommodate a real full
size spare tire.And
it’s not to save money. If you were in the market to buy a new compact
“temporary” tire (I have yet to meet someone who has) on average you’d
be paying 20 to 30 per cent more due to the fact the tire manufacturer
will build and sell thousand more regular tires to one space saver.An
example, one of the more popular sizes of tires can be bought for $114. The compact spare
tire for the same vehicle costs $155.
it has to be weight, the less weight of a car, the better gas mileage
it will get. That’s good reasoning except a space-saver isn’t all that
far off the weight of a real rim and tire and isn't a big factor
unless the spare is eliminated completely. This is the new trend that
most automakers are following where 35 per cent (and climbing) of
vehicles sold today do NOT have a spare tire. The backlash from
consumers is now being challenged. Feeling the heat Honda has equipped
all variants of the redesigned 2015 Fit with a spare tire after
dropping the no-spare-tire feature on the previous model.The
most obvious reasons, saving space, better fuel economy, cheaper tires
none of these are why you now have a compact “temporary” spare, it has
to do with “shimmy.” “Shimmy” is the effect of tires not running in a
pattern to which they were designed to run and causes the steering
wheel to slightly vibrate back and forth.If
we go back in time, back to 1973 when automobile manufacturers swung
away from installing the old style bias/belted tires in favour of the
new radial ply tire. These new style tires were developed in the late
‘50s and into the ‘60s for jet airplanes that needed a superior handing
tire for takeoff and landings. Radial tires were much like alternators
and disc brakes, first for the airplane industry and now being fitted
the auto manufacturers were confronted with numerous customer
complaints of a shimmy in the steering wheel and always after the
vehicles tires had been rotated. The problem was simple, the owner or
servicing garage wasn’t following the new way of rotating the tires of
back to front and front to back and to NOT include the spare tire.But
that was contrary to the owner’s thinking, why not use the spare tire
rather than to let it sit there doing nothing. Rather than follow the
new way, the old way was used of Xing the tires for rotation. The spare
to right rear, right rear to left front, left front to left rear and
left rear to right front and everybody would be happy if it weren’t for
the fact that this shimmy would occur. The spare was then included in
tire rotation, regardless of what the owner’s manual said.Radial
tires when first installed and run in one direction and then changed
and now spun in the opposite different direction ie. left rear spinning
one way and now on the right front spinning the opposite way would
create a shimmy.The
warranty claims were piling up something had to be done, thus the
temporary or space-saver tire was created as a spare tire. The light
bulb now on, owners and servicing garages adopted the new front to
back, back to front that solved the shimmy problem once and for all.One
final item of why all the excess space when the compact spare is that
much smaller? When a car is designed, it’s not only for the North
American and European markets, it’s also for worldwide sales and
some countries, especially the third world ones, the vehicles wouldn’t
be bought if a regular spare tire was NOT sitting where it’s supposed
to be, shimmy or no shimmy. Thus the bigger spare tire wheel well we all have .
it was VW, then Mitsubishi, now FIAT and make no mistake about it, the
rest of the car industry is equally guilty of commonsense in the face
of the fanaticism that prevails among the econazis., they just haven't
been caught - yet!
What is going on and what should a poor car owner do?
bureaucrats in the EPA and in Brussels looked up at the ceiling and in
a moment of religious fervor, decided on the emissions levels that they
wanted for carbon burning vehicles, never mind if they were achievable
The engineers in the auto manufacturing groups knew
instantly that these demands of purity could not possibly be achieved
and many questioned the assumption that their petrol burning creations
were even responsible for the the climate change that many doubted even
existed, or had even been proven to a decent level of engineering
(There are so many well documented scandals
concerning the way that beholden so-called scientists have fudged the
figures on global temperature change that their credibility is in
So what did all these practical engineers do?
manipulated their engine management software to give the fanatics what
they think they wanted, at the same time giving the car owner a car
that was not only a lively, responsive thing to drive, but one that
produced spectacular increases in fuel economy.
They should all be awarded a medal for practical commonsense in the face of stupid bureaucratic meddling.
So what now?
It all depends on what you get offered.
you cannot re-licence your car until the software has been modified,
you're screwed and your car will never feel the same again. Both from a
driveability point of view or that of fuel economy.
The last thing you want to do is go anywhere a dealership that insists on changing your engine management soft ware.
If you get offered a cash payment with no strings attached, take it and be happy.
you get offered a buy back, it will be at the depreciated, used car
value, and not what you paid when the car was new. In this case it
comes down to a financial calculation rather than one which directly
concerns the vehicle.
The bottom line is:
NOT HAVE YOU CARS' ENGINE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE MODIFIED UNLESS YOU HAVE
NO OTHER CHOICE, OR UNLESS, YOU'RE A FOAMING AT THE MOUTH ECONUT.
41) In praise of the good old station
44) Future shock,
in you car.
for annual safety
51) The piston
engine is going
to be with us for a very,
very long time.
offs in the car repair
58) Electronic brake force distribution.
- no contest.
Why flushing brake
oil makes sense.
64) When should
I change my oil?
66) W/W antifreeze
68) Recirc A/C
car radiation danger
Fuel saving devices
75) Scheduling appointments.
Modern design of