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default Size matters?

Post by Hairyloon on 30th August 2010, 1:22 am

I have been looking a bit at wind turbines, and I am a bit puzzled. It seems that bigger turbines cost more than small ones. :?

OK, you would expect that, but the difference is far more than I would expect: I was just looking at a site, and a 10kW turbine is around four times the price of a 5kW turbine from the same manufacturer.

Why not have four 5kW for the same price, or two 5kW for the same power?

What am I missing? (OK, yes, inverters. Revise the figures to three times, not four).
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Post by Compostwoman on 30th August 2010, 9:35 am

Much higher safety issues with bigger ones, so welding, materials etc etc have to be much more stringent and stuff has to be checked even more.

was my first thought.
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Post by Hairyloon on 30th August 2010, 11:33 am

Certainly there may be good reasons why they cost more, but where is the sense in having few big instead of lots of little ones?

There appear to be lots of advantages to little ones, and the only one I can see for the big ones is that they get more wind because theyre higher up.
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Post by Mike on 30th August 2010, 1:45 pm

Will return to the likely cost issues later but will answer the second question first.

Another topic in this section -- killing birds. Four 5 kw turbines will kill more birds than one 20 kw (one twice the diameter). Same swept area and so same chance that a bird passes through that swept area but the probability that a bird passing through gets hit by a blade is different.

OK, back to cost. Can be a number of reasons.

a) Apples and oranges? May not be talking about anything like the same design and capabilities. The really large turbines are "feathering". Are the little ones with which you are comparing doing that?

b) At what "wind domain" are the ratings you are comapring? The same? This can be related to "a".

Note the obvious. If it were realy true that 100 kw being produced by a hundred 1 kw turbines would be cheaper than one 100 kw turbine why do you see the "wind farms" using big turbines rather than large numbers of small ones.

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Post by Hairyloon on 30th August 2010, 6:21 pm

Mike wrote:Another topic in this section -- killing birds. Four 5 kw turbines will kill more birds than one 20 kw (one twice the diameter). Same swept area and so same chance that a bird passes through that swept area but the probability that a bird passing through gets hit by a blade is different.
Is that theory, or based on evidence? I am still puzzled why birds choose that bit of sky to fly through.
Anyway, is that really a disadvantage? Can always make pies. Wink
b) At what "wind domain" are the ratings you are comapring? The same? This can be related to "a".
No, for the ones I was looking at, the smaller ones cut in at a lower wind speed... In many situations, that might be considered another point in their favour.
Note the obvious. If it were realy true that 100 kw being produced by a hundred 1 kw turbines would be cheaper than one 100 kw turbine why do you see the "wind farms" using big turbines rather than large numbers of small ones.
How long have you known me now?
You must realise by now that I'll never accept the obvious answer as right, just because it is obvious (unless it is obviously right, obviously). Wink

There are plenty of reasons why the obvious answer may be wrong; politics, profit margins, quirks in the planning law. Plus I've not actually looked at the price of a really big turbine, they might come back the other way.
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Post by Sparhawk on 31st August 2010, 12:44 am

Which relates to my theory as to everybody that can having the option for solar power as opposed to several big nuclear plants...

Surely "lots of littles" would have less impact than "several bigs"...

Although the one flaw I do see in that theory would be if we were all offered our own little nuclear plant, perhaps a "nuclear seedling", to have a mini nuclear reactor on every street corner & make the whole country radioactive would probably count as not good... Shocked

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 31st August 2010, 8:50 am

sparhawk wrote:

Although the one flaw I do see in that theory would be if we were all offered our own little nuclear plant, perhaps a "nuclear seedling", to have a mini nuclear reactor on every street corner & make the whole country radioactive would probably count as not good... Shocked

Actually quite the reverse. On idea being put forward is for tiny nuclear reactors on a neighbourhood scale, which are actually quite a sensible idea.

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Post by Hairyloon on 31st August 2010, 10:06 am

I am game.
However, I think that arguing the case on those that a DIY install should be eligible for FITs is a job I will leave for someone else. Wink
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Post by Mike on 1st September 2010, 1:46 pm

Hairyloon wrote:
Is that theory, or based on evidence? I am still puzzled why birds choose that bit of sky to fly through.

Need to step back a moment. There are two ways in which "theory" is used in science and one of these is directly related to being able to do meaningful experiments/observations. In other words, if these "theories" do not hold, then observations aren't a valid way to proceed either.

I am tallking about "beliefs" such as "if there is no difference between two situations then our observations of them will be the same" (and experiments are repeatable, etc.)

A consequence of that is that is if we can determine that there is no difference between two situations then we do not actually conduct the experiment to see that the results are the same. If that were not true, then conducting the experiment would not be useful either.

Yes of course I was making assumptions. But those were things like there being no difference in the placing of the turbines relative to the usual flight paths of birds. And things like the tip speed to wind speed ratio being the same in both the large and small (blades equally visible/invisible to birds according to their ability to see and judge the path of things moving at that speed).

Change your question to the other way around. Why would the birds not choose to fly through that bit of space compared to some other bit of space. What is the difference you claim?

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Post by Hairyloon on 1st September 2010, 6:36 pm

I'm just thinking statistically: there is a heck of a lot of sky without turbines in it, and only a small amount with.
From the fuss made, that small amount seems to kill a disproportionate amount of birds.
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Post by Lizbuff13 on 2nd September 2010, 6:09 am

I have been following this thread and it appears that only the men have been bantering back and forth on the matter with the question still unanswered.....

I would like to think that if any of the women of the forum were to put their opinion forth....we would surely agree that....yes....size does matter! Size matters? Icon_lol

I know....it is.... Size matters? 813884 , but I can't help myself!

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Post by Hairyloon on 2nd September 2010, 10:48 am

Lizbuff13 wrote:I would like to think that if any of the women of the forum were to put their opinion forth....we would surely agree that....yes....size does matter! Size matters? Icon_lol
So do you prefer one great big one, or two small energetic ones? :?
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 2nd September 2010, 11:15 am

Lizbuff13 wrote: if any of the women of the forum were to put their opinion forth

like that would ever happen

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