Wind in the Wattles

The Mt Millar Wind Farm
30 September 2006

West of Cowell you travel through the wheat and barley country of the Eyre Peninsula

which becomes more harsh as you climb up modest hills, until you see through the scrub wonderful silent towers

They look spectacular, they tend to snuggle into the landscape as you travel towards them, providing contrast with older circular technology (this as many in these pages, Ev's photo)

Though they do not seem obtrusive, spread out over seven kilometres, the towers are each 85 metres high and the height to the tip of the blade is 120 metres.

The sign says they have a capacity to produce 70 megawatts, enough for 36000 homes. This is pretty good, and they are quiet (though this was a less breezy day... on this day, standing up close, the big wind gusts produced from the blades sussurations like far away jet planes.)

We need, though, to spend a little more time considering simple issues of conservation. For a start, round our homes are all those electronic objects on 'standby' — each of which, on standby, consumes perhaps as much as 20 or 30 watts. Conservatively, the average home therefore consumes about 100 watts just to produce little red lights and clocks which blink midnight or offer a choice of consumable time....

So if we have 5 million homes for our 20 million population and each consumes 100 watts of power on standby... that ads up to 500 megawatts, or half a gigawatt, gone down the LED blinking drain. That needs seven Mt Millar Wind Farms, or a goodly part of a standard Westinghouse Light Water Reactor Nuclear Power Station, producing over a gigawatt but needing shutdown time, during which we would have no blinking time unless we had more of them...

So it's really a question of what we shut down. Me first, say the brains...

There is a distant view of another wind farm near Coffin Bay,
on this page

Here is a different application of windpower by
a Dutch windmill near the Stirling Range, used for flour milling

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