American Elephants


The Coldest Spring on Record? by The Elephant's Child

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Steven Goddard posted this picture of Fort Collins, Colorado at 7 pm on the first of May. The U.S., he says, is headed for the coldest spring on record. John Hinderaker posted a similar picture a few days ago from Minnesota.

We have had here in the Seattle area two perfect sunny warm days in a row! Our winter has not been particularly cold (La Nina) but the sun has been shrouded in vast grey clouds for months on end, when it wasn’t raining. No snow at all. Even the proprietor of Sippican’s Cottage said “It was — get this — over sixty degrees. No, really, it was over sixty degrees, all at the same time, instead of broken into pieces and spread over several days. Fahrenheit!” And he’s somewhere in Northern Maine. Anecdotal to be sure, but my goodness, the sun is welcome.

I always get the giggles when I hear that old song  about “The Bluest Skies You’ll Ever See Are in Seattle.” The lyricist had either never been to Seattle, or only passed through on a particularly good day. Steven Goddard has the charts to illustrate the temperature.



When the temperature drops, the turbine stops, and needs electric heat! by The Elephant's Child
January 31, 2010, 3:45 am
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Junk Science | Tags: ,

Like many states, Minnesota has invested in alternative energy.  It’s the in thing to do.  The state has spent $3.3 million on eleven wind turbines, but in an economy where everyone seems to speak in billions and trillions, that doesn’t seem like news.

But it seems the turbines don’t work in cold weather.  The special hydraulic fluid used for colder temperatures was used in the turbines, but it’s not working, so neither are the turbines.

There is a plan to heat the fluid, but officials must find a contractor to do the work.

So they need heaters to warm the hydraulic fluid.  How will the heaters work?  They will have to use either electricity or natural gas at each turbine to keep the mechanism lubricated.  That reduces the net energy gain from each turbine, depending on how much heating the turbine fluid needs, to stop congealing in the winter.  Minnesota winters last anywhere from four to six months, so that makes the wind farm fairly inefficient as an energy source.

As we were saying, you simply can’t rely on what the turbine salesmen are claiming about the efficiency of wind power.  Sometimes the wind blows, sometimes it doesn’t.  It is simply not reliable enough to be a primary energy source. But it is “Green” so there are brownie points involved.

(h/t: Hot Air)




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