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What are the cons regarding unlimited Wind and Hydro power?

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posted on May, 17 2006 @ 11:36 PM
Simple question i've wondered about for a long time; "Why can't we just plop down a ton of windmills and power the whole world?" Or "Why don't we just stick a dam in every river and make unlimited power for the world?".

Now I don't mean to bring up an old or dumb topic, but my serious inquiry has to do with hydro power. I've read about a number of people who have erected hydro power stations on rivers and streams running through the person's property, so much so that they end up receiving checks in the mail each month from the local utility for excess power generated and sent back to town.

I understand that smacking a dam in every river would have some nasty consequences on the local ecosystems, and that there would be significant effort required in the upkeep of such systems.

But what about man-made high current rivers that are dammed off to generate hydro power so as not to effect the local ecosystems and maximize efficiency?

I also look at this back and fourth bitchin' about people who do and do not want windmills erected; yay for the free energy, boo for the ugly view and cute fuzzy flying critters. Why not just build em' away from people and migrating animals?

It sounds so simple, but i'm thinkin' of a utopian scenario without politics and BS.

posted on May, 18 2006 @ 12:01 AM
Well not everyone lives next to a fast moving river and if people did do this there would be very few that could before the shore line got filled up. As for installing this type of system it costs money to make money. Generator, converters, etc. A huge investment to make a little money at a time.

As for daming up large rivers yes it would be bad, and not every river is suitable to be damed. You have to think that if you dam water it would go around the dam once it fills a little so you have to make a huge dam for most rivers. If you find one that is suitable the expense to build one is huge.

Wind power is the same, there are very few places that are suitable to find where the wind blows at a good speed for most of the time. When theres no wind theres no power so you have to plan for that also. And if you are talking huge wind farms you have to consider transmission lines which are expensive also.

As for building where there is no migrating animals, well animals migrate all over and there is no one spot that is animal free. There is always going to be an ecosystem that is destroyed to build one thing or another.

The biggest solution at the moment to solve the energy crisis for a short time is a very simple one. Ban the incandesent light bulb. These are total energy wasters. Considering that most light bulbs are around 100 watts and if you have a few lights on thats roughly 400 or 500 watts of power. If you switch to energy savers that are only 13watts that is only 52 or 65 watts for the same amout of light. That right there is a huge energy savings if everyone in the country switched.

posted on May, 18 2006 @ 10:54 AM
In addition to what North Rider said about damming rivers, and finding suitable places for windmills. I think it comes down to $$$$ in a few ways. Its expensive to build the devices and up until recently I think the costs have outweighed the benefits, and 2 the oil companies and power companies want everyone using their product. I know of a guy who had a small river on his property, and built a small hydro electric dam taht basiclaly powered his house for free. Well the power company ended up forcing him to have it removed and get back on thje grid because they said it was creating all kinds of ecological issues with the river

posted on May, 18 2006 @ 11:45 AM
Yeah, but...

You fellas gave valid arguments, but what about terraforming a suitable location? You know of a good river to generate hydro power, then maybe construct a man-made river alongside just for power generation. I'm not even talkin' a whole river, just an adjacent flow that can eventually dump back into the main.

Or Wind power. Why not use some sort of ducted fans to acheive the same goal as the big windmills?

It just seems too simple to me. Like there's this huge pot of gold out there for whoever manages to implement this sort of thing without pissing anyone off.

[edit on 18-5-2006 by vinrock]

posted on May, 18 2006 @ 12:15 PM
I think i can cut to the chase..
after several threads dealing with alternative sources of clean energy, some common sense solutions emerged, as well as analyzing all the various benefits of various types...

the overwhelming consistant response called for tailored solutions to the immediate environment. There is no "one solution fits all" nor does there need to be...

Wind power would work great along the coasts, and in windier states.
Several studies show that it would pay off after only a decade...

Solar power would only be the choice in areas without high demand, and far away from power grids... (rural arizona/ new mexico were ideal locations)

hydro would work everywhere that it could be used...

Geothermal would work in several areas.

The remaining areas, that were either too populous or too far from the conveinant alternative sources, could augment whatever industrial type they use, with various methods...

The rough savings could cut our oil/coal/nuclear dependance by half conservatively... but probably by much more if exacting measurments could be taken in real time scenarios.

posted on May, 18 2006 @ 12:22 PM
In a lot of the professional engineering magazines over the last few months there have been articles about people using photovoltaic cells (solar panels) and tiny windmills attached to their roofs. Even in usually overcast Britain they are good enough to generate about 2kW on a standard day. Imagine if you lived in say Australia where it is sunny and the houses are more likely to be bungalows (i.e., bigger roof area). You could happily generate enough energy to cover your needs.
The only real problem is that current battery technology needs a lot of space to get you through the night.
Additionally, on the water power thing. Each dam constructed on a river will reduce the power available further downstream. Hence there is a limit to the power that can be extracted.
For example, if the upstream neighbour of the guy who has dammed the river that flows through his garden is jealous, he could build his own and extract the majority of energy from the river and leave is neighbour with very little generating capability.

posted on May, 18 2006 @ 12:29 PM

Originally posted by LazarusTheLong
hydro would work everywhere that it could be used...

That's what I was really focusing on. Wind power just isn't as efficient as hydro.

posted on May, 18 2006 @ 12:43 PM
In the case of wind turbines there seems to be a problem with alot of unwanted low frequency noise.

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