We also reported on a Stanford University study that calculated that there's enough wind near shore and over land combined to produce at least half the world's power demand by 2030, using what the researchers say is the most sophisticated climate model ever created.
As the installed base of turbines has grown, manufacturers view operation and maintenance services as an increasingly important revenue stream. That's been especially true during the industry’s current slowdown. One reason for the contract price drops has been better service performance of the turbines themselves. Another is more competitive bidding among turbine manufacturers for service contracts. It's interesting to note that the period covered by the analysis coincides approximately with the worldwide financial downturn, which put the brakes on growth in many industries and heated up competition.
One reflection of turbines' improved performance and improvements in wind farm management is the fact that the contracts' average availability guarantees reached 96.9 percent. The report noted that such guarantees for actual energy production are becoming more common.
The participants in this first Operations and Maintenance Price Index expect contract pricing to remain relatively stable until at least 2015, according to the report. The most competitive pricing of all markets occurred in the US.
In the future, the Index will be updated twice a year.
bob from maine, thanks for your comments on the danger to aquifers. I live in a county with compromised aquifers: so far, no chemical poisoning, but definitely, ones with levels too low to sustain a growing population, and perhaps even to sustain a non-growing one. (Hence the discussions here about desalination). The point is, once we've messed them up, fahgeddaboutit for the future. I don't see how risking one's water supply is an "acceptable risk," in any sense of the term.
Thinking_J, thanks for the input about what's behind the previous separate price drops due to better turbine performance and design. FYI, the photo caption info was taken directly from Siemens, the providers of the photo and of the wind system. OLD_CURMIDGEON, the reason O&M costs dropped 38%was because the providers dropped their prices due to increased competition, as the article states.
There's another point to consider regarding the investing of "foreign" compounds into the soil to act as a detergent. One need look no further than the evidence that has been amassed regarding the trace levels of so many different patent medicines which have been identified in the public water supplies, lakes, rivers, underground aquefers, etc. Researchers have identified almost the full range of these products from aspirin to estrogen compounds.
We are constantly reminded by the "health" industry why it is important to drink several glass of water per day, yet in doing so, we may actually be precipitating some negative health condition in the future.
NOTHING that occurs on the face of this Earth, occurs in a "vacuum", and as such, it is imperative that people everywhere realize this! For every effect, there IS a cause! The challenge has always been to recognize & isolate those which ARE TRULY beneficial, and those which ARE TRULY harmful.
You are right that energy cannot be destroyed. However, friction is just one of many forms that decreases the amount of stored energy that can be removed from storage. And from what I have read there are not very efficient ways to store energy. Often when energy is stored a percentage of that energy is lost.
Good points, Old_Curmudgeon. Let the data tell the story. There has been some anecdotal stories of gas coming out of water pipes near fracking. Others say that's nonsense. Ultimately, data will tell the story.
IF you consider that it is always POSSIBLE for chemicals to seep from an ostensibally sealed pipe under thousands of pounds of pressure, through a seemingly geologically isolated strata and mix with an underground aquifer, and further that the possibility seems somehow proportional to the qualification and motivation of the PEOPLE doing the work, then yes, there is a possible hazard. The chemicals are not suitable for human consumption. The aquifer, once compromised cannot be either isolated or recovered in situ. We daily depend on research done by scientists and machinery and processes developed and implemented by engineers to protect us from serious and often fatal occurances. We rely on their judgement of what constitutes "acceptable risk" and most of us (but not all) are comfortable with that. There is no possibility of debate when using emotion to discuss scientific issues (thus speaks an ex politician). Yes, there is risk; No, most of us have no or limited concept of the science involved.
Be careful WHO you seek information from regarding fracking's (possibly negative)environmental impact. Just as in so many cases in the past 30 or so years, you'll find some very staunch opponents who base their convictions on alchemy, and will not be convinced even by acknowledged nonpartisan scientific experts. That's probably one main reason why I've always trusted instruments for accurate answers vs. human beings. Instruments & domestic animals share one IMPORTANT trait ..... they're incapable of Rationalization! Humans, NOT SO!
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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