More in Opinion
Not the machines for the future
To the Editor:
The monstrousity of a machine, affectionally known as "the green machine" or "the feel good alternative to fossil field," is quickly becoming the worst invention of modern technology.
The industrial wind mill. The newest models stand over 400 feet tall with blades exceeding 150 feet in length. Atop a hollow steel tubular structure sits the guts of the machine weighing as much as 60 tons with blades adding 40 tons. In order to keep from toppling with all this weight concentrated at the top, anchoring systems at the base are used for counterbalance, thus a very rigid structure is in place.
This design is admirable in the short run, but forces the steel to much unnoticeable stresses. Tighten a guitar string and plunk it. You can feel the vibration as well as hear it. There's vibration in wind mills as well as the wind induces motion in the blades.
Touch your hand to a spinning wind mill and you will feel the vibration all the way to the base. This vibration carries into the anchoring system which is tied to base rock. Sensitive motion detection devices placed on the ground near wind mills would detect this vibration and be able to give a measured value to it.
How much is steel worth in vibration mode? The answer is told in time. Bend a piece of steel wire back and forth an it breaks in time. Size doesn't matter, time does. Steel is steel.
Other contributing factors to increasing steel fatique due to vibrations is temperative diffentials as wind mills are subject to in a mountaintop environment. Hot temperatures make steel more malleable and cold temperatures will make it more brittle.
I have seen the heavy steel of an excavator boom reduced to scrap due to steel fatique. This excavator ran 10 hours a day, five days a week, for 12 years or about the same percentage of time a wind mill spins.
NASA has conducted tests of steel towers and has found evidence of fatigue between 10 and 11 years of operation. Whether by physical properties or fical incentive by government, these wind mills are designed to product for 10 years maximum.
Twenty-year TIF arrangements are crazy. Decommissioning funds after 13 or more years is a joke. With all the population in this world using electricity, why, after only a few years, is the wind industry fading and not booming? These are not the machines for the future and certainly you won't want to touch any longterm investment in them.
Throw them away now or throw them away in 10 years.