This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I quite like the idea of proposing a Number of the Month and then seeing what better our bending author comes up with.
This months nominations by me are:
£180 per megawatt-hour is what was paid to shut down Scottish windfarms.
The quote I like best is:
"Paying multinational companies large sums of money not to supply electricity seems wrong."
Now there is a man with a gift for understatement.
Actually, this a great solution to the problem of finding locations for wind farms.
Since it now appears there will be subsidies paid to shut them down, it makes sense to build the non-generating turbines in areas of no wind.
So now developers can survey the country for those areas of the least wind and a good idea too as they were having trouble finding opposition free sites of natural beauty with enough wind for a wind farm.
So now you simply site all the wind farms that don't have to generate electricity in areas of low wind.
The really great news about non-generating turbines is that they actually consume unreported electricity from the grid when they are idle. This means that when there is a need to decrease supply, wind turbines are ideal because you not only take out the electricity they generate but they also consume some of the surplus electricity generated conventionally.
My only question is, do these non-generating wind farms actually have to be capable of generating electricity or can we have virtual wind farms in a sort of set-aside process? Can we simply nominate areas of the countryside to serve as non-wind generating areas and collect a subsidy for not erecting wind farms and simply assign a notional generating capacity on a megawatt per acre basis or do we actually have to go to all the trouble of building the **** things?
This is great. I really think I'm beginning to understand what Green Energy is all about.
Its the money, stupid.
This is the subsidy on the wind farms we already have and we haven't even started yet.
Huge contracts are in the offing under the Liberal Governments green manifesto.
Or any other number from the story of the hippy eco-millionaire wind farm entrepreneur.
This next number for number of the month is not yet known.
It is the salary Miriam Gonzalez Durantez (Mrs Clegg to you and me) will earn as a non-executive director of Acciona, the Spanish wind farm company.
This company also has other hands in the taxpayers pockets with its desalination plant on the Thames.
The big surprises are (a) how this position can possibly have passed the ethics committee and (b) why the actual salaries are so hard to discover (plus, of course, stock options and "consultancies").
Hands up anyone who believes her appointment has nothing to do with her being the wife of the deputy Prime Minister.
Hands up anyone who thinks she will still have this job if for some unexplained reason, Acconia fails to win the bulk of the new UK contract or if the investment program for wind farms doesn't suddenly escalate.
And hands up anyone who thinks the ethics committee is past its sell by date.
Why aren't wind turbines painted green rather than techno off-white? Surely it would make them a lot less obtrusive and there would be fewer people put out by them?
I suggest $54 billion.
At a minimum, that is the amount of tax-payers' money that has been spent to educate high school youth that 'drop out' and never graduate in the United States.
About 30% of the 18 million high school age youth do not graduate, that is 5.4 million 'drop-outs'.
At an average cost of $10,000 per year per student,that is a minimun of $54 billion that was spent without motivating these youth to stay in high school.
my vote is for 40,000 as proposed by NICE (aka the food police):
"Why aren't wind turbines painted green rather than techno off-white? Surely it would make them a lot less obtrusive and there would be fewer people put out by them?"
I believe it is for the longevity of the structure. Many composite structures weaken over time without having taken steps to minimize their temperature on a hot summer's day. Composite aircraft are almost uniformly painted white as well.
My understanding of why wind turbines are painted white is that it is to clearly mark them as a potential obstruction for air traffic.
This FAA (US Federal Aviation Authority) circular gives some details:
"f. The white paint most often found on wind turbine units is the most effective daytime early warning device. Other colors, such as light gray or blue, appear to be significantly less effective in providing daytime warning. Daytime lighting of wind turbine farms is not required, as long as the turbine structures are painted in a bright white color or light off-white color most often found on wind turbines."
Only the blades are I think made of composite material, the wind turbine tower is a steelwork structure.
You may be missing the point about subsidies to wind farms, unless you are being ironic. They have only ever mean a money-making scam. A medieval cathedral would have had a lock of the Virgin's hair and St Chad's napkin-ring. Today we also have a large, solemn and holy structure of no practical purpose but calculated to awe and inspire us. Human nature does not change.