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Offshore wind-parks

The main criticism aimed against electric cars is still the efficiency deficit and high price of the batteries. Is that really everything? Indeed, should we not also ask ourselves where the electricity comes from?, after all, only little renewable energy comes out of the wall-outlets. As far as Germany is concerned, it's no more than 20% (in 2012), the average for Europe as a whole, is only about 10%.

It is well known that a customary E-Car, as far as the CO2-emission is concerned, is inferior to a good combustion engine. This is actually a pity because with better battery technology, the E-Car could help to smooth out the unequal supply and demand distribution of electricity through an intelligent charging process.

Wind-power is generally considered to be the state of the art, particularly then, when it doesn't influence the landscape panorama. That means offshore, far away, so that they can no longer be seen from the mainland. This is exactly where the big problems begin. It is also the reason why the first installations exceeded the projected costs by approx 50%.

Just imagine, you are having a new house built and, in the end, you have to pay €450.000 instead of the originally planned 300.000. That, in itself is bad enough, the problem is, you can also only move in years later. The problems involved in building offshore wind-parks were simply underestimated.

The predictions of 10.000 MW up to 2020 - that means approx. 3.000 windmills -, cannot be realised. To compare this with customary power-station technology: One block of a coal-fired power-station can produce approx. 1.000 MW. That means three customary power-stations would be needed to produce the power coming from the unrealistic aims predicted by the offshore wind-power lobby up to 2010.

Ok, they would first still have to be projected and then built. Indeed, on no account do we want to return to fossil fuels. This goes to show, just how thorny the path is, when exploiting a power source which could be accepted by everyone. Perhaps one should not slate the photo-voltaic principle in Germany a bit less. After all, at the moment the subsidies of around 20 Eurocent per kWh, are almost identical.

The offshore windmills will probably be swallowing up these subsidies for ever, whereas, after 20 years, the solar collectors count as being written off. Offshore wind power demands high insurance premiums. Not only can the windmill itself, but also the transformer sub-stations be damaged. In that event, the yield from any number of windmills is lost for a longer period.

Indeed, originally one thought more about the difficulties, installing windmills in a water-depth of of approx 30 meters and protecting them against up to 20 meter waves. The fact that the electric energy had to be converted there and then, was given far less attention. Despite modern technology, these transformer stations are sealed, and housed accordingly stable buildings with a length and breadth almost two-thirds the size of a football field.

Technically seen, the whole problem is often the great distance from the coast. The above mentioned coal-fired power station has the transformer right at it's doorstep. From there alternating current is often sent out, however, through cables which are meters apart from each other. If the cables leading from the offshore wind-park to the transformer on the mainland are to close to each other, the three phases can negatively influence one another.

The permanently changing tension of the magnetic field also works against the efficiency. The solution offered is direct current, very well known in motor vehicles, indeed, this is now only found rarely in unadulterated form. On land, it is only converted if the transporting distance is great enough. At sea, this has to be done, for the above mentioned reasons, for a comparitively short distance of 15, to, perhaps in future, 100 kms.

No easy task. If one looks at the gigantic buildings standing next to the windmills, which require, just like the windmills themselves, maintenance and repair work. The only possibilities open to us as consumers, to alleviate these difficulties are:
1. To tolerate the one or the other windmill on the mainland.
2. To conserve energy. 05/12

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