Author Topic: Wind farms and effects on birdlife  (Read 16732 times)

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Offline lisa

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Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« on: July 13, 2007, 08:20 AM »
Just seen on Fapas that the first international scientific study on the effects of wind farms on bird (and bat) life is now on sale in book form. The first edition is in English with a Spanish version due to be published in Oct. this year. Spain is the second largest producer of wind-harnessed energy in Europe. Of the fifteen studies cited, three are from Spain - Navarra, Campo de Gibraltar and Tarifa.
 
BIRDS AND WIND FARMS
RISK ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION
Editors: Manuela de Lucas, Guyonne F.E. Janns y Miguel Ferrer
Authors: Obra colectiva
Publisher: Quercus
Madrid 2007
275 páginas
16 x 25 cm
ISBN: 978-84-87610-18-9

Sponsored by: Ecotècnia and Fundación Migres
Language: English
Spanish version: in printer  (october 2007))
P.V.P.: 30 Euros
Orders: Lynx


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Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« on: July 13, 2007, 08:20 AM »

Offline Technopat

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2007, 10:59 AM »
Greetings Lisa,
Devil's Avocado at it again  >:D - every time I come across one of these articles my inherent scepticism, etc. comes to the fore and starts asking what the motives (aka vested interests) involved are.
Have read previous reports on how much the wind generators contaminate (oil dripping from moving parts) and that they kill so many birds per unit/month, the carbon footprint they leave, and other things that I can't remember right now. The wikipedia article on wind power has a sub-section on ecology which is pretty comprehensive.
Regs.,
Technopat

Ps.
Don't forget that most utility companies, and just 'bout every other organisation, whether private or public, employ communications experts whose fulltime work is to lie to convince the general public that their particular industry/product is safe, clean and just what everyone needs to be fulfilled.
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2007, 11:29 AM »
Re. the above wikipedia article has the following classic:

Quote
Wind turbines located in agricultural areas may create concerns by operators of cropdusting aircraft. Operating rules may prohibit approach of aircraft within a stated distance of the turbine towers; turbine operators may agree to curtail operations of turbines during cropdusting operations.

Maybe we could put up loads of these things and then NOT reach agreements with the cropdusting operators  :technodevil:

Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
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Offline lisa

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2007, 09:13 AM »
Excellent 'Shroomey Squad policy  :sign:

Posted just for info TP. Are you saying that wind turbines don't kill birds??
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2007, 20:31 PM »
Greetings Lisa and All,
As with many things in this complicated world we live in, I'm in two (at least) minds 'bout it. (We're talking wind power here. If we were talking nuclear power it would be a categorical NO WAY! - i.e. I'm not in two minds on everything.)
On the one hand, I think it's unnecessary to stick those great big turbines up just willy-nilly, or rather where it's most convenient for the utility companies. They are def. eyesores On the other hand, as you insinuate, I do not believe that they are so deadly to birds. As you can imagine, my faith in stats. is zilch, but the following excerpt from that Wikipedia article is interesting:

Quote
Onshore and near-shore studies show that the number of birds killed by wind turbines is negligible compared to the number that die as a result of other human activities such as traffic, hunting, power lines and high-rise buildings and especially the environmental impacts of using non-clean power sources. For example, in the UK, where there are several hundred turbines, about one bird is killed per turbine per year; 10 million per year are killed by cars alone.[57] In the United States, onshore and near-shore turbines kill 70,000 birds per year, compared to 57 million killed by cars and 97.5 million killed by collisions with plate glass.[58]

The bird lobby is an especially active and powerful well-organised one - just try building anything near one of those SPAs and you have serious problems before the ink has even been set to paper - and don't get me wrong - I think it's great. But they do have privileges denied to other fields and walks of nature - i.e. if your bear sanctuary was in a SPA, this whole issue would never have gone on for so long.

Heading off on tangents again, but you get my drift.

Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
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Offline lisa

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2007, 11:34 AM »
i.e. if your bear sanctuary was in a SPA, this whole issue would never have gone on for so long.
Parque Natural, Natura 2000, Habitat's Directives, ZEPA, LIC and probably more that don't come to mind this minute obviously don't mean diddly squat  >:(
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2007, 14:11 PM »
Greetings Lisa and All,
ZEPA was the word I was looking for. Way I understood it - explained to me by my usually reliable source, a former-high-ranking bureaucrat here - was that there was NO way anything could be built on ZEPAs.

Obviously the Junta (de Castilla y León, for those of you not familiar with the place) considers itself a law unto itself. Or could it be that they are just so stupid/ignorant/hijos de ... that they think they are dealing with mere cepas.

I don't really believe in coincidences, so I don't reckon this is the case here either, but have noted elsewhere re. this year's anniversary of Spain's peaceful and modellic (?) transition to democracy that said m. transition was the result of a finely-balanced and extremely delicate compromise between the Old School and those who managed to persuade them that Europe would not accept Spain unless certain conditions were met.

Many people still haven't come to terms with that, and Castilla y León is symbolic as a stronghold of said Old School (before going on to become Spain's prime minister, the person elsewhere on this forum referred to as that "hugely dislikeable last president of Spain", whose name "is a derivation originally from Basque for fox" was, briefly (1987-89), the president of the regional government of C y L following his successful staging of a censure motion/motion of no confidence),

but I digress ...

Dismayed regs.
Technopat

Ps.
I know it's not strictly a legit. iberianatureforum query, but can anyone tell me the origin of Lisa's "diddly squat" - never come across it before (post-1980?). Ooops! Think I got it ... (Embarrassed smiley goes here)
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
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Offline SueMac

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2007, 15:18 PM »
Hi TP
You should have goooooogled....
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/diddly-squat
SueMac
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Now mainly blogging on www.suevista.blogspot.com Vistas from Afar - A European Garden Blog

Offline lisa

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2007, 19:18 PM »
I've just read a post on Sekano's blog, the 1st on what will be a series, re wind farms. He (she?) questions the authenticity of impact (sic) studies of turbines on birds after having done a 3 year study on the mortality rates of birds in their vicinities and finding that most traces of corpses had disappeared completely within only 3 days. This is attributed to foxes.
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2007, 02:13 AM »
Greetings Lisa and All,
Thanx for that excellent lonk - bit too dense for someone in the middle of packing for a fortnight in the LOG  :dancing: - so will read it (and only Darwin knows the backlog that awaits) when I get back. Promise.
Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
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Offline lisa

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2007, 08:39 AM »
I've just found out that that particular blog was originally set up specifically to deal with the issue of wind farms so it should be informative.
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Offline Jill

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2007, 20:55 PM »
Hola all

I'm inclined to agree with you, Technopat, regarding the bird death statistics - but I can't agree with you when you descibe the wind generators as eyesores. Au contraire! I think they're beautiful. So, too, does the rest of this family. I didn't have to poll them; I already knew, because every time we drive across Spain the kids point them out and ask to stop near them.

Despite being an artist I'm not much into modern art - unless it is also functional. That, to me, is the most beautiful art of all; even better than the wonderful stuff in the Prado. For me, the wind generators are the most beautiful sculptures to be seen anywhere, and they are pretty much the only thing of man's making which is acceptable to my eye when placed in an otherwise entirely natural setting. The thing that makes them so beautiful and so acceptable is that they are there not in spite of nature but because of it; they're there to help us to save the natural world from the damage we do with our power stations. And - even more beautifully - they actually depend, for their usefulness, on nature! What could be more beautiful than to take nature, use it, and then return it uninjured and unaltered?

Sailing boats do the same thing, of course, and sails are (in my entirely unbiased opinion) the only things of man's making which are more beautiful than a wind generator.(Smiley goes here. Except that I hate smileys.)

Watermills and water-driven turbines are, arguably, the next best product of man's genius. But they do cause environmental damage. The creation of the reservoir which drives the turbine almost invariably has environmental and ecological repercussions.

Being a wind generator fan (? I suppose you know the one about the guy who used to like tractors?) I was dismayed to hear that even they have blood on their hands. Heck, isn't there anything we silly b------- can do that doesn't mess up the planet??? Breathing seems to be about the only sinless thing we do. At least it feeds the plants. Dying is probably also environmentally acceptable, provided that you get yourself buried, or thrown overboard, and not burnt.

Birds are bird brained. They do try to sit on moving objects. We've had them try to sit on our own small wind generator. But none has ever been hit by the blades; even the boobies just get pushed out of the way. Those big guys on the hill tops are going a lot faster than our toy - but that ought to push the birds away even faster and more firmly. Has anybody ever seen a wind generator hit / kill a bird?

Of course, now that the problem has been identified (if it has...) we could set about finding ways to persuade birds not to fly into wind generator blades. Perhaps it would be possible to create a magnetic field of some sort around each wind generator. I've heard that migratory birds are strongly affected by magnets; apparently, if you put magnets on a migrating bird it flies in the wrong direction. Caesar points out that the generators have got very big magnets in them anyway... Okay, let's think again... Wind generators are jolly noisy if you get close to them, but this is evidently no deterrent to the birds. However, a very high pitched noise might frighten them away.

Putting the generators somewhere where the birds are less apt to fly would also be a good idea. As Clive points out, in view of the fact that many thousands of birds cross the Straits each year putting wind generators on the mountains in that vicinity is obviously not too clever. But since the generators are already in situ it might be worth instituting some kind of survey this autumn: if a group of people had the time to patrol the wind generators for a week we might discover whether the accusations are true or false.

Either way, the bottom line is this: although the destruction of a handful of our feathered friends is upsetting it seems to be the lesser of two (or more) evils. Either we put up "windmills" - as many as possible - and kill a certain number of birds, or else we carry on using fossil fuels and nuclear bombs and kill everything on the planet, including the birds.

Jill


Offline lisa

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2007, 09:10 AM »
Well, I only posted it because I thought it was interesting not because I think they're a bad idea. At least they're the lesser evil compared to solar panels covering the land.
Sekano's second installment is on in which he says some birds, such as low-flying partridge (they don't "beep" do they?), even fly into the immobile uprights. It can only be a good thing that he's disputing the usual methods of impact studies as not being sufficiently thorough even if numbers of birds killed by the prop's aren't huge.
It'll be interesting to read his final thoughts on the matter, maybe then you could put on a comment about your high-pitched noise theory Jill?
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Offline Jill

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2007, 19:00 PM »
Hi Lisa

Yes, it is interesting. I didn't mean to sound bolshy!

My Spanish is not really up to posting comments on Sekano's website, but I guess Caesar could do it. He's very knowledgeable about wind generators as he did a project on renewable energy. We once spent about an hour parked beside two massive low-loaders, one of which was carrying part of the tower of a "mill" whilst the other carried one of the blades. That blade was so big that at first I mistook it for part of a racing yacht's hull! Caesar examined both items enthusiastically from head to toe and I even had to photograph the wiring diagram for him!

I'm not at all sure that a high pitched noise would really work, but I do believe that there must be something - lights, sounds, smells, vibrations in the air... or something else - which would persuade the birds that flying near these things is a bad idea.

I agree that vast acres of solar panels are not exactly pretty - but, again, I'd rather see acres of solar panels, and know that they're doing the planet some indirect good, than see empty, unspoilt acres and know that there are poisonous gases lurking invisibly in the air above.

As you probably know, there are people who insist that the manufacture of solar panels uses more power than they will ever generate. I doubt if it's true; if it were true then surely the electricity boards in Spain wouldn't use them, as they would cost more money to purchase than they ever made? Either way, my Alternative Energy Expert tells me that someone in New Zealand has now come up with something far cheaper and much more efficient : a means of producing electricity from chlorophyll ! Neat ! And to think that the plants have been doing it all along !

Solar cell technology developed by Massey University’s Nanomaterials Research Centre will enable New Zealanders to generate electricity from sunlight at a 10th of the cost of current silicon-based photo-electric solar cells... Dr Campbell says that unlike the silicon-based solar cells currently on the market, the 10x10cm green demonstration cells generate enough electricity to run a small fan in low-light conditions – making them ideal for cloudy climates... The Centre’s new director, Professor Ashton Partridge, says they now have the most efficient porphyrin dye in the world and aim to optimise and improve the cell construction and performance before developing the cells commercially... He says the ultimate aim of using nanotechnology to develop a better solar cell is to convert as much sunlight to electricity as possible.“The energy that reaches earth from sunlight in one hour is more than that used by all human activities in one year”.
The solar cells are the product of more than 10 years research funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070405171830.htm

Apparently there's a chap at an American university who is experimenting with spinach powered solar panels. No, this is not a wind-up!:

An electronic device that uses spinach to convert light into electrical charge has been developed by US researchers.Shuguang Zhang at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, and research collaborators integrated a protein complex derived from spinach chloroplasts with organic semiconductors to make a solar cell that could be combined with solid state electronics.Chloroplasts are structures in plants cells, packed with chlorophyll - the substance that gives leaves their green colour and allows them to photosynthesise."Nature has been doing this for billions of years," Zhang told New Scientist. "This is the first time we've been able to harness it."
The resulting cells are much thinner and lighter than existing solar panels and could eventually be used to make much more efficient panels, says Zhang.


http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6434

There is also another, similar process which uses haemoglobin.

"Expected cost is a tenth of the price of a silicone based solar panel" say the chaps in NZ, but, in fact, this stuff doesn't even need to be made into solar panels; it can be mixed into paint or into cloth. It's so thin that it's transparent and so it can even be laid into glass window panes! Green tinted panes or, presumably, red ones, depending on whether you go for chlorophyll or gore. I'm not sure that I'm too keen on that idea, but I'd be very happy to have a green boat with green decks and green sails...

“The next step is to take these dyes and incorporate them into roofing materials or wall panels. We have had many expressions of interest from New Zealand companies,” Professor Partridge says.

Perhaps we could have green and red T-shirts which power our mobile phones and lap-tops.

Maybe we could even have blood / spinach coloured cars which are powered by their paint-scheme!

It all sounds much too good to be true, doesn't it?

The system is far from perfect, however. The peptides used only keep the protein complex stable for about three weeks and the cells convert only 12% of light to electrical charge. But Zhang says efficiency could be boosted dramatically by layering numerous cells on top of one another, as they will still let some light through.
"This is an interesting piece of basic scientific research," says Devens Gust, at Arizona State University (of Zhang's project). "However, it is a long way from this experimental device to any practical applications."

So, in the meantime we'll just have to keep on with the "windmills" and find ways to keep the birds away.

Jill

P.S. For something truly controversial, on the energy source scene, try this:  http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn12346-renewable-energy-could-rape-nature.html 



Offline lisa

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2007, 09:18 AM »
Mmmm, spinach - another thirsty plant. Very interesting lonk though. I had a wander around the New Scientist blog and if anyone could translate this sentence, I'd be grateful;

"Surely decentralised power making use of cogen/trigen as well as greatly increased microgen are the way forwards."

The sensible answer to the power problem probably has to be, for the moment, a combination of solar panels on as many roofs as poss. and wind turbines all connected to national grids. (Whatever happened to wave power by the way?)

Jill, I'm not sure if these comments on biofuels were posted since you've been away?
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Offline Sue

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2007, 12:37 PM »
Hi All,

"Surely decentralized power..." only got that bit I’m afraid

it does seem that if each household had a personal power supply ie; solar roof (not panels as are available now-but the complete roof covering) and micro-hydro on the water intake and whatever new products are being tested now they could learn to live with the power they generated. (Any spare could go back to the grid)
It is difficult for most people to be aware of their consumption when it is invisible and so easy to use.
The demand to supply cities, industry would remain but with a lesser burden. In the cities each large roof area again would have a power generating system (sports halls, factories, schools etc) Hydro-power created at the water pumping station?

How much less effective would the wind turbines be if the blades rotated on a horizontal plane????? Thus the birds could pass over more easily and they would be less visible... just a thought that I’m sure the scientists have already brushed aside...

Necessity is the mother of invention, perhaps not enough people deem it necessary yet!

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Offline Technopat

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2007, 15:41 PM »
Great Darwin! - Have you guys gals been busy while I've been touristing away in the LOG!
There's too much going on at this thread to deal with at one sitting, but just at random and starting with the least technical bits, I'd like to pick up on Jill's aesthetic appreciation of the wind turbines. Yes, I agree that as individual elements they are truly magnificent symbols of engineering (actually only logical/natural developments of the age-old windmill) - but acres of the things stretching as far as the eye can see is NOT a sight for sore eyes. Even Goya, Velázquez, Picasso or whoever tickles yer fancy, can become overpowering if taken in large doses. I'm sure just a small/medium-sized one generates more than enough power for one household without being too much of a blot on the landscape.

But alas, aerodynamics, streamlining or aesthetical values are not always compatible with ethics. Swords, guns (have you ever studied the magnificent filigree on old flintlocks, etc.?) and by extension, ICBMs or whatever they've come up with can also be considered works of art that have developed along similar lines in perfecting their awesome/awful power. But I digress. For a change. Point is, one solitary [sailing] boat (of whatever shape, size or class) is undoubtedly a thing of beauty, but a whole marina/port of the things just becomes an eyesore. No offence meant. One bicycle leaning up against a tree while its owner snoozes under its shade is amazingly relaxing and bucolic. A whole sea of the things parked outside a building - however ecological and environmentally-necessary it might be, ain't. Or can an artist find beauty in anything?

Enough tangents for one day.
Regs.
Technopat

Ps
Surely your dislike of the smileys :speechless: doesn't include the great ones here at iberianatureforum  :sign: ? I, too, went through a period of disliking the things and avoiding 'em, but since joining this 'ere forum ...
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2007, 17:13 PM »
Greetings All,
Forgot to mention that bicycles come really high on my list of (wo)man's greatest inventions: factors such as design, personal autonomy, ecological efficiency, etc., make 'em real symbols of inventiveness.
Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline nick

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2007, 17:56 PM »
Green light for marine wind farms in Spain. First generators to come into operation by 2012. 273 planned for Straits, giving same amount of energy as a nuclear power station.

Luz verde a los parques eólicos marinos
http://www.elpais.com/articulo/sociedad/Luz/verde/parques/eolicos/marinos/elpepusoc/20070802elpepisoc_1/Tes
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2007, 19:16 PM »
Greetings All,
Thanx for that, Nick. Trust you to bring the thread back on track.

Did a bit of spadework :booklook: (actually just went to Wikipedia) while you were all busy having yer siestas and came up with the following:
 cogen = CHP - acronym for cogeneration (combined heat and power production);

which in turn led me to

trigen = CHCP - acronym for trigeneration (combined heat, cooling and power production);

Yet another wikipedia article took me to Green Alliance
from whence I got the following on

microgen

Now that I've translated the jargon, could you please explain the following
Quote
I suppose you know the one about the guy who used to like tractors?

Re. Sue's creative musings, my experience of real-world scientists is that they're too stressed out dealing with bureacracy (as in ensuring that their research grant will be renewed and variations of that theme - I know of many first-hand Spanish horror stories) and explaining things to politicians in mind-blowingly simple words of one syllable (only for them to be mis-interpreted and/or ignored) to spend time being creative and/or going into things in deeper depth. At best (quantitively speaking) much research is demand driven and short-term - i.e. the client wants a solution that is cheap and easy to implement, and which can be added on to existing solutions as patches (as in Windows releases) all of which gives little scope for real research and innovation. Much research is also funded by bodies/firms with vested interests, i.e. it has to confirm what the client has already determined beforehand. Oh dear, here I go again!  >:D

Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Iberianature Forum

Re: Wind farms and effects on birdlife
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2007, 19:16 PM »